I have a peculiar habit to confess. I go to book stores and look at things in the Graphic Designer section. Yet, I am not a graphic designer. Those of you who look at the heading images of this and other columns I write have discovered this a long time ago. I can cut and paste and assemble a billboard, but my taste in colours and letters is woeful.
Yet, there are people in the world who can do this design thing well. Their pages are a pleasure to look at – if sometimes a little painful to read – and they can make a living doing this for clients as well as themselves. Hats off to them.
But back to the fonts. You’ll have some in your computer or tablet – particularly if you’ve got a writing app or a photo-editing one. There is a standard Adobe and Apple font book with dozens of variations on the Roman letters and Arabic numbers that are our standard English symbols. You can buy the use of extra fonts and sometimes get them as downloads from directories. I’ve got Retro Font and Script Font books that allow me dozens more choices. Sometimes the computer doesn’t like them and refuses to use them, but mostly it is clear sailing.
Does a favourite font tell us something about you? Can it tell you something you had not acknowledged? Deep psychological questions, indeed. You’ll have to dredge your own mental pond – I’ll show you my favourites:
You can make your judgements accordingly. I do use whatever the books or computer font store might suggest for specialized signs. There are enough variants that you can letter out decals for model airplanes in period style and make lots of faux-historical images.
A short introduction to the steam room.
a. When you ring someone, do not say anything for about 6 seconds.
b. Then cut in a background tape of the inside of a Bangladeshi underwear factory.
c. Announce that your name is Wayne O’Grady, or Anders Andreasson, or John Johnson. These are perfectly plausible to go with your heavy subcontinental accent. Avoid the use of the name Peter Sellers…
d. Say that you are from the technical division of Elfrubdhethic Solutions. If they ask you to repeat that say that you are from the technical division of Rathvictichoxz Corporation. You can cough while you do this.
e. Tell them that you have been monitoring their computer and that they have downloaded some viruses. Or solar cells for the roof. Tell them they have downloaded solar cells.
f. Tell them to go to the computer and turn it on. If you are feeling randy you can tell them to turn you on.
g. If they refuse to go to the computer threaten to have them arrested unless they buy iTunes cards. If they ask why, tell them that you will have them deported. If they still refuse tell them that you will be arriving on a sinking rowboat along with your 34 needy relatives and that you know where they live. If that doesn’t shift them, nothing will…
h. The timing of the call is all-important. Australians eat dinner at 6:00 PM. Make your call at 5:57 PM. Every day. For a month.
i. Never use the phrases ” Golly Gosh ” or ” Goodness Gracious Me “. Don’t ask why, just avoid them.
j. And the most important thing. Make your calls from an Australian mobile phone or land line phone that can be traced. It’s no good doing all this fine work and not getting credit for it.
Passing the week in an armchair is not as delightful as you may think – particularly if the sitting down portion is interrupted with getting up and being in pain. And very much if all the things you want to do are somewhere else in the town or in the house…and you’re sitting there in that damned armchair.
Well, it’s getting better, and more mobility is coming…but for the time being the iPad and a clip-on keyboard is the only game in town. And I have just discovered YouTube. Don’t laugh – for a Luddite this is a big thing. And it has been a blessing.
I follow scale modelling videos – this week has been a good chance to review airbrushing tutorials from a famous British presenter, and since he is fielding questions from all oer the world regarding this art, many of the things I’ve worried about have been dealt with. I am also encouraged to see that he has made as many mistakes as I have …so far…and has figured out how to recover from them.
Other presenters are prehaps not as professional as Mr. Flory, particularly if English is not their first language, but every so often they will have a gem of an idea and lay it out in front of you modestly. Every day has been profitable in new ideas. And I suspect that this sort of pattern may be repeated in lots of other fields and topics.
One thought, though…the introductory sequences and titles can sometimes be reminiscent of Hollywood Extra Efflux. Perhaps a little lighter on the gunshots and violent animation. At least one doesn’t have to sit through layers and layers of studios, holding companies, and corporate facades before the main feature. And watching at home, the snacks are cheaper.
If you can hobble about well enough to get to the fridge…
Tell ya what. Make the experiment. Set up a Weblog page.
You don’t need to commit lot of money to do it…I haven’t spent a penny on this column in all the years it has been running. Just grab a free WordPress or Blogger theme, invent a name for it, and away you go. Consult your own mind and conscience as to the topic you’ll cover and try to find something in your picture collection to head it.
