2015…What now?

At the time of my last entry, I was attempting to find a path I hadn’t yet walked. This path included new opportunities for learning and for work. Being unexpectedly unemployed at the start of 2012 gave me the opportunity to feel like I had failed. On paper, I was not ‘at fault’ for the way things played out, but everything that I thought I was doing right in order to be termed a ‘responsible adult’ was gone.

These are the times when you ask out loud “now what?”, but inside you are repeating “oh shit” over and over again.

Now, I consider myself a lucky person. I had been given the opportunity and ability to go to college and earn a degree of my choosing under a program called GI Bill (chapter 30 and 33). Even though there is always this nagging voice that says ‘psst – get a job’, what I most desired at that time was to understand people. I wanted to know who, and why we are. I wanted to know how we relate to one another, how we come to like, dislike, love, hate, etc. What are our beliefs about each other, ourselves, and the world around us. I had a lot of questions about people, and especially, people in work places. To summarize – I came out of college with a bachelor of science in organizational sociology…that’s a mouthful!

So I had a degree, and a great job within days of graduation. Then another challenge came into my life and I accepted it – to move to a new place and thus, a new phase of life. My partner traveled ahead of me to the new homestead while I stayed behind and continued working at a job I loved until I found work. When I accepted the new position, I took a pay cut, but at least it was full time work, and it wasn’t too far off from what I had been doing. Lucky indeed.

December 30th 2011 was my last full day. My contract would not be renewed because the government had not issued the 2012 budget yet. I knew this was a possible scenario, and did end up coming to pass. Cheers to a new year with no direction, in a new place nonetheless. This was not my first rodeo, but it seems that I, too, had become comfortable in my life and had not been looking for a ‘do-over’.

So, I considered myself a resourceful person, even though savings only last so long, and most people judge you as crazy or worse, lazy, the longer it takes you to ‘figure it out’; i.e. get a job. In this new place, I felt paralyzed, and it seems that paralysis by fear and introversion become great excuses for each other. I went to the VA to seek guidance on finding a career track that was right for me, under the guise that in this new place, employers were hesitant to employ someone with a sociology degree, or rather; perhaps I just wasn’t good at selling my education to them as valuable. In my quest to justify the need for continuing education via a master degree, I was denied. My partner is following his dream, so I thought, perhaps business is the path for me…I failed.

When I started this blog, 2012, I was attempting to channel my thoughts and feelings about being unemployed, failures, creative endeavors – old and new, and sharing things that I think (or thought) I knew about, I had a lot of ideas about things I would like to do, and places I’d like to go, but no real passion for anything in particular, because I was still always just thinking about getting a job.

When I compiled that list, I found that most of the dream-like endeavors I wished to pursue had no guarantee of income, and I wrestled with this idea that the only way I am ever going to start checking off the list is if I have permission first. Permission from whom? I knew who I needed it from, but I thought I needed it from everything and every one outside of myself. But, lo and behold, even though I was granted that mental and emotional approval, I still held myself back.

I felt selfish, and lazy, and was running out of time.

It was my partner who encouraged me to look back and think about every time I said “I wanna do this”, and to just pick something and do it. Sounds easy right? I always admire those who just pick a direction and follow it, just as he does to this day. The summer of 2012 was spent watching dogs, reading and writing poetry, doodling, helping my partner with his game development business (doing things I knew very little about, but heck, I tried!). I researched my brains out every day to answer all the questions I have about myself, what I want, and how to make that a career. Anyone who does this, at any age, knows the roller coaster this is.

In the fall of 2012, I had my answer – I’m going to cosmetology school to learn how to ‘do’ hair. Holy crap, I made a decision. I still wasn’t quite sure if this was the right or best thing to do, but it was a start. I jumped in with both feet and went to school full time. This also means that I put a lot of other things away that I had begun to explore – and thus, there are no blog entries from then until now. I casually wrote poetry and scribbled around from time to time, but did not give it much opportunity to study in depth.

Fast forward to Spring 2014 – I acquired both a cosmetology license, and cosmetology educator license in that year and a half. I took a job at a salon, and a job at the school I graduated from as a substitute educator. I learned a lot and had a lot of new and interesting experiences. 6 months into working at the salon I realized something about myself – I love cutting hair, but that’s about it. I didn’t believe in what I was doing, and I had little passion for selling ‘beauty’ and the product of beauty to others. I also discovered that I love teaching. I still do.

For the first time in my working adult life, I quit a job. Really? Everybody quits at some point, you might say; so I will clarify:

I quit for no other reason than I just didn’t believe in it. *Ok well, I have another major reason, but I’ll talk about that in greater detail another time. I had left other jobs before, but I always felt good about having a reason – a next step; the ability to leave on good terms willingly, for reasons that always involved that next thing that was going to catapult me to the top of wherever I thought I was going. You know that feel right?

I quit just before the holiday season of 2014.

It is now 2015. I am “mostly” unemployed again.

I am happy to be on-call to sub, and am excellent at stretching a dollar, but find myself at what feels like square one again. It isn’t, because I will say that I have no regrets – I got to check an item off of my list, and I now know without a doubt that I am not meant to all that is required of a cosmetologist to do…granted, I still love to cut hair, but I do so now because I enjoy it and it is a practical skill I can use on my family and friends, rather than for a job. It’s something I give of myself to say thanks, and express creativity as well.

I now spend my days researching, doodling, writing, and searching for that “thing” that will bring a satisfactory career.

I still worry about money and penny pinch in order to survive this lull while my partner slaves away at his craft trying to make his dreams come true too.

Stocks have become my new hobby these last few years, but they do not replace good old fashioned job security – whatever that means haha! It seems that this path I have chosen is fraught with risk, unclarity, uncertainty, and with financial considerations…but what path isn’t eh?

While I do think I am closer than I was before, the way forward is unclear.

Even now, I am listening to Charles Eugster on TEDx proclaim that there’s “nothing to lose except the chains of convention”. He makes me smile, but like many of you, I still see chains, and those chains are mighty heavy at times. But I hope to let go of those chains – I think I can do it. I believe I will find a way towards a happiness that also involves economic satisfaction, even if it there is no longer a fixed, traditional, career attached to it.

Oh my, 1500 words.

Ending entry for today. Starting the discovery process again tomorrow.

Good luck to those of you in the same position! 🙂

By pepperonymous Posted in Start

Summer Mayhem, Summer Poems

It’s been an unusual summer.

Unexpected expenses come up, and there’s a lot to be done – but only 24 hours in a day; too few to be worrying about things, though the worry likes to creep in anyway. Sound like anyone else? I’ glad I’m not the only one – whew! 😉

I am altering my path again to give myself more opportunities for employment, as well as have the money to continue funding our business. No one said it would be easy but at this point, I’m still ok with that. Should everything pan out, I will be back to earning some dinero more this Fall.

