Darius McCaskey

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T Minus One Week

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Categories: Aegis Studios, Angst & Wrath, Poetry, Writing, Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be just over a week away from the official release of Angst & Wrath, my debut poetry book! I’ve received my proof copy of the book in the mail and it looks just as great in person as it did on screen when I was laying it out. It’s almost better, honestly. There’s something nice about seeing your name in print. Of course, I’ve had that experience before with the various role- playing game books I worked on when I was involved with Aegis Studios, but this being the first time a work is all mine, I have a slightly different kind of fondness for it.

Poetry was my first love as a writer. Publishing this book is almost like reuniting with someone you’re madly in love with but thought dead for a decade. In a way, putting this book out has rekindled my relationship with verse. I’m as head over heels for poetry as I ever was. Maybe someday we’ll get married…

And while I’m still going to be crafting poems for a follow-up book (tentatively called Exercises in Exorcism), my next project is a children’s book I will be working on with my wife. More news to come on that front.

While you’re waiting for the official release of Angst & Wrath, why not follow me on Twitter or become a fan of the book on Facebook?

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Quoi?

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Categories: Health, Tags: , , ,

I must admit to no small degree of confusion. I finally got my scale unpacked last night, so I decided to weigh myself. The scale measured me at 225, a loss of -5 pounds from my starting weight. Yes, I gained five pounds somehow. As if to place an exclamation point on it, my normally somewhat snug pants are strangling my genitals this morning. (On the plus side, my junk appears enormous. Eat it up, ladies of *the nameless company I work for that trolls the internets looking for people talking about them*!)

Normally, I would give up at this point and consign myself to my fate as a fat guy. I have, however, decided that this is not even close to over. I am redoubling my efforts. Instead of a moderate workout in the morning, I’m hitting it hard. My sodapop mix is going from 50%-50% regular-diet to 25%-75%. I’m having egg substitute and turkey sausage with my breakfast in place of their more fattening counterparts. Let’s see what you think of that, gut!

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Angst & Wrath Nearing Completion

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Categories: Angst & Wrath, Poetry, Writing, Tags: , ,

I just finished the final version of the front cover to my upcoming poetry book, Angst and Wrath. The book is scheduled for release February 1. I hope you’ll pick up a copy! For your approval, I humbly submit the front cover image, featuring the profound photography of J L Brown. Check out more of his work on his flickr photostream.

Angst & Wrath Cover

Feedback is definitely requested and appreciated! Thanks a million!

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Parental Guidance Needed

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Categories: Family, Health, Tags: , , ,

My wife sent me a picture message of my daughter, Muirne (MEER-nah), the other day and I almost burst into tears. Not because it’s a bad picture; quite the opposite, she’s a very cute kid. I was upset by the picture because it makes painfully obvious something about her.

We’ve recently noticed that Muirne’s right eye is lazy. It’s especially pronounced when she’s tired, but it wanders even when she’s awake and alert. I was concerned at first, but I figured a temporary eye patch and maybe glasses would solve the problem. Then someone mentioned to me the possibility that Muirne might need surgery and I kind of lost it.

We have an appointment with an opthalmologist, but it’s not until February. I’m going slowly insane waiting for the next two weeks to go by.

It’s tough to adequately explain how I feel about this. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I hoped my daughter would be… perfect, I guess. Not perfect in the overbearing, you’d-better-have-straight-A’s kind of way, but more that I hoped she wouldn’t have to deal with any difficulties early in life or ones that would be permanent. The thought of my 2-year-old going under the knife terrifies me in a way no horror flick ever could.

Hopefully, it’s a non-issue and in a few years she’ll have no problems with the eye whatsoever. Send out prayers to whatever god you believe in for my little girl, please.

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Why I Love Canadians

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Categories: Poetry

You should check out the amazing work of Jimmy Brown on flickr! He is graciously allowing me to use his piece “As the Crow Flies (Holga)” on the cover of my upcoming poetry book, Angst and Wrath.

