August 2001 Archives

8/29/01

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I forgot to write earlier in the week that I did hear back from Joanna about the scans. She says that the art department can work with the 600 dpi grayscale versions. Yay! My spot illos are saved! She's not ready yet to tell me what to scan. She'll let me know when she starts laying out the book (probably in a couple of weeks) what art she needs.


Speaking of which, I was interested to find out that the same person serves as editor and typographer for the book. I think that's really cool -- there were lots of times that I was laying out text on a cover or brochure, and one little word change would have made the line breaks work so much better, but of course we couldn't change the copy. The firm I used to work for did mostly brochures, sometimes book covers, but never books themselves. So I don't really know how that works.

8/28/01

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Joanna wrote today to ask us for our birthdays. They need that for the information they submit to the Libary of Congress.


!!!


Okay, okay, I know that in the grand scheme of things it's no big deal. To anyone who's been published before, it's just part of the process. But I hope you'll allow me a moment of first-time-author giddiness. My name in the Library of Congress!!!


The funny part of this story is the reason why we didn't submit our birthdates along with the initial author information. See, we couldn't figure out why they would want to know our birthdays. And somehow we came up with the idea (okay, be honest, I came up with the idea) that they intended to do our astrological charts before offering us a contract.


I know it sounds ridiculous now. But come on, cut me some slack! I had no idea they would have to submit our birthdays to the Library of Congress. I couldn't imagine why they wanted my birthday. And being a new age publisher and all, I thought maybe they used astrological information to help figure out if we were a good match for them.


I confess, I was a little put off by the idea of strangers reading my chart. It seemed like having to turn in a journal along with a job application. (Yes I know I'm writing in a journal that's posted on a web site. This is entirely different.) So we left that line blank on the submission form.


[Later] You know, I felt so silly about this crazy idea that Llewellyn intended to do our astrological charts, that I went to their website and read their submission guidelines again. They don't just ask for the author's birth date. They ask for date, time, and location of birth.


Which makes me feel a little less ridiculous. I think it's natural to assume an astrological purpose when asked for birth date, time and location. Unless you are being asked by the US Census.


In any case, I never did give Llewellyn the time or location of my birth, and the Library of Congress apparently doesn't need to know that, so it's nothing more than a funny story at this point.

8/28/01

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I was browsing royal-watchers websites, looking for information on the family tree for Joanna. Found a really good site at The Unofficial British Royal Family Pages. The author posts really interesting weekly essays on the royal family, such as the history of the name Windsor -- why was it adopted, who has used it, and how has it been modified.


One of the essays off-handedly mentioned the Queen's upcoming Golden Jubilee. I hadn't thought about it before, but of course she's right. Queen Elizabeth was crowned in 1953, but her accession was in 1952. So her Golden Jubilee is next year.


Victoria had two Jubilees: the Jubilee (later known as the Golden Jubilee) in 1887, the 50th anniversary of her reign, and the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The medallion that we're using on the card back and packaging was a commemorative coin from the 1887 Jubilee.


Victoria died in 1901, after 63 years as Queen. Just think, Elizabeth only has sixteen years to go to become the longest-reigning monarch in British history. With Prince Charles' luck, I think she'll make it.

8/28/01

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I've been meaning to post the card front and back for the past week, ever since Lisa sent me the scan. So here it is.


Victoria Regina Tarot New Look


The pretty border ended up on the card back, since there wasn't room on the front. Also, the corners will be rounded on the real cards.

8/23/01

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I've recently learned that the "comments" function that allows people to add notes to my posts is not working. I've heard of people having trouble with this part of Greymatter before, so I hope there's a readily available solution.


In the meantime I've removed the forms for adding comments. If you have a comment to make on the diary, please send email to sarah@thefool.com. Thanks!

8/23/01

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Got the package from Hollie last night. The "proofs" turned out to be simply photocopies of the cards with my own home-made titles still attached, and the names hand-written over the cards that I hadn't made titles for. Nothing to get excited about, really! But still, I appreciated their making the effort to check with me about the titles, before the printer gets started.


Speaking of which, I wrote to Hollie this morning to let her know that the card titles were OK, and she wrote back to say that they will be laying out the cards in September and will have press time in October! I thought there wouldn't be anything happening with the cards until early winter.


She said that they will be sending someone to Belgium for a press check. Wonder what I'd have to do to get myself invited along? Haha, not much chance of that. In reality, they probably wouldn't want the artist to be there even if I paid my own way. And I can't blame them; a press check can be a pretty complicated business and if you don't know what you're doing, you really shouldn't be there.


The best news for the day is that Hollie says they will receive several uncut press sheets, and I can probably have one. Yay! I love press sheets, with the registration marks along the edge. I want to frame it and hang it in my study.


In other news, I think someone said on Comparative Tarot last week that they had a copy of Robert Place's Tarot of the Saints. But the deck's release date is September 1. I hope that means that VR will be available in late February. Hey, that's only 6 months away!

8/21/01

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Sent some sample scans to Joanna yesterday, but haven't heard back yet. She's actually working on another project now & won't start on us until next week. So I'll probably hear from her then.


I only sent a couple small ones because the files are so big -- a flying monkey head in 600 dpi greyscale, and the same image in 1200 dpi bitmap. If they can use the scans, I guess I'll burn them onto a CD. A Zip disk wouldn't even hold all four "amazons of the bow."


Lisa wrote on Friday to confirm that the card backs are going to be black and white like the fronts, no color. Oh well! It would have been nice to have color on the backs, but it's officially No Big Deal.


Also I had told Lisa about my newfound ability to scan the source material, and asked her if we might be able to provide new art for any cards they had trouble printing. She said that they would probably not want to get into that; they'd probably rather just go with what they have. However she suggested I write to Lynne and let her know that the option is available. I think I'll wait until the art dept. has reviewed the scans. There's no point approaching Lynne if it turns out that my scans are no good.


And Hollie wrote this morning, to tell me that she's overnight shipping some proofs of the cards to me. They're not final art of any kind; they're just preliminary proofs, for me to make sure that the right art gets printed with the right titles. But still, wow! I thought it would be months before I heard anything about the cards. It's pretty exciting to be seeing proofs already.

8/18/01

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Success!


At least, I think so. Llewellyn's art department will have to review these scans and let me know if they work for the book. But I think they look fantastic. I'm very, very happy with the results of my afternoon's work.


I felt a little nostalgic, returning to the sub-basement of the library for the first time in .. well, almost exactly a year, now that I think about it. The floor was nearly deserted, and -- huzzah! -- electrical outlets in every carrel.


The bound issues of the newspapers were exactly as I'd last seen them. Some even had my own bookmarks still sticking out, from previous research trips! I wouldn't be surprised if Georg and I were the only people to have looked at them in the past five years.


Even with only two other people in the sub-basement, I didn't feel comfortable leaving my computer alone. So I ended up carrying 5 volumes (each one oversized) and the laptop and scanner in my shoulder-bag, all at one time. My back and shoulders are already starting to complain.


Setting up the iBook was a snap, until I realized that I'd forgotten one thing: to install the scanner software on the laptop. Argh! It took me about an hour to pack everything up, drive home, find the disk, drive back to the library, and get set up again. Fortunately, the students are just getting back, so there was parking available near the library.


If I hadn't been a geek before, I would definitely aspire to geekdom now. Plugging in my computer in a carrel and scanning away. Does it get any cooler than this?


While the scanner was running, I browsed the books in the nearest stack. Found a fascinating little encyclopedia of pseudononymous authors in the English language, written in the 1860s. The author knew George Eliot was a pseudonym but didn't know Eliot's true identity. He recounted the running debate (a couple of people apparently tried to take credit for Adam Bede), and finished by stating that Mr. Eliot surely deserved his privacy.


I played around with the input levels until I got scans with good contrast. I had to crank up the white point, because the paper of those old newspapers is so yellowed. But I think it was worth the effort. The images look so nice and crisp. Man, I wish I'd had this equipment when I made the deck!


I'm in awe of the artists who created the engravings in the first place. Without the technology we take for granted, they drew these astonishingly detailed illustrations. Just for the newspaper! I wonder how long it took to do a typical engraving?


I had only intended to do a couple of sample scans, but I ended up staying for hours. I want to send Joanna a range of options. So I scanned different types of original, and did them each in greyscale at 600 dpi, and bitmapped at 1200 dpi.


Here's a picture of one of those "Amazons of the Bow" I'm so enamoured with. And a close-up of her face, so you can see how nicely the details are captured in these scans.


This time around I noticed the text that accompanied the archers. This sort of anti-feminist sneering was typical of Illustrated London News editorials:


Among the absurd and monstrous fables which were graced by the poetical fancy of the ancient Greeks, one of the wildest is that of the nation of female warriors.... Those earliest models of the "women's rights' movement," claiming equality with men in fitness for the military performances of the times, got rid of the right half of the bosom, it is supposed by cautery, for the better convenience of hurling the javelin and drawing the bow. In archery, they were particularly skilful; and the gentle ladies of modern society who practise that beautiful art for mere harmless recreation, and who lose nothing of their feminine tenderness, will permit us to call them "Amazons of the Bow." Those whom we have had the pleasure of seeing in our Artist?s spirited drawing are very charming young people, and we hope that the healthful exercise will do them as much good as a game at lawn-tennis.


I think it's a good sign that a quote like this makes me laugh instead of making me angry. It's also interesting to note that the term "women's rights movement" was in use in 1892.

8/17/01

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I've had a flurry of e-mails with Joanna and Lisa over the past couple of days, but things seem to be settling down. The gist seems to be that design of the packaging is just about done, and work on the book (editing and layout) will begin at the end of the month.


I'm hopeful that with my new-ish scanner, I'll be able to get decent images of those spot illos for the book. Unfortunately the Duke library is still on summer hours. So it's only open from 1 to 5 each day this weekend. I think four hours will be enough time to get some serious scanning done but I might have to go back on Monday. Damn students! Where did this crazy idea come from that a university library should cater to them?


When did scanners get to be so good, anyway? Just a couple of years ago, my office spent quite a bit on a big, ugly, heavy box with 300x600 actual resolution. In June I paid half as much for a slim case that does 1200x2400! It seemed like a lot of money for a toy that I wouldn't use often. But if it helps get those engravings into the book, then it will be money well spent!


I wish I had thought of this back when I was working on the deck. I used to haunt the library photocopiers, waiting until they changed the toner cartridges so I could get decent copies of my source material. It would have been so much easier with a scanner. Then again, I couldn't afford geek toys like an iBook or a scanner back then. So it probably would have made it seem even worse, knowing there was an easy solution that was out of my reach.


Anyway, before I spend any more time waxing rhapsodic over my wonderful scanner, I'd better get to the library and see if this scheme actually works.

8/16/01

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Heard back from Lisa today about the numbering issue. Apparently they decided it was OK to do the card titles the way I had set them up originally: the numeral on the trumps, and the number written out on the minors. Like I said before, it's not a big issue, but still, I have to admit I'm glad they didn't change it. I wouldn't have minded seeing the numbers written out on the trumps, except that I think the word "zero" would look a little weird on the Fool.


Hey, isn't "zero" an Americanism? Don't they say something else in Britain, "nil" or "naught" or something? I'm hoping the deck will do well in Britain, being all about their monarchy and all. So it would be less than ideal to have something glaringly American on one of the cards. I should write back to Lisa and tell her that I want the numbers written out on the trumps too, and they have to write nil on the Fool. Haha, wouldn't that be funny?


