I’ll be honest. I have been avoiding my website. 2020 has been a rough year for us all and I did not want to write about it.
Not anymore. Desert Bus is coming up and that means there is something good to write about. And I mean truly GOOD. This event raises funds for a GOOD cause. It brings together a positive, kind, and GOOD community online. Personal stories are shared, stories of GOOD people helping each other. There is humor and GOOD entertainment. We all need more of this in our lives.
If you are not familiar with Desert Bus for Hope (literally the most written about event on my site), it is a live-streaming charity event that happens in November. Through internet dance, jokes and absurdity it raises funds for charity. Specifically, Child’s Play Charity and you can read on their website they are “a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in our network of over 185 hospitals worldwide”.
Sounds like a pretty great cause to me.
This charity is close to my heart as it has a connection to my past. I was a sick kid in a hospital. My life was made better because someone donated a video game console and games. Now I get to give back, I get to pay it forward. I can make a difference for a kid who is having a difficult time, and so can you.
There are a lot of things going on in the world, there are many causes to be supported. But if you want to, tune-in, tell a friend, throw in a couple of bucks. We will be live streaming at DesertBus.org starting Friday, November 13th, at 10am PST. I can only speak for myself, but consciously adding some good to this world is exactly what I need right now. Join me?
It’s that time of year again, Desert Bus for Hope. As Halloween ends, the last few candy wrappers are tidied up, the evidence destroyed. The weather gets colder, Starbucks starts pouring beverages in red cups and I find myself on an island in Canada. Victoria, British Columbia to be exact.
Almost every year, for the past eight years, I have
participated in the Desert Bus for Hope online charity event. This is an annual
event that raises funds for Child’s Play Charity, through an online, live-streaming,
video game marathon. That’s the cleanest way to explain it, but it is so much
These days the internet is not known for its safe spaces,
kind voices and supportive environments, but these exist on Desert Bus for
Hope. Live-streaming each year on Twitch, the viewers can watch, donate and
chat all through the website. If you join the chat you will see thousands of
voices with dozens of moderators talking, laughing, sharing pictures and memes.
This is a show that can interact with the audience and bring their voice into
the room. “The Chat” has become its own character, responding to questions and
offering challenges. Depending on the topic, they join in and share their
Child’s Play Charity raises funds to provide games,
consoles, toys and grants to children’s hospitals and domestic shelters. They
help children and families in trauma, in pain, and in need of support. This is
an excellent cause and to truly understand why this means so much to me, I need
to tell you my story.
On the week that I turned 11 years old, I was diagnosed with
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer. I was just a kid and did not understand what that
truly meant. I was told I would lose my hair, that I may get sick and miss
school, that I would probably get tired and lose my appetite. But I wasn’t told
how much pain I would feel. How it wasn’t losing my hair that would be
difficult, but the way other kids at school would treat me because I did not
have any. The pain and discomfort was bad, but the loneliness and the feeling
of ‘other’ was excruciating. I was just a kid and just wanted to be a kid.
I spent a lot of time at the hospital. During Halloween,
Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve I was sick in the hospital, in isolation. It
was during one of these stays that a nurse rolled in a TV and SNES (Super
Nintendo). The only game available was Super Mario Bros, but that’s all I
needed. Once I figured out how to play, everything was different. I was no
longer a sick kid in the hospital, fighting for my life. I was just a kid.
Instead of being weak and in a bed, I could run and jump and fly! For a brief moment I didn’t feel weird, or
other or alone. I got to just be a kid. This is the magic and joy that gaming
brought to my life.
The Desert Bus for Hope event has raised so much for the kids. This year is the 13th annual Desert Bus and on day three we hit 5.5 Million Dollars lifetime. As I write this we are at $401,000 and on target to ‘bus’ until midnight Thursday night (November 14th, 2019).
Please consider checking out the website, donating, and
watching the stream. You can find us at desertbus.org. The fine folks on stream will dance, sing,
tell stories and so much more all to raise money for this great cause. Join a
fine community and help out the kid who just wants to be a kid.
I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and just now posting after recovering from sickness and moving.
