Anyway, all week I've had as a to-do item "Three Good Things" post. But what's been happening is that at night I'm fighting to force myself to go to bed much against my will, which means I don't have a "wind down" routine so much as a "knock myself down" routine... and so the "Good Things" post doesn't happen because it's 2 a.m. and I have been trying to make myself go to bed for hours.
I blame Overwatch. :P But that's for another discussion.
So I decided that today I would simply list a ton of good stuff that's happened to me recently, in no particular order, and with no numerical limit. Most of this is very personal/self-centered stuff rather than any sort of "greater good," but that's okay. Sometimes things that are just good for me, are good enough.
- The weather has been crazy nice for most of May/June. This sounds trivial, but given the strong correlation between my energy level/mood and sunny days, it's a lot bigger than it may seem. It's weird, I can sometimes wake up and somehow know, just from how bleah I feel, that it's a cloudy day outside.
- I've been having fun playing Overwatch. This is a little more of a mixed bag because I've also been very frustrated with my computer trying to play Overwatch. The thing crashes five times out of six tries, and I don't currently have the funds to replace it. XD So it can be kind of frustrating to spend 50 minutes rebooting for every 10 minutes playing, but when the computer gets into a long "working" streak, Overwatch is a lot of fun. This leads to my next item...
- People are being super-generous about helping with the computer problem. A fan who prefers to remain anonymous is upgrading his own computer to a super-high-end model and basically giving me most of his previous one, which is still a giant step up from the one I'm currently using. All I have to provide is a copy of Windows and a video card, and that I can afford to do. ^.^ He's currently talking about handing it off to me at BronyCon, which is July 9-10. Another friend has given me a full license for Team Fortress 2, on the grounds that Overwatch is basically a newer version of that, to play in the meantime. XD
- Finished issue four! It'll be at AnthroCon! Rough Housing is starting to build up a body of work finally. ^.^
- AnthroCon is next weekend! I get to see a bunch of my furry pals and do arts and get commissions and stuff!
- We're moved! We've got the furniture all in place, curtains up and art on the walls. There's still settling in to be done, especially in the office and library because we don't use those rooms as much, but we do at least have the beginnings of a home going on.
- My heart ablation surgery was a complete success! I haven't had any afib since March, and as of this week, I am off the heart meds. In as much as afib ever gets "cured," this is it.
- My toe is healing nicely. I did cringe a bit when the doctor said it might need a pin, but then the x-rays came back that the joint was fine and that all I have to do is keep taping it up and wearing this silly shoe-brace-thing for a few more weeks. I'll probably be alternating between it and a regular shoe at AC, particularly for driving and/or if the weather is rainy.
- This video. Just... this video.
So... yeah. Some good stuff has been happening. I'm sure there's more than I've remembered to post here, but I am a lion of little brain and things fall out of it a lot. I'm going to try to be more regular about posting good things on a regular basis, but that requires not fighting to force myself to go to bed. So... we'll see. ;P
Things are gradually improving here. We're finally getting some sun, which has improved my outlook and energy level. The dishwasher pump is still hosed, but the technician showed us a workaround that will suffice until he gets the replacement part, so we can at least wash dishes. My foot is still a bit swollen and tender, but it can at least support weight for a few moments without hurting. The nasty blood blister that accompanied the broken toe is gone, and the wound is healing up now. lythandra has been unpacking like crazy and you can see the beginnings of a home taking shape out of the chaos. Even InkyGirl seems to be fairly comfortable in her new digs, although she's still hesitant about going upstairs (but will pluck up the courage to come up and walk on our heads to get her breakfast).
Since I'm pretty much supposed to plant myself and stay whenever possible, I've been cranking on Suburban Jungle. Yesterday I finished next week's page, which means that today (Gasp!) I actually start getting ahead again! Just in time to only have four pages of this issue left. ¬.¬ But that's okay, I need to get issue four finished by the end of May so that FurPlanet can have June to print it before AnthroCon.
Once that's done, I'm going to return to a) Marketing the Sky Pirates book, and b) Writing Mortal Thoughts. Those two projects will probably take most of my June, with some scripting for issue five done around the edges when I can.
So that's where things stand. Will we have internet today? Will I ever sell my bloody books? Will Susan ever confess her love to Brad? The answers to all these questions and more, on the next episode of... SOAP.
-The Gneech, kidnapped by aliens
The only major hitch in the proceedings so far is that the FiOS box is over two years old, which means that Verizon can't (or won't, either is equally likely with those guys) activate it without sending a tech out here. Unfortunately, Verizon is going through a workers' strike right now so... who knows if or when we'll get service.
