2010 July

July 2010

I’m working on a venn diagram of ‘things I’ve done with my life’ and ‘what the fuck have I done with my life’. At the moment, it’s just a circle.

My perception of my own abilities, capabilities and confidence vacillates wildly from moment to moment.

I’ll have the house to myself for a few weeks in late summer.

The plan is to set up a small, crappy recording studio in my living room on top of the old piano with a spare computer : small drums, microphone, a few guitars (electric & acoustic), mandolin, and all of the other musical instruments I’ve been collecting for years. I’ll finally record some of the half-songs I’ve been writing since high school, and maybe hunt down the lyrics for the ones I wrote back then for my girlfriend.

I bought the necessary headphones for overdubbing today.

I can barely play anything, but I think I can make things come together somehow.

How do you celebrate the one year anniversary of getting cheated on and losing your apartment? Is that the ‘drink bleach’ anniversary?

If I were to create a venn diagram (which I am known to do), at which point do ‘uncomplicated women’ and ‘creative women’ meet? Do these two circles ever actually encounter each other, or are they completely unfamiliar with the existence of the other? Is there a singular, imperceptible point which I’m never going to be able to find?

This might explain my poor romantic decisions. Mathematics may be the only sensible way to detail where everything goes wrong.

I keep on saying that I’m going to spend the day sewing, but I lose momentum far too quickly. This time I mean it.

When you sign up to be a librarian, ‘having a kid spit on you from the second floor’ isn’t usually in the job description. Belligerent parents who insist that they’ve never returned a late book, the local vagrants falling asleep at the computers with pornographic websites on the screen, and even a restroom or two sprayed with excrement – all of these aren’t too outlandish.

No one warned me about the spitting.

I am a glorified video clerk, except video clerks are paid better. And get to watch movies all day.

At this point in my life, this is the most amazing thing I can imagine.

Both art and love are the process of emotionally reconciling the beautiful with the hideous, and hoping to not be destroyed in the process.

There is a lot in my head right now.

I took a few days off to recoup my brains and figure out where my life was headed. I’m pretty sure that I was sent further off track than I started with. I’m probably antisocial for a reason or reasons which I won’t venture to explore again anytime soon. A few days at a friend’s place in Harrison brought me closer to and further away from my idea vision of a perfect life than I’ve ever experienced.

Not sure where to go from there.

Have you ever met a person who redefined everything you ever knew by simply existing?

I received an edited script back from one of my new gigs and I’d been Schumachered. While my titles and a few innocuous bits are generally changed during most jobs, this gig went hardcore on the the really, really bad ‘ice’ puns. They weren’t even ironically bad – they were insulting to my intelligence and brought on alarming flashbacks of Batman and Robin. So, I spent the weekend grappling with how to deal with this. I don’t have any real footing at this gig yet, but if Harlan Ellison has taught me anything, it’s to stand up for what you’ve written, or spend the next 50 years screaming about it and never getting over it.

Ultimately, I left the puns in, and made a few even worse, and used the other characters in the script to express their intense disapproval. I’m relatively proud of my solution and maintaining my own style in the process.

Other gigs remain silent, even after doing good work for them. It’s not the good kind of silence.

The ways in which other people have damaged you in the past will resurface and make themselves apparent at the most unexpected times.

An evening of absinthe shouldn’t fall into the ‘unexpected’ category, though. Now I know.

While I’m perpetually overbooked and overworked as it is, something in my brain isn’t happy until I’ve filled every spare minute, and plenty of minutes I’d have if I could freeze time with my brain (which I am working on), with work. It’s not a desperate quest for relevancy or wealth, but I’d like to be able to make enough money to survive nicely. The only way to do this is to throw myself down as many avenues as possible until something sticks. Ten years later, nothing has really stuck.

I joined eLance a month ago and paid the $15-per-month registration fee, which allows me to work in both graphic design & writing categories. For ten bucks, I could only choose one category, and I needed to access both. It also allows me to have 25 ‘connects’ per month, which are essentially points which you need to use to bid on projects. Projects that are budgeted under $500 cost one ‘connect’, while others cost more. Any unused ‘connects’ are supposed to roll over to the next month, but you’re also not allowed to have more than your allotted connect limit. This means that someone at eLance flunked common sense, because if you have ten connects left at the end of the month, and they roll over into your 25 connects, you’re left with 25 connects – which nullifies the whole ‘roll over’ thing completely. Sucks to your ass-mar, eLance.

