Tuesday, December 14, 2004

creepy, just plain creepy

Take a look at the Aquent | AMA - Compensation Survey of Marketing Professionals 2005. It gives me the creeps. The gimmick isn’t limited to the main page: check out the little boxes as you navigate through the site.

Looks like someone was overly influenced by Harry Potter.

At least the info is interesting!

posted by lee on 12/14/04 at 12:37 PM
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Thinking With Type

This is a companion site for Ellen Lupton’s book: Thinking with Type. It has lots interesting information about type, type families, what it all means. There’s a cool game section called, “Crimes Against Type.” While you’re poking around there, check out her own site: Design Writing Research. This comes from The Design Desk column at PoynterOnline.

posted by lee on 12/14/04 at 09:36 PM
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Wednesday, December 15, 2004


image A total waste of time—addictive even. Check out Make-a-Flake. Courtesy Look and Feel Media, a Kansas City, MO interactive, um, solutions company. They offer some of the software they’ve developed for interactive applications, mostly MS-based stuff, for free.

posted by lee on 12/15/04 at 11:09 PM
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Thursday, December 16, 2004

an artist’s take: Baghdad Journal

Beneath the hard October sun recalcitrant Baghdad throws up a fistful of dust, so fine the soldiers call it moon dust. It hovers, despite the breeze, mixing with diesel fumes, wreathing this sprawling, dyspeptic city. Gleaming through the bright smog is a giant blimp, used by 1st Cav 1-9 to gather intelligence. It’s tethered to 1-9’s base, swinging gently, high above the city.

I often imagined the view from up there, especially on one afternoon in mid October when I found myself running across Tala’a Square with 3rd Platoon just after a young soldier had been killed by a sniper. We’d look as urgent as ants, rushing to repair a tunnel. Just another day in Baghdad’s Haifa Street neighborhood.

So begins the December installment of Baghdad Journal by Steve Mumford, a New York painter embedded with military units in Iraq hot spots like Baquba, Tikrit, and Baghdad. His journal entries contain paintings and sketches illustrating the people—both soldiers and Iraqi civilians—mentioned in the dispatch.copyright 2004 by Steve Mumford.
click image to enlarge

He work runs in artnet because, according to an article in the New York Times, that is the only organization that would provide Mumford a press pass so he could cover Iraq as an embedded journalist.

Mumford is a good writer as well as a fine illustrator; his narratives and sketches tell stories in a way that feels more real and honest to me than the bits and pieces fed to us in the mainstream media—if there is any coverage there at all.

posted by lee on 12/16/04 at 09:55 AM
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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Neah Bay and the Makah Nation

Erik Gauger sent off another “Notes from the Road” dispatch a couple of weeks ago. This one covers Neah Bay in the Pacific Northwest. It begins:

There are parts of America so elusive, so far from anywhere, that they seem hardly to exist, like ghost civilizations.

Neah Bay is that other America, the most northwesterly place in the continental states. It is a small fishing village, seemingly forever shrouded in a thick fog and a light drizzle, as if from a plane you could never know it was there. Just a few miles beyond it is the tip of America. Cape Flattery, a rugged natural outpost against the sea, settled by puffins and deep-diving birds.

What makes Neah Bay especially unusual is that it is the unofficial capital of the Makah Tribe, and this land—this very tip—is the Makah Nation.

The shroud of fog lifted off Neah Bay just twice. For a few moments in the early 1970s and in the late 1990’s, two rather strange, if not related episodes unfolded. People who had never heard of the Makah came to protest against them. But the fog crept back in, and the world again forgot about Neah Bay and the Makah Indians of the Olympic Peninsula.

As usual, his photography is beautiful. He uses a large format Toyo AX camera. Spend some time visiting this site—it’s worth it.

posted by lee on 12/18/04 at 05:18 PM
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Sunday, December 19, 2004


Right now, it’s snowing. The temperature is 14 degrees F, with a wind chill of -2 degrees F. The wind speed is 11 mph gusting (an awful lot) to 27-30 mph. About 1 inch of snow has hit the ground already, with three more on tap by noon. The snowplows are out. It’s not supposed to hit 20 degrees Monday. Ginger loves it! Don’t know yet if this qualifies as a nor’easter or just a winter storm. I could do without it. Am very glad I don’t have to commute in the morning—just walk down the stairs,  pet the dog, pour some coffee, walk into the office, move the cat off my chair, and I’m at work.

I did some more work on this installation of ExpressionEngine. I installed the gallery module, and it seems to be working just fine. I LOVE the batch processor.  Check it out by clicking on the gallery link in the navs.