I am flying back from an amazing two days in San Jose, CA. On Thursday, April 19th, 2018, I participated in the AV/IT Summit. This was my first time attending any professional event with such an AV and IT focus and I did not know what to expect. My friend Bradford Benn had recommended me as a speaker for the AV/IT Summit SCN ThinkTank. When the organization contacted me to come on a panel, I felt like I needed to expose my lack of technological knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, and through my years as an Event Manager and Designer I have a fairly strong working knowledge of the AV/IT needed to do my job. But the other speakers for this event included Disney Imagineers, Theme Park Designers, Museum Exhibition Designers and people who physically make the new technology I need to exist to do cool events. Bradford reminded me I was not invited to be the tech expert and I accepted my fate, worried that a mocking crowd of AV/IT elitist were in my future.
What I discovered was an amazing geeky community that I could truly relate to. The first speaker was Greg Kadorian, Walt Disney Imagineer and very cool retired guy (complete with Hawaiian shirt). His experience is extensive and spoke on the designs and innovations made at Disney. While discussing one particular theme park ride design and installation, he made comments about technology and cable connectors that I did not understand, but from context understood the joke. Something to the effect of ‘and these guys used THESE connectors, for flexibility but didn’t think about the connectors. So everything is installed and wired and now they have 1000 of these WRONG connectors. Can you believe it? Well, we all know what happens next, hours of replacing one THOUSAND of these connectors that could have been saved had they asked the right question.’ The crowd laughed as they nodded their heads in agreement with almost too keen an understanding, some having been there themselves it seems.
My website has been neglected for the last year or so. I have a new job and a slightly new focus. With a new chapter comes a new website! Moving forward I will be talking about events, pop culture and general musings. My new job allows me to work on very cool events, designing immersive experiences for fans of Magic: The Gathering and pop culture. It’s pretty cool.
These past few years I have been able to create unique and innovative designs and I want to tell you all about it. Stay tuned!
Starting with a pre-show on Friday and going until FOREVER (No, seriously, when does this thing end? It could legitimately go on forever), Liz will be in Canada Desert Bussing with the best of them. She will be producing the Prime Time segments (6-10pm Pacific each night) as well as the pre-show event on Friday from 6:30-8:00pm Pacific.
For those unfamiliar, Desert Bus For Hope is an online charity event where individuals play the game “Desert Bus” and do other various silly tasks while livestreaming 24 hours a day. This continues until donations run out. Last year it went for over 6 days and raised over $440,000.
Desert Bus raises money for Child’s Play, an organization that provides toys and games to over 70 childrens’ hospitals. This organization is very near and dear to Liz’s heart, and she wrote a fantastic post about it a couple years ago.
Cheer Liz and the entire Desert Bus team on by visiting desertbus.org. We can’t wait to see what will happen this year!
Join us for this second annual event, December 2nd at the Triple Door in Seattle. A musical and comedy event celebrating the holiday season with merriment and laughter. An all-ages show! Holiday cosplay strongly encouraged.
Our host, Graham Stark, is a member of the internet sketch comedy group, Loading Ready Run. For the past 10 years they have created videos to entertain the masses. Through his company Bionic Trousers, Graham has worked as video director and producer on such projects as Penny Arcade’s Strip Search and Cards Against Humanity’s Deathmatch. He can be found on twitter as @Graham_LRR.
The Doubleclicks are a pair of sisters — Angela and Aubrey Webber — who sing about Dungeons & Dragons, dinosaurs, and Mr. Darcy. They play cello and ukulele. They have been called snarky, geeky, and sweet. Their latest album, Lasers & Feelings, includes songs about Mars Curiosity, meeting people on the Twitter, and their emotions. The Doubleclicks tour the country regularly, playing at game stores, comic shops, and conventions, and have shared bills with Jonathan Coulton, Paul and Storm and Wil Wheaton. Photo by Jessie Kirk
Kyle Stevens is the frontman and songwriter for the Seattle based nerd-rock band, KIRBY KRACKLE; a band who writes specifically about comic books, video games, pop-culture, and things that are awesome. KK has spent the past 4 years touring comic cons all over the US and Canada, and just this last April completed their second tour of Australia as part of the multi-media entertainment expo, Supanova.
