Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blue (thanksgiving) Hawaii.

Ah. Home. You know how people complain about air travel? Well I'm one anyway. I complain about flying like it's the worst thing in the whole wide world! Yesterday it took me 20 hours to get home from Kona, Hawaii. And guess what? I didn't complain once, because that vacation was just that awesome! Maybe my brother will have a different recollection on my non-complaining...but he's not here to say otherwise. :)

Ok so it's a bit weird to still go on family vacations when you're 31 years old. But guess what? I like my family and they go to awesome places! Plus, it helps when Mom foots the majority of the bill, talk about a giver. (Mom shout out!) So in chronological order, here's my Hawaiian vacation, iMovie style. We start in Honolulu where Angie bottles her own wine, we visit some penguins, and eat at Morimoto. In the Kona area we swim, snorkel with sea turtles, drink a lot, eat all the fishes in the sea, and befriend a malformed donkey. Enjoy!


I'm hoping to keep this aloha spirt around for a while. Maybe I can take in some of these colors, attitudes, and vibes into my work and design. Oh, speaking of... I got a new job! In a few weeks I'm moving to HarperCollin's Art Department, working on Middle Grade and YA covers. I'm nervous but I think we've got a good aloha feelin' going on in that department. Overall, a great start to a very thankful-filled holiday season.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I love Fall in New York. I dare you to find someone who doesn't (if they do this person is clearly a Debbie Downer and should be avoided at most costs).

The colors in the parks in this city are outrageous and are inspirational for all things autumnal. But you know what's even more awe inspiring? Leaving the city. Head up to the Hudson River Valley!

Maybe you go for a day hike, those are nice. Or maybe you find a company that specializes in night time hikes, complete with meteorshowers and star gazing. And maybe this is is the last thing you see before everything turns pitch black—only to be illuminated by the awesome bright-as-a-city-skyline moon. Love.

And now to be a complete jerk, I must pack my bags for Hawaii. Volcanoes, beaches, family and poi, these are few of my new favorite Autumn-inspired things.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Muse fail

I just returned from a Nobel Desk top seminar titled Moving from Print to Web. This might end up being the most ironic part of this post, but more on that as things develop. (Foreshadowing!)

So while this was definitely an intro course and I knew a lot of the information, we did touch on the difference in web site construction and website layouts. Yea, no one likes Muse. It doesn't load properly and its code is crap. That being said, we're still Beta form so I have high hopes for it. Lord knows it would make my life easier.

But like I've heard 1,000 times before there is no magic "web site made!" button. This is also hilarious because I'm fairly sure that 40% of my own job complaints centers around the same argument—sure I can change this skyscraper Flash ad into a just takes a second! (Sarcasm!)

Oh speaking of Flash, Adobe abandoned it for mobile platforms, nice. So next up, old school html.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Adobe Muse

Remember when I said I was using this blog to help me explore transitioning from print to digital design? Somehow I missed the fact that the good people at Adobe have made it really, really easy. So thanks Adobe Labs! Muse is pretty much it—guess we're done here. ;)

I can not wait to use my interactive skillz on this! It's pretty much similar to the web functions and updates on InDesign CS5. I'm exploring it with's quick tutorial right now. If you're a member I highly suggest checking it out.

Oh and since Muse is in Beta, it's free. Onward in exploration and inspiration my friends!

I love learning new things.

Lynda and Adobe labs = Happy Sarah.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mood Board Nov. 5

I'm trying a new thing out, visual diaries(?) Anyway, fun stuff of this week—and starting with tomorrow's marathon viewing party at the star-studded Dunkin' Donuts*—next week's looking good too.

Click to enlarge

*there are no stars at the 25th St. Dunkin' Donuts just to be clear.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

HH casual tea

While looking for inspiration for my website (totally perusing Behanced) I came across a thread of people's favorite fonts. And it was only inevitable I watch My Neutra Face one more time. Hey, it'd been like a whole year since I'd last danced to it.

Anyway, in my excitement—aka dancing— I sloshed orange-make-you-sleepy-tea all over my key board!

I'd attach a picture but I freaked out and cleaned it up.

Anyway, if you have a favorite type face...well don't dance while celebrating it by your computer. Heed this cautionary tale.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I'm not one to be all dramatic about weather, only when it's crazy (see Hurricane blog posts). But today is October 29th and it's snowing! Not just kinda snowing, like actually—sticking to the ground—what would Frosty's Halloween costume be this Monday?—snowing.

Front window—Parrots picked off all the tree's leaves

Back window—Green leaves.

This is also weird because I was having a war with a mosquito last weekend until Thursday. Basically she was biting me when I was sleeping and I didn't like it. Now call me old fashioned, but don't we and the mosquitos have some sort of deal? When it's warm outside and you need food to feed your babies, you bite me. This doesn't mean I like it, but I get it. Circle of Life, yada yada. But when it's cold and SNOWING you gotta back off—Just saying.

So it's snowing. And hopefully Mrs. Mosquito is following her end of the bargin and died. But this grody weather brings other good news. To avoid it, I stay inside and and blog work on my elusive portfolio. So I have been! Ya'll should check it, be a fan of it, follow me if you're on Behanced—I'll follow back. Also, leave me comments on it. If you mad hate it, which you should just keep to yourself because if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all. Just kidding, lie to me! Tell me it's great.

But if you really do have suggestions, let me hear 'em. Because I love my work, and I really do want to make it better. Plus if you like kid's stuff, there's just a bucket of awesome for you to flip through. Hooray! Everybody wins!

Oh you might notice there's an empty space. That's for Logos and Branding. I've got 3 new logos in the works at work (awkward wording shout out) and as soon as those are approved, I'm complete. Excited!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sarah the trumpet.

Organization is not my strongest skill set. If I'm ever in another situation where someone asks me what my greatest weakness is, it'll be very obvious that organization is the main challenge. This'll be clear to the questioner since I'll try to explain roughly 12-60 things at once. Ah, I'm already doing it, so let's back up a second.

Last night I was trying to decide on how to gather my online and print ads, (some trade and some consumer) in one place. I mean it's kind of difficult to showcase an ad aimed at people who would be interested in reading Big Nate next to romantic dystopia. But then to further that cluster by putting an ad aimed at a buyer next to one aimed at angsty teen? As a dear friend of mine would say, "lunacy!" Clearly.

So how do I organize all of this? It's kind of the same thing, but not really. If I were a piano I could play all the parts at once and it would make sense to those listening. Sadly, I can only play one note at a time. So here I am honking on a trumpet trying to figure out where to put the horn section within this marching band.

Oh, I'm getting really bad on my metaphors, time for sleep.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Meta Times

A co-worker went to Noble desktop's online portfolio seminar last week and found out about What a world of difference in online portfolios! Originally I had my work on a site that wasn't cutting the mustard. I had real limited design say and it looked really outdated. But this?! This is awesome! I can upload work easily and add my own html preferences. While I still learn web design, I think this will really work well for me. I have to see if I can finagle some Flash. Oh lord if I can add .swf files it's over. So over!

