I’ve flown to Pittsburgh

I’ve had a bit of an adorable ‘trial by fire’ in Pittsburgh, with my first two days after my flight, involving twin boys, Nick & Ben, 4 years old, and a 2 year old girl [Evelyn]. They’re my sister’s children and they’re cute but exhausting.

But that’s precisely why I moved to Pittsburgh. I want to be there to help and be a friendly and fun uncle.

A lot of our family is now gravitating towards the Pittsburgh area actually – my parents (the tots’ grandparents) and my grandmother, now in her early 80s, who’s now a great-grandmother for the kiddos.

Downside: Lots of eBay delays – the big moving truck that is carrying my PC and my art supplies left Houston a little while before I did, and it still has not arrived in Pittsburgh at the new house. We continue to wait as it is en route. I am hoping the truck will arrive to unload the stuff within the next couple days and only then will I realistically be able to begin making/shipping eBay items again.

My digital content seems like it’ll likely mostly be fine; I took one copy of all my data on a handful of hard drives. The backup copy of the same data was carried by my family in their luggage on other separate flights.

Between the local backups and the fact that nearly 2/3 of the data also exists in the loud via BackBlaze, I think it’s likely nothing of value will be lost in the transition.

I’ll catch up on delivering eBay orders as soon as I’m able to do so, and will continue chipping away at my other projects as well, once that’s settled.

I am also planning some fun activities with the family. Sure, they’re playing games on my aging and slightly screen-cracked iPad, which is what I’m writing this update on.

But I’ll also try organzing active games, outings, simple board/card games, reading to the kids/playing word games, and some video projects even. I’ll even show you fragments of what I’ve planned – I was thinking of activities with family even before I packed everything up. So here are some images hinting at planned fun things:

The floor is lava – a VFX test for a video with the children.

I’ll record a short and silly video in which the children are playing ‘the floor is lava’ – complete with menacingly realistic looking lava! Basically we will get to see what the children are imagining come to life.

There’s even a lava monster.

I also have plans for a reconfigurable, modular box maze. It uses the medium-sized Home Depot boxes that we have packed stuff into for the move, and they’ll be arrnaged into a bunch of different maze configurations, a new one each day for a week or so.

This was an early 3d mockup of a possible layout before I shifted to the ‘modular’ design plans:

An old design test for a childrens’ box maze / fortress.

And yes, the twins are very silly, I introduced myself as Uncle Matthew and Ben the twin, started calling me Buncle Bayou for some reason. The absurd nickname’s a running joke now.

And finally, some kid friendly crossword puzzles. I don’t think they’re quite ready for these but they’ll get there soon enough.

Colors, numbers and shapes kid crossword.

 

Crossword with all words made from the letters in the word ‘teacups’. For children.
The most commonly used English words placed in a crossword puzzle.

Anyway, you can tell I’m getting into the role of fun uncle or ‘funcle’ in Pennsylvania, but that does NOT mean I’ve forgotten about my internet audience, eBay customers,  or my friends still living in Houston, Texas!

 

Seven quick notes

  1. I’m moving to Pittsburgh by end of 2018 and will try very hard, to have all my files backed up in at least two places [hard copy] and ideally three [cloud backup]. That does, unfortunately, require some extra hard drives to be obtained, so any purchases you can make from my shops in the next 30 days would be super helpful in ensuring that 100% of my project data is safe. I do not have unlimited internet in Houston right now, so although I’ve got cloud backup the monthly caps on my internet, will mean only 60% of my data will be saved in the cloud, by the time I move. So if you wish to minimize risks of loss on some of my key offline project files, like the Panoramic Worlds or Isola stuff, or video projects I’m attempting to complete/revise, etc, buying something from me would be extremely useful in ensuring I don’t lose random segments of my work!

2. To that end, you’ve probably noticed that I have a new Pinterest account I’m shifting to, here, as well as a DeviantArt account, trying to promote and sell my eBay art stuff. And there’ll be a lot more eBay listings posted in a week or so. So just keep an eye on that.

3. House Trek revisions on eps. 6-8 are essentially done, save the ep. 7 intro clip which is rendering now, and some scattered editing on the House Trek DVD edition. You should expect a major update to content on HornbostelVideos.com in the next 2-4 weeks… one which even goes a bit beyond merely additional House Trek and vlog content to include several other classic videos. (By classic, I mostly mean old… though several of these are really surprisingly good regardless of how long ago they were originally recorded.)

4. I’m hoping for additional momentum to develop relating to Twitter / FB feeds – so if you’re curious about what I’m up to creatively, please feel free to follow me on my Facebook page or on Twitter.    One cool note is that I’m posting some scattered visual material there relating to the upcoming video content and other imminent releases so if you’re interested in what, exactly, I’ll be putting online this month… please follow my social-media feeds in addition to bookmarking this blog! For example:

House Trek episode 6 space battle still image
House Trek episode 6 space battle still image.

