Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

June 2003 Archives


It's 1AM, I have to drive back to Ohio for a wedding tomorrow, and I can't sleep. Blech.


A little joke for you.

So my friend Shannon posted this joke to a mailing list I'm on this morning. I thought I'd pass it on.

A tourist walked into a curio shop in San Francisco. Looking around at the exotica, he noticed a very lifelike, life-sized bronze statue of a rat. It had no price tag, but it was so striking he decided he must have it.

He asked the owner, "How much for the bronze rat?"

"Twelve dollars for the rat. One hundred dollars for the story," said the owner.

The tourist said, "I'll take the rat. You can keep the story."

As he walked down the street carrying his bronze rat, he noticed that a few real rats had crawled out of the alleys and sewers and they were following him down the street.

This was disconcerting. He began trotting. Within a couple of blocks, the herd of rats had grown to hundreds, and they were squealing.

He ran toward the bay. He looked around and saw that the rats now numbered in the MILLIONS, they were squealing loudly, and they were coming toward him fast.

Scared, he ran to the edge of the bay and threw the bronze rat as far out into the bay as he could.

Amazingly, the millions of rats all jumped into the bay after it, and they all drowned.

The man walked back to the curio shop. "Aha," said the owner, "you have come back for the story?"

"No," said the man. "I came back to see if you have a Bronze Republican."

Hm. I think I should probably leave the jokes up to Ken.


Renewing my mission statement.

This is more for my own edification than for any of y'all out there, but still...

My personal mission is to consume, examine, combine and create various media elements to tell stories, make money, and/or improve lives.

There. That should be broad enough to encompass what I'm trying to do and yet still provide some improved focus for the next steps.


Announcing the Inkblots notification list.

For all of you who are interested in receiving e-mail updates when Inkblots updates or sends out a call for submissions, I've now created an e-mail notification list through If you're interested in signing up, please step this way. Thanks!

On iSight and iChat AV.

So yesterday was a Big Thing. Steve Jobs got up in front of a bunch of developers, waved his wand, created his reality distortion field, and made me go out and buy a new piece of hardware. (Actually, I'd just gotten a small check for an odd job I did a few weeks back, so this was a great use of the cash.) And, hey presto, I now have videoconferencing abilities and a webcam of my own.

Bloody hell. I'm going to have to start wearing ties when I post.


It's amazing how J.K. Rowling makes 900 pages fly by so quickly. I just finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and, well, I don't want to say too much about it, for fear that I'd ruin it for others, but... She certainly nails what it's like to grow up. She's very honest, and accurate.

There's a scene in Neil Gaiman's Brief Lives, which was my favorite of the Sandman books, where a little girl spends some time talking to the King of Dreams. Afterwards, her mother asks her, "What did he tell you, darling?" And the girl simply replies, with a sort of haunted look in her eyes, "True things."

It's like that.


Quickie review.

I managed to pick up a copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix today at the outlet mall in Hagerstown, of all places. All the Borders, Barnes and Nobles and other such places in the DC area are, as far as I can tell, completely cleared out. Anyway, I'm already 279 pages into it and it's really quite good. Darker, yes. Somewhat depressing, yes. But the same Rowling magic is back in full force.

But so far I've found at least three typos. Tsk.



I guess literary events are good for my imagination. Last night, after we got back from the Potterfest, my brain clicked a little more. I woke up this morning and wrote another 2500 words for my novel (nine pages). That brings my total up to 21,670 words so far, or around 81 pages. That's a 13% jump in 24 hours. Excellent. Further, the tension in the plot just got kicked up another notch. I'm nearing the climax of Part I!

Bonus info: my story received another shot in the arm this week when I was reading up on the good Mr. Howard Rheingold, but I'm not sure I'll get into that until the very end of Part I. I'm suddenly realizing the impact of my time spent with the web crowd – writing what I know suddenly allows me to create some very nifty Q-level elements. Stay tuned.

On the good Mr. Potter.

