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Had to write about it somewhere. Main blog.

Battle Plans
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BB-DT VentSo I've been noodling with the idea of going back to school sometime in the near future. Honestly, with my lack of an education in marketing (and having learned entirely through autodidactic behavior and job experience), and the increasing automation of the field, I think it behooves me to start looking for an alternate career track, just in case shit goes south quickly.

To that end, I've been debating going back to school for an AAS -- something where I'd combine a TIG/MIG welding certificate, machining tech, and 3D modeling/printing. All of this would apply well to the bike biz, to be sure, but I would also be trying to focus on something where I could find a regular job and get a good-sized paycheck coming in.

In the next week or two, I'll be headed over to HCTC to talk to an admissions counselor about this and see what they think.

Holy Shitsnacks!
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Oy vey.  I'm exhausted.  Probably because I'm sort of working again.  Sort of.  Explanation here.  Seven hours on my feet and I'm knackered.  And after that was over with, I went to the house over in Savage and finished the bathroom repaint -- took down all the tape and put all the fixtures back on the wall.  Right now, I'm s'posed to be compiling all my business receipts for our tax guy, but I'm just not having it.  I'm updating you guys because it's a.) on my to-do list, and b.) more fun than spreadsheets and shit.

The Kids

Eddy Sharing with Sam

The boys are doing alright.  Eddy got his first bike this week -- a little strider bike, granted, but a bike, and he's very excited about it.  We're battling with the concept of "you must wear a helmet", and that's going about like you'd expect.  We're going to win that battle, eventually.  We have to.  The kid has shown a deep interest in extreme mountain biking videos on YouTube, and when I showed him Road Bike Party (video appended to the end of this), he nearly lost his fucking mind.

Sam is Sam. He's starting to teeth, as evidenced by a lot of drooling and going full-on fucktard cannibal on my knuckles every chance he gets. His sleeping habits are starting to shift, which has been a joy unlike anything else that could legitimately be called a joy.


Still here. Haven't found a home for him yet.

That Video I Mentioned

Things and Stuff and More Things and Stuff
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So the Saturday to-do list, as evidenced by what I've checked off, was pretty damned ambitious.  The upside is, I still got a huge percentage of it done.

Today, I've managed to clean the kitchen, arrange another job interview for Thursday, write a DB.N blog post,

Blog posts:

Book Movies
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Watched two movies yesterday that were adaptations of science fiction movies. Came away moderately unimpressed.

World War Z was first, and it was just meh. Predictable when the zombie shit was happening. Had to lose so much from the book that it made the movie just annoyingly dumb. I can't decide if my brain was filling in details from the book to make it more watchable, or if it was "just okay." Will not watch again.

Ender's Game, and before you berate me, yes, I find OSC's stance on gay rights deplorable as well. His opinions and histrionics ("I'll overthrow the government if they allow gay marriage!") lead me to believe that whatever his positive qualities are, he's likely still the human equivalent of a shit-stain. But that's just, like, my opinion man...

Anyway, Ender. Too much book to tackle in a two-hour movie, sorry. So much got left out, so much got glossed over, that the movie was borderline crap.

The only good that came out of this was my desire to re-read both books, which I will probably tackle later this year.

Things and Stuff and More Things and Stuff
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To-Do List

Yesterday, after it was done snowing, but still windy as hell, I went out and tackled the snowblowing. Even fully bundled up, with chemical heatpacks stuffed in my $90 gloves, my hands were still cold when I came inside. The drifting out there was crazy -- we had two feet of snow on the sidewalk, but less than an inch in the middle of the driveway. Today, I'm not going anywhere near that front door. I'm staying inside. So, here's what I'm doing today:
  • updating my résumécarved from four pages to two-and-a-half
  • applying to at least 10 jobs -- at this point, I'll do whatever
  • first round of dishes in the kitchen
  • second round, kitchen
  • sorting through two boxes of detritus that came out of my nightstand when we replaced the bedroom set this last summer
  • write a blog post for my bike biz site, per the marketing calendar link
  • work on the headbadge design in Illustrator
  • write 1000 words, fiction
  • start looking for a part-time job, spinning wrench at a bike shop
  • write a short blog post for DB.N link

Eddy, Development of

Peeling an Orange

Eddy's doing well. He's still behind the curve on some developmental stuff, but he's still developing. He's taken to calling me "mama" for some reason (I won't contemplate the why of that), and added "cout" to his vocabulary (referring to the cat, "Scout," the only one who will tolerate him at-length). His new favorite books is Where the Wild Things Are, which we read at least twice before bed every night.

