Where I work

February 23, 2012

I am fortunate. I work in a casual and laid-back place. A lot of people don’t. I met my friend Chris for lunch yesterday—the poor sap had been stuck in meetings all morning and was wearing a tie. Don’t get me wrong, he (you) looked great. But I don’t know how I’d make it through the day if I had to “dress up.” And our infrequent meetings driving me up the ever-lovin’ wall.

We do graphic design which means that, as the business world goes, we’re artsy-fartsy. Steve Jobs set the precedent for casual with his black turtleneck and jeans. We don’t even have to look that nice. Jeans and a beer t-shirt are good enough for our place. I’m not unaware of the philosophy that you should dress for the position you’d like to achieve. Maybe that’s why my seventeen-year anniversary of doing the same thing is coming up. I don’t dress for success.

We also don’t work in a nanny-state. Most of us plug in to the music or podcasts or futbol videocasts. For people like me who have low powers of concentration, it helps my focus to drown the rest of the office out. Even when I have the football webcast going it’s extra helpful, because I don’t want anyone to think that I’m just sitting there watching TV, so I work even harder. Really! Nobody’s tracking our keystrokes on the computer—or if they are, they’ve done a really good job not letting on and haven’t called anybody on our Facebook and Twitter activity. We all do it, but nobody abuses it.

Best of all, on many birthdays and many holidays, we get beer! A happy worker is a productive worker. I think I’ve said once or twice in previous posts that I do some of my best work when I’m drinking beer. Same goes at the office. Being at work is a lot more fun when you’re enjoying a tasty beverage.

All in all, where I work is a nifty place.

Every place I go within my little five-mile radius has been under construction this summer. Doesn’t matter whether I’m driving, biking or walking. Construction and detours. 

There are many lane shifts and traffic pattern changes in my home neighborhood as the city’s second light rail line makes its path through. The front way, the back way, it’s all disrupted. Going in the opposite direction, a mystery project on Interstate 94 creates other problems. The way to my favorite beer store is detoured.

And now the off-road bike path on the home end of my work commute is detoured because that’s where the new rail line comes in to join the existing one. I haven’t been able to find information about whether that will be a permanent situation. In order for the bike path to reopen, there would have to be little bridge over the train tracks and I’m guessing that’s not part of the plan.

The mile and three-quarters between home and work has been a constant obstacle course. It would seem that every street downtown is being shaved down and resurfaced this summer. My bike route to work is one of those streets, so I now enjoy nice, smooth blacktop where it had been cement, seamed, cracked, and pitted. And most excitingly, a bike lane is now marked where previously it had just been an extra-wide driving lane.


In addition to the stripes there is, of course, a pictogram biking dude (or dudette). The first few times I rode over them I thought, wow, the fresh, white paint really contrasts with the fresh black asphalt. Then I realized why I was really paying extra attention. Safety has come to the bike lane pictogram. The dude (or dudette) either has a flattop afro, or that’s a bike helmet. A bike helmet on the pictogram! It has been weeks since I comprehended it and I still get a giant kick out of it.


Being the over-documentarian that I am, I began to notice and photograph other bike lane pictograms that I encounter. On a street near the riverfront that has recently been tarred and chipped, I kept seeing these blocky shapes (left). I thought, oh that’s cute, somebody graffitied abstract skyscraper shapes on the road. After seeing three or four of them, duh, it’s in preparation for a biking dude (or dudette). The bike lanes to and from the grocery store already had theirs (right).


The bike trail between my home light rail station and the grocery store (I continued on to the store on my way home after work) had some faded, older, stenciled ones (left) in which the biking dude (or dudette) was riding a bike with zeroes for tires and wearing cargo pants. On some newer pavement, though, the biking dude (or dudette) was very modern indeed, sporting a rounded helmet and riding what appears to be a “comfort” bike.


The bike lane on the street was helpfully marked with a sign letting me know that should I wish to bike after a snowfall, it would be a good route to take.


These two photos are the earliest and latest ones I have of myself. What has happened in between? Funny you should ask. Let’s take a look.

Ages ½–10

I’d swear I remember when the baby picture was taken. I have other toddler memories, such as what the kitchen in our first house in Manteno, Illinois, looked like. Yellow and floral.

We spent many summers in Bloomington, Indiana, while my dad worked on his PhD at Indiana University. He finished the work but his committee denied him of the degree.

