IndyFurCon: Mission Failed

So I was in the same hotel as IndyFurCon but I can't especially say I was at the con... I spent nearly the entire thing too sick to do anything. The first day I was so exhausted I just slept instead of going to artist alley, and when I woke up we had a little drinking party, which promptly led to me throwing up all night: I didn't drink enough to justify it, but I think I mixed too many different liquors too quickly.

So yeah, the next day I woke up naked in the doorway of the bathroom feeling... oddly ok. That didn't last. Three hours into it I ended up going back to my room to sleep again as I just kept deteriorating. When I woke up again I was feeling more or less ok so we went out to eat and then I worked on all those water color badges while Dodger was catching up on work. Then I ended up spending a bunch of time with Kelly, who I met briefly back at FCN and really liked, so it was cool to actually get to know her. Hope I can catch up with her at more cons in the future. Also met an interesting person named Crash with her, but I don't know their info or anything. Didn't get to catch up a whole lot with Ted, so I'll have to do so later.

Well, the next day... we all felt like shit. Upset stomachs and feeling awful, getting vertigo.... We think it was the temperature; the con had a weird habit of being hot and humid, and then freezing fucking cold at different times, so I think it ruined our immune systems. We ended up leaving early to come home because we were in such bad shape.

I can't blame the con, though; it was small and had its bumps but seemed like a nice little con. We'll be there next year in the Dealer's room, even; we figure it'll be a good test con for being dealers. Especially since we can no longer sell prints and such, it seems like a logical transition now.
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    gloomy gloomy

Graduation: Masters Edition

So... I'm graduating on Saturday. With my Masters in English Literature. It's been... what, five years since I started it? Long break in the middle. But now it's done. Everything's been approved and sent through. Only a bureaucratic fuck up could stand in the way now.

I'm not going to go into a PhD quite yet... I want to work a job for at least a little while first, preferably teaching at a community college, but I haven't secured a position yet, so... job hunting time. Loans have about run out and I'll be asking for more hours at my part time shit job. Sigh.

I feel kinda bummed. I sort of liked being in school and the loans kept me afloat pretty much permanently, and now that I don't have them to live off nothing's secure. If I got a real job with real pay I'd be a lot happier, but those things are hard to actually secure. Not giving up by a long shot, just depressed I don't have one already and that I don't really know what I'm going to be doing with myself in the new future.

It's also scary since I've defined my life by this degree for so long, and now it's done. It feels almost like life being over, rather than the end of training for life. Christ, I need something to do that I can feel good about. Been looking at community colleges mostly, but really I'd take any professional job. Non-profit organizations would be cool (I especially like working in the Trans sector, but I also know they tend to be... pretty nasty and catty within their own organizations. I don't think I'd be trans enough by their standards) or even corporate jobs. There's so many options, and all of them only vaguely available, that I don't know what to do.

Well, enough of the emo. I'm a Masters! I have a paper that says I'm smart, whether you like it or not! Sadly, being a Masters doesn't let me force you to call me Dr. or anything....
  • Current Music
    some crickets

Complex Villains and Failed Heroes

I'll have to explain this a little bit before I get into it. See, there's the author I've been hard core into since highschool (like, a decade ago) named John Varley. He's a scifi author that I feel is just astounding, especially if you're interested in gender issues. He's not that well known anymore, but back in the day (70's, 80's) he was a sensation for scifi fans. He's been... wasting his time, lately, in my opinion, but he can still write. He's just not writing what he should be right now. Anyway.

He has a website. On this website he will review movies. See, he loves movies like most people love not being dead. They are his reason for getting up every day. Cinematic ideology runs through his novels in every aspect. He tried to do Hollywood (this is the period where people forgot about him) but only one of his movies ever got completed, and it had been downgraded to a Canadian made-for-TV shitpile that one doesn't talk about. I digress, though...

The man reviews movies on his website.

