I know the Spanish-American War was, like, a long time ago and — let’s face it — it wasn’t exactly one of the most glorious episodes in the American record of bringing freedom to the oppressed, but still, if you’ve got a war memorial made out of the mast of the USS Oregon in the middle of the Rose Festival Waterfront Village where presumably tens of thousands of people are going to be passing by, is it really necessary to clamp stands selling pizza and elephant ears onto it?
I’ve never understood the whole “High school was some of the best years of my life” thing that seems to be a part of a lot of people’s lives. It might be surprising for those who know me now, but my high school years were much the continuation of the unpleasantness of my grade school years, which had been bad enough that my parents scrimped and saved to send me to the local Catholic high school, which had a — largely undeserved — reputation for academics. Even though I did fine taking some college level chemistry coursework the summer after my freshman year in high school, my parents were reluctant to allow me to go on to college full-time because of a certain lack of maturity on my part. There’s no disputing that was the case, but then again, thirty-odd years later maturity seems still not to have kicked in.
Yearbook photo from my sophomore year, taken in the room that served as the yearbook office at Marist High School.
Anyway, despite having worked on the yearbook for three years — including a stint as editor my junior year, when I aroused the ire of my fellow students by making the tradeoff of color photography inside for a black cover — my school loyalty has been pretty negligible (I didn’t work on the yearbook my senior year and I don’t even have one, after spending most of my year as editor having a staff of myself). Years ago, the alumni association tracked me down (I’m not that hard to find) and started sending me the newsletter, which I desultorily read and recycle, but I’ve never been to a reunion or been invited to one. Maybe there’s a reason for that. This was in the latest edition of the newsletter:
Mike Downey was asking on Twitter yesterday if anyone could confirm his memory that the FLA and SWF formats were introduced in Flash 2, which was the first version released under the Macromedia imprint (“Flash 1” was just stickers plastered on the box for FutureSplash Animator). I answered late (I remember Peter’s FutureSplash box around the old Alder Street office) but it did prompt a peek into the folder where I keep versions of older applications, since my old dual-PPC desktop Mac will still run OS9, and sometimes I’ve needed to open old source files for one reason or another.
The smart car (and Barbara) next to an Agco Gleaner R75 combine in Dayton, Washington last week. The R75 looked big even surrounded by a bunch of other farm machinery, which tends to be a tad larger than the smart anyway.
Years ago it was just a simple little slogan/word play: “Every Litter Bit Hurts.” A cajoling reminder that when you tossed your garbage on the ground, you adversely affected the earth and the environment.
But sometime in recent history the caution to pick up your crap turned from inveiglement to ultimatum, at least in the hands of the Washington State Department of Transportation, which has the inelegantly-worded signs above posted along ther scenic highways and byways.
I was wincing so much at the poor word choice that I didn’t even make the connection to the original slogan, which Barbara mentioned as I was complaining about the signs. That just enraged me, because you have to know that in some ad or PR agency, someone decided at some point to punch up the old slogan by adding some “zazz” to it and give it a hip, “edgy” feel for the new millennium, and maybe, you know, make some commercials with guys who could torture litterers.
A company I reported to the Oregon Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection division earlier this year because I felt they used misleading tactics in order to jack up monthly service fees related to digital telecommunications sends me a mass-mailed postcard stating “BEWARE: Some will stop at nothing to get a sale.”
They go on to say “do not rely on what the door-to-door salesperson tells you as factual,” and suggest you report any deceptive sales tactics to their company. From my experience with them, I’d say don’t rely on what their own salespersons tell you as factual; they probably want you to report the tactics so they can include them in their repertoire.
I’d started looking for a steady gig because even that far back work at the bottom of the multimedia tank had started to get pretty spotty, for whatever reasons, and the year-and-a-half of steady employment I received from Reality helped get us back on our feet after effects of the dot.com implosion combined with my little brush with death.
But it’s been two years since that ended. Incoming projects (Director, Flash, or whatever) have been even less frequent than they were four years ago. Resumes and project inquiries have gone out steadily since I was laid off with nary an answer. A couple of the projects that came to me from previous contacts fell through, and one client still owes me thousands of dollars for work I did more than a year ago.
I had a conversation a couple of weeks back with a graphic designer I know whose been in worse straits for longer. He’s lost his house and is subsisting on the kindness of some friends along with a very small income from a part-time front desk job. It’s not just the lack of income that’s a problem, but every month our portfolios get dustier and more out-of-date. Not that anyone’s looking at them, but even if they were, when you’ve been scrabbling to find small jobs to fill in the cracks and the last major project you worked on was literally years ago, what kind of impression does that leave on a potential client? Where have you been since 2005? In prison?
Like a lot of other desperate or semi-desperate people, I’ve got some hope and money riding on the iPhone gold rush right now. Like a real gold rush, the people selling mining supplies and leading people across the passes are the ones who are going to come out of it well; a lot of the rest will end up worse off than they were before they made the trip.
Crossing my fingers and hoping that I’m among the lucky ones this time. I’ll let you know how it ends up when I’ve released my app (whether you care or not).