5. Comics are inbound soon too. Finally, Another Road Taken chapter 1, along with a bunch of additional Troop 4 material, will go online. That should happen soon, and it’s long overdue.

6. A big ad campaign will begin soon on no fewer than four different platforms, and it should result in a major influx of web traffic directed here, good quality web traffic, between July 12 and July 20, 2018. There’ll be a ton of people probably trying to bid on my eBay listings during that span but right now traffic’s in a lull and there’s one handmade-art listing in particular there that is still at a $1.09 opening bid with only a relatively little time left before the auction ends. So if you want to win a pretty personalized artwork at a minimal cost, you should consider bidding on that! Or the stock media DVD, $1.99, an auction which is ending in 48 hrs. So yeah, this is a good time for people following my work to place orders, before the mad rush of public attention kicks in… and, hopefully, results in enough sales that I can thoroughly overhaul & back up all my data.

7. My decal pack is being updated with normal maps and a few extra things, both for the stock media DVD buyers and for those who buy it on the Unity Asset Store. Yes, I’m planning to try submitting the decal pack there as an asset for game developers using the Unity 3D game engine. There’s also some cool stuff I’m doing with my ‘virtual museum’ – it’s never sold well as an item in the past, maybe due to privacy concerns and maybe due to lack of awareness/interest. But I’m going to release an updated and heavily redesigned version on https://matthornb.itch.io/ – my Itch.IO page before long, which will allow buyers there to load the museum and load their own images into the 3D gallery, then gift the saved modified gallery to a family member/friend on a special occasion. The plan is that the licenses will cost $1 / computer for the authoring system that lets you load your own images into the gallery. The link to download the viewer would, by contrast, be free. So a person can simply buy the authoring app, use it to create a custom gallery commemorating an event like a birthday, wedding, holiday, memorial, vacation, etc, and then save the file that results from this, and it can then be sent to a family member and opened with the viewer app. There are still bugs to solve on this but… I’m working on it and I still think it could turn out really well.

 

That’s the news I’ve got for now. Keep an eye out for some amazing things in the next month!

April mess

Okay – everything is proving to be extremely busy.

In the past week, that is, the final week of March 2018, over 15 sales have been made by me on eBay, including several international sales, but the profitability of said sales has averaged about -35%.  Looking at the data I have just slightly over $200 in payments received [people buying things], and $310 in costs associated with those orders, from fees (about $45 total between PayPal and eBay) to a few key shipping supplies (roughly $25) to the shipping costs themselves, which are higher in some cases than expected. Plus side is, if I work my butt off, I did sell several copies of the new stock media in there too, so I might come out of this madness with some positive ratings related to that product line and related to other sold items, if I work every waking hour the next 8-10 days.

So I’ll simply admit that I’ve botched this, if ‘this’ was an attempt to raise funds for completion of Miniature Multiverse or any of the other projects I’m aiming for.

The process has been good insofar as I’ll be clearing out a ton of books, and a few other items, to people who will actually appreciate those items, although paring my collection down to a minimum wouldn’t be *necessary* in the first place if my family weren’t planning on moving me and everything else to Pittsburgh by the end of 2018.

Yeah, that’s the other thing – we’re relocating to Pennsylvania. I am. Scott and Margaret are too. We’ll be there with my sister Katie and her kids. I think this moving process is intensely stressful; lots of cleaning things up, deciding what to keep,what to throw, moving to a location where my work space will be limited and three adorable but noisy/hyperactive children will be running around as well. Nice new house, nice yard and neighborhood but I have difficulty not being frustrated with this during the transition process as this altogether is making productivity difficult during the transition, and might potentially detract from my creative work for years, or maybe make it better [who knows? It’s possible.].

So, ahem, anyway – all the current irritation and stress aside, what this means is each day in April I must [somehow] earn a few dollars transcribing, at sub-minimum wage, ship a handful of still-unshipped items, and do hours of cleaning in my room and the garage on top of all that. And, yes, somehow I’m scrambling to figure out a way to shoot a final video project with my Houston friends, which is now likely to be in May because April is crazy in terms of the sheer workload, and I am not being permitted to adjust my sleep schedule accordingly.

That’s the same-old, same-old though and not really new – I cannot break free of my family’s rules because I’m not 100% financially independent and I’m unable to be financially independent largely due to their somewhat arbitrary and constrictive rules. I am 31 and despite enormous effort, my life is still going nowhere except an aggravating downward spiral of depression and frustration [and existential ennui?]  and a general emotional and psychological sense of being trapped and running out of time.

So, yeah. That. It’s why I may be late shipping a number of the eBay orders, late as in up to a week of delays. There is no practical way to avoid this. I simply need to somehow earn nearly an extra $100 or so over the next week in the scattered hours when I actually have a chance to. Only then can *all* of the items I sold in the past week be shipped.