Some scattered notes between festivals

Some short doses of things we have learned over the past couple of weeks, mostly without context. But first, we are between events. So…

UnObtanium Bazaar will be at the Las Vegas Pirate Fest this weekend!

And Cheryl will be dancing with Shifting Sands.

Feb 29, 2020; Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll admit it: I groaned when My Beloved Suns traded Ricky Rubio for Chris Paul. After all, in the shortened 2020 season Rubio was averaging more assists than Paul (who then playing for the Thunder) while scoring only 3 fewer PPG on a Suns team that really didn’t need him to score anymore.  And they went 8-0 in the Bubble with Rubio running the point.

The difference is defense and a culture of defense. Rubio is a good defender, but not the legend that Chris Paul is (6 time steals leader, 9 time All-Defensive team).  And while Rubio was an established veteran who had won championships in Europe, he did not have the credibility or personality to herd a bunch of young wildcats into playing team defense.

Chris Paul is on those boys All The Time, and they are responding.  Sometimes I wonder if Monty Williams’s true role is to attend meeting with management and do the paperwork.

You still feel for Rubio – who was doing a good job, and looking forward to a near-certain playoff run with the Suns this year, instead of maybe playing into the playoffs with his final destination, the Minnesota Timberwolves. But then I reflect that he’s still a millionaire, and the Suns are legit contenders now.

The little mountain range that separates Yuma from the rest of the damn desert is called the Fortuna Foothills. The Border Patrol no longer regularly operates the checkpoint going east into the pass, but it has become a favorite haunt of the Arizona Highway Patrol.

The speed limit on the winding, splitting I-8 through that portion is 55. Not 65.

Just east of the pass there is a safety pull-out and the Az state trooper will be happy to follow you into it, if, for some reason, you are pulled over coming down the pass.

Sometimes its good to be 54, with papers in order.

There are a ridiculous number of online traffic schools listed with azdrive.com.

I got my first vaccination shot. The day after, I came down with what passes – for me- as COVID symptoms: achy with no temperature, but likely elevated blood pressure. (I did not check). This might have been compounded by my thinking “Nah, my arm doesn’t hurt enough to stop me from finishing this yard work”.  Two hours later I’m putting away the tools because it has become clear I will not have the energy to do anything else. I was laid up the rest of the day.

I have to bury that story in my blog instead of telling it on Facebook, because I don’t want to hear about from the crazies. Two days after the shot, I was able to go to work, and the only pain I have is clearly from yardwork.

Over on Are We Lost Yet?, I learned how steep Picacho Peak really is.

After next weekend, I do not have a scheduled author or UnObtanium event until July. You know what that means…

Go Action Fun Time! Every other week.

Also, I am officially in the editing phase of Taliesin’s Last Apprentice (the sequel to the Beanstalk and Beyond) and we are hoping for a November release date.

Now we know.

Achieving a long-term dream tests my Buddhist resolve

I have wanted a functioning hot tub for a long time.  I have one now, and that has created some strange complications.  Most of this post will be about that. But first – some announcements:

Unobtanium Bazaar will appear in a limited form at –

And then appear in the full form at London Bridge Renaissance Fest:

AND then Las Vegas Pirate Fest – which is kind of our homecoming event:

Note the new time/space coordinates.

I have 10 8 proof copies of the Go Action Fun Time Core Rules (1E Deluxe) in my possession. There are some color errors on the cover, and I will have to correct those before I go to a larger print run.

An actual printed book!

Meanwhile, you can get one of these copies, signed, and potentially highly collectable years from now, from me, for the low-low price of convincing me that you will playtest this system as an Executive Producer (that’s what we call game masters).

I am also going to try to run some episodes over Discord every other Tuesday night.

I’d run them on weekends, but I am not reliably in town on weekends. For example, I am posting this from Las Vegas.

One more fact I learned this week that I don’t want to bury in the hot tub saga: You cannot buy a 2nd party window motor for a Subaru Forester. It has to come from Subaru, who will only sell you the full assembly for the better part of $300. A similar part for my 2001 Dodge Dakota costs between $50-70.

The New Hot Tub

I have always enjoyed hot tubs, but I became obsessed with them, at least at a background level, as my back began to lock up from arthritis. There have been some attempts to create one with humble means in the past.

This was better than standing dry in the yard, but…

One of the benefits of my current job, compared to my 25 years in live event production, is that I am not expected to load and unload trucks on a daily basis. Consequently, my back has improved.  I still feel stiff and sore from time to time, but it is no longer the daily menace it was in my final years of full-time show-biz. 

At the same time, from a change in both occupation and marital status, my disposable income has increased. Perversely, my need for a hot tub has decreased in proportion to my ability to acquire one.

If you read the last post, you know I got one anyway.

Some of the delay was the fantasy that I could resuscitate the extant hot tub on the property I now occupy. The more I looked into this, the more expensive this became. It had sat idle for some ten years before copper thieves took the wires and made it inoperable for another ten years. For the cost of replacing everything that would need to be replaced, I could install a new in-ground hot tub.

I’m doing well, but not that well, particularly since I do not actually own the property.

So, I looked into an above-ground solution, and found, to my delight, that inflatable hot tubs – which used to be a joke – are actually somewhat respectable. Someone, Coleman perhaps, figured out that if you take the same plastic they use for inflatable rafts, you can create a reasonably durable hot tub at a third of the price of a fiberglass one.

So I bought one of those for about $600 all in. So far. It took three weeks to ship.

Still this one.

Fine. I needed to fill in the old hot tub anyway. I had gravel at hand to do most of the work, and then level it off with sand to get a level surface.  Forty wheelbarrows of gavel and 22 bags of sand later, I thought I had accomplished the deed.

