Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

November 2003 Archives

In the wings.

As I noted before, I'm trying to get three more sites done before the end of the year. One of those sites is the official site for the Virtual Book Tour. Kevin and I spent a few hours talking about it last night, sitting in the World Cafe in Baltimore and hacking out ideas in Photoshop. It's going to be a pretty site. Folks who are familiar with Kevin's site won't be surprised by the final design – it's like a cousin site to the now-sadly-closed Central Booking, with a kind of fun, funky font and rich colors. This one, though, is done in gold, cream, cranberry and orange. It's pretty and elegant, warm and inviting, and it should be going live sometime very early in 2004, if not on Dec. 31st 2003 (to meet my personal deadline). Stay tuned!

I'm also working on a project for another friend of mine that's based on computer education, and another couple of client sites. Again, stay tuned. With a little luck, there should be some fireworks here at the end of the year. :)


Wow, what a weekend.

This weekend I made a last-minute flying trip to The Big Apple to see my girlfriend. Added bonus fun: she wasn't expecting me, so it was a real surprise. So much fun – the big event of the visit was a one-act festival, where Kate directed The Choir Loft and starred in Medusa's Tale, and both productions were fantastic. My girlfriend rocks. Then Sunday night we picked up her sister Shannon from the train station, and she and I promptly began ganging up on her big sister. Heh heh heh.

I got back on Monday afternoon to meet up with my friends Kevin Smokler and David Thomas for a night of design, discussion and dinner. It was like a mini-SXSW, just one of those great evenings brainstorming and ranting and raving. Fantastic.

Today I'm fighting off the urge to just plain slack. These short weeks are lethal for productivity, but good for the soul.

Now Kate just needs to get back down here tomorrow. We'll be having Thanksgiving proper with her family and then hightailing it back to Ohio for the Long family Thanksgiving on Saturday. Should be a fun weekend.


One more goal for the end of the year.

Upon reviewing my personal timeline, I discovered that I've developed seventeen websites this year. My goal here is to do three more before the end of the year, to hit the big twenty. Based on my to-do list right now, that shouldn't be a problem.

Now, as for finishing my novel before I hit 26... That's going to be more of a problem.


Wow, what a sad Friday night.

I was planning to go up to New York today, but that plan was laid to waste by some factors outside my control. Instead, tonight I got into a fight with Kate, and am now lying on the couch watching some TV show on UFO crashes.

Somebody call me up to do something cooler than this. Which would be anything.

R.I.P. LiveMotion.

Following up my review of the Adobe CS suite, comes the tragic news that as of November 15 Adobe LiveMotion 2.0 is dead.

As a result, I am now seriously investigating Flash again. Argh.

That said, there's a part of me that knows that anytime something genuinely pisses me off, it's probably something that's going to be insanely rewarding once I conquer it. Therefore, I am now regarding Flash as something that must be mastered. That, and Flash MX Professional 2004's video capabilities, including its integration with Final Cut Pro, look extremely promising.


It's the hat.

So, on a whim, I googled myself. I was pleased to discover that I not only hold the top page rank for "Geoffrey Long", but I totally dominate the entire first page. A little further, and I will own 'Geoffrey Long' on Google. Mwa ha ha ha.

However, I did find another Geoffrey Long out there, a Geoffrey Leal Long from the University of Washington, out 'round Seattle. One of the links on Google said 'pictures'. Cool, I thought, let's see what another Geoffrey Long looks like.

Not only does the dude have my name, he also has my hat. Jeez!

Spurts of storytelling.

I really need to start writing these down. Lately the old imagination has been bubbling up again with story ideas, but not when I'm near pen and paper.

A while ago I spun this whole story for Kate about a small family in a small town on a small island out in the middle of a very big ocean, and how the little daughter wanted a new dress more than anything, and the very old father set out to win the money needed by pitting his lazy, good-for-nothing son in a stone-skipping contest against the town's reigning (but aging) champion...

