The Aftermath

Our amazing run in Alliance Tournament XV has come to an end. Congratulations are due to both LAZERHAWKS and BRAVE for excellent fights, well played. In both cases we gave as good as we got and both matches could have easily gone either way. But well deserved by both teams. I'm not taking anything away from either one. In the AT the matches often hinge on the smallest decisions, a mounting pile of critical errors, or razor thin margins. That is, after all, what we call a good fight. And both were good fights.

But I want to take a moment and talk about our team. I want to personally thank each of our pilots who came out for practice after practice for months leading up to this AT. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of each of you and how thankful I am for your dedication and commitment to A Band Apart. These pilots right here deserve all the credit for our incredible run this year.


A very special thank you to our team Captain Jose Zampano. Jose agreed to take on the mantle of Team Captain for last year's AT Team and this year's. It is a lot of responsibility and all of us in ABA are lucky to have him as our Captain. I hope he will lead us to yet another run at glory next year.

I could seriously point at any pilot in that picture and tell you something truly amazing about them. Most importantly I will tell you that I'm proud to fly with them and would gladly sacrifice my ship for any of them. I'm also more than happy to keep pouring a hundred billion isk at them until we win this damn thing!! lol.

One thing I want our team to know. Top 16 last year and Top 12 this year sound very similar. They are not. Our competition this year was much, much better. Slyce, Hard Knocks and Volta are solid teams. But the truly important thing that one extra win does is break you into the final 8 undefeated teams, which on its own terms is a big deal. (We were one of the final 8 undefeated teams!) For us however, it is even more important because both of the teams we lost to - are still in the Tournament and going on to the final weekend. And while it sucks huge hairy balls to lose, at least we have that knowledge to get us thru until next year. We are a much better team than you probably realize right now. But we still have much ahead of us.

To everyone in A Band Apart that supported us this year, thank you as well. Your donations of isk or equipment or time or support mean a tremendous amount to our success. It might sound trite, but it does take everyone in the Alliance to make a winning team. So thank you as well.

And to anyone else reading this post, maybe now is a good time to consider joining A Band Apart. We are a rather unique Alliance with member Corporations that cater to just about any playstyle you might enjoy, all built around the largest pirate group in all of Eve - Stay Frosty. And that doesn't even begin to tell the whole story, from our amazing Wormhole Corporations, Industry, Rookie training, and much, much more. If you are looking for a home in Eve, I can think of no better people to shack up with than ours.

And who knows, you may very well be a part of the team that wins this damn tournament next year!

I can promise you this, we are going to give it all we have.

Onward and upward.




3rd Weekend


The astute reader will notice that this is my own betting bracket from the Alliance Tournament. As I've said before I made my bets the day before the AT started and I haven't changed a single thing since then. (Tbh I did change two matches that no longer had either of my original teams in them, but that was in the losers bracket)  There are eight teams left undefeated and we happen to be one of them.

Tomorrow we face Lazerhawks. I don't know much about them, although I do know they often bump into our own WH operations from time to time. We've also practiced against them once or twice. Once for sure. This isn't a grudge match as far as I know, just two teams trying to prove themselves that happen to bump up against each other along the way. I'm sure it will be a good fight and well played. And we are not taking them lightly or anything stupid like that. I'm sure they are not taking us lightly either. I wish them the best of luck. But, of course, I hope we win.

For our Alliance a win tomorrow means we will go further into the AT than we ever have before. A loss tomorrow also means the same thing. Either way we go further. That is a HUGE accomplishment and the fulfillment of everything I had hoped for this year. The only thing I really wanted from our team was to make a better showing than our Top 16 finish (#14 overall) from last year. And no matter what happens tomorrow, we've already accomplished that.

Everything after that is gravy. But what tempting gravy it is. Getting this far, especially without a loss yet, is intoxicating. You can't help but look at the brackets and start thinking about what if scenarios. What if we win both matches this weekend? Can you imagine? Can your brain even comprehend an ABA vs Tuskers final? Mine can't. The human brain is a mysterious thing, I keep telling it to stop thinking past tomorrow's match. But it doesn't listen.

Seriously though, one match at a time. We have a determined foe to face tomorrow and, if we manage to win that one, another determined foe on Sunday. If we manage to escape those fights with another weekend ahead of us, then that will be... something to deal with later.

Who knows what will happen next? No one. That's why we fight the damn things.

Onward and upward to glory.




Whoa ABA!


So today this happened.

In case you live under a rock and missed it, today we won our third match in a row and defeated We Form Volta (last year's third place winner) and move on to the next weekend undefeated. We are now one of the eight remaining undefeated teams left in the Alliance Tournament. Whoa.

Before the match I think about 31% of voters picked us to win. Which has been about our average during all three of our matches so far this year.

I could not possibly be more proud of our pilots and our FC than I am. I am not surprised however. We've all been practicing hard and for a long time, so I fully expected us to fly well today. We've known all along that if we were going to do well in the AT we needed to do it by out executing the other teams. And so far we've managed to do just that in each of our matches. So, while I am extremely proud of our pilots, I'm also not at all surprised. Just ask Apothne, I told him a few weeks ago we'd be making a solid run at the final four this year. And I still believe that.

I have to admit that I was more than a little disappointed that I didn't fly today. Don't get me wrong when I say that, we have a deep bench and everyone deserves a chance to fly in the tournament. However, from a personal perspective, I also want to fly in every match. I've spent a good part of three years training skills specific to the AT and a large chunk of personal time training for it. Like anyone else, I just want to be out there in the mix with my teammates. But while I am the Alliance Executor and the CEO of Stay Frosty, I am also not the boss of our AT Team. That honor belongs to Jose Zampano, who has been kicking ass as our Fleet Commander this year. Jose makes the rosters out for each match. And I'm fine with that. In fact, I set it up that way before last year's AT. And Jose has taken the ball and done an exceedingly excellent job of running with it. It has been a real treat for me watching that happen.

How far will we go? I honestly have no idea. The AT is often such a rock, paper, scissors tournament and luck certainly plays a role. As we continue to move forward it doesn't get any easier and the pressure only continues to mount. This is the furthest we've gone in three tries, so this is all new territory for our team. That is both exciting and terrifying at the exact same time. However, if I know our pilots as well as I think I do - we should continue to excel.

I filled out this Alliance Tournament bracket before the first weekend and I haven't touched it since then. I decided I'd make my predictions before the AT and let them ride to see how well I'd do. I also predicted we would end up in the finals against Tuskers. And, believe it or not, that Tuskers would end up winning. If you are curious I'm 59-37 so far, which is respectable. I'd do better if I changed some predictions obviously. But that ain't bad.

One match at a time. We have Lazerhawks to contend with next. Everything after that is not worth thinking about.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy the sweet taste of victory. For as long as it might last.





September 21



On September 21st I will have been playing Eve relatively non-stop for ten years. I popped out of a station in Todaki and haven't stopped since. There isn't a region of Eve that I haven't been in, and there really isn't anything that I haven't tried. I haven't technically been in Faction Warfare, but I consider myself an active participant in it. Some may argue that point. But whatever. The only real goal remaining, that I have yet to achieve, is a Top 4 finish in the Alliance Tournament. That has always been my goal and I hope to achieve it either this year or next.

