Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wednesday Factoid: Terrible Job

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What job would you be terrible at?

The first job that comes to mind that is a terrible match for my skills is bus driver.

I'd be terrible at this for many reasons.

1. I do not know how to drive a car. I don't have a driver's license.

2. Even if I got one, I'd then have to get a special license to drive an oversize vehicle, I think. 

3. The idea of handling a vehicle that large is super intimidating to me.

4. I am absolutely awful at navigation, so not only would I probably mess up my route; I'd also be useless when it comes to giving advice to riders, and riders ask for navigation advice a lot.

5. I am not good at conflict resolution when it comes to aggressive people, and don't like confrontation. There are MANY ornery bus patrons, from people who are pissed off about the fares to just plain members of the public who want to talk to you, start shit with you or each other, or bother other people so you have to intervene. You're the authority if you're the driver, so you have to handle it.

And in Florida, bus drivers make significantly less money than I do. I have a huge amount of respect for bus drivers because I don't know how they even stand to do their job. Some of them seem to really thrive on connecting with bus riders and giving helpful information, but I don't even know how they do it. It impresses my pants off.

I guess the only stuff I'd be less qualified for than that would be highly technical jobs I'm not trained for and physically demanding jobs I am physically not strong enough to do.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Personal Digest Saturday: December 2 – December 8

Life news this week:
  • Saturday was okay, just did some blogging and wrote a cartoon theory online and later talked to my sister P on the phone while baking banana bread. She's visiting soon!
  • Sunday I was invited to an event called Queer Brunch. My friend Yasmin and their partner Arthur came to pick me up and I brought the banana bread for the potluck-style brunch. It was cool and I met another Steven Universe fan there who had buttons from the show all over their bag (LIKE MEEEEE). After the brunch we met up with Yasmin's friend James and hung out for a couple hours, and then back to my place where I did laundry and had to work for a few hours doing a proposal.
  • Monday I brought the remainder of my banana bread to work, finished the proposal and sent it out, chatted with Mommy on the phone for a while as I did some housecleaning, and played a video game.
  • Tuesday I had a day off so I went to Mommy's for part of it and spent the day tired and itchy. After Mom's I got to have a nap and also one of the posts I made on Amino was featured again even though it was really supposed to be too soon for that. They broke a rule for me ahaha. I got distracted for the rest of the night responding to the comments because there were a lot.
  • Wednesday I did some utility stuff at work and met Jeaux after work. We shopped for comics, went to Target, and ate at a cool sandwich shop called Which Wich? I liked it, got an avocado sammich. We listened to Night Vale and watched Search Party.
  • Thursday I had to go to the utility coordination meeting and I took a bunch of notes during the meeting. Got a bunch of stuff done but had to stay late to do it. Then at home I chatted with Victor on the phone while drawing my comic.
  • Friday I had to review some plans (this is not a job I really ever do) and the day went by fast. Posted a quiz on Amino and finished my comic, and was kinda too exhausted to get anything else done.

New reviews of my book:
  • Heather gave it a five-star review on Goodreads, though I have to wonder if the fact that she's my friend affected her opinion at all. :]
Reading progress:
  • Finished this week: No new books finished--I'm still not quite finished with the one I'm reading now.
  • Currently reading: The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
    New singing performances:

    This week's song was "China Roses" by Enya.

    New drawings: 

    Finally drew some new fanart:
    Sapphire with her hair NOT in her face. Eep.

    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0656: "But."

    New videos:

    I have no new videos this week. :(

    New photos:

    The venue for the Queer Brunch event had cool aesthetics.
    At work wearing my Gem Scarf :D

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,273 for swankivy (3 new), 658 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 902 for swankivy (4 new), 1,334 for JulieSondra (1 new). Facebook: 295 friends (1 new, friended Iri) and 202 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 658 likes for JulieSondra (1 new), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,493 (lost 2). Instagram followers: 127 (1 new).

    Wednesday, December 6, 2017

    Wednesday Factoid: Bad Advice

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Talk about a time you got bad advice.

    Okay, here's what I want to talk about. Instead of specifically a piece of bad advice, I want to talk about useless advice that isn't really advice at all.

