Category Archives: Cutie Snoo

Adventures in Texas and Arizona

Well, I’m back from a week on the road, having hit Phoenix comic-con, Austin, and Dallas.

I always mean to chronicle these trips on the blog, but I rarely end up doing it. I never got around to talking about my trip to Spain where 2000 people showed up for my signing in Madrid. Or the second half of the story where I was at House on the Rock with Neil Gaiman….

Hell, I’ve never even gotten around to telling the stories of my first trip to Europe, and that was nearly five years ago.

So, rather than try and give a cohesive narrative of recent events down in Texas and Arizona, I’m just going to give some you the good-bits version. Sort of like a blog montage. A Blontage. Or perhaps a mog.

  • Phoenix ComicCon:

This was the first time hitting Phoenix ComicCon. And I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I literally *have* to say that. It’s in my contract.

Seriously though, I had a really good time. The main reason I went to the convention is because I’d heard they treated their authors really well, and had a really solid track of writer-centered programming.

And it was all true. They took very good care of me, and brought in a bunch of other authors, leading to some of the best panels I think I’ve ever been on. And I don’t say that lightly.

Batsu

Above is an actual picture from an actual panel. That’s John Scalzi body-checking Chuck Wendig while Aprilynne Pike looks on with near-teenage levels of ennui.

It was the Batsu Panel. It’s a long story.

On Friday night I had a show with Paul and Storm & John Scalzi, with other special guests including Amber Benson and Seanan McGuire. Needless to say, that was pretty awesome time.

This was also the first big con I’ve attended with my entire family.

Oot liked it.

20140606_180155

Sarah and Cutie had a pretty good time too…

20140606_180147

Most Awkward moment of the Con:

A guy comes up and says: Hey, can I introduce you to one of my friends? He looks just like you!

Me: Is it just a guy with a beard?

Him: No. He looks just like you!

He leaves and comes back with his friend, who is, in all fairness, a white male with brown hair and a full beard. However, we do not look very much alike aside from that.

Highly caffeinated, I hold forth on the subject that not all guys with beards look the same. People send me e-mails like that all the time. I don’t look like fucking Zach Galifianakis. We just both have fucking beards.

My screed is so sudden an intense that after a few minutes, both of them just walk away.

Then I feel guilty.

Near Miss of the Con:

John Scalzi and I almost kissed during the Author Batsu Panel, but then we stopped because Delilah S. Dawson cracked under the pressure.

Best part of the Con:

I had a short  break in my schedule on Saturday. So Oot and sat on the floor for an hour, shared an ice cream cone, and looked at costumes together.

It’s the best time I’ve had in a long, long while.

Best Quote from Oot: “Dad, that guy looks like the fancy man from Pirates of the Kerosene!”

 

  • Austin:

Signing at Independent bookstore: Book People.

Despite the fact that we only set up the event a week ahead of time, about 450 people turned up for the signing. It was a good time.

Someone brought me cookies with the multifarious covers of my books on them:

20140610_120612

I also got to see the Lego Trouper Wagon I mentioned on the blog a while back:

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You can still vote for it to become an official thing at Lego if you want.

I signed a saxophone, hugged a few people, and just generally had a good time. If you’d like more of the details, you can read about the event over here on their blog.

Best Quote: “My husband got to kiss Neil Patrick Harris. Will you kiss me?”

  • Barbeque and Breathing Fire:

The day after my signing, when I admitted that I’d never had Barbeque before, Paul & Storm and Brian Brushwood set out to fix the situation. It was good.

Then we went back to Brian’s place and he brought out his gear.

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(Note: the Play Doh was not part of the gear.)

Then Brian taught us how to eat fire. For reals.

Why would I do such a thing? Honestly, that question doesn’t even make sense. Why would I *not* do such a thing?

But the other reason is that this was the $575,000 stretch goal from last year’s Worldbuilders fundraiser.

Pat eating fire screenshot

I had a blast, and didn’t hurt myself hardly at all. We’ll be posting up a video showing the results as soon as we have a chance to edit things together.

  • Dallas.

On my last day in Texas, I got to hang out briefly with the cool folks who produce Cyanide and Happiness. Then it was off to do my last show with Paul and Storm.

Here we are during the infamous pirate song (The Captain’s Wife’s Lament.)

paulstorm-038

(The bottle of mead was also a gift from a fan.)

All in all, it was a rollicking good time. But honestly, I’m glad to be home.

*     *     *

Stay tuned to the blog. In just a couple days, we’ll be posting some long-anticipated stuff up in the Tinker’s Packs. We have limited quantities, and it’s going to be first-come first-serve.

Mark Talent Jot Drab Drab

Take care of each other folks,

pat

Also posted in Acts of Whimsy, conventions, Oot, Tales from the Con | By Pat28 Responses

Love Redux

So last year I made a post on Valentines day that happened to be about love.

I wasn’t happy about that, as I’ve got a strong iconoclastic element in my personality. And writing about love on Valentines day is just… it just feels so fucking Hallmark.

But something happened a couple days ago, and it’s been spinning in my head ever since. When that happens, I have to tell a story about it, because that’s just how I’m wired.

So. I’m writing about love again, not because it’s Valentines day, but despite that.

I just want to make it clear this isn’t going to be a yearly thing. Okay? Okay.

*     *     *

A couple days ago, my baby boy smiled at me. A little crooked smile, a smirk.

Cutie - 8 weeks

(The onesie was a gift from a fan. Honest.)

A few days before that, I got my first smile. Today I got several. He also said, “goo” a couple times. I’m not even kidding. It’s amazingly cute.

Here’s the thing. He also smiled at the ceiling fan. He *really* likes the ceiling fan. Given the choice between the ceiling fan and me, the fan will win 3 times out of 4.

But you know what’s strange? I don’t mind. I really don’t.

I don’t mind that he smiles and coos at his mom more than me. It doesn’t make me sad that the ceiling fan takes second place, and that almost any window with a sunlight behind it is a close third.

I’m fine being fourth in line for smiles. I’m just happy to be on the list.

Standing there, holding my new baby, I had a strange sort of revelation. I was feeling a type of love that was in no way jealous.

I think this might be the purest type of love.

*     *     *

Here’s the thing, I’m not a fan of LOVE as a singular concept. It’s a ridiculously broad term that can be applied to pets, sex partners, or Oreos. When a word accretes that many definitions, it becomes virtually nonsensical.

If you’re hunting for more specific words for love, Greek is a good language to start with. They have Eros, Philos, and Agape. Those three do a pretty good job of breaking the great multifarious monolith of LOVE into slightly more manageable pieces.

I’m assuming you know about them, but just for reference:

  • Philos is friend love. Family love.
  • Eros is “I want to bone you” love.
  • Agape is… tricky. Some people call it “unconditional love.” I’ve heard it referred to as “True love” “God Love” or “That love which instils worth.”

There’s also lesser-known storge: “Kindness love.” Which is the sort of love you feel for something that’s dependent on you. Like an infant or a dog.

So. I’m standing there, looking at my sweet baby, and he’s smiling at the ceiling fan. And I realize I don’t mind. I’m just happy that he’s happy. I’m just happy that sometimes he smiles at me. I’m just happy he’s around.

This is a strange and wonderful sensation. This is, I feel, a different type of love.

Now it might seem like I’m talking about agape-style love here. Or storge. But I’m not. This is something different.

What I’m talking about here is love-without-expectation.

*     *     *

We need to stop for a moment and make a word.

If I’m going to spend some time trying to describe a largely unfamiliar concept, I need a name for it. Love-without-expectation-or-desire isn’t going to work. It’s not elegant. A newish concept needs a newish name. It needs its own space to grow. You grok?

Plus I just like making words. It’s kind of a thing that I do.

From what I gather the Hebrew concept of “חסד” is pretty close to what I’m looking for here. And it’s one of the Sephira, which gives it extra gravitas. Unfortunately, it’s not going to work because when you transliterate it, it’s spelled “chesed” and that looks too much like “cheesed” to me.

Fuck it. I know it’s not linguistically sound, but I’m going to call it Eleutheria.

*     *     *

Remember where we were? Me. My baby. Ceiling fan.

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(In his defense, it’s a really nice fan.)

I simply love him, and I expect nothing in return. This is strangely, delightfully freeing. I don’t feel bad that if he pays more attention to his mom. I don’t mind that he smiles at the fan or his big brother.

I don’t mind if he falls asleep. I don’t mind if he throws up on me.

Elutheria – Love which demands nothing. The love that expects nothing.

This is an odd concept for me. Because I am a creature composed almost entirely of expectations.

This isn’t entirely a bad thing. The ability to anticipate, desire, and plan is important. It gives us control of our lives. It gives us the ability to see forward in time a little. It gives us the ability to steer our destiny a little so we can avoid wrecking our lives against the rocks.

Not always, of course, sometimes your ship is going to wreck no matter your best efforts. Shit happens. But if you’re able to anticipate the future, you can at least brace for impact. That’s better than nothing.

Without the ability to predict and therefore exert control on the future, we are helpless. Subject to the constant random battering of a largely entropic universe.

The ability to predict and anticipate isn’t bad. The desire for control isn’t bad. If you put those things together with a love for language and a vague compulsion for storytelling, you get The Name of the Wind.

If you combine these characteristics with a love of charity and a desire to make the world a better place, you get Worldbuilders.

If you combine them with a relationship… it’s not so good.

Because trying to control the people you love isn’t good.

For one thing, people don’t like it. (For the most part.) But also because controlling someone means hanging expectations on them. And if people don’t live up to your expectations, you’re disappointed. And disappointment leads to frustration and anger. This spiral continues down to the dark side of the force.

How much nicer would it be to simply love someone? If you expected nothing from your beloved, you could never be disappointed. Nothing could jeopardize that love. It would be unassailable.

This would be Elutheria, the love that expects nothing.

*     *     *

What I’m talking about here, is the diametrical opposite of selfish love.

Selfish love demands things. It demands attention. Most of all, selfish love demands love in return. Typically it usually demands ALL the love in return. It demands primacy. Exclusivity. Ownership. Control.

What I’m talking about here is what’s commonly called “Romantic Love.”

Romantic love is championed as being awesome in our culture. It’s the sort of love you’ve seen a thousand times in movies and literature. You’ve seen it the lives of your friends and family members. You’ve probably experienced some version of it yourselves.

It’s the sort of love where you where you fall for someone, and they don’t love you back, and then you kill yourself. (Actual results may vary.)

It’s the sort of love where you see you girl talking to another guy and you feel jealous.

It’s the sort of love where you see your guy looking at another girl and you feel angry.

It’s the sort of love that makes you think it’s okay to consider someone “your girl” or “your guy.” As if you owned them. As if they were under your control. As if your affection made them somehow beholden to you.

And as I stand there, smiling at my baby, (who is smiling at our ceiling fan) I am perfectly happy. And I wonder to my self, “At what point did loving someone become an excuse to be a greedy asshole?”

*     *     *

I bounced my idea off a couple people over the last week or so. Love without expectation. I explained about my baby and the ceiling fan. I talked about the chains of desire….

“Well,” someone said. “It sounds nice, but I don’t think that’s something that could exist in an adult relationship.”

Several people said this, or something very close to it. These comments came up almost compulsively, in a knee-jerk way.

I think people have this automatic response for two reasons.

First, I think they feel attacked. As if I’m telling them they’re loving wrong.

I’m not. That’s not what this is about. When I talk about how much I’d like a Tesla, it doesn’t mean I think you’re a dick for driving a Prius. I’m not trying to start a fight here. I’m looking to discuss an idea.

Second, I think people react badly because Elutheria a profoundly unfamiliar concept. We all grew up reading stories about Lancelot and Guenevere (or permutations thereof.)

The Arthurian legend is one of our mythic cornerstones. It echoes through the last 1000 years of our art and literature. Well… 800 years, if we’re talking about Lancelot. You see, he wasn’t in the original story. The French added him in the 1200’s.

dicksee-belle-dame

(Yeah. I know that’s not Lance and Gwen. I just really love Waterhouse.)

And you know what? It’s a better story with Lancelot in it. More drama. More tension. More universal appeal.

The downside? Lancelot and Guenevere are generally held up to be the villains of the whole Arthurian schtick. They ruined Camelot. Their dirty, dirty lust wrecked the golden age.

But the truth is, if Arthur hadn’t been such a douche about the whole thing, there wouldn’t have been any problem. If Arthur had just gotten over himself and admitted that Lance was pretty hunky, it could have been cool. If he’d just wanted Gwen to be happy, he should have just stepped aside. Or at least turned a blind eye.

Either that or jumped into the sack with both of them. Because… y’know… hunky.

Imagine the glorious world we’d be living in if *that* was one of our mythic cornerstones, folks. Imagine a world where slash fiction didn’t exist because we were, all of us, constantly living the dream.

Okay, back on track here.

Generally speaking, everyone agrees that Arthur overreacted. But Lance and Gwen? They’re traitors. It’s their *fault*. Traitors deserve the lowest, darkest circle of hell.

Arthur was a little hot headed, sure. But it was justified, right? Lance and Gwen, their actions were a betrayal.

What were they betraying?

Expectations.

*     *     *

Those of you who have studied any Buddhism are probably nodding along by this point. Believe me, I’m very aware that the more I roll the concept of Elutheria around, the more similar it seems to the four noble truths that lead to the eightfold path.

For those of you who haven’t studied Buddhism, here it is in a nutshell:

  1. There is suffering.
  2. Suffering comes from thwarted desire.
  3. Therefore, if you eliminate desire, you eliminate suffering.
  4. Profit. Moksha.

There is an unassailable simplicity here. There’s a reason I’m fond of Buddhism.

*     *     *

I wish I had a strong closer for you, but I’m not really making an argument here. I’m not heading for a conclusion. I’m merely working out my thoughts in text. Writing things down helps me understand them better. It helps me knock the rough corners off my new ideas. (It’s my attempt at “Right Understanding,” the first step of the eightfold path.)

But is Elutheria something a person can realistically achieve?

With my baby, the answer seems to be yes.

But then things become more complicated. You see, I have responsibilities.

My older son is four. And while it would be pleasant to simply love him and let the chips fall where they may, if I were to do that, I would be failing him as a parent. I need to provide guidance and discipline. I need to control his base monkey instincts with the hope that he may eventually rise above them and become a fully-formed human being.

There’s that word again: Control. It’s my job to control him. It’s my job to have expectations.

Still, I think discarding Elutheria entirely would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There are certain expectations that are essential. I expect him to be polite. I expect him to be honest. I expect him to be mindful and kind.

Those are the requirements for being a good human being. It’s my job to guide and coach him until he gets there.

Any expectations beyond that, I should be wary of. I shouldn’t expect him to be all those things *all* the time. I shouldn’t expect him to be tidy. Or quiet when I’m trying to work.

I shouldn’t expect him to be straight, or a democrat, or a painter. I shouldn’t expect him to love books.

Oot and book

Expectation is a trap, you see. There’s nothing to be gained from it. I don’t feel *more* joy seeing him read because I hoped for it. I only leave myself open to disappointment if he doesn’t.

Similarly, my relationship with Sarah consists of more than simple love. We are engaged in the partnership. We maintain a household and the purpose of that household is to raise children that are physically and emotionally healthy.

Her cooperation in these things is essential. I expect it.

But other things? Should I expect her never ogle the pretty college boys on the track team who jog around town every spring? No. Foolishness. Should I expect her to want to organize the kitchen the way I would? To want the same color paint in the dining room? To have dinner cooked and ready for me when I come home from work?

Should I expect her to always love me best, and most, and only?

No. I think not. I think that would be selfish and self-centered.

The more of these expectations I can let go of, the happier I will be.

But it’s hard. Oh it’s hard. It goes against a lifetime full of training. It goes against my obsessive desire to control. It goes against my meticulous nature. It goes against what so many stories told me was true.

Inconclusively yours,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, love, musings, naming, the longest fucking blog ever | By Pat97 Responses

Following up, Moving on, and the Cuteness of Cutie

Hey there everybody.

Just wanted to let y’all know that we’re working behind the scenes here. Gearing up for what we’ve come to think of as our yearly “packaging party” when we pick the prizes for Worldbuilders, wrap them with loving care, and ship them out to the winners.

But before we actually get to the point where we’re shipping things out, a lot of things have to happen first. We have to rally volunteers. Organize our inventory. Juggle spreadsheets. Mash spreadsheets together until they do what we want.

And to answer a question that gets asked every year: no we won’t be posting up a list of who won which prizes. Not only would it be a lot of work for us, but it would violate the confidentiality of people who donated. We don’t want to do that.

We *will* however probably have some sort of… picture sharing internet thing that people can use to post pictures of themselves with their prizes. Like… flicker? Does anyone use flicker anymore? Fuck. I’m getting to be like that uncle you have that doesn’t understand nobody uses Friendster anymore….

Anyway, my point is that I wanted you to know even though we’re not posting up a blog a day any more, we’re still busy as bees over here.

And by “we” I mean “The Worldbuilders Team.” And by “The Worldbuilders Team” I mean mostly them, not me.

Me, I’m doing my best to gather up the forgotten pieces of my shattered life.

A piece of advice? Don’t try to run a fundraiser, write a novella, and have a baby all at the same time. It’s really not good for you.

So right now I’m trying desperately to catch up on e-mail, re-establish communication with people I’ve accidentally neglected or ignored, pick up projects that I had to lay down half-finished. Sign about 4000 bookplates for the last kickstarter we did, get ready for *another* kickstarter that will be showing up on your radar soon, write a piece of a video game…

Oh. And spend a little time with my family, too. I’ve been rationing my time to them like World War II sugar. Fifteen minutes here. Half an hour there. The occasional dinner. The rare jewel of enough time to watch a movie together. It’s not healthy. That has to change.

Meh. I’m rambling.

My point is… fuck. Do I even have a point to this blog?

Maybe I don’t. Big surprise. Welcome to me.

Maybe the point is that things are happening over here. And when they happen more, I’ll let you know here on the blog. (And on Facebook and Twitter.)

A few quick pieces of news in an attempt to make this blog less pointless:

  • I posted a review of a Roald Dahl book on Goodreads yesterday.

Half the people who read it seem to love it and agree with me. The other half think I’m some sort of monster.

You can read it over here if you like, and make your own decisions.

Which is kind of cool, if you’re the sort of person who is excited about getting verified on Twitter. Which I kinda am.

Verified b

 (This is not encouragement to join twitter. Seriously. Save yourselves.)

Since calendar season is well and truly over, we’re selling the last of our calendars off at 10 bucks each. They’re even less if you buy more than one.

This counts for *all* the calendars, by the way. We’ve got, like, 4 different 2014 calendars in the store this year. So unless you’ve been following the blog obsessively, odds are you haven’t seen all of them.

Also, we have a few things items in the store with only one or two items left. Like the Cheapass game bundle and Chocolate frogs. If people would go in and buy them, I’d appreciate it.

Not only would it let us clean up the store a little, but it would remove the temptation for me to eat those damn frogs every time I go in to work. I’m trying to lose some weight here.

  • Lastly, a picture of the newest Rothfuss.

Because I can’t remember if I’ve shared a picture of him on here yet. And because it’s my blog, and I can show off my baby if I want….

Cutie in car-seat 6 weeks

Codename: Cutie Snoo.

Say it with me now… Awwwww.

  • And one other thing.

I know you can’t technically have something *after* the last thing. But when I called in to check on how many chocolate frogs we still had in the store, Nicole asked me if I was going to mention the coupon code.

“What coupon code?” I asked.

“Our Valentines Day Coupon Code,” she said, somehow making the capital letters clear over the phone. “If people use the code HUGSANDSTUFF they get five dollars off any purchase of $10.00 or more.”

“Why didn’t I already know about this?” I asked.

“If you were following The Tinkers Packs on Facebook, you would know,” she said.

“I am following it,” I said. “I’ve just been busy. Y’know. With stuff.”

“Right,” she said.

“Plus don’t sass the boss,” I said. “Let everyone know that’s a new rule. I am too dignified to be sassed. Plus, y’know, boss.”

So… yeah. There’s a coupon code too. Which means if you want to grab a calendar right now you could get them *super* cheap. Same for the frogs or the games or any number of things we have in the store.

The code is only good until the end of Feb 14th. Which is a fact that I know because I just looked on the Tinker’s Packs Facebook page. Because I *am* following it, Nicole. No matter what you might think.

See you later space cowboys,

pat

Posted in Cutie Snoo | By Pat49 Responses
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