Watching TaeKwonDo

At the beginning of February, having gotten myself at least a little bit settled into my new residence, I took some time to attend the ATA Spring Nationals tournament at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  The ATA is the largest taekwondo organization in the world. My reason for attending was that the daughter of a good friend (Vicky Morris) was going to be competing. I’ve been following Ashleigh’s progress over the last several years, so the opportunity of seeing her compete was compelling.

Asleigh Morris

Ashleigh Morris prepares for competition

There were many rings holding matches at the same time in the convention center Hall. Ashleigh’s group (13-14 year olds at the same level) had so many competitors in it that the girls were divided into 3 rings by height. These girls were second and third degree black belts.

The competitors have four types of activities to compete in: Forms, Weapons, Sparring, and Combat. In Forms, the competitor performs a set pattern of moves that shows their control and ability to move smoothly from one stance to another. In Weapons, the competitor performs another routine in a fashion similar to Forms, but which shows their control over a particular weapon. The competitor has a number of choices to work with: a Japanese sword, eskrima sticks, nunchucks, a bo staff, kama knives, sai knives.

In Ashleigh’s ring, there were a couple of girls doing their Weapons exercise with swords, another couple with nunchucks, several with bo staffs, while Ashleigh chose eskrima sticks (the only one in her ring to do so).

The remaining areas of competition, Sparring and Combat, were the ones that Ashleigh is particularly eager in. She’s a fierce competitor.  In Sparring, the competitor is using hands and feet to score points on an opponent. In Combat, each competitor uses a cushioned stick, rather like a bat, to score hits on the opponent.

Combat opponents meet

In the Combat bout, the opponents square off, touching weapons before the bout.

In this bout, Ashleigh is the one with the small red flag attached to her back. The flag helps the judges distinguish between the combatants. Ashleigh tends to be very intense in competition. And she can move very fast.

Combat action in the tournament

Combat action in the tournament

Ashleigh is a leftie, but she’s worked at wielding her weapon with both hands.

She won a silver medal in Combat in her ring, giving the first place girl quite a run for her win.

Cooling down after combat

After competition, Ashleigh (in the foreground) gets comments from her mother and one of her mentors.

One of the pleasures of my adventure to the tournament was meeting Master Tim Plaid (at the right in the photo above). He’s taken a particular interest in Ashleigh’s progress in taekwondo, and Vicky has spoken frequently of him.

After the competitions, Ashleigh changed to street clothes, picked up her medal, and then the four of us went off to a relaxed dinner at Olive Garden.

I enjoyed watching the competitions – although the white noise of the hall with so many yells and chatter gave me a bit of a headache. That might have been also because I had not had much for breakfast and had nothing but a banana (thanks to Vicky) during the day. Some ibuprofen helped cut the headache, though.

All in all, a good day.

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Start of a New Chapter

Since the end of December 2017, I’ve been wrangling all the matters of moving from one city to another. Indeed, the move has been from one state to another. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with inter-state moves. The last time I did something that big was when I moved from Texas to California – basically half my lifetime ago. Heh.

The costs of living in Los Angeles precipitated the move. However, now that I am getting settled in Las Vegas, I’m very content with the change.

First off, there was an unexpected whimsy to the street where I’m living right now.

Sculpture on Antelope Way

A sculpture installation on Antelope Way.

The place I’m living may only be for a short time (I’m hoping to eventually get an apartment of my own here in town), but it’s very agreeable.

Most people when you say “Las Vegas” think of the highly-charged energy of the casinos and hotels along the Strip. But that turns out to be a small portion of Las Vegas. I’m living to the west of the Strip and the I-15 freeway. The developments are relatively new. But given the relative youth of the city (compared to Los Angeles), everything is built with plenty of space. The streets are wider, the shopping centers are laid out with considerably more parking space. The population density is less that in LA, so that even when the traffic is “heavy” on the main thorough-fare nearby, it is nothing like the teeth-grinding crawl of Los Angeles.

The result is that I am much less stressed here in Las Vegas. I feel that once I settle into a more regular work pattern, I will find the lower stress environment far more conducive to creative endeavors. So, even though I’m still dealing with aftermath issues from moving, I am very optimistic of how things will go, living here in Las Vegas.

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The End of a Chapter

I’m about to embark on a new chapter in my life – relocating to Las Vegas, Nevada. This holiday season marks the end of my residential time in Los Angeles.