Being that I love this writer, I wanted to know what he thought of movies. I'm not one to rage if someone disagrees with me, I can completely accept that two intelligent people can consider the same art object good and bad. I can also accept that sometimes the things I like are trash and they just pander to me. I don't consider it bad to like bad things if you're honest about it, and even if you hate something I love I am genuinely interested in hearing your arguments. If the arguments are good you actually contribute to the meditation on a piece; parts of a good thing can be bad, and a neutral aspect may translate differently to different people, and understanding all of this interactions enriches the experience of art. So yeah, I figured he'd dislike some movies I liked but I figured he'd be intelligent about it.

Now, the thing about what I said up there is it cuts both ways. If your reasons for disliking something are bad, then I will be infuriated. Opinions on the object may be different legitimately, but that doesn't make all opinions legitimate. Poor reasoning and faulty arguments remain what they are, and I will think less of a person for them.

There were two reviews where this happened for me, and for essentially the same reason: "3:10 to Yuma" and "Inglorious Basterds". In both cases his issue was that a villain was not 2 dimensional. Essentially.

SPOILERS!

When Shoshana (sp?) shoots, what's his name, the Nazi war hero but then goes to check on him? This ruined the movie for my favorite author. Because she, for even a moment, thought of a man conscripted into the German military as a human being. Considering it was the film, rather than the person himself, that led her to feel this way (the power of film being the whole point of the movie) and made her understand that he really, really wasn't proud of being a killer and that he really, really wasn't defined by his part, nation or even past actions... that was art.

In Yuma, when Ben Wade sees the rancher get shot by his own gang and then murders his own gang members, this ruined the film for him. Now, I saw this complaint a lot... from fucking retards on internet message boards who couldn't understand why a bad-ass villain would do anything but murder all the time. They apparently walked into the movie right at that moment, since the movie started showing that he was actually a complex man with motivations deeper than greed and hate from the very first scene we see him in. They also apparently missed the long and complex development of the relationship between Wade and the rancher. Newsflash, the movie was about father figures. Wade never had one and has been collecting them. The previous father figure for him, the Pinkerton who sought to punish him for his transgressions, failed Wade earlier. His entire relationship to the rancher is mediated through the rancher's son, who Wade identifies with. A child being able to look up to his father matters more to Wade than anything because it's a hole in his life that has defined everything about him.

See, we call that good writing in the biz. That's a complex character. What fucking point is there to watching a straight up good guy and bad guy fight until the bad one dies? You wrote that story when you were, like, ten. Everyone did. Characters must evolve to be worth paying attention to. And Wade's character (and the rancher's) develop like mother fuckers in that film. That film is ASTOUNDING!

You can disagree, but your reasoning better be a little smarter than "Why didn't Wade just kill everyone all the time?" I guess for the same reason he didn't eat babies or worship Satan; good and evil is not black and white.

Now, like I said, I've seen these reviews from dumb people before. Sure, this is someone I looked up to, but what really get me... and horrifies me about this is...

...my favorite author, who wrote some of the deepest and most moving characters I've ever read, was stumped by deep, complex characters in film. Really. I can't even think of an analogy good enough to describe how awful that is.
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    Neighbor's base is really loud...

For Max

Toshiba model: pfafgu-05f01d

Might be psafgu-05f01d, going by my searches. Hard to understand him over the phone. And he's a bit of an idiot.

April Fools

I didn't even realize it was April Fools day. Nothing got me, I just didn't think about it. I was gone all day and got back to the computer tonight and here people are talking about it. So nothing tricked me, either, I guess.

The St. Loius bus system will kill me. I spent three and half hours riding buses and trams today to get to the conference center. Ends up the buses here don't go in loops, they just take a route, and then retrace it. So nearly my entire trip was a waste. Seriously.

The buses also stop running at about midnight and don't start again until about 4 in the morning. There was no way the tram could get to my bus stop in time so I had to take a cab. That was $36.

The cabbie had no idea where the hotel was, or even the major roads near it. He had a Garmin, but his power cord for it was broken and it kept turning off. He had to keep turning it back on and write down as much of the directions as he could before it turned off again. Then at the very end, when it was working again, it basically told us to turn right and we'd be there... when there was still a freeway to cross and no road leading to the hotel. He ended up letting me out a block away and I walked.

Now I need to be there at 10 in the morning for my friend's presentation. To be safe, I want to be at the bus stop by 8. So... I'm looking at about four hours of sleep.

Also, bars and food are super expensive here. Like, more than five bucks for a draft beer.
  • Current Music
    A strange rumbling from the walls

St. Loius Conference

Well, I'm about to fly out to the PCA/ACA conference in St. Loius. Going to present my totally shitty paper on zombies and race. Everyone tells me everyone's paper's suck, though, even their own so hey... maybe mine only sucks to a normal degree. I'll try to post something from the conference if I'm ever sober.

I'm more likely to post on the twitter I just made today, http://twitter.com/Corsair_Lafitte
  • Current Music
    John Waters talking

Bashcon

So we have this little gaming con up here, at one of the nearby universities, called Bashcon. I'm usually not too excited about it because, other than the small dealer's room, there's not much there for me. The one time I tried to play a game there I hated it and we tried, once, to do a Reaper's miniatures painting thing but they never showed up. This year Snake woke me up and made me go up for one day so we could at least see the dealer's room. I wasn't totally against it because this con is where I've gotten most of the 7th sea books I've managed to scrounge up. And those things are fucking hard to find....

For those that don't know, 7th sea is a role playing game set in a fantasy version of Europe during the golden age of piracy. It's easily my favorite game, both for the setting and the rules system, which is almost exactly the same as Legend of the Five Rings, since they were made by the same guy during a fairly short run of game making with AEG. The game has been out of print for years and the books get harder to dig up every year.

Well, the dealer's room was unexpectedly great this year. One shop had some nice leather work where Snake got some good steampunk accessories, including a leather doublet that goes great with his mask and goggles. We both got leather belt holders for bottles made to fit resealable bottles that came with them(the type of flip tops Grolsch uses). We got some grid maps for gaming on, too, which we've needed for some time. I even got two 7th Sea books.

What was really awesome, though... is something that, like, two people will understand. I've wanted to get a tabbard for some time. A musketeer tabbard. I could never decide on an exact one, though they changed a lot through history) and they cost a lot, but what I really wanted was the tabbard for the 7th Sea version of musketeers. But why would someone make costumes for a long discontinued RPG? Well, I guess they're as big a fans as I am because a group there did! And it was relatively cheap! I never want to take it off!
  • Current Music
    My cat crying

Star Wars Christmas Special

Yeah, so everyone seems to be talking about the Star Wars Christmas special lately, and Snake's never seen it, so I tried to explain it to him... and he's just going to have to watch it because my explanations are just getting surreal. The best I can come up with is to say it's like someone wrote bad fanfiction of bad fanfiction. Like, they're in modern looking houses watching modern looking television... in Star Wars. And they keep introducing current celebrities. It defies logic. Even worse, they craft the whole thing to be as little like Star Wars as possible while still containing Star Wars characters. I mean, fuck, watching Chewbaca's badly costumed mom watch a cooking show by a monster making terrifying food on a modern TV is bewildering.

So I tried a different track. I tried to describe what it'd be like if the same was done to something Snake loves: Star Trek. It's like if Picard and Ohura, with no explanation, went to a modern Walmart where they met Dale Ernhardt, bought a grill, sang a Souljaboy song and then beamed up into someone lounge. And the fact that they beamed up anywhere, even though the where makes no sense, is the only reason you know they're supposed to be these actual characters instead of schizophrenics who believe they're these characters.

I remember first seeing it and how at first I was all excited to watch some awful crap no one had ever heard of back then, but pretty soon I just wanted it turned off. It combined boring, batshit insane and awkward in a way that made it unwatchable. Like, you can't enjoy the crazy because it's also super dull, but then it's all wrapped in an awkward plot that just makes you uncomfortable, so you can't just ignore it either. Of course, my friends refused to turn it off.
  • Current Music
    Central Air Heating

Fucking Bike Laws...

Some laws are really stupid. Some laws are based on logic so backward and ridiculous that the only possible response is screaming. When you see the Goldberg-machine results of these laws finally collapsing into the real world the fury increases exponentially. I imagine someone is going to think I'm stupid for this, but...

Riding bicycles on the road is the worst idea any lawmaker has ever had.

