July 29, 2013

Welp, this absence wasn't planned

So I had planned to give you all an update on the staff and other things, but I had another interlude.

I pulled a muscle in my back. Hardcore. I've been up with various types of pain through the past few days (and still suffering from it). I'm working on trying to do some drawing, sewing, or sculpting work in the next couple of days, so I should have a new post for you mid-week.

I would also like to take this time to remind y'all:

Lift with the legs, not the back.

As an apology, have a cute chibi picture!

July 23, 2013

BEHOLD! Glorious Skintone Swatches! (And A Mini Tutorial)

So I had myself a bad arm day. What's a bad arm day you ask? Well it's when my tendonitis flares up a little and it makes it really hard to do things like grab and click using a mouse, and holding pencils and all sorts of other precise work.

I was determined to do something productive with my day even if I couldn't ink comic pages today. So I set out on a task to find out what kind of color combinations people use for coloring in people with Copic Markers.

I did a lot of searching and discovered that I learned the most from, believe it or not, scrapbooking tutorials. WEIRD, AMIRITE? Well, I came across this little page called "CopicOz". You can find it here: http://copicoz.blogspot.com.au/. They have all sorts of little tutorials and I look forward to reading through them.

However, I did come across some tutorials of their that had... EMPTY TEMPLATES. They have templates for hair and for... you guessed it, SKINTONES. So I printed some of those empty templates out, broke out all my "E" labeled markers (I think it's for "earth tones", but I use em for skin), and started going to town. A day later I have 4 pages of swatches to share with you, along with a short tutorial on how I shade skintones.

First of all, if you're coloring with copics and you have more than say, 6 of them, I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you guys to go and print out one of these with a laser printer:

You can find these at: http://www.copicmarker.com/resources

Preferably on SMOOTH CARDSTOCK. Chances are likely that you are coloring on bristol board of some kind - and it's best to get as close to the actual colors as you can. Markers will react differently on different paper. Once you have a handful of these things it'll get really confusing and you will waste time deciding what color works best. This at least eliminates some of the "what color do I need" and instead you spend all your time looking for the markers.

And if you didn't read the caption, the blank templates can be found at: http://www.copicmarker.com/resources



Anyway, onto the next part of this, my templates! I filled in 4 pages of skin tones, underneath each swatch is a listing of letters and numbers. These indicate the markers you are using, darkest shade to lightest (L to R).

Any numbers in parentheses (#) are shades added after the intial coloring (see tutorial below).

I used the same extra shading colors on each sheet to demonstrate what the same color does on varying skintones.

And without further ado... THE SWATCHES:

I color with copics in a very particular way. Namely, I am coloring darkest shade to lightest. So I will start with the deepest color and put that onto my figure/object/etc, and slowly work up to the lightest shade which I then cover the entire area with as a "glaze" which helps to blend all the colors together.

For the more visual, here's a reference!

So there you have it. You may now enjoy the fruits of my labor, without having to do as much of it yourself. I highly recommend making your own swatches though! It's quite educational!

Empty Templates can be found here: http://copicoz.blogspot.com/2013/05/copic-technique-journal-2-skin-swatches.html

July 22, 2013

The Power of Nature

I complain a lot that we don't get any weather where we're at. And usually that's pretty normal for me. For some reason storm systems will just get close, split, then reform around any location I am residing at. It's kind of frustrating for somebody who likes a good downpour/rainstorm occasionally.

Well, finally the other day we got some pretty hefty storms. And I'm not talking a gullywasher like we had a few weeks ago when we were grocery shopping and was almost caught in local flooding (and me without my camera UGH). It was a trees-go-sideways-rain-goes-sideways-everything-is-sideways kind of storm. I want to also say we had two of them in the same day - the first was maybe 10 minutes long, but there was one around midnight that just kept going on and on.

It was coincidentally fortunate that we also did not have our weekly tabletop gaming session that week, as we would have been driving through that mess.

