This is a rather selfish request. Would you all please go to the Share your dream section (click link) on the Revell website and then click on “Support idea”? I’ve always wanted to have a model kit of the fast space cruiser Orion 7. Thank you.
Recently two e-books came to my attention, both self-published by the authors and both an excellent read. The fact they’re self-published throws a rather interesting light on our publishers – in Paul’s case I know he tried to get a publisher but can’t even get past the agents. So no wonder more and more (good) authors have decided to go the Amazon, Lulu and whatnot route getting their texts into the open. Right, let’s start and bear in mind that I’m crap when it comes to writing book reviews.
Paul Basgurboga, Rick O’Downe and the Topographic Dream
Kindle Edition, £1.86
Rick O’Downe is a unemployed chemist from Salford, Lancashire, who likes a drink and a smoke – you got a problem with that? Good. Next, Rick has three major obsessions in life and he don’t care who knows it, does he?
The first is access to his nine year-old lad Jody, who’s been deliberately whisked 10,000 miles away to New Zealand by his ex-wife – that is, his bitter and twisted ex-wife – Petra.
The second is his erstwhile laboratory colleague, Professor Garth Willey, now a highly successful (or highly lucky) TV Science Presenter and Petra’s former lover, who has just announced that’s he’s shooting a new BBC series in…New Zealand. The third – his rock music heroes Yes, whose obscure and mystical (or completely nutty and nonsensical) lyrics seem to act as Rick’s sole guiding philosophy through the complexities of life and love. But are they also a spur to kidnapping, murder and Pilotage of a Marine Vessel Without Consent?
Set in that part of New Zealand’s Middle Earth that the Hobbit wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole, Rick O’Downe and the Topographic Dream is a tale of Class, Revenge, Progressive Rock and Regressive Behaviour.
Paul’s book is amazing. There are at least three story threads woven into the book – the main narrative, an autobiography and e-mail conversations. And newspaper clippings. And streams of consciousness. And rock lyrics. And it’s extremely funny.
The book is a fabulous mixture of James Joyce, Flann o’Brien and Paul Basgurboga. Heartily recommended. Buy it.
Glenn Campbell, Limbo: A Novel
Kindle Edition, £2.50
A man without a name, without a past, without any specific memories to trouble him, finds himself living on a tropical beach with a beautiful woman. Is this Earth or someplace else? He can’t be sure. He doesn’t even know whether this place is real. All he knows is he wants out.
The monotony of Paradise is relieved only by the experiments. Every day he reports for duty in some kind of underground laboratory. Every day he is the subject of bizarre tests, arranged by experimenters he cannot see. Someone is probing him, provoking him, pushing into a series of events he doesn’t understand.
Every evening, he returns home to the beach, to the perfect little bungalow on the shore where the woman cooks him dinner and cares for all his physical needs. Who is this lady? Some sort of actress? And how could she be so perfect? Not a blemish on her skin!
He is a lab rat, and he knows it, but this is not a painful life. He could get used to it if time only gave him the chance. This world—whatever it is, wherever it is—is disintegrating. The beach is getting smaller. It is being riddled with bizarre defects. Whatever force is maintaining this place is losing its power.
In the early nineties Glenn Campbell used to live in Rachel, Nevada, where he published the Area 51 newsletter The Groom Lake Desert Rat, a humorous approach to the bizarre ongoings of the secret USAF base. Since 2000 he’s travelling all over the world, publishing books and appearing on TV from time to time.
Limbo is a fascinating story. Starting off like Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner, it becomes more and more surreal and finally comes down to Earth – more or less. Who is the man, being kept prisoner on a beautiful beach? Who is the woman that lives with him? A robot? Is the beach actually on Earth? Who are the strange doctors and scientists conducting bizarre tests on him?
Again, recommended reading. Buy.
Life as a graphic designer was always rather easy for me: I received a job from a client, finished it, sent the invoice and sooner or later another job would appear. As of lately though, I got lots of different jobs from one client, all from various department and various product managers and began slowly losing the plot. Have I invoiced this job? Has this job been approved? What’s with the job that started 3 weeks ago? Searching through long
e-mail threads with attached Word, PDF and PPT documents isn’t that much fun either. Clearly a job number system was needed.
There are, of course, dedicated database systems for ad agencies and graphic design studios available. However, they don’t come cheap and why buy yet some more software when I’ve got Evernote?
With a lot of trial and error I came up with a system that works perfectly well for my purposes. I’m sharing it here because it may as well suit your work flow; a basic knowledge of Evernote is required though – download the manual here.
I created two note templates in Evernote. The first one serves as a job bag.
The note title consists of the job number and description of the job, followed by date, name of product manager, and, just for the sake of it, the job number again.
“Art:” shows, once the job is finished, the attachments – a low resolution PDF and the InDesign document. The space underneath is used for briefs from the client, e-mails and everything else that belongs to this particular job. This way I’ve got all the communication with the client within one easy searchable note and don’t have to browse through gazillions of e-mails.
This is what a “Job Bag” note looks like once a job is finished:
The second note template is used for the creation of a jobs list:
This gets copied and pasted into one note every time a new job is created. It’s for a list view of all ongoing jobs. Checkmarks show the status of each job and, most important of all, whether it’s been invoiced and paid. “Links:” points towards the job bag and possible additional documents, like branding guidelines. Depending on the number of jobs per month, I can create a new list either every month or every 3 months or could even keep a list on a yearly basis.
Here’s the list view:
At present this system works just perfect for my purposes. It can probably be extended or perhaps even simplified, but right now I don’t see any reason for this.
And now back to work.
And then what follows is an incredible series of sections that teach anyone from the novice to the expert typist how to create a border, cut-outs, lettering, cross-stitch patterns, and even letterhead. The booklet ends with the exhortation that “like stamp collecting, ‘art typing’ may easily turn into a profitable hobby.”