Just a quick note to help me remember my dreams from last night. I'm back to not remembering them most of the time, and I want to start recalling them. Time to start writing them down again.

In the first portion of my dreams from last night that I recall, I was at a very large party filled with people. The setting was some large space - like a gymnasium or something similar. Very tall as well as wide.

The party was a sort of double masquerade. Everyone was role playing as a Batman villain, but the idea was not to be overt about it. Not to wear their costume outright. Then, through how they acted/talked, you tried to figure out who they were.

Except I was Batman. I remember feeling VERY tall as I walked around the room. I was talking to people in a very 'Bruce' fashion. Curt, polite, but no frivolity. It was confusing the hell out of people.

It just goes to show the weirdness of dreams. If Batman was an option? Pretty sure I wouldn't be the only person playing him.

As the dream went on, I found things getting a bit more 'real'. Which is to say that people were sorta taking on their roles more realistically. Less a masquerade. They weren't the characters they were playing, but instead simply behaved more like them and it was less 'acting'.

I found myself talking to Jerry Springer. Yup. Jerry Springer.

Pretty sure I've never watched a full episode of his show, but somehow he gets a guest spot in this awesome dream.

Anyway, Jerry was stuck up on this tiny stand. It was enough to stand on, but not much more. Maybe 3'x2'. He was crouched and his fingers were wrapped around the edges of the platform in the way that they would be if he was holding it to the bottom of his feet. I have no idea how/why he was stuck this way, but he was.

Someone tried to lower the platform, which would have pinched/severed Jerry's fingers, so I moved beneith it and held it up with my shoulder. I wasn't Batman anymore - just me - a decent human being. The unknown villain kept trying. They were trying to hurt Jerry - it wasn't any kind of an accident.

When they grew frustrated because I wouldn't let the platform come down on his fingers, they reversed the direction, and sent the platform up into the air. I, of course, wrapped my arms around the platform in an attempt to hold the platform down.

It didn't work, and Jerry and I lifted really high into the air. As some of you may know, I have a terrible fear of manmade heights, and I was hanging on with just my arms, which were growing terribly tired. It was really terrifying.

We were eventually lowered again, when our assailant grew tired of us not falling/dying/screaming/whatever.

I immediately launched myself at them. They danced away from the controls to the platform and played innocent.

While I was confronting them, someone else went over near the platform and smashed my Wacom or iPad (not sure which it was - in the dream it was my 'digital tablet') in an effort to hurt me for interfering. It worked. With all the artwork and effort I've put into these devices, I was was really upset as I tried to play it off as 'no big deal' and cleaned up the shards of the device.

And that's about where it ended.

Weird dreams ftw.

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7/18 '17 7 Comments
Dude, I want your dream life.
Thomas Boutell 7/18 '17
Right? It was pretty solidly stressful (I couldn't seem to 'gain traction' fighting the folks who were trying to Do Wrong.) but at least it was really damn interesting.
I want Matt's dream life too.
Would have been better if I had been able to get a leg up on those attacking, but I'm not going to lie - I remember feeling like a complete badass for just accomplishing what I did.
I can't wait to read what the Dream Analyzer People of OPW have to say about this.

I'm sorry people were being mean to you, even if it was just a dream. That's not gud.
I dunno. In last night's dream it was me who did a *really terrible holy shit* thing. That wigs me out way more than people being mean to me in a dream.
Thomas Boutell 7/18 '17
So, here's my armchair analysis.

You're aware that everyone casts themselves as the hero in their own story, even when they're supposed to be casual about the whole thing. You're aware that you do it too. You feel like you get called into service to help others, and you're willing to do it. Unfortunately, the reward doesn't match the risk you take, and sometimes it comes back to bite you in the ass when others don't respect your values (as evidenced by the broken tablet), But you play it off like it's no big deal because you want to be the good guy, even if it's an infringement on your needs and values.

#notapsychologist
#Imjusthereforthemetaphor
 

Attractive woman about my age and covered in tattoos smacks on my window a couple of times and is shouting something. (I'm parked at a gas station after a bathroom break.)

The following probably all happened in less than 10 seconds time:
1. Woman tells me - "Help! My Mother is choking"
2. I note the very large woman choking and leaning into her open shotgun door to the SUV next to me. I know I already mentioned it, but I'm going to again - she is VERY large.
3. I note the motley assortment of folks in the group - a wide range of folks (3 or more) with different styles and appearances. And none of them are doing anything to help.
4. I immediately suspect I'm about to be mugged.
5. I back myself into the jam of my car door to provide myself some cover and scan the area.
6. When none of their body languages change (and I've scanned behind and around me and there is no one else in immediate activity distance) I check back on the large woman.
7. I'm immediately relieved on almost all levels when she chokes out something to the effect of "I got it... all out..."
8. I wait and watch.

Once the woman recovers a bit, and we are all breathing a sigh of relief, we all start doing that nervous chatter thing people do when something like this winds up a bunch of strangers.

The daughter explains that she doesn't know the Heimlich.

The poor choking woman is embarrassed as hell.

Everyone piles back into the SUV and they leave.

My take away? Jesus, I'm fucking paranoid.

(X-posted to Facebook, but wanted this here for my own record.)

