Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Family Guy Star Wars continues

It looks like "The Empire Strikes Back"parody from Family guy will be titled "Something, Something, Something, Darkside." I'm really looking forward to this.

Star Wars Ducks

Beware the Duck side of the force! These Star Wars bath toys are just what a youngling needs to make bath time fun.

For some reason, they are packed with LEDs so they change colour, but they are still fairly cool.

Available at

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yar! Happy Talk like a Pirate Day!

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Many Calgary privateers will be gathering at the Atlantic Trap and Gill in Calgary. Take the last dog watch at eight bells, and join us.

Until then, keep to the code.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Steampunk in Calgary: Postponed!

It has come to my attention that Saturday, October 11th is the Calgary Zombie walk. I think the previously scheduled Anachronaut gathering can be postponed for another time. After all, another time is what we are all about.

Image by Mr. Sable.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Metal Fist at Burning Man

This mechanical fist does man's bidding at Burning Man 2008. Mankind's Mecha development advances.

[direct link]

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dragoncon 2008 Review: Part 2

Any responsible project management involves some sort of cost/benefit analysis. Constructing and wearing costumes at science fiction conventions is not a task immune from this investigation. After DragonCon 2008, I had some time to think about this which is presented here by request, and as an exercise in over-thinking and psudo-economics.

Project costs include not just cash money spent putting the costume together, but also the time it takes to make it happen. The transporting of costumes to distant conventions has gotten more expensive now that most airlines have started charging for extra bags. There are also opportunity costs associated with presenting the costume, as while you are getting ready and posing in your creation, you can't be attending panels, or doing much else. Sitting in a dark panel room is not a suitable venue for ones costume, as it does not provide the same pleasures as public viewings. Also, going to the convention with full bags of costumes ensures that you won't be buying much to bring back.

The benefits of costuming are mostly intangible, but include the joy of completing a task, the emotional lift of wearing a fantastic costume, and "becoming" a beloved character. There is also the peer admiration and recognition, and the pleasure experienced in giving joy to others. All of this proportional to the overall quality and originality of ones costume.

To be a '"profitable" endeavour the equation Cost < Benefit has to hold. I expand this as follows:

Cost Creation + Time Creation + (Quality Programming )Tc + Distance Travelled + Costume Complexity + Costume Comfort < Joy Completion + (Quality + Originality)Tc

Where Tc is the time spend in the costume. The longer one wears the costume, the greater the opportunity for praise and pleasure, which also increases the costs of things not done while promenading and posing for pictures. There is a factor wherein too much exposure might diminish the impact of the costume, but I'm ignoring that term for simplicity. On further reflection I decided to omit the time factor completely. My equation, my rules.

Some hand-waving and three Advils later, I simplified the equation back down to manageable and near-quantifiable values, though omitting any proportionality gain terms.

CreationEffort + TransportationEffort + ConAwesomeness < Costume Awesomeness

This gives us some conclusions. Since ConAwesomeness is a fixed variable, or at least a value out of the control of attendee, one must balance the effort and awesomeocity of ones costume accordingly. In the simplest terms, the better the convention, the better ones costume has to be. The further away the convention and the more elaborate the costume, the better ones costume has to be. Sounds obvious, but it took me a long time to come to this point.

Previously on Slashboing

Monday, September 08, 2008

Dragoncon 2008 Review: Part 1

Dragoncon 2008 was the best convention I've attended to date. To see a fraction of the awesomosity I experienced, my convention photos are available on flickr here.
Iron Man!
After last year's convention, which I quite enjoyed, I was content to start going every other year. However, after this year I don't think I can stand to miss even one. I think the improvement comes from to two subtle changes.

The first is in regards to the space/crowding issue. To meet the growing attendance, a fourth convention hotel was added. This coincided with the completion of the renovations to the Marriott, which resulted in less congestion and aggravation. Ultimately you could actually find places to stand, sit and pose for pictures without breaking firecodes.

Secondly, every year we attend we know more and more people. Either through internet reputation, such as photognome, or through all our various communities on livejournal and flickr, we have amassed quite the fandom network. Knowing enough people means even in a +35k person convention, you are always bumping into people you know. More friends means more fun.

However, the wheel keeps turning and the greater the highs, the deeper the lows. I've spent the last week unsure as to my future role at Dragoncon. Photographer? Panel fiend? Autograph hound? Costumer? Cam-whore? I have tried to do it all every year, and I'm not sure where I'm the most comfortable. If I go to lots of panels, I miss out costuming with my friends. If I'm posing for pictures in costumes, I'm not getting autographs or seeing panels. I've been wrestling with the cost/benefit of costuming at Dragoncon for a while now, and I will explore the topic more thoroughly in my next post.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

How many have your name?
LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Friday, September 05, 2008

International Talk like a Pirate Day: Calgary

Avast! Yar! Plunder!

Friday September 19th is Talk like a Pirate day Many local privateers will be gathering at the Atlantic Trap and Gill in Calgary that evening.

Tell them Dr. Haggis sent you. It won't get you anything, but you should still say it.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

DragonCon Ends

I'm back from Dragon*con 2008! I have started uploading pictures to my Flickr account, so watch that space.

I will be posting a full report later, but I'm still in decompression mode, trying to stave off the Post Con Blues. After the big emotional high and physical challenges of a big convention, coming home is a shock to the system. No matter how well things go, I leave feeling inadequate, believing I could have done things better. I could have gone to more panels. My costumes could have been better. I could have been more adventurous. I could have taken more pictures. I could have been less of the person I am, and more of the person I want to be.

This year was probably the best yet, and we will return, because I don't think I can stand missing moments like the one captured here: