mikailborg: Chris drew this picture of my first Starfleet character for a newsletter cover, years ago. (kriet)
2009-05-09 04:36 pm

Reconfiguring the Final Frontier

Trek Movie Away Team

The AMC Theater at Lynnhaven Mall in Va. Beach has a new IMAX theater, so last night I loaned some of my Starfleet uniform collection to Starr and our friend Becca, and we went to see the new Star Trek movie there. I have to say, I came out of that film extremely pleased. Oh, I have a dozen tiny nitpicks, and the film wasn't exactly as deep as some of the previous outings in the series, but when the closing credits rolled, I didn't care about that at all.

The 10:15 showing we attended sold out of the $15 tickets, and we barely got decent seats showing up twenty minutes early. (I'd bought our tickets online the night before.) I only saw one other person in costume, a local TCC Astronomy professor in a TOS Sciences t-shirt; but we hit the mall and a restaurant before the movie, and got plenty of Vulcan salutes, shouted compliments, and picture requests. I can easily remember when wearing the uniform in public meant taking crap from random passersby. Times have changed! We didn't get home until 1am, and Starr had a 5:30 wakeup call for work, but she insisted that didn't matter: we had a movie to watch!

Commentary with spoilers behind the cut )

So, in summation: if you are a Trek fan, make a special effort to see this (but you were going to anyway, right?) If you're not a fan, give it a try anyway - you might have a pretty good time!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
2009-05-09 12:45 pm

Your Pain Does Not Concern The Daleks

Well, now. I was awoken by a representative from the US Census confirming this house's address and habitation. Unfortunately, on one of the top stairs, my feet went out from under me, and I fell halfway down on my butt. Nothing seems seriously damaged, but I am always twitchy about messing up that prosthetic. The warnings from my doctors were dire. So, I'll be a little later than I'd planned starting the afternoon's chores.

Speaking of doctors, before I talk about the Trek movie last night, here's an unrelated costume picture [personal profile] geckoman linked (click for the wearer's LJ entry):

Dalek women costumes

Now that's thinking outside the costuming box! Awesome outfits, and dang creative. I have a soft spot for folks who don't attempt to recreate characters perfectly, but go for something unexpected. Besides, they're cute!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
2009-05-08 07:56 am

Bytes

Actual conversation from work yesterday:

Coworker: Hey, the vendor put the wrong video card in this box.
Me: Could be worse, they could have just put a ham sandwich in there.
CW: Yeah, could lead to hardware incompatibilities.
Me: Well, maybe if it had a PCI-X interface...
CW: The good news is that Mac OS X and Windows 7 already have the right drivers.
Me: Yeah, but the Mac drivers really only work best with the iSandwich.
CW: The iSandwich tastes awesome, but it's a bit pricey, and a few breads don't work well.
Me: I hear iSandwich 2.0 will be able to handle double-deckers and tortilla wraps.
CW: Either way you'll have to get permission from the Condiment Industry Association of America to send sandwich description files to your friends.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
2009-05-05 09:29 am

Look who blew into town

Our Shadowrun Game Night rolled around last night. We'd missed the last few due to various logistical issues, but finally we had everyone except Lewis and Amy. So what did we do? Spent the evening catching up with each other.

Heh. Can't say I minded too much. It's good to hang with one's friends for whatever reason.

Of course, the tornado warning last night added a little drama - apparently the center of the 'red zone' passed right by Jesse's house. no damage done, though, and she was able to relax a bit after the worst passed.

Well, we'll just have to get together again in two weeks!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (menace)
2009-04-29 03:38 pm

Unsigned comics

Once upon a time, I did a guest appearance in a panel of the Fragile Gravity webcomic. Today, the circle is complete, as I've been privileged to write and draw an episode.

Monday morning, my Twitter client lit with a notice from [livejournal.com profile] kittykatya: she and [livejournal.com profile] impink needed two guest strips due to a family emergency. Now, I can draw a little, and I have always dreamed of having the fame and respect of a webcomic artist, so I volunteered. To my great surprise, Barb accepted. Oops: looks like I had to draw something. When would it be due? More oops: Wednesday. But it got done.

Take a look, and be sure to let me know what you think, especially if you liked it. And there's quite a lot more to tell behind the scenes... )
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
2009-04-26 09:17 pm

For I Toss And Turn, Can't Sleep At Night

Oh, wow. Bet you haven't heard 1981's "Tainted Love" covered in quite this manner...


I'm hitting iTunes - if this guy has an album, I want it. If only he'd cover "Girls On Film"...
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (rabbiteer)
2009-04-26 05:18 pm

The Hunt for Red Hyundai

The first folks I asked for transport to Roanoke had other commitments, and that's completely understandable: this all happened on pretty short notice. I was getting a little panicky about finding someone.

