September 26th 2023

I really should get back to writing daily. Anyway. Three 8-hour days of light hanging management, set construction, and other little theater tasks later. Decided to go to my weekly board game night on saturday and ended up staying late at the theater yesterday to see the actors' reaction to the set, so today is the first time I've spent time at home and not in bed for a while.

Of course, then I had to get con crud. But I'm ok. I'll wear a mask to work.

At the con panel, they showed off the teaser for the puppet series I'm working on. Afterward I was given the download and showed it to a couple of friends and my partner since. And to be fully honest, I do like what they're trying to do, but I don't think it will catch on. First off, their editing and scoring are just a little off, I found the music kinda distracting and over-emphasizing. The writing is nothing I can comment on, I don't think the majority of the humor is my style except for the occasion they really find their mark in the Douglas Adams style, and then it's great! But me preferring dryer humor isn't a real criticism. And it's an adaptation of a very popular and often adapted public domain book series, so I do think they need to make sure what they're doing stands out.

Something of note on a more meta scale is that no one here is really used to working with puppets. And that's not an issue in itself! But listening to them answer questions on the panel about the formation of the project, it seems like the choice to do puppets was more of a budget and production one. They want it to purposefully look charming and low-budget, which is always something I can get on board with, but I think in there is a lack of pure love and appreciation for the possibilities within the medium. Why are they puppets? Because it was during the pandemic. Because full-size sets are more expensive. Because stop-motion is too time consuming. And then they made them and they were having fun making them and playing with them and that's great! But I still feel like there's a lack of exploration of what puppetry as a medium really brings to the project, aside from their very strong cardboard-and-felt aesthetics. Idk maybe I'm just rambling and maybe I just don't really like the end result once it's eddited together.

And it's made me think more about what I would do in a similar medium. I was telling my friend at work the other day that one of the things on my art bucket list is to make some sort of performance using a Pepper's Ghost Illusion. You know, what the Haunted Mansion uses? It's an amazing effect to see live! And theme parks are pretty much the only place you can still see it so close to its original form, since digital and projector "hologram" effects are so much easier nowadays. For live theater you practically have to build the stage for it, when it was first invented in the 1800's it was such a marvel that it was worth the effort. And I want to do it SO BAD. If full-scale live theater is too much work, maybe a smaller puppet theater? Or even a filmed puppet show, but the live viewing is so much of the experience.

But as I think of this, I realized that I never really see anything going farther than a single video or two, maybe a short series I create myself with some help and hired out music & voice. I have so much more focus on the project, the ideas, the themes, I can't imagine working on something so big that you're whole goal is to get it picked up by a network or streaming service. I wonder if that's a lack of value in my own work thing, a pretentious artist thing, or maybe just not interested in putting in the work.

September 23rd 2023

It's 8am so this is more of a summary of the last week!

My spacebar is acting up again grr.

Getting ready for workthis morning. I made the mistake of accepting two 9-5 days in a row right after spending a day at ComicCon and my feet hurt! And I won't even get to use my three-day badge.

Okay gotta go back. The puppet project I'm a part of got a panel at ComicCon on friday, and they invited me to join! Their main puppet maker & puppeteer is out of town, so I became the person most familiar with the mechanics and the intricacies of how they're opperated. It was only a 45 minute panel which went by in a FLASH. Of course, partly due to some technical difficulties (I didn't see if we started on time, but it couldn't have been that late) and the showing of an eight-minute teaser. That's what I've been working on these past two weeks! We had about a hundred people spread out through the seats, though plenty were far in the back and it was clear they weren't super interested, just there to chill (no judgement, I have done that many times). But I got to talk a little and it went smoothly!

I feel a little stupid because someone asked me if I had a website and I said not yet (because I am in fact in the middle of building a website but it is very not done yet) and forgot for that moment that I do have an instagram which is more proffesional than private. Grr.

But after that I had some time to wander around the con. Five hours!

Started with artist's alley, of course. I was mainly on the hunt for fun things for my partners, and just looking for cool people to talk to. I've realized I've become a lot more open to talking to strangers at cons once we have something in common, usually vendors with a vibe I like. So I met a couple! Someone had Centaurworld pins so of course we talked for a while.

