Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wednesday Factoid: Beach

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What do you like to do at the beach?

Well, the beach is not my favorite thing, but there are times when it can be really awesome. Mostly when it's relaxing. I'm not so into making sandcastles or collecting shells as I used to be when beach visits were very rare, and to be honest I'm not a huge fan of going into the ocean because I'm kind of scared of creepy crawlies in the ocean (doesn't stop me from usually going into the sea at least once per visit, though, unless I really don't wanna get my clothes wet). 

My favorite thing to do on the beach is probably stay under an umbrella on a towel or in a chair and read or listen to music. I do love warm weather and usually don't feel uncomfortably hot even if it's pretty roasting outside. So as long as I have sunblock and something to do, hanging out not exactly sunbathing but enjoying the sun is my favorite thing to do on the beach.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


The most surreal thing about death is how final it is.

Sounds a little obvious at first glance--of course it's final. It's death. That's the end. It's as final as final can get. But somehow your brain doesn't really want to accept that when it happens. As we're making arrangements to go to my grandfather's funeral and wrapping up his life, tucking in the edges you can't tie up yourself no matter how well-prepared you are, I've found myself wishing I could ask him what he would have wanted.

You can't go check with him, you know? I was asked to write my grandfather's obituary. Well, not so much "asked to"--my dad said it needed to be done and I said I would do it, because it makes sense for me to complete that task as the family's writer-type-person, and also as a person who isn't in a position to do much else. I wanted to ask my grandfather what he would have preferred--should I mention this? would you want that?--but I didn't have that option, so I turned to tradition. I looked up the format and tried to fashion something that would highlight his life for those of us who care, while also obeying the traditions that dictate what an obituary is supposed to do.

My grandfather was a pretty traditional guy, after all. He was a cantor--a religious singer, and our family's leader when it came to every ritual. First to start the song, always the one to naturally pave the way, showing us where the path was to follow in our ancestors' footsteps.

Tradition. To write an obituary I looked at what I'm told is "traditional" but doesn't feel familiar to me at all--because I've been blessed to have death be a very rare occurrence in my life. Tradition--I'm sure my father has had to become acquainted with similar unfamiliar traditions as he plans his father's funeral. Traditions--they often feel weird, don't they? Even though they're supposed to be the rituals of our people?

Who are we, the we doing this? Us, our family? Us, the Jewish people? Us, humans of the Earth? Whose traditions are these, if we have to look them up to find out what we're supposed to do?

Weddings feel weird too. They're joyous, but we look up what's traditional and then nod and grin and remind each other that this is "traditional," this symbolizes that, these are the motions we're going through and ascribing meaning to, and they are so meaningful partly because they're rare and partly because there is just-something-about that connection to our past. That connection to who we, as a people, whatever that is, who we used to be, and in a way, who we still are. That idea that we're following in the footsteps of generations who did what we're doing. 

The guy who used to lead us on that path has reached his destination, and now we glance around at each other to figure out what the traditions are to take care of him how he would want it.

The obituary is complete. It does what it's supposed to do and it's a fine description of who he was and who is left to feel his departure.

This is what's traditional--this is what you do. And you cry and you wear black and you talk about how wonderful he was. We'll do that too.

But there are also other traditions. Traditions we rarely recognize as traditions, or we barely think to call them that. We have birthdays and sing a song without asking anyone what we should do; of course we'll have a cake, of course we'll light candles, of course we'll sing and gather and give presents.

We don't have to look up the traditions of coming to the door, hearing that sonorous greeting, getting those hugs, having him tell us how good we look and how wonderful it is to have us there.

We don't have to look up the part where he'll tell some corny joke and we'll all groan or laugh or both. 

Or where there will be some reference to a play or a musical, usually with an impromptu musical demonstration, because music was the air he breathed. 

Or the soothing, even, loving tone of his voice whenever he spoke to his wife, and the tenderness he offered her in every interaction.

And we've certainly absorbed that awesome tradition of Grandpa teaching us by example how to get our colors.

There are plenty of more "traditional" things we did with him, of course. . . .

But so much more beyond typical tradition, our everyday rituals of how we talked, how we interacted, how we gave and took, how we shared our thoughts and our meals and our love. Those were traditions we needed no references for.

