Splendid Sundays in Slumberland

New York Times: Restoring Slumberland. There’s an eerie synchronicity about reading this article at the same time as Cory Doctorow’s Themepunks serial in Salon. Peter Maresca’s painstaking restoration of Winsor McCay’s century old comic strips, which still stretch the limits of the form in both imagination and quality, and his subsequent decision to self-publish the results seems as brilliantly quixotic as the creation of garden gnomes with face-recognition for providing context-sensitive household memos.

What’s best about the new book is that it’s about a passion for something that was itself insanely passionate. No hack working in syndicated comics today could pull off anything like the imagination and brilliance of a page from this book. Unfortunately, what’s worst about the book is the infrastructure: the book’s website, sundaypressbooks.com, is was pretty much unreachable (it’s back now).

Update: Nice post at BoingBoing citing Glenn Fleishman on the copyright issues involved: “100 years later, the public that granted the limited exclusivity of copyright gets to reap in the greater benefit of cultural heritage being shared more widely.” The ironies abound in this case. Prior to the Dover reprints that surfaced a few years ago, I’m unaware of any collections that appeared while the work was still in copyright. It’s only now that the right audience has appeared to create a work that might spark new interest in McCay’s work.

Even more unbelievable: Virginia 26, Florida State 21

As Fury points out, it was a weekend for upsets, and while Michigan’s 27-25 victory over Penn State is pretty darn dramatic, my money is on Virginia’s 26-21 win over Florida State for upset of the week. Sentences like “beat a top-5 team for only the second time in their history” and (my favorite) “We couldn’t stop that dadgum No. 18” make the victory that much sweeter…and almost erase the humiliation of losses to Maryland and Boston College in the preceding weeks. Of course, Virginia’s return to the Top 25 helps too.

The mystery of the disappearing door.

the release mechanism for the lock

While I’m pondering house changes, I can’t help but be captivated by this illustration of how to make a hidden door in a bookcase. Very cool, and solves a problem with our plans for the built in bookshelves in the library… provided I can sell Lisa on it.

We have limited space in the library room for shelves. One wall is mostly occupied by a large fireplace, and the facing wall has the staircase—which has little room for bookshelves, sadly. In the outside wall of the room is set a door, which leads to the access for the water shut-off (and also provides a convenient access behind the walls for running electrical cable to the breaker box). I had thought that the door limited what we could do with shelves on that wall, but the illustrated how tos in this article suggest we may have some options.

The choice of book for the hinge is especially good: an old volume of Sherlock Holmes. Though I might be tempted to find a more literal title, like this one, to serve as my mnemonic.

Color us nervous.

Well, today is the big day: bathroom renovations started at our house this morning. Our contractor is ripping out a closet and a half on the first floor to squeeze a shower into our half bath (which makes it now a three-quarters bath, I think). We’re a little nervous and have been forgetting important things to ask. Like: when you do the demolition, if it’s possible, could we get the floorboards out of the closet so we can patch the holes and water damage left where the radiators used to live?

This is also the point of no return in a lot of ways. Most of the other jobs that we have had someone else do have been quick and relatively painless: one day at most, even for the window replacements. The HVAC job was an exception, but it didn’t make a lot of dust and noise, as opposed to this job.

And there are so many moving parts: tile, fixtures, lighting, paint, plaster, all have to be managed separately. Our general contractor has been pretty good so far, but there are still things that we have to manage.

So we deal with it. The dogs are out of the way in New Jersey, and we’re at our respective offices IMing nervously back and forth to each other with budget numbers and details we’ve forgotten. You can say what you will about doing big projects yourself, but at least you know exactly what’s going on. Makes me wish I had set up a webcam or something.