Category Archives: geeking out

Tattoo 2: News & Tattoos Too

Hey there everybody,

Before we do today’s blog, two quick notes:

First, a reminder that we’re running a t-shirt design contest in anticipation of the Geeks Doing Good fundraiser that we’re running in June. If you’re an arty type, we’d love to see what designs you could come up with. Then we’ll vote on them here in the blog, and the winners will become for-real t-shirts that people can buy for charity. (P.S. We’ll pay you, too.)

Fair warning: You have less than a week to submit your designs. If you want more details, you can check out this blog here. (Even if you don’t want details, you can still click the link. If nothing else, there’s a cute video of my kid there.)

Second, we set out our first activism newsletter. It doesn’t have many bells and whistles yet, but those are in development. I think the team did a nice job of providing some good news (with valuable context) for people who want to stay informed (but who are tired of being overwhelmed by getting their news on social media.) Even more importantly, we gave people some good, productive ways to take positive action and help make the world a better place.

We’ve got more than 4000 people signed up at this point. If you’d like to join us, here’s a link.

And now the new coolness:

*     *    *

Back on the second day of my first booksigning tour, I met a woman who had a tattoo of my signature on her arm.

“Wow,” I thought to myself. “That’s pretty nuts. I guess I’ll never see anything like that again.”

But, as with many things, I was completely wrong. And eventually assembled and shared an entire blog full of tattoos that people got based on my books.

Since then, whenever I see one of these appear on social media, a tuck it away in a folder to share with y’all later.

So here we go. Tattoo blog two:

I’ve seen more than a few of Auri’s brazen gear. That makes me happy.

Allana Dilene

I like the thought of two people with Fulcrum tattoos noticing each other and becoming friends….

I’m guessing this is the only one of these I’ll ever see. I’m glad they liked Bast’s Rhyme that much….

my-heart-is-made-of-stronger-stuff-than-glassI’m fond of this quote. (And not just due to… umm… placement.)

Tattoo - Parts that form usThere’s some truth in this one that I tend to forget all the time….

tattoo - Only a fool worriesAnd this one too…

fantasy-lit-tattoo

This is hardcore nerd. Is nerdcore a word. It should be. And this is it.

Clicking to embiggen is of the Lethani….

More tats

Sometimes I write something I’m very proud of. It’s hard to express how flattering it it when someone else likes it enough to put it on their skin, forever.

SeenI like this version too. I’m a big fan of the less-is-more aesthetic.


Tattoo iron wheelI never expected to see one of these….

tattoo too

This seems to be one of my more popular quotes.

Tattoo - perfectI’ve heard a lot of folks use it in their weddings…

Tattoo maybeI think this might be the only Amyr one I’ve seen…

VorfehlanWhoo boy. You better hope I wasn’t lying when I said what that translated into…

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a foreign translation tattoo before this one. Or one for this particular quote. I think it turned out lovely….

It reads, “Viajé, amé, perdí, confíe y me traicionaron.” (“I trouped, traveled, loved, lost, trusted and was betrayed.”)

tattoo - auriI’m very fond of the Auri tattoos. She has a special place in my heart.

We’ll do some more of them in the next tattoo blog. I’m realizing now I have too many of these to include here…


Way, way too many….

And this is a good one to close on.  It says a lot.

Thanks so much, everyone. You mean a lot to me.

One family,

pat

Also posted in fan coolness | By Pat20 Responses

Five Sentences, Three Events, Two Videos, and a Bag of Chips….

Heya everybody,

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to get a solid blog up, so I thought I’d remedy that today, especially as there’s some news that’s a little time sensitive….

First and foremost, I’ve got a few readings and Q&As coming up in places I don’t visit very often.

  • Charleston, West Virginia

This Saturday (October 29th) I’ll be in West Virginia for the West Virginia Book Festival.

I’m going to be giving a talk on the importance of reading. (Where hopefully I’ll find something to say other than just shouting DUH! really loud.) I’ll also do some Q&A, and then have a signing for everyone who’s interested.

