Design: United in Color We Stand

Originally I started to draft this post for a client that I regularly contribute pieces about colorful experiences and how they impact our everyday.  Today, however, media is frowning against anyone talking about anything regarding 9/11 on a brand format.  Rather than face a media frenzy about it, I decided to not publish the piece for the client.  However, as I’m not a complete fan of censorship and feel that the piece still deserves light, here is a slightly modified version of the article not posted and my take on  design and its importance with relation to a major event in the headlines-

I remember that fateful day now twelve years ago, I want to put my heart out to all those who were lost and for the vibrant colors extinguished by the events that happened September 11, 2001.

In reflection of these events, let us turn to the colors that helped make headlines and assist into the impact of getting messages like “United We Stand.”

Color and composition are an integral factor of design.  Whether it’s showcasing a tragic event or otherwise, design execution can make your audience remember or forget.

Today we remember the events and the great design elements.  The presence of bold or muted colors or absence of color at all can make or break a design.  In examples taken from a wonderful showcase on http://www.poynter.org, we take you on a journey through time, color, and textual composition.

The first example above demonstrates how minimalist design can still be tremendously impactful.  Old Glory is hinted at as “The Desert Sun” drops its three bold colors into this powerful cover. The next time you look at a box of colors and only find a small sampling to choose from, do not fret as you may have everything you need.

Matching shades of a similar color can also convey depth in your design.  The cover for “The Courier News” piece highlights that in four shades of blue as each box present in the images represents the lost towers.

Lastly, “The Daily News” showed a bit more somber look at the decade past with their cover.  Using its bright orange and simplistic dark color contrast of the buildings, one could detect a sense of sadness.  Even without the words “We will not forget,” the viewer is taken back into a time machine remembering that fateful day.

How will you remain united today?  Will you be bold enough to stand up and show your colors in design and composition to greatly impact your audience? To those amazing visual artists and to those whom are commemorated today with these images, I salute you.  Thank you for being brave enough to use your talents to make an impact.. even if it is a controversial one.

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The Sound Blogs: There is still music

After a very difficult night gone and seeped into the morning I felt emotionally obliterated.

But then in the quiet, when I woke up this morning I heard this in the distance… I had to follow and find out where it was coming from.  In the wash of an otherwise normal Tuesday morning on the West Side this was an uncommon but beautiful occurrence.

Even in the chaos.. there is beauty.

 

External power outage day: Reasons to keep trying

This morning I woke up early to the sound of the rain.

I was inspired.

I was hopeful.

I was ready to take on the day full force… but only after I wrote here first.

I wrote a bit.

I read a bit.

For awhile, it was on Twitter… quoting lines from one of the comics I got this weekend while out and about on Free Comic Book day.

Image

And then, nearly almost exactly after I finished my earlier post today… well something else happened.

Silence.

The power went out.

I was so busy with my own distractions that I didn’t even notice.

How many other things do we miss because we are too busy with distractions?

I shrugged it off.  I took the dog out.  I’d read for a bit and write for a bit… the old fashioned way and kill some time contemplating and reflecting about life.

This weekend there had been a discussion about how the world “just needs a day to shut the fuck up.”  That sometimes (read: often) people just talk too damn much.  I thought about that a lot today… in the silence.

I really do talk too damn much sometimes.

I walked the dog.  I’m currently dog sitting for a friend of a friend.  One constant through my recent travels through the city has been the presence of dogs in most places where I’ve laid my head… and felt comfortable.

Perhaps this isn’t a coincidence.  I mean… there are too many damn cat fanatics out there.  Strange strange creatures that they are… on the interwebz.

On my walk I would find out an expiration date: the power would be out until 8:30pm tonight.  There were “too many other emergencies” that the LADWP simply couldn’t keep up.  I looked online on my phone.  I saw the mass amounts of orange dots on the grid.  I should have taken a screenshot.  It was pretty brutal.

