About a month ago, I did a G+ hangout with Felicia Day, John Scalzi, and Amber Benson in order to promote the launch of Felicia’s new maelstrom of nerd-awesome: Geek and Sundry.
We set out to talk about what makes for good, interesting characters, and the conversation spiraled pleasantly through all manner of interesting tangents after that. In addition to being a fun talk with some of the wittiest geeks around, I think we also ended up raising some interesting points about stories, writing, truth, beauty, etc.
Anyway, if you missed the live broadcast, you can stop weeping softly to yourself in the corner. They’ve just posted up the video over on youtube.
Things continue to be busy over here in Rothfusia, what with wrapping up the fundraiser, training the new assistants, and all the maniacal laughter, there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.
Oh yeah, and the writing. That thing I need to do to make money and live. That takes a little bit of time, too.
This is just a quick blog to let you know of a few things happening in these next couple weeks that you might want to tune in for….
This upcoming Sunday (April 1st.) Felicia Day is going to be doing twelve straight hours of live video hangout over on Google+ as a way to spread the word about the upcoming launch of Geek and Sundry.
I’m going to be helping out with one of those hours by getting together with authors John Scalzi, Amber Benson, and Felicia herself to discuss what makes for good characters. I expect the conversation to wander pretty far afield. My plan is to drink about twelve shots of espresso before we go live, and then just see what happens.
That will be happening from 2:00-3:00 PM California time. (4:00-5:00 here in Wisconsin.)
If you’d like to see the full schedule for Felicia’s 12 hour carnival of delights, you can find that over here.
It should be a good time. You should come check it out.
In other news, I’ll be hitting the Fox Valley Book Festival on April 12th (more detailed information is up there in the Tour Schedule tab.) I’ll be reading, answering questions, and signing books. Y’know, the usual.
So if you live in that neck of the woods, you should stop by, because I don’t know when I’ll be passing through again.
Lastly, we’ll be fielding questions from the audience on Sunday’s live hangout, so if you have something you’re curious about, you can post the question below in the comments. I’ll do my best to bring your questions, comments, and smart-ass remarks into the discussion if we’ve got the time….
Over the last couple years, I’ve been cautious about the donation goals I set for Worldbuilders. I set my sights on a goal I’m pretty sure we can hit, and only after we get there do I bump up the target number on our donation thermometer. Some years I’ve done this eight or nine times.
I do it this way because back in 2008 when I started all this, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I could get people to donate 5000 dollars if I gave away prizes and offered to match donations?”
When I raised that much in just a couple of days, I was stunned. So I moved it up to $10,000 dollars, worrying that I was overstepping myself, not really believing that we could raise that much….
Three years and 600,000 dollars later, I still feel the same way. Every year I find myself thinking, “Will publishers help out again? Will authors care enough to send me books? Will people tweet and link and spread the word to their friends? Will geeks of all creeds and nations step up to the plate one more time?”
Then it all comes together, and I’m full of stunned, warm-fuzzy joy all over again.
This year, I decided to try something different. Rather than move our donation goal around all higgledy-piggledy, I decided to set some target levels. Something we could shoot for as a team. Then, if people are awesome enough to help me hit those goals, I’d put extra stuff into the fundraiser as a way to thank everyone for contributing.
We hit our first goal of 50,000 last Friday, so today you get the first of these blogs. I’ve got four more planned, each with increasingly cool additions to the fundraiser.
This is the one I like to think of as the AV blog. Where I share some of my favorite non-book media with with y’all.
A complete DVD set of Buffy and Angel.
Over the years, I’ve made no secret of my love for Joss Whedon. I started watching Buffy seriously in 2002, right when I was seriously starting revision on The Name of the Wind. Watching this series changed how I thought about storytelling, and the tricks I learned from it taught me a lot about plot and characterization.
Simply said, I think this is the finest television show ever produced. So I’m adding it to the prize lottery.
Two DVD sets of Red Dwarf including Back to Earth: The Director’s Cut.
I started watching Red Dwarf way back in the day. Back when it was on VHS tapes, and you couldn’t find copies for love nor money in the US.
This is the full eight seasons and the recent three-part: Back to Earth.
In my opinion, you aren’t a real sci-fi geek if you haven’t watched this. It’s one of the classics. Best of all, because the show relies on the cleverness of the writing rather than special effects, it holds up very well these days even though the first season was more than 20 years ago.
Two DVD sets of Firefly.
I will never get over the cancellation of Firefly. Not in a hundred years. And I meant what I said earlier in the year when I wrote an open letter to Nathan Fillion.
If you don’t like this series, odds are we can’t be friends. I’m sorry. That’s just the way it is.
Two DVD sets of Dollhouse.
Some people didn’t like Dollhouse. Then again, some people are idiots who drink their own pee.
[P.S. If y'all in the marketing department at Fox would like to use this as a promotional quote for the series, feel free. Just spell my name right.]
One audio cd of Telling Tales by Neil Gaiman.
This is one of the CD’s that you can get from Dreamhaven. It’s one of the earlier recordings of Neil Gaiman reading his own work. Good stuff.
One audio cd of Speaking in Tongues by Neil Gaiman.
Like the above, but different. If you catch my meaning.
One copy of Warning: Contains Language by Neil Gaiman.
This is a two-CD set also features music by Dave McKean and the Flash girls. It features Gaiman reading poems and stories from Angels and Visitations.
As an interesting aside, in the liner notes, it reads:
Unauthorized Copying of this CD is not only forbidden, but will prey upon your conscience, spoil your sleep, destroy your complexion, and eventually will wind up turning you into the kind of person who drinks methylated spirits out of a bottle hidden in a brown paper bag and who lives under bridges, burps noxiously, and prays day and night for release from the unsupportable burden their life has become. We thought you’d appreciate the warning.
Three audio cds of 3 doz Poems read by Garrison Keillor from The Writer’s Almanac.
Some people think that I hate poetry, not realizing, perhaps, that Kvothe and I are actually two different people.
Believe it or not, we are separate entities with different thoughts and emotions. Other telltale differences include hair color: Mine is brown. His is red. He is mostly a fictional character, and I am mostly real. He is a better singer, while I am a better kisser.
We also radically differ on our opinions of poetry. He has an irrational loathing of it, while I myself quite enjoy it.
Well…. some of it. The good stuff.
This is the good stuff. Lovely poems selected and read by America’s greatest living storyteller: Garrison Keillor.
Two audio collections of Good Poems by Garrison Keillor.
You can also tell that these are good poems. Because, well, it says so right there: Good Poems. You can’t get much clearer than that.
This is a 4 CD set, containing a marvelous selection of poetry read by a number of wonderful readers, including Keillor himself. Honestly, I would listen to the man read a phone book. Getting to hear him read some of the finest poetry ever is just a bonus.
One set of The First and Second Seasons of Flight of the Conchords and an audio cd of The Distant Future.
And you know what? Everything I said about it then is just as true today. I listened to this a couple weeks ago and laughed my metaphorical ass off. If anything, I think it’s funnier the 20th time around.
A copy of The Ultimate David Sedaris Box Set.
While Garrison Keillor is my favorite living storyteller. David Sedaris takes a close second place.
I only discovered him a couple years ago when someone recommended I listen to “Six to Eight Black men.”
They were really insistent, so I looked it up on Youtube just to shut them up about it.
The next day I went out and bought this box set, which contains 20 CD worth of David Sedaris reading the entirety of Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Barrel Fever and Other Stories, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.
Because I love spreading the word about cool indi geekery like this, I picked up several sets of the first two seasons of The Guild when I was at San Diego ComicCon with the sole purpose of giving them away to people and getting them hooked on the series.
Felicia was nice enough to sign them for me. She’s just an all-around nice person.
I mentioned his book on the blog a while back. It’s called Ready Player One. And not only did I like it enough to give it a blurb. I liked it enough to dig up his e-mail address and gush to him directly about how much I loved it.
I think the entire content of my first e-mail was, “Your book is fucking awesome.”
I tried to get them to use that for the blurb on the back, (“This book is fucking awesome.” — Patrick Rothfuss) But their marketing people wouldn’t go for it.
Anyway, Ernest got an invite to Wootstock from Wil Wheaton, who is narrating the audiobook of Ready Player One. Ernest, being a generous human being, asked if I’d like to share some of his stage time.
