Category Archives: a few words you’re probably going to have to look up

The Tak FAQ

Well folks, we’re in the home stretch of the Tak kickstarter. Since my last blog on the subject we’ve launched some new stuff, like a much-requested cloth board and the opportunity to buy Devi’s board separately from the boxed set, so that more people can afford to pick it up.

1a5e006cecaa06cf2593880636d5887a_original(Also available in the appropriately-named Gaelet’s Pack.)

As I write this, we’ve just topped $800,000 in the kickstarter. Almost 7,500 people have jumped in to play with us, and there’s only four days left for people who want to get in on the action. So if you know of anyone who might be interested, this would be the time to ping them.

Since we started the kickstarter, I’ve been fielding questions here in the comments of the blog and on twitter. But some of them have come up enough that it feels like we’re overdue for an FAQ.

  • So… I thought Tak was just a different name for Go.

Nope. Sorry. Different game.

  • Is this game accessible to the blind?

A little, but ultimately, not really.

When this question first came up, I thought we were pretty good. The pieces have different shapes, so you can tell them apart by touch. What’s more, the Arcanist’s board has grooves, so you can even feel the squares.

But then I looked into it, and saw what a game really needs to be usable by the blind. Among other things, it requires pieces that can’t be accidentally knocked over. And that would involve us prototyping some sort of pegged pieces and a pegged board to go with it. And there just isn’t enough time.

My suggestion? Maybe start a conversation in the Tak subreddit and see if someone has and idea about adapting the pieces. Or if you have a 3D printer, you could design and print your own pieces that are more blind-compatible. There’s a plethora of options.

  • Can I make my own set?

If we weren’t cool with that, we wouldn’t be encouraging people to do it as a stretch goal. We know if you play the game you’ll like it and probably want to pick up a copy. But to play it, you’re going to have to make up a set.

Luckily, you can throw a set together from almost anything:

ChL3heKVEAAFBdn(Like Post-its.)

And play almost anywhere:

ChmDkW-W0AAfrxG(Like the Great Wall of China.)

Some folks have gone really crazy making their own sets:

CiRg7EqXEAIsaFj(Like this one made of iron. I think of as the Anti-Faen set.)

And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface, if you want to see a bunch more photos, you should check out the #Takgamephoto hashtag on twitter.

  • Can I make sets and then sell them?

Well… no. You shouldn’t do that. Because that’s kind-of a dick move.

Remember the kickstarter we’re running? Where we are… y’know, selling the game that we made? Selling something that belongs to someone else isn’t really a cool thing to do. Above and beyond the legality it’s just not respectful. James hammered this lovely, elegant game out of the pure awesome in his brain. And you know how he makes a living? Wait for it…. he sells games.

So yeah. Don’t do that. Kinda rude.

  • Why does it cost actual money to ship this thing? Don’t you have a magical teleporter to Europe?

Okay I know that’s not what you guys are actually saying, but the truth is, it kinda *sounds* like what you’re saying when you complain about how much international shipping costs.

I know it’s pricey. But please keep in mind that international shipping requires a box being carefully packed, then moved thousands of miles. This requires multiple planes and trucks. Multiple people. It is complicated and hard, and hard things cost money. I mean, there’s a *reason* spice used to cost so much, and it’s not just that the Fremen had a monopoly.

That said, we are sympathetic to your plight. And we were wondering if there was a way for multiple people to order games together and save on shipping. So we asked Carol, the true Mistress of Shipping Questions over at Cheapass, and here’s what she gave us.

I’ve fielded a few direct messages from people, and explained that all they need to do is back for one person (at even just the $5 level), and then do their add-ons through the pledge manager for up to another 10 games. That lets them see the exact postage as they go, and select the precise collection of products they want for their friend-group or buying club.

So there you go. Just team up with some friends and everyone saves money.

  • I have an idea for a rule change!

We’re pretty confident in the rules at this point. We wouldn’t have launched the game if we weren’t sure that the game was good.

  • I AM FROTHY WITH RAGE THAT YOU’RE MAKING THIS GAME AND NOT THE ONE I JUST INVENTED IN MY HEAD.

1. That is not a question.

2. I am happy you have a game in your head. You should make that game.

  • How can there be an Edema Ruh board or University board if Kvothe has never played before?

There’s a game I’ve played my whole life called euchre, and I’m guessing that 90% of you haven’t ever played it. Most of you have never played Go even though there’s probably group of devoted players in your nearby college or town. Ditto with bridge, or Sheepshead. Or any of  number of very common games.

Relax. Kvothe was only 12 when he lost his troupe, and he’s been kinda busy since then. Most importantly, not everyone experiences everything a culture has to offer.

  • I still don’t really understand how to play the game…

We have a video that will help with that.

  • How high do you think the kickstarter will go?

I honestly have no idea. Before we started, I was kinda hoping we’d get past $500K, but we passed that more than a week ago. I really don’t know where things are going to end up.

At this point, I’m just trying to be happy that so many people have been enjoying the game.

CiTPYTIUYAAJIhS

That said, I *have* been spending a lot of time over at Kicktraq. There’s a bunch of graphs and charts that juggle the kickstarter data over there, and I’m mildly addicted to it. Here’s a link if you’re the sort of person who likes graphs.

If you have any other questions, feel free to comment here on the blog, or drop them over on the kickstarter itself, where James and his crew will tackle them.