    "Calm down"

    "Just let it go"

    "Why are you letting that upset you"

    "You shouldn't be devoting attention to that"

    "Be the bigger person"

    "There are more important things to worry about"

    Those. Those kinds of things. They are not "advice" and though people who say them think they're helping, you need to understand those are not loving statements. They are DISMISSIVE statements. They are statements designed to make someone think the only problem here is that someone feels incorrectly or inconveniently about something that is affecting them.

    Yes, some people are better at coping with stress or disasters than other people are. I actually tend to be pretty good at such things myself. But when I'm angry about something, or I'm having a problem that someone else doesn't really understand, I am VERY VERY SICK of telling someone whom I expected to be sympathetic only to be met with a statement like one of the above.

    It doesn't happen often. And that's probably because once someone says something like this to me, I know I can't trust them to respect my experiences. But just in case you who is reading this are a person who says things like this to people, I want you to understand why it is inappropriate.

    You are reacting to someone expressing their feelings by telling them their anger or their passion is the problem. You aren't listening to why it's a problem, and you aren't coming into the situation with respect for the possibility that maybe they are outraged due to something outrageous. Or maybe they are not even "upset" or "worried"; they are perhaps venting, or helping YOU understand a stumbling block, or telling you about themselves, or trusting you to help them shoulder a burden. If you respond by telling them their reaction is more of a problem than the problem, you're derailing, and you're also being a jerk.

    Don't tell other people to suck it up when they tell you about their problems. Being shamed into believing their reactions are inappropriate is awful. Being told the things they care about aren't very important because you don't share their concern or you think their problems are small does not encourage them to deal with the issue constructively.

    IF YOU CAN'T HELP BUT THINK THEIR PROBLEMS ARE SILLY, the kindest thing you can do is just listen. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone search for compassion only to receive condescension. Do not imply their problems aren't problems. Do not imply they're upset because they're "letting" something bother them. Do not imply that they should fix the issue by feeling differently about it. Especially since chances are you're saying that because you don't want to deal with their emotions.

    The WORST advice I ever get is almost always unsolicited and is almost always a laughable corruption of where the problem even is. Don't be the kind of person who does this. I can assure you that if you ever talk like this to me, my willingness to trust you will be extremely limited unless you demonstrate that you've learned why it's unacceptable.

    Tuesday, December 5, 2017

    It's not (guaranteed to be) fair

    A good month ago now I got banned from a community I loved for something I didn't do.

    After an awful lot of back-and-forth, frustrating communication, and backstage deal-making, I was able to work out a compromise: I'm still interested in the community, I'm still sharing my content and interacting with the content of others, and I still have access to everything in the group, but . . . my account didn't get unbanned. I'm using a new one that I rebuilt from scratch, and there are some things I earned on the previous account that I can't put back again.

    And here's the thing. I was absolutely, one hundred percent not responsible for the incident I was blamed for. I was reported by some asshat who must've had it out for me (I don't know who it was) who did some kind of digital trickery to make it look like I had sent pornographic images in private chat. And when I tried to return to the community, they did it again--reported my new account for the same thing as soon as I started getting attention.

    You would think, in a just world, that if you get blamed for something you didn't do, you shouldn't have to accept the punishment. But even after I did everything right, I was told by the management of the community that there was nothing they could do to unban me because nothing I said proved I had NOT done it, and the faked screenshot they had was proof enough that I did.

    (Weirdly, when I called in help from above by the people who actually run the guts of the network, they said they had found no evidence that I'd committed the act and they unbanned me, but I immediately found myself banned again AND was told that my screenshots of conversations with the boss dudes were "not believable." So I guess anyone can make a digital image of me texting porn to them and that's irrefutable, but my conversation that has a case number and a real e-mail address to an authority was not good enough.)

    What's the point of all this? I was right, I was targeted by a real jerk, I jumped through hoops to prove it, and nothing I did was good enough because the people who have the power to do anything about it are not playing fair.

    That's not just cartoon community nonsense on the Internet, which is of little consequence in the big picture. That's the world. That's this world.

    Sometimes the highest authorities do not recognize that you're right or do not accept what you offer as justification for not punishing you, even if you've done everything that should convince a reasonable person that you don't deserve it.

    They are biased. And if they're powerful, nobody stops them from using that bias to exact devastating change on the less fortunate.

    We think they're not allowed to take away our possessions, our property, our resources, our lives. But if they want to, they will, and they do, and if you really want to put up a fight to stop them, that costs resources we don't have. They don't even have to play the game well if they're friends with the scorekeeper. And if they lose, they get a black mark, while the person they're playing against goes to jail or loses everything or literally dies.

