Saturday, February 25, 2017

Personal Digest Saturday: February 18 – February 24

Life news this week: 
  • Saturday I finally posted my fan comic on Tumblr. The reception was pretty okay--people liked it and I got several surprising private messages from people who REALLY enjoyed how I wrote it. (Wow!) I made the decision to stop applying for jobs and take the one I was offered unless one of the other ones I'd had some forward motion with came through and seemed better.
  • Sunday I took a ride out to the ATM to deposit my last check from my old job. (I got severance!) It was kinda sad. I practiced ukulele but wasn't able to get the song down well enough to make a recording. I also posted my comic in a Facebook forum for fans and got a ton of nice, supportive comments. Which is really nice after all that work I put in last week on making it the best it could be.
  • Monday was Presidents' Day, and it was irrelevant for me because I DON'T HAVE A JOB HAHA. I went grocery shopping and got my ukulele video done. And I drew a picture for the next new cartoon episode.
  • Tuesday I found out my friend Meghan got the job she'd been hoping for, which is thrilling. I also went to Chili's and Michael's with my mom, where I got some new markers and some salad and fries. ;) I played my ukulele video for my mom but she laughed at it because she says I'm really bad at whistling. (There's whistling in the video.) Can't win them all! Also got into a pointless argument on the Internet which resulted in the other person getting kicked out of the group. Yikes.
  • Wednesday I had a low energy day. Spent the time drawing the preliminary sketches for my next So You Write comic and watching videos, then going out with Jeaux to Five Guys. I tried to nap but my neighbors' noise wouldn't let me. Did some reading after Jeaux left.
  • Thursday I went to the phone store to get my phone checked out because it's been acting weird. Got stuck behind a customer who literally bogarted the employee's attention for HALF AN HOUR before he could help me. They sold me a memory card that should help my phone stop freezing and rebooting itself, but I don't know. I also reached out to a driving school to see if I could schedule driving lessons, and left a message. And I made some sushi, but ran out of seaweed paper before I ran out of rice. Oh, and I accepted the job offer so now I'm officially scheduled to start my new job in March. Later I talked to Victor on the phone and drew some of my webcomic.
  • Friday I finished the webcomic, scheduled driving lessons for the week before I go back to work, went to Jeaux's for a new cartoon (the episode was "Rocknaldo," haha), and didn't do much except chill on the Internet after that.
    New reviews of my book:

    Reading progress:
    • Finished this week: Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel. Review coming soon.
    • Currently reading: Welcome to the Slipstream by Natalka Burian.
      New singing performances:

      This week's performance was "Human Behaviour" by Björk. (This one's pretty weird, if you're not familiar with the song anyway.)

      New drawings: 

      Fan art to accompany new Steven Universe episode "Rocknaldo"

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0615: "Imitating It."

      New videos:

      My latest unlisted ukulele video is "On the Run" from Steven Universe.

      New photos:

      Giving a high five to a new Internet follower
      The sushi I made
      About to eat sushi.

      Social Media counts:
      YouTube subscribers: 5,297 for swankivy (3 new), 616 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 843 for swankivy (lost 5), 1,320 for JulieSondra (1 new). Facebook: 293 friends (no change, but I friended someone so I guess I lost someone too) and 206 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 651 likes for JulieSondra (lost 1), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 127 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,494 (lost 2). Instagram followers: 102 (no change).

      Wednesday, February 22, 2017

      Wednesday Factoid: Poetry

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Do you like poetry? Do you have a favorite poem?

      Weirdly I wouldn't really say I like poetry that much. That said, I recognize that nearly any song could be said to essentially be poetry, and I like many songs. Poetry in written form is not my thing really. Though that's maybe a little too simplistic an expression of my feelings about it because I have enthusiastically enjoyed many poems and I used to write a lot of poetry. I mostly stopped doing it in college. I couldn't exactly tell you why.

      I studied poetry academically a little bit and mostly that just gave me an understanding of how much form and structure goes into it and what it conveys if you choose a certain form over free verse, and I just don't have the appreciation for it that I kind of want to. Plus I edited a couple poetry books some time back and one of them I found especially grating (and it didn't help that it was by someone who was really up his own butt about how very poetic he was). 

