MonthMarch 2016

My Shopping Ban: Making Sacrifices

Why does feeling good never last?

As much as I’d like to continue celebrating my student loan getting smaller and smaller, my income is also getting smaller and smaller. I’m going to have to make some tough choices very, very soon, and I’m extremely stressed out by that (and everything else). Yes, once the debt is gone, I will have more freedom with my money, but I’m not making a lot right now and most days, it doesn’t feel like it will be enough to get by.

I’ve signed up with four different temp agencies, but am also starting to think I should be seeking a permanent position as well. The store is where I want to be, but it can’t offer me stable income and health benefits like a lot of other places. On top of that, Alberta’s unemployment rate is higher, so I feel as if I’m stealing a job from someone who needs it more because I, technically, already have a job. I hate everything about this situation, and even though I’ve sent out a bunch of resumes, I feel powerless.

Brandon and I are trying to figure out what we can cut from our expenses. Since we don’t go out much anyway, it will have to be things that we usually consider “necessities”. I’m going to look into downgrading our cell phone plan, and cutting even further back with groceries. Selling some of our things will probably be next. I will keep looking for a job. He is too, but I feel his focus should be the store. It’s his dream, and as far as I’m concerned, his store. He is the reason it exists. I hope I can get a job and support our family, so he can focus on making the store as wonderful as I know it can be.

Danica LeBlanc // Twitter

Doctor Whooch // Episode 085 // The Doctor Is A Dick In A Rocket

In which the title really speaks for itself.

This week on the show, Brandon and Danica are on to the next stop in the River Song timeline: “Day of the Moon”. And good news! Mark Shepard is still here. That was super nice of him to stick around and be handsome on a genre show. Beyond that, this one has a bit of everything. Singing! Weird phrasing! Dancing? Maybe. How would you even know? You wouldn’t. So there.

Outro music is “Man on the Moon” by R.E.M.


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The Path Forward

First I want to start by thanking everyone who commented or sent out words of support about what I wrote this past weekend. It was a hard thing to admit to, and I still feel a little uncomfortable about having something like that out there, but in the end, I think it’s helping. It definitely feels like it’s helping.

I wanted to check back in with everyone so that I could talk about what happens now. If I’ve asked you to take this journey with me, I definitely want you all to know how things are going, instead of leaving you all in the dark. I doubt I will post about absolutely everything, but I do want to give you a glimpse into where my thoughts are and where I’m taking them.

01 // One of the first non-work things I did after deciding to tell everyone about my recent battle(s) with depression was dig into my archives and grab the printed copies I made of a comics activism magazine called Savant. For some of you, hearing that is going to be a blast from the past, but for most it’s not going to mean much. To briefly summarize, Savant was an online magazine that Matt Fraction helped run when he was younger and filled with fire. The contents were all about making comics and the industry better through righteous anger and action and sheer force of will. It’s brilliant and beautiful and flawed in a very well meaning way. I love it to bits, and it always inspires me to be better and to do better.

The best and worst part of reading old Savants is the fact that they are still relevant. They bristle against shitty, regressive practices in the industry, and almost every single one of the problems they are trying to confront are still prevalent today. The good comes from the fact that the articles still provide a pretty good roadmap for How To Be Good. The bad is the fact that something like Savant is still needed. Which brings me to the point of this section.

I’m going to make something like Savant. I’m going to do it, and I’m going to see if anyone else wants in. It’s going to emanate from here and from Variant Edition, not as bases of operation, but as infection points. While I’m learning to stop fighting against things that I have no control over, I am still very passionate about the things that I can – and I will fight for this industry, and for building the structure for change. We will be better. I will be better. This has to get better.

02 // I spoke briefly about accepting the fact that I can’t fight things I have no control over. This is really the foundation from which I’m moving forward. I’ve spent so much energy over the past few months fretting over outside elements that it started to drag me down. I can’t change external forces or thoughts – but I can prepare myself for them, and their effects and consequences. I can build myself in preparation for anything that might come. I think that might be the best foundation to start moving from, but I’m also open to hearing suggestions. Please, if you have thoughts, let me know, either in person, or in the comments here, or where ever you found this on the internet.

03 // Once again, I need to thank each and every one of you for your support. There were a lot of kind words on the internet, and in person, and a few hugs. What I’ve noticed is the fact that pretty much everyone has dealt with something like this before – or at the very least, know people who have. We all hide this stuff from each other and deal with it in the quiet, and… I’m grateful for everyone who felt comfortable enough to share with me. It means a lot that you would approach me, and talk about your experiences to help me with mine. Please know that if any of you need anything, I am here, either just to listen, or to talk with.

This is probably going to be a long process, but… I have a project that I’m excited to build alongside and with Submet and Variant Edition, and I have what I think is a path to move forward along. I hope that’s a good place to start.

I’ll keep you all posted.

