the_gneech: (Boot to the Head)
Okay. So, we all know. Let's get it out of the way.

John Oliver blows up 2016

Yeah, 2016 pretty much blew chunks in a lot of ways. Thing is, it started out so well! I thought 2014 was the worst things were going to get, 2015 was the beginning of an upward climb, and that 2016 was going to be awesome. Then everything went pear-shaped, starting with our moving plans. Then Buddha died... and from there it was a nearly-unrelenting sea of crap that culminated in the Worst Possible Result in the election. I used to joke about not wanting to live in 1930s Germany. I don't joke about that any more.

For the record, some good things DID happen in 2016, and there's evidence that 2017 will be better. So even though things have been rough, just wallowing in it isn’t going to help. Since the end of November, I have been making a concerted effort to wedge positivity back into my life by any means possible, and it is working, even if there is a lot of resistance from a world determined to set itself on fire. But more on that in the Goals for 2017 part of the post. For now, let's review the goals I set at the beginning of the year.

  1. Issues Four and Five, Plus the First Collection. Partial success. Issue four is out and issue five is running currently, after moving and story development heck. This will be finished in early 2017, assuming all goes well.


  2. Publish That Book! Still working on it. I've received a fair amount of positive feedback from the various agents etc. I've shopped it around to, but so far it hasn't found a home. I'm going to keep at it until it sells or I run out of potential markets. If it gets to that point, I'll look at self-publishing.


  3. Finish Another Book! Didn't happen. Had to punt mid-NaNoWriMo, but I'll get back to it in 2017.


  4. Get the Money Sitch Fixed. Didn't happen. Despite being a very strong candidate, [livejournal.com profile] lythandra went to trainings and applied for jobs and talked to headhunters and out of all that got a few tiny nibbles and only one offer– which was immediately cancelled a few days later due to the contract being disputed. I hung out my shingle as a freelance/tech writer but so far have spent most of my time on that front turning down such lucrative offers as "Write ten full length novels for us to sell without giving you any residuals or credit for $35,000/year." So, still living on savings and what income the comics and art bring in, but we have plans in motion. (See below.)


  5. Move. Um. Happened, yes. But not the way we wanted. It needs fixing still/again.


  6. Get Back to Conventions! Eh... sort of. AC and MFF happened again. We also went to a steampunk meet in PA, but we had to punt on FurTheMore and Dragon*Con for financial and/or scheduling reasons. I expect 2017 to be different, however.


  7. Stronger faster slimmer better. Big setbacks here. Depression, stress, and a host of other factors meant that in six months I regained all the weight it had taken me two years to get rid of. :P I am not happy about this. The good news is that at the end of November I rejoined Weight Watchers and I have recovered 11 pounds' worth of progress since then, despite the best efforts of convention food and holidays. More significantly I have figured out how to live comfortably on a 35-ish point diet– basically the allocation for someone my age weighing 220 lbs. At my current rate of weight loss, I will hit that in six months, which would suit me just fine.


  8. No More Afib. Success! Heart ablation surgery was a complete success. Since March, I have only experienced afib twice, both of which were in December and seem to have been triggered by salt. As long as I continue to limit my salt intake, I should be set.


  9. Bernie Sanders 2016. Ugh. Don't get me started.


Now the review post from last year had unexpected things achieved in 2015. Alas, 2016 didn't really have a lot in the way of such things. However, it wasn't entirely bleak. Zootopia was really good, for instance. Also, I got into Overwatch and a fan very kindly built me a terrific computer to run it on, which prompted me to create the Learning Not to Suck at Overwatch series. It didn't exactly set YouTube on fire, but the videos were fun to make and I got to test my mettle in a competitive environment, something which I've never done a lot of. Overwatch also provided my single longest running batch of art commissions, in the form of "Play of the Game" badges. My Overwatchery has been thin since Halloween– other priorities eating my time– but I hope to get back into it in January.

So that leads me to my goals for 2017...

  1. Issues Five and Six, Plus the First Collection. Five and collection should be done well before AnthroCon. Issue Six, we'll see. I’m thinking of taking the comic in a slightly new direction based on the ending of Issue Five, but that's still in the very half-baked stage so I can't really go into detail yet.


  2. Publish That Book! Like I said, still working on this.


  3. Finish Another Book! I am looking at creating a series specifically for self-pub. More on that as the development fills out some more.


  4. Start a Company. This is a big one that Laurie and I have been messing with off and on again all year, but which is really starting to take shape now. Again, I don't want to talk about it in too much detail before everything is set in motion, all the T's are dotted and I's are crossed, etc., but it's a cool, exciting project designed to put the making of money back into our hands, since getting hired by other people doesn't seem to be a thing that really happens to anyone any more.


