Reminiscing: It Wasn’t Just a Game

On Friday, November 30th, I did my final show for The Cape Radio in Paragon City.  It was tough, but I managed not to blubber my way through it.  I was amazed to peak at 93 listeners and even more amazed when I heard that our high listener count for the day was 341, blowing away our old record of 312.  I hope everyone will continue to listen to The Cape Radio as we play other games.  If you missed my show, you can get it here.

I’ve written before about the ending of City of Heroes, when I first heard about the plan to shut it down.  My grief back then is nothing compared to what I’m feeling now.  I knew it was going to hurt, but I feel like someone close to me has died.  I can’t stop crying, I can’t stop going through the various Facebook Groups dedicated to players of the game.  I’m adding friends as I put the character and global names together with their real life names, and others I might not have really known in game, but we’re sharing the same grief right now and that gives us a common bond.

I went to bed early on Friday night just so I could grab a few hours of sleep before getting up at 1:30am to log back into the game to be there for the final moments.  My global friends list was lit up like a Christmas tree, and the chat scroll was moving way too fast for me to keep up with.  So many names I hadn’t seen in years flew by.  My supergroup was gathering in the base for one last group photo, so I headed there and took my place for the picture.  Then I lost connection to the mapserver.  Frantically, I tried to get back in, but I just kept getting kicked back to the login screen.  Finally, I chose another server, and was able to get back in game.  But I wanted to be HOME.  It didn’t feel right to be on any other server but Virtue.  That’s where I’ve always played, where all my friends were.  But at least I was able to talk to them through the global channels.  It was something.

Then I heard one say they’d gotten back on Virtue!  I logged out and tried again.  Nothing.  Tried again.  Still nothing.  It took me about five tries before I, too, got back on Virtue.  I was in the Echo of Galaxy City, in Gemini Park, at the rock where I did my first Cape Radio show from.  I moved over to where the big group of people were, and sent out a “hugs everyone” emote.  So many people I remember from 8 years ago, when I first started playing this game, and the role-players would gather in Gemini Park.  I was always on the periphery of this group, not exactly a member, but they were always nice to me and included me when I tried.  I received hugs back and tells welcoming me.

I heard that many of my friends from The Cape Radio were gathering in the Pocket D, and I wanted to go there, but I was afraid if I tried to move to a new zone, I would mapserve again, like I did when I went to my supergroup’s base.  So I stayed put, and sent out tells and chatted in global.  I decided to send everyone in my global friends list a hug, and got many hugs back.  I was holding up pretty well until I sent Mercedes Lackey a hug, and thanked her for her efforts to try and save CoH.  She sent back “But it wasn’t enough” and sobbed on my virtual shoulder.  Her heartbreak was so clear to me, and mine just split in two at that moment and I completely lost it.

And then the worst happened.  At seven minutes until the scheduled shutdown, I mapserved again.  NO!  I frantically tried to log back in, but was getting kicked back to the login screen again and again.  Finally, I made it back in to the queue and looked at the time.  3:01am eastern.  What?  I was in the queue, and actually moving up it, but wasn’t the game supposed to close at midnight pacific time?  Amazed, I watched my character come back into Gemini Park, just for a second, and then I got the pop up “You have been forcibly disconnected. The servers are shutting down.”  We had been given an extra five minutes or so, but that was it.  It was over.

I went over on Facebook and posted “And that’s that. RIP City of Heroes, and thanks for all the memories.”  I cried as I saw similar posts, as so many on my friends list have played this game.  I was told Twitter was exploding as well, so I went over there.  My phone rang, and it was Detra.  I said hello, and immediately started crying again.  Detra and I share the experience that City of Heroes helped us find our true selves, so we both understand the devastation the other is feeling.  So much of who we are is tied up in this game, it feels like we’ve lost a body part.  Our hearts and souls have been ripped out, all because some company decided we no longer fit with their vision.

So what do we do now?  We do what I’ve always advocated: hold on tight to your dreams.

We fight to try to get NCSoft to sell the IP and another company to buy it and give us an awaken.  Check out Task Force Hail Mary on the Titan Network, headed by Mercedes Lackey.  They’re attempting to convince Disney to purchase City of Heroes, and if that doesn’t work, they’ll try the next company on their list.

We show NCSoft what real heroes are all about by donating to Real World Hero and blowing all their previous records out of the water.

We share our memories of the game and each other on Facebook, The Cape Radio Forums, The Titan Network Forums, our blogs, and anywhere else we find to post them.  Feel free to add your memories or links to them in the comments here.

