Finding God in a Dog

"I'll never listen to what Slade says."

CthulhuCon is upon us!
Originally posted by xylograph_rss at CthulhuCon is upon us!

The stars are right, Portlanders: CthulhuCon PDX 2015 is coming at you later this month! On April 25th and 26th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, we’re celebrating twenty years of H.P. Lovecraft here in Portland, Oregon. CthulhuCon attendees will enjoy offerings including a panel of guest luminaries, a short film festival, live author readings, gaming demos, and much more. miniflyer_cthulhuconpdx

This year’s featured guests include Leslie S. Klinger, the New York Times-best-selling editor of The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft; fiction writer Wilum H. Pugmire; sculptor, illustrator, and designer Paul Komoda; and noted game designer Kenneth Hite, among others. Guest artists include Dreams in the Witch House: A Lovecraftian Rock Opera executive producer Mike Dalager; game designer and Dungeons & Dragons contributor Keith Baker; and xylographic artist yours truly. If you’re feeling particularly bold, you can join the live edition of Ask Lovecraft featuring actor Leeman Kessler as the man himself. (Be sure to check out his Ask Lovecraft site, and peruse his YouTube channel, too.) Visit the CthulhuCon guests page for a complete rundown of the other participants, and check out the schedule for more events information. There will be a large number of gaming sessions which attendees can sign up for now!


I’ll be making several appearances throughout the weekend. On Saturday, April 25th you can catch me participating in the Illustrating the Mythos panel alongside guest artists Paul Komoda, Lee Moyer, Heather Hudson, and Nick Gucker. That same day, I’ll also be competing in the Pickman’s Apprentice Live Drawing Competition. Competitors have ninety minutes to plan and create a Lovecraft-inspired illustration. (Last year’s prompt was Nyarlathotep in a water park!) The audience selects a winner, and all pieces will be auctioned off for charity. Whereas in prior years Pickman’s Apprentice was a one-round event featuring three or four competitors, this year there will be multiple two-artist battles culminating in one final showdown. I’ll be competing against Fufu Frauenwahl, so make sure to drop in and catch all of the hot woodcutting action! You can also join me for the Neopaganism & Lovecraft Panel, where we’ll be discussing the influence of Lovecraft’s fiction on modern occultism. Guaranteed fun for the whole family!

Cthulhu, hand colored and gilded

Cthulhu, hand colored and gilded

Before and after the above events, you can catch me in Artists Alley where you’ll find a dazzling array of original handcrafted artwork: Pick up some Lovecraftian goodies from Arkham Bazaar—including my officially licensed shirts—sample the sideshow oddities of Tinplate Studios, and satisfy your sweet tooth with some spooky confections from nom*ables, Portland’s only geek-themed patisserie/caterer.

I have another exciting bit of news to share, too: This coming weekend at CthulhuCon I’ll be debuting a never-before-seen woodcut, the first installment in a brand new series of work. It’s too early for me to divulge any details, so for the moment you’ll have to see the new woodcut in person. As usual, I’ll have a wide selection of other popular prints available for sale, as well as a few special items such as the one of a kind hand-colored Cthulhu at right.

That’s all for now, Portlanders! If you’re unable to make it to the festival, I have prints for sale online as always, plus a new selection of wood cards available in my Etsy store.

Next week, you can catch me in San Pedro for the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival!Ardor wood card


Looking for the Sad Puppy Counter-Reading List
Originally posted by nihilistic_kid at Looking for the Sad Puppy Counter-Reading List
I've been asking around in a variety of places, so may as well try here:

If the Hugo Awards have really been dominated by leftist material that prized message over story since the mid-1990s (Brad’s timeline), it should be very simple for members of the Puppy Party to name

a. one work of fiction
b. that won a Hugo Award
c. while foregrounding a left message to the extent that the story was ruined or misshaped
d. per set of winners since 1995.

That’s all. Just a list of twenty books or stories—a single winner per year. Even though a single winner per year wouldn’t prove domination, I’m happy to make it easy for the Puppies.

Any Puppy Partisan want to start naming some names?

Can Bad People Do Good Things? (or, The Heidegger Paradox.)
I've come to accept that I can appreciate and embrace someone's work and condemn their politics and personality at the same time. For me, this isn't just an abstraction; it's a product of having to confront a paradox:

1) I think Naziism is evil and batshit crazy.
2) I think that we now have good, factual reasons to believe that Martin Heidegger is right.

