This image from Reddit got me thinking a bit about my school days, specifically 8th Grade. In the U.S., this is the last grade before High School which marks the end of compulsory education. I was trying to remember what I felt like back then and whether I had any of the feelings that seem to be embodied in this image. Feelings of joy and boundless hope.
sakura flowers [original] from r/awwnime
I could only vaguely remember some general optimism and something that now feels like an echo of innocence. I think that maybe this was the end of that innocence because my first year of high school was full of disillusionment. More and more, the real world and all of its failings came crashing in on me.
I was catching up on the news today, following an article in the New York Times about the bodies of the murder suspects wanted in Canada had been found. Over the course doing this, I decided to take advantage of the $1/week offer to subscribe to the New York Times digital edition.
That lead me to an article about Victoria’s Secret hiring their first transgender model, which in turn lead me to an older article about Playboy’s first transgender and most recent transgender models.
This then lead me to remember that I met Hugh Hefner in an elevator at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Rosemont during Anime Midwest on July 9, 2016. I sent a tweet about it at the time.
I was cosplaying Android 18 heading back to the convention when I stepped into the elevator he was riding in. We were the only ones in the elevator, and I immediately recognized him. I asked him if he was the real thing to which he humorously replied that we wasn’t always sure himself. He also complimented me on my cosplay!
Hefner was there for the Exxxotica convention which was taking place in the Stephens Center during the same weekend as Anime Midwest. I told some friends about my encounter, but some raised the possibility that I had met a Hefner impersonator. But up until today I had not verified that Hefner was actually at Exxxotica that year. My curiosity was piqued by my NYT reading and a quick search turned up a video (on a site I won’t link to, lol) that seems to indicate that the Hefner I met was the real deal. So there ya go!
It’s funny how the mind works. Yesterday, there was a big moving truck across the street. A neighbor was moving away. Perhaps the house, which has a For Sale sign in front, had been sold. Or maybe the neighbors had found a new place already. I didn’t think about it very much.
Today, a much smaller U’Haul truck is in front of the house. Now my mind is puzzled. What could it be? So my currently gloomy mind cooks up a scenario wherein my neighbor’s marriage has ended and the smaller moving vehicle is here to haul away an ex-spouse’s belongings to a new place.
My mind is always making up stories to fit what I see. I guess everyone does this, but I really need to make up some happy stories right now.
Another long stretch between postings, another long march into a new year. The just past holiday season was a bit of a challenge. I always feel like Charlie Brown during the Christmas holiday season. Once it’s over, I’m pretty glad to get things back to normal. But therein lies the rub. Life doesn’t seem to have a lot of normal for me these days.
I feel like up until this point, I’ve been lucky enough to avoid a lot of the really icky things about life, and especially the end of life that seems to be slowly rising to the east of this current existence. Oh, I probably have at least another 3 decades left, which is fine. It just seems that maybe I’m not as happy as I used to be.
Right now I’m profoundly disappointed and depressed that I’ve had to cancel my plans to attend Otakon this year. I was really looking forward to a much needed vacation and a chance to express myself in a way that I don’t usually get the chance to. It would have been fun I’m sure.
I’m trying very hard not to be bitter. I did what love duty and logic has required. Family comes first, but that doesn’t really make me feel any better. Not at all. I hope I can hold on until Dragon Con.
Next week is Otakon! This week I’ve been making plans and most importantly deciding on what cosplays to wear for each day. I’ve got my new Kyoko Sakura to bring and my Mamimi since I like her and FLCL is a thing again. But the night outfits got a good part of my focus today and some thoughts about how far I’ve come in cosplaying after 10 plus years of it!
For Friday and Saturday night I’m planning my Dorothy from The Wiz Live and Rei cosplays Tae Takemi from Persona 5. Neither one of these costumes would necessarily be recognized as cosplay by the casual observer. It seems that I’ve firmly and decisively crossed the line between crossplaying and crossdressing! Meh, the line was always pretty blurry anyway, but now I don’t even care anymore. I just want to have fun!
The last couple of months I’ve been giving Star Trek Online a lot more of my gaming attention and it is paying off, so to speak. It’s a challenge to play more than one MMO regularly. I played Star Trek Online from the very beginning pretty much, but at that time the game had a subscription and I was playing one other subscription game at the time, Final Fantasy XI.
