Promises made to yourself are inherently negotiable.

An announcement first. Stand back a bit.

UnObtanium Bazaar will be at the Arizona Ren Faire at Hidden Lakes in Buckeye January 15-17.

Well, we are 90% on this, anyway. We’ll know more, and yell about it here, next week.

I have never been big on judging years as good or bad. It depends entirely on what criteria. That said, if you are a US resident and not an established member of the investor class, this has been a troublesome past 9 months and counting. If you are an investor, it has merely been annoying, and perhaps overly dramatic.  

I had, until very recently, avoided most of the painful impacts from Covid. My day job has been largely unaffected (we have, in fact, been slammed), and, despite being out and about on “essential” work, I had avoided infection.

Until three days before Christmas. So, bah humbug. But even that consisted of what felt like a head cold, and passed just as quickly. I am now out of quarantine, at least by county standards, and back to work.

https://www.maricopa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/58863/Home-Isolation-Guidance?bidId=

The guidelines feel like they had heavy input from the chamber of commerce, but they are the standard my work goes by, so off I go.

Now that we’re caught up on all that:

A little more than a year ago, I vowed that 2019 would be the last Christmas for which I did not have a book out. For various reasons, not all of which were avoidable, I missed that deadline.

By late November it was clear I was not going to be able to produce The Secret History of Empress Em (the final title of One of 64) by year’s end. The budget for cover art evaporated into an unexpected expense, and I’m kinda holding out for not doing my own cover art.

As late as December, an improved version of Go Action Fun Time Basic Rules seemed possible by Christmas. But, UnObtanium and surrounding hoo-hah (see last few posts) had set me behind, and then perfect became the enemy of done. Mostly the latter – mostly on my end.

I made the decision that I would forgive myself for breaking my promise to myself if the end result was a better product by mid-January. It was not like I was going to see any Christmas retail bump anyway.

That said, the new Go Action Fun Time Basic Rules Deluxe Edition will be in the transom by the end of the week, and available probably by my birthday later this month.

Deluxe means a new cover, slightly fewer typos and an index. But also some substantial editing of the rules for clarity and consistency.

This should be a downloadable PDF on Drive-Thru RPG by the end of the week. I also plan to have Lulu print me about 25 copies for physical sale. Then I will investigate other outlets.

  • It had been long enough that I had to re-learn formatting PDF’s.
  •  Printable PDF’s need the cover included, but for-print PDF’s want the cover as a separate thing altogether. This proved an enormous pain-in-the-ass as neither Acrobat or Word make it easy to remove the first two pages without destroying the page number scheme I had coddled it into.
  • Making an index in Word somehow changes the page numbering, so do that before updating page references in the manuscript.
  • Using an outline in Word makes using the Thumbnails in Acrobat more straight-forward and makes HTML tags irrelevant. The TOC Thumbnail as a sidebar is actually easier to use overall.
  • The absolute last bit of editing, after the TOC, after the index, is find all the places you referred a reader toa page number in the document and insert those page numbers. This is the only way you will ever be accurate about that.

If you want to game-master Executive Produce Go Action Fun Time, contact me, and I will hook you up for basically free. Otherwise, the PDF’s go for $8.99 and the hard copies are going for $20.

Meanwhile, I am out of my Covid cave and ready to face another orbit around the sun. Cheers.

All my mess going forward

It’s all my mess going forward. 

The map of Arizona that now hangs in my Arizona room, and makes me irrationally happy.

I have finally cleaned the back rooms of the house including the hall bathroom. All summer, a pair of gender-fluid twenty-somethings used my hall bathroom as a make-up studio hair salon for themselves and their friends. It’s not spotless now (this house is old) but it no longer looks like that happened. 

I also mopped the back bedroom for the first time since I moved in. 

For those who don’t follow my antics in person or on social media, Rey and the entourage have gotten themselves their own apartment, and I live alone again. Which is sometimes sad, but mostly great. 

I can walk around naked. I put things places and they stay there until I move them. All the media devices are under my control. And any mess going forward is my fault. 

As it should be. 

Our best face forward.

Unobtanium Bazaar – the website – is live!

https://www.unobtaniumbazaar.com

There are products for sale that you can buy with your magic plastic. 

Unless you are in Europe – there’s a declaration I have to have on file about privacy, and I haven’t gotten to that bit yet. 

