I had one meal yesterday at about 11, it was a super nice brunch with friends. It kept me at least functionally full until something like 11PM. Which is hardcore.
I need to brunch more often.
Tropes Northman of the South
2 weeks agoTropes Northman of the South
Between dinners, parties, gym sessions, job interviews and family stuff I'm definitely having trouble keeping track of myself this last week. I think I'm almost up to speed with Boston and can sort of stop and take a breath by tomorrow, or possibly Thursday, but I suppose we'll see.
Does suck I missed UnCon. But that's just the way it fell out this year. I have half of a half-baked scheme to see if any RTNE folks want to try to get a big event going in the next few months, but that's going to have to be a back-burner idea until I know what's what between work and artistic endeavors.
3 weeks agoTropes Northman of the South
I am really bad at chronology and remembering things (and my story kind of explains why) but if I have the timeline right my earliest memory is when I had my first of many experiences with high velocity head impacts.
I must have been three or four. I was running around the dining room with my head down like a pachycephalosaurus (I was a big dinosaur kid, but that means it may be my second or third memory after a family night where we watched Jurassic Park and make me a little older, but whatever). Either way I, running at top speed with my head down, went straight into a wall dome-first.
I remember crying and shouting, and I guess I slipped in and out of consciousness for a while since the next thing I know my Papa (paternal grandfather) was driving my parents and I to the nearest hospital. I saw it looming on what my kid brain interpreted as a horizon in the dark and started screaming at the top of my lungs about how I didn't want to go to the doctors because I didn't want a shot. That, above all, terrified me.
Then we were in the room that smells like cotton swabs, tongue depressors and sanitizer before that was a common word and I was sitting on the little leather bed with the paper draped over it, the same stuff they make toilet seat covers out of to keep your ass cheeks from sticking to the material in the humidity. My Mom was there and so was a woman, I guess a night doctor, in a blue dress with tiny white spots. I was still crying but no longer screaming and I believe I was muttering "no shots, no shots, no shots" until the doctor asked "are their any shots involved?"
I freaked all the way the fuck out. I mean legit, who brings up shots in front of a kid clearly already terrified of shots and begging for none to be involved in the procedure in progress? I know she was just a night doctor asking the questions that she had to ask but I think I would have preferred if she asked my Mom that out of earshot. Either way I thought she was a mean, dumb bitch and panicked. Then I don't remember anything else.
Throughout the years I've had a spotty memory, but this isn't my only childhood head injury - just the one I'm pretty sure is the first one. And unless my timeline is off and I did see Jurassic Park first then this is my earliest memory. Either way this and Jurassic Park combined led to my childhood, tentatively titled Like A Scaredy-Cat Ralph Wiggum Only A Douchebag.
I mean I got better. But Still.
1 month agoTropes Northman of the South
And it's still kinda sinking in.
So I've done assisted self-publishing before, which means that if you dig hard enough into the bowels of the internet you'll find troubled 20-year-old Joe's work sitting around somewhere (and troubled 16-year-old Joe's fanfiction if you're really diligent). But this is a real story I'm actually pretty proud of that went through an actual editing process for a real anthology that was successfully crowdfunded in a week or so.
Yes, it's true and it's out: The End Of Nine Worlds, my short story about the Norse Ragnarok myth, has been released alongside art and fifteen other stories about myths and legends from all over the world in the Arcanum anthology! Now, with the permission and blessing of the Arcanum team I get to share it with everyone FOR FUCKING FREE in PDF form!
There are physical books in limited supply but I don't have word on how that will work, aside from the fact that profits will go to (I am 99% sure) We Need Diverse Books.
Okay, enough of my chattering. You can find The End Of Nine Worlds along with the rest of the stories here, so give them a read:
Thanks so much for the support over time and look out for more from me in the future!
1 month agoTropes Northman of the South
So a while ago I went on a super caffeine bender and ranted on Snapchat about how the 2010s are the gritty reboot of the 1970s, in part as a joke about how most of the media in the 2010s are remakes, adaptations, reboots and sequels of older works and partly because holy shit, guys, the 2010s are just the 1970s.
So let me explain my thinking. There are a few things, good and bad, and I'll do them in no particular order but try to end with the okay stuff. Also, bear in mind this is from the perspective of an American white guy primarily versed in things related to American white people, both good and bad, from the era. Since I try (and often fail) to avoid talking out of my ass things like relative gay rights, the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter won't get a ton of mention here but link in the comments if you know someone has made some good points about those potential comparable data points, okay? In addition I will be using the term "Hippy" to refer to the generation of people who were in their 20s during the 70s much as most Millennials are in their 20s now. The statements made will be general. Obviously not everyone in their 20s was a Hippy back then, but that is what they are primarily remembered as and, in addition, I am making the confident prediction that Millennials will be remembered for the subset of our generation you probably just thought of when I said Millennials just now and am referring to that group when I use the term.
First, the politics. Sorry. But think about who wore this one better: An abundance of conservative politicians making potentially disastrous decisions out of fear and hate of the Other supported by scared old (usually white) people and usually at the expense of a progressive, scared group of young and relatively diverse people who would get organized and hold rallies and protests for peace and positive change all under a near-constant dread of global nuclear annihilation due to tensions between the US, Russia and China and war waged, also at the expense of the poor and the young, by the rich and the old. The 1970s had it, of course, but the young, diverse progressive crew back then at least had some idealism. Nowadays it's far more common to see a sort of Knight In Sour Armor/Theory of Courage style progressive who, having seen that the 70s yielded little permanent positive fruit, is resigned to the inevitability of failure across the board from civil rights to economic equality to ending for-profit war. Even though the protests and the rallies still happen there's an atmosphere of defeated futility. "This has happened before and failed, why should we expect any better now that the conservatives have become more harsh, the progressives more ostracized and socially outcast, the rich so much more powerful?"
Second, slightly related, the relationship between generations, patriotism (at least in the US) and trust of the system. Who wore it better: A general trend of "my country, right or wrong" and "love it or leave it" among older people up to and including a distrust or disdain of people from other nation-states and the idea of criticism as condemnation (or, in more extreme cases, criticism as treason) versus a younger generation, generally considered a waste of sperm by the older generation, trying to survive off underpaid, laborious and thankless jobs (all while being told they're worthless slackers) while attempting to improve what they see as a broken system for as many people as possible only to be met with derision and mockery for even trying to improve if their desire to improve - and it's implication that things aren't already perfect - isn't seen as somehow treasonous. The Hippy generation certainly saw this, and don't you think Millennials are pretty sick of this one by now? And again, the people on the older, more conservative side have only become even more extreme than before, in the US putting forth as their ideal paragon an outright anti-intellectual fascist instead of people who just flirted with fascist tendencies while the younger generation is starting from a place of being even more psychologically beaten down due to the lingering awareness of the previous cycle and it's failures.
Millennials are angrier than Hippies. We want positive social change but our awareness of their failure and the near-inevitability of our own gives us a fire of rage that causes us to lash out more. We have a grit, a darkness around our cores that the Hippies lacked. Where Hippies were the generally good if sometimes kooky and misguided heroes of the 1970s sociopolitical world with an uncertain hope for the future Millennials are the dark anti-heroes of a dystopian story who have accepted their failure before the fight even begins like a dirty, tech-adept Spartacus.
I think that's most of the heavy stuff. Now for the stuff that may be a remake of 70s stuff but is actually kind of an improvement or is complimentary to both eras because, despite the term being loaded, not every aspect of a gritty reboot is universally worse than the original!
Did you notice though, that Millennials tend to have hair like Hippy 2.0s? In contrast to most of the Gen X-ers and Boomers in my life who believe men should have short hair that is very minimally styled most of the people in my age bracket at least do interesting things with fades and differing lengths and different points of the head. But that said a lot of us actually do tend to keep our hair long, only instead of letting it run fully, Ozzy or Geezer wild we tend to style it in buns or, again, with cuts that emphasize certain shapes. For example as some of you know I keep my hair shaved nearly to the skin on the sides and back and the top is either in a man-bun or, more frequently, in a ponytail that is in excess of a foot long. In addition while I'm used to seeing pictures of people with some facial hair nowadays beards are fairly common to one degree or another, and it's considered a normal thing among my generation where my Dad's peers would probably have kept shaven the majority of the time. And that also opens the door to beard styles. While I usually let mine flow free I also have in my possession a handmade bronze beard ring carved with Runes that I wear on special occasions. In fact large swathes of the Millennial aesthetic is a lot like the Hippy one, if darker: an often misguided focus on and obsession with things that are "natural," a DIY attitude and a lack of trust in corporatism in the things we wear that is often manipulated by the very same corporations we mistrust (cough, Vans, cough).
