Saturday, July 05, 2014

There's an App for That: #CVG2014

Seriously, these CONvergence people are good. I really rather adore waking up to have my schedule magically in my in-box. Here's today's:

Plaza 2
Anime Series: Year in Review
A yearly showcase of the past year's best anime series, presented by a group of anime fans who've watched and enjoyed them. Those looking to enter the anime fandom as well as those who've been otaku for years are welcome to attend. Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, Jessi Silver, Boris Smelov, Jo Thrace, Heather Deakman

Atrium 2
SF Writing Groups: The 2014 Scene
This annual (since 1986) get together of the Minnesota Imaginative Fiction Writers' Alliance helps science fiction/fantasy writing groups link with writers who are looking for a critique group. Panelists: Eric M. Heideman (mod), Lyda Morehouse, Tyler Tork

Atrium 6
Loki Can Rule Me Any Day
Loki is very popular, even though he wasn't the main character (or even necessarily a "good guy"). An exploration of side characters who have become fan favorites. Wolverine, Agent Coulson, Jayne, Connie Mk II - What makes us like them so much? Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, Kamuran Paradis, Damarra Atkins, Todd Murray, Anne Lyle

Plaza 2
Which Supers Should Hook Up?
If Thor and Storm got together, they would have cute little thunderbabies. Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, Kenneth Konkol, Lathan Murrell, Samma Johnson (mod), Christopher Jones

So, a busy day, but all starting afternoon, which will be a nice thing. 

Yesterday, I brought Mason along. He last minute decided to cosplay kid-Luffy, from One Piece. We spent much of the morning in search of the Straw Hat crew. Instead, we found a lot of really great cross/cosplay Marvel characters:

These ladies were really good (also traveling with a Thor and Tony Stark, though I only saw them later at the Marvel panel.) I was particularly enamored of Nicole Fury, as she had the perfect Wolverine claw mark scars visible under her eyepatch.

Lady Deadpool! Every con needs a Deadpool, why not a Lady Deadpool?

Fourth of July is Steve Rogers's birthday, so I wished this Stephanie Rogers a happy one and complimented her amazing 1940s style hair. (She defied my picture skills, though. Blurry here a little, but much worse when I tried to get her to pose with the two Peggys that were also at the Marvel panel.)

Another Cap (though, tbf, she might have been dressing as one of the traveling dance troupe.) Probably my favorite thing about a lot of the Captain American cosplayers is that they can embrace the 1940s aesthetic and be beautifully buxom and curvy.

There might have been a secret organization that was placing people in key positions at con, but I won't say who they were (*whispers*Hail, Hydra!*whispers*)

And, Old School Gambit, who isn't cross playing*, but come on! Look at this! It's perfect:

*today, according to naomikritzer this guy often cross plays "Slave Girl Leia." Rumor has it he's coming as "Slave Boy Leo" today, so I'll be sure to try to catch a shot of him, if I can, because that sounds phenomenal.

Mason and I spent much of con wandering around looking at all the cool costumers and wandering around the dealer's room. He bought a new Munchkin pack (zombies this time) and I found a cell phone charm of Renji/Hihio Zabimaru chibi, and I can never, ever resist chibi Zabimaru. Sadly, my cell phone does not have the technology to accommodate a charm. Seriously. It's not a smart phone, so I have no case to which I can hook such things. But, it was cheap and will fit my keyring just the same.

The Marvel Roundup panel was phenomenal. I had great fellow panelists and despite my voice, I managed to squee and maybe even make a few points of interest here and there. With any luck, you'll be able to judge for yourself. One of the panelists, Shaun Duke, is (among other things) a podcaster and he recorded us for his Hugo Award-nominated Skiffy and Fanty Show. If our panel gets posted there, I'll send along a direct link. It was probably the most high energy panel I've had so far, so I would think it would make a fantastic podcast.

Then there was more wandering, and Mason finally caught up with some of his crew:

Here's Mason with Zoro (green-hair) and Nami (orange-hair):

And in a time paradox, an older Luffy!

My final panel was "Cyberpunk 101," which went fairly well. Admittedly, my energy was starting to flag. Probably the most interesting part of the panel for me was the fact that one of my fellow panelists was a light side hacker. He was an honest-to-goodness Mouse, a phone freak from the 1980s. (And yes, he let us touch his hem.) I could have listened to his stories for the full hour. 

Instead, we talked about a lot of different aspects of cyberpunk and, once again, the audience had some really amazing, mind-blowing questions and thoughts about the future of cyberpunk. Because the question kept coming up, "If we're living in a world already predicted, where we're saturated with technology, how do you write beyond that point? Or, maybe more importantly, is it necessary to?" 

And I don't know. People often ask me if I'll ever return to the AngeLINK universe and I'm hesitant. I love the characters, but the world is getting harder and harder to reach back for because it's become a kind of AU where Facebook and Tumblr and Google glasses never happened. 

