The Art Book Project: UPDATE


Thanks to the handful of people that responded positively to my idea for a "coffee table" style Art Book project. As always I appreciate the support. However, five or six people do not a movement make. Despite record numbers of visitors to this blog over the past two days, only three comments are on the post. Similar responses were given on my various Slack channels. It would be fair to say the idea went over like a lead balloon. Clunk. Thud. Dud.

Which is what the post was for. I have these ideas but it takes much more than thought to make them happen. Or not happen. Goodness knows if I got to do everything we'd have a new Eve Card Game, an original short film, and an Eve store chock full of posters, laptop stickers, wall murals, and apparel! And we can't have that.

Right now my life is in a holding pattern. My next court date is rapidly approaching and will be just three days after Christmas on the 28th. Until this gets resolved, one way or the other, all I can really do is have ideas. And keep practicing my art. And hope that someone somewhere eventually decides to put me to work. Until then I'm stuck on this perpetual loop. I can't plan for anything. Because I have no idea what the future holds.

It is an infinitely frustrating way to live. So given the feedback, or lack thereof, the Art Book will join the many other projects on the shelf for now.

It is getting rather crowded up there.




The Art Book Project


So I have this idea and this post is intended to test the waters of interest. A few years ago I published a PDF version of a coffee table book featuring my Eve art up to that point. You can download it HERE if you haven't already. And earlier in 2016 I also published a PDF book collecting Eve Fan Fiction and Art called the Empyrian Chronicles, which you can download HERE if you haven't already.

So the idea is simply this. A coffee table Art Book featuring my Eve Art alongside select articles and posts from the past seven years of Eveoganda. Not everything of course, but only the best stuff in a well-designed book worthy of being in your collection.

Such a project is a big one and would require the cooperation of CCP (which may not happen) and a mid-level fundraising effort (nothing like the Fountain War book or even Andrew's History Book project, but it could also potentially not happen) and considerable effort on my side as well. And the support of the community most importantly.

So this is the "testing the waters" post about the idea. I'm asking for feedback so please feel free to post your comments, thoughts and said feedback about the idea. Positive or negative, or somewhere in the middle. This is an idea that has been rattling around in my brain for awhile now and I want to know if the community supports it or if I should forget about it and move on.

Would you support such an idea and is the idea worthy of the amount of effort it would take to achieve? That is the essential question.

So, what do you think?



Capsuleer Playset Commercial



This is all Manic Velocity, all I did was create the character and provide the animation. I purposefully made Timmy look a bit like the Fallout Kid, I thought it would be funny. Luckily I spent the last few years making automobiles talk so the effort of lip syncing his lines was pretty easy. Its one of those things that can be done down and dirty if need be, but can also take hours and hours of refinement to get perfect if you have that kind of time.

Anyway, hope you enjoy it.



The Pirate Underworld



This is the latest "commercial" from CCP promoting Eve Online and features our good friend Jayne Fillon. Jayne is an awesome guy and I have nothing negative to say about him or this video, it is great to see CCP finally exploiting the resources we have as a community to help promote the game we all love. As a marketer I could debate the merits of the campaign (at least as revealed in the two spots released so far) but what would be the point? As I've said to many, many clients over the years - doing something is infinitely better than doing nothing.

Today I thought I'd address the idea of a Pirate Underworld and what exactly it means to be a Pirate in Eve. This is a topic that has been debated many times over the years here on Eveoganda. Especially back in the early days when Rixx transitioned from Null Sec soldier into the awesome Yarrr Lord that he is today. You don't become Pirate Lord of Low Sec without learning a thing or two about Piracy.

So let me be clear. Jayne is not a Pirate in the video story. Jayne engaged in an Act of Piracy. An Act of Piracy does not make you a Pirate. Much like robbing a convenience store doesn't make you a master thief. Or pulling a quarter from your nephew's ear doesn't make you David Blane. Like I said above, the story is fine for what it is. And yes, robbing Industrialist is something a Pirate would do. It is an Act of Piracy. A rather scummy one to be honest, but one all the same.

So what is a Pirate in the context of Eve?

A Pirate in the context of Eve MUST be -10 to start with. They can be on their way to -10 as well, but -10 must be the end goal. For semantics sake this has to be the gold standard because -10 is criminal status with all four Empires and with Concord. You can't be considered a true Pirate without being a true criminal. Rixx has been -10 for over five years straight now. That means he cannot enter High Security space in anything larger than a Shuttle or a Frigate, and to do so he must haul ass so as not to get caught by the cops! You can't be a Pirate if the authorities aren't chasing you.

