Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Omaha Science Fiction Education Society Newsletter

Vol 1 - Number 1 - December, 2009

If you are on our mailing list, we are sending this out to you to keep you abreast of where we are with OSFest and other activities that are taking place throughout the Omaha area. If you know of anybody who would like to receive this newsletter, and is not currently on our e-mail list, send an e-mail to: omahascifi@gmail.com and request to be put on the list. Conversely, if you are receiving this newsletter and do not wish to receive it, send an e-mail to the aforementioned address and request to be removed from our list.

OSFES had a panel at AnimeNebraskon - we presented a brief history of S/F conventions that have occurred in Omaha and the surrounding area. We reported on where we are today, with activities that are in the planning stages at OSFest and other activities that are being planned in Omaha and the surrounding area. We ended with a Q & A on what people would like to see at OSFest.

We are looking at upcoming cons and holding room parties at these cons- If you will be attending any cons within 500 or so miles of Omaha in the future, look for our room party. Or if you would like to sponsor a party for OSFest, contact us at: omahascifi@gmail.com for how to go about it.

We will be having a concert at OSFest. Plans at this time are to hold this concert on Friday evening, July 23. It was also decided that we will have a dance on Saturday evening, July 24. We are currently looking at a number of entertainers, but nothing is definite yet.

We are in the early planning stages of an Anime Film Festival that we would like to hold sometime this winter. Right now we still need a venue and more ideas. Any suggestions are welcome.

Every Saturday “The Usual Suspects” invite you to attend a movie with them at the Great Escape Theater in Omaha. This will be the last “twilight” (i.e. cheap) showing around 5:00pm. Check the theaters listings for the actual time or sign up for our Yahoo e-mail group, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Omaha_Sci-Fi_Fantasy_Discussions/join to receive a reminder notice weekly. If you want you can also join them afterwards for supper at a nearby restaurant for discussion of the movie and other stuff.

If you know of any activities going on in the Omaha area and would like to have them put in this monthly newsletter, or anything relevant to s/f, fantasy, anime, costuming or cosplay, etc., send the info to applsaucefactory@aol.com.

Our web site is http://www.osfes.org/

Omaha_Sci-Fi_Fantasy_Discussions is a Yahoo group dedicated to general fan discussions about anything and everything.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Winter Activities in the Omaha Area

Cold as it is outside; we have not yet hit the point in Omaha where things have to slow down. Most winter planning takes a backseat to the chance of extreme snow closing things down in this city. Which is a real problem here since our weather patterns either have major storm activities by-pass us or funnel everything then have right onto our area.

Yet we are starting to see more event coordinators taking the chance and planning activities during our winter months. They are taking advantage of the fact that even after a major snow event; the Omaha streets are usually cleared within a day or so.

Saturday Dec. 5th The Omaha Science Fiction Education Society (OSFES) is hosting a Laser Tag Event at Zzzap! Laser Adventures starting at 7PM and going until everyone has had a chance to play. The organizers would like you to RSVP on their Facebook site. It will allow them to coordinate things with ZZZap! Management.

Sunday Dec. 6th will be the monthly meeting of Otaku Get Together at Scooters Coffee in the Old Market at 12th & Howard, Omaha, NE. They meet from 12-3PM, for more information their website is: http://www.otakugettogether.com/

Every Saturday The Usual Suspects invite everyone to join them for the last matinee showing of a recently released movie at the Great Escape Theatre, 7440 Crown Point Avenue, Omaha, NE. That is usually around 5PM but show times vary. Here is a PDF of the films they are looking at going to over the next few months.

The third Tuesday of the month OSFES hosts a book discussion group at the Abrahams Branch of the Omaha Public Library. Our next meeting will be Dec. 15th at 6PM until 8PM. Whatever you have been reading lately and would like to discuss or encourage others to read will be welcome. From automatic reminders, join the Omaha_Sci-Fi_Discussion Yahoo group.


Click to join Omaha_Sci-Fi_Fantasy_Discussions


Saturday Jan. 16th starting at 2PM and running all night will be an AniRave sponsored by Otaku Omaha at the Comfort Inn & Suites. For more details about this dance go to their Facebook event site.
If you are planning an event in the next few months and want some free publicity, leave a comment and how I can get in touch with you. We also have and activities page on the OSFES website where we can post any ongoing events you have planned. So let’s Share and Enjoy all the activities we do in our fannish lifestyles.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Anime Nebraskon Super Battle Frenzy BBQ

The Anime NebrasKon people have done it again. Sunday, August 30th, they will be hosting another Fan BBQ in Elmwood Park: The Anime Nebraskon Super Battle Frenzy BBQ. If you don’t know where Elmwood Park is, it is right behind the UNO campus, just south of 60th and Dodge. Find the picnic area and look for people in costumes 2PM or as the organizer, Caleb Combs says “3ish in Otaku Time for most of you.”

