HOLY CRAP. The postman came today and there’s a ton of gifts from you all, an additional $1120 (so we are now at $6120), way exceeding everything and it’s going to take me days to go through all of this to give you the proper Thank Yous. Some of you guys bought me some microphones from my wishlist for my cons, which replace 2 of the 5 that were stolen from me.
Holy crap guys wow wow…. I don’t have words right now. Give me some time to get my head around this…can’t even believe this shit… Thank you all so much! The thing that means a lot is that you all felt you wanted to do this for me. That’s really what means more than money to me. The fact that you feel so strongly about me and my work because I never really had much of that in my life. I’ll make sure to make all of you proud.
EDIT: Official tally so far: Current donation amount is $6120.00 out of $5000 plus my PO box has been bombed with gifts and cards – including mics for my conventions that replace the mics that someone stole from me. THANK YOU all so much! I will be sending Thank Yous out as soon as I can. Any extra will go to the conventions and the educational efforts that we do!
I made an update to my post regarding my eye surgery yesterday due to a few reasons. I was scheduled for surgery in January with a particular surgeon who – something was “off”. I was having trouble getting answers to my questions, his team seemed to be trying to get me out of the room as fast as possible, and generally he was treating me like a piece of meat. I didn’t feel that he cared, to be honest.
A friend reconnected my husband with a college friend who is an eye surgeon. She doesn’t do my surgery but knows many eye surgeons, including the one I was scheduled with. She confirmed that my gut was right and that the surgeon I was scheduled with is not a bad surgeon, but he is indeed focused on money and speed instead of each patient. If my surgery goes flawlessly it won’t be an issue, but if there are any complications I will end up waiting a while to get treated post op. I’ll also be pushed back to my optometrist if there are and problems after 90 days.
With most people the surgery goes flawlessly and this is not an issue, but as I said before I am already a rarity with a retina deformity that most people will never see in their entire lives. I don’t want to chance it and simply bet that it will go flawlessly. I want the surgeon to be there for me if the worst case scenario happens – and most importantly I want to know what will happen to me in advance so that I won’t be unnecessarily scared.
I went to NYC to meet a surgeon that she recommended. His machines are newer and he took the time to explain everything to me. He’d like me to see a retina surgeon in the city in advance who will be standing by if my retina blows. He’s got the laser system the other surgeon has, but also a machine called an Ora, which will allow him to cross check during the surgery that the lens implant he selected is placing is correct. My understanding was the other guy was just going to calculate it once and hope it worked.
So now it looks like I am still getting surgery in January but with a different surgeon. The catch is that he is $2000 more expensive than the guy I previously was booked in with, so I now have to raise $5000 instead of 3. On the bright side, there is a good prognosis that I will be close to 20/20 when this is over. At the very least if there are problems he has a team there with worst case scenario plans.
If you’d like to contribute to the fee for the laser procedure and new glasses you can Use my Tip Jar link:
If there is extra it will not be kept by me. It will be used to further my charitable efforts to produce educational events for the geek community with (Re)Generation Who and Intervention.
Most of all, moral support is what I and my husband will need during this time because it is the scariest thing I’ve had to face yet. Eye things really freak me out. I am currently struggling to live my life and can’t even shop in the supermarket without help now. :(
One bonus – because I thought it might be interesting to my friends. Here is what it looks like to see like I do:
Here is the regular image:
Here is how I see with no correction:
Here is how I see with glasses:
Here is how I see it with contacts, which is my best correction available:
So please don’t get angry if I can’t recognize you this weekend when I am out and about at cons. I literally can’t recognize people easily even with my contacts in.
I already knew that my retina was in a precarious position and stretched like a trampoline, but I also discovered that the reason I had been having more trouble than usual is because my lenses had clouded over and I currently have cataracts at a very young age. I am now unable to drive easily or even see labels on food in the supermarket. It will only get worse.