I moved to L.A. from Texas… a few years after I finished my Master’s degree. (Yeah, let’s not count the actual number of years.) I moved to the Los Feliz area, just at the east end of “Hollywood”, up on the slopes near the Griffith Observatory. Although there wasn’t much of a view of the LA Basin from my street, just north of it there was a subdivision of expensive houses that really had a view. During all the years I lived there, I’d often drive up to that neighborhood for the view. I’d even dream about owning one of the houses there, just for the view.

Today, after I’d had a nice Christmas meal, I suddenly decided to visit the view one more time. I got there just at dusk, but there was a smoky covering over the city. Still, it was catching a bit of the pink light of sunset.

The security patrol that circles the neighborhood, stopped to check me out, since I was stopped at the curb with my car lights on. I explained that I used to live in the neighborhood down the hill, and liked to come up to that spot for the view, and that since I was moving to Vegas shortly, this was sort of a “good-bye.” He understood that. He said that the weather is supposed to be clearer on Wednesday, if I still wanted to see the full, glittering sight of the city.

I got a little emotional when I started to explain why I was there. Even though I’ve come to feel that this move to Las Vegas is indeed the right thing for me, and that it is indeed the time for me to “let go” of LA, I didn’t expect to tear up a bit as I explained to a stranger that I am leaving Los Angeles. Because of that, it struck me as very fitting that I’d come to this favorite spot. It’s good to make a “good-bye.”

I moved on, and caught just a bit of the sunset left in the western sky.

I just missed catching the more intense colors in my camera. I’m going to have to practice that a bit more, I think.

Then, as I was about to head down the hill, I remembered the sight of the Observatory from the neighborhood.

In the last tones of dusk, the Observatory glows over the neighborhood.

Of course, I then drove back to where I’m currently staying — freeway traffic, and plenty of autos on the streets. The city is always in motion. I think I’ve gotten over finding that appealing, and am now ready for a quieter setting.

I’m hoping that in Las Vegas, I won’t be so constantly in survival mode, and will be able to get more of my own work done.

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Marifran O’Neil

When I was working at Jeopardy!, in 1999 we did our first road-trip to New York City, to tape a series of games at Madison Square Garden. At that time, I had been writing a number of letters of comment to various DC Comics titles, especially those overseen by the Batman Group Editor, Dennis O’Neil. A few years previously, I had written Denny about what he had written back in the early 1970s on Green Arrow. It was research for a paper I was writing on Robin Hood and Green Arrow. His helpfulness on that prompted me to write him in the DC offices and ask if he or any of the editors were interested in VIP tickets to the tapings. As it turned out, nobody else took up the offer. But Denny and his wife Marifran were fans of the show, and delighted to accept the offer of tickets.

That was when I first met Marifran. She was sweet and delightful – and it was obvious that Denny was over the moon for her.

When I visited NYC in 2008, I had a lovely dinner with them near my hotel, at an Indian restaurant. Watching the two of them together was a pleasure. They had a gentle teasing way between them.

In 2010, Denny was a guest of the San Diego Comic Con, and I of course saw the pair of them during the convention. I had stayed at the Marriott Marina Hotel that year (a splurging treat to myself), and had decided to stay over Sunday night. Monday morning I went down to the restaurant for breakfast, and who should I encounter there? Denny and Marifran. So I got to have breakfast with them, when there was very little schedule pressure on how quickly we got through our meal. I thoroughly enjoyed their company.

She will always live in my memories as a bright, sparkling personality, utterly charming. She delighted in the banter she and Denny engaged in.

So it made me very sad to learn that she had passed away yesterday. I am so glad that I got to know her, even in the little way we had.

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Keats and Ben Nevis

John KeatsAlong the way in my education, I gained an affection for the poetry of Keats. Something about how he handled the language spoke to me. When I was in graduate school, I took a course on the Romantic Poets of England, and purchased a volume of the complete works of Keats for the class. I had previously only dealt with selections from his work.

One of his more notable pieces is a sonnet Keats wrote about being at the top of Ben Nevis in Scotland. In 1818, in the month of June, Keats had been on a tour of Scotland (and Ireland and the Lake District) with a friend. Ben Nevis, as the highest peak in the British Isles, was even then a tourist destination.

The peak of Ben Nevis stands at 4,411 feet above sea level, in the Lochaber area of the Highlands, near the town of Fort William. Most of them use the Pony Track from Glen Nevis in order to reach the top.

