Saturday, March 30, 2019

Personal Digest Saturday: March 23 – March 29

Life news this week:
  • Saturday I finished my blog stuff in the morning and then caught a bus out to meet a new friend at Mojo's. I met said friend, Steve, and we got coffees and hung out at the bookstore chatting. As expected, it was a great time. We had lunch at the Greek restaurant next door, shopped for books, and ended up back at my place talking a lot. Great first meeting and nice to make a new friend! After he left I just made a cartoon post and tried some drawing.
  • Sunday was its usual great self. I hung out at my table and reread some stuff from one of my books, and answered some online messages. I talked to my sister on the phone and did laundry but forgot to put it away. Made a new video for Letters to an Asexual, processed it and subtitled it, and made a pretty drawing that ended up getting featured on the front page of Steven Universe Amino.
  • Monday I just did some training and work stuff. At home I finally completed the finishing touches on my doodles page and decided to release it into the wild. (Feedback appreciated!) I also took a nap on my potato pillow and forgot to be productive.
  • Tuesday I was kinda late because I slept a little late. It was okay though. I helped a co-worker with a report and did more training. After work I finally put my laundry away, redecorated for spring, and updated my cup collection photos. Wow exciting.
  • Wednesday I had to process forms and download documents, and in the afternoon I attended a meeting for an upcoming contract with my co-worker. (I'm going to do data entry on the contract.) Jeaux and I ate at Moe's and shopped at Target, and then we watched the last episode of Miracle Workers and two episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. After he left I fell asleep early.
  • Thursday I worked on transcripts at the office. After work I drew my comic and fell asleep kind of late because I didn't get it done as fast as I wanted. I fail.
  • Friday I worked and did more transcript stuff and a bunch of miscellaneous work. After work I finished processing my comic and later Victor came over. We ate Mexican food and he helped me figure out what computer to buy. I was tired and had to go to bed after that. 
New reviews of my book:
My diet progress: 

  • No news is . . . no news. Nothing good, nothing bad, just kinda not going anywhere with this at the moment.

Reading progress:
    New singing performances:

    This week's karaoke song is "Only Time" by Enya.

    Stuff Drawn:

    Look at this cutiepie Rainbow Quartz 2.0.

    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0724: "Physical Eyes."

    New videos:

    Letters to an Asexual #66 is out, and it's about media representation for non-asexual queer folks versus media representation for asexual folks.

    New photos:

    Collection of drinking receptacles! I just got a new Cookie Cat cup.

    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,261 for swankivy (lost 2), 675 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Twitter followers: 967 for swankivy (1 new), 1,337 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 208 followers (no change) for swankivy, 648 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 145 likes for So You Write (lost 1). Tumblr followers: 2,516 (1 new). Instagram followers: 177 (no change).

    Wednesday, March 27, 2019

    Wednesday Factoid: Favorite Toy

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: Did you have a favorite toy as a kid?

    I'm actually not sure. :(

    It's weird for me because I have a really good autobiographical memory that includes back to very early childhood, so I remember being an enthusiastic toy owner, but I can't really think of what I would have considered my "favorite toy." At least, not consistently.

    I certainly had phases during which I played with or loved certain toys the most. Early on I liked the Care Bears and had a stuffed Birthday Bear that my mom and I made from a kit. (I still have it! It's on my bed!) I had a classic baby doll with a soft body and an attached hard plastic head and limbs that I named Priscilla, and I wrote her name on her soft body in magic marker. (You couldn't see it under her dress.) I used to "parent" Priscilla by creating facsimiles of furniture or facilities out of toys and other objects and placing them around the house next to the big versions of these pieces of furniture or facilities--like, Priscilla would need her own couch next to my couch, her own toilet next to my toilet, her own bed next to my bed. My mom pointed out that people with babies usually use the facilities with their children, not create separate small versions for the kids. Which made enough sense to me that I agreed to clean up the mess.

    I had a building set called Construx that I really loved. I think I had a basic set and a futuristic car kit, or maybe it was just the car kit, but I loved it and enjoyed making robot creatures out of the bits and creating stories about them. I did make the recommended car from the instructions, but it wasn't as much fun as making up robot families.

