themadone: (Default)

Soooo...I went to another convention at the weekend. Unlike all the others I've ever been to, this was my first "Media con" so I didn't really know what to expect other than what I'd seen in TV/movies/books or heard from people who've been to similar events. Which basically boiled down to there'd be lots of queuing to get photos with the cast and autographs. And I didn't know how many people to expect - I've been to cons as small as about 100 (Picocon) and as large as over 10000 (WorldCon) and knowing it had sold out and that there were only 100 Peacemaker tickets, didn't really give me much to go on.

It was a con for a show called Wynonna Earp which I'd only discovered because the amazing Paul Cornell tweeted about it when it first aired over here and despite me frothing over it as I watched season 1, I didn't really manage to convince (m)any of my friends to check it out. And then really I only found out about the con itself by pure luck, because I'd been at a party and Lisa had been telling people she was organising a con and whilst she'd said the name, I hadn't immediately twigged what it meant. It was only because she mentioned the show later on that I went all fanboy at the fact that someone else was talking about the show and I had to go. And then slid down that slippery slope getting the top tier ticket, extra photo ops with all the cast etc...

Anyway, so I rock up on Friday a bit later than I'd hoped (bloody traffic) to find already that there were a lot of people trying to register. More people than I was expecting because there was only one thing happening that night for us Peacemaker tickets, but I guess people would need to arrive early as things kicked off on Saturday at 9am (ouch!). I don't think the hotel was designed in mind with people queuing (especially in this corridor) as it became like a furnace and I immediately regretted not bringing a bottle of water.

Eventually I got registered and shortly after that, I discovered I wasn't the only person (besides obviously Lisa) that I knew at the con when Jacquie arrived. The hotel didn't have water coolers everywhere so I had to grab some water from the bar - they must be used to foreigner visitors as they'd repackaged tap water into fancy looking bottles of mineral water. Thankfully they weren't charging us money for them though.

The first event was a 3 course meal followed by each guest visiting each table for 15 minutes (musical chairs!). Dumped my stuff in my car, since I didn't need anything for that and when I came back the entire conspace (including the conbar and comfy seating) was a no go area so everyone was waiting around in the furnace corridor. But Jacquie had gone to her room and invited me up to chill out there if need be, so I headed on up to her floor and there they were. The entire cast. Just standing around in the corridor. So I try nonchalantly walking past, said "Hi" to Tim, one of the wranglers was all like "what are you doing here!" at me, so I told her I was going to one of the rooms. Jacquie had no idea they were outside (but obviously had a look once I said) and just thought they were a load of noisy hotel guests.

We made it down to the meal with plenty of time, but took us a while to find space to sit as most people seemed to know each other and had colonised their tables quite quickly. But we found a couple of seats on a table with some amazingly cool and awesome people who we ended up hanging out with a lot during the con and I'm hoping to keep in touch with afterwards. According to at least 3 out of the 5 guests, we were the coolest table and/or the drunkest - Dom had been watching us all through the food piling up the bottles of booze. The food was OK - I was bit worried when there wasn't designated seating that if there were any special catering for my annoying food intolerances, it'd be hard for the staff to track me down. As it was, the food wasn't an issue and the staff were having a hard time tracking down the veggies amongst us.

Our first guest to visit was Michael Eklund (who was a late addition to the roster as originally the writer of the show, Emily Andras, was meant to be attending, but Real Life(tm) prevented that) and we had a great time chatting with him and I got to ask him about how his Dirk Gently and Wynonna Earp characters looked so similar - turns out he was shooting both shows at the same time.

After that we had Tim Rozen visit and he was amazing and friendly (this was a common theme) and he showed us this awesome cosplay he'd seen at DragonCon(?) on his phone which had a Wynonna Earp themed case on that he'd gotten as a gift. And then Shamier Anderson came over and we has amazing and friendly and we had a good chat with him too. I was a bit surprised that they'd not spread the guests out a bit so that each table didn't have to spend more than 1 cycle without a guest.

And then we had Dominique Provost-Chalkley. It was very clear to me that I'd missed out on a lot of prior con interaction as the conversation ended up talking about a story she'd told at another con and she had to explain that to the few of us who had no idea what that was about. Obviously this was the first ever solely Wynonna Earp con, so all the other cons they'd been to, they were just one show in amongst a load of others, but they'd still managed to make connections with Earper fans.

We had a really long wait for the last cast member, Katherine Barrell, as I guess they must have put her ahead of our table? I got to sit next to her for that bit, although by this stage I was way too in awe to get involved in the conversation. And then it was all over and since it'd gotten quite late, I figured I should try and drive home to my waiting bed so I could get some sleep before the really early start. Except I failed to navigate getting onto the West bound side of the A4 and ended up getting lost inside Heathrow for a bit.

I made sure I researched the route back the next morning cos I had time cos I got up far too early. But I suppose having time to chill out, eat breakfast etc... is a good way to start a very busy day.