I love Jimmy’s use of beautiful photography and expert Photoshop augmentation. A lot of artists think they can turn garbage into gold with Photoshop: it’s just not true. A gold-plated turd is still a turd. But Jimmy obviously knows how to use his camera first and foremost. The effects applied later only add to the work, turning gold into platinum. Thanks again and keep up the good work, Jimmy!

Oh, did I forget to mention that I’m releasing a book of my earliest poems? Well, I am. 🙂 Written between 1990 and 2000, the poems in Angst and Wrath are classic teenage tempestuousness captured in verse. Know any critics in the scene? Please send them my way! Want to help support this site? Buy a copy on release day (February 1)! The initial release will be available from lulu and Amazon in paperback. I also plan on publishing Angst and Wrath in eBook and audiobook (read by me, since I can’t afford Patrick Stewart) formats later in the year.

See, I told you there’d be big news in 2010! 🙂

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So I Heard…

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Categories: Family, Uncategorized

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard that I’ve moved. If not; I’ve moved. I’m not exactly thrilled by the turn of events, but it could be far worse, all things considered.

I am extremely grateful to my parents-in-law for allowing Tiffanie, Muirne and me to rent part of their home. I am also extremely grateful to the multitude of friends and family that helped us on moving day.

We are in the middle of the foreclosure process with the bank and are awaiting our bankruptcy discharge, which should be granted toward the beginning of February. Normally, I wouldn’t share an embarrassing personal detail like that with the world, but it’s a matter of public record, so it’s really not all that personal a detail. And if, for some reason, knowing that I was abysmal at managing money makes you think less of me as a person, I invite you to step out your front door and play “hide and go fuck yourself.”

You see, the reason that I’m not that upset that I’m losing my house and destroying my credit is that I have a child. My choice was to either maintain the status quo, raising Muirne in a house falling apart around us with creditors threatening to take my paycheck, or to file bankruptcy and find a home for her in a safe, secure structure. Tiffanie and I made mistakes with our money in the past: Muirne should not and will not suffer for those mistakes in the here and now. I am a pacifist, yet I know I would kill for that little girl: surely swallowing my pride and embarrassing myself should be no challenge.

So, in the event you find yourself questioning my motivation for anything I do, remember that my child means more to me than life itself. I will sacrifice anything to secure her safety, health and comfort.

Thanks again to everyone that has helped to make this difficult time just a bit easier for us. Here’s to clearer skies and smoother sailing in 2010!

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My Favorites, 2009 Edition

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Categories: Bands & Music, Blackhawks, Blog, Gaming, Hockey, RPG, Shadowrun, Uncategorized, Writing

As we’re coming up on the end of the year, it’s traditional to look back and pick our favorite things from the year gone by. That’s kinda lame. Instead, I’m giving you a glimpse of my favorite things as they stand right now. There’s no particular rhyme or reason to the things I’m sharing here: I’m just tossing some things into the ether.

Favorite Band: Rush (This should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me. The seminal Canadian prog-rock group has been my favorite musical group since I was in high school.)

Favorite Rush Album: Moving Pictures (This record is full of classic jams. I must admit that I like the last two songs on the B side most of all. “Everybody’s got to [sic]evelate from the norm.”

Favorite Rush Song: “Freewill” (While not from the Moving Pictures album, this song speaks to me so much right now.)

Favorite Non-Rush Album: Cryptic Writings (As far as music goes with me, there’s Rush and everything else. This Megadeth record contains some of the most intense and personal lyrics I’ve ever heard.)

Favorite Non-Rush Song: “Little Earthquakes” (Tori Amos is a fabulously talented musician and this song is one of my all-time favorites. It’s such a passionate and beautiful piece of work. From the album of the same name.)

Favorite Book: Anthem (Thanks to the influence of Rush, this Ayn Rand novella quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. While a bit heavy-handed in its message, the ideas presented are solid gold.)

