bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

Each year, around my birthday, I allow myself one box of cereal. This year it’s wheat Chex, because I live an exciting life.

Even though we break the “no-grain” rule with some regularity, simply not having specific foods (like: cereal, loaves of bread and, as of this year, tortillas) in the house has gone such a long way to prevent too-easy meals and snacks from being relied on. It creates a space where new food habits are built.

A special bonus is that we’ve effectively stripped all my comfort-binging foods from the house. This simultaneously prevents me from indulging and sneakily re-teaches my insides what “full” and “too much” are. So when I give myself the gift of enjoying a box of cereal for my birthday I’m very aware of not only how awesome and deliciously textured it is, but when it’s time to stop refilling the bowl.

Yearly box of cereal is a lesson and a reward.

And, since I’ll have gone through this box rather quickly, nonetheless, I also am very aware why I don’t keep it around. It’s like seeing an ex at a social function. Sure, you get along pretty well and look at how you both avoid Those Topics and yeah, it’d be nice to bang again but outside of that controlled environment you know it would end in tears and torn-out weaves.

So yeah, cereal knows exactly how I like it but can choke its opinions on politics, y’know?

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

I never actually wanted to live in Portland. I just knew it’d be a better choice. Like I knew it was a better choice to wait longer and save more before moving to L.A., even if it meant Chase moved down there a couple years before I did.

I think the last time I was in California I was 16. Maybe even 15. Somewhere around then my dad’s family stopped being my family and there was no reason to go south. If you’ve grown up in Oregon, California is sort of looked down on. That’s where the rich live and they don’t know how to drive and they move up here and steal our land and you can’t bring fruit with you forgodssakes.

Like anything adults looked askance at, California gained an aura of the forbidden. Not that I didn’t shit-talk it, which Chase straightened out pretty quickly. He did it the same way he made me stop making fun of Led Zeppelin: by making me actually listen to them. He told me about where he grew up, south of San Diego, and I added to my childhood memories of Northern California campgrounds and the overwhelming maze of San Francisco. California became a place, instead of an idea.

It’s the opposite of everywhere I’ve ever lived, dense populations, desert and south, beaches not coasts. When Chase and I drive through the country around where we used to live I look at the trees and the dense, black-green coastal range, wondering what life will be like without them. I don’t think I’ll miss the trees. There are plenty of trees.

There’s a lot of hate for Southern California, as though it were a bizzaro-world Pacific Northwest and therefore a nemesis. It’s too different, too crowded, too hot, too expensive (though rent-wise, really, it’s about the same). I have to justify my plans to semi-strangers and hope that they see the deadness in my eyes and stop wondering why I just don’t like it here.

I had a conversation once with someone about why he was in New York and why I wanted to move to L.A. It really came down to wanting to live somewhere you’d like to live when the world ends.

escape

Not that I expect the world/society to cinematically end in the place of my choosing, but really, the thesis is sound. I’d be pretty bummed if it turned out I never got to leave the PNW. Sure, I think it’s a great spot for post-apocalyptic fiction, but not for me.

 

I lied. California is still an idea. Hasn’t it always been? It’s a world of artifice, but everyone is in on the construction, their imaginations and dreams as much a part of the skeleton as poured concrete and palm trees.

I think there are two kinds of people, at least as far as this exercise goes. There are the ones who read West’s The Day of the Locust and think “god, what a terrible place.” And then others read that short, sharp story and feel a noose tighten around their guts, dragging at them.

Here’s the thing. I could settle comfortably in the PNW or I could push myself and struggle and grow in L.A. I’d rather fail than settle. And—this is crazy—if, after some years I find that I long to once more reside in the verdant, motherly and non-judgemental embrace of where I grew up, I could always move back. It happens.

 

It probably won’t.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

The summer after freshman year at college I lived on campus, renting a dorm room for a stupidly high amount of money. My roommate was a member of the wrestling team (as much as I loved There’s A Girl In My Hammerlock, I never understood the weirdness of females on wrestling teams, every school I’ve been to had a skilled number of ladies who wrestled) and we went to the gym together. Every day.

We alternated upper and lower body circuits, she’d out-lift me for upper but she ended up hurting herself trying to match me for lower. Every evening we’d go on a two mile run. I loved it. I’ve always been a closet jock, physical activity is super fun for me and lifting stokes the fires of my machismo.

