As Far As I Can Tell

Swings like a blade

Back in Chicago, in the Land of Lincoln. On my way into the city this afternoon I was driving underneath an overpass near Comiskey Park when a giant ice chunk fell and smashed into my windshield. It scared the hell out of me, and cracked the driver’s side in a spider web pattern that spans horizontally almost half-way across the glass. I’ve had this truck for less than 3 days and already I’m taking advantage of full converge insurance.



out of curiosity, what did you do w/ your nisan? did you dump it in a river?

Posted by: miguel on December 29, 2002 11:44 AM

I’m looking to sell it, and actually hoping to get $1000 for it. A running truck with 4 wheel drive is worth quite a bit no matter what the body looks like. It would be perfect for someone who needs to haul something like wood through a forest in the winter. Obviously the target market there is in Sturgis, so that’s where it sits with the for sale sign.

Posted by: simon on December 29, 2002 12:05 PM

how many miles did you finally put on that poor thing? :) I had a wreck back in june with my grandpa’s old red wagon (not my fault). so now i have a perty green suburu wagon. its awe-some. I see you still have that brown, orange, and yellow striped scarf! I still have my rainbow one. I have a rainbow hat now too.

Posted by: ruth celine smith on January 22, 2003 9:59 AM

I put almost exactly 100,000 miles on it, bring it to a total of 150,000. My mom is using it to haul stuff around right now, so it I to visit it.

Posted by: simon on January 22, 2003 5:31 PM

Hochstetler Christmas Photos



King Christmas Photos



I like seeing Krist and the ghost of Ben and Emily past. No picture of cottage potatoes?

Posted by: meredith on December 27, 2002 3:21 PM

In memory of Nissan



i totally did this when i got rid of busta (the tempo). i haven’t gotten the pics yet, though.

Posted by: jim on December 27, 2002 2:10 PM

It will be missed, she was a fine lady truck.

Posted by: meredith on December 27, 2002 3:21 PM

Merry Christmas, from Sturgis

I’ve been in Sturgis since Saturday night, and tomorrow’s my last day. I just got off the phone with Meredith—she’s stuck in Shelbyville, IL for a full day more than she wanted to. She was going to get a ride with her sister tomorrow morning, but she left unexpectedly this morning instead. The plan was for her to come to Kalamazoo tomorrow and we’d drive back to Chicago together, but now she won’t be home until Friday. I wish I didn’t have to greet a very lonely Birdie by myself tomorrow, but I’m ready to go home.

This Christmas has been good overall. The best part was being able to spend more time than usual with my grandparents, who are back from Florida for the holidays. Today I played cards with them and my brother, which is fun because they get so worked up about it. Card games bring out an amusing competitive side in my Grandma.

Both sides of the family gathered at my parentsí house this year, on different days of course. The first were the Kings on Sunday afternoon, and that unfortunately went as expected. Little kids ran rampant, new people who have married or adopted in were introduced, my Aunt Cornella had to announce her due date every 15 minutes, and Ike and I hid in his room discussing how long we could stay until people started calling us rude. On the upside, Grandma Rhoda brought cottage potatoes—a deliciously cheesy treat that I haven’t had in years.

Last night all of the Hochstetlers were here and the scene, as expected, was calmer. First we ate, then the gifts, and then a decent length of time was spent just hanging out and talking. It’s a nice change from other years where people on this hyperactive side of the family would take off as soon as the ribbon was cut on the last present.

Lots of pool and some ping-pong were played this weekend. These are the activities of those who are bored, grasping at whatever is available. Time moves slowly in Sturgis, but overall I’ve made it through okay.

The presents I got this year are awesome. Before I had even left Chicago Meredith gave me this super cool, unique, hand painted clock from the 70’s. We’d seen it in an antique store months earlier, and she remembered how much I liked it. My description won’t do it justice, so I’ll post a photo once I get home. Other gifts were: two good magazine subscriptions, a Leatherman, gift cards, shirts, Chomsky, music, books, a huge hard drive, a wireless Ethernet card, the best coffee travel cup on earth, a blanket, socks, an air compressor, and money.

The biggest news though isn’t what I got as a present, but what I bought myself. After years of knowing full well that I should get a new truck, I finally did it. I now own a black 2001 Ford Ranger 4×4 pick-up truck. Stats are: V6, 4.0 liter, power windows/locks, air, cruise control, 6 CD changer, super cab, bed liner, rail guards, fog lights, and keyless entry. It’s nicer than I thought I’d end up getting, but I got my grandpa to go into the dealership and help me get the best possible deal, since he knows the salesman from way back. I got it for under book value, and barely over cost. I’m really happy with it—it makes driving fun again.