    Someone died a couple weeks back because he didn't raise enough money to pay for his monthly insulin. He literally died because he was trying to play by the rules, get this imaginary money thing that he needed enough of to be allowed to live, and he didn't make it and he ISN'T IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE. Because to people who don't even think of him as a person, he's a freeloader who should have been able to afford healthcare somehow and he must've done something wrong if he ended up in that situation. Well ya can't take care of everybody. No, you can't! But why do we live in a country where mistakes or misfortunes or just having a more expensive life than most people through no fault of his own can literally be fatal for someone like this? How is lifesaving medicine NOT his right? Why did anyone get to decide, while ignoring that he's a person because they'll never have to look him in the eye, that he isn't worth helping?

    People who think they shouldn't be responsible for public health care will surely shrug and say if he had wandered into a hospital that sick they would have had to treat him, but I have personal experience with that not being the case in my own family. Most health care that is effective is preventative anyway, and there is more to health than stopping you from literally dying of immediate emergencies. You cannot get what you need unless you can pay.

    That's not fair. And that's our world.

    People who have the power to change it prefer to look the other way because it's uncomfortable. Lawmakers consistently shrug their shoulders over the plight of the poor. They should've done something else to not be poor, they should've not made any of the mistakes that aren't fatal if you're rich, they should've known better than to be born or become disabled or sick or just not very smart about things that affect them. 

    If you have power, stop contributing to or exploiting these systems that knowingly operate on inequality. If you don't have power, use what power you do have to fight those systems in your individual life when you see them hurting someone. What have I done? Tried to give people perspective and tools through my videos when they were living in a world that taught them they were broken. Took in a homeless friend who just needed some help to get on his feet. Gave to seven charities this year. Cosigned a loan with a friend who didn't have the credit to get it on his own. Talked many people through their problems. Paid bills for people who didn't have another option. Provided free editing services to help people with a dream. I've done what I could do, staying within my means, and I don't expect to be directly rewarded for those contributions. I just think that if I can do it, I should, because the world isn't fair. 

    It isn't. We love to think justice prevails, fairness prevails, people get what they deserve. They do not. 

    They do not.

    Just like my ridiculous cartoon community saga, sometimes the people who have the power to help you don't care enough to do it, refuse to do it, think you don't deserve it (or that figuring out if you do isn't worth the effort), or have biases they're not supposed to have if they hold those positions.

    And sometimes, like in my saga, there is someone who is on your side who would like to help you, but isn't able to because they work within a system that isn't actually designed to do what it pretends to be there for. The system that resulted in banning me from that place is supposed to keep porn spammers from porn spamming. It is not supposed to keep out people who are there to make valuable, relevant, sincere content and have demonstrated reasonable evidence that this is all they'd ever been doing. But apparently the ridiculous possibility that I might have sent someone a lewd picture (even though I had no history of doing so and no apparent motivation) is worth punishing me by snuffing the place I've built a content hub for eight months. And it apparently did not strike anyone as bizarre or suspicious that I was accused of doing this twice more, with "proof," during the time I was trying to get someone in charge to believe I didn't do it the first time. Getting someone in trouble for sending pornography is troll 101. It should have been easy to look at my history and see someone was messing with me.

    But the world isn't fair, even in places where it really should be EASY to make it fair. Sometimes you're just a dork on the Internet who wants to share your silly drawings with other dorks on the Internet, and someone wants to stop you from doing it.

    And also sometimes you're a diabetic guy who can't afford insulin and nobody in charge thinks your life is unfair enough to help you live.

    Do your part.  