When we still lived in the suburbs and I had a four hour public transit commute, I donated enough to the university to get a “free” gym membership to their student facilities, which weren’t fantastic (the setup was still the same as that summer I went every day) but I was also paying way less than if it was a real gym. Besides, all I wanted from it was access to an elliptical machine.

I’ve got some hip issues that mean running on pavement is not the best thing for me anymore, but the elliptical? I can sprint on that fucker. The joint issues I was having then went away and then we moved to the city. That was great. I could walk to work (about three miles round trip), keeping up a level of activity. I walk really fast, enough to sweat and probably at a speed just below a jog if I could figure out what a jog is.

Then my work moved and it was back to the bus. So I figured out a commute that got me three miles walking, with some bus in between. But the weather got shitty, my job got more administrative and more often than not I was walking just a mile and a half. And apparently that combination of things was enough to bring back the joint issues. So I did my PT and after I’d finished all my sessions my other damn leg started being slow to react and other terrifying things. Ooh, plus my shoulder was getting pretty fucked for no reason. Good times.

So I finally did something I’ve always wanted to do. I crunched some money numbers and joined a gym. I picked Snap Fitness because there is one close to where I work, they have no start fee and my insurance gave me a slight discount on the monthly payments, which were already cheap.

For the price of taking Chase to dinner once a month, I can go to the gym every dang day instead (but probs 3x a week).

The branch I go to is owned by an adorable young couple, I have 24 hour access, I could go on and on about how the whole thing is laid out the same way you would a gym on a space ship and the only bummer is they don’t have overnight lockers. But mostly? They have machines that adjust to my size with useful pictures of proper form and what stretch to do. They have an assisted chin up machine which holy mother of everything. And they have elliptical machines.

The first day I limped to the gym and could only do 15 of the standard 20 minutes I like to do. Lowest level. The machines were easier and I could at least be proud of myself for maintaining good form, going slow and still doing a number of sets and reps that I find acceptable. That was about a week ago. I’ve gone three times since as my plan is to go on my Monday/Wednesday/Friday equivalents after work.

Picture 2

Yesterday I ran easy for a full 20 minutes and the four minute cool down, I can probably up the level next week. I’ve gone up weight on the machines to an amount I won’t tell you but is almost a third my weight. I’m not limping, stairs aren’t terrifying, my shoulder still hurts but in the way that means it’s getting better. I’m not 100% but shit, I’m close.

What the sweet fuck? I mean really. That’s not a lot of work for an amazing amount of progress. One of my co-workers called the gym my vice (mind you, I had been saying that after the gym I get Starbucks and then have a cigarette because I like to live the lives I saw on TV when I was young) and you know, for me it is, in the best way. I’m even eating the cursed mana of bananas or yoghurt after the gym so my muscles don’t get sad. I hate both those things so much I swear out loud while consuming them. It makes me so damned happy to work out and I don’t really know why, but since I get all sorts of positive rewards for it, I’m not complaining.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 08:35pm on 02/01/2013 under , , , , , ,

I tend to feel like I don’t make enough or do enough creative work. Compared to the output I used to do, I don’t. I try to remind myself that it’s okay! I work a fulfilling, creative job and sleep more and am pretty much happy. But it bums me out, especially since so many folks I know are constantly pumping out notable, awesome work. So when I sat down with my Flickr archive for this year (because Flickr has been my memory bank for years now), I didn’t expect much. This was the year I stopped doing focus months, I mean, how much could I have done?

Turns out? A decent amount.

January
Focus month: Branding Ma-Mé. I built and did the branding work for a friend’s site. It was super fun and I got paid for it! I like making other people’s ideas because I just like making stuff more than thinking of what to make.

Non-focus things made:
• I painted a painting that I then slid behind a bookcase, because I couldn’t throw it away, but why keep it?
• A TARDIS piñata for a dear friend. This has been re-Pinned on Pinterest about a million times.
Tardis piñata

 

February
Focus month: Airbrush! I have an airbrush and love it, but spent this month really learning it.

Non-focus things made:
Rebuilt arbour in yard.
• Murder-wall anniversary present for Chase.
Anniversary present, murder wall

 

March
Focus month: Mending & old work. Cleaned a bunch of stuff, got rid of a bunch of stuff, a really great feeling.

Non-focus things made:
• I did get a wig that is now my web avatar wig. God, I love this fake hair.
• Wrote a short-short.
Finished serialising the first draft of The Audacity Gambit.

 

April
Focus month: Chase’s show production, in which I showed you nothing.

