Vacation Retrospective

June 24, 2017

 

It took so much effort, not to make an effort.

“Florida” by Modest Mouse

Alternatively titled, “Why Do I Have To Go Back To Work Tonight?”

It was a good vacation.  I had hoped to be done with the inking of Order of the Dragon #1, I am about four pages short on that.  Working on lettering the fourth page right now, redoing a bit of dialog that’s been bothersome.  Hopefully the next day or two and I will get that done.  I’d like to be getting something printed off in actual book form, but I’ll see where I am at that point.  I’m posting the pages I’ve got lettered.  Couple of minor things I’ve got to fix on those, but it is underway.

Wanted to go kayaking more.  Rained almost every day.  Never really got around to a few outdoor projects I wanted to.  vigilante lawncare and such.  Oh well.

Applied for a couple of jobs.  Mentioned something about the soap factory to my Mother, who said it was probably a good thing I didn’t go there because it “might bother my allergies.”  And all the cleaning chemicals I’m around every night at work doesn’t do that?

 

 

That song lyric from Modest Mouse has been bouncing around my head for a few days.  Basically sums up my thoughts on a few matters.  One of the things I think people like to say is that they put so much effort into something when it seems obvious they did not.  Not really.  In those cases, I do think people put more effort into trying to convince people they did make that effort in the days after rather than trying in the first place.  Trying to buy solutions rather than getting into the problems themselves.  I will admit to cases in my life where there was more effort spent to convince everyone else of the effort put forth.

Effort is obvious.  If you’re making an effort, there won’t be much question.  One of the things I tried to avoid doing is talking too much about what I did to make things work in a variety of areas because it is or should be obvious.  I have gone into detail about a few things, but it was nothing I thought was not obvious.

In any relationship, professional or personal, effort works on reciprocation.  At work, I think it is clear I have made efforts to make my situation and make it better to no avail.  I think people know I’ve made the effort and am focused on getting into a better situation, but at this point there has been little matching of my effort.  With LMCBW, I think people know that I made a lot of efforts in that situation that were not necessarily reciprocated by her.  Business or professional, relationships are in trouble if one side is buying solutions or avoiding effort.

“Do.  Or do not.  There is no try.”  I think Yoda nails it.  Point is, people can tell when you’re not making that effort.  I’ve been in a relatively bad situation in one way or another for most of the last four or five years.  As much as I’ve stalled out and had to make some adjustments, I’m continuing to make those efforts.  I won’t be wasting a lot of time explaining that I’ve made an effort.  If it isn’t clear, people need to start looking again.  I have no interest in explaining the obvious to people.

When you’re miserable, you need to make someone even more miserable than yourself.

-Lucy “Elfen Lied”

  • Kind of want to watch Elfen Lied again.  I should see if that’s on Netflix.  That quote stuck out to me for a few reasons.  That seems like a mindset a lot of people like.  Misery likes company.  Too many people get caught up in their misery and struggle to see the real solutions looking them right in the face.  When it comes to loved ones, it was never because of what they were/are.  I always loved them for what they could be.  Their potential.  I will always believe in potential.  Dragging everyone into your misery is just wasting that potential.
  • Chugging along on a variety of projects during my vacation.  It amazes me how it feels like I’m accomplishing so much more when I’m not spending 80% of my time sleepwalking through everything.  Order of the Dragon #1 is right on track.  Hoping to have the inking done by the time I go back to work and be at least started on lettering at that point.  From there, maybe getting some feedback and going towards getting something printed in book form.  Also getting the sketch cards rolling.
  • Working on a page in Order of the Dragon #2 the other day, one featuring one of the primary protagonists, Liana–there will be three by the end of the issue, Liana, Nosferatu and Jimmy.  One concern I had was introducing too much in the course of one issue, but it makes more sense when I factored in that this issue dealt primarily with the fallout of the first issue.  But anyway, I ended up drawing Liana a certain way.  Less of the usual female, hour-glass you see in comics.  Nosferatu totally gets that and I will admit to some gratuitous ass shots.  Liana got drawn with more of a full figure.  While some in story stuff might lead to some alterations, I like that look to start.  Just thinking about how female characters get depicted.
  • Also starting to work on a bit of “soundtrack” to Order of the Dragon.  Just random songs I listen to when I work on it.  I’ll post the current list at the bottom of the page.  It will probably be an expanding thing.
  • My cat got sprayed by a Skunk.  Again.  At least it’s been three or four years since the last time.  Less than amused with the little guy.  Well, I say little but he was 18.3 pounds when I brought him to the vet last week.  Either way, he’s a bit ripe right now.  Got to mix up the baking soda and peroxide stuff.  Now just letting him air out.  Alternating between calling him “Stinky” and “Pepe LePew”.

