Now That I Have It, What Do I Do With It?

In the spring, when I decided it really was time to figure out domain names, I thought that because my last name is just a little odd to spell I should probably get something to go with it. After much research and debate, I settled on That domain, this one, the ultimate front runner from a bunch of options and possibilities I worked out, was actually my second choice. I really liked it and I still do, but there was a domain higher on the list that I couldn’t have:

Writing Dad has been my twitter handle for four years and I’ve attached it to a bunch of other things as well. More importantly, it’s how I think of myself: a dad who writes. But wasn’t available and it didn’t occur to me to check to see when/if it might be coming available soon, at least not until a few days before Fan Expo when I heard an interview with Nathan Lowell during which he told the story of how he finally got after someone had been sitting on it for a long time.

So I checked and there it was, available and unattended, waiting for me to snap it up, which I did and which gave me a new dilemma: now that I had it, what would I do with it?

Since I started this process, I’ve kind of been using as the primary url, not because renaissance is any easier to spell but because no one ever remembers the ‘c’ in my last name. My plan was always to have be the umbrella I’d gather everything else under, I just haven’t gotten there yet. That’s still the plan, but I’ve been thinking about all of the things I want to do creatively, and even more so since the John Rhys-Davies session at Fan Expo (see this post).

I think I’ve got it worked out now. My vision actually requires four domain names, three of which I already have and one more I need to make a final decision on. The basic structure: -> the master site where you can always find me and get to everything I happen to be doing. -> the room in the house for all of the fiction and related news, audio, and posted stories, and whatever else seems to fit.

{stilldebating}.com -> for a podcast I’m prepping that will share geek experiences, audio captured from conventions, and potentially interviews. Still debating the actual domain because I’m still trying to figure out just exactly what goes into it. -> life and fun, rounding me out as a person. Pretty much anything can go here, and will.

So podcasting, both fiction and non, plus life, all under my name. The concept looks sound and familiar: diversification but all under one major brand. Seems almost natural.

Of course, I might be even crazier than my wife thinks I am, but we’ll see how it goes. At least I have a plan, and sometimes that’s a large portion of the battle. Deciding on web hosting almost as we speak.

The Future Prophecy

I met a lot of people at Fan Expo, most of them very briefly or just in passing. I also took a lot of photos of people doing the cosplay thing. Sometimes these two things matched up.

On Saturday, I met two young women (who happen to be sisters) dressed up as characters from the digital comic book “The Future Prophecy”, a project they’re trying to crowd fund on Indiegogo. The sample art they’ve posted on Facebook is pretty impressive and the concept is pretty cool. Snipped from their Indiegogo copy, “In a world full of ancient magic and dark technologies Sara’s mission is to unite the people of Toronto to save their city from the villains of Bogtown Records.” Yes, there’s a lot more to it than that, but have a look at their Facebook or campaign and you’ll see for yourself

So what the heck is crowd funding, anyway? A collective effort of individuals, usually using the internet, to support a project or effort initiated by someone else. At various contribution levels there are perks you to be claimed (a little bit like PBS or TVO, but usually more personalized and far more awesome). There are a lot of crowdfunding concepts out there and lots of websites to do them on. You may have heard of Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and Razr. By my limited experience, these are the big three. Sara and Melle are working through Indiegogo.

Why should you care about this project?

  1. You’d be helping out a pair of women working hard to produce something really cool.
  2. A few bucks gets you in on the ground floor of that really cool thing.
  3. For those of you living in Canada and looking for a bit of national pride in creative endeavors, Sara and Melle are Canadian, based in Toronto, and the story takes place in Toronto with all of the heroes and villains being based on actual Canadian musicians and DJs.
  4. They’ve got a long way to go to make their target and not a lot of time left in the campaign to do it in.

Seriously, they’ve set perks for as little as a $1 contribution and things get cooler from there. And yes, I may be broke (very broke) after Fan Expo, but my money is where my mouth is and I just kicked in a measly $25. It may not be much, but it’s $25 closer to what they need to do it right.