Now there are tons of players in Pirate Corporations that operate in Low Sec that are not -10. We have plenty of them in Stay Frosty. And Stay Frosty is a Pirate Corporation. There is nothing wrong with this, everyone has the right to choose the way they want to play the game. If anything, Pirates understand this better than anyone. While these players are not technically "Pirates" they are engaging in the Pirate play-style. Nothing wrong with that either. But essentially they are PvPers and not real Pirates. Being a real Pirate is freaking hard. It is beyond doubt the hardest way to play Eve. It isn't for everyone.

A Pirate's main source of income comes from stolen loot salvaged from wrecks, either those they create themselves or stolen from those others have created. Thievery and Ransom are other attributes of a Pirate. As in the story above. That's it. And it can be done if you are smart, crafty and good at what you do.

Pirates usually have alt characters that help them navigate the restrictions places on them by their criminal status. Haulers, mission runners, whatever they need to survive. For example, Rixx has a positive standing hauler alt that takes care of going to Empire for goodies and whatnots for him. This is just part of playing the game.

The other part of being a Pirate is an esoteric one that I feel is just as important as any other, and is what makes Pirates more romantic than mere criminals. It is the Pirate Code. Without the Code we'd just be criminals. And believe me, Eve is full of criminals. The Pirate Code can vary from individual to individual, but in Stay Frosty it is relatively simple. A Stay Frosty pilot honors their word, and honors all 1v1s. I personally don't believe in pre-staged combat unless I know the other person extremely well. But if I give my word on something I keep it. Secondly a Stay Frosty pilot does not steal from or cause harm to come to his friends. (Blues) We don't have blues other than those in our own Corp and Alliance, so breaking this one means hurting people in your own Corp/Alliance. Break these rules and you get kicked. Immediately. The Code is critical to maintain and there can be no exceptions. Without it we have only chaos.

This is what I believe constitutes being a Pirate in New Eden. -10 or on your way there. Making a living primarily from Piracy. And living by a set of honorable rules often known as a Pirate Code.

Yarrr!




My Eve Story

Eve Story Campaign: Rixx Javix
Click slideshow for more


I wondered what a real print campaign for MyEVEstory could look like. I only did 4 examples and I may have some of the details wrong, I just did these from memory. But the idea was to show the various ways in which a single player can make a difference in New Eden, but that it takes hard work and commitment to reach those goals.

I had fun.



The Daredevil

Daredevil
Click to download various sizes
I'm working my way thru my Project List, which despite my best efforts only seems to be getting bigger and not smaller. Learning how to deal with not smoking. Trying to keep positive about looking for a job all while also trying to keep freelance work flowing. And make plans for a future that remains uncertain. Y'know, real life. No biggie.

This piece came about in an interesting way. I'd started the painting of the Daredevil a few weeks ago as a template for a piece of real acrylic painting I had planned. Due to several weekends of leaf raking my hands were a wreck, it was difficult to even hold a pencil. So I put those plans on the back-burner for a few more weeks. So instead I decided to use it for the above piece instead. I wish I had the time to paint the whole picture, but due to time constraints I opted for a more mixed-media approach on this one. I dunno what "real" artists would label it, to me all that matters is the final product. And I'm happy with it. It captured the Romanesque fiery master painting feel I was striving for and that makes me happy.

I hope you enjoy it.




Quitting!!


No, not Eve.

Almost two weeks ago now my wife and I quit. This isn't the first time we've tried, but it is the first time we've stuck with it. It hasn't been easy the past four years to say the least. Between my business failing, the bankruptcy, the divorce, and all the other problems in our lives - the stress has been insane. But really, all those things are only excuses. We know this. So about three months ago we both switched to a crappy cheap brand and significantly cut back on how much we smoked on a daily basis. This was all a plan and we managed to stick with it. Now we're done.

The downside for me has been my brain the past two weeks. I've written numerous posts that get lost about half-way thru. I've started numerous projects that I lose interest in. And I keep forgetting things, misplacing things, and generally not logging in to Eve. Its been nutty. And the anger and frustration are extremely high right now.

