Category Archives: Media and Entertainment

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!

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.

A funny thing on the way away from the con…

A funny thing happened on my way to not going to Dragon Con. I actually got to go! Not only did I go, I got a room in the Sheraton just 3 days before the con. I had a great time and met some awesome people!

Weeks later I still haven’t unpacked all of my stuff yet. Too much going on here, but once things calm down some more I’ll unpack and write some more. In the meantime, here’s a link to my pics!

Dragon Con 2013 Pictures

 

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DragonCon I Miss You Already

Sadly, after having what turned out to be a pretty fun Otakon, I’m going to have to miss Dragon*Con this year. I really am old enough to know better, but I just didn’t get my financial ducks in a row in time to make the trip. So I’m doing the responsible, or even “grown-up”, thing and passing on it.

I have a milestone birthday coming up in a few years, so I’ve already started making plans for Dragon*Con to be a part of that celebration. Still, it hurts to be missing the fun this year. So to all who will be descending upon Atlanta next weekend, I wish all the best and an awesomely fun time!

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!

Dragon Con 2012 AAAftermath

They say what happens at Dragon*Con, stays at Dragon*Con which is a neat way of summing up  a good chunk of the spirit of the convention. And my OH MY, did it have a lot of spirit! So the quick summary is that I had a great time during my first visit to the largest fandom convention I’ve ever been to.

Looking back though, my Dragon Con got off to a pretty bad start, I just didn’t know it at the time. It wasn’t being tired from a road trip back from Philadelphia a couple of days before, filled with emotion and sadness. Or even taking the wrong ramp near Nashville and adding 80 miles to my trip to Atlanta. It was the discovery, after checking into a hotel a 700 mile drive from home, that my driver’s license had expired a week ago! I was devastated to have had such a lapse, especially after vowing to do a better job of planning after the messiness of Otakon.

A call home to my wife, the best wife ever BTW, calmed me down and I put the problem of driving home out of my mind. I think the real problem may have been that now I was in the middle of Mardi Gras for Nerds without a valid form of ID. I think I must have been the oldest underaged person at the con! Well, I’m not a big drinker anyway, and I had brought 4 bottles of beer from home anyway. So not all of my planning was fail.

Thursday night I was too tired to do much more than wander about to get a feel for things. Already I could see that this con was quite a different animal than Otakon and most anime oriented conventions I’d been to. For one thing, most people were a lot older and that fact alone gave Dragon*Con a vibe that was on a whole different level. I mean after all, a young girl running around in a skimpy costume may not know what she’s getting into or even who she’s portraying. But a mature woman in same knows exactly what she’s doing and what she wants. And that is truly sexy!

Bible Black Cosplay

Friday I donned my Deep Space 9 uniform and headed out to the Trek Track at the Sheraton. It’d been ages since I’d been able to hang out with so many fellow Star Trek fans, including more than a few married couples. So the Trek Track became my hub for the convention. I did duck out a bit for the Babyon 5 panel with Bruce Boxleitner and Mira Furlan (swoooon). And I stumbled into the Erin Gray panel too, before returning to the Trek Track for Klingon Karaoke. I didn’t sing any Klingon songs, but I did sing a country one which is close right? Just kidding. I like country music. So I did one of my favorites, Beer for My Horses with a few references to Saurion Brandy and Romulan Ale thrown in for good measure. After that, I changed into my Miho cosplay, aka “party clothes”, and rocked the Apocalypto dance until the early morning. Some of that rocking included a stint dancing on stage and getting some samba lessons up there as well. Oh my!

The late night Friday gave way to an early wake up for the Dragon Con Parade on Saturday morning. I’d heard about the parade and was looking forward to marching in my Uhura cosplay with the Star Trek contingent. It turned out to be more fun than I had imagined. The Star Trek group was friendly and cool. We may not have been the largest group, but we were pretty awesome with a range of costumes from serious to silly. We had a Kirk in a bath robe, some party Klingons, a Starfleet officer Steampunk style, and some awesome Andorians, just to name a few. I loved it! There were thousands of enthusiastic fans along the parade route and marching and waving felt great. That is definitely something I want to do again! (Sadly, I lost the contact card I got from the lady in Starfleet Steampunk. If you happen to see this post, please DM me on Twitter @bluezhift!)

