Tag Archives: The Guild

50K Blog – A Few of my Favorite Things

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Over the last couple years, I’ve been cautious about the donation goals I set for Worldbuilders. I set my sights on a goal I’m pretty sure we can hit, and only after we get there do I bump up the target number on our donation thermometer. Some years I’ve done this eight or nine times.

I do it this way because back in 2008 when I started all this, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I could get people to donate 5000 dollars if I gave away prizes and offered to match donations?”

When I raised that much in just a couple of days, I was stunned. So I moved it up to $10,000 dollars, worrying that I was overstepping myself, not really believing that we could raise that much….

Three years and 600,000 dollars later, I still feel the same way. Every year I find myself thinking, “Will publishers help out again? Will authors care enough to send me books? Will people tweet and link and spread the word to their friends? Will geeks of all creeds and nations step up to the plate one more time?”

Then it all comes together, and I’m full of stunned, warm-fuzzy joy all over again.

This year, I decided to try something different. Rather than move our donation goal around all higgledy-piggledy, I decided to set some target levels. Something we could shoot for as a team. Then, if people are awesome enough to help me hit those goals, I’d put extra stuff into the fundraiser as a way to thank everyone for contributing.

We hit our first goal of 50,000 last Friday, so today you get the first of these blogs. I’ve got four more planned, each with increasingly cool additions to the fundraiser.

This is the one I like to think of as the AV blog. Where I share some of my favorite non-book media with with y’all.

  • A complete DVD set of Buffy and Angel.

Over the years, I’ve made no secret of my love for Joss Whedon. I started watching Buffy seriously in 2002, right when I was seriously starting revision on The Name of the Wind. Watching this series changed how I thought about storytelling, and the tricks I learned from it taught me a lot about plot and characterization.

Simply said, I think this is the finest television show ever produced. So I’m adding it to the prize lottery.

  • Two DVD sets of Red Dwarf including Back to Earth: The Director’s Cut.

I started watching Red Dwarf way back in the day. Back when it was on VHS tapes, and you couldn’t find copies for love nor money in the US.

This is the full eight seasons and the recent three-part: Back to Earth.

In my opinion, you aren’t a real sci-fi geek if you haven’t watched this. It’s one of the classics. Best of all, because the show relies on the cleverness of the writing rather than special effects, it holds up very well these days even though the first season was more than 20 years ago.

  • Two DVD sets of Firefly.

I will never get over the cancellation of Firefly. Not in a hundred years. And I meant what I said earlier in the year when I wrote an open letter to Nathan Fillion.

If you don’t like this series, odds are we can’t be friends. I’m sorry. That’s just the way it is.

  • Two DVD sets of Dollhouse.

Some people didn’t like Dollhouse. Then again, some people are idiots who drink their own pee.

[P.S. If y’all in the marketing department at Fox would like to use this as a promotional quote for the series, feel free. Just spell my name right.]
  • One audio cd of Telling Tales by Neil Gaiman.

This is one of the CD’s that you can get from Dreamhaven. It’s one of the earlier recordings of Neil Gaiman reading his own work. Good stuff.

  • One audio cd of Speaking in Tongues by Neil Gaiman.

Like the above, but different. If you catch my meaning.

  • One copy of Warning: Contains Language by Neil Gaiman.

This is a two-CD set also features music by Dave McKean and the Flash girls. It features Gaiman reading poems and stories from Angels and Visitations.

As an interesting aside, in the liner notes, it reads:

Unauthorized Copying of this CD is not only forbidden, but will prey upon your conscience, spoil your sleep, destroy your complexion, and eventually will wind up turning you into the kind of person who drinks methylated spirits out of a bottle hidden in a brown paper bag and who lives under bridges, burps noxiously, and prays day and night for release from the unsupportable burden their life has become. We thought you’d appreciate the warning.

  • Three audio cds of 3 doz Poems read by Garrison Keillor from The Writer’s Almanac.

Some people think that I hate poetry, not realizing, perhaps, that Kvothe and I are actually two different people.

Believe it or not, we are separate entities with different thoughts and emotions. Other telltale differences include hair color: Mine is brown. His is red. He is mostly a fictional character, and I am mostly real. He is a better singer, while I am a better kisser.

We also radically differ on our opinions of poetry. He has an irrational loathing of it, while I myself quite enjoy it.

Well…. some of it. The good stuff.

This is the good stuff. Lovely poems selected and read by America’s greatest living storyteller: Garrison Keillor.

  • Two audio collections of Good Poems by Garrison Keillor.

You can also tell that these are good poems. Because, well, it says so right there: Good Poems. You can’t get much clearer than that.

