Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

December 2004 Archives

Slightly funny postscript.

I'm sitting here in Seattle's in downtown Wooster, where I came first thing this morning to start scouring the web for info on Laura. We just found out she's OK, and as a result I'm sitting here with my first-ever decaf coffee in my hand.

This one's for you, chica.

Two for two!

I just got word that Laura checked in with the US Consulate at 4AM our time. She's fine -- shaken but fine. Now I'm just waiting to hear from her.

Thank you, Lord, for answering our prayers. This is the best Christmas present I could have ever hoped for.


One down, one to go.

No sooner did I post that, then I swung by Shana's weblog and saw that she was OK. Whew. OK, so half of my missing friends are okay, and we're on high watch duty for the other one. Please keep Laura in your prayers, OK?

Prayers requested.

Hey, all. I know some of you aren't of the praying variety, but for those of you that are, please extend your prayers for Shana West and Laura Thomas, two of my friends who were in Thailand this morning when the disaster struck. Neither of them has been heard from yet, as far as I know. Please, please keep them in your prayers.



Yesterday, my friend Sara was horrified – horrified – that my Christmas shopping wasn't finished. In fact, I had barely even started it. In fact, I hadn't bought a single thing. She was also appalled that I wasn't that stressed out about it.

Today, I did my Christmas shopping. All of it. Granted, there was one thing which I could not find and will have to replace with something else, and there's one thing I'll need to pick up on my way home, but everything else was bought today. Further, I've gotta say that kicks some serious ass. One of my Christmas presents needed to be shipped to New York, which wasn't a concern, but another needed to be shipped to Japan. This, of course, gave me pause. My attempts to browse were unsuccessful, and besides, what I wanted to send wasn't something that I really wanted to be in Japanese. I fretted about how much it would cost to ship, about what kinds of importation nightmares such a thing could suffer, etc. But no – I popped onto Amazon to see what would happen if I entered Japan as the receiving country, and it didn't even blink. Further, the shipping wasn't even that expensive, and after the Amazon discount on the thing, the price came about to almost as much as if I'd bought it at the mall and handed it to the recipient myself. I'm floored, and utterly tickled.

Now, before y'all start resenting my sorry butt for having such an easy time of my Christmas shopping, know that today wasn't a paragon of organization by a long shot. I hit one store twice, two different Best Buys three times, Target three times, and drove in and out of Evanston at least twice, and probably three times. (I know I hit Skokie at least three times.) Further, I am ashamed to admit that my Christmas cards will all have American flag stamps on 'em, because the grocery store didn't have Christmas stamps and the Post Office, in yet another staggering display of willful carelessness, doesn't offer extended holiday hours. Still, I'm now bunkered down in front of the TV with a pile of packages and a mountain of gift wrap, settling in for a long night of wrapping and packing so I can hit the highway for Ohio tomorrow.

On the very sizeable chance that I don't get a chance to post again before the big day, I wish each and every last one of you a very Merry Christmas, or a slightly belated Happy Hanukkah, and a truly Happy New Year. It's been a real tempest of a year, what with the moving and all the crazy projects and whatnot. I'll probably pop back online to post some kind of year-in-review wrap-up between Christmas and New Year's, to highlight the lunacy that was 2004. Until then, be good, be happy, and most of all, be safe!

The Day Things Get Done.

I have officially declared today The Day Things Get Done, wherein I will finish a whole pile of little projects and get them all out of my hair. This includes things like client gigs, Christmas cards, Christmas shopping, etc. I was feeling overwhelmed until I read this interview with comics author Grant Morrison, wherein Mr. Morrison says the following:

I like to work a lot and try lots of different things. This year I've written a screenplay for a Dreamworks movie, a 300-page novel, a game script for the upcoming Predator: Concrete Jungle release, 40 comic books, several movie pitches and a bunch of other stuff. I've even been asked to script a theme park thrill ride.
Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick...


Publisher-driven advertising?

There's a fascinating article in the January MIT Technology Review called "A New Idea for Publishing", in which John Battelle suggests a system by which publishers can pick and choose from an array of advertisers. Definitely worth future research.


