What if I told you I had FOUR JOBs
At the end of 2021, I was barely making money, working sporadic gigs, selling shit on depop, and taking commissions for watercolor portraits. Then come Christmas, I was asked to become a committee member for the Conference on Love and Sex with Robots. This means I help choose what will be featured in the conference, what papers we publish, help gather sponsors and speakers. I meet with people in the UK and Canada about once a month via zoom (zoom zoom zoom ya zoom zoom zoom zoom), spend the time in between sending impassioned emails to people in the sex robot universe and moderating their discord server. If you don't know me and you're wondering why the fuck anyone would ask me to do this type of work, a few months earlier I had wrapped up my graduate thesis, Anticipating Future Scenarios for Sex Robots, and attended that year's conference.
2022 begins and The sex robot show series had been in full swing, and building decent momentum. I was admittedly spending too much time editing the third episode, probably because it was the one that interested me the most, and was likely to have the most appeal. I was getting burned out, and as anyone who edits videos can attest, but somehow the last lap always turns into a marathon- meaning when you think you've got about ten percent left, the landscape stretches back on some Hitchcock shit and you realize you've barely done half of what you need to actually be finished. In the past when this happens, and im on the verge of seeing my passion project turn into a chore, I put it on pause for a bit, and make another, much smaller video I can turn out real quick.
The Sex Robot Show "episodes" I make follow the structure of one of my thesis chapters, and these less consequential videos are on singular topics in the sexy sex robot world (See: The Problem with The Problem with Sex Robots). While all these editing hijinks are going on I get an email from my professor and thesis advisor, who had since left Taiwan and moved back in with her husband in Australia. She's recommended me to work on a team project, contributing a chapter to a book on Responsible Futures for UNESCO. I'm super flattered, and UNESCO sounds like some fancy shit so of course I say yes. The rest of the team is in Australia and the work the want to do seems very next level (if not a bit too cerebral).
The theme they've chosen is Unthought Futures and they want to buck traditional conceptions of published academic work. They send me some examples of what they want to cover and the request for submissions. We meet a few times online and its going great and I set them up with some cool content sharing apps and the guy in charge is turning out to be the Futures Studies' version of Richard Feynman, in the best ways possible.
So back to the Sex Robot Show. In my attempt to alleviate fatigue, I'd decided to explore this subreddit I found a few months back, where people test out bots that produce NSFW content. Turns out that in the time that had elapsed from when I first found the page, there had been quite the development. The bots are posting images. If you've seen what AI generated pictures look like, you STILL can picture what AI generated smut would be. Fire up the AfterEffects b, we got ourselves a new video topic! I reach out to the subreddit's moderator who then puts me in contact with one of the main bot developers, which turns into an interview and a decent cyberfriendship to boot.
I throw myself into the new video and it takes me weeks. It's tough, but welcomed- I absolutely couldn't spend one more hour working on episode three. When the new video is done I share it with a few people privately, and it's a hit.
Maybe EASILY my best one. A lot of people are stoked on it, particularly my friend Clark and my sister-in-law (pictured below) Whole ass Sidenote: my brother married the female Bourne that gets "activated" and dies of a nosebleed in the Bourne Trilogy.
Anyway, we all know how this part of the story ends. I make the video public, and it gets over a hundred views in the first 17 hours before getting me promptly BANNED FROM THE ENTIRE PLATFORM in the 18th. (See the great yeetening post from 2/22/22).
U gotta understand, that between those two other projects (LSR & UNESCO) I was putting ALL my free time into video editing. And any downtime watching YouTube. Suddenly, It felt like I was left with an ocean of hours and a wealth of time. It was jarring.
I took a step back and almost felt free. Fuck YouTube. amirite?
so now i had all these ..hours.. in my day, to do.. anything! I made this website. Im getting into alternative platforms and browsers, and things are fine and fun. One day, im scrolling through craigslist and see an ad for "easy money" collecting signatures for petitions to introduce ballot measures. Now, I always avoid those assholes hanging out with clipboards and matching shirts that try to cajole you in the scant areas of this city that are actually pedestrian, but this gig is talking about cash on hand at the end of every day. Plus it's not like I need to ask people for donation; just a quick signature, and in return I'll get paid up to $10 bucks a pop. My plan was to just go down to 'the bottoms' where all the unhoused folks have their tents set up and ask them to sign, since they seem to like me well enough. And one of the ballot measures has to do with how to allocate funds for homelessness projects. so why not ask people that actually have a horse in the race?
It would turn out that signatures need to be from registered voters with a residential address (le lame), so while that plan didn't pan out- I kept the strategy of asking stakeholders relative to each issue. Soon I was at the elementary school during afternoon pick up asking people to support more funding for music and arts in California public schools, or doing laps around the mall asking part time employees if they'd like to see minimum wage raised to $18 an hour. I prowled the largest metro transfer station in SD and asked MTS employees and folks waiting for trains if they would like local sales tax go to improving public transportation infrastructure. I don't do it often, but when I do, I can quickly make 50 bucks in the first half hour. My luck and enthusiasm tends to run out come the second hour, which is usually when I call it quits. But shit, im outside, making money, and getting lectured at by conservatives I don't need to cater to, so I get to just walk away while they're still talking.
Then, wouldn't you know it, not a week after starting this ballot thing, I get a message from one of the VERY few folks that actually HAD seen the Pornbot video (the one that was online for less than a day, and had gotten me banned). After seeing the video, they went to my channel and watched the rest of my "catalogue". I remind you, this all happened in the very short window of time between the pornbot video going up and the entire channel getting nuked. This person said they were especially drawn by my "ability to present technical topics in a way that is accessible", and asked if I was looking for work atm, because they needed some help with marketing and possible video editing.
Well shit, why not? When the world is raining apples, open the window and make lemonade or whatever. The job, I would come to find, had to do with scenario planning with county governments across the US and writing project proposals, but more importantly, it really fell in line with a lot of the Futures Studies stuff I had gone to school for. So all that effort I thought had been wasted on a video only a hundred or so folks would see, was ultimately worth it, and netted me a job that was paying $20/hr on my own schedule, and was in the very niche scope of study I was trained in. Well Rock over London and Rock on Chicago, this is great!
So that's what ive been up to these days. Juggling a lot of work that I find fulfilling and still waking up whenever I want. Oh, and after some pestering from clark, I rolled over and finally finished that third episode I had all but abandoned, which ill probably upload over the weekend.