I’ve been on the move, obviously. I doubt I'll ever get the chance to say much about the last few days at home, but they were hectic, sad, and sweet to varying degrees. The big moving sale/party turned out to be a god way to generate money, get rid of crap, and see friends while there was still time. It even turned out to be a way to repair a few fractured friendships, which was especially good for my morale. My final (maybe? maybe not?) WYSIWYG was fun, but since I had no time to prepare anything I improvised and can't relay my story. People laughed, though, so I guess it went well. The frantic pace and my overwhelming preoccupation made it difficult to really appreciate my last few days in New York, and my last few days with Special Agent Josh, but now that I’ve had a chance to catch my breath I can feel the saudades creeping up on me, filling in the free bits.
I had only a few days to get settled in Reading, and they were a blur of errands, biking around town, and getting to know the outgoing class of MA students, all of whom confirmed that I will barely be eating, sleeping, or having a life for the next 12 months. As much as I’ve become a hermit-like workoholic this last year, I think I'll have to brace myself for much more of the same during the next.
And now, with barely a chance to think about it before arriving, I’m in Lisbon, having my last hurrah before the work gets underway. I’m here for a another big type-geek conference, though, so it's still a way of easing myself into my new life. (N.B.: Everyone in Lisbon is sexy, especially the kid at the art school hosting the conference. It's just lovely, really. Also the city is absurdly beautiful.) I have a few more days of all this before I head back to Reading for school and student poverty and my daily bike rides, so I’m basking in the Portuguese vibe while I can.
So, for those of you who aren't reading this just to see if I’m alive, have I completely bored the shit out of you yet? I hope I'll have time to be interesting one of these days.
...and hello, Reading!
(I’m here, and safe, and tired, and so far very, very happy. More to come, naturally.)
One of my final farewells will be at this month's WYSIWYG Talent Show next Wednesday night at the Bowery Poetry Club. (Yes, they've moved to Wednesday nights — make a note!) This month the blog kids will be talking about getting shitcanned at "Pink Slips: You're Fired!" I’m performing at this one, too, so it really will be my last hurrah as I take the stage with Liam McEneany, Jon Friedman, Peter Hyman, Stolie the Funky Brown Chick, Chris Alonzo, and my fellow former Trusty Sidekick Drub. We will rock you.
As much as I hate to use the word "webisode" I have to declare that I am totally digging the pre-season webisodes they're doling out Battlestar Galactica. They're certainly not as addictive as the show itself, but they're just the crack I need to hold me over until the Season 3 gets underway in a couple of weeks. And thank the gods for this magical internet thing that lets me keep up, even though I don't have a television! More! I need more!
Elsewhere in the world, my good friend Mark has taken a few weeks to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity down in Louisiana, just outside New Orleans. He has been working on a demolition crew, clearing out the wreckage from people's homes so they can start rebuilding and reinhabiting them someday. So far the experience sounds very intense — extremely difficult, but surprisingly uplifting. He's taking a heartbreaking collection of photographs of the devastated landscape down there, which I hope I can share at some point. Meanwhile, he has started chronicling the experience, and you should read about it.
Notable accomplishments of the last 2 days:
I narrowly avoided having some small-town U-Haul dude sic the cops on me for hand-truck theft. (It was all just a comic misunderstanding.)
I said goodbye to many relatives, telling them they may or may not see me at Christmas, depending on how close I am to a stress-related nervous breakdown by that point.
I designed and laid out a 256-page anthology about punk and hardcore bands written by my indie-rock-star pal.
I also produced four posters and 4 postcards for a bunch of theatrical stuff.
I failed to redesign a website I’ve been racing to finish up.
I occasionally ate, slept, and crapped, but not too much.
I sent out invitations to a huge moving sale/farewell party for this coming Saturday, so if you want to come over, buy some stuff, and socialize for a while. I'll send you the deets.
While griping about the hassles of typesetting math in this Typophile thread, I finally put my finger on what makes so many otherwise good typefaces fall apart in math or technical work: character-level legibility. A good text face works best when its letters work together to make good word shapes, right? When the individual glyphs don't pull the reader outside of the flow of the text with too many quirks or spacing irregularities. The trouble with setting math or other technical material (chemical equations, charts of ID codes, etc.) is that the context for the individual letters is much less familiar than in typical text. If text is comprehended word by word with less need for the letters themselves to be individually distinguished, then math is read letter by letter in such a way that almost any character could be swapped out for another and change the meaning entirely.
Most of my problems setting math over the years have had to do with letters that just aren't unique enough when you pull them outside of normal text and start mixing and matching them with Greek and symbols and numbers and lord knows what else. Especially once superiors and inferiors are used, it becomes absolutely critical to know if a glyph is an "l" or an "I" or a "1" or a vertical bar, for instance. (If you're seeing the right CSS styles for this page, see how nicely Georgia distinguishes those from one another? Check out Arial: l I 1 | )
A good face for this environment needs to strike a balance between the ability of the letters to combine easily for typical reading comprehension, but still hang onto enough unique appearance to hold their own in the free-for-all world of tables and equations.
Ack! OMG! Freaking out! It's Friday and it's my birthday and I’m at work and I hate work and I leave the country (for a year? forever?) in exactly two weeks and I have to put everything I’m keeping in storage tomorrow and I have to sell everything else (big sale/party next weekend!) and I have to finish two huge freelance projects and get a haircut and get touch-ups done on my new tattoo and have the dentist put in my new crown and school doesn't seem to know about the huge sholarship I won and did I mention I’m leaving the country in two weeks and I’m freaking out?
This Film Is Not Yet Rated finally premiered this past weekend, here and in Los Angeles but hopefully near the rest of you soon. I can be totally objective and talk about how this is a fascinating, occasionally startling, expose of the Motion Picture Association of America and its wildly inconsistent ratings, but fuck objectivity! The real reason I’m so excited about this is because it's the latest opus by my oldest friend Eddie, he of the Oscar nomination and the sheer unbridled talent. I’ve known about the film since last summer, but I was sworn to secrecy because of the hush-hush nature of the project, which blows the lid open on the secretive practices of the MPAA. (Eddie had just interviewed John Waters at the time, and he knew that my head would explode over the idea of him including our idol in one of his own films.) Now, though, the film is getting great reviews and I can finally shout it from the rooftops: SEE THIS MOVIE!
Seriously, you should see this movie, even if your best friend didn't produce it. It's very funny, very eye-opening, and will really make you think twice about accepting those movie ratings without thinking about what they imply.
The photo, taken by a pseudo-pornographer I know, is in honor of Hump! 2, The Stranger's 2nd annual amateur porn contest. I’m sure that boy-toy model Jeffy up there would be first in line to submit something to the festival if he could. He's got that wild exhibitionist streak in him. Can't you tell?
Somewhere on West Broadway. It charmed my cynical heart for a moment. Plus, great layering of stuff.