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September 2005

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Pharmacy Jockstraps

This window display in a local pharmacy on Nostrand Ave. jumped out at on my way to the subway a few days ago. So magical!

Give Me a Sign

As we get closer and closer to a developer's vision of Coney Island as a "Vegas by the Sea," you really owe it yourself to haul ass down to Stillwell Avenue and check out Coney Island's treasures before they get a shiney Times Square-style makeover.

This weekend I went on an AIGA Misguided Tour down to Coney to check out the scene in general, and to get a proper guided tour of all the signs n' stuff made by the Dreamland Artists Club, a project that has been getting artists to rejuvenate the classic tradition of hand-painted signs and ads that have made Coney such a feast for the eyes for so long.

For the last couple of years, Creative Time, the organizer of the whole thing, has been getting artists and boardwalk businesses together to try and inject a little life into the area. The businesses get free new signs in exchange for giving artists a (mostly) free hand in making a cool sign. This year, a bunch of the game booths have even started offering prizes made by a bunch of the artists, too, in case you already own a stuffed SpongeBob.

The best part of it, for me, is that it's often hard to tell the newer, more self-aware signs from the older stuff that they're referring to:

Shoot the Freak Swoon
Win Big Skin the Wire
Cream Teddy Bears
Cold Bear and Pizza Slice The
Clams and Beer Fried

This one's for all the font geeks in the house:


Can you spot where they removed the incorrect apostrophe?

And here we have an Ultrasparky Field Correspondent examining the local marine life:


So now that you're all excited, who wants to come with me next weekend to wander around at hit the special screening of The Warriors at next weekend's Coney Island Film Festival?

Shoot the Crack

I saw a lot of great stuff at Coney Island on Saturday, but some of it was less picturesque than the rest. For instance, check out this combination of tranquility and trash (with a little help from Photoshop to reveal the ugly truth obscured in the shadows):

Notice the beachNotice the crack

For the record, I totally saw him adjust his shorts to hang like that as he sat down on the bench.

Home Again

I’ve been feeling the strain of doing little more than working, moving, running errands, and carrying stuff around for over a month now, but at least things are finally settling down. I think. At any rate, the new digs are starting to feel like a new home, and I’m not feeling quite so guilty, sad, and mad all the time. (N.B.: The Neil Sedaka was absolutely correct when they said, "Breaking up is hard to do.")

See how quickly a moderately sized open room fills up with stuff:

(Read the rest...)


Green Street Station, in Boston

I’ve always loved the inherent irony of this sign at a T station in Boston.

Snafu You

It's time for me to start thinking about grad school applications again, since I still have a glimmer of hope that hasn't been crushed yet. (It's amazing how much mileage my morale got out of making it onto SVA's waiting list this year.) Trying to get my act together, I’ve been sending away for course catalogs of new possibilities, and calling places to whom I’ve applied before to find out what I need to resubmit.

Now, if you've been following these adventures for a while (a sure indication that you're a relative, have a high tolerance for boredom, or both), you know that I moped a lot when I didn't get in last time, so it's taken some pluck to give them a call again and set things in motion once more. I wanted to make sure they still had my transcripts and stuff on file, and whether anything I previously submitted would still count toward a new application. The very helpful lady on the phone pulled my file and said it was all in order, but I was free to resubmit anything I’d like to update. While she was checking through the recommendations, though, she mentioned that there were only two of the manadatory three. It seems that my boss from my old job never sent in her recommendation letter, which means my application never got a fair shot. Good grief.

OK, maybe the letter just got lost in the mail, but still...

That pisses me off, but at least it lets me believe that it's less my fault and more someone else's, and so I feel a little more confident about applying again. And I’m also reapplying to SVA, since I got as far as I did last time, and I’m looking at some programs in England and the Netherlands that just teach typeface design, because I need to embrace my true geekitude once and for all.

Going to conferences like TypeCon or the AIGA conference are always good for pulling me out of the day-to-day doldrums and reminding me just how passionate I am about all this stuff. Aside from the more pragmatic benefits of grad school (the pedigree will help my teaching career, and it'll give me access to bigger jobs and better connections, blah blah blah), I get giddy thinking about grad school as a way to totally immerse myself in design stuff for an extended period of time, and worry about my own goals and parameters and interests instead of whether a client likes blue or feels like taking a chance on something.