My other personal goal all along was to train Rixx to the maximum sub-cap PvP skills you can have in the game. I recently finished training all of the Leadership skills to go along with all of the Shield, Armor, Drone, Missile, Electronic, Engineering and other support skills he already has trained. The only thing remaining in Ship skills is the Loki and Black Ops V. After those two are finished I won't have any more sub-cap ships (PvP) to train. I finished Marauder V earlier this year. I'm somewhere around 165m skill points and my current train is 195 days. It ends with Black Ops V.

It has helped that along the way CCP has added some additional ships to train, so that may or may not happen again. If it does, like Command Destroyers, I'll pop those into the train. If not... well I'm not sure. My thinking right now is that I will stop training Rixx and leave him with max sub-cap skills, and move on to another character to train. Only coming back to his training when a new ship class or something else warrants it. That is my thinking right now at least. I have half a year to figure that one out. There isn't much call for Caps in my version of low sec. And even if there is I have a couple of other characters that can be trained into them.

So what do I have to look forward to going forward? For the past two years my real life situation has dictated a very strange relationship with playing Eve. Despite what many people seem to think, I really haven't been playing that much. I've been running the Corporation and Alliance from Slack for the most part. Which says a tremendous amount about the people playing, our Directors and leaders, and their commitment to our ideals. Right now I'm focused on the Alliance Tournament, but afterwards I'm really looking forward to a much more relaxed playing experience again. Thanks to recent turn-arounds in my personal life, the pressure to "make money" with my personal time is finally abated. I can stop chasing extra work and relationships hoping that they will turn into something. That includes dealing with CCP, or not dealing with CCP, whichever way we are looking at that today.

I remain excited about Eve and ABA and Stay Frosty and primarily the relationships and friendships that I have both in-game and out. I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon. I've often said that I will probably be the last person to turn out the lights when the servers shut down and I see no reason that might change.

I plan on being around annoying people for another decade or two. Where the road leads is all part of the grand adventure we are all a part of.

Let's find out.




Boom Headshot



Behold our NEW Alliance Tournament Ad for this week! This was a gift on Sunday so we kinda had to use it. I think Jose and I had the idea at the same moment on our Slack channel, so he pulled the video clips and I added the edit magic, and boom!

Ithica's a good sport and I know he got a good laugh out of it over on EVE_NT Slack today. But I'll make it up to him with some free beer at Fanfest next April.

Enjoy!




Roll Tide


The first weekend of Alliance Tournament XV is finally over and A Band Apart comes out with two wins against two quality teams. First I want to thank both Solyaris Chtonium and Hard Knocks Citizens for two excellent, competitive, and well-fought fights. You both pushed us to the edge in both matches and came close to swinging the fight in your direction. Good fights. Good luck to both of you in your upcoming rounds.

It is difficult to communicate what flying in the AT is like. Our team is made up of pilots I've known for a long time, many of them have been in ABA or Stay Frosty for over four years now. Many others I've been fortunate enough to meet in real life, some several times now. This is our third run at the AT and we still have five pilots on the team that have flown in all three. Our team is 28 pilots deep this year and we've all been practicing and planning together for months now. For hours on end. Our entire Alliance has been building, moving, and supporting the effort. This is the part, beyond the actual fighting, that gets hard to communicate. There is a profound sense of all that friendship when you are flying. Of not wanting to be the one that lets them down, that makes the mistake that costs the match. I know I feel it and I'm sure everyone else does as well.

So it is a huge relief when all of that actually works. When I was flying with my teammates today it felt like being part of a well-oiled machine. All of those hours of practice, all those different trials, testing, figuring out things, all came together. It wasn't so much as thought as it was pure instinct. And confidence in those around you. That is a truly great feeling. And it doesn't really have anything to do with actually winning. But winning sure does make it even better. I ain't no idiot.

I'm also not going to take more credit than I am due. I'm mostly just the Head Cheerleader for our team, link pilot, and big ship boom guy. Often primary. Our FC Jose Zampano deserves the most credit. He stood up last year and led us into a Top 16 finish and this year he is doing another fantastic job of leading our team. And he has a lot of help from Andy, and Methea, and Bluey, and Stickel, and others on our team.... Heck, here they all are.

An awesome team shot from Bluey Snuttsoff! (<3 td="">
That's the ABA ATXV Team right there. (Thanks Bluey!)

I have no idea what will happen next Sunday against We Form Volta. According to Ithica Hawk we are in a lot of trouble. Which is a strange thing to say seeing as how they are 8-10 in the AT and we are 6-10 in the AT, doesn't seem like that much of a gap to me. But what do I know? I'm just a low-sec player. What did Mittens say, "a bunch of idiots of no consequence"? I'll take that and own it.

Whatever happens no one can take these two wins away and for now that is good enough for me. Next Sunday's match will take care of itself soon enough. Until then I'm going to enjoy this feeling as long as I can.

Keep the courage and Stay Frosty.




ABA ATXV Poster

A Band Apart ATXV Poster
Click to embiggen


I didn't create much in the way of propaganda for our Alliance Tournament run this year, so I thought I should do at least one piece. I did this for me and I like it. I thought the Cars 3 teaser poster (I haven't seen the movie) was a powerful image and it came to mind today when thinking about the Daredevil. DD's are only 2 points this year, so I expect we will be seeing a lot of them in the AT.

First match is Saturday!!

Go ABA!!




ATXV Our Third Trip



The 15th Alliance Tournament starts this Saturday. This will be A Band Apart's third trip to the tournament. Our first year of eligibility was a rush that was quickly assembled while we were still putting the Alliance together and experiencing growing pains - but no excuses - we got our asses handed to us and lost both matches. Last year we did much better and made it into the Top 16 before our practice partners knocked us out of the running. Which was a good run for us and it meant we didn't have to worry about getting in this year.

Honestly I'm much more comfortable with being underdogs, and although we did finish in the final 16 last year, I still feel like we are underdogs again this year. As Apothne and Jin'Taan are more than willing to point out to me, one year doesn't count in the Alliance Tournament. So, no pressure or anything.

I prefer it that way. And I believe it is the way that all our pilots in ABA are approaching it again this year. We really are underdogs and not just because we only did well in one AT. We also have a lot of pilots in our team this year that didn't fly last year. We're also a relatively small Alliance in a field of much, much bigger fish. We don't live in zero space or have big cousins, or any moon goo to throw around, or whatever it is these days that null sec people do. We are a scrappy bunch of low sec pirates, wormhole denizens, mission runners and industry experts who take sov by accident and refuse to participate in the worst that Eve has to offer. Which is our entire reason for being. We refuse to participate in your version of Eve.

So that makes us underdogs. Not just in the AT but in Eve. A position we thrive in and expect. So nothing different.

I can't begin to tell you how we will do this year. I have no idea. I'm a Pirate Lord not a mystic. I can tell you that I am proud of our pilots, our team is well practiced and prepared, our FC is German, and our ships are well and purposefully fitted. I can tell you that I am thankful and appreciative of our practice partners again this year, all of them. Thanks for grinding with us and best of luck to you all in the AT. I can tell you that no matter what happens this weekend or in the following weekends, that I am proud of our team and all of our pilots. Good people and great Eve players every one.

