Author Archives: Pat

An Appropriate Dosage of Hope.

So I’m downstairs, making breakfast for me and the boys.

This is an elaborate and arcane process. It involves more wandering in and out of rooms than you might expect, and trying to remember what I meant to do there. Plus a fair amount of esoteric behavior like looking for a spoon that I’m sure I was just holding…. but it’s not here anymore. Was I holding it? Is this a Matrix thing? Was it some sort of fucking magical elf-spoon?

(It was not a magical elf-spoon. Alas.)

Some of the reason for this is because part of the breakfast I’m preparing is coffee (for me, not the boys). And that means I haven’t yet had my coffee. And that means that daddy needs his medicine. And by medicine I mean the literal drug that I literally take because I want all that ergogenic mojo all up in my headbrains and bodymeats. And by daddy I mean literally me. Because I am that.

(Who’s your parasocial daddy?)

I can’t blame it all on coffee though. Some of it is just me being groggy. And some of it is me thinking about everything at once, like I do. And part of it is probably some of the ADHD (though I still never know how much to point the finger at that, as I’m still knew to that diagnosis. And it seems unfair to lay *all* my disorganized bullshit at the feet of that particular acronym.)

Nevertheless, as I walk past the end-table, hunting elusive faerie cutlery, I see my little pill-box thing.

(Because this is my life now. This is who I am, apparently.) 

First I have to figure out what fucking day it is. And yeah. It’s Thursday. But if it’s Thursday, why are there still pills in the little Thursday pill home? But I’m pretty sure that I remember taking my meds this morning. That’s why the pill thing is here, right? Because I carried it downstairs when I was getting ready to take the pills….

But the pills are still in there.

So I look at this thing, and I say, “I don’t know if I took my meds already.”

I have to make something clear here, I’m not talking to myself. But at the same time, I’m not really asking my kids for advice on this, either. Because while I value their thoughts and feelings, they shouldn’t be making certain decisions. They’re 7 and 11 years old, respectively. They’re wise beyond their years and off-the-charts articulate, but *I’m* the one who needs to fucking figure out whether I’ve taken my meds.

But why am I saying this out loud then? I honestly don’t know. I do tend to process things out loud more often when the boys are around. Maybe that’s how we’re wired as primates, to talk around our children so we can model our decision making process.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I’m talking it through, saying, “Do I risk missing my meds entirely, or do I risk doubling up on my meds? If I double up, will that make me really scattered, or will I be Super Productive today…?”

Without missing a beat or breaking stride, Oot walks behind me and asks casually, “What’s the LD-50?”

I turn to look at him, not quite sure what I just heard. He’s doing something at the sink now. “Did you just ask me about the LD-50?” I ask.

He turns to look at me, nodding. He’s not above showboating. He likes being clever. And if there’s a pedantry gene, he has it (and he got it from me) but right now he’s not doing that. Or if he is doing it, he’s gone next level and has realized the value of the slow-play. Maybe he’s learning that less is more…

Either way, he’s just looking at me with vague curiosity in his big, serious eyes, as if he can’t understand why my tone would be incredulous. As if he doesn’t know why I would be impressed that he remembered the concept of LD-50. Something I didn’t learn about until my junior year of college. Something I’m pretty sure I only mentioned once to my boys a couple months ago, probably when I was dosing Cutie with antibiotics during a recent deeply shitty medial adventure.

“Yeah,” he says.

And I just start to laugh. I go over and hug him, laughing. And I keep laughing uncontrollably for at least a solid minute.

I know I’ve laughed in surprise before. (That’s one of the big theories about laughter, actually. Some folks believe true laughter, [Duchenne laughter] only erupts as a symptom. It’s the result of a sort cognitive fuse being blown when we experience something that goes contrary to our expectations. The cognitive and neurophysiological roots of laughter is one of the many odd rabbit holes of research I’ve gone down over the years, as I used to consider myself a bit of a humorist. But that, as they say, is a blog for a different day…)

Anyway. I’m laughing. And while part of this *is* surprise. It’s also just joy. I don’t remember laughing out of real joy before I became a dad. It’s been happening a fair amount this last year as these boys continue to startle me with their kindness and honesty. They startle me by actually remembering things I’ve told them. And not just remembering. They actually understand and internalize and make use of this stuff, too….

You might wonder why this surprises me. I mean, why on earth would I be dadding so hard if not to this exact purpose? Why would I be spending so much time and energy trying to teach them stuff, if not so they would learn it?

And… yeah. I mean. Of course. That’s the dream.

But if I’ve learned anything over the last decade, is that you can care a lot, and work really hard, and do your level best… and in the end all you get for your trouble is double therapy and trouble sleeping at night. So these days I fight to keep my expectations modest. It’s the whole Buddhist thing: Taṇhā leads to dukkha. Desire causes suffering. Hope is the highwire without which you need not fear a fall.