Check it out. If you like the project, press the button. If you know someone who would like it, pass the link on or get it for them as a gift.

Be well, everyone.


Fan Expo, The Aftermath


004 FanExpo Aftermath

It was tough to get up this morning and not get ready to go to Fan Expo. But the con is over and I’m at home now. Actually, I’m at work now and it’s past midnight already. Coming back into nights after a two-week vacation isn’t easy and it’s probably going to be a few days before I can establish a normal sleep pattern.

So, exhausted and sad, and my teenager is trying to talk me into Montreal Comic Con in mid-September so we can see William Shatner and Patrick Stewart on stage at the same time. Since I already have two of the three Con days off, I have to say that it’s not taking a lot of arm twisting. Comes down to whether the bank account can handle it.

But this post is about the Fan Expo experience, which was mostly a good one. If I had to pick one thing to be less than happy about it would be the crowds and lines. I really think the Con has outgrown the space it’s taking up and I hope they’re working on how to expand things next year. Fan Expo isn’t quite as big as the San Diego or New York Comic Cons, but it’s not really all that far off anymore. If I had to pick a second thing, it would be the page taken from the book of Ikea that you can only go in or out in one place and that those places are mutually exclusive

If I had to pick one thing to be happy about, I can’t. I met people and celebrities (who are also people), went to great panels and Q&A sessions, took pictures, shopped in a geek friendly environment, made a couple of new friends, both in the flesh and virtually, and got to watch all of the members of my family have a great time across the four days we were there.

But yes, we’re all exhausted.

Did I see everything I wanted to? No, but that’s impossible in an event this size. We all did pretty well, I think.

Unpacking wasn’t as painful as it might have been, thanks to the organizational abilities of my awesome wife, and while we still need to figure out placement and distribution of certain items of swag, the geek factor in the house is going up, which is always a good thing.

Looking at it from a writing slant, I came back from the convention with a tonne of notes and ideas, mostly for blog/article topics but a couple of story kernels as well. A lot of those ideas stem from one panel, “So You’re A Gamer and No One Understands You”, which ran over a lot of different ideas during the discussion, but I took a lot of thoughts away from Fan Expo this year. And I’m going to share one of them here.

In the second half of his Q&A session, John Rhys-Davies made a significant point that has been ringing in my ears ever since. Me paraphrasing a little, he gave the advice that everyone should find something they love enough to do for free and then make sure you get paid for it, and he thought the point important enough to repeat.

I completely agree and think I’ve hidden behind things long enough. There are a lot of things I love to do and I do some of them just for the love of it and some for free. It’s time to start finding ways to get paid doing them.

Be well, everyone.

FanExpo 2012, Day 4

Packing up the room to get things ready to go this morning. Dinner after FanExpo and then the drive home which is sad in an extra way: not only is it the last day of FanExpo, it’s the last day of my vacation. But enough emotional silliness. Today’s roundup of geeky exploits:

Turned Gamer Boy loose first thing to go see the Green Arrow premier (which he said was better than he expected) as neither of his sisters was interested and I’m not quite willing to turn them loose at FanExpo. Walked them around the floor for a while and added a pair of autographs to my collection: Kate Mulgrew and Nana Visitor. Ms. Mulgrew was just as engaging in person and Ms. Visitor was quite talkative as well. Very positive experiences both (which I have to say of all of my Star Trek cast member experiences so far).

The Rose McGowan photo op went very well for the girls. She’s shorter than I expected, but very personable in the few seconds you got to spend with her in the process.

Christopher Lloyd got held up by a few minutes coming from his photo op session, but once the microphone issues were sorted out, he was talkative and interesting, giving us a few quotes and anecdotes as parts of his answers. Before the Q&A, Someone tweeted as a joke that they didn’t think there were so many Taxi fans. Entertaining from my perspective, it proved predictive. Taxi came up a number of times, along with a lot of Back to the Future, and some Star Trek, Camp Nowhere, Piranha, and a couple of other roles.

