Rotten Apple

A friend of mine and I often reflect on the days when OS X first came out. No more fiddling with extensions. Everything worked solidly. And the interface and user experience was awesome. We all loved our Apple computers. Well those good ol’ days are gone.

I came across this video last night and I just have to share it because the guy shares all of my frustration about Apple. I can only assume everyone at Apple is using PCs because there’s no way they can actually enjoy using the junk they’re designing these days.

• They no longer support creative professionals which was a large part of their base in the past. It seems like everything they do serves their mobile platforms.

• Their design process appears to be entirely arbitrary, removing features that everyone likes and implementing useless features that only serve to complicate usage.

• They intentionally break older devices in order to force users to upgrade. Does anyone remember the little Airport that allowed you to play music on your stereo from any Apple device? Apple updated iTunes so that the Airport became a useless brick, trying to force users to buy the Apple TV.

• Apple monopolizes app purchasing and I’m convinced their iTunes updates serve only one purpose: to screw up people’s jailbroken devices so that they can’t purchase apps elsewhere.

• They intentionally remove optical drives and certain types of ports to force users to purchase adapters or to force them into the cloud.

Now, imagine you work at Apple and you’ve designed a product that works really well and the user interface experience is great. Now what do you do for the rest of your time? Either you keep improving the product or you lose your job because you’re no longer necessary. Well, if the product is already well-designed, the only changes you can make are likely to make it worse, not better. But not wanting to lose your job, you justify your existence by redesigning things. This of course angers everyone because, unless you’re improving things by making the computer do something entirely new, like shining your shoes or making you breakfast, you’re just complicating the user interface either in terms of usability or aesthetically (I’m so sick of industries telling consumers what is “hip” and what is “outdated”, as if our tastes must be dictated to us and we must fall into line. Mock me if you will, but I liked the Coverflow feature in iTunes and I’d like it back).

Anyway, Apple’s arbitrary design changes have led me to stop updating my Apple devices. I’m now several operating systems behind on both my iMac and my iPad. I definitely NEVER update iTunes for fear they’ll break something or remove a feature that I like. And not being a cell-phone user until recently (out of necessity), I was determined not to get an iPhone. About the only Apple product I’m excited about is the new 12″ iPad, and that’s only because Procreate is a great, affordable program.

But the worst thing of all, if my iMac breaks, it will be difficult to migrate to a PC because I’m so heavily invested in software made for Apple. I just can’t afford to purchase all of my professional software all over again. So I feel like I’m stuck. Thanks, Apple. You got me.

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Inside The Studio: My “New” Old Banker’s Swivel Chair

I’ve always liked banker’s swivel chairs, so when I furnished my studio nearly two decades ago, I bought one from the Bombay Company (which no longer has retail outlets, but still operates an online store).

While their furniture wasn’t as cheap as Ikea’s cardboard-and-staple-quality offerings, it was still cobbled together in the Orient, which meant is wasn’t as durable as American products manufactured in the first half of the 20th century (come to think of it, not even today’s American-made products are as good as they were back then). Modern manufacturing methods which focus on keeping costs down necessitated a design that was far from being as comfortable as an authentic banker’s chair. The Bombay Co. version isn’t at all as ergonomic, with its straight, tall back and small seat.

Several years ago, the seat on the Bombay chair cracked in half, and now the armrest popped off the front post. Also, the wheel casters began losing bearings — either that, or someone has been discharging a BB-gun inside my studio. Anyway, it seems like every joint on the chair is loose and the entire thing is literally wobbling apart. It was time to introduce the chair to the fireplace.

So now I decided to look for an authentic, vintage banker’s chair, with the low, curved back. Most of the samples online went from $250 to $650, but I found one on Craigslist and paid $80 for it. banker's chair

From what I could find, this was made in the early half of the 20th century. Even after all this time, this thing is solid. And it’s so comfortable that it doesn’t need padding. Sure, it has a patina — “patina” seems to be the new way of saying that the finish has taken a beating, which is supposed to be part of the charm.

