A call to arms, with incentive. :Way of the Totem
September is national suicide prevention month, but if you ask me every month, every week, every day should be a day we seek to prevent suicide. That we try to give those that feel they don’t have any other options support, and help them see there are other choices. This will definitely be a bit of a personal post, but I’ll try not to derail things too much. I’m sure most of you remember my post about Why I react so Violently to Bullying, if not give it a read. I will warn you that it’s full of feels as they say.
Not a day goes by that I don’t miss Mark. That I won’t wonder what could have been if he had somewhere to turn. He would have graduated college by now, surely, maybe even have found the love of his life. Maybe he’d have found a place to set roots, and have been well into the start of a happy and full life. Maybe he’d have none of those things, but the point is we’ll never get a chance to know. In his memory, I’d like to do something.
This is an attempt to fund-raise, not for myself, but for organizations that actively seek to give options and offer intervention services to help those in need. The Trevor Project, Born This Way Foundation and many others exist to offer help and solutions to those in need. From now until the end of September 2012, to help support them in their efforts, I will not be taking commissions for money for myself but instead I will offer commissions based on donations to these organizations. I know, having donated my own money to both, that they will give you a confirmation of your total in a handy email and or screenshot. If you donate to them, or any other organization that helps prevent suicide or provide crisis services, I will draw you something of your choice. You can see my artwork here, as well as on my Twitter and I’m going to offer it in the following structure.
- $1 – $10 – A thank you on my live stream for 24 hours of gaming at the release of Mists of Pandaria.
- $11 – $20 – Black and White sketch of a single character of your choice
- $21 – $40 – Black and White sketch of multiple characters (in a single image) or a scene of your choice
- $41 – $60 – Color painting / cell drawing of a single character of your choice
- $61 – $80 – color painting / cell drawing of multiple characters or a scene of your choice
- $80+ – color painting / cell drawing of multiple characters ( in a single image) or a scene of your choice, and I will upload a video of myself dancing a jig to youtube dedicated to everyone who contributed. The highest contributor will get to decide what hat I wear while streaming, and while dancing the jig.
I ask that you email me a picture of your confirmed donation, or leave it here as a comment (again with image confirmation) and we’ll get the ball rolling. I hope that you will participate, you’ll get some decent art of the deal, I’ll embarrass myself for your amusement, and you’ll be helping a great cause. If any of my artists friends would like to join me in this, they would be most welcome…Read More
Gooey Candy Bar Peanut Butter Pie
Packing… is almost complete. Basically all that’s left is toiletries, a few clothes, some dishes, and a little bit of furniture. It’s getting pretty bare in these parts. We’ve sold almost all of the furniture. Everything must go! We’re getting rid of it all. The less we have to move to Chicago, the better. We’re sleeping in sleeping bags when we get there. You think I’m joking, I’m not. Nope.
When I first started packing, I was more sentimental and wanted to pack everything. Ohhh this is the T-shirt my dad brought me from Argentina when I was ten. Aww this was my first vegetarian cookbook my mom gave me in high school. It goes like that. But if you get that mentality, you end up on Hoarders eventually. You have to get rid of stuff! You have to clear away all of the clutter, and keep only what you use. So for me, that would by my laptop, my camera, my Kindle, and my kitchen stuff.
Now I’m so sick of packing, I’m giving away a ton of stuff to my family. And donating things, too. I hope my mom wants a bottle of vermouth and some bitters! Watch out mom, that’s coming your way! I bought them to make manhattans, but it turns out I don’t like manhattans. I’m so boring when it comes to drinks. I feel like I drink less than I have in previous years. I might have one glass of white wine a week. I’d rather have my calories in pie form.
And calories this pie has! Was that even a real sentence? I don’t think so.
