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[sticky post] To New Friends

Greetings new friends, etc. I present to you a comprehensive summary of my personality profile, mostly tucked under a cut for your convenience.
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See you, Space Cowboy.

Assortment

Booths
Booth The First (this past Saturday) went well. I made over a hundred, and the last thing I sold was one of the top hats I decorated, which covered my booth fee. I thought they'd sell out early, but it must not be the exact right crowd - last time I had top hats to sell, they covered my (much more expensive) booth fee in a day. I also sold all the new items I made that I actually cared about (and got half the supplies to make more, but forgot the other half, and I think it's too late now). I'm really pretty happy that I made holiday cards and brought them to sell. It was my debut selling anything as an artist, and they did much better than I thought they would.

Booth the Second (the one jerkin' me around up til a week ago) is this Sunday. All last week, I stressed about needing to make new material for Saturday, and then when I only had about 8 new items made, I brought all the old stock out to pack up and realized I have PLENTY. I have SO MUCH merch that even after selling a hundred bucks worth of stuff, I don't actually need to make any new things for the booth (much smaller table) on Sunday. I will, though. I'm planning on making just a few new specialty items.

As for Booth the Third, I'm prepping art prints for just in case I get into Tora-Con (Artists Alley registration just closed, so I'll find out soon). And if I don't get in, I'll have art prints to sell online. I've got to get some holiday cards up for sale this weekend.


NYC
NYC trip is next Friday (through Sunday). I'm going with Sam and Chuck, and it's gonna be weird, mostly because I've never spent a long period of time in NYC or with Chuck. The plan is to hit the ground running. Pack Thursday, go straight from work to the train station on Friday. I haven't ridden a train since I was 3. Our 3 seats are separated into 1-seat, 2-seat sections, so depending on how much I want to loner-chill with headphones on, we're still deciding on who gets the lone seat (either me or Chuck, cuz I really don't want it to be Sam, stranding me next to Chuck with him talking my ear off). Pre-trip prep involves trying to save up some spending cash (hard with xmess and booth prep), and dying my roots. Oh shit, and I've gotta find a suitable outfit for the Krampus party. Wearing the demon horns from Halloween for sure. Maybe my furry kicks? Crap.

My friend Niki wants to go down before year's end, but she can't do it next weekend. We would have skated at Rockefeller together. In retrospect, I don't know if I'd have room for my skates, so maybe I'll be able to go back down, if she's able to hit it on a weekend (though holiday prices are gonna be wrecked).


Plans
Friday: Print some stuff for people. Maybe finally go to the gym (the shitty weather makes it so hard to stay motivated). Shop for craft supplies and a specific gift for a friend. Do some housework (and/or play Little Nightmares). Go to a Card Party at Kathy's (she bought 4 of my cards on Saturday), where we hang out, drink wine, and make out our holiday cards to people, and maybe share blank cards.

Saturday: Clean. Get my hair dyed by Sam. Maybe make it to a Tuba recital.

Sunday: Go to the Public Market with Debbie. Pack up and sell my wares at Lovin' Cup's craft show. Go to Debbie's birthday party. Crash.

After: I'm going to be finishing up some commissions by year's end (hopefully before I go to NYC, so next week is gonna be packed). My former co-worker Bill commissioned 3 paintings, just like the ones I'd done late last year, at $75 a pop! Then I've got an audio drama to record (hopefully a chunk by this week's end). I have one line in the first chapter, about a hundred in the second, and about 5 or so in the last chapter. And during downtime, press a few dozen buttons and prep some packages to ship out. It's gonna be a busy week.


Stress
I started this post Yesterday. I fully expected to dive into some depression talk in this paragraph, but as it's now the next morning, and I'm wearing a dress I really like, and I've spent half my wake-up time in bed in front of my Happy Light, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm pretty sure most of my sadness is weather related. And I know my sadness is partially coming from Depression Brain convincing me of holiday premonitions that aren't likely. But the Happy Light really helps, at least at the top of the morning.

(edit: No, I remember. I had a mini breakdown yesterday morning before work, because of politics and the state of the country. I admitted I am on the brim of being suicidal because of it, and as hard as it is for a poor, white-ish woman, I can't imagine what it's like for people who aren't white-passing and aren't in a blue state. It turned my stomach being reminded of this).

I'm a Smart Guy

This is just a quick venting post about work.

Guy calls and wants to pay his daughter's tuition bill (today is the final extended deadline), but first he needs to set up the account.
Guy bitches that I can't send the setup letter to his personal email, and tells me his daughter is a minor and I should just do it.

