Tag Calliope’s Book

Ever Closer

“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.

A recording is available in MP3 or Ogg Vorbis format.

The Shimmering Cube

“She observed a cube shimmering in the air below.”

I’ve recently gone attic mining. Even if you have an attic — or know where one may be found — there’s a good chance you’ve never ventured into its depths. Rightly so, I say, for there are unseen dangers. I speak, of course, of the awful old books which migrate into the attic when they have finished poisoning the bookshelves in the living room. If there is interest, I shall endeavor to provide examples tomorrow.

There are some small compensations. As it happens, mysterious cases also migrate to attics. Please note the clever camouflage adopted by these fine examples!

Climbing Up

“Calliope climbed onto the narrow pipe…”

(Looks like those empire builders can’t leave their warren of pipes and strange machines alone for a second without a kid and a cat getting all up ins. Apologies for the bad cat anatomy — I know I can do better.)

I’m nearly finished with Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. I think there are some weaknesses to the arguments being made in the last chapter — and that’s really slowing me down. Most of the points he makes in the book seem quite well supported in comparison. More on that later — if there’s time.

Spent a great deal of time last night organizing my dusty collection of old computer parts. It’s ridiculous how such things adhere themselves to one’s person. There was a constant sense of deja vu. I know I’ve placed these parts into boxes before — fully intending to give them away — only to renege in the belief I might need those exact parts one more time. In this way, madness is perpetuated.

(Let’s ignore the fact that I had a legitimate need for a 1.2MB 5.25 floppy disk drive just the other day, shall we?)

Strange Machine

“A strange machine pulsed with power in the room beyond…”

A couple of interesting developments today. If you look at the sidebar, you’ll notice a new link to my profile at inPRNT! — a great site which serves as a point of sale and print fulfillment service for the work of many talented artists.

Last night, I finally finished up revisions to Somewhere, A Home For Me (formerly titled Somewhere There Is a Home For Me). I also completed some small revisions to Calliope’s Book: Stop + Rest. Those changes should be mirrored on deviantART shortly.

I added a hoopty gallery page to the site yesterday, as well. It’s simple, but serves to publicize what I do.

Can you feel it’s going to be a strange week? I can.

Walls of the Temple

A note today to all empire builders: If you leave your ancient temples laying about, then curious children and cats are likely to go within them. Who knows what will happen to them there?

Listening today (off and on) to Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. Thus far, it seems a decent enough book and it’s about time someone conducted a thorough critique of commonly-held notions about the origin of success (particularly in the wake of Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s fascinating Black Swan).

Early in the book, Gladwell puts forth the figure of 10,000 hours as the amount of time needed to fully master a given area of study. That seems about right to me — provided the person “paying their dues” is engaging in the process in a focused way. You can’t master anything if you don’t engage with it whole-heartedly… or, perhaps, whole-headedly.

Just about two years ago, I started doing a daily sketch for the purpose of mastering the creation of art. According to Gladwell, the people who really excel practice their craft approximately 20 hours per week for about 10 years. Right now, I’m putting in about that much time — an hour a day in sketching and between two to four hours almost every night — but it can get pretty spotty when other things take precedence. How much further do I have to go at this pace?

Wait — don’t answer that. I really don’t want to know.

Forest Vignettes

Today’s image tests a concept in which I’m interested. Some may call it cleverness or calculated trickery. I look at it as the most elegant way to state my case.

Speaking of vignettes, let me share something I composed during a recent search for a missing boot!

Wasting no time, the tall man sprang atop a nearby table, overturning crockery and drawing frustrated looks from the seated guests.

“Hold!” he cried. “Do not eat! I fear… we have just consumed the scurvy!”

Yells and shouts of consternation rose from around the room. Attendees dropped their utensils and glared at them minutely — as if suddenly burned by the polished metal. A stout man with a great beard rose angrily to address the source of the ominous warning.

The scurvy! Do you claim we are poisoned, sir?”

“Indeed,” the tall man answered gravely, “we are surely now within its power.

Do you see what reading the books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will do to a man? Do you?

Asleep In Sanctuary

She might be casing the place, admiring the collection of books (cats love books), or simply looking for a good place to nap.

Lanterns — of all sorts — were tramping through my restless dreams all night due to a technology outage caused by a dying tree and some unfortunate power lines. When the repair crews arrived, they brought with them portable stars and auto-saws which imbued restless sleep with restless restlessness.

Uh… Airship! Enemy Airship!

Calliope is demonstrating the universal sign of there-is-a-gargantuan-enemy-airship-getting-ready-to-fire-on-us.

…Or placing a bid in a very interesting auction! Too bad her friend is missing out!

Calliope’s Book : Stop + Rest

Stand clear! Calliope is taking a nap.

Calliope’s Book is a story about a little white cat who lives in a forested world of rusting mechanical chipmunks and shining metal wings.

What’s particularly special about the image?
1. For a digital image, it’s gigantic: 18 x 24 inches @ 600dpi.
2. Like the previous Speed + Time poster, this image contains parasignals.

This poster is now available in my deviantArt store.

Reaching Out

Here’s a little portrait of Calliope with her wing pack.

Not as finished as I would prefer, but a friend and I spent nearly half the lunch hour debating zombie recipes. For what it’s worth: pickled in vinegar and formaldehyde, then baked with lemon pepper seasoning.

That’s the way to go, friends.