THE ARCANUM ANTHOLOGY IS OUT!

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:

The Arcanum: Mythology of the Ancient World

Thanks so much for the support over time and look out for more from me in the future!

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THE ARCANUM ANTHOLOGY IS OUT!

Repost From Facebook: On Donald Trump

I have here multiple political posts from my Facebook. I hope it’s all I ever have to say between now and the election:

As I’ve mentioned, Trump is not your only option. Please, if you can’t vote Clinton, consider voting Johnson to tell the Republican party open racism and sexism shouldn’t be the primary Republican platform. In addition, Johnson has, to my knowledge, never bankrupted a company through mismanagement where Trump has done that four times. Johnson has experience as a governor where Trump has never held any political office. If you want to vote an actual, competent conservative then voting for Trump, an idiot trash fire of a human being, is the last thing you should do even if you aren’t moved by empathy for literally anyone who isn’t a straight, white, Christian man (because make no mistake Trump will make their lives objectively worse). Do the right thing and stop Donald Trump. No matter who you are or what your politics are it is the best thing you could do for not only yourself but for everyone else.

Okay, I sincerely hope that’s the last time I feel the need to talk politics for a while. I think I’ve honestly covered everything, if you’re still going to vote Trump even knowing there’s a better conservative out there then I straight don’t know what to do for you.

Ah crap one more thing. Two more, actually. In case you think I’m being unfair, the second one is for liberals so sit tight.

First, to conservative friends and family who haven’t been swayed from Trump to Johnson, I hate to break it to you but you’ve been had. Lied to. Er, more than is normal for a politician. Those things Trump is telling you that you shpuld be scared of to terrify you into voting for him? Lies. I know you are smart, decent people. If you weren’t I wouldn’t talk to you. So pour a stiff drink or some nice tea, get on Google (because I know you have Google if you can read this) and look up facts. Hard facts. I’ll even give you some quick ones now: there are billions of Muslims. If Islam, as a religion, wanted America to fall it would have done already. Black people are not plotting to kill you. And, speaking as a white janitor in Texas, your jobs aren’t under direct threat from Mexican immigrants. That’s just for starters. So keep going down that rabbit hole and free yourself from irrational fear. I’m confident enough in you as a person that, once you know the facts, you won’t let Trump keep hoodwinking you.

And now for liberals. Specifically holdover Sanders supporters who plan on either writing in his name or spitevoting or simply not voting because Clinton isn’t exactly 100% what they want. Welcome to politics, apparently this is your first rodeo. Here’s lesson one: politicians lie and cheat all the time. It’s part of their job. Deal with it, because if Trump wins I’m holding you responsible. That’s right. Every time one of my Hispanic friends down here is harassed, every time my gay friends are threatened I will give you an equal share of the blame. So fold up your tinfoil hats, get your heads out of your asses and your dicks out of your hands and fucking deal with the fact that for all your blind, straight white whining about Clinton being a perfectly average politician everyone who doesn’t look like us will get way worse than the business as usual you have the gall to say you’re “scared” of if your masturbatory self-righteousness let’s Tump win.

Fucking hell, I hate politics. Someone get me a cat picture and my moonshine.

Crap, two more things then I swear I’m done.

One, if you want Trump because he’s a TV celebrity with no political experience try looking into Ron White. Seriously, unless his appeal for you is “he’s a racist, sexist, incompetent liar” then I guarantee you there’s someone you’d like more on the ticket.

Second, I’m not asking anyone to trust Clinton or Johnson. I’m not even asking anyone to trust the facts (you’ll never hear me say that again). All I ask is, please, trust me.

Repost From Facebook: On Donald Trump

[LATE] – 2010s, the Gritty Reboot of the 1970s

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. And yes, it’s possible the Hippy movement is more 60s than 70s but in my opinion there is enough overlap for the term to still be applicable.

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.

[LATE] – 2010s, the Gritty Reboot of the 1970s

RTX 2016

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!

RTX 2016