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”

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Categorized as Books, Design

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”

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Categorized as Books

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.

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Categorized as Arts, Books

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…

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Categorized as Books

Pop-up

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.

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Categorized as Books

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

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.”

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Categorized as Books

Bedside

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.

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.

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.

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Categorized as Books