      I do have a favorite poem: "Stars" by Sara Teasdale.


      Tuesday, February 21, 2017

      Something to do

      I've heard that some people get really restless and sometimes depressed when they retire.

      Right now I'm in between jobs and really have nowhere to be unless someone calls me for an interview. A couple people have asked me if I'm losing my mind yet, presumably because they're expecting that not having a day job would be disorienting and leave me feeling directionless.

      It's a weird thought, because based on what I've always heard, people are often exhausted by their work. They can't wait for the weekend, the workday sucks all the life out of them, they're physically and emotionally tired. It seems to me they'd be delighted if they had a chance to get away from work, provided they still had a means of sustenance. 

      And yet, with the exception of brief vacations, most people spend much of their lives working at a job, and when it's taken away, they don't know what to do with themselves.

      Advice for retired people always urges them to take up a hobby or stay active. It's good advice. But for me, I've always been self-directed when it comes to hobbies, and I always did wish I had more time to engage in them. Now that I (temporarily) have more time to do whatever I want, I'm basically doing the same things I was doing, but I'm completing them a little faster. I spent four months planning a longish fan comic and working on it in my free time, and then I got the majority of it colored and finished within a week. I got my book prepared for my agent. I got some e-mail done. I've gotten to do some recreational drawings and fiddling around with music.

      I need to write more often, and read more, and send more stories out. I need to make some videos. I need to get some webcomics done. I've got a ton of work to do, and without a day job I don't feel as desperate to make the most out of my free time. That's a nice feeling--to acknowledge that relaxation is helpful and necessary. And I haven't had a vacation like this in . . . years, I guess. Since the last time I was unemployed, and that was much more stressful than this because I also had no money then.

      Long story short, I am not struggling to find something to do, and I hope I can make the most of this little oasis between day jobs. :)

      Saturday, February 18, 2017

      Personal Digest Saturday: February 11 – February 17

      Life news this week: 

      • This week was the opposite of last week in that I didn't get ANY interviews! Haha. I did get a couple phone calls about potential interviews, but one never resulted in a follow-up and one was for a job that was wrong for me for a few reasons. But I did get one offer that I'm seriously considering and may accept next week as soon as I have a little more info.

      • Saturday involved blogging, drawing and inking the comic I've been planning for months, and applying for jobs. I also made a really cute post on Tumblr involving some character screenshots and the Internet LOVED it. I got a few hundred notes on it and enjoyed reading through them.

      • Sunday I woke up to THOUSANDS of notes on the character screenshot post. This sounds silly but it was very entertaining to see so many people excited about how cute it was. I started getting dozens of new followers because of the post, which made me think maybe I'd actually have an audience to care once I got around to posting this comic I'd been working on so painstakingly.

      • I spent Sunday doing music stuff like I usually do, and also some sketches--all fan art. I made a doodle to post when the blog hit 200 followers, and got to post it that night. And I did some job applications.

      • Monday my only "work" was going to the grocery store. I drew, talked to Mom on the phone, did job applications, and talked to my apartment complex manager about my noisy neighbors. (I've tried this before, but the previous manager did nothing. Maybe this new one will.)
      • Tuesday I did more job applications and got the one phone call about a job that isn't right for me. I colored and posted a Valentine's drawing featuring fanart. I finished up some edits on Bad Fairy 2, went to my mom's house to help her move a table and let her feed me (lentil soup left over from my sister's visit, plus corn), and FINALLY sent the manuscript to my agent.

      • Wednesday I got woken up by a telemarketer, hung around doing applications and drawing, organized my sock drawer, and met Jeaux for McAlister's grilled cheese. We chilled at my house and I did some sewing and some drawing, and he and I watched a recorded livestream of Kat Morris drawing. After he left I finally finished my inking for the comic I've been planning forever. It's 12 full pages.

      • Thursday I basically spent the whole day cleaning my fan comic up for the Internet. I learned an AWESOME new technique for making talk bubbles that really look like comics, though I want to use a better font next time. I drew an episode preview drawing for the next day's cartoon, wrote a storyboard for my webcomic, and talked to Victor on the phone while drawing the webcomic.