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7/6 '17 4 Comments
You did the right thing. I'd be shocked if someone is gonna choose a 6'3" guy to jump, but you do have a fancy vehicle.

Very happy it worked out and everyone's OK!
And I was seated inside the vehicle, so my size wouldn't have played a part.

But yeah. In the end, I guess it's not a bad thing that I was cautious. Just feels a little goofy looking back on it. Like overkill.
Sometimes you have a chance to trust the moment and save the day. Sometimes not so much. The former totally makes up for the latter.
You speak the Truth sir. Well said.
 

*The Fourth

Had a great Fourth of July. I'm staying with some life long friends in Olympia, WA. Helped Margaret build a trellace structure out in front of the house. We got the hard part done, and I'll come back for another visit to finish the cross pieces. Felt like a solid victory, and they're delighted. Check that box for "I kicked ass today."

Their kid continues to be about as adorable as they come, and she loves her Uncle Matt. It's pretty fantastic. We've reached that state where her parents can ask her to do something, she'll say no (she's 3) and I'll say "Well, _I'm_ going to do [the thing the parents are asking her to do]..." and she will suddenly change her mind and proclaim that SHE is going to do [the thing that the parents want her to do]. Hey - I'm using my powers for Good. So far.

We grilled out - corn on the cob and veggie burger patties. Maybe my first time doing something like that for the 4th, and it was just fine by me.

Now I'm sitting and writing this while sipping some Jack Daniel's. There's a beautiful pup next to me. She's wearing her thunder shirt, and her doggy Xanax has worn off (she's a bit of an extreme case of high anxiety). She pressed herself up against me once the fireworks started, and any time I get up to drink, pee, or whatever, she's right at my side. Poor thing. She seems to be a micro dot more relaxed beside me, but I wish I could do something more for her.

* Work

I'm supposed to be finding a place to live. For $1500. For 3-6 months. In Seattle. With 30mb UPstream internet access.

I feel like this isn't very realistic. I'm looking into AirBnBs. I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll find someone I can convince to work with me since I will be there for a _long_ stay by hotel standards. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. This won't be easy.

* Break

So I'm going on break next week (starting July 11th). I'm not sure yet if I'm headed to Maine (to visit my Grandfather) or 'home'. I'll keep you guys posted. I'm actually looking forward to the break. I _love_ it out here, but I miss my people too.

If you're reading this, and you have some event planned that you think I might be into that week, please let me know!

* Relics

Remember Relics? Well, my partner and I reinvested ourselves on Monday. I'm _really_ excited about it. We're having bi weekly meetings to review our progress. Which means there will either be progress or there will be awkwardness. I'm looking forward to the progress. I've been kicking ass on the art side of things, and I just saw tonight that he's done a bunch of works on the last faction for the initial trio of factions. We're getting close to something I can pass around to the beta testers. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. We just figured it out - it's been over 4 years since we started.

Please let me know if you're interested in being a beta tester. The game will be  given out as a free downloadable PDF for printing on print at home business cards for this first version. Based on responses and feedback, we're hoping to move on to a Kickstarter to get a full color larger card version printed professionally. But that's down the road. One of the focal points for this first meeting was MVP - Minimal Viable Product. Or, said another way: Keep It Simple Stupid. I've been a part of too many projects where people got really excited, then there was scope creap, and then things fell apart because everyone was daydreaming about "one day..." First step first.

My biggest problem is that I've improved dramatically in an artistic sense over the past 4 years. That doesn't SOUND like it should be a problem, but it is. I look at the original artwork for the first faction (Goblins) and I kinda feel sick. I do NOT want that being presented to the world as an example of my artistic skills. But I'm going to. Reworking all of the art would take way too long. I may touch up some stuff, but the idea here is MVP. As I said to Chad - "Until other people start playing - even just beta testers - this is just you and I talking. It's not a 'real thing in the world'."

So yeah. Most of what's there will have to stay there. For now.

Okay, I should probably get to bed. It's nearly midnight and while I love my friends' daughter, I'm pretty sure I recognize the tickle in the back of my throat because she's come down with something while I'm here. *grumblebitchmoan*

ETA: Can't believe I forgot to mention this, but I got a chance to hang out / catch up with J Riley! He came to town, and we grabbed breakfast at one of my favorite haunts (Hart's Mesa). We talked about his #vanlife adventures and his project. He's traveling the US for a number of reasons, but chief among them is a desire to understand other people who think differently than he does. How can you not love somebody with a head on their shoulders like that?!

He's doing a project as well which I found rather interesting: both in a notebook and on video, he asks people to 1. Ask a question of the next person he encounters / asks to take part in the project and 2. Answer the question from the previous person. I sorta love that he removed himself from the experiment (aside from his role as facilitator).

The young lady who was in the spot before me is a life coach, and her question was what I would have a life coach ask if I was drawing one in a comic book. Something like "What is your Perfect Life? What would you have to do or achieve in order to live that life?"

I responded in a way that I thought was appropriate - something about not wanting to have kids, so I want to leave some form of art or literature behind that future generations can enjoy.

I asked "Aside from child birth, what's your greatest accomplishment in life?" I put in the 'aside from child birth because it's too much of a default for anyone with kids. The project seemed like it warranted more thought from respondents than that.

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You have much to be proud of this day!

