Trip to CT

Just got back, it was fun and another landmark in my long string of trips down there. The drive bakc was great. The sunset coming down the 90 was very intense, augmented by a nice Annie Lennox channel on Pandora. I broke down and gave Nancy my pristine new Moleskin which she proceeded to fill half of up with her flowers and letters and clouds. Oh well, it kept her happy. Maybe she’ll be an artist, but lately she’s been saying veterinarian and singer so we’ll see.

Busy day coming tomorrow.

Rethinking web design instruction

I’ve taught Web Design for many years now. I started out teaching students how to use the now defunct Adobe GoLive. I realized quickly that wysiwyg editors such as GoLive and Dreamweaver were effectively bad ways to teach students how to build websites, and moved into html and css.

I”m seeing a new trend in web design that may make me rethink how I teach it. It seems that the big open source CMS packages, drupal and wordpress, are taking over high-end website design. If your site isn’t built on one of these two platforms (OK, maybe there are one or two others), it ain’t cutting edge.

This summer I’m undertaking two major site designs, one in drupal and one in wordpress. The drupal one is finished: (assuming they’ve launched it). The wordpress one is under construction.

My hope is to gain a deeper understanding of how to build within these two environments, and begin to shift the focus of my classes from building sites from scratch, to starting with basic CMS templates. This fall, I’m teaching Intro to Web Design again, and my summer projects will definitely bear some weight on the material.


I’m at the typecon conference and a lot of people are talking about how to teach typography in the education forum.

My take: Tap into the love of typography students had when they first learned how to write. My kids all scribbled and stuff, but the revelation came when they learned how to write their names. Nancy, in particular, writes hers all the time now, and puts curly flourishes on the ends of all the letters.

Kids grow up loving to write letters–but usually not the letters they are forced to write by their teachers. They (the interesting ones, anyway) fill the edges of their notebooks with all kinds of funky letters and words.

My conclusion: every typography class should feature a section on hand-lettering. It could be structured like the kind I learned about in my workshop with Stephen Rapp yesterday, or more informal and experimental, like one I would love to teach. Once students reconnect with the fun of letters that they may have lost long ago, typography has hooked them.


So I started swimming. Last night I went 3000 yards in an hour. Not bad for being out of it for a year.
I’ve always loved swimming on a certain level. There’s no impact, just a “plodding along” type of thing. People hate it because it’s boring compared to running or biking. There’s nothing to look at, nothing to discover. I like it for those reasons. With running or biking, you’re always kind of wondering how you’re getting home. You keep your eye out for dogs, potholes, cars… In swimming, there’s none of that. There’s just you and the 25 yards/18 strokes/6 breaths till you get to the other end.
When I was swimming a lot, I guess I was around 12 or so, I did long course at  the local university. The pool was enormous. I remember having visions of the most beautiful lettering, it was green and blue and kept shifting from one word to another. I must have been really oxygen depleted because it was definitely an extraordinary experience.

The future of media

I see a singularity in media, and it comes in the form of a special combo visor/glove.

Parts of visor can be activated, or it can completely take over your visual space. It acts as your phone, home theater, gaming system, tv screen, etc. This way the visor can enhance the real world or replace it entirely. It’s interface is managed by the glove, with endless combinations of finger movements. Audio is transmitted through the visor’s earpieces.

I can’t see us going in any other direction. When people talk about mobile media, I get a little queasy thinking about the tiny screens. I think about David Lynch’s iPhone rant. I imagine the sore neck/eyes/back/hand I’ll have from staring at a tiny thing in my hand. I also think about wireless data charges running wild, $1000 monthly bills for all the news, video, music, and movies I’ve watched, but that’s another issue I guess…

Anyways, here’s a sketch with my idea for how this all works:


anyway I’m sure it’s been thought of so I can’t wait for my visor!


When I was very young, I spent a lot of time at the Steins house:
View Larger Map Around the corner was a kid named Chucky. He was a little younger than Matt Stein and me, so we pushed him around. He was really weird. I don’t think his parents lived in that house; I think it was his grandparents or his uncle/aunt. There were lots of weird things about his house. First of all, we never went there through the front door. We always got there through the back, from Steins. It always seemed like we went through a forest to get there. The uncle/aunt/granparents never really knew if we were there or not, and they’d sometimes get mad at us when we popped up. A few things about Chucky’s house:

  • There was a garage in the back that we used as a club house.
  • We had a fight with the club from W. Milton St. I was in both clubs.
  • Chucky had some “land” in front of the garage, basically a 6’x5′ plot. He said his U/A/G gave it to him. He tried to grow shit on his land, we dug it up and he got mad.
  • Chucky’s UAGs were eccentric. They made a helium balloon in the house (not hydrogen, “it’s highly flammable!”). They taught me how to play chess. They had all kinds of knick-knacks, I think there was tons of war memorabilia.
  • Chucky had a little sister who bore the brunt of lots of teasing.
  • Chucky had very long, black hair but white skin. He looked like a vampire.

“Let’s go to Chucky’s!!”

Been a while

I need to keep up with this. Sorry for the lag. I need to record all these little things.

Eli was fun to watch in Irish Dance today. I love walking home from there, in the dusk, Eli and Nancy running ahead as we walk home. It makes me think I’m in movie or something.

Grif had a solo in his chorus. He has a puffy head of hair. I didn’t get to watch, but the thought of his puffy head singing as everyone watched is pretty funny.

Babysitters, hockey, leaves

I spent most of today cleaning the garage, or at least I spent the largest block of definable time cleaning the garage.

The kids watched way too much tv. Ever since we got extended cable services, zack n cody and hannah montana have been looping over and over, engaging my kids’ full attention the whole time.

Grif and eli got some backyard hockey time in, but eli cried a lot because grif wanted to play keep away. Playing keep away with your much bigger, faster older brother isn’t much fun. I suggested passing practice. Grif groaned.

Cousin Emily babysat for the second time this week. We went to Jeff and Kims around the corner, watched the sabres get beat, met some new people.

All those leaves in the yard. Most of them were in the garage at the start of the day, until I blew them out. I spent so much time blowing leaves around, wondering occasionally what the kids were doing.

Jeanne has to get up at 5:45 tomorrow and get eli to hockey practice. I’m siked it ain’t me.

French Fries

In Fort Erie, Canada, where I go once a month to deposit a check, there’s a little french fry truck that I always hit up for a medium w/ketchup salt and vinegar. Eli and Nan came this time and got their fry on. Next time I have to remember to get a small, not a medium, for each of them as they left half uneaten. Faces covered in ketchup, had to strip Nan down and wash her off as she got it all over her clothes.