  5. Move to California. Okay. So. I thought this was going to happen last year, but for various reasons I kept fairly quiet about it at the time, and then it fell through anyway. It's back on the plan now, and I am not keeping it a secret any more. The exact details are still being hashed out, so you can expect to hear more on this as the year goes on. But part of the reason for the Start a Company item, is to enable living where we want, and since Fed jobs are going to all be utter crap for the next four years or more as the assholes-elect try to burn down the country, there's not a whole lot of point in staying around here for the job market anyway. Our families and some of our friends are here, of course, but we only see them a few times a year as it is– Facetime/Google Hangouts and plane tickets will probably take care of that problem. California is not necessarily the only candidate, we're also looking at some spots around New England for instance, but it is by far the strongest candidate and my top choice unless there is a strongly compelling reason to go elsewhere.


  6. Stronger faster slimmer better. 220 lbs by end of September is the plan. 220 lbs by end of June is the stretch goal.


  7. Bring the Awesome! I was just getting through my grief about my parents when Buddha died, kicking it all off again. I spent most of 2016 in a depression deeper than anything I’ve been through since 2001, although instead of manifesting as "feeling bad," it was more like an emotional dead zone, making it hard to enjoy anything and leaving me in a constant state of "peeved and grouchy for no good reason." That shit's got to go. As I said, since the end of November I've been focusing on positivity, and I'm just going to build on that and do more in 2017.


  8. Edit Myself Less. This one is kind of hard to explain without context and it's more a note to myself than anything. There are aspects of myself that I have simply made a point of not talking about for one reason or another; opinions, feelings, or wishes I have kept to myself when it would have been appropriate to share them, and so on. But honestly? It's not doing myself or the people who care about me any favors. I've had people tell me "I thought I knew you..." before for just this reason. And while I'm a lot more myself now than I used to be, I still get into that self-censorship habit when I’m depressed or afraid. This is something I need to work on. Shoving every thought in your head into other people's faces isn't a good idea– but shutting yourself down just to please other people isn't a healthy choice either. I'm not about to start drawing porn or anything like that, but I am going to be loosening up.


  9. Reverse course and mitigate/repair damage to the country. Grassroots action FTW. They're not going to burn down the country while I have anything to say about it. More on this in some other post.


[livejournal.com profile] jamesbarrett's sister Kimmie said that 2016 was the end of a 9-year cycle, which is why there were so many deaths and endings and so much loss, but that also meant that 2017 would be a year of new beginnings. [1] While astrology and numerology are not my particular flavor of crackpottery, I can’t deny that 2016 sure has felt like everything was crumbling around my ears. Not going to California when we originally planned to, which pushed us into the Maryland move, and the death of Buddha all hit me hard. Seeing the end of the first administration in my life that I actually liked the President was going to be tough; seeing him replaced by somebody so obviously The Worst Possible Candidate For the Job just hurts.

But these things all happened and can't be undone. I've had my disappointment and my grief and my rage. While there may be emotional aftershocks, the end of November made a sea change in Laurie and me, and I am excited and ready for the things we’ve got coming up in the year ahead. If 2017 is indeed the year of new beginnings, let's make it the beginning of something amazing.

-The Gneech

[1] This is based on numerology: 2016 breaks down to 2 + 0 + 1 + 6 = 9. 2017 will be 2 + 0 + 1 + 7 = 10, 1 + 0 = 1. Thus 2016 is the end of the current cycle and 2017 is the beginning of the next one.
the_gneech: (Legolas snow)

Suburban Jungle Christmas Card 2016 by the-gneech on DeviantArt

Next time, try hooking it up to Cangrejo Diablo.

And have a great holiday everyone, whatever your holiday of choice may be! <3

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)

Fandom Guy loves you! And fish. He also loves fish.


As mentioned last week, I’m in the midst of something of a “brand overhaul,” which includes everything from my comics and art, to my novel writing career, to my business writing and graphic design efforts. Each of these categories need a slightly different approach, and I’m still banging out a strategy for that, but today I’m concentrating on the art end of things. Because this past week I set up a TigerDile streaming page, for which I needed some graphics to spruce up the place. To that end, I tossed together this banner image:


Three Lions and an Otter! Art by John 'The Gneech' Robey


Honestly? I like it. I like it a lot, in fact, except there’s one big problem, and that’s using “Three Lions and an Otter” as the central motif. It’s a handy model and I think there’s value in it as a touchstone for myself, but it’s not what I want to use for my “brand identity.”


