March 27, 2005

This is what happens now

As per my previous entry, I've done some thinking, and this is what I've come up with.

  1. I'm still going to run the Lair, but I'm going to be following through with a decision I made before all this crap happened: I want to focus my energies on generating content (specifically, writing new Rants and Reviews), rather than doing menial tasks around the site. The redesign helps with that aim very much.
  2. Speaking of the update, progress has pretty much stalled this week. However, andcarne has graciously donated (far too many) hours out of his life that he'll never get back and got me the posting dates for all the Rants and Reviews, which will save me much time. Hot damn. :)
  3. Currently, here's what I still need to get done before I update the site:
    • Joke Archive: 314 pages down, 249 to go.
    • Rants: Nothing has been done on it yet, though much of the formatting will be getting picked up from the Reviews section (which is done).
    • Front Page: Well, I can't exactly throw up the Lair without a front page that matches everything else, now can I? It's fairly complicated; I might just end up reusing the table-based front page I have now, and then update it to a strictly CSS-based page later on.
  4. Bahamut had asked, but I never answered: I'm not shutting down because of all this, don't worry.
  5. The Forums will be replaced once I get things straightened out more. I don't know exactly when, but when I do, they'll be getting created from scratch;though some of the organization and whatnot from the old forums will remain, I think a slimming of the old stuff wouldn't be a bad idea anyway.
  6. At some point this year, I'd like to overhaul; clean out the inactive users, update the way the banners and navigation table are done, that sort of stuff. Low on my list of priorities, though.
So, that pretty much covers everything.
Posted by Eric at 08:01 PM | Comments (20)

March 23, 2005

Just a quick note... I mentioned to Gfono in a recent email, I've still got some plans knocking around my head. Give me a day or two and I'll have a clearer sense of what is what, and I'll post a big long entry to my blog about it. :)

Thanks again for all your support.

Posted by Eric at 05:12 PM | Comments (6)

March 22, 2005

The Next Step

I'm sick and tired of being "punished" by random internet shits just because I have better things to do than sit at home in front of my computer 24/7. I'm tired of being "punished" for having a life. I'm tired of feeling like I "have" to do this and I "have" to do that. I'm tired of the slight pangs of guilt I get when I opt to play Burnout 3 or KOTOR instead of sitting in front of my computer, banging out one PHP page after another.

But most importantly, I'm tired of trying to balance my time and energy between satisfying myself (primarily with theatre projects) and satisfying everyone else (primarily with the Empire). I'm tired of having so many obligations, both to my users and to myself; I've been failing at all of it for a long time. The result:

Fuck the Empire. Eric is more important than EVula.

As of right now, the Forums are permanently dead. I have no doubt that I'll make another focal point for a community around my site at some point in the future, but it'll be completely from scratch. I probably won't be resurrecting the old boards; they can rot in whatever level of digital hell they are currently in. Hell if I know when I'll finish the redesign. I've done too much to give up completely on it (though I honestly considered it for a good long while; the only reason I haven't decided to give up is the fact that I just registered the domain for another three years on Sunday), but I sure as hell don't feel like working on it right now.

It's about 1:30 in the morning right now, and I can't sleep because I'm so angry about all this shit. Tomorrow I have a lot of stuff that I have to do at work. For those that were wondering how the Empire could be such a headache for me, this is a prime example; everything about the Empire seems to bleed into the rest of my life, and not always in a good way (although I do have a handful of friends that address me as Emperor).

I do appreciate all the support you guys have given me in this and other minor catastrophes, but at the end of the day, it's still just me, all on my own, trying to do far too many things at once. I'm going to keep with my original plan of partially updating the Lair, since I think that the feedback I get from it might be good for me.

Posted by Eric at 01:39 AM | Comments (40)


I'm really, really close to giving up on the entire Empire right now. I'm really fucking tired of all the headaches that I'm getting from it, especially considering how much money I make off it (I'll give you a hint: it's a negative number).

Anyone that would like to list reasons I shouldn't let the Forums remain dead is welcome to try.

Posted by Eric at 12:19 AM | Comments (8)

March 16, 2005

When I say I'm busy...

...this is what I mean:

Thursday, March 17: My 22nd birthday. I'm going to be having dinner with Courtney (yes, the ex-Empress; we're still the best of friends). Dunno what I'll be doing that evening; we might just end up calling it a night and I work on the Lair all night. :)

Friday, March 18: I'm going to see a play at my old high school.

Saturday, March 19: reunion cast party for the Rocky Horror Show. Yes, I wasn't in the show, but I knew most of the cast and I crashed half their parties, so I'm invited anyway. It's also going to be in Murfreesboro, so it'll be hella easy to get to.

Sunday, March 20: wedding to go to in the middle of the day.

Monday-Thursday: possible rehearsals for another play I've agreed to do. *sigh*

In the past three days, I've been asked to work on three shows and two websites. Busy, busy me.

