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.

Geek magic

Harry Potter and the Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack

Hermione: Hey, I was thinking…

Ron: Not again!

Hermione: (ignoring him) None of us want to say You-Know-Who’s name because he knows when you do it, right?

Harry: Yes, he’s magically linked to the sound, it automatically draws his attention to you so he knows what you’re saying about him. Why?

Hermione: Well, back home this summer I was reading about a website called Slashdot…

Ron: What’s a ‘web site’? Not more spiders, ugh!!

Harry & Hermione: (Ignoring him)

One week later…

“Daily Prophet” barker: EXTRA! EXTRA! Harry Potter gets entire wizarding world to say Voldemort’s name at once! Dark Wizard found dead in lair with brain cells leaking out of his ears! Read All About It!

(inspired in part by the Luna-C performance at MarsCon of all seven books in 45 minutes, and by Starr)


I finished Harry Potter 7 on Monday. You’ll find no spoilers in this entry – I’ll just say I found the book satisfiying, and leave it at that.

Both the forums for World of Warcraft and my LiveJournal Friends had to declare spoiler bans, and I’ve had to politely interrupt friends and co-workers to avoid hearing too much. I still accidentally read a leak or two, though nothing to ruin my fun. (I had decided that even a complete spoil wouldn’t kill it for me – little of the book truly surprised me – I felt more curiosity about the journey than the destination, if you get my meaning.) Still, it took effort to avoid knowing more than I wanted. Somehow, my separate worlds of WoW, LJ, NASA, and my local friends circles all became united by this series finale, and there was Potter discussion in every direction.

As the days move forward, it seems to become harder and harder to keep separate all the little facets of my life. Without my involvement, my separate friends groups are merging, my interests are crossing over, my worlds are colliding. I think that the Borg used to be terrifying (pre-Voyager) because we know we are headed in that very direction; a race of minds linked instantly to each other, sometimes even when we’d prefer not to be; a race increasingly unable to escape our dependence on the tools we’ve created without drastic, unpleasant changes in who we are and who we want to be.

I’m not saying it has to be a horrible thing. It’s less stressful, in a lot of ways, to be able to avoid keeping up these compartments in my mind. As well, I’ve gained access to new opportunities and experiences this way. I don’t at all think that we must lose all we treasure about our humanity and become a race of blotchy drones with frickin’ laser beams on our heads; but still, every time I see someone reading e-mail on her Blackberry while talking into her Bluetooth earpiece, I wonder how close we are to the line at which Resistance Will Become Futile.

P.S. Wrote this up on the Newton, moved it to the laptop when I got home, then posted it to LJ. Beep.

Icon for somewhat lame meme

Funny thing is, I do have lots to talk about. Bad news is that I’m far too busy helping our new roommate move in to actually sit and write much of a post.

I did have time the other day to throw this together in Photoshop, but I’m thinking that it’s really not funny enough to use as one of my icons.

Snape on a Plane

The image of an extremely large boa constrictor wrapped around Starscream just didn’t work as an LJ icon, either.


I hadn’t realized until someone pointed out today that the actor playing Barty Crouch, Jr. in Goblet of Fire is the same person playing the Tenth Doctor in the 2006 Doctor Who series. But then, I can really be bad with faces sometimes.

Harry Potter and the Dancers of Solid Gold

Found this in a comment on Kaja Foglio’s LiveJournal.

Ze goggles! Zey do nuttzink!!!!

Dragon*Con 2005 report, pt. 4

Sunday, 9/4

Sunday I decided to finally drag out the only costume I’d packed, my Enterprise uniform. On a whim, I headed to the Dealers’ Room where a booth was selling animal ears, and found a pair of ‘cat ears’ which perfectly matched my head hair. The combination had unexpected results; all day, people decided I was dressed as John Candy from Spaceballs, and I was in too good a mood to correct anyone. I must have been asked to pose 7 or 8 times, so my vanity was well stoked. Costuming felt good. I will be bringing more outfits next time.

I suppose it’s possible that more people saw Spaceballs than ever saw an episode of Enterprise.

