September 29, 2011

Vile Bean

I wouldn't dare blame my mom for anything that's gone awry in my life – except my deep-seeded distaste for coffee.

My noob travels on Twitter this week informed me today is National Coffee Day. As a bespectacled, black-long-sleeved-shirt-wearing graphic designer, I should be elated. In fact, I should have known this weeks in advance. I should have sensed it, anticipated its arrival like a caffeinated Christmas. But no. I hate the stuff. I make no apologies. And it's all because of my mom.

When I was a tot I loved going places – as tots tend to do. Always wanted to be going. But like the ball-and-chain on an old-timey criminal, so to was my mom's slurgle of coffee.

Can we go now? Not until I have my slurgle of coffee.

Can we open our presents yet? Wait until I finish this slurgle of coffee.

It was excrutiating. First I'd wait all summer for it to get cool enough to go hiking in the Whiteshell on Saturdays. Then I'd wait for the Saturdays to come. Then I'd wait out the drive at the crack of dawn to get to the trailhead. Then all I'd want to do was find a piece of deadfall wood that looked like a Star Destroyer so I could run full-tilt down the path with the wood in front of me as it got pelted by X-wing fighter fire. And then bam! The slurgle strikes back.

Fast-forward to present day and I guess I'm still not over it. Mornings at my job with a cup of water, I head-scratch at the masses who. Can't. Work/Think/Talk/Blink. Until. They. Have. Their. Coffee. I visit coffee shops to meet about freelance and enjoy a delectable hot chocolate. Roll my eyes and gnash teeth at the stream of mindless Tim Hortons zombies in cars piled into the diamond lane. The coffee-lovers. The slurglers. They're everywhere. At work. On the streets. In my house. But they'll never get me.

Happy National Coffee Day? Humbug.

September 28, 2011

250: Don't Do What Donny Don't Does

no luring, baiting or feeding wildlife
I squeezed in a recent fun bit of freelance illustration for a poster concept, and while I hesitate showing the whole thing, these two excerpts were the best part – and an opportunity for me to get in some much-needed drawing time. The task was to illustrate four basic rules supplied by Parks Canada for tourists to abide by while riding the giant Tundra Buggies out of Churchill. I had nowhere to go but up; current "posters" plastered about the buggies are laminated letter-sized sheets simply listing the four rules aided by a bear silhouette.

no depositing garbage or littering on the ground
Pretty straightforward: don't litter. Don't harass the bears, or lure the bears. The fourth rule, though – no using devices that enable cameras to be placed under or beside vehicles – seems oddly particular. I was told this happens; enough obviously, for a rule. The buggies are high, I know that. High enough to keep juicy tourists out of reach from Earth's largest land carnivores. Remembering that ultimately this required sign-off from government, I shelved concepts involving a fishing pole or elaborate steampunk contraption, and rolled with my big-schnozzed fella simply dangling a camera tied to his scarf.

September 06, 2011

249: Sweet One Hundred

Our house – as well as a huge swath of the neighbourhood – is turning 100 years old this summer. When we bought the place and moved in, it was a sprightly ninety-four. The ensuing half-dozen years have seen one burst pipe (show me a centenarian who doesn't um, dribble, once in awhile), one replaced rotten window (dental work) and one backyard overhaul (a little cosmetic surgery). Other than that, the odd crack here, the odd squeak there, we've little indication this place has even attained a state of mid-life crisis; the house is a solid, slightly uneven, solid, creaking, solid piece of craftsmanship.

Anyone who has sat in their house and contemplated all the goings-on since its inception can attest to the daydreaming I've done of late. Somebody lived here during the Great Depression. Through WWII. A family perhaps, with a giant tail-finned behemoth parked in the back, set up an aluminum Christmas tree. Someone taped shows on their VCR. A spry young couple married under its roof. I have a hard time even considering the street as a shadeless suburbia, complete with spindly, evenly-planted elms and the occasional awoooooga-tooting Model T. But what I wouldn't give for even just a glimpse.

Kerry and I are celebrating the grand palace's 100th birthday. Ordered a cake, even. I spent time yesterday concocting this designerly ode to the house, having much fun in the process. Two weeks from now we'll do our darnedest to tear the roof off… without tearing the roof off.