Take a gander, I just began. If it looks oddly familiar just remember when it comes to branding one self, I'm super into matching. Which isn't to say I'm into matching in any self preservation or expression...just to be clear.

In other news, I ordered CS5.5 last week! HH is almost complete. I know he's getting antsy, and I don't blame him, I would be itching to work too if I were just sitting around blogging all day. Lord knows my freelance level can increase dramatically. I think I'll improve my at-home work productivity by a ridiculous percent, let's say 78% faster design time. That sounds impressive.

The funny part is since I bought it from an online retailer to save a little, I have to wait for an actual box with CDs in it to come in the mail. That is just too funny. I have enough technology and power to run a very small country but I'm waiting to use it by loading and installing software via CD drive.

Updates** on my lovely Adobe package TK.

*haha publishing joke!
** We're currently expecting an on-time arrival of CS5.5 (best to say this in a airline pilot voice)

Exhibit A: Dorkus Maximus

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve and Me

It's silly to be upset about someone I don't know. But lord did Steve Jobs help me out a ton. I know I couldn't do my job without his innovation. A bagillion people will say that, and they're all right for a bagillion more reasons. I read a quote today from NYPL's Twitter feed that summed up how I feel about my own field and career goals:

"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." – Steve Jobs

After I was done being sad I knew I had to get some regular chores done. I made a spa appointment earlier today but had to cancel it when told me the spa was...less then credible. Anyway, I always set stuff like that up via my junk email, hotmail. I think the end result is fitting for my love of all things Mac.

There's a reason this is only for junk mail.

Yep, wasn't working. C'est la vie.

<3 Steve. and thanks.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Digital Dad

I finished my eBooks with Indesign and Dreamweaver 5.5 class today. While I was trying to break down what I'd learned and how I can apply it to what I need to do, one very important kernel emerged. I am my father. I've known this for a long time and anyone who has ever met Ken Kaufman already knows this. Old news. Those who do know both of us, have you noticed the physical morphing as well? Me into him I mean, not the other way around. Ever since I started running I look more and more like my father! This is kinda cool since my Dad also looks a lot like George Clooney. But it's giving me gender identity issues. Dang I wish I had a picture of all three of us together, then you'd really be able to see the similarities. This'll have to do:


See what I'm talking about? Creepy.

Anyway. So I'm in this eBook class and the teacher—who was amaze-balls—is explaining embedding videos into EPUB files via Indesign, fixing it in Dreamweaver and adding the poster images by regular old fashioned HTML and CSS. He asks if there are any questions, that got me to thinking about slideshows. If we can add videos with poster images and skins, how come we can't have interactive slideshows? Basically I want to have a multi-state object, or multi-page document (i.e. event kit) on one ebook page. I can do this in interactive documents, but it's a PDF. How can I get it to be an interactive EPUB? His answer was sadly knowing a Java or QUERY developer to do it for me. Rats.

Since my subway ride home from the class, I think I've figured out a short term solution to this. I can't tag a .swf file in Dreamweaver to do it the way I'm currently thinking—I don't know how. I don't know how these developers are getting flash onto Nooks and that new Kindle Fire, but I don't think it's thru CSS and regular HTML mark up....thus the Java Script suggestion I guess. Anyway, I can make a slideshow in Indesign or Flash and output it as a .swf. I can take that Flash file (however it's created) and convert it to a .mov file which can be embedded into EPUB. So it's not an actual "pages inside of pages" construction, but it's a messy workaround. I'll create a separate EPUB of only multi-state object documents in case anyone wants to look at them closer. I don't need 40+ pages within in one "chapter", it's annoying. But I don't want to only have movies of my work, that's not accurate either. We'll see if eBooks can catch up with what we want it to do.

So that brings up my main point. No one has done this yet. Or rather I should say few have done this. Because if people were doing this, it would work. It would at least be possible. Right now there's handfuls of dorky people sitting on subways, traveling around, and muttering to themselves about code. And this is how I've become my father. He doesn't wander around places muttering trying to figure stuff out (just kidding I know he totally does). But he can something, take it apart and make it the way he wants. He's always done this. I'm fairly sure parts of the space shuttle have been in our living room for this purpose.  And while the content might be different between us, I'm proud to have that ability. I'm proud of myself to be able to see something, understand it's construction and rip it apart. Or at least try to make it the way I want. I know I got this from Dad, he showed me how to do this as a kid and now as an adult. For example, he's currently building his own house "off the grid". Is he an electrician? No. Is he an architect? No. Does he even really work? No. Just builds things and learns how to do it as he goes. The main difference might be that when he does it, it's always kinda great. But I'm getting there.

Class info for anyone who's interested, it's hella awesome.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Ooo tomorrow's the big day ya'll! I start my first EPUB class tomorrow at 9 AM. Exciting. But here's the silly minor detail, I never learned HTML or CSS. Oops. I was going to try and at least fiddle with it tonight, just for like a few hours so I wouldn't be totally lost. But I've got a crap ton of freelance that's due. Double oops. Yet here I am blogging about it. Ah well shit can wait.

I got a promotion kids!! Hells to the yea. Senior Designer. Holla. I'm super duper excited. I hope it'll let me get in there and do it up right. While I understand the need for print, I want to work as hard as I can to eliminate it. Ok, not entirely but mostly. I mean who cares, am I right? Books, smooks. It's all about the EPUB fools.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Catch it on up

Side note I have the I Dream of Genie song stuck in my head. And now you do too! Look at us making strides to keep connected.

Today I was working on yet another book trailer when I realized, it sure has been a while since I showed off. So for ya'lls viewing pleasure I present Carrier of the Mark.

Ok so maybe showing off isn't the right term. Because this trailer, while super cool, doesn't look as sharp as if done by a professional video editor. I have a lot of video editor friends and colleagues and I know they'd be able to see a lot of imperfections. But wait my friends! This is done in Flash and iMovie. Ah, yea now you see what I'm talking about. Total show off.

On my extremely long list of "To Learn" is Final Cut. But truthfully it's taking a bit of a backseat to HTML and EPUB. I mean I'd rather have the ability to show off this stuff online in portfolios and websites then anything else. That being said, what I've been fooling around with via interactive documents have greatly increased my Flash capabilities.

Case in point will come in a few months after this Lovetorn is approved and finalized. I just started it today and I have to admit it totally rocks. This video will be done in vectors only which gives me a ton of freedom. Oh and also since I don't know anything other then Flash and iMovie...well it's the only way to go with vectors, see learning!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Heads are gunna roll

*Update at end of post

Ok so maybe you shouldn't drink and email. And maybe you shouldn't drink and email your landlord— especially after a day full of bad news and frustration (ohh yea phishing, trolling and passive aggressiveness all in one!) But god effing damn it I'm super pissed off!