So Caleb, who is invited to this shindig?
“Everyone and Anyone which includes and is not limited to the following: Con Staff, Con Attendees, Their Friends, Their Family, NUKE Con Staff, OSFES Staff, Otaku Get Together, Otaku Omaha Staff, UN Otaku Anime Hoshii, Nebraska Amtgard, Anime Sunday, and anyone else who likes anime or a good BBQ!
“To sum it up this is for everyone to come together and just enjoy some good food, talk about anime, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, LARPs, RPGs, smack each other with foam weapons, and wear really awesome home made nerd armor.”

They are planning several events:
      SUPER BATTLE FRENZY (team foam combat)
      Armor and Weapons contests
          o Best Original Armor
          o Best Original Weapon
          o Best Female Armor
          o Best Male Armor
      An anime version of WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?
      A BATTLE FRENZY CARAMELLDANSEN REMIX
      A BATTLE FRENZY SIDE DISH CONTEST;
          o Bring a side dish, give it a name, and the judges decide who is the Ultimate Bringer of the Epicness of Side Dishes.
                Best Tasting
                Best Name
      POKEMON BATTLE/TRADE GATHERING: Bring your DS and your Pokemon. But please e-mail Cay Combs at Marketing@animenebraskon.com, so he can make a list of who's bringing their DS for others who ask.
      INTERGALACTIC WATERGUN FIGHT

There is no cost to attend this event. But it is a potluck feast so please bring beverages (non-alcoholic, as alcohol is illegal in City of Omaha parks), a dessert, a side dish, chips, or a main dish of some type.

If you are not interested in participating in any of the planned events, still come and meet the lively people who are. This is a good time to renew old friendships, make new ones, and see what is happening in the Omaha Sci-Fi Scene.

For more information, contact Caleb “Cay” Combs:
Marketing@animenebraskon.com
MYSPACE.COM/I1KIDDYNAMITE1I
facebook.com/people/Cay-Combs/212300006
402-452-1553

In the event of rain, this will be postponed to 9-6-09. If you are bringing food, please notify Cay or add what you are bringing to a wall post. Thank you and hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It Came From The Con Suite

I know many of you have been waiting for this - so here is the story written at OSFest 2 on the Con Suite wall:

The con chair lay in a pool of blood. The color of the blood was a light green, and smelled like pancakes. They were Good! The congealed sticky, parts splattered to the far corners of the room. “They don’t pay me enough to clean this!” She thought as she entered the room. She started to wipe up the mess with a sponge, but it stuck. She tried to let go of the sponge but she was stuck to that too. It took eight of Artoo’s tools, including his heavy duty wrench, to get them unstuck. Unfortunately, she’s now stuck to him. And then the rocks began to fall. Heisenberg may have been here. Instead of bouncing off, or crushing them, they stuck. Only the fact that the rocks stuck prevented an avalanche that would have wiped out the valley below. “EVERY Thing is all sticky!” She bellowed. To which a passer by replied, “That’s what she said.” But just then something strange happened, the green sticky blood began to glow. The two stared in horrified fascination as the blood began to envelop them both, seeming the crawl up their arms. But they didn’t mind because it all still smelled like pancakes. “Root beer is sticky” says John Pershing. MMMM, Root Beer flavored pancakes. They thought as the started to rise into the air. Suddenly they heard a noise that sounded like the death rattle of 1000 wild nerf. And then the “Shat” hit the fan….
Falling out of the sticky, sweet, coagulated blood they realized by the smell of sulfur and sounds of screams that they had landed themselves in their own personal hell.
I left the iron on at home…
“Oh no! The Children! The Children…!”
“Oh fantast free me!!!”
And more rocks fell?
Rocks fall, everyone dies?
Resurrection being cheap everyone is put back to work
I hope they have hard hats…
[Obviously a musical interlude that includes a dance number and with jazz hands!! And “spirit fingers”]
After time-space corrected itself, the girl and Artoo found they were free from the green, glowing, pancake-scented blood. However, it had gained sentience, and spoke in a gurgly voice…”Feed Me!”
They turned and ran back to the green pancake scented blood. She stripped off her headband and soaked it in the blood, then flung it at the hungry creature.
“Eat this!” She screamed. A random passerby replied, “that’s what he said” as the bloody headband hit the green blood it sunk in and dissolved then the green blood began to grow.
Superman’s a ninja.
The cake's a lie.

