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Draplin Design Co., North America
April 18, 2006
900, Man, 900!
Posted at 10:26 PM


Our 900th post on this thing. Lots of stuff has been said. Lots of hot air.

So we have to wonder: Who’s reading this crud?

Here’s our challenge to you: Leave a comment. We know you are out there. We chart the numbers.

So, thanks so much for the support over the years, the colorful
comments and for just plain takin’ time out of yer wild days
to stop by. Much appreciation is felt.

Yeah, that’s it. Tell us who you are and what you do, and you’ll be rewarded in some way. Really.

- - - -

A couple “very challenging” days are behind me, sorta. I dug into my taxes late Friday night, and, after much input, sorting, adding up and general sweatin’ it out, I handed off a crisp spreadsheet to the accountant early Monday morning, and, later that afternoon, found myself at the post office, waiting in line with 463 scrubs like myself, ready to ship off gobs of loot.

Surreal stuff, I have to say.

2005 was a good year for the DDC. I am so proud and so excited and so thankful for the good work and opportunity and good fortune. I mean, the year was a bit of an experiment. 12 months completely on my own, doing what it took to get myself ahead for once.

And, with much sweat, some determination, excessive barking, and a couple coiling plumes of luck, I’m proud to say I came out ahead.

So, freelance is wonder-full and, comes with a handful of benefits, but, on the other hand, is tricky, and, downright scary as shit. ya gotta hustle. Ya gotta work hard. Ya gotta fight to keep yer word. Ya gotta pay those quarterly deals, and ya gotta be prepared for the worst when it comes time to fess up.

I was, and, paid it all in full, and well, its got my thinker all twisted up and kinda clogged.

So, we’ve been hard at work putting shit into perspective, with 2005 still fresh in the head.

Maybe I make it hard on myself, and maybe I do a little too much thinkin’ for my own good, but, I chalk it all up to “trying to figure it all out” and well, just sorta wonder how so many people can just be so oblivious to the big picture…in finances or saving or the “work/relax balance” or whatever.

We’re doing our best to make it. It ain’t easy, that’s for goddamn sure.

Special thanks go out to these people during these trying last couple of days: Accountant John Mellotti, Ryan Coulter, Mark Sullivan, Jeff Baker, Arlie in the city of shimmering expanses, Jared down on the Long Beach, Goo, Kurtie, Mom, Dad and, that Kasshole on 47th, of course. Good insight and good chats when the chips were down, the last 100 hours or so.

There Are 66 Comments


I am a graphic designer from San Francisco. Just love good design, snowboarding and music.

Keep up the good work and I hope you have the merch area set-up soon.


Posted by: tony on 04/19/06 at 7:34 AM

I stumbled onto your website six months ago and have been reading it ever since. Thanks for the observations and designs…and the photos of Gary.

Who I am and what do I do and where do I come from?

Just moved to Minnesota from Portland, Maine four weeks ago.

I am unemployed right now…My wife has let me know that it is ok until like July and then I may have to take a job at Fleet-Farm or something.

That’s it.

Oh by the way…My current rotation is in this order.

1. The Avett Brothers “Four Theives Gone”

2. The Eels “Beautiful Freak”

3. Yonder Mountain String Band “Elevation”

4. Jerry Joseph and the Jack Mormons
“Salt Lake City”

5. Steve Earle and the Dukes
“Shut up and Die like an Aviator”

Posted by: John Garrigues on 04/19/06 at 7:35 AM

You can’t call my days “wild” by any means. Sitting in front of this machine all day does however let me check up on here regularly. I enjoy reading your messages, without you I wouldn’t even know Coyle is in a band, and Embry is a daddy like me. It’s been kinda cool, and the links to the other sites are always a good time waster while I’m here on the clock. So I say thank you for the entertainment and we will be in touch soon.

Posted by: Charles Thomas Pearce on 04/19/06 at 7:49 AM

Congrats on one whole year in the freelance jungle. I am still wading in the kiddie pool of full-time employment, securely wrapped in a blanket of overpriced health insurance and a crumby 401K.

OK. Send me some DDC swag.

Posted by: bensch on 04/19/06 at 8:18 AM

You’re right. Freelancing is hard. Let me place you someplace, Aaron.

Posted by: Jackie Mathys on 04/19/06 at 8:35 AM

Hey Draplin,

Congrats on your first year in the great wide open. After many years as an independent rep, I can totally relate to the overwhelming feeling one gets when doing your own thing, but the positives far outweigh the negatives and the learning experience is huge. Yo and I are patiently waiting for baby number 1 (a girl, we cheated and found out) in late June, so we are pretty excited. I hope all is well down there and hopefully we’ll see you soon.

Posted by: Dan McNamara on 04/19/06 at 8:52 AM

I read about 5-10 weblogs and websites before I start workin’ in the morning. yours is one. I live in the same town you do, and I color shoes. I know Montagne from a while back, I’ve even sipped a margarita or two at a Cinco mixer. Keep up the banter, it’s enjoyed.

Posted by: Fred on 04/19/06 at 9:20 AM

Well shit, I’ll bite. Without comments, there’s no interaction, and what’s the point in that?

I’m Aaron (not THIS one, but another one). I’m a visual communication designer from Seattle, which is a fancy-pants way of saying I’m a graphic and web designer. I can’t remember how your site ended up in my bookmarks, but it’s on my list of sites that I check on a daily basis. So yeah, keep it up brother.

Posted by: Aaron on 04/19/06 at 9:23 AM

I read it, I read it all. I even finally posted my very first comment on the ‘Friday, all day DDC Diorama’ which I noted is still not up seemingly due to a federally imposed tax deadline. I read it because I was offered a job at Cinco but took a job at Dragstrip (regretful in hindsight). I read it because it matters, to a lot of us out here in the same game. I read it because I’m contemplating the same moves, have had similar failures and successes. I read it for the players involved, this game is truly about who you know, especially in the early innings. I read it because it is really about life, not typography. I read it because I spent time in the city of roses (first design job out of college) and am currently doing my time in so-cal. I read it because we work for the same ‘we do it because we live it and love it and not for the money’ industry. I will keep reading it as long as you keep writing it.

Posted by: Aaron on 04/19/06 at 9:42 AM

Good Stuff.

I’m a recent discoverer of your site, but instantly threw you into my daily read list once I saw you rockin’ the Futura Bold. Much thanks for the inspiration to just Step Out There and Make It Work…

Posted by: seth neilson on 04/19/06 at 9:42 AM

Congrats on the 900 posts! Great site, great work, go Gary Zissou!

Posted by: Kris Hooper on 04/19/06 at 10:34 AM

My name is PJ and I’m a graphics designer and Carhartt enthusiast living in Chicago (a city named after a native American word meaning “stinking onion”).

I’ve been reading this fucker since it went out in “mass e-mail form,” so you’d think I’d know better by now, but goddamnit, I gotta tune in at least once daily. And I will continue to do so until we die, as long as the internet is accessible.

Always an inspiration, thanks for the good posts.

Posted by: PJ Chmiel on 04/19/06 at 10:37 AM

Im read daily! Keep up the good job. you are an inspiration to many.

P.s. Hit that Lovejoy kid in the sack for me , would ya.
beers soon?

Posted by: topher Laws on 04/19/06 at 10:40 AM


Posted by: FINK on 04/19/06 at 11:08 AM

I read because it is refreshing.

I’ll always stop by to read how you are. Good job on the year and the 900th post. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Chad H. on 04/19/06 at 11:32 AM

gary’s pics are enough to keep me coming back for more. cheers!

Posted by: jen on 04/19/06 at 11:41 AM

My name is Justin. I live in Chicago. I make stuff.

I stop by here every once in a while to catch up on DDC news. Always a good read.

Congrats on #900, likewise for the business success. You’re an inspiration to us all.

Posted by: Justin Braem on 04/19/06 at 11:49 AM

With all due respect as a regular reader of your blog and a former client of the DDC, you’re jumping the gun with this 900 thing. You ain’t Tony hawk at the X Games, so 900 is just short of the real number of merit 1000.
Let’s see a mad dash of 100 posts this week and hit that real number of 1000 by Sunday midnight!

And yeah, I hear you on that whole freelancing thing. I used to do it and now that I’ve left Ally I might have to do it again for at least a while. Enjoyed some of it, absolutely hated it other times. Feast and Famine. Panic and boredom.

