• Signal Boost - 13 December 2014

    These are some of the articles I've read recently that have stuck in my mind.



    "Hi, I’m the Internet’s Chuck Wendig, and I’m a racist.

    "And also a sexist.

    "And probably a handful of other “*-ists,” too.

    "I know. You’re saying, 'Chuck, but you’re a feminist. And you speak out on Twitter against things like this.' Which is accurate. I do. And it doesn’t change my core assertion that I am these things."


    Women of Color and the Hidden Trauma of Police Brutality by Marie Myung-Ok Lee (The Nation)

    "The larger question is, how can we as citizens have an open dialogue with the police, in a controlled forum and not by waiting to aggregate a thousand individual situations, heated encounters where any dissenting viewpoint, any attempt to explain or get an explanation, any query of 'Officer, on what grounds are you stopping/arresting me/going through my purse/making me leave my office?' provides basis for a potential resisting arrest charge?"


    Being a cop showed me just how racist and violent the police are. There’s only one fix. by Redditt Hudson (Washington Post)

    "The problem is that cops aren’t held accountable for their actions, and they know it. These officers violate rights with impunity. They know there’s a different criminal justice system for civilians and police.

    "Even when officers get caught, they know they’ll be investigated by their friends, and put on paid leave. My colleagues would laughingly refer to this as a free vacation. It isn’t a punishment."


    A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement by Alicia Garza (Feminist Wire)

    "This is why we call on Black people and our allies to take up the call that Black lives matter. We’re not saying Black lives are more important than other lives, or that other lives are not criminalized and oppressed in various ways.  We remain in active solidarity with all oppressed people who are fighting for their liberation and we know that our destinies are intertwined."


    The White Guy Problem by Melissa Hillman (Bitter Gertrude)

    "But the entire nation is currently being dragged down by a small group of people whose reaction to the pain of others is MY PAIN IS MORE IMPORTANT, whose reaction to racism and the role of their own privilege in that is LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU, or worse, PRIVILEGE IS MADE UP BECAUSE MY LIFE IS HARD."

    [note: it's nearly impossible to get a good pull quote from this or any post on Bitter Gertrude because it's always tempting to repost the entire thing. If you have any interest in cultural criticism especially as it relates to theater and/or geek culture, Hillman is a must-subscribe.]

  • I can't breathe.

    I have an unfortunate tendency to hide.

    When confronted with large, difficult things that have no immediate solution, my body shuts down. I go mute. I curl into a protective ball and try to get my poor diseased brain to locate some tiny good thing to distract me from the total horror that is the situation.

    I'm weak. And I apologize. 

    I'm a middle-aged middle-class white man. I'd apologize for that too, but I didn't have a whole lot to do with it. No, the apology is because I -am- a middle-aged middle-class white man, and I should be doing more with the power society has gifted me. I should be speaking up more to defend all the people who are repressed by the system that has gifted me a louder voice because of my gender and skin color and class. I should be on the streets with my hands in the air. I should be in the comments fighting against the trolls. I should be using my privilege to fight my privilege.

    I just don't know how.

    Not for nothing, when I do manage to uncurl from my trembling ball of numb resignation, and contemplate saying something, anything, my first thought is generally "I'm a middle-aged middle-class white guy. I'm the last voice -I'D- want to hear right now." I've worked hard over the years to disabuse myself of the notion that I deserve to be heard. Ultimately I think that's the correct choice, and yet... well, if only the open-minded social justice warriors make that change, we end up with a lot of loud privileged asshats shouting horrible things and suddenly nobody they could even accidentally respect is there to speak against them.

    I also know myself, and know that I'm prone to hyperbole when emotional. A while ago I posted something on the internet, and I was upset, and I didn't spend a day editing it into a piece of considered opinion, and it led to a week of very troubling conversations. I don't regret it, per se, but... 

    But I'm weak. Right now you could knock me over with a three-legged hamster. I'm perpetually one glass of spilled milk away from total devastation. So it's a big risk to put anything sincere out into the public sphere, because I don't know if I'll be capable of dealing with the reaction.

    And at the same time, I also know it's not enough.

    It's a dilemma.

    And I switch back and forth. I look at the world and I vascillate between terrified depression and impotent rage. I'm paralyzed by what I see happening in this country. I'm not going to pretend I wasn't aware of the extent of misogyny and racism in our culture, but this year... it's just gotten so violent. So systematic. And so horrifically pardoned by the people who are supposed to protect us from it.

    Angry men stalking and threatening women over mild cultural criticism. Angry, frightened men murdering innocent citizens because of their gender or race. Angry, horrible men who have no idea they're the bad guys, and unfortunately have been given all the tools they need to have their fuckwitted solipsistic violence not only forgiven but in many cases rewarded.

    Angry men who look a lot like me.

    Ultimately, I think, I don't know how to speak out against everything that's happening in the world because I feel like it's somehow my fault. Through some miracle of fate or upbringing or dumb luck I took the cultural privilege I was given and, over time, have recognized it as a thing I don't deserve, haven't earned. I've been lucky in being surrounded by people who have taught me how to start to see the inequality I will likely never have to experience first-hand. I've got a solid foundation in believing that all human life is of equal importance, and that maybe I shouldn't get to win an argument just because I'm white and male.

    It took me a long time, and I had to feel stupid a lot, and I had to embrace my ignorance, and it sometimes hurt. And I've still got a long way to go. And I wish I could bottle my experience and sprinkle it in the coffee of all the assholes out there so they suddenly woke up and realized what they were doing to the world and were forced to start making amends. But science doesn't work that way. Not yet.

    So all I can say is a loud, clear "Fuck them".

    Fuck GamerGate and their hypocritical idealism.

    Fuck the police and their utter disregard for the communities they are supposed to protect.

    Fuck the legal system for propping up a false idealism and creating a culture where public lynchings go unpunished so long as the murderers are wearing a badge. 

    Fuck the higher education system for every way they provide better support and services to rapists than they provide to rape victims.

    Fuck anybody who believes that their own fear and confusion gives them any right to harm another human being in any way.

    Fuck me for not speaking up.


    Cursing them isn't enough. It's step zero point five of a three million step process. And I'm just barely coming out of hiding, barely functional. But I'm here. I might still be curled in a ball of ineffectual ennui, but I'm here, watching, trying to figure out how to breathe.

  • Nu Yorque, Nu Yorque

    Well, I dids it. I'm actually moving back to New York.

    I won't be there full-time until about Novemberish, because moving is crazypants. I think I've not lived in any place as long as I've lived in my current house, and it's... house-sized. The prospect of packing ALL of it is terrifying.

    But yes. Soon, I will be starting my year of New York. It could turn into two, or five, or indefinite. But I'm budgeted for a year.

    I think I might even be able to stay in the new apartment this weekend, provided I can remember to turn on the electricity.

    Oh! Right. Both of you reading this should come see me perform! Puppet Pandemic is this Saturday, September 28th. Info on the Facebookery:

    Meanwhile, I'm playing hooky. Or hookie. Not entirely sure at the moment. One of those. Boxes are daunting and my allergies are acting up. So today? Today I sit at my beloved Whiskey Jar and have a bit of normalcy before I hit the ground running again.

  • More and more, more and more

    Drawings and robots. That's pretty much the extent of my life these days.

    Been gearing up for Dragon Con, where I'm going to appear on a few panels (mostly Friday, all in the Puppetry track) and take part in the massive puppet slam Sunday night. I think if you get in line now, you might stand a chance of getting in.

    Interesting thing about doing a ton of artistic, visual work. Makes it really hard to focus on wordifications. Haven't been writing in a few weeks. It's strangely liberating, considering it's what I did the most for the past few years. Nice to get paint on my hands again.

  • New Life, New Web

    I… I'm trying.

    I'm trying to be better about making content. Content, that is, that is actually ME, rather than WORK. Not that I'm not work, but…

    Yeah. I'm about to embark upon a rather frightening journey, moving back to NYC to actually try to do the things I love doing on a more full-time basis. I have money saved up, ready to burn. I have a hundred friends. Now I just need the determination to actually get the work done.

    This is the start. A complete rehaul of the old website. Trying to make it something that I can actually use easily, something that doesn't clunk too hard, something that I'll keep up with.

    Fingers crossed.

  • Rejected

    Getting a rejection letter is completely different than getting a bad review.

    A bad review goes on at great length as to why the reviewer felt your work was lacking. It lists reason after reason, presenting an overall impression of your work, and why the reviewer disliked it or was otherwise unimpressed by it.

    A rejection letter is typically a terse, generic dismissal that bends over backwards to make the recipient feel like their work was fine, it wasn’t bad at all, just not quite the right fit, very competitive process, &c. Oh, and regretfully. Rejection letters either use the word “regretfully” or “unfortunately”. Like the rejection is somehow a force of nature, unavoidable, just something that happens.