Join us next year at OSFest 3: Under Construction where we will again tape pink butcher paper to the Con Suite wall for everyone to contribute to another wonderous piece of fan fiction.

Share and Enjoy!

Friday, July 24, 2009

OSFest 2 Another Small Step

OSFest took another small step towards uniting the Omaha fannish community last weekend. A lot of different fannish groups came together and had a good time at our second annual science fiction and fantasy convention. If you missed it, check out some of the videos produced about what went on:





But not everything went smoothly and there are some things we can improve on. We took too long with the art auction, so we got some ideas to help speed things up next year. The video game room needs some changes also. We need to work on our game shows. But what else could we have done better? Now is the time to speak up. If we know you had a problem with something and you know a way we can fix it, get us working on it. Leave us a comment either here, on our Yahoo group: Omaha_Sci-Fi_Fantasy_Discussions, or email us directly at omahascifi@gmail.com.

If you are not a member of our Yahoo group you can join by clicking the button below:
Click to join Omaha_Sci-Fi_Fantasy_Discussions Click to join Omaha_Sci-Fi_Fantasy_Discussions


And if you would like to get involved with helping out The Omaha Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival next year, we would love to have you. Either drop us an email or sign up at the omaha_ne_scifi_con Yahoo group.

Wait, let’s keep this simple, just click here:

Click to join omaha_ne_scifi_con Click to join omaha_ne_scifi_con

Remember, OSFest is a science fiction convention with something for everyone. If you didn't find what you wanted, let us know how we can bring it to you and others interested in the same things.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Local Area Roundtable Discussions

The nature of a convention is the bringing together of like minded individuals. Be they doctors at medical conventions, Sales Representatives at trade shows, or fans at SF/F conventions. That is why we are having three roundtable discussions as part of OSFest 2’s programming.

The first will be Saturday July 18th at 2PM in the Comfort Inn & Suites Board Room. The Local Anime Groups Roundtable is a chance for all the different Anime groups in the area to meet each other and tell other conventions attendees about what they do throughout the year. I am extending the invitation to any and all Anime groups wishing to participate to drop me a line at jshoberg@cox.net, so I can pencil you in. But if you can’t get a hold of me before hand, please show up and attend this discussion. I am trying to contact all the groups OSFES knows about but that may be impossible. So please, if you are part of an Anime group, consider this your invite and attend.

The next one scheduled is again on Saturday but at 5PM and is for the gaming community. This would be your chance to let the rest of the gaming community learn about the gaming activities you are sponsoring. Consider it your chance to convince new people to show up for your events, maybe find some crossover with other groups and build your gaming activities through joint events.

The reason OSFES wants to sponsor both roundtables is that it will allow us to get a deeper understanding of what is happening in the area and better serve those needs by noted those activities on our activities webpage. Which leads into the third discussion; on Sunday at 2PM (right before closing ceremonies) OSFES will host a discussion of the Omaha Gateway (the fancy name for our activities page). This would be the time for anyone interested to let us know what they would like to see on it and what format they would like the information presented in.

A convention is a time to come together and plan for the future. Let’s use the synergy of all the diverse groups in the Omaha area and build a future we can all have fun in.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

OSFest 2 Feature Films

Last year OSFest introduced the Omaha community to the films of Christopher Mihm, with The Monster of Phantom Lake, It Came From Another World, and Cave Women on Mars. This year we are proud to bring you his latest film; Terror From Beneath The Earth.

While exploring the Wisawa cave system, Dr. Vincent Edwards and Rosemary Bennett uncover evidence in the missing person’s case of small-town farmer, Stan Johnson’s children. Not realizing the caves are inhabited by a strange mutated creature, the result of years of underground atomic testing, they report their finding to the local sheriff. Returning with a rescue mission Dr. Edwards, Rosemary, the sheriff, and Mr. Johnson. Little do they realize the terrors that await them beneath the Earth. The Omaha premiere showing will Saturday night after the Masquerade.




