1
Jul

Return to the City Timeless

   Posted by: ravynprince   in Uncategorized

Welcome to the City Timeless

The idea for the City Timeless first came back in 1999. At that time, I was going to three renfaires a year with a good friend of mine. We were considering adding farther roadtrips to take in even more renfaires each year, since we enjoyed the environment so much. It was an opportunity to be something or someone else, to experience a world that we could only dream of in our daily lives. As we were walking around in our period garb, chowing down on turkey legs and huge mugs of ale, leering at the passing wenches, I spoke the immortal words, “wouldn’t it be cool if we could live like this all the time?”

At that time, the longest running renfaires were no more than 6-8 weeks long, only on the weekends. What I envisioned on that day was essentially a permanent renfaire. We talked about the ideas for years, getting ideas from some of the faires we went to, talking about it to others, yet, it always stayed a dream with little or no effort beyond simply dreaming with a friend. Then, in 2000, I had the opportunity to start up a renfaire of my own, the Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire. And this experience ignited the dream again, with a force and a sense of destiny, since this opportunity had come out of nowhere and was perfect to learn more about how renfaires actually ran. We’ve run that faire since 2001, 11 faires so far. As a charity event, we raise more than $60,000 for local education. Each faire is only a weekend long, and really only teased my dream…the thought of taking that to a yearlong event was too much to even conceive of…yet, conceive I did…

Research began and I felt that to make this happen, I had to know more about the other side of the business. The Timeless City would be a tourist location. I dreamed of a castle that people would stay in, a village full of craftsmen that would live and work there, that part of the dream has always stayed constant, though other aspects have shifted I went along this journey. I went to work for Disney in 2004, intent on learning everything I could from the experts. And yet, the longer I was there, the more the dream faded, replaced by the everyday efforts of work, raising a family, building a home.

As I dreamed, the dream got bigger, to the point where it became too large for me to actually see it happening. My early projections said that even at the most minimal configuration, it would still cost between 5-10 million dollars to start it up. I just couldn’t see raising that kind of money, so I bought my lottery tickets, and continued to dream.

 

Fast forward to present day. I still had my years worth of research that I occasionally added to, plans that I occasionally played with, more of a mental masturbation than actually planning out a viable business. The hurdle that always stopped me was the money. It was just too much. A curious thing happened though, the world of entrepreneurship changed, radically. Before you needed angel investors, deep finances, connections, to get any kind of business off the ground that needed that kind of capital. That changed with the concept of crowdfunding. Sites like Kickstarter were radically changing the business landscape, depending on donations from individuals to support new ideas. Even with this, though, I still didn’t see it as a viable way to finance my dreams. Most of these businesses were very small, the funding in the thousands of dollars. And yet, over time, the amounts grew. I began to see millions of dollars going to fund video games, movies, a whole host of different business ideas.

Maybe, just maybe, the City Timeless could be born after all…

 

Over the years, my idea has evolved. For a couple of years, I was hooked on World of Warcraft and other RPGs that created a full world that you lived in virtually. My idea would be to take that concept and turn it on its ear. Allow people to experience their virtual fantasy life in the real world. Instead of being just a single time period, the city would encompass not only other time periods, but whole other worlds of imagination…Knights, fairies, ogres, time travelers, all in one place. I also saw my desire to create a character and live it outside the everyday world being modeled by so many different groups of people, realizing that they were all after the same thing…and alternative to our grey, sad little world. The people were SCA, civil war re-ennactors, rennies, cosplayers, steampunkers, dieselpunkers, you name it. Even people who were doctors and lawyers during the week and donned their leathers and pony-tailed hair-extensions to pretend they were hardcore bikers exhibited the same desire to create their own world and live it to its fullest.

That is what my dream is really about…letting people create their own worlds, their own characters, share that dream with others, creating the reality by sharing the fantasy. Some French philosopher once said that reality was nothing more than a shared delusion. This makes my dream even bigger…what if I could create a place that allowed people to create their new world, a new culture, a new way of looking at the world that could actually impact the larger reality that we have to live within?

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24
Jun

Feudal as the model for the Future

   Posted by: ravynprince   in Uncategorized

As a time traveler, I have a unique view of human society. I have had the chance to live in multiple time periods and see how similar and different we as people are from century to century. In doing so, I have also come to some of my own conclusions on the human condition and how societies perform.

I, myself, come from the late 19th century, a time which has become known as the Industrial Revolution. There were many great things that came out of that time, but there were also a great many horrible precedents that your modern world has built itself upon. The people I live amongst now, the people of the City Timeless, come from a simpler time, under the Feudal system. Oh, how we considered ourselves, in my time, as so much more civilized than those who came before us. For we stood on our own, did not need the aristocracy, and indeed, each man could call himself his own master and be independent.

But there was a downside to that. Our people had no master, and true were independent, but they also were solely responsible for their own welfare. That sounds well and fine, but is that really what is best? Let us take a moment and compare these systems. I will take each in its purest form and hopefully will recount with lack of bias the strengths and weaknesses of both.

In the feudal system, the common man lived as a serf. This serf or peasant was tied to the land at times or free to move from one Lord to another, but never owning his own land. This peasant would often swear loyalty to his local Lord. That oath of loyalty was a contract between the worker and the owner of the enterprise, be it a village or a plot of land, or even a Country. That oath was very similar no matter your standing. You almost always had someone higher than you that you gave your oaths to. Even the King himself swore an oath to God, the ultimate authority, to do his bidding. This contract was not a one way construct. For truly, no contract is valid if both participants do not gain from its signing. In the simplest form, the peasant swore that he would be loyal to his lord, work his land, and when need be, act in defense of that land. The Lord, in turn, also swore an oath back to the peasant. That oath, the Lord would swear to treat the peasant fairly, uphold the laws of the land so that all may be treated the same without bias (your own legal system today was built on those very same principles), and protect the peasant and his family. The Lord often provided a hut or small house, a plot of land to work and the tools to work it with. The peasant provided the labor. In return, he kept a portion of the food he grew to support his family while providing the rest to the Lord. In truth, this is not much different from what you may have today when a farmer doesn’t own the land he works, but rather leases it. Whether the rent is paid in food or funds made from selling the food, the result is the same.

The value of the relationship comes in the hard times though. The Lord invested the funds earned from the land the peasants worked by hiring craftsmen that made the tools the peasants used, arming and feeding a militia that would protect the peasant from thieves and robbers. The Lord would also stockpile the food in graineries so that in times of famine, he would be able to provide for the welfare of his people.

In the Victorian period, workers were actually treated less well than peasants of old. There was no responsibility of the business owner to the worker, so they paid them the barest minimum, forced them to work as long as possible, so that the worker’s life became one of endless drudgery. Again, not much different than a peasant. But in the case of the peasant, the day usually ended at sunset, but in the modern period with those wonderful electric lights, work could continue long into the night.

In your modern period, your businesses even use the term “human resources”. You really are nothing more than resources, as we would use coal and iron, so you use the toil of your workers, whether it be sweat or intellectual, the toil is the same with the barest remuneration possible.

But in all of this, we have lost the responsibility to each other. Profit is good. Profit is wonderful, but it can’t be all to the exclusion of those who work for you. If you treat those who work for you like cattle, they will in turn act as such and your business will suffer. That is the fact that so many have misunderstood throughout time. Treating those who work for you, be it for a salary or a share of the crops, as humans with respect and caring will in turn increase their output, and increase your profits. Imagine that were caring and compassion can actually be a business benefit. We only have to capitalize on it.

Yours most sincerely,

Alaric

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