    I had a Hugga Bunch doll when all the kids were really into those--I had the pink one (whose name was Huggins), my sister Patricia had "the boy" (whose name was Hugsy), and my sister Lindsay had two (the purple one, named Impkins, and the almost bald one, whose name, bizarrely, was Patooty). We would sometimes play with them in association with our musical record about them. We never had Cabbage Patch dolls but these were kind of similar in some ways.

    Hmm. I had a Poochie toy that I liked a lot. I had a weird electronic mini-piano that I found in a desk one time at my gifted program, and I was convinced a secret pal had left it for me. (I don't know why I thought that.) I had a Baby Alive with my sister and we enjoyed playing with her. I had a little doll from my grandma who was brown-haired and brown-eyed and beanbaggish, and she had the words "Peanut Butter" on her midsection. My sister had a blonde one dressed in purple named "Jelly."

    We had some very cute dolls called Love-A-Bye Babies. They were a little bigger than the palm of our hands and really fun to feed and buy outfits for. I had a few but I don't remember if they had names. It seems like they must have.

    Of course we had a bunch of Smurf figurines. We liked them but I don't actually remember playing with them much. 

     My sister had Lady Lovely Locks dolls and they had these clip-in hair barrettes called PixyTails; I didn't care much about the dolls, but I enjoyed swiping the hair clips and wearing them to school.

    I had a She-Ra doll and I also had her flying horse. I really liked that. I believe most of the other toys from that series in our household belonged to my sister Lindsay, who received a crapton of them as birthday gifts when she was barely old enough to safely play with them.

    I had some really cool big toys that I won at carnivals--a big red teddy bear with a crayon coin bank in his hand, a big toucan with a rainbow beak, and some other critters that I treasured. My sisters and I also had matching stuffed birds in red, blue, and green. (Mine was named Notee.) When I was really small, I was into a mermaid toy called "Sea Wees 'N Babies," which was a mermaid toy that came with a floating sponge lily pad she could fit into so she could play with you in the bathtub or pool. 

    I got into the idea of stage magic when I was a little kid and tried to learn some tricks with my dad. For a birthday one time I got a magic kit including a hat, and I was thrilled. I'm sure it was my favorite for a while.

    And of course, I absolutely loved my collection of Pocket Popples. I got the whole collection eventually using my allowance. My favorite Popple was Potato Chip, so I got her first, and then I got the rest one by one. I thought it was weird that there were two baby Popples in the TV show but they only made a Pocket Popple of one of them. I also had large Popple toys of the two Baby Popples and a medium-sized toy of Potato Chip. I sometimes used to carry them around or take them to school if I could get away with it.


    Saturday, March 23, 2019

    Personal Digest Saturday: March 16 – March 22

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I didn't finish my cleaning, but I did get blogging done and ate a really good meal I just felt like cooking for myself. (I cooked mushrooms and eggs and ate it up with fake bacon.) I also wrote a guide to SU comics for the Internet and practiced my ukulele.
    • Sunday was good. I always like Sundays these days. I sat out at my table until the rain drove me inside. I actually finished reading through my old SF romance manuscript and sent it to my agent! Which I've been meaning to do for a long time (but malfunctioning computer slowed me down--issues with Word documents). I also ate yellow rice, did laundry, did dishes, did karaoke, and cleaned my office, down to vacuuming. So great!
    • Monday we had three letters due so I didn't get to do much of anything else besides work on them. We also got shortlisted on another job so hooray. At home I cleaned both of the smaller bedrooms while on the phone with Meg. Good day!
    • Tuesday I worked and did my taxes! Also found out that my book is going into its fourth printing (which means it's still selling reasonably well!) and it's also going to be translated into Japanese (and I get a lil bonus for that new edition too). At home I cleaned the last two rooms that needed cleaning--the bathrooms--and after a shower, I dressed up in a new dress I had just bought that makes me look like Steven Universe's mom, and took some funny pictures.
    • Wednesday I stayed up late for a comic release again, read the comic, blogged it, and went to sleep. Then I went to work and did a bunch of odd jobs. After work Jeaux took me to buy comics, eat at IKEA, shop at IKEA (I bought a little pot for my stray golf balls), shop at Ross (I bought a small outdoor table), and shop at Winn-Dixie (groceries!). After all that we watched Miracle Workers. After he left I ate junk food and did Internet things.
    • Thursday I made it to work on the bus and spent the day dealing with more small things--mostly marketing jobs. I also studied a manual on something I'll have to do for an upcoming job. My agent finished reading the book I sent her Sunday and said she didn't know any editors who want stuff like this so I guess that one isn't up just yet, but we're talking about some other stuff too. Victor didn't call on the phone like usual, so I just drew my comic listening to podcasts.
    • Friday I sent some other stuff to my agent and hit 2 years as a member of Steven Universe Amino so I made a special post about it because I'm a nerd! After I got home, I finished drawing and posting my comic, and right as I finished my mom came over with GrillSmith food. We ate together, caught up, and then she fell asleep on my guest bed on top of a large stuffed animal. :D :D
    Interviews, Articles, Mentions:

    My diet progress: 

    • Well, I've lost 6 pounds in about 3 months, which isn't very good, but isn't terrible either.

    Reading progress:
    • Finished this week:  Steven Universe ongoing comic #26 by by Terry Blas and Gabriele Bagnoli. Five-star review.
    • Currently readingMythology by Edith Hamilton.
      New singing performances:

      This week's karaoke song is "Last Train to Clarksville" by the Monkees.

      Stuff Drawn:

      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0723: "Awake."

      New videos:


      New photos:

      All four variants of comic #25! Some are rare!

      Here are some photos of me doing goofy stuff in my Rose Quartz dress:

      And here are my cool White Diamond pins.

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,263 for swankivy (no change), 677 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 966 for swankivy (no change), 1,338 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 208 followers (no change) for swankivy, 648 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 146 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,515 (4 new). Instagram followers: 177 (4 new).

      Wednesday, March 20, 2019

      Wednesday Factoid: Locked Out

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What would you do if you got locked out of your home?

      Well I can answer this pretty easily because this has happened to me and I know what I did. 

      My workplace restroom is a shared-use facility with key-only access. Once I left my keys behind after using the restroom and went home without them. Since I live more than an hour away from my home by bus, I didn't want to go back, not to mention that everyone probably would have left for the day and I wasn't even sure I could get back into the building if my keys were inside.

      So I called my friend Jeaux. He has a key.

      My mom has a key too, but since she's often ill and it would have taken her probably way longer to get to me even if she wasn't ill, I called Jeaux first to see if he was on his way home. He was able to get me into my house on his way back from work and all was well. (I have a spare key inside which I was able to use to lock up the house the next day, and when I got to work I was able to track down my keys.)

      It's good to have a couple people you trust that have a key. I don't like the idea of hiding a key outside or breaking into my house somehow. There would also be the option of using my garage door opener--if I could have accessed the garage, I would have been able to get in the back door inside, but for a while I did carry my garage door opener in my purse and a couple times stuff fell on it while I was home and my garage door opened and stayed open all night while I was home! So I don't do that anymore. I really have no need to keep the garage door opener with me.


      Tuesday, March 19, 2019

      "You need HELP."

      "You need THERAPY."

      As an asexual, aromantic woman who claims to be happy, this is something I hear a lot. That I need a professional's help to fix myself, because I am, by definition, BROKEN if I think happiness is an option for me.

      Let's explore where that idea comes from.

      Not the idea that asexual, aromantic people can't be happy--I've talked about that plenty--but the idea that "WHAT?? FIX YOURSELF!" is one of the first things people bleat when they don't personally relate to you.

      Let's be clear. This suggestion--or rather, this suggestion made this way--does not come from a kind place. The person, despite what the words say, is not saying "I wish you would get better."

      They are saying "You are wrong."

      They are saying "I want you to face that you're wrong."

      They are saying "If I can't imagine being happy like you, I am allowed to be confident that you are sad. I am allowed to say to you without any self-examination that I reserve the right to define happiness by what makes ME happy. And I have no qualms about contributing to the master narrative that tells us all which ways of living are acceptable and which ways are not."

      When someone snaps "GET HELP" or "SEEK THERAPY," they aren't expressing real concern or well wishes for you, no matter how many times they also call you "sweetie" or "dear." And of course, if you call them out on their insincerity, the pearls will be immediately clutched: "Why, how could you accuse ME of false goodwill! The nerve! How dare you imply I do not say this out of LOVE!"

      Love is listening to someone and working with them to feel better if they have a problem.

      Love is fostering that person's trust, cultivating a caring relationship with them, making yourself available for their doubts and fears.

