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.

How Damage Control Became my New Normal

So last I posted, I waxed optimistic about how the damage control phase of my life might be over, and I might be able to actually make forward progress with my life in general and creative projects in particular.

Then my Father-in-law died (from long standing illness) and my Mother-in-law moved into our house literally the next day. This was not a contingency we had seriously prepared for. It just happened. There is all manner of ranting and whining that could follow that revelation, but that is not what I keep this blog for. The relevant information is that I have been forced back into damage control, at least in regards to the day-to-day functioning of my home and family.

Conversely, things are actually starting to look up at work. We have made dramatic improvements to our infrastructure, and I am starting to take on a role that involves more than doing the same thing I’ve done for twenty years.

Rhino Staging, where I serve as Technical Director, values their privacy (in what we refer to internally as the Doctrine of Pointless Secrecy), but I think can safely release a few details:

  • Our new warehouse (easily 3x the size of our old rented facility) and our new office space (easily twice the size as the old) are now finally at the same address for the first time in ten years: 125 W Julie Ave in Tempe
  • I spent a week in Middleton, Wisconsin learning how to install ETC Prodigy and Vortek motorized rigging systems and
  • I am the guy who organizes training for Rhino Tempe – at least by default.
  • I am also the Warehouse Manager of this big new thing – at least until I can train ,my replacement. I don’t mind running a warehouse, but it’s my third stint in that role – so it fails the “something I can’t do in my sleep” test.

The warehouse move is in progress – I’ll note later what we learn from that.

Meanwhile, the Christmas tree is still up, so a few notes on gifts:

  • If you make the mead in February, it will be well over its’ bottle shock by Christmas.
  • Relatedly, drinkers are easier to shop for than non-drinkers.
  • Buy gifts for your kids first. The other adults in your life will cope.
  • Seriously, outside of the very poor, most American adults have more crap than they need or can store anyways. Get them something consumable or expendable, or replace something that’s broken. Shiny new things are for the kids.

My new year’s resolution is for this to be less autobiographical and more informational, but it is a personal blog, so some context is in order on occasion. My other is to try and keep these under 500 words, so in our space remaining:

Ranker’s collection of Weird and Funny Toilets – because its been a while since we’ve visited one of our recurring topics. Completely devoid of location or other relevant details, and likely NSFW.

An excellent guide to Tumblr, posted here because it’s too true just to link to once of FB (or Tumblr for that matter).

And finally, this year’s 11 reasons for hope.

Now you know.