Happy New Year!

This was a black December for me but I am nearly through with it. Thanks for everyone’s support. My violent nightmares have stopped for now and life is livable again.

The coming year presents itself with a mess of worrisome and painful medical and dental procedures. I don’t know how I will get through them but I am trying not to think about them right now. There is Quartzsite to look forward to in the middle of January, provided I heal well enough to travel. The book continues to be enjoyable to write.

This video has a New Year’s celebration, with a clocktower bursting with fireworks. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a shabby bit of fun alongside the extremely cold Pacific Ocean. Santa Cruz is some sixty miles south of San Francisco.

Sci-Fi Caper is a garage band from Mendota, California. Their first album was recorded, literally, in a garage. Although their lyrics are hard to understand, their music is friendly, hopeful, and sometimes soaring. May midnight ring in a joyous New Year for you.

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“I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon.”

Here is a great article by Austin Murphy, author and longtime Sports Illustrated senior writer. He penned thousands of articles for Sports Illustrated over 33 years, 140 of them cover stories. He interviewed five presidents. He now delivers packages for Amazon. Although Murphy was not a freelance writer, he was a professional writer. And professional writers are becoming extinct without some other means of support.

As I’ve written before (internal link), unless you are on the staff of a surviving hardcopy magazine or you work for a book publisher, article writing is not a paying profession. Regular, dependable income for a freelance writer is impossible today by itself. Those that say otherwise are feeding on the hopes and dreams of the future writer, ultimately contributing to their misery.

Here is a link to the article:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/12/what-its-like-to-deliver-packages-for-amazon/578986/ (external link)

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Holiday Greetings From Eight Years Ago

Thinner, paler, different glasses. Shorter hair. More cats. Happy Holidays everyone!

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Alley Cat Allies

This is a picture of Skippy, from the front of the holiday card Alley Cat Allies (external link) sent this year. This non-profit specializes in helping feral cats, now often called community cats. The policy they advocate is called trap, neuter, and return or TNR. This action allows cats without a human home to live in surroundings they make for themselves.

This is far more humane and forward thinking than the ceaseless killing of cats at overcrowded shelters across the country. Besides their beautiful presence, I am sure that Skippy and his companions keep the rodent population down wherever they live. Here is what they say about Skippy:

“Skippy joined a colony nine years ago in Connecticut. He and all eleven of his feline friends have been neutered, vaccinated, and ear tipped. Connecticut is one of the few states that supports Trap-Nueter-Return by explicitly allowing state spay and neuter funds to help community cats.”

Although thousands of deserving non-profits exist, I would urge any cat owner to check the website of Alley Cat Allies (external link)  to learn more about their caring work. Thank you.

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Wallpaper* magazine

I first discovered Wallpaper* magazine in 1999. It was a thin volume then, all about design. “The Stuff That Surrounds You.” I think they now say, “The Stuff That Refines You.” It has grown into a massive tome, hundreds of pages each issue, with print subscriptions over $100.

It is totally globally focused, with stories from so many obscure locations that you’ll need Google at all times to find out where they are. The name dropping is outrageous as this example shows:

“Take Stella McCartney, who created a Beano-inspired comic to educate guests about her sustainable footprint at S/S 2019’s fashion week, complete with speech bubble sound bites from Minnie the Minx, Dennis the Menace and the designer herself.” I think that’s five obscure references in one sentence. Although I do recognize Dennis the Menace, although I have no idea how he fits into the world of fashion or belongs with the daughter of a Beatle.

https://www.wallpaper.com/fashion/fine-print-the-brands-getting-bookish-for-ss-2019 (external link)

The architecture pieces are particularly well done, although all interiors seem to be revisions of mid-century modern. There are many good, free articles online at their website and anyone interested in design should check them out there or at a magazine dealer. This is an excellent piece on Jony Ivy and Apple’s new headquarters:

https://www.wallpaper.com/design/jony-ive-apple-park (external link)

I broke down for a subscription recently and am awaiting my first issue. I think the heft and scope of the magazine appeals, although in a lost hope sort of way. It’s like the massive IKEA catalogs: surely somewhere in all those photos and pages must be something useful Something inspiring. If all else fails, I can cut it up for collages. It is certainly a broadening magazine as it introduces a world-wide view in every category it covers. This is their list:

Architecture
Design
Art
Travel
Lifestyle
Fashion
Watches and Jewelry

Worth a look.

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New Post At SouthwestRockhounding.com

https://southwestrockhounding.com/2018/12/19/mining-by-mail/

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Informed Delivery by The US Postal Service

Informed Delivery is a USPS service (external link) that e-mails you when letter-sized mail or packages are going to be arriving soon. I think it may be only first-class letters but any package should trigger an e-mail. Quite an interesting free service that allows anyone receiving important mail or those traveling to keep track of their post from anywhere they have e-mail. You can also manage package mail through Informed Delivery.

The only downside is that it is a somewhat lengthy process to first set up. Figure on fifteen minutes or more to go through all the registering. Once done, however, you’ll see something like this when a letter is on the way, either by e-mail or by logging onto your Informed Delivery dashboard. By this picture, I see I owe someone a Christmas card. You don’t get a picture of a package, though, as far as I understand, just a notice.

It’s not working in all areas yet but you can check on availability before heading into the registration process.

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