After the parade, my next mission was to get Nichelle Nichols’ autograph and show her my costume. The crowds were incredible! At some points it felt like being in some dense, slow moving, human fluid. Nevertheless, I achieved my goal and got  my copy of Beyond Uhura signed plus a smile for my cosplay. I gotta say, my Uhura cosplay is definitely one of my all time favorite costumes. ^_^

Sunday I had planned to watch the Miss Star Trek Universe Pageant. Instead, I ended up being a part of it! Before the show, I was selected with a number of other cosplayers to play Kahless Says. Yes, the Klingon version of Simon Says. Uhura made it to the final round before being killed by hired Andorians. Hopefully my death flop in front of none other than Nichelle Nichols herself didn’t show too much panty! The pageant was fun to watch with most of the contestants being totally and hilariously in character. The winner was a Vulcan whose humor and talent were priceless.

2 Aux of Borg
Like some wild night in Vegas, a lot of what happened is a bit of a blur by this time so I’ve included the tweets I made during the convention at the end of this report. Getting home was an adventure in luck and discipline. It is literally impossible to maintain the posted speed limit on the highway without serious risk of being run over. But aggressive use of cruise control,  some patience, and divine providence got me home safely. Atlanta has not seen the last of me!

Dragon Con 2012 Cosplay Pictures

Tales from the Tweet for 2012-09-01

  • Just woke up and the crowds here at #DragonCon are still going strong! Should I join them or go back to sleep? #
  • Got totally depressed because I forgot to do something really important before I left for #DragonCon Just gotta forget it for now… #
  • Can’t hurt to tour about a little at 1:11am…right? #DragonCon #
  • Oops! More like 2am actually! #DragonCon #
  • I’m usually a nervous my first time to a con, but #DragonCon is so overwhelming that I may need some extra undies! #
  • Started out #DragonCon right, with the Trek Track of course! And Garret Wang does a great George Takei! #
  • Got some pics with this cool Trek fan couple. Lots of cosplay up in here! #DragonCon #
  • Tried to see Geek Parent panel, but it was full. So now at Erin Gray panel. ^_^ #DragonCon#
  • Now at the B5 panel. Mira Furlan, SWOOOON!!! #DragonCon #
  • Deep in the bowels of the Hyatt at Know Your Anime. Much younger crowd here, LOL. May bail for Filk soon. #DragonCon #
  • At Filk now. My ears are happy! Eyes too actually! ^_^ #DragonCon #
  • Lined up for Opening Ceremonies yay!! #dragoncon #

Tales from the Tweet for 2012-09-02

  • Lots of country at Klingon Karaoke. I’m alright with it, had fun singing Beer for My Horses. #DragonCon #
  • Of course, my horses prefer Romulan Ale, but that stuff’s illegal. #DragonCon #
  • Danced my arse off at Apocalyto Disco, and OMG, I danced on stage! I kinda sucked on stage, but it was awesome! #DragonCon #
  • In the parade in, gulp, a few hours. Might be a good idea to sleep now. Goodnight #DragonCon #
  • Being in the parade was a hoot! So many people in awesome costumes! And the huge cheering crowd was awesome too! #DragonCon #
  • After the parade, I changed my load out and headed for the Walk of Fame where I got to show my Uhura to the original Uhura. ^_^ #DragonCon #
  • Got my copy of Beyond Uhura signed by Nichelle Nichols and told her I finished my physics degrees we talked about years ago. #DragonCon #
  • In con dim sum mode now. Any panel I can get into is a good panel! Did SWOTOR, mystical book anime, now Project Cosplay. #DragonCon #
  • Project Cosplay off and running with a nude Dead Pool. Oh Dead Pool! XD #DragonCon #
  • I love being at #DragonCon with my nerdy brothers and sisters! Time to eat cause I’m dyin!#

