UncommonFor Christmas I received Uncommon Finding Your Path To Significance by Tony Dungy.

A few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“What you do is not as important as how you do it. Those are the words that keep coming back to me when I am tempted to choose what is expedient of what is right” Uncommon, Chapter 1

“Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small one”, wrote Phillips Brooks, an American clergyman in the 1800s. Over time, we create ourselves and build our character though the little acts we do.” Uncommon, Chapter 1

“Integrity is what you do when no one is watching; it’s doing the right thing all the time, even when it may work to your disadvantage. Integrity is keeping your word. Integrity is that internal compass and ruder that directs you to where you know you should go when everything around you is pulling you in a different direction. Some people think reputation is the same thing as integrity, but they are different. Your reputation is the public perception of your integrity. Because it’s other people’s opinions of your, it may or may not be accurate. Others determine your reputation, but only you determine your integrity. Integrity is critical to everything we do because it is the foundation of trustworthiness in our own eyes, in the eyes of those around us, and in God’s eyes.” Uncommon, Chapter 2

“From the moment you are born, you- and you alone- determine whether you will be a person of integrity. Integrity does not come in degrees – low, medium or high. You either have integrity or you do not.” Uncommon, Chapter 2

On A Lighter Note

After I finished Drive, I received a copy of Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys which is always a great laugh. So with respect to Mr. Barry, I share with you his greatest piece:  “A Journey Into My Colon”

(This Dave Barry column was originally published Feb. 22, 2008.)

OK. You turned 50. You know you’re supposed to get a colonoscopy. But you haven’t. Here are your reasons:

1. You’ve been busy.
2. You don’t have a history of cancer in your family.
3. You haven’t noticed any problems.
4. You don’t want a doctor to stick a tube 17,000 feet up your butt.
Let’s examine these reasons one at a time. No, wait, let’s not. Because you and I both know that the only real reason is No. 4. This is natural. The idea of having another human, even a medical human, becoming deeply involved in what is technically known as your ”behindular zone” gives you the creeping willies.

I know this because I am like you, except worse. I yield to nobody in the field of being a pathetic weenie medical coward. I become faint and nauseous during even very minor medical procedures, such as making an appointment by phone. It’s much worse when I come into physical contact with the medical profession. More than one doctor’s office has a dent in the floor caused by my forehead striking it seconds after I got a shot.

In 1997, when I turned 50, everybody told me I should get a colonoscopy. I agreed that I definitely should, but not right away. By following this policy, I reached age 55 without having had a colonoscopy. Then I did something so pathetic and embarrassing that I am frankly ashamed to tell you about it.

What happened was, a giant 40-foot replica of a human colon came to Miami Beach. Really. It’s an educational exhibit called the Colossal Colon, and it was on a nationwide tour to promote awareness of colo-rectal cancer. The idea is, you crawl through the Colossal Colon, and you encounter various educational items in there, such as polyps, cancer and hemorrhoids the size of regulation volleyballs, and you go, ”Whoa, I better find out if I contain any of these things,” and you get a colonoscopy.

If you are as a professional humor writer, and there is a giant colon within a 200-mile radius, you are legally obligated to go see it. So I went to Miami Beach and crawled through the Colossal Colon. I wrote a column about it, making tasteless colon jokes. But I also urged everyone to get a colonoscopy. I even, when I emerged from the Colossal Colon, signed a pledge stating that I would get one.

But I didn’t get one. I was a fraud, a hypocrite, a liar. I was practically a member of Congress.
Five more years passed. I turned 60, and I still hadn’t gotten a colonoscopy. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got an e-mail from my brother Sam, who is 10 years younger than I am, but more mature. The email was addressed to me and my middle brother, Phil. It said:
“Dear Brothers,
“I went in for a routine colonoscopy and got the dreaded diagnosis: cancer. We’re told it’s early and that there is a good prognosis that they can get it all out, so, fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that. And of course they told me to tell my siblings to get screened. I imagine you both have.”

Um. Well.

First I called Sam. He was hopeful, but scared. We talked for a while, and when we hung up, I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn’t really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, “HE’S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BUTT!”

I left Andy’s office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called ”MoviPrep,” which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America’s enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn’t eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes — and here I am being kind — like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, ”a loose watery bowel movement may result.” This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don’t want to be too graphic, here, but: Have you ever seen a space shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, ”What if I spurt on Andy?” How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the hell the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn’t thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was Dancing Queen by Abba. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, Dancing Queen has to be the least appropriate.

