The Question of Realism/What is Art?

You can tell I’m not really “in” the art community — uh, “the art community” here being defined, I guess, by the YouTube art scene, because that’s where I spend most of my time consuming artistic content — because I keep uncovering debates and arguments that I honestly didn’t even know were things.

For instance, I had no idea that “is realism real art?” was a debated topic, but, um, apparently it is?

I was blown away. I… don’t know why, because my time in fannish online spaces has proven to me that literally everything generates discourse these days. I guess because I felt like, growing up, any talk of art, or visits to museum, etc., focused so very much on lauding those works that most accurately represented reality — the paintings depicting flowing hair you wanted to run your fingers through, piles of fabric where you could practically feel the texture, fruits and breads and wine that made your stomach rumble and your mouth water. And we would gape in awe because of how closely it mirrored the subject, because of how precisely and skilled the artist was at directly capturing the scene in front of them.

Don’t get me wrong, we marveled at impressionists and abstract artists and surrealists too, because of their bold use of color, or their composition, or how visceral and unnerving certain paintings were. But there was always a definite sense of awe when confronted with the work of particularly skilled realistic painter. It never even crossed my mind that what I was looking at wasn’t art, you know?

I guess the argument, as far as I can tell, is that while realism is a skill, it’s not so much “art,” as there is no “creativity” involved. The artists aren’t bringing anything of themselves to the piece.

I… again, I wasn’t sure how to respond. I don’t know that I ever consciously assigned a hierarchy to what makes art, art. I don’t think I ever looked at a piece and weighed its worth on a scale using a set of variable metrics. Art was good if it was skillfully done, whether that be what I guess we’d call “traditional technical skill” (i.e., the drawing/painting is realistic and an accurate representation of the depicted subjects), or if was skilled in the sense that it was deliberately and intentionally styled, and showed technical mastery in other ways, such as composition and color. But I never thought of the “skill” and the “art” as being different things.

And going even further, I’ve seen a very popular definition of art being a work that elicits a response. I know, for me, my favorite artists have always elicited a “wow” response in me; something that impressed me on an intellectual (“The technique here is stunning”), emotional (“Looking at this piece makes me viscerally uncomfortable”) or purely aesthetic (“I find this beautful, and it brings me joy”) level. Does that response become meaningless if it’s tied directly to my perception of the artist’s technical skills? Weren’t many of the painters we now consider canonical masters elevated to that level by virtue of their technical talent?

I mean, I supposed I do understand the idea that art should be transformative in someway, but you can very much create photorealistic surrealism, especially if you use a composite of reference images (which is what I do — use a composite of reference images, not create hyper-realistic art, ha. Not even close, my dude). Does that make it more valid as art? Or, put aside surrealism — if someone created a composite image of any kind, drawing on multiple sources to create a scene of their own making, is that a creative endeavor and does it elevate the piece to “real art?”

What makes art, art, to you?


I first became aware of this as a point of contention while watching Temi Danso, who is a hyper-realistic artist as well as an entertaining YouTuber. This is her take on the subject (and her take brings up another good point which is — what if an artist has aphantasia (as my wife does)? Does that disallow them from doing “art,” or does that make them less valid or valuable as an artist? Is there maybe just a hint of ableism hiding away in there?)

June Wrap-up

So I’ve started actually moving again in June, wrapping up several pieces that had been languishing, ignored, on my hard drive for weeks or months. I took a few reference photos for other drawings I want to do in the next few days, and still have several more to take — I realized the other day that of the five A-to-Z redraws I was supposed to do in May, it has taken me until the end of June to complete just two of them. I’m still interested in revisiting several of them, so I will have to do some reference photos for them this week, as well.


Life keeps moving. We’ve been venturing into the Outside World a little more, establishing household routines, buckling down and actually making strides on goals we’ve been talking about for ages. Life has some semblance of order and routine, and we are secure enough within our social bubble to finally be making plans with friends and family again.

I am glad, as I am often actively glad, to live in Massachusetts, where we have more than half the population fully vaccinated (and 70% of the actually elligible population), and a 0.33% positivity rate. I’m hoping the trend continues; I’m liking this controlled return to something approaching normal. I’m liking having something like a life, again.

Stay safe and sane, all.

Ambitious Morning

I woke up this morning, made my bed, did my skin care routine, brushed my teeth, and headed downstairs where Bear worked on his summer academics workbook while I made us omelets, whereupon we ate breakfast, and I cleared the table, loaded the dishwasher, and wiped down the counters.

Mornings like this are incredibly dangerous, because they allow be to labor under the delusion that not only do I maybe actually have my shit together, but that maybe I can 1.) heap more helpings of crap on my Plate O’ Tasks, since I’m handling everything so gosh darn well, and 2.) tell other people how to get their shit together, too!

I am painfully sure I am not technically qualified to do either of those things, but damn it, I’m gonna do them both anyway. I mean, you knew that, right? You knew that’s where this was going?

I started a project ages ago that kept having false starts. It was a YouTube project, a one-person podcast of a sort, and I continue to really like the idea behind it, even if I could never master the execution in that particular medium. The obvious solution — obvious to Present Day Me, who has now had a little bit of distance — is to simply change mediums. I have a blog, and a small but extant blogging audience. Just do the project as a series of blog entries, obviously.

The gist of the project was ways to inspire creativity and to keep creative in the midst of chaos — chaos here being high-levels of everyday brand stress, particularly for those who have low thresholds for that sort of thing. As someone who feels burned out on the reg by the basic expectations of adult existence (wait, I’m supposed to shower every day? Hang on, coffee isn’t a substitute for water? But it’s literally bean water!), I do feel at least somewhat capable of speaking from that perspective, and there have definitely been strategies I’ve used that have benefitted me (ahem, when I could actually motivate myself to use them. But you know, that’s on the individual, right? You can lead a horse to water, and all).

So yes, in the very near, perhaps nigh immediate future, expect a regularly occurring series about keeping creative in the midst of chaos. I will likely be adding links to the entries on my Writing archive page as well, if anyone finds them especially useful and wants to return to them.


As is likely suggested by my chipper ambition, I got all my routine chores done and the house in back to baseline, which means I feel a little more free to be a little more creative again. I spent yesterday taking reference photos and started on that sweet, sweet self-indulgent fanart,* and today I’m hoping to wrap it up, and start to wrap the other two active art projects I still have going, one of which is months old at this point (and which I legitimately forgot about until I had to open my digital art folder on Sunday). After that I have three more pieces conceived of as digital, and then I’m going to take a break from digital art and try doing more sketching and watercolor.

Speaking of watercolor, you all should go check out Emily Artful over on YouTube; I’ve been watching her for about a year now, and she’s always interesting and engaging to listen to, and her art is beautiful. She’s always worth a watch, but in light of the events of the last few weeks (if you are curious and don’t know, it’s easy enough to look up), I thought she was deserving of a little extra love.

Stay safe and sane. I’m back on the wagon with language learning, so I’m off to re-start (it has apparently been five months??!?! So I should probabaly totally restart) my Finnish lessons.

Take care.


*Fanart of Zoga from Worthikid’s animated short CAPTIAN YAJIMA. Kira and I have recently been watching and rewatching all his stuff pretty much non-stop, so they’ve been fresh on my mind again. I’m glad to not have entirely abandoned Tumblr, since there is some great Worthikids art and stuff over there, and I pretty much have a ready audience.

Tangentially, someone (who I can’t find now, because of course) tagged their art of Zoga “a gnc (gender-nonconforming) icon. I don’t even know what gender they’re not conforming to, but they sure as hell aren’t,” and I was like, yes! Yes! Gender goals!