Tales from the Tweet for 2012-09-03

  • Another exhaustingly fun #DragonCon day comes to an end with 2 dance parties and a creepy guy touching me. LOL, my cue to leave. #
  • @ButerflySamurai that’s too bad! I hope you’re otherwise having a great con. These crowds are crazy insane! in reply to ButerflySamurai #
  • The cutest thing I saw today was a Mass Effect cosplayer dad with a baby in a stroller dubbed the Normandy. D’AAAAW! #DragonCon #
  • Plan to spend a lot of time in the Sheraton today on Trek and Dr Who stuff. I <3 you both! Don’t make me choose! #DragonCon #
  • I like that #DragonCon attendees are closer to my age! Yes, this is the grown up con I’ve been looking for! #
  • Woo hoo! I made it to the Sylvester McCoy panel only a little late. ^_^ #DragonCon #
  • @geekitry indeed it is! in reply to geekitry #
  • @ButerflySamurai lol, cosplay is a fun way to express many facets of our personalities (or none at all). A diamond with 1 face = boring in reply to ButerflySamurai #
  • One of the things I like best about #DragonCon are the Southern accents. I could listen to that all day. <3 #
  • Time to feed my Trek nature again! Dorm and Frakes! #DragonCon #
  • My plan was to watch Ms. Star Trek Universe. I ended up IN it playing Kahless Says! In front of Nichelle Nichols no less! <3 #DragonCon #
  • With all the fun I’ve had cosplaying Uhura, I really want to thank William Ware Theiss for his beautiful costumes! #DragonCon #
  • #DragonCon masquerade overflow in the Marriott still has plenty of room! #
  • WTF?! Overflow masquerade has tech issues plus a band is practicing here in the same room. Why the disrespect #DragonCon Seriously… #

Tales from the Tweet for 2012-09-04

  • Looks like my #DragonCon is over for 2012. Gotta say it, it was a lot more than I expected and I hope to return again! ^_^ #
  • Checkpoint! 212 miles out. On course for Chicago. Bye #DragonCon #
  • Checkpoint! 283 miles out, rain. All is well. #
  • Checkpoint! 495 miles out. More rain. All is well. Final fuel stop. #
  • Goal! Defiant returns home under cloak. #DragonCon #outrun #

Anime Midwest 2012 Aftermath I

What can I say? Anime Midwest proved to be a small con with some big fun. While I love the sensory overload of the big cons, Anime Midwest was well worth the time and effort. Naturally I was feverishly finishing up a new cosplay before the con. Yeah, I can never just relax and get ready. LOL

Taking place over the July 4th holiday period, I was lucky enough to be able to take both the 5th and 6th off. So getting out to the con in Chicago suburban Lisle, was pretty low pressure. When I parked the car, it was over 100 degrees F outside. So I was less than happy when I learned that the hallways outside my hotel room were not air conditioned. Hot halls do not make for happy cosplay makeup and wigs!

Friday, I wore my Stocking cosplay which has proven to be one of my favorites. The wig is hard to manage, but I love this costume and the gothy makeup style I can use with it! Since it was a small con, I activated small con picture taking mode. Even at a large convention, the chances of most cosplayers finding pictures of their cosplays online is fairly small. So at smaller conventions I make an extra effort to take pictures whenever I can. Then afterwards I place them on my Flickr account and squawk about them on Twitter, Facebook, and this blog so that they are easy to find.

One of the first things I noticed was all of the Homestuck cosplay. This had to be the largest single contingent of fans at Anime Midwest. And my oh my were they having a great time. They were literally singing and dancing all weekend long. They were closely followed by the Hetalia fans. Oh my! ^_^

AnimeMidwest-2012009

After opening ceremonies I went to the first guest panel featuring voice actors Jamie Marchi, Ian Sinclair, and Joel McDonald. Greg Ayres popped in briefly as well. This was one of the biggest reasons I decided to attend Anime Midwest. I first saw Jamie at Kollision Con last fall and really liked her. At most of the cons I’ve been to, the actors have proven to be really fun, smart, and entertaining.