Then, by the sheerest coincidence, I was talking to a friend on Thursday night who's a woodworker. He had an appointment in Staunton on Friday, and casually volunteered to drive me the rest of the way down I-81. I couldn't say no! The trip turned into quite the adventure, as his delivery truck has no stereo, no AC, windows which must be wrestled into place by hand, and (it turned out) a bad left turn signal. But, while the whole excursion was draining, the conversation was great. I have no complaints.

Thanks to missed connections and three separate car-accident highway backups, the trip took nine hours, and I reached Mom's place around 11 or so. We chatted briefly, but I had to beg off because my energy levels were almost non-existent. When I came back in the morning, we talked for quite a while, and I fixed her air conditioning set up, the new shower sprayer, and her computer's Internet connection. When it came time to leave, I took her red Hyundai back to Chesapeake as promised. The five-hour drive on Rt. 460 stayed pleasant, and I got home in time to surprise Starr with a scallop dinner after her workday.

Today, I have done nothing useful. I am exhausted, and the house needs a lot of work still, but I have managed little. I will need to make up for it this week. And now to whine about something trivial: today, the 'not-Easter' celebration starts in WoW, and it begins with a 'not-Easter' Egg hunt. This is a lovely idea, except there's some nice rewards for collecting large numbers of eggs, and you can't get to any of the places where they appear; the micro-second an egg spawns, someone else has already clicked on it, and it fades right back out. People are 'camped' at all the spawning points, collecting eggs. Perhaps they'll get bored, or finish, and I'll have the chance to pick up a few after work later this week. :(
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (flying_gif)
2009-04-22 10:07 am
Entry tags:

Car and house and car

Okay, quick recap of the last ten days: Starr's doing really well. She's had to do a lot more physical labor than someone who'd just left the hospital should, but since I was working my butt off as well, I really couldn't relieve her of the necessity.

The rest of our stuff is out of the storage unit and in the house, and 95% of Starr's parents' stuff is out of the house. There's an epic tale right there, but I'll just say that this is why she and I are still physically exhausted. The house is a wreck, but we're working on that a bit at a time.

The insurance company paid off the car loan on the PT Cruiser, but won't provide for a new vehicle. Of course, we're still trying to buy a house, and extra funds are non-existent. So, my mom has generously offered to loan Starr her car for a while, which is a perfect solution; if I can pick up the vehicle this weekend, she won't miss a day of work. Only problem: the car's in Roanoke. I'm going to need to plead with someone to come up with me and drive one of the cars back. I haven't figured out who to ask, yet.

I've been a little forgetful recently. I think my brain's overloaded. Have to come up with a workaround for that.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (TARDIS42)
2009-04-12 08:21 pm
Entry tags:

No More Collisions!

How I Spent My Saturday Night (or, another of many reasons I'm behind on much correspondence)

I dedicated my afternoon to the kitchen and living room, as I'd promised - got them looking pretty good, too. Around 7:30, Starr called to let me know she was on her way home, so I started dinner (boxed stroganoff).

Just before 8, my cell lit up with an unknown number, but I went ahead and picked up. It was Starr - she was calling with a borrowed cell phone from the scene of the car accident she'd just been in. I later found out that someone else had apparently missed a turn; and in confusion occupied the middle lane of a 60 MPH highway, doing about 20. Starr came out from behind another vehicle that was spewing smoke (oil leak perhaps?), saw brake lights, and did her best to stop in time.

All her windows shattered, and the airbag fired. The accident totaled her PT Cruiser's front end, doing an estimated $8,000 in damage. Starr's seatbelt and airbag did their jobs, and we later discovered that her greatest injuries were bruising from the restraints. A passerby unjammed her door and helped her from her car, and medical professional that she is, she quickly went to assess the other driver for injuries (no serious issues there either).

I abandoned dinner to spoil, issued a quick Twitter note to the world, and jumped right into the car. I didn't speed - I mean, how stupid would a car wreck on my part have been right then? - but I somehow reached the hospital before Starr. A number of people replied with support on Twitter, Facebook, and email, and I would later find many phone messages after I left the hospital's signal interference. Thank you all so much! One of the first things I did was pass along everyone's messages, and they boosted morale for us both! (Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] jsciv, for the "Creeps" recommendation: Starr played that until we nearly killed the phone battery!)

Several X-Rays and five hours later, they decided that Starr was merely bruised, and sent us home. We've spent much of today trying to recover from adrenaline overdose and poor sleep. We already have some lines of attack with securing a replacement vehicle. The funny thing is that today's a happy day for us. First of all, Starr literally walked away from a full-speed highway crash. Second of all, we've had our friends pouring out love to us all night and day; how could we be grumpy?

Thank you all!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
2009-04-11 04:58 pm

Starfleet Vice - 1990

The RoVaCon 15 Starfleet Vice video, as threatened promised...



So, I'll explain a little of what's going on. I'm in the wheelchair because I'd been in a life-threatening car accident only weeks ago, but I was too stubborn to miss the con. Heather and Valerie are dressed in costumes from the anime Dirty Pair. Mike Allen represented KODRA, a ruthless Klingon-Orion terrorist organistion out to rule the Alpha Quadrant; while Markus... well, he had a lab coat, so we worked that in. And of course, Tom, Mike, and Beth were solely there to support our blatant swipe of Monty Python material.

I don't remember the name of the dude working the camera... but he really liked the anime costumes.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (decepticute)
2009-04-01 11:46 am

More edumacation

Wall-of-text post is finally up (behind the lifestyle filter) about my Saturday night panels. That was a bumpy ride, to be sure. But we had sandwiches!

Looks like the chances are good to be doing my schtick at MarsCon 2010 and SheVaCon 2010. I think I'm almost relieved that the NekoCon audience is probably far too jaded for such a thing.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (Default)
2009-03-30 11:36 pm

A Fanatical Devotion to Admiral Maddox

Speaking of cons, tonight Starr and I were doing just that (speaking of them, that is). Thomas Atkinson friended me back on Facebook today, and when I told Starr that I had an old costume skit of his on VHS, she begged me to dig it up.

That tape, dating from RoVaCon 15 back in 1990, also contains one of the most elaborate Starfleet Vice skits we ever did. The performers for this installment included myself as officer Stubble, Heather McLaughlin and Valerie Brugh as "Dirty Pair" Kei and Yuri, [livejournal.com profile] time_shark as a KODRA Dreadlok, [livejournal.com profile] markush as Doctor Whizbang, Tom Monaghan as officer Paisley, Mike Layne as officer Harold, and Beth Lipes as officer Ruth. The camera operator for the con spent most of the skit focusing on the skimpy anime costumes Heather and Valerie wore.

Many of the jokes are esoteric, but some of them are still fairly funny outside of the late-80s Starfleet context. This little performance would be a good candidate for my first test of the new video-to-computer setup, right? I think we all want to see this posted.

Starr says I'm much better looking now than I was when I was nineteen. Any doubts as to why I'm in love with her?
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (orbiting)
2009-03-30 02:17 am

Turning Out the Lights

I'm staying up too long again tonight, but I really want to write down my weekend impressions while they are fresh.

The clock read quarter-to-eleven before I could drag my carcass out of bed, which meant that Closing Ceremonies were only three hours away. No panels, no costuming, just time spent with friends today. I wandered the halls, trading hugs and saying hellos and goodbyes, until noon when the con auctions were to begin. My interest this year remained solely academic, as I'd vowed to spend no money at the con: the budget this spring wouldn't support it.

The White Elephant auction at 1:00 contained many fascinating items, including Shadowrun gaming materials that almost tempted me. (I looked carefully, finding none of the books that my group has specifically mentioned searching for.) Soon enough, though, the Closing Ceremonies began, dragging on for almost three hours before everyone could tear themselves away. I joined [livejournal.com profile] jsciv and [livejournal.com profile] candidevoltaire for an evening of gaming that lasted until 11 with a dinner break; we played the new Battlestar Galactica board game for two hours, and I judged it worth playing but not one I'll be purchasing soon, if for no other reason that it plays best with exactly five players. Now, I'm back in my hotel room, bleary and typing away.

Was the con a success? Indeed so, from my perspective. Rumor has it that attendance numbers reached average Technicon levels, which must be a good thing. I had a lovely time, as did anyone else I got to ask. Should there be one next year? I'm not as sure. I think this must be the last Technicon in its current form: future versions with or without the same name will need much new blood, and perhaps new ways of doing things, to attract college students jaded by DVD players and online gaming. I'll always be available for the panels and performances I'm good at, but I have no interest in a strenuous staff position, and I doubt many other of the con's veterans do either anymore.

I'd like there to be another T-Con; but I feel that forcing the issue would cause more harm than good. I'm comfortable biding my time and letting things take their natural course. And until I learn what that course is, staff members of SheVaCon expressed strong interest in having me present my late-night insanity at their event, which will give me something to do while waiting for Technicon 27 or Technicon Next Generation #1.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (rogue)
2009-03-30 01:47 am

The Technicon 26 Show

Well, I intended to do the Saturday write-up last night, but by the time I got to bed, I was far too brain-dead to even try it. Not much better now, honestly, but I'll still give it a go.

