Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What's this? An Update?!?

Now Playing -  I Am Invisible by They Might Be Giants

Well, hello!

Sorry about the delay, as usual! It's been a hectic year, between two dozen comic con appearances, a "kids" alphabet book and the always there shop madness, this blog kind of fell by the wayside, but I'll be trying to do better in the new year, using this blog as both a personal journal and as a way for my fans and friends I've met at cons to get a bit more insight into the world of Deeply Dapper. 

And for now, if you want even more insight - listen to our new podcast! Deeply Dapper Dispatches is a podcast about my travels to assorted cons across the western US as a con artist behind the table at Comic Cons, Board Game Conventions, RPG Tournaments, Anime Cons, Horror Conventions and pretty much anywhere they'll let me hunker down in an alley and sell. I also get together with my friends to drink a few beers and cover some geeky news, book reviews, movie reviews and recommends and whatever strikes my fancy. 

This episode can also be found on YouTube, with photos to go with the jibber-jabber HERE

3D can also be found on iTunes and Stitcher!

If you like what you are hearing, or just want to help us out - please review us on iTunes - it helps other geeks find us and makes me feel all fuzzy inside.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Recipe - Aunt May's Famous Wheatcakes

Now Playing -  Forever Young by Alphaville


Originally made by my pal Pete's Aunt May, these wheatcakes are a great, hearty alternative to the standard pancake and will get your day off to a swinging start.


  • 1 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 cup Sifted Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Double Acting Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons Molasses
  • 2 Egg Yolks, Beaten
  • 1/4 cup Melted Butter
  • 2 Egg Whites, whipped to stiff peaks


  • Mix buttermilk and molasses, set aside
  • In a separate bowl, mix together flours, powder, soda and salt
  • Add egg yolks, melted butter and buttermilk/molasses mixture to flour mix
  • Fold whipped egg whites into batter until blended - Don't overmix or thicken! Batter will set up slightly after mixing.
  • Cook on hot greased griddle until small bubbles appear on top - Flip and cook until bottom is lightly browned. Serve hot with butter and syrup to your favorite nephew in a stack of  6-8 wheatcakes.


This recipe is really flexible to modifications and changes - the important part is the Molasses and the Buckwheat flour. I have substituted milk for the buttermilk, margarine for the butter, AP flour for the whole wheat flour and made the recipe without separating or whipping the eggs, just throwing it all in a bowl and they still make hearty, slightly fluffy pancakes that fill you up many times over better than pancakes. A great recipe!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Great Falls, Montana for Grandma Graves' Memorial

Now Playing -  Here I Go Again by Whitesnake
Life -  

Last weekend Linz and I traveled with her folks to Great Falls, MT for the memorial of her grandmother, Ethel Graves. Rich, my father-in-law has been driving a lot lately, so I volunteered to be the driver for this trip. As it turns out, 6-7 hour drive to Great Falls for a weekend is a pretty short drive for me, now that I'm used to comic con trips, but the weekend itself was a wholly different experience.

It's always odd going to a family event that you are only tangentially attached to. The Graves family has always made people feel welcome to the family, that's been one of their strengths, no question, but when you are surrounded by people with decades of bonds, stories and connections, it's easy to become lost quite quickly. Particularly at a funeral, when emotions run high and more than ever, people reflect on the past.

I met Ethel a couple of times; at our wedding and at my brother in law Dylan's wedding, but she wasn't at her strongest either time and I was pretty preoccupied both times, so unfortunately I never really got to know her in any meaningful sense. However, I'd heard many great stories about her and I was glad we could make it up to the service.

The funeral home
It was held at a beautiful old funeral home in central Great Falls, replete with old details like painted ceilings and iron sconces. The owner gave me a tour of the upstairs and the original family's living quarters - its a great place, with a lot of character. The service was simple and pleasant, with all of the children speaking, a few songs, a slideshow and friends reminiscing about her and her husband. After that, there was a short graveside service, some admittedly questionable food at a small church and then the family assembled at the site of the old family farm. At the farm, with views of the Montana countryside stretching for miles, we scattered some of her ashes and added to the cairn of rocks that we made when Shorty was laid to rest. Beyond that, in typical Graves fashion, there was some eating out and many a beer was consumed.
The family farm

It was a bit frustrating at times because I'd driven Rich and Sue in our Element, so transportation became complex and to be frank, planning has never been Lindsay's family's strong suit. There's also been an undercurrent of tension between Lindsay's brother and sister's sides of the families for years that has spilled over into the way her parents treat the two groups that I really wish both sides would get over. It never overtly surfaced during the weekend, but it was always there lurking absurdly under the surface.
Essentially the only people there under 50.

At the end of the weekend, we also managed to get together with a couple of Lindsay's friends that live in Montana, which was really great. It was excellent being able to spend time with members of her extended family that I talk with online often but rarely see and overall it was a nice weekend, considering the circumstances. Though by the end of it, I was happy to be home.

