Goofing off is maintenance. Yeah. That’s it.

I have managed my sleep schedule poorly over the past few days, and here I am still awake. And it is not so much what I have learned but what I must remember: relaxation is maintenance.

There are studies. You’ll have to look them up yourselves – I’m on like 3 hours of sleep.

I have binge-watched the final season of House of Cards so you don’t have to. At it’s best it was kinda a mirror-universe West Wing with a little bit of Godfather. The last season is more Godfather than West Wing, until it just hits the side of the shark tank and descends into soap.

Spoilers: they are all eaten by sharks.

Is it wrong that I was kinda rooting for Doug Stamper? I guess because he was not beholden to any interests other than his own insanity.

Earlier this week, useful things were done.

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The enemy of productivity

If you are worried that I will drown poor Vet Bill in a bucket, don’t. We are warming up to each other. Currently, most of my problems with her are kitten problems rather than psycho-stalker problems. I have removed her from my desk four times while writing this post – and counting.

You can still have her if you want – but there is no emergency.

(I see that smirk.)

I have the house to myself, and mostly back to the way I want it. But I still have a lot of soda and chips that I will not eat. Open to suggestions.

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Point Reyes National Seashore

Over on Are We Lost Yet? I recall backpacking at the Point Reyes National Seashore.

I am about to throw the kitten off my desk again. Excuse me.

Over on Curious Continuity, we review the first half of the new Doctor Who season.

 

And on Fantastical History, I explain how folktales about Jack are based upon his autobiography. Or the other way around. 

 

Maybe I’m tired for good cause?

I have thrown Vet Bill off for the 6th time.

Now we know.

 

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Vet Bill exposes the limits of generosity.

I haven’t paid the vet bill yet, but that day is certainly coming. First some housekeeping.

There’s been a bit of hiatus, I know, but most of what I have learned involved things off-limits to this blog: romance, finances, and the details of my day job.

Updates from the most recent posts: My back is healed. But I have long experience with these things, and was never worried – just annoyed.

I sold zero books at either KABAM or the Las Vegas Book Festival. But we have already learned that is not the point.

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Hualapai Mountain trail.

I did get a hike in around Kingman, and a bit of an adventure coming back from Flagstaff for day-job reasons. Those are at Are We Lost Yet.

Brazen Wonk has election endorsements, in case you are relying upon my opinion to inform your vote.

In the last few days, though, I have had  a lesson in the limits of generosity.

Earl brought home a cat he found on the highway. (Earl is my “room-mate”).

And this would be fine and even noble if:

  • He actually lived here or
  • He had the means to support a pet.

Since neither is true, has has brought me a cat to live indefinitely in my home at my expense.

I have named the cat Vet Bill. She’s about 7 months old, black/white/grey/and generally adorable. She comes (inexplicably for a street rescue) with a carrier, a litter box, and food bowl.

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Vet Bill meeting condition #1

You can have her right now if you want. I’ll even split the cost of spaying her.

See, I have two iron rules about creatures living in my house at my expense:

  1. Pee where you are supposed to
  2. Get along with the other residents. All of them.

Vet Bill sees Daphne, my daughter’s rabbit, as her lawful prey, and stalks the aging bunny relentlessly when she is free to do so. True, the other cats will torment the rabbit from time to time, but these episodes are occasional and short-lived.

Vet Bill has made stalking that poor rodent the focus of her life, and I do not have the time or skill to mitigate that. So she basically lives in the closet when either Earl of I aren’t around to police the living room. And she is on pace to live outside when (if) Earl goes off to Louisiana, as he plans to do by the end of the week.

I will not add chasing the cat into her closet to my morning or bedtime chores. She will live outside (or rather, in the garage) before I put either one of us through that.

Or – ideally – someone can come get her, and save her from my cruel tyranny. Seriously, I’ll split the vet bill with you. I know a very reasonable place.