And if that isn’t enough for you, I’ll even be introduced by Justin McElroy, West Virginian and co-host of the awesome podcast “My Brother, My Brother, and Me.” It’s one of my newest loves, and if you don’t listen to it, you should. It is a source of genuine delight.

Here’s all the info for the event itself:

October 29, 2016 at 3:00 PM
Charleston Civic Center
Little Theater
200 Civic Center Dr
Charleston, West Virginia 25301
Facebook Event

If you’re in the area, come say hi. And if you happen to be in a different area…

  • Madison, Wisconsin

Despite the fact that I only live a hundred miles away, I’m doing my first event in Madison in years. Even better, I’ll actually be doing *two* different events, both with some Q&A and books available for purchase, though the first is primarily a reading and Q&A, and the second is primarily a keynote speech.

The first one is next week Thursday…

November 3, 2016 at 5:00 PM
Reading and Q&A
Agriculture Hall, Room 125
1450 Linden Dr
Madison, WI 53706

And the second is going to be on Friday night…

MADISON, WI
November 4, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Talk and Q&A
272 Bascom Hall
Madison, WI 53706

Both events will have books for purchase from A Room of One’s Own, one of my favorite bookstores in Madison. So if you’re all signed-book-wanty, this would be a great place to get one without paying shipping costs from our online store

For those of you who aren’t in West Virginia OR Wisconsin, there’s some cool internet things I’ve been up to as well….

  • Moana Screening in New York

And a couple weeks ago, his happened. For real.

I’ll probably gush about this more in the future. But the short of it is that I got to see an early version of Moana, and it was stunningly good.

More than that. Honestly? I think it might be the best Disney movie I’ve ever seen. Though honestly, with Lin Manuel Miranda involved, that shouldn’t really be a surprise.

Super good, folks. Seriously.

 

  • Podcast: “I’m Not Here to Judge You Chickenf*ckers.”

The most recent episode of Unattended Consequences is up, and it was a pretty good one. We recorded it live at NerdCon: Stories,  and the audience did a good job reining us in. We even said some not entirely stupid things.

Give it a listen if you’re so inclined. And be aware some of the stories I don’t have time to write up on the blog these days end up on the Podcast instead.

And finally, here’s the most time sensitive of the announcements:

  • A  delightful kickstarter that will help you friendship better.

Yesterday, I agreed to write five cards for Jenn and Trin’s Friendship Postcards Kickstarter Project:

You should really check this out. It’s a wonderful idea. The campaign includes cards like “Wow, that thing you did to your hair is super cool!”, “You make the internet a happier place,” and my favorite, “I said some shitty things (That’s not really how I feel, and I’m sorry.)”

782a6bde35266775fcadc2a84c8a34d3_originalWhen I saw this project, I actually emailed Trin and Jenn to tell them they were awesome, and to offer my help if they needed it.

I don’t talk about it a lot on here. But I have a hard time making and maintaining friendships these days. It used to be so easy for me. You just met people, they came over to your house. You watched movies and played games. You were friends.

Then I got published. I got busy. My friends moved away to pursue jobs and relationships. And I wasn’t in college any more. Wasn’t teaching any more. Wasn’t meeting people socially any more. Which means that friends don’t just happen to me any more. Which means… for about a decade now, I really haven’t had a lot of close friends.

But this last year, I’ve made a really good friend by the name of Thera. She’s better at being a friend than I am. And she’s taught me a lot about how to be a good friend as an adult (As opposed to just being a sort of an older maladjusted post-collegiate manbaby.)

So we’re writing these cards together. Me and my friend. Not only does this make me happy. Not only does this mean they’ll be better than if I did them myself. But it also means they’ll probably get done on time….

Here’s the downside, the project ends Thursday, October 27 at 1:00 PM CDT.

Yeah. Today. There’s just a few hours left. So if you want a set of postcards you should hop to it.

Be good to each other,

pat

Also posted in being awesome, conventions, cool news, cool things, Interviews, Link salad, panels, podcasts | By Pat19 Responses

Kubo and the Two Strings

Okay folks. I just needed to share this with you. I’m guessing a lot of you haven’t seen it yet.