So SarahScott, Nick Ferraro and I all went down to the Bethesda Barnes and Noble tonight to go Pottering. Harry Pottering, that is – Nick had reserved a copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and while SSB and I had hoped to pick up copies of our own, our efforts were foiled do to their entire allotment having been sold to the preorderers. Which means tomorrow I may well go hunting at the Targets and such things around the area, looking for a copy of my own. We shall see if I am successful. One hopes. If not, I am sure I will have plenty more chances to find one.

But, oh, it was wonderful. Kids in costumes, adults in costumes, all in full party mode celebrating the worldwide release of a book. I mentioned to SSB in passing, "I wonder if this was what it was like on the docks when Charles Dickens' serialized novels came in?" The only other events in recent history that I can think of that generated this degree of excitement were Star Wars: Episode II and The Lord of the Rings, and, well, let's take note of something here. Each of these works are "genre" works. They're fantasies, works that are enjoyable more or less by all ages, made millions of dollars and aren't literary in the least. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, O "literary" ones. A good, entertaining story with a quick plot and endearing characters will trump your stodgy, plodding "art" any day of the week with the populace.

I can't wait to get my own copy. Maybe I can pilfer Nick's while he's sleeping. :)


Quick survey.

Quick, honest question, and I want everyone who reads this to answer this one. You don't have to use your real name if you don't want to, but I still want an answer.

Yes or no: Are you happy?

If you're so inclined, details on what it is that makes you happy would be appreciated. Thanks!

The world as a blog.

Whoa. Somebody put together a map that pops up people's blog entries, as they happen, plotted on a map of the world. Check it out.

Other things not to do when feeling blue.

Don't listen to Radiohead. Or any other similarly artsy, slow, moody music. Try things like the new Train CD. Or, you know, other perky music.


I believe when I fall in love with you, it'll be forever.

Two things. One, when you're fending off the blues, High Fidelity is a very interesting movie to watch. Heights of depression and nostalgia all rolled into one tasty emotional cocktail. Two, the iTunes Music Store desperately needs more soundtracks. Like, oh, I don't know, the High Fidelity soundtrack. I'm just sayin'.

I believe when I fall in love with you, it'll be forever....



Another one of those moronic little "should have been obvious" moments came up and smacked me in the back of the head this afternoon. If I were to write comics, TV shows, novels, movies, whatever, I don't have to be better than those whom I count among my influences in order to play. I just have to be better than the worst stuff out there. The secret to removing creator's block is to stop trying so damn hard to be perfect and simply not really, really suck.

I'm arrogant enough to believe I don't really, really suck. Really suck, maybe. But not really, really suck. One really, not two. Makes all the difference.

Paul "Ftrain" Ford on NPR.

This afternoon I had the thrill of tuning into a piece on All Things Considered just to hear the last couple of sentences, followed by the usual byline and short bio – but this time, the piece was by someone I know. Well, know online anyway. Check out Paul Ford's Software Story, as heard on NPR.

Well, that was... Brief.

Nick and I beat Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance tonight, after something like 10 total hours of gameplay. After epic games like Phantasy Star Online, Dark Cloud 2 and the Final Fantasy odyssies, that was way too short. We finally clobbered this big bad boss and then, poof, the game was over. Grrr.

Need. More. RPGs.

Cleaning house.

So this weekend I went out, picked up a pen knife and a box of envelopes (for filing) and laid into my magazine collection. One thing that should be obvious is that I'm a magazine junkie. Architectural Digest, GQ, Esquire, Men's Health, Wired, Macworld, Communication Arts, Print, Dwell, Fortune, Inc., Fast Company, Book, Poets and Writers, even Vanity Fair all make regular – if not monthly – appearances. I keep every issue of Communication Arts and Architectural Digest for professional inspiration, but every so often I look at the shelves in my room and think, Dang, time to optimize.

