So, I sent my book in to be printed about two weeks ago and just got it back last week. It is really nice to see it in it’s printed form, but…

Probably the best way to discuss the result of the printing is to come out and say it, it’s too small. The book actual measurements are 9″ x 7″ which, if you’re like me, you think that the book is an average size. If you’re not like me, you realized immediately that it is small. So small that 1, I’m embarrassed of it, and 2, I have already started to reformat it to a 12 x 9 size. Seriously, when I unpacked it from the envelope that it was sent in, I mentally wondered, “what is this, is this a book for an ant?” — zoolander quote. Okay, so it’s small, too small, but what to do? I’m not happy with the size, but to redo the layout takes quite a bit of time. As I mentioned, I have already started reformatting, but the scale of the undertaking seems to be massive.

The first thing I had to do was to figure out the correct new size. Too big and it would be cost prohibitive to print. I also was concerned that I needed to ensure that I picked a size that available from the printers. I could do a custom size, but it would just be more of a hassle. I eventually decided on a 12 inch wide by 9 inch height for the size. The reason for my choice is that I printed off a ‘dummy’ back in the summer on standard 8.5 inch by 11 paper and I liked the way it looked, so making it slightly larger should be fine, maybe even better.

The second thing is the actual work of reformatting of the layout. At first I thought it was going to be easy. I mean, how hard can it be? Change the page size in InDesign, move a few text boxes, maybe a few other things and in about 2 hours I’d be done. Not even close, I started almost the same night I received the book in the mail and it took me probably about an hour just to wrap my brain around the process that needed to be accomplished. The problem that I’m worried about the most is that I have to decide how large to make the text boxes and images. At first I was thinking that I’d just keep the same size text boxes with the same amount of text. but the layout now is much larger. One column of text in the old size now looks tiny in the new layout. I could add more images, make the images that are there larger, or just make the text size larger.

Although I haven’t made a final decision I have started the process of moving everything around to keep the same look as the old look. Once that’s done, I’ll decide if I have to change the layout. Just getting it back to the same layout has been a chore. It’s tedious since everything is based on numerical values. The gutters, columns, images, locations of elements can’t just be placed where I want them. I have to figure out the location, store the x and y value, find the pages that have those elements and make sure that they are changed. With 176 pages this takes about two hours per element. The other day I started on the page numbers, after about two hours I still wasn’t done. I was close, but I realized that there were several that I placed just a ‘hair’ off. Not a problem right? No, serious problem. Now I have to go back through all 176 pages to ensure that all the page number are correctly positioned. This will take another two hours at least. I’ve probably spent about four hours so far on the reformatting, and I’d say that I’ve done maybe ten percent of the work, maybe five. Let’s do the math.

“if ken starts reformatting his new layout on page 1 at 6pm, and by 10pm, he has only completed 17 pages, how long will it be before he is done?”

a) He will never be done.
b) He will eventually finish, but nobody will care.
c) Forty extremely tedious hours.
d) Forty hours to finish only to realize that he made a huge mistake and has to restart and gives up.

If you said ‘d’ then you are correct.

Well, I think that’s it. I just wanted to let my faithful reader know what is happening with the book. I know it’s early, but my 1 reader should be coming by early next year. Damn, you got me. I don’t have a faithful reader. I’m just writing this post to tell someone what it going on, I don’t know who that someone is, maybe just a spammer or bot, but someone. :|

So even before my second book is completed, I’m getting mentally prepped for my next book. You can find out about my second book in a previous blog entry. I haven’t decided on what my next book is going to be about, but I do have a couple of ideas.

Option 1:
Continue with the series that I have been working on about my travels around the world while I was living overseas. It’s an easy decision to make since I’ve already done two in the same vein. I could just keep the same layout, maybe get a little bit more creative with the design though. I kind of like this idea mostly because I will be in a safer area doing something that I’ve already done in the past.

Option 2:
Now bear with me for a second, I just thought of this as I’ve been writing this entry. I could also do a picture-book of photos that I’ve taken as I traveled. I’m not sure if I have enough quality photos though to make it worthwhile. I could probably squeeze about 120 pages of images. It’s worth thinking about at least.

