A Modern TARDIS Traveller

The phrase “modern TARDIS traveller” popped into my head, and about 90 minutes later this followed. I’m not going to apologize to Gilbert and Sullivan: they’re cool.

I am the very model of a modern TARDIS traveller,
I am a timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly plot unraveller,
I know the queens of Venus, and I fight the villains terrible
The Daleks and the Cybermen in battle armor wearable;

I’m very well acquainted, too, with genius spatio-temporal,
With Omega and Rassilon and others far less sensible,
I understand the tricks of navigating ’round the Time Vortex… (erm… erm…)
But still have some confusion ’bout the motives of the fairer sex!

(But still have some confusion ’bout the motives of the fairer sex – but still have some confusion ’bout the motives of the fairer sex – but still have some confusion ’bout the motives of the fairer-fairer sex!)

From Earth I’m pledged to keep marauding nightmares safely far away,
Including massed invasion by the Time Lord planet Gallifrey
And as a timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly plot unraveller,
I am the very model of a modern TARDIS traveller!

A Visit to Technicon

Technicon 27 started with our water heater cracking open.

Okay, so the two weren’t causally linked. The situation remained damn frustrating, though: Starr had been scheduled to work her 7am-7pm shift, but we both really wanted her to come to the con, which meant we would probably get there around 2 or 3 Saturday morning. So be it: such is life. Then her work called in the wee hours of Friday to say she’d actually been scheduled 3am-3pm, which wouldn’t be any easier on her, but meant we’d show up in Blacksburg at a decent hour!

Then we both came home to work to find our driveway awash. For once, there was nothing both vital and water-soluble in the garage, and the heater is all we lost. But one of us had to stay to get it fixed, and I was the one with the Guest badge and panel commitment, so off I went.

I have learned to despise that drive. I love the con, and I love seeing friends and family; I’m so glad I didn’t have to miss out on my twenty-fourth straight Technicon. But that drive is beginning to get on my nerves. At least I caught the tail end of the Meet Our Guests social, and enjoyed meeting artist T Campbell (with whom I shared a hotel room).

Technicon was small this year; that’s not a criticism, just an observation. They chose not to run a dealer’s room this year, though they had most of the other trappings: a video room, anime, card and tabletop gaming, and various panels and presentations. I participated in the Amateur Film panel with rubinpdf and other members of Galtham Films, who made up about 90% of the attendance; I had a good time, and hope that impink will post images of his revised TSE Mirage design.

Late in the evening, southernsinger performed what was almost a White Plectrum sing-along rather than a concert: the fraction of new attendees in the audience may well have felt slightly left-out. I helped judge the six-entry Costume Call – though the event was small, the costumes were wonderful, and we had a heck of a time picking the ones we liked best. trenn won “Best in Show” with a great Seventh Doctor, but ypawtows did score a mention for “Best Use of an Undead Smurf in a Short Subject”.

I ran my late-night panels as usual. This year, I just wasn’t in the mood for complex presentations, and aimed more for a “friendly discussion circle” atmosphere. At least a few folks told me they enjoyed them, so it must not have been a terrible idea. After closing out the room, I had just enough battery power left to swing by jlfranklin‘s room party, which was nearly shut down itself. Back up to the room and sweet unconsciousness.

Sunday, it felt surreal to have no closing programming, no chances to say goodbye to folks. I just got on the road as soon as possible, spent a nice lunch in Roanoke with my Mom, and then did that cursed drive again. I was so tired and strung-out when I got to Chesapeake that Starr and her dad managed to get a glass of wine in me at Olive Garden, and now I’m not sure whether my vagueness around the edges today is exhaustion, the effects of drink, early con-crud setting in, or Monday.

Anyway. For me, Technicon 27 was a great success. It’s the only time I get to see lots of people who mean a great deal to me, and I had much fun. My hall costume got remarks such as, “Okay, you are now officially my favorite person ever.” I have another Guest badge for my collection. Furthermore, I got to continue a TCon attendance streak beaten only by an elite few.