The way I think of it, it's like defragging a hard drive. There's all this information you want to keep, but a huge amount of stuff that's not being stored in an optimal manner and a bunch of lost space as a result. I go in with my knife and start slicing out pages, and what was once a 400+ glossy becomes two dozen pages of content in which I'm actually interested. There's an amazing feeling to hauling two garbage bags full of advertisements out of your room. Therapeutic, really.

In other weekend news, I went to a farwell sendoff for my friend K.C. on Saturday night, and then my folks dropped by on Sunday, which was really nice. Yes, I'm living outside of Washington, D.C. Yes, my folks live in Ohio. They do these weekend trips all over the place for car shows and antique shows and flower shows and whatnot, and usually if one of these is somewhere between Pennsylvania and the Atlantic, I'm considered "in the neighborhood". Which is cool – it's great getting to talk with them, and I've been a horrible slacker son and haven't been keeping up my end of the communications as well as I should. (I'm not Jewish or Catholic, just naturally guilty.) After they left, I played some more Baldur's Gate with Nick and then chatted on the phone for an hour or so with my old friend Jesica, who's just moved to New York and is in fierce job-hunting mode. Damn, I miss that girl.

So, yeah. It's been a decent weekend. I'm still fighting off the blues for a couple of reasons, but I'm getting used to that by now.

What have you folks been up to?


Good grief.


Congratulations to the proud parents!

My friend Mike Wasylik is a newly-minted dad. Welcome to the world, Alex Michael Wasylik!

(Interesting trivia note: Dad is Michael Alex, son is Alex Michael. Definitely a better name than "Mike Wasylik 2: Son of The Lawyer".)

Double hmm.

The more and more I think about it, the more this whole "transmedia storytelling" idea strikes me as having real potential. Hmmm.

I wonder... I wonder if I could experiment with this using my novel projects?

Transmedia storytelling.

The director of the aforementioned MIT Comparative Media Studies program, Henry Jenkins, has a column in MIT's Technology Review which proves to be very interesting reading indeed. Dr. Jenkins, like myself, is a pop-culture/media enthusiast who thrills in examining the connections and intersections between different types of media. In January he posted a very interesting column on the idea of "transmedia storytelling" – in essence, using different types of media to expand upon a story. This is what's going on with Spider-Man, Batman, Transformers, Pokemon, Star Trek, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. -- the creation of a core universe which is explored through multiple stories in different media types.

There are several things I find really interesting about what he's saying. First, each of these properties is a "geek" property. You don't see West Wing or Friends novels. You don't see a TV-only sequel to White Teeth or The Satanic Verses. Why is that? Why is it that the only real transmedia properties so far are "geek" ones? (There may be an exception in a Dawson's Creek novel, which I think I may have seen once, but now I don't remember.)

Second, most of the time, stories told in different media don't really push the main story forward. They might tell another story, but they're episodic in nature in the worst way: if you skip an episode, it wouldn't matter. This may be an issue I have with the nature of television episodes in general, but I like shows like The West Wing and 24 more than sitcoms because there's a larger story constantly making progress. Yes, Friends had the whole Monica/Chandler wedding arc going on for two seasons, but for the most part you could still miss an episode and be all right. Arguably the most radical experiment currently being conducted with transmedia storytelling is the video game/anime transitions between The Matrix and The Matrix: Reloaded. You don't need to play Enter The Matrix or watch The Animatrix in order to understand the second Matrix flick, but it helps. A little. Maybe.

How would you experiment with the Net, books, film, even music, to carry forward a plot? Would the market support a packaged piece of media akin to what went down with that whole A.I. web scavenger hunt thing? Could you sell a bundled book and DVD? Would readers make the switch between media to continue the story? Would each component need to be self-contained (say, a three-story arc, where the first story is told in a comic, the second in film and the third in a videogame), so that consumers who preferred one type of media over another could only consume the part they were most comfortable with, and could then be lured into trying out the other two parts?

I wish I were in Arizona.