Anyway, I’m glad to get rid of the hunk of junk Bombay garbage. It served me well enough for a while, but, as usual, new stuff seems to be intentionally manufactured to be disposable. Does anyone make anything to last anymore?

Banker's chair

The is Bombay Company's version of a banker's swivel chair. Not at all as cozy as the real deal. Here it is after being tossed out of the studio.

This is Bombay Company’s version of a banker’s swivel chair. Not at all as cozy as the real deal. Here it is after being tossed out of the studio.












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fgAfter my last top-ten post, hand-written letters came pouring in from all over the globe pleading me to do more of them… Well, that’s not entirely true. There were no hand-written notes. In fact, there were no notes at all, but, hey, let’s not split hairs. The point is, everyone loves top-ten lists; maybe not so much when the title falsely promises to solve problems that plague you, but a provocative title is better than no title at all. Top-ten lists lacking a title make no sense. Look, I’ll show you what I mean. Here’s an example of a popular top-ten list without its title:

1. Plastic shoe laces

2. Gerbils

3. Coal


5. China

6. Prestidigitation

7. Medium height

8. Sonny Bono

9. “Only when I touch it”

10. The Magna Carta

See what I mean? A top-ten list without a title is completely unintelligible. Whereas, the title without the list makes perfect sense, because we at least all know what the list is about, right? Even without giving you the list itself, we can all imagine what kinds of things we should avoid eating if we want to keep the weight off; say, for example, an anvil, a pickup bed filled with lard, or or a small country. Heck, the mind reels with a plethora of items one should avoid eating to prevent weight-gain. In fact, there are so many things that can be included in such a list, I’ll just let you fill in the list yourself. To help you out and get you going, I’ll lay out the numbers so you don’t have to do that part.

Have fun!




4…. (Oh, forget it, you know your way to 10 from here. Finish writing the numbers yourself. And if you can’t count to ten, weight-loss should be the least of your worries.)

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Here are 10 tips for a successful blog:

1. Make sure to post something.

2. Don’t post Top Ten lists unless you actually have ten things to say.

3. If you don’t have ten things to say, distract readers by juggling something dangerous like, say, swords, flaming torches, or angry kittens.

4. If you have no juggling talents, work to your strength.

5. You only need to distract readers long enough for them to forget you were supposed to tell them ten interesting things.


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A Different Kind of Art

Deviating from the visual arts today, I thought I’d share a picture of my toys with which I engage in the art of music. In this case, it’s only a hobby and not a vocation, but it’s something that provides a lot of personal enjoyment while still being creative.

These are all USA made Hamer guitars. I tried to get different styles of guitars to cover different styles of music, so I’m pretty much done acquiring guitars (to the relief of my wife, whom I still owe a new kitchen floor).


From left to right: 2000 Hamer Newport, 1994 Hamer T-51, and 1989 Hamer Californian (the only one of the three I purchased new).


The thing is, one can only sit and draw/paint for so long before getting restless. When those moments of restlessness hit, I crank on an amp, pick up one of these fiddles and, if no one is home, proceed to shake the walls. Although, with the hollow body on the left, it’s great for jazz tones, so I’m enjoying trying to play quietly on the little Musicmaster Bass amp. It’s different, but a nice change of pace.

I suppose I could have found something else to distract me when I get restless, but for now this is it. (I actually have a 2009 EVH Wolfgang sitting in its case in a corner out of frame, but I’m selling that, so I didn’t bother including it in this photo of my Hamer trifecta).

So what do you do when you’ve sat at your drawing board, easel, or computer/Cintiq for too long and get restless?

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A rushed Monday morning doodle (hey, you get what you pay for).


War of the Rocket Men – Part 2

Here’s another poster I did for the War of the Rocket Men project. I was asked to make the Rocket Man punching Hitler, a la Captain America #1.