Saturday, August 18, 2018

Personal Digest Saturday: August 11 – August 17

Life news this week:
  • Saturday I spent a bunch of time on the phone! I hadn't talked to my sister P since before she went to Japan, so we had a nice catch-up talk. Then I went shopping with Jeaux because I unwisely did not shop last week, and went with him to his haircut. Then I took a nap, got up, and talked to Victor about our upcoming adventure with his family visiting. I cleaned my living room's entertainment center and made great progress!
  • Sunday was another Day of Productivity. I had coffee outside with my e-mail, but it looked like it was going to rain so I brought it inside early. Did karaoke and cleaned the bookshelves in my living room. Then I moved all the furniture, rolled up the carpets, cleaned the floors, vacuumed, and steam cleaned the carpets! And then finally I got to take a shower and start laundry. I also slept on the floor for a while.
  • Monday had to do some paperwork, and we sent out a letter of response at work and did a bunch of printing. My co-worker drove me home and it was pouring. I got my last Mystery Mini plush so I have a complete collection for now, hooray! Then I cleaned a bunch of stuff up and finished my laundry. Man I love my house!
  • Tuesday I had a busy day at the office because I was taking the next day off to go out with Victor's family. Had to do a bunch of coordination with utilities again and talked to my sister briefly. Sent my package of info to District 6 for a project we're shortlisted on (yay) and met up with my friend Arthur. He took me to a Thai restaurant and we ate the food and watched a few cartoons. After he left I talked to Meggie on the phone--she's having a tough time. I cleaned the entranceway of my house. I think I'm stress cleaning.
  • Wednesday I had off work to go to UNIVERSAL STUDIOS WITH VICTOR'S FAMILY! Yay! They picked me up in the morning and I got to meet his sister Alaina, his brother Ross, Ross's girlfriend Jahira, and his nephews Sumir and Amari. The younger folks fell asleep in the back of the minivan on the way there, haha. We did some rides, ate food in the Harry Potter land, and had a tiring and hot but fun time! I had a good time playing with Amari--I get along great with little kids. We also went to the wand store to get Amari a magic wand, but you have to go to a demonstration and the actor picked me out of the crowd to demonstrate wands, so that was fun. We got home really late, like 11 PM, and I was able to just take a shower and fall into bed.
  • Thursday was back to work. And it was busy because I missed a day. I was running around all day doing stuff and then Jeaux picked me up because we moved Jeaux Day to Thursday this week. We went to University Mall because we heard Hot Topic had a Steven Universe toy I hadn't gotten yet, and they had it! So we each bought one! (It was a life-size Pumpkin.) We ate at Five Guys and did grocery shopping too, and then at my place we listened to Night Vale and watched Wrecked and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I worked hard to get Negative One drawn early because of potential plans with Victor's family Friday night, but I didn't completely finish.
  • Friday I worked and it was another busy day. Wow. At least I got a ride home! Jeaux and I got invited to Victor's family's vacation house for dinner, so I quickly finished my comics, cooked some biscuits, and went over there with Jeaux. We had a pretty good time and watched a really ridiculous movie calledFather of the Year. It was so nice to finally meet Victor's MOM! Then Jeaux took me home and I collapsed. Really exhausting and stressful week.
Reading progress:
    New singing performances:

    This week's song was "All of Me" by John Legend.



    Stuff Drawn:





    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0692: "Sister Species."






    New videos:

    None.

