I Am Officially a Typography Nerd

I bought The Elements of Typography and Thinking With Type for personal use. I went to a screening of Helvetica and a Q&A with the filmmaker. I nearly wet myself when I received a CD of Adobe fonts as a gift. And when Dan needed to figure out what the font was on Danny Ocean’s business card, I took a glance and responded confidently that it was Copperplate.

But I was not yet a type nerd. Not officially.

No, the confirmation came as I read of Armin Vit’s struggle with Copperplate. One sentence took me back to a moment in the car with Gen and Tony during our recent trip in Seattle, the moment when I looked at a store’s sign and said, as if uttering a prophecy, “Papyrus is the new Comic Sans.”

The sentence that took me back to this moment was this:

Copperplate Gothic’s default ubiquity and, by consequence, broad misuse, has procured it a place among The Designers’ Holy Hatred Font pantheon reigned by Papyrus and Comic Sans

When you are led to the Holy Hatred Font pantheon as if by a sneering angel, then, my friends, you are an official type nerd.

PAXed Out

Today was the final day of PAX. On the first day, I kind of felt like, “WOW, this really makes me want to play video games.” By the end of the second day, I felt like, “WOW, everyone thinks Bioshock is AWESOME. I’m glad it’s waiting for me when I get home! I’m gonna play games FOREVER!” (Around the same day, Jordan similarly suggested, “I lost about a thousand dollars this weekend just by looking at stuff.” I can relate: Watching other people play Rock Band is akin to just knowing, deep in your heart, that you’ll be mugged by a relatively generous GameStop employee several months down the road.)

However, by the end of the third day—today—I was pretty sure I need to take a few days off from playing games, at least. Still, good finale for the Omegathon (a well-matched round of the as-yet-unreleased Halo 3), and great performance by Jonathan Coulton last night.

I haven’t had a chance to move photos from my camera yet, but take a look at two taken on Dan’s iPhone: an impromptu album cover and looking creepy as usual.

Placeholders Make the Web Go ‘Round

The other day, I made myself a placeholder page. I’m not going to tell you the URL right here, as that would defeat the whole point: I bought the domain that is my first name plus my last name (dot com), and I put some content there so that that’s what would come up first when you google me. I don’t use my last name here on Doombot not because I want my involvement with this blog to be completely secret, but because I don’t want this to be what comes up when you google me. It’s all about impression management with potential employers, and I’ll be in career-mode as of this fall. Lacking the time to make myself a real professional home page, I threw up some text, a photo, and a link to a certain robot doodle—just enough for a personal touch, but not so much that it looks finished and I look like a crappy web designer.


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Funny Things Include: France, Comics

Just got to Paris. Haven’t had much chance to explore, but the room I’m sharing with Mike is tiny but with a neat window—tall frame, wrought-iron grate, long flower pot, and no screen, just like in the movies.

Also Keith sends along a link to some bad comics by Nedroid. Of course, they are hilarious bad comics, especially when read many at a time. I laughed out loud at #21, and then felt kind of bad about it because it really is quite stupid, while #22 is in fact quite good.

Portugal is Neat

I will have plenty of photos to post of my trip to Lisbon (still ongoing) and Paris (to commence on the 21st), but for now I just feel the need to check in and relate some of the interesting things I have learned.

  1. Lots of people here know some English, but may be humble and say they don’t if asked. Food service workers, for example, often know at least enough English that you can manage basic communication with grunts, gestures, and the word “fish.”
  2. Also, Portuguese sounds enough like Spanish that if you speak in Spanish and throw in whatever Portuguese you know, people will probably understand you more or less (but you will sound kind of like a moron).
  3. The Portuguese people are generally non-confrontational. One political activist and pundit says that this is largely a result of nearly 50 years under a dictatorship with unabashed censorship.
  4. Parents let their children stay out and play with the neighborhood kids past 11:30 pm, as it doesn’t get dark until around 9:00 or later in the summer.
  5. A fat baker woman once killed six Spanish scouts with the “shovel” used to bake bread in an oven. There is a statue of her in the neighborhood where the event occurred. She is a national hero.
  6. Castles are really awesome.

