Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Arachis Press Logo

I'm at a point where I want to make a more-or-less permanent decision on the logo for Arachis Press. Do I stick with my older concept I worked up a couple years ago (with or without added peanut graphic):

Or do I go with this more more unique choice:

I've pretty much narrowed it down to these two...and I like them both. The older one might come off as classy to some but it's also just a tad cheesy, don't you think? The newer design certainly makes for a clean and even forceful 'AP' but I'm not entirely enamored of the font otherwise.

Well, I suppose I'll decide soon, as I'm getting the web site revamped and expanded (at last) and would want to use one or the other. It would appear in the next book too, but then I already have five books out there with the older logo. That's probably the strongest argument for keeping it.

addendum, July 29: having given this some time for consideration (starting a couple months before posting it), I've decided to stick with the old logo.  So that's the Arachis Press 'brand' for the foreseeable future.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Czech List

The latest Classical music concept for tee-shirts and other stuff at the Insolent Lad Emporium. Yes, I was listening to Dvorak when the idea (such as it is) came to me. I should have this simple design up and available on merchandise shortly.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Let It Fly Home

A new design at the Emporium -- this is a much simpler version of the "The Heart Is a Dove" graphic I already had up, for those who prefer something less busy (and easier to read).

Available on mugs and a tote bag; not really suitable for much else (like tee-shirts).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hooker's Green

A quinzaine I wrote some years ago and just decided to base a graphic on it. It is unlikely to go any further than this blog.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Improvements, Home and Otherwise

Now that I have a fast internet connection, I finally got around to downloading the latest version of Open Office. It’s a pretty big chunk of data that would have taken hours of time previously.

I’m pleased that the one and only thing that kept OO from being ‘perfect’ for my needs has been fixed. That is the use of Open Type fonts in my work and, in particular, for creating print-ready PDFs.

This is also a problem in my older version of Corel’s Word Perfect, although my more-or-less current edition of their Draw program handles OT fonts without problem. So, I assume, would an updated Word Perfect, but I’m not sure I’ll worry about that anytime soon. I do still slightly prefer WP for formatting, despite the extraneous codes it adds. They make clean conversion to the EPUB format practically impossible.

* * *

I’m pleased that we’re getting more rain this year. Last summer’s drought conditions were pretty bad but I didn’t need to mow just about every day like I am now. And my allergies were much less of a problem. Who knows which allergens are in the air at the moment but there’s something getting to me.

I certainly have enough flowers blooming so perhaps I’ve only myself to blame. The first hibiscus (Rose of Sharon) has bloomed, there are loads of Madagascar Periwinkles (which are a semi-weed), many of the petunias continue to flower. My hydrangea blossomed for the first time this year, as well.

But then, there is lots of grass pollen and mold spores and so on, so it’s all just guessing.

* * *

I continue to work towards getting the studios ready (art and music). The need to work around the needs of my mom’s care do prevent me from having things just the way I would like. That’s okay; I’ll get them as good as I can, as I can.

As far as actual recording and music-making equipment goes, I’m in pretty good shape – I can certainly do what needs done with what I have. The room itself needs work, both sound-treatment and sound-proofing. Treatment to make the sound of the room good, no odd echoes or cancellation of frequencies, and sound-proofing to keep outside noise intrusion to a minimum.

To some small degree, improving one will improve the other. Foam or fiberglass panels on the walls will attenuate sound from the outside a little. Not a lot but every bit helps. Right now my windows are open in this heat so it wouldn’t help at all!

Incidentally, adding foam, curtains, movers’ blankets, etc. can also help with heat insulation. That’s something I need more of, come winter. So I just ordered (having watched for the bargain, as always) a set of heavy quilted sound blankets that I can put wherever, for temporary insulation of sound and heat, as well as acting usefully in deadening the sound some. I made sure to get ones that are completely safe to use as actual blankets too – if one doesn’t mind a few grommets, they’ll work just fine on ones bed.

For now, they’ll probably go over the windows and the passage between the music room and the kitchen. I could also use some to rig up a temporary sound booth of sorts. A real sound-proof booth might prove a useful addition somewhere down the road. That, I would build myself, I reckon.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Empty Art

Any new art that is accepted and admired by the academic establishment is almost certain to be utter crap. That is as true now as when the Impressionists were denigrated a century and a half ago, even though we all think ourselves more enlightened now.

What mainstream critics love, I find, for the most part, boring. Nor do I have much liking for the poetry and painting coming from MFA programs and academia in general.

I prefer art that is about meaning rather than concept. Too often, the art of today (and for quite a while, actually) is the opposite. I prefer art that deals with the questions of existence, that has a spiritual (in the broad sense) element. Clever anti-art deals with nothing but itself. That may have been interesting for a time but it has no more to say; it only repeats itself, becoming increasingly pointless.

Which seems to be the point, these days.

This is why I semi-aligned myself with the Stuckist/Remodernist movement for a while. It was the true ‘alternative’ movement of its time, the anti-establishment to an establishment that claimed anti-establishment credentials.

Quite bogus credentials, to be sure – the work of such establishment artists was fashion-show art, putting on punk-rock accoutrements in an attempt to appear something more than it was. The Stuckists certainly represented a breath of fresh turpentine-scented air.

However, I don’t particularly like most of their art. This is not too say it’s worse than the art of any other group or movement. I do think it looks back a little too much, romanticizing the early days of Modernism. Those were days of artistic vigor, so perhaps they shouldn’t be blamed too much!

Most of today’s art certainly seems stale in comparison. Is there any true cutting-edge work out there or only clever imitations of the avant-garde?

Today’s artistic mainstream seem empty, but I’ve no doubt that the pioneers of new ideas are out there, working away. And, as usual, the academy has not noticed them – it is too busy selling its fashions.


Monday, July 09, 2012

Fast Playing

I just noticed that my niece Mean Mary James's short video of her playing Cripple Creek is poised to exceed the one million views mark.

I'm posting it around to help get it past that milestone shortly. Mary is headed out on a western tour next month, Texas, Arizona, California -- including a date in Long Beach where she lived for a couple years while dabbling in the acting thing (but you know she'd rather direct).


I'm not one to make impulse buys. I make lists of items I might want or need eventually and then watch for deals and sales. So it has been with the e-reader.

It is not something I particularly need, as I'm not traveling any at this point nor even going far from home. Last month I went the full fifteen miles to shop in Chipley (I needed to do some banking and to buy pavers for my garden); that's the first time I had traveled that far this year. And I can read e-books right here on my computer, after all.

But it was on the list. Then I saw a 7" Augen reader, open box special, for $35 so...what the heck, I'll get it! I did and it's okay and I will read on it occasionally. If I ever get out-and-about, it would be nice to have. I could even carry my songs (that is, lead sheets for the ones I might perform) on it, though I reckon it would be difficult to play from that little screen and scrolling would be awkward.

There were 150 free e-pub (the format I would prefer) books loaded, taken straight from Project Gutenberg, where I occasionally download a text. I suppose I'll plow through some of them, delete some of them, add new ones, etc. as time and interest permit. I've started in on Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes novelette, 'A Study in Scarlet.'

Is this the first step to a 'smart phone' or a tablet computer? Unlikely. I'm not into small for small's sake, nor into using a phone for anything other than making calls. Incidentally, now that I have satellite internet I will probably get my very first cell phone and have the land line cancelled. Just the cheapest pre-paid unit I can find, as I rarely call anyone anyway!