I admit, most of the con was a bit of a blur for me. There were several awesome panels with each all of the guests or just the guys or just the girls. Whilst I appreciate that Dom was by the far the most popular of the guests, I did feel it was a bit of a shame that the other guests weren't getting as many questions - especially Shamier who didn't really get to do that much talking. Since me & J had found ourselves standing in the right spot, we got into the first all-guest panel quite easily so managed to grab some front row seats. The view of the guests still isn't that great cos they are still quite far away (or very small?), but you do get a unobstructed view which was better for photo taking.

I got my photo taken with Dom and Kat which thankfully didn't involve that much queuing as my ticket allowed me to be in the first wave and by pure honest to god luck, I happened to waiting for the queue to start in the right spot to be near the front. There was still a bit of queuing as the Dom and Kat duo-photos were after a whole load of photo combinations with Dom or Kat with some of the guys and they only had one photographer, but it was in a mostly cooler part of the conspace. And then the two of them did a panel together and there were so amazing together, like they'd clearly had a special bond now. Someone tried to get them to recreate the cheerleading scene, which possible is what prompted the staff to remind attendees to keep the questions (mostly) classy at later panels.

Having managed to get a lot of DrunkCool tablers sitting together in that panel, we decided to all go for lunch together and since we were pressed for time nabbed a (what is kind of traditionally for me at Heathrow cons) MaccyD's. It's been a while since I've been in one though, but their choice of fizzy soft drinks has really gone down hill - everything except the Coke comes in diet/poison form. And the other drinks are all tiny.

The guys had a panel together. Possibly the same person as the Kat+Dom panel, asked Tim and Michael to recreate the cheerleading scene which they did. So that was a thing. Michael really got into doing the cheer, whilst Tim watched on. And then they got into a massive snog session - I'm surprised they didn't get hosed down with cold water

The autograph session was by far the most stressful for me I think. They had my tier of tickets queue up for Dom, but she was spending a lot of time with each of us that the other guests were just sitting there looking bored. So they took a random number of us and had them queue up for Kat instead, which I'd have been happy with. But then they let in the next tier who made a beeline for Kat & Dom and it all got a little crazy. Dom's dedication was surprising...profane - I think it must be a quote from the episode where Waverly goes to the spa and leaves an angry voicemail for Haught? I was possible a little distracted during that episode to remember what anyone said ;)

I gave up trying to get my autos done in order and just skipped ahead to Shamier cos he had the shortest queue. And then I got Michael's who also had a moderately short queue, but he kept getting distracted and leaving his table to talk to Tim or random attendees. And after 2 hours of that and seeing that Kat and Tim's queues were enormous I decided I needed to sit down cos I really can't deal with standing up for long periods of time (Note to self - get one of those portable stools/chairs for future similar events).

Had dinner in the hotel restaurant with Jacquie so got to chat and gossip about how we were finding the con and past common life stuff. Turned up in time for the cosplay contest and was briefly confused that we'd missed it and the disco had started cos the DJ was playing music. But the lights were still up and no-one was dancing yet and then eventually the guests came out to judge the many many Haught cosplayers (and others). Tim and Michael stuck around for the first couple of songs in the disco and even danced together - I really have to wonder whether Bobo and Doc are going to hook up at some future point in the show? More so, given how much attention the writers pay to what us fans do/say and feature it in the show. Shamier made an appearance too part way through and took over the DJ booth for a bit.

Generally the music wasn't really my sort of thing - the DJ was the hotel's so didn't really do a con playlist, he was more picking his songs by the age/gender of the attendees, so lots of Spice Girls and Taylor Swift kind of stuff? He did play some contracks though (woo! Time Warp!) But nothing with a real heavy pounding beat to really get down with, so I barely felt like I'd even been dancing the following day. He looked incredulous/surprised at my request to play "Everything is Awesome" but again, he doesn't know what sort of stuff gets played at cons so wouldn't realise that would be popular.

Started the day off with more queuing to get a photo-op for Michael as I figured I'd had one sorted for the rest of the guys and wanted to get a full set. Then had to rush off to queue to get the photos done with the guys, which was a lot more queuing as we had to queue for each guy separately. I'm still gutted my copy of the season 1 blu-ray hadn't shipped in time, cos that'd have been awesome to get the cast to sign, but having some glossy photos of them signed instead is still pretty awesome.

Had plenty of time to recover after that before the next panel which was going to be Dom, Kat and Tim, but ended up being all the guys cos Dom and Kat were still working through their backlog of photo ops. And then after lunch there was meant to be a Shamier and Michael panel, but that became a Dom & Kat panel and since Tim and Michael had recreated the cheerleading scene, I think they felt pressured into doing it when asked again. It was pretty amazing though - there was a comparison of the original and the recreation and Dom clearly had a good memory for the routine which she'd shot like at least 9 months ago.

