Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working with a real-life graphic designer to develop a logo (and eventually a new layout) for Get Rich Slowly. She provided me with a sheet of possible logos based on my vision for the site. Many were great, but I loved none more than this, which I think was only an afterthought on her part:

Something about the tortoise just grabbed me. He’s so damn cute! I told my designer that I wanted my site to be serious and classy (and classic), but also whimsical. I want it to have a sense of humor. I think this captures that very well. Plus I can’t help but think of the different ways the tortoise (who needs a name) could be used around the site. It’s branding!

I suggested that it might be fun to see a variation with the tortoise standing on top of the site name:

I like this version best of the two, but it’s less practical. For the web — and for print — the wide aspect-ratio is necessary. Still, I think the tortoise on top represents success. I may end up using this variation in certain circumstances (coffee mugs?).

This morning, my designer sent me variations of both logos, but with a spot of color. Kris likes the green better than the black. What do you think?

Finally, here’s the proposed business card. It would be two-sided. The first side would contain the logo and the contact information. The second side would contain a handful of provocative questions and the URL.

There you go. My first steps toward “branding”. I’d love to hear some feedback. Do you prefer the stacked version or the wide version? Black or green? (Or some combination?) Love it? Hate it? Ambivalent? I’m unlikely to change things substantially at this point because I like the tortoise motif a lot, but I’d love to hear constructive criticism on what works and what doesn’t.

Tags: Blogging · Odds and Ends  → 13 Comments

7 January 2009 — Man of Fashion (6)

Writing for Get Rich Slowly provides me with some interesting opportunities. I get a lot of interview requests. Some are better suited for me than others. Here’s one I received yesterday:

I’m a writer and editor at DETAILS and I’m looking for some financial advice
for our Style section. Basically, we’d love to hear your advice on how much
guys should spend on their wardrobe (x% of their salary) based on their
income (under $100K per year, $100K-$200K per year, $300K,  etc.). Our
reader is probably used to splurging on a designer item here and there and
we’d like to hear your advice on budgeting for his closet for 2009.

And here is my reply:

I’m flattered that you would come to me for advice on this. Unfortunately, I am probably the last person in the world qualified to speak on this subject — not because I don’t know how to budget, but because my wardrobe consists of “Costco and thrift stores”. While I’d be pleased to have conversation with you about budgeting, and even about shopping for clothes, my approach is probably not anything like that of your readers. I am not a man of fashion.

My approach to budgeting for clothes? If I find a shirt I like at Costco, I buy it in all five color variations. Once a year, I rummage through the thrift stores for sweaters and pants.

If I’m really feeling daring, I buy something from Filson.

Aren’t I dashing?

Tags: Odds and Ends  → 6 Comments

3 November 2008 — Random Musings (4)

First off, this one’s for Andy, who has complained in the past that the font at foldedspace is too small. Just now, I was squinting to read one of my own stories. Not a good sign. Andy, you win. I’ve bumped up the font size! (Somebody just complained the other day at Get Rich Slowly that the font on my comments is too small, too. I’ve never noticed. But since I dearly want a new theme, anyhow, I’m not going to lose sleep over it.)

Speaking of Get Rich Slowly, I was frustrated to have several readers write to accuse me of discrimination because a political ad they didn’t agree with was served by Google. Turns out I don’t agree with the ad, either, and I would stop it if they’d give me information about it, but instead they were quick with the accusations and the “I’m never going to read you again” rhetoric. Sheesh.

Still speaking of Get Rich Slowly, I’ve hit upon a new rhythm that I quite like. For months, I’ve felt overwhelmed. There’s never enough time to do everything that needs to be done. I feel swamped. Part of the problem is that I’m trying to publish twice a day. Many smart people whom I respect have urged me to cut back, but I haven’t listened. Finally I realized the other day that I’m perfectly capable of maintaining a once-a-day pace; it’s the twice-a-day thing that’s killing me. So, I’ve cut my expectations. It feels great! If I find time to get a second post up some days, that’s great, but for now GRS is once a day.

Finally, I’ve finally learned to love Facebook. I’m not sure what put me over the edge. Sometime in the past couple weeks, however, I surrendered and just began adding friends. Then I learned how to look at friends of friends. And then I started finding long-lost friends! Awesome. Anyhow, today Amy Ratzlaf added me as a friend, and I found Cassie Riecke buried in Dagny’s friend list. Now I just need to figure out if there’s any other utility to Facebook than finding friends.

Finally finally, Kris and I are still eating our cow. Each year, we split a side of beef with another family from her office. Every week or so, we pull a random package of meat from the freezer. This week’s pick was top round steak. We were expecting, well, steak. Uh, not quite. Scramble for a quick dinner recipe!

