Well, my yearly "Fuck CE-Ray Day" stream didn't go quite the way I had planned. There turned out to be way less alcohol, way more productivity, and way less explanation of the last year than I had planned. ...but that's okay. I got this big-ass news post to fill in the gaps.
Honestly, "Fuck CE-Rap Day" isn't really about him anymore. He may still be a human garbage bag filled with diarrhea and leaking out the bottom, but I feel that there's really only so many times you can piss on a grave before you start needing to move on. I happily killed his entire online art career, stranded him eight hundred miles from home, and provided consultation that very well might have left him homeless and sucking dicks behind a Waffle House for heroin money. 10/10 would ruin again. I'll still crush him if he ever shows up, I just know he's not going to. He's effectively dead. The honest truth is that he ain't shit and I'm at a point in my life where there aren't a lot of pieces left to pick up.
The productivity slack of the last year and a half or so has been more about my IRL career than anything. I got into the HVAC trade and life has taken many twists and turns from there. I started out as a helper in a commercial HVAC company in Louisville. It was a busy job with slightly better pay than my last job and a two-hour commute. It was all about getting the skills and time in that I needed to get my license. Unfortunately, that ride ended after seven months. The company had made some unwise business decisions and wound up having to lay off pretty much all of their helpers. Eventually, that wave hit me and I got served my pink slip with five months of work experience still left to go before I could be considered a prime candidate for hiring. Not good.
What followed was two months of unemployment and staying on the knife edge of being broke. Looking back on it, I should have enjoyed it more as the vacation it was, but I was in no place mentally or emotionally to effectively use that time. I kind of just treaded water.
I did get into a small local company afterward, though. On paper, it was exactly the kind of job I wanted. Close to home and no commute. However, the pay was shit and the work was more about just getting through the day than anything else. It wasn't hard, but I hated every second of it. It really only paid marginally better than my unemployment did, so I was basically just trapped there until I got in the time needed for my license. I wound up staying there for seven months and my depression reached all-time-high-gun-in-the-mouth levels. Needless to say, I wasn't getting a whole lot of animation done. As I believe people with depression already know, sometimes it takes all of your energy just to hold your shit together.
Thankfully, I held that shit together long enough to get my license.
Now, I'm two months into this new company in Louisville. I still have a commute, but it's only 90 minutes round-trip and the money is good. It's very hard work at times but I don't hate it. I'm getting my shit back together and the crippling depression is nowhere to be seen. PLUS, this new job has some perks that may help my animation drive tremendously.
It's summer crunch time right now and it's not at all uncommon to work twelve-hour days. Sometimes the shit really hits the fan and I'm clocking 14-16 hour days. Summer has the potential to be three months of non-stop "get up, go to work, come home, shower, sleep, repeat". So, animation productivity ain't gonne be much right now. However, the payoff to all of this life-wrecking work in the summer is the relatively chill remainder of the year. Some of that time will be spent in the office having nothing to do but wait for jobs that may not show up at all.
Every other company I'd ever worked for always had a "Time to Lean, Time to Clean" mentality where any lapse in productivity was answered by handing out bullshit busy work. Not this one. The busy period brings in so much money that they absolutely do not give a DAMN what you do in the off-season as long as you're at the office and on-call. That means a lot of time for a lot of guys to sit around, watch videos on their phones, and gripe about how boring it is. I have seen this in action. I have been paid to sit around the office all day and do nothing. It's real.
...but I have a laptop. Also Flash. ...and lots of animation to do.
So, in the off-season, it'll basically be me sitting in the office all day with little to do but get Flash shit done. It's almost like being paid to animate. It's not, but it's almost. ...and right now that off-season looks to be about six weeks away. Ten at the latest. Then it's ON.
So, that's my life right now. I'm in a healthy place mentally and emotionally with a very bright light now currently visible down the tunnel. The last eighteen months of bullshit is drawing to a close and I'm ready to finally start making up for lost time.
I've just got two story scenes left to do on VGE4 and some cleanup before it's done. My motivation is up and now I'm just waiting for my stars to align on my work schedule.
VG Exiles: Out of Pocket
This all-new series isn't really a spinoff of the "main" VG Exiles story. While it takes place within the same kinda-sorta continuity, it is completely separate from the main series and the two shall never intersect. This new series will focus on the "smaller" game and sprite styles (Like Mario, Sonic, Megaman, etc.) rather than the "bigger" established fighting game sprites of MK, SF, KOF and such. As you can imagine, it will require stylistic and technical developments for everyone involved. VG Exiles is about to enter a new frontier and I hope those of you who are still around enjoy seeing all the wild places we go to with this.
In case you missed the seven-hour-long Twitch stream, I'd like to leave you this little test sequence that was built live and will be used in the first episode:
Crazy shit's coming, folks. Hang tight.