Category Archives: Personal

Sister Dominic

My great aunt, Sister Dominic, sat in her chair in her room in the hospice ward of the convent. She was watching Mass on TV. It hadn’t even occurred to me that someone would televise Mass. But there she was, arguably too infirm to attend in person, so she watched Mass from her chair while I waited awkwardly, patiently, to talk to her.

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than a year now since she passed away.
Continue reading Sister Dominic

2014 in review

Here’s my year in review. I suppose most people just do these sorts of things on facebook or something now, but I’ve been doing it on this site for quite some time: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, and 2008.

In 2014, my accomplishments were, by-and-large, more personal and less of the “look at what I made” variety.

  • I released my first novel, A Country of Ghosts.
  • I toured with said novel across the country.
  • My short story “Wardens” appeared in the Earth First! Journal.
  • I dealt with the worst of my mental health issues and came out the other side.
  • I completely rebuilt the interior of my van.
  • I actually moved somewhere, taking a temporary break from itinerant life.
  • I started studying martial arts again.
  • I wrote a lot, though I haven’t finished anything but short fiction and articles.
  • I saw buffalo, a grizzly bear, and geysers for the first time. (Animals in animal-jail don’t count.)

2013 in review

I’ve been doing these year in review posts for awhile now. See: 2012, 2011, 2009, and 2008.

So, in 2013:

  • I put out another photo book, Being the Explorations #6.
  • Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness released The Super-Happy Anarcho Fun Book.
  • I did a lot of crafts. I learned how to make kikko armor from hardened leather. I made a ton of jewelry and eventually opened an etsy shop, dragonpunk.
  • I finished my first linear novel, A Country of Ghosts, which should be out from Combustion Books in March 2014.
  • I wrote a novella, the name of which I’m not revealing just yet.
  • I wrote two introduction-to-anarchism zines, Life Without Law and Propaganda of the Dead. The title of the latter one I’ve been sitting on for like 5 years, waiting to do something awesome with.
  • I basically just gave myself permission to be a writer again. Which, appropriately enough, has come with a lot of financial hardship.
  • I helped design the world for Penumbra City, a tabletop RPG to be released by Black Flag Games.
  • I went on tour to discuss the political repression of anarchists in the US.
  • Strangers In A Tangled Wilderness, a zine publishing collective I work with, turned 10.
  • I visited the last few states I needed in order to have visited all the lower 48 states.

I focus on projects in these lists because, by and large, I keep my personal life private. But it’s been an intense year for a lot of people I’m very close to, with its share of grief and hardship. I look forward to the days growing longer once more.

2012 in review

Oh, 2012:

  • I put out a book on Occupy, We Are Many, along with my co-editors Kate Khatib and Mike McGuire.
  • I learned to shoot tintypes and sold dozens of people their portraits on metal.
  • 2012 was a great year for Combustion Books. Most notably, we raised 14k with a kickstarter for A Steampunk’s Guide to Sex, which I shot tintypes and wrote the introduction for.
  • My old publishing project, Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness, was reborn a bit as an imprint of Combustion Books and we put out several books I’m super proud of, including These Burning Streets and Anarchy in the Age of Dinosaurs.
  • I put out my biggest photobook of my work yet, Being the Explorations #5.
  • I learned to make chainmail again (here’s a halter I made for my friend.) and made my first full chainmail shirt.
  • I didn’t manage to leave the country once all year, sadly, though I went to a bunch of national parks and entire states I hadn’t managed to visit previously.
  • My first professionally-published comic story came out, in the 2ombies anthology by Accent UK.
  • My band Nomadic War Machine made it onto a rad complilation out of Portland, The Sound of Resistance.
  • I toured with my interactive novel What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower.
  • I spoke and tabled at a ton of steampunk and genre conventions across the US, meeting some really amazing people in the process and deepening my love for geek culture.
  • I turned 30. I touched my toes. After something like 7 years of growing my hair, I shaved my head.

Next year, I hope to get out of the country for awhile, finish a linear novel, and get better at spanish.

See also my year-in-reviews for 2011, 2009, and 2008.

This one time when the State hogtied me overnight…

Apparently the US government thinks I owe them nearly $500 because I got upset that they hogtied me overnight.

In 2002 I participated in “The People’s Strike” in Washington, DC against the International Monetary Fund (who are basically loansharks writ large). I got arrested, along with 700 other people. Almost none of us were charged with any kind of crime. Most people they ransomed back into the world for like $70 or something. I’m stubborn, so I refused. I also didn’t answer any questions (like “what is your name”) or cooperate with them.

All 700 of us ended in a giant gym somewhere, I guess some cop training school. They hogtied us, handcuffing our dominant hand to our opposite ankle, then left us overnight. In the morning, they rounded up us 100+ “John Does” and took us elsewhere, where they stripsearched us in groups, forcing us to pull down our pants and “squat and cough.” I was held there all day in tightly-packed cells. Eventually, near midnight I believe, they let me go. They never charged me with any crime. I never saw a judge. In total, I was fed one ham sandwich (which I refused) and a small portion of a bagel over the course of the entire 36 hours or so I was held.

In one memorable moment, a guard told me that they were never going to let me go, that I would get raped by some guy named Bubba.

Some years later (2008, I believe), I joined a class action lawsuit against the D.C. Marshall Todd Dillard, who oversaw the whole thing. I was one of five named plaintiffs, representing all the rest of us who were subject to this strip search. You see, back in the day, “reasonable suspicion” was required before you could stripsearch people. But the DC court found otherwise, after a trial that stretched on for years.

And now, because I dared to question the way that the government handled me while I was in captivity, they’ve decided I am (along with my co-plaintiffs) liable to pay their court fees.

Anyone familiar with the American prison-industrial complex won’t be surprised to hear any of this, and it’s absolutely true that my story is essentially nothing compared to what comrades are facing here in the states and in other countries. But it’s this thing that happened, and it’s fucking annoying to say the least.

2011 in review

I kind of enjoy these end of the year year-in-review posts. They help remind me that I actually get things done, since the end of December is usually a kind of low-point in my mood and productivity. I did one for 2010 and 2008. I tend to leave my personal life out of my blog, and I’ll continue in that habit.

  • I published Graceless: A Journal of the Radical Gothic, a magazine I edited.
  • My first fiction book came out: What Lies Beneath The Clock Tower.
  • I resumed my editorship of SteamPunk Magazine, which I’d dropped in 2008.
  • I participated in the US’s first general strike since the 1940s, in Oakland, California. I also had the privilege of helping facilitate numerous general assemblies at Occupy Santa Cruz and teach other folks about non-hierarchical decision-making.
  • I did readings and presentations across the US and a bit of Canada with my books, at anarchist bookfairs and steampunk conventions alike.
  • I traveled to five new countries: Greece, Bulgaria, France, Spain, and Canada (going when I was too young to remember doesn’t count).
  • I managed to live in one place for three months of the year!