Happy Halloween

Halloween is my favorite holiday, bar none. It’s at the perfect time of year and it’s all about acting nowhere near your own age.

I don’t usually get to dress up for the occasion but I’ve been very in to sewing things lately, and a few months ago I came across this stylish pattern for a Mario Chapeau.

It’s based on a pattern by Amberlee of Giver’s Log who made a whole set of these for her son’s birthday party back in March (lucky kid!). You can read all about the festivities and get the pattern from her blog. I had to size the pattern up a bit to fit my giant mellon of course, and I went ahead and added some elastic to the band to help keep it on snug. I also went a little more home-made on my Mario ‘M’, which is why it’s a little off center in my version.

This is now the 3rd hat I’ve ever made and the first one that really fits well.

I hope you’re all having a great Halloween as well.  If you’re festivites are feeling a little lacking then might I suggest the Retro Cocktail Hour’s Halloween Bash, that’s where I found out about my new favorite Halloween song of all time:

Riboflavin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood
by Don Hinson and the The Rigamorticians

I wish I could find a full version to point you at, but the Amazon sample will have to do for now.

Happy Halloween everybody.

You do what for a living?

Does this happen to other people or just me? Sometimes, just sometimes, someone will tell me where they work or what they do and CLICK! Before they can say anything else I instantly construct for them in my head an elaborate theatrical persona.

I’m always hesitant to share this sort of thing out loud because, well, it’s kind of weird. I think some people might be flattered that I find their jobs (which they probably hate) to be so interesting. Other’s probably not so much. I have a friend who works as a chef at a county jail for example who assures me that the whole affair isn’t 1% as exciting and romantic as I seem to think it must be. Whatever the case, it’s not exactly an impulse I can control.

About a month ago a nice fellow named David posted a comment here to a post I made almost 2 years ago, a collection of watercolor scraps I posted over the winter break of 2008. David wanted to know if he could use one of the pictures (the one with the birds) to accompany a blog post he was writing, and mentioned that he worked for (here it comes) Wheaton College Archives and Special Collections.

Did you ever see that movie The Name of the Rose with Sean Connery? If you haven’t, it’s worth a look. Based on a book my Umberto Eco, Connery is a 14th century Benedictine monk detective who has to solve this series of mysterious murders in a monastery full of ancient texts, all the while trying to evade the serial killer, teach his young novice the value of deductive logical reasoning, and avoid the inquisition. I bring it up because, well, if you worked for Wheaton College Archives and Special Collections, what else could you possibly look like but Sean Connery in a monk’s cowl? That’s right, nothing else!

To tell the truth, I’d never heard of Wheaton College before, so I thought it might be prudent to look them up before I wrote back to poor David/Sean in his itchy robes. BIG MISTAKE.

It turns out Wheaton College is a beautiful and well respected Protestant Liberal Arts college in Illinois (not the problem) with a spectacular collection of papers and artifacts from a rogue’s gallery of fantasy authors (big problem). Do you know what J.R.R. Tolkein’s writing desk looks like? Or how big the Wardrobe from C.S. Lewis’ childhood home is? Or what a box full of Madeleine L’Engle’s photo’s smells like (she wrote A Wrinkle in Time)? I don’t either, but I know a well respected Protestant Liberal Arts college in Illinois where you can go find out. AND NOW I SO WANT TO!

Suffice it to say, kindly library associate David is now 2 or 3 steps away from total nerd demigod (wizard like cape, magic book powers, command of 30 languages, the works). These things happen.

Well obviously I wrote David back and said by all means. His post is up now, it talks about Jerry Kirk, a scholar and pastor who spoke at the college in the early 90’s. In his speech Kirk recounts an anecdote about using the sight of a bird as a reminder to think about God. That starts a whole other chain of interesting thoughts in my head but I’ll save them for another post. Best of all, David gave me an illustrator credit with a link. *score*

Anyway, it’s all a round-about way of saying thanks to David, and hey! I got an illustration posted!

I wonder if David wears sandals, and if they were once C.S. Lewis’ sandals, and if that means David can fly, and if so, does he hide things on the tops of the really high archive shelves, because that what I would do. Just a hint David.

