Melange a’ Trois

This post is going to be like a box of mixed sweets. Nothing to do with one another, but hopefully still of interest to the readers.

Firstly, I am still slowly experimenting with dictation. I have been able to come up with a rig that works well for me in the car, now, I just need to figure out how to deal with traffic! Seriously, plotting and driving while merging from one highway to another is a no-go. But there are parts of my commute that work fine. After reading Kevin J Anderson and Martin Shoemaker’s inspiring book on dictation (you can find my review here) and looking at my hour plus of commute daily, I decided that was the best time for me to write or rather, to dictate notes, thoughts, and sometimes even chunks of story. I wound up buying the Olympus voice recorder Martin recommended in the book, as it wasn’t too dear. It’s quite easy to operate one handed without looking at it – very important while driving safely. And in fact if I am too focused on the driving to even shut it down, I’ll just let it go to dead air for a bit until I can spare a hand. I’d rather get where I’m going in one piece. We tried using an app on my phone for the dictation at first, but after a couple of trials I gave it up. The app needed me to navigate to it, and turn it on, something that can’t be done while driving. The phone’s microphone, and my bluetooth handsfree rig (I don’t have a newer car, this is an aftermarket setup I put in) also picked up too much road noise for Mom (who is helping me with transcription) to make out what I was saying. I had a couple of super cheap lavalier microphones shoved in the computer box (with all the random cables and doodads) so I’m using one of those until I decide I can warrant the layout of monies for a nice cardoid microphone.

I was talking to my son about what he’s reading right now. He’s an odd duck (he’s mine, you expected anything else?) and while I don’t think he reads like I did at that age, he certainly reads more than 14-15 year old boys are expected to. Including (bless her heart!) his teacher offering the class a selection of Indie books. So he came to me and asked me if I could please get him book 2 of a series she had started him on. Which, as he said, wouldn’t have been his first choice, but he was in a rush, so he grabbed the first book that was sticking out on the shelf, and didn’t realize until he got back to his desk was post-apocalyptic. He didn’t think he would like it, but he did. He told me he might want the rest of the series if it ‘didn’t go too far off the rails.’ He also told me he was reading another book from the Indie shelf at school he had been able to pick up when he had more time to choose something suited to his tastes. So he has a historical novel of the Civil War he’s really enjoying. He’s becoming my history buff. And, as we were talking about books, he brought up the book he really wants me to finish writing (well, inking), which is the next coloring book of Inktail. He might even write some stories to go with my drawings. I told him I’d be more than happy to have him write with me. Really, what more could a mother want?

And finally, book covers with a bit of a twist. I stumbled across this article on the covers of yesteryear, and although you really couldn’t pull them off on a modern book (we don’t bind books the way we used to!) there are some classic elements here I think would work. Or just enjoy looking at them because some of them are lovely art.

Jules Verne. From the Earth to the Moon. London, Sampson Low, Marston, Low, and Searle, 1873 — Source.
Antal Radó. Költők Albuma. Budapest: Robert Lampel, 1904 — Source.
Richard Bowdler Sharpe. Sketch-Book of British Birds. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,1898 — Source.
Friedrich Christian Accum. A Treatise on Adulteration of Food and Culinary Poisons. London, Longman, 1822 — Source.

And should you, like me, want to read that treatise on food and culinary poison, you can do so here. Isn’t the internet wonderful?

13 comments

    1. I own an older version of Dragon. I have not tried it yet – Mom offered to do transcription, and I offered to pay her 😀 I should give it a try, though, and see if it works, so I have a backup.

  1. Just a wee bit of Mucha in the Hungarian cover. 🙂 Of course, at a certain point commercial Art Deco (Jugendstil) tends to blend together.

  2. You do covers like that nowadays by painting covers like that and putting the painting on. I’ve seen a number “tattered and torn pulp book’ covers.

  3. Back in the ’80s I did a lot of driving and bought a small tape recorder to make notes. I found out I hated transcription so much I only used it a few times.

    There were some primitive, expensive desktop systems that, by reviews, didn’t work very well, and nothing at all for a portable system.

  4. I love those designs. JK Rowling’s more recent covers have a similar look to some of these so I see how the designs could be revamped and slightly updated for the right book. Neat!

  5. I have an older version of that recorder. If you press the Rec button, it pauses the recording instead of stopping it. It works very well with Dragon, and should have a “scene” setting for Dragon.

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