And being where I am there was a lot of pride merch, whichis always cool to see! But I didn't see much I wanted. Some of the ace flags maybe, I ended up getting an ace flag fish sticker for my partner who isn't out yet and has hinted at wanting something subtle. And a couple people did actually have pronoun pins that said "any pronouns", but all of them were either pastel or had curvy script, and that's just not my vibes. Plus some were on top of pride flags and although I do love them, they were hard to read on the ace ones. There. was ONE person I found who had a bear and labrys flags. ONE. And they told me they kept getting questions about them because pepole didn't know what they were. That is so sad. I'm not the biggest fan of the labrys one but I love the bear flag! It's so warm and comforting. So I got one! I'llhave to decide what I'm brave enough to put it on.

On the bus now. The thing is, for all the pride merch I saw, and some of it getting fairly kinky with “dom””mommy””be my top””catboy lover” etc and more things I’m not going to put here, there was not a SINGLE piece of merch with the word “butch”. I saw “they/them and femme” which of course is fun and rhymes, idk what would rhyme with butch, but surely you can think of SOMETHING clever? Closest things were maybe “don’t you know I’m a dyke?” and a he/him pin with a lesbian flag, but that’s still different. That’s not butch. Man no wonder I was internally scared of the label for so long. Sure everyone knows what it means but no one’s encouraged to use it. I’ll use “genderqueer” but it’s enough of an umbrella term I don’t think it says all that I want it to. I just want to say I’m butch. And I want to buy in person! I hate buying things online I want to see their face.

Fun fact the only thing I own that says butch on it is a playing piece from a 50’s board game where it’s just the kid’s name. But it’s iconic looking he does LOOK like a lesbian. Anyway. It’s mine now I superglued a pin back to it.

I’ve been working at the theater whole lot this week, going between that and being jittery about the panel (only a little anxious, mostly excited) and taking lots of breaks. We’re two weeks out from opening, solidly into load-in now. I’m not the stage manager but I’ve been a sort of production assistant on a lot of other things, helping the director make sure everything is in order while he tries to manage also being the set designer, lighting designer, and today lighting director. He’s also not the greatest at communicating with a large group, he gets stuck in his own head a lot and his own way of putting things. So I’m there for the next two days as the translator, I won’t be doing much actual hanging of lights but I’m pretty good at making sure the plot is being followed correctly. I’m a good numbers and symbols guy.

Summary is I’ve been busy as hell. Theater stuff. Filming stuff. Seeing family in between. And keeping busy is cool, i definitely barely know what do to on my days off and I love doing everything I’m doing. But, ya know, not a lot of brain left. Been thinking about future projects a lot too. Takes up a lot of energy even when I don’t want it to.

September 15th 2023

How do people watch normal tv. I hate living with someone who watches normal tv I'll come out to the kitchen to get a snack and they might be watching an informercial or news coverage of a shooting or a shitty weight loss add or a classic movie.

Good mornign it is my break day and I am overstimulated whihc is not very helpful for taking a break actually.

September 14th 2023

Good morning gamers and girlbosses! it's been a while since ive checked in so here's all thats up.

I've been helping film with a local puppetry project for the last few days! I wont tell you what it is for sake of privacy, but it's been really cool to work on. They're using a mix of live-action puppetry and digital sets built in Unreal, which lets them position a shot on the "set". It's then shot over to a big 4k screen and we set up the puppets in front of it, like a more complicated version of a painted backdrop. The reflection of the screen causes some lighting complications, but it just takes longer to figure out the positioning for each shot. The final product looks really cool, you often can't even tell that it wasn't made with a physical set.

I was brought on as an assistant puppeteer, so I don't know much about the technical side of things. Mostly I hang out for a couple hours at a time while they set up, then we practice a shot a few times while i move around the head and arms of whichever character I'm assigned to for the shot (usually the main character, as the main puppeteer does major movements on the tripod). I've done only a couple puppetry projects previously but i've spent a lot of time with them, mainly a big shoulder puppet that i would take to comic-cons and such. So while i'm not used to rod puppeteering for a camera, i guess that sense of how you make a character move and emote carries over in some way.

I also! bought Cult of the Lamb finally. I've been thinking about it since it came out, but the recent Unity announcement and the idea that i may not be able to get it someday scared me into getting it. I'm really really bad at buying video games for myself (or too good? depends on how you look at it). While I'm happy to spend plenty of money on silly little physical object that are just as if not more frivolous, something about it feels like a waste. even if i'm going to get way more enjoyment out of it than another stupid plush! i grew up on a shitty xbox and a wii and just played the same games my parents got for me over and over, mostly minecraft. now I play on the switch lite, i didn't even buy it my ex and her friend got it for me for christmas along with Stardew and Minecraft to play with them. I did buy the new animal crossing when it came out and played the hell out of it, of course. but for the last two years i played on her switch, which lived in its dock, just whatever she had (Kingdom, various pokemon games, stuff that came free with subscription bundles like Roller Coaster Tycoon or Tetris99). and my current partner is letting me borrow their physical copy of Breath of the Wild as they play Tears of the Kingdom, but it's just not my thing. neither were the pokemon games, I liked Legends Arceus though.

