Launching My First Product on Kickstarter

Design, Manufacturing, The Bag Idea

The past few months have been hectic.

I lost my apartment in late April and then was hopping between hotels for about a month and a half until the school year ended and I relocated to Nansha, in southern Guangzhou… closer to Shenzhen, Macau, and Hong Kong. So now, manufacture, roulette wheels, and dim sum are closer than ever. And I have some proper space and quiet to work, rest, and adjust the derailleurs on my mountain bikes… as well as design.

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Studio

The new home studio

In these past months I’ve spent many a late night up working on three independent bag-related designs for manufacture. Now that my summer break has begun, I have more free time which actually means more work! But I’m not complaining. I really love it and I know I will look back at this period in the future with some special kind of fondness.

I will launch my first Kickstarter campaign within one or two weeks. I’m pretty excited about finally putting this first little product out there to a wider audience after so many months of work and secrecy. I think I’ve had every emotion in the range between elated self-confidence and crushing self-doubt in the process.

There was at least one thing Teddy Roosevelt got right when he said:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

As a bit of a teaser, here are three related images that together describe the form of and purpose for the product. See if you can guess what it might be!

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factory tour

Manufacturing a Plastic Hydroponic Planter in China

Design, Hydroponic Planter, Manufacturing

I’m currently on a week-long break from school for the Qingming (“Tomb Sweeping”) holiday, and have been using a good portion of that time to design. Yesterday, I hopped a train out to Dongguan to meet with my business partners Swen and Kelvin to discuss a new product for manufacture that I redesigned just this past weekend.

Zhangmutou station

Zhangmutou train station in Dongguan

Retro schoolbag color scheme

What’s the Bag Idea?

Design, Manufacturing, The Bag Idea

I’ve had this idea for a bag for about five or six years now.

Back in Sydney I started to research an essential element to the design and found I would need to work around an existing patent or wait for it to expire, which it did this past year. So, I’m taking the opportunity here in China to get this thing going.

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

This Year of Passion

Design, My Year Without Violence

Well, my year without violence is not the big news I thought it might be. Life got bigger instead.

I was planning on giving an update on MYWV within a week of committing to it– instead I got caught up in some inspiring design projects that might go better under the title “This Year of Passion”, so here’s my preface.

My Year Without Violence

Film, My Year Without Violence, Theatre

Over the past two months I’ve been considering my decision to abstain from violence in 2017.

The thought first came to me when I was writing to my older brother about HBO’s new television series, Westworld. Like so many others, I was really kind of thrilled about the show. I love sci-fi, puzzles, and philosophy. And there’s this great list of contributors to the whole: Michael Crichton, Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy, J.J. Abrams, Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, and many more.

Collaborative Writing Online

Gaming, Uncategorized, Writing

As an undergraduate art major, I used to enjoy writing collaboratively on addventure. It was an early site for authoring hypertext (click-through) fiction where users could add to a story from the character decisions that were left open at the end of a paragraph/chapter. Pretty much like writing a Choose Your Own Adventure book collaboratively.

A few years ago, an online acquaintance of mine named Joakim Johansson started a website called Story Wars. In SW, users are able to author the first chapter of a story which then is open for drafts on the next chapter. Anyone can submit a draft for the next chapter. Once at least two new drafts have been submitted, they are revealed anonymously for the community to vote on. The chapter with the most votes wins and goes on to be the fixed next chapter of the story. And so on.

I also recently found Storium. Storium blends elements of collaborative writing with tabletop roleplaying games, using a card system to develop characters and narrative. Pretty fun stuff.

I was for some time the top writer (in terms of points) on SW, though I’ve dropped off in my presence on the site these days, and I’m beginning to build up some content on Storium.

Join me!

 

 

In Defense of Text

Gaming, Writing

I believe I’ve previously mentioned the terrific documentary Get Lamp by Jason Scott. It looks at the past, present, and future of interactive fiction and text adventure games through interviews with many prominent figures in the history of IF. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in literacy, interactive fiction, puzzles, escape rooms, gaming (tabletop, video, and anything else) and philosophy.

Go ahead and watch 45:50-51:55 and then come back. Go on. Git!

‘Til Death Do Us Bind

Horror, Humor, Writing

So… I’ve never seen any of The Twilight “Saga” movies (don’t you be calling it a saga without hulking Norsemen.) And though I did watch some of its first season, I don’t have much interest in The Walking Dead or its fairly exhausted sub-genre.

I do, however, enjoy speculation and parody, and about four years ago I sat down with an old friend from college and his wife around a kitchen table in Philly, PA and created a hybrid genre I will now call eroto-horror.

I think it’s a lucrative and yet untapped market. Combine elements of the dime-store romance novel and the gore of the zombie apocalypse, and Bob’s yer uncle. We’re just gonna crank the Twilight “aesthetic” up to eleven.

Here’s a ludicrous piece the three of us came up with over some brewskis and alot of chuckles. Strangely, I think there are some folks out there who might be turned on by this kind of thing.

You’ve been warned. It’s so bad it’s good.

Express Stops

Directing, Performance, Playwrighting, Theatre, Uncategorized, Writing

In 2008, I managed a black-box theatre and rehearsal space just off of Times Square. A bit more on that can be found in an earlier post.

 

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One of the things I just failed to launch was one evening a week where our resident ensemble performed an hour of original short plays and vignettes. “Slice of life in NYC” sort of thing. Short, punchy, experimental stuff. I had written a number of short pieces to try out in the first evening, and would have been joined by some other writer friends of mine in time had it been successful. I wanted to call it Express Stops.

Burnt Njál (Unfinished)

Playwrighting, Writing

The Story of Burnt Njál, or Njál’s Saga is a 13th century Icelandic work of prose that I began adapting into poetic form sometime after working on and performing Shakespeare’s Pericles at the Texas Shakespeare Festival.

Similar to Shakespeare’s epic, I used iambic tetrameter for the prologue/chorus and pentameter for most of the rest. The text I based my adaptation on is George Webbe Dasent’s 1861 English translation of the saga.

I ended up abandoning the project like a sinking Snekkja longship (no money in that kind of piffle) but here’s a look at my progress below.

I rather like the courtship bit between Hrut and Unna; it reminds me of how deeply I was into Shakespeare at the time as it’s very reminiscent (albeit so very much shorter) of his own many wooing scenes, like the one between Petruchio and Kate in The Taming of the Shrew.

(Note: If anyone wishes to use any of the scripts posted here for performance, please do! Just drop me a line to let me know they actually getting some use, and I’d appreciate being acknowledged in some way if the production is more substantial than scene-study work.)

 
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1.1 Prologue

Chorus

In Broadfirth dales our story swells,

Where one by name of Hauskuld dwells.

Of stout and gen’rous heart this man,

And to a feast bids he the land.

His own half-brother Hrut he calls;

A handsome man, and strong, and tall,

Well-skilled in arms and temper mild

A counselor wise, but warrior wild.

This Hrut on brother now attends,

And sits beside him as he bends

His eyes to that same golden prize

which ‘cross the feasting hall now lies:

A daughter, plays amongst the girls,

Her silken hair hung all in curls,

So fair of face and tall of growth,

The pride of father and of host;

Hallgerda named, and mind you now

Remember at this moment how

One brother wise, with vision keen

Does make the future present seen.