I recently got back from what has got to be the worst vacation I've ever been on in my life. A few weeks ago, my mom convinced me to go with her down south to North Carolina to visit some relatives and go to the beach. I haven't been down there in about eight years so I thought it would be a great way to get far from my siblings for a while and maybe get some long overdue peace of mind.
Well, I was wrong.
It didn't take long at all for things to go wrong. First off, my mom gets lost driving down even though she goes to the same place almost every year. This isn't really all that big of a problem but her freaking out while driving because she drove into a bad-looking neighborhood isn't very fun to deal with. Over the next week, we'd spend time at the beach and visiting family though the visiting part really started to lose its luster after the first day. For a week, most of the time was spent either doing nothing or my family trying to retardedly organize a trip or some small event for the day. What would normally take maybe a half an hour to figure out and prepare took them most of the morning, just quibbling over dumb crap. Even something like going to the beach became a gargantuan chore at points. Due to the hen house that is my southern family fooling around, we actually missed a few big events since they don't know how to keep track of time. Being the only male present, what could a person whose sole task is to carry the belongings of everyone else because he is male know about getting stuff planned and done on time?
So as the days went on, I got sunburned repeatedly (not fun) and my mom became more interested in getting drunk while the rest of my family tried to find ways to leech off of her to get her to pay for their crap, like groceries on top of taking care of ourselves.
One day when we were leaving the beach, prompted to by a rain storm, I was out swimming in the ocean and looking for shells. So when we were going to leave, I go to gather my things. Strangely, my family was in a rush this time (this attitude would have been much better at so many other times) and already half-gathered some of my things, one of them being my glasses that I took off so I could go swimming. As I've mentioned in previous journals, it's hard for me to see without my glasses and I really do need them most of the time. I ask my family about it and they say they don't have it but have the other half of my stuff, the rest I gathered myself. I get the notion in my head to start looking on the ground and I eventually find my glasses! I find that someone picked them, dropped them, was too lazy to hear them hit the gravel and pick them up, step on them and scratch them to hell in the gravel, and still was too lazy to pick them up or simply didn't even care that they were my glasses. And thus the rest of my vacation, I was pretty much blind.
For the most part, my family really didn't care that I couldn't see for the duration of the vacation and I never found out who exactly trashed my glasses (though I do have a few guesses). I tried to find any sort of scratch repair that might help my glasses even a little bit but I couldn't find anything like that down south weirdly enough. I doubt it would have done much good anyway.
On top of that, there was the constant idiotic nagging from my relatives that really got on my nerves. Don't walk here, be asleep by this time, don't go outside, all that crap from day one to the day we left, it was like they still thought I was a little kid. Just like back at home, it was more often for me to be talked at rather than talked to. If I was trying to read or even do a little sketch, everyone had to just bother me and talk at me about random crap or stupid gossip. I already deal with that junk enough at home, seems I can't get any peace down south either.
During our stay, we also got hit by Hurricane Arthur. Yay! Like previously, my family wiffle-waffled and couldn't make up their minds on whether to stay close to the beach or leave despite all the warnings all over the news about it. At the last minute, they eventually decide maybe we should get away from the direct path of a Category 2 hurricane and we managed to out run the worst of it but only barely. Living in Ohio, I have never seen a storm as intimidating as that in my life nor heard the deafening crashes of the waves on the beach during a hurricane. I'm glad we don't have storms like that here!
Eventually we were going to be finally heading home. I could get back to art and actually doing stuff instead of sitting around most days doing almost nothing. But leave it to my mom in her drunken stupor to bust her convertible's back windshield. What was already a bad vacation became almost double in length of sitting around and doing mostly nothing. Most of that was because she was trying to get it repaired down there but it took a week for her to realize that it would take 2-3 weeks to get it repaired down there so she at long last made up her mind to go home.
And then there was the mess I came home too...
In being gone for several weeks, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb (my elder brothers) were left living at the house. Apparently a bad storm came through the area, one with lots of lightning and they were too lazy to turn off the electronics and unplug them and the house got hit with a power surge, frying most of it, including the phone. So instead of even considering about trying to get at least the phone line back up and running, they spend weeks bitching and complaining about it.
Luckily, I still had my laptop. Or that is, I did until a few days ago. My two-faced sister raised hell about wanting it back even though she gave it to me as a gift last year. It was riddled with viruses and all sorts of junk programs and spyware from her using file sharing to get music and crap so she ended up getting one of those iPads in addition to the computer she already had. It was almost a brick when she gave it to me but I got to fix it up and even give it a legitimate Windows OS on it since apparently that was pirated too from a previous time my sister nearly killed her laptop and got someone else to “fix it”. Needless to say, it was a mess.