I wanted to asked Jamie a question about the English dub of Panty and Stocking. She’s the voice of Panty and the English script writer. But the *ahem* language I’d need to use just to ask the question forced me to wait until the after hours panel. That panel was totally off the hook! At the beginning, each person who wanted to ask a question was required to use at least one swear word in asking it. Over the course of the evening, that number increased to five! The Panty and Stocking dub is awesome! My question was who came up with the exclamation of “Repent Motherfuckers!” during the angel transformation sequence. Jamie said that was her idea. And it fit the lip flaps perfectly. It definitely fit the flavor of the series, that’s for sure.

By the end of the panel, the white board was covered with numerous depictions of genitalia, and I’m sure we had all earned ourselves a thoroughly soapy mouth washing! I rarely swear, so I think I must have used up at least two weeks worth that night.

My first day finished up with a costume change to my Miho cosplay before the Friday rave. Miho has become my go to rave cosplay. She looks like a goth rave girl anyway. Though I’m not completely sure what she looked like to the people I encountered in the elevator on the way to the dance. Apparently, the hotel was also host to a wedding party that night. So my purple hair caused a bit of a stir and one young woman was unsure whether I was a woman or a man. As we left the elevator, she apologized profusely for possibly using the wrong pronouns in reference to me. I assured her it was quite okay, quite happy, as any crossplayer might be, to have done a good enough job to engender such confusion (pardon the pun).

I had fun dancing, but wasn’t too hot on the music. So I only stayed a couple of hours before drawing my first day to a close. The next day would be Mamimi’s big debut. But more on that later.

Beaming Down To The Official Star Trek Convention

Star Trek 45th LogoStar Trek is my home fandom, but it’s been many years since I attended my last Star Trek convention. When I started attending cons, they were all fan organized. This meant all kinds of fun and sometimes quirky panels and events in addition to guests appearances and dealers.

Somewhere along the way, a company called Creation started doing Star Trek conventions and while they got really great guests, they were somewhat lighter on the quirky stuff that probably tended to violate somebody’s licensing rights. After a break of a few years I heard about anime cons and started going to those where the for fans, by fans vibe is still very strong and vibrant.

That said, I had not initially planned to go to next weekend’s Official Star Trek Convention in Chicago, but actually Rosemont. We were hosting a potluck that weekend, and I didn’t want to be a jerk and duck out on it for a con. I didn’t even mention that there was a con.

My noble silence was rewarded when the potluck had to be pushed back, and so the mission has been approved! Right now I’m only planning to go on Saturday to show off my Uhura cosplay and hopefully see Leonard Nimoy and Nichelle Nichols. If I could show it to her, that would be totally awesome!

In any case, I was feeling happy today from some good news and decided to order an original series style tricorder, phaser, and communicator to round out my cosplay. Hopefully they’ll get here in time. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing what may be Leonard Nimoy’s last con appearance!

PlayStation Network Disappoints

Not to touch off any raving fanboy battles, but honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of Sony’s PlayStation Network. I remember when PSN started, a lot of the online debate focused on how it was free versus the  annual fee (currently $50) of Microsoft’s XBox Live network. Not any surprise really, internet denizens have been the cheapest bastards on the planet from the very beginning. To many netizens, free always equates to better.

But, the old adage that you get what you pay for was quite apt in the case of PSN vs XBL. From this consumer’s standpoint, PSN simply did not work as well as XBL. The games were not as well integrated, and doing simple things like downloading updates took significantly longer than the same activities on XBL. Bandwidth, servers, and development personnel cost money, lots of it. A free model was simply not going to deliver a competitive online service. So it was no surprise when Sony announced the premium PlayStation Plus service with, guess what? A $50 annual fee.

By now, the massive security breach on PSN and other Sony web sites is common knowledge even outside of the gaming community. As a developer, I was a bit shocked at just how fragile Sony’s infrastructure appeared to be in the wake of these attacks. To be fair, it is not a small task to secure your network against determined intruders. I suspect that Microsoft may possess greater expertise in this area simply because they have been such a big hacking target for such a long time relative to Sony.

As a consumer though, I just want things to work! So far, I’m not impressed. The simple tasks of claiming the Welcome Back goodies has been fraught with server errors and disconnections. Part of this is the heavy traffic of legitimate customers which should have been anticipated and prepared for. The other part is the continuing network attack on Sony’s online infrastructure, which sadly also needs to be accounted for going forward.