Those are what we'll remember.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Personal Digest Saturday: February 17 – February 23

Life news this week:
  • Saturday Victor and I hung out for a while in the morning and my pest control guy came. (Exciting eh?) After Victor left I noodled around with my websites. Did a bunch of stuff trying to get my new doodles website to behave but it would not. Also drew a Pearl sitting on Amethyst and fell asleep on the floor.
  • Sunday the day went by really slowly for some reason! Ate strawberry bread and a potato, and accidentally set off the smoke alarms in my house cooking mushrooms with too much smoke. Did laundry, made a photo gallery, and made a video.
  • Monday I had to spend the whole day beating up on letters to submit. Monday is a big submission day in my industry. Had a really horrible headache all day for some reason. Took a nap after eating too much, and then played with photos some more and processed my YouTube video.
  • Tuesday I had to stay late at work because I was trying to help my co-worker with roll plots. When I did get home, I took a nap and then I actually submitted a short story to a magazine for the first time in ages! Felt good.
  • Wednesday I helped Doug with plots but we ultimately failed. I made a hat out of one of the failed plots. A co-worker said I looked like a mascot so I made a cartoon drawing of me as a mascot of the office and my co-worker made a copy of it and said he was going to show it to everyone. (LOL.) Jeaux took me to Best NY Pizza and Whole Foods. Then we listened to Night Vale and Within the Wires. I got a little drawing done.
  • Thursday I summarized the official Steven Universe podcast early in the morning, as I'm doing regularly these days, and as usual it made the rounds pretty solidly after the host of it reblogged me. (This week's was about Connie.) I went to work and dealt with some foolishness, and then when I went home Mom came over and helped me hang curtains but we only got one set hung. Then I talked to Victor on the phone and finished my drawings.
  • Friday I got up early to post my webcomic, then went to work and worked. Whee. Came home and got ready for Drink and Draw, which was on a Friday instead of the usual Saturday this month. I drew my writing webcomic and got started on a piece of fanart. Got to see my friends! Yes! Came home and kinda passed out.
Reading progress:
    New singing performances:

    This week's song was "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" by Whitney Houston.

    Stuff Drawn:

    "Amethyst, turn into a chair. I need to sit down."

    Me as a mascot, doodled at work.

    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0667: "Progress."

    New videos:

    Letters to an Asexual #55 is here and it is about why mocking asexuality and misrepresenting it is not funny and can damage individuals and community.

    New photos:

    Perfect sandwich at Drink and Draw.

    Wearing a hat I made out of a failed plot.

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,273 for swankivy (lost 1), 659 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 912 for swankivy (2 new), 1,321 for JulieSondra (3 new). Facebook: 295 friends (lost 2--I unfriended someone and I guess someone else unfriended me) and 201 followers (lost 1) for swankivy, 659 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,498 (lost 8). Instagram followers: 135 (no change).

    Wednesday, February 21, 2018

    Wednesday Factoid: Mistake

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What mistake do you keep making again and again?

    It's been a while since I had this problem, but I have repeatedly trusted other people to have the best intentions toward me when they did not.

    Some examples are really obvious and totally excusable, like dating someone cringeworthy in high school. I did that. He used me for his self-esteem pump and tried to badger intimacy out of me, and though it didn't fall entirely in his favor, it wasn't fun for me. Seeing other people in pain is really hard for me, and I have a habit of sacrificing my time and my comfort to help them.

    And in general, I don't mind sacrificing my resources if the person actually does have my best interests at heart. I've worked hard and paid dearly for it multiple times for people who deserved it, and those were not mistakes.

    Which is why it's hard to stop making the mistake when it is a mistake.

    Not that long ago honestly, I let someone get close to me and essentially groom me to accept abuse. I cared that the person's life was difficult and I cared that they weren't happy. This person was generous with some resources, and was unusually respectful in some senses that most people like them are not. But their jealousy made my social life a mess; their selfishness in areas where it actually mattered were not drowned out by the times they were considerate; they frequently created impossible situations where I felt like my access to free choice was limited by the consequences they would invoke if I went against their preferences. 

    Trusting that person was a mistake. And chances are I will make that mistake again in the future, only realizing in hindsight that it had become dangerous and limiting.

