some parades

Last week: ‘tit Rex. In which a bunch of dorks take the traditional New Orleans elementary school exercise of making floats out of shoeboxes and drag them along an actual street route.

Last night: Krewe of Freret, my first parade with Actual Floats since I’ve moved back here. Unless catching Zulu and Rex last year before looking for a place counts? I’m gonna say nope.

I said I was kind of in a shitty location for catching throws, and I was, but I still caught a ton more than I expected to.

All but a couple of those strands were snatched out of the air, too, something I could never do when I was a kid. I kinda quit going to parades in my early teens, so I was still, you know. Short. back then. Now I am a tall adult and I can just grab ’em. I’m pretty sure they have more magic in them when you catch them like that. I cannot even begin to imagine what kind of haul I will end up with if I get a better location for catching stuff.


I could have stuck around for Knights of Sparta and Pygmalion along the same route a little later, but I was tired, and out of phone battery, so I just went home. Today’s all day parades, looks like. Do I wanna go to the Quarter for the absurdity of Barkus, the Dog Parade? Or go explore a different part of the Uptown-to-CBD route and catch part of Femme Fatale, Carrolton, and King Arthur? Also why the hell is King Arthur uptown instead of across the river on the West Bank where it used to be? Never mind that Carrolton goes nowhere near the neighborhood it’s named for. Things have changed since I was a kid, there’s been a lot of route consolidation in the name of scarce city resources to manage traffic, keep the peace, and have emergency services handy…

Or I might just stay in. I dunno.

bat man

a handful of commissions

I needed to take a break from Parallax so I spent a couple of weeks doing some commissions instead. There’s at least one more in the pipe, but it won’t be done for a bit, so I decided to post these.

An unflattering portrait of Alicia’s cat Savannah, with some stylistic cues from Gerald Scarfe.

I could have probably gotten it a lot more Scarfey if all my real media wasn’t packed away, but I think I still managed to get some of his energy in this.

Crowyote: a tricky, distractable shifting hybrid of two tricksters.

Sometimes they can fly. Let’s hope this is one of those days.

“Peggy can you draw me and my SO as a pushmi-pullyu taur, dancing?”

Yes. Yes, I can.

The cover from an obscure cult classic of 90s sci-fi, wherein an androgyne from a society of dinosaur-like people discovers some worrisome truths about what powers their Sufficiently Advanced Technology.

This is actually book 3 of Malachite’s “Octahedron Sequence”, though not advertised as such on the cover. Malachite (generally thought to be a pseudonym, though nobody has any idea who for) vanished without a trace after the publication of the fourth book of what that volume’s concluding Author’s Note said had begun to look more like a hexology than the trilogy it was originally solicited as.

And finally here is a link to a smutty commission I also did as part of this batch.

New Orleans: a process.

A thought I keep on having as I move though New Orleans is that this place is not so much a city as it is a process. This is true to some degree of anywhere, but when the swampy ground is constantly sinking beneath your feet, creating majestic potholes, when plants are rapidly growing up any surface they can cling to, when pumps have to run every time it rains to keep the bowl of the city from filling, it’s a lot more obvious. Especially when the whole place is still showing wounds from a storm fifteen years ago; I’m a few blocks away from a former hospital that’s been abandoned since Katrina, and is still slowly rotting from inside.

It’s a constant fight to keep the place viable, and I feel a lot more aware of that now that I’ve lived in colder, more stable places.



Neil Peart, 1952-2020. Drummer and lyricist of the Canadian prog-rock band Rush.

I drew this with “Vapor Trails”, which is very much a Dealing With Loss album, on repeat. I hope it is a very long time before I have cause to revisit this file and add one of his bandmates to this.


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sitting in christmas

I sit in a living room. I sit in Ohio. I sit in Christmas.

I take my glasses off and stare at the tree, at the lights dissolving into complex bundles of spikes and fur that contain the same swirls that every light set in darkness has always contained for me, the same distortions of an eye that never learnt to focus itself properly.

And I remember a time, long ago, when the boy who would become me sat in Christmas, in a chair nearly hidden behind a tree, watching a TV tiny by modern standards but large for then, watching a rented video tape of “The Dark Crystal”, its widescreen letterboxing decorated with something like Celtic knot work instead of the usual black.