Posted by: Andrius Simutis on 04/19/06 at 12:32 PM

Hello DDC Floor,

I’m an architect/designer here in Portland all of 16 months already (from DC, and more recently Eastern panhandle West Virginia).
I check in time to time to get some heartland bite, and soak up some of you’re ‘get the fucker done’ spirit.
Happened upon your site when looking at tributes to Kris Okins (who I never met, but by whose passing I was profoundly saddened).

I appreciate what you do. B.

Posted by: Billy on 04/19/06 at 1:35 PM

I’m a snowboarder from scotland, I’m interested in general design and photography. I found your blog via the airblaster website and it worked its way into my ‘check before I can start doing any sort of computer based work’ websites. Keep it up :)

Posted by: Finlay on 04/19/06 at 1:44 PM

Gramps its me. I cant believe you hired that jackass Issac. What a douschebag that mark is.

Hope everything is ok. Love your 360Air Max logo.



Posted by: haker on 04/19/06 at 1:51 PM

been riding in the n.w. for 15 yrs i think i started seeing your stuff in volcano mag ? always liked your work . good blog also. keep it n.w.

Posted by: andrew on 04/19/06 at 2:03 PM

I’m a business owner with a profound love for all things binary. I’m also a printmaker going through serious withdrawal. Photography will have to suffice until I can break out the inks.

Aaron, if you keep producing I’ll continue consuming.

Posted by: Andrew R. Jenkins on 04/19/06 at 2:36 PM

Congratulations on 900. Looking forward to 901 and beyond. Also congratulations on another successful year at the DDC. Miss ya ‘round here at cinco, but know you are in a much better place.

Posted by: Josh Nelson on 04/19/06 at 3:01 PM

Hello, I’m a asshole form portland, or. I’ve been a fan of the DDC since it’s shithole beginings in Travis Yamada’s house and Aaron was a ambulance driver for High Cascade doing graphics for Solid. I read this crap way to much, too the point of getting pissed if there is nothing new on for a couple days. No matter how shitty of a mood I’m in, or what this fucked up world throws at me, I’m “gu-aaron-teed” a laugh at the DDC’s bits of trurth and amazing photo’s/ illustrations. Proud isn’t word enough to see how well you’ve been doing. Although i’ve heard enough crap about the freaking Flaming Lips to last me the rest of my fucking life, i will continue to check up with the DDC every moring till you stop. Thanks for all the help and good times.

Posted by: coyle on 04/19/06 at 3:25 PM

I’ll confess that I have been a virtual lurker of this site since I stumbled upon it last October, and now I feel obligated to comment.

You always hear that one can do anything they want to in America, and it’s refreshing to see that you are a testement to that. When I feel faded from my little world of graphic design, I hit your site up, and I leave more motivated than when I came. When I graduated from design school, I thought I would be working for sports and snowboarding clients, but here I sit drawing a huge diagram of a penis for a medical device company. Christ. Not what I always wanted to do. Its good to see that you are.

Keep up the ass-kickin work and commentary.

Posted by: Ryan Ullery on 04/19/06 at 3:34 PM

I imagine that AJD will have his merch area set up about post #999. I hope so. I was really looking forward to buying a hat before summer got here. I guess all I can look forward too now is freckles & skin cancer.

You’re a big inspiration to a lot of us out here in design land. Keep up the great site.


Posted by: Jerms on 04/19/06 at 3:57 PM

My name is Bill and I live in South Jersey (we like to distinguish ourselves from our northern neighbors).

I first visited your site during your second (?) roadtrip round the country, continent, world, etc. way back in the fall of ‘05. Your posts, and Gary updates keep me going. Stay strong and ain’t never die.

My recent spins:

1. Pavement - Wowee Zowee
2. Mogwai - Mr. Beast
3. Palace - Viva Last Blues
4. Guided by Voices - Isolation Drills
5. Mono - You Are There

Posted by: Bill on 04/19/06 at 4:12 PM

Hello Aaron!

I told you I’d post a comment last summer and I still haven’t so let me take this opportunity to say, I love reading your blog. I’ve been an avid fan since fall of 2000 and I check for new postings daily. I love the way you write, the fun little stories you tell, your lists, and gary tales (because he is the cutest dog ever—tell him I said hi). It’s a memoir of you and it’s awesome.

