History: Giant's Fall

That's me
Time for yet another American election and with it memories of other elections, other changes, and other times. Because the topic has come up more than a few times over the past week or so, I'm going to write a bit about a specific period of time in my life. A time that continues to have a profound and lasting impact on my life today.

In 2001 I resigned my Vice President/Creative Director position at a large Pittsburgh ad agency, walked a few blocks away and started what I hoped would be a successful business venture. My own creative focused agency, a state-of-the-art house that would be run by creatives and not account service. I had zero clients and very little money. I had a phone, a new computer, and office space rented from two friends who happened to be starting their own video production company around the same time.

Within 18 months I had two floors of a building in downtown Pittsburgh and was employing 18 full-time employees. Our clients included a national cable company, sports teams, charities, and a wide spectrum of industries around the country. Business was booming. We were a trend setter in the advertising industry, the tip of a new wave of agencies that were shaking up the status-quo. We didn't bill for time, a fact that got written up in the New York Times. I made sure that at least 25% of our clients were charities and non-profits. I gave back to my employees a minimum of 10% of agency profits in the form of bonuses. And for the first three years we paid 100% of our employees health care costs. (Sadly that one became unsustainable with the annual costs rising so fast. Even so, we continued to cover a large proportion.)

We survived our largest client, Adelphia Communications, going bankrupt in the largest corporate bankruptcy case in American history. In fact, we managed to stay on as their agency and even opened a Denver office when the company moved to Colorado. In another 18 months Adelphia was successfully sold to Time Warner and Comcast. We helped make that happen.

By 2008 we had become one of the largest agencies in the region. Our clients came from all over the world. We worked with clients from Russia, Spain, England, Argentina, Mexico, Japan and other countries. We helped build companies, helped companies grow, and gave back to local and national charities. Wired Magazine once called us, "the good agency". I won the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award along with a Microsoft Business Success award. I was the youngest person ever inducted into the Pittsburgh Advertising Hall of Achievement. You can actually watch my induction in this video:



2008 was our best year. 2008 was the year my divorce became final. As well as my career was going, my personal life was a mess and always had been. I freely admit to hiding in my work for years and years. Working 80 hour weeks, weekends, and generally avoiding my wife. All of my free time was spent with my Son. Eventually, in 2006, he was old enough and I was successful enough to file for a long anticipated divorce.

Here is where the story starts to get extremely complicated. Complicated by politics, both national and local. Complicated by divorce. Complicated by employees, both old and new. Complicated by a school that forced us out of our building in 45 days. Complicated by an $85,000 mistake that my employee made on a State contract. Complicated by a media buyer that cared more about his commission than his client. Complicated by a new business director that sat on his ass for a whole year and then took clients with him when it was discovered. Complicated by over zealous lawyers. By a national mortgage crisis. By a client that refused to pay a contract. By the loss of all my savings to divorce. Complicated by a lot of little things, like a con-man that bilked the agency out of $25,000. (And who just recently, finally, got the justice he deserved.)

2009 to 2011 was a rough patch. I did all the things we had done during the Adelphia bankruptcy. And we hung in there. In 2011 we finally started to come out of it and we had nine months in a row of profitable earnings. It had been a struggle of epic proportions. By now I had a new family, a new wife, and a new life. My desire to work 80-90hrs a week was tempered. And then it all came home and I had some very big decisions to make.

Normally in that situation a business owner like myself would infuse cash back into the business to help see it thru. But the divorce had taken all my savings. Building a new life had taken all my cash. The debts pilled up around us. A client broke a contract and refused to pay us. A bunch of smaller clients did the same. Once large clients stopped investing in marketing during the economic downturn. Our new office space had cost us and the rent continued every single month.

In January 2012 I made the decision to cease business operations and close the agency. I helped our remaining employees find work, two businesses sprang up out of our ruins and continue today.  I personally gathered up all the equipment, computers, tables, chairs, and office equipment and sold it all off to raise cash to help pay our bills. That took two months. I was sued for what would eventually end up being over $1 million dollars. I was personally on the hook for over half a million in additional debts. I was protected from the business debts, but not from the personal ones. I took a consulting position with another agency and for awhile it looked like we might make it.

