February: A Con Odyssey

Just did Farpoint in Baltimore, and MystiCon in Roanoke back to back. Both cons are five hours away from my home. Pro tip: don’t do this.

Farpoint was the second stop for Luna-C, so as usual I spent most of the weekend preparing for the performance in one way or another. Of course, I simultaneously love live performing from the depths of my soul and it triggers my anxieties as only a job interview can, so it’s both relief and regret when the show is done. Regret must win, though, since I’m always eager for the next show. We premiered my “Lonely Villain” skit which I think is quite funny; and I got to play Scotty again, which has been one of my lifelong dreams.

I also premiered the My Little Pony “Twilight Sparkle” costume at Farpoint, and I must say it was a pretty big hit. I’ve known since the fandom took off that I would need an MLP costume before long, so of course I had to do it in my own special fashion.

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A Slightly Classier Agreement

I have a lot of fun making “DVD covers” in Photoshop for my little video efforts. It’s weird, because they don’t show up in hard-copy very much any more, but it does make the movie files look better when I’m browsing them in a media manager.

To that end, I made this today:

"Gentleman's Agreement" DVD cover

 

If this had been a real DVD cover, I’d have added a lot more info about the actors and crew, and copyright disclaimers and the like. But this will do for now. It looks a whole lot better in iTunes.

Oh, and for the few readers of this blog who don’t know, the two parts of this video are right here:http://youtu.be/3nnLbQ1JvXs and here:http://youtu.be/iS6iGACneEQ Be kind.

Back from Shore Leave!

The new car behaved itself well! Much less general wear on a car = much better gas mileage, as I made Baltimore and back on only a tank and a half. Dwight and Dawn were excellent company: among other things, I got to hear a Duran Duran album I hadn't picked up yet. Huyndais handle differently with three people and a trunk of con luggage in them than they do with one, something I'm not yet completely used to.

The Hunt Valley no-longer-Marriott is an interesting hotel. Every year I manage to get lost in their hall layout at least two or three times, and combining that with the eye-searing carpet makes me suspect that it will be a rough place when the stars are right. Also, the room was too darn humid the whole time. Clothing in my still-packed bag felt a bit damp this morning.

The con itself was a lovely time. I picked up a nice Ron Weasley wand replica for the "Warehouse 9 3/4" skit and a replacement UFP patch for my Trek flight jacket. Didn't get to hit the vendor area much, which no doubt was good for my wallet; but I attended an interesting costuming panel and was a panelist on another, got many good costume photos of Kara that I must send her, and of course performed with Luna-C.

I glitched twice during my first skit, though I was assured it was unnoticeable from the audience. Phew! The other three went nice and smooth, and in fact I think the Holmes and Watson podcast skit got more laughs than ever. From a backstage perspective, the skits I wasn't in seemed to work very well, with good comic timing and plenty of laughs. I believe this was one of our strongest performances! (And we got to meet Kate Mulgrew very very briefly backstage beforehand, which I enjoyed!)

Afterwards, I got hit in the head with being 43 years old: I needed a nap. I wanted to watch the Masquerade but my body wasn't into it. We did head down to the Ten-Forward party at 11… the music mostly stank, but I finally got to put a name to Paulette Guillory-Gardner, a lovely lady with whom I've been crossing convention paths often. My Alice costume went over well, and I even got a picture or two with a White Rabbit before it was time to head back up to bed.

In the morning, we headed down for the Luna-C breakfast and wrap-up. Dana Stewart gave me exactly the Doctor Who costume idea I'd been looking for, complete with a bad pun to go with it – win-win. I grabbed a couple more click-base random starships, but I think from now on I might spend the extra couple of bucks and buy the specific ones I want from eBay. I don't like getting duplicates, when I don't have lots of folks interested in trading.

The drive home was too long, frankly. The company was still good, but I just wanted to be home. Still, made it in safe by 7:30, said my goodbyes to Dwight and Dawn, stuffed a sandwich in my mouth and was unconscious by 9:30. All in all: quite the good weekend.

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An Unnatural Friend

I've been eagerly awaiting 's book "The Unnaturalists", and it looks like it's finally been announced:

Book cover for Tiffany Trent's "The Unnaturalists"

Steampunk and parazoology sound like a darn good combination to me, but then I've been a fan of her writing since the first Hallowmere book.

I can only assume that she feels as excited as I do when I've released a new slapstick video out into the wild 🙂

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To Healthy Competition

Some of my fellow geeks seem surprised when they learn I’m happy that Android phones are doing so well. But even though I’m using an iPhone now, I’d prefer that it be a difficult choice; I may like Apple products, but I want there to always be someone out there that keeps them innovating, refining, and generally working hard to convince me that they should keep my business. There was a bad period in the nineties when Apple computers were beginning to… well, ‘suck’ is probably too strong a word, though plenty of folks used it. Now that the company’s doing so well, I’d hate to see them get lazy again.

So if you have an Android phone, and you really like it, I think that’s awesome and I won’t try especially hard to evangelize you. Don’t let them get lazy on you, either 🙂

A perfect combination of human and Sadinger genes

Start in 1993. Take some anime fans who’ve just found an awkward, stilted translation of the script for one of their favorite flicks. Add some expensive non-linear editing equipment that one of the fans was pretty good with. Throw in an evening’s recording session in an echoey downstairs rec room, and I give you: The “Project: EDEN” Fandub! (Well, clips of it, anyway. And, SPOILER, they do give away the ending.)

Some of the fun stuff: none of the voice actors seemed to be able to pronounce “URDAS” (the Eastern Bloc-styled colony) the same way twice. In some of our early takes, David Arthur’s redneck accent was so thick, we thought we might still have to subtitle him. I spent days trying to figure out that the script we’d obtained kept saying “three-level bug” when it meant “trilobite”. Professor Wattsman’s squeaky voice nearly wiped out my throat for the evening.

Honestly, the best voice actors that night had to be Jerry Conner, Beth Lipes, and Cindy Arthur (now Jenkins). Good thing we made them our leads. Jerry did an incredible job editing together what he had to work with, and I think we all gained new respect for those eighties anime dubbers who were just trying to end up with something intelligible on a limited budget.

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…

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