So soon after getting home, my sister throws a tantrum and is demanding the laptop she gave me back but yet won't even say why. I figure it was probably because she and her husband were wanting to play World of Warcraft together. If that was case, she could have just asked to borrow it if I wasn't planning to use it for a few days but instead she pulls this shit waving receipts in my face.
I suppose she's probably still sore at me moving out one day when she was away. This is a whole other story but to sum it up, she was pretty much trying to use me to scam the welfare office into giving her food stamps but leaving me on the hook to do mindless, purposeless work at their office for it again (See previous journal about my first experience with that) that would otherwise be her responsibility. She probably wasn't too happy about people at the welfare office turning her down despite her efforts. She isn't financially hurting, she just can't afford food at the end of the month because she blows her money on frivolous stuff like a new $800 (phone and she's always buying new phones), expensive clothes that she doesn't really need, or spending it on electronic entertainment like Netflix, internet, cable, World of Warcraft subscriptions and other in-game items. All that stuff is more important than food, right? Why cut non-essential things out of the budget to afford essential things when you can just lie and cheat to get free handouts and be a slave to the government? Why bother even having a budget? So much for trying to help me get on my feet, I was just a pawn in a scam to her if not a scape goat for babysitting so she could go out and do whatever.
And so I'm living back at the farm house with the other half of my family. I just can't catch a break, I'm having no success in the job market (still keeping my fingers crossed, you never know when an opportunity might come knocking!) and have to deal with the antics of everyone.
The sorta good news that turned out to be coincidental in a way was that after the whole incident with my sister and the laptop (I did reluctantly give it back to her but I ain't going to forget the knife in my back and she can now enjoy her place in my mind next to my brothers) my mom bought a new laptop the next day. No, it wasn't a random making-amends-for-someone-else-to-set-the-universe-in-balance gift, it was for herself. Since the old computer got mostly fried and her taking offense to my sister's actions, she in her righteous fury bought herself a new laptop. Lol, I find this kinda funny and I don't blame her for wanting a replacement for herself but at least I'll have a little bit of internet access whenever she has a few days off and is at home. When I can afford to, maybe I'll get myself one sometime in the future. So much for my digital art tablet though, I now have nothing to really use it with. It will have a good coating of dust on it by the time I can get back to attempting to learn how to use digital art programs.
Oh, how could I forget, I still have one more story. There are now official squatters living at my house. Okay, it's actually my eldest brother and his girlfriend again but the thing is, they recently got a trailer to live at but they won't go live in it! Why? They say they can't afford to pay to activate electrical service to it even though they are constantly mooching of my mom and dad for drug money and of course they get it but it never lasts them long enough. My mom just pretends they aren't there by being on Facebook ALL DAY and my dad whines about not wanting to be the bad guy and telling them to go home. If you already read my previous journals, I doubt I need to say more on how much of disgusting, lazy slobs my eldest brother and his girlfriend but once again, I have to deal with the issue of rotting food being found in the room that they lock themselves away in. And my parents wonder why we have mice rampant in the house. I'm just surprised we don't have cockroaches yet.
Of course with my 30 year old brother and his 40 year old girlfriend squatting for handouts (not to mention his dog and she has young kids she doesn't keep track of, I don't know where they are while she's here getting high on my family's dime), I don't even have a place to sleep, not a spare bed in the house with all the people here.
Today was some sort of Sweet Corn festival in town and for once everyone was away. I've been doing some major cleaning but it's taken me six hours just in one room to see the floor. When my family got back, half the stuff no one would claim any knowledge on just who it belonged to. They cared so little for any of it that they didn't bother to even remember, not until I started figuring out what to toss did they get interested. Not in cleaning though or even picking up their stuff, just their stuff in general, retrieving it from a room is too much of a task. There was so many shoes, shirts, and junk! Once everyone came home, that pretty much ended my cleaning spree unfortunately with having too many folks getting under my feet and whining about me boxing up the stuff.
At least somehow I successfully convinced my dad to stop being stingy and start fixing the junkyard of cars that is our backyard. He's been running off every morning to work with my car and once again has for months dithered around not seeing about fixing all the other cars or the truck. I'd certainly like my old station wagon back but even for his sake, getting at least one other vehicle fixed would be in his best interest as well considering how often they tend to break down. Having only one working car can be pretty hazardous for keeping your employment should it eventually break down as well and as much as he drives on a daily basis, he racks up some major miles on it. I'm happy he's finally taking care of one problem that has been plaguing the family for a while, if only he'd get more of a backbone and do a little more, just say a little more is all that needs to be done. Even just saying “hey, clean up after yourselves” or “do your own laundry” would be grand and even better to follow through with action and draw the figurative line in the sand and kick the addicts out if they still trash the house. But taking care of business and making an effort to repair our junkyard is at least a start.