Just before the panel finished, Jacquie pointed out that I'd won a prize in the raffle which I decided rather than queuing up for the autograph session, I'd go collect my prize. Which turns out, was the right plan as I was one of the first (if not first) people to go cash in their ticket so I ended up with a signed Wynonna Earp poster. Much shock. Such wow. Very happy.

And then we had the second autographing session to fill in the ones we hadn't managed to get the day before which went a bit smoother, but still meant a lot more queuing. Kat did not seem at all phased by the exceptionally profane dedication Dom had written. I possibly should have gotten separate photos of them, but the photo I got was so adorable. Managed to read Tim's dedication as he wrote it so could respond "with much envy" - I can grow facial hair easily, it just doesn't come out very stylish. And then a lot of waiting because it was the last thing before the closing ceremony and there were lot of people needing stuff signed still. So much so that it went so far over schedule and they had to cancel most of what was planned for the closing ceremony and just have it as more of a thanks and good bye. Which was a very emotional thing for everyone.

Post-con dinner was in the pub around the corner from the hotel, which I believe is a firm favourite amongst people who go to cons around that way. Which, despite having been to many cons in the area, I'd yet to visit. After eating and some chatting, the lack of sleep was starting to get to me, so I bade farewell and had a slightly wide-eyed drive home with the aircon on full so I wouldn't doze off. And then I had all of the sleep!

So to do a tl;dr - had a lot of fun, there was a lot of queuing which I need to plan for better next time and the cast are so amazing and friendly and I had absolutely thoughts about shoving them in the boot of my car and taking them home with me, honest... Not entirely convinced by the hotel though. There was possible the right amount of space, but the layout didn't suit the needs of the con. Like the entrance and exit to where the photo-ops were, was the same because the alternative way out from that room would have taken us to where the guests were holed up between stuff. And there wasn't enough chill-out sitting space.

I took a LOT of photos and have shoved them into an album rather than trying to slot them into this post in the appropriate slots. Mostly they're pretty rubbish as in order to see the guests, I had to point the camera at the screen above their heads.

themadone: (Default)

So for the 5th year running, I went to the convention known as Nine Worlds. I figured I would have a stab at writing down my thoughts and experiences from the weekend.

I'm not sure what was different about this one, but in the run up to it, I didn't have the usual massive panic/anxiety issues that I tend to get before any kind of social situation involving lots of people. This meant I was slightly more able to engage in conversation with random strangers, although I think I could still do better, so will still need to keep wearing the blue "Happy to talk to people" label.

This I think also meant I didn't end up needing any downtime away from people, so I ended up having a very full con. This does mean my brain is stuffed full of memories from the event, like someone rapidly trying to tidy up and shove everything into a closet, so I'm not sure how much detail I'm going to recall about anything.

I managed to arrive at the con a bit later than expected and only just managed to get registered in time so that I squeezed into the first talk, which was billed as translating mythology into English and British Sign Language, but actually only about the latter. Mostly I was interested in the mythology side of things, but there was an element of showing support for my old Uni (woohooo! Royal Holloway) as one of the people giving the talk was one of the faculty in the Classics department. It was all very interesting despite not knowing any BSL. They had to come up with a lot of new signs to cover words not normally used and also replace some to fit the anachronistic-ness of the stories. Like for example, when signing about time, tapping on the wrist where a watch would be makes perfect sense for a conversation in the modern day, but would seem out of place when recounting a tale from Ancient Greece. So they had to think a lot about that kind of thing. The culmination of their research is a series of films in which actor(s) sign out the story and they showed 2 examples and had someone read out a transcript for those of us who didn't know any BSL.

As we discovered last year, everyone in our social group meeting up in the bar between sessions became a workable solution to keep in touch and see what people were doing next.

The second was a talk about "Stealth Cosplay" - dressing up in regularly every day clothes, whilst at the same time representing some character or other. I picked this one as I really don't really feel comfortably dressing up, which is a bit of a limitation as a LARPer that I'd like to overcome. Plus, everyone else seems to be having lots of fun cosplaying, so I'd like to manage it one year and starting off with a bit of stealth cosplay seems like a good way to ease myself in. That said, I didn't really get much out of this that I don't think I could have worked out myself. But it has at least seeded ideas into trying cosplay into my head.

Then there was a talk celebrating Ghostbusters. The presenter was such a massive troll - he started off by asking us if we wanted to hear the iconic theme tune and started playing the theme tune from a 70's TV show called Ghostbusters. Which from what little I could tell from the intro, was more akin to Scooby Doo with a couple of guys and their gorilla visit. He then did the same joke with the 80s cartoon sequel to the 70s show. Then he got into the talk properly and covered all kinds of history and details of the actual Ghostbusters franchise, finishing off with a sped up version of the actual theme tune spliced with footage from the 3 films and cartoon series. Funny and informative marks this as one of my favourite things from the weekend.

