An old type of game

So, yeah, it's been a while. Life became busy for all of the regular Awesomeographers, and we ended up spending our time on other things. But I've had an idea, and I wanted to put it down somewhere. This seemed a good place.

A deck of cards is a clever thing. You can play many different types of games with a single deck. It has card types on a few dimensions: color, suit, value, and class (face vs. number). With those four variables, you have more than 20 major games and plenty of variations of each. That's without modifying a standard deck.

I'd like to do a variation of that for the modern age. The goal would be to make a game where all of the required pieces are not too much larger than a deck of cards. Everything could be made easily with a 3D printer, CNC mill, or could be inexpensively purchased. There would be instructions available online (perhaps available as a booklet made to fit well to the pieces) that would have not only all of the games that people had come up so far, but also a guide to creating new games, perhaps with some basic game theory to go with.

So I'll noodle this over some more, and see if it gets to the point where I want to put the time to it. It's entirely possible there's something like this out there already, or other people are working on it. If I start it up, I'll announce here and put it on my Github repo so that people can contribute if they are so inclined.

Friday's Awesome Links for Aug. 30

My brain is still a little squishy from meeting SO MANY INTERESTING people at Intervention this past weekend, but apparently Brian's brain still works, and here are a couple articles he has to share with you this week! 

From Brian:

Adam Savage's Ten Rules For Success
Although he doesn't have the most awesome job in existence, he is definitely high up on the list, and as a Mythbuster and maker Adam Savage knows a lot about succeeding and failing. So this list of ten rules for success is well worth checking out.

Letters of Note: Take Your Pick
"In 1984, iconic advertising executive and real-life Mad Man David Ogilvy received a letter from his 18-year-old great nephew, Harry. Having just finished school, Harry was now faced with the common dilemma of whether to go to university or jump straight into full-time work, and so asked his highly respected relative for some wisdom on the matter. Ogilvy responded with the following multiple choice letter of advice."

This is a great way of showing options. Look at what each can do for you, not just as the step for now, but in how you can go forward after that. It's not that there's a right way, it's knowing what you can do with what you choose.

Everybody Needs an Intervention from Time to Time

So! This past weekend we spent a lot of time chatting with creative folks and seeing the myriad projects they've been working on—many in a professional capacity. It was overwhelming (in the good way) to experience so many things in less than 3 days. And now I'm going to tell you what I thought of it all.

I went into Intervention after a couple of exhausting weeks at work and home (not sleeping well), so once we pulled into the parking lot of the Hilton, I was already on fumes. Not a good idea when you're going to be representing your site and brand at a con.  

Though I was a bit rough around the edges on Friday, booth setup was easy and it was a blessing that Awesomeography was in the Artist Alley just to be there ... not to sell anything or craft commissioned items at a drop of the hat (like some of our fellow vendors). That meant the pressure was lower and Brian and I could just meet people, chat, talk about our mission and not think about a bottom line.  

Over the course of the weekend, I met many, many people—most of them artists creating a wide variety of things from video game concept art to wildly creative plush hats. I now have a rather large stack of business cards to hunt through so I can start writing more "Meet an Awesomeograher" features. I also probably spent too much money buying prints and hairpins and such from these folks, but it was totally worth it. And I'm excited to share their stories with you in the coming months.

On Sunday, we held our very first workshop, and I have to say that we knocked it out of the park! Even though we were scheduled up against Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Bellydancing, we still had at least 6-7 people attend the workshop and were able to talk with them about their projects and brainstorm ways for them to conquer the challenges that are stopping them from making something awesome. That feeling of accomplishment following the workshop was huge, and now Brian and I have a lot of ideas to begin to work on. Never a dull moment! 

Friday's Awesome Links for Aug. 16

In one week, Brian and I will be hanging out at our booth at Intervention, talking with attendees and discussing how folks can get this awesomeness rocking and rolling. Will you be there? Come visit us!

Until then, here are a few things we came across recently that we want to share: 

From Brian: 
Guy Windsor's solutions to 5 barriers to success 
This is essentially what a very good Awesomeography article should be, except neither Melissa nor I wrote it. Read this and learn about five barriers to success. (via @jpmarcotte)

How to approach structured writing from the JoCoCruiseCrazy 3 Nerdist Writer's Panel. This was my question from the panel, as I spent roughly a half an hour ruthlessly crafting my question in such a way as to be specific and efficient. It took a while to get the kind of answer I was looking for, but Josh A. Cagan came through with some practical advice. I am a big fan of learning practical advice from people who know.

The Finish Line.
Though he's discussing art, John Kovalic talks about the most important parts of any project: starting and finishing. 

From Melissa:
The One-Year, Alternative Graduate School Program 
I found this to be intriguing, and really, a great option for someone who can focus on self-learning. It's also something that can be adapted—maybe not as the "full" alternative program, but simply as something that can enrich your every day life. 