I’m very frustrated by all of this. I just want to play some games on the net! Maybe it’s time for Sony to call up Microsoft for some advice.

C2E2 And The Con Dreams Begin!

The second Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) begins on Friday! I’m looking forward to an even bigger con than the inaugural event last year. This year I got  a 3 day pass and am really looking forward to seeing the second of the Evangelion reboot movies, 1.11 and 2.22.

I don’t cosplay for C2E2 because I don’t really have anything that would fit the event. Super Heroes aren’t really my thing, though Star Wars and Star Trek costumes are pretty common at comic cons too. Maybe I’ll through on my Next Generation uniform just for lulz. McCormic Place Convention Center is pretty close to where I live, so no hotel costs to pay makes C2E2 pretty cheap for me. Still, I think it triggered a pre-convention dream last night. In this dream I’m at a con sharing a room with some friends, but somewhere along the way I’ve lost all of my luggage. I have absolutely no memory of how it could have happened.

I was pretty distressed about the situation in the dream. Not so much about the lost stuff as much about having no memory of it. Once I woke up and realized it was only a dream, I felt much better. It was only when I started to think about blogging about C2E2 that I realized that the dream was probably related to it. Since I don’t need a hotel for C2E2, that explains the lack of luggage and not having a memory of it. I love staying at con hotels, so breaking that pattern probably triggered the dream on some level.

As always, I’ll take as many pictures as I can of cosplayers! Last year I got a pic of some cute kids cosplaying from Avatar: The Last Airbender (the awesome Nicktoons original, not the horrid movie) and Time Out Chicago Kids used it in last month’s magazine! My first printed media photo credit! I’m sure that this year will bring out even more awesome cosplay!

Avatar Kids Take Two!

Julian Assange and the Assassination of the Free Press

Public officials around the world have called for the assassination of Julian Assange. As many are already aware by this time, Assange has inspired international outrage due to embarrassing information he recently released on his web site WikiLeaks.

The thing I find most interesting about the whole thing is the lack of widespread public outrage. Basically, only butt-hurt government officials and wannabe leaders seem to be the ones calling for Assange’s head. As a US citizen, I’m embarrassed at the lengths my government has gone to to suppress the leaked cables including trying to wipe the site off of the internet. They should know by now that once the genie is out of the bottle and on the internet, it cannot be put back into it. Indeed, these efforts are just drawing more attention to it. I think the efforts to suppress free speech and freedom of the press are more embarrassing than the leaked information itself. I’m doubly disappointed to see this happening on President Obama’s watch. We all expected better than this further affront to the reputation of the United States.

Some have likened Assange to a spy, but the truth of the matter is that he is more like a journalist than spy. If/when Assange turns up dead, I think it will be the international free press that will have been assassinated. One could argue that with the professional press being a for profit organization owned by giant media conglomerates, there really isn’t a free press anymore. Maybe Assange’s real crime was that he wasn’t already owned by the right people.

Drag Me Drag U

I’ve been watching RuPaul’s Drag U with some interest while awaiting the next season of  RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2011. Drag U is basically a makeover show with drag queens doing the makeovers on genetic women.

I watch it mostly the see my favorite queens from Drag Race. But I must admit, I’m impressed with the show because they don’t take the easy way out. The women who come on the show are not super models by any stretch of the imagination. These are real women like the ones you see on the street everyday, middle aged, overweight, with issues.

The transformations in looks and attitude are striking, but does it last? I thought about this, and at first I had my doubts. But then I remembered the first time I crossplayed at a convention. It took me half an hour to get up enough courage to leave the room. But after that I was on top of the world! It was like I’d discovered this other self that was more confident, and yes, fierce! After that, that other self started leaking into my “normal life” along with the lift I got from her.

So yeah, I can believe that some of the drag-uates of Drag U are going to build on that experience. I did it myself, through the miracle of drag, no less!

