Sunday, February 25, 2024

My Shop

The last couple of months I've been working on getting my shop back in order. I moved some stuff out of it and got it better sorted on the garage shelves, where it really belongs. My new shop table that I built last year I've been keeping clear, and I've sorted out a few projects that needed sorting. At this point, my guitar workbench needs to be cleared off, and reorganized (because there are some things that do belong on it - just not many) and then I need to either finish or box up for later the carburetor project on my work bench so I can reclaim that space as well. 

Hoping to have that all done in another week or so. THEN I can go finish up the guitar I started last year, and once that's done I'm hoping I can start on building my own guitar bodies. The hardest part for that will be getting some good wood, but I'll probably start out with some 'cheaper' stuff until I got it down.

Then of course will be building necks. I've been seriously considering the old 'Leo Fender' method of just using what's basically a 1x4 piece of wood. Most necks aren't thick, except for down at the body and you can double up your piece by gluing two together. For the head, you just make an angled cut, flip the end around, and now you've got that nice angle that everyone uses (most guitar heads are glued on).

Making the fret board will be a pain, so will putting in the frets. But I'd like to get to the point where I'm making the necks and bodies and only buying the tuners, the heads, and the capacitors, input jacks, and wire. I do know how to wind my own pickups, but I don't know if I ever want to do that. But I'd like to try and get back to making guitars and do it without buying the necks and the bodies. The kits out of China are fun and a good way to 'cheat' but the hardware sucks and you end up replacing it. Surprisingly a lot of the wood, which is cheap wood, is pretty good tone wood. Some of the cheaper woods are, oddly enough. 

Buying stuff from Warmouth can get you great quality bodies and necks, but that stuff is expensive. You can't sell those guitars and make any kind of profit and I'm NOT looking to sell at all. I'll probably just give these away. That's why I want to make most of it myself, so I'm not really into any of them for more than say a hundred bucks. 

I'd also like to try making a bass or two from scratch and at some point I'd still like to make a copy of the old 'Bass 6'. You've all heard one, you just didn't know it. Until they started making them again a couple of years ago, they hadn't been made for like 20+ years. For what's probably the rarest bass out there quite a few hit singles, including one by Aerosmith, had the lead guitarist playing on one.

But again, we'll see. I have a few hobbies that in the last two years I haven't been able to really do. This year I hope I can get back to them. I'm sure everyone loves listening to me swear about stains, sealers, spray guns, and stencils! :-)


Sunday, February 11, 2024

Taking Ground is NOT a 'novella'. It's a bit long for that! :-D

 Okay, this is a first. Someone's review of Taking Ground is that it's 'too short it's a Novella'.

Now, a Novella is typically defined as 17.5K words to 39.999K words.

Taking Ground is just a bit shy of 100K words. 

So depending on where on the scale you want to pick that means Taking Ground has somewhere between Five or Two and a half Novella's in it. Novels start at 40K words btw.

I can only blame the new math. Or maybe myself? Maybe I just write that well that people don't realize just how long the book really is?

Hmmm, maybe that was a compliment? 

:-D

My Old Dog

 I have an old dog. In three months, he'll be thirteen. To a lot of folks out there, that doesn't sound old, but for a German Shepherd, a large old-style square back (not one of those slope back ones) that's old. Most don't make it past twelve. We're talking a dog that was probably 110~120 in his prime. Not a fat dog either.

In the last year he has lost a lot of weight. I suspect he's 80`90 pounds now. His appetite has decreased significantly. He has trouble getting up and walking at times, especially in the evenings and early morning. His hindquarters don't work as well as they used to (and NO it's NOT dysplasia this is normal, all quadrapeds have issues with their hips when they get old - just like humans do).

And of course, being a GSD he's both an actor and an attention whore. So you never know if he's hurting sometimes, or just trying to get attention. As he's -MY- dog (GSD's are one person dogs) I'm the one who he will play these games on if he feels he's not getting enough attention, and seeing as he can't do all the things he used to, guess what he wants more of? 

Also sometimes he really does need to get up at 3AM and go outside. These days I deal with a very irregular sleep schedule. It's not fun. This is my typical night now: Sometime between 2AM and 4AM he'll wake me up by whining softly. I get up. I get dressed. I put my shoes on - if that doesn't start getting him up, I get my coat and come back to the bedroom and put it on. If he's been sleeping on his bed, (which he's used more in the last 4 months than the prior 12 years) it's hard for him to get off of it, and last night he needed help. 

It's not made easier by our other GSD (who is a lot younger) running around all excited because we're going outside. Getting him up, and getting him to go slowly until he can get his hindquarters working, can be a chore sometimes. So can getting outside. Ten to fifteen minutes later we're back inside. He usually doesn't make it past the kitchen. I have area rugs on ALL of the tiled areas in the house now (we bought a bunch months ago just for this - went through this with the last GSD when he got old, though he didn't hang on this long - so I know what to expect). 

So I've been up almost a half hour at this point, and it's not done. Or maybe it is. When I go back to bed he might start complaining because he wants me to come and 'protect' him from the other dog so he can get up, and make his way to the bedroom (the other dog, when sleeping at night will growl at him if he goes by - he's an idiot). I'll go through all of this again at 7AM. If I don't get him in the bedroom when I first go to bed, at sometime an hour or two later I'll be woken up because, again, he wants me to 'protect' him from the murder muppet who will growl at him as he goes by.

