Today I heard from someone who was complaining that Arial is an abomination. I'm not the biggest fan of Arial either, but I'm superstitious, and most of my successful grant proposals have been written in Arial. So I keep using it. In general I don't like sans serif type, but somehow they never seem to work in grant proposals for me. Manuscripts, that's another story. There I've had luck with a mix of stuff. But back to Arial. Arial was based on the much storied Helvetica, designed in the 1950's. Arial was a knockoff and was one of the fonts bundled in Microsoft Windows 3. While there are differences when you compare both fonts side by side, to me it is very hard to tell, and I bet the same for most folks.
So here's a challenge. Download the linked PDF file and (without cheating) tell me which paragraph is in Arial, and which in Helvetica.
There must be something interesting that could be done with all those discarded Christmas trees I passed on my walk to work today. Maybe an instant backyard magical forest for the kids? Bonfire? Late season sukkah? Nordic-themed soccer goalposts? Skinny totem poles? Rat hutch? Eco-friendly jousting poles?
So, 2012 is finally fucking here! Of course I will be ringing in the new year with a few grants to submit, preparing a couple of manuscripts (if the folks in my lab get around to writing them), teaching a large undergraduate course (with the help of my chicken), and overall busy stuff. Nevertheless, I've made a list of things I'd like to do in the new year. Of course things like spending quality time with my wonderful family, traveling, not procrastinating, etc. are obvious, so I did not explicitly put them on the list. My list is more of a plan of side projects, and since this is the season for making lists here it is:
1. Carve wooden masks
2. Build a tree-house
3. Smoke a salmon
4. Become proficient at fingerpicking
5. Write, illustrate, print and bind a book
6. Paint something large
7. Build a brick oven
8. Begin printmaking again
9. Build a robot (virtual or otherwise)
10. Make a totem pole
11. Build a sundial
Can I do all these things? Who knows. Some might get done, some might get ignored, some might take more than a year, but at least I'll try. Also, I figured there hasn't been any James Brown around here for a while, and he's got soul, and he's superbad. So enjoy this clip, complete with some robot dancing, pre-Michael Jackson: