Sunday, December 16, 2012

coffee break

What I listen to

When I'm writing. Generally anything with acoustic guitar? But then sometimes, I listen to like, hardcore, nasty rap. This is a post about me. Because I can. And because I don't listen to Muse, and am thus insured from not spinning out another Twilight (which, by the way, also spawned 50 Shades of Grey, which as far as literature was a complete disaster, but in many ways is a great book for women, fuck you very much, but that's another post for later. Which maybe might lead me up to Twilight????? Making something??? Good????? How very much confused no likee would not recommend).

If I'm going through some dramatic writing sprees, or am reading/writing something very sentimental/cheesy/trying too hard, I like to listen music like Bon Iver, men with incredibly high voices and quiet guitar strums and beautiful but confusing lyrics, which is also a description for what I write, menos todo but 'confusing'. And Fleetwood Mac, but the softer stuff from the 70's, like 'Dreams' and 'Oh, Daddy'.

For when I'm angry I listen to boy bands with lots of angry and with distinct vibes of "I am listening to this because it sounds cool and am angry at my parents and this is my own personal montage". Expect lots of loud, angry repeats of "Don't Speak" by No Doubt and Marina & The Diamonds as I try to encourage myself to get my shit together.

When I'm sad or nostalgic. Frank Ocean and The Weeknd or "Butterfly" from Meg & Dia. I once heard some guy describe listening to The Weeknd's music as something that makes him "Want to slash his wrists, and vertically, man." A quote that goes for both Ocean and the band.

Pretty much, anything that's chill and subtle, kind of quiet, gives me room in my head to think. You know that  thing about turning down music so you can see better when you're driving? That's how it is with me and writing. I like my music slow, but with the ability to be able to be able to go louder if I need it.

It's interesting that I like my music quieter when I'm writing. When I'm doing say, graphics or layouts for Torch, I like my music big. Friendly Fires and SBTKT and Ellie Goulding, fast and inspiring and all over the place. That it speaks of what parts of myself I dedicate to each creative activity, maybe. I think that I'm quieter when I'm writing. I think I'm more scared and a little frustrated. Graphics are easy and therapeutic. Where aesthetic design is a puzzle with infinite amount of pieces fit into the 8.5 x 11 page, and I can literally do whatever the hell, how many times I want, with ever I want, writing is literally like trying to paint my portrait in blood. It's exhausting, and it's often scary, and humiliating, and I only have so much blood.

But I do have enough words for this post.

Response/Letter to Wherever I May Roam

After reading a good friend's blog, I'd just like to add some of my own thoughts and comments. Click here to read the starting point of this conversation.

There's a lot of love about this piece, chica: I love that you'd love to leave. I love that you see the world is your oyster. I love that you know that you'd even rock it. I love the design you see in people--"We just keep striving for it."—it, being, the word for perfect happiness.

I have been—like you, very much like you—contemplating roots and wings. We're at that age. There is something itching beneath my skin—I think it's wings. I coughed up a feather the other day and thought, well, that does it. These are pinions intended to scratch and prod my bird bones, and they and I are both restless in this body. I want to spread them, and this is a visceral want. And it's want, as from seeing what you've wrote, I think you understand.

There is a love, and deeper curiosity, for the places we can't reach when we're young. Sometimes, when you talk about leaving (and you're always talking about leaving, and we're always talking about leaving: graduation, college, jobs, workforce, marriage, children, the things we've been promised) I think that it's because you don't love the soil your planted on. And sometimes that scares me, because we're friends, and it scares me to think that our friendship isn't worth much as you dig in your heels, trying to get up and out, isn't worth much.

But then I also think, that's a little hypocritical of me, isn't it? A little ironic, all of us: pushing us to jump out of the nest, like flightless birds who have a plan but no means, and then when the time comes we get scared and start edging away as fast as we can.