As for me, I have a new mission.  I have always wanted to try to recreate some of the costume pieces available in City of Heroes.  I have cosplayed my own character, One Hit Wonder, a couple of times, but had just modified some existing pieces to be similar to her costume.  I was never 100% happy with the results and planned to eventually make the entire costume from scratch.  I’ve decided to not only put this plan into action, but to start making as many of the City of Heroes costume pieces “in real life” as I can.  My idea is to make the individual pieces, which can then be mixed and matched much like you would in the costume creator program.  But in order to to this, I will need some help.  First of all, I need screenshots of costumes from City of Heroes.  Please send them to rewondered@gmail.com and don’t worry about flooding my mailbox.  I have plenty of room there. 🙂

Secondly, I will need supplies.  So I am redirecting the focus of my IndieGoGo campaign toward this project and getting ready for Birka.  In the end, I hope to have a wide variety of costume pieces suitable for cosplay, SCA events, and even everyday wear.

So if you can toss even $5 in toward this project, it would be greatly appreciated.  For those wanting a memento of your character, this would be a great way to get a piece or two or even a whole costume, since you’ll get a free item and a gift certificate to spend in my Etsy shop, where I’ll have these pieces available.  Check out the campaign and my post on redeeming your rewards for more information.

I will be continuing to work on my Five X Fifty posts, and you will likely see some CoH and SCA stuff sneak in to those.  I have several items I need to get photographed and listed, but I need to unload my car from yesterday’s craft fair, and of course it’s started to rain.  Sigh.  I guess this just means I can get started on researching those City of Heroes costumes, huh?  🙂

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Five X Fifty: Day 11 – Hockey

If you follow my personal Facebook status updates, you know that the craft fair I was at over the weekend was a disaster.  Badly organized, misrepresented, unadvertised… it was horrible.  And to top it off, two of my rings were stolen.  I am not a happy camper and am still simmering, so I’m going to just move along with the Five X Fifty posts before I go off on a rant.

Because we were told that they expected over 5000 people at this craft fair held during a hockey tournament, I stocked up on hockey stick and ice skate charms.  But I only sold a few, so I have plenty left to offer up in my Etsy shop.  So today’s Five X Fifty features earrings, necklaces, and wine charms with a hockey theme.

Let’s start with the wine charms, as even thinking about that craft fair makes me want some wine.  Oh wait, I wasn’t going to rant, was I?  So yes, back to the wine charms!  I can make these in any team colors, but because I live near Boston, I used the ones of the Boston Bruins for the samples.

Hockey Wine Charm Set of Four Wine Glass Markers - Your Choice of Team Colors - Handmade by Rewondered D643W-00006 - $14.95

Hockey Wine Charm Set of Four Wine Glass Markers – Your Choice of Team Colors – Handmade by Rewondered D643W-00006 – $14.95

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The skates were the most popular, and I had one hockey mom come back the next day and show me that she was wearing the earrings I made for her and tell me how much she loved them.  That’s one plus from the event, I made at least a few people happy!

Hockey Skate Simple Charm Earrings - Handmade by Rewondered D225E-25101 - $8.95

Hockey Skate Simple Charm Earrings – Handmade by Rewondered D225E-25101 – $8.95

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And of course there is a matching necklace…

Hockey Skate Simple Charm Necklace - Your Choice of Black Cord or Silver Chain - Handmade by Rewondered D225N-25101 - $7.95

Hockey Skate Simple Charm Necklace – Your Choice of Black Cord or Silver Chain – Handmade by Rewondered D225N-25101 – $7.95

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I can put this on either a silver chain or a black cord necklace.  There’s also the hockey stick…

Hockey Stick Simple Charm Necklace - Your Choice of Black Cord or Silver Chain - Handmade by Rewondered D225N-25102 - $7.95

Hockey Stick Simple Charm Necklace – Your Choice of Black Cord or Silver Chain – Handmade by Rewondered D225N-25102 – $7.95

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And of course the earrings that match…

Hockey Stick Simple Charm Earrings - Handmade by Rewondered D225E-25102 - $8.95

Hockey Stick Simple Charm Earrings – Handmade by Rewondered D225E-25102 – $8.95

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Two more craft fairs to go, and these should be a lot better.  One has been going on for over 20 years, and the other is at my housemate’s work, so she can advise me of what is most likely to sell there.  Got my fingers crossed, I really need to get some sales!

I also really need to get more contributions to my IndieGoGo campaign.  I am planning to put together a new video and update the entire thing, as I have been accepted as a merchant for Birka, and I need the supplies to launch my line of Practically Period jewelry, garb, and accessories.  As mentioned there, here are a few of my ideas:

  • Period “Replica” Jewelry – Designs based on portraits and artwork from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
  • Basic garb – T-tunics, chemises, simple dresses, etc.
  • “Upcycled” garb – Modern clothing “rewondered” to look more period.
  • Garb “Accessories” – Sleeves that tie on, aprons, tabards, headdresses, hats, belts and sashes, pouches, corsets, etc.

