It's been a bit more than a month since I was let go from work. Oh, don't worry, I have savings and severance to last me quite a while, and many wizardly things to do. I've been employed continuously for over ten years, and I was badly in need of a sabbatical, a summer vacation, whatever you want to call it.

The first week, I was getting ready to go to an anime convention, over Labor Day weekend. The next week, I went to a game developers conference. The week after that, I took care of my mom's dog for a few days, after having cleaned up the living room and kitchen areas in preparation for her walking vacuum cleaner. Then, finally having some free time, I started seriously cleaning up one of the rooms full of stuff.

I've been a thrift shopper for many years, since the early '90s. After three years, I got tired of seeing piles of Atari 2600 games, decided to get "one of each", then got sucked into the world of collecting video games. But I still kept thrifting, for more than just video games. A few months ago, I discovered that a Goodwill clearance store was just around the corner from work. They call it "Blue Hanger" to make it sound upscale, but really it's just their "salvage" store. I first found out about the salvage stores a few years back with one in south San Antonio.

When I moved up from San Antonio, I already had aquired way too much stuff, but having such fertile grounds so close was just too much. Over those few months, I had acquired lots of small toy parts, including 50 pounds of Lego Duplo, and it was all taking up too much space. Fortunately, when I was laid off, I immediately lost the desire for thrift shopping, because I knew I would finally have the time to do the things I really wanted to do that had been stacking up over ten years.

But that only stopped the inflow of Stuff. So I've been spending much of the past week sorting through most of that stuff and tidying up without even having to throw much out yet. Most of the space was taken up by all the mostly-empty plastic bins that I got while shopping there, so it all compacted rather nicely, and I now have a room in the house back, more or less. There is much more to clean up, some of which is even worth selling, but this was an important first step.

Of course whenever you clean up, you find things that you had been missing for some time, and you also find things you forgot you even had. One of the things I didn't realize I had was a video tape from the Blue Hanger, on which was the movie Amélie. Recorded from DVD. In 6-hour mode. Without even caring that Macrovision put orange lines all over the picture. So I watched it. It's a wonderful movie, one that I was already pretty sure I would like, and I will be sure to buy the DVD when I want to watch it again.

It's been more than a year since I experimented with the idea of making a webcomic. I think my idea was okay, but I just didn't have the time to follow through with it, and only made two of them. Here is the first one.

I had been playing a copy of Harvest Moon for SNES that I got at a flea market a couple of years earlier, and it's always funny when you play a video game so much that you dream about it. That didn't actually happen to me, but sometimes when I play an arcade game enough I can close my eyes and see it playing in the darkness.

Right now I'm doing things the hard way, by manually editing HTML files, but I plan to set up MySQL and some scripting to display these journal pages Real Soon Now.