To this day I have dreams that involve the house on Main Street in Ada, Ohio, where I grew up. I’d love to get back inside that house for a look. I remember listening to Winnie-the-Pooh and Peter and the Wolf records in the living room on our big, console stereo. It was a big deal when I got to operate it myself. We moved to a different house when I was eight.

Ages 11–20

Our new house was a block inside city limits. Most of the time I’d walk or bike to school, but if I wanted to ride the schoolbus, I walked over to Grandview Boulevard.

I spent countless hours in the city swimming pool. I spent countless hours playing Kick the Can with the neighborhood kids. I crashed my friend’s brand new bike that I rode around while she was inside eating supper. There was a horse at the end of the block, where the town suddenly turned into the country. There was a woods at the end of the block that seemed very big at the time. In it there was a treehouse.

We moved to Wisconsin two days before I turned fifteen. During the first year, my sophomore year in high school, it was novel and fun and not completely awful because it was to the small city where my grandparents lived and I already had a couple of friends. Then in my junior year, I grew to resent having been plucked from where I had grown up. I became a troubled teen. I stayed out all night one time without communicating with my parents. I broke up with my boyfriend which upset my parents who liked him a lot. Their reaction was very formative. I considered dropping out of high school.

I worked as a professional radio deejay.

I graduated high school.  I started college. I dropped out of college.

I moved out of the house. I moved into the house.

I went back to college. I dropped out of college.

I moved out of the house. I moved into the house. I still have nightmares that for one reason or the other, I have been forced to move back in with my parents at my current age with my youth issues, such as no boys in my bedroom.

Ages 21–30

I started technical college. I transferred technical colleges. I dropped out of technical college.

I moved out of the house. I went back to college. I dropped out of college. Rinse and repeat.

I moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to go back to college. I finished college! My mom proudly told a friend that I was graduating at age twenty-six. Her friend asked what my PhD was in. Sadly, it was just my bachelor’s degree, in English, after eight years.

I went to Europe for the first time on a trip with my parents that was a graduation present.

I worked for a year at a job that was pretty dead-end but which got me lots of promotional copies of albums on cassette. I decided to go to graduate school.

I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, to go to the University of Wisconsin for meteorology. I learned that a boy who had been one of my best friends growing up and who also went to Wisconsin for meteorology was, in fact, gay and that we’d never have that chance to get together that I had been denied when my parents ripped me away at age fifteen.

I flunked out of graduate school when I failed calculus for the second time. I began to get serious about bowling.

I went to the local technical college, Madison Area Technical College, and met Chris Gargan. I graduated with my commercial art degree and have been a graphic designer ever since.

Ages 31–40

I moved back to Minneapolis. I worked through a temp agency and met my two best friends, Jim and California Rob. I became employed at my current position which I’ve held for over sixteen years. Oh my goodness, I began to grow up!

I became a published author, though not in the way I imagined as a kid. But my name now appears in the Library of Congress, so that’s something.

I went to the United Kingdom for the first time and fell in love with it. I realized that London is my soulmate. I will live there someday.

I got more serious about my bowling.

Age 41–present

Along with other spending, all of my trips to England contributed to my declaring personal bankruptcy. I learned that it’s not actually that difficult, in the big scheme of things, to live without credit. Except for being deprived of more trips to England.

I kept getting more serious about my bowling. People think I’m joking when I say I take three balls with my to league. The people who are really serious take six or eight.

California Rob moved to California. Jim got married. Possibly in the opposite order. I began my descent into curmudgeonhood.

Oddly, still in my bankruptcy, I was able to procure a mortgage and buy my first home, a condominiumized apartment. Gotta start somewhere. The housing market tanked. I am stuck unless I want to take a significant loss in my selling price.

I began to develop my love of craft beer. I hate saying “craft beer” because it’s such a buzz-term right how. But if more people like it, more will be made and that’s not a bad thing. My gateway beers were Bell’s Oberon and the local Summit Extra Pale Ale.

I have slowly and surely been gaining weight.

Last night, I picked up a twelve-pack of Summit’s Silver Anniversary Ale. Then I went to the preseason meeting for my Monday bowling league. Then I stopped at a bar that had a firkin of a special, grapefruit-infused version of Odell Brewing St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale, a current favorite of mine. I was chit-chatting with the young patrons on either side of me about beers in general and India Pale Ales (my preferred variety) in particular. My bartender asked me—almost accusingly, as though I were a spy for a distributor—who I worked for. When I said a small graphic design company, he blinked and said, “You know a lot about beer.”

