Work from Jon Huang, Kimberly Bost, Snigdha Koirala, and Leanne Shapton grace the richest page from the New York Times website this week: A Selection of Op-ed Letters and Art From 2009


What a strange categorization

Young People in Germany are Internet Users, not Readers

Fewer Twentysomething Readers in Germany
from Publishing Perspectives


from Bear Portraits

Life is Beautiful

David Foster Wallace says so in "All That," the third excerpt of The Pale King, an unfinished novel the author worked on for more than a decade.

And GQ on editing the author's work in the absence of the author.


Muppets Ringing of the Bells

Testing, 1, 2, 3

I'm experimenting with digital publishing for my magazine course at school. Have a look at this redesign of Maisonneuve magazine I did for my design course.

The project was to produce a new cover, table of contents, sample spreads, and a static website. In the first few pages, you'll see prototype covers I produced (ick). his magazine redesign began with a summer issue of Maisonneuve magazine. Published in Montreal, Maisonneuve is the winner of numerous National Magazine Awards for design and journalism. It is one of my favourite magazines to read. When I began redesigning, I knew I wanted to retain the spirit of the magazine, while going beyond the excellence of the prior design and using typography and images more effectively. Ultimately, I abandoned the design history of the magazine altogether, but I wanted to convey the eclecticism of the content, which I have always admired.

Leave comments about the experience of reading online or the design, and play with Issuu, and you'll help me with my research (thanks!). *I've already noticed some problems when converting my pdf to the issuu platform, including missing text and transparencies that have been altered.

NB: I do not own any of the images used in this mock-up. Please also note that the article used in the sample spread is from the Economist.com ("Reforming Italy's Schools")

Merry Christmas

A treat from the Daily What


Oooh, you writers are mean!

Did anyone else notice that the New Yorker got really mean in the past several issues?

James Wood gave Paul Auster absolutely no credit in his review of the novelist's latest work Invisible.

Nancy Franklin also particularly nasty about Glenn Beck (maaaaaybe it's deserved but it's also obvious!)

But I have to give credit to Sam Tanenhaus for sharply lambasting Sarah Palin (and her book, somewhat) in "North Star: Populism, politics, and the power of Sarah Palin":
To an extent unmatched by any recent major political figure, she offers the erasure of any distinction—in skill, experience, intellect—between the governing and the governed...Her insistent ordinariness is an expression not of humility but of egotism, the certitude that simply being herself, in whatever unfinished condition, will always be good enough.
True words!

[truest words!]

Oh! The things you discover at 3 AM

Just surfin' the web in the wee hours of the morning and I come across a video of a "Explosive erection of duck penis."

It's seriously NSFW--even though it's a duck--and just unbelievable. The Muscovy duck has a penis shaped like a corkscrew that when erect, is up to 40 cm long. That's almost half the length of its body.

And just wait till you read about the female Muscovy's vagina! Nature, you are incredible.

Fascinated? Learn more.


It's all the same... except for Kim Kardashian

Who's commanding top dollar on the Internet? For all their bitching and moaning about how they can't compete in the world of online entertainment, the big players--Martha Stewart, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and NBC and FOX (via Hulu)--are still rated by agency buyers and media sellers as the most powerful sellers of ad space.

But one lone lady is making it on her own: Kim Kardashian charges $10,000 for just one tweet. MMMM Carl's Jr., so tasty.

Who makes it happen? Ad.ly

from Ad Age

The Stephen Colbert Effect

"Colbert covers sell quite well, according to data from the Audit Bureau of Circulations. He boosted Wired’s newsstand sales by 38 percent, Esquire’s by 17 percent, Newsweek’s by 16 percent (according to unaudited numbers), and GQ’s by 6 percent. New York’s sales of its Colbert-fronted issue were about average, and Rolling Stone has not yet reported the numbers for its August 14, 2009 issue, with Colbert on the cover."

-- "Should Vanity Fair Put Stephen Colbert on the Cover?", Vanity Fair

Issue 2

[video by Jocelyne Chaput]

Sad Mag is already working on Issue 3! I can't believe it. While we get working on that, it's time for you to enjoy our latest and greatest issue yet.

