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Tentatively investigating Livejournal again after the many iterations of their really cruddy app.
It doesn't seem terrible.


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Something tried to kill my chickens last night. Fortunately it was apparently not very good at it, because they're fine. Trilby lost a pillow's worth of feathers but isn't bleeding, and I guess it's just as well it's so hot out.

I hope they go into the coop on their own tonight.


To someone I care about

I know you don't feel like hearing advice right now. But if you read this, I just want you to know I've been there too.

You're in that place where you've done everything humanly possible and advice is just piling on more things you "ought" to do and you just can't. So no, I don't have advice.

I'm praying for you, hon, and even though you don't believe the same, I believe my God loves you and wants peace for you. So while I can't be physically present for you, I'm asking God to be.


(I reserve the right to delete comments that offer advice or identifying info or guesses or anything short of unqualified support)


Household stuff

Finally, Joe called the Direct TV people and cancelled the trial HBO and all the other garbage we don't watch, and mentioned that the installation guy had never come back to bury the cable and we had already paid him to do that. The lady tried to tell Joe that we'd have to pay again and Joe asked to be transferred to the cancellation department, which she did, and at last the people in the cancellation dept. agreed to send a guy out to bury the cable without charging us again.

They sent a new guy, who was nice and did a good job, and we chatted a bit about chickens and that crazy lady on one of the prepper shows who honestly should've been on Hoarders. The one who thought she could buy eggs on clearance from the grocery store, coat them in mineral oil, and that's magically going to make them stay good forever. Why not just keep a couple chickens, woman? Eggs that are actually fresh, if unwashed, could last two weeks on the counter due to the natural coating on the shell when it's laid. Mineral oil is not going to improve on that.

Jimmy is down to two subjects - math and language - and once he's done he can have summer vacation. He's completed all the assignments for his other subjects, so we're filling in a bit with extra field trips and supplementary reading. Right now he's running around playing with Meri Lyn instead of feeding his bunny. He'll get to the bunny soon, though. He can't have any screen time until after school, so he isn't going to delay school by delaying feeding his bunny very long.

Tomorrow we have his cousin's birthday party and we still haven't bought a gift even though Joe was off Wed. and could conceivably have gotten something. To be fair, we did go shopping and I bought cute steampunky cogs and didn't even think to shop for him.

I'm excited over this project to make compasses (the finding north sort of compasses) to sell. Selling where, I'm not sure. Selling for how much, I'm not sure either. But they will look cool, and I want one, so in a way it makes sense to buy materials to make several so that I can recoup the investment by selling some.

Meri Lyn may be done with naps. I can convince her to go down for a nap, but then it will take five or eight tries to get her to sleep at night, and I would rather stay asleep at 1:22 am. It was nice while it lasted, but getting kids in bed before I lose my temper for the day ought to be even nicer. Much past nine and I am so done with everyone and everything that "bedtime routine" is starting to include "Good night, I love you, if I see you yet again before daylight you might get a whippin'."

So I will be adjusting the schedule to fix that. If we all get more consistent sleep we'll all be less crabby.


It keeps getting better

So I finished the painting/drawing? Inking? (Idk what to call it when I mix techniques but not media ) for the cover image of "Origin of Kail" which I'm giving away on my site.

This is Jael, wary child of freedom fighters, about to be faced with a decision that she can't possibly be ready for. And really she's the protagonist of "Origin of Kail" even though he gets title credit. Don't worry, she reappears in the story later as an adult. :)


Delusions of Grandeur

While fixing my signup form on my site (well, I hope I was fixing it) I discovered that my site comes with a forum app! So I redid the pages until I felt happy about them, took out "Writing Portfolio" and made the art portfolio into simply "Portfolio," changed the blog about Penance Copper to simply "Characters" and installed a forum. I think that the info about Penance Copper would be better in the forum, and I can add threads about my other stories as I create them.

I also heard back from The A21 Campaign and they emailed me a link to some badges I can use on my site to show my support for their organization. So it's official - proceeds from everything from the Penance Copper universe will go to combat human trafficking.

In other news, Joe and I are supposed to go on a date today! There's babysitting arranged and everything! Almost. We need to find out what time the movie starts and let Tory know when exactly. Her son, Jeremiah, and Jimmy are best buddies :)

I just finished making a decorative compass as a thank-you to Courtney, who loaned me so many pretty steampunk accessories for the Hyperborea video.

Now I'm getting obsessed with the idea of making actual working compasses, which I *ought* to be able to do by glueing this very carefully to the glass face:

Which would be an awesome and simple and elegant solution, except... I got this picture from a German website and I can't find these anywhere and I have no idea what they cost.

I have the bases (little picture frames, apparently, that I found on clearance) to make 20. I'm hand-painting (and stamping, and heat-embossing, etc.) the paper faces, glueing the pearls and beads and trinkets, and I'd love to find reasonably-priced chain to go on the loop at the top. And I want to resell them for no less than $20 each if I can't find a functioning compass piece, but I'm not certain what to price them at if I do, in fact, manage to make them working compasses. I think it would add a *lot* more value and coolness-factor, of course, but how do I quantify "a lot?" I should probably figure that out before I find a supplier so I know how much I'm willing to pay for them. Any thoughts?

