California, bike, Los Angeles, AIDSride

Not a Time For Gloating

[Cross-posted from my MovableType Blog]

For the past few months, I’ve hoped that this evening I’d have something about which to gloat. But since about this time last night, I’ve had the immortal words of the inimitable Terry Gilliam, as delivered by an understated Bobby D on a seeming endless loop in my head:

“Listen, kid. We’re all in this together.”

There are likely to be many on the side on which I’ve been standing who are looking to destroy those on the other side, as a manner of repudiating the thinking and damage done in the last eight years. I fully expected to be one.

This morning my realization that I wasn’t in that camp prompted me to remember a well-respected Republican admonishing:

“Why, madam, do I not destroy [my enemies] when I make them my friends?”

It’s going to take every one of us to roll up our sleeves, pull the wheel, and turn the Ship of State off the suicidal course on which it has been directed for the last 8 years.

Let it begin with me. Yes we can.

dive, for hire, cyprus, job

Grabbing My Destiny (By the Antennae?)

[Cross-posted from my MovableType Blog]

The Tick Escapes the Asylum

This afternoon I tendered my resignation. I leave behind a great group of people on the cusp of major to stratospheric success. It was a very hard decision, but my destiny lies elsewhere.

The top half of the page at left isn’t as true as it’s been in the past, making the decision all the more difficult. But the bottom half sings a profound truth.

I was not looking for a new gig. But a few kept landing in my lap that I couldn’t pass up. I’ve accepted the senior developer position at Emmet Labs, an early-stage social platform startup in San Francisco.

There are many reasons this excites me: learning a lot while working on interesting problems in a cool (metaphorical) space surrounded by fascinating (and occasionally famous) people in a dynamic and passion-driven environment. That’s where I thrive!

Obviously there are a lot of other, less exciting emotions tied to the coming and the going, but I feel the need to keep this entry short. Perhaps I’ll catalogue them in a future post.

California, bike, Los Angeles, AIDSride

Golden Gate Social Bike Ride! (Take 3)

[Cross-posted from my MovableType Blog]

...This time with 4 part harmony and feeling.

I’m putting together another all-abilities, all-ages, slow as molasses, stop & smell the roses bicycle ride over the Golden Gate Bridge on Sunday, June 22.

Sunday, June 22th (next Sunday, not the day after tomorrow). My plan is to start at my house at noon or 1pm. If I’m riding alone, I can probably be at the bridge in 30 minutes, but connecting with people will modify that, and the schedule for this ride is necessarily a bit flexible. I’m also open to other ideas (see below)
Anyone who has a bike, can manage to stay (mostly) upright on it, and wants to ride across the Golden Gate (C’mon! It’s fun! You should do it at least once!)
Riding a bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge. Also, you might want to consult your doctor about ADHD, and/or cut down on the fine herb clouding your short-term memory.
At a minimum, the Bridge, but see below

I plan to ride from my house and over the Bridge, at a minimum. I expect to connect with people along the way. I will stress again, for the ADHD sufferers out there, that this is a slow, fun, social ride. There are some options to consider, however: (nearly all of these can be played by ear)

Options on the Near End

  1. Ride with me from my house. (Ha!)
  2. Ride Caltrain to 22nd St, start from there, taking a flat route around Potrero Hill. Mostly for South Bay denizens.
  3. Ride BART to 16th Street, and meet me there. Mostly for inhabitants of the Beast, but South Bay folks who are nervous about traffic might consider riding Caltrain to Milbrae & taking BART. This will avoid all but 5 blocks of 16th St. (Once we turn off onto Sanchez it’s all quiet streets and/or bike lanes)
  4. New! Ride Caltrain to 4th/King, or BART to Embarcadero, pick up the Bay Trail a few blocks away. This isn't nearly as nice as the ride through Golden Gate Park & the Presidio (and it's longer), but it's all but completely removed from traffic (Caltrain more than BART)
  5. Park in the garage in the Marina (at Pier 39), meet us at the bridge. This may be the best option for folks worried about distance / fitness. (Though the climb from the Marina to the bridge is a lot less gradual than through the park, and you’ll need to find your own way (I can give you directions), unless everyone decides to take one of the Embarcadero options).
  6. Miraculously find parking in the parking lot at the bridge, or on the streets surrounding, join us there, ride over the bridge, ride right back, get into the car, go home, secure in the accomplishment of actually riding a bicycle over the bridge. I strongly recommend against this approach, but it is an option.

Options on the Far End

  1. Turn around at the Marin end of the bridge, and backtrack. Certainly an option, but take a look at #2 before you settle on this.
  2. Continue (almost entirely downhill, with one climb) into Sausalito, have lunch / snacks, or just sit in the park. Take the Ferry back to SF (which lets out close to the garage in the Marina.)
  3. Same as above, minus the ferry. (What goes down, must come up. It does, however, feel great to conquer it.)
  4. Continue from Sausalito to Tiburon (a gorgeous ride, but it’s another 10-15 miles) I, myself, will only consider doing this on the condition that everyone is going. We can take the ferry back from Tiburon.
  5. Or not. Complete the circuit. I might be up for this, but I reserve the right to wimp out. Contingent on more of the same above.

