Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

December 2003 Archives

Back, but not much to say yet.

Hey, folks. I'm back in Bethesda, back from Ohio, but there's not much going on at the moment, just a lot of end-of-the-year type stuff. You know, trying to figure out what business expenses one plans to polish off before the end of FY03, what to do about parties, that kind of thing. Hope y'all had a great holiday!


There are plumbers in our house.

So I was supposed to get away this weekend, but it's a good thing I opted to stick around. Plumbers showed up this morning to fix the leaky water heater that's been the bane of our basement for the last little while, and since the slumlord owner of the house is back in Ohio already and my other roommate has to get to work before he's too late, it's up to me to stick around and dole out the paychecks when they're done. Then, once they're done, the house will be mine for a final flurry of finishings (yay alliteration) before departing myself for Ohio, family and friends. Onward!



I just made an early New Year's resolution: to stop using the word 'rocks' in this weblog.

My girlfriend rocks. Again.

So right before I left her place this afternoon, Kate slipped something into my coat pocket. "Something for the ride home," she said. "Check it later." I just did – somehow, this afternoon while we were in the Apple Store at Towson, she snagged me a $10 gift certificate to the iTunes store. I don't know how or when, must have been when my back was turned and I was ogling some piece of equipment or something. One way or the other, it put a big goofy grin on my face. My girlfriend rocks.

Sorry to see it go, but still – woo-hoo!

I know there was never really any doubt, but still: Return of the King was amazing. If it doesn't win Best Picture and a whole bunch of other awards, they'll have been flat-out robbed.

This does, however, bring up an interesting debate question: which of the three movies was your favorite? There are so many neat scenes from each of them, I don't know how to pick. I tend to lean towards the first one, actually, because I love the sense of newness and discovery that runs through it, but there were so many brilliant bits in the third one (such as the brilliant sequence with the signal fires lighting), that it's a tough call. And, and, the second one had Helm's Deep and Treebeard, for cryin' out loud... How do you pick a favorite?

So, yeah, to say I'm bummed to see the trilogy end is an understatement. On the upside, next year we'll see the Extended Edition DVD and its extra hour-and-change of footage for ROTK, and that will be fantastic. And then there will inevitably be the Uberedition, where they splice all three into one mammoth movie/boxed set, with all the extra clippings and whatnot... Sigh. Actually, I hope they don't go that route. I'm hoping the Extended Editions are the definitive versions and they leave it at that... Please, none of this Lucasian crap from you, Mr. Jackson. (Of course, if you wanted to go on and shoot, say, the Simarillion, you would be more than welcome to my money...)

So, yes. Which one's your favorite?

PS: A good buddy of mine just gave me a copy of The Two Towers on DVD for a late birthday/early Christmas present. Thanks, man – you rock!

Football and soft drinks.

Huh, whaddaya know. It's kinda like Coke Classic and New Coke: Ravens 35, Browns 0: Lewis Leads Ravens to Win Over Cleveland.

(My girlfriend is from just outside of Baltimore and I, of course, am from Ohio. I like to say I'm one of the old-school Ravens fans. Not that I'm that interested in football, it just ticks her off. Besides, I have to root for any football team named for a poem.)


Holidays a-go-go.

This is insane. In the last couple of weeks, I've made repeated trips between DC and Ohio, DC and New York, DC and Baltimore... And I was planning on making a trip from Ohio to Chicago to New York to DC for New Year's, but that one got whacked from the schedule largely due to the insane expense it would incur. Tonight I'm planning to drive to Baltimore and back (again), and tomorrow I'm driving back to Ohio. Today, though, I have a ton of stuff I have to finish up here before I split. The name of the game here is the end-of-the-year shuffle – trying to knock as many things off the to-do list as possible here so I can launch myself into '04 with a more or less clean slate. Pass the espresso and the iPod, there's some serious work to be done here.


Quick update.

Back in Bethesda with Kate, getting ready to do Christmas shopping, and polishing up some client work. Aside from that, not much is going on!