I explained that she's not a minor (she's 18) and that this needs to go to one of the emails on file, and he's just going to have to text her to have her forward it to him.

He says she's in high school, not college, she is in class all day. I said she can do it between classes. He thinks there are no 'between classes' in high school.

I wanted to say, "well, next time, I guess you should make sure your email address is in the Parent/Guardian email slot instead of your daughter's, so you actually get the bill the first time." I wanted to say, "I think you're confusing high school with kindergarten. There are indeed 'between classes', and you're a fool if you think a teenage girl isn't going to check her phone between classes, if not during classes."

The guy calls back and is having a bitch of a time with this simple process, so I had to walk him through it.

Soon, he points out, "I'm a district attorney, so I'm a smart guy, not some dummy."

I wanted to say, "dummy, I just taught you to scroll up on a website. And you just asked me if you should click the link that says Pay Bill." In fact, he asked me to verify that he needed to do LITERALLY EVERYTHING, even after I directed him to do it ("click on the Students tab." "Oh, there's where it says Students, so I click on that?").

All the while he's bitching that this shouldn't be so difficult. You're about to put your credit card information in there. Be glad it's this 'difficult'.

Bodily Damage

I decided I need to go back to the gym nearly two months ago. I've been exactly one time, last Monday. Then my body turned against me.


"Oh, you wanna go to the gym today? SURPRISE! Early period!"

"Think you're ready to go back to the gym? SHINGLES!"
"Yup, you can totally get shingles before 50."
"This patch is going right in your armpit!"

"Shingles not hurting/contagious anymore? How about another period?"
"And it's the worst period in months!"
"And it's gonna last a day longer than usual!"

"Okay, okay. I didn't think you'd have the energy to go to the gym today, but hey, you deserve a moment to yourself..."

"Oh no you don't. Now you get a new allergy reaction. Have some hives."
"Right on your wrist, so you can't use your hand."

"You think pills, creams, and a bandage are going to help? How about I do something to your other wrist..."
"BURST BLOOD VESSEL! CARNAGE AND BLOOD EVERYWHERE UNDER THE SKIN!!"
"Have that, and the hives, bitch!"

"Ready to go back to the gym? Nah, bro."
"Let's throw in some weather-related mood swings."

"And now for some gut-wrenching intestinal distress you can't get rid of so easily."

"Wait til you see what I have in store for your career."
"Everyone else is sick, mwahahahaha!"
"YOU'RE NEXT!"

FawnMari

My first mistake in closet KonMari was starting late at night so I couldn't hoover the carpet (downstairs neighbours). My second was sitting in the dust while getting ready for a night out. When I got up, I had a goddamn moth larvae on my butt! WHAT THE FUCK?? I also had dust mite bites on my wrist, which have lasted me the whole week (I had to have my wrist wrapped in a bandage). This is what I get for not hoovering my closet regularly. I finally got to it last night, though, and I went all-in with it, making sure I got in all the crevices and baseboard surfaces. I think that's about the 3rd time I've hoovered it that deeply in the entire time I've lived here. Gotta make sure I do this more often.

I got rid of a few more items from my drawers, and still need to cull coats/jackets and the like.

Got rid of almost an entire shelving unit of DVDs (out of 3) and half my CDs. I aimed for this outcome. I'm going to go a second, more brutal round on the DVDs and try to get the whole third shelf emptied.

I had a whole other paragraph about the complications I'm running into, but as it helps to write it out, I've found the solution for the complications is using my own goddamn common sense.



I'm riding a deadline for a booth thing I'm doing this weekend, so I may have to put my cleaning on hold while I work on some new items.

KonMari

For those who don't know, or forgot or something, the KonMari method of tidying up is this: You go through your entire house by 5 broad categories, in order (1. Clothes, 2. Books, 3. Papers, 4. Komono (misc), 5. Sentimental). You gather them all from every corner of your house into one pile in one place. Then you hold each item and and determine if it gives you joy (sparks joy, is the coined phrase) to have it, if it's useful, if it fits, or if it's a "just in case / just because / someday" item that, in reality, you will probably never get around to using.

Since I've KonMari'd my wardrobe twice this year (and once last year, and once a couple months back) and stopped there instead of continuing on with the rest of the house, I thought I'd skip the first step of the process and start with books.

2. Books
KonMari'ing the books worked with great success, and I finished in a day. I have 3 large shelving units and 5 small ones. Everything now fits on the three large units alone. I got rid of about a third of my books, including selling a couple items on ebay (a few Japanese magazines sold immediately, and I have a bid on a collection of Manga, which I'm selling cheap-as-hell). I also gave boxes of books to people who claimed them and picked them up (or paid shipping) through my KonMari Instagram (I made the rule to claim before the weekend is up, and pick them up / pay shipping, by week's end).

