Monday, January 15, 2018

Photo Issue #3, Page 4

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When I went hunting for the grave of Detective Whit, I was hoping to find just a gravestone with his name on it. As I found out wandering multiple cemeteries, Whit is not a common surname. I think I found a single gravestone with the name Whit, and it was not usable. So instead, I found this gravestone, for someone with the last name of Smith.

Before this shot, I was only using Gimp to put in the text. When I was in college, I did take a class where we spent a week on Photoshop, and since then I hadn't really used photo-editing software. This was the first photo that I feel involved some extensive editing. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017: A year in review

  1. So not only did the Patriarchy not get overthrown, but Trump is president… so yeah, this year was a disaster.

    The biggest negative of 2017 for me personally was the knee injury. It started in 2016, just a note in my year in review. It slowed my running down, but at the time I thought it was temporary. It came back though. Slowly it progressed. I stopped running. Then I stopped hiking. Then I stopped hanging out with people after work unless I knew I’d be sitting down. Then I stopped hanging out with friends, entirely, because I needed to be icing it constantly. The pain progressed slowly, and like a frog in a pot of water, I didn’t process how bad it was getting. It wasn’t until I was reading a pain chart before I realized that my pain was not a 4, but at least an 8. I went on disability for a month.

    The pain from the injury was bad enough, but it had some pretty lasting effects. Emotionally, I fell into a pretty bad depression. I lost one of my major loves in running, which definitely helps fight off depression. It got so bad that I wouldn’t really leave the house. I do wish I could’ve had the strength to go to rallies and protests, but the idea of walking to the restroom in my own house caused me pain, let alone marching through Portland against the injustices of the world. Seeing my friends became an excruciatingly painful task to the point I wasn’t even doing that. Sleep was difficult as if I lay down, or tossed and turned in the night, shocks of pain would keep me up. For awhile there, the only things I did for fun was drink, heavily, by myself, and play video games. While both can be fun in moderation, I’d recommend neither as ways to combat your way out of depression. I was not mentally in a good place.

    Another struggle was financial. The year started with perhaps some poor financial choices, but nothing I wouldn’t recover from by tightening the belt for a month or two. Then add in a bunch of medical bills, followed by a month of making only a portion of what I normally make, I went into December of 2017 with a fraction of the money I had at the beginning of the year. Obviously, this caused stress, and lots of it… but it also drastically hurt one of my dreams. I had been saving up the last few years to get a professional editor for my book. I was almost there when medical bills hit me… and now that possibility is long gone. I am happy that I did have any savings to start the year off with, because without that I wouldn’t have been able to pay rent...and I don’t know what would have occurred then.

    Four of my resolutions were greatly hindered by this injury While I searched for an agent for my book, the pain was so intense that I couldn’t properly focus on any task at all, let alone that task. The massive financial burden prevented me from hiring an editor. My desire to focus on my physical health by returning to running was just thrown out. I did try to focus on my upper body, but when you can’t put any pressure on one of your legs, it makes it hard to do too many exercises. I don’t feel like I lost connection with too many of my friends, and I did an alright job keeping up with them considering the pain I was in, but I still didn’t see my friends nearly as much as I wanted. I’ve apologized to a lot of friends for repeatedly cancelling plans on them. I also wasn’t as much of a force of good in the world as I wanted to be. While I got into my fair share of internet arguments, and did what I could to shut down hate on the internet… I regret not being able to stand alongside allies, letting my voice ring beside those who have significantly less privilege than me. I feel heartbroken that a mere knee-injury prevented me from being out there, but I know that’s just toxic-masculinity telling me I should be able to ignore the pain.

    I did move into a new place with Lorena. This place does feel like home, and we plan on staying here for awhile. That is the only resolution for the year I feel I upheld. Even that had some hardships. For one it, it was the “unwise” financial decision I made. We broke contract with her current place to move here, which started the year with me behind on where I wanted to be. Beyond that though, I am happy with my living situations.

    This year felt like a waste of time. The first half of the year was spent with me slowly getting worse and worse until I finally broke. After I broke, I started to recover… slowly. It took me awhile to realize that despite I might no longer be in severe pain at all times, that I was still acting like it, and was still avoiding social situations because of my fear of the pain returning. Come October, I was feeling alright, but due to reasons I’ve only confided in to close individuals, October quickly became an awful month. By the time I was feeling recovered, both mentally and somewhat physically, to hang out, it was mid-November… which meant peak season for work. Which meant I started working 60 hrs + a week, and was now too tired to see others outside of work.

