Fonts

Does anyone else obsess about fonts? I mean, I know there are graphics designers and various other people who go nuts about them, but I’m wondering in general is a large portion of population or just clustered around my friends?

While I have fonts that I go to, and I enjoy the Macklemore song where he calls out “Gold Fonts”, I don’t really know as much about them as I feel I should. Fonts are so powerful. They help words take shape. They can help you easily identify words or make text incredibly hard to read. As someone with a reading disability, pattern recognizing a signature of word is a trick I use to read a little bit faster. Good fonts can help that, bad fonts can hurt that.

I had a realization the other day (I think the shower), that I want to change my lack of real understanding around fonts. I want to study and understand them. I want to know Font Families by name and style.

Lets start with one font that I’ve discovered and now paid for a professional license for. MonoLisa is a mono spaced font that I’ve set up as the default in all my editors. It is cleaner and easier to read. It is not free, but it’s worth paying for good things, even digital things. Hopefully soon I’ll find a way to tie it into the code boxes that I have on this site, but in the mean time. This font is helping my day to day in my various editors. It’s a mono spaced font, meaning that each character takes up the same amount of space on the x axis. This makes columns as you line up you type. Not all fonts have the same spacing for all letters.

Here is another reason why this is important to me. I have had a reading a writing disability that was diagnosed around the 3rd grade. I’m not sure, but it feels like one of my tactics for getting around this is memorizing word shapes. Fonts do affect the shapes of words, so some fonts are more readable for me and others are not.

So next up, becoming a type master. I have a lot of learning to do. What is the difference between a font and typeface? How does one pick the perfect kerning for a set of lettering? I have a bunch of typefaces to learn about.

Let me know if you have any tips, suggestions, or favorite fonts!

What?

Cat with quizzical look on face

What?
What?
What do you want now?
Your have such high demands on me.
All I want to do is sit here and be calm.
To enjoy my day leisurely with the luxury that is deserved to me.
So what? What can I do for you before I go back to my cat nap.

Mamma Love

Momma, I love you.
And not just a little bit.
Like all the treats that you’ve fed to me love
Momma, I know you know how much I love you
Even when I’m barking up a storm during your yoga class
It’s because I love you. I want the world to know my love
Every time I shout from my tiny little (dare I say cute) dog lungs,
It’s a cry of support and love for you.
I cherish you, as I know you cherish me.
It is surprising when you leave me behind to spend time elsewhere
But it only heightens my energy to share my love for you when I get reunited.
And momma, I love you like I love shoelaces.
Both you and shoe laces are delicious.
If you made me pick between the two, I would pick you, but it would be tough. Shoelaces are awesome.
I love our walks, and especially the part where you try to get me move and we play our fun little game we play where I lie down in the shade.
I know that secretly you are happy for the break, I can see this in all the barking you do at me in those moments.
That’s when I know we are connected.
We are the same, you and I, momma.
See me here, in this moment, practicing on my belly like you do.
I even have my tongue stuck out like you.
Okay, momma, now that I have told you about my love, I will bark, and you will give me a treat!


A poem by Zachary Cohen, written in the voice of Lily Van Schaak, photo provided by Leslie Van Schaak.

Snuggle

Cat cuddling

Oh, pardon me while ai snuggle
I don’t want to start a tuggle,
But this blanket is now mine
Move and I’ll make you whine.
This is my place
Watch your face
I need some peace
To rest on this fleece
I’ve had a long day
I’m far too tired to play
So let me be
And you will see
Tomorrow I will be more fun
We will go out and frolic in the sun.

Ruling

Cat sitting in metal cooking thing

This is a the first in a new series of pet poetry, written in the voice of the pet in the picture. This was inspired by the book I Could Pee On This which I highly recommend for the humor value.

I see you there.
I’m sitting here
In my metal throne with arm rest
I suspect you are up to no good
I will find out what you are keeping from me
And when I know I will administer the required sentence
For I am the queen of this space I allow you to inhabit with me
Do not test me…


Details: Cat’s name is Case, and he belongs to a friend of mine.

Current Projects

Three Brothers Rocks in Yosemite

I’ve always got a bunch of projects going on. Some of them are big and overarching and some of them are small and simple. Some of them are related to work and some of them personal. What if at the beginning of the month I talked about the projects I was currently working on and which ones I finished last month, would I get more done? Would I have a more concrete record of my goals, achievements and failures? I have a LOT of failures.

To that end here is a list of my current projects and some notes about them.

Unpack + Settle In
I’ve relocated due to covid to the east coast. I have a bunch of stuff to unpack. Currently all the stuff is just thrown around the house. I need to find the permanent home for the stuff. I also need to update billing addresses and various other pieces of work here.
Van Cleaning
Clean out Claire and get her ready for the winter season and future adventures.
Taxes 2019
I’m very behind on getting my taxes for 2019 done. I have an extension, but I need to put together a full working document on them and figure out where I can deduct.
Dog Rescue
I have come to the conclusion that I’m ready for a dog. Now the challenge is to find one to rescue and bring them into my home. This may be done through fostering first.
The Newport Book
Working on putting together a photo book for Newport, RI. Still figuring out what this means, but is something I really want to get done. I love this town, want others to appreciate how special it is.
Covid Card
I’ve been very distant from my friends during the covid times. I’m looking to make a little gift card to send out to friends to let them know I’m thinking of them.
Journal Most Days
This is something I enjoy. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back and read the stuff I write, but I love having the notes and thoughts from younger me to refer to if I find stuff I need to think about.
Super Secret Work Project
Can’t really talk about what this is right now, but I have grand plans and hopefully will be able to share with you before the end of the month.

The goal here is to recap these at the beginning of month and update you as to progress throughout the month. Feel free to ask questions about these projects (if you know me and know how to connect).

Planet Granite Comment Cards

I’ve been meaning to find a way to share these for quite a while. There was a point in the not too distant past when I thoroughly enjoyed leaving comment cards at the Planet Granite. I would attempt to leave a couple a week. here is a collection of some of the comment cards I’ve left. Please beware, some of them have foul language.

Also, please note that throughout the entire time I was leaving these cards I had a relationship with the management at Planet Granite and it was very clear that I was leaving most of these comments with nothing but humor in mind. The people who read them are working really hard and have to deal with very tough customers day in and day out and this was an attempt to leave some humor for them throughout the week.

D.T.B.G

Do Something Great

Recently United States launches its first astronauts into space since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. SpaceX and NASA just launched at 3:30 pm eastern on Saturday May 30, 2020.

DTBG is an abbreviation for Dare To Be Great.

I was first introduced to the acronym when I joined RelateIQ in 2014. It was our official company motto. We had signs up in the office to remind us to D.T.B.G. and the number of times I’ve uttered either the phrase or acronym is probably incalculable.

It was probably years after I started using the term that I began to understand the phrases origin story. It stems from a speech from President Theodore Roosevelt titled Citizenship in a Republic delivered at Sorbonne in Paris, August 23, 1910. The speech is long, and there is a key section that is called The Man in the Arena speech. Here is that section:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

This quote is at the start of Bernée Brown’s book Daring Greatly. Throughout the several hundred pages of her text (which I have listened to once and am in the process of re-reading), Bernée talks about the work that we as humans need to go through to actually dare greatly. She talks about shame and vulnerability and many stories and asides along the way. There is more to the book and more that I will write about once my thoughts have fully been collected, but using this quote caused me to look at it again.

Here’s the thing, I’ve been misunderstanding DTBG from the beginning. My understanding was that I shouldn’t just strive to do okay, but should strive for the highest honors and the greatest achievement. Going all out for everything at all times. Leave nothing behind.

After reading more of the speech and dissecting the the paragraph above I’ve come to a very different conclusion about this passage and the meaning of Daring To Be Great. Yes, Roosevelt was talking about achieving greatness, but the way to get there isn’t what I thought. There are going to be moments where swinging for the fences is the right thing to do, but more than taking a big swing, getting off the bench and swinging at all is the important thing. We have to try. It’s about the trying, win or lose. It doesn’t need to be about winning but playing the game.


In the present time with so much going on, I’ve been stuck on how to contribute, how to stand up and play. Between the Black Lives Matter and Covid 19 crisis, I’ve felt extremely powerless. I don’t know what to do. Not knowing what to do has kept me in a place of sitting on the bench. A place of thought and criticism. I’m afraid to DTBG because I’m afraid of hurting or offending others. I’m afraid of standing up and taking time and space away from other voices that need to be heard.

But greatness isn’t achieved by those who sit by and read. By those who criticize others. Who judge one thing as the wrong thing to do be done and another as the right thing. The act of doing is the art of learning. I’m hoping to follow this motto that has been in life for over six years now, and I’m finally just beginning to understand.

