Mars, the Bringer of Slack

I headed off to this year’s MarsCon with a single objective: to get drunk. I’ll be the first to admit that classier goals exist, but with one thing or another, 2010’s started off rough for me, and I needed some release. Besides, I drink so little that half a glass of dessert wine once a year is enough to make me pretty loopy.

I never got that drink, but I never needed to. A weekend of friends, costuming, laughs, and even a little gaming turned out to be just the prescription; by the end of the weekend, my body hurt, my head was spinning, my legs wouldn’t hold me up, and life looked so much better than it had a few days ago. In the short time since NekoCon, I’d forgotten why I devote so many resources to con-going.

I’ve avoided gaming at cons since I burned out on MechWarrior: Dark Age. Con gamers can be so angrily competitive that even winning leaves a sour taste. (And let me tell you, I’ll never play Button Men again.) This weekend, I got to game the way I enjoy it: Jesse Braxton brought a cards-and-custom-dice game called “Inn-fighting”, which was fun, fast, arbitrary, and not worth getting angry over. I’ve missed that kind of convention gaming so much.

Tom Monaghan and I began rebuilding our friendship this weekend. He’s not the same man he was a few years ago, but he’s more like the friend I remember from high school, older and wiser. He rediscovered BattleTech this weekend, and wants to get me into a game soon; we even discussed resurrecting Artificial Intelligence, or a descendant, as a webcomic. Do I have the time and resources for that? I don’t know. Am I fascinated by the idea? Yes, though I’m not sure who should draw: Tom is a better artist than I am, but a regular drawing gig would likely refine my skills a great deal.

I really do have some relatively traditional fan costuming planned for the future – I made contact this weekend with someone who could help me with some old-school anime outfitting I’ve always wanted. But from various (positive) comments I received this weekend, I’m developing a reputation at MarsCon for my over-the-top outfits, and I’d be lying if I said I’m not enjoying the rep.

The capper for the weekend? A casual enquiry about a costume commission led to a possible acting gig. Nothing’s set in stone, but I’m really stoked: I love the stage and screen, and I haven’t done any serious acting since Space Rogues. (Yes, I took it seriously. No matter how comedic or surreal the material, it’s not the actor’s job to laugh at it – only the audience’s. That’s often forgotten in low-budget work.) This is thrilling news!

Don’t know how long I can hang on to it, but I found my center again this weekend. Thank you MarsCon, for the opportunity.

I do still make Lego buildings

I feel like this xkcd cartoon all the time:


I’m so often afraid that at some point, someone will notice that I have absolutely no clue what’s going on and have just over the years gotten really good at pretending otherwise.

Eventually, I get over that and move on with my life. Sausage pizza or chocolate chip ice cream usually helps a lot.

Unsigned comics

Once upon a time, I did a guest appearance in a panel of the Fragile Gravity webcomic. Today, the circle is complete, as I’ve been privileged to write and draw an episode.

Monday morning, my Twitter client lit with a notice from kittykatya: she and impink needed two guest strips due to a family emergency. Now, I can draw a little, and I have always dreamed of having the fame and respect of a webcomic artist, so I volunteered. To my great surprise, Barb accepted. Oops: looks like I had to draw something. When would it be due? More oops: Wednesday. But it got done.

Take a look, and be sure to let me know what you think, especially if you liked it. And there’s quite a lot more to tell behind the scenes…

Brief updates

  • 08:30 Talking about comic strips at work. Anyone who recognizes the reference to “Uchuu Sensuikan Rabendaa” has known me for quite a long time. #
  • 11:35 Cannot reach any JPop radio station on iTunes today. Found a vocal trance station which at least kinda reminds me of Yoko Kanno. #
  • 12:49 @DontPanicJasz Well, I don’t even have an epic flying mount. yet… and the moment I earned my regular one at 68, I headed for Northrend 🙁 #

Sent subspace radio by LoudTwitter

Brief updates

  • 10:14 Ok, fandom: if you say, “Oh, I want to be *just like* Rorschach”, or indeed any Watchmen char, I suspect you’ve utterly missed the point. #
  • 10:33 Huh. The WoW Armory seems to be busted, I can’t look anyone up. #
  • 11:08 @UrsulaV Fools on the Internet are like the legendary Hydra – cut one down, and two more spring forth to replace it. #
  • 13:21 Meiran’s going to want to see this: 1978 “Lost Ark” story conference, Lucas and Spielberg (125pg. PDF) #

Sent subspace radio by LoudTwitter

Christmas / Time

Since my ‘Net connection is still wonky, I may be reduced to watching this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special on SciFi. The horror.

On the other hand, I received a nice Who fandom Xmas present in the from of this Livejournal artwork post by _tonylee_. The image linked at the bottom cheered me greatly; the likenesses are a bit off, but it’s still my desktop wallpaper for a while. (One of them. The other wallpaper is the Apollo 8 “Earthrise” shot right now.)