Later Space Cowboys,

pat

P.S. And a final link to the Kickstarter, for those of you would like to go check it out directly.

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, FAQ, side projects | By Pat53 Responses

Question Bedtime – Mornings Come and Go

It’s really not surprising that I’m a fan of M.C. Frontalot. We run in the same circles after all. We have a lot of the same friends, go to the same conventions…. I think we’ve even performed in the same shows a couple of different times.

What *is* surprising is how long it took for me to become a fan. I’ve known about him for ages, seen him perform, sat next to him at signings….

But here’s the thing. You can know someone, know about their work, and even enjoy their work without being a fan. For me, being a fan isn’t the same as just occasionally buying, listening to, or liking someone’s art.

The line between being a fan and a guy-who-enjoys-your-art can be blurry. But I know I’ve crossed that line when I feel compelled to spread the art around. For example, I regularly buy copies of Peter S. Beagle’s Last Unicorn to have handy when I want to give it away to people. That’s not something I do for every book I just enjoy.

This is what pushed me firmly into the fan camp for Frontalot:

MC_Frontalot_-_Question_BedtimeIt’s hard for me to express in words how much I adore this CD.

You know when you love something like a TV show and a new episode comes out? And you’re excited because you get more of that thing you love?

Finding this CD wasn’t like that for me. At all.

Listening to this CD was like finding something I loved that I never even knew I wanted before. It’s like it filled a hole in my soul I never knew existed.

It’s a collection of songs that retell classic folk stories. From the familiar little red riding hood to the delightfully obscure  Wakjąkága.

Do I even need to tell you how delighted I was to be listening to this collection of folktales and run into one that I didn’t even know? Do you know how rare that is for me? But here I am, already enjoying twelve colours of awesome out of these songs, grooving along, and suddenly *bam* Wakjąkága. Eating his own butt. And I’m like, what? Seriously? Did you just out-obscure me mythologically? While rapping? 

Okay. I gotta calm down a little.

Last year at a convention, I go up to Frontalot and gush to such an extent that I’m probably lucky he didn’t signal security. Later on, he asks me if I’d be interested in helping him spread the word about the album by helping him debut one of the videos he made for it.

Which brings us to today.

The Song is Mornings Come and Go.

Watch it. Watch it ten times.

Here’s some words from brilliant, crazy brain of Frontalot himself:

I drew mostly from a Norwegian fairy tale called The Mastermaid, which I had been enamored of when I was little, reading it in my mom’s large illustrated copy of Idries Shah’s World  Tales. I think this text is identical to the one he used: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/norway120.html

I also pulled details (the tasks that the ogre assigns to the boy, the magic obstacles the maid throws down while escaping) from other countries’ versions of the story, including Nix Naught Nothing and Lady Feather Flight.

The Norwegian version has three acts: the boy protected the maid in the house of the beast, the obstacle flight, and the forgotten fiance, all of which come, I think, from even earlier folk tale traditions (forgotten fiance even figures into Hindu myths of Rama and Sita). I end the song at the very beginning of act III to emphasize what a terrible cad the ostensible hero of the story is.

The video is by Cheyenne Picardo. She decided that the story matches up well with the John Hughes movie Some Kind of Wonderful, with Stoltz as the boy, Thompson as the ogre, and Masterson as the mastermaid. Then she re-cast that as an OKCupid nightmare with local NY personalities: Bob the Drag Queen (officially announced to be on the upcoming season of Ru Paul’s Drag  Race, though appearing out of drag here), Hye Yun Park (star of “Hey Yun“), and Melissa Roth (NY stage actress). The big rotating kiss scene is a shot-for-shot from SKoW.

So… there’s a lot going on! You can explore that as deeply or as shallowly as you like.

The other videos from Question Bedtime were:

And all my other official music videos are in this playlist.

So there you go. I’ve been waiting to gush about this album for *months* now. But I had to wait until the video was done.

If you’d like a copy of the album for your very own, and you like supporting artists who make awesome things, you can buy it on Bandcamp or iTunes.

Myself, I’ve already bought six or seven copies. One for each car I drive (yes, I still use real CD’s) and others to give away as presents.

Share and enjoy everyone,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, music | By Pat40 Responses

Hollywood News

As many of you know, a few days before San Deigo Comic-Con this year, the option on my books expired.

What this means is that ages ago, I sold some people the rights (the option) to make a TV show based off The Kingkiller Chronicles. They tried to make it happen, but it didn’t work out. Then, when the option period expired, all the rights reverted back to me.

Just so you know, this sort of thing happens all the time. The vast majority of things that get optioned never get made. The same way that most people that think about writing a book never get it published. Shit happens. People lose interest. Things get complicated. Projects lose momentum.

I don’t have handy statistics at my fingertips, but I’d be willing to bet a dollar that more than 98% of all book options end this way, with no TV show or movie or anything happening.

Anyway, my rights reverted. It didn’t come as a huge shock to me.

This, on the other hand, was a surprise:

BiddingWar

(Click on the headline if you want to read the article.)

Because everyone was suddenly interested in the books,  I spent most of my Comic-Con having meetings with representatives from every major Hollywood power. At least that’s what it felt like to me. It was a strange experience, and I talked about it in some detail on the episode of Untitled Rothfuss podcast that Max and I recorded out at the convention.

