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Rachel Nabors

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March 20th, 2011

03:12 pm: Moving to a new blog!
From now on I'll be blogging at my new comics site. If you'd like to keep up with me, there's an RSS feed you can subscribe to (even by email). (If you like RSS feeds, I highly recommend you take feedly for a spin. It makes you a personalized magazine with all your feeds!)

Why am I moving?
It has been a long, long time since I seriously kept up with my friends on LiveJournal. I've almost entirely switched to RSS feeds and Twitter as means to keep in touch. Also, it's not as inspiring to post here, where adding images is such a pain in the bottom. I much prefer my new site's snazzy WordPress user interface that lets me add all kinds of things with the ease of "upload" buttons.

And lastly of my reasons: It used to be that all of the comicking community was on LJ, but that is no longer the rule. More and more of the community is moving away from community blogging and toward personal platforms like WordPress (which rawks). Plus, in the three years since I went on hiatus, I started following the web design and development community, which is decidedly anywhere but LJ (in fact, we all kinda pity LJ. Sorry.)

Want to keep in touch?
If you have one of the following and want to keep in touch, please post linkage so I can hook you into my personal communications system:

  • a blog

  • Twitter

  • Deviant Art

See you at RacheltheGreat.com!

March 9th, 2011

04:39 pm: Rachel the Great is live
What better time to launch my new comics site RacheltheGreat.com than on my 26th birthday? Help me celebrate 9 years of pure awesome!

I'll be posting the entire RtG archive + commentary over the next few weeks. Please keep checking back and share some memory lane moments with me! Once the archive is complete, I can start posting new comics.

Many thanks to everyone for their feedback and support. It took me a year to build, design and launch this site. Life kept getting in the way. And thanks to my husband for tolerating my coming to bed in the wee hours of the morning after spending all night working on this :)


February 15th, 2011

10:25 pm: This show is over.
I turned in my resignation at my job yesterday, Valentine's Day (the perfect day for ending--and starting--relationships). It was a good job with cushy benefits, and it helped me get my jaw surgery done. But I'm bored, and I need more from life.

It has been over a year since I had a really good project that challenged me. Since then I have been doing maintenance work while my peers honed their skills and went on to speak at conferences and found companies. I know that if I remained in my (albeit comfortable) rut, my skills would grow dull and my portfolio slim. It's bad for my professional development, in short. I feel underpaid for what I do, overpaid for what I'm capable of. And worst of all, while I squirm and wish I could go home to work on more exciting projects all day, I know there is someone out there perfect for this position who really needs it. It doesn't seem fair.

What's more, I want to make comics again. I did what I set out to do three years ago. I got surgery (with no small amount of help from many awesome friends and readers--thank you thank you!!!). It's done. I can go home now.

The new comics site is better than ever. I just need the time to finish designing it. My goal is to launch it on my birthday, with or without fancy design. I will be re-posting all my comics in their original full-page format (not the hacked up version gURL.com needed to inflate pageviews) along with extensive commentary. Meanwhile I'm drawing a new batch of comics to commemorate the beginning of a new chapter in the Rachel the Great saga.

On March 1st I return to full time web design and user experience consulting. I'm still open to finding a job with a company, but I'm waiting for the Right One, the one I want to spend the Rest of My Life with (or at least Five Years of My Life with). I have some nice opportunities I'm exploring, too. Wish me luck! Maybe I'm crazy... or maybe this is all part of my master plan for world domination!

January 4th, 2011

12:09 pm: My Best Practices Guide to Designing a Web Comics Site
While designing my new site, I've been running readership surveys and wireframe tests, and you, my friends, have been helping me by participating.

From the results I notice a lot of recurring annoyances and frustrations with many prevailing web comics site design trends. So I made a guide to designing your web comics site to help you avoid all the common pitfalls and keep your readership delighted.

I hope you enjoy, and if you find it useful, please pass it on!

I will be releasing the WordPress theme I am making to the public one day. It incorporates all of the things in my guide and uses HTML 5. It's still in beta testing, though. But think of it as my way of saying thank you for all your patience during my three year hiatus :)

See you soon!

November 28th, 2010

09:06 pm: Designing the "coming soon" page for RacheltheGreat.com + Contest!
Behold, a post about designing the "coming soon" page for RacheltheGreat.com. I thought it might be of some interest to those building their own comics sites. (Now quickly, read it and point out what atrocious spelling/grammar/political mistakes I have made!)

Additionally, the first person to guess correctly the identities of >a href="http://rachelthegreat.deviantart.com/#/d33qfjg">these five characters I've drawn</a> gets to make a drawing request! Hurry hurry!

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November 10th, 2010

02:06 pm: Another way you can help me make the new rachelthegreat.com rock!
It's as simple as taking this survey. All I want to know is what you love and hate about web comics sites, their archives, their updates, their layouts. I thank you for your time!

October 11th, 2010

02:00 am: I left my spiked bracelet in New York City.
When i was recoverring from surgery, I prepared myself to have some kind of revelation about who I was becoming and what I should be doing with my life. Instead I came away knowing only that life is too short to spend living in uncomfortable climes.

In NYC I think I have had my revelation. I think I know why I feel so unfulfilled. The problem now lies in what to do about it.