On Friday night we will be offering the Omaha premiere screening of Visioneers. This is the directorial debut by Jared Drake and stars Zach Galifianakis, with Judy Greer, Missi Pyle, and James LeGros in supporting roles. It is a near future story about an increasing number of cases of spontaneous human combustion and the fears of one man (Zach Galifianakis) as he believes his time is approaching. This film features music by Tim DeLaughter of the Polyphonic Spree.



OSFest will not be sponsoring a video room this year so our staff can spend more time contacting distributors to get some really neat stuff for next year. Though I understand an Anime Addict will be getting a hotel room during the convention to screen some really good stuff.

Finally I am pleased to announce that The Godfather will be attending OSFest Saturday afternoon and evening. He has even agreed to settle the dispute regarding which costume is the best to grace our stage during our annual Masquerade Contest. Come and have your picture taken with The Godfather who I’m sure will have a mob of henchR-2s at his beck and call.

3-day memberships are still available at: www.osfes.org/registration.htm
In the words of The Godfather; "Do it!"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thank You, John Jaeckel

Open and clear lines of communication are important in every endeavor of human society. Misunderstandings and wars have been waged over slights that were not intended nor even existed when spoken yet through tangled communication channels degenerated into what they were never meant to be. We have gone through one of these periods in Omaha fandom and I want to commend John Jaeckel for beginning the process to end that cycle.

I went to Capes Lounge, the newest comic book store in Omaha, yesterday to meet the owner and thank him for some recent things he had done to help OSFest this year. John happened to be there and overhead some of our conversation. I am glad that he decided to approach me outside.

After finding a place where we could hear each other over the traffic, we had a very good and productive discussion. We cleared up a lot of the miscommunication and misconceptions about what was being said because we could respond to each other in clear and correctable dialogue. A problem is that Omaha gets to be a closed community and generate closed internal communities very quickly. To avoid this, we hope to use the Anime NebrasKon BBQs as a venue to keep the dialogue going within fandom in Omaha.

Some lessons we took away from our conversation is that: what is written on the internet stays on the internet FOREVER; what you think is a closed venue probably isn’t, other people will find your words; tone of voice while writing may hide good intentions; and without give and take dialogue people will take away the worst possible meaning to your words.

Personally I think this is a great start. It will open up avenues that can only help all of fandom in the Omaha area. Working together Omaha fandom can bring both a general convention and several focused genre conventions, which working separately we might not be able to pull off. So I thank you John Jaeckel for getting this conversation started.

Anime NebrasKon: when are you having that next BBQ?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Invasion of the Replicas

Just four weeks until the second annual Omaha Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival. Do you have your memberships yet?

There are lots of things happening this year. I should know, I have been working on the programming schedule for the last few weeks and that baby is about to be put to bed. Some of the events I have already talked about that require you to register ahead of time.

Time is running out to sign up for the Star Wars Miniatures: Hoth Scenerio battle scheduled for Friday evening. If you ever thought you could hold back the Empire on a frozen planet, now is your chance. Sign up today by dropping Darth Moose a line at mailto:Darth_Moose74@yahoo.com?subject=OSFest.

Also, there is the Writer’s Workshop on Sunday morning moderated by Odyssey Writing Workshop graduate Matthew Rotundo. If you want to try this, check out the workshop guidelines at: http://www.osfes.org/2009OSFESTWritingWorkshopInformation.pdf.

But as we get closer to the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the kickoff of OSFest 2, more events and opportunities are coming together. Moose Mendolia and his R2-Central Builders Club will have more droids than ever at OSFest this year. But along with them we hope to have another robot on display, a replica of the B9 robot from the 1960’s Lost In Space TV series built locally by Brad Edmonds. Go to his website where he has documented his endeavors and accomplishments. And if that wasn’t enough, Brad has also replicated the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT) muscle car from the first and second seasons of the 1980’s Knight Rider TV series. It will be on display in the hotel’s back parking lot. And his friend, Jeremiah Keller will be bringing a third and fourth season version of the vehicle that he has recreated, so the two can make a joint appearance. Don’t forget to bring your camera.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Conventions After Hours!

Okay you’ve spent the day at the convention, attended several panels, spent money in the dealer’s room, bid on several pieces of art in the art show, and faced down the hungry troll (I'm not talking about your girl friend) in the gaming room. So what do you do after all these activities have wrapped up for the night?

Room parties!!!