In the sinkhole of time that the Mohave Ren Faire created (see last three posts) I lost my chance of having my space opera come out as a book by Christmas. This would be a longshot anyway, mostly due to the lead time on cover art (even if I did it myself). 

I hate breaking promises to myself. But all is not lost. A revised (dare I say “Deluxe”) version of Go Action Fun Time is nearly complete. This will replace the one extant on RPG drive-thru. I just locked the main copy. I have an appendix or two to put together and interior art to add as it comes out of my ass mind. 

Interior art

I have a cover problem here too – but I am more comfortable doing my own cover art fort this project than an actual novel. Comic/cartoon is in my range. 

I’m trying to decide:

The original with a less cluttered background?

Or something like this?

The red oval is where the logo goes.

Chime in down in the comments.

To get either done, I’ll have to bury myself for a couple of weeks. 

Speaking of burying myself, you can read about my mis-adventure in Navajo country in Are We Lost Yet?

Bongo in Navajo country – trying to hide his disappointment.

Now we know. 

This is not a post-mortem of gloating.

We must not gloat. 

Gloating is the habit of losers beating the odds. You score a touch-down, you’re allowed a fist pump or the like, but then toss the ball to the ref like you were supposed to make a touchdown. 

You don’t need to keep the ball. There will be more. Because you did the work. You figured it out. You learned from your mistakes and adjusted. Competence wins out over time, all the time. 

Luck is consistently 50/50, not just by definition, but mathematically. Your fate is as much a series of coin-flips as anything else. Smiley-face/frowny face = 50/50. 

It is said that a person needs three lucky breaks in a row to improve their status. Not impossible, but generally unlikely. There’s really nothing you can do to change the odds on the coin flips. Luck is famously indifferent to effort or even competence. The coin spins how it spins. 

But let me propose, based upon my own experience, and observations of others, that prepared and competent people can move ahead in two lucky breaks, which is far more plausible. 

Which brings us to the recent Mojave County Renaissance Faire. [https://www.mohaverenfaire.com]

https://westernnews.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/photos/2020/11/17/joust_1_use_web_MS2ZIAo_t715.jpg?529764a1de2bdd0f74a9fb4f856b01a9d617b3e9

https://westernnews.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/photos/2020/11/17/joust_1_use_web_MS2ZIAo_t715.jpg?529764a1de2bdd0f74a9fb4f856b01a9d617b3e9

{If you were hoping I was heading towards politics – sorry. Not this post.}

The event, which actually happened  November 13-15, despite the rising tide of COVID even in windswept Kingman, drew about 3000 visitors over three days (according to the Kingman Daily Miner https://kdminer.com/news/2020/nov/17/kingman-renaissance-faire/)

Our home away fromreality.

Our booth did well. Even though we were the farthest in, we were also right by the jousting exit, which balanced our fortunes. After expenses, we did not make enough to quit our jobs, but we made enough to want to do it again. 

Catch the coin, lift your hand: smiley face. 

Cheryl (right) and friend in character.

Much of what we learned is specific to our booth logistics, and not of general interest, but these lessons might be:

  • Absolutely worth it to take a day and set up the booth and take it down in controlled conditions. (see last post).
    • So you have time to go to the store and get the things you now know you actually need.
    • And have some idea of how it’s going to take to set up and tear down. 
    • The more complete the better. The elements we did not have available, or skipped, during the dry tech (to use the theater term) were the elements we struggled most with in the field. 
  • If you are hoping it won’t blow out of the trailer on the freeway, it will totally blow out of the trailer on the freeway. Don’t load the trailer with hope. 
  • Price tags mean you can leave the booth with someone while you go pee. 
  • The Square reader paid for itself in an hour. We believe we had a 20% bump in sales because we could take credit cards (or magic, as we called it in character, “Will that be coin or magic?”)
  • Relatedly, it was totally worth it to have a couple hundred in small bills on hand. We made several sales based upon our ability to break a 50. 
The sun sets on the clearance rack.

Yeah, it was our first booth as primary vendors. (I have sat in such things for my publisher, but all I had to do was show up), but most people were surprised to learn that. 

We are also both career production professionals who have been on the organizing side of fairs and conventions. We were supposed to score a touchdown. And we did. 

Also worth noting: I sold more books (Beanstalk and Beyond) at this fair than I have at any publisher sponsored book event. 

http://www.mysticpublishersinc.com/store/product/beanstalk-and-beyond/
An actual book you can buy!

Funny we should mention that.