”You want me to turn it up?” said Andy, from somewhere behind me.

”Ha ha,” I said.

And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, Abba was shrieking “Dancing Queen! Feel the beat from the tambourine . . .”

. . . and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

But my point is this: In addition to being a pathetic medical weenie, I was a complete moron. For more than a decade I avoided getting a procedure that was, essentially, nothing. There was no pain and, except for the MoviPrep, no discomfort. I was risking my life for nothing.

If my brother Sam had been as stupid as I was — if, when he turned 50, he had ignored all the medical advice and avoided getting screened — he still would have had cancer. He just wouldn’t have known. And by the time he did know — by the time he felt symptoms — his situation would have been much, much more serious. But because he was a grown-up, the doctors caught the cancer early, and they operated and took it out. Sam is now recovering and eating what he describes as ”really, really boring food.” His prognosis is good, and everybody is optimistic, fingers crossed, knock on wood, and all that.

Which brings us to you, Mr. or Mrs. or Miss or Ms. Over-50-And-Hasn’t-Had-a-Colonoscopy. Here’s the deal: You either have colo-rectal cancer, or you don’t. If you do, a colonoscopy will enable doctors to find it and do something about it. And if you don’t have cancer, believe me, it’s very reassuring to know you don’t. There is no sane reason for you not to have it done.

I am so eager for you to do this that I am going to induce you with an Exclusive Limited Time Offer. If you, after reading this, get a colonoscopy, let me know by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to Dave Barry Colonoscopy Inducement, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132. I will send you back a certificate, signed by me and suitable for framing if you don’t mind framing a cheesy certificate, stating that you are a grown-up who got a colonoscopy. Accompanying this certificate will be a square of limited-edition custom-printed toilet paper with an image of Miss Paris Hilton on it. You may frame this also, or use it in whatever other way you deem fit.

But even if you don’t want this inducement, please get a colonoscopy. If I can do it, you can do it. Don’t put it off. Just do it.

Be sure to stress that you want the non-Abba version.

©2008 Dave Barry

Read more: 

Typography Rules (No. 3)

Then I came across a list of one sites favorite typography books. The third book on the list (one of the authors favorites, I was glad to find that it is available at our local library – a great, and often overlooked resource in our culture today in my opinion).

He ends the list with soliciting comments on “your” favorite typography books. Since I’m just starting my self-study/research on the matter, I’ love to have your comments and feedback on the topic.

My favourite typography books

It may not be completely obvious to everybody, but years ago I used to work a lot with graphic design and typography. I designed books, software manuals, brochures, things like that. What I enjoyed most about that was working with type.
When you’re working a lot with typography it’s natural to look somewhere for guidance and inspiration. As I often do, I turned to books for that, and I thought I’d mention some of my favourite books on typography.
Even though web designers can only use a very limited number of fonts, there is a lot to learn from traditional typography. None of these books cover web typography to any extent, but many of the rules and guidelines of print typography can be used within the technical constraints of the web.
I should mention that these aren’t very new books. They’ve all been available for years, and some are out of print. The good thing about typography as opposed to almost anything related to web technology is that the rules don’t change a lot, so typography books don’t really become outdated unless they are very contemporary.
Here’s the list then:
Emotional Digital: A Sourcebook of Contemporary Typographics
The first book on my list is, as is revealed by its name, tied to a certain period of time. It was released in 1999, at the height of the dotcom era. The examples of web typography that are included in the book obviously look very outdated. Despite that, this book feels remarkably fresh and current, with many beautiful illustrations and examples of type usage.
20th Century Type Remix
In this book, Lewis Blackwell shows how typography and the use of type in graphic design evolved throughout the 20th century. Every decade has a chapter of its own, complete with examples of typography associated with that era.
The Elements of Typographic Style
This is the best book on typography that I have read. I know there are those who do not agree with me, but, well I just love this book for the historical facts, typeface examples, and the guidelines for typographical details and page layout it contains.
Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works, Second Edition
Stop Stealing Sheep is a small and thin book, which is probably a good thing considering its purpose – to explain type to a broader audience than just graphic designers. While this book is an excellent introduction to typography and its related terms, it is also very useful as a guidebook for more experienced type users.
Typografisk handbok
This one is in Swedish and is, if I remember correctly, the first typography book I laid my hands on while I was in college back in the early 90’s. It’s become something of the standard reference for typography in Sweden, and it is an excellent book. Use it as a reference or read it from start to finish.