Most science fiction conventions today block a certain number of rooms on a floor isolated from the rest of the hotel. These rooms are for people who wish to host a party in their room after the convention activities have wound down. Since they are separate from non-convention goers staying at the hotel noise associated with party activity won’t bother them and party-goers are freer to engage in animated discussions.

So exactly what is a room party? It is whatever the host wants it to be. A lot of conventions host room parties at other conventions to help promote their own convention, book publishers host rooms parties to promote their current lineup of books. Themed parties are also popular. A couple I have seen in the last year have ranged from Vampire, to Battlestar Galactica (both versions in the same party), and A tribute to Hammer Films.

What goes on in the party is again up to the host. Do you serve alcohol, jello shots, food, ice cream? It’s up to the host. Do you play videos, music, party games? You guessed it; it’s up to the host. This year’s Artist Guests of Honor at OSFest 2; John & Denise Garner, typically host a Karaoke party room. So if you like to sing, be there or be a trapezoid.

How do you go about hosting one? First book a room at the hotel, either tell the hotel staff that you wish to be on the party floor or coordinate with the hotel liaison for the convention. Decide what you want to do at the party – why are you throwing it? If it’s your un-birthday make sure you have a cake. Lay in the supplies you need to make that them work, then open your door at the appointed hour and you will have people coming to you. Even if you are not throwing a party, having a hotel room means you can stay at an interesting one longer than if you had to drive home each night.

Are parties just excuses to get drunk? No! Make that; Hell No! Most hosts keep an eye on attendees these days and will cut someone off if they look like they have had too much. Every host is responsible to obey the laws of the state they are in regarding the serving liquor. No one under 21 – and badge coding isn't good enough. Most responsible hosts card younger looking partiers to protect themselves. You are responsible to make sure anyone you serve to is not already falling down drunk. Both of which are not hard regulations to stay within with a little use of common sense.

But what parties are is another chance for like minded individuals to get together in a social setting and enjoy each other company. Talk about what they had done during the daylight hours of the convention. Kibitz about the videos or songs being played, or show off their talent, or lack of, at the Karaoke machine. Best of all, if you stay at a party too long and are too tired to drive home, you just have to go back to your hotel room and bed. Unless you’re the one hosting the party.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Date Change * NEBRASKON'S: BBQ has changed its date!

This just in: the folks planning the First NebrasKon BBQ, Cosplay, and Frisbee Event have changed the date. Since May 24th this year is the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, and so as not to interfere with people’s family plans, they have moved this event back a week. It is now scheduled for Sunday May 31st. Everything else stays the same, including the rainout date of June 7th. This is great news for a lot of the OSFest 2 staff, as we will be in Kansas City this weekend for the annual SF/F convention there: ConQuest.

For more information about the BBQ, please scroll down to my earlier blog. It is still OSFES’ intention to promote fannish activities in whatever their format is. If your group has an activity you would like us to point out to people, please point it out to us.


OSFest 2 scheduling notes:

There will be two special activities of interest to local groups happening at OSFest this year. The first is a Local Anime Group Roundtable, with the other being an Area Gaming Roundtable. Both of these one hour panels are a time available for local groups to get together and meet each other, as well as promote their activities to people that have never heard about them before. OSFES will supply a moderator for each discussion but otherwise keep this event unformatted. There are lots of groups in the Metro area doing things and the more people know about what is happening, the more they can get involved. If you would like to participate in these discussions, just droop me a line and I will get you on the schedule. Either Anime Roundtable or Gaming Roundtable.

There is still room in both the Star Wars minis Hoth Battle on Friday evening and in the Writer’s Workshop on Sunday morning. Sign up today.

Friday, May 15, 2009

NEBRASKON'S: BBQ, COSPLAY, FRISBEE EVENT

One of the goals of the Omaha Science Fiction Education Society is to bring together all the genre groups in the area, so we can get to know each other. There are a lot of fannish activities available in the area and the more everyone knows what everybody is doing, the more each of us can choose what new activities we’d like to try.

Well OSFES is not the only group with this goal. Anime NebrasKon is sponsoring a fannish get together over Memorial Day Weekend. Sunday, May 24th, from 3 (or 4) PM until dusk, they are hosting a potluck BBQ in the Elmwood Park picnic area. Just look for the people in costume/cosplay in the park. In the event of rain, the BBQ will be rescheduled for June 7th.

Now a potluck means that you bring what you can: soda, chips, a covered dish (but remember unless it can be reheated on a grill, it should be designed to be served cold), a dessert. While they say they will be handling the meat, is there ever enough meat at a BBQ. That would also be an option to bring.

