March 2009
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Month March 2009

This Is What Happens


…when you make captains of cats.

Trees Grow On Home

This illustration depicts a small forest of twisting trees. Attached to the trees are little houses which are elevated just off the plane of the trees. The underlying shadows create a three-dimensional effect.

Finished reading Tatja Grimm’s World over the weekend. In case you’re curious, reading it through the Amazon Kindle app on the iPhone/iPod Touch was actually quite pleasant. The user interface eventually fades to the background and it’s as though you’re holding a small book.

My Tiny Unseen House

This illustration depicts a large treehouse -- complete with stovepipe. The facade of the house features a great circular window through which an owl is peeking, as well as a door. Another owl stands on the roof of the house.

Spent a good portion of the weekend up in a hot attic, playing reverse-Tetris with several filing cabinets, a headboard, and at least one defunct baseboard heater.

Not recommended — unless there’s a rumor of treasure, of course.

Speaking of treasure: the other day, I ran across a mention of Letterboxing. In this practice, participants provide clues and riddles that point the way to hidden waterproof caches containing a notebook and a stamp. If that sounds intriguing, you may find more details at Atlas Quest and Letterboxing North America.

Geocaching is a similar practice — differing only in the typical cache procedures and the requirement of a GPS device.

Both activities all but guarantee adventure — in addition to the development of certain important skills. For example, the proper use of dead drops.

Everyone should know how to use a dead drop.

Landings VI

This illustration places the viewer at the end of a large airdock. In the foreground, a man is holding signaling paddles in a configuration intended to convey the presence of crosswinds and alignment to the pilots of an airship in the distance. Below the airship, a train of signal flags is being tossed about in the wind.

The world needs more airships.

The League Of Disreputable Office Animals


They threw a party — a party with snacks, drinks, smoke sticks, and gambling — and told none of us!

From left to right: Angus (drink tester and erstwhile leader), Lucky (lucky), Project Glowyrm (official snack laserer), The Mache Giraffe (taking meeting minutes), Outlaw Cat (treasurer).

(Had the idea for this piece a few weeks ago. It’s nice to finally see it realized.)

She, Her Cat, and Storms


Taking a little break from illustrating The Endless City.

Today, Amazon released an e-book reader for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It’s free and seems to work pretty well.

Of course, I immediately purchased a copy of Vernor Vinge’s Tatja Grimm’s World. In spite of the annoying and awful DRM applied to the e-book version, this collection of stories is one of my favorites — not only because of the setting, but because Tatja Grimm’s World features one of Paul Lehr’s best cover paintings.

Today’s sketch is a response to that painting. Whenever I see those distant sea stacks, I imagine someone gazing outward atop them.

Update 2009-03-05: I’ve heard some reports that typeface selection is up to the publisher of each Kindle e-book — so there’s some potential for disaster. The typeface used in TGW is pretty easy on the eyes. It looks like Century Schoolbook.

The New Pornographers – Letter From An Occupant

Speaking of voices… how about Neko Case?

Placing The Call


Yesterday, when I wrote “re-reading” Bellwether, I really meant “listening to Bellwether as narrated by Kate Reading” — for audiobooks are one of my favorite avenues of ingesting books anew.

Today, I was surprised to discover Kate Reading is a pseudonym used by actress Jennifer Mendenhall. She apparently grew up in England — which might explain her fantastically nuanced voice — and has narrated dozens of books over the last twenty years. Mind-boggling.

Back to the races, I guess.

You Know Who You Are

This one goes out to the people watchers in the audience (via MetaFilter).

Especially For Catbot


March is looking like another difficult month for yours truly. Can’t say much more on the subject right now, but posting frequency and regularity may be slightly random for the duration. Your patience is appreciated.

Started reading another book by one of my favorite authors this week: Bellwether by Connie Willis. I’ve read it before, but good books are like a known refuge and secret redoubt: always ready to furnish shelter and relief when enemies press the gates.