Ben NevisI had encountered Keats’ sonnet about Ben Nevis when I was an undergraduate. So I wasn’t surprised to find it in the volume.

WRITTEN ON TOP OF THE BEN NEVIS

Read me a lesson, Muse, and speak it loud
Upon the top of Nevis, blind in mist!
I look into the chasms, and a shroud
Vapurous doth hide them – just so much I wist
Mankind do know of hell; I look o’erhead,
And there is sullen mist, – even so much
Mankind can tell of heaven; mist is spread
Before the earth, beneath me, – even such,
Even so vague is man’s sight of himself!
Here are the craggy stones beneath my feet, –
Thus much I know that, a poor witless elf,
I tread on them, – that all my eye doth meet
Is mist and crag, not only on this height,
But in the world of thought and mental might!

As I thumbed through the volume at the beginning of that graduate semester, I had paused and enjoyed the sonnet. I’d then moved on – for after all I did have an assignment to read for the class. However, my attention was snagged by another poem about Ben Nevis. And when I read it, I gained a new appreciation for Keats as a writer. The sonnet had of course been written about the majesty and beauty of the mountain. But this one displayed a complete tongue-in-cheek humor about tourism at the Scottish landmark.

Climbing up Ben NevisSo…. Here for your amusement —

BEN NEVIS : A DIALOGUE

A poem by John Keats

There was one Mrs. Cameron of 50 years of age and the fattest woman in all Inverness-shire who got up this Mountain some few years ago, true she had her servants, but then she had her self. She ought to have hired Sisyphus, “Up the high hill he heaves a huge round, Mrs. Cameron.” ‘Tis said a little conversation took place between the mountain and the Lady. After taking a glass of Whiskey as she was tolerably seated at ease she thus began,

Mrs. C.
Upon my Life Sir Nevis I am pique’d
That I have so far panted tugg’d and reek’d
To do an honour to your old bald pate
And now am sitting on you just to bate,
Without your paying me one compliment.
Alas ’tis so with all, when our intent
Is plain, and in the eye of all Mankind
We fair ones show a preference, too blind!
You Gentle man immediately turn tail,
O let me then my hapless fate bewail!
Ungrateful Baldpate have I not disdain’d
The pleasant Valleys, have I not madbrain’d
Deserted all my Pickles and preserves
My China closet too, with wretched Nerves
To boot, say wretched ingrate have I not
Left my soft cushion chair and caudle pot.
‘Tis true I had no corns, no! thank the fates
My Shoemaker was always Mr. Bates.
And if not Mr. Bates why I’m not old!
Still dumb ungrateful Nevis, still so cold!

Here the Lady took some more whiskey and was putting even more to her lips when she dashed it to the Ground for the Mountain began to grumble, which continued for a few minutes before he thus began,

Ben Nevis.
What whining bit of tongue and Mouth thus dares
Disturb my slumber of a thousand years?
Even so long my sleep has been secure,
And to be so awakened I’ll not endure.
Oh pain, for since the Eagle’s earliest scream
I’ve had a damn’d confounded ugly dream,
A Nightmare sure. What Madam was it you?
It cannot be! My old eyes are not true!
Red-Crag, my Spectacles! Now let me see!
Good Heavens Lady how the gemini
Did you get here? O I shall split my sides!
I shall earthquake,

Mrs. C.
Sweet Nevis do not quake, for though I love
Your honest Countenance all things above
Truly I should not like to be convey’d
So far into your Bosom, gentle Maid
Loves not too rough a treatment gentle Sir,
Pray thee be calm and do not quake nor stir
No not a Stone or I shall go in fits
Ben Nevis.
I must, I shall, I meet not such tid bits,
I meet not such sweet creatures every day,
By my old night cap night cap night and day
I must have one sweet Buss, I must and shall:
Red Crag!, What Madam can you then repent
Of all the toil and vigour you have spent
To see Ben Nevis and to touch his nose?
Red Crag I say! O I must have them close!
Red Crag, there lies beneath my farthest toe
A vein of Sulphur, go dear Red Crag, go
And rub your flinty back against it, budge!
Dear Madam I must kiss you, faith I must!
I must Embrace you with my dearest gust!
Block-head, d’ye hear, Block-head I’ll make her feel
There lies beneath my east leg’s northern heel
A cave of young earth dragons, well my boy
Go thither quick and so complete my joy
Take you a bundle of the largest pines
And when the sun on fiercest Phosphor shines
Fire them and ram them in the Dragon’s nest,
Then will the dragons fry and fizz their best
Until ten thousand now no bigger than
Poor Alligators, poor things of one span,
Will each one swell to twice ten times the size
Of northern whale, then for the tender prize,
The moment then, for then will Red Crag rub
His flinty back, and I shall kiss and snub
And press my dainty morsel to my breast.
Block-head make haste!
O Muses weep the rest,
The Lady fainted and he thought her dead
So pulled the clouds again about his head
And went to sleep again, soon she was rous’d
By her affrighted servants, next day hous’d
Safe on the lowly ground she bless’d her fate
That fainting fit was not delayed too late.

