Monday, August 26, 2013

The world would be a better place if it were more like Animal Crossing

Here's why. And don't you dare judge me.

10. Renewable resources
You can fish all day without a license. You can catch rare butterflies without the fear of airport security hunting you down when you try to smuggle them out of the country. Rare fossils can be found every day. Guess who doesn't care that you just caught a half dozen whale sharks? The DFO. 

9. Your pockets are freaking amazing
This is the 27th one today.
Fish and bugs can live harmoniously in your pocket without being crushed or killed, even when buried under 4 furniture items. You can store an entire week's worth of clothing. In your pockets. 

8. Storing furniture in handy leaflets
There would be a lot more trips to IKEA in my future, let me tell you. 

7. Everybody gets a mansion
It's like The Invention of Lying, only true.

6. You can choose your neighbours
Don't like one of your animal friend townies? Kick em out! Fascist.

5. Gardening is stupid easy
You can seriously grow a fruit tree in like 3 days. And then you can chop it down and grow another one in another 3 days. Also, these trees bear fruit every three days. Who needs seasons when you can grow fruit all the time?! Solving world hunger faster than you can count to 72.

4. Your tropical island destination is just a song away

3. Make your first million in a day
Go to the island. Catch beetles. Return to land to sell. Repeat ad nauseum.

2. Get your furniture upholstered in 30 minutes
or your Bells back. Seriously though I'd get my furniture re-done every single day if it was as cheap and quick as Cyrus does it. Also if I could store it in a handy leaflet. (See point 8.)

1. Money grows on trees
No, really.

Sweet, sweet Bells.
My other blog, thisindiegameblog, is typically home to all kinds of other game writings, though they're typically independent games. Check me out over there, too!

Also my Dream Suite address is 4800-2191-6274!

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Life as a Nerd

Growing up geeky in my generation wasn't always easy. I had much different interests from other girls my age. I remember well, sitting in my pyjamas at the age of 10 with a loose tooth, playing through Super Mario RPG on my Super Nintendo. In grade 6, when I went to a brand new school, I was bullied and teased for my braces and my weird sense of style. I went home in tears nearly every day. My mom gave me a Sailor Moon doll to help give me incentive to stay at the new school, because I wanted to leave so badly. While I didn't play with my doll, she was a part of my growing collection of Sailor Moon toys and other items: another sign I wasn't like the others.

Summer Fear III led to me getting zombified.

No one wanted to be near me at school dances, which, for some reason, I took to heart in an extreme way. I was that girl you saw, sitting alone in the corner, crying because I was lonely.

I didn't really have anyone to spend time with at school for about a year, when a boy named Johnny and I decided we were destined to be best friends. We'd trade Pokemon cards and watch anime together. I'd go to his house for lunch and we'd play Harvest Moon or Ocarina of Time on his Nintendo 64. We'd spend hours on the phone, giving play-by-plays of the shows we were watching and the games we were playing.

We weren't teased any less, but at least we had each other.

Later on in high school, I had a bit of a broader set of friends--nearly all of them guys. We played card games and our GameBoys together in empty classrooms at noon. Some of my "in-between" friends--not overly popular, but not teased either--couldn't figure out why I wouldn't just hide my weird interests and wear my makeup differently. They told me I could get a boyfriend easily if I changed a few things. I didn't want to change, though. And that did pay off, because now I'm actually married to Brad, who is one of those guys I used to play card games with.

Growing up geeky, as I said, wasn't always easy, and in fact, there were a lot of times that it would have been easier to hide my interests. But, I didn't, hoping that one day it would pay off. When I finally got out of high school and made my way into university, it did.

I lived on dorm by myself, which was fine with me. Brad would come to visit me on weekends, so living alone gave me the freedom to have him over whenever I pleased. The two of us would stay up until the wee hours watching anime and playing Baldur's Gate on my GameCube. I didn't have many friends in university right away, but having Brad visit from the university he attended helped ease the loneliness on weekends.

One day, as I was leaving my dorm room, I caught a glimpse of my neighbour's door and saw a poster that read "Animaritime". Reading further, I saw that this was an anime and gaming convention--something I had always wanted to attend, but was sadly unavailable to kids in the Maritimes. I was instantly on the website from the poster and signed up for the forums. I chatted with people about the event and, eventually, I met my neighbour--through the forums! We exchanged private messages, and she invited me over to her room to hang out.

A year later, I was walking to class. A keychain of Sakura from Naruto dangled off my backpack. The girl walking behind me hurried to catch up, and she quickly engaged me in conversation. We were fast friends, too, and were a big part of each other's lives for the next few years.

Animaritime was a cornerstone for me to find more people who like the same things I do, and with the intensity I like it. I got into cosplay and started becoming friends with the people I met at conventions. It seemed like, for the first time, I had found my people. 

In 2006, I started getting tired of waiting between Animaritime events to cosplay and see people, so I decided to spearhead an event of my own. At first, I just referred to it as "Moncton Cosplay Picnic", but with some help from my good friend and fellow nerd Tom Savage, we came up with the name Picnicon. The event has been happening on a yearly basis ever since, with a break of only one year in the interim.