Congratulations. It really is ok to own something new. When we get back you have to take me for a ride. We could go off-roading.

Posted by: ivo on December 26, 2002 9:48 AM

simon, my dad owned a ford ranger briefly. it’s a nice truck. congrats! i’m glad it’s still black, so you don’t feel too odd in it.

Posted by: miguel on December 26, 2002 11:37 AM

congratulations! it must be nice to feel safe when driving long distances- even though your old nissan was supprisingly reliable, there’s always that risk of it just dying one day unexpectidly- i’m specifically referencing the lemon tempo that went kaput in front of the fourth coast years ago. enjoy!

Posted by: vanessa on December 26, 2002 5:03 PM

i used to have a tempo that crapped out until i got the aforementioned new beetle. congrats on the truck. it really does make driving nice when you don’t have to worry about just the act of getting there constantly. we should hang out. you can come show me your truck, ill show you the beetle, it’ll be fun.

Posted by: jim on December 27, 2002 2:08 PM

passenger side window that rolls down, summer just got more tolerable.

Posted by: meredith on December 27, 2002 3:25 PM

Chicago Christmas

Tomorrow I leave for Michigan, and won’t be back until after Christmas, so today is my Chicago Christmas. Meredith is at work right now, but when she gets home there will be present giving and food eating. Tonight we plan on ice skating in Millennium Park downtown, and then seeing Small Brown Bike at the Fireside Bowl.

Although I generally loathe holiday music, I just got two Christmas albums. One is a John Peel Christmas party with Belle and Sebastian, recorded just two days ago. The other is the new Bright Eyes album. I haven’t listened to them much, but they seem to be all traditional songs. I’ll give a small review after I’ve listened to them fully.

I’m a little concerned about leaving Birdie alone for the four days that I’ll be in Michigan. Technically it’s even longer than that, I’m just not counting Saturday and Thursday since those are the days I’m leaving and coming. This worrying make me officially a cat person, but to hell with it, Birdie’s great.

I’m excited that Josh and Bill are going to be back in The States for New Years. Josh is already back actually, and I’m hoping to see him next week. I have a great idea! Attention all of my friends: why don’t you move to Chicago and live in the same neighborhood as me?



i also hope birdie is ok. is someone feeding and caring for her?

Posted by: miguel on December 20, 2002 3:20 PM

Well, no. Everyone is out of town, so she’ll be on her own for the four days that we’re gone. That’s why I’m worried.

Posted by: simon on December 21, 2002 1:58 AM

I’m fine, longing for Simon and Meredith love, but fine. Meow.

Posted by: birdie on December 25, 2002 11:06 AM

Hurry up, it’s Christmas

Yesterday, after a 12.5 hour work day, I finally finished the project I’m working on for work. It’s taken nearly all of my free time for the last week, and pushed me to be even more of a last minute Christmas shopper than normal. This morning I slept in to catch up on my rest, and then went straight into shopping. Some small detours of self buying in the record store aside; it was a fairly productive day. It sucks, because I like to buy meaningful and well thought out presents for my friends and family. Hopefully I still can.

Tonight, I was going to go see the second film from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It didn’t work out because I wasn’t able to get an advance ticket, and Chicago seems to be brimming with movie geeks to fill those opening night seats. Instead I ate delicious Columbian food with Meredith and friends of hers. Absolutely delicious, and right next to the Golden Apple, which has an entire This American Life episode devoted to it.

I love it when weblog requests work out. Thanks goes to Allison for getting me the AIGA salary survey I was looking for. It turns out that while you need a password to get to the link, the file itself isn’t actually protected. So anyone who is interested, download away [PDF 647K].



A History of Graphic Design

Although it happened on November 24th, I’ve just found out that Philip B. Meggs is no longer with us. Meggs was the best known name in design criticism, most notably for A History of Graphic Design. That book is the de-facto standard for design history classes, and not only one of the first, but most complete of its kind. I’ve learned a lot from him. As a side note, my professor Keith Jones worked with Meggs briefly. He’s mentioned in the credits for A History of Graphic Design.

While one the AIGA website, I noticed that the 2002 salary surveys are out. These are important figures that can not only help you know what to expect when applying for a job, but can be a bargaining chip for higher pay. Non-members can only view a brief overview of median yearly salaries. If anyone with an AIGA membership could get me the full version that would be awesome.

Today I attempted to go Christmas shopping, but in a way that’s was completely unproductive. I went with friends to shops that I like, which is a sure-fire way to make sure I look only at things for myself and waste time. My concern is that I’m really busy this week with work, and won’t have time to Christmas shop again until Thursday. I’m leaving for Michigan on Saturday, so that’s pretty last minute.