This is a 4 CD set, containing a marvelous selection of poetry read by a number of wonderful readers, including Keillor himself. Honestly, I would listen to the man read a phone book. Getting to hear him read some of the finest poetry ever is just a bonus.

  • One set of The First and Second Seasons of Flight of the Conchords and an audio cd of The Distant Future.

I loved Flight of the Conchords before they were cool. If you haven’t watched their HBO series, you really need to.

  • Five copies of The Adventures of Sexton Blake.

I raved about this BBC Audio production last year on the blog.

And you know what? Everything I said about it then is just as true today. I listened to this a couple weeks ago and laughed my metaphorical ass off. If anything, I think it’s funnier the 20th time around.

  • A copy of The Ultimate David Sedaris Box Set.

While Garrison Keillor is my favorite living storyteller. David Sedaris takes a close second place.

I only discovered him a couple years ago when someone recommended I listen to “Six to Eight Black men.”

They were really insistent, so I looked it up on Youtube just to shut them up about it.

The next day I went out and bought this box set, which contains 20 CD worth of David Sedaris reading the entirety of Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Barrel Fever and Other Stories, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.

I’ve been a fan of The Guild since back in 2008 when I interviewed Felicia Day and we became BFFs.

Because I love spreading the word about cool indi geekery like this, I picked up several sets of the first two seasons of The Guild when I was at San Diego ComicCon with the sole purpose of giving them away to people and getting them hooked on the series.

Felicia was nice enough to sign them for me. She’s just an all-around nice person.

*     *     *

Remember, you for every 10 dollars you donate on the Worldbuilders Team Page, you get a chance to win everything here, not to mention the hundreds of other books that have already been donated.

What’s more, if you donate before January 31st of 2012, Worldbuilders will match 50% of your donation.

Also, every dollar donated brings us closer to $100,000. Once we hit that, I’ll post up another blog with more personal additions to the fundraiser.

And lastly, don’t forget about the auctions Worldbuilders is running right now. Some of them will be ending soon…

Spread the word…

pat

Posted in buffy, Felicia Day, Firefly, Joss Whedon, The Guild, Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat21 Responses

Season Five of the Guild

Generally speaking, I assume that if you’re reading this blog, you’re a geek of some degree or other.

And if you’re a geek, I assume other things about you. I assume you’ve watched Star Trek. I assume you engage in some type of gaming, be it  computer, board, or role.

I assume that you know who Dr. Who is. I assume you have a tiny shrine to Joss Whedon somewhere in your house.

And I assume you watch The Guild.

More importantly, I assume you know when a new season of The Guild has begun.

But just in case some of you aren’t entirely tuned into the geek allmind. I figure I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that season 5 is already upon us.

If you’re a fan, it would be a shame if you didn’t wander over and check it out…

If you’re *not* a fan… well… then I’m guessing there’s either something wrong with you, or you’ve simply never been exposed to it. And if the latter’s the case, it would be a shame if you didn’t give it a try…

*     *     *

In other, slightly surreal news, NPR recently posted the results of the poll where they asked folks to vote on what their favorite SF and Fantasy books of all time were.

The Kingkiller Chronicles came in #18 on the list.

Out of all SF and Fantasy books. Ever. #18.

Seriously.

pat

Posted in Felicia Day, miscelany, Uncategorized | By Pat66 Responses

Books and an Interview with Jerry Holkins from Penny Arcade

I’ve been reading Penny Arcade for years. More than a decade, really. They’re funny, funny people, and I’ve recommended or referenced their comics in the blog several times over the years.

In brief, I’m a fan.

This year is the year I officially made contact with them. Mike mentioned my book on their page and talked about how he used some of the ideas out of it in his D&D campaign. So when I was at San Diego Comic Con I plucked up my courage and went over to their booth to talk to them.

This took a little bit of doing on my part, because in the realm of the geeks, these guys are… well… monolithic. They’re bigger than Oprah.

And, as I’ve said, I’m a fan. When you’re a fan of someone’s work, it’s hard to approach them and make small talk.

But small talk we did. Then we quickly moved beyond that and started in on the geek talk, which is more fun. At the end of it, we formed a little mutual admiration society.

Later on, Jerry was nice enough to read a beta version of WMF and give me feedback on it. Then I donated some books to their charity: Child’s Play. (I was delighted to chip in, as watching them start Child’s Play was one of the things that made me realize I could maybe run my own charity.)

They, in turn, donated some books to my charity, Worldbuilders.

  • Two Hardcover copies of The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade. The 11.5 Anniversary Edition. Signed by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins.

Lastly, I asked if Jerry would like to do an interview to go along with his books. He graciously accepted. He’s cool like that.

*     *     *

Heya Jerry.

Is that cool? Can I call you Jerry? Are we at that point in our relationship?

I think so.  You did let me look at your book before it was done, which I imagine was difficult, and it’s my policy to simply reflect the way people treat me, so yes.  We tight.

Okay let’s just jump right into the meat of things here. When I was younger, I played Zork. King’s Quest. The original Fallouts. Games that made you think. Games where you could occasionally screw things up so badly that you destroyed your chance of winning without even knowing it. Games that were at times so hard that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what to do.

In short, these were awesome games. They were games I was proud of when I’d finished them.

So here’s my question. Are games today predictable pap compared to that, or am I just being a curmudgeonly fuck?

My worldview allows for people who are curmudgeonly fucks and a game industry that offers predictable pap.  As far as games go, though, there were plenty of bad ones then as well.  There are bad books, too, not your books of course, but they’re out there!  Watch out for them.  There are both mediums, with all the standard ratios.  I can help you find what you want, though.  This is a service I often provide.

That’s one of the things I’ve always admired about y’all at PA. If you think something is crap, you say so. Boldly. With many invectives. That’s a freedom I don’t really have as an author….

Yes, well, you’ll have to content yourself with the fabrication of entire universes, then.

We all have our cross to bear.

What were your favorites games as a kid? Did you play Infocom games too?

Oh, sure.  And not just Infocom games, but the Trillium series that was based on much-loved science fiction and fantasy novels, all the way through the Sierra adventures that build a graphical world atop the parsers of old.

When I was trying to remember the name “Trillium,” I came across the following link:

It’s one of the most interesting/funny/sad things I’ve read in a long time.  We were, at one point, genuinely worried – there was an actual debate – about whether or not the introduction of graphics was a boon or a curse.

Heh. I remember back in 1994 when I used to MUD. I was out for dinner with some friends and the concept of a graphic mud came into the conversation. Everyone dismissed the idea as absolutely ridiculous. As technologically infeasible as teleportation. Everyone also agreed that the addition of graphics would remove much of the social element from the game.

Fast-Forward to now. It’s hard to even imagine a world without WOW, or The Guild for that matter…

At the PAX keynote, Warren Spector said that art forms are either disappearing from view or are co-opted by the larger culture.  I think it’s pretty clear which way it went.

So at this point you have a following that can legitimately be referred to as a horde. Does it ever get a little weird for you?

Well, if they were here underneath my desk all the time, maybe.  As it stands, it’s only a couple times a year that I’m genuinely exposed to the extent of the enthusiasm/antipathy for the site.

Extra points for use of the word “antipathy.”

I didn’t know we were writing for points.  I would have done everything differently!  I would have used an augur; I might have held forth on the Uyghur.

Man. Even I had to look that last one up.

When did you first realize that you were famous?

When people started asking me questions like that, and worse, when they started expecting me to know the answer.  Fame, as a force, is an external entity.  I’m sure you know what I mean; you were working at night all the time on the book, more or less alone, and I’m certain that didn’t feel especially famous.  That felt like work.

Yeah. That was pretty much when it hit me too. One of my friends looked at me and said, “You do realize you’re a celebrity now, right?”

Of course, he immediately followed it up with, “A tiny, kinda shitty celebrity. But still…”

Indeed.  We need a stupid word to denigrate this state of quasi-importance.  Cewebrity, maybe?  I feel like that more or less destroys any pleasure to be had in the concept.

Be honest now. Do you ever get up in the morning and think to yourself, “Fuck, I’ve got to go to the office and play Videogames again…”

Good Christ, I wish that I could say something like that and have it be true!  This week, just to give you an example of the kinds of things I’m tasked with generally, is:

Generate Names For  (Top Secret)
Write 6-Page Animated Comic For (Top Secret)
Finish Penny Arcade: Book Seven (“Be Good, Little Puppy”)
Precipice

This is in addition to strips and posts and descriptions for the store and any other thing that needs text.  I’m not complaining; I like doing this stuff.  But there’s always lots to do!

Ah. That’s embarrassing. I made the same mistake about you that most people make about me. People assume being a writer is just divine inspiration, book tours, and rolling around in money. But a ton of time goes toward the business end of things, talking to translators, contracts, talking to the publisher.

I always pictured you a living in some sort of sybaritic pleasure dome. Your days filled with nothing but Fallout and Doritos.

Straighten me out. Roughly how many hours a day do you spend playing video games?

On a good day, with a game I want to play more than I want to paint miniatures or write, and no outstanding projects I can get a head start on, I can put in two and half/three hours. That’s the time from “after my bride goes to bed” up until midnight.

Wow. That certainly puts things in perspective.

So I’ve recently managed to spawn and I’m finding it to be a surprising amount of fun. I know you’ve got a youngins of your own… How old are they again?

I’ve got Elliot Jacob, who is five, and I’ve got Ronia Quinn, who is a wee lass of sixteen month.

How are you liking it so far?

I have a high opinion of the process, in general.  I was reading a book with Elliot yesterday, the Big Little Book For Dads or something like that, and it had a recipe in there for something called “Tennessee Corn Pone.”  I don’t know what Pone is, I’m good on Corn, but the regional distinctions specific to the various Pones are not known to me, and for some reason Pone just as a clump of sounds wadded together is funny on its own, and the two of us laughed uncontrollably at exactly the same thing.

That’s one example from a day full of incredible challenges and the occasional fleeting success.

That’s right, she’s just about the same age a Little Oot. He learned how to say “no.” Has Ronia figured that one out yet?

Nope, not yet.

Lucky duck. It was really cute at first, but he quickly realized that he could use that word to effectively re-shape reality. It’s like he’s leveled up and sunk all his points into this one ability: Power Word No, unlimited uses per day.

Is Ronia much of a talker? Oot pretty much sticks to “No” and “duck” at this point.

She’s started in with the compound signs – “more bye bye,” means let’s go, “cookie give cookie give cookie give,” that’s one we see a lot.

In all fairness, “cookie-give” really should be its own word.

I wish we would have done more baby-sign with Oot. There are times I can see that he’s frustrated because he wants to express himself and just can’t make the right words yet….

Okay. Serious business. I’ve been reading the stuff you’ve been writing: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness.

What’s the deal with that? I’m feeling a little threatened here. You’re supposed to make with the funny comics. I’m the one that writes the elaborately interwoven narrative thingers.

In the future,  I will try to interweave the thingers in a less elaborate way.  I’m horrified to think that my bullshit is in the same category as your work, on the same Internet.  Precipice is  process I’m using to learn how to write.  Like I said before, text is my responsibility, and I strongly suspect I’m going to be called on to make a book for Lookouts at some point.

Oh man. I loved Lookouts. That would be the coolest.

Seriously though. You have a hell of a turn of phrase. And not only can you write funny, which is the hardest kind of writing there is. But you manage to get some touching and disturbing in there too. A lot of folks can do one or two of those, but all of them? Not so much…

Truth is, your stuff reminds me of a unholy hybrid of Douglas Adams and Lovecraft. That’s never a combination I expected to see in my lifetime.

I don’t want to make a habit of quoting myself, that’s not who I want to be, but after I got Wise Man’s Fear in the mail to read through, I wrote this:

“I could never decide if I wanted to be Douglas Adams or H. P. Lovecraft when I grew up, and now that I’m grown up, I’ve decided that I don’t have to choose.”

That’s exactly who I want to be, so the fact that any of that is coming through at all means that maybe I’m doing okay.

Could you ever see yourself writing a novel?

A very, very short one maybe.  It might be that writing comic strips isn’t good training for longer form writing, because it’s my instinct to take a belt sander to every phrase until it’s ready for three tidy panels.

It shows. You’ve got a tight grip on your language. Usually that’s something I only see in folks that write a lot of poetry. It never occurred to me that you could develop the same sort of thing writing comics. Makes sense though. Limited space makes for a tight line.

The arc of my life thus far has been that something needs doing, and I become the person who is needed to do it.  I think we’ll need someone to write a book someday, maybe someday very soon.  I am preparing myself for this eventuality.

If it happens, I’ll come over and we can celebrate and/or console each other, depending on how well our respective projects are going.

Thanks so much for being willing to do this little interview. I really appreciate it.

Any parting words?

Congratulations on finishing your book, Pat.  I can’t wait to read version 1.0!

Aw shucks… I’ll make sure to send you and Mike a copy once it’s off the press…

*     *     *

Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win cool books like these.

In addition, Worldbuilders is matching 50% of all donations made on our Team Heifer page until noon on Dec 17th.

For more details, or to see the other books you can win, you can head over to the main page HERE.

Stay tuned folks, the final blog of the fundraiser will be posted in just a couple hours…

pat

Posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, cool things, Me Interviewing Other Folks, Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat12 Responses

Miscellanea

It occurs to me that I haven’t mentioned the current season of The Guild on the blog yet.

This makes me feel strangely guilty, as if I’ve failed to uphold my end of some unspoken agreement we have here on the blog. Namely, that I will occasionally remind you of some cool things that are out there, so you can enjoy them.