That made me feel really good.

Tonight, I enjoyed some of that Summit Silver Anniversary Ale.


Perhaps you read the tale of how I came to the decision, despite having professed for years that I’d never ever want one, to go ahead and get a tattoo. Here, then, is the account of the experience, from designing the perfect rabbit suitable for permanent emblazonment to, tee hee, Sparky McFuzznuts the squirrel.


I have drawn this rabbit a lot in the last year and a half, yet when it came time to draw one for the tattoo, well, I guess I experienced some performance pressure. I thought I’d whip one out in a maximum of ten rabbits. Turns out, it was fifteen pages of twenty-four rabbits. That’s just under one rabbit for each day of the year.


I didn’t love any of them on paper, but I picked the ones that passed as my favorites, cut them out and taped them to a single sheet of paper, and scanned them in. As a graphic designer, I was confident in the digital magic that could be done. I narrowed it down to parts of three or four rabbits that I knew I could Frankenstein together for The One.

In choosing The One, I practiced what I’ve preached to my mother on many a Teddy bear shopping excursion. It’s true that there are ten or twenty Teddies to choose from. And I know you want to choose the one with the cutest face. But once you get any one of the ten or twenty home and away from the other nine or nineteen, you won’t know the difference.

Once I got the rabbits to where I liked them, I employed the same strategy. It came down to one rabbit with two minor variations. I knew that once I got one away from the other, I’d never know the difference. Having also learned from playing Trivial Pursuit, I went with my first instinct.


The final decision was the size. After I had drawn a bunch of the rabbits, I started to think that maybe it didn’t need to be quite that big. I printed out the final rabbit in a range of sizes and decided to go just a little bit smaller.


Jers was my tattoo artist at Saint Sabrina’s. I tried to draw him out on some advice—he was the professional, after all—but he kept insisting that it was my tattoo and my decision about anything I asked him. Then I realized that the squirrel he was holding on his business card was actually his furry companion, Sparky McFuzznuts. Then I saw the back of the card.

During the process, I quizzed Jers about Sparky. I refused to look at what he was doing. It’s not that I’m afraid of needles or blood, but I just have this habit of psyching myself out and I didn’t want to take any chances. Learning about Sparky was the perfect distraction.

Jers said he rescued Sparky as an orphaned youngster. He nursed him to adulthood and tried to set him free, but Sparky just hung around the yard so Jers accepted him as an indoor companion. Sparky is about three.

It wasn’t too painful. I had figured it would be akin to when my cat CJ is in her basket just to the side of my mouse arm and decides that she needs to be in physical contact with me. She reaches out and doesn’t exactly dig in, but still she kind of grapples my arm and hangs on and it’s prickly. I anticipated that the tattoo would be heavy-duty prickly. It was more like CJ was scratching. Not painful, but quite noticeable.

I endured—adrenalin was definitely in play—but I was very happy when Jers let up and it seemed like he was taking a break. Then, before I could remark, he said, “You’re done!” What? It didn’t even take fifteen minutes. It is a simple design and I had no previous experience to judge by, but I sure wasn’t expecting to be finished that quickly.

It’s been a week and a half and, thankfully, I’ve not had a moment of buyer’s remorse. Jers did a wonderful job and I love my tattoo!


Today I compared the predictions with real life. That I used the horoscope from The Onion should??give a clue as to my general attitude toward such things.

I am a Cancer. A moon child. That explains a lot.

I was originally going to use Yahoo???s horoscope because it???s right there on my homepage. I??looked both yesterday (in anticipation) and today (in practice). The daily predictions were thus:

???Friends in need aren’t anything new???you actually tend to attract them, and you don’t mind so??much. You send out subtle signals that let others know you’re the most trustworthy of friends. Right??now, in fact, those traits are amped up, so no matter who comes to you, even just for a quick hug,??you go above and beyond the call of duty. Don’t be surprised if you end up with a long-term friend.???

???You’re feeling especially chatty and friendly???which means you’re much more easily tempted than??usual to let a hot secret slide. If it’s your own and you don’t mind the world knowing, go for it???sharing a confidence can be a great way to bond. If it’s shared or someone else’s entirely, think??twice before you have at it. Why risk a current relationship to entice a new one????

Omigod, they???re almost true.??

