Category Archives: geeking out

$300K Bonus: A Favor From Pat (and more)

As I write this blog, our donation total stands at $308,000. So today we’re doing a few things.

1. Adding the 300K bonus to the fundraiser.

2. Announcing the 350K stretch goal.

3. Adding a few other cool pieces of miscellany to the fundraiser.

4. Extending the end date of the Worldbuilders until January 21st at Midnight.

The main reason for #4 is that part of the 300K bonus is going to be an auction, and I wanted to be able to run it for a full seven days.

This is the last extension, so make the most of it.

  • Two (2) Favors from Patrick Rothfuss.

For the last several fundraisers, I’ve given away a favor. I used to refer to this as “The Golden Ticket.” But I realized that I should probably do something more fitting to my own idiom, rather than keep ripping off Roald Dahl.

So now we have a gold ring, designed by Badali Jewelry. In the fine traditions of the Maer’s court, it has my name inscribed on it.

Here’s the deal. I’m giving away two of these. One is going into an auction. The other is going into the lottery.

Details as follows.

The winner of this item will receive a gold ring redeemable for one (1) favor from Patrick Rothfuss.

Possible uses for the favor include:

Asking Pat to insert your name/likeness into a future book or story.
Asking Pat’s assistance in wooing the object of your affection, preferably from under a balcony at night.
Asking Pat to read and critique your unpublished manuscript (or your published one, if you really want.)
Asking Pat give a reading/workshop at your local library or University.
Asking Pat to give a reading/workshop at your house.
Asking Pat to give a reading/workshop in your bedroom.
Asking Pat to help you move a particularly heavy couch.
Etc.

This favor has no expiration date. It can be traded, transferred, sold, or lost. In essence, the ring *is* the favor. You give the ring back when you cash in your favor. So if you lose it, you’ve kinda fucked yourself.

The nature of this favor is fairly open-ended, though some negotiation may be necessary depending on the nature of the favor. Certain ethical or legal restrictions may apply (though not as many as you might expect.) Under no circumstances will Patrick dance for you. Carnal favors must be approved by Pat’s girlfriend in advance. If you won this favor in the auction, and for any reason Pat cannot fulfill his obligation to you, he will personally refund your winning bid in exchange for the ring.

As a side note, let me add that recently, I attended the Child’s Play charity dinner out in Seattle. Partly because I love the folks at PA with a fierce love, and partly because I like to wear a tuxedo.

(I look like I’m about to start a railroad monopoly.)

And, since I was in town, I offered up a favor just like this one for the Child’s Play Auction.

It sold for over 9000 dollars.

Admittedly, at least a couple grand of that was probably due to the tux. But still, it gives you some perspective.

So. One favor is going into the lottery where anyone can win it by donating to Heifer International on our team page.

The second one is being auctioned OVER HERE.

*     *     *

  • 350k Stretch Goal: The Lockless Box. 

This year while at Origins, I had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of Robert Gifford.

What transpired between us is a subject that deserves an entire blog itself. Suffice it to say that since then our relationship has burgeoned into something magical. Something that lies somewhere in-between bromance and the love that dare not speak its name.

Robert runs Geek Chic, a confederation of woodworking artisans and geeks par-excellence. They make bespoke furniture for geeks. They make furniture so beautiful that even a rough-hewn Visigoth like myself who sleeps on a mattress on the floor cannot help but crave it. 

If Worldbuilders hits 350K before January 21st, Robert has agreed to put his carpentary artificers to the task of creating the lockless box from The Wise Man’s Fear.

It will be a functional puzzle box designed by a consortium of the most profoundly crafty fuckers in existence.

If we hit 350K, Geek Chic will design the box. They will make the box. And you will be able to buy the box or win it as part of future Worldbuilders festivities.

But only if we hit 350K before January 21st.

And remember, if we hit $400,000 before January 21st, Worldbuilders will donate an extra $100,000 dollars to Heifer International.

So there’s your motivation. We’ve got one week left. Let’s spread the word.

*     *     *

And finally, a few more geeky items. Some for the lottery, some for auction.

  • Copper Knife.

Esoteric Garage made a second copper knife after the great reaction they got from me and everyone on the blog.

We’re auctioning it off here.