I can also tell you that I am sooooo glad that I finally finished training ALL of the link skills!

So that is something to celebrate.




The Long Road


(PLEASE NOTE: The following post contains references to real events in the author's actual life. I know that for some of you this can be traumatic and often indecipherable, so I want to give you time to return to your previous programming. I'm also planning on being brutally honest and I know how you can get when I do this.)

I had to start this over. I just learned that another good friend on mine has terminal cancer. That's two that are fighting for their lives as I write this. This kind of news hits you hard and makes you think. About your own life, about the transient nature of life in general and our own moment in the sun. Certainly any news like this gives us all pause. I know it does me. I've known this gentleman since 1987, we worked together at my first professional job. In side by side cubicles. Both of these friends played significant roles in my life and in my career. One of them I had a chance to re-connect with over the past few years, the other one... well, we shall see.

That reconnection is necessary because of what I started writing this post about in the first place. But now the energy is gone, like a vapor in the wind. So I'm going to pocket the rant about time and re-birth and instead just get down to the point of it all. I'll spare you the long philosophical build-up. I'm sure you are grateful for the respite.

The point being that almost everything in my life burned down five years ago. I didn't know it at the time, (how could I?) but those five years would be enlightening, revelatory, and life-changing. A lot has happened in those five years and I'm not the person I was back then. My life is both infinitely better and also significantly different now. If you think about your own life five years ago, I'm sure you feel much the same way.

So let's move this post to be more about Eve, our community and my professional life. I want to first thank you all once again for your tireless support of me over the years. My readers, my fans, and all of you that I have crossed paths with at one point or another. I can assure you this is not a post about quitting, or stopping, or anything like that. In fact, despite the dark opening paragraphs this is a celebratory post. On August 1st I will be starting a brand new chapter in my life. Just as I was beginning to consider looking for a new job, a couple of gentlemen appeared and offered me one.

A good one. We still have a long road ahead of us before I can say, "we've made it", but this is a huge step in the right direction for us. This community of ours, or whatever you want to call it, has been an important part of our lives these past five years. A lifeline. A place to play, to cast aside the worries of the day, to try new things, to explore, to have fun, to share, to talk, and to make connections that truly mean something. I know my wife and I consider many of you reading this post as our friends. And I can only hope you feel the same way. Even if we've never met. Although at this point, we've certainly met a lot of you. And we hope to have the chance to meet more in the future.

There were two moments when you saved us. Some people out there want to make those moments out to be more than they were. We needed help and hundreds of people reached out to help. If we hadn't gotten that help our lives would be much different right now. That's as simple as it gets. And because of that help we are in the position we are today. Along with a lot more help from friends and family you don't even know about.

We will never, ever forget that. Or all of those that have supported me on Patreon, or have bought things from me on RedBubble or thru commissions. All of which has helped along the way. Thank you. I can't say it enough.

So I will be taking the Patreon down in the next few days. I want to reach out to everyone first and write each one a special thank you note. The RedBubble store will also be coming down in the next few weeks. It served its purpose, to show certain people how easy it was to do, but without access to IP it is pointless. And once I finish those items on my Project List, I will no longer be accepting further community projects for isk. I may continue to consider special projects for the community, charity, or other special needs along the way. I want to wait and see what my time looks like before I decide on closing the door on those.

Essentially I just want to get back to playing Eve again without feeling like my time would be better spent working. Which is how it has felt these past few years. And writing in these pages, and doing my podcast, and finally taking the time to work on art that is for me.

Onward and upward my friends. Thank you.


PS: I'm already having second thoughts about the RedBubble store. So that may be staying up after all. Sorry, sometimes I get carried away.


Summer Doldrums


I haven't been posting much lately and After Hours is on hiatus until after the Alliance Tournament. I haven't been logging into Eve as much as I'd like lately either. All of these things are a combination of the dreaded Summer doldrums. Kids are home from school. Weekends are precious. Activities are escalated. It is awesome outside (usually). And any free time is used up by AT practice!

Typical summer. I'm sure a lot of you reading this are experiencing something similar.

This September will mark ten years that I've been playing Eve. Straight. Continuously. I didn't quit and come back, except for a few brief moments here and there, it has been a uninterrupted ten years of playing Eve. That is the kind of revelation that can give a person some pause for reflection. There aren't many things I've done longer than ten years in my life. I was in a toxic marriage for longer than ten years. I've been a Father for longer than ten years. I ran my own business for longer than ten years. Been a creative person obviously. But not counting knowing my wife, or friends, or family, there just isn't a long list of things. But Eve is one of them now. Or will be in a few months.

Does it mean anything? I dunno. I'm still training skills. I'm still wishing I had more time to play. I still enjoy the banter in our Slack channels. I still love AT practice. I still get a kick out of undocking. And I still believe there is no better feeling than hunting down another pilot and winning a close fight.

So I guess I'll stick around and see where the next few years take us.

More later.



Vargur on a Beach

Vargur Beach Commission
Vargur on a Beach
I had a blast working on this commission. Essentially my direction was that they wanted a certain skinned Vargur and a certain skinned pilot in the image, the rest was up to me.  They also indicated that they liked the way the images in the Eve Travel Series looked. So I decided to go in that direction.

The Tempest model always makes me think of sailing ships, so the ocean theme was a great place to start. Plus I really like how the ocean plays into themes of space, exploration, adventure, and many others. You probably didn't think I put so much thought into these things, did you?  The base image of the beach is made up of four (iirc) images, most of which I took myself while in Iceland. The framework image is borrowed, but little of it survives intact. The clouds and sky are also a couple of images worked together. I wanted to combine several things that are unusual, both the Sun and the Stars, into one sky. So that wasn't easy to make work. The Stars themselves are both hand-painted and based on a Hubble image. Same with the planet.

Photographic style images are challenging. The other challenge is trying to get humans into images alongside Eve spaceships! Our ships are so large it makes it nearly impossible. But I imagine this pilot is on SHORE LEAVE! (lolz)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this preview. The original is 24"x18" at 300dpi and I can't wait to see it framed and on the wall.

Stay Frosty my friends.



SOE Poster

Sisters of Eve Poster
Click to view in Flickr


There are so many things to say right now that I don't even know where to start. So, instead, I'm just going to let this one hang here on the site without much comment. At least for now. The creation process is an exhausting one.

I hope you enjoy the new piece. The original is 27x40 Movie Poster size btw. The image on Flickr is a low res version.

Enjoy!



ATXV

A Band Apart: Roll Tide
ATXIV Propaganda
It has been a relatively quiet run-up to the Alliance Tournament this year for my Alliance. Having finished in the Top 16 last year certainly helps take some of the edge off this year. We didn't have to worry about getting in, since we had an automatic bid, and we didn't have to fight in that weird feeder round crazy. Whew.

So we've just been quietly going about our business since almost January or so, to be honest it all starts to blur together after a while. Real practices started being serious after Fanfest and we've been doing solid three-a-weeks since then. This is a tough slog for everyone. We all have real lives out here and it can be difficult keeping everyone enthusiastic, especially when it comes to Time Zone weirdness, work schedules, and the dull ache of non-internet spaceship crap we all have to deal with.

