Kill Yer TV

A response to a post in political talk forum on the value of cable vs satellite television.

We Americans have gone from a country of people who do things, to a country of people who need to be entertained. The change has not suited us well. Even worse, we act like it is our God given right to have 24/7 entertainment provided to us on a silver platter. Big brash shows, big brash food, big brash tvs. We, as a country, are getting more and more fat and lazy. More and more passive rather than active. And our entertainment is getting more and more tawdry, while our disdain for educated or cultured refinement grows.

Join me brothers in our fight against the norm. Rise up against the tyranny of the ordinary. Trod the road less traveled. I would rather see 100 disgruntled tea partiers, than 100 couch potatoes.

Sk8ers convention

On the last segment of my commute home today, I met up with two other guys with longboards. We started talking shop; rolling on the beach, sidewalks viewed as an endless concrete wave, cleaning your bearings, things like that. I was having so much fun it made me mad I had to get off to go home. There was probably 25 years or more between our ages, and we seemed to hit all the major color lines, yet the only thing that mattered was the way of the board.


More adventures on the bus

Yesterday was a twofer.

The first wacky encounter was in the morning. A bus was running late, so a bunch of us got n the next bus going the same direction. An elderly gentlemen, looking to be in his mid to late 60s, a regular, sat across from me. However, he was not the only one. The entire bus was packed. About half way through my ride, I noticed that he leaned back kind of funny, and put one hand in his pocket. This while I have a book up to my face, which is a pretty good disguise for people watching. So the guy reaches pretty deep into his pocket, and across the front. Really deep. Uh, oh. He’s not looking for any spare change, this is pocket pool.

Pretty soon his actions became a bit more animated. He was playing first string for all it was worth, and all the while staring off at another passenger.  I looked to where he was staring, and realized he was looking at someone I know. I use the word “know” rather liberally here, as there are perhaps 20 people I come in contact with on a regular basis on the bus or train, and talk to on the odd occasion. This particular lady is Russian (or so I guess based on her accent), near my age or older (guessing from her wrinkles), maroon haired (because there is apparently no ending to maroon hair color), dresses well, and works at the Farmer’s Market which is next to one of my larger clients. She was wearing a yellow tank top, and she has a rather nice figure, so I guess the old guy was getting a little side boob action.  So now I have a dilemma, do I tell her? Do I stop him?

This went on for a few stops, and then the man actually stood up, probably to get a better grip, and proceeded to stare at her, and touch himself.  At this point he had that focused stance one uses when really looking at something intently. You could tell his higher brain functions were gone. He had not a care for the rest of us, or what we thought.

So then the bus stopped at my stop, and I got off after Russian lady.  Only the man got off too (no, not that got off, sheesh). I couldn’t let him follow her, but I also didn’t want to say anything to her. So what I did was drop my plank, and roll up next to the old man. He was looking at Russian lady, but seemed to notice my stare, because he turned to look at me as she crossed the street. Maybe he turned to look because I yelled, “hey”. When I had his attention, I said, “Dude. That is very uncool.” Then I pushed hard, and crossed the street. Now I had caught up with Russian lady, and while the old man was crossing the street, I started talking to her. He had no idea what I was saying, but hopefully he figured it was about him (it wasn’t). This had the desired effect as the man walked past us, and after I was sure he was aways away, I said my goodbyes, and crossed on the next green.

The second event was a little less creepy. On my way home, while waiting for the Orange Line (a fancy name for an articulated bus), a man was walking along and talking very loud.  “Jesus Christ, I am so drunk,” he was saying. That and he went on and on about how great he was. When he noticed me looking at him, he walked over and introduced himself. He was a great guitar player, he assured me, played with every body, and was so famous, if he showed up, any band was glad to let him sit in. Alas, I forgot his name, but I can tell you that he has his own radio show on 88.9 fm, and that he is about 6 foot 3 (I say this because he got very close, as drunks are wont to do, and I was staring straight into his mouth). He had long brown hair, and a cropped beard/mustache, which was long enough to remind me of ZZ Top.

I have no idea if he was a famous guitar player or not. The name didn’t ring any bells (which doesn’t mean much), but I have had experience with someone like him. There is a person I know, a distant relation, who when off his meds, would tell everyone he was the drummer for a famous band. I suspect this man had a similar mental illness. Regardless, for all his size he was relatively harmless, at least to me. I said my good byes, while he sprayed my face with spittle, as drunks are known to do, and left him at the bus station.

