Recent happy moments…

Because the world is filled with all too much negativity, I figured now was a good time to post about good things. And I would like to hope that I will do this every so often online, because gosh people sometimes need a ray of sunshine to brighten their days, online or otherwise!

-Holding my little nephew. He's so cute, so small and warm. Sure, he cries and poops and is a baby like many others, but he's the only baby nephew I have and I really do find holding him quite peaceful.

-Taking a walk in the sunshine (however brief this sunshine might be).

-Playing Cards Against Humanity with folks (even if the game is short, it's fun to get SOME gaming in!).

-Waking up somewhat refreshed from a good dream!

-Giving my brother his (belated) birthday present and watching him enjoy it!

-Seeing my nephew (the oldest one) acting like a good big brother to his little baby brother.

-Eating delicious food that I've made myself (recent kitchen adventures include some cracker/cheese/pepper jelly combos, a butter chicken stew, and some other simple delights).

-Seeing and catching up with folks I hadn't seen in far too long.

-Running into friends unexpectedly for a chat.

-Smiling at a little bit of joy or positivity on the internet!

When you haven't done something for a while…

… it becomes remarkably satisfying to remember how to do said thing (and no, I'm not about to talk about bicycle riding. At this stage I kind of doubt that I'll ride my bike until after I get back from my next trip and/or the one after, but hopefully soon!). Today's small victory was doing a very shabby French braid with my long hair (yep it's long again if you hadn't already noticed). I'm not really sure what I want to do with my hair at the moment… I know that it needs a trim as it's been well over a year since my last haircut (which, by the way, is partially my being too lazy and also just WAY too long to go without a haircut by the way). Still, I like being able to do stuff with my hair so there's that. And it's summer-like outside these days so that's a good excuse to tie my hair up or let it air dry nicely.

The downside of said French braid hair adventure is that I realized just how painful my arms were being at the time. It's easy enough to ignore them when they're at rest or even in a neutral position but when they're being THAT uncomfortable while trying to do something that takes a certain degree of dexterity, it's rather disconcerting. I really truly look forward to a time when my arms aren't a liability again. Someday I'll get some medical answers, I hope, but in the meantime I'm going to go on living my life and trying not to let them get in my way of being productive and having a good time.

On crowdfunding and a few projects that have really captured my imagination lately…

… to think it's been a little over a year since I first got involved with a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter. And I've been mainly pretty happy with the experience. Last year I dipped my feet in so to speak, putting my money behind board games for the most part, and while I do enjoy most of the games I've received (at least the ones I've played), I'm currently more excited about it being a good platform for other artistic projects including some of my more favorite creators and also some comparative unknowns whose art (whether in the form of graphic novels, prose, music, video content, technology or even food, yes food) inspires me whether for aesthetic or practical purposes. In the process I've read a lot, watched a fair number of train-wreck like introduction videos and chosen to stop supporting campaigns mid-campaign because of actions that have frustrated or stymied me. I've seen some really successful communications, stretch goal, and reward options and I've been really impressed (or not) by the products that I've received. A few personal favorites include: Theatre is Evil (an album by Amanda Palmer), Concrete Mode (a line of items made from used concrete bags), a skirt from the creators of Shorts Bus (though they ceased replying to my queries about a second skirt), Johnny Wander (webcomics collections), Hand Stylus (a great stylus), Wrong Chemistry (a board game), The Girl Who Would Be King (a great novel)…. the list goes on and on…

As might be expected, I've become a lot more selective in what I'm willing to fund as time has gone on (and also certain products fill certain needs which then no longer need filling). Some projects I've supported at the stage where the success of their campaign is already certain, while others I've supported from nearly the start. Some projects run into horrible delays in shipping (the worst currently is a project that was supposed to ship in November but ran into unfortunate quality issues), whereas others meet their deadlines in a remarkably short time, particularly considering the fact that I'm in Canada, and not where most projects are located no matter what funding platform they are listed upon. A great example of speed is Polterguys Vol. 1. which was received merely weeks (not even a month!) after the project successfully funded.