    I do think I learn with each incident, and I do think I prefer to modify my process of creating nuance in these relationships rather than becoming less open to new relationships. I think I just recognize the warning signs earlier now and I let them get away with less.

    However, what hurts more than these people doing these things was how much worse they would have been if they had fully "worked." If, for instance, I had been the kind of person whose self-esteem required approval and acceptance to the point that I could be talked into unwanted sex or who would drown out the truth of her own heart because someone else had convinced me their pain was more valid, more fierce, more deserving of my attention.

    I react to people's pain with authentic desire to heal. I will probably continue to slip sometimes and burn myself with other people's fire while I'm trying to put it out. 

    The trick as I get older will be to learn to be more precise with my extinguishing methods and see the signs earlier if the fire is an honest blaze or if it's arson constructed to trap me.

    Tuesday, February 20, 2018


    One time when I was sixteen, I got pulled along on a family vacation, going camping in North Carolina.

    I really didn't want to go.

    I didn't really have a problem with spending time with my family; that's actually something I enjoyed doing sometimes, despite being at the age where you're supposed to be sick of your parents. But I was not, in general, a big fan of camping or outdoorsy stuff, and on top of that, I'd JUST gotten interested in a new television show that my friends were really into and I wanted to stay home and watch it.

    That "I wanted to stay home and watch TV" thing sounds kind of silly, I'm sure. But think of it like this: You've picked up a book that's been recommended to you by someone whose taste you trust, and not only is it good; it's so much BETTER than you expected, and you want to devour it all. But then someone says "You have to put the book down, and also we're going to go to a place where you can't read at all."

    I mean. It's not exactly torture. But when you're in the middle of something fictional and you're enjoying it, ESPECIALLY if you're a creative person yourself who thrives on stories, you can get pretty frustrated with this kind of situation.

    I remember writing about it in a journal, being pretty annoyed in general, and really looking forward to going home. I remember not liking the inconvenience of sleeping in a tent, not particularly enjoying the location, being annoyed at some of the family interactions, and especially being irritated that everyone else was excited about seeing animals except me.

    If you had asked me at the time, I'm sure I would have said I was having a terrible time and wished I hadn't come.

    What's weird is that there are so many memories from that short vacation that I attach positive feelings to.

    I remember climbing a clay hill with my sister and my friend. I remember taking a walk and picking out a walking stick. I remember a really cool old broken-down barn full of interesting artifacts that seemed like they were out of another century. I remember my sister drinking from a cup of wine and trying to burp long words. I remember writing insulting poetry with my sister and my friend in a tent at night. I remember running into a big group of international campers and my mom playing a prank on them. I remember some girl who was the daughter of the people who ran the campsite inviting me over to her house to see her room. I remember watching my friend ride a horse. I remember spending some time in the woods and writing a couple poems about tranquility.

    It's weird how I sort of remember it as a great time despite what my teenage self thought of it.

    Do we do that because we don't realize we're having a good time in the moment, or do we do that because we're idealizing the past?

    Maybe it's a little of both.

    Saturday, February 17, 2018

    Personal Digest Saturday: February 10 – February 16

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I hung out with my mom until she had to go get her car's tire fixed. After she left, I did my blogging and a bunch of work on my new art subdomain. And I finally finished and beat the Steven Universe video game!
    • Sunday I got up pretty late. Did karaoke and laundry, chatted with a friend online, and worked on my art subdomain some more. I guess it's pretty much done; check out Doodles and give your feedback if you have any!
    • Monday I had to work on three different letters to submit to the Department of Transportation. It was a rush to the finish line! At home I watched the special features on my new Steven Universe DVD set.
    • Tuesday I worked on old stuff and at home I spent most of the evening making a strawberry cake, which tasted great and looked adorable! Also chatted with my friend Jessie.
    • Wednesday I shared the cake with co-workers and had to work on my Access database some more because it didn't want to behave. I ordered pizza with Jeaux after work because we didn't want to deal with Valentine's Day restaurant madness.
    • Thursday I summarized a Steven Universe podcast for the Internet and did more database stuff at work. At home Mom came over and was supposed to help me with curtains because we never finished, but we ended up just eating at IHOP and she went home because she was too tired. I worked on my webcomic.
    • Friday I worked on the database at work and when I was finished I met Victor at a comic shop, and then we ate at Outback. (His first time!) Then we went to my house and hung out, and I had to finish my comic, after which I was too tired to really do much else.
    Reading progress:
    • Finished this week: Didn't finish anything! Sorry!
    • Currently readingA Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty.
      New singing performances:

      This week's song was "Radio GaGa" by Queen.

