Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

June 2005 Archives

The return of Statler and Waldorf!

I couldn't get the movie to work, alas, but maybe you'll have better luck: watch Muppet cranks Statler & Waldorf as they review recent trailers on


Desperately yearning for a Finishing Season.

So I'm staring at the calendar and at my to-do list and counting down the days until classes start. Lately I've been in a high stress place, a perpetual "fight or flight" mindset brought on by desperately wanting to get a bunch of my old side projects finished up and out the door so I can have at least a little time this summer when I can sit on the beach and think, "Wow, I have nothing to do" – and mean it. It seems unlikely, but everything for me right now is a form of finishing season. It's like I'm closing up shop on this stage of my life and getting ready to go barrelling into the next one. Those parts of my life that are coming with me – Inkblots, Untyped, Tohubohu, and Dreamsbay in some form or another – are all being polished up in some way, shape or form so that they can continue on with reduced involvement from yours truly. I'm finishing client projects, tidying up paperwork, and all that jazz – but right now I'm about a third to halfway though most of it, and I'm just desperate to be done. That "fight or flight" response in the sympathetic parts of my brain is wearing me out.

Anyone who knows HTML, Flash and some basic PHP that wants to throw me a hand, speak up now, please!


On Tom Cruise.

Does anybody else find Tom Cruise's recent wholehearted embrace of romance and honesty completely and utterly refreshing?

First it's the whole Katie Holmes thing – and it's a little odd to see Tom Cruise courting a girl who is, I believe, younger than I am – and his meltdown on Oprah. Jumping on couches, falling to his knees, the guy's lovestruck, and I for one am hugely happy for the guy. I want to believe it's not an act. I've been there before, I know how it feels to be head over heels for someone, and I'm happy to see it when it happens. I find myself wondering at all the cynics rolling their eyes – yeah, we've seen celebrity couples hook up for the good of their careers before, but isn't it more fun to believe in romance?

And now there's the whole face-off with Matt Lauer. Man, I wish I'd seen that. These smug talk show hosts who are just reading from cue cards and have no idea what they're talking about most of the time need to be schooled on their arrogance. While I'm no scientologist, I love the idea of Cruise laying the smack down when he's being pooh-poohed by someone whose only knowledge of the subject probably came off the index card he was handed five minutes before air time. I would have loved to see Cruise commandeer the rest of the segment to lecture Lauer with hard data. Crack open the whole twelve-pack of whoop-ass, Tom, not just a single can.

Some people are crying that this is the end of Cruise's career. Malarkey. I hope it isn't scripted, because this kind of honesty (if it is honesty) is snapping my perception of him out of "oh, ho hum, it's Tom Cruise, I know exactly what to expect from Mr. Prettyboy" into "holy cow, Tom, tell it like it is!" I can't wait to see what he does next, and I'll bet that most of America feels the same way.


I am the Bell Curve.
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New design tech support.

OK, the new design is just about ready for prime time. I know there are some issues with the top nav not showing up in IE for the PC and there's a little space in the subpage nav there in the top left on the PC as well – both of which are issues with IE sucking – but if anybody else is having problems, this is the thread to comment in. (Shannon, I'm moving your comment over here, OK? I'd rather not have that post about my Dad cluttered up with tech support issues. :) )


Happy Father's Day, Dad.
The Long men in Paris, circa 1999.

I don't tell him often enough, but my Dad rocks. Somehow he always knew just the right combination of insightful advice and laissez-faire, "let him figure it out on his own" type of guidance to keep me on the right path growing up without my ever resenting him or feeling the need to rebel. I still look up to my Dad, turn to him for advice and thoroughly enjoy the time we spend together talking about cars, business or life in general. Here's to you, Dad. Happy Father's Day.

Why does Batman have pupils?

I have not yet seen Batman Begins – some friends of mine and I are going to see it in IMAX this week – but I've been following the previews and the buzz pretty closely, and I'm thoroughly looking forward to this. I was a big fan of Tim Burton's Batman back in 1989, and I remember hoping against hope that the Schumacher films wouldn't suck as badly as they did. To be fair, I still enjoy Jim Carrey as The Riddler, but Batman and Robin was such utter excrement that I can barely watch Batman Forever without wincing in anticipation. I definitely prefer the Frank Miller dark-and-gritty Batman (which Burton used) to the bright-and-cheery Batman of the 1950s (which Schumacher abused).

