#58 Up & Running

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If you’re reading this…

You can thank a superb web technology expert and all-around great guy I recently met: Steve Wolfson of Mountain Web Development in Ashland, Oregon. Simply put, he got my broken website Up & Running quickly, expertly, and inexpensively.

Of course, it doesn’t matter where anyone is based if they’re working in the World Wide Web, but I mention Steve’s location because I’ve always felt people from Oregon are genuine, fair and honest. This is certainly true of Steve Wolfson. Like he says on his own website,

“This simple site is aligned with my personal style – keep it simple and to the point.”

And he does get right to the point, in a nice, friendly way. What he doesn’t mention is how fast he responds, how generous he is with offering advice, and how thorough he is with answering questions and explaining details. Genuine, fair, honest. And good.

If you need web-related technical help or advice, I highly recommend Steve. In his own words, here’s what he specializes in:

My work is putting together WordPress websites including ecommerce sites, adding additional functionality to already existing WordPress sites, dealing with technical issues around websites including hosting issues, email list services, etc. I implement WordPress websites from designs created by designers, working together with the designer.

You can contact Steve at steve@mountainwebdev.com

Right before sending out my last AmperArt I realized something was wrong with the servers or files or configurations or…who knew? I couldn’t even write a new article as nothing would post.

After several unsuccessful chats with my hosting company, I probed into the problem via Google and landed on Steve’s blog about similar issues. I looked over his “simple and to the point” website—which was a real treat among all the hyped up, overblown sites out there—and my gut feeling told me to ask him for help.

The first sign that pleased me was a simple email address, no long contact form to fill out. The second indication that told me I’d made a good call was, after contacting Steve at nearly midnight, I received an email back within several minutes! (Us pixel pushers do keep odd hours.)

He explained what might be wrong, and I told him to go ahead and fix it. Which he did within just a few hours. Rather than bill me immediately, he said “I will email you an invoice after you let me know that everything is working to your satisfaction.” Everything worked, the bill arrived, and the fee was pleasingly, even suprisingly, reasonable.

Since then Steve has continued to answer technical questions in layman terms for me, offer lots of generous advice, and be a good person to know. We are currently collaborating on an elaborate website where I’ll create the “front end” which is the design, and he’ll make it all work—-with an enjoyable experience and a very fair price, I’m certain.

I highly recommend Steve Wolfson. As he says on his website:

WordPress development is my specialty.
websites ·  blogs · ecommerce · database projects · email lists · site hosting

I help designers, marketers, individuals, companies and non-profits with technical aspects of site development.  I am a very good problem solver and solution provider.
HTML · CSS · PHP · jQuery

Contact: steve@mountainwebdev.com
And enjoy his refreshingly simple, to-the-point website: mountainwebdev.com

listen up!In the 1970′s one of my best friends worked as a computer programmer for the Glendale Unified School District. I’d frequently drop in on him and enjoy the phenomenon of feeling like I was in the control room of a sci-fi flick.

The district’s Computer Control Center was a large room with an elevated floor that was air-conditioned underneath to keep the massive electronics cool. I guess you could say the computers on that elevated floor were actually Up & Running. There were banks of huge reel-to-reel machines that hummed and clicked in synchronicity. Besides those state-of-the-art wonders, data was stored on punch cards that sorted through a large machine sounding like cards shuffled at a casino, and on paper tape with little holes that resembled a stock exchange ticker.

But the eeriest thing about this room was the strange green glow emanating from the computer monitors. Nothing like what you’re viewing right now. Every screen displayed rows and rows of same-size letters and numbers, a single font if you can call it that, in this cathode tube green glow. You even had to know a complex computer language to type anything.

This AmperArt piece is reminiscent of those green-glow monitors. See the faint numbers where it otherwise appears black? That’s where the characters have been burned into the phosphors of the cathode ray tube. No full-color websites in those days!

PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Programs: Illustrator, Photoshop
Fonts: Green Screen, System Bold

CREDITS:
Green Screen font by James Shields (click to see all his fonts)

#51 Salt & Pepper

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Daddy died March 29, 1962, over a half century ago. I was 10 years old. He was 62.

Now I am 62.

You can imagine March 29 this year has been on my mind a lot lately. I am healthy, still feel young and strong (until I do something stupid at this age), so it’s hard to imagine my dad looking like such an old man when he passed away at only 62 years old.

But he always looked like an old man to me, and I loved him for it. That’s one reason I’ve always respected my elders. You see, my dad was 51 years old when I was born. Already he had salt & pepper hair, and still a full head of it in the casket. That’s how I’ve always seen and remembered him: with this beautiful, wavy salt & pepper hair that I wanted when I grew old. Well, I have it. Mine’s more solid gray, but that’s okay. It still reminds me of Daddy. (I never called him Dad, always Daddy as I was only 10 when he died. So if it sounds silly that I still call him Daddy, well that’s okay…it just sounds right to me.)

I could tell you a lot about this man I loved and admired, and I will. But one thing that is absolutely fascinating is that Andrew J. De Simone was born December 31, 1899. That’s the last day of the century before last! Which meant he was always the same exact age as whatever year it was—to the day. That’s why it’s a little confusing to comprehend he was 51 when I was born in 1951. And he was 62 when he died in 1962.

Almost as fascinating is that he had 3 more children after me, when he was 54, 56 and 57 years old. I guess I could kid around and say that’s why he died so young, but actually he had health problems stemming from childhood malaria and smoking Kool unfiltereds nonstop. (Mom smoked, too: Camels. That’s what parents did in that era. I have never smoked cigarettes, most likely influenced by losing my dad to emphysema due to his smoking. I’ll never forget the eerie sound of his oxygen machine, which in those days was a giant apparatus and tank that was stationed in one place, not portable like today’s.) Though I don’t smoke, whenever I get a whiff of menthol cigarette smoke it brings back warm and loving moments with my dad.

I feel bad that my siblings, especially my youngest brother, never got to know him as I did. Even by age 10, I perceived that my father was an honest, generous, loving man with a soft voice and kind but mischievous grin. That Siclian look, you know. With a schnoz. Boy, did he have a bowling ball on the end of his nose. I got a little of that, too.

Somehow, though, my siblings inherited our dad’s qualities of kindness, honesty and generosity. He was the definition of integrity. I must say here that our mother was just as wonderful as our dad, and we got a lot of good qualities from her, too. Mom was 16 years younger than Daddy, a waitress in Chicago for whom he always left a huge tip, she told me. When she left for California, he followed and persuaded her to marry him—a story in itself. (I’ve always had a thing for waitresses…and I tip ‘em big, too. Like father, like son!)

Yeah, I really wish my brothers and sister could have known Daddy longer.

* * *

It’s amazing how my dad provided so well for us. We had a beautiful Spanish style home in a nice part of Glendale, California, on Bel Aire Drive. There was a panoramic view of the mountains from our huge picture window, and Mom told me that’s why Daddy bought the house. He also loved the fruit trees in the back yard. Lemons, oranges, grapefruit…but also some unusual ones like figs (how Italian is that!), pomegranates and persimmons. We were probably the only family in Glendale with pomegranate and persimmon trees. We were also the only family on our street without a paved sidewalk. As fortune would have it, my parents found this house in an estate sale and purchased it for pennies on the dollar; otherwise it would not have been possible. My dad was a barber and Mom was your typical mid-century housewife. I am glad that they found this house, for it was not only a wonderful home for us kids, but I know it made my parents comfortable and proud. But they never bragged…that was not my parents’ style. Instead, they were just grateful.

