Category Archives: indie
As long-time readers will know, I count three Huskies as my babies. They make life exciting and irritating by turns. Especially when they engage stealth hunting mode. While on leash. I’m not sure whether it was a fox, or a raccoon, or some other local wildlife making do in the cracks of nature available in our neighborhood, but whatever it was inspired Santino to chase around me as if I were a tree… and fell me in similar manner. I have the road rash and bruises to prove it, and my battle scars are enough to have kept me stiff and uncomfortable for most of the week.
The super-hot, super-humid weather hasn’t been my friend in this either.
I just discovered, though, looking back at my tracking app… we still managed to walk every night. We totaled 14.92 miles over the course of the week. And my tracking app emailed me a congratulatory note that last night’s walk was the 400th workout I had logged that way.
I suppose, though, the real distraction those wounds offered was an aversion to resting my scraped, bruised wrist on the mouse pad to do much productive computing. It didn’t help, either, that hubs decided (and friends conspired to support him) to continue celebrating my birthday throughout the week.
So we’ve been watching more episodes of Sherlock. The writing and layers of storytelling in that show are provocative and smart, and the unsentimental depiction of a deep friendship that acknowledges the warts of each personality but nonetheless cherishes each partner for his strengths is instructive for any fiction writer. We’ve even been watching some of the making-of shorts, which explore the ways this series is bringing the Conan Doyle cannon into the modern day. There was one about the women in the series that I found particularly interesting, precisely because it illustrated how small, character-driven choices can make big changes in the overall flavor of a story. That this incarnation of Mrs. Hudson is an older woman exploring the misplaced mothering inclinations is a subtle departure from the “long-suffering” woman portrayed by Conan Doyle. Yet it speaks to how interpreting words on a page can vary across time and in different minds.
This week, again, I heard horrible news from both a friend and a relative about two different dogs. One who’d been killed by getting run over, and the other who was diagnosed with Histiocytosis last week. It seems fortuitous that hubs found an article outlining the steps to recover from personal trauma this week, so I’m sharing it for anyone else who’s been bowled over by emotional pain. And sending warm fuzzies (from T. A. for Tots, for those of you who are in my generation) and healing energy to those who might need it. Similarly, 33 quotes from Lao Tzu might help remind us all that life is beset with difficulties, and finding our way toward equilibrium is an ongoing challenge.
I will be looking for that equilibrium myself, this week, as we return to a more normal schedule. I’m planning on actual word production for once, and intend for next week to include progress on that front. In the meantime, check out how my ROW80 compatriots are doing with their goals.
It’s that time of year again when the acceleration of time once again slaps me in the face. My birthday last year was in the midst of the crazy to get everything packed into two small trucks to drive across country with all our belongings. It had already been a series of long, difficult years with little time for anything other than studying and working, so the move compounded all the stress. A year on, and I finally feel like I’m a crocus in spring, carefully poking my head out of the hibernation of just surviving into the sunshine of an interesting world. I’ve had the joy of discovering our back porch is an idyllic place to recline and watch birds dive-bomb each other while the clouds scud by. For the first time in ages, I could take a weekend for myself and stay up until 4am finishing a book that caught my fancy without worrying about crunching for a deadline because of it.
In other words… I’m a kid again. Indulging my bookaholic tendencies and finding more time for zen togetherness and happy cuddles.
Of course, that means I’m shirking my manuscripts… Though today I had an idea for how to handle my revisions that was more energizing than daunting, so maybe I’ll get on track soon. I’ve said it often enough that it rings hollow to me, but in the wake of a weekend with a massage and facial… my brain is starting to feel uncramped enough to kick into writing. Plus, I found a BuzzFeed post with happy-making doggie gifs that still makes me smile.
We also had a great week of walking: Every night, at least two miles, for a total of 14.7 miles. Of course, part of that was driven by the fact that our youngest pup (now 9.5 months) started her first heat cycle… meaning we couldn’t take them for their normal burn-off-the-excess-steam day at Affectionate… and KouKi spent several nights waking us at 2-hour intervals to see whether it was finally time to GO! Without at least some kind of work-out… I think we would count more than a rug, some toys, and two of our recliners as “creatively rearranged” by teenaged naughtiness. Our at-home date night was watching another episode of Sherlock and having the minor epiphany that I may have the heart of a mystery writer buried in my paranormal/urban fantasy inclinations. Which went hand in hand with my brainwave today about revisions.