Wow, I think I just outed myself as a bigger comic book geek than I usually let on around here. :)

Anyway, something's been bugging me for the last couple of movies. Batman shouldn't have pupils. In the comics and the cartoons, One of the hallmarks of Batman's costume is the plain white eyes. While I appreciate that eyes are the most expressive element on a character, and it's impossible to widen the eye holes on a real-life cowl the way they do in the comics, there's also a reason people wear sunglasses to avoid being recognized – the eyes are the most recognizable part of a person. You can't tell me Katie Holmes wouldn't recognize Christian Bale in that getup... At least not without blocking the eyes.

Also, the eye screens in the Batsuit would allow for certain heads-up display capabilities, something they get into in the comics and cartoons all the time. There's a great new article over at on how the Batsuit works, which shows that the new movie's costume designers put a lot of serious effort into figuring out how a real-life Bruce Wayne would build a custom suit of armor, and I have a hard time believing that he wouldn't want something that important in his arsenal, or the extra added protection of his identity.

To illustrate, I've done a quick Photoshop hack. Observe. First, the original:


And now my more "comic-accurate" version:

Batman, Edited

As is plainly evident here in Figure 2, Batman looks a little stranger with the triangular plain white eyes, but at the same time he looks more alien and less like a dork in an expensive Halloween costume. See? Batman shouldn't have pupils. Aside from Robin, of course.


Woot! AJAX!

OK, so I had a major headache getting this to work, and I'm still not entirely certain what the problem was, but regardless, I now have the OpenRico accordion trick up and running here on the lefthand sidebar of my main weblog page. Mostly. The bottom tab, the ever-neglected 'Personal Improvement' tab, has some issues with leaving white blocks in its wake when opened and closed, which I suspect has to do with the AJAX/DHTML not knowing quite what to do with the Flash widgets yet. (Either that or I inadvertently hosed something, which is entirely possible.)

Still! I'm tickled that this widget is finally working, albeit probably again only in the most modern browsers. (Mom and Dad, ditch the AOL browser and use Safari. Trust me on this one.) The Gravatar icons aren't showing up yet – not sure how long that'll take to go through – and I still need to polish the archive navigation system, but still – I'm getting close to done!


New feature list!

A big thanks to all of you who have stopped by today to watch the development go down here in real time. In the last day-and-a-half I've added sIFR titles to each post (these pages now only use two graphics plus the Flickr photoblog, no kidding), moved the sidebars around, brought back the archives, polished the permalink/comments pages, added relative dating to the posts, added author-sensitive styling to the comments (mine now show up in blue), and added Gravatar support (I think; both my Gravatar and Bill's are still pending approval).

It's still not quite done yet – the archive main page still needs reworking and I'd still like to get this AJAX thing working there to the side of the homepage – but for the most part it's been a pretty productive period here. With luck I can extend these changes over to Ken's and the new weblogs this weekend... Maybe. :)


OK, my gentle readers, I'm most of the way to where I want to be with these upgrades, but I'm not all the way there yet. The concept here is that I'm using Tip of the Quill as a guinea pig for the expansions before I roll them out to Ken's weblog, the 3+ new weblogs I'm adding (!), and eventually to the rest of the site as well. Mwa. Ha. Ha.

In the meantime, all y'all who normally comment on my stuff here, please take two minutes and sign up for a Gravatar. I'm going to be tackling the comments pages next, and it'll be a big help if I can get you guys in on the next test. Thanks! (Carrie, Laura, Ken, Noel, Talon, Bill – I'm looking at you here, guys!)


Is there an AJAX guru in the house?

OK, so I'm trying to install the OpenRico accordion trick to the lower left component of this page, but I'm not having any luck. It works fine on their demo page, so I'm not sure what I'm missing. Are there any AJAX wonks in the house that could throw me a bone here? Please?

Is this thing on?

Just trying something out. Move along, there's nothing to see here.

Dust, radio silence, and recent events.

