Tag Archives: 42

Detroit City and a little Writer’s Postpartum Depression

This is probably going to be a bit more rambly than most posts on this site, but let’s go ahead and deal with it anyway. I have a few topics and I don’t think I can really make them stand-alone posts.

First – I’ve begun writing Book 2, which has already gone through a few working titles, but given that this is a total re-do we shall see what happens. Having previously written some 45,000-ish words in the previous version I already have a good sense of direction with this one. Hopefully I am not stuck too deep in the rails and I can move away from what I’ve got. Already two chapters have been condensed into what is now the prologue and the original prologue is actually the last chapter of Sun-King!

So yeah, that is off to a decent start but I had to say I’ve hit something I didn’t really expect – it really sucks to not be working on Sun-King anymore. Like really weird. Same characters, same settings, same general direction and it just feels like I am in some strange foreign land. If I had to guess I would assume I am suffering from the shock of having total control again. When editing and rewriting chunks of Sun-King I obviously had laid rail before and was generally following the plan if only soothing some corners out.

Now I have total control again and that is really “weird” to me. Maybe I just need a few days away from writing. Maybe I just need a few days back at the helm of creating rather than editing. Either way it was not something I expected and it has made today rather lethargic (among other things, not going there).

So that is where the postpartum comes into play. I really don’t like not working on it. Where is my baby? What is this blank sheet of a paper that I need to fill with brand new words? Fuck all this shit. Fuck it, I want to work on Sun-King some more.

But I can’t.

Or at least I shouldn’t. I need to move on. That is part of writing. Still. I miss it and I know in the back of my head another round of editing is still on the horizon.

O well. Moving on.


But Nick, the superbow-

Shut it.

Oh, so you’re watching the superb ow-

Shut it.

We’re talking soccer, because I care about soccer. I like gridrion. I care about soccer. It means stuff to me. Newcastle won. Celtic won. Kendal lost. And DCFC is moving forward.

Rumor has it that we are very close to running out of season ticket slots. It essentially implies we are on track to sell out every. single. game this summer. That is FUCKING AWESOME. If you disagree go fuck yourself. Little Detroit City, for whom I’ve had a place in my heart since day one.


My friend Zak and I made those for our first game back in Season 1. I still have both and I just recently was talking with another fan and he mentioned a season 1 flag that was red with golden fleur de lis all over it. It was weird, strangely enough after the last few seasons, that this stood out. I’m really glad it did. It is a beautiful flag, it is too bad it isn’t mine (it is Zak’s even if I store it).

There is a lot going on. I can feel it. Then a few weeks the big news broke.

Check it out (25:30 in the cast).

The FO has been looking at moving up! This is great. I’m so glad to hear that and though I’m doing my damnedest to not get excited it is hard not to. Hard not to see it all paying off. Hard to not love what DCFC and the NGS have been able to put together from scratch. And from what I’ve heard Peter Wilt of the Indy Eleven is not a man who speaks lightly or rumormongers.

So fuck yes!

With tickets and the NASL in our sights, that leads to some speculation. Honestly my prediction is you won’t see DCFC on the field in the NASL until 2018 or 2020. We need a new stadium. We need major sponsors. We need major names. We need a lot of stuff, including potentially new owners who have the cash. That means a lot of growing pains and a lot of issues that might follow. The NGS might look good on paper but when so many FOs would rather have Sally DoGood and her three cum-sprites in the stands paying $10 for a hotdog with mustard each and Richy DoGood paying $12 for a can of Miller Lite; the NGS (and I’m going to quote Hot Time in Old Town):


When one of your loudest mottos is “We’re ruining football and we don’t care” you aren’t a great target for rich, white suburbanites. Or at least that is what people thought until we sold out twice and nearly sold the entire allotment of season tickets three months before kick off.