    Saturday, December 2, 2017

    Personal Digest Saturday: November 25 – December 1

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I just didn't have energy for anything so I made a bunch of posts on Amino and did my blogging. I think I've come to the conclusion that I can't afford to buy any holiday gifts.
    • Sunday I did karaoke and made a video for my writing channel but I didn't post it until later in the week. I did practice my ukulele too but I just didn't feel like I had any motivation to learn it well enough to perform it. Paid some bills and sulked about not getting anything done for the whole long weekend.
    • Monday I went back to work and though it was a drag, things were okay. I had a lot of work to do and that distracted me. I posted some Amino stuff, prepared some utility coordination letters, and had a meeting at work. Mom came by and helped me figure out what curtains I'm eventually going to put up.
    • Tuesday I got my staffing chart done at the office but I had to stay late to finish it along with a database my boss needed for the next day's meeting. I had some data crap to organize at home and I just keep being exhausted so I fell asleep.
    • Wednesday was okay, got a bunch of stuff figured out and turned in this staffing chart thing for a District 7 proposal. It was intense. Jeaux took me to Friday's and we watched a couple episodes of Search Party and talked about comics.
    • Thursday I got another featured post on Amino (man, even after I get banned the place still digs me) and I found out they caught that serial killer. And also our firm won a new contract! We got the sidewalk job in Lakeland. That is a huge happy deal. We should get a cake. Later I had some pizza, chatted on the phone with Victor, and drew my comic.
    • Friday I had to pay some bills (especially rent, ugh, since moving to the new house it really just kicks the air out of my lungs) and I uphill-battled my way through a proposal on my own so I could have something to give my boss at the end of the day. He wants to chase this thing even though we haven't really done any work on it so I have to work on the weekend. I don't mind, but I also feel like I am not getting enough rest and I'm getting a mouth ulcer which happens when I'm stressed.

    New reviews of my book:
    Reading progress:
    • Finished this week: Steven Universe: Anti-Gravity by Talya Perper, Queenie Chan, and Jenna Ayoub. Five-star review.
    • Currently reading: The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
      New singing performances:

      This week's song was "Possession" by Sarah McLachlan.

      New drawings: 

      Webcomic So You Write Issue 78: "Good"

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0655: "Why Not This?"

      New videos:

      New writing video: Appropriate Word Count. I discuss how long different kinds of books should be according to industry standards, and then I discuss how to get your book to fit in those pockets if you're having trouble. 

      New photos:

      Staffing chart came out pretty well, huh!

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,270 for swankivy (4 new), 658 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 898 for swankivy (no change), 1,333 for JulieSondra (1 new). Facebook: 294 friends (lost 1, I unfriended someone for racist stuff) and 201 followers (lost 1) for swankivy, 657 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,495 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 126 (no change).

      Wednesday, November 29, 2017

      Wednesday Factoid: Mischievous?

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Are you mischievous?

      Mischievous. Well, complicated question.

      In general, kind of not? I don't find other people's suffering funny, even if it's temporary and mistaken, so I don't find it amusing to jump out and scare people or cause them distress.

      But I do think weirdness is funny, and confusing people in non-damaging ways or weirding them out is my brand of mischief. Maybe in that way I'm pretty mischievous because I think of weird things to do. I used to be more into it when I was younger, but the occasional chance to play around still presents itself now and then.

      When I was in college, one of my hobbies was climbing onto various university buildings and then just sitting up there whistling. And I'd watch people on the ground and see who looked up. Usually if they looked at me I'd wave like a dork.

      My friend Jeaux and I once went to a slightly nicer restaurant than we usually went to--one that specialized in Italian food and had fancy cloth napkins--and after we were seated we each took out a pair of chopsticks and hid them in our napkins after taking the silverware out. Then when we each got a plate of pasta, we nonchalantly unrolled our napkins and ate with our chopsticks in an Italian restaurant. We got some weird looks and that was about it.

      In college I did do some less harmless pranks, but they were things I did to people after I perceived they'd done something to me. One was sort of an understanding, where we'd take turns "getting" each other, and my partner's pranks were usually just frustrating, like he'd steal one of my shoes and hide it, or he'd do something irritating to my computer. So I got him back by changing the outgoing message on his answering machine to something embarrassing, so that his friends and family would call and hear it but he wouldn't know. The other one was a little more mean-spirited but I promise the guy deserved it. He had given me passwords to his website so I could help him with it, but he was being a jerk to some of my friends and was knowingly dating two women while hiding their existence from each other (this was not an understood or accepted arrangement), so I messed with his website and replaced some of his pompous essays with perverted cartoon fanfiction. (I think this stuff actually would have won the award for the most offensive stuff I've written.) As I recall one of his girlfriends thought he'd written it and was very upset because she was religious. :o (But he was just dating her because he wanted to stay at her house for free, so I thought it was poetic justice that she said she was going to dump him over it.)

      That's about all I've got for now.