So things around here are going to be covered in sawdust for the next little while. I'm making some sorely-needed upgrades to a bunch of different things, moving some stuff around, and conducting a couple of experiments.

Things lately have been crazy busy (what else is new, right?) what with my five-year college reunion three weekends ago, then my friend Mike getting married two weekends ago, and then my friend Courtney from D.C. coming in to visit last weekend. Whoof! Much fun has been had, but it's also thrown a spanner into my plans to get some of these upgrades done. Now I think I may have a little breathing room for the next day or so, so I'm going to tackle this stuff again. Once I get the new features in place, I'll make some more leisurely (and detailed) weblog posts, I promise. Stay tuned!


Funny, it seems a little early in the season for 'sweltering'.

Omigod, it's 5:30 PM and 91 degrees in Chicago, and my big computer rig is in the part of the apartmenty the furthest away from my air conditioner. I'd move the air conditioner but I think the combination of that sucker's power draw and the big rig would blow a major fuse. Fark.

Guess there's nothing to do but slack, sweat and go on an ice cream run, huh? :D


Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

I'm posting this courtesy of Puck, my Treo 650. (Yes, Tom, I know it's also the name of your Mac Mini, but anyone who's ever held a Treo will appreciate the name.) I just crossed the state line into Michigan, and as a native Ohioan I once again have that unsettling feeling of being a Palestinian walking through Israel. Or vice versa, take your pick. Either way, this is where the world ends.

Ah, Michigan. Boooo. :-)

(And to Laura, Em, Mark, Erin, Mike, Andrea and my other friends in Michigan, I love you guys. Now please move.)

Reunions, animations, weddings, and other chaos.

Damn, this week has been nuts. Last weekend was my five-year reunion at Kenyon College, which was amazing. It was fantastic to see everyone again, and also a little mindblowing. It had the twin effects of showing me how far we've all come and also that it's really only been five years. I met up with a ton of old friends, made some closer friends out of folks whom I wasn't intimately close with back in the day but whose life trajectories have been eerily similar to my own in the last half-decade, and laid soem plans for this fall. A wonderful trip. Photos are up on Flickr right over here.

We rolled back into town late Monday night, and now today I have to roll out for Grand Rapids, Michigan (aka "Grandrapidstan") for the wedding of Mike DiMuzio. This is going to be an awesome weekend, but damn does it make for a short week – which is slightly problematic, given my insane to-do list. However, one does what one can. And, in the three-day week that it's been, I could and did do this: Jewel Stout Voice Over.

You'll need Flash to view it (which might rule your sorry antique browser out, Mom and Dad) but it's a doozy. Usually voice sites have four or five animated elements – the most complicated one to date had maybe fifteen. This one has two hundred and eighty-four, and took fifteen hours to animate in Flash. Bleargh. The results are staggeringly beautiful, but damn, I wish that hadn't been a flat-bid gig.

Right. Tons of things in the web world worth commenting on, all of which have been posted there to the left. There are other things in the universe also much worth commenting on, but I don't have much time before I have to climb in the Taurus and roll, so they'll have to wait until next week. Be good to each other!

OH! I almost forgot – all of you who are working on Inkblots stuff for me, can you pleasepleaseplease send that along this weekend? I know it's an arbitrary deadline, but I'd love to get this bad boy out the door. And if any of you want to play but haven't pitched me an idea or sent stuff in yet, now's the time! The summer 2005 edition is right around the corner. :)


So I apparently have a thing for doctors.

This morning I was crusing through my calendar and found that one of my exes, Amanda Kost, has her birthday coming up on Friday. Now, Apple has a new feature where Address Book can feed birthdays straight to iCal, so I started to update her entry and realized that I didn't know what her new name was, since she got married earlier this year. (And yes, it's still distinctly odd to have your exes get married.) So I popped over to her weblog, where I discovered two things: one, that I think she kept her maiden name, and two, that as of May 22nd, she is now officially a doctor! I'm really proud of her – this has been her dream as long as I've known her. Now she and her husband, Darren, are moving to Seattle, which is also something that I think we talked about way back in the day. It lookks like the pieces in her life are all coming together, and I couldn't be happier for her. Wow. Dr. Kost, medicine woman. :)