      Stuff Drawn:

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0666: "Moat."

      New videos:


      New photos:

      The strawberry cake I made!
      Victor's first time at Outback, photographing his food

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,274 for swankivy (5 new), 658 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 910 for swankivy (3 new), 1,318 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Facebook: 297 friends (no change) and 202 followers (no change) for swankivy, 659 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,506 (lost 4). Instagram followers: 135 (1 new).

      Wednesday, February 14, 2018

      Wednesday Factoid: Obscure Interest

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What are you interested in that most people haven't even heard of?

      How about elemental associations?

      The classical elemental alignments--Earth, Air, Fire, Water--are really interesting to me. I don't "believe in" them as forces in the world, aspects of reality, or specific personality types, but I think it's fun and inspirational to check out elemental associations and interpret life through elemental lenses sometimes.

      I used the elements a lot in one of my novels, Bad Fairy. The main character is a fairy whose association with elements is a lot more real, and one of her educational units growing up was the elementals unit. She has to spend a week getting to know each element and studying its attributes, which included dressing in special ways. I drew pictures.

      Elements are also supposed to have personality traits, color associations, cardinal directions, even associated foods.

      Click it to blow up!

      In an apartment I lived in for just one year, I did my decorating in terms of elements. The kitchen, center of the grounded existence and physical plane, was decorated for Earth. The living room, center of imaginative work and important everyday considerations, was decorated for Air. The utility room, center of exciting projects and stuff I'm passionate about, was decorated for Fire. And the bedroom, center of dreams and emotion, was decorated for Water. 

      If you're interested in taking a personality quiz about what your element is, I wrote one on my author website!

      Monday, February 12, 2018


      I've been described as an "oversharer" before. I kinda get why.

      I talk a lot, I have a lot of stuff going on, and there's very little about my life that I consider private. 

      I've shared some pretty personal things, like drawings and journal excerpts from childhood, lists of my collections, details from my everyday life, photos of my living space, and information about writing projects I've produced since childhood. 

      A self portrait from when I was 5

      Some of the harassment and criticism I've received over the years seizes upon this tendency as self-evident proof that I am pathetic and self-involved to the point of obsession. I'm never quite sure what to do with it when some hater finds me, e-mails me out of the blue, and sends me disgusting messages absolutely seething with anger that I would dare to share these things. What is their problem, you might ask? Apparently, according to them, the sin I've committed to deserve this treatment is assuming anyone in the world would care about these details.

      Some examples:


      Maybe you should take a chill pill. Not a lot of people are into the web, lots of people prefer sports, so when someone who is a sports fanatic stumbles across your page, there gonna think you have too much time on your hands. I mean, you do have a big page. You need to respect peoples thoughts and opinions. You should expect to hear things like this. Your page is hudge, expect to hear things like this.

      I'm not looking to start trouble. I have better things to do. I could care less how big your page is, because I understand that this web-page-thingy building is what your into. I'm personally not into it, I'm into cheerleading,field hockey, softball,soccer, and other things. I just want to make you aware, maybe you should think before you type...


      Wow. We have got to get you laid! You are an unhappy woman who desperately needs something besides grammar and a slightly higher IQ than most. You are the female Comic book Guy.

      I would tone down on the content of your reviews. They are novels themselves and no one wants to hear the mindless ramblings of an ugly girl with Princess Leah braids.  


      Sweetheart, seriously. Grow out the bangs and own the fact you're 29, and stop posting pics of yourself/friends on the internet. Rise above all this, because your life reads like one long, sad study in deep personal inhibition.

      None of this is real, after all. And in the meantime, you are missing everything that is. I'm only here because I have to take breaks from studying medicine, you have no excuse at all. 


      I browsed your site, and I have come to the conclusion that you are a miserable woman who is very unhappy with her life. Your only satisfaction is pointing out the shortcomings of others. Sad, sad, sad. You better love someone and let someone love you before its too late.


      I came across your page and I have got to ask you, how old are you?? Your ideas are that of a adolescent girl that has never had a date in her life and frankly need to do some increasable soul searching, so maybe you can grow up and see the world for what it is. My suggestion is for you to get a real job with some real responsibility and learn what the real world is all about. I am in the army and have seen my friends go to war and have had to do some real pondering about God you are not special and you are not original, you are nothing but a teen that thinks that she knows the world, well I have a wake up call no one knows and no one will ever know.  


      Who gives a **** about you, really? Making a site all about you and your opinions is incredibly stupid. Talk about waste of space.


      Recently I was reading over some old online discussions that involved occasional references to my work in literary criticism. Inevitably, on this forum, someone would bring up the stuff I'd said and someone else would comment that I may have good points but that my website was embarrassing because of its large quantity of personal content. One person referred to me as a "lolcow." Another said I, as a person, was "an autistic cringefest."

      Their language choices make it pretty clear what type of people tend to voice these opinions. But I have seen them over and over, and they go hand in hand with another very weird belief:

      These folks think whatever they've seen of me online constitutes the entirety of my existence. More than once just on this forum, someone opined that my whole identity was wrapped up in asexuality activism (because, you know, they'd primarily noticed the stuff on asexuality activism) or that I am completely obsessed with cataloging minutiae of my life to the point that I cannot actually have a life.

      It's especially weird to me that they're here claiming I don't have a life while at the same time guffawing over how much content I've produced. I mean, that content includes scads of writing, lots of art and music recordings, evidence of frequent conversations, vacation albums and photos of events I engage in with friends and family . . . so how is it that they can mock me for having a lot of content without accepting that said content CONSTITUTES EVIDENCE OF AN EXTREMELY PRODUCTIVE AND ACTIVE LIFE?

      In what world is it empty or sad to post a bunch of creative work? In what world is it cringey to unapologetically say "I enjoy this so hey check out what I've been doing"? It's just . . . not "cool" to be passionate about something (or many things)? It's really weird because when I share my content in places dedicated to it, I get great feedback. People appreciate my contributions and sometimes express surprise over how much stuff I make time to do. But for these people who are convinced I "have no life," my choice of output (or maybe the content itself) is something to laugh at. So, what is it, if you don't make anything or don't share anything, it means your life is dedicated to the proper things in the proper quantities? If nothing you do leaves a paper trail, you're living the only acceptable authentic life? Exactly what am I expected to feel pressure to justify here?

      I mean, if we're going to judge each other entirely on what pieces of us we share with the online world, I guess I can conclude every one of them is a boring troll who does nothing all day but sneer at people who are actually doing something. So what is it? Me making things or taking time to organize information is ~lame~ or something? You're uncool if you try? You can't deserve respect if you demonstrate authentic engagement instead of leaning back and laughing at everyone who tries?

      I did too much, I tried too hard, I put too much into it. That's what I've heard people say about some of my sites and spaces. I am supposed to do less. I am supposed to care less. I am not supposed to take things seriously.

      Did it ever occur to them that maybe my interaction online is about attracting people *I* might like?

      I couldn't care less if someone doesn't like my shit! Is there some reason that you have to TELL ME ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU WISH I DIDN'T MAKE IT? If you don't like it, what in the world are you doing looking at it? If you don't want to see it and don't find it interesting, GUESS WHAT?? IT ISN'T FOR YOU?


      For people who claim my content is self-centered, they sure do focus a lot on how content creators should modify their online behavior to suit their personal tastes, huh?

      The fake pity they offer and the judgments they make on my apparent lifestyle are also really unattractive. It's laughable that they pretend to see evidence that my life is sad. Especially since they are going out of their way to send me messages designed to make me feel crappy about my content. They reach out, on purpose, to judge me and shame me, and then they expect me to believe they have proved something? I mean, this is actually really confusing. It's the kind of thing people do if they're threatened by someone, jealous of someone, or unsatisfied with their own lives. If you can look at someone who's clearly enjoying her life and "see" despair and desperation, and contact her with the intent of shaming her out of public spaces, then you don't have to worry that you yourself might be the one with the empty life. Contacting someone you don't know just to tell them they're doing life wrong sounds like the kind of thing someone only does if they're personally angry about something or very insecure.

