Thursday, September 25, 2008

Check Your Head

hang 'em if you got 'em!

In an effort to tidy up the stacks and piles of graphic melee in my office, I decided to throw a few posters up over my desk area. Off the pile, on the wall... spruce up my corner a bit.

So first I put up some of the Strummerville posters... well, then I had to make sure they were all up there. Then I had an Americanarama poster, the horizontal flag one, so I put that up. Well then, I thought, maybe the rest of the Americanarama posters had to go up as well-- except the 1st one, not so hot... and I never really cared too much for the last one, the brown horizontal one with the Wright Brothers Kitty Hawk Flight on it. It was some Wilbur and Orville anniversary year, don't ask me.... toss in a few Deja Blu posters and we got something here.

They look better on the wall than in the pile.

Overall poster thoughts....

  • Vertical posters are better that horizontal posters
  • Lots of red, red rocks better than green (hey, they are rock posters)
  • Lots of stars (hey, I said they were rock posters!), more stars ! ! !
  • Even 72 dpi photos pilfered off the web work sometimes- a little distortion, some photoshop filters, make 'em bitmap and BAM! you got your self a poster graphic.
  • James Brown is still dead
  • Makin' rock posters is one of my favorite things to do... it's never paid really well, but it's fun!
BONUS BEATS- Good Lookin' Out Weekend event 4 ya-- My buddy Edreys brings The Art of Hip Hop 3 Friday at the AKAG! Gotta see ya there! Break dancing, beat mixing, hip hoppin' and all that good stuff- click here for more!

BONUS BEATS (part two)- Edreys video clip old skool style

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Alright Hear This

Get Out the Vote 2008!

The AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) has an annual election year contest where they invite members/designers to come up with inspirational posters to get the peoples out there to vote. They post the gallery online so you can view, download and print them. Do it! Put them up and try and to use design to inspire.

Some of them are really great, well designed and inspirational. Some of them are just designed well, not very inspirational- they could be selling just about anything. Some of them are designed poorly- I am sorry to say-- they may be getting the message across, but at what cost? They all should be great designs, these are professionals.

Some notes:

The Simon Cowell poster is cute and clever (like a lot of ad agency projects I see these days).

The Gone Votin' is a great retro design, but what is the message...

The Chen design poster is just beautiful, but again, is the message really getting across?

The blue Thomas Jefferson poster is again clever, but man, they could have used a better font.

The Heal Vote (pictured above) is a favorite of mine- well designed, beautifully balanced and the message is really getting across.

View them all, let me know what you think-- click here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Talent Show

Visions of hockey pucks dance in my head....

It is Monday and the anticipation of the 1st pre-season hockey game is upon us. Tonight veterans and rookies take the ice in Toronto as the Sabres warm up for the season (which officially starts on Friday October 10th). Ah, Fall is in the air and hockey season is here kids. It seems like a longer wait for this day that usual, but the Sabs missing the playoffs just lengthened the time from the end of the last season and the start of this one.

The family and I went down to Puck Drop 2008 where the team kicked off the season with a bang! The veterans scrimmaged, a band played outside, and the kids got to ride a giant inflatable slide. Being in the arena was pure joy! The fans were excited as we entered and felt the cold of the rink as we got off the escalator. I love that feeling! The scrimmage was enthusiastic as blue played yellow (blue won 7-2) with veterans and rookies mingling amongst each other.

The Sabs also previewed the 'new/old' 3rd jersey which combines the old logo with new colors and some extra pinstripes. I don't really like all the extra lines or the white under their arms. J. mentioned that the white under the arms makes them look thinner like they have a cinched waist. "Shouldn't they look bigger like bears," she inquired. I like the retro tie at the top and I am sure they will sell a million more jerseys again. The kids love new things!

We saw Max score a goal, lets hope that isn't one of his few for the season, eh? They should have dumped that guy and moved on!

Check Buff News photo Mark Mulville's slideshow from the event, click here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hole in The Bucket

When Buffalo's Ani Difranco sings "I'm gonna take the money I made and go away" (playing the part of the escaping stripper) on "Letter to a John," I feel sad. I'm gonna miss her and I feel as I'm to blame for her sadness. But when she returns as the ghost lover from my past asking if I'd meet her for coffee (on "The Diner"); I don't return her phone call and I don't meet her out. I am ashamed.
-- review of Ani Difranco's Out of Range CD

Slack issue #13- The Food & Beverage Issue*
Oct. 1994 (published 10.11.94)
* Not to be confused with the beer issue

I just burned my new vinyl copy of 100 Days 100 Nights by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings to CD and it made me remember why I like music so much. To drop the needle on the fresh vinyl- it just sinks in and warms the room. The soulful sounds of Sharon Jones and her great band should really be heard on a record. They make music not meant for the digital age, but alas, here we are, eh?

I thought I best get back into this massive unearthing of the past and try and finish getting the rest of the Slacks up before the year's out. Not that I don't have enough other things to do. There is something therapeutic to look back on 1994 for some reason.

The Slack had surpassed a surprising full year at this point with 12 issues, could we really be on to something, we thought?... Tight graphics, Photoshop trickery on the cover and some text in french-- this issue has it all, baby! The F&B issue has a lot of great pieces including Eric Morse's The Slack Cookbook Recipes which include:

  • Minimal-Muss Spaghetti
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Tuna Salad
  • Grilled Cheese and Stuff
  • Skillet Lasagna
  • layered Taco Dip (advanced slackers only)
There is some good record reviews (note my pen on Out of Range, which I still think is the best Sunny D franco LP, evah), a great Bitter Boy ("Well Mr. and Mrs. Demographic- Thanks a lot! Your taste sucks!!"), Strick's theory about "altered consciousness," and an article on why author Toni Billoni wants to live at Tops. Editor's Note: I bet he's a Wegman's convert these days. Anne Rice as Slacker of The Month- you can't lose.

Ah, good old 1994 when Liz Phair, Hey Seus and The Mary Chain and Dino Jr. taught us all a little bit about slack. As DJ Scotty says in his review of Bakesale by Sebadoh: No happy or depressing idealism here, just the truth.

Download PDF here: Slack Magazine n. 13, the Food & Beverage Issue (3.9 mg)

Don't forget these issues already up (7 more to go)!:
Slack Magazine n. 18, The Two-Year Anniversary! issue
Slack no. 12, The One-Year Anniversary Issue
Slack Magazine n. 11, The True Crime Issue
Slack Magazine n. 10, Summer Fun Issue
Slack Magazine n. 9, The Dead Rock Stars Issue
Slack Magazine n. 8, The Beer Issue
Slack Magazine n. 7, Slack Goes to The Movies Issue
Slack Magazine n. 6, The Buffalo Issue
Slack Magazine n.5, The Slack TV Issue
Slack Magazine n. 4, SEX in the '90s Issue
Slack Magazine n. 3, The Politico Issue
Slack Magazine n. 2, The Travel Issue
Slack Magazine n. 1, The Debut Issue

BONUS BEATS: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings "100 Days, 100 Night" Video - click me!

Rock and Roll All Night

So sue me......

My girl rocks, and she is dancing to Those Idiots covering the Kiss classic R&R All Night. For the purpose of this video, she dances to the Kiss version. This video was shot at The Music is Art Festival, last week in Buffalo, New York.

The kids sure do like that rock music (and that polka music....)!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Fall sure seems like it is here, though it is actually one week away. Big changes are afoot as the weather turns like the leaves. Our design company enters a new era. Our youngest child is off to pre-K full time and that means Jill and I are both in the office full time all day, everyday.

The first phase of OtherWisz was just me working out of the front bedroom. One guy working all hours of the night with design input from J. who had a full time job with a local architect at the time. We had begun to use some freelancers, so that OtherWisz became a real company and not just a freelance business per se.

The second phase was when we had our first child and Jill quit her job to raise our daughter full time and join the business as an integral part. This was now our sole source of income and it was scary at first. We were always looking as to what was the next job coming in, the next project coming up and hoping that we could 'do it'- working for ourselves. There comes a point when you realize, "oh yeah, we ARE doing it...." We restructured, became a corporation, hired some employees and that was where we stood for a few years.

And now, today, the third phase begins. The second child is in school and we have nothing to do but work all the time. No more balancing picking up at the play group with the work, lunch and naps balanced with work, now, it is just work. It is exciting to think that all we have to really worry about from 8:30 until 4:00 is working. Does this mean we won't have to work at night anymore..... only time will tell, I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Better Tomorrow

Thirty-Six more deadly Chambers, to take you through. - Wu-Tang Clan

What I always liked about the Wu-Tang Clan was the sort of Godfatheresque quality to the music ("I'm gonna chop off your arm, are you ready?..."). I have been listening to Wu-Tang Forever (disk 1) continuously for the last few hours and it had reminded me of a job I used to have where we (the design dept.) would listen to the same CDs over and over again, sometimes 5-6 times in the same day. Everyone got to add CDs to the 100 CD player, but for some reason we often listened to the same few CDs over and over. Usually it was the really weird ones- french punk rock and french hip hop, special kids singing for charity, and more.

And that was planned! I am always amazed as to why-- when the iPod is on shufflle -- it seems to always play the same songs, cuts from Mike Jackson's Off The Wall and the all Clash songs? I am not complaining, I like Mick and old Mike. But I mean there are hundreds and hundreds of songs on that little thing. The randomness of the shuffle isn't quite so random as they say it is. Can't trust that computer chip to actual randomize, I mean is there such a thing? With a computer it is either '1' or '0', 'on' or 'off', 'black' or 'white'... you can't change that. A machine can't just guess.... can it?

As we move into the Fall, the business keeps on chuggin' along, we had the nice Biz 1st article. A lot of things that have been hanging around all summer and they are finally going to happen. We are trying to move beyond the sadness that the end of summer with the death of a dear friend has brought. Two of my good friends lost their fathers this summer as well, one in the beginning and one just last weekend. It has been a weird summer for sure so the prospect of Fall (2 weeks away only) is swell, and quite promising for sure. This summer proved once again that life, unlike these damn computers really is random.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

No Depression

I don't meant to keep going on and on about my lost friend, but I guess, in a way, this is sort of obvious therapy for me. What would Bob Newhart think about all this......

Thoughts on the Cape Cod funeral trip:

I never met a better group of folks than the Bonfatti family. Honest! Jay's dad, upon reviewing his life and family, exclaimed to a few friends and I, "I must be the luckiest man alive!" This coming from a man that just lost a son. How selfless is that?

The weather in the Cape was wonderful and the hospitality gracious (with the exception of that mean waitress at the Irish pub). What a beautiful place to spend a summer I thought as someone remarked to me that this was the best weather they had out there all Summer.

The group of people that had traveled from Buffalo, a dozen or so, were treated like extended family as the real JB family often remarked how lucky Jay was to 'have us in his life'.... but the truth is we were lucky to have him in our lives. He was a true friend- loyal, thoughtful and pleasant to all-- I can see where those qualities came from- his family. The Bonfatti's expressed heartfelt love to us people of Buffalo, the people that made Jay 'a part of our lives'. The organized tribute, memorial, final hurrah-- or whatever you want to call it-- on Saturday will be great chance for the Buffalo folks, that couldn't make the trip, to experience what I have by meeting Jay's family in person (brothers, sister, mom and dad). Many of them will be in attendance at the Tap Room and they are greatly looking forward to meeting you all (which they had told be plenty of times).

The road-trip itself was exceptional for me as I traveled with 2 of my good friends (and a 3rd on the way back) that I don't get to spend enough time with these days. Dave and Cappy and Brad are great traveling companions-- funny, warm and genuine wonderful individuals. We laughed about Jay, our experiences with the big guy and reminisced about him and the things he does and says ("Awwwwww shucks," "Show me some love," "You know what they say about opinions, don't you, Mark...." and many more).

So after too much sadness mixed with joy, lots of driving (8 plus hours both way), bad road food, listening to a lot of Wilco & Uncle Tupelo, great seafood, awesome NYS Thruway FREE wireless, drinking, laughing, referring to each other with stupid nicknames, quoting the Big Lebowski (Donnie, shut the......) and barely sleeping it was good to be home. I missed all the girls and feel like I haven't worked in weeks.

I hope to see whoever knows Jay-- and had a love for JayBo-- to come on out Saturday afternoon to meet the truly exception Bonfatti family and share your feelings with other lovers of JB.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Love is a Losing Game

My thoughts were with JB as I gazed out over the ocean this morning. Brad and I took an early walk to see the water. Nice place this Cape Cod, I can see why Jay loved to come out here with his family.

The Buffalo crew paid it's respects last night at the local funeral parlor and continued at a local Irish pub. Mrs. Groll kept us all in line.

This morning is the funeral for my friend and a lot of sadness for sure and then back to the Queen City. It will be a long ride back after a rough morning.... then it continues as the family comes to town to clear out JBs place and work into a Buffalo memorial service at the Lafayette Taproom this Saturday from 1-4... hope to see all you JB-fans there.