Brief Interlude

***The trip to Costa Rica was a rich mixture of fun, frivolity and frustration, and I promise to share many stories about how I managed to survive without causing my girlfriend to castrate me. For now, please enjoy this little promotion for a good cause: child literacy made fun.***

It’s no secret that I am as easily distracted as a house cat on crack (something you’ll have to take my word on and not attempt to study independently, please). Give me a few billion choices of what to do while seated at a computer, and whether or not I’m actually supposed to be accomplishing something, I’ll do my best to explore as many of those billion options as a I can in any given 10-minute period. However, I am known to gravitate to where I’m most comfortable: here (where I attempt to woo you with words and promises of eye-candy), social networking sites that don’t need me to promote them (same concept as colds, flus and warts) and one other site that actually has a noble purpose: child literacy. That site is The Rings of Orbis.

The owner/creator of the site is PJ Haarsma, author of the Softwire book series. Now, you may ask, “How on Earth can you make reading more fun than planting tail on the couch to watch other people live?” I’ll tell you, slacker: the books detail a world in the outer reaches of space where kids from Earth find themselves stranded without their parents. Now, you may be saying, “So? You still haven’t answered my question, smart-ass.” You’re quite the impatient one, for all that sitting in front of the blinking box you do. If you’d let me finish, you’d see where I go on to add that this amazing world where it seems like just about anything can happen, a world where aliens, humans and other things combine to send you on a wonderful voyage through your own under-exercised imagination is all accessible on the web site!

If you’ve ever read a book (or series of books) and wished that the theater of your mind could be played out visually as well, then you’re in luck. The Rings of Orbis web site is absolutely stunning. The artwork all across the site, from the character you’ll create on your own, to the beautiful vistas of far-off worlds, even down to the items you’ll collect (and hoard for mission requirements) are absolutely gorgeous. A lot of love and bodily fluids (the non-disgusting ones) went into creating a place where you can learn, grow and share with others as you explore the worlds created by PJ.

In addition to all of this, PJ also visits schools to promote reading and offers incentives for teachers and students to get involved in the books and the web site. Why, you ask? Because it’s a good idea. Now, if all of this hasn’t given you the least bit of curiosity as to what might be going on over at that site, here’s an incentive for those who need a little pop-culture push: celebrities are on the Rings!

Many of you may know Mr. Nathan Fillion from his appearances on some of your favorite shows. If you’re a Sci-Fi acolyte like me, you’ll have grown enamored of his Captain Malcolm Reynolds character on Firefly, a show that was so engaging that it has fans still trying to get it resuscitated to this day; also another Joss Whedon classic, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, with Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day. Others of you may know Nathan from Castle. However you may recognize this talented man, know this: he’s on the Rings as CaptnMal. No joke.

Okay, if you know anything about the entertainment industry from the working side of it, you’ll know that Nathan has about as much time to hang out online as airport security has to take smiling lessons. But he is there from time to time and does his best to answer private messages. You’ll never know when he’s on and participating, but it won’t matter once you get there.

So, you’ll come for the chance that a celebrity might respond to your giggling-fit-induced post about how much you adore the characters he portrays (you do know he’s not REALLY a spaceship captain, or a pompous jerk of a hammer-shirt wearing pseudo-good guy, right? Just so we’re clear?), but you’ll stay for the rest of us frolicking on the forums. Think of it as collaborative story telling with very creative people (kids and adults), and with the rules and constant moderation, you’ll find it to be troll-free…something the rest of the Internet could take a cue from.

I won’t tell you who I am on there, but I will tell you that there are many fun, creative and friendly Citizens on the Rings that are more than happy to include you as part of their ever-growing family. And did I mention it’s a game? You know, for those of you still looking for that hook to draw you in? It’s a huge role-playing game (without the creepy sensation that your parents are frowning at you from the picture on the desk) that is augmented by the forums. It may take some getting used to, but between the tutorial and the forums, you’ll quickly become adept at navigating the Rings and putting your ships & workers on their respective tasks: making you the most powerful Citizen in the ‘verse.

Come take a look and see what you can add to the cause of child (and heck, even ADULT) literacy.

Explore posts in the same categories: Reading, Reviews

2 Comments on “Brief Interlude”

  1. Narf Says:

    AWESOMELY DONE REN!!! 😀 Here’s the link

  2. Katie Says:

    I’ve never been a “gamer” – lord knows I already have enough distractions – but that sounds pretty cool!

    Now. Exactly which bodily fluids are not disgusting?

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