How close to Literal Seattle does this place have to be?
That's a bit 'up for debate'. The theory is '45 minutes from city center'. Which, on a bad day in Seattle seems like it could be 4 blocks. I'm thinking that I might stretch it a bit and try for Tacoma (some of my friends are in Seattle (E) and some are in Olympia (Margaret and Krishna) so it seems kinda perfect.
45 minutes from city center? Yeah, they are totally high.

What is the reason for that anyway? In-person meetings?
You should be able to get a reasonable studio or small 1-br within 45 min of downtown (we don't say "city center" here) for $1500 or less. The data thing might be a slightly tougher nut to make but probably not impossible.

Tacoma is 45 min from downtown if you're driving at 3 AM. More like 90+ on a normal weekday.

For the 3-6 month thing, your only option is going to be extended stay places or taking over a lease from someone who's moving. Or a shared house type of thing.

Oh hey - I just realized - I have a friend who's looking to sublet her room in a shared house for a month in August. If that's helpful. Nice housemates. They'd only want someone queer, trans, and poly positive. (They're not a sex cult...really.) anyway - lmk if you're interested.

Anyway. Good luck. I think there are options.

CM Adams 7/5 '17edited
Yeah. I found places on Zillo and the like in that range. Problem is that it doesn't include utilities, and often doesn't include parking. Parking isn't necessarily a deal breaker, except for maybe in the heart of downtown. Worse, some places have parking garages - which I most likely can't use. Or at least, without a 15-20 minute process to lower the camera mast every night. Presumably on a busy street curb.

I'm looking into Air BnB hosted spots. I've found some in the $60/day ($1800/mo.) range with a discount for 'longer stays'. I'm hoping that I can get someone to agree to a $40/day(ish) ($1200/mo.) price with me being there for 'so long' with the 3-6 months. That way the remaining $300 will go to cover the taxes etc. that come with each stay. It seems difficult, but not impossible.

The network speed may still be a problem.

There also may be legal issues with extended stays of that length where the Air BnB host would be considered a landlord instead of a hotelier. I don't know about these things, and I'm hoping it won't be an issue, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I have more immediate concerns...
Oh, and yeah - I'm starting to think that Northern Tacoma would be a good idea. K told me that there are 3 pinch points when it comes to traffic between Olympia and Seattle, and being at the top end of Tacoma would get me past 2 of the 3.
Well, most (read as: nearly all) the details are not forthcoming. Errr... that's being too gentle. It doesn't feel like I can drag any information at all out of anyone. Yeah. That feels a bit more on the nose.

Why near 'downtown'? (Thanks Adams - I feel like a local already. ;) ) I suspect that was decided early on, and for reasons which may or may not be valid when we actually 'go live'. Without going into the weeds (partly because I don't know how much I'm allowed to talk about) things are very much in flux - and not just with my team. That means that the demands on us are not fully understood, and (I suspect) the management wants us near a downtown for access to high speed networks. I also think that my immediate management is getting told A one day and B the very next then C the third day, wash, wince, repeat.
I'm so happy you got to see James! Did he tell you where he's blogging/posting his writings? I've been looking and can't find them, but I desperately want to keep up to date! (Now even more so.)
I asked, but he kinda... isn't. He expressed his regret that he just doesn't seem to have the gene that is required to have a desire to photo/ blog / post about his travels.

I think that he is hoping his question/answer project will take the place of that.

I don't know if it had any impact or not, but I explained why I wish I had written a good deal more about my motorcycle tour in 2002. He clearly understood, but I didn't get a "Holy crap - that makes sense! I'll start TODAY!" vibe from him. Part of me is okay with that because individuality is something I've always appreciated about both of the brothers Riley.
Tired... want to respond more thoroughly later. But, if you come here (and I selfishly hope you do) let's please 🥓 and 🥃?
Leela 7/5 '17
Absolutely! (Though I can't tell what those emoticons are.)
They're bacon and scotch emojis, lol
Leela 7/6 '17
I kinda love how you said "absolutely" without even knowing what I want <3
Leela 7/6 '17
 

So a long time ago I was talking to a friend about doing the art for a webcomic that a he wanted to develop. When we first started out, I did some concept work while he worked on world building. All of this makes sense to a certain degree.

The problem was that this went on for a very long time. Many months, in fact, passed without our having written / illustrated a single comic panel.

We discussed it, and he wanted to keep going as we were. I wanted to get cracking on a product that people could enjoy.

We agreed to a compromise: I said "Why don't we try a 'minimum viable product'? Write up a five page comic, I'll illustrate it, and we'll put it online. That way we can see if anyone other than us gives a shit."

When it took many months more for those five pages worth of text to come my way, I bowed out.

Now that I'm working on my little project, I'm writing a lot in a lexicon of sorts. Worldbuilding. Not nearly on the level that he did, but I find myself wondering if I'm distracting myself a bit too much with unnecessary things. I find myself doing searches on late 70's and early 80's fashion. Digging up news clippings from 1979 Detroit. At best, these would be 'stage dressing'. None of it will be strictly speaking necessary for the book.

So I guess my question is this: Do you have some rule that you keep yourselves to in order to keep from spending too much time on extraneous elements of your storytelling? To keep yourselves from doing too much homework and not enough actual writing?