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The aftermath of the Revenge of the 6th Power Outage in Los Angeles

Well Los Angeles, I guess this is your chance to shut the fuck up for a few minutes.  What are you going to do with your life?

I started to read.  I laughed as I thought about the power being dead on my Kindle.  About how despite the convenience of technology, how much I was still thankful for books.

For piles of analog transmissions and thumbed pages.

Of that new book smell.

Of that old book smell.

Of the joy of turning a page in anticipation of the next.

It’s these simple things that make me smile.  But the day wasn’t over just yet.

“I have a secret anger and rage for every beautiful flower.”

And I did too.  In secret.  In not so secret.

But the rains poured on.

Dogs all over the neighborhood were furious- barking constantly as if maybe that would restore the power.

Neighbors complained that they were stuck.  Technology had failed them.  They couldn’t get out of their parking garages.  After all, those were electric too.  Oh the convenience of technology.

Machines in the apartment blipped and beeped incessantly begging for power.

Begging for purpose.

Cars outside honked.  Impatience surrounded the neighborhood.  Everyone seemed to want to escape.

Everyone refused to shut the fuck up.

Everyone, it seemed, for once, except me.

I conserved what little power I had left on my phone.  I turned to books.  I turned to words.  I was going to sit there and face my demons in that silence.  In that quiet… oh in that quiet…

I’ve found myself missing pieces of my past quite a bit lately.  Yes yes I know, move forward, not backwards.  But something about this last time was different.  Something about this last one changed my life.

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Before it rained, it was like something in me knew.  I sent out a message to the world.  To you, the person I really hoped would be reading.

“It’s in the quiet that I miss you most.”

So there it was… the gift of quiet.  I sat there.. in the “dark” and thought about life.  I thought about pain.  I thought about love.  I thought about success.  I thought about failure.  I thought about…

“The manic equivalent of looking in a mirror and unplugging an appliance.”

And in the silence I just.. broke down.. but not how I thought I would.

In the simplest of terms and bits and “sound bytes”… these are not all the reasons but they are the ones I will share with the rest of the world right now.

I am tired of the pain.

I am tired of the anger.

I miss the passion.

I miss the love.

I miss the vibrancy and light that exuded from us both whenever we looked at each other.

I miss your silly Barney Rubble laugh.

It was quiet.  I grabbed a pen.  The words flowed like water.  It was a downpour of inspiration.  Rain seems to have that effect on me.

And then it happened.

Someone, somewhere not too far away started playing a piano.  Beauty came from the silence.  In a world where fingers and thoughts might have been too busy to notice otherwise there was… magic.

I smiled, still quiet, in the company of notes.  Because even if I was alone I didn’t feel alone.  It made me remember the simplicity of it all.  About how far we’ve all come from it.  About how far I’d come from it.

And myself.

“It’s in the quiet… when I miss you… when I miss me… that I find all the answers.  Of all the simple beauty.  Of why I keep trying.”

Thank you LA DWP for this forced moment of silence.  It was exactly what I needed today.

Carmageddon: The Aftermath

Dear Los Angeles,

So I see you that have survived the feared inferno of “Carmageddon”. You rocked the happy hour specials. You steered your four wheeled vessels clear of the freeways in fear of losing your ever so precious time sitting parked on the freeway for hours upon hours.

You chose to not clutter the streets with aggravation. For a few glorious days, there was a silent peace decorated on asphalt. People were drawn in droves to the otherwise bickered about public transportation. There wasn’t arguing with the hurried commuter in the other car, bike, or motorcycle trying to get to x function. There were no stretched necks as accident after accident piled up to make the drive home from work, play, or errands a little longer. There was less noise and pollution.

The 405 is opening as I type this. It bids one to wonder if the community has learned anything from this exercise. How will the Los Angeles community change? How have you changed for the greater good?

Los Angeles once had the greatest public transit system in the world. Nowadays, people dread the thought of taking a bus, a train, or a bike in lieu of a car. This weekend proved that the community here is so ambivalent to change that, rather than embrace the possibilities of other alternatives, would rather just not participate at all.

