Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Music, Miscellany, and Signed Copies of The Guild.




This is a Worldbuilders blog.




So Worldbuilders is almost at an end for this year. We've got one last blog full of prizes. We've got music and some other cool miscellanea, including some signed DVD copies of The Guild.

But first, news:

First and foremost, the deadline: The fundraiser ends on January 15th. You have to donate before then to have a chance at winning the fabulous stuff we're raffling off.

Second, as I'm writing this, we've already raised over 110,000 dollars. That means people have donated twice as much as last year.

This is empirical evidence that y'all are awesome. Seriously. Before I was just guessing, but now I can prove it with math and such.

Thirdly and lastly, a tiny story:

Yesterday Sarah was busy feeding the baby when I walked past her bedroom.

"Sweetie?" she called. "Can you do me a favor?"

"You can't afford it," I said.

I am, of course referring to the recently completed auction for the Golden Ticket. Apparently the thought of winning a favor from me was worth over 15,000 dollars to someone.

This leaves me stunned and more than slightly frightened. If someone paid, like, seventeen bucks for it, I'd feel free to tell them to go screw if they asked for something unreasonable. But for 15,000 dollars, I worry that I might end up being pressured into something morally reprehensible, like kicking a koala bear.

Anyway, I hope the favor granting goes smoothly. Unlike the uncannily timed comic that just came up on Cyanide & Happiness...

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net



Okay. Enough news. On to the prizes....

  • Two CDs of Manticores and Owlbears: Songs of Dragons and the Dungeons in which they dwell! by Daniel Marcotte.
I met Daniel Marcotte at Gencon this year. He was strolling the halls all minstreled up, and carrying a gorgeous lute.

We got to talking and quickly established our mutual geek cred. He gave me a CD. I gave him a book. The rest, as they say, is history.

This particular CD is a bunch of D&D songs played on classical instruments. Fun stuff. Plus, I've heard it rumored that listening to Dan the Bard's CD gives you +1 on your next encounter. So you might want to look into it.

  • Two CD's of Unicorns and Dragons: Love Songs, Drinking Songs, and Fighting Songs from the Bristol Renaissance Faire! by Daniel Marcotte.
More from Dan. I'd already have a sample of his music up on my webpage right now if I weren't so busy with book and baby. Hopefully soon.

Not all of Dan's music is steeped in modern-day Geekery. Some of it is old-school geekery as well. This CD is "Tales of Wizards, Knights, Pirates and Princesses, set to music of the Ap Huw Manuscript (16th c Welsh Bardic Tradition) and transcribed for Renaissance Lute."

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while might remember these folks from a previous post. If you never saw that blog, you should really click over here and watch the little video. It's short, and I guarantee you've never seen anything like it.

After I gushed about how awesome they were, we actually got in touch. I sent them a copy of the Brazilian translation of the book, they sent me some CDs for the fundraiser.

"They are considered a new phenomenon in the Brazilian guitar. With a mix of perfect technique, infallible repertory and a lot of charisma Fernando Lima and Cecilia Siqueira are winning admirers where they go" Published on "Violao Pro" Magazine, Sao Paulo – Brazil

You can also catch their music on their website and myspace page.

  • Six copies of Only Ghosts Remain by Fermata.
I caught Fermata playing about a year ago at the Afterdark, the local coffee shop here in Stevens Point. It was cool stuff, and it gave me some ideas about what type of music a group of eclectic troupers might play.

I'd have a sample of their stuff up on my webpage too if I wasn't so swamped...

Review from Sepiachord.com, "Fermata are not most bands and make the smooth mixing of pop elements and folk elements seem easy.There's a confidence here that makes what they do feel light, effortless. Despite the somber mood they evoke this confidence gives a sense of hope and positiveness to the work. "Only Ghosts Remain" is a chamber pop album for goths-who-smile. This collection proves that all "gothic Americana" doesn't have to be gutter tales of depravity and desperation."

You can listen to the music of Fermata at their myspace page.

