ravencon weekend

27
Apr

couple of great shows with the Blibbering Humdingers, getting to see some good friends (a couple of whom I met in real life for the first time), and not spending a whole bunch of money…I’m calling it a pretty good con.

That said, things felt a bit off this year at Ravencon – it looked like attendance was down, the hotel smelled kind of funny, and the atmosphere seemed really subdued and I dunno…mournful?

Maybe it was the impending move to Williamsburg, the brush with Gamergate drama, or the whole Hugo awards “sad puppy” thing*, or maybe it was personal, related to the the spurts of teenage drama that kept insinuating itself into the weekend, but there was a strangeness to the proceedings I couldn’t help noticing.

Anyway, I still got to spend time with my friends, and that’s what really matters. Games still got played, music got made, and relationships were kindled and rekindled. All in all…not too bad.

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* – a con acquaintence of mine, Gray Reinhart, was one of the nominees on the slate. Being not terribly versed in the controversy – hey, I’ve been busy! -, I congratulated him on his nominated story (which is pretty good), which led to an interesting conversation, and I kind of feel like I stepped in it a bit – sorry, Gray – my congrats were heartfelt and had nothing to do with politics.

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congrats, fred!

26
Apr

Today I heard the news from a fellow ‘Ville Newman Association alum that my friend and former campus minister, Ed Malesic, has been appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg, Pennsylvania by Pope Francis.

I’m really glad to see Fr. Ed in a position to serve a large community. He was my campus minister during several years of my education at Millersville University, as well as my friend, and (while he may not have realized it), a mentor. I really do admire, and yes, love this guy. To me, he represents everything that’s right with faith and religion in this world, adding tremendous depth and resonance to my spiritual journey during probably one of the hardest times in my life, for which I’ll always be grateful.

The Newman house at the ‘Ville really was home for me, providing comfort, friendship, support, and regular Wednesday dinner, and Fr. Ed was at the center of that. I’m pretty sure I thanked him in person at some point, either at MU, or the couple of times we visited him during his time at Holy Infant in York Haven, but if I never did, I’ll do so now – thanks, Fred.

Today, 20 years after the fact, I’m no longer comfortable calling myself Catholic, finding Unitarian Universalism to be my spiritual home, though Fr. Ed has, and always will be, one of my models for spiritual life. I don’t know if he realizes how important he is to me and my faith-ish development, but more than anyone else, he’s the guy. If Pope Francis (who I think is generally pretty great) recognizes Ed as the model of the kind of leader he wants for The Church, my confidence in the institution that I grew up in, and have had some pretty complicated issues with as an adult, I think the Church is definitely moving in the right direction, even though I no longer find a home there.

So anyway, I think the community in the Diocese of Greensburg are in for a treat; they’re getting a great leader who will provide decent and thoughtful service and guidance. His first remarks to the Diocese are pretty much perfect. I hope everyone there finds him as inspiring as I continue to do, even decades beyond the time he was my spiritual adviser.

Congratulations, and thanks again.

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ravencon 2015

23
Apr

If you’re not doing anything this weekend, and happen to be within spitting distance of Richmond, come on down to RavenCon, my hometown sci-fi convention!


There’s plenty to do, from gaming to shopping to hobnobbing with with authors and artists both famous and up-and-coming, and of course…music.

Once again, I’ll be sitting in with The Blibbering Humdingers for (at least) two shows, headlining Saturday night’s entertainment lineup (we go on at 11pm), also featuring Devo Spice and Danny Birt, and closing out the convention with another set at 2pm on Sunday.

Again, come on out and we’ll happily entertain you with wizard rock and other nerdmusik. I just might be wearing a kilt on stage, and who knows, we might play some of the new stuff!

Anyway, just thought you’d like to know, and because we like playing for enthusiastic audiences, and my bandmates like to buy food with the money you spend on their merchandise!

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i want to believe

21
Apr

Yes, I know it’s fake (we all got it straight from Joss’s mouth). I’m almost sad about this, because this forty seconds or so gets Spider-Man right in a way that five films and two different Spider-Men didn’t. We can only hope that when Marvel films finally does introduce Spider-Man, it’s at least this good:



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Herb Trimpe

14
Apr

I found out today that artist Herb Trimpe passed away. Perhaps you’ve not heard the name before, but you’ve probably heard of The Incredible Hulk, who Trimpe worked on for most of the 1970s, establishing many of the character’s iconic elements, Wolverine, a character first drawn by Trimpe (who he also co-created with Len Wein and John Romita), and GI:Joe, the long-running action toy line, defined in large part by Marvel Comics’ seminal 151 issue run in the 1980s, whose first issues were drawn by Trimpe (and more than anything else, was the book that hooked me on comics in the first place).

I had the honor of meeting Mr. Trimpe a couple of times at VA Comicon events, where I found him to be gracious, charming, and a hell of storyteller, comfortably holding court with the fans sharing tales about working in Marvel’s “bullpen” with Stan Lee and the rest (although he did most of his work at home) during the “silver age”, much to the delight of all the fans and admirers present. He also signed a couple of my early GI:JOE issues, which hold places of particular honor in my collection. I’d tried several times to get a couple of pages of his original art (really good stuff), but always got outbid.

