January 6, 2015

Fetus Balloon and Other Things

I finished an art video last night and left it uploading overnight, so it would be ready for people to see in the morning. It’s called “Fetus Balloon”, here it is:

It’s a bit dark because my office is a bit dark, but I’ve got a lamp on my desk now so that should solve the problem in the future. I don’t really care if anyone watches them, I like watching them, and I just bought a video setup to make them, so expect more.

I realize I haven’t been updating a ton lately and most of that has to do with the fact that I’m not feeling particularly “writer-y” these days. I’m feeling more…I dunno, visual I guess. In the video, you’ll  see that I’m painting on a pad of watercolour paper. I’ve decided that paper is going to be my only substrate for the entire winter. I thought about limiting myself to only using Inktense pencils but I just couldn’t do it. I used them in the painting in the video but so far nothing I’ve been able to do with them has looked better than my usual acrylic paint so I’ve decided to do the opposite of limiting myself and anything, as long as it’s (relatively) flat, fits on that paper and won’t fall off when I file it in my portfolio, is fair game.

Here’s what I did with the first sheet of paper from the pad:

I’m so used to painting and working in layers that carefully leaving white space as not to mix your colours was really really difficult. Also there are no caucasian fleshtones in the whole tin and I have the really big 72 pencil one. I dunno, still playing with them.

When I go to San Francisco next month all I’m bringing as far as art supplies is this pad of watercolour paper, the Inktense pencils, brushes, brush basin, 3 Pigma Micron pens, pencil, pencil sharpener, eraser, exacto knife for cutting eraser, ruler and circle template, gel medium, acrylic glazing medium and 6-8 two oz bottles of acrylic paint, colours to be determined, but Santa’s Flesh, Snow White and Lamp black are definitely going to be in there.  I know it sounds like a lot but it really isn’t since almost everything is small or light and it’s NOTHING compared to the resources available to me in within the room I currently sit. So, during that trip I *am* limiting myself to that and whatever Belinda brings with her/buys while she’s there if she comes. We’re gonna sit around and watch movies and make bad art. It’ll be awesome. Steph’s also taking me to a restaurant that ONLY serves fancy macaroni and cheese, which I gotta tell ya, I’m pretty damn excited about. We’re going to see where Steph lives (in a bitcoin-fueled cyber hippie love commune), which should be interesting. At some point we’re going to hang out with Blake’s sisters and their kids, two of which Blake has never even met. They live in Lake Tahoe so they’re going to drive into SF and then I dunno what. On my actual birthday, my friend Kat is throwing me a birthday party and then driving us to the airport the next day (unless we just get a cab cuz it’s gonna be like, 4am). I’m trying to arrange a meetup one day with all the people I work with who live out there, but I’ve never actually met. So that should be pretty cool.

I’m going to SF because I figure by the end of Feb/my b-day, I’m going to be a wreck. The SAD officially kicked in this morning despite doing light therapy 3 times every morning for the last two months. San Francisco has warmth and sunshine and a MACARONI AND CHEESE RESTAURANT and friends. The place we rented has a pretty nice kitchen so we’re going to order in from this food delivery service that has all kinds of weird produce and organic meats. And I’m sure we’ll hit up a grocery store at some point. (I loooooove American grocery stores.) Blake’s going there to see his sisters and work on his book and be warm. I’m thinking about maybe getting a tattoo while I’m down there but I haven’t decided yet. I want to have my scar accentuated somehow because it’s fading, but I haven’t come up with anything yet. I don’t want to tattoo the actual scar though. I dunno, was just an idea. I want to buy THE most touristy godawful bong I can afford that says San Francisco on it, if I can find such a creation. I’ve been assured that such an item has been spotted once or twice so, I’ll be on the lookout.

Almost bought plane tickets to Vegas last week because my work can get us free tickets to AVN which is a big porn convention at the end of the month. Didn’t end up doing it because unless we could have rented a place with other people from work, we couldn’t afford to stay anywhere. I guess there’s also an electronic gadget convention happening at the same time so all the hotels raise their prices. Flights were pretty cheap, though. Plus doing that at the end of Jan. would mean only 3 paycheques between now and San Francisco and I want to save as much money as possible for that. This year would have been ideal to go to AVN because it’s their 30th anniversary so I bet there would be more than the usual amount of free swag. Oh well.

