Monday, July 16, 2018

Who doesn't drink?

I was talking to a friend about this concept recently and realized it's really interesting.

In the United States at least, it's pretty commonly accepted that "everyone" drinks, unless they take medication that prevents it, are avoiding it because of alcoholism, are allergic, or are pregnant. It's basically so associated with adulthood that people use "grabbing a drink" as a shorthand for typical adult interaction.

I don't like drinking. I generally avoid it because I don't like being drunk and I don't care for the taste of most alcoholic beverages, though there are a couple wines I actively like or don't mind.

But since alcohol is typically more expensive than other beverages, is high-calorie, and can be bad for you, I don't really see the point of drinking it if you don't enjoy being drunk, don't like the taste, and don't have a social life that revolves around it.

And surprise, surprise:

My best friends Victor, Jeaux, and Meghan don't drink either.

In fact, all three of them drink LESS THAN ME. Jeaux didn't even want to drink the champagne at my sister's wedding (I drank his). Victor has tried alcoholic beverages here and there but mostly feels they taste horrible. Meghan does not like it.

And of course, all of us have had our lifestyles in general questioned with regard to our maturity. Not just because of alcohol, of course, but we've all been in social situations where people were SHOCKED that we don't drink and wanted to know why. People also demonstrated a surprising investment in getting us to drink. 

Since drinking is considered a vice by some people, I wonder if that's part of the reason they really, really want us to participate? If my experience as an asexual woman is any indication, I've noticed that people who really love a thing but have also been made to feel that enjoying it is sinful and decadent tend to assume that anyone who abstains is trying to claim the moral high ground. If we don't drink, it must be a statement! And it's commentary on THEIR LIVES!

Honestly, I just don't like it, so leave me alone. That's where it should end.

It never does.

Humanity is really, really nosy, and acts in some unacceptable, embarrassing ways when it feels defensive. 

Maybe they just think if we're ALL doing it, then nobody's judging them? 

Would be cool if maybe they'd stop writing meaning into an abstention and stop judging US.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Personal Digest Saturday: July 7 – July 13

Life news this week:
  • Saturday was a nice break. I did very little of value because I was just checking out the aftermath of all the new content we got on my favorite cartoon. :)
  • Sunday I spent a whole morning and part of the afternoon out at my patio table. I ate breakfast and lunch out there! Got e-mails answered and did some reading. Then got stuff done: shower, karaoke, laundry, and did a review of the Steven Universe video game that I finished playing months ago. :D
  • Monday I sent out some letters to the Department and I did a cute pencil doodle. Nothing too intense after all the art last week. Whew! My co-worker drove me home and I spent the evening making GIFs about exciting TV and transcribing an interview.
  • Tuesday I worked on a letter that turned out to have had its due date changed. I got a bad headache and went home early. Listened to an episode of the official Steven Universe podcast and made a post about it. I took a nap and did chores.
  • Wednesday I worked on a tutorial of how to write good quizzes for the fandom and did work stuff at work. Jeaux picked me up and we ate at IHOP, shopped at Target, and I deposited my latest royalty check. Hello money! Jeaux and I listened to a podcast and watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
  • Thursday was a little slow at the office and my boss is back from India. After work I talked to Victor on the phone and drew comics.
  • Friday everyone showed up at the office for a farewell lunch for two of our co-workers who are moving to Tallahassee. (They're opening a new branch office there, yay.) We also had a busy day with submittals and other stuff. A co-worker drove me home and I finished my webcomic and looked at a bunch of really cool new merchandise online. :)

Reading progress:
  • Finished this week: Didn't finish any books this week!
  • Currently readingLove is a Many Trousered Thing by Louise Rennison.
    New singing performances:

    This week's song was "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles.

    Stuff Drawn:

    Ruby and Sapphire's wedding, in a sketch on the back of an order form :D

    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0687: "You Wanted It Fast."

    New videos:

    No new videos.