We all remember my whacky ceiling of doom right? It's so stupid to even hyperlink this because it's only two posts away and I'm pretty sure only two people read this stupid thing. So all three of us together, say it with me now party people:

It's best to say this while pretending to be Ty what's-his-face from Extreme Make Over.

What's so hard about this? There's a leak, you come over here but on your knee pads, SARS mask or what the shit ever else you use to tar a roof and you tar it. Or whatever. Fix it.

Oh what's that you say? You did fix it?

I don't believe you.

I don't believe you because that stupid piece of crap sideways New Jersey/dog from Corpse Bride water stain is still on my ceiling. It's staring at me. It laughs at me at night. Quote the watermark, Nevermore.

Nevermore will HH feel safe in his brand new home I've recently carted from IKEA for him. I lugged that Swedish shit up 3 flights of stairs and now you wanna just sit back and laugh at me? Ah, hell no mother effer!

So what does my genius butt do? Drink a bunch of wine and fire off email #3 to my landlord explaining my frustration, demand and urgent request for a freakin' paint job.

I'm a good tenant! I pay my bills! I want representation from Sherman Moore. I want him to scream me at the top of his little paint boy lungs:

FUMES Sarah FUMES! Quick open the windows and keep away flames, we done effing fixed this piece of crap apartment that shakes, rattles, has uneven floors and the occasional mouse. But damn it the ceiling looks fine! And you can rest assured your more precious asset will be protected. I mean how else are you going to earn enough money get out of here?

My thoughts exactly imaginary little paint boy.

So tomorrow when the wine has drained from my head I'm sure I'll regret my email even though it's civil. The Texan in me will beg and plead to delete this post too, so if you caught it before I sobered up, consider yourself lucky. Yea I'm talking to you, lonely reader. It's ok, it's just us. I'll leave it up.

* Correction: You should totally drunk and email your landlord! My ceiling is fixed. Oh happy day! HH can be returned to his home and I can find something else to obsess about.

Smell the paster!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Portfolio Examples!

Well this has been a frustrating few days. Let's take that frown, turn it upside down and celebrate with some accomplishments.

My online portfolio / mystery-of-how-to-showcase work examples is coming along. So far I've got my online activities in an order I like. The little one sheets will zoom full screen and the booklets will have turned pages. I'm not even going to try to code flash snippets into this blog (check for updates in six months!) So here's a few screen shots:

First page of Activities!

A few pages later...

I mean seriously look how cute those little characters are! I like them all grouped together. Hooray for picture books!

Moving along, an ongoing puzzle might have been solved yesterday—well we're getting closer to solving the How to Market Sarah's Work Without Looking Like a Super Dork issue.

So here's what I came up with. The Card section opens blank with a "play" button appearing. I like this nod to the obvious especially in this seemingly portfolio for children. It is not edgy or an example of breaking design trends—it can't be, that would be absurd. So how do we acknowledge this without apologies and still seem cool? How can I show that I understand this could quickly turn into a circus without doing so? But I also shouldn't ignore that this is in the same market for those who would love to visit a circus. Does that make sense? Perhaps's a work in progress.

Basically, trying to find a way to tastefully add animation to a page full of illustrated characters has proved difficult. Those one sheets you see above are animated, true. But to enlarge for the viewer is a much different feel then something "exciting". Most websites I see are so over animated it's annoying. Lord help the sucker who is still creating animated giffs (self shout out.)

I think we can enjoy a little tongue and cheek while showcasing clean work, in a variety of forms for a wide range of clients.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Phantom Contractor or Act of God: You Decide

A few super things have happened since we last chatted. See how sarcasm bursts through that freshly typed sentence!

My ceiling...

See that bumpy curve deal in the middle—the part that's not the color of an unattended healing flesh wound? That was spurting mad amounts of Irene. However, once she was done and after we collected a nice chunk of brown water in our recycling bucket (what was handy at the time, also the use of "we" sarcastic as I was alone—more themes!) the dripping stopped. Miracles upon miracles when the rain stopped the dripping stopped.

Still, being the tremendous tenant that I am, I emailed my landlord the next day explaining the damage. I figured, Hey! Let's start fixing this sad sack of water drops! Let's turn these rusty colored tears of weeping sadness into clogged up holes of joy!

It's been a week and I'm still ass deep in water stains in the shape of New Jersey.

Sideways NJ? Dog? Tell me what you see in the comments! 

Full disclosure: I'm not a licensed roofer or an effects-of-long-standing-stagnant-water expert. However, I think I can safely assess that many a-changing orange shapes on a-ceiling does not equal a-nything good.

I know that a lot of people give contractors a hard time, and I fully understand why. My landlord said I should contact her contractor myself (theme alert!) I spoke to him immediately after the "hurricane" and I stupidly assumed he would take my claim seriously and patch the roof. I called him twice last week—a super duper sunny week might I add. He assured me he would take care of it. He never called back. He never asked for my keys. He never painted my ceiling. I assumed he never did boo.

This evening after an afternoon of raining cats and NJ dogs, I lugged my stuff home from work, ready to unleash the unholy power of "You gotta be kidding me with this friggin leak!" and found . . . nothing.

So what happened:
A) Contractor fixed a leaking roof in a timely manner. Told no one. Did not repair interior damage.
B) Contractor did not fix a leaking roof. Rain water currently swirling into shapes of New Hampshire, Vermont, and/or contemplating a nice Massachusetts.
C) Act of God in the rarely seen "protective" format.

I ask you, which is the most believable? It will continue to rain here all week, maybe I should pull a Rick Perry and pray for it to stop. Otherwise I have a feeling that we're dealing with "Situation B". I can see it now: my ass will have to scale up the fire escape to put a tarp over the crack by (you guessed it) myself.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

SCRIPT—Irene: Preventing a Misunderstood and Unnecessary Revenge.

I just packed up H.H. in a garbage bag and put him in the closet. Right now I'm typing on his predecessor, Calvin Coolidge. Usually in situations like this I wouldn't worry about H.H. However, since last year's snow storm I've had this little brown water stain on my ceiling right above my desk. I'll be damned if Irene is claiming Herbert. I can see this little senario playing out:


Irene, Irene, Irene, I-rene! I'm begging of you please don't take take my man!

Ha ha silly little girl! You thought you were immune to 
Irene's wrath simply because you are in Zone C?

Irene, Irene, Irene, I-rene! Please don't take him even though you can!

Stop singing Dolly Parton at me, it only makes me angrier! 

It was actually in the style of the White Stripes, but sure.

[Skip beat]

Major Bloomberg said I would be safe in Zone C and 
should only worry if you were a Cat 3 or 4!

That little turtle? You listen to him? Don't you remember last year's Christmas snow storm? 
My brother Kevin forced you to stay in Houston for an extra 3 days...

Tell Kevin I said 'thanks' for that actually. I got a few extra days with the fam and...

... and then you sat in at Bush Intercontinental for another five hours after that? 
Had you learned your lesson?

