the_gneech: (Default)
Sorry, My Give-A-Damn is Broken
So the thing with the rebel tendency, at least for me, is that I am motivated by desire. That is to say, I have to want something in order to make it happen– which is why grief and depression are my kryptonite. Depression makes it hard to take pleasure in anything, and grief makes it hard to be willing to engage in things you like because you don't want to risk facing the pain of loss again.

But I can't just spend my life wandering an emotional wasteland like Hipster Percival. Besides the fact that we live in a pay-to-play society, there's a more primal factor in that I need to be creating in order to be happy. But attempting to create when my heart isn't in it, true to rebel nature, is just an exercise in frustration and resistance.

This creates a kind of feedback loop– I have to be happy enough to get excited about what I want to create, in order to do the creating that will make me happy.

It's kinda like a fusion reaction: once the cycle is up and running, it's nicely self-sustaining, but if something comes along and stops it (or it runs out of fuel), it takes a vast amount of external energy to get it started back up again.

Which is roughly where I am emotionally at the moment. I need to restart my emotional pilot light– what I refer to as my Give-A-Damn. When you hear about artists wailing to the muses for inspiration, same deal. Some writers sneer at this notion, saying that "real writers write whether they feel like it or not." I would argue that those writers have probably never had to really deal with a broken Give-A-Damn, and have no idea how debilitating it actually is.

(They may also be hacks; but that varies wildly from writer to writer.)

There is some truth to the adage that once you start moving, the energy and enthusiasm will come, but it isn't an absolute. Sometimes "shut up and write" works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, a mental vacation is what's needed. Other times, you need to actually get inspiration from a new experience or from some great piece of work that's new to you.

So far, my Give-A-Damn has been very stubborn about not letting itself be fixed– but I am more stubborn than it is.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
Feel like crap for no good reason today. Trying to grind through because there's a lot of stuff I want to get done and there will always be things trying to prevent me from doing them, so when those things are my own internal bad wiring I can at least say "no" to that.

Through a roundabout path I recently happened upon Gretchen Rubin's concept of "four tendencies" and discovered that, true to form, I have the rarest and most problematic tendency, that of "rebel." The tendencies are based on how you respond to expectations, whether internal or external.

  • Upholders respond strongly to both internal and external expectations. They tend to be sticklers for the rules, but also self-motivated and with a moral code that can override the outer laws and traditions of the world around them. Hermione Granger is listed as an archetypal upholder; I'm not sure if I actually know any personally.

  • Questioners respond strongly to internal expectations, but not so much to external ones. They always want a satisfactory explanation for anything– if they don't think there's a valid reason to follow a rule or complete a project, they won't. [personal profile] laurierobey falls into this category. I suspect Sirfox is as well, but it's harder to tell.

  • Obligers respond strongly to external expectations, but not so much to internal ones. These are people who can stick to an exercise regimen if they've got a buddy or a class, but will immediately stop as soon as nobody's "checking up" on them. Sandy Rathbun was in this group, and I suspect so was Mammallamadevil.

  • Rebels do not respond well to external or internal expectations. They can be summarized as "You can't tell me what to do– and I can't tell me what to do either." Once they decide they want to do something, there's no stopping them, but until they want to do something, you can expect them to resist with all they've got. That includes things they decided a month ago that they wanted to do, but that they don't want to do right now, which can lead them to be just as frustrating to themselves as they are to the people around them. Like I say, I am a rebel. So is Hantamouse, which is simultaneously why the two of us get along and why the two of us fight.

There's a lot more to the framework than just this, and it's also just a tool, not some magical solution to figuring out personality quirks and interactions and things. But within the framework, I think there's some interesting insights.