Sadly, the Billy West autograph line didn’t work out again, and we rushed from the Christopher Lloyd Q&A to attempt a Rose McGowan signing of the picture we’d had taken, but missed her by a few minutes, and so didn’t make the end of what was probably a huge line for his Q&A either.

I took fewer pictures today than yesterday and maybe than the day before, but they were a bit more varied. Since I had three kids to worry about on my own for the first half of the day, that was my focus. Here’s the link to the Facebook album for what I’ve picked out of the stream. I’ll upload to Flickr on the first or second when my storage resets.

Be well, everyone.

FanExpo 2012, Day 3

Held up at the front door this morning. Ultimately some access/crowd control, I think, but no explanation given. In general, FanExpo seems to have taken a page from the book of Ikea: one way in, one way out, one path in between. Organizationally, I have noticed a little improvement this year, though. Particularly, lineups are managed better, occasionally with an iron fist. All beside the point.

The whirlwind tour:

So You’re a Gamer and No One Understands You. Awesome panel. Came out of this fired up on a bunch of topics and with a tonne of ideas for essays and commentary. Thanks to Jay Acevedo, Marissa Roberto, Shaun Hatton, Adam Kleinman for a great discussion. I made a waffly semi-promise to try to come to another of Marissa’s panels, knowing how much kid related stuff I had to cover the rest of today and tomorrow. I felt bad. Still do. Recorded the panel and it sounds as good as the author panel I managed to record yesterday, which is to say listenable but not really good audio quality.

Kate Mulgrew was brilliant, funny, and amazing. She was filled with anecdotes and stories and has a deep understanding of Star Trek and what it means to its fans. And she was wonderful to listen to. I also tried to record this. Big room, very echo-y, but understandable. Wish it had occurred to me for Levar Burton and John Rhys-Davies.

I decided to get Stan Lee’s autograph to go with Lou Ferrigno’s. Lines ran fast and were shorter than anything I saw yesterday. Very cool and it’s going to look pretty awesome framed.

Levar Burton was just as personable one on one when I stood in his autograph line and it was wonderful to shake his hand, especially since he offered it well before I had a chance to ask.

I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Richard Comely, the creator of Captain Canuck, and walked away with a great memory, a photo of us standing together, and a signed copy of the original Captain Canuck #1. Awesome.

Gamer Boy found a bunch of League of Legends cosplayers and spent a good chunk of the day hanging out with them, even helping to organize a LoL phoshoot.

I took a lot of pictures today, but tweeted less than I originally intended, and I’ll blame the power draining abilities of the MTCC. Returned to the hotel with 9% battery availability. The link to today’s Flickr stream. There won’t be a stream tomorrow as I’ve apparently hit my monthly storage limit and have to wait until the first to upload to Flickr. I’m uploading to Facebook, too, so I’ll link to that instead.

And, if you’re interested, I did a separate set in Flickr for the League of Legends photos.

FanExpo 2012, Day 2

I let Gamer Boy sleep a little and came in the front door a touch after 11. Again, the full pass is a beautiful thing. Did a little floor cross-crossing to check some features and timing and do a little browsing.

Stood in an absurdly short line to get Lou Ferrigno‘s autograph and elected not to stand in an absurdly long one for Levar Burton’s. Gamer Boy talked me into the Lou Ferrigno/Stan Lee picture and, as of this writing, I’m still debating getting a matching signature from Mr. Lee on it as well. Had too much on the go to brave the lines (one to buy a ticket, one to get the picture signed, and one to get a letter of authenticity for Mr. Lee’s signature).

Live Action Anime (Thousand Pound Action Company) was plagued by a technical difficulty for the first few minutes, but the crew just jumped in to a Q&A session until they lose got solved. These guys are really passionate about their work and having a good time with their creative work. A quote from a member of the time (I couldn’t see who at the time): if you’ve seen our first video, turn to the person next to you and tell them how cool it is. A project they’re working on, Clandestine, looks pretty cool.

