I do far more reading than commenting or writing in LJ these days. I am too busy!

We have a big deadline looming on a major project that eats up a lot of my time that is pulling in talent from practically every department at the company. I'm also finding myself constantly juggling scheduling for our handful of site content and sponsored game programmers. Love it, but there is certainly no room for relaxing much... I'm always doing something, or planning to do the next something. That's the struggle of a Resource Manager. I even had to run in for a little while today (Saturday) to catch up on small things that got put by the wayside focusing on the big project until 8pm Friday night.

Hoping my buds who went to GDC had a good time. Maybe one of these years now that I'm part of this world too I'll actually find out more about where you've been going for years!

Also spent a little time this evening making a flyer advertising the Women's Book Club for the church. There's a new person in charge, and since the whole group knows I'm the writer of the bunch, they've called on me to do the PR stuff. Which I don't mind, just the timing's a little tight.

I still have to read the articles for our next issue of Women in Animation's WORKS IN PROGRESS newsletter as well (I've been coordinator on that for the last couple years now), hoping to do that Monday at absolute latest. Right now I can't give them the attention they need.

In the interim, I'm *FINALLY* getting around to reading Connie Willis' TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG (which I've wanted to since I saw and briefly met her at Worldcon in Anaheim, oh, more than a couple years ago). Fortunately it has many short chapters in that large book. I totally devoured THE DOOMSDAY BOOK - the first thing of hers I read - when I bought and read the entire thing at nights during Worldcon, could not put it down.

And that's me for the time being. The one thing I miss is, outside of the copyediting I do for FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, is that I'm not getting much personal writing done right now. Maybe after this really large project goes away...
Not me, I tell you.

My membership's totally current.

But I never got a ballot.

They announced the WINNERS today, I understand.

So I bothered to go to all these screenings this year... why???
I actually got a room, to my surprise. It's the Doubletree (formerly Radisson) I was at a couple years ago and not all that crazy about, but maybe the change will bring improvements. As bad as the computer servers were this morning I thought the odds were really against me for getting a room.

What makes it so tough for me is that I have to get something on a con shuttle route if I'm not walking distance since I don't drive. So, no Con hotel would have meant missing my first San Diego Comic-Con since I moved here in 1996.

But you know, really, truly, it's not about the madhouse of panels and exhibit floors. It's completely and totally sentimental. For one, I was born in San Diego, so I like making an annual pilgrimage to my birthplace - and missing out on my annual trek to eat at Anthony's Fish Grotto would be so not cool! (I'm told my parents ate there often when Dad was stationed in San Diego)

Add to that the fact it's the closest thing the fiance' and I had to a relationship anniversary before the proposal. We'd known each other first via online and mutual friend recommendation but hung around together all the time when I first came down. I actually went to Con on his guest pass just weeks after arriving. It was the year that the convention was July 4th weekend due to the Republican National Convention happening during the usual time frame it was held. Which gave us some awesome fireworks that weekend, and not only the ones in the sky kind ;) Yeah, we first kissed on my hotel balcony with fireworks going and all that in the hotel across the street from Anthony's, making Con part of what took our relationship into new waters.

So I don't go for the reason most comics/animation geeks do (though I am one!), and it would really have depressed me not to get the hotel room.

Now granted, I haven't asked for the time off yet. I can't do that for about another 3 weeks given my current situation. At which point I'll file the paperwork immediately! If I can't go, I'll still be sad, but it's easier to turn around and cancel the reservations then wait and find I could go but there's no room...
... but after hearing the news this morning I'm glad I chickened out.

I'm one of those 20% of California voters who are non-partisan, and who COULD have voted Democrat or American Independent. And when Edwards was still in the race I SERIOUSLY came THIS CLOSE to doing it, if for no other reason than his support of the WGA and showing respect for the union fight.

But after he dropped, I never felt enough passion for Obama or Clinton (never mind the other party) to go with one or the other. Which is sorry to say, really, but I'm relieved in the end.

Apparently due to an extra bubble that had to be marked if a non-partisan voted one of these parties, that many people didn't understand it is claimed, their votes will not count. Recounts are being pushed for, etc.

But I know how I voted. I voted for no one. I can feel confident my vote is not lost, and valid and counted for local propositions and concerns.

However, as I also said before, that's sad and sorry to say.
Oddly enough, I could relate to that line from a Red Hot Chili Peppers song ("Fortune Faded") for a lot longer than I care to admit. It was like everything that could have gone wrong, did.

