Mars Life


RSS like a muhfugg

So my buddy Jason Pettus (he's also set up a blogger account recently) has been getting into Bloglines and RSS feeds lately. It's funny, because I've been really interested in them lately too. What's even better is that he doesn't have a day job and therefore spends hours scouring relevent documentation and explaining it on his blog, and I reap the benefits by learning how to implement something I've wanted to for a while, namely setting up my own list of feeds to follow on my dusty Bloglines account.

So I've started, and it's pretty awesome. The main goal is to have one place, a virtual home base, if you will, to go to to get new content to read so I don't have to be surfing to a bunch of different sites all the time. So far I've got feeds for design jobs, community blogs, individual blogs, and improviser blogs. Cool cool stuff. I wish there was some way to also get this via my AvantGo subscription, though I'm not sure if it's possible. That would be great because I'd be able to sync up in the morning and read the previous day's content throughout the day.

Eh, I'm slowly getting myself reaccustomed to existence on the intarweb, I sort of wish I had never really stepped away for a bit. Maybe if that was the case I'd have my own personal website with examples of my work set up, which I'm intermittently in the process of doing right now. Sigh.

In any event, short entry for today I guess. Perhaps next week I'll have an update on the animation project I'll be starting that includes a cigar-smoking duckbilled platypus.

More to come.


No time for little things

Hey all of you out there in intarweb land... a little note regarding spare time from a man with little time to spare. I know nothing's changed since I took on improv and college in my outside life, but I definitely feel like a piece of silly putty that's starting to get little stress-holes in its midsection after being pulled between two little grubby hands. Well, the one change would be the upcoming wedding, but that was put out there at about the same time as school.

I can't help but keep my "eye on the prize," though, as I envision a future where subsistence is solely based on creative services and talents. It's out there, I know it is. In the meantime, I keep plugging along at the chores, doing whatever day to day tasks that less time-committed people commit more time to in the little time I can actually commit. (I know that sentence is somewhat confusing, and I kept in for that reason. Sadistic, I know.)

A perfect example of this is an organization project I'm currently trying to bring to a close in our house. Anyone who knows myself and Kerri well will know that Kerri is easily the more organized of the two of us. I've often kicked myself repeatedly in awe of her ability to keep everything straight. Well, recently, I decided to stop envying her and to start learning from her. The first step was the office in the house since that's where most of the detritus I create ends up. It's winding down now, but there has been a growing amount of bags of consolidated detritus toward the back exit to our stairwell. I just haven't had the chance yet to bring all this crap down to the alley. Soon enough, I hope.

Once I've managed to amass enough stolen bits of time from my schedule to finally get the house into a sort of order that has places for everything and everything in their places, I think the maintenance will be a lot easier. Sure, all this probably sounds quite simplistic and common to most any person, but I've never really had any sense of organization instilled in me. I'm getting much better with time management, and I hope to apply similar organizational techniques into the actual spatial aspects of my environment. One day, all of this will be self nature enough to me so I can take on more projects and not be overwhelmed by them. There may be no correlation between the environment and the work, but it just seems to me like there would be, intuitively.


In other news, since I typed that comment about keeping my eye on the prize earlier today, I think I quite possibly may have found a position online today that would actually be a nice transition from my current work to that of the world of design. I was beginning to doubt such a connection even existed. However, I'm still not getting pie-eyed over one simple potential opportunity out there, but I am going to explore it to see where it leads me. Of course, I'll bring you right along.

More to come.

PS. Blogger's "BlogThis" spellchecker sux.


I'm always an excellent student. This week I've been in class for advanced SQL programming, and I'm doing smashingly, as I should have expected. My only question usually is whether or not I'll be able to apply the learning to the actual practices and procedures. In analytical work like my current paying position, I'm not entirely worried, I'll be able to query the database more powerfully when I leave this class, there's no doubt in my mind about that. It does provide me with a scary analogy to my current "5 to 9" ambitions.

It's something that's been rattling around in my head recently, as I'm trucking along at the Illinois Institute of Arts. It's fairly easy to get caught up in the day to day, quarter to quarter, and now, year to year (yup, I've almost been at school there for a year) activities of school, having found a balance between it and work, and lose sight of the world beyond those walls. I'm grooming myself for a career in animation, but is school a goal in and of itself, or a means to an end?

Well obviously, its a means to an end, namely satisfaction in career placement, but I don't think I ever viewed it like that previously. That's why I'm glad I'm in school now that I've matured. I take it at my own pace, and I treat it very importantly, and I create quality work, comparitively to my peers.

Those are really just means to the end of finishing school. I can't really lose sight of what comes afterwards. I really haven't, though. I've always known that some day down the line, I'll need to take a gigantic pay cut, due to the fact that the profession I'm moving into just doesn't pay as much as the profession I'm in now. In addition to that, I'm sure there'll be some climbing associated with it in the early years, as well. On top of that, there'll probably be an unpaid internship to kick things all off, so I'm basically looking at a point down the road where I'll be making nowhere near as much as I do currently.

That much I've just sort of assumed. What I've tossed around for a while, though, (being in this current situation as many others who work day jobs they are unsatisfied with are in) is whether it would be better to go through that period now, or whether I should wait until I'm actually completed with my education. It's a really hard question to answer.

