Category Archives: Worldbuilders

Stretch Goals, Teaming Up, and the Impending Fundraiser

I’m guessing you know what’s right around the corner.

That’s right. The annual Worldbuilders fundraiser starts on Monday, November 9th. Just a handful of days away.

It’s been a bit of a madhouse for the last couple weeks while we’ve been getting ready. Every year the fundraiser gets bigger and better. And this year we’re doing things we never could have dreamed of pulling off before.

As a result, we have a new addition to the Worldbuilders team. Her name is Mindy, and she’s been thrown into the fray at… well…  let’s just call it an interesting time.

So… yeah. This is it. Your official advance warning. Start your engines.

Huh. Okay. That felt kinda strange to say. I don’t know where that “start your engines” metaphor came from. I take that back.

Worldbuilders-Logo_Web - crop smaller

Did I mention we’ve raised $3,500,000 for Heifer International?
Because we have. We very have.

If you’re one of the true believers who read the blog regularly and enjoy helping out with the fundraiser ever year. Or if you’ve always kinda wanted to help out but didn’t know how, I have a few things you might want to consider before this year’s festivities kick off.

1. Team Pages

Last year was the first time we’ve had an easy option for people who wanted to create and manage their own teams inside the bigger Worldbuilders Fundraiser. We didn’t think much of it at the time because, well… we were busy getting all the books and prizes ready for the lottery.

But my readers are clever, quick witted folk, and some of you jumped right in and started making teams of your own. Some teams offered their own stretch goals and prizes. Some had friendly rivalries (Team Nerdfighteria and The Wayward Backers in particular)….

Worldbuilders 2014  teams

*Salutes The Wayward Backers*

It was, to be perfectly honest, one of the cooler things that happened last year. It delighted me to see what y’all came up with, and it made me proud to see so many people taking the fundraiser and making it their own.

Last year someone set up a Spanish team. A family decided to forego Christmas gifts and raise money for goats instead. A convention in Luxembourg rallied their members to donate.

And I’m sure many of you remember a young girl named Charlotte who made a video because she wanted to raise $500 dollars, enough for a Heifer. You can see her smiling face in the picture above. You’ll probably also notice that she helped raise a lot more than her initial goal.

So if you’re amazed at the fact that over 60% of the world still cooks dinner over an open fire, but you don’t have the $1000 it would take to help an entire village get stoves. Or if you wish you could help a town get clean water but on your budget $300 might as well be a piece of the moon….

Well, maybe you could start a team, then rally your friends and family to help make it happen.

Trust me on this. People are good. If you give them a chance they will surprise you.

2. Stretch Goals

Over the years, we’ve had some awesome stretch goals. Here’s some of my particular favorites:

Molly’s Greatest Adventure

Trey Ratcliff’s bathroom selfie:

Trey Ratcliff - Bathroom Selfie

Amanda is particularly fond of everything Hank Green did for us, but last year’s angsty cover of Shake it Off cover was particularly fine.

The Doubleclicks Love You Like a Burrito!

Or what about that time Kevin Hearne did the Thriller dance?

We’re always trying to think of cool new stretch goals, and cool new people to help out with them. So if you have a clever idea feel free to mention it the comments below.

That said, let’s be reasonable in our expectations. Of course it’d be cool to see me and Nathan Fillion kiss, but obviously I don’t know Nathan Fillion. Because if I knew Nathon Fillion, the two of us would be playing Betrayal at House on the Hill in my tree house right now.

3. Donations and General offers of assistance.

Are you an author? A book collector? Someone who desperately needs to reclaim some shelf-space and the illusion of control over your life?

Are you a publisher? A game designer? Are you a maker of cool geeky things and you’d like to make the world a better place by donating a few to a good cause?

Are you a juggler? A gymnast? A singer? Can you bend spoons with your mind or something else you think would make a fun stretch goal?

Are you a programmer? An artist? A musician? Are you Nathan Fillion?

(If so, I’m sorry about that whole kissing thing I wrote up there. I didn’t mean to make things weird.)

Either way, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.

donations@worldbuilders.org

Soon,

pat

P.S. Don’t forget to leave your stretch goal suggestions below.

Also posted in Acts of Whimsy, Worldbuilders 2015 | By Pat30 Responses

Doing What We Can

Over the last year, I’ve been reading the Little House on the Prairie books to my oldest boy. I ended up reading the sixth book, The Long Winter, in the middle of a bitterly cold January at my father’s cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin.

I have to say, I’ve rarely been more caught up in a book. Without going into too much detail, it tells the story of how the Ingalls family lived through a truly horrific winter out on the frontier back in the 1880’s.

So there I am, in a Little Cabin in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. It’s 30 below outside, (-34 Celsius). Then, at 2:00 am, the LP tank runs out of gas.

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For you city dwellers, an LP tank is like a big propane tank for your house if you live out in the country. It provides natural gas for your stove, your water heater, and… well, your furnace.

So the cabin starts getting cold, and my dad and I haul in wood and light a fire in the old cast-iron stove. We feed it all night, and make it til morning without much trouble. The place has modern insulation, after all. The kids stay warm with extra blankets and the water pipes don’t freeze. Still, it’s an eye-opener.

That night I read a few more chapters to my boy about a pioneer family trying to survive in a building that’s not much more than a wooden shack. No insulation. No electricity. Cut off from civilization due to blizzards. They have a stove too, but there’s no coal. No firewood. They keep alive by burning hay. All they have to eat is potatoes. Then even the potatoes run out and they have nothing to eat but grain.

It goes on for months, and while I’m reading, all I can think is: How can people possibly survive like this?

The next morning, I stumble onto an article about the Syrian refugees. Lebanon just had its worst blizzard in a decade. Feet of snow. And most refugees don’t even have a clapboard shack for shelter. They’ve got tents. Tarps. They have nothing. They’re freezing to death. Kids are freezing to death in the snow.

So I call Maria.

*     *     *

As many of you know, I have a charity called Worldbuilders. We raise money from the geek community and use it to make the world a better place. Over the last several years we’ve raised about 3.5 million dollars.

