Saturday, February 18, 2017

Personal Digest Saturday: February 11 – February 17

Life news this week: 

  • This week was the opposite of last week in that I didn't get ANY interviews! Haha. I did get a couple phone calls about potential interviews, but one never resulted in a follow-up and one was for a job that was wrong for me for a few reasons. But I did get one offer that I'm seriously considering and may accept next week as soon as I have a little more info.

  • Saturday involved blogging, drawing and inking the comic I've been planning for months, and applying for jobs. I also made a really cute post on Tumblr involving some character screenshots and the Internet LOVED it. I got a few hundred notes on it and enjoyed reading through them.

  • Sunday I woke up to THOUSANDS of notes on the character screenshot post. This sounds silly but it was very entertaining to see so many people excited about how cute it was. I started getting dozens of new followers because of the post, which made me think maybe I'd actually have an audience to care once I got around to posting this comic I'd been working on so painstakingly.

  • I spent Sunday doing music stuff like I usually do, and also some sketches--all fan art. I made a doodle to post when the blog hit 200 followers, and got to post it that night. And I did some job applications.

  • Monday my only "work" was going to the grocery store. I drew, talked to Mom on the phone, did job applications, and talked to my apartment complex manager about my noisy neighbors. (I've tried this before, but the previous manager did nothing. Maybe this new one will.)
  • Tuesday I did more job applications and got the one phone call about a job that isn't right for me. I colored and posted a Valentine's drawing featuring fanart. I finished up some edits on Bad Fairy 2, went to my mom's house to help her move a table and let her feed me (lentil soup left over from my sister's visit, plus corn), and FINALLY sent the manuscript to my agent.

  • Wednesday I got woken up by a telemarketer, hung around doing applications and drawing, organized my sock drawer, and met Jeaux for McAlister's grilled cheese. We chilled at my house and I did some sewing and some drawing, and he and I watched a recorded livestream of Kat Morris drawing. After he left I finally finished my inking for the comic I've been planning forever. It's 12 full pages.

  • Thursday I basically spent the whole day cleaning my fan comic up for the Internet. I learned an AWESOME new technique for making talk bubbles that really look like comics, though I want to use a better font next time. I drew an episode preview drawing for the next day's cartoon, wrote a storyboard for my webcomic, and talked to Victor on the phone while drawing the webcomic.

  • Friday I applied for jobs, processed my webcomic and posted it, and went to Jeaux's house for new Steven Universe and new Night Vale. Jeaux bought me french fries from PDQ so I ate them and hung out discussing the new episode for a bit until I went home. I did some more processing on the fan comic but decided I was afraid to post it on Tumblr for now so I just hid it on my website. I'll post it on Tumblr later.

  • I also got a job offer in my e-mail on Friday. It's for one of the places I interviewed last week and there are a lot of things I like about it but I want to make sure I don't decide too hastily. I have to consider benefits, location, whether I can do/will like the job, and the other positions that are in the works (especially one I qualified for after a long test). But I'll do some research in the coming week and make my decision soon.
    New reviews of my book:


    Interviews, Features, Mentions:
    Reading progress:
    • Finished this week: I just did a bunch of arting instead of reading. I will definitely read this coming week, though.
    • Currently reading: Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel.
      New singing performances:

      This week's performance was "Criminal" by Fiona Apple.



      New drawings: 

      Buckle up, there are a ton of them.

      Happy Eyes Garnet for my 200th follower, with partial digital coloring

      Valentine's Day with the Gems, say it with me now, awwww
       
      Episode doodle for "Storm in the Room," drawn in Prismacolors
      that my mom gave me for my holiday gift!
      If you would like to read the comic I planned for four months and spent an inordinate amount of my time on this week, you can do so if you click the image below. But please be advised that a) it contains significant spoilers for Steven Universe, so if you want to watch the show but never have, you don't want to look at this AT ALL!!; and b) I assure you it makes ABSOLUTELY ZERO SENSE to people who do not watch the show and just basically sounds like a bunch of raving gobbledygook? But if you like the show and are caught up, you will probably really like this vignette about Opal and Garnet having a chat at night on the beach.


      Disclaimers aside, please read "Vacation."  




      Webcomic Negative One Issue 0614: "Follow the Fantasy."






