Saturday, September 05, 2020


Just like the USA — Alberta, Canada has people with widely-differing opinions. 

The billboard is from the Wexit crowd (the Canadian twist on Brexit, Western Canada Exit, I think). They are unhappy with how the rest of Canada treats their province, so they want to leave Canada. And apparently join the USA. 

This letter to the editor in the Edmonton Journal is a rebuttal of that idea.




Monday, June 29, 2020

Platt and Bogdanovich



It's unusual that you get two documentary podcasts about one subject being released serially at the same time.

One podcast -- "The Plot Thickens" -- is from an established brand, Turner Classic Movies, and while it's TCM's first venture into podcasting, it has the slickness and polish that one would expect from a Turner Classic Movies "normal" documentary.

The other podcast -- "You Must Remember This" -- is from historian and film fan, Korina Longworth. This podcast has been it's been going since 2014, and it has a rich back catalog of subject matter relating to old and recent movies. It is also a slick and polished production

Anyway, both these shows offer viewpoints on the creative and romantic partnership of Peter Bogdanovich and his former wife and early collaborator Polly Platt.

Peter Bogdanovich and Polly Platt, circa 1968, photo by Bruce McBroom via mptvimages

TCM concentrates on Bogdanovich and slightly downplays Platt.

Longworth concentrates on Platt and plays up Platt's contributions to Bogdanovich's early successes.

Platt and Bogdanovich collaborated on "Targets," "The Last Picture Show," "What's Up Doc," and "Paper Moon." All three (leaving aside "Targets") of Bogdanovich's "good" movies. His output post-Platt is so-so. "Daisy Miller," "At Long Last Love," "Nickelodeon," "Saint Jack," "They All Laughed," "Mask," and a bunch of stuff you haven't heard of.

The shows treat the subjects's careers chronologically, and there are still more shows to be released, so, going forward, I'm pretty sure they will have less to do with the relationship between Platt and Bogdanovich, but I find myself more excited about hearing Platt's story. 

I guess she somehow ended up working with James L. Brooks on projects including "Terms of Endearment," and "The Simpsons." 

Bogdanovich ended up making a lot of so-so movies after Platt split, and I'm having a tough time listening to him talk about how much he loved Cybill Shepard and Dorothy Stratton.

My takeaway from both podcasts: Bogdanovich shouldn't have left Platt.





Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Alberta election, April 2019



Long story.

Today we took advantage of advance voting in Alberta’s provincial election. It’s our first time voting as Canadians. Yay! Election day is Tuesday, April 16.

About these pictures: These distinctive bubble-window row houses are in our neighborhood. There’s another set of them a few blocks east of these on the same street. They strike me as very 1970s.

While the bubble windows are ignored by most of the people living in these houses, a few of the windows are decorated with Christmas lights in season.

The political race this month is between candidates of two major parties. The current party in power is the New Democratic Party (NDP). In 2015, they won power from the conservative party of the time, the Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta. This was a huge upset as the Progressive Conservatives had ruled Alberta since the 1970s. The way I understand it, the loss was due to some particularly visible corruption.

The Progressive Conservatives were beaten so badly, they decided to disband and regroup, joining with a more Tea-Party-ish political party, the Wildrose Party, to form the United Conservative Party (UPC).

Around the time the NDP was voted in, Alberta’s lifeblood — the extraction of oil from the Alberta tar sands (most here call them the “oil sands,” only wild-eyed environmentalists use the “tar sands” term) — became much less profitable because of the global collapse of oil prices. The unemployment numbers have grown and anger against the NDP has grown.

So, the United Conservatives are heavily favored to take control of Alberta in this election.

But, at least here in our neighborhood, the New Democrats are still popular. Hence the bubble-window display shown.

Update: United Conservative Party won.

Grumpy cat on the internet

A Facebook ad urging participation in the April 16, 2019 Alberta provincial election. Featuring a grouchy cat. Nice drawing.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Language alert: Apps



A restaurant chain here is trying to replace the word, “appetizers” with “apps.” They may succeed, but I don’t like it. (From a Facebook ad.)

(Yes, Edmonton has an Ice District. The centerpiece of it is the new-ish hockey arena.)

–Facebook post from Jan. 3, 2019

Update: Also, "Boston Pizza." I guess Chicago or New York Pizza was too on-the-nose for a name for a pizza place.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

I didn't know he was a Canadian



Edmonton Journal, May 17, 2019

This morning’s Edmonton Journal has a review of “John Wick 3.” (They didn’t like it.) (I’ll be seeing it in any case.)

The cutline for the accompanying photo starts out: “Canadian actor Keanu Reeves reprises his role as ….” I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be true (IMDB.com says he was born in Lebanon) or an insult or what.

Maybe the cutline writer has Reeves confused with the many, many other actors who are Canadians.

[May 17, 2019 Facebook post]

And whenever the newspaper mentions William Shatner it always has to remind readers that Shatner is Canadian.