Oh, and taking pictures with the new camera, which is really very cool. More on this later.


Whirr whirr whirr clunk.

That is the sound of my personal mental hard drive spinning down. Been sitting here in the Soho Apple Store for a while and am now very very sleepy.

Incidentally, I am peeved that I can't buy TurboTax 2003 here. For some reason they don't have it yet. Grrr. I have numbers to crunch here, people. Get with the program.

Right. I'm off to find a caffeine injection. Later, mes amis.

Lessons continue.

I tell you what, this week in New York has taught me a lot of things about myself. For starters, a day spent toting my computer around on my backpack to work in a Barnes and Noble, a Starbucks, the Apple Store, and various places in between can be both very productive and very rewarding. For instance, it helps me see sunlight, for Christ's sake.

Yesterday, though... Yesterday, I woke up, did the dishes, took out the trash, cleaned myself up, and sat down to do one quick thing for a client online before heading out the door. Big mistake. Next thing I knew, it was four hours later, the sun had gone down and I was still waiting on an 18MB file to download over a dialup connection – a file that has dropped its download connection three times, each attempt with an average of a 5KB/sec transfer rate, and according to what that little button on Transmit (from Panic) says, "Resume" has suddenly changed its definition to "delete the unfinished file and start from scratch". Jesus.

Anyway. Long story short, yesterday did not gone the way I'd intended. I was planning to go work in the New York Public Library, then take a stroll through the Met and maybe even catch an afternoon matinee of The Last Samurai if I'd gotten enough done before then. Instead, I found myself rushing to wrap things up so I can get down to the NYU campus before Kate's open directing final went on at 7. I was livid. Yeesh. What a day.

Luckily, today has gone much, much better. Kate and I headed in this morning and grabbed brunch at this amazing little diner 'round the corner from NYU. There's a neat thing about New York diners – they're not like diners almost anywhere else. The diners that Kate's taken me to so far have been real gourmet stuff compared to the little greasy spoons I've been to elsewhere. This morning's was no different – I had pancakes and sausage, with real sausage links instead of those crappy little pinky-sized Brown N' Serves that a lot of places serve. They were fantastic, and the pancakes were terrific too. Great stuff. Now I'm bumming around Soho again, working and Christmas shopping. This is what days in New York were supposed to be, just a little wetter.

Hope you guys are having fun out there, and I hope your Christmas shopping is going well too. Oh, and a big "sorry, guys" to Derek and Kevin, whom I know were pulling for the other guy in this week's mayoral elections in San Francisco. The only thing I can suggest is to bottle that rage and put it to use in the big Presidential elections...


Believe it or not...

I know this sounds highly, highly improbable, but it turns out that I'm a lot more efficient and effective when I'm a couple hundred miles away from my home office. I'm only checking my email and the web occasionally, when I'm glomming onto some terminal or the free WiFi at the Soho Apple Store (where I am right now, actually), so instead of surfing and then looking up to curse as I discover a couple of hours have disappeared, I'm actually working. Which means that, gods willing, I'll be able to roll out a couple of projects this week.

And, YES, I successfully tracked down my very own Canon Digital Rebel. This camera rocks. I finally picked it up late last night at a Circuit City here in New York (the Apple Store was woefully out of stock), and I intend to give this baby a workout this week. Snapshots at the Met, coming right up.

My birthday was pretty cool, actually. I wound up working in a coffeeshop for a good chunk of the day, which makes me feel great because, as I noted above, my productivity is skyrocketing, and I'm getting a lot done. Longtime to-do list projects getting crossed off left and right. This is great. I goofed off in a neat comic shop downtown (Forbidden Planet, which I think is another instance of the same chain of geekery shops I used to hang out in over in London), chilled in a Barnes and Noble to review the latest Print Regional Design Annual (checking out the competition, you know), went to dinner with Kate and then – and this was one of the coolest things I've done here – went to a party at Kate's friends' house. Not a birthday party, mind you, but a "It's a Rocky Horror Christmas, Charlie Brown!" party. Kate's friend Kevin took a script of A Charlie Brown Christmas and inserted all kinds of audience participation moments, complete with throwing styrofoam peanuts in the air for snow and alluding loudly to Linus' penchant for prom dresses. It was a hoot – and I even have a copy of the script to run copies for anyone else that wants to try it. (Shannon, I know you'd love this!)