      Love is expressing concern if you are concerned, but doing it in a way that the at-risk person can use without feeling attacked.

      And if you think you can say "I'm *sorry*, but you need to GET HELP" as an effective way of opening the door to healing, you are mistaken. Let's just pretend you're actually sincere and you're saying these things, and you truly do not understand why someone who gets snapped at to see a psychiatrist would not read this as loving concern. Let's just say you're confused, emotional, and inexperienced with how to get someone you're concerned about to connect with the proper professionals. Here's what you need to know about our reaction when we confide in you and you say "GET HELP."

      • We think you aren't listening to what we said.
      • We think we can't trust you.
      • We think you are against us, not trying to help us.
      • We think we have disgusted or angered you.
      • We think we need to be silent about our personal truths when we're around you.
      • We think our differences are upsetting and unacceptable.
      • We feel rejected.
      • We feel unsafe.
      • We feel ashamed.
      • We feel dismissed.
      • We feel like you trust a hypothetical stranger's assessment over our lived experience, and that you default to believing a mental health professional would side with you.

      And we may feel that your response is inspired by your own insecurity, not anything that needs to change for us.

      If someone confides in you and their words Really Truly make you think the person needs counseling, your job is to support them personally, not shame them for their quirks and bully them into getting medical help. If the goal here is the other person's satisfaction and stability, you should primarily be focusing on what they want. Are they safe? Are they conflicted or confused about what they're telling you? Are they ASKING for your advice or your help? Are they asking you to understand them and your first response is "no, unacceptable: get fixed"?

      But let's be real here. There aren't many people out there who have said "Seriously, hun, GET HELP" to another person and actually did it out of goodwill and from a caring place. It is a conversation ender. It is a weapon.

      Most people, when they do this, are attempting to gaslight others, or call into question their basic competence. They are saying, "Your mind is sick. Your thoughts are inspired by illness and your experience is false. You do not have an authentic life." And they say it with no acknowledgment at all that they are not experts on what it's possible to feel. More often than not, this is something bullies say in response to nonconformity: "Stop being so WEIRD, ya weirdo. You're not doing it for a good reason--it's just to be special, or to be quirky, or to get attention. I do not accept that people can think or feel what you do, so it must be fake and I'll treat you like there's something wrong with you for saying it."

      And not that someone's happiness or satisfaction with their life automatically indicates that they are not mentally ill or engaging in pathological behavior, but for the record, "eccentric" people tend to have significantly higher self-reported ratings of happiness. Being unashamedly unusual sometimes takes bravery (especially at first, and especially if it isn't entirely based on a choice), but it also leads to freedom from many constraints that make people miserable, and people who feel free to be themselves usually lead less stressful, happier lives.

      You're not helping if you react to their difference by saying it indicates need for professional help.

      What you should know is that many people from marginalized populations are intensely harmed by therapy trolling.

      Many do not have the resources to know they are being gaslit or bullied. Many are being told their minds are not trustworthy by people they've trusted their whole lives. Many are vulnerable to programming and to being controlled by authorities. Many will internalize feelings of inadequacy and anxiety over being considered so abnormal that they need a head doctor, and it will be devastating for them. Exploiting their weaknesses to make them doubt their own minds could have consequences for the rest of their lives.

      Let me say something first, lest I be misinterpreted: THERE IS NOTHING INHERENTLY WRONG WITH NEEDING THERAPY!!!!

      Mental illnesses exist! People who need therapists and other mental health practitioners exist! It's not a badge of shame to see a counselor or to need regular access to one. And it's not evidence of a hopeless future or a broken mind if professional help really does make you healthier.

      The problem I have is when people believe intervention needs to be forced on someone whose less mainstream perspective or experience is not evidence of deviance, distress, or disease. It isn't HELPFUL--and is, in fact, ultimately HARMFUL--if someone decides their own way of being healthy must be grafted onto someone else whose health simply looks different. My health is not your health. What's good for the goose is NOT always good for the gander. And if you really do approach the world with a perspective that your reality defines how others should live, what others should like, and who others should love, you either have a giant case of unwarranted self-importance or a belief that harmless diversity damages the validity of your life. You're like the people who believe same-sex marriage dilutes the validity of heterosexual marriages because SOMEONE WHOSE ATTRACTION EXPERIENCES DIFFER NOW GET THE SAME ACCESS TO THE BENEFITS OF PERMANENCE THAT YOU ALWAYS TOOK FOR GRANTED. Calm down and let people live instead of spending a bunch of energy and attention making people feel crappy about themselves.