And then tonight, while we were on the phone, we were discussing ideas for stories and I came up with this whole scenario where a town's mayor brings his sick dog to the vet -- only when the vet goes to examine the dog, he discovers that the dog is stuffed. Not dead and preserved, I mean filled-with-sawdust, buttons-for-eyes stuffed. And the mayor, who is otherwise the best mayor the town has ever had and appears perfectly sane, completely believes the dog is real. The vet is trying to decide whether or not to call the looney bin, and eventually the mayor lets it slip that actually, yes, he does know that the dog is fake, but the mayor's dad did believe the dog was real, right up until the day he died and left his precious dog to his son. The trouble is, the strength of the mayor's (admittedly somewhat implausible) eternal belief in his father's infallibility outweighs his belief in reality, so to keep from admitting that his father was a nutcase, the mayor also buys into the delusion. Eventually the vet decides that the town needs its mayor, even if he is mildly crackers, and treats the dog and lets them go. Of course, that's when the dog starts to bark...

The stories are coming back. Thank God in heaven, after a too-long dry spell, my stories are coming back!


I know it's not nice, but still.

Look, I feel sorry for the guy. I do. His whole life has been completely outside the faintest semblance of normality, and he's become such a caricature of himself that it's really tragic, but still: this mugshot of Michael Jackson is one of the creepiest things I've ever seen. That... That... That's just not right.

And whatever intern decided to make that photo the splash picture on the New York Times tonight, which is my homepage, buddy, you and I are going to have words.



Quiet morning, just the way I love them. No sound except for the occasional car passing by outside, the whir of my laptop, the click-clack of the keys beneath my fingers, and the wind past my window.

We refer to literary magazines as journals due to the personal snapshot nature of good poetry. It is impossible to write well if one does not live life, doing things, even small things, worth remembering and sharing with others.

This is something I intend to keep in mind. In a few weeks I will turn 26. There are a ton of things I'd meant to do before I turned 25, and I only accomplished a handful of those. I convinced myself I'd do them while 25 instead. I didn't do them then either. What have I been doing? I do things, I take on projects, but when I pull back and look at the longer list, the big huge epic laundry list, there's so much that never seems to get done.

But this is life, too. These quiet moments spent listening to the wind, poking around the Internet and enjoying your friends' writings in their weblogs, or the compelling experiments being done over at Born... Not poemworthy, perhaps, but still worth living.

There has to be a happy medium somewhere.

Cool stuff clearinghouse.

Wow. I so shouldn't still be awake. Still, since I am, I thought I'd share a couple neat things that I've found lately, just to clear them out of my mental cache. (And to behave a little more like a weblog should, if you believe that kind of thinking.)


One of the most oddly compelling weblogs I've found lately is the corporate newsblog for Jewelboxing, which is a new minicompany started up by Jim Coudal of Coudal Partners and some overseas jewelbox manufacturers. Basically what they've done is created CD-style jewelboxes the size of DVD cases and, well, apparently improved them quite a bit. They look fantastic, and I'm now torn between these babies and the brushed-metal containers I'd been planning on using for an upcoming Dreamsbay product. I'm planning on picking some up as soon as I get some more play money in the budget. Anyway, the product is quite cool and the weblog helps provide a behind-the-curtain glimpse into the life of a startup. Fascinating reading to those of us with a slightly entrepreneurial mind.

Double Dash Delightful

Wow. Tonight (well, last night, given when I'm writing this) my housemate brought home a copy of Mario Kart Double Dash, and darned if it isn't the best, most fun game of the series. Yes, there's still the same racing game at the heart of it, but the addition of a Halo-esque two-person cooperative game where one player drives and the other shoots, is the bee's knees, baby. We'd been playing it for hours before we looked up and realized it was no longer Tuesday. Oops. Anyway, the best part may still be yet to come: apparently Mario Kart Double Dash supports LAN play, so if you have multiple TVs and multiple GameCubes (which is becoming an astonishingly affordable undertaking, actually), broadband adapters for each and a hub, you can have up to eight GameCubes linked up for a race. Wow. That blows my mind. How insanely cool.

