Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji


Zen Shaman Samurai Art Director

Staying professional in an amateur world, and keeping a little Spirit, too.

Set Phasers on Kick Butt

Survived the Trip.

Camp Mitaquye Oyasin @ Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary
Click image to go big

Yeah, it's been a while, but we've been busy.

So after a stunningly long and involved process, we've successfully closed and sold the Nanuet house on Thursday, June 19th. We had to stay after the closing to finish cleaning out Thursday evening. We cleared out and have most of our stuff in storage in the trailer yard and at a storage in Berkeley Springs. We crashed overnight Thurs at a Courtyard hotel somewhere in central NJ since we were so beat (let someone else change the gorram sheets for once), and rolled in to the storage at Berkeley Springs on Friday afternoon. We swapped some household stuff for camp gear, and headed on to Four Quarters to camp. Took the weekend the heck OFF to CHILL.

We are camping out at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary [ ] while we're house-hunting in and around Berkeley Springs, WV. The folks here parked me a wired corner of their guest loft for Me to set up a workstation while we camp out. I'm plugged back in and was actually back at work the next Monday. I moved our landline number to a new mobile, so now I have an iPhone (finally, kicking and screaming -
5c 16gb) and clients will be able to find me. Huzzah. (Sprint truly sucks here at the camp - Roaming! $$$! Yoiks!)
But the neighborhood is pretty...
The neighborhood. Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary
Click image to go bigger
So that's just the HALFWAY POINT. But since we're not itinerant, transitory gypsies, we'll be motivated house hunters. Spoke to the realtor and we're going out tomorrow to look at stuff.

Adventure! Yes!
So now we're recovering from the three weeks of humping it like UPS loading dock drones, interrupted by three three-hundred mile drives. The knee/ankle/hips/shoulders have mostly stopped complaining incessantly. Heh. We're settled in at camp, working our way through the perishables from the evac'd kitchen panty and fridge. Lotta chicken and defrosted veggies in the diet lately! Right now minimal neighbors in the camp, but folks are starting to trickle in for Drum 'n' Splash that starts Wed the 2nd through the Fourth of July weekend.

We've been out on three house-hunt excursions mixed in with the online research.
Took a look at five more houses/properties Monday afternoon... brain meatz are buzzing... but have a more focused sense for what we want and what we are looking for. Now we're going to be focusing down on our candidates. Have narrowed down the candidate properties to five, with a top three to gnaw over. Woot!

Different process in WV, you organize your financing, settle on an offer price FIRST, then you call in the House Inspector, the REALTOR writes the preliminary contract BEFORE the lawyers get to work. That's different from the NYS process! Series, not parallel! Yoiks!
We've seen five that might meet our needs so far with two that floated to the top.

Of course all three of our leaders are very different, so makes the choosing ... interesting. One we saw is ... just.. barely... out.... of... reach of Comcast cable, so awaiting the results of a site inspection by the notorious telecom. (Don't hold your breath) Two of 'em have enough semi-wooded land to envision tucking a small family-size inipi (sweat lodge) out of casual view.

Through it all I have been also working, gotta keep those carefully aligned dominoes tipping or the last one just goes *klunk* and sticks. Heh. The corner of the Loft at Four Quarters has been a perfectly adequate workspace with a decent wi-fi connection for the Fantastic Realities Studio gypsy show. Clients seem to be taking the dislocation and the erratic work hours in stride and most have been supportive of the move. So long as I attend to their crisis du jour. While I moved our landline number to a verizon iPhone, so clients can still get me – surprise, the Loft building has metal siding. Damn near a faraday cage! Have to run outside to speak when I get calls. Oh well.

