Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday Factoid: Far from Home

Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What's the farthest you've ever been from home?

Definitely when I went to Japan in 2003.

My sister was living there and at the time she was teaching English. She invited my mom and me to come see her in Japan, so we got to check out her neighborhood, go shopping, enjoy real Japanese food and karaoke, try out an onsen (the hot springs), take sticker pictures, go to her school and get interviewed by her students, visit a few different shrines, and of course . . . ride the train a lot.





















Monday, April 16, 2018

Noise

JUST A RANDOM PET PEEVE FOR YOU TODAY

Why do so many people insist on making noise and doing it in places and situations where others have to listen to their noise?

What is it about FORCING YOUR NOISE ON OTHERS that makes it more enjoyable?

There is no way that the volume most people blast their noise at is necessary for them to hear it or to enjoy it. There is no way that whatever pleasure they get from having their music vibrate the walls could be worth the irritation they cause others, unless of course they're A BUNCH OF SELFISH JACKASSES who actually don't care at all if they annoy others and/or don't give a passing thought to the comfort of other people in their everyday lives.

This is just baffling to me honestly. People just moving through life aggressively unaware of how their habits affect other people. I mean, y'all know I moved out of my previous apartment because the people upstairs were so consistently inconsiderate that my daily life became unlivable. And my apartment management did not think it was important enough to address with more than a single wimpy unspecific note on their door; this boosted my suspicion that the management I discussed it with were similar to my neighbors in that they honestly don't think it should be a big deal to live with excessive noise that you cannot sleep through or get away from. These are the types of people who believe you are the problem for being annoyed instead of the people being inconsiderate being, well, inconsiderate.

And the thing is . . . THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS FOR PEOPLE TO STILL ENJOY THE THINGS THEY WANT TO ENJOY WITHOUT INFLICTING IT ON OTHERS. Wear headphones if you just must catch up on the sports scores while sharing close quarters with someone else! Wear headphones when you want to watch that video on the bus! Speak on the phone quietly and not on friggin' speaker phone when you're in public! Close your garage door or lower your volume if you really must listen to the country station while you sit in your yard drinking! Don't ever jack your music up in your car or your home to the point that the walls shake BECAUSE MAYBE SOMEONE ELSE DOESN'T WANT TO BE FORCED TO LISTEN TO YOUR MUSIC! I don't care if you think it's good! But behave as if you share space with other humans and show them some common freakin' courtesy.

I'm just really sick of having other people's LOUD entertainment inflicted on me and then either being ignored or treated as rude if I ask them to stop!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Personal Digest Saturday: April 7 – April 13

Life news this week:
  • Saturday I slept late and had coffee in the morning, and then my friend Kari came over for a Steven Universe marathon. We got pizza and watched 18 episodes in a row. After she left, I made Lion Lickers, which is a frozen dessert inspired by the show.
  • Sunday I talked to Jessie on the phone and bought my tickets for airline travel and hotel stay for her wedding! Then I got some donuts with Jeaux and gave him some boxes so he could use them for moving, and at night I made fry bits and fire salt donuts for a party the next day.
  • Monday at work was pretty typical--we sent out one letter to the DOT, and kinda abandoned work on another because my boss thought we didn't have much of a chance to win the work. I went home and got ready for the party, and Jeaux picked me up. We went to St. Pete Beach to my friend Iri's house and had a Steven Universe party in honor of the airing of a new episode. (It wasn't new to us though because it was pre-released on the network's app a few weeks ago.) Enjoyed meeting their friends and hanging out. Jeaux and I ate at IHOP on the way home and I crashed.
  • Tuesday was a rainy day and at work I couldn't get some of my stuff done because I didn't have a file I was promised, so my work had to get moved to the next day. :p I got a ride home and I made a Dog-Nut. I took a nap and slept too much, then got up and spent a few hours playing around online and finishing a drawing.
  • Wednesday I didn't see Jeaux because he was busy moving! I worked on the project I now had the file for all day, and then after work I went to my mom's just to hang out. Nothing eventful but I got some drawings done.
  • Thursday I spent some time on downloading pictures for my boss and preparing some letter stuff. I forgot my wallet at home so I had to take Lyft to and from work. Came home, made a Nut-Dog, and drew my webcomic while talking to Victor. I posted my webcomic before I went to bed because I had a concert the next day.
  • Friday I worked like usual, then went home and got ready to go out. I took Lyft to the Straz and met up with my old friend Steven whom I have not seen in eighteen years. He had invited me to take his extra ticket to go see Randy Rainbow, with whom I was unfamiliar, but it was pretty funny--the guy does parodies of popular songs or show tunes and they all make fun of Trump. Steven and I got to catch up a little over Taco Bus and then he took me home and he went back to Orlando. Hooray.