Anyway, on Saturday, the day after the storm, Aris and I went for a walk because I needed walkies so we went through the local park that's about half a block away. We were surprised when we got there because a handful of trees suffered some damage (along with some of the baseball diamonds). The immense scale of these plants was amazing, so Sunday, we returned, and I took some pictures.

(As I'm going OMG DRAWING REFERENCES!! the entire time.)

The first of my "favorite" ones was this big tree that was near a baseball diamond. Tree literally snapped in half, fell over full force.

Bent that protective fence thing like it wasn't even there. It also made this cool tunnel (I wasn't gonna crawl in there though).

Probably my most favorite of the 4-5 trees we saw damaged was this one. I call him the Colossus. From the backside, this is what it looked like. The tree was cracked in half almost mathematically and went splut onto the ground.

What you can't tell from this picture is exactly how BIG this monster is. Driving by you'd be like "Oh that's a big tree," but then when you stand next to it, you're like "THAT'S AN EFFING HUGE TREE." You really don't think about the size of trees until you're next to it's remnants.

For the record I'm approximately 5'7" (67" for those counting) tall. And that's me next to the treetop that fell. And it's only HALF THE TREE. The other half was still standing. I understood what Wanderer felt like when looking down those giant colossi (but with a lot less fear since this one wasn't trying to, you know, kill me).

As we wandered further we found several VERY lucky houses, and it looks like the power outages was everywhere but where I was at. So one more prop to my weather luck! There was a block of houses that was taped off by the local power company, and trees had fallen on power lines, and snapped off the electrical line poles. One of the tops came off, and then with the force, another snapped at the base. The house it was near was LUCKY as the pole was just short enough that it didn't hit the house or any windows.

All in all, I don't wish for destruction, but these trees were pretty crazy. Made me appreciate the power of nature all that much more.

Okay, and it's back to drawing and creating for me. I'll have updates on the staff hopefully in a day or two (it's taking exceedingly longer than I had thought it would).

July 19, 2013

Some Days You Just Feel Like a Prop

In a flurry of being unable to draw, I somehow got the total motivation to make SOMETHING. I didn't care what, but I just wanted to make SOMETHING. And by motivation I mean a total and utter focus on everything that was NOT drawing.

So using mostly materials around the house (I had to go buy some wire and a roll of masking tape), I did this throughout the evening. I'm starting step two tomorrow. If this goes as well as I hope, I'll have fun pics for Monday or Tuesday of it done. :)

This is also a teaser for some fun upcoming stuff. BUT. I'll wait to tell you about that on MONDAY.

*laughs evilly *

*poses dramatically*

*swooshes cape and walks off*

July 16, 2013

A Casual Invitation to Discussion: Fan Art

Okay! Tryin' to keep things still casual here. I'm still getting the hang of this whole blogging thing - I know there are people who spend their entire blog talking about their personal lives and thoughts, and others who provide advice or tutorials. I'd like to have a smattering of everything if that makes sense? So if the posts seem a little haphazard, it's cause I'm still figuring out my Blogging Voice.

Anyway, I wanted to open up a chat discussion with y'all today about something that's been going around the artist alley boards, facebook, and what have you.

Fan Art

Now I'm going to preface this particular post with this addendum: This is my opinion. I'm not trying to sell you one way or the other, that's up for you to decide.

With that out of the way, it's time for some random babble/thoughts!

What is Fan Art?

I consider Fan Art to be artwork depicting an already created character or intellectual property (IP) drawn in your own unique style. You are depicting the character(s) in their own unique design/manner, in your own style of drawing.

It could be an homage to a favorite character, or a new spin on an old idea (example: adding a steampunk twist to Sailor Moon, drawing Art Noveau Avengers, etc. Note to self: draw art noveau avengers).

Often times, it's just a simple image of the character in a person's unique style.

What it should NOT do is recreate something that is already produced (2-D art, plushies, cards, etc). It should not look identical to the original artist's images (this is often called "tracing").

What Purpose Does it Serve?

I've been chatting things up with Aris about this often when we're driving in the car to and from conventions (when we're not hashing out story details). Our general consensus (which makes sense to me when it was brought up), is that fan art acts as practice for a fledgling artist (or even an experienced one).