The Northern Guard has a duty to stand between squatters and the club and ensure that despite ruining football, we don’t ruin DCFC as well. I don’t think that is really at risk. I can’t say with a straight face that DCFC is “less” because of the NGS. Less family friendly? Yes. Less TV friendly? Yes. But less? Less as a whole? Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

Tomorrow the season schedule should be out. There are some major mix-ups apparently. Then, Wednesday, we go to see Victory and grill the ownership at the Q&A. That will be mind-opening to say the least. Finally, Friday night, Midnight Madness as the NGS invades the try-outs.

This is a great week to be a DCFC fan.

Oíche mhaith, bitches.

Winding Down

Word count is currently 117,159 for the interested.

I’m on page 457 out of 565 of the manuscript (no clue what it is in book form) but we can guestimate that it is about 95,000 words in give or take. The last chapters are action-packed so their word density is probably lower.

Just did an actual calculation when I realized the manuscript was still open:

  • Guess – 94,764
  • Actual – 94,839

The law of averages is pretty amazing sometimes, eh?

Anyway, I am winding down. Had to work double-time today because I was busy all last night. I want to be wrapped up by the end of the weekend and get the new draft into the hands of first readers. At this rate, I should make it with plenty of time left. It was looking iffy for a while. These last few chapters must have been written with a wee drop of whiskey in me because there was a lot that needed fixing.

But it is fixed and I still managed 42 pages tonight. I’ve usually only been doing 15 to 30 on weekdays so today was surprisingly quick for having so much work to do. I don’t think there are any “bad” chapters left to get through, especially not after the whole rewrite that I made a huge deal about.

I’m very happy with the way things are looking. Very happy.

So that is good.

That is very good.

Oíche mhaith, bitches.

Don’t Forget to be Awesome


Deep Breath

Going to start of with a disclaimer. I’m a nerd, and I really like sports. In recent years I’ve learned that that is not a rare combination, in fact a lot of nerds like sports. So much so that a bunch of nerds got together and helped AFC Wimbledon with a massive outpouring of support.

For those not in the know, the short (and heavily biased) story is that Wimbledon had a team with a lot of history and culture. Someone bought it and decided “Fuck all that, I’m moving the team.” A lot of supporters were heart broken. So much so that they banded together, put some money up, and remade their team from scratch. That team is AFC Wimbledon and though I am neither a fan nor a supporter of theirs, I just like what they’ve done.

In recent memory, writer/nerd John Green was playing FIFA and was managing this team, which is high enough in the English pyramid to actually be a selectable team on FIFA, which if we are fair is every team’s dream. John Green and his brother Hank have a large (and highly loyal) group of fans collectively referred to as “Nerdfighteria.”

Personally, I am a casual listener to the Green brothers and don’t consider myself a “nerd fighter.” From my few interactions with other nerd fighters you’d think this is a blasphemy, but I don’t like other people labeling me.

Anyway, I digress, Nerdfighteria has done a lot of great things and I like seeing them succeed. I like that they’ve chosen to side with supporters and fans in helping preserve the Dons. I think they are on the right side of history with this, they often are. However, I am actually slightly miffed by all of this and that is why I am calling out John Green and Nerdfighteria.

Guys, guys… I’m so glad you’ve fought for the little guy. But it pisses me off that you’ll send thousands of dollars over to England and then seemingly ignore teams in the very same position over here in the United States. There is so much more to the sport over here. So many teams that are left ignored, unloved, unwanted. You turn your backs on them to write out cheques to send over to England for what?

A team you tangentially “support” via FIFA? Why? Why do you help a team so far away when so many other teams all around you are crying out and dying hoping to get just a handful of people to care. Teams with a passionate crowd that is lacking in the size department. FC Buffalo, the Cincinnati Saints, next year could see the end of the Atlanta Silverbacks to the  exact same scenario as Wimbledon.

Where are all the Nerd fighters there? Where’s all the support for Atlanta? Fuck it. Can’t look all cool and hip supporting Atlanta. Gotta jump on the Dons bandwagon, I guess.

It honestly makes me sick. It just seems so disingenuous.

It would take five. whole. seconds. on wikipedia to find an NPSL team near you.  I’m even going to walk you through what you need to do to support an NPSL team. Trust me, it is easy.