An Emotionally ExhaustingWeek

A few things this week:

I’m writing this slightly more than 48 hours post-full vaccination!! I got my second dose of the Moderna vaccine at Gillette Stadium on Saturday at a bit past 11 am. The whole vibe there could only be described as “festive,” honestly. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and most (possibly all?) of the people coming through the West Clinic were there for their final doses. I walked in at 11:05 for my 11:18 appointment (technically, three minutes earlier than I should have, but I wanted to hit the bathroom first — hey, Gillette is over an hour drive from my house, and I had my morning coffee before getting in the car, ok?) and I was sitting in the post-vax observation area by 11:16. The observation deck door was open, with people post-vax milling about outside, taking selfies over the field, so of course I had to step outside. God, what a gorgeous day. Being outside has become a rarity for me; being outside on a gorgeous spring day, knowing that I could finally breathe a little easier, was an amazing feeling.

Watching that number go up in real time did funny things to my insides, guys. Just, the idea that — while we aren’t out of this yet — that this is finite. It was an emotionally as well as physically exhausting day.

The side effects hit a few hours after I got vaxxed, and peaked mid-afternoon on Sunday with chills, body aches/weakness, and a pretty bad headache. Still, given how hyped up the possible side-effects were, I feel like I got off pretty easy. I had certainly felt better, but I had most definitely felt way worse. I spent Saturday and Sunday on the couch and in bed, drinking a lot of water and watching a lot of YouTube (namely Simply Nailogical, NerdECrafter, and any and all James-Acaster-on-panel-shows compilations I could find), and after crashing last night around 10:30 (very early for me, who usually doesn’t go light’s out until about 11:40), I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. My arm is even less sore than it was after my first dose. I’m incredibly excited for more and more of my friends to get their final doses so we can start getting together again.

And to continue the ride on the emotional rollercoaster, tomorrow is, at long last, Bear’s IEP evaluation. I have nothing but respect for Bear’s teachers, but the remote learning journey is absolutely failing him, and casting in stark relief all of his learning and behavioral issues. As a highly-intelligent, hyperlexic, inattentive, hyperactive, emotionally dysregulated child, he is basically the perfect combination of both a young Kira and a young me, and we — and Bear’s teachers, for what it’s worth — are banking on a diagnosis, and hoping that getting an IEP in place will help when we finally get back to in-person lessons in September.

Oh man, September. I keep thinking about going back to work, and every time I do, I start crying. I miss going to work. I miss seeing my coworkers and my kids. If fall is one of my favorite times of the year in ordinary time, this fall is going to be the most highly anticipated ones in my life.

That’s it from me. Stay safe and sane, everyone.

Artist

In an attempt to get back into reading while still pursuing my Special Interest of the
Moment, I (digitally) took out a couple of library books about art. The one I’m working through right now is called Show Your Work, by Austin Kleon, the author of Steal Like an Artist.

I have this perpetual concern that I don’t complete enough work to ever gain any credibility as an artist, or that I don’t have the raw talent to ever confidently call myself one. I came late to the game in terms of doing art; or, at least, in the corners of the internet art world in which I lurk, it certainly feels like I have. Realism is not really something I strive for; I think I would like trying to dip my toes in it at some point, but I really loved more stylized, illustrative works, so those are the sorts of artists I’m following. People who produce webcomics, independent illustrators, character designers.

And, oh my God, so many of them are so young. Decades younger than me, sometimes. Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years old, with a few years of consistent practice under their belts. Then here I am — pushing 40; having stalled out of drawing entirely at about fifteen, with very little consistent practice even before then; two years into teaching myself to draw, with myriad gaps and fits and starts in between.

And I know it shouldn’t be discouraging. I know. I know the factor that separates us really is time — time devoted to learning techniques, to practicing, to actually doing. I can see the progress I’ve made it two years, even with all the interruptions I’ve had; imagine what I’d be doing if I didn’t have a full-time job, a child, the responsibilities of a household, raging ADHD…?

So every once in a while, it’s nice to get a reminder like this:

There’s this idea that’s hard to shake, that I’ve spoken about extensively before, that you’re not an artist until to reach a certain level of skill. But remembering that artists grow and evolve, and that even mediocre artists are artists — I’m defined by the act of creating, not the quality of the art I create. And the more art create, the better that art will be.

