Funny about Money

Simple Living = Frugality = Peace of Mind: Personal Finance and Stress Control

November 22, 2015
by funny

Fourth Sunday…

There’s just one, count it (1) reason I get out of the sack at this unholy hour on a Sunday morning: the amazing music program down at the Cult HQ. Our choir director hires a passel of professional singers with whom the rest of us are privileged to sing along. This group, our “chamber choir,” also sings at least one piece unmolested by us amateurs, and the effect is awe-inspiring.

For reasons that escape my mortal comprehension, the Powers That Be have decided that once a month our entire tribe must sing at the 9 a.m. service, meaning we have to show up down there at 8 a.m. (We normally sing at a decent hour: 11:00.) I sorta hoped this would go away after they’d tried it for a year. But no. Apparently they love it! 😀

It’s not actually getting up that I could do without, because of course the dawgs are raring to go at 5 a.m., summer or winter. Well. In the summer they’re up at 4.

It’s the banging around to get dressed and get out of the house. Now that I’m old, it seems to take me an inordinately long time to get up and get going. And when you’re old, too, you’re sot in your ways and do not wish to disturb those ways once a month. Or ever.

The dogs have to be fed. When Charley the Golden Retriever is here, as he happens to be today, that project turns into a PROJECT. Two strategies can be engaged:

  1. The human locks the corgis in the back bedroom. It then prepares the corgi meals, distracts Charley briefly, grabs the food, and RUNS to the back of the house, tears into the bedroom ahead of the retriever, and slams the door behind it. Once the food is placed in front of the corgis, the human sneaks out of the bedroom, returns to the kitchen, and sets the retriever’s kibble in front of him. OR…
  2. The human prepares the corgi food, dumps a cup of kibble in the Charley bowl, locks the retriever in the backyard  with the bowl of kibble, and then sets the dishes of corgi food on the kitchen floor in something like the normal manner.

The problem with (1) is that it’s a gigantic hassle.

The problem with (2) is that Charley vacuums his food much faster than the corgis, who he believes possess BETTER food than his (he’s right about that…), and then he tries to break down the back door so as to get into the house and get their food.

As you can imagine, this is a chore I’m not in any hurry to take up. Certainly not as dawn is barely breaking.

Then of course the usual pile of e-mails has to be attended to — this morning only 50 unread messages are sitting on the server. That doesn’t count the 127 “notifications” from Twitter, the 53 from Google+, the 17 from Facebook, and the 23 automatically routed to the “trash” folder. This is not something you really want to do over morning coffee.

Cassie and Charley are having shitfits. Somebody must be prowling around out there. Apparently they’re in front: probably someone walking their dog up the front sidewalk. I’m sure my neighbor Terri is thrilled at having not one but TWO dogs barking and howling outside her windows at 7 in the morning.

Cassie just barks on general principles. She doesn’t care to go out and run around in the cold, so she stands in the kitchen and splits my ears. Sometimes she doesn’t bother to get up: she just reclines on the floor and yaps. I think she thinks it’s conversation.

When I have to wash my hair early in the morning, there’s not enough time for it to dry enough for me to set it on hot rollers. And setting my hair is the last thing I feel like doing in by the light of a sun that hasn’t cleared the horizon. So I either have to braid it, which makes me look like WT, or I have to clip it back off my face and let it cascade down my  back, which makes people wonder what I’m trying to prove.

Then I have to paint my face. I really don’t care to look in the mirror at all, and you can be damn sure I hate looking in the mirror at 6 or 6:30 in the morning! It is just too early to work up the nerve for that chore.

As usual, all the old-lady fiascos occur. None of them are things I feel like coping with the first goddamn thing in the morning.

This morning, for example, I lost my glasses. Took them off to pull a shirt over my head, put them down SOMEwhere. And then…couldn’t find them. I searched and searched and searched and hated searching and hated searching and hated searching. Believe me, THAT is a hassle I hate at any time of day, and first thing in the morning it is hated with élan.

Finally found them where I’d put them down: in a bowl I use to hold make-up.

Naturally. Who wouldn’t lay their glasses down in a make-up tray?

Well, the computer says it’s after 7:30. Gotta go find a pair of shoes (probably in the freezer, hm?), wrestle the dogs into the house, find the car keys (no doubt in the pantry), and make my way down to the church.

