Tomorrow (11 Feb 2021), I’ll be interviewed on “Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever w/Theo Hicks” on the subject of Solar for Real Estate investors.
Solar can be a great way for owners of rental property to increase the value of their investments, particularly if they own properties with more than 5 units.
In addition to possible tax advantages, installing solar offers the ability to remove an expense from the property altogether (if the landlord pays utilities) or create income from becoming your own utility (for landlords who don’t).
That extra income translates into a higher value for the property and greater cash flow for the landlord without raising the rents. Installing solar also stabilizes the energy prices, which is important for Californians, who saw their energy prices went up 34% from 2017 to 2020.
In all, I’m really excited to be on a podcast. This is my first interview as an investor, and it’s been a while since I got to use my public speaking skills, and I’m looking forward to it.
If you have any questions or comments about solar for investors or solar in general, feel free to ask!
For several years now I’ve had the idea to write a story about the gruff-seeming stoic genuine old guys I’ve had the pleasure of meeting throughout my life. The first of these was my great-grandpa Jack, and the inspiration of my NANOWRIMO project “Another Winter Gone”.
The Challenge i’m finding is that I’ve always seen these people through the eyes of a much younger person and while I hope to get into their heads (And eventually grow up to be one), I find that it’s easier to see these people from the outside.
That does leave me with the tendency to lionize or Mary-Sueify my old-guys, and I am struggling to work on that.
One of the problems is that most of these guys are to the “eff it” stage of life because they’ve already done the things you’d write the story about. That leaves either a Grand Torino-style “unlikely friendship”, or an UP “developers are stealing my house, and unlikely friendship” sort of relationship, really any friendship with these guys seems to hinge on the “unlikely friendship” territory.
I find this ironic in part because as a kid, I often got along better with these men than I did with kids my own age. They were almost always doing something worth doing and were happy to let me assist (provided I didn’t talk too much. I ususally did).
I suppose another way of approaching this sort of story would be in a series of lessons I learned from each of these old codgers, possibly without a narrative thread, possibly with.
Lately, I’ve been working at stretching my skills. Particularly where outlining is concerned. My use of “Fiction Formula Plotting” by Deborah Chester and several other books on the subject is putting me off my comfort zone of bedtime stories, and short stories.
I am doing my best to think of the bedtime story version as the synopsis, or treatment form, and then outlining and fleshing it out from there. For now, re-establishing my writing habit should be good enough.
One of the aspects of writing short fiction I most enjoy is the focus. There is little temptation to clutter the stories with extra storylines, little time to tell things out of order in an attempt to be clever, and it’s easy to figure out who needs the arc and what they want. Perhaps this is something I can bring with me into longer prose.
In any event, over the next few months I hope to take us out into uncharted (by me) waters. I’ll attempt to write anew and hope you enjoy this!
This week I received my copy of The Story Engine a writing/RPG aid that gamifies the process of coming up with a story concept. Here is the first set of cards I drew from the decks to build my story.
The format stuck out to me, even though there were 1024 combinations possible in this draw. It turned out to be a familiar story, though the consequence isn’t part of the traditional tale…
A swashbuckler wants to outwit or overpower an(immoral)warlord who controls a crownbut in doing so, they will have to live the rest of his life doing a job they hate.
Robin has sworn to save England from the evil Prince John who has usurped his brother Richard the Lionheart’s crown. If he does, he’ll be forced back into polite society and have to run the Earldom of Locksley, a life he left behind when the kings rangers tricked him into killing on of the king’s deer.
Situation: On the run, with his band of merry men
Protaganist: Robin Hood
Objective: wants to return England’s throne to Richard the Lionheart, stolen by
Opponent: his brother, the evil Prince John and his henchmen the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Sir Guy of Gisborne
Climax: Will he save the day and be rewarded by being thrust back into the life of ease he gave up when he went on the run?
Here’s a second that didn’t line up with a cl
Anunassumingco-conspiratorwants to start a war with a facility,but one way or another it will be their last adventure.
Three days from retirement, semi-legitimate private detective Frank gets a message from his partner, Jim. Jim was captured after discovering what has happened to the missing homeless children and how it connects to Karma Corp’s medical facility on the edge of town. Can he save his friend and the kids, or will the company retire him? Permanently.
Situation: Three days from retiring to the boat he’s been dreaming of
Protaganist: Frank Gris
Objective: has to go to war with Karma Corp
Opponent: Karma Corp, after Frank’s friend Jim uncovered their experiments and how they connect to missing children.
Climax: He’ll either get back his friend and the kids, or be retired by the company. Permanently.
Possible Genres: Noir, Modern Thriller, Cyberpunk
One of the things I’m noticing about this process is that it ties in well with the SPOOC format from the Fiction Writing Formula, written by Deborah Chester. Deborah Chester is the professor who helped Jim Butcher to outline and format his world-famous Dresden Files series of books.
I highly recommend the books and it’s amazing to see his writing continue to improve over the years. It’s also clear he outlined the entire story arc. I’m re-reading his earlier novels and finding hints in books 1 and 2 that show up again in Books 16 and 17. It’s pretty incredible.
My novel, the grind is chugging along and I’ve crossed the 30,000 word mark. (50,000 is the goal for the month). This process has been a blast so far and it has felt really good to take the time to write more than I ever have in one project as an adult.
I’m doing my best to follow the advice of experienced authors and get that first draft out there and completed. Then, I’ll try to keep from looking at it for a month and restructure it for draft two.