I just rented the DVD (normal version, not the 4 disc madness) of The Lord of the Rings. While I’m not as crazy as Miguel about the new movie coming out, I decided I’d like a refresher before I see the sequel on Wednesday.



Listening to Bookends

I can’t go a full day without leaving the house. I can take it right up to the point of possibility and even flirt with the idea of doing it, but in the end I can’t. Like yesterday, I ran out at 9o’clock to buy books at Myopic. Not because I needed to go book shopping, but because the thought of spending the entire day in my socks is more depressing then the thought of wandering a used book store’s stacks for no reason.

I miss my moped.

Today’s perfect time and place was at 8a.m. at a 6 way intersection in Wicker Park. The morning glow was in full effect and it was warm enough to make everything shine with a slight wetness. Everyone was bustling around in the street; people dancing with cars dancing with buses.



i know what you mean, i hate “wasted days” even if they’re not acutally wasted. i like your pictures.

Posted by: mark on December 12, 2002 8:06 PM

yep. as much as i’m a homebody, i usually have to leave my house at least once to feel like i’m a part of society. though i do sometimes like to just sit in my apartment for an entire weekend and disappear.

Posted by: miguel on December 12, 2002 11:57 PM

besides the almost daily requirement of going to work… i do quite well with not leaving the house. i think most times i’m bordering on anti-social behavior, but other times, i think i just enjoy being alone. although sometimes, i think its easier to go out almost every day than to be accosted with “where have you been?” “um, around…” as if not making appearances at the Space is the worst thing in the world one can do…

Posted by: eric on December 13, 2002 9:49 AM

Mornings here have been a warmer cold. Everything is gray and a little moist. I love the way everything looks, I pretend I’m in Europe.

Posted by: meredith on December 13, 2002 2:38 PM

where’s your moped?

Posted by: jim on December 13, 2002 3:33 PM

At least you don’t call in sick to work and stay in bed until 4:30 pm.

Posted by: ivo on December 13, 2002 5:32 PM

Dance on the new rug

This weekend I was visited by Dan, my parents, Ivo and Matt. I’ve been known to proclaim things such as “I hate guests”, but that’s definitely not true. Why would I say it?—I’m good at taking out frustrations in all the wrong places. This was the first time my Dad has ridden the El, and his first time downtown in probably a decade. Thanks for stopping by everyone.

Dan and I worked out some ideas for his website portfolio, and for the upcoming Moped Magazine. I have so many projects that need attention right now. I think the main thing that overwhelms me is that I still haven’t designed, let alone built, my portfolio. I found sketches for it in my notebook from February of last year.

I have a really strong love/hate relationship with my computer right now. On one hand, nearly all of my interests lie intangibly inside of the screen that I’m starring at. On the other, it’s a demanding medium that keeps growing, ever ends, and easily frustrates.

Some work that I did for the Kalamazoo Arts Council is now online. None of the visual design is mine, but the interaction and movement within the navigation was designed and programmed by me. Note that there are two different types of navigation; one on the homepage and one internally. The homepage is simply a fun addition to the photos, while the internal nav provide a bit more utility.

For those in Kalamazoo, you might want to check out the rest of the website. In particular there is an Arts Event Calendar that might be useful.



that dance will one day get us killed by adolescents.

Posted by: meredith on December 10, 2002 5:26 PM

whoa! your site cookied me at work! anyhoo—i’d love to do grunt work/editing/press stuff/whatever for moped magazine. just give me details.

Posted by: jim withington on December 10, 2002 6:06 PM

Empty Nest

Tonight I went to a lecture at Columbia College by Joseph Holtzman, the Art Director and Chief Editor of Nest magazine. I think basically he runs the magazine and designs everything; it’s not as complex of an operation as his titles make out. For those not familiar with Nest it’s a quarterly publication dedicated to interiors, often of an extremely eclectic nature. It’s renowned for it’s experimentation with printing materials, elaborate pull-outs, inserts and die-cuts.

The lecture came off kind of the same way that reading the magazine does. Its fun to flip through and say “Oh, thatís really cool”, but it seemed to lack any real interesting or in-depth content. Joseph was a strange guy, who flipped through his slides with lots of difficulty working the projector, and without giving much insight beyond dropping names of people who collaborated on each issue.

During the Q&A session that followed he got really uncomfortable and kept trying to end the lecture. At least three times he called for “just one more question”, but wasnít commanding enough to make anyone believe it. He really went downhill after someone asked him what his idea of success was and he floundered around for a while, never coming to an answer and sounding more than a little disappointed and depressed. I felt bad for him.

I think he’s consistently pushing the boundaries of design and experimentation with Nest, but even he knows that experimentation for its own sake gets old after 20 issues.

