GenCon is happening this weekend.
I will talk another time about what I like and dislike about GenCon, but for now it suffices to say that I am not going this year (and that’s fine).
Some of my work is going though!
My sweetie is working the D20 Burlesque show doing kittening/stage management/general awesomeness and decided on doing No-Face from Spirited Away for her costume.
As all costume events seem to go this meant we were scrambling at midnight to finish the mask and solve other problems. I made the mask for her out of “fun foam” which did not quite behave as I expected it to. The whole project was, in fact, a wonderful illustration in the difference between Knowing and Doing. It was frustrating and stressful but I learned a lot and am rather happy with he way it came out given the timing and the fact that most of the techniques were being learned/invented as I went.
One of these days I will start taking better step by step shots of projects… But here is the finished mask.
Shot with an ipad under nasty kitchen fluorescent lighting, but you get the idea.
You know how when someone says something incongruous or just a little off bit kilter and you respond “That’s my band!”
You know you do!
I decided to begin jotting down the ones that I liked the best. Here is my current crop.
-Pain Meds and Power Tools
-No One Is Derick
-A Given Value of Mitchel
-Punch Hole Unit
-That Monkey Gimmick
-Second Hand Butt Plug
If anyone wants to take any of these and run with them… I want a signed copy of the CD and to get to design your T-shirts.
Also this happened a while ago…
Captain Glitterbeard questions his life decisions
No not this guy…
Some time ago I came across Nuclear Snail Studios on YouTube. I have always had a love of the post-apocalyptic, the scavenged, and the improvised and this guys approach to such things tickled me. I marathon watched all his videos then began eyeing my pants in ways that made the garment uncomfortable.
With the awesome new Mad Max movie still occupying a remarkable amount of my waking thoughts two months after having seen it I suspect my sewing machine and I are going to be doing cruel things to some of my more worn out clothes in the near future… Buckles… I need more buckles…
This video in particular caught my attention. I loved his shredder tool and immediately wanted one. The problem seemed to be that the particular type of modular hole saw he used was not favored in any hardware store I frequented and I could absolutely not be bothered to do much more research into sourcing one with a thousand other projects looming and a major move across the country demanding my attention.
But guess what… I found one! Cheap!
Here then is my Shredder.
I carved the handle from a hardwood dowel and used the center drill from the hole saw as a tang. The head is still removable if I get some weird idea to actually mount it on a drill or something… Hmmm… But the tang is well and truly epoxied into the handle so I will need to make a new one.
He’s a brutal little guy isn’t he? I think he will rust up and age very attractively and some day someone will find it in a box and wonder what the hell great grandpa was up to.
Now to find some scrap leather and make him a holster.
So most mornings I am In a terrible rush. A combination of my inability to be a morning person and my half asleep creative math usually insures I have 15 minutes to get ready and get out the door. This morning was a little worse as I had convinced myself that a five minute snooze meant I had an extra 15 minutes later…
So anyhow, I raced out of the door and jumped on Rocinante, ready to zoom out into the oncoming day. Something felt immediately very very wrong.
Upon investigation, I found this little beauty plunged to the hilt in the back tire.
I left it in (thank you for that important life lesson dad!) and pumped the tire up with enough air to almost get to the gas station… Which I arrived at after a mile of pushing Rocinante…
I used the gas stations compressor to pump the back tire full, which got me as far as the HellMart, where I bought an emergency puncture repair kit and a couple fix-a flats just in case… Also a cheap plain T-shirt as mine was now sopping with sweat.
A quick repair later I am at work only an hour late. Here is hoping that the temporary fix lasts two to four weeks until I can afford to get into the shop for a more permanent solution…
It is the year two thousand and fifteen… Have we not solved this problem already?
-The atomic number of ruthenium (which is very pretty)
-The code for international direct dial phone calls to the United Kingdom
-Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44BC
-Wu Han died in 44AD
-Gary Busey was born in 1944
Yesterday marked the forty fourth anniversary of my entry, in approximately this form, into what we perceive as this state of existence.
