kestrel

kestrel, walking
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2020-02-26 21:26:09 (UTC)

Goals Reflection: February 2020

[any identifying names and locations will be changed for protection and privacy.]

GOALS REFLECTION - February 2020

OFF-GRID HOMESTEAD
Another quiet month for this goal. Next month I intend to catch up with the developers (I guess that's what they're called?) about my visit in a couple months, letting them know I'll be driving to their site.

To pass the time on longer drives, I've been playing the permaculture audiobooks and podcasts I have on "random" so the recordings jump in an order I'm not used to. I have the happy idea that this will somehow help me retain the information presented. Obviously, only time will tell if this actually does anything useful, besides the novelty of it.

I've been slowly adapting myself to using non-toxic cleaners in my section of the house. I've been using vinegar to clean the toilet. When I ran out of mouthwash, I began rinsing with water and baking soda. I've been taking shorter showers and using less soap (which is castille soap anyway, but I'm experimenting with ways to use less chemicals without simultaneously becoming a blatant dirt-ball of a man).

GAME DESIGN
The Global Game Jam was entertaining this year. I wasn't able to stick around for the capstone presentation segment of the event, but I still had a great time making a goofy game this year. It uses some interesting visual effects and has a retro-style aesthetic that I personally enjoy. I also met another solo developer who completed a technically-impressive project that I think he'll continue with to make a viable product.

He and I have been trading emails back and forth about collaborating on an augmented-reality/"AR" project. Over the weekend he and I discussed the Glowforge, and since then he's been interested in using platforms made with the Glowforge in conjunction with his AR projects. You apparently need to use a physical image or object to "calibrate" the AR visuals, and that's where I come in. I will likely be making some platforms for him in the near future. I'm not certain if he expects to receive them for no charge. Glowforge materials are expensive.

I attended a designer's meeting earlier this month, and had a grand time as a tester. I did not bring any of my own projects to the meeting, as I've been focusing so much on software and the Glowforge that there was no spare time for tabletop game stuff. This also resulted in me missing the deadline for the roll n' write competition I'd considered. This is a missed opportunity, and perhaps I'm masking my anxiety with the excuse that "I just didn't have enough time" to finish it. Well, no use beating myself up about it. But the game ought to go out to the public for real sometime, eventually.

At dinner with a friend tonight, I admitted that I pretty much gave up on my "dream of someday being a published game designer." I make games all the time - even games I make for the day job are well-done - but when it comes to approaching publishers, I've always dragged my feet. Again, this is likely a fear or anxiety of putting my works out there, which I mask by saying I don't have the time to devote to it.

I wonder if I would have better results if I somehow paid myself - either financially, like depositing cash in a savings account that I couldn't touch, for example - or treated myself to some significant reward upon completing a project. I suppose if I spent more than five minutes considering this I could come up with a number of worthwhile incentive plans. I think that's what it'll take for me to actually submit games to publishers again. This would push me to come up with an excellent project, then shop it around. I'd be incentivized not just by the cash waiting for me in the bank (or whatever form the incentive takes), but also with the feelings of pride I have in a completed, quality prototype game.

INCREASED INCOME
Speaking of the Glowforge, I did my first-ever paid gig with it. :)

I made a batch of three dozen wooden keepsakes for my day job office, and these were given to volunteers at an appreciation event. Word from my office's Business Director is that they were very well-received. Whether this turns into additional business at this point is anyone's guess. I'm in the midst of heading-up the current training, but I'll have a week's break until the next training begins. Although I'm the head trainer for that, there should be time in the evenings for me to make more stuff.

I've also shopped my laser-cutting potential round to my fellow game designers, with the hopes that I'll be collaborating with them on projects here and there. I have a number of different ideas of what I can do with and for them, but it just takes time to learn the vector-drawing software, and then materials to fabricate the finished parts. My learning curve right now is substantial, but I can definitely show something for the learning and experimenting I've done.

In addition to Glowforge stuff, I decided to conduct a small experiment with my video games. For context, I have them posted at a video game "aggregator website" with a bunch of other video game makers: some professional, but many who are beginners or novices, just like me. A few days before my birthday, I announced that I'd increase the price of all my video games to US$2. Additional rewards would be provided for those who contributed more cash (like a custom video game, or a set of Glowforge-engraved coasters). I posted news of this on the video game community site where I participate, at the online marketplace, and on Facebook.

As it turns out, the event summoned up US$38 in 24 hours. I am pleased with this, considering many developers receive nothing at all, ever, or smaller amounts over longer periods of time. Like with tabletop games, there's just such a glut of games out there - some paid, but much of it free - that it's virtually impossible for someone in my league to make a considerable money off their own games, let alone make a living.

I themed this silly event after the Leap Year, so I won't have another sale until four years from now. :)

FAMILY TIME & FRIENDS
Family time was pleasant this month. It was my birthday, so my younger nephews made me hand-decorated birthday cards, I also received a birthday card at my day job, along with an Amazon gift card (I treated myself to an assortment of reprinted horror comics from the 1970's: a niche of comic book history I love to read).

I attended the special screening, with the director present for a Q&A, at the cinema. This was an uncommonly enjoyable evening. I felt very special: box balcony seat, free coffee and popcorn, chit-chatting with the producers of the show as well as a lady who owns a noted rock club in our town. The film was funny, too. I left during the Q&A because it was so damn late, but otherwise had a blast.

Not dating that lady anymore. I think this was the first time I'd dated someone where I felt pressured into our first occasion of sex too soon. But also this lady has kids and seemed a bit too high-strung for my tastes, so likely it's for the best we're not seeing each other anymore. I have complex feelings about just how vocal I ought to be about dating someone who has kids (even if the children are already grown adults). It appears to be an unpopular opinion, and finding a woman who doesn't already have kids and who is not interested in making any is not easy to find (at least, on the dating site I occasionally visit). It might just be a poor choice to want to date someone right now. I don't know.

It seems like all the women I'd be interested in dating these days live like an hour away by car. That seems like a drag.

FITNESS & HEALTH
The bicycling event is this coming Friday, and I am stoked for it!

Beyond that, it seems as if this current strain of coronavirus is edging more and more into the national consciousness. I already discuss it a fair amount at the day job with our clients, as the current training focuses on material handling for international trade (jobs in and around a port). But I've also been preoccupied with personal health risks. There's at least one other coworker who also shares my concerns and hasn't stuck her head in the sand about it.

Last night, I picked up some non-perishables and cleaning supplies from the grocery. Not enough to be ridiculously hoarding, but certainly more than what I typically purchase for a week's worth of groceries. I'm working back into the habit of washing my hands more often, and I clean the work tables in our training room every morning before clients arrive.

Personally, I feel more at ease now that I have some extra supplies on hand. If nothing out of the ordinary happens, I'd be eating this food anyway, so it's just like I purchased my groceries a few weeks early. But if the worst does come to pass, I have time and resources to think clearly about my options and what would be most-effective to do next.

The USA's political environment is best-described as a bizarre hellscape. The city in which I work has an equally dysfunctional status quo. This affects my mood, but only in the sense that I have lower and lower expectations of positive results. That's pretty much all I have to say about that.

TO SUM UP
Looking back on this month, I'll remember special occasions and interesting happenings. I do feel like I'm edging into a more pessimistic mindset, but it's odd that I don't feel like I'm gloomy about it. So I don't expect many good things, but I'm not bummed-out about this state of affairs. Perhaps this could be best-described as a month of lowering my expectations, while experiencing pleasant surprises. Not exactly how I expected to begin my 43rd year, but so it goes.


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