Included in the category of cool things, of course, is The Legend of Neil. I think I already linked to it when I posted up the interview I did with Sandeep at Comic-con. But what the hell, you can have another link. It’s free.

Lastly, for those of you that don’t make a habit of checking out my tour page or the events I post up on the Facebook fan page. I’m at Madcon this weekend in… well… in Madison, obviously. Or maybe not obviously. I suppose it could be a convention for people who were mad….

Then, on Wednesday night, (the 29th) I’m doing a little panel for the Wisconsin Book Festival, also in Madison. My talk is going to be in the overture center, which makes me feel all posh. I’ll probably fancy myself up for the special occasion in the only way I know how: by taking a shower and making sure I’m wearing pants. I also plan on limiting myself to only the most erudite cussings. (They must have at least three syllables or a Latin root.)

That’s all for now, folks. Have a good weekend.

pat

P.S. Since I’m throwing out links to random cool things. Here’s a link to an article about Joss Whedon that I very much enjoyed.

Posted in a billion links, appearances, Joss Whedon, miscelany | By Pat46 Responses

My Trip to LA: Part Two

Just a reminder folks. This is part two of a longer blog. Part one is over here.

[…]

I’ve had the chance to hang out with some pretty cool people over the last year: Peter S. Beagle, Tad Williams, Neil Gaiman. Folks I’ve idolized for a long time. But I never had this strange vertigo with any of them.

I’ve thought about it a lot since then, and right now my best guess is this.

I think talking to someone you’ve seen on TV is like meeting someone you already know. Your brain has become familiar with the image of this person, you know the texture of their voice, their body posture. For all intents and purposes, you know them.

Except you don’t. You’re just familiarized to the sensation of them. What’s more disorienting is that if they’re an actor, the personality you’ve attached to their image isn’t really their own. Or at least it’s not *entirely* their own.

I don’t think it’s the same with writers. When you’re experiencing our work, you don’t see our faces. You might get a peek inside our heads (or think you get a peek) but that doesn’t lead to the same visual imprinting that you get from watching someone on screen.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve probably watched Dr. Horrible over a hundred times since it came out. I haven’t watched The Guild *quite* as much as that, but if you count the times I’ve re-watched each of the individual episodes, I’ve probably moved into the triple digits by now.

This means that in the last year, I’ve seen Felicia Day’s face more than I’ve seen the face of my own sister. More than I’ve seen the faces of any of my friends who all live out of town. More than any real-world face except Sarah’s, and honestly, during the week when Dr. Horrible was first released, that particular race might have been too close to call.

I think that’s what where this strange vertigo came from. It was some rational part of me hitting my the degauss button in my brain again and again. Helping me realize that the person in front of me was fundamentally different from the person I had been watching on the screen of my computer.

And eventually it worked. I was able to settle down and talk with her and the moments of odd vertigo grew farther and farther apart. Unfortunately one of those moments happened when I was signing a book for her. A signing that I screwed up to a degree that still embarrasses me.

I also have to say that I was really impressed with everyone else at the signing. I know a lot of people must have recognized her, but from what I saw, nobody freaked out on her or hassled her.

Part of this I’m guessing has to do with the fact that we were in LA, but I’m willing to lay a lot of it on the fact that my readership seems to be composed of very cool, intelligent people.

For example, when I was signing books after the reading, a couple folks came up to the front of the line, and thanked me for introducing them to Dr. Horrible on my blog.

I motioned them a little closer and they leaned in. “Be cool about it,” I said quietly, excited to get the chance to tell someone who could appreciate the news. “But Felicia Day is here. She’s behind you, standing in line!” I grinned, vibrating with geeky joy. Probably looking like a garden gnome who has recently stumbled onto the a particularly interesting patch of mushrooms.

“We know!” They grinned too, just as excited as me.

After the signing, the lot of us went out to dinner: me, my gracious hosts, a few of their friends, and Felicia day.

We ended up at a small restaurant, where I had the best Thai food of my life. And I must say, sitting there, surrounded by rocket scientists, librarians, and other persons of eclectic occupation. Chatting and trading stories with Felicia day. It was my own personal Valhalla.

Lastly, since we’re talking about public appearances, I’m going to be having a little reading up here in Hayward in a week or so.

So if you live up here in the north woods of Wisconsin and are not an elk, feel free to swing by. It should be a nice cozy event with just a few of us, so I’ll have plenty of time to chat with everyone who comes. Plus, I hear there will be cookies.