But that is all part of the game, isn't it?  My job as Alliance leader person is to put the pieces in place and then help them as best I can to succeed. We are truly lucky to have the people we have, from our FC, support FCs, theory-crafters, pilots, and all those supporters behind the scenes cheering us on or building things for us. Which is all very exciting. Mostly I just write the checks. And pay the bills. And interject what I hope is some wisdom into the mix from time to time.

How will we do this year? I have no idea and neither does anyone else. I know that we will be ready and that everyone will give it everything they have. Of that I have no doubt. The rest comes down to the luck of the draw, the comps aligned on field, and the millions of split-second decisions made under extreme pressure. 

I'd like to see us do better than last year. I think we left a lot on the field last year and those losses still sting. I've probably watched our matches from last year about twenty times in the past few weeks. That isn't healthy. But who cares? I'll probably watch them some more before July 29th.

Lots to do before then. We are almost a month away.




Steel City Eve 2


Last year we had a blast hosting our first ever Eve Meet! So we decided to do the dumb thing and have another one, this time at our house!

More information is available over on Eve Meet at this LINK!!

Everyone is invited, doesn't matter who you are in-game, or what you do, come hang out with us and spend the day talking about Eve, eating, drinking, and having a lot of fun.

So we hope to see you there.



Could Eve Survive the Cinema?

EVE: Blood of the Empires Promotional Poster
Tom Hardy is the Pirate
Over the years I've had some fun imagining Eve as a television series (like above) or as a film. I've made fake movie posters, teased Ridley Scott pictures on Twitter, and created funny one-offs from time to time. I do this because, like I suspect most of you do, I think the idea sounds amazing. Who wouldn't want to see Eve on the big screen in the theater or the big screen at home? And we know the idea has merit because we continue to hear that such an idea is "in development". I heard it myself at Fanfest again this year from Torfi himself. And he would know.

Last I heard Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions had the rights and that Icelandic Director (who most recently directed 2015's Everest) Baltasar Kormákur was involved somehow. The word from Fanfest hasn't changed much in the intervening years. "These things take time", "Rome wasn't built in a day", etc. Which is all true. Some properties can take decades and decades to be produced. I was just reading a story about Cowboy Bebop's decades long development. There are hundreds of examples like that.

So what is the problem? What is taking so long? I have zero inside information. Other than a life-long interest in film production, thousands of television commercials, three failed television pilots, one almost (so close) greenlit film script, and a brief movie review career - I know nothing. But I can make a few educated guesses. A thought experiment. Why not? 

The biggest hurdle in my mind right now is that Eve is a video game. And video game based films and television productions have a nasty history of failure. Every time one comes along you'll hear the same things being said, "This is the one!" Most recently that happened in the run-up to the release of Assassins Creed last year. And despite Michael Fassbender's obvious passion, that film didn't exactly light the world on fire. I haven't even seen it myself yet, and that should tell you everything you need to know. (I will eventually!) I have my own theories on why video game films tend to do poorly, but let's just go with the accepted reality that they have pretty much failed to live up to expectations in the past.

Ok so combine that with the other obvious issue - cost. Science fiction is expensive. Even for television. So even a modestly budgeted Eve film would land in the $120-175 million dollar range, a TV show maybe in the Game of Thrones range of 7-10 million per episode. An Eve based production could be made for less, or made for much more, the point is that it is going to cost something. Plus marketing and publicity. It is after all, an investment.

So combine an unproven genre with expensive production and you get major roadblocks. All of which brings us to another issue that I think needs to be addressed - the Pod. One of the things that the new Frigates of Eve book settles once and for all is the long-gestating argument amongst Eve nerds regarding the "space captain" idea. One I've written about extensively here in the past. For those not aware, the argument raged between different camps for years. Did your space captain walk around in the ship? Did they have a crew? Are you trapped inside your Pod all the time? Or a million other variations. The lore strongly leaned one way or the other, often contradicting itself depending on when it was written. But I think the FoE book has finally settled it. You are in your Pod the whole time.

And while that is a cool science-fiction based futuristic whatnot for us, looking at the outside of our ships 24/7 - it doesn't make for a very cinematic answer. Tom Hardy is not going to spend 45 minutes of a movie floating naked in green goo doing voice over work while his body twitches every so often. Ain't gonna happen.

And obviously that would have to be changed for any potential story.

None of which means anything really. The fact is that Eve has all the potential in the world to be the basis of tremendous stories set in an exciting and different science-fiction universe. It would be, and could be, incredible. We all know this. But will it ever be given the chance?

I hope so. My fingers have been crossed for so long they are turning black.


PS: If I had my way it'd be a 10 episode limited series on HBO or another premium network.


After Hours #22 with Bei Artjay


After Hours #22 with Bei Artjay is now available.

Enjoy!



Being a Part of A Band Apart

Here's a little thing I wrote about A Band Apart... (ahem)... I'm part of A Band Apart. What part of A Band Apart are you a part of? Is that your part of A Band Apart? I'm glad I'm a part of A Band Apart. A part of it is being part of a band of many different parts, with many parts that you can be part of. So you can do your own part while being part of a greater band of many parts that can combine as one like Voltron or Captain Planet or something when all the parts work together when the need arises. So ask yourself, what part of A Band Apart would you like most to be a part of? The pirate part, the wormhole part, the ganky part, the hisec part, the indy part, even the part that fools around in null? There's sure to be a part that you can feel truly part of, and therefore you too can become a part of A Band Apart, and stay part of A Band Apart. Because we all work together even when we're apart, which is one of the best parts of being a part of A Band Apart.

— Bluey Snuttsoff, A part of A Band Apart



No Contest

Just a few of the hundreds of shirts I've designed for the greater Eve community

So today, in a classic example of bad timing, CCP announced a shirt design contest.

If one was given to conspiracy minded thinking, one might view this as more than it is. Contests are nothing new, CCP runs them all the time. In fact, I've won many of them over the years for Eve and Valkyrie. My shelves are gladly over-running with contest earnings. Next to my monitor as I write this post is an Eve Valkyrie poster hand-signed by the team from England. These are among my most prized Eve possessions.

I've even skipped contests in the past due to lack of interest at the time, or to give others a chance. I realize that sounds kinda arrogant, but I don't intend it to be. Contests are often fun especially if the subject matter or goal is interesting enough to warrant participation. But I'm not a contest professional, I am actually a creative professional. More often than not that means I do not participate in contests, for Eve or for anything else. I like to get paid for spending hours and hours doing what I get paid for. Its called making a living and I've been doing it for 32 years now.

No I don't believe that anything evil was intended by CCP announcing this contest. I am, after all, but a speck on the windshield of their Titan. An annoying speck. But a speck nonetheless. But I won't just be standing out of this particular contest, instead I am actively boycotting it. And encouraging others to do the same.

I am encouraging ALL creatives in the community to NOT enter this contest.

Here are my reasons:

• The rules are terrible for you. Win or lose, CCP owns your work. This means they can use it anytime they want now or in the future and you have no say about it. Every piece you enter becomes their property for eternity. Think about that for a second. That is borderline criminal when you think about it.

• The prizes are not very good. You don't even get a t-shirt!

It is a bad contest that is set-up to essentially troll the community for free ideas. And for that reason I will not be entering anything and I strongly suggest you do not as well.