In other good news, she confirmed that my cards are indeed in Belgium like they're supposed to be. Whew! Apparently what she meant was that someone is heading down to Tennessee for a press check on another deck. And while she's there, she's going to talk to them about VR so they can pass it on to the Belgian crew. What a relief!


(Does this mean that one of them gets to go to Belgium for a press check on VR? Can I go too?)


In even better news, she sent me scans of what the cards will look like! I'll put scans up when I get a chance, but here's a brief description:


The card title is on the bottom. I think it used to be on the top but that's no big deal to me. She used the same font from the box cover, the one with pretty ornate capital letters. The front has no border, just plain white around the edges. She mentioned before that they were worried about losing quality if they shrank the image to make room for the border. Whatever they can do to keep the image quality as high as possible is OK by me!


The card backs have the "Victoria Regina et Imperatrix" symbol inside a medallion shape that Lisa created, like on the box and book cover. They also have the decorative border that they didn't end up using on the fronts. I like it! It's simple and clean, yet still looks Victorian. (An impressive feat when you think about it.)


It looks like the card backs are going to be black and white too. I had somewhat hoped that there would be some color on the backs, but it's not important enough to complain about. It might be a cost-saving measure to compensate for the expense of the European printer. If that's the case then they made the right decision.

8/16/01

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Heard from our editor again yesterday. She hasn't started working on our book yet, but she had a couple of things to give me a "heads up" on.


First, they want me to extend the family tree to the present day British royal family. What an excellent idea! I had only included people who were in the book. So the tree ends at George V, Elizabeth II's grandfather. But I think they're right, it will help people to see how the family tree connects to the present day.


We're not going to extend the entire family tree, just the British royal family. I don't think there would be room in the book to trace all Victoria's descendants! However, I've heard that Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Phillip, is also a descendant of Victoria, so I'll try to get him in there without making it too complicated. (I guess those jokes about royalty being inbred are more than just jokes! But they're distant cousins, so it's not that bad.)


The other issue is that they've got all that clip art I sent for the book, but they're concerned about it printing well. This is the same problem we had early on with the cards. It was resolved by them finding a printer who could handle the art (the one in Belgium).


Apparently it's a lot harder to make that finely detailed art look good on the page of a book. Plus the book is being done by their regular printer, not the Belgian one. I guess I had noticed before that tarot art never looks as good in the book as on the cards. I just hadn't thought it through.


Anyway, they might be able to work with some of my clip art, but they really need me to try to get better reproductions. The problem is that this art comes from bound periodicals at the Duke library, which can't be checked out. So my copies were all made on the library photocopiers, which range from "OK" to "horrible." Since I can't take them out of the library, I don't know how to get better images.


Well, it looks like I'm going to have to figure it out, if I want any of that clip art to end up in the book. I am going to ask the library people for help. I don't think they'll let me check out the books. But there might be better repro equipment in the library that I could use.


OH! I am such a dope sometimes. We have a laptop and a scanner! I can set up in the library and scan the pages right there! For crying out loud, why didn't I think of this before?

8/15/01

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Lisa wrote today, to ask my opinion on how the numbers should be written on the card titles. Apparently I had done it inconsistently: I had used the numeral on the trumps, but written out the number on the pips. They wanted it to be the same throughout the deck & wanted to know which way I preferred. It was nice of her to ask. I had assumed that was the kind of thing they just did. So it was nice to find out that I get to state my preference.


My preference is, by the way, to have the numbers written out. "Three of Cups" instead of "3 of Cups." Also I had used a little diamond instead of the word "of" so they read "Three * Cups". I hope they keep it that way, but it's not that big a deal. I won't be crushed if they use the word "of."


She also mentioned that the cards are going to be delivered to the printer in Tennessee tomorrow, so they needed to know about the card titles today. I found this a little confusing, because I was told that the cards had been delivered to the printer in Belgium weeks ago. There was all that rushing to get the originals back to them at the end of June, so that the sales rep from Belgium could take them back in his suitcase.