But what surprises me above all is how this Lady got down again.

View from Ben NevisI was utterly charmed by the comedy of the fleeting romance between the mountain and the matron. How many tourists indulge in ecstasies over landscapes? And how would they react if the landscapes responded to such extravagant raptures? There is simply inherent comedy in the idea of a mountain wanting to hug a visitor.

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Libraries: Treasure Boxes – Part Two

Libraries: Treasure Boxes – Part One

Texas Libraries

Houston Public Library

When my family moved to Houston when I was sixteen, it meant becoming familiar with a new library system. The Houston Public Library has a number of branch libraries, of course. In our neighborhood, I often visited the Meyer Neighborhood Branch. But downtown, the Ideson Building housed the main library.

Houston Public Library's Ideson Building

The Ideson Building

I did visit the Ideson Library a few times during high school. But the Meyer Branch served most of my purposes. I recall that during my senior year, I borrowed Nabokov’s Lolita from the branch. Even at the time I supposed that it might have raised some eyebrows that I’d read the book. As I recall, I wasn’t very impressed, given that the characters were so unpleasant. But since I’d seen it written of as being a work of literary significance, I felt I needed to check it out.

By the time I was in college, the city was set on building a new main library.

Houston Public Library Jones Building

Houston Public Library Jones Building

The Jesse H. Jones Building was built while I was attending the University of Houston. It was amusing that a few years later, one of my friends from Austin got a position as a librarian at the Jones Building.

The University of Houston

I attended the University of Houston while working on my Bachelor’s degree. I spent a lot of time in the Anderson Library there. (They didn’t begin the remodeling until my senior year, a remodel that moved the main entrance to its current location.) It was at the Anderson Library that I made the acquaintance of the Library of Congress cataloguing system. Up until college, all I have known of book cataloguing was (like most people) the Dewey Decimal System. But by the time I entered college, the UH library had finished converting their holdings from Dewey to LC cataloguing. I was enchanted by it, as it felt much easier to grasp that Dewey.

University of Houston M.D. Anderson Library

University of Houston’s M.D. Anderson Library

My senior year at UH, I was on campus every day, and late on Fridays. I had decided to do a Senior Honors Thesis, and so the extra hours were supposed to be to work on it. But it turned out that by late Fridays my brain was getting fried (I had a heavy course load that year). However, I signed up for a study carrel in the library. There were lovely booth carrels, but I think they were assigned to faculty and graduate students. The undergraduate carrels were in the open in a reading room, arranged around the walls. The desks had a two shelf hutch with a glass front that locked, as well as a single drawer that locked. Most of us would tape pictures on the inside of the glass, to keep the contents of our shelves private when we were away from our carrels.

The UH campus was very clean, and I had a thing about going barefoot when I could. So I tended to wear shoes to the campus, take off my shoes and lock them in the carrel, and go barefoot on the campus. I did a lot of research on my own in the Anderson Library.

My undergraduate studies were all designed to train myself as a writer. And I did a lot of private research during those years. It was at this time that I made the acquaintance of the works of C.S. Lewis, starting with his A Preface to Paradise Lost, recommended by the instructor I had for the first half of the English Literature course. Reading Lewis led to reading the works of Charles Williams and Dorothy L. Sayers. I became insatiable about Inklings material (there was not much written about the group at that time), so I sought organizations that dealt with such. That was how I found the Mythopoeic Society – a connection I maintain to this day.

It was in the Anderson Library where I learned many of the practices of research. The hours spent there will always be precious to me.

The University of Texas

From the University of Houston, I moved on to the University of Texas at Austin, where I pursued a Masters degree in English. My first year there, I lived in one of the on-campus dorms. And the main library was housed in the famous Tower in the center of the campus. Generally, one would request a book by call number (and name), and a staff assistant would go up and get the book and bring it down to the main reference desk for the patron. However, graduate students were given access to the stacks in the Tower. Of course, that meant enduring the stacks elevator: it was rather tiny in depth and width, but very tall.