For me, I can't enter. If I enter and don't win, CCP can claim my shirt designs suck and yet they can keep my art to do whatever they want with it. If I do manage to win one of the prizes, CCP gets the chance to look great in the eyes of the community and I get nothing. I already pre-ordered the Frigate book and I already have t-shirts with my name on them. A couple that CCP printed themselves.

It is a no-win situation. And given the context of the past few months it is (probably) unintentionally insulting. Big benefit of the doubt here. I'd rather spend my time creating new shirt designs for my own RedBubble store and the long list of commissions that need my attention.

And yes, I suspect they will get a ton of submissions and I wish anyone that does enter the very best of luck. But I really do encourage you to have more self-respect for your time, your creative energy and your work than that.

If you don't respect your work, no one else will.

Keep the courage.




Postcard Backs

At Fanfest this year I handed out, among other things, 400 sets of Art Postcards featuring art on the fronts and backs. I held out on posting the backs for awhile, but here they are in all their glory.


Fanfest Postcard Back #1

Fanfest Postcard Back #2

Fanfest Postcard Back #3

Fanfest Postcard Back #4

Enjoy!


Anger?

Have you been on Facebook or Reddit in the last few days? Sheesh, talk about anger. There are some truly hostile, angry, mean, and often personal things being said about certain people at CCP. It doesn't even matter why, or what, or any of the reasons for it. That isn't the point of my post today. Just keep that in mind as we move forward. Hundreds of people, anger, vile words, and Memes, and whatnots.

Now that we have the proper mental picture, let us reflect on your friendly neighborhood blogger over here on Eveoganda. Generally regarded by most as a decent enough fella. Given to troublemaking tendencies sure, but always with the greater good in mind. He gets mad sometimes, but its always about making Eve better. Gooder even. Putting Frills back on Vagabonds. Hats on avatars. Opening doors. And often advocating for a better Eve Store experience.

Oh and I make arts. And videos. And I have this podcast. Etc.

Back when I started this blog I was just a faceless player starting his adventures in New Eden. Over the years that has transformed a bit, mostly just due to pure hard headedness on my part. Stick around long enough and stuff is bound to happen. Along the way I made fun of CCP sometimes, they banned my store, I made Frills on Tweetfleet avatars, they did their thing and I did mine. It wasn't until they called me one day to suggest we do some work together that things changed. For awhile there I seemed like a golden boy, shit was tight. Suddenly my support tickets got answered right away. Finally, after years of rejection, the logs finally showed things. My art hung on the o7 Show walls for over two years. I was in like Flynn. And then things went the other way rather quickly.

No need to re-hash old news. So lets skip ahead a bit and reflect on the following photo. Please keep in mind the Facebook/Reddit anger thing I mentioned earlier.

Hilmar

So that's me (on the left) with Hilmar (on the right) at Nora's in Reykjavik the night before Fanfest. He walked in and after a few minutes I went up and we started talking for about fifteen minutes or so. We even had a nice laugh about the time he shot me down at the Charity dinner in 2015. I felt comfortable enough to invite him to join me on After Hours to talk about the legacy of Eve and the early days. Anniversaries are coming up and he seemed genuinely interested in doing it. Send me an email he said, and my people will work out my schedule.

You see even with all the crap that was going on at the time, I'm still just a big old goof. I figured all this stuff was behind us and we'd all just move on down the road like adults.

Uh no. What you don't know is that I did send that email and I got an immediate reply. You see Rixx has been a bad boy, he wrote bad things about CCP and the store and the Art Posters. All of which was true, but never mind that we are putting him on super secret probation. Although we are not going to call it that. So non-super secret probation. Either way the results are the same.

So no to having Hilmar on the podcast. My art came down off the walls of the o7Show in case you didn't notice. My segment "Hauling Thoughts" nowhere to be seen. (And no word from anyone on that either btw, it just didn't air.)

So yeah. Lately I've been struggling a bit with what this means going forward. What role do I have now, what should I write here in these pages? I criticized a company that makes a game I love for doing nothing for a year, keeping my mouth shut about it for a YEAR, until I finally had enough. Dealt with it. Like an adult. And then sat thru a horrible roundtable with twenty other players all of whom felt exactly like I did. And wrote a well-reasoned and logical article about it.

Remember those angry Facebook and Reddit posters from earlier? That's like a Hydrogen Bomb next to my little hand grenade.

So essentially I've come to this conclusion my friends. I'm moving on without CCP. I don't need them to play Eve and run my Corporation or Alliance. I don't need them to make more art or write or podcast or make videos or anything else really. I won't need them to make an Eve based Card Game or an Eve based Coloring Book either. Once I started thinking about it, I quickly realized I don't need them for much of anything.

I'd rather do this stuff with them, sure. But they don't need to be there. And given the childish and often immature ways in which they seem to handle things, maybe I'm better off without them.

HTFU indeed.



The Grand Naglfar Marathon Roam

Naglfar Art Print Poster
Vertical Supremecy
My good friend and fellow Stay Frostian Watson Crick runs in real life. Runs, as in running. I don't understand this, but he does it (often with his beautiful wife) and has gotten relatively good at it. Recently he ran a long distance in what he called a "Marathon". Oddly, this does not refer to the town in Greece as you might expect. But rather to a race that takes place over long distances. On foot.

Whatever the truth of that happens to be, it did give him the excuse he has been looking for to finally lose the rather large Capital Ship he has been hiding in his hangar. So last evening he organized what he called the Naglfar Marathon Roam and a bunch of us crusty Pirates and fellow ABAians decided to join him. I decided, if Watson was going to risk his Nag, I should probably escort him properly with one of my Bhaalgorns. Draped in its impressive ATXIV skin. One must dress up for these formal roams. We actually had two of those in our fleet. Quite impressive.

Everything got off on the right foot as we entered Vey and discovered a Cyno lit on one of the stations. We are not usually in the business of popping Red Frog cyno ships, but the pilot was a good sport about it as we held him down and let the Nag kill him.  Many LOLS were shared in local that day my friends.

Next our scouts started telling us about an E-UNI gang headed our way, a bunch of Osprey and Caracal types. So we waited on the other side of a gate for them to jump into us. As you can see from the Battle Report we came out pretty good in that fight. We lost two ships and we cremated their entire Logistics wing and took down a few others before they warped off and disengaged. It was a fun brawl and I wasn't even primary for once. Although my Bhaal did dip into low armor, it more than made up for it by draining all three Ospreys.

Of course you can't just warp a Nag around Low Sec and expect to live forever. Although living wasn't the goal of this roam, our only intention was to have some fun and some good fights. We heard about another gang of Cynabals roaming around and figured they'd make for another good fight. Eventually we did clash and things were going ok until the Cyno was lit.

Let's see, a Rev, 3 Archons, 2 Moros, 2 Thannies, Scimi, 5 Cynabals, and other assorted ships. We stood our ground and had a fight, but it honestly didn't take long for the Nag to explode after that. You can see the Battle Report for yourself. And yes, 13% efficiency is pretty terrible. But y'know, like most things in Eve, the numbers don't tell the full story. We had a blast together and it was a fun night that we all knew would end in a Hot Drop somewhere along the line.