One project led to another, and in that process I had my garage door and my back gate open when I went inside to do some other damn thing. Thieves rushed in helped themselves to some low-hanging fruit: my bike, and some tools.  It gets worse: I took two trips to come back with all the sand, and on my second trip, the thieves, likely the same ones, discovered I had dummy locked the back gate, and helped themselves to my propane tanks and my propane firepit. They also took the lock.

This will test your Buddhist resolve to not get worked up over possessions. But I have new locks now.

The hot tub arrives, and I manage to secure it before any porch pirates come for it.

I set up my new treasure in the back yard, and there’s a problem. The Intex hot tub has to be on the same level and immediately adjacent to the heat/pump/control unit. Because there are no hoses – only ports.

But it also now occurs to me that there is nothing except a four foot fence and new locks that would prevent yard pirates from making off with the pump.

However, I currently have an empty bedroom.

And that’s where it sits, until some refugee has need for that bedroom.

There are several advantages to the indoor hot tub: cheaper to heat, simple to keep clean, controlled access. But I cannot turn away the inevitable refugee explaining that I know you have no place to go, but right now I can climb into my hot tub naked…

So the day is coming when the hot tub goes outside. The level problem can be solved with another thousand pounds of sand. I’m not sure about securing the pump, but I have time to figure that out.

Meanwhile, I enjoy the tub, but I am not yet convinced it was worth the struggle. The money – sure – it has seemed thus far a good purchase. But I feel like a found a good strategy to fight the war before last.

A grab bag of uncomfortable truths

I have some small observations to share, but first a reminder that I am still the Gaming Coordinator for Leprecon 47, and if you want to run a game – now only late Sunday afternoon – I am the guy to contact.

Also Las Vegas Pirate Fest has changed both date and venue:

May be an image of map and text that says 'PIRATE_FEST FEST IRATE Pirate, Steampunk, Faerie, Renaissance Family Friendly Festival April 17t Cg Ranch Park PirateFestLV.com'
At press-time their website had not been updated to these new coordinates

I will be there as part of UnObtanium. This means it will not be overlapping the London Bridge Ren Faire, which we will also be at. There was a plan involving time travel – but now we don’t have to…

Uncomfortable Truths in no particular order:

The team that gets the fewest DUI’s the week prior almost always wins the Superbowl.

I am not going to rehabilitate the derelict hot tub in my yard for less than the cost of a new one.

Relatedly – I am not a long-term resident at this address. (I am technically still house-sitting).

So I bought a portable hot tub with my year-end bonus.

This one.

I am walking proof that you can carry COVID without running fever.

Operation Warp Speed may be the Trump administration’s greatest achievement, and might have gotten him re-elected if he hadn’t buried it with administrative neglect of the rest of the pandemic, and compounded that with political malfeasance.

BUT-BUT-BUT

If a Democratic President had done this the Republicans would be comparing it to socialism.

The drive back and forth to Las Vegas does not improve with repetition.

The cohort that won’t wear a mask because they won’t live in fear is the same cohort that are afraid to go into a library without a gun because homeless people.

I remember now why I try to avoid serving on non-profit committees -particularly for local cons. I’d be more specific, but this is still a going concern, and I do have some sense of organizational loyalty.

You can’t convince anyone into anything long term. They have to get there themselves. Even if you martial  all of your powers of logic and charm, the decision will always be temporary. Sales-folk get away with this, because they only need the spell to last until you pay.

For anything longer term, all you can do is make your case, and hope they are ready to take that path.

This is the first thing of any length I have written in seven days.

But I’m caught up on a lot of other things.

And I have a hot tub coming.

Now we know.

The recursive nature of goals

There are goals and then there are goals. There are the larger, universal goals of a happier,, more generally successful life, and there are the smaller, more concrete goals contrived to mark the way to the larger goals such as mow the lawn, or eat healthier or put on pants. At what point does pursuing a goal become the goal, rather than the means to achieve a larger goal?

Maybe at the point where you start asking these questions.

I finally had a moment to write out my monthly goals for February. They largely consist of unmet goals from January. Some of that was over-ambition. Some of that was other emergencies. Some of that was poor use of time.  I have those factors in roughly equal measure.

The goal I met:kitchen lts.JPG

I finished the kitchen lighting despite the spooky wiring left by previous owners. In daytime the dark slot would have a bit of skylight in it.

So we (the kids helped) learned that you can’t trust any of the neutrals to go back to a common bus.

And despite what I promised last post, I have not abandoned caution when it comes to electrical work.

 

I also got an episode in of Go Action Fun Time. I’ll go over that in a separate entry.

The project that was not one of the goals:

I ended up spending a week at Cheryl’s house helping her recover from foot surgery. She couldn’t walk. She has a large house with stairs. I had a week of vacation to burn.

My Butler name is “Handsy”.

I did get some writing done. And I appeared in a promotional video for the Las Vegas Pirate Fest. Well, I did. Which brings us to:

The goal that is not from January:

We will have a booth is said pirate fest. By we I really mean Cheryl, and her room-mate, Captain Blackheart, who heads one of the factions guilds that organize the event.

pirate-fest-announcement

We will have one of these:

719985_orig

A vendor booth, not unlike the one pictured, not the bystanders

 

Blackhearts’ Boutique is the trial run for what may become a more permanent enterprise. We will have Artifacts, Relics, Apparel and Sundries available for the particular adventurer. I’ll have a whole thing with photos as we get closer. But if you follow Cheryl or Rey on Facebook, you’ve already seen things.

Everyone involved in this has an expanding To Do list.

Past this event we plan to call the enterprise the Unobtanium Emporium.

Goals becoming goals.

Also I have to mow my lawn, and eat better.

And put on pants.

Watch this space.