Goals 2017

A post on Hacker News about “aligning your daily to-dos with your long term goals” made me decide to sit down and ask myself what my long term goals are right now. This is what I came up with.

I need to think about Drowning City more. There are some large questions about it being asked here. Absinthe and Parallax have pretty concrete things to do, but there’s something ambiguous I have to grope for in that story before I can push forwards on it. Or maybe I just need to stop putting it off and make myself draw panels in my chapter 1 roughs for a week to get some progress.

Enchant is the dance studio I’ve been going to for the past couple of years. I took a break this winter with the intent of finding Something Else to keep fit with and have just been slouching.

There should maybe be some political action goals but uggggghhh

I’ve got a trip coming up next month that may be partially on a friend’s couch or may not. I need to try planning for the latter in case the former falls through.

I guess the overall long term goal is “keep doing this art thing, get back to where it almost pays the bills like it did when you were cranking out Rita”.

Happiness Systems

So regarding that earlier post about me being depressed: afterwards I thought, well, hello winter depression, it’s time to reassemble all the various systems I use to defend myself against you. They’d fallen apart.

Better snacking: I used to mostly snack on the Trader Joe’s “Tempting” trail mix. It had a picture of a couple of pensive cherubs on the label, and it was a tasty blend of peanuts, almonds,

cashews, dried cherries, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips. But then it vanished from the shelves. Recently it started showing up in this new form factor: a bag full of a bunch of little bags. But that just feels like it’s not gonna work with the way I use it; I kept a bag of it on the desk and dipped into it occasionally while working. So today I went down to TJ’s and got some dried cherries, some tiny peanut butter cups, some peanuts, and some almond/cashew/chocolate chips trail mix. Dumped it all into a ziploc bag, put it on my desk, and hell yeah I have my favorite work snacks back again.

I do not maintain that this is by any means the healthiest snack in the world. But I’ve been choosing far worse ways to satisfy that urge of “I am busy doing something and I want a tiny bit of energy-carrying food”; one or two handfuls of this will usually sate that urge without the lingering problems of “what do I do with the rest of this candy bar I guess I’ll eat it before it goes stale” or “did I just eat the whole fucking bag of corn puffs without thinking”.

(Feel free to mock me for thinking this elementary act of food assembly is worth noting. What can I say, I’m pretty useless in the kitchen.)

Better distraction: I’m following too many people on Twitter and that needs fixing. So I made a few “lists” on Twitter. Midway through I realized it sends out notifications of me adding people to these, and quickly made them private. I’m glad I found this out before the one with a snarky name got created.

So that’s better junk food for the body and the brain. More likely to give me a quick hit of whatever I’m picking them up for, more likely to satisfy that urge enough that I am no longer interested in it and can do something that makes me happy. Like drawing comics.

I think it’s also time to switch back to my smallest computer bag. It’s got barely enough room for the computer, a few essentials like my wallet, and not much more. Less weight means I’m more likely to make the choice to take the computer out with me, which means more likely to maybe take it out and sit down and draw. Which is a thing that fairly reliably makes me happier. (I’m really hoping that the forthcoming Wacom Mobile Studio will make drawing as casual as pulling out my sketchbook used to be; the Surface did that pretty well except for the part where it didn’t talk to Illustrator very well, and I found the time I’d spend drawing during any given day going up a lot without any effort.)

hello, depression

This weekend, I felt like shit. Sore throat, runny nose, I had a cold. So I spent it on the beanbag chair playing video games. I’d been invited to a party but “getting on a bus with a head full of snot for a half hour so I could go sneeze on people who are gathering to try and have some fun” didn’t sound like a good idea for anyone involved.

I got a new one called “Ronin”. It’s a 2d game about a little ninja who runs through side-view office buildings killing lots of little security people on their way to kill the five people who apparently did something terrible to the ninja’s father. The unique selling point that differentiates this game from a zillion other games about agile little people running through side-view environments killing lots of people on their way to kill a few people who did something terrible is that combat happens largely in a turn-based fashion, rather than in realtime, so you get to be a super agile ninja with super reflexes who can leap through a hail of bullets to stab someone in the face. I spent a whole day playing it until like 3AM, and won it, then did a few levels of the New Game+ mode (which starts you with the full toolset of moves you had to unlock over the course of the game, and requires that you kill 100% of the security dudes without letting them raise the alarm, and kill 0% of the occasional non-combatants scattered throughout the levels) before it crashed and I put it down for an indefinite amount of time.