To say that I didn’t know what I was doing in those meetings is a bit of an understatement. In fact, I remember starting several of the meetings by saying, “I have no idea what I’m supposed to do in this meeting.” I also dimly remember explaining to someone that there was no way you could turn The Name of the Wind into a movie. I explained it rather, well… emphatically for, like, 20 minutes. I’m pretty sure that’s fairly high on the list of things you’re not supposed to do in a meeting with someone who wants to turn your book into a movie.

I had fun though. It’s nice to be desired. For that brief moment in time I was the prettiest girl at the party, and everyone wanted to dance with me. (Only frequent readers of the blog can appreciate how clean I kept that little analogy.)

Princess Pat

The meetings weren’t stressful for this simple reason: I wasn’t that interested in turning my books into a movie. I know for a lot of authors, a movie deal is like the holy grail. It’s kinda free money. And if a movie gets made? Well, then, you get a truckload of cash, a bucket of fame, and your books get to hang out on the bestseller lists for a while. Usually a long, LONG while.

But honestly? Money’s never been a huge motivator for me. And my books already sell well. And I’m already more celebritous than I’m entirely comfortable with.

Most importantly though, I’ve never been that interested in a straight-up movie deal. Pretty much every fantasy movie created so far has been an action movie, or plot centered, or both. And my books aren’t like that. My books are about the characters. They’re about secrets and mysteries and the hidden turnings of the world. My books are all about antici-

 

-pation. And a movie, even a long movie, simply doesn’t have enough time to fit all of that stuff in. That’s why my original option was for a TV show. I wanted space for the story to breathe.

So when I met with these people from movie studios, I told them that I wasn’t terribly interested in a movie deal. Not to be a dick, but because I prefer to be honest with folks. I’m happy to have meetings, talk about stories, listen to a pitch…  As I said, it’s fun to be desired. It’s nice that you think my books are pretty. Let’s have a dance. But I wanted them to know that I wasn’t really planning on jumping into bed with anyone. (Damn. I knew the analogy was going to end up there eventually.)

KvotheDress

There was one exception. When I met with Lionsgate, I said, “If you come at me with a movie offer, it’s going to be a hard sell. I’m not that excited about movies by themselves. But you guys are different from a lot of other studios. Those guys are huge. Monolithic. But you’re more agile and innovative. Your movie people and your TV people actually know each other. They could work together. Share resources.

I continued: “If you came at me with a pitch that involved a television show AND a movie, I’d listen to that. I’d listen really hard, because something like that would let us be big-budget while still giving my story room to breathe. It would give people the ability to spend more time in my world. I can’t think of anyone who has really done that, but it seems like we could have the best of both worlds that way. And it seems to me that you guys are one of the only places that could realistically pull something like that off.”

Yeah. I’m from small-town Wisconsin. But I’m not stupid. And it’s impossible to have 15 hours of meeting with Hollywood people without learning something about who’s who and how that world fits together.

But ultimately, I was just shooting my mouth off and I knew it. I was running on too much caffeine and too little sleep, but I still realized what I was saying was something along the lines of, “I see you guys are offering me the moon, but I’d really like the moon AND a chocolate cake with solid gold frosting. And you need to make the cake from scratch.”

So comic-con finished up. I went home. My coach turned back into a pumpkin and my pretty dress turned back into a geeky-tshirt and kinda grubby pair of cargo shorts. Which is probably for the best. As I’m not very good at important meetings or dancing. I’m way too beardy to be a princess.

PumpkinPat

The End.

*     *     *

Then Lionsgate got in touch. “About that whole TV-show-and-a-movie thing you mentioned,” they said. “If we’re going to do some sort of big narratively intertwined multi-platform development deal based on your books, wouldn’t it make more sense to do a video game along with the TV show and movies? Because seriously, why wouldn’t we want to do a video game too?” (I’m paraphrasing a little here you understand.)

I said, “What?”

*     *     *

Since then, I’ve been talking with Lionsgate kind of a lot. Going over particulars. Talking serious talks.

And when I say, “I’ve been talking with Lionsgate” I mean “Me and my team of skilled movie-smart people who do this for a living and some of them are powerful, hard-eyed lawyers.” Because like I said, I’m from small-town Wisconsin, but I’m not stupid.

And I’ll be honest, from the first moment I sat down at the table, I was ready to walk away. I liked the way Lionsgate was willing to dream big with me about adapting my books. They were willing to think outside the box. They were willing to make a whole new box just so we could go outside of it.

But… well… Hollywood is scary. The contracts are, to be quite honest, horrifying. And the power differential is immense. Even the smallest of studios is more powerful than some countries. And the biggest author ever is kinda not a very big deal at all.

So yeah. Silly as it might sound, from the very beginning of this process, I was willing to walk away from the deal. I was almost looking for an excuse to do it, because life is too short. I didn’t want to get a sack of money and pat on the head, then spend the next three years watching helplessly as they molested my books.

LolliPat

So we started to negotiate, and that’s where I received my biggest surprise of all.

You see, I never expected a studio would treat me like a human being. But through this whole process, Lionsgate has treated me with amazing respect. I’ve made what to me seem like reasonable requests, and they responded to them… reasonably. And I’m not just talking about pretty words here, they’re making contractual agreements granting me control of things. They haven’t just been reasonable, they’ve been kind, and understanding.

WandPat

To be perfectly honest, it’s a bit disconcerting. I never anticipated that a Hollywood studio would treat me like a human being. Let alone want to work with me as a creative partner and respect the fact that I do, in fact, know a lot about how stories work. This story in particular.