February 26th, Thursday, 6:00-8:00

Hayward Public Library
10788 HWY 27/77
Hayward, WI 54843

For more info call 715-634-2161

And back to work for me,

pat

Posted in appearances, BJ Hiorns Art, fan coolness, Felicia Day, meeting famous people | By Pat68 Responses

My Trip to LA: Part One

So, it’s been about a month since my trip to LA.

Now some folk will quibble and say that I was in *Pasadena,* not LA. But that is a distinction that matters primarily to folks who live in the LA area. To the rest of us, that entire gob of city there in Southern California is all LA.

It’s best not to split hairs about these sorts of things. If we’re going to get technical, I would have to explain to people that I’m not originally from Madison proper. I’m actually from the Town of Burke, right next to Madison. And right now I’m not in Hayward, hiding from the world and writing, I’m in the nearby township of Lenroot, or something like that.

These are pointless little truths that don’t do anyone any good.

This is the art of storytelling, you see. Telling small lies in pursuit of a larger truth. The art of being a reader is being willing to work a little to get at the meat of the story, while at the same time accepting the occasional bent technicality and comma splice.

Anyway. LA was awesome. I was flown out by the lovely folks responsible for one of the winning pictures in the photo contest. Not only are these ladies lovely and willing to get naked for my book, but they are also rocket scientists. Seriously. So while I was out there, I got to take a tour of JPL and look at cool spaceship stuff.

I got to see oranges growing on trees. Which might not seem like a big deal for most of you, but for me it was pretty cool. I also saw lizards running around wild, and can now identify a eucalyptus tree. I got to play some new board games and walk around outside without wearing a coat or hat or anything.

The book signing itself turned out to be a marvelous success. We had a surprising number of people show up, I’m guessing 100 or 120. They had to bring out a bunch of extra chairs, and even then people were standing in the isles and sitting on the floor.

It was a good crowd. I read a few Survival Guides, a poem, and a snippet of book two. I told some stories, answered questions, and got a few laughs. Afterwards, I signed a buttload of books and got to chat one-on-one with folks. Someone brought me wine, someone else brought me an entire care package including memory sticks and tickets to Disneyland.

Though I love the swag, I feel obliged to remind folks that the “Something Cool” rule only applies to books you’re mailing in for me to sign.

That said, if you have something you’d *really* like to give me, far be it from me to stop you….

Of particular interest was something that happened halfway through the reading. I was answering some question or another, and I looked out and saw Felicia Day sitting at the back of the crowd.

Now this is the point in the story where I don’t exactly know what I should say. Normally when I’m telling a story out of my real life, I go with the truth, even when it’s embarrassing or unflattering. I don’t know exactly why I feel obliged to do this, but I do.

But for some reason, as I tell this story, I want to lie. I want to pretend I was laid-back about it. Pleased, of course, but also nonchalant. I’d like to portray myself as relaxed… cool. Like the Fonz from Happy Days. Or like the modern-day fantasy author version of the Fonz: Neil Gaiman.

I’ve seen Neil Gaiman a couple times. He’s a great public speaker, funny, insightful. He knows how to work a crowd, and he’s irritatingly good at reading his own work out loud.

Even better, he’s terribly gracious in person. I once watched him get ambushed by a fan who was desperate to have Gaiman read his manuscript. The guy clung to Gaiman and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I found it irritating from a distance of fifteen feet, but Gaiman was unfailingly polite through the whole exchange.

I’m not graceful in that way. I honestly don’t know how I come across in public, but sometimes I expect that it’s something like the way my old dog, Pup, used to behave.

He was a big liony mutt that I grew up with as a kid. An outside dog who never knew a fence, as we lived out in the country and let him run wild. He a smart dog, and a vicious hunter. He patrolled our house, protecting us from pretty much anything.

Despite the fact that he was a great hunter and defender, he was also very friendly. Unfortunately, it was like he never figured out that he wasn’t a puppy anymore. When someone came over for a visit, Pup would jump up on them, putting his paws up on your chest (or your shoulders, if you were shorter) and lick your face.

This is fine behavior if you’re a fluffy puppy with milk-breath, or if you’re an adult dog hanging out with your family. But Pup treated everyone that way, even when he was full grown, shaggy, and smelling of whatever interesting he had found to roll in.

I suspect that’s what I must be like when I’m in public most of the time. I’m this great shaggy beast who gets excited about meeting new people, and does the conversational equivalent of jumping up on people and licking them in the face.

This means that when I want to be socially graceful, I need some sort of internal touchstone about how I should act. So when I see Felicia Day sitting in the back of the room, I think to myself: WWNGD?

I’m guessing he would not, for example, stand up at his own reading and say: “Holy shit everybody! Felicia Day is here!”

