Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

January 2005 Archives

Prayer works.

Anybody else remember that Wired cover story a few years ago with an Apple logo sporting a crown of thorns and the caption, "Pray"? Well, suggests that maybe The Big Guy was listening after all: Hallelujah, the Mac is back.

What's going down.

I figured since things have been quiet as a tomb around here lately, I'd let you all in on what I've been up to. In addition to my usual client work, I've been hammering on a bunch of things – some of which are big, some are small, and others are totally irrelevant.

World of WarCrack

To start with the last category first, I have to say that World of WarCraft from Blizzard Entertainment is an infinitely worse time-sucker than I'd ever imagined. After I finished up a big project in January, which I don't want to discuss too much here, I had a bunch of free time open up which WoW happily gobbled up, and then it demanded more. Ugh. 'Habit-forming' doesn't begin to describe it. On the upside, I think I've now experienced the majority of the general 'feel' of the game, so I think my playing will drop off by quite a bit. Or at least I hope it will. I have a ton of other things I really need to get done, and some fun things I really want to do.

Inkblots 10-Year Anniversary

The very first issue of Inkblots was the Winter 1995 edition. It blows my mind to think that I've been doing this for a decade (albeit with occasionally very long breaks). I've been trying to figure out what to do for our big 10-year anniversary, and the efforts of Derek and Heather in the production of JPG Magazine are inspiring. The trouble is, I don't want such a hefty price tag on whatever we produce. The research is being done, and some phone calls are being made, but just like everything else around here, it's taking longer than I expect.


In February, Warner Brothers is unleashing a vile, evil bastardization of the classic Hellblazer comics – a tacky, cheesy-looking Keanu Reeves (!) vehicle called Constantine. This is one of the worst examples of film people not "getting it" that I've ever seen, but on the bright side it's allowed DC Comics to produce a whole bunch of Hellblazer projects. The best of these was the original graphic novel, Hellblazer: All His Engines, which came out a few weeks ago. For those of you who don't read comics, an original graphic novel (OGN) is essentially the same as a trade paperback, only without the messy step of publishing each chapter as an individual issue. When I got my hands on a copy, I marvelled at how great it was to have a completely self-contained long story in my hands, and how much I'd appreciate the same thing happening again the next month. Which, of course, got me thinking – if a ton of people can successfully pull off 50,000 words in 30 days, would it be possible to write 12 novellas in one year, all starring approximately the same cast? This idea has been bouncing around the back of my head ever since, and if I can figure out how to make the time work out, I might give it a shot – although I suspect the best I'd be able to do would be somewhere between 3 and 6 'issues'. And then there's the question of how to distribute them, and how (and if) they would pay for themselves. All excellent questions.

Tip of the Quill 2.0

One thing I was planning to do today before I got distracted by World of WarCrack was modifying this here weblog to incorporate a bunch of features I've been kicking around in my head. The biggest trouble is space – this design uses a bunch of negative space, and I don't want to surrender that, but there are also definitely things I want to include. I'm not sure exactly how to pull this off, but some kind of Flash widget might be in order. The top 3 things I definitely want to integrate:

  1. Better photo integration
  2. Return of comments
  3. Miniblog for recently-consumed media

I've recently found tools to do some of these things, but they still need work. In addition, I've also been futzing around with sIFR, which feels like it could have some amazing potential. We'll see.

Anyway, that's where I've been and what I'm fiddling with right now. I've got to get some of my long-running projects wrapped up and out the door – once I can clear these out of the queue, I can start working on new stuff again, such as the novel-of-the-month idea. As always, it's a matter of time. And not starting up WarCraft.


The winter of my discontent.

I'm having a "what the heck have I done" moment. The skies opened up last night and dumped 10 inches of snow on Chicago in less than 12 hours. When I look out the window right now, it's white – and I don't know if that's new snow falling or just old snow being whipped up into an army of snow devils by the raging, whistling wind. So far we still have power and Internet, and I went out and bought a ton of groceries yesterday, so I'm all bunkered down and enjoying my nest. If any of you fine readers are in the Chicagoland area, I suggest you make yourself some cocoa and catch up on your TiVo.


Man, sign me up.

If it's true that Fyodor Nesterchuk hasn't slept in 20 years with no negative repurcussions, man, there's a serious opportunity for a breakthrough here. C'mon, you med students, hop to it!

Man, sign me up.

If it's true that Fyodor Nesterchuk hasn't slept in 20 years with no negative repurcussions, man, there's a serious opportunity for a breakthrough here. C'mon, you med students, hop to it!


Who's with me?

