Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wednesday Factoid: What's Changed?

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What's one thing about you that's changed significantly since you were a child?

Besides getting (a little bit) taller, uh, weirdly I think the biggest thing that's changed for me is that I'm not at all shy anymore.

I also used to crave validation and attention from older people and authorities a lot. I am not 100% sure if my not feeling like I need that was a personality shift at all, though, since children are groomed to seek approval from adults, and once you start seeing yourself as an adult, you don't really have a model for that as much anymore. I at least grew out of it, but I do remember being really young and wishing I could be the so-called "teacher's pet." It was kind of an awful situation, because I was NEVER the teacher's pet even though I was kind of a nerd and a bit of a kiss-up honestly. They for some reason did not particularly like me. Same with leaders in groups like Girl Scouts or the camp counselor. They'd always buddy up with other kids who were more popular and self-assured. Adults in charge probably think they don't do this, but they do.

Which kinda brings me back to the first point. I did used to be shy. Other people were overwhelming and I always felt really exposed if I was expected to perform somehow, even if it was in regular person-to-person kid-to-kid interactions. I felt like if I didn't say or do the "right" thing I would get laughed at or rejected. Which is probably because that is exactly what happened. I took longer than most kids my age to formulate verbal responses, probably because I was afraid of other kids for a long time. Even when they were my age, they were always bigger than me, and often not nice.

However, I didn't struggle too much with communication when it was one on one with a person I trusted, and I really liked to have lengthy, in-depth conversations with other people who cared about what I cared about. I think my "performance" fear may have gone away when I joined the chorus and got serious about it in ninth grade. I can't tell if this fear was shed because of experience actually performing or if it was just increased maturity. It could have been both. What's interesting is how much positive feedback I got for my performances, and how that coincided with my willingness to do it. 

Gee, you think? Kids who get laughed at and shamed for their input don't want to give it anymore, but kids who get rewarded for their contributions suddenly stop feeling afraid of it? You're kidding.

Anyway, today as an adult I'm not shy whatsoever. I don't find other people intimidating unless they're actually being violent. I don't ENJOY crowds of people, but I don't have problems functioning in or around them, and I also don't mind speaking or singing in front of groups. There's always a bit of fear of your presentation or performance going sour, of course, but I'm not afraid intrinsically of being in front of groups. And I don't "keep to myself" or refrain from opening up; I'm kind of an open book. You really do know what you're getting with me, and based on other people's reactions to that, it's apparently unusual enough that people often treat me like I must be hiding something. 

Nope. Just not shy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Pause

Did you know I used to hate sleeping?

I still relate to why I felt like that at one time, but I don't hate sleeping anymore.

For a period of time in my twenties, I undertook an experiment that lasted for approximately a year. It involved a polyphasic sleep schedule known to some as "the Uberman schedule." On this schedule, I would take six naps a day, with each nap lasting for twenty minutes, and . . . that was it.

The schedule had been refined and experimented with, and somehow this twenty-minute-nap-every-four-hours thing had been determined to "work" for most people as long as you could handle discipline--provided you did not have an unpredictable life in which you frequently had to be flexible. It was regimented, and you had to go down for your nap as close to the prescribed time as you could, and if you actually did it right without any mishaps, you could get your sleeping down to a cumulative total of 2 hours a day without being exhausted at all.

It actually did work decently well for me, though I will say I had understanding friends and FREQUENT "oversleeps" at night that pushed me into what was really more of a modified golden schedule--with a little bit of core sleep, it was way better than when I used to try to stumble through life on three hours of sleep without the other naps.

Obviously, the main drawbacks were a) an extremely regimented schedule and b) the consequences of not keeping to an extremely regimented schedule. Plus the method had not been long-term tested and you had no idea if you were messing yourself up.

Anyway, I resorted to this method because I felt like I had no time that was mine.

So much of my time was spent working, traveling to work, and interacting with friends or family that I just felt bitter about having so little time for my own leisure activities or hobbies. I was so slammed for so long, and felt like I needed to do something to reclaim some of my time or my sanity would suffer. Some would say the choice I made to experiment with my sleep was itself a kind of insanity, but I don't feel like it did me any damage.

What it did do was teach me the value of a break.

When you're constantly ON, without much of a pause in between bouts of going strong, you get far more exhausted than you ever will skipping sleep.

