September 2001 Archives

9/28/01

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Georg is on a plane this afternoon. It's just a short flight for a weekend vacation. But still, it feels weird.


Okay, okay, you're reading this to find out what's up with the deck, not to hear me complain about my personal neuroses. So here's what's up. I talked to Joanna on the phone yesterday. I think this is the first time I've actually spoken to anyone at Llewellyn, except for meeting Barbara Wright at the Chicago conference a couple of years ago. Everything else has been handled through email or postal mail.


Anyway, we talked about the spot illos for the book. It looks like she's going to use either a portrait of Victoria or a "God Save the Queen" decoration from the Jubilee the open the court cards section, and the flying monkey heads for the section on readings (yay!).


She wanted to talk about what to do for the majors and the minors. It looks like for the minors, I'm going to make a simple collage featuring the four suit symbols. For the majors, we discussed using an image from one of the cards, but we both agreed that isn't a good solution. For one thing, it leads the reader to expect all the other chapters to begin with a card image. Which they don't, so it could be confusing.


Another problem: I think that highlighting one card like that sends a message about that card being the focal point of the deck. I have to admit, there are a couple of cards that do embody the tone or purpose of the deck to me. But maybe I shouldn't impose my interpretation onto everyone else. So we let the majors a bit "up in the air." I said I'd think about it over the weekend.


In other news, there isn't room for all four "Amazons of the Bow", but Joanna is going to use one with the colophon at the end. She asked me why I like them so much, to which I didn't have a good answer -- they just caught my eye I guess. She also asked why, since I like them so much, I didn't use them in the deck. I do have a more rational answer to that: I didn't find them until I was just about done, and I couldn't think of a good place for them in any case. There were actually a lot of wonderful images that I wasn't able to work into the deck. I should put a "Didn't-Quite-Make-It Gallery" somewhere on this site.


Also, we talked briefly about using a source image for the appendix on collage (an example of removing an image from its original context and creating new meaning for it). The two suggestions I sent her were the Temperance Angel, originally a society lady doing party tricks for her children, and an image from the theater that yielded figures for 3 cards: 7 of Cups, 3 of Coins, and 7 of Coins.


Joanna felt, and I agree, that the original Temperance is a more interesting image. However, she's a bit concerned about the faces in the background being blurry. I think that might be an effect of the photocopier, not the original art. So I'll be making another trip to the library this weekend to see if I can't get a clear scan. (Unless Georg took his laptop with him, in which case it will have to wait until he gets back.)


On a pragmatic note, Joanna mentioned that the proofs of the book may be a bit later than October 8. She says that we'll get extra time if we need it, and it won't hold up the release date. It sounds like our proofs are going to be printed from the Quark files, with most of the art in place and etc. That will be really neat, to see what the pages are actually going to look like.


In other news, I talked to Valerie and she is fine about being credited in the acknowledgement rather than the table of contents. So I sent the letter on for her to initial.


Oh, and I heard back from Dover (surprise, surprise!). They said they are "investigating" the status of the books I asked about and will get back to me. I have no idea whether this will pan out or not, but at least now I have the name and email address of an actual person there.


I thought I didn't need that many, but I just went through the deck and counted, and there are actually over 20 cards with no "notes on sources": 11 from Women, 9 from Men, and 2 from Music. That doesn't include the aces, which I don't know what to do about. They're all pictures of hands! How are we ever going to get interesting information about a picture of a disembodied hand.


Well actually, now that I think about it, the Ace of Coins is kind of interesting. It must have come from an ad for walnuts, because the giant hand was originally holding a giant whole walnut. I cut the walnut away and slipped the pocket watch in between its fingers. But that's only 1 ace. The rest are just plain old hands.

9/26/01

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Got email and a letter from Joanna yesterday. First, she got the family tree. I was having problems opening my EPS file, so I could only send her a print-out. I wanted her to have the computer file so she'd have something to work with. But she said she didn't need the original file & no need for me to wrestle further with Illustrator. Which was a relief.


Second, regarding the use of Valerie's spread "Victoria's Chalice" in the book, everything is fine except that they want Valerie to be credited in the acknowledgements and the first page of her chapter, not in the table of contents. I'm assuming this will be OK with Valerie and have sent it on to her for approval.