Worldbuilders-Logo_Web - crop smaller

We work primarily with Heifer International because they offer the biggest bang for our buck. Heifer focuses on providing people with tools, education, and infrastructure so that they can become self-reliant forever. It’s the whole teach-a-person-to-fish thing. Except Heifer is actually better than that, because they also teach people to teach *other* people to fish. Which means the good they do is like an ever-growing avalanche rolling forward into the future.

I used to run Worldbuilders, but not anymore. These days Maria runs it, because she’s roughly 8000 times better at it than I ever was.

So I call Maria up and say, “Syrian Refugees are freezing to death. Can Worldbuilders give them some money to help?”

There’s a pause on the other end of the phone. Maria isn’t surprised. She’s just thinking. I call her like this all the time, saying things like: “I need a map of 18th century Ghent,” or “Why don’t we sell greeting cards in our online store? Can we get than ready by tomorrow?” or “Is it illegal for me to have a laser gun? And if so, how illegal? And also, can you find someone to build me a laser gun?”

It says a lot about Maria that she has never tried to choke me. Not even once.

So Maria is quiet on the phone for about 8 seconds, processing. Then she says, “We’d need to make sure the money goes to the right place.”

“There’s a place called Mercy Corps,” I said. “I haven’t checked them out completely, but they seem solid. Also, right now someone is offering matching funds, so if we hurry, we’ll be able to double up on our donation.”

“Okay,” Maria says. “I think that’s workable.”

Now I hesitate. “I worry that people might be upset if we support another charity,” I say. “We talk a lot about Heifer. I don’t want people to feel like we’re pulling a switch on them.”

“We’ve made donations to First Book,” Maria points out. “No one was bothered by that.”

“True,” I say. “But this isn’t the sort of charity we normally support. It’s not about education or sustainability. But long-term help isn’t appropriate here. These people don’t have anything. They need blankets. They need heaters and fuel.”

“I think we should do it,” Maria says.

“But when people donate or buy something in our store, they’re trusting us to put the money to good use,” I say. “I don’t want to risk that trust by changing charities on them all of a sudden. How about I give some money to Worldbuilders, then Worldbuilders donates it to Mercy Corps? That seems safer.”

“If that’s the way you want to do it,” Maria says. “I’ll look into them and make sure it’s a good charity.”

And that’s what we did. It was different for us. Worldbuilders usually tries to work for long-term change, but we knew this donation wouldn’t solve the refugee problem. It won’t give them homes and jobs. But you can’t teach someone to fish when they’re freezing to death. Sometimes all you can do is keep people warm. Sometimes all you can do help a little, and that has to be enough.

*     *     *

Fast forward to now.

Unless you’ve been living under a heavy rock, you’ve been hearing a lot about the Syrian refugees lately. I’ve heard there’s a picture of a little boy that drowned trying to get somewhere safe. I haven’t seen it, and I’m not going to go looking for it either. I don’t want to see it, and I wouldn’t put something like that in my blog.

Instead, here’s a picture of The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

1200px-An_Aerial_View_of_the_Zaatri_Refugee_Camp_July2013

Its population is 79,900. Making it the fourth largest city in the country. There’s a lot of kids there. 

I can’t imagine what it would be like, having to flee my country with my kids. I can’t imagine abandoning everything just hoping to keep my little boys safe. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in a tent and just hope desperately that someone helps me.

Actually that’s not true. I can imagine what it’s like. I can imagine *exactly* what it’s like. I’m a writer. That’s what I do. I can imagine it and it’s horrifying.

This video touches on the edge of it. It’s a only a minute and a half long. You have the time.

My imagination is much worse than that. It makes it hard for me to sleep at night. 

Every day I see more of this stuff. And every day it makes me feel more helpless. Hopeless. Angry at the world.

Then I saw this:

COZddTuW8AAnP-h

This woman is named Petra Laszlo. She’s a journalist. This picture shows her tripping a refugee carrying a child in his arms. (Story here if you like.)

It’s been days since I first saw this. And I am still so angry. I’m so angry I can feel it in my chest. My skin prickles. I’m so angry that I can’t even describe it to you. I have no words for it. Nothing is big enough.

I believe that people are good. I really do. It’s one of the truths I live my life by. It’s one of the things I cling to when I have trouble sleeping at night. I’ve seen such proof of it through the years. From my children. From my readers. From the fact that so many people come together to make Worldbuilders a success.

But this. It’s makes me wonder if maybe I’m wrong. 

I hate that this is the world. And I’m so angry. And I’m tired of feeling like I can’t do anything to help.

So I call Maria.

*     *     *

So. For the next week, Worldbuilders is raising money to help the Syrian refugees.

What’s more, Worldbuilders will be matching donations for the first $25,000 of the fundraiser. So if you kick in 10 bucks, it turns into 20. Donate $50? We’ll turn it into a $100.

Dollar-panarama-704155

(Like this.)

100% of the money from this fundraiser will be donated to Mercy Corps, because they’re already on the ground, helping out the refugees. They have more than 30 years of experience doing this sort of thing. We’ve checked them out and they’re excellent.

I’m taking a flier on this one, folks. It’s an experiment. We haven’t planned this the way we normally do. We aren’t giving out prizes. There aren’t any stretch goals. We don’t have any media lined up to help us spread the word.

This is just about helping people who are in desperate need of help.

And honestly? It’s kinda ridiculous for us to do this now. Our big end-of-the-year fundraiser in November, we should be focusing on that. That would be the smart thing for us to do.

But the simple truth is this: I can’t just watch this happen any more. I need to do something to help. I’m guessing a lot of you feel the same way, so I thought I’d give us a chance to do it together.

I don’t want to feel angry and hopeless any more. I want to see more pictures like this:

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If this isn’t your kind of charity, I completely understand. Rest assured that Worldbuilders will be doing its regular fundraising extravaganza in a couple months.

But if you want to help, you can do it over here.

Thanks for reading to the end, folks. I appreciate it.

pat

Edit 9:47 am: I posted this blog late last night, not knowing what the reaction might be. Whenever you reach out to people like this, it’s a risk. What’s more, I hadn’t done a lot of planning, and I was worried it might not go over well. Around 4:00 I finally managed to get to sleep.

A few minutes ago I woke up, blearily checked my phone, and saw that we’ve raised over $28,000. I’ve never been so happy to be awake after only 5 hours of sleep. And I’m going to give Worldbuilders another 25,000 dollars so they can keep matching donations. I’d love to see this thing keep rolling.