I wonder if this is a real memory. I wonder if this is a composite of multiple moments, multiple times. Fragments of my past, jumbled together and brought back by bright lights on an artificial tree with gifts set around it. Was my father still alive at this moment, if it was truly only one memory? He might have been. He might have not. He died a couple of years after that movie first lit up the big screen, and back then it took much longer for movies to go from cinemas to home video; back then filling a wall of your home with video was the domain of the impossibly rich. My mother and I only put up the tree for a few years after he died. I never put one up after leaving home; it’s been long enough since then that people have been born and grown to the beginnings of adulthood since then. A lifetime, it feels like. (I tried making a sketch of a tree once out of a camera tripod and a coil of LEDs and it was at once bright and cheerful, and a pathetic sad gesture against the greyness of Seattle winters, and perhaps a subtle reminder of long-gone days it would not do to delve into when I was fighting off huge seasonal depression.)

(Perhaps it was some making-of piece about the movie, on broadcast TV? I cannot know. I dig for scraps of memory and can conjure one of a video tape in a cardboard case rented from Blockbuster, but it’s suspect. Am I just cobbling that together from memories of renting other movies? So much is a blur. So many years between being and then, with a long stretch of grey where nothing mattered, and would never matter again, and why bother trying to preserve any particular moments of that misery for a future me I couldn’t really imagine? Depression’s a bitch, folks. Depression just chops bits out of your life like that.)


I sit in Christmas, and ponder the fragments of my past.

the saga of Isildros the Tamed

Lately I have been playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Bought it cheap on the Sony store’s Black Friday sale, it’s your basic sprawling open world full of marginally small variants on the same three or four gameplay units. It’s impeccably crafted but it really feels like its biggest virtue is that there sure is a hell of a lot of it; I keep on scrolling through my inventory and marveling that every single thing in it has a sentence or three describing it. Every sword. Every dagger. Every spear, every bow. Every piece of armor. Every piece of loot that I interact primarily with by hitting the “sell all my miscellaneous loot” button when I’m looking for a few more drachmae to throw into upgrading my favorite sword at the blacksmith’s stall. Someone sat there and wrote all of this stuff.

There’s also this thing going on where you get registered in the Mercenary Ranking and are kind of casually murdering your way up their ranks as they keep on getting sent your way after someone puts a bounty on your head for, I dunno, “shanking their kid as you slaughter your way through a Spartan war camp” or “setting a minor local functionary on fire to destabilize the region so you can join in a battle between the Athenians and Spartans to control the area”, or… whatever. It’s not really a goal (unless you decide to make it your goal for a while; climbing the rankings gives you assorted bonuses in other parts of the game), they just kinda show up sometimes and try to kill you if there’s a bounty on your head.

Each mercenary, of course, has a name, and a paragraph or two about them, and a set of body sliders and a list of gear they come with. You kill one and another pops up in the All-Greek Mercenary Ranking to take their place. I’m guessing there’s probably a few hundred of them; I’ve been murdering my way through them and haven’t seen any repeats. Someone had to name and describe every one of these guys. Or maybe someone built a really finely-tuned Mercenary Paragraph Generator, I dunno.

They’re all pretty much disposable.

But I read the description of one of them. “Isildros the Tamed” was known by this epithet because he’d lost a certain amount of his edge after having kids, and grandkids. And, I dunno. I just didn’t feel like I wanted to murder him because of that. Murdering a grandfather just felt really wrong.

So the first time he showed up I just ran away. And every time a mercenary popped up on my screen, I’d make sure it wasn’t him, and refrain from murdering him if it was. It added a little narrative tension: there I am merrily sneaking my way through a Spartan fortress, popping out from the shadows and high places to kill them one by one, occasionally getting seen and leading a mad chase through the whole place until I could find some cover long enough for them to stop hunting me… and in waltzes Isildros, and I suddenly have to be aware of where he is and do my best to not get him involved in a big battle.

I kind of wrote a story in my head that he’d developed a glancingly polite relationship with my character. Here she is again with another bounty, and he rides off after her. And even though she’s a good ways up the Mercenary Ranking Table (he was in the lowest tier, and has pretty much remained there while I kept on killing my way through the ranks) she never kills him. She’ll kill other mercs he teams up with right in front of him sometimes, but she just nods at him and vanishes. They know each other by name and are perfectly cordial, even in the heat of battle against each other.