And even though I'm so busy now I hardly have time to have a life (though I wouldn't know what to do with that time if I *DID* have it), I am still so grateful for everything I do have. Even when things get stressful and messy, I can endure it even if I'm clearly getting frazzled. And I won't lie, this job's had me frazzled a time or two. But what job doesn't?

But it's not every day. I'm not driven to the point where I feel I have to use the Employee Assistance Program to see a shrink anymore. I'm not constantly being told I can't do anything right (quite the opposite right now, actually, I feel like I have to remind people I can't do everything...). There's at least a slim chance my wedding plans can be salvaged, versus the hopelessness I felt surrounded by just three months ago. My family issues, while not ideal, have reached the point of stability.

I guess I just want to give praise tonight that dark times do have a light at the end of the tunnel.
Fortunately it's only a couple weeks since I posted, but indeed it has been six months since Kevin proposed to me over the phone from Northern Ireland. This was in part symbolized by going in to where we got the ring for the six month cleaning and inspection for the insurance. Yeah I know, how NOT romantic... ;)

I wish I could say we'd made more progress in this area, but we really haven't. We still have no date. We're only now back to where we were six months ago before I was so unceremoniously let go from my job. I received an offer this week that will have me at the company I'm at for the long term, and it far surpassed any expectations I could have had. But there's still the reality of having to now put back in savings all the money I used for getting COBRA insurance set up, and to live on when there was difficulty getting unemployment due to the California wildfires due to the way the EDD offices were messed up, and all that.

The larger obstacle remains what it is has been... Kevin still doesn't have any steady work. He's had a fair number of promising interviews and all, but nothing that's come through. And to his credit, he doesn't want to live solely off me the way he's been living at home for so long. But we both know that the longer nothing happens for him, the longer we're stuck.

But with everything I've been through in my life, no matter how frustrating it gets sometimes, I wouldn't trade Kevin for anything.
Hi all! I have been reading posts, commenting occasionally, but not reporting much in my own journal for a while. Mainly because work has kept me so busy, which is good. I'm getting to do a lot that's fun and exciting, but also challenging. Also in the last week or so I've really been getting into Facebook with a vengance. My sister got me over there but I didn't use my account at first... but now that I've found people I work with there, I'm hanging there more than I used to.

Also working on some more cooking challenges. Tried making fudge on my own and that went relatively well (though I think it'll be even better if I use butter over margarine, not for health but consistency). Tonight, I used the new grill pan I got for Christmas and tried to stovetop pan grill chicken breasts. A little less successful, I don't think I pounded them thin enough was part of the problem.

Just finished and turned in an feature length online article I was solicitied to do in November right after I got this new job that isn't due until February 10th but I wanted them to see it a couple weeks early for comments. It's for a site on women and writing but they haven't ventured into talking about animation writing before. So even though I have past samples to refer to, this is still somewhat of a unique case.

I have Monday off when I intend to totally relax.
I'm down here with Kevin's family again kicking off the New Year. Last night we went to First Night Fullerton, the city's community celebration. Today we will gather over Kevin's Dad's homemade soup and chili, along with family and friends.

Hope all of you are getting 2008 off to a good start and have a great year!
(ack, can't get Alvin and the Chipmunks out of my head, and no I have not seen the movie)

I have today and tomorrow off, though I'm working Wed-Fri and off again until the following Wednesday. Don't get paid as a freelancer, but I've done enough OT I *should* be OK. I knew this going in.

I can't say enough how much I'm totally enjoying my time spent at Neopets. I both get to keep things organized and the creative juices flow as I help people problem-solve. My ideas don't always work, but at least I get to suggest. And with one of the Project Managers having been sick, I got to help take charge on some things.

Though I've been fighting another round of nasty sinus stuff myself, as I tend to a couple times a year. Finally caved in to getting some antibiotics from my doc the other day to help me not be miserable over the holidays. Still struggling slightly but I feel much better.

Yesterday I spent time with my finace's family and had an excellent dinner with Kevin's aunt and the woman she lives with (they live together sharing expenses after their husbands passed away in recent years). The other woman's grandson is a child actor and has been a lead on an episode of HOUSE, and still does commercials and films, but he is a smart level headed kid who does it because he enjoys it but also knows when to put life first. That's a rarity in this biz.