And yes, my Bhaalgorn lived. Mostly just by chance. It is after all a long range ship, so I had pulled range from the gate to better hit targets with mah lazors and neuts. Once the battle was clearly lost I realized that no one had pointed me, so off to the station I warped. Which was kind of a bummer, since I had actually purchased insurance before we left home.

Stay Frosty my friends.


PS: Watson wants me to inform you that he runs Half Marathons. Something to do with training time and still having time to play Eve or something.



A Brutix Moment


So yesterday I'm out roaming around with about 3-5 fellow Stay Frostians and we're doing the usual stuff. Trying hard to find content in empty corners of Low Sec and engaging pretty much everything we can to drum up some business. Mostly just having fun and chasing people around. This is pretty much what we do on a regular basis. Trouble makers. Instigators. Insane Engagement Doctors. We are rather famous for it. To be a successful Pirate you have to cultivate the concept that you will fight anything, anytime, anywhere. And no one, in my humble opinion, is more well-known for that than we are.

Such a public persona comes at a price however. There are times when people will try to use it against you. There were a couple of these ideas being bandied about in the neighborhood yesterday. In one system we had someone sitting in a Medium in a Talwar, with his cloaked Stratios buddy inside waiting. And there were others, I don't want to give away any more free ideas. Figure these things out for yourself! This is why I try to get everyone who happens to be on-line at the time into a fleet. Even if you plan on flying solo, you should be in the Stay Frosty fleet together. This way we can share intel, potential targets, and opportunities. And yes, that sentence was aimed internally.

And so it was that this Brutix showed up on scan, alone in our home system. Look, most likely the guy is not an idiot. I don't know him, but I'm going to just assume he isn't. We could have engaged him in our Frigates and killed him, maybe lose a few ships, take forever, and give his backup plenty of time to arrive. Or, I could dock up, jump into a Brutix of my own and see if he wanted to play.

Sometimes its better not to be the hunter and appear to be the prey. So I warped to a Large and waited. Sure enough, he landed and we danced. Just FYI, my Brutix fit is much better than his. But I have hungry mouths to feed so my Corp mates also came along. One of them brought a Ferox! How's that for Pirate humor? (I love it, earlier he was in a Drake!) I told everyone to overheat and kill the Brutix fast, align out to the station... because help was coming.

Sure enough that's when the Bhallgorn and friends showed up on d-scan. Luckily Battleships take forever to warp, so we had time to finish the Brutix off and warp away just as the Bhallgorn landed.

All of which isn't even the point of this post.

In my earlier days I would have docked up and gotten into something bigger and engaged that Bhallgorn. And then had three Carriers drop on my ass and go boom. The advantage of your own home system is that no one knows what you have on hand. And sometimes it is better that they don't. I have a crazy hangar. But these days I'm really trying to be smarter about how I use it.

In addition, and this is the real point here. I'm trying to be a better CEO. Because it isn't just me YOLO'ing into a potential hotdrop, but it is also my Corp mates. And while I encourage everyone in Stay Frosty to go for fights, often against impossible odds. I also like them to use their brains. There is a fine line between daring and stoopid. And I'd like them to err on the side of the former.

This isn't a new thing of course. But it continues to be something I'm trying to work on every time I undock. I'm not only the Pirate Lord of Low Sec but I'm also the CEO of Stay Frosty. And I'm trying to work on being better at both those things.

Every day is an adventure.

PS: If you'd like to live the life of adventure and become a notorious pirate Stay Frosty is always open. No prior experience needed. Just join the in-game EVEOGANDA channel or just go ahead and apply. We take everyone.



Alliance Tournament XV


Things are heating up for this Summer's Alliance Tournament. Yesterday we got a look at some stats from this year's prize ships and they are, as always, very impressive. This will be A Band Apart's third Alliance Tournament believe it or not. And after last year's Top 16 finish, this time around we are automatic bid worthy! (Forms and Plex already delivered.)

I could not be prouder of our team. We've already been hard at work with our practice schedule for well over a month now and the rules are not even out yet. I don't expect many changes this year, but there are always the subtle things that you have to look out for. Maybe some point changes when it comes to certain ship types? Who knows. But we will all find out around this time next week.

Funny, even after almost nine years of playing this crazy game, I'm still racing to get a few skills trained up before the Tournament starts. All of Rixx's skills are sub-cap skills and even with 160m+ already trained, there are still a few more that could use topping off. Right now that is Marauder V - which is an extremely loooong skill. 20 days to go on that one. And then a few weird skills I never thought I'd need.

If we make it to the final weekend of the Tournament this year, it will happen on my Birthday. Which I consider a good omen. That Saturday is also the day we are planning on our next player meet - Steel City Eve II: This Time It Is Personal. Which I just realized... one of these things may have to change.

I really enjoy the AT, the practices, the teamwork, and everything that goes into getting ready and then playing. I'm expecting good things from our team again this year and hoping that we can make a solid run at an even higher finish than last year. Top 16 was amazing for our second year, but we can do better. So much depends on seeding and placement and other random things that are completely out of your control. Which is all part of the fun.

Onward and upward.



In Extremis?

in ex·tre·mis
ˌin ikˈstrāmis,ˌin ikˈstrēmis/
adverb

1. in an extremely difficult situation."they suddenly find themselves in extremis 20 miles out to sea"

at the point of death.








Given the recent lack of activity here in these vaunted pages, it would only be natural to start assuming that I've decided to stop writing in the blog. Perhaps I am burned out. Toasted. Turning bitter old vet, or else have succumbed to distraction. After all, I do have a lot of irons in the fire these days. The truth is buried somewhere in there, but the fact is that I was simply taking a nice break from writing here in these pages. I have no intention of stopping any time soon. If ever. There is just too much sweat equity in these words and images.

Having said that, I did purposefully take a short break. Primarily because my usual morning window for writing has collapsed due to my new job. Put that up against the energy expended in the lead up to Fanfest and then the horrible explosion of reality that certain... well let's just say that everything didn't go that well. And it has only gotten worse since. I'm not going to go into details, but suffice to say that recent events have led me to some new conclusions.

From now on I'm re-focusing my energies into some more narrow directions. First and foremost I will be playing Eve more regularly again. Last year took a lot of energy and while I never stopped playing Eve, I didn't play as much as I should have. My Corporation suffered and my Alliance as well. Medals went un-rewarded, plans fell to the side, things got a little ignored. That is going to stop. My first and most enjoyable passion is playing Eve. That has to remain my top priority. And it will be.

I owe it to my friends and family in Eve, most of whom fly under the A Band Apart and Stay Frosty banners, to give it my full attention.

Secondly I will continue to build the RedBubble store and annoy the crap out of certain people at CCP. New items will continue to be added each week. I'm incredibly excited by how well the store is doing, but I know it can be even better. RedBubble continues to exceed my expectations and keeps adding new products all the time. I'd also like to see more Alliances taking advantage of the swag opportunities for their pilots. Again, just contact me to get started. I've sold almost 750 items from the store since it was launched in December. All without a single return. 

After Hours will continue as well. I'm enjoying Podcasting more than I thought I would. And I really think the format I've worked to develop is unique and provides a great chance to really communicate with people. 21 episodes in now and I have no reason to believe I won't just keep doing them.

