What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Sunday Edition

This is our studio site. Among other things, we run two businesses:
Field Notes Brand and The Deck Network. Visit them please.

Coudal Partners

A Film for a Friday


Volker Schlöndorf's 1979 film from the novel by Günter Grass, The Tin Drum tells the story of Oskar Matzerath, who in the third grade, decides that he won't grow up. The story unfolds in Danzig before, during and after the Second World War. It's a brilliant adaptation of a ground-breaking novel.

Criterion offers an excellent transfer of the film and it's also available on iTunes. Read Schlöndorff's German Fresco, an essay by Eric Rentschler. Günter Grass talks about the book and film in this 1991 Paris Review interview with Elizabeth Gaffney. Here are some interesting notes on film's re-release (pdf) from Schlöndorff and Grass, plus excerpts from the filmmaker's shooting diary. "...we must compose the images that the reader sees. A memorized Danzig, evoked by signs." Criterion's Three Reasons feature on the film. A fabulous poster for the film by David Punkert and Grass's own illustration for the first American edition of the book. The original cinematic trailer.

Going, Going

That One Thing

Our Summer release from Field Notes is The Byline Edition. 2-Packs are now sold out and there's just a handful of year-long subscriptions, starting with Bylines, still available. It's a Reporters Notebook, reimagined with the help of John Dickerson of Face the Nation, the Whistlestop podcast, and a just-published book on the most memorable moments in American presidential campaign history.

BTW: Fall is coming.

Museum of Online Museums

The MoOM

There's something for everyone in our Museum of Online Museums. For example, Voices of East Anglia's groovy Japanese print ads from the 60s and 70s collection. Like most cultural institutions, The MoOM needs the support of the community to survive. Well, not really, since we don't have a building or a staff or even those cheap little round colored badges that you hook on your collar when you attend... We do however have a new version of The MoOM Mug, which is available exclusively to benefactors.

From The DDC

Chock Full

Pretty Much Everything, the new book by our co-conspirator in Field Notes, and other things, Aaron James Draplin, is available now. You need this. Everybody needs this.

Selling Space

Making it Real

"In 1966 Norman Rockwell really needed a spacesuit and NASA didn't want to give him one." Now, that is a lede. An excellent, illustrated article by Darren Garret, The Improbable, Bold History of Space Concept Art.

Anti Time Lapse

The Stars and
Their Courses

In conjunction with the 2013 summer release of the Field Notes "Night Sky" Limited-Edtion memo books (sold out long ago) we made a short movie... and a really, really, really long one.

The idea was fairly simple, though complex in the making: for those of us in big metropolitan, light-polluted areas like Chicago who can't see the night sky very clearly, we wanted to travel to this section of rural Nevada and bring the stars back with us, capturing a full night sky and playing it back in real time. Check all six hours and 20 minutes of The Stars and Their Courses, and here's some background and technical information too.

For No Reason

Concept Album
Album Concept

We started demolition on our new space recently. One of the first things that had to go was a huge infinity wall (a white background used for photography) that was left by a previous tenant. So right before we said "Tear Down This Wall," Bryan and Jim spent a few minutes shooting in front of it. And Bryan, being Bryan, couldn't leave it at that, and turned one of the shots into this album cover from our Prog Rock period.

JC at Creative Mornings

What Are You
Afraid Of?

Here's Jim's presentation from the inaugural edition of Chicago Creative Mornings. Thanks to Tina, Mig, Gravity Tank and everyone who showed up.

Let's Pretend You're Not You

Mr. Shortcake’s
Break Down

When it comes to the economic value of a subscription to Field Notes Quarterly Editions, this is the sum off all things. For the spiritual value, as proved through science, there's this.

Advice from Wally Wood


A great resource to solve a design problem by coming at it from another perspective, and not just if you're a comic book artist, although I'm thinking this is practically holy scripture, if you are. Here's a scan of Wally Wood's 22 Panels That Always Work.

For lots more on Wood's life and work including his infamous Disneyland Memorial Orgy Poster from 1967 and how that came to be, by publisher Paul Krassner. "He accepted the assignment and presented me with a magnificently degenerate montage."

Take Five

Is it Wrong to Fall in Love with a Woman Photographed Sipping Juice in a Robot Suit 90 Years Ago?

The image above, from the set of Fritz Lang's classic Metropolis, might just be the best motion picture production still ever, "There can be no understanding between the hands and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator." Here's the trailer for the restored masterpiece. Tons more on the 1927 film here. Also check the amazing original 32-page program for the film from 1927.

Guest Editors

Helpful and
Mostly Polite

A list of all the brilliant people who have helped us by guest editing Fresh Signals can be found here.

Other recent features are listed on Page Two.