It is an arbitrary date to use. A theoretical shift forward on the scoreboard of life… But I suppose it will do.
The day itself was not terribly remarkable. I woke up in a borrowed house and had a pleasant morning. I took a relatively luxurious shower and had plenty of time to settle into the harsh reality I call “being awake.” I had to work and it was a later shift so there was no time for any particularly fun activities… But work passed quickly enough and afterwards I was treated to a lovely Thai dinner. Cake and presents happened the night before, so all told the rituals were pleasantly observed.
So this leaves me thinking about the significance of passing this particular milestone set to the side of linear time.
That nasty little voice hiding somewhere behind my eyes would love to endlessly recount all of my many failings and dissapointments. I am increasingly finding that voice to be incredibly dull however, so it can go cheerfully fuck itself raw for a bit. It is a lot more interesting to look at where I currently am, where I want to be, and what tools I have to deal with the obstacles in my way (both internal and external).
This was supposed to be the year of “getting some stuff done.” Instead it was the year of recovering from disaster and wallowing a little in the comforting embrace of depression who loves me and is always there when I need it… Depression is also very boring and can fuck itself raw.
So this year will be a year of getting a few things done and knocking down a lot of obstacles so that I can get even more done. It had an OK start and is sitting in a bit of a swamp, but I am thinking it’s going to be a pretty satisfying tick forward on the arbitrary scoreboard and quite a few ticks forward on some much more interesting scoreboards.
One of the things that attracted me to the Honda Ruckus was the open frame construction. The big open area under the seat just screams potential to me.
The one problem of all this potential is that is just that. The area is great for holding a bag of laundry or a bag of cat litter… But with the wide open sides if you don’t stuff it full you rust having things just fly away as you ride.
so I did something about that.
I had this roll of plastic mesh at Bloominglabs so I dug it out and cut some panels roughly the size I wanted them.
I also grabbed a bag of zip-ties and a pair of “titanium” EMT shears.
I have some issues with the wasteful nature of zip-ties, but they were there and I didn’t have anything better at the moment.
the front panel just needed to be trimmed a little and installed.
The back panel was a more challenging shape and I had to nibble away bits until it fit.
The sides were the same shape so I just made two and cut out a little area for the helmet lock.
With the ties trimmed I had my cargo area nicely closed off and Rocinante looks 15% more post-apocalyptic!
Done! Though as soon as I find them I will replace the zip-ties with Velcro straps so I can pull off the panels when I need to.
Woke up with plenty of time, took a long shower and wrote until I suddenly didn’t have any more time. An hour goes really quickly if you let it get away from you.
Tracy had come up to visit so we talked as I packed up everything. Then I said my quick goodbyes and rushed down for paranoia, barely making it I time to the room it was scheduled to be in… Then rushed halfway across the hotel to the room it was moved to (this seemed to bea theme this year).
After paranoia I had a last beer and chicken wings with Duane and tried to get in touch with Damon. He had left the con to go see mad max so Duane gave me a ride to BART.
One last BART ride out to the bus… I was constantly tempted to get off the train and explore the areas around each familiar station, but I just watched them go by until I got to the far spur where one connects with the bus to Marin.
The phone system once again did not believe that the bus stop actually existed… I swore at it a lot and tried to get it to understand the line number or agency… But it had no luck with those either. Technology making our lives easier.
The bus did finally come, and one $7 bus ride later I was in San Rafael. Dad and Sarah arrived a few minutes later and we went to Pancho Villas for chille rilleno and a margarita and then home to Woodacre to sit around talking until once again sleep demanded our presence
Another leisurely morning. I woke up with two hours until Damon was due to start his game so I had plenty of time to shower and lounge around. On the other hand, Damon realized he had forgotten a bag of props and things and so had to run home and get them. I hung around and slowly got ready then went downstairs to see if I had gotten into his game. I had so I made my way to the room it was scheduled to be in… Then to the room they had moved it to. I beat Damon there by a few minutes.
