The game is afoot.

  • I collect Magic Cards, but I haven’t really played since college.  Mostly I just put decks together.  I’ll buy a booster pack or holiday box or whatever and start seeing what cards go together.  I’m not even really up to speed on a lot of the new abilities–energy counters, etc.–that have been added in recent years.  I might try to sell a few decks at some point.  I really don’t need the two dozen or so decks I’m working on.  I mean, I might like to play a few of them (the Chandra one, the Elf Deck, the Vampire Deck, Red/White Angel Deck) but most of them are ones I don’t really need.
  • Going to start working on a series of Magic the Gathering drawings soon.  Already did a Chandra sketch card, planning to do some some of those.  Maybe something more complex.  Going to try to get back to page work in the near future.  Problem is I always want to do ten pages when I should do one.  And burn myself out.  I have no pacing whatsoever.  Working on that.
  • Officially done bulking.  Got up to 180 pounds.  Pretty pleased about that, although I did briefly hope to get up to 200 pounds.  Combination of factors got in the way, but 180 was the goal along.  My general plan is to cut down to 170 or so.  The biggest thing has just been trying to learn to work with my body, not against it.  The big issue is still sleep, but not much to be done about that for now.  Kind of a body and mind thing.
  • Tried a new pre-workout that somebody gave me a sample of.  Stuff called 5150.  I think I read that it has 8 different types of caffeine.  Very powerful stuff.  If anybody wants to try it, be warned: it is very intense.
  • Thinking about trying to make Meatballs or something different than I’ve been making.
  • I wrote the other day about my experiences growing up on the family farm and been pondering that a bit more.  Basically I’ve gained more insight into a lot of what unfolded regarded my family’s history in farming and it has given me some new avenues of thought.  I don’t deny those experiences did give me a more pessimistic view of farming–and also of opportunities I was presented with, but that’s a story for another year.  Trying not to get into what ifs, but I do believe there were opportunities I could have done a lot with.  And maybe new options will present themselves.  I’m always keeping an eye open.
  • I find myself pondering options and opportunities.  The average person will change careers seven times.  I have to wonder if in trying to create a stable workplace, do employers limit the ability of workers to find better options and opportunities.  I get paid $22 and some change an hour with good benefits where I work, but does that pay rate keep me from seriously considering a job where I might be happier?  Where I might have better opportunities for advancement and more flexibility to pursue other endeavors?  And does the effort to maintain a stable workplace keep employers from finding people who are potentially better fits?  Stability and comfort can be as much a hindrance as a help.

Right now the song “Battle of Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” from Hamilton has been stuck in my head for the last couple of days.

  • Getting political again.  I’m making plans to get more involved in some political stuff.  Looking into some local groups, going to try to help out.  Advocacy groups and the like.  Voices need to be heard.  Thinking of starting a new blog with more focus on politics.  Might help to organize and focus my thoughts.
  • I was watching Bill Maher’s season premiere the other night and he said something I found interesting.  Talking about the Clintons, he expressed the thought of, “Thank you for service, now I never want to see you again.”  When Bernie Sanders really began to pick up momentum in the primaries, I read that as a sign that the political world was changing.  The era of the Bush and Clinton dynasties was coming to an end.  For a number of reasons, I look at it less as Trump winning and everybody else losing.  Trump’s election was less the will of the people and more… backlash from the attempt to resist the natural direction our political landscape was trying to go.  Trump is very much an establishment figure.  Power is going back to the people, but Trump is not the champion of that.
  • Enough political talk.  Let’s talk about sex.  Was working on a comic script and there was a sex scene.  In writing it, I was going through a bunch of sex positions I had bookmarked at various times.  One stuck out to me.  This has intrigued me for some time.  I think there was a variation where the man and woman are reversed, but it makes me wonder how likely a back injury would be with this.  Admitted I’m in pretty good shape right now, but I’m not sure whether or not I have enough body fat to pad myself or enough flexibility.  It would be a hell of a reason to call out from work though.
  • After being sick for most the last two weeks, I did end up losing a bit of weight.  I had been hovering around 180 pounds.  Now I’m sitting at 175.  I was going to do a bit of a cut, not to serious of one because I like where my weight is.  Basically I’m going to use up what I have left for Serious Mass and maintain for the foreseeable future.  175 was right about where I wanted to be anyway.
  • Reading about how lack of sleep affects your stomach bacteria.  Hint: it isn’t good.  I have noticed I am more prone to upset stomaches and related issues lately, despite improving my diet.  One more reason it was a big mistake to make the jump to working nights.
  • Thinking a little further on the post I did on Monday, I’m going to make a bit of a declaration.  I’m going to think of myself in one word: Human.  Stop with seeing myself as a male, absurdist, romanticidal, feminist, nerd, athlete, artist, writer, loser, etc…  Just see myself as “Human.”  We’ll see how that goes.
  • I realized the other day I actually do have fifty-something followers on this blog.  I find that mind-boggling sometimes.  I mostly do this more for myself, so I’m never really sure how to feel about people actually reading it.  I hope I’m putting some good ideas out there.