I said yes. I said it in a firm, manly, baritone. Then I hung up the phone and laughed my most maniacal laugh.
Right. So. We all on the same page here?
7:00 – Backstage.
I walk up to the side door of the Balboa Theater in San Diego. Someone was waiting for me at the door, where they gave me this:
My very first All Access pass. It makes me feel like a rockstar.
I go backstage and down into the secret parts of the theater. It’s a magical sort of place. It’s a secret place that only the performers get to see, and it’s electric in a way that’s hard to describe. Everyone there is getting ready for the show. They’re excited, and a little nervous, and happy to see each other. Plus it’s comic-con, so we’re all a little exhausted. And a few of us are slightly tipsy, too… (Though not me, as I’m not much of a drinker.)
There’s a blur of people all over the place. Some of them I recognize, like Adam Savage from Mythbusters. And the guys from Rifftrax (who used to do MST3K.)
I’m introduced to a few people in a whirlwind fashion. I shake hands and nod at names. But they all run out of me like water. If I say, “someone said” or “someone did” I’m not trying to protect anyone’s identity, or snub them. It’s because a lot of the evening is a blur to me. I suck at meeting people, and I only have space in my head for about 5 new names.
Then I turn around and Wil Wheaton is there.
It’s weird meeting someone you kinda already know. And I kinda know Wil from a bunch of different directions. From his blog, from Star Trek, from his books, and from the Guild.
Plus we e-mailed just a little a day or two before Wootstock. I won’t bullshit you, that made me kinda tingly.
Anyway, we’re introduced, and we shake hands. He thanks me for the nice things I said about his book on my blog. And I’m a little surprised that he’s read it, though I shouldn’t be, I suppose. I tell him that I loved it.
That’s all we have time for. The stage manager is gathering everyone up to make some announcements before the show.
We all jam into a room and Liz is introduced. She is the boss. She tells us how it’s all going to work. She tells us we can watch from backstage, and that we should, so that we don’t miss our cues. She tells us to stick to our allotted time. She tells us where the beer and pizza are.
Everyone else nods attentively. There are a few jokes. But all of this is old hat for most of them.
Me? I’m grinning like an idiot. The show hasn’t even started yet and I’m having the best time….
* * *
I should explain something. I used to do lots of group-performance type things. I used to sing in choirs. I used to do radio comedy. I used to act a little, and did a few plays, a musical or two.
I even used to do a little improv comedy. Which is like a trial by fire. Once you do improv comedy, no other type of performance will ever truly frighten you.
Now I didn’t do a lot of these things seriously. But I did them. I enjoyed them.
And I miss them.
You see, one of the downsides of being a writer is that it’s a very solitary occupation. If everything is going well with my writing, I’ll spend 10-12 hours a day alone, and the rest of my time sleeping. (Also alone, usually.)
When I do get out to do a reading or a convention, I have a lot of fun. I enjoy meeting fans and signing books. I enjoy doing Q&A and reading stuff to an audience. It’s a nice opportunity for me to go out and be social.
But while it’s social, it’s a very solitary type of performance. I’m up in front of 200-600 people talking. There’s just me and the audience.
I’d forgotten what it was like to be part of a group of performers. To be a piece of a WE.
It feels great.
* * *
Liz makes one last announcement. They’ve gone to the worst seat in the house and borrowed the person’s camera. They’re going to pass it around backstage and we’ll all take pictures with it. That way the poor schlub with the worst seat will have a cool memento of the show and, as a bonus, the pictures will go online so everyone can use them.
It’s only because of the photoset that I have a shot of Ernest and me backstage, wherein I am getting my Kawaii on.
The show kicks off, and after cadging a piece of free pizza, I head upstairs we head up onto stage and watch the show from the wings. The theatre is gorgeous. A place with some real style to it.
It’s certainly the biggest house I’ve ever played to, and I’m a little nervous. But despite the fact that I’m anxiously fretting over what exactly I’m going to read, I can’t help but get pulled in by Molly Lewis playing the ukulele.
Her songs crack me up as I watch from backstage, and it helps me relax a bit.
Then, as I’m watching her play, a little motion catches my attention from the corner of my eye. So I look over and see Wil Wheaton dancing.