I mentioned to my wife today — this year has been markedly different from the last few. This year, my periods of “art frustration” — feeling “empty,” feeling like I have no ideas, or no inspirations — have been unusually few and far between. They haven’t been non-existant, of course, but the bigger impetus to my output this year has been general stress and ambient chaos — and frankly, I am just going to put it out there that I feel like most of that has been well fucking warranted.

But I’ve had ideas. I’ve had a steady flow of thoughts and projects that I’ve wanted to work on. I’ve pushed writing to the backburner for now because art for my in more muscle memory, and with how crazy the world has been and the toll that has been taking on my mentally, that seems like it’s for the best, but I’m even starting to have ideas for writing projects again (I fully intended to start NaNoWriMo — ha!!! Like I wasn’t going to be driven to the brink of losing my shit by the election), and am keeping a running tabs of ideas to work on when things calm down in the world, both the one outside and the one within.

It’s almost like, once you start creating — once you move from the doing nothing to the doing something — you start to gain momentum.

You start to notice yourself getting better, and you start permitting yourself to dream bigger and take more risks.

And you start wanting to do more, and more, and more.

This is the first year of my life that if someone asked me, I would tell them I made “art.” I haven’t made the leap to not qualifying the word yet; I’m afraid I would still append “amateur” to “artist.”

But last year, I would not have even used the word “artist.”

I’m making strides. Earlier this year, back in March, I took a leap and submited three of my pieces to a local exhibition that was meant to elevate the work of women and non-binary artists. Sadly, this was the week before COVID really took hold and lockdowns began, and I don’t know — with my city still in the red zone, and cases rising again — when or if that will ever actually happen. But that doesn’t take away the fact that I took that shot. It doesn’t make me less proud of me for taking that leap.

I just took another huge (for me) leap. I don’t want to say what it is yet (“I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious”), but I will let you know when decisions have been made and plans are set in place. I am cautiously hopeful, but whatever happens, I am proud of myself for putting myself out there and taking a chance.

This year has been good for some things.

I hope you can think back on a few bright spots. I hope you can carry something out of this year that brings you hope, or comfort, or pride.

I hope to post more frequently. I know, I say that a lot. I’m trying.

Stay safe and sane, my friends.

I’m still here!

This has been an unexpectedly long time away from blogging that I’m hoping to end with this post. Not that this post in and of itself is going to be especially deep, or especially funny, or especially thoughtful. Really, I just want to break the silence and say, yes, I am still here.

Since last we spoke:

I was prescribed Paxil, which my insurance refused to cover; so I was prescribed Prozac, which my insurance was asking a 100% co-pay for (how…is that different from just not covering it?) which I then opted to simply not pick up.*

I tried weed to see if it would be helpful for acute stress/anxiety, but had a really poor reaction to the THC, which sucked a whole damn bunch.

My mom bought me CBD oil, which is working wonders for her and my dad (chronic pain), and I pick that up tomorrow.

Bear started K2, all online. He’s been pretty into so far, honestly, and has been doing pretty well behaving during the Zoom meetings, at least as well as I would expect a five-year-old to.

And… I’m working from home.

Holy fucking crap on a cracker. Let me tell you. The instantaneous relief I felt from that phone call felt a lot like euphoria; weeks and weeks and goddamn weeks of relentless anxiety and uncertainty, gone.

I mean, to be replaced by the daily anxiety of trying to juggling homeschooling a kindergartener synchronously while simultaneously teaching a class via video conferencing myself, but hey. That will eventually become routine.

I have a job. I have an income.

I….have not done any art in weeks. This is going to a long road back to feeling creative.** Actually, it’s going to be a long way back from feeling anything but exhaustion, I think.

But I’m here. We’re here. And we’re doing ok.


* The meds were a new prescription, I’m not just ditching my meds. Don’t just ditch your meds, guys — talk to a doctor first. Also, I’m not anti-med by any means, I just feel like in my situation, I’ve got a handle on the chronic anxiety, to the point where it’s really just background noise and not really something I feel like I need a daily medication for (and with the work-for-home allowance, even the acute anxiety has lessened considerably. I’m actually feeling functional again).