Posted by Eric at 11:03 PM | Comments (3)

Stupid Blacklist...

For those of you that may have noticed, there's a bit more spam around than normal. That's because, for whatever reason, I can't access the De-spam feature of the Blacklist. I'm not the only one to have that problem (I've read about it on the support forums for MT-Blacklist). I hope to fix the problem tonight, at which point I'll be back to busting all the spam on everyone's blogs. Whee.

Posted by Eric at 03:15 PM | Comments (5)

March 11, 2005

You do *not* want to piss me off.

You may think that you do, but you really, really don't.

One of the (many) things I'm in charge of at work is collections. If a client is late in paying us, I'm the one that calls. I love my job in a very sick and sadistic way. I'm also very, very good at my job.

We have this one client... well, I shouldn't share the name (legal issues and whatnot), so I'll just call them "Deadbeat." Deadbeat is a restaurant that is just around the corner from us. We originally had been talking with Deadbeat about a postcard campaign for them. We were pretty excited; this was a fairly large client, and we were hoping to have things take off with this local franchise and have it go all the way to the corporate level. However, that didn't happen.

Everything with them was rush rush rush. Our initial concept was shot down. A mistake in my opinion, but whatever, it's Deadbeat's call. So we did a second one and sketched out what the photoshoot was going to capture. Because they were in such a rush, they told us to just go ahead with the drawings. Okay... whatever, they're the boss. All the while, we'd scouted out the restaurant and told them what they needed to fix (a lengthy list). Deadbeat also changed our postcard numbers; we were going to direct the cards to a much better list of addresses, but they had us go with their list. Again, they're the boss.

So, the postcards finally hit. Fast forward three weeks after I send them the invoice and I get a phone call from Deadbeat. Turns out they didn't think that they should get charged for the initial concept (charged as a flat fee) since they didn't go with it. Problem is, we dropped a lot of time off the final invoice because of that fee (that way the invoice was under the max amount we told them it would be), so I wasn't about to just take the fee off and call it a day. Deadbeat suggested we drop the amount down and make it a flat fee; we were still losing money, but less than if we just dropped the Concept fee, and since we were trying to get our foot in the door with Deadbeat, I reinvoiced them.

Well, Deadbeat fell off the face of the earth after that. I kept trying to get in touch with our contact at Deadbeat, but kept getting his voicemail. On one day (the 60 day mark for the invoice), I called once every hour on the hour (a total of 7 times, since I missed it at lunch). I sent a letter to them reminding them of their obligation (via certified mail, so I knew they received it, and have legal evidence proving such). The stipulation on the letter was that, if I didn't receive payment or communication within 5 days, I'd be taking them to court. Day #6 rolls on in, no money or phone calls, so I head down to the county clerk and file a civil suit against Deadbeat. Lo and behold, after he was served the notice by a Sheriff's deputy, he managed to pick up the phone to call me. So less than 30 hours after I went to the courthouse, I had my money. Booya, lawsuit cancelled.

Now, in the middle of all this, we invoiced the remaining time we had in our various projects for Deadbeat (including that initial Concept Development fee that they didn't think they should pay). Enclosed with the invoice was a letter that let them know that, yes, they were legally obligated to reimburse us for our time, regardless of whether they used it or not.

Well, I called Deadbeat yesterday to remind them that they owed me for the second invoice today (the 11th), and that if I didn't have my money by noon on the 14th, I'd be taking them to court again. I got a phone call from Deadbeat earlier today, and he had no clue what I was talking about. Bullshit, the invoice was sent via certified mail, I have a signature saying it was delivered. Regardless, he is confused how we can charge them for anything they didn't use; after a fairly heated (though civil) conversation between myself and Deadbeat, I tell him that I'll be going down to the courthouse on Monday to file against them, and I just sent Deadbeat PDFs of both the invoice and the letter that accompanied it (again, letting him know that he is legally bound to pay us).

The shit will be hitting the fan around the middle of April, more than likely, so hopefully I'll have some more stuff to say then. Right now, I'm in a sadistically wonderful mood. :)

Now, this is just the worst of the three clients I've had to start roughing up just to get my money out of them. Another was much easier to get my money from, though I think I've made an enemy of the receptionist (telling someone "that's not good enough" when they give you the run around doesn't make them your friend).

The second client was a pill to deal with, too; the president (who was my contact) kept giving me sob stories about how she was dealing with personal matters. Now, don't get me wrong, I feel bad for her... but I don't care. In the time that she took to tell me her sad little stories, she could have been signing a check. Before we began working with her on the two projects, she had us hold up until she was sure she could pay us; a little while later, she gave us the go-ahead. That means she had the money; any shit that may have happened in her personal life is none of my concern, and would have looked *very* bad if I had taken her to court (lucky for them, I got my check from them two days before I would have done so).