You might also bid on projects that the employer never decides to award. They can politely cancel the project, at which point your connects are returned to you, but if they just leave the project dormant, you never get your ‘connect’ back, which you’ve paid for. eLance doesn’t seem to care either way. So, that’s how eLance works, if you were curious.

After a month, I’ve actually made one solid connection through a contact I made on eLance – but only after I pursued him outside of the eLance structure, due to the client’s inactivity on the site. I also had made a fiction writing contact through Freelance Writing Gigs, which I check religiously for work (though it’s recently been sold and the job leads have become very sparse). This will be the first time I write fiction professionally, so I’m very excited about it – especially the format I have to write in. Think ‘Dungeons of Dread’. Due to signing two NDAs and one contract, I’m obligated to say nothing until these projects go live.

Work at Splice is going well, with a lot of positive comments coming in, and my stories routinely scoring 250+ Diggs. The site seems to be skewing towards local Baltimore stuff and sports, so I’m not completely sure where I fit into it all, but so far, so good. And I’m paid regularly, which is great. I was also completely thrilled to see myself on the front page of Graphic Novel Reporter as the top two stories, as well as three more stories down the page. I’ve yet to actually add up my freelancing revenues, but I think I’m doing pretty well after the collapse of last year.

Of course. as you trawl through eLance, there are a ton of really, really awful, ridiculous jobs.

One job offered the amazing prize of $5 per week for five 450-word articles, or ten bucks for a logo design with five revisions. You might wonder how these are acceptable terms to anyone, but there’s a huge Indian and Pakistani population on eLance with a very low cost of living, and these folks create design farms which can afford to underbid all of the other working artists and crank out a mediocre product. Honestly, most people who are looking for designs have a terrible sense of aesthetics. Just deplorable and sad. They don’t know what they’re looking at. I’m sure they’re charming people, but when it comes to accepting bad design, they are clueless. Like whoever designs the covers of the Charlaine Harris books – I want to smack that person. On their drawing hand. With a cleaver.

Sample freelance jobs have recently included :

“draw a character. Client has scethes as to what she wants” [Your client has scethes? Are they itchy?]

“we need origional interpretation and dont forget I am Irish” [I won't forget. I promise. Just don't drunk me.][PS : I'm Irish so I can say that, and also use 'drunk' as a verb.]

“I need a cartoon that represents the idea that a slender, fit, healthy, sexy woman lives inside an obese woman and is ready to come out. My idea is that the healthy woman is unzipping and stepping out of a fat suit. I will provide a photo of the obese woman.” [I don't want the job, but can I borrow the photo? Just for 15 minutes.]

“The designs are very simple, and I can provide sketches and explanations for each of them. I put one together myself using Inkscape in about 45 minutes, and I don’t really know what I am doing. It shouldn’t take someone practiced very long at all. I figure, approximately 25-30 minutes per design, and I have between 4-6 that I want done.” [The appropriate response to this is 'Then do it yourself, fucko.' The implication that 'anyone can do this, even me' undermines the amount of skill and work that artists put into their own jobs.]

“I want someone to use photos of myself and draw them, as well as re-draw my face on the body of very musclar body builders (Superhero cartoon characters are fine too.) In other words, i want to see photos of MYSELF with my “IDEAL” body I am 6’2 and muscular already, but this will help me in my visualization process…” [Is there even a word for when you pay someone else to be narcissistic FOR YOU?]

There was also an ad to co-blog with this man [BLOG DELETED]. I think there’s a picture of him next to the word ‘incoherent’ in the dictionary, except someone got jelly all over it and tried to redraw it before their mom found out and got so nervous that they just puked on the whole freaking book. This is the test on the ‘About’ page.

People come to see me and they want to know “are you somebody special?”. Man I’m not freaking bull. “I’m the man of all mans the cool of all cool and especially the true of all true and definitely the king of all kings.” “What?” “You don’t believe me then stop asking me man.” Man plenty have asked that and they asked “freaking true are you truly the truest of all people fool?” “Fool?” “Once again never man no but I’m truer than most people ever man slow.”

And then there’s this one. It’s bad news when the person you outsource to needs to outsource as well. Maybe because ‘making fucking sense’ isn’t her native language.

“Hi there,
I have a request. This file contains smileys for a poster i am making. But now they want 5 or 6 happy smileys :
It would be great if you can make them for me…. you can use the eps file/….
…Two shake hands
Two are building something
One female version
I have to propose these as well, so i hope I an make adjustments later?
Could you do anything for me with this….
Hope to hear from you

At least the jobs which are actually reputable are worthwhile, thus far, and each job leads to a greater amount of credibility, and better work. It’s been a slow climb, but here’s hoping for the best.

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