Jan 30, 2009

The Science of Sweet














This is a horror story.

The Esq and I are self-described font snobs, and actually quite proud of it. I'm the worst kind of snob, the kind that expects better choices from the people around me, but the Esq has higher standards without being a total dick. Me, I'll point at your Times New Roman effort and laugh in your face. I'll do it loudly, and without remorse--if anything, YOU'RE offending ME. If you can't branch out from the one default font that comes with Windows, then you must buy picture frames and keep the photos that come with them, never showcasing your own family or friends. IF YOU EVEN HAVE ANY.

Helvetica is fine, if a bit pedantic, but every Arial font drives me totally insane; the same goes for the Lucida family, Verdana, Comic Sans, and Franklin Gothic Medium. As fonts go, they're worthless: too boring, overused, or way too narrow. I'm a fan of Garamond for professional work, Century Gothic for kids, Bookman Old Style for letter-writing, and Trebuchet for this blog.
Gimmicky fonts like Jokerman, Rage, Chiller, Ransom--they're interesting, but they use up a lot of printer ink, and are somewhat hard to read. I find that Courier New and Modern No. 20 are wannabe fonts, and the 'cursive writing' ones--like Lucida Handwriting, Monotype Corsiva, Freestyle Script, Mistral--are for princess-y girls between the ages of nine and thirteen. Don't even get me started on the non-letter fonts like Dingbat or Wingdings, because I don't know who seriously uses them; someone who speaks in pictures, I guess. SKULL AND CROSS BONES-CHILI PEPPER-PALM TREE-MANSION-BABY BOTTLE-FACTORY-STOP SIGN-EAR... it's sentence structure from briny deep, the stuff nightmares are made of. Don't ever use Wingdings if you're trying to communicate clearly. Point being: I know my fonts, and so does the Esq.

Last weekend, we helped my kiddo with his Science Fair project; the experiment surrounded SweetTarts, and which liquid would dissolve them fastest. The entire weekend was a lesson in on-going patience, or maybe a shrieking advertisement for birth control. I could have thrown together his project in about an hour, but he had to do everything. Like, everything. I did learn something new: Oren doesn't know how to type. After watching him type the word 'science' over the space of five whole minutes... peck............ peck...........peck........SNORE... I realized that multiple sections of scientific data (question, hypothesis, variables, data, materials, graphs, photos, and conclusion) would
take him three years and four months to complete. I could feel myself aging with every peck. So the Esq, who did most of the work (as a former Science Fair competitor), worked his magic somehow, and taught Oren basic word-processing. By the end, he was a pro.

In the beginning, however, we had to figure out the layout for his triptych, help him write some paragraphs, make headlines or titles for different sections--so we pointed him in a font direction. 'These are all the fonts--just go through all of them, see what they look like, and choose your very favorite.' For a font snob like me, I was excited--what kind of font would my own offspring come to love? Is good taste really inherited? We were about to find out.

He scrolled through a bunch of them, predictably liking what I call 'boy fonts'--Magneto, Chiller, Elephant, Showcard Gothic--but they wouldn't make the cut. He looked at each one thoughtfully, laughing at some, pointing at others. He stopped on one, but for some reason, shrugged and kept moving down the list. He clicked on one, enlarged and emboldened it, and turned to us, a beaming little face filled with happiness. "This is it! I like THIS ONE." I peered over his shoulder, just as he was announcing his decision:

Times. New. Roman.

That's when I pushed him off the cliff. It's better this way. Despite his totally average taste in fonts, Oren was awarded the Exemplary Ribbon in the Science Fair last night--the highest ribbon given out--which I accepted on his behalf, since he couldn't be there due to his unfortunate accident. Times New Roman. You know, it's true what they say: kids can kill you. Unless you get to them first.


35 comments:

Mike said...

I say cut the kid some slack. At least he didn't go with Hobo... "Making diner menus 'fun' since 1929!"

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Hahahahahaha, HOBO. Forgot about that one.

My parents found the silver lining: at least he chose the most easily readable and recognizable font on Earth. I GUESS.

Tobias! said...

You've so totally failed as a parent.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

And as a human being.

Stacy said...

