But is it good?

weird signage for littleton village, coloradoArt is very sub­jec­tive. One person’s favorite is another’s hated reject.

But when art meets com­merce — what used to be called, “com­mer­cial art,” there is another stan­dard. It must com­mu­ni­cate.

The artists behind the sig­nage of the new Lit­tle­ton Vil­lage, a res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial devel­op­ment near my home, crossed the edge a lit­tle too far:

1. At each edge of the main corner’s sig­nage area, there are two obelisks that look like some­thing from a sci­ence fic­tion movie.

2. Dur­ing the day, shad­ows hin­der read­abil­ity of the development’s name.

signage for littleton village, colorado

3. What’s with those white ver­ti­cal stripes? Before the devel­op­ment name went up, I thought they were giant adhe­sive strips to adhere the development’s name. No. They are not lighted, either. And then there are a bunch of holes that look like ven­ti­la­tion for an under­ground cham­ber.




Why not make things bet­ter than what real life offers?

That’s the idea Andy Hilde­brand applied to sound when he was work­ing for Exxon. His tech­nol­ogy has been applied to alter the sound of a tune so that the pitch is always per­fect. But like many good things, it can be over­done. A tune can be altered to sound like a robot is singing.

Many pop­u­lar musi­cians love this tech­nol­ogy. When applied min­i­mally, it can improve a musician’s abil­ity to hit a note prop­erly. When applied to the max­i­mum, it will pro­duce that robot effect.

And I get to hear robots every day. The build­ing I work in has a Muzak music sub­scrip­tion ser­vice, and they chose the Auto-Tune chan­nel to play all the time — in the halls and in the bath­rooms.

Thank­fully, Auto-Tune does not intrude into my office. Never shall it pass those doors.

(And I’ve writ­ten about this before. It’s a sub­ject that is near and dear to my heart.)


Other people’s lives

hand-written grocery listMy sis­ter and I share gro­cery lists — other people’s. We find them on the pave­ment out­side gro­cery stores, because peo­ple dis­card or lose them.

It’s inter­est­ing to get that tiny glimpse into oth­ers’ lives.

High­lights from this one are Plas­tic Limes and Kick Starts. The other side fea­tured Lay’s Truf­fle Chips.

We enjoy the vari­ety of hand­writ­ing and selec­tions of house­hold items. I have yet to find a computer-printed list.


Appreciating the esoteric

I love spot­ting the shiny bits — the things that pass most peo­ple by — the details.

(And that’s why I love hang­ing out with, liv­ing with and work­ing with those who see the big pic­ture. Con­trast is healthy for our souls.)

In Fort Collins a few weeks ago, I spot­ted the back of this Honda. You’ll note it says “Fit” on the left and “Jazz” on the right.

In Amer­ica, the small­est Honda is the Fit. It’s called the Jazz in the rest of the world. The owner of this car appre­ci­ated that fact enough to find a badge from both places.

I love it!!

(And I love Fits. We have one.)



Write with your hand.

This old post­card is one my dad left me, before he left.

Putting a pen (or pen­cil) to paper is an entirely dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence than typ­ing on a key­board. Feel­ing the pen tip (or graphite) move across paper pro­duces a deeper feel­ing than hit­ting keys. Every char­ac­ter you pro­duce is a small act of cre­ation.

I have a bunch more of my dad’s post­cards. I’d love to write to you on one. Just leave a com­ment on this post. I’ll send you an email to get your address, and then a post­card will mag­i­cally appear in your mail­box, at the speed of snail­mail.

Send­ing one back is com­pletely optional.


All too quick

I dis­man­tled a swingset on Sun­day.

Colorado’s intense high-altitude sun and tem­per­a­ture swings had taken their toll on the wood.

Our youngest kid is now 15. Play­ing on the swingset no longer holds the attrac­tion it used to. So we decided to con­vert that part of the yard to gar­den.

It’s sad to con­tem­plate that it seems like just a few years ago when I was mourn­ing the loss of cute­ness — when she was about 6 or 7 years old.


Come on, invent that


New win­dows for an old build­ing… some­times that doesn’t work.

See­ing this gap reminded me of read­ing a great phrase some­one really smart once said: “no one puts new wine into old wine­skins.”

And that made me think of the gaps that are all over Colorado’s roads. The extreme heat and cold we expe­ri­ence — and the water that seeps under­neath our road beds — cause all man­ner of cracks and holes to appear — and grad­u­ally become larger and larger.

Road repair bud­gets are not what they used to be, so car repair bills related to tires and wheels are becom­ing com­mon­place.

Why can’t a smart engineer-type invent an inex­pen­sive elas­tic road sur­face that will expand and con­tract with the changes in weather and pre­cip­i­ta­tion? This sur­face would need to pro­vide a uni­form sur­face — as in, very smooth.

Know any­one up for the chal­lenge?


What once held value

Adobe Creative Suite, circa 2004In 2004, I bought this Adobe suite of soft­ware. At the time, it was the full com­ple­ment of soft­ware that the world’s best graphic design­ers would use to cre­ate their art­work.

(The cur­rent cloud-based ver­sion still fills that role.)

I paid some­thing like $700 — and at the time, the reg­u­lar full price was north of $1,000.

Today? That soft­ware is use­less. It’s not worth a penny.

The com­put­ers it would run on have long since been retired.

And even though the core func­tion­al­ity of that suite of soft­ware hasn’t changed, no one would buy that old ver­sion.

At least we still hold value when we get older. Our core func­tion­al­ity isn’t that much dif­fer­ent, though there are newer faster ver­sions.


You can’t say that

don't talk illustrationAmer­i­can cul­ture has become extremely polar­ized. If you are even slightly on one side of a fence, it’s very hard to say any­thing about your issue with­out get­ting shut down by voices from the oppos­ing side.

This cur­rent polit­i­cal sea­son has made the polar­iza­tion much worse. Polit­i­cal can­di­dates from both sides of the aisle are harsh and often unrea­son­able in their crit­i­cisms of their oppo­nents. A cli­mate of com­bat­ive­ness has sucked much of the Amer­i­can pub­lic into that same neg­a­tive vor­tex.

Thank­fully, I have become so tired of pre-election pol­i­tics that I lost my desire to voice any polit­i­cal opin­ion. I hardly lis­ten to any news, as so much air time is devoted to the same verses being iter­ated in some hardly-new direc­tion.

I’ll be glad when Novem­ber 9th hits, no mat­ter who wins.


When good songs become bad

Hear­ing a song over and over can ruin a per­fectly good song.

As I vis­ited Kinko’s today, I heard a song that I’d be happy to never hear again for the rest of my life.

sir-paul-mccartneyPaul McCart­ney is def­i­nitely one of the most tal­ented musi­cians of the last 50 years. But every song he has writ­ten and sung has not been a mas­ter­piece. (Very few musi­cians have that capa­bil­ity!)

Band on the Run is not my favorite song by Sir McCart­ney. Even when it became a world-wide hit on the radio, I didn’t enjoy it very much.

So when the Kinko’s playlist fea­tured that song, I nearly ran out of the store scream­ing. (Well, not really.)

Can we have a world-wide mora­to­rium on cer­tain songs? Please?