Reading progress:
  • Finished this week: Nothing! I rode the bus really rarely this week because of getting rides home, forgetting my wallet, and rain.
  • Currently readingStill Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins.
    New singing performances:

    This week's song was "New York City" by They Might Be Giants.



    Stuff Drawn:


    The real story on why Garnet now wears oven mitts for baking
    even though she has enough heat tolerance to swim in lava







    Webcomic Negative One Issue 0674: "Foreign Dimensions."






    New videos:

    None. 

    New photos:


    Lion enjoys a Lion Licker
    I enjoy a Lion Licker
    Fry Bits in cups from Beach Citywalk Fries (actually homemade by me)
    Iri, host of the Steven Universe party
    Jeaux and me with our fry bits at the SU party
    Xander enjoying one of my donuts
    Matt enjoying one of my donuts
    Strech enjoying one of my donuts
    Adults having a cartoon-watching party, that's the best
    Watching cartoons, comfortably
    The Fire Salt donuts I brought!
    My rather sad drooping Dog-Nut
    Delicious Dog-Nut!
    It was actually REALLY good!
    Went to see Randy Rainbow
    Haven't seen Steven in 18 years! But we had a blast!


    Social Media Counts:

    YouTube subscribers: 5,285 for swankivy (6 new), 666 for JulieSondra (3 new). Twitter followers: 913 for swankivy (1 new), 1,319 for JulieSondra (4 new). Facebook: 293 friends (lost 1 and don't know who, hope it was no one important) and 204 followers (no change) for swankivy, 655 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 125 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,507 (7 new). Instagram followers: 140 (1 new).

    Wednesday, April 11, 2018

    Wednesday Factoid: Emoji

    Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What emoji do you use most often? Do you have a favorite emoji?

    I think when I'm just typing typically without fancy emoji on my phone, I simply type :) or :D the most, though I am also a fan of <3. But when I look at my most recently used emoji menu, I see the cry-laugh reaction at the top of the list.


    Hmm. So the sideways cry-laugh, the blushing smile, the half smile, the huge smile, the upset face, the "lol ok" face, the small happy face, the medium happy face, the love react, the relief face, the angry react, the "ugh wtf" face, and the heart are definitely common "vocabulary" for me. But a few of these are uncommon and just happened to be recent, especially the lion, the hot dog, the snowflake, the sleeping face, and the nail-painting. I put the hot dog in there just because I made a veggie dog concoction that involved donuts, so I used the hot dog emoji as a bullet for my ingredients.

    The strong-arm is from when I was muscling through something last week. The sad cat was me telling a party host that I would have to take allergy medication for me to come to their house since they have cats. 

    And of course there's a music note. Who do you think I am?

    Monday, April 9, 2018

    Finding Friends as an Adult

    Today I'm going to a Steven Universe party with other adults who like Steven Universe. We're gonna watch cartoons and eat food inspired by the show.


    I'm bringing Fire Salt Donuts!

    I've mentioned my plans to others and many of them are like "UGH I WISH I HAD FRIENDS WHO DID THIS KIND OF THING." And less specifically, some of them say they wish they had groups of friends at all.

    How do you make friends as an adult?

    I get this question a lot from other people my age. Many of my contemporaries complain about not really having any friends outside their romantic partner and their workplace (and the workplace friends are often just kind of friends of convenience that you get a drink with after work rather than hang out with over common interests). Unless you still have friends you kept in touch with from when you were in school, many adults just pretty much lose the ability to make new friends, and they become sort of lonely or frustrated.

    I don't have this problem at all.

    My response to this question of how to make friends as an adult is in two parts.

    Part One: Some have noticed that I tend to keep friends for a long time. My oldest close friends are from 1994, 1996, and 2000 respectively. Two of them were not local for the majority of our friendship. What makes it work?

    The obvious: communication.

    What is a friend, to you? Is it someone to do things with, or is it a person you maintain a connection with? Ideally it's both, but some of my closest friends are people I don't see often. If long-distance friendships aren't giving you what you want out of a friendship, I'm kinda sorry to hear that since mine are so fulfilling, but you've got to figure out what you want out of a friendship if you want to learn from there how to maintain them. Maintaining friendships often requires a person to take initiative; you can't just keep expecting to automatically see the person at church or expecting them to invite you. Decide what your ideal is when it comes to that friendship, and then engage the person you want to keep in contact with. Find out what kind of communication they like and then use that--text them sometimes even if you don't want to do anything, give them a call to chat, invite them to things you're doing, ask them if they want to go eat or see a movie. Keep in touch--don't just let months go by without talking to someone and then expect them to be ready to jump in with friend activities whenever you want that.