And then the legal problems with the divorce really started. Eventually we had no choice but to seek bankruptcy protection. It was our last ditch decision and we tried to avoid it. That process took a year.

In 2008, during our best year, I signed a divorce settlement that took three years to reach. I endured seven "discoveries" each of which personally cost me about $4,500 each. I endured a court-ordered business evaluation that cost me $25,000. Nearly $100k in legal expenses and three years of paying full freight on alimony. I was ready to sign anything. Sadly, the settlement included a small two paragraph section regarding the on-going operation of the agency. This section, poorly written, would come back to haunt me. At the time it seemed only fair that my ex-wife should get some compensation for the business enduring into the future. But that didn't happen. The business closed in early 2012. So I believed that section no longer pertained.

After the divorce was final, actually the very day it ended, I received a court summons. And so began yet another chapter in my legal problems. The court, in their infinite wisdom, decided that section still pertained. And since that decision has continued to add to the amount. I've been threatened with jail seven times. They are currently threatening to take my driver's license. The judgment against me, which resides on my credit report, is keeping me from gainful employment. I can't even get a job at Home Depot.

The basis of the agencies eventually collapse was the economic downturn of 2008-2009. Two of our largest clients were tied into the mortgage industry. For example, one client spent $4.5 million with us in 2008, and spent $50,000 with us in 2009. And that is just the obvious. Dozens of smaller clients cut back on advertising. Marketing is the easy cut in a companies budget and usually the first to suffer. This formed the basis, the foundation, of our undoing. But there are a thousand other reasons. It is impossible to blame one thing.

I know these things to be true. If I had cash to re-invest back into the business, it would probably still be going. But I didn't. My ex-wife doesn't deserve to benefit from a non-existent business. Anymore than anyone else does. Bringing the business down cost a lot of people, it harmed friends, it broke partnerships, it left people holding empty bags. For whatever reasons, and there is ample justification to go around, I still feel personally responsible for everything. That is the kind of guy I am. I was in charge, so everything that happened is ultimately my responsibility.

My professional career has been ruined. And now, close to fifty, I'm trying to re-invent myself. Meeting new people, helping those that need help, working on new projects, being a part of a great and awesome community of people here in Eve. Trying to find my way. Networking, starting new business ventures, exploring new works, making wallpapers, trying to get CCP to grant me a license to sell you posters. lolz.

Having said all of that, I want to leave you with something. Right now my life is the best it has EVER been. And I wouldn't trade what I have right now for anything. I spent my entire adult life regretting a decision I made when I was 23 years old during a very difficult period in my life. And now I have found the love of my life, I am finally free of that decision in every way that counts. I will pay any price, any charge, any decision, to keep that. If that means going to jail, then so be it. If that means giving up a career that I never really wanted in the first place, then so be it.

My wife and I have worked our asses off the past four years to re-build a new life from the ruins of both our old ones. We've endured hardships that you can only imagine. And we've both not only survived, but thrived. And nothing, no one, no court, no lawyer, no legal machine, no hater, no wanker, no comment troll, no one, can take that away from us.

Keep the courage my friends.





Theomachy Event


On August 27th on the Singularity server, Eve players can participate in Theomachy!

Theomachy is a Battle Royale event that will see participants transported in their implant free pods into an arena full of ships, mods and other items for the taking. With the help of CCP, this event is designed for maximum carnage.

The arena itself is littered with ships and loot cans scattered around the beacons of the arena. Some ships are decently fit some not so much. Every hull has multiple variations and all basic fits are designed for lower sp players without implants or max fitting skills.

They have billions in prizes thanks to our sponsors and CCP they are able to provide a prize pool for the top 40 participants as well as 28 Achievements that can be earned in the event.

The rules are very simple, you are only eliminated when you are podded and all celestials are off limits and off grid safes are disallowed. No matter how many ships you die in, you can still remain as long as you keep your pod intact. To promote early blood shed and as much fun as possible, no podding of players is permitted in the first few minutes of the event and no beacons will have bubbles.