Stone Circle at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary
Click image to go bigger

The Gypsy workstatation of Fantastic Realities Studio, we plugged in and working.
Click image to go bigger.
Posting a couple pics from the scene here. Camp. The Stone Circle. The Watchtoad in our camp (digital zoom on iPhone cam is sketchy, yo) and Gypsy Workstation Mk II. (Note Head-san in place of honor on the window ledge. Having a bit of Buddha watching the scene can't hurt!) The new iPhone takes much better pictures than the 2-yeard old Retina iPad... well, knew that, but the Pad has it's own advantages.

Since the outer world will be slacking off over the 4th weekend, we plan to kick back a bit after Thursday and enjoy Drum 'N' Splash. I'll be teaching a workshop on Native style singing on the big drum. People have been inexperienced, but very willing, and a few are starting to get the "hollow bone" and let Spirit sing through them. The folks who come back for Stones Rising on Labor Day weekend will get a pretty much preferred seating for Spirit Drum portion of the ceremonials at the Rising. Trying to gently widen and connect the circles at all times.

The Lady will be nicking off to Georgia with her childhood BFF for the Saroi Weaving Conference in mid July and meandering back (probably via Brooklyn) after a week or so more on the road touring. Then I'm off to the Standing Bear Sun Dance July 26-Aug 2... Somewhere in there we hope to be buying a house! We'd like to be out of the camp and in a permanent address by or shortly after Stones Rising Labor on Day Weekend.

The WatchToad
Harrr! respect the mighty WatchToad!

Adventure! Yes! At the very least it hasn't been boring!

More to come.


I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Caffeine Powered

More Dominioes...

The saga of the Certificate of Occupancy continues.   

Apparently our 2nd Kitchen has never appeared in any Certificate of Occupancy...all the way back to the original construction in 1069.  So after getting a building permit and another pile of paperwork (and fees)  the upshot of the underwriters inspection is - we had to rip out, upgrade and replace ALL the outlets in the downstairs kitchen to bring them up to code. Might have been up to code in like, 1972 (questionable)... but sure as hell not to 2008 Code. Refit requires licensed electrician.
However they did get their loan approval, but under the new rules, still isn't money yet, they have to meet the Loan Conditions - while we get our C of O together - before they get Clearance to Schedule (a closing)... endless.
The electrician finished up re-mediating the kitchen electrics last night. $$$. Ding ding ding! In theory all back up to code. Then get re-inspected. Then we'll re-submit the underwriters certificate to the town. Then, again in theory, get a new Certificate of Occupancy. And yes, a gorram fee for every one of these steps. Then, via our RE Attorney, pass that to the buyers lending institution... Line up all the friggin' dominoes one more time... In the meantime the buyers are supposedly working on meeting the "Conditions of the Loan" ... Wait? what? HUH?  Endless...

Have to leave the kitchen all undone for the weekend till the inspector can come back Monday or Tuesday... Then put it all back and make neat.
Somewhere in there we have to see the oral surgeon, and have the tooth that died and abscessed under one of Heathers Caps extracted... no end of fun, but at least on the new plan, it's partly covered. So there IS an upside to the ACA at least. Under my old one, it was ALL out of pocket.

Have Willie Black Cat staying over tonight, and we'll be doing some singing and ceremony tomorrow. So that'll be a nice distraction and change of place. 

Yesterday, while waiting on the 'lectrician I flung together a logo for a not even wet-ink-on-paper-yet publishing company for my client that's doing a book project... in THIRTY MINUTES. Hyper much? But I am also designing the book... and needed the logo for the title page.  Go Me.

We'll be headed down to Four Quarters Next weekend for Beltaine, and one of my Medicine Brothers is getting handfasted. We will likely blow through Berkeley Springs (just over the hill.... well, two-three hills, but hey... ) on Friday morning to set up a storage space and maybe shuttle some stuff down, and leave the camping kit down there. Maybe visit with our RE broker and let him know we're still ALIVE, tho' most of the properties we looked at in December have either sold or fallen off the market. Alex will likely be staying down for the season to intern.

Nuthin' but adventure.  Banzai.

I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji


Abominable Winters Tale

Still here...

