Calming Down

Got some good anti-nausea meds from the hospital; put them to use yesterday, and Cassidy is doing a lot better. Today she’s perked up and stompin’ around like usual again. An answer to prayer.

My SMART goal about making more time to be creative is going nicely so far. I don’t do something every single day but that wasn’t the point; it was to make sure that, when I can, I’m taking time to try things. So far my favourite activities have been updating my 200-in-1 tumblr and, surprising myself, doing a few little still-life drawings in the notebook I bought. My art isn’t perfectly lifelike because that isn’t my style, but I’ve found I enjoy slowing down, studying something, and picking certain details that make it recognizably the Thing I’m Drawing. I suppose it’s a similar feeling for people who don’t like to draw but enjoy adult colouring books; it’s calming to feel like you’re working meticulously on something small and precise, I guess.

My counselor also advised that, during my Year of Creativity, to write everything down. All the ideas, even if I wasn’t anywhere close to actually doing something with them. Not a bad suggestion either.

Thing I Saw: snowdrifts outside our office windows, sculpted by the wind and slightly different every day.

Thing I Learned: A child’s barf is never fun to deal with, but when that barf combines red juice and noodles from soup it is uniquely horrible. Like she’s full of annelids *shudder*

I’m Grateful For: Better health for Cassidy and better sleep / tension levels for us ūüôā

Our futon experience in Japan was one of the most unexpectedly comfy sleeps on our whole trip. Also relevant because it’s still hideously cold outside

Unexpected

Comic Idea: Cassidy is sick, and starts to make pre-barf noises while I’m carrying her, but there’s nothing handy to contain the barf. So the reader sees from my perspective where everything is covered with mathematics and trajectory plottings while I try to decide on the Least Bad surface to barf on.

Yes, our darling daughter has been dropping voms for a few days been pretty lethargic a lot of the time as a result. She’s burned through a lot of episodes of her favourite shows. I sympathize because, over the weekend, I had (probably) the same bug — nasty stomach thing where you get to decide in a panicked moment which end should aim at the toilet bowl first. (Reader, I always chose correctly, but it was touch-and-go at times)

She’s been slowly perking up but is still suffering its effects and so Lori and her are making a quick trip to the doctor this afternoon. Hopefully good outcomes there.

Currently it’s -32 Celcius (that’s -25.6 F donchano) and very windy, so it feels Extremely Cold. It’s not really fun to even think about being outside, but I think it is the perfect day to repost the graphic novel I wrote as a child, “IT WAS SO COLD THAT…” which I originally rediscovered and redrew for my site’s ninth birthday. Please enjoy!

Thing I Saw: This, lots of times:

Thing I Learned:¬†Um so there are at least two songs on the new Backstreet Boys album that I, myself, unironically enjoy? And now I have it saved on my Spotify to eventually listen to the whole thing?? So I guess I’m learning about myself and my musical tastes in the year 2019???

I’m¬†Grateful¬†For: A well-insulated home and workplace!

Oh no and now I’m sharing this with other people, who am I and what is happening

Economical

Comic idea: I see a row of tents lined up to the building being constructed near my house. I head over and ask if they’re waiting for a new Apple store or something. They say no, it’s a new daycare. You gotta get in early. Maybe somebody in the line is single, I dunno.

This week my creative times have been put to use taking pictures and writing on my new tumblr, which is dedicated to cataloging the bizarre games of a small arcade machine that a friend gave me. At first I hunted high and low for a small, affordable tripod solution so that I could record the screen directly from my phone. I didn’t want to buy something expensive because I didn’t know how long I would actually stick with the project. My solution came from raiding a “Stikbot” set (stop-motion animation toys for kids) that was on clearance for $7, which included an extremely basic but functional tripod.

I filmed my first game and immediately realized I had no interest in editing said footage, so, still photos it shall be! Glad I didn’t spend more money ūüôā

Anyway, I may not work on it every day, but the amount of time that making a post takes has so far fit nicely with my weekly SMART goal discussed previously.