So this is my first time in a while buying myself a video game, and i'm always so anxious about whether i'm going to like it. but I love it! i'm absolutely awful at rouge-likes but i'm a huge fan of city planning and pet management games. but they have to have charm. which Cult of the Lamb has no shortage of!

Playing video games is good for me, i should be doing it more. not so much that it eeks into my work and creative time, but to replace mindless watching of bad content. i'm realizing i need different kinds of rest, and sometimes that means a physical rest, a mental rest, but also it can mean a creative rest.

and when i need a creative rest but not a mental rest, just watching stuff is frustrating. i can't make anything, but my brain needs stimulation, i need to think, to solve problems, to experience content, and just watching things doesn't work. i don't know my vocab well enough for a crossword, sudoku loses its charm, this is why i'm a big board game fan but there isn't always someone to play with! so the next best thing, indie video games. not too much story or i'll get frustrated again. not too much fighting because i'm bad at it. plenty of resource management and building to make my little autistic brain happy.

this week's fun fact about me: i go to weekly board game nights. i'm a board game guy. 4/5 of my closest in-person friends at the moment are people i met there, and 3 of them i only see there each week (except when they come to my shows!!!). i discuss the ups and downs and complex strategies of trick-taking games, engine builders, deck builders and deck managers and area control etc etc. and of course, the graphic design.

September 9th 2023

Today I went shopping and stopped by a flea market :) I got Raggedy Ann books and a couple of $1.50 men's dress shirts that are all stripey. Feel like a salary man. They're purple and teal. It's great.

Update: Technically it's the 10th but I haven't gone to sleep yet so it's the 9th for me!

I've been working on generally improving accessibility and navigation, including joining some webrings! I was looking through some lists but only ended up with a couple I applied to. An Asexual one, of course, caught me eye. A general queer one and a small writers one. I was lookign through other identity ones though and was having a hard time deciding myself if that was something i identified with enough. Not "enough" in anyone else's terms, hell i do what I want I call myself a bear, but enough to myself. Trans? Transmasc? Bi? Lesbian? People would say genderqueer would fall under trans and yet. And I'll call myself a lesbian half-seriously but somehow i still pause when deciding if i should apply. I need a webring for theather kids. Or like. Clown enjoyers. I cannot be thinking about starting my own now lmao.

It's 2 am. I think I had too much caffeine at game night.

Maybe it's just my want to have Aster be kinda seperate from myself. Of course there's the about me and this blog which are clearly about i me myself and i, but right on the front page? Idk. I saved the link for later so maybe once I'm done having a little gender crisis I'll come back to it.

September 7th 2023

Today I went to the museum!!! They had a REALLY cool exhibit on the new Pinocchio movie that I've been meaning to see for a while. The kind where I spend an hour just staring, my face pressed to the glass my eyes open as wide as possible to soak everything in. Very cool. I love the puppets so much, on top of that the meaning behind the film and all the heart put into it. Just reading all that it meant to Del Toro makes me kinda emotional, and remembering the first time I saw it (in the theater, the 35mm film cut).

Afterward we went shopping at our usual Asian market, and I found BADTZ-MARU MERCH!!!!

Someone must have finally listened to all the brain waves I've been sending out lol. I check for Badtz-Maru merch everytime I'm there but I usually turn up empty-handed.

Man, ok. I was riding home with my boss and was telling him about the Pinocchio exhibit, and how seeing stuff that like makes me so antsy and anxious to get out there and make something and be part of something big. Not even in a "hitting the bigtime" and finding any sort of fame kind of way, but just getting to work on a project of that scope that means so much to so many people. He told me of course to not hope too badly for any specific thing (which I knew but thanks, I'm also scared of hoping for anything like that) but that being excited about the future is always better than the alternative.

And as I was getting out of the car he said "now go make your own Pinocchio!". Which is honeslty so sweet. I stumbled out a "yes sir" and a half-joking salute but man. Thanks. I will.

September 5th 2023

And of course my friend is excited and cool about the project and i feel dumb (but I already knew that, I already felt dumb about being anxious even when I was waiting for an answer)(hi if you're reading this... this is my fault not yours you are so sweet I'm literally just made of Anxiety)

Today we are getting our shit together! Buying new shoes! Going to the Post Office to get an inperson estimate on the package because I hate online calculators! Picking up checks so I hcan pay my rent! And maybe possibly even going to work if I still have energy later, though I'm still frustrated at my boss for not telling me that they cancelled rehersals yesterday.