So I try not to hope too much for the boys. The world is hard enough, and life is heavy enough. They don’t need my expectations weighing them down. I just try to take them as they come and enjoy them for who they are.

But oh it’s hard. These boys, they’re pretty great.

It occurs to me that I sat down to tell a cute (if slightly braggy) story about my kids, and it’s turned into something else. I can’t be surprised at that, though. Most people think that writing is just expressing what you already think or feel. It’s transcription. It’s explanation. I used to think that, too, way back in the day. But not for decades. Now I know better. For me, writing is almost always a process of exploration and discovery. Not always, but often.

You want to know the *real* truth? I originally started to write this little story as a *tweet* and instead it turned into a thousand word maunder where the upshot is that I’m surprised my boys actually listen to me. In some ways that doesn’t seem like much. Hardly worth the work or words.

But on the other hand, what’s better than your kids listening to you and then turning around and reminding you of what you’ve shared? What more could I hope for?

And there we are gain. Back at hope. And hope, you see, is a hell of a drug, and while that doesn’t make hope bad, it does make it dangerous. Maybe it’s just that way for me though. Maybe I have hope sensitivity. Or whatever the hope-appropriate version of drug-intolerance is. Maybe it’s that when it comes to hope, the Effective Dose is way too close to the Lethal Dose for me.

But these boys. I tell you. They are such a wonder and a delight. And so, despite myself sometimes, I hope.

pat

Posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Because I Love, day in the life, musings, Oot, The Art of Letting Go, the man behind the curtain, Uncategorized | By Pat76 Responses

The Literary Tarot: Being Foolish Together

So here’s the thing, I got a little rambly while writing this post. Even for me.

The crux of the issue, is that I was invited to help design a tarot card for the Literary Tarot project that’s running right now.

Not only that, but I got to do the Fool, which is a particularly meaningful card to me. Even better, I got to pair the fool with Don Quixote, a *character* that is very close to my heart.

(Click to Embiggen.)

Did I mention that the kickstarter is raising money for a charity? Which is absolutely my jam. Except when it’s a charity that’s focused on improving global literacy, which is *double* my jam.

And if that weren’t enough, the person who is running the charity (and the kickstarter) has agreed to add a tier so that people can back at that level and support both Brink (their charity) and Worldbuilders (my charity).

Here’s the catch: as I type this, there’s only about 36 hours left in the kickstarter.

That’s why the new tier is named “Foolish Together” because doing something like this at the last minute at the end of a successful kickstarter is pure madness. (Right now they’ve got almost 10,000 backers, and are poised to tear past 700,000 dollars.)

That’s why I’m doing this little summary here, so if you’re interested, you can just hop over there go over there and take a quick look. Even if you’re not interested in backing it, you should really go look at the art and the different authors invovled. It’s really cool.

But if you want the whole story, maunder and all, here it is….

*     *     *

For years now, a big part of my job is saying no to cool new projects.

And believe it or not, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. It might not seem like it to the casual observer, or to any observer at all, really. The problem with non-action, of course, is that it is non-visible. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to write a blog or tweet,  “I said no to being in a writer’s room!” Or “I passed on the opportunity to be a keynote speaker today!”

But the truth is, I nope out of the vast majority of things I’m invited to do. Maybe, like… 97% of them.

Sometimes it’s easy. But some of the missed opportunities I still think about years later. I’ve passed up several chances to do narrative design for video games. And twice I’ve said no actually holding the reins and helping assemble and lead teams for parts of video game design: once for Worldbuilding, once for narrative. Those really stung to walk away from.

I’ve given a regretful no to writing an opinion piece for the New York Times, to being involved in writer’s rooms for *very* cool properties, and writing stories comic book characters that I’ve loved since I was a kid…

And those are just the ones that spring to mind. Not to mention the hundreds of conventions, dozens of licensing deals, and many anthology invitations I’ve politely declined.

Almost all of these things I would have loved to do to some degree, but I know I need to focus more. Working on too many projects at once is foolish…

But several weeks ago, some friends introduced me to Dani Hedlund, who was putting together a Literary Tarot Deck for a charity fundraiser. Authors were pairing up cards with literary characters. A bunch of authors. Cool authors.

These are just the ones that were announced TODAY. Seriously.

And yes, that’s Steven Fry.

Anyway, I got the invite. It sounded fun and easy, and I like charity, and I’ve been dabbling with Tarot for about 30 years now. Plus, just picking a card and pairing it with a literary figure should probably take what? Ten minutes? Fifteen?