I was at a presentation by Ms. Rubin, and I tried to ask (but didn't get called on), "If a rebel instinctively says 'no' to any expectation, even their own, how are they supposed to keep from eventually sliding into a Bartleby-esque catatonic state of just never wanting to do anything?" I hoped that her book might have an answer for that question, but I have since discovered that... no, not really. The book had very simplistic reverse-psychology suggestions along the lines of "I bet you can't lose 20 pounds in ten weeks!" Seriously? What am I, seven?

But this is a problem that I have found myself facing over the past few years since being effectively self-employed. I used to hate my day job fiercely, and come home to work on my writing/art/etc. with the zeal of a workaholic because it was what I wanted to do. Now, the writing/art/etc. is my day job, but instead of being energized and excited and kicking ass, I am now fighting with the constant desire to sleep all day or play video games or whatever else instead.

A devotee of the four tendencies would say that's my rebel nature, and it may very well be. But that just puts a label on it, it doesn't actually give me any tools to combat the problem.

I have contemplated going back to a day job just to give me something to channel my resentment back into other than my own work. But as I get older, I don't have the endurance I used to. That Starbucks job I had in late 2015 was only part time and still left me feeling dead most of the time. I can only imagine how wrecked I would be trying to go back to 40 hours of writing code or something similar at 6 am in the friggin' morning. I can't deny the pay would be better, but if it left me too tired to do my real work, it would be literally selling my soul.

I know that I am motivated by desire. Everything I've accomplished was because there was something I wanted to happen. I created Suburban Jungle because I wanted there to be a comic like Suburban Jungle for me to read. I wrote Sky Pirates of Calypsitania because I wanted to read a book like Sky Pirates of Calypsitania. But right now I'm in a mental and emotional spot where desire is hard to come by. Grief has damaged my ability to feel enthusiasm. Frustration has damaged my ability to feel hope.

So right now, I am operating on almost 100% pure stubbornness. Which is frankly exhausting. So I guess on reflection it's not quite so random a blugh, nor quite a case of feeling like crap for no good reason. I'm fatigued.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)
The devs working on my life have apparently gotten stuck on what's supposed to happen next, because I've been stuck grinding this same level for a year now.

It wouldn't be entirely accurate to say that no progress is being made: I'll soon have another issue of the comic out the door, and a new project officially launches on Monday. I am back down below 300 lbs and continuing to improve on that front. But the "waiting for _______ to get here" theme that has been a defining element of my life for way too much forever, is still there, and I am honestly pretty sick of it.

After conferring with all affected parties, California is waiting on the appearance of a job. To that end, I've been sending off applications, an average of 4-6 a week, and I have had some interviews, but the net result keeps being "We want someone with more formal experience." A story that I had thought was sold came back when the anthology it was sold to got cancelled; I immediately sent it off to another another anthology, but it was declined. I have received polite no-thank-you's from almost all the agents I sent the Sky Pirates book to, and the remaining ones I don't expect to hear from, meaning that to carry that any further, I'm going to have to go back to square one and find a whole new batch of agents to send it to... or write another book.

In LoA circles, the general advice is to act as if you've already got what you want, and life will arrange itself accordingly. So I've been trying to figure out: okay, if I could snap my fingers and just have the life I wanted today, what would actually be different? How would Fully Actualized Gneech in California look and act differently from Grinding Gneech in Maryland? What is it that I picture being different?

Unfortunately, the answer all seems to be in externalities. Sunnier days, being closer to the beach and being more active outside generally, more of my friends in one localized area, that kind of thing. But when I think about what's actually bugging me right now, it's mostly concerns about finances, worry about the piss-poor state of the country and the broken climate, and feeling isolated. The finances and the isolation I could theoretically fix here by finding a local job (and/or selling some friggin' books) and using to find some clubs or a gaming group or something. The country and the climate are larger, long-term problems that are going to be problems anywhere. I have been avoiding digging in locally because I don't want to have to dig back out whenever the theoretical California job appears... but that leaves me floating in limbo.