And for the who I am and what I do part for all the other blog readers:
I moved to Philly in December and work for a mortgage company. Snowboarding used to be my passion but not so much anymore. I’m turning into a city girl.

—shannon ;-)

Posted by: Shannon Rose on 04/19/06 at 4:27 PM

I read it ‘cause you’re my bro! And, you’re cool!

Keep the good stuff coming!


Posted by: Sarah on 04/19/06 at 5:04 PM

I’m been following DDC for sometime. I’m a web person / designer / skateboader / ex-snowboard industry moron / whatever who used to live in SF and now find my home in Portland. I run a few sites and ran across yours for some reason or another and put it on my daily links page.

I recently ran across someone wearing a DDC shirt in a bowling alley. You are world wide.

.: Chris

Posted by: Chris on 04/19/06 at 5:32 PM

first met drap at tc skate. takin a breather after a heavy session on the mini ramp. talked about punk rock & paint pen art on the grip tape. I’ve still got some of the original exacto triple layered d stickers & even a draplid or two. anyhow, glad you’re still kickin’. don’t let all these flattering posts go to yer head too much. lets see a re-issue of the flaming d stickers my snowboards are looking pretty lame lately.

Posted by: derek d on 04/19/06 at 6:40 PM

I agree with superG (andy) - no fucking claiming on 900. premature content unloading. major blogjam on the negB. Calm down on the complaining, while keeping up the medicore work. Plenty of scrubs doing this internet text/image thing now and days, wheres the podcast‚„Ę, bro?

Posted by: erose on 04/19/06 at 7:14 PM

I read your blog and news sites to put off the hard work of “making things look pretty.”

So I type in www.dr…

If I want depressing neo-con news, I type


If I want a midwest sonofabitch tough talking about deadlines or little yappy dogs I type


Usually I’m happier after reading your site. Thanks.


Posted by: MC on 04/19/06 at 8:43 PM

hi aaron,

i’m a friend of lance and vanessa violette via vanessa’s high school friend stacey, who happens to be my wife.

i was tipped off to this fine little nugget of internet after seeing a gary button that lance was rockin in the portland airport. ive been tuning in regularly ever since.

thanks for all the fine points of wisdom, beautiful blog entry teasers, lips tips and being such a fine human to your animal.

id love to meet you some day.

till then,

Posted by: Billy Fowks on 04/19/06 at 8:49 PM
Posted by: WESTERNFRONT on 04/19/06 at 9:11 PM

We just keep checking in hoping we’ll see evidence of the “I’m going to have time next month” thing. We are unhappy to report that we’ve seen nothing even close. You appear to be overclocked in all corners, though there have been some extremely pleasing sasqCoyle graphics in the past. And those alone are worth the visit.

Happy 900th. No one does it the way you do it. And you do it well.

Posted by: Sacklunch on 04/19/06 at 9:28 PM

900 posts later,

well, you’re still a dick.

Congrats, man.


Posted by: ryno on 04/19/06 at 9:50 PM

Its just a way to kill time in a hotel room, but its interesting to see how little Draplin has grown from his train days. Who’d of thought that from his humble biginings hawking t-shirts ont he train he would have come to this.

I still wear mine even though the beefy t’s are showing some signs of age, I keep telling the wife (same one for 24 years, suprised?) they are still good, “Don’t throw them away”

Good luck and may the next 100 bring enlightenment and wisdom


Posted by: John Crews on 04/19/06 at 10:24 PM

My man, I stop by here every day…900 is a magic post number? You are the Tony Hawk of self-indulgent design-centered, Portland-based blogs.



Posted by: Cris DaBica on 04/20/06 at 4:03 AM

Ten years I’ve been followig this stuff. That make me feel old all of a sudden. Granted, not Aaron Draplin-old, but old nonetheless.

Posted by: Matthew Cooley on 04/20/06 at 7:05 AM

You know we keep tabs on the Northwest contingent via the interwebs here in Chicago and will keep on keepin’ on.

I’ll say this: “Draplin: in my top 5 websites/weblogs ever.”

A fine personal site if there ever was one.