So, yes. Good birthday. The new Dreamsbay site is an enormous step closer to being done. And I have a kickass new camera. So far it's been a great weekend in New York City. Onward!


26 years and as many degrees in New York City.

Quick post from Digital Society, this neat little Mac shop in NYC. I ducked in here to look for the Canon Digital Rebel, which was out of stock at the Apple Store in Soho, but they don't seem to carry 'em. Nuts.

Man, is it COLD out there. Ears frozen. Need hat. Unfortunately, my fedora is in Maryland. Rats.

Having fun with friends up here, though. Hanging out with Kate in the bookend time 'round her rehearsals. She made me this kickass Gryffindor scarf for my birthday, which I'm wearing today with big geeky pride. As for the rest of the time, I've primarily been working on the new Dreamsbay site. It's kind of sad, I suppose, but it's too bloody cold to do a lot of walking outside, so I've been sort of camping out at the not-a-Starbucks on the NYU campus. This is okay, I reckon – I'll do some Christmas shopping and museum hopping later this week, when it's not so bloody crowded (and, hopefully, not quite so arctic).

Anyway, the first day of my 26th year is going pretty well so far. Hope y'all can say the same. For those of you on the East Coast, here's wishing you tons of cocoa and marshmallows. Me, I've got my peppermint mochas to keep me warm. And a little Hogwarts 'round my neck.



No Magellan, not quite yet.

So the Magellan project may be postponed for a little while. Instead of a bright-and-shiny G5, I've elected to upgrade to a new PowerBook. Granted, I know that the PowerBook G5s will probably be out in another year or so, but portability right now for me is huge. Also, my budget is limited, and in order to do Magellan properly I also need to buy upwards of $1500 worth of monitors. D'oh. Meanwhile, for approximately the same amount of cash as just the G5, I can buy a new PowerBook G4 which is twice as fast as the one I'm writing on now, with a brighter screen, higher resolution, and the graphics chipset I want to play WarCraft III properly whenever I'm feeling slackerly. That, and I won't have to duck my head in shame anymore when meeting with clients, trying to explain the big ugly black rubbed-off spots on my laptop's chassis. True, this is what happens when you use one machine for upwards of 8-12 hours a day, but still... It'll be nice to have that gone.

(And backlit keys! And enough video-out cajones to drive a Cinema display, if they drop the prices at Macworld in January, as I'm hoping they do.)

Oh, and I think I'm going to buy a new digital still camera, too. My portfolio needs a serious kick in the ass, one powered by original artwork. One thing I want to do is take better pictures. Yes, my Elph is the bee's knees for off-the-cuff photo shoots, but the pics it takes aren't quite high-quality enough for serious commercial work. So, I'm planning on picking up a Canon Digital Rebel. (Full disclosure time: actually, I want one of these so I can do that nifty depth-of-field trick that looks so damn cool in all those artsy photos that Kate takes. My Elph ain't that cool – more of a digital, glorified point-and-shoot camera, which is fine most of the time, but every now and then...) Time to go drop some green at the Apple Store!


A little bummed.

I miss my girlfriend. I just spent five days straight with her, and now I'm back in DC and she's in New York and I miss her.

I'm also blue because there's a pretty good chance I'm going to spend my birthday this weekend alone. Most of my friends are busy, Kate's totally slammed with rehearsals, and my folks are balking at making a long trip in cold weather. Man. There's a decent-sized chance my first day of being 26 is going to suck.

On the upside, some of the old green stuff showed up in my mailbox this weekend. This is one of those times it's good to be a freelancer: payday is playday. Time for some upgrades.