First Impression of the Kindle

At last I’ve decided to join the modern world and get an electronic reading device. I settled on the Kindle for no terribly compelling reason. A device that supports more open formats might have been wiser, really, since a big part of what I’m interested in is carrying old, public-domain (free) classics with me to catch up on when there’s not something new (expensive) I’m wanting to read.

I’ve played with the thing only a little bit, and my very first impression is that I’m going to have to make some adjustments to how I approach the device. When I glance at web sites on my phone, I’m usually doing very cursory reading, and the temptation to gloss over what I’m reading has carried over to my use of the Kindle so far. In the very wee bit of reading I’ve done (just the first few screens of a couple of sample downloads so far), I’ve been in electronic reading mode and so have been involuntarily skimming. So step 1 of learning to read on the Kindle will be to force myself into an awareness that the books I’m reading on it are in fact real books and not things to be merely skimmed.

More, perhaps, once I’ve had more of a chance to read. For the moment, I’m off to read the real paper book I had begun last night (Lolita, one I’m long overdue for and somewhat dreading).

Fin Back

Last year, I led an online group read of Moby-Dick. While doing so, I happened across the art of Matt Kish, with whom I’ve struck up something of a friendship since. When I met him, Matt was about midway through a project to illustrate every page of Moby-Dick. He was kind enough to contribute some articles for the group read, and in February, he finished his ambitious project, which is now being collected in an art book. I was lucky enough to be the first to purchase one of the original pieces from the project (though several other illustrations that didn’t make the final cut have also been sold, and I’ve bought one of those too).

It’s a really gorgeous piece, vibrantly colored and drawn on an old TV schematic. The drawing has hundreds of tiny precision lines and dots that aren’t nearly as impressive in the crummy phone snapshot below as they are in person.

Although there are lots of fantastic pieces in the collection, this one is of particular significance to me because I decided last June to get a tattoo adaptation of it. Naturally, I got Matt’s permission first, and he was really pleased with the outcome. I am too. (As with the original art, the photo below really doesn’t do the piece justice.)

Fin Back Tattoo

When my wife and I talked about my getting a tattoo, she had envisioned something much smaller than what I wound up with. For that matter, so had I, but it was hard to translate the stencil the tattoo artist showed me into a size relative to my back, which for understandable reasons I have only a tenuous understanding of the size and geography of. She was upset when I came home with a bandage covering the better part of my not-small upper back. I think it’s grown on her since, and although I didn’t mean to get one quite so large, I love that it’s as big as it is.

The tattoo artist had to change the sizing on a lot of elements to translate the original piece into a tattoo, and I think that by and large, he did a great job. Some of the crookedness manifest in the snapshot above is the result of my back’s contours and not of an unsteady hand on the tattoo artist’s part. I wish he had colors matching the originals a little more closely, I’ll say.

Since the moment I got the thing, I’ve wanted another (maybe even another Kish piece), but I’m told I’m disallowed from doing so, at least for a few years.

I’m glad now to have the original artwork in hand as a companion to my inked knock-off.