Friday, November 7, 2008

Out-Of-This-World Potential.

You can always count on Pixar (now Disney/Pixar) for exciting animation, but more importantly, brilliant stories with characters we love. I imagine Carl (voiced by Ed Asner), from the new Pixar film "Up", will turn out the same way.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

R.E.M. & ME.

REM Box Set
Originally uploaded by jtpuck
Two years ago I was finishing my book at Portfolio Center. My favorite project was a dream packaging assignment I added during my 8th quarter; a 5-disc R.E.M. box set. It turned out really great, especially with some hand screenprinting action from Lonny & Larry. I always meant to send a copy to the band; but for some reason never did.

Cut to October 2008. I used some design award cash to purchase tickets to the R.E.M. show at Nokia Theatre in Dallas. My first concert in 5 years, which also was an R.E.M. show in The Woodlands, so I figured now was as good a time as any. So last week, I popped a set in the mail, 2-day delivery to the band; actually the Fan Club address was the only option I had. Of course, I had all kinds of fantasies in my head. Maybe I'd get a phone call from the band? Maybe a set of backstage passes would be waiting for me at will call, although my tickets were under my co-worker's name & we printed them out at the office? Who knows, maybe Michael Stipe would have brought the package on set and said how cool he thought it was and maybe asked me to request a song for them to perform.

Well, the show was last night, and we had great seats. First row, just left-of-center, mezzanine, the Southwest Airlines Flight deck. If you ever go to Nokia, these are the seats you want, especially if you can only afford the lowest ticket price point. No, my CD package design did not make an appearance, but the show was still great.

The guys still know how to rock and Stipe seems to be having as much fun as ever these days. He wasn't hiding behind sunglasses or heavy eye make-up and had chatted more with the audience than I've ever seen from one of their LIVE performances. He even threw back a few quips to hecklers & adoring fans in the lower sections. They had an excellent setlist that touched all but 2 studio albums and was pretty heavy in protest songs, which he mentioned had been compiled by lead guitarist, Peter Buck.

Great surprises included "These Days", "Exhuming McCarthy" complete with tape recorded McCarthy speech, "7 Chinese Bros.", and an acoustic performance of "Let Me In", a song originally recorded as an electric-shredding guitar homage to Kurt Cobain. Absolutely amazing, and must be released somewhere, sometime soon. Check out some audience recordings on YouTube.

I do want to thank the band for adding Dallas to this last leg of the tour, and I hope they get to see the box set; my confirmation said it was delivered. |#remdallas|

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I made a joke the other day that my blog is turning into a monthly update of goings-on & observations and here I am posting a note after two months. Bad blogger, Jason. Bad, blogger. I would say I deserve a time-out, but frankly, being away from here for so long is a time-out in itself.

So, just to catch you up on a few things. I've added a profile on Facebook. This is where most of my online time has been used. I can chat with friends, post videos, pics, notes, etc... pretty quickly and follow others as well. It's been a lot of fun and I've caught up with quite a few old, old friends. If you haven't already, look me up.

Secondly, work has been i-n-s-a-n-e. A couple new clients, a couple new jobs, a whole lot of new challenges. When you've been developing brands for law firms for a while, it's easy to get scared & very excited, when a plastic surgeon from the L.A. area comes knocking at your door. Yeah, no kidding. We finished a logo and are working on a website, identity, and an announcement of their new office. All of which will be live by the end of the year. Also running through a few Holiday cards for some of our clients. That's pretty challenging considering you have to stay politically correct with words, meaning, & imagery. Sorry Santa.

With Paul Jerde, our Creative Director, on medical-leave while recovering from his accident, I've had the pleasure of working with our company's old head honcho: Willie Baronet. I started at MB just after he stepped away from daily activities and missed the opportunity of working with him. Going one-on-one with him during these challenging times has been amazing, inspiring, and very cool. He's had quite a life, and is still living it on his own terms, with great stories, unique experiences, and a down-to-earth approach that is commendable. He's currently working on a Masters in Art & Technology at UT-Dallas, and has a blog of his own where he publishes his own creative works & observations.

Let's see, umm, Lyndsey had a benign tumor removed from her palm, Ian had strep throat, and then we found out, the hard way, that he is allergic to amoxicilin. He started to have what looked like mosquito bites on his legs. There were a lot of mosquitos outside, so we thought nothing of it. Then one day, there were a hundred mosquito bits all over his body, neck, and face, and I know for a fact he didn't sleep outside that night. Sure enough, they weren't bites, but a classic case of a medicinal reaction. He enjoyed his oatmeal baths and calomine lotion rubs, but still couldn't quite keep himself from scratching. "It itches, mommy, daddy," was something we heard, and felt, very often. Thankfully, he's back to his old self again.

