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Oh the Characters We Can Make

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

nearmeIf you’ve been hanging around long enough, you should then know that one of my planned projects is Ninja Maid Academy. It’s going to be a comedy, of course, about a secret academy high in the mountains that our protagonist stumbles across one night while going to Grandma’s house.

I’m ages away from production, but this doesn’t mean I’m sitting on my fanny about it. I have to get ready, and the things I have to do to get ready are pretty extensive because I’ll be using 3D much like I do for The Heavenly Bride.

I’ll be using old 3D tech, because the current tech doesn’t meet the look of the thing. I’ve had to learn some things as a result, and it’s a bit harder these days because the tutorials are all but gone.

Currently it’s my hope that when The Heavenly Bride ends the final chapter, I can drum up enough support to go back to making more than one story again. I would like to dedicate a day a week to Akashik, time to Ninja Maid Academy, and I’m not sure on the third. Possibly to Fionnuahla, which would contrast the constant comedy I’d have to crank out and give me something of balance. Of course I would also like to have a day a week to dedicate to The Demonkeeper’s Daughter, but that’s a novel and is something I try to give time to anyway no matter what.

Anyway, here’s a sneak peak of style. Hope you like.

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Dead Mermaids

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I made a new sticker design! And to show it off, I’m uploading a sample of it here as well.sample If you want one, it’s only available through the sticker club for a month. The sticker club link is to your upper right. Just over there. See it? Then if I have any left they’ll get put in the etsy shop.

All is getting ready for the convention. I’m nervous but not really. Actually things look a little dicey right now as, well, Paypal’s system was hacked much like in this report here. This happened a couple of months ago.

Not always in the know as I am, I had no idea what was going on until Paypal sent me a new debit card and told me the old one would no longer work because of it. Okay, I thought. I cut the old card in half and have been using the new card ever since.

Yesterday morning about 0300 hours, it happened. Sri Lanka and some other weird country I’ve never heard of charged my Paypal a nice ripe sum of somewhere around $900. And I had only $100 in the account.

When I called Paypal, they were very nice about the matter. They told me they were going to reverse the charges, and that the account had actually been charged a good deal more than that but they blocked them. Then they explained that it happened because they’d been closing down the compromised cards “in batches”, and they just hadn’t gotten to mine yet.

Insert flat-eyed face here.

I have to hand it to Paypal, though. I had called them expecting an issue. They were friendly and forthright. Charges are being reversed, and I’m supposed to get my money back in 4 days. Of couuurrrsee… I found this out because I’d went into my account trying to find funds large enough to buy FOOD… but… I’m sure my hips aren’t going to miss anything. :-p

The issue, the real issue, is that there was only $100 in my account. That means somewhere around $800 is being forwarded as a charge to my bank. My Paypal account is a business account, after all, and has been a tool for me to keep my business funds separate from my real life (read: my husband) for years.

So we called the bank. Do you know what they said? “There’s nothing we can do.”

As a result things are looking real dicey on that matter. I don’t know how this works with Paypal; if they’ll put the money back in my bank account as well or what will happen. The bank however explained that putting a stop on it would “take too long”, so they were just going to force us to wait for the amount to bounce and then charge us a bounce fee.

Bounce fees add up.

So currently my husband and I are in limbo, wondering if we’re going to be able to make the car payment out of his paycheck when it comes in a few days… or will it be eaten up by fees that aren’t even our fault to begin with.

On the other side of my life, where I play a fictional character that puts out videos expressing unpopular views no one likes to hear, I often say “use cash, use cash, use cash”. I do my best to use cash, to keep it hidden in case it’s needed. My husband and I have slowly been weaning dependency on credit cards out of our lives for a while now.

Our resolve just hardened on the matter.

So maybe I’ll get to Arch Anime Con, maybe I won’t. I hope I get to. I’ve already begun to dye my hair purple. (Mwahahaha.) Oh the fun I hope to have.

If you like my sticker design, please drop me a note about it. It was rare inspiration! I think I’m Bravest Warrior starved. Where is Season 3… dang it….

