Category Archives: General

Left Behind Again

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.

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!

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!

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.

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!

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!

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.

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.