The Alphabet Julen: P


My traitional first spring planting. With their tripartite design and colorations, and bearing faint resemblences to feline faces, pansies are long-lived, hard to kill, and brighten up the yard. I lean towards pansies in blues and purples.


I like paper. For all of my early adoption and advocation of the internet, I've never been able to get away from it - doodling, drawing, painting, cutting, twisting, curling, sketching, taking notes, making reminders, constructing things. It's remarkably versatile and useful.


I used to read at least one major newspaper a day. Once I stopped travelling for work, it's was often the Washington Post or the small town excuse for a daily paper, and then mutated to mostly on-line conglomerations. The Local Weekly and Monthly papers were better than the daily, and often had more staff. In the 1990s, I'd occasionally, splurge for a Sunday New York Times. I had a definite reading pattern with newspapers... I read the front page first, then the Arts or Style section (or the third section of the WSJ), and than the metro section. If it's Sunday, I dip into pages of opinion, next, and then - as a counterbalance - those glossy fluff-fests like Parade. I'll read the magazine, but save the puzzles for later. I'll put aside book reviews for mid-week, and the comics for last. If it's the Times, I scan the wedding section for people I went to college with, and the obituaries for interesting lives. I also read pages A3 and beyond for the reality-based followups to those scandalous overblown stories that are on the front page in 36 point type.

I had a brief spell of wanting to be a journalist, but being editor-in-chief of my college newspaper for almost 2 years killed that right off.


I've had a very quiet patriotism. I vote. I do jury duty. I take advantages of my rights and privileges as an American. I believe strongly in our basic principles of freedom and liberty. I used to take it for granted, but in the wake of terrorist attacks, I find my own patriotism is cast in a clear light. I am not willing to give up my civil liberties. I'm not willing to tolerate bigotry and clear unmitigated ignorance. I am not willing to enable authoritarianism or dictators for a false sense of security. I expect our leaders to act like adults, compromise, and be effective for the people.

My patriotism doesn't flap like a flag in in the wind or ruffle on a lapel. This American experiment was worth having and has value, but we need to live up to our own ideals.


I'm a sucker for a good pen; I like ones that are fluid and comfortable, that leave a satisfyingly smooth trail behind it. I much prefer the pen to the pencil - crossword puzzles are so much more satisfying in pen (and yet they can be so ego-deflating, too!)

Perry Mason

Lt. Tragg is the best. His smirk! His zingers! His "Oy Vey!"


I currently have two indoor cats and three outdoor cats (in the old days, these'd be called barn cats), more than 50 goldfish (most of which are only partly gold), and there are a host of wild animals and feral cats living in and around this place. I've always had pets and animals around. Growing up, we had cows, pigs, ponies, lots and lots of sheep, goats, cats, chameleons, chickens, geese, a turkey or two, hogs, bunnies, and later, when we were older, lots and lots of goldfish in the pond.


It's pifflicious, bay-bee.


Twenty years after they were the rage and driven by nostalgia, I bought one. It reminds me of being seven years old and climbing the trees in my grandmother's front yard. I used to blow on the film to get them to develop "faster". I bought it a few years ago after realizing I wasn't going to see my new photos of my fish until I finished my roll, and sent it off to be developed. When I take a picture, I want to use it immediately! I want something tangible to delight over. I've discovered, however, that if you drop it 145 times, eventually, the emulsifier/coating distributer will go out of whack and ruin your pictures. After that, I just gave in and bought a digital camera.


How cool is this? For as long as I can remember, the poppies my mother planted around my childhood home have bloomed just in time for my birthday.


It's de rigeur for every designer (although the standard template is generic and boring) and the quality of your portfolio can make or break your job hunting. If you are applying for a design job and you don't have a portfolio, what are you doing!? I always figured people who hated my idiosyncratic portfolio would hate having me work for them, so mine was a spiffy little pre-screener too. Now that I've retired (twice!), I've retired my portfolio/too.

Post-its on my Computer

I am a post-it user and abuser, dotting my monitor with reminders and notes and critical info. ou can't see the casing of my monitors for all of the post-its tacked on it and each other. I look at them and think - "Where is that red pen" as often as I think "How much on this list can I get done today?" Over time, the topics have varied. Among the greatest hits: Priority tasks, bugs, or stories. Important phone numbers. Fragmented To Di Lists. Ideas on meta keywords. A reminder to call my mother. A list of sq scofflaws. Lists of music and books to check out. Ingredient lists. Sketchy calendars. Event reminders.

Air Punctuation

I was mock-using the air quotes one day when it occured to me that there was some serious punctuation bias going on. Why not air parentheses? Air exclamation marks? Air tildes? So I started creating those too. And I recently found myself using air parentheses in a non mock way. Oh, the shame!

Abby Purple

I bought my first new car in September 1996 - a blue-silver Honda Civic I called Abby Normal (yes, based on Abbe Normal from Young Frankenstein). Three months later a teenager ran a red light and crashed into the driver-side door as I was making a left turn. After I stopped spinning, I heard "Oh no! Not again!" The first guy to get to my car couldn't believe I was alert, much less alive. I walked away with bruises and aches. When the car was declared totalled 3 months later (the twit got off with a 25 dollar fine and court costs!), I immediately went out and bought another Honda Civic. That one was purple - oh excuse me, "Deep Amethyst". That was a great car -- you could fit a marching band in that car. The Matrix I had after that car was tremendously disappointing in comparison, especially when the brakes suddenly stopped working while I was on the interstate. I went back to Hondas after that.

Putz Houses

I've been designing my own putz houses, inspired by classic American architecture. I'm starting with A-Frames and Folk Victorian Shotguns. Putz Houses, those small white glittery cardboardy Christmas decorations were originally made in Germany at the turn of the last century, and then in Japan by mid-century. Next up candidates: farmhouses, town houses, train depots, or huts.


Words I Like

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