I hope you visit all those places you want to, and I want you to have a fucking fantastic time when you do. Hop on those airplanes and get the hell out of Dodge, chica. But I hope you don't forget what you leave there, either. Rock the hell out India, and Scotland, and England, and learn every language there is to learn and then two more, and maybe get a tattoo, because Lord knows just how much you need to get in touch with your rebellious side--And do so while not getting caught by your parents, like, two years later (You know what I'm talking about). And do so carefully, no more Ross Roads. Ok, maybe a couple of more Ross Roads, but not your car, and make sure everyone is wearing their seat belt (And you know who I'm talking to, you tumbling weed, you).

And I hope you think the same of me.




There are no words for what the families and friends of victims of the Newtown Massacre are going to go through in the next week. How could there be?

Words for the parents who go home to the hidden Christmas gifts. For the fear that their kids must have felt--innocent children, alone--before an unnamed walked in with a gun. There are no words for what the kids must have felt before they watched their friends die. There are no words for the absence that these people cannot even begin to understand. None. And there never will be. Grief, birthed from something as inexplicable and tragic as violence, is something so painful that there will never be a tongue that could capture its essence. And there never should be. 

I keep thinking about the morning before.

When they woke up, what was the first thing they did? Did their moms have to wake them up four times too many? Were their shutters open or shut, sunlight warm on their skin? Did the stretch or hide under the blankets, complain about headaches or how their stomach hurts, trying to wriggle out of going to school that day? Did the girls cry when their mother yanked their hair into pigtails, a little too roughly, hurriedly because they were going to be late for school and work? Did they eat breakfast with the eggs hard or sunny side up? Did they eat breakfast at all? Wear the green shirt with the stripes, which they hated, instead of the blue one, which they swore up and down that they asked their dad to wash for them? Did the have plans after school? Soccer or playing with an early Christmas present or hanging out with their friends? Did they trip over their own feet as they got in the car, bodies still growing? Could they see their breathe in the cold morning air, and if, when they did, they reach out and try to grasp it, then, a tangible thing? Was their favorite song playing on the radio on the way to school?  Did their parents count the seconds from home to school? Tell them not to talk to strangers at recess? Did their parents tell them that they loved them, as they left the safety of their car?

In my living room, my mom has this poem, titled "No Regrets", and it goes something like this: 
In the morning I sometimes
wake early and listen
to the quiet breathing of my children
& I think to myself,
this is the one thing I'll never regret.
And I carry that quiet
with me all day long.

They'll keep that quiet forever, and those parents will yearn for nothing more.

coffee break


Sunday, December 9, 2012


I've been thinking about the human spirit. It's the one thing my father's only believed in. It's one of the few things that can give me goosebumps.

This isn't me contemplating the soul, or ghost, nothing like that. I'm talking about the indomitable will and love and determination that has never stopped amazing me. The power that comes when people can come together to achieve great things, good things.

I've heart the argument that as a whole, people suck, and that individually, they're alright. I completely understand this. Anyone who's ever had to deal with any social clique/group ever understands this. But I also understand that when we break such boundaries, that we can do incredible, incredible, things.

Look at the Olympics, for example. I'm not going to lie, it brought wee shining tears to my eyes, that's how gorgeous London 2012 was, everyone coming together as one, as equals. Maybe I'm ignoring the bigger issue/ undercurrent of international supremacy like the whole China v. US power struggle, but for a couple of weeks, in those stadiums, people from everywhere went to London to compete, to celebrate, to just enjoy the clash of culture.

I'm thinking about the human spirit because it gives me hope.

As I've mentioned earlier, this last week has been terrible, and not much has been resolved. I'm sucking in the crossroad dirt right now: decisions, decisions, decisions. And not the kind that involve what's for dinner. They're more like: if I do this, or if I do that, my whole life can change on what I want right now. Like college. Like career planning. Each one is a domino on the longest effect I'll ever get.


