Biz News – I’ve just posted two new Ligne Bretagne Collectors to the LB catalog. Otherwise, no changes, though I seem to have about a dozen special ordered pipes going out in different directions. I guess it’s officially seasonal pipe request time!
It’s last call on the Fantasy Calabash! Yes, this is the pipe that was in the catalog last month in a much more conventional red-orange stain. It also, inexplicably to me, did not sell quickly – another example of how I can never tell. I personally think it’s a gorgeous shape and just about the perfect pipe for me, but maybe people were put off by the fact that it was smaller than my typical group 6 sizes, who knows?
In any case, I only own one high grade example of my own work and that is from nine years ago and not really comparable to what I do now. So, I think this one is going to be mine. I re-stained it to my new favorite, Froud Green – an odd choice perhaps, since it doesn’t make the grain “pop” like more typical black/orange contrast stains, but I think it goes well with the mushroom-ey shape. So, it’s soon to be smoked. If anyone wants to buy it in its current green incarnation (grade 3, 519 €), contact me SOON, because this evening I’ll be smoking it and then it will be mine forever (and it’s 5:26pm here now). I actually hope no one buys it, but being that it’s Christmas shopping season and 500 € is too much to pass up, I figured I should at least make the offer before yanking it off to my collection forever.
In other news, check out the pics of this very cool volcano blast that’s on its way to China. The black contrast against the faint orange tint really makes the grain snap, especially in the close-up enlargements. And how’s this for bird’s-eye on the bottom?
I’m really going to be curious to hear what the pipe buyers in China and Hong Kong think of this sort of style.
Finally, this latest site update is a strange one, because the whole thing has been done via Ubuntu Linux. While Ubuntu’s Firefox and Kompozer are the same as XP’s, I have lived in terror of the Gimp graphics program for some time. The Gimp is an open source Photoshop alternative, surprisingly powerful and often touted as a great example of the capability of open source, yet it’s also a glaring example of the flaws of open source too – to put it mildly, the interface is …. strange. The XP version of Gimpshop, a Gimp mod that rearranges the menus to match Photoshop, even includes a component aptly named the “de-weirdifier” which bundles all of Gimp’s various different dialog windows into one central window app, like other programs. I’d tried using the Gimp in Windows and it was like being repeatedly whacked in the head with a ball peen hammer, in comparison to Photoshop which I could sit down with and immediately figure out. So, I was freaked, to put it mildly. To my total surprise, though, I had a very good Gimp experience. Where it seemed slow, buggy, and strange in XP, in Ubuntu the Gimp runs fast and efficient, and the Linux windowing system options (tagging windows to stay on top, for instance) completely transformed the annoying experience from XP.
To my considerable surprise, I was able to easily zip through assembling the two pic sets of the new LBs, and in some ways it was even simpler than in Photoshop. It DID require regular reference to the help files and “Grokking the Gimp”, however, so it wasn’t as intuitive. I think I’ll be getting the hang of it in short order, though. Like the rest of my Ubuntu experience, it turned out to be not nearly as horrible as I was braced for, and in fact was quite pleasant once I accepted that there would be some re-learning involved.