This weekend is Fur The More 2018 in Tysons Corner, Virginia, and I’ll be there! Most of the time you’ll find me in the Artist Alley, with copies of issue six (“Ready to Rumble!”) and the first Rough Housing collection “Giant Enemy Crab!”.
Sunday morning will also be the first running of my new panel, “Passing for Human.” Drawing on my training as a success coach (and backed with a lifetime of experience convincing people that I am in fact a human being), the panel will cover the basics of meeting new people and making friends, how to handle yourself in public situations, and how to build positive and healthy relationships while avoiding some of the traps that can afflict a fandom. It will also address positive ways to meet and interact with artists and other creators within the fandom, as well as avenues to get out there and become the sort of person other fans will want to meet.
So in you’re in the Washington D.C. area, I hope you’ll come on by! My panel is Sunday morning at 10:30 in the Madison meeting room, and the rest of the time, you’ll find me in Artist Alley. See you there!
Like the video, this month is going to be epic.
Why? Because in February I have to do ALL THE THINGS. O.o
What things specifically? Oh, just...
- Finding and taking on at least four new coaching clients
- Completing my monthly practice areas for next month's training weekend
- A page of Suburban Jungle every week
- A big commission for Joey Gatorman
- A smaller-but-still-important commission for Fzygal
- Art for the AC conbook
- Oh yeah, I have a job at Barnes & Noble, don't I?
These are the things that I need to do this month. In terms of what I want to do this month, I have a piece of Valentine's Day art that I want to do for a) fun and b) as the start of this mysterious NSFW art project I have been hinting around about in certain circles, and at some point Jamie and Inkblitz are going start giving me the side-eye if I don't, y'know, run some more D&D myself. >.> ^.^'
The keys to getting all this done are going to be timing, focus, and perseverance, with a healthy dose of scheduling breaks in to make sure I don't burn out. I can't take on coaching clients until Accomplishment Coaching finishes setting up my billing information, so while I'm waiting on that anyway, it's time to crank on art. Joey Gatorman commission has been in the queue for the longest, but as long as I send him WIPs, I should be able to get the Valentine's Day piece done on Thursday, and so forth.
However! That does mean that a lot of my go-to time wasters are going to have to go to the curb, including (but not limited to) Twitter and Tumblr, places where I am prone to just shutting off my brain and absorbing the way previous generations would just lie in bed in front of the TV all night (but all the more insidious because you can take it wherever you go).
So if I seem quiet or remote in the next few weeks, that's what's up. Feel free to toss me an e-mail or DM if you need anything or just want to chat! ♥ I'm not becoming a hermit, just crunching against multiple deadlines.
Not the R63 version of Rarity, although I'd be happy with that, too.
So, the past several weeks have been bonkers. Got a new job (Barnes & Noble), moved back to Virginia from Maryland, spent four days in Chicago for Midwest Furfest, and then had an unexpected (but welcome) visitor come spend the night at our place over the weekend. I haven't looked at my hours, but I do know that of the 12 days I've had off since mid-November, six of them were either moving, convention, or Thanksgiving. So I've been pretty harried.
The good side of that, is I've been insulated from all the noise and drama around world events and social media. The bad side of that, is I've been isolated from all my online friends and barely able to work on my writing and art.
Fortunately, now that the moving is done and we begin the long process of unpacking and assembling the house, that particular problem is much reduced. The last single large bit (car paperwork) will probably be dealt with tomorrow, and from then it'll be slow but incremental improvement until the new house is truly a home. It's already got a Christmas tree, the first one we've had in two years, and that is a bigger deal than it sounds.
I'm not to the point where I can get some work done in the morning and then go off to my job in the afternoon/evening yet, but I expect that will start being a thing later this week or early next. Of course, once the holidays come barreling through, the B&N job will either scale back or possibly disappear entirely. But I've got some big things in the works for 2018 that will make everything happening for me job-wise right now seem like the smallest potatoes, and that's going to be pretty awesome. I'll have more updates on that as I get them worked out, or probably by my annual New Year's post.
In the meantime, hey! I'm still here! I'm still creating stuff! And this time I'm not even dodging 16 ton weights! More like spinning 16 hundred plates.
It's an upgrade, man. It's an upgrade.
I bring this up because despite my many and various attempts at getting fluids into my system over the past four days, last night I finally reached the Dehydration Headache stage, and have been camped there. Owie. I hoped that Drinking All the Water and getting some sleep would fix it, but no such luck. So this morning I broke down and bought the last packet of Advil from the hotel shop, on top of getting All the Rest of the Water with my breakfast. Here's hoping.
Yesterday was a good con day. :) Arrived early for the Artist Alley check-in, so sat and chatted a bit with Brian Reynolds, then caught a few extra Z's until the room opened. The Alley's population was rather depleted, a symptom of Sunday I suppose, but the spot next to me was open all day, so I took advantage of this to spread out enough to have my pens up on the table.
[As I type this: a couple of self-satisfied non-convention business bros going on about all the "animal weirdos walking around last night" at the other end of the Starbucks bench, whipping each other into a frenzy and talking smack like the furries were trying to pick a fight just by existing. -.- Geeze Louise, shut your dumb faces and go away.]
Anyway! I sold a handful of books and a couple of sketches, but the room closed early for Sunday. Seifer and I headed over to closing ceremonies, which was the usual verklempt-a-thon. MFF raised over $85,000 for their charity this year, something like $12,000 of it right there in the closing ceremonies as Alkali passed his big ol' hat around the room. They also announced that Rama Lion was taking over as the con chair next year, and that Kyell Gold was going to be one of next year's GOH's, so that's cool. :)
The rest of the night was basically Seif, Inkblitz and I wandering from food to Dead Dog Dance to people-watching spot, chatting about fandom history, fursuiting trends, and whatever else came to mind, with a guest appearance by Zia, who added Mage: The Ascension to the mix. (Apparently Zia's a fan of the Physiognomizer from Technomancer's Toybox, which pleased me. I was always proud of that one.)
[Update: Business bros are still flapping their gums, but they moved out of my immediate earshot at least. Oy.]
Flight home is sometime around noon, so once I finish my breakfast it's pretty much pack and go. I've got notes and ideas on what to do for AnthroCon to improve sales and make the table go smoother, and I'm looking forward to it. But in the meantime I'm looking forward to getting home to laurie_robey, the kitties, and my own bed. XD
I lurked around and moped  about that for a bit, but in the intervening time my one commissioner popped up and I delivered his book, and I decided that, as I had been planning to bug out of the Alley at 2:30 for inkblitz's panel anyway, I might as well just punt on the Alley all together and actually GO to the convention. So stuff was schlepped back to room and off I went.
In the Dealer Room, I did some Christmas shopping, and also connected with FurPlanet. When asked how the con was going, Teiran informed me it had been full of snafus, to which my response was, "YOU TOO?" On the good front, they sold out of Rough Housing Volume One, so I guess I'm gonna have to get my author's copy later. ;) Blitzy and I then checked out the Fursuit Menagerie , where Blitzy actually knew more people than me for a change. I got to see Babs in her fursuit, and of course she was just as adorable as you might expect.
Blitzy's "Becoming a Better Roleplayer" went off well, only slightly hindered by the noisy hallway outside and uncooperative Google Docs notes. From there, I caught up with Vince and Dev outside the dealer den and bounced back and forth between them, the FurPlanet guys, or both. We had the obligatory Chicago deep dish (a curious entity halfway between quiche and lasagna which the locals stubbornly insist on referring to as pizza) and had much geeky discussion of movies, superheroes, and superheroes in movies.
Rounded off the evening with some people-watching with Vince and Exatron in the Hyatt lobby, and then back to the hotel where I gave Seifer a crash course in Furry History 101 and we talked about God, alternate universes, and other mind-blowing topics until 1:00 a.m.
It was a good day. :)
Today, I am officially confirmed to be in the Artist Alley (double-checked!), so I'll be back there, hopefully drawin' my little arm off. Sadly, never could connect to AxiomAxiom and CargoWeasel. Despite all our DMs back and forth, I only have their word for it that they were ever even here! ;P 
Back to Virginia tomorrow!
 You ever notice that moped (past tense of "mope") and moped (motorized bicycle) look exactly the same in text?
 As the cons get larger and larger (MFF and AC keep leapfrogging each other as "largest furcon ever"), fursuit parades have just become unmanageable. So MFF cordons off the main ballroom and hall outside of it and shoves all the fursuiters there for photo shoots and everyone who wants to see all the suits can go there and watch.
 That would be a very effective, if weird, way to troll someone. Pretend to be at a con and constantly text people, "I'm in the main lobby by the elevators! Where the heck are you???"
Unfortunately, a miscommunication between me and FurPlanet ended up with only five copies of each book. As a result, issues five and six, the items new to this con, sold out quickly on the first day, kind of a mixed blessing. XD It was great to be able to say something sold out– but as those two items were what I expected to be the big money-makers for this con, I might be screwed as far as sales go.
Commissions were dry. I had one come in late, so I gave it my all. There's some kind of weird energy going on about my art, because once again I had lots of people tell me how cool and appealing it was... but then walk away sketchless. But I also made sure that everyone I could get to take one had a card for the Suburban Jungle site and hopefully will pick up some new readers if nothing else.
Wound down the evening by having dinner with Blitzy, Trixie, and Seif, then checking out the art show, which seemed to be missing about 1/3 of its intended content. I heard rumors of problems with setup, or something, and that there was quite a kerfluffle about the whole thing, but I don't know any details.
Sleep without the CPAP is, as predicted, a challenge. :P By strategically propping myself onto my side or stomach with pillows making it difficult for me to roll over, I did manage to catch a few hours of uninterrupted sleep between spurts of waking up without air. I remember having an interesting dream that featured Hugh Grant playing Bertie Wooster in a strangely-smooth interpretation of the character, and that my review of said performance was that while Four Weddings and a Funeral was probably the most legitimate modern descendant of Jeeves & Wooster, Hugh Grant just did not make a good Bertie.
Anyway! Today will be a shorter stint in the Alley, leaving early to help inkblitz with his roleplaying panel; dinner plans for tonight are going out with Vince, Dev, and various members of the FurPlanet crew, so that should be cool.
It's been a wonky MFF! But I'm glad to be here and to see my friends. :)
Forgot my CPAP. D'Oh. >.> That's going to make sleeping a challenge.
Got installed in the room and connected with Inkblitz, Trixie, and Seifer, as well as encountering Exatron, and we all headed off to the prereg line, which was huge and took an hour to get through... only to be told they didn't have a registration for me. ¬.¬
Checking my e-mail for confirmation was no help, as I couldn't find one. So either a) I forgot to register, or b) the registration didn't go through and I didn't notice not getting a confirmation. Muttergrump! I booked travel and hotel, is it really conceivable I didn't register the con? I guess. I dunno. I used to have a pre-con checklist for just this sort of thing, but I stopped using them because I hadn't had this kind of thing pop up in years. Guess I need to go back to it!
So grabbed food and then it was back to the on-site reg line, where I stayed for what I estimate was three hours. Given the shape my back has been in after all the standing at the cash register at B&N, I could barely walk by the end... but I survived. I'm grateful to Exatron for keeping me company the whole time– he basically waited through both lines too even tho he didn't have to. XD
The CPAPless night was on the rough side; I doubt I got more than 45-60 minutes of uninterrupted sleep through the whole thing. But I was still able to sleep-until-I-woke-up, instead of jumping out of bed early to go get moving-plus-work done, so I still ended up pretty decently rested, for which I'm grateful.
So now it's on with my day! The reason I stuck out the line last night was so I could have a badge number to get into the Artist Alley lottery for today, which opens in just a few minutes. (The alley itself doesn't open until 1 p.m.) So, having finished my breakfast and done my report, I'd better get on off to that.
- Graveyard Greg broke my brain (still not paid? check)
- Ace 8th Doctor
Fluttershy v. Monkey
- Rufo/Parker silliness
Can that really be all there is? O.o I must have actually gotten some work done without realizing it. >.>
However, I only let myself do that with the promise that I would be back to work on Monday and get things done that need to be done. So step one is: organize! Thus, the Too Much To Do List for the next two weeks:
- Do some kind of workout.
- Take a shower and get dressed.
- Issue six page nine
- Job applications
- Blacktigr commission
- Overwatch competitive stream/Mastering Mercy vid
- Mooncat Timey-Wimey badge
- LKCMSL Timey-Wimey badge
- Graveyard Greg IBMBA commish (NOTE: send bill for this)
- PTBAF panel agenda
- Print for AC: button restocks, Best Bodies Contest flyer, Timey-Wimey badges
- BtA YouTube banner
- BtA Patreon banner
- Read books for Rainbow Awards
Right ho. Time to get started.
Longtime Suburban Jungle fans know that Vince and I are ol’ pals and mutual fanboys. We don’t get to collaborate (or even chat) nearly as often as I would like or as we used to, but we do still keep in touch when we can, and he recently sent me this, which I have been geeking out about for weeks now.
He finally posted it to his FA page, and so it’s time to share it with the world! Enjoy. 😉
In an effort to broaden my reach and find more audience, I have begun doing livestreams of art sessions and of my Overwatch sessions, as well as posting recordings to YouTube. So far I’m still in the earliest stages of figuring it all out, but I’m a pretty quick study and I think I’m getting the hang of it! I will add these feeds to the sidebar links on Gneech.com (which is due for a massive overhaul, actually), but for now here’s a quick list where you can find Gneechy Video Goodness!
- My Furry Art Stream on Tigerdile – Usually Monday and Tuesday nights at 7:30 p.m. EST
- My YouTube Channel – Open 24 Hours
- My Twitch.TV Channel – Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. EST
These time slots are fairly dependable, although if I’m at a convention or something similar obviously that will have an impact. Besides subscribing for notifications on the respective services, you can also follow me on Twitter for the most reliable updates. I try to Tweet at least an hour before I will start streaming to give people a heads-up.
Thanks for watching! Let’s have some fun!
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.
I don't get it. And there are many aspects of it I don't get.
I mean, I understand why sex might sell; I've bought comics myself because of the sex appeal of a particular character or story, but it's such a small sliver on the pie chart of what's interesting in life. In a world full of amazing wonders, exciting possibilities, and the vast spectrum of love, hate, and human relationships, why does the career arc of so many comics artists and/or furry artists follow the same pattern of, "Draws some stuff, doesn't get noticed, draws sex stuff, interest explodes, ends up drawing the same piece of porn over and over again forever because why bother doing anything else?"
Heck, I've seen it in my own work. I know how to push fandom buttons. I can predict with a fair amount of certainty which pics or pages will get a big response, based on sex content. And... just... enh. -.-
The part that baffles me the most, tho, is... are people buying the same porn pic over and over? Why would you do that? What could you possibly get out of the same thing drawn again? They must be, for sales to sustain in that quantum level of difference. I suppose maybe it's like hearing a remix of a favorite song... but even I can't stand hearing four different versions of Ghostbusters in a row.
How does a steady diet of the same damn porn pic over and over not get monotonous AF?
What prompted this particular rant was a trip to Barnes & Noble yesterday. I was looking through the manga section and came upon a title I forget now, which had an bait-and-switchy eye-catch cover of a genki girl in some action pose... who turned out to be a very minor character in a drama comic full of people in school uniforms standing around. Very clearly, somebody in the marketing department, following the principle of "sex sells, and what isn't sex, doesn't sell," decided a drama comic about people in school uniforms standing around couldn't possibly be of interest, so put this gal on the cover. But doing this leads to the worst of both worlds– people looking for genki girls in action poses aren't gonna buy the book after picking it up, and people looking for teenage angst aren't going to know that this is the book for them.
