I opened up my Etsy shop, DragonGear Books, yesterday and listed five books for sale. I plan to list at least two more and one that I’m finishing soon. I’ll see how it goes; I pay twenty cents a listing (which stays for up to four months) and 3.5% of the sale to Etsy, which isn’t bad at all. Then Paypal gets to take a cut of what I get. Take a look at the shop and let me know what you think in the comments!
“Spending time in the barrel” (v)
1. Remaining in the cask in order to mature
2. Staying out of sight until people find you more palatable
(From Esquire, March 2011)
I’m very much looking forward to doing some books this Summer. I haven’t had a chance to do any this semester, for several reasons: for one thing, I’ve been busting my hump in school and doing practicum (classroom observation,) and for another thing, our new house has had no crafting area until this past weekend, when I bought a six-foot folding banquet table at Target and Karisa set up part of the basement for our respective hobbies. When I got home with my surprise, she showed me hers, and we realized that we had both been on the same wavelength, which is always a nice thing.
I’ve had these ideas rolling around in my case for a while about some new projects. I’m going to try out some Ethiopian coptic chain-stitch journals, which should solve the issue I have with my books not wanting to lie flat. I also have a few design tweaks to try on stab journals for getting them to lie flat, including a double-hinge design, and a multi-hinge design inspired by roll-up blinds that may allow the user to roll the cover back around the spine – but I have yet to deal with how I might design a text block around the concept.
I got some leather from a seller on eBay back in December, and my hands have been itching to do some leather covers. I just ordered some Czech glass beads that look like leaves for specific ideas I have, and I’m looking forward to using those. I’m looking forward to actually determining the grain direction of paper so I can make sure it runs in the correct direction when I make a signature (page section.)
I’m also looking forward to my personal NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) The month is actually November, but I’ll be in school again and I won’t have time to write until my fingers fall off. So I think I’m going to do June or July. Those are good months.
What are you looking forward to doing this Summer? Feel free to let me know in the comments.
>Here are a couple of “poster” images I made with the My Year in Status app on Facebook; It’s kind of funny to look back at some of the weird things I say.
> I’m getting fed up with my milk going bad way before the expiration date. For example, I bought this half-gallon of Cass Clay milk less than a week ago. . . say, Monday. The expiration date is July 5th, and yet this morning it has gone sour and I can’t drink it. What’s the deal with that?
Now, it’s not like I’m a huge cereal man or anything (I have had Kellogg’s Pops on the brain lately – I’ve been resisting “that urge.”) but I do drink milk every day. Every morning when I’m in the mood to eat I have my usual breakfast, and it’s pretty much protein. Two large, salted boiled egg whites, two slices of Bar-S turkey lunchmeat, two spoonfuls of peanut butter, and a short glass of milk. I use the milk to wash down a Claritin, a Centrum, and two Tums.
You might think, “well, that’s not a lot of milk.” You’re right. It’s about eight ounces, and there’s about eight times that much in the half gallon. I threw out half of that this morning, so I got milk on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. . . yep, that’s it. Sometimes Karisa has cereal, so I stopped buying smaller quantities of milk because I don’t want to buy milk every other day, but it’s starting to look like that’s my only choice. Why even bother putting an expiration date on the milk if I can’t trust it?
Right now, that expiration date means very little to me. Could this problem be attributable to my refrigerator? Perhaps. I do have it set to its coldest setting, and I have yet to freeze anything in there. Maybe there’s an uber-cold zone in the fridge that I have yet to identify. Our fridge is a cheap little thing, if you ask me. It’s nice, and it’s new – but it just doesn’t seem like a “sturdy” fridge, when you look at it. Maybe that’s what it is.
> Every week, on NPR’s Planet Money podcast, they start the show with an “indicator.” This is a number that means something; it might be big, or it might be small, but it has something to do with the show’s topic, which is money.
How to pass the test: http://www.ehow.com/how_4446746_pass-preemployment-personality-test.html
Wikipedia article (sorry, teachers! I love my Wikipedia:) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_spectrum_quotient
Chapter One of Steven Johnson’s Mind Wide Open was my inspiration: http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Wide-Open-Neuroscience-Everyday/dp/0743241665/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276788376&sr=1-1
> Well, I’ve done a whole lot over the past week. Maybe I haven’t done as much as some people have, but I’ve really got the ball rolling and I’m proud of what I have accomplished. For example, I have mysteriously pulled off a credit score of 732. Out of 800. That’s phenomenal, considering I had a bankruptcy finalized three years ago, but I guess that’s due to doing what’s right and trying hard to stay out of debt and respect my credit.
> I got up at the crack of dawn this morning. As usual. My alarm normally goes off at six o’clock anyway. Today was different, however; I had an eight o’clock appointment at the Farmers’ Union Cenex and I meant to make it. I wanted to get my jog in, though, so I was up at six and out jogging by 6:20. I listened to. . . The Dandy Warhols. Thank you, memory. Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia, to be exact – the best darned album the Dandy Warhols have offered so far.
By 6:55 I was back home and getting in the shower. 7:40 I was saying good-bye to the wife and leaving. I made it to the Cenex a minute or two late, but the Gary – the shop manager – didn’t seem to mind. He was a little surprised that I was going to wait for the diagnosis of the check-engine light and the estimate, though. Strange? Not so much – I guess sometimes the “check engine” light can be squirrelly, especially with newer cars. I went and sat down at one of the pic-a-nic tables before I decided to buy a coffee. I had eaten breakfast, though I hadn’t had time to boil a couple of eggs; I had made do with three slices of lean turkey and two spoons full of peanut butter. Now, I had the chance to get my caffeine on.
