Sunday, January 24, 2010


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Flyer update


From an article in Design Observer about a critic named T.M. Cleland:

“The current belief that everyone must now be an inventor is too often interpreted to mean that no one need any longer be a workman.”

Monday, January 18, 2010

Interview for the company blog

I was interviewed recently for the company blog. Re-posted here for save keeping.

Yes! We're staring at you

Since Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1436, there have been certain nagging, existential questions regarding the placement and style of typography.

Is a serif font inherently cooler than a sans serif?

Is there a way for me to say "Bodoni" without giggling?

Can I punch someone for using Comic Sans?

Does using Arial make me a douche?

Come with me now as I try to answer these questions by cracking through the crunchy, burnt cream layer of obscurity that is Kristin Dooley and delve into the rich custard of truth!! Typestyling's Kristin Dooley puts down her soldering iron and joins us in the Cone of Silence to answer these hard hitting questions for another edition of our interview series that we like to call, Yes!! We're staring at you!!

How did you get here?
I’m from Michigan. I am now pointing at my hand, which we are trained to do at birth.

Who/what inspires you?
I come from a family of punsters . I’m drawn to people who produce creative works with a wink. The Howling Mob Society is a great example. I also love the font Twin from Letterror.

It was created to change shape and weight to correspond to the weather and temperature in the Twin Cities.

What do you work on here at Target?
I work in the Creative Production Studio on Beauty, Home, Designers, Auto, Garden, Style and Stationery. I’m also part of the Type Team which handles all things font related. If I’m lucky and have time, I get to play in Fontographer to modify fonts.

Easy question, what do you do outside of work?
I am a huge reader and feed my habit with part-time work at the Book House, a used bookstore in Dinkytown, and Mayday Books, a non-profit, all-volunteer bookstore on the West Bank. I’m also involved in various grassroots activities hoping to make the world a better place.

What’s a random, fun fact that others would love to hear?
Here’s a memory from one of the old Emigre magazines: British graphic designer and teacher Nick Bell dreamed up two “conceptual” fonts. One is Zelig, a typeface with the chameleon-like ability to change its appearance to something similar to whatever typeface it is placed next to. Another is Psycho, the printed version of which bears no relation to the words you type. Instead it leaves stab wounds in a piece of paper by randomly accessing a cutlery drawer as you type.

What do you love to do?
Hang out with my family. Play with my cats. Do crossword puzzles. I had a chaotic childhood, so relaxing and safe is my preferred adult lifestyle.

I have one husband and best friend, Alan, who is the perfect man for me. We have two awesome daughters, Terri (29) and Jackie (28) and one son-in-law, Wally (29). Terri and Wally created our beloved grandchildren, Alexis (7) and Blake (4). We share our home with two cats, Sox (18, Tabby) and Jinx (3, Maine Coon). Our favorite gatherings involve throwing whatever we had planned for dinner into a basket and going to the banks of the Mississippi for an impromptu picnic.

If you could interview one other person in the studio, who would it be and why?
Lisa Smith. We had great fun working together on Brands a couple of years ago.

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you?
Cue soap opera organ music: When I was six, I caught German Measles. It attacked my spinal fluid and turned into Encephalitis. I was in a coma for a week and blind for two days after I woke up. It took me a few weeks to fully recover. Yes, I’ve heard all the brain disease jokes, thankyouverymuch.

Whoa!! Tell me more! I assume you mean the recovery part was the best part and not actually contracting a deadly disease...right?
You’re right: thanks for clarifying. :-)

I was oblivious during the illness. My memories are from recovery: I had to wear a diaper (how embarrassing!) and re-learn how to feed myself, walk on my own and speak some sounds (s and sh were difficult). I hated having to undergo multiple EEG tests. They used something akin to airplane glue to attach dozens of electrodes to my head. After the tests, my mother would have to cut the glue from my scalp. I ended up with ugly bald spots all over my head. Too bad it wasn’t during the punk era!

This was in the early 1960s when there was no vaccine for measles. Medical scientists still do not know the cause of encephalitis and there is no cure; they can treat only the symptoms. You either recover or you don’t. As a result, I feel enormous gratitude for beating the odds. I’ve gotten more than my fair share of lucky breaks in life.

Awesomeness from Kristin:
Check out these articles about type used in movies by local font designer Mark Simonson:


and Son of Typecasting

Don’t miss Cheshire Dave’s movie Cooper Black, Behind the Typeface

What do you like better (you must choose one): leading or kerning? Go!

Kerning. Natch!

What font (excuse me, “typeface”) best represents you as a person (personally I think I’m a future extra-bold!)?

Mark Simonson’s Coquette

Friday, January 15, 2010

Author event at Mayday

More flyers

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Never underestimate how low they can go

According to Naomi Klein, the Heritage Foundation wasted no time coming up with the good news from the massive earthquake in Haiti:

"In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region."