Springtime for Final Fantasy XIV

I’ve been waiting for Final Fantasy XIV for some time now. I signed up for the betas and finally managed to get a key for the open beta that started a few weeks ago. Alas I was greatly disappointed with the lagginess of the game and had some serious reservations about whether or not it would be successful.

Well it turned out that the fault was my own, for in my exuberance, I failed to double check my hardware specs. Everything except my video card is up to spec for the game. Sadly, my primary machine is a MacBook now with a 256MB Nvidia 9400M which I cannot upgrade. *sigh* I knew this to be a risk when I started using laptops as my primary machines.

With a great sadness, I uninstalled the beta client and await the PS3 release in the spring. I must say though that I am very very tempted to build a game PC just for this purpose. Hmm, maybe, just maybe… No, it makes no sense financially, but a dedicated game machine would save me a lot of headaches and give me an outlet for my need to tinker!

ACen 2010 the 13th Shockwave Part II

The last month’s been pretty crazy with moving and everything, so I’m finally going to finish this up now. As luck would have it, my family showed up on Saturday while I was trying to get into costume, LOL. I figured it would happen that way, I never get up early enough because I’m out all night at cons. Oh well, just a hazard of having fun! XD

No matter, I wanted to wear my Princess Sakura outfit on Saturday because I wanted to show it to a friend of mine who was coming to her first ACen and was in the fashion show no less. She’s a loli, and my Sakura is about as close to anything loli as my costumes get. So I wanted to see if she liked it. I really love this cosplay, but the boots for it are killers! They look great, but there’s a huge price to pay for it!

After getting the family settled into our room, we all headed out. I wanted to say hi to some friends working in the dealers room in the convention center which also offered a lot of photo ops. On the way I ran into another friend who at first either didn’t recognize me or was totally shocked, but in a good way. She really liked my  costume, not only did she say it looked good, she said I looked like a woman! That’s the highest compliment I can possibly get for this kind of cosplay. (^___^) She looked great too doing a gothic Chii cosplay which you can see in the pics I took.

I guess my cosplay skills are improving, after I left Chii, an older black man took a look at me and said I was “lookin good”. There were two things I wanted to work on for ACen, makeup, and truly owning my characters. Oddly enough, I had been inspired in both by the 2nd season of RuPaul’s Drag Race! I really wanted to totally own my cosplays, and totally enjoy them. Not that I hadn’t been before, but I tend to be a bit reserved. I think that this ACen I was able to really cut loose and enjoy myself.

Makeup-wise, I’d been holding back too much. After watching RuPaul’s queens doing makeup, I think I finally started to get it right. I’m not afraid of the makeup anymore. This time I got my foundation on the right way and added some blush to bring out my cheeks a bit. I think it worked very well, and I discovered that I actually have a pretty face. Maybe that’s a conceit, but it’s a good one to have! I also enhanced my wigs, adding wefts to puff out the bangs more.

Of course none of this changed the fact that those boots were killing my feet. By the time I reached the dealers room, I was sure the boots were filled with blood. So after visiting with a friend who was working there, I found a seat in an empty booth and took a rest. Then it was time to go line up for the fashion show. Standing in that line was pure hell on my feet! But I did learn a few tricks to take the pressure off and got a picture of an awesome femme Spock. <3

The fashion show was interesting, I just wish I could have taken better pictures. In the end, I wasn’t able to meet up with my friend Grace until later after I’d changed out of the torturous boots. But she liked my outfit anyway and was impressed that I had made it myself. She’s pretty cool, and wasn’t in the least bit fazed that I was crossplaying. Yay!

The masquerade filled up as usual, but just as I was about to give up hope, I stumbled upon live video being projected on the hotel lobby wall. So watched there and most of what I saw was pretty good. After that I eventually made it to the hotel where karaoke was going on. It was packed, but I got some more cosplay pics, visited some friends and eventually got to sing. Then to top the night off, I went to the Soap Bubble, still going strong sometime after 2am. I think I ended up out later than I had been the night before, YEAH! It’s nice to know that I can still do stuff like that, heh heh.

Sundays are usually pretty quite. We had breakfast, checked out. Family headed back home and I made my final picture taking rounds. It was a good ACen, more fun for me than last year. Can’t wait to do it again next year!