I also get a day off tomorrow and am really looking forward to one of my birthday presents. Hubs has written me a song and has been hard at work polishing a mini-concert just for me. Since he’s played to hundreds before (and this week found an archived article in the Washington Post about his band), this is no small thing… and is another step closer to the recording I’ve requested. I’m blessed with someone who values creativity as much as I do, has the talent to create a ballad for me–and more, WANTS to do so. He found a list of 45 life lesson quotes this week that included the admonishment to recognize that EVERY day is special. I’m happy to say we have found that path together.
With all his plans for celebration, we’ll see whether I find time to be productive, though I’d really like to support Malala’s #booksnotbullets campaign with a review this week in any case. In the meantime, the other ROW80ers are documenting their progress, and I’ll be back next week once again to share mine.
I never figured it would be such a challenge to regain my footing after a few years of focused studying. Of course, it probably doesn’t help that I started tackling those little, niggly things on my list of Things To Do that have been hanging over my head for some time… Like recovering my computer. As regular readers may recall, my hard drive took a nose-dive about a month ago, cycling through endless reboots after a Blue Screen of Death. I had the replacement HD and new OS on hand to fix it… I just know how these tech troubles explode into massive time-sucks when you try to address them properly. A four-day weekend should have been enough to settle all my problems. For the most part, I did, too. The hard drive “cooperated” by only requiring that several of the cables on the motherboard be unplugged to allow it to slide into position. The upgrade DVD “cooperated” by not being able to fix whatever ailed the old HD, but permitted me to take a back door into a custom install on the new drive. Somehow the new drive is blazing fast and a massive improvement, and Microsoft has made its 8.1 OS have the magical capacity to see stuff I’d never seen on the legacy drives that still sit in my box… so I’ve managed to copy back-up files to the new drive that I hadn’t seen in … well, years. I’m still learning the new OS, though.
As of tonight, I seem to have recovered all the stuff I’d worried I’d lost. And I’m BLESSING Amazon’s digital download manager for my ability to not have to dig through boxes and files to find the stuff I need to install MS Office. I still need to find my InDesign disk to put that in place on the new OS, but had the woo-woo moment of discovering my old Quark installation on one of the other hard drives… and being able to RUN IT. This will save me time as I build up the necessary collateral for hubs’ practice, and can copy out of documents that had been locked to me for a few years. Since the NCCAOM has given official word that his certification is again current, I’ll be working quickly to get everything updated for our new location.
Aside from hunkering down to avoid the holiday craziness and finding time to take a few old tasks off my to-do list this week, we also caught another old movie on our watch list: “Now You See Me“. We decided we like anything Roberto Orci has a hand in. In this case, the movie keeps poking at illusions (on point, since it’s all about magic and magicians), and ends up twisting into an unexpectedly logical outcome that had us thinking and talking for quite a while after it was over. And reiterated for me that there IS magic in the world, if we but look closely for it. Of course, there’s also horror in the world. A new acquaintance forwarded an amazing visualization of how many were killed in WWII, as compared to all other recent conflicts. It’s worth a look for an unusual perspective on hope. Hubs forwarded another list of 30 Einstein quotes for a different perspective on hope: “Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.” That could be seen as opposing my view on magic… but somehow brings me around to Arthur C. Clarke’s view that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Also this week, our youngest pup has grown into her hormones enough that she’s decided destroying rugs is her teenaged rebellion, so we’re working on reinforcing rules and boundaries… and back to not very good sleep. The weather hasn’t cooperated to let us work it out of her with the long walks she’s grown accustomed to, so only managed 11.2 miles over five days.
Which brings me around to setting my goals for the newest Round of Words in 80 Days:
- Revise Dust to Blood and re-release it.
- Finish Blood to Fire and release it.
- Walk at least five times per week, for at least 10 miles total.
- Blog at least once a week, and post at least three new reviews.
- Continue the 1 night stay-at-home date night tradition.
These look a lot like my goals from the last round, but maybe third (?) time’s the charm to finally complete my Red Slaves trilogy. At least now I won’t have any other distractions or requirements hanging over my head, and we’re settled in enough (I actually installed my speakers while I was fiddling with my computer!) that we seem to be developing a rhythm to our weeks. We’ll see. I’ll keep checking in to keep you posted, regardless.
