General Announcments and Updates

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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Silverclaw » Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:57 pm

Havent posted in a while now because of lack of internet at home. :( It just decided not to work anymore. Hopefully it will be fixed soon(with high speed internet instead of dial-up). Have just been using the libary internet and my sisters laptop when she lets me use it :P

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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Scott Gardener » Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:50 pm

Ack, now my iPod! I'll have to hold out until mid-September, when the presumed annual Steve Jobs slideshow rolls out the next batch.
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by vrikasatma » Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:53 am

Hello everyone. Me's back.

Past few months have been a little crazy. Pretty stressed out because Eugene is sinking slowly and I have no way to escape. Computer crashed a couple times — whonky hard drive — so I'm coming back from that.

My horse Meritage is an international champion! He took the regional Championship in the Pacific Northwest and came home from the Canadian Nationals with eleven trophies. According to his trainer, people saw him entered in classes and withdrew their horses! Unfortunately, after all that build-up, we didn't have enough money to take him to the American Nationals next month :( :cryeyesout: So sorry, Texas folks, I won't be down there this year.

We're going to try again next year, though. He's virtually a horse teenager and he has many, many more showing and competition years left in him. This time, instead of going for the regional circuit high point (which costed us about $700 a show before gas), we'll take him to the nearest regional, enter him in the classes we want to do at the National, get qualified and call it good until the Nationals.

Also, this winter, Cyndy's going to train him to pull a carriage and then his training will be done. And...in 2011, I'm starting a horse-drawn carriage business here in Eugene with him. It's going to take a few years because 1. He has to get trained, 2. I have to get trained, 3. I need to save up the startup money, and 4. He's still a little scampish and needs to buy a maturity. I also want to show him in the driving division so I can use the accolades as a selling point, "Ride with a champion!"

I'm enrolled in a state microbusiness program where I have to save up $1000 a year for two and a half years, and the state trains me in basic business skills. At the end of the program the state kicks me a 3-for-1 startup grant which will give me around $9,000.

Politics: We're out of the Silly Season and into the Craziness Season. Since the RNC, it's been sheer bedlam over on Digg. I approved of Obama's VP choice, even if it wasn't my preference. I'm holding out for him to tap Richardson for SecState and hoping he'll pick Governor Schweitzer for Sec'ty of Agriculture. We're working hard for Mr. Obama here in Oregon; the roaring hordes descended with aplomb on the Eugene office opening so I'm pretty confident that he hasn't lost popularity since the primary season ended.

Well...'tis late, and that's pretty much what I've been up to. Type atcha later and GREAT to see y'all again! :)
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by takyoji » Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:22 pm

Just as a few reasons why I've barely been around:
  • School started a few weeks ago
  • I'm getting horribly behind in most of my classes
  • I'm getting behind on work for my clients
  • I still have no social life and am slowly losing it because of that
  • I'd love to work on all the things I want to get done on The Packs Den, but all the above is restricting me from doing so.
Otherwise I pretty much have nothing to value in the recent days and am slowly getting more stressed because of all this crap piling up and that I still look like a complete lie since I haven't completed the list of things I've agreed to do. At this point I'm just trying to at least make it through each day.
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by outwarddoodles » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:45 pm

DON'T STRESS YOURSELF TAK!

You've already proven yourself as a adept web-designer and dedicated Pack member. You have no obligations to us, and we don't mind if you disappear for awhile. Sit down, get caught up on your school work, and try to stay on top of it all. Stop worrying what anyone else thinks.

:D

Vrik: GREAT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!!
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Shadow Wulf » Sun Oct 12, 2008 5:23 pm

Yeah Tak, your doing a great job. Remember what your doing is volunteer work and as a favor. You are not obligated to do anything for us. If you need to take a few months to catch up on classes and other projects then do so. :D
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by vrikasatma » Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:56 pm

I didn't know where else to put this...

I M-shifted last week.

Here's the story:
I went to my psychic last Thursday. As you know, it was a waning full moon. My psychic works out of her house and she's got a great atmosphere in her reading room. Very conducive to magick.