[audible gasp]

And it was I who further trapped you in the airplane once you got to Newark! I personally held back the little cart thingie that connects the jet-way to the aiplane door! 

[evil laugh]

Wait, you have a brother named Kevin? Does he take form in snow or wind? Is it just the over all precipitation that makes you related?How exactly do you... Seems a bit odd...

Silence you little turd monkey! Your insolence is only further proof you laugh in the face of my mother, Nature. You follow your turtle mayor's advice dispite my warning. LO! I claim your only prized possession. H.H. as you call him is now mine!






Well we can't have that now can we? I'm not sure how you set up a script as I've never written one, don't worry I don't care if it's right or not. 

So yea, to prevent Irene taking my man he's wrapped in a garbage bag and hidden safely in the closet.

Shhhh. It's a secret from looters too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How Do I...

How do I explain this properly? I want to keep this blog on the professional development level. I don't think its any secret however that I've been exploring other areas within my personal life that are supposed to keep me happy. Sure, my job is a big part of my life—HUGE actually for someone who has no children and no partner. Which of course brings me to my second highest obsession: being single.

Ah yes, it's painfully true, I am without a better half. A partner. A ball and chain. A best friend of the opposite sex I let poke me. I honest to God think my chance at total crazy bliss has already passed—but that's another story for another day. But I do believe that I can find someone who will make happy. At least someone to spend a Sunday evening with. Do you know how hard it is to eat an entire rack of lamb by oneself? Neither do I as I've never had anyone to share a rack of lamb with. My needs are rather simple. You don't need to rock my world, but you do need to be a competent adult who: likes me, has a job, isn't dependent on illegal substance(s), and likes lamb. Let's dream big people!

So you can imagine my surprise when I joined Ok now first of all, I know a lot of people who have met their mates on-line. I have attended a few on-line weddings, hell I was the signed witness at one of the best (Yazzersize!). In the past I just didn't think that was going to happen for me. But then again I had never really tried all that hard. At my birthday I realized I was the only single person in attendance. This usually wouldn't bother me, I've been single since college really. But I'm so much happier now that I thought...I thought I deserved to try again. I think that since I actually like myself and my postion here, I deserve to find someone to share all that roasted meat with. Plus another friend of mine but it perfectly, "You go to the gym 4 times a week to make sure your body stays the way you want it. Can't you go on one or two dates a week for the same idea?"

Yes. Yes I can. Practice was in order. Even if I didn't meet anyone I wanted to spend a whole lot of time with, it was clear that on-line dating would at least provide me with some practice. If I met someone to hang out with a few times, awesomesauce. If I just got to see a few new people, also awesome.

But now we're about a week in and well... No, no I can't! Tonight has been the most depressing (or hilarious depending on your opinion) date of them all. I present in all truthfulness and all reality: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sweet Dee Dates a Retarded Person—Real Life Edition.

Now before you get on me with this remember I did not name this episode of Sunny. I did not star in it, write it, or even conceive its idea. But I did live it. I lived it so effing hard core I have to point it out. I don't know if it's just meta or if it's fate or just another reason I should be seeking out my Charlie companion. Either way I had no idea what the shit just happened. But I do know you do not spend an entire date talking about yourself, wearing a backpack and sweatshirt in the middle of August. I know that's not a lot to go on but I'm desperately trying not to be mean. The only "proof" I have of this terrible date was the look on the bartender's face when we ordered. He gave me the biggest glass of wine I've never seen with the words, "Here ya go honey, you're going to need this." Indeed Mr. Barman. Indeed.

This was the look on my face from 6:30— approx 7:00 PM 

PS if there's a significant amount of misspelled words or overall lack of coherence with this entry I apologize. It's just the wine I've continued drinking since said date, for shizzle. 'Lil Kevin—OUT.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bulletin Board

I figured out what H.H. needs! An inspirational bulletin board. I just received a whole lot of great cards in the mail, a baby announcement, a rehearsal diner invitation and of course the wedding invite itself. How cute would those look pinned up across from me now? Very.

I like this whole improving myself business. Check out my new lamp:

Sepia tone not included.

I'm not 100% sure that shade is on right side up. The label indicated it should rest a top the base as shown, and it's a bit wobbly if placed on the bulb "up side down". But doesn't that look backwards? Whatever I'll just try not to squint at it too hard.

Ok time to drink and wink.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The weirdest tech problems!

Today was the weirdest day for tech problems, both professionally and personally. Currently I'm fighting with a service that claims I'm allowed to upload photos. It's been a battle of me viciously clicking the "Upload Photos" icon and its button just a-sitting there. So here's a great blog break to complain about today's other unfortunate mishaps.

First up, iMovie. Now don't get me wrong, I passionately hate this product and anything related to it.* But we use it at work to make book trailers on the cheap. It's easy enough to use, but has crazy limitations. Fortunately for us designers, we're really good Googlers and can usually find tricks around it. Can't make a girl fly through the air with the greatest of ease? No worries, tween her coming in and out of frame in Flash, but export at 12 fps as a Quick time to avoid banding issues, then import into iMovie and speed up by 200%. Bam! Flying chick. Only today no dice.

iMovie will not accept changes to a file that you've already placed inside it. I have a picture called girl_1.png but she's too big. I must rename her something other then girl_1.png after I make her smaller. Today iMove said No way Jose! to girl_2.png. After a lot of iMovie bashing, aloud and physically, flying_girl1.png did the trick just fine. Yarg! Anyway, our lady of flight is safely ascending to places otherworldly. This will be a super great book trailer with a lot of sweet flying action. (youtube link TK)

Next up on my journey of "huh?" Indesign stopped allowing the use of the hand tool. This is beyond annoying! Does this happen to anyone else? I can sit there and press the 'A' button all I want, but I am not getting that white arrow. Jerks! Reset.

Now there were other problems today too, but I can't remember how I got my Twitter feed to finally publish to this blog. Now I just have to use Twitter for this small victory to even matter. For anyone who wonders, yes that is a celestial portrait of me done by my friend Becky in which I'm holding a roll of "Awesome Paper Towels" I found at the Red Hook Fairway. No tech problems there, just pure awesome sauce.

*For example, when I went to paste this link here, I noticed that the word "Firelight" within this booktrailer is no longer italicized. Why jerk iMovie, why!? I hope no one catches it—ha! a girl can dream. Ok inevitable more tech problems to explain / blame tomorrow. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Taking Care of Business and working over time, work out. 

This seems to be my overall running theme for this summer, and so far I'm still into it. I made a promise to myself at the beginning of the summer to change a few bits about my life. I've given myself a year to reach these goals, otherwise I'm a-scadattleing out of NYC. It's great here, don't get me wrong. And trust me, my past self would have slapped my current self for such blasphemies such as: New York City is just too damned expensive. New York City is just too damned rude. New York City is just too damned dirty. New York City is just too damned annoying.

My past self would have said, Bitch you're just too damned old! Ah, birthdays. But I digress...

