Archive for June, 2008

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La Fourche

June 16, 2008

 

Elle est bizarre, la vie, pourtant je l’aime bien. Elle peut être gentille, tranquille, inutile, et chiante, et desfois tout à la fois. Elle est agréable d’un moment, et de l’autre une vraie salope. C’est ceci qui me fait me demander pourquoi est-elle comme ça? Me voici, petit qu je suis, quand on se compare au grand monde mystérieux. Une petite fourmie au vrai dire.

Je me trouve dans le monde au moment où il semble que tout s’achève, où tout s’accomplit. Il y a de la guerre, il y a de la haine, il y a de la violence, de l’immoralité, et de tout ce qui est mauvais. Mais qui a dit que ces chose sont mauvaises? Dès la fondation du monde, et bien avant cela, il fussent des lois, des lois qui distinguent le bien du mal, le saint du méchant, et ces lois nous gouvernent tous.

Me voici, petit que je suis, et ma vie me semble grande, importante, plus importante même que celles des autres. Et c’est qui qui décide cela? Ce n’est pas moi, c’est certain. Donc pourquoi est-ce que je pense de telles choses? Pourquoi me semble-t-il que ma vie miniscule se sépare des autres? Ne sommes-nous pas tous égale?

Au vrai dire, et au point, je suis confronté de deux vies. Je me vois sur la route mystérieuse de ma vie—mais je m’arrête à une fourche. D’un côté se trouve la route qui se ressemble à celle que je mène maintenant. C’est une vie ou les décisions sont similaires aux celles que j’ai déjà fait. Cette vie consiste d’une vie “normale”…

 

A rough translation:

Life is bizarre, but I love it still. It can be kind, tranquil, useless, and a real pain in the ass, and sometimes everything at once. It can be hunky-dory one minute, and a real bitch the next. This leads me to wonder, “why is it like that?” Enter me, small as I am when compared to the great mysterious world, truly like a tiny ant.

I find myself in the world at a time when everything seemingly is coming to an end, where everything is coming to pass. There is war, there is hate, there is violence, immorality and everything else wicked. But who determined that these things are bad? Since the beginning of the world, and well before, there have been laws, laws that distinguish good from bad, holy from hellish, and these laws govern us all.

Enter me, small as I am, and my life seems to me to be grand, important, even more important than that of others. And who decides this? It is not I, that much is certain. So why then am I thinking of such things? Why do I seem to think that my own tiny life could be different or better than others? Are we not all equal?

In truth, and more to the point, I am confronted with two lives. I see myself on the mysterious road of my life—but I am stopped at a fork. On one side is a path that resembles that which I have led up to this point. It is a life whose decisions are similar to those that I’ve already made. This life consists of a “normal” life…

 

I can pinpoint this little tidbit to around October 2004, a time in my life that was full of transition and self-discovery. I had recently returned from serving as a Latter-Day Saint missionary in Belgium and France, I had just begun a new job managing a warehouse full of vacuum cleaners, and I was making my first educational foray into what I would soon after discover as my love and passion: graphic design.

And if that wasn’t enough, I was also trying to reconcile my religious upbringing with the internalization and personal acceptance of my homosexuality. I was still living at home with my parents, I had told no one of my Great Secret, and my internal struggle was temporarily assuaged with the penning of this cryptic, stream-of-consciousness musing about the world in which I found myself. I chose French because, at the time, I knew that I could use it to feel comfortable about divulging my innermost conflicts. It was both for security—no one in my family or close circle of friends could read it fluently—and because two years of speaking it every day rendered my English tongue a twisted, garbled train wreck. French was a beautiful, emotional, idiomatic dream in comparison.

Had I finished the piece that I had scribbled down during a train-ride home from class one autumn evening, I no doubt would have detailed the other side of the fork, a path which would eventually lead me to be true to myself, following my heart and embracing my inner self. This path would be far from straight and narrow—contradictory to all that I had been taught about God, The Commandments, and The Righteous Path To Salvation. Yet with more than three years of hindsight under my belt, I can’t say that I would have foreseen The Other Path with as much clarity as I do now. Would I recognize that a path this windy and obstacle-ridden was exactly what I needed?

Yesterday I attended the third Gay Pride parade of my out-of-the-closet existence, and despite my general distaste for the obnoxious display of gay cultural stereotypes, I enjoyed being able to be myself amongst other people being themselves. And festivities aside, I took a moment to reflect upon how far I’ve come since that naïve twenty-year-old Mormon boy stepped onto a plane bound for Europe and a two-year tour of proselytizing and service to God.