** I will be participating in Drawtober in October and NaNoWriMo in November, so at the very worst you’ll see me working then!

Another Work/Life Update

I have some reassurances that the things I am concerned about at work (don’t you love how vague I am?) are being considered.

Ok, so, namely — I need to work remotely. We live in a “red zone” city, and my son is on mandated remote learning, which means the child care inherent in in-person schooling is gone (and honestly, it would have been disasterous to put him in school even if that were an option, with something like 4000 active cases in our city). Also, if I enter the building, I will not be able to bring him to my mother’s house — they’ve let me know, in no uncertain terms, that they cannot take him, and I one-hundred-and-ten percent agree. Both my parents are nearly 70, my mom is asthmatic, physically disabled, and partially sighted (complete blindness in one eye and partial sight in the other), and they share their home with two people who are also immunosuppressed. I could not and would not take that chance.

So my options are COVID Emergency Leave or remote work, which I parroted back more than once to the powers that be; I’m hearing, luckily, that people are working to try to make this happen, for which I am hugely grateful.. So, I have hope that I’m being heard and my needs are being met, which is better than I’ve had in several weeks.


I woke up this morning to a full Twitter inbox because someone tagged me in an art photoset — they’d used my modelling photos from FatPhotoRef! It was really cool! I’ve never been used as a model before. My wife and I are going to take some photos tonight based on requests from the Discord, so hopefully I’ll have another set up there in the next few days.

Ugh, fate willing, I will have more fun things to talk about than continued work drama soon.

Stay safe and sane, everyone.

End of Summer

We are in a lull between a string of storms making their way across New England. The first batch barely left an impression; about an hour ago, I noticed a notification from my weather app that I had missed timestamped at 11:55 am that notified me rain was starting in five minutes. If that happened, I didn’t notice it. Actually, no; I left the house at 1:30 with Bear in stocking feet, and the ground was dry, so it definitely didn’t touch us. The second one was pretty firece in terms of rain, with a couple of good peals of thunder, but over within an hour. The sky looks like another might come through soon, but right now it’s still. I’m hoping the humidity will break when the last one rolls through.

It’s been a quiet summer in terms of storms; I remember childhood summers where we spent days upon days watching the weather channel, monitoring rain moving through the area, being shepharded downstairs by my mother on the days when they worst of them rolled through. When we were slightly older, I remember distinctly sitting out on our three-season porch with my dad as the storms came in; my mother hated it, which, I think, is part of why we did it (I mean, honestly I think that’s part of why my dad did it, too; my mom was insufferable when bad weather was coming through, talking incessantly about nothing else, harrassing people into bunkering with her, etc.) I still love the smell of ozone, and that strange moment of perfect stillness right before the first major wind whistles through the trees. There hasn’t been much of that this year. Not for us, at least, and here we are at basically the end of summer.

Melissa texted me this morning that a work friend brought her a pumpkin coffee this morning, and that, for me, is one of the surest signs of imminenet Fall. There is a part of my brain that’s still stuck perpetually in March, when time existed and I had a rhythm and a life outside of this house (and a tight, tight circle of other people; though how grateful am I for those other people). Seeing September on my calendar already seems like a joke, thought I hesitate to call it a cruel one. It means time is passing, and — for me at least — faster than I could have anticipated. I thought this situation was going to drag, but it actually hasn’t. We’re moving. Time is passing. Things are changing. However long it will be before we see an “end” (and an “end” is going to be a gradual thing anyway, not a one-and-done set point in time, but regardless), we are moving towards that “end.” We have not stopped. We have not stood still.

I hope you are all still moving forward. I hope you are all still pursuing whatever ambitions lit your flame in January. This is not the year I had envisioned, ot by a long shot, not by any stretch, but I have made more progress towards some of my goals than I thought I would even back when we thought that was going to be an “ordinary” year.

I hope you are finding joy in moments, and in the increments of progress you are making on your ambitions and projects.

Stay safe and sane, everyone.

What I Miss

I talked to my friend Melissa via Discord for the first time (with the exception of “you still ok?” texts) since December.