Posted by: Naz Hamid on 04/20/06 at 7:18 AM

From the days of Crusted Creations and TC to the OC & the NW. It’s been long time and a fun journey. Get your ass out to the house for some dinner. I dig reading the site. It’s come a long way since the mass emails. Keep up the good work.

D - I’ve got a flaming “D” sticker for you.


Posted by: Rod on 04/20/06 at 7:39 AM

We’re keeping an eye on you Drap.

Somebody has to.

Posted by: Coudal on 04/20/06 at 7:45 AM

I read it because my son thinks you are a cool younger version of your old man. And based on the last time I saw you, you are starting to actually look more like him too. Sorry about that. Keep up the good work, it allows me to brag about my next door neighbor’s successful kids.

Posted by: Mark on 04/20/06 at 7:46 AM

who am I?

…….yer proud momma

where am I?

……NW lower michigan, draplin compound

what do I do?

……run the family business, put up with yer poppa, track this awesome site daily - refreshing!!!

Congrats on the awesome audience you have amassed over the years; true testimonials to what you do and what you say. Don’t ever change, you are one in a million.

I should know: I created you (with a little help). I take all the credit; all the blame. I am proud to be yer momma.

Posted by: momma d. on 04/20/06 at 9:29 AM

Wanted to wait for 1000th post. Just wanted to show the support.

Posted by: Peter Yue on 04/20/06 at 11:22 AM

Not much for commenting on things…just stoked on your work, Snowboard Mag, M6 and 900’s. It was good meeting you and your dad at SIA. Congrats.

Posted by: Dayon on 04/20/06 at 11:29 AM

I been reading this blog on and off for…2-3 years. Often daily, other times a month or so will pass and then I’ve got much reading to catch up on. Always enjoyable. I read it because you’re one of those “Good people” (your writing reflects that) and it’s nice to know they’re out there. Of course, you’ve also got bad-ass taste in music and I’ve discovered a few amazing bands through you. I also love the designs-the Robin is my screensaver right now.
Here’s to 900 more!

Posted by: Kelly on 04/20/06 at 11:31 AM

Hey Meatfoot aka Dark Cloud,

Hey, remember when I visited last Aug. and lil’ Gary tried to show off and shat on your leather couch? That was awesome. Somehow didn’t make the DDC press page, though.
Congrats on 900 days of shameless self-promotion. Somehow I keep coming back, though. Not really a blog or even an internet guy, so take it as a compliment that I visit regularly, if only to chuckle at someone going on 10 years of “making something out of nothing”.
BTW, got a new bike and I need long, skinny stickers. Big Alaska summer planned and I need sponsors. And they always make for an unsolicited, unwarranted, and nearly unexplainable conversation. Your favorite.
Lemme know when you plan to walk off the train in Wasilla - now I know who you named your dog after.
Good luck on reaching the millenial milestone, I expect a block party lovefest or something.

Posted by: Tyler on 04/20/06 at 1:38 PM

Hey Aaron,

I’ve been keeping tabs on you. I must apmit I’m really proud to have known you, and you certainly taught me a bunch from our MCAD days together - for which I’m very grateful. It’s good to see you’re doing so well. I’ve been contemplating a move to Portland myself. Nextime I’m in town I’d like to look you up, buy you a beer. Take care.


Posted by: Brad Randall on 04/20/06 at 2:06 PM


*waves a flag about*
Who am I? I’m me.
What do i do?
Student of social sciences, national diploma in fine art and english lit and lang, writer, blogger, single mother of three, painter with aspirations of creating things for others to enjoy in any form.

Posted by: Fluff on 04/20/06 at 4:20 PM

yo draplin-

as usual… you are keeping it real. yours truly is calling the mighty bellingham home these days. got a pad on 10 acres just outside the city limits on the way to baker. during the weekdays you can find me making maps - not terribly exciting, but good pay.

hope to be visiting pdx very soon… perhaps sharing some words over a pint is long overdue?!

keep up the fine work and site - always a fun read!


Posted by: Keeney on 04/20/06 at 5:12 PM

Right on Drap. You are the man. Love your work. You are in inspiration. Let’s hang when I get back next week. Word out.