ETA:

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5/23 '17 7 Comments
nope. I go deep on worldbuilding. I just try not to let that stop me from releasing things if someone is depending on me. Really cool stuff can always be backformed.
Rabbit 5/23 '17
Interesting. I hope this post doesn't come across as my not understanding the value of worldbuilding (I absolutely do) I just fear allowing it to become the limiting factor in moving forward.

Has that ever been an issue for you? Feeling like it slowed you down? (Even if you felt it remained necessary.)
It's the part I like best, so not really- it may be why I'm not good at doing stuff on my own, but the other time I'm doing it is for a LARP, which has built in hard deadlines. Which help.
Rabbit 5/23 '17
Yeah. That might be the best takeaway for me - to set hard deadlines for myself.

(Thanks for the info!)
Yeah. That might be the best takeaway for me - to set hard deadlines for myself.

(Thanks for the info!)
I love this image. Really really.
Thanks!

I'm working on a friend / fellow squatter / love interest for Patch in the book. She's the one who is smart enough to keep their little band of homeless kids from getting scooped up. She's not exactly a leader per se, but she's alpha enough to draw Patch's eye.

Ouch. Sorry. Didn't mean for that awful pun to sneak out.
 

So a friend recently said "I'd like to feel a burning need for the next experience more often."

That really got me thinking about things in my own life. I've often thought about myself as a passionate guy. I feel things very strongly. There has been laughter and tears - both in abundance.

But here's the thing: it always seems to come after the fact. Leading up to and even generally during a moment / decision / experience in my life, I feel very, very 'meh'.

This, in turn, got me wondering: "How many other folks are like me in this regard? Do my friends feel strongly about concepts leading into their decisions? Before their experiences?"

Obviously no one can feel strongly about something they have zero experience with or information about. One can't feel super strongly about the quality of the sand on Pluto over the sand on their local beach.

But I wonder.

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5/11 '17 6 Comments
Great question.

I think I'm doing well at "being here now," but I'm not especially feeling "being there next" at the moment, in part because I'm kind of at a local maximum. Or maybe simply where I belong.
Thomas Boutell 5/11 '17edited
Yeah. I hear you. If presence was a test, I would ace the 'here and now'. It would be accurate to say that I feel like this is one of my super powers. That is, until (like Adams) I'm just done. All at once.
as a fellow AD(H)Dude, I suspect you'll understand what I mean when I say that my usual arc is diddle-farting around getting started with new experience, followed by a massive burst of enthusiasm and energy once it gets started, followed by a bit of a lower plateau, then a precipitous drop where I have like zero focus or finish-a-shit left.

I find that the initial diddle-fart period has gotten more difficult to push past as I've gotten older - but the mostly-functional plateau also lasts longer - so that's not a bad trade-off.
CM Adams 5/11 '17edited
Yeah. That's me too. Just all at once there's a drop off to Zero Giveafrack.

It's kinda a problem since now I'm completely 'on my own' and not in any kind of a standard 'must live in accordance with everyone around you' scenereo.
I'm the opposite. I tend to give up in the middle of what I'm doing coz I am thinking too much about the next thing. I don't care for it.
Rabbit 5/12 '17
Yup. I get that. (He said, mourning all of his LONG list of started and never finished creative projects.)
 

On the way to breakfast, I found myself thinking about the concept of Loyalty. I've been called (more than once) 'loyal to a fault'. It's accurate. I stick with people, places, and things well past the point that it's healthy for me.

Then I found myself thinking about it from a logical standpoint. I feel that this is one of my greatest strengths in life - taking emotion out of a situation and reviewing it. Sadly, I don't always ACT on those reviews, but it helps.

So the logical perspective of the concept of loyalty: I get it. Once upon a time, we needed loyalty as a species. Tribalism allowed us to survive. But haven't we evolved past that need? I mean shouldn't I love everyone equally? (He asked, cringing at how hippy-dippy it sounds.) Or, perhaps more accurately, shouldn't I review people in a more unbiased by past interactions?

If I have a friend who has taken to burglary to support a crack addiction, shouldn't I look at him in the same light that I do a stranger with the same issues?

Or is there some value to past interactions that creates a benefit to taking the bad with the good in the present and/or future? It's not really occurring to me at the moment, but then I haven't had any coffee yet.

What do you think?

ETA: I should point out that I wasn't bitter or upset when I posted this. I was just trying to think things through without emotion tied to it. I also was not thinking specifically of people (though that is certainly an element) and even less any specific person or people. Again - just the concept and whether or not it has value in our modern society.

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4/26 '17 22 Comments
I don't think we should ever evolve bayond loyalty, although I think in a lot of ways we already have. I am also very loyal and I also see it as a great strength. Look at the state of the world? Look at how people fuck each other left and right, look how folks treat marriages, and friends, and business partners as disposable? To me, our disposable culture is part of what is destroying humanity. (Yes there are good reasons to discontinue relationships too, but that's not what we're talking about here).

The older I get, the more I'm realizing that what I value most in my friends... is the fact that they show up. To take that a step further, the friends I value most are the ones who show up. I am beginning to prioritize those friends who show up consistently more than those who don't. Mind you, that has little do to with love, and everything to do with me having limited energy to expend as a human. Life is scary, and lonely. What makes it worthwhile, for me, has everything to do with human connection, and a great deal to do with those loyal folks who keep showing up, through everything. What good is human connection that is fleeting to the point where it only exists out of convenience?