November 21, 2015
by funny

Bobbi & the Biker Sequel: They’re b-a-a-a-c-k!

Okay, so this morning in comes word from Amazon that Bobbi’s Secret Life, the second story in the Bobbi & the Biker series, is finally online! Hot dang. So now we have two new stories online, the Ange & Billie squib and this one.

And, as stated in recent memory, the Fatlady is tired and is about to go do something else.

BB 2 9-22-2015 LoResWhat happens when a college prof
and a biker get together?

November 20, 2015
by funny

Overwork: A little tireder than I thought…

So yesterday the Energizer Bunny’s battery ran out of juice…

How beat was I? Almost nonfunctional. 😀 Went to bed around 8:30 and am moderately revived today. If there was any question that trying to publish 10 bookoids a month was biting off more than I could chew, yesterday’s crash into a block wall pretty much settled it.

Today I took to updating the Camptown Races site, which I happened to notice(!!) was way, way behind. Decided to put only the most recent release in the front page’s sidebar, and have a link there and in the front page body copy to the “Books” page, which will list the entire inventory.

And I finally gave up the struggle to try to force that page to display the book cover images the way I want them to look. Phbphbhphtttt! Now they’re listed in toilet-paper-roll style, with each image centered over a blurb about the book. It’s kind of a pain to view because you have to scroll at infinitum. But it works OK. I guess.

While dorking with this task, I realized…holy shit! I’d failed to post a story that I imagined was online and had been for awhile!

Particularly annoying: the book is one of my better efforts. I really love it — while proofreading the .mobi file was chortling over the thing. And it’s pretty sexy, too. It’s the second Biker Babe book: Bobbi’s Secret Life.

BB 2 9-22-2015 LoRes

In it, Bobbi gets to know BillyBob a great deal better and begins to appreciate the gulf between his blue-collar lifestyle and her academic’s milieu.

Yeah. This story is actually developing a real plot with real characters. In the next story, BillyBob is going to have to rescue her from a psychopathic ex-. Then we’ll find out just how…well, how psychopathic a biker can be, when pushed to it. 😉

Bobbi’s Secret Life isn’t live on Amazon yet…probably will show up there tomorrow or Sunday.

Meanwhile, what is live is this bit of exotica:

Presentation2 AngieBillie LoResThis is the first cover I’ve done with a vector drawing — well, make that the second: the Fire-Rider image is a vector drawing, but it’s custom commissioned. Ange & Billie’s cover is a piece of stock art by an artist billed as Sofia Shimanovskaia. The story is about a lesbian relationship that develops with startling speed and intensity.

Some designers inveigh against using anything but photography in cover art and advertisements. The theory, as far as I can tell, is that the Great Unwashed are too unimaginative and too hopelessly tasteless to be drawn in by anything other than a literal image…i.e., a photo.

Ohhhhkayyy… But Shutterstock is anything but imaginative when it comes to images that could illustrate the theme of two women finding each other. Their selection is limited and overall unoriginal. I was getting mighty tired of looking at it when this strange and fascinating image jumped out of the dreck. That is weirdly cool, thought I.

Love the wild maroon reds with the crazy contrast of her turquoise eye. Too amazing!

So I matched the eye color for the font and used an Edwardian script. This is a font I favor for Roberta’s byline but am not nuts about for coverlines in general. Couldn’t easily push the point size as large as one would like. But once posted on Amazon, it looks OK. None of the other fonts I happen to own rights to use create the same sensual, feminine effect. So I decided to go with it.

Meanwhile, other than that I’ve achieved virtually nothing. That is as in NOTHING nothing. The plan was to devote most of this month to marketing. But in fact most of this month so far has been devoted to loafing. I haven’t done a damn thing in the marketing department, mostly because getting myself up to do battle with Amazon and Goodreads is more than I can manage, and because I still fail to see the point of Twitter, Google+, and similar time-suckers.

What on earth do people seek on those sites? Why?

If I understood better who the audience is and what they hope to gain from Twitter and the like, I guess I could reach out to them more effectively. But right now all I’m seeing is other people pushing ads for their books in everyone’s faces and almost no actual content whatsoever. It’s truly puzzling.

And truth to tell, I’m still too tired to think it through.


November 19, 2015
by funny

Life in the (Tedious…) (Drug-Ridden) Big City

So tell me, what type of drug use engages Q-tips, chewing or bubble gum, and (maybe) a stiff wire swimming-pool brush?