~

So IF all goes planned, I will be enrolling in training this fall and blogging about how that goes. I will continue building my vector skills for making apps for Android and Apple, keep writing poetry for my ebook, and blogging about whatever other topics seems interesting at that time. I’m sure a little bit of that time will include Diablo 3 and Minecraft – ya know, as a stress reliever ^_^.

~

Although this is not a place for critique of poetry, I want to share some of the poems I’ve been working on this summer as I’ve been dealing with my own summer mayhem. I am sure scores of you have had to deal your own summer mayhem – if so, I wish you well on finding an outlet to express it as well!

Thanks and take care of yourselves! ❤

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10 Money Saving Tips for People Who Are Broke or Will Be Soon!

When it comes to saving cash and living within your means as best as possible, my mantra has become this:

“It’s about making a choice”

Since I left home at 18, I have had to find ways of penny pinching and making smarter decisions when buying groceries, furniture, and other goods. Without getting into details – if I didn’t learn to be somewhat frugal, I would have ended up in severe debt, and – if it weren’t for a free home provided by the military (yay barracks!) I would likely have been homeless. I will admit, I did benefit greatly from being in Financial Management career field, and that the fact that the AF really pushes airmen to be financially sound and develop good financial habits. So, in a way, I HAD to learn – for me, it seemed like the ONLY choice.

To the people and programs that helped me get to where I am today – thank you thank you TY!

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Below is a list of ‘choices’ I have had to consciously make and put effort into making a normal part of my routine. Some may gross you out, some may sound extreme, but really, I don’t think I’ve sacrificed my livelihood all that much at all.

**Keep in mind that prices vary depending on where you live**

1. No more fancy shampoo!

NOOOOO! ……….. hehe!

Why?

This is one of the first things I had to change. One day I decided to compare ingredients of different shampoos in the grocery store. To my shock, I saw that many of these shared the SAME ingredients, save for fragrance, moisturizer, and thickening agent differences (some shampoos are harsher/gentler than others, but when on a budget, those things become luxuries).

I was like – are you f*****g serious? I felt ripped off.

But then I thought, holy crap – Suave is 99cents compared to Pantene at 3.99, and looked even better when compared to the oh so wonderful Rusk and Biolage Shampoo that my salon would use ($15 – $23 at the time). I loved these shampoos, and even loved my Pantene, which I thought was a good compromise. But at the time, I was dead broke, with no money in my account, and couldn’t afford much more than food.

This was the choice I felt like I HAD to make so it would stick: “Food or Pretty Hair” – I chose food and never looked back.

Extreme? Meh, to each their own. 🙂

2. Use less shampoo and make it last!

Now that I had my 99cent Suave, I knew I was going to have to make it last. For me, this was easy, because I grew up having to share shampoo and stretch it as long as possible (anywhere from 6-9 people living in the house over the years).

Most of the time, shampoo bottle instructions say to “Wash, Rinse, AND Repeat”.

Unless you are really grimy, muddy, etc, skip the REPEAT part.

Use about 25% less than what the product recommends (use even less if really trying to stretch it).

I know this is hard to do if you have long hair – to get more mileage out of it, do NOT shampoo every day – your hair doesn’t need it, and you are stripping important oils and nutrients from your hair and scalp anyway. OR – Keep your hair shorter (cut yourself of go to the cheaper salons, use salon coupons for discounts, groupon, etc).

Once you have about a 1/4 or less of a bottle left, turn it upside down, or on it’s side so it’s easy to squeeze out.

Down to that last bit piling around the cap but hard to get out? Get a little bit of shower or bath water in the bottle, close the cap, shake like a mad man, then use to wash hair. Yes, it will be more runny, depending on how much you put in, but it will get you enough suds to lather up 1-3 more times.

I’ve done it – seems to work just fine 🙂

3. No more vending machine binges!

Example A:

A soda bottle in a vending machine where I worked cost $1.25. A can of Dr. Pepper was 75c.

A 12-pack of Dr. Pepper costs 3.99. Divided out and you’ve Dr. Pepper galore for 33.25cents a can! Take 2 to work if you really need the caffeine and you are still at just  66 cents!

Example B:

Scrumptious Cheezits were $1.00 at the vending machine. You get 1.5 oz of cheesy goodness.

Buy a 13.7 ounce or larger box at the grocery store. It’ll likely cost you about 3.50. Divide ounces into 1.5 oz portions and you’ll have 9 sets of cheezits to satisfy your snacking at just 38.8 cents each.

Even better: if you have no club card, go with a friend to Sams or Costco and bring cash to give to said friend. Buy a 3 lb box at about $12.00. That’s 48 oz/1.5oz= 32 servings; putting your cost at 37.5 cents per 1.5 ounces.

*The trick being that you can’t just pop open the box at home and eat the whole thing in one day – defeats the purpose of savings otherwise (sigh – I learned this the hard way lol!)

I was a notorious vending machine lunch put together-er. Working 12-14 hours a day, running around like crazy, I did not have the energy to put together a nice lunch and snacks to get me through. Not to mention, I was getting fast food every other day anyways.

One day, after giving a briefing to young airmen new to the base about financial management tips and how to read their pay stubs, etc, I realized that I was kind of hypocrite. I practiced some good sensibility with my pay, but there really wasn’t any way I could back up what I was teaching them except for some ‘really great websites’. I thought about my own fears about not having enough to live on or for basic necessities, and spent a lot of time being pissed at my own family for their financial idiocy. But the dumbfoundedness came when I realized this hypocracy, and all that talk and thought about not having time was really just allowing me to be lazy.

4. Change how you wash your clothes

When I was growing up, I did the family laundry, and learned some meticulous clothes washing habits. Perhaps primarily ladies know what I mean, but I know many guys wash laundry this way too.

So, in all (if I can remember), I had a lights pile, whites pile, darks pile, denim, towels/bedding, socks and underwear pile, red/maroons pile, colors/brights, and delicates.

All this means we had laundry detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, and bleach.

Though a HUGE pain in the ass and incredibly boring, I came to accept this as normal until I moved out. I suppose if you have 6 or more people living with you, you can get away with separating clothes since you will have the same amount of loads anyways, but for just one or two people – this level of commitment and expense to clean, fresh smelling laundry is ridiculous, and is sucking way to much money out of your wallet.

Here’s what I learned about laundry, and how I have saved money over the years, especially now:

A: Pick one smell or the other:

By this I mean, you either use a scented detergent OR dryer sheets. I cut out fabric softener as I feel that it’s largely unnecessary.