Watch as the world beats a pathway to your screen…and then look closely at who makes up that world. You may be astonished to find that you have an audience of people and organisations who are trying to tell you how you are doing it all wrong and who are prepared to correct that for a small price. It’s almost as if they are not interested in you, but in your money. How odd.
You will be presented with complex computer and social media plans that compel you to to write special words to attract attention. I should avoid references to political leaders or discussion of explosives. Some attention you don’t need.
You may work with a platform that scrutinises your grammar and spelling. Do not take it badly if you have a screen full of red and green lines after you have poured your heart out. Take some amusement in the fact that the all-wise circuit will also allow you to pore your hart otternschlag and think it perfect…
You will be spammed. Though if you want a Russian bride or cheap perfume or on-line gambling you may be delighted with the haul in the spam catcher. Again do not be angry as it is only the machines talking to each other – you can dismiss it out of hand.
Your position in the crowd will be no better than anyone else’s based on any of the complex schemes that are presented, but just occasionally you’ll have the satisfaction of seeing one of your images or one of your thoughts show up on a regular Google search. Craft them so that if they live forever, they are a credit to you.
The trick is to find something to bait other than a bear.
In any intimate social circle of friends there will be people who can be attacked with impunity. We all know a mass murderer or sex offender or someone who wears socks with sandals. They are the legitimate targets of our hate, righteousness, and scorn when we are feeling out of sorts.
We can pillory them to our heart’s content on the internet with no danger of reprisal. But then so can everyone else, and that means that we just blend in with the braying crowd – no-one will know how virtuous and cool we are. Easy targets get no gongs, as they say in the Air Force. They may get more than their fair share of 1000 pounders, but that is no consolation when we want personal publicity. We need worthy enemies that can be vanquished easily while the light is good and the cameras are rolling.
Trouble is, worthy enemies – again to use the Air Force analogy – are armed with flak and fighters, and are not easy targets. If you get a whipping while you are trying to do that to someone else you are not going to benefit. So what we need are targets that appear tough but are made of rubber or straw.
In the social scene these can be found amongst the rich and entitled or poor and defenseless – provided they are far enough above or below our own social standing as to render us invisible. If we can be mean from behind a double-blind of false identity it is even better. This may be the real benefit of identity theft.
Of course things can change in time. The Nigerian scammer of last decade may well become the new government of this one. Likewise the politician we all vie to hate may be proven right. We must make some provision to retract our statements, or at least to retract our signature on the libels. For this purpose we advocate the good old disappearing ink beloved of spy novels.
The safest way of all – at least on WordPress or Blogger – is to include free-form poetry or advice on how to make money from home in each post. What is never read cannot be sheeted home to you in court…
A lie, I tell you. A damned lie. I mean the advertising line that some particular product, service, or workshop make digital easy. Nothing makes digital easy…and if anything slightly eases the burden, you can be sure that someone will spot it and quash the improvement.
The closest to making things easy is the Apple business. Your iMac or Macbook is probably nearest to a seamless experience that you’re ever going to get…provided you are prepared to play it entirely the Apple way. You’ll need to surrender yourself to somewhat of a mom-and-pop spinster schoolteacher level of tech, but if you can do what you want to do in those boundaries, you can do it without having to panic.
Okay. I lied. You’ll have to panic a few times a year as the Apple people update something or someone else in the electronic kingdom tries to usurp power, but you can have confidence that Apple has more lawyers, geeks, and possibly assassins than the rebels, and it will all end soon.
I’m not proud – I am prepared to be mom-and-pop. I’ve been pop for about 40 years and it is a fine thing. And if Apple can make the engine start every morning and get the computer out of the garage and onto the road, I’m prepared to pay for it. I do not need to be cutting edge – in fact cutting edges are anathema to me as I take aspirin.
But what I DO want is the other players in the game to stop indulging in electronic dick fights and let simple things that work continue to exist as those simple things. I’ve yet to get the WordPress/Facebook link to start up again properly and it is proving frustrating.
And I digitally frustrate easily…
Wood afternoon. Is here Raskolnikov.
Ah, I have virus computer? You Microsoft Technical Department? You fix? Good. DO NOW.
No, I not the only person of computer. Many people of computer all over world.
Hello? Hello? Where go Microsoft Technical Department? Hello?