I have touched exactly two reams of my many magazines (the rest are from a subscription I reference a few times a year), and was too lenient on my comics. I may go digital with the majority of them.

1. Clothes
I won't be posting my clothes to instagram, because posting them online didn't really work out last time, plus with friends of all sizes, it's a crapshoot. My best friend, who lives down the road from me and is also near my size, gets first dibs on pretty much everything I'm getting rid of, and she's the only one I'm offering clothes to. I thought I could get the clothes done as quickly as I got the books done. Wrong. I'm still struggling through it (day 3 so far). I only got rid of two bags of clothes, not including purses and shoes and accessories and things. I had a mountain on my bed, and when I finished, I still had a mountain on my bed. I think I need to get really brutal with my wardrobe. Problem is, I wear everything I'm keeping. And I have a very, very small dresser right now. I'm hoping to fix that by year's end, but it sucks. I had a giant basket with clothes to fold and drawer, but the dresser's full and I have half the basket left. A second culling is needed, I think. This is gonna suck. But at least I've hung everything I wanted hung.

3. Papers
I'm kind of excited to work on the Papers category. Just because I know most of it is so much garbage and useless information, and it'll be nice to get it all in one place. I'll finally get around to throwing out all the medical and English notes I thought I'd look at again but never did.

4. Komono
As an artist with many, many hobbies, I'm going to throw the "sort by category, not by location" rule a little bit to the wind when it comes to my studios (yes, multiple studios), because, along with the misc of the other rooms, it's just TOO MUCH to handle otherwise, and I'll make a disaster of my living room (it's still recovering from the books - I'm dropping them off to donate this week).

5. Sentimental
Because I needed to do it when inspired, I already knocked the photo-culling off the list of sentimental items. I made sure there's just 2 little albums, with no loose photos around. And I think I got rid of all the negatives during last year's spring cleaning. Not entirely sure what else I'll come across when doing the sentimental items. Letters, for sure, old art, diaries, memorabilia... Unsure of how I feel about that impending cut.

Booth

Since November started, I made a booth page for Honey in my Gears, where I sell jewelry and stuff, then applied to two places to sell Jewelry (and was accepted into one of them so far! The other keeps jerking me around with "I promise we'll get back to you soon"). And I made a booth page for Fawndolyn Valentine, where I took some prints I made and turned them into other things, and even photoshopped a couple of other items into the example of things I wish to sell (that was pretty fun and exciting). For the first time, I applied, as an illustrator, to Tora-Con (the local anime convention). I expect to hear back from them in December or January.

The idea of boothing as an illustrator terrifies me a little, but I've always wanted a big enough body of work to warrant it, and I think I'm finally ready to give it a shot. I've made some prints and some greeting cards (okay, the ones I've made are actually holiday/winter themed, and I printed them to sell at Star Alley next month alongside my jewelry, but I think they'll go over okay at Tora-con, too). I've been making buttons for some time now, but they don't tend to sell well. Hopefully, I can be more organized about it this year, and really cater to fandoms and change that.

In the meantime, I've also been using November to work on some ashcans I want to make - namely, an exploration of my asexuality (which I may end up splitting into 3 smaller comics), but realized I should be working on my Marshmallows ashcan, and revising my Sushi one, in time for the holiday booths next month. Tora-con is in April, so I think that's a better deadline for the ace comic(s), since that's a bigger project, anyway (however, I am gathering source material for it this month).

I'm also taking breaks to make fan art, with a couple of originals thrown in the mix.

(I use a lot of parentheses, don't I)

Podcast List

Ongoing list of podcasts I love, have loved, just like, or tried but couldn't get into.

Feel free to drop some more suggestions in the comments. I'm up for anything, but may not like everything suggested.

I like dramatization, story, and storytelling podcasts best.



Current Love List

Welcome to Night Vale
Alice Isn't Dead
Within the Wires
The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air)
The Truth
Homecoming
Learn Japanese Pod
Spektrmodule
Mortified



Current Like List

Nocturne
Sawbones
I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats
It Makes a Sound
The Adventures of Danny & Mike
Here Be Monsters
LightningBolt Theater of the Mind
Everything Is Stories
Arrivals




Unsure if These Loves are Current or Dead
(and technically dead, but still occasionally post something)

The Thrilling Adventure Hour
Getting on With James Urbaniak
LifeAfter
Thinking So You Don't Have To

Dead Loves

Dead Authors Podcast
Riverdale Podcast
The Chris Leavins Story Hour
God Hates Fangs
There's Something Out There