We’ve been friends for eightteen years, so long stretches of not a whole lot of talking — because I have a kid, because she works a weird retail management schedule, because we both have anxiety (which is incredibly mentally draining) — is not unusual or particularly upsetting. With COVID, though, this absence from each others’ lives has been longer than intended or anticipated. So chatting was good; more than good.

She mentioned a post that popped up on Facebook Memories that morning, of a beach trip she, I, and my sister took, nine years ago (holy shit); we reminisced about how drunk we got, and walking back from the bar to our hotel, how worried all of us were that she was going to run into the sea “to make sweet, sweet love to the waves, as was her wont.”

Oh, God — I miss the beach, I said.

I miss going out and getting buzzed, and I miss streetlamp lit walks back to our hotel, and the smell of saltwater and the crash of waves in the background. I miss bad karaoke at La Bec Rouge, and free Sour Apple shots on Ladies’ Night, and mind-numbingly hot waitresses, and seductive indie guitarists playing on the patio.

I told her how, every once in a while, I get struck by how badly I miss something that COVID has changed, or taken away, and how I keep thinking I should write about that, even though it seems like everyone and their mother is writing about it, and I couldn’t possibly add anything exceptional or new to the mix.

You should, she said. It’s good to think about. It’s good to keep in perspective, and to aknowledge an appreciation that you never really considered before.

So, here are the things I miss that I’d never really appreciated before.

I miss stopping to grab a latte at Dunks before an all-day shopping spree with my wife.

I miss calling my mom up in the early morning and asking if she wanted company, then packing a bag with stuff for Bear and heading to her house to spend the day there.

I miss impromptu McDonalds run with my sister and her kids.

I miss propping open the front door, and letting Bear play with the neighbor kids (as long as I could still hear them!) until dinner time.

I miss standing outside my son’s school with the other parents, waiting for the janitor to open the doors for afternoon pick-up.

I miss listening to podcasts on the treadmill at the gym.

I miss piles of air matresses on the floor, hard cider, and old I Love the 80s reruns at sleepovers with my friends.

I miss clandestine cigarettes out on my sister’s back porch after the kids have gone to bed.

I miss stocking up at the grocery store for supplies for a weekend potluck.

I miss scrounging through clearance racks at the change of seasons.

I miss sitting and reading a magazine in the Children’s Room at our library while Bear plays with the hand puppets and Thomas the Tank Engine activity table.

I miss rainy nights in the Boston’s Theatre District, and long walks between the restaurant and the theatre before a show.

I miss the early morning anticipation in the admission lines for Comic-Con.

I miss cosplay meet-ups in Boston, I miss conventions, I miss packed-to-capacity panel rooms with a hundred nerds in costume.

I miss midnight movie releases and line parties.

I miss my sister stopping by hours early before a party with alcohol and baking supplies.

I miss sending my son to school on field trip days.

I miss crowding around a computer with my mom and brother to play an escape-the-room game.

I miss knowing my wife has something wonderful planned for our birthdays, or anniversaries, or whatever special occassion she’s remembered (the day she gave me my ring, the day of our first date, the day we met it person, etc.)

I miss impromptu hotel stays with fancy dinners when my wife thinks I’ve been too stressed lately.

I miss… the freedom of not having to plan for my every move, to take into account every possible precaution to make sure I’m not bringing home a potentially deadly pathogen. I miss being able to be impromptu. To be spontaneous. I missing being able to do, without having to mentally measure physical distance or remember to bring masks or stock up on hand sanitizer.

I miss being able to write my chronic anxiety off as “excessive.” I’m tired of my fears being vindicated. The novelty has worn off.

I made my first trip to a store today, set foot inside a retail establishment for the first time since March 12th. It was terrifying, even though everyone wore a mask and kept their distance (though that was really encouraging to see). I have my first social event tonight that isn’t just with my family, in the form of an outdoors, socially distanced get-together for the 4th — nine people including us, BYOB, some food but all single-use disposable serving utensils and all disposable plates and cutlery, plus a bevy of sanitation precautions for bathroom usage and hand sanitation. It makes me feel a lot more comfortable going somewhere where I know we and the other guests and interested in mantaining all the safety protocols, but man, I miss not having to worry about safety protocols.

