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The Stork | First Time Flowing
 

All posts in The Stork

DreyNet 3.0

At least I think it is the third iteration. Maybe it is the fourth. In any case, I have updated the gateway to my small network of web sites. Let’s take a quick tour.

The home page is a rotating gateway to each site. The sites can also be accessed from the main menu. You will also note a link called “The Latest”. That’s where I will display my most recently completed projects (stories, games, videos, etc.). Social media hooks are in full effect with the tweetbox on the right and a “Follow Me” tab displaying numerous online destinations to satisfy your cyber-stalking pleasure.

On to the individual sites:

First Time Flowing – My blog. No doubt you are familiar with this one.

DreamPunk Productions – This is my “game and story-shaped design” studio, home of The Stork and House of Whack. Speaking of which, those each have their own site.

In Between – This is a wiki I made to keep track of all the worlds and characters I have created over the years. Managing several universes is a challenging task.

There is another somewhat hidden site, which can be discovered by the person looking for me.

And there we are, back at the start!

Strangers on a Bus

I bring you the first documented account of someone delivering a package to a stranger! I must commend the bravery and generosity of this person. Really great stuff! Read their tale below.

Firstly, I received the package and was excited to open it up. After reading through the well illustrated pages I began to feel nervous. I’m generally a pretty easy going guy but the thought of trying to give a stranger a nondescript package and walk away was interesting. I wanted it to be a stranger – I feel as though that passes the message on better, has more impact and it truly is about just paying it forward and knowing nothing is coming back your way (maybe a thank you and some good karma).

As opposed from going about my normal day and driving to uni I thought I’d jump on the bus.. better chance to interact with someone. I picked a woman, about 35 years old and talking on the phone. After she got off her mobile I asked her if I could borrow her phone to make a quick call as my phone had just died (that was a lie). I suppose I was attempting to qualify her and know the stork would be passed on, even if only once more. I wouldn’t have walked away if she said no, I wanted to gauge though how she would react. Without hesitating she offered me her phone. I said “thank you”, and after a moment said “actually can you hold that for a second while I grab something”. It all became just a little more weird from here.

People around us started to look as I did my best to explain to this woman why I was trying to give her a mysterious object, in a box, with something rigid inside wrapped in an envelope. Very apprehensively she says “is this a bomb?”. Deviating for a moment I think some design aspects could be modified. Was a little confusing and can give away a surprise if you write what you gave them in the ledger – a lot to type so if ever you had a chance for to Skype would be great to talk.

After the initial awkward moments of my poor explanations and her puzzled questions (like, “is this stolen?”, “are you sure it’s not stolen”, “ok but what if it’s stolen, why would you give me this if it were yours”) she was smiling with her new (second hand but in near new condition) iPod touch as well as some foreign currency and a little note. The iPod was used rarely since I bought my phone. Was an upgrade from the tattered mp3 player she had clipped on her shirt.

My stop arrived and I just told her to have a great day and to pay it forward.

A nice lady that left me with a smile all day. I still think about who the stork is and what’s happening out there. Would love to hear the stories.

Logjam

Every once in a while I’ll get an idea in my head and it  jumps up and down, bullying the other ideas and becomes a general nuisance until I give it my attention. I can feel other stories and projects behind the idea, but I can’t get to them until I address the one at the fore. Sometimes it is just a matter of writing down some notes while other times I need to follow it through to completion.

A few months ago, the idea that got in the way was Sküb, a despicable storytelling game featuring a bad, bad dog. Basically a re-imagining of Scooby Doo and the gang as a hellhound and his thralls. It was evil and wrong and I hope you’ll play it some day. I got enough of it down to clear the way for other things.

The newest logjam is the result of an idea for a music video. Completely impractical and expensive. I’ll at least need to storyboard it and sketch out the ridiculous device required for it to work. Then I can see what’s next.

Brief Updates:

I had a powwow with Cory, an expert designer, someone capable of translating ideas into functioning objects. I had only wispy concepts of how I thought the board for the Dune game could be constructed. He had names for all of the parts required. I insisted that he illustrate and write them all down for future reference. Incidentally, he is also constructing a custom Dune set, though with more ambitious production values.

The Stork is at the printer. The printer erred of the side of caution and sent me a new proof with a different color calibration. I found it even more accurate than the previous iteration.