Yesterday evening — late afternoon, actually — the dogs were barking around out in the backyard, generally being ignored or hollered at. Then at one point Ruby abruptly went ABSOLUTELY FREAKING BATSHIT!!!!

With the possible exception of two very angry German shepherds, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog fly into such a frenzy. And I’ve had a lot of dogs in my altogether too lengthy lifetime. This dog wasn’t yapping. She wasn’t barking. She was screaming. Truly screaming like a person might scream.

Well, I was very tired and feeling under the weather and mighty tired of hearing dogs bark — not for nothing was Cassie surrendered to the dog pound with the reason, “barks.” So I yelled at them to shut the eff up and then hollered them back into the house. They settled right down when offered Dinner.

Dogs live for Dinner…

Welp, this afternoon when I went to take some garbage out to the alley, I discovered what had set Ruby the Corgi off: Somebody had been camping outside the back gate, evidently up to no good.

I know what the Q-Tips are used for. I know that gum is often favored by people who are wired to the teeth on stimulants like meth and Ecstasy. But the wire swimming-pool brush, the type used to scrape stubborn algae off the walls?  whaa????

One drug users’ message board suggests using a “wire brush” to clean your meth pipe . But I don’t think they mean a brush that’s six inches long by a couple inches wide. Part of it was mashed down, as though it had been stuffed inside something or used to scrub something. Sooo…could be, I suppose.

Speaking of “very tired,” this sort of sh*t makes me feel very tired of my neighborhood. It’s the stuff of dreams about moving far, far away.

There’s something to be said for an alley. It adds about 20 clear, vacant feet between you and the neighbor behind you. It puts two walls instead of just one between you and said neighbor.

And there’s something to be said against an alley: it’s a burglar thoroughfare, a campground for bums, a coyote freeway.

Our alleys are particularly well designed as bum campgrounds. The builder set up the back gates so they would open onto  vestibules inset in the fenceline, for reasons no one can guess. Maybe he thought this would encourage neighbors to hang out and chat with each other whilst hauling out the grass clippings and the trash. Maybe some stupid city regulation mandated it. WhatEVER…the effect is to create little cubbies where people can sit on the ground and sleep, drink, or do dope.

Annoyed, I picked up the paraphernalia the creep(s) had left behind, and then dumped a little dogshit on the ground out there. Tomorrow my son is bringing his golden retriever over for a weekend of dog-sitting. Now, that animal can create a gigantic mound of manure. His product is going into the Bum Armchair, too.

Then later this afternoon I’m sitting around the castle thinking about how I should be working and thinking about how I still feel awful and do not want to work and may never want to work again when Ruby flies into yet another rage, this time at the front door. I don’t see anyone out the front window, but I can’t view the whole courtyard from the window. The front door is protected by an iron security door, so I open the interior door and discover that someone has opened the east gate and left it hanging open.

They haven’t left any advertising nuisances. So that suggests most likely they walked up to the front door and tried to open it. Finding it locked and attached to a barking dog’s trigger, they took off.


Do I need to get the pistol out? It’s usually locked up. It’s a hassle to haul it out, and more of a hassle to prepare it to blow away some harmless burglar. I do not want to get the pistol out.

But then I didn’t want the dog to keep on screaming, either. Possibly not getting the pistol out is a symptom of the same overall sense of fatigue and laziness.

I need another German shepherd.

What kind of dog is like the GerShep of 35 years ago, an animal whose health will not run you into the poorhouse, whose temperament will not open you to lawsuits, and whose intelligence rises to the level of discerning? It must be large enough to remove a burglar’s foot, when need be…

Yesterday when I went over to the westside to hike with SDXB, we passed some very nice suburban tracts. One of them looked like the houses might be more or less in my price range. No slums bordered these tracts. None of the houses looked rundown. No police helicopters hovered overhead.

Sometimes I think I should sell this place and move to Scottsdale, to the west side, to Yarnell, or to Prescott. Someplace where bums do not smoke or inject drugs outside your back gate, where armed robbers fleeing the police do not come to ground in your garage, where idiot City Parents do not destroy your neighborhood with a misguided electric train boondoggle, where property taxes are still relatively low, where cop helicopters are not given to parking over your roof, where my dogs are not driven batshit once a day.

