#91 Hot & Spicy

#91 Hot & Spicy
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Things will be Hot & Spicy at the Latin Festival I’ll be attending this weekend.

There will be hot & spicy salsa (the kind you dance to), hot & spicy salsa (the kind you set your tongue on fire with), and homemade guacamole, hopefully not too hot & spicy.

Here’s the poster I designed for the event:


Sabroso 2016

One thing that might not be so spicy, but definitely hot, hot, hot, will be the 100 degree weather.

Adios, amigo.

chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at DesimoneDesign.com, my commercial graphic design website. It’s mostly about design, typography, printing, publishing & marketing, but on occasion I’ll divert to a sideways topic that just can’t escape my ranting & raving.

Production notes for #91 Hot & Spicy:
Original size: 20×30 inches

Program: Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Aka Hoggle
Ampersand: Hot & Spicy Chili Peppers
Chili Peppers: graphicstock.com
You may repost the image. Please credit AmperArt.com.
To download a full-size high-resolution 11×17-inch poster, click on the image.

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#70 Candy Canes & Silver Lanes

70 Candy Canes & Silver Lanes

#70 Candy Canes & Silver Lanes
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Do you recognize these lyrics?

I borrowed a few words for AmperArt #70 Candy Canes & Silver Lanes from this song that was popular when I was growing up:

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
by Meredith Willson

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five & ten glistening once again
With candy canes & silver lanes aglow.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in ev’ry store
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.

A pair of hopalong boots & a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney & Ben;
Dolls that will talk & will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice & Jen;
& Mom & Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev’rywhere you go;
There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well,
The sturdy kind that doesn’t mind the snow.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
& the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.

Song from 1951

“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”  was written in 1951 (the year this AmperArtist was born) by Meredith Willson. The song was originally titled “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas”. It has been recorded by many artists, but was a hit for Perry Como & The Fontane Sisters with Mitchell Ayres & His Orchestra on September 10, 1951, & released on RCA Victor as a 45 & a 78 (kids, you know what that means? —no, it’s not pixels per inch). Bing Crosby recorded a version on October 1, 1951, which was also widely played. —from Wikipedia

Although I’m glad I found a song with the lyrics Candy Canes & Silver Lanes in the first stanza, I like the middle part best where the melody changes, playfully & humorously describing how the holiday affects the kids & parents.

Origin of the Candy Cane

According to folklore, in 1670, in Cologne, Germany, the choirmaster at Cologne Cathedral, wishing to remedy the noise caused by children in his church on Christmas Eve, asked a local candy maker for some sweet sticks for them. He asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who paid visit to infant Jesus. —adapted from Wikipedia; full story here


“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” vividly describes the Christmases I remember as a kid: the candy canes & silver lanes (I think that’s describing the silver garland decorating store aisles), the five-&-ten (we called it a dime store & they actually had lots of stuff for a dime, a nickel, even penny candy. Duncan’s was very conveniently located on our path to and from school.)

Christmas to me used to shimmer with lots of silver: the tinsel which my mother so carefully placed onxmas cookie silver balls the tree; the shiny little round nonpareils on the Christmas cookies that she baked (a decoration that was always special to me, but they’ve been discontinued due to the ingredients — funny, no one’s dead that I know of from eating them); and of course, the aluminum Christmas trees popular in the 1960s, with their magical color wheels. Yes, we had one, as well as white flocked, pink sprayed, & then plain ol’ artificial green throughout the years. The year we went back to a real tree somehow felt more like Christmas again.

Merry Christmas to you, my AmperArt Subscriber.


#95 Apples & Oranges

#95 Apples & Oranges
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Although AmperArt #95 is titled Apples & Oranges, it was inspired by an incident I could have called Apples & Peaches. You see, the other day I went to the market for three pounds of peaches. I had purchased just one the day before & it was so sweet I went back to stock up. Okay, I admit it was also the last day of the sale. These delicious peaches were only 69 cents a pound.

I brought my few items — three pounds of peaches & maybe one pound of everything else — up to the checker & she rang me up for $20 & change. Seemed like a lot for just peaches, a head of lettuce & two cans of tuna (cat treats — if I ate that stuff I’d probably be healthy). When I got to the car I realized it was indeed way too much money for those few items. So I checked the receipt & sure enough, she rang up three pounds of organic Fuji apples at 4.75/lb.! There’s a big difference between apples & peaches — just like there’s a tremendous difference between apples & oranges — but not when they look alike, I guess.


Judging from this, she could have rung me up for three pounds of organic heirloom tomatoes on the vine at $7.50/lb.