Before that point, I liked Wil Wheaton. I knew he was cool. I respected him as a writer, enjoyed him as a performer, and admired him as a strong, smart, outspoken member of the geek community.
But backstage in the Balboa theatre, I watched Wil Wheaton do a happy, goofy little dance, and that was when I started to love him.
Soon afterwards, Ernest gets his cue and heads out onto stage. He reads some hardcore geek poetry. Good stuff. He’s a good performer, too. Gets a good reaction from the crowd.
Then he introduces me. I’m a surprise guest of sorts, as I’m not on the program. People cheer when they hear my name, which is kind of a shock. It’s then that I decide what I’m going to read. I’m not going to try to follow Ernest’s poetry with more poetry. I think he’s got me beat in that regard.
I’m not going to read a piece out of my book, either. Too clunky. I even decide against reading a piece of a short story I’m working on.
No. A whole theatre of people cheering and my new man-crush Wil Wheaton watching from the wings means I go straight to my best material. The piece I keep in my back pocket whenever I do a reading. My sure-fire winner. My big gun.
I pull out The Guinea Pig Story.
Those of you who have seen me at a live reading might have heard it. Most of you have not.
It’s one of of the humor pieces I wrote back in college. Theoretically I was writing an advice column, but realistically I was making fun of people and telling incriminating stories about my life.
Here’s the only video I was able to find of the performance. The first little bit of my performance is cut off there, but it’s only about a sentence of the letter someone wrote in, asking for advice about keeping pets in their dormroom.
I got a great reaction from the audience, and left the stage feeling roughly ten thousand feet tall.
8:00 – Random House Party
After hanging around for a while and watching a few more acts, Ernest said he was going over to the Random House party and asked if I’d like to come along.
Though I was loathe to leave, I figured I should go and rub some elbows with some more bookish types. That’s kinda my job in some ways.
So I went to the party, hung out with some folks, and ended up riding a mechanical bull.
Why? No. Why is not the right question. I was at San Diego ComicCon. The proper question is “why the fuck not?”
That party was fun, but after about 45 minutes, I made my excuses and headed back to Wootstock. Because, y’know, Wootstock.
9:00 ish – More Wootstock.
I got back just in time for intermission, where I amused myself by handing out copies of the Chick Tract Dark Dungeons to members of the audience. I hope nobody thought I was serious….
After all my tracts were gone, I used my fancy pass to get backstage, feeling rockstar all over again. I wandered down to the dressing rooms and bumped into Felicia Day, who was also a surprise guest. I got a free hug and we chatted for about forty-five seconds before someone tells her she’s about to miss her entrance cue.
Somehow, someone managed to catch us on film during that brief moment. Proving that I’m not a big fibber.
I hang around and chat with folk, occasionally watching some of the show from backstage. I catch Jeff Lewis (Vork, for you Guildies out there) doing a piece of honest-to-god standup comedy. The man has amazing comic timing and delivery. As you’d already know if you were watching The Jeff Lewis 5-minute Comedy Hour.
11:30 ish – Autographing.
Eventually the show wraps up with a great closing number that I watch from the wings. Then I head downstairs to get my backpack and maybe another slice of pizza before I head out. When I’m gathering up my stuff, someone asks if I want to stick around and sign autographs. I shrug and agree, because I have nowhere else in particular to be.
Now over the last couple of years I’ve done a lot of signings. It’s old hat in a lot of ways. Usually I’m all alone. I’m a one-man-show.
But this one was different. A bunch of the performers were sticking around to sign posters and programs.
What’s more, at Wootstock, most of the people could give a damn about me. They’re there to see Wheaton, or Savage, or bask in the radiant glory of Paul and Storm.
And you know what? It was nice doing a signing where most folks didn’t care who I was. It gave me a chance to goof off and get to know the people sitting on either side of me. To my left was the aforementioned Molly Lewis. And to my right was someone I didn’t know at all, but I quickly learned that she was Amy Berg, writer/producer for Eureka (among many other things.)
So we hang out and chat as the line of people slowly trickles past. I’m feeling pretty relaxed. I’ve had a good day. I was on a panel with George Martin, had dinner with Jim Butcher, and got to chat with Wil Wheaton. I went to a party with an actual velvet rope, and the bouncer nodded me through even though I wasn’t on the list. I rode the mechanical bull and didn’t hurt myself. I got a hug from Felicia day and made a thousand people laugh….