Edit 1:28 pm: We just hit $50,000 and within minutes, someone dropped us an e-mail, offering to provide us another $25,000 to help us continue matching donations. She would like to remain anonymous. But I salute her generosity, as it means all donations up to $75,000 are going to be doubled. 

I am having the best day ever.

Edit 6:18 pm: We just hit $75,000, and another lovely human being has stepped up with $5000 dollars so we can continue to match donations. I’m not sure if he wants to remain anonymous or not, but until we know, we’ll keep his name private. Named or not, he’s the reason donations are being matched up to $80,000.

Edit 8:05 pm: Just when we were closing in on $80,000 we got an e-mail from someone who offered to match another $20,000 dollars. When I saw the e-mail I actually laughed out loud. I’ve been laughing so much today, and it’s all because of you guys.

Thanks to our newest citizen philanthropist, we’re now matching all donations up to $100,000 dollars.

(If anyone else cares to drop us a line, our e-mail is refugees@worldbuilders.org.)

Also posted in calling on the legions | By Pat77 Responses

A Blog of Three Parts

Okay folks, we’re a little more than halfway through our summer fundraiser, and I’m pleasantly surprised at how well things have been going.

Last year we raised 25,000 dollars in the first day. This year, we raised that in under six hours.

As I write this, we stand at 112,000 dollars, and I’m hoping we have a strong finish in the next four days. I’d *really* like to beat last year’s total of $206K.

Today I’ve got three things to show you….

  • Show off a few new items we’ve added.
  • Bring a few things to your attention you might have missed in the excitement.
  • Draw your attention to our FAQ.

Let’s start with the last of these, shall we?

If you have questions, please look in the FAQ. Please? Want to know about ordering multiple items? It’s there. International shipping? There. T-shirt Sizing? Yup. You guessed it, it’s in the FAQ.

If you look there and don’t see the answer to your question. Please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments of the blog or over on the IndiGoGo itself. We’re keeping a close eye on both places.

Part The Second: New Items.

  • An Eolian Bar Hoodie

Hoodie

People have been asking us to make a hoodie for years, but we’ve been reluctant because hoodies tend to be expensive to produce.

But this seemed like the perfect time to test the waters, so we’re going to make one based on the Eolian Bar design, which has been our best selling t-shirt for years.

These are $55 and that includes shipping. They’re a little pricier than I’d like, but that’s because here at Worldbuilders, we don’t want to sell you something that was made by 8-year old kids in a sweatshop in China. That goes against the better world we’re trying to create. These hoodies are made here in the US, but that means they cost a little more.

Fair warning. If you want a hoodie, you should probably order it before the end of the fundraiser. Like I said, these are a bit of an experiment, they’re expensive to make, and really bulky to store. I don’t know if we’re going to stock them in the Tinker’s Packs after we’re done.

  • Signed Karen Hallion Denna Canvas

Denna-final

In last year’s calendar, Karen Hallion did a great job of this Kingkiller mashup that offers a theory about why Kvothe has so much trouble meeting up with Denna.

We liked it so much that we got 150 of them printed up, not as posters, but as canvas stretched over a wooden frame. These aren’t posters, they’re much nicer and sturdier than that.

We gave some to Project for Awesome last year, and they quickly sold out. Rather than horde them, we’re putting the rest up in the IndiGoGo. They’re numbered and signed by both Karen Hallion and Myself.

As I write this, there’s only 87 of them left. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

  • Multi-Color Shirts

TeeVariation2

 (Click to Embiggen)

Traditionally, we print our black t-shirts. Aside from being the traditional geek t-shirt color, black is pretty universal.

That said, many of you have made passionate pleas for non-black shirts. So we’re listening. We’ve decided to take another risk and try an experiment.

For three of our shirts (shown above) we’re going to be offering you choices for different colors (also above). When we send out our post-survey fundraiser, you’ll get to pick which styles, sizes, and colors you like best.

We picked these colors because they worked best with the designs, so while they’re still dark, you’ll have some variety this way. And the option to choose.

Fair Warning: After the fundraiser is over, we aren’t going to stock multiple colors in our online store.

Why? Because it means we would effectively have to stock 144 different items (3 shirts x 2 styles x 6 sizes x 4 four colors = 144). It would be pure madness.

When these shirts end up in the Tinker’s Packs after the fundraiser, we’re only going to carry whatever the most-voted-for color is. The odds say that color will be black. So if you want a non-black version of one of these shirts, the fundraiser is probably going to be the only place to get it

(Also, remember. You have the option to buy a shirt 3-pack as a 60 dollar perk. You save 15 bucks that way.)

  • Unfettered, in a few forms…

Unfettered combo

If you don’t know: This anthology was put together by Shawn Speakman. Shawn asked a bunch of his author friends if they’d be willing to donate a story to help him publish a book to help pay for his cancer treatments. I was happy to help. Because seriously. Fuck cancer.

Unfettered contains my first ever published short story: How Old Holly Came to Be.

Because Shawn published these books through a small press, they’re very rare. There were only 5000 of them printed. But we have 100 of them to put into the fundraiser. We’re just about the only place you can find them.

For you collectors out there: We *also* have numbered editions, signed by *all* the authors. Terry Brooks, Naomi Novik, Brandon Sanderson, RA Salvatore, Tad Williams, Jacqueline Carey, Daniel Abraham, Peter V. Brett, Robert VS Redick, Peter Orullian, Todd Lockwood, Carrie Vaughn, Blake Charlton, Kevin Hearne, Mark Lawrence, David Anthony Durham, Jennifer Bosworth, Lev Grossman, Michael J. Sullivan… and me.

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(Signed by 22 of the biggest names in fantasy.)

They only made 500 of these. They have a different cover. A color insert, and a slipcase to keep the book safe. They’ve been sold out for ages. But we have a few.

But wait, there’s more.

Shawn is putting together another anthology: Unbound. If you buy this perk, you’ll get both fancy slipcased books, signed by all contributors, with matching numbers.

What’s more, if you order this perk, you get first dibs on the same number when the next anthology after Unbound comes out. (We’ve worked that out with Shawn) So you can have the whole trilogy with a set of matching numbers.

  • The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle.

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For those of you who don’t know. Yeah. I did a picture book.

It’s been out for a while, but a lot of folks don’t know about it. It’s kinda… dark.

People have been e-mailing us, saying they’d like to buy copies, but they’d *also* want the geeky joy of being a part of the Geeks Doing Good fundraiser. So we’re throwing it in as a perk for those of you who haven’t heard of it. Or for those of you who have been waiting for an excuse to grab a copy.

The book will ship with the promotional gold-foil: “This shit is not for kids” sticker.

Part Two: Things you May have Missed.

  • Early Look at a new Jim Butcher Book

Aeronaut's Windlass

I pulled some strings with the folks at Penguin books, and they sent us copies of the promotional sampler for Jim Butcher’s new book. We’re going to be putting one into every book bundle. So you’ll get an early look at the book. (We’re including a few other samplers, too.)

  • Geek-A-Week Cards

We mentioned these before, but we haven’t done a good job of showing off the art yet.

geekaweeks1

(You pretty much need to embiggen this)

These Geek-aWeek decks are really cool, and I hope you guys take the time to check them out. Each card has a cool geeky celebrity featured, doing something awesome. Above are some highlights from Season 1, and below are some highlights from Season 5.

geeksaweeks5

(I’m in there, too. As you can see.)

The backs of the cards contain incriminating information about the geeks.

They aren’t just cool collectables. You can also play a game with them (Designed by Mike Selinker.) Even better, I just discovered today, that these cards are *great* when you’re doing tabletop rollplaying. Need an NPC? Pick one out of the deck. Suddenly Amanda Palmer is the Shady Fence you’re selling stolen jewelry to. Or Felicia day is the head of the Bandits that jump you in the forest.

Forshadowing: You might see a video featuring me doing something like this very soon.

  • Auri’s Brazen Gear

Auri Gear

Badali did such a good job on these. And since it’s the Year of the Gear, we decided to put them up into the fundraiser where you could buy them. Plus, they come with both a chain and a leather cord, so you can choose for yourself when it arrives.

  • JoCoCruise 2016

JCC 2016

A lot of people have been asking, so I thought I’d explain a couple of things about the cruise.

First of all, we aren’t covering your travel TO the cruise. You’ll still need to get down there yourself.

That said, the cruise includes everything during your trip. That means:

  • All your meals for 7 days. (Including room service.)
  • A *very* nice D3 balcony cabin.
  • Access to all exclusive JCC2016 entertainment and events.
  • Panels, concerts, cocktail hours, special gaming events….
  • Access to the 24/7 gaming room sponsored by Steve Jackson games.
  • *Guaranteed* seating at all the main performance events.

Still not enough? Jonathan Coulton, Jean Grae, Paul F. Tompkins, and Imogen Heap are featured performers. Plus notable geeks like Wil Wheaton, Molly Lewis, John Scalzi, John Hodgman, and N.K. Jemisin are all there doing panels, hanging out, and just generally being awesome.

I’ll be there too. Along with a few of the Worldbuilders crew. I’ll be doing some panels on writing….

Think about it for a second. Just think about going. Wouldn’t that be an amazing vacation? A great second honeymoon? Best graduation present ever?

The total cash value of the cabin is $3,991. Given that, I don’t see how you can *not* seriously consider buying the $5 perk that gives you a chance. Or you can buy 5 chances for $25.

Still not convinced? I’ll bring along my prototype Tak set and we’ll play a game. A beautiful game.

  • Auri Soap

soap

(I’m, seriously, ridiculously excited about this.)

We got a picture of the first test run of Auri’s perfect soap from Black Phoenix. It looks lovely, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some. I want to smell it.

Keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily what the finished product will look like, but it’s a good start.

Those of you who pay close attention to the fine details of things (which, now that I think of it, is probably most of you) doubtless noticed that in the initial video we talked about doing a candle too.

The problem is, the candle needs to be made from the right ingredients. It needs to have beeswax and bayberry. (Which is what you get from laurel) What’s more, it needs to be a free-standing candle. Not one of those candles-in-a-jar. Because if it wasn’t like that, it wouldn’t be Auri’s candle.

The problem is, very few people make candles like that these days. Because the ingredients are expensive. And candles in jars are easier to make and safer to use. As a result, we’re putting that project on hold for now. I don’t want to make the candle for you unless I can be sure it’s perfect. Auri simply would not approve.

  • Two (2) Mayfair Game Bundles

games bundles2

Some of you may remember when the Worldbuilders Team unloaded 18 pallets of Mayfair Games off of a truck last winter (if you don’t, you should really watch the video, because Maria is adorable in it).

Since we had so many games, we’ve put them together into bundles for people. There’s a smaller, slightly cheaper one at $40, with a retail value of over $120. It has a few of the easier to pick up games, though they’re still wonderfully fun.

It was, of course, our duty to play the games, you see. To be sure that they were fun. Quality control, and all of that.

There’s also a larger bundle for $55 that retails for over $220. It’s some of the bigger and more intensive games.

Note: The games in the bundles don’t overlap at all. That means if you buy both of them, you won’t get any duplicate games.

*     *     *

Lastly: For those of you who are holding out, please be aware that we won’t be adding anything new to the fundraiser after today (Friday).

Fair Warning: Some of the final items we’re adding are limited in number, so keep an eye out for the update that will probably get sent out in the afternoon.

Have a good weekend, folks. Thanks for supporting Worldbuilders. Thanks for spreading the word, and thanks for making the world a better place.

Here’s a final link to the fundraiser if you want it.

pat

Also posted in Geeks Doing Good | By Pat54 Responses

Geeks Doing Good II: The Return

Hey there everybody. Today’s a busy day.

We’ve got the winners (plural) in the t-shirt contest. We have a design for the Dresden Files t-shirt.

Best of all, both of these are tied into the our second-annual summer fundraiser: Geeks Doing Good.

Worldbuilders-Logo_Web--less-space

We started doing the summer fundraiser because while I firmly believe that people want to make the world a better place, I know sometimes it’s a little easier to make a donation if you get some thing cool in return. This way, you can come in, buy something fun, then sleep well at night content in the knowledge that all the money is going to a good cause.

Same as last year, the fundraiser is only going to last a week. 

We’re doing this with IndieGoGo because they allow non-profits to do fundraising. And, unlike Kickstarter, they allow you to buy multiple items during a campaign. And I think (hope) a fair number of you are going to be tempted into multiple purchases.

