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…

Medical team to the bridge

11am tomorrow, H-Hour. That’s when I go under the knife.

I know it’s a bit over-dramatic, but that’s how I’m feeling right now. I just can’t seem to maintain an even emotional keel at the moment. I’ve had surgery before, my hip replacement decades ago and my gall bladder just weeks ago, but this one has me really worked up. They’re going to make the second biggest incision a surgeon’s ever made in my body, and they are going to take a tennis-ball-sized chunk of one of my organs.

The surgeon does dozens of these a year, and has had papers published on the subject. I might well be back home before my birthday. The overwhelming odds are that everything’s going to be just fine. So why am I so worked up?

Starr will be posting to Twitter and Facebook, and passing out phone messages to be spread around. They say I’ll have wireless in my room, so I might even be posting here myself before tomorrow’s over. We’ll use the 21st Century to it’s full advantage. To everyone who’s been sticking by me in person and online, thank you so – I doubt I’ll find the words to say how much it means to me.

In a completely unrelated note, Happy Belated Birthday to southernsinger. I’d have mentioned this before, but I’m a bit distracted.

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Maikeru Hasshin!

I filled in a quiz meme: “What if LiveJournal Were An Anime?” and got the following:

The performer of the opening theme: southernsinger
The magical girl: tango
The talking animal: nviiibrown
The lecherous old man: stephaniesmom
The teenager who uses ancient magic to win games: aylinn
The fifteen-year-old Japanese girl with blond hair and a D cup: rubinpdf

My only comment is that I really want to hear Keith compose and perform an anime soundtrack. I’d buy copies to give to my friends.

Still woefully behind on my anime watching: I’ve got all of Fullmetal Alchemist and Macross Frontier to get through. Sometimes I consider setting up a designated “anime half-hour” after work on weekdays, but that makes it a bit like a chore, and that’s no fun. I think I’m probably giving up on Chobits for now, I read the manga and that will have to do.

Y’know, my evenings are showing a tendency towards “recover from work, catch up on email, make dinner, do laundry / chores, cuddle with Starr, go to bed”. The Starr part is nice, but otherwise, it’s a bit of a rut. I need to look into this.

Here’s the whole quiz, if you want to do it yourself

Hurry up and wait

Back to the doctor again today, where they told me that I’d need another pair of CT scans – with and without contrast dye. On the other hand, the reason they want them is that the kidney surgeon has concluded that it’s a simple cyst, and if it has no cancerous tissue, he doesn’t think it should come out. It will need twice-yearly monitoring, but nothing more.

So, everyone please cross your fingers, or send good vibes, or do whatever else you do to encourage the Fates. The surgeon feels there’s a 40% chance it’s a harmless cyst, and a 60% it will have to come out. I’d like to fall in the 40. He does about fifty of these a year, so we’ll guess he knows what he’s doing.

Starr drilled him mercilessly on every technical detail. He commented, “You’ve done your homework. Want a job?” I said, “Y’all have already given her one,” and she confessed to being an oncology nurse with the same hospital chain.

And oh yeah, just because there’s not enough pain in our lives, we gave all three cats individual baths tonight.


I linked this in Facebook, but I’m reposting the link here because Starr saw me watching the new episode and asked to see the whole series. Freeman’s Mind follows a playthrough of the legendary “Half-Life” videogame, with a narration track added to the silent main character. The narration is smart-assed, sarcastic, and slightly deranged; Starr laughed through the 15 episodes so far completed. Recommended. (I’d have embedded it, but that’s disabled for some reason.)

Data from a eight-foot medical tricorder

The doctors have scheduled me for gall bladder surgery on Wednesday. Everyone is telling me it’s a perfected procedure, I’ll be home that afternoon, and that I’m really not likely to miss it all that much. And y’know, I happen to be married to a registered nurse. So, okay, I’m about as optimistic as one could possibly be about this.

But there’s something I didn’t get around to mentioning back on the 28th. The CAT scan that revealed the gallstones also displayed a mass on my kidney, which the doctors wanted to follow up on. Yesterday, I got the lowdown, complete with pictures.

The mass is a tennis-ball-sized lump of tissue on my kidney, and the doctors are quite certain that it needs to come out. This is no outpatient laproscopic surgery, either; they’ll have to cut me open and remove it the old-fashioned way, and I’ll be on my back for days afterwards. The good news is that the artery and ureter aren’t involved, and I’ll still have half a good kidney on that side when they’re done.