It is not possible for me to be more excited about this movie than I already am. I couldn’t be more excited if they announced they were bringing Firefly back.

I love Laika (the studio making the movie). Nobody does what they do. It’s entirely stopmotion animation. They are absolutely insane, and I love them for the depth and breadth of their insanity.

I got to visit their studio last year, and got to see them doing work on this movie before they’d made an announcement about it. It’s going to be so good. Everything they do is so good.

Please watch it. Come be excited with me.

pat

Also posted in cool things | By Pat30 Responses

Tak: A Beautiful Game

Today we have some exciting news….

CgbaD78UYAAedhF

Here’s the short version: We’ve just launched the kickstarter for Tak.

If that’s enough for you, you can head right over here and check it out.

For the rest of you, a story….

    *     *     *

Long ago, James Ernest and I were working on the Pairs kickstarter, brainstorming new stretch goals we could add to the campaign.

“We could agree to make Tak at some point in the future,” James said. (Note, I’m paraphrasing here.)

I didn’t want to do that.

“How about a stretch goal where if we hit it, the two of us agree to work out the rules?” He asked.

I didn’t want to do that either.

“How about we agree to do a live google chat where we just talk about the game in general?” he said.

And I agreed that fine. FINE. We could do that. We could talk about it. And we did. It was okay.

Later, James told me he wanted to make Tak. He wanted to invent it. He wanted to build the whole thing from the ground up based on my descriptions from the book, and the unwritten stuff he knew I had hidden in my head.

Again, I said no.

“Why not?” he asked.

“Tak is supposed to be my world’s version of Chess or Go or Mancala,” I said. “I can’t ask you to make a game like that. It’s like saying, ‘you know those games that have stood the test of time for hundreds or thousands of years? The best games ever? Do that, but in my world.’ So first off, it’s unreasonable for me to ask. Secondly, you can’t do it. No one can. And thirdly, if you did somehow manage to pull if off, nobody would give a shit. We’re living in the golden age of board games right now. Nobody cares about strategy games like chess anymore.”

(If you haven’t already noticed, I can be a curmudgeonly fucker at times.)

“Just let me try,” James said. “Let me take a run at it. If you hate what I come up with, we’ll never speak of it again.”

So I told him, fine. Fine! Do it. Whatever. Jeez.

So he asked me a bunch of questions. Then he went off and made a game. Then he brought it to me….

Now you should know that I’m telling you this story so that you know where I was coming from on the subject of Tak. Simply said, I wasn’t eager to pursue it. I was the opposite of eager.

And it wasn’t because I don’t like James Ernest. James Ernest is fucking brilliant. I’ve been playing his games for twenty years. I loved Pairs and was delighted to incorporate it into my world….

Pairs_Faen_Card_Art_1024x1024(Actual footage.)

But I knew that Tak was a purely mythical game. And while James was great, I knew that nobody could just sit down and create a game on par with chess or Go. I was going to politely look at whatever he brought me, smile kindly, and try to let him down as gently as possible.

Then James brought me his game. And I played it.

And it was amazing.

I was stunned by the game. Stunned that anyone could make something like this. It’s more elegant than chess. It’s more enjoyable than Go.

I learned to play it in about five minutes and had a blast. More than a year later, the game is still unfurling for me like a flower, as I understand more and more about the play of it.

It is, in brief, a beautiful game.

*    *     *

TakFPBanner1

(Is that enough gushing? If so, here’s a link to the kickstarter.)

*     *     *

For a while now, I’ve been working with James on the production of the game.

If you’ve ever bought anything from our online store, you know I’m obsessively careful about merchandise. I never want to sell you anything I’m not proud of. This is doubly true with Tak. It’s such a lovely game, the last thing I wanted was for it to be some crappy thing made out of pasteboard and plastic.

So we’re using wood pieces, even though it’s harder. And we’re getting everything ethically sourced, because that’s important. And we’re getting as much of the work done here in the US as possible, because while it’s tons cheaper to get things done in China… well… I’m sure I don’t need to explain to you why it’s nice that your friends and neighbors have jobs….