The 4th talk of the day was about sending humans to Mars and was given by one of the candidates to the Mars One project. The Mars One project plans on sending some humans on a one way trip to colonise Mars. We got to hear all about the process, science and problems involved in such a grand scheme. The plan is really lengthy as their ideal launch window comes around every 2 years and rather than just sending everything and everyone in one go, they're doing it piecemeal. There'll be several unmanned supply runs before they even think about sending any humans, which they're planning on sending in teams of 4 at a time.

Mostly we did our own thing, but several us decided to form a team for the Buffy Quiz. We made a valiant effort, but came resoundingly last and quite a few points behind the main clump of scores. I wasn't sure if this was related or not, but most of the teams had names that involved bunnies. Our name - The Ancient Evil - clearly didn't. We picked it based solely on he fact that most of the other attendees looked so very young and unlikely to have been born when the show first aired, where as we all watched it when it first came out. There was a tie for the top slot and the tie breaker involved bunnies. I couldn't really see what was going on, but it involved tugging on a bunny until something popped up?

Then I had my first actual panel of the con on the topic of "Sex Lives of Goblins". Which was more about sex scenes in writing and didn't cover goblins having sex except for one question towards the very end where someone asked for examples. The authors had a wide range of experiences of writing (or not) sex scenes in their books, but nothing really stuck in my mind as something I should go read more of.

The evening culminated with the first disco of the con. They had 2 DJ sets. The first I think was the better of the two. My knee went *pop* in the second set and whilst it didn't seem to impact my performance, my ankles started to feel the strain of me avoiding overusing the knee so I ended up sitting out for a bit. And since they started a brief stint of music that I really didn't feel like dancing to, I decided to bail early. Which annoyingly was just as they started resuming playing the good stuff. Plus, it looks like there was only 15 minutes left which I could have probably managed if I'd known how long the disco was going to go on for. The schedule had it finishing an hour earlier than it actually did.

I kicked Saturday off with a talk about Time Travel in Film from a philosophical point of view which really interesting. It covered all manner of things, such as the different types of time travel and paradoxes and stuff like that. I sort of cosplayed (or rather technically "costumed") for it as a congoer from the future as I wore my t-shirt from EarperCon, which happens next month.

I really like the TV show Sense8 and there was a really great panel on that which was naturally focusing on the diversity within the show. It was great to see a packed room full of people who also really liked the show and had a lot of interesting points to make about it. I didn't, for example, know that the actors that played "Van Damme" were English and American rather than Kenyan. I think generally though, the main consensus was that the show was doing a good job at diversity, but there were a number of issues it could do better at or that it wasn't even touching upon.

I went to talk about designing escape rooms. Due to the person giving the talk having deleted their talk, they were having to wing it using the slideshow from a previous one, so it wasn't quite as polished as the other talks and resulted in having a pacing issue where she overran her planned timetable making the last 15 minutes quite rushed. That said, it did inspire me which is primarily why I went. I don't think I could have the time to invest in making something complicated and high-tech, but I think if I put my mind to it, I could come up with something do-able with the resources available to me.

I also love American Gods and went along to something which I thought was going to be a similar format to the Sense8 panel, but was actually a meet up of fans. Again it was packed full of fans of the book and/or show. It was interesting hearing the thoughts of people who've only experienced the show rather than the book. I didn't manage to contribute, but don't think I really had much to say of any importance anyway.

Continuing on with my support of my fellow Hollowegians, I diverged from my usual interests to attend their screening of two silent movies that they accompanied on the accordion. The first was a telling of Cinderella done as an animation with paper cutouts. The second was a very confusing film about a woman who was a vampire...except she wasn't. I'm not at all musically inclined, but the music seemed to fit well with the movie footage.

Saturday concluded with the Bifrost disco. The first DJ up was as always awesome and had the dancefloor packed solidly with happy dancing people. Then they alternated between the 2 other DJs. The first up is really enthusiastic about a particular kind of music, but whilst some of it worked, I don't think most people really gelled with it. The 3rd DJ played a lot of rock which went down a lot better. Someone was doing an excellent cosplay of Noface and "terrorising" the dance floor. The excessive smoke machine creating an impenetrable wall of fog between the exits and the dancefloor coupled with number of dancers dropping off at certain points did lead to questions of whether Noface was eating people.

By Sunday I was pretty much braindead resulting in me picking my first slot purely on the basis that it was in the middle room of a block of 3 that I was interested in. Horror isn't really my thing, but it was a panel on where the line between Horror and Thriller begins.

A regularly feature of the con is a "panel" on the future of the con, covering how the con did and what they have plans for. It also gave people a chance to ask questions about certain aspects and feedback. The main point of interest I took is that whilst the current venue is amazing, it is also has a different pricing model than previous hotels have had, making it more expensive. So they are looking at the possibility next year of holding it in Birmingham. Which isn't impossible for me, except that I do have a prior commitment around that time that might impact on whether or not I can go. And since nothing has been decided yet, as much as I'd like to get tickets already, it does mean I have to wait and see what is actually decided before committing.

