Repairs are Nigh!

So here’s the plan.

My upcoming week is only about three work days long. I’ve got a vacation booked for after that, hurrah! The first few days of it is going to be taken up by a trip to Seattle to go to PAX West for my first time ever. I’ll be wandering among the crowds of thousands on the Sunday and the Monday and cosplaying both days. I’m not sure of the order yet, but on one day I’ll be Aerith from Final Fantasy VII because I’m an old bum, and at the same time Tim’ll be cosplaying a genderbent version of Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII because he’s a young punk. Together, they fight crime. We’ll be cosplaying the other day as Sybil and Royce from Transistor. Photos of bits and pieces of most of those costumes are on Tim’s Facebook page and, more recently, his Patreon. If you’re going and you somehow spot the two of us in all of that chaos, feel free to say hi! That would be so amazing. 😀

After I return from that crazy party, I’m going to buckle down and give this site the overhaul its needed for a while. I spent a bit of time a weekend or two ago diagnosing what the issues probably are and unfortunately, I think it’s a tear-the-site-apart-and-rebuild-it kind of problem. You probably won’t notice much downtime if I do things right – I tend to do all of my messing around on a non-live version of the site and then implement the changes when I’m sure they work – but if the site does disappear off the face of the internet for a day or so, don’t panic! I’ll be working diligently in the background to bring it back online. You can always check my Twitter for updates if that happens. I’m notoriously terrible at being chatty, but I’m going to make a concerted effort to provide ETA’s if anything goes awry.

There’s just so much that needs fixing or upgrading and so many things that have fallen into disrepair and caused issues with other things. When it comes back, I want a much better Cast page, a very much improved archive page (that maybe, you know, actually works at all on mobile?), and a new and improved commenting system at the absolute minimum. The layout in general is also going to get a much needed clean-up, even if I don’t change the graphical elements of it too much. I can’t really get into specifics because I find that working with this site is a bit like wrestling a bear. I intend to win, but the damn thing surprises me sometimes and then I have to go pick my head up from across the room and reattach it before I can continue.

Either way, that’s going to get done. Might take a few rounds with said bear, but it’ll get done. About time.

After my holiday I’m crossing my fingers that things will be better. There are a few changes on the horizon that should make my life more manageable. I’ve mentioned it before but this year has been hard. I constantly underestimated how long it would take for me to get back into a routine after the big move. There were complications like a day job that turned into a moving target instead of something I could settle into. It was fine at first, but over time trying to keep up with such a constantly shifting set of priorities (that actually spanned across the job descriptions of at least three different individual positions within the company at one point) gradually bred a variety of exhaustion in me that pretty much destroyed my creative energy and also took up a lot more time than I’d banked for.

There have been new dynamics surrounding family and home, what with my family and everything I’ve ever called home being, well, not here. Everything I ever knew is on the other side of the mountains and, to boot, I’m afraid of flying. It’s also just very different here. I came from a place that was a little like Cheers: everybody knew my name, everybody knew what I was like, and we had harmony. That comparison just dated me horribly. Anyway, here I’m no longer Norm. I had to teach people about myself and there’ve been a lot of misunderstandings and assumptions and stomped on toes. It just hasn’t been smooth. It’s getting smoother. That should be stealing my productivity a lot less, I think. There’s also just been a lot of stress that comes from moving into a new home in a new province. I’ve mentioned it before, but provinces in Canada might as well be their own countries for how much the rules change between each of them. I needed whole new ID cards and to wrap my head around a totally different medical system and even things as generally stable as labor laws and recycling etiquette are actually different. On top of that, it wasn’t a cheap move and it hasn’t been a cheap settling in. A lot of that paperwork had fees attached. There’ve been lots of general-real-life unexpected financial and time-crunch surprises that cropped up to derail my plans (as does happen in a new home where you don’t really know which appliances are secretly on their last legs until they stop turning on; I’ve always lived in rentals before this so…. learning curve!). There’s been a lot to do and learn and adapt to and, at the end of the day, not much spare time to be me.

But, as I said, that’s finally changing! After many starts and stops, I do (for real this time!) have a buffer of comics completed. As I type this I’m still working on getting the Patreon content buffer to full strength to match the pile of pre-made comics, but I anticipate that that’ll be done pretty soon. That gives me a lot more freedom once I actually get it done and get myself back to a position of discipline to stay on top of it. Gonna get that licked in the next couple of weeks. My day job is also taking a bit of an adjustment for the better: I’m moving into a slightly easier to manage position within the same company once I get back from vacation, and this time it should be one that doesn’t sit in my mind on the way home, keep me up at night, and turn me into a ball of constant stress and tired. Being able to separate work and home should finally let me establish a proper routine and, as Tim has said to me since hearing the news: maybe it’ll give me the energy to live.

I think I’ve played a video game for a total of twenty minutes this year? I read one book. God, it’s sad.

Looking forward to the fix. I’ve got more things I want to do. If my life does sort out the way I’m hoping it will, I’m considering making my Patreon a broader-reaching thing, making it a sort of hub for all of my creative endeavours instead of just Prophecy of the Circle, with a lot more public posts for those who only want to follow instead of chip in financially. Following on that trail of thought, I really want to do more than just this comic. It’s great, but I crave variety. I have so many more stories in me and my art skills are stagnating from lack of challenge. I really miss writing books instead of just endless scripts. I wanna make fanart of things. I wanna be a fan again! I gotta make some changes there too. Whether it’ll happen sooner or later is a bit more of a fuzzy proposition than the repair of the site in the next few weeks. It all depends on how things go in the next while and how my stress levels/free time compare between future and past.

Again, I’m sorry for the previous year. Its been awkward. I kind of turtled when I should have been talking. It all got out of hand and sometimes it doesn’t matter how much one yells “I got this! I got this!”. Sometimes I don’t got this. But now I’ll say a bit more conservatively and a bit more realistically: I think I got this.

Let’s try it again.