Was it a success from the con’s point of view? I don’t know. I heard a rumor of around 150 badges, staff and guests included. The venue wasn’t the best, though I know the staff’s choices were limited this year. I suppose we’ll see – I wouldn’t mind attending a full three-day Technicon 28 if they can pull it off.

Thanks to the con for the invite! While I don’t know at the moment where or when it may happen, I can’t wait to see everyone again…

Ahhwoooooo!

Here’s my little bit of happy for the evening, and it goes out to all my lichen lycan friends out there. It’s a WoW video, yes, but I suspect it works pretty well even if one’s not steeped in the lore of Azeroth.

TCon Saturday – The Crud Strikes Back

Saturday I woke at 8:30, thought to myself “no way, not on a night where I have to stay up ’till 2” and went back to sleep. I woke again at 10:30, went to sit up and was assaulted by nausea and headache. Not, “Oh, I feel like crap, oh well,” but “oh God I think I may need to run for the bathroom RIGHT NOW.” In the hopes that more rest would help, I rolled over until noon. Couldn’t put it off any longer at that point, and made it to McBryde in time for kittykatya and impink‘s Fragile Gravity (http://unseenllc.com/) panel. That was fun, especially when Barb had to change a DVD and Chris was forced to improvise for several minutes. I look forward to Book 3!

Well, you know you’re at a real con when two good events are going on at the same time, and much as I wanted to see the General Webcomics Panel, the Spin Doctor had a date at Filking 1025. (Tech uses 4-digit course numbers.) I contributed a couple lines to the weekend’s official filk, which we actually finished nice and early! What a concept! An impromptu rendition of “The Dragon and The Lady” followed (NSFW), with joking comments about the fact that the local fandom children are being raised on this stuff. To quote a song that Keith often covers, we’ll have a generation of well-rounded outcats.

I dropped by rattrap and drich‘s “First Ones” panel – they are the only attendees who’ve attended every Technicon. I’d prepared a button that read “Technicon Fourth One” (the best I could do). Lots of old memories flew around that panel; hard to believe the con’s 25 years old. I’m fairly sure that’s a Virginia fandom record, unless you count RoVaCon / Rising Star as one entity. Still, though, the pain, nausea, and light-headedness continued to build. Barb and others started telling me to Go Lie Down. I talked to Starr a bit – she was having appliance issues at the house right before she had to attend a wedding – and finally gave in and went back to the hotel.

Good news of the evening? While I was semi-comatose, colleenk gave birth to a little boy. Gratz to her and yubbie! (Unsurprisingly, this made the con accountant unavailable for the rest of the event.)

I really regret missing the Costume Call and southernsinger‘s performance. Every few years at Technicon, I seem to come down with something on Saturday; perhaps I need to start over-medicating the week before, or something. I wasn’t the only one, either: shrewlet had a rough day, and there were bleary eyes elsewhere at the con. However, with modern technology, it’s likely that the evening entertainment was all taped, and I’m hoping that someone posted pictures somewhere.

Fortunately, I woke up in possession of a far stabler head and stomach before my evening panels, and headed down to the Microtel conference room. Those panels… are a filtered entry.*grin*

Weekend on Mars

Started off the weekend with a fever on Friday, caused probably by having to run around in the cold cold rain on Thursday. But I medicated the heck out of myself, and was well enough to travel with Starr to Williamsburg on Friday for MarsCon.

Most conventions are, for me, opportunities to socialize with friends I don’t often get to see. southernsinger, kittykatya, impink, geckoman, and stori_lundi were all there, as well as folks I get to see a little more often such as ptownhiker, fixitup, and torn757. Got to spend some quality time with Jesse and Dwight too!

Convention loot: a Devil’s Panties graphic novel (Jennie Breeden remembered me from Dragon*Con), character sketches from an artist in the dealer’s room, a Carcassonne expansion and an book of Paranoia XP modules, two White Plectrum CDs and a Coyote Run CD, some erotica from Helen Madden‘s table, and a couple of buttons. After spending the weekend avoiding the purchase of T-shirts, Starr and I were handed free ones by a local game store – now I have to get rid of more old ones to make space!

