Monday, July 1, 2024

There's A New Zak Book Available for Pre-Order

I have a new art retrospective book coming out now available for pre-order. The price will jump in a few days, so if you're interested, best to grab one soon. It covers the last 20 years of art.

With essays by Ana Finel Honigman, Anuradah Vikram and Eileen Townsend.

Link and info here.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Good Deed Goes Punished

 The Demon City galley--proofs are sitting on my table:

The real books should be actually printed soon...

The section on political campaigns was written by Linda Tirado, the journalist who wrote the section on political campaigns and whose been a stalwart ally on the project since day one:

She is now not expected to live very long due to complications from the police shooting her in the eye while she was covering the Black Lives Matter protests. (There is a link there for anyone who would like to donate to palliative hospice care or to her kids and family). This section of Demon City may, weirdly, be the last thing she wrote that sees print.
Linda interviewing a source for a
story at my place

I've known Linda for about a decade. She knew me, she knew my ex, she'd been to my house, she played games with us, she gave me 10,000$ to help with my court cases (it was 10k she couldn't afford: within the year she was asking if I could spare anything.) Although she didn't get to LA nearly enough, she tried hard to help whenever she could.

I am now going to tell my favorite Linda story:

So as you may know, losing one eye is *not* just like it looks when you cover one eye or see a pirate movie. It really messes with your depth perception in ways a person used to two eyes can't simulate. Linda had real trouble getting around alone even just in my apartment or, more to the point, in her own house

So they live down south, from the point of view of the kids (elementary school at this time): perfectly operational mommy goes away to Minneapolis, comes back stomping on toys, using a walker, losing short-term memory, etc

Her daughter (8-ish) goes to school one day. The school is having one of those fire drills or active shooter lectures or anti-graffiti assemblies or whatever and so there's a Tennessee state trooper or sheriff or something in the hall waiting to tell these children whats what.

Linda's daughter walks up to this man and says "Fuck the cops!" then heads down the hall to third grade

The Tirado household gets a phone call from the principal's office. They would like to have a parent-teacher conference.

So in comes Linda.  Down the hall with her walker clank clank and comes in and sits down and meets the principal in the office. And they say:

 "Your daughter said 'fuck the cops' to a sworn officer in the hallway last week".

So Linda fixes them with her eye, lights a cigarette (would you stop her?) and says "I don't see the problem here".

The principal was like "Ah, I think I understand". And that was that.

Also: Linda has known she was dying for several months. She was one of the few people I could talk frankly about my possible impending death with and vice versa. She understood about court cases (there were no criminal charges against the cop who shot her so, like me, she had to sue), she understood the idea of getting your affairs in order for the sake of what happens after, and that most people do not know how to talk about that and freak out and freeze up and are the opposite of helpful. This put her in a very rare class of people for me.

And she was really funny. "Tell everyone when I die: Sunscreen". For that reason and many others, I recommend her books.

I will miss her very much. 

Monday, May 27, 2024

The Zak Conspiracy Theorists Admitted They Lied

If you read his blog, this is the most important thing that's ever been on it:

I started this blog in 2009 to document my mostly-porn-stars' game group's D&D game and my game ideas.

A little while later, I started getting asked to make my own game stuff, and I did.

As is typical for someone a little internet-famous, lots of conspiracy theories about me started spreading.

Most of these didn't affect much until 2019, when basically they destroyed my life

An Oxford-educated psychotherapist and researcher wrote a story about all this, documenting the conspiracy theorists harassing me, doing extensive interviews with the harassers where they openly admit they know they weren't telling the truth:

The researcher got harassed as soon as she published and got scared and took it down. However the audio clips of the folks admitting they lied are here:

Interviewees confirmed they talked to her here:

and here:

Goatmansgoblet/Brian Yaksha/Brian Richmond deleted his twitter after he was exposed.

Others apologized spontaneously:

...others had to be sued before they apologized:

Because Mike Mearls (formerly of offical WOTC D&D and someone else targeted by the conspiracy theory described in the article) was recently hired by Chaosium, the conspiracy theorists are having a field day again, lying all over again, and being believed all over again.  

I've successfully sued three times over this. The research is done, it's public. People involved directly admitted into an audio recorder that they lied, didn't check sources, spread things they didn't confirm.

This should matter. This should end. 

Claims like this are basically attempted murder--and they will succeed unless the people who don't want me dead take this as seriously as the people who do.

I am at the limit of my ability to communicate the seriousness of the situation. I don't know what to do.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Interview With A Dork Who Is Mad About Female Space Marines

There are gates? They fell? wtf?

If you follow Warhammer 40k stuff (which I do a little because I'm running this), then you know that their crazed hatemob issue for the last few years is female space marines.

For many years Games Workshop sold no little space marine miniatures with female-looking heads sticking out of their big-ass cool space armor and the lore agreed that space marines were guys.

Many fans thought this should change because why not? A wild number of vocal people on the internet who had time to type thought it should not change at all.

Boy do these dudes type a lot on the Internet I tell you what.

Long ago I learned that one of the little tasks that The Almighty God Emperor has set aside for me personally is to explain why people do stupid things.

So, to wit, I interviewed a volunteer--a man, a stranger, A Dork Who Is Mad There Are Female Space Marines.

The interview was very long and had a lot of dead ends and a few places where the otherwise generous-with-his-time dork got mad about the process of being asked questions and had to be talked down from reverting from man to troll, but I eventually got there. 

Anyway we spoke at length and his ideas are stupid.

The interview was conducted via Facebook


The dork has signed off on the following summary of his basic deal, which I wrote after the interview:

-His own words: "I identify as center right, so you could say I identify as conservative but the current Canadian conservative leader in the running is an asshole so I likely won't vote conservative in the next election."

-His own words: "I spent the majority of my adult life living in major cities, mostly Toronto, spent some time in Calgary and Vancouver as well. I live away from them now by choice, not because of lack of experience."

-He views Warhammer 40k as such a high-buy-in-hobby that changes in official policy could effectively change the pool of people who are interested in it and—longterm—affect the people he could know in the future and play with and meet at cons.

-He likes the people he knows already in the space (mostly dudes) because of shared sensibility.

-He wants to meet more dudes like that and play with them.

-Has had bad experiences with people I’d agree to call "moral scolds" in the RPG space irl where he says things of real value were fucked up for him in games and he identified these people as social justice advocates.

-He wants to deal with less people who seem like the scoldy social justice advocates he met irl in his real life game spaces.

-These advocates people seem to him to resemble the people who want female space marines online.

-He admits he can’t be sure whether they’re representative of the general ok-with-female-space-marines populace because he has limited knowledge of life in areas with cosmopolitan values.

-He doesn’t see female space marines as a big deal alone but he sees a chance they might precipitate a shift toward the company bringing in more people like them and less like himself.

-He doesn’t want to play with these people, he wants to play with his (self-identified) “socially awkward nerd dude” types. Those are his words.

-...even if many of the new people were not only super-hot but available and liked him and wanted to play with him he wouldn't want to.

-Because playing with people who share his sensibility is more interesting to him than any amount of sexual adventure. He's married but he would like to think he'd say the same thing before getting married.

-And he sees the benefits to any genuinely marginalized group of these changes in the game of Warhammer as marginal at best

Some excerpts of talking with the dork in his own words...

by Dark Mechanic

On What The Dork Thinks People Who Like Female Space Marines Believe


Kage Sasurai

I would assume you are for removing the "Shaman" and "Druid" creature types from MTG because it might offend real life Shamans and druids?


Nope--and again, not anyone I know would give a fuck. Including the leftiest trans people ever to get arrested on LAPD property then come roll here as soon as they get out.

So let's say you were to play with people who are cool with female marines. Someone walks up to you and...what? What do they do that makes them no fun?


Kage Sasurai

I show up to GM, I announce that an evil tribe of orcs is invading the town, someone taps the x card 14 times, refusing to elaborate until I figure out that they didn't like the fact that I called them an "evil tribe".


Ok, I am going to say this:

Last weekend I went to an event at the downtown LA Alamo Drafthouse. Official event for a corporate game company. The Alamo Drafthouse is an arty theater and a big one. Movie stars go see movies there with their hairdressers. This is a paid event. With strangers. At the table: 2 trans people, 2 movie industry people, one porn actor, one screenwriter. You CANNOT GET MORE "typical coastal elite gamers" than this crowd. What did we do?

Fought a tribe of evil gnolls. One dude played an orc barbarian. He played him as stupid. This was a totally normal day of D&D for everyone involved, not just me. These are not outliers. Do you believe me this happened in this way?

(Also: no X card or safety tools).


Kage Sasurai

I 100% believe it, but you are having the same problem I have with my athletes [dork is a wrestler] all the time.