    A bad review has a voice. The reviewer is always present, always the person observing the work. Certainly any decent reviewer will attempt to put personal beefs aside and focus on the merits of the work itself, but even the most impartial reviewer still admits that their job is only partially journalistic, the rest pure opinion.

    It’s a rare rejection letter that sounds like it was written. Crafted is a better word for the rejection letter. Wordsmithy. Two or three short paragraphs that convey an institutional tone. The company is sorry to inform you. The institution thanks you for your submission. The foundation hopes to hear of your future endeavors. The only human moment in a rejection letter is typically the signature at the bottom. Which, if you know anything about how offices work, was dashed off along with a few hundred identical signatures on identical letters without the person necessarily even reading the thing they signed.

    A bad review is public. Published somewhere, out in the open. A bad review focuses on work that is available to the general populace. It has the intent of helping consumers of work to make informed decisions about the work they choose to consume. A bad review can severely impact the success of a work, but no bad review can prevent the work from existing. A bad review does not erase the work from the world.

    A rejection letter is private. Intended only for a singular audience, the rejected. A rejection letter serves to tell the rejectee that the rejector refuses to help bring a work to the general populace. A rejection letter says no, we don’t particularly want that thing to exist. We don’t want to be associated with that. If that thing ever becomes available to the public, we intend to be very far away.

    You can ignore a bad review. Or you can use it to improve the work. Or you can simply not bother reading it in the first place.

    Rejection letters, they always hurt. And there’s absolutely nothing you can do about them.


  • Anchor, Watt

    I've got Colbert on in the background as I attempt to remember how to use Illustrator (and fail, mostly). Iggy & the Stooges come on. I flip over to take a look and notice that Mike Watt is playing bass.

    Then I see something shiny around his neck. I think "He can't possibly still...."

    A quick Google reveals it's true. Mike Watt is still wearing S---'s anchor around his neck.

    From BackBeatSeattle:

    "You have a cool anchor necklace I’ve seen you wearing. Where did you get that?

    "MW: Yeah, someone gave that to me in the first opera. Must have been twelve or thirteen years ago. I was playing T.T. the Bears [in Boston] and I was unloading the gear and somebody said hey, Mike Watt, take this – and just handed it to me. I thought it would be good luck to wear it. My father was a sailor."

    I took my friend S--- to that show. She had never heard Mike Watt before. We watched them perform the entirety of Contemplating the Engine Room, and afterwards she was so moved by the piece that when we bumped into Watt outside the club, she gave him her brand new necklace, an anchor. It pretty much happened exactly as he describes; she was too overcome with emotion and music to say much of anything else. I remember her talking about how interesting it was that she'd buy an anchor before going to see a rock opera about sailors when she didn't have any idea that was what she was going to see.

    I lost track of her soon after that. I was a bad friend, got worried about my own shit, and soon left Boston, and the lack of things like Facebook and ubiquitous cellphones meant I never could track her down to say I was sorry.

    But there's something really comforting knowing that this astounding musician I massively respect has carried a piece of her around his neck for all these years.

  • Suit


    Written and performed by Brodrick Jones. Director of Photography - Kali Therrien. Filmed and edited at the 2011 National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Huge thanks to Tim Lagasse and Martin P. Robinson, as well as the whole Video Anarchy crew.
  • Jigsaw ep.12x12 - Twelve.

    [ ?posts_id=4615339&dest=-1]

    You should know I'm obsessed with videosongs.

    The rules of videosonging are very simple:

    1. What you see is what you hear

    2. If you hear it, at some point you see it

    If anything, I have broken the rules here because it's not really quite a song. It is a piece of music, certainly, but not something you'll be singing to yourself later (though if you are a drummer, you might end up with the beat in your ear for a few minutes). Still. The principle is sound.

    And that's it. I'm really happy I decided to spend a few hours last night working on this, because otherwise it wouldn't have posted until probably 2am. As it is, I'm afforded a bit of time to actually enjoy Twelfth Night. And, you know, eat something. Which I haven't really remembered to do today.

    Thanks for watching. Hopefully I'll keep up with this space a bit better. Though I've said that many, many times before.

  • Jigsaw ep.12x11 - Eleventh.

    [ ?posts_id=4610904&dest=-1]



    "It's the new episode of Jigsaw."

    "What about it?"

    "It's… it's like he didn't spend nearly as much time on it or something."

    "What, so it's fairly concise?"

    "No, I mean -- well, yes, actually. Maybe that's it."

    Went back to work today. Had to film after. No time! No time!

    Drumming tomorrow. I apologize in advance if it's late.