the categorical days: Books

January 14, 2008

Core Memory

Digital Equipment Corporation PDP8/F

Can't stop looking at images from Mark Richards’ Core Memory: A Visual Survey of Vintage Computers.

I'm trying to be more budget-conscious this year, but I feel compelled to purchase this book—much like I would feel compelled to flip every single one of those switches. Take that touchscreens.

And that color palette rocks. It was a good era. See the 150-in-one electronic kit.

An inspiring way to start the Monday, with a hat tip to Coudal for pointing it out. (Related props: Have you seen the archived coin flips for Layer Tennis?)

Current music: Mapstation "Watching Paik's Video Buddha"

Filed under: Books, Design | | Comments (2)

March 29, 2007

Pajama story time

Part of the "80 from the 80's" mural by Antonio Adams in the back of Shake It

Looking for something to do with the kids Friday (March 30) evening? Check out the release party for the second book on the Shake It, Ink imprint — There’s An Octopus Under My Bed.

Pajama story time starts at 7pm.

Shake It : 4165 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45223 [ yahoo map | google map ]

Current music: Yo La Tengo "The Love Life Of The Octopus"

Filed under: Books | | Comments (0)

September 12, 2006

Ed Emberley’s “Make a World”

The book that changed my life

As a kid my mom drove me all the way to the Art Academy for kids' drawing class. I loved those hours, and had great fun. But the real kicker was shopping in the book store at the art museum after lessons completed. It was there I was allowed to get an Ed Emberley book every few visits.

And this, this is how I learned to draw.
How to see things as shapes put together.

I honestly believe drawing is something anyone can learn, at any age. It's like laying brick. If you devote attention, you can do it. (Take a life drawing class if you don't believe me) ... or...

These books are a fine place to start.

Advanced practices are based on these principles: Break down what you THINK you see, and understand the shapes.

All that said, they've re-issued Ed's Make a World book. The one chock full of subjects ranging from vehicles, to people, to buildings. (Mind you, it's all stick figurey, but valuable).

I'm not entirely thrilled with the reprint, and I made a little video review of the new edition viewable here (with my shoddy voiceover), but I still love the book, don't get me wrong.

Filed under: Arts, Books | | Comments (5)

June 13, 2006

More Tales of the City

snickering poolside, Upper Price Hill

As poolside books go, this one moved at an entertaining clip. Now to find the PBS video...

Filed under: Books | | Comments (5)

May 12, 2005


Back to the kid stuff

My friends' daughter is totally into Maisy. I'd never heard of this mouse character before, but after having a few shows play in the background, it seems pretty innocuous.

There doesn't seem to be any of the annoying chanting of Barney/Teletubbies/Boohbah/ etc. etc, and there's a great heavy line illustrational style.

There's also some nice product tie-ins, like this pop-up book activity center - Maisy's Farm.

It folds out and has lots of cardboard props, along with a mini-book where you can actually pull a story together with the book acting as a set.

Filed under: Books | | Comments (0)

March 25, 2005

Alphabet Book

Z is for zipper (from $1 children's purse from a flea market)

A few things I learned while making my first book with Apple's iPhoto software. I've been waiting for the upgrade that would let me do two-sided pages.

I've been toying with the idea for an alphabet book for my friends’ daughter for some time — paying careful attention to her vocabulary and how reading is integrated into her life. Seems to be a common ritual before bedtime, so I intentionally tried to limit references to food.

So, out with ice cream and jelly.

I also wanted to pick up on words she knew. Colors are popular, so I made those lettered pages with four pictures of different items that could be explored.

The last part was familiarity. These are pictures of things she sees throughout her day. Family, animals at the zoo or aquarium and whatnot. I didn't necessarily sanitize pictures to be ultra-simple. Some are decidedly complex with lots of detail to engage her mind. My feeling is that kids are often bored with dumbed down toys. Give a toddler a real cell phone versus a Fisher Price one, and I can bet you money which one they grab.

Some other insight on process:

I didn't use the type tool in iPhoto, instead, pages with letters are actually an image imported as a 'photograph' after being set in photoshop.

The glossy paper and binding are nice, albeit there are still some artifacts. Resolution is quite good, but not remarkable.

If a photo looks at all dingy, BRIGHTEN BRIGHTEN BRIGHTEN. If I reprinted this, I would definitely pump up saturation and contrast on a few images.

It's not cheap. Smaller books with fewer pages would not only be easier to produce, but much easier on the wallet. Oh, and I need an editor, there is a typo. Time for a reprint.

PhotoI took a few photos to document some inside pages

Filed under: Books, Friends | | Comments (5)

March 20, 2005

Embrace your secret urge to do absolutely nothing today

The etymology of 69?

After thinking about same-sex marriage, I needed some levity. I'm now reading The Hedonism Handbook: Mastering the Arts of Leisure and Pleasure, which I should add, is a very nicely designed volume perfect for bedside or bathroom.

Starting with a rough history of hedonism in the 1800s, the author fills pages with the perils of structured living, statistics, definitions, lots of lists like "10 Most Underrated Pleasures", and other barstool wisdom.

Like, “Make friends with people who own boats.”

Filed under: Books | | Comments (1)

February 22, 2005


A lamp, a hat, a book, hand salve and an alarm clock

My skin has been super-dry of late and the Farmer’s Friend hand salve with non-revolting fragrance at bedside is good, but greasy. I leave thumbprints on the pages of the book I'm reading, Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I'm just gearing up to see how Tim Burton's vision will align with the printed word.

I did a school project on this book when I was in the fourth grade. I made a chocolate factory out of poster board and colored it with crayola markers. It was hinged to reveal all the stuff inside. In addition to the oral presentation and scale model, I handed out miniature Hershey bars with handmade wrappers that said WONKA, and in them I hid 5 pieces of foil "tickets" colored with aforementioned markers.

This may sound sweet, but there was a sinister side to it. I had put a small dot on those five bars and I was aware of who I was giving them to—I'm embarrassed to admit.

My fourth grade teacher surely knew about the rigging when my friend Heidi "won" an extra large Hershey bar with custom wrapper. (Giving tours of the posterboard factory wouldn't have been much of a prize).

Perhaps I am wrong and this lapse of serendipity was transparent, but it makes me wonder about some things—about kids and innocence or the lack thereof. It makes me hope that I've grown well beyond such schemes. I also ponder what life would be like if I had some piece of that project left today, if even a photo.

Related tangent: A friend lent a digital camera to a young child at the studio the other day, and she went around and took the best photos. I can't imagine how technology would factor into life as a kid. It's got to be exciting, even though crayolas and poster board were pretty kick ass.

Filed under: Books, Nostalgia | | Comments (0)

October 18, 2004

It’s not kinky, it’s gross

Found Magazine at Shake It Records

Back in Cincinnati in one piece.

So Paul mentioned that Found Magazine was touring the country and would be up the street tonight. We braved the rain all met up. Mark, Eric, Paul and myself got some low carb (for the most part) vittles at Unos and then made it back to the record store to hear snippets from found letters, along with some acoustic songs inspired by said letters.

What a nice Monday change-o-pace, especially with the downpour.

Davy Rothbart, Point Guard for the zine delivered tidbits with a down to earth goodness and his brother performed a quick set. Some song about big booties stuck in my head.

Check out the magazine, buy the book. And also look on the website to see if they are coming to your town. They're hitting all 50 states.

Filed under: Books, Cincinnati | | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

Shelving it

Putting things in their place and realizing I don't need them

Aside from reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius* at my bedside. I'm unearthing boxes of books strewn about the place and putting them on to shelves.

I'm never going to read Socrates to Satre, now am I really? And that DeLillo hardback is just too thick. I should take those, and that Quicksilver to the used bookstore and be done with it.

Thing is, it's really not worth the effort lugging them. Sad, really. How all that thought carefully typeset and packed onto slices of paper just becomes a burden. It's not the author's fault though, or publishers, but my own.

* with a title like that, you’d think I'd have to break out the tissues, or scribble down amazing insight while reading Dave Egger's novel. But no, it's just kinda self-referential and cold. I want to be bowled over, but I'm not.

Filed under: Books | | Comments (0)

September 06, 2004

A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Prologue with evening light filtered through a prism

Since I've moved I don't take packages and have limited mail at my apartment. The reason is threefold:

- My mailbox is crap.
- I never know when I'll be home to receive packages.
- I don't trust anything left in the alley.

So whenever I go to my moms, there's often some used cd, videogame or book waiting for me. Sunday was no exception, but I couldn't recall anything I'd ordered directly from Amazon.

Opening it revealed a book, and I immediately knew who it was from. I sat there with my mom on the couch and gleaned through the chapters with titles like:

- Solitude is Luminous
- Death as the Root of Fear
- Autumn and the Inner Harvest
- The Mystery of Friendship

This is very much like any number of books that we had on the shelves growing up. Had my mom lived more toward a coast, she'd have likely been a hippy—the tree hugging kind, not the twirling around on acid kind.

All that Ram Dass, Ramtha and Shirley MacClaine seeps in as a child. If anything, just by reading the dust jackets and sorting through the basic themes.

The most heartening facet of all this, is the desire to learn and grow is a part of me. I'm reminded that I need not be stuck for too long.

I'm looking forward to this read. It came at a time when all the fiction and computer books I'm consuming isn't enough.

