Monday, December 31, 2012

"The Vegreville Truck"

There are a lot of four-door pickup trucks in my newly adopted town of Vegreville, Alberta. After I noticed there were a lot of them I started taking pictures of them. I'm up to 68 pictures so far -- with a few repeats. The square format makes me include each truck's surroundings. I think that makes for more interesting photos and the format helps describe the town as well.

All the photos are viewable in a Flickr set.

Old Dutch brand potato chip crazy

In Canada (in Vegreville, Alberta anyway), the Old Dutch brand seems stronger than in its native Minnesota. It seems stronger than even Frito-Lay.

I snapped a photo of an end-cap display at my local grocery store -- just look at that variety of potato chip flavors.
The flavors include: Rip-L-Chips, Creamy Dill, Mexican Chili, Ketchup, Sour Cream and Green Onion, All Dressed, Original, Sour Cream and Onion, Au Gratin, Lightly Salted, Cheddar and Sour Cream, Dill Pickle, Salt 'n Vinegar and BBQ. There's also a bacon flavor and another version of BBQ flavor that I missed. Whew!

Not certain what the All Dressed flavor is -- it tastes like a spicy tomato sauce, maybe.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

There's this really large egg-shaped sculpture in Vegreville, Alberta . . .

. . . and it spins in the wind.

I've made two previous attempts to capture this happening. I just have to wait until it gets windy enough. It's almost always windy here, but it has to be at least 19 kph (12 mph) to get the Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter egg) moving.

Yesterday was a good day for filming only because the wind was blowing and I was there and I brought along the iPhone 4 and a tripod. The sky is rather dreary, but the snow flakes add snap to the visuals. I also like that there's some snow on top of the egg.

Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter Egg) Rotates In The Wind from David Steinlicht on Vimeo.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Toby Jones versus . . .

It's a coincidence that Toby Jones has now been in two movies portraying real-life people at about the same time when much more famous actors play that same real-life person. 

I'd argue that Jones actually looks more like his real-life characters than the more famous actors. Beyond that I have no particular insight. It's just interesting. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Welcome, bicycles!

Bike path near 2012 Minnesota State Fair.
To allow more cars and trucks to travel to and from the Minnesota State Fair, three blocks of on-the-street bicycle paths on Como Avenue are obscured with black tape.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

J&N Weed Harvesting

 J&N Weed Harvesting pontoon boat spotted in Bottineau, North Dakota. Something about clearing weeds from lakes, I guess. An unusual machine. And a striking logo. There's harvesting and then there's -- harvesting.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Twin Cities Reader lives again

I wish this had been the last issue, but it
was the second to last issue. Of course, Carl
ultimately got Minnesota to build a stadium
for his Twins baseball team.

Artwork by the great Jack Mhyervold.
He sent this in unsolicited. Depicting Carl Pohlad as
The Godfather, it was a perfect illustration
for John Yewell's Twins stadium story.

How is it possible that it's been 15 years since the last issue of the Twin Cities Reader was published? 

I was the art director of the TCReader when it went out of business in March of 1997. I'd been there for a little over two years. It was a fun job. I had the trust of the editor and could pretty much do what I wanted. I was able to hire great artists and photographers. And then it was gone.

Burl Gilyard, a writer for the Reader, emailed former staffers noting 15th anniversary of the dissolution on March 12, 1997. This sent me to Google to snoop around to see if there was any electronic evidence of the Reader. I was mostly looking for older versions of the paper -- before my time -- but there was almost nothing in image search. I found only one version of the logo from the '90s. But not a single cover.

And then I got an email out of the blue from another former coworker, Jesper Goransson, who was a Reader production intern, wondering why there weren't any Reader visuals on the Internet. Probably the reason is that the Reader went out of business before the Internet revved up.

So, I'm going to post some Twin Cities Reader covers here. And why not! 

The last issue. Photo by Jeffrey Rabkin.
My first issue. White space!
I changed the logo after a couple months.
Stunning John Noltner photo.

A sweet Merle Nacht illustration.

The first appearance of my
TC Reader logo in December 1995
Photo by Ann Marsden.

The Winter Guide, 1996.
Photo by Robyn McDaniels and Gordon Stettinius,
model: Penny Reinwand, stylist: Ellen French.
Robyn and Gordon shared a weekly
photo feature in the Reader.

I redrew the classic Reader logo for the
big 20th anniversary issue. The original
artwork was long gone.

My direct inspiration
for the upside down
20th anniversary cover.
A 1988 Village Voice
cover designed by
Michael Grossman.
Prince and [symbol] through the years.
Fantastic art by Erik Johnson
made this cover idea work.
And the flip side.

Note: The Twin Cities Reader is now owned by City Pages (or Village Voice Media, if you want to be technical) in Minneapolis and they use the name every once in a while for stuff. It was on a book section in City Pages for a few years. And it was also used for a City Pages news aggregator that ran for a short time. I imagine the name will turn up again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


There's a distinctive warning sign in a parking lot close to Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis.

It's one of the more extreme misuses of type squishing I've seen in a while. But I have to admit, it does read a little like poetry.

Do any of these adaptations improve on the original? The original has an aggressive charm to it, but the information is not a quick read.

But as I rework the design to get to something more functional, it starts to look like any other sign. Can I get any of the original charm back by using the original fonts? Maybe.

In the end I have to admit -- I would not take a picture of this sign.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Android logo in physical space

[Updated with the idea drawings on the bottom]

I like collectible figures. I like the Android logo. So I purchased an Android logo collectible figure.

I was a little disappointed.

The figure itself is rather large. It's roughly three inches tall (76 mm) .It looks good with my Pee-wee Herman doll, but completely overwhelms figures from Kubrick, Qee, Lego and Homie. I think a smaller size figure would have been nicer. It would play better with the rest of my toys.

When you translate a flat piece of artwork into the real world, you have to make some choices. The strangest choice the designers made was to make the Android's legs very deep. I understand that it was to allow the figure to stand on its own, but it really makes the thing look kinda stupid from any angle other than straight on.

The proportions of the logo and the figure are pretty close. Only the legs are a little different -- shorter on the figure.

Possible improvements? At the very least, the white sections -- between the arms and the body, and between the head and the body -- could be painted black.

More radical improvements could be putting the head on a much smaller neck -- so it would disappear in many views and be in shadow in all views.

The legs should be the same in form as the arms. Cylindrical. The feet could be made flatter to allow the character to stand on its own.

Or the feet could fit onto a clear base -- allowing the bottom of the feet to stay in the rounded form of the logo. Either solution would look "right" from all sides.

Still, it's a fun little guy and I'm glad I got it.

[By the way, when I say I like the Android logo, I mean the little guy. I don't particularly like the Android type treatment, but that's probably the subject for a different post.]

Saturday, January 07, 2012


Is is something about having a name that has two "o"s?