I've identified two underlying causes for such negative (and perhaps temporary) 'tudes. First up, New York City is expensive, rude, and dirty because I live within one of its many (safe) armpits. Now I love a Superfund Site as much as next tree hugging-Trader Joe's going-illegal loft resident. But I'm none of those things, so why the crap am I living under a bridge near the Brooklyn Shipyard & Gowanus Canal? You know someone once told me it has gonorrhea. People canoe through there too, gross. Anyway, it's pretty cheap to live near a river of poo* but after a few years, I think it's time to move on. But I gots to get the money if I wants to get the deluxe apartment in the sky. Enter new online portfolio.

Secondly, and even more embarrassing then living near the last known longshoreman sign up sheet (j'k that's cool as all fuck and you know it!) New York City is too damned rude because sometimes it's just me living in it. There's no one to save me from the unidentified serial rapists, F-train master-baters (most likely unrelated) or to just hold Ikea's impossibly heavy Expidit shelves as I slowly turn an allen wrench (shout out to K-Sharp!). With the exception of a few beautiful friends who have always fended off possible bed intruders or helped me climb up three stories while struggling with 150 lbs of DIY MDF, it's kinda just me. And frankly that kinda sucks. Enter new online portfolio.

Anyway, what's the point of this post? I suppose to reaffirm this goal, even though I'm only a few months in. But I think it's going well, I've made significant improvements on my online portfolio(s), watch out multi-state objects & cute boys of Brooklyn! Sorry glaussian blur and drinking an entire bottle of red by oneself—it's been real, but I think we should try to fix some of this.

*River of poo is actually quite far from my apartment, but I'm sure the local longshoreman know the best water route to view it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Animals and Vampires

In the four years I've been working in children's publishing I've seen a lot of story trends come and quickly fade away. But some, for better or worse, stick around forever. My favorite trends are animal trends. Maybe it's my fondness for Charlotte's Web, Ribsy, Ralph S. Mouse and the awesome Stuart Little. Since working at Harper I've been able to watch my own younger cousins get into Warrior Cats and then fall out, only for their younger brothers and sister to pick it up—it makes my day! (Not to mention a huge part of my job.) And that makes me a happy employee and elder cousin. There's a lot of cool content in those books and lord knows I'm a sucker for an adventure series.

Unfortunately an all too real trend and epidemic will not go away. The unfortunate Supernatural-as-a-love-story trend. I'm ok with this in the sense that I don't care what anyone reads, as long as it's happening. But I do care in the sense that after a while non scary vampires and stuff is boring. So this little ditty from overheard really made me giggle:

I can almost guarantee The Velveteen Rabid Rabbit is in the works. Or maybe The Velveteen Rabbit and Pet Cemetery. I don't know, whatever would go with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Which reminds me—I have to read that still!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Always listen to your certified Mac genius...

That's right sister! Because if you don't you could end up ass deep in unusable cables, frustration, and crates of empty wine bottles—whose contents were only consumed to ease said frustration. It's a wheel of constant sorrow. Cue the Soggy Bottom Boys!

When I bought H.H. from J she told me to use Set Up Assistant as soon as I got my new bundle of joy. I quickly dismissed this advice as soon as the Welcome video ended. I was too excited!
(As seen here) But I wasn't so concerned to skip over the transferring of important files (i.e. old pictures of my dog, drunken downloads of Ace of Base, etc.) because a co-worker* assured me I could use Migration Assistant at any time of my choosing. Oh how wrong he was!  

Needless to say, Tiger and Lion are not compatible much. At least Lion's Migration Assistant is super hating on Tiger. Oh how many updates must I run dear Lion?! And why can't I just un-install you and downgrade to Snow Leopard in order to use its clearly more effective assistant? Oh, you're an iOS or some shit. Whatever. No fear, I have my little USB man to get music, pictures and other essentials over. Stupid cats.

But in better "ta-da" news:

Could that be any funnier?

* co-worker is not a Mac certified anything.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Short Rant & Some Color Swatches

PORTFOLIO UPDATE! I'm almost done with Interactive Documents on Lynda—tortoise and the hare much? Our IT guy actually called my boss to tell him that I'm the best Lynda student. That'd be flattering if it wasn't so very sad. But it does get me thiiiiis much close to building this thing-a-jigger(s).

Of course I haven't been able to transfer my files over to Herbert yet. Who'd think they'd make H.H leave his Nimbus 2000* behind for this Quidditch match? I know that the Firebolt** offers faster processing and transferring, but iBooks didn't come with a Firebolts Steve! Lord (Voldemort). It's ok because I'm "borrowing" my work Ethernet cable tonight—this shit is driving me nuts! But onto fun stuff...

HEX-a-mania y'all!

This first swatch is straight up stolen from Ask me if I care. I don't! It's too lovely to not use. I think ded4b9 looks like paper and that would be awesome to incorporate my bookish feeling for my portfolio. I work in publishing—why fight it?


Which brings us to our second adventure, this time in monochromatic-ania! I call this one newsprint. Gee, really thinking outside the box on that title Sarah. But it might be nice to off set the dazzling display of children's publishing with a basic LBP. (Little Black Palette)


Finally we really have to use our imaginations with Golden Opportunity (he!) but something about sunshine and bees just gets my goats a-going.

Golden Opportunity

Friends joke about my hyper design of shapes on shapes or patterns on patterns, but I love 'em. I'll probably cause seizures with anything other then a simple color palette. I'm into the monochromatic, clean design but I can't help it if it just feels boring. Anyway, this is just round 1 in a never ending color explosion of ideas.

...Monochromatic orange you say? Interesting. Bring on the epileptic fits!

* Firewire
**I keep forgetting to call it "Thuderbolt", and keep defaulting to "Firebolt" I feel this Harry Potter reference works.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Migration assistant fail

When I bought my supped up computer I knew I'd have to transfer music, photos, the odd actual work files to it. What I didn't expect is for it to be a huge pain in the ass!

A friend at work was kind enough to lend me his firewire cable, easy-peasy. Everyone with a firewire connection raise your hand...not so fast iMac. What's that you say reader? "Surly the new and improved computer would have easy file transferability via cable!" Alas I regret to tell you no.

What it does seem to have is an excellent Time Machine transferability. A whole lot good that does from OS 10.4.11. (See the old bullshit I was dealing with?) Anyhoot after updating Migration Assistant on the old computer she still couldn't find Herbert wirelessly. I'll have to Google the shit outta this later for now I write this entry while sitting on a friend's stoop in Kensington via my phone anxiously awaiting his arrival. I'm helping him move today and of course it's a huge pain in the ass.

Some people get all the luck!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's here! It's here!

Once every few years I get to watch this video. I thought I'd share it's latest installment with ya'll. It's a bit shaky from my excitement.

"Yuuuup!" Is right!

Anyway, arriving a few days early, this little bundle of joy is the latest and greatest addiction (pun!) to the Kaufman Klan. I've already admitted to a few friends to singing the opening theme of The Little Mermaid while pulling the beautiful white packaging from the ugly brown box it was shipped in. But let's back up a sec and reflect how this little man came to be.

