December 20th, 2002

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speaking many languages

I spent my morning in a business meeting with a fellow from another country. His English was imperfectly accented, but his understanding of American idiom was impeccable. I'm always amazed at how much English people from other places speak, since my schoolbook German stops a little way beyond all the basic phrases--"Where is the train?", and the like, and in both French and Spanish I know pretty much "where is the hotel", some basic menu items, "how much does it cost, please", "thank you", "hello" and "goodbye". My wife speaks rather good French, which makes our limited Euro travel a bit easier, but I am the proverbial Philistine (who cannot, for that matter, speak the language of the Philistines) when it comes to language.

When I returned to my office, the most wonderful thing was in my e mail. kenmora sent me the first draft for the cover for my novel, "Lonely Distance". He did an amazing job. It's far better than I ever imagined it would be. My book is a simple first person narrative about cyberspace "aloneness", disguised as a science fiction novel. Ken "got" exactly where I was going with it, and drew something right on point.

I thank those who participated in my first poll very much. Lately, I've had the feeling that my journal is getting a bit entrenched in the same themes. The poll responses gave me a set of new places to go, content-wise, and I intend to write an entry on each topic suggested in the coming weeks.

I liked doing a poll. I'll do another one in the near future, but for that one, I will make the answers available to all. This weekend I have many more holiday cards to send, and a few gifts to acquire. I may also have to work, and I definitely want to take a long walk in this rapturously warm winter weather.
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The Kingdom of Heaven reopens for mail

The folks at are back up and running again. Postcardx is arguably the simplest of the mail art related services. One logs in one's address into a random name generator. When one goes on the site, the name generator generates a new name and address to whom to mail. Then one mails an art work, a poem, a letter or any other creative thing. Talent is not the key--it's all about the Light Within. I see that some 200odd hardy souls are signed back on the service. I'm there--they call me "Gurdonark".

If one is more interested in "mail art calls", by the way, those requests for mail art on a particular theme, for use in a "mail art show', then one might check out, where the forums include a message board for mail art calls. Mail art involves no awards, no returns of what you send, no juries, few "rules", no hassle, but documentation of the event is generally sent to "all" who participate.

One mail art call really interests me right now. It's a request for chess sets for a show in Europe. I wish to participate, but I'm trying to think how to make a chess set without any particular arts and crafts skills. I have some good ideas, but I wonder who might suggest ways for an artless person to make an art-oriented chess set?