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New Year's Resolutions by Grant Snider for Evernote

What to say about 2017? I mean, yeah, lots of the perfectly-predictable awful shit that we were yelling about in 2016 came to pass right on schedule. But most of the adults in the room, once it was clear that it was all going to happen, turned their efforts to slowing, fighting, or just mitigating it as best they could. If 2016 was the year of yelling "Look out, there's a train wreck coming!" then 2017 was the year of hitting the brakes and getting as many people off the train as we could, and 2018 will be the year of cleaning up the mess– and sending as many of those engineers and switch operators to jail (or at least to exile in disgrace) as possible.

And for all the usual suspects wailing and gnashing their teeth on social media that 2017 was the Worst Year Ever, it had its good points. Bee populations have increased by 27%. The snow leopard has been taken off the endangered species list. Scientists have successfully re-bred sections of the Great Barrier Reef.

But on my own personal front? 2017 for me was largely about getting back my mojo (thanks, Austin) and, just as Kimmie predicted, a year for new beginnings.

Austin Powers wishes you a happy new year, you sexy bastard.

So, reviewing my goals for 2017...

  1. Issues Five and Six, Plus the First Collection. Nailed it. Very pleased. :)

  2. Publish That Book! Nope. -.- Revised it, kept sending it out, still nope. Somebody else published my book. I nearly hulked out and tore the place down. It was not pretty. I don't know what's going on here, the energy around it has turned all weird. This needs addressing.

  3. Finish Another Book! Also didn't happen, despite starting two and putting more work into the the not-Tolkien book from last year as well. As with publishing the Sky Pirates novel, I feel like there's something weird going on with me and my writing, and I need to devote some time to diagnosing and fixing the problem in order to move forward next year.

  4. Start a Company. Progress... but not in the direction we were going at the time. XD The project [personal profile] laurie_robey and I were working on at the time was going to be a sort of "lifestyle magazine/blog/podcast" kind of thing where we highlighted local features, organizations, points of interest, hidden treasures and the like, a more mainstream "Here's cool stuff about [city]!" kinda like was intended to be for the furry fandom. That particular project ended up not having any legs, as evidenced by how easily we got distracted onto other things... but it was replaced by the serious pursuit of commercial drone photography on her part, and life coaching on mine. Go fig! More about those below.

  5. Move to California. Well... no. We moved back to Virginia instead. XD But honestly, I'm fine with that, and I'll tell you why: there was too much baggage. I was fixated on going to California like Thorin fixated on the Arkenstone, and it was completely messing with my head. That fixation drove my willingness to sell the Hobbit Hole (which was a mistake it took me three years to realize how much I regretted), caused a lot of stress to our relationship, and was leading me down paths that would have led to me being just as miserable in California as I ever was in Virginia or Maryland. And if nothing else, being in Maryland highlighted a lot of the good things about Virginia that I knew I would miss, but didn't truly realize how much. Now, we may still go out there someday. I love Big Sur like crazy and will probably continue to nurse daydreams of Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo. But if/when that happens, I want it to be for the fun and joy of it, not the kind of desperation that was making me stupid about it before.

  6. Stronger faster slimmer better. Didn't happen this time around. I have lost some weight at the B&N job by virtue of salads for lunch and being on my feet all day, but I spent a lot of time in Maryland sitting like a lump eating comfort food.

  7. Bring the Awesome! This has been working! And paying dividends. My mood is up, we are in a new place we like better, we're making progress on careers. The "Unsuck Our Lives" project is paying off!

  8. Edit Myself Less. This is kind of a hard one to report on, because it hasn't come up as much as I expected. I mean, I have been pretty much speaking my mind when I felt like it needed to be spoken, so mission accomplished? But I also haven't been in as many situations where the inclination to keep things to myself was a problem, so it hasn't been that much of a challenge. Honestly? I'm fine with that.

  9. Reverse course and mitigate/repair damage to the country. Been doing this. Lots of marching, calling various reps, supporting grassroots organizations and spreading the word. And it is helping, in ways both big and small. We've still got a lot of work ahead of us, but there are more good people in this country than there are assholes, and we're going to win.

So, a mixed year, but definitely more positive than negative for me.

Where to in 2018?

  1. Gneech, Life Coach. Next weekend is a "trial session" of professional training from Accomplishment Coaching, and assuming that goes well, I will be enrolled for a year's course leading towards my first level of certification by the ICF. Life coaching is a bit like the I.T. world, where there's no legal requirements and anyone can hang out a shingle and get freelance work, but accreditation by professional organizations definitely helps you build both your skills and your reputation. The Accomplishment Coaching program is also designed to get you up and running with a practice quickly– which means having income again. This is a good thing. ;) I have some ideas about where I'd like to go with the career, but they're all fairly vague right now and I have a lot to learn first. But I'm excited to get into it!