So pardon me for a bit. I'm sure things will improve shortly and I'll be back to being super-awesome you-can-count-on-me guy! The funny part is that the past two weeks have also seen a significant up-tick in opportunities. Lots of new irons in some new fires. Hopefully this is good news that will continue.

And now I'm already losing interest again. I better stop now before this turns into an angry rant about the Eve Store.

Stay Frosty,




Tengu

Commission; Jester's Tengu

I recently completed this commissioned wallpaper for Katia Sae over at To Boldly Go and thought I'd share it. If you are interested in commissioned work please write me an email at rixxjavix@gmail.com and we can talk about it.



Valerian



Watching this only confirms my belief in an Eve Online movie and/or television series!



The Electoral College

Yesterday on Tweetfleet I was running a 140 character at a time primer on the US election system for several friends from around the world. Our system can be a tad confusing every four years to those not familiar with it. Heck, it can be confusing to Americans as well.
This young man is obviously very confused about it.

There are a bunch of good video primers available. Here is one from CNN that is very good.

As a life-long student of history and a proud American citizen who cares about his country, let me try to TL;DR the entire thing for you.

The "United States of America" is not just a name, it also happens to be how our country is built. It isn't one large country, but a collection of States that have agreed to a Federal system that can govern and provide for the common defense and welfare of the country. Before the Civil War this system tended to put the power into the hands of the States themselves and the Federal government was much, much weaker than it is now. After the Civil War the Federal government became more powerful and has grown into the behemoth it is today. We can argue the wisdom of all that, but it is how it is.

Ok so the founding Fathers in all their compromising wisdom decided on a government system intended to be as balanced as humanly possible. Which is why we have three branches of government, this system of checks and balances is pretty darn brilliant. However, from time to time in our history one branch or another can sometimes become more powerful than intended. Right now, after 16 years of Bush and Obama, the Executive branch has accumulated unprecedented powers. This is one of the things that worry some people in regards to Trump's election.

But back to the Electoral College. The Legislative Branch of government has two sides, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has exactly 100 members, two from each State. In this way every single State in the US gets the exact same representation. No matter how small or how big, you only get two Senators. The House of Representatives (or Congress) membership is based on population and there are about 430 seats in Congress up for grabs. Bigger States get more seats and smaller States get less seats. Add the number of Senators and the number of Representatives together and you have the Electoral College number for that State! For example, the State I live in Pennsylvania has 20 Electoral College votes, which means we have 2 Senators and 18 members of Congress.

Normally this system works just fine. But sometimes it can get a bit wonky. It is a human system after all. A few times in our history, like this week, a candidate can actually get more popular votes and still lose the election. This is the system working as intended. The reason for this is to avoid the popular vote becoming the way we determine a victor. If we did that, as the young man in the video demands, chaos would ensue. In that system only the votes in large coastal states would matter, effectively you'd have New York and California determining the winner in each election. And also getting the bulk of Federal aid and support afterwards. The Electoral system is not perfect, but it does ensure that even the smallest of States gets a voice.

And please remember that this system is ONLY for Presidential elections. Popular vote matters in ALL other elections. Local, County, State and Federal elections are all based on popular vote, only the President is elected on the Electoral system. This is an important fact to keep in mind. A citizen's representation is more than just the President. The President has extremely limited powers and cannot enact any Laws. In fact he or she cannot really do much of anything. The President is a leader not a dictator.

And while this system is certainly not perfect it exists for valid reasons that have been proven to work well over 200+ years of our history. It has survived a Civil War, two World Wars, several horribly wrong Wars, Watergate, a Great Depression, and much, much more. And it will survive Trump.

Hope this helped.



Doctor Strange and Templates


The last time I saw an adaptation of Doctor Strange was in 1978 on CBS. It was HORRIBLE in ways you can't even begin to imagine. Horrible in shlock, low-budget, television from the '70s, Bill Bixby Hulk, Spider-Man string ways that younger generations would have a hard time even wrapping their heads around. It was so bad there aren't even any good screen caps from it on the internet.

But as luck would have it, we do have the trailer:



Yes boys and girls at one time that was as good as it got. And yes, in answer to your next question, we did know exactly how bad it was at the time. Well, some of us did. But it was all we had.

But this weekend I saw a Doctor Strange much closer to the movie version that has been playing in my own head for the past (cough) forty years. And this version had good actors in it AND music! I'm still unsure how this happened. Somehow the same world that has spawned Donald Trump for President has also spawned a truly good version of Doctor Strange! We certainly are living in the future!