Option 3:
This option seems to be the one I’m leaning towards right now. I could put it to the back of the line so to speak, but right now I’m thinking that I want to write a book about computer graphics. I think what I would focus on is the technical side of using a computer for art. This means that I would have subjects such as gamut, additive color, resolution, file formats, and a few other things. I could go two ways with it, I could do a kind of handbook that cuts to the nitty-gritty of the subjects. I like books like this, where you read what you want to know about. The other way to do it would be to write the history of the subjects (if there is any), talk about theory, and give best practices.

So anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about now.

I finally finished my second book on Sunday. It is very similar to the book that I have already made into an ePub that is available for download on this site. I say similar because it’s the same idea behind it and basically the same format. In the first book, Living My Dream, I took the blog entries that I made during my first real trip around the world and combined them with the photos that I took to make a book. At the time, and even now, I don’t really believe anyone really cares what I did. I got very limited interest as I traveled and made entries into my blog. So there really wasn’t any reason for someone to actually care when the book was made. The second book that I just sent to the publisher is basically the same thing, it is a collection of all the blog entries that I made while traveling the following year.

Alright, so what’s different? The first book was a milestone mainly because I’ve had a life goal to write a book. It was a goal that I never really believed that I could accomplish, in fact, I treated the creation as almost a joke. As I mentioned I don’t think anyone is interested in my adventures, so I didn’t have any expectations with it. When I was finished, I was proud of myself, but I knew that I did it the ‘safe’ way. I didn’t really tell anyone, I didn’t try to sell it, and I didn’t take it to actual print. The result was I wrote a book, but I didn’t really feel as if I had accomplished what my life’s goal had been.

With my second book, Living my Dream v.2 (I know, creative title), I’ve decided to take it to the next level. First of all, I had planned from the beginning that I was going to have it printed. Having it printed changed nearly everything too. It means that writing and designing the book is not the end of the process.

As the title of this entry states, I sent the book to the publisher on Sunday. This print will only be one book. I want to make sure that there aren’t any issues with it before I order about 30. I will also decide whether I will have the publisher try to sell it for me. Selling it through the publisher will mean that I take myself out of the equation. It will cost much more, but I’m not good at marketing myself, so the results might be better with the publisher as a middleman. They will sell it through Amazon, do marketing for me, and they have a service that will review a book for a fee. At this point, I really don’t know what I’m going to try, I just know that I am taking it further than I did the first book.

Before I write too much, I want to make sure that I state, I don’t really have any expectations for this book either. I don’t expect anyone will purchase it, and if someone does I would be afraid that they may leave bad reviews. I am going through with it though. It’s an important goal for me.

So I was outside yesterday and I’ve decided I’m going to do another book. I have two choices of subjects that I’m interested in. The first and probably the easiest is to do another travel book. I could do it the same way I did the other two. The second choice of subjects is what I’m leaning towards, and that is a book about computer graphics.

monks enjoying the morning sun

Thank you for your submission to Oakwood. We are pleased to inform you that we have selected your work Monks Enjoying the Morning Sun for publication in the 2020 issue of Oakwood!


Several months ago a photograph that I had taken while I was in Myanmar of two monks sitting in the sunlight was accepted into South Dakota State University’s publication called, “Oakwood.” I was quite happy to receive the news.

Unfortunately, due to Covid the publication was delayed and the reception was canceled. To be completely honest I nearly forgot about it until I wrote the last entry about my solo exhibition.
I consider it an honor to be a part of the magazine and am proudly displaying to magazine on my desk.

I’m happy to announce that my solo exhibition, titled, ‘Into the Light,’ is now on display at Peru State College’s Art Gallery. It went up on Sep 7, and will be going on for about a month. I expect to take it down the first week of October. This was a long time coming and I am proud of the response and of the work.

Because of Covid, the school was having some problems bringing in outside artists so the gallery manager asked me to fill in for at least a month. I was happy to oblige. I have been working on several new pieces, most of them were photographs that I took as I was traveling around the world. I had all these pieces that I was just dying to show others and hadn’t had the chance since I came back to the US last year. Thanks to PSC I now get to show the world, albeit a small part of the world, my work.