What do we have? A lot of things. Over 40 different items at my last count.

But here are a few highlights.

  • So many t-shirts

Tees03

(You’ll probably want to embiggen these.)

In the end, we decided to go with three t-shirts from the contest. The two leading contenders (Waystone Inn and What Does It Unlock?) were nearly tied through the entire voting process. And enough people committed to buying shirts, that we decided to take a bit of a risk and bring the third place winner, too. (You Have Died of Chandrian.)

Now if your favorite didn’t get picked, don’t be upset. We’re going to make use of the other designs in the future. I promise. But right now, we’re going to stick to three t-shirt designs because… well… because we have a *lot* of other stuff in the fundraiser. Including other shirts…

Such as this one based off Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. I talked about it last week on the blog, and I’m excited to show you the final design…

PolkaWND_BK_Straight_NoSerif

 (Also worthy of embiggening.)

All these shirts are available individually, or you can get them cheaper if you buy three of them together over in the campaign.

Before we move on to the other stuff in the fundraiser. I’d like to extend my personal thanks to all the fabulous folks who sent in designs. You have wowed me with your talent, and warmed my heart with how generous you are with your time and energy. You’ve made our fundraiser so much cooler.

Rest assured that we’ll be posting a blog where we show *all* the designs that were submitted, as well as giving you information about the designers themselves, so you can bask in the glow of their collected glory.

  • Calendars

2016HallionCalendar_Pages

Karen Hallion sent us even more wonderful art for this year’s calendar, and Brett has stepped up his game this year designing the calendar grids. Here’s a sample of just a few of the pages, and it’s well worth clicking on to see it in its full embiggened majesty.

We also have a new Beyond Words calendar from photographer Lauren Zurchin.

ZurchinCalendarFBStyle_HighRes

If you’re more into fantasy authors than cartoons, never fear, we have a calendar for you, too. I haven’t done my photo shoot yet, but rest assured: I’m in this calendar too. And if the last one is any indication, I’m hoping I’ll look a little badass.

  • Copper Dice

CopperDice_ShirePostMint

(For those of you who plan on gambling with namers.)

Last year we offered up 10 sets of handmade copper dice to see if anyone would be interested in them.

And people were. To our delight and amazement,  they sold out fast even though they were priced at $100 a pair.

So this year, we worked with Shire Post Mint to produce more dice and make them more affordable than before. This new design is lovely, with a pleasing weight in the hand, and they’re only half the price of last year’s.

What’s more, we’re offering an early bird option. If you’re one of the first 50 people to buy a set, you get an even better deal.

  • Kvothe’s Vintish Court Rings

Three_Rings_1024x1024

Because you need to be ready at any moment to call upon Vintish nobles. Badali did a truly wonderful job on these, including the fact that the iron ring is actually made of iron. That’s not an easy thing to do.

There’s an early bird special on these, too. If you get in early, you’ll get them cheaper.

  • Auri’s Perfect Soap.

Fight club(Like this. Except kinda exactly the opposite of this.)

I can’t show you a picture of this because we don’t have it, yet. But we’ve teamed up with Black Phoenix Alchemy to bring you the soap Auri makes in Slow Regard. I’ve had long talks with them about the soap, going into kinda ridiculous detail. Because they’re crazy geeks over there, too. My kind of people.

It won’t actually be made out of bear tallow, but it we’ll be getting everything else as close as humanly possible. It will be all prickle-rich with mystery, full of musk and whispers and tetradecanoic acid.

I’m pretty excited about this. I’ve been looking for an excuse to work with Black Phoenix for a while now….

  • Slow Regard Jewelry made from damaged books

srost jewelry

The Worldbuilders team was kind of heartbroken when copies of Slow Regard arrived damaged at the office last year. A few of the boxes had been punctured, dropped, and otherwise mutilated. Leaving 20 copies of the book in rough shape, beyond what we could possibly use.

So, they got their craft on and made a bunch of earrings (from the text) and necklaces (from the art).

As these are all handmade, so supplies are limited.

  • Auri Poster.

Auri Johanna Rupprecht

When I was in Germany, I met a fan who brought a print of her art to one of my signings. It’s one of my favorite depictions of Auri,  absolutely beautiful, and when I got back to the states, I showed it off to the Worldbuilders team.

They loved it too. So we got in touch with the artist, Johanna Rupprecht, and she was kind enough to let us make some prints for Worldbuilders. Thanks to her kindness, we’re selling signed, numbered copies of this print for the duration of the fundraiser.

  • Slow Regard Litographs Tattoo

Gear-Tattoo-Variation

We’re doing temporary tattoos with the help of Litographs. (We’re doing a shirt with them too.)

You should buy this. Adorn your body with my words. This adds to my power and allows me to crush all those who appose me.

Plus, y’know… charity.

  • A bundle of Slow Regard related gear (heh)

AuriBundleFBStyle

I’ve unofficially named this The Year of the Gear because I’m really pleased with how much folks ended up enjoying The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

As a result, we’ve got a lot of Auri-related goodies in this year’s fundraiser. And this bundle is your way of getting everything all at once and saving some money at the same time.

The bundle contains:

  • A Year of the Gear challenge coin.
  • A complete set of 7 postcards from the Underthing.
  • A package of two static clings. (One black, one white)
  • A package of two Beautiful and Broken tattoos.
  • Johanna Rupprecht’s Auri poster, signed and numbered.
  • A chance to go on the JoCoCruise

jococruise

This is a big one, folks. Pay attention.

Jonathan Coulton and Paul & Storm were awesome enough to give us a cabin on JoCoCruise 2016 to help out the fundraiser.

Earlier this year I went on the cruise for the first time. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like it. I didn’t know how much I’d actually dig the cruise thing.

Short story? I had a great time. It’s everything I like about going to a convention, plus I got to go snorkling. Plus all night gaming. Plus getting to hang out with cool geeks. And there’s karaoke, dance parties, cabaret performances, panel discussions, cocktail hours…

In brief, it was a blast.

I liked it so much, that I’ve agreed to help develop their writing track programming next year, working alongside the inestimable John Scalzi.

The price tag for a 2 person cabin seems a little steep. (Though it’s not that bad if you consider that it includes meals and drinks and entertainment for the duration of the trip.)