Fast forward two weeks to where I’m on a call with the CEO of the other charity doing art direction, talking about Sancho Panza, and excitedly bubbling over about the fact that what’s on his head is not, in fact, a helmet. It’s a shaving basin.

Also, there might have been singing.

Then this:

Fast forward another two weeks, where I’m talking with Dani again, asking if there’s anything I or Worldbuilders can do to help.

She mentions what I already know, that the biggest challenge is always getting the word out.

I tell her what *she* already knows, that my charity is currently doing its own fundraiser right now. Worse yet, both our fundraisers end almost exactly at the same time. We both know it would be deeply foolish for me to change directions and to promote hers at the same time.

I mention that if Brink and Worldbuilders could somehow work together in some way, we could hit it from that angle. Use the Worldbuilders mailing list. Do a livestream. Pitch it as a superhero team-up. But we both know that it would be deeply foolish for her to make a sudden addition or change to what is already a *super* successful project right at the end.

Fast forward to this:

Yup. She added an entire new tier to her kickstarter out of the goodness of her heart. Just so our charities could work together. It’s got a special postcard based off the card that we designed together that’s full of delightful little flourishes like this:

And I took a chunck of time on Sunday and we had an *amazingly* fun talk about Tarot cards, books we love, the madness of running a charity. I explain why I picked Don Quixote, and we talk about the art direction we did. It’s honestly one of my favorite streams I’ve done in ages.

Also, I was in fine form. I’m not saying I was so witty at one point that I made Dani snort. But I’m not *not* saying that either.

You should check out the video just for the joy of getting to meet Dani, honestly. She’s charming AF. Straight-up one of the most delightful people I’ve ever met. (And I’m saying this as a person who once hugged Felicia Day and Neil Gaiman on the same day.)

So… yeah. You’ve got about 36 hours to jump on that kickstarter if you’re interested.

Here’s the link.

You know what to do.

pat

Posted in Arts and Crafts, calling on the legions, cool news, cool things, geeking out, hubris, Me Interviewing Other Folks, meeting famous people, My Iconoclastic Tendencies | By Pat19 Responses

The Double-Edged Sword of Empathy

So a couple days ago, while I was in the middle of doing some promotional streaming for our charity fundraiser, my phone rang.

Even though I was in the middle of a live-broadcast discussion of mental health, I still tried to pick up. But, since the phone was muted, I was slow and I missed it.

Then a text came in:

“Oot would like to call you about a baby bird he found.”

As soon as I’d wrapped up the stream, I gave a call back. My eldest boy put me on speakerphone. (He is only 11, a stripling youth, and therefore does not know that this behavior is anathema. Plus I love him, so much is immediately forgiven.)

(A rare sighting in the wild)

While they’d been out camping, he explained, his little brother (Cutie, 7) had spotted a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest. They were worried about it, and they wanted to bring it home.

Did it have feathers? I asked. Or was it still pink with its eyes closed?

Kinda some feathers, he said, but it was pretty pink. And yeah, its eyes were pretty closed.

Did you try to put it back in the nest? I asked.

It was way too high up, he explained. They could tell it was the right nest because they could hear the other birds up there peeping. He was obviously hungry because he kept opening his mouth, but he wasn’t very loud.

He and Cutie had a theory that maybe he was weak because he wasn’t very good at peeping up for food. Or maybe his mom had pushed him out of the nest because he wasn’t a very loud peeper.

Or, I offered, maybe it might not be able make much noise because he was hungry and weak.

Oot pointed out they’d already fed him some oats mashed up with some water. Also, he added, they really wanted to bring him home and take care of him.

(The Byirb in question)

This is what happens. You read to them. You talk about emotions, and listen as best you can. You celebrate and encourage their empathy… and then they grow up wanting to save baby birds.

And oh, I love them for it. And at the same time I worry I’ve done them a bad turn despite my best intentions. Because we need that empathy. It is, in my opinion, the defining human characteristic. But it is a double-edged sword. When you have a lot, it gets really heavy. And you can’t just pick and choose. You carry it all the time. And all too often it feels like it’s got no handle either, so you just kinda walk though your whole life constantly cut up and bleeding….

And I love that they’re like this. I love that they want to save baby birds. I wouldn’t want them any other way. But still, they’re *my* baby birds. And I want to keep them safe from both hurt AND harm….

But I can’t keep them from the world, and I can’t keep them from being who they are. It’s just hard, knowing part of your job as a parent is to let your children be hurt by the world.

It’s going to be a lot of work, I tell him. It’s helpless, and it will need care and attention. Warmth and food all the time. Even in the middle of the night….

Oot says he knows.

And there’s a really good chance that the bird won’t make it, I say. Even if we do everything right. Even if we’re really careful, there’s a good chance that it’ll die.

