Saturday, August 20, 2016

Consider Your Words To An Artist

Be considerate of what you say to people, especially young artists.
There's a lot of negative thoughts, depressing realities, and generally discouraging messages that already exist out there. You might mean well, you might think you're helping, or maybe you plain don't believe in something will work out. But keep it to yourself. For every one comment you make, the person probably has an iceberg worth of self doubt already festering and buzzing around their head.
It's hard to do big things, important things, things that matter over the daily noise of life. That's not to say never give a critique, never say something critical, or that you have to baby someone, but just, be aware of how your words may impact them in a more detrimental way.
I grew up drawing all the time. From my many hours my skill grew, my technique developed. As I got older though and started looking at what I was to do in the world, I started hearing more negative things. That illustration was not an easy field, that comics were on the out, that only the elite few made a living with their art. I took this to heart and settled on a more practical creative field like Graphic Design. Slowly I moved away from drawing, from sketching. I learned other programs, went into other fields, drew less and less with each passing year. Now I don't draw very much.
Maybe I would have been frustrated as an illustration major looking for work. Maybe I'd be running my own webcomic big time. Maybe I should have shouldered through those comments. Maybe I'm better off doing videos and producing content. I'll never know. That's a different life, a different path I could have gone but didn't.
But you'll also never know. So watch your words and watch your intentions.
"Maybe this is just a hobby."
"There are more practical ways to make money."
"It takes a long time for anything to happen, if it happens."
"How about focusing on other things right now?"
Those might be the straw that breaks their drive's back. You might be that important of a person to them they ignore their own dreams and instincts. They might be that much less likely to share their achievements and accomplishments in the future.
So, be careful what you say.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Go Ahead And Ride The D With Dr. Seeds

You might not have heard of it before now, but "Riding The D With Dr.Seeds" is a strange and funny, strangely funny, comedy webseries currently online right now.

And the good doctor needs your support! But first, some introductions!

From the insane mind of Sarah Seeds (Creator), brought to you by Edge In MotionInfiniti FeaturesSarah Seeds Productions and Directed by Michelle Cutolo, comes an unhinged comedy webseries: "Riding the D with Dr. Seeds." The story takes you into the life of Dr. Seeds, a non-licensed psychiatrist, dropping her knowledge on the D Train...whether people want her help or not. The Pilot will be broken down into 5 individual episodes, and each will explore Dr. Seeds’ past, present (and future?).
How did Dr. Seeds descend into her subway madness? Does she ever actually help any of these people? Did she at one time have a license to practice? Learn about Dr. Seeds’ turbulent history, how she hired her assistant, the Man in the Yellow Hat, her dramatic fall from grace, and even her constant struggle with her arch nemesis, Tabitha M.D.!
(more on the kickstarter

You can help Sarah Seeds and the rest of the crew make more strangely funny (strunngy?) videos and work by checking out their Kickstarter project here:

Dr. Seeds is pulling up in the subway and you don't want to miss your train!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

What Is Your Money Worth To You?

What do you want more? 

A $30 meal or $30 of little treats for the month? $30 in your bank account or $30 of new supplies for your house? A $30 ticket out of the city or $30 to swim with a sea turtle? A sharp haircut for $30 or $30 for a self-help book highly recommended? 

Everyone makes choices based on what they value most, what is important to them, whether they are fully conscious of these choices is another thing. What do you value over other things? What might you be giving up by how you spend your money, and thusly, your time?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

For The Love Of Dog

Awhile I received the terrible news that one of the dogs I walked died unexpectedly over the weekend. Bentley was a healthy, 4 year old King Charles Cavalier and one of the most lovable dogs I have ever known. I don't know the full details of the accident, but frankly knowing them doesn't bring him back. Nothing will and it breaks my heart.

He was one of my first clients I had, having nearly walked him for 2 years come this August. He was there when I started, when I didn't really know what I was doing, but he learned to trust me as I kept showing up. He quickly became my little buddy, my friend, and my favorite of my dogs.