Liked, But No Longer Subscribed
(or just wasn't my cuppa tea)
(or they posted too much, their casts were too long, or just needed to pare down my list)

Conversations with People who Hate Me
The Heart
Lore
The Allusionist
The Black Tapes
Tanis
The Girl with the Makeup Tattoo
The Moth
Nickelodeon Animation Podcast
Oh No Ross & Carrie
Why Oh Why
Risk
Invisibilia
Reply All
Blackwell Podcast
Strangeness in Space
The Horror! Old Time Radio
Pseudopod
Nightmare Magazine
Radio Diaries
My Dad Wrote a Porno
The Art of Manliness
Still Buffering
The NoSleep Podcast
Radio Free Burrito
Voice Acting Mastry
The JV Club
Spontanianation
HP Podcraft
Last Podcast on the Left
This American Life
That American Life



Suggested but Not Tried Yet
(or haven't given a proper chance yet)

The Box
King Falls AM
MarsCorp
The Bunker
(or MarsCorp and The Bunker?)
Star-Trek Radio
Hidden Brain
Sleep with Me
Cognitive Dissonance
Myths + Legends
Theory of Everything
Dead Pilots Society
Waking Up with Sam Harris

The Shing-ing.

Brian and I had a lovely date for my birthday at The Red Fern, where I had tofu for the first time since cutting it out due to my estrogen dominance. We sat outside to enjoy the last nice day of the season. When I put my arm on the table, I felt pain. I lifted my sleeve and asked him if there's anything on my upper arm on the back of my elbow. He saw nothing. The burning sensation didn't falter, but grew, and after the date ended, I came home, took off the hoodie I hadn't work in a while (I figured I'd switch out the leather, as we dined at a vegan restaurant), and looked up the symptoms of burning skin. Among the myriad of terrifying causes, one was shingles, but I didn't think anything of it, as I had no rash.

And then I saw it. On my lower shoulder, right above where a cartoon character would get a "mom" tattoo, several bumps that looked just like bedbug bites... except the pattern, though similar, seemed a bit off. I had 9 bumps in clusters of 3, closely set, in a row across my arm. Now, I know bedbugs like to snack in 3's. But they don't tend to be this close, nor do the clusters tend to be so close to each other. Since it was Brian's fault the last time I dealt with bedbugs (outside work), I made my assumptions, but since they didn't itch, and the hoodie hadn't been worn or washed in a very long time (mom suspected dust mites), I also allowed denial to keep that doubt in there. I sprayed my new couch anyway.

Over the next few days, the skin around the bumps started to itch. The arm burned still, and the burning sensation spread over a lot more area. Then the bumps multiplied and turned to little blisters, and smaller clusters appeared on my armpit, my chest, and my spine (fuck you, spine dot - right where I can't reach, and you would be the only one that itches like a motherfucker). I knew for sure it was shingles. What. The. Fuck.

The first to appear was the first to scab over with minimal itching. In retrospect, the back one could have been the first in general. It itched insanely for a week prior to this, and I kept asking Ch. if he could see anything there, but there was nothing. The armpit itched early on, too. I thought was an impending cyst formed because of a shitty underwire, which I usually have dealings with on the other arm, but have had cysts on the left, too. It was embarrassing to constantly be itching my armpit, but I couldn't see any signs of a cyst.

The pain isn't as severe as the internet says it is ("worst pain I've ever felt," it says). It's a mild case, though, at least so far. I described it originally like getting a tattoo of a sunburn on a sunburn. The armpit felt like getting bee stings on a fresh tattoo of a sunburn. That hurt worse than the others, because it's in the armpit. Creases everywhere, and on a joint that gets a lot of use. The back hurts like a standard sunburn, and the chest just itches.

Internet and humans alike all demanded I see a doctor, so it seemed like as good a time as any to finally find one. I haven't seen a doctor in a good 15 years outside emergencies. I was nervous, but knew it's the responsible thing to do. I called around, got a doctor, and made a first appointment for January 18th. Then asked if I could be seen any earlier for a situation I'm in. They suggested calling at 8am Monday morning, which worked for me, since I was about to be on my way to Toronto (where it hurt forever, and I didn't get to see my friends because of it). But hey, I got a doctor.

