The creators of the Exploding Kittens game wanted to make an event to "fix the things that were wrong with traditional conventions," that was "actually fun," and had a "giant cat that explodes."
Enter Burning Cat. A two-day event at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland that will feature guest speakers, a giant "ring," an enormous cat statue that will eventually burn, and, of course, lots of games.
About it, in their words:
We’ve attended a lot of gaming conventions. A lot of them. There are things we like. We like the fans. We like the games. We like the creativity. But there are many things that we don’t like. We don’t like that most conventions are basically glorified shopping malls. We don’t like that despite being a gaming convention, very few people play actual games or have actual fun.
So, we decided to reboot the idea of a convention. We decided to build something new from the ground up. We decided to focus on a core philosophy: this is a con you attend if you want to have actual fun. This is a place to observe and/or participate in games, comedy, and creativity. This is a place for tabletop gamers, card game players, casual party game players, families who love games, game makers, or anyone who ever hosted a game night.
Burning Cat is an event for people who are tired of screens and want to have fun face-to-face.
If this sounds fun to you (and why wouldn't it?!), better get your tickets now — this thing is definitely going to sell out. Read the rest
During a recent stopover in Portland, Oregon, it was delightful to once again hang out with the "Duchess of Felt," artist LeBrie Rich. Read the rest
Unmute the video below. You need this, in all its glory. Read the rest
Thanks to everyone who came out to last night's book tour event with Richard Kadrey at Berkeley Arts and Letters; I'm in the final stretch of the tour now, with a keynote tonight at 7PM at the Ft Vancouver Library's Revolutionary Reads series, (Clark Community College’s Gaiser Hall, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver WA 98663) just across the river from Portland, OR. Thursday, I'm at the Seattle Public Library and I'm spending the weekend at Wondercon in Anaheim. Hope you can make it! (Image: Mike Westphal)
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Radicalized is my next science fiction book, out on March 18 from Tor Books: it contains four novellas about the hope and misery of our moment, from refugees resisting life in an automated IoT hell to health care executives being targeted by suicide bombers who have been traumatized by watching their loved ones die after being denied care. Tor Books is sending me on tour with the book in the US and Canada and I hope you can make it to one of my stops!
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Apparently, this story popped up back in 2015, but it's so cool that it's still worth reading about now: the city of Portland, Oregon has water pipes buried underneath of it that not only carry clean drinking water to the locals, but also generate hydroelectric power at the same time!
From Fast Company:
In Portland, one of the city's main pipelines now uses Lucid's pipes to make power that's sent into the grid. Though the system can't generate enough energy for an entire city, the pipes can power individual buildings like a school or library, or help offset a city's total energy bill. Unlike wind or solar power, the system can generate electricity at any time of day, regardless of weather, since the pipes always have water flowing through them.
The pipes can't generate power in every location; they only work in places where water is naturally flowing downward with gravity (if water is being pumped, the system would waste energy). But they have another feature that can be used anywhere: The pipes have sensors that can monitor water, something that utilities couldn't do in the past.
Providing power to partially operate water treatment and pump facilities during the day and then juice up streetlights at night: what's not to love about that? Read the rest
Paul Peralta, the general manager of the Portland Doubletree where Jermaine Massey, 34, was racially harassed, apologized today.
In a statement released on Friday, Peralta said, “we sincerely apologize to Mr. Massey for his treatment this past weekend, and deeply regret the experience he endured,” and added, “It was unacceptable and contrary to our values, beliefs and how we seek to treat all people who visit our hotel.” Read the rest
A Portland, Oregon-based romance novelist has been charged with a crime she once wrote about. Read the rest
Described as "an experimental festival for independent artists and creators who work on the internet," Andy Baio and Andy McMillan's internet-fest baby XOXO will be back in early September.
And according to this tweet, they're making it bigger and more inclusive (be sure to check out their "living" inclusion policy):
We're moving to a new venue, and growing so we can offer significantly more free subsidized passes, prioritizing underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals.
The fun is happening in Portland, Oregon at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum from September 6 through 9. If this sounds like your jam, get on the horn and register before the deadline of June 29. Tickets (both paid and subsidized) are offered through a survey and lottery process, of which they write:
A first-come, first-serve system typically favors those with time and money, which ends up benefiting predominantly white men with well-paying jobs and disposable income.