Monday I learned that my downtown place where I work out is closing due to financial issues. I??was apparently one of only two or three members in whom the proprietress Pam confided extra??information. She was not merely trying to sell the business due to ???changes in personal??circumstances??? (the general notice to members) but because she is in arrears for rent and is being??evicted.

Yesterday, the first day of the horoscope, I shared with her that I had gone through personal??bankruptcy in 2004. That sort of opened the floodgates and I gathered that because of credit card??misuse due to na??vet??, she, too, is facing bankruptcy, though likely business rather than personal.??I???m usually the latest person working out, so there were no privacy concerns as we continued the??conversation after I was finished. I ended up giving her a hug that was appropriate but which??ended up being a little uncomfortably long. But she needed it, so that was okay. I don???t think we???ll??be friends after this chapter ends, but she???s been good to me in the fifteen months that I???ve been a??member.

Since Monday when I learned of the goings on, I had felt like I wanted to give Pam and Betty, the??other woman who I saw most often, parting mementos, but I had no idea what. What do you give??people who you see often and appreciate and maybe even feel affection for yet you don???t know too??intimately? When I got home last night, I spied the answer on my windowsill???two houseplant??babies that have been living in a jar for far too long that I hadn???t been in a hurry to pot because I??already have plenty.

Then I got all sappy and was thinking of the reasons why I???d give when I presented Pam and Betty??with the plants. You know, the clich??s like, now you???ll have the chance to experience a new??opportunity, this plant is a symbol of something new coming from something that???s ending, so on??and so forth. I wanted to say that they were simply small tokens of my gratitude and affection for a??healthy year and a quarter. But I said none of that, other than that I just wanted to do a little??something.

Today, I knew that Betty was opening so, not wishing to miss what might be my last opportunity to??see her, I left a message at my office saying I???d be a little late arriving because I had to make a stop??on the way in. I left both plants with Betty and she didn???t give much away, but I think she was??touched. When I got to to work, I told another Pam the whole story. While we weren???t exactly??bonding any more than we already have from working together for fifteen years, and there was??nothing at risk by my sharing one Pam???s story with the other Pam, it was interesting to note how??real life very loosely corresponded to the horoscope.

The story above is what I was going to relate for my comparison of horoscope versus real life.

Then I got sidetracked by the charm of The Onion‘s Scorpio horoscope for my friend Meghan: ???Everyone??wants to live forever, but in your case it would just mean more time being chased by an angry??swarm of bees.???

I found my own, for Cancer: ???The hounds of hell will be at your door this week, clawing furiously to??be let out and use the bathroom.??? At first I thought, that???s dumb. Then I realized that this week I am??working on revisions on a project for a client whose reasons for wanting the things they want I find??nearly impossible to understand, and how, because they???re a fairly new client, my boss instills the??utmost urgency in us for the things they need, like they???re going to pee their pants or something if??they don???t get it.




Billy Goat Can Float

May 18, 2010


Five years, six months ago, I was in the throes of writing, designing, and producing the First Sounds and First Rhymes series. Herewith, you will be treated to a couple of examples of my stunning writing prowess.

It???s not that I mean to be facetious about what I do for a living; it???s just that I had always envisioned something a little more highbrow for my writing endeavors. On the other hand, as these books all go into school libraries and are meant to supplement the regular reading curriculum, there are some very specific guidelines that we are required to follow and constraints that we must adhere to. In that regard, these are mini-masterpieces.

First Sounds was an A???Z series in which each book dealt with a single letter or letter combination and featured words beginning with those letters. First Rhymes also covered the alphabet, but via perfect rhymes. Both series were part of our Rebus Reader line, which meant that the first part of each book was given over to our version of rebuses for six-year-olds. The second parts of the books were simple stories illustrated by photo+clipart collages.

I have always enjoyed working on the story illustrations; we make frequent use of that style. The goofy rhyming stories are fun, too. And this was back in the day when we more heartily embraced the cookie-cutter method of graphic design.

So put on your reading glasses, sit back, and enjoy.

Eva and Ethan from the First Sounds series, ??2005 ABDO Publishing Company.


Billy Goat Can Float from the First Rhymes series, ??2006 ABDO Publishing Company.