  2. Help Laurie Get Her Business Running. I'm probably too close to Laurie to be an effective life coach for her– but I can support her, help provide resources, and so on.

  3. Stable and Reliable Income. Items one and two, combined, become this. ;) Followed up with clearing debts, building savings, and getting back to investment.

  4. Figure Out What's Up With My Writing. Seriously. My hard drive is littered with perfectly-sellable books that for whatever reason I'm not getting anywhere on. Sky Pirates of Calypsitania is now something like four years old without selling, while other authors are succeeding with it. It's a lot like the whole thing of people looking at Suburban Jungle, saying the art is great, and then not buying the book. Do I have something weird going on psychologically with making money from creative pursuits?

  5. Sell. A. Book. Pursuant to above.

  6. Issues Seven, Eight, and Nine. Because that would be awesome.

  7. Continue Fixing the Country. 2018 elections are going to be huge and important and I'm going to work with Flippable, Indivisible, and others to kick serious ass in this department.

  8. Take a Vacation. Laurie wants to see New England, and I'd enjoy that too. Maybe in the fall? We'll see how finances and schedule can be arranged.

In a lot of ways, these feel a lot less "dramatic" than previous years' goals, but also less melodramatic, too. Instead of going into 2018 with dread, terror, or even guns blazing, I've got a feeling of calm purposefulness, and I think that will serve me well. This year's post isn't a manifesto, it's a game plan, and I kinda like it that way.

It's a little early for bedtime, so I'll just say "Good afternoon, world, and have an awesome new year." ;)

-The Gneech
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Lake Anne, Reston

Solarpunk – a plausible near-future sci-fi genre, [...] based on updated Art Nouveau, Victorian, and Edwardian aesthetics, combined with a green and renewable energy movement to create a world in which children grow up being taught about building electronic tech as well as food gardening and other skills, and people have come back around to appreciating artisans and craftspeople, from stonemasons and smithies, to dress makers and jewelers, and everyone in between. -Olivia.

The house is starting to take shape, although [personal profile] laurie_robey and I seriously need some downtime to just come together and work on it, as she's been doing most of the organizing herself by virtue of actually being here. The B&N job, while it has its virtues, has been an enormous time/energy sink, and I suspect it will not last once I get into training. It doesn't make that much more than commissions + book sales, but has made those harder to get done in a timely way.

Being back in Virginia is definitely a relief, and we've made a point of getting some walking around the neighborhood in. The neighbors we've met are all very nice and there's a good sense of community here, which pleases me. And of course, Reston was solarpunk before there was solarpunk, despite every developer in the world trying to turn it into another Crystal City for the past fifty years.

Fuck off, developers. :P Nobody likes you.

The cats have been loving the new place, once they got over the stress of moving. The wide open living room gives them lots of room to tear around when they play, and Dasher particularly loves to Tokyo Drift all around the hardwood floors. (He very clearly does it on purpose when he's happy and excited– when all he wants is to get from point A to point B he just takes the turn normally.) We're particularly happy to see Dasher being energetic and having fun, as he is starting to show his age. He's not processing vitamin B12 properly, so we have to give him a weekly injection of that, and he'll be off to the vet later today for a heart checkup. Given everything he's been through, he's still doing very well.

Also today I have a call with someone from the life coach training organization I'm interested in. I already spoke to one person there, an alumnus who I made contact with through my counselor and who has a very successful practice as well as still working with the training group. The person I'm speaking to today is actually one of her trainers, and I intend to get into a bit more detail about the nitty gritty of the actual program. (Hours, schedule, tuition costs, etc.)

It sounds quite promising. The program is designed to give you hands-on experience fairly quickly and helps you set up your own practice, find clients and referrals, and so forth. Some people (such as my initial contact) stay with the program or create a hybrid career combining clients of their own with program clients, while others simply strike off on their own after completing the course. And since part of understanding what life coaching is all about is having a clients'-eye view of the process, you get the services of one of the instructors as a coach yourself while you go through it all. (Given that I have been more-or-less acting as my own life coach for the past few years, it'd be handy to offload that task onto someone else for a while– not unlike the lawyer not representing themselves. ;) )

Seriously tho, once I started examining the idea of coaching, the more I began to think it was a good fit for me. I've basically been doing it for some of my friends for years (or decades) just by instinct, but it would be good to actually know what I'm doing. ;) (It would also be good to have a profitable line of work again, without going back to the code mines. I don't think I could successfully be an I.T. guy any more even if I wanted to, which God knows I don't.) I suspect the hardest part of the business for me will be the actual entrepreneurial aspect– i.e., billing, accounting, all that jazz– and part of the training program is helping you get that all set up.