Next year, the con is supposed to move to a bigger location, and it really needs the space. MarsCon completely overflowed its host hotel, which is a shame, as I think it’s a nice place to hold the weekend. I got to hear some other VA con politics I didn’t want to hear about, but that’s the down side of having friends who are so heavily involved in things.

Speaking of being involved, this was the first time I can recall having my con badge paid for as a “Guest” presenter. I have to say I found it very cool, though somehow I had always imagined it would be for my Great American Science Fiction Novel. Still, the panels (which I talk a bit more about in the Lifestyle filter) were great fun, and I can’t wait to do them again next year.

We’d really intended to stay longer on Sunday, but despite finally getting the MarsCon Charity Chair Massage I’d been wanting to try for years, we had a bad case of burnout. Excitement, dancing, endorphins, and little sleep all hit at once, and Starr and I headed home around 1:30 to veg for the rest of the day. Still haven’t quite come down though. How long ’till T-Con?

Oh, by the way, for people who didn’t go see Cloverfield, or restrained themselves from visiting YouTube this weekend, here’s the new Trek movie trailer. Total geekgasm.

In the Key of Ow

My morning routine changed today. I think I like the new version:

1) Wake up, slowly, a few minutes before the alarm. Don’t go back to sleep. Body will thank you for not cramming adrenaline into it so early.

2) Do morning e-mail and webcomic troll as usual to activate brain.

3) Once brain is functional enough, make and eat breakfast. Do not wait until you’re running out the door to shove breakfast down throat.

4) Shower, dress, and leave for work.

This works far better than previous routines. Let’s see if I can keep it up.

Last night, I went to see the Dresden Dolls at the Norva. They’re an extremely offbeat duo, but I was hooked on my first listening by their wild energy, odd humor, and musical skill. Amanda Palmer plays her keyboard like an insane person, hitting the keys with the flats of her fingers, rocking back and forth on her stool, tucking a knee under her chin, and yet delivering one of the most complex and precise performances I’ve ever heard. Translate that to drums, and you have Brian Viglione’s playing; on top of that, they seem to telepathically communicate during the show, improvising crazily and yet in sync. I had to go.

My body regrets that today. There’s little-to-no seating there, and my left knee can honestly barely support me today after 5.5 hours of standing. I am seriously considering bringing the forearm crutches to my next Norva show, to help hold me up. However, it was certainly worth it – they played my favorites, “Coin-Operated Boy” and “Girl Anachronism“, new material, and material they’re preparing for their next album. For a closer, they dragged audience members and the opening act to the stage to perform Led Zepplin’s “Immigrant Song” and then cleared everyone off for their cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”. You cannot understand how awesome that was without having been there 🙂

The oddest part: in my head, people are rated “real” by the amount with which I personally get to interact with them. For example. Bill Shatner is not especially real to me – I’ve only seen him on TV and movie screens. Leonard Nimoy is slightly more so, since I’ve been in the same room with him, but separated by a stage and a couple dozen yards. George Takei I’ve spoken to briefly, but Spice Williams and I have had a lengthy conversation.

Well, Amanda unexpectedly came down from the stage in the middle of one of her songs, and continued singing as she walked around the balcony and through the fans on the floor, passing within a yard of me several times. Suddenly, her ‘real’ quotient in my head jumped dramatically, and I was quite surprised. (I was proud of my fellow Virginians, who did not mob or crowd her, but let her move freely around and respected her performance. One lady, sadly, took the chance to grope her quite unsubtly, which rattled Amanda enough that she expressed her distress on her return to the keyboard. But it didn’t dampen the evening.)

I’m pleased with the way the week’s started. I even bumped into a White Plectrum fan on the way to the concert. (“I recognize the jacket – did you work with the filk singer? I love his stuff, I can’t believe you live around here!”) Now I am sending down more blessed ibuprofen to quiet this stupid knee.

