Monthly Archives: August 2008

Design Itch

Web design is a fre­quent itch for me, as inspi­ra­tion comes from every­where. Quite often, I come across a beau­ti­ful site that has a clever ele­ment here or an inter­est­ing pat­tern there, and get the urge to redesign my own.

But as there’s no such thing as a per­fect ath­lete, there’s no such thing as a per­fect design. Minimalism, while func­tion­al and acces­si­ble, tends to lack per­son­al­i­ty. Style — while beau­ti­ful and full of char­ac­ter — tends to be biased and stag­nant. I find myself in a con­stant state of flux between the two ideals.

Right now, I’d love to have a big­ger can­vas, some­thing like Days With my Father, where I can dis­play my pho­tos in a much larg­er for­mat (because, real­ly, the impact of a pho­to­graph is lost when it’s small). I’d love to have items orga­nized by columns fit that per­fect­ly in a grid, aligned along nat­ur­al ver­ti­cal rules. I’d love to have some­thing a lit­tle more com­plex, some­thing that invites a view­er to explore fur­ther.

But I’m hap­py with this one. It does what I want. It looks right, no mat­ter what day or mood I’m in.

Having a design that match­es my sit­u­a­tion is impor­tant to me, which means they gen­er­al­ly don’t last longer than a few months, as I tend to evolve with­in that time. There have been many times that I’ve writ­ten, “This is the last redesign for a while”, only to be unsat­is­fied in some way and to change it with­in a few months. I unveiled the cur­rent one at the begin­ning of the year, and it’s prob­a­bly the one I’ve been most sat­is­fied with. Whenever the itch strikes me, I browse through the archives and admire how clean every­thing is, and how dif­fer­ent types of con­tent seems to work in the same area. Then I real­ize how hard it would be to come up with some­thing bet­ter, and the itch goes away.

So no redesign for a while.



We met on the bus, side-by-side, read­ing books that both won Nobel Prizes.

I was sup­posed to meet you here three years ago, and they’re out of apple cider. The cran­ber­ry cider is tart, but only too much when you sip it so. There’s a sub­tly dis­tinct taste to it, bare­ly enough to stop me from won­der­ing if I just paid $2.45 for warm cran­ber­ry juice. I did­n’t even want this drink; I just want­ed to sit down and write.

I nev­er would have come here if you had­n’t sug­gest­ed it. There are too many peo­ple. Too many going for the fresh­ly-ground­ed, shade-grown, fair trade bull­shit that’s been mar­ket­ed to the hip­sters who think they’re doing the world a favour by patron­iz­ing the right kind of places. Pretentious peo­ple who come here to read, then put their head­phones on because it’s too noisy.

I don’t fit in. That’s prob­a­bly a good thing.

I was sup­posed to meet you here three years ago, but your boyfriend got jeal­ous and would­n’t let you come.

We met on the bus, and I haven’t seen you since.

A Cold And Grey Summer Day

My room is a mess, a side-effect of my busy sched­ule. I should be clean­ing. Hell, I should be sleep­ing, but I’d rather write instead, see­ing as how I haven’t had a chance in four days. It would appear as if I’m going through some sort of expres­sion with­draw­al.

Vincent Gallo prac­ti­cal­ly wrote this entry for me.

I had When by Vincent Gallo play­ing here.

(If you’re going to lis­ten to this song, turn the lights down, or at least close your eyes. Remove your­self of any ambi­ent noise. Breathe slow­ly for 30 sec­onds before play­ing it. This song deserves it. You deserve it.)

Even though it went up to 28°C today, the morn­ing start­ed cold and calm. There was so much mois­ture in the air that one could taste the grey.

It made me strange­ly sto­ic when I left the house. Something about the whether that remind­ed me of how com­fort­ing it can be to feel sad. It’s as if the earth had decid­ed to com­pli­ment my mood with cloud cov­er. I can’t even explain the cause of my sad­ness, and can only guess that real­iza­tion and accep­tance are set­ting in. The only sav­ing grace is that I feel con­fi­dent enough to pick myself up and move on. Not that I want to do it alone right now. Wish I had the option.

As the day dragged on, things start­ed to wear me down. Exhaustion dried my eyes. I kept try­ing to pick myself up, kept try­ing to hide my sigh­ing sad­ness from those around me, to no avail.

Wish I had a smile in my wardrobe for days like this.


Pregnant with hope

Tiana asked me to take some pic­tures of her dur­ing her preg­nan­cy so she could have a record of what her body looks like com­pared to the rockin’ body it was before. In return, she posed for some oth­er projects I had in mind.

Pregnant body

It was an exer­cise in colour tones and mood. As I’m get­ting more com­fort­able in work­ing with RAW files, I want­ed to try my hand at adjust­ing tint, expo­sure, sat­u­ra­tion, and con­trast.

At one point I asked her how to spell “pre­gasaurus” (a term she came up with to encap­su­late her girth), and she remind­ed me that it was a made-up word, with no com­mon­ly accept­ed way of spelling it.

Pregnant and sleeping

The media makes preg­nan­cy out to be such a glam­orous affair, with design­er clothes and celebri­ty births, that it seems to be dele­te­ri­ous­ly affect­ing the younger gen­er­a­tion. I want­ed to por­tray preg­nan­cy in a much more casu­al, nat­ur­al light. Hence the ghet­to T‑shirt and the bel­ly stick­ing out.

Pregnant eating poutine

Thanks goes to Tiana for not only get­ting nude for me, but for being so pho­to­genic at eight months through the preg­nan­cy, and work­ing with me on these ideas.