I didn’t want to be paying two subs per month, so after about a year of Star Trek Online, following some good job news and better pay, I treated myself to a lifetime subscription which cost about $240 at the, April 2011. About a year later, the game went free to play (F2P) and work and life demanded more of my attention, so I stopped playing regularly for a bit.
During that hiatus, the game underwent a number of changes as its expression of the F2P business model evolved. By the time I got back to the game, I was greeted by lock boxes and starships for sale. I was also greeted by an accrued balance of 20,000 Zen or so. I had not realized that I was getting a Zen allowance as a Gold lifetime member. This was nice, but not really anything I was going to use, at first.
Long story short, I got caught up in the Discovery Lock Box craze and decided to try my luck. I burned through a lot of Zen buying lock boxes and keys. After opening 100 boxes and failing to get the ship I wanted, I decided that was enough. And I felt a bit foolish having spent so much Zen. But then I realized that I had essentially gotten back the money I had spent on the lifetime sub in the first place. So not a bad outcome at all. And I’m still having fun playing the game.
Now six episodes in and coming away from pretty much every one of them in emotional turmoil, I think I get Star Trek: Discovery. This is not the Star Trek I had hoped for. This is not the Star Trek I’m used to. This is interesting in its own right.
I think that prequels are generally a bad idea, especially when what follows is very, very well known and beloved by fans. It make every little violation of the timeline stand out and hurt like a thorn in an open wound. It’s annoying to see warp capable shuttle craft, site to site transport, and holodecks in an era that is not supposed to have these things. And don’t get me started about the spore drive! But now I understand.
Star Trek: Discovery is yet another re-imagining of Star Trek, plain and simple. It is in the vein of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica more than anything else. It’s not the Prime universe of the Original Series, nor is it the J.J. Abrams universe, aka Kelvin Timeline of the new movies. Discovery is its own thing, and interesting in its own right. Discovery needs to own this and embrace it.
MIchael Burnham reminds me so much of my youngest daughter and my own struggles with emotion, logic, and my place in the world when I was younger. I cannot help but want to see how her story unfolds! And Lorca, I don’t really like him all that much but his story is starting to unfold as well. Discovery has a lot of space to explore and doesn’t care what gets rewritten a bit on its way. So show me, show me this new Star Trek. Show me what you’ve got!
It’s been four years since I last attended Otakon, and after having to cancel last year, I’m finally getting a chance to return, sort of. I say that because this is the first year of Otakon in its new convention home in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C.. All of my familiarity, and relative comfort, with Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is right out the window!
As always, concerts, cosplay, and karaoke are all on my schedule. And I hope to see a lot of old friends and make some new ones along the way. I only hope that our Dunce in Chief doesn’t start a war with North Korea while I’m there!
It’s been two years since the biggest wake up call my life has seen. I’m still happy to be here for the most part, but I’ve come to the realization that some things are never going to be the same. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to continue my journey and see where it goes. Can’t complain too much. I don’t need any blue pills and my family is complete as it is. My cup runneth over and the carpet has stains that will never come out.
The thing I notice the most on a daily basis is the feeling in my right arm. I can move it and use it normally, but there are parts of it that will probably never have feeling again. I like to think of it as the arm that touched the other side. A daily reminder, sometimes a depressing one.
No one else can see. Maybe that’s why I write. Notes to myself mostly, that some future self can use to remember the me of now. A message in a bottle, addressed only to myself.
How do you put your contacts in when you want to cry? I guess you don’t. It’s just one of those mornings when the hard reality of linear time travel sets in. I’m being slowly, but not slowly enough, left behind.
My youngest son has been home for Spring Break this past week. I’ve enjoyed having him back here and seeing how he has grown into an exceptional young man. I also enjoy getting to do some of the things we had so much fun doing together once more. Most of this involved watching shows and talking about tech stuff, etc..
It has been fun, but there’s been less and less. He’s got more of his own things to do. And I sense a pulling away. The pulling away I’ve already experienced time and again with his older siblings. It never gets any easier. But perhaps there are more tears this time because he’s the last one.
I know this is the natural order of things. Childhood ends. But knowing that does nothing to dampen the emotions I’m feeling. And it doesn’t change the facts. I’m being left behind again, for the last time.
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!
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!
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.)
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.
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.