Health-wise, this year ran much smoother than the last. Woke up feeling all right, got a filling breakfast, and headed right on in to the con. Took about an hour to check out all the function rooms and say hi to the lovely people I encountered, then the 11:00 Costuming For Anthropomorphics panel started, so I donned my lynx ears and headed in. Kender detailed some fascinating info about building animal tails that I think Starr will be pretty interested in.

My noon panel actually started at 1:00pm, though schedule confusion meant that I wasn't aware of that, nor were some of the attendees. We found out around 12:30, so we took a 30 minute break and restarted the panel! I answered some good questions, and didn't make an idiot of myself in front of the Windows expert with whom I was teamed. Did a little bit to promote peace between the OS factions, too.

At this point in the day, I entered my 'on stage' mindset, and between costuming and presenting, I spent most of the day in that mindset. I enjoy the feeling: it's exhilarating, but it takes the energy out of me. I didn't really manage to come out of it until early the next morning, and felt heavily drained for most of Sunday. Wouldn't have had it any other way, though.

The PC/Mac panel ended at two, and I took the opportunity to change into my hall costume. The con had no designated costume change areas, so I ended up doing so in the men's bathroom; this process was nothing but awkward and uncomfortable. I would find a better method for my later changes, but undismayed, I did the rounds again and showed off the outfit a bit. To my happy surprise, I won a previously undisclosed Hall Costuming contest, receiving an appropriate reward; and one of the button-makers gifted me with a button reading "Gaseous Dihydrogen Oxide Non-Conformist". (Steam-punk.)

Soon enough, I joined [livejournal.com profile] impink, [livejournal.com profile] southernsinger, and [livejournal.com profile] jameshroberts for the "Whose Con Is It Anyway?" improvisation hosted by [livejournal.com profile] kittykatya. I'm not sure it was my best performance, but our group grabbed enough good laughs from the audience to make it feel like a success. I changed back into street clothes, and from there, a bunch of us including Dwight, [livejournal.com profile] jsciv, and [livejournal.com profile] candidevoltaire headed to Macado's for what was meant to be a quick dinner. Unfortunately, our group gave the kitchen more work than they could handle, and over an hour passed before our food arrived. I had to wolf down half my sandwich on an immediate drive back to the con, where I'd promised to be available for 7:00pm Costume Call judging.

I'd brought another outfit to wear as a judge, but when the organizer discovered that I'd be costuming again, he insisted that I join the Costume Call itself. I found an empty classroom in which to change, hoping all the while that no one of delicate sensibilities would barge in, and reported to the organizer. I think my choice of costume broke judge [livejournal.com profile] hippydippydncr's mental processes; it certainly provided some laughs during and after the presentation.

Sadly, I allowed myself to get far too caught up in good conversation and joking, and had to rush back to the hotel through fog even thicker than that morning's to arrive at my evening lifestyle panels barely in time. No one had a key to the conference room, but I convinced the desk clerk that I belonged to Technicon and got us in. Of course, that report will be behind the lifestyle filter; suffice it to say that I'm not thrilled with the overall result, but I think our audience left generally satisfied. We wrapped up around 1:45, but I got into a late conversation with [livejournal.com profile] nius, [livejournal.com profile] zannyvix, and "Bad Andy"; including a bedtime call to Starr, I didn't get to sleep before 3:30. But I'd managed at least two mediocre meals, and never felt sick or faint, so physically the day went well. I relished the feeling of finally being 'off stage', and fell asleep happy.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (passing)
2009-03-28 09:12 am

Cold and wet and just plain hungry

"Very much what I imagine a small college town with crappy weather would be like, back on old Earth." - Captain Vanderdecken, Space Rogues

Yes, we've got nice thick fog, accompanied with that fine, voluminous rain that coldly soaks everything in no time.

I may not find my way to the con without leaning out the car window and yelping sonar pings into the blankness.

At least I feel pretty decent this morning. Yay getting up just before the end of the continental breakfast.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (flying_gif)
2009-03-28 12:29 am

Technicon arrival

I'm in my hotel room in Blacksburg. The plan was to check in, and do a little shopping for a few things, but [livejournal.com profile] impink and [livejournal.com profile] kittykatya were in the hotel lobby, and we stopped to chat... looked up and half the con was there. The "Meet and Greet" started hours before the official panel time, but it's cool, I got to see friends I haven't seen since last Technicon, and others I haven't seen in many years. I'm having a good time!

