upside down besties2
riding the livejournal wave.

I probs don't have a long entry in me tho.

What's up? Wel, I've been sick for the first time in a long time. Not like, barf up a lung sick, but definitely weak, drippy, coughy, don't wanna do nothin' sick. I put in a day of writing at the coffee shop today but called it quits and was home and in my jammies by 3:30 this afternoon.

When life throws germs at me, I usually take it as a prime opportunity to up the relaxation. I'm not a Dayquil kinda guy. Unfortunately, I have too many things going at once to just kick back and watch cartoons, which is really what I like to do when life throws germs at me. So today as soon as I got in my jammies I had to keep writing.

I've been on an ongoing hustle to get more college teaching gigs. I have a pitch for a class in the spring, and might be able to take over a different one in the fall. And it's all maybe and possibly, and talk to this person, and CV here and design a syllabus there. It's a lot of work doing planning and emails and fluff work without any guarantee that it'll lead to actually getting the jobs. So, you know, sort of like that blind cover letter bombardment, only it's impossible to not get increasingly invested the more emails go into each of these potential gigs.

The good news, kinda sorta, is that I lifted myself out of my writing block a bit, finally turning out new pages of Rabbit. I may stare at the computer for 5 hours to get 5 pages, but they are coming. It just took a while to get in the right mindset to write, and now that I'm there I want to stay there.

With both of these time sucks it's no surprise I'm falling sooooooooooo behind on this freelance thing , and...you know what? I just realized how incredibly boring this is. I'm sure I've written pretty much the same thing for the past few entries.

Work Shmurk.

But aside from that, life is pretty rad. I'm getting really excited for Thanksgiving. Normally I could really give a fuck about this holiday, but this year is a friendsgiving in Portland, and it's a great selection of homies who are all trying to be together. Oakland is ok, but I really think I like it better when I can get someplace else on the regular. After Thanksgivin' is X-mas and I really can't wait. This has been my longest away from the east coast, and I'm trying to figure out how to stay east as long as I can, and still be a part of a possible west coast friend convention for new years.

(no subject)
upside down besties2

I got a job today.
Well, I got hired, for a job that starts in March. But still.
It'll be my first gig as an adjunct professor at a for realz university. So even though I am months away from the actual challenges of teaching, or the meager rewards of any paychecks coming my way, this still feels CRAZY VALIDATING!!!
I feel like the teensiest bit of a dweeb for admitting that. But really, this is my first hint that going to grad school wasn't (as far as my professional career goes) a total waste of time and money. Part of me has been waiting for the other shoe to drop, when funds would drop too low and I'd have to cave and go back to working in a restaurant or a coffee shop or cleaning people's houses. Not that there's anything wrong with that kinda work, I'm just fatigued and I'm excited to do something new that I like doing.

While I'm riding a posi wave, I'll also say that I'm really psyched to have a story out in the new issue of As You Were. It feels like the most "real" comics thing that I've done, and I'm excited to do more.

Everybody pause for that rare split second moment where I pat myself on the back.

Ok, back to reality.

While I am super happy about the chance to teach 18-22 year olds, currently I am omega stressed about a classroom full of 3rd-5th graders.
Last week I started teaching comics for an after school enrichment program. Half the students have suuuuper ADD. hyperactive and/or cryers. Also it's a private school where discipline seems frowned upon and students are super coddled. But, it's only 9 more weeks so I'll grind it out.

What else is brewing?
I dunno. I'm falling behind on many of my other projects which is discouraging. Last year I felt like my novel was on fire...I mean, not like it was the best, but the story was just coming to me and I was always able to sit down and spit out some pages and push the story forward. Only now my characters are as stuck as they've ever been. I desperately want to shut myself in a room and get hyperactive and just write my way out of the jam, get things flowing again, but there is such a long checklist of other things to do, I don't know when I'm going to figure out when Rabbit will find his magic word.

I could probs ramble longer but I'll save it.

goodnight interweb.

the mental notes are stacking.
upside down besties2
Oh livejournal...

Yeesh, can't even remember the last time I posted. Did I even have anything to say after finishing gradschool? I'm too lazy to even check right now.

How the eff is it september already? Gah!

As is usually the case lately, whenever I think to write a post I'm usually too tired to concentrate and organize my thoughts in any coherent way, which is a shame because the last few weeks HAVE felt extra stressful and I should take advantage of any outlet at my disposal.

