Corporate Design Update

Here are some spreads from a book I’ve been working on that’s going to print in next week or two. It’s an update of an existing book for CTP, the same industrial developer for whom I did the giant ‘Yearbook‘ project in 2009. My talented collaborator Dr. T has been rendering the 3D models in Google Sketchup and exporting to Illustrator files– hence, some really giant honking vector files that take forever to open and move around.


Two other things:

1. I’m invoking a new rule governing the blog roll: if you haven’t updated your blog in 300 days or more, I’m kicking you out and replacing you with someone new. Therefore: ModularLab, you’re out– sorry. Daisy, you’re in.

2. Quiz answers from yesterday: 1-A; 2-C; 3-B

Twitter Verdict

Back in the beginnings of this lowly month, I proposed my Twitter Challenge, in which I vowed to jump into Twitter with both feet, give it a fair chance, see how it worked out for me. I was semi-fair to my word on this: my involvement ebbed and flowed… but overall, I managed a respectable 56 tweets and followed 15 people.

Per the declared rules of the Twitter Challenge, it is now time to re-evaluate and either pledge eternal support and involvement, or withdraw. My decision is:

WITHDRAW. Sort of.

In the sense that I’m not going to cancel my account or anything extremist like that, but henceforth I only plan to go on to see what other people are saying when my favorite tyrant is being overthrown and so forth.

Now don’t get me wrong, there were some memorable moments. I enjoyed the flowering of the Dissonant Triangle… the time TK bit his tongue… the time that Jack was getting a tattoo removed but Janet and Chrissie thought he was getting a vasectomy, etc etc. But, here, in case you were wondering, are my somewhat predictable reasons for being less-than-swept-away after a month of dabbling:

1. Redundancy. Twitter would have to somehow unseat either Facebook or this ailing, not-oft-updated blog in order to really take off in my life. There simply isn’t room for all three in this town.

2. Lack of local critical mass. I think if you live in a place like SF, it becomes somewhat effortless (and addictive), because there are so many people tweeting about things of interest to you that its natural to chime in. Prague is… ummm… not exactly like that. Plus, it would be hard to fit my tweets into the 140 character limit and still provide both Czech and Slovak translations.

A few other quick impressions:

1. The biggest surprise to me was the realization that, in the case of certain bloggers I enjoy reading, their blog turns out to be only the tip of the iceberg of their online presence, and the real business goes on on Twitter. It’s impressive that JohnnyO, for one, even has a corporeal body left at this point. I was very struck by this.

2. The spam presence, while inevitable, is somehow even slightly more depressing on Twitter than anywhere else.

3. Since everyone likes quick, snappy aphorisms that sum up the Twitter experience, here’s my attempt at one: if Facebook is like the social dynamics of your high school cafeteria brought online, Twitter often feels like a galactic showdown between your high school and everyone else’s.

Meanwhile, here’s the amazin’ Korean Kittens:

Twitter Time

Here’s a real resolution, for once: I promised JohnnyO in this space that I would belatedly get on Twitter and take it for a spin, despite my longstanding resistance. So, today, I created an account – – and promise to jump in with both feet, tweet avidly, take advantage of it as much as possible, etc… for the span of one month. At the end of February, I will cast judgement on whether it’s actually bringing anything to the table that Facebook, this blog, et all don’t already.

One special caveat is that is that the service must in some small way add something to my tangible, non-online existence. I don’t know what that might be exactly, but it might be along the lines of ‘informing me about cool stuff that’s going on in Prague that I wouldn’t otherwise know about.” Doesn’t have to be anything earthshaking… just something besides beyond ‘another senseless source of online banter.”

(Image: Don Knotts, for no reason in particular).


In addition to the big blog shakeup last week, I also launched a sorely-overdue update of my design portfolio site, Please take a gander.

The previous version was so outdated that the last time I updated it, I think I fell off my dinosaur and broke my stone underpants. It still had samples of my student work from 2002-03, which was embarrassing whenever my current design students would stumble across it and you could see the thought bubble appear over their heads: Hey, how come this guy is teaching us if he still has student work in his portfolio? Not good. Anyway, that’s all behind me now.

This time around, I used a CMS platform called Cargo that I found really handy and easy to work with. How times have changed: I put together most of this site in about 24 hours…. whereas the last time I put together a portfolio site (in early 2005), it took me most of three weeks.

Technology thumbs up/thumbs down

Thumbs up: On the plus side, I managed to figure out the adding-a-side-bar-to-the-blog thing that I was alluding to in last post. See? There it is, to the right. That thing with the blog roll in it. That wasn’t there yesterday, and wasn’t built into the blog template we just switched to. I haven’t done any coding in so long that I felt like the bear at the circus who drives the little car around while I was modifying the PHP of the site… but, lo, I have prevailed. I think.

Thumbs down: We woke up for the third time this summer to no running water. Not good. The City of Prague’s response to this? Speeding a little municipal water truck over to the corner:

What is this… Burning Man? Given that Burning Man just ended last weekend, it almost seems like some sort of goofy tribute. I half-expected to see a stiltedly-translated banner proclaiming “Today, we salute the bourgeoise malaise that inspires our cousins from the land of Wilson, Lincoln and Washington to ritualistically head to the desert for reasons that remain mysterious to foreign observers.”

New, new, new

Some changes to the blog! First, we’ve got a new home: If you type in the old address, you’ll be automatically bumped here for the next year, after which point the domain forwarding I set up will expire and you might miss a sizzling end-of-2011 over here.

Second, a new look. I was never exactly happy with the old one. In search of a cleaner, more readable template, we’ve decided to roll the dice with a radical one-column layout. Maybe I’ll succumb to convention at some point and work out how to customize it so that the blog roll and some other features return to the right-hand column… but for the moment, I’m enjoying living outside society.

I welcome your input on the new look. I’m not going to go as far as to put up a poll or anything after the debacle of the Legs of Izolda Morgan round-up, though, where I posted seven book cover proposals and a poll asking people to vote on which one they liked the most. At one point, all seven designs had exactly one vote. Way to come to a consensus, guys. In the immortal words of Bobby Knight: “Start listening to the guys up in the stands, and pretty soon you’ll find yourself up there with them.”

Off to the Alps

There are literally 20 emails in my inbox from my mother all from this past week… and you know what that means: a family get-together is brewing. Whether its train connections, presents for her grandson, or the weather, my mom has got a question about it. So, yeah: we’re picking her up in Innsbruck and heading towards the same general neck of the woods where we went last fall, although it should be far less cold and foggy and Led Zeppelin-y this time around.

See you in a week.

Ancestral Homeland

Programming note: this week, I’ll be flying to back to San Francisco for 10 days. The ostensible purpose is to close down my money-sucking storage space, but I’ll also be enjoying some well-needed R & R in the Mission (and a perhaps a bit of the old orientalism.)

I’m not sure whether this will mean more blogging or less over the next 10 days (probably less)… but in any case, the experience should produce some rejuvenated posts down the road from your currently-tattered host.