Monday, October 29, 2007

Stores have personality

Stores have personality. I'm sure of it. I figure that great minds must do lots of R & D to determine what their store personality will be. I'm really not privy to all the research, but I can tell you that as a customer I notice.

Like CompUSA. I hate going into that store. I avoid it as I would a leper colony. It's loud, very loud, not just audably loud but visually loud. Images scream at me from every wall of the store. The noise they pump out through their Sumo woofers pound my chest. I can't breath. The music doesn't play TO me it yells AT me. I can only take a few minutes of it. Then I have to leave. When I walk back out into the parking lot it feels as though I've strolled into a lush tranquil garden full of rainbow colored cars. I'm at peace.

OfficeMax is not quite as bad. Maybe the young folks behind the counter need that sound or they'd fall asleep waiting for the next customer.

It might just be a sign of age, this feeling that everywhere I go seems noisy. I've had enough excitement in my life and I simply don't require external stimuli to bring me a feeling of well-being.

I guess stores have personality like people do. Their personalities may sometimes conflict with my own. I've never thought of it this way but they remind me of my coffee friends.

If I'd have known how old I was going to be, I would have taken better care of myself. - Adolf Zukor

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sketch blogs

towel rack
Originally uploaded by daveterry.
I've been on a sketch blog search and dug up some great links for all you sketch wannabes out there.

I warn you that there are some great ones. And before I show you some of the links, I want you to know these are meant to inspire you to start. These may look fantastic now, but remember they started somewhere.

And before you link out to them I wanted to tell you about the latest book I received entitled: Taking a Line for a Walk: 1100 Miles on Foot, Le Havre to Rome. Wow! What a great little find. The book is an illustrated journal by a 68 year old man who walked 1100 miles. Very cool book. Very inspiring.

And so here are some of those links:
RozWorks Journals
Andrea Joseph
Terry Banderas
Suzanne Buchanan
Gas Water Nothing
How to keep a travel journal
Blados Illusrated Journal

And so there you have it. Inspiration at it's finest.

A drawing is taking a line for a walk. -Paul Klee

Friday, October 12, 2007

Drawing with Imagination

This has got to be my all time favorite book on drawing. It's approachable. It's easy to get started. He explains doodling and noodling. He starts simple and builds the exercises from there. It's just fun to look at but it much more fun to try the little exercises.

You can flip through the book and really start anywhere the examples appeal to you. Or you can start at the front and build from there.

Some of my latest sketches have been drawn from this book.

crocs on porch
Originally uploaded by daveterry.
I've been sketching on watercolor paper 90 lb or 140 lb cold press. I buy the big pads then cut them to 4x6 cards. Next I binder clip them in small packets I can carry in my bag. As I have time I'll pull out the packet and sketch, sometimes while standing up. I put that card in the back to save as a postcard I can send to someone. Now I have my own stash of custom, hand drawn postcards. Since I sketch whatever catches my eye, I have a wide selection of subjects I can choose from. When I'm moved to send a card, I sort through my stash, jot a note, add a postcard stamp (they are cheaper) and drop it in the mail to a friend.

Sometimes the postcard sketch has nothing to do with the note I jotted and that causes my friends to question my sanity. But if they ask, I just tell them I really had no control, my other personality sent it.

I've bought a new sketch book for the upcoming China trip. I've already got a small Handbook (5.5 x 8) that I use for stoplight sketching. But for the trip I decided to buy the bigger one (I think it's 8 x 12 Landscape). I'll start sketching in it early, maybe while I pack. That way it's not completely blank when I board the plane.

The Handbooks are a lot cheaper than the watercolor Moleskines and there are more pages (120) in them. They come in a limited selection of colors so that at a glance you can tell what sketchbook you are reaching for. They hold up under abuse and have a clear pocket in the back cover similar to the Moleskine. The only thing I don't like about them is the canvas cover. I really like the shiny black cover of the Moleskine.

Those are just my choices. Your mileage may vary.

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. - John W. Gardner

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Planes and gates

I thought that flying was bad, waiting in lines, going through security, strip searches, and baggage claim. But it turns out that's really not the worst of it. The worse part is getting to the gate once you've landed.

In fact, our taxi to the gate was almost as long as the flight itself. I jest and exaggerate, but not by much.