    This is obviously easier said than done because most of us have busy lives, and sometimes that's difficult to coordinate with other people who have busy lives. It's especially difficult if, say, the other person has a demanding career, relationships and/or children, or is always involved in time-consuming projects that preclude regular contact. But if the person's schedule just doesn't have room for you--or you're feeling like they're pushing you away--then that's not going to be a good friend for you. It's okay if your relationship gets sort of downgraded--that's valuable too, even if it isn't what you ideally want--but when the other person can't accommodate how you want to friend, or doesn't want to, then you can't force it.

    So if you want that longstanding connection to stay a friend, reach out, and make yourself available too.

    Part Two: Common interests.

    In addition to keeping old friends, you'll want to meet new friends. If no one in your existing network is inviting you to things you want to do and you just feel like nobody interesting is talking to you, focus on one of your interests and see what's out there.

    This is easier than you think. You can meet people at activist meetings you hear about from joining Facebook groups about causes you support. You can meet people taking a class (even free ones!) at a local art store or cooking school or gardening club. You can meet people at a book club or writing workshop. See what's on the library's event list. Look at the posted events at a cafe and see if anyone's doing open mic nights or live music you might be into. Check out signs at the gym or the YMCA or a yoga group to see if anyone's organizing a just-for-fun kickball league or a hiking club. See if there's a knitting group posted at your craft store; look at what's available at the music store for groups of people to learn an instrument together; see if there's a local event surrounding theater or movies that you might be into. Maybe you want to find other people into tabletop games or video games you like; sometimes game stores have tournaments or events. If you have kids, you can sometimes meet other parents at your kids' lessons or preschools or just in a park. If you're part of an identity group that's less common and you want to connect with others like yourself, find out if that demographic has a local group and a website; you'd be surprised what's out there. And if it seems like one of your friends is going to a lot of stuff you wish you were invited to, ask to be included or find out if your area has something similar. Meetup.com actually has some great options for if you sign up with your own interests, and it's free to be a member. (It's not free to start a group, but you can do that too if you feel it's worth spending the money.) Listen to local-interest podcasts to find stuff you might not know about. Internet-searching an interest and your city can come back with an amazing list of groups or events you can try.

    This might seem kinda cheesy at first glance, because some people turn their noses up at intentionally joining a group or taking a class to find friends. But how did you find friends when you were younger? Well, you kinda got forced together through an accident of proximity, didn't you. And if you made college friends, you probably made friends with them at least in the context of being in the same major or educational focus. You had something in common but it might not have been much, and if you're in a situation where nobody's left from those days, maybe it's because there was nothing to do together or talk about anymore. Joining an interest-based club can fix this.

    My best friend since high school is someone I've kept in my life since then and we do have common interests. My friend that I met in 1996 was an Internet friend who has some overlapping interests. My 2000 friend was initially an Internet friend too, and we initially connected over common interests. All of them have a rapport with me beyond that, but it started with us having something to talk about.

    My wider friend group consists of people I met through anime interests, OKCupid meetups, writing connections, and activism. The party I'm going to today is being thrown by someone I don't know very well whom I met through attendance at Queer Brunch, and I found out about Queer Brunch because I got invited by a friend I initially met online through Facebook. My Drink and Draw group is run by a guy I met at an OKCupid meetup. Many of my friends there are people from that group or friends of friends. Some of my connections have been accidents, but some of them are also pretty intentional.

    The important part of this is to not just sit back and expect friends to find you. That can happen, but you can also find them--and when you do the looking and choosing, sometimes the results are worth it.


    We have this cultural myth in our society that all we need is our romantic partner and our family to be happy; that you're supposed to be satisfied with that and your work, and that any other relationships you have are just kind of . . . fluffy, unnecessary, peripheral. If you're happy that way, okay, great! But many people are not, and they also don't know what the problem is because they're taught they shouldn't have those needs. But friendships are great, and they also make romantic partnership more satisfying because you're not sitting there expecting to have all your social needs fulfilled by your partner(s). If it makes you feel kinda nostalgic for your high school or college days whenever you see your peers enjoying activities with their friends, it's probably because you have a need that isn't being met. 

    That said? Not everyone needs a ton of friends or "people to do stuff with." Especially when we're younger, we get pressured to be VERY social, and we also get shamed for being "pathetic" if we don't have, like, pals to go get trashed with on the weekend. It's weird how the expectation changes as we become mature adults, but I'm not writing this to say all adults need active social lives to be happy. I actually wish I had less of a social life even though the people I connect with make me very happy and are important to me. I'm not a "people person" and I'd rather spend MORE time alone than I do. But it really is nice to know those people are there if I do want or need a distraction or a connection or a fun time. And I'm happy to be there for them too.

