Boom Headshot



Behold our NEW Alliance Tournament Ad for this week! This was a gift on Sunday so we kinda had to use it. I think Jose and I had the idea at the same moment on our Slack channel, so he pulled the video clips and I added the edit magic, and boom!

Ithica's a good sport and I know he got a good laugh out of it over on EVE_NT Slack today. But I'll make it up to him with some free beer at Fanfest next April.

Enjoy!




Roll Tide


The first weekend of Alliance Tournament XV is finally over and A Band Apart comes out with two wins against two quality teams. First I want to thank both Solyaris Chtonium and Hard Knocks Citizens for two excellent, competitive, and well-fought fights. You both pushed us to the edge in both matches and came close to swinging the fight in your direction. Good fights. Good luck to both of you in your upcoming rounds.

It is difficult to communicate what flying in the AT is like. Our team is made up of pilots I've known for a long time, many of them have been in ABA or Stay Frosty for over four years now. Many others I've been fortunate enough to meet in real life, some several times now. This is our third run at the AT and we still have five pilots on the team that have flown in all three. Our team is 28 pilots deep this year and we've all been practicing and planning together for months now. For hours on end. Our entire Alliance has been building, moving, and supporting the effort. This is the part, beyond the actual fighting, that gets hard to communicate. There is a profound sense of all that friendship when you are flying. Of not wanting to be the one that lets them down, that makes the mistake that costs the match. I know I feel it and I'm sure everyone else does as well.

So it is a huge relief when all of that actually works. When I was flying with my teammates today it felt like being part of a well-oiled machine. All of those hours of practice, all those different trials, testing, figuring out things, all came together. It wasn't so much as thought as it was pure instinct. And confidence in those around you. That is a truly great feeling. And it doesn't really have anything to do with actually winning. But winning sure does make it even better. I ain't no idiot.

I'm also not going to take more credit than I am due. I'm mostly just the Head Cheerleader for our team, link pilot, and big ship boom guy. Often primary. Our FC Jose Zampano deserves the most credit. He stood up last year and led us into a Top 16 finish and this year he is doing another fantastic job of leading our team. And he has a lot of help from Andy, and Methea, and Bluey, and Stickel, and others on our team.... Heck, here they all are.

An awesome team shot from Bluey Snuttsoff! (<3 td="">
That's the ABA ATXV Team right there. (Thanks Bluey!)

I have no idea what will happen next Sunday against We Form Volta. According to Ithica Hawk we are in a lot of trouble. Which is a strange thing to say seeing as how they are 8-10 in the AT and we are 6-10 in the AT, doesn't seem like that much of a gap to me. But what do I know? I'm just a low-sec player. What did Mittens say, "a bunch of idiots of no consequence"? I'll take that and own it.

Whatever happens no one can take these two wins away and for now that is good enough for me. Next Sunday's match will take care of itself soon enough. Until then I'm going to enjoy this feeling as long as I can.

Keep the courage and Stay Frosty.




ABA ATXV Poster

A Band Apart ATXV Poster
Click to embiggen


I didn't create much in the way of propaganda for our Alliance Tournament run this year, so I thought I should do at least one piece. I did this for me and I like it. I thought the Cars 3 teaser poster (I haven't seen the movie) was a powerful image and it came to mind today when thinking about the Daredevil. DD's are only 2 points this year, so I expect we will be seeing a lot of them in the AT.

First match is Saturday!!

Go ABA!!




ATXV Our Third Trip



The 15th Alliance Tournament starts this Saturday. This will be A Band Apart's third trip to the tournament. Our first year of eligibility was a rush that was quickly assembled while we were still putting the Alliance together and experiencing growing pains - but no excuses - we got our asses handed to us and lost both matches. Last year we did much better and made it into the Top 16 before our practice partners knocked us out of the running. Which was a good run for us and it meant we didn't have to worry about getting in this year.

Honestly I'm much more comfortable with being underdogs, and although we did finish in the final 16 last year, I still feel like we are underdogs again this year. As Apothne and Jin'Taan are more than willing to point out to me, one year doesn't count in the Alliance Tournament. So, no pressure or anything.

I prefer it that way. And I believe it is the way that all our pilots in ABA are approaching it again this year. We really are underdogs and not just because we only did well in one AT. We also have a lot of pilots in our team this year that didn't fly last year. We're also a relatively small Alliance in a field of much, much bigger fish. We don't live in zero space or have big cousins, or any moon goo to throw around, or whatever it is these days that null sec people do. We are a scrappy bunch of low sec pirates, wormhole denizens, mission runners and industry experts who take sov by accident and refuse to participate in the worst that Eve has to offer. Which is our entire reason for being. We refuse to participate in your version of Eve.

So that makes us underdogs. Not just in the AT but in Eve. A position we thrive in and expect. So nothing different.

I can't begin to tell you how we will do this year. I have no idea. I'm a Pirate Lord not a mystic. I can tell you that I am proud of our pilots, our team is well practiced and prepared, our FC is German, and our ships are well and purposefully fitted. I can tell you that I am thankful and appreciative of our practice partners again this year, all of them. Thanks for grinding with us and best of luck to you all in the AT. I can tell you that no matter what happens this weekend or in the following weekends, that I am proud of our team and all of our pilots. Good people and great Eve players every one.

I can also tell you that I am sooooo glad that I finally finished training ALL of the link skills!

So that is something to celebrate.




The Long Road


(PLEASE NOTE: The following post contains references to real events in the author's actual life. I know that for some of you this can be traumatic and often indecipherable, so I want to give you time to return to your previous programming. I'm also planning on being brutally honest and I know how you can get when I do this.)

I had to start this over. I just learned that another good friend on mine has terminal cancer. That's two that are fighting for their lives as I write this. This kind of news hits you hard and makes you think. About your own life, about the transient nature of life in general and our own moment in the sun. Certainly any news like this gives us all pause. I know it does me. I've known this gentleman since 1987, we worked together at my first professional job. In side by side cubicles. Both of these friends played significant roles in my life and in my career. One of them I had a chance to re-connect with over the past few years, the other one... well, we shall see.

That reconnection is necessary because of what I started writing this post about in the first place. But now the energy is gone, like a vapor in the wind. So I'm going to pocket the rant about time and re-birth and instead just get down to the point of it all. I'll spare you the long philosophical build-up. I'm sure you are grateful for the respite.

The point being that almost everything in my life burned down five years ago. I didn't know it at the time, (how could I?) but those five years would be enlightening, revelatory, and life-changing. A lot has happened in those five years and I'm not the person I was back then. My life is both infinitely better and also significantly different now. If you think about your own life five years ago, I'm sure you feel much the same way.

So let's move this post to be more about Eve, our community and my professional life. I want to first thank you all once again for your tireless support of me over the years. My readers, my fans, and all of you that I have crossed paths with at one point or another. I can assure you this is not a post about quitting, or stopping, or anything like that. In fact, despite the dark opening paragraphs this is a celebratory post. On August 1st I will be starting a brand new chapter in my life. Just as I was beginning to consider looking for a new job, a couple of gentlemen appeared and offered me one.

A good one. We still have a long road ahead of us before I can say, "we've made it", but this is a huge step in the right direction for us. This community of ours, or whatever you want to call it, has been an important part of our lives these past five years. A lifeline. A place to play, to cast aside the worries of the day, to try new things, to explore, to have fun, to share, to talk, and to make connections that truly mean something. I know my wife and I consider many of you reading this post as our friends. And I can only hope you feel the same way. Even if we've never met. Although at this point, we've certainly met a lot of you. And we hope to have the chance to meet more in the future.

There were two moments when you saved us. Some people out there want to make those moments out to be more than they were. We needed help and hundreds of people reached out to help. If we hadn't gotten that help our lives would be much different right now. That's as simple as it gets. And because of that help we are in the position we are today. Along with a lot more help from friends and family you don't even know about.

We will never, ever forget that. Or all of those that have supported me on Patreon, or have bought things from me on RedBubble or thru commissions. All of which has helped along the way. Thank you. I can't say it enough.

So I will be taking the Patreon down in the next few days. I want to reach out to everyone first and write each one a special thank you note. The RedBubble store will also be coming down in the next few weeks. It served its purpose, to show certain people how easy it was to do, but without access to IP it is pointless. And once I finish those items on my Project List, I will no longer be accepting further community projects for isk. I may continue to consider special projects for the community, charity, or other special needs along the way. I want to wait and see what my time looks like before I decide on closing the door on those.

Essentially I just want to get back to playing Eve again without feeling like my time would be better spent working. Which is how it has felt these past few years. And writing in these pages, and doing my podcast, and finally taking the time to work on art that is for me.

Onward and upward my friends. Thank you.


PS: I'm already having second thoughts about the RedBubble store. So that may be staying up after all. Sorry, sometimes I get carried away.


Summer Doldrums


I haven't been posting much lately and After Hours is on hiatus until after the Alliance Tournament. I haven't been logging into Eve as much as I'd like lately either. All of these things are a combination of the dreaded Summer doldrums. Kids are home from school. Weekends are precious. Activities are escalated. It is awesome outside (usually). And any free time is used up by AT practice!

Typical summer. I'm sure a lot of you reading this are experiencing something similar.

This September will mark ten years that I've been playing Eve. Straight. Continuously. I didn't quit and come back, except for a few brief moments here and there, it has been a uninterrupted ten years of playing Eve. That is the kind of revelation that can give a person some pause for reflection. There aren't many things I've done longer than ten years in my life. I was in a toxic marriage for longer than ten years. I've been a Father for longer than ten years. I ran my own business for longer than ten years. Been a creative person obviously. But not counting knowing my wife, or friends, or family, there just isn't a long list of things. But Eve is one of them now. Or will be in a few months.

Does it mean anything? I dunno. I'm still training skills. I'm still wishing I had more time to play. I still enjoy the banter in our Slack channels. I still love AT practice. I still get a kick out of undocking. And I still believe there is no better feeling than hunting down another pilot and winning a close fight.

So I guess I'll stick around and see where the next few years take us.

More later.



Vargur on a Beach

Vargur Beach Commission
Vargur on a Beach
I had a blast working on this commission. Essentially my direction was that they wanted a certain skinned Vargur and a certain skinned pilot in the image, the rest was up to me.  They also indicated that they liked the way the images in the Eve Travel Series looked. So I decided to go in that direction.

The Tempest model always makes me think of sailing ships, so the ocean theme was a great place to start. Plus I really like how the ocean plays into themes of space, exploration, adventure, and many others. You probably didn't think I put so much thought into these things, did you?  The base image of the beach is made up of four (iirc) images, most of which I took myself while in Iceland. The framework image is borrowed, but little of it survives intact. The clouds and sky are also a couple of images worked together. I wanted to combine several things that are unusual, both the Sun and the Stars, into one sky. So that wasn't easy to make work. The Stars themselves are both hand-painted and based on a Hubble image. Same with the planet.

Photographic style images are challenging. The other challenge is trying to get humans into images alongside Eve spaceships! Our ships are so large it makes it nearly impossible. But I imagine this pilot is on SHORE LEAVE! (lolz)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this preview. The original is 24"x18" at 300dpi and I can't wait to see it framed and on the wall.

Stay Frosty my friends.