Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why I Love Costco

Costco is a terrific warehouse store.  Membership is easy to afford, prices are low, and it has technical support on, and extended warranties for, all the electronics they sell.  One time, because of an issue with the Costco tire shop, the company gave me a free replacement tire and comped my membership for one year.

I have a pretty nice looking frame for my glasses.  One of the arms came off, though, just fell right off, so I took them to Costco to see if the optical department could screw it back on.

Since part had actually broken, the young woman in that department found a matching set of arms that fit, replaced the old ones, and made sure the glasses would sit evenly on my face.  The bonus: These are Ray Ban arms.  So, now, it looks like I have these really expensive frames.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Complicating Creed

I know how Bodacious Creed died!

No spoilers, though.  No way.  Check out the latest Bodacious Creed blog entry, or the Bodacious Creed website, for more!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Finally, an Update!

No way, that can't be.  The last update I wrote here was on July 28?  Well, we've got some catching up to do!

Maybe it doesn't feel like almost two months because of all I have done.  I've written numerous updates to my Kickstarter project, a lot of background, character, and plot work for Bodacious Creed, made the Boadacious Creed site live, wrote an article about my Kickstarter project, and started a short story.  Plus, I work as an editor and a writer, so there's that.

Let me expand on the information above.  

Bodacious Success: Funding My Kickstarter Novel Project, is available in the Amazon Kindle store.  And don't worry if you don't have a Kindle.  There are Kindle readers for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.  I read my Kindle books on my Barnes & Noble Nook! This ebook essay covers how I came up with the idea for my Kickstarter project, and how I marketed it to success.  I hope it helps other Kickstarters with their projects.

Going back a bit, on August 9, the finding period for Bodacious Creed: A Steampunk Zombie Western ended, bringing in $2,325 of the $2,000 I needed.  Since then, I've been rounding out the characters, filling in the back story, and plotting.  I've incorporated the characters that high level backers named or created as well, and finding that they fit the story very well.  I plan on writing the first draft during the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge in November.

The Bodacious Creed site is live!  I wouldn't call it complete.  There are still sections awaiting content, but all information I'm willing to make available to the public right now is there.  (Which reminds me... now that Bodacious Success is done, I need to put it in the Bodacious Creed store.)  I used a wonderful template from Wix and updated the graphics with my own.  Check out the steampunk goggle section separators.

The short story mentioned takes place a few months before the events in the novel.  This background story features the brothel madam Anna Boyd, and also a new character, named by one of my backers.  Now that I've finished the Kickstarter article, I'm going to get the story done.

Remember, Bodacious Creed started as my 3D modeling thesis work.  In that spirit, and because I need to keep improving my modeling skills so that I can stay competitive in that field, I am now creating one highly detailed, sculpted model per month, and I'm starting with characters and themes from the Creedverse.  I'll share those here and on both my websites.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kindle on Nook

I'm writing this entry because I looked for this answer recently, and couldn't find what I needed.  Can you read Kindle books on a Nook?  Well, online information I found said, "No."

Those sites, thankfully, are wrong!

The Nook HD+, which is the top of the line Nook tablet and e-reader, comes with Google Play, which means that users can install Google Play apps.

So, if you have an Nook HD+, make sure the firmware and software are updated to the latest versions.  Then open Google Play, and click the Apps button.  From there, you can search for Kindle, and the Amazon Kindle app will come right up.

I frequent Barnes & Noble often, and really like the Nook HD+.  Also, they've been on sale for a huge discount lately.  My parents got me one for my birthday (thanks Mom and Dad!).  I had heard that there was a Kindle app for Nook from a friend, and since I already have a ton of Kindle books, I was excited about that feature.

I didn't guess the Google Play angle myself.  My friend told me to check there, so thank you, Crystal!  Now I can read everything in my large Kindle library, as well as my new Nook titles.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An Actual Personal Blog

I don't usually get too personal in my blog entries.  Usually they're about my artistic projects, or maybe about my art techniques.  You a find a lot of the latter in my Bodacious Creed blog from when I was working on my thesis.  I often came up with my own techniques in Maya and Zbrush, and shared these so that other 3D artists could try them out.

I feel like writing about a few semi-personal things today, and about what I've been up to.

Like a lot of Americans, I'm overweight.  There's a lot of information, and misinformation, about being overweight out there.  It's really tough to sort through it all.  I've been wanting to lose weight for years.  At one point, I was on Atkins for a few months, and lost about forty pounds!  Then I went off it, and of course gained all that weight back.  Well, not all of it.  I'm still fifteen to twenty pounds lighter than I was when I went on it, and about forty pounds lighter than I was at my very heaviest.

I don't remember where I read this, but I think it was in Cracked.  Basically, it said that studies have been done more or less debunking the idea that thinner people have better metabolisms than heavier people.  There are times when this is true, especially with thyroid problems.  But the studies indicated that for the most part, it's simpler than that.  Heavy people just eat more.

And I immediately thought about how my eating habits haven't changed that much since I was a teen.  Back then, I was growing, and I was active.  I could eat a lot of food.  Well, here I am in my early forties, and I feel stuffed if I eat a lot, yet I was still eating too much.

I've had a lot of moments of clarity in my life, and often they're about things that should be obvious.  So, I had this moment of clarity where I thought to myself, "You mean, if I just cut down my portions, I should lose weight?"  So yep.  I haven't changed my diet much recently.  I'm just eating smaller portions.  I've been getting a bit hungry at night, but instead of getting up for a bite, I just wait it out.  My body realizes it's time to sleep, suppresses my appetite, and I'm fine.

I'm letting my stomach shrink to a reasonable size, and just eating less.  I feel better this way, too.  I'm not getting tired in the middle of the day.  I'm not even getting that hungry.  Over the long term, hopefully this will get me down to a reasonable, healthy weight.

In about ten minutes, I'm supposed to be interviewed for a newspaper story about my Kickstarter project, "Bodacious Creed: A Steampunk Zombie Western!"  Exciting!

The other day, I added a prize to the $5 and up levels: a write-up of how I conducted my Kickstarter publicity.  The reason is that, while there's helpful information online, it could be better.  I learned a lot from a book called The Kickstarter Handbook, but of course the specifics of any campaign are unique.  That's an excellent book, by the way.  And, I figured that some of my backers might one day want to create projects of their own.

That's it for now!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bodacious Creed: A Steampunk Zombie Western was just covered on Leonardoverse, an excellent and popular steampunk blog!

I also posted a project update, which all project backers get in their email, and anyone can read on the Bodacious Creed Kickstarter page.

Here's the text of that update:

Howdy, my fellow travelers on this exciting journey into the world of Bodacious Creed!
"Bodacious Creed: A Steampunk Zombie Western" is currently featured on Leonardoverse, a popular and excellent steampunk blog by author Leonardo Ramirez.  Have a look, and also browse his blog!  Leonardo wrote a wonderful entry about my project, and I'm proud to have it featured there.
It has also been featured on many Facebook pages.  Have a look at the Bodacious Creed Facebook page for more information.
I've also been contacting newspapers and periodicals.  Yesterday, I sent press releases to a few Orange County papers, and one to Watsonville's Register Pajaronian.  I grew up on Watsonville, California, and, way back when, took Creative Writing at Watsonville High.  I hope they all pick up the story.
This message is getting a little long, so I'll end with this.  Thank you, all of my bakers, and everyone who has shared this project!  Thanks to you, we're at 21% funded already!  Please help keep the momentum going by sharing this on Facebook, and Twitter, and letting anyone who might be into a steampunk zombie western know that this exists.  Your support means the world to me!
Feel free to check the Kickstarter page often for updates.  Of course, if you pledge, even as little as $1, you will also get the updates in your email.
I'm also excited to report that the project has been live for not quite 3 days, is 21% funded, and has 14 backers. The video has been seen 112 times, and the most popular reward is the $10 level, from which backers get a digital copy of the book when it's published, a high resolution jpeg of the cover, and a pdf copy of my first novel, Children of Rhatlan, whether the project gets funded or not.  I've made sure that all the rewards are worthwhile, so have a look.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bodacious Creed Kickstarter is Live!

I'm going to do something I don't normally do on a blog.  Instead of writing about the title here, I'm going to direct you to the new post on my Bodacious Creed blog.  See, when I was working on my thesis, I kept an extensive blog of the process, from start to finish.  There's even an accompanying vlog!  I put a lot of work into it and wanted to share the creative process with others.

My first priority is directing people to the Kickstarter project, Bodacious Creed: A Steampunk Zombie Western.  You'll learn all about the project there, and I think you'll enjoy watching the video and reading all about it.  If you're going to click just one of these links, click this one.

The Bodacious Creed blog post is here.

And finally, here's an image that features prominently in the Kickstarter video.

Oh yes!  As of about 3:00 pm Pacific Time, before the project had been live for 24 hours, it was already funded 10%!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Goodbye, Kickstarter. Hello, Kickstarter.

Well, my OCVG Kickstarter project didn't make it.  I realized early on just how much I didn't know about launching a crowdfunding campaign!  So, I stepped back, regrouped, and thought about another project that I had set aside: a novel based on my demo reel theme.

I kept an extensive blog, and vlog, on my demo reel's progress.  Everything in it is linked together in one story, that of Bodacious Creed, a dead US Martial, circa 1862, who is brought back from the dead with Steampunk technology.  Yep, this is a blend of Steampunk, Wild West, and horror... most specifically, zombie horror!  It's pretty damned cool.  And I thought, "I wonder if the world is ready for a Bodacious Creed novel?  That would be something to use Kickstarter for."

I've set up a fan page for it on Facebook.  I've been tweeting about it about once per day.  I'm sharing the Bodacious Creed art in my deviantArt gallery in more dA groups.  I'm so glad Facebook finally got hash tag functionality!  I've started sharing the fan page posts that way, and have been checking out other posts under #zombie, #wildwest, and #steampunk.  Obviously, I'm a fan of all those things.  The hash tags will make others aware of my pages, and will also help me see what's out there.

No, I haven't started the actual novel yet, but the cool thing about the fact that I have tons of background work done, and understand the characters and setting, but that I haven't started writing the actual novel yet, is that I can get backers involved. The higher rewards include naming characters and places, and even creating characters for the story.  Once that's all figured out, I can power through the first draft of the book.

More soon...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bad Federal Credit Union!

I'm fed up with my credit union.

I usually don't post reviews of, well, anything.  Not here at least.  As a freelance writer, I do occasionally write movie or television reviews for other sites.  That's beside the point.

I've been with Bay Federal Credit Union in Santa Cruz, CA, for almost four years now, and in that time, they have been, let me say, less than understanding.  Today, they could have reversed an overdraft fee that my checking account incurred through a mistake that was not my fault.  A company I had been working with for marketing was supposed to cancel my recurring weekly payment to them, and they forgot to do so.  Well, here's the one star review I posted on Yelp.

I wish I had known about this Yelp page before I signed up with Bay Federal.  They have been a nightmare.  From waiting inordinate amounts of time to getting multiple overdraft charges because of how they arranged the order of withdrawals, I've had my share of headaches with Bay Federal Credit Union.

Their latest is the last straw for me.  I was erroneously charged for a service I had canceled, through my PayPal account.  Because of this, I was not able to transfer over the funds to cover a payment I new would be coming through to Bay Federal.  The business that charged me on PayPal was courteous and reversed the charge, with an apology.

At first, the teller didn't seem to understand what I was explaining.  Instead of understanding that I was a customer trying to do my best, the teller had no compassion and would not reverse the charge, simply because it was not the bank's fault.  So, it doesn't matter if it was my fault, or because a bill I thought I had canceled came through anyway.  Bay Federal could apparently not afford to pay back $29, and then let me transfer money in to make my account current.

I'll be leaving Bay Federal, at last, as soon as I can pay back the overdraft.

I am not a fan of big banks.  Their insane lending practices and gambling lead to the huge economic crash of 2008.  But I'll tell you something: From a customer standpoint, credit unions--or at least this one--are just as bad.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Occupy Chess Video Game

I've mentioned my Kickstarter project numerous times.  Well, it got approved, and I launched it tonight!

It's the Occupy Chess Video game, and you can check it out here!

Put simply, it's a video chess game with figures based on the two sides of the Occupy movement: the 99%, and the 1%.  You can learn all about it on the project page.

As a note, Wolf-Pac is specifically mentioned in the video because I believe strongly in what they're doing, and they're an organization I hope to help out in the future.  The pledges for the project are earmarked for the creation of the game itself, of course.  Once I'm able to sell copies, I hope to make enough that I can actually support Occupy causes.