Our survey system allows us to factor diversity into admission, which helps to counteract systemic biases and prioritize access to the festival for underrepresented folx and independent artists.
Check out the lineup! Read the rest
40-year-old Raji Afife Azar ran a LEGO theft and fencing operation in Portland, Oregon. Aided by the Fred Meyer market's Retail Theft Unit, Portland PD put a stop to this brick bandit.
Via the Portland PD's statement on the arrest:
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This investigation began in early 2018 when Fred Meyer's Organized Retail Theft Unit Investigators learned Azar was the leader of a fencing operation that involved the theft and sale of merchandise from multiple stores in the Portland metropolitan area. During the investigation, the Fred Meyer's Organized Retail Theft Unit worked with the Northwest Organized Retail Crime Alliance and learned Azar had solicited multiple people to steal from various business throughout the area.
During this investigation, undercover investigators were contacted by Azar on multiple occasions. The undercover investigators posed as theft suspects that would sell stolen merchandise to Azar at a fraction of the manufacturer's retail suggested price. On Thursday, April 26, 2018, Azar requested undercover investigators, who he believed were theft suspects, sell him approximately $13,000 in stolen merchandise. The undercover investigators met Azar in the 10300 block of Southeast Washington Street with the supposed stolen merchandise. After Azar purchased the stolen merchandise from undercover officers, he was taken into custody without incident.
Once Azar was taken into custody, a search warrant was served at his family's residence in the 2000 block of Southeast 102nd Avenue. During a search of the residence, investigators located a large quantity of stolen Legos and other stolen merchandise (photograph provided with press release). Investigators with the Fred Meyer's Organized Retail Theft Unit estimate the recovered stolen value of the Legos and other toys taken from Portland area Fred Meyer stores to be approximately $50,000 -- this estimate does not include merchandise that was recovered at the residence that came from other retail stores.
Protesters against ICE's campaign of mass deportations were treated to a bizarre public stunt by Portland, OR police, who put them in isolation hoods and sound-muffling ear-protectors reminiscent of the treatment described by Gitmo prisoners and other survivors of US torture. The police were attempting separate the protesters from the bonds they used to stick themselves together and the measures were nominally taken to protect the protesters' hearing and vision from police power-tools. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest
Arnold Drake World is a talented paper artist who sits at a communal table at the cafe in Portland's legendary Powell's City of Books and turns paper napkins and towels into "botanically correct flowers" with many flourishes and grace-notes. Read the rest
Portland activist Carlos Enrique demonstrated how Pepsi’s tone-deaf protest ad would actually play out in real life by handing Mayor Ted Wheeler a can of Pepsi during a City Council meeting. Read the rest
Environmental lawyer-turned-Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick has a cool use for the new SEC rules requiring companies to disclose executive pay starting in 2017: he's going to impose special taxes on businesses where the ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay exceeds 100:1 -- an increase of 10% for 100:1 companies, and 25% for 250:1 companies. Read the rest
Chloe Eudaly, whose zine emporium Reading Frenzy (previously) and publishing makerspace the Independent Publishing Resource Center are PDX institutions, is running for Portland City Council, campaigning on affordable housing for all in a city whose longterm residents are being left behind by runaway rents and spiraling housing prices. Read the rest
"Odnarotoop" is Portland spelled backwards with Japanese pronunciation. It's also the name of this Terry Gilliam-esque video with a catchy song.
Here's the English translation of the lyrics:
These are the mountains that rise in the distance
And this is the river that runs right beside us
And these are the bridges that always connect us in
These are the streets where we meet up for breakfast
and maybe some ice cream or a few dozen donuts
and these are the places we drink when we’re finished in
everyone’s open, so do what you want to in Odnarotoop
And this is the music we play in our basements
and our in the street where the city can hear us
so sing right along if you’re planning to join us in Odnarotoop
everyone’s open, so do what you want to in Odnarotoop
This is the coffee we drink in the morning
and this is the treehouse my neighbor is building
everyone’s open and ready to greet you in Odnarotoop
And these are the bikes that we like to ride naked
and this is the art that we’re all busy making
everyone’s open so do what you want to in Odnarotoop
[via Tofugu] Read the rest
Portland is facing a rash of hundreds of dildos hanging from power lines. According to Portland General Electric, the sex toys don't pose a fire hazard. Read the rest