I typically use an unscented detergent in bulk (if i can find it), and store brand dryer sheets (same stuff, cheaper usually, and work just as well). I then use half a dryer sheet for a medium, full sheet for large load or blankets, and nothing for small loads or single items. I don’t use them all the time though, as I find that I like my clothes to not have a smell at all. Bonus: you can then use a bit of dryer sheet to absorb the smell from shoes, remove  static from clothes, in your suitecase, drawers, of for other uses. This will also save you from having to buy fragrance sprays  like Febreeze because they absorb odor just as well for many things for a fraction of the price.

B. Use less or NO detergent at all:

It’s kinda funny how the cap on many detergents is so large, but the fill line for a large load does even reach halfway up the cap. It seems almost psychological that we fill the cap up to the top, but using so much detergent, even the recommended amount is not necessary.

In fact, in many cases, I have found that I could wash my clothes with very little to NO detergent and still get clean, fresh clothing.

On a budget, that means I don’t have to buy detergent as often, and truth be told, no one has ever questioned clothing’s ‘cleanliness’.

I read online that a detergent stays in a lot of the clothing after the wash, which contributes to the idea that you don’t always need to use detergent. Don’t know if it’s true, but it seems to be the case.

C. If using liquid, follow same steps as the shampoo example:

Same idea – as it gets closer to empty, turn upside-down or on its side so it’s easier to pour, then use water from the wash machine, shake it up, then pour the remaining contents into the wash.

D. Use cold water!

Not only will your clothes bleed less, but you Gas bill will thank you immensely! I have been able to save between $20-$30 every month by washing less often, and washing in cold water.

E. Skip the Bleach.

If you do this, it does imply you’ll want to be more careful about stains, start wearing darker clothing, or have fun just saying f-u to societal expectations. I really don’t think most people are going to notice if your socks aren’t as white as the day they came out of the package.

Although, there are other alternatives for stain fighting that are great, but I don’t take the time to research ’em. Instead I have my dingy old “home clothes” that I don’t mind getting dirty to minimize ruining work or formal attire (i.e. hairspray is a decent one btw).

One thing I noticed while experimenting was that if I was new clothes separately the first 2-3 times, and color that would be have bled comes off in that time, and when I introduce them to the rest of my laundry, I don’t see any changes to the clothes or further bleeding or stretching/shrinking.

Works fabulous for a 1-2 loads gal who only does laundry once every one-two weeks – try it! 🙂

F. If it says lay flat to dry – go for it!

Not only will you save on electricity, but the time investment to pull out those items to lay flat or hang dry is worth the longevity I have gotten from my clothes.

I still have shirts and bras that look new and feel just as soft as when I bought them years and years ago.

Jeans will fade less by washing and drying less, work pants last longer and don’t get the balled up lint look on your butt.

I will admit, it took me a while to get used to this and take the time to do it – but it was worth it.

5. A few last soap tips: 

A: Buy bar soap:  It’s cheaper; there are great soaps today that don’t harm your skin.

If you are like me, you LOVE body wash and don’t want to let go. They also offer more in terms of mosturization and vitamins, but the cost may land you in the 4.99 – 8.99 range, whereas a bar of soap can be found as cheap as 99 cents.

HOWEVER: If you are going to buy body wash, skip the lotion afterward – a good body wash will put enough moisture in your skin that you shouldn’t have to lotion as much. If so, use less, and if you need a lotion – compare products and go for the inexpensive off brand, which usually contains the same ingredients and is sometimes made by the SAME manufacturer that makes the popular name brand (ikr!?).

At the end of the day, if it’s about saving money – bar soap is the best bang for you buck, and I have been converted into a bar soap user.

B: Buy off brand dish soap: and use less (same idea as all the other soaps talked about here).

6. Ditch the cable! (Oh the horror!)

Alrighty :::deep breath::: – Although I had basic cable, ditching it last October was really hard for me. Mentally, I was ready to let it go – it made financial sense, but emotionally, I felt like I had given up most other forms of expensive entertainment, that I thought I would go nuts without cable.

So, I said goodbye to cable, and hello to $50 back in my pocket – which eased the pain. In addition, we decided to downgrade our internet a little bit, and that kept and extra $20 from going to the cable company.

We added Netflix at $8 a month, so that we could still watch movies and our shows (Star Trek ftw!).

Then, I searched online to see what current shows are available to stream for free or without memberships, and to my surprise (and joy!), ABC, NBC, CBS, Lifetime, MTV, E!, CW, and other channels all let you watch most (if not all) of their current shows. The only criticism one might have is that sometimes they don’t post the most recent episode until a week later, but I have not found this to be a problem.

Going from $100 out of our wallets to $38 has been a great switch, and still allows us the luxury of watching TV.

7. No more drinks from restaurants or coffee/smoothie joints unless FREE!

Drinks are expensive. However, I often hear people say thinks like “it’s only 1.29 – no big deal”, but for how often many of us eat out, it very quickly becomes a big deal as your wallet is sucked dry more and more. Water is just as tasty, and you already stocked up on beverages from Sams/Costco. 😉

8. Still craving fast food? Order off the dollar menu!

Let’s face it, if you are used to eating out, it can be hard to cut cold turkey. If it helps, wesn yourself from fast food first by ordering just a few items from the dollar menu (no drink).

Then reduce number of trips to ff restaurants to once a week or less (if you don’t eat ff – no problem!).

Here’s a few mental tricks and new habits that helped me cut the FF:

A. Cost! At about $6 (or more) per meal, I was eating out as much as 4 times a week! Over a month, that’s $96 a month plus tax! If you can cut to once a week or less, and order only from the dollar menu – let’s say $4 total spent on one meal, you’ll spend only $16 a month or less! Use those free coupons you get in the mail to save even more. No shame in that! 🙂

B. Save gas money by not driving as much or not leaving your car running in long lines. If you still go, ride a bike or walk, or carpool with someone else.

C. Ask about student, veteran, or senior citizen discounts  and always keep these IDs on you. Often times you can get discounts or free items, which will help you save moolah. Example: Most Qdobas give students a free drink if you ask them and show your ID. I do this every time I go, to satiate my beverage craving. On top of that, sign up for a Qdoba card – you’ll get some great coupons (like buy 1 get 1 entree free) and earn points toward getting a free meal, chips and queso, etc. Otherwise, Qdoba can really bust the wallet! ^_^

D. Learn to say no to friends and family. Most will understand, but in case a few don’t (as I have experienced) – you’ll have to learn to stand firm and not budge from your position.

9. Stop buying clothes!

*If you have been taking care of your clothing per any other the tips above, your clothes will look nicer and should last a long time. It’s hard to separate need from want sometimes, and you might have to take a hiatus from your best shopping buddies to help curb your own shopping appetite. Your wallet will thank you!

Exception: Your size has fluctuated enough that your professional clothes don’t fit. If you are unemployed like myself, you know that if you are going to get the job, you have to look the part – in this case, shop within reason!

Ways to acquire what you need: 

Borrow It: If you absolutely NEED clothes, try asking the people around you if they have some clothes they would be willing to donate/borrow, even if just for one interview.

