I think I got a little burned out on everything after Gen Con – hence the lack of a post last week. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to get the last of my Gen Con reports put together, and there’s a start to it in the pile of half-finished blog posts I’m accumulating, but I just couldn’t nudge myself towards getting it done. I’ll try to finish it soon, though, as there are some pretty cool vendors and artists I want to share with you all that I discovered at Gen Con.
So that this week’s blog post isn’t all just me being down on myself for not posting last week, I’m going to talk about a Kickstarter whose rewards I’ve been eagerly awaiting for a little while now. Those rewards showed up on my doorstep the other day, and I can’t help but share them with you all, because they’re so beautiful!
Yep, that’s right – the Name of the Wind Art Deck Kickstarter started shipping last month, and I finally got my goodies. They were definitely worth the wait, that’s for sure.
Now, this isn’t the first deck of cards that’s had artwork from Name of the Wind on them – a deck was released a few years ago (also the product of a Kickstarter, if I remember right), with artwork by Shane Tyree depicting the characters we all know and love. I’ve got the Shane Tyree deck as well as the new ones with art by Echo Chernik, and it’s really interesting to see how each artist envisioned the characters.
The coin that I got as part of the rewards is beautiful – and pretty hefty, too! I’d be afraid to flip it and accidentally dent a table with it when it lands, haha.
The prints are beautiful, too – I can’t wait to get them framed. I’ve been especially excited about them, since I love Echo’s work, and it was really exciting to get to meet her at Gen Con. All in all, I’m really happy with the quality of everything – the cards feel great in your hand, and the artwork is absolutely wonderful.
Now I just have to figure out what to do with four decks of Name of the Wind playing cards. 😛
It’s no secret around here that I absolutely love Patrick Rothfuss. Why, though? How the heck did this crafty nerd end up so ridiculously obsessed with some bearded dude from Wisconsin? Why does she toss so much money at the wonderful folks at The Tinker’s Packs for merchandise focusing on a bunch of books?
It hit me that I’ve never exactly told the whole story of how I ended up being a borderline rabid Rothfuss fangirl on the blog. And as I was trying to come up with a blog post for this week, I thought to myself, “why not make it this week’s blog post? You need to write something, and that Sailor Moon quilt has done absolutely nothing since last week, so ramble about Pat!”
And so here we are. So come, sit, and listen to me ramble about the long and winding road that brought me to being the huge fan of Pat Rothfuss that I am, and the wonderful stuff that’s happened along the way that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t picked up a copy of The Name of the Wind on one chilly March afternoon, back in 2013.
Gen Con is usually packed full of all sorts of awesome events, and Gen Con 50 was no different. I only ended up going to a couple of events this year – I might have done more if we had a hotel, but I didn’t want to end up overwhelming myself, so I went event-lite. (And even then, I ended up skipping two events because I was exhausted, bleh.) The ones I did get to go to were fantastic, though – I did some crafting, some book signings, and got to introduce Ross and J to my favorite Gen Con event ever…
An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss
Of course the first event of Gen Con 50 that I went to was An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss. It was a great way to start out the con – two hours with one of my favorite authors! I brought Ross and J along – Ross has heard me ramble on about Pat and how awesome he is, both as an author and in general, and while J’s a fan of Pat’s (in fact, that’s how we met – J saw my talent pipes while we were at an academic conference together, and said “hey, are those talent pipes?” and I got all flaily and excited), he’d never actually been to An Evening With Patrick Rothfuss before. So we all went, and oh, it was even better than when I went in 2013. We all filled up a ballroom this time – the 2013 event only had 200 people, but this year there were 1200 seats with a line of people waiting outside! It was super exciting, and Ross and J and I couldn’t wait for Pat to get on stage.
It was run similarly to the 2013 session, with him giving us the option of having a session we could record, where he’d be less candid about things and a little more censored, or we could put our phones and cameras away and we’d all get to pretty much hang out with Pat. I don’t think anyone raised their hands when he asked if we wanted to record the session, hah. Pat broke the session up into a couple of different chunks – he’d answer questions from the audience, with mix of notecards with people’s questions and people asking out loud, and he also read us both of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle books. (If you haven’t read them, you definitely should – but don’t let your kids read them until you’ve seen what’s in them, haha.) While answering questions, Pat rambled on about great things – mental health, raising kids, silly random things, and life in general. I especially appreciated his discussion on mental health – as someone who deals with anxiety, depression, and ADHD, it’s good to hear one of my favorite authors publicly encouraging people to go to therapy – even if they don’t really think they need it. Having someone to talk to about life and all that goes on in it, someone who’s not currently connected to everything you’re experiencing and can provide an outside perspective, is pretty much essential to keeping yourself emotionally in good shape. I love that Pat cares about us all enough to tell us “go to therapy!”
