2018, the latter half

It’s been a strange kind of 6 months here at EB Towers.

Job searching (and finding and still not a start date in sight) – my savings are dwindling but I’m so glad to have left teaching behind (though I still feel a profound loss of the meaningful interactions the job provided). Interviews gave me a good reason to look back favourably on my career in education.

I’ve been obsessed with CNN and MSNBC news channels on Youtube (though I have tried several times to watch Fox News as balance and failed miserably), tracking the progress of American politics, following developments since well before the mid-terms. For some reason, I’m reminded of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” which I’m currently re-reading. My viewing proved a valuable distraction from the political mess here at home in the UK.

I also watched (avidly) the first series of National Geographic Channel’s “Mars” which was very enjoyable and informative. I hesitated to watch the second series but was glad I did as that was where some interesting issues were explored. It was satisfying seeing writers explore the kinds of ideas that Ursula K Le Guin explored so thoroughly in her thought narrative “The Dispossessed” (probably my favourite adult novel). Interesting to see how NatGeo suggested Big Business concerns (for want of a better term) and lobbyists might influence colonisation of the red planet. Again, I was reminded of “Dune”!

I’ve re-read some of my favourite books / authors – UKLG, Joan AIken, Robert Westall, Rosemary Sutcliff, Helen Griffith, David Mitchell, Philip Pullman… and Frank Herbert (“Dune”).

I jumped ship on Twitter because I was checking the feed far too regularly. An ill thought out move because it stole from me a pm channel to some people with whom I rather liked communicating. I’m not impulsive by nature but that move was! Fear (of procrastination) was the mind killer!

The Earth Balm iBook and music re-recording seems to have been placed on the back burner (or the cold corner furthest from the back burner) but I’ll return to it when I’m working again – like the maxim “If you want to get a job done, give it to somebody busy”, I think I may have to take my eye of something to keep it in focus (if you understand what I mean). There is a “Dune” connection here but I think I’ve exhausted the ‘gag’.

I’ve regained a love of listening to music (usually at bed time, on headphones and while reading) including religious choral music, ‘world’ music, electronic and (occasionally) rock.

The very good bloggers of WordPress have provided me with many texts to look forward to reading when I’m once again in receipt of salary. They know who they are and I’d name them but for fear of missing somebody. Take time to go through the ‘blogs that I follow’ tiles to enter a kingdom of riches.

As always, family provides the very best reason to get up of a morning.

Hope everybody’s 2019 will bring creativity, satisfaction, calm and prosperity. Thanks to everybody anybody who has taken the time to visit this bubble in the hypertext ether. Very special thanks to anybody who came back for a second dose or more.

Good health and happiness to all.

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iBook Project Costumes

I’m currently working on the costumes for the figures in the iBook project. I don’t have the intellectual wherewithal to model in 3D though I do have suitable apps. Acquiring knowledge of anything with a steep learning at the moment will just delay progress so I’m using what I already know to modify models I’m already licensed to use. My first 30 page A3 sketch book seems to be filling up rapidly.

Dwi’n wrth fy modd.

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Initial costumes and possible procedural texturing for iBook project.

iBook and job search

I’m currently juggling work on the e-book with job searching and personal computer swapping (and more general family life). Using an A3 sketch pad (my favourite work medium as I’ve mentioned before now), I’ve mapped out the general plot, making some significant decisions (alterations) as I did so. I’m currently using the excellent Worldbuilding website to make solid some of my more gaseous thoughts. I’m not sure how many contributors on the site are bona fide scientists  but the consensus of opinion on matters seem to give creedence to many answers.

My mate John has gifted me a copy of “The Seedling Stars” by James Blish and I’m currently reading “Surface Tension”. Although I won’t be using any of the ideas directly, I’ve had some ‘offshoot thoughts’ about aspects of my project. I love the way that James Blish explores the idea of existence in the narrative just as UKLG explores ideas about society in “The Dispossessed”. I read (present tense) both narratives as ‘thinking out loud’.

I’m considering producing the e-book as a Bandcamp CD and booklet before a multimedia iBook but will probably change my mind many times over the next few months.

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My friend John asked me a question about something I hadn’t considered – who is the audience for the iBook? I had to confess that I hadn’t really thought about it but that it would be suitable for all audiences. “Young adult then?” he suggested. Now I think about it, it couldn’t be anything else.

iBook project update 2

I’m continuing with my experiments using Tumult’s app Hype. The app is designed for web work but I’ve exported files to video as I currently don’t have a web host account. The intention is to get to know  Hype’s work flow and capabilities before beginning actual iBook widget work.

 

iBook project update 1

I’ve finally begun the iBook project in earnest. I’m recording ideas in an A3 sketchbook (my favourite planning format) and have made much progress. My decisions are provisional and may be drastically altered at some later point but I now have the following fairly concrete intentions:

  • The iBook will follow a loosely sequential timeline but will be presented out of chronological order.
  • The narrative will have several alternative timelines that will not be ‘author resolved’.
  • The reader will not need to follow the book’s sequential structure.
  • The book will make use of all of iBook Author’s capabilities – html widgets, video, audio, text, Javascript interactivity etc.

There are several apps which I have owned for quite a while but not used and there’s a steep learning curve to one of two of them which I’m enjoying scaling. I’ll post updates here as often as I can or I feel pertinent. Below are two video tests of video exports from the html within Tumult Hype.

 

 

Time to get to work

I haven’t spent much time posting here during the last six months or so due to working full time and catching up on house maintenance etc. This laconic state is set to continue for a while longer as I begin to work in earnest on my musical and iBook projects.

I’ve begun to familiarise myself with (Tumult‘s fantastic html editor and iBooks widget exporter) “Hype”, “Inkscape” (for its ability to export svg files) and iBooks Author.

I’ll post some work in progress as video files on my under-used Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyUFYhtKbsMJMlW9rmXHFYwT

I intend checking often on my favourite blogs.

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What next

I’ve retired from teaching again – this time from supply work rather than a permanent post. It was all just too “Groundhog Day” for my liking (been there, done that, have the tee-shirt). Hopefully, while job hunting, I’ll be able to begin regular posting again and reboot the music and iBook work.

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