Garage Sales: Look to garage/yard/estate sales to find some hidden gems for super cheap – inspect them to make sure they are in good condition, and barter for the best deal when you can. Sometimes, if the seller hasn’t sold everything by the end of the day, he/she will start giving away items for free (this is how I got a free solid wood bookcase). This is especially true if a family member has passed on and the seller is trying to downsize. I know, a little morbid to think about, but it IS an option.

GoodWill or Salvation Army: You might be surprised to find some amazing, good quality, clean, damage free clothing for a great price there. I know because I have donated clothes myself that were brand new, worn seldom, or never worn items, such as dresses, shoes, work pants, nice tops, etc. Most of the time, I ended up donating them because they were too small, or because they were the kind of clothes that were stylish – but not my style. So by donating, you can get a bump up on the tax return and feel good about giving to others, and then you can shop at the same place for what you need! Win/Win right? 🙂

Consignment: A lot of people try to sell their clothes at consignment shops on commission, and you can find some really excellent quality stuff at a discount. However – do some research to make sure you are not buying something that is overpriced.

Ebay/Craigslist: If you have got your size and style down pat, check online sites like these for some good deals. You may get charged shipping though, so do the math to see if you are getting a good deal in the end. I have looked at both sites for clothes before, but have still not made a purchase because I can usually find stuff cheaper or for free elsewhere.

It took me some time to add up how much I was spending on clothing throughout the years. Though it may not have been exorbitant by some standards, it was still way too much for the lifestyle that I was living, and the lifestyle I live now. Sometimes I still get tempted to shop, but have gotten into a better mental habit of not putting myself in as many temptation-inducing places. However, when I NEED something, I now take time to research exactly what I am looking online in terms of style and what place has the best deal if I can get it from someone else or the other places listed above. This way, I can plan for a sale, research and print coupons from home, and look for the exact brand, color, and sizes that I think I might need to try. I then go to the store for just that item, trying them on quickly, and making the decision to purchase or not on the spot. If I am not satisfied with the fit (for something I would wear to an interview), I leave the store empty handed and continue with the research at home. It probably sounds like a weird process, but it’s one that helps me to stay focused on just that item without feeling bad that I can’t go on a shopping spree with friends. But, the nice thing is that time spent practicing good buying habits makes this a lot easier today, and makes me chuckle at how I used to think and behave.

10. Money saving quickies for common expenses you might not have thought about

A. Buy off brand versions of over the counter medicines and vitamins. All you need to do is check the ingredient list to be sure they are the same – this can save you $2-$5 a bottle! (especially helpful if you buy acetamaniophen or other pain relievers)

B. Buy Vinegar in bulk. Vinegar is fantastic for cleaning bathtubs, shower heads, toilets, and floors. It’s much cheaper in comparison to the hundreds of varieties of cleaners out there – many for insane prices! It’s going to be stinky, but definitely worth it.

C. At the end of your 2-year phone contract? If you are eligible for an upgrade, look at your carriers website for deals – for years I have been able to upgrade with FREE phones. The catch – you are getting a last season or not as popular phone, and it is DEFINITELY NOT a smartphone. I’m sure eventually smartphones will be up there on the FREE tab with 2-year upgrade, but for now, the free flip phone is your friend, and your cell bill may be cheaper without having to have texting or data plans (true for some carriers, not all). Pineapple Tidbit: don’t buy accessories at the phone stores – they charge an arm and a leg for accessories that you can buy elsewhere, or get from a friend who isn’t using theirs (check ports to make sure they fit).

D. Reduce car insurance. Good grades in HS and College can help reduce this – send in a report card or transcript to your insurance provider for an easy discount! Ask about other ways of reducing your car insurance while making sure you have enough coverage for accidents. Might take a little research on your part, but the savings is worth it imo.

E. Starving? Shop on sample days – some places have enough sample stands to really get a good meal out of it, since you have to shop for groceries anyway. Maybe this will shave off a craving for Burger King eh? 🙂

F. Cut beef, pork, or other meats from your diet. Not saying you have to turn into a vegetarian, but compare the cost of beef, pork, chicken, and fish sometime. These items can get really be very expensive. However, if you can get in on the cheap, buy it in bulk, and portion off to freeze. This way, you can still save money without wasting food.

G. **For the ladies: Buy Tampons/Pads in bulk when there’s a sale and stock for months – heck up to one year if you can. It’s a crime that fancy cotton, plastic, and cardboard is as expensive as it is, regardless of the brand. This is a personal thing.  You know what you like – search for coupons, sales/deals, and stock up. Then there is always product under the sink and never an emergency trip to get more. Kudos to the ladies that really go all out on the reusable/washable products – I’ll admit it though, I’m just not ready for that step.

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Whew – started to sound like a broken record. Sorry about that! Thanks for reading and I hope that some of these tips are helpful to you as they have been helpful to me. If not, that’s ok too! 🙂

It’s clear though, that I need to get better at editing and being concise and to-the-point. ^_^

Any one else have some great recommendations for saving $$$?

Thanks and best wishes to you all! ❤

Sweet Annabelle

 

UPDATE: Miss Nanna passed away on June 5th, 2012 at about 1:00 PM. RIP Annabelle!

❤ WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH! ❤

I never thought I would ever experience so much of an emotional attachment to my cat Annabelle, and the sadness I am feeling over her is overwhelming.

The last few days she’s almost completely stopped eating, though luckily still drinking some water.

Took her to the vet today to learn that she has a large stomach tumor.

Never thought I would do this, but said yes to exploratory surgery on the Tuesday coming up.

If they are unable to remove the tumor, they are recommending euthanasia.

Bawwing ensued.

Part of me is hopeful that it’s an easy fix, but the reality is sinking in that she’s likely at the end of her life at 13 years old, and that she may have months to live at best.

It took all this to realize just how much I came to love Nanna, and appreciate how much she has been there for me (who knew a cat could do so much!).

If we have to put her down on Tuesday, or even later on, I think this is probably the saddest thing I have experienced since my father died 5 years ago.

Annabelle~Nanna~stinkerbelle~annasmell~buttbutt~and all the other nicknames we’ve given you over the years – you’ll probably never know just how much we love you, and always will.

**hoping for a good outcome**
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

LGPL Terms & Confusion Over Commercial Application Distribution

OK.

