Emergent Systems, the VoFPX Shirt For September

I had so much fun with The Voice of Free Planet X t-shirt for August, I decided to do it again!

For this one, I decided to whip up some corporate swag from Emergent Systems, the company that inadvertently created an artificial intelligence in “One. Precious. Thing.” Be your own post-modern Prometheus with this snazzy shirt!

ESTwomen ESTmen


Remember, this awesome shirt will be available for the month of September ONLY. Don’t be left out!

While you’re hanging out in the Voice of Free Planet X shop, feel free  to take a look at the VoFPX t-shirts, mugs and GPR totebags that are for sale. ‘Course, if you want that cool metallic VoFPX t-shirt, you’ll have to be a Patreon backer...

A Proud Supporter of Galactic Public Radio


Two and half months ago, I was in North Carolina, leading costuming workshops for the Durham Library. I was angling for a new format for The Voice of Free Planet X, something that would be exciting and fresh through the writing, recording and editing processes. Since bringing back the show in March, I was struggling with my dissatisfaction of course I had laid out for myself. I had picked straight readings of short-stories because I thought they would be easy enough to do on a weekly basis. And while they were, that format was also boring to record and edit. And it meant that a great deal rested on the writing, and I was not able to give my work the necessary several drafts in order to be happy with it. Everything needed to change.

Way back in the infant days of VoFPX, I had envisioned the show as a sci-fi This American Life, but I didn’t have the audio editing skills, the writing chops or the stable of performers to make that happen. But sitting there on the porch of my sister’s house, I began to wonder, maybe I have all of those things now.

I decided to experiment. I wrote three scripts in less than a week and contacted some the best performers I knew in NC. Those three scripts, plus a completely improvised session, became the last four episodes of VoFPX: What They Left Behind, Living In V-Town, Dirty Spaceman, and One. Precious. Thing. I figured, I try out the format for 4 episodes, and see what happens. If it didn’t work, I’d try something else.

All of four of the episodes were done in a pseudo-NPR reporting style, using a combination of scripted dialogue and improv, in-character “interviews.” To give the whole thing a veneer of respectability, I said the new format was the result of my show being acquired by Galactic Public Radio, and created a GPR logo to visually identify the episodes on the show’s website, in case anyone was looking for these episodes or wanted to avoid them (you can also get it on a tote bag).


I was helped greatly in this endeavor by my friend Bradley George. Bradley actually works at NPR, and was able to steer me to not just making the episodes sound right, but also making them sound good.

And they do sound good! I was phenomenally happy with how they turned out. Every part of the production of these episodes was more fun than the show had ever been. The writing was easier; not only could I just say huge swaths of exposition instead of working it in more subtly, but I wrote faster imagining which friend would later say the words. Recording was a heck of a lot more fun with other people, and editing became less about hiding my mistakes and more about showing my friends in the best possible light. Plus, crafting the stories from scripted bits and improv meant that there was an unexpected element at every point in production. The experiment was a rousing success!

So much of a success that I’ve already written and recorded four more episodes in this style for September and October, and have episodes planned out until the end of the year. The GPR format looks like it’s here to stay. And I couldn’t be happier.

Fangs Out! The VoFPX Shirt For August

Jason Morningstar, who you may remember voicing Wimple in The Voice of Free Planet X episode, What They Left Behind, has, in his infinite brilliance, designed this amazing “Fangs Out” logo to go with the latest episode of The Voice of Free Planet X, Living In V-Town. And I love it so much, I’m making it a limited edition t-shirt!

Fangs Out - Women Fangs Out - Men

That’s right, this awesome shirt will be available for the month of August ONLY. Better snatch it up while you can!

While you’re hanging out in the Voice of Free Planet X shop, feel free  to take a look at the VoFPX t-shirts, mugs and GPR totebags that are for sale. ‘Course, if you want that cool metallic VoFPX t-shirt, you’ll have to be a Patreon backer...

My Costuming Workshop Schedule

Captain America Wild Thing. Photo by J.R. Blackwell #wolverine #xmen #cosplay #animeexpo #ax2013 Do not approach the dog park. Photo by J.R. Blackwell #wtnv #welcometonightvale #ax2014 Today's Style

I’m going to be instructing the next generation on how to transform themselves into superheroes and other such creatures of fun and fantasy this week, as part of the Durham Library’s Every Hero Has A Story summer reading program. Here’s where I’ll be, in case you might know a teen interested in learning some costuming basics:

Monday June 15th

  • North Regional @ 221 Milton Road Durham, NC 27712: 12:30pm-1:30pm
  • East Regional @ 211 Lick Creek Lane Durham, NC 27703: 4:30pm-5:30pm


Tuesday June 16th

  • Main Library @ 300 N. Roxboro Street Durham, NC 27701: 1:30pm-2:30pm
  • Stanford L. Warren Library @ 1201 Fayetteville Street Durham, NC 27707: 3:00pm-4:00pm


Wednesday June 17th

  • South Regional @ 4505 S. Alston Ave. Durham, NC 27713: 1:00pm-2:00pm


Thursday June 18th

  • Southwest Regional @ 3605 Shannon Road Durham, NC 27707: 1:00pm-2:00pm
  • Bragtown Branch @ 3200 Dearborn Drive Durham, NC 27704: 4:30pm-5:30pm

A Week Of New Beginnings

New beginnings were cropping up all over this week! Not only was I forced to bring this whole contraption into brand-spanking new life, but both The Voice of Free Planet X and Comrade Cockroach Adventures had little restarts of their own.


Comrade Cockroach and Doctor Mercury’s ongoing love story, Hand In Unlovable Hand saw a dramatic change in art-style with Tuesday’s installment. One half me trying to emulate old 70’s Métal Hurlant comics and another half me finally getting the hang of this whole watercolor business, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s pages are the where this strange, blood-soaked love story finally began to feel right.

Next week, things are really going to go off the rails. More off the rails than Comrade Cockroach dying? Yes. Absolutely.

Monday saw the release of episode 170 of The Voice of Free Planet X, the first part of  my weird western”Big Damn Heroes,” Thief of My Heart. I’m doing something a little different with BDH, using the cold opens to provide a little more insight into individual characters without breaking up the narrative. So two very important characters, Queen, the smooth-talking gambler and Daji, the psychic who can see the future, got quite a bit of storytime. As they should, because they are fantastic.

Now, you of course are free to imagine whoever you want in roles of Queen and Daji when you listen to Thief of My Heart, but I had pictured Janelle Monae as Queen and Fan Bingbing as Daji when I was writing it. Take that how you will.

Starting Over

I was a job interview yesterday, and the interviewer pulled up my website to see some links to some of the journalism I’ve done recently. Rather than the usual, cleanly-designed hub of all things Jared Axelrod I had come to expect, what we found instead was series of ads hawking generic erectile dysfunction drugs.

Not the best foot forward, no.

I’ve had this problem before on my website, ever since I downloaded a free template that had a very sneaky bit of code embedded. I’ve deleted files and tracked down suspicious elements, but it was clear the only way to to truly make this thing go away was to burn down everything and start from scratch. So, here we are.

This happened, I should add, just one week after my hard-drive gave up the ghost without a proper back-up. Starting over has been a theme, recently

So with that in mind, welcome to the new, improved, Update your RSS feeds. I’ll be re-running a few “greatest hits” blog posts from years past, and then…who knows?

I’ve always wanted to do more with this site. Starting over is a perfect excuse to do that.