    New photos:

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,283 for swankivy (2 new), 677 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 959 for swankivy (4 new), 1,323 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Facebook: 296 friends (no change) and 205 followers (no change) for swankivy, 651 likes for JulieSondra (lost 1), 57 likes for Negative One (1 new), 139 likes for So You Write (1 new). Tumblr followers: 2,523 (lost 2). Instagram followers: 146 (1 new).

    Wednesday, July 11, 2018

    Wednesday Factoid: Makeup

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What makeup, hair care, and/or grooming products do you use regularly?

    I use relatively cheap/generic shampoo and conditioner, and I like liquid body wash. I have no specific brand loyalty and no special requirements for my hair or soap. (I prefer that it's not overly perfumed, but I'm not allergic to such things.) I like to use a stick deodorant that smells like vanilla. It's made by Suave.

    Makeup and grooming products aren't a regular thing in my life. I don't really use lotions--maybe once in a while. I generally wear no makeup. Occasional concealer if I have a gross zit? Rarely use lipstick or lip gloss. Occasionally some eye shadow and/or mascara if I'm attending a fancy event or have a weird day where I feel like it. I don't actually know how to use eyeliner at all.

    Eh, I guess I'm simple.


    Tuesday, July 10, 2018

    Free Money

    Just got a royalty check, so, relevant.

    It's very weird to me that people think like this, but sometimes they do--maybe not so much for people like me, who as such have not secured a book deal that results in financial security to the point that they don't have to work, but more for authors who strike it rich and can pretty much rest on their laurels for the rest of their lives.

    The very fortunate few in ANY field are like this. Sports stars, musicians, authors--and to a lesser extent, you have people in typical office jobs, retail work, or food service who don't spend as long in the trenches and get promoted to more elite, better-paid positions for some reason. Luck is a thing. Being in the right place at the right time is a thing. Being good at your job is also a thing. It all works together.

    Most authors compose their works on faith. They have no idea if they will ever get published or reach success--and some of them don't even plan to approach publishing. Those that do want to be published end up spending a long time, typically, attempting and failing, or the process simply takes a very long time by nature. The point is, we spend a LOT of our own "free" time when we're NOT making any money from it attempting to let our work see the light of day. When we're unpublished and unestablished writers, we do this with no idea whether it will pay off (well, in money).

    Those of us who do get a book deal usually have to collect royalties for quite a while before we're "paid back" a reasonable wage for what went into our work (though of course this is not to say any specific person owed this money to us). We created FOR FREE with no guarantee that we'd ever be compensated, presumably out of love for the art.

    So please have some respect for this. Book deals require a lot of work upfront for uncertain results, and the work is almost without exception very emotional and personal as well as time-consuming. When we are lucky enough to be paid for what we love, don't ignore all the time we spent doing it for free, and don't imply that us continuing to be paid for book sales long after our work is done is somehow unfair.