Honestly, if I could get around the money problem, the rest would fall naturally into place. Drawing comics and writing books are things I naturally do, those are my "vocation." Turning them into a source of comfortable income is the place where I always run into trouble. It was fine when [personal profile] laurie_robey was bringing in sufficient income for the both of us, but that isn't the case any more and we have to deal with that.

I think I need to go back and do a refresher on what I actually want my life to be like, the proverbial "ideal day" exercise, and do a little compare/contrast to figure out how it's different from my actual not-so-ideal life and why. Then I can refocus on concrete ways to move from the one, to the other.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Default)

  1. Otter had delicious tuna for lunch. :d

  2. Otter had delicious pineapple for snack. :d

  3. Otter is happy.

  4. Otter would be happier with 60º and sunshine, but otter will take what he can get.

That is all for now. Further bulletins as events warrant.

-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.


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
the_gneech: (Default)
Assuming no unseen glitches, my [mumble] years of LiveJournal entries and the associated comments have been imported to Dreamwidth. The first thing I notice is that all the embeds are broken, so all those bazillion YouTube videos now just have an error code up instead.


It could be worse; it's rare that I go back and re-watch a video after a week or so anyway, and a lot of the oldest ones fall off of YouTube after a while as it is. If I really want a video in my new journal ("in my Dreamwidth" doesn't roll off the tongue the way "in my LiveJournal" does, alas), I'll look it up and post it again.

There are other wonky bits that I'll need to figure out. There isn't any Twitter integration, for instance, and I kinda depend on Twitter to get the word out about my posts. And of course, the low traffic problem of LJ is doubled by Dreamwidth's "LJ backup option" status. I've found a number of people I follow on LJ here, only to see that all they posted was a "Setting up a Dreamwidth account!" post and nothing else. XD

Oh well, guilty. ^.^'

But I'm going to keep poking around, find some communities to follow and settings to tweak, and so on. We'll work it out!

-The Gneech


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 [ 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 [ profile] hantamouse for the past few months but again, when [ 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: (Torey Rave)
There are quantum levels of sweat, and you can sometimes tell the state of your health and activity level by which ones you find yourself falling into.

  1. Passive Sweat. This is your basic temperature-regulating perspiration. Unless it's particularly warm, you won't even notice it, but it is the reason you need to do laundry. Passive sweat is always there.

  2. Hot In Here Sweat. You're not moving, but your body is warm anyway. Passive Sweat gets less passive. It won't help, but your body doesn't know that.

  3. Working (Up a) Sweat. Climbing stairs or carrying heavy groceries, this level is pretty much Passive Sweat kicked up a notch. If you push hard enough, this will kick up again to the next level.

  4. Deep Sweat. When your body starts running out of pure(-ish) water to ooze out, other things start getting mixed in, such as ammonia, urea, salt, and sugar. This is the point at which people prone to saying such things enthuse about workouts "purging toxins." Yes, it is true, but going to the bathroom does it too. Passive Sweat will make your laundry whiffy later because bacteria starts to grow in it, but Deep Sweat is already stinky when it comes out.

  5. Now THAT'S Sweat. When you hit the point above and keeep oonnn gooingg you get to the really deep stuff. When you're drenched, and exhausted, and still going, your body starts squeezing out everything it can find. Besides just cleaning out whatever junk might be floating around in your system, your body starts using up chemicals it normally prefers to have on hand for other things. This is why Gatorade is a thing.

The more often you get to the "Deep Sweat" level, at least in theory, the more "toxins" and things get flushed out. A lot of people have the idea that fat burning is going on here, and it is to some extent, but it's not like fat turns into sweat and oozes out your pores. In point of fact, most burned fat converts into carbon dioxide and you just breathe it out (which is another point in favor of aerobics/cardio). Most of the rest is converted into water which... okay, fair enough, you either sweat out or flush down the toilet. But not right then while you're doing jumping jacks! The process takes time.