    Saturday, April 7, 2018

    Personal Digest Saturday: March 31 – April 6

    Life news this week:
    • Saturday I just paid bills, posted some art online, and did some laundry, plus cleaning up around the house a bit.
    • Sunday I went to a Waffle Fest at Queer Brunch. Yasmin and Arthur drove me there and we all ate lots of waffles and enjoyed ourselves. Did some laundry, talked to my dad on the phone, and drew a comic featuring Rhodonite and Garnet because they're cute and could be sisters.
    • Monday we did an important letter at work. I was in a good mood for some reason. Went home and made Mama Sadie lunch, which really didn't have much intense work involved except that I had to make sugar cookies and icing from scratch. Whee. My sink was backing up and draining slowly, so that was crap.
    • Tuesday I talked to my mom and she was very sick (again) but sorta getting better. I worked and then after work I asked if she wanted me to come over but she said no. I helped her remotely with some files she didn't know how to download.
    • Wednesday I worked a half day because the plumber came to my house and fixed my sink. I went to work in the afternoon and did some database stuff before Jeaux came and took me to an Italian restaurant called CDB. We chatted and I gave him some boxes he needed for his upcoming move! And we shopped at Target and listened to Night Vale.
    • Thursday was pretty crappy--I worked a full day, then had to go to my mom's to help her scan documents and it took a long time. Some people just aren't computer people, and when you are one, you're tech support. :D She seems to be feeling at least a little better and actually was able to eat some sherbet. I went home after that and finished my webcomic. I thought I had to finish and post it the same night because I was going to a concert the next day after work, but I forgot the concert is actually next week.
    • Friday I went to work on no sleep and helped with letters and marketing. Since the concert wasn't 'til next week and I was already done with my webcomic, I got to take a nap! Then I called Meghan and caught up with her while drawing fan art. :)

    Reading progress:
      New singing performances:

      This week's song was "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen.



      Stuff Drawn:


      This links to a ten-panel comic about these two cuties:
      It's called "Sisters" and stars Garnet and Rhodonite!






      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0673: "Say Sorry."






      New videos:

      None. 

      New photos:


      All the photos from Queer Brunch Waffle Fest:







      Mama Sadie Lunch
      Lion likes to have cookies with me

      Social Media Counts:

      YouTube subscribers: 5,279 for swankivy (3 new), 663 for JulieSondra (lost 1). Twitter followers: 912 for swankivy (no change), 1,315 for JulieSondra (lost 2). Facebook: 294 friends (no change) and 204 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 655 likes for JulieSondra (lost 3), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 125 likes for So You Write (lost 1). Tumblr followers: 2,500 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 139 (no change).

      Wednesday, April 4, 2018

      Wednesday Factoid: Worst Job

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What's the worst job you've ever had?

      Worst job. Definitely can say the worst job I ever had was the one I quit after two days. I had a very brief stint as a telemarketer when I was in college.

      I had been working at an ice cream parlor for my summer job and I got fired because I overslept one day. (Yep, immediately fired on my first offense, even though I'd never missed work or been late before that.) My parents had told me they didn't want me to work while I was taking classes because they wanted me to focus on school, so they paid my rent while I was. But if I wasn't taking classes--which I wasn't that first summer--I had to get a job. Losing that job meant I had to get another one quick.

      I answered an ad in the paper and of course the person who called me back was a smooth-talking fool who complimented my speaking voice during the phone interview and said he was surprised to hear I hadn't worked in broadcasting. He called me and some others in for an interview but basically told us we were hired already, and then explained that the job was teeeeeechnically telemarketing but totally wasn't if you look at it differently. You know, you're just selling people things on the phone. But it's stuff they'd probably buy anyway, and it's for a good cause (paralyzed veterans!) so it's definitely different, right?

      I was disappointed but decided to try it since I needed the money. I won't go into detail because you can probably imagine, but yeah, we just had to call people and give them the pitch and if they agreed to buy anything we'd get our manager to close the sale. I managed to sell a flagpole to a redneck. Later the boss was impressed because I hadn't yet learned to identify the symbols on the phone lists that should have allowed me to cherry-pick homeowners to call, and my sale hadn't been a homeowner.

      Then I found out I had to meet some kind of minimum to get paid, and they could get away with that because they were a nonprofit or something? I don't remember. Even with all the polish on that tongue, the boss couldn't make that sound good, and I quit.

      People said some completely indefensible things on the phone. Had a guy shame me and scold me for not saying his name right. Had a lady interrupt me after reading a goofy scripted joke about how they should buy our stuff instead of making K-mart rich, sneering that she WORKED at K-mart so BAD CHOICE. Had a dude ask for my name and then say he was going to look me up and make sure he called me at home while *I'M* trying to eat my dinner. C'mon dude. Very, very few people who do telemarketing jobs are doing it because they love to bother and hurt YOU. Even if you don't want what they're selling, be a nice person.

      That was such a short-lived job that it didn't really have time to get terrible, but I guess since I quit after it was intolerable after not even a full two days, it's got to be the worst. I would say some aspects of my bookstore job were horrible, and later some aspects of working with an unreasonable project manager at my last administrative job were horrible, but overall being a telemarketer wins.