I had a maddening problem with my iMac on Saturday that I was only able to resolve by wiping the drive and restoring it from the backup. Overall I was impressed with how Time Machine came through for me, and luckily someone else wrote a nice wrap-up the the process so I don't have to bother. (My two cents: I still wish Time Machine could make a bootable backup.)
I was glad to see that Microsoft Office 2008 was finally making the ClearType fonts available to Mac users. I dropped into the Apple store yesterday to have a look, and saw that even though Word is using Cambria as the default font, it's wasting a huge chunk of what Cambria can do. Unfortunately, the Mac version isn't using the spiffy math engine used by the Windows version — it's still using the clunky old Equation Editor that defaults to Times New Roman. I can't say that I love Cambria very much, but after all that research I did about what it can do as math font, it's a shame to see that potential wasted for Mac users.
I went to go see the Breaking the Rules exhibition at the British Library yesterday, and realized how badly spoiled I’ve gotten after my time at Reading. We get to spend so much time examining books and stuff up close, using our own hands, that it's incredibly unsatisfying to look at printer material under glass now, no matter how exciting the exhibition may be. Books are especially frustrating to see from the other side of a glass case, since you lose the whole sense of rhythm from page to page, and you can't inspect the little details of how the ink sits on the page.
My favorite thing of the moment is this ridiculously fun song about cleaning your room:
At any point between 1987 and 1993 or so, this would have been my favorite song in the entire universe. Coincidentally, in 1987 my friend Neil and I published a zine called Kumquat Popsicle, which featured a drawing of a rudeboy by Neil's pal Alex Désert, who's doing the voice of the dad in that song. (I would scan that page of the zine, but it's in my brother's attic somewhere along with the rest of my old stuff.)
The perfect simile to explain a thorny issue about type history to people who are familiar with fonts as things they pick from a list:
...there can never be a definitive Bodoni, Garamond, Jenson, or Fleischmann typeface, as their oeuvres consist of a multitude of single, size-specific fonts. It is like mashing up Othello, King Lear, Hamlet and a touch of The Tempest and publishing it as ‘The Shakespeare’.
Before too much more time passes, I suppose I ought to say something about my big trip back the America for Christmas and stuff. It was my first time back in over a year, and in the weeks leading up to the trip I realized how nervous I was getting about it. When I came to England I didn't know if I would stay or not, but I knew I was trying to leave rather a lot behind. (Like, many years of bad decisions.) During this last trip, though, I tried to squeeze in as much as I could of the things I’ve missed, while hoping to avoid the stuff I haven't.
I had only limited success. I wasn't able to see or talk to a lot of people I care about, but I still had three weeks of quality time with many of the key players. I ate delicious food for a longer, more consistent stretch than since I came to England, but I was also kind of full and uncomfortable because of it a lot of the time. I couldn't avoid everything that bugs me about America, but I still had a swell time by just enjoying it like a visitor.
And I was dog tired most of the time, due in no small part to a busy schedule, three weeks of sleeping on couches, and not much time to myself for recharging. So overall: great, but exhausting.
And that’s probably the shallowest, least informative description of what was, all things considered, a really big deal for me — realizing that I feel more at home where I am now than I did there, but also realizing that I’m a lot lonelier here than I was there. It's a bit of a dilemma, frankly.
But here I am. I’ve done a pretty shoddy job with my past, but we'll see what the future holds. I'll just keep plugging away.
Like many others, it seems, I’m not wild about the new logo that Interbrand has trotted out for Xerox. I think the typography is pretty nice, but hate hate hate the clunky, overdone, and seemingly pointless and trendy (in the really bad way) ball sitting there on the end. Even worse, it seems as if the whole marble-like thing is just a bad rip-off of the slightly goofy but certainly more dramatic flag of the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan: