Monday, August 25, 2014

Prisoners must be really productive

I've been trapped in the house the past few days. Not in a my-parents-locked-me-in-the-basement sort of way (mainly because we don't have a basement), but in a it's-104-degrees-and-my-car-air-conditioner-doesn't-work-and-I-don't-want-to-arrive-somewhere-already-drenched-in-sweat type of way. However, like a celebrity in prison who suddenly finds spirituality, some good things have come from this compulsory isolation. Such as...

I covered my Chromebook in Hello Kitty stickers, which I've been meaning to do for ages but didn't have time to do:

Subtle. Understated. But so fetch.

(I also ordered a transparent pink shell/case for it to protect the stickers, so expect more pics when that arrives.)

I replayed Alice: Madness Returns in its entirety. This is important because the quote in the "About" section on my YouTube channel is something the Cheshire Cat says in this game. So obviously I love this game.

I screencapped the quote on my YouTube channel because I forgot
to screencap the part in the actual game. Sorry.

I tried on a bunch of clothes that I didn't have access to for the months I was in San Francisco, popped in a pair of my favorite circle lenses, found some places around the house with decent lighting, and took a bunch of selfies. Here are a couple I posted on Instagram:

I look absolutely nothing like either of these in real life and there are plenty
of people who can attest to that. But there's a great illusion going on in that
second pic that makes it look like I have an ass, so I had to post it.

But then I still had some time on my hands so I made just a few minor superficial edits to one of the outtakes:

This is probably closer to how I actually look in real life.

Now that I have a permanent address again, I've picked back up my old habit of buying unnecessary things on eBay late at night. So far, I've received some new exfoliating face thingies (that totally look like nipples) from Hong Kong, a purple windscreen for my microphone, and a gold Staryu pin from Japan to add to my Staryu collection:

I'm only posting the nipple-face exfoliating thingies here because you don't
really need to see my purple microphone, and my Staryu collection
deserves its own full entry.

I've also watched a South Korean horror movie every night for the past five nights, including Cello, Midnight FM, Hide and Seek, Cinderella, and The Red Shoes.

This is an older pic from my Instagram, but it pretty much shows how I look
when I watch movies. And it's just such a good pic, I couldn't
pass up an opportunity to use it again.

And then I watched this video about a dozen times, because Sooyoung:



Other things I've done that aren't pictured include: removed a cobweb that had been in the corner of my room for at least a year, creepily watched the neighbors having a BBQ from the window, and accidentally burned part of my face with some acid (some facial acid, which makes it better, I guess).

Unfortunately, the weather folks are saying tomorrow might be our last super-hot day, so my streak of productivity might be coming to an end. I guess I should make the most of it and watch that video a few dozen times more.

-joe

Friday, August 15, 2014

Where the videos have gone

Comments/tweets/emails have been coming in regarding why I'm not doing videos lately. Here is a post about that.

First, I'd like to say the way a lot of the comments/tweets/emails have been worded kinda unjustifiably rubs me the wrong way. People say they "miss me," which sounds sweet, but which also kinda feels like a slap in the face because I never left. On the contrary, I've been pouring myself into many things I've had to put off for years. And so it's like people have just been ignoring all these things I've been working so hard on--weekly podcasts and staying active on this blog and making music with Sam and attempting to reboot my gaming channel. Plus, I tweet every day and post on instagram relatively often. Honestly, there's too much of me online. It's gross! You should be sending me comments/tweets/emails hinting that I should take a vacation to Siberia or something. (Although a trip there might turn into a permanent break for me. We both know I wouldn't survive long in an icy wilderness without a Wal-Mart nearby. Also, I'm not entirely sure I even exist anymore in the absence of the Internet.)

Anyway, like I said, it's an unjustifiable feeling on my part. Perhaps if people said, "I miss your videos," instead of just "I miss you," it would be better. But I should understand that's what they mean, anyway.

Second, it's no secret I've been really disgusted for a long time with the track that YouTube seems to be on. This entry isn't going to get into that. I've written enough about it, here and elsewhere. I'm over it. That's not really a reason for me to leave the site anymore. I've come to terms with the fact that--if I'm gonna post videos on YouTube--I'm just gonna have to get used to swimming against the current. (God, that makes me sound like an insufferable hipster or something. Or like those people who don't listen to Owl City because he got popular. You're missing out on some good electro, nighttime driving music, btw. Granted it does all kinda sound the same now. And don't get me started on that duet with Carly Rae Jepsen. That was a mess. Wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah. Videos.)

Third, I'm coming down from a three-month shitstorm of video making. And I can't expect anyone to know about all that was going on because I never talked about my job in San Francisco, so it's my fault for not detailing it.

In that job, I was working 40+ hours and was responsible for helping produce at least 14 videos every week, and often more than that. That's at least three videos every day that I was overseeing in some way. Granted, I was working with a really great team, so the work was a little spread out, but we were tragically understaffed. And so every single one of those videos went through my hands in one way or another.

On the weekends, I made my Answerly videos because there wasn't enough time to make them during the week. And then on the one day I had free, if I wasn't doing laundry or grocery shopping, I wanted to get out of that horrible house I was living in and explore the city and enjoy my time in SF. I didn't want to go to the YouTube homepage, or stare mindlessly at editing software, or even try and look decent for the camera (which takes a lot of work, trust me. A lot. You know the Orcs in the Lord of the Rings movies? I actually look like that).