I have signed the contract for the sequel (Taliesin’s Last Apprentice) and hope it will be out this summer. 

So next November, you can come up to Kingman and buy both books from me. Signed of course, at the fair price of $15/each. Cash or magic. 

[Tosses ball back to ref. Goes to the sideline to drink whisky.]

The Rise of the Creatives is still a climb

My girlfriend read and embraced Richard Florida’s 2002 pop-sociology book Rise of the Creative Class, postulating that creative talent would be in demand in an information-driven economy. I haven’t read the book, but from 2020, the premise seems obvious enough.

I often quote Hunter S Thompson who came to the sme view sideways:

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

There’s news on that front, but first let’s get tomorrow out of the way.

If I am in town, I prefer to vote in person, on election day. Mostly that is to give down-ballot candidates and issues the full window to make their case. Also, I am a difficult voter to challenge, being registered, white, male, and relatively well versed in law. I don’t expect trouble (I am also a master at finding the dull hour to vote) but I might be hoping for it more than I should.

So you know, it is expressly illegal in Arizona to be on school property with a fire-arm. So if you are seeking a safer place to vote – half the polling places are in schools.

If it bothers you that I feel compelled to write that sentence – it should.

I’ve made my endorsement over on Brazen Wonk.

I have on the table the contract from New Link Publishing for Taliesin’s Last Apprentice, the sequel to Beanstalk and Beyond (which they also published). So settle your wagers accordingly.

This will be a thing.

Also a thing:

Last weekend we set up the event pavillion for the upcoming Mojave Renn Faire (see last entry).

The finished – enough result

Relatedly, last week, I learned that creating your own custom font and then turning that into stencils is more time consuming than you think. (Like three whole evenings) (What does that mean in word count?)

Three nights of my life…

So you’ll excuse me if I plead exhaustion and cut this short without a pithy ending. I’m tired, and I still have to get up tomorow, go to work, and defend democracy.

Now we know.

My Last Christmas Without a new book out

 

I finished at least the rough draft manuscript for Taliesin’s Last Apprentice, which is the place-holder title for the sequel to  The Beanstalk and Beyond.  I did this with 10 minutes to spare before my self imposed end-of-November deadline. (see two posts ago).

Image

The beginning of the end.

If you’ve written a book you know that I have a LOT of editing to go before its a thing that normal people will enjoy reading.

 

In particular, because first drafts of Jack are always hand-written, I do not have the last four chapters even in Word yet.  When it goes to word, each chapter is its own document for a while, until I finish a section. Then I edit each chapter and compile it into a section (TLA has 5 sections). Then I will edit it again before compiling it int a full draft manuscript.

That is my task for December. My goal is to have a beta-reader friendly manuscript (or two) by the start of 2020. Then a submission by the end of January.

Then a book by next Christmas.

This is not my only pan in the fire.

aOne64 prologue coltxt v3

I have regained the uncontested rights to The 64-the place holder title for my sprawling space opera.

The first full novel in that series, The Secret History of Empress Em,  is in the can, and set to begin editing in January.

I am the publisher. My hope is to get this out in some form by summer 2020.

(I adapted the first chapter into graphic novel form if you want a bit of a preview. )

I will also be looking for beta-readers for this, sometime in the spring.

If you were enjoying a break from Go Action Fun Time, too bad. That’s the third iron in the fire, and I have some announcements:

Image result for Graal of Plenty"

Go Action Fun Time Christmas Special: All I Want for Yuletide is the Graal of Plenty

A parade of Arthurian tropes including the secret origin of Galahad!

Saturday, December 7, 1:00pm at the Scale and Feather Meadery.

This is a co-event with Crit Hit West.
 
Scale and Feather has a wide selection of mead but a limited selection of food.
GAFT basic rules cover
Between Christmas and New Years I will run the Silk Road Pt 2 at my house.
Also in the works:
  • a revised Basic Rules set
  • A Cast Directory and
  • A Setting Bible.

Some of that material is available in protean form on the website:

There will also be a non-fiction project starting in 2020, a guide to either Arizona wineries, or hot springs and swimming holes, depending on my sense of the market, and logistics.
One more promise to myself before I go: the next post here will be about something else besides my writing.
I promise.
You were warned.

Catching up with some quick lessons

I took a vacation, followed by back-to-back conventions in and around an extended visitation from Earl, and now that is all over, and I have my life back, and some time to reflect.