(Added!) Distances Involved

22nd St - 16th St. BART
16th St. BART - Fell & Baker
Fell & Baker - Presidio
Presidio - Bridge
Bridge - Sausalito

Alternate Route Distances

4th/King - Ferry Building
Ferry Building - Blue & Gold Ferry Terminal (Pier 39)
Pier 39 - Bridge

Deviations from these options are highly encouraged! Any questions? ASK!

pilchuck, glass

It’s Dead, Jim

[Cross-posted from my MovableType Blog]

My Treo 650 was acting a little strange during my travails in travel on Tuesday. Wednesday morning it got even weirder, and by noon it stopped working at all.

I’m in Miami for the week, and I feel a bit vulnerable without having the ability to connect with folks, either at home, in the family, or people I want to see/meet here.

But beyond that, I don’t know what to do moving forward. Palm is dead as a platform. The rumored impending release of the 3G network iPhone would be absolutely perfect, except:

  1. The rumor is completely unsubstantiated, it started as an off-hand comment by Walt Mossberg, and is fueled entirely by wanton wishful thinking
  2. I need something now, not in a month or two
  3. It would mean giving a(nother) red cent to AT&T after they:
    1. flagrantly and recklessly colluded with the NSA to violate the law and our Constitutional rights.
    2. decided all of your personal information? yeah, that’s now “Marketing Information” they're free to use (and sell) as they see fit.
    3. etc, etc, etc…

It’s that last one that is so problematic. I feel completely hypocritical even considering an iPhone. Yeah, sure, Android, um, see #2 above.

pilchuck, glass

Further Evidence of Geekdom

[Cross-posted from my MovableType Blog]

In preparation for a demo that could lead to a huge opportunity, I worked two weeks straight, most nights until midnight, sometimes until after 2am. No rest for the wicked weary on the two weekends, I just plowed straight through.

I’m done, back banging on the stuff on which I should be working, and I was very much looking forward to a respite this weekend.

There’s just one minor glitch. The problem I left on Friday evening is sticking in my craw. It’s interesting. I know I should leave it until Monday, but here I am logging into the VPN to grab the file so I can at least map out how I think it should be solved.

Hopefully that will exorcise this demon, and I can go back to enjoying a weekend with my sweetie.
flip off, bird, angry

Comment Spammers, They Love Them Some Journey

Recently I've started getting a bit of anonymous comment spam on my LJ. Well, not so much my LJ as just this entry. The head-scratcher in this is that with only one exception, none of them include a link or even a URL.

I don't see the point of that. Perhaps they're trying to increase the weight of the pills mentioned as a global keyword, or bring down the reputation of random LJ/blogs in order to relatively increase the reputation of their splogs.

Most likely it's being done manually, but people unclear on the concept. Rules of Spam #3.

Or maybe they're just trying to let me know they aren't the ones who also like Journey.

I've given up wondering why that entry, and only that entry. I assume it made it into a database somewhere. Doesn't really answer the question, but it's not a group I should expect to be acting logically. Again, see Rule #3.
pilchuck, glass

The First Word was Hartford...

[Cross-posted from my MovableType Blog]

[This has been rolling around my head for a few weeks, and I’ve been chomping at the bit (until my site redesign was finished and MT was working again for me) for the time I could write it.]

I play at being a misanthrope. It’s not all charade, there is certainly a fair bit of my character that is completely anti-social, and while I’ve come out of my shell in shocking and scary ways in recent years, I’m still rather introverted.

But at the deepest level, the essential kernel, I am an optimist. A humanist. A romantic.

There hasn’t been much fuel for that spark in the public space in recent years, in fact in most ways we haven’t been sliding toward oblivion so much a stampeding toward it.

And yet, as I observed the political process recently I’ve found myself experiencing some odd emotions. While reading reading Jon Taplin’s Blog I put my finger on it. The odd sensation I couldn’t quite grasp was hope.

I feel hopeful. Not that we’ve turned around and are headed in the right direction, but that maybe we’ve turned a (slight) corner. That some more people are starting to ask hard, important questions. That people might actually be willing to put aside differences, and dig in for the herculean task of rebuilding everything the last 8-10 years has torn down.

I fully expect these hopes to be dashed. We, as a nation, have been coddled and encouraged to stick our heads in the sand for too long for it change overnight. And the siren song of blissful ignorance is powerful. But, if the cards fall well, that dashing could be delayed until after January. Several months of hope could do me (and many of us) a world of good.

Edit: I finally figured out what was breaking the crossposting of this entry. The original draft of this entry, had I been able to publish it, would have coincided perfectly with the speech about which everyone is talking. It’s gratifying to see so many of us feel the same way.