Yes, I did go see the third John Wick movie. It was okay. Just as good as "John Wick 2" and not as good as "John Wick 1."



Also Canadian: Raymond Burr.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Tidying up

I've been neglecting my blog posts. And I didn't think about it much because I guess I've been posting on Facebook for family and friends. But really, a lot of those Facebook posts have been blog posts all along.

So … I'm going to copy some of the stuff I've been doing over there to over here.



First up: Marie Kondo on Netflix.

Just what I needed. Help with tidying from Marie Kondo-zilla-san. Thank you, Netflix. I AM READY TO SPARK JOY!

It's no coincidence that Marie Kondo's Netflix show appeared at the beginning of the year. Just in time for us starting out with a New Year's resolution to, um, tidy up.

[Facebook post from Jan. 1, 2019]


Sunday, January 05, 2020

Animal stacking

I noticed this happening a couple years ago with an Edmonton restaurant, The Parlour. Here's a pretty nice mural/type design featuring a stack of animals. Animals that, I presume, you would be eating at the restaurant.
The Parlour, Edmonton

Then I saw another Edmonton restaurant featuring an animal stack. This one left out the goat and the wine bottle, but Prairie Noodle Shop raman place has a pretty good stack going.

Prairie Noodle Shop, Edmonton

And I then noticed a third. This one is at an Edmonton grocery store – Loblaw's City Market, in the Brewery District strip mall. Same line up as the raman place, but here the animals are facing different directions.

Loblaw's City Market, Brewery District

And finally (so far), this fall, I saw this sign at the Minnesota State Fair. For Mancini's al fresco restaurant. This one leaves out the chicken and puts the animals on a Vespa scooter.

Mancini's al fresco, Minnesota State Fairgrounds

What to make of this trend? No idea. But I did make this graphic with all the animals all lined up.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Changing 'This Changes Everything'

The 2014 Naomi Klein book, "This Changes Everything" is an inspiring, depressing read. It states, and gives compelling evidence, that the climate crisis is irreversible if we don't do some drastic things, starting in 2017. Yes. Two years ago. Anyway, it's a good book. You should read it.

Of course the fate of the planet is not what this blog post is about. This blog post is about the cover design of the book.

The many editions of the book have had a lot of variations, while still keeping with original hardcover design using Franklin Gothic Extra Condensed with black, white, blue elements. And, to make the design work, the designer breaks up the word "everything." Gutsy. I can't find who designed the original cover. But kudos to you, cover designer!


The cover eliminates the author's name and puts it -- and the subtitle -- on the back cover. Very striking.



The spine is also pretty great. This would only work on a book of considerable page-count.



Then, the paperback version beefs up the author presence on the cover at the expense of the title impact, but it still works. Note that "everything" is restored to one word.



One could argue that the distribution of the colors could be more effective, but the design is so strong, it works just about any way you mix and match. Like this.



Here's a possibility.



And another possibility.



And here's a cover that uses the subtitle. It mentions the movie. It also touts a recommendation from the New York Times. With each added element, the cover loses a bit more of its appeal. It's starting to look like every other book cover design.



Finally, there's the documentary movie made from the book. The movie poster is by Shepard Fairey, and while it has nice elements, it's a real letdown from the book design. The symbol of the burning earth -- while not an original idea -- is effective. But when surrounded by other symbols and frankly ineffective type design and awful color choices (I have to say that these colors work well for other Fairey designs), the poster could use some help.



I played around with the poster and made an in-between version -- holding over some of the book colors and typefaces.


Better? Probably not. But I had to try.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Vue Weekly project, legal in Canada

A couple weeks ago, Canada legalized recreational use of cannabis. I eagerly awaited the cover of the alternative weekly in town, 'cause they seem to have a bit of a cannabis fixation. I was pretty sure they'd commemorate the event somehow. Vue Weekly did not disappoint.


While I think the headline is funny, I don't think the illustration delivers on the joke. I think the illo is fine and it would work with another headline, but this headline needs a different kind of treatment.



Here's my version. I almost think it would work better without the leaf in the background, but hey -- you gotta give the readers something to hold on to.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Do not dismantle

Random Edmonton street furniture. Letting people know about an upcoming event. A major event.


And I noticed a little sticker in the bottom right corner of the sign.



I may need some "Do Not Dismantle" stickers.

Stickers in real life

A possible Line app sticker set.


I wanted to make a sticker set for the Line app. Seemed easy enough. So I did the artwork using my computer-drawing style. I then tried to do the paperwork to make them actually available on the app. And I wasn't able to navigate the system. International business rules apply somehow. But I still have the artwork.

And now I'm thinking I'll make an Apple Messenger sticker set. Still working on the logistics for that.

In the meantime, I used the facilities at SNAP Printshop to make a physical sticker set.

Work in progress. Blue, then red, and finally, black.

Three-color silkscreen on sticker-back paper.

Here they are, all trimmed out and ready to stick.


And a close-up view.


The joy of screen printing!