This weekend Los Angeles biker community advocates Wolfpack Hustle embarked on a 40 mile race against an airline proved the power of the human versus the machine. In a race won by pedal pushers that generated substantial buzz, why are the Los Angeles bike paths lacking in comparison to other major metropolitan cities?

Now that Carmageddon has come and gone, as a business person, are you going to take heart the relief and production capabilities of a happier worker that has not had to “deal” with traffic for one day? Are you going to provide more of an incentive to take public transit?

As a regular commuter are you going to make a more proactive attempt to take public transit when you can? Will you take an extra few minutes to walk down the street to that cafe for brunch or the extra few blocks to the grocery store?

It’s time the community took a big look at the bigger picture. We have the power to carve this city into something greater if we unify ourselves. Time is a precious commodity but so is a calmer, healthier way of life. Instead of putting one in front of the other, perhaps both are capable of happening. Dare to be a part of the change.

E3 2010: A week to remember… and forget?

Traffic jams and riots.  A center filled with flash, glitzy signs… and hordes of nerds.

Welcome to E3 2010: the Lakers are in game 7 edition.

I watched the downpour of exclamations for the latest and greatest toys of the moment on various twitter and facebook feeds.  I checked up on the news on some of my favorite (perhaps biased) news outlets.

Strangely enough, with the exception of that first day, I really didn’t care as much about weather I’d be able to attend or not.  The thrill of E3 just wasn’t what it used to be.

I thought about it and wondered- what changed?  At one time I was so determined to go to as many events as I could.  Nothing would satiate my palate.  Events that I was told I couldn’t get into?  I didn’t take no for an answer.  I’m bad with no’s sometimes.  This- one of the most major conferences of the year would have been a given that I wouldn’t accept that.   Was it that I had just become numb from one too many?  I mean, I have been to quite a few…

I swear I'm not an addict...

There are a few conferences a year which rank up there in high importance to me: professionally and personally.  Last year I was told I would not get into 2 of them: E3 and E4all only to somehow find a way.  I honestly didn’t expect it this time.  It just… well sort of found me.  It is a happenstance that has been occurring quite a bit these past few months.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I was able to attend- albeit only a day and for miscellaneous parties on time in between work and well, more work.  It was more than enough.

This year is the first in many that I was not attending as Press.  Instead, it was a covert operation made possible by one fellow Culver City crusader as I played the part as someone… in town from Turtle Beach.

Walking the halls of the Staple Center this year was a window into my past.  I barely work in gaming nor have I been penning as a journey from the sidelines currently.  I have been swallowed whole by a different world and popped right back again.

It’s the wee hours of the morning at my last day of contract work for a toy company with a small MMO in beta- and in the silence of the office, I’m left to think about the proceeding days off and into the world of my past.

It seems that this time of year is an intersection.  This year, however more than others.  But we’ll dig deeper into why later.

People from all over the globe come together to this spot.  Like many other conferences, the attendees share a passion.  Fundamentally this is one that has been something that holds a very special place in my heart.  It is one of two most prominent forms of entertainment for me since childhood: video games and comic books.

I arrived late.  A meeting with a client after a very full night out to a couple of parties the night prior had me on a bit of a later start that I had planned.  Add to that the extra chaotic parking fubar of a big city full to the brim.

I got lost in the city.  I don’t know how that’s possible considering I’ve been here nearly 3 years but it happened.  It has happened quite a bit since I’ve lived here but given that it’s a huge convention center it’s a bit of a stretch even for me.

I’d gotten lost the night prior as well.  After being accompanied to find my car by one who claimed to know the way but apparently had too many free drinks at the Cheap Ass Gamer after party at the Golden Gopher I ended up in an area not my home.  I am positive it was not from the amount I imbibed.  I have been cutting back considerably and only had a couple of beers despite it being open bar.  It was peculiar.  This month has been full of moments like these:  of journeys and arrivals to destinations unknown.

