Monthly Archives: September 2009

Cincy Streetcar… A Design Qualm

I feel bad writing a post about this, I do. But Cincy Streetcar Team, you really have made your first misstep. Everything up until now has been basically perfect. You’ve kept your cool amidst attacks by COAST and NAACP. You’ve maintained your composure amidst a city-wide backlash. Your blog informative, entertaining and effective. Hell, the virtual tour you put up just a day or two ago was even effective on me and I’ve never wavered in my support of the plan! As I said though, you made your first oops yesterday: The new website is pretty blah. Cheap looking, even. The previous site was wonderfully minimalist and modern looking. It said “here is a modern idea, proposed by modern people for what could be a modern city.” Now it looks so decidedly Web 1.0 that I wonder if you really are trying to pander to older people who just discovered the internet. I was so disappointed when I clicked the link on twitter yesterday. It was a brick wall of drab.  To paraphrase former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, I don’t how to define what bad design is, but I know it when I see it.

The addition of a lot of information is a bonus and it is encouraging that it looks like the Streetcar plan is slowly moving out of the “Hey! We should do this!” phase, but the site design itself is not encouraging. It does not encourage people to click around because it sort of looks like a Cincinnati Streetcar fan-page, not the real deal. Keep the information, overhaul that design! Please! If this is to be the official home of the Streetcar/anti-issue 9 movement, than give it some flash. Make it look official. This kind of looks like I put it together, and I have trouble embedding youtube videos sometimes. If you could just merge the boost of info of this page with the lovely design of the previous, I think we’d be getting somewhere.

The New Cincinnati Streetcar Website

Love,

John

Tips for your dining experience…

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I’ve been working in the food service industry for most of my employed life. I’ve worked in the back of the house at big corporate restaurants, front of the house at tiny holes in the wall and I’ve been a barista at go knows how many coffee shops. Though I often feel like moving on, there is something I like about the work. You get to move around all day, you get to eat a lot for very little and, if you are smart, you develop a charm so effective you can make any octogenarian swoon with only a passing glance. As of late though, I’ve found behavior in restaurants has gotten worse.

I remember when I was in grade-school I had a habit of putting my feet up on the desk between subjects. Whenever the teacher caught me, she would ask “Do your parents let you put your feet up on the dinner table.” Being a smart-ass little kid, I recognized the flaw in this argument. The dining room table? No feet there, that’s where I eat. I would however, gladly put my feet up on my desk at home, it’s in MY room. I  understood what she was saying though, and, for the most part, the moral has stuck with me, as I suppose was intended: If you think your parents would frown upon it, don’t do it, especially in public.

So here is a handy-dandy list to help you through your dining experience. I won’t specifically mention where I’m at right now, mostly because I love my employer and 97% of my customers, and I don’t mean to blame them. There are many people in the food-service business though, quite a few of them my friends, and we all have these gripes. These gripes are then placed into a slow-cooker and allowed to simmer for a long time, becoming juicier and juicier with each added bullion cube of customer misbehavior. I’m dumping mine out as it has been cooking for too long. Many of these pointers will reinforce things you already know, but some people could use a refresher course:

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It’s Stupid or: A new movie I won’t be seeing

I would say that the majority of things I blog about are Cincinnati related. There is  however, one topic that I never get tired of being cranky about: sad-sack indie movies. I decided to cohesively write why this trailer for Some Days are Better than Others, a film popping up on the hip blogs, encapsulates my disdain for the present state of indie cinema, MOON excluded. I failed at doing this. Initially I was going to write what I saw as it happened during the trailer and then formulate a very witty and entertaining. The trailer was such a jumble of cliches and ham-fisted crybabiness that I just decided to present you with my unadulterated list. All punctuation, capitalizations and underlining are as they were on the back of the envelope it was originally written on. Press play and read along:

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Hey! That’s Great!

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Tuckers made it into the Gourmet magazine’s list of “Restaurants Worth the Money.” This news, while 100% deserved, is equal parts exciting, baffling and just a touch annoying (sorry, but its a small place). It takes a pretty close eye on things to recognize a place like Tuckers, so kudos to Gourmet as well. If you haven’t ever had your brunch at Tuckers I would do it soon or else risk never getting a table.

Take a look at the original article right here, and check out some of our worth-the-money midwestern neighbors. That 112 Eatery sounds delicious.

(Found via Visualingual who also recently completed a lovely new banner for grass console. Looks great!)

Love, John

Friend Alert… Overlooked Cincinnati

Despite the fact that we’re arguing elsewhere on my blog, I thought I should give mention to a blog that was birthed in the midst of my hiatus. Like Visualingual’s well documented series of Ghost SignsOverlooked Cincinnati is all about those tiny details that make our city even more worthwhile. Sure the cool architecture and fun happening around town are good for showing off to out-of-towners, but its the little things, like “BOOK MONSTER” and Lazarus Lizards, that keep us surprised, interested and in love with our city. Run, at least in part, by my good friend, ex-coworker and compulsive yeller Brian, it’s an excellent addition to the Cincinnati blog community. So get in there and start contributing!

Overlooked Cincinnati

Love,

John

I’ll get back to this…

Yeah, it’s been a while, I know. I seem to have a tendency to get very bogged down in this blog and then abandon it for a good long while. Well, I’ve come back around the mountain again and will starting to write again. I know, I know, this is great news to the ones, perhaps even fives or tens, of readers I once had and who have most likely taken me off their google reader/rss feeds. But no matter, once I have a little more time on my hands and something substantive to say I’ll be back on here. All I can say for now is this:

– After a very long-winded struggle with the philosophical and Kurzweilian implications of a service such as this, I decided to suck it up and re-up my Twitter account. I’ve been more active as of late, and I still kind of hate it, but it is a good kind of hate these days. It would be filed under Curmudgeoned.

– My good friend Alex’s blog grass console should get more traffic, take it from a very not-vegan soul.

– The streetcars are still a great idea and having these open houses is an incredibly smart move.

Squid and the Whale is not a good film. “Divorce is unpleasant and oftentimes involves unpleasant people” is not a brain bursting idea and Noah Baumbach needs to cheer up (I’m looking at you Margot at the Wedding). You know what is original?

Marauders, thats what.

-Kanye is the smartest celebrity of all. Not nominated, not performing and still the most talked about aspect of that show (which we all hate, but somehow are angry he disrupted)? Kudos to you sir. Taylor Swift will get over it, don’t worry. She is very young.

But the public outcry over a seemingly trivial moment in an even more trivial award show begs the asking of a bigger pop culture question: Why is it people who are famous and talented have to be super nice these days? You’ll hear people say “Well, I love his music, but I can’t listen to it because he’s an asshole!” Better throw out most of your records if that’s becoming the new standard by which listenability is judged. Sinatra, John Lennon, pretty much all of The Who, Axl Rose, Bono, Bowie, and the list goes on, were or presently still are all monumental assholes. Why have we started imposing a new standard of behavior and attitude on our celebrities?

Alright, that is all for now. Be back later.

Love,

John