I can't believe you're that harsh about fonts! :) Actually, I can. At least his teacher liked it, right?

Anonymous said...

The project looks good, despite the dubious font. ;) Times New Roman isn't that bad (although I would never use it, haha!).

-Geoff

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Stace, his teacher liked it, but she looked like a Century Gothic type of gal. But yes, hooray for winning awards!

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Exactly, Geoff: you wouldn't use it. It's not a *bad* font, I just hate default-anything. And no, I would never use it, either.

Furtive Flatulence said...

I'm a calibri size 11 girl.

I really don't know what that says about me.

But congrats to your spawn!

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Calibri is good, a nice clean font. Closer to Century or Calisto, but more professional. And I never use any font over 12-size, so I approve of your eleven. :)

will.eye.am said...

will.eye.am enjoys a good Poor Richard every now and then.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Poor Richard is like Hightower Text, which I also like but never use. I can see you using something like that (in all lower case letters).

Ann's Rants said...

Snotty,

Thanks for visiting my blog! LOVED this post. I, too, use trebuchet. I do have a weakness for bradley hand (I know, groan...girly) for personal missives.

You're hilarious and obviously bright. I guess I have to follow you now.

Raevn's Ravings said...

I use 10pt. Rockwell on my work correspondences, but I wouldn't say it's my favorite. Just the least annoying of the limited selection I have.

It's Just Me said...

thanks for popping into my blog. Glad you stopped by. Visit again. If I wasn't under 2 dozen shirts that need to be ironed (I HATE IRONING!) I would be snooping around your little place in blogatopia - I will stop by again this weekend.

Joanna said...

I'm a Book Antiqua size 11 font girl myself. :)

And congrats to Oren!

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Ann: I like your blog, too. Funny stuff.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Raevn: isn't that how it always goes? I'll bet, if they gave me more fonts to choose from, I would pick something other than Trebuchet for the blog. But it was the only one I liked out of their limited selection.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

It's Just Me--thank YOU for stopping by. Glad there's some woman out there doing the laundry, because this one never does.

Manthony said...

Times New Roman is just so... "meh." But it could have been much worse.

I'm in the Calibri camp myself. And my least favorite font is Papyrus. It was cool for about ten seconds and then immediately became the default font for hippies, vegetarian restaurants, spas, and other "natural" endeavors. Blech!

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Joanna, I'm okay with that font. Size 11 is where it's AT with that one.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Fucking Papyrus! Every Asian restaurant and "natural spa" uses that crap.

Buttercup said...

You're a towel.

Buttercup said...

I will usually go with Bookman or Garamound. I like Comic Sans for writing "memos" at work. I think it makes me seem friendlier and less, "I am writing this memo because y'all are idiots."

Manthony said...

I forgot about the Asian restaurants. *stab*

Joanna said...

I agree that papayrus is totally puketastic.

Incidentally Sn0tty, my husband and my best friend are both font snobs seeing as how they are in the computer industry, so I hear about it all the time :)

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Buttercup: I love Garamond. I guess Comic Sans makes you seem more approachable, but Century Gothic would be happy-looking while still being modern... it's bubbly.

YOU'RE a towel.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Yes! I knew Ross would be a font snob. I approve.

Mathias N Oz said...

That reminds me I didn't copy over the group sex font from my old MAC... need to go find that...

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Naughty.

Princess Consuela Bananahammock said...

Uh oh. No wonder I didn't get a comment back from my Christmas Letter... after using Papyrus for the header over the photos, I don't know if I could ever redeem myself! But at least you didn't scoff at Georgia. Yet. ;)

I see Times New Roman as the sort of training wheels of fonts. I bet Oren will progress to something a bit more classy the older he gets. Although, you should also pray he stays away from Wingdings.

Oh, and Comic Sans makes me cringe.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Oh Carrie, thank you so much for the Christmas card--I thought it was so sweet! I didn't notice the Papyrus, maybe you shouldn't have said that. :)

LilRed said...

As a science nerd, I am so proud of Oren!

And I'm totally a garamond girl. palatino will do in a pinch sometimes.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Ooh, Palatino--I can see you rocking that. Science nerd.

Wild Child said...

Ah, the children, they are there to disappoint, aren't they?