Another regularly feature for me, is the Social Gaming, which I tend to use when there's a slot with nothing of interest in or if I'm too braindead to do anything that requires much thinking. It's always fun and whilst they do have a monthly event run in London, I don't often have the enthusiasm to travel that far, so it's good that I get to play some of their games even if it's just at cons.

The last thing I managed to get to was a panel on Robots, AI and the Labour market. Unfortunately I wasn't really mentally capable to process much of what was said. And with that I called it and went home.

It was good to have so many friends attend this year, especially as they all enjoyed themselves too. The hotel was mostly great. Most of the staff were getting into the spirit of things and doing a bit of light cosplay as Superheroes. They were friendly and helpful. I noticed that there seemed to be a distinct lack of "Do Not Disturb" signs available in rooms which meant my usual tactic of rebelling against the daily invasion of my room by putting up the sign even when I wasn't in, wasn't possible. Weirdly, my room key stopped working an hour before check out - not sure if that was cos I'd signed up for the fast checkout and they were overly eager to get me out, but the staff were more than happy to sort me out for a new card. The food was mostly OK. The bar food wasn't amazing, but the restaurant buffet was awesome. Stuffing myself with tasty food for dinner in the buffet is probably something I should avoid next time as it does make me feel a little off for dancing afterwards.

So the tl;dr is I had a great time, hope to do it next year, but can't really commit until I know what is happening.

themadone: (Default)

Since I'm new to these parts, this is my first post...although not for long as, in theory, all my posts from LJ are being migrated. And since I'm not 100% certain how often I'll end up posting, this might also be my last...at least for a while.

themadone: (Default)
Wow. It's been nearly 2 and a half years since I last posted on here. I guess I've found that G+ is just easier to keep on top of stuff and most people seem to have abandoned here or are cross posting from other places. Which isn't too surprising, as ever since it got bought by a Russian company they seem to be focussing their efforts more for the local market, much like how Orkut became heavily specialised for Brazillian speakers.

Yikes. I just checked and Orkut was shutdown nearly 2 years ago :O
themadone: (Default)
So I've had what can only be described as a very busy weekend. Friday was the least tiring physically, but required lots of brains as we had a character gen session for the next exciting Saturday LARP game. Thankfully managed to pull a character idea out and aside from a new bits and bobs it's mostly defined.

Saturday I had to get up early cos I was heading in to London to do a tour with Hidden Wonders. They do guided tours of historical parts of London with a twist. Each location has a puzzle to solve and once you've got all the answers there's a mystery to solve - in our case a crime had happened and we had to work out who had done what to who etc... We had it pretty nailed down, but had to skip one of the points of interest/puzzles due to the torrential downpour. It didn't stop us solving the ultimate puzzle though. Afterwards back to [livejournal.com profile] ketchgirl's for cake (and tea for those debased enough to drink it ;) ) and then since I was in London and it was the right weekend, I figured I should head to LOTNA. There was pie and a quiz and despite some quite silly mistakes, my team came second. I got the feeling we had no real chance though as the team that came first seemed to be have acquired all the knowledgeable people.

Sunday was another early start and head back in to London for some LARPing goodness with IOD. First up was Lost where there was an Easter egg hunt which was fun and then we aimed the heavy hitters at the end goal to do the actual hard work. End result another mannequin to add to the team - there's so many of us it seems now. If only we were capable of emotion we might actually be quite a fun group. Then there was Requiem where I got hit by an explosion of new characters who were either Gangrel, Crone or both. And then to put the cherry on top, I got saddled with a freshly embraced character too. So lots and lots of talking, explaining and liaising. Next month is going to be extra super fun cos I'll be in charge...muahahahahahahaha :)
themadone: (Default)

So I went to another Sci-Fi con at the weekend called Redemption. These cons generally open booking 2 years in advanced, so booking it with only a couple of weeks to spare is really short notice. And having never been to this particular one before and not really having any idea about the Guests of Honour, I had no idea what to expect.

The trip up was pretty plain sailing. Randomly, I bumped into [livejournal.com profile] eggwhite at Euston who happened to also be planning on catching the same train I was, although getting off a few stops before me. Managed to do a bit of Ingress on the way and didn't get lost wandering the streets of Coventry either. The hotel wasn't amazing - a bit shabby, with lifts that seemed to ignore whatever we wanted them to do and come and go as they pleased. Might make a good IoD venue though in terms of convention space as they have a private bar next to the main room.

I went to a variety of panels and talks, most of which were good. A few seemed to suffer a bit from having their topic being a forgone conclusion so the panelists waffled on, but what they said was still interesting. Hard to say if they just picked a flawed topic or could have picked people with more differing opinions. There was only one that I wished I had my time back.