What else? Well, Madison has her learner’s permit and is learning to drive. She has two part-time jobs and spends all her money on Magic cards, something that she has gotten all of us into because the only shop worth going into in our  town is the comic shop and they have Friday Night Magic until 1am or longer, depending on how things are going.  My deck is white with a bit of blue, but I’m thinking about switching to a straight white deck when the new cards come out later this month. I guess we’ll see what I pull (I’m buying a full box of boosters and so is Madison).

Other than that like, all I do is work. I may play Sims 4 today though because I haven’t touched it since it first came out and I have no plans for today. Spending the day either in my Sims Bunker or farming in Warcraft and eating pizza sounds pretty damn good to me.  So that is what I am going to do.

Peace oot.

September 17, 2014

I was not a cool kid. I was a ghost.

I work a lot. That’s what I’ve been doing. My grama died in July, my shrink retired in August and just as life was normalizing, I asked for extra hours at work now that I have a car (which I got)  but we also hired 3 new people which means working overtime to train them. On top of that, a couple of Sundays ago, when I was in Militiagan for a wedding (more on that later), my boss messaged me on AIM and asked if she could have a word with me, freaking me out completely  at first because I thought I fucked something up and I hadn’t worked since that Friday morning so for it to have cropped up now, I figured it must be something pretty bad that she’d spent time talking to other people about. I wasn’t far off the mark about her talking to other people, but it wasn’t anything bad. She told me that there was one aspect of our job (our job is not just e-mail, it’s many things) that she thought I did a really good job at and she wanted me to sort of be like, the expert/final decision-maker/manager of this one thing. So that was really cool and I felt really good about myself (although part of me is terrified that she only thinks I suck the least at this thing because I also probably do it the least and now that I’m doing it MORE my fuck up rate is going to go up too). She told me that this would take effect immediately and it would mean that my workload would increase but that was okay because she gave me 9 extra hours per week that she wanted dedicated to this task. BUT I’m training and I can’t train people unless another senior person is working with me (or it’s really difficult to) because while training, it takes at least 10 times longer to get the work done than if I was doing it by myself so even with help, I fall behind on my regular tasks and I don’t have time during my regular shift to do my new task the way I think it’s supposed to be done so that means staying an hour-hour & a half past the time I’m done training, which was overtime to begin with. (Why, yes I *am* proud of that run-on sentence…) In a span of about 6 weeks, I went from working 3 hours a day to 7 minimum, which may not seem like a lot to people who work the standard 40 hours a week but for me that’s a lot.

Having said all that, honestly? Mostly I’m having FUN. I’m being CHALLENGED. I imagine this is what it feels like when people who like working out work out. All 3 new hires are personal friends of mine and I thought it was already pretty sweet working with the group I do because we’re all friends outside of work as well. I mean, I’m getting paid to hang out with my friends on Skype all morning in my pajamas and tell them about the job I love WHICH I NEVER GET TO DO WITH ANYONE BUT BLAKE and he only understands like, 75% of what I bother telling him. (Better than the 5% of his job that I understand, however.) Due to the nature of what we do, who we do it for and who we do it with, we’re just supposed to talk about our jobs as little as possible outside of the company which suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks because our jobs are ridiculously interesting (to me), so it’s awesome to finally be able to be like “WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! PORNO PORNO PORNO!!! XXX!!!” while listening to 80s & 90s rap at 9am. (That is the soundtrack of Sunny’s Porn School.)

My work day still starts at 5am though and doesn’t usually “end” (*cough*at all*cough*) now until, well, 2:30pm for me today. And to compensate for having to be “on” and a fully functional cyborg that early, for that long, I’ve been trying to go to sleep around 7:30 or 8pm so right now it feels like all I do is work, talk about work, talk to work friends, hang out at the site I work for and go to sleep tired as fuck, but I guess I’ve done more than that. Not much more, though.