Tags: Daily Life · Odds and Ends  → 4 Comments

6 June 2008 — About the Weather (4)

It is June 6th, just two weeks from the start of summer. Here are the current weather conditions:

  • The temperature is 10 degrees centigrade (or 50 degrees fahrenheit for those of you in Oregon City).
  • The wind is from the south at 18 miles per hour, with gusts up to 28 miles per hour.
  • The sky is completely overcast. It looks like a winter’s day at the Oregon coast.
  • There’s a 90% chance of precipitation. Translation: it’s going to rain off-and-on today. Mostly on.

What I’m trying to say is that it feels like November, not June. I am cold. I am sick of the rain. It’s bad news when even life-long Oregonians are frustrated by the weather.

Tags: Odds and Ends  → 4 Comments

While working a future post for Get Rich Slowly, I stumbled upon this photo by chuckp at Flickr. It’s entitled “Patti’s Wedding 1982″. I find it surreal:

The first thing my eye goes to are the power lines, which seem to be toppling in slow motion. Then I go to the children in the weeds. Then the array of cars by the side of the road. It all seems so…strange.

The photo is tagged: Wisconsin, countryside, wedding, guests, presents, highway, truck, station wagon, wedding guests, and landscape. I’d also tag it “alternate universe”.

Tags: Odds and Ends · Photography  → 1 Comment

31 March 2008 — I Don’t Speak Chinese (5)

For my birthday, Mom gave me a gift card to Land’s End. (Thanks, Mom!) Because my five-year-old slippers are dirty and stinky, I ordered a pair of mocassins. I didn’t expect them to be crafted by Native Americans, of course, but it was a little surprising to find that they were made in China.

I wore them for a couple of days with an annoying tag sticking out of each slipper. Finally, I tore the tags out in frustration. Before I threw them away, I checked to see if there was any important information. Turns out, it’s hard to tell. The tags are cryptic.

“What does this mean?” I said, showing a tag to Kris.

“I don’t know,” she said. “The slipper is made out of waffles?”

Anyone have a clue?

Tags: Odds and Ends  → 5 Comments

20 December 2007 — Dead Baby Jokes (30)

On a whim, we met Celeste & Nicki and Rhonda & Mike for dinner at Gino’s last night. It was a damn fine meal with damn fine friends. Gino’s can be hit-or-miss, and last night was definitely “hit”. The food was hot, the portions were enormous, and the conversation was hilarious.

The highlight of the evening wasn’t actually the clams, as one might expect, but a brief departure into Dead Baby Jokes. Kris loves Dead Baby Jokes, and I can’t say I disagree. She told our two favorite, and they had me gasping for air.

Q: What’s the difference between a truckload of bowling balls and a truckload of dead babies?
A: You can’t unload the bowling balls with a pitchfork.

Q: What’s sadder than a dead baby nailed to a tree.
A: A dead baby nailed to a puppy.

That last joke brought the house down. Or at least our little corner of it. “It’s hilarious on so many levels,” Kris said on our drive home. Just thinking about it made me laugh again.

I’ve been trying to decide what makes Dead Baby Jokes so funny. I think it’s because they’re just so wrong on so many levels. They violate taboo. They shock. They provide unexpected juxtapositions.

The real problem with Dead Baby Jokes is that they’re difficult to craft. There are thousands of these on the internet, and maybe one-percent of them are funny. Most are just dumb. Some go for intentional gross-out, which is not the same as humor. I can’t believe that of all the Dead Baby Jokes I’ve read, these are the only two that I really like, but it’s true.

The best way to generate new Dead Baby Jokes? Set the dingoes loose!

Bonus joke:

Q: What do vegetarian dingoes eat?
A: Cabbage patch kids.

Yeah, I know — it’s more of a groaner than a laugher, but still…

Tags: Fun · Kids · Odds and Ends  → 30 Comments

3 June 2007 — Hemorrhoid Remedy (3)

Recently Kris shared some strange recipes from her father’s side of the family. Kris’ mom, Claudia, phoned to share a strange recipe from her side of the family. I promised that I would post it if she sent me e-mail. (Claudia is a technophobe — she refuses to touch a computer.)

Well, she didn’t actually write me an e-mail, but she did dictate one to Kris’ father. I guess that’s close enough. Here, then, is the top-secret McGee Family Hemorrhoid Remedy.

This hemorrhoid remedy came from Kris’ great-grandfather on my side of the family.  He was Charles Isaac McGee who was born March 25, 1882 in Wellsville, Kansas [J.D.'s note: that's exactly 87 years before I was born] and died October 22, 1965 [J.D.'s note: that's exactly 1250 days before I was born] in Alhambra, California.  I received the recipe from my aunt, Lorraine McGee (Charles’ daughter) who died December 15, 2000.  Lorraine was one of seven children born to Charles and Eva McGee.  My father, Claude W. McGee, was the middle child. The recipe:

Hemorrhoid Remedy
Combine one teaspoon of Sulfur, 1/2 teaspoon of Vaseline, 2 or 3 grains of Salt, 3 drops of Mercurochrome. Do not use a metal spoon for mixing.
 

