Archive: Personal

February 20, 2008

New Zealand

Returning from New Zealand is a very sad endeavor. Not only do you get to endure a very long day—somewhere around 36 hours and involving numerous cars, planes, and sherpas—but you also must deal with leaving one of the world’s most beautiful countries. Speaking at Webstock (the impetus for the trip) was both an honor and a fabulous time. I’m… more »

August 24, 2007

For the Love of a Cheesesteak

I’m starting to experiment with eating meat again. I had stopped eating meat nearly five years ago, not for ethical or political reasons, but for personal health reasons. (Without going into too much detail, I would eat meat and would subsequently end up in the bathroom for a long time.) This was not something I was fond of, so it… more »

July 20, 2007

Have A Seat

The vacuum discussion that came out of my post Suck It Up was very insightful and helped me decide to get a Dyson DC17 Animal (which I love). I figured I would try my luck again now that I’m looking for a new office chair. I currently have a pretty basic leather desk chair (as seen here in my old… more »

July 18, 2007


As a young lad I would often redecorate my room. Sometimes this meant rearranging all the furniture, or creating new furniture of my own. Other times it meant tearing down whatever artwork and rock posters were hanging on the wall and replacing them with some of my new drawings or paintings. Without fail, I would always end up changing things… more »

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June 12, 2007

Bangers and Mash

As I sat in Gatwick airport this past Sunday, waiting for my delayed flight to Philadelphia to begin boarding, I sleepily said goodbye to London. During my short stay for @media, my body refused to adjust to the time difference, sending my slouch-backed and bleary-eyed through the conference hallways, inflicting my stupor upon the kind attendees. Even when I was… more »

April 20, 2007

Suck It Up

Presently, I find myself in the market for a new vacuum cleaner. I haven’t ever bought a vacuum cleaner before, always either being in a situation where I lived with someone who had a decent one, or being given a workable used vacuum by a loved one. Therefore, I know relatively little about vacuums, other than what I would like… more »

March 4, 2007

See You at SXSW

Why does the build up to South By Southwest remind me so much of finals week in college? All of a sudden, late nights become commonplace, and days blur into each another. The mass combination of tying up client work for a week away and putting together presentations creeps up on me every time. Luckily, I just got a… more »

December 1, 2006

Christmas Wrapping

No, not the Waitresses’ song of the same name. Every year AIGA New York asks a few designers to create holiday wrapping paper. Afterwards, they throw a big holiday bash and sell the wrapping paper. Proceeds from the event benefit the AIGA NY Mentoring Program and First Book, an organization dedicated to giving children from low-income families the opportunity… more »

October 23, 2006


Halloween, the most sacred of all holidays, is fast approaching. This year will be a bit different for me: for the first time in my life, I will be on the giving end of the candy. I’m now a homeowner and I see it as my duty to keep tradition alive by welcoming all the ghosts and ghouls to my… more »

October 13, 2006


As I prepare to head off on a weekend camping extravaganza—don’t worry, we’re steering clear of Camp Crystal Lake—and a celebration of a year’s worth of marriage, I happened to notice the day and date. Is there a more appropriate month for a Friday the 13th than October? How often does Friday the 13th occur in October? With the little… more »

September 20, 2006

Coast to Coast

I’ve just come back from yet another crazy bit of traveling in a short amount of time. Liz and I woke up before sunrise on Saturday to participate in the MS City To Shore Bike Ride (thanks again to my kind sponsors!). All told, we rode nearly 80 miles (the first 20 of which were in the rain). Luckily for… more »

August 21, 2006

European Adventure

It is with heavy hearts that Rob, Greg and I return from our brief stay in Dublin and even briefer stay in Stockholm. We left last Wednesday to meet our new Dublin-based client, Comhaltas (short for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, pronounced coal-tis kyol-tory air-in); a government funded non-profit that promotes and preserves the tradition of Irish music and dance. In… more »

August 14, 2006

A Brief European Sojourn

Amidst all the hubbub going on at the airports these days, I’m traveling to Dublin, Ireland later this week on business. It’s a whirlwind visit; we arrive on Thursday, leave Saturday, enjoy a day long pause in Stockholm, Sweden then back home by Sunday night. This trip punctuates the crazy amount of work I’ve been doing lately. I’ve severely scaled… more »

