Still enjoying a quiet afternoon in the Devilled Egg/Rubber Poet kitchen, still writing up the Main Street Drag from Friday morning. The next school was a little bit older, probably a middle school. One of the groups of kids was a photography class. They had each been given a Polaroid camera and were allowed to take 4 photos each. It was fun to watch the kids sizing up the cars, trying to decide how to use their allotment of 4 photos.
April 2002 Archives
I've got the iBook set up on the counter in Elizabeth's gorgeous, comfy kitchen. She and Barry told us that they tend to congregate in the kitchen and I have to say, I could get used to spending time in a kitchen like this! I processed a few more photos this morning, but the cell modem is a sl-o-o-w connection and it's having a hard time uploading them. While it's working on it I'll write another update.
It's Monday morning and we're in Baton Rouge for the day. Elizabeth and Barry had some errands to run, so I have a little quiet time this morning to get caught up on the photos and weblog. OK, so where was I? I think I was up to Friday morning's Main Street Drag.
It's about 10:45. We're about to check out of the hotel and head for the farewell brunch. Then we'll get on the road to Baton Rouge to see Elizabeth and Barry and Charlotte. I probably won't post again until sometime tonight, but I'll try to get caught up on the trip report and photos tomorrow during the day.
The parade was successfully completed and Peggy and Chris have gone home. I've gotten so far behind in my weblog that I don't know how I'm going to write up the entire experience. I still haven't written up the Art Car Ball from Thursday night! I'm feeling a bit of sensory overload.
we're at the parade! I'm writing from the car! the cams are working! life is good!!!!
We're leaving for the parade in 20 minutes!!! I just finished going over the car with Windex. Takes longer than you might think to go around all those little fishes. Georg is packing the car. Peggy is making sandwiches. She has the most beautiful dragonfly wings to wear while she walks alongside.
The cams. Not working. Verizon. Buttheads. Let's just leave it at that and move on. My friends Peggy and Chris just got here a moment ago. We asked for rooms near each other, but we're on the first floor & they're on the second. At least we're in the same hotel!
OK, it's 9 am. I've just gotten off the phone with tech support at Verizon again. It seems to be working. I don't know why, and I don't know why it didn't work before. But I'm running a test right now and my blobby, unfocused photos of the hotel room are being uploaded successfully. So let's cross our fingers. The Main Street Drag starts in an hour.
Now that I've had a chance to sleep on it, here are some further impressions of the Art Car Ball. We got there early, so I had plenty of time to take pictures of the other cars as they arrived. We saw an amazing laundry car, covered with bottles of detergent, irons and messages and laundry. On top of the car was a washer and dryer, and ironing board and a clothes-line (the kind shaped like a big metal T). At night, they had strung christmas lights inside the detergent bottles so they randomly lit up!
Either Verizon Wireless are loser morons, or I am. Because it's still not working! I spent a long time on the phone with tech support this afternoon, and he did something to my account and I was able to dial in. But that was with the cell phone plugged directly into the laptop. But when I plug it into the USB hub, it says I have a bad password!
The drive from Baton Rouge to downtown Houston was an easy 4 and a half hours. Then another frantic hour driving around downtown Houston to find our hotel. But we're finally here!
It's about 7 am, and we just need to say our goodbyes to Elizabeth and Barry before we head out. I want to get to Houston early so we have time to check in, get settled, clean the car, etc before the art car ball.
I'm writing from the lovely home of the lovely Elizabeth Cherry Owen. The trip took much less time than we had expected -- about 8 hours from Atlanta to Baton Rouge. Since we gained an hour, we ended up getting here around 4:30 in the afternoon.
I slept great last night! I was pretty tired after all that driving. Georg unfortunately didn't sleep as well. Maybe he should have brought his own pillow like I did. When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was run down and make sure my car was OK. The last time I left an art car in a hotel parking lot overnight, it was seriously vandalized. But today everything is fine!