One has to wonder: if this mixture is not safe for a metal spoon, how on earth is it safe for your ass?

Tags: Odds and Ends  → 3 Comments

27 April 2007 — The Future, Today (7)

Here’s an eye-opening presentation that Dave forwarded to me the other day. I considered posting this at Get Rich Slowly, but couldn’t figure out a way to really make it “stick”. Still, it’s excellent stuff, and I want somebody to see it:

This presentation was originally developed by Karl Fisch, a grade school teacher. Here’s what he writes at his blog:

My administration asked me if I wanted to speak at one of our beginning of the year faculty meetings. I often provide updates on what’s new and different with technology in our building and what teachers need to know to get the year started. But this year I’m really focused on staff development and the “vision” of where we should be headed, so I wanted to do something different.

[...]

I put together a PowerPoint presentation with some (hopefully) thought-provoking ideas. I was hoping by telling some of these “stories” to our faculty, I could get them thinking about — and discussing with each other — the world our students are entering. To get them to really think about what our students are going to need to be successful in the 21st century, and then how that might impact what they do in their classrooms.

Mind-blowing stuff, this. It makes you think about where we’ll be in a hundred years. Speaking of which, over in the Get Rich Slowly forums, kgazeette posted a fun article from 1900 predicting what the world of 2000 would be like. The author actually did a fairly good job (except that he completely missed the advent of airplanes — but then how could he know?).

Here’s a sample:

Automobiles will be cheaper than horses are today. Farmers will own automobile hay-wagons, automobile truck-wagons, plows, harrows and hay-rakes. A one-pound motor in one of these vehicles will do the work of a pair of horses or more. Children will ride in automobile sleighs in winter. Automobiles will have been substituted for every horse vehicle now known. There will be, as already exist today, automobile hearses, automobile police patrols, automobile ambulances, automobile street sweepers. The horse in harness will be as scarce, if, indeed, not even scarcer, then as the yoked ox is today.

In the forum thread, I made my own predictions for one hundred years from now:

A lot of science fiction arbitrarily constructs technology without any regard as to its plausibility. However, I’m a fan of Kim Stanley Robinson’s series about colonizing Mars: Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. I think he does an excellent job of extrapolating current technological trends and looking at where things might head in the future.

Here’s one prediction I feel pretty comfortable with: In 2100, the internal combustion engine will be a thing of the past. Oil reserves will be essentially depleted, so that only certain uses will exist for modern vehicles as we know them. (I don’t know what those uses will be.) Depending on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, you might believe that we will have developed a replacement technology, or you may think we’ll revert to a more agrarian way-of-life.

I happen to be an optimist, so I think that some other form of fuel will be developed. I don’t know if it’ll be sufficient to power the sort of transportation system we have now, though. Maybe everything will be mass-transit. Maybe we’ll have some strange hybrid of atomic-powered trains moving thousands of people at a time, while individual transportation is horse-based once more.

I do believe humans will be living on Mars by the end of the century. I just don’t know which country will be the first to reach it and to set up a base.

I don’t think the U.S. will be the dominant world power.

What do you think life will be like one hundred years from now?

Tags: Odds and Ends  → 7 Comments

9 February 2007 — Web 2.0 Defined (5)

Here’s an awesome video that conveys the power of the web as a communication tool:

This clip was produced by Michael Wesch of the Kansas State University anthropology department. I found it via blogarsay, though I suspect it’s been making the rounds. (I’m very out-of-touch with the blogosphere lately.)


Pam will be pleased to know that I sprang forward my clocks today. That’s right — for the next month, I’ll be living a world that’s one hour ahead of yours. I’m a time traveler.

Speaking of the Proffitt-Smiths: Happy birthday, Mackenzie! Mac is 33. He’s getting old.


I’m having a hell of a time deciding what to pick for book group. I need to announce my selection on Saturday morning. We’re discussing Undaunted Courage, which is, in part, about the Lewis and Clark expedition. I love this real-life adventure stuff, and am fascinated by history. It would be great to find a similar book, but for the periods 1810-1850 or 1870-1900. (Note how I’m intentionally avoiding the Civil War.) I’m considering The Devil in the White City, but I’m afraid that maybe it’s too strong for Lisa. Lonesome Dove is another possibility, but it’s l-o-n-g. I know that Kris, Bernie, and I would finish it, but I don’t know how many other members would. Any suggestions?

Tags: Odds and Ends  → 5 Comments