"No matter where you go, there you are... "

Well, we've not gone anywhere.

Our buyers ain't dead yet, but the new 2014 rules on mortgage loans have them still out in the woods. We know it's creeping along, since end of last week, they had us sign off on adding another buyer's name back to the contract, and the lender has requested more info from them. (Seems spurious, since financial institutions have amazing power to poke into people's financial records ) I suspect the lender is requesting their 2013 Tax Returns.

Still give them 50/50.... but the turnaround times are now 45-60 days on Home Mortgage loans instead of 30.  *muttergrumble * But looks like at the very least, we're spared a winter move. But living in limbo at the moment.... Prolly a couple more weeks while they play "Dead... or ALIVE?" So essentially, still don't know if we're scheduling a truck, or planning a kitchen remodel. At least we were able to pick up a (barely) used very spiffy SAORI loom for Krazycrafter, so that's taken some of the edge off her stress, but she's complaining she's going grayer faster. I do understand. Not loving the scenario, but we persevere.

Crocuses are peeking up, tho' no forsythia buds yet, and the last weather to drift through here was rain, not snow. I'll take it. However, did see some trees budding down in Brooklyn yesterday for Mom-in-law's 75th Birthday. So there's that.

Willie Black Cat is coming east on Friday for Six weeks, and that has my "Shaman sense" tingling. Sometimes on the Red Road, you get diverted from your plans (and/or life ) to be where Spirit needs you to be... It's happened before. Or maybe just need another ceremonial "push"... 

Banzai. Back to work.

I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

Still an adventure...

Looks like we’re not going anywhere, anytime soon...

Whist trying to pack up and plan, we were informed last Wednesday that our prospective buyers were denied their 2nd attempt to secure a mortgage loan - “excessive obligations in relation to income.” Well, that sure sounded encouraging. These folks have been kind of a PAIN IN THE ASS since the first offer, so we consulted with our Attorney and we're just going to let the clock run out on this one and not grant their request for a further extension of the Mortgage Commitment date - which was Friday the 21st – on the 28th, they have to formally withdraw or lose their deposit.

We're probably going to dig in for another round of light renovation, possibly redoing the KITCHEN (groan)... then re-list the house in the Spring. But we're probably going with a new Real Estate agent, Heather was not very happy with how he dismissed her concerns and preferences with a bit more “I’m the expert here” attitude than was probably called for. I might be disappointed and frustrated with this process, but she’s actually angry. And I don’t have to live with Steve the Agent. It’s been depressing to see intriguing and attractive properties slip away waiting for these people to get their *&%#@#% together. Hopefully the market will be a bit more positive in the Spring.

It did twist my innards a bit to see the property at the top of our “Possibles” list go to pending just last week. In fact, three of the properties from the possibles pic in the last post, and two more that caught our eye went to "pending" while we've been waiting around. So I am pretty content to toss these people back. That dance tied us up for months. We’ve been putzing around with these people since late October, that’s cost us four months of trying to plan, and hemorrhaging money, with moving and storage costs added to the day to day. Looks like were going to be here through the Spring likely into Summer... 

But yeah, Start Over... Grrr Arrgh. But hey, “nuthin’ but adventure” is a more encouraging phrase than “relentless hassle and stress.”

I’ve mentioned to some folk that this winter has been much more like the Northeastern Winters of my youth, Climate Change not withstanding. But it was a lot less exhausting when you’re ten years old and all you cared about was building the baddest snow fort on the block, flinging snowballs at city buses, and mom would make you hot chocolate when your fingertips turned blue. Guess this time the dice came up "freaking cold" for our region, while it was CRAZY ASS HOT in Australia. Like new colors on the weather map for heat bugf**k insane hot. But I’m REALLY pretty okay with some Spring here now.

But otherwise hanging in there. The roof DIDN'T collapse under nearly two feet of snow, despite creaky old sailing ship noises. And there's a reason why they call it a "crawlspace", people. But nothing dripping or scary cracks in the trusses.