But, there are a couple of problems that are bugging me. When using Internet Explorer, when clicking on a link or doing a search (not an advanced search), the results page sometimes is blank. The stuff is there, but you have to reload the page to see it. VERY annoying because I can’t figure out what’s going on or what I need to do. So I posted an SOS in the EE tech forum and will probably get an answer soon.

The other thing that bugs me is that the Seach box is working weird. It works for certain terms, but not others. For example, searching for “Twitch” turns up a few (but not all) entries dealing with the beastie cat. But searching for “Ginger” returns zilch, even though I mention the pooch in, oh, 130 entries or so. And this is happening no matter which browser I use. I expect the techies will solve this little puzzle as well. Probably something I’m not setting properly.

EE is a great application, but the documentation, even supplemented with the EE Wiki and the Knowledgebase, is difficult to understand. Needs some good navigation as well (especially that Knowledgebase—egads that nav structure sucks. Too clever; not very usable.) But tech support is so good it compensates quite a bit for the inadequate documentation—which needs to be re-written by someone who doesn’t dream in PHP.

But I am so pleased with the gallery module!!

Tech support at EE came through. Chris Curtis suggested: ” ... go to Admin > Output Preferences and make sure the “Enable GZIP Output?” setting is turned off ... ” I did and it’s a miracle, it works! He also said simple search is designed to search for keywords in the titles only, and that I could add parameters to the search tag to get it to search in more. Makes sense to me.

Now I can go to bed happy.

posted by lee on 12/19/04 at 11:36 PM
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Monday, December 20, 2004

damned cold

ice crystals on the window

This is the view out of our office window. I didn’t expect to see this until late next month.

This time of year here in Connecticut, the temperature gets up to about 40°F. Today, at around 10:30 am, it’s 8°F, with a wind chill of between -12 and 0. It’s not projected to get above 20° this afternoon. (Thursday, it’s supposed to get up into the lower 50s!) We ended up with three inches of snow and howling wind. While the wind makes it dangerous to go out, at least it blew the snow off our driveway and sidewalk so Stanley doesn’t have to freeze his nose (and other body parts) off shoveling.

And winter isn’t due until 7:42 am tomorrow, December 21.

The wind is so wild today that Ginger nearly knocked me on my rear trying to get back into the house. She decided the paper could stay where it was, and to hell with investigating whichever creature passed by since her last trip to the sidewalk. She didn’t even bark at the pre-teenies scurrying to school; she just wanted in and away from that wind! Right now, it’s sustained at about 15 mph, but it’s been getting up to 30-34 mph. And it feels like it’s coming through the walls in our office—I’m about to turn on the space heater under the desk.

Yesterday, Stanley went over to tutor Sarah, who is taking a statistics class in grad school. She sent a loaf of banana bread home with him. It was the best banana bread I’ve had in quite some time, almost as good as the banana bread my youngest sister, Carolyn, makes. I used to make good banana bread, but I haven’t baked in years. But it was never as good as either Sarah’s or Carolyn’s.

I guess I should get some work done now.

posted by lee on 12/20/04 at 07:19 AM
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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

finally got some pictures back

For a while I’ve been intensely interested in lomo photography, and photography with toy cameras. Always put off doing anything about it until about a week or so ago when it dawned on me that if I wait until I have time, I’d never try it out.  So, while waiting for the Smena and the Holga cameras I bid for and won on eBay, I made Stanley drag out his assortment of 35mm toy cameras—you know, the giveaway cameras that aren’t worth more than a couple of bucks in the odds and ends bin at the thrift shop. (Almost all of the contents of our house would suitably stock a thrift shop ... ) He gave me a Vivitar 100 Focus Free (no kidding), a Ninoka nk-700, and an Argus Genie. He found the flash for the Vivitar which also fits all of the other cameras, and it works.

My objective was to take a roll or two with each of the cameras and send them in to York Photo to see what happened. The Vivitar and the Argus had very old film in it, and I opened the Vivitar before I realized it, so I wasn’t hoping for much with those rolls so I wasn’t disappointed (very dark photos—a couple are interesting). With the Ninoka, I shot one roll of color and one of black and white. I really like the Ninoka photos. Tomorrow, or whenever I have a half hour or so, I’m going to add the images I like to my gallery, as they came and no PhotoShop adjustments. I’ve finished one roll on the Smena and another in the Holga—which shoots 120 film. I’ll send those in to York tomorrow so I can see how those cameras shoot. I’m pretty please with York so far, and they said they do develop 120 film so I can send it to them rather than fight my way across town to Costco or take it to Kew Photo. Just until I learn their particular quirks. Eventually, I would like to try pinhole photography.