After Animaritime one year, Brad and I were invited by a local gaming store to start up a Pokemon League for kids to learn how to play and meet other kids for free. Five years later, we're still at it--Brad's a League-officiated Pokemon Professor, in fact. And yeah, we're pretty pumped for X and Y. I'm getting X, because that deer is too fabulous to pass up.

Attending Animaritime as a staff member this year, I got to witness firsthand as teenagers and young adults made new friends, brought together by the love they feel for various geeky pursuits. I thought to myself how lucky all of these kids are, growing up in an age that these events take place on a regular basis. When I was young, Maritime con-goers would have to travel to Quebec or Ontario to enjoy a large-scale event. Now, after nearly ten years of Animaritime, the event has reached over 1,700 attendees. This is a far cry from the 200-something attendees that were there the year I started going, which was their second year of operation.

Picnicon 2013 is coming up very soon, with thanks to my staff and the attendees for their ongoing support. Picnicon will never be a 1,700 person event, but it has been expanding every year and has been a lot of fun. Just last weekend I had the opportunity to go to Harbour Con-Fusion to meet people who have made an incredible living off being awesome and geeky. Some day, I hope to be among them.

I could go on for hours on this topic. To end, here is an amazing video featuring super-nerd Wil Wheaton that, I feel, sums up why it's awesome to be a geek today. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Harbour Con-Fusion 2013

A picture of me with my table-neighbour Darren Hann.
This past weekend, I had a rare opportunity: I was invited to attend a convention to do nothing but promote myself. I set out to do just that and, of course, to meet new people. Meeting new people was not only a goal, but also a necessity, as it turned out. On day one, I knew only a small handful of attendees.

Did I ever meet a friendly group of people! All the other guests, it seemed, were just as willing to meet new people as I was, and they all went out of their way to introduce themselves to me at some point or another.

It's always fascinating, to me, when a group of creators are placed into a room together. It seems to me that they are always working on various projects and, at this event in particular, seemed to have a keen interest in what everyone else was doing. I spent the weekend collecting business cards and discussing works in progress, as well as swapping notes, resources, and suggesting collaborations.

It's hard to believe all of this came from the lot of us meeting at a sci-fi/horror/fantasy/anime/gaming/etc. convention, but there you have it--sometimes when creators meet, friendships are inevitable!

It was nice to see such a supportive group, as well. I ended up doing book trades with 3 guests who were interested in my book and had books of their own.

I had the opportunity to run a panel on publishing and self-publishing with Matthieu Gallant, who was one of the authors I book-swapped with. I had great conversations with illustrator and comic artist Sandy Carruthers about his work, and was the lucky table neighbour to independent filmmaker and outstandingly friendly Trekkie Darren Hann. I got to spend time hanging out and having a couple of drinks with the guys of Geeks vs. Nerds, in particular fellow writer Larry Gent. Artist (and fellow Daft Punk fan) AndrĂ© Myette was a couple of tables down on the first day, and we had some great chats as well.

Aside from the connections I made, I want to give a shout out to Drakon Designs and Blind Leviathan for their lovely tables! Drakon did some beautiful facepainting on attendees this weekend, and Blind Leviathan was selling everything Lon Lon Milk pendants to Companion Cube earrings. Being the huge zombie fanatic that I am, I got some bottled zombie virus.


I should mention I got numerous StreetPasses as well, and compliments about my special edition Legend of Zelda 3DS. Maybe I didn't need to mention that. Whatever.

On the third day, the moon crashed into Termina I held a small panel about events planning and running your own event or meetup. It was attended by only 2, but I had held the same panel at Animaritime last month and had a good turnout there. I'm going to keep working on expanding the panel, particularly with feedback I've been receiving about it, and hope to turn it into a PowerPoint presentation so I can spread it even further. Giving panels is always interesting because not only do the attendees learn something, but quite often the person or people holding the panel will learn, as well.

All in all, I had a fantastic weekend, and I managed to sell out of all printed copies of Hub City Survival! Amazing! I also managed to get a lot of work done on Retail Hell, the webcomic I am writing. I was surrounded by so many talented people all weekend that it was hard not to be inspired to work.

I won't be drawing the comic myself, and am looking for an artist. If you're interested in the project, send me an e-mail! I'll likely be throwing some sketches or other tidbits up here before long.

Right now, I'm looking for a new home for HCS because my print-on-demand publisher, Lightning Demand Press, is currently isn't printing due to a flood. As well, I am working on my new novel with the working title A Couple of Dreamers. I have written a silent screenplay that is very short, and I hope to film it in the next month or so. There's certainly a lot going on creatively, but that doesn't mean I don't have time for more! I'm always interested in collaborations or working with others on various projects. Give me a shout if you have something that you think might interest me.

I'm on vacation currently, which means that I'll likely be posting another entry or two in the next little while. You'll be hearing from me before too long.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Greetings from Harbour Con!

Greetings from Harbour Con!

I'm a guest at this year's Harbour Con-Fusion. If you're there now, chances are you've already been by my table. If not, well, come say hi!

I've put out a call for game devs over at thisindiegameblog as well. 

I'll be live tweeting throughout the weekend, so check me out on @KCooperWriting. Enjoy the event!