I’m really pleased with what we have here. I’m excited for you guys to play it. I want to show you how it fits into my world.

(Have I mentioned the kickstarter is over here?)

*     *     *

I’ll be honest with y’all. The first couple days of a kickstarter are really important. If we have a strong start with a bunch of backers, it’s a hundred times easier to run a successful campaign. And here’s the key, the more successful we are, the more raw awesome we’ll be able to pour into the game and the book we’re making.

Did I mention the companion book yet? We’re doing a book, too. It will talk about strategy, delve into the history of Tak, and explain in some detail the difference between courtly Tak and Tak as it’s played among… rougher elements of society.

If the campaign takes off, we’ll be able to add more stuff to the kickstarter, too. More levels. A high-end set with metal pieces and a wooden board. Custom capstone pieces. Maybe alternate boards. Maybe even stone pieces. If we get enough interest, cool things like that will be forthcoming.

With that in mind, if you’re interested in this, please consider jumping on board early. As I’ve said, these first couple days really shape the performance of the kickstarter. Most importantly, if you sign up now, you’ll get our updates when we *do* to roll out some of the new coolness. So if you’re hoping to grab one of the specialty sets, signing up now is the easiest way for you to stay in the loop. That way you’ll be the first to know when they come out.

So… yeah. That’s all. There’s a lot more information on the kickstarter. I’ll let you read it there.

If you have any burning questions that aren’t answered over there. You can ask them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to either find answers for you. Barring that, we will at the very least create some amusing lies to ease the sting of your not-knowing.

And, one final time, the link.

pat

Also posted in cool news, gaming | By Pat90 Responses

NerdCon: Why Stories Matter

So let me tell you a story.

Years ago, I met someone named Hank Green in an accidental way through social media. I’d watched a couple of his videos and liked them. He’d read my book and enjoyed it. He offered to help out with my charity. I offered to help out with his.

I didn’t know him very well, but he struck me as a cool person who was working to make the world a better place. Best of all, he had a fine-tuned sense of the ridiculous, as shown in the Stretch Goal he did for Worldbuilders, where he shot a video of himself seducing a tree.

When I saw that, I knew he was my kind of crazy.

A couple months after we’d met, Hank dropped me an e-mail. It went kinda like this.

Hey Pat,

I do a thing called Vidcon, and I was wondering if there’s a convention where authors and people who love books would get together and… y’know… talk about books and stuff.

If there isn’t, there really should be. And I’d like to make it happen.

You seem to know the book world and a lot of book-type people. What do you think?

Hank

Now, before I go any further, I need to point out that I’m paraphrasing a lot here. This was about two years ago, and I can easily forget what I had for breakfast any given day.

That said, I remember the first thing that came to mind, reading this e-mail. I thought, “Wow. That’s adorable.”

I’m not proud of that thought, but it’s what popped into my head. The second thing was, “Science fiction fandom is where the whole convention thing started. We’ve been doing conventions for, like, 50 years. There’s a ton of book-type conventions.”

My third thought was, “I should give him a call. Planning a convention is a nightmare. He doesn’t want to go down that rabbit hole.”

Did I mention that I’d only known Hank for a little bit at that point? And that sometimes I can be unutterably dim? My only real excuse is that my youngest boy had been born just a couple weeks before that, so I wasn’t really performing at optimum efficiency.

Luckily, my assistant Amanda e-mailed me before I could make a total ass of myself.

He’s serious,” Amanda told me. “He does this sort of thing all the time. He’s good at it.

Amanda explained that Hank wasn’t just a guy that sometimes made videos and did a charity thing. She explained about the Nerdfighters. She explained to me that Hank was one of the people who had founded Vidcon.

“What’s a Vidcon?” I asked, dimly remembering the term from somewhere in my distant past.

It’s a convention,” Amanda said. “For people who make videos on YouTube. Hank mentioned it in the e-mail he sent, remember?

