July 2001 Archives

new beetle blue


Just got the car back from Maaco. WOW! I really like the new color. It's New Beetle "Techno Blue." I can see some red here and there -- inside the side mirrors, under the hood, and of course inside the doors. But overall, I think they did a great job. The big surprise is that the car looks different inside too. I guess because the light reflecting off the exterior paint affects the color inside.


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Dear Barbara,

I got the high res images from Lisa. They look wonderful! The pattern in the background is nice. I had to run the "equalize" filter in Photoshop to see it, because the background color is so light. I think it will be nice and subtle on the real box. Also I like the three-dimensional look to the text. It's funny, but that's the kind of thing that I wouldn't like based on its description (3d text in a Victorian design??). But it looks really nice when you actually see it. I can't wait to get the proofs in the mail.

I wrote Lisa about a couple of minor concerns -- Georg's name being too small, and the card images looking flat. Her answers on both points were reassuring. First, she will make Georg's name a bit bigger (though it can't go too much bigger because of the design). Second, the cards shown on the scans she sent me are just FPO (for position only). The cards will look much crisper on the real box & book. I figured that was it, but it's nice to have it confirmed.

She also mentioned that they may not be able to use that pretty border around the cards, because the printer is worried about losing image quality if they reduce the size to make room for the border. She warned me that they might just have a plain white border. That was considerate of her to let me know, but I'm sure she knows my feelings: I'd much, much rather have the best looking images we possibly can, than sacrifice image quality to have a border around them. Besides, I've been looking at them without a decorative border for years. They'll look completely normal to me if they're published that way. I do hope she puts a keyline of some kind around the images. I left some of those edges a bit rough & I think they will look a little neater with a line.

So what's next? Now that the packaging is designed, December (when the cards will be printed) seems a long way off. Is there anything to do in the meantime? I guess the book will be copyedited at some point. Will we get galleys?

first shopping, first accident

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Just got back from a weekend in Asheville, NC. It was a short drive (about three and a half hours each way) but I was pleased by how easy the trip was. This is going to be a great car for distance driving. When we got to the hotel, I thanked undersea mah jongg for the nice drive by running into a concrete wall in the parking lot. Oops! At first I thought I'd gotten away with only a nick in the paint, but the front bumper is visibly warped on the right side. I may not get it repaired. I don't think you'll be able to see it once the carpet is in place.


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Dear Barbara,

The book cover! The box cover!

It's hard to see all the detail in these scans, but what I can see, I love. You're right, Lisa is really good. I like the border around the cards, and the way she put the profile of Victoria inside a little square doodad. It looks much better that way.

Interesting card choices. I'm not surprised that you all wanted the Moon on the outer box -- when I showed the deck to Jim Garrison in Chicago (was that two years ago??) he commented on how much that card has in common with Llewellyn's identity. I think his exact words were "this has to be a Llewellyn deck. It already looks like one!"

The Empress, the Lovers and the 3 of Cups are all good choices too. Those are cards that I think of as "crowd-pleasers": they're pretty and happy, and they're cards that people like to look at. But the 6 of Wands and Justice surprised me. Not because I don't like them -- I do -- but they don't give the viewer a warm fuzzy the way the 3 of Cups does. Justice especially is more complicated and darker, not just visually but conceptually.

I think that's wonderful. Putting a card like Justice on the front of the box will show people that V/R isn't all sweetness and light, pretty corseted ladies dancing and riding bicycles. It will give the impession of a deck with more substance. (of course, now V/R has to live up to that impression!)

There's another reason that I'm very happy Justice is on the front cover. Because that image started out really large: I had to make a copy of a copy to reduce it down enough to fit. That makes the art less crisp than most of the others. I've been a little uneasy all along that Justice was one of the cards that wouldn't reproduce well. But Lisa wouldn't have put it on the front of the box if it hadn't turned out well. And if Justice reproduced well, they all will.