If retail could be, say, $50 each for a hand-painted functional Victorian/steampunk compass, and if I get big-eyed "must have it" response on this, then of course I'll have to scour all the stores that sell those bases and buy All The Frames in Existence and hope I get a vending space at a good event.


Not for me

After far too long spent wrestling MailChimp and the scanner and everything else, I have my 5 page giveaway comic uploaded and ready for subscribers to my newsletter. I tested it and it all seems to work, although I'm a bit disappointed that I can't get MailChimp to automatically send it to new subscribers unless I spring for the paid version. I guess I can set aside time in the evenings to manually trigger sending the emails out.

I wasn't able to write this story for myself - I always *wanted* to write it, but I couldn't make myself make the time for it, and on those rare occasions when I did get started, doubts would overwhelm me and I'd quit, certain that I didn't deserve success. So I finally began this story with the intention of giving it away to someone who needed it.

But who really needs a comic book? Comics are escapism - and while escapism is a wonderful thing, I couldn't even begin to think of how to presume that mine was worth any time without readers to declare that it was. It's the classic catch-22 of getting an audience.

Then, I revised my perspective of "need." I passionately believe in ending human trafficking. I personally think that stripping someone's humanity from them and buying, selling, and using them up is the worst evil on the planet. And I'm frustrated that I don't have the cash to give to the cause. Instead of cash, I have time and stories.

What if there was a way to trade my time and stories for the money that these charities that find and rescue the victims of human trafficking need? And so that's what keeps me working on OtherRealm Studio. I'm going to do my best to offer stories worthy of paid subscriptions, and that money is going to those charities.

I do have other goals - I still want to adopt a child, for example, but I've done everything I can do right now about that and I'm waiting on things that depend on other people to come through. The schedule is being particularly problematic because we can't seem to make any of the information meetings. So I'm being forced to wait on that.

While I'm waiting, however, I can still push forward with what I *can* do on my personal quest for fundraising. I *can* create stories, I *can* offer samples, and I *can* attempt to reach people who would enjoy my stories and who would like their escapism to contribute to someone else's escape.

My prayer these days is, "Just one." Help me contribute enough to rescue one infinitely precious soul from slavery. Just like there is no limit to what I would do to spare my own children from this evil, I want there to be no limit to what I will do to rescue someone else. I will use what I have, and if all I have are science fiction fantasies and artwork, well, I'll use that. It doesn't matter that what I have to offer is small, or silly, or not the usual sort of thing people think of when trying to change the world. My God has a habit of using the insignificant things of the world to do amazing things, so the success of OtherRealm Studio is not for me to worry over. I'm just going to put in the work to the best of my ability.

I'm planning to create ten stories/projects to begin with, and the first of the ten is the Penance Copper universe. So everything from Penance Copper is for charity. I hope I can also get some income from the remaining nine - it would be really nice to pave the driveway, for example - but first things first.

The link for my website where you can sign up for the newsletter and get the PDF of the prequel is , so if you are interested you can see if you find the story intriguing. The newsletter will also be about other sites and stories you can read, not just mine, and reviews and recommendations. And of course it's easy to unsubscribe any time.


Great idea - except for reality...

Hm. A friend of mine is into Plexus-the-pink-drink and is getting ready to sell it, too - and really wants me on her sales team, but Joe's not going for it. Probably something to do with recent business expenses that I don't entirely have a plan to pay for beyond "hustle up more commissions from somewhere."
Supposedly this stuff kills cravings and boosts energy, which both sound good to me. But... I don't have money to get involved with it. I might manage something if I lined up a customer or two first, but... I can't do that without trying it first. I'd be using my name and my reputation to sell a product that promises the moon, and if the moon doesn't show up - that's on me.
Pretty much, I'm stuck. I'd like to help my friend, I'd like to at least give the stuff a shot - but I can't afford to without somebody doing it with me and I can't get somebody with me unless I try it first.
Anybody else considering trying Plexus pink drink anyway?


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I just sent my screenshot of 115 YouTube views! I hope it's enough. I pulled out all the stops on this - I sort of only halfway joked that I was going to pull out my contacts and start calling people. But then I fell asleep getting Meri Lyn to nap and I woke up with only 15 minutes until the deadline to send it in!

Then right after I sent in a screenshot, I checked back and there was another view! So, took the screenshot and sent a new email under the wire :)

I don't know what to think now. There are five others who've maxed out regular points and who I can presume have done the other two bonus challenges.

One was ten points for whoever completed it - it was 10 for the first to complete, 9 for the second, 8 for the third and so on, and I was pretty sure I came in first, but then the points got changed to ten no matter when because there was a fairness concern.

One was an essay question, sort of - that one will be judged and awards of 15, 10, and 5 points given.

And then the YouTube video challenge - go in blind to what your competition is doing, and then rely on people who aren't you to spread the video past your own friends. Easily the most terrifying and retrospectively heartwarming of them all :)

My video went live on the morning of the 14th, and by 3:57 on the 16th it's had 115 views, 11 likes, 4 comments (that aren't me replying to comments) and two subscribers! This much for the second YouTube video I've ever posted (and the first one, Joe says looks like I'm expecting the Blair Witch because my eyes are all over the place...) I may have to spoof that myself before someone else does... O.O

Anyway, I will let you all know how I did once winners (and close-but-no-cigar runner-ups) are announced. Thank you!