sophocles: (Default)
I signed up for Livejournal in 2001- or as I prefer to think of it, before 9/11. Pause for dramatic effect. I happen to know that off the top of my head largely because I remember writing about 9/11 in said Livejournal. I wrote about how we wouldn't be defeated and how I wasn't going to give up or, how I was going to wear red in a Lord Nelson display of not letting them see you bleed. I was, for the most part anyway, an idiot.

But I digress.

I got on Livejournal because among my social group the most common exchange was "Hey did you see what {USER NAME} posted?" "Oh yeah, that was really cool." or whatever the reaction to the thing USER NAME posted. It didn't help that I largely hung out with computer people, and liberal arts major who wanted to be a playwright- or was it a novelist? Short story writer? I don't know. Some kind of writer.

-Which of course made me having a journal make even more sense. So I'd write. Not often enough. But I'd write. I blogged about the end of the world, and I wrote about all things happening- or at least things I wanted shared. I wrote when I had something to say, or maybe even more accurately, I'd write when I KNEW I had something to say and I knew that thing was. I joined communities and groups. I met my that girl I almost married on Livejournal. I met any number of people through the guy with parties who I met on Livejournal. I kept track of who was going to karaoke at the Office, and I took notes on things. The first AnachroCon notes were on there. Right up till that point where every other post began "Wow I should really write more."

I'm 42 now. Married. No kids yet, but that's a topic for not here or now. In many ways, I'm a far cry from that twenty-something who would hang out at Waffle House or Innovox Coffee house till 3am. Livejournal rants were slowly replaced with easily digested status updates. Granted I could rant on Facebook, and I suppose sometimes I do. But it's not the same, and I don't quite feel the need.

I haven't signed in to LiveJournal this calendar year. The company was sold by Brad years ago. (Brad was the founder of LiveJournal. He was like Tom from MySpace, but somehow less creepy.) I don't recall all the details. It's owned by a Russian company. The new TOS are bad. I ported the old journal here a few months ago. Everything from 2003 onward seems to be here. I guess I can live without those other two years. The connections, the community.. they were gone or mostly gone before. Maybe people will find me. Maybe they won't.

Oh.. and the "memories" are gone. That I can live with.
sophocles: (Default)
Yeah, I really suck at writing consistently.

I have successfully imported my livejournal here.
sophocles: (Rennie)

1. Make the house guest-ready 
2. Kilt Project:
     Write. The Five People You Meet in a Kilt
                  Sgain Dubhs and Flashes_ and Sporrans OH my!

      Edit: The Mess So Far.

3. Make flying machines.

sophocles: (Rennie)

Facebook app for Kindle Fire is stupid. Just throwing that out there.

sophocles: (Rennie)

I've sort of done this before but this is the first time I've made a post about it. At least, I think it is.

Also, hello Livejournal. I've missed you. We should hang out more. Don't you miss the old days?

I digress.

The Experiment: I'm putting myself on a schedule.
8.30am Attempt to get up. Check Facebook.
9.00am. Shower. Get Dressed. Take meds. Make coffee.
9.30am. Breakfast. Cereal or omelette if feeling ambitous. Flip dishes.
10am. Consult the list of things to do.
10.05am. Put the phone in the other room as playing Star Wars Commander is not being productive.
10.07am Stare at list again.
10.15am Do Stuff on the List.
12pm lunch?
12.30pm or After Lunch  stare at, amend to-do list.
12.35pm - Work on Non Fiction.
2pm- Work on Fiction.

End of Day Whenever that is-
* Write List for the Next Day*

Kilt Project: (pick two. Write to competion)
Sporrans and Flashes and Sgian Dubhs! Oh My!
The Problem with Uttilikilts and How I (mostly) Learned to Stop Caring.
The Best Dressed Scotsman
Five People You Meet in a Kilt. (The Olde Scots Guard. The "Lords" of Scotland. The Lifestylers. The Kilt Punks. The Faire Folk.)
Three Rules and a Bunch of Suggestions.