Finally, Favico.ico

Thanks to Zeldman and Noel Jackson, I now finally have a little Dreamsbay star logo gracing the address bar for this blog. Isn't that just darling. (Seriously, thanks for the tutorial, Noel – I'd been meaning to do that for months.)

What I'm Up To

In case y'all are wondering, and are curious as to why we're still missing two Features, wonder not. I'm just swamped with client work, that's all. I'm trying to get one almost-finished big project completely out the door, another mondo project finished up despite significant scope creep, and six (six!) little sites finished up for my voiceover client from Chicago. That, three portfolio pieces currently in development, and the general overhead of small business (checking on checks, that kind of thing) have been keeping me hopping. Things are okay, just busy. Hope ya'll can say the same.

G5 crazy

One last thing. Today Apple released a dual 1.8-GHz G5, a significant power increase to the middle-of-the-road model. I can feel my credit card warming up in my pocket. This can't be good.


Revising Opinions.

After having spoken with a couple of my friends about the Adobe Creative Suite, I'm beginning to reconsider the harshness of my critique. Keith Annis points out that Photoshop can now handle raw digital photo files, which could be useful for him and hot redhead photographers, but not so much for me yet. (Yet.) And Nick Bastin points out that InDesign now includes InCopy, a built-in text editor. Which kind of makes me say, "Okay, who the hell uses InDesign as a text editor?" But then again, you're talking to a man who stopped writing his stories in Word and started writing 'em in BBedit, for crying out loud.

There's a progression into geekery there that's kind of mortifying, now that I think about it. Oh, well.

The long and the short of it is, I'm going to do some research and probably revise that piece for our Winter edition. Stay tuned.



Wow. I never thought I'd want to live in Salt Lake City, but the picture and the article from The New York Times' piece In Utah, Public Works Project in Digital makes me wonder. Hmmm.


Adobe CS: Conceptually Stagnant.

(Note: after writing this, I realized it's actually more in line with a Critique than a blog post, so I might actually rework it for our Winter issue. We'll see.)

Adobe Creative SuiteA short time ago, creative gotta-have-it software company Adobe announced a sweeping overhaul to pretty much their entire software collection. Photoshop, ImageReady, Illustrator, GoLive were all going to be upgraded from their previous incarnations to one giant collection, the new Adobe Creative Suite. Now, I'm usually the first on my block to upgrade my software. Hell, I'm usually waving my credit card in the air and speed-dialing my local Apple Store to see if copies have arrived. This is because Adobe's normally pretty good about offering significant new features with each new version. However, that was then and this is now: everything I've read so far about Adobe CS has left me yawning and left my wallet solidly in my pocket.

One big change, no big deal

As near as I can tell, all of the changes in this "upgrade" are more philosophical than functional. With the Creative Suite, Adobe is trying to convince designers to start thinking of their software not as a handful of independent programs but as one enormous application that exists as several components.

The first change is a new version control system called Adobe Cue, which is designed to help keep all your files from all your apps under control. This is nice for workgroups, but only minimally useful for solo designers and small shops like mine.

The second change is the always-asinine shift from numbered systems to a nonsensical lettered system (Windows XP, Macromedia Studio MX, and now Adobe CS), which is, I guess, what necessarily happens when you abandon differently-numbered versions and try to roll your software into one big digital burrito.

Third is tightened integration between the different applications, such as the ability to place native layered Photoshop files in InDesign without flattening them first. Again, a nice feature, but not a gotta-have-it addition.

In fact, all of these things are nice, but they don't offer any new and revolutionary features. It feels like Adobe knows that they didn't have any good ideas this time around, so they instead opted to play the "me-too" game, followed Macromedia's lead and simply revamped their numbering scheme and redesigned their packaging. (A redesign, I might add, which has many designers up in arms. For reference, see the illustrious Todd Dominey and his dead-on kvetching about the app's obnoxious, nonsensical new icons.)