Non-focus things made:
• Nothin. But I did start using Instagram.
Found my balloons and pump.

 

May
Focus month: Embroidery. Which was fun, but not a lot produced.

Non-focus things made:
• Taught myself eggshell veneer.
First try ay eggshell veneer, not terrible.

 

June
Focus Month: Another writing month. Editing The Audacity Gambit and working on the second book!

Non-focus things made:
• Made a sky bison costume for a cat.
• Shot a cover for TAG’s Draft 2 Lulu print.
Shooting The Audacity Gambit draft 2 cover

 

July
Focus month: Animatic. Which got extended, due to summer fun.

Non-focus things made:
Swatched my insane nail polish collection.
• Helped manage my workplace’s move to a new place.
• Made Chase a hell of a cake for his birthday.
Chase's petit fours cake, with the colours and pillars he picked out.

 

August
Focus month: Animatic, still. Which didn’t end how I expected. I decided to stop doing focus months.

Non-focus things made:
• Research for a friend’s Halloween costume.
• Ridiculous Adventure Time/Breaking Bad drawing.
• Modified a department store ball-jointed doll into a dryad.
Dryad Doll outside

 

September
•We bought a car, wtf.
Built rig for San’s cape from Princess Mononoke.
• Wrote lots of TAG book 2
Emily and the hare from book two.

 

October
• Got my first hand tattoos
• Made Princess Mononoke costume.
There. Done with San's cape and hood. Ended up going for attatching hood permanently. #fb

 

November
• Worked on a thing I hope to show you guys soon.
• Made a ridiculous cake
Surf cake

 

December
• Shot photos of cats in both old west and Avedon’s In the American West styles as presents.
Christmas Kitty: Avedon edit Bailey

 

So, a decent amount of things, I think? And through all of it, trying to keep my nails sick.

 

Not a bad 2012, let’s hope for more in 2013!

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 10:36pm on 24/09/2012 under , , ,

And with that, we went and bought something fancier than we imagined we could.  And got a hell of a deal.

It’s the 2013 Veloster. VELOSTER. From the first time I saw a picture of its stupid face I was taken. Then Chase showed me this banned Dutch commercial:

Yep, it’s got three doors. To fuck with Death.

Somehow, we thought the price we were looking at was for the base model. But it turned out that the car we were looking at online actually had a fancy package that added a crazy nice stereo and a sunroof. And leatherette seats. So we ended up with a car that gets at least 40 miles per gallon on the highway, in a low-moderate price range, that feels like a luxury car inside. And looks like a space ship, a little.

Oh, and there is a touch screen inside?

We named him Jeff.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

Oh god, I failed this last last two month’s focus.  I did not make an animatic.  Oh, but that’s because I used the paintings I did to make this.

I know it's just a Lulu of a draft, but. #fb

And I spent a bunch of time making this

Dryad Doll outside

And writing like 7,000 words of the sequel to The Audacity Gambit.

Bailey helps me write book two.

And researching how exactly San’s cape in Princess Mononoke works. Talking to Chase about his show, which is now next spring (a good thing!). Being excited with my favourite people about their new house and looking at fridges with them. Watching ALL the Adventure Time and drawing this.

Breaking Bad - Adventure Time

I don’t know if the focus months are necessary any more. The reasons why I needed an outside force to make me stop feeling like I was neglecting things, or leaving things unfinished have eased up. The stress of the commute I used to have is in the past, my brain is sort of coming together, I dunno. but I want to make stuff unbound.

 

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 06:00pm on 31/12/2011 under ,

So, last January I decided to make myself focus on just one area of what I do per month, so I’d stop flailing and bouncing from thing to thing and just get shit did. Overall, I think it worked out well, I had one focus fail and one focus stretch over two months.  But man, life gets busy and I was doing stuff in those those times, just not the focuses.

And really? I moved and wrote a book this year, took a class and made some cool things. I think I rocked it.  Here’s a little rundown:

January: Month of writing. Started The Audacity Gambit and wrote a decent number of short stories, sorted some things out. Probably my most productive month.

February: Month of comics.  Pencilled the pages for a mini comic.  Done while packing to move and doing it finished a long-stagnated project (or getting closer to doing so, I’ve still got to ink the dang thing).

March: Month of sewing (for the home). We moved and I did up our house with little stuff like curtains and kitchen things.

April & May: Month of nails.  This was a total fail.  A lot was happening in my personal life, so I extended the focus through May and then pretty much failed it.  Which is fine. I guess I am human.