Two things before anyone lectures me on kitty-whispering:

  1. I have never gone out and gotten a pet in my adult life. Every animal I have ever lived with has either squatted at my residence until I gave in and started feeding them, or has been abandoned on my doorstep by previous caretakers.
  2. All I hear is “I’ll come take the kitten off your hands…”

Actually, I will cheerfully deliver her.

Now we know.

 

WORD COUNT:

Two drafts of a chapter revision for Taliesin’s Last Apprentice = 2000

AWLY? Post about FR237 – The Bumpy Back Way into Sedona = 1000

Thursday night writer’s group = 500

Submitting One of 64 to a publisher = 500

Creating a video about my hike to Point Reyes National Seashore =1000

Writing the accompanying AWLY? blog (which goes online Thursday) = 1000

Winning for Losing

You can’t win them all. In fact, most of us lose about half the time. It’s how you respond to losing that determines the cost of the loss. We’ll get into some examples, but first,  a self-serving announcement:

 

There is a new version of Are We Lost Yet? With content. Right now.

 

And more to come.

Anyone who feels sorry for poor Brett Kavanaugh should reflect that he is now on the Supreme Court anyway despite his poor performance in the worst, surreall, contrived job interview ever seen on non-fiction television. He won. Don’t feel sorry for the losers. That defeats the point of that sentiment.

The Suns fired Ryan McDuh a year too late. (Did you really need to keep him around to draft DeAndre Ayton at #1? My daughter could have made that pick, and she uses words likes “sportsball”.) The Suns went from having four starting quality point guards under cintract to having zero under contract – and no prospects of acquiring one. They have run out of time to rebuild. They must at least flirt with .500 THIS SEASON or even guys like me are lost to them.

As it stands, they have a 30 win season at most.

Our old friend Neil Patel blogs about his blog failures.

 

The big lesson I learned was that knowing SEO isn’t enough. Even if you can build links, write content, and climb to the top of Google fast, you won’t stay if people hate your content (or product/service).

 

On a more personal note:

Last Saturday [10/6/18] I wrenched my back but good trying to wrestle an 80 lb chain hoist back into its box. The box in question was above my knees, but below my waist, so I really had nothing to work with but my arms and my back, and despite what we may have learned watching the Six Million Dollar Man in the 1970’s ou can’t do much with your arms without involving your [crunch!]… OWWW Dammit!

I swear I heard a crunch sound.

Before anyone panics, it is my opinion that I strained one muscle, and aggravated my arthritis. It’s arthritis. It’s not a bulge or a rupture or anything of the sort.

One of my rules of this blog is that it is not for whining, but there are some aspects of dealing with lower back pain that are less obvious, and perhaps instructive.

A good night’s sleep is about the worst thing I can do for my aggravated back. It stiffens up to wrought iron, and every move hurts. I have to psych myself up to put on socks. Worse, getting ready for work involves standing for 30-40 minutes, and bending slightly to deal with this or that on the dresser or counter or desk.

But Ibuprofen, and an ice-pack for the drive in help a lot, and by the time I get to the job-site, I have been able to get out of the car with less drama than it took getting into it.

This situation, and the single malt scotch I bought to “medicate” it with, not house guests have helped the word count. Low level pain will absolutely compound exhaustion. Leading to that good night’s sleep that is nearly the death of me every morning.

Can’t win for losing.

I don’t know what that says about my character, but that is how I’m dealing with it. It has been getting a little better every day – so I continue.

Now we know.

 

 

Briefly resurrecting old jokes.

I have recreated my dead(ish) hiking blog Are We Lost Yet?. Sometimes I can access the ghost of it’s presence on my publisher’s site. Sometimes I can’t. I have yet, after six mnths of promises, been able to add to or modify the site, so I am pulling the plug on my end as well.

New hiking content (as well as some old retreads) will appear at Arewelostyet.blog.

Who knows? I might even make a dollar or two.

Old Suns joke:

Why haven’t the Suns ever won a championship?

Because Alvan Adams is still the best center they have ever had.

But I saw the Suns preseason opener tonight, and I believe DeAndre Ayton could get there. As a raw rookie, I yet disbelieve he’s going to be the 20/10 all star he has been projected to become, but he is already starting quality.

Wasted, of course on a team that is still painfully young, and has a 30 win ceiling, despite any of Ayton’s heroics, because they neglected to trade for or sign a starting quality point guard.

In other news, I need a pirate costume by October 12th because of my girlfriend. I just like having that sentence not be random gibberish in relation to my life.

In particular I need a shirt.

Worcestershire sauce, spilled all over the floor, is disturbingly like blood.

Word count is 3000, mostly on the new blog, which is remarkable given my distractions of late.

But … oh my lookit the time.

Now we know.

 

What we Learn by Flailing in the Dark

Before we recite my mistakes, and then some notes from writer’s groups and other sources, I have an announcement:

 

I will be in Kingman this Saturday for KABAM (a book festival)

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More information on KABAM on their Facebook page. I will have copies of Beanstalk and Beyond on hand, as perhaps copies of my hiking guides as well.

Now..

My son owns a 2003 Cadillac Deville, which broke down recently because of course it did.  I went to help him, and that grew into a 12 hour day until I finally sprung for the tow truck.

  • Removing the water pump, and  the pulley above it both require special tools, which, happily, you can “rent” from most auto parts store with just a deposit.
  • To remove the water pump you also need a 3/4″ socket, and to turn the thing the opposite direction of what you would want to.
  • Once you realize it’s not just the belt – it’s the water pump, you are past where you can do the deed curbside. Tow the thing to somewhere you can actually work on it.

Because the shadows, and our collective exhaustion were defeating our efforts to remove that damn water pump. (Also, we were doggedly twisting it the wrong direction).

Do not wipe all the cookies from your browser just because they freaked out a part of your credit union’s website. The website still doesn’t work, and now I have to re-enter a bunch of passwords – which I hate.

At Brazen Wonk, we notice how Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination troubles are entirely of his own making.

There is also, after a long lapse, a new page of the 64 webcomic.

I haven’t made anything like word-count the last few weeks. I have been distracted by my son’s car disasters (I only mention the smaller crisis here) and romance. That’s right. But not here – you’d have to ask me in person.

Except this – I haven’t been getting much sleep,. and yet I still have a bunch of energy. Like back to being hyperactive sort of energy.

But let’s step past that rabbit hole and get to notes from writer’s group sans meaningful context:

The Uncanny Valley is when an android is almost convincing, but not quite. TV Tropes sums it up here. Stranger Dimensions has examples.

Someone in the group knows Loren Coleman – Cryptozoologist.

 

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Not just a collection of random nouns

Pocket gophers, specifically the Camas Pocket Gophers are real creatures, and not just a collection of random nouns.

 

 

Those two items are actually unrelated.

 

Finally we cannot reccomend strongly enough Toilets with Threatening Auras on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Vice wrote them up a bit, if you need to know more.

Now we know.

Back to Old habits: sports and wringing groups.

Here are some things we learned since our last entry, in no particular order.

My daughter has gone back to NAU where she belongs.

Clay Buckholtz is now firmly the #3 starting pitcher for the Diamondbacks, who are inexplicably leading the NL West at this writing. You can point to Paul Goldschmidt if you want, but the real reason they are ahead of the Dodgers and Rockies is solid pitching and league leading interior defense. If Nick Ahmed doesn’t win a gold glove this year something is rigged.

Feels good to be jabbering about sports here again.

I have kinda committed myself to producing a distributable PDF version of Go Action Fun Time by month’s end, which may impair other projects. I am looking at making it a Drive Thru RPG product to test the market if no other reason. I’m pretty happy with the text (V 1.4) but there are a lot of details regarding layout that will suck up a lot of time.

We have some notes from tonight’s writer’s group.

One of our alumni has pushed a project into print!

Ivy Millicent Learns About Diabetes was work-shopped in our group a few years ago.

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Alas, the phrase “in the limelight” has nothing to do with plague bodies being tossed into glowing lime pits. That would be awesome, but the internet disagrees.