It's easy for me to hate Nazis. Part of it is personal. Some of them mistook both my brother and I, each at different points in our lives, for Jews, probably because of a mix of Germanic and Eastern European features both of us picked up from our mother's side. This has led to some interesting and tense encounters. Part of it, also, is intellectual. The more I have come to study the Nazi ideology, the greater my dislike. It's not just that they're racists on steroids. Their groundless, stupid ideology slaughtered millions of people and literally destroyed Germany, which remained divided after WWII for generations. Anyone who sympathizes with that is a fool.

On the other hand, we have Hubert Dreyfus, a philosopher at Berkeley who looked at how computer scientists were conducting AI and realized that Heidegger had questioned, and demolished, their assumptions already. He predicted (in his book _What Computers Can't Do_ (1972)) that their approach would be a miserable and expensive failure. He was right, and the Association for Computing Machinery awarded him the Alan Turing Award for his efforts. This serves as compelling testimony to the power and value of Martin Heidegger's work.

Now, here's the thing: Heidegger was an unapologetic Nazi. He was, in the 1930s, an ENTHUSIASTIC Nazi. He was also an arrogant jerk in a lot of other ways. This makes it awkward to embrace his work, for a lot of people. But despite this, I *have* to embrace his work, because, again, the evidence is that he's right.

I think the problem in this paradox is here: we take an endorsement of a person's work as an endorsement of that person. I think that's a huge mistake. I think we have to be smarter than that, and acknowledge that (1) great work doesn't necessarily have to come from great people, (2) to judge a person's work by the person is to use an invalid criterion, (3) to be a great person is hard, to do great things is hard, and asking a person to both be a great person and do great things is to ask too much. Which, in turn, makes the movement against the work of other persons for their shitty personalities (e.g. H. P. Lovecraft, Crowley) ill founded.

Edit I suppose this is just another way of saying, "Ad Hominem is a fallacy and should be ignored." Unfortunately pointing out the fallacy fails to persuade even reasonable people.

Randi Harper, GamerGate critic and anti-online-harassment activist, was SWATted last night
Repost. Summary: Randi Harper (@freebsgirl) gets SWATed, because free speech online is only for those who agree with you.

Originally posted by manboobz_rss at Randi Harper, GamerGate critic and anti-online-harassment activist, was SWATted last night

So, this happened:

Last night, around 10:20 PM, I received a knock at my front door. I live in a secured building, and it’s rare that I have visitors, so it wasn’t any huge surprise to me when I opened the front door and 6 officers from the Oakland Police were standing outside.

Randi Harper, who posted the above on her blog today, was the victim of an attempted SWATting late last night. That is, one of her online enemies contacted the police, pretending that they were in her apartment holding someone hostage, in hopes of literally sending a SWAT team to bust down her door. Luckily for her, she had herself contacted the police some months earlier and warned them that someone might do this.

Had she not warned the cops in advance, more than six police officers would have shown up. In all likelihood, a literal SWAT team would have shown up, guns drawn, at her door. Instead, her encounter with the police, while nerve-wracking, was peaceful. (I’ve bolded some of what follows.)

Leo, my golden retriever, followed me to the door, so I only opened the door partially and was blocking him with my body to keep him from rushing out to make friends. One of the officers asked me if I was OK. I told him I was fine, and I immediately followed that up by asking if a SWAT threat had been called in. They confirmed this, and I told them I had a police report filed documenting that people were threatening to call in fraudulent reports.

I told them my dog was friendly, and I asked if I could give them this report. They said yes, and they asked if they could come inside and make sure everything was OK. I agreed. Four of the police stayed outside, and two came in. I was asked if anyone else was here, if I was living alone, why someone would call in a false report, and other various pertinent questions by one of the officers while the other took a look around my apartment.

After they had asked all of their questions and were sure that no one was being held against their will, I was informed that someone had called the police “from an iPad” stating that there was a ransom situation at my address, and they wanted $10,000. When I had opened the door, all guns were holstered. I was told that had I not filed a report back in January documenting these threats, that would not have been the case.

What usually happens when someone gets SWATted? Well, take a look at the video below, which Harper posted on her blog, featuring actual footage of a number of gamers being SWATted while in the middle of streaming video events. That is, they were playing games online, others were watching them playing, and some of those watching decided it would be hilarious to send a SWAT team to visit them while they were playing.