It’s been a busy 14 hours, and I’m in that warm, happy place that comes when you know you don’t have to work any more. And, because I’m in a good mood, I start to joke around with the people coming through the line….
And that’s when I *really* start to get to know the people sitting on either side of me. I draw a picture of a duck on someone’s poster, and they mock me for its utter terribleness. They mocked me with a sharp-tongued viciousness I haven’t experienced since most of my best friends moved away from Stevens Point.
So I abandoned drawing and started signing clever things on the posters. Then my neighbors started writing things on their posters that were clever-er. And I feel really put out by this, because normally *I* get to be the witty one, and they were out wittying me without hardly trying. I felt the sudden need to step up my game, to say nothing of wanting to buy some of Molly’s music and catch up on the current season of Eureka….
The signing went on for at least a couple hours, and it was the perfect end to the perfect day. As I left the theater I felt that strange, glowy feeling that comes when you level up. It wasn’t until I got home that I found out where the XP boost had come from:
Best of all, I’d made it through two entire days at the convention without making an ass of myself in front of anyone.
If you’re *not* a fan… well… then I’m guessing there’s either something wrong with you, or you’ve simply never been exposed to it. And if the latter’s the case, it would be a shame if you didn’t give it a try…
Y’all know about The Guild, right? If you’re geeky enough to have discovered our fundraiser, I kinda already assume you know about the Guild.
But even if you do know about The Guild, you might not have heard about this yet, as it’s pretty new:
A copy of The Guild comic written by Felicia Day and illustrated by Jim Rugg.
Over the years I’ve come to think of The Onion’s A.V. Club as the gold-standard of reviews. This isn’t just because they gave my book one of the best reviews ever. It’s because if the reviewers in the A.V. Club think something is crap, they aren’t afraid to say so, at great length, and with many scathing words.
So read the following blurb with that in mind.
“Seamlessly integrates with the web series’ mixture of discomfort humor and deep understanding of-and wry sympathy for-gaming nerddom.” -The Onion’s A.V. Club
Five copies of the full-cast BBC radio dramatization The Adventures of Sexton Blake.
I’ve gushed about this on a previous blog. And after buying at least a dozen copies to give away as gifts I couldn’t help myself from picking up another five just to donate to Worldbuilders.
I do this in order to share the joy with as many people as possible. If you’ve ever read a Sherlock Holmes story you’ll laugh your ass of at this BBC production of the Adventures of Sexton Blake.
Anyone who’s been reading my blog for any amount of time knows how I feel about Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Let’s just take that as read, shall we?
I’ve picked up five copies just for Worldbuilders this year because if you haven’t watched it, you really need to. And if you have watched it, but haven’t caught the musical commentary on the DVD then you’re really missing out.
Next we’ve got some lovely audiobooks from Brilliance audio.
A copy of the unabridged audio book of Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. Read by Sam Tsoutsouvas.
While I never made it to the end of Goodkind’s series, I do have a certain fondness for this first book. I read it in 1998, back when I was having a bit of a creative slump. Reading this book for the first time jazzed me back up a little and got me back into working on The Name of the Wind.
“Wonderfully creative, seamless, and stirring.” – Kirkus Review
While I haven’t listened to the audio version of Palimpsest, I have read it. Valente has a gorgeous use of language and she’s created a completely unique world. Plus the book is kinda sexy. Plus it has an awesome cover. Plus extra points for use of the word “palimpsest.”
“Overflowing with poetic images and epic repetition, Valente’s story washes us to an unexpected shore. –Regina Schroeder for Booklist.
First off, this is written by Bill Willingham. So you know you’re in for a good time.
Second off, this is actually a Fables novel. So you know you’re getting to explore a well-developed world with a cool mythic underpinning.
Lastly, this book is read by Wil Wheaton.
So there you go. Even before you consider the fact that this is in a neat collector’s tin, you’ve already got a trifecta of cool.
An unabridged set of Vol 1 and 2 of The Baroque Cycle: Quicksilver and King of the Vagabonds by Neal Stephenson. Read by Simon Prebble.