    New photos:


    On the way to Universal Studios with Victor's family, his nephews
    and his sister fell asleep in the back seat, all three of them.
    Amari played a video game at Universal Studios' arcade.
    We met a fish lady at Universal Studios.
    Posing with the fish lady and a car.
    Victor's nephew Amari is playing with a penguin at Universal Studios.
    It was pretty hot out.
    Hanging out at the fountain with Victor.
    Simpsons stuff at Universal Studios--hanging out with Chief Wiggum.
    Victor's in Springfield.
    Victor and his nephew Amari with me and some Duff ads at Universal Studios.
    Horsing around on the railings with Amari,
    in line for rides at Universal Studios.
    Alaina, Victor, and I are criminals about to get
    arrested in Springfield at Universal Studios.
    Alaina, Jahira, and I are criminals about to get
    arrested in Springfield at Universal Studios.
    My heart glasses are cute.
    Me with Victor's family at the Harry Potter Gringott's ride.
    I'm at Platform 9 and three-quarters.
    Look, it's the Hogwarts Express.
    Victor and my selfie at Universal Studios.
    Victor looks afraid that he's about to
    wipe out on that motorcycle.
    Victor and his nephew Amari with a motorcycle at Universal Studios.
    Jeaux and I got SuperCute Plushies Pumpkins.

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,269 for swankivy (lost 4), 677 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 960 for swankivy (lost 14), 1,321 for JulieSondra (lost 4). Facebook: 294 friends (lost 1) and 205 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 651 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 59 likes for Negative One (2 new), 140 likes for So You Write (1 new). Tumblr followers: 2,517 (lost 3). Instagram followers: 151 (1 new).



    Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Wednesday Factoid: Early Signs

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: When you were a child, were there any early signs that you would grow up to do what you do for a living?

    I definitely thought I was going to be a writer at a very early age--and the early signs of that were that I was always making my own books from stapled-together notebook paper. Like, before I even started kindergarten.

    But I don't exactly write for a living; I do it professionally, but it's not currently where most of my money comes from, so I guess I should examine that too. I work as an administrative support person for a transportation engineering consultant. The transportation engineering aspect isn't very important to the specifics of MY job so I'll focus on what I actually do: I organize, I edit, and I keep track of stuff.

    I always liked developing systems and orders to things, whether it was to take my parents' penny collection and sort them by year or whether it had to do with methodically recording my various favorite things in alphabetical order on lists and getting irritated every time I had to copy it over so I could keep the order straight. I was usually the person who remembered dates or specifics about people, so I guess it makes sense that I grew up to organize other people's stuff for them!

    Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Money for most people

    I just read through a thread on Tumblr where users were explaining to people in their late twenties that you need to build credit or else you have no credit, which is treated almost exactly like bad credit by financial institutions.

    And there were arguments in the comments where people were swearing it was not true, that credit cards are evil and you shouldn't owe any money to anyone at any time if you can help it, that "get and use a credit card and use it to build credit" must be advice designed as part of a capitalist trap. Several people who know how credit works had to come in and tell these people who'd nearly reached thirty without knowing this, explaining that having an established record of borrowing and paying back small amounts of money increases financial institutions' faith that you're trustworthy to pay back larger sums of money--a.k.a. CREDIT. 

    And so many people were baffled that this is how it works.

    I was taught this stuff well before I was a legal adult. Know why?

    I'm a banker's daughter. My mom got a joint credit card with me when I turned 18 and I've been building credit since.

    I've never taken out a major loan--have never bought a house or a car. The most I've ever done is charge to a credit card that I got many years after my joint one with my mom. I have very good credit. Good enough that I'm instantly approved as a renter. Good enough that when my friend who wasn't bottle-fed with this information couldn't get a loan for a car because he had no credit, I was able to co-sign and get the car loan with him. (Legally, I think it's my car, but I've never paid anything on it; he pays it. Obviously this is something you only do with someone you really trust.)

    I wouldn't say I know a lot about financial management or budgets or whatever. But sometimes I'm shocked by how much I know in comparison to others. I've known for a long time that it's smart to have a 401(k) through your workplace and that it's basically throwing money away if you don't allocate at least the percentage that your workplace matches (if they do that). When I left my previous job, I rolled the 401(k) I had there into an IRA, and I understand what that is. Someone else manages it for me in exchange for a percentage. I own some stock. I have a smallish savings account that I try to forget about.  


    Part of the reason I know about these things is that I came from a family who used these options and opportunities. And what really cheeses me off is how many people in my situation treat these things like they're common knowledge.