  • Discreet Lady’s Knife.

Since not everyone is going to need to kill something mythic. Tait and Loren designed a more practical knife for the lady who likes to be prepared for the worse.

They specifically asked that this lady’s knife be put into the lottery. As with some other items, we want to make sure that this goes to someone who really wants it, so we’ll call and ask the winner before mailing them this prize. If they don’t want it, we’ll pick names until we find someone that does.

We do this because we care. And also because we don’t want to be sued.

  • Copper Batarang.

This year we received a letter from Wayne Enterprises.

In a separate package, we also received two copper Batarangs. The perfect gift for the sociopathic billionaire in your life. Also perfect for that hard-to-shop-for confused fanboy.

Edit: We’ve run into a couple of snags with the batarang, and have taken it down.

*     *     *

Fair warning: Worldbuilders is ending soon, so if you want in on the lottery make sure to donate on the Worldbuilders Team Page before January 21st. For every $10 you pitch in, you get another chance to win thousands of books, DVD’s, knives, favors, and other mythic goodies.

Also, be warned that many auctions will be ending soon. You can view all the current auctions over here.

If you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to our main page.

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Geek Chic, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat43 Responses

Secrets: Currencies in the Four Corners World

Years ago, I did a tiny, impromptu reading in Stevens Point. I announced it on facebook about 20 minutes before the fact, and there were only 6-7 people there.

When I asked for questions, (because I love doing Q&A) someone asked, “How does the currency system work? You’ve got pennies and jots and shims. How does it all fit together?”

“Oh,” I said, waving my hands. “It’s really complicated. You don’t want me to get started.”

“I’m really curious,” she said. “I’d love to hear the details.”

“There really isn’t a simple answer,” I said. “There are, like, six currency systems, and I’ve put a ridiculous amount of thought into how they work, where they come from. All that. It would take me half an hour to explain it all.”

“I’m fine with that,” she said.

“Well, fair enough,” I said. “You might be interested, and I might be interested. But the other folks here probably don’t want to sit through a spontaneous lecture about Four Corners economic history.”

“Actually, I’m really curious too,” one of the other audience members said.

“Okay,” I said, “How about this? If *everyone* here is curious, I’ll explain it.”

And, much to my surprise, everyone there *was* interested. So I sat down and talked about the currency systems. (It actually took closer to 40 minutes.)

Since then, I’ve probably had a hundred people ask me how money works in the Four Corners, both in person and in e-mail. But I’ve never really had the time and opportunity to give them a detailed answer.

But now, as a way of saying thanks for people chipping in to Worldbuilders, I’ve got a cool widget you can play with that will answer a lot of your questions about the different currency systems in my world.

It will also let you do conversions between the different currencies, with or without the Cealdim taking their cut.

What’s more, certain elements of it are clickable. So if you hunt around, you’ll be able to learn more about the history and the currencies themselves. Again, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m a geek for this stuff. But I’m well aware that not everyone is. That’s why I’ve kept most of it out of the books.

When we re-design the website. The widget will probably have its own page where you can wander over and convert to your geeky heart’s content. But for now, you’ll have to click here to see it.

Here’s the link to the Widget.

I’ll probably tweak it more in the future. Maybe get Brett or Nate to draw some of the coins so you can get a better idea of how some of them would look. Stuff like that.

Special thanks go to Jason “Kuma” Brinkerhoff without whom there would be no widget.

You know he’s one of us, because when I asked him for a picture he sent this one where he’s wearing, and I quote: “my Browncoat Ball finery.”

Jason, put up with my vaguely obsessive tendencies and long e-mail silences to put the widget together. Without him, the currency explanation would be nothing but a big texty mass and some ugly conversion tables. Instead, we have something fun we can actually play with.

As a gesture of gratitude, I offer him my heartfelt thanks, and have sent him a set of gold talent pipes. Because he’s awesome.

Lastly, just out of curiosity, if we were to make coins based on the currency in my world. Nice coins, not crappy cheap ones. Would y’all be interested in that?

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I’d love to do it. But I’m not sure people would be interested in buying something like that from The Tinker’s Packs.

So… any interest?

pat

Also posted in The Shape of the World | By Pat89 Responses

Photo Contest Winners – Action

Yes. Seriously.