Get a bib, you drooling ogres!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Collecting interesting articles about ampersands:

Our Middle Name by Hoeffler & Frere Jones

The Funkiest Ampersands You Have Ever Seen by Chris Spooner

The Ampersandby Max Cafisch at Adobe

The Mesmerizing Curves of Ampersands by Brian Holt at The Design Cubicle

Ampersands with Atittude by Huw Wilkins at Smashing Magazine

Ampersand where it comes from by Artemy Lebedev

Ampersand Blog by Stephen Gose

Ampersandland at Flckr

The Ampersand by Aegir Hallmundur at the Ministry of Type

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How the Dead Dream by Lydia Millet

What a very strange book. Again, I kept reading without really liking it. The language is beautiful and the picture painted is complete, but the story is so strange and doomed that I wanted to slap the protagonist upside the head. Or I wanted him dead.

This book has the most solitary character I have ever read. As a child he is alone, he briefly marries but she dies tragically, and his grief is monumental, to be followed by more loneliness.

T. is so isolated that he seeks comfort in other isolated beings: the last survivors of various soon-to-be-extinct animals. What can come of this? You can figure that out.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Queen Emily for the win

Continuing the discussion about Mary Daly, Queen Emily points out the horror that resulted from the kind of crap the feminist "heroine" proclaimed.

I was struck by something a commenter, Kristin said in the thread:

"What became clearer in the comments thread is this widespread acceptance of the belief that the personal journeys of cis women to feminism are both sacrosanct and hugely important for the world. Sure, a number of the commenters there are admitting their fault, but it’s almost all cloaked in this narrative of “how much she meant to me and my life and my nascent feminism.”

I'm guessing this is a legacy of the old "click" trope that was a major component of second wave feminism. Pages and pages of letters to the editor at Ms were consumed by women experiencing a moment when the privilege they shared as white, middle class women, was shattered by the realization that even they *gasp* were oppressed by sexism.

It was a regular feature, Here's the article that started the meme, Jane O'Reilly's "Click, the Housewife's Moment of Truth"

There is this myth we are taught that a leader will come along who is Wise. Profound. Revealing. From that leader, we will learn something Important. If I've learned anything from young people who are using the internet to challenge the powers that be, it is that we can teach each other. I can learn more from Queen Emily, an actual human being, than I can learn from our so-called leaders and heroines.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Mary Daly, transphobe, passes

I was directed to this awesome post that talks about the death of Mary Daly and also offers this priceless comment:

"If you have any idea what the fuck she is talking about, on the first reading, congratulations."

Thank you. Just thank you for making it all clear.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Three Weeks to Say Goodbye by CJ Box

I finished this book because I always finish books, even the ones I hate. This one disappoints all the way to the end.

I've read a bit more about this novel and the story behind it. The three weeks in the title are the time that adoptive parents are given before having to turn over their adopted infant to the birth father and grandfather. The adoptive agency fucked up and didn't get a signature from the birth father before "finalizing" the adoption. This comes as a complete surprise for the adoptive parents and they face a confusing and terrifying world in which the birth grandfather is a federal judge and the birth father is a sadistic asshole.

Along the way, we get racist rants against Mexicans, "admirable" wild-west, gun-toting caricatures, and cops whose cynicism drives them to accept murder, smack downs, set-ups and tampering with evidence.

The main characters are the very definition of middle class twits. Faced with this horrible dilemma, they do nothing to protect themselves or their child. This pissed me off.

If you've never been faced with the classism and racism inherent in our justice system, you might be stupid enough to allow a federal judge and his spoiled brat into your home with no witnesses, no lawyer, no tape recorder or video tape. That's the only way these creeps could get away with the crap that they pull in this book.

If you aren't clueless, you protect yourself. You gather your neighbors, whom you have met and actual know and interact with, to help document the harassment you are facing. The asshole judge and his son would have been stopped in their tracks at the beginning of this book if the parents weren't such go-it-alone, individualistic idiots.

If I had the energy, I could make an important argument about how the thinking, exemplified in this book, is an example of the very worst that can happen when we take the idea of responsibility, property rights and individualism way too seriously. The ONLY choices these parents make are wrong and doomed to fail. The ONLY options they imagine are about personal retribution. At one point the parents ask themselves if there was anything else they could have done and they CAN"T THINK OF A THING.

I'm not that cynical. I do not believe that people are this stupid. Again and again, when things go horribly wrong, communities turn around and act admirably. You'd have to be obtuse not to see that.