Okay, I Lied

I just went outside. I had to put the car in the driveway (forgot last night, but did not get a ticket and the car did start, so it was a win), and I had to take the trash out. It's bone-chilling cold out there. Only wore a baseball hat, was only outside for about 90 seconds, total, and my ears hurt.

Stay safe out there, Midwesterners. It's brutal.

More Later

Checking off to-dos, and maybe posting some writing excerpts. We'll see.

More Miscellany
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The Brothers


The boys are getting better. More to the point, Eddy is starting to get less jealous and much more fascinated with Sam. At the same time, he's becoming more of a mama's boy than he used to be. Since I started staying at home back in June, he started glomming onto me and being all about time with me and taking interests in the things I do. Just in the last two weeks, he's done a 180, and now follows mom around, asking for "mama?" whenever she's not around, and I've become chopped liver. I'm only a little sad because I know it'll come around again.

Job Hunt

So there's a position open at a local ad agency that I'm kind of hungry for and it requires extensive experience with 3M. I have that experience. I'd be a great fit for the role. I started the contact through a placement firm. Agency hasn't been responsive to the placement firm, so I'm waffling as to whether to contact them directly. Waffle waffle waffle.

Written Word

I'm kinda stalled with the writing right now. While I had carved out time in my schedule for it, it doesn't seem to happen. I suppose I could stop posting here and go write, huh? I've been trying to read, too, but I'm not nearly at the pace I normally am, and I don't think my goal of 50 books in 2014 is going to be reachable. Sads!

Back to the writing thing -- given all the talk about how well the smut sells on the Kindle, I have been halfway thinking about writing a bunch of it under a pseudonym, just to generate some extra cashflow here in the household. Oy. The things we do...

Bike Biz

Once Eddy's down for his nap, I am going to go for a drive to clear my head. I think I'm going to go up to visit Erik at Peacock Groove to talk about Minnecycle and the availability of space in his workshop to get me through the next few cold months.

Months of Thinking
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Here's some stuff I've published elsewhere in the past few months:

The Words I Regret Not Saying
How to be Unemployed

Autodidact's Journey: Filtering Strategy
What I've Learned in 2013

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So back on the 12th, I intended to sit down and write a quick marketing plan for the bike biz for 2014. I intended it to be a short 6- or 7-page document on what I planned to accomplish this year, mostly to keep me on-track and focused so that I'm not chewing up a ton of time marketing when I should be pushing steel. The document has grown to 21 pages, and will be probably close to 30 once I'm done with it this afternoon.

This is what happens when it's too damn cold to work in the garage.

I'm really re-invigorated, having all these plans in-place. Not just marketing, but the business plan, too.

Doubt is in retreat. I think I can make a business of this. Yes, 2014 is likely to be a breakeven year. I might turn a small profit in 2015. But the thing is, I can see this becoming more and more viable.

I'm pretty psyched.

Another Splash of Miscellaneous Topics
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Wow, so Sam's coming along nicely. He's able to hold his head up for long stretches of time, and this morning, I think he had his first legitimate smile -- as in, a response to stimuli, rather than random firing of nerves. The only thing with Sam is, he and I don't quite jive yet. He doesn't like spending time with me, strongly preferring "the mom", and I honestly, have a hard time with him, too. His cries send me from zero to "oh would you please shut the f--k up" almost instantly. I'm hoping that changes as he gets older and more interactive, but right now, he and I are merely co-existing.

Bike Biz

So I finally hashed out a formal business plan for Pallas Athena, and it looks like in 2014, I'll be losing money again. If I cut costs in a few places, I could even break-even this year. I've got a couple of capital expenditures to make, and it looks like this year, I'll be putting my milling skills and design skills to the test as I start building some fixtures. In the name of realism and financial common sense, I decided that barring some financial miracle, there was no way I could afford the nice Anvil seatstay/chainstay mitering equipment this year ($1800). I did figure that for about $300 of raw materials, and a few end mills (ball, 90°, etc.), I could build my own, and have materials left to build some tubing blocks that will allow me to do things like holding chainstays for slotting (need to get a slotting saw and arbor for the mill, natch), and for holding non-round tubes.

Job Hunt

Picking up steam. Had an interview last week that went fairly well, have another one next Friday with a local agency. I'm hesitant about agency life again, but what the hell -- a job's a job.