Monday, October 14, 2013

What the heck was that? (Plus cosplay, charity, and campaigning for the year's end)

Blech. So another fat pause in posts, and when I finally bring myself back into the habit, it's with much less fanfare than I'd hoped.

It began, as so many things do, with the birth of my son, the beginning of many epic projects, and an all-but-inevitable slide into insomnia (or in-zomb-nia, as my loving wife insists I pronounce it). I saw several movies that I'd really wanted to write Nerdviews on, but things kept piling up and most of the movies this past summer were more disappointing than anything else. Perhaps in the coming weeks I'll write-up mini-digest Nerdviews, with just a couple of sentences (heh--yeah, sure--just a couple of sentences) to sum my feelings on a lot of the movies I've neglected over the life of this blog. I think the superhero sequel to the Dave Lizewski movie (keeping it family-friendly, yo), Oblivion, Pacific Rim, and Despicable Me 2 all merit mention, but I've also been kicking myself for not reviewing Dark Knight Rises and Amazing Spider-Man. And with Agents of SHIELD officially picked up for a full first season, I need to give that a write-up with a special surprise element tacked on. Filmatleven.

Most importantly, I've still got to get my most important new article series started: Nerds of Interest. Intended to be a series of features on different nerds I've met and taken an interest in, I should've posted the first article in this series months ago. I've already interviewed the really nice ladies behind Horsefeathers Cosplay as the first in this series, and I owe them (and you) a big apology for not getting that put up post-haste. They have helped inspire me to finally bite the bullet and get into cosplay fully and truly, and I definitely want to honor their influence and that of Cosplay4UsAll in my hobby insanity.

Along those lines, I made my first foray into cosplay. And as one should expect of me, it's been intense, grueling, full of mistakes and petty triumphs, and way too rushed by conservative cosplay standards. You see, October 10th was the one year anniversary of Star Citizen being revealed to the public and opened up for crowd-funding, and they made a modest event out of the observance. On September 19, they announced a photo contest to coincide with the event, which would close a mere two weeks later. Never one to let reason bar me from setting a goal, I decided that I would make a Star Citizen cosplay in that time. The (sorta) end result was a pretty feldercarb picture of a frakkin' awesome work-in-progress cosplay that didn't even place or get mention in the photo contest. I'll post more about this costume and my progress towards completing it later, but for now here's the underwhelming photo:

Those who follow me on Facebook or Google Plus can see some of my other pictures as well.

I'm not cowed from the hobby, but I don't think I'll put up any more pictures without taking the time to get some decent ones taken with a decent camera and photographer. No offense intended to my wife, but I felt like a motorized tripod with a remote would've been a better setup. Alright, I guess I intend a little offense with that comment. Anyways, the point is that this first frustrating entrance in no way dissuades me from cosplay. Expect to see a lot more on that in the future.

Another article series that needs posting: Nerd Level Up Program. A simple series of fitness and general wellness goals I've set for myself, I've already hit enough of my modest goals that I've essentially backlogged two or three level up posts. This actually dovetails with my interest in cosplay, but working out regularly was one of those things that was always a part of my holistic life goals.

My RPG muscles are starting to atrophy. I haven't sat down for a proper tabletop session in well over a year, and the lack of RPG goodness in my life is really unacceptable. On the homefront, I'm this close to actually doing verifiable work cleaning out my dungeon basement game room and facilitating game play down there. On the blog front, though, I've been planning a couple of things for a while. The GURPS Centurion project is still under way--more character write-ups and eventually several comic pages.

I try to keep a bead on the search terms that bring people to my blog, and every once in a while I come across a really unusual set of search terms. Months ago, I found a particularly interesting phrase on my stats page: "GM tips for scaring their players." My my my. I just love that there is a GM out there looking for tips to scare their players. So at some point in the future I want to make an article of tips for getting emotional reactions from your players: fear, sadness, awe, and elation.

On the back of my embarrassing cosplay failure, I decided to throw myself into the concerns of others, like an infested Terran from Starcraft. In the middle of my clumsy cosplay sprint, I got in touch with one of the fine members of Grievance Gaming, Shrivasta, about helping their group with a charity drive for Extra Life. Here's a little statement from Shrivasta about the event, coming up November 2nd:

As many of you know, Grievance will be participating in Extra Life next month on November 2nd, 2013.  Extra Life began in 2008 as a way of honoring a young lady named Victoria Enmon. Tori’s battle against acute lymphoblastic leukemia inspired the Sarcastic Gamer Community in a way that is difficult to describe. Members sent in video games and bought gifts to keep Tori’s spirits up despite numerous hospital stays and three bouts with the deadly disease.
Tragically, Tori lost her battle with cancer in January 2008.
Since then, the gaming community at large has participated in the Extra Life project, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in the US as well as Canada!  This year is no exception.  In November, thousands of gamers will be participating in a 25 hour marathon gaming session for charity!
This will be the first Extra Life team for Grievance, and we aim to make it an annual tradition.  We’ll not only be taking pledges for the hours played, but we will also be auctioning off items to the community to raise additional money for Extra Life as well.

I've been a fan of Extra Life for some time, and the Grievance Gaming guild is a fun group of gamers, so when I happened across Shrivasta on Facebook, I decided to do a little something myself. Since I'd made some paperweight-sized ODST (from the Halo franchise) helmets in the past, I thought it'd be great to make one with a custom base and a medic paint-job and add it to the Grievance auction. Here's a picture of the early print of the model, before I got really hands on with the piece.

Visit Extra Life to see about pledging, and check out Grievance Gaming.

Please spread the word about this worthy cause and seriously consider donating. And if you want your own ODST medic sitting on your desk, be sure to get in touch for that auction.

So all this stuff is nice enough, but it doesn't mean too much if I'm not going to post regularly, does it? Well, the number of followers I currently have means I need to post at least twice a week, but over the past three months or so I figure you readers have a back log of 31 posts. So as I get back into blogging here, I'm going to try my level best to put in an extra 31 posts (in addition to the two weekly you've already earned), so that by December 31, 2013 you should have just as many posts in the past year as though I hadn't been MIA the past three and a half months. I don't know how reasonable that will be, but it's a good goal to close out the year, and it's quite obvious I've got enough content lined up to fill those spots.

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