In the past four years I have left the Church altogether, affirmed my apathy toward organized religion, and spent a good deal of time actively purging the doctrines that were inculcated throughout my youth. Only now do I feel comfortable approaching the precepts of religion again, though it still remains a low priority on my list of things to do. I have led what I consider to be an honest, contributing life. I try to keep an open mind, and do right by other people.

I look back upon my upbringing, and I am grateful for my parents and their parenting. I could have been a lot worse off. I do not regret serving as a missionary, because I recognize the work ethic, values, and personality that it helped me to develop. I do not see myself as strong a person as I am today without that history. And I am grateful for the experiences I had while there, which have led me to dispense with bigotry, hatred, and a closed mind.

I am happier now than I can ever recall, and it is the life that I have led and the choices that I have made along that path that are directly responsible for bringing me to where I am today. There was a fork in the road that Autumn day in 2004, and I made my path. I cannot foresee what lies ahead, nor how many more forks I will encounter along the way. All I can hope for is the wisdom to make the right choices, and the humility to learn from any mistakes. And I cannot ask for more.

We all bear the scars.
Yes, we all feign a laugh.
We all sigh in the dark;
Get cut off before we start.

And as the first act begins,
You realize they’re all waiting
For a fall, for a flaw,
For the end.

There’s a path stained with tears.
Could you talk to quiet my fears?
Could you pull me aside,
Just to acknowledge that I tried?

And as your last breath begins,
contently take it in,
‘Cause we all get it in
The end.

And as your last breath begins,
You find your demon’s your best friend.
And we all get it in
The end.

– Justin Bond

 

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A Fount of Fonts

June 5, 2008

Reposted from A Pixel, A Vector, A Blog.

by Isaac Watson

Being the typography nerd that I am, I am always in search of new fonts to add to my resource library. And being the typography purist that I am, I try as best I can to avoid downloading poorly executed TrueType display fonts from any of those free sites. Very few of them are designed with decent kerning pairs, let alone allow you to copy the files into an InDesign package for portability. Sadly, being a design student doesn’t afford me the luxury of purchasing font sets at will from The Real Type Foundries.

Last week I was fortunate enough to be gifted the Adobe Font Folio OpenType Edition, and you must be able to imagine my sheer glee at adding so many type families to my font library. The thought of having so many choices for my projects just thrilled me to no end, but the prospect of filtering through over 400 families as I decided which to install and which to leave out was rather daunting, so I let the enticing collection be for a few days while I hammered out how best to approach the task.

It was Monday morning before I finally decided to just dump them all onto my computer and sort them out later. Eager to multitask, I selected all the files and dragged them over to Font Book, then proceeded with getting ready for work. A few minutes later I checked back on the process, only to be met with that lovely spinning beach ball and no visible progress on the install. I crossed my fingers and ran to catch my bus to work.

A long, busy shift wiped any memory of the Great Font Install from my mind, so by the time I returned home late that night, I didn’t even think to check on my computer right away. Once I finally meandered up to my bedroom to check my email, I was greeted with a shocking screen (click for full size):

Fonts!

Yes, I had forgotten that when you drag a font file into Font Book, it opens a preview window and lets you view the font before installing it. I had no less than 420 font preview windows cascading across my monitor! I could do nothing but sit there and laugh hysterically at my lapse in memory.

Sadly, I then proceeded to go through them one by one and decide if I actually wanted to install them (it took over an hour). Now that I’ve completed the initially daunting task, my type resources will never be lacking.

Some of the things I love best/have learned about the Font Folio:

  • Over 50 faces of Helvetica Neue LT (and six other families of Helvetica)
  • A new favorite handwriting font—Voluta Script Pro
  • More dingbats and wingdings than I know what to do with
  • Myriad has both a Sketch (drawn outline) and Tilt (drawn solid) face
  • 64 faces of Minion Pro
Frankly, I’m overwhelmed. But being the typography nerd that I am, I giggle with joy at the thought of having all these fonts at my fingertips. And being the typography purist that I am, I rest easy knowing that each of these fonts are in OpenType format, and that they were good enough for Adobe, so they must be good enough for me. I also take comfort in the fact that none of those 420 fonts were Comic Sans. In this line of work, one can never have too many fonts. I fully acknowledge and accept that there are now fonts in my library that I will never use. And I’m okay with that, because as a typography nerd and a purist, I will take the freedom associated with an abundance of choice over feeling restricted in my creativity by what few choices I have any day.