I think too much.

Today I have been saddened by two things. The first was a bear attack – a personal trigger on high levels. I had to turn to filk today, and still I didn’t keep from shedding a few tears. They came, they dripped down in an attempt to find my keyboard, and I let them. I didn’t have a choice. They were going to escape my eyes whether I liked it or not.

The second is the firm inability to look at a situation and get past meaningless shit to realize, wait a minute. This is bad. This is real bad. This drama happened on my Facebook – which is the dark emperor of drama – so I am more the fool for continuing to go back. However, also located on my Facebook is the Facebook filking community, which is the thing that soothed me after I accidentally read a bear attack headline while searching for work related information. So it was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t.

This growing world apathy has been around us for a while now, and I have to admit it’s the human quality that sickens me the most. I even know why it disgusts me so much – my parents. My childhood. I want to flog people with cat o’nine tails screaming, “Do you care yet? DO YOU CARE YET??”

It’s manifested around me in at least two ways over the holiday week. I can’t even remember the first way, but it was something that I found important.  Oh – I remember now. It was a very good point about how you’re not allowed to lump all Black people into the heading of “Black” no more than you should a Native American, but not bothering to make the distinctions between Whites was apparently alright. People actually nitpicked the point to a puddle of childish, shallow nothing because of the use of the term Caucasian. I’m not even White, and I’m in the corner shouting, “THE POINT IS RACISM IS RACISM NO MATTER WHAT RACE IT’S AGAINST YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!”

The second way was in regards to the worldwide slavery problem – which, if you’ve hung around this blog long enough you know I care something about being as it does indeed still exist for MORE than dark-skinned people. Everyone was more concerned with what religion the top slaver countries were than the fact that it still happens at all. They were actually arguing if Christian countries participated – and I have to say who fucking cares? Why can’t you assholes be apathetic towards a slaver’s possible religion of choice and care more for their deeds? Or has everyone truly been brainwashed to such a level that they can’t look at a picture bigger than a postage stamp?

The third happened just now, and it’s been happening for a few days now in my scope of view. I happened across something that really disturbed me. Aeonix Publishing Group, which housed a few resources, have had to shut their doors because they were reportedly taxed to death.

Their website (which is still at http://www.aeonix.com/) reads, “NOTICE: Due to high taxes, increasing regulation, government interference in small business, new requirements for health insurance, and a general state-sponsored “anti-business” environment, Aeonix Publishing Group has laid off all employees and has ceased business operations. Our “capital” has gone on strike (Read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and learn who John Galt is.)”

I posted this on my Facebook, directing it at an author on my Facebook list because I thought they’d care, and made a mention that this was one of the reasons why I’m against Obamacare. (I’m not going to debate Obamacare here. It’s not the point.)

A few of my author’s friends, all people who don’t know me from a hill of beans, didn’t even look at the situation. They apparently didn’t investigate. Instead, they exhibited the problem.

Apparently one of them doesn’t care to build robots because they saw the Terminator, and that has everything to do with objecting to Obamacare.

Another accused someone – I’m not sure whom – of living in their own little universe and thinking they have their own vacuum. Or.. something like that. It made no sense, to be honest.

Today’s smart-ass wanted to know if Aeonix had decided to cash in like Ayn Rand apparently did later in life.

There are assholes all over the internet. It’s a breeding ground for them. But yet, I’m reeling from the sheer stupidity. Sheer. Stupidity. And – here comes that word again – apathy.

Here’s why you should care. Here’s why you shouldn’t be apathetic about this. Here’s why if you find out the Institute for Justice (a real group of lawyers) are lobbying for a good change in your local, state, and federal government you should see if it’s worth helping them over.

Small businesses are the toads and frogs of your economic environment. When there’s something wrong, they’re going to go first. So Aeonix is gone. Maybe you’re content to work at Walmart and, in many Walmart cases, qualify for federal assistance. Do you know what happens to an ecosystem when the frogs are gone? Do you understand what it means?

It means the environment is real REAL unhealthy. Frogs are just a bit on the fragile side. Pick one up, look at it. Does it have deformed limbs? Oh boy. Something is wrong in your environment. No frogs at all? Something is REALLY wrong. (Note; I’m being pretty general about this, but now you know why I catch frogs, stare at them, and release them a lot.)

Once you have dead frogs, things go a bit more south. The animals next level up, the ones that depended on the frogs, are next. And then the next animals up, and so on. So on. Look up the Dust Bowl. Study the dinosaurs. GO READ A FUCKING BOOK. (Just not Ayn Rand.)

If Obamacare was one of the factors that contributed to Aeonix going down, this means they had at least 51 employees. They were probably making it okay to have that many employees, if they had them. And they were taxed to death and are *now gone*.

Whether it was only 4 employees or 57, those jobs are *gone*.

This competitor in the publishing arena that, through the process of a free economy helped to give prices a free flow, give us some variety, and keep our cash economy breathing is gone.

The owner’s livelihood is gone. There is no benefit to having to close your doors. You get to pound pavement and hope someone will hire you for their company instead.

For at least one person in that equation, the American dream was killed by taxation.

And this much I can glean on my very very very limited understanding on how things work. And I know it’s very real because the IRS is charging me nearly $1000 extra for 2012 tax paperwork *they lost* while claiming we were late to file (but cashed that payment check pretty fucking quickly at the time). I’m having to skip my next house payment to pay it, mostly because my husband has been trying to call them about it for a month straight and *their automated system hangs up on him*. I know this because the good state of Illinois claimed they had no record of my husband’s employment and the taxes he paid in last year so they wouldn’t have to give us our income tax back. I know this because I, as a freelancer, pay more taxes than an employed person does. Between state and federal, it’s nearly 50% of my total income.

THIS IS A REAL PROBLEM AND WE SHOULDN’T BE APATHETIC ABOUT IT. We shouldn’t nitpick because they pointed to Ayn Rand’s famous philosophy against government growth as something to learn by when Aeonix went down. We shouldn’t make smart remarks about robots concerning a huge reform document that not only took away the element of free economy from the insurance game, but has single-underhandedly managed to bloat premiums and turn many middle-class people’s worlds upside down. We should instead care A LOT when a document is pushed through Congress without anyone even being *allowed* to read it. We should give a fuck that 50% of our incomes are being taken from us. We should *not* be apathetic.

It makes me so sad to see how little people care. Does anyone know what the Boston Tea Party was all about? The things we’re taxed for, abused for, and pushed around for are a thousand times worse than in those days… and yet no one cares.

I don’t picket on the side of the road. (That seems to make no difference anyway.) My way of pushing back is to educate when I learn something. I also watch the Institute for Justice some, and my husband is going to school for law. Sometimes I sign petitions. And this coming election I’m determined to be able to vote. Someday another opportunity to be active will present itself, and I’m going to take it. We all fight in our own ways. Even through little ones. Nothing is meaningless if it’s a real effort.

The thing is… you actually have to make an effort to put down that postage stamp and look out the window. Look around you. LOOK OUTSIDE. It’s the first step.

Well. My hands are tiring and I need to drown myself in Julia Ecklar, Leslie Fish and others again because I can’t make any of you care. But I can’t stand to watch you drown yourself either. Because I DO care. I sometimes feel like I’m the only one that does.

When your art is taken from you….

Over the years I haven’t went unscathed from the art/story theft scenario. For example, when I was in my early 20’s whoever ran that “contest” ad in Dragon Magazine took my story and rewrote it enough so that I couldn’t sue and published it… in Dragon Magazine.* (Which makes me think it was a scam being run with the magazine.)

My “bite me” vampire smile face was copyrighted right out from under me to the point that CafePress made me change my shop. I’d been using that smile face for years before it was copyrighted, too.