Those of you who know anything about me probably realize that I have a problem with deadlines.

The root of this difficulty is multifarious. But it can mostly be traced back to three elements in my personality.

1. A desire for perfection.

I get obsessive about doing everything *just right* when honestly, *mostly* right would be just fine in most cases.

2. Enthusiasm. 

I get excited about things, which leads me to pick up new projects, which means I constantly over-commit myself, which means I’m always too busy.

3. Stupidity.

This third one is something of a catch-all category, covering my vast array of ancillary character flaws.

Any one of these things can slow a person down, but when you get all three of them together. Well…. it can lead to embarrassing situations.

Like, for example, running a photo contest for your readers, and then taking more than a year to post the results.

There are many reasons for the delay.

Yes, I have been over-busy. (Working on my writing, my fundraiser, and spending time with my little boy.)

And yes, I did foolishly underestimate the number of entries I’d get for the contest. (Well over a thousand.)

And yes, when confronted with the task of judging the entries, my perfectionist tendencies screwed me hard. There were so many good ones.

Besides, so many of the pictures defied easy categorization. Look at this one for example:

Am I supposed to put this in the Kids category? In Costumes? In Clever References? Do I have to start a category just for things that are Unbelievably Frikking Cute?

So many of the pictures were so good. People went to really amazing lengths to take them. I wanted to do the perfect job arranging and judging them. Instead, I just ended up paralyzed with indecision.

But that stops today. I’ve waited too long, so I’m going to bull ahead and settle for *mostly* perfect. It’s time to start showing off the pictures and giving out the prizes.

So here we go, the best photos in the Action category:

*     *     *

There’s a lot of ways you can portray action in a photo.

You can show it directly:

Or indirectly:

We got some Hollywood action, too.

I like this one because honestly, if I could do magic. I would just use it to impress girls.

In the rules of the contest, I told people that they shouldn’t do anything dangerous, like, say, play with fire.

But did they listen?

No, they did not.

They really did not:

They absolutely did not listen to me:

We got some zombie action:

Pirate action:

And geek action:

We’ve got action in the streets:

At the amusement park:

And on top of things:

(He’s a parkour instructor. Don’t do this shit. Seriously.)

But while all of these are great (and believe me, there were dozens I had to leave out) in the end, I had to pick some winners.

Here they are:

Not only is this a great picture, but I’m a huge fan of Aikido. And if I’m mistaken and this isn’t Aikido, it’s still awesome.

This gains a spot not because it’s a scantily clad young woman, but because 1) I could never do this in a hundred years. 2) I actually do not understand the physics that are keeping her from crashing to the floor.

I love this one. We’ve all felt like this at some point, haven’t we?

And lastly:

(You should probably embiggen this one. It’s worth it.)

If you’re having trouble sussing out what’s going on here, let me break it down for you: Young girl + Playing + Red clothes + Swords in a Tree = ???

(Hint: The answer is “Awesome.”)

I’m all sorts of fond of this picture.

“But wait!” I hear you cry. “Pat. There’s no book in this picture! You clearly said in the rules that the book had to be in the picture!”

Don’t quibble. The book is there. You can just barely see it behind her leg….

See?

Here’s another:

And here we see the difference between girls and boys:

OSHA concerns aside, it looks like someone had a pretty great day at the park.

And as a bonus, they (and the rest of the winners) will be sent some Talent pipes as I described in the blog a while back.

It will will probably be a little while before I get to do another one of these. But they are coming. I just wanted to show y’all some proof that even if it takes a while, I do keep my promises.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for something cool, you should stay tuned to the blog, because we’re going to be posting up new items into the Worldbuilders lottery almost every day for the rest of the month. We’ll be adding new stuff to the Worldbuilders auction page too.

Stay tuned….

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, fan coolness, Photo Contest 2011 | By Pat37 Responses

Episode 4: The Play’s the Thing

Here’s this month’s episode of StoryBoard, for those of you who haven’t caught it yet. Episode 4: The Play’s the Thing.

This month we broke with tradition in several ways. We pre-recorded the show in order to avoid election night bandwidth issues, and we invited four guests instead of the regular three.