The other good thing about getting to the "Deep Sweat" level is that's when post-workout endorphins start showing up. If you've heard of a "runner's high," or even just been pumped after a good workout, this is what you're getting. Exercise, especially tough workouts, can be addictive, and if you're going to be addicted to something, it's a really good choice.

So far I have hit Deep Sweat level every day this week. I'm diggin' it. ;)

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Gneechtoon)
Okay. I need to get myself together here, as I've been sorta scattered lately. So here we go.

  1. Contact Jacky Paisley

  2. Deposit checks

  3. Resolve insurance

  4. Pick up prescriptions

  5. RH Bonus Stuff

  6. PotG badges to Patreon?

  7. Lia commish

  8. Sky Pirates agent pitches, round three

  9. Redliox potg badge

  10. Gryphon_2 potg badge (need refs!)

  11. Welof potg badge

  12. Loupy potg badge

  13. Script for issue five

  14. Mail Kamau's power cord

  15. FurPlanet commish

  16. Sky Pirates 2 outline

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

  18. Clean up bibliography, about page, and categories

  19. Clean sinks

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

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (I.T. Crowd FAIL!)
Not going to have cable until Thursday earliest, and running on fumes datawise for hotspottery, so we're at a Starbucks trying desperately to get some internetting done. Unfortunately, the wi-fi here is




at the DMV





-The Gneech at 9600 baud.
the_gneech: (Leonard machismo)
I (almost) singlehandedly assembled three pieces of furniture today. I feel so macho! Now to go eat some steak.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (I.T. Crowd FAIL!)
So a phenomenon has emerged recently, of the Pop Up Whining About Your Ad-Blocker. Sites such as, TheMarySue, and probably dozens of others I just don't go to, if they can't serve ads at you, shove a giant "PLEASE SUBSCRIBE OR TURN OFF YOUR BLOCKER!" message in your face.

They're perfectly within their rights to do so. And I can't speak for anyone else, but my choice will almost always be, "I don't want to look at your site that badly."

"But! Moneys!" scream the website owners. "Hosting is expensive!" etc. Well, yes. I understand that. But you know what? I don't care.

Sometime during (or leading up to) the dot-com boom I remember seeing an ad for some corporation trying to market to middle managers, which had graphic design like a merchant bank and the header, "Finally, the web is good for more than UFO theories and pictures of cats."

My reaction then is the same as my reaction now: FUCK. YOU.

UFO theories and pictures of cats is what I want from the internet. Personal blogs, dorky little vines, silly memes? That's what the web is good for. The world needs another stream of commerce like I need another hole in my head. People making connections? That's what the world needs.

So people not being able to make money on the internet? That's all to the good. I want money out of the internet as much as possible, the same way I want it out of roleplaying games and conventions and universities and libraries and public TV and almost every other thing really worth doing. The relentless drive to prioritize short-term profit over doing the core thing that you're about has destroyed everything it ever touched.

The current crop of websites flailing around trying to block the ad-blockers may be a harbinger of the collapse of "Big Website," which would mean a lot of potentially-good content might be lost. On the other hand, it also means that a lot of clickbait garbage will also be lost, and I can live with that. I was perfectly content with grunky mostly-text webpages and very, very personal blogs. I have absolutely no problem with the internet being the realm of the hobbyist, now and forever.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (It's a Lion)
So, this is something I've been quietly contemplating for years now. And I think it's pretty clear with the release of Rough Housing that it's just going to become more visible as time goes on. Today, I posted to Twitter:

"I have a confession to make. I’ve tried to hide it long enough. The truth is, I’m 1/4 otter on my mother’s side.

I shall now honor my ancestors by consuming some delicious tuna."

Mind you, it was just a silly tweet. However, my followers all seemed to agree!

@CityFlyer502: "That otter please them. :D"

@GalloViking: "Have you hidden otter things from us?"

I followed up with:

"Kidding aside, in the world of furry phenotypes, I’ve wondered for a while if otter isn’t in there somewhere.