When I came in in the morning he'd stay curled up on his bed but wag his tail so hard he'd flick himself in the eye. Some days he didn't want to get out of bed, but if I laid down on my back he would rush over and put his head over my face and whimper and lick me until I got up. He had his own personality and quirks and opinions that I learned like that.

I walked him twice a day, once in the morning, and then on the evening. In the morning he had the choice to go right, which lead us to the dog park, or left, which lead us to wander around the neighboring blocks a bit. He always picked one or the other and knew which route he had picked that morning.

In the evening he got supper and then wanted to just sit a few minutes before we went out. Some days I had to coax him to get going, other days he was ready to go and bugged me to get going. Walking him always cheered me up and often I stayed with him longer than the 30 minute window to play some more with him.

He loved playing ball in the house, play barking, but letting me know he wasn't really mad. At the dog park he was really awkward around other dogs when we first started going. He'd look at them, look at me, look at them, look at me. Eventually he found that chasing other dogs was fun, if socially confusing when too many dogs wanted to play. His favorite game there was to play chase the ball. This is a lot like fetch, but instead of bringing the ball back to me, Bentley would just make sure it stopped and run back to me, looking as proud as could be.

My heart goes out to his owners, he was like a son to them. He was such a sweet dog and they managed to give him so much without spoiling him. They welcomed me into their home like few other clients have done. Most people I meet once or not at all, I come in to do my job and leave. His family made me feel so welcomed in their home, it made up for all the crappy things that come up in this job. It's not all puppies and rainbows, but having someone leave you some coffee in the morning can really help your day turn around. Knowing that it's okay to sit on their couch when your feet hurt, or that they trust you will take the very best care of their dog, really helped me stay sane.

The news of Bentley passing devastated me and I know they are grieving. He was such a great dog and so friendly to all. He had some health issues they were concerned about but this was completely unexpected. I had long thought about how if I quit this job, how would I break it to Bentley? Would I get to say goodbye properly? Could I train the new person so he doesn't protest like when someone covers for me? Would his family invite me over to have supper with them and surprise him?

This is all for a dog. All these tears, all this crippling sadness. I guess you can't judge what will really hit you or what really affects people. A lot of feelings were invested in this animal because he was special and showed that he cared that I walked him. I care for all my dog clients, but some only tolerate me, some are problem children, some like me but love their family more, some love everyone, some have clients who treat it like a very automated service. Bentley made it special and was like my dog away from home. I will miss him greatly and just wanted to share how awesome a dog he was with you here.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Don't Hate On Pokemon GO

Okay, so here's the thing; you don't get cool points for hating something someone else likes. You don't have to like it, but check yourself before you go posting bitter, salty things online.
Most of my friends are excited about Pokémon GO. Others are tired of seeing all the posts, while others still are posting about not having time or interest.
Great, wonderful, you're all allowed to have your own likes and dislikes. If you're upset that people are spending their time playing Pokémon GO, I have bad news for you, and maybe you should sit down.
You see, people have free time that they can spend as they like. You don't have free time? Really? You don't play app games? Read a book during your commute? Binge watch Orange Is The New Black? You don't flip open Facebook and read statuses?
Regardless, you're not better for hating Pokémon, the new game, or having no free time! It's a new thing people are excited about that gets them walking around outside or playing on their break at work! Yes it's everywhere right now and yes it's annoying being on the outside of something so many other people are too excited about, I'll give you that.
Calm down, go back to your exciting life or kids or important work you're doing. Let people have fun.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The "Reaper Main" Overwatch Bingo Card!

So I don't know if you're one of the 7 million other people but I've been bitten by the Overwatch bug. 

I'm in, I'm playing, I'm eating up the characters, the fanart, and the gameplay. In honor of one too many games with someone who just won't change heroes *cough*shadowling*cough* I made this fun little bingo card about "Reaper mains."