Into the Light postcard, kenneth curtis I have never been the type of person who looked forward to exhibitions, I always felt that people wouldn’t understand my work, or worse that they wouldn’t like it. For some reason, maybe it’s age, but it didn’t bother me this time.

The work went up on Sep 7, Labor Day, and it consisted of thirty pieces. It contained, four hand work pieces, about 10 photographs, and the rest computer art or serigraphs. The first week I had two groups come through and was able to give a talk about my process and thoughts behind my art. It was a lot of fun.

Although no one asked me why I called it ‘Into the Light,’ I kind of want to mention it for posterity. When thinking of a title I kept coming up with titles that reflected the art contained, but nothing seemed to stand out. Then I realized that since this was the first solo exhibition that I’ve had in quite a few years, I felt that I was emerging in the art world. That meant to me that I was coming out of the shadows and putting myself and my work on display for everyone to look at and critique.

Ever since I got set up in my apartment there was something that I needed to do and that was to sort out my hard drives. I’ve got something like 11TB of data in 5 or 6 external HDs and much of the content is duplicated. So like I said, I needed to clean it up and hopefully get to a point where I knew where everything was, had necessary backups of the important data and was confident that everything was safe.

About 10 days ago I had cleaned out one of the hard drives that was giving me problems. The drive sounded like it was going to break anytime and it was the first drive that I wanted to clear out and then try to repair it… or throw it out if I couldn’t fix it. After, it was all cleaned out and the data was in another drive I decided to reformat it.

The first reformatting didn’t work, I’m not sure why, but I did it again. This time it was taking a very long time to erase the data. I kind of expected something like this since the drive was in bad shape. After about 2 or 3 minutes, on my finder window the name changed to “untitled” and it was good. Except the other hard drives that I had plugged into my computer at the time were now also named, “Untitled” My heart sank, and my stomach went to my throat… I double-clicked the drives and they were all empty.

So after about 30 minutes of walking around saying to myself, “I didn’t do it, I know that I didn’t do it.” I started to assess the real damage that was done. I had three drives plugged in at the time, so all three were reformatted. Two of the drives had very important items that I had been working on, like my new book and temporary video projects, as well as backups to both of my computers. All the data was erased, all of it. I didn’t even know what I had lost, just that the drive that I use for everyday projects was completely empty.

So I went to work trying to restore the files, the first program that I used restored the files, but all of them were corrupted. In other words, I could see the files but when I tried to open them, I got a ‘corrupted file’ error. I thought that maybe I did something wrong, so I tried it again. Side note, when it comes to restoring files, it can take quite a while. For just the first drive that I tried to restore it took about 35 hours for the program to go through the drive. Now I was going to have to do it again, at least I could see the files were there and I felt that I was going to get them back.

After another 30+ hours I tried again and the same thing happened. The files were there, but they were nearly all corrupted. It’s about Wednesday or Thursday about now, four or five days of this.

So I gave up on that software and went to another. It took another day or two to realize that it was going to give me the same issue as the other software. I tried another application and I didn’t feel as if I understood it enough to take a chance on my very important data.

So on Saturday I researched and looked around for something else to fix my situation and found the software that I’m using now. It’s slow, just like the others, but to my relief it is working. Yesterday I started at about 11 or 12 and by 6 it was done with the initial scan. I decided that I would start saving the files to a backup drive. Unfortunately though it took much longer than I expected and by about 8 or 9pm I realized that it had stalled at one file for about a half-hour.

The software gives you to ability to save the initial scan, but for some reason I didn’t do that and was forced to ‘force quit’ the program, losing the file structure that I had waited for about five hours to complete.

To sum up, about 8 days ago I accidentally erased two hard drives, both 2TBs, that contained valuable files that I absolutely have to get back. I’ve been working on restoring them since it first happened and I think that I have found a solution. Now if I don’t screw up any more, I should have both of the drives restored by at least next Friday, it will be about two weeks wasted for a stupid mistake… that I want to emphasize I still don’t think I made the mistake.