By the way, if I get into a program this time, holler if you have an extra few tens of thousands of dollars lying around that you don't need.

So Meta

God help me, but I’ve become one of those bloggers blogging about blogging at a conference's requisite blogging panel. Hell, I’ve been blogging longer than any of them except for Kottke, so why shouldn't I? Also, I’m totally here to brown-nose the director of the grad program I’ve been trying to get into.

Two Left Hands

Best part of the conference so far? The on-stage battle between Rep. Barney Frank and John Hockenberry about, effectively, which of them is more liberal than the other. Barney Frank has the impassioned viewpoint of a long-term public servant, Hockenberry has the impassioned view of a long-time public commentater. Drama! And big ideas that are not navel-gazing design ideas, which is what I like best at these conferences.

Two huge liberal with big opinions battling out the nuances of what's the most liberal stance to take on important issues? That feels so Dutch, don't you think?

Life from Boston

Oh, by the way, I’m up in Boston attending the 2005 AIGA Design Conference and having a serious case of nostalgic head-trip from being in Boston again. (It's lovely, but I remember exactly why I moved away and never looked back.) The conference is great so far, but I’m not worrying about blogging it with as much detail as Kottke is. I'll try to wrap up some stuff as I process it.

In Case You're New to This Place...

that’s the BradfordIn case you've ended up here after reading James Withers' New York Blade article, "Blog Star Confidential" — WELCOME! I hope you enjoy the show.

Speaking of enjoying the show, you really ought to read more about the WYSIWYG Talent Show that my sexy cohorts and I put on every month at P.S. 122. WYSIWYG is a monthly series of all-blogger readings and performances, we've been at it since February 2004, we've featured over 80 bloggers so far, and it's awesome and you'll love it. Also, cheaper than going to the movies!

Our next show, which promises to be the cattiest yet, is coming up on Tuesday, September 27 — First, Last, and Insecurity: The World's Worst Roommates!

First, Last, Insecurity

Look Out for the Invisible Fuel!

Click the image below to see the most disturbing panels from a comic book that I could have possible stumbled across this weekend:

Where's the accountability? Fighting for our rights in her satin indeed! (Don't worry, the Teen Titans came to everyone's rescue in this case.)

(From Wonder Woman #287, January 1982.)

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Oh, Ikea — how many visions of domestic bliss have been nurtured along your twisty pathways lined with plastic, particle board, laminates, and veneers? And how many more have been mourned later on, when all those things are nothing but reminders of the stuff left behind when those visions have faded?

Yes, I know that’s a bit melodramatic. It's what we gays do. Seriously, though, I’ve been to Ikea more times than I care to recall during the last few weeks, and it's always a little bittersweet. I don't have much choice, though, since our Swedish Overlords are the most brutally efficient way to fully stock a brand new apartment when all you really own is clothes, comic books, and art supplies. (I own some bookcases, too, but they're mostly hand-me-downs that originally came from Ikea in the first place, so they're about to fall to pieces if I so much as look at them the wrong way.)

I’ve been wandering around the new apartment thinking things like, "Gee, I know I used to own some sheets," or "What's the best way to stock an entire kitchen all at once?" I’ve been running on nothing but stress, fumes, and sugar for the past few weeks, so I’ve tried to address those issues with as much one-stop shopping as humanly possible. Moving on Labor Day weekend didn't make things much easier. I managed to survive a trip to Ikea on the Saturday morning of the long weekend, but I finally lost my cool at the Target in Downtown Brooklyn later that day. I had to abandon my very full cart in the ladies sportswear department and get out before I cracked. If I hadn't had someone urging me to just walk away from the chaos I’m not sure how far I would have let it go.

But I think I’m done with the emergency purchases for now, and soon I'll finish the unpacking and organizing of the books and art supplies. (The comic books were sorted out right away, naturally.) I’m settling into life on the Bed-Stuy/Crown Heights border (I’ve christened the my newly renovated loft building "The Cracker Factory."), and getting back to mundane concerns like teaching, working, end even dating.

So things seem OK, at least until all the Ikea stuff starts to fall apart.

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