In which I succumb to Lunacy

Saturday night, I got to fuel an old addiction. Like many other addictions, the experience was thrilling and draining. It also cost a few bucks, but at least this addiction doesn’t do any physical damage. Really, I don’t remember when I was first bitten by the acting bug, but I know I was quite young. I understood even back then that some people got to share their games of make-believe with the entire world, and that sounded to me like incredible fun.

Some years later, 1986 or ’87 I think, I attended Stellarcon with a crowd of new friends from a club named VTSFFC. We learned that their Saturday afternoon masquerade was desperately short of entries, and I remembered seeing at RoVaCon a group called “Doctors In the House” that performed costumed science-fiction comedy skits. Inspired, I grabbed what little I’d brought for hall costuming, and created the “Starfleet Vice” troupe. We had a great deal of fun over the next few years, but after many performances at RoVaCon, Technicon, and SciCon, we moved on to other things, and Starfleet Vice faded away.

'Starfleet Vice' - RoVaCon 1987 Starfleet Vice t-shirt graphic
“Starfleet Vice” – RoVaCon 1987
From left: Heather McLaughlin as “Kei” from the Dirty Pair, Paul Danielsen as officer “Crock”, Sonoko Konishi as “Yuri” from the Dirty Pair, and me as officer “Stubble”. I don’t even remember what the skit was that year.
Starfleet Vice t-shirt graphic
From the left, the characters are “Ruth” (Beth Lipes), “Dr. Whizbang” (Mark Haymaker), “Cmdr. Paisley” (Tom Monaghan), “Stubble” (me), “Crock” (Paul Danielsen), and “Herald Harold” (Mike Layne). Eventually, Tom acquired a paisley “Next Generation” Starfleet uniform. Audience members were driven blind.

Further years later, I learned that my VTSFFC friend Helen Madden had become involved with “Luna-C”, a group that I later learned had evolved from the old “Doctors”. I enjoyed Luna-C’s performances at many cons over the next several years, and often felt twinges of nostalgia for the stage – by then, I’d done “You Can’t Take it With You”, “Arsenic and Old Lace”, “Gentleman’s Agreement“, and “Space Rogues“. But I had plenty else on my plate and never seriously concerned myself with those old memories.

Well, at this year’s MarsCon, I was socializing with Luna-C members after the performance, and I jokingly suggested that with the hall costume I was wearing I could have substituted for one of the players. A little further into the conversation, and it wasn’t a joke. So, this weekend I attended a convention I hadn’t planned to hit in 2010. I had an amazing time, and had my first hit of serious memorized-lines-and-costumes acting in ages. It felt goooood.

They gave me six skits to do: an AFLAC parody (I wasn’t the duck), a “Fringe” skit where I played Peter, an SG:Universe scene where I played Dr. Rush, a James Bond / Austin Powers back-and-forth (guess who I played, baby), and two final skits in which I fulfilled a longtime ambition to play the Fourth Doctor. (I tried for days to get a Tom Baker voice going, and I failed; but Deb told me during the show that she thought I had the cadences of his voice nailed. Ego-boost +30!) I didn’t have as much rehearsal time as I’d hoped, and I know I mised some lines, but they covered for me wonderfully. I don’t think I did a bad job at all!

Now RavenCon is coming up, and both Starr and I will be joining Luna-C there if all goes as planned. Yep. Won’t be kicking this addiction any time soon.

Tweets for Today

  • 08:12 “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” on NPR may be lightweight comedy, but it’s funnier than morning DJs. #
  • 10:09 Walking across two parking lots in 25 degree weather is enough to make the hip start hurting. #

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“I yam a jalapeno onna steeek.”

raininva and I went to the Virginia Beach Funny Bone to see Jeff Dunham tonight. Lots of you might have caught part of his act, because he’s been doing it for a while – I swear I saw him on “Solid Gold” once. I haven’t laughed that hard since the first time I saw Eddie Izzard do his act. The tickets were pricier than usual, so it’s good to leave feeling like we got our money’s worth.

Our oil heater, once again, isn’t working right. In what I think is an intentional snub, it’s getting air in the line and failing every time the weather gets cold out. I woke up this morning to a 50-degree house. On the bright side, I got a couple points to spend in “Driver’s Seat Replacement” today and made the skill check just fine. Rain’s Pontiac should be much more comfortable to drive, now.

A few weeks ago, I bought the first book of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, thinking if the first one was any good, I’d buy the rest. It seems Pullman knew I would do this, because the first book isn’t a bad start at all, but the second two fall apart almost immediately. The books are being marketed to the Harry Potter crowd, but while Rowling does a fair job of writing about adult themes from an adolescent’s viewpoint, Pullman tries to stuff in philosophical observations of the nature of good and evil, the way that people’s souls change over time, and a literal war to destroy Heaven. Throw in a large cast of characters we’re given no reason to care about, and I’m reminded of Steve Martin’s line: “I’ve written a number of children’s books. Not on purpose.”

Gregory Maguire’s “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” is a slightly better read, but only if you are willing to assume that everything you saw in the movie (I haven’t read the original books) was a propagandist’s lie. At this point in my reading, the WWW isn’t any more evil than your average misunderstood goth chick, while the Wizard is a fascist dictator bringing all the worst kinds of “progress” to Oz. If the writing wasn’t pretty decent, I think I might have moved on from this one by now… and I can’t imagine this being the Broadway musical that’s it’s been adapted into.

It’ll take a while to load, but you should watch this Flash animation. Any non-geeks on my friends list (are there any?) may understand the rest of us a little better 🙂

Speaking of web video… Rube Goldberg meets Half-Life 2 in the “Doctor Breen Butt-Kicking Machine“.

Oh, and over the course of Thursday and Friday, I put 22 hours in at work. Yeek.