I has another Guest badge. I'm kinda enjoying my slowly-building collection of those.

Okay. Brain shutting down on it's own. I feel better than I did this time last year, so fingers crossed that I don't collapse tomorrow. Night!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (rabbiteer)
2009-03-24 10:38 pm
Entry tags:

Norf Wind Bwoah!

Somehow, Starr has lived this long without seeing "Duck Amuck" or "What's Opera, Doc?"! Luckily, Turner Classic Movies put on a special Chuck Jones tribute tonight, and a Tweet from [livejournal.com profile] kittykatya alerted me to the fact. Starr's cultural education is now increased.

Luckily, she's the type of person who can properly appreciate a classic Looney Tunes short, and her reaction to each consisted of "This is my new most favorite cartoon ever!" The woman has taste. It's amazing how funny a cartoon can be without focus groups, Nielsen ratings, a merchandise line, or a stream of "notes" from studio executives. The folks at Termite Terrace just made films they liked, and hoped other people would too. It worked.

I note that Daffy Duck used the "D'oh!" exclamation long before Homer Simpson. Also, Starr will never again hear "Ride of the Valkyries" without the word "wabbit" echoing in her head. Heh heh heh.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (cyberpunk)
2009-03-24 09:15 am

Ice skating with assault rifles

Shadowrun went pretty decent last night. We finished a big fight with some corp-type security guards, and the group is set up for the finale confrontation next session. The webcam link to Amy functioned pretty well, and there were albino gluten-free cookies for all. Now I have two synopses to type up :) One pitfall which urban-fantasy GMs must always be aware of: while fantasy-game swords kill slowly, guns are instantly lethal, which can sometimes be a challenge to the game.

Our players arrived to a less-than-spotless house. Starr and I had a rare weekend where neither of us worked or had any social commitments, so we spent a lot of personal time together, which meant I didn't do any cleaning in the living room or kitchen over the weekend. Last night I had to get the place presentable in about 90 minutes time, which I think I managed sufficiently. Luckily my friends aren't Better Homes and Gardens reps.

Midori started the evening off fairly relaxed, but started panicking once the room filled up, and took a completely unprovoked swipe at Jesse's face. Luckily, Jesse's all right, but I'm pretty cheesed at our little evil bitch cat right now. MistyMina, on the other hand, cuddled on [livejournal.com profile] ptownhiker's and [livejournal.com profile] lewisw's laps all night, racking up cute points until time for all to leave.

That, by the way, is indeed the new kitten's name. We tried Matisse, which didn't work, and then we tried Misty, which almost worked. Starr suggested Mina, the name of a friend, and about then the kitten knocked yet another something over. So we named her MistyMina, for her criminal behavior, and that stuck.

Tonight will be Technicon travel prep. I feel like I know what I'm going to to be doing on Saturday night now, so my main jobs are laundry, repairing a prop, and picking costumes for the weekend. I have four candidates, and only two days of convention :) Really looking forward to seeing everyone!
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (decepticute)
2009-03-23 09:07 am

Inspiration finally showed up

Wow, I just had an idea for the 10:00-10:45 Saturday night panel that I wish I'd had three weeks ago. It's better than what I've got, but will require more late-in-the-game recruiting. I'll probably go with it though, if I can find some willing souls who are (a) staying up that late and (b) aren't already involved with something else.

If you're interested, aren't on my lifestyle filter, and are fine with whatever weirdness might show up on my lifestyle filter, let me know.

In other news, we are definitely Shadowrunning tonight. Google Calendar is supposed to be sending out reminders, and my own reminder emails will be sent out as soon as I can do so. I'll also have a synopsis of last session up as soon as it gets written.
mikailborg: I can't even remember what event I was attending, but I must have been taking it seriously. (daicon-girl)
2009-03-22 12:26 am
Entry tags:

Nano Nanu

I bought Starr an iPod nano for Christmas 2007, in the hopes that she could use it to listen to her music library and crochet podcasts on her work commute (nearly as long as mine). As well, she received a device that played her iPod through her car stereo. This caused a problem: the device plugged into her cigarette lighter, which hadn't worked in years.

Today, I finally found the round tuit for correcting that problem. After some Googling, and removing her car's engine air filter, I found the likely electrical fuse, and learned it was indeed blown. Starr admitted to spilling some liquid in the lighter socket once upon a time, and I had hopes for an easy repair. One trip to Auto Zone later, and the little iPod broadcaster works great.

This just makes me terribly happy. I finally got around to fixing the issue I'd promised to, and fixed it properly with a little skull sweat and some digging under her PT Cruiser's hood. Getting something done is such a good thing.