brainmeats

Five Across

My office has a cut-out for what should be a closet. Instead it’s just a space set back from the rest of the room. Except for the fact that the fronting hides some hidden internal vertical space and there’s a bit of molding along the bottom edge of the upper drop. You can see it in the header image, and I am sure there are smart terms for what it is. Whatever. It is a space I had nothing hanging in. Oddly sized I considered what I might want to hang there since I can see it from my desk all day. Finally, a while back, I did some quick measuring and realized I could fit five comics up there if I wanted. But what five? I ended up choosing five comics that were special to me for various reasons….

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The Convention Bag Detailed

I’ve been doing conventions for a while now, selling books. Running a con table takes a lot of stuff and a bunch of thought and so I found myself needing to prepare more and more every show. Eventually I decided on gathering up a con bag. One bag that I could put everything, except stock (and now except one other thing I’ll get to), into and just grab and go. I used to use a giant diaper bag from Target for it, as it was big enough, and sturdy enough for the job but over the time the fact that it didn’t have a rigid shape started to cause problems. It was hard to load onto the hand truck, it was a pain to carry, and it sort of flopped enough to take up too much extra room under tables….

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Networking

So I feel the need to talk about networking. You know, just did ECCC and a lot of ppl go in about “Well it’s a great show to network at, I don’t know how to network, aaaa” and really there are two schools of thought to it I know of. ONLY ONE WORKS. There are some people that see “networking” to mean going back and forth between any group you think will be an advantage to you, or your career. It’s raw opportunistic hunting. It can look like it works. It 100% doesn’t, though. See, everyone knows who that person is, and that they will only be your friend for exactly as long as they think you are of value to them. No one will tell them, to their face, that we all know. But we all talk, and names…

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Pavlov’s Idiot

Back in the dark ages of 2012/2013 the Pebble watch came out. I jumped on the idea quickly. I was, after all, the guy who had email on his phone back when that meant using a Sidekick and making sure it could load telnet so I could check my mail via pine while I was on the road. I liked being in touch. Being that connected way back then (good ol’ 2002) paid off, too. I sold at least one story because I could submit it when asked, and there was a time crunch going on. That was how I justified allowing myself to tether to the world that hard. Recently, however, I’ve felt the need to step back in tiny ways. I find myself longing for the days of a pager, really. I mean I want to be in…

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Toy store!

Grey sky hung overcast, a damp chill radiating right through my jacket as I walked across the parking lot toward the rich blue-framed glass doors. Toys ‘R Us. My old enemy. I thought back to every Toys ‘R Us whose doors I’d ever darkened. The pattern fit. Every single damned one of these stores, one thing remained true: They’re all depressing. There is nothing joyful about a toy store. Not really. At least not a big giant toy store. Until I stopped and looked directly at the issue I couldn’t see it, it merely lingered in the back of my head. An abscess growing in my subconscious until it burst wetly into my stream of consciousness. The only thing I know about, for 100% certain, about the chain of stores is that every trip there you will witness someone crying….

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Anti-Life

It’s not a mistake that Jack Kirby was the person who invented Darkseid. It’s not an accident, ya know? Darkseid is the character created by a man who fought fascists, in person, and wanted to make sure we understood why we needed to never go there again. Darkseid is after the Anti-Life Equation, and it might not be what you think. This isn’t a formula that will kill people. It will, instead, kill all free will. That is the opposite of life, in Kirby’s mind. I can’t say he’s wrong. Grant Morrison was the first person to write out the equation itself, and it showed how deeply he understood it: loneliness + alienation + fear + despair + self-worth ÷ mockery ÷ condemnation ÷ misunderstanding × guilt × shame × failure × judgment n=y where y=hope and n=folly, love=lies, life=death,…

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The Ten Albums Thing

I have always liked music. I have not always liked GOOD music. So there’s a meme-like post going around asking people to list “10 albums that made a lasting impression on you as a teenager, but only one per band/artist.” I decided to give this a shot but to be honest. It’s easy to shift and make yourself sound cooler, like you had great musical taste then, and so on. I know I didn’t. Not really. Nope. I didn’t get into Tom Waits until I was 18, for example. Growing up, my dad played piano and loved Jazz and musicals. I learned to enjoy both these things from a young age. But only one will appear here. For good reason. So anyway here is a list, with details, in no particular order: 1) SPORTS – Huey Lewis and the News:…

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Everyone has a secret origin.

Everyone has a secret origin. This is mine. Both my parents were in publishing. My father sold his first short story to a magazine when he was 13. This is not bragging. This is a warning. I grew up being taught how story works. When I was around six I remember sitting at a playground with my dad and him insisting I finish the scene I was working on in in a short story before I could go play. My childhood was…strange. When I was 12 I got my first prose rejection from a major anthology. When I was 18 I realized I hadn’t been published yet, and hadn’t submitted in a few years, either, and declared myself a total and utter failure. It was the start of a bit of a breakdown that lasted a few years, not that…

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Time is a bastard.

Time is a bastard. We lose people, we lose heroes and influences, people close to us across a spectrum. 2016 has been a giant honking reaper-fest for a lot of us. David Bowie | Alan Rickman | Carrie Fisher | Garry Shandling | Prince When you lose someone you might never have met it can feel odd, awkward even. They touched your life, changed it in ways they’d never know, and contributed to who you are and who you will be. Each one of them helped shape you, and you will help shape people in your own life. Patty Duke | Mohamed Ali | Anton Yelchin | Gene Wilder | Florence Henderson A lot of people will be snide, telling you “People die every year.” They’ll say “Just wait for next year.” and sure, that’s true, too. But it isn’t…

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We all live here

You’re not good enough. Everyone around you hates you because you’re lagging behind where they are. Everyone is laughing in secret. You’re a talentless joke. Keep trying, you can’t catch up but it’s funny to watch you fail. I bet you think that’s well done. You fucking joke. Every day. Every night. The demons come out to play. They whisper and point and giggle and mock as they dance around the room, watching us, hoping to see us flinch, and eventually curl up in despair. We all live here. We all live in this liminal space between creator and creation. This space that is full of demons. They’re your real friends, they’re tell you. They understand you. The demons know what is truly going on, they swear. It’s not pessimistic, or negative, they’re quite sure. It’s realistic, and shouldn’t be…

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