Univeristy of Texas at Austin tower

University of Texas Tower

The thing about the stacks in the Tower were that the floors had very low ceilings, so they tended to be a bit claustrophobic.

Not long after that, the new main library, the Perry-Casteñada Library opened. Very open and spacious, I would soon come to know it well.

The plaza in front of the Perry-Castaneda Library

University of Texas Perry-Castaneda Library

The shape of the building is unusual, even awkward, if you consider the need for rows and rows of stacks of books. But there it is, dramatic and angular.

Wikipedia includes the following paragraph about the building:

It has long been claimed that the Perry-Castaneda Library was designed to appear, when seen from above, in the shape of Texas. This is officially denied by the University, which has stated: “If you look at a campus map the right way and use your imagination, it’s possible to think of the outline of the library as similar to the shape of Texas. But this wasn’t intentional. Officially it’s called a “rhomboid shape,” and it complements the similarly designed Graduate School of Business building across the street, which was completed the same year.

In spite of this denial, I still feel the original intent in the design was to reference the shape of the state.

The shape of UTexas' Perry Castaneda LibraryWhen you look at the shape of the building on a campus map that is oriented with North at the top of the page, the shape of the building does indeed resemble that of the state. The problem in recognizing this connection is that the main entrance to the building is in the side that faces north. So, in effect, as you enter the building, you are looking at the shape upside down. And then inside, the floor layouts are hung on a wall, showing where various sections are located on each floor, the visitor looks at the shape of the building on its side: the visitor faces east to look at the layouts, and so the east side of the building is placed at the top since that’s the direction the visitor is looking.

These little bits always seemed to me to be why the whole “no the building is not shaped like the state” denial happens. One does not experience the building with a northern orientation.

I spent many hours in the PCL (which I often called “the Pickle” to amuse myself), first while I conducted my studies. But after I finished my coursework in two years, I needed to get a job as I’d run out of money. I ended up doing clerical work at the PCL. I finished doing my research on my thesis while working at the library. And then I continued on staff for a few more years before I finally left Austin for Los Angeles.

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Memorial for the Rev. Dr. Doug Millham

Rev. Doug Millham

Doug Millham

This last week, there came the unexpected news that a friend and former pastor of mine, Doug Millham, had passed away. A massive heart attack, and then a stroke, incapacitated him suddenly, and a few short days later he was gone.

I was only one of many people who had known him and cared about him. After he left service at Hollywood Presbyterian, I didn’t see him very often. But he and his wife, Jackie, were on my Christmas card list (when I was still able to afford that celebration). When I did see him, such as at Hollywood Pres’s Thanksgiving morning service or a late Christmas Eve one, there would always be a warm hug of greeting and a few moments of chat.

He had served at Hollywood Pres as an executive and an associate pastor for several years. This brought him into contact with a lot of believers who worked in the entertainment business. It was not his usual arena of ministry, but he engaged with an open enthusiasm and a desire to help the believers who were facing the challenges to faith in a business that is by turns indifferent and hostile toward Christians. He took the issues that writers and actors faced seriously, and he never trivialized the “entertainment business.”

This morning, a memorial service was held for him and his family, and a very sizable body of people attended. These were people who had known in from the many stages of his life.  There were those who had attended Hollywood Presbyterian during his years at the church. There were those who had worked with him in the ministries that reached out to the needy around the world. He had spent a short time as a police officer long ago, before answering the call to go into ministry. In recent years, that law enforcement connection had returned when he served a chaplain to police officers, and then to the LA County District Attorney’s Department of Investigations.

He was one of the tallest men I knew, and he inevitably had “presence.” But that presence came not just because he was so physically imposing. It came from a warmth that radiated from him, an approachability that made proximity to him a “safe space” while one spoke with him.

For me, one of the things I appreciated about him, was his willingness to provide advice and counsel. There were a couple of times when I had emailed him about circumstances I was wrestling with, where I wanted a more objective perspective to the events I was dealing with. He would never make a final judgement of things – he wisely left that choice up to me. That was a quality I definitely appreciated, as I know the final decision about what I was to do had to come from myself. But, his insights and recommendations were always wise and worth listening to. I shall miss that contact, even though I only infrequently needed it.