On a sadder note, a few weeks ago, George W. Lemons passed away. He was Lyndsey's last living grandfather; by marriage, mine as well, and Ian called him 'Paw-Paw.' He was a well-respected family man that always put others before himself and had a quiet sense of strength that no one ever challenged. He was a Mac user and always vacuumed on Thursdays. His days in the service helped develop his amazing ability to organize. You've never seen a garage setup like his. I loved him very much and will miss his presence during the holidays this year.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It's Been 25 Days Since I've Drank Coffee.

Hi, I'm Jason, and I thought I was an addict.

You see, I've been drinking since I was about 13. Sure the times I actually had a cup in my teens were few and far between; but I can remember my first cappuccino. We had just discovered coffee shops and there was a great one in McAllen called 'Kafecitos' (translation: little cups of coffee, pretty good name). I went with some friends after school one Friday evening after we caught a movie at Cinemark. It was smooth, creamy, and just the right temperature. I was hooked. It didn't make me talk or drive faster, but it did entice me to buy another.

In college, things got kicked up a notch. All-nighters in my architecture studios, late-night studying, killer IHOP breakfasts, rendezvous with the few ladies in my life; all momentous occasions for a cup of jo. The slight mustard tint on my teeth was minimal compared to joy in my heart. I didn't become a speed reader because I'd had 3 cups of coffee, and I never felt moments of anxiety because of the caffeine. No, it was because I needed to get an 'A' on the final in order to pass Ancient Architectural History.

Next came my first (and hopefully my last) corporate job, where the coffee came in packages colored orange and green to correspond to the similarly colored pots. It was brewed every morning, on all 30 floors of the tower, and it was the first time I could see through the coffee. It was like someone had ringed their sweaty sock into a pot and set it to simmer; yet I drank it 2-3 times a week. There was a Starbucks on the lower-level that kept me believing.

Then came grad school. Not only was there a Starbucks close to school, but there were also 3 Dunkin' Donut locations on my route. At a time when DD was voted Best Coffee in the U.S, it was nice to be part of the political process. I would visit the polling station about once a week.
But in all my caffeinated experiences, I never felt like my life revolved coffee. I was never looking for the next hit. Sure we might have planned an early-morning departure time for a road trip based on the location of Starbucks, but I would have been just fine without it...right?



And here's why.

Coffee has always been a leisure experience for me. It goes great with an IHOP short stack. It's perfect for a late night designing a website. And it compliments great conversation with a loved one. At my current job, the coffee gets brewed every morning, regular as well as a flavored version. And it's good. And it's one of our, er, perks. So I take advantage. I mean, why not? It's there, I like it, it's the morning, and I just might be designing a website that day. All of a sudden, I'm drinking it 5 days a week. And it's become part of the routine. Brush, clothe, train ride, email, coffee. What happened to the experience?

One morning I drove in to the office to prep for a presentation, and I stopped at a Starbucks for my morning experience. So when the barista told me she had accidentally added an extra shot (that meant 3) to my Venti Hazelnut Latte, I said it was no big deal. That was not the correct answer. My mind was spinning circles around my weekly assignments. My conscience sounding like the Micro Machines guy, but on the outside I was still me. It was anxiety. Sure things have been pretty hectic at work and my creative juices seem uninterested without our Creative Director around, but I've never been prone to anxiety. And all it took was a 3rd shot of espresso to do me in.

Now, you can come to your own conclusions of course; but I blame espresso. Excess caffeine, which I get from coffee. So I stopped. Caffeine from sodas only, one a day because I don't want the headaches to return. You probably know what I'm talking about. And since then, things have been well. No 'Trainspotting' acts of withdrawal. No unnecessary spending of $4 anxiety attacks. Just, me, my co-workers, my family, and the leisurely experiences that come with them.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

EW, Ah.