      • Friday I applied for jobs, processed my webcomic and posted it, and went to Jeaux's house for new Steven Universe and new Night Vale. Jeaux bought me french fries from PDQ so I ate them and hung out discussing the new episode for a bit until I went home. I did some more processing on the fan comic but decided I was afraid to post it on Tumblr for now so I just hid it on my website. I'll post it on Tumblr later.

      • I also got a job offer in my e-mail on Friday. It's for one of the places I interviewed last week and there are a lot of things I like about it but I want to make sure I don't decide too hastily. I have to consider benefits, location, whether I can do/will like the job, and the other positions that are in the works (especially one I qualified for after a long test). But I'll do some research in the coming week and make my decision soon.
        New reviews of my book:

        Interviews, Features, Mentions:
        Reading progress:
        • Finished this week: I just did a bunch of arting instead of reading. I will definitely read this coming week, though.
        • Currently reading: Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel.
          New singing performances:

          This week's performance was "Criminal" by Fiona Apple.

          New drawings: 

          Buckle up, there are a ton of them.

          Happy Eyes Garnet for my 200th follower, with partial digital coloring

          Valentine's Day with the Gems, say it with me now, awwww
          Episode doodle for "Storm in the Room," drawn in Prismacolors
          that my mom gave me for my holiday gift!
          If you would like to read the comic I planned for four months and spent an inordinate amount of my time on this week, you can do so if you click the image below. But please be advised that a) it contains significant spoilers for Steven Universe, so if you want to watch the show but never have, you don't want to look at this AT ALL!!; and b) I assure you it makes ABSOLUTELY ZERO SENSE to people who do not watch the show and just basically sounds like a bunch of raving gobbledygook? But if you like the show and are caught up, you will probably really like this vignette about Opal and Garnet having a chat at night on the beach.

          Disclaimers aside, please read "Vacation."  

          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0614: "Follow the Fantasy."

          New videos:

          My latest unlisted ukulele video is "The Hardest Part" by Coldplay.

          New photos:

          Snapshot of my doodle of Garnet that I did for hitting 200 followers on my side blog.
          Preparing for a feelsy Rose Quartz episode by wearing a Rose Quartz shirt

          And the haircut comparison photos (holy wow 3 years!):

          Front, February 2014
          Front, February 2017
          Back, February 2014
          Back, February 2017

          Social Media counts:
          YouTube subscribers: 5,294 for swankivy (lost 3), 616 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 848 for swankivy (lost 4), 1,319 for JulieSondra (lost 6). Facebook: 293 friends (no change) and 205 followers (no change) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 127 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,496 (lost 2). Instagram followers: 102 (lost 1).

          Wednesday, February 15, 2017

          Wednesday Factoid: Guns

          Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What is your relationship with guns?

          Uh, yikes, I gotta write about that?

          I don't have much to say on it honestly. I don't like guns. I have never shot a gun. Most gun enthusiasts say that people who oppose guns are just people who are ignorant about them, and I have to admit that's completely true in my case--I don't know anything about their use and I've heard enough horror stories about how much more likely a gun is to harm its owner than to protect said owner to be entirely discouraged from owning one. I don't even like to play video games or carnival games where I have to shoot them, and I don't like to watch movies where there is gun violence.

          What I will say is that I completely oppose the idea that "good guys with guns" are what stops bad guys with guns. People who are not white just having a gun or looking like they have a gun or being mistaken for having a gun have been shot dead, attacked, or punished even if they were legally allowed to have guns, while white people "open carrying" in a deliberately provocative way like they're waiting for someone to challenge them on it insist they are not a danger. Oh and of course "bad guys who don't follow the law are always going to have guns so why make stronger laws that will only restrict rule-following citizens?" is a myth. If you make it harder for people to get guns, criminals will have a harder time getting guns too, and that's been resoundingly demonstrated through the massively decreased violence in countries that respond to gun violence with regulation. You do not see mass shootings in countries that have these regulations. It literally almost never happens.

          In general I don't understand love affairs with weapons, though. I'm sure there's an aspect of it that's artistic that I don't really get, because I have no interest in swords or archery or other weapons either, but some people just can't get enough. It's . . . very much not my thing.

          Tuesday, February 14, 2017

          Valentine's Day

          Here's the video I made for Valentine's Day last year.