Lisa says she's going to send me better jpegs so I can see the images more clearly. Luckily I have a cable modem so I can receive big files. She says the ivory tint has a pattern in it. I can't wait to see the little details like that, and the pattern around the cards. I wonder if the actual card borders will look like that too?

uh oh, better get maaco

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This morning we went to Maaco and scheduled the paint job. The guy wanted to know why I was repainting a car whose current paint was in such good shape. So I explained to him that I was going to decorate it and showed him the carpet sample. He took it pretty well -- he was clearly appalled but not hostile or nasty. He suggested that I should be arrested for defacing such a nice car, but he said it in a nice way!


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Dear Barbara,

V/R is in the calendar!! How exciting! I thought we weren't going to be in this one, because the publication date is still so far out.

It's on page 35, near the end. Two cards illustrating the "Round Dance of Tarot" article: Ace of Coins and The World. They look good! The detail shows up pretty well. Especially the Ace -- that one looks terrific; every bit as crisp as I would have wished for. The World card, on the other hand, is a bit blurry, especially the acrobat's arms and legs. But these images are small; the cards will be much bigger. So I think the details will print even better on the real cards.

Did you pick the cards? They aren't the images that I would have chosen, but I really like how they turned out. They put a border around the images that I like too. Just a plain line, looks to be about a half point thick. I hope they do that for the actual cards too.

We're credited as "Victoria Regina Tarot by Sarah Ovenall; additional text by Georg Patterson." Is that how our names are going to appear on the package? It's more efficient, though I feel like it portrays Georg's contribution as smaller than it really is. Maybe that's what the outer box will say, but the book cover will say "by Georg Patterson and Sarah Ovenall" like we wanted. He really did more than half the writing so I want his name to be first on the book cover.

I went ahead and set up a separate web journal for the art car. That way this journal won't get cluttered up with endless descriptions of my car. It's probably a bit obsessive of me, but at least it gives me the chance to play with different formats for Greymatter. Here's the address of the car journal:


there ought to be a law

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Today I checked North Carolina's motor vehicle regulations. It looks like I won't be able to drive with the Christmas lights on. The laws about additional lighting are vague enough that any cop who didn't like them could write me a ticket and probably make it stick. Oh well, I guess it will be a "parking lot only" feature.



We got started a tonight, sort of, by decorating the car with Christmas tree lights for our night out at the drive-in theater. (They showed Superfly!) It was a quick-n-dirty installation: I used electrical tape to attach the lights to the exterior, and my friend Lisa explained about DC inverters that convert the cigarette lighter into an outlet.


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Dear Barbara,

As far as I can tell, you're the only person actually reading this journal. So I might as well drop the pretense of writing for a legion of fans, and address it directly to you.

There's actually not much to report on the deck right now. I'm waiting to hear back on colors before I send out my greeting cards. Still making slow progress on the website, but having lots of fun learning about Flash in the process. I had a breakthrough over the weekend, when I figured out how to include a variable in the name of an .swf file to be opened. That lets me use one menu for all the suits instead of four separate menus, and a function for opening the cards rather than repeating the command on each menu item. This should reduce file size considerably. (That probably means nothing to you, nor should it. Let me just say that I got up and did a little dance when it worked.)

I read in Diane's trip report on the ATA conference that you mentioned Victoria Regina in your talk. That was nice! It must have been a thrill to see color proofs of Robert Place's new deck. If I get press sheets of Victoria Regina, I'm going to hang them on the wall. I love the way they look, with registration marks along the edge.

It's kind of odd to have such a flurry of activity a couple of weeks ago, and now nothing. Classic "hurry up and wait" I guess. But anyway, since Victoria Regina is on hold, I've been filling my time with a new project that I'm really excited about: my car.

I don't know if you know this, but I used to drive an art car called "Little Pig Boy." Living in Minneapolis you've probably seen lots of art cars. But here in Durham, I was the only one. (There is a woman in Chapel Hill with a really cool art car, and I think there are a couple in Raleigh.)