First – Sorry for not finishing the Inkscape Cartoonify Tutorial! It is about half-finished and still in progress, but on hold as I work on other pressing tasks! Thanks for your continued patience! ❤

~~~~~~~

Now 

The last week I’ve been feverishly trying to read as much about the LGPL, or Lesser General Public License, documents and rules for compliance with distribution of Open Source Libraries in Commercial Products (not to be confused with GPL, General Public License, which I will not be addressing and don’t know much about except that there appear to be more rules and restrictions).

In a nutshell, this is what the LGPL is: a free and open source (F/OSS) copyleft license program published and supported by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) (please correct me if I misunderstood something!).

Additional note from Wikipedia:

  • “The LGPL places copyleft restrictions on the program governed under it but does not apply these restrictions to other software that merely link with the program. There are, however, certain other restrictions on this software.
  • The LGPL is primarily used for software libraries, although it is also used by some stand-alone applications, most notably Mozilla and OpenOffice.org

*Key words for me are SOFTWARE LIBRARIES, which is exactly what I am looking for, and why I am looking to the LGPL for distribution and compliance guidance.

~~~~~~~

While reading,  you probably noticed this term “Copyleft” – sounds funny right? I’ll put the GNU.org definition here, b/c I had learn it in order to understand anything about LGPL but otherwise won’t delve deep into:

  • Copyleft is a general method for making a program (or other work) free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well.”

~~~~~~~

At the end of it all, I wanted to blog about this because:

A) I find some of the descriptions and rules to be vague, as well as am, and I suspect others are, confused about WHAT TO DO to be in compliance, and

B) all I am really trying to figure out is how to apply the LGPL to the following situation (which I have been posting ’round the net to see what kind of feedback I get):

1. Can I deliver/distribute a closed source commercial application (ex: android app) using an LGPL unmodified, statically linked, open-source library?

2. If so, how do I interpret LGPL Section 6 (version 2.1) appropriately in order to be certain that I am in compliance?

**From what I have been reading, I CAN do this, and may charge a fee if I choose, but have to follow a very specific set of rules to do so, such as releasing the source code for the library and the mechanism that we program to read/access the data in the library, clearly acknowledging the work and any/all copyrights. I also understand that Statically Linking a library still falls under the category of a Derivative Work, since the library is being incorporated into the software in question, and thus, I would have additional considerations to follow (still working trying to translate the lingo in my non-technical head!).

I’m a big fan of F/OSS, but have never used it as part of commercial work before, and definitely wish to give credit where credit is due.

Thanks for your input!

~~~~~~~

Pineapple Tidbit:

Apparently one can CHOOSE which LGPL version he/she wants to follow – as I now see that there is a version 3, with 2.1 and 3 appearing to be the most commonly used license versions. Curious as to why Version 3 doesn’t 100% supercede 2.1…?

Do you have your library card?

The concept of a software library is almost exactly like a physical library that you might visit.

A software library, as I have come to understand, is a collection of data, instructions, methods, algorithms, and/or set of functions grouped together to fulfill one or more than one specific task or purpose.

I noticed while watching my husband over the years, that whenever he needed to code a function that he knew he would need to use over and over and over again, he would compile this code and store it in one of several libraries he maintains – kind of like writing a book, then shelving it, unshelving it, opening it, reading it, then closing and putting it back on the shelf gain once the knowledge desired was attained. For example, because we are interested in making apps for Android/Google and Apple, we have to have a user interface – .i.e. a screen with buttons on it. Since my husband has already coded several types of ‘buttons’ and functions of buttons before, he then pulls this saved code from his software library, and essentially “copypasta’s” it into the code for the new app, performs tests, etc. He seems to do this for a lot of things we take for granted as nontechnical users – buttons, lines, random number generators, sounds, scroll features, zoom features, and many other things I just don’t think about on a day-to-day basis.

On a professional level, if you’ve got programmers working for you, I would suppose that they are also making and maintaining their own libraries, or adding to and using libraries you may already have as part of your company assets. Although, I would think that also means that you may be employing programmers that may plagiarize others’ code, as that seems to be prevalent with university students; whether that is an intended action or not – all the more reason why a technical person should allowed to interview software developers rather than human resources personnel alone (another topic I would like to expand on later).

~~~~~~~

Break it down!

In order to ask questions 1 and 2 above, I needed to understand what I wanted, and discover that there are actual words and definitions for these things (who knew?)! It might sound dumb to people who are very familiar with F/OSS and programming in general (like my exceptionally patient life partner and eternal nerd husband, who’s eyes brighten when I oh so unknowingly ask questions about things in ‘his world’ that I can only hope to comprehend…thanks love!) but to a business or organization focused person, you might as well be wearing a shirt that says “It’s all greek to me” or my personal favorite: “Huh?” However, if you are going to be employing programmers and potentially using open-source libraries, you bet your whiskers you’ll want to understand some of the legal implications involved of using these in your commercial applications, especially where you charge $$$ for.

With that said, I’ll start with Static Linking and Dynamic Linking and how I figured out which one I would need for the open-source libraries I want to use.

~~~~~~~

Static Vs. Dynamic Linked Libraries

Think about what static and dynamic suggests to you as first, without trying to define these terms above. When I think of static, I think of something that doesn’t move, but otherwise, a static object that by itself doesn’t do anything, and doesn’t change. Dynamic then, may conjure up images of moving energy or parts, and the sense of being ‘of the moment’ or spontaneous. Does that help? Lol, if not, I hope this does!

Tech Def of Static Linked Lib: 

Wiki Def of Statically Linked Library: “In computer science, a static library or statically-linked library is a set of routines, external functions and variables which are resolved in a caller at compile-time and copied into a target application by a compilerlinker, or binder, producing an object file and a stand-alone executable. This executable and the process of compiling it are both known as a static build of the program.”

My understanding:

A library is in itself a software program. If I want to statically link a library with my own program. I, or -let’s get real- an employee, would have to write code that ‘talks to’ the library, then add this library to my program (simple to say, harder to do I’m sure). In this way, the library no longer exists independently of my program, as it has essentially been ‘absorbed’ into it. Statically linking also makes it much easier for my program to call up information, instructions, etc, from the library for execution, as there is no ‘middle man’ by which you would have to communicate through if the library and the program were to remain separate.

However, even though you didn’t modify the library’s code, the resulting combination of the two produced this “new thing” and is STILL considered a Derivative Work, as defined by the terms in the LGPL via the Free Software Foundation (FSF) —->if I am wrong please correct me!

Tech Def of Dynamic Linked Lib:

Dynamic-link library (also written unhyphenated), or DLL, is Microsoft‘s implementation of the shared library concept in the Microsoft Windows and OS/2 operating systems. These libraries usually have the file extension DLLOCX (for libraries containing ActiveX controls), or DRV (for legacy system drivers). The file formats for DLLs are the same as for WindowsEXE files — that is, Portable Executable (PE) for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows, and New Executable (NE) for 16-bit Windows. As with EXEs, DLLs can contain codedata, and resources, in any combination.

