All the details are below (what I'm doing, why I need to do it, what happened, etc.). Read through or skip right to the end for info about the cool painting John Ward is putting up for auction to help me out or other ways to donate (and some perks for doing so).
What is it?
An attempt to raise
John Ward, Mike Reeves-McMillan, and Alison Marlowe were kind enough to suggest I try crowd-funding so I can keep doing what I do. I am eternally grateful for their support.
Why do you need a laptop?
Much of what I do involves being mobile. While I can do most of that work from home on my desktop, it does severely limit me, as I cannot take notes in real time, record podcasts, etc. when I am not at home. It comes down to what enables me to do my PhD and "hobby" work at optimum efficiency. A laptop lets me do it all in one unit.
The big issue is that I have my PhD exams this coming spring, which means I have to get a replacement ASAP.
Unfortunately, what happened is more my fault than anything else. I made the mistake of leaving a glass of water too close to my laptop and my new cat (10 minutes before I decided to keep him) knocked it over while I was in the bathroom. After several unsuccessful attempts to fix the laptop, I came to the conclusion that it had died. Luckily, I did not lose any relevant work (Dropbox), but I did learn a valuable lesson.
How do I help?
There are two ways you can help:
1) You can donate via Paypal using the my email -- arconna[at]yahoo[dot]com (see below for a perk for donating)
2) You can head over to John Ward's page and bid on his amazing zombie painting, which he has kindly offered up to help me out. Details for the auction will be located on that page. To sweeten the auction deal (for me, really), Mike Reeves-McMillan has offered to match the auction up to $250, which is incredible.
What are those perks you keep babbling about?
Here's Captain America trying to explain all of this in typical Captain America fashion:
Perk #1: Those who you follow my podcasts will know that my friend and I do a special segment for The Skiffy and Fanty Show called "Torture Cinema," in which we review bad science fiction and fantasy movies (sometimes books) while drinking alcohol. Anyone who donates $50 or more (including via the auction) will get to pick a movie for us to watch starting in August. No voting. You get to be dictator for the day.
There are only two rules:
1) the film must be SF/F (broadly defined)
2) it must be something we haven't reviewed yet. You can find the list of previous Tortures here.
Perk #2: I'm giving away a small collection of short stories for donations $10 and up (whether direct to me or through John's zombie painting auction). The stories will include:
--"Burned by Sol's Rain" (high-octane military SF involving time dilation and human/machine hybrids, among other things)
--"Irlgem" (sword and sorcery story about a female knight and a murder and a dangerous magic item)
--"Dear [Redacted]" (a humorous letter explaining why a planet has been marked for extermination, more or less)
--"Interstellar Realty" (a humorous far future tale about customer service, real estate, mortgage payments, and robotic dogs)
Perk #3 (alternate to #1): If you'd like to torture me in a more direct way, I will read the first chapter of any crappy SF/F book of your choice. It will be on video, and it will involve drinking. Yes, I am aware this may give me a brain disease, but sometimes pleasing others is worth it. Same donation level as #1.
Perk #4: Anyone who donates (or has donated) $20 or more will receive a copy of Crux's upcoming novel at release. The novel is based on urban legends from the Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Sounds pretty interesting to me.
Is that all?
For now. If you've got other ideas, such as forcing me to read from a really awful book while doing an impression (a bad impression), I'm not against the idea. You just have to let me know. As long as it's reasonable, I'll do it for $50. Call it whoring myself out for your entertainment, only I'll have my clothes on and we won't be in a cheap pay-by-the-hour hotel.
If you have any questions, let me know. And feel free to share the word!