  1. Find a team. See, we’re already that far. It took five seconds, remember?
  2. Talk to their FO. Be upfront, be honest, be willing to work with them, but don’t compromise. If they complain, point to Detroit City. They won’t admit it, but every FO wants to be DCFC’s FO.
  3. Make some banners, buy some smoke bombs (this is America, it isn’t hard). Get a drum on craig’s list. KNOW HOW TO KEEP A RHYTHM.
  4. Buy a megaphone.
  5. Wear something silly/cool. It’ll always be both.
  6. Get some other people together. Its Nerdfighteria, you can do it.
  7. Come up with a sweet name and a good logo. Don’t feel you have to do it yourself. Talk to people like the NGS’ Sergeant Scary
  8. If you aren’t rude, people will help. But don’t brown nose. Have some spine, especially publicly. Make fun of other teams.
  9. Make a twitter account.
  10. Follow other Ultras groups on twitter. (By the way, you’re an Ultra now, deal with it.)

It’s really easy. It just means actually having the gall to be the fan the team deserves. It means that you’ll have to do more than cut a cheque. You’ll have to spend money, time, effort, sweat, blood; all those things that don’t come easy. And you’ll only get back what you put into it.

But let me tell you something. The look on the face of that player, when after a bad game, he looks up and there are 10, 20, 5,000 people who do not give a fuck. Who are there to cheer regardless. The pain melts away. You can see it.

And when they score, if no one is there, who do they run to? Who do they cheer with?  DSC6811-copy

Photo: Detroit City

They need you. They need you.

So while I’m thankful that you’ve supported the Dons, for all they stand for in the face of homogeneous sports events, don’t ignore the home front.  Don’t ignore the war on soccer culture that is being waged right here in our own backyards.

AFC Wimbledon is a great success story, but like pandas for the WWF, we cannot ignore the rough and ugly in favor of everyone’s favorite poster child.

So get out there. Do what you can for as long as you can do it. I hate to say it, but “big soccer” is coming for us. They are looking to end it all.


Fight and don’t forget to be awesome.


Photo: Michael Kitchen

Pictures casually lifted from the Detroit City page and the NGS facebook page. Looking for photo credits now.



So I went through all of my third first reader’s notes yesterday.

It took about eight hours give or take. I ate dinner at my desk to save time and had a couple cups of coffee to power through it.

Tonight I am going to drink Guinness, play minecraft, and have one more day above the roses before tomorrow I do something drastic.

Tomorrow I roll the counter back from 109,000 to 0. And I start again.

Well, perhaps I am being a bit dramatic. I am not starting from scratch or anything. But the changes have to be drastic. 13 chapters require complete rewrites, 3 of those require such drastic changes that there is literally nothing of value in the words I have on the page other than a reminder to myself on how not to do it. Nearly all the rest require pretty heavy modification but can at least pull from the existing text.

So tomorrow, book 1 goes back to “0” and we try again. Lessons learned. But by the end of tomorrow, expect that number to be high. And expect it to grow pretty quick.

I’ll be back around 110,000 before you know it.

Actually, this is a great opportunity for some drastic changes. At least one whole character is being axed completely. I’m rather glad to see him go, to be honest. Character voices and dialogue can be overhauled for both consistency but also dialect, something I’ve wanted to add for quite a while.

I’m excited. This break is going to be busy. This month is going to be busy. But it’ll get done. And it’ll be better for the effort.

Tonight, though, tonight I enjoy a little bit of stupid fun before I go back to the hard work.

Ĉu vi parolas Esperanton?

Language has been on my mind a lot. I’ve recently taken to a website to try to finally buckle down and learn Irish Gaelic. While I have a good foundation on the language, it is only a foundation and I want to move up with that. Gaelic, to me, represents some small connection to a past long before I was alive. The Celtic languages are of particular interest to me. They seem so foreign and yet so familiar to me as a speaker of other Indo-European languages.  I love what I know about them so I push on.

