Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
And, as always, I must betray my women's studies training and remind you all that we'll be truly equal when the job title is just "farmer" and not a "woman farmer". They're not freak shows in a circus act, people! As one dainty lady farmer notes: "Women farmers aren't a special-interest group," she said. "Our issues are the same as all American farmers - we all want to keep our farms, and we have to make money from them. But women have come up with a lot of the new ways of doing it."
Three nights ago I rented Helventica (2007), a documentary on - you guessed it, the Helventica font that is the default type on Macs everywhere. Including this one. Now, I'm lazy. But I'm also, in theory, creative. So I rented it (look at me, I thought to myself, I'm so artistically sensitive, renting a movie on something so diminutive. I can't believe there are thugs who aren't interested in learning where their type was born, who the forefathers of Helvetica were, how they slaved in their little Swiss sweatshops until they got that "A" just right.) I thought this, and then did everything possible to put off watching Helvetica for three days. Gossip Girl, America's Next Top Model, even an episode of a reality show that I can only hope wasn't called "I'm Fifteen and Knocked Up" all beat out Helvetica. Last night the due date for the movie was imminent, so I sighed and resigned myself to being an "intellectual" for a few hours (or at least winning back a few of the braincells I lost with Gossip Girl).
Here are some quotes from prominent graphic designers featured in the movie, about how the presentation of something (in this case, the type) affects the message. These quotes, sometimes contradictory, could easily be applied the the creative process in general, and writing specifically. Stay sharp!
-> In a sense [typography] is like music; it's not the notes it's the space you put between the notes that make it music.
-> The meaning is in the content of the text, not of the typeface.
-> The way something is presented will affect how you react to it.
-> Don't confuse legibility with communication.
Helvetica was ok. It was cute to see the graphic designers get all huffy and excited about the influence and dominance of Helvetica. Clearly, they'd thought about this A LOT. It's like seeing Nascar fans meet Carl Edwards, or tweens and Miley Citrus. You're not quite sure what's going on in their heads, but you're happy they're happy.
Review in the New York Times, here.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
A) The roommate who screamed when I cleaned and slammed doors so heavily that the house shook to its core. It’s rumored she even showered noisily. She blamed it on her spatial sensory disability. She wore giant owl-eyed sunglasses when it rained (due to her hipster fashion, not spatial, disability). Twenty-four years old, her parents still drove 30 minutes to picked her up and drive her to work each day. Now in an MFA program at an undisclosed location.
B) The hippie 23-year-old roommate-turned-lesbian, J-. Adopted – er, I mean dated – a homeless jobless 40+ year old butch named Y- who moved in (uninvited) with her unstable pit bull Athena (yup, after the Goddess of Wisdom). They enjoyed loud sex (J & Y, that is). Often while I was in the kitchen making dinner. As for the things we could expect at 3 A.M.: Marathon sessions of Zena: Warrior Princess and/or Wicca drumming circles and/or more loud sex.
Ah, well. Wish us luck with this one.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
UPDATE: For a less PG-rated account of Bailey's social life, click here.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
I was going to remark on the lovely cauliflower I came across at a farmer's market in southeast Portland last Thursday, but found the topic pretty unsexy. So I googled "scary cauliflower," trying to give my culinary report an interesting National Enquirer tabloid edge. Surprisingly, I couldn't dig up much more than this clip from an old 1950's cult film. So, for you dear reader, a before-its-time film that hints at the sinister potential of bioengineered produce and a recipe that celebrates those pretty (and reassuringly organic) little purple, yellow and snowy white heads of cauliflower from your local farmer's market that are just happy being a delicious dinner ingredient...
Monday, July 14, 2008
"Dictionaries are always fun, but not always reassuring."
Thus determined, I purchased 3 artichokes at a quarter apiece at the farmer's market on Sunday, intent on making a grilled artichoke, capers and shrimp linguine. That I had never actually held an artichoke in my life? Inconsequential! I pulled up the Epicurious recipe on my MacBook and flipped open my copy of The Produce Bible to "A" for Artichokes and proceeded. I skipped the first part, about the history of the beast, and proceeded to the cheerleader-like instructions:
"Casual cooks tend to shy away from preparing raw artichokes, but the process is quite straight forward, even if it takes a little extra time to prepare."
Time? No problem!
Twenty minutes later, up to my elbows in gnawed bits of stem and stalk (our house is a humble one, and knives don't cut so much as gnaw at their targets, the fanciest being ones our parents purchased for us in pity, or plastic-handled knives from the 15-piece knife collection I got at Kmart for $15.99, knife block included). Note to self: Get a decent knife. Or a gun.
I decided to take a break and read the history bit of "A" is for Artichokes that I had originally skipped over. Hmm. With grave seriousness, the article suggested I should never confuse the Globe artichoke with the Jerusalem artichoke, because one isn't even an artichoke. It suggested that some varieties of artichoke are fairly impossible to cook and are only good for extracting the heart. Taking inventory of the artichoke plumage surrounding me, I suspected I had my hands on that variety now.
And, dear God! How did I not realize these beasts are some kind of primitive, un-bloomed dinosaur flower? And why would I want to have something so creepy for dinner? As my bloodied fingers and dull knives worked to pull bits of the flowery fuzz out of the middle ("The choke" the article suggested, "can be removed with a teaspoon." Or gun.) I considered all the warning signs I had blindly ignored to get to this point: picking a cheerless, leathery, scaled ball of a vegetable (what costs a quarter these days?), thinking it would cook down to something soft and tasty with a little TLC...that the culinary vocabulary used to describe the beast are "heart" and "choke" and, now, may I suggest, gun.
Anyway, the cookie dough was tasty.
Out on the streets of Portland you're bound to find the beautiful and unusual (sometimes packaged together, sometimes not). I hit the Mississippi Street Fair in North Portland with my sister on Saturday and - despite it being in the high nineties - we lingered for quite a while, only stopping to refresh ourselves with thyme iced tea at Fresh Pot. Here's a recap of the sights, if you missed them:
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I promise that this post will not turn into a sappy love letter to Portland. That said, I - who loves arts and crafts, and carving my signature into anything I can - am in love with the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC). I finally hit the new members orientation tonight, after three years of empty promises to myself that I would go. After taking Introduction to Letterpress at the Oregon College of Art and Craft last fall (where professional graphic artists envied my writing skilled and pitied my spacial sensibilities) , I knew I had to get my hands on more pretty. Of course I love the written word, but something about making it aesthetically pleasing - oh, my. I've got the rest of my summer plotted out: Print Gocco Basics, followed up with Intro to Hot Stamped Foil and...oh, MAYBE the 3-day print camp that covers letterpress, print gocco, mimeograph, relief printing, paper making and bookbinding. Could anything be more heavenly?
Flashy communication options for the proletariat at the IPRC, above the equally lovely indie store Reading Frenzy...
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Not being in a serious relationship makes me examine relationships I encounter like I would a bug under a microscope. Horribly romantic, I know, but I still think it's a fair game: Why do we love who we love? More practically, what would make us seriously commit? Apartment Therapy just blogged on the artist Kate Hutchinson, who has done a photo series of candids of her husband-to-be. Clicking through the thoughtful photos, I was reminded that what makes you commit isn't something that can be easily pinpointed, especially not under a microscope. The fondness she clearly has for "her subject" is present, but oh so undefinable.
...much like love itself, I guess is the answer.