Joseph Scrimshaw is a comedian, writer, and squirrel enthusiast. He’s brought his geek-flavored comedy to w00tstock, SF SketchFest, Jonathan Coulton’s JoCoCruiseCrazy, and more. He’s written for RiffTrax, the radio show Wits, and an episode of Getting On With James Urbaniak. Joseph’s podcast Obsessed has been featured as a “Staff Favorite” on iTunes. His latest comedy album is Flaw Fest: a comedy show about horrible human flaws with a bonus music album of songs inspired by the show. Featuring music from The Doubleclicks, Molly Lewis, John Roderick, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, Mike Phirman, and more. Joseph wastes all his free time tweeting about not having enough free time.
Game and puzzle designer Mike Selinker is not going to let his lack of appreciable talents stop him from entertaining the Holiday Special crowd. Mike is known for designing games like Risk Godstorm, Unspeakable Words, Lords of Vegas, and the upcoming Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, often with collaborator James Ernest of Cheapass Games. His puzzles appear regularly in Wired, the New York Times, Games magazine, and on a massive crossword wall at Capitol Hill’s Eltana restaurant. He’s the president of the Seattle design studio Lone Shark Games, leading the creation of massive puzzlehunts around town and at PAX and other conventions. If you don’t know about the prank he’s playing at any given moment, it’s probably on you. Photo by Rasmus Rasmussen
“Cards Against Humanity will host a one-of-a-kind independent tabletop game design challenge at Gen Con Indy 2013.
Unpublished independent game creators will present prototypes to a panel of industry-leading designers including Mike Selinker (Lone Shark Games, Wizards of the Coast, Avalon Hill) Luke Crane (The Burning Wheel, games project specialist at Kickstarter), Shari Spiro (Founder, Ad Magic), and the creators of Cards Against Humanity.
The most promising game presented will win $7,500 towards the production costs of a first print run with Ad Magic and a table on the floor at Gen Con Indy 2014.
“We exhibited at Gen Con last year, and one of the most exciting things we saw at the convention was the playtest hall with these incredible cardboard prototypes,” said Max Temkin, co-creator of Cards Against Humanity. “We’ve received so much help with Cards Against Humanity from the gaming community and we’d like to pay that debt of gratitude forward.”
Luke Crane, game designer and games project specialist for Kickstarter, said, “Gen Con is the genesis of tabletop gaming as we know it. The Gen Con Tabletop Deathmatch continues the tradition of hackery and innovation that birthed this crazy hobby in 1968.” He added, “Please submit your games so I can judge your soul apart!”
Shari Spiro, founder of the game printer Ad Magic said, “We’re excited to partner with Cards Against Humanity for this contest. Ad Magic has printed Cards Against Humanity from the beginning and we would love to help give another game the same start.”
Eli Halpern, co-creator of Cards Against Humanity added, “I couldn’t be more excited by this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to crush the dreams of independent game designers.”
Prizes are furnished by Cards Against Humanity, Ad Magic, Gen Con LLC., and Maxistentialism Inc. The Deathmatch design contest is produced by Dammit Liz Productions.
Cards Against Humanity is an independent card game that was initially funded on Kickstarter. It’s now the top selling, best rated, and most wished for item on Amazon.com. The entire game is also available as a free download at CardsAgainstHumanity.com.
If you are unfamiliar with this event, it is a sort of online charity drive with proceeds going to Child’s Play Charity, a charity that gives money, toys, games and video game consols to chicldren’s hospitals.
I love Christmas. I love the whole holiday season. There is magic in the air. Lights are hanging from trees. Holiday movies speak of the importance of friends and family. There are gifts!
This season has inspired historic entertainment moments like the Star Wars Christmas Special and A Colbert Christmas.
Thinking about this season got me thinking, maybe I should put together a great geeky holiday show! And I am! I’ve invited my friends to help out. On December 1st in Seattle, at the Triple Door, there will be holiday nerdery! This is going to be one crazy and awesome night. Hope you guys can come and celebrate the season with me, geek style.
Special guests! Molly Lewis, The Doubleclicks, Stepto, Kyle Stevens….and more?