Year in Review

 

2020 sucked ass. And not just any ass. Find the stinkiest butt in the world. A butt that lived on nothing but Del Taco bargain burritos and convenience store milk 5 days past its expiration. That was the butt that 2020 was involved with.

I took a gamble and did some animation. https://amazon.com/gp/product/B08LNJCMWP

Below is something I’ve already conveyed to my Patreon peeps. https://www.patreon.com/stevencampbell
2020, being what it was, I was happy for my Patreon. It’s basically my grocery money.

It worked how I wanted it to. But as I was doing it, I knew it was too slow. The way we consume each type of entertainment is based on the form of that entertainment. There can be crossover and breakouts and creativity, but no one is reading 100,000 word poems any longer (about the length of a medium-sized novel). No one is watching a 485-minute movie (the length of Andy Warhol’s Empire). I wanted to put my novels into visual form. Because I like the pace of novels and I hate the structure of modern movies. Recently, my animation has gotten a ton of views. But the $ I’ll make is likely insignificant. So I’ve decided to pivot. I don’t want to lose all my hard-earned skills in animation, so I’m going to try and do some animation shorts. Like Saturday Night Live skits or Key and Peele or such. 1-2 minutes. I’ve asked Liam Owen, who does the audiobooks for Hard Luck Hank, to help out. I can’t act for shit. And I don’t enjoy it. I merely did the voices in my animation because I didn’t feel good about asking pro actors to help on something I wasn’t sure I could get posted or even finish. But hopefully you’ll get to see some animation gags in the coming year. I’ll likely just post them for free on Youtube or somesuch.

My Garm book is going well. I’m about 65% complete. I consider it a Hard Luck Hank book, but there’s no Hank. But hopefully everyone digs it.

Here is my dog enjoying a treat. I’ve started dressing him up when we go out because everyone is so depressed from 2020. He has made a lot of people smile just trotting around on our daily bike rides.
Sasquatch and a Starbucks Puppicino

It’s been tough because of the pandemic. I had considered myself uniquely positioned to withstand it, but it’s still be a kick to the face. Burnt a bunch of savings just trying to stay out of the hospital and out of the ground dead. I’ve had a lot of health issues and like a true Hank, I just dealt with them on my own. Like, I had a slipped disk, or bulging disk, or something disk. But I wasn’t going to go to a hospital during a pandemic unless blood was squirting out of my ears. I did a bunch of reading of medical journals. Get past all the clickbait hits and go to the real data. Medical journals are tough reading because I’m not a medic. But I found stretches and exercises to get my spine and disk back. Now my knee and hip are messed up…

But it’s been tough everywhere for everyone. There is an old dude I’ve met many times walking his dog. Our dogs used to play. I’ve seen him digging in the trash looking for food. Those who were already teetering on the edge, living paycheck-to-paycheck, just got their teeth stomped in. The number of homeless I see every day on my daily bike rides has increased dramatically. And I live in a wealthy area, adjacent to a very wealthy area. I just spoke with another guy I know and he’s hanging on by his fingernails. My city is famous for it’s bars and restaurants (and was a lot of the inspiration for Belvaille). But just about everything is closed down. That’s a lot of jobs that simply vanished.

Telecommuting is big now. And for those of you working it, I hope you fight claw and nail to keep working remotely. Whenever I got a job, I would move near my work. Because you aren’t paid for your commute time and driving stresses me out. At least, driving in a major metropolitan area. I was a computer programmer for decades. At one point I simply decided that no one needs to see me and I started working from home. They weren’t happy about it. But I said, “if I’m not doing the work, fire me.” When the internet came about, the dream was we would all work from home. No more rented office space. No more 2 hour commutes. No more spending $$$ on business clothes. But American businesses simply don’t trust American workers. That’s the bottom line. And it’s why, even today in a pandemic, businesses are terrified of allowing workers to be at home. I personally found I was vastly more productive. I didn’t have to wake up 2 hours early. Get ready. Get primped. Eat breakfast. Drive. You save soooo much time and stress. If you miss social interaction, go to Starbucks on your lunch break and talk for an hour. Call people up. Zoom conference. But take your time back for yourself, your friends, your family. You’re paid to work XX hours. Work that much.

I based the Colmarian Confederation on my experience with the US Federal Government. I grew up around Washington DC and everyone worked for the Fed. My parents did. Everyone’s parents did. I developed a love-hate relationship with the govt because it could do such amazing things, but it was so enormous that it was impossible for humans to operate efficiently. I played D&D with guys from the NSA and FBI. They had their bags searched by Army soldiers every time the left the building so they wouldn’t steal secrets. And my friends would be sneaking out photocopied character sheets and hex maps for tactical board games. One thing I didn’t put in the Colmarian govt was corruption. Because I simply never saw it. It didn’t exist (much) when I was growing up. You entered political office and you lost money. When you left office, you would become a lobbyist, and then make a fortune. But if you look at the balance sheets of presidents and senators and such decades ago while they were in office, they usually got poorer and poorer. The idea that people could be using their positions in office to enrich themselves and their family simply didn’t happen. I remember some Senator getting booted for getting like $10,000. Scandal! But that’s chump change. But over the last decade, we’ve lost our journalism. Local papers are the ones that really keep elected officials in line. The city councilors in my city make about $6,000 a year. So clearly it’s not a fulltime job. But they control zoning and contracts worth hundreds of millions. And the only one really keeping an eye on them are the local journalists. No national paper or 24 hour news is going to come to my city to find out what our city council is doing. And a bunch of stuff has been lost because of that. If you’re making $6,000 a year, and one house just went on the market for $24,000,000, how tempting is it to lower their property tax or utilities or trash abatement or whatever else? It’s like my concept of the Skim in Hank. Stuff like that has happened here and I encourage you to keep a watch on your local officials. Kick a few bucks to your local journalists or you might find your elected officials are robbing you. It’s happened here. I’m not so naive to think it can’t happen elsewhere.

I hope everyone is prospering…or at least hanging in there. “May you live in exciting times” has become poignant. I’m about ready for some boring times.

Journal

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