      I have never once in my life considered contacting someone with an interest I don't share and telling them their interest is boring and useless and doesn't deserve attention.

      I have never once in my life found someone online happily engaged in a bunch of stuff I don't care about and took the time to send them a message about how I don't like it.

      I have, however, found people interesting when they share the inner workings of their thoughts, or when they publish information about themselves or their past that I find funny or interesting, or when they seem like an open book who's ready to welcome another person into their life with reasonable honesty and disclosure.

      I'm making the stuff I make for people like me or people who appreciate something I do. I have no interest in saying and doing less because some jackasses on the Internet don't want to look at it and consider my display of the content to reflect poorly on me as a person. 

      Now, if someone disagrees with something I've said, I'm happy to receive their feedback and have a discussion--like if they don't like my assessment of a book, or they want to argue about social issues where I've declared a position. I'm not the kind of person who thinks creating online content is about publishing whatever you want and expecting to never hear anyone say they don't like it. That's not what's going on here. What's going on is I'm getting people saying the content isn't interesting or relevant to them and therefore I shouldn't have created it, and that the quantity and content of the material justifies abusing me personally. 

      What they SHOULD do when they encounter content they're not into is say "Okay, this isn't for me . . . so I WON'T LOOK AT IT, problem solved." They're not disagreeing with me; they're expressing apathy. It's peculiar to contact a stranger out of nowhere to harass them about what they choose to create if your position is that you "don't care." If you don't care, what are you doing in my inbox? 

      Ignore me, like I ignore literally every subject out there that I'm not into, including most other people.

      It really is that simple.  

      Saturday, February 10, 2018

      Personal Digest Saturday: February 3 – February 9 [GIF Warning]

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday my mom was supposed to visit but she never made it over so I spent the day just chilling. I played a video game, washed dishes, updated my Amino posts, and made lemon bars. I didn't feel well so I took a couple naps.
      • Sunday was Queer Brunch. My friends Arthur and Yasmin picked me up and took me to the event. I got to have a fun conversation with some younger folks and it turned out one of them was a fan of my videos and had seen me on TV, and told me they'd been trying to figure out if I was that person. They thanked me for my help with discovering their identity. So rewarding to hear! I contributed the lemon bars and Arthur and Yasmin brought this awesome lentil thing. After the event, I just played video games and did laundry.
      • Monday I had a cough. I worked on an Access database all day and then at home I worked on my website revamp.
      • Tuesday I helped co-workers and updated databases. At home I worked on the website more and did a drawing of Garnet that turned out really cool. (I was participating in a screenshot redraw challenge, so it was an "assigned" drawing, but I ended up really liking what I made.)
      • Wednesday I had a really bad runny nose and used up most of a box of tissues, but I was at work. I helped check some plans and made some really big maps on our plotter. Then I went to Toyko Sushi with Jeaux and then back to my place where he helped me play video games and laughed at how bad I am.
      • Thursday I was feeling a little better. Built more of the Access database, and then when I got home I worked on animation for my drawing because I wanted it to be special. I talked to Victor on the phone and drew webcomics too.
      • Friday was good, I posted my drawing on Amino and tried a new place down the road for lunch--ended up having one of the tastiest veggie burgers ever! Then I went home and worked on my comic. My mom came over in the latter part of the evening, having been delayed because her car got a flat tire. (She drives really rarely these days.) Glad she finally felt good enough to go out! 
      Reading progress:
        New singing performances:

        This week's song was "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies.

        New drawings: 

        I had to redraw a screenshot from the show and the picture I was assigned was this one (from episode 11, "Arcade Mania"): 

        It represents a situation where Garnet was busy playing video games and got hypnotized by the game and couldn't help fight monsters when they needed her. So this is my version:

        Woohoo I animated it!

        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0665: "I Haven't Changed."

        New videos:


        New photos:

        Me with new Steven Universe plushies!
        My Queer Brunch button
        The heart donuts at the office just don't stop!

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,269 for swankivy (lost 1), 659 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 907 for swankivy (no change), 1,320 for JulieSondra (lost 4). Facebook: 297 friends (no change) and 202 followers (no change) for swankivy, 659 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,510 (no change). Instagram followers: 134 (1 new).