Oot replies that even if that happens, at least we’ll have done our best. And if we do everything we can, we won’t have to feel as bad. And he says that at the very least, if we’re keeping it warm and fed, it will know that someone cares. If it does die, at least it would know (as much as a baby bird can know anything) that someone was there for it at the end. It wouldn’t have to be alone.

(They named him “Mr. Cheepers.”)

These are the things my son explains to me. Or maybe I say them to him. I honestly can’t remember, because the truth is that I’ve said those things to my children in the past, and now they say them back to me. It’s a hell of a thing, having children that listen and remember. It warms my heart and breaks it all at once.

So I tell him of course he can bring it over. And I’ll help them do research. And I’ll help them take care of it. And we’ll do our best. And I tell him that I love that he cares as much as he does.

Then I hang up the call and get ready for the bird to die before he even gets home. Or to die in the night. Or to die after we’ve taken care of it for two weeks. I need to be braced for it, so if it happens I won’t be blindsided and hurt too badly. So if it happens I can ease the boys through the experience…

But they get back with the bird just fine. What’s more, it turns out there’s a place that takes baby birds and cares for them. It’s only an hour away.

I ask them if they’d like to take the bird there, rather than have us take care of it ourselves. It will have a better chance with people who know what they’re doing, who know birds and how to care for them…

And they surprise me by saying yes. Which is impressive in a whole different way. It shows that they don’t just want a pet, or to be the people who nurse a sick animal back to health. They want what is best for the bird. It’s selfless in a way I didn’t expect.

So that is why I spent almost three and a half hours driving through the twisting back roads of Wisconsin on Tuesday night. Phone ran out of battery. Got lost.

But at the end of it all:

(Yay!)

There is a clarity in crisis. When something is very wrong, it’s easy to know what’s important. That means you can focus. That means it’s easier to decide what you can do. This is why crisis can be oddly comforting.

(This is why a lot of us do odd things: like fantasize about the zombie apocalypse, or inadvertently create or promote crisis in our own lives.)

The trouble is, of course, when you have multiple crisis to choose from. The older you get, the more you know about the world, the more you realize that there’s an endless all-you-can-stress buffet of calamity going on every day. I spend a long time on the horns of dilemma, wondering which fire I should be throwing water on. Fascism or the Pandemic? Fighting homelessness or hunger?

Or, just to pick something entirely at random… should I spend my evening trying to save a baby bird, or should I spend it trying to promote my charity fundraiser that only has a few days left?

In this case, I chose the bird. I’m conflicted about that. I’m proud of Worldbuilders, and the work we do has improved the lives of tens of thousands of people over the last decade. What’s more, the current fundraiser is important for the financial stability of the charity. A lot of the products over there are things designed to appeal to my readers. So it feels like there’s no better person to promote them than me…

(Case in Point.)

It’s hard for me to remember that other people *can* spread the word about the fundraiser. And no matter how hard I hustle, nothing works better than word of mouth. Either people will be excited enough to buy stuff and tell their friends during the final days, or they won’t.

On the other hand, I *was* the only person who was going to save this baby bird. And the only person who could have this particular little adventure in empathy with my boys…

So I’m trying hard to count this one as a win. I saved a baby birb and was a pretty good dad.

If you want to check out the cool things Worldbuilders is selling, you can head over here.

Later space cowboys,

pat

Posted in babies, baby ducks, Because I Love, Cutie Snoo, day in the life, musings, Oot | By Pat34 Responses

Love, Money, and Milk: Geeks Doing Good

Hey there space cowboys. I’ve got some exciting stuff to talk about today…

Those of you who have been following the blog for a while, probably know about the work I do with a charity called Worldbuilders.

(It delights me when people don’t know I actually started Worldbuilders on this blog, by accident, back in the day. But that, as they say, is another story.)

Worldbuilders does a lot of things. But most notably we raise money for Heifer International during our big End-Of-Year fundraiser. Over the years, we’ve raised more than $11,000,000 for Heifer, helping parents feed their children, helping little girls go to school, helping communities drink clean water, helping people have the training, tools, and education that they need to take control of their lives.

It’s a big teach-a-person-to-fish thing. Except with goats and chickens and cows and bees and trees. No. Not fishing for goats. And no, you don’t fish *with* a goat. You milk them. The goats, not the fish…

Okay. Let me start again.

It’s like this: If you give a hungry family a goat (and the tools and training to care for it) they’ll milk that goat. Then every day this happens.

(I’m writing this on father’s day. And this picture makes me weepy.)

That. That right there. That’s what Worldbuilders does. We help. We want to make the world a better place.

We’ve raised money for charities other than Heifer too: we’ve helped with Puerto Rico’s hurricane relief, with Syrian refugees, with children’s literacy, and medical supplies to marginalized communities during the pandemic…

(We kinda do a lot, actually. Kinda too much to list here. But if you like, you can go look at the map of our projects over here.)

What not as *many* folks know is that Worldbuilders also runs an online store full of delightful geek treasures: Signed books, comics, cool games, original art prints, T-shirts, Jewelry, and other assorted bits of lovely geekery. We make and sell those things to help creatives make money while giving their communities a chance to show their support (and do the geek equivalent of showing their gang colors.)

(Throws underthing gang sign.)

[Side Note: I support creators making money off their art and merch, as artists need to eat. That said, a lot of the folks who partner with Worldbuilders let them keep the royalties they would otherwise earn, myself included.]

The items we sell in the store help generate money for Worldbuilders, too. This is kind of a big deal, as Worldbuilders needs to do things like pay its electricity bill and buy paperclips and stuff. We also like to pay our employees so they can do things like buy food and clothes so they can… y’know… keep being alive.

This is one of the big reasons Worldbuilders is different from a lot of other charities. When we run a fundraiser, say, to support Mercy Corps, we pass along 100% of what we raise to that organization. Most other pass-through charities keep a small percentage of what they raise, then use that money to keep themselves running, which is important because if the business side of things fails, then no charity happens. (Of course, as you know, some charities pass along almost none of what they raise. But Worldbuilders doesn’t work with folks like that. And ultimately, that’s a story for a different day.)

Here’s the thing though. I love that Worldbuilders gets to pass along 100% of what it raises. But it *does* make things kinda tricky on the business side. It means we can raise two million dollars to feed hungry kids… and then have trouble paying our water bill or fixing a computer when it breaks.

That’s why several years ago, we started running the Geeks Doing Good fundraiser.

The purpose of GDG is manifold:

  1. We need to make that munny, yo. We gotta keep the lights on.
  2. We experiment with new products and creative partnerships.
  3. We make weird, fun stuff we might not normally have in our store.
  4. We offer limited-time deals to reward the folks on our mailing list.
  5. We raise awareness of the fact that Worldbuilders makes and sells cool stuff.

So. Here we are. Now you know why we’re doing this.

(You can just click and go over there right now, if you want.)

It’s a big week-long fundraiser where we try to raise awareness of the fact that *yes* we’re a charity, but we also run an online store full of cool stuff that you simply can’t find anywhere else.

What kind of stuff, you might ask?

How about cool Kingkiller art prints from Marc Simonetti?

Or for you Dresden Files fans out there:

A bargain on the only comic I’d ever compare to Calvin and Hobbes?

We also have some rarer stuff, too.

We’re also bundling things together to save you money, and bringing out things that haven’t been for sale in ages…

 

 

(So. Much. Stuff.)

Many of the Kingkiller-specific items have a “7” in the price, so they’re easier for y’all to spot.

Anyway. There’s SO much stuff over there. Way too much to mention here. You should go look yourself.

Fair Warning: many items are limited quantities, so they might sell out. But the good news is: new stuff is getting added every day. So there are always more reasons to stop back in and take a look around.

Also, and I can’t stress this enough, remember that unlike Kickstarter, you can buy more than one item. 

So you can go hog wild in there.

So go…

pat

P.S. Oh. Also, I’m doing a 12 hour promotional stream today on Twitch, so if you want to see me play games, answer questions, and explain some of these items in more detail, you can tune in there. (I’m streaming all this week, and we’ll be updating this graphic with new items as they’re added.)

I’m super excited about this one in particular….

Okay. Thanks much for caring. Help us spread the word!

Posted in College Survival Guide, cool news, cool things, Geeks Doing Good, hodgelany, Worldbuilders | By Pat5 Responses

One Good Thing #4: Henry

Allow me to introduce you to the newest member of our household.

His name is Henry.

(Say hello, Henry!)

The boys and I have become very fond of him over the last couple weeks, to the extent where I think it’s fair to say that he’s a member of the family….

We recently celebrated a family holiday, and after eating cake and watching shows and cuddling, I asked the boys what they would like more of in their lives. Because if I knew that, we could work together on getting it.

It was late when I asked, the boys were already in bed and falling asleep with the unstoppable surety of someone falling off a cliff. (I remember falling asleep like that, and I hope to again someday, but I worry it might be the purview of the young.)

But I’m a night-owl, and I need less sleep than they do. So I have an irritating habit of asking them questions just as I’ve tucked them in all snug and warm…

It was only then, standing over them in the dim light from the hallway, that I remembered that I wanted to ask them. (You have to leave the hall light on. Of course you do. I remember what it’s like to be a child.) And even though they were fading fast, I asked them: What would you like more of in your life?

Cutie’s eyes were closed, but without hesitation, yawningly, he said he wanted secret tunnels, showing he is the true child of my heart.