It allows an artist to flex their muscles, try something new, or veg out and relax and not have to worry about coming up with some unique character or design for an image. It could be a type of "mind clearing" move - something you do when you have artist block.

Other purposes Fan Art fills is spreading love for a particular character, show, story, IP or otherwise. By drawing something you like, you'll find other people who like the same thing, and then you chat about it! You can make friends THROUGH your love of the same things.

It also helps you find fans of the obscure weird stuff you may like too. Thanks to the glory of the internet, sharing fan art has never been easier. Whether it's tumblr, facebook, or the ever-present deviant art, there are places you can post your artwork and others can browse it.

What type of Fan Art should be considered a "bad move"?

Any fan art is okay, really, the sticky part comes into play when you try to sell it. I try to draw the line (no pun intended) at the small, independent, webcomics and published comics out there. And I'm mainly talking webcomics - as they are very prolific these days and can have large followings.

They usually have a singular author who's trying to make it in the world doing their artwork. And as a webcomic artist myself, I'd feel kind of shifty doing fan art of something small and independent. (Yes, I am aware I have drawn some Homestuck Fan Art in the past for commission, but I've been tempted to say no more and more just for this reason).

This was actually a gift for a friend, so no money was exchanged.

I'd never want to draw Fan Art of Megatokyo, Namesake, or Penny Arcade. I'd just feel... like I was stealing. They're doing the same stuff I'm trying to do, and I know I'd be pissed if somebody drew pictures of my characters for cash, when they could have come to me to draw it for them instead.

The other side I waver on is personal style. I have a bit of an eye twitch when I see people draw a currently existing character and mimic the actual artwork style instead of using their own. I can't really pinpoint it, because sometimes I say it's bad (mimicking say, CLAMPs style) and other times I'm okay with it (Adventure Time's odd style).

The verdict on this is that I'm confused, and don't know my final feelings on it. I'll get back to you on that.

Parody homage though - that's entirely different and TOTALLY okay. (example: drawing Link in Adventure Time style is considered 'parody').

Why is that different than Fan Art of Larger IPs (Like Anime, Bigger Cartoons, Movies/Shows)?

It's different because those things I consider to be "Large Corporations". They have a crew of people working on them. They already make a TON of money. As long as you're not trying to pass off the artwork and concepts as your own, I doubt they'll have a reason to come after you.

...Now if you start only selling fan art of popular things, AND are making a ton of money off it, theeeeen you might get a little cease and desist. If you do, FOLLOW IT. Please.

It's a hazy zone, but those are my thoughts on it. I hardly bat an eye when I see Legend of Zelda fan art, but my eye will start twitching when I see Homestuck art prints for sale (if they are not officially sanctioned by the author).

Should Fan Art be allowed in Artist Alleys?

Part of my booth!

Honestly, I think it should. I have never ever liked the idea of a completely Fan Art free alley. It would be awesome if the convention art world existed where the Artist Alley was completely full of unique and original items. But this is not the case.

Do I think that Artist Alleys should be composed of ONLY Fan Art? NO. Definitely not.

I don't say this because I demand people draw Fan Art, no, in fact I say it for an entirely different reason:

Convention Patrons go to the Artist Alley to find artwork of
characters they cannot find in the Dealer Hall.

It's as simple as that. Business. The first and foremost thing convention attendees visit the Alley for is to find artwork of a beloved character that they can't find in the dealer's hall.They're looking for pictures, trinkets, plushies, scarves, hats, you name it. Something that strikes a cord with them and isn't something they can just buy anywhere. Another majority of them are looking for commissioned pictures or personalized items.

There are a minority of buyers out there who are seeking out original comics, pictures, plushies and more, but they are definitely a minority. However! If you DO have original artworks, these people WILL find you. The big problem is that they ARE a minority. It'd be awesome to change that around, but it'll take time and growing your audience.

Do I Do Fan Art?

I love chocobos so hardcore.

All those pictures you've seen here? I drew those. I draw Fan Art, but mostly for my booth. Sad, I know. I just spend so much time outside of conventions drawing my own things, I feel somewhat obligated to make some Fan Art items for my own booth.