Still working and by the way - am now a 4th Degree Black Belt, and Sensei title for the 4th time. Also pulled the trigger on Adobe Creative Cloud... was a fast and cheap(ish) way to lay my hands on Adobe Premire and After Effects, and get like ... everything else for the subscription cost. We'll see how I feel about getting married to the Gorilla; but the new video tools are pretty damn spiffy...

Here's to Spring. PLEASE. I'm starting to get too old for this...

UPDATE: [!!!] Since I pulled this together... things decided to,... evolve... heard from the RE Lawyer this afternoon with the clock ticking out... The buyers got a THIRD pre-approval... Really? Seriously? Ya know, folks... Frak it, gonna take Heather to the movies and lunch tomorrow... new Miyazaki film. Woot. But I think we're going to take the weekend to think about this one... Confidence is not high with these people. 

Frakkin' Banzai...

I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

2nd Round

Finalists Houses

Click for Biggish

Did a second round of house-hunting in West Virginia, including dodging last week's blizzard and the following ice storm... thank heavens for the realtor's 4WD F-150... We got down to three "Possibles" and four "Maybe's" - all the places are so different, it's like comparing Apples, Oranges, Watermelon...  and a mutant Starfruit. Fwincky. But moving along and packing and still trying to work,.. and deal with snowfall after snowfall.. took it upon myself to dig out the van today... again. More useful for filling with ... things, if we can get at it.

Tree as Ice Sculpture from the hotel where we waited out the ice storm.

Buyers still seem to be in the game, title inspector and appraiser have dropped by. Contingency date is Feb 21, pushed the window out to Mar 8... or thereabouts. Been slowly packing and plotting.

Dig Dug.

Click fo' da Bigga...

Of course the relentless march of this years winter storms makes it all the more tricky to try to plan the logistics. We expect to be snowed in tomorrow, 6-10 inches with some wintry mix and freezing rain to keep it interesting. Lets just say the even when I miss Karate I still get a workout. Not to mention the van is very useful for filling with...things. So kind of helps if we dig a way to GET to the beast.

Anyway, that's them up there, and no, not gonna say which one is which... and the one missing is an old farmhouse that would need a LOT of renovation. Have been on the phone with Comcast and Frontier about high-speed 'Net access.

Of course, "adventure" is a much more encouraging phrase than "overwhelming stress and hassle."


I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

In the box with that cat...


Recent Snowfal in Nanuet, NY - click for Big
Recent Storm in the Hudson Valley, NY - Click for big

I haven't been posting all THAT much, but seem to be posting more NOW the past couple months.

I was hoping to have some more substantial news to toss up by now. But we seem to be in the warm/cold, lonely/crowded bright/dim messy/neat box with Shrodinger's Cat, if you follow, being in a bit of paperwork limbo at the moment. We negotiated some last quibbles with the contract on Monday, but as of end of biz Friday, the Real Estate Lawyer had not received the buyer's paperwork and deposit. So it's all kind of on hold, planning, packing, logistics, house shopping, till that moves along. Tho' did working on staging and packing some this weekend.

We had gotten the house inspectors list with the nine items to address, including the roof. I was leaning towards giving them all the other eight, including one or two somewhat involved upgrades, to not have to deal with replacing the roof and hold the sale price. However, the buyers asked for a 2K adjustment in lieu of repairs. I was like, "works for us!," as my back-of the-envelope calcs for the upgrades were in the realm of 5-10K and we DON'T have to have contractors crawling over the place while we're trying to pack and get organized? Done! Deal!

But now waiting, a little twitchingly. What the buyer's situation might be is none of my gorram business, but I do hope nothing is going south on their end, tho' we might have suffered some weather delays.