Oot was quiet for a bit, and I thought he’d passed out. When he finally spoke, his voice was blurry. As if he was only dimly able to focus on what I’d said from where he was at bottom of a deep well of sleep.  “Beautiful rich colours,” he said, soft and slow like he was speaking under hypnosis. Then added: “Cosy Flowers,” showing that he too, is the child of my heart.

Since then, we’ve been working on cosy, beautiful, richly coloured flowers. It’s with muted confusion that I realize how oddly domestic I have become. I feel like this should fill me with a yawning terror, like I’m forgetting my true self. The self I’ve been forever. The me who never bothered putting up so much as a poster in so many of the places I lived, let alone go through all the work of planting flowers….

Instead, I find these things to be an untrammeled delight. (Well… *slightly* trammeled. Sometimes. Depending on how careful the boys are about when they place their feet.)

And it’s how Henry has come into our lives…

(Click to Embiggen)

(Also note Oot’s side hussle: promoting True Dungeon like a champ.)

Speaking of which, if you’re interested in seeing more True Dungeon stuff, as well as dozens of other cool geeky products (including some stuff from me) Worldbuilders is having its Geeks-Doing-Good fundraiser next week. (Here’s a link you can use to follow the Indigogo. If you plug in your e-mail there, you can get a notification when everything goes live on the 21st.)

I’ll be doing a bunch of streaming to celebrate and promote it the fundraiser. Games and Q&A and discussions with special guests.

Though *that* reminds me. I don’t think I mentioned it on the blog yet, but if you didn’t already know, I’ve been streaming regularly over on twitch for the last several months. Every Friday from 1:00 – 3:00 CST, as well as other random times.

I’ll be posting the streaming schedule for the charity up here on the blog in the next couple days. As well as descriptions of of some of the kingkiller related prizes. But if you’re prefer to get live updates you can just follow my twitch channel and make sure your notifications to ON. That way, you get a heads-up about *all* the streams I do, even if they’re scheduled last minute, completely spontaneous.

That’s all for now. I’ll see y’all more here in the blog over the next couple weeks.

Until then, I hope your lives are full of rich, warm, beautiful colours.

Later space cowboys,

pat

Posted in Arts and Crafts, Because I Love, cool things, Cutie Snoo, day in the life, One Good Thing, Oot, The Terror of Domesticity | By Pat38 Responses

Bad Analogies, Kielbasa, and all-star D&D returns…

Hey there everybody,

It feels like it’s been a hundred years since the fundraiser, and it also feels just like yesterday. I don’t know if 2020 has permanently damaged my ability to perceive time in an accurate way, or if this is just my regular post-December recovery and fugue state.

Things are going good around here. Though as I type that, I pause and think, “Hold on, that can’t be right. Everything’s awful forever now. Right? Hold on. Let me check my notes….”

Then I riffle through some papers in my head and think, Yeah, it’s still pandemic o’clock. Politics… still there. Isolation and quarantine, check. What’s wrong with me that I feel like I can say things are good?

But… that’s not *all* that’s going on, right? Vaccines are happening, too. That’s nice. We haven’t had a natural disaster in maybe three months or so? I found a new Korean restaurant in town with really nice dumplings….

Oh. Also we have a new president now, which is pretty fucking great. And democracy is still… kinda here? Mostly? Like a car we weren’t sure was going to get us all the way home through the Furiosa-style dystopian wasteland, but it did. Sure we were driving the last bit on the rims, and the windshield is gone, and it’s chugging and smoking and it looks like we tried to have a poorly-negotiated threeway with an anklyosaur and Zuul. But it got us all the way into the garage, and now we can take a deep, shaky breath and spend a *lot* of time repairing it.

Okay. Maybe that’s not my best analogy ever. Let me try again.

You know the incessant low, thrumming dread you feel when you’re really nauseous for a long time, followed by the sour, hunched misery of puking your guts out? It’s a pretty universal human experience, and we can all agree for the most part that it sucks.

But do you also remember how *good* you feel when you *stop* throwing up?

I think that’s what I’m feeling right now. Like all of 2020 was me just puking and puking forever. And now that I’m not anymore, it’s just nice.

I mean, is this the world I’d wish for if I had a pet Genie? No. You can tell because Firefly is still canceled and pizza has calories.

But you know what? There are still good things in the world. Plus my books are here. Right now, I’m pretty happy with half a loaf.

*      *      *

So far, this year has been fairly low-key over here at Rothco. I’ve been catching up on my sleep and getting my house in order. (Both literally and figuratively. My underwear drawer is *orderly* folks.) I’ve been livestreaming over on twitch fairly regularly. I’m mostly continuing my second play-through of Numenera, but I also dipped in to do some Among Us with Felicia and her crew last week. A game where I was categorically bad at everything and was forced to resort to use my Bene Gesserit powers.