So… yeah. That’s the news. Me and them, we’re gonna do a thing.

Lionsgate is making its own press release today and there will be stories in all manner of Hollywood news outlets pretty soon. It’s not a coincidence that my blog is launching up on the very same day as their big announcement. In the same hour, even. Lionsgate coordinated with me so I could share this news on my blog at the same time they’re launching their story.

This was important to me because if you read my blog or follow me on social media…  well… you’re a part of the reason my books are a big deal. A lot of you have been a part of my team for years, and I wanted the chance to tell you about this piece of news myself rather than have you hear it on the street.

The fact that Lionsgate was willing to go to some lengths to let me launch this blog simultaneously with their press release is another good sign, in my opinion. It shows they respect me, and it shows they respect you guys, too.

Now I know some of you will be reading this news with fear in your hearts. You’ll worry about them screwing it up. I understand. I know you love these books.

But hear me when I say this: You cannot love these books more than I do. You can’t care about them more than I do. I’ve put twenty years of my life into them. They ride next to my heart. They are my tangible soul.

And I’m not stupid. I hope by this point you know me well enough that you can trust me not to rush into… well… anything. If I cut a deal like this, it’s only because I really think there’s a chance for us to make something beautiful.

I’ll talk about this more on the blog later. I’ll answer questions and explain things and give more details.

Later. We’ll do that all later.

For now. Just for the next couple of days. How about we just let ourselves be a little excited about this? There will be plenty of time to fuss and fidget in the days to come. But right now, I’m not going to worry. Right now I’m just going to spend some time being a happy geek, excited at the thought of getting to see the Eolian or the Fishery. There are some scenes I’d love to see somewhere other than inside my own head.

I’m guessing there’s some scenes y’all would like to see, too….

See you later Space Cowboys,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, BJ Hiorns Art, cool news, movie talk, the longest fucking blog ever, the man behind the curtain, trepidation | By Pat286 Responses

WMF Photo Contest Part VII: Sexy

Well folks, time for me to expiate another tiny crumb of my crushing karmic debt by posting up part seven of the long delayed photo contest.

Previously: [Prologue] [Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV] [Part V] [Part VI]

This is the blog that many of you have been waiting for: the sexy blog.

S

(Like so.)

“But Pat,” I hear you say, “What does that picture have to do with sex?”

Trust that all will be explained, my faithful readers. Context is important. Trust that each of these pictures has something sexy going on in it, even if it’s not immediately obvious…

IMG_1496

Keep in mind that back when we held this photo contest, book two was only recently released. For some people, the amount of sex in the second book was a bit of a surprise, which is understandable, I suppose, given that in NOTW, Kvothe kinda thought about kissing a girl this one time. Whereas in WMF he performs vast and varied feats of sexomancy.

So I expected some jokes/pictures making reference to that.

Rothfa Sutra

TURTLE 1: Let’s try Thousand Hands.

TURTLE 2: I don’t have hands!!!

That said, I wasn’t really surprised at the number of sexy pictures that were sent in. Even with the first photo contest, we had a fair amount of sexiness happen.

After all, one thing we all have in common here is that we love books:

TheWooingOfABook_final

No, I mean some of my readers really *love* books.

IMG_1552-1

What I *didn’t* realize is that sometimes books love other books.

SONY DSC

(This picture it titled “Kvothe with Felurian.”)

Now before any of you get offended, let me remind you that both of those books are consenting adults. Whatever they do in their own time is really their own business.

Now where were we?

Ummm... Yeah. I just wont even explain this

Wow. Yeah. Okay. You go, UK edition of WMF. You do you. Literally.

Though y’know, if you’re going to swing that way, you should probably invite some of Jaqueline Carey’s books over, I think they might be into that sort of….

Wait. What? Someone already made that joke?

The things I do in the name of Research...

Is it just me or does my book look *really* smug in that picture?

I know it’s not right to be jealous of your own book, but it just seems like it’s constantly getting more action than I am.

Speaking of which, let’s award the….

Honorable mention:

038-1

For giving a new meaning to “Curling up in bed with a good book.”

Winner:

There’s a bit of a story here. Follow along.

SONY DSC

Dressed up fancy.

SONY DSC

Romantic, candlelit dinner.

A bit of mood music. (The purse is a nice touch.)

S

It’s worth embiggening this so you can see what music they have playing.

S

Now see? This is why context is everything. If you look at this picture by itself, all you see is blatant disregard for a book cover.

But seeing it in this chain of images… Well… It makes me feel like I might want to slap an NSFW on this blog….

S

Goddammit. Again my book ends up in a threeway. With Twins.

S

Wow. Yeah. That’s…. that’s kinda hot in the weirdest, most context-specific way possible.

For somehow making books piled on a couch erotic. You win some talent pipes. My hat’s off to you.

Here’s the photostream just of the books doing it.

We also had a fair number of folks taking sexy pictures *with* the book….

In fact, the number of people willing to get all nekkid with my book is something that fills some eternally adolescent piece of me with geeky delight.

IMG_1974-1

This seems like a strange thing to mention, but I really like the rounded corners in this picture. Can anyone explain why *that* is the thing I notice when someone gets nearly naked and takes a picture of themselves with my book?

Img0608

Huzzah for sideboob!

K

I like the subtlety of this one.

076

I love the thought of the strange looks this person got while taking pictures of my book in a Victoria’s Secret in a mall somewhere…

entry001

Apparently, two fans from Germany decided that taking pictures for the photo contest sounded much more interesting than studying for their exams.

