Thursday, December 31, 2020

Animated Thoughts: 2020 End of year wrap-up

2020 was a tough year for everyone. When the lockdown hit, my workload doubled. In addition to working from home at the forensics job, I had to record my lectures and teach the rest of my animation history class online. And if that wasn't enough, I found myself in the middle of a full website backup and migration that a Smudge Animation client needed as the features she used to operate her online education business were being discontinued in the latest server upgrade. Add to that, all the Flash animations I had created for her needed to be redone in a new format since the Flash Player was being decommissioned by Adobe. And if that wasn't enough, the new site solution was so good, so easy to implement and maintain AND integrate with her webstore that she didn't need me to manage her website anymore and that account closed.

I need to fold those clothes, Fuzzy...
On the good side, I was able to handle it all. On the bad side, it left me even more exhausted and burned out. 

As I watched friends and neighbors treating the lockdown as extra vacation time and free time with their families, all I could think of was "I wish I had the time to go outside and get a little exercise, or catch up on my reading, or binge watch a series on NetFlix, or work on that 'honey-do' list of things that needed to be fixed around the house." But whenever I started to feel a little resentful, I reminded myself that I still had a job and extra work coming in, thus eliminating a lot of the uncertainty that many others were experiencing. And as I'm pretty much a shut-in to begin with who has been preparing for a non-linearity event like this since Y2K, the lockdown was more of an annoyance than the life-altering experience that others were dealing with. If nothing else, life has taught me that a little gratitude paired up with a self-served slice of humble pie is always good at changing your moods for the better.

So, in that line of thought, here's a couple things that I was thankful for this year:

  • The Toronto Animated Image Society workshops moved online so I was able to learn a couple new animation techniques from home: replacement animation and digital rotoscoping using Photoshop.
  • During online Gen Con, I picked up a great deal on the three core rulebooks for Dungeons and Dragons 5e. Shortly thereafter, I discovered a vibrant online community of people who play D&D by themselves--with lots of rules for playing homebrew adventures, prepublished adventures, and adventures specifically written for solo play--and an online forum where we can all share our gaming experiences and war stories.
  • The Ottawa International Animation Festival expanded their duration from four days to two weeks and the online service they used allowed us ample opportunity to watch screenings, panels, and retrospectives.
  • Because of the lockdown, I was holding paychecks until the clients paid. Then it all came in over a two-week period late-Fall and I found myself flush with cash--just in time to have the roof completely replaced on my house. Within one day, it was done and all I had to do was write the check.
  • My last cat, Fuzzy, passed away the week between Christmas and New Years. And she died the way I wanted her to: I was there with her to the very end, petting her, and telling her how good it was to have her in my life for the past twenty-two years.

Fuzzy, napping on her last day with us.

And with that somber note, my 2020 comes to a close with a lot of hope that no matter what mountains and valleys I may experience in 2021, I will persist. For as Grandma Wilson often said: "this too shall pass."

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