It’s always a shame when we lose one of the greats; especially someone as consistently great and prolific (if not as well-known) as Herb Trimpe. This is just my small attempt to bring these things to light.

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back to the real world

14
Apr

Had a great long weekend playing rock star. The band was tight, the headliners were gracious, the venues were excellent, and the audience was appreciative. Couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Plus we layed down tracks for half-a-dozen songs for the next record. One more item struck from the bucket list.

Now I go back to the mundane and sometimes frustrating life of an IT project manager. Oh well.

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this weekend…the tour

09
Apr

If you happen to be in or around North Carolina this weekend, why not swing by The Cary Theater on Friday night or The Green Bean Coffeehouse in Greensboro on Sunday for some live music?

I’ll be sitting in on bass with The Blibbering Humdingers for both shows, opening for wizard rock pioneers Harry and the Potters, which, if you know anything about the genre, is a big honking deal.

I’m looking forward to it because we always have a lot of fun doing this, and it’s my first real break from work since I started this job, which is long overdue. See you out there!

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my inner 9 year old just screamed

01
Apr

Like a lot of latchkey Gen-Xers in the 80s, I spent a lot of time with the TV babysitter. The early 80s was also the advent of cable TV, complete with the old style plastic woodgrain channel-changey boxes and all that. In what must have been ’83 or ’84, we had HBO for a while. During that time, I saw the movie Poltergeist many times, because some sadistic HBO programmer thought putting freaky scary movies like that on TV at 10am when little kids are watching would be funny.

I guess it was. Most of the movie wasn’t all that bad, but then there was the clown, the leading cause of coulrophobia for an entire decade. that damned thing still creeps me out.

I wasn’t consciously aware of it until today (but given the current entertainment landcape, I probably should have just assumed), but there’s a remake of that classic Tobey Hooper (or was it Speilberg?) horror flick coming out next month. This is the big lobby poster:

I guess I wasn’t the only one that movie scarred, although the new clown is a little too on-the-nose sinister; the old one was creepy precisely because it wasn’t meant to be.

Oh well.

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irony morrissettii

31
Mar

So, my morning today started, as it often does, with my morning bathroom rituals, which are nothing special, and thus I won’t describe them in detail, in deference to common decency…never fear, though, this story gets rather icky anyway…

As you may know, my home is small, and space is at a premium. To save some space, above my toilet is a combination shelving unit/towel rack, upon which sits, among other things, the little black bag in which I keep my personal grooming items and some prescription medication. I keep things in this “toiletry bag” in part because it keeps my relatively modest collection of items together and accessible amongst the occasional avalanche of hair care products and cosmetics my wife and daughter keep there, and partially because I never got out of the habit of using this bag, which was invaluable during my years of business travel.

So, as I entered the bathroom this morning to begin my rituals, I noticed that during the night, one of my children (presumably) left the toilet seat lid up. I noticed this at the same time my entry into the room disturbed some sort of air current or caused a stray vibration, or otherwise upset the delicately crafted feng shui, causing my toiletry bag to take a not-terribly-graceful tumble into it’s namesake bowl.

I hope they remembered to flush. In my rush to retrieve the items, I didn’t spend much time looking.

Luckily, nothing appears to have been permanently damaged, other than a package of dental floss that I’m not going to take any chances with. It seems that my prescription bottles retained enough airtight integrity to not soak the pills, which is good (see the last post for hints on intuiting why), and a good washing of the razor and contact lens case (empty) should solve the rest.

In any case, it was an absolutely wonderful way to start the day. Nothing like slightly disgusting semi-irony to get the blood flowing.

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♫ hello depression my old friend ♫

30
Mar

F**K off, please.

it’s been a tough couple of weeks. No particular thing to point to beyond life and chemical imbalances; it’s just hitting extra hard right now after my working so very hard to hold things together last week, which, on top of other stuff previously expressed, involved begging executive level management for a few million dollars and dealing with some unnecessary information hoarding around the office, and some cyclical household budget stress.

F**k off also, money.

Logically, I can tell that things are moving forward toward better things, but logic and this sort of thing operate on fundamentally different planes of existence, and don’t actually intersect. You can *know* things, but knowledge doesn’t always overcome brain chemistry; no matter how much I would *love* to just cheer up right now, things just don’t work that way.

Anyway, this might be more than you need or care to know about, but I’ve seen firsthand what not talking about this sort of stuff can do to people, and promised myself several years ago that I wasn’t going to perpetuate the “not talking about it” status quo when it comes to things like clinical depression. Most of my motivation is completely altruistic in the sense that talking about it takes some of the stigma away (I’ve got nothing to be embarassed about); which might help someone else, and in talking about things, even in generalities in a public forum like this, is useful for providing information (this link or this one are both pretty helpful), and getting information out there about stuff like this has never hurt anyone in the long run.

As I always say in these sorts of situations, if you’re engaging with me on a personal basis, please be patient; this isn’t my first rodeo; I know this cycle’s going to pass, and I could see it coming (I know the kind of stuff that triggers these things), which makes it easier. I’ll come out the other side, I always do.

One thing that gave me a little respite from wallowing was watching most of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix this weekend; it’s very funny, balancing the borders between dark, light, inappropriate, and true in all the right ways. Plus, there’s the shame puppet.

So, by way of explanation and as a public service, that’s where I am.

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