Some people really are that stupid.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Three Weeks to Say Goodbye

A novel by C.J. Box that is really starting to piss me off. This novel depends on the fact that our protaganists are middle class twits who understand nothing about community activism and struggle. I more than half way through the book and I fricking hate these people. Ah well.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Goin’ Native: The Indian Comedy Slam

I caught part of this show last weekend on Showtime. Eighty minutes of American Indian comedians including host Charlie Hill are Larry Omaha, Howie Miller and four up-and-comers making their mark on the standup scene: Marc Yaffee, Jim Rule, Vaughn Eagle Bear and JR Redwater. More chances to watch this month are listed on the website.

Some clips below:

Sunday, January 03, 2010

More Reading

Vanishing Act and Dance for the Dead by Thomas Perry.
These novels are the first two in a an ongoing series focused on Jane Whitefield, a "guide" who helps people who are under threat to disappear. Whitefield is a kick-ass woman who has physical and mental strengths. She is part Seneca Indian living in upstate New York and relies on the traditions of her ancestors to help provide answers to the problems she faces. She has provided herself with an intricate series of identities and bank accounts that allow her to buy plane tickets with ease, to criss cross the country repeatedly and to provide new lives for her charges. One thing that is made more obvious in the second book than the first, is the tendency of the person hiding to make mistakes that leads to them being found again. I like this series, but it may be too violent and cynical for many readers.

Rain Fall by Barry Eisler.
This is the first in a series focusing on a hit-man who is half Japanese half USian, John Rain. The hitman is ultimate outsider in this book: unable to trust anyone, haunted by his past, including three years of illegal action in Cambodia during the US war against Vietnam. This plot takes several unexpected twists and turns. We are supposed to admire Rain because he has certain limits to whom he will kill, but the death toll piles up and our hero manages to survive multiple beatings with no lasting symptoms. Rain spends the book traveling from neighborhood to neighborhood through Tokyo and attempts to provide descriptions of each. But the first person point of view means that everything is viewed as a place to either carry out an assassination or avoid one, the geography is cold and empty. As is our hero, eventually. I can't see myself reading any more of the series. It's this months pick for the Once Upon a Crime book club. Otherwise, I would have skipped it altogether.

Flyer for upcoming MLK antiwar event

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Recent Reading

America, America by Ethan Canin
I loved the first part of this book. I admire the ability of writers to successfully pull off the unrealiable narrative. We don't distrust the narrator because we think he is lying, we distrust him because of his naivete. And so I loved this romp into class differences and the guilty pleasure our young working class kid gets with his chance to rub elbows with the rich and famous. And we understand his ability to detach himself from his own realization that the only reason the workers are given attention is because the unions can deliver votes. Yet, we are left disappointed by the failure of our narrator to recognize his gullibility. I found it hard to believe that someone so accustomed to analysis could so completely miss the clues live had given him. So, although I admire the class consciousness of this novel, I despair of the way our hero makes excuses for the ruling classes.

Dark House by Theresa Monsour
This author has moved to another pseudonym and her books are out of print. I found this used book at a local store. It is the third of third and final novel in a trilogy focused on St. Paul homicide detective Paris Murphy. Serene Ransom is a fascinating villain. Crazy cat lady, child molester, academic. Of course! I have a sense that the earlier books provided an interesting back-story for Murphy, but I'll have to search the used bookstores to find out, it seems.

Blind Rage by Terri Persons
Terri Persons is the next pseudonym used by the woman who wrote as Theresa Monsour. This series wanders into the currently fashionable psychic field of crime fiction. Our heroine, Bernadette Saint Clare, is able to see through the eyes of murderers. Yet her vision has serious limitations and has caused her to draw erroneous conclusions. It's an interesting way to portray esp: useful sometimes, but often misleading. It makes us questions the very concept of "hunches" and "gut reactions". I read the first in the series, Blind Spot and liked it enough to pick up the second book on a recent bookstore expedition. Saint Clare's visitors from beyond the grave are fascinating, infuriating and their powers are mystifying. But it's a fun read and I'm willing to take the ride.

Black Bolshevik by Harry Haywood
Reading this with one of my book groups. We read the first half of the book for our first meeting last Sunday. I didn't make it all the way through. I am fascinating by the discussion of black nationalism and how the Communist Party position diverged from the more popular Marcus Garvey "back to Africa" movement. I have a lot to learn about the discussion and don't feel as if I understand it from reading this book. Haywood spends lots of time attacking sectarianism in a very sectarian way, which makes this book difficult and fascinating. It is fascinating when it shows the "correct" political thinking doesn't mean much if an activist is not connected with the actual struggles going on here and now. We activists have a tendency to build utopian structures that fundamentally miss the realities of the people we claim to support. I look forward to reading the second half of this fascinating portrayal of an American communist activist.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

First day of the year and it is very cold. Temps below zero, windchills way below that. I hid inside and read most of the day, then we went out for dinner and coffee. Back home to hide from the elements again.

Hoping everyone has a great new year!