July 27, 2006

Thursday Ephemera

Letterpress Printing: Expanded Version The follow-up class to the Letterpress class I took this summer at UArts. It’s 10 weeks of typesetting by hand! Don’t worry if it’s your first time, the class promises to cover the basics and build up to more advanced techniques. If you are in the Philadelphia area, and have a love for type, I highly… more »

May 24, 2006

Our House is a Home

Well, we’ve been in our house almost three months now and things are going great. save a few mishaps. The day before we moved in, the hot water heater broke and flooded the basement with it’s musty contents. A couple weeks later, the basement once again filled with water, this time due to a drainage backup; it turns out… more »

April 28, 2006

Road Show

Today through the weekend I will be away as I travel down to Richmond, Virginia to sit in as one of the judges for the Richmond Show, the annual Richmond Ad Club awards. I don’t know if anyone from Richmond reads this site, but perhaps I will see you at the Show or at the inevitable party afterwards. It’s a… more »

March 27, 2006

Short Run

After I returned from SXSW, I had a bunch of requests asking how I created my business cards. I am but a mouthpiece, so I will tell you; also because it is no great mystery anyway. Since I only needed a small print run to dole out to friends and potential bill-payers, I decided to get away from the… more »

March 6, 2006

Excuses, Excuses

A couple of you may have noticed the lack of new Under The Loupe article last Thursday. There is a very valid reason for me missing my own publishing date—we’ve moved into our new house. But that’s not even the only reason I suppose. The real reason I didn’t get to publish a new article is because the hot water… more »

February 20, 2006

Do, Doing, Done

A few random bits, facts, meanderings, and other delusions from the sleep-deprived. This past Friday we went to settlement on our house, and 101 signatures or initialings later, it was ours. The weekend was spent tearing up carpets and ripping up thousands upon thousands of staples. My hands are still twitching as I type this. We managed to funnel… more »

January 30, 2006

Busyness As Usual

Hot on the heels of getting married, slogging through some difficult family passings, and my first year of self-employment, I find myself inadvertently taking on more and more duties. SXSW is looming (as is the rest of the work for the two panels I’m on), I have plenty of client work to keep me more than occupied, and I just… more »

January 24, 2006

Four Things

It’s a lazy day back to work, and I always love a good distraction. I blame Zeldman. Four jobs I’ve had: Dishwasher Waiter Bassist Designer/Art director Four movies I can watch over and over: Miller’s Crossing Predator Evil Dead 2 Transformers: The Movie Four places I’ve lived: Schwenksville PA Kuztown PA Topton PA Philadelphia PA Four TV shows I love:… more »

December 21, 2005

Video Game Bliss

I recently became the owner of a new Nintendo DS, for the sole reason of playing the new Mario Kart, conveniently called Mario Kart DS and sold in a bundle with the system. Longtime readers of the site will recognize my extreme affliction for Mario Kart games after getting hooked in college. The GameCube’s Mario Kart Double Dash was a… more »

November 21, 2005

On Passing On

I know I’ve been a little quiet the past couple of weeks. My grandfather passed away just over a week ago. I don’t write this for shock or sympathy, but because first and foremost, this site is for me. It would be a shame for me to not accurately record important parts of my life, even the most painful ones.… more »

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November 16, 2005

Branding Your Wedding

This is the last post about the wedding, I promise. A few months ago when we were really getting into the bulk of planning, we began talking about the invitations. The wedding consumed so much of my time, that I began to think of it as a client, so I figured why not treat it like a client too.… more »

October 31, 2005

A Wedding, A Honeymoon, And A Hurricane

Wedding Well, the wedding went off without a hitch, aside from the one that was planned on, and Liz and I can now legitimately check the “married” box on various forms. No matter how much we hoped, it rained on our wedding day driving the proceedings inside. We were married at a beautiful, and quite large, estate mansion and arboretum… more »

October 24, 2005

Trapped in Mexico

Liz and I are still “honeymooning” in Mexico. Fear not, we are safe. We were evacuated just before hurricane Wilma hit. Our hotel was one of the only ones spared any real damage on the Mayan Riviera. We hope to be back sometime this week. Update We somehow got put on a plane late yesterday morning and are now home… more »