 

Order of the Dragon Soundtrack:

“Alone Together” by Fall Out Boy

“Centuries” by Fall Out Boy

“Immortals” by Fall Out Boy

“Your Spirit’s Alive” by Dropkick Murphys

“Nosferatu” by Blue Oyster Cult

“Is She With You? (Wonder Woman Theme)” by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL (BvS soundtrack)

“Wonder Woman’s Wrath” by Rupert Gregson-Williams (Wonder Woman soundtrack)

“Love is Pain” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

“Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife” by A3

Your man’s gotta answer for his words, Burr.

-Hamilton (Listening to this a lot since I downloaded it)

Just a quick rant before I talk about comics.

Kind of expanding on what I was thinking about with honesty the other day, I was thinking the inverse.  When to keep one’s mouth shut.  This is a bit inspired by some of the political goings on right now, as I reflect on the general feeling of whiplash we get from our President and his statements on a variety of matters.  And how he often works against himself and his political allies in a variety of ways.  I think his tweets alone are the basis for a legal argument against a variety of policies and have often worsened a variety of situations.  Politicians as a rule tend to be very careful in what they say.  Because it will come back to haunt them.

My basic rule has always been to stand by what I say and if I cannot defend it, I shouldn’t be saying it.  Be it work, LMCBW, or whatever else.  I have a simple rule in place to stand by what I say.  To have the integrity to stand by what I say and defend it with evidence and thought out arguments.  One of the reasons I have never felt conflicted about any topic I discussed is that I put together arguments supported by what I believe to be facts and evidence.  In part because it can be easier to stick to logical, factual ideas rather than the fleeting promises of believe.  And I intend to stand by the views I put forward without denying the possibility that there is new evidence that my point of view might have missed.  Could always be more to learn.

 

And… Comics.

Had a brief respite from working on actual comics.  Just needed a bit of a recharge.  Did a few sketch cards.  Got twenty or so about done.  About halfway through the inking for the first issue.  Going to start lettering in the next few days.  Did a Draw-In thing yesterday with a few comic creators I’ve been connecting with in the area.  It was tiring being social for a few hours.  Cool people at least.One guy recommend a site for free fonts to use in lettering.  Already downloaded a couple and planning to get started soon.

Looking where my comics are right now, I think I could have been tabling this year at VTCC.  Mostly I just didn’t have my shit together.  Story of my life really.  I might try to be ready for a con later in the fall.

It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love. Only love will truly save the world.

-Wonder Woman

  • I might plan on seeing Wonder Woman at least one more time.  Definitely worth more viewing.  Have a vacation next week, so that will probably happen then.
  • I am right on track with where I was hoping to be as far as comics are concerned.  Inking is moving right along and I’ve got a good number of sketch cards/tiles drawn up.  Thinking about giving away a bunch of the tiles I did for practice.  Characters like Batman, Superman, Doctor Strange, Chandra from MTG, etc.  Noticed my Instagram has shifted pretty heavily to artwork–mostly my original projects too–and I’m pretty pleased with that.  Not that I’m not going to post the occasional Flex Friday selfie or cat pic, but I’m pleased to be using it mostly for art.
  • Funny story.  Last Friday I was getting Jeep worked on and I was walking down the street.  I come to an intersection and this car is coming across in front of me as I approach.  Somebody in the car shouts something, couldn’t quite make it out.  I look up and it looks like a group of young women in the car and as it goes by, the girl in the front passenger seat sticks her head out and makes a gesture for oral sex at me.  I just kind of stood there stupidly thinking, “Wait… What… Come back!  I want a BJ!”  Kind of silly, douchy response, but it was a bit of a silly situation.
  • A friend of mine was suggesting I look at jobs in Wisconsin.  I’m just generally like, “Wisconsin?  Seriously?”  I heard it’s a lot like Vermont, but you know what’s a lot like Vermont?  Vermont.  I like Vermont.  I like New England.  I’m not convinced I don’t have opportunities here.  And beyond farming itself–if only because it might have more of the diversity I am looking for–I’m not really that interested in Dairy Processing.  I’d like to learn something new.  Maybe there’s an observation about LMCBW’s sister and their dynamic on a level as well.  One of the things about that I think people ignored in that was the unsustainable nature of their move to Nevada and I saw a questionable pattern forming.  Her parents visit one week, a cousin the next.  Another cousin a few weeks later,  LMCBW a week or two later.  Aunts and uncles after that.  The sister comes back to VT for a few weeks in August and around Christmas.  That was kind of the reason I never expressed a strong desire to visit them at the time.  While I acknowledge my family operates differently, I would have little interest in starting a regular criss-crossing of the country.  It would get exhausting and does little good for anyone involved.  Plus, I’m in the middle of getting off my ass about making comics.  Moving across the country would just be one more distraction.
  • I talked about human sexuality the other day, and I’ve been thinking on that some more.  Probably because it is Pride Month.  Like most of the structures of our lives, we’re conditioned into thinking a certain way about things.  Sexual Orientation is no different.  If our tastes and preferences in what we look for in relationships can shift, if we can fall in and out of love like we do, it only makes sense that orientation and our views on it has the potential to shift as well.  We’re conditioned by centuries of ideology to believe that monogamous heterosexual relationships are the ideal.  Which makes it harder to question the truth of that.  I am straight, but I admit that isn’t nearly as simple of a statement as it seems.  I think the important thing to remember is that love and life are change.  Love people for what they could be as much as what they are.

