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  • Adding Up the Old Year, Looking Towards the New

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on January 2nd, 2014 (All posts by )

    In a meditation that I posted about this time last year – just as we came down to Christmas and the last frantic dash to the end of the year – I laid out the things that I wanted to do, or ought to do during 2013. Time to take stock and look at which ones I did manage … and those that I shall have to try harder to do in 2014.

    #1 – I was resolved to change my main bank account from Bank of America to a Texas institution. Check. Actually accomplished this the first week of the new year, and it went quite painlessly, changing the automatic deposit from DFAS and the automatic payment to the mortgage company. Check.

    #2 – Finish and publish The Quivera Trail in time for launching in November, 2013. Done and check. Also begin on the next book, or at least the research. I had thought it would be tentatively entitled The Golden Road, starring young Fredi Steinmetz and the usual cast of characters historical and created … half-check. Started research, but was detoured into writing another picaresque adventure, Lone Star Sons, which will be a short and adventurous bagatelle and a re-working of the Lone Ranger, as a historical adventure in 1840s Texas – which I am posting, chapter by chapter at the book blog and website, here. Lone Star Sons will be my November 2015 book … but I will be well along in writing The Golden Road by then.

    #3 – Redouble my efforts to have a back-yard truck garden, and eat a lot more of our own home-grown veggies. Half-check. Did build two raised beds and did get something out of them, but tomatoes were a flat failure this year. The heat, I think. In 2014 I am resolved to build another couple of raised beds – and try again with the tomatoes.

    #4 – Resolved to keep better track of the readers and fans of my books, to do more focused marketing, to post more regularly on the various blogs, to carry on adding materiel to the various Facebook pages. Half a check. Marvelously, the books did sell very well, until about October, and with a pleasing uptick for The Quivera Trail in November. I revamped my book blog and merged it with my book website, revamped and updated The Daily Brief, and figured out why we couldn’t post pictures. I did add Facebook pages for the books, and I did figure out how to post automatically from the book blog to them. Check.

    #5 – Pick up more of the management and recruitment of business at Watercress Press. I was trundling along OK with that, as we had several POD clients, a fulfilled contract for a Watercress Press book, and a contract out for another, which is pretty much sidelined over the holidays. I’ve gotten the Watercress website updated as well, but still not entirely happy with it. I have gotten a little better with Photoshop, and Adobe Acrobat. But the intensive study of book design and layout is still a work in progress. So is getting in front of more local authors. Three-quarters of a check.

    #6 – Stockpiling staple foods. We’re pretty good with keeping and rotating staple foods in large amounts, and canning pickles and preserved fruits this last year, but still working on those stocks of dog and cat food, common antibiotics and medical supplies. Half a check.

    #7 — Pay off the last few institutions and people where I still owe money. Work harder at selling the California real estate. Both those missions accomplished. The land sold, the major institution paid off – and as a bonus, the HVAC system in the house revamped. Check and a half, as the emergency generator is still out there, somewhere.

    #8 – I did take a vow to – as much as is possible – to avoid supporting authors, musicians, public intellectuals, television programs, movies, institutions and businesses who have insulted my own values, standards and ethical/political beliefs. Ditching cable TV pretty much accomplished all of that … although it also cut off some shows that we liked to watch. But never mind – most are available on Amazon Prime, or on Hulu or on DVD … so, full check.

    I’d say that considered as a total, I got about three-quarters of what I wanted to accomplish done. Now for 2014…

    In the spirit of sustained mockery of prominent political figures, I offer the attached pictorial comment. Feel free to borrow, repurpose and repost.

     

    15 Responses to “Adding Up the Old Year, Looking Towards the New”

    1. Bill Brandt Says:

      On abandoning the cable networks I have discovered Netflix streaming – helped in part by a post here some time ago – a lot of the series – Dexter, Son’s of Anarchy, Longmire, Mad Men – are on the menu at Netflix – for $8 a month.

      You won’t get the current year but still….

      The only think lacking that I see in your “to do” list is to get a good rifle – a Texan, military Sgt (OK you were on AFN but still – every soldier/Marine/Airman a rifleman….and….I can’t see anything else lacking.

      You are ahead of me….

    2. Michael Kennedy Says:

      The only things I watch on TV are football, which will be over in a month, and Pawn Stars. Netflix has been a worthwhile addition but my bassett ate the Roku remote. I ordered another one.

      Back in the 70s, I had a pretty good stock of survival foods, including unground wheat. I’m too old to care anymore. I used to consider my sailboat a refuge in times of serious trouble but got too old to handle it and sold it.

      I finally got out the manuscript of a book I wrote ten years ago and have been revising it. I gave copies to my medical students who asked to read it over the holiday. I told them they didn’t have to but several had seen it on my laptop as I was working on it when they were around. I’ll see if any actually read it when they come back next week. Ten years ago, several read my medical history and gave me some useful suggestions then. It is still selling on Amazon.