I wanted to be a writer. Who didn???t? Who doesn???t? From childhood, I had visions of writing novels for a living. That, or raising horses. The two interests dovetailed one time only. The only novel I have ever finished was a short one about intrigue on a Thoroughbred farm, completed when I was about thirteen. When I discovered the author Dick Francis around the same time and my mother hesitantly let me buy one of his books, I thought I was in heaven. Unfortunately, my writing career did not parallel his.

As late as my seventh year in college, I still sort of thought that the writing thing might come together.??

I had an eight-year effort in getting my bachelor???s degree. My parents both zipped through in four years and were horrified when I dropped out two and a half weeks into my first semester, and not much longer into my second semester. Then I tried it out at a couple of technical/vocational colleges in the area before returning to the university for a couple of more or less successful years, if you were judging by the fact that I actually completed semesters.

I got the bee in my bonnet that I wanted to live in Minneapolis and so decided that the easiest way to accomplish that would be to transfer schools and move into the dorm. Nothing to it. But it soon became apparent that I???d have to graduated eventually and thus would have to choose a major.

What all did I pass by on the way? Communications, music, computer programming, journalism, graphic design, and a few that I???m forgetting. I eventually settled on English as my major, just English. I never had any desire to teach but I needed to pick something. I was good at reading. I???d worry about the rest of it later.

I did graduate but found that without the journalism or communications angle, there were no writing jobs. So I went back to school and ended up getting a commercial art degree from yet another technical college, and thus began my graphic design career.

I guess I lucked out, because at my current position we do most of our work for book publishers, and one of those publishers put us in charge of everything about a new imprint they created. That meant we were responsible not only for the graphic design and production of those books, but also for finding the authors. It happened that I and a couple of other people were interested in writing, and thus began my writing career.

I am not writing novels. I am writing supplemental materials for beginning readers, as in, five??? to eight-year-olds. I have to my credit such scintillating titles as It???s K, The Jelly Bean Machine, and It???s a Baby Gazelle! It gets fun when I both write and design a series (the books are always in series of at least six).

I backed into being a writer and I guess I shouldn???t knock it; I have technically achieved my desire to be an author. How many people can say that they???re immortalized in the U.S. Library of Congress? I can!

Favorite typeface: Hobo

April 14, 2010


All day long I knew I was forgetting something, but I couldn???t quite put my finger on it. About ten minutes ago, it hit me like a thunderbolt. Hobo.??

I had dutifully reported my current favorite serif and sans serif typefaces (Archer and Gotham, respectively). They are clean and modern and make any design look good.??


You all recognize Hobo. You know you do. You see it everywhere and it takes you right back to the groovy 1960s and?????70s. At least that???s what you think. Hobo was actually designed in 1910 by Morris Fuller Benton. I didn???t knock myself out, but after a few minutes of internet searching I failed to find much more about its history than the following:

The Hobo font is a dynamically tapering face in which all strokes are accentuated curves, achieving a superb decorative effect. Hobo almost suggests a freely drawn alphabet with its unusual robust roundness. The Hobo font was designed to be used at large sizes. It has no descenders: the lower case g, p, q and y are incorporated into the x-height. The Hobo font imparts a friendly personality to display work such as invitations, menus, signage and packaging. (reference)

And about its designer:

Morris Fuller Benton (November 30, 1872 ??? June 30, 1948) was an influential American typeface designer who headed the design department of the American Type Founders (ATF), for which he was the chief type designer from 1900 to 1937. Benton designed more than fifty typefaces, ranging from revivals of historical models like ATF Bodoni, to adding new weights to existing faces such as Goudy Old Style and Cheltenham, and to designing original designs such as Hobo, Bank Gothic, and Broadway. (reference)

Hobo don???t get no respect. In my office we joke all the time about using Hobo in our designs. And then when we???re acting out on our exasperation with client revisions, we declare that we will refine our design by outlining/inlining/adding a drop shadow to Hobo. We don???t mean it in a nice way.

I got to thinking about why we treat Hobo so disparagingly. I???m always aware of when I see it out in the wild. One of the conclusions that I drew about why I pay attention to it is that beyond its surface hokiness, it is a darned readable typeface. From a distance, you know that it???s Denny???s Doughnuts (Rockford, Illinois), or Love From Minnesota (IDS Building, Minneapolis, Minnesota), or the Copa (barely readable) Cabana (Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin), or that you should have Happy Feet (Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota), or that Ginny Smiths [sic] the best stand for cappuccino/coffee/milk/ice cream (Minnesota State Fair, St Paul, Minnesota). When you???re at Emo???s Dairy Mart (Peoria Heights, Illinois), reading the menu isn???t the hard part. The hard part is making a decision.