Anything worth doing is worth doing all the way

Perhaps the worst thing about the new Adobe Creative Suite is its failure to address the simple fact that designers already have their own workflow. Yes, it's nice that Adobe is trying to make their stuff more cohesive, but in my opinion they shouldn't bother until they can go all the way. Imagine a Dock with only one Adobe application, called the Adobe Studio Suite. When you launch this app, at the top of your screen you see multiple tabs, one for a work area editing vector graphics, one for images, one for doing layout, and one for doing web sites. Forget all this nonsense about trumpeting the same key commands in each app, forget the "edit in native app" crap. Instead, imagine one honking huge application that I only need to open once and has one big toolbar for the global tools and a subset of that toolbar for the tools only needed in the area in which you are currently working. If you're going to be marketing an entire studio's worth of tools and encourage designers to be fluent in all of them, why not go all the way and fuse them into one enormous beast?

Does this idea seem ludicrous? Maybe. The concept of one do-it-all application is like a gag kitchen appliance that does a million things, none of them very well. But this should demonstrate, via the ridiculousness of this illogical extension, that the whole Adobe CS concept isn't enough to warrant an upgrade. Should the applications be as cross-functional as possible, i.e. offer the same key commands in every app? Absolutely – but that's not something we should be expected to pay for, that's something the company itself should offer to promote using its own applications instead of their competitors. Adobe was already doing this, to convince designers who use Photoshop to use Illustrator instead of Macromedia's Freehand, ImageReady instead of Fireworks, LiveMotion instead of Flash, and so on and so forth. That's great, that's logical, and it occasionally leads to really cool additional functionality, such as LiveMotion's support for importing layered Photoshop graphics. But telling the market, "Look! We just made things work the way they should have if we'd done it right the first time and adopted a moronic new numbering scheme, fork over half a grand!" is downright Microsoftian.

You'll get my money the old-fashioned way: you'll earn it

In time, I expect Adobe will offer some truly useful additional features – it might take a little while, but I'm sure they're coming. Apple has been devouring Adobe's lunch in the motion graphics front, and Macromedia has been thoroughly trouncing Adobe in the motion graphics and web application development front. Quark recently released the Mac OS X version of their software, so Adobe has lost one of InDesign's leading edges. The only thing left for Adobe to do is innovate or die. The Creative Suite feels like a retrenching more than a revolution, and I'm hoping that their next release emerges with enough new stuff under the hood to blow the doors off of an increasingly stagnant industry.

For now, though, I have a workflow that functions just fine on my computer, my clients aren't complaining because I can't yet do X, Y or Z, and none of the design sites or magazines are raving about some cool new bell or whistle that the Creative Suite offers that I'm going to be able to turn around and sell to my clients. Sorry, Adobe, but until your product truly offers me some way of making more money, you haven't earned any more of mine.


Well, that's heartening.

It's oddly reassuring when you read about someone you admire admiring someone else you admire, as in this bit from Mr. Gaiman:

I had an utter fanboy moment when a faintly familiar-looking person came over at the end and introduced himself as Philip Pullman, and I just started gushing foolishly, and he was kind enough not to notice.

Heh. How cool.


The future of television.

Oh. Oh, wow. I have seen the way television should work, and the choice of programs is spectacular. PBS has posted the entire NOVA: The Elegant Universe in streaming QuickTime and RealVideo chunks. All three hours, split into something like 24 chapters. Wow. This is so cool. (Hat tip to the illustrious Mr. Brown.)


Whoa. Big tribe.

I need to redo the titles in the Biographies section, so I just did a quick nose count to see the scope of the project. Imagine my surprise to see that we've had a hundred and nine contributors since we've gone online. Wow. Thanks, folks.

On Urban Tribes.

So, after reading the book and talking with Ethan for a while, it's really made me think about my current situation. There have been waypoints for my friends getting married – a couple got hitched after graduating from high school, a bunch more got married after graduating from college, and now... Well, I'm waiting for another round of hitchings to commence after folks graduate from grad school – but there's a whole bunch of us currently bopping around, trying to figure out what we're doing about grad school. Or, well, just doing at all.