Third, Joanna mentioned again the "notes on sources." Specifically the fact that I have information about most of the cards, some of it quite interesting, but no information at all about some of the cards. The problem is that if I got an image from Dover clip art, then I have no idea where it came from originally. Unfortunately, a lot of the trumps are that way because I did them first, and I was relying more heavily on Dover at the time.


I suggested that I could write to Dover and ask them for information about their source material, and Joanna agreed that I should do that. So I did. I think it's a longshot, to be honest -- it doesn't seem all that likely that they'd have this kind of information at hand, or give it to me if they did. But it can't hurt to ask.


It seems to me that if I can get in contact with the editors of the specific books, I might have a better shot at this information. The books I used were all edited by a couple of people: Jim Harter and Carol Belanger Grafton. So I'm searching for them both on the Internet. I don't even know if they're still alive, but if they are and they have email, I'll find them.

hood shaping up

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Received my first delivery of plastic fish. They came from a woman I met through Ebay. They are fantastic! She sent me a dozen little rubber koi, a larger goldfish, a small octopus and a jellyfish that is astonishingly realistic, plus it glows in the dark!

street fair

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I went to a street fair yesterday, hoping in vain to meet fellow North Carolina car artist Deb Allen. She was painting the sidewalk, but I forgot to ask what. (I did admire her painting, not knowing it was hers.) Besides, we were there on different days. And parking was so bad that we wouldn't have seen each others' cars anyway. As an art car event, it was a total bust. Next month she and I hope to have a "mini parade" at a location to be determined.

anyone for mah jongg?

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After two weeks of moderate driving, I can now say that I'm heartily disappointed with Liquid Nails. It held the mah jongg tiles really well, but the plastic fish didn't hold at all. Last night I used good old 100% silicone to replace all the fish that had come loose, and a bit of carpet that had peeled away. And I finally got the mah jongg game set up on the hood.

9/14/01

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My book arrived today. The Prince and the Paranormal: the Psychic Bloodline of the Royal Family. A brief glance shows that it's mainly about Prince Charles, but also claims that his immediate ancestors have had dalliances with the occult, including the Queen Mother allegedly communicating with her late husband via a spiritualist medium. If nothing else, it should make for an entertaining read.


Here's the bad part. I ordered it through an online out-of-print book service. You know, the websites that catalogue out of print books from a variety of sources, so you can easily shop for the best price. There were several sellers that had this book, and I ended up getting it from an outfit called A-Albionic. Weird name, but what do I care, right? All I want is a book.


Well the book arrives today, accompanied by a hefty catalog. The full name of A-Albionic turns out to be "A-Albionic Consulting and Research: The Overt and Covert Organs of the Vatican and British Empires are Locked in Mortal Combat for Control of the World." Really.


The catalog is chock full of information. For example, I always thought they were called "right wing conspiracy theorists," but apparently they prefer to be known as "right wing conspiracy researchers." Also, did you know that Prince Charles is the anti-Christ? I never knew that! Neither did I know that the Rhodes Scholar program is really a plot to return control of the US to the British Empire.


A typical book description: "Very important information on the founding of the Grand Lodge in England in 1717 indicating a take-over by the Judeo-Masonic-Protestant British Crown of a nominally Catholic, marginally heretical underground descending from the Templars for conversion into a world-wide anti-Vatican intelligence apparatus."


I am not making this up.


I can't believe I gave these people my name and mailing address. I bet I'll be receiving their catalog for the rest of my life. How was I supposed to know? They seemed like all the other out-of-print booksellers, only a little cheaper!


Worst of all, the catalog contains a book by someone I know. The Illuminoids: Secret Societies and Political Paranoia by Neal Wilgus. I remember Neal from FreFanZine, "the only libertarian sci-fi apa in the entire friggin universe!", a sort-of zine where our participation briefly overlapped. I guess I have to stop snickering at the weirdos now; I'm practically one of them. Egad.

9/12/01

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Yesterday morning, I intended to write a short update about the deck. Now I don't quite feel like chatting about myself or my bits of paper.


I can't tell you anything new, anything profound, anything you haven't read elsewhere & more eloquently than I would have put it.


All I can do is point you to Davezilla.com and FiveFoot6.com, who are posting links to personal accounts of the disaster, and also Redcross.org, which will tell you how to donate both blood and money.