Another Wisconsin musician was nice enough to kick in a CD of his work:

From Eli August's myspace page: "Eli August creates music with zeal and energy, focusing on mood, tonality and lyricism. The songwriting mines memories of past regrets and failures to create melancholy aural set pieces that are sincere, passionate and some times dark, but never completely devoid of redemption."

I guarantee you've never heard anything like this stuff. I could try to explain it to you, but I just don't have the words for it...

Description from SkullsofHeaven.com, "db is a self-taught throat singer, nature mimic, and multi-voiced performance artist [...] He has rolled up his sleeves and written lyrics for some of the songs, though he still keeps the emphasis on wordless imaginary flight with his vocal gymnastics. Playing bass, bansuri flute, and percussion he creates menageries of animal worlds with minimal looping effects and expressive feats of multi-tonal singing."

  • Three CD's by Janis Ian, Folk is the New Black, The Best of Janis Ian: The Autobiography Collection and Billie's Bones.
Most folks know about Janis Ian because she's a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter who's been making music for over 40 years. Fewer people realize that in addition to being a talented musician, Janis is also active in the Sci-fi community.

She contacted me after reading my The Name of the Wind and said some very flattering things. Then, despite her disappointment that book two wasn't finished yet, she was nice enough to donate some CDs to Worldbuilders.

Blogcritics.org say, "Best Of Janis Ian: The Autobiography Collection is a two-disc retrospective of Janis Ian’s career. All of her hits and well know songs are included as well as some of her equally impressive but not as famous new material."

"Now I can add another favorite to my Hall of Urban Fantasy Fame: Deborah Smith writing as Leigh Bridger... tense, heart wrenching and lovely." - Pam Headrick, bookseller - A Thirsty Mind

  • Two copies of Once Bitten by Kalayna Price with signed bookplates.
"Once Bitten is a solid urban fantasy debut with enough original ideas and twists to satisfy readers looking for something different and fresh." - SciFi Guy Blog

  • One set of the first two books in the Unbidden Magic series, Moonstone and Moonrise by Marilee Brothers with signed bookplates.
"Marilee Brothers' novel stands out for its humor and Allie's strong point-of-view as an underdog finding her place in the world. This is another good choice for public library teen/fantasy collections. I look forward to the next title in this series." - Grinnell College Libraries

  • A copy of Mutant Chronicles by Matt Forbeck. Signed by the author.
From the back of the book: "It will be a dangerous mission. I don’t expect that any of us will survive. But it’s a chance to save mankind, to save our world. Maybe the last chance."

  • A copy of Blood Bowl: Rumble in the Jungle by Matt Forbeck. Signed by the author.
"The action begins in the very first paragraph. From then on it is non-stop action, adventure, humor, and blood." — Huntress Reviews

  • A set of two books in Knights of the Silver Dragon, Prophecy of the Dragons and The Dragons Revealed by Matt Forbeck. Signed by the author.
"A thrilling series of adventures that will not only get kids interested in fantasy, but also the Dungeons & Dragons game as well." — Tim Janson


I'm guessing most of you already know about Felicia Day. She was Penny in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along blog, after all.

However, I'm guessing some of you might be woefully ignorant about the The Guild: Felicia's brilliant mindchild.

I got these copies of The Guild signed when I was out at San Diego Comic-con this year. I was doing it for Worldbuilders, of course. Not because I have a thing for Felicia Day, and certainly not because of my my burgeoning bromance with Sandeep Parikh.

Whatever my motivation, the result is the same: delightfully signed swag available if you donate at least 10 on my page at Team Heifer before January 15th.

Do it. You know you want to make the world a better place.

Want more details about the Worldbuilders fundraiser? Click HERE.



With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.


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Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Something to brighten your geeky day...

So, I'm back from GenCon. And despite the fact that I washed my hands like Lady Macbeth the whole time, I somehow managed to get sick.

Ordinarily, I'm okay with this. It's one of the risks of attending conventions. Sometimes you get stuck on a panel where you don't fit in. Sometimes you get trapped in a conversation and have to listen to a guy tell you about his 15th level half-elven ranger/assassin.

