Tips for Creating a Chapbook

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If you don’t know already, a chapbook is a small book filled with poetry, usually from the same poet. It is usually less than fifty pages in length. I just got done making one with my creative partner, using my mother’s poetry. Here are some hints of how we got it done:

The first step in creating a chapbook is to pick the poems. It’s best if they follow a theme.

Next, decide what embellishments or illustrations are going to be used. They can be anything from clipart to photos to illustrations. I used pen and ink illustrations, reduced town to pure black and white, one to a poem. So the format had one poem with one facing illustration. It’s best if there is spacing between poems like that, so each one can be savored and enjoyed individually.

Next, decide the format. We chose 6″ by 9″ perfect bound, because it allowed higher quality than a folded, stapled, booklet style, at the same time as being less expensive to print. Shop around, both at your local business supply stores, as well as at online self publishing places like CreateSpace.

Then, get the illustrations and decide what is going to go with what. Choose a good, readable font, and if the font is going to be some kind of handwriting, make sure it’s large enough to read. As you format the poems, make sure you know how wide the margins should be with the publisher you have picked.

Design the cover – again, check the minimum print resolution – how many pixels for inch, measurements, that kind of thing. Make sure to leave space for the bar code if you are using CreateSpace.

Tip: When creating the interior file, make sure you set the page size and margin width before you begin, that way you are doing it correctly from the start.

Lastly, when everything is the way you want it, convert the file to PDF. Do the same thing with the cover art. The PDF format locks the file so your format stays the same and can’t be changed. It forces the printer to make it just as you wanted it. LibreOffice will do file conversions very easily, and GIMP will convert your cover art into a PDF as well. Both are free programs with no ads or spyware.

Then send your PDFs to the printer, whether it’s an office supply store’s printing services, or CreateSpace, or wherever you want to use. Happy creating!

Favorite Home Remedies for Cough

Having just gotten over a nasty case of bronchitis, home remedies have become foremost in my thoughts. Some home remedies are better and more effective than anything on the drug store counter. Here are a few of my favorites:

For cough, a spoonfull of honey can help. Black tea with honey is better. It soothes the throat. Breathing eucalyptus and mint steam is good for congestion and cough.

Hot, steamy showers help break up congestion and let you cough up phleghm too. And when my cough gets really bad, a half shot of peppermint schnapps helps better than regular cough syrup.

Sore throats are soothed by horehound lozenges. This type of candy is great for that!

Regular cough drops are good, I like Ricola or Fisherman’s Friend. So is a peppermint herbal inhaler, or Vicks. Just breathing the vapor from an open tub of it is good.

Another great remedy is ginger tea with honey. You can make that from fresh or dried ginger, or even powder.

I made a great throat remedy by mixing powdered spiced cider with ginger and hot water, with a little honey added. Made my throat feel great.

It’s also said that eating a clove of garlic a day, swallowed with water, helps the lungs. Chewing on parsley afterwards helps the breath.

Chicken soup or even just broth is good to make your throat feel better.

Salt water gargles are good for the throat too.

Also, it helps to know what the cough is caused by. If it’s a dry, itchy cough that doesn’t produce much, you are safe to use a cough syrup with dextromethorphan, such as Tussin. If it produces mucous, it’s a better idea to try tea and hot steamy showers, because you want that junk out of your lungs.

How to make your Human move off your chair

When your human is sitting in your chair and you want to sleep in it, it cna be difficult to get them to move.  Luckily, there is a strategy.  As a good and cunning cat, here’s what you do.
1. Meow, look at them cutely, ask for pettings.
2. Meow some more, move over to the couch.  Gesture at them to follow.
3. When human moves to couch, meow and accept pettings. It’s best to reward your human for good behavior.
4. Hop up on your chair while it’s still warm, and fall asleep. Your human will be fine on the couch.

Arizona Monsoon Probability Chart

Arizona Monsoon Precipitation Probability Chart

If the weather forecaster says we’re going to have a 10% chance of rain, it will probably at least sprinkle.

If she says 20%, it will definitely sprinkle.

If she says 30%, it will rain.

If she says 40%, break out the wipers and umbrellas.

If she says 50%, get ready to be soaked.

If she says 60%, get the boats.

If she says 70%, get IN the boats.

If she says 80%, better expect a big thunderstorm too.

If she says 90%, you might get blown away on top of it all.

And if she says it’s 100% chance of rain with heavy thunderstorms, flooding, and hurricane force gales, and everybody lays out sandbags, and offices close down, and people stay off the roads…

… it might sprinkle.

How long is a moment?

Many don’t know this but a moment actually has a fixed length. In Medieval Europe, the hour was forty “momentums” long. (Momenta? Momenti?) If you do some calculations you will find that each moment lasts ninety seconds. The meaning still holds today. So if someone says “just a moment,” there is something you can hold them to.

In my line of work, people get picky about language. It’s frowned upon (quality assurance would say forbidden) to say “just a moment” when you need a customer to wait for you to do something. The reason given is that a moment is too vague and you should say “one to two minutes” or however long your task will actually take. The idea is to be precise and hold to your promises.

So I enjoy giving my team lead crap when they bring it up. “What do you mean, I can’t say ‘just a moment?’ Hey, that’s exact! A moment is ninety seconds!”

Little by little, my momentum builds.


A polymath is a person who is good at many subjects and skills. They have a lifelong love of learning and they consider all knowledge to be of use to them. Sometimes a polymath will have multiple talents, such as in music, art, architecture, and mathematics, or sometimes their only talent is in persistance.

I am not yet a polymath but I certainly wish to be one. Three examples of famous polymaths are Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Charles Lindbergh. I have known a few true polymaths. They are fun to be around! Unfortunately, I think the modern world doesn’t value these people as much as it once did. That’s too bad because polymaths, not specialists, drive progress.

In his book, “Time Enough for love,” Robert Heinlein said it well.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

What do you think? Have you met a polymath? Are you one? If not, do you want to be one? If not, why not?