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!

I’ll Tumblr For Ya

After the announcement of Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr, I decided to give the popular micro blogging site another look. When I first heard of Tumblr a few years back, I was intrigued by the fact that the site was very mobile friendly at a time when that was not the norm. But I was getting into Twitter and had little interest in adding another blog.

tumblr_for_yaSince that time, a lot has changed. So I decided to create my own Tumblr and check out the scene. Now, many many hours, and weeks later, I’m totally hooked. I think that Tumblr combines the best of the Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress in an easy to use package.

It’s easy to find people to follow and subjects of interest. You can post as much, or as little as you want. And simply “liking” something is a breeze. As a bonus, spam bots don’t appear to be as rampant as they are on Twitter.

I’d heard that Tumblr had a younger demographic than Facebook, and it definitely shows. I think that the anonymity and multimedia friendly platform more readily fosters vibrant, interest driven communities. My favorite hobbies, Sci-Fi, Anime, and Cosplay, are well represented there!

While I have no intention to abandon what I’ll call, long form blogging, I’m definitely going to be spending more time on Tumblr. You can find me at is this thing on?

C2E2 Way Aftershocks

C2E2 2013 will be for me perhaps best remembered for passing a certain personal milestone in my cosplay experiences. But first about the con itself!

This is my 4th C2E2 and all I can say is that it just gets better and better, bigger and bigger. Chicago’s McCormick Place is a great place to have a convention, and C2E2 is doing it quite well despite the ever growing number of people attending the 3 day event.

For me the main focus was getting to the J. Michael Straczynski panels which were great. And I got the bonus of a Joe’s Comics t-shirt and an autographed copy of the premiere Ten Grand comic! Further bonus points were racked up getting to see Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan. So my C2E2 nerdgasm was in full effect.

The Mach 5, GO! GO! GO!

Friday got off to a good start, finally meeting in the flesh @ButterflySamurai and gushing a bit about how the Black Cosplayers discussion thread on Cosplay.com was an early inspiration for my forays into cosplay. A bit later I ran into Hentai Girl who I met a while back at Otakon. I pretty much ran into most of the people I know from attending cons over the years, so I felt pretty lucky!

Saturday started busy. I knew I was going to get to McCormick late because I was attending my son’s Project Syncere presentation earlier in the day. This also meant that there was a good chance that the close lot would fill up, which would mean quite a hike in Uhura’s go-go boots. To avoid this, I got a ride to the con from my wife. Stepping out of the van at the center, I felt like a kid being dropped off by his mom. LOL

On the way in, it turned out that I was right behind a representative from the Anovos booth who asked me to stop by. Anovos makes some beautiful, high quality, Star Trek uniforms, including the classic mini-dress like the one I was wearing. So I stopped by the booth to talk a while and ogle some of their work close up. A bit pricey, but oh so beautiful!

Saturday was a lot more crowded than Friday. And more crowded than I remembered for the same day last year. So I was sure that the huge line I was in to get an autographed copy of Ten Grand would outlast the number of copies. While this was going on, the streams between work and cosplay finally crossed.

I knew a group of my coworkers were coming to C2E2 and I was planning to meet up with them. Of course I did not tell them ahead of time that I was cosplaying Uhura, only that I’d be in Starfleet uniform. LOL So when they finally found me in that line after a few minutes of phone tag, they were suitably surprised and impressed by my handiwork! (“Oh hell no!” He exclaimed.)

This proved to be a major milestone for me, as I’d never revealed anything about my crossplays to anyone I worked with in the past. It’s not the sort of thing you can just tell people about because, and here’s my vanity, whatever image they make up in their minds will not be anywhere near as good as the real thing. I feel like this is something I have to show people in person. Now I think I know a little bit how it feels for LGBTQ people to come out. In any case, there’s no going back now!

I spent the rest of Saturday hanging out with them taking pictures of cosplayers and watching the cosplay contest on the main stage. A little boy cosplaying Optimus Prime brought the house down when he transformed into a semi right on stage. Other notable cosplays included a Bane with kids in a stroller, a woman as the Up house, and a huge Mechazord from Power Rangers. BTW, one of the panels I stumbled into of Friday featured Jason David Frank, the Green Ranger. He was totally awesome!

Sunday, Kids Day at C2E2, brought some more surprises. I had planned to bring my two youngest children who I thought would enjoy the cosplays, and artists panels. My youngest daughter wasn’t interested, but to my surprise and joy, my wife accepted an invite in her place. I had really wanted to show her how a well run professional media con looked, but she’s not really a fan of anything at C2E2, so I never thought she’d come. It would turn out to be a great day.

First, I’d never seen Sunday at C2E2 so crowded. I’d expected lots of kids, but not a crowd rivaling the opening Friday. But there it was, the next generation of fans crowded all around us!

And once more, providence was smiling upon us. While we couldn’t get into the Geek Girl panel, we did get into a comics writing panel which just happened to be in the same room as the R. L. Stine panel that followed it. R.L. Stine is the coolest old dude you’d ever imagine. I’m no kid, but I will be reading Goose Bumps now!

Our day ended with the Lion Forge panel. On Friday I had met a friend of a friend who was working at Lion Forge, so I thought it would be fun to learn some more about this new publisher. The titles and creative talent were all very interesting and I’m planning to follow them and see what develops. But the day could not have ended any better than when my son won the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet they were giving away in the raffle!