So I didn’t either. But I tell you, it was a near thing. I’m pretty sure I kept my game face on, and kept answering whatever question I was in the middle of. But the truth is, inside I was standing up and pointing, shouting: “Holy shit! Everybody! Felicia Day!” with all the enthusiasm of a four-year-old who has just seen his first real firetruck drive by on the street.

(Re-reading this, I think I need to add another item to my ever-growing list of Things You Should Never Compare a Woman to Under Any Circumstances. Number Seven: Firetruck. Perhaps any type of truck.

For the record, please note that this particular use of firetruck is being used to describe my reaction to Felicia, not Felicia herself.)

Anyway, after the reading, I managed to grab Felicia and chat for a bit before I started signing books. By this point I’d settled down a bit and was able to behave like a regular human being.

But still, every once in a while, my head would spin around a bit and I would think, “Wha? Who is this? Holy shit. I’m talking with Felicia Day!”

*****

Well folks, due to my tangential nature, this particular blog has ended up being WAY longer than I’d intended. I’ll post the rest of it in a day or two, how’s that?

In the mean time, if you don’t know what the big deal is, you can go check out Dr. Horrible, where Felicia plays Penny. Or The Guild, which Felicia writes and produces in addition to playing the part of Codex.

Later,

pat

Posted in a billion links, BJ Hiorns Art, Felicia Day, meeting famous people, my rockstar life, Neil Gaiman, tangentality | By Pat24 Responses

Some of the Best for Last – More Delicious Swag

Did I mention that Heifer International called my house? Yeah. They’re the coolest folks. Apparently some of them have been watching our fundraiser with more than passing interest. They confirmed something I had started to suspect. Namely, that y’all are cool as hell.This is the last treasure post, and we have some lovely stuff. Detailed below, we have another original manuscript, signed books and ARC’s, and some cool swag from Queen of the Geeks, Felicia Day.

I’ve raised the donation bar a couple times just in the last week, and right now it looks like we stand a good chance of actually raising more that 40,000 dollars. Which is awe-inspiring, really.

For the last month, the first thing I’ve done in the morning is check the Heifer donation page. It’s been a great way to start my day. But I’ll be honest with you, there have been a few times in the last week that I’ve woken up, looked at the total, and thought. “This is it. I really shouldn’t match any more. I said I’d keep going until Dec 11th, but I’m sure folks will understand if I stop matching donations a couple days early….”

When I get that feeling, I go look at Heifer’s website. Then I learn things like the fact that half the chickens in Korea are descended from eggs that Heifer supplied after the Korean War.

Or I read about a young man in Uganda who had to quit school to take care of his five younger siblings because his parents died. He got a Heifer, greatly improving the family’s nutrition. And the money they get from selling the surplus milk is helping to pay for school.

And then I think, “I can order Chinese food any time I want, and they bring it to my house. I have a car in reasonably good repair. I have a house that stays warm through the Wisconsin winters. I have a house full of books to read, and all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD. I am living the best possible life.”

Then I relax, and I realize that nothing makes me happier than raising the donation bar again. And again after that if need be.

Okay, enough touchy-feely. Let’s talk about free stuff.

  • A set of the first three books in Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet: A Shadow in Summer, A Betrayal in Winter, and An Autumn War. Hardcover. Signed by the author.

While I haven’t mentioned these books on my blog, I’ve read them and they’re really good. In fact, these were the first books I ever decided to give an official blurb to.I’d almost forgotten about it. But when Daniel’s books showed up today, I saw that my blurb was actually there, right on the cover. First book: quote from GRRM. Second book: quote from GRRM. Third book? Quote from me. That’s right baby. Me.

So obviously I thought these were great books. But don’t take my word for it. Instead, why not trust bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss when he says, “There is much to love in the Long Price Quartet. It is epic in scope, but character-centered. The setting is unique yet utterly believable. The storytelling is smooth, careful, and–best of all–unpredictable.”

  • An advance reading copy of Jeri Smith-Ready’s The Reawakened, conclusion to the Aspect of Crow trilogy. Signed by the author.

Another one of those cool ARC’s for those of you who are interested in getting a peek at the book before it hits the shelves. Publisher’s Weekly says, “Myth blends with passion in this colorful conclusion to the Aspect of Crow trilogy.”

Award winning author Stephen Baxter calls Mirrored Heavens, “A crackling cyberthriller. This is Tom Clancy interfacing Bruce Sterling. David Williams has hacked into the future.”

  • A copy of Questions for a Soldier, by John Scalzi. Limited edition.

