Friday, January 28, 2011


Now Playing -    
So Glad You're Mine by Elvis Presley

Life -  
 My life, for the last week or so has been consumed with worry and stress. My grandma suffered a massive stroke a few nights back and has since been in hospice care. She hasn't come out of it and is only slightly responsive to things around her. She, along with all of my family, is in Idaho, three thousand miles away. I knew being this far removed was gonna be tough, especially for weddings and holidays, but man... this is the worst.

I can;t dwell on it too much here, but she's very dear to me and I wish I could be there.

At the same time, I've been trying to study for my upcoming Pharmacy Technician Certification classes, which keep getting delayed. This is my big chance to pass it for work, so I can;t screw up, but I have so many other things going that I've been pretty stressed, which makes it even harder to study. I did have my first class on Wednesday, after it had been delayed three times and I felt a lot more comfortable with my progress than I thought I would, so that was nice.

And then there's Lindsay's book. She's been getting some great responses to her cover and attracted the assistance of a fellow romance writer. In theory, this might take a small amount of the pressure off of me, but in reality, that means we've gotta step up our game and that means more work. We'd just planned this first novel as a quiet, soft release. Something to judge the waters before we release the three novels in her series over the next 12 months. Now though, things have to be a little bigger for this release. Which could be good... We'll see!
Writing - 
Nothing, though I'm looking forward to a bit of progress...

The ROUS FAMILY -     

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hillbilly Cuisine! - Cookies!

Now Playing -  
I Will Survive  by The Puppini Sisters

Life -  
 The other night, at 3am, while I was straining to concentrate on my PTCB studies, I decided that I needed a cookie. But not just any cookie. I needed the motivation that comes from a hot, crispy-chewy-scrumptious cookie that can only come from cooking the thing yourself. So I hopped over to AllRecipes and found a basic Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. It was one for 4 dozen. I wanted... like, three. So I made it adapt the recipe to one dozen. Hear those distant rumblings? Trouble brewing, that.

Then, while I assembled the ingredients, I realized where I was living. I was no longer residing in my comfortable, well-appointed home in Idaho. I was in a trailer house in Maine, where we were doing our darndest to live frugally and lightly. We also hadn't gone shopping for a bit.

I had the flour and the baking soda, and the eggs... kind of - more about that in a second - and I thought I had sugar... But I only had half of what I needed, reduced recipe or not. So I topped off the measuring cup with the large grained "Natural Cane" sugar we use with our coffee. In it went with the brown sugar and the requested butter (Not really "Softened" per se...) It should be noted that I do not own any mixing bowls. I have regular bowls and popcorn bowls. One of which was dirty and the other was a slightly cracked black Halloween bowl. So the Skull-Encrusted one it was!
Mixing large grains of sugar and cold butter in a flimsy $1 bowl? Not easy. Eventually, I'd bullied it into a paste and added the minuscule portions of salt and soda. Now the eggs... Oh, crap. AllRecipes, in all it's computerized wisdom had decreed the need for "1/2 eggs" Crap! So I scrambled one up good in a cup and poured it into a little measuring cup. It came to roughly a 1/2 cup, so I guesstimated half of that... I may not have been very exact.

But it started to look like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough! Apart from the chocolate chips. OH CRAP! I don't have chocolate chips! Luckily, I did have a Ferrera brand Chocolate Orange from Christmas! (I Don't know if you've ever had a Ferrera brand Chocolate Orange, but they're terrible, that's why we still had it. The Terry's brand oranges are heavenly and amazing. The Ferrera ones are like orange flavored soap rubbed smooth on the sweaty pits of migrant workers.) So I chopped it up and added it to the mix.
At this point, it should be noted - I do not have an oven. Well, I have an oven, but it's not hooked up to the gas. (They left it with a leak for three days after installing it and tried to charge me for the leaked gas, so I told them to shove their canister somewhere unpleasant) But I do have a toaster oven! It's cookie time!

After ten minutes, the cookies looked like dough still. After twenty, they looked like dough with runny edges. After twenty-five though... they started actually cooking! So... thirty minutes or so later, I had four cookies, fresh from the oven. This is what they looked like -

They weren't too bad. A little heavy and without the crispy texture I'd hoped for, but I think that came more down to my tiny batch recipe than anything else. And the orange pieces were still pretty crappy. So I got my cookies. After about an hour of work and impatient waiting, I got three questionably edible cookies. (I saved one for Linz)

Also, in case you ever wonder whether you can cook a Chocolate Chip Cookie on a cast iron Skillet at 3:30 in the morning... the answer is no, no you can not.

The ROUS FAMILY -     
 Coming Soon - More Shrunken Head Madness!
 Dead Babies!
Stephen King !
Audio Books! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snowier Day!

Now Playing -  
Lorena by Bob Schneider
Sassafras has a slight Sasquatch infestation.

Life -  
 Man, just when I thought we'd gotten a lot of snow, we got a lot more snow. This morning, we got over a foot on top of the crusty, ice covered foot that we already had. I spent a good chunk of today fighting my way through it trying to free up my vehicles but eventually gave up, much to my wife's dismay. (I'd planned to take her to the new pizza place in Brunswick for lunch...) But the snow is gorgeous and falling gently, without the 30mph winds we would have been getting with it back in Idaho.