No, I think how you feel about Hobo is quite similar to how you feel about Lawrence Welk???you???re embarrassed to admit you like it because it???s so forty years ago, but there???s no denying it???s a classic with mass appeal.


Side note: The whole time I was typing this, I was totally seeing this Helvetica or Arial (or whatever my default font in TextEdit is) as Hobo. Hobo text. There is no such thing. I am hallucinating.

Click to visit my Flickr set of even more Hobo photos, which I have been inspired to take to participate in the Hobo 2010 project which commemorates Hobo???s centennial.


’Fess up. Somebody, out of the kindness of their heart, loaned you something “for a few days.” Or you cat-sat for someone and took something home with you, fully intending to return it before they returned.

I fall into the latter catter-gory.

Rob M, I confess. I have your Pantone swatch book. Let me refer back to old files on my computer. Nope, it’s been so long* that those files aren’t even on my current computer. No, I “borrowed” your swatch book when you entrusted the care of your feline companion to me for a longish Christmas trip to Green Bay, when I was still doing the quarterly catalog for cooking classes at Lund’s for my former freelance client. It was a one-color job and I got to pick the color. I used your swatch book to make the choice.

Now you know.

Obviously, you haven’t missed it much. Or else you’ve been just too nice to bring it up. You are a nice guy, but I suspect it’s more that you just haven’t needed it and so either didn’t even notice, or if you did, decided that it wasn’t important enough to mention. That’s because you went and became a fancy web designer guy at Yahoo!. The internet doesn’t care about the Pantone Matching System.

If you ever need to use Pantone colors again, I’d be happy to return it to you. But may I note that it only goes up to PMS 587, with a few flourescents and metallics thrown in for good measure. The latest edition apparently features 2,058 colors. Your book is old news.

The green featured in the call-out is 363, the color of the Pantone coffee mug that was part of the Christmas 2008 office gift to me. That color was carefully selected for me by our office manager who thought it reminded her of the color of the spinach soup that I sometimes make. She likes baby-shit-colored split pea soup, but for some reason, my green-greener spinach soup grosses her out. There’s no accounting for taste.


*Omg, it was SO long ago that I was still working in QuarkXPress. What?


How often have you wished you could draw? Or write, or sing, or whatever? You don’t have to be good to enjoy doing something. I fully embrace the notion of A for effort.

Take Albrecht Dürer’s Portrait of a Young Hare, for example. My former rabbit Bibi did a much better job of recreating it in the course of her daily life than I did this evening with aluminum foil and intention.

Here’s a question for those of you who live with freerange houserabbits. Have you ever noticed (if you ration their food and feed them at predictable times) that about forty-five minutes before mealtime, they start this whole stretching and yawning routine? Well, they do. At least four of my six rabbits have engaged in such activity.

Bibi was a master (mistress) stretcher-yawner. And one time, I managed fire up the camera quickly enough to capture this portrait. I think she did a far better job with her ownself than I did with foil. I entered her posthumously for the mission of standing in front of a portrait and making the same expression. How could I resist? Who doesn’t think their pet is the cutest ever? (p.s. They are!) 

Later that same day, which was a Friday, I eschewed actual work work in order to create my own entry for the mission—a self-portrait in front of the artist’s self-portrait. I swear I could have kept doing it all day. And, it just happened I was wearing brown that day. Dürer’s hair is curlier, though. 

It’s weird taking pictures of yourself when there are plenty of other people around who you wouldn’t mind not seeing you doing it. I managed to escaped scrutiny.

Going into the day, my plan was to make my 3D sculpture of the 2D painting with Fun Tak, because I could have worked on it discretely at my desk and nobody would have been any the wiser. But today, unlike that January Friday, work tasks conspired against me and I did not have the opportunity to goof off as much as I sometimes do. The trade-off? I am redesigning the Black & Decker DIY books that you will soon find in your local Menard’s, Home Depot, or Lowe’s. It’s the highest-profile thing I’ve ever worked on. I can live with that.

So I present you with this inadequate foil replica of a masterwork. But as I’ve declared on a few previous occasions, the fun part is that I’m doing something that I wouldn’t have, ordinarily. But I did today.

(For those of you paying attention and remembering my “What’s in a name?” entry, my D does not stand for Dürer. It’s merely a convenient coincidence.)