Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

July 2003 Archives

On gay marriage.

Politically speaking, I'm a pretty staunch moderate, so things like today's New York Times story "Bush Looking for Means to Prevent Gay Marriage in U.S." (registration required, yadda yadda yadda), really sticks a burr under my saddle.

First, I believe that sexual preference is right up there with skin color and physical build. Saying that gay couples can't get married to me is like saying that black couples can't get married, or fat people can't get married.

Second, I believe that consertives like Rick Santorum that try to link homosexuality with incest and polygamy need to provide some cold, hard data before they start waving those claims around. Unless the percentage of gay people who engage in incest or hurtful polygamy can be truly proven to be greater than the percentage of straight people involved in the same actions, pipe down.

Third, building on that previous point, aren't polygamy and marriage theoretically antithetical to one another? If you're ranting and raving about the gay community engaging in wanton sex and hedonism, then give them a more attractive option by legalizing gay marriage. Rendering that option illegal would seem to only encourage the very behavior you're condemning.

Fourth, why the hell is it legal for married couples to receive preferred status in anything anyway? Some of the supporters of gay marriage I used to speak with back in college had lists as long as their arms of advantages offered to married couples – most notably things like health insurance. While it makes sense that two people engaged in a dedicated relationship are more likely to live healthier lives than those of us running around reckelessly drinking and engaging in wantonly hedonistic behavior, why does saying "I do" in front of a priest or a judge make that relationship any healthier than one where the two people have simply sworn themselves to each other, like a solid monogamous gay relationship (which would otherwise be marriage)?

Finally, this entire state of affairs smacks of Bush's willful dissolution of the separation of church and state. Legalizing gay marriage shouldn't mean that all churches are forced to perform the service, but rendering it illegal would mean that none of them could – which is the government determining what the church can or cannot do. If your religion says that gays can't be married, fine – then it's your religion that will have to explain that despite it being legal for gays to be married, this particular church does not condone that type of thing and candidates looking for those services will have to look elsewhere. If this causes a new split in the church, fine – that's where new religions come from. If the big split between Catholicism and Protestantism came about over the morality of where the King could stick his willy, doesn't it make sense that a 21st-century split should be equally organically sound? What's worrying about the gay marriage issue at hand right now is that the separation of church and state was implemented to prevent this very state of affairs, namely the chaos and persecution that was so heavy-handed in Europe way back in the day.

Which brings me to my final point – unless conservatives can really and truly prove that this particular lifestyle is harmful (in the same way that, say, child prostitution and heroin are harmful), then isn't slamming legal mandates down onto alternate lifestyles a very pointed violation of their constituents' right to the pursuit of happiness?

In short, while there may be plenty of reasons why churches should not be legally forced to perform gay marriages, rendering it illegal for any church to provide such a service, or legally condoning discrimination based on sexual preference, feels to me like the very same prejudice that our country fought back in the 60s. While we may be forced to grudgingly accept some more draconian laws after 9/11, our country's newfound conservativism should not extend to the curbing of civil rights.

Proactive dissuasion.

So it would appear that the Fed is jangling the terrorism bell again.

I say, we have freedom to bear arms, so let's exploit it! First, recall all planes where the windows and hulls aren't completely bulletproof. Next, on all the remaining flights you have the stewardesses hand out handguns and a license to kill in self-defense to each and every passenger as they board the plane. The result: if someone tries to hijack the plane, they'll be gunned down within seconds, and since the plane has been reinforced to serve as an indoor shooting range, you wouldn't have any pesky stray bullets accidentally bringing down the whole circus. Viva la Heston!

Night of the Living Hipster.
Poetica Spontenaium 7.30.03

She could storm heaven peacefully,
talk the fishes into walking to Gibraltar,
run her flag up the pole before the Vatican
and teach the Pope to belly-dance.

Her laugh suggests it requires roses,
and her smile is like a piper's call
drawing me and mine after her
in an endless train, mindlessly enthralled.

Our love she spins between her fingers into silk,
the threads she whisks around our wrists
fashioning us into hordes of jerky marionettes
to dance and bow and scrape and adore.

Ten times I day I wish I could grow a spine,
vaccinate myself against her music and guile,
and I know I could free myself in a heartbeat
if the affection in her eyes weren't real.


Thanks, Jay!