The game was a lot of fun, and Damon has seriously raised the bar on in-game props. It was only the second game he has ever written, and the very first run of the game, so it did have some rough edges. The players (myself included) had a lot of fun though and almost everyone stayed after the gameto talk about it… That is usually a really good sign.
He and I spent some time walking around and discussing the scenario and his style. We returned to the room to refill flasks then met the others for Beta Team.
Beta team is a game that has been running for years now by Michael Silverling. We meet at conventions and find a quietish space and bash our way disastrously through time and space. We play the expendable foot soldiers of an organization that polices the timeline and tries to prevent others from mucking it up too badly… Usually we muck it up pretty badly.
After the game we all sat talking for a long time about Beta Team, cons, and life in general. People filtered out to sleep until it was just Michael, Badger, Damon, Duane, and myself. Then the hour made itself felt and Damon and I headed upstairs where we Watched tv, wrote, and talked, until 2am
Is it the future yet?
I woke up a bit later than I had planned and scrambled to print out the character sheets and other materials I needed. The hotel had terminals set up with printers but they we’re pay by the minute and of course ran very very slow and froze a lot. It probably cost me $9 to print out 12 sheets of paper… Such is the stuff of convention life.
The game went very well. Goblin City is always a thrill ride of insanity and property damage, and the players did it disappoint. The city was largely on fire by the end and has no remaining air force. I should probably talk about Goblin City and the Surreality Engine soon.
After the game we wandered for a little bit, then Duane headed out to get Arabis and I found Damon. We wandered down to check out the dealers room and ended up in a tournament of Dubious Alliance, a card game based on a band that dresses as orcs. It was fun but a bit fiddly. I would certainly play it again but would be unlikely to actually buy it for myself.
Damon and I went out into the world to find food that was Not Of The Con. There was an interesting Mexican food place, but they were just closing. We went to a dinery burgery place that we had found to be just fine in previous years and that turned out to be a fantastic idea since they had chorizo burgers… Those were really really good!
We went back to the room and just hung out talking about random things and watching hotel tv while we waited for other people to become available. I had been afraid that I would come back to find that I had drifted away from my friends, but we fell I to the same easy banter we have always had.
Before we went down to play games we stopped by Duanes room for Arabis birthday. There was cake and balloons and one little girl in a room full of old people singing happy birthday… That seemed odd to me, but she was happy with it.
We then went down to the atrium of the hotel and played a game of Dead Of Winter. A very fun zombie survival board game. I think we won…
The ending was a bit fuzzy and I think we might have misread a rule. Fun was had by all however.
Then back to room, drinks, and sleep.
The internet here is utterly wretched, this may be posted in the future… If the world is on fire or overrun with aliens, robots, or zombies… It’s probably the future now.
I awoke to my brain and gut gently nudging me and reminding me that there is A Price To Be Paid.
Did a little sewing and watched a documentary on the last days of Atari and the burial of the E.T. Cartridge. It was a bit disappointing in its scope, but worth watching.
Hung out while Jessica made all the food In the world. This begun with eggs and spinach and then there was cake and every frosting ever, and then later on a delicious Asian soup of some kind.
The con was starting and Duane needed to wait to deal with Arabis, so I Headed out to BART. The familiar stations and trains seemed slightly surreal.
I took the train to SFO and found the shuttle platform. I spent 20 or 30 minutes of time stress as shuttle after shuttle to other hotels came and went, but finally mine arrived and after a short ride I was there!
I registered, got my badge, and hooked up with Damon. We got settled in to our room, found Badger, and went for a beer and some food at the hotel bar. We were joined there by our friend Mike and just hung around talking for a while until Damon and Badger had to go to a lustmord show so I found Duane and we went up to the room and bashed out the details for our Goblin City game. We worked until we were no longer capable of useful thought. He returned to his room and I slipped in to unconsciousness