For those that know and/or care about Earl Hedges, he has left for Rochester NY on adventures, and will not have reliable internet for some time. That is what I know.

Now, some brief lessons learned in more or less chronological order:

My Vacation

Lo Lo Mai Springs Resort is what any KOA wants to be: over-priced and still worth it. I paid $40 a night for a tent site (which is twice what I might have paid at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, a few miles down the road) and I did not feel cheated at all.

First of all, we had the place nearly to ourselves until Friday.

Second, our tent site was right on Oak Creek. (Wading around in rivers works leg muscles you did not know you had. )

camp at LLM

Third, they all the KOA-like amenities such as showers, and a store etc. The store is cash only – a handy fact to know in advance.

Fourth, the neighboring property has a group of Alpaca’s, to which Cheryl is partial.

cz w alpaca

Cheryl and friend.

Yes – it was quite warm, hence our extensive experience with wading around in Oak Creek.

And yes – we were able to hike the West Fork of Oak creek without disaster.

occ by cz 1

Photo by C Zierman

 

I found I had to choose between quality time with my girlfriend, or documenting antics for Are We Lost Yet? I no longer have the bonuses to do both (if I ever did). AWLY? has not been updated in some time. I regret nothing.

There is probably still a market for a Arizona winery book. Meanwhile, we have these resources:

Verde Valley Wine Trail

Screenshot_2019-09-08 VVWC_Map2018(3) - Map-inside-brochure-wineries-8-18 pdf

CoKoCon

This is still CopperCon in size and spirit (and personnel) .

I played some Go Action Fun Time and moderated some panels.

Spoon theory, I now know after moderating a panel on it, is a metaphor for rationing personal resources while managing a disability. I did not have much to add, as whatever my disaqbilities, energy is not something I have ever had to ration.

RPG’s and writing: “You have to accept your godhood.” – Beth Cato

Do You Need an Editor? Yes.

“Write with abandon. Edit with extreme prejudice.” T.L. Smith

Five Rules of Writing (amended)

  1. Show – Don’t Tell
  2. Avoid Cliche’s
  3. Keep your ass in the chair
  4. Use adverbs sparingly.
  5. Just get there.

For rule 5  “there” is the story. Start where things start happening, and get to the end expeditiously.

Good world-building insulates you from characters (and player characters) going off the map. BUT BUT BUT the reader only needs to know enough about the world to follow the story. Just get there.

Things that appeared in my inbox:

Remedial crash course in website design: How Not To Suck at Design

Emmy Award-winning showrunner of The Office, Brent Forrester, shares his rules of writing comedy.

And finally some oddly edited but nerdily fascinated backstage action from the Drottningholms Slottsteater.

Drottningholms Slottsteater backstage 5 min from Drottningholms Slottsteater on Vimeo.

 

Now we know.

A few notes before I bury myself

I have set some ambitious deadlines for myself and this may become one of the many other things in my life that gets neglected in those pursuits. Which will disappoint maybe six people. But to you brave six, my apologies.

Looming first is Crit Hit 4, where I have 3 scheduled episodes of Go Action Fun Time, one of which is actually written. Yes, you will need a badge to the con to attend any of these games.

The scheduled Episodes are:

FRIDAY 5 JULY @ 7PM Sparkle and Bleed

In a small town in 1958 Nebraska, your teen-age time-traveling super-heroes have been given a task that will chill them to their very marrows: find a date to the Homecoming Dance. Also of interest: murder, mayhem, the living dead and the town’s unsteady relationship with time and space.

SATURDAY 6 JULY 2019 @ 10AM  Fear and Loathing in the City of Gold

A Rescue the Hostage adventure drawn from actual things in Mayan Mythology. Which, so you know, is really messed up. Really. You will not believe…

SUNDAY 6 JULY 2019 @ 10AM The Whole They Crawled Out Of

The village is surrounded by mutant zombies. You are here to help. Of course it’s worse than that. Because the only thing more terrifying than constant war with your neighbors is being forced to agree with them about every little thing. A cross-over adventure with Sage and Sand.

The other quest is that I have dared myself to finish Taliesin’s Last Apprentice by the end of the month. That would require 2 chapters a week – no exceptions, as opposed to the current pace of a chapter a week unless I don’t.

So it’s on.

When I come up for air I have a few things to reflect upon, a few adventures to brag about, a few lessons to share. Until then, if it’s not on fire, or actual paying work, it drops below these foolish deadlines.

I am determined to be the single biggest problem in my life. This is how you do it.