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October 13, 2005

Gettin’ Hitched

Well, here we go. Tomorrow I get married to the greatest gal I’ve ever met and I couldn’t be happier. It’s looking a bit like it will rain, and the wedding is outside. I guess we will just have to suck it up and break out the Slip N’ Slide. Thanks to everyone for all the well-wishings and suggestions along… more »

October 10, 2005

Candy Lineup

As I shuffled down the aisles of a convenience store this weekend, I was bombarded by the variety of candy that comes out for Halloween. The candy that you really only see around this time of year, unless you frequent candy stores, or stumble upon it at a movie theater (whose candy supplies seem to operate outside of the normal… more »

September 22, 2005

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

We are in the final weeks before the wedding and have been trying to get our honeymoon nailed down. No, we aren’t really procrastinators, at least I’m not (hi Liz!), it’s just that the honeymoon has been something a moving target. The plan was this: a week after the wedding we hit New Orleans for two nights, then we hop… more »

September 14, 2005

One Month Away

Exactly one month away from marriage. All the invites are out. Things are reaching a fever pitch. Write your vows. Is Rob ordained? Pick up the rings. Tend to family. Drop off Liz at wedding shower(s). Learn to dance (better). RSVPs flooding mailbox. Sleep? What’s sleep? Rebook honeymoon (sorry New Orleans). Head-count for booze. Yes. Order lots more booze. Call… more »

August 9, 2005

Holiday in Chicago

I just got back from a whirlwind of a week in Chicago and I must say, I miss that damned city already. Chicago is one of the first places I’ve ever visited that I would ever really consider moving to. It combines many of the things I love from New York and Philadelphia (and many of the things I always… more »

July 26, 2005

Wedding As Client

Where have I been? Why the sparse updates? In between loads of work, which I will finally be able to reveal soon, I have also been trying to plan a wedding… which is now just mere months away. Perhaps it’s the fact that it comes interspersed with client work, but sometimes I can’t help but think of the wedding as… more »

June 23, 2005

Birthday Fraud

Well, another year has passed, today I am 27, and speeding down the backside of my third decade. This year brought with it some big changes like the shock of self-employment, and the even greater shock of engagement. All welcome and exciting changes no doubt, but decidedly more “adult” than I’ve ever had to be in the past. By this… more »

June 6, 2005

Camp Naked Terror 4

This weekend brought with it the fourth annual Camp Naked Terror party, and I am glad to say it was another bloody massacre. As in previous years, Camp Naked Terror is the celebration of three June birthdays, Rob, Sutter, and myself (as well as a surrogate fourth from Pete’s September birthday). Each year the doors to the camp swing… more »

May 23, 2005

Maintaining Motivation

When I went solo, one of the first of many things that hit me like a kick in the teeth was consistently being able to get into a work mindset when I sat down at my desk. The workplace was now my apartment, where all my fun diversions live, and the staff was now me. When I would go to… more »

May 16, 2005

Parallel And Perpendicular Jumps

After a comment from an old friend, and a conversation with another who is thinking of making a parallel jump in his industry, I got to thinking what I would do if I had to change careers. What if I was forced to stop designing and quickly find something else to pay the bills? Not only is it an interesting… more »

May 6, 2005

Ten Questions For Me

I’ve just received the Ten Question treatment from Mr. Russ Weakley over at the Web Standards Group. Find out all you ever wanted to know about me that a mere 10 questions could cover. Perhaps I even answer the most important question, “American Cheese or Cheez Whiz?” Who knows? You will just have to read it and find out. I… more »

March 17, 2005

Roundtrip From Austin

Here I sit, home again, with South by Southwest weighing heavy in my heart. Over the last five days I met some amazing people, and finally put faces to many names. The magic of SXSW lies in the attendees, and this is the reason I only made it to one film. When you see someone, you simply go introduce yourself.… more »

February 19, 2005

Out of Commission

I don’t know how he did it, but I can say with utmost certainty that Inman got me sick. It’s the exact type of thing he would do. Now that I am the only one running this business, there really aren’t any sick days. When I am out, production grinds to a halt. What’s worse, I no longer have the… more »