 In the broader sense of the term, any data file with the same file format can be called a resource DLL. Examples of such DLLs include icon libraries, sometimes having the extension ICL, and font files, having the extensions FON andFOT.[citation needed]”

 My Understanding:

Ummm, sooo….yeah, that definition makes little sense to me – what I do recognize though is all those DLL, or dynamic linked library, files I had to download to play Diablo 3 (tastiest present game ever btw).

From what I understood, dynamically linking a library to your application still requires the programmer to code the methods and instructions for talking to the library, but with some key differences.

The unmodified library REMAINS separate from your application. This also allows for OTHER programs to access the DLL  (assuming they have been programmed to do so) as well. In the husband example about making and using libraries, it was explained to me that because so many applications use the same features, functions, similar instructions, etc, having DLL files can be a very efficient way of managing multiple program functions and executions. If you think about it, if Software A uses a button,  Software B uses a button, and Software C uses a button, all on the same computer system or device, why would you then add the same button function THREE times for each Software package? If you did, you would consume more hard drive space and time to process each instruction from each different place over and over again. By using a DLL that executes the function called “button”, you could save both hard drive space and processing time and power.

**However, it does appear to be less efficient in the case where you may have only one program requiring the use of one library. In this case, the program having to call upon the DLL to execute functions and instructions may take up MORE time because of the ‘middle man’ concept – i.e. in order to talk to a DLL the program might have to rely on another mechanism, hardware, or other software to ‘deliver the message’ each time the program needs to execute a task. Here then, it would make more sense to go with a Statically Linked Library.

(Oh whew! I don’t think that explanation was as successful for DLL – if anyone can explain this in simpler words, please do!)

What this means for LGPL Compliance?

I believe this means that under the LGPL you CAN distribute your closed source application using the statically linked, unmodified library, as long as the you still release the library’s already open-sourced code, acknowledge copyrights, provide copy of lgpl, etc. Not sure if that means I would still have to release the part of my program coded for talking to the library, which I would guess is probably a good idea.

OR: release the program with the methods and instructions for talking to the library but don’t link or use the library itself – this way lets users provide the libraries under LGPL compliance, but you, the company/programmer doesn’t have to since you didn’t use, modify, or plagiarize any LGPL libraries (My guess is that there are some severe ethical implications here).

*Unfortunately, if we were to try to dynamically link libraries for future smartphone apps – we would then have to somehow deliver the both the app and the library separately to users right? It doesn’t seem like this would be an efficient way to do business and attract/retain customers and I don’t how you could distribute both independent parts as one download. If anyone has done this, I would love to hear about your experience.

~~~~~~~

End of the Road: 

Well , this is how far I’ve been able to get, but I know I’m not all the way there yet. Unfh – haven’t even really talked about what’s IN the LGPL! It seems like I better figure out what ‘object code’ and ‘executable form’ are before I blab any further.

TL/DR?:

I want to understand if and how I can distribute a closed source commercial application (as closed as I can at least) using an open source, unmodified, statically linked library while fully complying with the Lesser General Public License.

~~~~~~~

Whew!

Thanks for reading folks and I’ll write more on this topic once I’ve learned and understood a bit more.

