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If you're looking for me over on Dreamwidth, I'm TKingfisher over there, too!

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Real Estate And Other Madness



So as some of you know, recently I got a movie option on one of my books. And, after rather a long wrangling, they paid me.

This was not a life-changing sum of money, sad to say (although if they actually made the movie, it would be!) but it was money that I hadn't already earmarked to go somewhere. I hadn't ever counted on getting it because Hollywood is fickle. It was kind of like getting a tax return, except that as a freelancer, I haven't seen a tax return since approximately 2004, so I'm not actually sure what that's like.

So they paid me and I paid off my credit card and gave some money to charity and paid the taxes on it and then I stared at what was left for awhile, and thought "I should do something with this. If I just sit on it, I'll eventually fritter it away on car repairs and vet bills and whatnot. I should do...something."

The problem here is that I have basically everything I want. I have cheap needs. Two hundred bucks for a ton of fieldstone will keep me occupied for weeks. I have video games I haven't beat and books I haven't read. The truck is in good shape. Now that Gir has passed this mortal coil, my monthly vet bills have plummeted. (The vet claims that now that his records are out of the system, their computer runs faster, too.)

I am a nervous soul when it comes to money. My financial advisor at the bank had to forbid me from putting all my money in my sock and shoving it under the bed. Stocks are Right Out. But oh god, what if there's hyper inflation and suddenly my money is worth nothing? THE SOCK CANNOT SAVE ME THEN. What can I do that won't just go away if there's a recession? 

And very, very belatedly, it occurred to me that I could maybe buy a piece of land. Not a house! I don't want a house! Houses mean renters and other people and foolishness. But I live in the country. And I live in a county where dirt is, frankly, dirt cheap. And people sell chunks of it sometimes. And then you have dirt with an address.

I thought "Can I do this? Am I allowed? Can I just buy a piece of land and it just...sits there? And maybe someday twenty years from now when I can't handle stairs and a big house anymore, I put a doublewide on it? Is that a thing real people do?"

I asked Kevin. He confirmed this was a thing that real people did and was not a completely batshit use of a windfall. He added that I could also potentially sell that land in twenty years and make a profit. I had to go lay down for a few minutes with a cold cloth over my eyes.

I selected a realtor by virtue of driving down the street and finding one with an open sign and went in. The pleasant older woman there, who looked more like a children's author than I ever will, listened to me blurt out my thoughts.

"Is this a thing people do?" I asked her at the end. "Is this nuts?"

"No," she said. "I mean, it's not nuts. Yes, people do this."

I stared at her, probably much like Ernie the hound when he is faced with something outside his experience.

"It's fine," she added. "Let's look at some listings."

And that is how we wound up tromping through the woods this morning, looking at a multi-acre lot so cheap that I assumed it would be on fire while I was looking at it. There is a house from 1900 that will require the services of a man with a bulldozer and perhaps a priest. The lot would need a well dug, and if I wanted to actually live there, it would need various other things done, but none of them are urgent. It could just...sit there.

"Why is it so cheap?" I said, baffled. "And why has it been on the market so long?" I was assuming that the house was probably made of asbestos held together with lead paint, with a meth lab in the basement, but up close, no self-respecting meth maker would have set up shop there. There was a toilet and a privet tree on the front deck. Nevertheless, even with having to save for house demolition and lead paint disposal, I could probably make it work without breaking the bank. The bank might even help.

The realtor explained that it was not the best neighborhood. I looked at the neighborhood somewhat blankly. There was an abandoned house on one side, a couple of ramshackle farmhouses on the others, and a pasture full of goats. Was it the goats?

The realtor said it was not the goats.

It occurred to me, after some delicate hinting, followed by indelicate hinting, followed by pointing, that perhaps my notion of what a low-income rural area looks like has been colored by living, in the past, in low-income rural areas. People paying top dollar for lots in my county are usually going into a subdivision. We're a bedroom community for the Research Triangle. These people don't go out to a goat pasture with a ruined trailer on its side and say "AHHH, COUNTRY LIFE!"

"But once the trees leaf out, you can't even see the goats," I said. "Or the trailer."

The realtor gazed briefly at the sky.

"And I could--Oooohh! A dog skull!"

"You see," said the realtor, as I flicked pine needles of my new skull, "the things you want are...unusual."

"I shall name you Skull-Bob," I said to the skull.

"Annnnnway," said the realtor, "I'll talk to the selling agent and see if I can find anything more out about it. But I think this might actually be a good fit for you, since you're looking long-term and not to move right away."

"And this isn't nuts? I'm not missing huge red flags?"

"No, for the price and the neighborhood and the fact somebody probably subdivided out a family plot, this is actually all pretty normal."

"...Do I get to keep the skull?"