The past few months have been challenging for different reasons. The new job has been going extremely well. But it is taking time for me to get used to less time. Some things have suffered from both a lack of time and a distinct lack of enthusiasm. I sincerely apologize for that. Anyone who I owe work or forgot to get back to, please forgive me. I will be trying to do better.

I have some exciting NEW projects in the works that I want to give my full attention. More on those later. I will tell you that they involve a New Card Game and a Coloring Book. (Hater Alert - No I will not be crowd-sourcing anything, everything I have planned will be paid for by me.)

And now for the negative. Or the positive, depending on how you look at it. From this point forward I am done with talking about, or dealing with, or anything else to do with the Eve Store or merchandise. I'm finished beating my head against that wall. I'm also done with expecting anything to happen on that front. From now on I'm just going to mind my own business and focus on my own projects. 

I had my say. Time to move on.




After Hours 20: Alan Mathison


After Hours Episode 20 with Alan Mathison is now available HERE.

We discuss all things Exoplantary in perhaps the nerdiest After Hours so far. Project Discovery, science, crowd-sourcing and much, much more. Enjoy!



Fanfest Iceland Photo Album

Fanfest/Iceland 2017
Click on the image to see the album


Finally getting around to getting our photos organized, at least a little bit. Here is the first album of images from Fanfest/Iceland if you are interested.



A Special Message

One of the Fanfest SwagPacks I gave out
What a ride these past (insert any amount of time you'd like) have been. Our lives have been turned upside down, and incarcerated - but never defeated. In large part thanks to you dear reader and the generosity of the Eve Community. Despite what any of the haters out there might say, this great community of ours, my fans, and my readers (and listeners!), saved my family from homelessness. Not to pay legal fees, or imaginary child support, or anything nefarious like that. Simply to help us keep our home at a critical moment in time. And it worked. And we have been able to re-build our lives, put the legal troubles to rest (finally!) and move on. All thanks to you.

And there is no one more grateful and appreciative of that than I am. A lot of my most recent projects came about because of that gratitude and more are coming in the future. But one thing my wife and I both wanted more than anything was a chance to say thank you IN PERSON to as many Eve players as possible. And where else can you do that better than at Fanfest? We both worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to make this trip happen and to also put together some special items as a way of saying thank you.

You can see the full range of swag in the image above. I created four special Eve Postcards, front and back and we had 100 of each printed. Then we created several stickers and had 250 (or more) printed of each. Then Mom Bellicose sent us some of her o7 Tattos to include. And my wife made a bunch of special holders with paper cut out Tristans on them for a dozen or so extra special supporters. Like Norbert above, who makes me the most incredible books! Thanks my friend, the books are among my most prized possessions.

I personally handed every single piece out to as many people as possible at Fanfest. In my mind that was my primary reason for being there, so it was our highest priority. And while circumstances did not always allow for a verbal "thank you", I hope that the sentiment was implicit every single time. For that was always my intention.

As I've said before, I couldn't care less about what anyone thinks. I'm grateful and I always will be. I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of what happened. I needed help and a bunch of people practically demanded I allow them to help, which then snowballed into a much larger effort that really had very little to do with me driving it, and everything to do with how amazing you all are. It is an enduring testament to this great group of players and something I will never forget.

If I missed you or if you read this blog and were not able to attend Fanfest, let me say Thank You. I hope that in lew of swag you will take this blog, After Hours, and all my other ongoing projects as my way of continuing to say thanks.

Fanfest also represented the last time I'm going to specifically bring this up. All of these events happened well over a year ago and in my mind they are ancient history now. I'm not commenting on any more comment threads about them, or responding to haters on Reddit, or anywhere else. Any more negative comments here on Eveoganda will be dealt with the same way they were before, by being deleted. I didn't do that for the last year, I allowed those that wanted to be negative their chance to say what they wanted to say. But I'm done.

Now is the time to move on. I need to start playing Eve again and hang out in-game with my Alliance and Stay Frosty. I feel the need to Pew Pew and practice for the AT.

Time for more Eve.




Iceland from the Passenger Seat



We are back from Fanfest a day later than planned, our Icelandair flight into Boston arrived late and we missed our connection. But we are finally home. I'm sure I will have more to say about Fanfest in the coming days and weeks, as well as have more photos to share with you. I believe we took well over a thousand photos between us. So that is going to take some time to sort.

In the meantime I cobbled together a side project of mine. We rented our own car this trip and went on a couple of tours with a good friend of ours that runs Moonwalker Tours. We became friends with Bessi Jonsson back in 2015 during our last Fanfest trip. During all of our adventures from the furthest West and almost the furthest East in Iceland I shot a ton of footage out the window of our car and his amazing Land Rover Defender Moon1.

So yesterday I took some time and edited some of it together in this meditative and incredible look at the vast landscapes of Iceland. It is certainly more for us to remember our adventures, but I thought I'd share it with you.

More to come, but in the meantime, enjoy this short film.

Iceland is an incredible place.



Announcing RixxJavix.com


Announcing the launch of my NEW Portal at RixxJavix.com

I had this idea almost two years ago when I first bought the rixxjavix.com domain, but various and sundry things have kept me from doing anything with it until recently. It all worked out for the better for having waited, now that I have the Podcast and the Alliance Store up and running, it makes even more sense to have a central website that links out to everything. Including Eveoganda.

You may be asking yourself why? What purpose does this serve? And why should we care? Good questions dear reader and let me try and answer them as best I can. As for the why and what I simply thought it was time to bring all of my various projects together under one roof as it were, an easy to remember location that makes it easy to find everything. Frankly I've put nine years of hard work into Rixx and he has become more than just my Eve identity. Because of my presence on so many platforms Rixx has become synonymous with my real life identity. A pseudonym. An alter-ego. We are one and the same. So its time to embrace that fact and run with it.

As for why should you care? Your own mileage on that issue is your own business. Maybe you don't care, and maybe you do. Either way the site is up and running and I'm going to be using it into the future. For now it is just a portal with some art and basic information. But it won't be staying that way for long. Eventually it will be expanding to include not just Eve related work, but also other genres as well. And ultimately it will house original artwork that will be for sale. But all of that is down the road a bit. For now it is starting life as a portal.

As an artist this is a big step for me. Rixx has come to represent the Eve side of my personality and my work as well. It is a rather unique position that I find myself in and one that is rather unexpected. I certainly didn't start playing this character nine years ago with this in mind. But here we are. So it seemed only natural to embrace that duality and make Rixx the side of me that draws spaceships, talks about gaming, and works on projects in the Eve community and beyond.

Its all me after all. The last nine years have been a strange, amazing, and unexpected journey and I'm looking forward to seeing where the years ahead of me will lead next.

Thanks as always for traveling along the road with me. It has been a much better trip with you around and I hope you'll stick with me.

Onward and Upward.


PS: Despite the day this is not an April Fool's Day joke.

Celestial

Celestial
Click to embiggen


I had no reason to do that image, I saw this photo from NASA earlier today and decided to put some Eve on it. Nothing else to it. Not serious. Just playing around.

Today is a weird day.




Remember Myrskaa (again)

Myrskaa Red Poster
Click to download heap big versions


I was inspired by all the other entries in the contest and thought of this one late last night. Good fun. I like when I have an idea, sit down and make it happen. Everything just comes together in a rush and boom, I've just given birth to something that didn't exist before. Before this was a gray and brown photo of an industrial welder that I once used for a corporate ad for a client years and years ago. 