One of the things I liked the most about Urban Tribes was the great sensation of "you are not alone." The same thing happened after I read Quarterlife Crisis. I know a lot of my friends and I currently feel like we're spinning our wheels, which isn't exactly accurate. We're trying new things, working different jobs, moving around, and, well, living. Yes, there's a sense that our parents were all married and spawning by this time in their lives, but hey, we're not our parents. There's nothing wrong with this, per se, it just means that we're taking the time to try some things out before settling down.

I know I've been doing a lot of thinking about my tribe this year. After things got all shook up back in January, I rekindled some old friendships and lost some more recent, more phony ones. I now talk with some of my old friends from high school on a regular basis, and don't talk to some college friends at all. That's okay, it's sort of the shifting nature of the tribe – some phase in, some phase out. At the core, though, I have a collection of friends that I consider real family. And a lot of them are right here. Thanks to all the folks who have stuck with me.

Still, there are lots of times when there's real attraction to settling down, buying a house, putting down roots... These are natural feelings – especially when things are so up in the air. Stability takes on a new shiny glow, the same way that adventure and experimentation seems so appealing when things are stable and settled. Sort of a "grass is always greener" thing, I expect. It'd be interesting to read a book written by a 25-30-something who took the other route, getting married early and starting the family. How do our lives look to them?

Right now I'm planning out how to do next steps. I'm trying to figure out how to grow my business, how to make Inkblots pay for itself, how to keep it growing, how to get better and writing and designing and all my artistic stuff, how to buy a house of my own... And, yes, how to support a family someday. Whether that's sooner or later remains to be seen, but I don't mind running with the tribe for a while.

Virtual Book Tour: Urban Tribes.

As a part of the Virtual Book Tour, I'd like to present an excerpt from Urban Tribes, now available in Features. Check it out!

Announcing the Autumn edition of Inkblots.

I'm pleased to announce that the Autumn Inkblots is coming online as we speak. So far, Voice, Fiction and Poetry, Portfolio, Critiques and Biographies have all been updated. Features will be coming on-line very soon (including today's involvement in the Virtual Book Tour). A few other things may be added as the day progresses as well.

I'm really proud of the new issue. Julie O'Neill, one of my favorite online folks, is joining us for the first time today, as are comic artist Greg Vondruska, my lovely and talented girlfriend, Kate Erin Gibson, my friend and New York poet Christopher Goodrich, and my college buddy and housemate Nick Ferraro, with the debut of his new cooking column. Returning are William R. Coughlan (with several pieces), Carrie Spritzer, Min Jung Kim, Emily Anne Leachman, Talon Beeson, Jessica Maloney, David Thomas and Nick Bastin. And, making his triumphant return to Inkblots since we abandoned our paper edition back in 1997 is old-school alum Andy Rozsa. Welcome, all of you. Thanks for joining us!


Tomorrow's issue is going to rock.

There's so much cool stuff coming together for the next issue, it's incredible. Two people whom I've wanted to include forever finally have pieces appearing here, one for the first time ever and another for the first time in our online incarnation. So cool. Check back tomorrow around noon EST!

(And I'm planning on noon to allow me time tomorrow morning for all the last-minute stuff that inevitably goes haywire.)


Something I should remember when feeling burnt out.

Sometimes I stress out about Inkblots. When you've been doing something for almost ten years, it becomes all too easy to start worrying about its perpetual economic unfeasibility, or its fluctuations in punctuality, and how you're ever going to keep its quality on the rise, especially after you've had so many wonderful contributors in the past. Sometimes I stress out because each issue really is a lot of work, and it takes a lot of time, and sometimes I freak out because there's so much that has to be done on any given issue. I have an OmniOutliner file that houses all my to-do stuff, and it's a great, whopping, evilly-grinning devilbeast of a thing. You know the way the scrollbar in Mac OS X shrinks and grows depending on the magnitude of the field being scrolled? When I "expand all" on that outline, that scrollbar gets very, very tiny indeed. This is a daunting thing. Sometimes I consider throwing the whole thing over and moving to Aruba.