Like the one on my dad's shop.Like I said, my dad was a barber. He owned the shop, a small 2-chair establishment in a nice little business district. I loved jumping up onto the booster seat to get my hair cut. And the smell of the Barbasol and of the talc on the soft brush to whisk away the loose hairs. And the metallic sound of the scissors. Best of all was the incredible scalp massage that barbers used to give their customers with Oster electric massagers, motorized vibrating gadgets which strapped onto the back of each hand. (I inherited one of those, and my cat used to come running for a massage whenever I turned it on…worked better than an electric can opener to reel him in.) Here’s a video demonstrating the device: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUwKS6gK2zs

Mom would walk me down to Daddy’s barber shop to deliver his lunch and visit, or sometimes just say hello and then take me next door to the Copper Clock coffee shop for lunch. That’s how I got to enjoy coffee shops so much. We’d either go there, or to Billy’s Delicatessen (there was something especially delicious about the water in those paper cone cups…and their pickles!), or Bob’s Big Boy. On Saturdays Daddy would sometimes bring me to work with him. Sometimes I’d sweep the floors, surely scattering hair all over the place, and sometimes I would just enjoy watching my dad cut hair, listening to the rhythm of the scissors. He did that ever so efficiently while carrying on a conversation with each of his customers as if they were old friends. Actually, I think they really were, because I was told in the last several weeks of my dad’s life, going to the shop sick as he was, his haircuts were getting shabbier and shabbier due to his illness. But the customers didn’t stop coming—they came for his company, his gift of gab, his warm friendship, and I believe to get one last haircut and pay their last respects. I proudly witnessed how much he was loved and admired by his customers.

tipI would always “tip” him for my haircut—just a penny or two—to be like the grown up customers! Maybe that’s why I’ve always enjoyed tipping. (Also, I admit, to land a date with a pretty waitress.)

I guess my dad inspired a few other traits in me, too. I have always been an entrepreneur. (I worked for someone once and promptly got fired after two weeks.) I like to hire people who are a bit down and out to do simple little things and supply them with some generous spending cash, like my dad used to send the local kid to the store across the street to buy him a soda or a pack of cigarettes—and tip him more than the items cost. And I like salesmanship and delivering a good product; not that my dad was a salesman per se, but he had a great way of engaging his customers in conversation while he performed his task. Customer service, you could call it.

The one trait I did not inherit from my dad was how he used to dress up in a suit and tie every morning…and wear a smock over that when he got to the barber shop. That was showing a lot of respect to his customers, and I sure admire that. But me? Not only do I hardly ever wear a suit or a tie, I just happen to be the nudist in the family.

There was one thing I didn’t cherish about my dad being a barber: He had a thick leather barber strop at home, and believe me that hurt ten times worse than a belt! (Not that he punished us kids much; it was common in that era to get thrown over the knee and get a little whipping.) On the other hand, he also had a professional shoe shine kit in the garage (no longer employing a shoe shine boy at the shop) and to this day I enjoy the ritual of shining my own shoes with the dabber, then the horsehair brush, then the chamois. And spit really does help the shine!

Here’s a salt anecdote to demonstrate how stubborn he was:

Mom would brown bag Daddy’s lunch everyday, and since he could not eat salt (strict doctor’s orders) she sprinkled Mrs. Dash’s salt substitute on his sandwiches. After his death we were cleaning out the barber shop, and—lo and behold—there was a one-pound container of Morton Salt in the back room!

And here’s a pepper anecdote:

When I was a Glendale News-Press paperboy, my route manager, whom our whole family really liked, would frequently join us for breakfast. He smothered his eggs with black pepper until they were, well, black. Just like I emulated my dad in so many ways, I emulated my manager and started covering my eggs in black pepper…and eventually just about everything else, including ice cream (it’s good!). I’m not big on salt but I love my pepper! In fact, I carry a small pepper grinder to restaurants just in case. If you love pepper, you’ll love this site: pepper-passion.com

* * *

print4

There was one prophetic moment when my dad sat me on his lap and showed me something that inspired my life-long passion and career.