My cohort greeted me.   I would assume this alter ego as I walked the halls with the rest of the entourage.  I met up with my best friends from Fantastic Forum.  But my day was mostly spent with the crew of Angry Bananas.

The boys showed me the ropes of what had been missed of the con so far.  Luchadores. Epic Mickey. Move. The new dance game.  The Comic game.  Marvel vs. Capcom.

And as much fun as I had while walking around, I still found myself somewhere else.

E3 has been a week where I will see people and get messages from my past.  Failed lovers.  Secret affairs.  Near romances.  Friends from past lives.  Of people known digitally from cross country and halfway around the globe.

It is a time where I remember where I have been.  Of the collection of people both good and bad I have had in my life.  How they’ve effected me.  How they have colored the canvas.

I was only there one day but it was enough.

To the lovers I have had in the past.  To my former coworkers.  To the people I have met along the way…

Thank you.

This hasn’t been the easiest time for me.  It’s a test.  I am breakable.  But I am capable of being repaired.  Time and time again.

Time and time will pass again.

And while not all of my intersections this year brought up the best of memories, I feel stronger because of them.

I’m looking forward with anticipation of the unknown… of next year and the next conference and the other miscellaneous destinations that I arrive and exit along the way.

Lost

Have you ever been so… in love with life that you lose track of small things along the way?

I have been more attentive to noticing things more abstractly than I have with things technically in some ways.  Little things like the scratches from wear and tear at a coffeeshop table… where the light forms perfectly to make Mr Shrader’s eyes pop the most…

Perhaps I am a bit twitterpated.  Perhaps it’s something deeper.

I feel at a heightened level of artistry.  My eyes are wide open but the shutters in my brain keep taking photographs…

These are days… nights… treasured and cherished memories of a life fully lived.

Friday night, though memorable, was not a good one however.

You see, all this time that I feel I’d been searching for my identity…

When I finally was confident in saying “I’ve found it!”

That’s when it happened.

I lost my purse on Friday.  In it: my drivers liscense, my social security card… my camcorder for which I’m filming my documentary Muse for Hire.

My life.

Gone in a moment.

Missing

Now everything that was in my purse is fully replaceable.  I care naught about matierial things.  As I’ve grown older, I have become more and more numb to this sort of phenomenon bothering me.  In fact, you might dare to say that I am so used to life screwing up like this on me that I’ve learned to more or less just laugh about it.

For example for those of you that missed previous episodes of my car troubles of the past year, here’s a look at the last one which happened about a month ago.

If anything, getting “my life back” was, for the most part more of a series of errands and annoyances than anything else.  I went to the police station and filed a report about it, cancelled my bank card, headed to the dmv…

I missed roller derby for the weekend but ended up at 6 flags with Mr Shrader anyway.  I made the best of the weekend and wasn’t even late to work this morning.

The thing that bothers me most about the whole thing: that camcorder.

And not for what it was, but for what it stood for.  Those moments of film… my life… my story… my…

I believe that everything happens for a reason.

This weekend was yet another blur with Mr Shrader.  Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be on film.  Maybe those events were meant to be our secrets.  

A fantastical blur that I am not sure will happen again (I hope it does, as this was something I wondered the weekend prior) but one that is marked with…

He is enigmatic and magical in ways that he doesn’t even realize.  Oh Cancerous man… indeed you are inspirational.

Which brings me back to the project.

I have hit a snag due to this incident this weekend.  If anyone would like to help me continue you it, I would love any and all support that you would give me.  Even if it’s just kind words.

I’ve learned a lot through the making of this documentary.  Life, like this project is a process and a labor of love.  The things in life that are the most worthwhile are not achieved instantly… they evolves and grow.  Inspiration, patience, keeping your head up in the face of…it’s not easy.

And then I heard a song playing…

I once was lost, but now am found.

