The 365 Phenomenon

What could you see yourself doing every day for a year? Not basic stuff like eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, etc. But some kind of creative endeavour. I’ve been getting hooked on the 365 things lately. There are quite a few of them out there. I don’t know where or who it started with. Here are some I know of:

Make Something 365

Project 365

365 ProjectTwitter – A photograph every day for a year.

Photo 365

Mini 365

365: Make a Book a Day

365 Days of Make and Bake

Crafting 365

Flickr: 365 Days, the knitterly and crafty types

Flickr: 365

Flickr: 365 Days (Self portraits).

365 Letters – Writing a letter every day.

Clouds 365

Do you Give Inanimate Objects Feelings?

Do you sometimes attribute feelings to inanimate objects? Maybe you have named your car. Maybe you feel sad for the last cookie in the box, the only book on the shelf? Giving an object feelings this way is called anthropomorphism/ personification, or pathetic fallacy when used in literature.

It’s not a bad thing, but it is kind of funny when you stop to think about it. I like the description I found on Yahoo Answers best, explaining it as just our way of making our environment comfortable and getting through the day. People who are alone might feel this way more often than those who are busier with more people in their every day life.

From Yahoo Answers:

its a social condition we ted to anthropomorphize objects to make a safe environment so our car is Bessie old girl who wont start this morning as shes a bit cold and off colour. Its just a normal social way of inventing stories that get you through the day

Write about someone who names things and thinks everything has feelings. Someone who takes this little pathetic fallacy too far.

Extra Resources:

Wikipedia: Anthropomorphism
Wikipedia: Personification
Wikipedia: Pathetic fallacy

Flickr: Anthropomorphism – Pictures of unconstructed (not posed) subjects which cause the immagination of the viewer to percieve a human characteristic.
Flickr: Personification of the Inanimate
Flickr: Personification
Flickr: Animate Objects
Flickr: Abstract Extractionism

Know Your Meme: Website Anthropomorphism

Faceook: Object Personification – Outdated group but has some nice posts.

Ubuntu Live, Windows Dead

On Thursday my computer began to slow to a crawl. After spending the day trying to work that way I decided to use the Acer recovery and my Windows reboot disk. I copied my files onto a DVD then began the process of recovery. I’ve done this twice before so wasn’t expecting anything much to happen. It takes some time and then more time to reinstall software. This time I could not get Windows to work. It said I had a corrupt or missing kernel.

After trying a few things, even tried using my old Windows ME CD cause that is a full version, I had to get help. I emailed Acer, the maker of my computer. I thought they would tell me where to get fresh recovery files in case mine had become corrupted. But no. Acer told me they don’t provide support for my computer, it is too old. It doesn’t seem old to me. I still feel this is “the new” computer compared to the IBM I had running for about 10 years before buying this Acer system. I would still be using that IBM if the Windows ME hadn’t become obsolete.

So I was not impressed with Acer. I tried looking at prices for new and refurbished computers. I looked at prices for buying a full version of Windows 7. It was not encouraging for my meager bank account.

I had half heartedly tried Ubuntu a few years ago. I gave up on it when I didn’t remember my password to login and was not really wanting to go through the time it takes to learn a new system and find out what works and what does not. So, in my time of frustration with Windows, I went back to Ubuntu. I had an old CD for Ubuntu 5 which did not work. It gave me an error as well. But, I went to the website and burned the latest Ubuntu to a DVD, just to try everything. It worked!

It is still working right now. I am writing this as a non-Windows person. It feels weird. I have used Windows since I began using my first computer when I worked for my Dad. That would have been… a lot of years ago! So it feels odd to know the computer I am using is not using Windows. It feels a bit like floating in space, weightless, in an endless night sky.

I know there are going to be trials ahead. I know none of my Windows software from the games to the practical things I have come to rely on will not work on Ubuntu. I may figure out how to get some of them working, as I get into Ubuntu and how it works. It really does not feel much different from Windows. Things are in different places on my desktop, but I could change that to be just like Windows. I won’t though.

My main concern right now is will my little scanner still work, I haven’t plugged it in yet. Also, once the scanner works, I will not have my old reliable, simple graphics program to resize and trim and prettify my drawings. So, I will have to learn Gimp or something else that works with Ubuntu. I’m not looking forward to that. I like my comfort zone. It’s nice and cosy and I know it works. I can’t think of other software I won’t be able to use right now. I know it is out there, lurking, later I will have a burst of memory and then remorse.

For now… my computer is working! So there Acer and MS Windows!