I’m still pinching myself. I can’t believe I’ve had time to watch a movie in peace. And attend a dinner party (somewhat in my honor!). And I don’t feel completely frazzled. In fact, I woke up earlier than usual this morning, and while I still felt like I’d recently been flattened by a Mac Truck, I had energy to get out of bed and start thinking about all the things I could do with my day. I even did some of them.
To stop being coy: I passed the PMP exam. On my first try. I keep looking at my certificate to confirm it, because a few days before the test I saw a stat that 50% of first-time takers fail. It made me feel like I was facing Gandalf in my evil twin form and I Would Not Pass. (For fun, and thinking there would have been someone clever to have figured out a clever play on that LOTR scene, I searched for “You Shall Pass”… and pretty much only saw images of failure… Except for the Multipass version, which still makes me laugh. Or maybe the Oods were in my favor.) The test was as painful as anticipated (I described the process of choosing answers to one colleague as “interpretive guessing”), but when this week’s image floated by my Facebook stream courtesy The Smart Witch, it reminded me that as hard as it was, it closed out a difficult chapter.
Hubs and I were talking about it in the aftermath and realized that pretty much, for the past 10 years, one or the other of us has been up to our eyeballs in some kind of ridiculous study program. This is the first time in ages we don’t have to put off doing things we want to do in favor of things we have to do. The amazing thing is, it didn’t take much to stir my creative embers, despite how tired I still am. We watched “Lucy” last night (the first in a huge backlog of shows and movies we’ve put off for 3 years, since I began my MBA). It’s smart in the obscure way I love, and figured out how to carry a fascinating scifi story on the back of intense action. As I tried to shut off my thoughts about the movie to go to sleep, it occurred to me that my one problem with the story was the mindset that using more than the 10% of the brain would effectively lead to becoming a sociopath. Aside from the 10% myth already having been debunked many times, it seems to me that being so in touch with the pain of being in your body, feeling the effect of gravity and the pull of the planet as it spins through space, and remembering the thousand kisses rained on your face by loving parents would instead have the effect of inducing radical pacifism. More along the lines of what the Stargate shows described as “ascending“. Between that thought and a study I read about recently that indicates a significant minority of women have Y chromosomes floating through their blood streams, I bounced right to thoughts about a follow-on story to Dementional.
Of course, I owe my readers the ending to the Red Slaves trilogy first, but it was encouraging that my creative muscles haven’t completely atrophied from lack of consistent use.
So I ended Round 2 having completed the major goal I’d shoved off… I think it’s actually been the past two Rounds of ROW80 the PMP has been on my list. I seem to have mastered the stay-at-home date night thing, and we’ve gotten really good about walking. In the past week, we walked 14.4 miles across every day of the week–despite severe storms that meant we got wet some nights, or had to go short in between showers. I completed the writers’ workshop. On the other hand, I only posted one book review, and completely blew past my revision and writing plan. Those will carry over to the next round, then.
It was also fitting that hubs forwarded Nietzsche’s wish that his followers SUFFER this week: We’ve been through a pile of difficulties in recent years. I hope that means we will be accordingly able to embrace the joys that come with having survived the tough stuff and gotten to a point where these credentials might show us a decent pay-off. ROW80 Round 2 having officially ended this past Thursday, and the next one not starting until July 6, I won’t share a link to that cohort this week. But I will be thinking about what my goals are for the next round. And about how I’ll be flexing my creative muscles in the near future. Check back next week to see what I come up with.
I’ve been sweating the PMP credential for at least the past nine months, and it’s been something vaguely over the horizon for me since… approximately 2008. I have 15 years of project management experience, but I also have a lot of friends and colleagues who’ve taken the exam and warned of how difficult it is: A 4.5-hour test involving frequently semantic details about the esoterica of project management… from the perspective of a mythic entirely by-the-book, perfectly ethical, absolutely legal, morally upright, considerate, well-mannered, politically correct, and socially acceptable uber-mensch. I sat through the two-day capstone class Thursday and Friday this week and can highly recommend Carl Pritchard‘s approach to engaging with the material, but my brain still felt like mush at the end of it–even if I was somehow managing more right answers than wrong. I’ve heard the recommendation several times to Take The Exam as soon as possible after one of these reviews, so I’ve plunged in and scheduled my test date for THIS WEEK. We’ll see whether all this studying and stressing gets me across the finish line. It’s a leap of faith for me, although I have invested significant study time and expect to be able to at least replicate my practice exam results. (If you want links to decent test prep question sets, pmstudy.com and oliverlehman.com are two I’ve used–aside from those Pritchard included in his course materials and what’s available in the Rita Mulcahy Exam Prep book.)
