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.  And I don’t deny there were times I could have made more of an effort.

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.

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.

Going to do some comic reviews later, but I’m going to do a bit of an update on my own comics and a few other oddities for right now.

Working on inking the redraws of Order of the Dragon #1 today.  I only intended to redo a handful of pages, but I ended up redoing the whole thing.  Redrew it in pencil, everything else happening on the computer.  I only really intended to redo a few pages to help the flow and clear up a plot point or two–add some emphasis to different scenes, generally tidy up a few things–but the initial pages I did actually looked so much better I ended up redoing it all.

While I like it much better, I was a bit uneasy about a page or two.  This was towards the end of the fight with the master when Nosferatu’s dormant powers activate.  Essentially, the Master is beating her down and it shows.  Kind of wondered for a moment if I was crossing a line or two.  After some thought, I came to decide that the sequence came across as I had hoped and sent a good message.

Some old stuff I shelved has popped into my mind lately as well.  I’ve wanted to begin drawing some new stuff for Chlorine and Acid, with the idea that I could more actively pursue that in the near future if my job hunting goes as planned.  Probably won’t until I’ve had a good detox from the place.

The other idea in my mind is this comic I had an idea for where the hero and his archnemesis are the same person.  Kind of a general Overwatch type vibe to it, I have yet to come up with a title.  Might start some work on that when I get a bit further along with Order of the Dragon.

 

Quick thought about my little blurb last week about applying at the place my ex’s best friend works.  I merely acknowledge the interconnectedness of humanity and its capacity to say or do something foolish.  I mean, I did go on a date with one of their close friends–things kind of stalled there due to both of us working nights, the apocalyptic feeling of the Presidential Election and a lot of general life distractions–so it would be foolish to worry about such things at this point.  Not that it matters anyway, they aren’t hiring.  My point is, our worlds are really tiny and we have a tendency to make things as uncomfortable as possible.

My trusty Echo Grass Trimmer has been acting up lately.  Head won’t spin like it should.  Going to take it apart on my days off.  Hoping its just something loose or dirty.  That should be fun.

 

So, how many more examples until we break?
So how many sacrifices must we make?
Because we’ve all been there once before
And it looks like we’ve returned once more
So is this the beginning or the end?

-“The Big Sleep” by Streetlight Manifesto

  • Finished penciling out the first issue of Order of the Dragon.  Well, debating if I want to add one more page, but I’m pretty happy with where it is now at 22 pages.  Starting to roll along with inking it now.
  • First week of selling comics on eBay was a mixed result.  Got the ball rolling anyway.  Made some money, but not as much as I had hoped.  I’d like to have four five auctions going every week.  Funny story.  I posted that Thor 165.  7.0, CGC Signature Series signed by Stan Lee.  First Full appearance of Adam Warlock who’s cocoon was introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  So I post it for auction, starting at $300.  Last year’s price guide–new one comes out in a couple of months–lists a 6.0 at $108 and an 8.0 at $259.  Mind you, the key thing to remember about a price guide is that it is a guide.  Not a set value.  Given GotG2, I thought there would be a good demand and started the listing a bit higher.  Not much going on there.  Some watchers, no bidding.  One message asking if I’d be willing to take $235 for it.  That was it.  After it ends with no bids, I get four or five messages from people asking I’d be willing to make a deal.  I’m just sitting there thinking, “$300 was not unreasonable.  I think I could make an argument that twice that much is fairly reasonable.  If you really wanted it, why didn’t you bid in the week it was up?”  I know how this business works.  I’m not about to get myself screwed over because somebody else is trying to take advantage of me.
  • Drama at work.  The production manager put in his notice.  There was a lot of swirling information going around the other day.  Lack of stability is one of the reasons I cite for the problems that people have had there.  It makes it a lot harder to have a clear picture of where you stand.
  • I applied at this place where three or four of my former housemates work, a soap factory.  I sent their HR person my resume and cover letter.  Didn’t name drop or tell them I was doing it.  I could see myself there and doing well, although the aspect of LMCBW’s best friend being there could lead to some drama.  Or not.  It would not necessarily surprise me to find that she agrees with a point or two I made about LMCBW.  I have wondered if there have been or will be some unknown consequences of writing about her like I did.  I think those thoughts needed to see the light of day and I don’t have serious regrets, but I’m cognizant enough to acknowledge the idea that others might not have been impressed.

Personal Review

May 1, 2017

But with a presence that billows out

Of any space

That even tries

To contain it.

“It’s Always The Quiet Ones” Something I thought I had deleted

So I’ve been working on my employee review questionnaire as part of tonight’s can’t sleep so I might as well do something and I’m going to share a few thoughts.  Basically it’s four questions.  What jobs can you do?  How can the supervisors help you with your performance/career growth?  How can your job be improved?  What are your personal or professional goals?

Writing it up was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  Mostly I just acknowledge I’ve held myself in place and need something different.  Nothing really new, just a slight redefinition.  Part of it is a bit of bad luck with a mediocre job market.  And in all honesty, how many jobs can you really get without 3-5 years of experience in a given field?  But that’s not really the whole story.

Maybe on a level this has been some kind of punishment for how things ended with Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.  In some ways, that’s probably been true.  I do think I made a mistake in not going to work on the farm.  I think there would have been more opportunities there than I had initially believed if I had not been so daunted by things going on at the time and the general feelings of it.  Speculative, I know, but I definitely think there were a lot of unexplored positives.