In Praise of the Unremarkable

A month before we were due to launch this site, I ran across an article entitled, "A Rant: In Praise of the Unremarkable."  It's essentially about having inspirational messages shoved in your face, and telling people that it's okay (and often praiseworthy, as you might guess from the title) to skip the whole "being awesome" thing and just do your job, support your family, and so on.

One month before the launch of the site, Melissa and I were deep in the middle of figuring out what to write about, how the site should look, what our updating schedule might be, and so on. When I read, "In Praise of the Unremarkable," it felt as though it was somewhat aimed at what we are trying to do at Awesomeography.  It's not, really, but it dips into that territory from time to time. 

The central concept can be encapsulated by this quote, "We are bombarded by marketing, advertising and social media rainbow bombs that imply that if we’re not exceptional, we’re nothing." There are examples throughout the article that support that, and in reality, we aren't into that sort of thing here.

It's not for us to tell you if you are exceptional or not. Live your life the way you want to or the way you need to. We aren't trying to be inspirational in the sense that we are trying to convince you that you could be more than you believe you can be. What we are trying to do is to show you, if you are interested in doing something awesome, how to go about it.

All of the advice we give is meant to be practical. Some of it may be a bit esoteric, some may be a bit fluffy, especially if I'm feeling bad that I haven't written an article recently and I want to get something out without having to work too hard at it. But, at its heart, everything is meant to be something that you could pick up, dig through a little, and use to get farther along your path to awesome.

That being said, man, the inspirational articles are so easy. Blah blah, all you have to do is believe in yourself, blah blah. If you catch me writing one of those, get over to my contact page and call me a lazy wretch, for clearly I am. There's a place for those articles, but not here. We even have an Inspiration section, but it's not meant for that kind of inspiration. It's meant to give you a place to start on your projects. Going on a Questfinishing your first draft even if you don't like it, using your short form ideas in a longer form, all of those are meant to be practical advice. The Bloggess link … that maybe not so much. I should have put that here in the blog, rather than as an article. But nobody noticed, so as long as I don't point it out, it should be fine.

So, to sum up: We're not trying to get you to starve your children or make the world a less safe place or anything like that. If you don't want to be awesome, or if you just can't do it, then don't. But if you find you're spending a lot of time just staring out a window, or watching the television, or just wishing you could do something pretty cool, we are here to help. 

One thing I will take exception with in the article is the claim that the Mini Cooper is not a remarkable car. It is fantastically amazing, and I will hear nothing to gainsay that. Harrumph.


Friday's Awesome Links for July 19

Hellllloooo! How are you! Brian and I have been busy working on some upcoming "stuff" (check back on Monday!), as well as working our butts off at our day jobs, and presumably sweating as this heatwave beats the everliving crap out of the Mid-Atlantic. Boo heatwave! 

Nevertheless, here is some summer reading you should check out, in easy-to-digest article form, that way you can keep on being awesome. 

 Change Your Definition of Failure: It's How You Get Better
This piece is fantastic, simply for this breakdown:

It’s easy to see why we fear failures, screw-ups and unknowns when you consider how they are traditionally defined:
Failure: 1. lack of success; failing 2. unsuccessful person or thing. 3. non-performance.
Screw-up: 1. bungle, mess. 2. mismanage a task. 3. thing incorrectly done or thought.
Unknown: 1. not known. 2. unfamiliar.
You can shift your perception and recognize their value (or at least take out the sting) by redefining them as follows:
Failure: 1. the starting line 2. part of process. 3. on the path to success.
Screw-up: 1. sign of innovation. 2. output of dedicated work 3. result of perseverance.
Unknown: 1. creative challenge. 2. new opportunity.

Following this is a list of 4 Dos and Don'ts for how to respond. The essence of this piece is to get out of the trap of negative thinking (which can be a deadly spiral) and into a more positive space. Trust me, it's worth it.

 The ‘Busy’ Trap
You may have already read this NYT piece (it's a year old), but I still see people linking to it, so I thought it'd be good to share in this space. Yes, it's fine to be busy, but too many of us are burying ourselves in "busy," acting like its a badge of honor. It's not healthy. There's nothing wrong with relaxing, and often some of your best ideas can come to you when you're being idle. Let this happen. Just because you're not "busy" doesn't mean you're not doing enough or you're lazy. 

Friday's Awesome Links for June 7

It's Friday, Friday, Friday, and we have some awesome stuff to share with you!

From Melissa:
How to love the inevitable pain of getting focused. It hurts so good.
Danielle's genius is easily summed up in the third sentence: "If focusing was easy, everyone would being doing it."

Survivorship Bias
This piece is a bit long, though I love the examples from the WWII fighting planes, it's main thesis is striking: Don't learn from the survivors, learn from those who did not survive. That might sound a little morbid, but think about it ... it makes sense. Sure, you can see what other successful people do, but their successes will be different than yours. Instead, look for what failed, so you can learn what NOT to do.