Favorite Role-Playing Game: Shadowrun, 4th Edition (I’m not a huge fan of the dice system, having cut my gaming teeth on 2nd Edition. That being said, the story elements are great and Catalyst Game Labs seems to be doing an amazing job updating the game for a new generation of gamers. I’m looking forward to what they do with FASA’s other great game, Earthdawn.)

Favorite Video Game: NHL 2K7 (Yeah, I know it’s three years old and I don’t get to play it very much, but the Charlestown Chiefs are in the running for the Stanley Cup thanks to their star forwards, Darius McCaskey and Toy Cesar [Mike Diamond is out with an injury].)

Favorite Board Game: Zombies! (This game is so much fun and so easy to play. I like that it’s as competitive or cooperative as the players choose to make it. I just picked up Dante’s Inferno, also by Twilight. I hope it makes this list next year.)

Favorite Food: Pizza (Goddamn, I love pizza!)

Favorite Drink: Coke Zero (This diet soda doesn’t taste like carbonated poo, so it’s epic win in my book.)

Favorite Hockey Team: Chicago Blackhawks (Sorry, Rangers, but I’ve officially committed to the Indian.)

Favorite Hockey Player: Jonathan Toews (Sid the Kid is great, don’t get me wrong, but Captain Serious is the anchor of the Blackhawks bench. Go get that cup, Tazer!)

Favorite Actress: Eliza Dushku (I’m sad that Dollhouse was canceled. The show reminded me of how good an actress Ms. Dushku is. And she’s certainly not too hard on the eyes either.)

Favorite Actor: Christian Bale (Bad Bat-Bale notwithstanding, Christian Bale is a phenomenal actor. American Psycho and The Machinist are in my top 10 movies, easily.)

Favorite TV Show: Star Trek: The Next Generation (I know it’s been off the air for about forever, but my Saturday nights were spent in front of the TV watching this show for a good part of my adolescence and teenage years. It’s one of those shows that makes you think that humanity’s not totally fucked up.)

Favorite Movie: Shawshank Redemption (Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins are superb in the ultimate prison movie. Anytime this flick is on one of the TV movie channels, I have to tune in and finish watching it, even if it’s halfway over.)

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…And A Happy New Year

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Categories: Blackhawks, Christmas, Family, Gaming, Hockey, Loves Park, Poetry, Shadowrun

Now that the holiday season is winding down and life is returning to a semblance of normality, I’d like to thank everyone for all the gifts I’ve received throughout the year. 2009 has been a tough year for many(the McCaskey family included) and the help, support and camaraderie of family and friends has been invaluable. Your gifts, both tangible and otherwise, have helped sustain us, keep us sane and generally lift our spirits. Thank you.

As we look forward to 2010, there are several reasons to be hopeful:

  • Things are starting to come together with some of the writing projects I’m working on: big news on at least one of them is forthcoming.
  • I’m finally going to be rid of the house in Loves Park that has been the bane of my existence for the last six years.
  • I’m still involved in my first tabletop role-playing game in many years, Alex Rodriguez’s Shadowrun 4th Edition game. It’s epic and I’m happy to be a part of the story, even if I can’t be at every game physically.
  • I should be running my own tabletop game coming up soon.
  • My daughter keeps growing and developing everyday. Some days are challenging, some are a breeze, but she makes it all worthwhile.
  • I will be back in school in the fall, barring any unforseen snafus.
  • The Blackhawks are doing great this year! I don’t want to jinx it, but this could be the year Lord Stanley’s cup returns to the Windy City. At the very least, it’ll be an entertaining ride, even if Chicago doesn’t hoist up hockey’s Holy Grail.

So, here’s to the future. May it be better than our past!

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When She’s Not Around

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Categories: Poetry

acrid flesh

the char-broiled sound

down and dirty

when she’s not around

fucking up

all the times we’ve had

messing it all up

when she’s not around

cry

lie

die

the order’s upside-down

I feel the venom burning

twisted words around

make it right

man, make it okay

I can’t stand

another fucking day

with her not around

push and pull

it’s all the same

when you’re dancing around

the twisted, corroded flame

’cause it’s never the same

when she’s not around.

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