That is all for now.

Freelance no longer

Jordan’s comment about the trials and tribulations of being a blogger reminded me of something that I failed to explicitly mention here. As of June 1st, I’ve given up my life of freelance blogging and joined Macworld full time as an Associate Editor.

What, you may ask, does that entail?

Well, in addition to continuing to run MacUser and write my weekly Gadgetbox column, I’m also part of the team covering the iPhone at our new blog, iPhone Central. As you may imagine, we have been rather busy. In addition, I’m basically at the whims of my editors now, who have already had me fly out to San Francisco on short notice to cover Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, pen an article on iPhone Accessories (which, given that at the time I wrote it, the iPhone was still a couple weeks from shipping, I thought might have been some sort of hazing ritual), help out on our Leopard FAQ, and write a piece about how to get an iPhone (due to appear later today, I believe) [up now].

Oh yeah, and I’ve still got boxes upon boxes of iPod cases. Sigh. I think they’re slowly turning all of my other possessions into iPod cases. You know, like zombies.

Still, not having to pay for my own health care any more is nice. So that’s something.

Eerily Charming

I just realized that Nerd Pride Day, which was started by fans in Spain in 2006 and celebrated on the release date of Star Wars, happens to fall on my anniversary with Genevieve. We have been dating five years as of May 25, 2007. I think this calls for a really nerd-themed celebration next year, but I’m not sure how she’ll feel about that. Maybe I’ll get her a floral arrangement that resembles Chewbacca anyway.

¡Qué Emocionante! Two Shirts From a Faraway Land

Flash back to December, 2006, in which I write a post titled “Ayúdame to Get a Shirt”: I want a neat shirt making a skull-and-crossbones image formed from Mickey Mouse, a clever blending of pop culture and political dissidence. Problem is, it’s being sold by a company in Spain. I email them to find out if they can ship overseas, and they say they’ll be able to in a little while.

Flash forward to May, 2007: somewhere on the intertron, I hear tell that that Spanish t-shirt site now takes Paypal orders and handles international shipping. Okay, so it’s kind of a lot to pay for a shirt, but it’s limited-edition, and this is back when I still foolishly believed I’d be rolling in dough this summer.

Finally, leap forward to June, 2007, and hope that the next leap will be the leap home: I get the shirt in the mail and it is awesome. Unfortunately, people in Spain are significantly more fit than I am, so the shirt fits as if it were painted onto my body. This could be cool if you have a good paintin’ body, but let’s just say I’ll get around to acquiring myself one of those once my schedule frees up. I email Trestriges to say that I know it’s a long shot to request an exchange, but I figure it can’t hurt to ask. By way of reply, they explain that I’m the first person to ever ask them for a size change over the Atlantic—but, “we like to our customer be happy with our shirts,” so I get to be a special exception, receiving a second shirt with only shipping charges. (They suggest I should “give as a present the size M to one good friend.”)

I imagine they can’t afford to do this for every goofball who misreads their size chart, but this still earns Trestriges my own personal “best web business ever” award. Bonus points to them for muddling through my original email in probably stilted Spanish, oh so many months ago.

Finding Ways to Deal with the Pain

On a recent visit to Boston, I had to concede that Kristen “Kreaton” (“Al Pacino”) Eaton of Boston Air Hockey fame has finally dethroned me as the king (or … monarch, I guess) of Dr. Mario. This is, as you can imagine, personally devastating for me. So how do I respond? Simple: sharing old commercials as an expression of pain. Oh, also, the good doctor makes a special cameo in a recent write-up about video game addiction at Kotaku..

Call the doctor … he’s got the cure.

An Odd Incident

I took a break from work just now to play Pac-man Championship Edition for about 20 minutes. Immediately I finished, I went to the linen closet to take some Tylenol for a headache. My roommate walked in at that moment and joked, “Poppin’ pills again?”

Huh. How’s that for “media effects”?