We often converse while we're shuffling and cutting her Tarot deck, and she told me that she just took on a Wolf totem. I grinned and "whurf"ed at her in greeting; I usually do that when I see another Wolf, sort of like a lupine "Merry Met!" I think she's still learning because she didn't follow it and start up a Wolfy conversation.

Anyway, we started on the reading and about midway through, we hit on a subject about self-protection. She asked about my talking in a non-human language and asked if that freaks people out. I confirmed it does, and added, "It's my nuke. I don't pull it out because it tends to elicit a physically violent reaction from people." And then, I M-shifted and showed her my snarl, complete with fang-popping and tongue sticking out.

She didn't get scared. But she told me that it was awesome, in the original sense (not positive, closer to daunting).

Here's where it gets weirder: she said that, looking at my (normally) caring face, turning into a snarling beast with blazing, slanted eyes, she'd have never guessed what I'd been hiding. The weirdest thing was that once I'd pulled out the Snarl, and lived in it for that moment, and let it go, it was gone and I was back to "normal." I even smiled, laughed and made a joke about my lips and tear ducts turning black.

So...I got this sweet face covering a feral wolf that is entirely under my command. The classic werewolf, neh? :femshft
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by PariahPoet » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:22 am

Wow Vrik, that's great!
I'm jealous. I can't M-shift. Image
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Scott Gardener » Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:43 pm

Welcome back, Vrikasatma! Been a bit, hasn't it?
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Lukas » Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:56 pm

i am alive, that is all
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Sebiale » Sat May 02, 2009 10:29 pm

I'm back for a brief splurge of random and non-sensical postings, oh, and to help inspire me for my book. Werewolves are definitely in it, not sure about everything else.
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Scott Gardener » Sun May 24, 2009 3:35 am

Welcome back, me!

Hi, everyone; I went too long between visits and posts. I won't do it again.
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Baphnedia » Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:45 pm

Welcome back!
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by vrikasatma » Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:06 pm

Okay, 's been awhile since I updates. So here's what's been going on.

I went to a carriage auction, thinking I'd come home with either a surrey or wagonette. I came home with an antique Swedish sleigh in desperate need of TLC. And we only get sleighable snow here once, maybe twice a year.

Was appointed to my county's Democratic Party as a Precinct Captain for my neighbourhood.

My horse had a birthday.

I'm organizing a health care rally in two weeks.

I'm taking my horse to a regional breed show next weekend.

I'm going to be starting up a baking business for my local Farmers' Market in a couple months. I found a kitchen to rent; it has six caterers using it at present, one is ending second week of August, and that gives me enough time to get my permits, memberships, paperwork and insurance together, line up distributors and purveyors, print materials and do everything up to bake.
I'll be baking three kinds of focaccia, two kinds of stromboli and one *other* per Market day. Plus a fruit drink and dipping sauces which I'm contemplating bottling and selling as well.

Oh, and I got a thoroughly ironic Trickster-smack a couple days ago when I got on DragonCave.net, asking for a Sun egg and mentioning I had yet to get a Dorkface dragon. And lo and behold, fifteen minutes later, I was in possession of a Dorkface Sun egg — that was, I think, a product of the Inbreeding Project going on the site. Her great-great-grandmother was also her grandmother; her great-grandfather was also her grandfather; her great-grandmother was also her great-grandaunt AND a half-sister (!!) (yes, the owner bred two half-siblings then mated their progeny back to Grandma), and her mother is also her…aunt? half-sister?…I have no idea…as well. Not to mention that the poor little chinless, wall-eyed bounder has just about every kind of dragon in the Cave save for Split (and that only because you can't) in her lineage, so I have an anomaly: an inbred mutt. Heh.
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Baphnedia » Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:22 am

Nice updates - though I wonder why you got the sleigh... given what you'd like to do in town with your horses. As for my updates, I got fired today - from being an active admin on my own forum (four members of my lil' company said "Hi, we are working faster than you are, because you're farting around on the forums again! We'd like a game finished this year, not next decade!" and I wisely, in the face of being beaten with blunt objects, wisely capitulated).

