Stopdesign re-designs

Stopdesign– one of the two original inspirations for my argous transition into standards-compliant design practices- has scrapped their world-famous design in favor of a clear, leaner, whiter look.

Bowman’s new look is shocking, especially for him. While it may seem confusing for one of the early inventers of the rich, stylized capabilities of CSS to be “backtracking” towards a simplified design, he offers up some interesting behind-the-scenes that led to his decision.

Reading Bill Simmons

If you care even in the slightest for either sports and/or magazine writing, you should be reading ESPN’s Bill Simmons now more than ever.

After a couple shaky months (a career so prolific, yet so organic, creates natural ups and downs), Simmons has been on fire lately, with two excellent mailbag columns and two other uncharacteristically short pieces of late- one on former Red Sox great Fred Lynn, and the other a hilarious and on-point review of Seabiscut.

For those who aren’t familiar (though he’s in ESPN The Magazine, on ESPN The Web site, and a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live), Simmons is the former “”Boston Sports Guy”” who self-published a large volume of columns and daily links for the die-hard Boston sports fans first on his own site, and later at Boston’s CitySearch Web site.

Simmons’ columns are some of the best- and most original- examples of American sportswriting anywhere, despite his now-classic rough-edge, college-guy writing style. An unchallenged expert on sports history, sports movies, television, and most of the rest of pop culture, he combines each of these elements into long-form first-person narratives. His best quality, despite all of his other talents, has always been the palpabable passion for all things sports that he delivers at times cleverly, wisely, and reverently.

There are people who still love sports for the drama, for the game, and for its better characters- and not all of them are middle age balding men in sports coats and toupees. There is at least one great fan who came of age with us, saw the things we saw, and remembers the things we do.

I am very grateful he has chosen to write most of them down.

Depressing local baseball game

The Bangor Lumberjacks game Monday night was depressing, to say the least. Only about 75 people were on hand on a beautiful, long early summer evening, leaving the stadium that holds 3,000 looking suprisingly vacant.

There was no vibe whatsoever, thanks to a stadium experience lacking both video replay and the crowd noises most people relish in a live game. All this deafening quiet at UMO’s Mahaney Diamond, even though the food is relatively cheap and good, and you can easily get a great seat for under $5 bucks! More, there were plently of mid-inning opportunities for parents to send their kids running around the bases, racing the mascot, and tossing tennis balls for prizes and laughs.

The Lumberjacks are trying their hardest, with sharp uniforms, a highly visible mall outpost, and a reasonably enjoyable, professional time at the ballpark. Why people aren’t responding in greater numbers is not suprising, but it is interesting. You can’t fire off the excuse that people simply cannot afford it, because the local movie theatres are more expensive and are consistently filled night after night.

Perhaps location is the key, and next season or the one after, when the team is at Husson in Bangor, buzz will form around this new property and seats will fill.

In the meantime, people seem much too comfortable in their chairs, watching the Sox game on TV with the sound down and the radio turned up. They are playing great right now, after all.