People who pledge will help to honor the 99%, all the protesters who participated in the Occupy movement, and the Occupy members who continue to do great things.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kickstarter Images

My friend who's doing the line art for my Kickstarter project (and I will share his name, of course, once the project is live!) sent me five brilliant images today!  A few more and I'll have enough to make the video.  Exciting!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kickstarter Progress

Progress is happening on my Kickstarter project!

No, the project isn't live yet.  It's at the stage where I'm getting getting work done on it, so that the public can see it's really moving along, and that it just needs funding to get finished.

A good friend of mine is doing line art of the characters, and has sent me two sketches.  They look GREAT. His art will be featured in the video and in the final product.

I've also written a few drafts of the video script.  I need to revise it more, but that's coming along nicely.

Anyway, keep an eye on this space for more information!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Achieving Focus

My awesome son has started school here in our new hometown and is doing great.  This has allowed me to better organize my days.  While he's at school, I do my day job as a freelance writer.  I actually have a long term writing gig with a great company.  Technically, I'm still a freelancer, but it's a full time job in itself.  I also changed my Elance subscription so that, for awhile, I'll be applying only to art jobs there.  I think this will be a good way to get more experience as a working artist, and to add experience to my CV and résumé.

Anyway, so it's writing day job while my son's at school, some job hunting, both for freelance art jobs and a day job as a 3D modeler while he's home and playing around the house, a walk and/or trip to the park with my son, and dinner, and putting him to bed, then art practice after he goes to sleep, then going to bed myself.

Drawing really is a fundamental skill for many types of art.  Obviously, illustrators have to be able to draw.  Painters also need this skill for the basis of their work.  As a 3D modeler and digital sculptor, the better I can draw, the better I understand the forms of things.  Also, being able to draw clean strokes helps tremendously when sculpting in a program like Zbrush.  On top of all that, I've started seeing modeler jobs that require good illustration skills.

I posted a bunch of eyeballs that I sketched weeks ago.  I'll post drawings now and then as little snippets of my improvement.

Onto another topic, you know how people keep to do lists?  I do that often to keep track of all the things I need to get done.  But I also get ideas for art projects, or blog entries.  It seems silly to write these down in separate places.  I mean, how many notebooks does one guy need to carry?  Plus, I might want to sketch some doodles.  I do have a sketch book for when I want to sit down and really practice drawing, but I don't need to lug that around with me, either.  Writing, you know, can be like an extension of the mind, a way to make sure tasks and ideas aren't forgotten.  Is there a name for a notebook where one writes down all of those things?  I'm thinking, "Brain Dump Book."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What I Need is a Rare, Ukrainian, Vermilion Unicorn

I was up last night later than I should have been, and then I stayed up even later, because I discovered what might possibly be the funniest YouTube channel.  It's called Bad Lip Reading.  You may have to see it to get it, but imagine watching a movie with the sound turned off and trying to read the actors' lips.  You might read something completely different from what they're actually saying.

Since I studied syncing lips to audio in one of my graduate animation classes at Academy of Art University, I'm well aware that the actual movement of our jaws and lips when we speak reveals only a portion of the sounds we're making.  Similar sounds often look alike.  The mouth doesn't move separately for each letter.  I'm simplifying, but it's really the art of studying how the mouth actually moves so that speech looks real.

What Bad Lip Reading does is, it takes those lip movements and adds wrong words that actually fit.

Here's what they did with Twilight:

Even better, they also take music videos and create completely new, different songs that fit with the videos.  "Russian Unicorn" is based on the video for Michael Bublé's "Haven't Met You Yet."  Not only is it hilarious, it's also an excellent pop tune.

If there's a point to this blog post, it's that I love this sort of totally out of the box creativity.  And that "Russian Unicorn" is an awesome tune!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Big Move to Southern California

Big moves are tough!  My son and I just moved from Santa Cruz, California to Orange, California.  I love it here!  Though I'm not generally a warm weather person, it's been pretty comfortable.  Packing the truck, and then driving down were the hardest things.  It took 11 hours to get here last Friday.  Eleven!

Now, we live near Disneyland, which equals awesome.  I can also look for jobs in games and film, and employers will know that I live nearby!  The last few days have involved getting to know the town a bit and settling in, but I'll start putting my résumé and cv out there soon.

Back to work!  I have some articles to write today before evening plans.