I'm still down here with the Brodens through Christmas Day. Tonight we'll be going to Christmas Eve church service (we normally don't manage it due to needing to see other family, but the 3 day weekend helps), and tomorrow we'll spend time with his sister's family.

Hope everyone is doing well and having a happy and safe holiday!
Despite being sick I did use the webcam again to "sit in" on my niece Sara's third birthday. This time we were plagued by video only and no audio, so my brother in law Dan had to transcribe everything. Regardless, it still brightened my day :)

The first time we did this for my nephew's birthday, it worked great. I'd just like to see it work again. We're not planning on doing it for Christmas as we'll be with Kevin's family and his Mac is not compatible with the program that Dan and L use with their camera.

But I look forward to doing this more often. I like being in touch!
It's been very busy for me lately. The only thing that's slowed me down is coming down with a horrible cold (which at times feels like flu, but more of the symptoms are cold-like starting Saturday morning, which effectively trashed my weekend.

:(

Will have to play it by ear regarding work tomorrow. No sick pay as a freelancer, but so far that's the only downside of a job I love. As of the other day, due to some rearranging I knew was coming, I'm also now helping to track and coordinate resources for the new Sponsored and Site Content Games that are created, giving me an even more active role.

We had the year end all staff meeting and a company open house (i.e. bring family and friends to show off the digs) on Friday that were both really, really fun! I brought Kevin to the open house and showed him everything, and how close so much of it is to an animation series environment - from the people to the equipment.

What I'm worried most about is who else will come down with similar symptoms to mine just before a lot of people leave town for the holidays. It'll really muck with the workflow...
The last few days have been very unusual, so I thought I'd share... and yes, though I'm a writer, no, I'm not making any of this up :)

1) STEWARDSHIP AND THE SINGLE IPOD

I don't know if Apple still throws in free engraving on your iPod when you order direct at apple.com, but that was definitely the best choice I ever made. You see, for almost exactly 3 years I've had my trusty iPod mini, on which I spent all my Christmas money that year and had my full name and cell phone number engraved on the back. I don't want to watch videos on such a small screen, nor do I need a color display. This iPod mini's held up and done everything I need - keep me amused on my weekly Sunday train trips to Fullerton, mainly - and I never once misplaced it... until around Thanksgiving. Because of bad rains, I didn't even notice it was gone until last Saturday when I went to do my weekly recharge. I tore the apartment apart looking for it Saturday night. No one at church came up to me Sunday saying they'd found it. I checked at work Monday and it wasn't in my desk and reception hadn't seen it. I even bothered to ask at the Chinese restaurant I'd had to eat lunch at several days the previous week, but their English wasn't good enough to get the point across and they kept thinking iPhone. :P

So I consigned myself that the iPod either was going to end up getting sold for parts (I mean it's engraved with a name and contact number, one would have to be pretty brash to fence it directly) or someone kept it for themselves and used one of those outer wrapping casings to hide the engravings. We'd been talking about stewardship and ownership at church recently and decided that the iPod had lived a good life, and depreciated enough in 3 years that it wasn't that huge a loss, and maybe I didn't even need to replace it. Out of curiosity, though, I did at least wonder the iPod's fate - so I wrote an email to the church secretary (also following up on a press release I did for them and just sent out) and mentioned the iPod. Just after I sent it, I found a voicemail message waiting for me on the Blackberry... as I'd been sending, the church secretary had tried to call to let me know the head janitor had just brought in my iPod and they knew it was mine from the number on it. God works, that's all I have to say about it. And it really got me thinking on how material things aren't always all that important. I could live without the iPod if I really had to. But now I know where it is and I'll get it back next weekend.

Now if I only I could do a similar kind of engraving to my Blackberry... but what would I put, my home number? I mean, I can't suggest that people call it! ;)

2) NOTHING LIKE A LITTLE FIRE FOR SOME COMPANY BONDING

This afternoon, I get up from my desk and decide to take a restroom break at work. We have most of the floor, and but the one set of restrooms are off in one corner away from most of our part of the floor. The most efficient way for me to get there is to go through the elevator area since my desk is way in the far corner of the whole office. Anyway, I never make it there. As I'm walking across I watch the DOORS START TO CLOSE IN FRONT OF ME AND A LOUD NOISE START TO GO OFF. Even though we've just had a fire drill 2 weeks prior and I know what the sound is, I still go all deer in the headlights knowing the other doors behind me have just done the same thing, meaning I'll be trapped! Fortunately I had prescense of mind enough to turn and see one of the staff right by the door grabbing it so I can jump back through. So I evacuate with the others through the nearest staircase, which is unfortunately NOT near my desk, which means my personal Blackberry is all I have on me... my money, ID, bus pass, jacket, etc are all back at my desk.