Maybe in ye olden days when cars went, like, 20 miles per hour and bicycles had one giant wheel in front this seemed logical. Engines were a new concept so every wheel not strapped to your foot counted as a real vehicle, or something. But now that the lowest speed limit a road will have is 25, seriously, having bikes on the road is a mixture of a death trap and the alchemical formula for road rage. Bikes aren't fast enough for the road, and they're not too fast for a sidewalk.

Let's examine this. We put a bike on a road and you're a small, swerving obstacle for cars. You move at, like, 1/20th the speed of a car and you aren't getting out of the way any time soon. You're easy to miss, cars trying to get around you accelerate quickly in small windows of traffic, often in areas where passing isn't allowed, but for fucks sake, if they don't, you build up a line of traffic half a mile long behind your fucking bike. Plus, spending ten minutes going 5 miles per hour because someone is trying to pedal up an incline will turn the Buddha into a murderer.

Of course, there's a perfectly good sidewalk right over there. Or hell, even the grass. Bikes are ok on the grass, but really, the sidewalk is a great place for a bike. But oh no, it's illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk! Why? What, are they afraid we'll run down pedestrians? Because, you know, bikes are SO fast you can't possibly react in time, and the damage they could cause is mind boggling! Plus, they have such terrible maneuverability and stopping distance! It's not like they're so tightly controlled you can direct them without hands and do skateboard-style tricks with them. Much better to force the bicyclists to use share ground with one of the leading causes of death in America.

Seriously, go try and figure out how many bicyclists are killed and injured by cars every year, and then try to find a report of a pedestrian being killed by a bicycle. I'll wait. And no, the bike helmet won't help when a car hits you. It'll only help if you crash while in a safe place, like a sidewalk, where two tones of steel isn't smashing into at 25+ miles per hour.

Ok, no I won't, but whatever. The only logic for this law is that it's a law so you have to follow it.

This came up because earlier today I spent, like, four blocks stuck behind a bicycle pulling one of those bicycle baby carriers, ridden by a giant sack of potatoes posing as a human being that apparently works as a crosswalk guard going by his bright orange and yellow outfit, traveling at about half a mile per week. I seriously am not sure how he didn't fall over he was going so slow. I assume the baby thingy was holding him up or something. There was too much traffic coming the other way to pass him and he was having a hard time moving in a straight line. I'm pretty sure he was a troglodyte or something. There must have been a dozen cars behind me, inching along at about 5 miles per hour, before I finally had a chance to pass him. I haven't been so furious on the road since someone in Chicago pulled onto the freeway past me on the shoulder, cut me off, and slammed on his breaks a few feet ahead of me in the space of a couple seconds.
  • Current Music
    steam shooting out of ears

Rumors of my death have been greatly exagerated

... but not fabricated. I'm definitely a little bit dead now.

So, remember months ago when I said I was back in graduate school? No? Well, trust me on it. I totally said it. Maybe. I don't actually remember. Anyway, right about the time I also sent my laptop to a friend in California to do some repairs and upgrades. I figured it would be a few weeks. Instead, it was close to three months. Then when I got it back the last USB drive had gone bad, so I sent it to another friend who's so rad he can fix that sort of thing. Well, he accidentally fried the board in freak occurrence, so he had to get a broken version of the laptop for parts and repair it. So I got my laptop back earlier this week. Right as I started having my finals due.

There is a desktop here I was able to use, but it's out of the way so, unlike, the laptop, I can't use it casually. Hence I almost completely stopped using the internet. At the same time grad school started taking up ALL of my time. So yeah, I've barely been on here. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

Earlier today I finished my last paper for the semester and am now made up of free time until next semester. I look very forward to using the internet again. Yay! So for those of you who didn't just stop watching me in the interim, thanks a lot! I'll get back to trying to be active on here right away. I've been working on a big side project I'm really excited about that I want to share soon.

School was totally fun this semester, too. I had a class on Race in horror films, for which I wrote a pretty ambitious paper (George A. Romero's zombie films as symbolic racial upheaval. I can explain better if anyone cares.) and the other was on women in Nazi Germany, for which I wrote a paper on transsexuals in Nazi Germany. with a little luck I'll be presenting both at conferences this coming year, so keeping my fingers crossed!

So, how's everyone been?
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    laundry machine