If your loyalty is holding you back, then maybe it's a problem. (I know other people have told you your loyalty is getting in your way, but is that YOUR experience of it as well?) But if you don't think it is stopping you from living your life, I think it's an increasingly and wonderful quality that is to be honored.

As for regarding strangers the same way you'd regard friends... you're human. It's impossible to separate our past experiences with people from our assessments of them. That's just a human fact I think. And if our pst actions had no bearing on our friendships well, then there is almost no point? I mean... hats how I see it.

That's my two cents about the matter!
Leela 4/26 '17edited
You make some interesting points, but (forgive me - this isn't any kind of 'attack' - I just want to know if I missed anything) you don't seem to make any arguement for the "why loyalty is good". I appreciate that you value it and I think most of us do to one extent or another, but that's different than being able to say "It has an innate value because it allows us to... X, Y, Z."
Matt Lichtenwalner 4/26 '17edited
Loyal shows us we aren't alone. Loyalty shoes is we are worth more than our mistakes. My most loyal friends are the ones who fortify me when I am scared in life, especially when it comes to taking risks. When I know I have people behind me no matter what, it allows me to feel less small and alone, and it helps combat my paralyzingly fear of what will happen should I "misstep" in any way. Loyalty stands in stark opposition to our ever-increasingly disposable society. Maybe some of why this is so important for me is that I have indeed been treated as disposable by more people than I would like to admit, and it has damaged me a great deal. So, I find it incredibly important and good to BE LOYAL myself, because I like to think I am paying forward the same gift that others have given me. Does that make sense?
Leela 4/26 '17
Now that's an interesting point. Being the narcissist that I am, I wasn't thinking of the loyalty of others and the way that it benefits me.

So (if I understand correctly) you could almost argue that loyalty is a form of altruism. Your being loyal to a person is a form of altruism which you stand behind because someone else was loyal to you. A way to 'generate goodness' for lack of a better turn of phrase?

Does this change at all if we're not talking about a person that you're being loyal to? What if it's a business, or a favorite flavor of ice cream? (I know that sounds weird, but I'm really trying to get at all different angles.)
Matt Lichtenwalner 4/27 '17edited
I don't think it changes, interestingly. Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk has always been there for me, in good times and bad, and it always tastes just as fucking good as the last time I had it. It shows up when I need it (for lack of a better way to say it), so, so do I. Same goes for businesss. If a business has been good to me, I'll be good to it.
Leela 4/27 '17
Is it weird that I like the idea of an ice cream flavor 'being there' for you? :P
It's probably weird, but I like the idea of it too! In fact I've got some in the freezer right now...
Leela 4/27 '17
Evolving past loyalty? Please. We haven't evolved past tribalism or voting for Donald Trump.
Thomas Boutell 4/26 '17
I'm beyond sad that this is an accurate statement.
Seriously, loyalty is not a purely binary thing. We are more loyal to those in whom we are more invested. Or should be, anyway.

Sometimes it's OK to be loyal to a memory, to treat a comrade who is no longer kind and no longer reciprocating with a certain decency in recognition of the love they showed you once. Then again, you can also be loyal to the person they used to be, and what they'd think of their present behavior.
Thomas Boutell 4/26 '17edited
Interesting. It sounds like you're coming from a similar place to Leela above. An almost altruism-like stance. Loyalty as a 'repayment' for the kindness of the other (or the business, or the... noun.)
I used to have a friend who was a bit of a powder keg.

we had a lot of fun times together for several years and got to be very, very close, but he would frequently get monumentally pissed off at something I said or did (or failed to say or do).

being a bit more irascible myself in those days than I am now, I often gave as good as I got, but I think any objective comparison would have found that, on balance, my snits toward him were less frequent and a bit more reality-adjacent than his toward me.

in any case though, over time our friendship started becoming pretty asymmetrical - with me doing a lot of favors for him and frequently having to mollify his snits, and not getting a heck of a lot in return.
at a certain point, I noticed this and decided to stop trying to placate or otherwise go very far out of my way for him. this improved my life considerably and made me enjoy his company a lot more. I never announced this transition to him, however, because I didn't feel that I needed to - it was an adjustment in my own thinking and attitude, not something that required any action or input from him.

and I didn't want to fight about it.

I suspect most people have had at least one or two interpersonal relationships where one person changed their outlook on what type of relationship it was while the other person kept right on thinking it was the same as it always had been. this was surely such a case but since the two people involved in this one were real oddballs, it led to some (perhaps atypically) entertaining situations.

case in point - we took a trip to France together a year or two after my "not taking any more shit" decision. from my perspective, we had an awesome time - one of the best we ever had as friends, and one of the best travel experiences I'd ever had full stop. we saw some great cathedrals (he sketched each one, I wrote about each one), we ate some great stuff, we found a barely marked ruin of a roman amphitheater in the middle of a cow-pasture, we had an awesome 3 or 4 hour conversation about existentialism and nihilism (one that changed my overall approach to life and ethics in ways that have lasted to this day) in the car ending with a visit to the cathedral at Chartres at like 3 AM. and our next to last night there, I met a nice Catalan woman in a gay dance club, who decided to make out with me for a couple hours, despite my nearly unintelligible French, on a park bench in the rain. (ooo la la.)

so anyway - we get back to the states and I go on about my life. my friend goes on about his, but in a SEETHING RAGE over how insolent and insufferable I had been during our "argument" in the car on the way to Chartres. he doesn't tell me about this, though. he decides that the best way to communicate his displeasure is to refuse to speak to me until I ask him what's bothering him and (presumably) make amends.

