The Rest Of Life, In 1,168 Words. (1,181 if you count the title.)

Posted: July 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

You know, life is actually pretty nice when you can stay in one place for twenty-four hours.

Anyway, to keep to schedule, I’m going to dive into the seventh and final section of The Outline today, putting off the vague and general discussion of my children for another day.

No, aiming straight at the heart of the point of the August Project (and Agenda Forty as a whole), the last section deals with personal growth.

“Well, duh,” I hear you cry, “What do you think we’ve been reading about for the last week?”

“Ah,” I point out cleverly, “but that was personal growth along the z-axis, indicating depth… taking things that were already part of my life and developing them deeper. Today’s personal growth is going to be along the x-axis, indicating a wider range of interests and hobbies.”

“Oh,” you say, disappointed in not defeating me semantically. It only occurs to you later that you should ask about the y-axis. Too bad.

Uhh… maybe I’d better get to the outline…


1. Reading

a. Maintain 52-in-52

b. Horizon widening list

i. Spiritual book recommended by Kay

c. Comic prioritization

i. More books, less weeklies

2. Drawing

a. Practice/books/classes

b. Webcomic

3. Music

a. Continue exploring new music

b. Playing keyboard/Rock Band

4. Programming

5. Awesomeness

a. Be awesome more! AWESOME!

By this point, you know the drill. Keep an eye out for the symbol “?” at the end of sentences because that means you’re being asked something. (You guys rocked answering health questions. Keep it up! This really does help!)

At the beginning of this year, one of my New Year resolutions (a tradition honored more in the lapsing than in the fulfilling) was to read fifty-two books (prose, word books, not those things with pictures and word balloons that I like) this year. I am surprisingly being very successful at this, thanks in part to long hospitalizations and vacations. But I think it’s a good doable goal. All those writing books keep saying that the best way to improve your writing is by reading more, so I need to read lots of stuff and fail to get better so I can prove them wrong. I also want to continue to widen the stuff I read by not just reading fantasy paperbacks. I read Of Mice And Men this year, so I can damn near read anything after that. Except Infinite Jest. Tried it. Couldn’t get into it. Kay also suggested that I read a spirituality book she recommends, so I’ll try that. Then I’ll have leverage to get her to read Asterios Polyp. Any suggestions for personally brain-enriching books I should try? <– look! A question mark!

Second, I’m going to get back to drawing. While I was in the hospital, I came up with a webcomic idea thinking that housemate/jill-of-all-trades Laurie could draw it and I could write, and we could become Rich and Famous. After a few days of grappling with a script that, admittedly, asked her to draw a giant army of mounted warriors charging an oncoming space armada… in one panel… she said to me, “Why don’t you have your wife, who is a better artist than me, draw it?” To which I first thought, Kay would hate to draw this, and second, hey, I’m a better artist than Kay… maybe I could do it.

DISCLAIMER: I am allowed to say that I am a better artist than Kay because I said so many nice things about her two days ago. Besides, I admit freely that is is, in fact, a lie, because she is a far better artist than me at drawing flowers and landscapes and things… but I do draw better space armadae. All hail Kay.

Aaaaanyway, the point of it all was, “Hey, I used to draw all the time. I got pretty good in high school. Then I haven’t drawn anything in twenty years. If I start doing it again, maybe I’ll get better again. So, gonna do that. Then the webcomic, then the Rich and Famous. Any advice from the many comicy people I know about how to best pursue this would be great. Oops… I mean, “Any advice from the many comicy people I know about hot to best pursue this would be great?

Third on the list is music. As you all know, music is my life. The number one thing that helped me emotionally recover from my hospitalization in 2005 was that I started listening to new music (by which I mean music that wasn’t the same music I’d been listening to for the past fifteen years). It’s like drinking the blood of virgins to retain your youth, only instead of drinking, you’re listening, instead of blood, it’s music, and instead of virgins, its people who are much cooler than me. And it worked.

I’d also like to combine my old piano lessons with the upcoming Rock Band 3 Pro Mode and convince myself that all the time spent playing Rock Band is actually useful because now I’ll be able to use it to learn to play keyboards again, like I remember doing in my youth even though I never really did.

I mentioned back in the financial section that I wanted to start programming apps, but it’s also a skill/hobby I used to do as a kid, so I’m including learning to do it here. Anyone listening to reading this write apps?

Finally, and most important, I must be awesome. More awesome, and awesome more often. As a younger man, I was able to imagine that someday I would be exposed to radiation or chosen by an all-powerful interdimensional being and would gain super powers. What I failed to realize was that I just needed to be more awesome. Like Batman trained to become the human pinnacle of fighting and the greatest detective alive, I just need to level up my awesomeness stat. I leave the actual, current score of that up to you to determine for yourself; I make no claims to being the Steve Rogers of awesome. I think that’s Scott Pilgrim, anyway. But I can aspire to be, say, Olympic-class awesome if I work hard enough at it. So I will.

Anyway. That brings us to the end of our pre-August overview.

Take a minute over the next day or two if you can, and review the last week’s blog posts. Is there anything I’m missing? Anything I’m emphasizing too much? Any possible ideas on how I’m going to schedule doing all this? Thoughts on the best methodology for any of these goals?

Two more days to August, when we start to implement some of this. Week one will be hitting the Nine Dead Suns project hard and putting some structures into place to get the health and household stuff done. Thanks for the time, it’s going to start getting interesting now…


Tomorrow: Since it’s not yet August, but we’re done with the overview, I’ll post something fun and interesting. And maybe awesome.

  1. MHPayne says:

    Webcomic from Doug!

    I say yay! Of course, I’ve been doing my webcomics since the Chimerical days–10 years it’s been, I believe, since that halcyon time–and have yet to do more than watch other people do the whole Rich and Famous part of it. But I’ve been having a great time doing it, so I’m sure that counts for something.

    Otherwise, I can point out that $30 will get you a year’s subscription to Brad Guigar’s I read it when it was free and found myself disagreeing with his advice more than half the time, but since he’s about as Rich and Famous as one can be in the world of webcomics, I think I’d listen to him rather than to me if I were me. Or if you were me. Or if…uhhh…wait…

    That Mike Guy

  2. Rachelle says:

    I get the concept of awesomeness…but it gives me pause. I guess the question is, why do you want to be awesome? Not that you shouldn’t be — the answer to why just helps to determine how to get there. For example, throughout most of my life some people have thought I was awesome in one way or another, and all that got me was some pretty lonely times. Either I was so awesome I was unapproachable (in their minds), or I was so awesome I couldn’t possibly need help or, you know, friends. On the other hand, Being awesome at being a parent, or a spouse, or a friend, can be a good goal. Especially if what you want is to be there for others and help them to be awesome. Just some rambling thoughts to consider.

    • blackflak says:

      You know, that’s actually a good question… and I’d say that for where I’m at, I want to exude more general awesomeness. I like to think that I’m awesome, but I haven’t been feeling awesome lately, what with the whole lying around in the hospital and then shuffling around like an invalid. I want to feel like I’m drawn by Jack Kirby for a while, not so much Will Eisner. And I’m sorry, but you are awesome, so you’ll just have to learn to live with it. 🙂

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