Basically it amounts to two scenarios (and ironically enough, other work/school people I've spoken with have this same "Sophie's Choice" to deal with). First, I could truck along, finish school, which would probably take me another three years at the pace I have to take if I'm working 40 hours a week, and then make the big downgrade to a creative position. The downfall to this side of the coin is that by that time, I could have a kid, a house, and who knows what other financial obligations. I hate to be negative about such things that are usually considered advancements of one's life, but they could seriously impact me in that way in the future. The other scenario would be to quit my current job, become a full time student, and finish school faster so I could get into the creative position quicker. The downside to this scenario is glaring. Finances who knows what it would be like to live off of student loans/grants, if it would be even possible, how it would work out with internships, part time work, and so forth.

I donm't see this decision being made soon, as the first and foremost focus in my life currently has to be my marriage to Kerri. And regardless of the time I dedicate to each of my obligations, it truly is the next big step, and I don't plan on changing any of the delicate balances in my life until we've finally joined forever.


Almost 4 whole days of non smoking. More to come.


I saved four hours

I've saved about 6.50 and not smoked about 27 cigarettes in the day and a half or so that I''ve been quit. I joined up at a cool site called about a month or so ago when I made the decision to quit. Now that the date is here, I can see how much money, life, and cigarettes I've saved/ avoided as the time ticks by.

I'd hate to jinx it, but it hasn't been as hard as its been in the past for me. I think I could really be ready this time. Don't get me wrong, I still think about grabbing a cigarette about a hundred times a day, but then I just think to myself, "No, I don't smoke now. I may smoke in the future, but I don't smoke right now." Maybe its some Zen state I've hit on, I have no idea, I just wish it came this easily for everyone else in the world. The Quitnet forums are literally filled with tons of people who are stressed out non-stop. So I don't want to spoil anyone elses quit either, so I just want to let them all know I'm here for them. First and foremost, my number one homegirl KVA. Hope she's doin' OK right now.


This weekend also saw the office in our place explode, too. My crap is EVERYWHERE. What's worse, is that I'm now organizing it all, and have no idea where my parent's Christmas check went. I'm going to keep looking, in hopes I'll be able to pay for what was an awesome weekend with Kerri.

What a girl.

She's helping me get organized, she's quit smoking with me, and she's sweet AND sexy as all hell. What a lucky guy.


the gift to end all gifts

Yesterday was my birthday. It started off OK, just the normal work day routine, treasuring the cigarettes I smoked, with the knowledge of impending cessation in the front of my head. I'll be doing that again today, as today will be the last day I smoke at work, ever. I can foresee one hell of an uphill struggle.

Anyhow, after work at BCBS, there was more work at home on freelance projects, then it was finally time for birthday present and dinner. It was quite fun, before dinner, I opened the gift, and let me tell you, it rocked hard core. First off, it was wrapped in an exquisite purple foil wrapping with a very nice purple satin ribbon, and there was a card that Kerri had conveyed to the distributor, which he had in turn hand-written by himself. It was very sweet, made mention of the upcoming nuptials, and almost brought a tear to my eye. I delicately untied the ribbon and opened the exquisite wrapping to reveal the back of a frame with an envelope attached.

As I turned it over, I noticed there was a piece of protective translucent covering over the glass, but I could somewhat make out a dingy background behind it, with a red haired figure standing on the right hand side of the frame. I immediately recognized the figure as Lois Griffin, matriarch of the zany and popular Griffin family from the animated TV show "Family Guy".

Needless to say, I loved this gift. It was awesome, and I consider it one more step towards building my own little animation room I've wanted to create for years. One other great thing about the print selection itself is that it is a scene that has always cracked Kerri and I up on the couch whenever we watch the show at home. Check this bad boy out below.

More to come.


Hey stranger

5 more days of nicotine, carbon monoxide, and carbon based smoke consumption. I don't know which is scarier... the fact that I've been doing it for just over 10 years, or the fact that I am dreading the day I stop.

So tomorrow's my birthday, and I've decided with Kerri and I getting married this summer, her wanting to quit, and Chinese New Year falling on my birthday, it's enough of an impetus for me to quit this filthy habit. Kerri's wholeheartedly decided to join the fun as well. Brava, girl! We are approaching it realistically, though. We've decided to make the quit date actually Sunday, as I'm sure there'll be a night of drinks with friends to celebrate my 29th year, and Saturday's when that's going to happen. Rather than quitting on Thursday and setting ourselves up for defeat on Saturday, we've opted to quit on Sunday, and not really leave the house for parties/bar trips/social gatherings with smoking friends for a couple of weeks.

Also in preparation of the big day, I'll be taking the day off from work this Friday to clean for a two fold reason. One, I want to start this non-smoking venture as fresh as I possibly can, so I intend to clean, dust, do laundry, maybe even get a hair cut all with the intent of ridding buried-in smoke, and two, Kerri is helping me become a organized, proactive person in my personal spaces, and I'd like to establish a good baseline from which I can start maintaining some new productivity practices I'm putting in place. God, I swear I'm not as dull as that second point makes me sound, it's basically a fancy way of saying "Clean up after yourself, Mars."

So along with all these new changes, I figured I might as well blog a little, too. Sorry to surpass the obligatory, "Wow, it's been so long, here's what's been up" post. I'm sure the information will come out bit by bit in context. There have been a lot of changes, mostly awesome ones, and I'll speak about them as the days go on. For now, I thought it may help me monitor my progress and get things out in words if I started journaling again.

So that's the whole of what I had to say right now, but I'm surely hoping I can keep up a steady schedule and see you again soon.

More to come.

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