A couple of weeks ago, he crossed my mind. Not because of anything drastic going on. Just an incidental thought, that popped in my head while driving across town. Years ago, he had acquired a black Corvette (from another friend, in fact), and I had passed a Corvette on the road. The thought of him in the car made me smile. But it went no further than that. I should have taken note of the moment – since I hadn’t seen or communicated with him in a while. I should have sent a short email greeting. But I didn’t.

For those of us who are Christians, our belief in the immortality of our souls and the protective salvation of Jesus Christ gives us an assurance that those who reach the mortal  end of their physical bodies as believers will be found in the company of Christ when our own turn at that transition comes. So… though I shall miss Doug’s presence here among us, I know where he has gone.

Stephanie Edwards with Doug Millham

Stephanie Edwards with Doug Millham

 

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Saturday at San Diego Comic Con 2017

Once again, my budget limited my ability to attend the San Diego Comic Con. Since I couldn’t afford lodgings in San Diego, it was going to have to be a single day trip. That meant rising early and making the 2 plus hour drive down the I-5. I hit the road at quarter to 6, and stopped in San Clemente to add some gas. I also took a 10 minute cat nap there, since I hadn’t gotten a full night of sleep. I got to the Qualcomm Stadium parking at quarter to 9, took the trolley into town and walked into the Convention Center at quarter to 10. It meant that for the first time in a while, I wasn’t going to miss the first programming item I wanted to attend.

The San Diego Convention Center for 2017 Comic Con.

Continue reading

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The Adventure of the Ice Cream Filled Doughnut

Yesterday, on Facebook, someone posted a link to an article about a dessert confection – ice cream filled doughnuts. When I followed up on the article, I learned that the emporium that provided the delectations was actually located in west Los Angeles. So I made the decision to give myself a treat to see what they were like.

B Sweet is a desserts shop. When I got to the address, I actually missed it the first time through, as the area has been recently gentrified — new apartments have been planted in an area that used to be small industrial businesses (I think). The small shops along the street have been converted over to boutique eateries and stores. Parking is at a premium, metered, and not very bountiful. But second time around, I found the shop (I was looking on the wrong side of the street, the first time round).

When I went into the place, I found the décor to be practical, open, and charming. The staff were very friendly.

A bit of the B Sweet shop décor.

I think I beat the afternoon rush, as there were no other customers when I went in. But as I enjoyed my Halo (the shop’s name for the ice cream filled doughnut), several other customers came in. Hardly surprising, given today was one of the hottest days in a while in Los Angeles.

The doughnut they use is a yeast-raised doughnut with no hole. Then they give you the options of choosing the type of ice cream you prefer.  I watched as they prepared my order, and it seems simple enough.

The doughnut is sliced in half like a bun. A single scoop of ice cream is placed on the lower half, and then the upper half it set on it. Then the concoction is placed on a press-grill  – to compact the sandwich and to give the doughnut a bit of warmth. It’s only in the grill for a few seconds.

The Halo – the ice cream filled doughnut.

The result is similar to an ice cream sandwich – but with a doughnut instead of a sugar wafer or cookie. Because of the pressing, the ice cream has been softened and gets drippy. So you don’t want to linger over it. But other than that — it’s a very nice treat.

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Stepping Out on Patreon

The internet has given rise to several different methods for creative people to crowdfund their projects. Kickstarter, for instance, lets a person or team fund a specific project, giving supporters special benefits as the specific financial goals are met. But a number of my artist and writer friends have also turned to the Patreon website to build support in a more general fashion.

Patreon is a website where a creator garners the support and patronage of interested folks. Basically, patrons can give subscription support to a creator — either on a monthly basis or for specific projects (the creator’s choice on how the support is given). The idea of subscription patronage is actually not all that new. In the past, many poets in Britain used a subscription patronage system to fund the publication of their works — Robert Burns in particular used this method.

Patreon brings this opportunity to bring supporters into more regular contact with the creative artists.

For me, one of the strongest appeals of using Patreon in my audience building is the creative accountability that comes with it. If there are people out there who are generously giving me some support on a regular basis in exchange for “being in on” my creative process and the growth of a work-in-progress, I am more inclined to really apply myself to getting work done. I’ve always responded better to external deadlines than my self-set ones.

With that in mind, I’ve launched my Patreon page — and I hope friends, readers, and passers-by will consider joining my little community. The first work-in-progress that I am sharing with my Patrons is my novel Godiva – about the legend and the people that inspired it. A little bit of romance mixed with medieval politics, as it were.

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