I was probably 4 or 5, because I am certain this occurred before first grade. (How am I so sure of that? Next paragraph.) Daddy opened a book and pointed to the characters on the page. I distinctly recall his showing me a page number in the corner which was the numeral 4, and pointing out how the letters were formed on the page. (I chose a typestyle for the Salt & Pepper AmperArt that is similar to the letters and numbers I saw in that book.) From that moment on I was interested in typography and lettering, adding serifs to letters (in all the wrong places) and lettering in fancy scripts on my grade school papers. That always helped me get a good grade!

Before I started recognizing serifs and such, I simply drew letters as accurately as I could, maybe learning before first grade, maybe during. But one instance I’ll never forget, which shaped my view of school and of “the establishment” as a whole, happened in first grade:

school4

We were learning to draw numbers, and if you recall, the “4″ was all right angles and open at the top. Having been fascinated for awhile with professional typography, I instead drew my “4″ the way I saw it in printed books, the way Daddy pointed it out to me, with the upstrokes ending at an apex on top.

bad4

Well, my wretched old first grade teacher, Miss Helfrich (which is where I thought she belonged), slapped a red X right across my letter 4. “Incorrect!” she said, not realizing I was reproducing a professional print version of the glyph (no, I didn’t know that word back then). If I was any less intelligent and insightful at the time, her reprimand could have sabotaged my career. It was at that moment I turned against everything “school,” although today I regard teachers as being among the most dedicated, inspiring and enriching professionals of all the trades. I’ve even taught a little. But I did start to question every single thing the system tried to brainwash us with from that moment on. Still do. Thanks to my stubborness, I continued to draw the number 4 “wrong” which lead to my career as a typographer and lettering artist, among other design-related endeavors.

* * *

I coudn’t wait for Daddy to come home from work when he would take off his suit coat and prop me on his lap, smell the wonderful smells of the barber shop, and feel his immense love. I was his pride and joy (until my sister was born, anyway), although I didn’t realize till later being the firstborn does that to a father, especially an Italian. It sure did it to him. Besides all the fun we had and how much we loved each other, he spoiled me rotten. Yeah, I picked up that trait too. I never had any kids (nor ever got married for that matter) but I spoil my cats to the hilt. (Another tribute to my mother is that she’s really the one who kept us in line and taught us responsibility. I loved my dad and “hated” my mom (I loved her on a deeper level of course) because he’d give me my way all the time but if Mom was around she’d put her foot down. Shortly after she was bringing us up all on her own, I realized what a tremendous task that was being the strict one. I’m a spoiled brat, I’ll admit that, but without Mom’s guidance I’d be ten times worse. Eventually I admired and respected my mother in a way I didn’t perceive with my dad.)

cream-carnation-6126393Every Sunday Daddy and I would go to Sav-On Drug Store while Mom started the Sunday meal, which was usually a feast of lasagna or prime rib or baked ham, all delicious. At Sav-On he would buy us each (him, me, and my brothers and sister when they were old enough to “tag along”) an ice cream cone for a nickel at the Carnation Ice Cream counter (which is one reason carnations are my favorite flower, especially the ones that are white with a red rim on each petal). He would also buy a box of Pep-O-Mint or Spearmint LifeSavers to use as breath mints at the barber shop. And he always brought a Cup-O-Gold home for Mom. (That is a delicious round confection of chocolate and coconut with a coconut cream center. Sometimes Mom would give me a bite. What a treat! Hard to find these days, so I always stock up when I find them, and of course think of Mom and those Sundays at Sav-On with Daddy.)