Here’s a moment from that stream that I’m particularly proud/ashamed of.

It’s the first highlight I’ve ever made of a stream, but I’m not smart enough to embed it here, apparently.

On the home front, I’ve mostly been focusing on spending time with the boys. We’re currently reading The Princess Bride (which starts really slow, but picks up nicely after the introduction.) I help the boys stay on top of their at-home school stuff and deal with not being able to see their friends in person.

(Yeah. I’m 100% that dad.)

We’ve also been wrapping up the Fundraiser. While most of the flashiness of that happens in December, there’s a lot of organizing that happens beforehand, and a lot of tying up of loose ends afterwards. But despite the mad state of the world, I think we’re more on top of those things than we’ve been in years. It’s a good feeling.

Those of you who were tuned in for the fundraiser this year probably caught some of the games we played online to help spread the word about our shindig. I *hope* most of you caught at least a few of them, because this year’s games turned out amazingly.

Especially this one:

Let me tell you, folks. I’ve played some D&D in my day. I hang with some cool cats. I even occasionally pull up on with the new whip,  though I’ll admit that’s exceedingly rare.

What I’m trying to say is that I’ve had the luxury of playing with a lot of really amazing folks over the years. So hear me when I say that this game was as much fun as I’ve had in YEARS. My first time *ever* playing a bard.

That would be impressive enough, but what makes it truly crazy is that this if the first time I’ve ever played with half of the other folks at the table. Brennan, Saige, and Aabria were complete strangers at the start of the video. And I didn’t even know B Dave four months ago…

Despite that, it was so much fun that at the end of it, everyone said they really wanted to come together and play again…. if we hit a follow-up charity stretch goal. It was terribly sweet, as they’re all busy people.

But we hit that goal. And now we’re getting the band back together. This weekend.

That’s right. We’ll be getting together to continue this adventure on Saturday, January 30th, from 2-5 pm, CST.

After we played the first time, I said I’d post up a blog with everyone’s info, so you could find them all on in their various fastnesses and demesnes out there on the webs.  I view this as a service to the community, as they deserve more attention than they get, and your dreary, turgid quarantine-laden existences will be vastly improved by getting more of them directly into your eye-holes.

(For those of you who have been waiting for this, sorry it’s taken so long.)

Our cool cast (and where to find them!):

B. Dave Walters is a Storyteller & proud Scoundrel American. He is best known as the writer and co-creator of Electropunk, Dungeons & Dragons: A Darkened Wish for IDW comics, and creator and DM of the Darkened Wish streaming show for Wizards of the Coast. He plays Baron Victor Temple on Vampire the Masquerade: LA by Night on World of Darkness Twitch and Freely on Silver & Steel on D&D Beyond on Twitch.

Taliesin Jaffe is an American actor, voice actor, ADR director and screenwriter. He is a regular cast member of the Dungeons & Dragons actual play series Critical Role, playing Percival de Rolo (“Percy”), Mollymauk Tealeaf (“Molly”), and Caduceus Clay.

Aabria is an American GM and RPG player that has contributed to a multitude of projects, including Failed Save on PixelCircus, Creature Collectors on Critical Bard, and hosting the Storybenders Podcast.

Performing Artist, Communication Specialist, Consultant, E-Sports Professional, Miss Oregon USA 2011, and overall Entertainer, Anna Prosser wears many hats, but for one purpose – to make a positive impact on the world around her! Anna can currently be seen on Echoes Of Eternity each Monday at 6pm PT and Extra Brains each Friday at 1pm PT on her Twitch channel. She can also be seen playing on Nights Of Eveningstar on the official D&D Twitch channel each Tuesday at 4pm PT.

Saige Ryan is an Actress, Host, Singer, and Dancer born and raised in California. She began dancing at the age of 3 and began her acting career at just 7 years old. You may recognize her from films such as I Heart Huckabees, Believers, Forget Me Not, and Maybe Someday, or her 40+ national commercials. The film Maybe Someday in which Saige plays the lead role of Abigail Donnelly was nominated for Best Picture at the 2016 Carmel film festival, and recently released on digital platforms. Saige can currently be seen contributing to the PixelCircus Twitch channel and streaming on her channel at Twitch.tv/NotSaige.

Brennan Lee Mulligan is an award-winning actor, writer, creator and producer. As a cast member of CollegeHumor, he wrote and starred in the sketch Tide CEO, which won a 2019 Webby Award and received over seven million views. He is executive producer, writer and Game Master of Dimension 20, a series produced for the CH streaming service Dropout, and also hosts Dropout’s fantasy gaming vodcast, The Adventuring Academy. Brennan is author and co-creator of the popular webcomic and graphic novel series, Strong Female Protagonist, which was selected as an Autostraddle Favorite, and was on io9’s list of Best New and Short Webcomics.