I’ll still be working on my Five X Fifty posts, but the majority of my time after craft fair season is over will be spent stocking up for Birka.  If you’re planning to go, and contribute to my IndieGoGo campaign, you can pick your free item and spend your gift certificate there!  If you can’t go, have no idea what the SCA is, and just want to make a contribution to help ease the nightmare that was last weekend’s craft fair, that’s greatly appreciated too! 😀

I’ll have another Five X Fifty post for you later today, but I have a few errands I need to run and have to actually get out of my pajamas at some point, so I better go take care of that first…

Reaggregation: A Collection of Unorganized Thoughts – Part 1: Events

  • Aggregation– collection into an unorganized whole

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and planning and brainstorming lately, and asking myself a lot of questions.  I’ve been wanting to write about some of the conclusions I’ve drawn, questions I still have, and ideas I’m working on, but have been having trouble deciding how to present them.  Did I need to write separate posts for each one?  Do a poll?  Get things more concrete before writing anything?  Ooh, and what’s this new idea over here?  Shiny!

Yeah, so I’ve been going around and around in my head lately, and nothing’s been posted here in three and a half weeks.  Wow, three and a half weeks, really?  Where did September go?  I swear it was August just a minute ago… is that a squirrel?

Oh yes, that’s right, I was organizing my thoughts.  As you can see, it’s a bit of a process.  So forgive me if I get rambly…

Events

Let’s start with events.  I really want to have a table or booth at two or three events every month.  One of the things that took up a good chunk of my September days was an SCA event, where I teamed up with a friend of mine who sells Auntie Arwen’s Spices.  This led to me thinking about other products and more period pieces I could make, but I’ll come back to that.  Let’s stay focused on events here. (I know it’s hard, but really Wondie, you can do it!)

So yes, more SCA events.  They’re fun and appeal to my theatre geek side, plus I get to dress up!  Next on the list is Birka in January.  Mostly I’ll just continue to team up with my friend for these, as it gives us both an extra hand for set-up as well as someone to talk to during the slow times.  Plus I am a total newb to the SCA and my friend grew up in it, so she can help me avoid mis-steps.

But January is a long way away, and the holiday selling season is coming up, so that means craft fairs.  Unfortunately, I can’t afford some of the fees for some of the larger shows, and many of those are juried and I don’t have photos of the new products I want to make, since they’re not made yet (remember, more on inventory later).  Also, the deadlines for many have already past, or they’re already full of jewelry artists.  Speaking of deadlines, my funds are extremely limited until about October 15th (and only a little less limited after that), so I’m juggling when I can actually apply, and the longer I wait, the greater the possibility that I won’t be able to do the show due to it already being full.  I also want to stay in New Hampshire to avoid having to deal with out-of-state vendor issues.  I’m still looking, so if you know of any that you think I might want to look in to, let me know.  For the moment, I’m seriously considering these:

  1. Hudson PumpkinFest – October 12-14 – I’d only be able to afford to do one day, likely the 14th.  My major concerns for this show is that it is outdoors, which means I would need to have some kind of tent/canopy, and the only one I currently have access to is 10×20, which means I need to pay for extra space as well as fill it with inventory.  Also, the deadline is October 1st.  So this one is looking unlikely, as I just don’t have the funds for all the extras I’d need that quickly.
  2. Windham High School Craft Fair – October 27th – This benefits the school’s drama and band programs, so I definitely want to support that.  Just need to get some pictures and I can send my application in.
  3. John Stark Arts Market – November 3rd – This is in Weare, and benefits the school’s art department.  Another one I definitely want to support, and close-by.
  4. Great Bay Charter School Holiday Craft Fair – November 10th – This in Exeter.
  5. Merrimack High School Annual Craft Fair – November 17th.
  6. Holiday Keene Craft Show – November 24th – This is a bit on the expensive side, but I can pay a deposit now and the rest later.  This one only allows 10-15 jewelery artists and requires pictures and a description of all products and equipment I’ll be using, so I need to figure out my display before I fill out the application.  This is also over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend when I’ll be running specials in my Etsy shop, so inventory management is going to be tricky.
  7. 23rd Annual Beaver Meadow School PTO Gourmet Bake and Craft Fair – December 1st – That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?