Happy Memorial Day! ^_^

~~~~~~~

**disclaimer:

If any one comes here by accident thinking I’m an expert on the LGPL (HA!) please do NOT take these words to be some kind of gospel truth, get yourself in trouble with the FSF, and piss off open-source developers everywhere.

**Love our open-source developers!

Without them, many of us couldn’t do what we want and/or need to do function in this computer-oriented society! Many companies wouldn’t so easily be able to turn a profit if they had to design and code everything from scratch themselves (cause then you’d actually have to pay a software engineer and programmer what they are worth and keep them employed for a very long time), and shame on any companies that are illegitimately and illegally distributing F/OSS for profit, claiming it as their own spark of genius. :::hands jar of doodoo butter::: lol!

another resource:

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/439136.html

Break from Tutorial – Poetry & Publishing Detour

Decided to take a break from working on the Inkscape tutorial as I’ve been fighting a deliciously annoying migraine these last few days.

Been a while since I posted any poetry here, so I’ll post a few recent ones at the bottom.

I’m not really sure how much of my work I should be posting online though (I post most of mine on DeviantArt) – I’ve heard conflicting opinions on how much you should display publicly if you plan to publish anything in the future. Anyone have any experience with this?

I’ve been engrossing myself if learning about the self-publishing process after reading a blog written several months ago by James Altucher called “Why Every Entrepreneur Should Self-Publish a Book”.

Altucher’s blog got me started on researching options, % royalties depending on which sites you choose to self-publish through, and other publishing guides. Some of which I found interesting are posted below:

http://janefriedman.com/2012/02/10/10-questions-epublishing/

(lol – yes, I really did read all of these – best to get a lot of different sources of info/opinions/experiences before you ‘go for the gold’ i.m.o) 

Although I am neither a trained author or poet, artist, or entrepreneur, I started to think, “hey, this is something I can do that will allow me to personally fulfill a goal, gain legitimacy as a published author, learn more about the kindle device and publishing, amazon/creatspace, smashwords, etc.

As a bonus, since funds are limited for us at this time, if I ever could make a dollar at publishing a poetry book, then it was at least worth the attempt and the experience gained from it. Naturally, as my husband is quite the gabber when it comes to talking, blogging, and being active on bulletin boards and forums, I suggested that he might want to save his posts and tech rants and publish a small book himself.

I think another side bonus to self-publishing is content generation, which may help drive site traffic to our company site, blogs, fb, google play site, etc. Any way that we can drive SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) might just help us get the word out about what we do and what we sell (hopefully not coming across as just another spammer though – ick!).

*Android Developer KreCi did this by publishing a small how-to guide for Android developers on Amazon, on top of blogging about his process, monthly and annual income reports, and thoughts on using ad revenue generating tools such as Leadbolt.

*Fantastic information that really helped us with planning and making some decisions about our next steps. If you are a smartphone app developer just getting started, I would recommend reading his blog and reading about other people’s experiences and reports.

—–

I haven’t quite got so far as to actually put a book together – just assembling an old-and-new collection of poems to see if I have got enough relevant material to work with that I think might be ‘self-publishing material’.  It will likely be some time before I muster up the courage to go for it, but for now, I’m intrigued enough to TRY.

Plus, it’s kind of a nice break from working directly on our business, and helps keep me sane! ❤

When that time comes, I’ll do my best to document what decisions I make, why, and the resulting outcomes (income reports, if any – lol!),  and let you other self-publishing hopefuls (perhaps as timid as I?) decide what path you want to choose.

Thanks and good luck to you too!

—–

Morning Morner

Traci’s Current

Fort Omaha NB

How to Cartoonify a Picture Using Inkscape: For People Who Know Nothing About Inkscape: GETTING STARTED

 

 

 

What is Inkscape?

In a nutshell, Inkscape is a FREE, open source software program that you download from the internet that allows you to create using something called vector art. I really don’t know much more than that, and really only care that it is free to users who accept the terms of service.

For people who would like to read more about it before, during, or after trying it out, I found this link helpful:

http://wiki.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/Frequently_asked_questions

 

What are ‘vector’ graphics?

Wikipedia gives this answer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_graphics

Since I don’t understand what most of it means, here’s a more simplified answer:

 ‘Vector’ refers to a technique, not really a type of art in itself.

The best way I can explain it based on my own experience is to compare it to something else.  In my mind:

MS Paint is to Inkscape (vector art), as traditional painting is to tangrams

              

If you have ever used a painting program such as MS Paint, Mario Paint, or ever saw or played new games like Draw Something, the concept is similar to painting with real brushes that you dip into paint and use STROKE techniques to make a masterpiece on paper or canvas. Or, like drawing with a pencil and using a combo of erasing and re-drawing until you are happy with what you have created.

Inkscape is a vector-based art program that allows you to create, arrange, and color SHAPES, much like when arranging TANGRAMS into the shapes of houses, cats, people, or other objects (tangrams are the series of paper, wood, or plastic polygons, that teachers usually gave to kids to have them learn how to arrange and recognize basic shapes – not sure if this is US only or not). Instead of having to erase part of an object to ‘fix it’, you can manipulate the shape, angles, curves, etc, of the object, and rearrange the objects as many times as you like until you are happy with the final piece.   *If anyone has a better or more accurate analogy I would love to hear it! 🙂

Object manipulation, rather than drawing/painting, is how we are going to turn a picture into a cartoon.

 

Why use Inkscape?

I found Inkscape easier to learn than other free programs I have tried (i.e. GIMP, GraphicsGale, etc). Not sure if it just appeals to how my brain functions or if I like how it looks, but heck, I’ll take it! 🙂

One thing I found that I love is the ability to re-size objects and images while maintaining the quality of the object/image. What I mean is – no matter how much I zoom in or out, or re-size an image, the integrity of the picture is maintained, and I can then save the image in multiple size dimensions (inkscape saves it as .svg). I can also export an image as a .jpeg or .png for other uses. This has been especially helpful when designing logos for tshirts and making the bubbles, marbles, and backgrounds I made for our android app Bubble Zing.

 

Example:

Image re-sized in MS Paint appears blurry and grainy.

(image from: psd.tu-torial.com)

*There is a very technical explanation for this that I believe has to do with pixels, aliasing, and file type, but I am not confident that I understand enough or can explain it in plain terms here (google ftw?).

Vector image re-sized in Inkscape:

       >

(images made by me with Inkscape)

How do I get Inkscape on my computer?

Visit: http://inkscape.org/

On the upper left side of the screen, click ‘download‘.

To know which Inkscape package to download you need to know if you are running Windows, Mac OSX, or some other operating system.

Hint:

  • If you see any of these images on your monitor’s screen, you are running Windows.
    •    ,     ,  
  • Apple computer users are running Mac OS X (unless you who installed a different operating system on your Apple, or other computer – if not, ignore this statement).
  • Linux, Unix, etc – I’m sorry, I don’t know enough about these to be helpful here.

 

Once you have determined the operating system you are running, click on the appropriate installer and begin the download. Windows users, click ‘installer‘; Mac users click ‘.dmg‘.

Follow the instructions on the installer. I have found it helpful to close other programs before installing the program, and restarting your computer when finished, but that is a personal preference.

 

What Inkscape looks like when you first open it up!

 

My first thought when I saw this: “Holy craptostada! That’s a lot of buttons!”

As I played around more with Inkscape vector graphics, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t really need to worry about using them all. But yeah – how much I thought I would have to learn just to be able to draw a circle was overwhelming, but it isn’t so bad when you get used to it.

I hope you find this to be easier to use than it looks as well! 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ll end this part here and post the actual tutorial in the next blog (I know! All this pre-tutorial talk getting in the way lol).

Coming up:

How to Cartoonify a Picture using Inkscape for people who know nothing about Inkscape: TUTORIAL!

How to Cartoonify a Picture Using Inkscape – For People Who Know Nothing About Inkscape: BACKSTORY

 

 

 

First Time for Everything!

Ok, so this is my first real how-to blog.

Though it happens to be on a subject I know little about, circumstances have forced me to teach myself how to use a program called Inkscape.

In my own quest to learn, I have searched, read, and watched dozens of tutorials like many people out there – found some good ones, great ones, and not-so-good ones too.

I did not go to school for art, nor did I have much interest in being an artist by trade, but I believe that a bit of courage to ‘try’ and teach yourself something is all you need to produce something that you can be happy with, whether it is useful to you or not.

It took me a very long time to get to this point because I never used to believe that trying was enough – that you had to have that special sauce, the talent, the power, the money, the schooling, the triforce, the permission, and all those other things I used to tell myself to keep me from just ‘trying’ anything.