From Brian:
I have two articles which are related, in a way. The first is from ukuleleist John Scalzi (oh, okay, he's a SF author and, strictly speaking, was playing a Tenor Guitar), and it's about how being a white male is like playing a video game on easy mode.

Which is all well and good and important to read, but it's really just a companion to this article by artist Molly Crabapple about art, and about rules, and about money. There are adult concepts, as well as adult language, in this article, so you know. (Via Nicole Hello the Future! Dieker)

Friday's Awesome Links for May 24

Another Friday, another bunch of awesome to share. Shall we begin?

Don’t Fight the Funk: How To Deal With Depression
This article is a big one for me, because I've been dealing with my own funk. It's not fun, it's not easy, and it's really freaking frustrating. It's taken the wind out of my sails, but this article, which my husband Ray shared with me, helps put things into perspective. And I can imagine that a lot of us are going to be hit with funks while trying to do the awesome things we want to do. So hopefully this can help.

Marc Vetri: Defining Yourself
I am a huge nerd for chef and restauranteur Marc Vetri, who has given Philly the joy of having at least 4 restaurants. But this isn't just about food. Marc shares about his stutter, its effect, and how he doesn't let it define him negatively anymore. He writes:

"Confidence is the one thing that many people who stutter lack. We're always worried about what other people think. That day, I realized that maybe people aren't as caught up in it as I thought they were."

I think we all have something that we use to define ourselves in a negative way because we think that's all that other people see. And they don't. So let's start defining ourselves with the positives ... and take that cue from Marc.

Friday's Awesome Links for May 10

Brian here. There are some links we need to give you this week. They are all awesome, so you can click them all now, or you can read about them, and then click them. Your choice, really.

The McDonald's Theory - This link is from Melissa. It's ostensibly about a general lesson learned while finding a trick to get people to choose some place to go to lunch, but let's face it: there is nothing harder in the world than getting a group of people to come up with some place to go for lunch. Blah blah general lesson: lunch. Seriously.

Getting Things Done - My assumption is that everyone knows what this is, but I have a strange world view. Getting Things Done (or GTD) is a book that describes a philosophy about how to get things done. It's about prioritizing and making your life easier for avoiding distractions and the like. It's a short book, and even if you don't go all out in the GTD philosophy, you can learn some useful tidbits that you can take advantage of without all the rest. There's probably something in the book about not doing that, but it's cool. I won't tell.

Unclutterer - A website, and also a book and a philosophy, because why not?, that helps you to eliminate clutter from your life. Some of the clutter is physical, some is emotional, and often it's both.

Incidentally, both of my recommendations came from talking with Fallen_Woman on Twitter and finding out what sorts of things she would like from Awesomeography. Please do talk to us, on Twitter, Facebook, or through our contact page. If you know me or Melissa, give us a call. It's cool.

Friday's Awesome Links for May 3

Brian and I decided that there is a lot of awesome stuff being written and shared online that we want to share with all of you. So, every Friday we'll share some butt-kicking articles we've read or sites we've discovered that week.

If you think there's an article or a site we should check out, feel free to leave a comment, or touch base with us through our Contact page.

Melissa's Picks

Be Awesome at a Moment's Notice: A Guide to Powering Up Your Brain
I thought this article had some pretty interesting tips that you can pick and choose from, but maybe most important is the comment that you should use them sparingly. While I don't agree with the term "tricks," I liked this closing point: 

Moderation is key. You can help yourself out by using these tricks when you need them, but you'll waste a good thing if you use them too frequently. Think of these methods as a secret weapon, and not as an everyday solution.

How to Be Awesome at Approaching People
I feel like this is something everyone should read, because 1) Approaching people isn't always the easiest, and 2) approaching people is important because that's how you build friendships, partnerships, and more.

Brian's Picks

Seth Godin
If you like Awesomeography, chances are good your going to find helpful tips at Seth's site. This is not a particularly obscure link, to be sure, but it's a great one to put out there early. Sometimes he writes about productivity and sometimes marketing, but there's a lot of great stuff in there that I'm almost certainly going to steal in the near future.

Ladysplaining Episode 1 - The Dunning-Kruger Effect (mp3 link)
Sara Chicazul and Alice Lee explain (or Ladysplain) a useful psychological effect and how it can help you to hack your brain for more awesomeness. I live almost exclusively in activities explained by the Dunning-Kruger Effect, and it seems to work out well enough for me. Maybe it will for you as well.

Introducing Awesomeography

Welcome to Awesomeography. Our goal is to help you become as Awesome as you want to be. The site is divided essentially into articles, which contain the actual useful bits to help you in your Awesome goals, and this blog here, which is us talking about Awesomeography itself.

Not too much to say right now, except thanks for dropping by. We'd love to hear from you on any of the social networks we frequent. There are icons that link to them. Go on, look around, you can find them. If there's any way we can help you become more Awesome, let us know, and we will do our best.