Fresh Signals

"To be a Graduate is to be part of a well-curated, well-crafted collection of hotels that reside in the most dynamic University towns across the country. Every site and property celebrates and commemorates the youthful optimism of school days and cultivates the spirit of each community in a bright new way." ms-09.23

This City is for Riding. Comparing biking in Tokyo, San Francisco, London, New Delhi, Shanghai and Kabul. Great piece by the always-observant Jan Chipchase. jc-09.23

Every river that flows into the Mississippi. dw-09.23

An analysis of the colors used on the ten most popular websites. dw-09.23

The Moviegoer directed by Terrence Malick. The Lord of the Rings directed by SK and starring The Beatles. Dennis Cooper runs down 47 films that were (sadly) never made. jc-09.23

Back in May, I posted a link about my song of the summer. Looks like a ton of people felt the same way. Congrats Lizzo! ms-09.23

"Real scale drawings enable us to simply take a stroll through our projects, even before they are built." —Oslo architecture firm Vardehaugen AS. jc-09.23

Related to the last, a classic reference that needs to be revisited periodically. Paul Brians' Commonly Made Suggestions about commonly made errors, and more importantly, Non-Errors, "those usages people keep telling you are wrong but which are actually standard in English." Which is exactly the sort of attitude up with which I will not put. jc-09.23

Unhand That Comma! Jill Abramson and Steven Pinker talk punctuation with the Harvard Gazette. jc-09.23

"I say this, not because I'm a knee-jerk debunker who cannot accept the idea that a big unknown animal might exist in a big body of water, but because I am familiar with the evidence, such as it is, and find it wanting." Oh what the hell, let's talk about the Loch Ness Monster again. jc-09.23

So you know, The best brew from each of the 50 states. jc-09.23

Tadao Ando's New Mexico Ranch for Tom Ford is incredible and is now being promoted for sale in this over-the-top film. "Price upon request." If you have to ask... jc-09.22

"If you are lucky enough to have natural immunity to the Cornucopia of Sadness, take it upon yourself to look out for your fellow tribe members straggling behind the pack. They can often be found napping in parked cars, alone at the movies on a Monday, or gently weeping in the Target bathroom." Fall Into Perpetual Darkness, by Sarah Hutto. jc-09.22

Local note. Fabulous. A huge chunk of video from the Disco Demolition promotion at Comiskey Park in 1978. Do yourself a favor ands grab a cup of coffee (or Falstaff) and enjoy. jc-09.22

So you know, How to Punctuate Your (Parentheses), from The Comma Queen. jc-09.21

Trailer for London Town. ms-09.21

Geriko's sweeping cinematic animation for Lorn. dw-09.21

The Vancouver Aquarium has a Baby Otter Cam. ms-09.21

Sherlock: The Art of Symmetry. Cannot wait for Season 4. ms-09.21

"Many coworkers and friends ask me, 'why would you want to live like that?' and I always answer with an exhausted, 'why not?' Who needs space, time and hobbies, independent from their beloved, when the enraged bellows of marital misery can easily echo through our tiny bungalow, igniting years of loveless complacency." ms-09.21

Speaking of whimsical, this limited edition deck of cards reinterprets the known symbols with different designs. dw-09.21

A whimsical look at waxing. dw-09.21

As a person who cooks a lot and freezes things, this is going to change my life. Cha-ching! ms-09.21

With its mechanism neatly hidden under its machined aluminum base, this compact and minimal bottle opener encourages discovery through interaction. dw-09.21

So you know, what makes things creepy. ms-09.21

The burning beauty of solar energy in the Nevada desert. dw-09.21

Nice illustrations by HelloMarine. dw-09.21

So you know, where the comic book font came from. dw-09.21

Pilot & Captain is about the good old days of planes, trains, and discovery. dw-09.20

Political cartoons from American history. dw-09.20

Phone by Lizzo. dw-09.20

"Our goal was to bring together people of different backgrounds, cultures, ideas, beliefs, and skills to work together to transform blank canvases into original pieces." The Canvas Project. dw-09.20

One of the earliest science fiction books was written in the 1600s by Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle. dw-09.20

Harry Potter's childhood home is for sale. dw-09.20

Shadow Shapes by Richard Keeling. dw-09.20

A golden throne at the Guggenheim. dw-09.19

8-bit Ferris Bueller's Day Off. dw-09.19

Once were churches. Via Things. jc-09.19

Full Moon over Brno. ms-09.19

Photographer Richard Johnson travels all over Canada to document Ice Huts. ms-09.19

Page Two contains the previous 40 Fresh Signals, recent features, a key to the icons and the categorical archives.

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The MoOM Board

One of the most popular parts of our site is The Museum of online Museums (MoOM) which is updated quarterly. Please consider joining the MoOM Board of Directors. A subscription comes with a handsome coffee mug but none of the snootiness so often associated with the patronage of old-school cultural institutions.

Elias Jones
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D'Ortenzio Family
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Andrew Dale
Patch Superstore
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Tom Shakow
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Blueberry Ln.
Michael Russem
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Don Stillman
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Amy Hostler
Whet Moser
Debbie Millman
Matt Russell
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Anonymous (8)

Supporting the MoOM requires a simple annual non-tax-free contribution of $75. In exchange for your generosity, you'll receive one sweet, tall coffee mug and a permanent listing and link as a member of the Board of Directors. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

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