I think I’ve cryptically referred to the “digital app” company I’ve been doing a project for… To be less vague about it, I’m working with a company called Macroverse. Today, as part of a virtual Web3 Comicon event, I’ll be on a panel where Macroverse reveals it’s upcoming releases, including the series that I am writing on, called Sal Bones. You can access it as a livestream on YouTube, here, at 4:30 PM (PST) today (Sunday, October 9, 2022) or see the recorded version later.
I’m not sure how many projects are being introduced, if I’ll actually be called to say something or if I’ll mostly nod and smile. I’ve been watching several of the other events over the past couple days, and feel like I’m getting a slightly better sense of what “Web3” means, and how storytelling might evolve if it comes to pass.
I know some of you have been waiting with bated breath to find out what astrologically recommended trip I’ll be taking for my birthday this year…
(For those unfamiliar with this blog, in the last few years I have become, reluctantly, a person who lets an astrologist use the time and location of my birth to calculate my “transits” and then recommend the best places to spend my birthday, I wrote a bit about the origins of this practice last year in this post.)
First, let me tell you about a couple of the contenders for this year’s “best place,” because I think they’re more entertaining than usual: According to our astrologist (yes I’m aware of exactly how California it sounds to talk about “our astrologist”)…
The VERY BEST place to be during my Astral Solar Return (i.e. “ASR” i.e. my birthday) would be:
Takaroa: an atoll in the French Polynesian islands. An atoll is apparently a ring-shaped island with a big lagoon in middle. Takaroa is 17 miles x 4 miles in total, but only 8 square miles of that is land, and the rest, I guess, is lagoon. Takaroa’s population is 674 and it has a tropical monsoon climate — with my birthday month of December being the wettest of the year. Traveling to Takaroa, while not impossible, looks expensive and a bit complicated, involving an unverifiable flight from either Tahiti or Papeete. Does an island with 700 people have an hotel?
The BEST (and “only good choice”) in the U.S. was:
Umiat (OO-mee-yat): an unincorporated community in North Slope Borough, Alaska. Located 140 miles from Deadhorse in the Arctic Circle, it’s accessible only by air or river. It is known as one of the coldest places in the US, and “has no permanent residents, being a camp and fuel stop for aircraft and helicopters operating in the area.”
Reading these first two options, I thought for a minute maybe I was being punked. (For comparison, Paul’s first choices were Amsterdam, the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain, and Dublin), but apparently this is how my stars aligned.
Out of a handful of other choices ranging from “good” (Maldives) to “very good” (Bishkek, Kyrgzstan) to “other best” (a tie between Nairobi, Kenya and Samsun, Turkey), the winner is….
Samsun, Turkey! It’s a port city on the north coast of Turkey with a population 710,000. It looks pleasant (although it is right across the Black Sea from the Ukrainian nuclear plant we hope the Russians won’t target). I’ll likely just be hanging out there for a night or two, and spend some additional days in Istanbul (…which is not Constantinople)!
In a previous post, I talked about having three jobs on the horizon and fearing that instead of lining up consecutively, that they would all land concurrently.
Reader, of course that happened.
The “main job” is a producing gig for a large toy company. I’ve been enjoying it even more than I’d anticipated. While it’s primarily business presentations, these involve some short toy demo videos, the creation of which allowed me to be on a set for the first week or so, which always feels like a coming home. The next phase has been working with the quite large logistical puzzle of arranging schedules for all events that are happening. This is the realm of the Executive Producer, who has been doing this for two or three decades, but I’m getting a close-up look and the chance to problem-solve as I transcribe information to various documents.
This stuff might not sound exciting, but it’s all NEW, and learning new stuff releases dopamine. Throw in some some important deadlines for stakes and you have a kind of dopamine, adrenaline, endorphin cocktail —one I’ve been riding high on that for the last week.
Dopamine highs are fun, but also “dangerous,” in that what comes up, must come down. When dopamine levels rise, the brain senses you’ve been getting a lot, and gives you less. So after high-dopamine experiences, one can experience a “crash.”
This is very familiar to me. A play closes, a shoot ends, I turn in a draft or leave a party. I’m feeling good… and then there’s a feeling of emptiness, and very quickly (for me at least) that emptiness fills with ANXIETY. I second-guess, question, relive mistakes or social mis-steps.
Even this weekend, I’m experiencing this on a small scale. I made a mistake on Friday, born of newness, and the EP had to pull me back. It was something that won’t be hard to adjust in the future, and I think was fairly small but in my head I wonder was it small? Maybe it wasn’t small!