If lion is my 'ferocious/spiritual' side, otter would be my silly bounce when I’m at my best. Plus the whole swimming, fish-eating thing. :d

Also, no cracks about sea lions please. I am definitely not one of those. ;P"

This led to responses such as:

@inkblitzer: "Oh, I'm pretty sure they are."

@Pyropone: "Sure they are! Otters can be adorable!"

@ CoaldustPony: "But otter is your silly side! So at least 256% otter."

So, I kinda feel like the guy who comes out to his parents only to have them say "We've known since you were six, dude." XD

@DatBirdBrain asked, "Liotters can be friends with zebras since they eat mostly fish then, right?" To which I responded "I never met a zebra I didn't like! ...But I've only ever met, like, two."

That said, I'm not going to start calling myself a liotter. Firstly, because I am and pretty much always have been a lion, just a lion who is part otter. And secondly because "liotter" looks like "loiterer" every time I see it, and I'm definitely not one of those!

-The Gneech *bounce!*
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)
I want us to own a house again. I want it to be a good house, that we shape to suit our needs and caprices, in a place that we love.

In this house, I want to have a solid, for-real studio, in which I can do solid, for-real work (even when that work is creating light entertainment).

No more messing around.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)
Current weight: 283.5, down 5.3 lbs from last week.
Total weight lost: 35.5 lbs from my starting weight of 319 on July 1, 2014.
Average weight lost: 0.4 lbs/week.

Some of my symptoms of "low-carb flu" turn out to have possibly been symptoms of an actual cold, which started bugging me on Saturday and were quite noticeable yesterday, to the point where I couldn't wear the CPAP because I could breathe through my nose.

The afib, of course, went, "What? Sleeping without CPAP! That's my excuse, muthahugga!" I woke up at 2:30 with my pulse all over the stupid map. :P And now I can't megadose on propaphenone because I'm already taking it. :P (Although it didn't seem to make much difference.) Time to call the heart doc, again. Sick of this.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)
So in an effort to get off this stupid plateau, I decided to start weaning[1] myself off of carbs, since my gravitation towards sugary snacks (particularly of the chocolate variety) is where most of my "junk" calories come from.

The problem is, the human body LOOOOOOOOVES carbs and always wants more. Like, way more than it will ever need. And with the refinement of sugar, humans figured out how to pack ALL THE CARBS into extremely tiny spaces (e.g., donuts), which do not fill the stomach. So the net result is we eat quantities of food that would be filling on a diet of leaves, nuts, and berries, but which pack exponentially higher amounts of calories and carbs than we need.

Carbs are great things. They give you energy and enable your brain to function (which can be handy). So when you stop shoving your face full of them, you feel not unlike Wile E. Coyote, standing in mid-air next to the cliff, just suddenly realizing that there's nothing holding you up.

Next comes a long fall, and a hard WHOP at the bottom. Carb withdrawal and pseudohypoglycemia, sometimes referred to as "low-carb flu," with symptoms ranging from body aches and general feeling of crumminess, to mood swings and headaches. Not everybody who moves to a lower-carb lifestyle gets it, and people with diabetes and such have it worse, because their body has a harder time switching to run off of fat and protein.

I get it. My attempts at South Beach and other such things, designed around a hardcore "carb detox" at the front generally didn't last more than two days, because it sucked so much. It didn't help that they didn't warn me that this was a thing, so I thought the misery was going to be my new "forever" and it just wasn't worth it.

This time, I'm not going cold turkey (although I'll happily eat some cold turkey). My morning mocha is sacrosanct and not going anywhere, for instance, and it's a heady brew of carbs compared to the fat and protein involved. However, I am swapping out carby staples (goodbye bagels, hello bacon) and trying to restrict most of my sugar intake to what's in the fruit I eat, with the occasional Hershey Kiss or chocolate chips in my trail mix for those "dammit I need some chocolate" moments.