We went into downtown Atlanta to have dinner at Mary Mac's Tea Room, a restaurant Georg had heard about. They're supposed to have the best fried chicken in the country. It was good, and it seems to be an Atlanta tradition. But I have to admit, for a famous restaurant it suffered in comparison to the unassuming Gary's Bar-B-Que, which we had stumbled onto earlier today.
We're in Atlanta! I'm writing from our hotel room, which kindly offered internet access in the room. It's near the airport and seems to be geared towards business travelers. It took about 7 hours to get from Durham to Atlanta, including a generous half hour to eat lunch at Gary's Bar-B-Que, a fantastic barbecue joint near Charlotte.
It's 9:15 am and we're leaving. My next post will be from Atlanta. Houston or Bust!
It's almost 11 pm. We're packed, the glue is drying on the last doodads, various batteries are recharging, and the color in my hair is setting. We're just about ready to go!
Hard to believe that by this time tomorrow, we'll be half-way to Atlanta. I went back into the office this morning and took care of a couple of things I had forgotten. Then did a bunch of last-minute shopping. Also stopped by the phone store and had them explain how to set up voice mail on my cell phone.
After a long night (a very long night) of testing, I think I've finally identified and solved the ftp problem. Seems that Sitecam can't handle two ftp uploads at once. I had the cameras set to both take photos at the same time. So Sitecam was initiating two uploads at exactly the same time. Which it didn't like at all.
Spent most of the day decorating the car and I'm completely fried. It was hot and the car is parked right in the sun. But I got a lot done. In fact, I'm just about finished. There are a few odds and ends I'll try to get to tomorrow, but I had to leave for Houston with it just like this, I'd feel OK about it.
I think I've got it! We've tested the web cams from the living room: running the laptop off the battery, running two cams, uploading via cellphone, with the web page displaying the most recent photo and reloading itself once a minute. Success!
What an exciting time I've had since my last post. Got home from work last night around 9:30 and sat down to post a short update, only to find that Greymatter, the software that runs this journal, had completely conked out on me. Instead of the login screen I got a string of compile errors. Eek!
Again, not a whole lot to report today. We tried sending email to the phone, which worked great. And spent a lot of time playing the silly games on the cell phone to run down the battery. They said we have to completely drain and recharge it three times before we can use the car adapter.
You know, getting home from work at 10 pm, when you have to be up at 4 the next morning to be on the radio, pretty much sucks. But what sucks worse is getting home from work at 10 pm and discovering that one of your dogs has used your kitchen floor as her bathroom. Again.
I could use some good news this morning. So here's some: Cingular gave me no problems whatsoever about returning the phone and cancelling the plan with no charge. I was worried about it because I had heard from friends that sometimes cell phone companies try to stick you with a "nonrefundable activation fee," even if you've never made a single call.
So Georg drops me off at the mechanic this morning to pick up my car. The car is there, you will recall, to finish repairing the damage from a break-in a few weeks ago. I wasn't too upset about the break-in, even though the damage was fairly expensive, because they hadn't managed to get the CD player. I guess it was wedged in there too well or something.
Last night I learned that Brian Williams had died early Monday morning. His loss will deeply felt by everyone who was blessed to know him, and by the whole world of tarot users who benefitted from his work as an artist and historian.
Finally got a cell phone that will work for me. It's by Kyocera. I checked their website and they are compatible with Macs. They even had a PDF on the site with instructions for connecting to a Mac. And they had the data cable at the store, and I do get a signal at home. We're good to go!
On my lunch break today I walked over to the gift shop that sells Punky Colors. That's my favorite brand of hair color, and I'm wanting to dye my hair the same color as the car. Unfortunately, they don't sell it anymore! All they had left was two jars of Apple Green. That's a nice color, another favorite of mine, but I need Lagoon Blue.
Ran a few errands this evening. I'm trying to whittle away at my list of "things to do before we leave" but somehow the list seems to be growing faster than I can check things off.
Yesterday Georg and I went out to practice stick shift driving. He did really well. The main thing, I think, is not letting yourself get frustrated. Just taking it in stride, not getting upset when you stall out. Because every stalls out when they first learn.