We were hoping to get down to Berkeley Springs, WV at least once before the holiday break to look at some properties, but we'll have to see how the timeline unfolds. At least we'll have Padawan Two about for the next month and a half to add hands till he has to get back to Buff State for Spring term around end of Jan. Also was glad to have him about this weekend for the dig-out from Storm Electra. 4-5 inches with a nice shiny crust of sleet and freezing rain. Good to have a pair of strapping lads about. The photo is from an earlier, more polite snowfall this week.

I do have prayers out for SMOOTH. But if it does go pffft, we'll go to plan B, pull the listing in January, re-do the kitchen and take another shot in the spring.... Not our "Plan A" by any means, but we do at least have a contingency plan.

If it pulls together, the buyers are now looking for a closing on or about Feb 1. We'll have another (!) Winter move and probably a Housing Gap, but we've some folk down in the target region who're willing to put us up, and put up with us, while we shuffle paper at THAT end. Should be, as the Chinese say, an interesting month, might even make it to ...exciting. [Sarcasm alert.]

In the meantime, trying to get a bit caught up/ahead on work and at least get going again on staging and packing... DID discover that I had PACKED some of my Clients' Archives from '09 - with original art and animation files for a live video project that now is being updated. OPPS. I did figure out a workaround, but still OPPS. Honestly, we didn't really expect to still be here, even some of our winter stiff is packed.

Here's hoping the new week moves things forward. Not that the snowy weather has been helping...


I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

The Shadows are Moving...

The Drum set up in the Bay Window.

Last Wednesday, I hosted a song circle with Willie Black Cat and the local Tiospaye. Changleska Olowan Wakan aloh! The house still smelled of sage and chanchansa pejuta, and the bug drum is still humming with joy two days later. We set up the drum in the bay window in the lviing room. this was a wonderful setting to drum and sing in. Drum was happy. I am filled with awe and gratitude for the good friends that came out, and the amazing prayers that went into the chanupa. It may be the last circle we host at this house, and not entirely sure how I feel about it. Of course much of this house will be coming with us, tho' we're trying to shed some of the more excess chains upon our souls.

We had gotten the inspector's list, and other than the request for a new roof... the rest was mostly minor upgrades and repairs. I had been willing to give them the whole other eight items to NOT get into doing a roof job in December, but a couple of items were not all that trivial, while others were less so after getting some clarification from the Inspector and the building Department. But the buyer was willing to forgo repairs in return for a 2K reduction of the price. Since one of the more intricate items would likely run TWICE that... much less the rest. We're all in... seller's lawyer accepted the deal, and somewhere out there, I think I hear another domino beginning to creak over.

Note, still don't know where we're GOING... so have more dominoes to line up... big monolith sized ones.. .made of NEUTRONIUM. But may very well be lined up to go to contract possibly this coming week. Tomorrow will be wrapping up the Drum and Chant workshop series I had been doing at a Craft shop in the city. Supposed to be Wintry Mix in NYC tomorrow afternoon/evening, so turnout among the publicly transported will likely be .. suppressed. With a whimper, folks.

Don't quite know how we'll be celebrating Solstice this year.. or any one of the other winter hols... but a trip south to scout Real Estate and check out potential financing options. If the June January 15th (D'oh!)  potential closing date holds... looks to be a BUSY few weeks coming up... But did pick up a little something for the Lady today... life careens on.


I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Misbehave, Serenity, Mal

Another Lodge, and back to work.

We had a very nice Sweat Lodge on Saturday with WIllie Black Cat up near Neversink, really hot at the end, and lots of singing! It was kind of pretty with a light cover of snow around the lodge site. Brisk, tho'. But not at all terrible as there was nearly no wind to chill us off. It was also nice to have some other experienced sweat people so Janet Weber I didn't have to do nearly everything, and get in the lodge to just pray and sing.

There were also nearly a dozen pipe carriers present! So a lot of Chanupa's at the end of the day!