I still have to get into the habit of being true to the “rules” of lomography. It will take some time. Here are two photos from the Ninoka:

Ginger, proud of her latest shredding task
ginger patiently posing

Twitch thinking I’m nuts for waking him
cat on his chaise

Guess what my favorite subjects are. I’ll have to settle for torturing Ginger and Twitch for now since it’s extremely difficult to take pictures of Stanley without risking death by suffocation as I sleep.

posted by lee on 12/22/04 at 08:06 PM
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christmas time in dearborn heights

My sister Carolyn got a digital camera for Christmas from her son Aaron—and here are some of the first pictures she took:

Jamie's new puppy

Jamie got a new dog. Cara says it’s part Jack Russell terrier and part something else. Stanley says it looks like the “something else” is a bloodhound or a coon hound—it would be funny if it howled instead of barking. It’s about one-sixth the size of Jamie’s last dog. This one looks like it’s going to be a little bigger than Cara’s pugador, Chuckie.

Brian opens something for his new car

Cara’s youngest son Brian is opening a present. He told us he starts technical school in March; plans on studying network systems and will be going full time, from 9 to 2 every day. He has the perfect job for a student: security guard, working nights. Looks like he got stuff to keep his new car looking spiffy. Brian visited us last summer—we had a lot of fun.

Aaron and his bowling ball

Cara’s oldest boy Aaron looks like he got a new bowling ball for Christmas. (Pretty Christmas tree behind him!) Aaron works about 80 hours a week making auto glass. He says he likes his job a lot. Aaron hasn’t been out here to visit us yet—with all the hours he’s working he might not get to very soon. I don’t thing he’s been to Connecticut since he was a baby (which seems like yesterday).

Kristine's last Christmas without Matt

Kristine seems to be having a good time. So far, it looks like this may be the last Christmas she has to spend without her fiancé Matt, who is serving in Iraq. Supposedly, he gets to come home February 18. He was scheduled to go to Kuwait for six weeks before heading home, as I guess a sort of debriefing period, but that was canceled until at least after the Iraq elections at the end of January (if they happen). I think it sucks that teleportation is a fantasy because I would love to be in Dearborn Heights spending time with my family there again—the trip in November went way too fast.

posted by lee on 12/22/04 at 10:29 PM
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Thursday, December 23, 2004

meet bailey


Jamie sent another picture of Bailey—isn’t she a cool little doggie! Jamie said Stanley is right, there is hound in the dog: Basset hound! Jamie wrote, “She is almost 10 weeks old and has doubled in size since the two weeks we have had her. She looked more Jack Russell than her sisters, who have the short, stocky legs (Bailey’s legs are long and thin). They also have the loose wrinkly skin, as does Bailey in her face, that is characteristic of a Basset Hound.” Jamie thinks Bailey will get to be about 40 pounds.

Jamie was going to head out and do her xmas shopping, but was stopped by nearly nine inches of snow (Metro Detroit area). That’ll slow things down a bit, I’d say. Better Michigan (or anywhere else) than here—our measly three-inch snowfall the other day was enough to last me for the entire winter, thank you very much. (The bad thing about working at home is there’s no excuse for an unscheduled day off barring a power failure or an internet meltdown.) We finished what we had to do today, and plan on heading to Boston late morning (unless the traffic is too stupid—then we’ll go in the afternoon).

I didn’t get enough work done this week—too much going on. Part of that was picking out my Christmas present—Stanley ordered me a stove! I’m so excited; I’ll have four working burners and an oven that has a temperature regulator in it and I think I can roast something without worrying about the oven catching on fire. I loved my stove, but it’s about 40 or 50 years old and has absolutely had it—the top of the oven is just charred shreds of what is probably asbestos. We splurged and made the move up from a 20” stove to a 24” stove. It has no bells and whistles—it’s just a stove and that’s exactly what I wanted. When we win the Powerball, I’ll get one of those ranges that are so fancy you can roast a cow in ‘em. I’ve gotten pretty tired of paying money for features I don’t need (like seven sports channels when we don’t watch even one of them).

Anyway, next on the appliance list is a fridge. A basic, no frills, energy-efficient fridge, no ice maker, no water in the door BS. That will make the fourth major appliance we’ve had to replace in the last year or so, but we should be good for the next ten years at least, especially since Stanley is so handy about fixing them until the parts just plain wear out, like they did in the dryer we just had to replace.

Time for bed now.

posted by lee on 12/23/04 at 11:08 PM
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