    I wish I could have a list of good things that occurred. I am happy with the place Lorena and I live at. We are renewing a year long contract as we plan to live here for another year. After I returned to work from disability, my position changed. I went from running a load line, which is what broke me, to getting the title of “Retention.” Since I’ve become retention, my interest in my job has greatly improved. Beyond that though, I’ve been highly successful, and have gained the praise of my coworkers and bosses.

    For 2018, my goals will be similar as 2017.

    1. I want to recover. I’d love to be able to run, but I’d settle with not being afraid of walking. Not feeling a sense of dread when I had to climb any number of stairs. Some of that is mental, but a lot of it will be a physical recovery.
    2. Continue to search for an agent for my book. I still think I have something good here. I still think it needs a little work here and there. Those who have read it have given me amazingly positive feedback, and the suggested changes vary. I’d like to collaborate with an agent on what to focus on to make it commercially viable.
    3. As always, it is important to have a good set of friends. While I feel I still have that, I always want to work on this. I always want improve my bonds. Trump is still president, and things are going to continue to get worse.
    4. Continue to improve on the ways I am a positive ally. Like I just said, Trump is still president, the GoP is still in control of the government, things are going to get worse. I am a straight, cis, white male, while things might hurt for me some, they are going to hurt for a lot of other people a lot more. I want to continue to be there for my fellow humans, and continue to improve my abilities to help.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Photo Issue #3, Page 3

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Lighting is important, kids. This photo has some things out of focus because I shot this during normal bar hours. I knew there wouldn't be anyone there, had permission, started taking shots (of both varieties). This was the best of them. I don't think it's bad, but part of me wishes I could come back during off hours, have them turn on all the lights, and I could go from there. Unfortunately, I don't believe I could get that type of access anymore. Also, I'm never fully pleased with any of my photos. I always better.

Also, the words are used to censor what bar this is 3 times in this photo.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Photo Issue #3, Page 2

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When I initially switched from a drawn comic to a photo comic, I kept in a lot of the drawn art for characters throughout the pages. Such as, originally I used Lisa Flowers drawn face from issue #2 in a future page, and you'll see that it is now a real person with a blurred out face.

The same is not true of Dameon Strykes. For him, I kept his drawn face. As talked about earlier, I don't want an actor who I have to rely on for his photos. Also though, I think using a drawn or artistic representation of Dameon separates him from the other characters. It makes him stand out as one of the few characters who has a face, but it's not of the physical world.

As for the report, I did some research and I believe this isn't a bad representation of what a report should look like. Feel free to call me out on it. This report also has a bunch of information that is important for background information, but not necessarily important for the story.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Photo Issue #3, Page 1

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Ironically, while multiple establishments didn't let me take pictures of the signs for the bathrooms, many others were 100% okay with my taking pictures of their actual bathrooms.

Unfortunately, taking pictures inside a stall is actually really difficult. Bathrooms have really bad lighting,  they are very cramped so getting the right angle / shot is infuriating, and while the business may have given me permission, it doesn't stop people from coming in and asking me what I'm doing. Despite now having a plethora of local bar bathrooms, I used none of them. This picture is from a place I lived. It gave me the advantage of changing the lighting as needed, as well as controlling the graffiti. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Photo Issue #3, Cover Page

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And we're back on.

I originally wanted a unisex bathroom sign, but they were harder to find than I thought they'd be. Well, I found a few, and when I asked the store if I could take a picture, they thought I was weird. This photo actually was taken the night before it was supposed to be released. I just said fuck it, went to a local grocery store, didn't ask, snapped the shot, and walked out. Considering what happens next page, I thought this was fitting.

I am not oblivious, and I do not condemn the stores who did not give me permission. Having an unknown male hang around your bathrooms with a camera taking pictures does seem odd. I made sure when I went in that there were almost no customers in the store, and that I was quick with it. I didn't want anyone feeling uncomfortable.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Photo Issue #2, Page 16

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And so the last page of issue #2 is here.  The name "Dameon Strykes" is finally given.
As this is the of an issue, I'll be taking a month off to make sure all the new pages are ready to go. 

We'll return back to issue #3. Issue #3 had been previously released as a photo comic already, but I've made some minor changes throughout as well as some major changes on a few pages. My audience has also greatly grown since the original release of issue #3, so we'll be releasing it again much like we did this one with a page a week.