Where to Meet Me in Person (and a Grammar Rule)


This is a picture of me sitting behind my table at Richmond Zinefest last year. I’ve been doing this event since 2010. It rocks.

This Saturday 10/10/15 you will find me at Richmond Zinefest.   If you’re in RVA, a.k.a. the City of the Monuments, a.k.a. Richmond, Virginia, USA, please come out.  This self-publishing, DIY, hippie, indie, anarcho-punk event has grown significantly over the years, and 2015 looks to be the biggest yet.  Admission is free.  I will be tabling again this year, and I have many new publications and products.  Come buy my shit.

The 14th Mansion by Robert Mitchell

This is the cover of the third and final book of the Montenegro Cycle. I’m really proud of this novel. It’s creepy yet sweet, dark yet uplifting, and in some ways a transgressive tale. I bet you’d like it.

And check this out: I’m working on a bundle.  I wrote three books, a loosely associated trilogy of sorts, that really haven’t been selling.   I had this realization that, at their heart, these books are all romances.  Why was I was billing them as metaphysical horror or slipstream?  Maybe because  subconsciously I didn’t want to admit that I wrote a few romance books?  Heck if I know.  People are stupid, and I’m a people.  Anyway, I decided to put them together in a 3-in-1 eBook bundle and label them appropriately.  My formatter is working feverishly as we speak.  It’s going to be “The Montenegro Cycle – Three-Book Spooky Romance Bundle” and it’s going to sell for $5.99 (40% savings over purchasing singly).


This lovely painting will be for sale at my Zinefest table this year. Want it? Sure you do!

And now for your grammar rule of the day.  Did you know that there is no single, accepted, according-to-Hoyle title capitalization rule?  How do you know if Ray Bradbury’s book should be called “Something Wicked This Way Comes” or “Something Wicked this way Comes” or “SoMeThInG WiCkEd ThIs WaY cOmEs”?  Well, the most common titling form seems is as follows, which I have creatively distilled into this easily remembered alliterative convention: first, final, fundamental, four or more.  In other words, the first word, the last word, any fundamental words (nouns, adjectives, adverbs), and any word with four or more letters should be capitalized.  Dig it.  Or, if you prefer, just capitalize every single word like some kind of weirdo.

Have a fun day and good weekend.  Hope to see you on Saturday.

What the Hermetic Pragmatist is Reading

I am currently reading The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation by Dennis William Hauck.  I’m only on the fourth chapter, so the jury is still out. but so far so good.

I know some folks, especially martial artists in the modern MMA mold, would probably say that meditation and metaphysical studies are a waste of my time, and that I’m being impractical.

Yes, I’m increasingly aligned with Hermetic mystical concepts — but that doesn’t mean I am not a pragmatist.  I want results, and I don’t waste my time on things that don’t move me forward.

Tarot, the Emerald Tablet, the Hermetic Quaternary, Hermetic Qabalah,  Alchemy — they have all proved themselves to be reliable sources of insight, comfort, peace, direction, and motivation.    My interest in these matters is immanently practical.

wpid-20151007_065138.jpgThe same goes for my martial arts training.  I spend about a third of my practice time on fitness, and so I have been accused of neglecting technique.  But I disagree.  Strength and size matter.  If size didn’t matter, there wouldn’t be weight classes in boxing, wrestling, and combat sports.  All things being equal, the larger, stronger person will prevail.  I’m small, so I make myself stronger than average to compensate.

So let’s get practical, shall we?

Here is today’s Cabal Fang WOD — a little sandbag half pyramid that I created using my PTDICE.

Select a sandbag of appropriate weight (I used a #10 for this workout) and complete a Half Pyramid to 10 (that’s 55 reps total) of:

  • Diamond Push-ups (both hands on the bag)
  • Jackknifes (hug bag to chest)
  • Get-ups (hold bag in crook of inactive arm)
  • Side Lunges (hug bag to chest)

A Half Pyramid to 10  is 1 of each, 2 of each, 3 of each, etc. until you reach 10.  This is 55 reps of each total, and it should take you about 15 minutes or so.

Discovering Alan and Oscar at the Bookstore with a Banana

wpid-20150926_142714.jpgOver the weekend I went to Book People, my favorite bookstore.  By the way, this Oscar Wilde quote has been over the counter for years (photo at right): “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

wpid-20150928_045014.jpgAnyway, I was looking for a good book, something philosophical, mystical, thought provoking.  What I found was a little book by the name of Nature, Man and Woman by Alan Watts.  This is a bombshell of a book, one of those books so thick with excellent points, so devoid of fluff, that if you try to highlight “the good stuff” you end up highlighting the entire book (that’s what happened to me, so I just put the highlighter down).

I really hope you’ll give it a read, so I won’t spoil it with a complete review.  What I will do is throw a taste at you, in the form of a representative quote.

“For it is strictly incorrect to think of the progressive cultures as materialistic, if the materialist is one who loves concrete materials.  No modern city looks as if it were made by people who love materials.   The truth is rather that progressive man hates material and does everything possible to obliterate its resistances, its spatial and temporal limits.  Increasingly his world consists of end-points, of destinations and goals with the times and spaces between them eliminated by jet propulsion.  Consequently there is little material satisfaction in reaching the goal, since a life full of goals and end-points is like trying to abate one’s hunger by eating merely the two precise ends of a banana.  The concrete reality of the banana is, on the contrary, all that lies between the two ends, the journey as it were, all that jet propulsion cuts out.”

~Alan W. Watts, Nature, Man and Woman (New York, Vintage Books (1970) p. 16-17)

That’s all I got for now.  Have great day.  Start by eating the entire fucking banana, except for the skin of course.

Some Helpful Tips and Facts and Your WOD


Here’s a grab bag of miscellany for a Friday — the Workout of the Day is at the bottom.

1)  Since I stopped using Swedish snus (spitless tobacco) I have been hungry.  How hungry?  Ravenous.  At all times.  Yes, I know that hunger in the wake of nicotine withdrawal is a known and predictable phenomenon, but being prepared isn’t nearly as helpful as you might think  (he said, gnawing on the corner of his desk like a Labrador Retriever).

B) “Life is an ever-unfolding process of becoming,”  says Maria Popova, the brain behind brainpickings.org,  “a continual process of arrival into who we are.”  Yesterday on the way to work I listened to her answer ten questions on Tim Ferris’ podcast and I was blown away by her intelligence, wit, and charm.  But what really really impressed me was her wisdom.  Her favorite book is The Journals of Henry David Thoreau.  I think I’m in love.  I follow her blog, I follow her on Twitter @brainpicker, and pretty soon I’m going to be following her around town (just kidding Maria!).

iii) Some folks say Tim Ferris is all snake oil and pop bullshit, but I disagree — he’s only 50% snake oil and pop bullshit. The rest is a mixture of the useful and the profound. This article about beating anxiety is very interesting and insightful, and I’ll be heeding some of its advice.


Now for your WOD.  I call it the Chain Constitutional.  Put a chain around your neck  (I used a #20) and complete 4 x 10 each of  the following exercises:

  1. Wide Push-ups
  2. Staggered Push-ups
  3. Front Lunges
  4. Prisoner Squats
  5. Steam Engines
  6. Sit-ups
  7. Neck Crunches

New Art, Richmond Zinefest, KOBO, etc.


I’ll be rolling out a couple of new products at Richmond Zinefest this year. Instead of coming right out and telling you what they are, I’ll just tease you with some of the preliminary sketches and give you a hint: one of the products is a mini booklet and the other is an 11″ x 17″ fitness poster.

If you’d like to see and/or purchase these new products, or if you’d simply like to take the opportunity to pie me in the face, shake my hand, or demand a refund or autograph, please do stop by my table at Richmond Zinefest on October 1oth at the main branch of the Richmond Public Library, 101 East Franklin Street.