Only made it to see one of the Guest of Honour's - Virginia Wey. I caught two of her sessions and was an absolute hoot and I'm sure if given the chance would have kept on talking until well into next week. Mostly she talked about her career, like how the sprung the need for her to have her head shaved for her role in Farscape (she was the blue one) at the very last minute. But she also talked a lot about spanking and other kinky stuff - which she isn't in to, but recognised that a lot of people there were and was clearly playing up to that.

Had fun at the disco, got taught the "appropriate" moves for some song from the Blues Brothers that I should know the name of, but I'm drawing a blank on at the moment. Mostly though I sucked at socialising and never at any point felt like I fitted in. Which I'm annoyed at myself for - I must try harder! But I feel there is a skill/ability/whatever of going up to a circle of strangers and joining in that I seem to have lost. Or maybe I project some kind of scary-go-away aura that makes people shun me?

Either way I think I shall return in 2 years time to the next one, time, cash and guests of honour permitting. And I'm going to try and get to more other conventions too.

themadone: (Default)

So the weekend before last was spent at Picocon - Imperial College's very own sci-fi convention. Unlike previous years (that I've been to) they'd expanded from being just a 1 day event to 2 days, possibly because this was their 30th convention. Or at least they think it was their 30th - much like the problems IFIS has had finding out about it's own origins it seems common for sci-fi groups to have a dim and distant past.

The first day was very easy getting in to London and since most of us had already pre-reg'd, our sign in was much speedier than usual. I obtained the traditional "lousy t-shirt" and then we were launched into the first of many programme items. Nothing amazing stood out - they were all generally very good. I got roped in to help with the University Challenge quiz, for which they'd knocked together their own buzzer system. It was a bit flakey but unfortunately we can't really blame our loss on it. We got some of the questions, but mostly we were just too slow at pressing the button.

I failed utterly to witness the destruction of dodgy merchandise except for witnessing a bit of them dealing with some kind of video game soft drink. Which some foolish people had paid money to drink. The expressions of disgust and horror said it all really.I had to leave early though but by the sounds of it, those that remained had fun.

Day 2 was a bit more exciting getting in. I amazingly managed to make it to the bus stop in time to catch the first bus. The bus however couldn't be arsed and was almost so late I could have caught the next option. I had thought I was the only person who had bothered getting up in time, but our esteemed President had got on at an earlier stop. Despite the delay we managed to make it to the venue with more than enough time and gathered together all the various groups of us who'd come in from different places.

Again the talks and panels were awesome. I discovered a new author - Kate Griffin - to add to my ever growing list of authors I should probably read more by. There was some confusion in the "harmless fun" where at one point we were ahead 3-1 and yet we then lost on the 5th point. And after doing extremely well (ie we didn't come last) in the pub quiz we headed home - tired, but happy.

themadone: (Default)

I saw Taken 2 last night and whilst I enjoyed it, I felt it was quite badly flawed in ways that made it not work as well as the previous movie. Why it didn't work - Spoilers within )

themadone: (Default)

So it's been an interest week. Went to a pub social for IoD last Wednesday which wasn't too bad apart from the manic mad rush to catch the train. Next time I'm going to leave with enough time to walk it at a sensible pace rather than the super human pace that [livejournal.com profile] lucifermourning prefers.

I also went to a LOTNA meeting too which are a sci-fi group in London. It was in a lot of ways just like a much more populous IFIS meeting, although turn up was higher cos of some efforts at advertising they'd done at the recent London comic-con. Part way through the evening, one of the members ran a "game" which involved us coming up with a script for a trailer for a budget movie. Amazingly our team won with our quote-worthy trailer for Superman: Quest for the Bank Loan. Typically I'm led to believe they have a quiz though, which sounds a little bit less embaressing.

I've also been getting in a lot of coding which has found me suddenly noticing that it's gone well past midnight twice so far. When it's finished it's going to be a crossword generator for IFIS. It's not doing a bad job at the moment, but it needs more variety for the clues. And possibly symmetry. And I'm sure I could introduce some optimising and speed increases if I put my mind to it.

But mostly more variety of clues. I'd especially like to see if I can work in a way of doing clues that are related to other clues. Like "What book did the people in 3 down and 10 across" write together. And I've written some code to generate anagrams, but the dictionary file it's using is so full of crap words no-one will ever have heard of that looks like someone smashed their face on the keyboard that a lot of the time the anagrams look stupid.