      New videos:

      My latest unlisted ukulele video is "The Hardest Part" by Coldplay.



      New photos:

      Snapshot of my doodle of Garnet that I did for hitting 200 followers on my side blog.
      Preparing for a feelsy Rose Quartz episode by wearing a Rose Quartz shirt


      And the haircut comparison photos (holy wow 3 years!):

      Front, February 2014
      Front, February 2017
      Back, February 2014
      Back, February 2017

      Social Media counts:
       
      YouTube subscribers: 5,294 for swankivy (lost 3), 616 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 848 for swankivy (lost 4), 1,319 for JulieSondra (lost 6). Facebook: 293 friends (no change) and 205 followers (no change) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 127 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,496 (lost 2). Instagram followers: 102 (lost 1).

      Wednesday, February 15, 2017

      Wednesday Factoid: Guns

      Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What is your relationship with guns?

      Uh, yikes, I gotta write about that?

      I don't have much to say on it honestly. I don't like guns. I have never shot a gun. Most gun enthusiasts say that people who oppose guns are just people who are ignorant about them, and I have to admit that's completely true in my case--I don't know anything about their use and I've heard enough horror stories about how much more likely a gun is to harm its owner than to protect said owner to be entirely discouraged from owning one. I don't even like to play video games or carnival games where I have to shoot them, and I don't like to watch movies where there is gun violence.

      What I will say is that I completely oppose the idea that "good guys with guns" are what stops bad guys with guns. People who are not white just having a gun or looking like they have a gun or being mistaken for having a gun have been shot dead, attacked, or punished even if they were legally allowed to have guns, while white people "open carrying" in a deliberately provocative way like they're waiting for someone to challenge them on it insist they are not a danger. Oh and of course "bad guys who don't follow the law are always going to have guns so why make stronger laws that will only restrict rule-following citizens?" is a myth. If you make it harder for people to get guns, criminals will have a harder time getting guns too, and that's been resoundingly demonstrated through the massively decreased violence in countries that respond to gun violence with regulation. You do not see mass shootings in countries that have these regulations. It literally almost never happens.

      In general I don't understand love affairs with weapons, though. I'm sure there's an aspect of it that's artistic that I don't really get, because I have no interest in swords or archery or other weapons either, but some people just can't get enough. It's . . . very much not my thing.

      Tuesday, February 14, 2017

      Valentine's Day

      Here's the video I made for Valentine's Day last year.


      This is an older letter from someone who contacted me when I was in my twenties urging me to change my ways and find a partner because I was going to be lonely and then it would be "too late."

      It's weird. I like Valentine's Day. Not just for the candy (but omg, yum) and not just for the excuse to have cheesy parties, but I like the idea that we have a set-aside day to celebrate our relationships, even though it's obviously been commercialized to the point that some people will consider you an ass if you DON'T do something special for your partner on that day. I like that we have a holiday for celebrating each other.

      What I don't like is how consistently our society attaches pity to singlehood.

      Being in a relationship is not the default for an adult.

      I'll say that again.

      Being in a relationship is not the default for an adult.

      Being in a relationship should be a choice you make--a choice because you love the partner(s), a choice because you like living your life in a partnership, a choice because this is your version of family, a choice because that's what naturally evolved between you and your partner(s) and at some point you made it official. It is obviously not the only way to live your adult life, but it's incredible how consistently being single is regarded as a temporary state that will be abandoned as soon as humanly possible, especially for women. I'm supposed to be desperate by this point, and I'm supposed to be very, very lonely.

      I don't need much social interaction in the first place, but when I do want or need it, I have a multitude of channels by which to access it. In other words, I have LOTS of friends (and family), and they make me incredibly happy when their company is what I'm looking for. I have been lucky, but I have also been conscientious about cultivating and maintaining these relationships. I worked hard at them sometimes, and sometimes there have been sacrifices involved, and it isn't just fun and games. Friendships aren't romance lite, and they're not substitutes. For someone like me who doesn't desire romance or a primary partner, they're also the only relationships I enter, and they're precious. 