Questions for a Soldier is a limited edition Subterranean Press book set in the world of Scalzi’s first novel, Old Man’s War. Scalzi himself says, “for those of you looking for rare and unusual Scalzi-related curiosities, this is it, baby.”Paul Di Filippo, writing for The Washington Post Book World says, “Scalzi’s imagined interstellar arena is coherently and compellingly delineated….His speculative elements are top-notch. His combat scenes are blood-roiling. His dialogue is suitably snappy and profane.”

  • A set of S.C. Bulter’s Reiffen’s Choice and Queen Ferris, books one and two of The Stoneways Trilogy. Signed by the author.

Children’s Literature says, “Fantasy fans of all ages will be drawn into the world that Butler has created…. If one wanders away from the main characters they will not fall out of the story but will find another story somewhere in the Stoneways or Valing, and that is the mark of a truly great fantasy.”

This husband and wife team just sent me some of their stuff out of the blue. And I’ll admit that when this graphic novel showed up, I invoked my sovereign right of… um… book-lookingness. Anyway, I read it. And it was pretty cool….According to Publishers Weekly, “The tale’s unfamiliar setting and the uncanny events work together intriguingly.”

In a starred review, Kirkus says, “Featuring both an uncommonly well-conceived setting and buckets of high-energy action, Taylor’s debut tale of a thumb-sized devil hunter who comes this close to meeting her match belongs at the top of everyone’s fantasy must-read list.”
  • A copy of Dead to Me, the debut novel of Anton Strout. Signed by the author.

Anton Strout is, among other things, my mortal enemy. However, I’m willing to set aside any personal rancor I feel toward the man in order to accept his generous gift on behalf of Heifer International.

Bestselling author Charlaine Harris gives this review: “Following Simon’s adventures is like being the pinball in an especially antic game, but it’s well worth the wear and tear.”

  • An ARC of Fenzig’s Fortune by Jean Rabe. Signed by the Author.
Jean has donated both a signed ARC, and a signed hardcover to the cause. Publisher’s Weekly says that, “Readers of all ages will find simple pleasures in this traditional hobbit-inspired fantasy.”
  • A manuscript of Steven Savile’s new Stargate novel, Shadows, book one of The Iblis Trilogy. Signed by the author.

I can’t say enough good about Steven. When he heard about the fundraiser, he immediately went out and started beating the bushes for donations. He brought in the folks from Bad Moon Books. He tipped off Kevin Anderson and many others. Finally, he’s donated this lovely manuscript.

Here’s what Steven says:

“Shadows is the first book in the Iblis Trilogy, an SG-1 novel featuring the original team. What makes this manuscript unique is it includes all of the mistakes and material that MGM won’t approve – so there are a good 10,000 words different between it as a first draft and the finished book which is coming out at the end of January. The story itself pits the team against the Goa’uld, Iblis, and features the Mujina, an archetypal monster who can be all things to everyone, the hero and villain their heart most desperately desires.”

(That’s not my thumb this time, folks.
Judging by the grace and poise, I think it might be Felicia’s.)

When I heard from Felicia a couple days ago, I hurried downstairs to tell Sarah.

Me: Felicia Day just sent me an e-mail! She says she’d like to donate a signed copy of The Guild DVD and a Dr. Horrible poster signed by the cast.

Sarah: Well that must make you excited enough to pee.

Which, in fact, sums up my reaction quite nicely.

I made a blog post about The Guild a while back, singing its praises. Later, Felicia and I interviewed each other, each in our respective blogs.

What I’m getting at is that I thought she was cool even *before* Dr. Horrible came out and she worked a deal with X-box to sponsor season two of The Guild.

The Los Angeles Times praised The Guild as “perhaps the smartest (and definitely the funniest) webisodic series of the year.” This year, they’re putting out a new season that’s way more budgety.

If you haven’t heard about Dr. Horrible, then you obviously haven’t been reading my blog for very long. Maybe you have been living under a heavy, heavy rock. Or perhaps you hate everything that is lovely and good in the world.

How much do I love Dr. Horrible? I’ll let this picture from my Halloween party tell the story:

Yeah. The ladies were totally into my Dr. Horrible costume.

So… yeah.
Dr. Horrible was bigger than Lennon, and the poster is pretty cool too. Signed by Felicia Day, Neil Patrick Harris, and Nathan Fillion. This prize is guaranteed to make you excited enough to pee.

That’s all she wrote, folks. Remember you have until the end of December 11th to get in on the action. Tell your friends….

Want to know how to win these and other fabulous prizes while making the world a better place? Check OVER HERE for the blog that describes it all.

Rock on, team geek.

pat

Posted in a billion links, Felicia Day, Heifer International, recommendations, Worldbuilders 2008 | By Pat39 Responses
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