See you on the other side.

 

Switchbacks and word-count

Every time I find myself frustrated wit the direction my life is going, which is more often since it was upended a couple years ago, I remind myself that I am on the switchbacks.

For the non-hikers, switchbacks are the trails that wind back and forth up or down a steep slope. They take forever to climb, but are easier (and healthier) than trying to charge straight up the slope. Sometimes the wind through a tunnel of trees bending over the trail in search of sunlight. Very often they are a shadeless, stair-well grade chore made worth it only by the destination.

Sunset open ridge.JPG

Submitted but not used for 5 Star Hikes Flagstaff & Sedona

I have a couple things I could use advice on, if you are so inclined:

I am tempted to abandon my six + blogs and combine all that content into one blog – this one. (My other blogs are all listed on the sidebar).

  • I may exempt Are We Lost Yet? because it actually gets a bit of traffic, and I’ve still paid for it. But when I have to re-up, that would be hard to justify at current traffic levels.
  • The only other blog with any traffic is Curious Continuity. Not so much for the occasional Doctor Who content, but for my longer essays on the possible future. Go figure.
  • I have abandoned Tumblr for customer service reasons.

The case for combining everything here is a greater frequency of posts. The case against is the potential sprawl of topics.  I dunno. But I’m pretty sure I’m not keeping all six.

My other issue is Chrome (on my personal laptop) will occasionally just refuse to launch, and I have to remove and re-install it to remedy the problem. This symptom started to appear about the same time something enabled pop-up notifications from Chrome. This is a nuisance, not a crisis but any ideas are welcome.

WORD-COUNT

From last blog to this:

1500 new words for Taliesin’s Last Apprentice (the sequel to Beanstalk and Beyond)

Transcribing a previous chapter of same = 1500

Wednesday Night Writer’s Group (this was a fluke appearance, but still counts) =500

Thursday night writer’s group =500

This blog entry= 1000

Plus some GAFT back-end stuff that doesn’t lend itself to word-count, but should. Last entry we learned some things about Facebook Pages, and maintaining that has consumed some words.

And now a pretty octopus:

You’re welcome.

A jumbled history that never was

That’s how I describe Steampunk. I spent the last weekend at WildWestCon 8 at Old Tucson Studios. Yeah- I should’ve publicized it more, but it’s basically a costume convention with just a dash of literature and almost no gaming. I moderated some panels to earn my keep.

I’ve never been much for wearing costumes at cons. The few times I’ve tried it, years ago,  they were all thrown together last minute, and consequently more troublesome than impressive. I wear loud tropical shirts and tell people I’m a time traveler – but one that’s completely burned out.

Then I started dating the costumer I met at a Con.

Before we get to that, though, I have an announcement. You might want to stand back a bit there….

Go Action Fun Time is LIVE at Drive-Thru RPG!!!

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/268196/Go-Action-Fun-Time-Basic-Rules

GAFT basic rules cover

Go Action Fun Time is an open-ended, rules-lite role-playing game invoking action/adventure cartoons. You can play basically any character you want and have them run amok through any setting. Adventures can be played in one session. Characters can pop in and out without affecting continuity. And sometimes … dinosaurs.

Teen-age superheroes from the past, present or future – real or imagined – have been thrown together to compete (as a team) (in theory) in a reality game show produced by chaotic and perhaps insane gods called the Executive Producers. These heroes now travel randomly through time, pursuing the strange and crazy challenges given to them by the Producers, and perhaps righting wrongs along the way.

It’s just $4.99 – because I want people to have a copy of the rules. These are very basic: no fancy typeset or watermarks, a few illustrations, all by my hand, some just pencil over graph paper. But this is all you need to start playing.

Where and when were we?

53744992_10214290613004993_1088208738436775936_n

Crank Hazard and friend.

I discovered recently – with some coaching, that I can put together a reasonable cowboy outfit out of means at hand. Not totally period ( I cannot abide actual cowboy boots) but it doesn’t have to be. Steampunk is forgiving like that.

I found myself inventing Crank Hazard, a cowboy, of sorts, who repairs time machines by way of trade. That’s fun and all, I can blather on command about the imaginary machinations of time travel, but Crank’s name is not on the cover of any of the books I am trying to promote at these events.

So I’m still trying to find that line.