I bought it form a friend—an excellent friend—who shipped it from her store in LA to my office in Manhattan. Since I wasn't expecting it until Wednesday, most likely Thursday, I wore a very pretty blue dress and ballet flats to work. Interestingly enough this huge box was wedged into my cubicle before I walked into work this morning. Oh the pure joy I felt! Oh the excitement and disbelief of the United Parcel Service's speed! As I bend over to pick up my new baby I realized, this shit's heavy! 

Home Depot has an excellent array of trolleys and pushcarts for your purchasing pleasure. 

$30 later I had my trolley, all bungeed up and ready to wheel Herbert Hoover out the spinny doors of my building and down to the underground. Onward to Brooklyn! Did you know the service entrance to the R train at 57th St has been dismantled due to MTA budget cuts? Neither did I! Ramming poor Mr. Hoover through and over the turn style hurt a bit, but I'd be damned if I was walking back up the stairs and dragging his ass across 7th Ave to the other entrance. Plus I was already getting pit stains on my dress...which is of course a cheap form of polyester. Stupid synthetic fabrics.

But! The two of us had a lovely ride home. I read my book, The Inverted Forest, while he sat fat an happy in a bushel of apples. Roughly an hour later we'd reached 25th St BK, no one the wiser that I was lugging around a very expensive brown banged-up box. 

Three flights of stairs later and a small snag in my dress, BAM! We're here, alone at last. And I sit, stare at it's awesomeness, type away on it's wireless keyboard and click it's smart mouse. Yuuuup!

Monday, July 25, 2011

iMac of my Dreams (prt 1)

Finally OS X Lion! Took you long enough, geesh. Ok to be fair I know you were hammering out issues with the new Final Cut--also I've been on vacation for quite some time so we haven't really had a chance to meet. That all changes this Thursday(ish). I finally bought my new iMac! Let the peasants rejoice! Here's to our bright future together, 21.5", 2.7 GHz, 1TB hard-driving friend. Cheers.

So come this weekend I'm starting on my digital portfolio project, how about we watch it grow together? Awesome! Of course I still have to finish up that whole "how to do it" part of the project, but that can't stop me from fiddling with it, right? Totally. I've already started some old fashioned sketches:

I realize these are the most boring sketches of all time. Hell blue prints of colonial homes are more dynamic. And really this doesn't tell us anything of how the piece will function or even look. But I feel like it's excellent rough draft of ideas. Clean, simple, and not too flashy. Ok maybe that's too much justice. But it did help me organize the piles and piles and piles of PDFs I would love to showcase. The market for picture books and throbbing teen supernatural and/or dystopian novels won't know what hit 'em.

Now on to HEX color guides! Color gurgle.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Digital Portfolios and Me.

A freelancer we use at work has her entire portfolio loaded on her iPad. Lord was I jealous when I first heard of it. First I was jealous of her iPad. Then I was jealous of her cunning use of it for actual professional development. I like the idea of always having a dynamic portfolio with me. If I were to meet with a client and needed show (the limited) multi-media design work I've accomplished so far, surely having it saved on a tablet device is much more interesting then just reviewing my own (current lack of a) website. But how do I accomplish this? Besides the obvious problem of not being able to afford an iPad, how do I make something more interesting then just a quick flip through a PDF?

Enter the awesomeness of InDesign's interactive PDF and SWF capibilities. I've starting taking Interactive Documents on and have found it daunting and addictive. I love it all! Buttons, actions, lite Flash, and borrowed Action Script files can potentially take my teaching guide examples into new heights of interesting showmanship. I think the most helpful way of organizing all my pieces will be to utilizing multi-state objects. Pages within a documents with a built in slide show? Yes please! Now to actually build the thing...and get it to live somewhere.

As to what I'm going to put all this on for one on one interviews remains semi-unclear. I think I'd be best to have it as a micro-site, then also as a downloadable PDF for anyone who wants it. Hell I don't care if you have examples of my work, download it all! Reference me to your friends, spread the word on my interactive document awesomeness. Now does it live on its own, here...Tumblr? Well, it's not a perfectly thought out plan, but it's a nice start of a cool idea. Hopefully I can use this to watch it grow.

Oh, and if I have to purchase a Nook Color ($270 y'all!) because it has Flash capabilities and might just be handy to whip out for a quick demonstration, well so be it. Worst comes to worst I can get library books on my poor man's iPad (aka digital portfolio) now.

How awesome is all that?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

iCloud, uCloud

So Apple moves towards the Cloud—happy day! Honestly, I didn't know what the Cloud was until those commercials with those people stranded at the airport said it. It's also interesting that commercial is for Window 7 but I'll digress on that. I've been using the Cloud since... forever? Seriously when's the last time you can remember not having total access to everything you've ever downloaded no matter where you were? Ah, iTunes... right. Bit of a problem.

I'd never backed up anything I'd bought on iTunes. I stupidly believed if anything ever happened to my computer I could access the MP3s I bought through my Apple account through a different computer. Nope. I first realized this huge problem in 2005(ish) when I switched jobs and didn't think of taking the music I downloaded on my work computer with me when I left. Imagine my surprise. I can't have something I bought within an environment that provides me with just about everything imaginable? And Apple never fixed that! It's odd that it took Apple so long to get on board with this idea—at least for MP3s and downloads. But I don't know the legal issues involved, frankly I don't care. I want access to all my files 24/7. I expect it. Hell I even demand it! Now as a devoted Mac person, I get to have it. Happy Day!

An interesting topic turns out through all of this though. We've all been using Cloud for years, whether we knew it or not. But the main company we all use to buy and listen to music hadn't. With iTunes we bought music, we had it on our hard drive, and in a sense we owned it. But now we don't have to. We still buy it, but now it can be accessed from anywhere. So do we still think we own anything? Or we just have access to it all the time?

I'm not sure what this means really. I know that I need to change my way of thinking when it comes to marketing within publishing and design. I'm interested in how I'm going to take an idea I use every day, an idea I wanted to happen for every company I'm heavily involved in and make it work for my job. Is the future of publishing just a big 'ole paid-per-check-out-library? That'd be pretty awesome. It wouldn't sell many books, and I'd be out of a job, but I'd love all the access to all those sweet words.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Design Fundamentals

When I first was learning Flash, I knew I'd need a ton of help. I took a formal class at FIT for a month and I've still only scratched the surface of that program. Hell, the only ActionScript I know is to make something loop 3 times and/or stop. While I could continue to Flash 2 through formal training, sitting through 3 hours a week in a classroom after working just plain sucks. Why not take it to the web? Arguably the best source for information regarding any computer program is I've used Lynda to get quick updated Adobe Suite CS features "What's new in CS5!" and learn entire new programs. Unfortunately for me I can't really afford a year long all access membership—but my job can.

