Wednesday, December 31

I am a Graphic Design Warrior...

...and have the scar to prove it. This afternoon I sliced my left thumb something awful with an exacto knife. Cutting out invitations for our annual banquet (NOT the invites a few posts below, btw). All will be well. I was taken to the ER for precautionary terms and given 3 sutures (the awesome cousin to stitches(that cousin that gets tons of sweet swag for christmas and drives a mustang - that kind of awesome cousin). Should be healed and back on the force in 7-10 days, but I have super-awesome recovery skills, so I'll be back in action by Friday - guaranteed.

Bad things about getting your left thumb sliced:

*my mom can now text faster than me
*simple tasks (opening door, carrying bags, high-fiving, jumping rope, making paper airplanes) are now impossible
*much harder to get your pants unbuttoned then rebuttoned than you'd think
*can only hitch-hike from one side of the road

Good things about getting your left thumb sliced:

*sympathy vote
*no more awkward left-handed hand shakes
*get to make up a sweet story for every person that asks (i'm gonna stick with my 'samurai sword fight story' for now)
*will have a scar (along with more stories to tell!)

Fun Fact: Keating has been around for nearly 35 years, I am the first ever to get workman's compensation. Truth!

Tuesday, December 30

Reel Review - Six String Samurai

Movie: Six-String Samurai
Starring: Jeffery Falcon (who?)

I watched this movie last night, it was, um... interesting.

Here's a recap:
It took me a while to figure out that this 1998 epic post-apocalyptic rock & roll kung-fu fairy tale of sorts takes place in an odd parallel universe where Russia won the Cold War (or something like that). Elvis has ruled as King (literal king) of 'Lost Vegas' over this rock & roll conscious country and now our guitar lickin', butt kickin', samurai sword wielding juicy one-liner hero named Buddy (who actually looks a lot like Buddy Holly) is on his life journey to regain the throne for rock & roll's sake. This is a trek that others are apparently making too because the Grim Reaper - lead singer of a black-clad demon quartet (naturally) - is constantly stalking Buddy and other rock and rollers. Everyone in the movie is wearing raggedy old clothes, has tattered hair and dirty smudged faces because apparently Russia wasn't too worried about hygiene.
There are action packed scenes of Buddy doing some spectacular one-swipe-kills with his samurai sword of these random anonymous henchmen who are constantly trying to keep the samurai-sword-toting-future-king-of-the-throne from reaching 'Lost Vegas' - which looks an awful lot like the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. Some of these henchmen across the wasteland include: a cannibalistic 1950s post-nuclear family living in a junk yard, a trio of bounty hunting bowlers called the "Pin Pals", gum-ball-shooting Clampett-like cavemen, windmill people, a Spinach Monster, and other odds and ends including a cameo from the zuit suit wearing band who provided the soundtrack, The Red Elvises (who Death tells, "You have failed me for the last ti...nice shoes!).
There were some odd "Lord of the Rings"-esque scenes where Buddy is walking across a sand dune or open field during the day and then it fades to Death and the Demons walking thru the same field/dune in the evening as they're stalking our hero that were rather interesting. The cinematography and choreography are surprisingly good for being such a low-budget film, and the fight-scenes (although mostly hokey) are shot from some creative and entertaining angles. The soundtrack is fun 40s-50s rock throughout the entire movie. I'm not one for 'cult' movies myself and this one seemed to have that feel, but overall a pretty fun movie. I give it a solid C.


Bad Guy: If I were you, I'd run.
Buddy: If you were me, you'd be good-lookin'.

The Kid
: A '56 Chevy Belair could kick a '48 Buick Roadmaster ass any day, at least in a first quarter mile that is.
Buddy: [Looks at the Kid, then at the ground, then back at the Kid] You come all this way out saying squat and now your trying to tell me that a '56 Chevy could beat a '48 Buick in a dead quarter mile? [Looks at the ground again, the back at the Kid] I liked you better when you weren't saying squat kid... Go to bed.
A trailer for your viewing pleasure:

Monday, December 29

Banquet Invites

Every year at my company (Keating & Associates) we have a banquet. Its a glorious feast of lots of goodies, awards, and fun times that is the highlight/capstone of the previous year's productivity. This year the banquet is here in Manhattan at the Country Club (swanky!) The colors for the year are black, white, and hot pink - yeah baby - that ought to excite some midwest conservatives! This is one idea I came up with for the invites:

Its my favorite, even though they went with another one...

Sunday, December 28


In November, I had the sweet privilege of going with the K-State AIGA to the world famous design studio Hammerpress, started in 1994 by Brady Vest.

I love this place. They still do the old fashioned type set printing on well-oiled old printing machines from the turn-of-the-century (the OLD one, not the most recent t-o-t-c). If you have ever seen any of my design work, you will know that I love the unique look that old-fashioned type setting brings to a very modern, computerized world.

I have such a respect for the fact that it takes so much longer, so much more concentration, a better game plan of the 'big picture' when setting the type and determining colors, size variations, distribution, etc. Each piece of everything that is printed is uniquely different from the next since it may contain just a little less ink, be just slightly in a different area of the paper, display a nick in the type a bit more predominantly than the previous pieces.