My good man Jay Allen recently posted a quick fix for the Moveable Type bookmarklet quirk in Safari. Now, as he suggests, I am dancing and singing for the world is indeed a better place.


No doubts whatsoever.

Things like this brief passage recently posted to his weblog are why Neil Gaiman is my hero:

Today's weirdest request was from a TV movie channel who wondered if I'd host their Hallowe'en movie week. It's only when faced with trivial questions like that that I become deeply aware of what a serious and respectable business being an author is, and of one's responsibility to maintain the dignity of the profession.

"As a responsible and serious-minded author," I asked myself, "what kind of message would you be sending to the world by appearing as a cheesy horror host at Hallowe'en and introducing scary movies?"

I said yes immediately. I hope I get to climb out of a coffin at some point. I've always wanted to climb out of a coffin.

Man, the Gaiman kids must have had the best bring-your-dad-to-work days ever.

Art for art's sake.

In addition to the music project, I've also been trying to do some more art for art's sake. It's been a while since I've done any pieces simply for my portfolio (instead of for a client), so this weekend I started playing around again with animation. It's a nice little piece, primarily just primary shapes bumping into each other, but it's something, and just doing that feels like progress.

If it does work, the short will be called 'The Moon', and will probably appear either here or at sometime in the next month or so. It's a love story. Kind of.


Agassi I'm not.

It's a good thing I only play tennis for fun and exercise, because I suck.

Some people are too damn talented.

So for this year's Blogathon, the eternally-talented Scott Andrew LaPera and the stunningly cute (and equally talented) Shannon Campbell teamed up to write two songs in twenty-four hours. What blows my mind is that both songs, Southdown and Nothing New, are heartbreakingly beautiful, sounding like our generation's answer to the great folk rock duos of yesteryear. Damn. If these two can create this kind of art in twenty-four hours, the mind boggles at the kind of beauty they could create if they did this full-time. You must go download both tracks right now.

Now, dangit.

Bring on September.

I just had one of those odd little flashes, where that little voice in the back of my head just whispered, "Psssst. It's going to be fall soon." To which the rest of my head replied, "Rock!"

I love fall. It's my favorite season, and until 2001 September was my second favorite month of the year (behind December, obviously; any month with both Christmas and a man's birthday is likely to be undislodgeable from the top of his list). I'm so ready to break out my jackets and my favorite old overcoat, although I might have to send said coat to the tailor's to get some missing parts replaced again (for instance, a chunk of the belt buckle is missing).

Next, though, comes one of my least favorite seasons: August. Muggy, draggy, cram-in-the-last-gasps-of-summer August. Luckily, I have a few things I'm seriously looking forward to (like an Eddie from Ohio show and the Counting Crows show and seeing Jess and Talon in the New York Fringe Festival), which will help make it fly by, but I can't wait for that first cool breeze to whisper by and tickle the back of my neck. C'mon, September. I'm ready for you.


On siblings.

Last night, I headed up to Baltimore to hang out with SarahScott, her friends David and Paul, my housemate Nick F., and SarahScott's little sister Megan. SarahScott, Paul, Megan and I headed over to Arundel Mills, this big, huge superfashion outlet mall, where we met Nick F. and had dinner at Johnny Rockets (imagine a table with four of us singing and bopping along to the music and Paul sitting there looking like he sort of wished he were anywhere else) and then met up with David to see Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. One word-review of said movie: enh.

I had a ton of fun, in no small part because hanging out with the Brett sisters is like watching a genetics/anthropology experiment gone haywire. The two sisters are a couple years apart, pretty much the same height, and are about as sisterly as you can possibly imagine, wound as tightly as a double helix. The funniest part was watching Megan say or do things that I've seen SarahScott do for years, such as dropping her chin just a little, looking sideways at you, and saying sternly, "You do not want to do that." I think Megan was mildly miffed when I burst out laughing.

Sometimes I wish I had a sibling. I mean, I wonder how my relationships would be different if I did – my relationship with Mom, for example, has always been a little odd; since we were both only kids, we tended to harass each other more like siblings than parent and child, while Dad kind of watched wearily from behind his newspaper. If I'd had a sibling to harass, one only wonders how (if?) Mom and I would get along. Also, I imagine I might not do quite so many singular things, like writing and music and computers and all the other stuff that only kids growing up in the country tend to learn to keep themselves amused. And my relationships with my friends might be different... I've always said that my friends were my brothers and sisters, but seeing my friends who share great relationships with their siblings has shown that's not really the case. There's an intimacy there that really can't be replicated between two people who didn't grow up in the same house, or have to deal with the same familial stresses and situations.