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Not So Creative Createspace

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I only did a youtube vlog this time because of the people who have been following the drama on Youtube. It wasn’t laziness. I swear.

Vlog of DEATH! May 6

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I know, I know.. yet another video blog. I gotta go to work. Sorry! Warning… I speak real American English, using the curse word subdialect! *gasp!*

 

 

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Video Update!

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I just don’t like moving today. Ha….

 

Overarching

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I have a little over a month until Arch Anime Con. It’s time for me to set making resin charms aside (take too long) and simply concentrate on getting my artwork and everything ready. Because I’m not making resin charms as much, I’ve been making stickers. I used to be the biggest sticker collector… I love stickers. With each new batch I’m making I have the hardest time putting them into the sell box. I wanna keep them.

Most of the stickers are being listed in my etsy shop as I go, of course. I’m seriously considering taking down the OOAK Leaf Shop. It gets NO action. None. It’s just a space eater, and I hate space eaters. I am considering opening a little online book store… just something small. But I’m not sure I want to go overboard with that. Government regulations are insane, especially when it comes to publications. You’d think I was running moonshine.

The purty ladies running Arch Anime have me a little concerned. It’s only a month away! They’ve listed my name in the appearing list, but they haven’t really updated the site much at all. That’s a little nervewracking. If they cancel at the last second, the hotel is going to charge me munnies. I don’t have munnies. Waaah, please update your website ladies…. I mean, I’m sure they will. I just hope they do soon.

I also volunteered to hold a panel. It would be my first panel, but not my first public speech or even classroom setting. I was a damn good substitute teacher where racial prejudice didn’t preside, a very in demand private tutor, and well… I won’t bore you with my lifelong influences that would have put me directly in the line of fame and fortune if I hadn’t chosen family and children. So I’m not nervous in the least, if they let me.

The panel would be about webcomic making. I decided to offer to do this after a brief discussion with a prose author I work with. I found myself defending the art of webcomic writing, listing why it can be a lot more involved than prose writing and even takes you a step beyond script writing sometimes. It’s a blend of the two. I realized, hey. I should talk about this and do something at the con. Why not?

They haven’t gotten back to me, so I probably won’t be doing it. I sent them a message last night with my new phone number anyway, just in case.

One of the girls that works at Kroger tuned me into an anime last night that I think I’m going to get sucked into: Fairy Tail.  The husband and I watch tv together as family time, so I’m sitting here wanting to gorge on episodes and… can’t! I can’t! The agony! Waaaah…!

So I guess I’ll get back to work. If you come to Arch Anime, please stop by and see me! My hair is still a meter long, so you can’t miss me. And don’t forget, I’ll be filming and putting it up on Youtube… so be sure to come in costume.

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This Copyright Shit is For the Birds

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Today is my son’s birthday.


For various drama reasons, I vowed a couple of years back that my children wouldn’t get anything personal from me ever again. This includes mailing a card from my mailbox in my front yard. I’m not really their mother anyway, they often told me over the years, even though I was there their entire lives. Okay fine.


business cardFor my son’s 22nd birthday, though, I decided to get a little personal. Usually I order a gift card for them through giftcards.com and go about my business. This year I uploaded this picture of Linette (to the right) with a zombie note. Basically I gave him the desire for brains for his birthday. (Someone has to do it, might as well be me.)

Without telling me, the card company cancelled my order. I found out today, after the fact. I called them about it.


The woman was very stern to me after putting me on hold for a while. She told me that the order was rejected because, and I’m going to quote, I had “taken a picture off the internet.” They had strict policies about stolen artwork.


I told her, but it’s my artwork. MIIIINE. My character, my creation, mine. The comic is mine, the domain is mine, I publish myself, it’s mine. It didn’t matter, I was told, because their automatic system checks for image pings and if an image has had 10 or more backtracks on the internet they cannot even use it.


Furthermore, she told me, they had emailed me the night I’d uploaded the card to let me know.