I'm not writing a review. And I'm not going to write the essay I thought about writing in regards to the weird "template" complaints I've seen all over the Internet this weekend. I just thought I'd post that 1978 Doctor Strange trailer and gently remind everyone that you could still be living in that world. The world I grew up in, when Comic Books meant "comic as in HaHa" from the adults that ran our world. That's the world I grew up in.

And now, people my age, who grew up in that world are the ones making these movies. We still remember. My friends and I used to talk about what it would take to one day make a truly good comic book movie. Not that long ago we could count the good ones on one hand. And now Marvel, and sometimes Warner Bros - but rarely Fox - have made dozens and dozens of them.

So go ahead and make your wittle Teen angst comments on the Internets. Its very cute.




The strive to be art

Commission: HEL Special Edition
A commissioned illustration of the Hel


When I first started doing Eve art for people it was simply a service I was providing, mostly just to help out around the community. Blog banners, a few propaganda pieces for the Alliance forums, and mechanical things like that. I was fortunate that a few of those pieces caught the eye of a few people here and there. One of my very first propaganda pieces was picked up by EON Magazine and I had to go back and re-create it for print. I wasn't trying for anything specific back then because it was just a fun diversion from running a business.

Over the years, as my own professional career has transformed around me, so has my approach to Eve arts. I still try as best I can to help support the community of course, but there has become an entirely separate and distinct "professional" interest as well. Prior to a few years ago I had never once did anything even remotely like the picture you see above in the header. Frankly, if you had shown three year ago me that picture I wouldn't have believed it was something I had done. There are times, even now, when I find it hard to believe.

The transformation has been an artistic one. I can easily pump out photoshopped wallpapers day in and day out. For me these are rarely challenging. They serve to keep my skills sharp, but I'm a lifetime photoshop professional, beta-tester, Adobe Expert consultant, National Association of Photoshop Professionals founder person. But most of my professional work with Photoshop and Illustrator and other programs has been in the service of actual work. Client work mostly. Design. Logos. Advertising. Professional photography. Packaging. That kind of work.

And while that stuff can often transcend "work" and become "art", or at least extremely well designed, award-winning graphics or words or images - it isn't specifically done to be art. At some point about three years ago I started thinking dangerous thoughts. What if, I asked myself, I could make something beautiful out of my love of Eve? Could I elevate a fun diversion into something more? Heck, did I even have that potential inside of me? Frankly I had no expectation that I did. Which is a very scary thing to admit to yourself.

What you probably don't know is just how scared I've been the entire time. I'm pushing myself into places I've never been before, doing things I've never done (or rarely attempted), and it is often a very frightening experience. When I talk about fear I don't mean the kind that keeps me from trying, I've never ever had that kind of fear. I mean the kind of fear of failure that pushes me, that motivates me, that makes me want to push thru it and come out the other side. That kind of fear.

Last weekend I bought some paints. All week my wife comes into the studio before she goes to work and one of the last things she says to me is, "Paint something today." I haven't yet. I'm working my way up to it. I haven't touched a real paint brush (other than for inking), since 1987. I paint all the time in Illustrator and Photoshop with my trusty Wacom tablet or with my Mouse, but the thought of holding a paint brush with messy paints on it... I'm both incredibly excited and horrified all at the same time.

Along this journey I think I've managed to touch something truly beautiful a few times. I'm extremely proud of that Hel illustration up there. Personally I believe it is the best spaceship illustration I've ever done. The lighting, the details, the mood, everything sorta just came together for me on that one. And then, the other day after I had heard the sad news about our fellow pilot BigCountry I created something in ten minutes that made me cry.

Godspeed Big Country

I didn't think about that image. I found the photo because it reminded me of his name and what that meant, it resonated. And the idea of a rocket blasting into the sky sprang from my brush and my heart, not my mind. I honestly don't remember thinking at all. I just did it. When I was finished I texted it to my wife and asked her if she thought it would be ok to share it. It was so primal and unbidden that I was a tad afraid of it. Raw emotion can be a scary thing. Creation is often painful. Even writing these words about it now exposes that nerve again.

Art is where we find it. That Hel illustration took an entire day to complete. The BigCountry image took all of fifteen minutes. I don't know if either of them are "art" or not, all I know is that they both mean something to me. And I'm going to keep striving.