But even this relatively gentle transition is enough for carb withdrawal to kick in. Wednesday was the first day I really started to feel it, although it manifested more in the form of just being "less happy and energetic than usual" rather than any sort of real discomfort. Yesterday it was there in the form of a low-grade headache and fatigue around my eyes. This morning, it's unmistakable: ringing ears, shakiness, and a vicious craving for chocolate scones. O.o

I threw the Black Dog a bone by having peanut butter on toast instead of sausage and eggs for breakfast, but I can tell that this is where it starts to get difficult. On the other hand, if I can stay the course and push through, I will be all right.

-The Gneech

[1] Weaning: To remove or eliminate an item (particularly mother's milk) out of one's diet, either literally or figuratively. Weening: To think or be of an opinion. Now seldom seen except in one of Sir Joseph Porter's songs from HMS Pinafore.
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)
I fly out to MFF tomorrow at Oh God O'Clock, which means I have to get my preparations done today. Unfortunately, I also work from 2-8, which means I've got very limited time and a lot to get done in it. So here's the agenda for today, me!

  1. Post SJ to FA

  2. Transfer funds for the rent

  3. Laundry (if applicable)

  4. Gather and pack artist alley materials
    • Pens and markers

    • Badge stock

    • Books

    • Buttons

    • Cash box

    • iPad & Square Reader

    • Sketchbook(s)

  5. Gather and pack clothes & other items
    • Laptop

    • Chargers

    • Razor

    • CPAP

    • Meds

    • Propafenone

  6. AJ/Coloratura scene in the TP if possible Punt! Alas. :(

  7. Go to work :P

...Was there anything else? I can't remember. :P

the_gneech: (Writing)
I have been quietly, but nevertheless definitely, going mad for the past few weeks because, like HAL, I feel like I have been given mutually contradictory directives, each of which has priority over the others. I think if the apartment had a pod bay, I would have locked myself out of it by now.

Fortunately, we do not. The closest we have is a back yard overgrown with weeds, and locking myself out of that would at most be an inconvenience until [ profile] lythandra came home and said, "What are you doing out there, you fathead?"

But my brain has been wrestling with the problem of "You must start bringing in money!" vs. "The only thing I really care about doing is my comic, which does not pay and effectively precludes doing anything else!" Every course of action I've considered has been stymied by this.

  • Get a job. Any job. This would make money. But it would prevent making the comic, which is the only thing I really care about. Untenable.

  • Write novels. More enjoyable than getting a job. Pay is more likely than with the comic, but hardly guaranteed and certainly not likely to be in the quantities needed. Also, it's not making the comic.

  • Run out of money, starve, and get kicked out of the house. Would prevent making the comic.

  • Have money magically appear. Good plan! How?

  • Uhhh... Yeah, I thought that would shut you up.

  • Get paid for making the comic. I earn ~$250/month from Patreon subscribers and maybe $10/month from book sales. To make a living, I would have to increase that twentyfold. How?

  • Uhhh... You're really not very good at this.

  • Go mad? That's what I've been doing. It's not helping.

  • Return to the top of the list and try again, hoping something changes this time. This is just an extension of the "go mad" bullet.

Well, unlike HAL, I can step sideways instead of going up and down the crazyladder again and again, and that's what I'm going to do. At this stage taking action, even if it turns out not to have been the 100% optimal action, is preferable to going around and around in the same rut.

So I'm going to start by signing up for The Oxford Program and going through it in order to find (or at least try to find) some kind of lucrative career that can mean enough to me that I don't feel like I'm throwing away my life just to chase a paycheck.

While that's underway, I'm going to continue getting as much done on my comic projects as I can "on the side," with an emphasis on speeding up my ridonkulously slow production time. Prolific creators are profitable creators. How I'm going to do that is a topic that will require some dedicated thought and is a topic for another post, later. The main thing is going to be focus and deliberate action, if I can figure out some way to develop it.