The Ubuntu ASCII Art came from a forum where someone had asked for an ASCII Art signature with the Ubuntu logo.

What do you Know about Typography?

Dzineblog has a post about trends in web design. One of the elements they write about, twice actually, is typography. What do you know about it?

I Love Typography: A Guide to Web Typography
The Font Feed: Erik Spiekermann’s Typo Tips
A List Apart: On Web Typography
Smashing Magazine: 10 Principles for Readable Web Typography
The Blog Herald: The Ten Commandments of Blog Typography
The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web

Extra Resources:

Typography Daily
I Love Typography
We Love Typography
The Font Feed
Ministry of Type
The Typographic Hub
Twitter: Typegirl
Twitter: TypeTweets
Twitter: Typophile
Twitter: Friends of Type
Twitter: Ray Larabie: typodermic
Twitter: espierkermann
Design Muse
Flickr: Typography and Lettering
Easily Amused
Eight Face
Letter Cult
Addictive Fonts
Upscale Typography
Typography Served
Flickr: Typography and Design
Flickr: Typography and Lettering
Flickr: Ink and Typography
Flickr: I Love Typography
The Case and Point
Twitter: TypeMedia

Typography Groups

The Type Director’s Club
Association Typographique Internationale
The Society of Typographic Aficionados
Type Camp
Flickr: Letterbugs – Typography by shutterbugs.

Vintage Typography

Flickr: Font of all Wisdom – Unique vintage lettering.
Flickr: Historical Type and Lettering
Flickr: Vintage Product Signs/ Murals

Hand Lettering

Flickr: Hand Drawn Type
Flickr: Hand Lettering
Flickr: Typostruction
Flickr: Custom Lettering
Flickr: Signpaintr
Flickr: Handpainted Signs of the World
Flickr: Handmade Signs
Flickr: Handmade Typography/ Lettering
Flickr: Bad Type
Flickr: Folk Typography
Flickr: Blackboard Lettering

Found Typography

Flickr: Found Typography
Flickr: Urban Typography
Villa Type – Type and lettering found in the public domain.
Letterpeg – Fonts found around Winnipeg, Manitoba
NYC Type – Typography and lettering found in New York.
Flickr: Street Typography
Flickr: Found Type
Flickr: Signs, Signs
Flickr: Fontspotting
Flickr: I Love Typography
Flickr: Signage and Typography
Flickr: Font Whores
Flickr: Barn and Building Painted Advertisements

Ghost Signs

Flickr: Faded Signage
Flickr: Ghost Signs
Flickr: Old Painted Wall Advertising
Flickr: Old Signs
Flickr: Ghost Signage
Flickr: Ghost Ads
Flickr: Half Lost Signs
Flickr: Old British Signs
Flickr: Fragmented Urban Language

Font Making

With FontStruct or BitFontMaker: Try creating a font of your own.

Writing in the Snow

You may have made a snowman, a snow angel or even a snow fort, but… have you written in the snow? I found this group on Flickr while looking for something else. Funny how I find some of the best and interesting things that way. I’m sure if I went looking for resources, blog posts, groups, etc. about writing in the sand I would find many resources. However, for writing in the snow there was only this one.

Flickr: Snow Writing – About Snow Writing: Words in the snow. Anything can think of writing in the snow with your finger, with your feet or any other tool: branches, pine cones, sticks. Just has to be words in the snow.

Assuming you are in a snowy area, today when you are outside make a point of picking up a stick (or something) and write your name or something in the snow. Take a photo and send it to the Snow Writing group on Flickr. Support the snow writers of the world. There are only a few of them!

Extra Resource: Flickr: Names in the Snow (Does not seem to be an active group).

Letter Writing Fading to Black

When did you last write someone a real letter?

This is what my nephew, Zack, asked me last week. One of his friends said she would really love to get a letter in the mail. So Zack wrote her a letter and sent it to her through the mail. It will be a very nice surprise for her one day this week.

I used to write letters to my older relatives, the Grandmothers and their sisters (my Great-Aunts). The last of them have been gone for years and it’s been about that long ago that I wrote a letter. Unless letters sent with Christmas cards count, I haven’t written a letter just for the sake of writing a letter in seven years I’m guessing. Kind of sad.

I know my nephew and nieces would love to have a letter arrive in the mail, kids always do. But I probably won’t write one. Email is so much easier, takes less time and doesn’t require postage or stationery.

The loss of letter writing is something we shouldn’t take too lightly. If you think about it, when was the last time you wrote anything by hand? A list doesn’t count. I wonder if someday penmanship, cursive writing and just plain handwriting will become something no longer taught in schools, no longer thought of as mainstream or of much importance at all. We type things far more than we write them out in long hand. This is good for some things, it is more accurate, less likely to be misread. It’s faster too.