Afterwards I walked down Dearborn St. and reconfirmed how much I love the city at night, and particularly in the winter. All of the trees have lights instead of leaves, and there was a gigantic Christmas tree and German village (Christkindlmarket) with candies and food set up in Daley Plaza.



yeah, i also love cities at night. nothing beats it. even in winter.

Posted by: miguel on December 5, 2002 9:35 PM

‘No Bed’ Bugs

I’m planning on waking up early tomorrow, but right now I’m up later than I should be fighting with IE5/MAC’s CSS implementation. For CSS1 it’s great, but it’s hit and miss for anything reaching into CSS2. I’ve just spent a couple of hours trying work-around after work-around in order to apply the formatting I want to a table—no border except the right hand side of each cell. I finally figured it out, though not without resorting to a CSS/HTML attribute hybrid.

As I start to do more and more CSS intensive layouts, IE5/MAC is my biggest obstacle. On Windows you can assume people are running at least IE5, which has decent, though not great CSS2 support. Lots of them are running IE6, with nearly full support. Luckily, Microsoft tries to force IE6 onto everyone that uses Windows Update, so the penetration numbers should keep rising.

NS7 is terrific, with almost complete support for CSS2. If everyone ran that or Mozilla my world would be a hell of a lot easier. At least both of those have good consistency across any OS, so if it works in NS7 Windows I can count on it working elsewhere.

In conclusion of this rather boring entry, here are some pages that might help you overcome the same problems that I’ve had with my CSS layouts in IE5/MAC:

CSS Bugs in IE5.x Mac
MacEdition Guide to CSS Support for Tables
CSS Hints for Internet Explorer 5
Commented Backslash MacIE5 CSS Hack
CSS Master Grid (slightly out of date, but useful)



thanks, simon! yeah, ie5 has been giving me a few css headaches, too. i usually just use straight html for tables and limit css to text and other style attributes. i’ll see what else i can do now. btw, i disagree about the greatness of ns7 or mozilla. they do show css really well, but are somewhat clunky on other areas (at least on my mac). i hate to say it, but ie5 is still the superior browser. maybe if i had a g4 that would change …

Posted by: miguel on December 3, 2002 1:19 AM

Perhaps you’re right about NS7/MAC; my experience is mainly with its Windows counterpart which clears up all the buggy crashes that NS6 had, while implementing standards quite well. The look and feel or form elements arenít as good as in IE though. My trouble with this table styling was that I needed to do something that isn’t possible with straight HTML. With table attributes you can give every cell padding and spacing, which simulates a border - but I needed borders on only the right hand side of each cell. Tricky.

Posted by: simon on December 3, 2002 1:26 AM

have you tried using color tables as borders? instead of a cell, imagine a 3x3 cell. the top, bottom, and right outside cells are the borders (so like one pixel or whatever w/ a solid color or even an image) and the left outside cells the same as the central cell. that’s the “workaround” i’d use. just a thought. oh, also … on your weblog a few times there are these semi-links that are dotted and make my cursor produce a question mark. what do they do? clicking on them does nothing. is this a windows-only thing? i’ve tried it on ie5.2, ns7, and the latest mozilla build. same thing.

Posted by: miguel on December 3, 2002 11:43 AM

Those are acronym information. If you hover over them for a second a tool-tip should come up that tells you what the acronym stands for. The code looks like this: <style> acronym { border-bottom: 1px dotted #cfbda0; cursor: help; } </style> <acronym title=”International Business Machines”>IBM</acronym>

Posted by: simon on December 3, 2002 11:57 AM


Posted by: eric on December 3, 2002 12:38 PM

the tag isn’t working on my ibook, even w/ ie5.2. it’s just a giant “?” that lingers (i’ve even tried waiting about half a minute w/o moving the cursor).

Posted by: miguel on December 3, 2002 1:43 PM

That’s odd; IE/MAC supports the title attribute, which is what’s really making this thing work. It’s possible that it doesn’t support titles on the acronym tag, but does on other tags, such as anchors. Try hovering over this link. Do you see the tool tip appear? You’re supposed to be able to see title attributes on any element…oh well, at least it doesn’t break anything. I might use the hack noted above to hide the underline and help cursor from IE/MAC.

Posted by: simon on December 3, 2002 1:50 PM

simon: you’re a genius! the little link in your last comment worked flawlessly. thanks for my personal surprise msg.

Posted by: miguel on December 3, 2002 1:55 PM

All of this jargon is making me want to kiss you simon.

Posted by: meredith on December 3, 2002 5:32 PM

umm, i don’t know jack shit about computers, but this is nina…hi…

Posted by: nina on December 3, 2002 11:30 PM

As far as who can tell?

Chicago, IL

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