There are a bunch of solid entries in this contest and who knows who will eventually "win". I have nothing to do with that decision and I always feel the same way about contests - whatever. You can't think about them, or worry about them, or let them bother you. I've won contests I barely tried and entered at the last minute and I've lost them when I poured my heart and soul into an entry, and vice versa. Art. Everyone has their own opinion.

To everyone that entered I would like to say, well done. You inspired me and I believe you have inspired many others. It is rare to see an Eve Fan Art contest get this many entries, so that is very exciting. I wish you all the very best of luck and would like to encourage each of you to continue. The greatest gift you can give an artist is encouragement and support. And all of you have mine.

Someone once tried very hard to kill the artist inside of me. And while they failed miserably, it has taken me years and years of hard work to overcome and break thru the other side. I still struggle with it and probably always will. But what they failed to understand (and probably still do) is that it won't die. Because I won't let it.

Don't let yours die either. 



Justice League Trailer



I'm an unbiased comic book geek, I enjoy Marvel, DC, and lots of others. Always have. The "house" has never really mattered to me as much as the stories and the creative teams working on them. I admit to growing up in my early years primarily on Marvel Comics, but this was back in the rotating rack in the corner store days - so my choices were rather limited. Once the comic explosion happened in the early eighties - everything changed.

I would like to live in a world where all the comic movies rule. I'd like to enjoy well crafted and well told stories featuring great heroes and awesome bad people. I don't really care if they are Marvel/Disney, DC, or Marvel/Fox, or whoever.

Having said all of that the new Justice League trailer has me worried. Eight months out from November and they decided to drop this thing, probably before it was 100% ready. The CGI effects on Cyborg look like they need some more work. But even beyond that this thing has some areas that give me pause and cause some concerns.

Once again we are looking at Zack Synder directing and right off the bat that can be a hit or miss proposition, mostly miss lately. While I enjoyed huge chunks of Man of Steel, overall the movie was more fail than failure. Some truly odd choices that didn't make much sense. And BvS last Spring was just a holy mess of mistakes compounded on top of each other. Again, some of it wasn't horrid, but the overall story was just so lame it doesn't matter. Parts of it physically hurt to watch.

With all of that in mind, some concerns. This still "looks" like BvS, same grimdark lighting and de-saturated color schemes. Some '300' style studio stage looking green screen work. And a huge pile of CGI work. One wonders if the Sun ever shines in the DC Universe? I get that we have a few jokes thrown in to lighten things up and they work, just like anyone with any intelligence at all could have guessed - but everything still feels extremely heavy and self-serious. There is a weight to everything that feels self-imposed and that comes with a certain level of danger for this movie. Frankly if it plays things much like BvS did its going to be raked over the coals. Even if it doesn't deserve it.

Aquaman and Wonder Woman are awesome.

Like I said, eight months to go and maybe things will look better as we go along. Hope so. Right now I'm excited for the movie, just hoping it is much better than the last two entries in the DCU.




One Week Until Fanfest

Signing Posters
Not this year
A week from today Liz and I will be jetting across the night sky towards the land of fire and ice once more to attend Eve Fanfest, see all our friends, and visit a country we fell in love with back in 2015. So much has happened since our last visit it feels like a lifetime ago. I think this is why we are so anxious to go back this year. After years of turmoil and fighting the good fight (and losing it) our lives are finally starting to feel like normal lives again. Plus, so much of that last Fanfest was eaten up by those posters. Store signings, media, player presentation, roundtable, dinners, lunches, more signings, more media, more meetings, so much of my time was devoted to promoting them. It felt rushed and cramped. Not complaining here, I'd do it again in a second. It did feel rushed though.

But this time I've tried to scale back on the activities. No player presentations this year. Just fun stuff. Because of all that activity last time we missed the Tweetfleet Meet, so we can do that this year. We missed the Pub Crawl, so we can do that this year. And I'll be able to attend more presentations and more fun Eve stuffs this time.

MOAR FANFEST! That's the theme this year.

We are bringing some swags with us this year. We are not rich peoples, but we've pooled our resources and saved our pennies to bring along some tasty freebies as a thank you to all of you for your support over the years. Despite what some people would have you believe, we do appreciate you. And while writing and drawing and podcasting and video-making and all of that is one way I can show my appreciation, another way is by handing you something at Fanfest that we made and paid for ourselves.

So if you see me please feel free to come up to me and interrupt whatever it is I am doing. I heard from so many people last time that I didn't get to meet because they were shy, or didn't want to interrupt, or whatever - don't do that.  Seriously, I do not mind at all. I really don't.

Sadly I did not bring enough for everyone. With thousands of attendees at Fanfest it would be impossible for me to lug that much swag around. We tried our best but we really only have a fraction of that. So please don't feel bad if we've run out, or if you only get one piece. We're going to try and stretch them out so that the maximum number of people can get something from us.

Die-Cut Rixx Art Tristans!
MOAR Fanfest, MOAR Friends!

I'm really looking forward to hanging out and enjoying Fanfest this year. I'm sad that certain people are not able to attend and they will all be missed, but I am also excited that certain other people will be there this time - so it all kinda balances out. I wasn't able to attend last year and I hope people missed me.

Seven days until take off.





Couple of Podcasts

As well as being a piece of shit scammer© I also enjoy being an awesome guest on podcasts. In addition to the Open Comms show I posted earlier this week I also spent time on two other podcasts, Mindclash and Tyrant Scorn's Legacy podcasts.

In all seriousness, here they are and I hope you enjoy them. I'll be editing a new episode of After Hours this weekend, so that will hopefully be out early next week. Until then, get your Rixx Fixx with these two excellent and completely different podcasts.

The Mind Clash podcast – episode 29: arts and crafts (I also designed the logo)

Legacy – episode 3 (feat. lockefox, rixx javix & steve ronuken)

Enjoy!



Signature Hats?

CCP Frame's Signature Hat

I always found it surprising how few people ask for military hats for their avatars. It happens, but not that often. So yesterday when CCP Frame asked for a "anything you want" hat, his avatar was perfect for it. Not to mention monotone and with a cigarette hanging from his lip. It was his request that I sign it also, hence the concept of signature hats.

What are signature hats? Mostly likely they are hats with my signature on them.

Fanfest is coming!



Deep Roots


I haven't seen this piece in probably twenty years. Its from 1983 or 1985 and probably the first large sized painting of a spaceship I ever tried. I know I had been drawing spaceships, and other things, for much longer. But this was an airbrush and pastel painting. You have no idea just how much I hated airbrushing.

I have no recollection of working on this. During this period of my life I was cranking work out left and right, trying to find my way. My style. My voice. Anything. So I make no claims as to the subject matter, because I simply don't remember. This may be an original, or I might very well have been using someone else's work as practice, or inspiration, or a launching point. Who knows.

It was good to see it again and realize that it wasn't lost to time. To be honest it is rather horrible. Looking back on old work is like watching yourself talk to a girl for the first time, its awkward, slightly embarrassing, and you could do so much better now.

But yeah, my spaceship roots run deep.