Honesty

June 10, 2017

Honesty is the best policy.

Feel this a relevant topic of conversation for a number of reasons.  One of the things I’ve discussed in the past is privacy.  Primarily on that is one where I acknowledge our lives are so interconnected that it often feels like we don’t have any.  An off-hand comment here or there triggered a flood of gossip about your happiness with someone or something.  How stuff can be posted so only your friends can see it on Facebook or whatever, but they say something and almost everybody knows about it.  Kind of think of it as the post privacy world.  Regardless of whether or not we care or if it is our business, word gets around.

It is with that in mind that I’ve been trying to establish a much more honest approach to life.  Because if stuff is just going to get around, why be dishonest?

I’ve found that honesty with one’s self is important.  I made mistakes.  I acknowledged a number of them in my employee reviews the last couple of years and was probably more honest than I should have been.  But does not acknowledging a problem I’m seeing really solve anything?  Does my not telling them that I’m looking for work elsewhere make things better or easier on anyone?  No.  You don’t solve a problem by denying it is there.  If I deem it a good and honest solution, I won’t hesitate to make that decision.

Work isn’t the only place I’ve made mistakes.  On my end, it was general not getting my head out of my ass about a few things than not.  Bad timing for a number of reasons.  I understand that and accept that.

Honesty goes hand in hand with understanding and acceptance.  To be honest with myself about anything–work, relationships, people in general–I had to reach better understandings of a few things.  Be honest about the things I let slide that caused problem later on, understand what they were and their consequences.  Be honest about the things I didn’t want to admit.  It is hard for people to be honest because there is a fear of going too far.  Especially about themselves and the things we don’t entirely understand about ourselves.

No place is that better explained than human gender and sexuality.  I’m going to make a bit of a bold statement that I think people will disagree with.  Heterosexuality is dying out.  No need to panic, the human race will continue.  However, facts must be acknowledged.  I read an article not that long ago about how more women experiment with other women than ever before.  Men might be doing so as well, but the traditional macho-masculine response is much more conditioned into men.  In my personal experience, while I have not necessarily met a guy or trans or whatever that inspired me to take action and am not convinced I ever will, there are aspects of some men I have found attractive.  Probably won’t have much result from it, but I acknowledge it.  For all purposes I am a straight male, but I ask how much of that is social conditioning into a norm.  This is also why I’ve tried not to think of myself as “Male” or “Straight” but just as “Human.”  We got too many fucking labels anyway and we live with too much fluidity.  It is easier to grok people if we stop thinking of them as something else and think of them as only human.

My point is, there is a lot of dishonesty out there and it is not solving anything.  On any level.  We need to start being honest with each other and ourselves.

Wonder Woman Review

June 8, 2017

Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot as Diana and follows her journey off of Paradise Island into World War I.  Chris Pine portrays Steve Trevor as she pursues Ares and seeks to end the war.

Overall, this movie was fantastic.  It got a lot right.  It just looked right.  The Amazons looked right.  Everything felt right.  I especially liked the World War I angle, choosing not to go to the World War II where she actually debuted.  It made a lot of sense to have her involved in the “War to End All Wars” and learn about humanity through that than the Second World War.  Having the decades to follow the events that unfolded in this movie would explain her general disconnection from the world that we saw in Batman V. Superman.  And I do think this added a bit more depth to the character that we saw in that movie.

I did like the way her birth/heritage was addressed, as it added one of the elements of the New 52 I found more interesting.  I know the current story arch is retconning that out a bit, but I personally liked it.

Right now, I’m feeling like this has been the best DC movie in their DCEU.  Man of Steel was solid and did a good job of establishing Superman as an outsider trying to find his place in the world.  Batman V. Superman continued that, but tried to do too much in one movie.  Suicide Squad was a fun concept they just did not figure out how to have fun with.  Wonder Woman did a myriad of things and accomplished them effectively.

This is the fourth DCEU movie to come out and by my count the MCU has come out with thirteen movies.  The DCEU had its fourth film centered their top female character and are already planning another centered around Batgirl.  Marvel… I think the upcoming Captain Marvel is the first that will be their first of that nature, so we’re talking film eighteen or nineteen.  Even without a female title character, has the MCU really kept up?  Let’s break it down.