Registration is currently open and there are plenty of slots remaining, if we happen to fill our slots, we do have a waiting list if possible. Streaming and commentary for the event will be handled by Eve NT as well.

The website is http://www.theomachy.com

This event sounds like a blast and I am planning to attend if I can. Hope to see you there.



Eve Cartoon Show

Frigate Fighters
Click to embiggen


I've had this thought before, but a few weeks ago it came back. What would Eve look like as a kid's cartoon show, like one on Cartoon Network?  Its trickier than you might think, since we don't really have people in Eve. What we do have is spaceships and lots of them. Would it be possible to make the spaceships the characters? Hmmm.

So I thunk on it. I started sketching ideas in my head and then on paper. The Amarr idea is the one I started with, correctly thinking it would be the easiest. Lasers = Kids. Then it started getting trickier until I remembered that this entire project was bogus! Yeah, it wasn't real. So why worry. Let me give the Tristin drone powers, I'll make the Merlin a robot with a shield (lolz) and give the Rifter the power to fly. We can have an Astero wizard who turns blue in the middle when she is using her powers, and we need a big guy - so a Venture will work as our "Hulk". I'll even give him purple pants.

So there you have Team Empire. If I feel like it I may do a Team Shadow poster as well. That would be the bad guys, the Dramiel, Daredevil, Succubus... and who knows?

Either way, that was fun and I enjoyed making it.

Hope you like it.



Drifter Wars: A Year Later


A year ago I started imagining a world in which an Eve themed 8-bit game called "Drifter Wars" existed. I created a bunch of art around it, just for the fun of it. One of the Dev Teams at CCP used the graphics I created and the response was terrific. It was a fun round of creativity and I thought it helped sell the Drifter concept well during last year's Summer doldrums.


Drifter Wars Game Cartridge

And then Igor Puschner (Commander Ogir) approached me about building a real version of the game. If I could provide the art he'd provide the server and the coding to make it happen. And he did. He worked his ass off on it over the course of two months and by the time we launched it, Drifter Wars was a pretty damn good side-scroller 8-bit-esque video game that played on a browser.

Screenshot from the game

Granted, in our rush to get it up and running we made a few mistakes. We mostly used rights free music, but sadly a real track of Eve music managed to get into the launch. In addition, of course, we used Eve IP graphics in the game. But we were hoping that since the entire thing was FREE, once we removed the music problems, that would shield us.

As you know, it did not. We brought the game down voluntarily within a few days after trying to work thru a solution with CCP. Games very similar to Drifter Wars, although on a smaller scale, had been done before. As we were taking ours down, I counted at least three others up and running around the internet. My intention, once we started down this path, was to try and get CCP to work on a solution (a legal solution) for the player base to be able to create such efforts. In the immediate aftermath of the decision to bring down Drifter Wars I had every reason to believe such a solution would be forthcoming.

I don't regret the time I took to help develop Drifter Wars. It was a fun game and I can only imagine what it would have developed into over the past year. I still feel bad for all the wasted time that Igor poured into it. And I wish it had resulted in the creation of limited development licenses for other FREE games to be developed by other creators. But I can't change the past.

I don't give up though. I just take my lumps and go off to do something else.

Muhahahaha.



After Hours Episode 7


After Hours with Rixx Javix: Episode 7 Podcast featuring Niden

In this Episode of After Hours with Rixx Javix, Rixx welcomes the Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras to the Lounge in an obvious display of wanton favoritism. Join him as he talks with Niden about the difference between FW and Pirates, dropping CCP Guard into a volcano, spaceship art and much, much more!

Consider supporting Rixx’s Patreon to keep this Podcast and hundreds of other projects for the Eve community alive. Thank you.






Eve Art Studio Video



For ages people have been telling me to make videos or stream myself working on projects. I really don't know why I've been hesitant to do it. I'm usually the first person to embrace new things and jump on board. Whatever the reason, and I think my chaotic life is probably the big one, I've finally done it.

I hope someone enjoys it.



The Shadow Series

The Envoy by Rixx Javix
Click to download various sizes

The Mission by Rixx Javix

Like I didn't already have enough to keep me busy I had to go and create a whole new series idea! I call this one "Shadow" and the idea came to me last week looking at some photos a friend of mine did. He is a professional photographer and he sends me images every so often, these just happened to be of several Lotus sports cars. They reminded me of those mostly black, highlight sports car posters. And I started to wonder what that style would look like with Eve spaceships instead of sports cars.

I ended up going in a different direction ultimately, but that was the genesis of the idea. I always strive to interject a sense of story or setting or implied meaning into my work. A poetry if you will. I can only hope that comes thru. I find the inky blackness of space hauntingly gorgeous and I think the concept of covering our ships in it to be potentially immense.

We shall see. Either way, I hope you enjoy.  It can also just be a purty picture.



Hauling Thoughts



So about a month ago CCP asked the players for ideas for more player segments to air during the o7Show. I actually have a few ideas I've had laying around, but all of them take ::effort:: and I'm a really busy Rixx. So I tried to think of something that would be super easy and super dumb all at the same time. Oh, and also short. Which led me to remember a segment that Saturday Night Live used to air called "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy".



I've been spending a lot of time moving my stuff and the corps stuff the past few weeks to our new home in my Providence. This takes a ton of time and gives me way to much time to think.

So the idea was to take the spirit of Jack Handy and see if I could translate it into the Eve universe. This was more of a writing challenge for me. It took some work to get into the proper mind-set to start writing twisted, dumb, but smart tidbits of philosophy sounding things based in New Eden. I made a rule for myself, all of them had to be from the character's perspective, not from the player's. These had to be things that the characters themselves might think inside of New Eden.

So I finally had about 10 or 12 of them written and I made a template in Premier, 4 templates each with a different racial background, found some music and made two of them, and sent them off to CCP. The response was incredibly positive and they actually aired one of the two today on the o7Show!

I have about 30 of them written now. And yes, they are all as dumb as the first one. Actually, some of much dumber. I hope you enjoy them and they continue using them on the show.

As always, my awesome Patrons are responsible for me being able to continue developing and providing content like this. Consider becoming a Patron and helping me continue to make time to make awesome stuff for you to enjoy! It is very much appreciated. You can learn more by visiting my Patreon page HERE.

Enjoy!



Eve Fusion Project

Eve Fusion Project
Give it a second to load and you can click thru the album


I finally got around to collecting them all in one album. I plan to keep doing these as long as the inspiration is still there.



Pittsburgh Eve Meet!


Over the past few days more than a few people have been surprised about where I live. I've been pretty open about it, but just to set the record straight I live in the City of Champions, at the birth place of the great Ohio River, the Steel City Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. In my opinion one of the most picturesque cities in the entire world. The city of bridges. Birthplace of cinema and oil wells. Backbone of the Allied victory over Germany. Yadda yadda. I could go on.

I've lived here since 1996 when I moved back from Philadelphia. If you can see that black building on the shore of the Monongahela River right above the top of the yellow bridge in the bottom right? Now go two buildings up the river and that smaller brown building is where my agency used to be located. My office had an awesome view of the South Side and the river. Sigh.

Now that you know where I live, generally speaking, you should come visit. And I'm making it easy for you to find me. I'll be at an event that my wife and I have created called Steel City Eve on August 20th, 2016. We've rented a pavilion at the beautiful North Park for the entire freaking day! Tons of people are coming and you, and your family if you want, are invited. North Park has a ton of stuff to do, even beyond hanging out with me and other Eve nerds. There is a huge lake with boat rentals, zip lines, bike trails, and much, much more.

I'm hoping to have an original Rixx Javix painting ready to raffle off to one lucky winner! And we'll have other stuff to give-away, or throw at you, or stick on your forehead. Who knows what might happen?

So head on over to the Eve Meet page and check out all the details.