Making Stuff: (pick two)
Portrait jewelry
The Very Strange Thing.
Cardboard Armor.
Flying Machines

Move the story forward.
Build world

Straighten Workspace.
If I manage to do this an entire week, I'm calling it at least s partal success.

sophocles: (Rennie)

Orlando could have just as easily happened to any of the gay men I know, or their friends, or anyone who has set foot in an establishment that caters to the LGBT community.

Minnisota could have just as easily  happened to any of my Black friends. It could have happened to the guy who throws the awesome parties, or that guy I went to college with, or the family I lived with for a year, or the guy who taught me appreciate comics, or the guy I talk to when I'm blowing off steam about one particular individual.

Dallas could have been the one of the off duty cops at Netherworld. It could have been the best man at my wedding.

I hate using these people as examples to make a point. I hate that the point has to be made. Someone will blame guns, and someone will blame BLM or "The Police" as if either group operated under a single hivemind. There will be rhetoric and vitirol, hyperbole and rage. There will be wing nut theories and "solutions" proposed by armchair pundits and people who became experts by watching CNN and Fox News. There will be problems we don't talk about.

I just want everyone to remember that the dead were people. They had families and loved ones. They had passions and frustrations. They didn't leave the house and expect to not come back.

sophocles: (Rennie)

Still here.
still married, living in Missouri, and all the those things imply. I'm determined to keep this livejournal active, despite the fact I don't.

It makes more sense in the abstract.

sophocles: (Rennie)

For a variety of reasons, the carrying of blades is nearly ubiquitous in kilted fashion. This has probably a lot to do with connection to the violent militaristic past, or maybe that many conventions of Scottish dress were codified during the period of The Dress Act. Maybe it's because swords and daggers are just cool. In any case, it would be irresponsible of me not to say the following; bladed weapons aren't toys. They are sharp and hurt people. Also, they are regulated by law in many parts of the country. Waving them around can you arrested. Please exercise common sense.

A sgian dubh (scan dew) is a small single edged knife about two inches in length. The unsharpened side  is notched. My understanding is that this was once used to scale fish. The handle is usually ebony with ornate silver furniture. Antler, bone, or natural hardwoods are also very popular. The name means "dark knife" or "hidden knife" as it was originally used as a weapon of last resort hidden on your person at all times. Nowadays it is most often used as utility knife, ice pick, or maybe to spread mayo. Knives are useful. Dark handled or officer's Sgain Dubhs are considered to be more formal. In recent years novelty sgain dubhs like the sgain brew bottle opener and other playful reinventions ave become more  common. Multi-tools, sonic screwdrivers, carpenter pencils, tent stakes and waiters corkscrews have all been used in the place of the traditional sock knife.

The dirk is about twelve inches in length, and worn on the right side on a belt.  It looks very much like the Sgain dubh but obviously quite larger. It bears some resemblance to a gladius or Roman sword. Like the Sgain dubh, they can be be quite ornate, and often functional. It can be worn with a Jacobite shirt, band uniform, Prince Charlie jacket, or regulation doublet.

The word "claymore" derives from the Gaelic meaning "great sword." Commonly it refers to one or two styles of sword.

The smaller of these is also sometimes referred to a Scottish broad sword, or back sword.(The back is the unsharpened side of the blade used for blocking.) More descriptively, it is known as the basket hilt claymore. In military dress uniforms, and ceremonial garb it takes the place of a gentlemen's saber.

The larger is the two handed claymore. Some of you
may quibble with my terminology, and insist that the sword to which I'm referring is called a "clay ga  LA" (Sp?) Which translates to "two handed sword." Either term is acceptable provided of course that you are understood. It varies in length, but is usually around 45 inches in length. The most common design has cross guard is shaped like a Y with three or four circles on the ends. There are several variations, some of which are more historically accurate than others. It dates as far back _____, and was commonly used as against cavalry. Contrary to what you might expect it was actually much lighter than swords used in continental Europe at the time.  It seems to me to be out of place in modern dress. The only exception I can of is in parades or costumed events such as a renn fest.  Nonetheless, Pinterest tells me that it's fairly common place at weddings for kilted groomsmen to have claymores of either variety.  I don't get it.

sophocles: (Rennie)

Checking in  I guess.