Limelight comes from the chemical lighting process that replaced gas lighting in theaters by the 1860’s, and was the standard for lighting vaudeville and melodrama until practical electric lights came about by the 1920’s.

Finally, the Zapfino font:

 

zapfinoone

Available here.

Now we know.

My Many Reasons for Drinking Whiskey Right Now

As I write this, I have been up for 27 straight hours. This will not last much longer. I am drinking good whisky like water, and there are many reasons for that.

Because I’m running on fumes, I am blowing off all the usual links.

I have made word count for the last 2 weeks, mostly on Go Action Fun Time. We are blowing that off tonight too.

I did indeed go to MaricopaCon, where one of my two Go Action Fun Time sessions fired – as we say.  Meaning I had players.

Two dads and four kids under 12. So I cut the A plot and the B plot, and strung together a series of nuisance encounters and that constituted the actual episode.  This seemed to work. They clobbered giant scorpions, found a way to fly over the moat full of blood, and worked their way through five of the six insane encounter rooms.

Everyone had fun playing a game I made up. Cheers.

Mayan mythology – where I drew most of this material is seriously messed up – just so you know.

I came home from MaricopaCon to find the AC dead. Some investigation revealed filters clogged with enough hair to make whole new pets, and a coil covered in gunk, which was in turn covered in ice. I remedied all of that, and went to work.

I have been working overnights on my “day” job, because the building we are trying to finish is already occupied. The poor denizens of that cubicle farm have a hard enough existence without turning their lights on and off at random, as I do. So we work in the middle of the night sometimes.

Come back just before dawn and the AC is still not working. This would be a source of discontent.

Earl, having been recently homeless, was game to just suffer through. Julie found other places to be. I managed to sleep through most of the heat until about 4:30 yesterday afternoon. I have been awake ever since. Partly because I had to go back to work.

Without going into the objectively dull particulars of my job, I finished whispering to the lighting relays, and a job that has been plaguing me since February is finally done.

Cheers.

Came back home, and the AC guy I had hoped to see at seven said 10 was more realistic. OK.

I mowed the lawn – which was up to my knees in places. Cheers.

It wasn’t like I could go inside and cool off. Even so, I had an hour to fret about how I might come up with the three grand or so it would take to replace the AC unit. Also, I napped for maybe 20 minutes.

The AC guy  arrived, and quickly determined that the problem was not at the AC unit, but at the fuse-box.  OK- I had gotten that far, but only with a hot stick. The hot stick said that current was reaching the AC unit. A

A meter, though, revealed that only a fraction of the voltage was reaching the meter. The 3-phase exterior-handled disconnect panel that my grandfather probably kloodged in there had finally failed mechanically, and the blades no longer made full contact. It would have to be replaced.

This would be $250 if he did it, but even on short rest, I am an electrician. I can replace the box. That seemed to be the answer the AC guy was hoping for.

But not just right now – I had an appointment.

I went to the divorce shop and signed some documents in front of a notary. That’s not a happy reason to drink whiskey, but whiskey is called for nonetheless.

Cheers?

Then I bought the wrong fuse box, some printer ink and a handful of groceries.

My Epson XP440 won’t print in black unless is has ink in all three other cartridges either. This has been a source of discontent. But I bought the damn ink, because the $30 get me functional as opposed to $200 for an actual laser printer to Solve This Problem.

That day is coming, but today was about the AC.

It says 50 amps right there on the plate, so I take my 30A back and get a 50 amp. Then I climb up on the roof in the bright afternoon sunshine and verb with nouns until I get the damn thing in place.

I knocked out one of the holes too large for the fitting. Never ask how I fixed that.

I thought about carefully metering everything but nah. The proof of the wiring in in the humm. Flip the breaker and …

VICTORY OVER STUPID SHIT!

Cheers.

I have the haouse to myself tonight. Cheers.

The diamnodbnacjsm are winning . Cheers . Starting to get really fuixxxzy now. Maybe beers  soon. And a shower – a long overdue showers.

Soon we will be inandmmwairtbsiazzzzzzz.