Over the course of the last six months, I've had the opportunity to reforge some of my oldest friendships, and having done so has made me feel a lot better about a number of things, including being able to compare notes on what it's like to move away from home, come to grips with the weird world after college, and trying to find your place in the universe as a twentysomething. And, over the course of the last couple of years, I've met a small handful of people with whom I've shared the kinds of conversations I'd like to think I might have had with an older brother or sister. And there's at least one person out there whom I've always thought of as a younger sibling of sorts. I haven't always been able to be there for them as much as I would have liked to, which I suppose is the kind of guilt all older sibs must feel at some point, but that doesn't stop me from watching their progress from the wings and feeling all the pain and pride I also imagine are an inextricable part of the package.

All of these relationships are invaluable to me, and I'm grateful for them, but I hope when I have children that I wind up with two. More than that can get a little weird, but two would be nice. Maybe I can even have the kind of relationship with them that I had with my mom, and their mother can watch us wearily from behind her newspaper.

Anyway. This evening I get to attend a Blues Traveler concert with one of my aforementioned oldest friends, something I'm immensely looking forward to. The weather reports aren't calling for rain, but we'll see. I'm always skeptical whenever I have lawn tickets. I'm looking forward to spreading out a blanket, lying back and catching up a little, comparing notes, that kind of thing. You know. Almost as if we were siblings.


Keyboards, no drums.

I'm slowly getting the hang of Reason, the synth/mix/electronic-music application from Propellerhead Software. This is a very, very nice piece of work, light years beyond the basic synths I played with occasionally back in high school. I've coupled this with an Edirol PCR-30 MIDI keyboard controller, which is essentially a dinky little half-keyboard slapped onto a MIDI in/out box. The good news from yesterday's late-night geekout session is that I've managed to get the PCR-30 to talk to Reason (finally!), but the first piece of bad news is that when I get the PCR-30 online, for some reason Reason's drum kit poops out. The second piece of bad news is that I can't get my old Casio CT-700 to show up in Mac OS X's MIDI Setup app. This is okay, I suppose, since that keyboard's over a decade old and a Google search for "Casio CT-700" turns up very, very little useful information, but still... Dang. This was the first time I'd gotten the chance to hook the CT-700 up to a computer (the PCR-30 doesn't require a SCSI or PCI MIDI card, only a USB connection), and I was hoping for something better. Maybe with a little more tinkering.


Starting to build the studio.

So on a trip to Guitar Center this afternoon, I finally found what I was looking for: a beginner's guide to building a digital audio studio. Desktop Digital Studio by Paul White is a smart, easy-to-read guide to building a musicmaking studio in your bedroom. It goes into what all the different programs do (like Logic, Cubase, etc.) and what role they each play in the production process, explains what terms like MIDI and VST actually mean, and even has diagrams to show what kind of stuff you're going to need. It's a little out-of-date – it was written in 2000, and technology is going to outstrip any book like this in a matter of months – but I think it's going to be insanely useful nevertheless. I'm really looking forward to this.

TiVo for radio!

Oh, I so want one of these. The Griffin RadioShark is a "time-shifting" radio tuner, which you can use to record shows on a schedule and then download them to your iPod. Finally, I can get All Things Considered on my iPod in a scrubbable, portable format to take with me in the car, on the Metro, or wherever without ponying up a buck a day over at Awesome.


Two years!?

I might have posted about this, I don't remember... Even if so, the Motorola Offspring Wearables concept is about the closest thing I've seen yet to what I've got in mind, especially the "wristable". Wicked cool. Only drawback: it's not supposed to arrive for another two years. Rats.

Best. Coffeehouse. Ever.

I would once again like to reaffirm my firm belief that Common Grounds in Arlington is the best coffeehouse ever. Free Wi-Fi, supercomfortable seating, and they may also prove to be the location for a supersecret (kinda) project I just might have coming up in early October. Stay tuned!