So check this out: The Calisthenics Codex has taken off over on KOBO. Its sitting at #3 under its subject, and some nice person gave me a 4-star review. Thanks nice person!  It’s so much more fun to write stuff that people actually read and enjoy.

As an artist you have to just go “Oh well,” and keep producing.  I put a ton of work into three novels that barely get read.  But I can’t let that get me down — I just have to say “Oh well,” and trust that someday tinder will take spark and they’ll go poof.  You can’t look down.  If you look down you’ll fall.

I really think that one of my secrets to success in life has been this:

I’m too hardheaded, or just plain stupid, to know when I’m beat.  So I just keep coming out for the bell instead of staying on the stool where I belong and, eventually, I win a few fights by sheer determination and luck.

Might not be the most brilliant plan, but it’s all I got.  I just keep on swinging.

10 Fun Nicotine-Fueled Facts About Life, Death, and Stupidity

This is a tobacco substitute made of coffee.  How cool is that?

This is a tobacco substitute made of coffee. How cool is that?

I gave up snus on 8/29.  I’m on day 18 without nicotine and my brain chemistry is still jacked all to hell. I have no focus, my sense of time is skewed, and all I want to do is sleep.

And that’s an improvement.  Thank heaven I’ve moved beyond the stage that I like to call the “Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Strangle Something Beautiful and Watch It Die Stage.”

They say it can take up to six months for brain chemistry to normalize after quitting nicotine.


Anyway, I usually find “fun facts” and other internet dribble a complete bore.  But, perhaps owing to the altered brain chemistry aforementioned, I was very entertained by the gunk I have pasted below.

Worry not.  My head will be back to normal soon and I’ll be posting interesting, original content once more.  Wait a minute, I wasn’t normal before, so maybe I won’t be normal soon.  But I’ll probably be back to what passes for normal on my cockeyed spectrum.  I hope that’ll do.


  1. Death is the No. 1 killer in the world.
  2. Life is sexually transmitted.
  3. Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
  4. Men have two motivations: hunger and hanky-panky, and they can’t tell them apart. If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.
  5. Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach them to use the Internet and they will not bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.
  6. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.
  7. All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
  8. In the 60’s, people took acid to make the world look weird. Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it look normal.
  9. Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers. What you do today might burn your butt tomorrow.
  10. “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” ~Alexander Dumas, fils

Plugging in and Shorting Out on Kim Davis

After spending a week at the beach, unplugged from all electronics, I am back and ready to knock your socks off.  Social media and gadgets are useful, but being plugged in 24/7 does things to your brain.  If you’ve never unplugged from all phones, tablets, and computers for a full week, I challenge you to do so.  You’ll be glad you did.


Recent painting I completed of a Remington Portable typewriter, Model #1, manufactured in 1921.

Since I was totally unplugged, there are no cool pictures from the trip.  All I can offer you is a shot of one the paintings I completed — see picture on the right.  If you’d like to buy the painting, come to Richmond Zinefest on October 10th and it’ll be on my table with pretty frame around it and $25.00 price tag on it.

Anyway, the first thing that wallops me in the face when I plug back in is this whole Kim Davis affair, which really peeved me out.  For the people who aren’t sure how they’re supposed to feel about Ms. Davis, let me set you straight.

Ms. Davis is not an admirable hero defending religious freedom, or even a plucky little guy giving the finger to the man.  She is just another toady in service of the bullying majority.

For once and for all people, let’s get this straight.   Denying rights to minorities — like refusing marriage licences to same sex couples, denying voter registration cards to black people, refusing medical service to people who are HIV positive, and so on — is not heroic or admirable. 

Majorities don’t need rights because they’re the fricking majority.   It’s the minorities who need our protection.  It’s what rights are actually for.

Now I drop my mic and leave the stage.  I think I’d rather be unplugged.