As Starr works tonight and tomorrow, we finished the majority of our own gift-giving last night. Among other things, I received two hardcovers: an H.P. Lovecraft collection, and a Hitchhiker’s omnibus of all five novels and the short story. In each case, these will supersede paperbacks already on my shelf, thus retaining the integrity of the Stuff Reduction Plan. Starr, on the other hand, got a gift card for plenty of crochet yarn, and a brand-new toolbelt to aid in her remodeling projects (she’s already done a den and a bathroom). She wore the toolbelt around all evening to ‘break it in’, so I think it was appreciated.

I am messing with my co-workers today, playing Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra with album breaks provided by cuts from the “Sailor Moon SuperS Christmas For You” album.

A little more crowded

Space is getting a little more interesting now, with reports of developments in both government and private sectors.

The Chinese astronauts have returned safely to Earth after almost three days in space; one ‘taikonaut’ performed a spacewalk during the mission, a task which remains difficult and risky despite many successes on the part of the U.S. and Russia. The Chinese return capsule made a ‘hard’ landing on solid ground, which is a bit trickier than landing in water. According to Wikipedia, an airbag-based ‘hard’ landing system for NASA’s Orion capsule has been removed for weight and complexity reasons, returning Orion to water landings.

Space X’s Falcon 1, carrying a dummy payload, achieved orbit around the Earth on Sunday morning. This is the first time a privately funded company has done such a feat with a liquid fuel rocket; the company’s press updates page has some cool pictures from a webcam mounted on the side of the launch vehicle. Video is supposed to follow soon. By 2010, the company plans to have a version that will safely launch heavy payloads and human beings.

The last thing the U.S. needs right now is another artificial “space race” where we pick a goal, achieve it, and rest on our laurels for another 40 years. But competition, both at home and abroad, is a good thing if it provides motivation and options. A problem suffered by both the American and Soviet space programs is that they generally had the budget to choose one method to achieve a goal, and if committing fully to that choice turned out to be inefficient, tough. No going back. Perhaps this is changing.

Only vaguely related: if you don’t read XKCD, you need to check out “Height“. There’s a poster of that image, and yes, I want it.

Back to the World of Two Moons

Richard Pini reports on the ElfQuest website that the latest movie deal has gone through, and it’s in the lap of Warner Bros. now.

While Pini is optimistic, so I too shall be, EQ fans have heard this song before. OTOH, fantasy movies are much hotter these days, so who knows?

He links to a story in the Hollywood Reporter as well. Cross your fingers, fans!

Stay Cool

Wow. I was sick yesterday, and Starr’s sick today. Awesome. It might very well have been dehydration on both our parts, though I drink more water these days than I have in years.

I'm From The Future!I need to watch the latest Doctor Who very soon, it is apparently most excellent, and the net is bursting with spoilers that I am carefully avoiding. Stephen Moffat may be the best Who writer on the new show, responsible for The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances, The Girl In the Fireplace, and Blink; I’m not displeased at all that he’s in charge of 2010’s Series Five. The “Everybody lives!!” line still gets me right ‘there’.

And now, this year’s zombie meme:

You are in a mall when the zombies attack. You have:
1. one weapon.
2. one song blasting on the speakers.
3. one famous person to fight alongside you.

* Weapon can be real or fictional; you may assume endless ammo if applicable. Person can be real or fictional.

1) Phaser II, set to “vaporise”. With endless ammo, I can just hold down the trigger and sweep.
2) Queen, “Flight of the Hawkmen” (starts at about 1:08 in the video)
3) Tim the Enchanter (I think his skills would be well matched to the situation.)

Starr’s list:

1) Sonic Screwdriver (“I’m sure it has a ‘defeat zombies’ setting.”)
2) Meredith Brooks, “Bitch
3) Kal-El

Tunic +1 to Confusion Charms

Swung by the grocery store today to pick up dinner. I was wearing my Technicon 17 (2001) t-shirt, and the cashier kept staring at it. I think kittenchan‘s catgirl in Grecian robes confused the heck out of him.

I just don’t wear the number of t-shirts I used to. At Staples, I had to wear corporate red, but at B&D, Thrifty Nickel, Decipher, and BCT, I could wear what I wanted as long as it was neat, clean, inoffensive, and gender-appropriate. I owned a LOT of t-shirts. But at NASA, polo shirts are the order of the day, so my t-shirt wear has been cut by five-sevenths, and much of my collection has felt the bite of the ongoing ‘stuff’ purge.

Kinda sucks, because I kept seeing t-shirts I like at cons – such as an excellent Jennie Breeden shirt at MarsCon – and having to tell myself, “When will you be wearing this, and how much room do you really have in the dresser?” Sigh. I have a rule that I can buy something new for every two objects of similar kind or size I purge. Maybe I need to do another t-shirt purge soon to make room. Wish I could justify doing another run of TeeFive shirts (and find the art for the back).

EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that I was wearing the TCon 18 shirt. Either I fail at reading Roman numerals upside down, or the +1 to Confusion is working better than I thought.

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