As always, keep the courage.




The Trouble With Sharing


In the comment section of yesterday's post Sakaane made some interesting points. Here is an excerpt:

"maybe you are still spending too much time on art for EVE. As far as finding work goes...maybe it's time to accept that just answering wanted ads, sending out resumes, and hoping you get lucky just won't cut it.

You are very talented as a graphic artist, but the reality is, all the time you have been putting into doing EVE stuff is time you could have been putting into sourcing other independent commission work that you could actually be paid real money for. I know you enjoy the EVE stuff and you want to give back to the community and you are fantastic for doing so--and I'm guessing all the things you create are also a fun distraction that helps you unwind from the stress you are facing. But--if your family is so hard up for cash and you have had to take such drastic measures to be able to live on just one income, maybe it's time to really step away from the game for a while--maybe a long while--and put your time into building something you can monetize on your own."


This is an understandable comment from a reader's perspective. There is nothing inherently wrong with this comment, but it does help to illustrate a few issues with sharing that I'd like to address.

This has always been primarily a blog about Eve and my own personal adventures in the game and the community. For years that is all it was. Over time, as I became more comfortable with the format, the community, and started to run out of other things to talk about - I started opening up about other things as well. This was a natural process that coincided with my own steps out of the shadows. At the same time as Rixx started to become a real person who went to Fanfest and started meeting other real people. The lines that had been drawn between us started to fade. And now they don't even exist. We are one and the same.

Like the iceberg in the header image however this naturally paints an incomplete picture. I can only share so much without this turning into a diary, something that I would like to avoid. I don't mind sharing, not at all, but I still feel as if some distance needs to be maintained. If only for the sake of entertainment and potential boredom. I can only imagine that anyone reading this post might have given up right around the third paragraph.

This is no one's fault. Certainly not the reader, nor mine. Ask me anything in real life and you'll get an answer. Ask me anything in here and I'll try to answer. But I don't write posts about everything that is going on in my life. That would be boring. Trust me.

Everything that Sakaane commented on is already happening. But let me answer them in two parts. First it would be wrong to think that all I do is sit around making Eve arts all day. In fact, Eve is a very small part of my average day. I write these posts before my youngest gets on the bus in the morning. Depending on my project list I may spend about an hour or maybe two every day on Eve arts. I also stay on call if needed, for example last night I spent about 15 minutes making a tournament background for Eve-NT.

In the last three years, since my last day of full employment, I've started two businesses. A video production and drone photography business and a consulting business. Sadly, back in June, we had to close the video/drone business due to my partner's cancer which is sadly terminal. I work directly with several agencies in the region. I write scripts for television and video commercials. I spent the last two months working on a major brand positioning for a large client. I've designed logos and brands for Leonard Nimoy's Granddaughter, a gaming company in Canada, a Helicopter hunting business in Texas, a new social network for gun owners, and probably about fifty more. I tried my hand at making recipe videos for Giant Eagle. I've had contracts with my own clients, like a plastic surgeon and a car dealership, as just two examples. I produce videos regularly for someone else's video production business. I'm writing a novel. And I'm raising three very special young boys. And I'm sure I missed a bunch of things off the top of my head. I'm a very busy person.

Now, here is the important bit, why Eve?

Let me tell you a short story. I was sitting in my girlfriends apartment one night drawing a page from a Horror anthology comic book for Caliber Press. This would have been around 1989. It was a 64 page anthology and it was taking a ton of work to complete. The phone rings and its my friend and partner on the book. He has decided he no longer wants to do it and he is dropping out. This after six years of us working together to get our big break into comics. I'm devastated to say the least. I decide to finish the book myself! But... real life happens. That girlfriend ends up being my wife who ends up being the crazy person I married, the one trying to ruin my life today. I never got to finish that book.

My career took off, just not in that direction. I focused more on graphic design, which led me to 3d, which led me to editing and video production, which led me to an advertising agency, which led me to start my own company, which led me down a completely different road than the one I started out on. It has been a Hell of a journey and one I do not regret in the slightest. I've accomplished amazing things along the way.

And this is where Eve comes in. Eve gives me a safe, fun and challenging place to try out new things that don't have a client attached to them. I'm the client. I do what I want, how I want, and when I want. After twenty years of trying to please clients and working 80-90 hour weeks, Eve is my professional escape. In addition, and probably most importantly, Eve also affords me an opportunity to practice skills that have lain almost dormant for decades. Frankly I'm tired of advertising and marketing. I want to do something else with my life. I'm not entirely sure what that is right now. But Eve gives me an unprecedented chance to figure that out.

The other day I bought paints. I haven't painted anything non-digital in over thirty years! I'm scared to death. But I'm also very excited about it. Imagine for a moment all the work that I do, and now imagine you only get to see about 20% of it.

Eve is more than that of course. It is also my crutch, my support group, my fan base, my friends, my play-mates, my gang, my targets, and so much more. Eve has helped me thru some of the most challenging years of my life. I started playing just to hang out with my Son and it slowly turned into something much more than that.

So this was a long ass way around a very simple truth - there is much more to my own story than you know. Than you could know. But now you know more. I'm trying every day to figure this thing called life out. Within the confines of the reality I find myself living, with the noose of legality around my neck and the sword of legal "justice" hovering over my head every single day. It ain't easy. And I'm not perfect. I'm very messy. Just like you.

Stay Frosty.




Why I Can't Ask

Old Man Rixx
Old Man Rixx
Thanks to everyone who took the time to read my post on Monday. It wasn't easy for me to explain and even harder for me to be so open about something so personal. The outpouring of support, understanding and well-wishes has made it all worth it. So thank you.

Amongst all of the feedback I've received has been a fair amount of people wanting to do more. And calls for yet another Crowdfunding effort to help me end this nightmare. I can't begin to tell you just how much that means to me and my family. And I also want you to know that I've spent a lot of time taking the idea into consideration. I've even spoken to more than a few friends in the community about the idea. I will say this, everyone was very supportive and encouraging. Everyone I talked to told me I should do it.

But I can't.

Back in the Spring we faced a crossroads, after four years of frantic downsizing and living under bankruptcy - it all came to a head. If I had gone to jail then my family would have potentially been homeless. And we would have lost our only remaining asset, the house, to the bank. It was an emergency. And I didn't hesitate to ask for help because we needed it. I was just as shocked and surprised as anyone how quickly the community responded. And I've spent the last months working as hard as I can to repay that kindness. I couldn't even bring myself to play Eve for months afterwards because it felt like I was wasting time.

As nice as the fantasy about walking into court with a chunk of cash that ends this nightmare once and for all might be, it remains just that - a fantasy. I have no guarantee that any amount short of the full amount would be enough. I think it would, but I can't be sure. The court does these things to me every few months to shake money out of my pockets and showing up with money once again only encourages them to believe there might be more. And ultimately this entire bullshit train is built upon a fantasy that is hard for me to come to terms with. The fact is she doesn't deserve any of it. It is hard for me to get passed that fact. After 12yrs of paying, paying and paying more - I've had enough.

And then, as if to confirm my decision, this morning I wake up to the news that Big Country has passed away. I want to encourage you to take a moment and donate to his family. You can do so here.

I love this community of ours. And I appreciate every single one of you. Eve has meant a lot to me over the years. I started playing it because my Son came to live with me after his Mother and I separated. I can still remember walking into his room and him showing me Eve on his computer. It became something we both could share together. And it helped us both thru some very difficult times. Even after he stopped playing, Eve got me thru the last years of my own business, the challenges of closing it down, and the years of struggle that have followed. My friends in Eve are real people. And they are amazing. Even the haters.

I know that no matter what happens on the 28th of December that you will all continue to support me. And that means more than you can imagine. But I will face whatever comes the same way I always have, with truth, justice and the conviction with which I first looked an abuser in the eyes and said, "I want a divorce."

Stay Frosty.




60 Days to Jail


TL;DR: Essentially I was granted a 60 day reprieve on Friday. For the first time in 12yrs someone actually listened to me, took into account all that is going on in my life, and made the decision to review my case at the end of December. And then throw me in jail. In some significant ways this is sorta kinda even worse news. The monthly amounts will continue to add up and the Judge will want to see significant progress in those 60 days or else the hammer will fall. This was a victory. But a small one. At least I won't have to spend the Holidays behind bars.

What do they want?
They want $1,750 a month until the remaining $52,000 (and change) is paid. The amount was originally $40,000 when this phase started three years ago and then the court applied interest and fines of $25,000 to it which made it balloon to $65,000 which they then divided by 36 months and "determined" that I could pay that amount. Which I have never once been able to do. Hence all the troubles.

