I didn’t realize it until I started this list, but what the hell has happened to me?! I apparently stopped reading this year. Asterios Polyp is the only book that I can remember reading the whole thing. I mean, I read a few things that were published before 2009 which don’t count, but still…
American Todd Margaret (David Cross) bluffs his way into an apparently great job opportunity, heading up the sales team in his employer’s London office. All he has to do is sell several thousand energy drinks before his boss visits him in a week. Simple. Apart from the fact that he knows nothing about British culture and nothing about sales. This is further complicated when he lies continuously to cover his ignorance and spectacularly fails to impress Alice the first beautiful girl he meets. Dave his British co-worker, soon takes full advantage of Todd’s situation and chaos ensues.
When I was a kid, I used to have dreams about binding books this big (seriously). My pops has these *huge* pharmaceutical books and I wondered that if the bindings could be that big for his books, what would the limit be. Turns out that it’s pretty big.
Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can’t operate in an environment like that.
This particular point set off Mr. Stevenson to put into words concepts that I’ve always been aware of, but have always struggled to articulate as well as he did in his post:
The most contentious point between software engineering culture and visual design culture is the question of whether important things can be always seen in absolutes. The engineering approach values measurable, reproducible results which can be represented in a graph or a checklist. Unit tests and benchmarks illustrate progress. [...] Visual design is often the polar opposite of engineering: trading hard edges for subjective decisions based on gut feelings and personal experiences. It’s messy, unpredictable, and notoriously hard to measure. The apparently erratic behavior of artists drives engineers bananas. Their decisions seem arbitrary and risk everything with no guaranteed benefit.
Through out my career, I’ve regularly been in similar environments; and one of my biggest problems has been figuring out how to hurdle that divide. I feel that part of my role is as a visual taste maker. You might test to find the most crowd pleasing shade of blue at the first pass, but I might come up with a blue that might not be your instant choice, yet will grow on you when taken in holistically. Like Henry Ford said, “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a better horse.” There is a point with visual design where logic starts to breakdown in ways that only experience can answer.
The coolest way to find out that the weather is shit in Seattle. The site uses Twitter status messages in various vicinities to draft a picture of not only how crappy it is outside, but what people think of it. Make sure to use a modernbrowser.
I don’t think that I tweet enough to get as thorough of a journal of my life (and thank the Maker™ for that), but I love the idea. I post too many shortened URLs for it to make any sense. Maybe one day…
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
I grabbed this because I was particularly interested in Dane Cook’s parallels to Steve’s stand-up career (not really). And I’m a sucker for any tidbits I can find on the Jerk.
A Practical Guide To Racism by C. H. Dalton
The perfect book to keep by your side when you need to inflame the racial hatred that you’ve worked so hard to hide away.
The Way I See It by Raphael Saadiq
Not as innovative as his first release, but still is probably tied for the best album out of the recent Motown revival along with…
JIM by Jamie Lidell
The first guy I know about to do the whole modern Motown sound came out with a close to perfect album. Every track is solid.
Metropolis: The Case Suite by Janelle Monáe
I have a strong feeling after hearing this album that she’s going to be huge, with crossover appeal to a number of audiences. She’s supposed to release another EP in Q1 of ’09.
Bigger Stronger Faster by the Chris Bell
I went into watching this movie against steroids in competition to now not knowing what to think. Might not be as superbly told as Man On Wire for a documentary, but it had more of an impact on me.
Let The Right One In by Tomas Alfredson
I thought about this movie for a couple days after watching it. The two 12-year-olds in this do just as good of a job as most of this years nominees.
The Dark Knight by Christopher Nowlan
A little bit of an obvious choice, but that doesn’t stop it from being hella good.
Earlier this year, I consolidated Dan Clowes’ 20-page entry for the Funny Pages into a single PDF file; and now I’ve gone back and complied single PDFs for all of the NYT Funny Pages’ past strips. Enjoy:
I’m a sucker for “Best of” lists, particularly if they come from my friends (hint, hint). Here’s mine:
Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan
Big time comic releases seem to be more sporadic these days in comparison to a couple of years ago, but this one fits the bill. Israelis with identity issues makes for good reading.
I Am America by Steven Colbert
Obvious one for me. I’m a sucker for anything that he does, as evidenced by viewing all 337 episodes of the Colbert Report (as of this writing).
Into Hot Air by Chris Elliott
It’s not as good as his last, but it’s still quite good. A cast of Chris Elliott, Kristen Dunst, Michael Moore, Martin Sheen, Tony Danza, and more set out to climb Everest.