...except the first I hear of this is 8 months later when I invite him to Thanksgiving dinner at my house...at which point he explains that he hasn't been speaking to me and is by then pretty much apoplectic because of my failure to notice.

it only made him angrier that I found the situation hilarious.

we made up, of course, but were never really close friends again and have gradually drifted further apart over the years. nowadays, we exchange an email or a text every few months when one of us spots something relevant to the other's interests, or we run into each other on the street and chat for a few minutes, or we meet up for an hour of pinball every year or so. I think that suits us both fine.

I guess where this comes together with your inquiry about loyalty is that I think there's often a lack of willingness to acknowledge that interpersonal relationships have life cycles. they're born, they live, and then they die. occasionally that death is a catastrophic heart attack, but much more often it's a long, slow, quiet fade to a golden-hued tail.

and that's all ok.
CM Adams 4/27 '17
Beautifully well put sir. Arguably, my little analysis of loyalty could be said to be a "should I allow relationships to grow old and die?"

Then again, it _feels_ a little more like your description of the 'aha moment' that you had with your friend. That, in turn, I see as a kind of parallel to the way I described my thought that perhaps I should judge people, places, and thing more in the moment than based on our combined past.

Which, I guess, is basically just another way of saying: "I agree with you."

Unrelated: what's the inspiration behind your profile pic?
it's a Bobrick brand c fold paper towel dispenser!
comes in white or in silver!
CM Adams 4/29 '17
Well, clearly.
[Has one industrially powderpainted blue, installs it, waits for Chris to visit and flip out when he can't find it on the website]
Thomas Boutell 4/29 '17
what's not to like?
it's 3 rows of 8!
CM Adams 5/2 '17
I've been using the term "legacy friend". A person I would not likely be friends with if I met them now. I may even dislike a lot about them now. But at some point in the past we were friends, and now we have history.

I find it somehow easier to manage when I've categorized it as a legacy issue. And when current friends are like: sheez, why are you friends with that dude/dudette? I say "legacy friend" and everyone gets it.
Ursula Sadiq 5/8 '17
Technical debt.
That does seem like the perfect term / bucket. I think I'm going to steal that.
I may represent that remark!
CM Adams 5/10 '17
but seriously - good concept.
CM Adams 5/10 '17
 

One of the advantages to being ADHD is the random directions my head travels sometimes. Yeah, I actually see it as a perk, believe it or not. Sometimes, anyway.

I listen to a lot of "So you're a self published author? We'll help you market your book!" podcasts. Yeah yeah, I know. I haven't even finished A book, so listening to marketing podcasts about it does seem a little bit 'cart before the horse'. It's... just a thing with me.

Anyway. The single, solitary item that all of these podcasts seem to feel is the very base of any/all book (read as: any digital creative product) marketing systems is the almighty email list.

I won't bore you with the hows and whys. If you really want to know, feel free to ask. Bottom line: I believe them.

As noted above, I've long had a theory that it would be a good idea for me to start a list for my digital illustration stuff. That way, folks who are into the sort of stuff I do don't have to be lead to Dragonbones.net, but rather, could have my stuff show up in their inbox. Yes, it goes without saying that I would have to do this very carefully to avoid being seen as spam or sales-pitchy. (Which, for the record, I would genuinely not want to be 19 times out of 20.)

This thought train got me thinking. I should be doing some more short stories to lead up to the book. Generate some interest in a way that "So, I'm writing this book." can possibly manage.

So now, in my head, I'm thinking this email list receives short stories and art from me on a regular (though likely somewhat infrequent) basis.

That last part bugged me. While I certainly don't want to be sending folks an email every day, (that would bug me as a theoretical recipient of the email, so no) I would want to send out an email a minimum of once per month. Maybe a max of once per week. That really feels like it would be more satisfying to the recipients.

If we assume that the art/writing is good enough that folks actually look forward to the email, that feels like the right volume of emails to be pleasing without being overwhelming.

But it would take way too much from me on my own.

So what if I invited others to join in the content creation?

Well, that would help me, but what would it do for them? I don't really want to ever use the term 'exposure' when trying to attract content creators. As the old catch phrase goes: "People die from exposure."

So I ask you, my fellow writers and creators: "What would be a worthwhile benefit to you to get you to sign on to something like this? To send in your short stories, photos, or illustrations etc." Obviously there's the promise of cash, but obviously that would be very limited for me as a one man band, and the idea of 'contests' and the like feels a whole like like 'exposure'.

I'm asking here because I think most (all?) of you know me well enough to know that I'm not trying to run some kind of scam that just yields perks for me. I'm thinking that it genuinely could benefit other creators in the long run, but getting out of the gate...

For those who are familiar, I was kinda thinking of bookbub in the long term, but on a more diverse scale.

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4/6 '17 6 Comments
"The single, solitary item that all of these podcasts seem to feel is the very base of any/all book (read as: any digital creative product) marketing systems is the almighty email list."