          This is an older letter from someone who contacted me when I was in my twenties urging me to change my ways and find a partner because I was going to be lonely and then it would be "too late."

          It's weird. I like Valentine's Day. Not just for the candy (but omg, yum) and not just for the excuse to have cheesy parties, but I like the idea that we have a set-aside day to celebrate our relationships, even though it's obviously been commercialized to the point that some people will consider you an ass if you DON'T do something special for your partner on that day. I like that we have a holiday for celebrating each other.

          What I don't like is how consistently our society attaches pity to singlehood.

          Being in a relationship is not the default for an adult.

          I'll say that again.

          Being in a relationship is not the default for an adult.

          Being in a relationship should be a choice you make--a choice because you love the partner(s), a choice because you like living your life in a partnership, a choice because this is your version of family, a choice because that's what naturally evolved between you and your partner(s) and at some point you made it official. It is obviously not the only way to live your adult life, but it's incredible how consistently being single is regarded as a temporary state that will be abandoned as soon as humanly possible, especially for women. I'm supposed to be desperate by this point, and I'm supposed to be very, very lonely.

          I don't need much social interaction in the first place, but when I do want or need it, I have a multitude of channels by which to access it. In other words, I have LOTS of friends (and family), and they make me incredibly happy when their company is what I'm looking for. I have been lucky, but I have also been conscientious about cultivating and maintaining these relationships. I worked hard at them sometimes, and sometimes there have been sacrifices involved, and it isn't just fun and games. Friendships aren't romance lite, and they're not substitutes. For someone like me who doesn't desire romance or a primary partner, they're also the only relationships I enter, and they're precious. 

          I sorta tried dating when I was younger and I didn't find there what everybody else seemed to, and opportunities to date have continued to present themselves. I've remained disinterested. And yet I'm still being told by literal strangers on the Internet (as well as by acquaintances whose reaction to me saying "I'm 39" and "I'm single" in the same conversation is horror and pity) that my "problem" is stubbornness or fear of intimacy or inability to find a mate and giving up.

          My friendships aren't physically intimate, but I've never heard someone argue that sex is the only "real" form of intimacy. You might be surprised at some of the things I've done and said to and with my friends--what I've been willing to do for them or how they've supported me in ways people might frame as romantic if they came from a romantic partner. (Actually, a couple of the things they've done HAVE been called out as proof that they feel romantically about me or are somehow pursuing romance with me without me noticing. Guess I wouldn't know; I'm just the one involved in it!) I know how to have an intimate relationship that's intimate on my terms. It's not a failure or a fake by virtue of its being non-romantic.

          It's very hard to celebrate love sometimes when it's packaged the way it is. But I don't feel bitterness over any aspect of it. I want people to love (on their terms) and I want them to do so without concluding that everyone's love needs to look like theirs to matter.