Then of course there’s the Twilight fiasco we all know about… and there are other examples, I’m sure, but I don’t exactly sit around dwelling on them.

Sometimes theft comes in the form of flattery. For example, there was this animation studio that contacted me about Akashik a few years ago. Enthusiastically I told him everything. We agreed we’d use 3D. I even… gah… I even sent him my 3D models to use. Then he disappeared. Now there’s a popular webtoon with a bad guy that’s way too suspiciously like Taus, a good guy that’s way too suspiciously like Ganji, and a host of other characters that are blatantly named after things the creator liked. It doesn’t take much to put 2 and 2 together. Let me point again to Dragon Magazine.

Today I ended a sideways abusive relationship. I say sideways abusive, because the so-called friend wasn’t outright abusing me. They weren’t punching me in the face or calling me names. Instead, they were allowing depression to be a crutch in their life. (Not an easy obstacle to surmount, I know from experience.) And their depression and rants were becoming aimed at everyone around them, blaming friends for not being there at their beck and call for pity 24/7 (I do mean pity), and just damn. The vitriol. Damn. When I was at the height of my depression I wasn’t that bad. And things didn’t get better for me until I learned to walk away from it, even to the point of leaving my blood kin behind.

After I’d blocked the “friend” on Facebook, my husband found something that I never knew was there. And… I’m not annoyed. When this happens there’s not much you can do about it, to be honest. It’s just.. it’s not right. Maybe they gave me credit at the time. I dunno. They’re one of those fan types that take from every show they like and make what they consider original characters (when they’re not). Regardless, the fact that it exists means I have to make this official announcement… because I don’t want another tv show without my credit. I don’t want another Twilight situation, or Dragon Magazine.

I like that my stuff is awesome to some people. I just wish I weren’t the one artist where everyone thinks my stuff is awesome, but only to steal as their own. Draw fan art, please draw fan art! I’d love some fan art. Don’t go taking my shit and saying it’s yours. Yet for some reason when it comes to my creative universe, I’m the invisible artist that never gets credit where credit is due. GAH! Annoying.

coverSo this (to the right) is Ola Gist. She’s been around since my college days. Most of the comics inside of that book are based on real life events that I witnessed or experienced while learning to be and working as an archaeologist. (You’ll need to click the image to see it bigger.)

Usually Ola’s shirt reads DIE. That shirt is pretty damn popular, too. When I wanted a shirt that said DIE just like that, I went to buy one. There were none. So I’ve been making shirts that read DIE with acrylic paint and/or iron ons ever since. They always get compliments and appreciation.

I’d have some made if I honestly thought I’d be noticeable long enough to sell a few. So on Fridays at conventions I always come dressed as myself, which means I’m wearing a DIE shirt because I am Ola Gist, and all is good with the world.

stolenThis (to the left) is some personal avatar art from my now ex-friend.

I can tell you the history of this avatar. It started out as a MLP avatar. Then MLP put out the Equestria girls series, so the avatar had to follow suit. This character in question is so powerful, I wasn’t able to do a roleplay session with Taus for story creativity because the character had no flaws. The story literally could not move forward. So I stopped trying within an hour.

With Taus. TAUS OF ALL CHARACTERS.

Now there’s not much to be said over a shirt that reads DIE, as this one obviously does. I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of a shirt that reads DIE. The thing about this particular shirt that reads DIE is my ex-friend was someone I used to hang with in person. We’d see each other at conventions. She handled the physical copies of Ola Gist. And I wonder… does anyone get credit from these types of scenarios ever?

I’m not knocking the ex-friend with this post, understand. This is just a situation I have been made aware of, and because of my past history with having my shit just taken without so much as a by your leave I feel it’s necessary to say this: Ola Gist. She was here first. She’s obscure, but she’s still mine.

That is all.

 

*After all these years I can’t remember the name of the magazine exactly, but that sounds right.