Inkblots job offerings. Kinda.

If you're a friend of mine who reads this weblog and has some time and initiative, I'm rapidly coming to realize that I simply can't run the new Inkblots as a one-person shop. If you want to join our new rapidly-forming editorial board, email me with a pitch – your would-be job title and description. Positions are unpaid, since this is a labor of love, but it looks good on a resume nevertheless. (That, and it's a cool project.)

I'm really quite open at this point. If there's something that you think we should add to the mix, something we should do differently, or something (or someone) that you think we should publish/interview/draft, etc., let me know!

Gut-reaction: oxymoronic.

I would actually really like the phrase "Microsoft Design" to not be an oxymoron. For the purposes of the democratization of great design and the global imporvement of the quality of life that should result, the notion that the world's biggest software company (and most pervasive) could also become a leader in that particular mission is inspiring, but that doesn't seem bloody likely. Still, they're trending upwards lately – the SPOT watch, for example, is something that, if done right, could be insanely cool. It's the "getting it right" part that's nigh impossible.

On birthdays.

While I was either away or lost in The Seas of Busy, Mike Davidson turned 30, I turned 27 and my friend and Inkblots alum Emily Anne Leachman also turned... Um... Something.

Personally, I feel like 27 is going to be the beginning of my Golden Age. I don't know why, but I seriously feel that a number of things are percolating more and more rapidly now, like a crescendo is building. To which I say, "Bring it on." Lock and load and rock and roll!

When I redesign, I'm adding a sideblog.

Despite the fact that the headline directly contradicts what Greg is talking about in this article, this is exactly the kind of thing I'd throw into a nice little sideblog there on the side of this here enterprise – Greg Storey's Airbag hopefully predicts 2005 will kick off the Bronze Age of Web Design.

I don't know if that's necessarily true, or not, but his thoughts there directly tie into a new Miscellany essay I just posted over at, "On Middlepublishing". The idea here is still sort of nebulous, but there's a lot of chatter in the channel lately about the advantages of people playing an editorial role in the creation of webzines and acting as cultural filters. My thought in the essay is that the notion of "micropublishing" has been thoroughly co-opted by weblogging, and therefore the existence of sites like Inkblots, where one person (or a crew of people, in our next incarnation) is responsible for the editorial responsibility of collecting and presenting the best stuff they've found lately. This is nothing new – zines have always claimed this as their charter – but I'm kicking around the idea of what it would take to create an engine for that particular feature, and a bazaar for middlepublishers to browse for new talent.

These are the things I think about when I'm not working or playing World of WarCraft or doing Christmas Cards or working on my novel or applying to grad school... Maybe my first resolution for 2005 should be simplify.

Update! It took a little while, but as of Super Bowl Sunday 2005, the sideblog has been added, as well as a host of other little features. Success!

Coming Late to the Party: The Postal Service.

So my coolhunting in music usually goes like this: I'll pick up on references to a band that show up in other media in context with someone or something that I already like. Lately, the electronipop group The Postal Service has been popping up all over the periphery of my radar, and when the inestimable Molly Wright Steenson posted the lyrics to their song "Such Great Heights", I knew I had to check them out for myself.

Wow. I am appropriately amazed.

This is almost exactly the kind of stuff I want to start monkeying with when I start my band. Probably more actual instruments, but some of the same flavor. Check out MP3s and music videos right over here. Incidentally, the video for "Such Great Heights" is nothing like what I would have pictured in my mind, but it has a cool Michel Gondry feeling to it slightly reminiscent of what he did for The Chemical Brothers. Nifty.


Although I'm not a huge D.C. fan...

Man, I wish this poster wasn't sold out.

Carrie rocks the house.

My old friend and Inkblots alum Carrie Spritzer, soon to be Carrie Spritzer Leyba (or Spritzer-Leyba, not sure exactly) has just launched a new photoblog which is the perfect showcase for her stunning photography skills. Check it out!

(And I say all this despite the fact that this here little weblog didn't make her blogs list. Ahem.)

Griffin Technologies' RadioSHARK: one slick little device.