It's probably just a miscommunication. Still, I'll feel better when I find out where my cards actually are.

one fish, two fish, pink fish, blue fish

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Well the carpet turned out great. It didn't end up looking much like I intended, but the effect is just about exactly what I had wanted. That said, I'm a little worried about how well it will hold up. I tugged on a piece and it peeled right up. The glue held really well, but the spongy backing didn't. I glued the one strip back down, briefly considered peeling and regluing all of them, and decided against it.

8/9/01

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I've gotten some great mail in the last few days. It's really gratifying to know that folks are enjoying the site & I'm not just blathering to myself. (Not that that would stop me!) I don't want to post anyone's messages without their permission, but I can't resist a quote from the best note I've gotten recently:


"PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE MAKE TONS OF COPIES WHEN ITS PUBLISHED"


The entire message wasn't in all caps, just that part. I hope Llewellyn is listening! Hey, it's what the people want!

8/8/01

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Georg and I got nice email from Joanna, our editor, yesterday. Barbara told me that she worked on the hotly anticipated Tarot of the Saints, so I'm looking forward to seeing what she does for us. She wrote to introduce herself and give us the production schedule:


August 27: she starts working on the book.

October 8: we receive the proofs.

November 8: we return the proofs.

November 21: she sends the book to the printer.

March 1, 2002: release date.


So that's our official release date: March 1. Less than 7 months away. Wow. !!! Is it too soon to start thinking about a launch party?


Anyway, Joanna also asked us to confirm our contact information, which was good because she had Georg's previous address and phone number. Also she asked if we needed the full four weeks to review the proofs. Seeing as how we'll be out of town for a week in late October, I think we need to plan on the full month.


Her message also included a few details like the way our names will appear on the cover and title page: "Sarah Ovenall. Text by Georg Patterson and Sarah Ovenall." This is exactly what I had hoped for, so I'm very glad to hear it.


She also listed the illustrations that will be included in the book: "78 card illos, 3 spreads, 1 family tree illo." I'm amused to see that the word illo, which I knew from apas and zines, is an actual term in publishing. I thought it was just something that zinesters made up.


Also I'm happy that they're using the family tree I sent. Since most of the court cards are based on members of Queen Victoria's family, I think a family tree is a necessity. It took me months to get a handle on the family relationships; I couldn't expect a casual reader to keep track without visual aids.


On the downside, she didn't mention any of the other art I had sent for use as spot illustrations. I didn't expect them to use all of it, but I was hoping they'd find room for some. Particularly these four gorgeous engravings of female archers called "Amazons of the Bow." I wanted them to introduce each suit. Also, I thought it would be nice to include an original source illustration in the chapter on collage. So that people could see the image in its original context, and compare that to its appearance in the card.


And there was a picture of eighteen-year old Victoria, just after she became Queen, wearing a military uniform, that I really love & was hoping they could include with the brief historical background. And also these flying monkey-heads that show up on the seven of cups, that have become a sort of signature image for me (I even had rubber stamps made of them!). Now that I think of it, I guess I sent them a lot of art for spot illos. So it would be a bit of a disappointment if they didn't use any of it.


I wrote to Joanna last night and asked about the illustrations. She wrote back this morning (nice of her to be so prompt) saying that she hadn't seen these other illos, and she'd look into it when she started working on the book at the end of the month.


Also she asked if we minded sharing one set of proofs, since we're both at the same address. That's fine by me. I guess we can use different colored pens to distinguish ourselves. (it probably doesn't matter to them which of us writes what, but it will be helpful to us I think.)


So anyway, that's the news. Pretty good I think!

8/6/01

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In the fine tradition of compartmentalization, I've put all the insecure whiny stuff in its own post, and opened a new post for the news update.


