Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Jack O'Lanterns 2008
Originally uploaded by Drhaggis.

We have finished carving our Jack O'lanterns for this year. We have a mix, some complex stencils, some simple ones and a stem-nose.

Also to note twitter is supporting image replacements for some cool Halloween emoticons. I reprint them here for reference and mayhem:









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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Greatest Hits on Twitter

Since I started using twitter, a good portion of my blogging energy has been funnelled there in the form of 140 character epigrams. What does that mean for people who only read Slashboing? They are not getting the full force of my wit. To sooth them in this time of need, here are my better tweets from the month of October.
  • I usually don't condone this sort of thing, but...Ninjas:
  • Watching Mythbusters is more fun when you superimpose the unrequited love triangle between Kari, Grant and Tory.
  • The "h" key on laptop is less responsive. I thought the 'I's were the first to go.
  • Watched Fringe. They confused voltage and current, electricity with magnetism, and science with fairydust
  • Sontaran neck hole + Captain Jack = Doctor Who Rule 34
  • White Chicks and Gang Signs:
  • Airplane on a Conveyor belt: The plane takes off, the pilot marries her true love, though the deposit on the conveyor is lost.
  • Shock of the Decade: Steve Guttenberg working continuously. I thought he fell off the earth in 1990. There was a ceremony and everything.
  • Reading about things on Wikipedia, then seeing if I can buy them on ebay. Someone come up with a cool term for that, Quick!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Feist in Calgary

I have just returned from the long awaited Feist concert. It was a really good show! Her minimalist stage setup suited her sound really well. The major set piece was real-time interpretive shadow-and-light performance on the backdrop, which often echoed elements from her music videos.

It was hard to shoot photos from where I was sitting, and I often used my zoom simply as a set of opera glasses. I did manage to catch a few moments that I will share with you all on flickr. A sample:

Feist in Calgary

Concert Photo set:

Friday, October 17, 2008

World Travel Meme

The "world travel map" meme is making the internet rounds again, so an update is in order.

visited 13 states (26%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

It is very difficult for me to do the "what countries you visited" list because I went through Eastern Europe in the late 80's. I went through "Yugoslavia," not "Bosnia and Herzegovina."

visited 23 states (10.2%)
Create your own visited map of The World

Previously on Slashboing

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vin Diesel and Dungeons and Dragons

I simply must repost this video I saw on John Hodgman's Blog. Everything we thought about Vin Diesel is true.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Zombie Outbreak Report: Calgary

I HungerEarly Saturday afternoon there was an outbreak of the undead in Calgary. I had the presence of mind to document the hoard the best I could.

A few fell souls gathered in Olympic plaza, then once their hunger gained a critical mass, they lurched down Stephen Avenue seeking brains and gore.

This was the annual Calgary Zombie walk, dubbed the DEAD MILE. I cancelled a Steampunk gathering so people wouldn't be split on attendance, and then I promptly forgot the date. A late night twitter from Petraneferu reminded me of my undead obligations. I was unable to make the costume changes fast enough for my evening plans, so I attended only as observer, and took as many pictures as I could. I saw many people I knew, but I only recognized them after they approached and spoke to me. That is a testament to the quality and commitment my friends make to their zombification.

My set of photos and video can be viewed here: The whole flickr group is found here:

Until next time, I leave you all with the following zoetrope called: "Zombie Sable takes a tumble"

Zombie Sable scales the wall

Previously on Slashboing

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My Fandom History: Part 2

In part one of my fandom history, I relayed how I found where fandom was gathering. At this point I was still not part of the group, but I had found the tribe. Now I tell the tale of WesterCon 58, 2005.

Having found the community of science fiction and fantasy fandom in Calgary, and discovering that it is a participatory event I did two things.

1) I helped form the Calgary Star Wars Fanforce
2) I endeavoured to be as big a part of WesterCon 58 as I could

At the time, I didn't think that these were related but now that I form a mental time-line, the parallel effort and intent is more clear. For the first part, it meant gathering together all the individuals in Calgary who were sure they were an isolated Star Wars fan in the big city. This was done through regular meetings and events. It was great to be part of a big group for the premier of "Revenge of the Sith."

For the second part, I did all I could do at WesterCon. I got a room in the hotel, I had multiple costumes set out for the weekend, I entered the costume contest with a group of friends, I bought art at the art show, I drank, danced, and even hosted a panel. Being only one person, I did all I could do without bending space and time. At the end of it all I had a great time, though I still felt something was missing.

Perhaps the programing could be more catholic. There were plenty of local fan groups not represented, or under-utilized, and established and growing fandoms being sidelined. I heard many people say what I had said myself: "There is nothing here for me". It seemed that although the gathering and fellowship was a good start, much of the content of these local conventions skewed toward only a few of the many facets of fandom. Writing and publishing was well supported, though horror, anime, comics, furry fandom, most television and film fandoms were not well represented.

With my brief experience with being on a panel, and talking with a few more experienced con-goers, I knew that simply complaining about what I wanted improved was not the answer. These events are run by fans for fans. There is no external "other" putting on the convention for profit, but rather it was planned and staffed by people like myself for the good of the community.

With this in mind, I knew that if I wanted a better convention experience for myself and my friends, I had to step up and bring myself to the mountain, as it were. That fall I attended a planning meeting for the following summer's convention: ConVersion 22.

What transpired then, is a topic for another post.

Previously on Slashboing

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My Fandom History: Part 1

This is the first part in an autobiographical series about my involvement in science fiction and fantasy fandom. Follow me down the rabbit hole, will you?

I don't know where my enjoyment of science fiction literature and films started, but come high school I was elbow deep in it. But it was a solitary hobby, as there was no obvious SF&F fandom community to be a part of. This was pre-internet and there was no dedicated comic book shop in my small town. I had heard of "conventions" were fans would gather, but these were far away in large cities, and were clearly for other people.

Fast-forward to the turn of the millennium. The internet made for all sorts of connections between fans, I had moved to the big city of Calgary, and the domestication of the dog continued unabated. I still heard of conventions, but they were still in other cities, where I would never travel. I thought a few fan message boards were enough to satiate my fandom needs, until I heard about ConVersion. Some friends had returned from the local convention, and it sounded like a lot of fun. I was shocked that such a thing existed in Calgary. Why had I not heard about it sooner? Why wasn't I at this event?

I waited the year for the next ConVersion to come around. Having no clue what these events were like, and having a wife that wasn't really that interested, I only attended the Saturday. We did the best we could for first timers. We looked through the art show, we attended a panel, was subjected to filk, walked through the dealers room, and watched the costume contest. This endeavour had two equal and opposite reactions.

1) Both my wife and I were underwhelmed by the offerings of the event
2) Having seen the costume contest, I wanted to participate in it

Seeing various costumers online was one thing, but seeing talented, educated adults make and present elaborate science fiction costumes was enough to make me want to come back. I figured part of our disappointment in the event steamed from the fact that we attended, observed, but didn't fully participate. Yes, we spoke up in the panel, but that was about all the interaction I can remember.

Through the meagre offerings, I could see that that there was fun to be had, if I reached for it. I knew NEXT year would be the big year. I would do more, see more, and participate more. As luck would have it the next year was not ConVersion, a local convention, but Westercon 58, a travelling regional convention.

This is the subject for the next instalment.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Happy Birthday Groucho Marx

I'm watching "A Night a the Opera" on TCM as part of their Birthday tribute to Groucho Marx. The following scene really cracked me up:

So as not to leave you wanting, here is some screwball comedy from "A Day at the Races".

Je suis Marxiste, tendance Groucho.