    They're actually not common knowledge. We think they are because we mostly associate with people like ourselves who have the resources we have and know the things we know and value the things we value. But the people who don't know about these things aren't lazy, or willfully ignorant. A lot of times they don't know these things because a) the ideas aren't actively "marketed" to them because of their socioeconomic status; and b) the information is irrelevant if you don't HAVE any money.


    Just put some away in savings, they say. Just skim a little out of your paycheck to go to this retirement account that you won't see for decades. Just buy stock, just invest, just do money stuff with your money.

    They literally do not understand what it's like to go through life without anything like that luxury. Where you're waiting for your next paycheck so you can eat. Where you save money for a while before you can get shoes. Where small emergencies like home repairs or minor medical bills can send your budget into a tailspin of missed payments and skipped necessities. 

    Money for most people isn't a game or a puzzle you can move around to get the best deal. It's life and death, and that's how they treat it--as something you never have enough of, and can only use toward immediate goals within your current means. 

    That's why they don't know you have to "build" credit. That's why they don't know what you're talking about if you tell them they're sleeping on good opportunities if they don't allocate a good percentage to their 401(k) to take advantage of price matching. 

    I know so little but compared to most people I appear to know so much. 

    People who know these things make the rules and then everyone else gets screwed by them.

    Saturday, August 11, 2018

    Personal Digest Saturday: August 4 – August 10

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I had trouble getting motivated! I spent a bunch of time trying to find some toys I really wanted, but nobody had them. I made some deep-fried pizza and pizza bits, but beyond that and blogging I really got nothing done.
    • Sunday was much more productive. I took care of my weekly outside-sitting session Sunday morning, answered my e-mail, and got the porch swept. Then I did dishes, talked to Meg on the phone, did karaoke, made banana bread, and drew a picture of Amethyst for an online friend. I made some pin ribbons in my office (took a ribbon and attached cute buttons to them, and hung them up so people can see the buttons), redecorated the whole house for first harvest, and did laundry.
    • Monday I mailed packages of toys to friends, worked all day on letters of response to the DOT, and got a ride home with a co-worker. Then I spent the evening cleaning my living room! It was fun, which is weird. I was doing a super thorough cleaning, like taking every book off the shelf and pulling shelves out from the wall to clean behind them. I fell asleep early.
    • Tuesday I got up early and went to work because I had a huge transcript to do and I couldn't understand the project manager's speech very well. Then I finished it and it turned out I had transcribed the wrong interview. I checked with my boss and he still wanted me to do the right one (of course) so I had to do that one too. At least that PM was easier to understand, but it still took 3 hours. So basically I typed for 7 hours straight and came up with over 30 single-spaced pages. Ouch. After work I walked to the grocery store, bought some cheese, and went home to make mozzarella sticks. Yum! I talked to Meg on the phone again and did more cleaning. Jeaux found the toys I'd been looking for at GameStop and he bought them for me! Woo! I steam cleaned my furniture.
    • Wednesday I was at work alone for a while. Paid some bills and got some stuff done. Jeaux picked me up after work and we ate at Perkins. We decided not to grocery shop. Ended up watching Wrecked and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, listened to Night Vale, and talked. We also ate the leftovers of my mozzarella sticks and I fell asleep early again.
    • Thursday I was at work early again. I played with forms and updated an Access database. Also, I found a new Rock Potato and have dubbed it Long Potato. Mom came over because she wanted some copy of an old towing receipt. I had it. We hung out for a while and she liked my toys! :D After she left I talked to Victor and drew comics.
    • Friday I beat everyone to work AGAIN. I had to work on utilities again and had to help a co-worker find a rental car. Then at home I finished my webcomic and transcribed a podcast interview. Fell asleep pretty late.

    New reviews of my book:



    Interviews, Articles, Mentions:


    Reading progress:
    • Finished this week: I'm on basically the last chapter of the book I'm reading, but since I didn't finish and review it, I can't put it here.
    • Currently readingNative Tongue by Carl Hiaasen.
      New singing performances:

      This week's song was "Icicle" by Tori Amos.



      Stuff Drawn:


      Amethyst on an index card:
      mailed out to an online friend.



      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0691: "It Happened."






      New videos:

      None.

      New photos:


      No, YOU'RE eating deep-fried pizza.
      Meet Long Potato!
      SuperCute Plushies collection is growing!
      My homemade mozzarella sticks!

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,273 for swankivy (2 new), 678 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 974 for swankivy (1 new), 1,325 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 204 followers (no change) for swankivy, 650 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 57 likes for Negative One (no change), 139 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,520 (lost 5). Instagram followers: 150 (3 new).



      Wednesday, August 8, 2018

      Wednesday Factoid: Secret Identity

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Have you ever done anything under a secret identity?

      It's really hard to say what counts here.

      When I first started accessing the Internet, it was the late 1990s and everyone was afraid of Cyber People. Users were encouraged to be secretive about their real names and only give their photographs to trusted people (by e-mail--graphics on websites had to be small or they would never load). Usually, we picked a name and that was who we were to everyone.

      That name could be anyone.

      I never cooked up a ruse and actively pretended to be someone I was not, but I didn't regularly use my legal name online until my writing career happened. Before that, I mostly used a screenname developed out of a title I created when I was 15, and an associated nickname became the name I actually used in person with people I later met from online.  

      Me with some online friends and our screennames airbrushed on our shirts
      I never used my relative anonymity to do anything bad or sneaky or even anything that was harmless but not true. I never lied about myself, never misled anyone or tried to get them to do things for me based on untruths, and was generally pretty forthcoming about who I was when asked. 

      When I was in charge of some chat rooms on America Online (an opportunity offered to members in good standing who wanted to get their service for free and were willing to volunteer time), I used to have to use a separate hosting name which was not traceable to my main screenname. In that sense, I did have to play a role, be a grownup, and not talk about myself with full disclosure. But that's a pretty typical course of action when you're in charge of kids. You can't get too personal with them when you're in an authority position. 

      Years down the line, as in, uh, now, I have done something new online that I haven't really done before. I made a blog on Tumblr--in addition to the blog I already had on Tumblr which is under my long-established pseudonym--and I use it for my fun fandom stuff for cartoons. What's different about it is I don't use my name, I don't disclose much about my identity besides very vague statements of my age, gender, pronouns, and background, and I almost never talk about myself on it. I don't leave any links to my other social media presences and I don't connect them together. 

      It would be easy for anyone to link them together if they were LOOKING to, since I do post the same art and the same essays in multiple places, but I am not actively trying to avoid "discovery." I just wanted to have a place where nobody really had any expectations of what my content would be like, and to both be honest and sound weird, I wanted to start something where I wouldn't be riding my own coattails; I wanted people to follow me there because they liked what I was making, not because they knew me somewhere else. That way I would know my content was being appreciated for what it was, not because of who I am.

      (A lot of who an artist is leaks into what they make, of course, and it reflects on them, but that's another story.)

      That's about the closest I've ever had to a secret identity, though, and it's not much of a secret. :P

      Tuesday, August 7, 2018

      Cleaning house

      The house I'm renting is extremely big.

      It's way bigger than what I need, which is a sentence I didn't think I'd ever say.

      First off, since it has a garage, some of the stuff I want to keep but don't need to have inside is storable in there. The washer and dryer hookups are also in the garage so I don't really have a choice to have those machines take up space in the house.

      I've begun a project to finally Clean My House. It's an ambitious project because a) house is big, as mentioned; and b) I haven't really cleaned it since I moved in last September.

      Here's the thing. I'm extremely tidy.

      I also don't have kids or pets.

      So my house basically gets three kinds of dirty:

      1. Dust
      2. Hairballs (from me, shedding, because I have long hair)
      3. After a party

      I don't have that many parties and when I do have them I clean up straight away so there's not like, this lingering party grossness.