So in the meantime, I have to use my phone's personal hotspot (which will eat through data like whoa), or find a Starbucks and glom on. ;) So my online time may be spotty for a while. :P
Still, given that we had 30 days to GTFO, it could have been a lot worse.
Now... to see if sirfox would consider exchanging renovations for rent...
...but first, sleep. *thud*
They're perfectly within their rights to do so. And I can't speak for anyone else, but my choice will almost always be, "I don't want to look at your site that badly."
"But! Moneys!" scream the website owners. "Hosting is expensive!" etc. Well, yes. I understand that. But you know what? I don't care.
Sometime during (or leading up to) the dot-com boom I remember seeing an ad for some corporation trying to market to middle managers, which had graphic design like a merchant bank and the header, "Finally, the web is good for more than UFO theories and pictures of cats."
My reaction then is the same as my reaction now: FUCK. YOU.
UFO theories and pictures of cats is what I want from the internet. Personal blogs, dorky little vines, silly memes? That's what the web is good for. The world needs another stream of commerce like I need another hole in my head. People making connections? That's what the world needs.
So people not being able to make money on the internet? That's all to the good. I want money out of the internet as much as possible, the same way I want it out of roleplaying games and conventions and universities and libraries and public TV and almost every other thing really worth doing. The relentless drive to prioritize short-term profit over doing the core thing that you're about has destroyed everything it ever touched.
The current crop of websites flailing around trying to block the ad-blockers may be a harbinger of the collapse of "Big Website," which would mean a lot of potentially-good content might be lost. On the other hand, it also means that a lot of clickbait garbage will also be lost, and I can live with that. I was perfectly content with grunky mostly-text webpages and very, very personal blogs. I have absolutely no problem with the internet being the realm of the hobbyist, now and forever.
This being an awesome tune, I wanted to make a note of it and knew I wouldn't remember the name. As it was, I could barely hold onto it long enough to fire up Siri and give her the instruction: "Remember Skeewiff Flanger!"
With a completely straight face (or the android equivalent thereto), Siri replied, "Okay, I'll create a reminder to ski with blender."
Now I have a cartoon in my head of Comfort, skiing down the side of a mountain, holding a blender over her head like a trophy. Nice one, Siri.
Starbucks Moments: The Day Santa Liked My Muttonchops
On Monday, a man who I am pretty sure was Santa Claus in his civilian clothes came into the store looking flustered and somewhat lost, but upon seeing me (looking not too different from the icon for this post) immediately brightened up and said, "I love your facial hair!"
To which I replied with a thank you and proceeded to show him how the Starbucks smartphone app works because, being Santa, it's all still pretty new to him.
A woman also complimented my haircut-and-muttonchops combo tonight, saying that "It really worked." So apparently it does!
And now, back to prepping for my MFF flight. *kermitflails!*
Planes, trains, and automobiles has been the theme for the day, and while I have gotten to see several people for a few minutes each, I've only been able to see a few of them for more than a brief hug and a hello. Many of my friends I used to see here have either stopped coming or have left us entirely; many of the ones remaining are having circumstances make it difficult or impossible for them to come. On top of this, my phone charger cable, which I made a very careful point of packing this morning, somehow didn't make the trip with me. :P A replacement cable was theoretically fetchable from Best Buy, some three miles up the road, but without a car, that might as well have been the one back at home, at least until morning.
And while I love graveyardgreg like a brother , and I was happy to follow him around a while and study his Extrovert Style, as my phone started to die and I faced the prospect of spending most of the weekend incommunicado and missing absent friends, I don't mind telling you I was getting glum. "If I was going to be lonely and stranded," the line of thought ran, "I could have done that at home without spending $700 for the privilege."
I had given up on the day and was heading back to my room to get some badly-needed sleep when sirfox texted to say that he was on the way, and bringing me a charger cable to boot. I won't go as far as to say that there were angels singing the "Hallelujah Chorus," but the hotel muzak certainly took on some Handelian qualities.
This in turn also had a touch of SNAFU as the charger cable in question turned out to have a close-but-no-cigar USB connector instead of a Lightning, but even this was mitigated by Josh and Candy very kindly driving me off to an all-hours Wal-Mart, where the correct cable was acquired and double-checked, and I was brought back to the hotel for crashery and phone-chargery.
So the good news is, I'm feeling much better, and intend to celebrate this by going to sleep. In the morning I shall track down my old pal the Starbucks up the street (just a few blocks away), and then my con will be ready to properly start.
Those who are late, get no fruit cup.
PS: Gnite, world, and have an awesome tomorrow. :)
 Not one of mine, perhaps. But SOMEBODY's brother. 
 Just kidding, Greg. <3
Well, sorta. I got a Macbook Air, a lightweight and zippy laptop, on the reasonable assumption that I would only be using it to write, while the more heavy-duty machine that would be required for me to do comics on was 33% more expensive and I had a perfectly serviceable PC that I had been using for art for years.
Of course, once we were past the return period, my perfectly serviceable PC started to go south. ¬.¬ Strange hangups, DLLs getting lost, BSODs, etc. Malware and anti-virus programs helped, but did not fix the problem completely, and one of those BSODs created a recurring problem where Outlook crashes on startup and you spend the rest of the day being notified that it can't start Outlook every 10 minutes whether you asked it to or not. Productivity was dropping fast, and I was constantly paranoid that the machine would die on me while I was fighting a deadline.
So, yeah. Had I known that was coming, I would have gone with a Macbook Pro. -.- But the thing with the game of life is, you can only move forward, so I started looking at ways to finance a PC replacement. One idea that came to me was to add "Buy a Macbook" as a goal on my Patreon campaign. I have to admit, I never actually expected the goal to be reached.
It was reached within a day. O.o I nearly had (more) kittens.
So, Macbook Pro get. :) It's a "certified refurbished," which is sort of like going to the auto dealership and getting last year's model-- which in the case of a Macintosh, puts it at a comparable price to a similar PC. And it's a beefy little laptop! I spent last night and most of today getting it up and running, as well as figuring out how to avoid all the little traps along the way. ("Do you want to erase everything from your iPhone to sync with this computer?" "Hell no, what are you THINKING?") Hooking it up to the PC network was surprisingly painless, although completely nonintuitive.
The main lingering issue now is one of software. The copy of Manga Studio I have came with both PC and Mac versions, and that's my comic-creating workhorse, but there are still some things that Photoshop is just much easier for, especially when it comes to text and certain painty effects. But older (i.e., non-subscription) versions of Photoshop still go on eBay for $300+, so I'm going to have to either wince and put MORE on the credit card, or spend time hunting down a Photoshop-killer.
The other thing is cross-platform gotchas-- the scroll wheel on the trackball is reversed-axis from the PC, for instance, so I keep scrolling the wrong way. CTRL+uparrow might do anything, nothing, or several things, all dependent on the app-- there's no dedicated and consistent "Page Up/Page Down".
So, still some stuff to shake down, but I think that for this lappy and me, it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship. lythandra is going to take the Air as a replacement for her old never-really-liked-it PC and see how well that goes.
So, thank you, Patreon supporters! I'll make good use of it. :)
Today, I find myself trying to do the same, for my computer. This machine, which was on the upper end of graphics and particularly game performance when I bought it a few years ago, has in the past six months become extremely choppy, laggy, and generally hard to work with, so today I'm uninstalling a bunch of old stuff, updating AVG and Malwarebytes, and generally trying to clean the digital house. It doesn't help that AVG is turning into exactly the same pushware/adware crap that once made it better than Norton, but for the moment I don't know of a better antivirus choice.
I suspect that when the time comes that this computer does become unfeasibly creaky, I will try jumping ship to a Mac. I'm loving my little Macbook Air lappy so far, and in an alternate universe I probably just bought the biggest baddest Macbook Pro I could get my hands on and made that my only computer, instead of having one for writing and one for everything else. I have been reluctant to abandon PCs, largely due to wanting backwards compatibility with old games that I've loved in the past, but looking at my actual current habits, well, there's actually nothing I do with this PC that wouldn't work just as well on a Mac, and plenty of things I am doing now that would probably work better on a newer, cleaner machine.
But, that's definitely for the future. Like, after the house is sold future. For the time being, I keep on patching up this machine. Temp file deletion time, ho!
Behold! My Macified PC. For no better reason than it would be fun and dumb. All it is really is judicious application of Windows theming, with Mac icons and a few bits of addon software to create the dock and the desktop widgets.
If you'd like to try it, it was all done with an installer file you can find here: http://downloadcdn.betterinstaller.com/
Now all I need is to get ahold of a Mac keyboard and I'll be all set. ;)
- Mac Os X "Mini Box" (Finder Version 10.5.8)
- Runs Firefox up to version 3.6.23; does not run current versions of Chrome
- Includes wifi
- Hardware in generally good condition except for some fraying on AC adapter connector
- Includes third-party keyboard, mouse, and 17" Dell monitor on pivoting/rotating stand; monitor has some picture degradation due to age
- Will deliver to greater D.C. area, AnthroCon, or InterventionCon for $100; will ship w/in U.S. for $125. Check, cash (if delivered), or Paypal.
- E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
It's time to start cleaning out some stuff to raise funds and/or make room! :) So watch for a few more posts like this in the upcoming weeks/months.
Well, yes, they could. The reason I'm recording my tweets to LJ is a much more selfish one: i.e., I like to look back on them in bulk after the fact and reflect on them, to see if there are any off-the-cuff ideas or comments that could be fleshed out later into more full thoughts that would warrant writing about here or elsewhere.
It also helps me "hold on" to links and such that I might want to revisit at a later date, as well. Twitter feeds evaporate over time, but LJ posts last at least a little longer.
So, long answer short, I'm crossposting 'em here for my own use, rather than for my readers per se. By all means, if you don't care for tweets, skip right on over them with my blessing. You probably won't be missing much. ;)
The past few weeks my mood stability has been on the vulnerable side, and I've found that more often than not social media (and especially Twitter, as it's far and away the most active form of social media) have ranged from wearying to infuriating. So I've been going through and targeting posters who, even if I agree with them, add stress, and quietly unfollowing them.
This is a tricky thing to do when I'm emotionally wobbly... the temptation is to go all Oprah on it. "You get an unfollow, and YOU get an unfollow-- EVERYBODY GETS AN UNFOLLOW!" But that's neither healthy nor productive in the long run, it's just the tendency-towards-implosion that emotional wonkiness creates.
But trimming the social media tree is a good thing every once in a while. There are enough stressors I can't control, there's no reason to hold onto the ones that I can control.
"Could not sync iPad because the sync failed to start."
...so, you're saying you couldn't do it because you didn't do it? Is that really what you're saying, iTunes?
*boot to the head*
PS: I had a YouTube link to the Frantics' song "Boot to the Head" here, but I removed it. There's something that's always bugged me about that song, specifically the line, "People voting Republican: give them a boot to the head." Besides being an amateurish sort of middle-school joke, to immediately follow it up with a verse decrying "politicians who can't think" denotes cognitive dissonance. You've just blanket-condemned half of the electorate as a body, and then you're being sanctimonious about not thinking? Weaksauce.
Yes, I know that many Republicans say tons of stuff about "liberals" (never Democrats, always "liberals") that's just as bad if not worse. But y'know, if it's bad when "they" do it, it's bad when "we" do it too.
PPS: I say "they" and "we" for illustrative purposes. I don't identify with either party really.
So we have been looking with a keen eye at the idea of me cutting back to part time in order to free me up to work on my writing and comics, as well as trying to land some freelance gigs in order to update my skills and resume. This weekend, we sat down and ran the numbers, giving our budget a thorough and honest look... and came to the conclusion that the money just isn't there. :( Full-time, we operate on a comfortable surplus. Part-time, even after cutting out a lot of stuff and throttling back our savings contributions, we end up ~$10k short a year.
So I'm staying full-time. Yay for having more money than we need... I guess?
In other news, that Cintiq I bought from Flinters at FC? It works beautifully by itself on my system, but will not stand the presence of another tablet-- even the bonus tablet made specifically to work with it. The problem appears to boil down to Windows 7's security settings: the Cintiq wants to write its preferences to the Windows directory, and Windows doesn't want to let it. So the preferences never get saved, and the defaults are all wrong.
I took the Cintiq over to hantamouse's house last weekend and tried it on his Mac, and it all worked perfectly. So when, earlier this week, Sparf on Twitter offered up a G4 Mac Mini for $100, I snapped it up, figuring this might be a way to salvage use of the Cintiq. Yesterday Sparf brought it over, and I discovered that the DVI-to-USB adapter I have is not compatible with a Mac that old, and cannot be made compatible with workarounds. Which means... I can have a tablet on the Mac or the Cintiq as both tablet and monitor.
Which is to say, it still doesn't work.
So at this stage, I've got pretty much one more option before giving up on the whole idea: see if I can find some reasonably-cheap way to add another DVI slot to a G4 Mac Mini from ~6 years ago. I have come dangerously close to the "throwing good money after bad" point on this project, and if the Mac doesn't work, I'll probably put it and the Cintiq back up for sale (or up on eBay).
After all, we're running at a surplus, I can just buy myself a new Cintiq if I really want one. :P If only I could buy myself some free time.
Manga Studio Study — New Comic Panel by ~the-gneech on deviantART
My first ever completely-digital-from-start-to-finish comic panel, done in Manga Studio. On top, all the working layers I used, including perspective lines, blueline roughs, sketch, and ink; underneath, just the inks. I haven’t decided if I want to try adding tones for shadows in Manga Studio, or just leave that to the coloring process.
This single panel took me several hours, but a lot of that time was spent learning the tools, in particular the focus line ruler and parallel line rulers.
There’s a lot to like about Manga Studio– being able to ink while zoomed way the heck in is huge– but there’s no denying that it has a steep, steep learning curve. Intuitive, it is not.
But powerful? Oh yes. It is powerful. This may just be one small 10″x3″ (ish) panel, but what it represents is huge, to me!