Friday, October 21, 2011

The Amazon Associates Debate, or Why You Should Go Outside

What's that, Blogger?
You've noticed that I talk about books, sometimes, eh?
Oh, and you signed a deal with Amazon, did you?
Oh, my. That's nice for you, I suppose.

What's that? You want ME to jump on board?
And if people click links in my blog and buy something, I get money?
Well, a little spare change would be nice, if that ever were to happen...
But I average 2 views a day, if that.
And... Amazon is a monster!

Amazon was great when it started.
Just some people and a warehouse, making books easier to obtain.
But geez, look at it now.

Now look at me.
I work in a small, independent book shop.
I'm friends with people who work in and own other small book shops.
If I were to refer my blog readers to a trustworthy book source, why should it be the online business that has wreaked havoc on independents around the world?
Well, I'm not going to.
Instead, here are some excellent independent Michigan bookstores that I proudly endorse!

Go outside, get in your car (or on the bike, bus, taxi, skateboard...)
and take yourself to a small, independent book shop.
They're out there.

Curious Book Shop (E. Lansing, Mi - 3 Floors of Used and Antiquarian Books & Stuff. This is where I spend most of my time and money.)
Archives Book Shop (E. Lansing, Mi - A little Used and Antiquarian Book Shop full of treasures.)
Everybody Reads (Lansing, Mi - A great, eclectic book shop for everyone!)
Off the Beaten Path (Farmington, Mi - A STEAMPUNK Book Shop!)
King's (Detroit, Mi - Supposedly the MECCA for book loving bargain hunters, but I've never been...)
Horizon Books (Traverse City, MI - A beautiful, traditional book store with plenty to offer.)
Singapore Bank Bookstore (Saugatuk, Mi - This tiny, easy to miss book shop at the top of the old Bank building is cosy, well-stocked and not to be missed!)

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Since 2006, the month of November has brought
a bouquet of crazy into my life.

The weather goes from pleasantly chilly to
downright frigid, with those November winds.

The public transportation system goes to shit
(I'm looking at you, CATA!)
with hundreds of new riders, forsaking their bikes for the
"comforts" of dirty seats and sick strangers.

I usually come down with some plague-like illness.

Thanksgiving approaches, and with it comes stuffing.
How can I lose weight during the

The holiday count-down begins.
I like to make gifts, rather than buy them.
This is, however, incredibly hard to do without some
serious time budgeting, since the month
of November also brings...


That's right, folks.
The month of November is your chance to join us,
the crazies, and write a 50,000 word novel.
It begins at midnight, on Halloween.
Wear a costume if you'd like.

My first WriMo experience was in 2006.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I thought that
this nifty writing project sounded like a lot of fun.
Nevermind the essays waiting to be written for class.
Nevermind my part-time library gig.
I had time for the NaNo, right?
After all, I am an aspiring author!

I quit about 2 weeks in.

The same thing happened in 2007, 2008, and 2010.
(I skipped 2009, citing a honeymoon hangover.)

2010 started off great, for me.
I was finally out of college and I could attend weekly write-ins.
At one of those write-ins I lost about 6,000
of my 15,000ish words when my little Eee crashed.
I quit, then and there.

I'm a perpetual LOSER when it comes to NaNoWriMo,
and yet I'm going to give it another shot.
Why keep trying, and failing?
Because I love to do it!
Not the failing part, but the writing part.
I always have between 3 and 3948257 story ideas in my head.
This year I'm ahead of the game (compared to normal).
Instead of just a vague story idea, I have a real plan!
You see, there's this girl... there's this apocalypse.... and some books.
And it takes place in Michigan - I think.

Alright, so I don't actually have a well-thought-out plan, but I don't care.
By writing this blog post, I have officially talked myself into doing the WriMo again!
Sean will be thrilled, I'm sure.

I'm pretty well set up for the WriMo.
My EeePC is long gone, due to a terrible wine accident.
The lack of a laptop is a huge set-back,
but I think I can borrow one from my friend with too many computers.
What I wouldn't give for one of those fancy iPads with the keyboard case...