I mainly use the Fan Art as a "hook" to get a patron to approach my booth. They'll notice the character, walk over, look at my displays and then go "wow I like your style!" They'll look at my original artworks, they'll read through my comics, and we'll chat here and there or I'll be working on a commission at the booth.

More often than not, they usually leave with an comic issue or two. Or ask for a commission.

Honestly, the Fan Art is more decor than anything. It's just sellable decor. :)

Is it okay to sell ONLY Fan Art?

I have a yes and no stance on this one. There are two types of artists I tend to see who vend at alleys:

1.) Artists who want to sell their art for a living and tell their own stories through their artwork

2.) People who do this for a hobby/fun/side profit.

I have no problem with either. Even the second one! I started this out as a side hobby thing, and I grew to LOVE doing it so much I wanted to make it my job.

Those who want to make this their living will slowly branch out and try to do their own original items. The hobbyist will do Fan Art because it sells. My only requirement for having a Fan Art Only booth is having a varying composition in your artwork, I beg of you. Do you draw everybody's faces the exact same but change the body? Please, don't do that. From the other artist's perspective it only makes you look like you're trying to fleece the attendees because you can.

Which that is a whole other rant.

But I digress!


The shortened version of this is that I find Fan Art okay to have at a booth from a business perspective, but will always encourage artists to do their own thing if they feel confident enough. Once you have enough prints, or objects of your own unique things, it's totally okay to branch out to less Fan Art.

I recommend, however, if you do NOT have a decent sized audience, or notice sales not making what you need - look around, see what's being done by those who ARE selling, and you very well might have to draw some Fan Art for your booth. It's not the end of the world. I promise.

Just draw something that YOU are a fan of (then it won't feel like you're slogging through a bog).

As a well-written comment on a Facebook group I'm a part of said:

"Fan Art feeds the body. Original Art feeds the soul."

July 12, 2013

"Heroes" of Cosplay


It's time we had a talk.

There's this show coming out on SyFy (or for those who remember the past: Sci-Fi network) sometime relatively soon called "Heroes Of Cosplay".

Heroes of Cosplay

Just what IS this mysteriously named show?

According to The Mary Sue, it will be "a 6-episode documentary series that will follow some of the biggest names in the cosplay community. The series will explore not just who these cosplayers are, but WHAT cosplay is and WHY they do it."

It's following 9 different "cosplayers" to all the different conventions they go to and compete at to show what the cosplaying world is "really like". (Take in mind all these cosplayers are of course naturally beautiful and female)  I am also exceedingly pissed that there are no contestants of other races or even MEN. I'll honestly be shocked if they ever show any crossplayers ever. (What? A female dressing in a male outfit?! HELL NO! THE GUYS WON'T WATCH THAT! *grumbles*)

I find it very hard to believe that this will be some sort of documentary, as I was informed about their scripting douchebaggery at Anime Matsuri - with pictures/evidence/witness testimony to prove it. They were trying to get drama where there was none (they were also trying to rig the competition hard core). They are trying to show how cosplay can be a functional "job" and that everybody is striving to be COSPLAY FAMOUSUUUU and that all it's about is spending crap tons of money, going to competitions, and being generally insufferable.

Which is a total lie. This is not what I cosplay for. This is not what other people cosplay for.

Yes. I have a handful of trophies, certificates and plaques hanging on my wall, but I don't necessarily care or tout them around (aside from the last sentence). I competed because I liked being surrounded by other creative people, and honestly, had I not been in a particular masquerade, I would not have made a good friend of mine who indirectly led me to the man I am marrying in a couple of months. Cosplay has opened my social world, and let me be creative and have a lot of fun. (I also honestly can't really compete in craftsmanship anymore as I don't have the capabilities of making huge ornate armor and whatever)

But this. This is NOT cosplay. This show looks like it will show us the "Toddlers and Tiaras" version of cosplay. This is NOT what we do. This is not what I do.

