• Category Archives Stuff
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  • Self-care Day

    Markers

    As we continue barreling down the 2020 Timeline of All Things at 1000mph, we also need to remember to take time for self-care, so today will be a half day–or self-care day–because I have an appointment that needs tending to if this middle-aged machine is going to keep bringing you books and comics.

    Attention is also being given to the workflow behind the scenes because, I’m learning, I can’t approach this business like I did prior to being ill. Different variables, both internal and external, have created a different climate in which to work.

    Some retooling is occuring in order to not wind up bed-ridden again.

    Yes, I recognize I sometimes talk a lot of publishing flow here on the blog. This is just me getting my ideas up and processed so I can try a mosaic of things, see if they work, and remove and/or add where needed until the mosaic has some form to it and I’m happy with the image.

    Enjoy your weekend. Read some movie reviews.

    New issue of The Canister X Transmission ships tomorrow.

    See you.


  • Stay Focused Social Media Blocking App and Timex TW5M23300 Watch

    Stay Focused Social Media Blocking App and Timex TW5M23300 Watch.

    Last week I was off-line except for a couple of tasks that needed doing via the Internet (like administration). To ensure I remained off-line–I’m just as human as the next guy (I think)–I got an app for my computer phone called Stay Focused. This app can block any app on your phone and, in the free version (which I used), can block up to 5 apps at once. You set a schedule by telling it which hours and what days you want certain apps blocked. I applied these to the social media apps on my pocket computer to keep me on lockout. While true I’m in Broadcast Mode in the winter, as part of broadcasting I sometimes need to go into an app like Instagram and post something. The problem is one glance at the feeds can quickly lead to two, then three, and so on, and the next thing you know you’ve fiddled away an afternoon scrolling and scrolling and refreshing and scrolling.

    This picture is a screenshot of the app from the day I went dark. You can see the stat on there says I’ve already tried opening the app 3 times and each time it didn’t work (was running tests). The timer on locking me out of these apps ran for a week. And it worked! Once I knew I was locked out, I didn’t give the apps a second thought.

    Stay Focused APF

    Stay Focused also acts as a master lock, meaning you have these little locks under it (like the apps you’re blocking), but then you can lock Stay Focused itself–but only in 6-hour chunks in the free version–to ensure you don’t unlock your blocked apps. I’m assuming this is for extreme cases where certain people need a double padlock on their phone. To get even more extreme, I’m pretty sure there’s a lock on Stay Focused that forbids you from uninstalling it in an effort to destroy your barriers.

    What was interesting was it kept track of how many times I unlocked my phone to do something, like reply to a text from family. I was disgusted when I saw, at the end of one of the days, I had unlocked the phone around 35 times. I barely used it that day! But numbers don’t lie. I barely used it? That was 35 times in the span of 12 hours (roughly). That’s approximately 4 times an hour. That’s once every 15 minutes. My unlock count steadily dropped as the week wore on and I got busier, but this goes to show how much we’ve integrated pocket computers into our lives.

    The app has other features, like how long you are using any one program and your total phone usage for the day.

    In the end, getting an app like this is highly recommended, especially if you are a phone junkie and recognize you have a problem (dopamine addiction). And, yes, the irony of this kind of post ranting about frequent phone use is not lost on me. I fully recognize a good part of my business is digital and having people on-line looking at or reading my stuff is better for me yet here I am encouraging my readers to go live life in the physical world. Oh well. But my refutation to the irony is this: I’m referring to balance. Is your on-line and off-line lives balanced? Take away sleeping hours, eating, and body maintenance, and see how much time is spent on a screen while you’re awake. The rest is up to you.

    (I know that author J.B. Bennet got on board and locked themselves out of things during working hours each day, so others see the merit in this.)

    I made this video on Friday of last week and aired it yesterday. It gets into what happened during my time off-line. Watch and subscribe. You might relate.

    Lastly, for months I was getting frustrated of having to pull out my phone to check the time. While 9 times out of 10 all it was was checking the time, there was always that one time in there where it became an excuse to futz around on the phone. I couldn’t have that. I needed to be off-line, so I took the plunge and got myself a basic sports watch by Timex. As a kid, I had a couple of their Ironman watches, which I loved. I was aiming for another basic Ironman this time around but it was suggested to me that’s more a watch for a 15-year-old than a man so opted for a different one because I thought that was a valid point (I’m talking purely the aesthetics).

    This is the watch I got, model TW5M23300:

    Timex TW5M23300 Watch APF

    And that was how I kept dark last week.

    Taking a break from the Internet is something I’ve recommended for years for the sake of maintaining all facets of one’s health. I will go off-line again somewhere down the road because 2020 is a stupidly busy work year and sometimes you need to just shut up and get the job done. But that upcoming time off-line won’t be for a while yet. Not until my first holiday of 2020. Until then, I’ll be here, writing to you and making books and art and comics and videos.

    Keep coming back to the blog every day. There’s always something being posted.