Friends on stage.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing two of my old friends from The Advisory Board take the stage in the Cedar Lane Stage group's Summer Sampler 2003, a collection of three one-acts. The first play, Hawks, Doves and Hardwood by Michael Goldfarb, is about three students struggling against a last-minute deadline for a school presentation on American manifest destiny. David, a Jew, was played by David Coyne; Jason, an American basketball player, was played by Matt Baughman; and Suni, a Palestinian, was played by my friend Courtney Davis. The general idea was pretty standard – three kids from different backgrounds have to overcome their differences in order to reach a common goal – but the execution was very well done, with the idea of manifest destiny subtly contrasted against the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Better yet, the comparison is further complicated by the awkward American fumbling to understand through sports metaphors. While the ending was a little too sugary and predictable, the play was solidly performed, well written, and delivered some interesting things to think about in the car ride home.

Next up was Superhero, written by Mark Harvey Levine, directed by my old compadre Nello DeBlasio and starring Katie Morgan and Inkblots' own William R. "Bill" Coughlan. Superhero is the story of Rachel and Leonard, two sort of lonely everyday neighbors in an apartment complex. The schtick is that Leonard has decided that since his life is so humdrum and everyone seems out to get him, all of this day-to-day stuff must really be a cover for his true, previously-unknown-to-him identity as a superhero. You can imagine how this would be really, really funny, and Morgan and Coughlan pull it off perfectly. (My favorite lines from the play: "I know I have superpowers, I just don't know what they are yet... I know I can't fly.") Coughlan uses a really great booming superhero voice to deliver most of his lines, while Morgan delivers a fittingly mousy and hugely endearing performance as the girl next door with an obvious crush on the would-be superhero. The end result is a short piece that's both touching and side-splittingly funny. A must-see.

The final play on the bill is Connections by Daniel Mont, which tells the story of two people and their server in a bar in midtown Manhattan. Miranda (Rebecca Compton) is a brash, unlikeable New York Jewish woman in her 30s who's scrambling to get hitched and start breeding, and when she meets her blind date Tom (Brian Crane), an overeager, overnice, and frankly pathetic Lutheran assistant Webmaster from Pennsylvania, cattiness ensues. Tom doesn't meet her minimum requirements for romantic consideration and she instantly dismisses him with the same catty meanness that she uses on their server, the young and equally brash poet-waitress Svetyana (Amanda Zantal). Tom takes offense at Miranda's harsh treatment of others and invites Svetyana to join them for a drink, to teach Miranda not to be so prejudiced. The results are, to say the least, predictable. The trouble I had with this one is that the audience is made to feel too little sympathy for any of them: Miranda is too much of a bitch, Tom is too mewling and Svetyana is the overdramatic angst-ridden poet-wannabe that makes everybody wince. The irony is that in a play all about overcoming prejudice, the performances don't go far enough to elevate the characters past cardboard and into rounded, likeable people. Worse, the play lacks the contrasting ideas of Hawks, Doves and Hardwood or the humor of Superhero, so all audience members walk away with is a distinct feeling that these three people deserve each other. If nothing else, the final play is guaranteed to make your date that much more attractive by comparison.

All in all, though, the Summer Sampler 2003 is a nice night of community theater, and is well worth the bargain admission price. You still have time to catch it if you're in the neighborhood: the plays will be running this Saturday and Sunday at 8 PM, and admission is $5. For more information and directions to the venue, swing by


The Consumer Excitement Index.

Over at, Adam Hanft delivers Wanted: Something New Under the Sun. In it, he declares:

Why does everyone fret so much over the consumer sentiment index? I've never understood the predictive value of such a fluttery, day-by-day mood check. A far more meaningful measure of economic vitality would be one that doesn't exist yet, but should: the consumer excitement index. The CEI would track how motivated consumers are to buy, based on the appeal of those products battling for our few recessionary dollars in the rowdy tussle of the marketplace.

How would a CEI score look today? Bad enough to make Greenspan's furrows go even deeper. Across the board -- with some glowing exceptions -- there is a universal lack of worthy stuff to buy. It's both scary and breathtaking that the consumer landscape exhibits such a deficit of must-haveness and is so lacking in imagination and insight, so populated with small ideas and joyless copycatting.

He's got a very, very good point. There are so few revolutionizing things out there, it's not surprising that we're still in a recession. We need more big ideas, more venture capital, more experiments, more jobs. We need more TiVos, more iPods, more G5s, more Internets. We need more cool stuff to get the economy off the rocks. Yo, W -- you want to kick the economy back into gear? Forget about dividends, make research and development tax-deductible. Watch the US zoom way out in the lead again. Watch Americans with college degrees disappear from the unemployment lines. Watch education rocket back up the priority list. And best of all, watch Adam's CEI rocket off the the charts!