I am embarrassed that this show exists. I am going to be more embarrassed by friends and relatives and coworkers who will watch this and go "OH THAT'S WHAT YOU DO ON THOSE WEEKENDS" and then ask me about all the "drama" I deal with. And then I will have to spend weeks/months/holidays de-programming them to understand what I do.  AGAIN.

(Although I do feel really bad for the contestants - apparently it sounded like they were tired of all this crap too)

Long story short, DO NOT WATCH THIS SHOW. 

And please stop sending me links. I will only tell you how awful the show will be, and that I am refusing to watch it. I can say I've never been so glad to not have cable for once...

July 9, 2013

InConJunction 2013 Recap

Seems like all I'm posting lately are recaps on conventions! I guess it keeps my mind off of other things that I find much more stressful (perhaps I'll talk later about that, I have some other topics I want to cross sooner than later).

This past weekend I attended/vended at a show called InConJunction:


Basically InCon (as it shall be referred to from now on, because I'm a lazy typer), is a very small science fiction/fantasy convention that takes place in the little Marriott hotel that a lot of other small Indy conventions take place in. Which actually, for a small convention hotel, it's set up pretty decently.

Set up was open on Thursday (when we arrived), but there was also set up time from 9 am until 2 pm. This was due to nothing starting at the show until around 2 or 3 pm on Friday. I've had this happen at other small anime cons, so it wasn't new to me, but after having vended last at Anime Central, having to wait until 2 pm to have the doors "open" was rough. Thankfully I brought all my art supplies and kept myself busy.

Because it was a "SciFi/Fantasy" based convention, rather than Anime, we wanted to take a different view with the booth. Namely, we didn't bring some of our products, and wanted to set up stuff a little bit differently.

This show also gives you a pretty good idea what the rest of the dealer hall looked like. There were also a bunch of tables against both walls, and behind the "Creators Alley" (the front of the room), they had an Art Show which I didn't really participate in.

I was trying to not block the view of any of my neighbors which is why I set the wire frame on the side that I did. I'm tempted to have it be on the other side, if only to give myself more room to work on pictures. Also not shown here is we cut down some pvc piping so we can make an arch that goes from the wire frame to the other side of the table (you know, in case we need to hang more pictures).

Here's a close up view of my new "banner" that I made the day before I left! It's got a heavy lamination and has it's own stand behind it. I think it turned out pretty well, but maybe some day I'll have a taller one. :)

I think I'm finally running out of real estate on this thing...

Here was my smattering of prints and buttons I had available along with my menu of prices. I was trying something new this time, by putting little post-it notes on EVERY. SINGLE. PICTURE.

Why do I do this, you ask? Because people don't know the size a 5x7 picture is. It's one of my most frequent questions, along the side of "hey, did you draw all this?" (which really, at the end of the day just makes me laugh, and it gets harder and harder to NOT joke and say "NOPE. TOOK IT FROM THE INTERNETS"). 

I'm in the process of changing the text on the prints sign to (small - medium - large) because I keep getting asked, BUT, I think the post-its will help. I didn't have anybody get too confused here, but then again, there weren't many people. But I'll chat about that in a little bit.

So the room was EXTRAORDINARILY warm on Friday due to the loading dock being open ALL MORNING and it was like 80+ degrees out. Mix that with all the moving, and the people, and no breeze, and you get a day full of CON FUNK. It kinda felt like I was vending in the habitrail from ACEN with the smell sometimes.

One of the lovely things though, was that since the hall opened later (like 2 pm), they let us stay OPEN later until 8 pm. So I got a good 5 hours of selling- and got my first two commissions! 

So they day was kind of a wash. There were a handful of people now and again (and some of the tables didn't show up until closer to dinner time - WTF guys). I managed to actually sell a decent amount. And by "decent" I mean, "anything from my booth".

To be honest, I didn't have a lot of hope for the show. I was mainly going because it was inexpensive and I know a bunch of fun people in Indy (and they were letting me stay at their awesome house for free), so I really wanted an excuse to hang out (and making money was just a nice benefit).

Who were these lovely people? Well it was THESE lovely people:

"And Sewing is Half the Battle"

When I wasn't at my booth, I was gaming hanging out with the crew of "And Sewing is Half the Battle", which if you DON'T know who these people are, you SHOULD. They are friendly, creative, awesome cosplayers. They have a wonderful convention presence and their panels are very helpful (it's actually how I got started into more heavy duty cosplay work myself).

So, when you're done reading here, go check them out!

Needless to say, this convention was very VERY different than shows I am used to. This show felt like a very close-knit group of sci-fi nerds (honestly I didn't see much in the way of Fantasy at the show), who wanted an excuse to get together and just hang out at a hotel. Not that it's bad, it's just very different than what I'm used to. On the bright side, they did have a couple of gaming rooms, and tabletop RPGs like Paizo's PATHFINDER. Which, if you haven't played a table top RPG or have been burned in the past *coughDnD4cough*, you should try it. It's rekindled my love of gaming, along with actually liking to have stats and dice now (GASP IN SHOCK HERE).

Did I mention their writers have a great sense of humor?

We played a small module called "We Be Goblins" which, I have to say, I don't think I've laughed that much during a tabletop RPG in a LONG time. At one point we had to take a break because the game master was laughing so hard we couldn't roll dice. It was awesome.

ANYWAY, back to other observations at the convention...

"Geek" cons always have a weird feel to me, and one thing that stuck out to me (asides from things like con funk) were the DOGGIES. Oh jeez, there were so many little cute dogs that people brought to the hotel (I don't know how or why), but they were all very well behaved. And I got to go up and pet them ALL which made up for my boredom for parts of the show. They were very cute and loved to be pet.

Other weird thing I noticed is that at this con (I dunno about other Geek Cons) is that nobody was buying anything. And that's not just in the Creator's Alley. I hardly saw people in the dealer hall area. ON SATURDAY. It was the most bizarre thing. You could have shot a cannon through the hall during most of Saturday, which I'm used to being the busiest day of the con. Thankfully I had commissions to keep myself busy.

Oh, and costumes were on the down low, in fact, here's the only cosplay photo I took other than ASiHtB:

Creators Alley: This was an odd location of things. It was about 50% independent authors, and 50% artists. There were some pretty creative people there but I want to say only a third of the booths had a set up that was welcoming and "professional looking". And by professional looking, I mean items for sale displayed in a manner that makes it pleasant to look at and understand, and a demeanor that is welcoming and happy. I wanted to help people out, but it felt pretentious, so hopefully they'll just learn for the next show (I always takes notes when I go to new shows, especially if I see anything).

Sunday was okay, I made some extra sales (I guess people decided they needed to shop before they left), but I was highly irritated by the weird Paper Airplane fest that happened at the beginning of the morning. When we got there, I found out all the tables were being given pieces of paper to fold into paper airplanes and toss around. Me, thinking event-wise, thought that maybe we were going to have a "Creator's Contest" to see which one flew the furthest, but no. I was very wrong.

What happened was all the vendors down Creators Alley got out from behind their booth and were chucking paper airplanes at each other. And I was still finishing pictures people had commissioned. Two of my patrons were hit by paper airplanes, and I had to strongly resist the urge to yell at them like a cranky old lady. (honestly, was I the ONLY one working here?!) Thankfully they never hit me while I was coloring or there might have been some maiming going on.

We packed up and headed home as I had to finish up some murals for an art fair that's happening this weekend! I'll probably talk about it later this week.

So here's the TL;DR version:


It was nice to try a new venue. I wasn't swamped by people, and I made some people very happy by drawing pictures for them, which really, is what I love to do.

I also actually sold stuff, which looking at how the room worked, and other tables, I may have been one of the minority there. I made enough to at least cover the cost of my table, and if we include gas money, I only lost a total of $20.


WHERE WERE THE PATRONS?! I've never seen a show so desolate in it's own dealer hall. I can see why others have been despondent after vending there. I mean, I was lucky, some how my booth set up and style of artwork drew the eye of a lot of people but still... nobody was buying ANYTHING. And not in that "Oh I don't have any money" kind of way, but in the "I can't be bothered to shop" kind of way. And not just in the Creator's Alley - I mean the whole dealer hall.


