Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained

Last week, I submitted a crossword to the New York Times for my first time. I've submitted to the LA Times before, and while I've never gotten one published, the editor there has been very courteous in responding to each submission with why it wasn't selected, etc. But as any crossworder knows, the NYT is where it's at.

I recently met a guy who had a couple puzzles published and he walked me through the process. In this age of e-mails, PDAs, etc., I found it surprising (and pretty dang neat) that the NYT takes submissions by snail mail only. It took a while to format the puzzle to the precise standards of submission (double spaced, numbered clues with no period, etc. etc.), but now it is in the hands of the crossword gods, Will Shortz be thy name.

If you are so inclined, cross your fingers for me in hopes of being able to check that item off my life to do list. And if you are the puzzle inclined, shoot me a message and I'll e-mail you a copy of the puzzle. Or you can always do some of my older (yet still fun!) puzzles over at the games page.
Friday November 30 2012File under: games

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FC 173 - Quack Quack

What better to do on the lazy day after Thanksgiving than sit down and draw a comic! And while I know only our international readers* might find themselves at a desk today*, this might be a welcome welcome back post for that Monday morning reboot.

To be honest, it wasn't the lazy day or even the comic idea that inspired me to create this comic. It was flattering emulation. A former guest comic artist has struck out on her own to take on the world, one punchline at a time. Not to be left in the dust, I wanted to get one up too. And while my art is about 1/900th as good as Della's, hopefully you'll get a laugh out of both of them!
Friday November 23 2012File under: comic

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Working In the Rain

Today is the first day I can ever remember taking a significant portion of work off due to weather. Every now and again, we'll knock off an hour early if it really starts coming down, or take an extended lunch to let a system pass, but today, we knocked off at 12:30 (and would have left sooner if the dump truck hadn't have run out of gas).

Working in the northwest during the fall and winter, you wouldn't get a whole lot done if you only worked on the nice days. And there is an element of pride to getting things done rain or shine. But working in wet clothes and cold gloves isn't a whole lot of fun either.

In celebration of an unexpected half-day off, I built a cozy fire (that doubly serves to dry out all my gear), made a pot of soup, and zoned out. Yeehaw for rain delays!

(Oh, and for all you clever clever folks out there that reply to my work stories with "You work!?!?", I'll have you know that I'm in the home stretch for the year. Another 2 weeks and I get back to the way life should be: sleeping till 9:07 and lots and lots of computer time!)
Monday November 19 2012File under: work

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License To Roof

What do you do with your old license plates? Perhaps you have a stack of them in the garage, waiting for a clever project to come along that could use them? Wait no longer!! I've got an idea!

In the same vein as the winedow, I want to do a roof out of license plates. Chances are I won't do my cabin because 1) I would need a butt load* and 2) It is an untested roofing material and I don't want leaks. But I'm thinking I will need a wood/generator shed and these are the perfect solution!

So with St. Presents Day right around the corner, I humbly suggest if you want to donate to the cause, send 'em my way. (I promise not to use them for robberies, getaway cars, or parking ticket evasion.) Viva la recycling!
Wednesday November 14 2012File under: misc

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And the Money Rolls In

Well, after over 5 years from implementing google adsense on both this here blog and over at People's Guide to Anacortes, I've finally reach the payout threshold!! I thought it would never happen, and I'm overjoyed. On the one hand, it is like winning an unexpected $100. On the other, it works out to about $.0002 per hour from the time I've spent maintaining, posting, etc.

What's almost as fun as the fat check I will be receiving is the data. Watching ad revenues from month to month (and often day to day), is one of my go to time wasters on the internet. Now that it's reached a kind of completion, I ran a few numbers. While there isn't much of a super clearly defined trend, this chart seems to indicate that I might expect another check in a bit less than 5 years.

Over two thirds of the clicks have come via People's Guide to Anacortes which has a clicks per visit ratio over 15 times higher than that the of the blog. It makes sense because all you blog readers* just come to check in on what's up with me while visitors to the People's Guide are actively looking for lodging or other commercial activities.

Anyway, here's hoping that the money keeps rolling in.
Friday November 9 2012File under: blog

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FC 172 - Your Vote Counts (But Your Intelligence Doesnt)

Election season is heavily upon us, as if you didn't notice. And that mean my evening of Jeopardy! is punctuated by heavy spells of stupid stupid stupid commercials touting this candidate or that one, this issue or that one. Anyway, as I walked away in disgust this evening*, I muttered to myself, "Sorry Rob, I don't approve this message". Then I chuckled, and not just because I was talking to the t.v. again.