Working on stuff. Still married. Still in KC. Taking a breaking from Facebook.l

Not really speaking in complete sentences.

sophocles: (Rennie)

No, Pastafarianism isn't a religion. No Pastafarian ever has sincerely believed in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. No one has launched wars to erradicate them from the Earth. To the best of my knowledge,  no Pastafarian churches have built homeless shelters, fed the hungry, cared for the sick and dying.

sophocles: (Rennie)

First livejournal of the year...

I got norhin. Still here more or less.

sophocles: (Rennie)
I'm sucking at this "writing everyday thing."

I'm doing okay at "creating something everyday."

I decree that today is a writing day.
sophocles: (Rennie)
Dear Geek Culture,

We can still be friends, but you’re just not who I fell in love with anymore. When we first met, you were amazing. You still are sometimes,which is why this is so hard on me. You introduced me to so many cool things, and ideas. You taught me that it was okay to like the things I liked. You taught me the value of intellectual escapism, and being the awkward smart one was okay, that you heroes didn’t need to carry a gun, that a farm boy can save the galaxy, and that standing up for things was important. You taught me to be strong. You taught me to be smart. You taught me to be resourceful. My God, you were amazing!

But you changed. Or maybe I changed. Maybe I’m romanticizing our past, and it was never that good. Maybe I was just a kid, and you were... You know. I can’t really stress this enough. When I went to my first Star Trek convention in the summer of 1992, it was magical. I heard Brent Spinner speak. I bought a handmade button referencing a book I loved, and still loved. “Visit Beautiful Bethselamin,” it read, “And don’t forget your receipts.”

I’m sorry. I just need to get through this. You’re not that thing anymore.

It was a few years later that I started volunteering for conventions. I went with my best friend to a staff meeting for the Big Convention in town. You know the one. We were so excited. It was like we were running off with the circus. I volunteered at that convention for a little over decade, through most my 20s, and into my 30s. I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. Please believe me when I say that.

But then...

I don’t know when it happened. It wasn’t all at once to be sure. I get that you are always bringing in new people, and that’s okay. That’s what I like about you. I even like some of the new stuff that gets absorbed into you. And sure, some things get forgotten. You remember when Babylon 5 was the big thing? There were people who hadn’t even seen Star Wars or Star Trek showing up to conventions, and that was okay. Really. Because they were still the same kinds of people. It didn’t matter if it was Babylon 5, or Trek, or Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, or Buffy, or Firefly, or Stargate. or... You know the list. You know the fandoms that have come and gone. Reminding you of them, doesn’t change anything. They’re not what I loved about you.

It was that thing that all of those things had in common, the list that’s even bigger than the things I rattled off. It was the commonality. It was the shared language. It was the fact I could say “grok” and people, well, groked what I was saying, sometimes even if they had never read that particular book. It was that joy of talking about fictional worlds like they were places that we would visit for a weekend. And when we well got together, it was like those worlds pooled together in a glorious new world that-

But something changed. I didn’t even notice it at first. It was like the frog in the boiling pot of water. So gradual was the change, I didn’t even notice until now. You became obsessed with gate keeping, and doing a bad job of it. You let in the drunken frat boys who saw geek culture as their opportunity to hit on women in costume, and make fun of the fans who had already been there. You treated cosplay like a fetish, and you became a weird twisted parody of yourself. Some how, you stopped being a safe place.

I know, I know. You’re working on it. You’ve made progress. I guess. It’s really hard to tell sometimes. I still see those lines being drawn. I still see the emphasis being put on getting drunk, and getting laid. I still see the blurred distinction between geek culture and pop culture. I still see the manic pace at which you seem to be destroying yourself, and I feel helpless to stop it.

And believe me, I understand. If everyone is a geek, than no one is. So we have to define what a geek is, and to do that we have to keep the posers out. But by keeping the posers out we lose what- No, you lose what makes you special.

