San Francisco Book Launch

Photos from my 1st-cousin-once-removed C'Anna:
9918710184_fc06ad4ff6_h

9918639156_4f57d37dcf_h

9918633955_067af59673_h
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 6.09.34 PM

9918791073_7c2e0bca5e_h
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 6.03.16 PM

9918794013_30285f7107_h
"Dinah gets some help serving drinks from a tall handsome stranger" [who was at Alembic Bar when I was there before the event]

9918787343_1ed9c99ef7_h
"This lucky fellow won a traveling cocktail bar courtesy of Dinah"

9918705964_1223f66c1c_h
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 6.14.44 PM

9918649406_057fa9c95d_h
"Kelly quite conveniently won the other portable bar"
[She was super excited about that bar! She and her pals were very keen competitors in our game.]

9918644496_22779bb200_h
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 6.20.40 PM

Announcing The Art of the Shim—a new book from Dinah!

Hooray! My second book, The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level, is now out in hardcover and ebook.

Building this book has been a fun time and—due to an aggressive sub-one-year production schedule—a challenge, but the results are beautiful. Kelly Puleio's photography is even better than my high hopes and the production quality on this, the first offset printed title from Sanders & Gratz, is excellent. I'm very happy that the book has the sturdiness to serve its readers many years on their bar shelves.

Along the way I've been expanding my skills even further into the publisher realm. (Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff is print-on-demand in its paperback form, so inventory management and distribution is a new adventure.)

Some of the lessons have been painful. I've now learned the hard way that Amazon's record of a book can apparently get messed up if the release date is before Ingram has their copies on hand—or at least that's the only explanation I can find for Amazon suddenly switching the book's status to "Out of Print–Limited Availability" sometime between midday Saturday and midday Sunday last weekend. We're now on day four of no order button for the hardcover, which is enough to make anyone trying to launch a book tear their hair out.

In the meantime, I'm keeping fans of Bibulo.us and the book updated on Twitter and Facebook. Also taking deep breaths and saying "calm blue ocean" a lot.

Copies of the book are now in stock at Ingram's Oregon distribution center and lots more will be arriving at their Tennessee one today or tomorrow. Perhaps that will help kick the Amazon status back to normal (though I fear that if their techs don't identify and eliminate the bug, the problem would just come back the next time Ingram or their on hand count hits zero).

Next Tuesday (9/17) will be the New York launch at Pouring Ribbons bar and a week from Monday (9/23) will be the San Francisco celebration at The Booksmith bookstore. Looking forward to those events very much!

Even with bumps on the road, I'm having a great time as an author and a publisher!

The Week Behind

It's been a good week, with much satisfaction arising from the current book project, The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level. All the amazing conversations of the week before and much digging in old cocktail books, thinking about principles of drink creation have been percolating in my head. This resulted on Tuesday in my finalizing the first draft of the Bibulo.us Cocktail Taxonomy and posting it for comment. Mostly Twitter chatter in reaction so far, but the process of articulating my principles for others has, as usual, clarified them and this structure is performing well as I continue to research old recipes and organize the book's recipe candidates.

This pleasant creative burbling all week was accompanied by a big experiential spike in the form of an amazing concert Sunday at the new SF Jazz Center in honor of Bobby Hutcherson. Wonderful sound and great performers! Such a joy to have this resource so close to our home.

Around those themes the week swirled along quite well with a nice mix of home life and time out on the town and up in Napa county for Joe's work.

Proud: I have been keeping up my exercise routine! Between the Fitbit, the treadmill desk, and Zombies, Run! I am able to make myself put in the effort and seeing my strength and endurance grow as a result. Very pleasing!

Completed: I think I can now say I've achieved mastery on maintaining a beautiful, uncluttered living space with minimal effort. Still projects to be completed and undulation in tidiness from day to day, but in general the place is within ten minutes of "company-ready" pretty much all the time. The fortnightly visit from the maid who does my most-hated chores (vacuuming and scrubbing porcelain) has helped tremendously in letting me put my energy into things that pay off without driving me nuts.

Learned: Twitter may not seem like it eats much time to quickly check now and then, but it is a huge time-suck if not constrained. Trying out a Pomodoro method timer to help keep me on track and not ducking into email/Twitter/etc every 10 or 15 minutes. Getting better at managing this will help me not only with completing the current to-do's but also with staying focused on work as my social media activity grows when the book comes out.

Inspired: The barfolk I've been talking to as I research the book have been just marvelous; generous, enthusiastic, customer-focused. Really looking forward to working with them a lot this year.

Feeling great

My relationship with my body is doing so much better since I started exercising and eating fresh foods more! I feel stronger and more alive.

Some of that liveliness may be coming by contrast to the less articulate of my coaches: the shambling hordes of zombies pursuing me at least three times a week, thanks to Zombies, Run! Great writing, voice acting, and a compelling story fight against procrastination to make sure I keep on my exercise schedule of 30-60 minutes at over 3.1mph on the treadmill every other day. That's enough to get me in a great sweat and (I think, though I'm not measuring it) get my heart rate up.

I'm walking fast rather than running because it's so much gentler on my body. With my previously injuries to knee, ankle, toes, it's better to play it safe and steady.

I'm now trying to do 12,000 steps a day, including on days when I don't have a workout. The treadmill desk really helps for that. I don't always make it, but now I'm embarrassed to end the day under 7,000 steps, so I can tell I've created a good new normal.

The desk has also made me really good at typing under odd circumstances. Currently going 3.5mph. Usually, I'm going about 2.1mph or so, but the music was so good when the last mission ended seven minutes ago, I just kept going at the same pace as we went into radio mode. Hadn't even noticed I was still moving that fast. Yay!

In parallel, I've upped our produce delivery from Planet Organics to come every week instead of every other, which means I'm eating a meal of a big chopped salad or pan-seared greens several times a week now.

I've also gotten the app Paprika for my iPad, which I'm using to create recipes for all the things I know how to cook, to remind myself to do that more instead of ordering in, eating something pre-packaged, or going to a restaurant. Just went through all my Flickr photos in the past week and captured lots of reminders of recipe names and images, plus in some cases detailed recipes where I'd written them up. There really is something motivating about a personalized cookbook. Haven't gotten into using Paprika's other menu planning and shopping list features, but am looking forward to them in future.

All in all, I'm feeling really good, which was the main motivation for this. Going down in weight or clothing sizes might be nice, especially if it reopens certain options in my wardrobe, but it's really about feeling strong and happy and healthy.

More lovely cheeses

Sometime last month we had another amazing cheese plate at Jardiniere. This time it included the following:

– Bent River, cow, from Alemar in Mankato, Minnesota

– Etude, goat, from Andante in Petaluma, California

– Calvander, raw cow, from Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

– Hudson Red, washed raw cow, from Twin Maple in Ghant, New York

– Shaker's Blue, raw sheep blue, from Old Chatham in Old Chatham, New York

Their selection has been wonderful in 2012 for showcasing great U.S. dairies. Well worth a visit for a cocktail and cheese plate at the bar.