Y'know. Just a thought.


{fray} in The New York Times.

Hey, check it out – Derek made the New York Times!

Many Web sites are dedicated to collecting true stories, from the trivial (your first rock concert) to the inspiring (veterans' wartime recollections). Storyblog ( is a group Weblog that links to sites about true stories. "We look for any site that is about individuals using their voice to tell their stories," said Derek M. Powazek, the founder of Fray, the host site for Storyblog. "Some are about one person telling his or her own true story and others are community projects that put out a call" for submissions.

Check out the full story, "True Stories and Magic Mail". It's pretty good. And, in a lucky moment, if you followed the link posted for Derek's storyblog on the day the story went live, Inkblots was the number one story!

Yes, it's geeky to be totally thrilled about being two clicks away from The New York Times, but that's the kind of thing that gets editor geeks like me through the day. Thanks, Derek, and good on ya!


Well, I was going to post some more...

Best laid plans, my friends. My intention to post a few more follow-up things today (mostly small articles I've been scribbling on for a while) has gone by the wayside, the fault of sleep deprivation and Monitor Eyeball. Ah, well. That's what the weekend is for. And partying. Issue-finished partying. Like it's 1999.

And stuff blowing up. Bad Boys 2, anyone? (Aaron Downs, where are you when I need you?)

The first update to the new issue.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Dave Thomas to Inkblots – his critique of Spellbound is now available in Critiques!

The Virtual Book Tour, The Summer Issue, and a Director's Cut, all in one massive update.

StiffLadies and gentlemen, welcome to the summer 2003 edition of Inkblots Magazine. For all of you here via Kevin Smokler and Susan Kaup's Virtual Book Tour, we've included the first 1,000 words from Mary Roach's Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers ($23.95, W.W. Norton) in our Features section. It's a wonderfully funny book, especially considering the fairly macabre nature of her subject matter, and it's a lot of fun to read. I'll be posting more thoughts about her book a bit later today.

Until then, though, we have hundreds of pages of new content now available. A quick table of contents for the new edition:



Fiction and Poetry



There may still be a few last-minute additions over the weekend, which I'll be announcing here. A great big thank-you to all our contributors, who have made this issue one of the very best we've ever done!

What's that, you say? Still not enough to keep you occupied on a lazy July weekend? Well, fear not -- there's more!

In addition to the summer issue, if you click back one screen in each section you'll find that there's also a brand-new "Director's Cut" version of our spring issue. If you've been here before (especially in the last couple of months), you'll know that we experimented with going daily back in February. Unfortunately, that experiment didn't go as well as I'd hoped, and our spring issue was left unfinished. Today, you'll find a good deal of the intended content from that issue has been posted (and some more is likely to appear over the weekend). The new content includes:




In total, there are several hundred new pages' worth of content for visitors to explore. What better way to kick off the weekend?

Finally, as always, please feel free to drop me a line if you find anything wrong. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the new edition!


One more bit of name-dropping.

Good, I didn't jinx it. I'm here to announce that Heather Champ will be joining us for tomorrow's edition as well! I've been a fan of Heather's work for a long time, back in her 'Friends of Jezebel's Mirror' days. The Mirror Project has been an inspiration for all kinds of online collaboritive art. I'm honored to have her join us.

I'd post more, but I have pages to code. :)


Bang bang bang bang bang bang bang.

I'm slogging my way through the Inkblots construction, and it's going fairly well. I am now pleased to report that the one and only Ernie Hsiung (of Little Yellow Different fame) will be joining us on Friday!

Right. Back to the HTML.

Postscript to the last entry.

By "other great folks" I mean people whose first-ever presence in Inkblots I don't want to publicly thrill about before I actually have their submissions in hand. There are three or four people currently working on submissions whose names I haven't mentioned on this list and whom I will be extremely thrilled to have aboard, but I don't want to jinx anything by putting any undue pressure on them and giving them creator's block.*

(OK, OK, maybe I can thrill about one and publicly lean on the other. But that's it, I swear, that's all I'm saying for now!)