        Wednesday, February 7, 2018

        Wednesday Factoid: Refuse to Watch

        Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What movie or TV show do you refuse to watch?

        I generally don't like shows or movies that are extremely violent (mainly if they focus on portrayals of human suffering). So I don't enjoy any horror at all, and tend not to like fictional depictions of ongoing horrific elements even if there's no gore involved. 

        People tend to understand and accept that I don't want to watch horror or shows that they know have lots of violence (which is why no one seems to invest themselves in changing my mind when I say I don't want to watch Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead), but with media containing subtler horrific content, I've had to argue with people about whether certain shows "aren't scary." 

        I can't watch Doctor Who because it contains too much suffering. I've accidentally seen a couple episodes here and there when people put them on at my house, and as a result I literally had nightmares thinking about the terrible situations the characters were in and the horrible choices they had to make. And yet, "Haha no Doctor Who isn't scary, unless you watch X episode" is a pretty common response I've heard. 

        I don't care if you think it "isn't scary." It scared me. I don't need to say anything else.

        It's like eating spicy food, which I've talked about here before. I experience something as too spicy to eat, and people aggressively tell me what I'm eating "isn't spicy" or suggest I must be mistaken about what I ate. 

        Just. Stop. I get that people really like these things but I can't deal with what "enjoying" them requires me to sacrifice. So . . . sorry, I refuse to watch Doctor Who. Just for my own comfort. Thanks for understanding.

        Tuesday, February 6, 2018

        The Great Update of 2018

        I've been saying for a LONG time that I want to completely overhaul my website.

        I sort of took a crack at starting it last year, in the summer sometime, and I started with my art page because I update that pretty frequently and it seemed like a pretty straightforward part of the site to begin with. I'm building each part of the site on its own subdomain so I can just point links from the main site to each wing after it's done, without knocking the existing website down or losing the ability to add new stuff while it's in flux.

        But with the doodles page as one of the easier parts of my site to migrate, it's not particularly easy to choose the right format, decide whether to disinclude anything I initially included and vice versa, figure out how to make it easy to browse, etc. On top of that, I have to think about what I want out of an updated website. Why am I doing it?

        Well, I've come up with this list.

        1. I want it to be easier to add content. I spend a lot of time processing content and it gets really tiresome.

        2. I want it to be easier to interact with for viewers. I would like people to be able to comment on content if they want to without me having to use a complex, clunky e-mail form that I then have to manually post the content on the site. (Yes, my sites really are that ancient.) The visual media like photo galleries and art are particularly unfriendly to browsing right now.

        3. I want to prune some of the content that really shouldn't be online. There have been a few times in recent years where people said they "saw my site" and I cringe a little because I have no idea what they saw and whether they think it represents my current opinions or abilities. The drawings site has a section for childhood drawings, but even the stuff that's designed to be "current" is, in some cases, TWENTY YEARS OLD. (Yes, I've had a website for about twenty years, and most of what I learned about making websites was in the 1990s.)

        So here's how I'm addressing these issues.

        1. For the drawings page at least, I've selected themes that are friendly to gallery insertions. I just upload a bunch of pictures through drag-and-drop, and then . . . the site arranges them for me. I don't have to write the code to place the thumbnail images or manually link them or resize each photo so there's a miniature one to click. It will be WAY easier to add content.

        2. Comments are native to the pages, so I don't have to do anything. (I may have to approve some comments, but that's necessary in an environment where any form that accepts input from users is open to being spammed.) It's very easy to get captions or more information by hovering over images or clicking through to see them full size.

        3. Pruning takes time, so there's no alternative but to individually go through every piece of content and decide whether and how to display it. That said, it's kind of fun to revisit old stuff and to add some stuff I didn't realize I'd never shared, and I'm also making a "featured" gallery at the top so people can just go there to see the stuff I'm actually proud of.

        When I get into organizing the huge clumps of writing I have on my site, I think it might be less visual and more oriented toward organization by tags. That way I can include pieces in multiple categories if I want, without having to update or repost copies of my pieces every place I want them to show up. There are many easy, modern ways to organize content, but it's just such a monumental job to dig through everything I've done in the last twenty years that I've kind of been too intimidated to do it.