I entered this Gooey Candy Bar Peanut Butter Pie in a recipe contest for Karo corn syrup, but it didn’t win. That’s not going to stop me from sharing this recipe! It was so good. So incredibly rich. If you’re a hardcore dessert eater like I am, you’ll love this pie. It’s an Oreo cookie crust, filled with a gooey mixture of chunky peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, sea salt, chocolate chips AND chopped candy bars. I used Twix. You could use whatever candy bar is your favorite. Then I topped the pie with caramel sauce and whipped cream.
Ahhh! So much sugar, but it’s so good!
I have to go stare at apartment listings on Craigslist now. A lot of them aren’t available until June. This should be fun
Gooey Candy Bar Peanut Butter Pie
18 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely crushed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted + 1/2 cup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup ground sea salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chopped candy bar of choice
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch pie dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together crushed cookies and melted 3 tablespoons butter until well combined; press crumbs into bottom and up the sides of pie dish.
Melt remaining 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly, until butter foams and starts to turn golden brown. Transfer butter to a large mixing bowl.
Add brown sugar to mixing bowl. Mix together, using a mixer on medium speed, until well combined – about 1 minute. Beat in peanut butter, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt until well combined – about 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour until just combined. Stir in candy bar until combined. Spread filling on top of chocolate cookie crust. Evenly sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake 23-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Cool completely before slicing. Drizzle caramel sauce on top of pie and serve with whipped cream.
Makes 10 servings…Read More
Why I react so violently to bullying, a personal story :Way of the Totem
This post will contain words that I detest, but never the less are necessary in the telling of this story.
I hate bullies. I hate them to the very core of my being. All forms from the real world ones that want to shove kids around or harass them based on their race, creed, gender or gender/sexual identity all the way to the ones who do the same over the internet. When I see someone picking on someone else it stirs something in the very core of me to take action, to do something, to reach out and let the person being bullied know they aren’t alone. It’s something I abhor and will do anything I can to help stamp out. And yes, it’s something personal.
When I was a kid, gaming was my escape. Escape from things I didn’t want to, or couldn’t deal with in my every day real life. This includes an abusive father who visited random acts of violence upon me, and constant bullying in grade school for being smarter than the average student. Yes, I was the nerd that got picked on. The story of my home life with my father is something that deserves it’s own post, and I’ll get to that another time.
After my father left, it lessened one burden, but then I still had the constant bullying at school to deal with. It lasted all through grade school. Kids would taunt me for being smart, for wearing glasses, for reading books. They’d steal my books from my desk and tear them up and throw them out the windows. I was called a faggot, gay, fat. I was called every derogatory name they could think of, and many times they told me that I should just go kill myself because I was a useless sack of shit.
Every day was a fight, literally. Every day was a struggle emotionally. Everyday was my own personal war. I was being punished for who I was. Geek, nerd, etc. It was so hard to wake up and face every day wondering what I’d have to do to get through the day in one piece.
Through it all, gaming became a safe haven for me. Dungeons and Dragons let me be the hero that could save the world, video games distracted me and let me absorb myself in something other than my daily life. It wasn’t that I couldn’t separate fantasy from reality, it was just that my reality sucked. Everyday I would come home, black eyes, scrapes and bruises from getting picked on and fighting back. It got to the point where as much as I loved my family and friends I had considered leaving this world behind. If it wasn’t for my big brother, my mentor and my gaming friend who pulled me aside, who answered my call when I needed it and spent the time with me to make sure I didn’t do it, and to make sure I knew I wasn’t alone and to help fight back against the bullies, I wouldn’t be here.
He’s the one that helped me use gaming to socialize instead of escape, who taught me quite literally how to fight back. How to stand up for myself and how to cope and handle and eventually silence the bullies. If not for him, and if not for the support structure I gained through my gaming group I hate to say it but I would have made the wrong choice.
Now, this isn’t the only reason that I detest the cowardice of bullies, but it should help frame the mindset I’ve been in about the topic for a long time. About ten years ago, I was a staple at the local gaming store. I would run Dungeons and Dragons games, play magic, and socialize with not only my group of friends but younger kids that were coming into their geekness. Enter my friend Mark. Mark was 14 when I met him. He was just in the process of selecting a High School, and had just realized that he loved geeky things. I saw a lot of myself in him, and wound up becoming his sort of mentor. I helped him pick a high school and pick a major. I answered his questions and let him shadow me at college.