They do posters for bands and tours, cds, books, cards, invitations, and stationary. Its this raw, unique, individualism that so intently draws me in to places like Hammerpress and Hatch Show Print. Man I love this stuff, just can't get enough!

Monday, December 22

An Ode to a Friend

An Ode to a Friend
There you were day after day,
Always listening to what I had to say.
Now you're gone and I don't know why,
To swim forever in the fish bowl in the sky.

The bowl is empty and the water is still,
Not a flip of you fin or a flap of your gill.
The plastic plant you used to swim beside,
No longer has a friend of which to hide.

A quiet home, a transparent slave,
Has now become a watery grave.
On a patch of green pebbles, this much is true,
A champion of a fish is donned, in crimson and blue.

You lived such a good life, Dr. Suess,
Never a complaint, never an excuse.
Better than any beta for which I could wish,
Better than any other red fish, blue fish.

*This is written in memory of the fins-down best danged ol beta that ever did swim. He used his Kung-Fin and Sumo Wrestling skills to ward off all evil predators who found themselves in his unmerciful razor-sharp teeth. His name is Dr. Suess and shall he swim forever in that fish bowl in the sky.

Sunday, December 21


(LtoR:Ryan, Me, Kasie, Aubrey)
So this week we said good-bye to a long-time friend, colleague, inspire-er, outside-the-box-thinker-and-do-er: Kasie Fry. We went to Manhattan's very own high-scale healthy-eatery, Panera Bread. (It is slowly growing into a favorite of mine, since its a safe place to eat at).
I ran her thru a series of gauntlet questions, and here is the conversation that followed:
{Stephen} So is it "Kasie" or "KC", like Kansas City or Kind Chihuahua?
{Kasie/KC} Its "Kasie" with an 'S'.
{S} Like "KCS"?
{KCS} Nope, like "J,M,K,A,S,I,E,Q,7"
{S} Lots of extra unnecessary letter there, were your parents hippies?
{JMKASIEQ7} Might have been...(cue "sudden realization" face)that would explain so much.
{S}How were your last finals ever at ol' KSU?
{KC}Bien! I had a final in Spanish.
{S}Man, no me gusta examens de espanol.
{Kasie}Si, me either-o. I didn't quite understand the test, it was something about a Japanese family and flowers or cats or something.
{Esteban} Bueno. Almorzamos aqui a Panera Pan (We are eating lunch at Panera Bread). Isn't that impressive?
{Aubrey/Maria}Tango un gato in mis pantelones. Y no me gusta gatos.
{S}(fast-thinking-change-of-subject-as-to-not-make-aubrey-feel-awkward)So KC, you're moving to Utah,eh? The bee hive state?
{K}Whoa! How'd you know that?
{S}I am full of useless information.
{Aubrey}(interrupting the last conversation I've ever had with KC) Yeah, that is why he is a hero champion at Trivia nights
{S}(Rolls eyes, dusts off shoulder then huffs on finger nails)Yep. So you're going to what school? And what is the mascot?
{KC}Utah Valley University. And the mascot is the, um, Valleys? Or something, Salt-Lakers maybe. I don't know.
{S}Oh, well I think they're like the Wolverines or something.
{Interrupter Aubrey again} Yep, see how awesome he is at trivia?
{S}(Rolls eyes again) So, do you have a station wagon?
{KC} No...
{S}You should probably get one. (exit scene)
(*Those were the final words that I ever said to Kasie/KC/Maria/KCS Fry. I wish her luck in all her endeavors at UVU.)

Wednesday, December 17

Grandpa Max: A much deserved tribute

I've posed this question before, and I'll pose it again: How do you do it? How do you say goodbye to someone - forever?
So many questions left unanswered, so many memories left unmade. Just to turn back the clock, even for a day and hear the wisdom he had. To hear of his life, his stories: the struggles and the triumphs. Looking back it seems selfish not to spend more time in his presence when I had the opportunity. To learn what he had to share. To listen to what he had to say. He was old fashioned - well, because he was 87. He didn't need a computer or a tv to make him happy. He made birdhouses and wreaths out of found bark and seeds and twigs and gave them away to friends and family. I loved the smell of his workshop that was in the cellar of their house. The cellar was such a cool place. It had two blue weathered doors that you had to lift up to be able to then go down into the musty room where you of course had to feel around for the light switch and flick it on. The dim light would flood in over his work bench. I loved to go down there when I was a kid. It seems though, the older I got the less and less I wanted to go down there with him; I'd sit inside and watch tv or take a nap. And how selfish of me to later put off trips to Carthage so that I could work or sleep in instead. I realize now what is most important in life.
It is people, it is relationships. It is being with those that you love and loving them back. What I wouldn't give to be down there in his workshop just one more time with him, listening to his stories and learning how to make birdhouses in his cellar. I love you.

In Memory of Grandpa Max
2-17-21 to 12-13-08

Tuesday, December 16

Dashing Thru The Snow...