However, when I actually get down into the nitty-gritty of making a new issue, when I sift through the wonderful contributions, when I shoot a quick email to people whose work I admire and invite them to participate and they say "sure," when sections start to gel and I can rub my hands together like Hannibal from The A-Team and chortle, "I love it when a plan comes together," well, that's when I know why I still do this after almost ten years. I love this stuff. And, Gods willing, I'll be doing it for a long, long time to come.

Thanks, folks, for being a part of it.

What a glorious feeling.

My friend Bill writes the best classic movie critiques ever. This Friday we'll be publishing his take on "Singin' in the Rain," and he's done a bang-up job. Stay tuned!

With a boom boom and a vroom vroom.

This morning has been odd. Last night I stayed up later than I'd intended, due to my picking up my new copy of Flash to the Core by Joshua Davis for a little reading before bedtime. The book is awesome – in much the same way as Jeffrey Zeldman deftly handled introducing web design to print designers in his book Taking Your Talent to the Web, Davis introduces basic Flash principles as one artist talking to other artists. There's that same sense of, "Yes, this is the way the geeks think of this, but to guys like you and me, this is why all this stuff rocks..." Classic.

Some people have mixed opinions of the good Mr. Davis. For my part, the two times I've seen him do presentations at SXSW were some of my favorite experiences at the conference. I love the way he kind of bubbles over with little-kid giddiness when he gets excited. It's contagious. He has this way of looking at the audience with this goggle-eyed stare and going, "Isn't this cool?!" And even if you don't get it, you want to, because, well, dangit, the guy's having so much fun.

Reading his book is kind of like getting to sit down with him for a while, just one-on-one, and listen to him spell stuff out. I'm loving it. It makes me want to play more.

Maybe that's why, when I woke up this morning, I read a little more of the book and then picked up my sketchbook and started to scribble. The girlfriend Kate, my girlfriend*, has been chiding me to write for five minutes everyday, to get back in the habit. Some days I do, some days I don't. The days I don't, it's usually because of what happens on the days I do: I start scribbling and wind up spending not five minutes but an hour and a half making sketches of characters, plotlines, or flat-out chapters or short stories. Which is fine when I have the time do spend on that. When I don't, I look up at the clock afterwards, utter some things that would make Denis Leary blush, and rush off to catch up with the stuff I'm supposed to be doing.

Stupid time anyway. Oh, well. At least I'm coming away with a nifty synopsis for what could eventually become a graphic novel or a really cheesy Sci-Fi Original Movie. See, this is why I have so many projects going on at once: it's the intellectual cross-pollination that keeps me going.

Something like that, yeah.

*Who apparently hates being referred to as "the girlfriend"


Putting out fires.

Great Caesar's ghost, I've been working all morning and I still haven't had a single billable hour. What the heck.


Grumble grumble.

Weeks with holidays suck for the self-employed. Not only do you not really get to take a day off, but there's no mail on that day, so you lose that little daily sense of Christmas you get waiting for a paycheck.

Preview of things to come.

One of the things coming up on Friday: a new photocollection from Carrie Spritzer, one of my friends from Kenyon and a spectacular photographer. She's just posted a collection of downloadable desktop images that are really very beautiful. Go grab one and brighten your monitor up a tad.

I saw the best minds of my generation.

I'm pleased to announce that Inkblots will be launching its autumn issue this Friday, as a stop on Kevin Smokler's Virtual Book Tour. And you know what? I'm really stoked about this one.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed the last two books, Stiff and Screening Party. But this one, Ethan Watters' Urban Tribes, is the literary equivalent of a home run for me. It's exactly the kind of book I've loved reading lately, an intelligent assessment of the weird-but-wonderful sociology of my whacked generation.