When I did have a spare hour or two, usually at night, I worked on some of those aforementioned projects I've had to put off for the past 7.5 years because I've felt the pressure to make a YouTube video every week. This blog had been seriously neglected up until the past few months, which was sad because writing is my favorite thing. I'd been wanting to start the podcast back up for ages. My gaming channel sadly fell by the wayside. Music wasn't getting made. And so many other projects I wanted to complete were only fractionally done.

Fourth, I was honestly getting a little burned out with videos even before the job in San Francisco, which I think was obvious to a lot of people (but even if it was, you should spare my feelings and not agree with this). Some things that happened last year really knocked down my self-confidence. I was simultaneously too much inside my own head, and also too much inside the heads of everyone else. I wasn't pleased with the video content I was putting out and was too affected by negative comments.

TL;DR I needed a break from videos, both for my mental well-being, and so I could do other things I haven't had time to do. In fact, in my humble opinion, I think the non-video stuff I've been doing online lately has been way better than my videos were near the end. The podcast with Sam is so much fucking fun. (This past week we talked about the pros and cons of sleeping with Ronald McDonald, so obviously the quality is just aces.) It's nice to be writing here again. Music is getting made. The gaming channel is gearing up for a relaunch. And other things, too. So, if you're missing the videos, I hope you'll understand why I'm giving you a little push in the direction of these other things. I'm proud of them.

I'm also not saying the videos on my personal channel have ceased forever. I realize that was my initial audience and has remained my core audience. You never know when I might pop back up in video form (probably not on your homepage, though, because YouTube murdered the subscription boxes ages ago and probably blacklisted me from them anyway). Also, my comeback won't be as amazing as Hilary Duff's. That level is clearly impossible for anyone else to reach. So don't get your hopes up for that.

If you'd like some imagery to go along with all this, just picture me as Madonna in Evita singing "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," except replace "Argentina" with your name to make it extra creepy.* And, if you want, you can even imagine me in the same dress she was wearing. I don't want to start any arguments, but I feel like it would've looked better on me anyway.

-joe

*Fun fact: I actually totally wrote a parody song to the tune of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" years and years ago to post on my channel but never got around to it. Maybe that will happen someday.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"There's Joe Place Like Home"

At this point I've put off blogging so long and have so much to say that I'm just gonna have to pick a few things and leave the others for another day. Or maybe they aren't really that important and will get swept under the rug. Who knows?

I've been back in Arkansas for a week. Get ready because now I'm gonna set up a metaphor comparing me coming back to Arkansas to when Dorothy got back to Kansas after being in Oz. Arkansas, like Kansas in the movie, is kinda grey in comparison to SF. There aren't as many gays here and there's a greater risk of tornadoes and no H&M and it's really fucking hot and muggy, but it's home. And I like it. And I chose to be here (for now). But I do really fucking miss Oz and all the lovely creatures and homosexuals I met there.

My coworkers back in SF did not make it easy for me to leave. We went out for drinks on my last day of work and they told me how difficult it would be to replace me. It was kinda like when Dorothy finds out those damn shoes could've taken her back ages ago, and everyone is sad and saying goodbye. Except I didn't have a dog, but I did have a bedazzled pencil pouch I got in Japantown, which poops less than a dog and is also more fabulous to carry. And I also didn't have silver slippers, but I was wearing some pretty fetch moccasins. (Btw I'm calling them silver slippers because they're silver in the actual book instead of red like in the movie. And if I said they were red then that might imply this whole thing felt like a dream, which was the situation in the movie. But it wasn't a dream at all, which makes it more like the book. Because it was all real in the book. If you don't understand what I'm saying, you really need to read a book.)

My team at work mainly consisted of myself and three other people, and I could even tell you which was the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion. I could even go a step further and compare someone in the office to the Wicked Witch of the West. But I won't do any of that. Just know that this metaphor works really well and I'm about two clicks away from buying a braided wig and gingham dress online. But that would probably get me shot in Arkansas (whereas I'm pretty sure I saw that outfit at least twice in San Francisco).

Day one attempt at unpacking
Anyway, deviating from the metaphor, I've been pretty exhausted since I got home. My mom (who is a retired teacher) told me she used to spend the first week of every summer lying on the couch because all the work from the school year temporarily knocked her off her feet. I think I've been going through that phase, but I'm coming out of it now and am ready to do something. Anything.

Unpacking also didn't go very well. My method of dumping everything out onto my floor ended up overwhelming me. Or else I'd find one of the cute things I'd purchased in Japantown and get really excited because I'd forgotten about it. And so I stayed buried in three months' worth of life-crap for several days. But now that it's all cleaned up, all my new kawaii purchases look amazing on my bookshelf.

What else? Upon arriving home, and before I'd even gotten my suitcases out of the car, a lady drove up in the yard and started yelling at my family about how she thought the ice cream man was casing the neighborhood. I tell that story in this podcast episode, somewhere in the middle. (Although if you aren't listening to the podcast already, wtf are you doing with your life?)

Oh, I went on a date this past Friday, but that probably merits its own entry later.

And my sister is currently visiting, which means all the Birdsongs are together right now, and also makes being home feel more like a vacation than something permanent. I wonder how it'll feel when she goes back to St. Louis.

More later regarding the date and videos and stuff.

-joe

(Also, I need to give credit to @carolinejones on Twitter for the title of this entry. I tweeted out asking for a good Wizard of Oz pun to put for the title, she replied with this one, and I loved it.)

The last selfie I took in the Emerald City Japantown