Which was bullshit. What I’d gotten from them was a note telling me the card  had been mailed, not a note telling me the card had been rejected for wanting to use my own artwork.


I tell myself that at least the angsty old bird was honest about her assumption that I would feel the need to steal something from myself. When I tried to have a personalized credit card through Credit One they were very rude to me about it and didn’t have the balls to lay the claim directly at my feet. They just pushed me around a lot and made me wish I’d never gotten a card through them.


Still. This copyright check bullshit has gone way too far. Who cares if my artwork has had 10 backtracks on the internet? Of course it’s had 10 backtracks. Seriously. IT’S ON A FUCKING WEBCOMIC SITE. And only 10 backtracks?


So what if I was making a personalized card using a photo of a family member that I’d gotten from a family shared website? That would certainly have more than 10 hits, because the entire family would be sharing that shit.


Also other artwork I’ve uploaded to that site with more views was approved. So. What the fuck ever.


I’ve been using giftcards.com for a couple of years now, but I think for Christmas I’ll be shopping for a new service. And I’ll be careful to use artwork I haven’t uploaded anywhere yet, just in case. I am my own artist, I do my own stuff. I’m sorry if my stuff looks so professional you confuse it for mainstream media, but honey… if it were mainstream media I wouldn’t have to use your lousy service. And I most certainly wouldn’t.


It’s just another reason why this copyright situation has gone too far, that artists can’t even use their own artwork without getting accused of being criminals.


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Letter to the Archery Marshal, SCA

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Greetings to you, and thank you in advance for your time in this email.

My mundane is Katrina, my real name is Spearcarrier, and so my “name” to you is Spear. Take your pick which one to use, I don’t care. I never know how to introduce myself in these circles because of all the people who try to change my name, so if my introduction is a bit strange that’s why.

I’m writing to you about a simple matter of combat archery and how it has created strife for my family in five shires now, across three kingdoms. As for myself personally, as of this morning I give up. I am completely disheartened by the SCA, it’s rules, the attitudes, and the overall lack of acceptance for people like myself. But perhaps, I thought, if I went over everyone that’s part of the problem to your level maybe in the future education and provisions can be done to make the game fun again for everyone. So far not so much, and yet I hear complaint after complaint from place to place my husband and I go about how the game is dying, how no one wants to play – and guys, there’s a reason for that.

I’ll try to be blunt, but I also tend to be longwinded, and I think in story so like so many who aren’t used to the courtesy of information… if you have trouble following me, sorry about that. But here goes.

I have an invisible disability. It’s my arms. I’ve had to work very hard for a living – almost nonstop. Welfare was for OTHER single mothers. I never qualified. I’ve been going since I was a kid, typing mostly, and now it hurts just to write this letter to you. This means I also can’t lift, often drop things, have to walk away while typing to let my arms cool down, can’t pull things, and most certainly can not defend myself with a blade and shield. Even if I did want to put on a lot of heavy armor to do something I grew up doing with my friends wearing only jeans and a t-shirt, it’s completely unfeasible to ask me to go out in a field to prove I know how to fight with a sword.

Especially since I have no desire to fight with a sword. I had a very brief, and now completely killed, interest in combat archery. That is dead. In fact, I also had an interest in the bardic arts, and this is currently in ICU. My interest in owning a trebuchet is limited by funds.

I know and understand fully and completely that in combat archery you may face someone holding their wooden weapon. One tap and you’re considered dead, so you have to show that you know how to fall, react, get up, etc. But you have to prove you know how to fight in the field as if you’re participating in heavy combat anyway to be authorized. There’s only one kingdom I’ve heard of that’s, in my opinion, reasonable in their requirements and expect combat archers to prove they know how to die and handle themselves in the field as if they were combat archers. Unfortunately I do not live there.

If you tell me that as a combat archer I would have the right to draw a blade and defend myself in combat, then I’d say, “Then that person, in order to carry a blade, should prove they can fight heavy combat. If they are not authorized for heavy combat but have proven they can act as a combat archer, then they should have no blade.” It’s simple logic.