As I took pains to point out when I first started using it, the idea was shamelessly stolen from inspired by M.C.A. Hogarth’s Three Jaguars. This is not a secret. In fact, it’s kinda the whole point. It was intended as a respectful nod towards a brilliant conceit. But what do I immediately get every time I reference “Three Lions and an Otter”?


“Say, are you familiar with Maggie Hogarth?”


“Y’know, M.C.A. Hogarth did something similar. You should check it out.”


“Have you seen Three Jaguars?”


Okay, world. I get it. Message received. XD


So I’m still casting about for a proper umbrella term to use for my “personal brand.” Don’t be surprised to see me “trying on” a few different ideas in the upcoming weeks! Some great ones I’ve seen over the years besides “Three Jaguars” include Michele Light’s Light Bright Studios, the OzFoxes, and so on.


I thought about simply broadening “Suburban Jungle” to reference the body of my work, with the original comic and Rough Housing simply being two projects flying under that banner, but I worry that might be too confusing. Those two projects share a history and a continuity, which random bits of furry art or whatever might not.


So… still chewing on it. I’m open to suggestions if you have any!


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Default)

Three Lions and an Otter


One of the purposes of identifying the three lions and an otter was they made handy touchstones for the tasks I need to get through with my writing and illustration. My plan was (and still pretty much is) that each of them would get a certain day (or days) during the week for their thing, to help me keep focused and on task.


Of the four of them, Content Guy requires the most time, because he’s the one who actually does the writing and drawing. On the other hand, Business Guy’s stuff doesn’t take as long, but it’s such a struggle for him that it feels like it takes forever. Fandom Guy loves what he does and is always having fun, but he has to focus his efforts on the days when people are most likely to be listening.


Muse never does anything directly. So she has no day… or it might be said she has every day.


Thus, assuming a five-day work week (which may or may not be a valid assumption), the week breaks down like so:



  • Monday: Fandom Guy! I haven’t looked into it recently, but for a long time the stats of websites made it very clear that Monday was the day people were most likely to check out links and want to be distracted from their day. So if Fandom Guy wants attention, this is the day to go for it. That’s why Suburban Jungle goes up on Mondays, and so when Fandom Guy has something to say, that’s the day you can expect to hear from him.

  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: Content Guy. Assuming nothing else gets in the way, these are the days our hard-working lion spends down in the pixel mines. Of course, this can also include work for Fandom Guy in the case of things like streaming sessions or posting commissions and the like. But these days are mostly for just getting the work done.

  • Friday: Business Guy. Last but not least, our frazzled number cruncher does his thing on Fridays, whether it’s paying the bills, keeping URLs up to date, booking convention hotels/travel, hunting down markets/editors to submit to, or updating merchandise availability. Why does he get Friday? So that at the end of a long day doing things for which he has little talent and less patience, he can kick back and have the weekend. 😉 He earns it!


Now given that the average page of Suburban Jungle takes me two days to draw, this means that Content Guy only has one day dedicated to business writing gigs, commissions, book writing and whatever else. But the sneaky trick here is that Fandom Guy and Business Guy rarely need a whole day each week, so Content Guy gets whatever they don’t use. Also, well, weekends are a thing. As the old saying goes, “Find a job you like and you’ll never work another day of your life.” I write and draw because that’s what I enjoy doing (and because I kinda can’t not do them), so as long as I have some time to spend with Mrs. Gneech and the kitties, “working” on the weekend is the opposite of a problem.


And on that note, I’ve got commissions to work on! Catcha later.


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Default)

Fandom Guy loves you! And fish. He also loves fish.

So one thing that was made quite clear at the most recent Midwest Furfest is that I’ve really gotta get back in touch with the fandom. Suburban Jungle used to mean room parties and charity auction cameos going for hundreds of dollars, but this past weekend it seemed to be “That comic everybody used to know and remembers fondly.”


Dude. What am I, the Animaniacs? XD Nostalgia is not my brand!


Seriously tho, I think a lot of the problem is that as time has gone on, I’ve just gotten out of touch. I met plenty of people at the convention who’d never heard of me or my work, but upon seeing the art were instantly interested in checking it out. So clearly what I’ve got to do is get it front of more eyeballs!


To that end, I’m working on a retool of my online presence generally, looking for new venues to spread the word and so on. Besides the usual DeviantArt and FurAffinity accounts, I’m going to start posting more of my work on my Tumblr account (which has until now been little more than reblogs), I created a Pinterest board for my art, and I have (finally) started dipping my toes into groups on Telegram.


Sometime by the end of the year I expect to also start streaming fairly regularly on Monday and/or Tuesday nights as I work on the next comic page. Right now I’m still researching that, looking for artists with successful streams and watching what they do. (If you have faves, let me know! I want to see ALL THE STREAMS.)


As a general thing, I also just sorta need to get back out into the world. Over the past years I had kinda retreated into a cocoon as I dealt with the slings and arrows being fired at me by outrageous fortune, and I’m finally sticking my head back out. (What did I find? 2016. For cryin’ out loud, world, I hide away for just a few years, and you turn into a dumpster fire? I want you to go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done while the rest of us clean up this mess.)


…Er, sorry, what was I saying? Right, getting back in touch with the world. I’ve got a few volunteers who are helping me with that, and I’ll gratefully take any assistance I can get, but nothing replaces me getting out there and taking care of it myself. I need to do a lot more connecting with the world than just posting to LiveJournal and Twitter, and that’s going to be a big priority for me over the next several weeks.


If anyone has ideas on what I should do, I’d love to hear them! 😀


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Kero asleep)

Three Good Things for Today


  1. Copic markers get

  2. Beads and bangles get

  3. Worked my way back up to burpees


Three Goals for Tomorrow


  1. Work on job hunt

  2. Pencil & ink page six

  3. Fandom Guy post [1]


G'nite world, and have an awesome tomorrow. :)

-The Gneech

[1] You remember Fandom Guy, right? He's da otter me.
the_gneech: (Gneechtoon)

Three Good Things for Today


  1. Finished and posted issue five page five

  2. Finished a long-overdue commission

  3. Nice dinner and walk around Barnes & Noble with [livejournal.com profile] lythandra

  4. Bonus Good Thing: Agent was "intrigued" by Sky Pirates [1]

  5. Bonus Good Thing: Got some recommendations for art streams


Three Goals for Tomorrow


  1. Post the commish to art sites

  2. Social media management/art posting plan

  3. Layouts for issue five page six

  4. Stretch Goal: Start next commish


Keep on keepin' on.

-The Gneech

[1] Didn't take on the book, alas, but it's still better than a form rejection!
the_gneech: (Kero Confused)
I have awesome friends, and I am grateful for it. :)

As you may have heard, yesterday was a rough day, art wise. It was in fact my worst convention day in 16 years of being a furry artist. After a full day at the table in Artist Alley (usually where I do best at Midwest Furfest), I had received a total of one commission, and sold one button. My daily total was less than the person next to me was charging (and receiving) for a print.

It was... odd. I had people stop and say hello, some of whom had fond memories of having read Suburban Jungle in the past, and others who saw the comics for the first time and loved the art style. But then they walked away and bought art from someone else.

By the time the room closed, I was in a state of exhausted disbelief. As I put it at the time, "Furry fandom, did I do something to you that I just don't know about?" Even my earliest fledgeling attempts to run a table before Kerry joined the scene were never this pitiful.

But then a strange thing happened; after the room closed, people started wanting commissions. XD My friend Axiom asked for badges, and one of my online readers who has friends attending the con commissioned me on Twitter with the intent of sending them to pick them up at my table today. It wasn't a huge pile of work, but it was something at least, and a nice pump-primer for what will hopefully be a good day today.

It was a weird day. XD And one that I'm not eager to repeat– the gut-punched feeling I had wandering around after the table closed was not a healthy mindspace– but at the end of the day I was reminded that I am lucky to have friends and fans, and I am going to keep making stuff as awesome as I can.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Writing)

As things have developed, both public and private, I have decided that my I need to change my priorities in the upcoming months. To that end, I need to put By Elves Abandoned on the back burner and work on other things. Instead of working on those other things and feeling guilty about not hitting wordcount goals for NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to simply let that go.


The book still has a lot of potential, and I expect to pick it up again before too long, it’s purely a matter of timing. Maybe my own personal NaNoWriMo will come in February, we’ll see!


Suburban Jungle will keep going, and punting on NaNo will hopefully give me time to fix up lingering issues I’m having with the current storyline and the direction the comic is taking generally. Fortunately, that only takes me a couple of days a week and could be done at night or on the weekends as needed. I am also still working on finding a publisher for Sky Pirates of Calypsitania.


How Not to Suck at Overwatch is also going to go quiet for the foreseeable future. It was a fun project and I enjoyed it (and I’m very grateful to the friends and fans who made it possible), but at least for now I have other things I need to concentrate on.


As for what I am working on, that’s not in a stage where I’m ready to tell the world. But when the time comes, I will! But until then, I’ve got commissions to finish and a comic to draw, so I’d better get to work.


-The Gneech


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Three Lions and an Otter


First item of news: Issue Five launches on November 14th. I’m still kinda trying to figure out what I’m doing with it, but I’ve also reached the point where if I don’t set a deadline, it’ll languish, and I need to force my mental waveform to collapse (so to speak). I’m also going to be working on NaNoWriMo at the same time, and posting chunks of the NaNo project to my Patreon page for supporters.


Which leads to the topic of Patreon. I think I need to just come out and say it: I am terrible at running a Patreon. I have never been good at the “business hustle” part of being a professional artist, it’s just an alien world to me– and honestly, mental bandwidth I’ve been burning on trying to figure it out has been not just wasted, but siphoned away from the actual process of making the art. In short, I can run the business or make the product, but I can’t do both, and I need to stop trying.


How does that effect my Patreon? Well, my first inclination was to simply delete it entirely. But the strange thing about it is that many of my supporters have said they don’t really care about the “rewards” levels anyway, they just want to support my work. It’s kinda like the old Paypal tip jar, just a little more formalized.


So I’ve decided to leave the Patreon up, but I’m going to remove the reward tiers and make it a simple binary, “yes, you’re a subscriber, or no you aren’t” system. All subscribers will have access to all the Patreon content, which will include immediate comic page postings, draft chapters of books in progress, and so forth. I am also looking at changing it to a “per posting” model, and would be curious to hear any opinions folks have on the topic.


In any case, I’m going to make this change now, between monthly cycles, to give people plenty of time to adjust and/or bail if they wish.


Thanks for your patience! I hope to have some cool stuff for you soon.


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Kero Power Tie)
Although it has been a difficult decision, I have decided to start actively seeking a "day job."

Certainly, the largest factor is money. While I have been earning some money with my art commissions, writing, and other projects, it has never been more than "supplementary" level. That was fine while [livejournal.com profile] lythandra was making more than enough for both of us, but despite having an amazing job history and regardless of the best efforts of an army of recruiters, it's been over a year now since she had regular employment as well, and we simply can't keep living off our savings any more (or we soon won't have savings to live off).

As for what I'm seeking, I'm still working on that. I want to be in an office environment, but I don't think I could go back to writing code all day (and my skills in that department are super-rusty anyway). I'm going to start by looking for admin, data entry, or other sorts of entry level work and see where that leads me in the short term.

If anyone has leads, I'd be grateful to hear them!

How this will impact the writing and comics, I'm not sure. I imagine it will take me a little while to actually find a job anyway; during that time I am continuing to submit Sky Pirates of Calypsitania (rejection number ten or so just came in this morning) and working on other ideas, and I still have commissions to get through. Issue five of Rough Housing is kinda stuck in development heck as I fight through script problems, but I am still plugging away at that, too.

In the meantime, I'm also going to refactor my Patreon, as I'm just not able to devote the proper attention to it and I don't want to be misleading people about it.

I'm grateful to have had the past few years "off" to help my parents in their final days and to deal with other various life crises, as well as finishing the Sky Pirates novel and various other projects. But I can't keep coasting forever.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Writing)

Hey, hey! Every once in a random period, I put up a little post welcoming my new readers and keeping everyone abreast of what’s coming up!


Welcome New Readers!


<3 <3 <3


…Not a lot more to say about that, actually. Got questions? Comments? Suggestions? I’d love to hear ’em, in the comments or via e-mail (thegneech at gmail dot com)! I’d also love to know how you came to be here. Suburban Jungle? Are you a Twitter follower? WHOOOO ARRRRRE YOOOOU?


Suburban Jungle Issue Five!


The cover is up! I’m going start drawing pages this week, with my current plan being for the issue to begin running September 5. I’m not going to set that date into stone yet tho, just in case things randomly go pear-shaped, as they have a tendency to do around here.


Sky Pirates of Calypsitania and NaNoWriMo


There is some hopeful activity on the novel front! Alas, I can say no more for fear of jinxing it, but I am excited and hope it works out! In the meantime, I am working on an outline for a sequel novel, under the working title of Eternal Promises, with an eye towards writing the actual manuscript (or at least large chunks of it) over the course of NaNoWriMo. (Which means, among other things, I need to get as much of issue five done as possible by the end of October!) Eternal Promises will finally bring the intended-but-never-produced first story from Arclight Adventures to the light of day, which makes me happy.


Overwatch Play of the Game Badges and Videos


There are only a few badge commissions left, but I do have a complete “Victory Poses Plus Badges” group commission that I will be trying to finish over August and September. (Because let’s face it, I won’t be drawing enough, right? ¬.¬ ) I only have footage for one more Learning Not to Suck at Overwatch video right now, which will probably go up sometime this week, but I imagine that series will be going for a bit longer. I’d love to know what (if anything) people think of it, beyond the obvious “There’s a watermark on the video and your microphone is wonky.” Think of those elements as… uh… charmingly kitschy? I don’t have the budget to fix them at the moment. 😉


Convention Schedule


My next convention will be Midwest Furfest in December, where you should be able to find me in the Artist Alley most of the time. Due to budget constraints, I am currently trying to find someone to take over my Dragon*Con room; if that doesn’t happen, it’s entirely possible I’ll end up going to that as well, even though I really can’t afford it, on the grounds that the money is committed so I might as well enjoy it.


So that’s the State of the Gneech at the moment. Busy, busy, busy, but creating a lot of stuff that I hope you’ll check out and enjoy. Life is good.


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Gneechtoon)
For my own ref. :)

  1. Organize desk

  2. Gryphon_2 potg badge (need refs!)

  3. Loupy potg badge

  4. Script for issue five (cot'd)

  5. Issue five layouts

  6. Mail Kamau's power cord

  7. FurPlanet commish

  8. Sky Pirates 2 outline

  9. Record footage for "Learning Not to Suck at Overwatch"

  10. Clean up gneech.com bibliography, about page, and categories

  11. Clean sinks


-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Writing)
So here's the thing. I think of myself as a funny guy. One reason I do so much in the comics medium is because I have an inherent tendency to generally not take things seriously if I can avoid it.

But I have discovered, of late, that I lack skill in just coming up with funny bits for the sake of them being funny bits. This has been a recurring problem with Rough Housing, which was conceived with the intention of having lots of things that were just funny bits. But it also informs a lot of the issues I've had with Brigid and Greg and several other projects. I think I have been fundamentally approaching them wrong.

What I do well (I think) is to put a funny spin on a serious (or at least "played straight") situation. Take for example Ghostbusters (the 1984 one): if you just outlined its story, it wouldn't be that far off from a standard Lovecraftian horror tale [1]. What makes it a comedy is the fact that the characters are all oddballs with quirky behavior. When he witnesses Dana Barrett transformed into a snarling hell-beast, does Venkman descend into madness? No. He busts out a Rodney Dangerfield impression. That's what I mean by funny spin.

This explains, I think, why I keep having big holes in my scripts that say things like "LANGLEY DOES SOMETHING FUNNY HERE." If I was part of a bullpen of writers where someone else could polish up jokes while I worked on character development or something, it would be different, but flying solo I just can't write that way and I need to stop trying. What I need to do instead is focus on the characters and have them do what they will do. It can be a frustrating process, as the characters often want to go off and do things that completely negate everything I've been building towards or whatever, but generally the characters know their story better than I do.

-The Gneech

[1] With the premise inverted such that human ingenuity can totally kick the cosmic horror's ass. But still.
the_gneech: (Gneechtoon)
Okay. I need to get myself together here, as I've been sorta scattered lately. So here we go.

  1. Contact Jacky Paisley

  2. Deposit checks

  3. Resolve insurance

  4. Pick up prescriptions

  5. RH Bonus Stuff

  6. PotG badges to Patreon?

  7. Lia commish

  8. Sky Pirates agent pitches, round three

  9. Redliox potg badge

  10. Gryphon_2 potg badge (need refs!)

  11. Welof potg badge

  12. Loupy potg badge

  13. Script for issue five

  14. Mail Kamau's power cord

  15. FurPlanet commish

  16. Sky Pirates 2 outline

  17. Record footage for "Learning Not to Suck at Overwatch"

  18. Clean up gneech.com bibliography, about page, and categories

  19. Clean sinks


That should keep me busy for at least the afternoon. ¬.¬

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Kero Power Tie)
Well, only two weeks later, I can finally write up my thoughts on AnthroCon this year. Although it's tempting to blame age for the increased time it takes me to recover from cons these days, I am prone to put it in the words of Dr. Jones, who said, "It ain't the years, honey, it's the mileage."

Given that I have been operating on poor sleep, trying to bang out content as quickly as I can while coping with moving (again) and a broken toe, AnthroCon went quite well. ^.^' It was great as always to see Sirfie, Andrew, Kamau, Inkblitzer, T'Chall, Tieran, Zia, Spiritwolf (briefly), and all my other usual con besties, plus meeting new folks. Sales were strong on Friday, dead on Saturday (probably a symptom of the out-of-control parade), and decent on Sunday. The Play of the Game badges were a hit, which is a good thing, because a fair amount of the sales I made were for post-con commissions of them, rather than stuff at the table. If I'd stuck to my usual policy of "no post-con commissions," it would have been another year of lackluster numbers.