And sometimes, if you're unlucky enough to have me as your arch-nemesis, you get a death threat in your fortune cookie....





... Sometimes you get a cold. It's all part of the game.

But this time it sucks more than usual. I did Worldcon and GenCon back-to-back this year, so I've been away from home for almost two weeks solid. However, because I got sick the day before I came home, I cannot have a joyeux homecoming complete with passionate kissings from Sarah.

No. It is bad for a pregnant lady to get sick. That means when I returned from the airport, Sarah greeted me at the door with a firm handshake and a pat on the head.

Don't get me wrong. It was a good handshake. But even the best of handshakes cannot help but fall far short of passionate.

So I sit at my computer, sick, kissless, and trying to catch up on 500 unanswered e-mails. What can I possibly find that will lift my spirits?

This:







Yes, Felicia Day is all kinds of awesome. You had to know that already. What this video really did was firmly cement my love for Sandeep Parikh and Jeff Lewis.

Midwest side, my boys. Represent.

pat

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009
San Diego and The Legend of Neil

So last night I was writing up a blog about my embarrassing adventures out at San Diego Comic-Con. It was a good blog, chock full of me making an ass of myself.

Then, just as I was finishing it, my computer decided that 3:00 AM is the *perfect* time to auto-update. Shutting down and erasing the blog and several e-mails I was in the middle of.

Needless to say, I quickly became a pillar of incandescent rage. I'm glad nothing else was going on at three in the morning because this was the sort of anger that easily could have led to an Ovid-style metamorphosis. I was so angry that if something would have bit me during that first fifteen minutes, I would have manifested super powers and gone on a fucking rampage.

Eventually that blog will rise from the ashes, but for now the pain is still too close to the surface. So instead, I'd like to share one of my current geeky pleasures with you.

Ready? Here we go.

There were a lot of things I didn't get to do out at Comic-con. I didn't get to see Neil Gaiman or Joss Whedon. I didn't get to see the preview of the new Tron movie or go to any of the Firefly panels. Those panels were too full, and I'm not cool enough to hang with the beautiful people.

But I did have a good time. And one of the main things that made the trip worthwhile was the fact that I got to touch base with Felicia Day and the rest of the cast of The Guild as shown here in Exhibit A:




(Click to Embiggen)


It's well-known that I have a bit of a fanboy crush on Felicia Day. But that's nothing out of the ordinary. Any proper geek is morally obliged to have feelings for her. Aside from the fact that she was in both Dr. Horrible and Buffy, Felicia writes and produces The Guild. Plus she's good with math. And a gamer. And a musician. Anyone who claims they don't have a bit of a crush on her is just a fucking liar.

That said, the subtle subtext of this picture is harder to see. Specifically, it's the fanish crush I have for another member of The Guild cast: Sandeep Parikh.




(That's supposed to be a heart, by the way.)


For those of you are tragically out of the loop, Sandeep plays Zaboo in the Guild. But not only does he possess brilliant comedic timing and an enviable magic carpet. He writes and produces his own web series: The Legend of Neil.

Anyway, the story goes like this. Sunday I hit The Guild booth to buy some signed copies of season 1 and 2 to use for prizes in this year's Heifer Fundraiser.

Felicia recognizes me, smiles, and introduces me to everyone as that author guy who wrote that book. (I'm paraphrasing here, she was much more eloquent.)

That's when Sandeep looks up at me and says that he really liked my book. I look at him and I tell him that he is seriously funny and that I'm a geek for Legend of Neil. (I'm paraphrasing here too, I'm pretty sure I cussed a bit for emphasis. )

Our eyes met. Everything went quiet for a moment. We had a magical moment of shared geekery that might have eventually led to a hug.... but unfortunately there was a table in the way. Plus the two of us might be too manly for that sort of thing, anyway.

Now don't get me wrong. I love The Guild. But in terms of pure irreverent humor, The Legend of Neil is hard to beat. Plus Felicia plays the Fairy in episode three. Even if you never played Zelda, you'll laugh your ass off.

Seriously. Check it out. Here's a link. (Get it? Zelda? Link?)


More convention stories soon...

pat

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