•July 1, 2010 • 2 Comments

At the bottom of this post you will find a link to a comic by Kasey Gibbs, which has been submitted to the Wil Wheaton/John Scalzi Fan Fiction Contest to Benefit the Lupus Alliance of America.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, or the picture above confuddles you, please click the link above and figure it out. Otherwise you won’t have any idea what is going on in this comic and your brain may explode. It may explode regardless. In the event that it does I would like to go on record that I have never met Mr. Gibbs before (lie) and I completely disavow any brain shattering material he may have produced. (I actually think it is quite funny!)

I am putting this comic up on my blog for the world to see because Kasey doesn’t have a website. Not even a Facebook or a Twitter. So, as his beneficent editor I have agreed to use my blog to host it. If you enjoy it and want to see what other people have imagined up for the contest, go here.

Edit: I tried loading it all here on WordPress, but it was a pain in the a**. I used flickr instead. The link will take you directly to the set “Wheaton/Scalzi Fanfic Entry” which has all pages in the correct order. I recommend viewing them at the largest size so you can read the text. Yeah I know, loading time, wah. If you go to my photostream it is backwards, so don’t go there!

FLICKR SET: Wheaton/Scalzi Fanfic Entry



•June 26, 2010 • 3 Comments

Right after finishing my first two posts I sank into a really black mood. I didn’t see the point of writing anything. My brain kept telling me, “No one cares. No one will read it. This is a stupid idea.” I have finally shaken those feelings and decided to finish my Comicon write-ups. A few new ideas for this blog have also popped up. I feel the need to explain a little of what I went through that kept me from finishing. Even if it is only for myself.

I spent four days in a magnificent fantasy land. It was a place where I felt completely accepted and loved for precisely what I am. I was with my people; nerds, geeks, and otaku of all shapes and sizes. I was in my happy place.

Coming back to the real world was an undeniable shock. After such an emotional high, a pretty twisty spiral was inevitable.

At work I felt like servant. My happy script came out flat and cheerless. “Do you have a member card?” tasted like,”Would you like fries with that?” in my mouth. My smile turned fake. The selfish, needy, and rude people totally washed out the regular customers that I usually enjoy interacting with.

At home I felt uncared for. I became snappy with the people close to me. I told myself they didn’t care about what I was doing. If I shared my thoughts and feelings with anyone I would be made fun of.

I am usually a very happy and bubbly person. The massive dive my emotions took made every little thing worse. Things I would usually ignore or get over easily stuck with me and burrowed under my skin.

It took me about a week and a half to realize that I was being completely irrational. I made an effort to connect with my loved ones, tell them how I was feeling, and that I need a little support. I stopped letting work get to me. Customer’s bad attitudes have nothing to do with me. When they leave happy, with a good book in hand, it has everything to do with me.

I am finally feeling capable of finishing my Comicon write ups without sending myself back into a deep dark hole. I want to remember everything that happened. I want to share it.

Coming Soon:

A book review a week (hopefully). I have a couple hundred vintage science fiction and fantasy books. I plan to start plowing through them, reviewing, and maybe putting them up for auction.

Japan Adventures! In August my boyfriend and I are going to JAPAN! We are going on a really cool festival-centric tour and meeting up with friends who will be there at the same time. I’m so excited!

Phoenix Comicon 2010: Day Two

•June 6, 2010 • 1 Comment

Friday, May 28th

The day started earlier than planned because excitement wouldn’t allow me to sleep. I woke up, made myself cute, and arranged my cargo. I packed snacks, water, a couple card games, and the few things I still needed to get signed. The drive downtown was uneventful. I have gotten pretty good at dodging the speed cameras.

I walked through the convention center doors with zero sense of urgency. The first panel that interested me wasn’t starting for a couple hours so I sat in on Stargate Universe: The Scalzi View. I haven’t seen Stargate Universe because I didn’t like the other Stargate shows. I was surprised that the questions and comments everyone had got me really interested in it despite what I previously thought. My Tivo thanks you for a new Season Pass.

The next panel was Bad Design in Science Fiction Universes with panelists John Scalzi, Seth Shostak, and Michael Stackpole. The three of them played really well off of each other. Shostak’s view of future space exploration was pretty cool,

“You’ll shoot a ping pong ball sized sensor out into space and explore Mars from your living room with a joystick.” Wow, I want to explore space in that fashion! Start working on it X-Box! Stackpole’s opinion that midi-chlorians were the deus ex machina he hated most in science fiction was hilarious.