First off, I heard today from Barbara that we're finally going to meet our editor. Her name is Joanna and she's going to write me sometime this week with a schedule for "this phase of production." I have to admit, I was wondering if we were ever going to talk to the editor directly, or if Barbara was going to be stuck with us throughout the process (not that I'm complaining! I like Barbara, but I've always wondered, since her job is acquisitions, how she had time for us). My friend Judith, a fiction writer, talked about her editor as her main contact at the publisher. In fact when "her" editor, the one who brought her in, got promoted and she got assigned to a new one, she ended up being pushed aside. They put minimal effort into her second book and declined the third. I guess she'd lost her advocate.


Anyway, I'm glad to be meeting the editor finally. But mainly I'm glad to be getting a production schedule. Because that means there is production to be scheduled. I think I would have gone crazy if my only task for the rest of the year was to wait for the art to be printed in December.


Also I got that CD of Dover fonts from Lisa. She had accidently received two, so I bought one from her. That way I have the "official" fonts, and she doesn't have to deal with returning it. She also sent me a Zip disk with the ornamental clip art she made for the cover. Now I can go ahead and get my greeting cards printed. Except that I haven't set up the Quark files yet! I spent all weekend working on my car, and all day today driving around on errands. But I've just about run out of excuses. Time to get moving!


This has nothing to do with Tarot, but it's been on my mind so I'm going to write about it anyway. Last Saturday night Georg and I went to see Hot Club of Cowtown at an outdoor concert. It was a great show: terrific music, nice weather, everyone was having fun. A bunch of people got up and danced in front of the stage.


I saw one man dancing with his little girl. She was a wonderful dancer, about 8 years old, very natural and energetic, sort of hopping around in a weird, delightful way. Eventually he sat down, but she kept going. The dancing platform got so crowded with couples after a while, that there wasn't enough room for the girl. She almost fell off at one point, and looked like she wanted to get down. But her father started motioning for her to get up on stage, with the band, and dance up there. She clearly didn't want to, but he persisted.


She kept dancing back back towards him, they would talk for a moment, and he would wave her forward, practically pushing her up onto the stage. She would hop towards the stage reluctantly, then hop back away. After a while she became so nervous that, while her feet still danced, one arm was stiff against her side and the other hand was pressed against her mouth. Still her father kept trying to make her get on the stage.


This went on for a while, until he finally succeeded in bullying her onto the stage. She stood on the edge for a few seconds, hidden behind a stack of speakers, and then ran away. A few minutes later I saw the father packing their camp chairs and cooler and leaving. (If the musicians saw any of this, they made no indication.)


It really bothered me to watch the spontanaeity and the fun squashed out of a vibrant little girl by a father determined to -- literally -- shove her into the spotlight. The prospect of stage jumping clearly made her miserable. Why couldn't he see that and leave her be? It's none of my business of course. But still, it upset me.

8/6/01

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Dear Barbara, I've been checking my statistics and now I have proof that there are other people besides you reading (or at least viewing) this page. And I even got email today from someone, but she asked not to be "posted anywhere" so I won't mention her name. (You know who you are; thank you for writing!) So I think this will be my last entry with you in the hot-seat so to speak, with your name at the top. Hope that's OK with you.


So Georg does the world music show once a month at the Duke college radio station. Yesterday a guy sat in on his show, who's writing an article about world music (or college radio, or world music on college radio, or something like that). It turns out that the guy is an author who's published four or five novels plus short stories in various anthologies. And it turns out that Georg has read a couple of his novels. And they hit it off and had a good time talking, both on the air and off. Pretty cool huh?


The depressing part is, at some point in the off-air conversation the guy mentioned that his former publisher had tried to cheat him by claiming more returns on his book than they had supposedly printed in the first place. And the really depressing part is that, in the course of telling this story, he mentioned that he had never received a single royalty check from any of his books. Apparently he does earn some money from a story in a cyberpunk anthology that did well. But from the full-length books, the ones with his name on the cover? Not one cent.