People talk about print becoming something in the past. But, I take it a step in another direction and I can see handwriting becoming a lost art, a forgotten skill.

By the way… do you know which is which between stationary and stationery? Stationery, with an E, is the one for letters and envelopes which tend to come in pretty patterns in a pretty pattern box. Just think of the E which is also in letters and envelopes. Stationary with an A is about staying still.

I like this quote from The Art of Manliness, about letter writing:

The writing and reception of letters will always offer an experience that modern technology cannot touch. Twitter is effective for broadcasting what you’re eating for lunch, and email is fantastic for quick exchanges on the most pertinent pieces of information. But when it comes to sharing one’s true thoughts, sincere sympathies, ardent love, and deepest gratitude, words traveling along an invisible superhighway will never suffice. Why? Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door.

Extra Resources:

365 Letters – A blog about letter writing, mail art and postcards. Carla says: I’m a writer who has taken on the ambitious project of writing a letter every day in 2009 as a way to keep in touch with all of my friends and family.

Letter Writers Alliance – An organization dedicated to keeping the art of letter writing alive. World wide membership.

The Modern Letter Project – “It is our hope that, at end of the year each participant in the project will have a network of new pen pals, friends, and a collection of letters to treasure, and as a group, the art of letter-writing will explore new intersections between letter-writing with art and technology.”

Flickr: The Art of Letter Writing

Flickr: Letter Lovers

Drawing Flowers

I like to draw a bit. Sometimes they get online, but my scanner is a bit temperamental, so sometimes they just get added to the pile of drawings I have done. I used to keep them posted to Flickr as well but I haven’t kept up with them there.

What do you draw or doodle when the mood comes over you? How do you feel when you draw? How is it different from when you are writing?

How to Start People Watching

You can’t write about people if you’ve never watched people, random people in random settings. I like getting a coffee, sitting by a window on along a busy street with a lot of foot traffic going by. I like to watch the people. Seldom does anyone look up and see me watching. That is something interesting. Am I hiding from them or are they hiding from me?

Supplies needed for people watching are few. Binoculars are not at all recommended. If you need glasses, they you should have them with you. Keep a low profile, don’t make the people nervous or suspect you of something more complicated than amusing yourself. Some may like to have paper and pencil handy to take notes. Keep track of stray thoughts and ideas. Snacks and coffee are optional.

Location is the more interesting part of a people watching hobbyist. A busy city street could be in the financial area of a big city or in the shopping mall lost in the suburban sprawl. Try watching people in nature, like a park, at a lake on vacation or while they watch a parade or another local event. As long as there are enough people to watch and you can find a place to seclude yourself a little, any location can work for people watching. However, use your discretion, there is a fine line between people watching and being a peeping tom.

Time spent on people watching should be leisurely, give yourself time to find a spot for the viewing, settle in to the place and the patterns of traffic going by. I don’t think less than an hour will work for people watching. Part of the exercise is to take time to let your mind wander and you can’t do that very quickly.

As you can see, people watching is not a very complicated hobby. It’s fairly easy to pick up and something you can do on vacation as well as at home. It is interesting to take note of which people you tend to watch most? What age groups? How do they tend to be dressed? What makes you like or identify with one person over another? Do you make up possible stories for the people or do you take them more at face value and try to pick up on who they are from the facts you can see?

Flickr: People Watching – Have a look at photos from people watchers.
Not So Boring People Watching – A Hobby for Everyone

Snowflake Watching

Snowflake watching is a real hobby. You need a magnifying glass and warm clothes. Bring your camera too and try to photograph the snowflakes. I think the challenge would be to be out on a day that is cold enough so your own breath isn’t melting them as you try to focus in close enough to see their patterns.

Flickr: Julie Falk: The Snowflake Project
Flickr: FWWidall: Snowflakes
Flickr: Mark Cassino: Snowflake Photos
Flickr: Snowflakes, Snow & Winter
Flickr: Awesome Snowflakes
National Geographic: Snowflake Gallery

Snowflake Photography Resources:

Reposted from Popular Mechanics Magazine: Wilson A. Bentley: Photographing Snowflakes Snowflake Photography
JPG: Photographing Snowflakes
Pop Photo: How to Photograph Snowflakes
EarthSky: How to Take Photos of Snowflakes
Weather Scapes: Photographing Snow Crystals and Rime

Suite101: The Snowflake Man, Wilson A. Bentley