Now, there are two sides to every coin and the other side of this fantastic display is: drivers.

People seriously cannot drive on snow, this is a fact. Here is my list of drivers to notice, be aware of, and avoid while going about your business in this winter wonderland:

- This person is typically driving a small pickup and has not put sandbags in their bed, yet they think that they are a top dog like the 4x4s. The truth is little guy, you're not. Just because you have a truck does NOT mean that you can be all willy-nilly along this icy road, son. Suggestion: Get some sandbags and get out of the way. Or get a fat chick to ride back there, also an option

*Indy Racer
- Guess what? Snow is slick. That is a fact. No lie. Here is another truth: going really fast on ice makes you skid all over the road. So stop. Take your little rice-burner Honda, grab a chill-pill and cool it man. You're not as big of a BA as you think you are when there's ice on the road are you?

*Soccer Mom Wannabe
- This is typically a small blonde woman driving a vehicle the size of a house (Hummer) that she probably shouldn't be driving at all. Did I mention that she'll still think that she can talk on her cell phone, do her nails, check out her fake tan in the rearview mirror, and watch a Legally Blonde DVD on her dashboard too? Suggestion: You're not a soccer mom, so stop trying to be - heck, you're not even a mom. Chances are you're trying to impress someone who's not even watching because he's in bed at his messy apartment sleeping off a hangover.

*Ultra-Mega Sunday Driver
- An Ultra-Mega Sunday Driver is someone who is a Sunday Driver everyday anyways. Usually has grey hair (or no hair) and is currently living off the Social Security that is taken out of my micro paycheck every month (you're welcome, btw - now buy me something good for Christmas!). Not only should this person probably not have a license in the first place (don't you have to pass an sight and sound exam?? Or would that make too much sense?); but now they have put on their caution pants and are cccrrraaawwwlllliiiiinnnnnngggggg down the street at the pace of a frozen turkey dinner. Advice: Move it or lose it, grandma!

- This might be my least favorite person of the list. They brake at every little bump in the road giving themselves (and the people driving the 12 cars behind them) whiplash. Now, I do understand being cautious, I really do. But every single little bump? I mean c'mon its usually just a crack in the poorly constructed road, roadkill, or a freshman. So give those brakes a break and keep truckin!

*Wideloader - Are you in the left lane or the right lane? Maybe you're just happy you're headed in the right direction, I don't know. But please, please choose a lane, man! Option 1: Place a "Wide Load" sign on the back of your car. Option 2: Place a "Student Driver" sign on the back and top of your car. Option 3: Stay home. But, if you must be 'oot and a-boot' (that's with a Minnesota accent) and you will not choose option 1 or 2, at the very least choose a lane, mk?

Hopefully this list helps you recognize these crazies that appear behind the wheel as soon as the snow hits the pavement, so that you can avoid them and their wild antics. Feel free to comment and help add to this list.


First snow of the year! (winter 08 that is) Covering the landscape in a powdery blanket of frozen water that turns it from bland to grand in a matter of minutes. It was such a beautiful sight to wake up to.

(view from my back porch - same balcony I threw Tyler's bluetooth off of)

(berry bush in our yard, so pretty)

Monday, December 15

I got da Blues

This past Saturday, I had the awesome opportunity to don my fedora, eat some fried chicken, and lose my woman on my way go with my dad to see one of the blues' greatest musicians of all time: Buddy Guy.
Buddy has won numerous Grammys (5), been an inspiration to Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Mikey "Noodle-Fingers" Henderson, and is also in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Although he did not play his signature black and white polka dotted guitar, he did jump down off the stage and weave in and out throughout the entire crowd playing and singing the blues. He wailed, shouted, whispered, and flat-out belted the blues for a mostly intoxicated Wichita crowd.

Friday, December 12

My roommate Tyler is a bluetooth jerk

Let me set the stage:
My roommate Tyler walks in the living room on his way to the kitchen after just getting home from work. I (laying on the couch enjoying the latest Sports Center re-run which I had seen once in its entirety at 2am) ask him, "Hello good friend, how was your day?" To which he replies with his head obscured by the refrigerator door, "Wha?" So I repeat my question a bit louder so he can hear it with his head burried in the fridge, "Hello good friend, how was your day?" There is a pause then he says laughing, "Oh, haha, I know right?" This adverts my attention from the television and I turn over and say, "Eh?" to which he says, "Haha, oh hold on Stephen is talking to me." Now, judging by the title of this blog, I suppose you have already caught on to what is taking place here...I however did not have this little assistant to aid me in this time in confusion. After he revealed the hidden, compact 2001 Space Odyssey-esque bluetooth in his ear, I now knew what was happening; this did NOT however make me ecstatic that I had been given the 'talk-to-the-hand' treatment by such a tiny device. So when he was sleeping that night, I chucked it off our balcony.

(This is my roommate Tyler)

I hope that you have not fallen victim to this heinous and down-right insensitive act of cruelty. If you have, then you know exactly how I feel. Pray that those who are around you do not get bluetooths (blueteeth?) and become total jerks.