    Saturday, July 7, 2018

    Personal Digest Saturday: June 30 – July 6

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I had a successful day knocking EVERYTHING out. I finished my So You Write webcomic, did my blogging, and hung out with my friend Kari to watch cartoons and catch up. She's doing pretty well, seems like! We had a great time eating pizza and talking, and watched Steven Universe episodes 19 through 26. And a post I made on Amino got featured again--it was a singing video. :) I took a Lyft to Drink and Draw and drew some fanart, and hung out with my great friends. Arthur and Yasmin showed up which was awesome! But Joy didn't, which was sad. Arthur drove me home so I didn't even need to pay for my ride home.
    • Sunday we had some awkwardness with our Queer Brunch situation. There's been some drama--the original host broke up with their partner and now the brunch is under new management, so we weren't sure how we felt about attending. Yaz had to work anyway so Arthur and I just gave up and decided to watch cartoons. We watched Steven Universe from episode 53 to 62. After Arthur left I called my friend Sarah while doing laundry, posted a funny comic I'd finished from Drink and Draw, and redecorated my house for summer. And then I drew a picture for Monday's NEW EPISODE OF Steven Universe.
    • Monday was a little frantic at the office--we had multiple letters to finish and send, and it turned out my co-worker and I missed one of them and never prepared it. Boo. But after work, Jeaux picked me up, which is weird for Monday but we arranged it this way for the ENTIRE WEEK because Cartoon Network scheduled five new episodes of Steven Universe to air this week, one every day. He took me to his place and we ate veggie dogs and chips. We watched some Brooklyn Nine-Nine until cartoons were on, and then enjoyed the new SU episode "Now We're Only Falling Apart." Oh no! My favorite couple! :( Jeaux and I talked theories and observations, and then he took me home. I drew a picture for the next day's episode and watched some reactions on YouTube.
    • Tuesday I took some precautions so future letters don't slip through the cracks, so that shouldn't happen anymore. I also got some time to respond to comments. Jeaux picked me up and we decided this would be our restaurant day, even though we usually do it Wednesdays, because we didn't want the July 4 holiday to impact our restaurant-going. We got food at Oriental Express, and I couldn't believe I ate it all--egg drop soup, two sushi rolls (one avocado, one cucumber), and a spring roll! Then we went to Jeaux's house, bided our time with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and watched the new SU episode "What's Your Problem." I was really surprised that I cried at this one since it didn't have any of my known soft spots. Amethyst is so cute. :) I went home, made some GIFs, and watched some reactions.
    • Wednesday I woke up kind of late but it didn't matter because I had the day off for the holiday! I spent some time drawing a picture for the day's episode, and also preemptively got some drawings done for my webcomic. Jeaux picked me up after work (he had to work) and we went to his house for tomato soup and boats, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and the new Steven Universe episode: "The Question." It was cute: lots of Ruby, new song, weird cowboy stuff, and an on-air marriage proposal between a same-sex couple??!!??!!!Aahhhh. Wow. We attempted to watch fireworks from the top of his parking garage, but a really big building was in the way. Oh well. Jeaux took me home and I drew a picture of the characters in wedding clothes for the next day.
    • Thursday was sort of a slow day at the office, but I kept myself busy. After work Jeaux and I went grocery shopping but I didn't buy anything. Then we went back to his house, I briefly talked to Victor on the phone (yay! been too long), we watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine and ate fake chicken nuggets and tater tots, and then the new cartoon came on: the episode was "Made of Honor." Wow! Tied up a lot of stuff, plus cute wedding planning stuff ahhhhh. Jeaux took me home and I called Victor back while drawing my next day's picture.
    • Friday I got my reports and timesheets done, and then after work Jeaux picked me up for food--this time, finally, we had frozen pizza. He and I watchedBrooklyn Nine-Nine again and then finally the week's final cartoon episode, "Reunited," came on (and it was a double-length one because it was special). It had a cute song and I still can't believe I got to see a gay wedding on Cartoon Network. (I cried a lot about it.) And then there was a lot of action on the cartoon too, because there always has to be drama. (If you're interested in checking out a gay space rock wedding to see how they handled it, you can watch this clip, but it's super spoilery so I would recommend not watching it if you ever plan to watch the show.) After the cartoon I had to go home and finish posting my webcomic, but I got it done and then played on the Internet a lot looking at everyone's reactions. All the cartoon fans and especially the LGBTQ fans are so excited! What a great week!
    New reviews of my book:

    Articles, Interviews, mentions:

    Reading progress:
      New singing performances:

      This week's song was "Once Upon a December" from Anastasia.

      Stuff Drawn:

      So many drawings this week because of new Steven Universe! Okay, so, first, here's a link to a four-panel comic called Magic Kisses that's goofy:

      Comic: Magic Kisses
      And now the daily drawings for the new episodes:

      "Now We're Only Falling Apart"
      "What's Your Problem"
      "The Question"
      "Made of Honor"

      Webcomic So You Write Issue 84: "Influence."