So, I'm making up for the fact that I couldn't make it to this year's Digital Storytelling Festival by poring over my old copy of Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace by Janet Murray. Dr. Murray is one of the professors at the MIT Comparative Media Studies program, which is looking better and better to me all the time. The first time I flipped through this book, it didn't do much for me – in part because I was coming at digital storytelling with my designer's glasses on. Now I'm approaching it from a writer's perspective, and the book is much more satisfying. An intriguing read.

I also finally picked up a copy of The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics by Dennis O'Neil, which is really quite cool. It has a number of tips good for any kind of writing or storytelling, touches on Aristotelian drama theory, and, basically, argues that if the finest writing advice available is to "write tight", no other form of writing can compare to comics. I am inclined to agree... Definitely a genre I want to take a crack at sometime.



For the second time in six months, my plans to attend a conference have been utterly destroyed by some facet of my freelance work. I just need to write a couple bestselling novels and become a fulltime writer, that's all there is to it.

Yep, easiest thing in the world. Jeez.


Unfortunate, but understandable.
Maybe what I need is a desktop with dial-up.

Scott Andrew has put his finger on an issue I've been worried about myself. One of my main goals this year was to do a lot of reading, a lot of writing, a lot of learning... For the most part, it feels like I've just been doing a lot of websurfing. Maybe what I need is to boot the Net for a while. I've been doing a little of that for the last couple of days, and I'm about 150 pages into The Angel of Darkness, Caleb Carr's sequel to The Alienist and a book that's been sitting on my to-read pile for something like two years. This is yet another reminder that if I want to get back into the writing track, I need to do more reading. I miss reading text that isn't backlit.

On Saturday K.C. and I went to see Bruce Almighty, which was a lot funnier than I expected. Jim Carrey's scenery chewing gets on my nerves every so often, but he has a way of creating comic memes that is half endearing and half really annoying. Like the goofy gutteral "good" bit that keeps popping up. It's so stupid, but it's so much fun to do. Ugh. Then, last night, we tried watching The Truth About Charlie for, like, the fourth time. I have yet to see Charade, but I have every suspicion that it's probably infinitely better than its remake. This wasn't a horrible movie, but the director had a way of shooting certain scenes that transcended brilliance and went straight for godawfully irritating. I know understand why they don't do full face-on shots in movies. They're really frickin' unnerving.

And on Sunday... Heh. On Sunday Nick B. and I spent almost the entire day playing Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance on the GameCube. It's been a while since I blew an entire day playing video games. It's good to be a dork sometimes.

Tomorrow: more client work, some work on Inkblots, and, with luck, more reading. Yee-ha.


Every tech-savvy writer is thinking it.

Would the iTunes Music Store model of $.99 a pop work for pieces of writing?

A good night just got better.

Oh, cool. I just got word that the band opening up for Counting Crows and John Meyer at their DC show in August is a group called Wisechild. Off I went to their site to see how they sound, and it turns out they're sort of folk-rock, a great acoustic sound with nice harmonies and fiddles. Excellent. Man, I thought I was looking forward to this show before...

This can stop anytime.

There are people building something out back of the house behind us. With hammers. Lots and lots of hammers. When you work from home, and these people with their hammers have been hammering for what must be weeks, one gets a little annoyed. Irritated, even. To the point of using italics.

Enh, whatever. It still beats working at my old job, which I visited this week (hi, guys!) only to find that the construction that had kept the front doors pretty much shredded when I left in September is still going on. Slowest. Crew. Ever.

Another delightful Dominey design.

Todd Dominey is one of my favorite designers in the field today, so it's always a joy when he announces a new piece of work. The Senior PGA Championship website is no exception. Executed with beautiful photography, subtle Flash animations, elegant typography and just the right amount of drop shadows, this is a thing of beauty. Well done, Todd.


Good day.