Little is known of this rare salt-type murder-hobo. This elusive narrativore does not take well to captivity, and while rarely seen in the wild, he occasionally strays near urban areas, where his barbaric yawps can be heard for a distance of up to two miles at night. Sleep cycle: Crepuscular. Mode of locomotion: sessile. Verbosity: Gregarious with occasional yeeting.

God it’s late. I don’t know what I’m even saying anymore. Bed for me.

Hope y’all are well. Hope to see some of you this Saturday for the game….

pat

Posted in a billion links, a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Beautiful Games, cool things, gaming, geeking out, videos, Worldbuilders 2020 | By Pat62 Responses

Ain’t no Party like a Worldbuilders Party ’cause a Worldbuilders Party don’t….

Hey there everybody!

Yesterday, on the final day of the Worldbuilders Fundraiser, we crossed the line into a million dollars. For real.

Despite the trash fire of 2020, this year’s fundraiser has been our most successful in years. (It’s even possible it’s our most successful *ever* but I won’t know that until I’ve gone back and looked carefully at all the numbers.) And, of course, the day isn’t over yet, there’s still time to jump in….

All this success is because you folks, of course. Y’all have stormed in, donated, boosted our signals, and told your friends.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Last year we did an experiment that went quite well. So this year, we’re turning it into a tradition.

You ready?

(Bam!)

Or, for those of you who prefer more info in your info-graphic:

Simply said, today (December 16th) we’re going to celebrate this year’s amazing success by doing a bunch of livestreaming. We’ll have guests stopping for discussions, I’m going to play Minecraft with the boys, we’re going to show off videos for the stretch goals we’ve achieved, and tell some old, beloved stories…

…and talk about the amazing things Heifer does, like turn poop into fuel.

And we’ll show off some of the amazing donation incentives that are available in this year’s prize draw, like the Wyrmwood tables…

Wyrmwood Asset

And our unlocked stretch goals/prizes.

After Party Unlocked Stretch Goals

And our other more different extra double prizes…

After Party Splash Image 2020

(Did I mention there’s a lot of prizes?)

There’s even more prizes over on the page, and as the donations keep coming in, I keep pulling more stuff out of the vault and offering it up.

There’s already a favor ring in the mix, by the way…

If you just want to jump on over and see what we’re doing, here’s our rough schedule:

Pat's 2020 EOY Fundraiser After Party Schedule

If you just want to head over to the stream, here’s the link…

The reasons we’re doing the Afterparty are manifold, but here are the main two:

1. Tradition.

Those of you who have been following Worldbuilders for a while know that our end-of-year fundraiser used to look a lot different than it does now. For one thing, it used to be exclusively run off of my blog, and it used to run for an entire month.

Except it didn’t. For years and years, we ended up extending the fundraiser out past our initial ending date. Sometimes it was because we had a last minute sponsor we wanted to showcase. Sometimes it was because some chaos or catastrophe threw us off schedule. Once it was because we got offered some matching money and we couldn’t bring ourselves to say no to that. Once things got so out of hand we extended *past* Christmas and the whole fundraiser spanned over seven weeks…

And some times we did it just for fun, or because we’d gotten into the habit.

This year, we’re deciding to continue the tradition in a different way. We’re taking one final day just to appreciate how lovely this community is. To put a bow on it. To show off some of the lovely things people have done. To relax and have fun and enjoy our success.

And, of course…

2. To give the latecomers one last chance.

What usually happens the day after the fundraiser is that I go into a deep, healing Odinsleep. When I emerge, I peek on social media and I invariably see dozens of people saying, “Oh no! Worldbuilders is over?!? Did I miss it? Can I still donate?”

And I get that. This is a busy time of year. Finals. Holiday planning. Family travel. Or maybe you’re just like me and tend to put things off to the last minute and then kinda forget about them.

But still, it breaks my heart to see those messages.

So. One extra day. If you were meaning to donate. Now’s your chance. If you were going to tell your friend about us, you’ve got a few more hours. If you were going to spread the word on social media, now you can use this amazing gif to do just that.

(Ooontz Ooontz Ooontz Ooontz Ooontz.)

* * *

So yeah. C’mon over and take one last chance to win fabulous prizes while making the world a better place…

Remember, every $10 you donate still gets you a chance to win all manner of coolness. And if you donate on my team page, you’ll be eligible to win even more.

Hope to see a lot of you over on my livestream tonight.

pat

 

Posted in cool things, Interviews, Oot, Uncategorized, Worldbuilders 2020 | By Pat9 Responses
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