OK, check this out. According to the BBC, a 20-year-old American is auctioning off advertising space on his forehead on eBay. For 30 days, the winning bidder will have their slogan, tattoo or whatever tattooed on his forehead. Bids are currently up to about $350 or so at last checking, so there's a very real chance for us to win this sucker. Now the only thing left is to find out whether anyone out there has trademarked "IDIOT"...


Film recommendations from Kevin.

So Kevin sold me on "In Good Company" with only a few words, and then seeing the trailer cinched the deal. I'm so there.

I fall off the Net for two days and all hell breaks loose.

Wow, I can't leave you guys alone for a minute. I took two days off from being online and Six Apart does indeed acquire LiveJournal (with a press release, a FAQ, a professional network introduction, and, of course, numerous weblog posts), Bill Gates calls those of us in the Creative Commons camp communists and the "Commonists" embrace the notion with relish, and Gizmodo both possibly outs the new Apple iHome and scores the interview of the century with Bill "The Red Scare" Gates himself. Man, you cats have been busy.


Tink does such cool work.

My friend Tina does some seriously cool Photoshop work, as evidenced by her new piece, "The Pigs Go Visiting in the City", which she's just posted on Flickr. Creepy, to be sure, but definitely cool nevertheless.

A little something for the kitchen.

I can already tell that my future kitchen will be decorated in art from various coffeehouses I've visited across the country. This piece from Metropolis Coffee in Chicago will certainly make the list, if I can get in there before they all sell out.

Update. I've been to Metropolis several times now, and I've got to say it's one of my favorite coffeeshops in town. They serve great mochas, which are dark and smooth and fantastic, and the baristas do this terrific thing with the froth that turns each cup into art. I did pick up a copy of that print, but the only trouble with it is the paper it's printed on is sort of green. This is kind of a shame, because it's a neat piece of art.

In any case, the place offers great ambience, plenty of seating, a veritable plethora of power outlets (!), free Wi-Fi and even the occasional movie night. This place is my new favorite hangout. Check it out – and if you see me in there, be sure to say hello!

Six Apart assimilating LiveJournal?

So Om Malik has posted a report that Om Malik on Broadband » Six Apart is going to buy Live Journal, and the whole blogosphere is afire with the news. What gets me is that I don't really see the point – if 6A gobbles up the LJ community, the only major advantage I can see would be to use it as a source of revenues, but if they impose stricter pricing or whatever, the backlash could be huge.

On the upside, I would let loose a long, loud, evil cackle if my LJ friends (Aaron, Nick, Aurelia, Ariel, Ryan, SarahScott, Megan, Evangeline, Carol and Judy) are all suddenly brought kicking and screaming into the Movable Type empire. Now, I rather doubt that a 6A/LJ merger would involve LJ suddenly using a TypePad backend, but it's certainly possible.

A better question is, what functionality would this bring to Movable Type / TypePad? Communities? A slightly smoother and more spam-free commenting system (sorry, Jay)? At the moment I'm admittedly at a loss.

Kevin Smokler on Amazon!

How cool is this? My good man Kevin has finished his book and it's now available for purchase at Amazon! Good on ya, Kevin!


What he said.

Josh over at Epistemographer just totally nailed my current malaise. I've been in creative input mode for a while now – although my output has been pretty strong for my freelance work, it's been absolutely laconic when it comes to my writing. Another great New Year's Resolution is to get my arse back in gear that way. As soon as I finish my grad school apps and some client gigs.

Ah, priorities.

Leia, not Leia.

Make Leia the #1 Leia again.

Anything for those hot Texas blogger babes.

Best webcomic of the year.

I can officially say that this Diesel Sweeties is my favorite webcomic of the year so far. That is all.



Wow, that title works in so many ways. First off, we have two new servers up and running, which should help solve some long-running issues on our end. That's not why we've been down lately – that was primarily due to the massive ice storm that rendered huge chunks of Ohio powerless for a week over Christmas. But now we're back, and things are shaping up nicely for a couple of long-running projects. More to share on that in the coming weeks, I'm sure.

That leads me into my New Year's resolutions. Min Jung has a nice list of resolutions, to which I'll add my own:

  • Bring back Inkblots in a new incarnation to celebrate our tenth anniversary
  • Figure out a way for Inkblots to make money
  • Get back in shape without obsessing about it
  • Cook more of my own meals, and eat less fast food
  • Publish some work somewhere other than Inkblots
  • Finish the novel, which I've just realized has another huge chunk of content to be added to the website
  • Reapply to grad school as necessary
  • Carpe more diem
Twenty-seven and 2005 both feel like they're brimming with potential. I guess my main resolution is really make good on that. Onward!