Going through this, I’m grateful that over the last week, even with early call times and late nights, I managed to maintain my 20- minute morning meditation sessions. They don’t “fix” my feelings, but they help me step outside my experience. They’re like a little “time out” where I can remember that what I’m going through is cyclical and the “stakes” for getting things wrong or right are partly of my own creation. I remind myself to keep the importance of things in proportion, to work hard, but protect my health by pacing myself, to value a learning mindset over beating myself up. And to choose kindness whenever there is opportunity.
Welp, I’ve let a couple months go by without posting, and now enough has happened that it’s difficult to pick any one thing to talk about, so I guess I’ll just ramble and see what comes out.
Right now, Paul and I are babysitting for our three and a half year old nephew. It’s a fun age to spend time with kids because they tend to be very loving and enthusiastic about the familiar adults in their lives. But it’s also an age where they demand lot of attention. Today’s original plan was to arrive around 6pm, and our assumption was that we’d eat and play and nephew would stay up an extra hour or so (that was a big deal when I was a kid!), and be asleep around 8:30ish. My original plan had been to work on one of my current gigs —story for a digital comic— for a couple hours in the afternoon, and then a couple more after nephew went to bed.
It turned out we actually needed to come earlier —around 3pm. When we got there, my brother-in-law informed us, that because it was special baby-sitter night, there were no rules! Our nephew had permission to watch TV or play as late as he wanted, etc… and they had let him have an extra long nap in preparation.
I’m sure you see where this is going…
At 3pm, our nephew was literally shrieking in excitement at our arrival. He couldn’t wait to show us his new plastic black widow spider.
Eight hours later, we’ve played about a hundred games that involve hiding the spider, going for walks with the spider, building a cushion cave for the spider, playing “the floor is lava” with the spider. My nephew informed me at one point that the spider has “had a very good day.” It’s going on 11pm now, and I can report that while the spider’s battery seems to be depleting, my nephew’s energy is unflagging. Right now, he and Paul and the spider are watching You-tube videos set to repetitive carnival-like music and I’m stealing some laptop time to write this and send grateful thoughts and psychic reinforcement to all parents, teachers and childcare providers in the world… (more tomorrow).
I am delighted to announce that I’ve got —not one, not two, but —three cool freelance gigs coming up.
JOB A is producing some product sales meetings for a well-known company.
JOB B and JOB C involve story creation for two different technology / game apps.
I am being super vague because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’ll say that I’m excited about all three: Each one will involve learning new vocabulary (which is one of my favorite things) as well as new software (which I enjoy if it’s not overwhelming). And I get to collaborate as part of a team. I’ve been in a good mood as each of them has become more solid in the last several weeks.
The producing gig, JOB A, scheduled for mid-July to mid-September, is the most definite because it’s built around pre-scheduled events that involve multiple people and businesses, so barring some natural disaster or new pandemic surge, it will happen. I’ve spent the last month virtually “onboarding” with their third-party payroll vendor, and just received my company email address and access to their Microsoft Teams hub, so am feeling very official.
For JOB B and JOB C, the “paperwork” is still being sorted — i.e. various parties and lawyers are defining and agreeing to terms etc.
Here’s where I’m getting a little antsy and “pacing at the gate.” Both of these jobs became possibilities after meetings in early May, and are slated to happen in June. In particular, JOB B was supposed to begin June 1, for a duration of about 30 days. June 1 would have been a perfect start day, as then JOB B would have ended with a couple weeks before the beginning of JOB A, with some wiggle room if we were running late.
But, as I write this, it is June 11, and a weekend, and the paperwork is still “being finalized.” I’d have to start JOB B on Monday in order to have a full 30 days before JOB A starts.
I keep reminding everyone on my end that JOB A is not one of my usual day jobs where I can write in the evenings and go to meetings on my lunch break and pretend like I don’t really have a day job at all. JOB A will be a real, on-location, with (hopefully only) 10-hour days, production-type job that will require my full attention.
But legal departments rush for no one (at least no one at my level, but I think maybe no one ever).
Writers often juggle various jobs without their clients being the wiser or really caring, as long as the job gets done. And people who aren’t actually writing tend to act like miraculous things can happen. Also, I’ve noticed that people in entertainment are used to acting like miracles can happen, but then having them not happen, and deadlines get pushed all the time. What I don’t know is if that also happens in the tech world.
I’ve heard George Saunders say, “A cliche is a truth that has lost its luster.” It never rains, but it pours is a cliche. And it is true. I don’t know why.
The blessing of these gigs is that 1) while they are short term, each should lead to future fun — if I can establish a good relationships, making it over the learning-curve hump and do a good job, and 2) I really want to do them all because I’m genuinely interested.
But the blessing of caring about all three will become a curse if they all — with their unique learning curves, new people, new software, and new story forms— end up landing at once.
So today’s manifestation is that the starting gun goes off on Monday… because I’m raring at the bit—And that for the next few months the rain can fall steady but not torrential.