DCEU

Man of Steel:  Lois Lane and Martha Kent.  Essentially they guide Clark on how to be human and do so effectively.  Lois encapsulates this sentiment perfectly at the end of the film when Perry is telling her to show Clark the ropes and she says “Welcome to the Planet.”  The Kryptonian woman seen in the film–Faora-Ul and Lara Lor-Van–while only minor characters at best, are used effectively for the most part in their time on screen.  More so Faora-Ul.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Lois and Martha continue in much the same role, although Lois does have a more proactive role in searching out the truth of what is unfolding–seen more in the extended version of the film–before having a part in the battle with Doomsday.  Wonder Woman’s presence could have been utilized more, I won’t deny that, but I do think her solo movie has changed my perspective on how that came across.

Suicide Squad:  Ensemble movies are weird.  This movie was weird in that it essentially didn’t know what the hell it wanted to be.  The women?  Enchantress was a fairly generic villain.  Katana was not nearly utilized enough in that she really could have done a lot as a straight character for others to joke off of.  Amanda Waller was kind of uninteresting.  Harley Quinn was someone they did a lot with and effectively so, but seemed afraid to go some of those places with.

MCU

Iron Man:  For the most the Iron Man movies had one primary female lead in Pepper Potts.  Fairly generic love interest.  Black Widow debuted in Iron Man 2, had an effective supporting role.  The potential female villain of Iron Man 3 was kind of a missed opportunity in my mind.

Captain America:  Peggy Carter could have been used more, given more than a handful of episodes of a TV series.  Despite the build up, Sharon Carter really has not become much of anything.  Black Widow played an effective supporting role again.

Avengers:  Black Widow and Maria Hill were the primary female leads here, but there wasn’t really time for them to do much of anything in ensemble movies like this.  The first one did lay out a load of backstory for Black Widow though.  Enough for a movie or two.

Thor:  Jane Foster was a fairly generic love interest.  Sif is barely more than eye candy.  Queen Friggia had a couple of key scenes though.

Guardians of the Galaxy:  Gamora and Nebula provide an interesting subplot, but these movies are really more about Star Lord than anybody.  Gamora really is there to roll her eyes at the rest of the group more often than not.  Mantis was a wasted opportunity and Ayesha was kind of disappointing.

Ant-Man:  I actually liked the way Hope Van Dyne came across.  Glad she’ll get a larger role next time around.

Marvel TV:  Between Agents of SHIELD, Jessica Jones and the Agent Carter series, it feels like Marvel has made more effort with female characters here than with the big screen.

 

Overall, I just think by now we should have had a Black Widow movie.  Fifteen plus movies is kind of ridiculous when the other guys had a female led movie before their fifth one.  So the DCEU hasn’t necessarily done as much as they could have, but Wonder Woman has been a leap ahead.

Those cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

-George Santayana

  • Plugging away with the comics.  I feel I’ve made a lot of progress and I can really do some stuff with it now.  Looking into some Print on Demand/Self-publishing options for when I’ve gotten to that point.  Doing a lot of sketch cards and tiles for later use.
  • Hear very good things about the Wonder Woman movie.  Planning to go see it on Thursday or Friday.  If I really cared much for the DC vs. Marvel debate, I would say that DC has taken a bit of a lead if only because I feel they’ve done more with their female characters over four movies than Marvel has over twelve.
  • So I never really thought Kathy Griffin was all that funny or relevant to much of anything.  The picture of her the other day with the bloody Trump head was kind of weird.  I mean, I get that it bothered Barron Trump to see that type of thing.  However, did anyone think about Obama’s two daughters the myriad of times that he was lynched in effigy?  It was kind of glorified by various individuals and dismissed.  Now that its Trump, we’re supposed to be outraged?  No.  If Griffin is going to go through all this, drag Ted Nugent and all those tea party jackasses into it too.  They got a free pass and Trump signed up for this.
  • Shockingly enough, Bill Maher said something outrageous.  That’s never happened before.  Although this time he did go to an extreme with the “N” word.  A lot of people calling for HBO to fire him.  I’ve liked his show and thought he made a variety of good points.  The thing is, I feel that a lot of what he does is done by the Daily Show and the various off-shoots of that.  And they tend to do it better if only because they keep their egos more under control.
  • So apparently Jeff Sessions has offered to resign recently.  Or at least that’s what an article I saw indicated.  I don’t know how true that is.  It does raise I have pondered lately.  How stable are Trump’s appointees?  Especially if he continues to display his lack of stability?  People are all worried about Mike Pence becoming President, but we won’t know how many dominos will fall until the first one does or how many will.
  • It is important to remember that experiences can still teach long after they have occurred.  I feel I can say with certainty I won’t fuck up the same way twice.  The next job, the next relationship, the adventure… will all be better than ever.
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