The complete collection of photos from the trip can be seen on Flickr HERE


Monday, June 1, 2015

Ludo's Ninth Birthday

Now Playing -  Here I Go Again by Whitesnake

Life -  
 Today, our boy Ludo turned nine!

I still remember the day we picked him out at the pound, a little black ball of energy, who has grown up into a smart, loving, cornerstone to our family. If it wasn't for Ludo, the last few years could have been almost impossible to weather, but his constant energy and enthusiasm makes it hard to do anything but feel happiness around him.

So yeah, I'm waxing a bit rhapsodic about a Newfoundland Retriever Pound Puppy. But he's worth it.

For his day, we picked up sandwiches and took him up for a hike around Cherry Springs. It was gorgeous out - sunny and clear, around 80 degrees. They've done quite a bit of work up there, but it's still the vaguely charming and overgrown nature area we've known since we were kids - a little too random, a bit small, but a nice little stroll.

Afterwards, we stopped at Tastee Treet and bought him an ice cream cone, (Video HERE) then went home and inspected him for ticks. I hate ticks, but he loved the inspection/attention.

This isn't the most interesting post in the world, but we've decided to really start turning this blog into a journal for our family and besides... Dog pictures!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Now Playing -  Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis

Life -  

 .... Once again, there's been a gap and much has happened! 

We are still living in Idaho, working on the shop and trying to get back to writing as well - I'm going to a lot of comic cons - about 1-2 a month and we are starting to get the house in order.

We lost Pooka to cancer just before Christmas, the rest of the furry kids are as crazy as ever.

Beyond that, it's just been us getting by, but we did take a great vacation with our new trailer and a few notable things that I'll try and get to on here in the coming weeks - writing in this blog had always been a great journal for our family and it often inspired me to write in my books too - I need to get back to that.

Also, I'm trying out a new format on the review site, and will start reviewing things on there again too. Yay!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Where we are now.

Now Playing -  Tonguetied by Grouplove
Life -  

Well, a lot has happened. Actually, since I last posted anything about our lives, a whole lifetime has happened, it seems like. Technically, the last time I posted anything about our life was back in January, when I laid out our plans for 2014. It's now... nearly 10 months later.

Long story short – We moved out of Maine, are living in the Rosewood House and are starting to get things on track for the holidays and get our family in gear for life.

Long story long... it was a tremendous challenge for us to get to where we are. Virtually everything that could go wrong, did. But virtually everything that could go disastrously wrong went okay for us, so there's that at least.

After a lot of work and research, we decided that the best thing we could do to get our family moved back to Idaho was to get Linz and the kids out there with the Element and most of our stuff, then I would fly back to Maine, do some home improvement stuff, sell the trailer and drive to Idaho in the Fit.

The first part went pretty smooth, though we ended up not leaving the state until later in the year than planned. The drive was nice, though long. Hating the idea of a week of interminable driving on interstates, we cut south and took Highway 50 most of the way, through West Virginia, the Midwest, over the mountains in Colorado and up through Utah to Idaho. If you are planning a trip cross country, I very highly recommend this route if you have the time. It takes an extra day or two, but it is so much more relaxed and has more character in fifty miles than 500 miles of interstate travel. We ate BBQ, wandered remote campsites and generally enjoyed ourselves as much as possible considering how much was left looming over our heads.
As for our stuff? That's a whole 'nother blog, my friends. We shipped it using Uhaul's U-Box service, where you load the box, they load it on a truck and deliver it to your nearest U-Haul. Something that, while slightly more expensive than towing a trailer is more than compensated for in convenience and gas money. Or it would have been if u-Haul hadn't lost our box, been unable to provide even a semblance of customer service on any end of the ordeal and finally delivered our shop products and house a week or so later. Ugh.

But we had our stuff, in a big pile in the in-law's garage, Linz and the kids were firmly installed in their basement, my mom was working on moving out and I flew back to Maine. Despite taking pretty good care of the trailer, it was a trailer all the same. Things degrade so fast in a mobile home and after a few years, there was a surprising amount of little things that needed repaired. Soft spots on floors, re-painting, replacing some damaged linoleum. At the same time, we ran our shops from two parts of the country.

If you ever have the opportunity to live 3,000 miles from your family in a super isolated location with no friends and try to run a shop from there and out in the other location at the same time, while dealing with money woes and home improvement, politely decline. It was terrible. I'm not planning on reliving it here, but suffice it to say that I experienced some of the darkest times and lowest creative ebbs of my life in that trailer.