What I really should do of course is to get back into therapy, and thought I reached out to my doc back in NYC a while back, I haven't made any steps to start seeing someone on the regular out here.

Post grad school doldrums are no joke. Since getting back from my last trip to Portland I feel like I've swung more from low lows to positively positive, but the trips back and forth have given me some emotional whiplash (like headbanging at a Quicksand reunion-ba-dum-bum.)
Short version is I scrambled to find jobs which is always sort of terror/low self esteem inducing. Stressing out and digging and feeling like you're not making headway. It's easy to tank after so many days of that.
Then, I had some opportunities head my way.
One is this freelance gig drawing three issues of a kids comic called "Santa vs. Aliens". I was contacted by the writer who is acquaintances with a former professor of mine. She had originally written the story as a screenplay and apparently it had been optioned by a hollywood producer but never got made. The option expired and you know...now it makes sense to try and sell it as a comic I guess. I'm sure she's going to use it to turnaround and sell it to hollywood again. It's strictly work for hire and the page rate is partially deferred. So basically I'm making a total crap rate up front and then will get future payment based on issue sales after she recoups printing costs, this is IF she ends up putting it out totally herself. I know she wants to shop around the first issue once it's complete.
The style is not really my go-to thing, but I'm trying to have fun with it, and even though it's working for peanuts, at least console myself that it is still earning a (technically) living making comics.
Meanwhile I had two potential teaching jobs. One was an afterschool thing in San Francisco that I didn't even realize in the interview wanted to hire me...but noooooooo. I wanted to wait it out because I had my fingers X'd for a visiting artist instructor at the IPRC.
I was suuuuuuuuuper qualified for this job, was excited to bump up my teaching resume while visiting portland homies and making comics. I interviewed over the skype and it went really well. I DARED to feel kinda-sorta optimistic. Which, you know...DUMBBBBBB.
So I got passed up for it last week. The email was totally "We all really liked you and thought you aced the interview...buuuuuut we want to keep the gender balance with the instructors."
Obvs not a direct quote, but that was basically it.
And you know, cool, I get wanting to have that as a priority, but if so...shit, I kinda wish they didn't bother interviewing me.
I'm not the sort of person who generally gets their hopes up about...well, anything. So I kinda did this time and wiffed and I sort of feel tricked. My inner cynic is calling me out for being a sucker. It's a drag and took the wind out of my sails for a few days. It's also made it extra hard to get back to the job boards to dig around for teaching things when I didn't get the one that I'm most qualified for.

Without grad school I really kind of build my sense of self worth out of the things I make, and it has been tricky to keep the PMA when I'm wasting effort on applications, or wristing work for hire stuff when I'm not moving forward with new personal comics OR my novel (I am stalled out at the 350 page mark. Help.)
I know I just need to get a bit more organized to better move forward, but as always easier said than done.

Meanwhile back in New York...my jerkface family is still quibbling over my deceased grandmother's estate. I am now on the family lawyers e-mail chain and shit is crazy. gramma $moneybags$ passed away in January and all this shit is still going on. I've gotten a better sense of what the estate is worth and it is fucking ridiculous (in terms of my lifestyle anyway) I am spending my day to day life on a budget where I'm trying to not have more than one coffee out a day, but I know that at some point in the next year a dumptruck of money is going to fall on top of me and...mind you i'm not complaining...but I really don't know what to do with that. What I WANT to do with it. What is RESPONSIBLE to do with that. Concerns and worries that I'm just really not used to and would mostly rather ignore. But seriously, what does a guy like me do with a windfall? Do I buy a house just because? I'm not particularly tied to any place to own a house in. That seems like the thing more financially able and responsible folks my age are doing but I don't have a burning desire to make that happen either. I can "buy time" to work on my own shit, but the bay area is an expensive place to try and pull that off. So, what? I feel like my adult experience has been largely one of stripping down my possessions. Killing the tendencies of fanboy collecting/stuff accumulating and I don't really think I want to turn back.

Months out of grad school and I still have not rebounded socially. I have been trying to make more effort to hang out, but also will get waves of old-man-itus where I don't feel like I have the energy for spur of the moment adventures/parties/shows/etc. It's lame and I need to get better about it. I have a running list of things I need to get better about. The mental notes are stacking as a wise wizard once said.