There's been a number of these books that I've really enjoyed: Free Agent Nation by Dan Pink, Bobos in Paradise by Dan Brooks, What Should I Do with My Life? by Po Bronson, and The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida are all prime examples. Watters' Urban Tribes is definitely a member of the same breed, an intelligent, witty look-around-and-tell-me-what-you-see kind of book. I can't wait to get him into this "virtual studio" of mine on Friday.

I do need a little time to prep, though. I'm still in the first part of the book, and the magazine is still somewhat nebulous in places. While I work on that, why don't y'all follow the tour – today he's being critiqued (fairly sharply) by one of the webloggers who's been in my daily-clicks list forever, Meg "Megnut" Hourihan. Go on, shoo.


So this past weekend was the first weekend in a month where I wasn't travelling. I'd been working so hard on my portfolio and whatnot last week that I decided to take the weekend off. Novel concept, I know.

Fun things I did this weekend: played the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles GameCube game with Nick (which is almost as much fun as the one for the Super Nintendo, way back int he day), got bitten by the Bionicle bug in a big enough manner to design and build a kickass two-headed Bionicle dragon, wandered around downtown Bethesda while the Montgomery County Marathon was going on, wrote half a moderately bad poem and an entire really, really melancholy short story (guess I needed to get it out of my system), and played Dark Cloud 2 for a couple of hours, which was the first time I'd played that game in, like, six months.

I go in cycles with almost everything I do: videogames, writing, reading, working out, video work, almost everything. I am apparently currently on a videogame kick. Which is fine, since we have a bunch of games in the house I haven't really played yet – the new Metroid and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker being at the tiptop of the list. I'm also remembering how much things like that help to prevent burnout when you're trying to be creative for like fourteen hours a day. Whoof.

I believe one of the things I will start to institute for Dreamsbay is a stricter "no nights and weekends" policy. Yeah. Something like that.


New Sarah McLachlan video.

Her new song, "Fallen," didn't really do it for me when I heard it on the radio, but the video is really very beautiful. Check it out.


Creativity is frustrating sometimes.

All right, here's the drill.

For the last year-and-some-change I've been thinking a lot about next steps. I've been thinking about grad school, and about careers, and about what I want to do with Life. I've been thinking about writing, and designing, and creating stuff, and, well, you readers of mine know what I've been thinking about.

Recently I've pretty much made up my mind that whatever's going to happen regarding grad school isn't going to happen next year. I've spent this year getting Dreamsbay off the ground, and it is, kind of. It's up on its legs, but they're like wobbly newborn colt legs. The deliverables package still isn't done, the workflow is still herky-jerky, and I still suck at estimating how long some things take. I'm also still wrestling with things like billing cycles and invoicing, all the stuff that small business owners have to worry about. All of these things are still out of focus, and they need to be worked at harder in order to really make them work. Year One has been the dive-in-hold-your-nose-and-get-messy year. Instead of going to grad school next year, I think I'm going to engage in Year Two of Dreamsbay University. I'm learning a lot. I need to learn a lot more. And I need to be making money while doing it, not going really deep into the financial hole.

Someday I will have a Master's. I know this. I hope someday I might also have a PhD. But right now, I've got to keep putting one foot in front of the other and try to focus.

I'm going to be twenty-six soon. Where do I want to be when I hit thirty?

I spent most of this week building out my portfolio, trying to redesign and basically going over a lot of the things that I've been doing this year. I updated my timeline. I've done a lot, but it still strikes me that there's not enough play being done here. I have a lot of client projects in the portfolio, but the novels still aren't done, I haven't written any short stories in forever, and I haven't made any art lately. No short films. No little animations. None of that stuff. What gives?

One of the things I'm looking to do with Dreamsbay this year is to do more art. Yes, making more money is also part of the plan, but it's the play that keeps the new ideas rolling, prevents the burnout. I need to play some more... If for no better reason than to add new, cool stuff to the portfolio and to keep those mindfires burning.

Of course, I have to do enough client work to be able to afford to play... Ah, the joy of small business.