Happy Tax Day! I ended up continuining my tradition of doing mine at almost the last minute. Georg went out to a party on Saturday night, so I decided it would be a good time to take care of those taxes. I had intended to file for an extension, but then I found out that you have to tell them how much you owe when you file the extension. Since you have to pretty much do the taxes to figure that out, why not just do them and get it over with?
Such was my logic. Six hours later, when I finally finished at 4 am, I couldn't help wondering if it wouldn't have been better to just file for the stupid extension. It wouldn't have taken so long except that I was trying to figure out whether I should deduct my computer as a business expense. That would have been a big deduction, but it would also have meant taking a loss, which I hate to do because I fear it would attract attention (as would declaring a computer for that matter). Plus it would have been two additional forms, one of which -- the depreciation form -- was totally incomprehensible. And there's that alternative minimum tax to worry about as well. In the end I decided it wasn't worth the trouble, so I didn't declare the computer.
Well you've probably heard quite enough about taxes from having to do your own -- the last thing you probably want is to hear me complain about mine. In deck news, Amazon.com has added pictures of several cards! It's not "look inside the book" which has a prominent logo and sidebar; there's a link right under the photo of the cover that says "View more pictures." I tried to get Amazon to add more images back in March and got nowhere. So it's great to see they finally did it. I wonder if we have Robbye to thank?
Got the car back from Merchants yesterday, all newly aligned and balanced. It was a nice day so I got a little bit more done on decorations afterwards. I would have done more but I ran out of E6000 glue. It really is the best glue for plastic toys.
VRT has shown up on Ebay! It's a new copy that was opened because the box got dented. The asking price is actually fairly reasonable; they're not trying to pass it off as an expensive rarity or anything.
In other news, I finally started posting again to my artcar web diary. That one will probably get more attention than the tarot diary as the Houston trip gets closer. I'll try to keep posting here, but you may want to check in there to see what's going on for the next few weeks. And of course, I hope you all will check out the live photo uploads during the parade on Saturday, April 27! We'll be running two cams, a laptop, and cell modem in the car, and posting photos throughout the event.
Last Sunday my friend Lisa, the car cam queen, came over and spent the day helping me set up equipment for the trip. The plan is to use a laptop and cell modem to upload photos during the parade. So folks who can't come will be able to see a bit of what's going on as it happens!
It's been quite a long time since I last wrote here. Rather than make useless apologies or excuses, I'll just point you to my other web log if you're interested in what I've been up to all this time, and plow ahead with the car's current state.
I don't have much to say today, just wanted to check in with y'all. I updated the review page on this site so it has copies of all the reviews I know of, and links to the review sites. Should probably have done James Wells' Queen Mother spread first, but this was easier.
Tarot Passages kindly published a review I wrote of the catalog from the Pinacoteca di Brera museum's exhibit of early Tarot art. The exhibit happened in late 1999, a good friend of mine went to the exhibit and sent me the catalog. I've been meaning to write it up for Diane ever since, but only finally got around to it. Writing the review wasn't hard -- a fun way to spend an afternoon -- but scanning the images took about five hours.
I was also planning to review the Sutin biography of Aleister Crowley for Tarot Passages, but one day last week I woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, thinking to myself "No more Crowley before bed!" I don't remember what I was dreaming about, all I remember is the strength of the injunction to stop reading about Crowley before falling asleep. Unfortunately, that's about the only time I have to read anymore, so I don't know when I can finish the book to review it. I guess I'll take it with me on the trip to Houston. It's a three day drive, and I'll probably end up doing a lot of reading each night to unwind.
Another awesome review! This one from Andryh at Aeclectic. She calls VRT "chimerical." Chimerical! How cool is that?
James Wells said OK to posting his Queen Mother spread on the site. Yay! I probably won't get to that tonight (it's doubtful I'll get to anything tonight but Survivor and my pillow) but I will have his wonderful spread on the readings page as soon as possible.
Also, we got another review at Amazon.com. That makes three! Wow! They're even from actual consumers, not just friends I put up to it.