      And if it really, truly disturbs you that people you fundamentally don't understand should still be allowed to live their lives according to their own authentic, self-led doctrines, inclinations, attractions, and opinions. . . .

      Try talking to other people about it and doing your best to wrap your head around who they are and what they're saying. 

      If you need assistance doing that, I've heard some counselors can give you the coping tools to become less agitated about things that aren't your business and aren't yours to control.

      Saturday, March 16, 2019

      Personal Digest Saturday: March 9 – March 15

      Life news this week:
      • Saturday I did a little cleaning and hung out with my friend Kari to watch cartoons and eat pizza. We had a great time! After she left I finished my blogging for the week and played on Tumblr. I was happy that someone who works on the Steven Universe show liked one of my blog posts. :)
      • Sunday, despite the time change, I had a wonderful, relaxing day. I spent most of it outside at the patio table just enjoying the weather, though I got bit by some insects even though I was using bug spray. I didn't have many messages so I mostly spent it on trying to prepare a book to send to my agent. I also did epic laundry since I had not had a working washing machine for two Sundays. I also ate couscous, won an eBay auction, and talked to a cartoon nerd friend online.
      • Monday was a work day--tons of work on a City proposal and a typical DOT letter. I took a long nap and then later in the evening my dad's friend Jimmy called because we are setting up me doing some editing and book advice for him. We got some terms settled and pretty soon I'll start working on it. I cleaned my game room while talking to him.
      • Tuesday we had a staff meeting at the office and then I spent the day putting out the fires from stuff brought up during the meeting. Mostly more stuff for the City proposal. When I got home I had the evening free because Arthur and I aren't meeting anymore due to his job change, so I cleaned half my house (all the rooms with no carpet) and vacuumed. I'm productive!
      • Wednesday I was still up from Tuesday for a while because I was waiting for an exciting comic book to drop after midnight. I stayed up until it released digitally, posted a review and a lot of excitement about it online, and finally got a couple hours' sleep. Then I went to work, knocked out a bunch of proposal stuff for the City, and met Jeaux. We picked up our physical copies of the comic book at the comic store, went to Five Guys for food, and did our grocery shopping and TV watching. Had a fun discussion of gross OKCupid men. After he left I went to sleep early.
      • Thursday we had to turn in the City proposal by 2 PM. The big enemy that morning was file size--had to be under 3 MB, and ours was slightly over. I did a bunch of tricks to shave its file size down and got it turned in. Spent the afternoon doing other proposal stuff for an expanded letter due Monday. I chatted to my mom on the phone, worked on my comic while talking to Victor, and talked to a cartoon nerd friend (a different one from the one on Sunday). I have many.
      • Friday was more proposal work and report building. At home I made rainbow pasta and ate it, and then I did my comic, recorded a ukulele song, and went to sleep early. 
      New reviews of my book:

      • Isabella Edwards gave it a five-star review on Amazon, saying it helps to know others share their experiences.
      • Stalesfo gave it a four-star review on Amazon, calling it a great starting point.
      My diet progress: 

      • I'm just leaving this category here to remind myself that I theoretically should be on one. I haven't weighed myself this week at all. Which probably means not good.

      Reading progress:
        New singing performances:

        This week's karaoke song is "It's a Kind of Magic" by Queen.

        Stuff Drawn:

        Webcomic Negative One Issue 0722: "Name of Today."

        New videos:

        My latest unlisted ukulele video is me playing the sorta-ska version of "Let Me Drive My Van (Into Your Heart)," inspired by the Sadie Killer version.

        New photos:

        A friend sent me a gorgeous view from where he was during
        a stop on a cruise. I sent him my scenic view too.
        My Sunday eating couscous and enjoying the weather.

        Social Media Counts:

        YouTube subscribers: 5,263 for swankivy (8 new), 678 for JulieSondra (1 new). Twitter followers: 966 for swankivy (2 new), 1,338 for JulieSondra (lost 6). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 208 followers (no change) for swankivy, 648 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 146 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,511 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 173 (no change).

        Wednesday, March 13, 2019

        Wednesday Factoid: Not Obsessed

        Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What is something other people think you're obsessed with, but you're not?