Little Pig Boy died last year, alas. I've been driving a borrowed truck for about a year, but in the past month I've finally gotten a car I can make into a new art car. It's a 1991 Mazda 626 and I have such wonderful plans for it. It's going to have an underwater theme. You know that nasty green outdoor carpet that looks like grass? Well they make it in bright blue too. I'm going to cover the whole car with that carpet. First I'm having the car painted blue to match (it's currently red, which would show through).

When the carpet is on, I'm going to put underwater objects like fish and seaweed and scuba diving Barbies all over it. I have it all sketched out, which I'm sure will change a lot depending on the objects I end up with. You don't want to put anything expensive on an art car, because things fall off sometimes, or people steal them. So you end up combing thrift stores and dollar stores, looking for cheap durable things. The best objects are sturdy plastic: strong enough not to melt, not breakable or too heavy.

My goal with this car is to get it in good shape in time to enter the big art car parade in Houston next April. I've been reading about the parade for years. In 1999 they had 250 cars! Pig Boy, a 1978 Toyota, would never have survived the trip. But this Mazda and I, we're going to be there!

I have an appointment at Maaco on Saturday, and so this morning I took some "before" pictures of the car in its original state. I want to document the car's transformation from the beginning. I wonder if I should start a new diary for the car? Or use this space for both the deck and the car? The main question is, would the people reading the Tarot diary (that means you, Barbara) mind reading about the art car as well? Would that clutter up the diary? Or would you enjoy seeing photos of the car, especially when I don't have any Tarot news at the moment.

Maybe I could separate it out, into "tarot entries" and "art car entries." That way if you only wanted to read about one thing, you could skip the other. Would Greymatter sort the archives for me? Hmm. I'll have to think about this.


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Now I remember why I don't like the Fourth of July. Fireworks scare my dogs to death. It rained pretty hard last night, but that didn't dissuade my fireworks-loving neighbors. While I was trying to work, one of the dogs hid under my desk, practically wrapped around my legs, while the other one paced nervously around my chair. Which is not exactly conducive to concentration.

Heard back from Lisa again. She says she ordered a CD of Victorian fonts from Dover, as well as a book of theirs called "Principles of Victorian Decorative Design." I'm impressed that she would go to the trouble of researching historical design techniques. (And surprised, to be honest. I didn't realize they went to that much effort for each project.) Okay, so I was a bit whiny and self-indulgent yesterday. Today I'm actually feeling -- dare I say it? -- excited to see what she does.

Still making slow progress on the web site. All the levels of clips within clips in Flash is tripping me up. Figuring out where variables exist and how to access them, I mean. Yesterday I at least managed to get the trumps section of "view cards" online. It might help if I used trace() to keep track of my variables.


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Happy Fourth of July (for those patriotic Americans among us). American Movie Classics is showing the entire Godfather series today, but I'm forgoing that pleasure to spend the day working on my website. They got FTP working again at thefool.com, so I've moved the site back there: www.thefool.com/v2/

The site will stay there until my ftp access breaks again (most likely soon & since they still won't have any idea why, it will most likely be broken for a long time). If I'm lucky the site will be done by then.

Wrote to Lisa, the packaging designer, to ask about the colors they're going to be using for the box and book cover. It would be nice to coordinate my greeting cards with the official colors. She wrote back to say that she's waiting on some Victorian fonts she ordered, but hopes to have the colors within 2 weeks.

I guess this means that they're not using the fonts I sent. That's a bit of a disappointment, but at least she's using Victorian fonts & not something awful like Caslon Antique that has a vaguely "old time" feel. I wonder what she's going to use for the card titles? I've been looking at those titles in Allise (the font at the top of this page) for so many years, it's hard to imagine them with anything else.

I knew all along they probably wouldn't use my design ideas, fonts, etc. But I've been managing not to think about it for the most part. I feel sort of like I've let someone else dress my child for a school picture. I guess that sounds really petty and controlling.

It probably would have been better if I'd faced facts months ago and gotten used to the idea. I want to have an open mind about it. Well, Barbara keeps telling me how talented Lisa is, she's their senior designer and all. I know I'm lucky to have my deck in the hands of their best person.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2001 listed from newest to oldest.

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