      I sorta tried dating when I was younger and I didn't find there what everybody else seemed to, and opportunities to date have continued to present themselves. I've remained disinterested. And yet I'm still being told by literal strangers on the Internet (as well as by acquaintances whose reaction to me saying "I'm 39" and "I'm single" in the same conversation is horror and pity) that my "problem" is stubbornness or fear of intimacy or inability to find a mate and giving up.

      My friendships aren't physically intimate, but I've never heard someone argue that sex is the only "real" form of intimacy. You might be surprised at some of the things I've done and said to and with my friends--what I've been willing to do for them or how they've supported me in ways people might frame as romantic if they came from a romantic partner. (Actually, a couple of the things they've done HAVE been called out as proof that they feel romantically about me or are somehow pursuing romance with me without me noticing. Guess I wouldn't know; I'm just the one involved in it!) I know how to have an intimate relationship that's intimate on my terms. It's not a failure or a fake by virtue of its being non-romantic.

      It's very hard to celebrate love sometimes when it's packaged the way it is. But I don't feel bitterness over any aspect of it. I want people to love (on their terms) and I want them to do so without concluding that everyone's love needs to look like theirs to matter.

      Saturday, February 11, 2017

      Personal Digest Saturday: February 4 – February 10

      Life news this week: 
      • Well this week was truly weird because despite being unemployed, I was very busy--due to having an interview EVERY SINGLE WEEKDAY. Yeah let's get into that.
      • Saturday I spent most of the day trying to finish reading a book, and also talking to family on the phone.
      • Sunday was mostly a music day--did some karaoke and a new ukulele video but the editing on that took a long time so it took a chunk out of the day. Sent in some applications and also got through most (but not quite all) of my reread of Bad Fairy (which I am supposed to send to my agent).
      • Monday's interview: a phone interview with a health care consulting group. I don't know that I have the right background or skills for that one, but it seemed like it went all right. Kinda finished it up thinking they'd probably pick someone else though. I then went grocery shopping, made avocado sushi and cucumber sushi, and ate it. Later had burritos with Jeaux at Moe's.
      • Tuesday my mom took me to a preliminary interview at a company that's looking for candidates to place with one of their clients. That interview went very well although one of the people I was interviewing with was stuck in traffic so we conducted it on the speaker phone. I was told I was a likely finalist pick and I went out to breakfast afterwards with my mom. I took a nap at home, got up and drew some fan art, and that night I got a little nervous that none of the jobs I'm interviewing for will pick me so I started looking for more to apply to and found one for a lawyer's assistant that required a typing test. I took the test and sent in an application.
      • Wednesday morning I was awakened by the lawyer's office calling me. Initially, Wednesday was the only day I did not have an interview scheduled, but these guys wanted me to come in later that morning--they were impressed with the typing score. (I type pretty fast y'all.) My mom was busy with a doctor's appointment so I got a paid ride over and had the interview. They gave me a copyediting test there too. After, I took a nap, found out I've been asked to a second interview for the job from Tuesday's interview, and went out with Jeaux to buy comics and eat at Cheddar's. On the way there the lawyer called me and offered me a job. That was awfully quickly! I told him I'd need to think about it and wanted to consider the other options, so he gave me the info to send in my questions to help me with my decision. I typed up some questions and sent them that night. Jeaux and I listened to Night Vale and saw the first episode of the Series of Unfortunate Events miniseries on Netflix.
      • Thursday morning my mom picked me up for an interview at an engineer's office. On the way there I received an e-mail from the lawyer basically telling me they don't want to wait for my decision (because I said I'd need the weekend to think it over with the other things I'm considering) and they were moving on but thanks anyway. Well that was . . . uncomfortably fast. The whole thing. Wonder what the job itself woulda been like. (Probably a lot like that.) I had the engineering interview and the guy seemed nice (he was even someone I'd worked with marginally at my old job when we teamed together), but they only have part-time admin work and if I want full-time work I have to learn to be a designer (!!!) so I have to think about that. He's in no rush to fill the position and if I accepted I wouldn't start 'til March, so I have some time there. At home again I sent some mails to prospective roommates for Mom and worked on my webcomic. After that I talked to Victor.
      • Friday was my second interview for the client I did the preliminary interview with on Tuesday. I had to go way out to this high-security building where you need a badge to get in, and the guy who interviewed me was super nice and I liked him. Don't know if my background is appropriate or if I'm a good match for the job (especially since there is potential travel and I don't drive), but he seemed to not be thrown by that. It would be a job supporting some of the admin aspects of the food service technology at various sites for the client around the country. Sounds interesting! I could do it. I came home, posted my webcomic, made some banana bread from scratch, and took it to Jeaux's house for A NEW EPISODE OF STEVEN UNIVERSE because it has now moved to Fridays. We enjoyed the cartoon and I went home and did some more doodles and got some rest in.
        New reviews of my book:

        • Brad gave it a three-star review on Amazon, opining that it really needed an editor. (Hee. Don't worry, I had one at my publisher. I guess she disagreed with you about what should have been cut. It's fine to disagree!)

        Interviews, Features, Mentions:
        • Maybe Sex Just Isn't His Thing: Dan Savage's column Savage Love Letter of the Day asked me for "expert advice" in response to a letter from a potentially asexual man, and then they published my answer in addition to Savage's. His view on asexual people seems to have evolved but some readers took issue with some of his advice and wording. The Asexual Agenda also linked to the letter in the linkspam.
        • Everything's so much better when it's gay: Tumblr blogger luvtheheaven brought up a quote from some of my previously offered writing advice to counter someone who felt they were forced into making their writing diverse before concluding it's a waste of time. The post is . . . well, really something. My quote was used well.
        Reading progress:
        • Finished this week: No books, but I did slide in a five-star review for the latest Steven Universe comic (#1 of a new ongoing comic series).
        • Currently reading: Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel.
          New singing performances:

          This week's performance was "Army Dreamers" by Kate Bush.



          New drawings: 

          My fan art for the week's Steven Universe episode,
          "The New Crystal Gems," featuring Peridot, Lapis Lazuli,
          and Connie Maheswaran as the protectors of Beach City!
          Pretty sweet preliminary sketch of Garnet
          for one of my fan comics.



          Webcomic Negative One Issue 0613: "Teaching Them Respect."






          New videos:

          My latest unlisted ukulele video is "Both of You" from Steven Universe.



          New photos:

          My "hire me!" outfit before an interview.

          My "I'm ready to go out, really" photo.

          Social Media counts:
           
          YouTube subscribers: 5,297 for swankivy (lost 4), 614 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 852 for swankivy (lost 3), 1,325 for JulieSondra (lost 4). Facebook: 293 friends (lost 1, dunno who dumped me) and 205 followers (no change) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 127 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,498 (no change). Instagram followers: 103 (no change).

          Thursday, February 9, 2017

          Wednesday Factoid: Teaching

          Today's Wednesday Factoid (that I'm posting on Thursday because I forgot) is: Would you want to be a teacher?

          Pshh. A teacher? Me? Why would I ever want to do that?


          Oh um. Yeah. About that.

          I have an education degree. So "lol yeah right why would I be a teacher" does seem like a very odd thing to say.

          So, basically, my story is that I found out I'm not cut out to be a teacher by trying to be one. There were many aspects of it I liked, and most of those had specifically to do with what amazing freaking treasures these children were, but to be honest, teaching elementary school was at least half babysitting (especially down in first grade where I spent the first half of my internship). You still literally have kids wetting themselves and puking during reading circle at that point, so there's a huge amount of actual child care going into the process of teaching children that young.

          And I wasn't much bigger than my kids.
          I liked the children, but I was far more inclined to be their friend than be their boss, so to speak. I found classroom management very challenging (not in a way I liked), and though I was very good at lesson plans, I didn't enjoy making them and I didn't enjoy executing them. Teaching involved long hours and intense levels of attention and planning, and I could already tell that during my internship, to say nothing of being on my own as an actual teacher.

          Basically, since on top of all that teaching is a very low-paying position in this country, I felt like it should be something you only do if you love it. You certainly can't be in it for the money, so you'd better enjoy yourself, and I was not. I thought I kind of owed it to the students NOT to be one of the people teaching them if I was not there because I loved it.

          I have no doubt that I could have done it. But it just wasn't my scene, at least as a classroom teacher in the public school system.