But even that doesn’t matter in this particular instance. I know a lot of you don’t have a ton of money, so here in the Geeks Doing Good fundraiser, you can throw your hat into the ring for 5 dollars. That’s right. For five bucks, you have a chance to come along on the cruise with us.

You can enter as many times as you buy the perk. We’ll get in contact once a winner is selected, and in February you’ll be sailing high seas with the cool kids.

Seriously guys. It’s a ton of fun.

  • But wait, there’s more!

SoMuchStuff

I haven’t even mentioned half of the things we’ve got in the fundraiser. We’ve got cards, original art. Cool Books. Game bundles. Collectables and things you’ll probably never see anywhere else.

Odds are, no matter what sort of geek you are, you’ll find something over there to tickle your fancy.

If nothing else, I think our intro video is really pretty awesome…

*     *     *

A final note:

One of the reasons we decided to go with IndieGoGo is that they accept PayPal, which is nice for folks that don’t have credit cards. What’s more, IndieGoGo gives us a *big* discount on the fees they normally charge because we’re a non-profit.

But here’s the downside. Because we’re taking advantage of that discount, it turns out we can’t use PayPal after all. The two just don’t work together.

I know for some people outside of the US, credit cards aren’t an option, or they’re just unduly complicated. For those people, who absolutely can’t participate unless we have PayPal, please feel free to email us at fundraiser [@] worldbuilders.org and we’ll do our best to work something out so you can buy what you want using paypal instead.

Okay, enough from me. Go check out the cool things.

And remember, the fundraiser only lasts for a week.

One final link.

pat

Also posted in Geeks Doing Good | By Pat83 Responses

C2E2, Collectibles, and Charity

Last year I gave C2E2 a try and was kinda surprised how much I liked it. As conventions go, it’s a nice mix of fandoms, with a lot of different stuff going on. It’s busy, but nowhere near as crowded as San Diego or New York Comic Cons.

Plus, it’s in Chicago, so I can pretty much throw a rock and hit it. The more I travel, the less I enjoy traveling. So that’s a big factor for me…

So I’ve decided to head back there again this year. I’ll be doing panels, signing books, and just generally nosing around and enjoying myself. I even get to interview Jim Butcher (details on that below) so I’m thinking I’m going to enjoy this year’s convention even more than I did last year.

At this particular convention, I’m also trying out something new (also below, but not as far).

Something New:

When I go to conventions, I always make a point of doing a signing or two. But this last year or so, the lines for my signings have been *really* long. As a result, they have to cap the lines, which means that after X number of people are lined up, they just won’t let any more people in.

So I try to sign books faster, but that means I can’t spend as much time talking with people as I’d like. And even then people have to stand in line for a long time, and the lines *still* get capped, and some folks can’t get their books signed.

Fast forward to about a month ago, I was contacted by the folks at Gemr. They’re a new company that’s starting up a website that’s…. well… it’s kinda like Goodreads, but for collectibles instead of books. Baseball cards, action figures, rare books…

Pretty much whatever you collect, you can use their service for it. You can show off your stuff, catalog your collections, have folks comment on your items, or even sell your stuff if you’re interested….

Anyway, they contacted me, and were looking to get the word out to people about their new website. They offered to donate money to Worldbuilders if we could help them spread the word.

So we wandered over to their site and mucked around a little. One of the more rare and limited things we’ve ever had was the Cealdish Currency from Shire Post Mint.

Master Set - Blog

(True-Ringing Cealdish Coin….)

So we decided to try it out. We created a profile and entered all the info about the coins: how many there were, what they were made of, all of the relevant information, and then uploaded all of that info into the website.

Okay. I’ll be honest here. Amanda did it all. I was busy doing other things, like writing books.

The good news was that Amanda said it was delightfully easy, and now all the information about the Cealdish currency is out in the world for those of you who are curious about that sort of thing.

Since their site seems pretty cool, and because I like doing stuff for charity, here’s what we’re doing with Gemr:

  • First: For every person who signs up for an account USING THIS LINK, Gemr will donate $3 to Worldbuiders.

This means, effectively, that if you go in and create an account on their site, *you* are donating three bucks to Worldbuilders.

That means if 100 of you create accounts, it’s enough money for Heifer International to provide a whole community with clean water. If 500 of you create accounts, it’s enough for Worldbuilders to give struggling families trees that will prevent soil erosion while producing fruits and nuts. If 1000 of you create accounts, we can give 100 families a flock of baby chicks, as well as the training, tools, and materials to house and care for the chickens so they can eat and sell eggs and raise *more* chickens.

And let’s be honest here, I know a *lot* more than 1000 of you read this blog….

But you need to make sure you USE THIS LINK so they know we sent you.

  • Second: I’m going to be doing three extra signings at the Gemr Booth at C2E2.

This will give me more time to sign books, take with folks pictures, and meet y’all at the convention. Which is a good thing.

What’s more, if you decide to sign up for their site while you’re in line at Gemr’s booth (#619) Worldbuilders will get credit for those sign-ups too….

The Gemr booth (#619) will have time slot tickets available for my signings there for anyone who wants them. That way you don’t have to waste a bunch of time standing in line, so make sure to swing by and pick one up.

Now, here’s my full schedule at C2E2:

Friday, April 24

1:00 PM-2:00 PM: Signing at the Gemr Booth, #619
2:45 PM-3:45 PM: Cinder Spires Panel (With Jim Butcher) Room S401
4:00 PM-6:00 PM: After Panel Signing with Jim Butcher, Table 18

Saturday, April 25

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Geek Geek Revolution, Room S403
1:00 PM-2:00 PM: Signing at the Gemr Booth, #619
3:00 PM-4:00 PM: Authors of Epic Fantasy, Room S402
4:15 PM-5:15PM: After Panel Signing, Table 18

11:00 PM-1:00 AM: Cards After Dark, 1917 N Elston Ave

The last of these is kind of a new thing, but I think it’s going to be cool.

It’s a ticketed event, since the venue has limited capacity, but the tickets are only $5, so if you want one, grab one over here.

Sunday, April 26

1:00 PM-2:00 PM: Signing at the Gemr Booth, #619
2:30 PM-4:30PM: Signing with Jim Butcher, Table 18

I’ll be seeing a lot of you soon, and thanks to Gemr you’ll have a much better chance of catching me if you’re in the area.