If you want to do anything in life, you have to and CAN start somewhere right?

 

Why am I writing a tutorial?

My husband and I decided to follow our dreams of creating and publishing computer games and smartphone apps.

The idea was that he would be the techie programmer dude that would be responsible for game design and the overall development process. My role, as I was trained, was to be the jack-of-all-trades admin guru – I would keep us organized, find people, money, and opportunities, and market our company and products to the masses. Two very complex and difficult roles for each of us to fill (although I think programming is probably much more mentally taxing), and you guessed it – a heck of a lot of time and money required to get there.

For years we have been searching for artists to either join our team or to make graphics, sprites, backgrounds, and animations, that we would purchase the rights to for each product.

As I learned more about the process, I came to realize we had a huge dilemma:

If we wanted high quality graphics, it was going to cost as much as $50K per project (average quote given by art studios we contacted based on specs for ONE game app) – money that we simply do not have access to at this time.

If we were going to get art from “starving artists/college kids” with no experience, we could get the work on the cheap or for free, but we could not expect them to understand what we need, deliver it, or be responsive IN GENERAL. In this case, many of the young college students that were excited about becoming graphic designers, 2d spriters, animators, etc, had not thought to develop a portfolio of their work (even if they were only assignments). When asked to do something, they almost never delivered, and sadly, some just didn’t feel confident about what they do, and some (sorry to say it) are just flat out too lazy to do things on their own. That is not to say that they weren’t nice or capable people – I think it just reveals who is ready to put their skills to work and who is not.

*To those of you that did and do deliver – you rock! I respect that kind of will and perseverance with a dash of ‘balls’ to develop your own craft without waiting for a degree or for someone else to say that you are good enough. We all know that talent alone does not guarantee success.

 

What does this have to do with Inkscape and turning a picture into a cartoon?

The list of resources needed to fill our art needs is growing. Hence, I wanted to see if I can teach myself ANYTHING about art that can help us reduce our resource requirement as an indie game studio. Even if the only thing I can do it make text, color pictures, or make sexy circles – these details add to the production value of a product.

Being able to fill these holes ourselves saves us $$$ and, well – makes me feel just that much more darn-tootin’ about what I can contribute to the process!

[my first art attempts used in Bubble Zing]

 

Back to the point:

Personally, I have had some difficulty with tutorials that are labeled for beginners because sometimes the tutorial writer sometimes doesn’t think about the minute details, doesn’t explain how they transitioned from one step to the other, or forgets about removing the language ‘barrier’ between technically trained artists and ‘the rest of us’, so to speak. For these reasons, I have found video tutorials to be the most helpful in my own learning process. However, you should choose the methods that work best for you – as each person can learn to do well regardless of how one learns.

Some of my favorite tutorial videos are by tutor4u on YouTube because the narrator is thorough, speaks clearly, and has a nice pace set throughout the videos – this made it easy to listen, pause the video if needed, repeat steps in case I did it wrong, etc. He is using an older Inkscape version I believe, but it looks the same to me I still find them to be very useful.

The tutorial I will post in the next few days is an attempt to show in as basic, simple, and thorough as possible, how to use Inkscape to turn a picture into a cartoon.

This is for the person with very limited, to zero knowledge of artistic tools, software, and/or terminology (like myself). Whether you want to do this for fun or for some project of your own, the point is you can learn how to do this without a background in art or fancy art programs.

 

You can haz TRIFORCE?

 

 

Yes, indeed!

 

 

Next blog:

How to Cartoonify a Picture using Inkscape: for people who know nothing about Inkscape: GETTING STARTED

 

 

Busy w/Bubble Zing and Being a ‘Boss’

Desperate times call for desperate measures!

Well, when you don’t have the funds – gotta improvise!

Recently we released a casual game called Bubble Zing on the Android Market (also EonEdgeStudios.com is up – but not public yet – we’ll post more soon when it is public).

Apple is still reviewing our application and submitted documents so I suppose we are back to the “hurry up and wait” game.

However, until we get some more funds, we’ll probably have to continue being a bit creative with stretching the dollar.

Bubble Zing is the first game made by myself and my husband that we felt has much greater production value than our other works so far. Although not trained, we managed to do all of the vector art ourselves (thank goodness for F/OSS like Inkscape and Gimp!). We also paid a local musician $50 for non-exclusive rights to a 42 second soundtrack he made – and I really feel like it made all the difference (thank you Dan Kramer).

B/c we offered it for free – google ads were definitely a must. Unfortunately – no admob or other advertising yet, but I think the progress we have made in 5 days hasbeen acceptable.

We are now in the 50-100 downloads range, and some of our euro buddies have agreed to help spread the word.

Further, I am researching into why our games appear to be more popular with people we didn’t know or directly market to in European countries. Right now, I’m not sure if it has to do with compatible technology, or cultural reasons that europeans are downloading our game more than americans. Either way, we are happy to have their support, and hope to be able to reach out to other countries as well.

Fortunately, the feedback has been mostly positive, and when it hasn’t – it has been brutally honest, which has allowed us to find and fix bugs right away.

On another note, every new situation is forcing me to really pick up the pace and figure out “how to be a boss” – not the kind of boss that tells people what to do per se, but the kind that is meant to inspire others, find opportunities, and lay the cards such that we have a solid foundation that is capable of growth despite possible setbacks.

Currently, my partner is the sole owner of the business officially, and I am to be officially hired as the CEO. Many people have pushed for us to be a partnership, but I’m not so sure that is the best thing for our business at this time. Without having experience, I suppose I cannot be certain if this is a good decision, but it feels right, and at the moment, will make it easier for us to take on projects and government contracts that do not require us to show who owns how much %, etc. That is another topic in itself…

So, here we are, man – woman, husband – wife duo, taking some huge risks with both our business and our relationship. Where one succeeds, the other may fail – but ya know, I think we can do it, and be victorious in both!

We are definitely a slow moving tortoise at this time, but I’m ok with that. It’s where we need to be as we figure out how to be awesome at business and awesome at life. ;-P

Of course – thanks to our friends and family, and strangers who are downloading our games from ’round the world. We couldn’t take these next steps without ya!

-Pepperonymous
*Bubble Zing can be downloaded from here: [link]

*Gameplay video here: [link]

*FB page up finally!: [link]

60

Found this old piece I wrote during a music appreciation class in 2008. Without giving too much description of the sounds themselves, I wanted to describe a scene – or rather, an event which took place over a period of 7 weeks – attempting to summarize memories with quantifiable information.

Kinda strange re-reading old forgotten works – perhaps it’s b/c my memory isn’t that great – or perhaps I have changed in a way that makes it difficult to recognize my own thoughts on paper!

Well, whatever it is, it’s been fun digging through the old scribblings and finishing them! XD

60

 

60 pairs of boots scramble into place on the linoleum.
Echoes of angry voices bounce off of walls.
Second hand of a wall clock ticks heavily and slowly.
Angry voices chase 60 pairs of feet up metal trimmed steps.
Sirens sound every hour, fading in and fading away.
Small intercom blares Taps.
60 are nervously trembling.
Light switch clicks off.

Sheets and wool blankets rustle.
Hung canteens rattle painted steel frames.
Half of 60 plastic torches click on and off for several minutes.
Metal lockers and drawers creak and slam.
Bare feet tiptoe back to bed.
Writing utensils scribble feverishly, crinkling the loose paper on pillows.
One hour later it is quiet again.
The air conditioning kicks on, like silverware rattling in a box.
Another hour – early birds chirp sweetly.
Another hour – roaring sirens.
Another hour – Reveille plays on the ‘giant voice’.
Light clicks on.

60 are startled by heavy boots stomping up the metal trimmed stairs.
Muffled yelling through the door becomes louder and louder.
60 pairs of bare feet hit the cold linoleum floor.
60 toothbrushes scrape across teeth.
8 shower heads squeak while turned on; water splashing against cracked tiles.
11 toilets flush over and over again.
2 are pounding on the steel door,
Shouting at 60 to hurry up.
60 run to lockers – clothing rustles around hungry bodies.
Sound of old door hinge lets in the muffled angry voices, now clear and strong.
All else is inaudible for 15 minutes.

At least 5 are crying hysterically at any given moment.
The zip of hard laces through metal hooks follow.
60 pairs of boots tromp and trip downstairs, chased by the 2 angry voices.
Outside, small raindrops fall steadily on the metal and concrete roof.
60 march away on the asphalt, disappearing into the mist-lain fog.
The cycle repeats daily for 7 weeks, until the final Reveille…

60 warm coins drop into in front-left pockets.

All sixty of us sigh in unison.

————
PMOaka Ponix7/Pepperonymous
(original: 1May2008; updated: 21Feb2012)

(also posted at: [link]