        So first I'm going to reorganize my existing pages and try to convert everything, and then I'll also start incorporating some stuff I've got scattered around the Internet: blog posts that deserve to be preserved, better resources, some galleries I didn't have before, updated links, and better inclusion of external content (like my book reviews, karaoke recordings, ukulele performances, YouTube videos, and social media that probably has a nice handy plugin to do stuff like share my latest tweets and Instagram posts). And I want to finish my heavy-duty autobiographical page (which currently stops at 2006!) and post up some pictures of my new living environment.

        It's a lot of work, but it's mostly about organization. The content is there.

        And I really like to organize. :)

        Maybe I'll be done with the art page by the end of this week and I can show it off here.

        Saturday, February 3, 2018

        Personal Digest Saturday: January 27 – February 2

        Life news this week:
        • Saturday was a pretty dang good day. I got my blogging done early and did some organizing on Amino, and then Jeaux came to get me so we could go to St. Petersburg. We found parking after a little bit of searching, ate at a yummy grilled cheese place, and got into the They Might Be Giants concert for free because we were on the guest list. We used earplugs because we're old dorks. :D The concert was good and I bought the band's latest CD!
        • Sunday it rained almost all day. I did karaoke and my Amino profile rebuild all day, plus some goofing off, texting with my friend Ralph about cartoons, and watching silly reaction videos.
        • Monday I came to the office and my lost keys were NOT on my desk or in the bathroom, so that was bad. But then my office's bookkeeper found them in the hallway on a windowsill! Don't know how they got there. But now I don't have to replace all my keys and change the locks. :P At work I had to put in a design ticket which is the first time I've had to do it, and also dealt with a letter of response and roll plots all over the floor. When I came home I drew a dorky drawing of Gem characters crossing the street holding hands. And I started a crystal growing kit and did my laundry.
        • Tuesday I helped with another letter at work and wrote some book reviews and posted pictures of new merchandise. Also processed concert photos and got my writing webcomic posted. I fell asleep, woke up, did laundry, and went back to sleep.
        • Wednesday I updated some databases at work. Then went to CiCi's pizza with Jeaux and went to Target for groceries and stuff. We just chilled looking at cartoon things. I fell asleep on the couch covered in plushies. I wish I had a picture because I bet it was cute.
        • Thursday I got to work early and worked on database stuff. I also summarized the Steven Universe podcast on Tumblr and it was a really good one. I met friends at Fuzzy's, a taco shop, and my friend Ralph gave me a DVD back that he'd borrowed and I got to meet one of his friends who took me home. I tried to paint my fingernails like a cartoon character's but that failed pretty bad. Then I talked to Victor on the phone and drew my comic.
        • Friday I got my butt kicked by my Access database but I got it sorted out. After work I wrote up my old post about bagel sandwiches for Amino and it made the front page (for the fortieth time). Came home and finished my comic drawings and posted them. I am coming down with some kind of illness so I felt crappy and went to bed early after that.
        Interviews, Articles, Mentions:
        • For some reason Maclean's recycled an old article about me on their Facebook this week. Comments filled up with people saying I have a chemical imbalance and that I can't find a man to have sex with me, balanced with people insisting that this is not news and does not need education. Yawn.
        Reading progress:
        • Finished this week: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Five-star review.
        • Currently readingEyeshield 21 Volume 28 by Riichiro Inagaki & Yusuke Murata.
          New singing performances:

          This week's song was "Live to Tell" by Madonna.

          New drawings: 

          Crystal Gems and allies holding hands crossing the street.
          Because Steven said so.

          Webcomic So You Write Issue 80: "Diverse."

          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0664: "Dialed Down."

          New videos:


          New photos:

          Just got some photos from the They Might Be Giants concert. The ones in the crowd are taken by Jeaux because photos I take are of people's backs.

          Social Media Counts:

          YouTube subscribers: 5,270 for swankivy (lost 3), 660 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 907 for swankivy (3 new), 1,324 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Facebook: 297 friends (no change) and 202 followers (no change) for swankivy, 659 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 126 likes for So You Write (2 new). Tumblr followers: 2,510 (no change). Instagram followers: 133 (no change).