Levar Burton was a funny and entertaining guy, patient with everyone and even sharing a bit of news (he’ll be on another episode of Community and Big Bang Theory each). He strikes me as a very passionate and committed man who cares a great deal about education, kids, and his fans. Took about fifty pictures in hopes of getting a few good ones. Think I succeeded.

John Rhys-Davies was also very engaging. Not nearly as many questions got answered as the people in line waiting to ask were hoping, but he spoke at length and eloquently for each one. Two quotes to share from him: “find something you would do for free then make sure you get paid for it” and “there’s no cure for stupid”. I agree on both counts. I’ll also note that at one point during the panel, he joked about the beard he had to wear in Lord of the Rings, saying, “it’s that bloody stupid elf again” then paused for a second, looking straight at me, and said “sorry about that, dad”. A little later, he let the word “bastard” slip out and again looked down at us in the front row before apologizing directly to my daughter. The wonderful Carrie O’meara (please let me have spelled that correctly) has promised me a copy of the audio she recorded for Radio Humber, for which she will win an eternal fan of whatever she does in me.

We did not attend the Revolution screening. By the time we got out of the John Rhys-Davies Q&A, there were hundreds of people lined up to see it. Gamer Boy believed there were probably more lined up than would fit in the room (same room as Live Action Anime had been in earlier in the day). Instead, we spent a little more time (and money) on the convention floor before heading back to the hotel and dinner.

For pictures today, I’m going to do something a little different. Uploading them to WordPress was very time intensive. Actually, the ‘insert into post’ process was time intensive as each photo had to be done individually so its size could be selected at the point of insertion. Tonight, I’m going link to the set I created on Flickr for today’s survey of photos. Hope you enjoy.

That’s it for tonight. Tomorrow’s plans include “So You’re a Gamer and No One Understands You”, Kate Mulgrew, almost certainly Stan Lee, possibly Billy West and rose McGowan, and maybe another panel or two, time allowing. Oh, and more photos. And maybe more Twitter than today—today, I tried to force connectivity where there really wasn’t much and it sucked the battery drier than it should have. I’ll try to do better tomorrow on that.

Be well, everyone.

FanExpo 2012, Day 1

So, not exactly according to plan on all fronts, but as close as could be managed, I think. Our hotel room wasn’t as early as expected so, by the time we ate and bought one of the kids shoes, and actually got to the convention, it was a bit after four. That’s actually fine since we completely missed the line.

Halo 4. An early stop, but a long line. One of the kids elected not to wait for the experience and I walked her down to Artist’s Alley, with a couple of stops along the way including to get our picture put on the cover of an upcoming issue of “Justice League”. And as soon as I find the card with the link to my digital copy, I’ll post that. We’ll go back to Halo tomorrow and probably the next day too.

The David Prowse Q&A was unfortunately cancelled, at least for today. His plane was delayed and he didn’t make it to the con in time. He’s still slotted for his photo ops and autograph sessions tomorrow, so maybe they’ll reschedule.

Gamer Boy and I did see Stan Lee after all, getting as close as fifteen feet or so and taking pictures over the heads of a bunch of other people as he did a signing.

The Indie Genre Fiction panel was excellent and fairly well attended. I did manage to record and the audio quality isn’t awful, though needs some work. That said, I haven’t had a chance to listen to it all the way through. Moderated by Monica S. Kuebler (Rue Morgue), the authors present (in order of introduction) Karen Dales, Sass Cadeaux, Stephen B. Pearl, and Alan Draven.

Haven’t seen nearly all the con has to offer yet, but I’m not at all stressed about it. That was the point of getting the full pass: to relax and enjoy and be able to come and go as we please. I haven’t even really done any shopping yet.

Here’s a selection of pictures from today. Probably too many. More tomorrow.