This happens every night. It is incredibly rare now for me to not be woken up. I don't know if he really needs to go out or not, but it's the only thing that will settle him back down, otherwise I will be up for hours (literally).

Feeding is also a lot more involved now, because sometimes you all but have to force him to eat. He's definitely gotten a lot pickier. I also suspect at times he's just a touch senile. So his care has gotten a lot more complicated. He doesn't see as well as he used to, and sometimes he doesn't hear all to well either. But at least he's still happy.

At night, especially when it's cold out (being as we're still in winter) I have to go outside with him, because I don't want him to get into trouble. Tonight I took him out and he decided to walk a quarter of the fence line until I aimed him back at the house. Walking the perimeter is something he used to do every night (we've got 2 acres fenced). He fell over twice and I had to help him back up. Twice he had to stop for a short rest break and I had to help him up then too. Now he's passed out on the floor next to me, and I'll probably crash on the couch and go to bed later tonight when he's got the energy to head to the bedroom.

I honestly have no idea how bad he'll get, if he'll die in his sleep (like our last GSD), or if it'll be something worse. But he's happy now, even when he is all but dragging himself because he can't get his hind legs under him and I have to help him get up and calm him down (the mail lady knows his name and calls him when she goes by if she has to deliver something so he wants to go say hello). He can't race the cars anymore, though honestly it's been over a year since he could really do that at all. Yet there are times he still tries.

So yeah, it's rough. Being old myself, it makes it rougher. I won't be replacing him, this is my last pet. I've outlived too many of them, and I don't feel like having one outlive me. The spouse will keep getting dogs, now they can have two instead of one, but it isn't going to be 'mine'. Which will make it easier on me. (And no, I can NOT take him to the vet. He wants to kill the vet. Any vet. All vets. I won't put him through that stress).

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Wolfhounds Book 2 - Taking Ground is now Live on Amazon!

 Taking Ground

 

With the Battle of Portlandia behind him, Chase is a hero now and the rank and file truly believes that he's the prince the Command Team claims he is. For his part, Chase has made his choice and now he's committed. As the face of the revolution he's 'in it to win it' because anything else will lead to his death. The twenty-five million-credit bounty on his head will see to that.

The problem he faces now is convincing Fleet Captain Witner, and his Command Team to trust him, when Chase still doesn't trust them enough to tell them who he truly is. Chase had been betrayed too many times in his past to come clean easily, and for all that he's doing everything they ask of him, until the Captain and his team gives him a seat at the table, he's not about to start trusting any of them.

So he's content to let them continue believing he's a fraud of their own creation to justify the search for a 'real' heir.

 Still, he now has Claire on his side, and he can't think of anyone else he'd rather have there. She's as driven as he is, and at least as crazy. He's never met a better fighter and probably never will. As a duchess she's been teaching him valuable lessons about how to act and what to say. As a friend and lover, she's giving him something that he never thought he'd have - a reason to win.

See it on Amazon - Taking Ground 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Whole 'Imposter' Thing

One of the things I really don't understand is 'imposter syndrome' (as people call it). I honestly just don't. Never have. I don't even understand how people can feel like an 'imposter' at a job they're doing. An imposter is someone practicing deception.

So if you are doing the job you're not an imposter now, are you?

In a lot of trades, a -lot- of trades, there is a process you go through:

  • Apprentice,
  • Journeyman,
  • Master.

While the names aren't always the same, you get the idea.

  • You start off as someone new to a craft and you learn it. Some learn faster or slower than others, but it's a process.
  • Once you -understand- the craft you begin to practice it on your own and learn the finer details as you grow in skill and understanding. You're a Journeyman - you're on your 'journey' of learning.
  • Then at some point you become a Master at your craft. You've learned the lessons and paid your dues and you are definitely on your own.

So I don't get where the whole 'imposter' bit comes from. No, you're an apprentice. You're learning. You're uncomfortable because you're learning. It's not uncommon for an apprentice to throw up their hands and go 'I don't know what I'm doing'.

The journeyman looks at something and while he knows how to do it, may decide to try something different so that they can learn something new, something more.

The Master already knows what works and what doesn't, and knows what and how they're going to take on a job.

As an engineer, I went through these levels of understanding.

And as a writer I have most definitely gone through them.

When I look back on things I've written, and how well I've done so far on my path in this career, I have never once said or thought 'I'm an imposter!' How could I? I've been doing the work and learning the trade. I very much remember my 'apprentice' years and I also understand when I graduated to the next stage of being a 'journeyman' in it.

As for whether or not I'm a 'Master' at it? Maybe one day I'll feel that I am, or maybe one day someone will tell me that I'm 'there'. For me, while I've learned my style and my 'method' I guess you would say, of writing and storytelling, I do feel that there is still more to learn. Though now, for me, most of that learning comes from doing, then looking at the finished product and seeing how it is received.

So stop with the whole 'imposter' nonsense. You're either an apprentice on the road to becoming a journeyman, or you've just set your foot on the Journeyman's path. Having concerns is natural. Now, ignore those fears and get to work.