For those who are interested, it’s a science fiction story about someone who finds himself trapped in a virtual world, forced to grind for gold until he is able to pay off some debts he owes.
The game currency has been accepted in the real world as a crypto currency and even the IRS is taking not.
On top of this, he’s gone and gotten in trouble with some of the factions in the game, making the normal grinding methods difficult to accomplish without being hunted by PK squads (player killer squads made up of misanthropic 14-year old dickheads).
Even with his friends at his side, escape seems unlikely at best, impossible at worst.
And to think, when he started playing Albiona again, his main concern was that he would stay up too late playing games and his performance at work would suffer.
Anyway, I just wanted to share what I’ve been up to and let you know I’m pretty excited with it so far! Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
This year I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo. For those who don’t know what that means:
National Novel Writing Month. I have a goal of writing 50,000 words on a rough draft by the end of the month. This has become a global phenomenon and there are writing groups all over the world taking part.
50,000 words is the minimum length to have “won” the challenge and since it will be a rough draft, I’ll still have edits and rewrites before I can call it something worthy of release.
If you’ve ever thought that you’d like to write your story, or read someone’s work and said “I could do better than that” or even, “what if…?”, think about joining the challenge at nanowrimo.org.
If not, feel free to hold me accountable and check up on my progress by following me here.
I’m really excited to be sharing the first in a series of 12 images I commissioned as part of the Djinn’s Heart and Other Stories from Ukranian artist Olga Volkova. Right now, the images area available online at my etsy shop as posters, framed posters and canvas prints.
This is the first in the series, entitled: Adventure. If you like it, please consider buying a poster. I’ll be reinvesting any money I get from the sale of the posters into more commissions from Ms. Volkova for upcoming stories.
I’m particularly looking forward to seeing what she can do with the story about that time I met the Devil on the road…
Wednesday, I’ll be heading on the road again for the first time since going to Newcastle, UK for Melissa Davy’s Brown Ale Blues. A short trip to visit family and then off to… … Newcastle, UK for Melissa Davy’s Belta Blues. Then I’m off to Sweden and Demark to visit Malmö, Copenhagen and Helsingborg. I can’t wait!
There are a lot of dancers I’ve missed seeing and look forward to spending time with while I’m visiting.
I’ll also be making time for anyone who wants to get delicious food, play games, or work on their dance. Feel free to get a hold of me via this form or on Facebook and we’ll find the time.
This is a note that is 90% for myself and 10% for anyone else who wants to read my thoughts. Don’t take the advice as being for anyone but from me to myself. If you have ideas that have worked for you, I’d love to hear them.
After watching a buzzfeed video about – yes, that buzzfeed…- one of the Mengele twins and the power of forgiveness, I’ve been thinking about the idea of forgiveness. What does it mean, when should we do it and for whom. I’ve come to the conclusion that forgiveness is essentially a selfish act.
To me forgiveness is the act of giving up your eye-for-an-eye right to retribution or revenge. It’s giving up the idea that I get to use someone’s past as a trump card in future arguments. Not out of laziness or fear, but because of something calling me to let go.
We all have people who we’ve wronged and people who have wronged us. The degree to which you’ve been hurt may make letting go of that anger incredibly difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. I remember reading about the idea of a teacher asking a student to hold a light weight at arm’s length and pointing out that it’s not just the weight of the object that makes it difficult to hold, but the length of time you’re required to hold it.
All of that anger and frustration, that hurt and hate, that justified scabby black poison we cling to as our right as survivors of past wrong. That proof of the evil of others. It poisons us far worse than it will ever poison them. It cripples us in spirit and makes victims of the same wrong over and over again.
Worse even, when we realize how many of the things we hold on to are our own choices. Things we can’t forgive ourselves for. Oh, and if you have nothin for which you need to forgive yourself A) you might be very, very young, B) you might be in denial, C) you might have done the hard work of forgiving yourself already. If C, good for you! Please share what you did.
In any event, the forgiveness we give ourselves and others is a selfish act because ultimately we don’t forgive people for the sake of their own souls, but for our own. It’s a psychological ablution, an enema for the spirit.
When forgiving those who’ve done you evil, you take a stand and no longer let that part of your past control you.
I can’t say I know what’s best for anyone but myself. I know that giving up that poison is like giving up coffee or sugar. It’s good for you, but oh, so hard.
For the sake of me (since I’m with me almost constantly), and my loved ones, I’m doing my best to forgive. Which is not the same as doing my best to forget – perhaps I’ll have thoughts on that sometime soon.
Taught with Jeannie Lin again for the first time since our last trip to Europe. It is amazing. I can’t believe how it’s possible to know how good a dance partner can be, intellectually, and yet how easy it is to forget just HOW good they are until you are in the same place with them. This isn’t limited to her dancing. Jeannie and I have a working relationship that we’ve been polishing since our first experience back in 2013 at Blue Moon Blues, in Tucson, Arizona.
Now we’re back in Arizona for the first time since our first time. We’re older, more experienced and it’s amazing how much our progress as a partnership shows from our first time together. Rough edges are worn, dance philosophies are understood and class just felt smooth.
Nathan and Stephanie have been great local hosts, with around 8 couples for a small event only advertised two months in advance. The attitude of the students has been fantastic and the late night taqueria has really nice Carne Asada fries.
In all, it’s been a fantastic weekend and I’m thankful for the opportunities our friends give us to share the dancing we love with their home scenes. I hope everyone reading this is having a great time and that you can feel a measure of the joy I feel right now.