So it's not quite as cool as the idea of "TiVo for radio" makes it sound, but the RadioSHARK from GriffinTechnology is pretty dang nifty nevertheless. There are all kinds of schnazzy little things I'm imagining could be done with this, but I refrain from ruminating about them here due to their somewhat fuzzy legal nature.

Oh, fine. (Manifesto!)

Theoretically, one could combine the RadioSHARK with some weblogging software to do a "Post to Weblog" bookmarklet for radio. I could have my RadioSHARK playing in the background, hear something I like, and bing-bang-boom, have an MP3 on my site of the clip in question. The difficulty of such an idea is increased exponentially by Griffin's failure to make the RadioSHARK software AppleScriptable, but theoretically it could still be done.

Personally, I'm simply thrilled that I now have a radio tuner piping through my computer speakers that doesn't require a web browser or whatnot. I now have presets, which is something I've always wanted in a regular radio, and I can pause the radio if I need to pop out to the kitchen while listening to NPR.

One thing I haven't figured out yet – and I actually don't think is possible – is how to cross-breed the RadioSHARK with AirTunes, thus enabling me to transmit the radio signal to the living room. (It's a moot point, actually, since there's already a radio in the living room, but you understand the idea.) Further, I wonder when or if Apple will ever conquer the problem of signal delay and asynchronization, which is (I'm sure) what's holding up the idea of piping your music through multiple AirPort stations. I can't wait for that – my friend Jessica Edwards' parents' house was wired for sound, with speakers upstairs and down all playing the same station and controllable from the kitchen, and I thought that was about the slickest thing ever. Oh, I'm sure it could be done much simpler and cheaper by just using multiple radios, but hey, this is me.

Also. Whoever figures out how to control iTunes using a Treo 650 and those wireless drivers wins The Big Cookie. Hmm. Now THERE'S a project...

That 650 WiFi driver.

For those of you looking for it, the driver is downloadable here.


Boxing Rings.

So The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Extended Edition came out this week, and like a good little moron I put it on my Christmas list, so I can't rush out and buy it. Which is too bad, because I'd like to have something to watch while I'm reinstalling Mac OS X 10.3.4 on Magellan, and given my previous experiences, four hours sounds just about right. When I do get my grubby little paws on it, though, I will certainly also order one of these Lord of the Rings DVD Premium Slipcases from New Line. This is a great thing: I was at Target yesterday picking up some Christmas lights and I saw they were selling the boxed collection of all three Extended Editions, and there's just something about having all three in one big box that makes it feel that much cooler. And, hey, it's three bucks.

What I'm not as excited about, though, is the big huge 12-disc megacollection of The Matrix. I'm stoked to sit down and watch all three extended editions back-to-back (which will be twelve hours of LOTR goodness right there... Wow. Order pizzas and an IV drip) but I tried watching all three Matrices back to back once, and it just didn't fly. No pun intended.

Ah, Christmas 2004. It's good to be a media dork.

Not funny ha-ha, funny... Well, not funny at all, really.

Isn't it funny how computers will decide to curl up their toes and die at the most inopportune moments? And by funny, I don't mean Abbott-and-Costello funny, I mean tear-my-hair-out-and-gouge-out-my-eyes funny. That kind of funny.

For some reason, Magellan (my G5) has decided to pop up a "Connect to the file server" dialog whenever I attempt to open a new window. I suspect I know why it's doing it – assuming that most of the time I would be working with my laptop close at hand, I set a few of my most-used folders from Copernicus/Constantine (my laptop has been having an identity crisis latelY) into the 'bookmarked' area at the left side of the file browser window. Alas! Now, for some uncomprehensible reason, even when the laptop is sitting beside it and happily waiting with open arms for a connection, the machine chokes and dies with the eternal spinning beachball of death. This makes no sense to me, and this is so not the time for this.