“At this point people had already bought into the Force. Lucas didn’t need to over explain it with midi-chlorians.” All right! Stackpole has written a massive amount of Star Wars content and he thinks a major part of the prequels is nonsense. LOL. I enjoyed this discussion immensely. The guests and attendees had so many great things to say about silly designs in science fiction. Sometimes I think the cheesy parts make science fiction television more fun to watch.

Next I went to Wil Wheaton Presents: The Awesome Hour. Wil read two pieces about Atari that totally made me relive playing Space Invaders when I was home sick from school. He answered questions from the crowd and some of his comments really hit home for me.

I know it is a bad picture. All of my actual snapshots came out really blurry. This is a screenshot from a short video I recorded with my camera.

”These things that make us geeks are awesome. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s cool to be smart. It’s awesome to read. And this notion that girls can’t like this stuff is idiotic.” This made the crowd cheer. Yeah! Girls can be geeks too! My favorite part was when he said,

“Geek girls are super hot. There is nothing sexier in the world than a smart girl.” I scooped my brain off the floor and sat with a silly grin on my face for the rest of the panel. The Awesome Hour was truly beyond awesome. It was definitely my favorite panel of the whole weekend. Wander over to Versus the World and grab the audio recording as a podcast.

Afterwards, I had a huge chunk of time to kill. I walked my way over to the Hyatt and signed up for RockBand, which wasn’t going to start for a few hours.  I sat down outside the hotel lobby and people watched for a while. It was fun to see everyone downtown who didn’t know what was going on. There were some people at the Hyatt who looked utterly bewildered at all the nerds and people in costume. They made me think, “Boy, did you pick the wrong weekend to vacation in downtown Phoenix.” I went back to the convention center to see what was going on in the exhibitor hall. The line for Felicia Day that wasn’t too long, so I got in while I had the chance. She was really cute and polite, and I love her red hair. She signed my DVDs of The Guild and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. I was a tad surprised I had to pay, but it was worth it. I guess Wil Wheaton and John Scalzi spoiled me on that subject. Another walk around the hall assured me there wasn’t anything else I needed just now.

I walked back to the Hyatt to see if it was possible to check in for RockBand early. No dice, check in wasn’t until half an hour before the event. What to do with my extra time? I had read in the programming guide that there was a game area in the atrium so I went up to check it out. A game of Bananagrams was in progress, which I had never played before. I was invited to join and after getting the hang of it I really enjoyed myself. I got extra nerd points for spelling out the word SENTIENT. I didn’t win but came in a close second if only for the .03 points the host gave me for catching on quickly and using a really cool word. Tip: If you have any free time at a con, hang out in the board game room, there are some really cool people in there.

While going downstairs for a drink I noticed a line forming near the ballroom. It was almost two hours before RockBand and people were already waiting. I hopped in line and settled down for the long haul. I made friends with people around me and every time we saw each other over the course of the weekend we would say hi and talk. It felt like we had become one big geek family. After a while some of the staff came over and split the line in two. There was one line for people participating and another for spectators. They said the participants would get in first and then hopefully everyone else. Second facepalm moment. One guy got upset and said,

“So if we are at the front of the line and only want to watch, there is a possibility we might not get in? That’s bull. We shouldn’t get screwed if we don’t want to play.” I totally agreed even though I was going to play. Other people had been there longer, so they should be able to get in too. There was a rough hour or so because the staff and volunteers didn’t seem like they knew how to handle the large crowd that showed up. To make things worse, Calabrese, the band that was on before RockBand, started 40 minutes late. BLURG. This was the line I stood in the longest.

Once the doors were opened everyone got in and it was fine. We were all anticipating the awesome that was about to be unleashed. The game was set up on the performance stage with huge speakers and concert lights. I was like we were real rock stars! The crowd screamed like teenage girls for each band that came up to play. Wil really turned up the cheese for all the songs he sang. I got up there and sang Welcome Home by Coheed and Cambria while my new friends Matt and Dan (Or maybe Dave? I told you about the name thing didn’t I?) played guitar and bass respectively and Wil played drums. I wish I had displayed more stage presence. I was just trying to stand far enough of away from the monitor so there would be no feedback, and still stay close enough to the screen to see the lyrics. The pinnacle of the night was when John Scalzi sang Journey. I love it that one of my favorite authors likes the same bands I do. Everyone that got up to play was really amazing. Check out the highlights Wil put up on his blog. Look st all the “orbs” floating around the Ghostbusters as they played! I hope you know those are just dust motes and my crappy camera.

Click to embiggen

When RockBand was over I was wiped out. I slogged back to my car and drove home. I hadn’t felt this tired in a long time but it was worth it.