I approve.

Honorable Mentions:

shower-sex1

According to the e-mail that was sent: this fan went to the extra effort of photo-shopping her otherwise clean, crisp pictures so they looked like they were from the set of a cheap 70’s porn movie. I admire that attention to detail.

endowed

I assume they’re talking about how much they like big books.

Our Winner:

for my girlfriend

I have to say, this is probably one of my favorite pictures from the entire photo contest. When it showed up, I was full of geeky joy.

I wasn’t the only one, either. Amanda has gone on the record as saying that this guy makes her all sorts of tingly.

You see, the last contest had some sexy, but it was sadly lacking in beefcake. Not only is this guy beautiful, but this a really well-composed picture. Nice lighting, too.

But then, almost immediately, I was ensaddened. You see, the rules of the contest stated that the picture needed to include a copy of The Wise Man’s Fear. And as you can see, the picture he sent uses The Name of the Wind.

So I e-mailed him back, told him he was awesome, and explained the problem. I wanted him to win the sexiness category, but the rules said that the book needed to be Wise Man’s Fear…

_DSC0255

So he re-took the picture and sent it off to us. Thereby cementing his position as Winner of the Sexy.

As usual, the winners and honorable mentions will be sent their Gold Talent Pipe pins.

Here’s the photostream of all of the people who were in the category.

More soon, folks.

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, fan coolness, NSFW (Depending on Where You Work), Photo Contest 2011, sexy | By Pat15 Responses

Sophie’s Choice

I just had an unexpectedly harrowing experience on the internet.

While I like to think that I’m immune to clickbait, occasionally I leave the high road and tumble gracelessly down into the muddy ditch where I roll around with all the giddy enthusiasm of a dog who’s just found a particularly feculent turd.

(Pat pauses for a moment, looking up at the sentence he just wrote, and thinks that sometimes, just maybe, he should dial the vividity of his phraseologer down from 11.)

Anyway, I stumbled onto the following webpage the other day. I can’t even remember how.

Vote for the best Geek Celebrity Ever.

So I think, Okay, sure. I’ll vote in your little poll. I am wise in the ways of the geek. I have opinions.

The thing is set up as a series of X vs. Y pairings, and you have to vote for one or the other.

The first couple were easy. Obviously Felicia Day beats Peter Jackson. Obviously Johnathan Coulton beats out JJ Abrams. Tina Fey trumps Shatner.

You also have the option to skip voting on a particular pairing. This was first useful when I was given two people I’d never heard of before, a cosplayer and a voice actor. Rather than vote blind, you’re able to just shrug and get a completely new random pairing.

But I didn’t realize how essential the skip button was until this happened:

Don't make me choose!

I saw this, and a gear slipped in my brain. How could I possibly pick? The author of the second comic I’d ever read as an adult (Watchmen). The guy who Promethia. Top Ten. Tom Strong. V for Vendetta. Someone whose work has honesty changed my perception of comic art if not storytelling as a whole. Plus, y’know, wizard.

On the other hand we have Wil: creator of Tabletop, which is a force for good in the world. Co-founder of Wootstock, a source of persistent joy in my life. The actor that played Westley Crusher, a character that made my life suck a little less as a kid. Someone who regularly speaks truth to power, and a damn fine author in his own right….

It was a flabbergasting choice. It’s not like comparing apples and oranges. It’s like comparing sex and videogames. I had to skip that matchup.

Then this happened:

Don't make me choose 2When I saw this, my soul made the sound of ultimate suffering. I think I actually shouted at the screen. “Don’t make me choose!”

As the poll continues, it winnows out the people you don’t know pretty quickly. Then it gets rid of the people you don’t care for. With a little more difficulty you leave behind geek celebs you are merely fond of.

Then it starts to become excruciating. You are forced to make choices no sane person would ever willingly make.

Still the grindstone turns until you are finally confronted with something like this.

Don't make me choose 4

Don’t. Just don’t.

So. If you want to plumb the depths of your  own personal geeky faith, go ahead and check it out. I think the voting ends today.

pat

Edit: Monday July 21st. I just googled “Sophie’s Choice” because while I knew what it meant, I didn’t know the actual etymology of the phrase.

I don’t think I would have used it as the title of this post if I’d known the original referent.

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, geeking out, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat57 Responses

Love Redux

So last year I made a post on Valentines day that happened to be about love.

I wasn’t happy about that, as I’ve got a strong iconoclastic element in my personality. And writing about love on Valentines day is just… it just feels so fucking Hallmark.

But something happened a couple days ago, and it’s been spinning in my head ever since. When that happens, I have to tell a story about it, because that’s just how I’m wired.

So. I’m writing about love again, not because it’s Valentines day, but despite that.

I just want to make it clear this isn’t going to be a yearly thing. Okay? Okay.

*     *     *

A couple days ago, my baby boy smiled at me. A little crooked smile, a smirk.

Cutie - 8 weeks

(The onesie was a gift from a fan. Honest.)

A few days before that, I got my first smile. Today I got several. He also said, “goo” a couple times. I’m not even kidding. It’s amazingly cute.

Here’s the thing. He also smiled at the ceiling fan. He *really* likes the ceiling fan. Given the choice between the ceiling fan and me, the fan will win 3 times out of 4.

But you know what’s strange? I don’t mind. I really don’t.