For everyone who wants to read Michelle's work, to ogle the beautiful photographs by Brandon, or wants to check out the magazine for any other reason (there are many good reasons!), download the mag from our website. You can check out Issue 1 too, if you missed it.

In other Sad Mag news, subscriptions to our wonderful magazine are available from me for just $10 (contact me via facebook or at the address below). That's just a toonie and 2 quarters each season to get a print magazine delivered to your door! And our new subscription deal means all you people in Toronto and Victoria (and Calgary, Edmonton, etc, etc) can get the mag too.

As well, we're looking for some stunning pitches for our next issue. If you want to contribute to Sad, please write to me at megan [at] sadmag [dot] com or info [at] sadmag [dot] com. And if you know of amazing illustrators, painters, photographers, and other visual artists--or you are one yourself--please let us know!


A special thank you to all those who came out to the ANZA club on Thursday night to support Sad and to celebrate and dance the night away.


Blowing. My. Mind.

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

Mag+ is a collaborative research project initiated by Bonnier R&D into the experience of reading magazines on handheld digital devices. It illustrates one possible vision for digital magazines in the near future, presented by BERG.

This concept video is meant to spark a discussion around the digital reading experience in general, and digital reading platforms in particular.

Follow the discussion in the Bonnier R&D Beta Lab.

In depth @ BergLondon

via thinkubator


Snap and Search (and Scare Megan)


I know things are going well between us. Ever since you gave me the Internet, I've been totally in love. But we're moving too fast. This Google Goggles is a bit much for me.

I think we should take it slow and get to know one another a little better. In fact, I think you know too much about me - I know so little about you.

I hope you will understand.

With affection,

"The world, like the World Wide Web before it, is about to be hyperlinked. Soon, you may be able to find information about almost any physical object with the click of a smartphone.

"This vision, once the stuff of science fiction, took a significant step forward this month when Google unveiled a smartphone application called Goggles. It allows users to search the Web, not by typing or by speaking keywords, but by snapping an image with a cellphone and feeding it into Google’s search engine.

"How tall is that mountain on the horizon? Snap and get the answer. Who is the artist behind this painting? Snap and find out. What about that stadium in front of you? Snap and see a schedule of future games there.

"Goggles, in essence, offers the promise to bridge the gap between the physical world and the Web.

"... It is ...easy to think of scarier possibilities down the line. Google’s goal to recognize every image, of course, includes identifying people. Computer scientists say that it is much harder to identify faces than objects, but with the technology and computing power improving rapidly, improved facial recognition may not be far off.

"Mr. Gundotra says that Google already has some facial-recognition capabilities, but that it has decided to turn them off in Goggles until privacy issues can be resolved. 'We want to move with great discretion and thoughtfulness,' he said."

"Snap and Search," NYT


travels in bizarro world

There's nothing like the Internet to homogenize travelling. With sites like Trip Advisor, travellers gravitate towards the same "top 10" restaurants, hotels, and attractions.

Andy and I just got back from Portland and today, Andy found blog posts that document an Asian couple's culinary tour of the city. Well, maybe I didn't need to bring a camera on our vacation because these people just took the pictures for us -- they ate all virtually all the same places. At one restaurant, they even ordered the same dishes as us. Weiiird.
Follow bizarro (older) Megan and Andy, and share in our delicious adventures.


Special Read: Asterios Polyp

My favourite book of the year: Asterios Polyp by David Mazzuchelli

Now, I've read a lot of fine books this year and this one just takes the cake. Asterios Polyp is a work more than ten years in the making. It's about a paper architect (one that designs but whose buildings are never constructed) and an arrogant professor.

As a star in his field, he meets a new sculpture instructor at a faculty party and they hit it off. He and Hana are married and they begin their life together. But Asterios's his insistence that the world can be defined in dualities jeopardizes their relationship. Asterios's compulsion to see everything as black and white is just his instinct, however. The protagonist is an identical twin; his brother Ignazio died at birth and Asterios cannot help but wonder how his brother, the narrator, would have done things differently.