      I figured at least the dust and hairballs, and assorted potential spider webs and dead bugs that inevitably appear behind and under furniture, would have manifested themselves at this point and I'd be running into them. But despite having gotten through three fourths of cleaning my living room yesterday (it's a big room, I burned out), I ran into ONE very small dead bug and ZERO spider webs.




      And I mean. I'm pulling furniture away from the wall and sweeping the baseboards. I'm cleaning the blinds. I'm taking all the books and doodads off shelves and dusting everything. I steam-cleaned my freakin' chair. How the heck isn't it dirty really? 


      Tonight I'm planning to do the final wall (which is where there are a ton of books and media to sort out), but I'll also probably get around to the sweeping and vacuuming. Hopefully. I'm hoping I can steam clean some other stuff too. (I own a couple different kinds of steam cleaners. One is so cute and little! You can use it to do all kinds of neat stuff, but it's made for small upholstery and steaming random stuff. It's really not for carpets.)

      After the living room, I am planning to hit the kitchen. I am expecting there will be some appreciable grossness there, right? RIGHT??

      If not, I swear maybe I am being followed by fairies.

      Saturday, August 4, 2018

      Personal Digest Saturday: July 28 – August 3

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday I processed my photos from Metrocon finally and did the subtitles for my new video. Pretty time-consuming. I also talked to Victor on the phone because we were both opening boxes of new toys and we're into that. I got all the plushies from San Diego Comic Con and they're great!
      • Sunday I had a weird sleepy day. I did my outside sitting and got through laundry, karaoke, and showering periodically throughout the day between naps. I ate a lot of crap and watched YouTube, and drew a picture of Garnet that I like.
      • Monday I took care of some dangling ends at work regarding utilities and documents other firms needed from us. After work I grocery shopped and made a monstrosity at home: an "everything pizza" based on a cartoon. I had to make a fish out of bread.
      • Tuesday I somehow got lost on the bus despite it being the same bus I always take. Rode it too far haha. Got to work and ate pieces of my everything pizza for lunch. Met up with Arthur and let him eat my everything pizza too. We watched cartoons and got from episode 70 to episode 78. Then he went home and I finished my webcomic.
      • Wednesday I got up early to read comics before work. Then at work I did applications for minority business status for our new Tallahassee office. Whoo! Ate everything pizza for lunch again. I was too full for food with Jeaux so we ate at a place where he got a burrito and I got chips. Then we went grocery shopping and watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
      • Thursday I worked and just put out small fires. Then at home Victor called me and I finished my webcomic, put together a new set of shelves, and rearranged some toys.
      • Friday was busy! I edited a paper and sent reports out, and then I was supposed to meet up with a new friend for coffee but he canceled so I went to the mall anyway and went shopping for stuff I never found. I brought home some french fries and made a french fry pizza.

      New reviews of my book:



      Interviews, Articles, Mentions:


      Reading progress:
      • Finished this week: I didn't finish any books, but I did give a four-star review to Steven Universe Harmony #1, the first of the five-issue miniseries that just started.
      • Currently readingNative Tongue by Carl Hiaasen.
        New singing performances:

        This week's song was "Around the World" by ATC.



        Stuff Drawn:


        My super adorable chillin' Garnet


        My doodles of the Steven Universe figural keychains, which are weird looking




        Webcomic So You Write Issue 86: "No Guarantees."









        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0690: "No Guarantees."






        New videos:

        None.

        New photos:


        My new SDCC buttons
        My collection of SDCC plushies
        Me wearing my new shirt that says "Have You Seen This Ruby?"
        My complete collection of Figural Keychains
        My "everything pizza"
        Eating the everything pizza with a spoon
        My figure collection with the figural keychains added
        My new Supercute Plushies
        My toy hutch is getting crowded now



        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,271 for swankivy (lost 15), 678 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 973 for swankivy (5 new), 1,325 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 204 followers (lost 2) for swankivy, 649 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 57 likes for Negative One (no change), 139 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,525 (1 new). Instagram followers: 147 (no change).