So, I'll see how much of my time gets eaten up by my lil' company (isn't it cute?), and play things by ear, here.
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Silverclaw » Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:25 pm

Just letting you know, I will not be on very much for the next 2 1/2 weeks. I'll be petsitting and staying at the owners house for much of the time. Then it will be Anthrocon weekend after that(Thurs-Sun).
So I'll see you all later! :D
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by vrikasatma » Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:43 pm

@Baph

I have to wonder now myself, it was definitely an impulse buy. Which is *very* out of character for me.

Here's the whole sordid tale:

I was going to sell my trailer, a bunch of my old Clive Barker fanzines, and my Disney stock to raise $3500 (what I was told I'd need to be in the running by some prior-year auction veterans). I wound up only selling the trailer — the 'zine auction went through the floor and I fangirled out with the Disney stock — so I only had $1000 before the carriage auction.

Then my barn manager threw a whammy in my face, saying, "You can't keep the carriage here. We don't have anywhere to put it." So I cut into the $1000 to rent a storage locker, which reduced me to $940.

Auction SNAFU #1: Bring lots of money to an auction! I didn't.
Auction SNAFU #2: They had fewer items to auction. This particular auction is popular and has been going for about 30 years. Normally they get upwards of 200 vehicles for sale. This year they had 90. Absolutely NO idea why.
At least half of that 90 were little two-wheel carts that are NO GOOD for commercial applications and tricky to get in and out of, especially when they're behind a green horse. Most of the rest were massive beer wagons for draft horses and vis-a-vises (the carriages used in NY Central Park). I'd been thinking of getting a vis-a-vis but I'd never seen one up close in real life, so I had no idea how BIG they are. They're gorgeous but they're about 12 feet long by 6.5 feet wide which is 'way more carriage than I can pilot — and more carriage than I had room to store.
What was left? About twelve vehicles that I figured I could reasonably handle and that Tagie would have an easy time with. About seven of those twelve were Roberts Voitures that, I've been told, have a disconcerting habit of having their axles break, and that I should avoid like the plague. So I was left with five possibles, out of ninety.

I quickly realized that the $940 in my pocket was severely outclassed as I watched possible after possible soar up into the $1700 - $2500 range during bidding. Oh yeah, a real bargain when compared to online prices of $5000 and up — but still. I didn't have what it took to compete.

Then the sleigh came up. It was small, 39" x 70", and we had a space at the barn small enough to store it, so I wouldn't be stuck paying for a storage locker.
They started the bidding at $400. I thought, "I have that!" and remembered several points:
• One of the wineries that I'd approached, looking for work, was up in our local snow-belt and asked if I had a sleigh. I hadn't.
• Then I remembered a friend saying it would be so much fun to hitch a sleigh to Tagie and ride around the National Forest trails in winter, up on the Santiam Pass.
• Then I remembered how, last winter, we got 12" of snow one night and stayed snowbound, then icebound, for a week. Eugene ground to a halt.

All good points, but frankly not enough to justify dropping $750 on the sleigh, which was my winning bid. So now I have a 100-year-old Swedish sleigh with a few cosmetic issues but good, solid birchwood construction…and I live in a city that gets snow but only 3-6 inches, two or three times a year. And a horse who doesn't like snow.

So what I'm doing is offering it on TackTrader.com and Craig's List as is, for $1200 to cover the purchase, the gas I took to get up there and back, and up and back to where I'm storing it in Prineville a couple times. I took some photos of it and I'll be going back up to nearby Sisters to peddle it around to the antique shops up there. I'm going to offer it at that price and see if anyone bites. If I have to bring it home to Eugene and refurbish it, the price goes up commensurately to cover the gas and trailer, and my time, sweat and elbow grease. (3-hour round trip to Prineville and back)

Next year, I intend to go to the auction for the whole three days, camp onsite (they had a fun, nicely-populated campground), and carrying no less than $3600.
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Baphnedia » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:30 pm

@Vrik

Well, actually, contact that winery and let them know you will have a sleigh for the winter - especially if you don't have to pay any storage for it. If it becomes the best transportation available, I'll bet you can get a lot of miles on it this winter (and besides, it might only be good for a little bit of the year, but that part of the year is when your carriage will do you no good).