I'm not even scratching the surface here ... and all there is is surface in this book. Mazzuchelli's epic work is mostly only about form here: how do we express our realities and consciousness to one another to create meaning? But it is explored through a truthful depiction of family, gender, and sex.

His telling of Hana's story is beautiful, unforgettable, and so true.

I read this book and then I read it again. That's something I can't say about Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware, my other favourite graphic novel and a strong parallel of Asterios. I love Ware's work. It fascinates me. It's clearly the work of a mad genius. It's sad and rich and complex. But it's also frustrating and difficult to read. These are all qualities that make me love Ware's work but I think that's where it differs so much from this book.

Asterios Polyp is simple to read but certainly complex. Mazzuchelli's use of colour (blue for Asterios, red for Hana, purple instead of black for outlines and shadows) is enough material for a Doctoral thesis. There is something to be said for the way that Mazuchelli refined the narrative into a simple story of a man finding redemption while skillfully infusing a meditation on meaning, expression, commerce, and art into the pages.

A fine achievement. Now, go read it.


Portland (x2)

Today I am in Portland. I took the train down here. It was an eight hour ride and we got to look at the ocean.

I read Ray Carver and listened to a tribute to Alice Munro.

In Portland, we've already been to Powell's. I might go there everyday.

See you in Vancouver for the A Very Sad Mag Family Holiday Party (make sure to RSVP!). We have delicious beer from Phillips to boot!


Remember the Good Times

A new poll shows that 44% of voters would rather have George W. Bush as president than Barack Obama. Because remember how great was? We had so much fun!

via The Awl

The Tiger Woods Critical Reading Group

It's funny when you reach back out to the world outside your school life (it's nice to know it's still here) and realize that the big news these days is Tiger Woods's "transgressions."

Writers at the Globe and Mail and the CBC have exhausted all the gossip so now they've both analyzed Woods's PR crisis management strategies.

Let's read and compare in the morning.

A Christmas Miracle

NYMag got word from a reviewer at the The Vertex that MacGruber might be the best SNL movie since Wayne's World:
You might not believe me when I tell you this, but there’s no doubt: 'MacGruber' was amazing.
A bold statement but I buy it. After all, could a movie with Bill Hader, Will Forte, Maya Rudolph, and Kristen Wiig possibly bomb? The answer is no. End of story. I'm excited.

Macgruber. April 2010.

The Vertex review

Jing! Jing!

This will never get old

From the "REALLY?!" files

And the sad thing is, I really liked Jay Baruchel.

Movie Trailer of the Day: First official teaser trailer for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Jon Turteltaub’s live-action reimagining of Disney’s Fantasia.

The film, which is essentially a front for a two-hour long home movie of Nicolas Cage making unwanted advances of a sexual nature toward your childhood, will hit theaters July 16, 2010.

via The Daily What

Can it be?

This blog has been abandoned for almost a month?

Well, I'm back for a short while since my masters program has loosened its death grip and decided to give me a little break. It'll take me a while to get back into the swing of things but I'm excited to see what's happening on the inter-tubes lately.

Offline, I have an exciting stack of books to read. It's ambitious winter-reading book-list time. Here's what's on deck this year:
  • Watchmen (Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons)
  • Candide (Voltaire)
  • The Progress of Love (Alice Munro)
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (Raymond Carver)
  • The New Kings of Nonfiction (Ira Glass, ed)
  • Black Dogs (Ian McEwan)
  • Happiness (Will Ferguson)
  • I Like You (Amy Sedaris)
Plus there's a huge stack of New Yorker magazines by my bed that are calling my name. One day everything will calm down and I will have time to read, right?

I also want to recommend BIGFOOT: I Not Dead by Graham Roumieu. I'm not sure how to describe this book by Toronto author and illustrator Roumieu except to call it the most satisfyingly cruel and unapologetic adult picture book you've ever read. And if you're doing last-minute Christmas shopping just pick up copies of BIGFOOT for everyone you know. It's a crowdpleaser.

Here's a sneak peek:

[click photo for large size]