"You get to keep the skull," she said.

"Woo!"

And now of course I am seized with doubt and wondering if this is all utterly mad and a horrible waste of unexpected money, but our area is on course to gentrify with the new development that went in and I have no illusions about saving the house or anything and...still, I'm thinking, am I allowed to do this? Do real people buy land? Real people who aren't, like, rich people?

Is this okay?

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(no subject)



Built a proof-of-concept today. I don’t even know what this is–a mini-chinampas-inspired tub concept? Or is this something everybody already knows about and I just can’t get the right search terms to spit it out? Or has everybody tried this already and failed and now we all know better except me?

Well, I had pond liner and a whiskey barrel planter and Azolla caroliniana and I’ve been making grow bags, so let’s see what happens.


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Month...Eating...Brain...

 Apparently it has been two weeks since I posted. I kept thinking I'd do...something...but then I would get distracted and then it would be several days later.

My sprouts have sprouted! Some of them! Sunflower, Tithonia, Cilantro, Thyme, two species of poppies. I'm pretty stoked. Winter sowing is a wild success just on those fronts. Still waiting on the Solanums...they're a long shot, but I hold out hope.

I am reading about chinampas agriculture and fighting a strong urge to dig up large sections of the garden and put in a moat. Because that would be nuts. Surely.

Really.

I'll be fine. 

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Journal 2-2-17



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Winter Sowing

Today I did real adult things like a real adult with pants, and then, to make up for this unaccustomed devotion to paperwork and filling out online forms, I went and planted a bunch of seeds.

It's much too early to plant out anything but peas and maybe radishes, but I'm trying the Winter Sowing method, which involves lots of mini-greenhouses made out of milk jugs and plastic trays and whatnot. I'm using a couple of those big round trays with clear covers, like you get shrimp in, or ham rolls, or whatever small foods.

I planted 8 types of pepper, 7 tomatoes, "Hairy Balls" Milkweed (heh heh) Danish Flag Poppies, cilantro, thyme, chiltepin and ground cherries. I have no idea if this will work--it seems absurd, putting these plants out now, as if you could just ask for miracles and get them! But gardening is basically asking for miracles and sometimes getting them, and people swear by it. I hate fiddling with grow-lights anyway, and I have way more seeds than I'll ever plant this year, so if they all die off, I'm not really out anything.

Still, it's nerve-wracking. I have read all the forums full of people in far colder zones who swear by this method, who put tomatoes out on February 2nd in Zone 5 and get sturdy plants (though they are not quite so far along as the grow-light versions, but significantly sturdier seedlings) but it is a weird leap of faith to plant things out when all your nerves are screaming "Bring them in! This is madness! This will never work!"

I have the little plastic cel-packs with four cels each, the kind you buy annuals in, so each cultivar gets four cels, two seeds to a cel, to be thinned later (assuming any of them survive!)

Kevin goes in for the last of the jaw surgeries tomorrow, so we recorded a week of Hidden Almanac tonight. I got another hamster illo done. The garden is warm and I just want to wander around in it, finding things that are coming up (The filberts! The filberts have FLOWERED!) and pulling the occasional weed. It is better than watching the news and waiting for each new body blow, and at least at some point I may actually get filberts out of it.

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Protest

I went to a protest at RDU today.

It was fine. Just...strange. We waved signs. We chanted. We admired each other's signs. We massively exceeded the numbers they expected to show up and the protest was eventually dispersed.

"There's one planned for April 15th," people told me. And I thought "It's not even February. It's been a WEEK. April is a thousand years away. I don't believe this can last until April 15th. I don't know if I believe it'll last until March."

We live in very, very strange times, and they are happening faster than I ever thought possible.

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Rabbits for Refugees

Twenty pendants, $40, all rabbits, all proceeds to the International Rescue Committee to aid refugees trapped by Trump's ban.

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Summer in Orcus Collection on Sale!

We got ebooks! Hot fresh ebooks! The whole collection, in one place!

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a Patreon person, you get it free! There should be an email in your inbox! You don't have to buy it! You already helped support it like whoa!

Amazon:

B& N

Smashwords

And yes, to forestall the question--I'm currently chatting with a publisher about a print volume, so that's hopefully in the works for the not-terrible-distant future!


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Dream Theater

(slightly expanded from the Twitter record shortly after waking.)

DREAM: You're a girl making her way to the frontier to find her fortune.

ME: Premise accepted!

DREAM: You have a feckless brother with you.

ME: He won't last long.

DREAM: You meet a lovely woman, who vaguely resembles the County Extension officer, who will take you as an apprentice. Soon you will go downstream from the town and make money doing frontier-y things.

ME: With you so far.

DREAM: She is concerned that you bring enough socks.

ME: Seems legit.