Posted by: Coulter on 04/20/06 at 5:16 PM

Oh HELLO…so I saw you in some issue of TransworldSnowboarding and have been checkin’ out your blog every couple of days since-almost like 3 weeks now! a ha ha…I’m a wanna-be, I guess you could say-totally plan on having a job just like your’s someday. Your site is pretty sweet…it’s FUNNY-love it.

Pretty sure I deserve a reward or two

Posted by: Malori Metzger on 04/20/06 at 5:24 PM

I’m addicted to the internet because of classy websites like this. If you weren’t doing such a good job, I’d be out doing something productive. Dang it, keep up the good work.

Posted by: Robbie Sell on 04/20/06 at 5:25 PM

I have fond memories of an Open Space, of empty beer bottles deposited in closets; porn left in upstairs bathrooms; weed smoked in the woods; sandwiches snatched from school benefits; and of course, ‚€˜fuck your opinion‚€™ t-shirts‚€¶

I‚€™m a dear old friend you asshole and of course I read your shit - it’s the only decent propaganda I get over here. What do I do? Not much. It‚€™s too damn hot.

Get a girlfriend or come out of the closet. Gary needs a break.


Posted by: "Floorpisser" Johnsen on 04/20/06 at 11:01 PM

1000 :: The Barbecutioner Strikes Back. Make it so.

Husky men, unite.

Posted by: samsel on 04/21/06 at 7:34 AM

awright… how could i pass up an opportunity to post a recent listens list… shit - i miss these things from the ol’ volcanomag almost more than anything:

1. kaki king - everybody loves you
2. millrace - westerns
3. kfjc.org (still the finest college radio out there - foothill college, los altos hills, ca)
4. secret chiefs 3 - live, L.A. troubadour, ‘06
5. tangerine dream - rätikon
6. zombi - digitalis
7. estradasphere - buck fever
8. dillinger escape plan - miss machine
9. blonde redhead - misery is a butterfly
10. eyvind kang - the story of iceland

Posted by: Keeney on 04/21/06 at 10:27 AM

Hey Aaron,
Thanks for creating a reliable haven of stimulating words, pictures and art on the net. Your site is not only in my bookmarks, its in my bookmarks bar, a daily check. Pat Gary for me, since I can’t way out here in NH.
Karen Merriam

Posted by: Karen on 04/21/06 at 10:42 AM

hey aaron, congrats on your acheivements! i check your site almost daily, and am glad to see it’s running strong as ever.
-seattle, wa

Posted by: cousin scott on 04/21/06 at 1:46 PM

It’s been on my daily list for a few months because you need more Philly representation, or maybe just because you have a great site.


Posted by: Chuck White on 04/21/06 at 2:16 PM

I have been a fan of your design since you were the AD at Snowboarder. I check your site pretty much every day for inspiration and I’m never disappointed.

Take Care

Josh Campbell

Posted by: Josh Campbell on 04/21/06 at 3:58 PM

I’m Dano. I take pictures in the mountains and at one time Mr. Drplin, you used to put them on a page. I read the site for:

1.Dachshund references since my little step-dogger is currently in Honduras.

2. Midwestern insight and humour.

3. Musical guidance.

4. Eye candy.

Posted by: dano on 04/21/06 at 5:47 PM

900… what a milestone!

Congrads on a successful year working for yo’self Draplin. And thanks for being a daily inspiration to all us graphic designing type folks out there, both as a professional and a human being.

Stay up in the ‘06!

Posted by: JJP on 04/25/06 at 2:15 AM

Nothing like a list of comments to make you feel not so unique! So. I’m another midwest transplant, graphic designer, snowboarder, currently living in SF and doing freelance full-time once again. After working as a tool for the Man, making infographics and flow diagrams purty and legible, I feel inspired to do more creative work for less money. But those wolves will be at the door before you can say “Don’t quit your day job”. (I say bring on the wolves. Ima make me a new fur hat.)

Or, fuck it. Maybe I’m just “one of those cats who woke up at forty and decided to do something with his life”. But I’m not quite forty yet, so I’m waking up early. A first.

Either way, I’m the proud owner of a DDC “Things We Love” Gocco postcard from the wurst, which smiles at me every time I reach for the printer. And there aren’t many things on there that WE don’t love too.

So, thanks. Much.

Posted by: jim on 05/04/06 at 5:56 PM
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