I’ll be getting eye surgery on January 15 and 27th to fix this. It’s scary and not simple given the condition of my eyes, but I am told that normally this surgery is pretty easy and once this is done I may see at or close to 20/20 for the first time in my life. I will lose my close vision and need reading glasses but I’ll be able to drive and live without needing a helper anymore.
But they don’t know. They can’t make any promises. I’m terrified. It feels like I am getting my arm amputated – even though that may seem crazy. I have spent my entire life like this and created coping mechanism – creating new ones will be terrifying. What if something goes wrong? What if my new vision is too disorienting? These are probably crazy thoughts, but this is a serious situation. Normally cataract operations are no big deal, but the deformities in my eyes and the wild difference in my vision afterward make it a bigger deal. My eyes are so bad that most doctors can’t even diagnose me and I am always escalated up to the major people in the field.
I’ll be totally out of commission (but knowing me I will still try and work) from Xmas through February due to the tests involved at which I will be heavily relying on my team to promote (Re)Generation Who (hey, go and register because it is gonna be the best).
My insurance will not cover the Catalys laser destruction of the faulty lenses in my eyes because that procedure is classified as cosmetic. In my particular case my doctor tells me that I really need the laser procedure to prevent swelling because my retina is stretched like a trampoline and a risk to me is a rupture of my retina. We want the least amount of swelling as possible. However I am told that there have been zero times this laser has been covered by any insurance in the USA.
UPDATE: I have to pay $3000 out of pocket which I am working extra freelance hours to raise now. I’ll also need to buy a couple pairs of new glasses as soon as I recover. After speaking to a new doctor, who has a more advanced set up, it looks like my cost will be $5000.00 total, but with a much greater chance of absolutely matching the new lens to my eye at the time of surgery–making it almost certain that I’ll end up with 20/20 vision after the procedure. It’s more money, but with less impact from the surgery and a better result. I’m happy on that result, but I guess it’s time to double my work to get there!
I have received a lot of messages already from readers asking to contribute after mentioning this on my Facebook. I feel like my role is to help others, not receive help. However, I have been properly yelled at by many of my readers and con attendees SO…if you feel strongly about me and my work and want to contribute I will list ways that you can contribute below:
3. If you’d like to contribute to the fee for the laser procedure and new glasses you can Use my Tip Jar link:
If there is extra it will not be kept by me. I have lived my entire life helping others and I intend to always do that. Any extra will be used to further my charitable efforts to produce educational events for the geek community with (Re)Generation Who and Intervention. Once my eyes are back (and even as best as I can while recovering) I will still be working as hard as I can to this goal so you will see a lot of amazing stuff this year – thanks to all of you.
I hope that when I see you at an event next that I can actually see you and not have to rely on my team to identify you for me. And then I hope to return to making art.
I get hundreds of people per day asking me to promote their stuff. I am glad to do that as much as I can. HOWEVER. If you’ve displayed zero effort toward helping yourself I can’t. I am really tired of people who never talk to me, never take even the first step in helping themselves, and never participate in any communities coming to me as if I am a magic bullet that allows them to do nothing. I am not your employee and let’s be blunt – if you aren’t trying to help yourself me helping you is going to not be something you can capitalize on so its a waste of everyone’s time.
If you are busting ass and trying your best – even if you aren’t good at it yet – I am more than happy to help if I can. If you don’t know where to start? I am more than happy to show you where.
But please stop with the “Hi I never go to cons and even joining online communities is too much for me because I don’t feel like it. Can you promote my new project?”
I do the work. All successful people do the work. We can tell when you are and are not trying to do the work within 30 seconds.
And you know what? When you show up on our doorstep not wanting to do the work and asking for a golden ticket – that’s going to annoy those of us who have spent 15+ years doing the work for 16-20 hour days without a lunch break. A lot of people approach us like that. Don’t be those people. Be the person who does the work, tries their best, gets involved in as many communities as possible, and THEN ask.
It is especially offensive to me if they live near Intervention in MD, which is something I created specifically to help people help themselves in this way. I hang out there all weekend and will sit with anyone to help them and I work through the rest of the year with the participants as much as I can, too.
