Dragon Con 2016 Ends And Dragon Con 2017 Begins

This year’s 30th installment of Dragon Con ended about a month ago. Yesterday I reserved a room for Dragon Con 2017, and this morning the room block for the Marriott opened and, of course, quickly filled up. In some sense, it’s like Dragon Con never even ended!

Thursday Night Velma Selfie

This year was great! I was going alone to my 5th Dragon Con and this year I was going to do some things that I either didn’t do very often, or had not really done at all. For one thing, I was going to do my best to be more intentionally social. I got things off to a good start with a Velma cosplay after the long drive from Chicago on Thursday night! (Click here for Dragon Con 2016 cosplay pics)

It feels like I was wildly successful all around! I marched in the parade again, having a great time with my Trek Track friends and this year we exchanged contact info, yay! I went to the Black Geeks of Dragon Con photo shoot, meeting a ton of awesome Black cosplayers before hopping over to the Star Trek photo shoot. That was followed by what can only be described as an away mission to get chili dogs lead, for the second year, by my friend Rashida. Imagine, a small group of Star Trek cosplayers boarding a subway train to get chili dogs at Varsity in Atlanta. After that, I rushed to the Dragon Con Loner Group meetup, consisting of people who came to the con solo.

Mixed in with all of this was a lot of dancing, at a ton of parties, including the Spectrum Party, my first LGBT party! There was also Klingon Karaoke and lots of cosplay picture taking. The picture taking included a fair number of selfies both with and without other people. The only real let down was when the Miss Star Trek Universe Pageant was cut short due to room scheduling issues.

It turned out that staying at a non-host hotel (my first time doing that) was not only great, but I just booked a room for next year at the same hotel. The location near Peach Tree Street turned out to be perfect, so I didn’t even bother to try for a Marriott room in today’s “lottery”!

So Dragon Con continues!

My Calendar

It’s been a year now, but it probably happened months ago. As I struggle out of bed each morning, I get the day of the week from my pill box. Not my phone, not my computer, but my little yellow pill box. Hmmm, I had hoped it would have taken my longer to get to this point. Nevertheless, I guess I’m still winning this survival game to have made it so far. (Nervous laughter.)

And Another One Goes

Today comes a day that I’ve been expecting with quiet reservation. Today my youngest goes off to boarding school. He was so proud and happy when he got in, as were we all. But the price is his leaving home a few years earlier than originally scheduled.

He’s such a great young man, smart, and courageous. I’ve so enjoyed the time we’ve had together, watching him grow from a little boy, to this tall man with a deep, dramatic voice.

I’m already missing him.

A Reluctant Lottery Winner

Maybe reluctant isn’t the right word. I have a wonderful spouse and beautiful children. Even my boys are pretty. And they are all very talented. But two of them have signs of mental illness. After a particular hard week, I feel like the reluctant winner of a rich lottery of some sort.

I’m going to say right now that God’s been too good to me to regret having a family and children now. There’s no turning back, and I’ve already learned some valuable lessons. For one thing, mental illness needs to be treated like any other illness.

If someone catches the flu, we don’t judge them. We don’t point our fingers and chastise them for intentionally behaving in a flu-like manner. No, we hold them blameless, and treat that illness with love, compassion, and medicine. So should it be with mental illness. It’s not their fault.

Still it isn’t easy. Flu doesn’t insult you and curse you to your face.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Dragon Con

A funny thing happened to me while preparing a costume for this year’s Dragon Con. I had a minor stroke. Nothing too dramatic. I was cutting off a sleeve and lost the feeling in my right arm and the right side of my face.

That was over four weeks ago. I was in the hospital for five days and now with blood pressure meds, I’m a lot better. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance because except for a few twinges in my right arm, everything works and tomorrow morning I hit the road to Atlanta for Dragon Con!

God’s given me another chance to get my second 50 years on this planet off to a great start. And I’m gonna take it!

Drive By Fleet/Guild Invites

I never really get the random fleet or guild invites I get in MMOs. I usually ignore those, not really offended, just puzzled why someone would invite a total stranger into their group.

At least in Final Fantasy XIV, if I get a Free Company invite, I can look up some info on the FC before I decide. But Star Trek Online has no apparent function for that, at least that I know of and could easily use. But following me around after I’ve rejected your fleet invite 3 times will definitely not win me over!

reBootzing

It’s always a fun trip to visit old sites one set up and mostly forgot about. So it is in the case of reBootzu, a site I set up to learn how to use various Amazon widgets and, perhaps, to sell some sexy boots, or socks. Chicago winters demand stylish footwear!