* In other words, if you just read my last post and said, "Hey! Where's my name?!", please don't be offended. Least of all, please don't waste valuable submission-finishing time being offended. ;)


This is what makes editors smile.

I know, I know, I know. I already posted about being excited about this week's issue, but you'd be stoked too if you had work from Rannie Turingan, Leia Scofield, Kevin Smokler, Jay Allen, Ben Brown, Derek Powazek and a host of other great folks lined up. (OK, well, you would if you were an editor geek.)

Hammer? (Nope. Bang bang bang...)

Knocked another two items off the list in just under an hour. Can I consider myself hammering yet?

Probably not. I'm purposefully not "weighting" these items, since the stuff I've gotten done so far is pretty easy, and it's the 10,000-pound gorillas that are still grunting at me from further down the list. Oy!

Bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang.

Longtime readers of this blog will know that whenever I get buried in work, I post the phrase "bang bang hammer hammer". So far today I have whupped the Web Photo Gallery option in Photoshop 7 into submission, in order to generate the files I want for a client project. This was highly useful, as I also expect to use a similar option to generate the hundreds of pages necessary for this Friday's Portfolio and Features sections. (Guilty admission: I usually leave the creation of those pages until last, because they take a long time and are sort of mind-numbing. Hence the macros.)

Anyway, I've barely scratched a single item off my to-do list today. Hence the title of this post: I haven't even begun the hammer hammer, I'm still busy with the bang bang. And it's almost 1:30 already. Gah!

What I need are some good quality henchmen.


Back in town, back to work.

Hey, all – I just got back to Washington, DC to discover great heaping piles of things waiting for my attention. I'll be slogging through emails and the to-do list tomorrow, so if you're waiting on something from me, look for it then.

Let's see, what all is new and notable? On the geek front, the return of scheduled startup and shutdown times has me more excited than anything else in Mac OS X 10.3 Panther (whew, what a mouthful). I've been mourning the ability to set a wakeup time and macro to check my email, load the morning news, and start playing music ever since I abandoned Mac OS 9. I can't wait until September.

On the arts front, Neil Gaiman has penned a very touching and personal essay on Dave McKean which is quite nice. I hope I manage to warrant an essay like that from someone someday. Hopefully before I have been planted six feet under.

On the personal front, Chicago was amazing. Apologies to those I didn't manage to see this time around. I will do my damnedest to rectify that very soon, which may be sooner than you'd expect.

Oh, there are lots of things to discuss and post about and whatnot, but right now I'm dog tired and have every inclination to turn in early. I'll post more details soon, just as soon as I've slept off that drive and have time to think. Stay tuned.


My kind of town.

If any of you have been trying to get hold of me for any reason and I've been less than snappy on the responsiveness, it's because I'm on the road. I'm writing this from the swingin' bachelor pad of my old friend Talon in Chicago, where I've been for the last couple of days. I've been hanging out with Talon and Sara, his girlfriend and another old friend of mine. We got to see (sort of) Norah Jones play at Ravinia Festival, this big, sprawling venue that's not really designed for lawn seats. Wonderful sound set, but we couldn't see the stage. Not because it was a long way off, so she was ant-sized, but because there was no line of sight between where we were sitting and where she was playing. Didn't really matter, though -- it was an amazing concert. Great music, beautifully played. That was Tuesday. Wednesday we bummed around, missed the museums' open hours by just a hair, and then went to go see Pirates of the Caribbean, which was probably the best movie I've seen this summer, just barely edging out Finding Nemo. Today Sara and I watched Mr. Deeds and played a rollicking game of chess, and we're about to go meander about in the city.

It's been a great couple of days. I'm going to be working my butt off as soon as I get back, but I hadn't even realized how badly I needed this. :)



This issue is shaping up to be one of our best ever. Ben Brown returns with an excerpt from his novel, TV! TV! Aurelia Flaming returns with a new poem, as does Emily Leachman. William R. Coughlan returns with a critique of Citizen Kane. A couple of my online friends whom I've wanted to include here for years are working on things which I'm really looking forward to sharing with you. And the portfolios -- oh, the portfolios! We've got work from Matthew Curry, Jason Tlush and Mark Jones, three great artists, and one more coming down the pike which should be fantastic.

In short, I'm stoked. How are you?

On Finding Nemo.