I guarantee you if you live near there and I haven’t seen your face once and you ask me to give you a golden ticket your message will be ignored. It’s really not that hard to show up once in 6 years at the event I do that is a training facility for indie project’s success.
One MD local person actually told me they didn’t feel like going but, “Can you come to my house and teach me for free?”
Wrap your head around that shit. That’s fucking offensive and entitled bullshit. It’s also incredibly disrespectful to the long hours and money that that my staff and myself donate for free to help the community. And too many people try to approach me this way.
I even post free art and marketing How To stuff here on this site, but there’s resources and communities everywhere online.
There’s an old joke where a guy is praying to win the lottery and it never works. Then finally on the third day god comes out of the sky and says, “Dude! I’ve been trying to make this happen for you, but AT LEAST BUY A TICKET!”
I grew up in Pittsburgh, which was Mr. Rogers’ home town. Unfortunately I never had the chance to meet him but I regard him as one of the most hardcore people who ever lived. He is one of my biggest inspirations. I know many people who did meet him or work with him and they all have great things to say about him.
Not everyone understands why geek culture and conventions have always been a big part of my life and on some occasions people have made fun of what I do. I tend to handle them pretty well.
You see, this all started out as simply something I enjoyed and wanted to participate in. As I continued as an artist and cartoonist I had the opportunity to meet many people. Some of these people found great strength in my work, which surprised me. I never thought I was anything special. I was just doing my thing. My thing just happened to be something that made people laugh or smile. I always took the time to sit with and talk with anyone who came to my table. I never was too wrapped up in my art – I always saw it in so far as how people interacted with it. In many ways I see my visual art as performance art. If it touches someone or makes their day better than I have won. The people were always infinitely more important to me than any of my art pieces.
I eventually started staffing cons because I saw some things I didn’t agree with and I am a big proponent of getting involved instead of complaining.
The feedback from people that my work – art AND staffing cons helped them. Deeply. People left abusive relationships, pursued education, felt that they finally fit in, and found better lives because of my work.
Then I started Intervention to further that directly. Intervention is specially a makerspace to help people move forward in life via their creativity.
Then I started (Re)Generation Who: The Doctor Who Convention for Every Generation. It had one of the strongest starts in indie convention history – all because of what my organization had been doing for many years.
The people have always been important to me than any other noun in this equation. Including “money”.
Regardless of how blunt my Daily Real Talk may sound, it’s always about the people before I even look after myself. That’s why when I talk to people who don’t understand the convention world I sometimes change how I talk about it. Instead of saying I run geek conventions I may phrase it in a way that they understand. I like to feel that most people understand how important and powerful it is to be there for everyone and to put out events that truly serve the community, regardless of if they understand geek or any particular fandom. I am a master at getting a geek hater to eat their words.
The people who have told me directly that the work that we do saved their life or helped them out of seriously bad times are many. I don’t think I’d bother with doing anything that I do if it weren’t for the people who we can help and the great friends that we have made. At one event that I did in the past I lost about $10,000 – personally. My friend Frank approached me and pointed out to me that there were attendees who had broken down in tears of joy for what we had done that weekend. He knew that even one attendee feeling like that was worth the loss to me. I’ll gladly work extra freelance hours to make that back up.
That’s how I measure success.
If anyone doesn’t get it, I can explain all of this and show them this video below. I’m a master at confronting sour people with humanity and compassion and placing what we do into terms they can understand to the point that continuing to hold onto their hatred makes them feel terrible. If you are pressed for time and have to skip, make sure you pop back in at the end of the video.
Mr. Rogers understood how important it was to be there for people before I was even born. He says it correctly here – we are servants. That is our responsibility in media. I’ve had many moments like this in my life already – all because of conventions, geeks, and My People.
He is one of my inspirations, my staff and attendees are the other inspirations in my life. Even the biggest geek hater can understand that – and if they can’t, that’s fine. They can continue sitting at their table for one. I’ll be partying with My People.