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Project Winter Survival 2012

It was a cold but sunny day for this year’s Project Winter Survival. Last weekend 3000 backpacks were filled with supplies for homeless people, like sleeping bags, hats, gloves, socks, toiletries and other useful things.

This weekend the kits were distributed to some of the agencies and shelters who asked for them. After all the kits were distributed a group went down to give more directly to people on the street.

Here’s a time lapse of boxes of kits being given to agencies.


An example of what’s contained inside the kits.

One of the larger trucks on site.

Volunteers and agencies receiving kits.

There were many smaller agencies—some of which left with their cars completely filled.

Jody Steinhauer, Founder of Project Winter Survival.

Jody and street outreach nurse Anne Marie Batten handing out the first kit.

The rest of the group, including Chantel Eskwire, Stephanie Zubcic and others.

I have helped with Project Winter Survival for a few years now, but this was the first time I’ve been able to see the effect it actually has for the people who get them. It’s an eye opener.

Update: Here’s a short clip from CityTV, showing the group giving out kits.

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Here’s the 2012 redesign

Freshening up for the new year, I’ve just finished the move from Posterous to a new WordPress blog. I’ll be highlighting some of the work that I’ve been doing lately in the new Portfolio section, and I’ll be keeping most of the noise back on the old Posterous site, which will still be available at

You shouldn’t have to update any bookmarks or feeds, unless you’d like to resubscribe to the original posterous. For a full rundown of the changes that have been made, check out my first portfolio entry.

There are bound to be some bugs over the next couple days. Please feel free to contact me if you notice anything out of the ordinary!

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Having a Brazilian first thing in the morning

Picking a radio station to set your alarm to is one of the most difficult decisions you can make. I’m not exaggerating. Waking up badly has the potential to affect your whole day. When you pick a radio station you’re always taking a chance—there may be a commercial, an annoying song, an obnoxious radio host—you never know what the odds of having a good day are until you’ve spent weeks or even months with the same station.

This morning my choice of was finally justified. It’s usually hit-or-miss for me. Their hosts are pleasant, but the music can range from old-fashioned, to festive, to absolutely sublime. I caught the tail-end of this song this morning, which falls into the sublime category. Absolutely gorgeous. Double Rainbow by Stan Getz with João Gilberto.

I’ve heard a bit about how the Gilbertos are nearly considered royalty in Brazil, but I really don’t know exactly who they are or why. After a bit of googling, it’s surprising that that song even exists.

Brazilian João Gilberto created the genre of bossa nova in the 50s. In the 1962 he and American Stan Getz came out with one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time. The Girl from Ipanema became the post popular song from the album Getz/Gilberto. It featured João’s then-wife, Astrud Gilberto, who had never sung professionally before.

Following the release of the album, Astrud and João were divorced and Astrud became involved with Getz. It’s been suggested that the latter may have happened before the former. Astrud and Getz lasted only as long as Getz’ interest in bossa nova turned back to cool jazz.

It’s surprising that João would team up with Getz again ten years later with the album The Best of Two Worlds. Even more surprising that João would let Getz get anywhere near his new wife, Miúcha, who did the uncredited vocals on the album. The first track on this album is Double Rainbow.

What I didn’t realize is that João and Miúcha’s daughter is Bebel Gilberto, who was my first exposure to Brazilian music. It all comes full circle.

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You can’t win them all, but sometimes you can still sneak in late goal

The lead story for September’s Graphic Arts Magazine issue is a preview of GRAPH EXPO in Chicago next month. We’ll be bringing this issue down to the show, and hopefully some people will find value in using it as a guide. The tagline for the show is Embrace Technology.

The marketing material for the show displays that quite literally.


I wanted to take the embrace a step further. How good of an embrace can a handshake be? After the initial rush of ideas, I decided to get my insipiration from two album covers. Have I mentioned how much I’m still loving the Washed Out album? 


When I emailed the rest of the crew at the magazine, this is how I pitched it (somewhat tongue-in-cheek).

This is a powerful cover, because it combines the disturbing feeling you got when you found the secret cache of your parents’ anniversary cards, with the idea of hooking up with a robot, all set to a Chicago skyline. Plus it’s extra creepy, because WTH is sexy about printing?


Let’s just say I was asked to come up with some alternative ideas—specifically to come up with one that used a supplied generic show floor shot.





I kept trying with variations on my theme, revising and cleaning up—hoping that I’d get the go-ahead on one of them. Unfortunately I couldn’t win, and we ended up going with a variation on the trade show floor cover.


It was the right decision, but despite the fun involved I was still a little disappointed. Maybe I couldn’t get the cover I wanted for the magazine, but I was still able to sneak in a little win.


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A compromise for bikes and cars for Jarvis #savejarvis

Now that I’ve calmed down a little about today’s decision on removing the bike lanes on Jarvis, maybe there is a bit of room to make everyone traveling along Jarvis happier. I regularly ride and drive along Jarvis, so while my perspective is still biased (I much prefer to be safer on the bike than faster in the car), I think I’ve got a fairly balanced view.

