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December 2008


Oh, that’s right. They call them "crushes" because they ache so damn much.


Where is my mind?

A Holiday Venture

One of the few Christmas traditions I’ve come to treasure is the annual cover song recorded by the guys behind the Venture Brothers. It's just the bit of good-natured pop-culture fun that can actually make me smile this time of year. The offerings so far have been:

Go Team Venture!

I probably should have remembered to do this before Christmas, but since I mostly hate Christmas I’m never really on the ball about remembering to share the bits I like.

She's Amazing.

Granted, it's not as great as the final choice, but how is it possible that I’ve gone this long without knowing there was an unused (or perhaps very rarely used) alternate version of the Bionic Woman theme?

And while I’m at it, I’m just gonna throw this in because it's brilliant:

She was the best Catwoman

Oh no, not Eartha! She was always too glamorous for this world, right up until the end. Orson Welles once called her "the most exciting woman in the world," and I might agree.

Eartha Kitt

I could handle losing Pinter today, but this really is too much. It's the Christmas Massacre of Aught Eight!

No public transportation!

No one warned me that there's no public transportation over here on Christmas day. Once again, I’m forced to admit that for all the deserved complaints that you can make about the the MTA, they still run 24-7. Which means that if I were spending a quiet holiday by myself in New York, I’d still be able to go out and stroll around, have some Chinese food, and maybe catch a movie.

Instead, I’m just glad I thought far enough ahead to buy some groceries, since I don't live within walking distance of anything to see or do today.

I’m not grumbling about the quiet Christmas part. Not only do I need a day or two alone to unwind and sleep, but holiday madness tends to whip me into a frenzy of misanthropy this time of year, so the more I can avoid it the better. I was hoping, though, to have a lazy day of wandering about town, lost in thought and grabbing some cake and coffee now and then, and taking in the sights. Instead, I'll just putter about home and watch movies. I may even take a shower if I’m feeling festive and the hot-water seems likely to work!

At least I have a coy of this bit of genius to keep me entertained. So everyone have a great day and a happy new year, and scream real loud!

Grace Jones and Pee-Wee The Dreidel song


Uh oh. Anyone who's read Larry Niven's Ringworld novels will probably realize right away that this development is a bad thing waiting to happen.

Nuclear bomb


I was blindsided by an acute attack of puppy envy on the platform at Clapham Junction today. I got sort of smiley and weepy all at the same time when I saw this little cutie waiting next to me.

Back in the real world

When I took off to study typeface design, I didn't really have any intention to become a typeface designer. I was looking forward to concentrating on something I really loved, living somewhere new, and taking a bit of a break from the world. I assumed at the time that when I was done I would just go back to the same hodge-podge of design and typesetting jobs I subsisted on for ages, but with another skill to throw into the mix of things I could do.

(Read the rest...)

Take the H Train

The Times hops on the Helvetica subway car with this shorter, simpler version of the Paul Shaw's history of subway typography.

Subway Helvetica

[I am totally waiting for the Helvetica backlash to kick in any day now.]


Wow, why didn't anyone tell me that Liverpool is such a fantastic city? When I was forced to book an emergency appointment up here to get my visa renewed, I just assumed it would be some dreary fringe town: biggish, maybe, but probably grim, and resting on the laurels of the Beatles. Why? Dunno. Instead, I’ve discovered it's crammed with fantastic architecture and public sculpture and all sorts of grooviness.

Liverpool Waterfront

When I found out I’d need to race up here as soon as I returned from my week back in the States, I gave myself a couple of extra days just to avoid unnecessary stress and possible complications with the visa process. (That was easy and successful, but more on that later.) Instead, this has turned into a grand little mini-vacation that’s letting me decompress after the jam-packed trip to America.

My favorite site for hotel deals came through for me once again, scoring me a cheap room in the surprisingly swanky Adelphi Hotel (past its prime, perhaps, but still pretty lush). While waiting to check in, I wandered off to check out what turned out to be an astounding retrospective on Le Corbusier nearby. I knew it was in the local cathedral, but had no idea there were two of those in town. While it turns out that the exhibition was in the Catholic cathedral (which, frankly, looks like Space Mountain), I first found my way to the ginormous and magnificent Anglican cathedral, which is one of those buildings that you can enter and immediately suspect is architecturally important.

Liverpool Cathedral

(The Corbu show was great, but it's coming to the Barbican next month, so London folks will get there chance to check it out. And they should.)

Port of Liverpool Building

After my trip to the Home Office today I wandered down to the port area — it's all very grand, and a bunch of new buildings look like they'll keep it from just being a well-preserved relic of its golden years — to investigate the Tate Liverpool. Another success! Their current show, The Twentieth Century: How It Looked & How It Felt, is a nice overview of themes in modern art of the past century, and featured a lot of great stuff I’d never seen before, like this luminous Picasso that kept me transfixed for a while, this Bonnard bather, and this tiny gem of a sculpture.

I have one afternoon left before I trudge back to Tooting, and I’m feeling a bit of pressure to find another extraordinary batch of stuff to view. Or maybe I should just wander and see where I end up? We shall see.


One more shout-out: dig this profile of my pal Eric Olson in the November installment of Creative Characters at MyFonts:

Eric Olson of Process Type Foundry

Eric's awesome wife Nicole Dotin (the other half of the Process Type Foundry) was a classmate of mine at Reading, and Eric and their dog Charlie were sort of honorary members of our class. I already knew Eric was a type designer when I first met him, but it took a while for me to realize that his beautifully crafted typefaces are everywhere, and rightly so.


It's a real shame I don't know German, since I would love to read these this article and this interview about Typejockeys, Vienna's sassiest new type and design studio, coincidentally run by my good friend, former flatmate, and fellow MATD alumnus Michael Hochleitner (also known as Michi or Scoots, as I liked to call him) with two extremely talented and charming friends of his, Anna Fahrmaier TypeMedia graduate Thomas Gabriel.Typejockeys

[Enjoy that extra Googlability, guys. Merry Christmas, and good luck!]

The Middle of Nowhere

As long as I’m fantasizing about secret lairs, I guess I should also consider a remote island. While there's certainly something about the aptly named Inaccessible Island that appeals to the comic-book fan in me, I’m more tempted to keep it in the family (my mom's side, at least) and seize Gough Island for my sinister retreat.

Tristan da Cunha

But which part of the island would make the best spot for my lair? Quest Bay? Hag's Tooth? Cave Cove? Perhaps even something around Snug Harbor, just for old time's sake? So many possibilities!

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