So, who knows? You might be able to make the sleigh pay for itself (but its your decision if you sell it)...
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by vrikasatma » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:14 pm

The problem is, I'd have to transport the horse to the sleigh, thirty miles through snow and sometimes ice, up and down some fairly serious grades, to get to work. And like I said, he hates snow. I'd have to wrangle 1500 pounds of snorting, pawing, cranky muscle and princely attitude. Not worth it, even if I carry my own insurance ($2000 a year) and pull down $100 an hour.

Nah, better to just get the carriage and have a few "School's Out/Snow Days" a year.

The other thing is, selling the sleigh would put me over the top for a carriage. Believe it or not, the Disney stock's gone up (I do not diss Hannah Montana) and that, together with the sleigh sale, would get me close enough to the $3500 mark that all I'd need to do is squirrel away $10 a week through next April and I gots me a shiny lil' surrey, express buggy or wagonette.
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Sebiale » Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:44 am

I'm finally back in!
I'm not much for reading the directions :S
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by vrikasatma » Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:34 am

Well, we've survived the Town Hall meetings and I'm 99% finalized with the paperwork to set up my business, Sciacca's Focaccia.

I'm starting up a small-scale baking operation and looking to sell the breads at my local Farmers' Market. I'll be producing two kinds of stromboli, three kinds of focaccia, pita chips, one "other" baked good (not necessarily bread), and a green tea-cocoafruit drink each Market day (one day a week to start).

Next steps:
:bounce: Get a Farmers' Market membership
:bounce: Do a dry run baking session at the kitchen I'm renting
:bounce: Find out when the standards committee meets and ply them with my application and breads.
:bounce: Pay my fees, set up a booth, and remember — don't count your money while you're sittin' at the table.

The dry run bake is happening this Thursday, as in the day after tomorrow. Wish me luck!
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Baphnedia » Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:38 am

Good luck on that!
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Gevaudan » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:26 am

Sorry that I haven't been on for the past few weeks. We just moved into a new house, and it's taken some work but I think we're finally settling down.
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by vrikasatma » Fri Sep 25, 2009 12:13 am

Update on Sciacca's Focaccia:

Farmers' Market membership secured, dry run bake went famously well (my guests devoured the honey-walnut focaccia and Thai chicken stromboli), and my first day at market went well.

I thought I could do a 6-7 hour kitchen session, sleep for a few hours and do Market all day, but the fact is, I'm an arthritic 47-year-old wolf, and my body simply wasn't the equal of the task. So I put my breads — about 30 half-pound to 1-pound focaccias — in the consignment booth. About half of them sold, the rest was split between myself, a couple friends, and twelve pounds went to Food For Lane County. They didn't pay of course, but they gave me a receipt which I can use for tax credit. So it's all good, bread isn't wasted and I get some karma forwarded :)

I'm going to need a temporary restaurant license in order to sell the strombolis, so that's in the works. Meanwhile, I'm doing focaccia and that's it. I came up with a formula that subs out some flour for coconut flour, flaxseed meal and blue cornmeal, which makes it WONDERFUL. This week, I'm baking a day earlier with good hydration in the dough, and I'll be up to the task of building and running a Market booth.

And now, for some exciting news: my trainer managed to secure enough sponsorships so she's taking my horse to the IALHA Nationals in Ft. Worth, TX next month. I just secured my flight down, so I'll be there to see him be a Cinderella story. Not sure if there will be any other Warlanders in attendance but I sincerely hope so. This season was his first competition against other Warlanders and then, only as a technicality because the other one was a coming-3-y.o. filly. And they never went head-to-head in a class. But I have every confidence in him and he'll be happier with me along to take care of and love on him. The Warlander breed has been blowing rooves off everywhere they compete. It's been about 10 years since I've been to Texas and I'm excited to be going back, if only for a few days!

Any Pack members in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area?
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Re: General Announcments and Updates

Post by Scott Gardener » Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:00 pm

I'm fairly close by in Rockwall. October is a terrible time to try to arrange a get-together, though. I've already got my wife's birthday, family coming in, a U2 concert, and a week-long vacation to Disney World. Not to mention all the work hours squeezed together between all of this to help pay for all of it. Oh, and, "Walking With Dinosaurs" is touring. And, a Halloween party.

If it weren't for all that, I would be tempted to try to get over there to say hello in person.
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