Going to this convention made me really appreciate AnimeKids. It was nice being around older patrons more often than not, however, it felt like a lot of them didn't get out much. Didn't know how to interact with other people. I felt kind of sad for them, but scared at the same time because I didn't know how they would react to me. I'm kinda glad I was in crossplay on Saturday and didn't wear anything really girly...


I had a fun time. I networked with people, learned about a Gencon opportunity I'd like to take advantage of, but it might be dicey, (I'll keep you updated). I also learned about Anime Crossroads - remember that show I didn't get into and I wasn't sure why? Well I talked to some of the PR staff who came by my booth and heard my tale of confusion, and felt so bad I got a T-Shirt. :) So I'm trying again this year! I'll also keep you updated on my status on that too.

However, the best times I had were actually outside of the convention itself. The convention was rather lackluster for something that's been running longer than I've been alive. It was a cute cozy little con, but I don't think I'll be returning to it. Unless there's some major changes in scheduling and organization.

And last but not least, since you made it this far, here are the commissions I completed at the show:

July 1, 2013

Some days my life is like a comedy show. And it's not making me any less cranky!

One thing I've learned from talking with people (and reading a lot of articles, studies, etc) is that all of us are tired. More specifically in America here, we take being totally exhausted as a badge of honor. Which is ...not really good for us.

Why am I even starting with this? Well, I'm about to tell you why I'm tired, cranky, and not getting much work done today despite my best efforts.

And I've also discovered the moment you complain about being tired, they ask you "when did you wake up" but do NOT ask you "when did you fall asleep" and "how well did you sleep." So if you say something like "I was rudely awakened at 9 am, they will scoff at you and tell you you are a wuss and they are MUCH more tired than you because they got up at 5 am. What you don't get to mention is you didn't get to sleep until 2:30 or 3 am (or later) because you were working on things. 2nd shifters, 3rd shifters, we all get the shaft in this argument. You have my empathies!

So anyway! To the story:

I was up very late last night, and did the Shutocon sign up. I was up till about 2:30 am the night before, so I was already tired and groggy, and hoping to get any decent sleep. However, since we don't get immediate replies (and I am deeply fretting that my email didn't go through - despite it being totally illogical to think that), I went to bed a nervous wreck.

The past week, due to the nervousness of a new show coming up (and the wedding other miscellany things that are stressing me out) I've been waking up at about 5 - 6 am every morning, and then not being able to fall asleep for a good hour. If anything, I'm getting maybe 4 hours of actual sleep, with intermittent terrible sleep in-between. Or usually just restless sleep so I'm not very rested when I wake up.

SO. 8:00 am rolls around, and I start to hear a buzzing.

It's the lawnmowers again. AGAIN.

This continues for an hour. I'm not sure whether is the fact that maybe we DO have a large quantity of grass around the complex, or perhaps the lawn maintenance crew just doesn't understand EFFICIENCY. They'll go up and down and I'll have the Doppler effect of lawnmower noise, so just when I think it's moved onto another lawn, it comes back WITH A VENGEANCE.

This repeats until I decide to roll out of bed and fight tiredness. My eyes can't stay open, and I can't focus on a damn thing.

I poke around the internet in hopes that MAYBE they'll go away and I can get another hour nap to rejuvenate myself.

AH HA. I think to myself. They must be done!

So I curl up on the couch in all my blankets, fluffy pillow at the ready. I set my alarm to wake me up a little later. And just as my eyes close and I'm starting to head to dreamland...


They start again. And right outside my window.

At that point I got fed up and went to Starbucks for something containing Espresso.

And that, my friends is why I'm cranky today.

In the meantime, here's a picture of something I'm working on to try to stay awake with:

UPDATE: I got my alley confirmation email! So yay! I'm in!

However, now that I've sent my payment I have to wait for the email that'll let me choose my location. So for the time being, I'll still be here at the computer being tired for a little while...