To that, I reply:

A few sentences on a page cannot possibly be enough justification to fully chronicle me. I am who I am. I don’t chase magic because I am magic… and only the stars can come close to defining me.
 

I once was lost, but now am found…

Bam! Yet ANOTHER project

As some of you may know, I attended Comic Con a few weeks ago.  What many of you do not know is that my background in video games is only proceeded by comic books.

Growing up, my family, in particular my father, has had a love for books.  Dad would hand me books since before I could read.  He told me tales of fantasy and these larger than life characters.  My mother never understood this aspect.  I truly believe dad may have been doing it partially to piss her off.

They are now divorced and happier.  She lives in Illinois still with her new husband.  Dad lives in suburbia Los Angeles in the dreaded 909.

The comic books that I collected growing up are currently stored in a trunk in a garage at my mother’s home.  I am actually quite amazed that they are still there, regardless of whichever condition that they may be in.  You see, my mother burned the baseball cards I collected at the time.

Dad’s house is like another world entirely.  Everywhere you look is traces of his fixation with comic books.  He has a full bedroom for my son that is nothing but Spiderman.  Dad is a big kid at heart.  He frequents comic shops weekly.  He raised me on books like Tales from the Crypt, Batman, and Spiderman.

Uncle Jay & I in my sons Spiderman Room

Uncle Jay & I in my son's Spiderman Room

Despite my recent cosplay endeavor, I wasn’t always a Supergirl fan.  Dad wasn’t interested in Superman.  It seems that you are either a Batman fan or a Superman fan.  We were the former.  The new Detective Comics featuring Batwoman are currently in my monthly “must pick up list.”  Superman still has of yet to make a regular home for me.

However even back then I really didn’t partake as much from the mainstream comic book lines.  There has always been a draw for me to the artistically popping, underdogs of indie comic books.  Maybe that’s why I was rebellious growing up.  Maybe that’s why, to a degree, I still am.  It feels awesome to be a cliche.

After the convention I began to re-evaluate where my passions were.  While I do love video games, I have found that the community within the comic book industry has some very important things to offer me that, well video games really don’t for me- timelessness and a foundation in encouraging literacy and imagination in its execution.

I found myself looking back.  At my own childhood.  Of sitting on shoulders with loose teeth as my dad pointed to superheroes on comic books.

In present day, I have passed these things to my children as well.  I encourage my son to read comic books.  And, while he may go with his grandfather and read those mainstream books, he also reads indies with his mother.

my son reading The Edge a story within Volume 3 of the comic Flight

my son reading "The Edge" a story within Volume 3 of the comic "Flight"

I realized that I had not been completely true to myself.  Perhaps part of the reason why I never felt at ease or why it didn’t just all fall into place was that.  I was denying myself the potential to reach further.

When I went to Comic Con, I was representing Girls Entertainment Network.  And while I am thankful for the opportunity I had to work with them, I have come to realize that I have a different vision for how I would like to proceed with my venture into comic book journalism.

Approximately 2 years ago I purchased a series of domains for various projects that I was considering.  I had been mulling over the thought about a comic book site for some time but never made the jump into it.

I went to a movie showing of the 1943 rare Batman serial and an exhibit this weekend on the Golden Age of comic books over at the Skirball Cultural Center.  It reminded me so much about what we, as a culture, have lost, what we have gained, and what remains the same though it may have a different face.

It was profound and moving with its subtleties and brash overtones.

The time has come.  The past doesn’t always have to be so scary.  Neither does the future.  It’s time they shook hands.

I will continue to write freelance for comic book realted sites, but am also gathering steam for what I need to make a website that I believe will be something I am proud of.  Please stay tuned for further information about my site: Superficially Iconic: “a site for comic book intellectuals.. and everyone else too.”

The skys the limit oh dear Superfriend of mine.

The sky's the limit oh dear Superfriend of mine.

See you at Long Beach Comic Con.  And now I have to get ready for a superhero birthday party… Marvel turned the big seven-oh today don’t you know?