My request for a account has finally been accepted! Last week I was given my log-in and password, it's been a video filled adventure ever since. First up, tackling web design fundamentals.

I'm a bit embarrassed about my lack of web design experience actually. I say I wasn't old enough for the birth of the Internet, that's true. But I'm also too old to have taken part it its current form. Facebook didn't exist when I was in college, and my email address wasn't a gmail account until well into my first office job. I don't think I missed the birth and quick acceleration of web design, I obviously went along with it as a consumer, but that's just it a consumer. Starting to acknowledge the internet and its many forms of architecture is daunting! Did I mention I only know 2 Action Script codes?!

Luckily for me, a nice man put together a Web Design Fundaments course to just sort of lay out the entire "...Web design and development techniques and technologies, fundamental concepts, terms, and best practices involved in professional web design." Oh Christ. 

After an hour of videos explaining what are: URLs (Ha!); DNS; DTDs; XML; RSS feeds; JavaScript; AJAX; PHP, .NET, JSP; SQL; CMS; and JPGS, GIFs, PNGs (those I know!) The realization has quickly set it that I need to first learn HTML and CSS. It's going to be a long, long, long road. I have a lot of catching up to do.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Level of Weird

I'm a fan of my own work on Facebook. Not in a Sarah Palin kind of way. I didn't set up a separate account to 'like' myself. I want to make that clear. But I worked so hard on a particular campaign that when the campaign reached Facebook level, I really had no choice but to become a fan, right? Ok so when my company set up the Facebook page, they needed to secure the site and I was apart of that meeting. As so why I'm still a fan... pure egotistical narcissism.

Therefore, Dark Days of Supernatural books so up on my Facebook feed! This is weird on a level I believe we've touched on. Combining work and personal life is an issue I'm quickly fusing into one common denominator. For some reason I've allowed this Facebook page to show up and it doesn't bother me. I've become accustomed to seeing that logo and related badges sandwiched between friends updates and my mother's activities. But I think we hit a new level of weird when this evening I hit a two-fer.

A video I'd been working on for a book was embedded within the page I help created. Two levels of work combined into one. A double take of "Hey I know that, Hell I made that!.. Rather those."

The video is here, try not to freak out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Civics Class

I've been serving on a jury duty for the past week or so. I've still got two more days. When I tell people I'm serving on a jury most people give me a look that's a mix of pity and annoyance. That only amuses me. I love serving on a jury! Ok, so the subject matter is extremely sad. The actual trial is difficult to listen to, difficult to have to make a decision on, and just over all unpleasant. But I can't talk about the trial or its components. What I can mention is how due to the structure of the court system, I haven't been at work in three days. And I got two more days to go!

Heres where the awesome comes in. How can anyone be upset about not being at work? I'm not saying this is a vacation, clearly it's not. But it has served as a few days of active reflection. For example, every year publishers attend a big book expo at the end of May. It's in the Javits Center. Therefore the excuse to push projects to the absolute last minute is apparently mandatory. When I mentioned my civic duty to my boss, thus missing crucial days of book expo planning, he freaked out a little. Understandable. We're in the "Yes Ma'am/Sir" business and no one is going to acknowledge or care a department is one man short. I agreed to come in on Friday, since the judge told us we would have a half day. Maybe that afternoon I could push a few projects forward—help the department as much as possible.

I don't know what happened on those first two days I was out of the office. But when I came back Friday at noon, I was welcomed like a conquering hero! It was infectious. Seeing the small pile of folders that had accumulated on my desk was oddly refreshing. Instead of being annoyed or overwhelmed I was reassured. Yes my department needed my help. Yes I was appreciated. And Yes I can finish all of these projects by the end of the day.

People were surprised I came back into the office on a half day. Isn't it just so annoying serving on a jury? Doesn't it just mess with all of your daily activities? God I hope I never get picked. Well, if you don't take the time to adjust and appreciate what you do have as your daily routine, I suppose so. And when you have a half day off of said complication, why not come into the City and take care of business? It feels good to do the right thing and in turn it feels good to know people need you. It also feels really good to sleep in past rush hour and sit in a room with strangers and read a good book, not getting hassled for a few days.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Social media goes on forever and the training never ends

My job moves a little slower then most marketing design jobs. Working in books we market and advertise a lot of stuff via paper. We print a lot of words on paper, we advertise on paper. Recognize! I'm getting into that whole digital space, but I will be the very first to admit I'm behind. Yes I've been in that digital space for some years, and yes I know front-end Flash. But banner ads and facebook profiles are really the extent of it. Truth be told, I'm more comfortable in the printed world. I would love to move completely to digital and online—I don't need convincing as to why but a reassurance that it's worth it is appreciated.

Todays extensive training on online advertising brought up a lot of interesting points on traffic I'd never considered. Our VP pointed out that a lot of authors/agents/editors like seeing actual printed pieces. For example, a full page New York Times ad is deemed an accomplishment. "I'm a big name author, here's my big budget ad in a big national reputable newspaper." But she pointed out something very important, what did we, the publisher and by way of that the author gain from such an ad? Who saw it and what did they do after they saw it? Did they move on to the style section or run to Barnes and Noble?

I've never thought about that. Maybe it's because I've been trained not ask. Or maybe it's really because I don't necessarily care. Either way it did spark an interest. I know that people see the stuff I do, we've basically got that revelation covered. But what I show them, what they see, does it have an effect? Are they following through or simply going "Oh that's cute/sucks/is irrelevant/life changing."?

The good thing about online advertising is all of it is tracked. We know how many times someone clicks on something and where they go after. We know if they buy something, if they simply look at it, and creepily enough, how long they look at it.

I once looked at a pair of boots on I didn't buy them because I didn't have enough money for them. Every time I was online, an ad featuring those shoes followed me. They haunted me, ok more like taunted me. Buy me Sarah, I'm so awesome. I'm a little black suede bootie that would look super hot with dresses. It took a few weeks but I bought them. What's the parameter on this? How far can tracking clicks and ads go? I understand the appeal. In theory I can show two ads at the same time, and see if one ad gets more relevant feedback then the other. And I'm exhausted at the very idea.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Big time in-store marketing—wah-wah

I've often done promotional pieces for in-store displays. Oh, wait, that is the majority of my job. Back track... it used to be the entirity of my job. Now that we (i.e. publishing) seem to be working less and less with paper, creating printed material is becoming scarce. It's rare to print an ad for a magazine... it's rare that people pick up magazines. Ok that's a bit dramatic, but still the printed advertisement or marketing tool is slowly melting away. Downloadable activities, internet mumbo-jumbos, apps and the dreaded e-book interactive back ads have pretty much taken place of everything I learned in design school.

Every once in a while a store or event takes place that will really use all the print knowledge I mustered in school, exciting! Usually reserved for conventions and expos, the big ass printed poster is a headache of scant scratch-disc memory, complicated rivet placement, and how exactly do we showcase this without it screaming at you? Figuring out this puzzle can be a lot of fun. Because usually (and if you do it right) the visual of a big ass poster can be awesome. Behold the awesome problem of Pinkalicious.

