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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Corporate Shenanigans

Seems that I have two VHS copies of the “Gentleman’s Agreement” Shadowrun movie. I found the better of the two, but I still played with the brightness settings a bit in iMovie to make Jerry’s Toaster work show up better. The initial team meetup scene remains dark as heck, though.

This is Part One…

Part Two behind the cut

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Cold and wet and just plain hungry

“Very much what I imagine a small college town with crappy weather would be like, back on old Earth.” – Captain Vanderdecken, Space Rogues

Yes, we’ve got nice thick fog, accompanied with that fine, voluminous rain that coldly soaks everything in no time.

I may not find my way to the con without leaning out the car window and yelping sonar pings into the blankness.

At least I feel pretty decent this morning. Yay getting up just before the end of the continental breakfast.

Speak “Friend” and Enter

This morning I found a hotel cardkey from a 2007 con in my stuff. I’d feel guilty, except I know they churn these keys out by the millions, and since the whole thing is computer-controlled, they’ve already invalidated the darn thing. So now it’s a memento.

What got me thinking, though, is the memory of when hotels actually handed out metal keys, usually on large plastic keychains with the room number embossed on them. Yes, those were simpler times.

Oh, when I say “enter hotel rooms,” I mean one that you or a roommate have paid for. Room parties, rooms that you’re only responsible for as an event organizer, etc. don’t count.

(Yes, I know. “Auhorized” is a Space Rogues in-joke.)

“Quick – put up some shelves.”

While watching the 2005 season finale of Doctor Who with Rain the other day, something struck me. The Doctor carries a tool he calls a “sonic screwdriver”. About the size of a regular screwdriver, this tool emits sonic (and perhaps other) waves which can manipulate small mechanical and electronic objects. It’s most commonly used as a lockpick, but it’s been shown as a welder / unwelder, circuit modifier, computer reprogrammer, medical scanner, and (on rare occasions) a screwdriver.

He started using it in the Sixties, in his second incarnation, and continued well into the Eighties, when it was destroyed by an enemy of the Fifth Doctor. Sources in the BBC production team revealed that the device was causing the writers trouble when they wanted the Doctor locked up or otherwise frustrated by mechanisms. While I can’t remember if the Eighth Doctor used one during his movie, the Ninth and Tenth do so regularly, and I think with good reason. Someone at the BBC seems to have realized a fact:

Locked doors are boring story telling.

The sonic screwdriver is in fact a boon to the program: when there’s only 45 minutes of story, it’s a wise move to get past the locked doors and computer codes, and move on to the part where the Doctor must deal with other people and nasty decisions.

Besides, since the tool’s never too clearly explained, you can always have the door that the sonic screwdriver just won’t open.

(Brion Fields of Space Rogues keeps a sonic screwdriver in a pocket of his jumpsuit. Where he got it, I don’t know; and it was intended to be a subtle in-joke, not fill half the frame in an early scene.)

Somebody invent the frelling transporter!

Phew. Still a little tired from the accumulated 12 hours of driving this weekend. I had a great time in Riner, it was good to catch up with folks. Ironically, I had to drive back to the B-burg area to see some people who live here on the Virginia coast :p By the end of the evening, I was on the floor of the guest house with a bunch of buzzed people working out the “King James ending” of Space Rogues. Turns out that the cat is more important than you can imagine!

rattrap and rubinpdf helped me with my HeroClix issues, and that was much appreciated. Told several people about the portfolio review – hope they get in and get to draw a card or two!

Thanks again to calandra for a great afternoon and evening!

We should rewrite the script so we win

Mirage crew

All three completed Space Rogues episodes, plus the blooper reel, have now been posted on the movies page of my website. Yes, they are QuickTime, and yes, they are huge files so you’ll need broadband. I tried MPEGing them and DivXing them, and they didn’t get smaller either way. One day, I hope to generate new movies from cleaner originals.

I’ve only been meaning to post these for years.

The Matrix Has You

From the useless-but-cool department…

You can now watch your movie files in ASCII in the Terminal application of MacOS 10.2!

Here’s some shots from a certain video – each image links to a larger version:

Space Rogues logo Brion (Me)

Extra (ypawtows) and Kat (snidegrrl)

So I don’t bore everyone: if you want to know how to do this, leave a comment and I’ll reply.

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