Last night I finally finished fixing the CSS on my portfolio site!!! It took three days of working during all my time off, but everything has been fixed now. Most of the individual gallery pages are still empty, but at least the template is set up correctly and the code is MUCH more efficient. And of course, set up so if I want to change the fonts/colors across the board later on it'll be super simple (almost like that's how all this stuff is supposed to work!). I even made individual classes for each category of pages, which at the moment just changes the backgrounds but I could change the palettes later if I wanted to with just some added CSS. I put in a couple hours this morning just downloading, naming, resizing, and uploading photos for three more pages, didn't even get to doing the descriptions yet. So this portfolio site will definitely be the long haul, but I'm also saving all my (non-compressed) photos into another place to move to an external hard drive once I'm finished. So it'll be worth it to have everything in one place for years to come.

I was in the area so I went to the mall today to look for Badtz-Maru merch! All Hot Topic had was air fresheners. That's right, the only piece of merch that featured Badtz-Maru as the center of attention was a fucking air freshener. The DnD and anime store had a few plushes which are super cute! But out of my price range. I want to spend $10-20 on a littl guy or maybe a shirt, not a $40 plush. Maybe if they have a sale...

I did buy this Andy doll though. Because he ourple.

September 4th 2023

Hello! Today I am incredibly anxious! So excuse a little vent.

First off, I have a package I said I'd ship for a mutual who lives in Canada since the eBay seller wouldn't. Now I don't mind doing the paperwork, I've done it before when I sold Furbies, but it looks like it's going to be a lot more than the $20-30 I was estimating. So I feel bad telling them that it's going to be super expensive, and I don't know how they will react. If they'll suck it up and pay or blame me for it (I don't know them very well, in fact our main interraction in the past has been me as a mod letting them know they broke a rule) and then what, I buy the package from them and try to re-sell it myself? No idea. But today is labor day so I have to wait until tomorrow to go to the postal annex and see if they can give me a cheaper option.

I'm also anxious about asking a friend to be part of a project I'm starting. And this one I know is dumb an unwarranted anxiety. I asked my transmasc frined if he'd be interested in doing some voice acting and comfortable playing an openly transmasc character and I know it's perfectly normal to specify but I can't help but feel like I did something weird. He's just taking a while to reply since he's not online much.

I was also stupidly anxious about leaving the AC on when I closed up after work yesterday but it litereally does not matter so. My brain just looking for excuses at this point. It's barely getting above what I set it at (72) these days so I doubt it even turned on overnight.

I guess the reason I'm anxious about asking my friend if he'll play a trans male character in my project is an extension of my anxiety over writing one in the first place? But it's not a big part of the story, at least not explored in a depth that is outside my range as a genderqueer butch who struggles to call themselves either trans or cis. There are certainly things outside my understanding, maybe I'm just burned by knowing I made some mistakes in earlier versions of similar charcaters (seven YEARS ago) back when I thought it must be oh so different from my own experience. But I know more now! I should trust myself, or at least my ability to research and learn.

I am also very sore from work, I feel like an old man already. I can't do a day's worth of crawling around theather sets without everything hurting. But work is keeping my mind off things, so I'll probably go in early again today. Until then I'll knock out more of the cleanup work on my portfolio site.

September 3rd 2023

September 2nd 2023

I think YouTube is protesting me using UBlock. The home page won't load unless I click on it from the sidebar and the adds are back (just the ones before a video, no midrolls as far as I can tell) but without visuals.

Finally started working on my old portfolio website again! Man I did NOT know what I was doing when I started coding last Feburary. Besides the fact that I fucked up my CSS so now I have to re-do every page anyway, I'm realizing that stuff was just majorly inefficient in the first place and then copied over to the dozens of pages I had begun to create. At least now that I've finished with the dozen or so main and category pages, the rest will be a lot easier to fix up. And I didn't get very far in some of the categories. I do find myself a little lost on the design and vibe of it for the moment, so hopefully what I'm putting in place will help me change it when I do. It's currently sorta art nouveau but without enough color, I want the backgrounds to be seamless repeating but I also love having fabric looking ones and it's hard to find ones that match the vibes i want.

I can't help but open any links with Furby stuff on them just to see if I'm on there. Any Furby oddbody collection or Reddit DIWhy reading I just have that morbid curiosity to see if my old work is still being shared around.