2020-09-01 19:02:53 (UTC)

Goals Reflection: August 2020

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

[NOTE: I'm in an especially pensive, contemplative mood at the moment. I listened to a lecture on an introduction to Buddhism that was embedded in a video game, and that - combined with the imagery and actions within the game - has me feeling right uncommonly "open," for lack of a better word. Not sure what this means regarding my goals reflection. We'll see how this turns out.]


I'm feeling a much stronger pull to visit the eco compound. I wonder if it's simply a way to escape. It's true that I want to learn as much as I can about that lifestyle, it's true that I enjoy solitude and working with my hands and being in the wind and the dirt. I've watched some live broadcasts of their meetings and their planning that goes into their various projects there, and it's not scared me away from it.

Maybe I've been living so out of touch with nature lately, what with me on the outskirts of the city and then cooped-up in my basement apartment, that anyone who seems to have their shit together in terms of sustainable living has my enthusiastic vote.

Meanwhile, the garden is just about wrapped up for the season. Earlier this week I retired a couple of the plants, and there's maybe one tomato plant still bearing fruit. The rest had been nibbled on by deer or other wild animals, so all the green buds and baby fruits didn't make it. Except for that one tomato (which I do hope to actually eat, maybe this week), I had decided to simply drop everything back onto the soil to fortify it. Because of the nature of my short-notice, my lack of familiarity with the soil in the plot, and fact that I really know little about gardening beyond backyard tinkering, I didn't expect much out of the garden plot anyway this year. So it wasn't a surprise that the garden met those expectations...

My plan for this weekend (it's a four-day weekend for me) is to pilfer a bunch of the discarded plants from the other gardeners, and simply layer their scraps on my plot. The more mulch I have, the more green and decayed matter I have being worked into that soil, the more bugs and stuff that move in to eat it, I figure the better off the soil will be next year. If I'm around there to take on the garden plot again next year, not only will I be able to plan in advance, but I should also have soil that's in much better condition than that which was granted to me this past May.

At the end of the month, I finished a video game. I decided to call it an "action puzzle" kind of game. It's Pac-Man, but you play the part of a ghost instead of the titular character. In fact, Pac-Man is dead, and the ghosts have re-animated him in the style of "Weekend at Bernie's." It turned out pretty good. I made a theme song for the game too: I grabbed a karaoke version of "Frosty the Snow Man" and sang my own lyrics along with it, then created the slides to be shown while the song played at the beginning of the game. I still chuckle at what I was able to come up with. Initial feedback from others is positive (and it turns out others felt the song was funny, too). I have a couple little UI tweaks to implement, then I'll be completely done with it.

Some of my tabletop game design friends are active online, and I was invited to assist in playtesting with Table Top Simulator this month. It reminded me just how fantastic that program is, and how much fun it can be. There were three of us, and we worked on a design of theirs (they're co-designers). I felt my feedback was useful, and received graciously. It's fun to use my brain for these kinds of things.

I was also contacted by a local "DIY Fest" organizer about running a virtual version of a tabletop game design workshop for this year's event. Hopefully I'll be accepted and will be able to reserve some time for a Zoom broadcast that will inspire people to make their own games while they're stuck inside. I have a rough outline planned in the event I'm accepted, plus I've done this before, so I'm confident it will be fun for more than just me.

Two significant things happened this month regarding increased income.

The first was that I was informed that my salary was increased to $50K a year. This is a milestone for me. I remember asking my supervisor at an annual review a couple years ago, "So what will I need to do for me to earn fifty grand a year?" So now it's happened. And considering the past several months, I know I earned it. The organization was helped tremendously through the onset of the pandemic thanks to my efforts to deliver the online training, both in an online classroom, and virtual classroom sessions.

I have more thoughts about the day job, and how I feel like I'm burned out and/or hopeless, but I don't necessarily want to go too deep on that right now. But my week off was one of clarity and at least a little reflection. Also, now that most of the online classroom content is finished for the time being - and most of the time, students don't really seem to engage with it - I'm feeling a bit listless about it, or detached from it somehow. I'm not in the mood to think to drastically about this at the moment. I have almost two weeks before the next training, so things will even out and I'll have a feeling for more direction between now and then.

The second thing thing that happened this month was, seemingly out of nowhere, someone contacted me through my website to commission a laser-cut board game. I replied, we set up a video call, and later that night I started sketching out plans for how to assemble playing pieces. I burned my initial prototypes that night, sent him photos of them, and his reply the next day was very positive. He also mentioned that, provided the end product turns out well, then he'll likely be asking for more games: his grown kids are apparently big fans of the game I will be making for him and his wife.

Finally, I delivered a set of laser-cut golf tags to my brother for his bespoke golf tournament which he's hosted now for the past four years. This includes one that he sent me a message about at 9pm Friday evening, and the tournament was the following day... Luckily, since I have no social life right now - and I actually really enjoy making laser-cut projects - I delivered the final tag the morning of the tournament. It was a surprise visit to see the family as well, including the traditional "run round the yard like an idiot with the dog."

I mention the golf tags here because my brother and my now-ex-brother-in-law insisted I be paid for the golf tags, and I wasn't about to refuse them. They represent a significant investment on my part - straight money, but most importantly time - and I can't disagree with them on this. We'll see if I can get $10 per tag... And likely future business.

I visited the family this month, a couple times. The surprise trip to drop off that last golf tag was one, but I think I visited at least two more times. Once was during my vacation, and then maybe the following weekend. I was able to spend more time in conversations with my mother. which I seem to always thoroughly enjoy.

The only thing that's keeping me in this geographic section of the country is the fact my mother is still alive. When she finally passes away, I'll likely pull up stakes and rarely visit. Being detached physically from people so frequently these days has helped me either sever ties that I didn't need anyway, or find enough gratification via the use of technology. Penpals have been active this past month. I hear from my Czechen penpal maybe twice a month, but even my New Hampshire penpal wrote in August. She's been through some shit lately, which is a shame.

I am at a point where I feel like I need to re-discover my tribe, so to speak, and I reckon it ain't gonna be round here anymore. I only came back because I was out of money and lacked options of anywhere else to go. Well, now I have money (a lot more than I did when I first left) and the pangs that urge me to get outta Dodge have resurfaced.

Exercise bike, typically six days a week. I take ibuprofen maybe once a week when pain in the shoulder is distracting me during the day. I stopped taking it at night when I go to sleep, since I already take enough supplements at night that I didn't want to throw another 500mg tablet in the mix. Besides, I sleep well enough anyway between melatonin, exercise, and the occasional "private moment."

I've been reading a fair amount more lately, not just graphic novels and comic books. I'm into "Debt: The First 5,000 Years," a self-improvement book called "Punk Rock Entrepreneur," and Sarah Perry's treatise on and argument for antinatalism, "Every Cradle Is A Grave." Over vacation I read some fiction, and felt it was... Meh.

September is here. October is on it's way. And November, I have my week-plus away from everyone. I love November.

Everyone's in transition right now. I do wonder what my next move will be. My hand will be forced only when my mother is no longer alive. That's a fair way to sum things up, I suppose.

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