Before long though, Amazon and the State of Illinois got into a row over collecting sales taxes which led to the cancellation of Amazon’s affiliate program in the state.

In 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court decided that the state wasn’t playing nice, and the Amazon Affiliates program is back in Illinois. Probably time to update the site’s garish pink motif!

Collecting Steam

As the new year begins, I find myself contemplating the Steam Holiday Sale, which is ending soon on Jan 2nd. I’ve already picked up a few games I’ve had my eye on, like Skyrim, and Final Fantasy XIII. And I may pick up one or two more. But now I’ve resigned myself to the reality that I’ll probably never play through all of the Steam games now on my hard drive.

I guess I’m turning into more of a digital game collector rather than hardcore gamer. My days of playing Pac Man while receiving electric shocks, or staying up all night to finish Civilization, or that time I had to keep playing Shenmue because I literally forgot how to exit the game, are long past. LOL

hedonismBotOnSteam

Oh well, collecting is fun too, and the Steam sales make it cheap. So I regret nothing!

A Passing Era

I was home sick today which left too much time to think about things that don’t make me very happy. This past weekend, I missed my first Otakon in 9 years.

It felt bad to be on the outside looking in. But there were good and logical reasons for not going. And the validity of those arguments has not changed. Still, the heart wants what the heart wants. Hopefully I can go again in the future.

Time is passing and there’s still a lot to do. I know I won’t finish it all, but it felt important to at least acknowledge that there’s no going back to the past. So with a heavy heart, I started throwing out my old textbooks.

My time as a physicist was all too brief. And I’m never going back to that time again. My children are on different paths and the universe has changed so much that my books are hopelessly obsolete. The very media itself, the printed page, is rapidly passing away. I may yet cry, but there’s no denying the logic of the situation.

Turning The Radio Off

I drive back and forth to work about 70 miles a day. It’s a bit of a grind, but I try to make the most of it. Once I get free of stop and go traffic and I can breath again, I’m reminded that I still love to drive.

This week has been tougher than most because Monday I discovered that I had a slow leak in one of my tires, but no time to fix it. So I’ve been refilling it and praying that I won’t get stuck somewhere with a flat. And having just had to pay for some expensive repairs, I’ve been pretty paranoid about anything else going wrong. To the point of hearing things from the engine, or so I thought.

On the drive back today, I decided to turn the music off so I could hear exactly what the engine was doing. I was pleased to hear the sound of an angel singing a message of salvation and mercy from above. Or at least that’s how the sound of a normally operating engine was making me feel.

It was glorious! My Camaro’s V6 was humming along like some semi-tamed F1 accompanied by the whispers of A/C and wind. I was in love with my car again.

The radio is still turned off.

Otakon Bypass

It was bound to happen eventually, but I’ve decided to skip Otakon this year. Partly due to budget and work related issues, but also because maybe last year’s trip was the peak of my Otakon experience. Last year not only was the trip fun, but for the first time I got to share it with my wife.

Doing a con solo is still a lot of fun, but to share the experience with the one you love the most, well that can’t be beat! And maybe because of that, I wasn’t that worked up about going again this year since she couldn’t come. Nine Otakons in a row is a pretty good run, and almost 13000 miles of driving!

I still think Otakon is great, and the people I’ve met there, awesome! But maybe I’ll wait until the con moves to DC in 2017 before I make another appearance. It’ll feel funny not being there this year, but I’ll be back. Besides, I’m not sure I can stay away for 3 years. LOL, such an addict.

Beat Obamacare With This One Strange Trick

Everyday it seems, another article is posted proclaiming some calamitous tragedy due to Obamacare. Today the claim is the loss of 2 million jobs. Then of course, you learn that the spectacular headline bears little resemblance to the truth. At this point, stories about the new national health law festooned with these misleading headlines are little better than those “one strange trick” adver-stories, the junk bonds of news.

This is what happens when journalism meets profit motive. As Fox News has taught the industry, people will flock to sensationalized stories that make someone they hate look bad. I suppose this has always been the case, but now the news media doesn’t even pretend to be doing unbiased reporting. Even if the story itself is factual, a misleading headline betrays their true interest, profit.

SpringEmberTodo

I’ve been learning Ember.js for a project at work which also uses SpringMVC. So after working through the Getting Started tutorial in which you build the popular TodoMVC web app, I thought it would be a good exercise for me to combine the two things together.

That turned out to be just as I thought, because I had to wrestle with a bunch of different things to make it work. Not that it was particularly difficult, it was just one of those things that you have to do once and then after that you see why it’s actually easy.

Anyhow, for all of that, I decided to share the final result here on github. Enjoy!

blueshifted rantings