Thing I Saw:¬†My daughter, who is big on climbing things lately, sitting atop her little art table and yelling “HELP” at passers-by because she thinks she’s stuck now. We ignore her for a little while because we’ve specifically asked her not to climb on tables, and we feel it’s useful for her to reflect on how this situation came to be. On the other hand, she’s 2, so probably not doing a lot of reflection.

Thing¬†I Learned: I’m on a second (or fourth maybe?) major playthrough of Skyrim, and until this character I’ve never done the Aetherforge quest chain. In it, you discover that the famous author of books on a specialized dwarven forging technique (lost to time) is actually a fraud who murdered his research partner to take their findings for himself. After adventuring about with the ghost of his partner, you find the forge yourself and make a nice piece of equipment with it. But! Well after this quest is over you can randomly run into the author and his guards, who recognizes the Aetherforged gear, flips out, and tries to kill you. And in my case was successful because of powerful magics. So I ran away :3

I’m¬†Grateful¬†For: Family in my life.

Mom passed two years ago today, and this was a favourite of hers.

Way Up

What I’ve been finding lately is that I don’t look up very much. Inside, outside, wherever. As soon as I’m waiting for something or lost in thought I tend to hunch over and look down, but there are interesting things above you that are worth looking at, if only to see something new about your environment and help re-ground yourself in the moment you’re in. Rather than, say, arguing with people in your head while staring at the floor tiles ūüôā

I have started and restarted this thought several times but I am grateful for the capacity to listen, and learn, and grow, and change because for a while there I was totally convinced I was going to be another Bigoted Grandpa someday. I thought that there were experiences of living on this planet that were just So Different from my own narrow frame of reference that I would be unable to properly empathize and would just have to throw up my hands in ignorance. And yeah, even with the Power of Learning I am not going to say and do the right thing all the time, which is why it’s so important to keep trying and to listen when people from those other frames of reference challenge me.

Thing I Saw: The Fellowship of the Ring, non-extended cut, for the first time in years. It really holds up, and I can’t say I hugely missed the extended scenes either. Can’t really remember what most of them were, tbh

Thing I Learned: “Madeleines” are little sponge-cake treats that go great with a cup of coffee. I know this because I took a gamble and bought a big thing of them at Costco.

I’m Grateful For: See above!

Then & Now

A lot of folks seem to be doing the #10yearchallenge wherein you post yourself from 2009 and 2019. I became curious so I hunted through my archives and actually…didn’t find a lot that weren’t really dark, but I did get this one:

September 27th, 2009. At a friend’s cabin near Lac du Bonnet. That is not my hat.

Let’s compare and contrast with:

January 15th. At home. Lookin’ very serious because I’m reading something from another screen.
Fun fact: This selfie was actually taken because I learned my phone will read hand gestures and take a picture, which is wild.

I don’t have a lot to say other than the 2019 guy looks like he’s Seen Some Things, and cameras in phones have come a long way in 10 years. 2009 guy will have been feeling very twitchy at that time — September — because for the first time in years he wasn’t heading “back to school” in some capacity. Earlier that year he’d completed his first year of practicum, still (thankfully) one of the most stressful times he’d ever experience, though not the only stressful time, either.

I believe that in a lot of ways, 2019 me is better off than 2009 me. So that’s good.

In other news I’m attempting to revive the “Recently Completed” things I used to write on my tumblr. This year my goal is to do stick with it and write short reflections for each game I complete. I know that I like to seek new experiences in games rather than complete what’s in front of me already, so doing these forces a small moment of reflection before just moving on. We’ll see if I hit my goal!

Thing I Saw Yesterday: A roomful of kids with their hands up, desperately trying to get my attention so they could say the thing they were thankful for. I lead music with a local kid’s church group once a month, and I cap things off with a fun song called “We Thank God” where I take suggestions for things to shoehorn into the lyrics. Some kids raise their hands well before we’ve finished a verse. It’s super sweet. And as I always remind them, “If we didn’t get to the thing you wanted to share, remember that you can just thank God whenever you want!”

Thing I Learned Yesterday: The Pokio creature in Super Mario Odyssey can do a special spin attack with its beak extended, if you shake the controller as much as Lori does when she’s trying to do something else lol

I’m Grateful For: A warm home on a cold, windy day.