June: Month of photography.  Mostly finishing some projects and taking a picture every day that referenced one from my giant Flickr archive. Probably my second most productive month.

July & August: Month of craft room. I cleaned the attic space that I use for my “studio”.  I was taking a class at the time and we were going to shows a lot, so that I got anything done while also having fun is pretty great.

September: Month of optics.  Playing with the various lenses and things that I have, revisiting the goggles and eyepieces I used to do.  Didn’t get as much done as I’d like, but I had fun.

October: Month of illustration.  Making pictures to go with stories I wrote in January.  Though I didn’t get much done this month, I made some things I really liked.

November: Month of changes.  I re-did how I browse the internet after losing Google Reader and prepared the attic space for my sister coming to stay with us for a while.  This is the busy season for me at work, so it was nice to have something that felt like it was getting done.

December: Month of presents. This was fun, though I wish I’d done more for more folks.

Huh.  It felt like I didn’t get much done, but I think I did?  And what I did do was more focused and I felt less guilt over what I wasn’t doing.  I fully plan on continuing this focus month thing. I’m sure that I will make next year even better.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

So, my little spreadsheet of gifts is getting ticked and the tree at our friends’ place has several gifts under it.  My kid sister is enjoying her hand-me-down XBox and Chase already got his nutmeg grater and SPICES OF THE ORIENT.  And the handmade presents continue to go. Slowly.

CRW_0123

I am actually kind of pissed that I didn’t think of this gift theme earlier.  Next year? You are all probably getting something like this. (“You” here being “people on my gift list”).  I am super happy how the above two things turned out.

What else? I’ve finished a commission for a friend to give as a present, gave a 1970s Capricorn keychain to a friend who is SUCH a Cap and gave the lady who is my tattooist and friend a gorgeous book of Art Nouveau clip art.  Because she is crazy into arabesques.  Someone I couldn’t think of something for (but who totally deserves something) I just today had an inspiration about.  Gelsey, the present I got done first, got hers early due to the sads, but I’m saving the snaps of what she got until the big image dump later this month/next.

And Chase just picked up the covers for our holiday CDs.  Which I am going to fold until I am sick of, then work on the best crafted present ever until I am sick of it (in a very repetitive stage, right now), then fold some more.  I should be able to get the ones for work done in time for when I last see folks before the holiday and the rest should get mailed out in time for King’s Day.

There are some of you that I love dearly that aren’t getting a physical thing besides the CD this year, but I plan on making up for that next. Or some time when my personal life is a little less hectic.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

Well, July’s focus wasn’t entirely a failure. I mean, it mostly was because here I am at the end of August, having just finished the basic goal (to tidy my craft area upstairs so I can actually use it). But I still finished it!

I made slow progress in the earlier part of the month
Slow progress: 1

Slow Progress: 2

But hoorah, now it is done.

Took long enough

I need to vacuum, and there are areas that need to be further broken down and tidied, but the primary issue—having no floor space and just junk everywhere, is done.

And it’s not as though I haven’t been doing other things these past two months. I’ve been going to class at C.O.P.S. and writing ridiculous hyperlinked notes, regularly updating Audacity Gambit and generally enjoying the most pleasant summer in my memory.

I know what next month’s focus will be too. One of the points of this exercise was to hold off working in certain themes until the itch to do so was so strong I’d really be able to focus—instead of flitting around dis or half-interestedly. So I know what I’ll be doing by the end of the year and I know what I’m doing for September. It should be fun.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

Eek! Kind of far into the month do declare July’s focus, but it’s a (kind of) light one and something that needs to happen. So here goes.

One of the beautiful parts of our apartment is the finished attic space that we’re using as studio area. Problem is, my half has been getting things dumped in it (by me) and has become kind of a super mess.

This is embarassing

So July is all about increasing the usability of that space. I’d like to do a sewing focus month soon, but I can’t until I have space to work in. Side projects will include perfect binding any sketchbook, idea or whatever pages, so I can recycle the rest. I love doing this, it removes so much clutter. I’d thought I’d done them all already, but there were hidden caches of papers and sketchbooks. Oh me.

It’s going to be hard, because I keep wanting to work in the garden, but that’s why it’s this month’s focus!

As it is, focuses for this month and the next will be interesting, as I’m taking classes at C.O.P.S. and there’s readings (theory!) and homework. I’ll probs be posting bits of that here, as I know some of you may dig what we’re learning and doing.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

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