        That's easy! Cleaning!

        I literally hardly ever clean my house. Actually I moved into the house I'm in in September 2017 and there are several rooms I have literally never vacuumed. I have done one deep-clean since I moved in but I only got as far as the living room and entranceway. 

        The reason people THINK I'm a clean freak is that I am very organized. Everything has a place so things aren't always lying around. They aren't CLEAN--they're actually pretty dusty and haven't been cleaned in ages, but my home gives the appearance of being clean because things are straight and organized.

        I also do keep up with "everyday" cleaning--as in, I don't leave dishes around, I don't throw crap in the floor, I wash dishes and laundry regularly, I clean the bathrooms and wipe down the kitchen counters whenever I've made any mess. I clean things up if I mess them up. 

        There's also the fact that I'm just plain not a messy person. I don't leave a lot of crumbs or spills around, don't really get things dirty, don't MAKE a lot of messes to clean. If I had kids, roommates, or pets, it would be way less manageable.

        The exception is definitely hair.

        My hair is kind of everywhere.

        Saturday, March 9, 2019

        Personal Digest Saturday: March 2 – March 8

        Life news this week:
        • Saturday I got blogging done somewhat early and tried to arrange repair on my washing machine but the technician never came or called, and nobody could explain why. Irritating. Besides blogging, didn't get much done besides writing an epic post about a cartoon episode that affects me strongly.
        • Sunday I sat at my table and answered a little mail, but I worried it would rain so I went inside. Then Jeaux took me to his house and let me use his washing machine. He also fed me soup and we saw an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but for most of the time I was drawing a really ridiculous comic about the SU character Sunstone, and he was playing video games. I love having a friend who can spend time together and not be necessarily interacting constantly. It's a nice quiet comfort. I finished the comic at home and posted it on Tumblr. People enjoyed it.
        • Monday I had no letters! But I had to do troubleshooting on electronic equipment and also had to wrangle timesheets. Our external e-mails were bouncing so we had issues. At home I did karaoke since I didn't have time on Sunday, and I got an Amino front page feature for my silly Sunstone comic. I'm so glad people like my ridiculous crap. I spent most of the evening organizing my music collection.
        • Tuesday our e-mail still wasn't fixed. Yikes. I got a few proposal things done and after work my friend Arthur and I went to Singha, our favorite Thai/Viet restaurant, to eat in instead of carrying out, because we were celebrating his new job. Then we went to my house and watched an episode of Twin Peaks. After he left I answered some messages and fell asleep on the couch.
        • Wednesday I didn't go to work until halfway through the day because I was staying home to wait for a washing machine repair technician (from a different company than the one that kinda skunked me). I got to have a leisurely coffee morning and also read through a comic book. The washing machine guy was later than I was told he would be, but he fixed my machine in like ten minutes. Then I went to work and took care of business (e-mail was back!). After work I went to Vallarta's with Jeaux for dinner, and then we went to Publix for groceries and home to chill. We watched a video about racism instead of watching TV.
        • Thursday it was randomly cold and I got involved in preparation for another letter for next week. After work I had a really long bus ride for some reason. I got home, talked to Victor almost as soon as I got there, worked on my comic, and fell asleep early.
        • Friday I felt lazy all day. But I did a bunch of work on a letter and a City proposal. After work I drew a sketch comic and my weekly webcomic and got them both up. Sister L's birthday! I texted with her briefly.
        New reviews of my book:

        • Lisa Chenier gave it an unrated review on Goodreads, saying it was informative for everyone who wants to understand asexuality.
        My diet progress: 

        • The pound I gained last week is back off, so I'm back where I was two weeks ago. But still not doing really great on it.

        Reading progress:
          New singing performances:

          This week's karaoke song is "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia.

          Stuff Drawn:

          I just have two very silly fan comics that you can read in their entirety on my art website if you follow the links.

          Please read the silly comic about Sunstone:

          Please read the silly comic about Garnet looking like a pear:

          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0721: "The Other Strong One."

          New videos:


          New photos:

          Just a salad selfie

          Social Media Counts:

          YouTube subscribers: 5,255 for swankivy (10 new), 677 for JulieSondra (4 new). Twitter followers: 964 for swankivy (1 new), 1,344 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 208 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 648 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 146 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,512 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 173 (no change).