The point was also made that one of the things cyberpunk spoke to was the fears of the day, "What if we become so dependent on our technology that we're no longer human?" That's not really the thing we worry about these days. We worry about the environment. We *do* still worry about corporations taking over, but a lot of what we feared has already come to pass. I mean, corporations as people? Pretty sure that was warned about in any number of early cyberpunk novels. 

Also, as our resident hacker pointed out, it's actually a bit harder to by-pass The Man. Technology has outpaced some simple phone hacks. It's harder to break-in and it's much, MUCH harder to escape without leaving a trace.

Our fiction has also become a lot darker. No one believes any more that taking out one corporation/Power That Be will solve all the problems... without causing others. The revolution is murky and complicated and deeply underfunded...

It was a good panel, but in comparison to the squee fest of the Marvel Roundup it felt far lower key. But maybe that was because it was "meatier."

Thursday, July 03, 2014

CONvergence Begins....

Last night was CONvergence's 'opening night.'  Traditionally, there's a Guests of Honor/Former Guests of Honor mixer held on Wednesday night to kick everything off.  Eleanor Arnason (GoH 2001) and I (GoH 2012) went together.

I managed to loose my voice yesterday afternoon, so I squeaked a lot, and pretty much everyone who heard me gave me advice about how to conserve it/help it.  (All of which I intend to take.)

The party itself was surprisingly fun.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, the CONvergence people are always awesome and know how to throw a good party. It's more that as a visiting artist/writing professional in a room of one's colleagues, sometimes the atmosphere can be kind of... well, daunting.  You look around the room and you think, "Wow, all these writers/artists/media stars..." and your next thought is often, "What am I doing here?  Compared to them, I'm nobody."

Like actors, writers are often seen as 'only as good as their current project' (at least among ourselves.) This, I've found is far less true out in the Real World.  If you've written and published once, for most people, you're always a professional writer. The latter makes far more sense than the former.  A book, once published, is always there for people to see.  Regardless, a fellow author is likely to ask, "What are you working on now?" And, when the answer is, "Oh, um... nothing official," it can make for a very awkward night.

For whatever reason, last night, I didn't feel any of that.  I saw a room full of people, many of them friends I hadn't seen in a while, and then I found the corner of anime fans and we squeed about the fact that the newest season of Free! started.

Seemed like an auspicious start.  Fingers crossed that the rest of the con goes as well.

If you're attending con this year, here's a lovely pointer to my CONvergence schedule:

You can also get from there to the main programming schedule.  CONvergence is amazing because they also have this whole 'app' thing figured out.  You can download any number of amazing things to keep track of your con and follow along with live tweets and everything.  (Didn't I say? These CONvergence people are GOOD.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Wordpress Wednesday

Hah!  I knew I'd figure out an alliteration!  Speaking of silly language tricks, Mason and I have named our 15th MangaKast "15 - Ichi Go" because the hero of Bleach, Ichigo, is constantly seen wearing the number 15.  It took me years of reading (and finally learning a bit of Japanese) to realize that it's a giant pun on his name because Ichi is the word for "one" and Go is "five" together his name makes 15.

So, of course I put up a picture of Renji who has nothing at all to do with the number 15.  But, I really couldn't resist the fact that he's talking about chickens.  Chickens is a funny thing at our house.  One time, as we were snuggling before bed, Mason asked: "What do you want to talk about?"  I said, "Chickens!" just to be a weirdo.

So now, every night before bed, we discuss something about chickens.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Tate Tuesday

Huh, I should have started posting this on a Wednesday so it could be "WattPad Wednesday" or something more alliterative.  But, regardless, the newest section is up:

In "Unnatural Unleashed," Alex has to face the consequences unleashing her magic on Jack and his magpie familiar, Sarah Jane...

As usual, when you go to the site (or return here afterward), I would love any commentary you have, even if it's critical.  I noted on the Wyrdsmiths' blog that the pacing for a serial-type novel is very different than writing a traditional novel.  I took WattPad at their word when I signed up and have been tailoring these installments in very short, digestible chunks aimed at people who are using their smart/iPhones to read bits of things while commuting to work or wherever.  I might be making these sections too short for other readers.

I will admit, as I have before, that I'm using this weekly deadline to make word count on a project that I've been struggling with.  So, admittedly, much of what appears on-line is actually very first draft-y, very by the seat of my pants, oh-crap-is-it-Sunday-already??--which is also why I would love suggestions for improvement.  The work posted there is being collected and massaged into an eventual e-book, so anything people have to say will actually help me write a better book (even if I can't go back and change what's on-line.)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Road Trip

Last night, I read this article: How to Solve an 88-Year-Old Literary Mystery by Susan Cheever.  It talks about the limits of research, about how you can talk about a thing, read about it, interview people who know things or might even have been there... and still miss some critical detail.

It's a fascinating article in its own right, but it made me think about the fact that one of the things Wyrdsmiths told me to do for the novel I'm working on is take a road trip to Pierre, South Dakota.

I've spent a lot of time on Google Earth, walking around that town, but there's probably something I'm missing, some quality, that would stand out more if I went.

We joked about making it a group exercise. If that happened, I might go.