Cross your fingers that it’s sufficient and I only have to go through the exercise once… Several people I respect did not manage it in the first go.
This week also wraps up Round 2 of ROW80 for this year. I’m glad I had the PMP on my list of goals, because other than having committed to finishing the writer’s workshop, walking, and time nurturing my relationship with hubs, I’ve managed only a small fraction of the writing I had expected. That won’t change this week with the necessary last-minute cramming, either. Walking fell off a little this week, too, between the combination of major storms (no power yesterday for 2.5 hours didn’t help my study plan) and massive humidity. Still, we managed 5 for a total of 13.1 miles.
Hubs continues to feed my need for small distractions and large amounts of support. This week he forwarded 22 Aristotelian quotes, one of which reminded me that excellence is not an act but a habit. Not only that, but an introductory set of guidelines for Hua-Tou meditation, one of the most provocative of which (for me) was: What was my face before my parents were born? It puts a different perspective on pursuing professional credentials, and helps redirect my focus to the more timeless element of the pursuit… Oddly in alignment with Maslow’s hierarchy, which was something we discussed in class Friday: Self-actualization isn’t a state you can maintain on a daily basis. And it requires the risk of failure–even life-or-death failure–in order to reach that pinnacle. We joked that passing the PMP would be a moment of self-actualization at the time, and there’s more than a small grain of truth in our laughter. Similarly, on the list of 20 Alan Watts quotes translating eastern philosophy to something more accessible to westerners, his comment on permanence most likely being lifeless is yet another way of accepting current choices as a mere further step along a path.
Honoring hubs’ help, last week I found a hilarious fart story and sent him an email with the subject line “a whole new meaning to ‘I can TASTE it'”… which he thought was my blog title for the week. It’s still appropriate… on oh, so many levels. And worth re-reading for shits and giggles.
In spite of all these meditative (and silly) attempts at equilibrium, my dreams have been disturbing and my brain foggy, and I keep having to remind myself to relax my jaw. In the end, I’ll just be happy to be on the other side of the test hurdle. So, once again, I’ll refer you to my ROW80 buddies, who are also starting to wrap up their goal-reaching process for this round, and I’ll be back next week to report on whether I managed this feat.
Somehow, it’s far too easy to end up with an overloaded week. I’m remembering why I’ve been procrastinating about studying for the PMP: It’s an exhausting proposition. When combined with full weeks of work plus additional, unexpected, time-consuming tasks… I’ve spent most of my weekend asleep, trying to catch up with myself, and thus have again fallen behind on things I would’ve liked to have done.
Nonetheless, we walked 5 of the 7 days of last week, for a total of 14.3 miles. This, despite the seriously rainforest-like atmosphere gracing our neighborhood lately. I still need to fix my computer and take care of other random administrivia hanging over my head, but it’s too easy to fall back on the old laptop and avoid the headaches involved in hard drive replacement, formatting, and software installation. While avoiding those things, I was still doing practice exams, and have pulled up my average score by 10 points. That means if I can pull up my average score another 10 points in the next week or two, I should be good to go.
I think hubs even found the reward I want for when I actually finish with the $%&^! PMP: Canoeing the Potomac. While the weather has prompted research into ways to let the dogs carry their own water, I don’t think they’re of a mindset to ride calmly along the river with us, so it should be a nice date day for the two of us… barring a barrage of mosquitoes.
This week was also when scientists reported that future events impact what happened in the past, so I’m trying to trick myself into knowing the certification exam goes off without a hitch, and that’s why my scores on the practice exams are getting better. If you don’t think about it too hard, it could make sense. Or read more Alan Watts quotes. The Zen approach may yet save me. Of course, these links and others are courtesy my sweet hubs, who knows I need a brain break, but it also makes me nervous to recognize myself in the 7 traits of a free thinker, when that will NOT help with the exam.