          Wednesday, March 6, 2019

          Wednesday Factoid: First Internet

          Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What was your first experience of getting on the internet like?

          I think technically my first Internet experience may have been sitting down at my boyfriend's roommate's computer in their dorm and talking to someone on a telnet talker?

          But I'm not sure if that actually happened before or after my parents took one of those "FREE HOURS!" AOL CDs up on its offer. I was probably about 17 and we signed up for a family AOL account, which led to various screennames. I believe the first one that belonged to me was PACLFBFBBIV, which (contrary to how it looks) is NOT a keysmash. It's a relatively obscure Animaniacs reference, though.

          I used the name to post on AOL-specific area forums regarding Animaniacs stuff, and later I found a kids' chat room that was sometimes open in the AOL area for kids run by the WB. I spent some time running up bills (in those days they charged you by the minute like a phone call) chatting about cartoons in the chat room and making some friends. When I graduated high school and went to college, I ended up working for that AOL area and chat room as a volunteer host in exchange for free service. Not bad.

          I did a lot of weird things during that time. I seem to recall I met someone who also liked SpaceGhost Coast to Coast and I sent her VHS tapes of the show that I'd recorded off TV so she could make her own copies. And then she just stopped answering me when I wanted her to send them back as per our agreement. I thought I got duped because she disappeared with my tapes, but when I was on my own in college and looked her up to reconnect with her, she actually responded to me and said something really bad happened to her husband or something and she hadn't been around. She not only sent me the tapes back (to my new address!) but also sent me some personalized address labels with SpaceGhost characters on them. Still remember that. :)

          Tuesday, March 5, 2019

          Another Explanation

          [Sharing some stuff from my webcomic, So You Write, because the associated rant may be of interest to some people who read this blog.]

          (Click it to read if formatting makes menus or text obscure the image.)

          Step 1: Include tons of irritating stereotypes about women in your story

          Step 2: Insist that the presence of even caricature-style women in your story is “diversity” and “empowerment”

          Step 3: Portray real-world women as unreasonable for being offended by your portrayal of them

          Step 4: Blame hysteria in a female-dominated publishing scene for blocking your opportunities

          Step 5: Ignore, discredit, and mock women who try to help you understand

          Listen, guys. I know that if women seem mysterious to you, it’s easier to believe lazy stereotypes about them than to give them real diversity and respect as people. But we’re not giving you a hard time about this because we just hate men and nothing you do is right. We’re simply super tired of our motivations and feelings always being tied to sex, babies, sex, shopping, and sex.

          It’s not just “offensive.” It’s terribly uninteresting and incomplex. Think about the (hopefully, exaggerated) female supervillain team in this comic. Is the only way you can think of to make a woman bitter is to portray her as a sad barren witch because she couldn’t give birth? Does the only source you can dredge up for a woman’s gritty, dark past have to be tied to rape? Is it really the best you can do if your team powerhouse is simply irresistibly sexy and exploits the heroes’ attraction?

          It really is a problem if female characters–even ones not as exaggerated as these–are written by men who fixate on “femaleness” and miss the mark of who they could be. If they see women as sexual manipulators, materialistic shoppers, beings who must find fulfillment through motherhood, or creatures who become interesting and motivated when men violate them, their prejudices are going to come out in what they write.

          And they’re probably also going to say if women can’t handle the stuff they want to write about, it isn’t really written for them anyway. Guess what? These messages are bad for other genders too. This is why there’s a pushback against traditionally male-dominated entertainment creating female characters like this. Nobody should be writing terrible female characters and excusing men for telling each other ridiculous stories about who they think we are.

          This is not to say you can never have a female character who grieves because of childlessness or has lingering pain and trauma over assault. It just gets so, so tiring when the things that motivate our gender in fiction are always about either things men think are silly or things that tie us to men or define us by men.

          All that said, depressingly, having a badly written book is a lot more likely to doom your publishing opportunities than misogynistic text will. Sexist stuff gets published all the time, and even though plenty of editors (of multiple genders) are tired of it, there are also plenty who don’t even recognize it.