But then I’m reminded of the reality that I…can’t…afford…to…move.

Maybe I could afford a small, camper-style RV, though. The dogs and I could live in an RV. Then we could go wherever we pleased. Preferably someplace sparsely populated and quiet. Very, very quiet.


November 15, 2015
by funny

Are Entrepreneurs Allowed a Day of Rest? Is Anyone?

Yes, no, maybe? Can you repeat the question?

The Human is scarfing down an exceptionally nice lunch/dinner thing with possibly more wine than should be allowed. The dogs are begging treats supplied by an exceptionally nice (and clever) church matron who makes them by hand in her kitchen. A gentle rain is falling, and now the Human is wrapping up lunch/dinner/thing with a final glass of wine and a rich dessert of…yeah…chocolate chips.

A voice from somewhere behind the lowering clouds  pierces the sky:

Celestial Voice: What do you think you’re doing?

Human: (choke cough!) Uhmm…eating?

Celestial Voice: You’ve been “eating” for half the afternoon. When exactly do you propose to get any work done?

 Human: Work? I’ve already rebuilt a template for hard-copy book formatting today.

Celestial Voice: Very nice. How about you actually do something constructive, like, say, FORMAT a book? And even maybe go so far as to publish the thing?

Human: Gimme a break, Your Vastness! I spent the whole darned evening last night and half this morning singing to your Holy Magnificence and helping to hustle cash to support your devotees.

Celestial Voice: Do I look fat in this radiant gown? It’s my favorite radiant gown!

Human: Oh, no, Your…uhm, Your Radiance! You look absolutely perfect!

Celestial Voice: Naturally. I embody perfection. To the extent that there’s any body to do any embodying.

Human: Well, Your Radiance, don’t you think that since You knocked off on the seventh day, your underlings should be allowed to knock off on Sunday?

Celestial Voice: That’s a cultural construct. How do you know Sunday was Day Seven? Could’ve been Tuesday or Wednesday or whatEVER.

Human: So, does Your Radiance mean I can knock off on Tuesday or Wednesday, too?

Celestial Voice: Surely. Assuming bankruptcy is a goal coveted by your species…

{Sigh} God as academic…

Oh well.

The Entrepreneurial Human is a) too tired to breathe, and b) too depressed by current events to function.

Today is Seabury Sunday in the Episcopal tradition. Under normal circumstances, it’s entertaining: we have a delightful band of Scottish pipers and drummers march us in and out with bagpipes, quite an impressive performance.


You know, we —  that would be you and me, my friends — are engaged in a holy war. Most Americans and possibly even most Norteamericanos have yet to notice this, or to fully appreciate its implications. But a holy war is what we have on our hands. We are at war with an evil on a par with Hitler’s Nazism. I grew up with it: Saudi Arabia was my home throughout my childhood, and in those days I had a front-row seat to the growth of a very scary movement.

We are hated by a faction of Evil unlike anything Americans, Canadians, Latin Americans, and Europeans have seen in centuries: Evil allied with religion. Really, it’s beyond our ken. That’s what makes it so dangerous. It’s an evil that decapitates nine-year-old children, burns caged young men alive, sentences dissenters to thousands of lashes, and murders harmless civilians going about their business. Yesterday’s events in Paris spoke to that.

You understand, bagpipes and drums are tools of war. Take that bit of history, put it inside a church (holy war + holy war: interesting), and combine it with my personal opinion, which is that our only hope is to fully engage the jihadists, NOW not later, with everything we’ve got. And by everything we’ve got, I don’t mean flinging volunteers into the war machine: I believe we need to reinstate the draft so that everyone has a personal stake in what is in fact a menace to Western civilization, and so that everyone can understand on a gut level that we’re facing exactly such a menace.

Yes. I’m retrograde. But I’ll say it anyway:

We are being swept into another world war. The sooner we and our allies grasp that concept, the better our chances of survival. The longer we dawdle about building that understanding and allying ourselves in war with countries that have a vested interest in holding back the forces of darkness, the less likely we will, over the long run, prevail.

At any rate…given the religious overtones of the ISIS attacks on innocent civilians, the presence of a tool of war inside a Christian version of the House of God was, shall we say, disturbing.

So, my friends, if there is a Radiant One, instead of asking “When are you going to get of your duff and get to work,” She may be asking “When are you going to get off your communal duff and bring a stop to this?”