*tips hat in a westerly direction*

Filed under: Books | | Comments (0)

April 23, 2004


The cigar specials at the Flatiron

Everyone was out of the office for the most part up in Columbus. I'd no reason to be there, but it afforded me the ability to focus on the mounting tasks at hand.

I strolled down the street to the Flatiron for a Black and Bleu salad— pretty much a steak cut up and blackened on top of greens with roasted tomatoes and peppers. A favorite of mine.

Other than that, I found myself reading the book How to Be Alone: Essays by Jonathan Franzen. The cover and blurb spoke to me, and I picked it up, mildly amused that the author refused to be a part of Oprah's book club. Too early to tell how it's going to be overall, but his style is pleasant and thoughts insightful.

Filed under: Books, Food | | Comments (0)

November 11, 2003

The bookshelf is sagging

Much appreciated

Print is far from dead. As nice as it is to put my paws on a PowerBook, it's hard to beat the tactile nature of a real book.

They don't require batteries either.

I've got a pile on the coffee table and bedside that I haven't dug into proper. I figure I'll be able to get a few tackled during some long flights.

  • Paint by Number William L. Bird, Jr. (The source of the image above) A trip down memory lane. Well crafted and designed to boot. I'm trying to think if there are any recent crafty crazes (aside from "scrapbooking") that inspires folks to turn off the tube and use unearthed artistic talents.
  • A Home at the End of the World Michael Cunningham
    The author of The Hours coupled with mini-review by Bitbear was all I needed to pick this up as a travel companion.
  • The Protectors Dave Brown
    Cowboy serial smut I've been following, however this one is tougher to get into because there's this strange twist of time travel mixed in with the man love.
  • Coming into the Country John McPhee
    Another recommendation that is a pleasure to read, also going in the travel bag.
  • Peanuts - The Art of Charles Shultz Edited by Chip Kidd
    The upcoming Peanuts books, brought to my attention by Rootbeer1, made me take pause as I passed the humor section in the store. Not what I was looking for, but what a wonderfully designed piece. Moments before I was wondering what Chip Kidd was up to (a great book jacket designer most famous for the Jurassic Park logo)
  • Designing with Web Standards Jeffery Zeldman
    This is a great introduction to the different "standards" facing developers and designers. I haven't gotten into it far enough to prove its worth, but it seems to be the most valuable of the (techincal) bunch. Plus, it was 30% off at Barnes and Noble. Discount = good.
  • Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide O'Reilly
    More for reference than for reading. It will go on the shelf at the studio.
  • HTML for the World Wide Web with XHTML and CSS Elizabeth Castro
    I enjoy the approachability of the Visual Quickstart Guides. This one seems the most rudimentary, but again, it's nice to have on the shelf when noggin scratching.

Filed under: Books | | Comments (0)

October 21, 2003

Storytelling at the theater

An evening with David Sedaris

Went with Wendy, Tom and Anne to see David Sedaris speak. We found ourselves dressed more casual than most at the Taft Theater, electronic tickets in hand for an evening of readings, mostly new it seemed.

Aside from the dry wit and sometimes grotesque or bittersweet stories, it was nice to get a peek at the process behind his work during a question and answer session that followed.

His 30 city tour in 31 days allows him to hear the stories and correct alliteration, refining and editing in the evening. He held a pencil in his hand and undoubtedly made markings behind the podium through the set.

The thought of making something "work" on paper as a vocation seemed intriguing.

More remarkable however, is his ability to go off on tangents that provide insight to himself and those around him.

His description of an afternoon with his sister (no, not the one from Strangers with Candy) struck me as particularly poignant. It started off-color, about the etiquette of talking on the phone while in the can, and ended up being a powerful reflection on how we judge actions and each other.

I could try and recount it, but I'm sure the book will be a lot better.

Filed under: Books | | Comments (0)

June 21, 2003

Let the hat sort it out

Clearly the makings of something much bigger than the Bible.

Awakened, laundered, lunched with friends, patioed, looked at beautiful fluffy white clouds, felt baby legs spring, worked minimally, squared things away, put a hold on postal service (online!), got a new tail light, returned movies, installed the tail light, put electronics and cords and sundries into piles, cleaned, went over to my moms, talked about everything, lamented the rush, listened to annie lennox, teased kitten with laser, hugged, more laundering...

Then I took a nice long hot bath.

Met up with Amy Anne Dave Paul Tom Wendy and baby at the bookstore 'round 11.

Harry Potter crowded.

We had desserts and coffees and poked fun at the scene, and the fact that we're all about 30ish and hanging out at a bookstore selling a children's book at a midnight sale.

Mixed berry pie was delicious. Never enough rhubarb in life.

Schemes and pranks discussed.

More hugs.

Tonight, I do not worry about packing. A good night's rest and an early morning is best.

Oh yeh, none of us bought the book.

Filed under: Books | | Comments (0)

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