How the ‘Rona gave me time to get to know myself

General / 10 August 2020

So, of course, if you are reading this, you know all about the Corona virus, you know; the weird virus that everyone on social media is arguing about while we all go crazy locked indoors.

Anywho, I think it’s real easy to say that this virus has effected and changed life for everyone in some way.

Well, my teaching job went online for the first few months and kept me busy enough that it really didn’t affect my life that much and I didn’t have time to notice much difference. I was still working, just from home on camera. Then campuses got merged online and I got laid off, suddenly giving me much more time to fill in my schedule.


Now don’t worry about me. It actually allowed me to take another opportunity from another school that wanted to hire me, so I’ll be back in class/online soon.

I had originally also planned to reduce my teaching hours this year, in order to focus on professional development and continuing to improve my creative skills.

So, with any free time I’ve had I’ve been filling my time with that.

Again, a pretty seamless transition.

However, I can not avoid the fact that there is a lot more room for my anxiety driven analysis of the world and self-reflection. And so my mind does as it always does.

However, the funny thing about reflection, when done properly, is that you can actually  work though some issues that may have been troubling you for a long time. If you’re being honest with yourself at least.

In spite of the world wide apocalypse plague, when I reflect on my lot in life and experiences that got me here, I have to say I’m probably at the best point in my life thus far.

I’m not rich, I don’t live extravagantly, but I have people in my life who care about me and I feel like I’m finally reaching the quality of work that I’ve imagined in my head since I was 10 years old. I have lots to be happy about.

This recognition of these things that I appreciate is suddenly allowing me to change my perspective and really pay attention to life and my connections with the people around me. It is so satisying to just not have to rush constantly. This clarity is more valuable than I can put in to words because I feel like it has given my brain the chance to slow down and realize what I want to do with my life and why I do what I do.

If I’m being totally honest, I want to help people.

That’s it. I just want to help others.

Now, I’m not a lawyer or doctor or firefighter or of the other jobs we under-appreciate that make our lives possible every day. I could try to develop one of these skills, but as I am closing in on 40, my chances of success are extremely low.

What I do have that I can use to help people now is a professional level set if skills in storytelling.

Whether it’s a book, comic, video games, cartoon or anything else that I create, my objective and purpose is to help people. It may not be obvious on the surface all of the time, but everything that I create is full of hidden meaning and context, some of it subconscious, but always meant to reach out and be a connection with the viewer. Sometimes it’s to comfort them. Sometimes it’s to comfort myself.

The world can be a wonderful place. It’s up to each of us to make the world a better place in the best way we know how.

In my case, i feel like the best way to do that is to at least try to create a new, fair publishing system that allows the artists and creators of content to be fairly compensated and to prosper from the fruits of their own creation.

Some people are going to think I’m crazy. Maybe they all will, but I just can’t see any other course of action than to speak up and lead by example if you truly believe in something.

Maybe the idea will fail. There’s a good chance that it will, but I’m not willing to give up on the idea without trying. Even if my ideas help someone else build a better system, or my failure helps the next person create  better system, or just one other person tries my approach and prospers because of it, then it will all be worth the effort.

We should all be trying to make life on Earth better for everyone. Some people improve life by a mile, some by an inch. Whether my contribution is meant to progress things by an inch or a mile, I will use my skills to carry that progress as far as is asked of me.

Thank you for being the kind of person who does that too.

-Mike

May have to move this

General / 26 May 2020

The artstation blog system is a horribly programmed mess with no discoverability or "friendliness" with other apps and crawlers. I may have to move this blog back to wordpress, which sucks, because it looks like I can't import these blog entries over there. Of course. 

Looking for charities and open source online communities to support

General / 09 March 2020


So here's the deal. I don't want my life or creative work to revolve around dollars. I don't think anybody does. I want to sell my work at a fair price, even share some of it for free. The work that I do sell, I want to go towards helping people and improving the world, so I want to donate some of the proceeds from my sales to deserving charities. This is where you, the reader comes in. Got any ideas? Know a group that fits that bill? Let me know on the contact page.

Beyond that, I don't want to use supporting charities to support myself. Modern business has become so greasy that I want no part of it. So no, I won't be putting out a press release every time I donate a portion of sales to worthwhile charities. I might post it here without any big fanfare, just to update the real fans and followers and let them know how the money they choose to spend entertaining themselves with my content also supports worthwhile causes. 

I'm not super keen to support charities where 80 cents of every dollar goes to administration and salaries either. I'd like to support as many real worthwhile and honest charities as possible. 

I also don't care to continue supporting social media and promotional or crowdfunding channels that suppress people and censor content. If anyone out there know of open source and ethically run social media and web platforms please let me know and I will review them. If I find them to be morally and ethically equitable, I will shift my content and posts over to those places as time in my schedule allows. Looking for alternatives to facebook, artstation, patreon, etc. So please let me know, I'm all ears, really, If you know of the kinds of places and services I'm describing or think you might know, just drop me a line here. Maybe I'll post a shout out in thanks or something!