This is for everyone in the fannish community to come together and enjoy some good food, genre conversation, play Fizzbin, er, I mean Frisbee and other games, as well as just a good excuse to cosplay. They have even hinted at an Intergalactic water fight, it would probably be a good idea to bring your water armor. Elmwood was one of the first parks in Omaha to put in a Frisbee course. They are still looking for activities for the day, so if you have any ideas or suggestions please send them to: CCOMBS@RUSTYECKFORD.COM

After the event, everyone will be heading over to the Family Fun Center for some DDR and other games. Yes, the organizer is a confessed gaming addict, but we all have our own vices.

The NebrasKon staff is looking to make this a bi-weekly activity. Not necessarily a BBQ every time but something to keep bringing everyone together so we can get to know each other better. They may also schedule some smaller events in between these large type ones so keep watching the Gateway for announcements. Once a month they will bring this event to Lincoln, NE. They started Anime NebrasKon there after all and it is time Omaha and Lincoln fans got to know each other better.

So if you are in town, please check this out and meet all the new friends you didn’t know you had.

OSFest 2 scheduling notes:

There is still room in both the Star Wars minis Hoth Battle on Friday evening and in the Writer’s Workshop on Sunday morning. Sign up today.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Great Root Beer Bomb

Last year the con suite or hospitality room at OSFest featured a keg of 1919 Root Beer. It seemed to be so popular that one of Omaha's more popular Brewmeisters decided to rise to the challenge of preparing home-brewed root beer for OSFest 2. He promises that it will be ready on schedule and tapped shortly after opening ceremonies on Friday night.

Yet it was not without its trials and tribulations. The first batch brewed up was turned into a Root Beer Bomb when a hose connection failed during pressurization. But it was not a total loss; important lessons were learned from that serendipitous mistake. Lessons that he is now willing to share with you.

Check out the “Lessons I learned from home-brewing Root Beer” at www.osfes.org/HomeBrewLessons.htm. Then pass these on to all your friends that they may avoid the same misfortune as our Brewmeister. May he ferment in peace!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

OSFest 2's Writer's Workshop

A guest blog by Trudy Myers.

Living in Omaha, Nebraska, involves a number of challenges to those of us who want to write. The one we'll consider today is the difficulty of finding other writers who can help improve one's writing.

I've tried finding local writer's work groups since the one I had fell apart in the 90s. Sometimes, a bookstore will host one, but those are seldom very satisfying. When you write fantasy and science fiction, it's not often that a poet or a romance writer can help you hone your skills. They don't understand the 'rules' of science fiction and fantasy. Maybe they can't get past the fact that they don't understand your science, or maybe they just don't accept the existence of magic.

Been there. Done that.

Even living in the huge Midwest, you can find workshops; either on-line, or by traveling to another city. I've done that, too. Three-hour commute, four-hour workshop, three-hour commute makes for a long day.

You could make arrangements to attend an intensive 6-week course. Okay, I've only done that one on-line.

Or you can attend critique groups and workshops at (some) science fiction conventions. That's the one I do the most of these days.

OSFest is one of those science fiction conventions, and it is held in Omaha in July. It has a writer's workshop associated with it, of the 'critiquing session' variety. It is organized and 'administered' by Matt Rotundo, a local Omaha author. In 2008, it had four participants. To be a participant requires some forethought and preparation, in addition to the desire to write, so this is not for everybody.

If you want to try this, check out the workshop guidlines at: http://www.osfes.org/2009OSFESTWritingWorkshopInformation.pdf and be sure you sign up for the workshop. You can do that by emailing Matt Rotundo at mrotundo@yahoo.com, with "OSFest Writing Workshop" in the subject line. There will be a deadline for sending in a copy of your story to be critiqued, properly formatted. Pretend you are sending this story in to an editor and format appropriately. If you aren't sure what that is, formatting guidelines can be found at http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

Shortly after that, but before the convention, Matt will send copies of all the stories to each participant. At that point, your job is to read the stories and make notes about them. What didn't work for you, what did? Were there holes in the plot or the characterizations? Was some part unclear, or did a phrase seem particularly well turned? Bring those notes with you to the workshop at the convention.

During the workshop, you'll get a chance to make your observations about everybody else's story. They will comment on yours. Written notes will also be exchanged. Therefore, you'll get a chance to learn in two ways; by studying the work of others, and by having them critique yours.

I'll be there. Hope you will be, too.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gaming Activities at OSFest 2

This year gaming at OSFest will be a little different. Yes, we will still have the video gaming room on the same floor as the con suite with close to the same number of systems but without the Mature section.

The main difference will be downstairs in the tabletop gaming area. Nuke-con has agreed to come in and sponsor an Aftershock game day for the three days of the convention and along with the Omaha Cavaliers (an official RPGA group) will handle a lot of the general gaming available at the convention.

But Friday night is going to be something special. Moose Mendolia, aka DarthMoose74, the man behind the joystick of R2-CM a.k.a "Patches", is setting up a HUGE Star Wars miniatures adventure for that night along with fellow minis player Jayson Towne. Yes, I understand that the words huge and mini usually don’t go together but you should see what he has planned.

As a member of the Rebel Alliance it will be your duty to defend Hoth. You will be able to build an army of up to 150 player points to help you defend against the attacking Imperial forces. Plus you will be given a unique Rebel random piece before play with special rules attached to it. Of course there are limits to the pieces you can choose from, (go to http://www.osfes.org/gaming.htm and find the link to the rules PDF).

Moose will have all the pieces available if you don’t have everything you need. If you are unfamiliar with the game but would like a free demo, Moose runs Friday night Star Wars minis gaming at Ground Zero in Bellevue from 5pm to 9pm for free – just go to; www.osfes.org/activities.htm and scroll down to the gaming section for details.

There is also a basic online demo of the game system at http://mi.wizards.com/swminis/demo/SW_MinisDemo.html

Moose really needs to know if you are going to play, so drop him an email at mailto:Darth_Moose74@yahoo.com?subject=OSFest if you would like to participate in this unique event.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Gateway is open!

Sorry about the length of time since I last wrote but I have been busy for awhile pulling a few things together. Like:

OSFES in conjunction with Anime Hoshii is sponsoring a day long costuming workshop in the Metro this May. I will talk more about that as our plans get pulled into cohesion.

Watching the economy, we at OSFES have developed our version of an Economic Assistance Plan. We are lowering the prices for OSFest 2. Check out the new rates at www.osfes.org/registration.htm. Oh, and more on that later. But what I want to talk about today is:

An earlier blog written by a friend of mine discussed the need for a Gateway to fannish activities for the area. Nebraska science fiction, fantasy, and anime fans now have that Gateway; listings happenings and groups locally. Go to www.osfes.org/activities.htm and find something interesting going on. If you don’t find your group’s activities it means that we don’t know about it. So tell us. There is an email link at the bottom of the page to quickly communicate the chances you would like us to make. Remember this is your Gateway. The more activities we can have on it, the more cross-fertilization we can do and find more friends we didn’t know we had.

Why cross-fertilize? Nebraska is a region of America where fans hold strong opinions of their favorite activities, whether that is football, SF/F, or gaming. Such loyalty tends to insulate the fan base from other activities happening that could offer richness and diversity to their lives. Meeting fans with different interests allows ideas and activities to spread from one community to another. So enter the Gateway, try something new and adapt it into your life. Share it with others. Remember OSFest (The Omaha Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival) is a science fiction convention with something for everyone.

Share and Enjoy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hugo nominations coming to a close


Read any good books lately? Was the story first published in 2008? Are you a member of Anticipation (the 2009 World Science Fiction Convention) or were you a member of Denvention 3 (the 2008 Worldcon ™)? Have you sent in your Hugo nominations ballot yet? The nominating period for the 2008 Hugos ends this Saturday, February 28, 2009, at 2359 hrs PST. The online ballot is available here.

If you aren’t a member of either of those conventions then you are probably wondering what a Hugo is? Named for Hugo Gernsback the founding editor of Amazing Stories, the Hugo award has been given out at the annual World Science Fiction Convention since 1955 for the fan selected best works in various categories of science fiction and fantasy related work. The categories have changed over the years but currently include best novel, graphic novel, short story, long and longer short story (novelette and novella), dramatic presentation, editor (pro and fan), artist (pro and fan), and fanzine, along with the John W. Campbell for Best New Writer.