Headed to one of Connor Trineer’s panels in hopes of a picture with him, but the line outside the ballroom in question stretched practically into the next hotel. A shame, as he was always my favorite part of Enterprise. I wandered instead into a MSTing of The Empire Strikes Back, which to my great surprise, was hilarious. I’d always assumed you couldn’t MST an actually good film. Another panel with the actors who portray the Weasley twins in the Harry Potter flicks had been cancelled, so I wandered about the con for a while, making most of my actual purchases.

It was either today or the day before that I picked up my favorite bit of loot: a brand-new copy of Fourth Edition Shadowrun, personalized to me by Mike Mulvihill (inventor of Shadowrun) and Jordan Weisman (inventor of FASA and WizKids). My wife rocks, BTW.

The masquerade was broadcast on the hotel TV network, so we opted to watch from the comfort of our room. Some of the costumes were incredible – the three Warhammer 40K Space Marines, painted not realistically but as if painstakingly detailed by a giant with a telephone-pole sized paintbrush, were completely stunning – but believe it or not, Technicon and Rising Star’s masquerades run smoother and more professionally. Honestly! Perhaps at Dragon*Con’s level, it’s just too much to easily handle, but we local con staffs have nothing to be embarrassed about.

EDIT: Oh, and speaking of such, they had one filker, a relatively famous one on the con circuit, cover the kids’ costume judging; and another one cover the main judging. Keith, we have to get you to Dragon*Con. The first guy had fair material, but no singing voice to speak of. The second guy might be useful in extracting information from suspected terrorists. White Plectrum may not be as well known, but honestly – not as a fanboy at all – it’s a better act.

Masquerade over, and the hotels start truly rocking for the last evening of the con. The noise several floors up is quite distinct, and according to people’s photo journals, some of the best hall costumes of the weekend came out. Sadly, your hero is old and tired. I didn’t leave the room after we turned off the TV, and conked out before midnight.

Harry Potter and the World of Dysfunctional Cylons

From the wonderful mollyringwraith, who brought us the condensed versions of the Lord of the Rings movies, comes Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (condensed) Parts One and Two. If you are a Potter fan, read these. You may even wish to if you aren’t a fan 🙂

This weekend while playing WoW, I got into my first 4-person party, and I admit that this was probably the most fun I’ve yet had with the game. But the Schwartz has an up side and a down side.

Movie thoughts etc.

Why couldn’t Watto take Republic credits? They’d have to be a pretty solid currency at that time. For that matter, why couldn’t Qui-Gon find someone who’d change his Republic credits over to Tatooine ones for a fixer’s fee? “Wretched hives” always have someone who can do this.

Message to the Wachowskis: I saw some of Revolutions the other day, and I’m sorry, but your movies make a lot more sense if Morpheus. Oracle, and Architect were supplying Neo with inaccurate / incomplete information, and Zion / the tunnels were simply another layer of the Matrix. This explains too much to be dismissed, no matter what you tried to sell us in movie three. Maybe what you told us “was true, from a certain point of view.”

I remain amazed at the Tolkien fans who feel that Peter Jackson did a poor job with LOTR. He pulled off a movie-making miracle, coherently filming a epic that the original author considered unfilmable, and in the process winning the hearts of both the general public and the Academy with a fantasy film. Sure, lots of us would have made a few different choices, but I don’t care to hear anyone say he’s a hack until they personally can produce something better.

Over the weekend, a friend made some excellent conjectures on who Harry Potter’s “Half-Blood Prince” might be. At least two of them could lead to very interesting storylines; the trick will be to not have it spoiled before I can read the actual book.

Rain got her PSP yesterday. I’ll say the first thing everyone else does – “Nice Screen!” She’s enjoying a couple of the games, too. With the default settings I found on the web, 30 minutes of video are ~200 MB more or less of a memory card, so at ~$100 for a 1 GB card, it’s clear we won’t be carrying around a fistful of pre-loaded feature-length movies.

I might head to the Rocky Horror Picture Show tonight. We’ll see.

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