And don’t forget, if you sign up using our special link, Worldbuilders gets $3.

Later Space Cowboys….

pat

Also posted in appearances, conventions, cool things, signing books | By Pat40 Responses

Humble Bundle and Worldbuilders

I don’t know about y’all, but I love books.

You know what else I love? Supporting charitable causes.

And last but not least, I enjoy getting a bargain as much as the next guy.

If you’re into any of these things, this blog is for you.

I’ve talked about Subterranean Press here before. I’m fond of them for many reasons. They produce fine, high-quality books, doing lovely specialty editions, and occationally bringing a lost work back from out-of-print. Not only that, but they’re the reason The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle ever saw the light of day, and they’ve been long-time supporters of my charity, Worldbuilders.

So here’s the news: Subterranean Press is celebrating their 20th anniversary, and they’re doing it in style by teaming up with the folks at Humble Bundle to do an international e-book bundle.

What’s Humble Bundle? I hear you ask.

Well, Humble Bundle teams up with creators to bring together a bunch of something (a bundle, if you will) then they let you decide how much you’d like to pay for it. This means you usually end up getting hundreds of dollars of books or games for a bargain price.

But that’s not even the best bit. The best bit is that they let you decide where your money goes. You decide how much of your money goes to the creator, how much goes to a charity, and how much you’d like to leave as a tip for Humble Bundle itself.

For this bundle, the associated charity is Worldbuilders, if you hadn’t already guessed.

So let’s say you’ve been a fan of Subterranean Press for ages, and you want to grab a bunch of these delicious books for yourself. Here’s how you could do it.

humble slider

(Actual footage.)

Hmmm… you sure you want to go that route? You do know that Worldbuilders is, like, a really awesome charity, right? You know we do good things all over the world. We help hungry families, promote sustainable agriculture, provide clean water and education for….

25_wb awesome

Woah there. You don’t have to give Sub-Press the short straw, either. This is their party after all. They’re the ones supplying the books, and they were gracious enough to bring Worldbuilders in as their charity….

50_all equal

Hmmm… Well, in some ways you’re taking the coward’s way out with this option. But I noticed that you bumped your overall donation up to 50 bucks, so I’m not particularly inclined to call you names at this point….

My point is that the Humble Bundle gives you an unprecedented amount of control over your purchase. (And, honestly, these sliders are a lot of fun to play with.)

So here’s the details about the Sub-Press Humble Book Bundle:

If you pay any amount of money at all, you’ll get these e-books.

base bundle

The Jack Vance Treasury, Inside Job, Muse of Fire, Jacaranda: A Novella of the Clockwork Century, The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories, The Top of the Volcano: The Award-Winning Stories of Harlan Ellison®, and Brayan’s Gold.

If you pay more than the average donation (currently $12.58), you’ll also get the following twelve books:

The Mallet of Loving Correction, Nobody’s Home: An Anubis Gates Story, The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, The End of the Sentence, The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate, Tortured Souls: The Legend of Primordium, and Amityville Horrible, Bleeding Shadows, I Travel by Night, Salvage and Demolition, New Amsterdam, and The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein.

morethanaverage

additions

So just to break it down for you, if you pay at least $12.58 (or so) you’ll get all 19 of these.

Lastly,  anyone who pays $15 or more will receive all of the above, plus three more additional e-books:  Academic Exercises, The Hunter from the Woods, and Black Hat Jack.

over15

So as long as you donate more than $15, you get more than $123 dollars worth of e-books. AND you get to support a great publisher and a great charity at the same time.

I’d like to point out that included in these books are three I’ve hugely enjoyed myself. Specifically, Scalzi’s collection of blogs, and Salvage and Demolition, which is a nice taste of Tim Power’s writing for those of you who haven’t tried him before.

Best of all, one of my all-time favorite series is in this mix: The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox.

hugart_b

(This includes Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was)

Honestly? That e-book is worth $12.50 just by itself. It’s a book I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys fantasy and has a functioning soul.

I wish I could talk about more of these books, but honestly? Those are the only ones I’ve read. It’s shameful, really, as there are books here by some of my favorite authors. That’s why I just made a point of buying this bundle myself. It’s a bargain even if I just read one or two of them.

Need another excuse to jump in? All these e-books are DRM free, so you can read them on any platform you like.

That also means you’ll be able to read them in any *country* you like. That’s something you won’t find anywhere else.

This is a *very* limited-time offer. So don’t wait too long or you’ll miss it.

And if you know of anyone else who likes awesome things, I’d appreciate you helping us to spread the word. There’s only five days left, and after that, the deal is over.

Here’s one last link to the Bundle.

You know what to do,

pat

Also posted in cool news, Subterranean Press | By Pat24 Responses

Our Triumphant Conclusion, Chocolate Malts, and the Name of the World

So it was Monday the 14th, the last day of our experimental IndieGoGo fundraiser.

Things were going better than we’d expected. We were already at $125,000 on Monday morning. And because of generous geeks donating and spreading the word, we’d been raising about $5,000 dollars hour all day.

Around 5:00 PM at the temple, Maria refreshed the page and said, “$170,000!”

We’d just finished up a meeting, so the whole team was there. She looked at us. “I think we’re going to beat $200,000,” she said. Her voice was nervous, excited, but pretty sure of herself. Confident.

I felt obliged to be the voice of reason. Everyone was really excited in the office because we were having an amazing day. But I didn’t want them to set their expectations so high they’d be disappointed. That would be a huge shame, especially as the fundraiser was already an incredible success.

“Things tend to slow down in the evening,” I said. “People are eating dinner and watching TV. They aren’t checking their social media as much.”

I juggled numbers in my head and tested my gut. My team is good, but I’ve been doing this for twice as long as any of them. “I’m confident we’ll hit 180,” I said. “But I’d be surprised if we hit 190. I’d be honestly startled and amazed if we hit 200.”

Looking around, I could tell I’d let the wind out of their sails a bit. I felt like kind of a dick. It sucks being the voice of reason sometimes.

“Don’t get me wrong,” I said. “Y’all have been awesome. This whole thing was an experiment. If we’d only hit $50,000, it would have been a huge success. We blew it out of the water.”