          Saturday, March 2, 2019

          Personal Digest Saturday: February 23 – March 1

          Life news this week:
          • Saturday Victor had stayed over and he stayed in the guestroom watching TV for a really long time while I took care of the cake mess from the night before, had two cups of coffee, and made pancakes. (When he finally came out, he said he'd thought I wouldn't be up yet, and though he heard the noise I was making in the kitchen, he believed it had been my neighbors.) So we got a kinda late start to our breakfast and video making, but we did get around to it; he and I recorded our consumption of Universal Yums food from Italy. I probably won't be able to process the video until I upgrade my computer though. After he left I just texted with my friends, worked on blogging, and argued with someone on eBay because they were selling merch with a fake autograph on it and wouldn't acknowledge it.
          • Sunday was pretty nice except that my washing machine broke. I tried to apply for an appliance repair company to help me and they never responded to me, so I just didn't do laundry. I sat outside at my patio table almost all day and was actually outside when someone hit a golf ball into my back yard only a few yards from me. Yikes. I made some silly GIFs and did some reading on my project that I'm supposed to send to my agent, but with a broken computer it's annoying.
          • Monday I was busy with a whirlwind of proposal stuff at work. After work I drew a funny picture for a friend's birthday. Cleaned up the kitchen from the madness scattered around.
          • Tuesday I had to work more on the same proposal thing. Then I met my friend Arthur and we ate Thai food and watched Twin Peaks. After he left I read my new eBay acquisition graphic novel, Pug Davis. I loved it!
          • Wednesday I got up super early to read a new Steven Universe comic and then went back to bed. I worked and it turned out they were cancelling the proposal I'd been working on so I looked at other stuff. I processed some papers for my mom for her health care. After work Jeaux and I went to Joe's Diner, comic shopping, and grocery shopping, and then we watched Miracle Workers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
          • Thursday I had to go to a work meeting in the morning with my co-worker. I hadn't been expecting breakfast but we got breakfast! Then after that I did a bunch of work stuff until my friends Meghan and Katelyn arrived to pick me up. We went back to my house so I could change and put away my stuff, and then we headed out to meet Jeaux and Victor at a restaurant. We ate pizza and went to see Welcome to Night Vale. It was great! Afterwards Meg and Katie stayed over.
          • Friday Meg and Katie took me to work and they went off to Disney. I was pretty busy all day with documenting upcoming projects and digging through a proposal. After work I had to rush through drawing my comics because I hadn't gotten to draw at all the night before! I got it done and went to bed early.
          New reviews of my book:

          • Sarah gave it a five-star review on Goodreads, relating especially to the part about how some aces growing up in ultra-religious cultures can be confused by "temptation" warnings.
          • Felicite Reads gave it a four-star review on Goodreads, calling it "pretty helpful."
          • GooseberryCompote gave it a three-star review on Goodreads, saying it's repetitive but the repetition is necessary.

          Interviews, Articles, Mentions:

          • The RationalWiki has an article on Asexuality that manages to define it incorrectly immediately. The "Studies" section mentions my book.
          • My book is recommended in a resources section on a page about traumatic brain injury, in a post called Sex in the Brain: Asexuality. Not sure what to think of this since it begins by talking about people who "suffer from asexuality," referring to it as loss of urges and calling it "anything but desirable." C'mon guys. Don't recommend my stuff as reference reading if you don't know not to do this.
          My diet progress: 

          • No good. I haven't really been very disciplined and as a result gained a pound instead of losing any. But that's OK!

          Reading progress:
            New singing performances:

            This week's karaoke song is "Crazy" by Patsy Cline.

            Stuff Drawn:

            Jasper eats Rocky Road ice cream
            (with real rocks in it)

            Webcomic So You Write Issue 93: "Another Explanation."

            Webcomic Negative One Issue 0720: "Easier On You."

            New videos:


            New photos:

            Universal Yums: Italy!
            Golf ball in my back yard.
            Golf ball collection is growing
            Two copies of the rare book Pug Davis.
            Deb (Meg) tells Cecil a secret
            Cecil Again
            Tameka (Symphony) with Cecil
            Cecil is skeptical

            Social Media Counts:

            YouTube subscribers: 5,245 for swankivy (5 new), 673 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 963 for swankivy (lost 2), 1,346 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Facebook: 295 friends (no change) and 207 followers (no change) for swankivy, 648 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 62 likes for Negative One (no change), 146 likes for So You Write (1 new). Tumblr followers: 2,513 (no change). Instagram followers: 173 (2 new).