Like I said earlier, we went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago in Militiagan for Blake’s cousin Helena and fiance Bill, which isn’t his real name. His real name is something super Albanian and unpronounceable so I guess they just call him Bill. They’ve known each other since they were 14 and now they’re 30, so that’s sort of cool. The ceremony was crazy religious and almost entirely sung. There was incense involved, which the priest did at Blake’s grama’s funeral too and I thought was cool and I tried to get video of it but the priest is actually like, this HUGE conservative guy who frowns upon anything newer than last century and there were a couple of signs saying “no cell phones” but Blake’s Aunt Pat was inconspicuously taking pics beside me with hers so I got a short clip of the dude on Instagram but not what I wanted. Oh well, so not the point….anyway, during the ceremony they blessed this and that and the President (no shit) three times, in English AND Albanian, all while singing a call and return with the priest and some lady and his incense shaker had bells on it and made clanging sounds and the whole thing seemed to me like he was trying to get God’s attention for a sec and get him to bless the marriage. There was some heavy old school bare foot and pregnant shit in the vows, but what I noticed in the ceremony is that the priest STARTED with, “do you take this man to be your…?” etc and they did their “I do’s” FIRST so everything after that they technically didn’t agree to in any legally binding way (not that a wedding is “legally” binding, but y’know, if this was a deal with the Devil they could get out of it on a technicality by traditional mythological standards).

I’m not going to post what I wore because I think I looked like crap. I also think me and Blake’s step-monster were the only blondes at the whole event.

At the reception, we got sat at the “cousin table” (and not with Blake’s dad and his bitchfaced wife, who got stuck sitting beside the priest all night heh) and I got to meet all of Blake’s Albanian cousins who have all grown up and have since left Albania for greater things, I guess. Blake’s cousin Shirley is a dentist living with a dude named Stiig who’s an engineer for Rolls Royce in Norway. Blake’s cousin Nonda and his wife Eva live in NY and have two little kids. They met in Albania and came over a while ago. Blake’s cousin Livvy is like, an international free spirit party girl type who lives somewhere in Europe too but I forget where. I wanna say Prague? Not sure.

What kills me about Blake’s Albanian family is like HOW into family they are. It’s so weird to me because my family isn’t like that at all. It’s hard to explain, but like, Blake just met these people for the first time since he went to Albania when I think he was 18 and they were weirdly close considering I’d never heard of these people before that day and I’m pretty sure this was only Blake’s second time meeting them in person. I’m pretty sure you could ask a favour from practically anyone in the room and they would oblige just because you were related and vice versa. There was a lot of hugging and picture taking like, with people who barely knew each other but they were related so HEY LET’S TAKE A PICTURE! NOW LET’S TAKE THE EXACT SAME PICTURE WITH 5 MORE CAMERAS FROM 5 MORE STRANGERS! It was weeeeeeeeeeeeeeird, man. Weird. It was the biggest display of pronoia in action I think I’ve ever seen. Just a whole lotta people conspiring toward good things for a whole lotta other people simply because they’re related somehow.

My family is more…strategic, political, hostile, a little phony and now, extremely small. Almost non-existent. And I don’t foresee that changing any time soon. God, honestly I’m not even sure I have the energy to have it any other way, so whatever. I haven’t talked to my brother since my grama’s funeral because I don’t know what to say to him. I’ve exchanged 2 e-mails with my mom, pretty much the same thing.

At the end of the wedding, there was a coney bar set up because when Blake’s grampa came to America, he opened a coney dog restaurant called George’s Famous Coney Island and this restaurant was the foundation for just about everything in that ballroom. I thought that was pretty neat even though we left before it got set up.

Other than that, the only thing I have to report is that I broke down and bought Sims 4 even though I had initially decided not to get it because I’d heard nothing but bad things about what WASN’T going to be included, but I was bored and I’m a sucker so I downloaded it and while I’ve only had a chance to play it three times, I think I like it. It’s VERY bare bones, a lot like OG Sims, and I kinda like that because the complexity of Sims 3 got so ridiculous with all the expansions that I lost interest in it a long time ago. The emotions system combines with the Sims’ needs, so for example, if my Sim is angry or tense (emotion) AND has to go to the bathroom (need), the interaction “take an angry poop” appears. “Wants” contribute to emotions. Anyway, I’m having fun with it so far and I have high hopes for future expansions.

Annnnnd I’m tired and have to go to bed soooooo peace oot. *yawn*