“No,” I said.

*     *     *

CKuzM1VUEAA2XLN(Since then, I’ve been to Vidcon. And a good time was had by all.)

Thanks to Amanda, my vast ignorance wasn’t the stumbling block it might have been. I called Hank and told him that there were bookish conventions, many of them quite well-established (Worldcon has been happening since 1939, for example.)

But I also talked about other conventions that I’d been to over the last several years. About how the ones that felt the most electric and alive were the newer cons. The comic-cons and Game cons like PAX. While I loved meeting up with other authors and readers, a lot of the book-centered conventions felt kinda…. well… stuffy by comparison.

Hank talked about building community, about making a place where we could celebrate stories, about making a place where everyone would feel welcome.

I talked about a lot of the people I’d come to know over the years, authors who were smart and funny and full of enthusiasm. People who were good on panels.

Hank talked about bringing people in who were performers. Musicians and storytellers. Podcasters. Actors. He talked about doing programming that was more dynamic. He talked about people singing and playing games and having fun.

At first I was just chatting with Hank about general ideas. What the convention could be. What it shouldn’t be. This was easy for me, as I’ve probably hit more than a hundred conventions in recent years. Then I recommended some authors who were funny and smart and articulate. Then I was contacting the authors to see if they were interested, and to sell them on the idea of the convention.

Before I knew it I was helping plan the programming and enjoying the hell out of myself.

*     *     *

Fast forward to now. Nerd Con: Stories is happening in just a month or so. It’s October 9-10th in Minneapolis.

1959518_361338327387266_6310880623690526705_n

I’m really ridiculously excited about this convention.

It’s going to be different than any convention I’ve ever been to, and I can say that with some authority because I’ve been helping plan it. I’ve invited some of my favorite people to attend, and helped put together some of the best programming I’ve ever seen.

It’s going to be fun, folks. There will be singing and signing. There will be bad poetry and puppets. We will talk about the shape of stories. I will have a serious geek out because the folks from Nightvale are going to be there….

wtnv

Cecil Baldwin, Jeffrey Cranor, Joseph Fink, and many others will be there, speaking on panels and playing games like, “Guess what’s in my mouth” on stage.

authors

(Just a few of the cool people we have coming to the convention.)

A week ago, Amanda and I went out to Minneapolis with the rest of the team to check out the convention center, and honestly? I was stunned.

conventioncenter

I’ve been to a lot of conventions where the events spaces are composed pretty much entirely of a bunch of stacking chairs in hotel conference rooms. And while that isn’t necessarily bad. This… well… it’s something completely different. It’s beautiful there.

Mpls Convention Center 4

Nice theater seating, comfortable chairs, good acoustics….

We’ll be talking about why stories matter. And we’ll be talking about the craft of writing. I’ll be leading an improvisational story game called The Adventures of Baron Von Munchhausen, and leading a team as Captain in a game of Artemis as well.

There’s going to be an open mic session every night. There will be book signings and a dealer’s room for you to go buy nerdy goodness in. The Worldbuilders Team will be there. Harry and the Potters will be there. Paul & Storm will be there….

Author crop2

(A lot of people will be there….)

Here’s the deal: It’s only a month away, and the con is selling out pretty quickly. What’s more, the block of rooms we have reserved at the nearby hotel is going to be gone pretty soon. So if you’d like to come (or if you want to get a cheap room for your stay) you’ll need to decide soon.

And you want to come. Trust me on this. Imagine what it would be like getting to go to the very first Worldcon back in the day. The first PAX. The first Comic-Con.

If you want to be at the first NerdCon, you can register here.

I hope to see many of you there….

pat

Also posted in conventions, cool things, signing books | By Pat42 Responses

PAX 2014

So what did I do at PAX this year?

Many things, but most notably this:

DD-Acquisitions-Inc.-V

And by that, I mean this.

Wait for it….

pat

P.S. Even if you don’t care about D&D, you should really watch the intro. That’s worth the price of admission all by itself….

Also posted in gaming, videos | By Pat23 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, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat57 Responses
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