October 25th, 2013 | filed in News


I think we finally found the problem. For some reason the server’s disk space had maxed out, and it was screwing with the functioning of the website. Still not sure what caused the error, because the website only uses a small fraction of the server’s total space. I’m still awaiting a report from my provider, but overnight disk usage went from 98% to 10%, so clearly they found the root of the problem.

In any case, I’ll keep checking up on it to make sure it’s not acting up again. Sorry it was causing problems for you guys. It was a really frustrating mystery, and I’m glad the site appears to be fixed now.

Still going to be awhile before I start updating PS again. I haven’t had the most productive month in terms of art production for STRANGER. I’ve had to back off because of my neck. It’s pretty clear the root of the problem has to do with stress and anxiety (sound like any characters you know?), and I’m going to be seeing a neurologist soon to see if there can be anything else I can do about the problem. In the meantime, yoga, physical activity, and massage therapy seem to be prescription. Learning to relax into my work seems to be the key, but it’s hard to do. I’ve spent most of my adult life in high gear sprinting at my deadlines, and now my high gear has been eliminated because I lock up when I try to slip into that mode.

Right now I can tell you I’m accumulating some rich experiences that will undoubtedly come back into my writing at some point. Kate & Mike’s story has always paralleled my own life in many ways, and this will be no exception. Even choosing to have Kate be a werewolf wasn’t just a case of me thinking it was cool, but because it’s such as juicy metaphor for dealing with one’s internal stress and anxiety, quelling the beast inside. And Mike’s calm, Zen demeanor being the antidote. These are the forces I’ve always struggled with myself. Beneath that calm exterior, I often had this swirl of anxieties, anger, and frustration that I always fought to keep in check. Everyone does. In many ways, that’s what this story is about when you strip away all the tropes, adventure and nonsense.

Anyway, I’m now having to stop and face those fears and learn to cope with my own anxiety and response to stress. Like Kate, I’d been running away from it for quite some time, always feeling like I had a freight train bearing down on me, always trying to meet the next deadline, the next update, the next convention. And last year the freight train caught up with me. And I got flattened. My body rebelled, and now I have to learn to work without having to feel like I’m constant catching up to everything. It’s humbling, and a bit humiliating to admit that I wasn’t able to meet my own (admittedly, unrealistic) expectations. I have to thank God/The Universe/Luck that I have a supportive wife and family to take care of me while I work through this, because if I didn’t have them, I would be in a bad way right now. And thankfully, I am not.

I’m still working, but I’m having to change my relationship to my work, to my business, and to my comic. And it isn’t easy. I’m looking forward to getting back to PS, but it may take awhile. I’ve got a lot to work to do before I get there. But I will get there.

Thanks again to you all for your patience.

8 Responses to “Fixed?”

  1. ChineseWolf says:

    Good, glad that you’re OK, and my translation work can start again.

    Thanks again to you for your comic.

  2. Andrew says:

    Thanks for sharing Dirk. I can only imagine what it’d be like to have recurrent physical pain stopping you from doing the work that you love. Get well, that’s all that counts, but please know that you have my ongoing support & that of many many others. Also if you’re ever in Australia I’d be happy to buy you a beer :)

  3. kaitou says:

    Current quirks: If you go to the home page, the navs you get are just the “first”/”<” button (huh?)l and no “previous”/”" button title is “read the scene”) or what. If so, it seems non-obvious.

    On the cast page, there is an img link for a spacer.gif file from a bogus site (test.paradigmshiftmanga.com doesn’t exist, at lease, in DNS). Looks like a leftover from early site testing. The gif does exist on the www site.

    Glad the sites working again (and it was a simple solution).

    • dirk says:

      The first issue isn’t a bug, it’s a “feature.” More correctly, it’s an artifact of how I set up the “batch” update system. I couldn’t figure out the PHP code grab the “previous” and “last” links for the buttons, so I left them out.

      Cast page is fixed. Turns out I had some legacy links to the test site in there and hadn’t realized it.

  4. Slamlander says:

    I am very glad to see that the site seems to be working well and am looking forward to updates. Frankly, I’d even take the story in text, as a novel ;)

    The relaxation thing; I’ve been wushu since 7 and have always been trained in proper relaxation techniques. With proper approach, that can actually be more productive than the tense approach. It is more efficient because you loose less energy in the effort. Try meditating while you are working, maintaining your center at all times. Get used to always monitoring your body for tension while you are working. I know, it’s much harder to do but you will be amazed at how much more you do when not trying to do more ;)

    • dirk says:

      To be frank, I’ve been experimenting with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction meditation for the past 9 months or so with mixed results. On good days, it definitely helps a great deal, but on bad days when the the anxiety is raging full-on, it basically just keeps me from spinning out over the edge.

      If nothing else, I’m gaining some serious insight into Mike’s character and background in the process.

      I’m off to see the Neurologist today, so hopefully I will hear some good news, or at least get a new game plan. Here’s hoping.

      • Slamlander says:

        That’s interesting because Mike is the char that I identify with most ;)
        To help with further relaxation, a Wushu Kung Fu class might help you both for the exercise value and further meditation training. Using forms as a meditation aid has a long history in wushu. Wushu not being available, Tai Chi Chuan is almost as good. Gaining the martial art in this case is not the objective rather, it is an incidental benefit. ;)

  5. Andrew says:

    Dirk, I do wish you all the best, and I’ll keep checking back here. You think you have it bad, think of all of us having to wait for an update! I am joking, and I do hope you get to a place where you are happy. You have acheived more with just this comic than most of us will manage in a lifetime.

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