So, yeah, that’s what whoever called the hoax in was hoping would happen to her.

For more details, some documentation, and advice on how to approach the police if you are worried that someone will try to do this to you, see her post.

We still don’t know who called in the fake report. Given that she’s been repeatedly targeted (and doxxed) by the not-so-good folks on the baphomet board on 8chan, a lot of people think that’s who it was.

Of course, there are many GamerGaters who think her story is a hoax, and complain that she hasn’t posted an official police incident report detailing what went down. According to Harper, the police told her she wouldn’t be able to get hold of one for at least two weeks.

I believe her. But I guess we’ll know for sure in a couple of weeks, huh?

In the meantime, Leo the dog is hunkering down in the bathtub.

And Leo’s owner is just glad she was wearing pants during the whole ordeal.




Harry Reid Retiring
The big news is that Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the current Senate Minority Leader, has announced that he will not run for re-election in 2016.

As usual, this comes with good, bad, and ugly sides.

THE GOOD, for Democrats anyway, is that the timing of the announcement couldn't be better. Nevada is a razor-edge purple state such that Reid would have lost his last election (in 2010) if not for his GOTV machine. 2016 is a much more favorable environment for Democrats, as long as Hillary Clinton runs and the usual groups (OFA, DFA, MoveOn, etc.) are firing on all cylinders. They also have a popular candidate in recently retired Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, whom Reid endorsed today.

THE BAD for Democrats is that this gives the GOP an opening to take this seat. Right now the GOP have a great candidate in the current Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval. He's enormously well-liked, and if he runs, even with all the advantages Cortez Masto has, it's going to be a toss-up. If he doesn't run, Cortez Masto is an easy favorite. So the GOP is going to work very hard to recruit him.

THE UGLY is that Reid has already endorsed his pick for the next Senate Majority Leader as of 2017, Chuck "I Love War and Gun Control" Schumer. Even without this endorsement, Schumer has seniority and is the most likely pick. Elizabeth Warren, the progressive favorite, has less than four years of seniority, so you can forget about her having a shot as Leader for a while. Those groans you hear are partisan Democrats being forced to bite the bullet and swallow yet another move by their party to the neoconservative center-right.

March news
Originally posted by xylograph_rss at March news

Woodblocks side by sideHi, everyone!

I have exciting news to share. First, since returning from PantheaCon in San Jose last month, I’ve been busily carving a few new blocks, most of which will be a new series of work. At the moment I can’t reveal much about the contents, but here’s a small teaser for you. (Note, you’re actually looking at two blocks here, the one on the right is further along and has been inked and proofed for the first time.)

Speaking of new work, fans of the Arcanum Bestiarum illustrations will be happy to learn the Raven is now available as a bookmark! Each one is laser printed on one- or two-ply natural wood veneer and measures 6 x 2 inches. They retail for $4 each and are available in a wide variety of different woods all of which are sustainably harvested in the USA. I’m extremely happy with how the bookmarks have turned out and am planning on creating more.


And now onto upcoming events …

Coming up on March 7th and 8th is the 25th annual Buckman Art Show & Sell at Buckman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon. This two-day event will feature the work of 140 artists and craftspersons offering original artwork, furniture, jewelry, textiles, and more. Thirty percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Buckman Arts Focus Elementary School PTA to go toward the purchase of essential supplies for Buckman’s arts-integrated classrooms, with the remaining 70% going directly to the participating artists. In lieu of an admission fee, attendees can make a suggested donation of $2 – $5 at the door. Children four and under get in free– and can make some art of their own while there! Follow the Buckman Art Show on Facebook and Twitter for additional details, and I hope to see you there!

Next up, at 5:00 PM on April 3rd is the opening night reception of Visionary Art by Print Arts Northwest. This event will kick off an exhibition exploring themes including transcendence, mysticism, spirituality, and the natural elements. Visionary Art is scheduled to run through April 22nd at Lake Oswego’s Museum 510. For more information, visit the Arts Council of Lake Oswego’s events calendar.

The Lovecraft fans among you will want to mark CthulhuCon PDX down on your calendars. Join me April 25th & 26th at Crowne Plaza in Portland, Oregon for a convention celebrating Lovecraft’s 125th birthday year, complete with art, film, music, and panels. The following month, the Los Angeles edition of the popular H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival comes to San il_570xN.681900502_d67mPedro, California for its sixth year running. Festival-goers can play games, enjoy the live radio theatre production The Shadow Over Innsmouth, watch short films, and meet guest authors, directors, and artists.