I'm currently supporting three projects: one on IndieGoGo (for a comics anthology which features at least one of my more favorite artists, Waterlogged — it hasn't met its goal yet though it is a flexible funding campaign, I do recommend checking it out!), and two on Kickstarter. The board game I'm currently supporting on Kickstarter at the moment has already met its funding goal so I'm not worried about it. That said the film project I'm currently supporting is the project that I'm the most enthusiastic about.

Blood Kiss, the film project that I'm really the very most excited about, is a vampire movie. But don't let that turn you away, these aren't sparkly vampires, instead this is a Film Noir (!!!) vampire movie set in the 1940s. And it stars Amber Benson whom you may remember from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yes this movie is about a different kind of vampire, not quite this one either!)… but what gets me even more enthusiastic about this film is that Neil Gaiman has agreed to star in it as well! Yes, THAT Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman comics, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, American Gods etc. Husband of Amanda Palmer (whose Kickstarter I supported earlier), and twitter sensation, who has acted as himself in The Simpsons, in Arthur, in The Guild… (but he's actually acting as a different character in this film… after all in the 1940s even Neil Gaiman wasn't the star he is now, even if this is a vampire movie….). Yeah, that Neil Gaiman.

But if that were not enough, this is a project of an excellent writer, Michael Reaves, whose story is compelling enough on its own (watch the Kickstarter video at http://www.PledgeBloodKiss.com), but he's written episodes for many well known animated and live action TV shows, received awards for his writing and much much more besides. I think that the project is pretty darn compelling and am really excited about it, but it's not just because of the cast or the writer, or the theme, oh no, I'm excited because of the fact that there's work going on on a graphic novel at the very same time. I know that this graphic novel will be made available somehow in the coming months and years (and I already really love the art for the movie promotion poster) but Tom Mandrake's artwork has a huge amount of appeal. It may not be my traditional style of comics artwork (but do I really have a graphic novel or comics style preference? If it's good enough and the story is compelling enough and it fits together well, that's not the issue), but I think it works for this style of a film/graphic novel collaboration. I really want to see this Kickstarter succeed enough that they meet their stretch goal of $200,000 which'll mean that those who support at $100+ will receive the graphic novel. That said, the stretch goals are structured such that the film will become THAT MUCH better with every new stretch goal met. They have yet to meet the initial project goal at this stage, but I really do wish them great success with this project.

This may be the most I've written about a CURRENT Kickstarter in all the time I've supported crowdfunded projects, but I feel pretty strongly that this film has what it takes to be worth my support.

So called thesis hell … aka. one of many reasons I haven't been posting here recently

I'm finally done the research phase of my thesis. Which means that now I'm beginning the writing phase (well the writing phase post the thesis proposal from WAY back) and that means I'm back in a stage of procrastination (though I seem to be getting better at that, thanks in part to my gamification strategy and also to the fact that my health is better and the weather is better and I'm not spending the month of May traveling every weekend (just the months of April and June apparently).

So apparently I'm writing this little blog update in a sort of procrastination strategy/method of getting things done: things in this sense mean thinking about things and trying to get solidified some writing strategies and deadlines. I've outlined a bunch of things both in life (eg. which months are going to be most expensive [June due to travel and September due to tuition], and which tasks I need to focus on when [both thesis and non thesis related]). I'm still trying to be somewhat superhuman when it comes to getting things done, partially as I want my cake and I want to eat it too so to speak, and I know that I need those little social interactions that make me go to be happy.

I also apparently need my limbs to be behaving. They haven't been horribly bad lately but my arms have been falling asleep and/or causing me pain/numbness/soreness on occasion. Not self-limiting as much as they have been but it's still annoying. I've been a bit of a klutz (hitting my funny bone, making a mess in the kitchen, etc.) but I've also been eating somewhat better and trying to drink more fluids. I'm still struggling to get/stay caught up on the things I had neglected during my travel and conference-filled April… but I'm definitely happy with where things are and where they're going.