I don’t mind that he smiles and coos at his mom more than me. It doesn’t make me sad that the ceiling fan takes second place, and that almost any window with a sunlight behind it is a close third.

I’m fine being fourth in line for smiles. I’m just happy to be on the list.

Standing there, holding my new baby, I had a strange sort of revelation. I was feeling a type of love that was in no way jealous.

I think this might be the purest type of love.

*     *     *

Here’s the thing, I’m not a fan of LOVE as a singular concept. It’s a ridiculously broad term that can be applied to pets, sex partners, or Oreos. When a word accretes that many definitions, it becomes virtually nonsensical.

If you’re hunting for more specific words for love, Greek is a good language to start with. They have Eros, Philos, and Agape. Those three do a pretty good job of breaking the great multifarious monolith of LOVE into slightly more manageable pieces.

I’m assuming you know about them, but just for reference:

  • Philos is friend love. Family love.
  • Eros is “I want to bone you” love.
  • Agape is… tricky. Some people call it “unconditional love.” I’ve heard it referred to as “True love” “God Love” or “That love which instils worth.”

There’s also lesser-known storge: “Kindness love.” Which is the sort of love you feel for something that’s dependent on you. Like an infant or a dog.

So. I’m standing there, looking at my sweet baby, and he’s smiling at the ceiling fan. And I realize I don’t mind. I’m just happy that he’s happy. I’m just happy that sometimes he smiles at me. I’m just happy he’s around.

This is a strange and wonderful sensation. This is, I feel, a different type of love.

Now it might seem like I’m talking about agape-style love here. Or storge. But I’m not. This is something different.

What I’m talking about here is love-without-expectation.

*     *     *

We need to stop for a moment and make a word.

If I’m going to spend some time trying to describe a largely unfamiliar concept, I need a name for it. Love-without-expectation-or-desire isn’t going to work. It’s not elegant. A newish concept needs a newish name. It needs its own space to grow. You grok?

Plus I just like making words. It’s kind of a thing that I do.

From what I gather the Hebrew concept of “חסד” is pretty close to what I’m looking for here. And it’s one of the Sephira, which gives it extra gravitas. Unfortunately, it’s not going to work because when you transliterate it, it’s spelled “chesed” and that looks too much like “cheesed” to me.

Fuck it. I know it’s not linguistically sound, but I’m going to call it Eleutheria.

*     *     *

Remember where we were? Me. My baby. Ceiling fan.

20140214_122916

(In his defense, it’s a really nice fan.)

I simply love him, and I expect nothing in return. This is strangely, delightfully freeing. I don’t feel bad that if he pays more attention to his mom. I don’t mind that he smiles at the fan or his big brother.

I don’t mind if he falls asleep. I don’t mind if he throws up on me.

Elutheria – Love which demands nothing. The love that expects nothing.

This is an odd concept for me. Because I am a creature composed almost entirely of expectations.

This isn’t entirely a bad thing. The ability to anticipate, desire, and plan is important. It gives us control of our lives. It gives us the ability to see forward in time a little. It gives us the ability to steer our destiny a little so we can avoid wrecking our lives against the rocks.

Not always, of course, sometimes your ship is going to wreck no matter your best efforts. Shit happens. But if you’re able to anticipate the future, you can at least brace for impact. That’s better than nothing.

Without the ability to predict and therefore exert control on the future, we are helpless. Subject to the constant random battering of a largely entropic universe.

The ability to predict and anticipate isn’t bad. The desire for control isn’t bad. If you put those things together with a love for language and a vague compulsion for storytelling, you get The Name of the Wind.

If you combine these characteristics with a love of charity and a desire to make the world a better place, you get Worldbuilders.

If you combine them with a relationship… it’s not so good.

Because trying to control the people you love isn’t good.

For one thing, people don’t like it. (For the most part.) But also because controlling someone means hanging expectations on them. And if people don’t live up to your expectations, you’re disappointed. And disappointment leads to frustration and anger. This spiral continues down to the dark side of the force.

How much nicer would it be to simply love someone? If you expected nothing from your beloved, you could never be disappointed. Nothing could jeopardize that love. It would be unassailable.

This would be Elutheria, the love that expects nothing.

*     *     *

What I’m talking about here, is the diametrical opposite of selfish love.

Selfish love demands things. It demands attention. Most of all, selfish love demands love in return. Typically it usually demands ALL the love in return. It demands primacy. Exclusivity. Ownership. Control.

What I’m talking about here is what’s commonly called “Romantic Love.”

Romantic love is championed as being awesome in our culture. It’s the sort of love you’ve seen a thousand times in movies and literature. You’ve seen it the lives of your friends and family members. You’ve probably experienced some version of it yourselves.

It’s the sort of love where you where you fall for someone, and they don’t love you back, and then you kill yourself. (Actual results may vary.)

It’s the sort of love where you see you girl talking to another guy and you feel jealous.

It’s the sort of love where you see your guy looking at another girl and you feel angry.

It’s the sort of love that makes you think it’s okay to consider someone “your girl” or “your guy.” As if you owned them. As if they were under your control. As if your affection made them somehow beholden to you.

And as I stand there, smiling at my baby, (who is smiling at our ceiling fan) I am perfectly happy. And I wonder to my self, “At what point did loving someone become an excuse to be a greedy asshole?”

*     *     *

I bounced my idea off a couple people over the last week or so. Love without expectation. I explained about my baby and the ceiling fan. I talked about the chains of desire….