Doctor Who News // Capaldi to Stay or Leave And We Are Bad A Click Bait

We’re looking to be Edmonton’s best infrequent source of news regarding our favourite alien with two hearts who rides around in space and time in a strange blue box.

We are professionals.

  • Is Peter Capaldi leaving Doctor Who? Well, one day, almost certainly. But it seems as though the BBC have asked him if he’d like to stick around beyond the end of Moffat’s run. Naturally, he’s noncommittal, because that sure is over two years away at this point. (Radio Times)


Finding A New Normal

I’ve been overwhelmed for quite some time now, and it’s starting to get to me.

Some positive news: I’m feeling better than I have been. For all of January and a small chunk of February, I didn’t even feel like leaving the house. I had to force myself out into the world day after day and felt like garbage no matter what I did or where I went. That feeling has been walked back to something infinitely more functional. The doorway to the outside of our apartment doesn’t seem like a portal to a hellscape, it’s just a regular door. This is good. This is better. But it’s not great.

For much of my life, I have been afforded the opportunity to feel great. As a straight cis-gender white male, my hardships have been few and most have come at the result of my own hubris or shortcomings. What I’m dealing with now is no different. It began from a place of blind confidence which was swiftly met with harsh reality. The only saving grace comes from the fact that some of the confidence I felt was justified, and the storm can, in fact, be weathered. Or at the very least, I can see the shape of a path that can be taken to get to the other side, it’s just… it won’t be as easy as I had thought it might be.

Somewhere in my brain, I wanted to believe I was special. I wanted to believe that the rules… well, that the rules still applied to me, but that I could soundly beat them into submission and emerge victorious over all comers. (That’s some fucking white male privilege for you, yeah?) But as it turns out, the dark, dirty voice in the back of my head, the one that likes to take me down when I’m feeling a little too big for my britches, is right. I’m not somebody. At most, I’m anybody, and at worst, I’m inconsequential. I’m another cog. I want to be more, and I want to be different, but I often wonder if I’m not strong enough or good enough. I remember thinking back to a few years ago, and thinking about how hopeful I was, and how trusting. It’s so easy to speak from a place of strength and confidence when you don’t have anything on the line.

Today, everything I do could save me or break me. If I let this overwhelming feeling consume me, it could take a functioning life and pull it down. If I attempt to ignore this feeling, it’s just going to eat away inside of me and become… something. It’s hard to say at this point, but it probably won’t be good. So I’m confronting this. I’m talking about this, and I’m attempting to tackle things publicly, or as publicly as I can – because while I’m still trying to understand how to navigate through the mess inside my head, I know that having the support and guidance of friends and family can only help. I tried doing it on my own, trying to convince myself that I had the strength to do it all on my own… and while there are times when I do, that time isn’t now.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be trying something different. My brain wants to find it’s way back to the old normal, but I know that going back to that old place is a regression. Nothing good will come from looking backwards. What I want to do is move forward and find my new normal. A place that I’m comfortable with that doesn’t ignore the changes I’ve experienced or the growth that I’ve had. A place where I can live and be happy, where I can smile and absolutely mean it. It’s probably going to be hard, but I know with the support of my amazing wife and and friends and family, I can get there.

I love you all, and thank you so much for reading.

I’ll talk with you soon.

Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook

My Shopping Ban – Under $1000!

So February was a great month for paying off debt. Not a great month for earning money, but I managed.

I’m officially signed up with two temp agencies, so hopefully I will pick up a contract every so often and be able to save some money after I’ve paid off my student loan. At the end of last month, my loan is down to $885.65 owing. With my current monthly payments of $200, I can have that paid off by July. With my shopping ban, and depending on whether I find any admin work, I’d like to pay that off as quickly as I can. Say, by the end of my shopping ban? Paying that off in only two months may be a lofty goal, but I always like to aim a bit higher than I truly think I can manage.

February knocked $300 off my loan, and I’m very happy about that. March will likely only be $200 – again, more money is dependent on if I am earning some side income from the store.

Don’t have much to report elsewhere regarding the ban. Haven’t been anywhere besides the grocery store and work, so no temptations. I’ve been invited out to some things that I won’t be going to, but usually the invite is a frugal event anyway. Mainly the cost of healthy snacks, and I don’t count food as a frill.

Save well, friends!

Doctor Whooch // Episode 084 // This Will All End In Teas

Preferably an Earl Grey, but we’re open to options.

On this week’s show, Danica and Brandon head back to series 6 to watch “The Girl Who Waited”. Fun fact! Brandon talks about watching this episode for the first time in crying in bed and it’s not awkward. Nope. And what else. Um… oh! Rory is pretty much useless in this episode, which is weird considering he’s the one who is supposedly given the big heartbreaking decision. So there’s that. And also silliness! Enjoy, nerds!

Outro music is “All By Myself” by John Barrowman. Yes, really.


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