Besides creating this as a new career, I'm also thinking about ways I can use the skills to help out the fandom(s) I'm in. I'm looking at creating a "How To Successfully Human" panel to run at furry cons, for instance. Plus anything that makes me a better businessman can only help with selling books and running my tables at conventions. If 2018 goes as I intend, I shall be well on my towards making a better future for myself and the world. :)

-The Gneech
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Suburban Jungle (Starring Tiffany Tiger) for July 22, 2005

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.

-The Gneech
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After a week of work-packing-work-packing-work-moving-work-unpacking, punctuated by lots of sitting in traffic jams on the Beltway/I-270, [personal profile] laurie_robey and I managed to get moved, and I even made my flight to MFF.

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.

CYA soon!

-The Gneech
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Moving day was a success! 99.99% of stuff moved, in reasonable shape, and no injuries sustained (woot). We now get to look forward to a few weeks of wondering where the hell _________ got to, and why the heck is it in this box marked "hall closet" anyway? My desk is currently assembled just enough to hold my laptop, with drawing tablet and second monitor lurking quiescent and unconnected nearby.

The cats have responded to the move each according to their character: Dasher has explored every nook and cranny of the place, said, "Yup, it's mine," and is now sleeping peacefully in a chair. InkyGirl is having a much more difficult adjustment. I had to sit out with her last night and keep petting and encouraging her to get her to even eat her dinner, because every random creak, or every time [personal profile] laurie_robey would so much as cough in the other room, Inky's panic mode would kick in.

Fortunately, as the night went on, and notably once Laurie and I went to bed (which apparently signaled to InkyGirl that if the BIG cats were confident to sleep, she was probably fairly safe too), she became a little braver and explored some as well. By this morning, she was confident to walk around openly, brazenly marching across the open floor instead of hiding in the piles of boxes, but then we had to spoil it all by opening the front door to go get breakfast.

Sorry, InkyGirl. The dishes are all still in a box, probably marked "Office Curtains." But she'll be fine, with time. :)

Last night, as we headed out to get some dinner and pick up a new curtain rod for the bedroom, Laurie said, "It finally feels real. We're really moving back to Virginia. Until we were actually driving over here with the cats in the car, it was all very abstract." What I said, was, "The 'Unsuck Our Lives' project is starting to bear fruit!"

This place isn't perfect, of course... the kitchen is smaller than the bedroom closet for starters, and there are a lot of newbie do-it-yourselfer mistakes we can tell the landlord did in his renovation efforts. But we have lots of space, we're back in our old stomping grounds in a part of Reston we like, and next to my desk I have a full-length window looking out into our heavily-wooded back yard. We've got hardwood floors, decent internet, a Whole Foods in walking distance, a nice neighbor with Harry Potter stickers on her rear window and a goofy witch hat decoration in her yard. For the first time since leaving The Hobbit Hole, I feel really good about our home, and that's going to make it so much easier to use it as an office/home base for building new projects and a career on.

Life is good. :)

-The Gneech
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1,454 words today, still not quite up to the 1,667 par but a big step up from what I've been doing so far this month.

But more urgently, [personal profile] laurie_robey and I picked up the keys for the new apartment today! We also took measurements and did some preliminary thinking on how the layout would go. The new place is something like 50% larger than where we are now, and after cramming in here it's going to feel SO. ROOMY. O.o We might actually (gasp!) have a guest room again! Or even get a roommate? Whoa.

The other big thing today was a job interview. :) Part-time work that would basically pay the difference between the rent here and the rent in the new place, but work that I'd enjoy doing, would provide a little structure and get me out of the house, so that's all good.

All in all things are going in the right direction for us and I'm quite pleased. Thanks, Universe! Keep up the good work!

Bigger picture/shared reality stuff still needs work, and I'll work on that once we've gotten our own house in order, so to speak.

-The Gneech
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With a good push yesterday, I brought my NaNoWriMo total up to 3,106 words, putting me only two days behind, so I should be able to catch up quickly. Today I'm going to put together a cover as well.

