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Tuesday
May032016

Duty Roster Thoughts

Collecting data for the Star Trek Duty Roster poster taught me valuable lessons I vow never to repeat with future projects.

The chart was to be the prominent tropes of Star Trek taken from tvtropes.org. It's a great site and an evil rabbit hole to get lost in. Many tropes are cut-and-dried like the number of times Spock said interesting or fascinating or counting the number of times the phasers were fired and the color of the beam. Those things were easy to gather. They are objective data. The problem arose with the subjective tropes. Subjective is defined as "based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions." It makes for interesting discussions but has no place in data collection. An example of a subject trope is how many women did Kirk have sex with? Exploring this subject led me to many Star Trek forums containing many discussions and never did I find a set answer.

On one episode page I could find an event described as trope A. On a different episode page I could find that same situation described as trope B. On a third episode page, that situation isn't mentioned at all. It was like a crazy dog chasing its tail. I couldn't nail down the information. I finally conceded it was a fool's errand and the data set would never come to fruition.

When I had been working on this for over a month with no end in sight, I realized there's no end to this project. I needed to find a new direction. I didn't want all that work to go to waste so I salvaged what I could by filtering the objective data only. One of most notable sets of data was crew position. That sounded like a good direction.

I took another run through the episodes looking for people performing each job. Much easier than trying to observe every trope they might have been doing. My 20-20 hindsight wishes I had thought of this months ago.

I figured I was going to use the spoke-and-wheel style again. It works well for episodic TV. The problem I ran into with Star Trek that I didn't with Buffy was the number of unique icons I needed. It became a struggle with too much/too little information. I eventually settled on giving the regular cast, the regular extras, and the main guest crew unique icons with everyone else getting a plain colored circle.

I decided to include information regard the uniforms (ripped shirts and shirtless scenes) and odd-job performed by the crew (bridge waitress, bartender, and fire brigade). To round it out I complied a list of the crew who went the the Navigator's revolving chair. There certainly were a lot of people in that position.

There was the usual fighting with Illustrator as there always is. It does a fine job but it's just so finicky. But on each project I usually end up learning another technique that I need.

When the first print arrived at the house I found another problem. Some of the radials I was using to information were too small. I couldn't tell from the computer screen but it was verified on the printout. There were quite a few changes and I needed help. I sent a copy to Jürgen in Germany and we worked on it for a week tweaking both the icons and ways to denote information.

After we finished I did another proofread and sent it along. As I said, I've learned my lesson about working with subjective data. Never again...

Monday
Apr252016

One More Day

After my conversation with Jürgen regarding changes to the Star Trek Duty Roster, I spend four days implementing the changes. More time than I had expected it to take. But they were changes that need to be done. I took all of Sunday off to rest my brain and watched much TV I had DVR'd because that's all I had the energy to do. Ended up watching a Ryan Reynolds movie from 2015, The Voices, which I had never heard of. Just another one of those movies that our local movie theater chain doesn't bring to town.

One thing that the extra work on the Duty Roster means I needed to take time away from another project. But since the Mayan project is non-billable, as opposed to the sale of the Star Trek poster, there was not question where the time was coming from. That means the scope of the Mayan piece will decrease, but that's life.

But the work on the Mayan piece will be converted into various pieces for the CafePress store. It's part of the faux-English project converted interesting quotes/slogans into script that looks foreign. Want not waste not.

Wednesday
Apr202016

That Second Pair Of Eyes

I realize this was the of the project when I had gotten so close I couldn't see flaws that were staring me in the face. Even though I would normally known better. That is why I always find it crucial to have someone generally unfamiliar with the project take a look and ask if they see any glaring mistakes. That's what Jürgen did for me. As usual, his suggestions were spot on. So today became fix-up day getting ready to upload a new file by end of week.

Since I relocated my residence the once weekly meetings with my proofreader, editor, thing spotter have become less and less frequent. I realize how much I miss someone with those eagle eyes catching things. It's never good for anyone to check their own work. It just doesn't work.

I'll implement Jürgen's suggestions along with the additions I got from the TrekBBS people. Then it will be time to finally lay this project to rest and see where it goes.

Sunday
Apr172016

CafePress Page

I have installed a CafePress page in the righthand column regarding activity in my CafePress stores. This will announce new products, changes to inventory, and any other matters concerning the stores.

There now also a link to the CafePress store in the righthand column. When a new section of the store opens I will place a link underneath the main link.

Saturday
Apr162016

Test Print Ordered and the SteelCity Con

Star Trek Duty Roster

Just ordered my test print of the Star Trek Duty Roster. When I've confirmed the print is good, I'll post the announcements on the social media sites.

Steel City Con

Went to the Steel City Con today and spoke to many of the artists there regarding intellectual property rights and problems. None have had any run-ins with companies yet. They tell me that try to keep their heads down and not make big waves so as to not be noticed. Part of that is not do large print runs that show up somewhere. They also stay firmly entrenched in satire and parody—two safe havens.

But that's where my work doesn't go. It's a collection of data which is turned into a piece of data art. There's no satire or parody involved, just lots and lots of facts and data.

But one artist I met at the con, Ed Beard, thinks that the data may be what sets it apart. It's not anything you'd normally see from a company to display their property but you would see in an analysis or review of the property. He said he would check with some legal people he knows and find out what they think.

It would certainly be great if this type of work could be published without fear of getting my butt handed to me from some legal team for copyright infringement. I'll be anxious to see what Ed has to say