Got this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly and immediately knew something was different. Unlike most pop culture mags (and previous issues of EW), there wasn't much type on the cover. Just the masthead, a bit on the feature, and a line of this-issue subjects at the top of the page. Usually you find eighteen chunks of info scattered all around the face of a celebrity with no room to breathe. A few pages later, I noticed more things had changed and alas the Editor's Letter confirmed I was looking at something new. (click on the images for a larger view)

Led by John Korpics, former design director at InStyle & Esquire, there's definitely a more buttoned-down feel to the pub than ever before. Most notably recognized by the use of line rules on just about everything. Take this Contents page for instance. The old (left), single column layout was easy to thumb down the page numbers to find the corresponding article I wanted to read. The new (right) layout splits the main sections into 3 columns (separated by line rules), but the page number & sub-section titles are similar in color value & type weight, making it more difficult to find what you're looking for. They might have figured this out somewhere down the line, because the page numbers are larger in the footer. We can only wait to see how the top half of the page will be treated in future issues.

The treatment in the reviews section raises a lot of questions. First off, the section headers are treated in a respectful and modular way, which I really like. Secondly, the designers have decided to forego clever, film-specific headlines and just use the film's title when preparing a film review. This is one for the writer's to fight about. If the critic was the one writing the headlines, they may like the fact that now they have one less thing to write. If there's a writer at EW that just lost his job writing film-specific headlines, he's probably a little disappointed. And, I'm not sure how Ad space has changed, but I doubt there will be less of it. Although, the addition of line rules to separate copy columns may mean they need more room for copy...

EW designs a lot of really great charts. There has to be someone on staff eligible for the Guiness Book of World Records for most number of clipping paths made for a publication. I will say that my least favorite chart is the most important one in the magazine. Critical Mass. The chart that lists current run films, the review grade from various critics in the biz, and their overall average. The funny thing is that instead of tracking the grades across the line for each film, they are tracked down the list (alternating yellow/white) per critic!? I don't know about you, but I'm not checking the chart each week looking to see what Dana Stevens from gave recent films. If I did, I'd probably have the site bookmarked to review every Friday anyway. This chart should be tracked across each film, to easily thumb across, "Iron Man, B+, A-, A-, B, B, B.....Ok, sounds great." And finally, it is.....but they've added a new color to still track by your favorite film critic...if you have one. Sounds political to me. Note the use of line rules, and also how the 'backstory' sub-section is now treated.

Lastly, I want to talk about the Guest Column page. Again, note the new header treatment that's been carried through the mag. The section still maintains a 3-2 column structure from before. What I like about the changes is how the color matches from Title to Drop Cap. It's a powerful 1, 2 punch that keeps the story connected and keeps me reading. Not sure how strict they'll be on the use of photography or illustration for the guest columnist pic, but I hope they leave it open to either. And how could I forget to add....Note the use of line rules. Come on guys, I'm sure we can all figure out where a sentence moves to on a page.

Does anyone know what the italic typeface is? That is killer!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Paul's Picnic Poster

Originally uploaded by jtpuck
Friday night at White Rock Lake, the DSVC hosted a rally event in support of Paul's family and for Bike Riders across Dallas. PAUL'S PICNIC had quite a turnout from the creative community as well as friends & family members. Everyone brought in their homemade posters and blessings of support that were posted along the bridge near where Paul was involved in his accident. Even our team at MasonBaronet brought in about 8 posters (one of mine shown here).

It was a great time to talk about Paul's inspirations in our lives. To see more of the posters, simply click on the image here and check out the my photostream on Flickr. All photos were shot by Phil Hollenbeck.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Get Well Soon, Paul

Paul At The Fair
Originally uploaded by jtpuck
On Father's Day, while on the way back home from a weekend trip to San Antonio, my cell phone rang.

It was Holly, principal at our firm, and she had some very upsetting news to tell me. Paul Jerde, Creative Director at MasonBaronet had been in an accident. While riding his bike along Mockingbird & Buckner in Dallas, a truck was passing in the right lane and hit him from behind. My heart dropped to the floor and I was speechless.

Paul was one of the first people to call me after seeing my book when I graduated from Portfolio Center. We connected instantly in my first interview and shortly thereafter was hired on to work with him at MB. He's been a mentor to me the past year-and-a-half and I have appreciated every time he pushed me and pushed me to refine my thoughts & re-rag my type. This guy has the passion of 100 designers and the toughness of 100 defensive ends.

Right now, he is currently unconscious with a few broken ribs and some brain trauma. For updates and to share a story of your own, visit Get Well Soon, Paul.

Our prayers are with you Paul, Patti, and Buzz.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Thing About Indiana Jones is...

It's entertainment. It's adventure. It's a movie.