A VTSFFC Party, Day One

It turns out that a 5-hour drive in a Mini Cooper is a lot more comfortable than you’d think. In the front seat, anyway.

Dwight introduced me to a bunch of very good music. I’m going to have to look up some more material by the Dresden Dolls and the Supreme Beings of Leisure. The company was excellent and the scenery compelling (and the leaves haven’t even turned yet!)

We arrived in Blacksburg, picked up shrewlet, and wandered into Invisifest around 4, into a panel that tltrent was hosting. I was knocked over by my welcome; my VTSFFC family is one excellent bunch of folk, who really know how to make a guy feel like he’s where he belongs. I caught up with rattrap, nius, rainbowsaber, mephox, anterus, southernsinger, rubinpdf, Cathy, Ben, Jamie, and many other people. Around six, we had to shut down the panel, but we dragged most of the crowd to Macado’s, where Pat and I geeked out over Whovian matters while we waited for our food.

There was a brief attempt at handing Technicon 25 over to me, which I discuss a little more over in my lifestyle filter (if you want to be added to that and haven’t been, leave a comment here to that effect). Suffice it to say that their idea would have made for a quite memorable TCon, and that I turned down the kind offer. Rapidly. Possibly in nanoseconds 🙂

We went back to the ‘Fest for Keith’s White Plectrum concert, which was a small, laughter-filled performance. Keith paid me high compliments by telling the story of how “Red Pill” was written. For those who asked, the throwaway line which inspired “When They Shut Down The Fusion Plant (We’ll Pack Our Bags And Glow)” is found in Music From the Heart of Space, a Starfleet: Batron Eleven fanfic which includes elements of Doctor Who, Robotech: Macross, and Megazone 23. Despite that mashup, I’m still rather proud of the tale, which will always live on in some small manner thanks to Jerry’s twisted creative mind.

We had to leave shortly afterwards. I wish I’d had the energy to stay all night and party, but I have a wedding to attend tomorrow!

Are You Sure This Is the Atlanta Exit?

Cthulhu on a crutch. I am gobsmacked.

Keith “southernsinger” Brinegar, of White Plectrum, has been asked to be the Filk Guest Of Honor at DragonCon!

This may well be my first and only SQUEEEE! in my LiveJournal.

Now I HAVE to go down there. I gotta research hotel rooms tonight!!

This is wonderful!

TCon 23 report

Some cool things about Technicon 23:

Giving rattrap his combined holiday present for the next several years.
Playing the WoW board game with jsciv, meiran, and candidevoltaire; then buying a copy.
A copy of The Heroic Trio from kittykatya.
Opening the wrong door and accidentally joining this year’s Vile Skit.
Being practically the only character in vileone‘s LARP that was exactly what he said he was: no more, no less.
Friday dinner seated between Dwight, raininva, and Christy.
Friday night panels that went Most Excellently. (Some details soon in a filtered post, heh heh.)
A Vile Script that forced me to wrestle with rainbowsaber. (Oh, shucks.)
Helping southernsinger perform “The Dragon & The Lady” for Holly Lisle.
Late Saturday dinner and great conversation with meiran.
Thanks to trenn, chown -R us:us yourbase.
Frequent backrubby morale- and energy-boosts from shrewlet.
Two boxes full of new reading material from the Auction.
Cool artwork from kittenchan and ranchonmars.
It’s my 20th Technicon.

—–

Some less-cool things about Technicon 23:

It’s my 20th Technicon.
Not enough time to be in Whose Con Is It?
Long drives from and to Norfolk.
Not enough quality time with many friends.
My lousy Simon Cowell imitation.
A body that gave out too early on Saturday night. (For once, stomach issues rather than exhaustion.)
Our air mattress developing a hole.
Not enough time for after-con dinner in Blacksburg. (But a good one with Bert & Meche in Salem.)

—–

I’d call TCon 23 a success, for my part. Well done, nius, and thanks for the good weekend!

Yay Goo!

Happy birthday, southernsinger!

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