I want to know why I can't let loose and go drinking with any of my NC friends like I do with Tessa and Leigh. I want to know why I envy Laurence his job which furthers our collective knowledge of insects. And I want to know... what the hell am I doing with my weekends?


October 2nd, 2010

01:22 pm: Going to NYC, Oct 8th through 11th
I'm heading up to New York City on the Oct 8th through 11th to meet with several people I have not seen in a long time (or at all).

I feel bad about springing for the trip just after getting my bank account cleared out by surgery, but Laurence, my entomologist friend from England, isn't going to be back in the states for another four years or so. I unburied all my nuts and I have a nice cushion. So I'm not going to be poor again any time soon. (Many thanks to the people who sent me freelance projects, money, etc, so I could save for surgery.) I've found ways to save money on the trip, too, like sharing a hostel room.

While I'm up there, Laurence and I are going to have an EPIC Pokemon battle at the Nintendo store. This is a battle four years in coming. I have been EV training my Pokemon in preparation. They're almost all maxed out on their stats, mid to upper level 30's.

So, what's awesome to do in NYC? I want to check out the orchids at the botanical gardens. What else?

September 14th, 2010

09:01 pm: Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina are misleading bastards.
This post started as a cheery update of how I'm doing, but between when I started writing and when I finished, I got some bad news. So that post is coming later.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina only wants to reimburse me for $2,000 of my $16,000 worth of pre-approved jaw surgery. Here's how my conversation with them went:

Me: Hi there! I wanted to know how much you'll be reimbursing me for my recent massive jaw surgery? The surgeons required payment up front, so I took out a $16,000 loan to cover it. I'd like to pay that back as soon as possible.

BCBS: Let's have a look... ah yes, you'll be reimbursed $2,000.

Me: What? But I thought my health insurance plan covered 70% of out of network fees with a $1,000 deductible.

BCBS: Yes, but we only allow $4,000 for this surgery. We only cover 70% of the $4,000 after your $1,000 deductible.

Me: That's a large gap. Why wasn't I told about this?

BCBS: It says it somewhere in your plan.

Me: I mean why didn't anyone tell me that Blue Cross Blue Shield would only "allow" for a quarter of the cost of this surgery?

BCBS: We have an estimator thingy somewhere in the bowels of our site.

Me: No one told me about that. I didn't even know what "allowable" meant until now. Heck, I didn't even realize it was in my plan!

BCBS: Really? Too bad. But how were we to know that your surgeon would charge you so much. I bet they were trying to pull the wool over your eyes, hiking up their prices and sticking you with the bill. We fight on behalf of--

Me: But you knew how much it cost.

BCBS: Pardon?

ME: I submitted a detailed price list for this operation six months ago for pre-approval. I went through six months of appeals. I went to the your headquarters in Chapel Hill on a work day to plead my case. I went through hell and back over $2,000? You would really waste the time of dozens of people and professionals over two thousand dollars?

BCBS: Well, the appeals people don't really know what anything costs. You should have used the estimator.

Me. Please pass my suggestion to your superiors that this fabled estimator needs to be mentioned somewhere on the procedure approval letter.

BCBS: We estimate that this procedure should cost only $4,000. That's how much our in-network people would have done it for.

Me: If I recall, I did in fact try to see an in-network surgeon associated with a university. His office was dark, his staff barely there, and he merely "eye-balled" my jaw instead of actually measuring it. And he never returned any of my calls, and believe you me, I hounded him. (Sounds to me like the in-network surgeons would rather be out-of-network or not bother at all.)

Listen, I work with a girl who saw a similar "cheap" surgeon. The state sent her there. He butchered her face. Her teeth were off by a full inch. She had to see another surgeon who performed the procedure yet again after which she was wired shut. Now she looks like the bionic woman in her dental x-rays. She went through this horrible, painful, disruptive surgery twice, and she didn't need to. It ended up costing everyone.

This is not a four thousand dollar procedure. The equipment they used to measure my face and make my splint, the number of staff members who had to be there all along the way, their ability to return phone calls, I assure you, it was worth every penny. The final bill was less than the estimate even.

I did my homework. I got estimates from several surgeons. They were all in the same price range, and he's not driving a Ferrari, so stop suggesting he's pulling the wool over my eyes when your own company officials get Christmas bonuses.

I've gathered estimates from many surgeons. This is how much it costs.


Okay, I didn't say it like that, and he wasn't an asshole, but that's the gist of it.

Yes, I plan to appeal. And appeal. And appeal. I'm going to waste as much of their time as possible now. They have wasted plenty of mine.


September 6th, 2010

01:10 pm: NYC in October
I have a friend from the UK who's touching ground in New York City from the 8th to 12th of October. I want to go up and battle Pokemon with him as well as see all my NYC friends (who I never see--pipe up, I'm making a list).

But I'm kinda scared to go to NYC all alone. Where will I stay? How will I get by? What should I make sure I do while I'm there (visit the parasol shop, natch)? And how can I do it all without breaking the bank?

Unrelated but of interest to illustrator/designer friends:
'I would Be' is a fun, new illustration project that invites illustrators and designers to complete the sentence, "If I weren't an Illustrator / Designer, I would be...", by producing an illustration. This looks like so much fun. I want to participate! Anyone else game?

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