A Return to Old Playing and Getting Paid to Podcast

It’s been a good seven days here at the Realm. It’s been an upswing in both progress toward getting paid to play and, well, just playing.

On the play front, Cairns’ first dedicated comic book store opened on Thursday, May the 31st. By luck, I wound up the first person through the door of KerSplatt! Comics (I was on my morning break at work). Though I was planning on just browsing, I got on so well with owners and operators Mal and Amy that I couldn’t just walk right out again without something, which turned out to be Issue 515 of The Invincible Iron Man!

Since then, I’ve popped in with such frequency that Mal has joked about making me the store mascot! I’m suddenly having visions of the two guys down the other end of the bar in Cheers.

Though it’s still early days, the business seems to be keeping Mal and Amy pretty busy, with sales of Magic: The Gathering cards doing as well as the comics. Some visitors, though, have been asking about Dungeons & Dragons books, and while Mal and Amy are focusing on their core business right at the moment, it seems pretty likely that KerSplatt! could end up as Cairns’ first Friendly Local Game Store as well!

Which is an interesting piece of timing.

Old Playing: Tabletop RPGs

The Deathwatch roleplaying game. Image from Fantasy Flight Games.

The day before KerSplatt! opened, I was in the Games Workshop right next door. An online retailer was selling the Deathwatch tabletop roleplaying game for half price… and between what I’d put away on the old Geek on Three Bucks a Week budget and the cash I’d set aside for my annual Xbox Live subscription renewal, I found I could afford it. So I thought, what the hell? Maybe I can find some GW fans interested in playing the game that’s all about the game’s most well known warriors, the fearsome Space Marines.

Yes, you did read that bit about the Xbox Live subscription right. I’ve barely touched my 360 in the last few months. Most of the folks I used to play Halo online with are off playing Call of Duty. The ending of Mass Effect 3 actually wound up being a pretty good capstone on my “career” as a dedicated gamer. The only game I’m planning to buy soon is Aliens: Colonial Marines, which doesn’t hit stores until February, and I’m mostly interested in the single player campaign. (Mostly…)

I’m finding I’d rather get together around a table with a bunch of fun people, rolling dice and making up crazy stories, and if I can’t do that… well, there are other things I’d rather do than grind out more online matches of Halo with random match-ups. Like, say, weed the vegetable bed. Or get the next bit of work on the novel done.

Which is why I set a group up on Facebook yesterday, all about getting the tabletop RPG hobbyists in Cairns talking with each other. It’s a little on the quiet side right now, but I’m keeping an eye on it; these things take time to get going.

But that’s not the only thing I did yesterday, and the other thing brings me back to the whole “paid to play” business.

From Hobby to Freelance Gig

See, I’ve been toying on and off with the idea of becoming a freelance blogger. I have a mate of mine who wants to get his site ranked higher on Google, and the best way to do that is with regular infusions of new content. I had another meeting with him last night via Skype and suddenly the conversation went from blogging to podcasting – and within minutes, we’d made a verbal contract! With luck and work, we’ll start putting podcast episodes with supporting blog posts up on his site in the next few weeks and get a routine (ideally of one new episode a week) going!

Is it paid work? Not by the strictest definition, but our deal is actually saving me some money every month, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s a bloody good start!

It’s also a serious “paid to play” thing. Doing the podcast has been an engrossing challenge to both my technical and personal skills, not to mention my comfort zone! Actually doing it as a working endeavour is great, and something I didn’t see coming!

It just goes to show: If you follow your interests, you can never predict where they’ll lead you!

Oh, and for you Paid to Play Podcast fans: I’ve got two more guests lined up to interview; we just have to nail our schedules down. I also hope to have a third by the end of the month!

But What About You?

When has an interest that you didn’t think would go beyond a personal hobby turned into something bigger? What was it, and how did it change?

What old hobbies have you gone back to lately?