Hopefully I'll be able to scrounge up enough gas soon and make a trip out of here soon and stay a few days at 's place. I can't even afford gas most of the time and living far out in the country makes gas money necessary for just about any other task you want to get done. It would be so easy to solve all my problems if I could just simply and permanently move out but that costs a bunch of money that, without a job, I just don't have. I'll be glad just to get away for a while from my family.
You know, there was one big difference I noticed in the job market down south, (besides having jobs) is that people down there care more about what you know than who you know. Here, it's the other way around. What jobs there are tend to go exclusively to those more in the know and to be in the know, you got to be family (and my family has a horrible reputation as you can imagine and I always get lumped in with that by folks ever since elementary school). The area I live is populated with several gigantic family clans, Langs, Pottmeyers, Schillings, and Strahlers are some of the more notable ones in my particular neck of the woods but there are others. You pick out a person randomly and most likely they are a cousin or somehow otherwise related to one of the major clans around here. It was so different in terms of the job market down south, I had some old Israeli guy offering me a job at the shopping mall to help him with his kiosk! Holy crap, if only THAT would happen here back in Ohio. I wish I could have taken it.
Time for my favorite part of my journal! ART!
Alright, so before my vacation I posted up a lot of concept art for a new-ish project that me have been working on. I haven't really talked much about it and I think that would be best for a completely separate, life-crap free journal. To keep it short for now, it's project that we intend to try Kickstarter to help breath life into it since we're both broke and can't get employment to otherwise fund our efforts. The thing is, we probably won't do that until the scripting is at least finished and we have something physical to legitimately pitch. After being rewritten multiple times, the first (I'm going to ballpark this) 5% of it is pretty much hammered out and is looking great. It took a month to get a good start on it and my absence really slowed things down with collaboration but now with a good theme and sense of direction, work should speed up on it. Like I said, I'll go more in depth into that at a later date.
Now on the topic of concept art for the project, I hope to get to coloring some of the ones I did before I left on vacation and do plenty of more new ones. Many of the pieces I've done so far are trial designs for characters but also scenes of possible locations. Most of them have story that I will make some journal entries in the future diving into greater detail on them when more of the writing is done. I'm also trying out a few new art techniques in the process and so far it's worked well. Some characters I desperately need to do some concept art for to give a face to their names, it's gotten to the point where I now have too many character names to keep track of to remember without art but when it comes to developing a world, that's a good thing I guess.
Besides that project and the majority of my hopes resting on it to carry me out of this dump at some point in the future, there is something else I've been thinking about and I'd like to hear an honest opinion from any of you who still read my depressing journals chronicling the story of my life. Do you think I start a Patreon to help support myself and my art? (Learn more about it here if you haven't heard of it yet: www.patreon.com/ ) I've been hearing a lot about it, about artists, webcomic makers, musicians, and all sorts of people who make stuff of value who set up an account where people can pledge monthly money donations to support those whose work they enjoy. Do you think it would help my situation any, even if only in the slightest? It sucks having to drive away from my house to do art and that costs money I often don't have so even $10 would go a long way. I suppose my biggest question would be whether or not I do anything that could be considered of any value worth throwing a dollar or two at per month. Apart from the internet, I don't really have many people that I can legitimately hold a conversation on anything, especially art and so I don't have many people with even a relative interest to my art to help gauge my ability and what I create. So what do you guys honestly think? Would it be worth my time? Would it help me? Is my art and the continuation of it worth anyone else's time and a buck or two?
Of course the project that I've mentioned briefly above would eventually play into making something of value but on that I can only speculate for now until more of the writing is done.
If on the odd chance that anyone would be interested, I'm probably going to be cutting my commission prices to maybe raise some money for gas and some snacks so I can keep up over the next few months going to 's house to do some art. I normally do $10 for anything colored (except comics) and $5 for black and white but maybe I'll cut that down a few bucks for anyone interested.
Also, since I really need some cash, I'm selling some of my Magic: The Gathering cards. Yes, you heard me right. I need to raise some money so I got cards to sell if you're interested in that. $10 for a randomly assorted stack of 100 cards consisting of a 78 commons, 20 uncommons, and 2 rares, all held together in a hard plastic case. I got a few collector boxes I can fill up instead and I wouldn't mind doing a special deal and selling 500 cards in the box for $35 (a nice $15 discount). All are printed in English. The average price for a standard 15-card randomly assorted pack is about $4.20 so I hope this is a fairly decent deal. I'm not very keen with shipping unfortunately but I think I could ship most places in the continental US for at least $5 depending on total weight and location. I don't really know much about shipping prices as I don't normally even send letters to people so this is kinda new for me.
If cheap commissions or cards are up your alley, I'd greatly appreciate your support.
Expect to see some new art out of me next week, probably on Tuesday or Wednesday! I'll be discussing a few more projects in more detail in upcoming journals as more progress is made on them in the coming days.