Obsessions: November 23rd, 2009

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Okay. So. I’m this huge holiday season geek. It’s awful. I’m the guy you’ll find in the red, fur-trimmed apron, baking like a 1960s mom for the next month, stringently enforcing mistletoe duty whenever strangers enter our home, and making the cats’ lives hell by adding bows to their tails (though Jackson the blind kitters loves it). Our white tinsel tree went up last night. Given all this, you’re going to have to deal with a whole lot of holiday cheer in this column over the next few weeks. This is your only warning. My deepest apologies to the Grinches in the audience.

To inaugurate my annual torture, let’s look at something that thrilled me down to my little white-bread suburban Protestant tootsies: Bob Dylan has released a Christmas album, and it is so truly awful that I could not help but immediately adore it. Bob sounds exactly like what he is: our granddad, begrudgingly accepting his cultural place as a tradition, and adding his own touch to the rest of our family traditions.

The first video, Must Be Santa, is on YouTube now, and it kinda rocks out in that atonal, inappropriately drunken office party way that only seniors can pull off with any degree of respectability. I highly recommend blasting it throughout the home or workplace, preferably without warning and before lunch.

Jesse at Inkleaf sent in a great little series of Illustrator CS plug-ins from Astute Graphics called Phantasm CS. It gives you a series of live effects in Illustrator for curves, level adjustment, and hue/saturation adjustment, some nifty vector halftones and duotones, and separation previews. Handy, thoughtful stuff for vector junkies! Nice price too; it retails as three different price points for about $80 to $250, which means it’ll fit nicely into a single project’s budget.

Bird Book

This is going to be on my list for the Christmas season: a book by photographer Andrew Zuckerman called Bird. It’s a simple ornithological study of about eighty birds. Not a thorough collection by any means, but a sumptuous collection for any fan of our avian friends. The book’s available for purchase through Amazon right now, and has some beautiful video previews to get you acquainted with the imagery.

Mibo has released an adorable little set of foldable Christmas creatures. You can buy these little guys at their site for about $6 (depending on the exchange rate—they’re in the UK) as a six-page PDF. You can then print that out on the ridiculously expensive Phaser you keep sitting around in the studio, fold, and leave them all over the house. There’s Chris-mouse, Mr. Partridge, Rudolf, Polar Bear, and Robin. Pretty awesome holiday decorations for those of us on a budget, and if you’re a crafty little designer, I see no reason you couldn’t expand the collection yourself with your own character designs. (via ana and kristen at pica + pixel)

More holiday-induced torture next Monday!