More on the Steampunk genre here:

The term “Steampunk” originated in the late 1980s with a cheeky letter to Locus Magazine from science fiction author K. W. Jeter. Jeter was trying to find an accurate description of works by himself (Morlock Night), Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates), and James Blaylock (Homunculus). While Jeter coined the word, it was William Gibson and Bruce Sterling that brought the genre attention with the book The Difference Engine (1992). Best known for their offerings in cyberpunk, Gibson and Sterling took their intimate integration of man and machine back to 1885. In this alternative Industrial Revolution, Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine is not merely a curiosity but the norm, and now his Analytical Engine comes to fruition. The book centres around the struggle between the working class Luddites (who fear technology) and the upper-class “enhanced” elite.

Moderating panels, I learned:

  • Steampunk actually began with the dime novels of the day, where authors, desperate for new angles, would occasionally insert fantastic and rarely scientific elements.
  • BUT the TV show Wild Wild West was the first recognizable entry into the genre to gain any popular traction. And it predated the term “Steampunk” by several decades.
  • Technology does not let you make costumes and props any better necessarily, but it does let you make them faster.
  • The resource triangle: Good, Cheap, Fast. Pick 2.

 

Over at Curious Continuity, we talk about Warped Drives.

That’s all I have for word-count.

Non-linear time does not enable productivity.

Now we know.

Things I have done so you don’t have to

As usual, I have been busy: travelling, making things, dramatically reducing the amount of vegetation surrounding my house. Since this is supposedly an author blog, let me lead with that news.

I have uploaded Go Action Fun Time to Drive-thru RPG  and now await their approval.

GAFT basic rules cover

Yes – my artwork. If you think you can do better, contact me. 

It is only a PDF for now. That was enough of a maze without trying to reformat for e-pub or mobi.  I now know there are six different formats of PDF. And PDF/A is bad. Well, it’s fine, but the security features will lock up the bots at Drive-Thru. Also, compressed or linked JPEGs and transparencies are bad because Apple is i-fussy. I’m not clear what any of that is, so I don’t have to worry?

You, loyal reader, do not have to wait for Drive-Thru’s blessing to get this product. Contact me directly, and I will hook you up. With a commitment to playtest it for me, it would be free.

dzyecg7v4aagrsv

Bongo at a river-side park in BHC.

I journeyed to Bullhead City on RC Lurie business, so you don’t have to. Bullhead City is a cluster of hills on the banks of the Colorado River, across from Laughlin Nevada – where all the money comes from. On top of each hill is a 55+ trailer park. The exception is along AZ95, the main drag, which is an extended strip mall. You might infer how much I enjoyed my stay.

I’ve actually been there twice. The first stint I stayed at a $40/night motel, where nothing was open after 11pm (I arrived at 10:30pm) and my door didn’t quite lock. They had a fridge and microwave but no coffee. I found coffee in the lobby in the morning, and I survived.

On my return trip, the client put me up in a casino.

Casinos are crappy places to stay when on business. The Avi Casino, south of Laughlin proper,  gave me a room with no fridge, microwave or coffee. It’s like they don’t want you spending time in your room at all.

In fairness, the casino cafe (Feathers – I think) is open 24/7 and I was able to get a decent breakfast and out the door in half an hour.

I had a better time in Las Vegas, as you might imagine. I don’t gamble to speak of, but I drink, and prefer to drink with nerds. For that, Vegas features the Millenium Fandom.

52842239_10214195012215033_5537744747709333504_n

Yes – I have a girlfriend.

True confession: I have never been much for cosplay. Cheryl (my girlfriend)

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Cheryl 

 is an actual costumer, though, and views these events as marketing among other things. I now own a pirate shirt, and several other items of clothing I would not otherwise possess.

I’ve done worse things for romance.

 

Closer to home:

I have finally bottled the mead I tossed last summer. It is sweet and fruity and bubbly – like magic unicorn sweet and fruity. I’m mildly disturbed. It’s called Wildflower, and she be recovering from bottle-shock by late April, early May.

 

The internet promised me that replacing my two exterior doors would cost about $800. I’ve had bids from $1800 to $3600. So … that’s a little more. Curiously, the two estimators who quoted me around $1800 took the most measurements and asked the better questions.

It likely come down who provides the better actual door.

There is a 4-6 lead time with door installation.

The tool of choice for removing dandelions from gravel is a pick-ax. A 30 gallon garbage bag stuffed full of decapitated dandelions weighs the better part of 50 lbs. I filled 9 bags.

My arms still hurt.

Now you know.