As we go to our evacuation area, we see smoke - a fair amount - pouring out of the parking garage. Also, I've never seen so many fire trucks in my life. I think there were six in all by the time we were done (four engines and two paramedics), plus at least two police cars. Apparently someone's car caught fire in the underground parking but I never did get full details. After a while, somehow we are told we can go back in and everyone heads back only to find the strobes still going and the announcement kicking in. Some of us go back out and wait a while longer. When most people don't come back, I finally decide to brave it and retrieve my stuff though the strobes still seem to be going, people are coming and going from the building and not being stopped. (I think there were some communication issues). Came back upstairs to learn they DEFINITELY DID NOT WANT US BACK IN THE BUILDING until they were sure all the smoke cleared out - about 30 minutes or more. Used the opportunity to grab my things and dash out the exit door near my desk.

In the end, a bunch of people who needed to wait it out went to a sports bar down the street, and even though I'd just be heading home (since they decided to let us going being 5pm) I joined them and made a dinner out of very good bar nachos and iced tea. About 30 of us in all, apparently this place is normally really quiet. Great opportunity to get to know a lot of coworkers better. Though I laugh about it now, I'd rather not do that again anytime soon!
Just a quick recap:

- Very much liking the job. Have become involved in nearly every aspect of things in a month. Some of that didn't happen until just this past week, but all in all I feel like I've done more in a month than my entire last job. Yay!

- Somewhere in all of that, I insanely fit in NaNoWriMo. And, as you can see by my icon, I won for the third year running. I signed up figuring I'd be all but unemployed but had this new job starting Nov 1. However, with two books of nonfiction behind me I knew my fiction was rusty, but I just couldn't let the challenge drop. I just barely made the needed 50K word count but I got it two days before the end! Due to the job situation (both unemployment and job starting on the event start date) I didn't outline this as much as I would have liked and as a result the plot has taken some rather unexpected turns. I need to go back and look and rethink what I did the past month and decide how much of this I really want to keep. But hey, I did it!

- Kevin still needs work. We haven't gone back at all to really discussing getting the wedding plans or anything, in part because of my settling into the job really hasn't allowed for it. Now we really have to decide how to go about tackling all this, hopefully things will fall into place better by the new year.
I've actually been working a couple days now, but wanted to not say too much until I knew that this job would actually be a go and not jinx anything.

Effective November 1st, I began (in a freelance capacity with the possibility of going staff in future) as Resource Manager for the virtual world and casual gaming site NEOPETS, which now is part of the MTV Networks group since it was purchased in 2005. This site allows for the ownership of up to four virtual pets that are similar to animals we know in real life but with more fantasy qualities, and through the playing of games earn Neopoints for getting them food, furniture, books to increase their knowledge, and more.

The site's been in existence since about 1999, and interestingly enough I applied many years earlier (2002) for a Content Writer position at this same company, plus I know several preteens that are into the site. I think this familiarity has helped me hit the ground running quickly.

I now make a daily commute to Glendale where I interact with developers and artists to make sure that no one carries too much of a load and are assigned tasks that are skill-appropriate as games and site features are designed and launched. I've only been there two days, and having an absolute blast!

More as I can. I'm still in NaNoWriMo this year, but this first few days have been a personal struggle for me. Not to mention that they've been plagued by site difficulties this year, which has made it hard to log word counts in any precise way. We'll see how it goes.

But overall I'm very happy.
My very first podcast is now available! I had the great fortune to be interviewed by Samuel Vera of CATCH DA CRAZE, a show about all things independent. Hear me talk about how I got into the animation industry, my collaborative webcomic FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, and my book GARDNER’S GUIDE TO WRITING AND PRODUCING ANIMATION.

http://catchdacraze.com/episode94.html

Take a listen to Sam’s part (the first section of the program). I really like what he has to say about charity and donating your time.

So Catch Da Craze!
A lot's been going on lately.

1) I got laid off from Animation World Network (AWN) Friday, no prior notice. All I can say here is that it's a quickly evolving industry and things needed to go a different way than the direction they were headed. At any rate, if you know anyone in the LA area that's hiring in something I can do and am reading this, drop me a line.