“Well,” someone said. “It sounds nice, but I don’t think that’s something that could exist in an adult relationship.”

Several people said this, or something very close to it. These comments came up almost compulsively, in a knee-jerk way.

I think people have this automatic response for two reasons.

First, I think they feel attacked. As if I’m telling them they’re loving wrong.

I’m not. That’s not what this is about. When I talk about how much I’d like a Tesla, it doesn’t mean I think you’re a dick for driving a Prius. I’m not trying to start a fight here. I’m looking to discuss an idea.

Second, I think people react badly because Elutheria a profoundly unfamiliar concept. We all grew up reading stories about Lancelot and Guenevere (or permutations thereof.)

The Arthurian legend is one of our mythic cornerstones. It echoes through the last 1000 years of our art and literature. Well… 800 years, if we’re talking about Lancelot. You see, he wasn’t in the original story. The French added him in the 1200’s.

dicksee-belle-dame

(Yeah. I know that’s not Lance and Gwen. I just really love Waterhouse.)

And you know what? It’s a better story with Lancelot in it. More drama. More tension. More universal appeal.

The downside? Lancelot and Guenevere are generally held up to be the villains of the whole Arthurian schtick. They ruined Camelot. Their dirty, dirty lust wrecked the golden age.

But the truth is, if Arthur hadn’t been such a douche about the whole thing, there wouldn’t have been any problem. If Arthur had just gotten over himself and admitted that Lance was pretty hunky, it could have been cool. If he’d just wanted Gwen to be happy, he should have just stepped aside. Or at least turned a blind eye.

Either that or jumped into the sack with both of them. Because… y’know… hunky.

Imagine the glorious world we’d be living in if *that* was one of our mythic cornerstones, folks. Imagine a world where slash fiction didn’t exist because we were, all of us, constantly living the dream.

Okay, back on track here.

Generally speaking, everyone agrees that Arthur overreacted. But Lance and Gwen? They’re traitors. It’s their *fault*. Traitors deserve the lowest, darkest circle of hell.

Arthur was a little hot headed, sure. But it was justified, right? Lance and Gwen, their actions were a betrayal.

What were they betraying?

Expectations.

*     *     *

Those of you who have studied any Buddhism are probably nodding along by this point. Believe me, I’m very aware that the more I roll the concept of Elutheria around, the more similar it seems to the four noble truths that lead to the eightfold path.

For those of you who haven’t studied Buddhism, here it is in a nutshell:

  1. There is suffering.
  2. Suffering comes from thwarted desire.
  3. Therefore, if you eliminate desire, you eliminate suffering.
  4. Profit. Moksha.

There is an unassailable simplicity here. There’s a reason I’m fond of Buddhism.

*     *     *

I wish I had a strong closer for you, but I’m not really making an argument here. I’m not heading for a conclusion. I’m merely working out my thoughts in text. Writing things down helps me understand them better. It helps me knock the rough corners off my new ideas. (It’s my attempt at “Right Understanding,” the first step of the eightfold path.)

But is Elutheria something a person can realistically achieve?

With my baby, the answer seems to be yes.

But then things become more complicated. You see, I have responsibilities.

My older son is four. And while it would be pleasant to simply love him and let the chips fall where they may, if I were to do that, I would be failing him as a parent. I need to provide guidance and discipline. I need to control his base monkey instincts with the hope that he may eventually rise above them and become a fully-formed human being.

There’s that word again: Control. It’s my job to control him. It’s my job to have expectations.

Still, I think discarding Elutheria entirely would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There are certain expectations that are essential. I expect him to be polite. I expect him to be honest. I expect him to be mindful and kind.

Those are the requirements for being a good human being. It’s my job to guide and coach him until he gets there.

Any expectations beyond that, I should be wary of. I shouldn’t expect him to be all those things *all* the time. I shouldn’t expect him to be tidy. Or quiet when I’m trying to work.

I shouldn’t expect him to be straight, or a democrat, or a painter. I shouldn’t expect him to love books.

Oot and book

Expectation is a trap, you see. There’s nothing to be gained from it. I don’t feel *more* joy seeing him read because I hoped for it. I only leave myself open to disappointment if he doesn’t.

Similarly, my relationship with Sarah consists of more than simple love. We are engaged in the partnership. We maintain a household and the purpose of that household is to raise children that are physically and emotionally healthy.

Her cooperation in these things is essential. I expect it.

But other things? Should I expect her never ogle the pretty college boys on the track team who jog around town every spring? No. Foolishness. Should I expect her to want to organize the kitchen the way I would? To want the same color paint in the dining room? To have dinner cooked and ready for me when I come home from work?

Should I expect her to always love me best, and most, and only?

No. I think not. I think that would be selfish and self-centered.

The more of these expectations I can let go of, the happier I will be.

But it’s hard. Oh it’s hard. It goes against a lifetime full of training. It goes against my obsessive desire to control. It goes against my meticulous nature. It goes against what so many stories told me was true.

Inconclusively yours,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Cutie Snoo, love, musings, naming, the longest fucking blog ever | By Pat95 Responses

Stretch Goals Past and Stretch Goals Yet To Come….

Hey there everybody,

We’re entering the final stretch of the Worldbuilders. And in case you don’t make a habit of checking the Worldbuilders News page, or following us on facebook or twitter, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about one of the newer things we’ve been doing this year.

I’m talking about our Stretch Goals, of course.