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

In-Game Booster Packs

The 2 Second High And The Long Disappointment

A rising trend in video games lately has been offering some sort of blind box or booster pack-esque prize. These unlock in-game items, weapons, skins, icons, character, etc for players when they level up, complete challenges, or simply pay hard cash. Halo 5 has REQ Packs, Overwatch has Loot Crates, Hearthstone has packs you open to get virtual cards.

Other games that include unlocks are Titanfall, Mass Effect, and Paragon.

Beyond games, there has been a rise in toys and collectibles being sold in blind boxes in real life. It's basically just another way to sell more by making people have to buy blindly in hopes of getting the things they really want. Sounds broken, but people eat them up enough that more companies are getting in on it. I'd say I'm better than that but I have also bought way more booster packs for Magic and Pokemon than I'll ever admit before I quit. The thrill of opening a new pack, of hoping for a legendary card or item, of sorting through the spoils is a gamer high like no other!

The most exciting 1.5 seconds of your life (after sex) is waiting for the opening animation to finish.

So why does it suck so much in video games?

A pet peeve of mine is when video games forget that they are virtual worlds will near limitless possibilities. In improv (follow me here), you can pretend your character is at work, trying to get a raise, but just as easily you can pretend your character is fighting a race of cat-aliens on another planet while using a laser pointer and a bag of catnip! Why limit yourself to the mundane settings of the real world counterparts?

As reference, this pose was a duplicate and I was given +15 C for getting it a second time. The cheapest items are +25 C and this pose is listed at +75 C if I tried to buy it.
Almost all of these in-game booster packs function the same as real world booster packs. You open them up, get a random set of items, and they are added to your inventory. That's it. There are usually options to buy more packs or better packs with higher rates for better items, but a lot of these are still laughably sad what they offer.

In Hearthstone, you open booster packs to unlock cards to use in decks. Cards are limited to a max of 2 of the same card in a deck and are pulled from your collection to be used in any deck you design. This means that having a 3rd or 4th copy of a card is entirely pointless, just taking up virtual space! In Overwatch, if you get a duplicate item it gives you a minuscule amount of credits in return. The game Dirty Bomb actually lets you unlock items for characters you don't even have access to yet! In Halo 5 I'm always opening packs and getting guns/vehicles I never use and my only option is to sell them back for a few more REQ points to buy another pack later.

I don't care how many Scout Warthogs you give me, I will never be caught dead in one in Halo 5! (because if I did ever use one, I would be dead 10 seconds out the gate)
This is a video game for crying out loud! I understand with a real life booster pack the cards were pre-packaged together long before I laid hands on them, but with in-game packs there is so much room for making this system better! What I want to know is, why none of these games have done anything to really improve the booster pack experience?

Hearthstone the best of the bunch in that at least they let you break cards down for material to make the cards you actually want. Compared to in real life where I have to sell crappy Magic cards on ebay at 25 cents for four cards.

Why can't I mark certain cards I want to get less of in a pack? Why not remove the chance of me getting a duplicate? How about giving me the option to re-open a pack, scrubbing the contents and trying again at the sacrifice of 1 less card or credits? Or the option to pay some credits to beef up a pack before I open it, raising the chance of me getting a rarer item? How about having the packs more likely to drop items for characters I use more?

We're basically already gambling here, so let's push it further! Give me themed packs, give me ways to increase my odds, give me the feeling of some control of the outcome, even if it's just in my head!

I get that the companies are just trying to move virtual items, cash in on micro-transactions, and generally make money. But there must be something that can be added to spice up this mechanic. Most of them have colorful lights and explosions, special animations and sounds that play up the reveal upon opening a pack. Why not take it a step further and add another layer of gamification here? At the very least, don't leave me raging at my screen because I've opened yet another pack with lackluster to down right terrible draws!

Keep the fun rolling, make opening in game packs great every time!