    – APF

    Ps. Today, a new chapter of Gigantigator Death Machine aired on Patreon! Please go here to get access to this fun romp of creature horror for just a buck!


  • Hot and Cold

    Mini heater
    New heater in the box

    I was raised that you show up for work/school despite how you feel. The only excuse to not go to work was either you are so sick you can’t get out of bed or you are dead. This lesson has stuck with me over the years, and while many out there would disagree with that stance with valid arguments, there is a work ethic that grows in you when you go to work even if your head feels two sizes too big.

    Last night, I got hit with a cold and it got progressively worse as the evening wore on. I went to bed and slept like a stone with the idea that–as is usually the case–the beginnings of this cold would be fought off while I slept and I’d wake up feeling 90%-or-better.

    I’m still sick.

    My head hurts and is foggy. My nose is running. My eyes are watering.

    But I showed up to work today and am at the desk in the bunker, using the heater I went out and got for the studio yesterday because living under a cold air mass in the Great White North means extreme cold and, like any fortress, the downstairs is cooler than the upstairs. Typically, by the end of the day, I’m cold through to my bones and my evenings are spent bringing the core temperature of this middle-aged machine back up to par.

    Mini heater in use
    New heater out of the box

    Anyway, I suspect I ran myself ragged again, which is fine (and seems to be a pattern; when things come too easily I get suspicious.)

    Today will be spent doing odds and ends and some thinking. I think the original plan was to do yet another video but, “I sowd lik dis when I dalk,” and my nose is running worse than a broken faucet.


  • Locked Up Cold – Manitoba Prairies in Winter

    Manitoba Prairies
    These are the Manitoba Prairies in winter.
    Photo taken while driving by.

    Locked Up Cold – Manitoba Prairies in Winter

    Everything is locked up in ice in Winnipeg today with, according to the weather network and the time of this writing (morning), the temperature being -33C (-43C with the windchill).

    Everything is utterly frozen solid in a giant block of ice, which means it’s time to simply hunker down and work. Lots of focus behind the scenes here at the Central. I gave you the rundown yesterday on where things are at roughly two weeks into 2020. Status is the same as of today. A good way to stay current on project statuses is via my weekly newsletter because info isn’t always shared on the blog.

    Want to see boiling water being thrown into freezing air? I made this video the other week showing that:

    There. Winter entertainment.

    Keep warm.


  • New Art and Writing Studio Underway

    A.P. Fuchs Art and Writing Studio Before Set-up
    New art and writing studio before moving in.

    As I mentioned in my newsletter this past weekend, a new art and writing studio is on the docket and yesterday I began the process of setting up shop by way of getting a carpet for the floor. It’s laying in there right now, ready to be cut to size. After that comes moving in all my equipment and supplies and doing some decorating. It’s basically going to be a studio/comic shop hybrid when it’s done and will be revealed on Patreon next month for the behind-the-scenes tier and above.

    Above is a picture of the blank slate I’m working with.

    I’m eager to get this new workspace up and running. The new studio is part of the “more” as hinted at in my posts about Project Rebirth.

    Today will be spent drifting back and forth between creative items and setting things up in the new studio so I’m all tucked away for the winter.

    More of the “more” of Project Rebirth to be revealed soon enough. Keep checking back for updates.


  • Nearly Ready for the Winter Season

    The winter season is nearly here, which means this week I’m putting the final touches on getting ready for Heavy Broadcast Mode, which starts November 1. Believe it or not, a lot of planning and organizing goes into making books and comics for public consumption. It’s not just me writing a story and sending it out all willy nilly. Every creator works their own way, but on my end, I need to have certain mechanisms in place so I can publish a story and get it into your hands properly. This ranges from the actual publishing machine itself to the promotion side of it to even making sure I have copies here at the Central for you. Then add on the need to make and have all those systems in place all the while keeping a roof over my head and, well, yeah. Busy times.

    This isn’t over-complicating it. It’s just planning things out so, once all is up and running, I have the greatest resource of all when it comes to creating stories and sharing them: Time.

    Everything takes time. Some things take a mere minute, other things take hours or days, and the only way to have that time is do all that I’ve been doing behind the scenes here at the Central. (Speaking of behind the scenes, a new behind-the-scenes entry is going up on my Patreon this Friday. Join the journey to check it out.)

    To find out more of what it takes to keep the creative machine running, please join my free weekly newsletter, The Canister X Transmission. It’s a letter from me to you week after week. It’s a chance for all subscribers to have a common meeting point each week to take a load off, escape the stress of the world, have a read (maybe even a laugh), and just breathe after busting butt all week. It’s also a chance to bring you up to speed on all that’s happened here at the Central, things not always covered on this blog. Pull up a chair. We always have room for one more.


  • The Snow has Arrived – Event Planning this Winter

    Snowy Yard
    A snowy yard this morning

    The snow that hit earlier this month had melted but this morning the yard is white. It may or may not stick around, but even if it goes away, it’ll be back with a vengeance because snow is what we do six months of the year here in Winnipeg. And while the possibility of doing things outside gets greatly reduced during the winter months, being locked indoors for half a year has its advantages when you make books and comics for a living.