  1. Driving is more efficient when there’s more room horizontally (three lanes are better than two)
  2. In a car waiting behind left-turning traffic is annoying
  3. Bikes need a lot of space – in the five-lane Jarvis configuration the lanes are very narrow, which makes it impossible for a car to split a lane with a cyclist
  4. The five-lane causes more confusion that good. I don’t know how many times I’ve been legally driving in the centre lane, only to be approached head-on by someone confused or waiting to make a left turn

If you forget about opening up the centre lane completely to traffic and work on something a little closer to what you’d see on Davenport (the intersection at Bathurst is a prime example of how this would work), then I think you’ll get the best of all worlds.

  • Cyclists will have a protected lane when the speed differential is highest, and therefore the most vulnerable
  • Drivers will have a turn lane, and will always have two open lanes approaching intersections
  • We can all share the space approaching and going through the intersections. I mean come on. It shouldn’t be hard.

Here are some diagrams showing the differences between a five-lane, four-lane with bike path, and four-lane with sharrows through intersections with full turn lanes. All of them have the same number of cars and cyclists in the same positions. They’re all making the same turns and trying to get through the same way.

The five-lane configuration:


There’s one happy car here. Maybe closer to two, but the guy in the dark red car is a little bit annoyed because the car in the curb lane had to move into his lane a bit to avoid the cyclist. The northbound guys are both anoyed, one because of the cyclist and the other because of the left-turning car.

The four-lane with bike lane configuration:


Cyclists are doing really well and are fully protected. Great. But there are still two really annoyed cars stuck behind the left-turning cars. I understand this well because that’s usally me making the left, and it does make me uncomfortable knowing that I’m forcing people behind me to wait.

The four-lane with bike lane, turn lane, and sharrows configuration:


Almost everybody is happy here. Really, what more is there to say?

I know this might not apply to rush-hour, since I’m pretty sure at most intersections you can’t make a left turn anyway. But the option would be available to allow for left turns, and that’ll change traffic patterns all over the place. So obviously I understand that I haven’t just drawn up a few lines thinking that I’ve solved the problem.

That said, what I’ve done still isn’t any different than a room full of politicians getting together and drawing and erasing their own lines. I don’t understand how any decisions like this can be decided that way without proper consultation and planning. Maybe that should be what changes in all of this.

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This is how the eff you do Ikea!

Step one: Pack the effing car.


Step two: Make sure the effing car isn’t a safety hazard.


Step three: Adjust the effing radio. Watch for the effing box.


Step four: Drive the couch effing home without missing an effing shift.


Step five: Stop outside your apartment and open your effing doors.


Step six: Push the effing box out of the effing car.


Step seven: Push the effing box up the effing stairs.


Step eight: Place the effing box where the effing couch is going.


Step nine: Pour an effing glass of effing wine from a bottle that effing leaks through the weirdest effing chip in the effing bottle.


Step ten: Open the effing boxes.


Step eleven: Assemble the effing couch.


Step twelve: Look at the effing couch you put together.


Step thirteen: Christen the effing couch!


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From concept to photography to hand modelling to layout. Here’s how the June @graphicarts cover came to be.


It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to do a full magazine cover from concept to execution, and compared to my previous tries this one actually worked out reasonably well. 

The lead article is about augmented reality, and WTF it has to do with print. So I had the idea of giving an example of how it could work for people who might not be too familiar with some of its applications. My first idea was to do a WordLens type view on a foreign city at night through an iPad.


First took a series of quick handheld shots of me holding an iPad.


…and mocked it up using an image I found of some city in Japan and a white iPad frame. But it looked kinda crappie, so I swapped it with an iPhone.



Here I was just a little curious about the scale of it.


Armed with a tripod and an iPhone, I went for a walk down the street and took a couple dozen shots in a couple locations.


…as well as a few screen caps using an ubercool augmented reality app, Yelp.


Once I got home a few of the images were thrown together.


Back at the office a little enhancement and light humour were injected.


Based on group input we worked out a few more variations…


…until we were able to settle on one final version. And now we’re off to press. Fingers crossed.

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Late to the party too? Here’s the RA Tiger & Woods podcast (and more on why I love disco/funk)

With my first exposure to nu disco being a lame Hed Kandi compilation, I can’t say I was enthralled. I love Giorgio Moroder and Sebastien Tellier as much as the next guy, but I didn’t realize there was a whole subset of nu disco consisting of reediting downtempo disco and funk classics.

Instead of how disco house was done in the mid-90s, where they would take one small sample of a classic and building a banging track around it, in these reedits almost all of the original is used. 

Compare a ridiculously awesome 1998 filter house track (or the A side for a more downtempo track)

To what Dimitri from Paris was doing in 2000.

To Kenny Dope’s 2002 Disco Heat

(no sample but it’s awesome)

To a Tiger & Woods 2009 reedit

…of a 1982 Imagination original

This 6th Borough Project track is the one that got me feeling this whole pitched-down vibe. It doesn’t get much better than this. You can get more along these lines from this podcast.

Marvin Gaye reedit

…of a 1981 original

Hot Chocolate… yumm.

Stream the Tiger & Woods podcast on Soundcloud or download it here. Awesome.

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At the church shooting images of the icons. Jesus this thing is heavy!


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Quick h.264 vs. Ogg Theora comparison


Same file size, same bitrate, etc. Long story short it looks like I won’t be using Theora as a fallback for Firefox. Crap!

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