So I’m trudging to the end of round two trying to avoid feeling overwhelmed, and then I saw the tiger I’m sharing with today’s post. I’m taking it as another Message from the Universe that I Will Pass… Even if two of the goals I had set for this round are completely shot out of the water. Getting past all these extra tasks, though, should mean I’m ready to start the next round fresh and ready to go with new fiction words. So I’ll once again refer you to my ROW80 cohorts so you can cheer their progress, even if mine is of the minimalist variety.
It was a difficult week: My work team is being dispersed after having completed its second project and I finally took a hard look at the calendar and realized there are only three weeks left to this month. If I truly plan on passing the PMP exam, study is the name of the game. Combined, these events/realizations were topped by a hard drive crap-out two nights ago that mean I’m down to my back-up computing plan, with no access to InDesign to work on print layouts even if I had the time. Plus, now I need to make time to fix my home computer to see what old archives I’ve lost in that hardware failure.
It didn’t help either that it rained most of the week, so we missed one night of walking entirely, and then there were three nights of squeezing in short walks through the mizzle. We nonetheless managed 11.7 miles over the course of the week… with 3 miles coming Friday and 4.3 Saturday.
I’ve been tired and cranky, and really glad we don’t have much of a social calendar. Though today we did go to watch a niece dance in a junior production of Peter and the Wolf. At 7.5 years old, she made an adorable, graceful little bird… even if attending did break our streak of stay-at-home Sundays. It also reminded me one more time of a Russian rhyme I learned at about her age in Moscow, too, so enjoyed making her eyes big by repeating it to a new audience.
Then a colleague forwarded me an article about how terrible, awful, very bad, and must-be-killed Agile Scrum is… Given that my team was successful enough to reach close-out points for not one but TWO clients following this methodology… I call BUNK. From my reading, this guy has experienced not only poor team cohesion but also the flip-side evil of micro-management and is blaming those on the project management tool du jour for software development. I say they’re a failure of management rather than a failure of the Agile methodology. Agile intentionally empowers the team to make decisions on what it’s capable of accomplishing and builds in daily self-testing to ensure technical debt does not build up. But those things can only happen when the product owner is crystal clear on what he/she wants, and management stays out of the way of a team that is heads-down in the trenches of productive work.
Of course… I’m not getting to done by myself these days, either. I’m watching gifs explain hold-over expressions (and may need to figure out a time to blow off some steam!), reading about more oopsart discoveries (oh, the plotbunnies!), or pondering thought-provoking quotes. Somehow those are necessary when dealing with practice exam questions like:
Your organization has decided to adopt prototyping for requirements development. The biggest advantage of prototyping is that:
the client can continue to make changes as long as they so desire, until a perfect outcome is achieved the prototype is simply a smaller version of the final deliverable and becomes a critical input prototypes allow the customer to see what they don’t like and what they like before requirements are finalized some cycles of the process are free, allowing the customer to iteratively develop what they want
How is it I feel like I’ve been infected with the stupid bug after studying…?
(And how is it that this particular question somehow echoes the anti-Agile screed my colleague forwarded?)
Given this track record… I suspect this month is a loss for further fiction words on my stories while I try to ensure I have enough PMI-speak hammered into my brain to pass the certification exam. I will continue to check in weekly, but suggest you visit my ROW80 buddies to see real progress being documented.
Those of you who follow this blog will know by now that I’ve been struggling to find time and momentum to finish the third book in my first trilogy. Today, I’m pleased to reveal that the lovely, patient (!), and multi-talented Gayla Drummond has recast the covers of the entire series and given me new impetus to complete what I’ve started.
Behold, book 3 of Red Slaves:
I still have work to do to finish the book itself–and doing so will have to wait until I’m past my studying requirements for the PMP–but this gives me something solid to act as both spur and reminder for my goals.
Part of the issue that brought us to this point: I had started by choosing photo-real images for a fantasy novel set in a place well-known to a certain segment of the global population. As the story evolves over the course of the series, that setting becomes harder and harder to represent in photographs and remain true to the patterns we had established with the first two covers. So we had to rethink the whole series at once. Here’s what that looks like:
With my current time commitments, I won’t be able to release the 2nd edition versions of books 1 & 2 until July/August, but with the New Pretties… I certainly have the inspiration to push me past the finish line.