Cover Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

Linda Motorkid

Smiling Linda

I lost a friend last week. She was amazing and I want everyone to know about Linda.

I met Linda six years ago in the Planet Granite Masters Class. She always climbed levels above me, but was never too busy to encourage me as I worked on my projects. She was a magnificent climber.

Linda shaped my life with our friendship. One such example was the following exchange (to the best of my memory):

Zack: “I really want to get better at climbing so I can climb with you”
Linda: “You are a coach, how would you coach yourself to get better”
Zack: “I would hire a coach, it’s really hard to coach oneself.”
Zack goes out and gets a climbing coach and gets better at climbing and life.

There were adventure trips with her to Yosemite (multiple) and Bowman Lake up in Tahoe. I remember a boulder adventure to Castle Rock. There were an appearances at my birthday parties and just general tons of fun and laughs.

The collection of stories that runs between our lives is complex and this is just a taste. What I’m failing to convey is the caring emotion she brought with her. The kindness and compassion that moved me and inspired me. The connections between me and others that are stronger because of her compassion and involvement in my life.

I’m going to miss her terribly. To all of those who had the pleasure of knowing Linda like I did, I’m sorry for your loss. To those of you who didn’t know Linda, I’m sorry that you didn’t get to meet her.

I reserve the right to update this post as more pertinent details about this amazing human come to me.

Covid-19

My life has been shaped by this microscopic little virus called Novel Coronoavirus. It’s a small little virus that is changing our world. It is changing the way we see each other and treat each other. It is effecting our relationships in so many different ways, and it is also negatively effecting our economy.

I am worried on so many levels. I’m worried about what this means to our human relationships. I’m worried about what this means to my career as an acroyoga instructor. I’m worried about how this is affecting my roommate dynamics.

In years we may forget what happened, so here is my interpretation of what happened. This is from my perspective, and not to supersede any truly researched document. This is from the middle of the pandemic, it is not over yet.

In late 2019 a virus emerged in China. This virus was in the same family as the common cold and flu. As we moved into 2020 it was suggested that this virus might be something more deadly than the flu, and it might be spreading, but it was still happening in China and not in the US. The news was reporting on it, but all the reports were on the spread and not very many were on the effects of the virus. I remember trying to google what the symptoms and duration of the virus were. There was no information on that. It was all about the spread. It made me feel like the news was playing into the hysterical nature of the spread and missing the actual effects of the virus. I’ll admit I did not take it seriously, my perspective was that it was a new version of the flu, and that death rate was not as severe.

Then the virus jumped from China to the US.

I went from not understanding the virus to being ordered to keep distance from people. All the Acro groups that I was involved in were looking at suspending classes and events. My work was issuing statements about working from home if we experienced any symptoms.

At this point I remember believing that this virus was only really deadly to a small subset of people: the elderly and people with conditions that already weakened their immune systems. To everyone else it was just a regular flu. It wouldn’t be bad if it I got the virus. I would get over it in a couple of days, maybe a week, and then have the antibodies in my system.

My company officially started working entirely remotely (closed down the office) on Friday March 13th (last day in the office), and there were only five of us in the office on that date. The official Shelter In Place order went out the next week. That first week I remember checking the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Santa Clara Country Department of public health for information the number of cases and deaths in both areas. None of the numbers seemed to make sense for how much we were isolating ourselves. The stock market began to feel the effects of the economy being shut down. One of my roommates kept talking about how unprecedented this was. Things became more and more surreal.

I leave my house for the necessities like grocery shopping and exercise. I don’t have close interpersonal contact with anyone other than those living in my house. Connection and communication is done through phone calls, Google Hangouts, FaceTimes, and Zoom meetings. Fitness has been small in house workouts or bikes or runs. Everyone has had to find ways to cope with the situation. Personally I have invented a bunch of projects and tackled them vigorously. Everything from cleaning my room to scanning old photos. The only way I can stay sane is by finding something to do around the house.

Generally, for the most part I have felt hopeless. The Shelter In Place is now extended through the month of April. More and more people are being laid off from work. This creates an interesting space where there are some really great people out there looking for work, but there are less and less jobs out there for them.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that the Shelter In Place is the right thing for us as a society to be doing. I’m disappointed that it took me so long to agree with the order. I still have concerns about our future, but I’m surviving in this plan. I have found what I need to do in order to keep myself together. Wish I had gotten here quicker than I did, but at least I’m here now.

Cover Photo: unsplash-logoVincent Ghilione