Here is why it’s a problem for people like me.

Last I checked, there was this disability act that protected people with disabilities. Well I’m not diagnosed – that costs money we don’t have, and when I do go to the doctor I get told to drink water as if it’s some magical cure, but don’t get me started – and even if I were diagnosed, I’m not rolling around in a wheelchair. As I mentioned before, my disability is invisible.

So the subject of combat archery inevitably comes up because my husband, who has been in the SCA since he was 15, really wants me to be able to participate. The conversation then goes like this:

“You have to prove yourself in heavy combat first.”
“Okay, um… I can’t do that.”
“Bullshit.”
“No really. I can’t fight like that. I have problems with my arms.”
“Bullshit. Anybody can do it. No heavy combat, no bow and arrow.”

or

“We don’t do archery here.”

This is usually followed with, “We do have an A&S area but we don’t really have meetings or do anything active with it. Just let us know when you’ve completed a project so we can report it.” In case you’re used to that statement and find it normal, let me tell you what it really means. “If you want to participate in the SCA but don’t want to fight with a stick, you have your living room.”

At first I only dealt with feelings of frustration. These days while I politely waste my time explaining my condition over and over I’m thinking, “Why don’t you shove your stick up your ass, you damn jock?” Because it’s obvious they have no comprehension of anything else.

It has went so far that I even had to PROVE it to a shire in Louisiana. It was unofficial so I wouldn’t have to wear armor, just three folks hanging out. But we knew what it was, and after the first block with my spear (what I used to fight with as a kid) I couldn’t do anymore. I did try though. Five more times. Just five blocks. That’s what… a tenth of what you get on the field? And after that? I could barely use my arm for a bloody WEEK! Why? Because this attitude is a problem in the SCA that is why.

I’ve also witnessed a woman with claustrophobia being forced to wear maximum armor because the knight said so, all so she could draw a bow. She was nearly hyperventilating in there – but I guess because she simply couldn’t speak up for herself the way women are discouraged in doing she simply took it. I expected her to faint. What if she’d HAD? Wouldn’t THAT have been great for your rulebooks!

This leaves a lot of people out of the game. I do admit that some of my issue here is personal. You guys have your rules – too many of them for me – and you want to be very very safe and very very free of idiots suing you. I get it. That much armor and safety isn’t for me. I wasn’t raised that way, and prefer not to live in a cage of any kind. Or maybe I have too much self esteem. Who knows. But the rest… the SCA seriously needs to put out some sort of education about disabilities and how it’s not always someone in a wheelchair. Sometimes a person genuinely can’t do this thing, and when the thing has no direct bearing on what they want to do there should be a way around the issue – especially when they’re capable of doing what it is they want to do.

And incidentally I can draw a very light weight, child’s bow for a little while. The more I could use my arm like that the better I would get. Yoga also helps. But I’m not going to put myself through a yoga regime to please a bunch of asshats.

So just FYI. As for my husband and I, sure he spent his whole life loving the SCA. But he’s disheartened by fighting this as well. You guys put the boffer people down, but they’re willing to sport bruises. They’re willing to let people like me play. They’re not afraid to get out there and hit hard. I’ve seen them fight harder than anyone I’ve EVER seen fight in the SCA. Most importantly, they won’t require me to be a heavy fighter in order to play with a 10 lb bow. This is my husband’s suggestion. I wanted to keep him in the SCA, and at the time I joined up I thought it would be a great place I could be musical and meet like minds. My bad. It’s not. I’ve only met stick jocks, some of which suggested to my husband that he “ditch the family”, and if this is the SCA… screw it. I have my living room, which is a happier place when I’m not frustrated by the big kids not letting us play.

Thank you again. I’m going back to work now. Have a nice one.

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That One Time Appearance We Love So Well.

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

As of a few minutes ago, I am registered for my single planned public appearance for 2015. I will be, if all goes well, sitting at a table in the artist alley of Arch Anime, the Epic Anime Weekend in Collinsville, outside of St. Louis.

