Coffee heat rising

Happy Fourth of July! And…next?

 Welp, we’ve made it to another Independence Day without self-destructing. That’s something.

What are you doing for the holiday? Moi, I’ve been invited to a party at the home of some friends who live in a mid-town high-rise. Their place overlooks the Phoenix Country Club and the Steele Indian School, which host the two largest fireworks displays in the central part of the city. And from their balcony you also can see the large show at Tempe Town Lakes and several other smaller shindigs.

An old, halfway-long-lost friend who lives in that apartment building shows up at these evenings, so I’m looking forward to seeing her again. It promises to be a nice evening.

But between now and then:

Students have turned in their “extended definition” papers. In the world of people who recycle their high-school English essays, this means they’ve picked some exceptionally sappy and ill-focused topic such as “what is love” — apparently inflicted on them by  teachers following a required curriculum. The results would be painful to read even if they fit the assignment, which by and large they do not. So {sigh} we have to plod through 23 of those.

Then there’ll only be one more assignment — 2500 words of like drivel — and I’ll be DONE. Never to read another brain-banging freshman comp paper again! 😆

I sincerely hope, anyway.

I’ve started a second racy book — spectrophilia, Ouija board! This should be good. And last night while watching a couple of episodes of some TV show streaming through Kodi, poured another several Fire-Rider bookoids into Friedlander’s Word template. Now am up to book 13, leaving only another five to do. As soon as the cover images are delivered, I’ll be ready to post!

Almost: still have to write “Our Story So Far” blurbs for most of them. And get their ISBNs.

To re-jumpstart the entrepreneurial spirit, I’ve made a list of what I call “foot-draggers”: tasks that need to get done before I can make any headway but that I keep resisting because I know they’re going to be complicated as hell and require some sort of learning curve and I’m just effing learning-curved out. Videlicet:

1. Move Funny and other sites from Jesse’s server to
2. Upgrade service
3. Assign remaining ISBNs to books in progress
4. Buy 100 new ISBNs
5. Buy a month’s subscription to shutterstock. Make a list of general categories for future images and download the maximum allowed.
6. Organize these images on disk and in database by category & book title.
7. Read Friedlander’s template documentation carefully. Figure out how to do the Kindle conversion. Download a Kindle reader app to the laptop so layout can be checked before publication.
8. Learn how to publish epub versions on Barnes & Noble
9. Find the specs for Kindle and Nook covers; relearn how to do this in PowerPoint.
10. Upload diet book to Kindle.
11. Send Slave Labor to Snowfall press for PoD prep
12. Using PowerPoint and stock photo, make Biker Babe cover; create and edit Kindle version. Store to disk.
13. Develop new, more efficient record-keeping to keep track of ISBNs, titles, artwork, and freelances & subcontractors.
14. Develop task flow routine for publication of each book, w/ checklist.

So I figure if I do three of these a day, in less than a week I’ll be up and running.

Which sounds good until you recall that we have 23 student papers sitting on the server right now and another 23 incoming shortly. All told that comes to 58,250 mind-numbing words, the length of a short novel, to be read, commented upon, used as a teaching tool, and assessed. And most of them are high-school papers turned in because the students don’t feel called upon to bother to do the course’s assignments. With just a few exceptions, a total, unutterable waste of the instructor’s time.

But since the instructor’s time is worth less than minimum wage, I suppose no one accounts that as much of a loss…

If I start on the current raft of sea foam today, I won’t get to three of the tasks on the list above today. But if I put it off, it’ll drive me nuts, and whenever I run up against a tight deadline, invariably some student has to make a special case of him/herself and create a major problem. So the only question is, which day would I prefer to have wasted?



7 thoughts on “Happy Fourth of July! And…next?”

  1. Glad to hear you’re well…. and up and about. AND MAN you are gonna be busy. Do you find it helps to make a list when you get this busy? Lately I have lacked motivation/enthusiasm to work on one of my rentals that is located in an area that is shall we say….”not that vacation spot we’re all trying to get to”. Back in the day I could assess the situation in a property….make a to do list…compose a material list… complete the task and would be interviewing prospects as I was putting the final coat of paint on the front door. But lately…not so much… I seem to have lost my “mojo”. Can’t quite put my finger on it BUT the tenant pool has become VERY shallow in this locale….Your thoughts?

    • If the place is located in an undesirable area, it’s getting harder to rent to someone who’d not going to set a campfire in the middle of the living room, and it’s starting to need a lot of maintenance you just don’t feel like hassling with, maybe it’s time to sell the place and buy somewhere else. Or invest the money in a lower-maintenance product.

      For me, a to-do list is THE way to jump-start work. Just checking off “i did this” seems to build momentum. Otherwise I sit there with my mind churning “gotta do this and gotta do that and oh no first i’ve gotta do this other thing but to do that, that other thing over there oughta get done first and how did i forget….” When you have a list in front of you, you know you’ll get to things in good time, and so you quit stressing about all the stuff you have to do.

      • Hmmmm…. Thank you for the “sage” advice Funny….It MAY be time to sell this one OR more likely do a “like kind exchange” for something in a location that I feel holds more promise to avoid a huge tax bite. One of the first “rules of Real Estate Investing” IS …. don’t get emotionally attached to property…and I know this. BUT alas I have fallen into this emotional “trap” with the place… This was my very first home AND my very first investment property …I lived in this place….I brought my 1st child home from the hospital to this place….that child learned to walk in that living room. AND the old place has been a “money maker”….make no mistake and it really owes me little…and I’m fairly capable in repairing the place. But…. I don’t know if it’s fatigue or just the thought of cleaning up another mess that gives me pause. Add to this the applicants range from bizarre to ridiculous to untrustworthy and back. AND more often than not …. come with “terrible baggage” which often include a pit-bull or two….and a felony arrest as well as very little verifiable income.
        And I’m with you on the list…In another life when I was a “younger….more organized ….and motivated” real estate investor I would zip thru the tasks at hand. I could separate the “pretenders from the contenders”…. Somehow I either got lazy….complacent …. or just plain lost my way…and as you pointed out…I found/find myself confused and unproductive. So a” To Do List” it is….
        Thank you once more for the sound advice.

  2. Jestjack, I don’t think it is that you are lazy or complacent, it’s just that things/priorities change as we get older. Nobody looks at life at sixty the same way they did at thirty.

    Cut yourself some slack and just realize your road has somewhat changed direction.

    • Ain’t that the truth.

      Just 30 seconds ago, I was telling a friendly acquaintance that I quit my job as a result of the latest health fiasco. This is a guy who had a thunderingly successful company. After some years at it, he realized it was sucking time and energy away from the things he considered most important in life: his family and community.

      So he sold his portion to his partners and walked away. Started a handyman service, at which he happens to be very, very good, and keeps tight control over what jobs he’ll do and how much time he’ll spend away from the things that matter. He must spend at least half of his time volunteering — donating his skills to nonprofit organizations that benefit low-income kids. And he’s a happy man.

      I think Anne is right: we evolve and grow. Life changes us, usually for the better. At some point we need to reconsider everything we’re engaged in and decide how much of it we want to continue with…or if there’s a better way.

      • Many thanks to two “pretty smart gals” ….Funny and Anne…. who seem to have the gift to “see the forest for the trees”….You guys are right…..times change…people change…..Thanks once more…

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