Things weren’t all seriousness, though. He told us some adorable stories about his kids, and even sang to us in the process! He sang a couple of songs, very briefly, from the Rankin Bass version of The Hobbit, which was great. (And reminded me that I really need to see that version of The Hobbit. I’ve got it on DVD somewhere…) The questions from the audience were great, and the more amusing ones that stuck out in my mind included “Can I go to dinner with you?”, “Could you have Lin-Manuel Miranda call my wife?”, and “If you had to choose between breaking both your legs and eating 10,000 Go-Gurts, which would you choose?” J asked a question that made me giggle – “If you were to cast a live action version of Slow Regard of Silent Things, who would you cast for the inanimate objects?” Pat initially responded with Nathan Fillion, which got us all cheering, then he thought about it, realized we were cheering because we all love Nathan Fillion, and changed his mind to Keanu Reeves, which was actually way funnier, hah. (Oh, Keanu Reeves and your uninspired acting…) Much like the 2013 event, the evening ended with all of us singing together – which was delightful. I’m really glad I managed to get tickets to this event.
Featherweight Armor for Costuming
This was a great workshop, put on by the fine folks at …And Sewing is Half The Battle! I learned so much about new materials for making cosplay props and armor, and new ways to use materials I’ve worked with before, like craft foam. And I picked up some techniques to make things look their best, and also learned how to be safe while working with some slightly more hazardous materials. I even got the chance to work with some Worbla, which I’d never used before! I also found out I probably need to add a heat gun to my crafting arsenal.
The folks at …And Sewing is Half the Battle did a fantastic job with the workshop, and were really thorough – they showed all sorts of materials to work with, talked about the pros and cons of each, and detailed any safety measures you might need to take when working with certain materials. I hope Gen Con gives them a bigger room next year – this one definitely needs more space for everyone to work in, especially when we’re trying to use heat guns, haha. It was overall an awesome session – and it’s given me lots of ideas for next year’s costumes!
Brandon Sanderson book signing
I only recently got into Sanderson’s books, and have been reading them pretty much since May – I tore through all six books of Mistborn, and then the two books of The Stormlight Archives. (I’m now very eagerly awaiting the third Stormlight Archives book!) His books are pretty darn awesome, and his writing style pulls you into the story and just won’t let go. When I found out he was going to be at Gen Con, I knew I’d have to get a book of his signed – so I grabbed a hardcover copy of Mistborn: The Final Empire and on Saturday, I made my way over to his book signing. I had lots of fun geeking out with other fans in line, especially over the end of Words of Radiance (don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything!). It’s always fun to talk to people who share common interests with you! When it was my turn to get my book signed, Sanderson was incredibly friendly, and he even commented on my Denna costume, from Pat Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles, with all of her names on a name tag, haha. He told me to tell Pat Rothfuss that he doesn’t have to worry about releasing the third book in the Kingkiller Chronicles anytime soon, as he’s got a 3rd book in a fantasy series coming out this year so Pat can take his time, which made me giggle. I really like how friendly Sanderson is – he was very approachable, and really warm and welcoming! I’ll definitely get more of his books signed if he comes back to Gen Con next year. (Which I’m pretty sure he will.)
Harry Potter Ornament Painting
This was a nice, relaxing event. I’m really glad I signed up to do this. I got to sit and paint for a little while, and chat with other Harry Potter fans, which was lots of fun!
These are some really nice ornaments – they’re made out of clay, and were fun to paint, albeit a little fiddly in some spots. My painting job was… less than stellar in some spots, hah.
Pat Rothfuss Book Signing
This turned out to be such an epic event for me that I’m going to make it into its own post. So stay tuned.
In short, I had loads of fun at all the events I went to this year – and I’m seriously pondering hosting some sort of crafting event next year…
Well, the weather here in Bloomington isn’t exactly super wintry, but it definitely is a bit rainy here – and one of my favorite things to do when it’s rainy and wet out, aside from crafting, is reading – as I’m sure you’ve all figured out by now. 🙂 And since most of us are probably enjoying some much needed time off, how about picking up one of these books to keep warm with while enjoying the holidays? I’ve read all of these, and they definitely rank as some of my favorites.
The Finishing School Series, by Gail Carriger
If you’re interested in steampunk, you might want to read the Finishing School series by one of my most favorite authors, Gail Carriger. The entire series is out now, with the last book only having been released in November. Follow the adventures of Sophronia Temminick as she enters into a finishing school that’s not quite what she’s initially expecting… There are plenty of exciting adventures in the series to keep you reading for hours! I’m currently re-reading my way through the series.
If you’re an alternate history fan, or interested in a good murder mystery, give The Explosionist a read. Set just before World War II, in Scotland, the story follows a sixteen year old girl named Sophie who ends up pulled into an investigation of the sudden death of a spiritual medium that had a strange message for her… The book was a little odd at points, but it was definitely a page turner, and I’d recommend it for a good afternoon read.