Maria looked at me. It wouldn’t be fair to say that she gave me a rebellious look. It wasn’t really even a stubborn look. Her expression was… pugnacious. “When we hit 200K,” she said, gesturing dramatically. “You’re going to buy me a chocolate malt!”

Her enthusiasm was infectious. Maria radiates optimism. It’s part of the reason I love her.

“I will,” I said, smiling. “If we hit $200,000. I will buy everyone chocolate malts.”

There was a cheer in the office. Everyone loves it when you stand up to the boss.

Amanda posted it to twitter almost immediately.

I came home and made a few more posts on twitter and facebook. Then I tried to catch up on some e-mail, hampered slightly by the fact that I was refreshing the IndieGoGo page about every four minutes.

Much to my amazement, our momentum didn’t slow. The total climbed and climbed.

By the end of the fundraiser, we’d raised $205,000.

Have I said thank you yet?

Thank you. You have startled and amazed me with your awesome.

Thank you. You have reaffirmed my belief that people are inherently good.

Thank you.

*     *     *

Today, because Maria was right, I took the Worldbuilders team to get chocolate malts.

malt2

(Cutie isn’t part of the team, so he didn’t get any.)

If you can’t tell, the mood was giddy with exhaustion and good endorphins. The team really pulled together for this fundraiser. They deserved their tasty beverages.

20140715_165741

(Even the monkey. Especially the monkey.)

In most important ways, this was their fundraiser, not mine. They planned it. Wrote up the product descriptions. They figured out IndieGoGo and promotions and production and fulfillment.

I mention this because it’s behind the scenes, so you would never see it. Events like this resemble an iceberg, you glimpse the the top and think, “Wow, that’s cool.” You support the cause, order something, and receive a package.

And while the top of the iceberg is pretty cool (heh) there’s a lot going on underneath the water that keeps it all afloat.

This time, for the first time, the *vast* majority of that didn’t have anything to do with me. Not only was I not doing it myself. I wasn’t even looking over their shoulders and giving advice.

I couldn’t this time, as I’ve been neck deep in revisions.

There were times I’d come into the office, wild eyed and sleep deprived. Irritable and absolutely burned out because I’d spent the last 30 hours going over copy edits. We’d sit down to a meeting and I’d say something like, “We need to make sure we contact X about the [thing].”

“We already did that,” they would say.

“Okay,” I said. “We also need to be careful [some other thing] doesn’t happen.”

“Taken care of,” they’d say.

“And we need to make sure blah blah blah.”

“That’s a good idea,” they’d say.

“Who’s going to be in charge of that?” I’d ask.

“We did it last week,” they’d say.

I can’t tell you guys how amazing this is. How important it is.

I love Worldbuilders. It’s my baby. But over the last five years it’s devoured a significant portion of my life.

It’s eaten so much of my life that sometimes there’s not enough life left to go around. Sometimes I’ve been too busy and too stressed to be a good dad. It’s impinged on my writing schedule. I’ve lost touch with friends. I gave up tabletop games for the most part. Hell, I haven’t played a computer game or watched a movie in the theaters in I don’t know how long. Since… the last superman movie? Yeah. I guess that makes it more than a year.

The truth is, I’ve let go of these things willingly. Worldbuilders is important. I’m proud of it. It changes lives and quantifiably improves the world. I could never give it up.

But for the last couple years I’ve been dreaming a dream. I’ve been dreaming of having Worldbuilders, a writing career, and a life.

Now it’s starting to look like that might happen. Because of all you lovely people out there and because of the Worldbuilders Team.

Milkshake2

So. Milkshakes all around. Everyone loves it when the boss is wrong. Sometimes the Boss loves it too.

*     *     *

We didn’t do a lot of stretch goals with this fundraiser, mostly because the  timeframe was so tight.

But we did do a few.

  • Fundraiser blooper reel.

I have to say the fundraiser video we put together was my favorite video we’ve ever done. Even if it did feature me being constantly upstaged by a monkey puppet.

Ah… who am I kidding? It’s my favorite *because* it features me being upstaged by a monkey puppet.

As if the regular fundraiser video wasn’t great enough, we put together an outtakes reel which features much, much more of me and the monkey puppet.

Before you watch it, I need you to understand that before filming the video, I’d spent four days locked away with the manuscript of Slow Regard of Silent Things, making final edits and generally working myself down to a bloody nub. I went to bed around 10:00 AM, then woke up four hours later to go shoot the video. I was simply speaking, a shambling wreck.

That’s my only excuse.

  • More blogs.

During our Reddit AMA I tricked Amanda into committing to help me get the rest of the photo contest blogs done: Promises promises

So we’re making a push to get those done too.

  • Freebies in your orders.

Because we hit our stretch goal of $110k, we’re throwing freebies into random orders.

Originally we were going to do this for 1 in 100 orders. But since the fundraiser was such a *huge* success, we’ve decided to do twice as many as that. We’ll be throwing in Magnets, notes from the team, games, coins, and other coolness. There will probably even be a extra few fancy things, just to make it interesting.

  • Frequently A’ed Q’s.

Don’t be a perv, you perv.

There have been a lot of questions coming in since the fundraiser ended. “Where can I get the FIRST Princess & Mr. Whiffle book?” “When will my stuff be arriving?” “Why is everyone on the Worldbuilders team so good-smelling?”

The Worldbuidlers Team beat me to answering those questions. There’s an IndieGoGo FAQ up over on the Worldbuilders website, as well as little blog of their own.

  • The Name of the World.

This is something I’ve known for a while, but I’ve been keeping it under my hat. Making sure I really liked it. Making certain I was sure of it. Names are important things, or so I hear.

But I can’t think of a better reason for letting it out of the bag than the delightful conclusion of this fundraiser.

The world is called Temerant.

Say it with me: Temerant.

Temerant.

WaystonePostcardpat

P.S. I forgot. We’re going to be sending out fancy gold foil stickers with the books and some of the other rewards. (Maybe all the rewards.)

What do you think the stickers should say? “Geeks doing good?” “Summer 2014 – First into the breach!” “I made the world a better place and all I got was this sticker (and some swag)”?

Suggestions welcome below…

Also posted in Geeks Doing Good, my dumbness, videos | By Pat68 Responses
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