Senior Show

If you somehow missed the wandering minstrels, the sky writing, the telepathic dream messages, the (in hindsight perhaps unwise) flaming bus ads, or the web site, well then let me be the first to tell you about the fabulous KU Design Department Senior Show. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet face-to-face with a bunch of people who will soon be the rich and famous taste makers of the glittering future ™.

One aspect of the show we are all particularly proud of are the invitations. We created a simple postcard design blind embossed with the words “I Create”. Each of us then completed the design with whatever we “create”.  Here’s mine:

Senior Show Invite

You can see the rest of the designs at the Senior Show Web Site, or if you’re in the area stop by:

Thursday May 6th, 5-9pm
Californo’s in Kansas City
4124 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO

An Assiduous Commitment to Updating the Blog
(and other qualities I am lacking)

What a sad and lonely state I have left you all in, my non-existent readers.  I know, I know, I said that I would make an effort this summer to make regular publications here a habit, and I have failed.  You must all hate me—if not the fact that you are all figments of my imagination.  <sigh>

But perhaps I can make amens.  Would it placate you to know I come bearing gifts?  Of course it would, and here they are.  Just look around you.  Completely updated and redesigned!  New templates.  New CSS.  New database backend.  New and improved!

Huh?  What’s that?  That snickering there?  Why…can’t you see it?  Well…subtle, yes.  It’s subtle.  Rather subtle, anyway.  But look at that…aaaa…the, um…well.  I mean.

Very well, I suppose you can’t really see the changes.  I mean not on the surface you can’t.  But can’t you just feel it?  Doesn’t it have that ‘new blog glow’ about it?  Doesn’t it? <sigh>

Alright fine.  I can do better.  No, no, I can.  Here, look.  Scroll on down to the bottom of the page.  See that! Ha Ha!  That’s right!  Twitter posts!  A whole new form of up to the minute web technology that I will soon grow tired of and abandon just like that whole silly blogging thin…  Well, I won’t make any promises this time.  But you never know.

Ok ok ok, I know what you want.  Fine, I give in.  You’re right.  It’s the least I can do (I mean after imagining you all up and then building this whole blog for you to read and then spending 4, no 5, 5 whole paragraphs apologizing for not updating it).

Huh?  What’s that?  No I didn’t say anything?  Hey, look over there!  It’s an honest to goodness new feature!  Comments! Now you can be critical even when I’m not around.  Aww, I know.  I love you guys too.  Just try and be civil—I’ve imagined some kids who come by here sometimes and I don’t want to get imaginary phone calls from their imaginary parents.

More to come, I (don’t) promise!

The Umbrella on 26Symbols.com

This last spring I had the chance to study lettering and font design with Josh Scruggs, graphic/font/web designer and all around talented article.  Josh keeps a blog called 26Symbols, and recently asked if I could make a guest post about my adventures learning font design.  While you’re there, check out Josh’s fantastic lettering work.  He does that BY HAND.  I’ve seen him do it.  

Ye Olde English

Have you ever wondered why the stereotypical Anglo-Saxon style old English phrase replaces the word the with the word ye? OK, I admit that I never really wondered either, but it’s one of those little tidbits of information that, once you know it, makes you feel like a better English speaker.

It turns out that what we’ve all been pronouncing as /ji/ (rhymes with tree) is actually not originally a y, but instead the Anglo-Saxon letter thorn, written as a capitol Þ and lower case as þ, and pronounced as a dental fricative—a th sound.

Þ capitol letter thorn—UTF-8: 00DE

þlower case letter thorn—UTF-8: 00FE

According to Wikipedia, thorn (or þorn) once originally accounted for both voiced th sound, as in the, and the unvoiced, as in think, but was eventually replaced with the modern th combination—and example of a digraph—and by the letter Y in a few stock mems like ye olde. The letter thorn, þ, is still used in modern Icelandic to represent the unvoiced dental fricative, and even appears on the standard Icelandic keyboard layout.

Incedently, Icelandic also includes the letter eth, capitol Ð and lower case ð, representing a voiced dental fricative. Eth also derives from old (Anglo-Saxon) English, and was once used interchangeably with thorn.

Ð capitol letter eth—UTF-8: 00D0

ðlower case letter eth—UTF-8: 00F0

There now, don’t you feel better? Incendentally, if you’re now concrned that you don’t know where thorn and eth appear in the alphabet, fear not, Michael Everson and Baldur Sigurdhsson can help you out.