March 2009
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Month March 2009

The Five Ages Of The City

This sketch depicts five ages of a fictional city: antediluvian (before the flood), ferroflexic (flexible iron age), altodiluvian (high flood), anazithum (a high age of technology), and finally, cryptic (as the city falls into ruin). The individual stages are illustrated with representative changes to the city's architecture.

A brief, illustrated overview of the city through its ages — from the antediluvian to the cryptic.

We begin in the antediluvian era. The structure of the city is already vast and ancient in this time. The great wall of cyclopean stone which for centuries shielded it from invasion will soon fail before the rising sea, all but erasing the smaller buildings collected within.

In time, the flood waters recede, and the ferroflex era opens. A rebirth of scientific discovery brings forth major advances in all pursuits. Great arcologies are constructed as the population swells.

The city is again flooded in the altodiluvian era. The structure of the city reorganizes toward suspended architecture and wide, tethered bridges which allow passage between the greater inhabited islands.

In the anazithum era, the city descends to the suddenly arid earth, stretching outward and deep beneath the surface to vanishing aquifers. Greater and greater structures are erected — ten to one hundred times the size reached in the ferroflex era.

As the cryptic age dawns, vast portions of the city are abandoned, destroyed, or buried beneath great dunes driven by underground heat currents. War and other upheavals have diminished the population and organized stores of knowledge. This is age of scavengers and the dry flood.

Further Adventures In Geocaching

On Sunday, I went geocaching with some friends at a local park.

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The day was windy and overcast.

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In spite of the damp weather, we were completely absorbed in the discovery of hidden places.

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Though we were confounded on at least one occasion…

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… our persistence eventually paid off.

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A cache of foreign treasure!

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Observe, however, that the way home was not without peril!

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Brain Rock

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After rediscovering it in the backyard yesterday, I felt a strange compulsion to place it upon a pedestal — preferably angular — constructed of meteoric iron.

(All I could find was a wooden stake, though.)

Draft Illustration: Outlaw Cat Goes Fishing

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This is the result of the two hour live painting session from last night. Looking good so far.

Live Painting: Outlaw Cat Goes Fishing

Ran another live painting stream last night at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/catagraphus.

This piece is now almost done! That went pretty quickly — thanks for the company!

(Background audio may include LCD Soundsystem, Justice, Goldfrapp, Thievery Corporation, The Postal Service, Four Tet, Imogen Heap, Portishead, Ulrich Schnauss, Aphex Twin, Dntel, Björk, Moby, Fischerspooner, Stars, Múm, and Underworld.)

Obsession Times Voice

Recently, John Gruber and Merlin Mann recorded a talk concerning how creative individuals might find an audience on the web.

They have a disorienting, rambling, dissembling digressive manner, but nevertheless nailed what makes some websites a joy to follow. Attending to one’s obsession cannot fail to find a receptive audience.

A quote from John Gruber’s — as usual — excellent follow-up article entitled Obsession Times Voice:

No one gets into something like this without an obsession, but if your obsession is with the money, and your revenue is directly correlated to page views, then rather than write or produce anything with any actual merit or integrity, you’ll dance like a monkey and split your articles across multiple “pages” and spend more time ginning up sensational Digg-bait headlines than writing the articles themselves. It’s thievery — not of money, but of readers’ attention.

What’s so great, so amazing, about this racket is that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can obsess over your work, build an audience based on deep mutual respect, and eventually opportunities to earn money from it will present themselves. I don’t know how it works, I only know that it does.

Now That Is A Sandwich

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Left sketchbook, pencil
Left hair uncombed
Saved by the sandwich!

If you haven’t visited Dornick’s blog before, you should go — there’s something wonderful in the consistent combination of prose, poetry, and photography.

While pondering what makes that recipe great, I remembered a website named blackbough.com which held to a similar approach.

During the time Vivian was writing there (and regularly quoting WS Merwin, Susan Musgrave, and Michael Ondaatje — among others) — every entry evoked that particular feeling of introspection and empathy which always seems to accompany intermittent, road-weary letters from a distant friend.

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet black bough.
~ “In a Station of the Metro”, Ezra Pound

Writing and art fold space. One creates context, the other memory. For a moment — in that indefinable space between the ticks of the clock which secure light and perception — we find ourselves crossing all intervening distance, breathing the air of our ghosts.

Sunlight and Friends

The Orange Cat, a little girl, and a chipmunk play cards beneath a tree. In the background, a tower -- the Tower of the Sun on Treasure Island in San Francisco -- rises into the sky.

Procedentes de Observatorio Capricornio

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Here are a few artistamps I designed several years ago. These are the result of a surfeit of graphic design expertise, access to the internet, a decent inkjet printer, and a lot of drooling over the work of Donald Evans and other great mail artists. Some were created specifically for friends or loved ones, some as part of an as-yet-unfinished letter writing kit. Nearly all feature some made-up phrase shoehorned into a romance language. So it goes.

(The individual stamps above — plus a couple of other miscellaneous designs — are available for purchase through Zazzle.com. It’s not a particularly great venue for sales of this sort of thing — individual work gets lost in the background noise — but they do a fairly nice job with custom postage printing.)

The Hidden Garden

Today, some photographs from my most recent geocaching adventure.

The first geocache of the day required me to lurk for awhile in the woods near some wolf pens as muggles idly wandered past with their walking sticks and bicycles. Trying to remain inconspicuous, I adopted the outward guise of a naturalist very concerned with the health of the forest ecosystem.

(Perhaps I was too close to the wolves, though — as time wore on, I found myself watching everyone closely for any sign of weakness or frailty.)

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Some time later, I came to a path littered with the bones of tiny hopes.

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That path eventually (inevitably?) led me to a hidden garden deep in the woods.

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Geocaching will take you to some fascinating secret places — as well as test your cunning. Just be sure to bring snacks if you must linger near wild animals and ambulatory buffets other people for any length of time.

Update 2009-03-25: Here’s a sharpened version of the gravestone image. The dates appear to be 1908 and 1911 (or 1917?). The deterioration — and probably the photography — make the rest of the writing difficult to discern.

Update 2009-05-17: I’ve taken more pictures of wolves recently. Please see All Wolves Must Sleep and You Silent Mirror, You Wolf.