On Monday (yesterday), I got a squeeze-in appointment with another doctor who made me wait a half hour. He came in while the nurse was taking my vitals, but she was just finishing up, and he disappeared for a long time. When I'd nearly given up hope, the door opened. Another nurse walked in with a needle (A NEEDLE!!!), asked me to verify my birthday, then asked if I'd ever had a bad reaction to the flu vaccine. I said I've never had it, and don't intend to have it (I'm not an anti-vaxxer, but I won't get a flu shot). She seemed baffled and asked if the doctor offered it to me first. I said I haven't even seen a doctor. She went to fetch him right away. Obviously, she had the wrong room, which made me nervous.

The doctor finally came in, and his demeanor made me feel very uncomfortable (for experience-with-old-male-doctors reasons, not for totally valid reasons). He took one look at the shingles on my arm and said "we'll get back to that," and asked me if there's anything else I'm concerned about or want to talk/ask about. Ummmm.... what. This isn't a physical. You're not my full-time doctor. This appointment isn't some scheduled visit. It's one step removed from urgent care. I'm clearly here for only one reason. He asked twice more throughout the session. Each time, I pointed at my arm and said "just this." I don't know what he was fishing for, but it didn't help my nerves and discomfort.

I left with a few suggestions. I chose the over-the-counter option of capsaicin cream, which turned into quite an experience. If you don't know, capsaicin is what makes hot peppers hot. The cream was cool upon application, which surprised me. I thought, oh, it must just not be good stuff. I felt it get intensely hot about 15 minutes later. It actually felt nice, like I was standing in front of a heater. It really helped stop the pain, and stop the itch, and I was so happy something was working. I reapplied the stuff a couple times throughout the night.

That would be my 3am downfall. I woke up in searing hot pain, unable to touch anything to the skin because the heat needed to touch air, nothing else. I tried finding a position that would sate the fire, but at 3:30, I gave up and got out of bed. I looked at my skin in the mirror and it was ALL RED. My chest, my arm, my back, just beat red. I felt scared, but I stayed calm. Being up with the cool night air made it feel better, so I thought I'd try going back to bed again. Nope. Got up, decided to get an ice packet. After using it to sufficiently cool the front and arm, I set it on the mattress and got on my back, snugging it right on my spine. On my back, I could lay out my arm in a way that airs out the armpit and leaves the rest in the open air, too. Felt better in the morning, and in fact, all the blisters were flat, instead of raised bumps (though, they were still blisters, alas).

Apparently, no one knows why shingles occurs, but they suspect it has something to do with stress or a lowered immune system. I don't feel unhealthy, but I did take a 2-week bender off my diet and downed a LOT of candy and junk food and carbs. I'm thinking maybe my body got stressed out by the sudden change in diet (for the worse).

I'm so over this. And it can last anywhere between 2-6 weeks or longer??? I'm worried because I'm feeling burning on my leg now. Hoping it's nothing (I've experienced burning sensations a lot over the course of my adult life, so I don't usually think anything of it, but now I'll be constantly stressed).

I handled one shower. Can I handle more? We'll see....

At Home with Monsters

Fair warning, this is gonna be a picture-heavy post, but I'll try to pare it down a bit.

I just came home from the world's most amazing exhibit! The 'Bleak House' of Guillermo Del Toro! He's loaned out hundreds (maybe thousands) of items, big and small, from his home for this exhibit. Every time I think "surely this is the last - alas, over too soon," I turn to find yet another room filled to the brim with amazing collections!

A live pianist filled the gallery with songs from the classics, and from the films (the first song that played when I entered was, of course, the lullaby from Pan's Labyrinth, fitting, as a full-sized sculpture of The Pale Man was the first thing to greet me). Videos played on the occasional wall, showing clips of films or interviews. There's a rain room with Edgar Allen Poe, sitting between two fake windows showing a realistic video of rain careening down the glass, blurring the view of trees blowing in the wind outside. And the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) app had an audio guide narrated by Guillermo himself.

Some of the rooms have walls completely covered in decals depicting rooms of his house, film scenes, or book covers. A whole wall in the Lovecraft room is covered in covers of classic literature. In the comic work room, two of the three walls are covered floor to ceiling with pinned up comic books. In the room with the Frankenstein models, an entire wall is covered in every single Frankenstein-related book cover, including foreign editions, movie posters, kid books, and comic books.

The entire show was so completely well-created, as one would expect from such a master.

I heard this one in Toronto may be the last stop for the exhibit, for the simple fact that he misses his stuff. So if you get the chance to go up, it'll be there til January 7th. Go online, get the student rate tickets (they don't check). And don't forget to spend around a hundred bucks at the gift shop, like I did ;)


I took hundreds of pictures. The lighting and backgrounds were almost always perfect. You'll see it in the angel, especially. There are 24 images below, but if you want to see around 150 images (and that's still not even all of them), I've made the album on my FB public.

without further adoCollapse )