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Livefyre broke commenting on this blog. I’ve written them an e-mail. Hopefully it gets resolved soon.

Approximately four people will really be heartbroken about this. I am not included in these four.

Stupid Script Kiddies

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Some hackers really bore me.

Earlier this week, some script kiddies (from some middle eastern country, it seems) used an outdated wordpress plugin to screw around with my blog. Don’t worry, you’re fine. Here was the contents of their message:



So, wow. That was certainly worth the effort.

Apologies for the maintenance message, but I didn’t want anyone to worry that their computers were hacked. Only my blog. And not even that well, actually.

Form v. Function v. Font

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Composing in a specific aesthetic influences tone, so select your font and format before you write.

It’s probably been a while since you’ve used a word processor as your primary vehicle to process words. More likely, you’re using a webmail client, IM chat, or an e-mail client where the formatting’s fixed and the written word rules. I challenge you: change your font—see what happens.

This is Times New Roman, Microsoft Office’s default font. This font has been beaten to death and does nothing for you. It doesn’t hurt you, either.   Helvetica and Arial fit into the same camp: standard word processor fonts. Their ubiquity and blandness doesn’t hurt nor help your writing. This blog, for compatibility and web-readability reasons, relies on sans-serif’s friendliness on the web-o-sphere. (I also like to think my imagery transcends the page in all cases, regardless of font selection; but, we’ll leave that for you to decide.)  However, switch to Cochin, and you will find that your sentences read more intelligent because the font face is under fewer writer’s employ. Its serifs and subtle curves gently emphasize your free-form prose, and flowery language doesn’t seem as flowery when it’s written in a flowery font face; rather, it flows. In addition, you will notice a proclivity towards logorrheic phrasing and a dearth of contractions; thusly, take heed that these types of font faces are not for novices, but rather the ruthless darling-murdering red-faced penmen who do not wait for second-passes as it is far too easy to get carried away.  Contrast that with Impact. Tell a story, but tell it quickly. Use it for headlines. Use sparingly.    By the same token, everything looks stupid in Comic Sans MS. Also, we often write stupid things here. And we never get away with it. ROFFLES!!11!!1!1!!eleven

Interestingly, the font face influences you more in the composition phase than it influences the reader when reading. Consider:

I’m having a terrible day. My dog ran away and I miss him. I’m having a terrible day. My dog ran away and I miss him. I’m having a terrible day. My dog ran away and I miss him. Im having a terrible day. My dog ran away and I miss him.

To me, all of these sentences have the near-equivalent emotional impact.

I’ll admit: the aforementioned examples are a bit contrived. But, for me, I find that if I compose in a particular font modify margin width and line height, your writing will tailor itself to the message’s function.

For general writing, I use Helvetica Neue (Light) size 12, set to 6.5 inches of writable horizontal space (1 inch margins on an standard 8.5 x 11). For news and newsletter-style stories, I’ll break the page into two columns and my sentences become 30% shorter, my paragraphs drop to a sentence or three, and I’ll get to the point within the first vertical inch. For book and paper-writing that demands a bit more clarification (but not necessarily ‘clarity’), nothing has yet beaten Cochin (or Sylfaen, for those on a Windows box).

Succinctly, your language accommodates the area you have to work with. So form your working area accordingly.

(It’s true for me, at least.)