I Went to C2E2 and Didn’t Take Pictures

I had heard of the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, but never attended.  Yesterday, after my Book Club was postponed, I decided to go.  A couple of authors I like were there, they were going to have some stuff about 24 and in fact, my online friend Elliott Serrano was moderating a panel called 24 Reunion.   Also.  Lots of Star Wars stuff.

Note to Self:  It takes for freakin’ ever to take the El to McCormick Place.

When I arrived, I went straight to the Expo floor.  Bad idea.  It is very easy to lose track of time that way.  When I finally thought to look at the program, I saw that I had plenty of time to make a panel discussion of sexism in Geekdom called, “Glass Ceilings, Missing Stairs and Gatekeepers: Geeks Still Deal with Sexism”.  I am posting this link so that I can look up the panelists that have blogs.  I liked them a lot and one side of the table was definitely talking more than the other.  I was at least 20 minutes early for the panel and the line was snaked around the hall.  I got in pretty easily, but am certain that people were turned away.

The session was pretty good, but there was only one example that I hadn’t heard before and it surprised me and it really shouldn’t have: I believe it was Dawn Xiana Moon that told a story of being at a conference and wearing a Speaker badge and someone on the expo floor or something asked if that was really her badge or if she had borrowed it from a friend.

Seriously?!

I have not had these really bad, sexist experiences in Geekdom.  To be fair, I don’t live there.  I am not a Geek Blogger and am not active in the Fantasy/SciFi fan community.  But I really like to visit.  When I first became acquainted with my geek friends, I felt like they were really glad to have more girls in the room.    So the first time I heard of a lady getting a rape threat for posting something online, I felt sick.  Of course, I knew that stuff was happening to women online.  But I had been under the impression that Geekdom was a relatively safe place for girls.  The panel made the point several times that just because it isn’t happening to you doesn’t mean it isn’t happening and everyone ought to step up and ensure that bad behavior isn’t happening in the community.

On to happier topics:

I missed Mary Robinette Kowal, but there were two autographed copies of her book left at Anderson Booksellers booth so I bought one.  After I decided that I need to stop buying fiction and use my library, Shades of Milk and Honey was the first book that made me say, “Damn!  This is why I need to buy books!”

After wandering the floor a bit longer, I went to the 24 Reunion, where actors Louis Lombardi, James Morrison and Carlos Bernard met to swap stories.  They took a few minutes to warm up, but Elliott got them talking and there were a lot of laughs.

By the time that session was over, I was done.  18,000 steps that day, thank you very much.  I snapped one picture on the way out.

c2e2 2014

If I were to attend again, I would have a strategy before showing up.  C2E2 has an app where you can build a schedule.  That might be more structure than I can stand, but the point is there are tools to ensure that one doesn’t lose the day staring at drawings of Darth Vader.

POTUS and a Lightsaber

John Scalzi writes many funny things and many true things.  The other day, he wrote something that I just loved about the Sci Fi geeks that whine about when their obsession is going to go mainstream.  I am not a real Sci Fi geek.  I am a poser.  But personally, I think those people are morons.  I hate when the things I think are cool go mainstream.

Quick example, and excuse me while I date myself:

Remember Wayne’s World?  There was a scene when Wayne, Garth and their friends are singing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in the car.  Mock serious, like total dorks.  My brother and I did that with our friends.  All.  The.  Time.  When we first saw the scene, we about died from the cool.  And then everyone was doing it and it was all over.  I had to find a new favorite Freddie Mercury song.

Anyway.  Scalzi.  This is what he said:

“When the goddamned President of the United States makes Vulcan salutes and is photographed quite unselfconsciously whipping a lightsaber about on the White House lawn, you have won.”

With this pic:

The President has never looked so hot.  But that stance…a bit too much of the Hamlet and Laertes and not quite enough of the Obi Wan Kenobi.  If you ask me.