Some days, it just doesn’t pay to take the bus.

Wow! Even more crap!

I just got an exciting email today, breathlessly telling me how I can learn all kinds of Down and Dirty Tricks with Photoshop CS4. And this lecture, one of the most successful seminars tours in history, is being presented by two of the best graphic designers on the planet. Wow!, I mean wow!!!!!

Oh pa-lease. What horse shit.  I mean common. Do the people at Kelby Training really think I’m going to buy this shit?

Let me back up a bit, and explain my position. For those who don’t know, I have a fair bit of knowledge about Photoshop, and it’s use as a designer (hello, look around the portfolio, if you don’t believe me). Also, I have a fair bit of knowledge about pedagogy (look it up, I’m not your dad) both in general (I am a former teacher with a degree for such things from an actual college), and specifically with Photoshop (I’ve taught PS classes on and off for about 15 years). It is fair to say I have stood in front of lots of blank faces and tried my best to explain things like what resolution means, the importance of naming your layers, and how to use a layer mask. Granted, I am not nearly as well known as Corey Barker and Dave Cross, but I do have some chops.

So here’s the thing. When you get in front of a group of people to teach them photoshop, inevitably one of them will have the latest photoshop tricks book, and ask you to show them how to do tricks. Mind you, I don’t blame them for this; I too want to have a million dollars worth of knowledge, but pay only $16.95 for it. At some level, we are all lazy and would like to find the easy path. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. But here is the truth. Photoshop is a complex tool for doing an incredible array of interesting tasks. However, none of these tasks are easy. None. That’s right, its work. Most of it quite hard. Not just hard work, but sometimes, ass-kicking, tears in the eyes, pulling your hair out, hard work. Yep. In case you didn’t quite get it, no matter what you do, who you are, or how great a designer you are, at one point Photoshop will kick your miserable ass. And I mean HARD. Dude, you think I’m fucking with you? Look at my ass (on second thought…maybe not). Let me tell you. Photoshop will kick your ass, and I have the boot prints to prove it.

I know this is not a popular message, most of us would like to have the equivalent of gourmet knowledge at fast food prices. However, the real world is not like that. The real world is messy, difficult, and complex. It often takes knowledge, and hard won, sometimes painfully paid for, experience to tell the difference between a slight mistake, and a certain catastrophe. That’s why they call it a profession. It takes professionals to do professional grade work. That’s also why I charge and arm and a leg for my work, Because I have had my ass kicked so many times it practically has a calluses back there. I’m professional enough (or just plain weary enough) to not try and repeat those mistakes again. And when I’m working for you, I do my damnedest to keep you from suffering the same fate.

So when I see someone trying to sell an easy route to a complex task, it pisses me off.  Not that I have anything against Corey Barker and Dave Cross, hell I wish them luck and wealth. Making money is always hard work, and I respect anyone’s hard work. However, I deeply resent that they are selling out our common profession, our birthright, for a mess of porridge.

Worse still, photoshop trickery has created the single largest group of crappy designs on the planet.  One cannot open a magazine, or drive their car in a large city, without being bombarded with designs that rely more on tricks than concept. Hey guess what guys, good concepts are hard to find, tricks are easy. Mind you, I too have turned in my fair share of tricky solutions to complex problems, so I am guilty of this same crime. But good god, if you cannot even out a background image so your type will read (after all, you are designing an ad, not the fucking Mona Lisa) why do you think adding a drop shadow to the type will make it better? And if a drop show does not improve readability, why the fuck do you think making the type 3D chrome will be any better?

So what Kelby Training, with all their success, will not tell you, is that there is no trick to being a professional in graphic design All the photoshop tricks in the world will not make you a good designer.  That only comes from hard work, and a few ass kickings. Sorry. I know it’s not a pleasant message, but it is the truth.

Oh, and one more thing. If you work in advertising, then for fuck’s sake, DO NOT FALL FOR IT. It’s bad enough that we have to sell crap to make our cash. For God’s sake don’t believe your own lies.

Pixelectomy. YellowJacket design by Antbag.