I have a writing space all set up, though it's a bit dusty.
I live just a few blocks away from Gone Wired, my ideal write-in location.
And I work just a few blocks away from Wanderer's Tea House, the back-up location.
I have coffee, I have books, I have paper and pens.
I have a story, kind-of.
I'm already doing better than I have in previous years!

I watched Kristina Horner's video about
NaNoWriMo a short while ago, and am feeling slightly more inspired.
I have a stack of books in front of me, all about writing and maintaining sanity.

Let's do this!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Soaking up the last warm days of summer in Lansing

A little photo-journal entry of our weekend:

Sean made this awesome tree sculpture last winter.
It's made of left-over chicken wire bits, and a bit of unexpected nature.

The lovely blue flowers I nearly killed (4 times)
are the prettiest thing in our garden!

Then, we biked from our house to the fish ladder in Old Town!

The River Trail was busier than expected, as was the fish ladder.
I saw a few father/son duos fishing in the Grand,
a lone woman happily kayaking,
lenty of locals soaking up the sun at the
Lansing City Market's Waterfront Bar & Grille.

I had never been, and it was WAY larger and more interesting than I expected.
Maybe next year we'll get there while the fish are still hopping.

A view from the observation deck ... and Sean's new crosstrail!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An Update, Illustrated.

I heard, from a reputable source, that one can have a website hosted for about $10 a year. Seriously?! Well, for Christmas I think Sean and I might launch our own urban homesteader website, and we shall call ourselves the RADISH RELISHERS!


But what will we do with the website? What's the point?
To get off of Facebook, hopefully!
I'd rather have all of our videos, blog posts, photos and more on one overarching website.
Plus, maybe we'll become rich and famous (but not alter our current happiness, of course).
I can dream, right?

Things that have happened:
- The Husband and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary at the start of this week. Two years, already!? We try not to talk to our friends about our marriage very often, as we feel like we're bragging, or that we should knock on wood afterwards. It's pretty awesome, though.
Flowers from our urban farm community garden.
He grew them for me! (And I helped, I suppose.)

- The Husband went and got his bike stolen. There's no other appropriate way to word this. He failed to lock it up at the ol' fraternity when he ran in to check the mail. He returned to an empty spot on the bike rack. Fortunately, our insurance company made claiming it a breeze (we had it covered under our renters' insurance). His new bike should be ready on Friday!

- The Roommate, who subleases a room in our rental here in Lansing, was kind enough to set up his fancy-pants stereo in our living room - which prompted us to decorate the room, at last! We have stuff on the walls, now. I may make giant pillows for the couch/floor this afternoon.

- APPLES. We've been appl'ing. Two weeks ago, we bought about 200lbs / 4 bushels of apples from Clam Lake Farm, up near Bellaire and Mancelona. Five of us picked apples for an hour. Their orchard is made up of "ultra dwarf" apple trees, so the fruit was at about shoulder height, or lower. It was so much fun! No photos, unfortunately.

- TODAY is the day of The Husband's BIG INTERVIEW for the job he's been working towards for the last two years. He'll do great. :)

- We had a Moth Invasion in our kitchen. Yes, this is totally something we'd post on our website. ( ?). It was awful, but The Husband took care of it. Now, we have lots of beautiful airtight containers in our kitchen. It was an excellent impetus, since we hadn't finished organizing our cabinets and things had ... well, deteriorated. We're in good shape, now!

Very utilitarian dry storage, and look at all those canned apples!

Compost and Landfill. Without really trying, we've
gotten our "landfill" waste down to about a Kroger bag a week, sometimes two.
How? Thanks to our Recycling Bench! that The Husband constructed.

It's a bit full, since we're nearing recycling day.
So functional! We can fit 2 bins at the bottom, if needed.

Top of the Bench, plus 2 dozen muffins and some Huckcherry Jam,
so hip you've only read about it.

Some herbs from the urban farm, Poppin' Fresh.
Also, my first braid of onions!

Paper flower bouquet made from a biography about Henry Clay,
and some music boxes, for good measure.

The entry area, Derf, and a big ol' stack of mail.

The very fancy spot.
How d'ya like that camera flash?

Living room - and the stereo!

The other (better?) side of the living room.

Alright, I think I'll end it here, for today.