Typography Rules (No. 2)

Here is another typography note I found at The Design Cubicle. Not only a good list, but present well and the images really help to make the point. Well done.

The goal of this post is to help designers and clients understand the importance of good type skills, while avoiding some of the common mistakes. Please keep in mind that most of these mistakes are subjective and can be changed varying on the project, goals or circumstances.
Below is a list of 10 common mistakes used in type design/layout that can make a large impact in the effectiveness and appearance of your designs, in addition to saving you time and money when dealing with printers.

1. Not enough leading

Leading/linespacing can improve the overall readability of large blocks of text on a page, making it easier on readers to follow lines of text without losing their place. Too little can cause a cramped feeling. It’s important to remember that different fonts need different linespacing. Varying heights in letterforms may demand more or less.

2. Not enough tracking

Tracking/letterspacing is applied to a group of letters. It prevents letters from running into each other, especially during print. It’s similar to leading in which it can improve or hinder readability, flow of text and the density/weight of a block of text.

3. Getting tracking confused with kerning

While tracking is applied to a group of characters, kerning is the adjustment of space between two letter pairs. Effective for use with headlines, text with ALL CAPS and logo treatments (it helps with readability at various sizes). Don’t fall into the trap of letting your design software set this by default; it’s character specific. Same applies to the above, #1 & 2.

4. Lengthy lines of text

Reading many long lines of type causes eye fatigue. Readers are forced to moves their heads and eyes more often from one line to the next. Various sources I’ve researched state to keep lines of text under 50 – 60 characters long.

5. Mixing too many typefaces and weights

Too many typefaces on one page can become distracting and disconnecting (lacking unity). Try keeping your fonts choices to three or less per project. Too many weights can cause a reader to be unclear where important elements are on a page. This creates the possibility of the reader missing something important.

6. Not using serifs for lengthy-text material

Serifs are known to make reading lengthy material, such as books and magazines, more sustainable for longer periods of time. It also helps with eye strain/fatigue, and we all know that we need our eyes! Although this can be argued, serifs seem to sit better on the baseline.

7. Printing similar values of color on top of each other

For example, try printing a medium blue text on top of a medium brown box. Not only is it unappealing, but it makes it hard on the eyes. Also creates a muddy effect.

8. Reversed out text on less than 50% tints

Much like the above, this also increases eye strain and hinders readability. The words get lost in the background and typically prints less visible than seen on screen. This will save you time, money and Asprin for your printing headaches.

9. Overusing centered text

Using centered text creates a jagged and broken appearance to text — very disconnecting! Can be viewed as amateurish in most instances. Save it for those wedding invitations.

10. Large body copy

Normally, designers and non-designers (and yes, I did it too!) will immediately use a 12 point font for body copy. Smaller (even slightly smaller) fonts sizes creates a more professional, modern look. Large body copy can be clunky — think about the font size of a children’s book. Clunky right?… unless it’s the look your going for.
It’s also important to note that viewing text on a computer monitor is much different than printing it. In most instances, type on a screen appears smaller and less crisp. Also, most printers will advise you not to use font sizes under 7 points. May result in readability issues.

11. Not knowing what the Grid System is

Being a typography enthusiast, understanding the grid has become one of the best things I’ve learned in design to date. It’s the basis for creating clarity and making your type and layouts more cohesive. Check out the new site, The Grid System, for links and resources pertaining to grid systems.
Remember this list was composed to spread awareness and create discussion, not discourage anyone from trying new things and breaking the “rules”. I fully encourage all of you to go out and experiment with new ideas and concepts to become better typographers and designers.

Typography Rules

I’ve been doing some reading and research on typography rules. On the website Typophile they had a great pdf. You can download your own copy here.

Drive: The Recap

Final notes on Drive taken from Drive: The Recap Cocktail Party Summary

When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators – doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science show the way. This new approach has three essential elements: (1) Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives; (2) Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters; and (3) Purpose – the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.

Rogue Valley Foggy Day

Old Tree

With all the fog we’ve had recently, there are a few things that caught my eye.

See the other three photographs in this set on Flickr here or view the Slideshow. Then come back – I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

Old Tree Frost Bitten Foggy Horizon Winter Water