As I write this, geeks of all creeds and nations have banded together to raise $274,000 dollars, which means we’ve unlocked ten Stretch Goals and we’re closing in fast on the eleventh.

In case you’ve missed  a few, I thought it would be a good idea to gather them all in one place for you to take a gander at.

We mentioned this one on the blog last month, but back then we didn’t have the terrifying video footage yet.

Since then, we’ve edited together this:

Honestly, this video kinda horrified everyone in the office, and the first time we watched it there was a lot of awkward laughter and cringing behind hands. But it definitely started us out in the right foot in terms of proper promotional Ballyhoo.

This one pretty much speaks for itself.

You don’t want to know how many times I’ve listened to that.

False Equivalency - Final

(Click to embiggen. If you dare….)

Jim did yet another of his cover pose parodies for our $75,000 fundraiser, and did a great write up about it over here.

If this intrigues, or even disturbs you, you can buy a calendar full of these over on The Tinker’s Packs.

This is a really cool one.  Brandon has agreed to write a story and broadcast the event live for everyone to see.

What’s more, the story will be based on ideas and suggestions from viewers turning in to watch.

BrandonGray

Afterward, he will be releasing the story into the Creative Commons, so anyone can download the story and finish it on their own.

If you want to be a part of it, keep your schedule open on January 17th from 2-7pm Mountain Time, and keep an eye out for the link to view it on the Worldbuilders Facebook Page.

I’ve talked about my love for the Doubleclicks before. And I’m pretty sure I’ve shared around their epic song Nothing To Prove, where they talk about the bullshittery inherent in the whole Fake Geek Girl movement.

So when they agreed to come in and help us spread the word about Worldbuilders by performing Moonlight Sonata on a pair of cat keyboards… Well, I couldn’t help but love them just a little bit more.

Epic and awesome.

Mary Robinette Kowal is a truly awesome person. Some of you might remember her as the person who beat me at being me in my twitter contest earlier this year.

Since Mary has proven that she can mimic me so well none of you can tell the difference, we were delighted when she offered to write some NOTW erotica fan fiction for us.

Yeah. You heard that right.

The Wind Comes - Cover

You can download it and read it over here.

You may have seen the recent blog on the subject, but if you haven’t, it’s over here.

We haven’t gotten the video for this yet, but it’s for a very legitimate reason:

So while we might not have this one yet, we’re pretty sure it’s going to be awesome.

  • $225,000 Patrick Rothfuss will reveal his first piece of fan fiction.

Once, years and miles away, I wrote out the lyrics to a song that gets mentioned in some of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels.

Specifically, I wrote the lyrics to “A Wizard’s Staff Has a Knob on the End.”

This was long, long ago, you realize. Twenty years.

Neverthleless, because I’m a packrat, I managed to find an old copy tucked away in a folder. It was printed out on a dot-matrix printer, for those of you who even know what that is. In computer terms, it’s like finding something written on a papyrus scroll.

It was my first piece of fan fiction. And now that I’ve unearthed it, I’ll be doing a blog about it and posting a video very soon.

  • $250,000 Peter Orullian will perform a heavy metal version of Joss Whedon’s “Ballad of Serenity” theme with lyrics retooled for Worldbuilders.

This also got a lot of laughs in the office.

Future Stretch Goals

We’ve got some awesome stuff lined up for the next two weeks as well:

$275,000 Trey Ratcliff, internationally renowned photographer, will take an “ill-advised” bathroom selfie.
$300,000 Scott Lynch & Elizabeth Bear will give a drunken review of the second Hobbit film.
$325,000 John Scalzi will perform “But Not Tonight” on either ukulele or tenor guitar.
$350,000 Hank Green will seduce a particularly nice-looking tree.
$375,000 Patrick Rothfuss will team up with Mary Robinette Kowal to read the NOTW erotica she wrote.
$400,000 Sandeep Parikh will drink Capri Sun while doing a handstand with other members of The Guild.
$425,000 Bradley P. Beaulieu will read an excerpt from The Hobbit while enjoying the Wisconsin weather.
$433,420 Molly Lewis will perform The Greatest Adventure on various silly instruments.
$475,000
Pat Rothfuss and Amber Benson will write urban fantasy erotica together.
$500,000
Neil Gaiman will read you Green Eggs and Ham.

Now I hear the more observant of you saying, “What’s up with that $433,420 stretch goal?”

Well you see, that’s how much money Worldbuilders managed to raise last year: $433,420.

That is my personal goal for this year’s fundraiser. I would very much like to beat that. If you’d like to see that happen as well, there’s a few things you can do to help.

1. You can donate here.

This one’s obvious. If you donate to Heifer on our Team page, you’re not only making the world a better place, but you can win some of the thousands of books donated by generous authors and publishers.

ShelfJanuary

2. You can help us spread the word.

Share the videos. Tell your friends. Makes some noise on twitter or your blog. (If you’d like to contact us for a more traditional interview, or would like to help out in some other way, here’s our e-mail: questions [@] worldbuilders.org)

3. Let us know what you’d like to see.

If you have any suggestions for future stretch goals, I’d love to see those too. I’m hoping we’ll need to add a few more before we’re done this year….

Thanks for tuning in folks, and thanks for being awesome,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Acts of Whimsy, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat24 Responses
  • Our Store

  • Previous Posts

  • Archives

  • My Twitter

  • Bookmark this Blog

    (IE and Firefox users only - Safari users, click Command-D)