With the popularity of reality television shows and instantaneous need for celebrity news, we have lost the excitement of our own imagination. We used to go to movies and leave reality at the door, along with our preconceived notions and little knowledge of what we were about to see. Now, we know everything and we don't care and we whisper to our neighbor how ridiculous that scene is or how expensive the popcorn is. Ok, the popcorn is ridiculously expensive, but no other popcorn in the world tastes the same.

Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is no exception. A few weeks ago, I had a long talk with a friend of mine about the film before either of us had seen it. We discussed how we didn't want a quick reference to the death of Indiana Jones Sr. (Sean Connery), we didn't want an appearance of strange CG aliens, and we didn't want Shia LeBouf to ruin the franchise. We also talked about all the things we'd like to see. Adventure, comedic one-liners, innovative chases, references to the other movies.

Were some of the things I didn't want to see in the movie? Yes. Were some of the things I did want to see in the movie. You betcha. Did the positive outweigh the negative? Without a doubt. The thing about Indiana Jones is that it is a great thrill ride. It's not trying to change the world. It's not trying to win Best Picture (and it won't). But it is hoping to entertain you in that summer-blockbuster kind of way. And it does.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ian Turns Two.

Ian gets a birthday snack.
Originally uploaded by jtpuck
A few weeks ago, Ian had his second birthday. We had a CARS theme, based on the Pixar film, which is now his third favorite film behind 'Story' and 'Nomo' (as he calls them). It was a small family affair, complete with a Lightning McQueen cake, balloon, plates & cups and, my favorite, a Chik-Fil-A Chicken Nugget tray. Yum.

It's hard to believe that two years ago, I was sitting in a hospital room working on my laptop right before studio week of my 7th quarter at PC; Lyndsey was asleep in her hospital bed, and Ian was rolled up like a burrito, in a blanket, sleeping in his isolet (rolling hospital crib). Where has the time gone?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wow. A lot has happened in the past few weeks. So much so, I don't even know where to start. I think what I'll do is jot down a quick list of some important events and then I'll follow up with a story about what happened today. So, here's the latest on the past few months, in no particular order:
  • R.E.M.'s newest album in 4 years is great and I've listened to it way too many times
  • Our creative team at work has been working on the May issue of ROUGH magazine for the Dallas Society of Visual Communications (DSVC). We've got a great concept, had some exciting photo shoots, and it should go to print next week
  • One of my concepts was chosen for a website design for a Dallas law firm...woo hoo!
  • 2 MasonBaronet promotional projects I designed were accepted into the DSVC Professional Show. These are my first two design awards, rock on!
  • My buddy, Ryan, from A&M got married in Galveston last weekend to his longtime girlfriend, Kristie..Congratulations!
  • My brother and his wife had a beautiful baby girl 3 weeks ago, the first girl in our family.
  • MasonBaronet has a 6-page feature in the June issue of HOW magazine, so go check it out. You might even see my name a few times, and my Simpsons Avatar, which I highlighted on this blog many months ago.
  • Ian is starting his potty training, and tonight he went poo poo in his potty while watching Deal or No Deal, all by himself.
That's about it. No big deal, right? Just the weeks in the life of everydaypuck.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I never thought this day would come. It's been a long journey for Ian and our family as we've experienced the ins and outs of a dairy allergy. Then last week, at the doctor's office for our follow-up visit, we heard the news that would bring our lives back to a normal state.

Food allergies: negative.

Yep. Can you believe it? Ian has outgrown his dairy allergy. Now he can enjoy Pepperidge Farm goldfish with his classmates at church, garlic breadsticks from Olive Garden, and of course, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. I'm telling you the kid has never been happier, and his weight is back up. In fact, today with dinner, part of his divided plate contained cottage cheese. That's one food I'm happy to take off my plate and put on his.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

R.E.M. are B.A.C.K.

It's hard to believe that on April 1st, they will release their 14th studio album; and from what I've heard, this thing is gonna rock!

Of course, I may be a little biased as they are my favorite band and I haven't been nearly as offended by their last few albums as most folks. As a designer, I'd like to add that their quad-year updates to their website are always something great to look forward to. Michael Stipe has always been a part of the design & production of their album art, t-shirts, and fan club packaging, and they always have fun with type. Check out the latest news and album art for "Accelerate", R.E.M.'s new album at, and click in the top right corner to listen to the first new track called "Supernatural, Superserious."