Sunday dinners were magnificent. Sometimes we had company over, sometimes not. But Mom always put out the good china (that Daddy bought her after they married). Now, my mom was full-blooded German but she cooked Italian as good as her sister-in-law Josephine. I guess my Sicilian father made sure she took “lessons” from his mama, or just set her up with some good Italian cookbooks. I have never had spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, or many other Italian dishes as good as my mom’s. Surprisingly, we did not grow up with wine at the table; it was always Seven-Up or Bubble-Up with the spaghetti dinners. Still, I ended up not only the nudist but the alcoholic, definitely not inherited from my mom or dad. (I’m also the artist, the eccentric, the nerd, the spoiled brat. Certainly not a role model for my siblings.)

breadMy dad’s absolute favorite dish was angel hair pasta with peas and parmesan cheese, almost like a soup. I remember him raising the bowl to get the last of the broth. And he always, I mean always, had a chunk of bread in his left hand when there was a fork or spoon in his right. Whenever I want some comfort food I make that bowl of angel hair and peas.

I could write several chapters about my dad, but I wish he could have lived longer so I could write several books.

I love you, Daddy. Your salt & pepper hair, menthol & peppermint aroma (with a touch of AquaVelva), your warm & gentle smile, and all your love,
more love than any child could possibly embrace.

Andrew J De Simone

_________________________________________________________________

listen up!Gray and grey are different spellings of the same word, and both are used throughout the English-speaking world. But gray is more common in American English, while grey is more common in all the other main varieties of English. In the U.K., for instance, grey appears about twenty times for every instance of gray. In the U.S. the ratio is reversed.

Both spellings, which have origins in the Old English grǽg, have existed hundreds of years.

The preceding is from grammarist.com. The article continues at http://grammarist.com/spelling/gray-grey/, and the comments are quite funny.

As a child I guess I was taught to spell “gray” which is how I wrote it up until, for some unknown reason, I switched to “grey” in my adulthood.

My dad loved etymology, most likely because he was brought up speaking Sicilian and wanted to learn proper English. Now that I’ve done my research how to properly spell the color of Daddy’s hair (and mine), I’ll spell it “gray” from now on and dedicate the American English spelling to my dad, the Sicilian-born Italian-American.

PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Programs: Photoshop, Illustrator (to create the & holes spacing guide)
Font: Century Schoolbook (similar to my first exposure to typography)
Photography & retouching: Chaz DeSimone, Lumix ZS7
CREDITS:
Barber pole image: williamsportbarber.com
Tip image: thinkstock.com / article: leave a big tip
Carnation and bread images: dreamstime.com
Gravestone photo: my brother Rob
Salt/pepper shaker top: from one of Chaz’s favorite coffee shops

#57 Early & Late

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You’ve heard the expression “always early, never late.” Or is it “never early, always late”? Well, the other day I was both — which inspired AmperArt #57, Early & Late.

I was going to meet a new friend at the movies, and she said she’d be there at 7:15 (the show started at 7:25). Not wanting to make a bad first impression, I arrived at the theater at 6:55.

Only to discover I had forgotten my wallet.

Okay, what now? Rush home & hope there’s no traffic? It’s a 30-minute round trip, but if I broke a few speed limits…

Or just stay put, explain the situation to my new friend, ask her to cover my ticket & I would PayPal her back as soon as I found my wallet… No, that would really be a bad first impression!

To make things worse, we’ve only communicated via the one email address that doesn’t link to my phone (of course), so there was no way I could contact her. My decision was to rush home & grab the wallet (it was on my bed with my keys — I don’t know how it disappeared) & hopefully make it back before the movie started.

Between 80 mph on the freeway & 20 mph behind a big truck on a one-lane street (#%@&!) I finally got home & found my wallet under the fat cat! I rushed back to the freeway & did 75 – 85 mph all the way to the theater. (At this point in the story the ultimate drama would to have been pulled over for speeding, but that didn’t happen. I’m happy to offer you a dull story.)

