Zubby Newsletter – December 31, 1999

Looking back on the last month, it’s been bizarre and adventurous as always. I’ll do my best to describe the Christmas Holidays and my direction for the new year.

Seeing family was wonderful. It’s one of those things you take for granted until you realize how long it’s been since you’ve seen them. My parents are doing great. They had a vacation in St. Lucia earlier this year. Seeing them happy in their retirement is one of the greatest things. My mother used to be so immobile when I was in high school due to lower back problems. Now, there’s pictures of her doing archery and hiking. It couldn’t be better for them.

Last minute Christmas shopping with my cousin Lisa was great (even if we didn’t get as much done as we’d intended). She’s growing up WAY too fast and is firmly entrenched in her teenage years. She seems to be enjoying high school a hell of a lot more than I did at her age.

Seeing Sheridan changing was neat and made me long for class again. It’s weird that I’d want to inflict those deadlines and lack of sleep on myself again, but the camaraderie was the best.

My biggest problem was getting in touch with friends. Many of them had moved away, vanished off for the holidays or were working like crazy, limiting my ability to see people. Not having a car didn’t make it any easier.

The few people I did see or phone was time well spent catching up and realizing how much has changed. The old Residence crew is spreading out and our occupations are as varied as ever. Cornflake and Julie (his real name’s Greg) are doing great and filed their taxes as Common Law marriage last year. Two other friends are fathers now and that freaks me right out. Proud poppas showing their baby photos at age 21 and 24 respectively. Unbelievable…

To add to the baby-dom, my brother and his wife announced that they’re expecting a baby in June. Uncle Jim…a scary thought indeed.

Christmas Eve and day went really well. A little bit of drinking and lots of jokes. I amused the family with my Russian accent that I can slap on at a moment’s notice. I thought my Grandmother was going to pee herself when she heard it.

Jim and Joe playing video games at Grandma’s on Christmas Eve.
Note Jim’s classy sideburns.

Home cooked meals are incredible. After a year of my own cooking and fast food, the sit down meals with the family were a blessing. Of course coming home means you’ll get your favorites, so that’s nice too.

Job leads were starting to pop up over the holidays even though I hadn’t put my head to the grindstone and wasn’t planning to until January. Some small possibilities in comics have popped up as well as writing for role-playing games and a part-time teaching opportunity at Sheridan. All of them exciting, but not good enough to pay the bills. I was getting worried about my ability to survive on my own. Even if all those opportunities came through… I’d be driving around Toronto like crazy and I can’t afford a car.

Then, like usual, my life threw me a curve ball and I’m off doing the unexpected…

How do I start?

Applied Multimedia, the school where I taught back in Calgary phoned me up and made me an offer. They wanted me to come back and teach full-time. It was nice, but I turned them down.

Then, my brain started churning away. I could set up a small studio space, get my own place, have a car and still do some freelance projects or my own projects in the evenings and weekends. Not too shabby.

But I’d be leaving Ontario again. Just when I was testing the soil and getting ready to re-root myself.

Regretting doing something isn’t as bad as regretting never doing it at all. At least you took the initiative, at least you tried.

I enjoyed being in Calgary. The only problems I had in Calgary were a lack of social life (mostly self-inflicted) and the financial difficulties of starting a new life halfway across Canada. And of course, not having many of you here.

I tried not to think about it and dug into holiday festivities.

When the second phone call came from the school in Calgary, the offer was better and my brain was hurting. I had to give Brian Lemay a proposal to teach Animation History once a week at Sheridan and I couldn’t leave him hanging. I had to decide.

I guess courage overcomes intelligence and I want to make this work. I’m going back to teach full-time and build up my freelance work without the fear of living hand-to-mouth. No matter what you can imagine, you probably don’t know how hard it was for me to come to this decision.

I hope you all can understand and support me heading west once again. You may not understand, but I hope you can wish me well.

There were no flights leaving on January 2nd, so I had to fly out on December 30th at the last minute. Yesterday. I’m in Calgary now. I tried phoning people and getting in touch to tell people personally, but many of you are hearing about this for the first time in this e-mail. I’m very sorry for that.

I will do my best to send PERSONAL e-mails and stay in touch. Call it a 2000 resolution if you will. As sad as I make it sound, I’m actually really excited and the opportunities for me now are wider than ever. I can’t believe things change so fast, but I’m gearing up for the new year with confidence.

New Years Eve should be a blast (unplanned as of yet, but flying by the seat of my pants seems to be my specialty right now).

To everyone, have a great New Years Eve and all the best to you and your families in the coming year.

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