“BBC announcer/Shakespearean actor Prebble’s performance is wonderfully nuanced. His authoritative narration, combined with his chameleon-like facility for character and accent, is nothing short of enchanting… The experience of listening to this audiobook is something rare, as it’s a literary tale that brings history, science and philosophy to life in a heartily entertaining fashion.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A copy of the unabridged audio book of Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Read by Arthur Morly. Stories by Neil Gaiman, Robert Silverberg, Kage Baker and many more.
“The 23 stories not only capture the unique feel of Vance’s dying universe but stand individually as one of the strongest gatherings of writers to pay homage to one of their own. This is highly recommended.” – Library Journal (starred review)
A copy of the unabridged audio book of Wolfsbane and Mistletoe: Hair Raising Holiday Tales edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner. Read by MacLeod Andrews and Tanya Eby. Stories by Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, and more.
“Fresh, interesting tales…[that] star some of the more famous series characters like Sookie Stackhouse.” – Alternative Worlds
“A captivating collection…offers up the Christmas spirit in a wonderfully wicked way.” – Darque Reviews
A copy of the unabridged audio book of Many Bloody Returns edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner. Read by Luke Daniels and Teri Clark Linden. Stories by Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong and more.
“Thoroughly enjoyable…a toothsome collection of birthday treats you will not want to miss.” – Monsters and Critics
“Toothsome” is a word you don’t hear enough anymore. I’m going to make a point of using it today…
A copy of the unabridged audio book of Death’s Excellent Vacation edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner. Read by Christopher Lane and Amanda Ronconi. Stories by Charlaine Harris, Katie MacAlister, Jeaniene Frost and more.
“Harris and Kelner’s third short-story anthology sends paranormals on vacation… Sarah Smith, Daniel Stashower, L.A. Banks, Lilith Saintcrow, and Sharan Newman also contribute quality work, and readers will find this collection a great sampler for discovering authors they’ll want to follow.” – Publisher’s Weekly
A copy of the unabridged audio book of Intrigues: Book Two of the Collegium Chronicles by Mercedes Lackey. Read by Nick Podehl.
“Lackey makes a real page-turner out of Mags’ and the collegia’s development… this book’s outstanding characters, especially Mags, will greatly please Valdemar fans.” – Booklist
Two copies of the unabridged audio book of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, read by Nick Podehl. Signed by the author.
I had to get a special pen to sign these. I actually left the house. I don’t like to do that very often, so you better appreciate it.
A copy of The Last Unicorn DVD. Signed by author Peter S. Beagle.
This movie was made back when an author could actually be directly involved in creating a movie. Since Peter was actually had a hand in this project, it’s surprisingly true to the novel. Both in the tone of the story and the text of the dialogue itself.
This is a really great movie. It was animated by Rankin/Bass, the same folks that did the original animated Hobbit movie. It’s got a great score, and is very faithful to the spirit of the original novel. It’s sweet, mythic, tender, and frightening in places, just like any good old fashioned fairy tale is supposed to be.
* * *
Lastly Conlan Press has donated a couple unique items that I can’t help but auction off.
What we have here are original film cells from The Last Unicorn movie. Each of them in a clear protective envelope signed by Peter S. Beagle himself.
It’s been a while since I answered an e-mail from a reader. How about we do that?
I just wanted to say I’ve loved The Name of the Wind for over a year now, but I just recently found your website. Your blog has kept me laughing for almost two solid weeks as I go back and read the archives. That’s something I’ve never done with a blog before.
Even better, your fundraiser was seriously amazing this year.
Seriously, how cool are you?
You strike on a topic I’ve been curious about for some time. How cool am I?
As I’ve mentioned before in the blog, growing up, I wasn’t one of the cool kids. But things change, and these days geek is chic. I’m willing to admit to the fact that these days, I might actually be a little cool.
Your letter poses an interesting problem though. If you’d simply asked, “Are you cool?” I could have gotten away with answering “maybe” or “kinda.” But you’ve asked for a _degree_ of coolness. What’s more, you’ve requested that I *seriously* consider the problem.
That means we need to use science and shit. We need quantifiable units of coolness that we can plug into formulas. We need to be rigorous.
Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, the BIPM hasn’t established a standard unit by which we can measure coolness. I can’t just tell you that I’m say, 85 pascals of cool. Or 158 newtons. Or whatever.
That means if we want to determine how cool I am, we have to measure me against some sort of universally accepted standard of cool. We need to develop our own yardstick, as it were.
So, let’s pick two people who are undeniably cool. The king and queen of geek cool: Felicia Day and Neil Gaiman.
Now we need some numbers. While popularity isn’t quite the same thing as cool, you have to admit they’re closely related. Since I don’t have access to things like book sales or website hits, we’ll have to go to the lowest common denominator: Facebook.
(Yes, I know. Technically, Myspace would be the lowest common denominator. But there’s only so low I’m willing to go, even for science.)
A quick search of fan pages reveals the following stats.
Felicia: 192,000 fans.
Neil: 90,000 fans.
Me: 10,000 fans.
Now we could stop here and say, that I’m about .05 as cool as Felicia. Or that I’m roughly .11 of a Gaiman. Or something like that.
But drawing data from only one source strikes me as slipshod. To round things out, why don’t we take a look at Goodreads rankings?
[Edit: Yes, I know these numbers have changed since I took the screenshot. I'm not redoing the math.]
(Click to Embiggen)
As a side note, you can see that according to Goodreads, I’m ever-so slightly cooler than Wil Wheaton. I like how it looks like his little Lego man is pissed at me for being above him.
“Curse you, Rothfuss,” Lego-Wheaton says. “How dare you get between me and Felicia day?”
“Takest not that tone with me,” Russian-dictator-looking-Rothfuss glowers from above. “Lest I crush you with my manly, blue-lit beard.”
“Bring it Hagrid,” he replies. “I’ll beat you like a redheaded stepchild.”
“What are you going to use?” I say. “Your kung-fu grip? Hell, you don’t even have any elbows!”
Wait… Sorry, what was I talking about again?
Oh. Right. Coolness. I guess I lost a few points just there.
Anyway, as you can see things stand like this:
Me: 383 friends, 308 people following my reviews.
Felicia: 2,710 friends, 380 people following her reviews.
Not pictured above, Neil Gaiman sits at #1 on this list. Topping the chart on a mountain of cool with 5,175 friends and 3,133 people following his reviews.
Let’s just combine these for simplicity’s sake:
Because the Facebook numbers are really high compared to Goodreads, we have to normalize them by multiplying by .045. (Don’t ask how I got there. It’s boring. If you understand statistics, you know how it works.) That gives us:
So we add these together and apply the bonus multipliers.
Medium Bonus – Novels, Comics, Movies, Audiobooks: *1.4
Association Bonus – Engaged to Amanda Palmer *1.5
Flair Bonus – Accent *1.4
Appearance Bonus: Sexy *1.5
12358 *1.4 *1.5 *1.4 *1.5 = 54499
Medium Bonus – Television, Webisodes, Comics: *1.3
(The Guild comic is coming out soon, in case you didn’t know.)
Association Bonus – Works with Joss Whedon *1.6
Flair Bonus – Smells like flowers and PS3 *1.3
Appearance Bonus: Sexy *1.5
11640 *1.3 *1.6 *1.2 *1.5 = 47212
Flair Bonus: Beard *1.2
Penalty: Engaging in imaginary smack talk with Lego-Wheaton. *.09
1141 *1.2 *0.9 = 1232
You still with me? Now we have to create our yardstick for the measurement of geek-coolness. Imagine if Neil Gaiman and Felicia Day were somehow alchemically combined into one creature. Some ubercool, sexy, hermaphroditic, webisode-creating, rockstar, gamer, author thing.
I think it’s safe to say that godlike creature would be the ultimate amalgam of geek cool.
So if we add together the scores of Neil Gaiman and Felicia Day, we get roughly 100,000 units. These I hereby term Gaiman-Day units. They will hereafter be used to determine how cool someone is. 100,000 Gaiman-Day units is the coolest you can be without collapsing into some manner of singularity.
So there we go. Now we have a way to quantify how cool I am, Jake. I am exactly 1232 Gaiman-Day units of cool. Only about one percent as cool as it’s possible to be.