Category Archives: General

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

 

DragonCon-2013025

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.

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.

Join Me Luke And Together We Will Fix This Computer As Father And Son!

With the proliferation of Darth Vader memes across the web, I think the Dark Lord of the Sith is becoming something of an icon of fatherhood. I mean really, who hasn’t thought of their dad as the evil Darth Vader at one point or another. And I say that now that such a role has come upon my shoulders from time to time as a parent myself. But Darth was not always evil of course, and the guy was a very smart and capable Jedi back in the day. Naturally this is usually forgotten, not at all helped by a series of not so great prequels.

darth_vader_fatherhood_icon
Darth Vader, Icon of Fatherhood

It’s not all bad though. Tonight I had the pleasure of displaying my prowess as Lord of the Sith by helping my son extract a stripped screw from his laptop. He was in the process of upgrading the memory and somehow stripped the head of the screw to the access panel. All hope seemed lost as I tried various tools to get the stubbornly tight screw to turn.

In the end I called upon the Dark Side of the Force, abandoning finesse for some well placed torsional mayhem. I found a sharp pointed Philips head screw driver tip that I was able to fit into my power screw driver. I then pressed the sharp tip into the damaged screw and let her rip! I hoped that the pressure and vibration would loosen the screw and turn it.

It took a couple of attempts, but in the end that screw was no match for the power of the Dark Side. Luke, I AM YOUR FATHER!

Another Thank You To Martin Luther King Jr.

It isn’t very often that you get a chance to say “Thank you” to the historical figures who’ve touched your life. But this past weekend I had just such an opportunity. One of my wife’s closest friends is a relative of Juanita Abernathy, widow of Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy who with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. started the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. with the Montgomery Bus Boycott. We had the opportunity of joining Mrs. Abernathy for a dinner in her honor ahead of her speaking at the MLK Day celebration at the Union League Club in Chicago.

The dinner was great, and Mrs. Abernathy remains an active and vibrant person. And the stories she told, particularly of the time they spent in Chicago, really drove home just how much of a struggle she and the others went through to secure the equality promised by the U.S. Constitution. She really reminded me of my mom a great deal. And that made me think even more about how much I owe her and the other leaders of the movement for the life I have today. My educational opportunities simply would not have been available in pre-Civll Rights America. And my marriage to the Chinese woman I fell in love with, would be illegal. So I owe a great debt to those who struggled before me.

Juanita Abernathy is the last living member of the core leadership of the Civil Rights movement. So it was an honor to speak with her and thank her personally for all that she did. And the closest I’ll ever get to thanking King personally on this side of eternity. Now it’s time to carry on the fight.

She Won’t Be Home For Christmas

Every parent knows it’s going to happen someday. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less of course. When I heard that my eldest daughter had decided to spend Christmas away from home, all of the air just went out of my balloons. I’m still feeling deflated, but I guess it’s just an unavoidable part of letting go. We’ve spent nearly two decades preparing her for this, so I guess we should be proud in a way. Still, the Christmas lights will be a little dimmer this year.

Turkey Week: And So It Begins

It sucks being sick over the weekend, but I’m back up and looking forward to the coming week. The big highlight will be the return of my daughter from college for the Thanksgiving holiday. She and my longest son had a spirited conversation over Skype last night. I wish I could have been more a part of that, but it’s never been easy communicating with her and patience is essential. I’m wondering how college has changed her. I know it changed me, mostly for the better where living with other people was concerned.

On the work front, a lot of people are taking this week off, so it should be pretty quiet. And by quiet, I mean boring…

Sex is Boring

Now that sex has become boring, I guess I am officially old. *sigh* I’ve never liked doing anything the same ol’ way over and over again. But right now it seems that I am doomed to the same bedroom mechanic for the¬†foreseeable future (if there is such a thing). So I’ve come here to vent a little bit. Even that has taken some effort as I’ve felt so much palpable pressure to conform and behave over the last couple of months.

Well conformity has never been my thing. And I’ve “behaved” all my life. I’m tired of behaving. I just want to be myself and say the things I need to say. I’m supposed to be writing a prayer for Sunday, but right now I’m at a loss. My faith has not left me though, only the words.

A Pearl Is Just A Pearl

Funny thing happened to me today in the elevator. It was just myself and a woman at the time when she asked me what my earrings meant. I was wearing pearl studs today, one of my favorite pair. I told her it only meant that I liked them which is the truth.

I suppose it’s rather unusual for men to wear pearl earrings. But I just wear what I like. Oddly enough, being able to wear earrings is one of the few advantages of being a black man in the US. Still, I suppose one has to conform to expectations even then. Needless to say, conforming is not one of my strong suits!