09:53 – Friday the 13th falls on a Friday this month.
We awoke this morning to a gray, dreary, spring-like day. When I took Colin out, it was 56F (13C) and drizzling. Colin is delighted that Barbara is home again. She called me yesterday just as she was leaving Winston. I drove the Trooper over to B&T Tire to drop it off with Lynn, who’s going to check the radiator and hoses to figure out why it’s leaking. A few minutes after I handed Lynn the key, Barbara pulled into the parking lot to pick me up.
On the way home, we stopped at Lowes to pick up some groceries, and then at the Dr. Grabow factory. It had been 20 years or more since I’d bought a new pipe. Other than a couple I got when I first started smoking a pipe–long since retired–most of my pipes are mid-range to high-end. None of them were cheap. For example, even 20+ years ago, I paid $300+ each for my Dunhill ODA pipes, and nearly as much for the other big-name brands. At that time, even the most expensive Dr. Grabow pipes were $8 or $10 each. Pipe connoisseurs sneered at them as “drugstore pipes”.
But what I discovered over the years was that there wasn’t any discernible difference in smoking quality between a $400 pipe and a a $75 pipe. They were all pipes. The only difference was that the expensive pipes used top-quality brier, while the cheaper ones used brier that needed fill to patch the gaps in the surface. A chunk of brier large enough for a pipe that’s perfect might cost $150, while a chunk with minor flaws/fills might sell for $20. I didn’t care about the appearance, so I stopped paying premium prices for perfect pipes. So I picked up a new pipe at the Dr. Grabow factory yesterday. It was in the most expensive group they had, retail-priced at $58, but available from the factory store for $40. I smoked it yesterday and this morning. It smokes as well as my expensive pipes. I’ll probably pick up another one or two of these cheap pipes and retire some of my oldest ones.
We got a bulk order for chemistry kits yesterday afternoon from a state university. Those are stacked awaiting pickup out in the foyer. That order wiped out our entire chemistry kit inventory, so we’ll be building another batch over the weekend. We also have another bulk custom order from a state distance-learning program for 30 each of some custom chemicals that we package for them, so that goes on the schedule for this weekend as well.
I finished the copy-edit pass on Franklin Horton’s latest Borrowed World PA novel. That got me to wondering again if I could write PA fiction, so I spent a couple hours yesterday working on a sample chapter. Writing fiction is very different from what I’m used to. Writing non-fiction, I spend probably 90% of my “writing” time looking things up, experimentally verifying things, and so on. Writing fiction, I can just sit down and write. It flows. What I don’t know is whether I can plot, write narrative, write dialog, and so on. I asked Franklin if he’d mind looking over a sample chapter once I finished it and give my his honest opinion about whether I could write fiction. He said he’d be happy to do so.