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!

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RTX 2016

Working on writing gubs

So I’m trying to make a book right now. Trying to do three pages per day for at least the entire month. So this is going to be super short because I still have an extra page left to do. I might also swim or walk around

Either way, I’ll also share this week’s Fir4RTX journal.

Okay, so I’m back up to my working weights from the week before SXSW, as planned. The next steps are to go above and beyond what I was formerly capable of. Ideally one-rep max’es with at least one “full plate” unit above what my previous ones were (so 225 for the 155 ones, 315 for deadlift) but we’ll see how it goes when I get there. As for now, my working weights are now higher than my goal q-rep maximums were even less than a year ago. Which is a pretty cool thing to realize and is a major confidence-booster. So is looking in the mirror to check your form and realizing your arms are getting defined.

It’s been very interesting going to the gym as my strength has rocketed up. Because while I try not to pay attention to what anyone else is doing it’s apparent more and more that there’s less and less people in the gym who are stronger than me. Obviously there’s always someone better, but it’s obvious that I’m making fast progress and I’m happy about it.

As for today specifically, it was my favorite day – namely deadlift and bench. I’ve noticed the only time I hit an actual problem is this day as well. This program is hard but doable, and this is hard but doable, but as whiny as it may sound… well, pullups (even assisted ones) after deadlifts are not easy on the hands! It’s fine, I can and do power through it, but it’s just an interesting thing I noticed about my workout routine. Deadlift was 225 pounds for a 5×5, bench was 135 pounds for the same, and I had 44 pounds of assistance on the pullup. I was honestly surprised by it, too, since I was very low energy this morning and didn’t know if I’d be able to get all this to work.

I tried to weigh myself but I ate breakfast beforehand, so I’ll try again tomorrow and try to remember not to eat beforehand, but like I said I was low-energy today and needed fuel. Chili, rice, and shin ramyun spicy ramen leftovers (I made chili earlier this week and I often add rice to it, and last night I also added the ramen because I felt like it).

Hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Working on writing gubs

2015 – Some final thoughts then back to the grind

“And that was when things got a little crazy…”​

Well, kind of. Actually, my day-to-day life is as close to routine as it’s ever been, for better or for worse. But there were definitely a good deal of individual events that shook things up.

Just have to start with saying this was a way better year than 2013 and 2014. Not that it’d be too difficult since those years had a tendency to pinball between “rough” and ‘fucking godawful” with tolerable bits in between.  But still, this year was overall pretty solid.

So it started with an apocalyptic snowstorm that left me pretty much snowed in for days and crippled my home city, a rent payment issue on the side of the realty company that owned the building I lived in up until September and a really nasty stomach flu (I shit green for a week). So… yeah, like I said, it’s not hard to be better than 2013 and 2014.

But that was really almost all the bad stuff right up front. Aside from that, well, I did a ton of writing. That’s always good, although in December my productivity is way down because of the holidays. That’s pretty much normal, and I’m starting to ramp up production on stories again. In addition, my body is in the best condition of my life (or it was the week before Thanksgivng, heh!) since I’ve started to really get the hang of eating healthy and going to the gym regularly. RTX and UnCon were a blast as always, and they may well have been the best ones of each yet this year (I was fortunate enough to be able to tell at least some of the people who work on RTX that it was possibly my best vacation ever since moving). I also went to a fuckton of New England music shows, usually to see my own friends. During my time up here for the holidays I’m doing that as much as possible, including this very Saturday in Derry, NH.

Speaking of “while I’m up here,” on big life event that happened is that I moved to Austin, Texas. I decided it was time to have an adventure, and the fact that I wanted to be done with snow for a little while effected my decision. I will be living there until about next September and August.

Aaaand we’re getting to future goals, so why not go ham and list them all?

1. More writing. Duh. I plan on doing a full NaNoWriMo style production cycle in April in addition to next November. Because why the fuck not? As always, I’m going to try to get things published for money, but that’s going to take a lot of work, and a lot of luck.

2. Great American Road Trip. As of now the plan is to leave the Austin apartment in mid/late-August with two of my best friends and drive back to Boston in time to move in to somewhere on September 1st. Obviously this plan is in an extremely general, rudimentary phase so far.

3. Youtube! As some of you know I do a cooking show. Unfortunately I broke my camera shortly after I filmed Bacon-Wrapped Sriracha Chicken, That’s now fixed so I plan to film like a loon and set up an adsense account in case it takes off. Not that I expect it to, it’s mostly just an alternative creative outlet, but still.

4. Physical improvements. I plan on doing a two-week Buff Buddies post tonight, tomorrow or Friday to talk about those, but as cliched as it is to talk about this at New Year’s, I plan on taking the improvements I’ve made this last year and building on them. The short version, I finally fucked up over Christmas on both diet and training, and starting this week I’m back on the fitness wagon.

5. Blog more. Again, linked to the adsense (on the wordpress, not the RT journal but I’ll post everything but Buff Buddies or specific RT Community stuff on both) but I hope to do one a week of anything from short story samples to random thoughts. Let’s call it Sunday nights, think that works?

6. Curse more. It’s my natural way of speaking, dammit, and I plan to fucking embrace it.

As for just kind of general stuff, still single. It happens. I do have some funny stories about that but they work better in person or at least in my voice than in the written form. Also, probably the only bit of bad news that has hit me in recent months is I’m going back to freelance at work. That’ll… cause some issues of it’s own. I did manage to net a raise in doing it because sometimes making sure people ​aren’t​ taking you seriously can be as valuable as making sure they ​are.​ But I have no security, and I’ll probably try to score a part-time job for a buffer zone especially if none of my artistic goals take off financially just yet. Adding that to my list of things to do, I guess. 

Well, that’s bad news, but there’s also one bad possibility. PAX East is off the table in part because of my uncertain financial short-term future. It’s looking like UnCon may wind up joining it, but that’s still up in the air. I’m prepared for the worst, which is to completely miss it for the first time since it’s been called RvBTO (still it’s best-sounding name). 

That being said, the year is looking hopeful. I’m going to two New Years parties and a few more shows before I head back down to Texas, then I’m there for the long haul, possibly straight up until I move back up to Boston. And I look forward to testing myself, living on my own with no security and uncertain dreams. Because one way or another I can already tell I’m not coming back the same man I was when I moved down there, and it’s up to me to make sure a better man comes back than left. 

Happy New Year, and as I always say to people when I know they’ve got a job of work ahead of them, best of luck. To all of us.

2015 – Some final thoughts then back to the grind