Surprises/No Surprises

Back from vacation and the first day back at the office, here are a few quick reviews and observations:

Surprises

  • Casino Royale: Best Bond ever? Maybe. Certainly a re-invention of the formula, with actual character development and relationships. Frankly, it was awesome. I was marking out the whole time. “OMG he ordered the drink for the first time.” And there was poker — a bit of a modernization from the old Baccarat days, but I’m sure it got the attention of casual ESPN2 viewers such as myself.
  • Firebug: If you’re making any sort of attempt at all to learn anything about CSS and designing/developing pages for the Web, this is the Firefox extension for you. Stop acting like you don’t think you need it and download the thing now.

No Surprises

  • Transcending CSS: Because I have yet to meet a CSS book that I don’t like, it was no surprise to find Andy Clarke’s book a useful and attractive tool and point of reference. He explains how to do a bunch of simple stuff that I figured could be done, plus provides essential bits of workflow organization for those of us new to the business of design, but not necessarily the act of designing.
  • Star-Tribune sold: Knight Ridder was a big whale to swallow, so it’s no shocker to see McClatchy selling off some pieces of their kingdom for cold hard cash. Good luck, Minneapolis.

Not that you asked for my opinion*

*In which I make another disingenuous attempt at a regular feature, reviewing several items that have come across my desk/eyes/ears in the last little while.

  • The Departed: Best Scorsese flick since GoodFellas, although some might debate the merits of this one vs. Gangs of New York.
  • This year’s Santa Cruz Marching Band Review: Substantially more peaceful than last year’s, as far as my block was concerned. Also, we left the house for most of the day, which helped. (We live right across from the high school field where the buses start dropping bands off at the crack of dawn. Then they start working through their scales. Even the bass drums get warmed up.)
  • Bay Photo ROES, the online photo printing service my local lab runs: Once you get the Java applet running, it’s simple, relatively intuitive, and most importantly, the prints are perfect.
  • New Morning, an old Bob Dylan record: Contains “The Man in Me,” which you heard in The Big Lebowski. The whole thing is just as good.

That’s all for now. If you have opinions of your own about any of these, drop ’em in the comments.