I'm beginning to think that I should schedule all my business meetings for the morning. Today I had a really great meeting with a client I hadn't seen face-to-face in way too long, a fellow who I really respect and with whom I really enjoy chatting – at 10 AM at the local coffeeshop. This left the afternoon for going to the bank, getting groceries, talking to people online about the next Inkblots (which is shaping up to be quite a fantastic issue, if all the people who have agreed to contribute stuff send in things a third as cool as their usual output)... It was beautiful weatherwise to boot, and I got to walk around for a while in the early afternoon with a friend. All in all, a really good day, and it's ending way too quickly.


Shaken, not stirred.

So we're sitting here, watching Goldfinger on TNN, and I had a wonderful thought. Wouldn't Penelope Cruz make a fantastic Bond girl?

Hmm. Now there's a genre I haven't tried writing yet. That could be a lot of fun – style, technology, exotic locales, car chases... Hmm.

After Min Jung, and another.

Poetica Spontenaium 6/4/03

Another September spent waiting
For the slipstream to come and slip us away
Down the Gulf of Mexico and out past where
The yacht waits bobbing, so endlessly waiting
For its captain to come and go out again
Carrying small companions in her carry-on
Because that's what she does, grimly, with a smile,
She carries on carrying on, the light behind her eyes
Placed on pause until the the next little crisis
Blows painlessly out to sea.

The new browser wars: Mac OS X vs. Windows.

With the recent news that Microsoft will be discontinuing standalone versions of Internet Explorer for Windows, I find myself wondering whether or not Apple's Safari was actually the result of some closed-doors meetings between the two companies. I can hear it now:

Bill: Well, Steve, I just thought you ought to know – we're taking this whole "the browser is the OS" argument our lawyers dreamed up pretty seriously.

Steve: Meaning what, exactly?

Bill: Meaning, don't hold your breath for an Internet Explorer 7.

Steve: Oh. Well, I suppose we could go buy Netscape.

Bill: Sorry, Charlie. AOL beat you to that one. And, well, we've got something up our sleeve goin' on over there, too.

Steve: D'oh!

All kidding aside, I love Safari. The number of times I've launched IE since installing Safari has been microscopic, usually either to deal with some as-of-yet-unhandled Safari mishap with DHTML (which could usually be attributed to some standards-noncompliant widget), or, well, by accident.

What's perhaps even more interesting is what the iTunes Music Store may suggest for the future of the Mac OS. In OS X's case, it's not so much that "the browser is the OS" (although it would be easy to imagine a URL bar added to the OS-level windows) so much as "the browser is every app". We've already seen this degree of integration with Sherlock. I wonder what's next? Could it be, perhaps, a version of the Help browser that doesn't suck?

In a similar vein, a lot of pundits have been making hay lately with the whole "Longhorn vs. Mac OS X" debate. I strongly side with the whole "Longhorn may trump Jaguar, but by then Mac OS X will be two or three revisions along, and Sabertooth may trump Longhorn" crowd. There are so many things that Mac OS X is laying the groundwork for. Videoconferencing in iChat? Sign me up, baby! OS-level blogging tools? Wouldn't be too difficult. Heck, just Jaguar's Bluetooth iSyncing with a phone/PDA will be awesome for me as soon as the phone-side hardware catches up with my wish list.

I know Apple's been making their annoucements at standalone events recently (didja see that there's a powwow this week at Cupertino for the indie music artists?),but I can't wait for Macworld. Bring on the G5s!


Poetry for poets, writing for writers.

I just reread my last post and had a small epiphany. Little one. Not very big. But important.

A little over a decade ago (in January of 1991), The Atlantic published an essay by Dana Gioia called "Can Poetry Matter?" The essay makes a number of good points, most notably that poetry these days is primarily written for poets. This is no revelation: The Writer's Market and magazines like Poets and Writers and Book will all tell you that the majority of most small magazines' copies are sold to people looking to publish their work in their pages. In a sense, the entirety of the literary small press market is one giant writing workshop. Part of this is due to the feeling that in order to sell a novel to a publisher (or an agent, which is often necessary to avoid the slush pile), you have to have a long list of published credits. As a result, you wind up with authors whose work has been published in all kinds of places that you've never heard of. Check out the very bottom of this weblog – I've added a short bio to this page. Where has my work appeared? Gothik, Hika, Polaris, The Daily Record... About the only place I'd imagine 99% of you folks have heard of (well, you non-Kenyon folks) is {fray}.