          I have since become an educator in other ways. I have given guest lectures at colleges, created educational videos, and provided an awful lot of technology tutoring and mentoring for up-and-coming writers. I'm patient, and when I'm knowledgeable about my subject I'm extremely free with that knowledge, willing to spend my own time and energy to help someone who wants to learn. But I don't want to do it as a job, and I'd rather be in complete control of who I teach, and when, and what.

              

          Monday, February 6, 2017

          Disposable income

          I've had it pretty good the last decade or so. I was able to work part time (less than 30 hours) and still make ends meet because my job paid me nicely, and since I live a pretty frugal life I haven't had to struggle. I lack the expenses some folks in my situation usually have (no car payments or associated fees, for instance, and I don't have dependents or pets). And because of both occasional windfall and the checks that come in from my writing, I have a little disposable income.

          Which I mostly use to buy toys and silly things, but sometimes I use it to buy new clothes or unnecessary-but-fun accessories, or to donate to charities/causes, or to get BOOKS, or to go on vacation.

          Now that I'm officially between jobs, I can't trust that I will continue to have a disposable income, at least for a while. I got a nice severance package and payout from my unused vacation days, but I'm pretending it isn't there since I'll have to live on it if I don't get a job right away. (I have multiple interviews this week so I'm hoping at least one will shake out into a job offer.) Once I do get a job, assuming it's soon, I'll be able to treat that package like a little bonus: probably save most of it, but use it to do some things I've been putting off. Here's my shopping list for when that day comes:
          • Some new work clothes
          • A pair of jeans
          • A couple clothing items for my mom, if she'll let me buy her stuff
          • Marker refills for my Copic set
          • Steven Universe Pop toys when they come out in March
          • Animaniacs Pop toys that are already out
          • Some shelves for all the damn toys in my room
          • A SingSnap membership for my friend Paul who's losing his soon
          • A belated birthday gift for Meggie
          • An upgraded ukulele
          • Perhaps an up-to-date computer with up-to-date video editing software
          There are also a couple necessaries like paying off my credit card from the holidays (I could do it, but elected not to in case I have to stretch what I have; I'm just making small payments), paying taxes, and possibly getting a new phone or paying for repairs on mine because it has been rebooting itself at weird times and farting here and there and getting low on battery sooner than it should.

          And maybe I'll get some weird candy or something. But that's about it.

          It's a little weird to put aside stuff I would ordinarily just buy when I wanted it, but I'm not upset about it. This is the kind of thing I was privileged to enjoy when it was available to me, not something I just expected. I was always grateful for it--grateful for not having to worry about what purchases like this would do to my wallet, for the most part. I'm being cautious now because I no longer have a guaranteed income until I secure employment, and I'm not gonna be salty about it if it takes longer than I thought and I have to go without fun things for longer (the way I did the entire time I was working the bookstore job for six years, ya know). I'll deal.

          And I'll be grateful again if I get back to having a disposable income. Looking forward to those markers. :)

          Saturday, February 4, 2017

          Personal Digest Saturday: January 28 – February 3

          Life news this week: 
          • As you might imagine this was a weird week, being the week I had my last days at my job where I've been working for more than ten years!
          • Saturday I spent mostly processing the stuff I inherited from the office move, most notably a computer that I had to hook up and add to the stuff in my office (because I'm using it in addition to, not instead of, my existing computer). I also rooted out some stuff for donation 'cause I guess I'm in a purging mood, and I did some job applications and some blogging.
          • Sunday I did some roommate stuff for Mom, learned a song on ukulele, did karaoke online, and made a writing video. Did some laundry and some drawings too.
          • Monday I had a glitch with bringing my stuff to the donation truck: it wasn't there. So I had to take my stuff home again and then go to work and it made me late on my next-to-last day. I helped with a little more unpacking at the temp office space and did some actual work on a report and updated some e-mail signatures and business cards too. Then I went grocery shopping, came home, and drew some pictures. A new Steven Universe episode was on so I made art about it.
          • Tuesday was my last day at the office and there's not a lot to say. I wrapped up some things, had my exit interview and signed a release accepting my severance package, and also had a phone interview with a potential new job. My boss got me a pie and we all ate it together before I left for the last time as an employee. Waaah! My mom came over to drink wine with me, and I drew some pictures. The next episode in the Steven Universe marathon was on so I made more art. Oh, and I managed to find a different place to donate the stuff I couldn't donate on Monday.
          • Wednesday was my first day being officially unemployed and it began with my being awakened by the FedEx guy delivering my severance money. Hot damn! I paid bills, washed dishes and cleaned up, and finished a drawing. Then went to meet Jeaux at IHOP where I got free pancakes. Then Jeaux helped me install video editing software on the new computer and it works! Hopefully I'll be able to edit my videos more easily now.
          • Thursday I lounged around drinking coffee and took a clerical test online that I'd been invited to complete for a job position. I passed the test. Then I processed a video that Meggie and I had made when she visited last month, and I redecorated for late winter. I got a phone call from another engineering company similar to the one where I worked all those years, and they have a position open for someone like me so I arranged an interview for it for next week. Yay! Then I chatted with Victor on the phone while doing my webcomic drawings.
          • Friday was nice and chill. Did some more job stuff, started trying to clean out my e-mail that I've been ignoring (I'm working on it, guys!), got some reading in, and processed my webcomic. I got my video subtitled and posted, too. Everything's pretty good considering I don't have a job.

