( For the record, I’m still developing “Calliope’s Book”. Look for updates later this year. )
Book of Days
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The color, print, and paper quality are terrific, deviantART did a nice job packaging them for shipping, and you’ll note that Calliope now possesses all of her many, many knees.
They work well together, don’t you think?
(I’m seriously considering ordering some 20″ x 30″ versions — just to see how they’d look. At that scale, the print quality should still be above 300dpi.)
“As he turned to flee, the whistling of valves emitted by the floating machine broke to a melody of long bass notes…”
After exploring Google AdWords more extensively in the last few weeks, I’ve realized that you have to be quite careful about choosing keywords which match the content of the website being advertised.
In my first advertising experiments, I tried to generate interest in viewers by employing curious phrases (nothing ever as brilliant as platypus dirigible, though!). These first ads attracted clicks, but since the visitors weren’t looking for Castle Mountain or Lighthouse + Airship when they googled for information about cat health, none of them came back after the initial visit.
In retrospect, that is an obvious outcome. However, my focus at the time was to entice anyone to visit the website, rather than enticing people who love daily sketches of cats and adventure to visit the website. Recent efforts were more finely tuned, but writing copy and choosing keywords that reach just the right people is a difficult, subtle thing — an art in its own right and one that demands a lot of attention.
I wonder who usually handles such things for artists? Art promoters? Artist’s agents? There must be someone out there.
“The light was blinding. There was a great whistle and chatter — as though a hundred steam engines were running fast and close — and the floor seemed to tremble beneath his feet.”
Update: It just struck me that today’s dramatic sketch unintentionally mirrors religious imagery depicting a divine being’s interaction with — or focus on — earth-bound mortals. (In the west, at least, there’s a near-reflexive tendency to read the top of a vertically-oriented image as “up” or “sky” and the bottom as “down” or “ground” — I imagine the same holds true wherever gravity is practiced).
(It’s not an entirely inappropriate association in this case. If you’re a child obsessed with engineering and machinery and you encounter an ancient entity exhibiting some sign of these practices, how else would a first encounter appear?)
“Call… Callie? Is that you?”
(Frankly, I am a little surprised the kid is still waiting amid all the pipes and strange machinery. Calliope isn’t exactly known for scouting things out and coming back… at least, not right away. For all he knows, she is enjoying a delicious tuna sandwich back at the homestead.)
My most recent audiobook — Spycraft — was written by Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton. From what I gather, the book concerns itself with the history of the most interesting aspect of the CIA — the gadgets — and their impact on The New Great Game. Thus far, it’s interesting, but quite dry.
After falling asleep with the audio running last night, I dreamed of making a dead drop somewhere in Russia with KGB agents right on my trail. They caught me, of course. They had dogs. Thankfully, I woke before they left me to the tender mercies of Lubyanka.
“She flew endlessly over a spoken sea of secret language…”
This is the kind of thing that occurs when you jump into a flying cube. Let that be a lesson to you, Calliope.
Meanwhile, I am struggling to decide whether I want to purchase a new Canon Pixma Pro 9000… or some other printer which is fairly durable, produces high-quality output, and doesn’t suffer from clogging issues. According to the Amazon reviews, the only major downside to the Pro 9000 are Canon’s typically half-baked drivers — which apparently prevent it from handling custom paper sizes, provide misleading ink level information, and disallow borderless output on some types of paper.
“Close enough to catch!”
Time to upgrade WordPress — again. The updates are coming so fast that I’m considering putting the whole site into git and automating updates through Capistrano. The amount of time saved could be quite significant — which becomes ever more important as the end of the year approaches.
With respect to Calliope’s Book: Being an amateur story-teller, I possess only a rough idea of where the current situation is headed. Engaging in inexpensive exploration — like sketching — seems a good way to feel things out, but requires the audience to accept the possibility of changes along the way. I like Linus Pauling’s viewpoint in these matters: “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.” I hope that’s agreeable.
“The cube seemed to float ever closer…”
While sorting awful attic books the other day, I kept myself sane by listening to Vernor Vinge’s Fast Times at Fairmont High. This neat little story takes place in the same setting and parallel to the events in Rainbow’s End. On reflection, it may even reveal the cause of some of the events in the latter novel.
If you’d like to sample some of Vinge’s ideas, I recommend that you listen to the speech he gave last year as part of The Long Now Foundation’s Seminars About Long-term Thinking. The speech centers on the concept of ‘failed singularities’ but goes into some of the details of the afore-mentioned books, as well. As usual for Vinge, the ideas are gargantuan and wonderfully compelling.