      I hope your ventures do well this year.

    3. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Thanks, Mike. You know – you can publish your book in print through Createspace and Kindle – if you are going to put it out there in a new edition, and don’t have a publisher for it lined up.

      Bill – we went with a Hulu subscription, and my daughter has Amazon Prime – which serves up a lot of content. The thing that we like, is that we can pick and choose. Last week, after the Duck Dynasty kerfuffle, we checked it out, for the first time on Hulu. Totally contrived, of course – but hilarious in spots.

    4. James Bennett Says:

      After nearly a year of having Roku it has totally changed my mode of viewing drama. I can’t stand to watch it on broadcast or satellite television any more. I realized that if a series isn’t good enough that I want to watch two or three episodes in a row in an evening, it probably isn’t good enough to watch at all. The few shows I do watch from satellite, I’ve started to view in pseudo-Roku mode. I let three or four episodes accumulate on the DVR, and then binge-watch them all. I do hate fast-forwarding through the commercials now. More and more with such shows I start to say “I’d rather wait till next year to watch it so I don’t have to deal with the commercials.”

      “Appointment TV” has a new meaning. I don’t make an appointment to watch it; it makes an appointment with me for my time, and it has to prove it’s worth it.

      New shows like House of Cards are purposely made to be watched in binge fashion, and it shows in the plotting and pacing. A new storytelling format is emerging. You can tell watching the older series the periods where the writers get into a slump and don’t really know where they’re going with the series for a while. You start to think “Hmm, shark saltation ahead.”

      It’s fascinating to watch this evolution unfolding.

    5. Bill Brandt Says:

      @James – I am right with you. Other than Blue Bloods (just about anything Selleck has dome is great) and The Mentalist everything else I watch is streamed off Netflix.

      The beauty of this is that you can rip through entire seasons – even series – at your own pace. See the characters develop and see writer’s dead ends and goofs.

      Finished Mad Men, Longmire (2012), 1st half of Twilight Zone (all that they show), Star trek TNG – all 7 years, Doc Martin (hilarious), Sons of Anarchy…..

      And I have the chicagoboyz who enlightened me to this mode of viewing…

    6. Michael Kennedy Says:

      The only TV tries I ever started to watch was Northern Exposure which my office staff got me to watch. It was cancelled after a couple of seasons and not long after I began to watch.

      I wonder if ABC will produce a DVD of the new miniseries about Aldrich Ames? The Path to /11 was excellent but has, of course, been suppressed by the Hillary people.

    7. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Nothern Exposure was a great show, Mike – we are watching it on DVD, having missed the first three or four seasons entirely, when it was first on.
      It’s great to watch several episodes in sequence of any show, sans commercials.

    8. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I saw that there are DVD versions.I might get one. It got a little silly the last season.

    9. Sgt. Mom Says:

      The first were better – apparently Rob Morrow didn’t want to play any more, so they had to ease him out of the last season, and ease in some new characters.

    10. Bill Brandt Says:

      They used to film it in a little town in Washington. I loved the show – quirky characters.

      Still don’t know how Holling got Shelly.

      The disk jockey was my favorite.

    11. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I liked the image of Alaska. I have an Alaska license and thought about moving there, at least for part of the year. Tom Bodet was big attraction.

    12. Grurray Says:

      I don’t watch shows either (I’ll maybe sit down for a MASH or Twilight Zone rerun but not much else).
      My biggest problem with Roku was no youtube app.
      Now I see they have one on the Roku 3, but there are other choices from dongles like Google Chromecast on the low end to upgrading to a smart TV on the other. Not sure if an external box is the way to go now.

      CBS has free streaming of next week’s playoff games on their website and Fox has got the Super Bowl streaming for free on theirs.
      I just picked up Chromecast and am going to try to stream it.
      If it works then this could finally be the long awaited end of cable I’ve been searching for. Their annual 10% – 20% price increases get old after awhile.

    13. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Ditching cable TV pretty much accomplished all of that …

      I did that several years ago and have never regretted it for an instant.

    14. Sudo Sophisticate Says:

      Whew, how long has it been? I think it was thirty years ago I considered cable TV until I learned that it had commercials. Pay a fee AND get sold to? I don’t think so.

      Re. Alaska and TV: I don’t know how much dramatization is going on but a reality type program called Yukon Men looks interesting. A town, Tanana, above the arctic circle with 200 people in it. In episode 1 (which I watched last night) a couple families are getting low on meat toward the end of winter. Two men and their sons have learned that a caribou (elk?) herd is ninety miles away and away they go on snowmobiles. Water plant for the town takes water from the river and has a wood burning furnace feed hot air into a pipe above the water draw pipe to prevent freeze up. Harsh winter has made a lone wolf visit the town and must be dealt with. Life looked to be pretty rugged there.

    15. Sudo Sophisticate Says:

      Oh, Yukon Men is on NetFlix.