Both experiments were a qualified success. Shooting the show earlier in the day allowed us to bring in parents and east-coasters Peter V. Brett, Myke ColeSaladin Ahmed, and Naomi Novick. We also managed to avoid running into election coverage by scheduling a week before the election.

The downside is that there was a *tiny* little hurricane going on during our hangout. I don’t think that helped our connectivity very much. We lost a few of our guests for a couple minutes here and there, but since all the authors involved were experienced speakers and tabletop RPGers, none of them were thrown too far off their game.

Did I mention that this month our focus was storytelling in roleplaying?

Here it is….

Share and Enjoy…

Also posted in gaming, Geek and Sundry, the craft of writing, The Story Board, video games, videos | By Pat14 Responses

Epic D&D….

So for those of you with power out there on the East Coast, here’s something that might take your minds off things for half an hour or so.

For the rest of you, it will provide a welcome break from political ads.

Last year at Confusion, Peter V. Brett had the brilliant idea that since a bunch of fantasy authors were all getting together in one place, and since we all played D&D back in the day, we should get together, and, well, be huge *HUGE* geeks for an afternoon.

And when I say “we,” what I really mean is Peter V. Brett, Joe Abercrombie, Myke Cole, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth BearSaladin Ahmed, Jay Lake, and Jim C. Hines. And me.

So we rocked it old school. We busted out the AD&D rules, rolled up some second level characters, and played Keep on the Borderlands.

All I can say is that I’m glad that someone rolled a camera on the event. Myke Cole and Saladin Ahmed acted as Co-GM’s and did a brilliant job of herding the sackful of cats guiding me and my fellow authors through the game.

Since then, we’ve had all the footage edited down and tidied up by my friend Erin. Here’s what we ended up with. The cinematography isn’t anything special, but the video itself really turned out amazingly funny. If you’ve ever role played, or if you have any interest in seeing authors descend to the pits of geekery, you should really take a look….

The fact that we finally got this video up and running gave me the inspiration for this month’s Storyboard, where we’re going to talk about Storytelling in RPG’s. (That’s foreshadowing, BTW.)

Some of the other authors have done their own write-ups of this event, and I don’t have much to add to this except to say that every single thing they say in there is absolutely true.

Brent Weeks

Myke Cole

Joe Abercrombie

More soon,

pat

Also posted in gaming, the craft of writing, The Story Board, videos | By Pat26 Responses

Fan Coolness….

Long ago, I wrote a blog answering the question, “If I mail you a book, will you sign it?”

It that blog (which included a flow chart that I’m still pretty proud of) I explained the truth of the situation. Specifically, that I’d be happy to sign your books, but there are complications. Books get lost in the mail. Books get damaged. It takes time for me to sign a book, time to package and unpackage it, time to go to the post office, money to ship it, etc.

Generally speaking, it’s easier, safer, and faster to just buy a signed book in our online store: The Tinker’s Packs. Plus the money you spend there goes to charity, so it’s a double win.

Still, I know what it’s like to become attached to a book, and to want to have that particular book signed. So in that blog I told people if they *really* wanted to send me a book, I’d sign it, provided they followed certain rules. Most important among these is that they include return postage and send me something cool.

I expected the requests to kinda die down after that. But I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

In the years since I posted that blog, I’ve received hundreds and hundreds of gifts. So many that I can’t even begin to put an accurate number on it.

And for years, as I’ve opened the packages, I’ve thought to myself, “This is so cool. I’ve got to show this to people on the blog….”

Unfortunately, with rare exception, I never get around to it. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

But a couple weeks ago, I got something I really want to tell you about.

The package showed up, late in the afternoon, and I dug through it looking for the toy surprise. A lot of times, getting a package or a letter from a fan can be the high point of my day.

At the bottom of the box I found something heavy wrapped in cloth. When I picked it up, my first thought was, “It’s a knife.”

Now this isn’t a first for me. Folks have sent me knives before. Someone sent me a knife they’d carved themselves out of wood. Someone else sent me a skinning knife from Alaska once.

But this was *really* heavy. So heavy that I almost thought it couldn’t be a knife. I have a knife made from a railroad tie, and this was heavier than that.