And the best part of the link between the 1970s and the 2010s is the music. Alternative, underground music, specifically. In 1970 a handful of young men from Birmingham, England had a band that got huge when their guitarist lost the ends of his fingers and, to compensate, downtuned his guitar in a way not common among blues-rock musicians of the 60s. In that act Metal as we know it was born. In this era, whatever purists say, Metal is in a new golden age of creativity thanks to the internet and, like the 1970s, is being practiced in an environment of friendship, extreme use of alcohol, sexual liberation and experimental use of recreational drugs. Like metal and hard rock of the 70s a lot of metal is spurred by the general sense of disenfranchisement and fear that pervades our society. While time will tell what song is the War Pigs of my generation trust me, a lot of people are trying to make it. And while people outside the Metal community of both eras tend to think of it as very dark and negative despite the outer appearance there is actually a lot more kindness, openness and love in the modern Metal community than can be found almost anywhere else in the world.
So that's pretty much it as far as shit I am (or at least feel I am) qualified to talk about. So which one am I talking about here: An era of fear and hatred. An era of flagrant abuses by the wealthy and powerful. An era of political corruption. An era of disenfranchised youth. An era of expression. An era of unrivaled creativity.
I'm talking about the 1970s. But since the 2010s are just that party all over again then to talk about one is to talk about the other.
So come dance with me until the party's over.
1 month agoTropes Northman of the South
Yesterday I told the world that I'm moving back to Boston. I'd already informed the wonderful people at my job and my family, so a few people already knew and some people had guessed or remembered that I kinda said this was happening when I was first moving. But the thing is I didn't really give any details of how I plan to go about everything.
Regarding my living situation I plan on spending a little while crashing with family and friends. Most of my stuff will reside in my parent's house for the moment and I'll likely be using it as my "home base." I'll be doing this as I recover funds over time (a month or two?) then begin the hunt for an apartment in or around Boston.
I am hesitant to make any definitive statements on the apartment situation just yet. I have a close friend who is willing to be a roommate and that would be cool, but there are also full places that might have a single opening as well, so I'm not sure exactly how that will go. For me, either way I win. I just hope I can also swing a win for other people as well without inconveniencing someone else.
For work, I'm not sure how much I can talk about just yet because that's also kind of up in the air. All I know for a fact I can say is that my boss is pretty fucking awesome and we're going to do what we can to make sure I land on my feet. And if there's nothing we can do I have a support network that I can make use of to keep myself from going under.
My first priority at the moment, when my next check comes in, is to pay my utilities bill (second to last) and buy my plane ticket. From there I'll start shipping things north and selling off more furniture (I've already sold my table). Then I'll pack and toss anything I can't fit in my bags and send my rented TWC modem back as late as possible to keep my internet active here.
After I land in Boston I plan on saving as much money as possible and catching up on my debts as best I can for a few months (I have some student and credit card debt that need to get caught up on, I hope to do the credit card alongside the utilities but we'l see).
That's as far as I've planned. The next steps will get figured out when the time comes but that will keep me going for the next month or two before I need to take stock and figure out where I am.
So that's my life right now. Time to start the process of getting ready for work today after my week off for RTX.
1 month agoTropes Northman of the South
A year or so ago I saw a status shared on Facebook by a band I know and see regularly, saying they were playing one of my usual Boston hangouts. Normally I would have clicked "going" without hesitation but this time I had to keep scrolling because I saw that the date was after I was moving to Austin, so I'd have to miss it.
Earlier today I saw a band I know from down here in Austin saying they were playing a big show at one of the places I usually go. Before I could click "going" I saw the date was August 14th. And I haven't felt that in a while, because I'm going home on August 8th.
Sort of as planned.
I hadn't had the specific date of August 8th picked out, in fact I thought it would be September 1st. But my terms to myself was one full lease period in this apartment then I head back north and my lease is up on August 8th. Which means on August 8th I head to the airport with anything I don't sell, ship up, give away or toss in the dumpster on my back and head back to New England.
It's a mixed bag of emotions. I'll be happy to be back in the north, where the air is familiar and where there are seasons for me to mark the days by (I haven't been able to keep track due to a lack of everything being bleak and dead for a few months). Where most of my support network is, where the soil is different and the air is either a warm soup or a dry, bitter cascade of knives. But at the same time I'll miss this place and leave some of myself here, here where things are warm and even the dirt is different.
But it was always part of the plan. And when I'm back I'll need a few days to process how I've changed by comparing my new self to my original context. I'm fascinated to see what I've actually become and in what ways forcing myself into a different environment, alone, has forced me to grow. All I can say for sure is I'm different than I was in September, 2015, and I'm so much more of what I wanted to be. And I can't wait to find out how I'll change and grow in the future and what I'll do to make those changes, where I'll go on my next adventures. Because one thing is for sure, as long as I'm alive I'll never stop trying to expand and improve myself.
There's so much of Austin that I'll miss, but it's time for me to go home and the Boston pits had better be ready!
1 month agoTropes Northman of the South
Holy fucking shit, they done good this year.
Okay, there's a lot to break down here so I'm just going to start by reiterating that this is easily the best one of these yet. In fact between all the cons I have been to (jumping between PAX East and RTX) this is the best one I've been to.
So let's start with a bit of a recap.
I live in Austin now, so it was a little strange for me to not have a "hard start" of when I land in Austin. Loosely I would say that the overall collection of meetups, sub-events and get-togethers that comprise RTX began on Monday or Tuesday when people started filtering in. They started off light at first, just a few beers with friends, and then things picked WAY up on the Thursday.
So to start off on the Thursday I went on the RvBooze Cruise (or RvBoat, RT Booze Cruise, however people call it). That is always fun, sitting around and catching up with friends on a boat full of alcohol. Naturally, I was fairly sauced by the time we docked and went almost directly to the RT SideQuest charity auction. Maybe not the best decision and while I was, in my opinion, way more drunk than I should have been according to everyone I spoke to after I was still nice even if I was a bit of a close-talker and made a few too many cocaine jokes. So sorry if I was a close-talker at you (or if hard drug humor is darker than you prefer). Then I fell asleep in front of the Iron Works for a few hours and got a cab home.
The first day of RTX proper was much more low-key. I went to a few panels but mostly wandered the expo hall floor getting oriented and seeing who I could run into. While it was definitely fun it was relatively uneventful so there's not a whole lot to recap on a story level.
But damn, son, Saturday was, as the kids say, "lit."
So I woke up at 5:45 AM in order to go to the Buff Buddies morning workout, which was a lot of fun. Then I went to Million Dollars But, and from there I went to On The Spot. Which was an experience and a half. From there I was given some moonshine by a very generous man and went to BarLympics, another SideQuest event. Where I fulfilled my Tyrion-esque duty for Team Grif: I drink and I know things. Between everything I had to drink and being a viciously dark-humored person playing quiplash I definitely contributed to winning the BarLympics overall, but the rest of the team definitely brought their A-Game. And really, as long as you're drunk you won BarLympics on some level.
From there I went to the rave and drank that first bottle of moonshine almost on my own. While already fairly drunk. Um. So apparently you fill me with moonshine and electronic music and I lose my goddamn mind, but fucking hell was it fun. By the time I got home, let the adrenaline wear off and went to sleep it was, again, 5:45AM. A full 24 hour day.
So after two more hours of sleep I went to the convention center again and stopped in at the Free Play panel, which was very touching, before stopping in at an impromptu Day 5 cast meetup. After a bit more wandering the expo hall floor I got in line for Off Topic.
They seated us very quickly so I took a quick nap and when I woke up they were playing punk songs over the speakers, starting with Self Esteem by the Offspring. I sang along with that a little bit, but then for the next song I felt that something sounded a little odd about the lyrics. Then for the next song I realized more and more people were starting to sing along with the songs, until nearly the entire theater of 4,000 people were singing along to punk songs.
Then Off Topic happened. And holy shit, it was an event. Watch it as soon as it comes out, because it's easily the best one they've ever done and I don't want to spoil it.
But from there I went to a little hotel room get-together where we played Super Fight and drank more moonshine and, from there, I went to the SideQuest farewell party. I left when the bar started kicking people out, the end of the end of RTX 2016.
So to all my friends who were there, both from Austin and from around the world, thank you. To those of you I only saw in passing or missed entirely, I'm sorry. To the Guardians and RTX team, thank you so much for making this weekend one of the best I've ever had. Love you all, let's do it again next July!
1 month agoTropes Northman of the South
So winds up I'm the Featured User today! That is a cool and unexpected thing to happen. At the moment I'm also sifting through messages and friend requests relating to RTX, so I think this is a bit like flood management.
Anyone who sees me on the FU thing feel free to stick around a few days, I promise a big RTX recap journal is coming soon when I can piece it all together (literally and figuratively).
So I'll just stop this off saying I hope all of you have an awesome day and post-RTX week, be sure to drink plenty of water and eat a lot of good food if you got con flu!
I write books. That will always be the most important part.
When I'm not writing books, I like the usual, I guess. Reading, video games, etc., even though the writing and the day job means I only get to play those rarely.
Huge fantasy nerd. It's what I love to read and what I love to write, but as you can see above historical and sci-fi are also favorites even though I've written sci-fi only rarely and my only attempt at historical fiction was the worst book (thankfully unpublished) I'd ever written.
I prefer to know people before friending them, either in person or through interacting meaningfully on the site, FYI.
My beard bead from Grimfrost and current hair, just because the suit picture no longer does my beard justice.