Will be back to work and possibly contract negotiations today if the lawyers are up on the back and forth'. We have the inspectors list of nine items, and am leaning towards just giving them the other eight items to NOT have to do a roof job and hold the price line. But I don't think that anyone honestly expects us to be replacing a roof in the middle of December, so pretty much probably a negotiating point. But I want things to be smooth. No crazy, no bare knuckles please. Also the start of the month and a paperwork day... ergh. But no invoice, no pay. Huzzah.

Hoping to have Willie over with a few folks to do a little singing with the big drum Wednesday night.

Waste aloh.

I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Samurai Art Guy  -Saturn Kanji

First Offer

 Well. We have an offer.

An insultingly low offer, but our first offer none the less. Want to know how low? Once you factor in the realtor's commission, the offer comes out to actually net LESS that what we paid for the place in 2001! Um, gee... thank you, but NO. I know it's a standard negotiating tactic to put in a low initial offer, but that's serious low-balling and this ain't a fire sale, folks. 

Krazycrafter figured out that we're probably better off holding out for the next buying season in the Spring. So barring legitimate offers, hanging in for a bit yet. So looks like winter in the Hudson Valley.

I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

Misbehave, Serenity, Mal

Fall, House, and Knee

Well, here we are. And I'll NOT quote Buckaroo Banzai this time but rather...
"I may walk out if here, but you... are not going anywhere." - Sir Lawrence Oliver, The Boys From Brazil.
Yeah well... Stil here, no offers. And I am wondering if the Government Shutdown and near destruction of the Republic put rich people off on house shopping. Ugh. I do realize that being a seller if a buyers market is a game of patience, but it is stressful. KrazyCrafter's getting a bit stress-evil wth it all, and house showings are tapering off... Broker assures us that if we’ve no offers by Thanksgiving, we’re probably here for the winter... so like 9 months behind Ms H’s preferred schedule. I tread carefully round her when she's feeling grousy on the subject... Black belt not withstanding, I shut my face and cut her some slack, and some space.

But it's still a Northeastern Fall, and we had a couple of cool days and our first front recently... and BOOM. Colors! Going into Halloween, we still had a lot of green and the leaves we're coming down rather casually, but now it's full on. Check it.

Fall Preview 2013 - more under the cut!
Click for Big - and full Gallery under the cut.

Fall 2013 Images - Clicky! You KNOW you want the pretty!Collapse )

Going to bitch a little about my knee now.. Knee has been just terrible -same side as bad ankle - since Wednesday, but really bad Friday and yesterday. Really noticed in training Saturday morning. Without a sturdy base, I could really feel about a 20-40% drop in the power and crispness of my hand techniques. Pivot turns in kata were just... *badz wordz.* I wonder if I stressed it somehow, but don't really know. Might be the advent of cool weather - the ankle certainly notices it. But it's annoying as hell to be on the same leg as the ankle I had broken. Today I was out to a Bardic teaching gig, and had both the knee and heavy ankle brace and Griff's gentleman's walking stick - and it's a little better.

But do have to say that proper Fall was QUICK.... just a couple weeks of color change and all our leaves are nearly down. Just the big sweetgum that had such a bad time in the Halloween Surprise Blizzard is holding out. Bastardo! So holding off the big leaf job!

Last ranty bit... I was gonna mouth off about all the noise and thunder about Obamacare... Maybe next time. But THIS.

It used to be that the Christmas season didn't start till Santa rode down 5th Avenue on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade float.. at the END. Christmas season now starts the day after LABOR DAY, with brief interruptions for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Now the howling merchants are rolling over Thanksgiving. Stay home and celebrate and appreciate your families? Oh HELL no. Get out and SHOP!!! Repugnant. Even as a Pagan, I find Santa Claus unstaging Jesus on his own birthday celebration to be unseemly. Mass of Christ. HELLO.

I don't plan on setting foot in a store for anything but groceries that entire weekend. Willie Black Cat is out east... so there will be ceremony to support and partake of... Washte. Works for me.


I'm also exploring a journal at Dreamwidth.

You are viewing samuraiartguy