Now entering my forties, I'm trying to teach myself the value of pause. Not just because I'm getting older, worn out, or lazy. Because I think it's healthy, and helps my "on" times be more productive. I'm not as panicky about clinging to windows of me-time anymore, and I'm much more flexible about impositions on my time than I used to be. I don't resent "unproductive" time quite the way I used to, though I do still intensely dislike when people actively waste my time or make me feel like my energy just got poured down a drain from interacting with them.

I'm pausing more in between to take time for myself, without thinking it makes me selfish or indulgent, and I'm enjoying the definitive BREAKS I get through sleep. These divisions are pretty artificial, but the world operates on them, and I'm part of the world. I can participate in putting myself down and picking myself up along with this population I'm part of.

I still sleep less than many people, and probably less than I should; I still hammer out projects at breakneck speed sometimes; I've still got my fingers in so many activities that the idea seems to exhaust most people just listening to me or looking at my updates. But I've always kinda been set on high while getting frustrated at not being higher. I'm learning it does help maintain those precious highs if I remain content with the off position sometimes.

I delight in the pauses, in some of these in-betweens. They give me the strength to do what I need to do when the switch flips on again.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Personal Digest Saturday: August 18 – August 24

Life news this week:
  • Saturday I had to spend a long time on processing photos from my Universal trip. I didn't do much but play with photos and play with new toys for my collection.
  • Sunday I did my outside porch table ritual and hung out with my mom in the evening. She needed me to help her with a website thingie. I took pics of my cute new dress. Then I talked to my friend through the Amino talk feature and hurt myself killing a spider. :P
  • Monday I had to help with a Letter of Response that was shorter than usual, which is the opposite problem that we usually have. Then after work I saw Mom again because she needed me to scan in some form for a financial adviser, which I hope works out. After she left I just played around online.
  • Tuesday I had a bunch of miscellaneous paperwork at the office--small fires to put out. Then Arthur picked me up from work and we hung out to watch Steven Universe. We got from 84 ("Steven Floats") to 90 ("Restaurant Wars"). Of course the highlight was the musical episode, "Mr. Greg." I enjoy that stuff so much! We ate our Thai food and he left, and I fell asleep right after.
  • Wednesday we had a tight deadline for a package that needed to go out in the morning, but we made it. I got some other writing done that afternoon. Jeaux picked me up and we ate at Denny's, then shopped at Target for food and watched Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Wrecked. I got some comics drawn while talking to my sister P after he left, and then I listened to a Steven Universe podcast before going to sleep.
  • Thursday I had to start my utility coordination stuff for a new project. Argh utility coordination. I made a database and processed an initial letter to send out. I also looked into what it might cost to collect some comics I don't have. When I got home I did some drawing and chatted on the phone with Victor. Got all my drawings done for the webcomic but did not get it processed for the 'Net before falling asleep.
  • Friday I got through my entire list of utility contacts and landed about half of them, left messages for the others. Had to help get out a packet in the afternoon. After work, I quickly prepared my webcomic for posting and got it out there, and then went to Drink and Draw at Cafe Hey. I met some new pals there and chatted as well as saw old pals, and I got my writing webcomic drawn and had enough time to start some fan art. When I got home, I was too tired to do much besides sleep.
Reading progress:
  • Finished this week: No finished books; I got too many rides this week.
  • Currently readingF2M: The Boy Within by Hazel Edwards & Ryan S. Kennedy.
    New singing performances:

    This week's song was "What Can You Lose" from Dick Tracy, a duet with a SingSnap user named DJcub75.



    Stuff Drawn:

    Garnet in her wedding outfit

    Casual Garnet playing Game Boy in short shorts,
    drawn on an envelope
    Casual Garnet about to shoot a rubber band,
    on sticky note paper
    Casual Garnet enjoying a fire hydrant,
    drawn in a notebook





    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0693: "Names for Days."






    New videos:

    None.

    New photos:


    My new "Yay Steven" dress!


    My friends at Drink and Draw doing their thing.

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,260 for swankivy (lost 7), 677 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 965 for swankivy (5 new), 1,324 for JulieSondra (3 new). Facebook: 294 friends (no change) and 205 followers (no change) for swankivy, 650 likes for JulieSondra (lost 1), 59 likes for Negative One (no change), 140 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,522 (5 new). Instagram followers: 151 (no change).

    Wednesday, August 22, 2018

    Wednesday Factoid: One Year Ago

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: How different was your life one year ago?

    August 22, 2017. That specific day, I was typing transcripts for my job and putting Steven Universe builder toy sets together.