And yes, this is about as personal as this blog gets!

Once I've got a daily routine going, I'll have more artwork up, and possibly videos.

I know, "Big moves are tough!" is about the most obvious statement ever.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Keep Up With Drawing!

I've done lots of modeling and texturing since graduating from AAU, but I haven't done enough drawing.  I've been plenty busy, but I do wish I'd taken more time for this.

So, I'm going to try to practice my drawing at least a few times a week, if not every day.

And today, I decided to draw some eyeballs.  I quickly realized though that I wasn't drawing circles as easily as I used to!  I've gotten rusty.  So, I did this circle sketch page (this is a good exercise anyway), and turned some into eyes.

This blog is partly about the realities of being a working artist, and sometimes that means you get rusty in one area or another.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Web Site Improvements

I've done a lot of updating on my new site already!  Here are some details:

  • Added a link to my deviantArt page, and one to my main YouTube channel, at the very bottom of every page.
  • Added a Facebook "like" button at the bottom left.
  • Made my name in the upper left corner link to the bio page.
  • Consolidated the links on the top bar by adding some as subsections to others.
    • digital sketching is now under modeling
    • The videos and reviews blog is now under blog
    • A new page has been added, cultural terminology project, under drawing

The cultural terminology project was one I did for an AAU class in Fall, 2009.  It's truly a gallery unto itself.

Wix is making it really easy to tweak and improve my site, so keep an eye on it for more additions and changes.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Welcome to the New JonFesmire.Com!

Well, this has been a good diversion!  Important, too.

Today, I'm actually writing a number of articles for my main freelance job.  So, why am I writing in my blog? Oddly enough, the change of pace should make it easier to get back to the articles.  I can write freely here, without having to do any research.  I can just say what's on my mind.

It was unbelievably easy to switch my domain hosting over from GoDaddy to Wix.  (Fast, too! The Wix site said it could take up to 72 hours, and it was moved over within minutes.) I'm still a GoDaddy customer.  They're my domain registrar, so I'll be paying them about $24 per year for my domain,, and to keep my private registration info private.  But Wix, wow.  I wrote a lot of HTML in the 90s, when I was working in the dot coms.  Those were good years.  Anyway, now, I just want to work on my site with visual elements, similar to creating a PowerPoint file.  Wix lets me do that.  Wordpress was all right, but it's obvious when you're on a Wordpress site.  Here, I can arrange the visual and text elements however I please.  It's very right brained.

Here's a plan I thought up while I was writing the last paragraph.

Blogger, which I'm using now, allows users to create lots of blogs.  I decided that "Ramblings of an Art Geek," which I created a few years ago, would make a nice personal blog title.  However, there are other blogs I'd like to write.  For instance, I used to review book for SF Site.  You can still find my reviews, and reviews by others about my books, there.  It's well worth a visit.

Where was I?  Oh yeah.  I've been reading a lot of great fiction since early last year.  I had a long period there where I read mostly nonfiction and read hardly any novels at all.  Then, I read "The Haunted Vagina" by Carlton Mellick, and all that changed.  I've read a ton of his books, but I've also been zipping through a lot of other novels.  If I'm not reading a great novel, I feel like I'm missing something.  So, I thought it would be fun to do a book review blog.  SF Site would probably welcome me back, and I'd get free books to boot, but I want to do this on my own time, with books I really want to read.  I've got quite a backlog of books I'd like to review, actually.

You know how, now and then, I do tutorial videos?  They're not the greatest, but when I figure out a technique in Maya or Zbrush, I like to share it with others.  Time permitting, I may create a tutorials blog.

Plus, I should link my old blogs, for the sake of completeness and history.  The Wix editor makes it really, really easy to include all that.

Like I said in my last entry, back to work!  These articles are definitely not going to write themselves.

New Site

You may have noticed a huge change in the look of my site.  Wordpress has been fun, but lacks the ability to make serious design changes.  I wanted to be able to customize my site without knowing too much HTML, and Wordpress is rather restrictive.

Who else has been seeing all those Wix ads on Facebook?  I've been getting a lot of them.  Since I enjoy working on websites, I decided to give it a try.  Well, I liked what I saw, and got to work on a new design.

At the moment, I'm still working on getting my domain name switched over.  So, if you happen to read this blog on Blogger, you'll get the news before everyone else.

Back to work!