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

  • So this flu–going to call it that based on the myriad symptoms I’ve exhibited–has dragged on for about a week.  I’m getting tired of it.  Mostly I just want to breathe again.  Haven’t been able to bench for a few days, lying back on the bench when you struggle to breathe is quite the challenge.  Hopefully I will be back to doing a flat or decline bench at the end of the week.  Did a pretty decent workout today, which is a very good sign.
  • Got the last of my NYCC books back from CGC.  This round of books were the set I got signed by Jim Starlin.  I got a 9.2 on Avengers Annual #7 (Conclusion of the first Thanos Saga and the “Death” of Adam Warlock), Infinity Gauntlet #1 got a 9.4, Infinity Gauntlet #2 got a 9.4, and Infinity Gauntlet #3 got a 9.6.  Not a bad hull.  The Avengers Annual actually has Thanos’ first “death” as well as his assembling the Infinity Gems, although he does not use them as the Gauntlet until the series of the same name.  Very pleased, fits right along with my plans for these and the books I got signed by Stan Lee as well.
  • Trying to budget more time for drawing, optimize my abilities.  I’ve been doing a lot of side stuff, but I’d really like to get back to comics.  I’m going to try drawing more by hand, with actual pencil and paper.  I’m not necessarily a fan of being purely digital.  Definitely feel like I draw better in pencil first, then pretty it up in Photoshop.

So random…

  • Started working on a new comic.  Kind of a western type of thing.  Only really got rolling on one page so far.  I’m just glad I’ve been able to keep drawing and writing.
  • Been listening to a lot of Hamilton lately.  My biggest disappointment about NYC was that I didn’t manage to get tickets to see the show.  Unfortunately, they are ridiculously expensive and sold out.  Then the whole thing with Mike Pence happened and I started listening to it again.  The song “Non-stop” sticks with me.  Primarily the line “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?”  Sometimes I get overwhelmed with the idea that time has already run out.  In a couple of situations, I think that might be the case.  I try to think of it as meaning there’s nothing left to lose, which can be nice in its own way.
  • Made Shepherd’s Pie a couple of weeks ago, that was really good.  Put some bacon cheddar cheese on top.  I’ve missed being able to cook on a regular basis.  Threw together some Ranch Chicken and baked french fries the other day, planning on some more cooking too.  I got a couple of ideas I want to try at some point.  Something involving seafood.  Hopefully I’ll be able to prioritize more time for that in the future.
  • Trying to hit 200 pounds for my body weight before I really start cutting and toning up.  It was kind of exhilarating to actually 180 pounds on my driver’s license when I renewed it last week.  Kind of a weird thing.
  • The other day, a supervisor told me he’s been hearing complaints about me, apparently thinking I’ve been slacking off.  Regardless of my opinion of that assertion–*cough* bullshit *cough*–I never take complaints like that seriously.  The big reason being that my dad works at the plant.  Basically, I acknowledge that there’s a lot of back-stabbing politics in any work place and having a parent there makes me a big target.  So I’ve come to expect such if only because it is human nature and I choose not to really care.  I put in my 40 hours a week and do my best for those hours.  That’s it.  I’m already in a situation I’m not really that keen on and I have no interest in getting into pissing matches over delegitimized nonsense.

So, it has been a bit of a down year all around.  I was going to wait until after Christmas to reflect on the year as a whole, but I get the feeling December is just going to be going through the motions and mailing it in.  The United States and Britain seem destined to complete their self-destruction as the icons we grew up with continue to pass away.  So 2016 really has become the year where we lost ourselves.

Bowie, Rickman, Prince, Castro, Cohen, Glass, Henderson…  We have lost a lot of people who defined who we were and how we feel about ourselves.  People get annoyed when people get upset over celebrities dying, but it is important to remember that these people form a part of our culture and how we regard ourselves.  After a bad at work I’ve been know to put on Bowie’s Hunky Dory and listen to “Kooks” and that usually makes me feel better.  Or unwind to an episode of Serenity.  Or quote any number of Rickman’s memorable lines.  And so on.  Even Fidel Castro, in his own way, had his role in the formation of our culture.  So it is reasonable to feel something significant when people of their presence in our lives pass away.