      Saturday, November 25, 2017

      Personal Digest Saturday: November 18 – November 24

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday I did blogging and comic planning so I could have the evening free for Drink and Draw. It was a weird night because there was another event going on at the same time and there was live music outside, plus Eric said nothing to me about picking me up like he has every other time, so I went to the event in a paid ride. (He was there with a woman I don't know so probably that's why he didn't tell me anything about his plans.) The event was cool and I got a bunch of stuff drawn.
      • Sunday I played ukulele and did karaoke recordings and did some Amino posts. I'm back posting there incessantly to build up my content again now that I've got some stuff figured out behind the scenes. Began posting reviews onto Tumblr as well, and talked to Meggie about future birthday plans.
      • Monday my computer at work was messed up so I spent the whole day either troubleshooting it or waiting for responses from the IT folks regarding troubleshooting it. I managed to get a couple small things done that day though. I made some plans with Jeaux and Victor to visit my mom for Thanksgiving since neither of them were doing anything.
      • Tuesday I got some coordination stuff done and worked on a staffing chart for an upcoming document submittal. Jeaux took me grocery shopping and we ate at Perkins and watched two episodes of Search Party which is full of terrible people and we like it okay so far.
      • Wednesday I worked by myself! Nobody else was in the office. I did some more stuff for the submittal and some updates on the utility coordination. Then I walked to the comic book store because it was about a mile away from my work and I wanted to buy the new Steven Universe comic, but they didn't have it in my folder even though I was supposed to have it on reserve. So I took a paid ride to another store and they didn't have any either (but I was able to buy my ukulele holder that I'd been wanting). I went home and bought the dang thing online. And I posted a bunch of reviews.
      • Thursday was Thanksgiving. I spent the morning baking macaroni and cheese and biscuits, and making posts on Amino, and one of my pieces FINALLY got a feature (I say "finally," as if waiting less than a week is a lot, but still, I was throwing out a bunch of good stuff all week). Jeaux picked me up and picked up Victor. We hung out and my friends played with brain teaser toys and we all played Exploding Kittens. We ate the meal and Mom went to bed right after because she is pretty sick and can't expend much energy without it taking a big toll. Jeaux fixed her computer while she was sleeping and I did dishes with her roommate. We left pretty late and I went to sleep.
      • Friday I tried to just take a day easy. (It's hard for me to do that.) I was a lazybones, but I did get my webcomic up and finish reading a book and reviewed it before I went to bed. Also talked on the phone and made some fun posts.

      New reviews of my book:
      • max gave it a two-star review on Goodreads because I don't respect gay people (max did not elaborate). Hmkay.
      • James Kirby gave it a three-star review on Goodreads, citing its repetition as the reason for lower marks.
      • Cheryl gave it a four-star review on Amazon, claiming I give a great description of what it's like to be ace (but then including a sentence full of misleading statements that my book actually debunks, so...I'm not sure how to react to that).
      Interviews, articles, mentions:

      Reading progress:
        New singing performances:

        This week's song was "Didn't We Almost Have It All" by Whitney Houston.

        New drawings: 

        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0654: "Worth Starting Over For."

        New videos:

        I finally learned to play "Stronger Than You" on the ukulele! This is pretty rough to be honest, but these chords and the rhythm was very hard to master for me, and I substituted a few chords from the original for chords that were easier or more natural for me, plus I improvised a tune for the opening because you probably do not want to hear my white girl rap. (The original song opens with a rap verse.)

        This song is the only solo song in the entire Steven Universe series sung by my favorite character, Garnet. It was the showpiece in the first season's finale episode and it was a Very Big Deal for people who had been waiting such a long time to hear Garnet sing. :) (Her voice actress is a famous Grammy-winning musician from Britain. She is amazing.) If you are unfamiliar with the original song and want to know how it sounds, feel free to watch a badass cartoon character fight while she sings!!

        New photos:

        Cookie Cat ensemble while at work

        My nerds Victor and Jeaux trying to solve brain teasers at Mom's

        Me wearing "the cone of shame" before a game of Exploding Kittens.
        You're supposed to wear this if you forget whose turn it is, but I just wanted to wear it.
        The Thanksgiving table is set. I love this china.

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,266 for swankivy (lost 6), 656 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 898 for swankivy (lost 2), 1,332 for JulieSondra (4 new). Facebook: 295 friends (lost 1, who knows who) and 202 followers (no change) for swankivy, 657 likes for JulieSondra (2 new), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,496 (3 new). Instagram followers: 126 (1 new).