Friday, February 8, 2008

Monkey Business.

Last week, Ian was in the hospital.

Most of you may not know that Ian has a dairy allergy. This means no pizza, no cheese, no ice cream, not certain types of bread, no butter, and of course, not milk. Well, this has put quite a damper on his meals and brought quite the challenge to our grocery shopping. Well, for the past few months he has not gained much weight, has been throwing up once or twice every other week and just not wanting to eat (except breakfast). So we set up an appointment to find out what was up with his digestive system.

He had an Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, (I know, the nurse was impressed I pronounced it correctly too) where a tube with a light & camera were sent down his esophagus and just into his small intestine in search of trouble. They did a biopsy and took some pictures. Additionally, they inserted a ph test tube through his nose and down his throat that was connected to a monitor for him to carry around for 24 hours. Oh, how wonderful.

What you don't see in this picture, are the white foam arm wraps, dubbed "No No's", that were velcro'd around his elbows keeping him from bending his arms and pulling the tube out of his throat. It took a little while to get used to, but he figured out how to play and have fun around the house with them on. He didn't like them on when it was time to eat. Like most hospital procedures, he wasn't able to eat for 12 hours before, and was starving by the time we got home. So we took them off to let him eat and made sure he didn't pull the tube out. As you can see, he was very thankful.

We pulled out one of his old Monkey backpacks and tore the back pouch open a little wider to hold the monitor. It was an easy fit and a more relaxing unit to carry around than a black plastic choke-machine.

Big thanks to Lyndsey for volunteering to take the tape off his face and pull the tube out of his nose. There was just no way I could do it without Ian ending up back at the hospital.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Marketing.

Besides talking about the 17-14 upset by the New York Giants, I'll be asking people if they've seen the new FOX show based on James Cameron's TERMINATOR films, "The Sarah Conner Chronciles." The most clever bit of marketing throughout the Super Bowl was FOX's CG animation of the Terminator robot against that ridiculous football transformer. It was hilarious, a brilliant idea, and well played during the programming interstitials.

And how about those updated clips of Will Ferrel's "Semi-Pro" and "Iron Man!" I was hoping for some preview of the new Indiana Jones film, but I guess everyone else would have been talking about it before it happened.

Congrats, Giants.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Online & In Bed.

2 posts in one night has been quite the impossible since moving into the new house. Alas, I am finally back online. A couple weeks ago we finally got our DSL hooked up and ready to roll. The only problem now is that Lyndsey and I fight over who gets to use the iBook. The second problem is that my battery is finally useless, so it always has to be plugged in. Across the bed, over the couch, or sometimes actually in the study, the iBook and the cord get driven around the house more than Ian's Lego Wagon. So, I'm back and ready to, write.

R.I.P. Heath Ledger.

I was going over the schedule on a few of my projects at work when someone told me the news about Heath Ledger. It didn't make sense. This guy had a huge career growing and amazing performances coming out each year. His performance as The Joker in this summer's "The Dark Knight" looks powerful and memorable. And I just posted a teaser poster on Monday?! Just crazy news to hear yesterday. Take care of yourselves, everyone.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Posters, suite.

I haven't seen 27 movies this year, but I did see a woman try on "27 Dresses" in one night, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe it was the pitcher of Shiner I shared with my brother (our wives sitting between us), or maybe it was the subtle cliche twists sprinkled throughout the film that made me enjoy it. Actually, it was the end credit sequence that really kept me thinking about the film after I left the theater. Fun, well written newspaper headlines & photos act as an epilogue to the film in a well designed manner. Then I saw the handwritten movie poster in the hallway gallery and a slight nod of appreciation glimmered across my face. Ahh, the movie poster. I remember I used to hit the theaters early in high school to take a walk around the place and check out the latest slew of movie art. From the Saul Bass days of old, to the Chip Kidd artwork for "Jurassic Park", to the heavily produced, double-sided, backlit, 4-color glossies of today, movie posters still have a lot to say about what they're selling. Even the Apple Quicktime movie trailer site has stuck to a poster gallery format for their movie trailer display. It's where I go to catch up on my trailers, since I only hit the theater 4 times a year now. Here are a few that caught my eye. And although the poster for Disney/Pixar's WALL•E is simply a character portrait, you can see the joy, naivete, and curiosity that is contained in what will be 2008's most beloved character; not unlike the successful portrait of Steve Carell in "The 40-Year Old Virgin."

Sunday, January 6, 2008