    You get to just, simply, work. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan for out-of-the-studio excursions in the New Year.

    If you go to the Convention and Book Signing Schedule section of this site, you’ll see that I didn’t do events in 2019. There are lots of reasons for this, some of which had to do with being unwell. With the loss of the Central Canada Comic Con–my “default” show for every year except for last year–I have to do some research for local events over the winter so I can book on time for the 2020 season. If I succeed in what I have planned for the winter, then I’ll have a lot of new material for next year’s shows plus any book signings along the way. There has also been talk here at the Central about leaving the province–possibly even the country–for a few events next year. Once dates and locales are locked down, I will announce them here. I’m eager to connect with fans again at these venues. Always a joy to see them.

    In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to just working throughout the winter season. It’s been a good long while since I was able to create without hindrances. I can’t wait to get back to it again.

    Ps. A new behind-the-scenes entry is scheduled to go on my Patreon page later this week. Join the journey to catch the post plus other behind-the-scenes goodies already on the site. Of course, getting access to a serial novel, essays, patron-only posts and patron-first announcements along with an exclusive membership card isn’t a bad deal either.


  • Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

    Today is Thanksgiving here in Canada and there is a lot to be grateful for. In fact, there is always something to be grateful for whether it’s Thanksgiving or not. Today will be spent visiting and eating and taking it easy (oh, and doing Inktober, too). Having a break is a good thing and will fuel creativity for later.

    I want to wish my fellow Canadians a Happy Thanksgiving. Pause and breathe and take a moment to reflect on all you have, especially on the things that matter most like friends and family, acquaintances, and anyone who has crossed your path that has been a blessing to you in some way.

    Enjoy your day.

    Regular programming on the blog resumes tomorrow.


  • Snow: A Storm’s Coming (Winter Deadlines)

    Snow in the yard

    Snow usually hits Winnipeg around the end of October. This year it has come early. In fact, it’s snowing as I type this. Those white patches in the photo above are snow. Rumor has it a storm might hit this weekend. No matter. Since it’s Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend, I’ll be safe inside eating turkey.

    The arrival of snow means it’s time for me to start getting my winter productivity plan underway, which is a variation on how, and what, I’m working on now.

    I’m hoping this winter season is an opportunity to catch up on releasing books that should have come out while I was ill and, possibly, create some new ones. The next step in the process is to sit down and ponder timelines then break those general timelines down into smaller steps so deadlines can be adhered to. (My newsletter is a great place to keep up to date on timelines and work being done.)

    Stay warm.

    – APF

    Ps. Tomorrow, a new chapter of my ongoing creature feature serial novel, Gigantigator Death Machine, hits Patreon! Don’t miss out.


  • Project Rebirth: An Update

    This is an update regarding PROJECT REBIRTH, my codename for getting things up and running in a new way after stepping back for a season. PROJECT REBIRTH was first announced here. Here are the status updates in list form for easy reading.

  • Comics – Sketchbook work has begun. This is me getting down how I want things to look for my yet-to-be-announced comic project.

  • Resumption of The Canister X Transmission – A couple issues have already gone out and a new one will hit this Saturday. Archives are here. Subscribtion box is on the right or please go here. You get a free novelette as a thank you.

  • A Patreon account with special content just for patrons – This was recently launched. A serial novel is part of the deal starting at $1. Other goodies at the higher tiers. New chapter of GIGANTIGATOR DEATH MACHINE airs this Friday. Please join my Patreon journey either via the button to your right or by going here.

  • Order fulfillment of the Axiom-man/Auroraman: Frozen Storm Kickstarter – For those who missed the Kickstarter, the book is available on the left. For those waiting on rewards, the Lettered Edition has come in (see this video) and the paperback is being printed shortly.

  • Publication of projects that were temporarily put on hold – These are still being sorted through. Announcements to come once I’ve got them figured out.

  • Bigtime expansion and growth of The Axiom-man Saga and associated products – Still in the planning stages.

  • Revving up public appearances and media again – Once a couple things above are settled, this will be looked into.

  • New YouTube channel – Just announced. More content coming. First video here.

  • More – Ah, the ever-mysterious “more.” This encompasses something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time but haven’t been able to for different reasons. Part of this was settled upon when I was at the bookstore the other day. That’s all I’ll hint for now. Super vague, I know.

    I’m also pleased to report this blog has had a surge of traffic since I’ve gone regular with it again. Thank you to everyone for coming by. Some say blogging is dead. I disagree. I think it just fell by the wayside for a few years while everyone was focused on their social channels, but now that many are complaining about the problems of social media, I think newsletters and blogs will make a comeback. Websites in general are the foundation of the Web. We used to surf for hours going from one site to the next. I still bookmark pages for easy access. Websites will never go away.

    Thank you to everyone for your patience as I get things back in order. As I’ve said elsewhere, it takes a lot of time, especially if you’re a one-man band.

    Onward.