I’m having trouble finding any others in December that aren’t already full.  These would keep me busy every Saturday between October 27th and December 1st, though I’m open to other ones that are closer/cheaper/better if they are available.  There’s also Sundays and possible weekday events, as well.  Of course, while I’d love to do them all, the upfront costs are a bit out of my reach right now, so I’m going to have to pick and choose.  If you’d like to help me get to more shows, consider buying a gift certificate, which could of course be used when you come to any of the shows, or order online.  Stock up now and get your Christmas shopping done early! 🙂

Home Parties

Another idea I’ve been considering is home parties.  Ages ago, I used to be a Pampered Chef Consultant, and I really enjoyed the idea of getting a chance to explain and demonstrate the products to a small group of people, and help the host or hostess earn free stuff.  Why not apply that concept to my products?  Especially as we gear up for the holidays!  Wouldn’t it be awesome to go over to your friend’s house, have some wine and munchies, and get a bunch of awesome handmade gifts for your friends and family without having to make them yourself or brave the crowds at a craft fair?  It would also be a great way to do custom order consultations, and people could bring any jewelry that needs simple repairs.  And if I did these on Saturday nights, after the craft shows, or on Sundays, everything would already be packed up in my car. 😉

I’m still working out the details, but the person hosting the party would get a percentage of the total sales as credit toward their own purchases, and additional incentives if their friends book a party of their own.  This would work out to free gifts for yourself or your family and friends, just for inviting a few friends over and giving me a space to set up a display table.  So let me know if you’re interested in hosting!  Of course, you’d need to be somewhere that won’t take me more than a couple of hours to drive to (sorry Florida friends!) but perhaps I can do an online version of this too.  Need to get more items up online first, but it bears thinking about.  I’ll get back to you on that. 🙂

So with these ideas, I could be VERY busy between now and Christmas.  And I’m going to stop here and continue collecting my unorganized thoughts in future posts.  Stay tuned for Part 2: Inventory!

Rising To The Challenge

I have several friends in the SCA and I’ve been hearing for years that they think I’d enjoy it, thanks to my background in theatre and my love of cosplay.  I’ve never really looked into it though.  But now I live with someone who is very involved with her clan, have other friends I see on a regular basis who are members, and my SE calls himself a “camp follower” so it was inevitable that I’d be dragged along to an event.  Of course, by “dragged along” I mean “go quite willingly!”

So Saturday I went to a private clan gather.  I borrowed some garb from my roommate because I didn’t have time to sew anything (though I did manage to get out the fabric and patterns for three outfits, my ferret-brainness didn’t get me any farther).  Unfortunately I didn’t think to take my camera so I didn’t get any pictures, but the SE and I looked pretty good.  I had been told I could take some of my necklaces to offer for sale, so I packed up two small tubs full and a bag of supplies to work on a few more if I got the chance.  We arrived at the event, said hi to the people I already knew, and the SE introduced me to a few of his friends that I had not yet met.  It was a fairly low-key, informal event so I we just hung around and chatted with people.  I sat down at the table where my friends were playing cards and worked on a couple of necklaces, and even managed to sell two of my Simple Charm Necklaces.

Now, you’re probably wondering where the title of this blog post comes in, as I doubt you see much of a challenge in what I’ve described so far, other than that of a socially awkward person going into a new environment with lots of unknown people.  Sure, that is a bit challenging for me, but after attending ten different schools (1st-12th grades), I’m kind of a pro at it.  I’m still pretty shy, but I’ve learned to work through it.  Of course, those that know me well will laugh at the notion of me being shy, as I am anything but around my friends!

No, the challenge I’m speaking of was issued to the clan before I arrived.  In the wee small hours of the morning, the hall was decorated with Mardi Gras beads and they were challenged to create a piece of art from them.  I learned later that the challengers were expecting something along the lines of a mosaic, but the clan had other ideas.  Knowing that I am a designer who works with beads, my help was enlisted.  The idea?  A beadkini.  Yes, a bikini made out of Mardi Gras beads.

It took me about four hours, but in the end I had created a bikini top using gold and purple Mardi Gras beads.  I joined the design together with the jump rings I had brought with me (thank goodness I’d thought to bring that bag of stuff to work on and my tools).  My “partner in crime” attached strings of beads to a piece of rope to form a sort of loincloth.  Once I’d finished, my model was brought in and I tied her into the thing with pieces of string and decorated her with more beads.  We covered her with a cloak and preceded out into the main hall for the unveiling.  I was introduced as the main artist and the model was introduced as our canvas.  Needless to say, when we removed the cloak there was quite a bit of surprise!  And cheers and applause, of course!

Now, I don’t have any pictures of the model wearing the outfit, but I was given the beadkini to take home with me.  Here’s the top:

Mardi Gras Beadkini Top

Mardi Gras Beadkini Top

 

My first SCA event, and I’ll probably go down in clan history.  I’ll forever be known as “the one who made the beadkini.”  I suppose there are worse things to be known for.  And I heard that at least one person was thinking they should commission me to make a belly dancing outfit after seeing what I could do with limited materials in a limited time frame.  I am happy to do custom work, and can make something much better with the right materials!  Feel free to email me with your ideas!

And yes, I will likely be attending more SCA events.  I’ll need to come up with a persona and garb of my own.  Just what I needed, another project. 😉

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