My name is Charlie, but if your looking for my work, I go by C. E. Dorsett. I write scifi, fantasy, and a touch of horror. I like to play with gothic, steampunk, decopunk, epic fantasy, and wuxia. I love to tell stories and talk about books, movies, series, and music.
Granny Square Mario
First off--probably the most awesome use of granny squares ever. I like that it isn't a traditional square shape, and is just the outline of Mario. Even so, this thing must be pretty huge. I think there are over 350 granny squares on this thing (Geek Central Station).
I love this Super Mario! I used to help my Grandma Smith make these squares for tissue covers and the like, and I am not sure why I never thought about making 8 bit art with them. I might have to get started.
BTW: are these really called granny squares?
Origami: Star Wars X-Wing and Millenium Falcon
If I can must the patience necessary to make these, I might have to string a bunch together over my desk. Speaking of which, now I need to learn how to make an origami Tie Fighter.
Costumes, Role Playing, and Unity
One of my absolute favorite aspects of fandom is the costuming and roleplaying, and I would have to say they are the two most maligned and stigmatized things that we do. Let's start with the most accepted by the popular culture and proceed to the least understood.
Computer Roleplaying Games
Mass appeal of video games have normalized RPGs on the computer, and why not. Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, and Knights of the Old Republic were all such brilliant games, it is hard to see how they couldn't have had a mass market appeal, but in the one place where Roleplaying should flourish, it is all but extinct.
There was once a type of game known as the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG). The problem is that these too entered the popular culture, and they spawned a new bane: badge collectors. A sizable number of the MMORPG players became obsessed with their statistics, what badges they earned, and what loot they could get. The software companies saw these players as their core audience and in some cases, there only audience.
The games were increasingly designed for these players and not for the fans of story. Coinidentally, the acronym was shortened from MMORPG to simply MMO. Players have done what they can to keep roleplaying alive, but they are generally isolated to a specific server or guild, and they are not aided by the software designers who more and more are crafting games that challenge your prowess with a keyboard and mouse and don't require any thought whatsoever.
This is one of the reasons I am so excited about Star Wars: The Old Republic and Stargate Worlds. They are trying to bring story into the games and make it front and center. I wish them the best of luck.
Table Top Role Playing Games
Table top RPG fans are the geeks that geeks love to hate. Don't believe me? Listen carefully to a lot of the podcasts out there. It won't take you too long to find people having a geeky conversation about their favorite tech and occationally mocking TTRPG players.
Table Top games are not as easy to play as their computerized bretheren, but they are a lot more fun. There are more requirements to play:
- The Rule Books
- Friends who have free time to come over
I didn't stutter at the end, and no, I am not padding the list. Creativity is the ability to think originally, and imagination is the ability to see with the minds eye events as they are described to you.
I think those last two more than anything else makes people not like tabel top games. Personally, I love them. I run an Earthdawn game at the house every Sunday. Nothing brings friends together for a good time like a shared adventure built from the collective imaginations of everyone there.
Live Action Role Playing
Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) is penultimate expression of role playing. There are numerous systems for LARPing and they all generally involve renting a location, playing in a park, or the storyteller's home. Most LARPers dress up in elaborate costumes and carry props to aid in game play.
I used to play Vampire: The Masquerade both as a table top game and as a LARP, and I have to say, the LARPs were always more fun. We played at local conventions and I ran a chronicle that spanned various players homes, parks, and a few businesses who allowed us to use their establishment.
Who doesn't enjoy getting dressed up and spending a night as someone else?
One aspect of the LARPs I've played that made them so fun was that they were locked to the locations they took place. The story was handled through notes given to the players to explain what happened between sessions, and a couple players who agreed to play according to the scripted motives I provided for them. To this day, some of my favorite memories took place at LARPs.
We were a part of a LARP network where storytellers coordinated large scale events between cities, and at conventions our players would play through pivitol stories. The largest LARP event we threw had 500 players in attendence. 3,00o players made up the network. We coordinated through a email list.
LARPs are emense fun, and I miss them terribly. I had hoped that MMOs would provide a platform for virtual LARPs, but so far, they haven't.
Some people just love dressing up. They don't roleplay at all, they just wear the costume for enjoyment. For some, it is an uniform. For others, it is an expression of their identification with the character or race they are recreating. And others do it for the challenge of recreating the costume.
Steampunk is an entire movement built around costuming for the sheer fun of it.
Fans who Play together Stay together
Most of the deep, personal relationships I have developed with fans over the years has been between fans I have roleplayed with. We share an experience that is truly unique to the players who were there. Memories of events that are not replecatable in real life.
All these years later, I still run into people at the conventions who remeber the night my Taleison should have seen his reflection in the mirror and went mad. We talk about it like a moment from a movie or series that we loved, but our connection to the event is so much more personal because we were there when it happened.
So if you haven't before. I hightly recommend to gather up your friends and play a game with them. Feel free to choose the type, but make sure it is one that will build those memories that will last a lifetime.
The Call of Knitted Cthulu
The creativity of knitters never stops impressing me. I really hope I can find patterns so I can make a couple of these for myself. I can just imagine the looks on people’s faces if I went into town wearing a knitted Cthulu ski mask, or the creature from the black lagoon. O the looks, muhaha, I need to get some for me and all my friends.
Homophobia, Misogyny and Bias in Culture and Fandom
You know what? I love fandom a lot. It's given me so many things--friendships, delight, Story and story and stories until I'm positively surfeited, meta and analysis and exegesis, a wider sensitivity to issues that I never would have even thought of had I been left to my own self-centered devices, and probably a dozen more things that I can't even think of because I'm only on my second cup of coffee this morning. ...
But look. Can you lay off announcing your posts with things like "It's time for some [schoolname]faggotry"? And stop talking about one character going to sex another up as "rape" (or "raep" as some would have it)? And maybe lay off calling everything "gay" or "ghei" (written_in_blue)?
This has been a huge problem in culture and especially in the fandom/gaming community. Not too long ago, Brian and I had to kick a couple guys from a group in an online game for saying repeatedly that they wanted to go rape an instance. To make matter worse, we could not get them to understand why that phrase was totally unacceptable. After a long, fruitless debate, we just added the individuals to our ignore lists.
Once, when I was playing a female toon, a player mock raped me after defeating me in PVP. He sent me tells filled with graphic and violent imagery, and when I reported him to the GMs, his guild attacked me, each sending me similar lurid tells.
Fanfiction has become infected with these images to the point where I am not sure where to go to find my fanfic anymore.
The blame for this comes down to people like me tolerating this sort of hate speech in our causal acquaintances and friends for too long. Something we never would have done if people where saying, that is so "N-word," or "Let's linch X."
I hate to be PC, and I am not saying that we fight for an absolute ban on the use of "That's so gay," even though I think we have to crack down on it, and stop the use the word rape in any way that could ever be perceived as positive.
On P:SI #249 “OMG A White Namic,” I used the phrase, "That is so Gay," about a pink pedal powered tank that fires hot dogs (DV!CE), because it is. As a gay man, I have to say, that is the gayest thing I have ever seen, but I would never use the phrase to mean something was bad.
Other than turning it around on people, it is helpful to use the word or phrase in a correct way.
It is time for us to get past the hate and get back to what fans do best. Celebrate the things we love.