I'm not sure where that puts me in terms of future cons. I'm making mid-2000's money with mid-2010's expenses, which means I'm still slightly ahead of the game but travel takes more of a toll than it used to and as fewer of my old pals go to cons, the less of a party from start to finish it all becomes. Plus, there is a definite generational shift: the time of the internet being a haven for techy people and ham radio nerds from the Radio Shack era is over, and a more mainstream audience is moving in. When Gilbert and Sullivan references and jokes about object permanence go over the audience's head, it's a lot harder for me to relate. It's not "You kids get off my lawn!" so much as "Wow, I need to figure out how to get with it."

Look at me, adulting all over the place.

Anyway, here are a few more random notes from the con for my own future reference:

  • Needed more business cards. Usually people don't want 'em. This time I ran out. Go fig. I also need cards WITH THE COMIC ON THEM.

  • The more "general geekdom" buttons moved better than the furry ones. Again, go fig. Gaming jokes and the snarky buttons were the order of the day.

  • As issues and button designs build up, table real estate is becoming a real issue. I was seriously encroaching on Sirfie's space this time, even tho he was very gracious about it. Is there some kind of vertical display option for the buttons? And I need to take that magazine rack.

  • The "beachy decor" effect of the crates is lost when they're just covered up with signs and displays anyway. Some kind of lighter and easier-to-tote display is required.

  • Standing poster! Instead of the full-size Tiffany banner, free-standing poster displays are more effective and probably easier to schlep around, while still creating a high-impact look. Smaller banners that could hang on the display (a la LizardBeth's banner) are also a good option. The chalkboards/whiteboards are still good options as well but will need some way to be mountable. (The velcro works on the crates, but will it work on wire displays?)

  • How do I improve my at-the-table art so I can charge more? I'm almost never happy with my real media work and feel cheesy charging rates that make the time invested worth it. Short of taking laptop, tablet, and inkjet printer to the con to do digital art at the table, how do I address this?

  • AnthroCon's dealer room has become so immense and diffused. I get lost in the crowd! Would I do better at smaller cons?


BronyCon and... Blugh!
Usually after a con I tend to have a period I refer to as "con bounce," where I'm all excited and energized and I want to Do All the Things! This time, alas, not so much, or at least, what there is, has been delayed. The week immediately following the con was largely spent recuperating, which I blame mostly on the heat, bad sleep, and gimping around Pittsburgh on a broken toe. I was mostly better by Friday, but [livejournal.com profile] lythandra came down with a nasty stomach bug and was incommunicado while a very kind fan came over and dropped a crazy gaming rig on my head.

On Saturday, Laurie was feeling better so we headed over to Baltimore to do a bit of ghosting at BronyCon. I have somewhat mixed feelings about "brony" fandom generally, but I gotta say I was much more impressed by this one than by the last one I attended. Nevertheless, the trip was draining for both of us– Laurie because she was recovering from her stomach bug, and me because... well, I was coming down with her stomach bug. -.-

Sunday's activities are best left without elaboration. Suffice to say it was not a good day, and now I need to eat some yogurt. ¬.¬

Do All the Things!
So yesterday and today are all about recovery, and reclaiming my con bounce. And just in time, too, 'cos I have to do All the Things. Look at all the things I have to do!

  1. Play of the Game Badges: RJ, Salen, Snowdrift, Jell-O Blue, Gryphon_2.

  2. Other Post-Con Commissions: Lia, Redliox

  3. Write issue five

  4. Continue marketing Sky Pirates (six rejections down, ____ to go)

  5. Come up with and start writing another book

  6. Get my medical insurance sorted (again)

  7. Get followup x-rays on my toe

  8. Find some way to get D&D happening again

  9. Mail Kamau's power strip back to him


...And that's just Tuesday. ¬.¬

Okay, I exaggerate, some of that can go to Wednesday if it has to. ¬.¬

Point is, I've got a lot to do, and I can't do it if I'm a) lying around listening to my insides gurgle, or b) moping. So that con bounce is badly needed!