I raced through the parking lot & found a spot right in front of the entrance, but no one in a white sweater was waiting for me. I felt like a heel & just proceeded to the theater where our movie was about to begin. She wasn’t in there, either. All I could assume was that she realized I stood her up or I was going to be really late, & she just went home. That was on my mind throughout the entire movie. However, I did somewhat enjoy it & was blown away by the superb acting. (The movie was Osage County, and it’s the first time I appreciated how incredible Meryl Streep is — a far tougher role here than as a queen. The entire cast was superb. But if I want screaming & yelling & family drama I’ll just visit my dysfunctional neighbors down the street.)

All the way home I was kicking myself for screwing up the evening for both of us. (If anyone needs a kicking it’s the fat cat but I would never do that to my precious pets.) First thing in the door I scanned my email & sure enough there was a note from my new friend apologizing for having to cancel the show at the last minute.

What a relief.

My next task was to link a certain email address to my phone.

PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Fonts: Futura, Engravers Text, Century Gothic

listen up!Win a Starbucks Valentine’s Mug stuffed with Candy & Gift Card

Be sure and look for next week’s AmperArt newsletter. I am giving away a very special Collectible Starbucks Valentine’s Mug stuffed with Candy & Starbucks Gift Card. What makes this mug so special & appropros is that it has an ampersand on it! This mug is from the 2013 Starbucks Valentine’s Collection & is no longer available. It is truly a collectible. This special Valentine’s Gift Package will go to the person who lovingly attracts the most new subscribers to AmperArt between February 4th – February 9th. The Starbucks Valentine’s Collectible Mug Gift Package will be shipped overnight to arrive by February 14. This offer is for SUBSCRIBERS ONLY who will receive details in the February 4 AmperArt newsletter. So if you haven’t already, subscribe today!

#56 Lose Weight & Feel Great

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#56 Lose Weight & Feel Great

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My friend Crystal got me back into shape last year. I’ve given her a little plug after my main story. She really helped me lose weight & feel great!
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LOSE WEIGHT & FEEL GREAT—Back around 1978 I lost $400 in one day wearing that phrase! (or something like it)

That was back in the ’70s when a company that sold herbal supplements via your typical pyramid multi-level marketing scheme recruited (by means of over-the-top “rah-rah” meetings & conventions) anyone who wanted to get rich quick & stay healthy at the same time. I bought into the dreamscheme, stocked my living room full of every type of supplement, tonic & snake oil the company had to offer, & headed out on my first day, wearing my shiny new Lose Weight—Feel Great lapel button nearly the size of a hockey puck, to make an overnight killing. After all, I was in top shape, toned & tan, & figured anyone would assume a few supplements a day took me from a fat slob to an Atlas in just a few weeks. (In actuality, I had been working out for years.)

I didn’t get a single nibble. Instead, I lost over $400 in one day. I was so excited about wearing that damn badge & making my easy fortune that I forgot all about my regular job, my loyal clients & deadlines for designs. (It was my fault, not the MLM’s. Just not for me.)

I tore that button off that evening & never did another MLM again. But at least the phrase, a slogan of the era, prompted this edition of AmperArt. (This completes the first Advertising Slogan series, one slogan per month throughout 2013. You can see the entire list here.)

(Well, I did try one more MLM—they really can hook you, you know. Promised to get something like 100 miles per gallon with this gas additive, & who wouldn’t go for that? I think the business folded a month or two later, & fortunately I said “no” at the last minute. Glad I didn’t suck my family & friends into that one. A bottle of the stuff spilled in my trunk & I still can’t get rid of the smell. Fortunately it smells like citrus.)

But each New Year does get people to set goals & promise changes. It can happen, but not with magic potions. One of the best means I’ve found to keep promises to myself (and to others) is this: Find an action partner with whom you can keep each other accountable on a regular basis. Here’s a great method, called “bookending“:

  1. You tell your action partner what you intend to do, perhaps discuss the plan, & set a time to call back with a report–it can be 10 minutes, 4 hours, or the next day. At a minimum, daily reports should be made until the project is complete. If it’s an exercise program, it doesn’t have a finish date but contact every day or two or three is necessary.
  2. You do what you intended.
  3. You call your action partner back at the predetermined time, give a report of completion or not, & discuss how to get it done or the next step & call.