Open House – Games

My friend Noah is a serious gamer. He is a perennial game master and plays in one other game that I know of. He is the reason I tried role-playing games in college and got all sucked in to playing Vampire.

When we were in college, he and I had a running game of gin rummy. Noah carried around the score sheet in his wallet and whenever we were bored, we played a quick game.

These days, Noah has an open house every couple of months where people gather at his house to play board games. Because my weekends have been tied up with homework for about ever, Saturday was the first tie I was able to attend.

I was the first to arrive. Noah’s two young children were having Quiet Time in their rooms and Noah and his wife, Jenny were playing Guitar Head. When they were done, Noah made an X Box avatar for me, just in case we decided to play video games. He gave me Princess Leia hair.

Noah has every board game under the sun – most things I have never heard of – and he knows all of the rules and can explain them. I love that he always knows whose turn it is and what actions they can take.

There were ten of us playing and I stayed for two games: Pandemic, which is a cooperative game where you try to eradicate diseases before they take over the earth. We lost that one; and Power Grid, where you compete with the other players to provide electricity to the entire US. Noah won.

One of the things that has gotten better about board games – or maybe this is how Noah chooses his games – is that there is less “elimination”, where the last man standing wins. The games have a point where they end for everyone and there is different criteria for winning. That way people aren’t sitting around waiting for others to finish. We had a good time.

And Then There Were None – The Video Game

The other night at my friend Noah’s house, we were talking video games. I haven’t played them in a long time. He was showing us Oblivion. It gives me a headache. I told him I liked the old games where you pick up the clues and solve the little mysteries. He sneered:

“The old Sierra games?!”

Yes.

As it happens, I was at Half Price Books and found a game based on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I read it in high school and it was on my shelf to read again. For 5 bucks, I picked it up and took a couple of days to play.

It originally came out a couple of years ago and the reviews were mixed. Apparently the graphics weren’t good enough for the serious gamers. There are also differeing opinions on the things you “must accomplish” and the “side quests”. The interesting thing is that is has recently come out in a version for the Wii. Here is the trailer:

The other reason I like these older games? Somewhere on the Internet there are always Cheater Notes. The game doesn’t follow the book exactly, as the PC is the 11th person. Thus the ending is also different. Anyway, I had fun. Now I am going to go back and finish the book.

Plug for a Guy I Used to Know

So. We have all heard of Digg, right? Community of people that surface and vote on cool stuff on the Internet. I am not a member, but I appreciate the idea and if I thought my life could stand five more minutes of hanging out of the Internet, I would hang out there.

Digg has a weekly podcast called Diggnation where the founder, Kevin Rose, talks about the pieces that were popular that week. His co-host, to my shock, is a guy named Alex Albrecht who was my friend and next door neighbor for two years in college.

Alex and I have not been in touch for years. The last time I saw him was at Louie’s wedding and that was..what, eight years ago? At the time he was in L.A. starting up an Improv Company. He was a techie whose heart was in entertainment and he seems to have found his niche. I am proud of him so I thought I should give him a plug. This is a recent clip:

http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/revision3/swf/rev3_player.swf?AutoPlay=

I cannot seem to make the screen get centered here, but this is exactly the way I remember him. I would come home from class and go to Louie and Dean’s room to hang out before dinner and he would be there playing Mortal Combat III and mouthing off about stuff.

Alex also does The Totally Rad Show and I spent over an hour watching the Halloween Episode last night.

Dixon, Illinois

I took a short road trip for work that involved spending a night in Dixon, Illinois. Famous for being “the boyhood home of President Ronald Reagan”. This is one of those places too far away to randomly visit, but close enough that I am embarrased to have never been there before.

Anyway. I remembered to throw the camera in my suitcase. Here is the view from my hotel room window. I think I will call it “48 Hours Before the Harvest or Something”. I took the same picture again at dawn, but it didn’t turn out.

I did not, however, remember to bring the camera to President Reagan’s Boyhood Home. So this is the best you will get: