the_gneech: (Default)
So, last week was a challenge. >.> Messed up sleep, a cat-in-crisis (Lady) dropped in our lap, job hunt frustration, and a general lack of fucks to give led to me basically chucking everything out the window (everything I could chuck, anyhow) and playing video games. (Other than Overwatch, because that particular game is often the opposite of relaxing.)

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:

  1. Do some kind of workout.

  2. Take a shower and get dressed.

  3. Issue six page nine

  4. Job applications

  5. Blacktigr commission

  6. Overwatch competitive stream/Mastering Mercy vid

  7. Mooncat Timey-Wimey badge

  8. LKCMSL Timey-Wimey badge

  9. Graveyard Greg IBMBA commish (NOTE: send bill for this)

  10. PTBAF panel agenda

  11. Print for AC: button restocks, Best Bodies Contest flyer, Timey-Wimey badges

  12. BtA YouTube banner

  13. BtA Patreon banner

  14. Read books for Rainbow Awards


Right ho. Time to get started.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
I have not read the new, badly-translated-from-Russian LJ user agreement that people have been talking about it, but LJ would not let me stay logged in unless I agreed to it.

I don't know how bad it is, but at this stage, I don't want to have anything to do with it. So I was auto-logged out, and that's pretty much it, I guess.

So long, LJ. I'll miss the you of 10-15 years ago.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
The irony of "we didn't make enough money therefore we have a huge tax bill" makes me bang my head on the desk. And again, we've got the savings to cover it (in the form of retirement funds burning up), but we have reached the point where being unemployed has ceased to be a nuisance and become a serious problem. I have until now been concentrating my efforts on finding a job out in CA to facilitate going out there, but at this point, I don't feel like I can afford that luxury any more.

Not that there have been a whole lot of job prospects around here either; the election of Lord Dampnut has been a huge blow to most of the major job sectors around here except Murder Incorporated, and I'm not interested in joining that particular industry.

However, I am now opening my long-term job search up to other cities that have some appeal but were previously not under consideration, such as Richmond, Pittsburgh, and Boston. In the shorter term, I am going to spend the upcoming week hunting down and connecting to temp agencies, something which has had mixed results in the past– but mixed results are better than no results at all.

I'm frustrated and disgusted by the whole thing. What started out as feeling like life was taking unwanted turns some years ago, now feels like the wheels have completely come off and I'm just watching the wreck in slow motion. But there's no readily visible course of action to take to fix it, and honestly, there are no decisions made in the past I could point to that could have prevented it, either. The choices we made all along were the best ones with the information available to us at the time. So there aren't even lessons to be learned about it. There's just keeping calm and dragging on.

Drag, drag, drag.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
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
the_gneech: (Default)
UPDATE: Nope.

The job hunt carries on apace, and a new wrinkle has come up. One of the jobs I applied for, a PR post with the city of San Francisco, wrote back yesterday with "You're qualified! Your written test is in two weeks, at the testing facility on Cesar Chavez St, noon." To which I replied, "Well that's novel."

The possibility of going to SF for interviews or whatnot has come up a couple of times during the job hunt, but usually it was something reserved for "round three" of the interview process. Having it be step one, coming before even an interview, was not something that had occurred to me.

The test in question is "a core written test designed to measure knowledge, skills and/or abilities in job-related areas which may include but are not limited to: knowledge of basic principles and practices of public information, analytical ability, organizational ability, human relations ability, and written communication ability." I can do some cramming on public information and human relations practices, but the rest is native skill. I have no doubt I can do the job, but with limited directly-relevant experience, I'll need to knock the test out of the park to actually get the job.

My only real hesitation about the whole thing is the expense involved in just buggering off to the other side of the country for a day to take a test. Civil service jobs have been known to be posted when they have a candidate in mind already but are required by regulations to at least go through the motions of looking at other applicants, and it would kinda suck to spend 10 hours on a plane and pay for the privilege if someone was yanking my chain. On the other hand, I have no evidence suggesting that's the case here, and what was the point in applying for the job if I wasn't willing to pursue it?

On the plus side, lunch in San Francisco. ;) So, that'd be cool. If any other prospects open up between now and then, I can also use "I'll be in town in two weeks and available for interviewing" as a strategy.

So. SAN FRANCISCO! I WILL SOON BE IN YOU! FOR A BIT.


-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
In the spirit of keeping calm and carrying on, have a random check-in with the mundane things in life.

Job Hunt


In my quest to return to a more traditional job for a while, I have been sending out job applications right and left since sometime in December, and they have started to bear fruit. Two weeks ago I had a phone interview that seemed to go very well, and the interviewer said they would recommend me to the next rung up and that I should expect to hear shortly. This has not happened, causing the interviewer some confusion as the next person up said they were contacting me.

So, a bit of confusion there. Fortunately, they aren't the only fish in the sea! I had another interview yesterday with a different company who (should all things go well) would provide a very nice salary and benefits, as well as a relocation stipend, which would come in very handy. The interviewer for the second company says the hiring process typically takes 2-4 weeks, so that could be done by the end of February.

Fuwa Fuwa Time


I am nearing the end of the main series of K-On! and I love the hell out of this show. Besides the fact that it's funny as all get out, every time I finish an episode I want to round up all of my friends and just hug the heck out of them. It just perfectly captures that ephemeral feeling of realizing you have to live in the moment, because that's all you really have and it will quickly be gone.

It has also made me reflect on what a mess my own childhood was, how it could have gone differently, and how I could have reacted better to the circumstances I was in. Of course I was a child at the time, so I had no frame of reference to realize what a mess it was, so I'm not going to beat myself up about it, just do my best to learn from it.

Shoes By the Door


Speaking of things Japanese, [personal profile] laurie_robey and I have adopted the habit of taking off our shoes at the door and changing to slippers to wear around the house. The reasons are purely pragmatic– we keep squelching in the mud here and tracking it into the house and we don't want to have to keep cleaning the rug– but it does produce an interesting psychological shift as well, making home seem more "homey." I wasn't expecting that.

We're still getting used to it– for the first few weeks particularly I kept putting on my shoes to go out and then realizing I'd left all the lights on and had to go tromping on the rug to turn them off, defeating the purpose. -.- But, as I needed new shoes anyway, I picked up some comfy Sketchers loafers that are easy to slip on and off, making the change of shoes a much quicker and easier process than it was before. So far I'm liking it.

No Mercy


That's it for now. Have an Overwatch fan vid.


-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
As you may know, I've been sending off lots of job applications. As you may not know, some of those have yielded interviews. As of this writing, I am partially through the interview gauntlet on two different positions, which is a hopeful sign that employment is right around the corner... but it ain't here yet. XD I'm going to keep sending off apps until something materializes, tho.

In other news, an unpublished Michael Macbeth story which has been languishing in publication heck for (mumble) years was freed last night when I received official word that the anthology it had been accepted for was canceled. I haven't decided what to do with it yet; my first choice of the next market won't really work, so I might toss it up on Patreon or something, but it has to be in a paying venue.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I'd love to hear 'em!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
My insurance has been consistently screwed up over the past year; that's still a vast improvement over the non-ACA options I had, which is to say, "No insurance so don't get sick, sucker."

In a fit of optimism, I arranged for a checkup, only to have the doctor's office inform me that the insurance I thought I had, I didn't, and therefore the blood test would be out-of-pocket (but reasonably affordable) and the doctor would quietly slip giving me my results via Laurie's checkup instead, since her insurance was not screwed up. (Thanks, doc! ^.^)

The results of the blood test were overall very good, except for one random elevated potassium result. According to what I've found online, the most common cause of elevated potassium is red blood cells bursting on the test slide– i.e., a false reading. Correspondingly, the doc wants to do a followup test... next month, after my insurance is (hopefully) fixed. The cause of real elevated potassium is kidney failure... but as all my other numbers are fine, that seems extremely unlikely.

Unfortunately, this isn't something I can just ignore, as elevated potassium levels are associated with heart arrhythmia (ding ding ding), and unchecked can lead to cardiac arrest. Since heart issues run in my family, and I've already had ablation surgery, I'm going to keep an eye on this.

The I's Have It


I had a followup with my counselor yesterday about inositol, which I've been taking to help with anxiety. (Short version: I think it has been, but mainly in as much as it's given me the oomph to do all that better-diet-and-exercise-and-get-things-done stuff, which itself relieves anxiety.) During the discussion, I randomly mentioned when Kimmie said I had an indigo aura.

My counselor got very excited about that. XD She asked me if I knew what "being an indigo" meant, and I told her that what I'd looked up online basically said, "Lead by example." She replied that was kind of a watered down version of it. Indigos, she sayeth, don't just lead by example, but come into the world to clear away old systems and old ways of thinking that no longer serve humanity, and to point the world in new directions. Thus, indigos tend to be artists, "big thinkers," or spiritual leaders. In short, we are akin to spiritual bulldozers.

That's a lot to lay on a guy who just wants to draw his silly animal comics and get some D&D in from time to time. XD

Counselor added that "there are a lot of indigo children being born right now" because we're going through a period of massive change. Not sure if this is backed up by polling data or what, but okay. But the thing that amused me the most is that she told me that there are "Indigo aura support groups."

Well, I mean, sure, of course there are, and more power to 'em. But I just had visions of people sitting in a circle saying, "Hi, I'm John, and I'm an indigo..." or purple-blue bumper stickers that say "My aura is not a choice!" Such things tickle me. But it also led me to wonder about the logistics of it all. If there are enough people out there to gather in groups, how did they all become aware of their status as indigos? Are they self-assessed? Did they all have random encounters with psychics? If you don't see auras, how do you know what your aura is?

I'unno. But it's fun to play with.

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

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

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

Look at me, adulting all over the place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

  2. Other Post-Con Commissions: Lia, Redliox

  3. Write issue five

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

  5. Come up with and start writing another book

  6. Get my medical insurance sorted (again)

  7. Get followup x-rays on my toe

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

  9. Mail Kamau's power strip back to him


...And that's just Tuesday. ¬.¬

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

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

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

C'est la vie!

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Gneechtoon)
Earlier this week I finally started up the Bullet Journal again, after getting knocked entirely off my routine for a month and a half or however long it was. I find a Bullet Journal super-useful for both keeping myself on track to being productive, and for keeping my head screwed on right. To use a Spoon Theory analogy, a Bullet Journal is like having an extra pocket you can stash a few spoons in the night before. ;)

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.

  1. 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.


  2. 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...


  3. 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


  4. Finished issue four! It'll be at AnthroCon! Rough Housing is starting to build up a body of work finally. ^.^


  5. AnthroCon is next weekend! I get to see a bunch of my furry pals and do arts and get commissions and stuff!


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. 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

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Lachwen Lightning Girl)
Our wifi is repaired! No more data management for me! Download all the updates! Watch all the YouTube videos! Waaaahahahahahaaa!

-The Gneech, patching LotRO now
the_gneech: (Scar Surrounded)
Today is supposed to be "get everything fixed" day. And by everything I pretty much mean the AC and the internet. I have a dire premonition that in both cases the answer will be, "I don't have the parts I need, be back in a month." But I'm going to stay hopeful until then!

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. [livejournal.com profile] 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_gneech: (Kero Bluestreak)
Yeah, turns out it was. Specifically, fractured toe. There's not a lot that can be done but to tape it to the other toe, wear a stiff sandal-thingie for six weeks, and do as little walking as possible. Bleah! But at least it should be healed by AnthroCon.

Let's temper this unhappy news with a pony vid, shall we? Apologies for the DailyMotion link, but YouTube had embedding disabled. :P


beat it pony edition pmv by f100001857973948

-TG
the_gneech: (Keitaro Holy Crap)
I don't know why, but for some reason [livejournal.com profile] lythandra and I cannot be involved with a move without somebody flinging themselves down a staircase. This time around it was apparently my turn, as this morning when I was coming down for breakfast, my right foot decided not to stop of the step I put it on[1] but to head on down to the bottom, without telling the rest of my body first. Thus most of my weight ended up crunching the toes of my left foot curled under.

Owie. -.-

At first I was pretty sure that I'd broken either my toe or the bones of my foot. After several minutes of ice and cursing, I finally came to the conclusion that my foot is not actually broken, but that the top of the foot had become hyperextended. It hurts like heck, but hopefully it should not be permanent damage.

So once again, I'm gimping around on a cane. But, being forced to sit down means that I have a compelling reason to draw today instead of unpacking, so yay, I guess?

In other updates, the dishwasher has been repaired and we finally got the visitor's pass for our car, so progress is being made. :) We still won't have cable/internet until next week at the earliest, so we're still on hotspots and paying through the nose for it even with "compensatory data" from Verizon. But we are ubergeeks, and as such, internet is easily as important as things like running water. I've been wanting to sign on to LotRO all week, but I don't dare burn up the bandwidth.

The cats are acclimating well, although Inkygirl is terrified of the ceiling fans, much to our consternation. Apparently, this is a fairly common phenomenon, although Dasher doesn't even to seem to notice they're there. But then again, Dasher came to us as the result of apparently thinking a moving car would be a fun thing to play with, so, he's not necessarily a good judge of what is or isn't dangerous.

So, we're trucking along. Could be better, but could also be much worse. We're all right. :)

-The Gneech

[1] I blame carpeting on the stairs. This is something I've railed against before.
the_gneech: (Kero asleep)
Today [livejournal.com profile] lythandra and I got the last stuff out of The Staircase, swept all the everything, locked the keys inside, and came home to Ginger Court. Tomorrow we do not plan to leave Maryland. This is officially home now.

How do we feel about it? Mostly tired. A bit bruised and stiff. But on the whole... relieved. This whole thing has been a flustercluck from start to finish, dating all the way back to the original short sale of the Hobbit Hole that put us in this situation to begin with. The Staircase was a matter of what we could get immediately on the heels of a short sale and would allow three cats, and while it was decent enough we never really liked it so much as we hate moving. ¬.¬

Ginger Court, while it needs some work and some getting used to, and puts us in a whole new state where we have to get all new everythings, I think we will still like better. Plus, if we put sweat equity into this place, it will help out a friend rather than just be effort wasted making somebody else's house more resellable.

So, yeah. On the whole, for all the short-term pain, I think this is a good move overall.

Now, begins the Great Unpacking. But my desk is assembled (mostly), which means I can start drawing again! Hopefully that means Rough Housing on Monday, and if I can arrange it, maybe some sketching between now and then to get back into the swing of things.

But now... SLEEP. *thud* G'nite world, and have an awesome tomorrow. I love ya. <3

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Gneechtoon)
Welp, we'll still got about a day's worth of serious work to do back at The Staircase, but we both need a day that doesn't involve driving back to Virginia, so we're spending it at (our new) home assembling the library (and probably making a run to Ikea to get a few bits of supplementary furniture). We've also got a precious few hours of actual sunlight, which I am trying to soak up like a sponge.

So what do we think of the new place so far? Well I can't speak for [livejournal.com profile] lythandra because we haven't really talked about it, but a bit to my surprise I think I'm actually going to like it a lot better than the Staircase. Yes, that place was a bit larger and had hardwood floors rather than carpets, but the layout was super-awkward and, as has been famously observed, every room was on a different floor. This place has better windows, a layout that enables me to face Laurie when I'm sitting at my desk instead of spending all my time with my back to her, and a neighborhood that doesn't set off all my paranoia buttons.

It does need some serious tweaking and renovation. I don't know if the previous tenants just abused the place or what, but there is a general "seen better days"-ness to most of the fixtures and appurtenances. The shower plumbing can literally be shoved through the wall with almost no effort, the blinds are battered and fall off with the slightest provocation, and so on. (I already repaired the shower head when it came off in my hand.) I expect to be getting a lot of practice in my Mr. Fixit skills, but as that was something I wanted to do anyway, it's just as well.

We're still getting to know the neighborhood. After spending 20+ years living fairly near the old stomping grounds of where I grew up, we were pretty used to knowing where everything was, what the local politics were like, etc. So far we've found some generic chain places we're familiar with, a funky and cool farmer's-markety thing, the local public library, and some pet supply places, so we've got most of the bare necessities covered.

Oh! And a Starbucks for writing in. That's an important detail.

So, we're getting settled in and we're doing all right. Tomorrow we're going to rent a truck for the last gasp of getting stuff out of the old place, and hopefully next week we get back to regular life of some sort.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Gneechtoon)
Well, we're mostly moved. Almost all of the stuff we're keeping is in the new place; what's left at the old place is stuff that's being donated, or stuff that is needed to clean up.

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 [livejournal.com profile] sirfox would consider exchanging renovations for rent...

...

...but first, sleep. *thud*

-TG

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