This is reciprocated; you help each other with accountability, whether for different types of projects or a joint plan such as daily exercise or journaling. My best successes have come to completion thanks to action partnering. If you feel your action partner is not living up to your expectations, find another. There might even be a website to connect action partners. (If not, start one!)

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A little plug for my friend who got me back into shape…

I lost weight in just two weeks by enjoying a freshly-stocked kitchen & got back into shape doing fun things with friends. Tasty, healthy food & fun, exciting movement. My friend Crystal showed me how to have fun getting healthy & feeling great in just two weeks—wow!

Click here & select your weight issue.Do you know what your weight issue stems from? Click your problem area in the circle above at Crystal Hansen’s skinnylife.net Whether it’s bingeing, depression, anxiety, eating habits, cultural foods, or just plain mommy weight, see what Crystal suggests for you & discover the key to your future body & mind & enjoyment of life.

NOTE: I am not getting paid to recommend Crystal. In fact, I asked her if I could mention her free reports here (she’ll send you a free report when you choose your problem area). I sincerely believe in her excellent ways of working with people, as she got me back into top shape, healthy, toned & full of energy, after letting myself go for many years.

Enjoy your new healthy & fit lifestyle & see you at the beach!

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listen up!

Lose weight & feel great? Absolutely! Not instantly, no matter what anyone promises. Though it seems slow at first, losing weight one ounce at a time is progress—gaining weight once ounce at a time isn’t. So you might as well lose it slowly rather than gain it slowly.

Here’s some good news: You still must, eat, eat, eat—just differently & even more enjoyably.

Tempted to cheat? Good! You should build “purposeful cheating” into your routine, which means once a week eat whatever you want, or determine that if you are going to crave something beyond a threshold, give in & have it. Looking forward to these little enjoyments really helps you eat healthy most of the time.

In other words, losing weight & getting fit requires…FUN!

How about having other types of fun? Absolutely! Dance, walk, swim, you name it. The more you move–even dancing around the house (crank it!) or a walking around the block (especially with your action partner)—the more you will want to keep moving & eventually even begin exercising. You’ll know when you want to exercise, because you will feel the “ahhh!” not the “ugh.

When you realize that you have more energy & more zest for life—& that you are looking great—proper eating & regular exercise simply become second nature. Yes, once again, FUN!

Then…can you guess what the ultimate reward, the real booster, is? No, not lower numbers on the scale (because the scale doesn’t change if you’re gaining muscle while losing fat—in other words, getting in shape). No, the ultimate reward & motivation to keep going in the right direction are the compliments!

What is your weight issue? Choose here:

Click here & select your weight issue.

Like I said at the top, I lost a lot of weight & gained tremendous energy in just two weeks by listening to my nutrition & fitness friend, Crystal. Check out her QUADRANT OF PROBLEM AREAS (the circle above on her site), choose one, & she’ll send you a free report. That is guaranteed (by me) to shed light on how you can shed pounds. Go to skinnylife.net before next year!

Happy New Year!

PRODUCTION NOTES:
(This completes the first Advertising Slogan series, one slogan—or a newer term, “tagline,” if you prefer—per month throughout 2013. You can see the entire list here.)
Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Fonts: Modern No. 20, Impact (modified), Edwardian Script (ampersand)
Effects: Drop shadow

Thanks for subscribing to AmperArt. Please invite your ampersand-fan friends colleagues to subscribe–tell them it’s fabulous & free.

#55 Returns & Exchanges

Image

AmperArt-55-Returns-Exchanges

Click on image to download a gallery-quality print suitable for framing. 
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

The day after Christmas must be as dreaded to retailers as the day after Thanksgiving is welcome—you know, Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.

