More stuff.

This is a general page of stuff I like. The “Practical Stuff” section is pulled straight from my professional website, but I’m recreating it here so I can add whimsical stuff to it if I want… starting with my partner’s recipes and a short list of my friends’ blogs.

Recipes

My partner is an amazing cook, and we didn’t know it until after we’d been married for about 27 years. From amazing soups and wonderful sauces to delicious dahl: I am very lucky to have someone who cooks delicious, healthful food.

Here’s is a list to all of his recipes, as well as a few other things about food.

 

Personal Blogs I like by people I like

Nothing of Consequence

by Gene Popa: Eclectic pop-culture expert

I met Gene in such an interesting way. Shortly after I published a book about a TV show, someone contacted me on Facebook asking if I was aware that my book had been in a cast photo. She included a link. There it was: a guy reading my book with much of the cast of the show standing around him – wow! That guy reading my book is Gene. I still have no clue what voodoo he uses to be so dialed in to the pop-culture zeitgeist. In any case, we friended on Facebook, and when in Chicago on business a few years later I met him and his partner, Dahlia, and what delightful people!

Muddlin’ Through

by Don Meyer: Uber-nerd and just-can’t-stop-himself experimenter

The genesis of my friendship with Don and his partner, Linda, makes for a wonderful story. Many years ago I had a thriving business on Second Life, complete with a large store built in-world on a parcel near the coast. I met Don and Linda as they were wandering along the coast, we got to chatting, and Don and I found right away that we were like siblings separated at birth. We were soon looking into business ventures, even forming a [short lived] corporation before ever having met in person.

Makin’ Trax

by Eileen Prather: My sometimes-mentor and sometimes fulltime RVer friend

I was a tech writer in 1990, but ended up doing marcom writing and other stuff. I still officially reported to the manager of the documentation department, but I had a dotted-line manager, Eileen. We worked on ads, distributor guides, and trade shows — but the best project was a corporate video which won an award. Years later we kept in touch as professional networkers do, but the work-related networking morphed into a really wonderful friendship, and I count Eileen as one of my very closest friends.

 

Stuff I have been creatively involved in

The Gentleviewer’s Obsessive Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I published a book in 2014 called The Gentleviewer’s Obsessive Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Think of it as an OCD-like reference to the show. In fact, its existence is a direct result of me going fully into OCD-mode watching the show when I realized it was a rich trove of pop-culture reference that I just had to catalog. When I was done watching it for the nth time I had a massive database on my hands, so of course I had to publish it.

I also manage a Facebook page for this book, which is about the extent of the marketing I do for it!

 

Artificial Mind: poetry by an AI

This book (available on Amazon) was the brainchild of my amazing partner, Dave. I had the pleasure of designing the book cover (using a wonderful vector stock image that Dave found) and doing the layout of the interior pages. We published this on our Ptolemy Press imprint, and hopefully there will be more to come. Here’s how it is described on Amazon:

This book is a collection of our favorite poems written by an artificial intelligence, curated and gently edited by a human. Some are beautiful, some are funny, a few are disturbing, and some are accidentally profound.

Because the AI was trained by digesting millions of texts from the internet, the words it generates are adapted from the thoughts, hopes, and fears of real people.

The AI has no conscious understanding of what it writes. But when you read these poems, you may hear the dream-like echoes of society’s collective consciousness.

 

Summer Book Bag literacy program

I have a neighbor who is a passionate second-grade teacher in a school with mostly underprivileged students. She set up a donations-based project to improve literacy in her corner of the world by giving children books at the end of the school year to read over the summer and to keep. In many cases, these books will be the only reading the child will be exposed to all summer, and in some cases, these will be the only books in their homes at all. I helped with the website, logo, newsletter, etc.

 

Practical stuff and resources

PDF fixes

PDF is the the ubiquitous file format, but it is finicky as hell. I can get much done on a problem PDF using Acrobat Pro, but when I need to resize a PDF and don’t have access to the source files, I have had great success with the free DocuPub online utility.

 

Domain search and hosting

I use IONOS (formerly 1&1) for my domain searches and web hosting. I like these guys better than the few others I’ve tried because I have access to more self-serve options on their portal. I have about 20 domains and 6 websites through them — most of which are WordPress sites. (The above link below is a referral link.)

 

Stickers and Buttons

I work with Stickermule for my stickers, decals, pins, magnets, and more for my own stuff as well as stuff for my clients:  tradeshow giveaways and shipping supplies. The quality is excellent and the turnaround is fast. They very frequently have deals for their regular customers — like 50 stickers for $19.

 

MyFonts

I’m a bit of a font junkie, although some might say I am a font snob. My favorite place to browse and buy quality fonts is MyFonts. And don’t miss their What the Font service for identifying fonts you spot in the wild. Here’s more about my font obsession.

 

Print-on-demand books

Whether for self-publishing clients, my own books, or for client booklets and reference guides — I use both Lulu and KDP (formerly Createspace) for my print-on-demand book needs. If this is of interest to you, you might be interested in this post from my professional blog: Getting Started in Self-publishing.

 

Color Scheme Designer

There are many free color scheme generators available online. After trying quite a few, I like the Perbang Color Scheme Generator the best. Its UI isn’t as slick as some others, but I think it is the most intuitive and useful, and they have an impressive array of additional color and other tools.