January 25, 2005


Wow. I just watched Belief’s presentation, Pollinate Chain Reaction, from Promax/BDA 2004 in New York (via Mr. Sutter), and I feel like staying up for a few days straight to create something. The video from the lecture, is 45 minutes long, but it will be some of the best 45 minutes you’ve spent lately. Watching this really hit home for… more »

January 11, 2005

Virtual Stan

Every so often something so odd comes along that you can’t help but take notice. Of course, you really take notice when that odd thing is about you. Many of you know of one of the nicknames I have been given. Stan. What many of you don’t know about are the extreme extents my “friends” go through to convince everyone… more »

January 3, 2005

Ritornato d’Italia

Yessir, I’m back from a week in Italy. I experienced the new year a full six hours ahead of my friends at home. Suckers. The plane ride over was awful and turbulent the whole way. Many people around us spent the evening puking into bags and running for the bathroom. I joined them at intervals. We rented cars, since we… more »

December 23, 2004

A Very Italian Christmas

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, which in my and many other Italian families means, The Feast of the Seven Fishes. Since I had become vegetarian a few years ago I don’t really get to partake as fully as I used to, but the important part is getting together with family to eat and drink to excess. And for those of you… more »

December 7, 2004

What’s In a Name?

I recently received a offer for a credit card due to my diligence in making my car payments on time for a few years. But, oh ho ho, there was one little wrinkle. The letter was addressed to Jason S. Maria. You may laugh, but I have been used to this my entire life. I have an odd last name… more »

December 2, 2004

Speaking at SXSW

It’s official! I will be speaking on a panel at the next South By Southwest in March. The panel discussion is entitled “Does Design Matter” and will be headed up by Jeffrey Zeldman. Besides Zeldman, sitting in on the panel will be Joe Clark, Kelly Goto, Adam Greenfield, and myself. I haven’t really done much public speaking, especially not to… more »

November 29, 2004

Upgrades and Downgrades

Daily Photography Given my newfound employment situation, I have had some time to rearrange a few things around here. First up, Weekly Photography is gone. Don’t cry, in its place you will now find Daily Photography! Every day you will hopefully be treated to a new photograph; just like before, there will be a photo thumb in the sidebar on… more »

November 16, 2004

Over the Wall

Tomorrow marks the second time in just over a year I have resigned from employment. This time however, I do not have another job lined up. “You’re mad!”, you say. I may be obliged to agree with you. I am making a stab at self-employment. TMX has been good to me, I just don’t see myself heading in the same… more »

October 13, 2004

Halloween Traditions

When I was younger I would get dressed up every Halloween, walk with my parents around town, pilfer the county’s candy supplies, then gorge myself on the spoils until I nearly induced vomiting. Most of my costumes were admittedly lame K-mart plastic masks of Bugs Bunny and Pac-Man, but that was besides the point. The matter at hand was always… more »

September 23, 2004

CAmm Slamm Films online

Here we are! That didn’t take too long, now did it? The two films we made for CAmm Slamm this past weekend, Night of the Science and Day of the Meth, are both online. Keep in mind, the competition called for one film; we shot two with the idea to surprise the audience during the competition screening by having two… more »

September 20, 2004

CAmm Slamm 2004

This past weekend found us all in Baltimore to take part in CAmm Slamm, another weekend film competition. We are starting to become weekend film regulars; Dial-a-Spy last year, Lunch Break earlier this year, CAmm Slamm this past weekend, and the National Film Challenge in two weeks… who the hell needs sleep anyway! Luckily this time we were only going… more »

August 29, 2004

Fessing Up

After some deep introspection, I have come to the conclusion that I should be totally honest with you. I am not a lieutenant in the Marines and author of best selling book, The Marine Corps Way. I have never met Secretary of State Colin Powell, nor have I ever been given an award by him. Sadly, I also never fronted… more »

July 11, 2004

Not Dead

Though the lack of updates might suggest I have run off with the circus or perhaps some hot design groupie, but the truth is I have been busy as hell. Part of that is work and part of that includes my attempts to have a life away from the screen in front of me. Work has reached a fever pitch… more »