Everything always takes longer than you think it's going to. Especially if you're a perfectionist.

Wouldn't it be great if you could...

Wouldn't it be cool if you could hook up an 802.11g wireless card to your TiVo in one room and stream video wirelessly to your Mac in another? True, streaming video requires a great deal of bandwidth, but theoretically if you made the window small, you know, just small enough so you could stick it in a corner of your screen and stream CNN or The West Wing as you're working, wouldn't that be great?


Pieces of me you haven't seen yet.

OK, well, yes, you probably have seen these, if you're a longtime reader of this blog, but I thought I'd plug the six new additions I've made to – BroadReach, Kate Erin Photography, The Black Sea Trading Company, Sound Advice, the blue version of Inkblots, and the redesign of RBB Systems.

It's not that I've done a lot quickly, it's that I'm a horrible slacker when it comes to updating my portfolio...


I've opted against doing NaNoWriMo this year, primarily because I'm trying to focus my attention on redoing the marketing materials for Dreamsbay this month. As a result, my writing lately has really dropped off. Sorry about that.

Most of that energy in the immediate future will be funneled into getting a new Inkblots ready for release by next Friday. Stay tuned.


Feasibility testing Magellan.

So I'm spending a big, huge chunk of today so far testing the feasibility of Magellan. I'm using my account on Nick's dual G4, which has three displays like my mental sketch of Magellan, and experimenting with the applications I'm planning on using as my main components – namely, iCal, Safari, Quicken, OmniOutliner and Mail. A couple of things have really kicked me in the ass to get moving on this (thanks Kate), and so here we go. So far, it's going dangerously well. I'm stoked.

Also of inspiration: the new, which is all about the process of designing solutions. In a very "physician heal thyself" moment, I'm applying these concepts to my own projects instead of client gigs, and it's kind of astonishing how well it's working. Very inspiring.

Let's get ready to rumble. :)

Philip "Dark Materials" Pullman on Halloween.

I'm a little behind on this one, but it's still worth reading: Philip Pullman, author of the astonishingly good "His Dark Materials" series, published a New York Times editorial called Why I Don't Believe in Ghosts on Halloween which is both entertaining and of high value to those of us still stuck in the clench between reason and imagination. Thanks, Philip.

(And, more personally and more importantly, and I believe more effectively, thank you Kate. But that's another story.)



So, in preparations for Wednesday's release of Revolutions, I'm rewatching The Matrix: Reloaded. It really is better the second time around. Definitely worth doing for cramming purposes.


New releases from The Dreamsbay Company.

Wow. Last week was a busy one for me, workwise. Hot on the heels of Kate Erin Photography come three little one-pagers for Sound Advice,, and And, drumroll please, three straight nights of working until the wee, wee hours of the morning have finally paid off: hit the web yesterday morning. (That's the one I'd been talking about earlier this week regarding 'hallmarks' of design.) Oh, and you're going to need Flash for some of these babies. Be warned.

On to the next thing! In the words of Monster Garage, the next project is just... Around... The bend!

Live from New York, it's Halloween night!

Let me tell you, Halloween night in New York City is a trip. The Big Apple is full of freaks, geeks and weirdos as it is, and on Halloween night they all come out to play. We didn't make it down to see the parade, as Kate insisted that it was just too terrifying (whatever), but we did meander down Broadway and see a bunch of folks in costume, including a guy in one of those light-up T-shirts and cape, a woman dressed up as the solar system (lots of little planets dangling from her belt) and Fat Elvis. I also saw a fairy, a surprising number of cowboys (well, it is the Village), the Ricola girl, and a Goth chick. In retrospect, I'm not 100% certain the Goth chick was wearing a costume. Oh, yes. I heart New York.

Anyway, now it's November, and I can officially start getting stoked about Christmas and such things. The autumn issue of Inkblots has been postponed for a week due to my being swamped and so it can coincide with the next Virtual Book Tour. Stay tuned! (And send me your stuff!)