The author of Pinkalicious is having a cupcake decorating party Dylan's Candy Bar tomorrow. If you've never entered Dylan's Candy Bar I highly recommend. The store itself just oozes sugar shock. Bright colors and shiny floors of printed candy gleam around every treat you could possibly imagine—except Snaps, I combed that place for my father's favorite candy coated licorice to no avail.

I couldn't think of how set off a gigantic pinkerrific poster against the extreme colorful and intense store decor. We did our best, of course. Pinkalicious floats awesomely from her books, wand waving proudly at all her Pinkerbelles. It'd been a while since the pieces were printed and I was wondering if my efforts in the Pinkalicious poster would stand out against Dylan's already candy-crazy decor.

When I ran up to the shop on 3rd ave, at first I couldn't even find her! I mistakenly thought she'd be in the frames within the window. Instead she was sort of propped up against the glass of the building. One poster had "Three Floors of Candy" etched across her face, for shame! I seriously hope the managers at Dylan's change this for the event, it's so slap-dash. I did snap a picture of the one unobstructed Pinkalicious I saw.

 Eh. I'm more drawn to the marshmallow shooters myself.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Going to Minneapolis with flowers in my hair

I finally decided on a vacation. I wanted something away. Away from New York, the complete and utter opposite of this stinky, dirty, freezing city. Somewhere hot, humid, full of hippies maybe, and water. So much water. But a round trip ticket to Minneapolis was $259-Lake Minnetonka here I come.

I talked to one of my best girl friends who lives there. We met in London, we were roommates actually. Randomly assigned a tiny dorm room off High Street Ken over ten years ago and we still talk to each other every day. While we don't see each other as often as we should, we manage a reunion every other year or so. I missed her last summer, I'm hoping to make up for it this summer.

Maybe she'll spark that creative streak I'm looking for. The last time I was at her house we painted our nails on a blanket spread out in her back yard. We watched her two standard poodles play and lay in the sun. As a joke I bought a romance novel in a gas station outside of Duluth. We read it to each other on that blanket, cracking up at the yearnings and throbbing members. I think it's a creative blanket. I know she's a fun person, she was when I suffered through my last bout of creativity.... maybe she can help again.

Nonetheless I gotta go get me a new sketch book. The old ones are filled with past memories, I have new goal now. Just got to find it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Just Kids

Today I went to the library to pick up my copy of A Visit from the Goon Squad. I was so excited when NYPL sent me the email saying it was ready! I honestly thought it would be the glimmer of awesome in my day of pure suck. In keeping with Springtime in New York, the weather today is rain, cold, mist, and grumpy. But I braved it with the knowledge that the book I'd waited for months would be in my hands.

We can all see where this is heading, right? I ran to the shelf, anxiously seeking my number...3240, 3241, 3248... oh hell no we skipped me, number 3245! The extremely awful "librarian" at the desk informed me that since the book had not yet made it to the shelf it was deemed in transit. (Bullshit alert). On such grumpy day I wished someone to do their job, be nice to me and just check the incoming shelf. But when I suggested this all I received was attitude and a sassy hand-on-hip placement. I was dismissed with a flick of a hand, and out into the street I went.

A somewhat ridiculous tear filled walk back to the office and some subsequent pouting, I picked up a used copy of Just Kids from the give-a-way shelf. Since I work for the company Ms. Smith published with, copies of her National Book Award winner float around en mass. And thank God for them.

This book is amazing! I've only read 70 pages but I'm in love. There is no book review here on Patti Smith's story of meeting, loving, and BFFing Robert Mapplethrope. Their story is hers to tell, and she needs no help from me.

Reading this book has opened up certain vaults I've been struggling to keep closed. I used to be a poor transplant myself. After a terrible two years in college I ran away to London, hoping to find myself and a bit of adventure. I never had enough to eat and stole frequently from the school cafeteria and neighborhood corner store. My friends and I drank at the student unions, flirting with any Englishman who would buy us a drink. We doubled up on student train tickets and slept in stations when we missed them. We trusted each other to get by in countries and cities we had no place being. There was no purpose and no point other then returning home at the end of the summer. Those few months are of course not comparable to the story told in Just Kids, but I created more art and meaningful stuff that English summer then I ever had before.

For a while it carried over. For a while back in Texas I was still a creative person, an artist in my own limited right. But ten plus years later, I find myself in New York, a city of creativity and everything one could possibly want and I'm stuck. Where did I falter? What slipped? When did I stop and why? Is it too late to start again? Or is this just I blog this, I could tweet it: that would be the end, then I would be stuck.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Selective Tweets

The administrator for that social media company I've been caged up with for an hour every Monday said blogging was demanding. And while my laziness proves this demanding theory accurate, my main concern involves content. Case in point follows:

Today I was looking through my Twitter feed and realizing that some people tweet way too much. I understand wanting to give your followers updated information, but shouldn't it be relevant? The same administrator tweeted 15 times last night about television. I know I'm new to this, but it seems a tad much about nothing important. It got me to thinking, what is the average tweet per day and which of those tweets should be fed into Facebook, if any.

I'd seen Selective Tweets used by Facebook friends for a while. But I didn't really understand how it worked. I had tried to integrate my Facebook status updates to Twitter. But since I'm a person and not a company I can't do it. Or maybe I can but am too out of touch to realize how. I could easily feed my Twitter feed to my status update, but that doesn't help my problem of too many tweets per day—it actually enhanced that problem. So onto Selective Tweets we go. So exciting!

All I have to do is add the hash tag #fb to my tweets and it updates as my status update. One small problem, I never added my Twitter handle. How else were people going to know that my checking account was fooled with again this year? See what I'm saying about relevant content? Ok so adding the Twitter handle... where exactly is that?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Can Social Media help whatever it is supposed to help me do?

For an hour every Monday this April my job has required me to sit through various social media seminars. I couldn't possibly imagine what a company specifically designed to promote social media could offer a publishing company. Two days were dedicated to Facebook! What could we possibly cover? How could sitting in a conference room with a bunch of publishing underlings (and a few scattered managers) talking about Twitter, foursquare, You Tube and... Blogger (surprise, that was today's topic) help anyone connect with anything?

Oh how far I've traveled in the social media world. My Facebook and Twitter and are slowly fusing together. Family members and work colleagues share comments on work ideas and design projects. I frequently scan Twitter feed for #kidsbooks, #kidlit, and my personal favorite #pitchdarkbooks. People actually engage with these hash tags and Facebook pages. And since a lot of my work is associated with these tags, it's being seen. By actual people. And they are freaking talking about it! It's not all positive of course, but it's criticism I might be able to use to bring my design work in a direction I wouldn't have thought of.

I mean all the kids are on the social media right? Isn't my job to get these kids read some books? Let's bring it. The great experiment of social media and how I can get it to relate to my design in children's publishing might have just begun.