I found out that our pasts were very similar, and that he was having a hard time coping with bullying from his peers, and abuse from his father. He was called a geek, loser, nerd. Kids made fun of him calling him weak, gay, faggot. They would tell him that he should choke on a dick and die, that he should kill himself, that the world would be better off without him.
I did everything I could to try and help him, just like my mentor did for me. I told him he wasn’t alone, helped him socialize and give him a support network of friends. Unlike me though, Mark’s father never left, and so he still went home to that. We called CPS, but they didn’t really do anything to help. I was on my way home from class, and my cell phone was just dead, out of juice. I get home and find I had missed a call from Mark. Also as I got home, Mark’s parents were calling my house demanding that I sent him home.
Mark had run away from home, and his parents thought I was hiding him. After I assured them he wasn’t with me and that I would contact them the minute I found out where he was, I plugged my cell phone in to charge. When it powered on I noticed I had a voicemail, I listened to it and it was Mark, asking for help. I missed the most important phone call of my life. Unlike my mentor I wasn’t there are the right time, at the tipping point. We looked for Mark for days. We combed the city, I didn’t sleep at all that week. All I could do was worry, and wonder and hope that someone got to him. Some voice of reason, some friendly hand.
He was found later that same week, having hung himself from a tree. He died alone in the cold of winter, and since then I’ve been haunted by him. Not his ghost in a supernatural way, but the memory that I wasn’t there to help save a person’s life. That an intelligent and wonderful human being was gone. That the constant bullying, the picking on the belittling and the abuse got to the point where he honestly felt there was no way out but suicide. I got angry, hell I’m still angry.
When people tell me that internet bullying isn’t a problem, I see Mark’s face. When they say harassment and bullying is just part of the “gaming culture” my blood boils. I tell them they have no clue what they’re talking about. I fight back. I try to help clean up and stop the harassment, I don’t just let it sit there and fester. I don’t just turn a blind eye to it. I can’t. If I do then I let Mark down again. I can’t do that. I donate to the Trevor Project and other organizations that help kids and people in these same situations. I fight back and help CMs and GMs keep communities clean of the taint that is bullying as much as I can. I report it, I fight back.
It’s not OK. It’s not OK to be silent when you see something like this happening. Gaming is a haven for many people, it’s a way to find support, to find something better than what they have. You may think that’s a line, but it’s the truth. If you see something happen, report it. If you know someone who is being bullied or harassed, help them. There are more of us than there are of them, we just need to be louder and be willing to fight back. I urge you to act instead of walk away. It is not just up to those that manage the communities to do this, it’s up to each and everyone of us as gamers, as community members, to keep the house clean so to speak. To support those that need it, and to not just let this cancer fester. Please, do something.
Because if you do nothing, it’s the same as saying the behavior is OK, and your silence supports the bullies and the harassers.…Read More
Invention: ATM for Books: Espresso Book Machine (EBM) Launched in Australia
The first Espresso Book Machine (EBM) was recently launched at Angus & Robertson (A&R) bookstore, Bourke Street in Melbourne, Australia. This machine, dubbed as an "ATM for books" can print and bind a paperback book at the press of a button. It is the first in-store print-on-demand book in Australia to be installed in a retail environment.
Angus & Robertson's launch is collaborated with Central Books Services, the Australian book wholesaler and supplier of the Espresso Book Machine in Australia, and On Demand Books. A&R is the first Australian book chain to use what Time Magazine has referred to as an "ATM for Books." EBM will be marketed in-store as "The StoryMaker."
People Behind EBM: Jeff March, Epstein and Neller
The company behind Espresso Book Machine is On Demand Books, founded by book editor Jason Epstein and Dane Neller. The technology, however, was developed some eight years ago by Jeff March, technology advisor for New York City-based ODB (ondemandbooks.com).