I don't have anything planned for the weekend, so I fully imagine that I'll be hacking away some more and ruining my sleeping patterns :)

Trololol

May. 16th, 2012 12:10 am
themadone: (long hair)
We had a baffling moment tonight when 2 randoms joined us. They stayed for a good portion before leaving as mysteriously as they arrived. Afterwards we bumped into someone from another soc and we discovered the answers to the mystery. The other soc were watching The Immortals. We by a twist of fate (committee forgetting to ask someone to bring Brazil) showed Dungeons and Dragons 2. Took the randoms nearly an hour to realise they were watching the wrong movie ;)

Not sure whether they had a better time with us given what I'd heard of The Immortals :)

A weekend

May. 14th, 2012 03:40 pm
themadone: (long hair)
So a mostly quiet weekend. Had Wizards of the Lost Kingdom inflicted upon me on Friday. Spent most of Saturday vegging out in front of the TV.

Sunday was spent LARPing. Didn't get any traction in the Lost game. Also haven't gotten the national plot stuff fully sorted in my head yet or at least my interpretation doesn't yield any roleplay opportunities. Requiem went a whole lot better in terms of fun. Started off screwing up what should have been a simple mission. And then got swallowed up by another PCs plot and spent most of the game trying to save them from certain death. Including at one point at my own hands. It got to the stage that when things calmed down, I totally couldn't remember what I had planned to do at the game. I think this is a good thing, for reference.
themadone: (Default)

Yesterday was mostly uneventful. I spent the day playing Wurm which involved an awful lot of "f***! it's another troll! run away!!!" as a troll den had randomly appeared a short distance away from my house. This wouldn't ordinarily have been a problem as my guard is more than capable of taking out an average/normal troll, but the troll spawning were of the stupendously git hard variety. And this meant that one would wander on to my "deed", my guard would valiantly try and fight it and possibly would wound it a bit, but ultimately get herself killed. By the time she'd respawn the troll would have mostly healed itself and the cycle would continue.

Luckily the problem was solved by a group of us including [livejournal.com profile] cream_horn going and destroying the troll den and then culling any remaining trolls left. We did have bowel loosening moment of a troll spawning slap bang in the middle of the den whilst we were all clustered around it, but luckily we managed to take it down. And after all the excitement I decided it was high time I make and learn how to use bows and arrows, cos [livejournal.com profile] cream_horn was using them to great effect.

I also got to try out the newly renamed Caffe Gondola. Pretty decent food, but unfortunately lousy service as they only had 1 waitress on covering the entire restaurant. And rather than ensuring everyone was sat fairly close together, she let everyone (the 10 or so of us) spread out across the whole restaurant. Which meant she wasn't as attentive to our needs as she could have been.

themadone: (Default)

So...that's the Buffy game over and done with. My character had a glorious death of a sorts. Turns out that he was the mcguffin all along (honest) that could prevent the big bad from doing their evil ritual. All he had to do, was willingly sacrifice himself for the greater good. Which he did with only a brief pause to confirm in his head that he'd understood the choices correctly. And thus when the big bad sacrificed him, instead of his soul fueling the dark ritual it rose up and became a glowing mighty smitey righteous ass kicking angel thingy of The Lord, thus helping to save the day and prevent the apocalypse of the week.

ION I also totally won at poker :D

themadone: (Default)

I've now finished reading The Hunger Games and I've already seen the movie. I have to say that the movie fares remarkably well and is a very good adaptation. They've had to sacrifice a few things here and there and alter the plot a bit, but over all if you liked the book, you'll probably like the movie.

Warning: Spoilers ahead )

themadone: (Default)

I had a bit of a mixed weekend. Poker on Friday was fun...the Chinese snacks brought back by [livejournal.com profile] urizen and [livejournal.com profile] lucifermourning were less so. Not that I was brave enough to try the lobster and cheese flavour. I think the sight of [livejournal.com profile] nuuki running from the room making very unwell noises persuaded me that doing so was a Really Bad Idea(tm).

Saturday was spent doing very little. Watched some TV. Played a lot of Wurm. Didn't do any programming. I had the urge to do some programming, but I couldn't remember/find the code I wanted to work on. It wasn't helped by having dreams that I wanted to write some form of stock control software. I've no need for such a thing and

Sunday I bimbled lazily into London for it's Lost and Requiem games. Not much in the way of plot happened in Lost due to ST illness, so lots of social happened instead. And my character was a bazillion times more chatty than usual. Requiem was a little more active, but mostly spent finding out that the plot I'd spent far too many months working on was snipped from under me. Meh. If I had another concept in the side lines I'd be sorely tempted to retire my vamp cos he just doesn't seem to fit into anything. Or just stop playing. Annoyingly I thought this after I renewed my membership for another year.

themadone: (Default)

As if I didn't already have enough of authors and getting stuffed signed, I went along to an Iain Banks (note the lack of M.) signing last night for his new book. Whose name has already escaped me, but then I'd only found out about it last night - it's one of the main stream ones, hence the lack of the M.

Having seen him 2 years ago at EasterCon I knew we were in for a really good entertaining evening and I wasn't disappointed. He started off by reading a bit from the new book and whilst not sci-fi, I think I'm going to enjoy it - it's a comedy. He had to pause 2 sentances in to apologise for the swearing and to make sure there weren't any children in the room. I'm not entirely sure what he'd have done if there had been - there was a lot of swearing in the bit he read.

