Wednesday April 23, 2014

Altered Perceptions

Robison Wells is a husband, a father, a friend, a writer, and holds the distinction of being the craziest person I know. He's also directly responsible for me finally getting treatment for some of my own crazy. And unfortunately, he's buried under medical debt.

So a bunch of his writer friends are putting together an anthology for Rob, funded by an IndieGoGo project that will pay for printing and any other sunk costs, and whose proceeds will go straight to helping Rob out of the debt that his health has left him in.

My own contribution is relatively short. It's a 1700-word biographical piece that lets you, the reader, ride along in my brain while I'm not thinking clearly. Rob called it "one of the most accurate depictions of mental illness I've read," and he was concerned about putting something so deeply personal in the anthology. I think that anybody who helps Rob with their money deserves to see why I'm willing to help him with my time.

Sandra is contributing a re-write of her "Married To Depression" blog entry, which many people (including many of you) have found helpful.

But many of the writers are contributing things that you just won't find anywhere else -- deleted scenes, alternate endings, and other things from their authorial boneyard

Check out the ALTERED PERCEPTIONS project, and look at the list of who and what will be in it. Then I believe you should pony up $10 for the ebook because there's no way you're not going to get $10 worth of value out of it. You might also check out Dan Wells' post about the project, because he does a better job of describing Rob's condition than I can do.

Transcendence

Transcendence was, to my theater-sitting pleasure, just the right combination of science fiction, suspense, and whatever you call that thing where the movie leaves you arguing about what it means to be human. Of course, I went by myself so I lost all of the arguments by virtue of having them in the first place, though I suppose you could also argue that one aspect of sapience is the ability to weigh two competing thoughts in such a way as to talk yourself into or out of something you'd previously held pretty tightly.

So, yeah, it was a pretty good movie. 

There were the usual computer tropes, including a real groaner, and I don't think the artificial intelligence in the film was smart enough or alien enough, but the AI was pretty smart. And hey, as far as cinematic portrayals of artificial intelligence go, this one is top tier.

Transcendence doesn't clear my Threshold of Awesome, largely because the pacing was too slow for my tastes. I suspect this is because the producers wanted to give typical, non-singularity-literate cinema-goers time to wrap their heads around some of the concepts in the film, and I spent a lot of scenes waiting for them to stop explaining stuff I already knew. As of this writing the film comes in at #6 for the year

Come See Me at SLC FanX!

Sandra and I will be at the Salt Lake Comic-Con "Fan Xperience" this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We're exhibiting in booth 2017. Travis, our colorist, will also be at the event, and you can find him in Artists Alley, table Q10.

Oh! The treasures!

When we moved from two storage units to one warehouse, Sandra began sorting all of the things, and she found some goodies that we thought we'd run out of. We have the very last of the laser-cut acrylic magnets, some posters, some mugs, and a very small collection of the Series 1 Tagon's Toughs coins, numbered in the 300 range. 

We will also have two new pins, Ennesby and Petey, as well as the pictured "Schlock-in-a-Cape" lapel pin, which is a convention-exclusive. Ennesby and Petey will appear in the store, but Caped Schlock you have to get in person. 

As an added treat, if you come by the booth you'll be able to gently rummage through a selection of original artwork for covers, calendars, and assorted other things you might not have seen. Even if you're not ready to buy and display artwork this should be fun for you to peruse.

Meanwhile, over at Travis' table he'll be doing commissions, and he'll have lots of prints and bookmarks for sale. 

My schedule is below. The bold items are panels where you can be sure to find me, and the plain text is booth time, probably. Depending on connectivity, you might be able to find me via the @HowardTayler Twitter feed.

THURSDAY

  • 12:00-1:45 - The hall opens, and I'm at my booth
  • 2:00pm -251a- Taking the First Step: Creating an Independent Comic Book
  • 3:30pm-8pm - I'm at my booth, give or take some breaks for food and sanity

FRIDAY

  • 9:00am-11:45am - The hall opens! I'm at my booth.
  • 12:00pm -251a- "Writing Humor"
  • 2:00pm -151a- "Designing Your World: A Guide for Writers and Artists"
  • 3:00pm -255a- "Writing and Mental Health"
  • 4:30pm-8pm - I'm at my booth, again with some give or take.

SATURDAY

  • 9:00am-9:40am - The hall opens. I'm at my booth briefly.
  • 10:00am -355- "A Career in Comics: How to Get Noticed, Get Work, and Stay Employed"
  • 11:15am-1:45pm - Booth time! So busy!
  • 2pm-3pm -205a- "XDM: Xtreme Dungeon Mastery" (and the upcoming Xtreme Player Codex!) with Tracy Hickman
  • 3pm-4:30pm - I'll be at Tracy Hickman's booth signing and sketching YOUR CHARACTER in copies of XDM.
  • 5:00pm -255a "Webcomics: For the Zillionth Time a Comic Convention Names This Discussion Blandly" (subtitle added by me)
  • 6:15pm-8:00pm - At my booth, scrambling to do the last sketches and sell the last convention exclusives before the doors close.

Our booth is almost directly under the "2000" sign that hangs from the ceiling, but if you'd rather have a map than a landmark, here is a helpful* map!

 (*For "very teency, hard-to-read, but I think I can see Howard from here" values of "helpful.")

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