alicebentley: Studio photo of me with glasses (Default)
After a week or so of being back at the house full time, I find I will need to push myself a bit more to use DreamWidth for posting, and that I still cruise through FaceBook and Tumblr perhaps more than is wise.

I still have towering stacks of boxes to sort through, now taking much more time than it did because all the low-hanging-fruit easy boxes have already been dealt with. Now it's down to stacks of magazines that I really still kind of like, but am unlikely to read through, and drawers and boxes full of office supplies that I am somewhat flummoxed on how to deal with. I mean, I know to gather all the binder clips together, and pile the various pens, pencils, markers and other writing elements to one side, but then what? And what about this sweet clear bendy ruler? Or these three slide rules? What to do with things that I still like that I don't really need is a question I expect to continue to grapple with - until I either find spots for everything or find peace with tossing it out.
alicebentley: Studio photo of me with glasses (Default)
Wow, that import-from-LJ process is slick!
alicebentley: Studio photo of me with glasses (Default)
I've done the LJ -> DW import, and will see if I do any better at posting here than I have at LJ or FB. History indicates Not Likely, but hey it's free to try.

One thing that reviewing my different accounts has underscored is that I don't remember all of my online friends anywhere near as well as I thought I would. I can understand that - it's been years, and with some of you we haven't had much engagement. Or I know a lot about your current lives, but can't remember how we met or what our relationship is between the two of us.

I'm not sure there a good way for me to reinforce those old, clearly insufficient memory tracks.
alicebentley: Studio photo of me with glasses (Default)
One of my favorite long running webcomics is drawing to a close. It's been an amazing story, with a lengthy epilogue that sounds like the quiet long-drawn-out note at the end of a symphony.

Today's page, in particular, presents the happy sadness of an adventure's end with a wordless stroll of the main character to a sandy beach - possibly the same beach that the whole story started at so many years ago.

http://thearchipelago.smackjeeves.com/comics/2383594/epilogue-page-81/
alicebentley: Studio photo of me with glasses (Default)
I safely arrived back on this damp green island on Monday night. And while I did post about it to FaceBook, updating DreamWidth seems to have passed me by.

It is both weird and wonderful to be back here. Yes, by far the highlight of the experience is living with my marvelous Mike again. But it's also been interesting how the house now gets compared in the back of my mind with the potential new places I checked out in Minneapolis. This house has larger rooms, larger windows, extensive woods for a backyard and (except for being a little colder than I prefer) is just objectively nicer than what I would have landed up choosing there.

I'm staying a little too busy unpacking boxes and rearranging rooms. Besides the very full car of things I moved from Minneapolis, much of which came from my mother-in-law's place in Chicago, the house itself had a lot of things either packed up in expectation of moving, or just shoved out of the way when we emptied the North half of the house in order to rent it out. So there is a ton of sorting, and deciding, and probable selling of stuff in addition to the effort of washing and painting the SouthEast room before moving things back into it. I haven't painted a room in decades, but I know the basic process hasn't changed at all.

And I suppose I better stop putting it off by cruising social media...
alicebentley: Studio photo of me with glasses (Default)
Well, hopefully not ALL day, as I have plenty of DreamHaven work to do too. But the plan for today is to shovel all my wobbly belongings into bags and boxes, stuff all that will fit in my sturdy CRV, and leave what won't fit to the capacious basement for later retrieval.

Tonight: get a good night's sleep.

Tomorrow morning: drive. And then drive some more. And probably land up getting a motel room in Billings MT. To be followed by another day of driving, the adventure of crossing Snoqualamie Pass in mid-winter, and eventual arrival in Seattle, and Vashon Island.

I won't promise to keep people updated (except Mike) but we shall see. I do promise to post again once I've safely arrived.
alicebentley: Studio photo of me with glasses (Default)
One thing January is great for is people posting lists of what they enjoyed reading that came out in 2016 (especially as Hugo nominations are now open). But something I wasn't expecting that has been even more fun for me is lists of what is coming out in 2017 that people are looking forward to.