Barely slept at all last night -- woke up at 2:30 and couldn't get back to sleep, since I knew I'd have to get up at 4 anyway for my show. But it was a kick ass show if I do say so myself. Adam, the dj before me, played a bunch of RPM to lead into my show, because he had noticed that's what I usually play. Wasn't that sweet of him? To return the favor I started my show with a half hour of rock: Shoukichi Kina, a new funk collection called Philadelphia Roots, some other cool stuff from the playlist.
Adam also pointed me towards The Dining Rooms, an Italian downtempo duo I'd never heard of before. The sticker on the CD said they sounded like Thievery Corporation, which indeed they did. Although the name is misleading, I think it sounds like the name of a 60s British Invasion band. Anyway, it's great stuff!
I'm exhausted. Overslept this morning and went downhill from there. I must still be recovering from. The. Worst. Day. Of the. Year.
On Comparative Tarot James Wells posted a lovely spread in honor of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. He suggested that the spread would go well with VRT, so I wrote to him asking if I could reproduce it on this site.
Depending on how I keep my books, I've either not yet broken even on selling decks, or I've made a bit of money so far. In other words, do I book the entire expense of decks for resale from the get-go, or do I book the cost of each deck as I sell it. If the former, I'm still far in the red. But if the latter, I'm doing well enough that I could justify buying a laser printer.
We have an inkjet, but we've never gotten USB printer sharing to work right. Poor Georg has been emailing files to my computer every time he needs to print! It's just ridiculous. And I hate printing mailing labels on the inkjet, because it's not waterproof and I worry about the labels getting wet and blurring. And besides, I've been wanting a laser printer with true Postscript for years. It is such a pain in the rear to work on files with embedded EPS graphics without one. So I splurged.
I was hung up on the HP brand name, but I read a bunch of reviews and actually ended up buying a Brother. It was expensive compared to an inkjet, but toner is so much cheaper than ink cartridges. With the amount of printing I do it should even out fairly quickly. We put the inkjet on Georg's computer, so now we each have our own printer. Yay!
Am I the only person who considers today to be the worst day of the year? We lose an hour of sleep! It takes me days to get my internal schedule sorted out.
This year was particularly bad because I had arranged for my friend Lisa to come over and help me set up computer equipment for the big trip to Houston. (Which trip has absolutely nothing to do with Tarot, so I will be writing it upreal soon now on my sadly neglected art car weblog.) Both of us forgot about the time change. So we planned for her to come over at an hour which would have been a bit early normally, but was insanely early on this, The Worst Day of the Year.
We spent nearly the whole day monkeying around with computers and web cams. Fun fun! But I didn't get to my taxes, which I had been planning to do today. I used to have a grand tradition of doing my taxes at literally the last possible moment. I would do them on the evening of April 15th and drive them out to the post office that night. I think the latest I ever turned them in was 10:30 pm. But anyway, my taxes are drastically more complicated these days, especially with the royalty schedule and all. So I'm not procrastinating quite so much anymore.
In other news, the folks at the Aeclectic Tarot Forums have been talking about VRT. And saying some very nice things indeed! It's enough to give me a swelled head. I posted a brief message there. I wasn't sure if that was appropriate or not -- maybe they would feel funny about knowing that the subject of their discussion was reading the thread -- but it seemed like it would be OK as long as I didn't, you know, argue with people or tell them their perceptions of the deck are wrong.
There was one post that confused me a little: someone called VRT "a 'collage' deck (not really)." I'm not sure what they mean by that? VRT fits every definition of collage I've ever heard. Georg suggested that maybe they think of collage as being things like Robert Rauschenberg or the Voyager Tarot. So maybe VRT, with source material from only one relatively narrow art style, doesn't look "collagey" enough? In any case, I asked for clarification & I'll be interested in hearing what they say.
It's fascinating to me to see the ways people interpret VRT that I never expected. I spent so many years putting myself into those cards. I sort of came to feel like my identity was tied up with them, like they were a pure expression of me. But now the deck is no longer under my control: it's gone out into the world where people can make of it what they want. They can take from it what I intended or not, as they choose. In a sense it's an expression of the beholder as much as the creator. Whether I find myself thinking, "wow! I never thought of that!" or "no no, that's not what I meant," either way it's amazing.
