the_gneech: (Default)

So recently, at Barnes & Noble, my attention was drawn to a hardback on the “fantasy new releases” table, featuring what was described as “flintlock fantasy with airships, a touch of humor, and an engaging female hero.”


I nearly burned the place down. ¬.¬


After the writing, revising, submitting, re-revising, submitting again, and so forth that Sky Pirates of Calypsitania has gone through, to see this thing sitting there made me want to scream at the top of my lungs, “THIS SHOULD BE MY BOOK!”


So. Yeah. I was upset. Deep breaths. Let’s work this thing out.


On the positive side, clearly someone must think there’s a market for the kind of books I want to write. I mean, there it is. But I have to connect to it.


And to be clear, I’m pretty sure that the author of that book worked just as long and just as hard on it as I did on mine. My own personal green-eyed-monster popping out notwithstanding, I wish them success.


That doesn’t alter the fact that I had this extreme, intensely emotional reaction to seeing “my book with someone else’s name on it” right there on the very table where I have been trying to get my book for years now. What I have to do, is direct that energy in a positive direction.


If this is the team that put the book on the table, I reasoned, then it could serve me well to hook up with that team. A little research turned up the agent of not-my-book. I went back and rewrote the opening, again, to address feedback the book had received on the previous round, getting thumbs-ups from my beta readers, and sent it to that agent. Given that this particular agent has a strict “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” policy, however, the response could easily range from an excited followup any day, to chirping crickets until forever.


I don’t intend to wait. As far as I’ve been able to make out, the main thing that makes a writing career succeed (besides lightning in a bottle) is sheer volume. The most popular and well-paid writers I know get that way by writing a lot of books. And as much as I love Sky Pirates of Calypsitania, it is only the one.


What this boils down to is, I need to work on another book. I’ll keep shopping Sky Pirates around as long as it takes, but I can’t leave my career on hold waiting for any one project to move.


I have been trying to write a more “mainstream” fantasy, and I got maybe a third of it done as part of last year’s NaNoWriMo, but I keep running into a fundamental paradox: in trying to adhere to more standard tropes in order to make the book “sellable,” I feel like I’m just aping other people’s work, which in turn makes for a book that I’m not sure I would read, myself.


Of course, it’s just the first draft of said book, and so there’s an argument that I should just finish the thing, with “rip out all the Tolkien” being one of the goals of the second draft. But if I know all the Tolkien needs to come out anyway, then leaving it in there for the first draft feels like creating work I don’t need to do.


So perhaps I should just leave that one in the drafts folder and start a whole new project that’s more like what I want to write.


But I need to do something. I need to get somewhere.


-The Gneech

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[personal profile] sirfox called me late last night with the news of Albert Temple's passing, although there had been people noting his absence on LiveJournal and elsewhere for days with concern.

To summarize what I've said elsewhere:

Ryan Dewalt reports on FurAffinity that Albert Temple, creator of the long-running and popular furry webcomic Gene Catlow, has passed away at 59 due to natural causes.

Gene Catlow began in 2000 and covered a wide variety of topics including race ("species") relations, tech humor, and Albert's particular humble and loving approach to the world.

Albert's messages of love, tolerance, and good humor in the face of adversity will be sorely missed.


One of the kindest people I ever met, with a wit that was quick but never cruel. Very grateful for the chance to have known him. In the flurry of Twitter messages that went by this morning I saw someone describe him as "the Fred Rogers of furry," and it really does suit him.

Albert and I were not close, but he was the kind of person who made you feel like you were good friends just be being in the same room, and I like to think that if we'd been in the same circles more often we would have been.

Godspeed, sir, and hoping we'll see you again.

-The Gneech
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I spent the morning grinding my gears on this stupid question of the test in SF, and eventually looked at it this way:

BEST CASE SCENARIO: I ace the test, they call me to fly out to SF again in a couple of weeks for interview, and if I get hired we start frantically moving, for a civil service job which while it would pay the bills is unlikely to be exactly thrilling or remunerative in one of the top three highest-rent places on the meta-flipping PLANET, causing me to probably be job hunting again in six months.

WORST CASE SCENARIO: I run up more debt on the credit card, don't get the job, have to cope with another discouraging rejection, and am still grinding away on the job hunt.

DETERMINING FACTORS: Who knows? I might be their star candidate and the test is a formality, they're just not allowed to say so. Or like I said before, they might have a chosen candidate already and are just forced to go through the "we tested other candidates" dance. Without at least having a phone interview first, I'm going in completely blind.

So all of it was a roll of the dice, and historically, dice are not kind to me. It's a recurring joke in my gaming circles, actually, that I create these crazy twinked-out powergaming characters, only to be constantly foiled by my inability roll higher than 33% of the desired result. I've long ago given up betting on anything but the most stacked-in-my-favor odds, and even then I prefer the sure thing if it's available.

But the worst part of it all, honestly, was the feeling of desperation. Being so set on the idea of some job, any job, out in CA, that I'd be willing to hop on a plane blind to the outcome, is just inviting the bad wolf to come and bite me in the neck. So I e-mailed the job contact asking if they had any options for remote testing. She replied that they didn't, so I thanked her for the opportunity and withdrew my application.

She said, "I'm sorry to hear this," which is the most information I've received about it one way or the other, but I also note that she's not sorry enough to try to change my mind, either. And I also didn't get the information until it was too late for it to be useful, so... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Identifying that feeling of desperation was the clinching factor me, tho. Frankly? I'm tired of chasing things. Whether it's a job, or a book sale, or trying to get someone I like to hang out with me, whatever it is. The never-ending pursuit of ______, sometimes to the point of going down crazy mental rabbit-holes, has got to stop.

Universe, you can start chasing me, instead.

I still want to go to California, but I'm not going to tie myself into knots to do it. I'm going to keep applying to jobs that will get me there in style, but I'm not going to enslave myself to the idea in the meantime. If it's just a matter of paying the bills, I can find work around here (or work that does not require an office at all) that will do that in the meantime.

It's kinda what I was getting at a while back about "How would California Gneech actually be different?" There's no point in setting myself up to be living a life of quiet desperation on the left coast instead of the right coast. At the end of the day, the externalities of where I am have less to do with my development and state of mind than the internalities of who I am. Until I can find and maintain my own core without worrying about what's going on around me, moving to California is like changing the cosmic desktop wallpaper. It is prettier, but it doesn't actually make things better.

-The Gneech
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The other day [personal profile] inkblitz posted a little thing about seasonal depression, which prompted a thought in my mind that I wanted to observe.

I've known Blitzy for something like five years now. We were thrown together by our online RP group but pretty much immediately clicked. And while the RP group is not the focus of either of our lives any more, the friendship has endured. By the standards of, say, high school or college friendships, we're practically blood brothers. But the thing is, we met as adults– in my case, as a middle-aged adult in particular. So for me, a period of five years, while nothing to sneeze at, still counts as being "recent developments."

When we met, I was still in the darkest parts of grief, and quite often depressed; during one of my conversations with Blitzy at the time, I said that having met me after my friends and family started dying left and right, so constantly mired in grief, in many ways he hadn't met "the real me."

But when did I stop being "the real me"? How long can an extended period of grief last before that is "normal"? My father died in 2011 after a long and stressful decline; Kerry died in 2013. I met Inkblitzer somewhere between those two events, and they've cast a long shadow ever since– as have the deaths of Sandy, FrostDemn, Buddha, my aunt Iris, and my mom, and the loss of our house and jobs of 15+ years, all in the same cluster. It's not like my grief was unwarranted. ¬.¬

But recently, something has shifted in me. I'm not sure exactly how, why, or when, although I did comment on it a little while back. I have started being myself again. I still miss everyone that I've lost, and it's not like I'm feeling peachy-keen about all the crap currently going on in the world, but there's an important internal difference.

I'm fine in the moment. I'm thinking about where I am and what I'm doing, instead of thinking about how much pain I'm in or what I've lost. The emotional wounds, as it were, seem to have scarred over. This manifests mostly in a better mood, a sunnier outlook, and a lighter, more playful approach to just about everything. I'm back to treating life like a party or an adventure, rather a slog that I have to just keep pushing through. When I think of "the real me," that's what I think of, the guy who wants to make everything more awesome, not the guy who is stubbornly refusing to give in and just sink to the bottom.

I mentioned to Blitzy that I was finally the real me again; he said, "I think I met the real you enough. At least at conventions. But yeah, I'm seeing more of convention you in general."

So I wonder. Maybe "the real me" isn't a fixed point, so much as an aggregation, and the me that was fighting through all that crap was "really" me too, me bearing the weight of what I was going through. But it still feels like being a different person.

-The Gneech
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Taken with my phone and scrunched down for the web.

Judiciary Square Metro Station, just off the train, just queuing to get up to the street. XD
Judiciary Square Metro Station, Women's March 2017

Portapotty lines on the National Mall. XD John Kerry walked by to unending cheers while we were in line, but I didn't get my phone out in time to get a good picture.
National Mall crowds, Women's March 2017

National Mall displays. Women's rights were a major theme, as to be expected, but things like the emoluments clause of the Constitution and environmentalism were also common threads.
National Mall protest displays, Women's March 2017

Scaffold camping. My impression was that the scaffolding was left over from the previous day's inauguration ceremonies and these people just climbed up on it for visibility.
Protestors on a scaffold, National Mall, Women's March 2017

Waiting for the march to start. There were more than twice as many attendees as projected, so the march got a late start as police and organizers split it up into effectively two marches. So there was a lot of milling around while that happened. You can see the National Museum of the American Indian in the background.
National Mall crowds, Women's March 2017

Wonder Woman signs were a recurring motif. I heard there were Supergirl signs too, but other than one cape I didn't see them.
Wonder Woman and women's rights are a natural combination. National Mall, Women's March 2017

Beginning to march. Going north on 3rd St, facing the Mall here. We were a little confused, as the march was scheduled to go down Jefferson, but all became clear in just a few minutes.
National Mall, Women's March 2017

"Holy crap, we're marching down Pennsylvania Avenue!" You can't really make it out in this shot, but those stands that were so empty during the inauguration? Not empty on Saturday.
Pennsylvania Avenue, Women's March 2017

Here's a zoom-in on the last shot to give a better view of the stand. All along the route these were well-populated by march supporters.
Well-populated grandstands, Women's March 2017

Pennsylvania Avenue, facing the Capitol Building. The marchers just keep on coming.
Pennsylvania Avenue, Women's March 2017

7th and Penn, still marching.
7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, Women's March 2017

14th Street, the march stops because the Ellipse is full. Facing south between Penn and F.
14th Street, Women's March 2017

The march was theoretically supposed to go to the Ellipse (a large public area across the street from the White House), but Laurie's knee was giving out at this stage, and it was just too crowded to get any closer, so we decided it was time to start making our way home at this point. We ended up walking to the McPherson Square Metro Station because we couldn't get into Metro Center from above, and riding the Silver Line to reconnect with the Red Line home. Fortunately, WMATA was in excellent form, and we actually managed to get on the next train, despite Metro Center being packed to capacity.

I have many and varied thoughts about the march, but I am glad I went, and I'm grateful to all the organizers, the millions of other people who marched worldwide, and to Laurie for getting us involved in the first place.

-The Gneech
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Not normally a sign guy, but geez

Will be downtown most of today. If all goes well, we will be home by four o'clock. I will post when we get back.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
I have a lot to be grateful for today, and I want to make a note of it.

I am grateful...
  • ...for the opportunity to apply for a job at a company where a friend works and might be able to put in a good word for me.

  • ...for hearing back on a different job that is considering me for a position.

  • ...for unexpected money in the mail.

  • ...for all the help, love, and support I get from [personal profile] laurie_robey.

  • ...for all the help, love, and support I get from friends and fans.

  • ...to have friends I love, respect, and admire in return.

  • ...to have been alive and witnessed the Obama administration.

  • ...for new people coming to my stream, and returning people I haven't seen in years.

  • ...to have ideas, plans, energy, and the skill to carry out my new business ventures in 2017.

  • ...for being healthy, even as my insurance keeps being messed up.

  • ...to have had and enjoyed a rare treat (for me) for breakfast, and another for lunch, and still ended the day under points. ;)

  • ...for computers, a workspace, and art materials that enable me to create work that I and others enjoy.

  • ...for my adorable cats.


There's more, like lots more, but I'm getting sleepy and want to go to bed. I just... felt like I should acknowledge all this stuff. It's kinda like one of my "three things" posts, except as you can see, it's way more than three things.

Thanks, universe. <3 Good night, and have an awesome tomorrow.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
Beef Jerky Time!


Happy New Year, You Sexy Bastards

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
This is sort of a continuation/expansion of my 2016 Report, based on some things I've noticed and/or thought about over the past few days.

There seem to be two basic ways people are approaching 2017 in their minds.

Version One:
"I'm gonna kick 2016 in the balls, shove it down the stairs, and run over its corpse with a bulldozer. Then 2017 will be the most AWESOME YEAR EVAR!!!!1!"


Version Two:
Everyone: "2016 was the worst year ever. It couldn't possibly be worse!"
2017: "Hold my beer."


It seems to me that both of these approaches have the same core problem, which is deciding beforehand what the result is going to be. And honestly, the former strikes me as being an overcompensatory attempt to preclude the latter– that is, people are afraid it's just gonna suck even worse, so they are shouting "LA LA LA IT'S GOING TO BE AWESOME" to counter it. The problem with that, of course, is that if it does suck, you're going to be all the more disappointed, whereas if you assume it's going to suck, you at least have the cold comfort of having been right.

Yay?

I don't advocate either of these views. 2017, just like 2016 before it, is an arbitrary unit– a creation of our own minds, mutually agreed on. The universe doesn't care if our calendar ticks off another round or not, it just keeps on doing what it does without start or end. A new year only has as much meaning as we assign to it. If we weren't tracking the passage of years, we wouldn't know that "2016 sucked," all we would know is that a bunch of shit happened.

We don't know what tomorrow (or any other measurement of time) will bring. Even the best, most informed prognosticators can only make educated guesses. Humans have an amazing knack of convincing themselves that if yesterday was sunny, and the day before was sunny, then it must mean that every day will always be sunny forever and that we're going to have a never-ending beach party before we all die of thirst.

The future will have flying cars and jetpacks. Why would you want a camera on your phone anyway?

I don't know what 2017 will be like, and my friend, you don't either. Blanket statements of "fact" that 2017 will be the awesomest, or even worse, say more about your beliefs and intent than they do about anything that manifestly exists in the "real" world.

There is certainly reason for hope: the general historical trend is for the world to get better over time. But that's not a guarantee, it's just a trend. There are lots of different ways the future could play out, and if we allow things to go to crap we could very well end up in the darkest timeline.

But that's where intention and action come in. If you want things to be better, you need to help shove the boulder of the world in a better direction– in whatever form that takes. Assuming that the result is predestined, for good or ill, shouldn't be allowed to be an excuse for inaction. In the words of Gandalf, "Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself?"

Or to put it another way, if you don't take a hand in bringing about the awesome future you're hoping for, how is it supposed to get here?

The future will be better because we will fight to make it so.

-The Gneech
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I actually set up my Dreamwidth account a couple of years ago in response to LJ getting wonkier and wonkier under their Russian masters, but then things stabled out and I fell back into my habitual behavior and forgot about it.

But at this point, it's time to go ahead and get real about it. It'll probably take me a few days to get all the bugs out, but I'm going to be using DW as my personal journal space now. I'll keep cross-posting to LJ for a while, as the LJ is a lifetime account anyway and not going anywhere, but eventually I expect to shut it down.

It's sad, considering how awesome LJ once was, but sic gloria transit mundi, and all that jazz.

Here's my Dreamwidth page: http://the-gneech.dreamwidth.org/

See you there, I hope!

-The Gneech
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: (Party Guy)


-TG
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

Kimmie

Dec. 15th, 2016 11:21 pm
the_gneech: (Mad Red)
There are a wide variety of people who I've been in the same room with a lot but never really spent much time with, and [livejournal.com profile] jamesbarrett's sister Kim ("Kimmie" in the local parlance) is such a person. I met her in high school, something like 1983-1984, but our circles never really intersected much, and my memories of her over the years are mostly vague impressions.

Fast forward to the present, where she's been staying in an extended visit with Jamie and [livejournal.com profile] hantamouse for the past few months but again, when [livejournal.com profile] lythandra and I were there as more of a ghost that we heard about than anything else. But that changed tonight, when Laurie and I finally got over there to visit at a time when Kimmie was also home. We hung out, we played cards, we chatted about this, that, and the other thing.

It was cool. I think Kim and I spoke more in this one evening than we had over the previous 30 years combined, and I finally have a person to connect with the name. She told us that she was a psychic medium (something I was not aware of until now) doing what she called "energy work." She also informed me that I have an indigo aura.

Indigo aura personalities are creative individuals who inspire awareness, sensibility and integrity. Indigos are deeply influenced by their inner knowing. They are dynamic souls who assert their morality to promote teaching respect for all life.


...Works for me!

We also chatted a little about reincarnation and law of attraction stuff, and in the midst of conversation Laurie pegged her as an INFP, the two of them recognizing kindred spirits in each other.

Like I say, it was cool. We exchanged e-mails and I'm hoping we can keep in touch in the future. It's nice, after all these years, to finally feel like I know this mysterious figure who's been lurking in the wings, at least a little.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (No Drama Zone)
Look. There's a lot of crap going on just now. With a few bright exceptions (e.g., Zootopia), crap has pretty much been the defining factor of 2016. I get it. It's a real problem that needs dealing with.

But a) there is more to life, and b) there has always been and will always be a lot of crap going on.

Over the past weeks I have had to cut several follows out of my Twitter feed because while they used to talk about a wide variety of things, they have become a never-ending series of howling shrieks about the latest Awful Thing, with nothing else to even punctuate it. And I thought I was done, but... nope. It has now reached the point where it seems like everyone I follow is doing that. People who were once mostly-positive have either gone quiet or turned negative. People who used to post about geeky esoterica have joined the shrieking chorus. They've got their reasons, and people have to do what they feel is right. But I also have my own mental health to take care of.

I'm all for staying informed; but this can be done in short bursts at strategic points during your day. A never-ending firehouse of panic, hatred, and horror is neither healthy nor useful. Even if I agree with everything being said, I frankly don't want to hear about it 24/7.

So for the moment at least, I have been largely avoiding Twitter, the same way I have avoided Facebook as long as there has been a Facebook to avoid. I miss being able to see my friends and the occasional celebrity chatter over the course of the day, but until the country gets through this giant spasm of stupid self-destruction and we have adults running the show again, that's all the chatter is about anyway.

For those who need that, who are taking comfort in not feeling alone in their distress, or are using it as a coping mechanism, my blessings and I hope you get better soon. For myself, I need to focus on the positive and keep working to make things better, and I can't do that with people yelling in my figurative ear all day.

So if you see less of me on Twitter, that's why. I'll still be around in bursts, and you can still reach me with mentions, DMs and whatnot. When the fire's put out, I'll probably be back to my chatty self again.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Danger Lion)
Burpees have re-entered my life. This is a positive and significant milestone, but... dang. Burpees. Erf! XD

-The Gneech, heading off to the shower

TelegrAIM

Dec. 7th, 2016 01:48 pm
the_gneech: (MST Geeks)

I pretty much stopped paying attention to new social media platforms a while ago. They were coming and going so fast, there seemed little point in getting invested in any of them because they’d just be gone the next day. So other than a foray into Tumblr, I’ve stuck with Twitter and LiveJournal for some time, and those three covered most of my needs or wants in the social realm. Except for one thing: I missed chat.


I dumped AIM and ICQ ages ago due to security holes and general bugginess, but doing so left a big hole in my connections with friends. Anyone who wasn’t on Twitter pretty much faded into the distance, and even on Twitter the DMs tend to be spotty and slow for a lot of things.


But this past weekend at Midwest Furfest, the phrase I kept hearing over and over again was, “Do you have Telegram?” Everybody and their sister was using it to connect for commissions, to plan meal outings, whatever. So I decided that I’d better look into it. A quick download and a few keystrokes later, I was up and running on both the desktop and my phone.


My first thought? “Wow, it’s like the glory days of ICQ again!” You don’t get the adorable little “Uh-oh!” when a message comes in, you just get a beep, but you’ve got a friends list (based primarily on your phone’s contacts), in descending order based on how recently they’ve posted something (basically a less binary “online/offline” notification) and you can toss in emoji, “stickers” (which are basically GIF images like meme posts), and so on.


The best part, for me, is that I immediately restored contact with people I hadn’t been in touch with for years, or at best had sporadic contact through slower channels. We didn’t necessarily have real deep discussions beyond “Hey! You’re on Telegram! I’m on Telegram! We can chat again, yaaaay!” but it had the warm and happy feeling of coming home.


Given how depressing Twitter has become since the election, I would not be surprised if I spend less time there and more time on Telegram, where I can have more focused conversations with friends and “opt out” of the relentless barrage of bad news when I need a break. Over the years I’ve had amazing and transformative discussions with friends via chat, and maybe that can start happening again. 🙂


-The Gneech


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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: (Leonard machismo)
Current: 319.5, up 0.5 from my starting weight of 319 on July 1, 2014
Previous: 286.8 in February

Completely coincidental to Thanksgiving (which I'm actually celebrating with family tomorrow rather than yesterday), part of my get back up and keep going agenda, I signed back up for Weight Watchers last night. Over the past year my weight has shot right back up to where it was two years ago for reasons ranging from crap diet to stress to being on doctor's orders not to exercise while I was recovering from my surgery. And while Weight Watchers had a giant stupidspasm about a year ago and is not as good as it was when I originally signed up, it was what enabled me to make the most progress, so I'm gonna try again.

I first noticed that my weight was going back up sometime around July or August, as my clothes went from fitting to too tight seemingly overnight. I didn't realize just how bad it had gotten until I finally managed to make it back to a doctor. But in the miasma of stress and depression I was swimming around in, I didn't have the oomph to actually do anything about it until recently.

So, yeah. Weight Watchers is back on; DailyBurn is back on. Also, something [livejournal.com profile] lythandra and I have been quietly doing over the past month is also moving towards a more fruit & veg-oriented diet, away from beef especially but also any red meat in general and limiting dairy intake. There are many and varied reasons for this that don't all have to do with our own fitness, but that's definitely one of the benefits. We haven't completely switched, and probably never will as long as char-broiled burgers are a thing, but it's all about a change in focus.

Again, this is all a side effect of our new goals. Having something I'm excited about to work towards makes a huge difference in my mindset, energy level, and general ability to function.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Keitaro Holy Crap)
Well. It's been a thing, hasn't it? Yeeks.

As I suspect has not gone unnoticed, I have not been my characteristically chirpy, genial self for some time now. This is because the world seems to be actively saying "Up yours!" over and over, and it has me not-unnaturally feeling peeved.

To recount, in the past double-handful of years I have lost...

  • a beloved aunt


  • both parents


  • my former business partner and best non-spouse friend


  • another friend who was the group "den mother" for us in high school and who I was actually much closer to as an adult


  • Frostdemn, a fan and friend who was a joy to everyone who knew him and was way, way too young


  • my job


  • my house


  • Game Parlor


  • Laughing Ogre Comics


  • ...and of course Buddha the kitty, whom I loved dearly


Some of these things are worse than others of course, but it's the sheer number and overwhelming breadth of it that gets me. Like there's no good thing so minor that the Universe doesn't feel like going "YOINK!"

Then last year, [livejournal.com profile] lythandra's job, which was at least paying the bills, also disintegrated, and she's been searching ever since with frustrating results.

Just in 2016, circumstances conspired to kick us out of the place we didn't especially like but had landed in when the house sold, into [livejournal.com profile] sirfox's condo in Maryland. And, wishing no reflection on Sirfie, Maryland just ain't working for us for reasons I don't particularly want to get into here.

Despite my best efforts, and even when it returns praise for the writing, I have not been able to sell my book.

And oh yeah, now the neo-nazis are on the march, and the ice caps are melting at an unprecedented rate despite it being winter, much to the consternation and bafflement of the scientists who study such things. Those who used to be alarmists on the topic are throwing up their hands and saying, "welp, we're fucked," while those who used to be only concerned are becoming alarmed.

So yeah, things kinda suck right now, on levels cosmic, social, personal, and downright petty. What the hell. And it's made me grouchy.

However, as Nick Fury put it, "Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on." And while some people use anger and spite to fuel their fire, I am not among their number. Anger and spite make me cruel and mean, and I don't like me when I'm mean. I renounced it long ago, before anyone who knows me now even met me, but it's kinda like being a werewolf or something– it's always there, trying to sneak back out. I suspect many people would be shocked at sheer volume of vicious thoughts or cutting comments that jump unbidden into my mind, and at the effort I'm constantly expending to stop it before it reaches my tongue or the page. If you ever feel I'm snarky or negative now? My public face is Mr. Flippin' Rogers compared to the crap that goes on inside my head.

Lately, just by having been worn down by the world, this effort has been a real fight. I'm spending as much energy on keeping myself "up" as I am on actually accomplishing the things I want to get done with my day. I had a counseling appointment about this last week, and that helped, but it's still something I am dealing with.

The point I'm meandering my way to here, is that I think I've finally reached a certain equilibrium over the past few days, and hopefully I am now at the "Take a deep breath, stand up, and keep walking" stage of things. The reason I punted on NaNoWriMo was so I could concentrate on more immediately-lucrative pursuits so that when our current lease is up we would have options. I have a specific goal that I am working towards, something that Laurie and I have decided as a result of the recent social events, and that goal has finally given me something positive to work towards, instead of simply trudging on because that was all there was to do.

Hopefully, as I start to make progress, and perhaps even start building more positive things back into my life, the Universe will get the message and start moving in the right direction itself, as well.

-The Gneech

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