How on earth have I not recommended this book on my blog yet? This book pulled me out of a depressive funk years ago, where I hadn’t read a single in an entire year (!!) – I tore through this in a week. This is part one of a three-book series, following the story of Kvothe, a magician and musician with quite a storied past. I’m not sure how much I can say about this without giving away too much of the plot, so all I will say about this book is that you won’t be able to put it down – everyone I’ve talked to who’s read it has said the same thing.
Anne Bishop is an author whose books I’ve been enjoying for years – her first books were very good, and as she’s written more and more, her stories and writing style just keep getting better. I’ve mentioned The Others series on my blog before, and Written in Red is the first book in the series.It focuses on Meg, a young woman who can tell the future when her skin is cut, and her escape from her handlers that ends with her seeking safety in the Lakeside Courtyard. However, that’s only the beginning of the story – trouble ends up following her to the Courtyard… For those of you who like fantasy novels and supernatural creatures, such as shapeshifters, this book (and the series it’s part of) will definitely catch your attention.
Fortune’s Pawn was the first of many books read in Gail Carriger’s book group – it’s a sci-fi story set mainly in outer space, focusing on the story of Devi, a mercenary, as she takes up a new position on an allegedly cursed trade ship, the Glorious Fool. Along with Devi, you’ll meet an interesting cast of characters, including the strong and attractive Rupert, the daydreamy Nova, and Ren, who proves to be quite a mystery. If you like Firefly, Star Wars, or other space dramas, you’ll enjoy Fortune’s Pawn.
Well, I found myself with some unexpected time on my hands today, and I’ve been intending to review this game for a bit, so….
Pairs: The Review
I’ve had this game on a shelf since September, waiting for the chance to get to play it. I discovered the Kickstarter for Pairs through Patrick Rothfuss’ blog, sometime last spring, and eagerly backed the project and snagged three decks as a result. (I mean, come on, Pat could put his name on anything and I’d be likely to back it.) There were many decks available to choose from, and I picked three with artwork from Pat Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles series, as I do love those books and was curious to see Shane Tyree and Nate Taylor’s artistic interpretation of the characters I’ve enjoyed reading about. Once the decks finally got delivered, I opened them all up, looked at the beautiful artwork, and then set them in my “let’s play this later” pile on my bookshelf.
Fast forward to today – the day housing access opens up on Gen Con’s website! I eagerly awaited the coming of 12:00 pm, to see how long of a wait I’d have to get to the housing portal…
So, Ross and I figured this would be a good time to pick up Pairs and play. Based on what I’d heard about it from the Kickstarter page, and what I’d read in the rules when I’d first opened the games, it seemed pretty simple – points were earned by getting a pair of cards, and the person with the highest score lost. So, going off of that, we figured we’d shuffle the cards (which turned into an ordeal, due to the fact that neither of us can properly shuffle a deck of cards without turning it into a game of 52 Pick-Up) and start a game! I read off the rules while Ross and I took turns slowly shuffling the deck – and the rules ended up being a little less straightforward than we initially thought…
Gameplay, for Ross and I, went as follows: Whoever dealt took five cards from the deck and put them face-down to start the discard deck, as the rules suggested, and then the dealer passed out a card to each of us – whoever had the lowest card went first. Then, we’d take turns drawing cards, hoping neither of us would end up with a pair – especially a high scoring pair. (The deck is a pyramid deck – there’s one 1, two 2s, three 3s, and so on, making your chances of getting a high numbered card pretty large.) When one of us ended up with a pair, that ended the round – we’d set aside a card from that pair to keep score, and the rest went into the discard pile. We repeated that until one of us hit 31 points, the suggested “losing” score number that the rules gave us.
It was actually pretty fun – and once we figured out what we were doing, we enjoyed it. I think we ended up playing three games – I lost twice, Ross lost once. It didn’t help too much that Ross kept commenting on the artwork on the cards – it hinted at what cards he had, haha. The artwork for the Commonwealth Deck (the one we played with), done by Shane Tyree, is absolutely gorgeous. While I wish the art focused on specific characters in the Kingkiller Chronicles, the game is mentioned to be played in the universe of the stories – and characters from the story seeing themselves on a card, well, that’d be rather odd.
Overall, it was a pretty fun game, and a good way to kill time. I think it might have been even more fun with more people playing, but for Ross and I, it was pretty good too. I might even bring this along with me if I’m going out to eat with a group of people, as a fun way of keeping everyone entertained while waiting for food. If you want to learn more, visit the Pairs page on Cheapass Games’ website!
And it meant a half-hour’s worth of time not spent looking at the computer, anxiously waiting our turn for housing. (At the time of this writing, I’ve got fourteen and a half minutes left – I hope hope hope there’s still room in the JW Marriott or even the Hampton Inn…)
This is the post you’ve all been waiting for (or one of them, anyway) – part one of my massive photo dump of shots from GenCon 2013! There are plenty of pictures that I took, with a little assistance from Mr. Crafty Nerd – hope everyone enjoys them! Due to the fact that there are so many pictures, shots from Day 3 and 4 are in a separate post so that way things don’t slow to a crawl here! Enjoy! 😀