2) This is really bad timing as I am in the midst of trying to plan my WEDDING. Yes you heard me right. Kevin officially asked me to marry him August 26th over the phone when he was still across the ocean in Ireland (which frankly was a better way of surprising me than ANY big to-do back here). After 11 years of being together, as many have said, it's about time :) Hadn't said anything to many people early on, and had been planning to about now anyway, but now it's very topical given the other situation. Fortunately we hadn't firmed a date yet. Especially now that neither of us have jobs :P

So what am I doing right now? I'm mixing my time right now between job hunting, renewing contact with temp agencies, writing (including signing up to prepare for this year's NaNoWriMo, something by contract I wouldn't be able to do were I still employed where I was), and doing some cooking to save money by eating at home. Did ribs again in the mini-crockpot tonight with storebought potato salad. Half tonight, half tomorrow.

I have to get up and keep on going. I will not let where my life is right now beat me. I will not give up.
Karine passed this one on along, and I'm running with it. It's that kind of day.

**Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following...

**They have to be real places, names, things...nothing made up! Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same 1st initial.
You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question.

What is your name? Shannon

4 letter word: Sail
Vehicle: Spaceship (type or brand not designated, so I went with type)
City: Spokane
Boy Name: Stanton
Girl Name: Shelly
Alcoholic drink: Sherry
Occupation: Secretary
Something you wear: Shoes
Celebrity: Sally Struthers
Junk Food: Snickers (TM)
Something found in a bathroom: Soap
Reason for Being Late: Sleeping
Cartoon Character: Superman
Something You Shout: Safe! (such as when someone slides into home plate in baseball)
Thanks to webcam, I got to sit in on my nephew's 7th birthday party and even sing happy birthday to him :)
I saw this on my sister ljaesch's blog some time ago, but I've been way too busy for a while now. So tonight with time on my hands, I wanted to try the same experiment and see what happens. Some songs I don't own, so I know it can't be exactly the same, but it'll be interesting if some genres at least match up.


"The Soundtrack To My Life"

So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc).
2. Put it on shuffle and press play
3. For every question, type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button.
6. Don't lie!!


Opening Credits:
Kenny Loggins - "Footloose"

Waking Up:
Rufus Wainwright - "Halleujah"

First Day At School:
Jars of Clay, etc. - "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"

Falling in Love:
Voice of the Beehive - "I Think I Love You" (and no I didn't rig this, and yes it's a Partridge Family remake)

Fight Song:
Billy Joel - "All About Soul"

Breaking Up:
Lisa Bevill - "Ride" (an easy listening Contemporary Christian artist)

Prom:
Original Broadway Cast of LES MISERABLES - "Overture/Work Song"

Mental Breakdown:
MercyMe - "I Can Only Imagine" (another Contemporary Christian artist, and statistically I do NOT have that much material of this nature on the iPod, so very interesting...)

Driving:
Bruce Springsteen - "Tunnel of Love"

Flashback:
Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories - "Do You Sleep?"

Getting Back Together:
Salt-N-Pepa - "Shoop" (umm... blush...)

Wedding:
Talking Heads - "And She Was"

Birth of Child:
David Sanborn - "Bang Bang"

Final Battle:
Fleetwood Mac - "Tango in the Night"

Death Scene:
Patty Smyth and Don Henley - "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough"

Funeral Song:
Scorpions - "Passion Rules the Game"

End Credits:
Scorpions - "Believe in Love" (and yes it was on shuffle!)

... ohhhhkay. If nothing else that was a very interesting experiment in how our two musical libraries differ. Hers I think is much more diverse than mine.
Not like I've seen that many from the Tom Baker era (yet - I bet you'll help change that!). Somehow this doesn't sound like me.


Your Score: The Fourth Doctor


You scored 25% intelligence, 33% compassion, 25% sense of humor, and 48% weirdness!



Where you're concerned, priority one is having fun. You're not as absent-minded as you look, but you are pretty irresponsible. You would never, say, allow one of your companions to die in a space freighter explosion, but you might let him THINK he's about to die just before you go in and save him. (You know: for shits 'n' giggles.) Your turn-ons include yo-yo mastery, Harry Potter enthusiasts, jellied confections, and strong wine. Your turn-offs include imbeciles, falling rocks, quarries, and radio antennas. Chances are, you're a dog person.

Link: The Which Doctor Who Are You? Test written by TottersLane on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
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