DREAM: Axe murder! Everyone in town is now dead except you and the woman and the axe murderer.

ME: These things happen.

DREAM: You hide under anachronistic sheets of injection molded plastic as the axe murderer stalks the town.

ME: Yay injection molded plastic!

DREAM: Also, your brother is lost on the tundra.

ME: See, I knew that'd work out.

DREAM: Sexy Idris Elba shows up.

ME: HELLO SEXY IDRIS ELBA MY WE ARE SHIRTLESS TODAY

DREAM: The woman tells you she is a member of the cult of midwives. She has a necklace with a weird symbol on it. Kinda looks like an anarchy symbol only with labia.

ME: Don't care, go back to Idris--oh damn, a cult of midwives? That's pretty good. I should take notes.

DREAM: Sexy Idris Elba leaves.

ME: Nooooo!

ME: My bitterness overwhelms me.

DREAM: Axe murderer!

ME: Screw it, I kill that guy. He might hurt Idris.

DREAM: ...uh.

DREAM: Not where I expected this to go. Give me a minute.

ME: I'll wait.

DREAM: Your brother returns! Possibly he is also an axe murderer! At the very least, he is lazy and did not actually go on the tundra after all. He has been in the barn.

ME: Can I kill him too?

DREAM: What?

ME: He cut a hole in the barn because the door was on the other side and he was too lazy to walk! I'm getting the axe!

DREAM: ...this would be frowned upon.

ME: Chance I'm willing to take.

DREAM: OH LOOK SHIRTLESS IDRIS ELBA IS BACK

DREAM: He is telling you about his visions.

ME: While not wearing a shirt, right?

DREAM: Lotta visions. Like a frontier blog.

ME: As long as he's shirtless, it's all good.

DREAM: The townspeople are all back. Turns out they weren't murdered after all.

ME: This is dreadful.

DREAM: They have arrested Idris for axe murder!

ME: It seems this situation could be solved with a WHOLE LOT MORE AXE MURDER. Just sayin'

DREAM: ...You are out on the tundra. Alone.

ME: But do I have an axe?

DREAM: NO ONE GETS AN AXE. THE AXES ARE GONE. THERE WILL BE NO AXES FOR ANYONE.

ME: Well, this sucks.

DREAM: The clouds are doing something weird and uncanny and have cat and crow heads.

ME: No time, gotta save Idris.

DREAM: It's really neat, though? Like, they're all twisty and swirly and stuff?

ME: A SEXY MAN NEEDS ME

REAM: We blew the entire budget on these clouds!

ME: You're going to execute shirtless Idris Elba. I AM BUSY.

DREAM: This one's a dragon with like a skeleton in its mouth and that one over there is a herd of buffalo with crow heads.

ME: I ride back to town! I will save Idris!

DREAM: You have to fill out paperwork saying you're his alibi.

ME: ...Anticlimactic.

DREAM: You can't use a fountain pen worth a damn in a dream, either.

ME: You just can't give me anything here, can you?

DREAM: But wait! If you sign this form, your reputation will be compromised because you, an unmarried young woman, were alone with a man! Unchaperoned!

DREAM: The townsfolk will judge you!

ME: Nathaniel Hawthorne? What are you doing here?

DREAM: Ok, you've saved Idris but now you're a fallen woman.

ME: ...

DREAM: NO AXES

DREAM: Idris decides the honorable thing to do is compromise you further.

ME: I forgive you for everything.

DREAM: Ha ha, sucker! Evil clouds are back!

ME: Nooooooo!

DREAM: The clouds are emanating from a monstrous device buried in the tundra!

ME: Okay, but how compromised are we talking?

DREAM: Huge machine! Gouts of clouds erupt out! No one is getting compromised!

ME: Then I don't care if they kill us all now.

DREAM: You must pry open the grate on the machine while cloud monsters attack!

ME: And sexy grateful Idris?

DREAM: Went to get a shirt.

ME: KHAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN!

DREAM: There's a piece of meat stuck in the grate. Looks like bologna or something.

ME: ...ok.

DREAM: That was the problem.

ME: wut

DREAM: Evil piece of possessed meat drove the machine mad. It happens.

ME: What?!

DREAM: HEY LOOK IT'S IDRIS AGAIN

DREAM: He's brought you a quagga hide. He's very grateful.

ME: Oh yeah oh baby--wait, quagga hide? Where'd he get a quagga?

DREAM: ...

ME: This is important! Does he know where there are quaggas?

DREAM: HE HAS NO PANTS

ME: Then put on some damn pants and find me a quagga!

DREAM: You know what? I'm outta here. I can't work under these conditions.

ME: *wakes up*

ME: ...well, crap.

There is probably a moral here, but I think this just speaks to my priorities as a human being.

?

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