Further, as per Murphy's law, the forums at are offline, which is horrible because that's where most of the Really Good Support is to be found. Person X will post something saying, "Allo, I have Problem Y," and Support Person Z will pop up and say, "Ah, there's no trouble, try Solution Z+1", and a good chunk of the time, everything's nice and sorted out. Now that they're gone, it's become pretty clear how anemic the Support page at Apple has truly become. Gone are the halycon days of, the Tech Info Library which used to be such a wonderful resource. Now I'm left sitting here, fuming and scowling and waiting for the reboot that never comes while the damn beachball of death spins on, and wondering whether the Apple people are scrambling to get the Discussions back online because it looks really pretty awful for anyone considering buying a Mac for Christmas to be unable to get any real substantive support, or if perhaps this whole thing isn't some Orwellian, Machiavellian scheme to make it seem like Macs have no problems at all.

My family, for example, was seriously considering investing in a new iMac to get some family members sans email online. At the moment, I think I'd recommend buying a nice toaster oven instead.

Fie, robots! Fie!

Now there's an idea...

I came across The Basecamp Manifesto the other day and immediately thought, "I should write one of these." The Inkblots Manifesto. The Dreamsbay Manifesto. The Tohubohu Manifesto.

Of course, if Bill and I are already on government watchlists for our continuing political rants, I suppose writing any 'manifesto' at all would probably result in a one-way ticket to the lovely Guantanamo Bay Resort and Torture Center.


Manifesto, manifesto, manifesto!


The physics of online literature.

From the MIT Technology Review: Physics Model Predicts Book Sales. This is a little bizarre, but it makes perfect sense, considering things like The Virtual Book Tour, which had its sixth outing while I was away. Hey, Kevin – jump on this.

Kottke on webzines.

I'm a little disappointed that Inkblots didn't make the list, but given our current erratic publishing schedule, maybe people think we're dead, and thus didn't mention us on this thread about web magazines at Posted more for my own reference in the future, but there's a bunch of possibilities on that list.

Shooting straight to the tip-top of my bragging rights.

Remember that new fancy site I built for my friend Andy Rozsa? I was chatting with him this morning on IM, and he said this:

i'm resuming work as a composer again, actually. An old OLO friend saw the website, heard my work, played it for her boss.... And lo and behold, i'm composer-in-residence next year at a magnet school in New Mexico!
Yes, friends – you too can have your life changed by the creation of a Dreamsbay site! Step right up! Operators are standing by!


I have the coolest people on my Christmas card list. (Possibly NSFW, depending on how cranky your workplace is.)


Bear with me -- life is nuts.

This last week has been, and the next week will be, absolutely and utterly insane. Today, for instance, I'm driving from Chicago to New York, and then from New York to Boston on Monday. There's an open house at a grad school program I really like up there, and things have worked out so that I can spend my birthday with three of my closest family – my folks and one of my oldest, dearest friends. Also, in a bizarre twist of fate, this will be the second year in a row that I'll be spending my birthday in New York City. The world, it conspires against me sometimes.

I have all sorts of things in the queue, all in various stages of launch. For instance, I've been reworking the 'poetry' section of to reflect two new ideas, include seven or more new poems, and include mp3s of me reading each poem. I'm also updating the site to include my involvement with Tohubohu and CollaborationTown, and two new concept essays. Parts of this are live (updated 'about' section, concept essays, a handful of poems), and all of it should be ready to roll sometime this week, as well as a couple of sizable client projects. Right now, though, I have to hit the highway. Wish me luck!


Holy smokes.

A quick post here to spread this hot news: Screening Process, the short film I produced for Tohubohu Productions, made the finals. We're one of the top 15 short films in the country.

Ho. Lee. Smokes. Hollywood, here we come.

Comments are off again.

After another thirteen thousand comments appeared on this weblog in the last two weeks, I've yanked the comments again. Now they've found Ken's weblog too, and things are getting out of hand. Here's the trouble: I have my archives almost ready to make the switch, but I need a good solid couple of hours to remake the templates and figure out how in the hell to make the switch for everything over to the new system. I have an idea as to how I want to do it, but it's still a little iffy.

What's truly at issue here is that I have many, many other things to do that are of a way higher priority than this, and time is slipping away like I wouldn't believe. How in the world did it get to be December already?

I have a couple of longer posts brewing, which will go into detail over where I've been for the last couple of weeks and what's going on with some of my serious new enterprises, but I think I'm going to hold off on those until I make the switch to MT3. Stay tuned.