The biggest, so far, is the monumental B&N article at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/96-books-sci-fi-fantasy-editors-cant-wait-for-you-to-read-in-2017/

It reminds me that I have yet to find a reliable source for what the various publishers are putting together. There's the quarterly Upcoming list in Locus magazine, but even that is more of a guideline than a rule. A very few of the big publishers maintain websites with listings, but even there it's inconsistent.

Does anyone have favorite resources they can recommend?
alicebentley: Studio photo of me with glasses (Default)
Another thing I always meant to do, and think I'll try using DreamWidth to accomplish, is to collect together and comment on some of the many blogs and webcomics that I follow.

One of those is Peter Boylan's fascinating account of his adventures and discoveries as "The Budo Bum", with today's post about training in Japan being a great example.

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2017/01/practice-in-japan.html
alicebentley: Studio photo of me with glasses (Default)
With big changes looming for me once again (I'm leaving Minneapolis, and DreamHaven, and Greg and Lisa, on Sunday, to return to Vashon, and Mike and my house and the vast majority of my stuff (a minority of my stuff is traveling with me, and will now rejoin the main mass)), and with a renewed rise in complaints from other users on FaceBook and LiveJournal that things are "not how they like them and why oh why can't we find a better chat-home than this?!?", I am going to attempt, once again, as I have before but never for very long, to post to social media about what I'm doing, what I'm interested in, and make a serious effort to not just read other people's posts, but to comment if only to assure them that what they've written was indeed Read and Enjoyed even when I really don't have enough to add to justify a Comment.

How's that for a first sentence? I'll try not to do that again.

On my mind this morning is working on the Program for Minicon, doing a mental review of last year's science fictional highlights as the Hugo nomination period opens, and thinking about just what I might want to write about here in the future...
alicebentley: (after all)
Generally, my sleep pattern is delightfully boring: I get tired around 10 PM, will sometimes read or cruise the 'net until no later than 11, and fall asleep only moments after crawling into bed. It's normal for me to wake up briefly every few hours, glance at the clock, reassure myself that morning (and the alarm) is yet hours away, and plunge immediately back into deep sleep. While I do have many vivid dreams, if I don't work to retain them they are all gone within minutes of waking up.

So last night was weird: dreams full of anxiety (usually it's adventure) and some difficulty working out what was real upon waking. Troubles getting back to sleep, and waking frequently instead of hardly at all.

Today I feel OK, not super tired as I might have expected, but my usual bubbling optimism is squelched by serious concerns that I'm headed in a foolish direction, and dragging everyone else along with me.
alicebentley: (after all)
Because I want to see if things work like I think they do when I post a link here.

Shelf Life, edited by Greg Ketter
alicebentley: (after all)
Like almost all transitions, today will have a little sad mixed in with the busy, but I'm already so focused on the short term fun of Emerald City Comic Con this weekend and the Moving to Minneapolis to launch a career with DreamHaven that will be my Wednesday next week, that the real challenge will be to give the Country Store the attention they deserve.

I've already completed sufficient information transfer to be confident that the current staff can pick up where I left off on any of my many projects and tasks, so it will just be a matter of getting today's activities wrapped up.

Tomorrow I'll be off plenty early to get to the convention, bringing with me six boxes of SofaWolf books to deliver to their booth. Then it's off to meet up with the crew that Helen Montgomery has put together to help with the Science Fiction Outreach Project, a marvelous scheme where six to ten thousand science fiction books are given away (free!) to the attendees of the show, along with information about upcoming SF related events, like Worldcon. It's going to be a blast!

I'm also bringing with a small stack of graphic novels to get signed - as much as an excuse to have a conversation with the creators as anything, but they are all books I've really enjoyed.