I’m sorry. I seem to spinning my wheels. I think there is a part me that will always love you. Let me rephrase. I will always love you. I have come to accept that I will always be a part of you. I learned who I was because of you. That can’t really change. I’ll see you around. I’ll see you at the smaller gatherings, and maybe one day the big ones again. I want to introduce you to my children. I want them to have the same experiences I did when I first knew you.

But you have to better than you are right now.

A Disillusioned Geek

P.S. You can still call me if you ever need talk.
sophocles: (Rennie)
Here's what I know about making art.

{long pause}


You have to do it everyday.
You have to do the borings bit.
You have to do the business side of it.
Most of it is editing,and re-writing.
Most writers I know, know, acknowledge, and preach these things, but don't do them.

Alright, To all those ends,I'm kind of getting serious. Yeah,I've started this before, and I've gotten distracted and... yeah. I'm an Armchair kinda guy.

There are less talented writers and artists than myself who have made money of their respective art. I have shit to say. If pressed into the matter, and given enough time, I can usually say it a way that is entertaining. I think. I hope.

Um.. Point being, I'm using this as my "work journal now." It might have been start a brand new one, but it's convenient to use this one.

Free writing (warm up. That's what this is.)
Fiction. Non-fiction.
Business crap.

On the schedule for today is...
Set up the etsy store.
Bitch about geek culture.
Finish writing The Modern Fantasy Short Story.
Create more images for the etsy store.

Generally think about stuff.

The thing is that I'm not really making it up as I go along. It's more of an improvised framework.

Really, I don't want to be one of those people who blather on about the business of doing something while not doing that thing.

So.. Yeah.... Writing.
sophocles: (Rennie)

Writing, piping, not really doing digital photography but seriously thinking about it.

Actually, seriously thinking about a lot of things that I don't actually do, but just think about.

Such is life.


Okay, So the above was apparently saved to draft, and not actually posted.

Meh. This whole thing where I wake up at 2am, suddenly having to put proverbial pen to paper, and then completely blank on what I was going say when I actually get to a computer- or actual pen and paper even. Yeah, that's got to go. Seriously. It's bugging me.

So, hello Livejournal. I don't really recognize you anymore. You seem to be less useful than you once were. I suppose that's me being a giant curmudgeon, but I'm okay with it.

I've been screwing around with GIMP when I haven't been screwing around trying to produce something worth reading, and by reading I really mean selling.

It's now the third year in a row that I've missed Dragon Con. I'm trying to be okay with my going through the litany of reasons why a sane being should avoid that mess.

okay... bed.
sophocles: (Rennie)
I have been trying to write something about the recent string of violence that has been conspicuously absent from the news. I'm not sure I'm there yet. I'm not sure I have anything helpful to say, but I'm certain that remaining silent isn’t helpful either.

I keep coming back to the few things that I know. This is not a theoretical discussion. These aren’t abstractions. Actual people are being affected.

These are churches that are not that different from the one I grew up in, at least not in any way that should matter. They meet for Bible study. They have bake sales, and rummage sales, picnics and, youth groups, They rejoice at weddings, and mourn at funerals. They gossip about their neighbors, and that other church that they don’t go to. They visit each other when they’re sick. They host AA Meetings, and knitting circles, or even a scout troop.

In fact, it's not outside the realm of possibility, that I know people who are affected by these attacks. It's not unfathomable that I know someone who knows someone who attends these churches, or has family members that do, and it's not even a stretch that someone I know is scared for their lives because of these blatant acts of domestic terrorism. So if that's you, please accept my apology because it didn't even cross my mind until I sat down to write this. Maybe that's my contribution to overall problem. If so, I’ll take thoughtlessness over malice any day, but please don’t think I’m trying to let myself off the hook.

All that being said, allow me to say this; How is everyone? Is everyone’s family okay? Is there anything I can do to help?
sophocles: (Rennie)
So I actually finished a short story, and that's exciting. I'm not posting it here. I'm hoping to shop it around, or continue and publish a collection if I get that far.