That's not all of it, tho. An artist whom I used to love like crazy, I have had to pretty much stop following, because over the years everything I used to love them for (great artistic composition, interesting character dynamics, a clever sense of humor) have fallen away one by one, to be replaced by the service of a singular particular fetish. In short, their work has become monotonous AF. Artists gotta follow their muse, so I'm not going to call them out on it or anything like that. But as a fan of the artist-they-were, I can't help but resent they've evolved into this one-trick doppleganger of someone whose work used to mean so much to me.
There's a whole other rant about the male gaze aspect of "sex sells," but I should probably stop while I can still form coherent sentences. In the broader culture, this is a topic full of misogyny, but even in the super-gay world of furry art, where the males are gazing at other males, it's still there, and still annoying. But that's a rant for another day.
So, Suburban Jungle launched 18 years ago today. Thanks to the strange time-dilation effect of comics, that puts Rough Housing as due to start happening around 2019 to put Charity at the right age. XD
It’s been a long strange trip and I’m very grateful for all the friends, fans, and extended family I’ve made along the way. Thank you very much!
Trying to make my prices a little more easy-to-calculate and a little less “pulled a number out of Buster’s shell.” 😀 Subscribers to my Patreon get a 5% discount.
When not at conventions, I can still sell the books and buttons but they’re easier to get through their respective publishers:
There was a kerfluffle, back in the dim dark past, during which some self-important pedant at Wikipedia decided that webcomics were not “worthy of note” and systematically went through and deleted them all. What I said at the time, and it’s still true, was that I was actually a lot prouder and happier that Suburban Jungle had a TVTropes.org page, because as far as audience engagement in the modern world goes, that’s a lot more significant.
I haven’t looked at it in a while, but last night on a whim I decided to check it and was chuffed to discover that it’s still being updated, in particular making a note of a page in the current issue, posted in November, where Charity runs so fast she breaks the panel border. So, while Suburban Jungle‘s TV Tropes page isn’t the huge lots-of-subpages juggernaut that something like Firefly is, it is still current and alive.
This makes me happy. XD And I want to build on it. As with the Community Welcome Thread, I want to create a “third place” for people within Suburban Jungle, where people can bring their own creativity and energy to bear rather than just passively reading the comic and then moving on to the next link in their bookmarks. We’ve been there before, thanks to the networking powerhouse that was Mammallamadevil, but also because the word was being spread by folks like Hikaru, the Dirt Den Inn crew, HBar98, TK, and dozens of others.
Rekindling the fandom is one of my big goals for 2017. The semi-regular streaming (generally Monday, Tuesday, and/or Wednesday nights at 7:30 EST) is the first part of that. It’s up and running at full tilt, and either this week or next I’ll be adding a new camera so that I can record doing real media commissions as well. An even bigger piece is under construction right now with the help of several collaborators— but that probably won’t really take shape until March or April.
In the meantime, I’ll just have to keep on keeping on, and I hope you’ll do the same. Get interested, and get involved! If there are ways we can build the fandom, I’d love to hear about them. But I can’t do it alone!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Finish Another Book! Didn't happen. Had to punt mid-NaNoWriMo, but I'll get back to it in 2017.
- Get the Money Sitch Fixed. Didn't happen. Despite being a very strong candidate, 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.)
- Move. Um. Happened, yes. But not the way we wanted. It needs fixing still/again.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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...
- 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.
- Publish That Book! Like I said, still working on this.
- Finish Another Book! I am looking at creating a series specifically for self-pub. More on that as the development fills out some more.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stronger faster slimmer better. 220 lbs by end of September is the plan. 220 lbs by end of June is the stretch goal.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.  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.
 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.