My only other planned activity for Emerald City is going to be getting another sketchbook filled. I already have a completed one with creator's self portrait sketches, one that's barely started with airships, and one with only four pages left with interpretations of Agatha Heterodyne. The airship one has not been as fun as the other two, and I'm thinking I might just start a new self portrait collection, as that one's been fascinating to assemble.

Now to get my head back into retail for good old-timey work clothes, PNW specialty foods, no-battery toys, plants, seeds and animal feed - just for one more day.
alicebentley: Studio photo of me with glasses (Gears)
Two weeks from now I will be flying off to Minneapolis, leaving my home of 11 years here on the dim green quiet island and returning to my favorite occupation: bookselling. I can't wait (and yet I must wait). My head is filled with all the questions I can only answer there, and the plans that Greg and I may or may not choose to implement. We're not even talking about it much now - we know that we will be able to have much more productive and interactive discussions about everything once we are face to face again. Skype really doesn't fill that need, and there's no deadline to meet or crashing need for action.

But two weeks is also long enough that I'm not being very productive getting ready for everything. I really ought to be far along on the whole "what to bring, what to sell, what to trash" process, but each pile I ramble through brings another handful of marvelous distractions.

Like, I used to do a vast amount of yarnwork (both knitting and crochet) and I can see a strong potential for letting that back into my life. But I'm unlikely to choose to use my stash of acrylic yarn when I've a stash of non-itchy wool also waiting. (I've already regifted the itchy wool.) I'm not going to just throw it all away, but it feels strange to give it away when it's not all in perfect wound balls. And I'm not wiling to spend half an afternoon carefully winding yarn I'm not planning to use.

That's just one example, I have a dozen more. Clothes that are perfectly fine but I never wear them (so why keep them). Books and papers that I enjoyed at the time, but don't need to have for all eternity, and certainly don't want to see added to the recycling pile. At least if they are things related to science fiction, and have some sort of value, I could ship them to the store and put them up for sale. But what about the vast collection of convention program books? The 1981 Encyclopaedia Brittanica? The amazing collection of gardening books - all for growing in the Pacific NorthWest?

Then there are the projects I've left hanging.
I have the outline and much of the text of a short writeup on the economics of being a convention bookseller. It's a topic that I can be quite animated about in person. But wedging it into words has sucked all the life out of it. There's probably only a couple of hours needed to finish it up and post it. And I mention it here because today is a very likely time to complete this, especially after I post this note and publicly commit myself to doing so.

I have the making for a costume. I haven't done costume construction since Marty got old enough to no longer be interested (somewhere around 10). But I love the idea of this one, and Emerald City would be the perfect place. My head knows that I have only today and next Tuesday off from work, and that there's little energy left after working to do stuff in the evening. And yet my gut thinks there's still plenty of time. You are wrong, gut!

The thing to do right now is to stop ramblingwriting, take a shower, get dressed, make breakfast and then see if I can avoid cruising the net (my most common timesink).

Oh, and post this missive.

Foolscap

Jan. 20th, 2015 06:53 pm
alicebentley: (after all)
Useful notes as I prep for bookselling in a bit over a week.

http://haikujaguar.livejournal.com/
M.C.A. Hogarth
Author of The Godson's Triumph ($17.95) and Flight of the Godkin Griffin ($17.95)
and probably more lovely things in these boxes.
alicebentley: (after all)
I know the days are getting longer, because while it is now 5:00 pm in the evening and dark enough that lights must go on inside, it is still light enough to see outdoors. So that's a big change from the last month. But I will be even happier when the sun stays up longer.
alicebentley: (after all)
An announcement, and a question

I'm going to be a book dealer at the (very soon upcoming) Foolscap! Ursula Vernon, author and artist of the amazing Digger as well as many other fine works, will be the Guest of Honor and I wanted to make sure that her small press books from SofaWolf would be available. So I got a couple tables, and arranged for copies of her books to be shipped over.