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival San Pedro is only one of several upcoming events outside of Portland, so if you live elsewhere in the U.S. I encourage you to check out my events page. I just may be visiting your neighborhood in the near future, be it at NecronomiCon in Providence, Rhode Island, or my solo show at Gargoyles Statuary in Seattle, Washington beginning July 17th.

Stay tuned for further updates!

Who should Quentin Tarantino Beat Up this year?
By way of background, each year I write up a short treatment for a movie I'd love to see, "Quentin Tarantino Beating People Up," a Quentin Tarantino Production starring and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Previous guest stars (victims) have included Tucker Carlson, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Keith Olbermann, R Kelly, John Boehner, and so on. Recently I've also added Christoph Waltz as a special guest star to assist Quentin in these epic, and epically shot, beatdowns. Each edition is a feature length film, professionally produced, and a guaranteed money-maker.

Since LJ is almost a dead medium, I now submit to the audience: who would you pay ten bucks to watch Quentin Tarantino beat up? Keep in mind, the guest star won't actually get beat up. This is Hollywood, and while Quentin Tarantino will use all the usual Hollywood magic to make the beating look realistic, poetic, and brutal, no guest stars will be actually harmed in the making of this film. The guest stars get triple scale for a couple days' work, IMDB credit, and craft services; we get to enjoy seeing them getting beat up.

So far I've come up with the following candidates for this year:

Rudy Giuliani
Gov. Scott Walker
E. A. Koetting
(Seahawks head coach) Pete Carroll
Roosh V
Chevy Chase
Johnny Manziel

I ask you, dear readers, who am I missing?

PPP: Walker leads GOP race for White House (for now)
Fellow EBC veteran and Texas progressive holdout Russell pointed his friends to today's PPP poll. Quoting:

PPP's newest national Republican poll finds a clear leader in the race for the first time: Scott Walker is at 25% to 18% for Ben Carson, 17% for Jeb Bush, and 10% for Mike Huckabee. Rounding out the field of contenders are Chris Christie and Ted Cruz at 5%, Rand Paul at 4%, and Rick Perry and Marco Rubio at 3%.

This is just a poll of the GOP field, and as is pretty typical of these polls at this time of the primary, there's instability among the first preference. (Remember when Michelle Bachmann was the front runner in 2012?) I would be VERY surprised if Walker held his own against Jeb Bush. Walker isn't nutty enough to be third tier, but he's probably second tier.

Still — if you're not exactly enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton for President, and not a lot of lefties are, ask yourself whether she's better or worse than Scott Walker. That makes the decision disappointingly simple.

Idaho, Gynecology, Stupid Legislative Tricks, and The Blastocyst Absurdity.
Much hay has been made of Idaho State Representative and knuckle-dragging jagoff Vito Barbieri, and his question during hearings concerning a bill to ban video medical consults for prescribing abortifacient drugs:

Barbieri asked: “Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?”

Madsen said no, because when women swallow pills, those don’t go to their vaginas.

The question looks idiotic, because pretty much everyone knows that babies don't come from the GI tract. In the short run, it served its purpose, which was to win cheap points against a witness against the bill. Fortunately, thanks to social media and military-grade snark, the forces against this bill have been able to paint Barbieri as a moron who doesn't know his cock from his asshole. To you, I say: well done, Internets.

Of course, we who seek truth know that Barbieri knows damned good and well Where Babies Come From. What I really want to know from Barbieri is (a) whether he really thinks he's helping to improve the quality of women's health care, (b) whether his actual goal is to prevent abortions, (c) whether he gives a god damn about unintended pregnancies, (d) whether he and his fellow Republicans have considered scientifically proven methods to reduce unintended pregnancies like cheap and easily available birth control, (e) whether he's more concerned about good public policy or enforcing some idiot sky-god's moral code. I'm pretty sure I know the answers to all five (no, yes, not really, hell no, sky-god in a slam dunk); but I'd like him to at least think about it.

By the way, I have no doubt what he did is enormously popular with is constituents. Idaho's 2nd LD has a lot of natural beauty. It's also one scary fucking place for liberals.

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