I, too, am falling victim to the need-to-publish urge. I've been looking into small magazines and other places like Inkblots online. There are a number of good ones out there, but so far most have them have fallen into one of two categories – the hipper-than-thou, tongue-in-cheek variety (like Ben Brown's Uber, McSweeney's, The Morning News or Haypenny) or the stories-about-single-parents, stories-about-drug-addiction, stories-about-handicapped-sex-addicts, stores-about-midlife-angst variety (like Oyster Boy Review, The Kenyon Review, and, well, almost any other magazine with 'Review' tacked onto the end).

What I find myself wondering is how many of these magazines are written for readers, not for other writers? I mean, sure – the first list suggests an Onion-esque intent to entertain (when they're not being downright snarky), but the second list tends to prove my longstanding theory that so many of these writers belong to this intellectually incestuous clique of creative writing professors who are constantly churning out work even more formulaic than the type of stuff normally filed under genre fiction. I mean, think about it. It's like mad libs. The narrator is typically unhappy, middle-aged, either a neurotic white man or woman or a member of some minority, saddled with a cliched, overblown background to make them feel "real" (usually involving some kind of alcoholism, divorce, abandonment issues, or immigration), and are struggling to deal with their own failures to deal with others (peers, children, parents, etc.) due to that upbringing. Characters from these stories are all alike, whether they're drug addicts, nymphomaniacs or just flat-out losers. These stories aren't entertaining. They're not even really written for others to read – these stories are written so either their authors can work through their own midlife crises or so said authors and their publishers can feel all "literary".

This is codswallop.

Take, for instance, this quote from a recent interview with bestselling author Nick Hornby:

I profoundly disagree with those who equate "literary" with "serious" - unless "serious" encompasses "po-faced", "dull", "indigestible". Anyone who does anything that seems easy or light or which actually entertains people always tends to get overlooked - apart from by the reading public, the only people who really matter.
Amen, brother.

The lesson meant to be learned here is one that many literary journals constantly miss. They're always bitching and moaning about money and about how they're being snubbed by the mass populace. News flash: nobody wants to read this self-indulgent horse shit. We all have our own problems – the only people who really want to go and wallow in these wankers' crises without some degree of entertainment (such as Mr. Hornby's solid and reliable injections of humor) must really and truly be sad excuses for human beings, or those who need to feel all artsy. C'mon, people. Tell a good story.

Further wisdom from the good Mr. Hornby, courtesy of

Q: You've mentioned the Booker Prize. Do you think that awards such as this misrepresent literature and the kinds of books that are out there?

A: I think that the Booker Prize sets a tone of a certain kind of literary writer. As a young writer you're looking at two polarities that you don't really like the look of. There was the Jackie Collins stuff on one side, and there was this very difficult, dark, inaccessible literature on the other.

I think there is a general desire to read good books. People read books on the way to work and before they go to bed. We've all had that terrible feeling that you're making no impression on a novel at all and you're 30 pages in and there's 472 pages left and you've been reading it for three weeks already. I think the Americans have always understood that once you have a price on the back of your book there is some kind of contract you're entering into.

I'd argue with you there, sir – judging by what I've been seeing lately, I think Americans are just as guilty of literary wankery as anyone. But it's damn good to hear the voice of wisdom from the other side saying that there's a third option: intelligent and widely-accessible. Would somebody please start publishing a literary journal consisting of work like that?

Panic attacks at Barnes and Noble.

I'm posting this because I know I can't be the only one who gets these.

Last night I went out to run some errands and then stopped off at the Barnes and Noble on Rockville Pike. My goal was to research the current state of the short story and the general-interest magazine, so I gathered up an armload of magazines and headed for a chair. I spent a couple of hours there, flipping through those magazines, listening to crap music piped overhead and trying to filter out the droning-on of a children's sports book author who was giving a loud lecture to an array of noisy little weasels a few rows over.