    A lot of things were the same, but I was in a very stressful period of my life. I was less than a month away from moving into my new home and was struggling to find time to pack, and had just been approved for the house I ended up renting. My mother had just been hospitalized for several days and I had stayed with her in the hospital to keep her company and was happy to see her eating again. And we hadn't known it at the time, but a big hurricane was on its way to thwap us and my mom was about to fall down with no explanation, break her nose, and spend the duration of the storm in the hospital, separated from me while I stayed in her house.

    I was living in my old apartment with very noisy upstairs neighbors, so I was not getting decent sleep, and I was looking forward to finally getting away from their terrible obnoxious behavior but dreading the upheavals associated with moving and unpacking. 

    My job was essentially the same except for the bus ride.

    I was about the same amount of worried about my mom's health.

    I was doing more ukulele practice and recording than I am now--I haven't done new stuff in a while. I'm just busy and tired. 

    I was probably doing the same amount of art.

    I was definitely doing the same amount of not writing anything new. 

    My friend Jeaux had just gotten hired for a new job but hadn't started there yet. He had not yet bought his car, so we hadn't quite yet developed our routine of going grocery shopping together. I was still shopping on my bicycle. I haven't ridden my bicycle in almost a year.

    My grandpa was still alive. I miss him now.

    Monday, August 20, 2018

    Consequence-Free

    Some time ago, Rush Limbaugh blathered on his show about Sandra Fluke and her quest to have birth control covered by insurance through employers like any other medication. I was thinking about this today because even though this was a while back, people still seem to think that birth control and any hormonal medications that prevent unintended pregnancy in people who can get pregnant are not really proper medicine. Because it has to do with sex and childbirth, people tend to put it in this weird optional category, as if people should not have the right to avoid having children if they would rather choose not to.

    I was thinking about this partly because I ran into a video of a woman's TED talk and how she'd struggled with getting a doctor to approve her for sterilization. This is very typical; younger women or women who haven't procreated are shamed by doctors, told they will change their minds, and reminded over and over again that their presumably male partners should have a say in whether they have children. One doctor even told this woman that her relationship with her current non-child-desiring long-term partner might end, and if she ends up with someone else, "what happens when HE wants kids?" What SHE wants isn't as important, even though it's her body, and she's expected to consider the hypothetical future partner's desires beyond those of herself and her current partner. She is in fact expected to prioritize the feelings of anyone who might want to use her body to have kids, and her own lifelong desire to not have children cannot be respected because she or someone else might wish it was different later.

    So then I thought back to that awful rant that Rush Limbaugh went on about why women shouldn't have access to birth control even though it is a necessary aspect of continuing their lives as they wish to. If you don't already know the details of what Rush did: In discussing the birth control debate on whether hormonal birth control should be covered through insurance, Rush insisted that women who expect this are "sluts" who--among other things--are "having so much sex, [they're] going broke buying contraceptives" and want taxpayers to buy them, and are expecting the American taxpayers to subsidize their sex lives, and should be understood to owe the public something in return for having their birth control covered.

    Specifically, Rush said that if women want to be having all this baby-free sex while being covered, they should be required to film themselves having sex, post the videos online, and "let us all watch."

    I'm not making that up, by the way. Of course he was not advocating an actual program through which women would be required to make porn if they wanted a "free pass" on their contraception, but what he WAS stating is that women do not have the right to have recreational sex. Well, or that if they want to do so, they should be on their own covering it. If they don't want to, they OWE US SOMETHING--"us" being men, I imagine--and they need to be reminded that if they want a typical sex life without worrying about conceiving, they should be shamed, indebted to men, and silenced in return for that privilege.

    There are so many things wrong with this. Let me count the ways.

    • Casual sex is not illegal. It might be against your religion, but your religion is by law not supposed to affect what's legal.
    • No one needs your permission to have a sex life. They don't owe you payment for enjoying their sex lives without becoming parents.
    • Last time I checked, unplanned pregnancies cause an awful lot of children that parents have no means to support. Refusing to assist people in not conceiving unplanned children will result in more need for welfare, which these jerks are also against as they don't want to pay for it.
    • People who are on birth control are not automatically "sluts." Most of them are married and having sex in the marriage bed. Your religion may state that even recreational sex within marriage is wrong, but if that's your argument, see number 1.
    • I don't think taxpayers are, in general, contributing to other people's health care through their employers. What are you even complaining about, Rush? You're not paying for anyone's employer health care right now. And when it comes to the indirect ways in which the taxpayers end up supporting those who can't afford medical treatment, we have a different issue since that involves people who don't have insurance at all. We're talking about insurance covering people, not taxpayer-supported welfare.
    • You're either on birth control or not on birth control. If you want hormonal birth control in pill form to be effective, you must be on it as a general daily regimen. If you want a type that does not require daily administration, other forms that can be inserted or injected are available. But no matter which of these options someone chooses, it does not increase cost with an increase in sexual activity. Rush, are you thinking of Viagra?
    • Speaking of Viagra--nobody raised a stink when Viagra was accepted as a health expenditure that could be covered by insurance. But since it's those with PENISES being given an opportunity to have sex, I guess that makes it different. Especially since most of the people who appear to be making these laws have a vested interest in that being covered.
    • Many, many, many people with uteruses in this nation are on birth control for reasons that have nothing to do with sex. Hormonal birth control happens to have a lot of different effects and it is prescribed for a number of health concerns. So even if it WAS your plan to deny women the right to a baby-free sex life, you still have to admit that some of the people who need birth control aren't even having sex (necessarily).
    • Covering birth control is NOT a slippery slope. In Rush's latest missive where he pretended to apologize for his comments but actually went on to try to justify them, he insisted that covering birth control will lead to situations like expecting health care companies to cover athletes' running sneakers, forcing them to subsidize others' interests just because they want to do stuff. LAST TIME I CHECKED, SPORTS ACCESSORIES WERE NOT MEDICINE, and being able to choose whether to have children is fundamental to health and freedom.
    • "If they don't want to have babies, they should just keep their legs closed" is a disgusting thing to say. Like most of the rhetoric surrounding this whole "put an aspirin between your knees" nonsense, it suggests that women are responsible for the creation of babies while the men who have sex with them are not--that this is a "women's issue" and shouldn't "force" men to chip in. And it also suggests that women don't have the right to have sex without "consequences." Again--we women OWE YOU something and shouldn't get a free pass to have sex.
    • Having contraception covered by insurance is not "I'm paying for you to have sex," Rush. That was his argument for why he should get to watch porn of the sex he paid for. We're saying that contraception, among many other medications that improve the quality of life for people, should be affordable and handled like any other medication. It's not something men should rail against having to support any more than women ought to rail against paying for health insurance programs that provide treatment to men with prostate diseases. (For the record, women aren't doing that.)
    • Because of our biology, people with uteruses are the ones who have to worry about making babies, but it should damn well be handled like it's just as much a penis owner's responsibility. Folks like Rush should want to protect themselves from having to support children they didn't plan for--lest they be hit up for child support--and unless he's a complete tool, he should completely understand that this is his problem too. I once had a conversation with a fellow who insisted that because he is childless, he should not have to pay the taxes that contribute to public schools. So unless taxes went to a program that he himself is directly benefiting from, he thinks it isn't his concern. So apparently it's not his problem if the next generation isn't educated. I disagree. Having an educated generation does benefit all of us. Same with those of you who don't have to grow babies in your belly as a result of sex. You should want to protect the interests of those who get pregnant and their children, NOT throw up your hands and deny that it's your problem because you have a penis.
    • Attacking women and calling them sluts is just your mean, weak, ultimately ineffective way of saying we don't have a place in this discussion and we don't have real rights. But we do. We do have those rights. It's just so small and spineless of you to try so hard to make us scared to speak up. It is not excusable in any fashion to tell a woman that her desire for appropriate health care should naturally be followed with a responsibility to generate pornography for those who gave her license to take care of herself. How laughable. How sad. And how irrelevant you continue to make yourself, Rush.
    Men who advocate a patriarchal-only society are scared of what's happening. Since the proliferation of birth control, people who used to bear the brunt of the "consequences" from sex can choose when and whether to have children, and that freedom has made them . . . guess what . . . sort of like PEOPLE and stuff! They can compete with you in a career. They can pursue sex and relationships without accepting that this is a family arrangement. They have options in the world and for the first time since the beginning of humanity they are starting to break free of their roles as exclusively companions, mothers, assistants, and property. 

    Some men are fighting this on every level--resisting women's desires to have a career by acting like it's unnatural or "bitchy" for a woman to do that, or criticizing women's desires to keep their own names in marriage because they feel it takes something away from *them* if a woman doesn't assimilate the very symbol of her identity into her partner's. But this is all just a fear response. These people don't like change. They don't like being criticized for exploiting their privilege. And they don't like the idea that they don't "deserve" the king's chair because of what's between their legs.

    We will not be put in our place. We will choose our place.

    And we don't owe you a damn thing.

    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).