My wife has provided a ton of links to local hotels, camp grounds, attractions, and alcohol providers for you. We will be getting a liquor license so we can have drinking at the pavilion, but drinks are BYOB. I'm not Donald Trump here!

Oh, and it also happens to be my 50th birthday celebration! So be sure to bring me something shiny! I'm kidding of course, gifts are entirely optional.

We hope to see you there. And if this year is successful we'll probably just keep doing these every year. Why not? Why didn't I think of this before?!?!  I DON'T KNOW!

Pittsburgh. August 20th. Be there. I will be.

#HYPE



Logos Updated

Here are all the ones I've done so far. I had this idea pop into my brain the other day looking at the EA Sports logo. EA is not that different from EVE and I can still remember thinking, I wonder what that would look like as an actual Eve Online logo? Since then its been whatever pops into my brain. These are like little snacks between long stretches of editing car commercials. The only two that have taken more than five or ten minutes have been the Ninetendo64 and WoW versions, those took more like fifteen minutes to finish.

Also remember you are only seeing the ones that work. I did an NFL Eve logo the other day that turned out terrible. So you won't be seeing that one. Some ideas just don't work.  And some, like the Kojima Valykrie logo, turn out to be more than just a simple joke.






Enjoy!




After Hours Episode 5



After Hours Episode Five is now available! In this episode I talk with JonnyPew about making Eve videos, shooting things in space and other topics of interest.

Enjoy!



Empyrean Chronicles Next Steps

This is just a mock-up
So where does the Empyrean Chronicles go from here? Based on the traffic numbers, the amount of media attention, the general buzz in the community, and the downloads that I know about, I think I can safely say the first volume was a rousing success. As this is the Eve community we are talking about, it can be hard to judge such things. We tend to be very vocal about things we don't like and less so about things we do. But, even so, I think the general consensus is extremely positive. So let's go with that.

Yes I do plan to continue the series. I'm going to be doing something slightly different with the next two volumes however. I've talked this idea over with Telegram Sam, who runs the annual Pod and Planet fiction contest, and the next two volumes will include fiction pulled from the archives of that contest. These are all great stories that have already been written and deserve a chance in the spotlight. Not to mention a wider audience. Moving forward I'm hoping there will be even more synergy between the contest and the book, perhaps a volume each year specifically pulled from the annual contest. But first things first.

I also believe there will be room in each volume for new works. I just don't know exactly how to handle that yet. Last year some submissions to volume one were lost when I lost my computer. A few others got mixed up in the transfer to the editing on Google Docs. I freely admit, as a first time Editor-In-Chief, I had a lot to learn. For anyone whose work was omitted in the first volume, my sincere apologies. So I am being extremely mindful when I take a deep breath and try to prepare a proper system before asking for new submissions. This was the springboard for the idea of pulling from the PNP archives in the first place.

What I do need however is artists. Sure I could just scour the internet for Eve related artwork and pop anything I wanted into the book. Its all Eve IP after all and the book is free. But I don't want to do that, the mere idea is horrible. So I've already started reaching out to some new people I'd love to work with and I have others yet to contact. But if you are interested in providing art for the new volume please feel free to contact me. Art is the one thing that can really take a huge amount of time and we need to get started.

In other news, I also had an idea for another book. I don't want to share the concept with you yet, but I've already reached out to someone about it and they are on board. We just need to get together and talk it thru. I'm very excited about the idea and I think it will be an extremely interesting collaboration. And something new and different for the community. And no, it has nothing to do with the Fountain War.

Although I am trying to get Jeff Edwards on the After Hours podcast, so if anyone knows Jeff can you please try to help out. I think he'd be a great guest and it would be very interesting to hear from him now that the Vegas book is in the rearview mirror.

Things continue to develop here at Eveoganda World HQ, as always.


These types of projects are fueled by YOUR goodwill and support. I can't do them without you. Consider becoming a Patron and help bring even more great projects to light for Eve, our community and for your own enjoyment. Your support is sincerely appreciated. Empyrean Chronicles, After Hours and everything else wouldn't exist without it.