But this isn’t a post about Gaelic. It is a post ostensibly about another language close to my heart. It is about a strange connection I made at my first job out of college. And then I’ll wrap up with some more stuff about my book.

Let me set the stage.

We all knew we were going to get let go. It wasn’t a question of if, but when. The office was getting tense. The big-wigs got their raises and bonuses but many of the supervising engineers did not and everyone knew something wasn’t right. Every week we had a meeting that could be summed up as: “You aren’t getting laid off, everything is fine. Promise.”

Our company had fucked up big in another division and the whole place was hurting. Apparently someone really burned a bridge with a major client – a client my job security rested on. I only found this out later.

One day, when avoiding my desk for fear of my idle web surfing  attracting attention (there was literally zero work), I headed into the kitchenette to make some tea and perhaps steal a few more cookies or something before we got the boot. Walking in I found an older co-worker sitting down and quietly contemplating life after work.

He was very well accredited. A PhD level programmer and aeronautical engineer. But he was much older than most (my guess in his 60s) and his English wasn’t great. He spoke with a very thick Russian accent and stuttered as he tried to translate everything from the language he thought in to the language we all spoke.

I asked, expecting a simple answer like “Moscow” or “Leningrad,” where in Russia he had been born. He said he had been born and raised on the Kamchatka Peninsula, far from anything most westerners would deem “civilization.” I chuckled and said as much. He agreed, and rambled something I only half-understood and now is lost to me.

He asked, perhaps realizing the trouble I was having, if I spoke anything besides English. I told him, in my awful half-Swabian dialect that I spoke German and as a joke I added:

Mi parolas Esperanton. 

Ĉu vi parolas Esperanton? was his surprising retort.



Ne, me havas tason de teo. 

Esperanto was always a curiosity for me. Simple, effective; it embodied many of the beliefs of a young man. It was a language for everyone and yet I had never met another Esperantist before. I had and still have met many detractors of Esperanto. Some, like my wife, see it merely as a simplistic conlang, lacking anything that makes a language natural or interesting. Others, like a co-worker I spoke to a week or two ago, it represented some over-arching communist or “academic” attempt to dismember western civilization.

Yet, for a brief moment a few days before we were all let go, I and a co-worker held a brief conversation in Esperanto (likely one of a few outside of Esperanto conventions and meetings). For a few minutes we were once again Esperantistoj – those who hope.

See, every language has an endonym . And every endonym has a meaning, though it might be buried deep in the history of a language.

The English are the Angelcynn – Kin of the Narrows

Esperanto in Esperanto means “one who hopes.” It comes from esperi – to hope. To many Esperantists it is more than a language – it is a hope of a more united and understanding world.

Maybe that day we were hoping that a week from then we’d still be in the office. We’d still be able to having little conversations in our shared love of a dreamed-up language.

It was not to come to pass. We were let go and dispersed to the winds. It was August of 2013. During the free time I had I started writing what will become my first novel (hopefully in only a few short months). Language plays a roll, sort of in the background, between the characters. They live in a world where language matters. A language defines what a person can or cannot do, and who they can or cannot be.

Though all dialogue is written through the veil of English (as I have neither the time nor the effort to devise several conlangs for each to feature briefly or uselessly), I do try to make sure it is in languages that suit the character’s station and place. Languages either build bridges or barriers.

They can mark someone as part of the tribe, or outside it. And using one other than your mother tongue can imply servitude, defeat, education, or worldliness.

So when you have some time tomorrow think about that. What does the ability to speak English and have it spoken all around you mean both in a personal and historical context? Were you born into it? Did you adopt it for convenience or to get an education? Was it forced on you? Was the alternative to live in poverty?  Does it empower you to chase your dreams?

Those shouldn’t be easy questions to answer, even for native speakers. Because once it was considered low to speak English. The educated spoke French or Latin. Are you okay with English’s status because you were lucky enough to speak it natively?

A tale of two co-workers: one who shared the dream of L L Zamenhof and one who thought that languages lived and died purely out of usefulness’ sake.