But that's as far as I will take it. I was planning a big post on why you should vote 3rd party* or some other election frenzied thing. But I will leave it at this comic and say no more.

(Ha! I just looked 4 years back in the archives and saw the comic I posted just before the last presidential election. At least I'm consistent.)
Thursday November 1 2012File under: comic

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FC 171 - Puns Rock!

*GROAN* Go ahead, get it out. You know you want to. I figure if a pun doesn't induce a groan, it wasn't a good pun. So I hope you're groaning, maybe combined with a chuckle or two.

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm working, doing a little stone masoning/landscaping (to maintain my professional status in the eyes of the Heavy Lifters Guild for another year). We've been doing a lot of rock work (wall and patio building) so I've got rocks on the brain. And while hauling those rocks, there's plenty of time to kill thinking of extremely lame rock puns.

Making this comic reminded me of how much I enjoy it (and of how many more I've gotta pump out before the 2nd collection comes out in December). So hopefully I'll get a few more comics (less groan inducing than this one, I hope) out soon. In the meantime, feel free to browse the comic archives or check out this other mason inspired comic from a few years ago.
Thursday October 25 2012File under: comic

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Two For Tuesday on the Whale

Anacortes has only one radio station, which happens to be on the AM dial*. It isn't often that I feel the need to switch over to AM but the work* truck's radio is a relic of the past and only gets AM. Because of this, however, we invented a wonderful game that causes us to look forward to every Tuesday. Two for Tuesday!!!

Every Tuesday, the Whale (1340 AM) plays two songs in a row by the same artist. The game is to correctly predict the second song after hearing only the first one. There's more to it than you might think. You've gotta first be able to identify the artist as quickly as possible in the first song, then determine another song or songs by that artist, and finally decide which one is most popular/likely given a range of circumstances (i.e. they probably wouldn't have two slow ones by Green Day).

I'll concede that there is a lot of luck involved. And it is a pretty slow game, usually with only a couple points scored in an 8-hour day. And their strictness of playing 2 songs in a row by the same artist isn't isn't exactly German*. But it is actually a really really fun game. And it can't hurt my ever failing music round at trivia nights. So as long as I'm working, bring on Two for Tuesday!
Tuesday October 23 2012File under: Anacortes, games

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Anacortes Pub Trivia Review

Pub trivia has really become a popular thing, and I can't be more happy about it. I've been to 4 different trivia nights...in the past 4 nights*! Three of those were right here in (or near-ish) my home town. Not bad for a sleepy little burg. Anyway, in hopes of sharing my affinity (and local knowledge), I put together a list of the wheres, whens, and whys. If I'm missing one, let me know. Or if your town has an exceptional pub quiz, I might just have to plan a visit.

PlaceTime/DayProsCons
Mondays
Thursdays
8:00pm
$85 in gift certificates for prizes(!), great food, chill atmosphere, really nice hostPoorly attended*, sometimes formulaic/blah questions*
Tuesdays
9:00pm
Competitive while staying fun, great atmosphere*, reserved table for previous week's winner, good questions Crowded, crappy prizes*, annoyingly hard music round, late hour for us party poopers
Wednesdays
7:00pm
Super fun(!), super well written questions, respectable prizes, great group of folks who play, great funny host, timing/food makes for great combo with dinner20-minute drive from just about anywhere, occasional dance-off tie breaker*

Thursday October 11 2012File under: Anacortes

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Cabin Progress - Season 2 Wrap Up

Another building season at the quarry has come to an end, at least for me*. And it is really amazing to see how far I've come on the cabin this year from its meager beginnings last year. All the stonework is complete and I've got the frame of walls and a roof in place. Next year (or whenever I can find time and proper weather to dive back in) it's going to be all gravy, putting in windows, doors, walls, a floor, and all the touches that make a place a home.

Until then, I wanted to share where it is now. Below are some schematics I put together (long after they probably should have been done.) It looks so professional on graph paper! And below that are some pictures!*


Grid
Stone walls
Wood walls
Windows
Roof
Captions


Uncheck checkboxes to peel back the layers. It's fun!

Note: While the drawings are attempted to be to scale, they are probably off by an inch or two here and there.



Friday October 5 2012File under: quarry

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