Quick entry, as I am trying to get out the door. I went to go see Finding Nemo with my friend K.C. this weekend. Spectacular movie. I'm torn on whether this or A Bug's Life is their best work. Its more mature storyline and amazing visuals really made this movie for me. A must-see, four stars, get thee now to the cineplex.

Official announcement.

The summer 2003 edition of Inkblots will be available on Friday, July 18. I still have a few open spots, so if you're interested in writing something for us, now is the time!


Counting Flags.

This weekend I have been partly celebrating my indpendence from the keyboard. Hence, few updates, and some storytelling to do this evening when I get a chance. Still, for those of you surfing my way on a lazy Sunday wind-up to the holiday weekend, may I heartily recommend Counting Flags, a Fray story by my friend Kevin Smokler. Great story. Go to, go to.

VBTAs a sidenote, I should start officially plugging the fact that Inkblots will be participating in Kevin's first ever Virtual Book Tour, coming up right quick. Our Summer edition, slated to launch in like two weeks, will include an excerpt from the book of choice (which I'm not sure if I'm allowed to plug yet or not). More soapboxing on that to follow.


On Warcrack and the G5.

This week I laid down another small fistful of dollars at the local CompUSA and walked out with Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, the expansion pack to Blizzard Entertainment's legalized digital addictive substance. First thing to note: it's been a while since I played the original Warcraft III, and I was no block-rockin' Sun Tzu then, either. Any skizzills I might have had are now rustier than Genghis Khan's cast-iron swimming trunks. Second thing to note: man, if I hadn't been coveting one of those new G5s before, I certainly am now. Playing super-graphics-intensive video games on a two-year-old PowerBook is painful.

Every two years I get the New Computer Itch, which is about how long it takes for the state of the industry to double itself on me. My last desktop was a dual-200MHz 604e DayStar Millennium (which I named Eliot), followed by a PowerBook G3/400 (dubbed Kerouac), which was then replaced with a PowerBook G4/667 (christened Gandalf). My eye is now on a dual-2GHz G5, and yes, I'm considering buying a tower instead of another laptop, even though I swore I would never do that again. Why? I'll show you why:

monitor bliss

That's why. Sure, I won't be able to afford buying three monitors at once, especially not on my freelancer income in this economy. But even if I just get my hands on the center 20" monitor, it'll be a lot more screen real estate than this 14" PowerBook monitor. Then, as I add the other two on later, I can utilize them in this app I'm planning to build. It will be a thing of beauty if I can get it to work, a real, honest-to-God command center for the creative/small-business-owner/world-conquerer type.

So I've got the itch and I've got the blueprints. Now all I need (aside from the massive bling bling necessary to finance this) is a name. Got any ideas?


And for my next trick...

So I have yet another project on the back burner that I'd really love to do, which might both teach me a lot and help me get into some of the higher education programs that have been looking so sweet lately. The challenge: it's going to take time. And money. And dedication. To pull this one off, I'm going to have to learn a lot about programming, and learn it fairly quickly. However, I have a project, which has always been the difference between doing something and staring wistfully at a mountain of books.

Wow. Flash, ActionScript, XML, XHTML, PHP, MySQL, OPML, AppleScript, possibly even Python, C and/or Cocoa... So much to learn. I feel overwhelmed. The more I contemplate this project, the more I realize that it's on a grandiose scheme on par with my novels or Inkblots. Maybe I should finish up a good half-dozen other projects before even thinking about starting this one.

Oh, what the hell. Isn't this what learning was meant to be all about anyway?

Everybody's getting married these days.

It's the Next Big Thing, getting married. My college roommate Mark got married to his very-longtime girlfriend Erin; my friend Josh married his not-so-longtime-but-still-loving girlfriend Amy a while back; my old friend Robin got hitched not too long ago; and my good man George finally made an honest woman out of his long-term girlfriend earlier this summer. My (younger!) cousin Phil, a cousin of my friend Laura, and Zeldman all tied the knot on Saturday. (Not to each other, you understand. Different weddings.) My friend Lis is getting hitched soon, as are two of my exes.

All of this makes me nervous. I love weddings, and it's awesome to see all these people so happy. They do, however, make me a little uncomfortable; it's unsettling to see all these great people dropping like flies. While I don't believe men have biological clocks, there's definitely a part of me that's saying, Yikes, I'd better get with the program. Which is, of course, poppycock -- I have plenty of time, and I don't even think I'm ready to get married yet. But, you know... Still. Rats.