Oon the plus side, I *did* successfully get them to pay their late penalty; this is almost unheard of in regular attempts of creative firms to get money. Everyone I've told that to that works in a creative industry (like the architects next door, or other graphic designers) has been quite impressed. I'm seriously considering freelancing as a collections agent, working on a commission. I could make some serious money like that. :)

Posted by Eric at 12:12 PM | Comments (3)

March 10, 2005

Worst. Spam name. Ever.

"Bladders A. Voguish"

Gah, that's just bad.

(it's been a slow week. I promise an actual blog post with some meat on it this weekend)

Posted by Eric at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2005

It's the Antichrist outside!

Right now, WeatherPop is showing me that it's 66.6° outside.

Yes, I am easily entertained. ;)

Posted by Eric at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

My Film Debut (not really) and the Evil Eye!

Last night I went over to my friend Lynda's place to help her film an audition tape for a movie she's hoping to be cast in. It was a lot of fun, and it was filmed by a director friend of hers. Aside from the audition piece being the first time I'd ever been filmed (the camera wasn't focused on me, but that's fine; it wasn't my audition tape, after all), the director friend seemed to like me well enough; he seemed to be quite interested in having me work with him on some projects. Considering I know several people that have worked with him (Lynda, David, Erik, and my sister Olivia), I know he's cool, so I might switch from doing technical theatre to actually acting in (albeit relatively small-time) movies. Score!

As for the Evil Eye comment... well, a few minutes ago my right pupil all of a sudden dilated to about twice it's normal size. It still isn't quite normal, and is causing my vision to be really strange. I can see just fine, but it seriously looks like I have an evil eye, and my right eye is now a lot more sensitive to light. I have no idea what the hell is going on; I'm honestly a bit spooked by all this. I'm going to be going to bed way early tonight (as in, as soon as I get done typing this) so that I can rest it, and I'll call my Dad tomorrow morning to get his opinion. Whee, this is fun. :\

Posted by Eric at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2005

Personal Stuff: End Note

As I mentioned before, my ex-stepdad wasn't doing too well. I got a call earlier today to let me know that he died at 10:51 this morning.

I probably should be more upset than I am, but I feel it hard to be; he wasn't doing well physically, and he was in a lot of pain. He's dead now, so he isn't in pain anymore. *shrug* I see it as an improvement, but I'm also the sort of person that celebrate's a person's life, rather than mourning their death.

Posted by Eric at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2005

I hate my neighbors

I used to have Mormons that lived behind me. 5 of them (in a two bedroom apartment). They were nice enough; I made sure not to talk to them for any extended period of time, however, because I used to be in the Mormon church (we left before I was baptized), and if they found that out they'd be all over me like white on rice to come back to the church.

I miss them so very, very much.

I've already had to talk to the apartment office about my neighbor's pets. Specifically, they have a bird and a dog that, apparently, is easily surprised. For a while, the dog would all of a sudden discover the bird and start barking (yelping would be a more accurate description). The bird, in turn, would then start skwaking loudly, which further surprised the dog. Oh, what a pleasant sound to hear at 5 in the morning. Thankfully, after I talked to the office, I haven't had to hear them. I know the bird is still there (I hear it every once and a while, but as long as it isn't keeping me from sleeping, I'm fine with it), but I suspect the dog is gone. Oh well, couldn't care less.

Then, there's this morning, about 5:30 or so. There I am, sleeping nice and peacefully, when I'm woken up by the sound of very loud yelling and shouting coming from the bathroom (our bathrooms are back to back). At 5:30, I'm out cold; I've slept through my alarm clock, which is right beside my head, on more than one occasion, so I'm fairly surprised that they managed to wake me up. Anyway, I could hear them argue a bit more out in the hall, then they went back in. He was yelling really loudly, and I'm 90% sure I heard him hit her. I'm not quite sure, but one of the things that I heard him say (couldn't hear her) was "go ahead, calling the fucking police!" Well, I am sure that he wasn't talking directly to me, but I figured that his suggestion wasn't without some merit.

So I call 911, tell them what's up, and wait for the police to arrive (I'm wide awake at this point, no point in going back to sleep). While this happens, the happy couple behind me take their argument back to the hallway, with the guy eventually locking the girl out, so she goes out to the car (I figured to leave, but apparently to stay warm). About this time the cops show up, and have a nice little chat with them. I figured they'd knock on my door to get my report of what happened, but that I guess they didn't need it. I'm a bit pissed about that, since I stayed out in the living room specifically for that purpose, but whatever. :)

Anyway, it's now 6:54, and I can already tell that I'm going to be damn tired by the end of the day. My guess is that I'll be going to bed at 10:30 tonight to make up for the lost sleep. Grrr.

Posted by Eric at 06:55 AM | Comments (3)