We got another great review! This one is from a website called Tarot Consultant. They named us their "featured deck of the month"! Yippee!
It was a really nice review although he seemed a bit down on the book. He said he found it somewhat limiting to frame the court cards in terms of a specific person. I guess it's true that a few paragraphs are not going to illustrate a person's life in a comprehensive way.
He recommended spending a few days with the cards before reading the book, to develop your own interpretations first. That's what I always do with a new deck anyway, so it seems like reasonable advice.
In other news, I finally finished writing a review for Tarot Passages of a wonderful book, I Tarocchi: Il caso e la fortuna. It's the museum catalog of an exhibit of historical Tarot, from the Brera museum in Milan in 1999. I was lucky enough to be sent the catalog by a friend who attended the exhibit. I don't read a word of Italian so I couldn't read the catalog. But most of it was taken up with beautiful reproductions of early Tarot cards. Anyway I hope the review will be posted in the next update at Tarot Passages.
We got a newsletter from the Llewellyn publicity department today. Much of the article was taken up with an explanation of how to work with Amazon, particularly the Amazon sales ranking. Which is an interesting coincidence because just yesterday I sent Robbye a link to an article that reviews the Amazon sales rank in great detail. I guess it's a topic of major interest to all authors, not just us.
The newsletter from Llewellyn mentioned Amazon's "look inside the book" program. They said that Amazon chooses titles for "look inside the book" based on the highest sellers. So maybe that's why they never responded to my requests to get VRT in. Maybe the bump in sales generated by Diane's review will be enough to get us consideration for look inside the book? Hope springs eternal.
We are taking another look at our schedule to see if we can work it out to attend the NY festival after all. It turns out that one of our other commitments for this summer, a trip to show the car at Artscape in Baltimore, is not going to be possible because Georg can't get away from work then. So we might be able to manage NY. We have a couple of weeks to figure it out.
In related news, we've been asked to speak at the Denver ATA conference. The idea of speaking in front of a group is more than a little bit scary. After all, Georg and I became a writer and an artist, respectively, so we could communicate without having to actually talk to anybody. But we'll try to muddle through somehow. My main hope is that they'll schedule us against someone really important, so everyone will go see the other person and we'll have an easier time of it.
The Queen Mother's funeral procession was today. In a break with tradition, her granddaughter Princess Anne walked behind the coffin. (Usually only men do that.) She wore a naval uniform with trousers, like her brothers Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, and her father Prince Philip. Ananova had a couple of pictures. Unfortunately I forgot to see if it was on television this morning. Because of the time difference I might have been able to watch before I left for work.
It looks like Georg and I are not going to be attending the NY Tarot Festival this June. I'm very disappointed as there were going to be a lot of great speakers, but sadly the trip just isn't possible right now. If you're attending and you were planning to meet us and/or have us sign a deck, I'm sorry. I hope we'll catch up with you some other time.
Tip for the morning: If you add a chocolate easter egg to your instant oatmeal before sticking it in the microwave, you end up with chocolate oatmeal. Which tastes like oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
I had a lazy, lazy day yesterday. The kind of day where you don't really feel like working, and then your computer helpfully develops a fatal error so you couldn't do anything even if you wanted to, which you don't. And your major accomplishments for the day are filling the bird feeder, mailing a few decks, and taking a nap.
We've had another review. A very nice one from a pagan website called The Cauldron. The only negative thing they had to say was that there could have been more basic information about reading, for someone totally new to Tarot. Which is probably true, but considering that a. we had assumed that only people with some prior experience would buy the deck, and b. neither of us really does readings ourselves, I'm thankful that the readings chapter came out as well as it did. It wouldn't be half as good a chapter without the contribution of Valerie, who's vastly better qualified to write about readings.
Not to say that neither of us has ever read the cards. We both used to, although Georg was much more experienced than I was. But as the deck & book took up more and more of our "tarot time," both of us gradually stopped doing readings. Now I'm more or less out of the habit & I'm sure the same is true for Georg.