Phoenix Comicon 2010

•June 3, 2010 • 1 Comment

Phoenix Comicon was a fantastic experience for me. The panels I attended were humorous and informative. The guests were very gracious and seemed genuinely happy to be there. The attendees were fabulous too. There were the usual occurrences of bad costumes, personal space issues, and as John Scalzi said the “funk” came out on Friday. These things are to be expected, and despite them everyone was really nice and a joy to be around. It’s not very often that you can strike up conversations with random people and become weekend long friends. The staff and volunteers had an Olympic sized event to manage and did a magnificent job. They get a +10 to awesome just for signing up. There may have been a few disappointments this weekend, but everything else made my life. I had such a great time that I can’t imagine not going next year. If you did not attend I hope you can share my excitement and satisfaction by reading this.

*note: In most of the quotes I’m paraphrasing. What is written is what I remember after the fact, except for a few panels that have recorded versions online.

Day One: Thursday, May 27th Preview Day

The first day of the Con was amazing. I volunteered at the registration desk from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. This was probably not the best decision for my first time volunteering. I picked that shift because of the opportunity to see all the hardcore fans that were coming for the entire weekend. And maybe get a glimpse of some exhibitors and guests as they arrived.

I got there about 20 minutes late, and arrived at my post halfway through the explanation of what we were going to do. ACK! I made a face that clearly said,”Please help me out here!” A wonderful woman named Peggy (I think. Sorry, I’m awful with names) took me under her wing and gave me the run-down. She and I decided to go to the prepaid registration desk because there was no money involved, all that needed to be done was check in people who already paid. The pre-registration team was Peggy, Robert, Walt, a girl with a pretty gemstone name (Again, I apologize) and myself. The staff hadn’t given us anything to do before the doors opened so we took the initiative to separate plastic badge holders and attach them to lanyards. Everyone was very friendly and conversed about various things while doing our monkey work. This was the calm before the storm.

About a half an hour before the doors opened the staff brought us this huge printed list. It was almost 400 pages of names. We were instructed to check the attendees’ registration confirmation or I.D. against the list and hand them a badge. At this point I didn’t see any problem with this process. Not that many people would show up for Preview Day, right? WRONG. Five volunteers who don’t really know what they are doing are supposed to check in hundreds of attendees who may or may not have printed out the confirmation they were told to bring. This was the first facepalm moment. The attendees ended up being fantastic. They showed me that standing in long lines out in the Arizona heat doesn’t have to turn everyone into a dick. Even though there were some sticky points, no one I dealt with got upset. They were all happy and excited to be there. Because of the attendees I will probably volunteer again next year. Here’s hoping that it’s more organized.

When my shift at the registration desk was over I went to check out the exhibitor hall. It was MASSIVE! Forty-eight thousand square feet of merchandise meant to make nerds drool. I’m glad I got a look on Thursday when it wasn’t packed full of bodies. I navigated my way over to John Scalzi’s table to have him sign my slew of books. We chatted a bit while he signed.

“I work at a bookstore and your books are about half of my suggestion endcap,” I shyly remarked. He smiled and said,

“To Lorien – Who is now my totally favorite person!” as he wrote it in my copy of An Android’s Dream. I was doing a little dance inside. I expressed excitement about attending his panels over the next few days. I told him I forgot to bring one of my books so I would have to see him again later and I headed over to Wil Wheaton’s table.

As I stepped up I made a Legend of Zelda victory noise in my head for not tripping or dropping anything on the way over. I asked him to sign Just a Geek, his foreword in Scalzi’s Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded, and Season 3 of The Guild. When I spelled my name for him he said,

“Lorien, like Lothlorien? That’s a cool name.” Insert silent squee from me here.

“Thanks! My last name is Krueger, so my parents had to give me a cool first name to offset a really bad last name.”

I told him I was really looking forward to RockBand on Friday and said goodbye. I had two great interactions, one after the other. I’m surprised I didn’t squee all over both of them. I walked the rest of hall in a daze, seeing what the exhibitors had on display. There was a lot of really cool stuff, especially the framed comic book art and Steamcrow’s booth. I resisted buying a lot of things, but ironically lost a save versus shiny on some d20 earrings. What roleplaying chick could pass those up?

It was only day one and I was already exhausted. I decided to head home early to get some rest for the next day. Wil Wheaton RockBand on Friday was sure to keep me up late.

Day One of Comicon was full of EPIC WIN. And little did I know this was just the beginning.

just starting out

•June 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hi there!

Attending Phoenix Comicon this weekend got me really excited and now I want to make things. In the next few days I am going to post the wonderful experiences I had. I made a ton of new friends. I hope that along with my old friends, you will all share this with me.

Thanks for being awesome!