I think it was some combination of this aural assault, the fact that most of the stuff I found was unreadable crap, and my own frustration with my recent creative output (or lack thereof) that triggered it, but I had a real, honest-to-God panic attack. Back in high school, I knew a girl who had panic attacks fairly regularly and I always secretly blew it off as a drama thing, but if what she suffered were anything like these, I owe her an apology. This was nausea, claustrophobia... Not cool. I bailed out of the store and had to go sit in the car for a good ten minutes to get my head to stop swirling.

Anybody else had experiences like this? Anybody have any suggestions as to how to prevent this kind of nonsense from happening?


On omnipresent tools.

When you are a writer-designer-webdork like me, you will likely have the following applications running constantly on your computer:

  • Photoshop
  • BBEdit
  • Entourage
  • Safari
  • Transmit
  • Word

In Mac OS X you develop a certain rhythm to your workflow, so you can command-tab your way back and forth between these apps at great speed. The failure to have any one of these apps open, or additional apps open on top of these, causes a small hiccup in one's workflow just big enough to break your groove. Silly, I know, but there it is. (Man, I've got to unplug and go learn to surf or something.)

What are your always-on apps?

Update on the backyard project.

The brick pathway leading from the steps to the patio by the pool is finished, and it looks nice. I'm also in better shape than I thought, I guess, because I'm nowhere near as sore as I thought I would be. Rock.

On the virtues of lying fallow.

I should probably add that when Inkblots returns, it's most likely going to return to its quarterly state. My good friend Emily Leachman pointed out to me that my trying to make Inkblots into a daily was trying to fix an unbroken thing, and in fact this particular attempt actually did more damage than good. I might come up with a system by which I can add things on the fly, but our daily-update plan was just too ambitious for what has to stay a side project of mine. It sucks, but that's the way it is. Inkblots is a fantastic thing, and I'm afraid any attempt to commercialize it to the point where I could do it full-time would prove lethal. So it'll probably stay much the way it was, wiht a new edition appearing more or less four times a year, or whenever enough new stuff comes through my door to warrant it.

Further, there are virtues to letting the magazine lie fallow for a while. Each new edition is a lot of work, and going a while between updates allows me the time to try some new things each time. Like our migration to PHP, or the UI overhaul, and our eventual migration to some kind of content management system, although whether that will be Movable Type or not remains to be seen. (I hate to admit to being bested by Movable Type, but until Ben and Mena unleash MT Pro, I don't see any great ways to bend MT to do all the things we'd need. Upcoming additions may include some element of Flash or a more prominent integration with the Inkblots store – the latter of which is almost a certainty once CafePress gets their print line up and running, or we finish our book deal with... Ahem, cough cough, ahem, sorry. I'm not going there yet. ;-)

Right. As they used to say in the Bartles and James commercials, "Thank you for your support."


Small updates.

One, regarding Geoff, Nick and Nick's Amazing Backyard Adventure... I overdug the trench for the path by about four inches. One, that's a lot of digging, and two, it's a lot of gravel necessary to fill it back up to where the bricks need to be. On the upside, I feel really buff. We're pouring gravel and laying brick this afternoon -- I'll let you know how it goes.

Two, there is a small list of people in my life I miss very, very much right now. If you read this and you think that you might be on that list, you probably are.

Three, I got to see The Italian Job on Friday and now I really want a Mini. Hells, yes. Also, Seth Green rocked as always (although the Napster joke was a long, lame affair), Mark Wahlberg has immense arms, and Mos Def (who played Left Ear) and Danny John-Jules (who played The Cat on Red Dwarf) are, I am convinced, long-lost twins.

Four, I'm assembling the Summer 2003 edition of Inkblots and am looking for contributions. If you've ever wanted to write for us, now is the time. Send me your ideas!