If someone like that, a successful author with multiple books to his credit, can't earn anything from his fiction, what hope is there for an amateur like me, working in a small genre like this? I've tried to maintain low expectations about this project, not get my hopes up, so there'd be less chance of disappointment. I never harbored any illusions about fame and fortune. I'm no Brian Williams or Alexandra Genetti, and I don't expect the kind of recognition they (deservedly) enjoy. I know Tarot will never enable me to quit my day job. When people congratulate me on the money I'll be making, I always laugh. But heck, I'm hoping to at least earn something. The thought of never getting a single royalty check had honestly not occurred to me.


Perhaps I need to adjust my expectations. Instead of thinking to myself that V/R will be a success if we make enough money to go back to Italy, I should be thinking that V/R will be a success if we cover the advance.

we have lift off

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I finally started! The trunk is now decorated with swirls of blue carpet. It's taped up overnight, but the glue should be set enough to drive tomorrow. It took longer than I thought. yesterday I took big sheets of paper and traced the shape of the trunk and one side of the car (foolishly thinking I'd get all that done this weekend). Then I drew my swirly shapes on the paper, based on the designs I'd sketched out.

on your car?

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I bought ten feet of carpet at Lowe's. I hope that will be enough. Also bought a caulk gun, a tube of heavy duty silicon, a tube of Liquid Nails. I've heard varying opinions over which is the better adhesive for large areas. Everyone agrees Liquid Nails is stronger. But my friend Monte suggests silicon might be better for the rug because it's more flexible. I'll experiment with both and see which holds up better.

It's not even our birthday!

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Last night my friend Diana gave undersea mah jongg a gift! It's a mug with dolphins on it, that says "Topsail Beach, NC." Her daughter Carina (who is my best bud) insisted I pour my iced tea out of my travel mug and into the dolphin mug, so I could drink from it right away. I told her I was going to glue the mug to my dashboard, so I could see it all the time. On the other hand, if I'm feeling wicked I might glue it to the roof, right over the driver's door. So people will think I left my morning coffee on top of my car, and wonder how in the heck it stays up there.

8/1/01

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Dear Barbara,


Two whole months of regular posting to this diary, and I'm starting to feel cocky. Look at me, I'm Ms. Web Log! I set up another one for my car, and I've started reading other online journals. I have visions of becoming one of those "blogger" people, who post daily, sometimes several times a day, revealing every detail of their lives to the adoring thousands (well, dozens at least).


But who am I kidding? It wasn't so long ago that I gave up on this thing for six months. I barely have time to manage the most basic tasks (do normal people have to schedule in shaving their legs?), how would I suddenly develop the energy and spare time for an obsessive online journal?


Still, I'm enamoured by the idea. I've been reading and admiring this one journal. She's funny, caustic, and somehow manages to write about herself on a personal level without revealing much. Then I came across this post. Man, what a blow. To have your life's dream realized and then ripped from you, not once but twice? I can't begin to imagine.


OK, enough about my delusions of web logging grandeur. In deck-related news, I got a nice email from a guy with a band called "Ace of Swords." He wants to license one of my images for promotional materials for his band. How cool is that? I told him to contact Hollie. I have to admit, I'm relieved that there's someone else to deal with usage requests, so I don't have to worry about finding out what usage is appropriate, what should I refuse, when should I charge and how much, etc. But then again I feel badly about about telling people "Great idea! I love it! You need to ask someone else!"


I got the printed proofs of the box and book cover in the mail. The small line of text (the one that credits Georg and me) is a little different on these proofs from the scans I got last week. Since we're concerned about the size of that text I asked for clarification on my "author comment form."


These proofs are actually not quite as good as the high res scans, a bit grainy in fact. They look to be color laser prints, or maybe color photocopies; they have a shiny look over heavy coverage that you don't get with color inkjets. Graininess or no grainiess, there's a thrill to holding the box cover in my hands and seeing my name right there in print.


I guess it's real now.

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