          Saturday, February 11, 2017

          Personal Digest Saturday: February 4 – February 10

          Life news this week: 
          • Well this week was truly weird because despite being unemployed, I was very busy--due to having an interview EVERY SINGLE WEEKDAY. Yeah let's get into that.
          • Saturday I spent most of the day trying to finish reading a book, and also talking to family on the phone.
          • Sunday was mostly a music day--did some karaoke and a new ukulele video but the editing on that took a long time so it took a chunk out of the day. Sent in some applications and also got through most (but not quite all) of my reread of Bad Fairy (which I am supposed to send to my agent).
          • Monday's interview: a phone interview with a health care consulting group. I don't know that I have the right background or skills for that one, but it seemed like it went all right. Kinda finished it up thinking they'd probably pick someone else though. I then went grocery shopping, made avocado sushi and cucumber sushi, and ate it. Later had burritos with Jeaux at Moe's.
          • Tuesday my mom took me to a preliminary interview at a company that's looking for candidates to place with one of their clients. That interview went very well although one of the people I was interviewing with was stuck in traffic so we conducted it on the speaker phone. I was told I was a likely finalist pick and I went out to breakfast afterwards with my mom. I took a nap at home, got up and drew some fan art, and that night I got a little nervous that none of the jobs I'm interviewing for will pick me so I started looking for more to apply to and found one for a lawyer's assistant that required a typing test. I took the test and sent in an application.
          • Wednesday morning I was awakened by the lawyer's office calling me. Initially, Wednesday was the only day I did not have an interview scheduled, but these guys wanted me to come in later that morning--they were impressed with the typing score. (I type pretty fast y'all.) My mom was busy with a doctor's appointment so I got a paid ride over and had the interview. They gave me a copyediting test there too. After, I took a nap, found out I've been asked to a second interview for the job from Tuesday's interview, and went out with Jeaux to buy comics and eat at Cheddar's. On the way there the lawyer called me and offered me a job. That was awfully quickly! I told him I'd need to think about it and wanted to consider the other options, so he gave me the info to send in my questions to help me with my decision. I typed up some questions and sent them that night. Jeaux and I listened to Night Vale and saw the first episode of the Series of Unfortunate Events miniseries on Netflix.
          • Thursday morning my mom picked me up for an interview at an engineer's office. On the way there I received an e-mail from the lawyer basically telling me they don't want to wait for my decision (because I said I'd need the weekend to think it over with the other things I'm considering) and they were moving on but thanks anyway. Well that was . . . uncomfortably fast. The whole thing. Wonder what the job itself woulda been like. (Probably a lot like that.) I had the engineering interview and the guy seemed nice (he was even someone I'd worked with marginally at my old job when we teamed together), but they only have part-time admin work and if I want full-time work I have to learn to be a designer (!!!) so I have to think about that. He's in no rush to fill the position and if I accepted I wouldn't start 'til March, so I have some time there. At home again I sent some mails to prospective roommates for Mom and worked on my webcomic. After that I talked to Victor.
          • Friday was my second interview for the client I did the preliminary interview with on Tuesday. I had to go way out to this high-security building where you need a badge to get in, and the guy who interviewed me was super nice and I liked him. Don't know if my background is appropriate or if I'm a good match for the job (especially since there is potential travel and I don't drive), but he seemed to not be thrown by that. It would be a job supporting some of the admin aspects of the food service technology at various sites for the client around the country. Sounds interesting! I could do it. I came home, posted my webcomic, made some banana bread from scratch, and took it to Jeaux's house for A NEW EPISODE OF STEVEN UNIVERSE because it has now moved to Fridays. We enjoyed the cartoon and I went home and did some more doodles and got some rest in.
            New reviews of my book:

            • Brad gave it a three-star review on Amazon, opining that it really needed an editor. (Hee. Don't worry, I had one at my publisher. I guess she disagreed with you about what should have been cut. It's fine to disagree!)

            Interviews, Features, Mentions:
            • Maybe Sex Just Isn't His Thing: Dan Savage's column Savage Love Letter of the Day asked me for "expert advice" in response to a letter from a potentially asexual man, and then they published my answer in addition to Savage's. His view on asexual people seems to have evolved but some readers took issue with some of his advice and wording. The Asexual Agenda also linked to the letter in the linkspam.
            • Everything's so much better when it's gay: Tumblr blogger luvtheheaven brought up a quote from some of my previously offered writing advice to counter someone who felt they were forced into making their writing diverse before concluding it's a waste of time. The post is . . . well, really something. My quote was used well.
            Reading progress:
            • Finished this week: No books, but I did slide in a five-star review for the latest Steven Universe comic (#1 of a new ongoing comic series).
            • Currently reading: Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel.
              New singing performances:

              This week's performance was "Army Dreamers" by Kate Bush.

              New drawings: 

              My fan art for the week's Steven Universe episode,
              "The New Crystal Gems," featuring Peridot, Lapis Lazuli,
              and Connie Maheswaran as the protectors of Beach City!
              Pretty sweet preliminary sketch of Garnet
              for one of my fan comics.

              Webcomic Negative One Issue 0613: "Teaching Them Respect."

              New videos:

              My latest unlisted ukulele video is "Both of You" from Steven Universe.

              New photos:

              My "hire me!" outfit before an interview.

              My "I'm ready to go out, really" photo.

              Social Media counts:
              YouTube subscribers: 5,297 for swankivy (lost 4), 614 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 852 for swankivy (lost 3), 1,325 for JulieSondra (lost 4). Facebook: 293 friends (lost 1, dunno who dumped me) and 205 followers (no change) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 127 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,498 (no change). Instagram followers: 103 (no change).