June 23, 2004

Entering Your 27th Year

You may have noticed some strangeness this morning, people shuffling down the street with armfuls of streamers, drivers honking their horns in unison. There is a purpose to their behavior. Today marks the end of my 26th year of life and the beginning of my 27th. Today is my birthday. This past weekend also marked our third Camp Naked Terror… more »

March 26, 2004

Lunch Break

This past weekend, some friends and I took part in another weekend film competition, the 48 hour Film Project. It’s basically set up the same way as the National Film Challenge that we entered in October, which brought forth our first short film, Dial-a-Spy. At 7pm on Friday we were given a genre, character, line of dialogue, and a prop,… more »

December 17, 2003

Panther and a 20 inch iMac

So long old friend! I have put my old workhorse blue and white G3 tower out to pasture and bought a new Apple 20 inch iMac. I giggled excitedly, not unlike a young schoolgirl, on the arrival of the new box…and to be honest, really haven’t stopped. It truly is a thing of beauty. The screen is gigantic with plenty… more »

December 8, 2003

A Splendid Day Off

Today I had off. Today my car got towed. Rob was nice enough to drive me to the impound lot. Rob was nicer still to wait with me amidst the lines, yelling people, and inane process of car retrieval. It costs $100 to spring your car from the joint, and an extra $25 for your parking ticket. If you would… more »

December 4, 2003

Mario Kart Double Dash Impressions

First some background. For the better part of my college career, Mario Kart 64 was the video game of choice for my friends and me. Later, this was played in tandem with other favorites, GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark, though rather than replacing Mario Kart we would just put in some overtime. Colorful characters, great music, fun gameplay, and perhaps… more »

November 24, 2003

A Good Deal of Distractions

I realize that both of my site’s readers are perhaps a bit distraught (or maybe thankful) at the silence around here. I assure you, it’s for a good cause, a few causes actually, chief among them being the current redesign (which is coming along nicely, thanks for asking). It’s been a sleepless labor of love so far, but should be… more »

November 3, 2003

All Hallow’s Eve

Halloween, the culmination of my favorite month. This year it was spent in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, the country’s second oldest Victorian Garden Cemetery. Which basically means it’s design was thoroughly planned out with areas for walkways, trees, and manicured environments. The first person was laid to rest on (in) its grounds in 1836. Since then its 96 acres… more »

October 21, 2003


This past weekend, along with 15 other individuals, I took part in the National Film Challenge. The challenge consists of this: Participating teams are given a genre, character and occupation, prop, and a line of dialogue which must all be represented in a short film ranging from 4-8 minutes in duration. The assignments are sent via email at 7pm on… more »

October 9, 2003

For Me, For Rob

Fantastic adj. Pronunciation: fan-’tas-tik Definition: great, wonderful Synonyms: best, best ever, camp, cat’s meow, comical, curious, delicious, eccentric, excellent, extraordinary, far out, freakish, first-class, first-rate, grody, grotesque, kooky, ludicrous, marvelous, odd, oddball, off-beat, off-the-wall, outlandish, peculiar, primo, queer, ridiculous, sensational, singular, superb, unreal, unusual, way out, weird… more »

September 1, 2003

Congratulations Are in Order

Peter Santa Maria will wed Marina D’Angelo on the day of October 30, 2004. Mischief Night. Well, damn. It’s not every day your one and only brother gets engaged, and it sure as hell’s not every day you get asked to be his best man. Congratulations old chap, you are perfect for each other (and I mean that in a… more »

August 18, 2003

What You’ve Been Waiting For

Nearly in time for next year’s party, the gorey pictures and video from the last birthday cut up, Camp Naked Terror 2 : Instruments of Death, are online for your viewing displeasure. Strap on your Flying V and have a looksey (also included is a animated tribute by Jeff Bandelin, as well as last year’s video and pictures). And when… more »

August 12, 2003

The Big Move: Part 2

Well, we are finally in the new apartment. The move was marked this past Saturday with a whole lotta lifting, sweating, swearing and whining from all invloved parties. But its done! Four flights down, four flights back up makes for an awful way to spend your time. Everything went almost perfectly…until the battery in the moving truck died just before… more »

