me.jpgFor those of you you may not know me really well, I work as a contract employee at Microsoft. Being a contract employee requires me to take 3 months off from work after 12 months of service time. I worked my 12 months and then was taken off my project in December. Today is my final day off so I decided to take a moment and reflect upon these last three months and see what or if I accomplished anything. So here’s what I did, in no particular order.

1. Gaming. Yup I know. I didn’t actually plan to play that many games during this time off and actually, the ones I did play were not the few that I was actually planning on playing during my break. Part of the problem is my friend Chris is currently unemployed so we spent probably a couple weeks total on huge Civilization or Neverwinter Nights gaming sessions. Another issue was that MLB 08 released and I just can not deny my baseball video game urges.

2. Comics. It’s been a pretty productive time off comics wise. I’m not months ahead or anything but I was able to keep and in most cases exceed all of my (self imposed) deadlines for updates for A Rusty Life. Not only that but it was also a pretty productive time off as far as There and In Between is concerned. I was able to do several of them during an ARL creative dry spell and I am actually still pretty far ahead of schedule if I maintain a Tue/Thur update schedule. I also started planting the creative seeds necessary to start a video game related web comic later this year.

3. Website Programming. I may not have learned the myriad of other skills that I wanted to on my time off but I continued my self education of html, php, mysql, cms, xml, and other such knowledge.  I feel like I have learned a lot in the web programming field during my time off. I really enjoy it and I really am beginning to think I’d enjoy making a career out of it someday. I revamped the ARL site slightly, I created a new TaIB website (in ARL’s image), I created this blog (although not a lot of programming was needed for that), I started working on a blog for a friend (David, I didn’t forget about it, I’m still developing it), I completely revamped Comicsby.us and also did a great deal of research into other scripts for various other projects that may or may not ever come to fruition.

4. Daytime TV. Nothing I can tell you about myself is more shameful then the fact that I like to watch The Maury Show (usually just the ones with paternity tests though) and that I like to watch court shows (mostly just The People’s Court though). Other shows I occasionally watched during my time off  were The Joy of Painting, The Price is Right, and the Mythbusters.

5. Music. I didn’t do as much of this as I should have. I enjoy just sitting around and strumming on my acoustic guitar. I did pretty good at the beginning of my break and wrote four complete songs before I got side tracked and haven’t tried going back.

6. Baseball. Lets just set aside the fact that I was almost inseperable from my Out of the Park baseball game and the fact that I’ve lately played a ton of MLB 08 on the PSP. I spent the winter agonizing over every transaction the Mariners made. Analyzing and discussing it with other people on USS Mariner. And when Spring Training began I listened to almost every game on the radio.

7. Animation. This was my biggest shortcoming during my time off. By this time I really wanted to be a pro at animating. However, without formal training I found it to be more difficult then I expected. I am still plugging away at it an someday I expect to break through the glass ceiling and really start to understand the concepts better.

8. Clean. I’m a bit of a slob. I pretty much spent all week being lazy and messy and then would pick one day a week and spend a few hours cleaning. Right now the place looks good, but in a week it’ll need a healthy dose of my cleaning.

9. Bruce. I’ve listened to a lot of Bruce Springsteen. In the car, while I’m cleaning, sometimes while drawing comics… I’ve been to two Bruce Springsteen concerts during my time off. I’ve also bought and watched most of his DVDs. I’ve got a Zune and have basically all his material downloaded onto it.

Well those are the things I’ve spent enough time on to categorize. I’ve done a lot more with the time but most of it’s not worth mentioning. So, in conclusion, I enjoyed my three months off. It went by fast but I’m excited to go back to work. I’ve got a great job that most people could only dream about and I feel very lucky to be there. I’ve got another 12 months before my next “Summer Break” which incidentally, will start in April next year0 and almost really will be a “Summer Break.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I am back amongst the workforce.