2016 was really a wash year.  We were so self-destructive this year.  Even in my personal attempts to turn the anger and angst into something productive were heavily caught up in the waves of… whatever.  For lack of a better way to put it, we drowned ourselves in our own bullshit this year.  This whole year was about self-destruction.

Some predictions:

  • I think that on a global and national scale, we are poised to see a lot more instability.  I just look at the players involved and some what’s unfolding and those do not bode well in my mind.
  • I think I will be in some kind of relationship in 2017.  How serious of one, I don’t know.  I’ve gone on a date or two, but things have been a bit too hectic to really get a read on anything.  Who knows?  Somebody was telling me that it sometimes takes a up to a year and a half to get over a break-up, depending on how long and serious the relationship.  Part of the reason I’m glad I haven’t gotten into a relationship yet.  I think I did need the time to figure out how responsible I was for the state of things there and I do feel I’ve reached a point where I’ve shouldered my share.  I’ve taken responsibility for my mistakes and learned from them.
  • Probably will be getting a new job next year.  I’ve been ready to move on for a long time and I’m feeling more and more like it has been dragged out longer than it should.  I’m not foolish enough to state a time table without a plan in place, but I’m thinking it will happen.
  • I will be doing something more productive with artwork.  We will see.

Just some general updates and thoughts.

  • Liking the progress I’ve made with the Skyrim drawing.  Hoping to have a finished version of that soon.  I also did a Catwoman drawing that I’m probably done playing with.  Still working on building up a selection of drawings to sell as prints at VTCC, so hopefully I will have that and a comic sampler or something ready to go by August.  I figured I would send in the table application once I had a couple more sketch cards and prints ready to go.
  • Ordered some Art Paper to test printing off the drawings I’ve scanned.  A $40 test order.  Only found out later I could probably order smaller samplers.  Oh well.  Going to see how that goes.
  • I said not too long ago that I thought the Trump Presidency would get bogged down in distractions.  I didn’t think it would happen so soon.  On a related note, anyone else surprised that Mike Pence went to see Hamilton?
  • Probably going to see Doctor Strange this weekend.  For one reason or another I missed my chance to see it the last couple of weeks.  Probably do that during my brush with death for Black Friday.  Making it sound more exciting than it actually will be.  Probably won’t hit up any shopping until the afternoon, when the mess has been cleaned up.  When I do my online shopping, I might pick up the Doctor Strange Masterworks.  Get the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko reprints.
  • Already starting to think about 2017 as being a good year for a fresh start.  2016 kind of blew it in a lot of ways.  My patience wears thin over a number of issues, and I’m hoping to make some changes in the coming months.

Drawings I’d like to be doing soon:

  1. Magic The Gathering themed.  I’ve been wanting to draw some of the Planeswalkers–Chandra seemed interesting if only because of the potential to play with a flame effect–for awhile now.  Might go through some Magic Cards and see what I can get for ideas.
  2. Skyrim stuff.  Been thinking about a drawing of M’aiq the Liar to go along with the Aela the Huntress stuff.  Again, might see what other ideas spring to mind.
  3. Keep wanting to another Captain Marvel drawing, this time get it a bit more where I’d like it to be.

Reflecting on what we’ve learned…

  • Working on some short comics.  Think I’ll get rolling on those in the coming days, probably after I finish a few smaller projects.  Continuing to work on some sketch cards and more sellable stuff for the potential table at VTCC.  Skewing towards more Skyrim art right now.  Got some coloring work to finish up on a couple of things that might happen on my days off.
  • Been playing a lot of Skyrim.  Derailed my NaNoWriMo stuff.  Had a good concept worked out for it too.  Hazard of buying a Playstation 4 just at the end of October, I guess.
  • I’ve been thinking about the Election as more Hillary Clinton’s loss, than Donald Trump’s win.  I believe the Clinton campaign has pointed blame at a variety of things–FBI, Media, Bernie, etc.–but those weren’t the deciding factors.  Well, various members of the media have owned up to being less than their best, but that was not the whole problem.  I think Clinton took too much for granted and expected things to be handed to her.  She didn’t earn support like Trump or Sanders did.  True she actually did win the popular vote and lost some key electoral college votes by less than one percent, but it was the failure to truly earn those votes that hurt her.  I mean, the difference really was Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, who I’m not convinced made a public appearance without some level of marijuana in their systems.
  • Speaking of third parties, I’m fairly impressed with them right now.  The easy copout would be to blame them for Trump being elected, but as I said, it was really more Clinton’s failure than anything.  But regardless, I’m glad they had a strong showing even if it did skew the results.  I was a bit dismayed to see them nominate the people they did though.  I had an open mind about Johnson and Stein, but they kind of let me down.  I think the Green Party and the Libertarians can get stronger candidates on the ballot next time around and Make a much more serious impact.
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