#59 Weights & Measures

59-Weights-Measures

 

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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.


PRODUCTION NOTES:
Original size: 20×30 inches
Programs: Illustrator, Photoshop
Font: Rockwell
CREDITS:
Pointer: ruby​lane​.com, Antique French Kitchen Scale: Balance de Famille
Apple: http://​www​.fowler​farms​.com/​a​p​p​l​e​-​i​n​t​r​o​d​u​c​t​i​on/ (5oz or 150 g is the average weight of an apple, according to the “great chart of apple varieties” at this website)

#58 Up & Running

58-up-&-running500x750i


#58 Up & Running
Click to view full-​size or download hi-​rez image for gallery-​quality printing and framing. 
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Phish­ing mal­ware attacked Amper​Art​.com in Sep­tem­ber 2019, shut­ting the site down for sev­er­al weeks. It took quite an effort to remove all the infec­tions and restore the site to nor­mal, after which it was migrat­ed to a new host­ing com­pa­ny and for­ti­fied with all sorts or anti-​malware and virus fire­walls. Now that Amper­Art is once again Up & Run­ning, here’s a sto­ry about a spe­cial place where I used to vis­it my com­put­er genius friend after high school.


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 lit­er­al­ly 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 shuf­fling at a casi­no, and on paper strips punched with lit­tle holes resem­bling a tickertape.

Every­thing you see here is on a tiny chip inside your smart phone.

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 (I am indebt­ed to who­ev­er invent­ed wysiwyg). 

Amper­Art #58 Up & Run­ning is rem­i­nis­cent of those green-​glow mon­i­tors. See the faint num­bers in the poster image 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! How­ev­er, with a lit­tle artis­tic tal­ent and a lot of patience, you could actu­al­ly draw pic­tures like this:

CAT on CRT

Here’s an inter­est­ing his­to­ry of cre­at­ing art with let­ters & num­bers, going way back to the days of typewriters. 


Dedicated to Joe Freezon, best friend, computer nerd. RIP
Production notes for #158 Up & Running:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Programs: Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop
Font: Green Screen (background code*), main text lettering by Chaz
Ampersand: custom design by Chaz
Credits:
Green Screen font* by James Shields (click to see all his fonts)
*an exact copy of the standard IBM PC text mode font
Note: &” replaces “and” in most or all text, including quotations, headlines & titles.
You may repost the image & article. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster suitable for printing & framing, click on the image.

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An occasional bit of useful advice.
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#57 Early & Late

57-early-late

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This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

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. Read More