Shiny new Zazzle store

About a week ago, I finally started a store at Zazzle that’s dedicated to text-based designs. This was prompted by drivers being assholes toward cyclists in my hometown:

Side note, while I was making car-shaming stickers, I made another one because of a tweet I saw from an actor I follow on Twitter, in which he complained about assholes throwing garbage out their car windows in his hometown:

…and he retweeted it. Cool!

Anyway, I’ve also been making some stuff with quotes I like (that are out of copyright),

some store swag (which I think looks pretty awesome),

and latest, a bunch of quasi-Art Deco-style business & profile cards that might be my favorites.


I also set up a Pinterest account just for my various Zazzle stuff – check it out at!

Wunderkind Shelley

Do you know this poem?:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, that is. I read it for a correspondence course in my senior year of high school, and I love it–brilliant, searingly ironic, beautifully lyric. I think I’ve posted it before – back when this blog was new and I posted a poem each Wednesday.

Did you know he also wrote this?:

Why do we admit design in any machine of human contrivance? Simply, because innumerable instances of machines having been contrived by human art are present to our mind, because we are acquainted with persons who could construct such machines; but if, having no previous knowledge of any artificial contrivance, we had accidentally found a watch upon the ground, we should have been justified in concluding that it was a thing of Nature, that it was a combination of matter with whose cause we were unacquainted, and that any attempt to account for the origin of its existence would be equally presumptuous and unsatisfactory.

and this?:

It is vain philosophy that supposes more causes than are exactly adequate to explain the phenomena of things.

You assert that the construction of the animal machine, the fitness of certain animals to certain situations, the connexion between the organs of perception and that which is perceived; the relation between every thing which exists, and that which tends to preserve it in its existence, imply design. It is manifest that if the eye could not see, nor the stomach digest, the human frame could not preserve its present mode of existence. It is equally certain, however, that the elements of its composition, if they did not exist in one form, must exist in another; and that the combinations which they would form, must so long as they endured, derive support for their peculiar mode of being from their fitness to the circumstances of their situation.

and this?:

That certain animals exist in certain climates, results from the consentaneity of their frames to the circumstances of their situation: let these circumstances be altered to a sufficient degree, and the elements of their composition must exist in some new combination no less resulting than the former from those inevitable laws by which the Universe is governed….

and this?:

If we found our belief in the existence of God on the universal consent of mankind, we are duped by the most palpable of sophisms. The word God cannot mean at the same time an ape, a snake, a bone, a calabash, a Trinity, and a Unity. Nor can that belief be accounted universal against which men of powerful intellect and spotless virtue have in every age protested….

Turns out he got expelled from Oxford for writing a tract advocating atheism, and wikipedia claims that publishers were afraid to print his writing, throughout his life, lest they be punished for it. Oh yeah, and Shelley wrote the work these quotes are from in 1814. He was a little ahead of the curve, you might say.

…Also, seriously? Shelley was arguing 200 years ago against the very same design arguments that are still trying to insinuate themselves into classrooms today? (sigh)

New blog theme

It’s almost spring, and I’ve been itching for a change of theme on the blog, so here it is. I’m not sure I like it well enough to keep; I like a two-column format, so I can keep some good navigation easily accessible. With this theme (“Reddle”), I have to bury the nav down at the bottom or else lose a lot of main-column space, as the secondary column is as wide (or nearly as wide) as the content column, so videos get cut off. And that’s no good. Another theme, Oulipo, might work better and has some fun small caps, but I’m wary of its frozen left pane–reminds me of old-school frames. But we’ll see. 😛

Edit: Okay, I added a header image from a photo I took near the Redwood forest in northern California a few years back, and I like Reddle quite a bit more now. Images really must be worth a few dozen words, or whatever it was. 😉

Wherein Photoshop takes over my life

I just can’t leave a design alone. The black backdrop of the first designs felt kind of empty, even if I did mean it to be vaguely Art Deco in style. So I grabbed the blue starfield of this artist concept (thank you, NASA/JPL) and swapped it in there at maybe 85% opacity (with the black beneath to darken it a bit). Also, for some reason I associate this style with lines. Not always, I guess, but lines are fun so I added some of them in, too. It’s shaping up a little better.

I’ll still be voting for a different design for the group to use — we had a couple of late submissions from one of the Chrises (we have a few) that are fantastic. And they use lovely, clean fonts: Trajan Pro and Park Avenue. Ahh, relief for sore eyes. But mine is beginning to shape up for my own use.

Anyhow, here’s the latest.

And here’s the new latest. I decided to try making the moon a vector so it goes better with the vectorized spacecraft and with the overall Art Deco style. The Illustrator trace lightened it, though, so I’ve been trying to darken it down so there’s not such a stark line between gray and black.

Adding my own #GRAIL #NASATweetup poster mock-up to the mix

Everyone seems to be playing in Photoshop today (probably yesterday by the time I post this 😛 ), so I had to, too. I’m working on a poster in an 18×24″ size; whether my fellow space tweeps want to use it for the big poster or not, I’ll likely print a couple copies of the end result in about 9×12″ as a surface for signatures in case we get the opportunity. A couple rather than one, in case I could persuade people to sign one for me, one for my baby niece. Gotta start making a respectable nerd of her early, right? (Is 9×12″ big enough? Maybe 12×16″?)

Here’s where I’m at. I’ll probably play a bit more before I’m done, but I’d love suggestions (but please don’t be hurt if I choose not to follow them, because I take or leave advice at will).

Edited shortly after posting: I kept playing a little bit–modified the font style to smooth the edges and changed the GRAIL font to a slight variant with cut-out lines. Not sure which I prefer but here’s no. 2:

Here, I shifted the moon and twins a bit because they seemed a bit clumped in the middle and the moon wasn’t centered right.