Eventually, repairs complete and plans made, we convinced the lawnlords to buy our trailer where it was, so that they could rent it out and I wouldn't have to find someone to move it. The deal was not perfect, we'd end up owing an additional $2k on the trailer and we had to wait for the bank. Which, it seems, in Maine consists of conceiving and raising a person from birth to then sign the loan papers. It took forever. The whole time, I stewed in a nearly empty house, sleeping on a mattress on the floor, unsure of when I could actually leave.

The news of an approval finally came a scant hour before the bank closed in the middle of July. I'd already had my car loaded with the last of my gear, save a few essentials. As soon as I got the call, I hopped in the car, drove to town, signed over the trailer and left the state of Maine. Possibly forever.
The drive to Idaho wasn't quite as fun this time, despite taking the same general route. I was in a smaller car that wasn't quite as fun to drive for long distances and more vitally, it was stuffed FULL. It was so loaded that at one point I actually had to unload it and eliminate some heavier items because the body was dragging too close to the tires for safety. I could slightly recline my seat if nothing shifted, but sleeping was next to impossible and there were no funds for motel rooms. I pretty much loaded up audio books and podcasts and drove non-stop.

Once I got back to Pocatello, things started moving at warp speed. We helped finish moving my mom and brother out of the Rosewood House, threw our stuff in and started getting our poor neglected shop back up and running. Earlier in the year we had started attending comic cons and we wanted to continue that and Christmas would be here sooner than imaginable.

But we were back in our house. For the first time in a long time, possibly ever, we were living in a place that we planned to intentionally live for the next 5-10 years of our lives. No crazy plans running constantly about leaving, no half unpacked rooms in prep for a motel, none of that.

The house needs a lot of work. Foundation work, new roof, deep cleaning, new floor coverings, yard work galore, but it's our home. For better or worse, and we plan to make it better.

And I know I've said this before, but I'm hoping to start updating this blog regularly with our adventures again. I'm likely re-directing most of our other blogs to this one and condensing all of my interests here at the ROUS Motel. It might make for a more eclectic page, but it should be a livelier one too.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How To Sell On ETSY - Introduction

Now Playing -  Girl Is On My Mind by The Black Keys

For the last few years my wife and I have been selling our handmade d├ęcor and geeky stuff on Etsy, an online marketplace. What is the first thing people ask us when they find out that’s what we do for a living? Not “What’s the shop?” or “Ooh, what do you sell?” No, it’s almost invariably something like “I make things too… I should do that. How do I do that?” (Though sometimes it’s the variation – “I make things and would like you to sell them for me.”)

Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t offended by these questions, not at all. We feel incredibly fortunate to be able to make a living (mostly) from our arts and we want to do everything we can to help every person we know do the same. The only problem is the misconception about running your own business selling things you create yourself – it is INCREDIBLY TIME CONSUMING. Many people, when they hear you work from home for yourself assume you spend half the day surfing the net and the other half napping. In reality, the two of us spend well over 70-80 hours a week working on some aspect of our business and there’s constantly some little detail or project that is waiting impatiently for us to get to it. My average day starts with making a to-do list that usually runs to about 20-30 items, ranging from “Email about shipment” – a two minute job, to “Individually hand paint and heat treat the words Lumos and Nox on 150 switchplates” A job that can take 9 hours of constant work.

So in lieu of trying to help everyone that asks and not actually having the time to be much help, we decided a quick series of How-To blogs would be a great way to guide people down the path of creating their own online self-employed empire.

The plan is to post 4 blogs, each outlining a specific aspect of selling on Etsy and other online sources. However, I tend to babble and that may expand to a number of additional sub-blogs.

So if you don’t have the patience to read all of them and want to know the five most important things about selling on Etsy, here they are – 

 If you plan to make a living off of these products, you will end up making a ridiculous number of them and talking a lot about them with people. If you don’t like what you make or are just doing it because it will sell, not only will it become apparent that you aren’t passionate about it, but it won’t actually be any fun to do.

 Like, depressingly small. Most of your time will be spent writing, taking care of customers, dealing with problems, shipping things, taking photos and research.

 This is not an exaggeration at all, especially in the beginning. You will have to research everything – how to run the site, how to word the listing, what tags to use, what tags are, what others are selling, what they are selling for, etc, etc, etc. The second you get tired of researching and adapting, you stop being successful. The people that have asked for help from us immediately get a list of about a hundred things to go and research.

I’m not kidding here.

 It’s a waste of your time and will only lead to disappointment. There are currently over six hundred and forty thousand active shops on Etsy – that’s shops with items currently available for sale. There are more than a million registered shops and more than twenty five million items available for sale on Etsy right now. Even if you spend the time required to research every aspect of your shop, have a unique and innovative product and spend all the time you can to create an ideal shop and business, you may still never sell anything. It’s as simple as that. It took us two years and hundreds of items before we started building a following and found the right items for us. Some will find that faster, others never will. This is another reason why you need to make something you are passionate about. At least you will love what you make.

Good Luck.