I took the news pretty calmly, and waited until after a good lunch and an afternoon nap before having a meltdown. (That mostly involved tripping over sentences I’m trying to assemble, and getting a little strident in my tones from time to time. Yeah, I’m a fireball.) Luckily I had Starr and a couple other understanding friends there, who even kept offering me a little alcohol if I thought it would take the edge off. Not my speed, but I appreciated the goodwill.

So, the kidney surgery will probably be in three weeks or so, and I’ll be posting more details as I have them. Sigh.

Any chance to get aboard the Enterprise

Since my friend Celia has never seen Wrath of Khan, and we were looking to relax after a couple hours of Super Mario Galaxy and Iron Chef America: Supreme Cuisine, I retrieved the DVD and we loaded it up.

Odd, showing this movie to someone who had almost no context at all for it. We explained that Kirk was an intergalactic hero once who’d been pushed into a desk job, and this was his old ship and officers. I had to reconfirm that yes, those are Montalban’s real pecs, and explain why no fan was surprised that Kirk had a son he’d never met. Shatner’s rug was sadly obvious on the very large TV, too.

But still, the movie’s just as strong as it was twenty-seven years ago. Starr cried again during the funeral (a quite appropriate response), but this time did so for Scotty’s nephew as well. She explained that the “word is given” dialogue was quite realistic, and she’d seen it many times at her work: people who are dying, and know it, frequently ask for permission to do so. They need to know that it’s okay for them to pass away.

My bias is confirmed: TWoK remains a stronger film than The Voyage Home or First Contact, though it’s in fine company with those two. The reboot movie, though I enjoyed it very much and will see it again, doesn’t come close.

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One major event

Okay! I’m tanned, rested, and ready. Well, not tanned, and after the weekend I can’t say I’m rested. But I’m ready to catch up a bit!

On June 13th, Starr and I got married in the atrium of Senara Obici Hospital in Suffolk, Virginia. yubbie was kind enough to officiate for us, and we had a gathering of blood relatives and a few friends.

I think Starr and I may have been under more strain than we’ve been since we met. I was behind in nearly everything I needed to do for the day, and Starr of course was in charge of a million things. Had it not been for kind, generous folks who pitched in, this would never ever have happened. But it did indeed, and we have proof:

Our wedding reception, with ears

Here we see a mind-bendingly stunning bride, standing next to her doofus groom. Of course, we see Starr in fashionable cat ears in nearly every published picture, and this is no exception: Owen presented them to the two of us at the end of the ceremony.

I especially want to thank sir_alf and faekitty here: with practically no notice at all, they volunteered to pick up my mom from Roanoke, bring her to the ceremony, and give her a ride back. As well, they helped her with many things during the weekend that I hadn’t even put in the job description: they were two of many that went over and above the call. I cannot thank you both enough, nor tell you how much that meant to both my mother and I.

I have awesome (and work-safe!) stories to tell from the honeymoon, but those will need to wait until I can sit and cull the photos. No one wants the LiveJournal equivalent of 200 vacation slides.

But, woo! Wedding!

Reconfiguring the Final Frontier

Trek Movie Away Team

The AMC Theater at Lynnhaven Mall in Va. Beach has a new IMAX theater, so last night I loaned some of my Starfleet uniform collection to Starr and our friend Becca, and we went to see the new Star Trek movie there. I have to say, I came out of that film extremely pleased. Oh, I have a dozen tiny nitpicks, and the film wasn’t exactly as deep as some of the previous outings in the series, but when the closing credits rolled, I didn’t care about that at all.

The 10:15 showing we attended sold out of the $15 tickets, and we barely got decent seats showing up twenty minutes early. (I’d bought our tickets online the night before.) I only saw one other person in costume, a local TCC Astronomy professor in a TOS Sciences t-shirt; but we hit the mall and a restaurant before the movie, and got plenty of Vulcan salutes, shouted compliments, and picture requests. I can easily remember when wearing the uniform in public meant taking crap from random passersby. Times have changed! We didn’t get home until 1am, and Starr had a 5:30 wakeup call for work, but she insisted that didn’t matter: we had a movie to watch!

Commentary with spoilers behind the cut

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