I've always been on a mission to find the perfect bag. Every bag I own, I've had some major/minor gripe about, whether in function or aesthetic.

This is going to be about my most recent EDC bag for daily commute/work. This bag only works because I've been pretty intention what I do and do not want to carry, on top of trying really hard to not take my work laptop home! I also wanted something that could fit a sketchbook, or any other "maybe" items depending on the circumstances (scarf, mitten, lunch tupperware, umbrella, etc.) without become an overloaded monster.

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It's a World Famous Web Haversack from an army/sporting goods surplus store. I pulled off the stitched tag on the front. It's a bit of an in-betweener when it comes to aesthetic/style; it's kind of classic, but also kind of casual, but also not so casual that it couldn't work for a more businessy outfit.

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Since the inside of the bag didn't have any pockets (a no-no feature for me), I found a 3-zipper compartment pouch and sewed it into the bag seams around the corners. My needle wasn't strong enough to pierce through the bag fabric, so I went for a minimal viable product (MVP) here.

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I also sewed in a little cotton ribbon and looped in a carabiner. I use this to latch my keys to the inside of my bag for easy access.

I pulled out the tag and got a gigantic wax candle from dollarama and rubbed it into the fabric. It's like colouring with a gigantic crayon.

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I melted the the wax into the fabric with a hairdryer set to warm/hot mode! I'd say that this probably only makes it slightly water repellent, since I also went for MVP.

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Post-melting, the bag looks a-okay! Other than the 3 zipper pockets, the main compartment is just one big hole. Time to fill it up with stuff! Though not too much stuff. I'm always trying to get away with carrying as little as possible. Since I usually commute during rush hour and have to transfer a few times, I don't find that I have heads down time to do much sketching/drawing/music or podcast listening. I've made a choice to be very "present" in these moments (vs. zoning out/going into my own headspace).

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What's inside:

  • Charger and AC adapter for iphone
  • Lightning/audio jack adapter (I hate this)
  • Earphones (not pictured)
  • Tissue paper
  • Bus pass
  • Zipper pouch: friend printed and sent this to me as a memorial to our Germany trip (contents below!)
  • Keys/lanyards
  • Pens: platinum preppy (F) pink, pentel finepoint, gel pen
  • main wallet: MiniCap 2.0 by Anvi Design. really like using this! Fits in my pocket!!
  • second wallet: custom printed pattern of Pinkey from artscow. Mostly insurance/health/membership cards and other knicknacks (aka not daily use)
  • notebook: Aranzi Aronzo Kappa Take Notes Memo Book (A6)
  • foodbar: just in case

What's inside the zippy:

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I'm pretty happy with how this all came together. My only grips about the bag now are that I wish it closed tighter, but it's not a deal breaker since I feel the inside zip pouches are a good secondary level of theft protection. My next bag mission is to move from a 29L bag to a 20L bag for business travel. Stay tuned...!

Today's music post: Glory Box by Portishead. An oldie but a goodie!

Did a test print of the first 2 ch of Here We Are webcomic. The tones look so much better in print than on web. I trimmed too much off the top and bottom so the ratio is slightly off (by ~0.25").

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There's noticeable fuzziness and tone moiré in grayscale print vs sharpness and lack of moiré in bitmap print. These were printed with my BROTHER HL-2270DW black toner printer.

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There is probably something about the printer's conversion software that is making the difference more prominent. I wonder how this works in riso since I've received mixed results (crisp and uncrisp lines/lettering) as well.

Today's music post: Anteholic OST by fricohet. I played the Ante Holic visual novel game by qb;studios back when yaoijam 2018 ended, and really enjoyed both the game and the music. They complimented each other very well!

I think I'm on track to get the next small chapter of Here We Are (HWA) out. Here are some previews that I've been posting to masto (I even made my own hashtag huhuhu)...

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Partway through I also got really into thinking about what they're going to wear during the different seasons.

Jake mainly wears b/w or neutrals, primarily no patterns and clean lines (minimalist).

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Austin mainly wears button-up shirts, tshirts, and belted pants. His style is primarily influenced by fuctional/durable workwear and cozy cabin/camping looks.

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Truth be told, the biggest motivation for posting is because I wanted to share today's music post (one of the strangely fun parts of blogging): Yussef Dayes X Alfa Mist - Love Is The Message (Live @ Abbey Road) ft.Mansur Brown & Rocco Palladino. Seeing musicians jam like this is really incredible...

My webcomic Here We Are is launched! The first chapter (10p) is available online at http://dirchansky.com/hwa/01 :)

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I want to acknowledge to myself that...I'm a very hard worker. Sometimes I feel subpar or barely meeting the status quo, but when I look at what I've been able to create/produce in tandem with all the other things happening in my life (full time day job++OT/travel, volunteer work, freelance work, personal work, etc.), I will give myself that pat on my back.

I will never be the best from a technical/visual/storytelling POV because of my circumstances (and ever-evolving moving target of what "good" looks like), but I have come to terms that I'm not at the point in my life where going deep into craft/skill-building is the highest priority, and know that my expectations will need to scale to the available space-time-continuum. I also scaled back on social media, consolidated my stuff into spaces that I prefer (e.g., this freetalk blog, mastodon) and that I feel that I have more control over.

A few personal achievements

  • Finished all my Love Love Hill comic work well in advance; learned that I have to start planning/plotting/drafting months in advance of the due date, ahaha (especially since I find the planning/plotting stage takes longer and longer as years go on; the well of stories is running dry in my mind)
  • Made a small visual novel game called Come for a Drink; practiced writing (using Scrivener), coding (where indentation matters) in a new game dev engine (Renpy), all while working with a set of very dependable, professional, skilled, and talented voice/music/sound folks!
  • Launched Here We Are webcomic, which I aim to continue and focus on in 2019, since LLH is taking a break next year (from anthologies, conventions, tabling, etc.); I'm making a conscious effort to experiment with the way that I tell stories in verbally/visually, thinking more consciously about voices, etc., so I'm sure the comic will be a bit of a mess, but I'll learn a lot from it! If I'm too strict with the planning, I think I'll feel creatively stifled/locked-in, so there's going to be a bit of "making it up as I go along" from a story POV.

(more fake dialogue)

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(fashion exploration)

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I owe most of the above productivity to pre-planning, time management, and years of built-up resilience; given my other responsibilities and unpredictable client work, if I let anything one slip too long, things will pile up and be due at the same time, and ultimately leads to detrimental mental/wellness ripple effects to all aspects of my life. When that happens, I feel over-extended, over-committed, and oftentimes bitter! I will continue to negotiate all these aspects of my life to strive for better balance, and keep myself out of situations where I feel bad!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this year and to everyone who engaged with any of my stories!

In 2019, I want to continue to add more positive vibes into the world, rather than self-deprecating/negative ones. After watching the tearful Mr. Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor, I really need to up my game on being kinder and nicer to people around me.

(My stardew valley life)

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Hope that 2019 brings you folks some good stuff! There's a lot of garbage stuff happening in our world, but a lot of greatness too. Don't lose sight of the good!

Lastly, here's today's music post: Lambo-san no Yabou (Lambo-san's Ambition) by Junko Takeuchi. It's a character song from the Katekyo Hitman Reborn anime. I really empathize with being a big crybaby, and particularly the parts of the song where Lambo's voice starts cracking/wavering. The voice actress (also does the voice for Naruto) puts on a great performance.

(I'm also very happy that I cut my hair short, I didn't think it would make such a big difference)