The week was as crazy as I imagined it would be, and still… I managed 407 new words. Not quite the “finished something” I set for myself last week, but I figured out the plot and structure for Jasper’s Tale, and that makes me happy. So does news not quite ready for unveiling about relaunching my Red Slaves series with new cover artwork.
So when I saw the Mighty Girls page featuring Doris Lessing, it felt right to celebrate even those small steps by reminding myself that anything worth doing will always be impossible. Until you do it. Hubs underlined the thought by sending a link to a page with eight quotes of the Buddha reminding us that we are the only ones who know our internal road maps.
Most of my day at the Symposium was taken up by a tutorial called “An Introduction to Usability Testing” by Bill Killam, who spent a lot of time explaining why psychology, with its focus on conscious and unconscious systems, change blindness, cognitive reflexes, blind spots, anchoring, priming, and reality-first biases, among other things, is the best perspective to have when trying to design interactions. I took a lot of notes, and found a few areas of disagreement, but ultimately left humbled by how easily humans are tricked by our subconscious selves into thinking our conscious selves are the ones in charge. Hubs had an answering article for that, too.
To mitigate for the work-related stress and crazy schedule, and despite the high humidity and temperatures, we managed a fantastic number of walks. Long walks. On all but the day I was not home, we walked for a grand total of 14.5 miles. That app I mentioned last week upped my daily average for walking + running distance for the week to 2.24 miles. I’m half wondering at this point whether that isn’t part of why I was able to find the energy to write. Even though, once again, being away from home overnight invited some kind of sinus trouble/cold into my sphere, making my brain fuzzy for a day or two.
I also managed to study… Oh the thrill of Earned Value, Planned Value, Cost Variance, and Estimates at Completion. Somehow, I am managing my time. Maybe with my small bit of momentum, I will get to done this week. Whether I do or don’t, I recommend checking in with my ROW80 cohorts while you wait for next week’s report on my progress.
Somehow I thought I’d be productive this week, but we hosted dinners twice and I attended an after-work Agile meet-up Thursday. This kind of Agile relates to project management, especially in software development, but actually had a key take-away for my writing life. Jeff Sutherland co-created Scrum as a way of answering all the difficulties traditional project management faced in “getting to done“. If I look at my current writing paralysis, I wonder if I haven’t been psychologically beaten down by having blown past too many of my self-imposed deadlines over the past year plus. So I’m considering Lao Tzu’s advice this week. If I can correct my mind, maybe that’s what it will take to return to writing productivity. And slides 11 and 12 of that Getting to Done presentation are my inspiration: Sutherland’s research shows that teams that finish early accelerate faster. I may be a team of one for my writing, but it’s still a project to be managed, with an easy set of milestones that can be chunked into obvious definitions of done.
My test for this will be to see whether I can finish my short story this week. I have the day off tomorrow in recognition of the U.S. Memorial Day holiday. If I can finish one thing, my hope is that will break my creative log-jam.
Of course, that one day off will mean work scheduled for five days will be crammed into four, and I’ll be attending the Human Computer Interaction Symposium Thursday, which means a whole week’s worth of day-job work will actually happen in THREE days. So this may be the wrong week to test this theory.
Nonetheless, I’m starting where I am. Sort of a gut instinct situation. And enjoying the fact that when we walk the doggies at night these days, we’re seeing interesting alignments of Venus, Jupiter, and the moon–symbolically (whether you’re into astrology or not), an alignment of the perception of beauty, benevolence/good times, and feelings. It seems right to embrace the symbolism for what it’s worth. On the more logical side, honoring Dr. Nash for his game theory perspective and my incentives to “win” on the day his death was publicized to the world is another reason to forge ahead.
On the other goals… Well. One app on my phone says I averaged 1.2 miles of exercise-rate walking per day this week. The other one only recorded walks Monday and Tuesday that totaled three miles. Between those two measures, I’m still not over 2 miles a day, but I’m walking a lot more days than I planned. With all the other activity of the week, there wasn’t any stay-at-home date night, either, though I’m grateful we have made Sundays ours and continue to avoid having to go anywhere or see anyone on that day of the week. It really does make all the difference in handling the high intensity of traffic and activity in this region.
I’ll be back next week to report on my success. See how my ROW80 compadres are doing in reaching their goals in the meantime.