So it was a great C2E2. I took tons of cosplay pics and had the pleasure of showing off one of my favorite costumes to my coworkers (and my friend next door, lol). Will I be going next year? Oh hell yes!

C2E2 Begins!

Marshall_Lee_Day_TimeC2E2 begins today and I’m really excited! It’s been a way too long winter here in Chicago and much much too long since my last major con, Youmacon in Detroit last November. So I’m pretty excited about the guests (JMS! JMS! JMS!), panels, and, of course, cosplay! And I’m hoping to meet a cosplay friend or two in person for the first time. Yay @ButterflySamurai!

I don’t have any new costumes for the con this year. I’m just going be rocking the uniforms of my home fandom, Star Trek. Friday starts out casual with my “faux” Sisko from DS9. Then on Saturday my Uhura from Star Trek, the original series. I might do my Marshall Lee, Adventure Time, styled outfit on Sunday or bring on the Applejack if I’m really feeling inspired.

Generally, I try not to cross the streams of real life and cosplay, but I’ve got a growing number of friends and coworkers who I may just run into at C2E2. So things could get more interesting than usual. No worries, what will be, will be.

C2E2 just gets better and better, bigger and bigger, every year. No pressure though, no pressure. We’re all friends here, LOL.

Thrust

saturn_v_launchAs a parent, I like to imagine that I’m the first stage of a Saturn V rocket. Now I’m at max thrust, fuel more than half gone, pushing my payload ever upward. Any minute now, that 2nd stage will light up and I’ll fall to the ocean, a job well done. I only hope, as I fall away, to see that 3rd stage light up the sky.

Cleared for Anime Midwest

Last year I went a bit overboard with cons, so this year I was planning to cycle back a bit. But this month, I’ve put in a lot of overtime work hours and it reminded me of how important it is to have fun events to unwind. So I’ve added Anime Midwest to the 2013 convention schedule.

I had a great time at Anime Midwest last year, and with the con making the move to the Hyatt Regency O’Hare, the same hotel Anime Central uses, things promise to be even better! It should also be a nice warm up for Otakon a month later.

Now I better werk baby! Those cosplays and videos won’t make themselves!

YOU BETTER WERK!
YOU BETTER WERK!

Time Is Passing

This has been some week. Full of stress and at least two close calls. Just don’t know when the show here could be all over. Time is passing, no time to waste on regrets or being too timid. I’ve had a great time here on Earth and I’m very thankful to the God who made me and has shown me so much grace and mercy.

Genesis Of The Borg?

As I left work on Friday, I was thinking about all of the people who I see constantly talking on their mobile phones, or texting while walking. It seems that most people just cannot stand being alone, even for a few seconds. Having watched this for years now, I wondered about what would happen when people get their mobile phones implanted into their bodies and tied directly to their brains.

locutus of borg
We only seek to raise quality of life for all.

My first thought was that things would be a lot quieter when I was out for a walk. But then it occurred to me that the technology would probably allow one to carry on multiple conversations in a way that an external phone cannot. Then add social media like Facebook to the mix, and a person could be calmly walking down the street with a multitude of voices in their heads. How many voices do you need in your head before they become indistinguishable from your own thoughts?

This is probably how the Borg got started. It was all innocent enough at the beginning. No one needed to be alone anymore. It raised the level of life for all. But we all know what kind of ugliness can arise from internet connected mobs. With so many dark voices, speaking loudly, it’s no wonder the Borg went off the deep end. Perhaps they were searching for more virtuous voices to drown out the darkness. Who knows, but we do seem to be on a path to the Collective.

Coincidentally, I’ve just discovered a great discussion of this on the Trekcast Episode 85, a cool Star Trek podcast.

Viz Titles On Nook Grew Like A Motherfucker!

I always enjoy getting newsletters from Viz with news of their latest manga releases. As bookstore chains began to crumble into dust, Viz wasted little time making their titles available on most digital reading platforms.

VizOnNooK_Motherfucker
I guess Viz titles on the Nook are experiencing rapid growth.

I’ve wondered a bit how they were doing, so I was pleased to read that their titles were growing quite well on the Nook. In fact, they grew like a motherfucker! Yeah.

Salty language doesn’t bother me, but I just about fell out of my seat laughing. Now I wonder how long it will be before I get an email apologizing for that colorful language. LOL XD

Goodbye AT&T, Ta Ta iPhone, Hello Nexus 4!

Reminded of a certain phone company...
Reminded of a certain phone company…

One of my greatest annoyances dealing with AT&T has been their wonky web site. Well goodbye to all of that. This last week I’ve been looking for replacement options for my ancient iPhone 3GS. BTW Apple, it was a terrible idea to put iOS 6 on this phone. Because of that, my iPhone has been a slow daily annoyance.

I strongly considered getting a Samsung Galaxy S3 under contract because unlocked it’s just too freakin expensive. But just couldn’t pull the trigger on another 2 years with AT&T without looking at more options, or even waiting for the Galaxy S4 or rumored iPhone 5S/6.

But the sudden availability of the Nexus 4, yes Google is taking orders again, and the last straw with AT&T’s web site, pulled the trigger for me. I’ve placed an order for a 16GB Nexus 4 and plan to go with a T-Mobile prepaid plan. Not only that, I’m taking my wife’s 3GS over to T-Mobile as well. Both of our phones are well out of contract, so goodbye AT&T.

blueshifted rantings