As part of setting up for this I want to sign up with one of the payment services so that I can take credit cards. There are three options I'm considering:
Swipe is an iPhone/iPad app by AppNinja that was one of the first portals for letting folks like us do this sort of thing. They have solid software and servers that never seem to get overwhelmed, even during the chaos that is San Diego Comic Con.
Square is the better-known service, and probably has the fastest, least bothersome account setup procedures.
Shopify is an ecommerce site that lets you easily set up an online store, and handles the payment processing. There's a monthly charge, ut it would let me list the books that I have available on a longer term arrangement than a one-shot convention dealer table. It's an option I've been pondering for some time, and perhaps this is the motivating factor that gets me to make the jump.

Any comments or feedback? Any experiences with these providers? anyone else coming to Foolscap?
alicebentley: (after all)
That is, I'm going to be selling books at an upcoming convention again!

Ursula Vernon is the Guest of Honor at Foolscap, which will be held at the Redmond Merriott Town Center in (you guessed it!) Redmond WA on Jan 30th - Feb 1st, 2015.

SofaWolf, the publisher of her amazing graphic novel Digger, has other commitments and can't make the long journey from Minnesota. So I'm stepping up to make sure the folks at Foolscap get a chance to see this wonderful work, even if they aren't willing to sit in front of a screen and hit "Next".

SofaWolf is providing the books, I'm providing the enthusiasm, and Foolscap is providing the venue for us all to enjoy. If you're planning to come, please stop by and keep me company. And if you weren't planning to come, perhaps plans will change!?!
alicebentley: (Momtype)
These last two days have been (mostly) a delight - two days in a row when I'm home the same day Mike is. First time that's happened since I started the Country Store job in February. It isn't really a big deal, and not something I'm asking for. We do see each other a heck of a lot normally. But this was nice.

It was "(mostly)" because on Friday night I somehow slept at an odd angle, and woke up with a really stiff neck. By Saturday noon it was a *REALLY* stiff neck, and out came the ice pack, ibuprofen and gentle trigger point massage. As of this morning it's still a pain but nothing that makes me want to miss work.

Which leads to mention of little celebration number two - despite the ice and aging battery, I did indeed manage to start the car, and so have the choice of driving to work instead of walking. Yeay me! (And yeay Mike who jumped it yesterday and let it run for a while.)

Now, off to that work thing!
alicebentley: (after all)
And just lying in the bed staring at the ceiling isn't very helpful.

So I tiptoed out to scrawl down some of the many things going through my brian, in hopes that they will all settle down.

Working at the Country Store has really underscored for me how much I love working retail. (I really enjoy it.) It also makes me itch to do more bookkeeping-type stuff, and wonder whether I should look into taking some classes to get a better grounding at that. The shop is not interested in having me do any of that sort of work, but watching what they're doing, and the choices they're making (some of which I disagree with) leads to thinking about the options I had at the bookstore, and what choices I might make if I was to try something like that again.

Then there's the whole "where do you see yourself in 10 years" thing. Maybe it really IS time to think about a move - either back to the midwest where all our family and most of our friends are, or down toward California where at least Mike might find some exciting work. I do like this house, but there are very many nice houses on this planet, and even with having been here for over ten years we haven't truly put down roots. We've made some new friends since coming out, but we see them even less often than the family back East.

In the short term I want to push myself into writing up more about the topics that interest me: costs in publishing, methods of artistic distribution, old snippets of encounters from the bookstore. I haven't managed to actually write any of those yet, but perhaps a tangible reminder like this will help.

Time to try sleeping again.
alicebentley: (after all)
Several weeks ago I started making a concerted effort to walk to work at least twice a week. I know the exercise is good for me, and the time investment reasonable.

Today was one of the days I would normally choose for this, and it isn't raining. But it's been a very slow-wakeup-morning and (for this area) it's unseasonably chilly (35F). So I'm taking the path of least resistance and cruising social media for half an hour instead.

Tomorrow! Tomorrow for sure.
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