So, we'll see how it goes, wish me luck. The comic must continue, but money must be made. Those two items, combined, are the victory condition.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)
Version 1.0.

1. IF IT'S BROKEN, FIX IT! Because everyday practical problem solving is the most beautiful form of creativity there is. 2. IF IT'S NOT BROKEN, IMPROVE IT. A small, clever tweak can improve how something works for years to come. 3. GIVE YOUR PRODUCTS A LONGER LIFE. If we double the life of our stuff, we halve what goes to landfill. 4. FIXING MEANS FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE. As a fixer, you don't need to worry about wear and tear. Nothing stays new, so forget perfection. 5. RESIST TRENDS AND NEEDLESS UPGRADES. They fuel our throwaway culture. 6. DON'T LET COMPANIES TREAT YOU AS A PASSIVE CONSUMER. Every time we spend money, we vote for the kinds of products we want to see succeed. Buy products that can be repaired. 7. A FIXED THING IS A BEAUTIFUL THING. Every fix, whether skillful or improvised, holds a story. 8. IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA, START SMALL AND MAKE IT GOOD. If it's right, it'll grow from there. 9. NURTURE YOUR CURIOSITY. Keep trying things you've never tried before. It's good for your brain and your soul. Don't be afraid to fail– it makes success all the sweeter. 10. PEOPLE ARE INFINITELY DIVERSE. PRODUCTS SHOULD BE TOO. Everything can be improved or customised. 11. DISPOSABILITY IS A CHOICE, NOT A PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTIC. Plastics aren't evil, but we're using them wrong. Treat them with respect. 12. SHARE YOUR IDEAS, YOUR ENTHUSIASM, AND YOUR SKILLS. If you've found the joy of fixing, pass it on. It's a gift for life.

NOTE: Fixed this. An Oxford comma was missing. And yes, that counts as broken.

I'm going to be living this motto here at the Staircase. I figured it was worth a refresher.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Mysterious Beard)
Yesterday we popped up 95N to take a look around Baltimore as part of our moving options fact-finding. Neither of us had ever spent much time there, although we'd both driven through it on trips elsewhere before, but more importantly, neither of us had really looked around at the environs as potential moving prospects. In the end, we decided that having a marginally lower cost of living was not a big enough advantage to make it worth actually moving up there.

The Good National Harbor is cool, but even on a cold day in early March it was all but un-navigable due to traffic. We poked around the Power Plant Barnes & Noble, which was nifty but really just another B&N at the end of the day, and very tellingly didn't go to the National Aquarium because it was $35 per adult just to go in the friggin' door. Otterbein (the downtown neighborhood most likely to interest us) was pretty but nowhere near as pedestrian-friendly as Richmond's Fan District. The historic district of Ellicott City was the highlight of the trip, being all hilly-treeish-river-valleyness, but it would have a lot of logistical problems as an actual place to live.

The Bad Traffic there is the same as traffic here; most of the houses were small and badly in need of renovation; the whole area had a general feeling of postwar development that's just going through the motions now because it doesn't know what else to do with itself.

The Ugly We mostly avoided the ugly parts. There wasn't anything that was really problematic (at least no more than we already live with where we are and is kinda baseline to human existence), there just wasn't anything good enough to make going there worth the effort.

So, yeah, if we were already in Baltimore, we wouldn't have any particular reason to leave, but as we're not already in Baltimore, we don't have any particular reason to go there.

So that leaves our prospects being A) stay in NoVA, or B) relocate to Richmond. Both have strong advantages and disadvantages, and so for me at least it kinda ends up being a wash. Job prospects in Richmond are surprisingly strong for [ profile] lythandra, as there is a vibrant UX community there– but the salaries are noticeably lower than what she could command up here. The question becomes, is the cost of living more reduced than the salaries are? If so, moving to Richmond is a net gain. If not, then it has little to offer but better traffic.

-The Gneech

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