Where My Ponies At?
A vaguely-related thread to some of the points made above is a seismic shift taking place in the TwitterPonies and pony fandom generally. Every fandom has a life cycle, and as the show "finishes" more and more threads, a certain sense of "winding down" becomes inevitable. I have many thoughts and feelings about this, which I am going to have to let brew for another post, I think. But I will say that one of the reasons I have been cultivating other interests (e.g., Overwatch) is that I think we are nearing the point where MLP is going to return to its pre-FIM status as one of the many quiescent-but-everpresent "background fandoms" like Lion King or Sailor Moon, except a little more prominently than its previous standing... at least until the 2021 reboot.

C'est la vie!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Exterminate)

Play of the Game Badge: RJ by the-gneech on DeviantArt

Every once in a while the universe goes, "Oh by the way, HERE." And while I'm always very grateful for these episodes, I am also very baffled and left feeling vaguely like something is out of order somewhere. In this particular case, a very kind TwitterPonies fan, upon hearing of my constant battles with the rapidly-failing MACH5, made a new and way better computer appear as if by magic today. Dubbed KITT, as it is all black and mysterious except for a single red light on the front, it is actually the second computer of mine by that name. And, not gonna lie, it's very nice. ^.^'

So, true to my word, I jumped into PVP in Overwatch tonight, after a few AI matches to get a feel for the new machine.

Sooooo smooooth. O.o I dunno what the framerate was, but it was like watching a very peculiar Pixar movie. I only won one match... but the defeats were gorgeous to watch. XD

I didn't spend the whole day on that, tho. As you can see, I completed the first of my "Play of the Game" badge commissions today. Tomorrow I'll try to bang out another if I can, but I'm also thinking of heading over to Baltimore tomorrow to catch lunch with some folks at BronyCon. I was considering a Saturday pass to poke around the con itself, but $50 is kinda steep for what I would get out of it. Lunch with friends is more than sufficient instead. :)

Tomorrow night, I hope to do some online gaming, in the form of Cards Against Humanity and possibly Quiplash if I can rustle up enough players. And if not... well... I can run Overwatch now. Whenever I want. No crashing.

...

Sweeeeeeet.

-The Gneech, now idea how he got so lucky
the_gneech: (Le Pew)
I know, I know, everything posting here has been aggregated Tweets. That's 'cos I was busy AnthroConning! Alas, we dropped [livejournal.com profile] sirfox at BWI this afternoon, which is the last item on the agenda that's actually the con. I do have post-con homework to do, but that's a separate thing.

AnthroCon was cool and fun and a con; it wasn't the best one ever, but it was far from the worst one either. It was a fairly condensed con, in that I didn't do a lot of going around to see and hang out with people, or ranging all over Pittsburgh for weird dinner events. It was pretty much "sit at the table all day, hang out in the Zoo at night."

Sales were quite good on Friday. Saturday was almost completely flat (which I blame mostly on the Parade That Wouldn't Die), and Sunday picked up a bit. The net result was a solid but unspectacular con business-wise. That's a slight uptick from the "disappointing" trend the cons have had for the past few years, so I'll take it. :)

There was no major discernible trend this year; there was some Zootopia stuff of course, but nowhere near as much as I expected, and a few folks doing stuff with Overwatch besides me, but no obvious "Year of the Ponies" or "Everything Undertale" moments.

So, like I say, a good con. And that was the last major thing on my agenda until Dragon*Con, so... all that "stuff I will take care of after AnthroCon"? You're up next.

Starting tomorrow. ¬.¬

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)

From the “Ideas I Wish I’d Had a Month Before AnthroCon Instead of Two Days” Department…


Play of the Game Badges Flyer


Yeah, so, Overwatch has been eating my brain. ^.^’ What can I say, it’s an awesome game! So I want an excuse to do art related to it. 😉 Badges! Who doesn’t love badges?


But yeah, the flyer pretty much says it all. $30 gets a glossy photo-quality printed badge in holder mailed anywhere in the U.S., or $25 gets a high-res file so you can print out your own. And if you’re one of my Patreon supporters you get $10 off!


To claim one, you can leave a comment here, or you can e-mail me via thegneech at gmail dot com. Gamsa!


-The Gneech


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the_gneech: (Kero asleep)

Three Good Things For Today


  1. Yummy mahi mahi dinner c/o [livejournal.com profile] lythandra

  2. Fancy-schmancy new mouse for gaming, as well as progress on the new PC

  3. Fun walk around Rio and some frozen yogurt

  4. Bonus Good Thing! Team Fortress 2 with Miertam, Plotline, Inkblitzer, Trixie, Maven, and occasionally Colley. It was a fun and new experience!


Three Goals For Tomorrow


  1. Clean up my desk (again :P)

  2. New badges for self and Buster the Crab

  3. Another Ponywatch pic


G'nite world, and have an awesome tomorrow!

-The Gneech

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