What the fuck else?
Oh, we finally got rid of the crazy room mate. Good riddance! Not having her around has definitely made the home environment less stressful (not to mention LD has her own room back.) I'm keeping up with crossfit. I still find it fun even if I'm starting to feel like my results have plateaued a bit. I've been feeling homesick for the east coast but probably can't make it back there till Xmas, making this the longest I've been away(like ever.) But I guess it will be winter again before I know it. Life keeps speeding up no matter how much I try to pump the breaks.

(no subject)
upside down besties
Just saw that my arch enemy from years back got his kickstarter funded.
It's amazing to me that people are willing to support someone who consistently acts like a turd to shit around across the country with their partner and make paintings of what I'm positive will be more boring ass images of clouds. His kickstarter campaign is predicated on the notion of the value of illustrating friends, which is kind of hilarious considering how many friends he takes advantage of. He even uses an image of me on the campaign page, even though for the past 6 years he's been at the top of my list of people I'd like to punch in the face with a brick.
I can only hope that at some point in his kickstarter funded vacation that he gets stabbed by a hobo or something.
(considering the company he keeps, and his people skills it's not as much of a long shot as you might think. fingers X'd.)

oh well. end rant.

In other news, some other artists that I care about a lot got nominated for Eisner awards which is pretty fricking amazing. I've been racking up experience points in the classroom, and I'm finding that I really like it. Maybe not as a full time thing, but when I've gotten to lecture to classrooms of folks who are actively engaged in discussions, I dunno...It's fun. I'm guessing that teaching is(or could be) a little like getting paid to perform and rant about the art and literature I like (and don't like) and lead folks to better understand what makes it tick. My preparation is a little over the top, but I found the experience of leading the classroom to be not unlike my limited time fronting a punk band. The nervous energy seems to help, and when a person like me has that in spades, it probably makes sense to find a job where it can be an asset.

Speaking of nervous energy, I had my big end of year reading at school.
I was totally pit-stains mcgee, and had nervous bladder syndrome the whole night til I read. (I "headlined") But once I got up to the podium it seemed to go well, and I got lots of really nice feedback. I'm glad people are liking my book so far, because it's driving me fucking nuts. Without school I feel like I'm really going to need to check in with more and more folks with the project. Writing is tricker than visual art in a lot of ways. If I was having trouble with an illustration, the feedback from friends can be pretty much instantaneous...It's a lot tougher to ask someone to slug it out for 250 pages.
Some brave souls have volunteered though. One even read the whole over vacation.

This lady is one of my best besties in the world. She is moving west. To Oakland, in fact. If I had my druthers she'd be moving into our house, but we're currently full up. It's really nuts to feel like I'm at the end of the grad-school adventure. For the first year pretty much I'd been thinking I would move back east shortly after school. Now, I'm not so sure. I still think I'll end up there eventually, but my experience over spring break really kind of hammered down the idea that I want to be around friends, and while I still have lots of folks I love to death in New York and Philly...the gravitational pull of the Philly Fun Punx seems like it has broken up. Instead of a planet of friends, they're like little floating asteroids with clusters of awesome people. But with more folks gravitating to the bay, it makes me have hope for the potential this place has.
I guess we'll see. Life after MFA is a mysterious beast.

There is a potential summer job waiting for me and Lacy in Portland. It's teaching related, with a low time commitment, free lodging and if we get it, it would be an awesome opportunity to get some work on the book done in the city where a huge chunk of it takes place. It would only be for a couple of weeks though and I'd have to find a subletter.
Sometimes I think of other towns, or places where job opportunities could lead me. A round 2 in Portland wouldn't be so bad.

The only other place I know I'm gonna be after I snag that MFA is a weekend in Disneyland. I am SO stoked to get the fuck out of town, leave my novel at home, and have 52 hours with my special lady friend being goofs in the magic kingdom.

Anyways, I guess that's it...until the inevitable post-grad freakout post.

(no subject)
upside down besties2
The last couple of times i've written blogs, they've been those belonging to fictional characters. It's kind of fucked up, but I really have not had that much time and space to think about my own life lately. I have all the shit that needs to get done, and I have the book. I have Rabbit, and Billy, and R0Sc0.

Before I blink gradschool will be over, and then I guess I'll have plenty of time to reflect. It's just so hard being so busy. I'm too exhausted lately to appreciate the position I'm in. I'll be sad when it's over.