After the abject shitshow that has been the past week, let's cool down with something most people find boring but I find dreadfully delightful. FONTSS

Fonts are different kinds of typeface, and they have subtle but powerful effect on how we read and interpret things. For most people, fonts come down to what their professors like on their term papers and MLA format. But any graphic designer worth their salt knows the obsessive-compulsive like feeling when it comes to typography.

Probably the most familiar debate on fonts is the one on Comic Sans.  Comic Sans, as explained in the link above, was originally made 'for the little comic book style help speech bubbles in programs like Microsoft word. However, it quickly became popular for use with young children in primary schools & other childcare thanks to its fun, child-like appearance.'

But as it became popular, it became more and more in common for it to be used to type out serious information. There is a critical difference between reading something that says  than 

Anyway, people noticed this trend of its use in serious situations, and it soon became the butt and disgust of anybody whose ever heard of a font. Dr. Ayers linked us to this hilarious article by Mike Lacher, 'I'm Comic Sans, Asshole', which is a monologue by the personified--and angry--comic sans.

Helvetica is often noted for its overuse, and is primarily associated with more 'trendier' groups like Hipsters and teens (like me) who think they're graphic designers. We're not. We're just discovering a world without serif. 

I remember I few years back about reading about the power of fonts in an article in Newsweek. Of course, this being Newsweek, and Newsweek being tanked (was anyone surprised? It was a good paper. But when they partnered with the Daily Beast, well, it was only a matter of time...), I can't find any links/sources to where I read it. What I do remember though is that in a study about the uses of fonts in college papers, students who turned in the same papers of the same quality, but used the font Georgia, generally got overall higher scores on their paper, simply because they used the font. I remember that the reasoning was something like: "It's like Times New Roman, so it's trustworthy, but it's not as boring, and not as used as TNR, so it becomes refreshing when someone reads it."

Cracked has funny infographic/chart explaining fonts. An excerpt: "In fact, a true graphic designer will have about 20 fonts on their computer that will be indiscernably different." It's true. The thing about fonts is that it's the littlest things that people subconsciously register about a typeface, that graphic designers have to figure out and craft into an artform: from serifs to slanted edges to thickness to spacing, fonts can be overwhelmingly tedious, especially when you're on crunch time and have to choose between three types of serif for one simple sentence. I'm on the school newspaper. I know. 

But I've been playing around with fonts, lately, on my PSE, seeing what I like. This is probably my favorite so far:

Sunday, December 2, 2012

On December

It's going to be a shitty month with shitty people and shitty bills.

It's only been the first weekend of December, but already I've listened to ten hours of cheerful holiday music at Younkers and had to listen to customers play the 'should I get this? What do you think? Which one's cuter? What coupons should I use? I really want something nice for Christmas. You guys should have more Christmas clothes, oh, and--' game once too many times. I had one lady thrift through the Kids Dept. for two hours, indecisive and unaware, holding items and then coming back just to cancel her purchase to go do more shopping and then doing that all over again. By the time she was gone entire sales racks had to be reorganized, and I was left doing the mind-numbing work with the distantly astounded thought of how the hell did she even do that? how the hell did she even do that?

It's only been two weeks since I started working and it's already taking over my life.

Then gifts. It seems, despite my best efforts, I still have enough friends that it's going to expensive to get them presents this year. I don't know how it happened. The only time I can say I eat lunch with people is if you also categorize 'people' as the noontime KCRG anchors and Steve Martin in Roxanne which for whatever reason, is always playing when I come home. These people are like flies to glue. I am the glue. But sometimes I also feel like the fly.

Ok, I just checked my blogfeed. None of these other bastards are doing their homework. Awh, screw it. Today I handled freshly-warm bras from fifty year old women and spilled milk all over the felt of my car so it's sure as shit going to smell tomorrow. When I find it in me I'll write something condescending but endearing. Let's just call this blog the official tag of postponement, and a reassuring update that my Gmail account is no longer being threatened by Peruvian hackers.