In other news; piping. It's been a thing I've been meaning to do for a while. After Dad passed, I figured it was pointless letting his bagpipes sit and gather dust so I decided to take up piping. I went to practice with the Atholl Highlanders about three or four times, and just didn't get anywhere. This was partly due to the fact that I was one of six beginners, and I just wasn't getting the attention I needed, but largely due to the fact that I wasn't progressing as fast as I'd like, and I gave up. Also a number of other "reasons," not the least of which was moving, depression, choosing to spend time with Elizabeth, not wanting to have a weekly reminder my Dad died, and I moved to Kansas City. So... yeah, basically I didn't make it a priority.

When I moved here, I fully intended on starting up again. I looked up pipe bands in KC, and found the St. Andrews Pipe Band. I called, because there was a number on the website and I'd rather talk to a person than send email. I'm not sure if I just a bad impression or what, but she told me to send her an email. I did, and she never got back to me. Upon further they're a Grade Three band, and probably not the greatest place to start- at least what I'm going to tell myself.

So last Sunday, we went to the Kansas City Highland Games. Not a bad little games. It reminded me of the Atlanta Celtic Festival. The shopping was almost all stuff I could buy on the internet. I went with a list, and left with none of it.

Point being, I ended up giving up and buying a $20 chanter off ebay. It came the day before Father's Day. I'm not comfortable calling that a coincidence.

After after about half an hour working with it, I can tell you this. Learning pipes off the internet is not entirely an insurmountable task, but don't buy a $20 Chanter off ebay and expect it to be comfortable unless you are twelve, a woman, or just have really small hands.
sophocles: (Rennie)
Still here. Still writing, Still not king.
sophocles: (Rennie)
The internet is currently out. I suspect that it’s another case of power cycling the modem. I also suspect that it’s a good thing for my overall productivity.

I’ve decided today is “Write Something Worth Posting Day.” What that means exactly I don’t know or haven’t decided. I’m writing this on abiword, and will most likely post it to Livejournal at my earliest convienence. That having been said, I’m not sure that it should count as my something worth posting. Writing about writing when you have nothing else to write about seems a lot like cheating, not to mention self-indulgent, recursive, and just plain boring.

It’s been one month since I started adderall. In that month, I actually finished reading a book, got the house reasonably clean, kept the house reasonable clean, wrote two pages of an essay about meeting my wife, wrote six pages of a one-act play about a junior Congressman’s office during a government shut down, cataloged a few of my ideas that I’ll probably never do but are still fun to think about, wrote down a list of things to write about from personal political and otherwise cultural viewpoints, thought seriously about writing some of them, wrote about half page about why I’m not Joss Whedon, checked livejournal, felt guilty about not posting, and watched up to season 3 of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The last one just sort of happened. That has less to do with being creative, and more to do with the fact that my wife and I watch a lot of Netflix.

I had this idea in my head that my productivity would go way up when the drugs kicked. Looking at that giant run-on sentence, it has but not quite in the way I wanted. Organizing the house has been partially a way of organizing my mind. I know it sounds a bit hippy but there really is a correlation between defining your surrounding space and defining self. Maybe in this case, I mean re-defining self.

Self reflection is boring. There is only so much introspection I can stand.

So here’s the fatal flaw. I dabble. I fool around with things until get bored after which I have a passing familiarity with the subject at hand but really attaining any level of depth or completion.

Why? Lots of reasons. There is a sense of pointlessness of writing something that I keep telling myself no one will read. There’s the fear that whatever I do produce will suck. There’s the basic truth that if I never really tried, I never really failed.

This is where the spiral of self doubt is countered by the inevitable pep talk. I’m just talking to myself at this point. That’s what this journal is, maybe what it’s always been. Maybe you the reader is just along for the ride.

The armchair is safe and comfortable. Ideas are useless unless they’re shared.

The internet came back on about an hour ago by the way.
sophocles: (Rennie)
So I haven't been writing as much, but the house is clean. I'll try to get back in the habit of updating everyday, but really it's just that big a priority. I'm just going to be okay with that.
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