I was about fifteen minutes into watching Sherlock Holmes on my Zune and Gary came back out and told me that I had a bad EGR valve, as well as a bad coolant temperature sensor. I said, “how much?” The EGR valve, Gary said, was about two hundred dollars. The coolant temp sensor was twenty-five. Add labor and the computer hook-up (a rip-off if I ever heard of one,) that’s about another hundred. So I’m thinking, yeah. I’ve got the money. But. . .
I say, “what’s the downside of skipping the EGR thing?” Gary says, “it’s still gonna run rough,” (It’s been really bad lately,) “and the check engine light’s going to stay on. I can turn it off, but it’s going to come right back on.” So I thought about it. . . (not really. . . ) and then I said, “how long?” About an hour, hour and a half. . . so I said, “ok, let’s do it.” I’m such a sucker. But you know, in Detroit we had this thing. . . can’t fix your car? Run it into the ground. North Dakota, however, has been quite fertile and I’m socking away cash like I’m Eminem on a bad flashback.
I drove the Saturn away from that place like nothing was ever wrong with it, and I don’t regret that. So anyway, I thought I’d stop at Best Buy on the way to work and see if I could find the Sherlock Holmes soundtrack, because I kept hearing Irish punk music, like Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys and such. Best Buy had nothing of the sort. OF COURSE. So I Googled it on my phone, and the only soundtrack anyway is Hans Zimmer. Orchestral!! What?? God!! Some movies did this horrible, unspeakable thing and spawned two separate soundtracks – one for the orchestra and one for the regular music. I know – it sounds tragic, right?
But the foray into Best Buy wasn’t a total waste. After all, I hate Best Buy like an abused housewife hates her husband. I can’t help but to go back and see if I can find something good in there. This time, I found the DLO Action Jacket for my Zune HD, with the cord-keeper on the back. Awesome!! I bought it.
So I went to work, and I worked. Then I left work at 5:30, knowing that I was going to have to be back in Bismarck at 7:15 so that I could see the Spring concert, where Karisa would be playing her bass clarinet in a show titled, “Around the World in 80 Minutes.” It was amazing. They did this medley from Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite that just blew Fantasia out of the water. By the end of the concert, however, I was marveling under the surface how many people in the band I had connections with. My wife was playing the bass clarinet. My brother in-law was playing clarinet. My manager at work was playing french horn. The guy at work who helps me on Wednesday morning with the huge stock transfers? His wife was on the other french horn. The only female in the trumpet lineup used to work at Eckroth. Another girl on clarinet was my Music Appreciation teacher last semester. The band’s conductor was my academic advisor. The guy who composed the second-to-last piece, Halls of Anubis, was at my wedding and is someone I see at the store on a regular basis. This is just the tip of the iceberg – I can tell you where half of the other half of the band works! This chick works at K-Mart. That guy works at Target. It’s crazy.
But I decided when I got home I would do some research to figure out where I’m going to school next year, seeing as how I’m going to be graduated from Bismarck State College in less than a month and I need to get this ball rolling, and here’s where the crisis comes in: I’m not finding any options I like. I’m in a panic! The only college in town that offers Bachelor degrees is University of Mary and they want a structured curriculum and a whole block of theology courses thrown in. The latter is interesting, the former – intolerable. University of North Dakota, I can get a bachelor degree in Psychology online. But there’s no education degrees and no English degrees online. Fail! North Dakota State University has no online degree programs even close to applicable to what I’m looking for. Double fail! So what do I do? What the heck do I do? I just want to get a jump on my Bachelor degree, while simultaneously keeping my student loan lenders at bay – just out of reach, in deferment-land.
> Jogging has been going well. I got out and scoured Mandan for the past three days, including today; and I can feel the difference already. Of course, I’m worn out at the end of the day, too. I had an intense pain in my knee last night when I kneeled on the floor. But I breathe easier, it’s not so challenging to go up the stairs to the apartment, and I’m looking forward to losing some of this dead weight. I let myself go for too long.
I’m also finding it easier to jog. I head up the sloping streets of Mandan, past houses yet asleep and passed by cars, heralds of the busy day ahead. I reach what I feel may be the zenith, the high point of the area I’ve been hiking; I look upon the blue dome at the corner of Collins and Division from beyond the fence with its “no tresspassing” signs. I do not fear prosecution, and yet I have no desire to go any closer. Roughly eighteen minutes into this walk, this slog up the steeply sloping sidewalks of this hill-studded city, I turn around and begin to jog lightly down. With Last.fm playing a klezmer version of the Pink Panther theme into my ears, I focus on keeping pace on the downslope so that I can make it last.
A lady in a truck passes me by, and I see that she has a huge grin on her face. I’m thinking, “yep, it’s a great morning, people are out jogging, what a great day to come.” It hits me about a minute later, while I’m rounding the corner from Division onto 6th Avenue that she was probably amused with my cans. I’ve taken to wearing my Yamaha RC-3 headphones while I’m out in the morning because they’re sturdy and stabile, not to mention they keep my ears warm while I’m still warming up. The thing is, I probably resemble Ben Stiller from Starsky and Hutch, when he’s jogging on the beach with those ridiculous 1970’s radio headphones – except mine aren’t sporting telescoping antennae.
I got back to the house, huffing and puffing but not so badly, and went right past it to the grocery store. I had planned this, so that I could pick up yogurt cups to put in lunch this week. I also picked up a loaf of bread for myself and a couple of energy drinks for Karisa and myself. Got back home, showered, and woke up the wife. Not a bad morning, if I may say so. I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning!