Saturday, May 08, 2010

Printing the TRO...

This JagerMech will NOT be in the TRO
...but it sure looks cool, doesn't it?


This week there isn’t much happening. Sorry.

Well, at least not on the TRO front. I am now working on swing shift (1430-2300) at my job. It keeps me busy, but I don’t get to see much of my wife and son.

The weather outside is wonderful today – warm, but not too warm. And sunny.

- I have sent off a reminder to Geoff concerning the final polish on the Scorpion entry.

- Lee Madison has not responded to any of my emails, so that’s it for him.

- Eric Ou has agreed to give a shot at some background art – after all, he does ‘Mechs and people quite well – and I think he wants more practice at buildings. So he will be working on the CM-33 and the Merkava MkVII.

- I have another artist interested in doing background work; I am going to give her a shot at one of the other CG pieces we have, possibly the Centaurus or the Ocelot II.

- Our layout man Josh is recovering his strength; meanwhile he has enlisted his sweetie’s aid to begin moving things forward. I have been getting more email from him as he adjusts to the meds and he has said he is going to see this through.

- Sent a payment off to David Dryburgh today. I am down to $240 with him. Also shot off the last of the money I owe to Eric Ou, though that will change as he begins background work.


I sent the vacuum out for repair today (it is a Rainbow, an older model D2-something from the mid-1990s). I was fairly drooling at the newest Echo model, but even with all the incentives, I cannot afford it. It is a wonderful machine and the repairman (who is also a salesman) gave me no pressure, but was obviously proud of his latest unit. My son was also impressed.

I was mightily afflicted with technolust when I got a demo of the Kirby vacuum, but experience with HEPA type filters says that if the unit pulls as much dirt from my carpet as the demo model did, I will be motoring through bags pretty damned fast. The HEPA filters clog up quick, far faster than the time it will take to fill a bag. I will lose that wonderful suction shortly after I begin cleaning.

To be honest, the Kirby salesman himself was an unpleasant experience; he was trying to play me for all he was worth, using every trick in the book to manipulate me during his three-hour ‘free cleaning’. I guess he thought I was completely ignorant of the HEPA restrictions and was fooled by the temporary filters he used (to good effect) and then laid all over my carpet. I had to help his assistant pick up over 200 filters before I could get them out the door at 2200!

That said, I was still amazed at the amount of crap that machine could pull from my carpet. However, they want $2100 for the unit with all the goodies. I looked it up on Ebay after he left and a used unit with overhauled fan cost only $650, which included shipping. I may get one eventually, but learned a bit from the salesman despite his machinations. I have not been changing the water in my Rainbow enough, and that seriously affects its ability to retain dirt in the water bowl. Too much crap quickly turns the water to soup, which does not move very fast and does not pick up dirt as well either.

The sticking point with the Kirby is the filter bag. In order to get maximum suction, I will go through filter bags very quickly. Like a computer printer, the unit itself is not terribly expensive ($695 is cheap). However, the bags are $3 a pop. Just like printer cartridges, the major expense is with the consumable element.

Dances and Paintboxes

My son is preparing for the Jr. High Prom, which is a semi-formal affair. Too bad he is going stag, but he has new shoes and a frilly new shirt and bow tie. With his suit jacket and vest, it looks a lot like a tux. Looking good, son! I have no idea if they will be jerkin’, but his footwear is suited for it.

Towering over a proud mother...

I am also in the process of revamping my painting kit. This is a briefcase I modified back in 1991 to carry acrylic paints, paintbrushes and so on. It was necessary so that I could go to sea and keep all this stuff in a stand-up locker. Convenient, portable and a nice partner to my miniatures case (similar, but which holds all my fantasy miniatures), this portable painting center went through several changes of paint and brushes over twelve years. Nearly twenty years later, I am going through and refurbishing it. The original foam which holds the paints in place (mostly Games Workshop stuff, with a few Vallejos) is rotting and I am finally replacing the cigar box which held my paint brushes as well.

I found a likely cigar box with metal hinges and glued it in place. After pulling the disintegrating foam out, I am sizing up another piece to glue in. Hopefully Michaels will have one of those electric foam cutters and some spray glue (the 777 stuff works best, but is also the most expensive). Otherwise I will have to purchase some additional foam. The stuff I have is too thick.

Momma won a bit down at the casino yesterday, so we are flush. I sent some dough off to artists, set my son up for Summer School PE and paid for the vacuum repair. Back to budgeting! Bill has not contacted me about any airsoft events, so we will see what happens. I don’t know, though. Much as I like airsofting, there are only two days of the week when I get to hang out with my son and talk to my wife now. Seems a shame to spend one of them away at some event from morning ‘til night.

The Plan for Printing the TRO!

I thought about this a lot and kicked some ideas around. After talking to Bill, it seems the best way to do this is as follows:

1. Get the TRO done and in PDF format. This is the tough part.

2. Contact the people who are going to actually bind the book and see if they can do the whole thing versus having Fedex Office do the printing and send it out for binding. There might be a price break somewhere in there.

3. Borrow $600. I already have a source lined up for this.

4. Make an initial print run of twenty copies. I selected this number because it offers the best price break at the lowest startup cost. Furthermore, I will definitely sell at least this many copies.

5. When I sell the books, each will sell for exactly my cost to produce them plus shipping. No more, no less.

6. When all of the books have sold, I will have $600 again.

7. Start at Step #4 again. I can keep this up as long as the books sell. Eventually I will take the money I borrowed and return it to the source with interest. And other than my time, everyone (except my loaner) will break even. At least, in an ideal situation.

Doing it this way means I will have books available to everyone that wants one. Now, it’s true that eventually no one will order a book. And I will be stuck with a number of copies on hand. But with some careful pre-order collection, I should be able to move nearly all of them and cover the remainder out of my own pocket. I’m sure requests will dribble in from time to time and I can sell the books as time goes by.

The only drawback is that after the initial print runs, I will return the borrowed money and that’s it – no more print versions other than what is on hand. So folks are going to have a three-month window at best before I stop producing print versions.

Those of you who have donated a certain amount of money via the PayPal button are going to get first shot at the initial print run. You will still have to pay for your copy – I have to break even in order to get another set of books printed – but you won’t have to wait for the second, third, whatever print order to be completed to get yours. Head of the line privilege, as they said back in my Navy days.

Hope you have a good week.

Thanks for stopping by.



Electromage said...

1st of all, the "JagerMech" looks more like an advanced "Rifleman" to me.

2nd, why won't it make the TRO, to many pages or some other reason?

I do love the pic though; I'll probably stat it out myself & use it for a future game. ;)

Got any more goodies NOT making it into the TRO?

Steven Satak said...

Well, it IS a JagerMech. It was one of several machines we decided could us a new look when Eric Ou had some spare time.

It has no stats because it was never an entry for the TRO. Neither was the Wraith, though I tried and tried to get a variant worth the name into the TRO.

Sorry, we have the Pillager and that is about it. The image is okay, but not in the same class as Eric's work.


Doug said...

Put me down for a printed TRO for sure!

Ian said...

Publishing is hardly my domain of expertise _but_ I have to imagine there's other businesses out there that would take better care of you. Have you considered other avenues like ?

Steven Satak said...

Oh, absolutely.

The trouble is the traditional TRO format, which is landscape 11.5 x 8. Lulu will not touch it, for some reason. Just doesn't handle it. It seems to be an unusual format and I have not found any other place that handles it for a better price.

Remember that the printer I am using is local, which is an advantage as far as I am concerned. And they don't seem to have a problem with either the format or the choice of binding (Perfect) or the weight of paper.


Ian said...

Man, that's a bummer...