The new lease is officially signed, sealed and delivered. We are moving back to Reston in the week between Thanksgiving and Midwest Furfest, because why do anything when you can do EVERYTHING AT ONCE? ;D

Had my first live past-life regression session with my counselor yesterday. No exciting mystical experiences, alas, but it wasn't a complete waste: my subconscious chewed on things from the session overnight and gave me what I think are some useful insights about my behavior and reactions going forward.

I have a job interview tomorrow night. :) A part-time thing that would basically pay the difference for our rent going up to go back to Virginia, so not exactly a big bump moneywise, but still valuable for other reasons. Will say more when things are definite one way or the other. :)

Finally, this month's Patreon supporter pledges are in! <3 Thank you, all you awesome peeps, I am super grateful as always for your support and encouragement. ^.^

This has been your Gneech News Report. We now return you to your regular Dreamwidth feed, already in progress.

-The Gneech
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Milestone the First

After much wrangling and introspecting and generalized fretting, [personal profile] laurie_robey and I are moving back to Virginia! Specifically, to Reston. SirFox is a fine landlord, and if anyone is looking for a very reasonably-priced place in Germantown, drop me a line and we'll set you up. :) But for various reasons Maryland just isn't working for us.

This move also signals an indefinite pause on our California plans, for a variety of reasons I might get into in some other post. But for now, it's back to NoVA for us for the foreseeable future.

Milestone the Second

The files for the first Rough Housing collection are off to FurPlanet! It's gonna be pretty beefy at ~120 pages, and I'm not gonna lie, I love that cover.

Milestone the Third

NaNoWriMo starts on Wednesday! This will be my fourth whack at it (currently standing at 2/1) and will be an experiment: my first attempt at a furry novel. It's a fantasy featuring my little catfolk monk Kihai, my big catfolk barbarian Arshan, and a story something like Iron Monkey meets The Hidden Fortress. So, that should be fun. ;) But as of today, I have no outline, no supporting cast, and only a vague idea, so that's what I expect to be working on for the next couple of days. If the end result is good, I'll float it by FurPlanet as well! In the meantime, I'll be posting daily(-ish) progress reports to my Patreon for subscribers. :)

So! Life is good. And busy. I'll take it. :)

-The Gneech
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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
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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, [ 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.

[ 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: (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: (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: (Keitaro Holy Crap)
I don't know why, but for some reason [ 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 [ 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: (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: (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 [ 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 [ profile] sirfox would consider exchanging renovations for rent...


...but first, sleep. *thud*

the_gneech: (No Drama Zone)
The owner of the Staircase was one of those people like us, caught in the housing meltdown. So, when we asked to switch to a month-to-month lease with the idea that we would probably like to find a better place sometime later this year, she said, "Cool, I've been looking to put the house back up on the market to try to get out from under it, so I'll go ahead and put it up for sale. That should take months to go through anyway."

So we said cool, and she said cool, and everybody thought it was cool. Then the first person who even glanced at the place said, "I'll take it, get those damn tenants da fug out."

Giving us a month to move. -.- The owner of the house was very apologetic... but not so apologetic that she didn't take the offer.

Keep in mind, Laurie is still in the midst of re-training and looking for a new job, and I have been not-so-gainfully self-employed for two? three? years now and our credit is still recovering from the short sale of The Hobbit Hole. So the chances of our being able to find and secure a place in time to actually move there by the time we had to vacate were definitely slim.

However, [ profile] sirfox's townhouse-ish condo in Germantown was between tenants. It's roughly 2/3 the size of the Staircase, but is on two levels instead of five(!), is $300/mo cheaper than our current place, and Sirfie would pre-approve us with the management company and is extremely unlikely to sell the place any time soon. So, problem solved. Off to Germantown we go.

While I'm grateful to Sirfie and at least counting my blessings that we're not on the street, I'm not happy with the current set of events. It's not the worst possible result, but I definitely consider it the last rung below "failure state." However, our options are currently limited and we've got to make do, so I'm going to do my best to focus on the positives and keep moving forward. We get to keep our cats, we get to keep ourselves, and I get to keep writing. Those are the absolute minimum requirements of life as far as I'm concerned, and we've still got those.

Now to build.

-The Gneech
the_gneech: (Gneechtoon)
I figure there's only one way to make a post more obscure than putting it on LiveJournal, and that's putting it on LiveJournal on a Friday night. But obviously you're here and reading this, so maybe I'm wrong about that! ;)

Anyway! Yes, you're right, I have been a bit less chatty as of late, but that's because my world, which has tended to flop itself upside down like a giant metaphorical pancake every few months for the past several years, is at it again. This particular floppage is a confluence of several things happening at once, so lemme break it down a bit.