Exhaustion is a major thing lately. I mean...it's been present on and off for the whole time I've been out west, and that's par for the course with getting a masters I suppose. But this term is way worse. The kicker is, this semester I'm feeling all the hurt, but not the reward of moving things forward. So much time is getting eaten, and even though I just handed in a thesis draft, my novel feels stalled.

Today I could barely concentrate in class. I hung back in the city instead of going to the gym, which has been my default stress relief. I tried making an appointment with one of the school counselors. I'm a little skeptical, only because I miss my therapist back in new york, and I'm not as optimistic that the school psych folks will be super awesome. But fuck it, it's got to help a little, right?

Nishat was here a couple weeks ago which was cool, though I am keenly aware how off the grid I've been with regard to some of my major friendships. I hope that most people get that the grad school thing is real, and i'm not just like fucking off over here. It can feel kind of weird sometimes.
Monica will be here soon and I'm stoked, and just hoping that I won't be too insane with work so that I can enjoy myself and having the company of a bestie.

Lacy is talking a lot lately about spending the summer away from Oakland. She's looking into things in Minneapolis and Portland. I might be up for a summer job in a different city, but I don't think I'm as sold on it as she is. Portland in particular is appealing, but I question wether it will be too much of an expense. Part of me wonders if I'd go toe crazy if I went to New York for the summer and just wrote. Or if I should stick it out here and just find a job in Oakland. I'm raking up all this classroom teaching experience this year, but I'm still deadfuckingterrified that I'll end up slinging coffee someplace.

I bumped into an old NYC friend the other day at the coffee shop. She used to have an LJ, though I doubt she checks it these days. She's been living out here for 5 years and is looking into new places to move to. We spoke briefly about timespans in different cities, and how 5 years is a good solid chunk to spend in a place, and I wonder if that"s what I'm looking at here and now in Oakland, or what? I really don't know. I don't feel settled, but lately my view of my creative process makes me wonder if I'll ever feel that much at ease in any place. Scary or exciting?

Attempting sleep.

(no subject)
upside down besties2
Isn't it funny that when you finally return to LJ to actually write a post for the first time in months that its the same day your best infrequent poster friends did too?

Anyways. I'm halfway through my third semester of my second year of grad school. This has been some in the blink of an eye type shit. I'm plugging away at this novel and with the recent stupid stresses of financial aid hassles and money borrowing and lending and housemates and moving and yaddayaddayadda, it's like I just dove into the fiction deeper. Sometimes it's all I think about and I know I'm becoming one of those crazy writers where everything ties back into this one project. It's been a decade since I've been that guy.

I'm scared of school being over. Everything is moving so fast I'm going to be out before I know it and I'm thinking of how to get through as much of this book as possible by the time I get out. I got pretty deep into it, but I've got to FINISH, even just a first draft. I'm closing in on Pg.150, but I'm guessing at 600 total, so if I keep going at a similar pace, I'm guessing maybe I'll get through the second 200 page section, but parhaps not my vague finishing line sometime in 2014. Terrifying.

The pressure to produce feels so real, it's been almost impossible to let myself breathe. Recent attpempts at relaxation have been kinda bust, and I know i'm dealing with a slow build up before I really need to blow off steam. I feel bad that Lacy and I aren't having as much of the care free fun that we had this time last year. We're both working even harder than before.

I'm missing friends as usual of course. When I come up for air after intense periods of work I realize how much time has passed since I've had real talk with any of them and get really sad and self aware about the things I've let slip. I didn't get invited to an old good friends wedding and it felt pretty crappy. A bunch of old homies have gotten hitched lately according to FB and it just feels so alien. I'm still very detached from other peoples grown uppiness, and I'm older than most of these people. It makes me think there's something wrong with me.

Lace and I moved to a new house where at least we are friends with everyone who lives here...no more weird passive aggressive anarchist hoarders. It's cool to have something that feels like a fresh start, but I've already been here a couple weeks and have barely looked up from the day to day to really appreciate the change in surroundings.

I have noticed that I live closer to a coffee shop that stays open late, and i've been having a more east coast winter kind of coffee consumption where I'm set to vibrate after a long cafe work sesh.