And then finally when he popped up nearby as the subject of a “kill a random character from the Mercenary List” mission, I decided to try something. I saved my game and I went off to hunt Isildros… non-lethally. Stun arrows and bare hands only. I didn’t want to kill him. I just wanted to knock him out and walk away, making it absolutely clear to him that I’ve singled him out for Not Dying in the hopes that he’d just stop coming around.

We had a lengthy battle in the middle of a modest city. Another, much-higher-ranked mercenary showed up in the middle, which complicated things immensely. But I hid and waited for him to leave, and smacked Isildros on the back of a head with a stun arrow before he left as well.

Eventually, of course, it ended with him knocked out. And I stood there next to his motionless body, looking at the plume of light coming from it indicating he had rare gear to loot. And I contemplated the two options that showed up on my screen, as they do for any character you’ve knocked out: I could kill him while he lay there helpless. Or I could recruit him for the crew of the ship I’d become the commander of for no real good reason beyond “they gave you a ship like five AssCreeds ago and it was a big hit so they’ll keep putting it in next year’s AssCreed”.

And of course there was the third choice, just walk away and have him keep on showing up, and keep on dodging him or knock him out. It’d be a good running bit of flavor to my game, you know?

But I recruited him. And my headcanon here is that this took place over an amphora of nice wine, and ended in my character hiring him to train the crew of her ship in the fighting arts. Because if you are a career soldier who has grandkids, you are going to have accumulated a lot of dirty tricks in the course of your life, and that’s a valuable resource.

She probably slipped him a few extra drachmae to send home to the grandkids, too.

And then I saved the game and turned the PS4 off because I wanted to go out and try and get something done despite my Seattle winter habits wanting me to spend several months under a blanket in front of this sprawling pile of virtual Spartans who aren’t gonna shank themselves.

ok, boomer: a concise guide to the generations living in early 21st century America

One thing lead to another and I ended up spending today making this infographic to help you know exactly when you will be annoying a Boomer by saying “ok, boomer” to them, and who you will be misgenerationing by saying that instead of “whatever, x’er”.


That’s a slightly truncated version of the chart I initially made; the first version goes all the way back to 1900, when the last few members of the Lost Generation was being born.

Here’s that first one; click for the full-sized version.

Originally I was going to have the “also known as” bits for every generation be something similar to “ok, boomer” but I decided to fill in those spaces with the many names people have proposed for the post-Baby Boom generations. And if you are wondering, there were not any other names for the Boomers that I left out; they are alone among living Americans in having exactly one name for their generation. Unless you count the “Generation Jones” name for the younger half.

Me, I’m smack in the middle of undisputably Bill And Ted’s Excellent Generation territory, unless you believe that one guy who says GenX is the disputed territory between Boomers and Xers, and that most of the rest of X is the Bust Generation. And my parents were both near the end of the undisputably Silent range.

I think the most interesting feature of this chart is how the multiple ranges for Jonesers all end in 1965, and the multiple ranges for the Oregon Trail generation all begin in 1977, quite neatly bookending the Indisputably GenX zone aside from one year of Jones overlap. That and the fact that there is a twelve year span of time between the earliest and latest start dates for GenY and only five years that are indisputably GenY; I already had the impression that the definition of GenX was a messy thing, but damn, y’all have us beat. Well done, kids. Well done.


the dream of the Pee Sword

“When it is time for you to forge the Pee Sword, then you will make the Pee Sword”, she said.

And there it was, hanging off of my body, freshly crystallized in all its off-white, red, yellow, and black glory. If “glory” was the right word, it looked like it had been made by arranging a bunch of plastic Mardi Gras beads on a cookie sheet and half-melting them. I put it in my shirt pocket and narrated to myself: Someday, the Pee Sword would be “Stabber”. But right now it was just the Pee Sword.


(“Stabber” was not it’s actual name, I could not recall the name I gave it in the dream. It was one of those single-word names you give a Cool Magic Sword and it was not a bad choice. Much better than “Stabber” at least.)


Before that was a lot of wandering around tubes and watching turf battles in strange cities that I feel all added up to my dreaming self getting a status update from my immune system on how the tide is turning on this case of bronchitis I picked up this past week. There’s more in my paper dream journal but it’s all pretty boring compared to Forging The Pee Sword.