This day is called the feast of Crispian

I’ve had a fondness for Kenneth Branagh‘s version of Henry V ever since its relative box-office success almost exactly 30 years ago seemed to validate my undergraduate thesis (which I’d just defended the previous spring) on Shakespeare as the writer of popular entertainment, rather than highfalutin court plays (using Henry V and some analysis of the size of Elizabethan theater audiences and London’s population as my arguments). Possibly the shortest English Literature thesis on record at Reed College.

Anyway, today is St. Crispin’s Day, a day that I’ve observed a number of times in the past years, so here’s the man himself with the speech that gave us “band of brothers.”

And here is a sample of my latest Shakespeare fix, David Mitchell in his show Upstart Crow, which continues to prove my point.

The Evolution of the Digital World

Several years back, Rob Ford of the FWA contacted me to ask some questions about my minor role in the history of online multimedia for a book he had been working on. I was both flattered and flabbergasted. Like so many labors of love, there have been a number of deadlines that came and went for the project’s release, but apparently Web Design: The Evolution of the Digital World 1990–Today (Taschen) has finally reached gestation, and Phillip Kerman caught a glimpse of my first book’s cover in Rob’s unpacking video, posted on his Amazon author page.

New Here

I know I haven’t been particularly active on Adobe Support forums in recent years, but I have been using Adobe products since Illustrator 0.88, when I was at Reed College and it was in beta release more than thirty years ago. I’ve had an account on the Adobe site for probably close to two decades, and I authored multiple books on two of the products they acquired from Macromedia.

As the result of your contributions to the community, you have earned a new rank.

Your new rank is New Here .


Who Knew There Was a Dixie Mattress Festival?

I’m not really sure how—aside from the fact that I’m probably just too old—I was unaware of the fact that there is something called the Dixie Mattress Festival, or that it has been around for en years now.

It’s such an inside-SE Portland joke. For many years on SE Belmont near my house, there was a dingy-looking place that sold mattresses, under two large Confederate battle flags, called Dixie Mattress. They’ve been gone for nine years now, but apparently a Portland band (now) called Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons wrote a song featuring the place—or at least a mattress from there—more than twenty years back.

You think this lack of love and money
Would leave us banging on the walls
But when I lie with Dixie Mattress
I don’t give a damn, care if I
Ever see your face at all

Such a weird little piece of Portland history to be—I guess—celebrated? At least it’s in Scio.

At least there’s a free show by The Dickies at the big casino just north of Portland this weekend.

Anna’s House

I had noticed some work down the other day on a house owned by the woman who was probably the oldest and longest resident on SE Alder. When I walked past it this morning on my way to work, however, I noticed that it wasn’t renovation going on, they’re deconstructing one of the oldest houses in the neighborhood, built in 1889 (most of the other houses on the street were built in the first couple decades of the 1900s).

Anna, the woman who lived there, died a couple of years back. She had a big garden in the side yard and grew much of her food, including—it was rumored—a couple of small coffee bushes. She also owned a couple of other houses on the block as rentals.

The garden and the house are soon to be no more, however. The big lot’s too valuable for city farming.

It’s So High and It’s Underground

I first encountered the music of Roky Erickson during my short stint as a volunteer DJ at KRVM, when his album “Don’t Slander Me” came out in the mid-80s. While DSM is less grungy than Roky purists probably approve of, it’s remained one of my favorite albums for more than three decades, with the title track, “Bermuda”, and his vampire epic “Burn the Flames” near perfect encapsulation of his vocals and lyrics. Only got to see him one time—just a few years back—but it was a lifelong musical goal realized.

Are you going to Bermuda?