Espresso Book Machine (EBM)
The Espresso Book Machine holds a huge digital library in its memory, especially out-of-print titles. In less than ten minutes it can simultaneously print, align, mill, glue and bind not one, but two books. It also includes full-color laminated covers. EBM can print in any language and accommodates right-to-left texts by putting the spine on the right.
Espresso Book Machine customers can walk up to this photocopier-sized system, order their book and the print perfect bound book is ready.
Espresso Book Machine Recognition
In 2007, Time Magazine named Espresso Book Machine as one of the “Best Inventions of the Year”. It takes few minutes to print and bind a paperback book and is expected to increase the range of books previously unavailable to the reading public. Many out of print books will be made accessible, along with range of books physically impossible to be carried in a book store.
EBM and Australia's Angus & Robertson
According to Angus & Robertson Managing Director, David Fenlon, “Authors, publishers and distributors will work with Angus & Robertson to explore how the Espresso Book Machine can enhance the availability of books for our customers.”
Currently, there are more Australian books out of print. Using the Espresso Book Machine will offer opportunities for authors and writers to have their books back in production. It would be a big day for book lovers, when the print-on-demand from EBM will cost the same or perhaps less than the shelf price of one paperback.…Read More
Giveaway and #AADSAV Author Spotlight: Sasha White
I am slightly in shock and freaking ecstatic at the same time! I am doing tons of planning this weekend as we are arriving in Savannah several days early just to be all touristy!
I am looking forward to ALL the wonderful events and with all the awesome panels I don’t know how to choose!
We also cannot forget about all of the author stalking I will be doing!
Today I have the brilliant Sasha White here and she is telling us where she can be found and offering up a giveaway you can easily enter as well!
~This & That with Sasha White~
Beach or Swimming Pool?
Haunted Tour or Garden Tour?
Haunted Tour (and I’ve reserved a spot to do one while in Savannah for AAD! Am so excited!)
Handcuffs or Silk Scarf?
Man in Uniform or Construction Worker?
Ohhh, can I have both? *g*
Sunrise or Sunset?
Road Trip or Fly?
Writers Cave or Starbucks?
Clean shave or 5 o’clock shadow?
Shadow, definitely. Yum!!
Zoo or Museum?
I’m conflicted about Zoos. I love animals, but hate to see them caged. I prefer a wildlife rescue, or sanctuary if possible. Not a fan of Art Museums, but love Natural History ones.
Make-up or Au Naturale?
Depends on mood, but genrally, au naturale.
Facebook or Twitter?
Dancer or Wallflower?
Heels or Boots?
Cake or Ice cream?
Bookmark or Dog ear?
Planner or Pantser?
Appearances at AAD 2013
TRIVIA with JOEY W HILL and SASHA WHITE
Wednesday night 9-10pm (Q & A with Hill and White)
This will be one fun-filled hour where readers and fans can get to know authors Sasha White and Joey W Hill better – and win prizes while doing it! With two Trivia Rounds, volunteer participants will have to answer questions about either Joey W Hills books, or Sasha Whites to score points. If the participants up front fail to answer the question, the audience will beta chance to answer and win a little surprise.
The second half of the hour will be an open Q&A with these talented authors.
The first 75 people through the door for this event are guaranteed a goody bag.
Friday evening 5-6 pm
Come hang out and play BDSM Bingo for some fantastic prizes form a bevy of talented authors. For this specialized game of Bingo, the authors will be reading and explaining BDSM terms, and you have to try and block them out on your scorecard. Lots of laughs and prizes to be had !
Cross Genre Paranormal Panel
To be honest I’m a bit worried about the panels. While I do have some stories that are paranormal with witches and demons and I have a couple menage stories, I am definitely not an authority on them. I’m used to being on panels about erotica, erotic romance and contemporary romance, so these will be a new experience for me. I’m looking forward to them, but I hope I don’t embarrass myself. *blush*…Read More