You, an exception, an exemplar, are not representative of the industry, or community as a whole. Anyone who showed up for a game with you knew exactly what they were getting into beforehand.


They didn't know I'd be there. I just paid for my ticket like everyone else. There were 5 tables of regular LA gamers who just wanted to play at the movie theater. No famous people were on the bill. Nobody was on the bill, it was just this [I link the event].


Kage Sasurai

Dude I believe you, and yet the code of conduct at the D&D convention in the city nearest me mandates an x card.


Ok, i believe you


Kage Sasurai

Along with a whole bunch of other rules which amount to "If you do anything that anyone perceives as offensive, you get bounced and no refund".


I am just saying that it looks like you are maybe so far geographically from the average person who might wanna play a female space marine that you are reacting to loud shitheads on the internet (cherry picked as examples by other loud shitty people on the internet) instead of to the average person who might want to play a female marine


Kage Sasurai

You have a very valid point. I am speaking only from my own experience.

My group has largely been immune to these issues, its only when I have travelled for either professional games or convention games.

However I have experienced these things happen to multiple other hobbies, and as far as I can tell it's the same people wanting female space marines.

Could I be wrong? Absolutely, but it's not a risk I'm willing to take without putting up a fight.

But at least you give me hope that if for whatever reason I find myself in LA again, I may still be able to find a game if I cough up the dough.




Kage Sasurai

The percentage of changes made in the name of politics, social progress or anything else along those lines should be 0.


So the removal of "homosexuality" from the list of insanities in an early RPG was bad?


Kage Sasurai

That's a very tough and thought provoking question.

[Zak note: He never thought about that before?]

I don't see anything wrong with removing it. On the other hand I would be opposed to changing it to appease a niche group.

Interesting conflict of interests here.


What qualifies a group as a "niche group"?


Kage Sasurai

Any specific group. Perhaps I should elaborate.

I don't view homosexuality as a mental illness.

I however would not ever attempt to pressure a game system that listed it as one to change it.


What makes a group "specific"?


Kage Sasurai

A specific way of differentiating them from the whole? There are a lot of different ways to do this.


Well you said you wouldn't want to changing something to appeal to a "specific group"? What makes a group a "specific group" rather than just a "group"?


Kage Sasurai

If you have 10 people standing together you have a group. If you have 5 of them wearing red shirts that's a specific group.

You could say "that group over there" and it would now be specific as well.


So if more than one person wants a change then it should not be made. A change should only be made if literally only one person likes it or if no-one likes it?

I am genuinely confused


Kage Sasurai

No that's poor choice of words for myself. So if there are 100 people in a group, and 10 of then complain about something, I would be opposed to changing something to appease those 10, if the other 90 were not interested.


So a change should not be made unless the majority of the fanbase wants it?


Kage Sasurai

Yes. And it's incumbent on the minority who wants change, or the outsiders coming in, to convince the existing fan base that the change is worthwhile.

[Zak note: at this point the interview gets confusing because he gets confused between saying both "the company should do what it wants!" and "it should do what most fans want". It never gets sorted out, really. Then Kage opines he doesn't care that much about female marines, actually.]

painted by CerberusXTSpace Maid (3D model by Solflamer)


Let's not backslide to "you dont care" about this issue you've extensively described the shape of your worries about.


Kage Sasurai

Oh I don't not care at all, but I don't care as much as you seem to think I do either.


You care way more than not at all which is the norm or "they can have candy if they want idk" which is probably the next most ordinary position. You have a whole narrative about why it represents something. You've thought it out more than most people--can we agree to that?


Kage Sasurai

Yes, but I have also put more thought into it over the course of the last 2 days than the previous 6 months before that.

[Zak note: So we're back to "I haven't thought this through".]

by nirach



Kage Sasurai

8 years back. There was a whole not of reasons but it boiled down to the only real reason I was staying in the city was money.

I make a lot less out here but it is worth every penny, quality of life is better in every way except having to drive a long way for good sushi


I think there's probably a larger overlap between wanting female space marines and knowing where the good sushi is than any other signifier you mentioned


Kage Sasurai

Lol that's probably true


People Who Think Sushi's Gross Also Probably Oppose Gay Marriage



Kage Sasurai

That doesn't surprise me in the slightest.


Just be glad you don't like anime bro

painter unknown

Thank you to the dork for telling us where your bad ideas came from.