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0686: "Consistent."

      New videos:

      No new videos.

      New photos:

      There weren't any photos of note this week.

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,281 for swankivy (1 new), 675 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 955 for swankivy (6 new), 1,324 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 296 friends (accepted a friend request from Justin) and 205 followers (no change) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (lost 2), 56 likes for Negative One (no change), 138 likes for So You Write (2 new). Tumblr followers: 2,525 (3 new). Instagram followers: 145 (no change).

      Wednesday, July 4, 2018

      Wednesday Factoid: I Need Help

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What do you most often ask for help with?

      The easy answer is transportation.

      That's really the only thing I consistently need assistance with: getting places. And if it wouldn't be appropriate to ask a friend or family member with a car to take me somewhere, I can just request a Lyft or other paid ride (assuming it's a place I want to go in town). 

      Secondarily, another thing I sometimes have to ask for help on is difficult physical tasks. I'm probably of average strength for a person my size, but I'm pretty small. It would take more out of me to move heavy furniture, and it's beyond my capabilities to lift really heavy stuff. I pay for help with lawn care and hired movers when I moved. It doesn't equal out to any tremendous disadvantage.

      I have also asked my mom for help hemming pants and sewing stuff, but I could do those things if I needed to (or, if it was too complicated, I could pay a tailor). It's just that my mom is better at it than I will ever be, and I think she is happy to help me. I've also asked my mom's advice on stuff around the house, and she helped me figure out curtains and other things when I was deciding where to put my furniture when I moved. She's got an eye for those things. I don't have to ask her, but I liked her contributions.

      I'm relatively independent, I guess.


      Tuesday, July 3, 2018


      I always have a lot of projects going on and there's a pattern: Nearly every time I talk to someone close to me about all the stuff I do, they reply . . . 

      "You know, you don't HAVE TO do all that."

      I don't know how to respond to that. Do they believe I think I "have to"?

      I do behave like a person with an overclocked sense of drive or maybe just a really tight deadline. But there's this pervasive belief that being productive and creative all the time is miserable--that if you work a lot instead of doing nothing, you must be hating it most of the time, or doing it out of obligation.

      I won't lie, of course--YES, sometimes I unexpectedly hit the bottom of my energy well and realize I've burned myself out. YES, sometimes I exhaust myself and there is no one to blame but me. YES, sometimes I'm unrealistic about what I should expect from myself and I'm too disappointed in myself when I'm not productive. It's not necessarily always the healthiest way to live your life. I'm not confused about that.

      But I actually am happy.

      It makes me very happy to do all this stuff.

      Who doesn't "overdo" things sometimes? It doesn't mean their lifestyle is in general at fault, or that the actual things they're doing are, by nature, destructive. Sometimes you get too much sun, or have sore muscles from too much exercise, or oversleep because you had a tough week at work. Me? Sometimes I do too much creative work.

      I get burned out. I have to pull back and do less.

      Sometimes if I find myself wanting to keep pushing when it would probably be bad for me, one of the things I've had to learn as a mature person is how to relax, and how to realize when it's time to relax.

      I don't do it super well, and I don't default to it, but I can do it when I have to, much like a person who needs to eat their vegetables just rolls their eyes and gets it over with.

      I don't like relaxing. It isn't to me what it seems to be to lots of other people. I don't believe my creative work ethic makes me a better person. I don't think myself superior because I am the way I am. I'm not judging other people for being really good at relaxing. But for me, relaxing can be stressful. As long as I limit how much I do it, I can enjoy it while I'm doing it, taking some time to chill at my patio table in the sun or read a book without thinking too much about how I'm gonna review it or spend some time goofing around looking at silly things on the Internet or taking trivia quizzes. I can do it, and I can quickly get back in the saddle afterwards.

      I'm not suffering, guys. I'm the opposite of a tortured artist. I'm having a lot of fun.

      Don't worry about me.