When I unwrapped it, I found this:

The entire knife was metal. Everything. Blade, guard, handle. Everything out of solid metal.

I looked at it and thought: Did someone make me a copper knife?

Then I thought: No. Nobody would do that.

Then I thought: This really looks like a copper knife.

Then I thought: Seriously?

So I brought out the letter and read it. It was from a guy named Tait and his friend Loren (no relation). Who run a little site called Esoteric Garage. They explained that they they liked to goof around with forging things as a hobby. And when they were talking about my books they came to the conclusion that, “a copper knife could be really useful if you wanted to kill a namer.”

Then I thought, These guys have been reading the books really closely.

I geeked out pretty hard. I called Tait and told him that this was the coolest thing I’d seen in months. He confirmed that the entire thing was copper. Even the rods that hold the handle together. Clever stuff.

After I got off the phone, I was still all excited about my knife. And I started to think, “I think I’ve been wrong about copper weapons. I think you could probably really fuck somebody up with this.”

So there I was, at the work house, holding a knife. And you know what it’s like when you’re holding something like that. When you pick up a nice  baseball bat, you want to swing it around. You pick up a hatchet, you want to cut some wood. Some things yearn toward their purpose. Some things are the embodiment of a purpose. Some objects are practically crystallized verbs.

What I’m getting at, is that I was filled with a powerful urge to stab something.

This is not my best expression ever. Apparently, this is what I look like when I’m trying hard to repress the urge to stab.

I should stress that this urge was, first and foremost, scientific. You see, this sort of thing is research for me. The more experiences I gather, the more effective I am as a writer.

Luckily, I’m able to control my scientific urges to a certain degree. This is especially fortunate, considering Amanda, one of my assistants, was in the workhouse with me.

So, in the interest of science, I stepped back and stabbed the nearby doorframe as hard as I could. Because, y’know, it’s my house, and I can do whatever the hell I want.

What did I learn from the experiment?

1. I made a good choice in hiring Amanda. As I stood there, looking at the knife sticking out of the wall, she said. “I kinda figured you were going to do that.”

2. You can definitely fuck somebody up with a copper knife.

3. Copper’s more durable than I suspected.

Also, I was reminded that my readers are very cool. Because not only did Tait send me a knife as a present, but he mentioned he might have something to donate to worldbuilders in a couple of months….

Thanks so much, Tait. Rest assured that I’m pretty sure you’re not legally responsible for anything I do with this. At worst, you’re accessory-before-the-fact.

Have a good weekend everybody,

pat

Also posted in boding, cool things, fan coolness, Science | By Pat72 Responses

Two great books, and a chance to win a free DeLorean

Commander Harken: Seems odd you’d name your ship after a battle you were on the wrong side of.
Captain Reynolds: May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.

That’s all I feel like saying on the subject of the recall election right now.

*     *     *

There are two things happening this week that all proper geeks should be aware of.

First off, Redshirts, is hitting the shelves.

I know, I know…. you can’t really judge a book by its cover. In my opinion, if you’re going to judge, you should do it by the blurbs on the back:

(Click to Embiggen.)

As I mentioned on the blog a couple months back, I got an early read of the book early on this year. As a result, I ended up laughing my ass off at a local restaurant, while everyone stared at me like I was a crazy person. Which is fair enough, I suppose.

If you’re interested, you can read the review I wrote, including the bit where I threaten Scalzi with violence, over here.

The second piece of vital geek news today is the fact that Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, went on sale in paperback this week.

Now this would be news enough by itself, because honestly, Ready Player One was probably the best book I read last year. (And I read a lot.)

But no, the REAL news is that to celebrate the paperback release, Ernest is giving away a DeLorean. Which is somehow manages to be the coolest AND the geekiest promotional thing that I’ve ever run into.

(Seriously, he’s giving away a DeLorean.)

How can you win it? Well, he’s hidden clues in his book. You find the clues, you play some games, you can win his sweet ride.

For the details, you can head over here.

I’ll also mention, just as an aside, that both John Scalzi and Ernest Cline were very cool about donating stuff to Worldbuilders last year. So if you were right on the edge, and just needed one more reason to rush out and buy their books, there it is…

pat

Also posted in contests, cool news, recommendations | By Pat28 Responses
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