What the F*ck?!?
Yeah. Ok so strap in. Here it is as briefly as I can tell it. 2005 is when this all started. They took the maximum amount of time allowed by law to reach a settlement and finally in 2008 we signed the final divorce agreement. I was paying full freight Alimony during those three years, as well as enduring 7 discoveries, a business evaluation and legal fees. No child-support however (except for a few short months) because our Son lived with me full-time. That portion of the divorce ran its course for five years and ended in 2013. Done.

In January of 2012 I had to close my business. We had nearly $1.5 million in debts and despite nine-months of profitability, the pressures that started from the Mortgage Crisis and economic down-turn eventually became too much. I was forced into bankruptcy. And my wife and I began a four-year struggle to down-size our lives, stay in our home until our credit could be repaired, look for additional work and take care of our family. And deal with Phase Two.

The very day that Phase One officially ended I got a nice package in the mail. The settlement contained two paragraphs that dealt with Equitable Distribution on future earnings from the business. Remember the business had closed in January 2012. So there was no business. I had always thought this issue had died with it. I was wrong according to the Court. So the Court decided and ruled that my ex was still entitled to ED for a business that no longer existed. Hence the 40k + Interest and fines + dividing by 36 + a monthly amount that I couldn't afford.

Since January 2012 I've been threatened with jail 12 times. Each time I have to come up with the purge amount to avoid it. Each time I have managed to do so. In addition to the money that goes to my ex, this also includes her legal fees. And those legal fees do not count against the total. So over the years I've also paid her legal fees, but those amounts don't count.

Why don't you just get a job dude?
I'm a fifty year old man with an Associates Degree. I grew my own Agency from scratch and ran it for 11 years. Sadly when it closed it left almost everyone in my network holding a bag of debts. Pittsburgh is not a big city. These are the same media companies, clients, and business associates that I would be looking for work from. I had two consulting positions, one for six months and one for a year, but since then nothing. For the past three years and two months I've been technically unemployed.

Of course, that isn't the full story. I also started a business with a good friend of mine. A business which we had to close back in April because my friend has terminal cancer. I also consult with several other companies. I also work with another small video production company. I also spent a HUGE amount of time drawing spaceships and working my ass off for a contract with this gaming company in Iceland to sell posters. And I've applied for over 1,000 positions, gone on dozens and dozens of interviews and come very close to landing many positions in that time. But so far nothing.

Remember the 1,750 a month? Do the math on that, plus taxes (which we haven't paid in two years, the IRS loves us!) and expenses and you'll realize that I can't just go get a job at Home Depot. I need a job that pays about 40k a year minimum and even that means that ALL my income would be going to pay my ex-wife for the next three years. And trust me, I have actually tried that. Home Depot laughed at me. Lowes never called back. And the Security Guard job? They couldn't hire me because of the Child Support Rider on my credit report!

So what was that GoFundMe for back in the Spring?
The Eve community and my friends and family saved our asses. January 2013 thru January 2016 my wife and I were in bankruptcy from the close of the business. During that time we struggled every single month to keep the house I had bought us when I had the business. Back in the spring if I had gone to jail not only would we have lost the house, but my wife and our three children would be homeless. The GoFundMe was not for legal fees. It was so we could save the house long enough to sell it, which we did this Summer. (We were hoping the house sale would bring in enough to pay this off, but sadly that didn't happen. We made 3,600 from the sale and the court took 3,500 of it in August) We have now finished our down-sizing and live a life that we can afford on just one salary. Whew. It was a close call but we did it. And I've spent the last year trying to pay that kindness back every single day.

So what now?
To be honest I have no idea. I'm still applying for jobs, all of which I am more than qualified for, but there is nothing on the horizon. I spent the past two months working on a branding position for a large client I was hoping would launch in the last quarter, but that's been pushed off to next year now. I had a contract with a client this Summer, which I spent two months getting, but they cancelled on me after I missed a single deadline due to the last court appearance back in August. I have many other irons in the fire as well. But they are all speculative, potential, and inconsistent. Which the court does not like. They don't realize that consulting/freelance is a legitimate career because it isn't a wage-attachable income that pays 1,750 a month.