The frame for my movie screen is complete. I replaced the generic lamp with a more steampunky version. I still need to re-skin the small couch and the chairs to match the decor. Also, I envision a curtain dividing the living room and the dining nook.

I have re-purposed a cabinet and some random bricks into a backyard garden. I still need dirt and, well, something to plant. Tomatoes, I think. They are pretty forgiving.

That is all for now.

Proof

I received the print proof for The Stork the other day. It looks really good. It will look even better with the UV coating on the cover. There was a minor issue on one page (a thing strip of the image was in greyscale instead of color). Once that is resolved, the printer can do the full run. Continue reading →

Update 3/12

This was a short week as the first half was taken up by a wonderful trip down to Big Bend. And then I had to get caught up with everything the rest of the week. Continue reading →

Brief Update

Just a short status report on where various projects stand… Continue reading →

Taking Flight

At the time of this writing, The Stork has been funded for $1310, which is $210 above the goal. I am overjoyed and humbled and astonished by all of the support from friends and strangers alike.

But when it was only funded for $500, I felt the dread coming on. I worried that things wouldn’t work out and I’d let all these people down. I imagined all the sympathetic looks and the “ah, well at least you tried”s. I made up all kinds of things about what it might mean if the project didn’t get funded.

Then I recalled something someone said in a blog post a few weeks back. Excuse me, what I said in a blog post. About acting like it is a done deal and not giving up. A lot of things I write are directed at myself as much as they are towards other people. It is like having an emotional savings account to fall back on during rough patches.

So I decided that $500 was nearly halfway there. I decided that there was plenty of time and lots of people were just going to contribute later. I decided that someone was waiting until the right moment to make a dramatic contribution. As it turned out, all of these things were true.

I want to be less afraid. I want to trust any process I have set in motion. I want to have more faith in myself and in other people. It is happening, step by step, with the occasional explosion of wings unfurling.

The Stork on Kickstarter

Shout Outs to the Stork Video Supporters

I am grateful for my friends who took the time to either send in a video testimonial or let me record them for the Stork promo video. Here is a little bit more about them, in order of appearance.

Kristina Arntson – Kristina is one of the kindest people I know. She has her own acupuncture practice where she also offers adjunctive therapies including cranio sacral, massage, direct moxibustion, and nutrition. She can be found on Facebook here.

Marc Majcher – Marc is a busy guy. When he isn’t doing improv at the Hideout Theater or designing games under the Gizmet Gameworks label, he is cranking out code, which he will happily do for those inclined to pay him.

Kris Umlauf – The lovely Kris hosts fantastic parties and will give you the lowdown on restaurants all around Austin.

Reed Oliver – Reed is the front man for World Racketeering Squad, Austin’s premiere producer of nerdwave tunes. Go check out one of their shows and/or buy their album!

Thanks again, folks!

Origins of The Stork

When I went to see Pixar’s WALL-E, there was an animated short called Partly Cloudy before the film. It had to do with a stork who got stuck with delivering really challenging packages. It got me thinking of some shadowy agency which employed people called Storks to deliver metaphorical packages to people. Perhaps this guy shows up on your doorstep with a lost memory from childhood.

Then I thought maybe I could make a role playing game out of it. The players would play characters in this agency delivering packages as a way of working off a debt, kind of like the reapers in Dead Like Me.

But then it occurred to me it might be more interesting if it were a live action game like Killer or Capture the Flag, where teams of people had to make sure a package got delivered to its destination.

I’m not sure how it happened, but when I sat down to write down some notes for the rules to this potential game, I instead wrote the manual that became The Stork. It was one of those rare pieces of writing that I transcribe more than write. It just flowed out, almost fully formed. I made some tweaks to it, but the first draft ended up being really good as is.

Some part of me wants to create these shared experiences, these abstract dreamlike ideas. I’ve found the best way to communicate them is to squeeze them into the shape of a story or a game. The structure is just a handle or a frame, a label so that other people can (hopefully) understand what I’m trying to tell them.

Find out more about The Stork at Kickstarter

The Stork has launched!

Thank you Kristina, Marc, Kris, and Reed for the testimonial videos. I edited everything this morning and put the video up on the Kickstarter page.

Time to launch!

Visit The Stork on Kickstarter