9/6/01

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I've been wanting for a long while to send a copy of the deck to a one of the current royal family. For one thing, I want a thank you letter from a lady in waiting for my scrapbook. But beyond that, it would be nice to imagine my deck in the possession of one of Victoria's descendants, even if they never used it. And what if they did use it? That would just be too wonderful.


I had done some idle investigation, trying to figure out if any of the current royals have an interest in new age pursuits. Obviously I'd rather not give the deck to a die-hard rationalist skeptic, if they had a brother or sister or uncle who might actually appreciate it. I guess I didn't know where or how to look, because I never made much headway.


Of course, everyone knows that Princess Diana had an interest in the occult, but I'm trying to find a living person to give the deck to. Kitty Kelley mentioned an early dalliance with Ouija boards by Prince Charles, I think she said he was introduced to them by a Mountbatten uncle. But Kelley's book is so riddled with errors, I didn't want to rely on anything she said.


Well recently I read about Prince Charles' rather ill-advised remarks on agriculture and the environment. Apparently the Prince of Wales said -- in public -- words to the effect that modern agriculture relies too heavily on science, that science was the cause of our environmental problems, and that Britain would be better off taking a mystical, intuitive approach to agriculture. The article described the Prince as having a long-time interest in mysticism and the supernatural.


Off to google.com, I type "prince charles occult" into the search box. Jackpot! I found a description of The Prince and the Paranormal: the Psychic Bloodline of the Royal Family. A 1986 book that details Prince Charles' interest in the supernatural, and defends it as part of a Windsor tradition that extends back to Victoria. If anyone can tell me whether a British royal ever picked up a Tarot card, this book will!


Naturally, the book is neither in print nor available at any local library. (With 3 university libraries close at hand, I wish obscure titles like this were easier to find!) Time for the online out-of-print resources. Powells.com gets the seal of approval from the Tarot collectors I know, but they don't have a copy. I end up scoring a copy from bibliofind.com, which turns out to be a branch of Amazon.com.


The entire endeavor, from thinking "Let's see if I can find out..." to order confirmation, took less than half an hour. The net is a wonderful thing!

9/6/01

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I don't think I mentioned that I had sent the expanded family tree to Joanna last week. Actually I took a bit of a shortcut: I found the Windsor family tree on the official royal website, printed it out (they provide PDFs of family trees for the entire line of succession, back to the Saxons!), highlighted the information to be added to our tree, and mailed it off.


I probably should have rewritten the tree, omitting the branches we don't need. That probably would have been more clear for Joanna. But I rationalized it by telling myself that she would have an easier time reading the pre-printed tree than one in my handwriting. I didn't have a rationalization for not creating a new tree in Illustrator, like I did the first time. Unless "I'm lazy" is a rationalization.


Anyway, she wrote back yesterday to let me know she's sending both the new tree and the original back to me for revisions. I'm guessing the formats don't match. I should get that on Monday.


In 1887, the Illustrated London News printed this glorious family tree for Victoria. It was an engraving of a literal tree, with Victoria and Albert's portraits on the trunk, and portraits of all their descendants among the branches. I wish we could have used that tree! But it was a fold-out insert, too big to reproduce in one piece. Plus it couldn't be extended to include the modern royals, as we're doing now.


Other than the family tree, it's been fairly slow the past couple of weeks. I didn't expect this ebb and flow in the production schedule: sometimes it's a flurry of emails between me and several different people, all about different issues. Or racing home from work, to get to the mail center in time to pick up a Fedex package, and Fedex it back the next morning. Then the flurry ends, the minor crises are resolved (or shelved), and suddenly there's nothing for me to do.

ma'am, you have a whale on your roof

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I put my fishing Barbie on the roof. Unfortunately the batteries in my camera died, so I can't post a photo yet. But she looks great. Barbie is sitting on a bit of grass, posed so that her hands seem to be holding the antenna. A plastic whale hangs from the end of it. Every time I turn on the radio, the antenna extends and she catches a fish. And when I turn the radio off, she reels it in!

liquid nails

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Labor Day Weekend, what a good time for working on the car. I did two panels of carpet: the right rear fender, and the right rear door. Tried to match up the ribbons of carpet and failed miserably. The pattern shifts around so much while cutting, it's just impossible. I really shouldn't even try. Besides, the overall effect works regardless.

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