Working out is seriously the only steady stress relief. I've joined a gym for the first time ever, and yeah it's crossfit, and I KNOW, it's a cult and all that, and I don't want to be one of those crossfit people who always talks about crossfit. BUT...it is really fun, and challenging and I'm seeing the biggest change in my fitness results since the height of my insanity punx days.

I get so much LiveJournal spam lately that I'm almost tempted to dump it...but I just can't let go.

A mood tag hamster for the first time in years? why the eff not?

gone to plaid.
upside down besties2
Today on my way to class I got an email that my graduate plus loans were denied, which means I am short tuition money, and also money to you know...pay rent and eat and stuff... Unless I can unwrangle myself from the hooks of at least 3 different creditors at warp speed, I am officially fucked and will be dropped from my classes next friday.


(I thought they KNEW I had shitty credit last year....these dark marks on my credit history are nothing NEW....CHRIST!!!!) commence meltdown.

(no subject)
upside down besties2
My schedge has been so fucked up that i decided to knock myself out. This is after 3 days in a row of waking up only a couple of hours before the sun goes down. Hopefully I can regulate.

Booked my plane ticket, it feels good to have that decided, even though it majorly sucks having to borrow money. I mean, I am currently borrowing a CRAZY amount of money as it is, but I feel better owing uncle sam than my mom.

as depressing as my 2 week banishment to the burbs has been, there have been sprinkles of really fun times. Anniversary adventure with LD was pretty phenomenal.I realized that I had actually never hit this pretty mundane landmark before. Even the longest of my previous romantic relationships crapped out at 10 or 11 months. It feels weird to be in sort of uncharted territory.Part of my brain seems to be telling me something is wrong, isn't this usually the point where I go back to being single and moping about girls? But I'm having fun, I'm in love, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

I am starting to have serious anxieties about getting back to school, more specifically nervous about my output, and the quality of my work. I lay in bed as the sun comes up thinking of my novel and the characters, and the twists and durns I might run them through, the secrets hiding in their world, and sometimes, although I'm not at the laptop tapping keys, even in the eyes wide shut under the covers part of the process, i'm finding it tough to fill in the blanks. I don't want to fold up shop on this though cause it is a fun world.

I am finally almost done with my freelance illustration gig. Tonight I went through the fat stack of pages, and made finishing touches, filled in backgrounds, started the sound effects on some of the overlay sheets, etc. Its crazy to have 70 pages of comic art staring at me. I cringe at some of the panels. I know that if not for school this book woulda looked cooler. but I know it's more important to be done with it. I can at least take pride in a few drawings here and there that I think really do the job. Hopefully this can lead to other comics work, but as with most questions about the future of my "career", it's just a big fat question mark.

It's almost 4 am, which is at least 4 hours earlier than i've usually been crashing out.time for lightsout and hopefully be out the door before noon.

hit list
upside down besties2
today I woke up at 3 pm, went to the town coffee shop where i worked up two pages from loosey goose blueline sketches to workable pencils. I talked about hardcore with some rando fellow 90's hardcore kid (and my kid, I mean a man in his mid 30's, like me) who happens to live in my mom's town.( I don't know why anyone would choose to do this...) then I came back to my mom's apartment, ate a food and inked with a #3 windsor newton until the sun started coming up...

most of the heavy lifting of 2 pages in a day....If i keep that pace for 7 more days I'll be at the end of this comic...

(i'd still have a lot of finishing up/polishing/corrections...but still.)

That's the goal. now to sleep and to kill 2 new pages tomorrow.

(no subject)
upside down besties2
God, when was the last time I posted in here?

This summer is weeeeeiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrdddddddd

like really.
I should probably try to talk about the last couple of months and the things that have and haven't happened, but....nah. Not now.

My hand hurts.
I inked comics all day today. I need to work like this every day until shit is done. To make sure this happens I have exiled myself to the island of larchmont, NY.

This is the first summer where I feel officially BAD at having fun. That's weird for me. I can at least partially blame grad school for getting me into a mindset where it is almost impossible to allow myself to slack on work. Even when I take breaks to do fun stuff i'll get anxious and worry about making up the time. The really shitty thing, is that for all the stressing...the work I'm doing now is still just the freelance illustration side...so while it's definitely fun as far as jobs go to draw comics, it is not really personally rewarding, and I can just feel the characters from my stories scrambling to have some sort of outlet again.

There's been oodles of stress considering this is "vacation".


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