I miss the days when the biggest social safety protocols I had to worry about was keeping my wallet and drink close by and arranging a designated driver.

But if we keep living like this, we keep… living. And honestly, I will trade conveience for peace of a mind and a chance to safely see my friends. I hope all of you realize that that’s a worthwhile trade off.

There’s a lot to miss, but there’s a lot we can still do if we’re just conscientious about it and follow the experts’ guidelines.

Stay safe and sane, everyone.

Life Update

So life has been kind of a lot lately. Not bad — I don’t want to give that impression; we remain incredibly lucky — just a lot. It’s a combination of things that are so minute they don’t warrant individual examination and things that are simply not my right to divulge at the moment, but either way, life has sort of gotten in the way of creative endeavors.

I mean, not entirely. I have three #DrawingPride sketches that are in the works, I have two other sketches I’m slowly puttering away on (one in the planning stages, one that’s in an early draft in my sketchbook), I still plan on doing the Tarot set, and I’m working on setting up a few hopeful side hustles for the summer and beyond.

Working, I guess, has not been the issue, but feeling capable of the focus needed to actually see anything through to completion has sort of dwindled and died.

Temporarily, at least.

Things I’ve Been Doing Instead of Being Creative or Productive

  1. Solved our first Hunt a Killer case! One month and probably about sixteen hours of work later, 30s theatre icon Viola Vane has been laid to rest. No spoilers for the case, but I will say the hunch I was so certain about for the last couple of boxes was way off. We’re already mid-way through Class of 98 (box-wise, though I feel like I really need to go back and comb through the evidence more thoroughly), and we’ll be getting the first episode of our next serialized case shipped tomorrow.
  2. Started (sort of) rewatching Adventure Time. I don’t remember what spurred me on to decide to start the rewatch, but I’ve been picking and choosing old favorite episodes for a couple of days to revisit. I’m seriously considering starting a full, linear rewatch very soon.
  3. I’ve read 20 fics for The Fanfic Summer Reading Program. I did a deep dive back into House and Sherlock fandoms for my first week of summer challenge. I’d forgotten how much I loved both of those fandoms, and I might wind up continuing to read in them despite my Nostalgia Week being over.
  4. Realized that because of quarantine-induced lack of personal purchasing, my personal budget for June is $300. I’m not looking to go and blow it for the sake of blowing it, but I am looking at potential “just for me” purchases to brighten the days.
  5. Started playing Dream Daddy. Woo, boy, am I late to this game, but I’m having so much fun. This game is hilarious, and it makes me so happy that you have the option of being gay or bi and of being cis or trans. So far I’ve completed Joseph’s track and Robert’s and… I’m pretty sure I got the “bad” ending for Joseph, but I think… I think I got the best ending I could for Robert? I don’t know. After I go through the whole game once I’ll prob restart it and try to get different endings.
  6. Bought my son his summer wardrobe. If any of you have kids, go see if The Children’s Place summer sale is still happening, because man. I got the Bear eight shirts, six pairs of shorts, and a pack of underwear for about $67.
  7. Brought my sibling-in-law in to expand our Dungeons & Dragons party (via Discord and Tabletop Simulator). They’re playing an existing character that they’ve made and played for other campaigns. Bear loves getting to talk and hang out with his entle, and after yesterday’s hour-and-a-hald D&D session, they stayed on the call chatting and hanging out for another four hours.

I’m hoping you all are doing well, holding tight and preparing to ride the (sigh) “second” wave of this virus (we never saw the crest of the first wave, but let’s not get into that). I have read that with proper precautions and a slow and responsive reaction to medical data we probably can do a slow reopening without seeing a major spike. But again, that requires people to act responsibly and… well, you all know how that goes.

But all of you are cool, responsible folks. Right??

Stay safe, sane, and inside. Cheers. Hope to have some cool art stuff to show you all soon.