Feels fitting for a post about looking back.

Chasing Miracles

Heading to session three of counselling this afternoon. I really like my counsellor, as I discovered last session that he strongly dislikes Donald Trump and enjoys “The Good Place”. The homework from last time was 1.)pick one of my “miracles” and make a SMART goal around it, and 2.)draw Marvin, the Low Self-Esteem creature.

The miracle I picked was that I want to have another creative project going. I miss aspects of making my comics, and as a creative person I like the idea of having something on the go. I was also making those “Nathan Plays” gameplay videos but I’m not feeling those at the moment either. So I want something new. But I realized: I’m not really prioritizing “creative time” at all these days. If I have a spare moment I often plop down on the couch to play a game. How am I supposed to get a project going if I’m not taking time to try anything, or just let my mind wander?

So in brief, the goal is to spend an hour a week either doing something creative or just taking time to doodle and let my mind wander. That’s less than 10 minutes a day. Of course if something is going well I can stay with it for longer than 10 minutes, that’s kind of the point too. I’m doing this throughout 2019 and we’ll see if anything exciting comes out as a result. If nothing else, I’ll know I at least gave myself time to create.

I drew Marvin in a new notebook (because I like buying new notebooks) as part of my ‘creative time’ last week. Maybe I’ll post the picture sometime.

Thing I Saw Recently: Lots of speedruns as part of AGDQ 2019, which at this writing are still being uploaded to their Youtube channel. Inspiring, entertaining, sometimes even heartwarming??

Thing I Learned Recently: I don’t want to do it all the time because it’s a lot of work, but I really enjoy making replacement videos when I can’t be at Sunday School to read the story for the kiddos.

I’m Grateful For: The space in my life to make something that’s mine.

Love the retrogame feel of this song.

Happy New Year!

Hello it is 2019! Good of you to join me.

My Christmas went really well. Relaxing times, family times, lil’ bit of tense/stressful/weird times. I felt my mother’s absence very keenly on the 26th, when we had our family gathering, and had quite a cry about it on the drive home. (Lori drove). Not unexpected at all. And I got some exciting gifts. So that’s fun.

Had my first counselling session last Thursday, a good chat with a very chill fellow named George. We talked for an hour and got to know each other, and I got some homework;

First thing is to decide on what I feel is my biggest problem, and give it a name. George explained that when we experience problems in life we tend to internalize them and make them part of the stories we believe about ourselves; that when we experience, say, a lot of anxiety, we think of ourselves as an “anxious person” when we think back on those times. Part of his strategy is to help folks picture those problems as being once again outside of them; that people are not the problem, the problem is the problem. So we’re supposed to visualize problems as an outside entity speaking to us, and then name that entity (preferably something that’s at least a little humorous for us).

I haven’t spoken to him about the results of my homework yet, but I’m thinking I’m going to name my low self-esteem “Marvin”, as in Marvin the Paranoid Android from Douglas Adams’ The¬†Hitchhiker’s¬†Guide¬†to¬†the¬†Galaxy. This fellow:

Homework part two was to list ten “miracles”. (Hopefully George is not upset that I’m passing along his counselling techniques for free??)

Imagine that you’ve had a normal evening and gone to bed. The next morning, as you look at yourself in the mirror, you know that overnight, something has changed within you. It’s a miracle! But, what happened? Caveat: the miracle must already be within your power to do. So for instance, “win the lottery” is not a good answer, but “I fully believe that I matter” is.

Last thing was to listen to an excerpt of the book The Mindful Way Through Depression which I did, and it was very interesting. One takeaway is once again that you are not the problem, and that expending a lot of metal energy trying to logic and reason your way out of a depressive episode is almost definitely just going to make it worse.

My next appointment’s Friday, and I’m actually really looking forward to it!

Thing I Saw Yesterday: This!

Thing I Learned Yesterday: The game Drawful 2 is brilliant and a lot of fun.

I’m Grateful For: The feeling of being able to start again. I believe 2019 is going to be better.