Used to be, before online shopping & big box stores, all the department stores from Sears & Penneys (as it used to be called), to Saks & Nordstroms, had a special window or room all its own (with a classy, discreet sign) that handled returns, exchanges & complaints. Next to that was the gift wrapping service & layaway department.

Remember the smell of fresh popcorn & candy when entering your neighborhood Sears?

Today a couple stores still offer a comfortable setting for such returns & exchanges (no candy or popcorn, though), but the big box & deep discount chains mostly just have a return counter (with a tacky “Line Starts Here” arrow hanging from the ceiling) and a  trail of customers (all “dressed up” in the latest Big Box fashion) that extends out the door.

So December’s AmperArt #55, Returns & Exchanges, repeats the trip to the same brick-&-mortar store (or the online equivalent) that November’s AmperArt #54 portrayed: Stop & Shop (in case you missed it, get trampled here).

listen up!

I don’t usually have to return anything, but I do rush to the stores the day after Christmas to purchase lights, ornaments & other decorations at 50% off. Then next year one of two things happens:

1) I light up the place with twice as much wattage as the year before, creating a spectacle & turning my nice neighbors into seasonal enemies; or

2) I forget where I stashed my precious half-price decorations & most likely spend so much time looking for them I run out of time to put up anything at all. (At least I keep peace with the neighbors.)

One year I even purchased a ton of lights & doo-dads at half price & hung them on the outside the day after Christmas to light up the neighborhood (& irritate you-know-who) through half of January. With loud Christmas music, of course. Wanna be my neighbor?

PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Illustrator
Font: Futura
Ampersand: Hand-drawn in the style of the typical Art Deco-era Department Store signage
Popcorn aroma: Sears, Roebuck & Co. back when it was the favorite store in town

Thanks for subscribing to AmperArt. Please invite your ampersand-fan friends colleagues to subscribe–tell them it’s fabulous & free.

#54 Stop & Shop

Image

54 Stop & Shop

Click on image to download a gallery-quality print suitable for framing.
This is a high-resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

AmperArt #54, Stop & Shop, is the latest in the AmperArt Advertising Slogan series. But far more important, it’s an honorable mention to all you die-hard Black Friday shoppers who probably are reading this on your brand new 90%-off tablet, smartphone, or even flat screen tv–after waiting in line all night, getting crushed by thousands of other bumbling idiots (I meant to say savvy shoppers, excuse me) & finally getting to the cash register with the very last product of its kind in the store. It’s probably cracked & missing a part or two–but who cares, it was on sale!

black fri mob

I should have titled this one Stop & Shop & Drop–as in drop everything the sale’s starting, or drop dead as you’re trampled by the mob.

As stated on dictionary.com:

When you stop to think about it, the use of black to describe a massive shopping day contradicts the history of other “black” days. In fact, Black Friday originally refered to Sept 24, 1869, when the collapse of a gold speculation plan took the stock market down. Black Monday is known as “the most notorious day in financial history (Oct 19, 1987.)”

So where did the lucrative connotation of Black Friday come from? Two possibilities exist:

In Philadelphia, where the sales originated, police deemed the retail event Black Friday because the amount of traffic was a black spot on their holiday weekend.

The more popular explanation has to do with the colors of ink accountants traditionally used for noting profit and loss. A company “in the red” is recording loss, red ink being the traditional color for noting negative finances. “In the black” means just the opposite; thus the notion that Black Friday will force those bookkeepers to put away the red ink, and get out the black.

(See full article at http://blog.dictionary.com/black-friday-monday/)

listen up!I may still have my old cell phone, bruised pots & pans, & a laptop that’s still running an OS from the beginning of time, but I also have no crushed toes, no broken ribs, & most of my sanity.

Enjoy your new toys, savvy shoppers.

PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Program: Photoshop
Font: Impact
Image of shopping cart: www.shelfsuppliers.net
Image of mob: www.hudsonhorizons.com/pub/images/blackfridaymobs.png