Friday links

Sorry folks, Ask Ceil will be back next week; Ceil had to take this Friday off. By way of encouraging her to make up for lost time, We’ve set up a special page where you can send in your questions: Coming soon: Another column from Martha, also a review of my new Macbook Pro … Continue reading Friday links


Why do typos bug us so much?

“Errors in copy tell me, ‘this text wasn’t worth my time to proofread, so it’s not worth your time to read’.” I said this to an author today (not one of mine). This person is currently in the middle of quite the heroic effort to keep typos out of her novel. She has multiple levels … Continue reading Why do typos bug us so much?

Not the Paper Towels You’re Looking For

I love visiting bathrooms with automatic paper towel machines, where you just wave your hand at the machine. Hey, I’m a Jedi! (At least for the moment.) With all the travel I’ve been doing, I’ve really been honing my skill at appreciating the little things in life. I travel up to three weeks a month, … Continue reading Not the Paper Towels You’re Looking For

Ask Ceil – Gassy and Alone

Dear Ceil, How do I save money on gas? —Combustible in Central Jersey Well, there are several things you can do. You can sell your car and walk everywhere or get a bike. Summer’s coming, and everyone has been telling me that exercise is good for me! I’m not sure if that’s because people think … Continue reading Ask Ceil – Gassy and Alone

How I painted a rocket-schoolbus

I made this original sketch in my Moleskine, on the drive back from Washington, DC. That’s where my in-laws live with Adam and Daniel and their son Avi. Whenever you have a laptop open, Avi will wander over and say, “Bus?” He wants to watch the “wheels on the bus” video, and will watch the … Continue reading How I painted a rocket-schoolbus

“And now for something completely baroque…”

Having played mostly rock music my entire life, it’s a bit of a surprise to find myself in a duo playing baroque music. Songs like Butterfly and Scottishe and Minuet #14 are, surprisingly, fairly simply structured. Matt DeBlass and I have been rehearsing; we even started cutting a demo before my Mac died. We’re going … Continue reading “And now for something completely baroque…”

Ask Ceil – Grapey Things

Dear Ceil, Why does grape flavor taste the way it does when actual grapes don’t taste anything like it? —Juicy in NJ The grape flavor that you find in soda or pop (we’re not getting into that here), jelly, candy, and medication is not the green or red seedless variety from your local supermarket that … Continue reading Ask Ceil – Grapey Things

Book Review: Dying Inside

I recently left a note in a writer's manuscript, letting her know that she was mixing tenses and persons. Most of the chapter was in past-tense third-person: "he", from the view of an outside narrator following along not quite inside the character's head. However, there was one long paragraph where the future came into focus … Continue reading Book Review: Dying Inside

Craters and Bubbles

The back of a bucket of gesso has instructions on how to get a smooth surface on your canvas, and gives silly advice such as using fine-grained sandpaper in between coats, thinning the gesso with water, and so on. A painting is simply that, it's paint on a canvas. Pretending otherwise does a disservice to … Continue reading Craters and Bubbles

Ask Ceil – Introduction, Computers and Asses

Hi. My name is Ceil Kessler and today I am pleased and proud to announce the addition of my advice column, “Ask Ceil,” to Magnificent Nose. “Ask Ceil” will be published once or twice weekly, depending on both the frequency of questions and my availability to answer them. At this point, I will consider questions … Continue reading Ask Ceil – Introduction, Computers and Asses