As always,

Mike

My response to Upwork's adult content policy

General / 21 January 2020




Weekly Reminder

General / 13 November 2019



I’m being cyber attacked by Russia?

General / 17 October 2019


Long story short, over the last couple days I’ve been targeted by a very aggressive cyber attack.

I never thought I’d say that. I know it sounds crazy.

I’m going to do my best to explain without dwelling, because I keep thinking of the words of Dirk Manning, comic creator and respected FB friend. He said something like “promote the positive, not the negative.”

I think he’s right.

I hate to speculate but it’s hard not to consider my current work as a possible reason for targeting. Especially since I’ve already gotten death threats and been censored for same project.

I knew going into it that Trumpocalypse Now would be  controversial. I expected push back, but I never wanted to sell the project based on controversy. I want people to buy it because it’s good and it’s funny.

Anyway, I wish the title of this entry was more facetitious than it was. I’d normally say that the idea that any world leader would be so vain as to even have my work catch their notice and retaliate is crazy, but we also live in a crazy world. I’m sort of forced to accept that my spoofing of world politicians may have made me a target of cyber attack.

It could be coincidental, but shortly after I announced that the next issue of the visual novel series would be free, and that I had found a publisher for the graphic novel adaptation, I started to get notifications from my personal online accounts about failed login attempts.

In the last 48 hours the activity has aggressively ramped up, hacking my Facebook, steam, Amazon, email and other accounts.

One of the email based attacks was sending emails from my account to fake addresses, filling my inbox with bounce back messages continuously in order to fill my inbox to the limit and replace them if deleted, in an attempt to keep me from using my email and getting my real emails. Part of the code and server gibberish clearly contains characters and messages in Russian.

With the exception of steam, which seems to have been the deepest compromise and is therefore taking longer to resolve as I wait for an admin to personally investigate my account, my accounts seem to have been recovered and secured. 

I imagine whatever the reason, someone expected this to really impact my workflow or discourage me. It was mildly annoying, it made me a little behind on work, but I’m already catching up. 

Accounts fixed, desktop de-virused, new passwords etc. 

I’ll even finish the first chapter of the Trumpocalypse Now graphic novel adaptation today, as planned.

Could it be related to Trump? Did he have his Russian friends target me? Is it purely coincidence that the next issue of the visual novel, featuring Vladimir Putin joining the series, is scheduled to release for free in November? Maybe. Maybe not.

To be honest I had thought about just focusing on the comic and delaying issue 5 of the visual novel (since the game is being so heavily blocked and censored anyway), but now I want to try to put it out just out of spite. Some of my software is affected until I get steam sorted out, so I don’t know if this will affect the scheduled release and cause a delay just yet, but if it does, I’ll still release it some time in November anyway.

If I have been targeted, it’s just surreal to think that someone out there has an ego that is so fragile, especially to a political satire that spoofs literally all world leaders. All I can say is if someone has targeted me, they’ve made a mistake in their choice of enemy. I’m literally the worst target to choose. I’m crazy and I’ve got nothing to lose, so there’s no way I’m not finishing this project.

I said that like people were reading this. Ha!

Well, for those that are, thanks!

- Mike

Good News Everyone!

General / 14 October 2019

In the ongoing saga of getting boned by the media and world for daring to do a political satire, there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

I've found a publisher that wants to work with me in producing Trumpocalypse Now. Literally the only one with balls enough to do it. 

Can't make any announcements yet, but watch for more details in the near future. 




Don’t Shave Me Bro!

General / 07 July 2019

Although it seems to be a popular trend, I still feel that there is a societal prejudice directed at those who choose to have beards or facial hair.

At least in North America, I feel like there is still a perception of sketchiness, uncleanliness, or untrustworthiness towards men with beards. Across the board, from social settings to important life-altering situations, like job interviews and dating.

It makes me want to scream sometimes, like “I’m not sketchy, I’m just lazy about shaving man!”.

Like, if I want to walk around looking like Jesus, why should that cost me a date or a job opportunity?

Side note: Didn’t most famous biblical heroes, kings, leaders and politicians have long hair and beards until the last century or so?

#dontjudgemyface #freethebeards #barenakedbeards #dontshavemebro #VivaLasBeardas #beardo #beardymcgee



eBooks and Comics updated!

General / 18 June 2019

Finally added more of my back catalog to the web store! Most books in .mobi, .epub AND .pdf format! Great new deals on some of my bestselling books! Check it out on the Digital Store link!


Not sure? Check out the free samples on the FREE BOOKS link!

New pieces in the Etsy store!

General / 17 June 2019

Check it out. I just added a few pieces of original art to the Etsy store. Just click the "Originals" link to check them out while they are still available!


Just click here!