So come December 28th the court is going to want its blood money. Five months of 1,750 a month, plus legal fees, plus a plan for paying that every single month until it is resolved. Given the way things have gone I don't expect to have a solution. I wish I could just walk into a bank and take a loan out and pay this sucker off once and for all, but I can't. I have no assets now, everything of value that I owned has been sold. And not only does my credit rating suck ass it also makes me look like a deadbeat Father. Not exactly attractive for people to loan money to.

I believe this small victory presents a window of opportunity. The review will be with the same Judge, who is a new Judge on my case. I've never had anyone actually listen to me and my side of this horrible tale before. But he also made it clear that a solution needed to be presented or I would be going to jail. He made that extremely clear. I believe this window involves the original 40k minus all that I've paid into it so far, which would be right around 20k. I think that 20k might just be enough to finally bring this issue to a close. Trouble is, I don't have 20k.


I've tried to be as honest and open as possible here. A lot of my Alliance mates and friends in the Eve Community who care about me and my family have asked for the details. I know that for many people my problems are just that, my problems. And they are. But this blog has also been a journal of more than just Eve these past seven years. And it will continue to be so as long as I continue writing in it. This is my life and I'm just sharing my challenges, thoughts and other parts of my life as we go along this journey.

I've always been a very private person and it has taken a lot for me to open up over the past few years. I'd much rather just talk about 1v1s and Yarring in Low Sec, believe me. And the plans I have for my art and building a new career for myself. I'm excited about where my life is going and what Eve has in store for all of us. And, as always, how I can help the community.

Keep the courage my friends. And thanks for listening.





Q&A

• If you do go to Jail does that wipe out the ED/Alimony Debt?
Sadly no. The 1,750 tallies every month no matter what and the total doesn't change. They can technically hold me in Jail for up to six months for lack of payment, during which time fines and penalties can also be applied to the total. I'd come out of Jail in worse shape than when I went in. They do know this, which is why it is a last resort. Its complicated however, if I do not have the present ability to pay (which I don't) putting me in jail eventually starts to violate my own civil rights and becomes a punishment for debts. Which is still against the law. That's why you usually get out within the first two weeks, but usually only if you pay. Because I don't have any money, this makes it complicated.

• Is this normal?!?
No. On Friday I sat thru two other cases before mine came up. Those, like most cases, involve men not paying their obligations on Child Support payments. It was sad how easy those cases sounded compared to mine. But it also illuminated just how weird mine is. Which is what this new Judge also discovered. When my Lawyer and I start talking about 12yrs and millions of dollars you could hear a pin drop in the courtroom.

In over three years of looking at Case Law, I've not been able to find another case even close to this one. Everyone involved with this case believes it is unique.

• Can't you counter-sue? This is ridiculous!
Right now my wife and our children are not a part of this case. If I try to sue for damages, cruelty, or any other civil litigation that would bring my family into this case and open us all up for counter-suit against us. Remember, as far as the court is concerned I'm the bad guy here. It isn't fair, it isn't even accurate, but it is what the court ruling has said. I owe money and I'm not paying it. In their mind the issue was already settled.

• Are you open to moving?
I get asked this one a lot. It would be hard to do, my wife's career is really going well and we just recently down-sized into a smaller home. We also have three children whose Father recently bought a home nearby (finally!) so he could be closer to them. Two of our children are special and need extensive therapy and special schools. So yes, I have considered employment in other parts of the country, but it would have to be the opportunity of a lifetime to make it worthwhile.

• Let's say a miracle happens and you can pay off the $20k. Is that the end of it?
Yes. I believe for the first time ever in the last 12yrs that the Judge heard me and that a end payment opportunity exists which would end this entire sordid tale once and for all.

• Do they believe you are hiding money?
In most cases that are somewhat similar to mine that we've found in the Case Law the husband (typically) is hiding assets such as a Yacht, or a Condo ownership, or an on-going business that they don't want the ex to get ahold of. In those cases we are usually talking millions of dollars. Hence the long, drawn out legal battles.

In my case my ex is well aware that I don't have the money. In fact she has told our Son that she doesn't care and wants me to go to Jail. She is counting on this money for her own retirement. And the court has over the years empowered her to believe she is right. This past Friday was the first time I have ever walked out of court without having to pay anything.

And no, if all I had in the world was enough to pay this off - I wouldn't hesitate. No one wants this over as much as I do.



Ask me anything and I will continue to answer as best I can.