I know it’s more of that blinding hope, but I can’t help but feel that the choice before us is between the politicians of the past; and a statesman, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a generation, who will lead us into the future.

pilchuck, glass

The Plea (And Confession) of a Type Torturer

[Cross-posted from my
MovableType Blog]

Please believe me. I’ve tried. I will grant that some of those attempts may have been half-hearted, but I was weary, down-hearted. I didn’t think that I could do it (and I’m still skeptical), but I can’t live this lie, maintain this charade any longer, and so this voice cries in the wilderness, hoping someone out there can help me out of jam of a mental block:

I need a replacement for Franklin Gothic Extra Condensed:

One with an honest italic (not just slanted romans). One that will contrast as beautifully against my body font (currently a simple Bodoni Book, with both lining and old-style numerals as appropriate) without clashing.

You see, I don’t want the world, I just want your half.

My current front-runner is Agenda Semibold Extra (or Ultra, I haven’t decided yet) Condensed (Italic):

[ I've decided to remove the samples for Agenda, you can find it if you care, but as I said in comments in the cross-post I realized I liked it a lot less once this was posted.]

While it is quite nice in its own right, it's too round, lacks the subtle, oblique stress that (was one of the elements that) drew me to Franklin Gothic, and the lack of a branch terminal on the spine & bowl mating of some forms (“b,” in particular) doesn’t sit well with me. It doesn’t feel as . . . classy. You see, I’m still hoping for a long-lost italic cousin to come out of the woodwork.

I can’t seem to shake that sense. A little help?

How I came to be in this pickle is a longer story, one of interest to no-one except myself, I suspect.

The romance began slightly more than 10 years ago. I don’t remember now if it was love at first sight, but it was something close. It definitely led to the awakening of my interest in the arcane world of typography.

Oh, sure, I’d long known about fonts, and I collected as many as I could find. I’d long before hit the 127 face limit in MacOS. But typography still lay just outside my purview. This project would prove to be the first step on that awakening.

It came at a perfect confluence of events, I had just read[1] Robin Williams’s Non-Designers’ Design Book (it's been through a few revisions since) and just attended a re-employment seminar that charged me to rewrite my résumé from the ground up. Granted, most of the results are now cringe-worthy, but at the time I felt on top of the world.

I was using Times Roman[2] as my body font (I know, I know, they were baby steps at first), so I wanted a very strong sans serif with a much darker color for my titles. The speed and satisfaction with which I settled on Franklin Gothic Extra Condensed was rather unsusual for me at that time.

I soon realized that I needed to distinguish between employers and job titles, so I applied an italic style to the titles. PageMaker, not finding an italic font dutifully slanted the romans. I can hear the type geeks screaming in pain, and I wish that was the extent of the sins I must confess, but there is more. And I think (in my defense) the ungainly, mildly disturbing width of those letters eventually pushed me in the direction of learning what an italic really was, and started opening the world of typography to me.

When I migrated away from PageMaker into building the PDF from XML source using FOP, I lost my slanted roman “italics.” After casting around for a replacement font, I eventually dug in, learned the PDF file format and figured out how PageMaker transformed the letterforms, and spent far too much effort perpetrating that particular crime. I eventually wrote a Perl script to apply the matrix transformation to the right text in my PDFs, and as I upgraded FOP a few times spent time hacking my script to work again.

With the latest upgrade I finally said, “Enough!” I no longer had an excuse — I know what I was doing was wrong. I must correct myself. My inner type geek can turn a blind eye no more.

And so, here I am, trying to replace my first lover. The one who opened my eyes to a new world, in so many ways. Yes, she’s a troll. But I’ll always have a speical place for her.

...And I just realized that this whole entry could have been condensed down to a pithy, personal ad format. I’m sure anyone still reading to here would have gotten more amusement out of that than this missive. Oh well. Next time.

[1] (or was about to read, chronology of events has always been a slippery thing for me, and events from this time in my life are particularly elusive)

[2] It wasn’t until much later that I moved my body font to Bodoni Book, not realizing that in so doing I was using two very different faces by the same designer, Morris Fuller Benton.

pilchuck, glass

The Wedding [Singer] [Planner] Filter

For those of you with your heads in the sand, chachicat and I are planning a wedding. I'm almost certainly going to post about it. Wedding planning is a topic that tends to overwhelm those other than the soliloquizing, oblivious miscreants currently engaged (ha!) in the pursuit.

In an effort to appear less self-absorbed than you all know me to be, I thought I'd set up a filter to spare (most of) you the details.

Anyone even mildly curious is more than welcome, of course. The filter is just a public service.

I'll screen the comments, feel free to make them snarky.
pilchuck, glass


[Cross-posted from my MovableType Blog]

[While this may not be the first time I've heard this song since certain facts came to light (to me), it's definitely the first time I've considered the lyrics:]

Really, who but a candidate for a doctorate in astrophysics (now properly defended) could write such a heart-wrenching song about the perils of relativistic space travel?

I know I've had my suspicions over the years, and, sure, it could be argued there are other interpretations (I'd expect nothing less from such a master), but this coincidence is too strong to ignore.