2015 A.D.

2015I tried to eliminate some clutter in 2015, but there’s still work to be done.  That said, it was a good year overall for me and my endeavors.

WRITING

On the writing front, I combined my three “Con Fluff” books into one volume called “Fuzzy Words” which I had printed.  Unfortunately, the printer I chose overpromised and underdelivered, so I now have a pile of books that I’m not sure I want to sell.  My only consolation is that I didn’t have to pay for them, but at the same time it spoiled the inaugural San Antonio Indie Bookfest for me.

I published two story collections: “Super-Short Sci-Fi Stories 2.8” and “Furst World Problems.”  Unfortunately, I am still struggling with a follow-up to “The Rules of Tech Support,”  partially due to increased stress at work.  More on that in a bit.

On the plus side, I managed to release a new short story every month onto my website and “Furst World Problems” has sold a few copies.  I have a furry fantasy collection in the works, so I’m hoping that keeps the momentum going.  I also need to work on finally getting that second tech support book done, but once again, work is making it difficult.

PODCASTING / BLOGGING

I did not keep up a regular blogging or podcasting schedule as I have been wanting to do.  Part of my problem is what I’m not always sure just where to put things I’ve written: should they go in blog or into an episode of “300 Seconds?”  I am also considering ending my “Con Talk” podcast, which is fun to record, but takes too much time to produce.  Time will tell on that one, but I need to get my own ‘casts and blog going on a regular schedule more than anything else.

CONS / FURRY 101

Furry Fiesta and San Japan continue to be my favorite cons.  In addition to the usual ones I attend every year, I went to a brony convention (Fiesta Equestria) for the very first time and enjoyed it, despite my not being completely familiar with the source material.  I’d like to do an out-of-state con that doesn’t involve a seven-hour drive, and while I’m not sure that will happen next year, it’s something to shoot for.

I presented my Furry 101 panel at four conventions in 2015: San Japan mini-mini con, Fiesta Equestria, San Japan 8, and RealmsCon,  Two of the panels (San Japan, Realms) were well attended and well-received, but were hampered by the small panel rooms that I was provided with.  One (mini-mini con) was scheduled opposite a big event, so nobody showed up.  My only issue at Fiesta Equestria was not having a place to plug in my less than reliable laptop.  Nearly all of the conventions were about anime; I’d like to present at a comic convention in 2016 and see how that goes.  I am also considering putting together a ‘Furry 101A’ panel to go over the adult/really weird things that I can only gloss over in an all-ages panel.  Time will tell on that one.

WORK

I got a semi-promotion at work; managerial duties are now part of what I do.  I call it a ‘semi-promotion’ because my paycheck hasn’t gotten any larger.  Naturally, with increased responsibilities come increased headaches.  I found myself so drained after work during our busy season that I was unable to do any significant writing or really much of anything after work.  Bottom line: I need to get a new job.  Yeah, stop me if you’ve heard THAT one before. 😉

2016

My goal for the New Year is to get more organized so that I can get blogs, podcasts, panels, and books out on a regular basis and build an audience.  Maintaining a regular writing schedule is also a priority and of course, I need to put more effort into finding a new job or at least a position that doesn’t suck at my current company.

The plan for 2016 is just that: to plan things ahead so I can get things done!

So long, 2015!  You were a good one!

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My Favorite Christmas Songs 2015 #25

“Christmas Dragnet/Yulenet,” Stan Freberg and Daws Butler, 1953

You may not have heard of Stan and Daws, but if you have seen any classic Warner Brothers cartoons, you have almost certainly heard them in the voices of the many characters they voiced.  Stan also recorded comedy records such as this one.

TRIVIA: Stan was considered for the role of C-3PO in Star Wars.  After auditioning for the part, he recommended Anthony Daniels for the role.

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2015, #23

“Chrissy the Christmas Mouse,” Debbie Reynolds & Donald O’Connor , 1957

There’s something about fictional animals and Christmas.  This cheerful tune tells the story of a mouse that “lives in the middle of Santa’s house,” and even alludes to Rudolph, although not by name.

The song was performed in the movie “Tammy and the Bachelor,” which starred Debbie Reynolds and a certain gentleman by the name of Leslie Neilsen.

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2015 #21

“Jingle Bells,” The Singing Dogs, 1955

Today, this tune is dismissed as a kitschy novelty song, but it was actually an experiment from the early days of tape recording. Recording engineer Carl Weisman would routinely have his birdsong recordings ruined by barking dogs, so he spliced the barks together, tweaked their speed and pitch, and made music with them.  This is before the advent of modern editing equipment, so it took some effort.  Jingle Bells was not Mr. Weisman’s first effort, but certainly the best-remembered one.

My Favorite Christmas Songs 2015 #20

Trans-Siberian Orchestra, 1996+

Not to be confused with that other instrumental group associated with the holidays, Trans-Siberian Orchestra was conceived by Paul O’Neill.  In his own words: “The whole idea was to create a progressive rock band that would push the boundaries (of the genre) further than any group before… Way, way further.”

For comparison’s sake, here is the “Carol of the Bells” inspired Christmas Eve/Sarajevo. I posted Mannheim Steamroller’s version on Day 13.