And if you are a writer brought here by my tenuous-at-best use of the #amwriting tags, what does the language or languages your characters speak say about them? If the whole world speaks one language, why? What killed the teeming thousands of languages once spoken? Market capitalism? Socialistic unity? Feudal oppression? Or did language simply resist the natural tendency to evolve?

Lastly, December 15th is Zamenhof Day. I ask that you consider, even for a brief moment, getting on Google and learning a few phrases in Esperanto. You never know when it might crop up. 800px-Vestaĵoj_MalnovajOld Clothes 

Or what other hoping people you might run into. Ĝis revido!

“Ni konsciu bone la tutan gravecon de la hodiaŭa tago, ĉar hodiaŭ inter la gastamaj muroj de Bulonjo-sur-Maro kunvenis ne francoj kun angloj, ne rusoj kun poloj, sed homoj kun homoj.”

“We should be well aware of the full importance of this day, because today, within the welcoming walls of Boulogne-sur-Mer, there meet not Frenchmen with Englishmen, not Russians with Poles, but people with people.”

  • Ludoviko Lazaro Zamenhof, 5th of August, 1905 to the First World Conference of Esperanto in France.



The rut continues. I was really hoping to put this week off to good use and get a lot written. In nine day’s I’ve written like 300-ish words.

Probably going to take tonight off. Hopefully have something for the blag tomorrow (I wrote and deleted two or three posts already).


10 Going on 26

Well this is essentially post #1 so it might as well be an introduction. My birthday is in 19 days. According my my mum it should only be 5 but things are weird. What is especially weird is that this is my 26th birthday.

When I was young, not sure how young but I’ll say “10” and be done with it, I thought 26 was going to be some magical year in my life. I held this in my head for quite some time, especially long for a young boy headed blindly in puberty.  I had a list of things I thought I should or would do before hitting 26 and luckily I’ve remembered a good chunk of it. So let me tally my score card here.

#1 – I’d live in Australia. Okay, to be fair, what kid wouldn’t want to live in Australia? I mean snakes and shit. And sharks and a bunch of other shit that would probably make me cry. Plus it is far away and they still speak English. Score: 0/7

#2 – I’d have had sex once. I was ten. I was ten in a time when making it past 2012 was uncertain to say the least. Plus I was a loser. Needless to say… Score: 1/7

#3 – I’d be in a relationship with a significant other or have met my future wife. Yeah! Score another one for Nick. Bonus point, I correctly predicted she’d have brown hair. Score: 2/7 + 1

#4 – I’d work on airplanes. Now this is where life goes all wonky. All my life I wanted to work on airplanes. I studied aeronautical engineering, I followed that pretty far. But as a student I became more and more fascinated with using computers to predict and influence design and the door into the automotive industry was open a smidge wider for those of us who barely scraped together a 3.0. At first I thought I’d be a temp. Work a few years and leave. But I’ve found working at Ford very rewarding and so I’ve bounced between suppliers and finally got my Blue Badge, signifying that I am a direct employee of Ford. That is something I am proud of. I’m giving myself the point. 10-year-old-Nick would too. Score: 3/7 + 1

#5 – I’d own a house. Check. I live waaaaaaaaay out in the boonies in a town called “Howell” known primarily for having once been the HQ for the KKK. Didn’t know that at the time of purchase. I love the location but it means I drive a long way each day. It also means I cannot hang out with friends as much. Which does suck. Score: 4/7 + 1

#6 – I’d have cool adult friends and we’d do cool adult shit. In the last few years I’ve met a slew of amazing people, both in college and in Detroit. I consider my friends to be family, especially with my actual family far away. People like Zak, Garrett, Schade, Brigid and others from Purdue and my friends in the Northern Guard: Drew, Pat, Novak, Josh, Puck, Pomp and many others. I am very lucky. Score: 5/7 + 1

#7 – I’d have grown up. Lol. Loooooool. Looooooooooooooool. Score: 5/7 + Eleventy Billion


Seriously though, fuck growing up.