The fact that it’s so close to such a large metropolis is just a bonus. I picked it because it was reasonably close to me, AND… they didn’t judge and jury their table applicants. I paid for my table, and boom. I was in. As. It. Should. Be.

Also, they look to be a reasonably small convention considering it’s only just getting established. I’m sorry, world, if my dislike of crowds keeps me away from the larger conventions. Although I admit the judge and jury chases me away more than the crowds.

That being said, I’m really looking forward to it. Not following the powwow trail, as it were, makes my rare public appearance fun and special. Something to look forward to.

On Friday I shall of course be cosplaying as myself. As I do.

Not sure how I’ll approach Saturday, the day I like to do wear glitter or color in my hair or various things. It’s always a we shall see moment.

I hope to see you there. If you come, please say hello. I’ll have my charms on the table. Not sure if I’ll be doing portraits… it will depend on how my hand feels that day. I’ll have flyers for the Heavenly Bride. If I can swing it, I’ll have Book 1. If I can swing it.

Oh! If I hurry I can have Book 2 in the works in time…. (rushes to work)

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Epic

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Total epic craft fail this morning. Man, oh man.

In Jr. High, back when there were still Jr. Highs, my art teacher was Mrs. Bristol. I really liked her. She’s art director or principle or some such now. Good for her. But anyway, there was one thing she complained about early in my first year with her that I never forgot. “Cream puff art.”

Cream puff art, as she explained, was art that wasn’t really art. You took preconceived shapes and made things. You used other people’s ingenuity. In other words, cream puff art is something along the lines of arts and crafts. I think. I mean, it’s been a while.

But anyway. Because of that little lecture, which I can’t even remember the point to nowadays, I became a traditional artist. I learned to paint, to create, to avoid the “Measles” in my compositions, and do basically… stuff. Although I’ve been known to do some “cream puff art” I never really paid attention to the REAL cream puff art. Until now.

Jesus fucking CHRIST but cream puff art is hard. Mrs. Bristol, you’re nuts! It’s not cream puff art. It’s fuck you art, is what it is.

Decoupage is the current bane of my existence. I’ve tried this easy looking bit of cream puff art numerous times so far, and numerous times I’ve managed to ruin the project repeatedly.  For example, yesterday I spent all day along assembling a door sign collage. Sure it was normally the day I spent hanging around the house with the husband, but he was in bed sick and snoring. I was bored. ART!

The project in question is based on the concept of upcycling, which I do like to try to do on occasion. There are people out there who make it their mission to upcycle everything, but in my case I’m lucky to be able to think of how I’m going to upcycle anything. When I do figure something out I get all excited. So excited that I could have been working on The Heavenly Bride. But. But. Upcycling.

I took a tile display board a friend had sent me, cleaned it up, and set to work. I went through my cream puff art folder files. I picked just the right images. I wracked my cream puff mental files for just the right saying. I printed. I managed to get the cameo to cut. I assembled. I glued. And then, the most important step… I coated to protect it from the last step. And let dry overnight.’

This morning I still had a fairly decent looking project, so I took the final plunge. I brought out… the polyurethane.

Do you hear that? The sound off in the distance? Yes, that’s right. It was my project’s death knell.

You can see my good intentions. You can see the offending can of coating. The evil brush that participated in the craft vandalism.

You can see my good intentions. You can see the offending can of coating. The evil brush that participated in the craft vandalism.

Now, I didn’t like the design I had created anyway so it’s not a complete loss. So much as it’s a loss. Let me give you a closeup of part of the damage.

fail

In case you haven’t a clue, like my husband who wanted to know why I was lamenting quietly, if you look around the cut pieces you can see dark splotches. That would be the coating, soaking through all my layers. Ugh.

Well, obviously I’m going to try again. This cream puff art has proven to be a challenge! But it will be a while. I have rules on my work flow. Currently, you see, I’m fulfilling a craft order. This means crafts are “turned on”. When the order is fulfilled, I go back to being a scholar and comic artist again.

Eh. It’s a living. Or it would be, if I got successful at it.

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