Then I played the recent remake of 2006’s “Ratchet and Clank” which was really amazingly pretty. And I kept on noticing that I could barely tell what was going on in the cutscenes because all the detail added in the course of spiffing up a decade-old PS2 game for the PS4 made every shot a little harder to parse compared to the original’s brightly-colored cartoon characters against contrasting backgrounds; there were multiple times in the first few levels where I felt like I could barely see what was going on because the various robots and aliens shooting at me were the same color as the background. And damn its plot is some convoluted bullshit that’s mostly an excuse to give you more goofy-looking targets to shoot with your goofy guns.

I played that until like 5AM. I’m not sure I enjoyed any of it. I feel no particular desire to replay the whole thing with its hundreds of side missions and things to collect, and yet I want nothing more than to go sit on the living room for another fifteen hours doing exactly that.

Today I got out of bed around 1PM. I’ve been up for about four hours and the fucking sun is already setting. Realizing that makes me feel doomed. (Switching off of daylight savings time isn’t helping this one bit.)

I miss drawing new comics but “printing Rita” still hangs over anything else in a big curtain of guilt. And pushing that forward is a constant churing pool of boredom and stress and guilt. I really hope that this is the last book I have to print myself. It probably isn’t. And that fills me with dread and misery and I just wanna crawl back into bed and sleep until the sun comes back.

Hello, seasonal depression. It’s been a while. I didn’t miss you one fucking bit. If the long-shot chance of Parallax becoming a thing happens, I am moving back to LA and I am never living this far north ever again if I can help it. I need more goddamn sun than Seattle provides, even with the help of my False God.

(I also realize that I have eaten pretty much nothing but junk food for the past few days and should probably eat something vaguely like real food. I should probably change my habits to eat more real food in general. I’d been working on that for a while but I’ve backslid.)

removing depressing mundanities

Today, I cleaned my toilet. It’s been needing it for… several months, now. It was a bit meh in the summer when I went down to New Orleans to be by my mother’s deathbed, and by the time I got back it had matured into some dark spots on the inner lid that helped refresh the dark spots in the bowl far too quickly.

This was, of course, pretty depressing to see every time I went to the bathroom. But I was also depressed about my mom’s death, and pretty soon I was depressed due to it being winter, as well.

Every time I’d go to the bathroom seeing the state of my toilet would make me feel just that tiny bit shittier. But I could never wind up the mental energy to just fucking clean the thing – I’d have to figure out how to remove the lid so I could put it in the tub with something soaking into the top for a while. It felt complicated. Just thinking about trying to figure out how to do this was depressing.

IMG_1977.jpg

This is what depression looks like.

I finally did it today. And made a stab at the clean laundry pile that’s been sitting next to my bed for about as long. I feel a lot better about my apartment now.

I’m sure I’ll still be mopey and sad. I’ve got two very good reasons to. But at least I’ll have one less stupid fucking household chore gnawing at the back of my head, making me a little bit sadder every time I tend to a fundamental bodily need.

I feel like if I get nothing else today, cleaning my fucking toilet is still a major accomplishment. Dealing with laundry on top of that? I’m winning at life.

mopes that I have

When sorting through the pile of clothes I washed yesterday so I can get dressed for the day starts to feel like a huge, unsurmountable challenge, I am probably kind of depressed.

I’m pretty sure this is coming largely from still dealing with my mother’s death. Both emotionally and otherwise – I still have a bunch of bureaucratic stuff that needs doing. A lot of it got put off for a while because the funeral home took forever to get the death certificates to me, and the stuff that needs those has just been… sitting… in a circle on the floor near my work desk, reminding me that it needs doing. And just looking at each of those piles and figuring out what to do next feels like a huge, overwhelming task every time I look at them.

Having Rita stalled out about four pages from the end isn’t helping my mood, either. I can’t really commit to any new projects until I finish it. But I don’t want to just sit down and finish it. In part because – and is this a surprise? – I want to fill in one of the last few empty timelines in the climactic spread with something relating to my mom. So again it’s something that involves confronting this big void of misery and loss head-on before I can deal with it.
Blah. I guess I’m going to try and make myself sort through this stupid pile of Bureaucratic Mail and at least label everything with the next action to take, so I can pick them off one at a time and deal with them. Or something like that.

 

Oh yeah. And I’m probably also at a low energy level this morning because of burning my hand while trying to make a steak by myself last night. Some drippings splashed while I was turning it over. I got it cooled down fast, it’s not a Serious Burn or anything, but it’s definitely an injury that my body is going to want some time to heal.