Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This week in the studio and a furry interloper

Lots going on in the studio this week (sometimes in our pajamas):

Busy, busy.

And now for our weekend wildlife encounter. We had some friends over and had just put some potato chips in a bowl for them (because we're fancy) when I saw a horrible thing: a ragged little hole gnawed through the side of the bag. You could see the toothmarks. It was particularly tragic because a) our friends were hungry and dinner wasn't ready yet and b) these were Martin's Bar-B-Q Waffle Potato Chips, which we had lovingly imported from Hanover, Pennsylvania. They are an exotic delectable that cannot be found in the state of North Carolina.

And since the intruder not only ate our chips but also probably enjoyed several satisfying poops in them (do you know this about mice? they poop everywhere) we had to wrench the bowl from our guests' hands and toss the chips.

Then the next morning when Josh opened the pantry for some cereal, he had a standoff with the Rodent of Unusual Taste in Snack Foods. A battle ensued that ended in the mouse's cartoonish escape, complete with a sliding skid across the kitchen floor, all while maintaining terrified eye contact with a broom-wielding Josh.

Not long after that we learned--please don't ask me how, it was a gruesome morning--that we are dealing with more than one mouse. "Mice" sounds much worse than "mouse" because it is much worse. More poop. More violation of our pantry.

Anyway, we've identified their point of entry. A sheet of taped-down aluminum foil seems to be holding them at bay. For the moment. Wish us luck.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vintage Schwarzenegger and some goals for 2013

We don’t really have any 2013 resolutions for BBB because, let’s be honest, in my experience “New Year’s resolution” is generally synonymous with “thing I’m going to eventually have to feel guilty about not doing.” Goals, though, are different. We’ve got lots of those.

And really, all our smaller goals come back to our one big goal, which is to take our business out of the realm of hobby-dom and turn it into something that does more than just pay for itself.

We’ve been having lots of conversations about what exactly that means and what we need to do to get it there. After asking ourselves lots of uncomfortable questions (How does one get a business license? What does “incorporated” mean? When do we have to start doing something fancy with our taxes?), we made a list of some of the things we plan to accomplish during the next 12 months:

1) Make more stuff. At the bottom of every page on the Bunny Suicides calendar hanging in our studio, we’re writing down some production goals for the month. It helps.

2) Sell more stuff. There are some BBB books at Vespertine in Carrboro and others roaming around the country with Bill and Vicky of Vamp and Tramp Booksellers, but we want to make it easier for people to buy our books online. We’ll look into setting up a shop on Etsy or some similar online marketplace. Any recommendations? Preferences?

3) Keep the studio clean. This is not easy, given that our studio is also our garage, and it houses all manner of crap. We cleaned it over the holidays because it had gotten, um, very bad. I wish we had some “before” photos to truly horrify you, but rest assured that it was so bad that this is what it looked like after we cleaned:

Anyway, when the studio is a mess, we just don’t want to be out there and it keeps us from getting anything done. And really, garage clutter is just a nicer way of saying “spider sanctuary.” I found a black widow out there once, so yeah – we’re going to try to keep it tidy.

4) Revamp our website. It needs a facelift, for sure.

5) Talk more about what we’re doing. On the blog, on Facebook, maybe on Instagram. And we want to hear from you, too!

In other news, I defy you to find a better use for red wine than what we found last night when we used it to dull our senses as we watched The Running Man. I spent the better part of 2012 on an inexplicable Stephen King kick, so I read (or reread – don’t judge me) a lot of his books. And the book version of The Running Man was super entertaining. Well, in that horrifying, occasionally misogynistic way that old Stephen King books are entertaining.

The movie, though. Oof. So terrible. And really only loosely related to the original plotline. But here’s what the movie had going for it: Vintage can’t-touch-his-elbows-together Schwarzenegger. Gratuitous dance scenes choreographed by Paula Abdul. Angry Jesse Ventura. And Dweezil Zappa, looking exactly like the offspring of Frank Zappa and Weird Al Yankovic.

I was pretty delighted by the whole thing. Josh, on the other hand, endured it as a kind of Zen exercise in patience.

Anyway, how about you? Any favorite terrible movies? Or goals for 2013? “Avoid the gym with dignity” counts.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Meet the new Blue Bluer blogger and business partner

2012 was a busy year at Blue Bluer Books headquarters. There were many new projects and partnerships—I tried to keep you updated about them through the blog and our Facebook page, but I’m sure some slipped through the cracks. We’ll have a post soon with some of last year’s highlights. But the big news today is that I decided to take on a business partner. Well, we’ve been partners for a while now—more importantly she agreed to take on the role officially. Meet my wife, Margarite!

Over the holidays, Josh came to the same conclusion as a lot of small-business owners before him: it’s tough doing every little thing yourself. For years now, he’s maintained the website, updated the blog, marketed his work, and coordinated all the deadlines and vendors for Blue Bluer Books, eventually leaving him with not a whole lot of time to actually make books.

I’ve helped out behind the scenes for almost as long as we’ve been married (cough seven years cough). Usually, I tear paper down to size for blank books and punch holes for sewing stations. I also offer a steady stream of enthusiasm and unsolicited advice at no extra charge. But now that it’s 2013, we're making it official.

For now, Josh will do most of the making while I do most of the telling, but I’m sure we’ll each help the other out, like we do in everything else. We make an excellent team.

True story: Josh and I met at work. In a library. In a book repair lab. Coolest job ever.

We both have different day jobs now, but we both still love books and writing and making things with our hands. So we’re really excited to be working together more on Blue Bluer Books, turning it into something even bigger and better in 2013. And excited to tell you all about it!