If you, my regular reader, are wondering if this is the same store that sold me a box of 50 peanut butter cookies that turned out to actually be cinnamon-apple cookies (disgusting!) — and the box was short by three cookies, no less — nope, it was the rival around the corner. Seems like they’re competing for incompetence.


chaz sez ...

applebiteThis has been an applicious month. Besides the incident at the store which inspired Apples & Oranges, I created a new business card and related materials for my very good friend, Jim Barrow, who is all about Apple and actually taught me how to plug in my first Mac. He’s been a Mac guru since 1984. His website is even called ihatepc.com!

If you’re in the Los Angeles or outlying area (including Orange) and you need help with Mac installs, training, upgrades, networking or software, Jim’s your guy. Go to ihatepc.com. You’ll love Jim.

Production notes for #95 Apples & Oranges:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Programs: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Apple Garamond, Futura
Ampersand: hand-drawn
Credits for #95 Apples & Oranges:
Peach: imlovingthis.com
Apple: wisegeek.com
Tomato: incredibleseeds.ca

For professional graphic design, please visit Desimone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!

#59 Weights & Measures



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Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

So the other day I pop into my local supermarket which happens to bake the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had—delicious peanut butter flavor & loaded with chunks of peanuts. I love peanut butter cookies & it’s always a treat when this store bakes them, which is too infrequently. They come in a tray of 50 for $5 which is a good deal itself, but it’s the special peanut butter flavor I’m after.

I put a tray in my basket & did the rest of my shopping. In line at the register, I sensed something was wrong with my tray of peanut butter cookies (I had bought many trays before). I counted the cookies through the transparent lid & there were only 44. I told the checker I’d be right back & to take the next people in line.

I was gone quite awhile.

Back in the bakery section, I counted the cookies in each & every tray, and they varied from 37 to 46—not a single one was the full 50. I went back to the checkstand (where my ice cream was melting) and asked for a manager. Not to make a scene, but rather to inform of the issue & save the next unaware customer from being cheated. The manager was rather surprised upon counting several of the trays herself & quickly offered to “rob from Peter” to bring my tray up to the full measure.

She opens the lid, stops for a moment & says “These don’t smell like peanut butter.” Handed me one gratis to confirm & sure enough it was their new disgusting “apple crisp” cookie. (Attention bakers: apple crisp is done in a baking pan, not in a cookie.) The little bits of apple sure looked like peanuts but sure didn’t taste like them. & yes, all the trays contained apple crisp cookies, not peanut butter as labeled.

So one more thing to add to the list in this little hick town I live in: people can’t count & they can’t read, either. But they sure can bake excellent peanut butter cookies…when they’re actually peanut butter cookies.

listen up!

Why isn’t the United States on the metric system? I’ll tell you why—we’re too damn lazy, and I got proof. Back in the 70s or 80s several freeways in California installed highway signs that were black, not green (that alone was beauty to my eyes), displaying the upcoming exits in kilometers. And several gas stations switched their pumps to liters. How easy and efficient that was, computing distances and volume simply by factoring by 10, 100, or 1000. Easy and efficient while it lasted, anyway. Soon everything was converted back to our convoluted miles and gallons.

I can’t understand why architects try to scale things by 8ths and 16ths when using millimeters and centimeters is so much easier and accurate. I measure everything in metrics–times 10, divide by 10, etc. Anyone who can’t figure out simple metric calculations probably still uses a slide rule just to make math difficult.

Why are soda bottles in the US labeled 1.5L and so on? I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a sneaky way to reduce the volume without anyone noticing. Remember half-gallon ice cream tubs? Today they’re 1.5L, which is far less than half a gallon. (1/2 gallon = 1.892 liters). I’m all for it, though. Maybe the metric system will catch on in this so-called progressive country after all.

I’ll give us credit for the currency system, though. That’s close to metric efficiency. The Euro has denominations similar to the US, but each bill is a colorful contemporary design, not black and green on every single note. Needless to say, America is behind on design, too. That’s another topic, though. And then there’s our prudishness about nudism. Yet another topic.

Gotta go get me a cup of coffee…or is that .23L? Cup is one US term I’ll stick with.

Original size: 20×30 inches
Programs: Illustrator, Photoshop
Font: Rockwell
Pointer: rubylane.com, Antique French Kitchen Scale: Balance de Famille
Apple: http://www.fowlerfarms.com/apple-introduction/ (5oz or 150 g is the average weight of an apple, according to the “great chart of apple varieties” at this website)