            Interviews, Features, Mentions:

            Reading progress:
              New singing performances:

              This week's performance was "China" by Tori Amos.



              New drawings: 

              Fanart inspired by the SU episode "Steven's Dream."
              Fanart inspired by the SU episode "Gem Heist."
              Fanart inspired by the SU episode "The Zoo."
              Fanart inspired by the SU episode "That Will Be All."


              Webcomic Negative One Issue 0612: "The Problem Child."






              New videos:

              A new video on my writing channel is about Finding Your Character Voice.

              A new video on my asexuality channel gives you a chance to Meet Meggie as we talk about friendship, asexual-spectrum stuff, and Cookie Cats. 


              My latest unlisted ukulele video is "Glad You Came" by The Wanted.



              New photos:

              "Haven't brushed my hair yet today because I am a bum" hair.
              Trying to eat the goodbye pie with giant forks.
              Jerry is bravely cutting the goodbye pie.
              Me with my pie on my last day. :(

              Social Media counts:
               
              YouTube subscribers: 5,301 for swankivy (lost 6), 614 for JulieSondra (no change). Twitter followers: 855 for swankivy (lost 1), 1,329 for JulieSondra (no change). Facebook: 294 friends (no change) and 205 followers (1 new) for swankivy, 652 likes for JulieSondra (no change), 55 likes for Negative One (no change), 127 likes for So You Write (no change). Tumblr followers: 2,498 (lost 1). Instagram followers: 103 (1 new).

              Wednesday, February 1, 2017

              Wednesday Factoid: Memorable Mail

              Today's Wednesday Factoid is: What's the most memorable thing you ever got in the mail?

              Well my life has certainly been full of memorable mail so this is a tough one but I'll say my first All-State Chorus tape.

              I was really obsessed with my high school chorus life. I'd been in a dinky elementary school chorus when I was a kid but I didn't start chorus until ninth grade and I was immediately treated like a weird prodigy because of some musicianship scores I got while trying out for All-State chorus. (I got the best scores in my school for the 9th/10th grade division.) I was kind of bamboozled by the concept of being good at something, and I liked singing a lot and wanted to make a life out of it, so being chosen for All-State Chorus was amazing. I got to perform with a group of the best and brightest from the whole state, and that was a really big difference from performing in regular high school groups.

              So when I heard they were making a recording of our concert and we could purchase a tape of it, I was thrilled of course. I ordered one with my family but in those days such things were FAR from instantaneous and I would have to wait to receive my audio tape in the mail. I was totally obsessed with when it would come so I could hear our concert, and I tried to predict when it would arrive, and I called one of the event organizers to see if they knew anything. I mean I was like super fixated on this.

              So of course when it actually did arrive I was thrilled, and I listened to it a bunch of times and obnoxiously made other people listen to it. The other side of the tape was another division of All-State Chorus and I listened to that and got familiar with their music too. I sent a copy to my grandparents. It was like this really big deal to me. Like magic or something, to have a professional recording of something I'd been part of.

              I continued to compete and be chosen for All-State Chorus all four years of high school and I ordered a tape every year, but none was so memorable as receiving that first one. :D