To emphasize the amount of snow we have in the backyard, here's Ludo irrevocably losing a tennis ball.

Luckily, our landlords, who are incredibly nice and awesome showed up and plowed our giant sloped driveway with their truck. Hooray! But I still didn't want to leave the house, so we made some grilled chicken and mac & cheese and I worked on Lindsay's book cover. Which turned out pretty awesome. I also worked with my new gadget, a die-cutter that should allow me to make detailed and exacting cuts on my stickers, ramping up the variety and production quality. 
Sasquatch Convention!
We also spent some time relaxing and reading, though Ludo kept bogarting the nook in an attempt to finish The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy

Work again tomorrow, unfortunately. Sigh.

Writing - 
Yeah... nuttin' there this week.

Weighty Matters -   
My Current Weight - 295   

The ROUS FAMILY -     
Shrunken Heads and Book Covers!

 Reluctantly In Love gets a cover!

Coming soon - Stephen King's Genius

Giant Crocs, Bookbinding and Clowns!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow Days

Now Playing -    
Wonderful Life by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

Life -  

 Not a lot to report here. We got hit with that gnarly storm, which dumped around a foot of snow on us, then quit. Which to me is pretty wimpy in some ways. Yeah, it was rough while it was coming down, but compared to the wind and storms, with the bitter cold and ice underlying it all that we got in Idaho, it was more of a gorgeous, fun novelty for me. Apart from freeing our cars from the driveway, that is. I don't know why I always end up in homes with steep, ragged, hard to navigate drives. On the plus side, Lindsay's work closed the hotel the night of the storm, so we got to hunker down in the warm house that night.

Writing - 

No real progress here. I did come across a new plot change to my current work, but for the most part, I've been involved with other things.

Weighty Matters -   
My Current Weight - 296
    Progress Thus Far -     

Not much, though we've started to make some significant changes. I bought some seltzer water and some flavorings so that I can make myself some substitute sodas that are significantly lower in calories and caffeine, and we've started eating salads more. That should help.

The ROUS FAMILY -     
Irith The Flyer
An atypical "hot guy"
Double Indemnity

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 342... Success!

Now Playing -    
Off The Map by Guy Clark

Life -  
 Now, this is more like it! After nearly a year, our quest has finally come to a satisfactory conclusion! No, we haven't bought a little motel to run and no, we haven't gotten agents or sold our books, but we did  find good Mexican food in Maine! It's been a challenge, far harder than we'd have ever imagined! Every one we found or had suggested were really Mexi-Can't restaurants, run by white hippies or serving food that was bland, or sweet, or over priced, or poor quality or the worst, a chain.

But tucked away in a strip mall in Lewiston Maine, about a half hour from our house, there's a place called Hacienda El Patron, and here we found good Mexican food run by friendly, legit and efficient hispanic gentlemen. Awesome.

Now, to be fair, it isn't the best we've ever had, if it was in Idaho, it would probably be third or fourth place, but out here, it fills that little chili shaped hole in our hearts. (A full review will be hitting Reviews Of Unusual Size tomorrow)

After lunch, Lindsay had the urge to look for a certain few used romance novels so we spent a bit of time trying to find a shoppe whose sign we'd driven past a few times... turns out, it's been closed for some time. Upon reflection and after a comment from the lady at the gas station, it was probably a Christian bookstore anyway (Second Timothy's Bookstore) so no huge loss. So instead, we drove twenty minutes to the South and went to the Two Brother's Bookstore, in Freeport.

On first glance, it didn't look like much, just a small room of books and a second alcove, but it opened up pretty impressively into some book filled chambers. Their romance section left a bit to be desired, but their crime and pulp section was awesome and Lindsay found a book about life in the 1850's that actually describes how the contemporaries of the day dealt with things, not just how it would affect the future or the world at large. It looks like a book she'll enjoy.
Then we came home and I'm currently squirting water at Pooka, who has decided to be a whiny pain in the butt tonight. Maybe later we'll play some Lego Board games. Sounds like a good day off to me!

Writing - 
I did a nice read through on my 50's post apocalyptic alternate timeline western noir revenge novel. Needs a good, bang-up ending, but I was pretty happy with what I have. Should be a fun book.

The Last Sentence -   

For the first time, Pale thought about the men he'd killed as people, not just obstacles.   
From - "Mr Pale Steps Out" (WIP)

Weighty Matters -     
My Current Weight -  295    

Progress Thus Far -     
Considering the holidays just past, not too bad, and we've got some pretty thorough plans for the future that should ramp things up a bit. Though knowing about a decent Mexican restaurant won't be helping....

 This Week -  Facing Front!

The downside of snow.

A story about a Dude.

Hacienda Del Patron

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm not dead yet!

Man, it's been a while! In case anyone noticed, I took December off out here in the internet, concentrating on work and not going crazy because of work. But 2011 is here now, a year full of promise and plans. I'll update here later with some details but I'm really looking forward to the new year, with books being finished, projects ramping up and more of New England to discover! I've also started a more regular posting schedule, which should be something I can stick to....

In the meantime, be sure to check out Deeply Dapper, where I've changed the background image to match the new tone and direction of the site, with a focus on the upcoming book covers I'm designing and the Etsy shoppe's expansion. (that's right, I don't have a real update, so I just asked you to go to a site and look at the background. Ooooh! hahah)