Checkin’ in

I seem to be falling into a once-a-week pattern with ab.com at this point; honestly, I’m not sure I’ve got more than a post a week in me at this point.

What I’m Studying
I’m a couple of weeks into grad school for the fall; I think it’s going OK so far. Not great, but OK. I’ve at least been able to settle in with the video-chat software the instructor wanted to test out so I can do the interactive television component from home (which is absolutely fantastic). I haven’t yet taken the time to really put in an effort to scheduling out the fall across both classes; it hasn’t been necessary so far, because honestly the first six courses I have taken haven’t required all that much effort. I had this notion that would continue, and it’s just not the case. 🙂

What I’m Buying
Today was the last day of business for the K-Mart store in Bemidji. I never shopped there very much; it was a decent place to hunt for toys for awhile, because the prices were higher than Walmart or Target so the collectors seemed to go there first. You could occasionally find stuff that had been buried away somewhere that they excavated and put on massive clearance, too. But there really were never “let’s go to K-Mart” trips, save for the last two summers if we needed pool supplies — they had a better stock of that stuff than either Target or Walmart. We’ve stopped by a few times during this going out of business mess though, and managed to come away with some good deals. I picked up the Metal Gear Solid HD collection for PS3 for around $24, got a couple of 48-drawer organizers out of the hardware section to sort stuff in the toy lair, etc. Tonight on the last day I stopped in just to see what was left, and I came away with a Michael Jackson dancing game for PS3 that Mel’s wanted for awhile (for the princely sum of $2), and some goofy Bakugan game for PS2 that I bought for Helen because it was a dollar — and for no other reason.

Store closings are always a little depressing, especially toward the end when there is just a smattering of merchandise that nobody wants until it’s 95% off surrounded by empty shelves or bare spots on the wall where the fixtures have been sold. I remember going to a few of them when I was a kid and we lived in El Paso; even then they were weird. It’s hard to describe why, even; on some level I think that by the time the store gets right up to the moment when the doors close for the last time, when you go inside you’re surrounded by scavengers and not shoppers.

What I’m Drawing
I’m eight postcards into Series 1 of my Facebook project right now; I drew a Tauren warrior for my friend Derek, and Willie the Wildcat for my friend Donna. It’s a lot of fun to see how much people have enjoyed receiving these. As much as I did this because it seemed like a good idea to force me to draw with specific goals in mind, I also thought it’d be cool to give some things to my friends. Donna sent me a picture of her two kids posing with her postcard; honestly, that was pretty awesome.

I also picked up a third commission out of this; my cousin wants me to draw her a larger version of the Willie card I drew for Donna. It’ll probably take me awhile before I can get to that, but it sure would be fun. I’ve got a set of greyscale Prismacolor markers coming at some point, and those will come in super-handy for that particular project. I think it’ll be a good opportunity to try and do a marker background like Ryan Ottley. Seems simple enough, but I’ll probably mess it up. 🙂

I’m about halfway through another commission for my friend Shari; I had started one two weekends ago that was going really, really well, and then Millie got ahold of it and destroyed it. About six hours of work, down the tubes. So, I had to start over. I drew something different for the second version, and so far I think it’s going really well. Need to get it finished up.

This whole “commission” thing still seems bizarre to me. The fact that people are actually seeking me out and asking me to draw things for them is still a weird feeling. I still don’t think I’m that good. 🙂

What I’m Reading
Nothing. At all. I’m really far behind on comics — to the point that I’m probably going to just bail on buying most, if not all, of them, just because it’s hard to find time to sit down and read them. Still have Cobra #17, Batman #0 and Batgirl #0 from last week sitting upstairs in a pile. I should go get them right now, actually.

What I’m Playing
The fourth World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, comes out on Tuesday. I’m trying really, really hard to resist buying it (Melissa bought it, which is going to make continuing to stay away more difficult). My current retirement from WoW — my fourth extended stretch of time away from the game — is in its ninth month. I haven’t logged in since January, but I’ve kept my client patched and updated anyway. Since WoW came out in 2004 (yes, eight years ago), nine months has been my longest period of time away. I was also away for about nine months during my second hiatus. As much as I don’t want to play, it still seems like skipping an expansion is going to be what it takes to really seal up this coffin. That game had me bad for a long, long time, and staying out of Azeroth isn’t easy. I miss Derka.

Where We’re Moving
As for the previous post, there’s no movement on the house situation. We had one showing two days after the house went on the market, but that was nine days ago at this point, and we haven’t had so much as a phone call since then. The pipe dream of a super-fast sale to facilitate this switch seems to be fading; but, the lack of phone calls also means there isn’t any movement on the house we’d like to buy, so that’s not such a bad thing.

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