How Moving!

This is the big one. The lease on our current townhouse ended in March, and for various reasons that will wait for another day, we wanted flexibility to be able to move sometime around July-ish. So we opted for a month-to-month renewal, because our other choice was another 12 months. The owner of our house was like, "Cool, I've been thinking of selling around then anyway, so I'll list the house and aim to settle around the time you guys are planning to move." We said, "cool," and she said, "cool," and all was good.

The first person who even glanced at the house bought it and wanted us out immediately. :-`

The current owner was like, "Uh, I'll sell you the house, sure, but I have a legal obligation to the tenants." So the buyer rolled their eyes and said, "Okay, fine, give them 30 days notice and be done with it." Thus it is, that we need to move by May 17th.

As you can imagine, this has rather flung us for a loop. We have spent the time since getting this news looking for a new place to go, selling/donating/disposing of even more stuff than we did when we were selling the Hobbit Hole, and generally freaking out.

The good news is, we have a backup plan, in the form of [ profile] sirfox's condo in Maryland which is currently vacant. If we don't find anything else, that will be our safety net. But we are not settled on that yet.

Things That Aren't Moving

Meanwhile, when not dealing with that, I've been cranking away on my novel writing. As of this afternoon, Sky Pirates of Calypsitania has officially received two rejections, one from a literary agent who likes my writing generally but wasn't interested in that particular book, and one from Tor-Forge, who simply responded with a form letter. All of the other markets well-suited to the book do not take unagented manuscripts, so for the time being the strategy on that book is "keep looking for an agent, and keep working on other books."

In the other books department, I've returned to Tend on Mortal Thoughts and I'm trying to Second Draft it up to 80,000+ words if I can. Some of my beta readers have given me very good suggestions in that regard and when I'm not in the midst of moving I intend to make use of them. I have also put in some serious thinking on Brigid and Greg, and might just have a direction with that to go I like after all. But that's going to have to wait a few months.

But here's the thing about writing: when I start doing that, I tend to stop doing anything that's not writing. Video games, TwitterPonies, basic hygiene, whatever it is, doesn't happen because it doesn't involve putting words on the page. A typical writing day for me tends to be 8-12 hours of phrenetic typing, punctuated by the occasional five minute stare into space while I try to solve a problem, then back to typing. When it comes time to finally hang up my keyboard at the end of the day, I'm generally completely exhausted, and as a general rule I have to physically force myself to take time off on the weekend or at night in order to prevent turning [ profile] lythandra into a Writer's Widow.

So as you can probably guess, progress on writing means little to say on LiveJournal, because LiveJournal is not putting words on the page.

Has Anybody Seen D&D? It Was Right Here a Few Weeks Ago. Also, Dammit Game Parlor.

On the topic of the world being turned upside down, [ profile] jamesbarrett, who is a major participant in my current D&D game and is in fact the only other DM in the group, has recently lost his weekend evenings to his own life's topsy-turviness. It's just possible that the group might be able to find a way to making "super late Friday/Saturday night and all online" work, but it's very iffy. Right now it's kind of a moot point because moving has knocked all chances of gaming off the map until mid-May anyhow, but even once Laurie and I land gaming as we have known it is currently not looking like it will survive.

In this context, my discovery today that Game Parlor closed back in November. I can't honestly say I'm surprised, but I am bummed, because in its heyday it was the nicest gaming store I've ever seen. The late 3.x/4E-era collapse of the RPG market, combined with the rise of online shopping and PDFs taking over the gaming industry dealt them a series of blows it would have been hard enough to recover from if they'd been savvy about it all, much less putting their hands over their metaphorical ears, going "LA LA LA I'M NOT LISTENING" and trying to carry on through pure inertia. On the other hand, the owners did say they were retiring, so it may have been that they only needed for the store to stay open long enough to get them to that spot, and therefore mission accomplished. Dunno. In any case, this is a blow on par with the closing of the Reston Barnes & Noble. Not the end of the world perhaps– I've got plenty of online and other options for my gaming fix– but a major bummer nonetheless.

Buddha, Jobs/Career Changes, Familial Health, All That Other Stuff

Well yeah, there's a lot of other junk in the turning-upside-down of everything. Some of them are more heavy hitters than other, and it's not necessarily all bad, but it is all change, and in the mix. Even change you like is stressful, and when introverts get stressed they tend to get quiet.

So, for those among you who've wondered why I've been a bit remote lately, that's what it boils down to. Sorry to keep you in suspense! But when there's news hashed out, I'll certainly share it. :)

-The Gneech

April 2019

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