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August 1, 2003

Moving On and Moving Out

Today is my last day at Power Design. I have taken a new position as a Multimedia Designer at TMX Interactive (ironically located about two blocks from my last dwelling in Conshohocken). For those not in the know, TMX is another design agency (doing exclusively interactive work). Luckily I already know some of the people there, since I went to… more »

July 13, 2003

When You’re Here, You’re Family

This weekend was my family’s annual reunion picnic. My family is very Italian and despite what many of my friends would like to think, its not quite like The Olive Garden, nor is very much like the wedding scene from the Godfather (with children taking turns riding the family pig). It is however a great time to reconnect with those… more »

June 30, 2003

Weekend of Mirth

What a spectacular weekend. Kicking off Friday with yet another birthday party in honor of your’s truly (my birthday refuses to die this year) this time at the over-priced (yet, fun as hell if you don’t go too often) Dave & Buster’s. This marks the first time I have ever been thrown a surprise party. Thanks to Liz and countless… more »

June 23, 2003

Happy Birthday to me…

Today I turn 25 years old. Show me how much you love me by buying me things. You will find lists of things that I really need here and here.… more »

The Big Move: Part 1

Well, it finally happened. My roommates and I moved out of out apartment this past weekend and relocated to our respective new homes in Philadelphia. Rob, Pete, and Matt moved into a shiny brand new apartment mere blocks away from me at Liz’s apartment. The weekend’s move included 2 days of assault on every muscle in my body, a 26… more »

June 1, 2003

Camp Naked Terror 2

Saturday was our 2nd Annual Summer Camp Slasher Birthday Bash, Camp Naked Terror 2. For those who are unfamiliar I will explain. Camp Naked Terror is the summer camp where mine and my roommates’ birthdays (which are all in June) are celebrated. This is basically a big ploy to get the partygoers to dress up in grotesque costumes and vie… more »

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April 20, 2003

The Jacket Thief

Someone decided to steal my new jean jacket this weekend. Friday night I was hanging out at Tattooed Mom’s on South Street with some friends. I set my jacket down on a chair next to the people I was with. Soon I noticed some people sit down next to us, one of them setting their jacket down on top of… more »

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April 6, 2003

A Re-Animated Weekend

This past Saturday afternoon I had the extreme pleasure of seeing the third installment in the Re-Animator series, Beyond Re-Animator. It was showing at my new favorite Philly theater, the Bridge, as part of this year’s Philadelphia Film Festival. By far the best part of the screening was the appearance of the series’ star, Jeffrey Combs. Also, being that I… more »

March 24, 2003

The Days Are Just Packed

Friday night’s festivities included a show at the First Unitarian Church with Pinback and Threnody Ensemble. Threnody Ensemble brought something really different to the show with a sort of indie rock chamber music blend that was truly enthralling. Their music was equal parts improv, performance art, and orchestral arrangement. I just love watching and hearing a cello played live. Sadly,… more »

March 16, 2003

Spring Fever

Spring is in the air and, amidst all of the pre-St. Patrick’s Day debauchery, there was a beautiful day to be found. It was a picture taking, park sitting, and bike-riding Sunday. Liz and I decided to take full advantage of the fantastic weather by riding all over the city for the better part of the day. Having to dodge… more »

March 5, 2003

Pins and Needles

This morning found me in the hospital, not in the ER, but in The Medical Arts Pavilion at Suburban General near Norristown. Don’t worry, I’m not dying, at least that’s what they tell me now. I went in for what is called an EMG, which stands for Sticking needles in your muscles and sending an electrical current through them. It… more »

March 4, 2003

A New Beginning

So, here we are again. Maybe some of you will remember my last web site (yes, both of you) which was online 2 years ago, and for those who know little or nothing about me, this will hopefully serve as a hasty introduction. Since then, a lot has happened. I acquired a fantastic job at Power Design (which the first… more »


The virtual roller coaster that is my life. Ironic correlation since I don't like roller coasters. Lets say, log flume that is my life. Its really not even that chaotic, I am just trying to up the drama quotient of this category for you.

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