So yeah.  I will admit I have been confined for whatever reason.  And the constraints are going to have to go.

Another week.  I ordered a Deadpool mask.

  • Did a job interview a couple of weeks ago.  Thought it went pretty well, but it doesn’t look like I’m getting the job.  Oh well.  It was a local coffee company.  One of the things that stood out to me was the specification that applicants aren’t smokers.  I’ve speculated at various times that where I am currently might implement such a ban, especially after they reduced the areas where employees can go to smoke.  People leaving cigarette butts on the ground outside has always been a problem, and I even found one in a trash can in the area where we box cheese–likely left thrown their after someone went out for a smoke, just sitting right on top of the trash.  Given that some of the higher ups smoke and half the workforce smoke, it would likely be some time and effort before such a ban is implemented.
  • So I was at Home Depot the other day, looking into a number of ideas for projects.  Mostly just getting a vague idea of what type of gear I can or should get to do a lot of the projects I have in mind.  Big one I was drooling over was a table saw.  I’m thinking of building a few bookshelves and eventually a couple of desks–one for a computer and one for drawing.  More of a project for when I’ve got a house of my own situated. The desk might end up being built into a wall, so I’m planning on that being after the housing saga is close to its conclusion.
  • I was thinking about how other people working nights make relationships work.  A lot are married, but there are a few people who are still single.  Everybody is a little different, but I do think being in a relationship while working nights can be tricky.  It seems to require a high level of patience, understanding and commitment.  Part of the reason why I’m glad I remained single.  In the past I’ve pondered the usefulness of a rebound relationship and have tried to avoid getting into anything based in desperation.  People are fond of saying, “You’re 30, blah, blah, blah…”  but isn’t the point to not rush and form better long-term plans?
  • My father and uncle are in the process of getting a solar company to put panels on some of the farmland–the farm I grew up on until I was thirteen.  It has been controversial in a myriad of ways.  While I’m all for expanding solar panel usage, I do have some doubts about the situation.  My family and the surrounding neighbors aren’t necessarily… “progressive.”  Solar energy is something I’ve been very interested in though.  When I was a heartbeat away from farming, something I had thought about was seeing if it would be possible to use part of a field for some panels.  Nothing too elaborate.  At the time I was thinking that they were pretty heavy into dairy and it might not be a bad idea to diversify a little–solar energy, pigs, maybe bit more foodstuffs, lately I’m thinking about goats, etc.  Anyway, solar energy is a market I think there could be a lot of potential for.  I’m sure there will be a fair amount of excitement with the process my family has set into motion.

The Illusion of Free Will

January 5, 2017

One of the topics I like to come back to is the idea of accountability.  Personal responsibility.  I talked about this a bit in a variety of terms–personal, social, professional, etc.  I’ve argued in a lot of ways we don’t necessarily acknowledge or understand the responsibilities we have and struggle to reconcile them.

A recent incident at work has brought the topic back to my mind.  We have this new piece of equipment and with it has come a lot of learning as we go and figuring out how best to work with it.  The other night, the sanitation workers were spraying cheese curds off the salting system–basically a long conveyor where salt is applied to the cheese and stirred in with massive stirrers.  One of the sanitation workers was spraying this out and jammed up his hand.  Somehow he didn’t break it, but it was pretty messed up.

In response, management adjusted the system to hopefully prevent this from happening in the future.  Kind of an interesting situation, in that it forces the sanitation workers to readjust their methods when they are still getting accustomed to the new equipment.  On the one hand, I can understand the need to make an adjustment.  However, isn’t their a certain level of responsibility to acknowledge the worker himself might have made a mistake and expect everyone to learn from it?

Obviously I’m giving a very general overview, but the point I’m trying to make is that no number of safeguards or adjustments or whatever will completely negate the occurrence of mistakes.  People will do dumb stuff.  They always have and always will.  But do they take responsibility for it?

Nobody really wants to take responsibility these days.  The idea that when someone screws up it could just be their own damn fault is a foreign concept these days.  Four or five years ago I got my foot run over by a forklift.  It hurt, I iced it down a bit, but on the whole not a big deal.  I never once blamed anyone but myself.  I was the idiot standing next to a forklift, not paying a damn bit of attention to where I was and my foot got run over.  Another coworker had the same thing happen to him.  He went to the emergency room and ran his mouth about the guy driving the lift–as I recall, not too many people were impressed by that.

People don’t really want responsibility.  They want the appearance of it.  In the end, all they want is the illusion of control.  To be the decision maker without making any real decisions.  People want to call themselves “informed” when they vote, but do they really know what it means to be informed?  After this last year of politics, I wonder.  Nobody really wants to take the responsibility if only so they have deniability.  We’re willing to give up free will if it means no consequences.

I’ve made mistakes.  I like to think I know what all of them were.  And in a lot of ways I own up to them.  I take responsibility for them.  I’m proud of myself for that.  I’m not perfect, but I like to think I’m getting closer.  And I am continuing to hold myself accountable for where my life is.  However, I have to wonder if we do enough as a culture to take responsibility for our decisions or just try to give up that accountability.  If we do give it up, aren’t we giving up free will in refusing to take responsibility for decisions?

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