So if you attended or are attending either of these Worldcons ™, get your nominations in. If you didn’t or aren’t, look into the upcoming sites for the Worldcon ™, as it does rotate every year. You can find links to the current committees that are bidding to hold it here. It is really a great experience. You can meet a lot of the heavy weights in the industry in a mere weekend. Along with learning about the history that supports our favorite genre.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gateway

The following is a guest blog. It does not represent the views or opinions of OSFES or other writers for this blog but is the sole opinion of the guest writer. Please express your concerns about this issue in the comments section. But if there is another topic you would like to write an opinion about contact me at jshoberg@cox.net with your ideas.

GATEWAY
By R.L Callaway: NE
edited Jean Sexton: NC
Proofed Howard Bampton: PA

Omaha lacks a gateway informational site. This is a site that consolidates information on the activities and meetings of the various Omaha groups. In the past our centers of information were located in the game shops, comic book shops, and specialty bookstores, such as Merchant of Venus and Star Realm. These are stores that many of today's fans have never heard of.

There are reportedly seven different anime clubs, between four and seven gaming groups, at least three conventions, two to three video media groups and God alone knows if the DR WHO folks are still around in the greater Omaha metro area. Does anyone know when and where they all meet? What their current interests are? When their meetings are held? Who is in charge? And the last of the five Ws of journalism: Why?

The Greater Omaha Metro Area Science Fiction and Fantasy community is in need of a central site to post information about the area's activities and clubs, including information such as contact points, meeting dates, events, and news. Such a gatekeeper site is not political. It does not care about feuds between groups; it is not a blog; it has no opinions about the events. It will not allow a petty-minded flame war to exist on its discussion site. If someone needs to talk trash, then they can text it to whomever they want, but not via this site. In short, it is purely an informational area (OK, it might have one section for banter but you have to keep it clean).

The major rule of the site would be the five Ws of the journalist: Who, What, When, Where, Why.

Thus announcements such as:

203rd Lyran Sq will be holding a Christmas party @ 6pm-9pm 12-21-09 @ charlies 7301 Giles RD No alcohol or Rec Drugs permitted; all welcome.
The FMP anime club will be showing season 1 disk 3 of Black Lagoon starting at 2pm 12-22-09 in room C Downtown library. Contact Jim Thorpe for additional information (see club contact section for details).

We can use a neutral site to bring together the facts about fandom in the Omaha area. It must be about facts, not feuds, not hurt feelings; it should not be about ego, nor should it feature any one group's agenda. But the facts about who we are, where we can be found, when we are meeting, what are we doing, and why we are doing it.

It can only be done if you see a need and a desire to fill it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Yes, it’s cold outside! That means we need to find things to do in places that are kept warm. Very warm, I just looked up the 10-day forecast from the National Weather Service.

Reading is one of those activities that do either outdoors or in, and right now I do my reading indoors. What goes great with reading a good book is the ability to talk about it with someone else. OSFES has arranged a time and place every month, where it is warm, to get together for such a discussion. The third Tuesday of every month at the Abrahams branch of the Omaha Public Library (90th & Fort streets) at 6 PM, we have a meeting room set aside so fans of science fiction and fantasy literature can get together and talk about what they have been reading. The next meeting will be February 17th and we will be talking about whatever book(s) you have been reading lately. There is no English Professor present, so it really boils down to what you think about the book. Come and express your opinion, you might even hear about a new book you would like to pick up and read. You will get an email reminder of this meeting if you join our Yahoo group: Omaha_Sci-Fi_Fantasy_Discussions at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Omaha_Sci-Fi_Fantasy_Discussions/

Modeling is another activity that can be done in the safety of a warm building. There is a new model building group meeting at Krypton Comics starting on February 14th. The Gundam Modelers’ Workshop will meet second Saturday of each month thereafter from 2PM until 8PM. While the focus of this group is the building and detailing a specific type of anime models, whatever you are interested in building these guys can teach you techniques to improve your work. Check out: www.osfes.org/activities.htm for more details.

Is there an artist in you? Then check out Fredd Gorham’s Artist Jam at Krypton Comics the third Saturday of each month. For more details, go to: http://kryptoncomicsomaha.com/aboutartistjam


Interested in cosplay? Go to Delice Bakery, 1206 Howard St Omaha, NE in the Old Market the first Sunday of each month from Noon to 3PM for the Otaku Get Together: http://www.otakugettogether.com/. Of course they won’t be doing much outside until the weather warms up some.

Do you have some group plans you would like to include in the Omaha Sci Fi Scene? Drop me a line at jshoberg@cox.net or post a comment where I can get back to you. It’s cold outside and we need activities to keep us warm.