Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This is not a politics blog...

los boletas oficiales

For good reason, I am a wretched Citizen. I often make my decisions at the polling place based on the sound of people's names (last year, I only voted for female school board members). My absentee ballot arrived today with not one, but FOUR rainbow colored ballots. The guilt just washes over me as I think of the people who have fought and died so I could cast my measly votes. Then my cynic steps in and says it doesn't matter because who ever gets elected will get bought off regardless. Then my really super cynic starts kicking me in the shins because now that I registered, I'll probably get called up for jury duty (does anyone actually like jury duty?). The word on the street is that all registered voters get called at least once a year in this town. Dutch has lots of opinions, and I know if I am lazy, I'll just adopt his wholecloth. The thing is, I do care about certain issues an awful lot, but it takes work to sift through all the fuzz and noise to get to the core of the issues.

Things I do have opinions on...

a classic movie poster from Saul Bass

Right now, I am putting together a lesson for the junior high kids about movie poster design. I plan on showing the usual posters from the golden age of design (the 50s and 60s) and I have put together a lot of material for them to look at and read (maybe stuff for another entry) and so now I have design on the brain. And what is even worse, I have been obsessing over how to explain it to 11-13 year olds. Because they are young, I can cheat a little and make simple, illustrated rules that they could theoretically follow without completely understanding (a real issue, considering that I speak English, and most of them speak something else at home). I am struggling with the fun challenge of creating a foolproof schema.

an unbearably beautiful tea label

I was at the grocery store looking for tea and I bought this brick of pu-ehr, and as I was considering which one to buy, it struck me that this tea label is almost unbearably beautiful. One of the things I am considering limiting is the children's palette. We will be using photoshop, so they have potentially millions of colors to chose from. This is a wonderful example of a limited palette (there are only three colors). They also, left to their own devices, tend to cluttered compositions, and random things they find from the web. I will be giving them a list of limitations, and hopefully it will be enough to get their minds going, but not so much that they give up.

The tea label is so inspiring because in addition to its limited palette, it has some fine patterns (repeated motifs) and I love the whimsical junk (sailing vessel) included in the seal. The composition is very straightforward, but it works, both in a utilitarian, and an aesthetic way. I don't read Chinese, so the meaning of the characters is completely lost to me, so I can't rate how effective the communication is, but they are always purty (am I betraying my love for exoticism here?). I tore a tiny corner and smelled the tea and looked at it, and I knows pu-ehr when I sees it, and the price couldn't be beat ($3.69) so I bought it. The really gratifying moment came when I was at the Ferry Building today (home of the most overpriced, pretentious, upperclass little specialty groceries in the city) and I found the exact same thing, with an English translation (Yunnan Province Green Pu-Ehr) and an equally English price, $12.50. That works out to $2.00 an English word.


The Nikkster said...

Why so many ballots? I highly recommend you take the time to consider the implications of this year's election, not only for the sake of California, but for the sake of the United States. There are some really critical issues that need votes.

Not only that, but our foremothers suffered long and hard to get us the right to vote, which was not too long ago as history tells it. Be brave and vote!

Camille said...

Preach it, sistah!

H said...

I'm absentee and I got 2 ballots. But I have to provide my own blue or black (not red!) pen to fill it out and stamps to mail it. I wonder if I can deduct this expense on my state and federal taxes?

The Nikkster said...

I know, why do we have to pay to be an absentee voter? I find that ree-dick-u-luss!

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