After landing in Atlanta our plane taxied to a gate and waited. The pilot came over the intercom to say that it'd be a while. He said they were "preparing the gate for our arrival." Okay, so what's to prepare. Turns out there was another plane in the gate. I guess the "prepare" was to get the plan out of the way. But it didn't budge. So we waited another 15 minutes but finally moved on, looking for another gate.

We taxied a while, we went across the landing strip and found another spot. And waited. There was another plane in the gate.

Eventually we did find a gate to pull up to. I don't know, I kind of figured that a gate comes with a landing. But I guess not.

Why don't they make the whole plane out of that black box stuff. - Stephen Wright

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Las Vegas Education

Dave here. Just doing that conference thing in Las Vegas. You know, trying to get a little education, ah err, technical education in case you wonder.

And I know people do wonder if you can get any computer software education in Las Vegas. They think that the only time people go to Las Vegas is to gamble and review other types of software. Las Vegas is such a fleshy sort of city.

I'll grant you that it is a sordid place of the affairs of lower life forms. I can't walk down the sidewalk without people slapping cards at me of pictures with phone numbers on them. (I say slapping because they whack the stiff card against the stack in their hand to get you to look their way.)

But that's not why I'm writing. We all know what Las Vegas is all about.

I'm staying at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. It's really a palace in all respects. There are huge columns of filigree and detail that dazzle the eye. There are restaurants with drawbridges that span koi ponds. And there are restaurats with wine storage towers four stories high surrounded by glass walls. Women on harnesses scale the wine rack inside the glass walls and pluck your choice of wine.

The walls of the place have projected images of coral reefs that ripple as you walk by, as if you are swimming through the picture.

The rooms have mini-bars that would triple my room rate if I ate everything. Imagine a mini-bar that costs $357. Imagine paying $12 for nine pieces of chocolate or $30 for a half bottle of no-name wine. Don't even THINK about touching one of the items. If you lift an item up out of the tray you'll be charged for the item at that moment.

But I'm not complaining. There is a huge 32" TV flat screen on the wall that gives me every station (including Chinese) and movies that are in or out of theaters. There's a channel that shows what's happening inside the shark tank. That's right, a shark tank WITH bubbling sounds. It's like having my own aquarium in the room. Very cool. And here's the best part, it's free, unlike the actual tour of the real tank. That costs 32 bucks.

This place if full of all kinds of unusual stuff.

On my way to the conference I pass what I call the "Woman Wall." It's a wall of a larger-than-life sculpure of a nude woman. Only thing is, the sculpture is not of a full length woman such as you might see in a museum but of parts of the woman. Yeah, you got that right. It's as though they sculpted her, sawed up the parts, and sandwiched them between the large blocks in the wall. Very strange. Her huge sculptured parts just above her belly and below her shoulders, if you get my drift, are set between 2x3 foot stones just about eye level. Sheesh.

But what do I expect? This is Las Vegas. Guess that's why they call it "The Strip."

Such are the sordid affairs of the lower life forms. - Dave Terry

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Limber People

limber people
Originally uploaded by daveterry.
I think limber people are more successful. Inflexible folks tend to break into pieces under pressure. If you're Gumby you'll do fine.

It doesn't mean that you have to compromise your principles, but it may mean allowing others to express their views freely without fear of judgement. If you don't allow the other person to express what they are thinking, how can you be successful in the interchange of ideas?

Which brings me to the subject of: Conversations.

To me, a conversation is like playing tennis. In order to play well, I have to lob the ball back into their court. They ask a question or make a comment and then I do the same. I must always make sure I direct the attention back to them. I need to sincerely ask to know, not to tell.

A conversation is not a game of Keep Away. Ever had one of those conversations? You know this person. You ask a simple question and get an Encyclopedic answer.

If someone asks me a question I have to give it a satisfactory answer but then I can't forget to hit the ball back to them. If I keep the ball, they'll eventually stop asking me to play.

It's especially difficult to stem the tide when someone splashes into a subject I'm most interested in. I always have to check the volume of information I gush. I can tell by body language when they've become waterlogged. Then it's too late. I tell myself: "Next time give them a short answer."

But I'm of the Limber People. I'll adjust.

Only the alarm clock can fully erase a bad decision. - Dave Terry