Provided that your product is an email list.
It seems like their argument is that the email list is how you do your "3 touches" (and then some) with your potential buyers - not that it's the product.
are you aware of https://www.patreon.com/
Ursula Sadiq 4/10 '17
Yup! I _just_ set up my creator page recently! (It still needs a lot of work - which is why I haven't been promoting it yet.)

https://www.patreon.com/mrlich
Lena Dunham publishes the Lenny Letter, which is a blasto email that has interviews, an essay or two, maybe the very occasional web comic. All SJW/Feminist type stuff, but you get the idea. I'll forward you one if you like.
Yes, please!
 

I'm home. I'm slacking.

I got mah hairs did, but I really should have taken care of updating my drivers license today, and I just didn't. Stalled until it would have taken forever and then just didn't. Tomorrow. That's the first thing.

Now? I'm sitting in a diner (not the HamFam - I didn't have the heart since it's not Mike's anymore). I had the perfect opportunity to end the evening, and as I rolled down the road, and should have turned to head to my folks' place, I just... didn't. The air is cool, and it's supposed to rain, but it isn't yet, so there's that electricity in the air that happens before storms, and it's making me feel...

What? Well, it makes me feel like I'm a teenager again and I want to gather my friends and go sneaking around the neighborhood again if I'm honest.

Except that I'm half way through my 40s. My friends are grown and have families of their own. None of the others sneak through neighborhoods anymore. (I still do, but only as a means of getting from one place to another, and fairly infrequently.)

So I turned to that old comfort: a building filled with chrome, mirrors, and greasy spoons dropped into mugs of bad coffee. It's Home - even when it's not.

Fuck it. I should get to bed. I want to make stuff happen tomorrow. I just really don't wanna dammit.

Here's the dude I was working during my travels yesterday. He's a work in progress and needs a LOT of work. I feel like the art tidal wave is slowing down. Don't want that.

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4/5 '17
 

I was flying my drone today. It's not all fancy and sexy like the big (really) expensive ones, but it wasn't cheap, it fits my life nicely (it's just slightly larger than a smartphone), and it's been a hell of a lot of fun to play with.

The down side to it being so small is that it's crazy light weight and gets blown about by the lightest of breezes. Still, I took a slight risk. There's been a ton of wind here in TX, and today wasn't terrible. What's more, I was in an are somewhat protected from wind by trees in a wall around me.

It wasn't enough. I was flying for a little bit when a gust of wind came in, slammed my drone head on into a concrete pillar, and she dropped out of the sky and smack dab into the middle of a creek.

What's more, I wasn't able to get to it immediately.

You can picture me running the long way around to scramble through some underbrush and through muck to find... the creek was muddy as hell, so I couldn't see the drone at all.

Fuck.

That's where the bad luck ended. I was able to find her, and eventually recover her.

I pulled the battery as soon as I got it in my greedy hands, but I'm sure the damage was done.

Stopped at Fry's (holy hell do I love that store and wish they had locations on the Right Coast) and picked up a T5 Star Head screwdriver. Which - you know - you can just pick up any ol' time you want when there's a Fry's nearby. Brought the drone back to my hotel and opened her up as much as I could (there's a couple of screws I couldn't get at without breaking the case and causing perminent damage) and she's drying over night.

I'm not really hopeful, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I really want this to work.

In the meantime, here's a little video that Google assembled of some of the footage I previously took:



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2/26 '17 5 Comments
Sorry to hear about your drone Matt! Those things are fun.

I went to a big JavaScript conference three years back. They had a break day where you could choose fun activities or beginner tutorial tracks. I went with "nodecopter," in which you program drones in JavaScript.

The drones we were using had cameras on board. Our task was to program them to autonomously take off, have a look around, locate a landing strip visually, and go land there.

Nobody nailed this task, primarily because each drone is a wifi access point unto itself, which is great until there are several of them. Then it's horrible, nobody can communicate with their drone. Would probably have worked much better if the drones had been peers on the wifi (as in, many computers sharing a wifi) rather than trying to be wifi network hubs unto themselves.

But... who cares? Whee, fun with robots!

My little team, which also contained my old friend CJ, did manage some neat tricks including an ASCII art visualization in which you could tell the drone knew the difference between "landing strip-ness" and "boring area-ness." We didn't quite have time to master teaching it to take off and then turn sloowwwwwly and look for that landing strip and nudge forward slowwwwly etc.
Thomas Boutell 2/27 '17
That sounds like a seriously cool exercise! Whenever I think of 'coding + doing stuff with visual data' I think of my buddy Wes. Years ago, he worked for a lumber company and developed code to automate "this stack of lumber needs these chemical treatments and that one needs those" based on photos of the ends of the stack of lumber.

I love the idea of 'teaching' a robot based on visual data. (Says the illusrator.)
Oh man, what a bummer! I hope she dries out and is ok.
Leela 2/27 '17
curious about the term drone. it seems like snoring or dullness, whereas i assume the device drone is pretty awesome stuff and more exciting than estes rockets.
Jixel 3/23 '17
I can't speak to them all, but the one I have is definitely fun. Some sense of flying without actually flying.
 

I write and draw every day.

The new plan is a simple one - which is arguably the biggest reason that I like it so much. Call it positive affirmation, call it a daily chant, or call it whatever you like, but that opening sentance is something I will write down every day.

Then I will do it.

My intent is to try to do 1/2 hour each in the morning and in the evening for a total of one hour writing and one hour drawing every day. If it's a crazy day, and I have no time, I'll allow just 1/2 hour each. Then the next day I will get back to the full hour each.

It might seem like a lot, but it's really not when you realize how much free time I should have each day. That, of course, assuming that I'm not screwing around and wasting my time.

Set my timer and go. I like that.

The best part? Sure, there will be some garbage, but there will also be some good stuff, and it will pile up. I'll have a collection of work in a very short span of time. It's the best way I can think of to make that happen.

All my illustration and writing projects can happen - I just need to eat that elephant one bite at a time.

So, what's on the list now? What are my current projects that I want to focus on?

Art

  • The Greek Gods - A new project with an old friend. He's designing a card game and I'm doing most (all?) of the illustration work. I'm really looking forward to this, but it's not a small order. 14 gods by the end of November. Good thing I'm planning on spending an hour on art every day.
  • Relics - Yes, I'm still plugging away on this - slowly but surely. I drift off at times, and at other times I've had paying clients that took priority, but it' long past time I finished the third faction so we can send out a beta version for public release. This is the third year that I've been hoping I could complete the work in time for an X-Mas beta release.
  • Sketchwork - I doubt I will have much time to focus on anything but the above items before the new year, but if I do, I would like to put together a free digital 'sketchbook' to give away. This might include anything and everything from random doodles to WIPs for client work.

Writing

  • Patch Book - writing is the easy one. I really only want to focus on the book. Maybe it's because it's NaNoWriMo, and I have that sense of missing out, but I really want to get this damn thing done. Much like Relics, this one has been gnawing at me for a while, and it's past time.
  • Another Blog?! - I was thinking about where I would want to post chapters for ARCs. I could post here, but I get so damn worried about eating up my 'daily post' on random things, and this place seems, well, personal. The very nature of the single post per day seems like it makes it more intimate. So probably not here. LJ? Maybe. Hell, GRRM posts there (still, I believe). But probably no. Same issue as here. I have a LOT of old posts there that are pretty personal to me. So I'm thinking that I might clear out any / all posts over at mrlich.wordpress.com and post there. It's not like there's a lot there,  and it would make a good spot to just post 'book updates'. My 'professional writing' update location. But it means another location online that I'm updating. I already feel too scattershot online. That's the whole reason I set up mrlich.com as a menu for where to find me online. I need to narrow my focus a bit online, but that seems like a project for another day.

Journal Update

I went and visited the King yesterday. I had the option to route my travels through Memphis, so I did. I'd never visited Graceland, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity.

It was interesting. Not the $40-$80 price for tickets interesting to me, but interesting. Not upset that I did it (how would I know what I thought of it otherwise) but I probably wouldn't go back unless it was with a group of friends, and that would likely be more for the company than for the tour.

They give you an iPad to use through the tour which has a complete guided tour narrated by John Stamos. Why John Stamos? I have no idea. Still, it was neat, and I like that it allowed us to choose our own pace. I took a crap ton of photos, so if any of you would like to see some, let me know below.

I had to make my way back to Decatur last night to pick something up though, which made my trip to Memphis a 6 hours of driving detour. Bah. Worth it.

I did, of course, enjoy a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich after the tour.

Now I'm working my way to Kansas City for my next project. It's not a YUGE project, so I'm not sure how long I will be there, but a few days at least. It's a small enough region (for the project portion) that I should be able to stay at one hotel for the duration. That's such a good thing for me. I love my job, but these smaller projects tend to mean bouncing around every night. It's a bit annoying to pack up everything every day. Even two nights / hotel seems so much more worthwhile. Ahhh, the life of a nomad.

The election. I'm over it. Yes, I understand how important it is. I have a low threshold though for repetition, and both sides (and their supporters) are saying so much of the same damn thing over and over again that I'm really just ready to scream and start breaking shit.

Also, it breaks my faith in humanity that anyone could think that Trump would be even an acceptable president - let alone a good one. I mean that sincerely. I don't see any plus to him. The only thing I've heard said about him (that I believe) is that he won't be 'business as usual'. Probably true. 1. Not being equal to is not the same as 'greater than'. 2. I will never have kids, but if I did, I would never want them or my beloved nephews to ever act like he does regularly. Why would I want someone like that representing out country? I honestly don't know as much as I should about Hilary, but what little I do makes her an infinitely better choice than him. Infinitely. Even if she was going to be 'business as usual' (which I have no reason to believe she will be).

Already over my 1/2 hour. More later.

ETA:

First

I was terrified. I felt like I was clinging to the edge with bloody fingernails. It was that moment in the movie where you see the killer moving in and the next victim is oblivious to what's coming.

Then

I wanted to be physical. I wanted to smash, to break, to rend and tear. To smash whatever I could get my hands on.

All the while knowing it wouldn't help, but it's what I understand.

Now

This is a different kind of fight. It's a kind I've never taken part in before. I don't know the first thing about it, if I'm honest.

Looks like it's time to learn.

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11/8 '16 1 Comment
I like this mantra. :-) Looking forward to seeing the output!