And then he took questions from the floor and gave many elaborate and hilariously funny answers to them. I'm not sure if this is my idea or it's something I picked up from EasterCon, but I'd liken him a lot to Billy Connolly. Tall, scottish and awesomely funny. There were a good mixture of questions about his mainstream and sci-fi work. A couple of questions were so obscure I think even he was a bit baffled by them.

The signing portion of the evening went quite quickly and he jovially chatted to people as he scrawled down dedications on the various books people handed to him. I had a brief wait as the person in front of me pointed out a typo in the new book and he had to pull out his iphone and note it down. I joked that I just had books to sign and no typos for him and he joked back that we could always make one up.

As that was that for the evening and it was still moderately early, myself and [livejournal.com profile] beeblebear fled in to the night and made it back in time to go to the IFIS weekly social with special guest star Phil. And there were even some students too - I guess term must be starting again soon.

EasterCon

Apr. 9th, 2012 07:03 pm
themadone: (Default)
So I'm back from EasterCon (the main UK sci-fi/fantasy convention) and boy am I knackered.

I went to a variety of talks and panels ranging from the "Ethics of AI" to "You got Robot Elf Sex in my SF". I could possibly list them all, but I think that sounds like too much like hard work. I also did a chocolate tasting workshop and one which I feel was more aimed at kids (but not advertised at all as such) where we got to make a robot to take part in a sort of robot Olympics. Unfortunately my attempts were thwarted by someone dismantling my robot and re-using the bits. Which is mostly my fault because due to scheduling conflicts, I couldn't attend the workshop and the events on the same day (they had 3 days of workshops and events) and I'd left the robot with the hope of entering it in the following day. I should have just taken it with me or something.

I did my first Kaffeeklatch with Tricia Sullivan. A kaffeeklatch is coffee and biscuits with someone famous and you just sit around, chat and ask questions etc. To be honest I found it kinda overwhelming as the topic of conversation went quite intellectual, but I did manage to get one comment in towards the end. Not sure how much of it was a constructive one or flamebait though. We were discussing how it was bad for authors to go back and tinker with their works once they were published and I gave George Lucas as a prime example of that.

I did a lot of dancing too. There were two discos, one themed on Superheros and a second themed on Robots. I had initially thought about going ot the first as the mild mannered alterego of a superhero and the second wrapped in tin foil as "generic robot". But I was suddenly inspired by the occasional nickname I've been given - The Dancinator - and realised I could (not that anyone bothered asking) go as a T800 in full infiltration mode to the first. Terminators aren't superheroes, but they are superhumanly strong and practically indestructible and certainly in the 2nd and 3rd films, are very heroic even if it's cos that's how they've been programmed. For the second disco, I decided upon going as a battle damaged Terminator, initially by the liberal application of face/body paint but in the end I fashioned some tin foil so that it'd poke out of my sleeve whilst I had my arm hidden behind my back.

The food was a bit naff or hugely expensive so I ended up eating McDonalds far more than I should have. Which was a good thing cos it meant I had more money for buying shines. Something I did possibly go a little overboard with. I do have a lot more books now - some of which aren't even in print.

I think the best out of everything, was getting to talk to a lot of my favourite authors. I had a good long chat at the end of the first disco with Jaine Fenn without reverting to shy nervous fanboy mode for example. But I still have a long way to go to overcome that issue - possibly it's when there is signing stuff involved that it happens the worst? Although I did manage to keep my cool somewhat when Cory Doctorow came up to me to sign the auction item I'd won that he'd donated.

Didn't take much in the way of photos; there's just 2 really. One of me sitting in the throne from Game of Thrones and one of me with my severed arm
themadone: (Default)

So I'm back at work (since yesterday) and so far so not so bad.

Found a thank you letter from the grand high uber boss on my desk thanking me for all the hard work I'd done last year. Not a personal one though - he'd sent them to the entire team. And then I gave myself a painful papercut whilst opening it.

Spent most of yesterday making a massive dent in the email backlog; catching up on all that happened whilst I was away. Today I shall endevour to finish the job, although it's an uphill struggle as people keep emailing me yet more stuff to read!

themadone: (Default)

So it's been a while since I last posted anything. I don't think that much has happened of note (to me) though. There was a rather chilled out IFIS xmas dinner the other night. I bought a new pair of shoes; it only took them a short while before they'd gouged a chunk out of one of my ankles.

I also bought some new jeans too. This possibly isn't that amazing, except that one of the pairs was a size smaller than I've been getting recently. What is amazing, is that the smaller pair actually fit. A little snuggly, but compared to the constant threat of having my jeans end up around my ankles as I walk down the street, I think this is somewhat preferable.

I went clubbing on Friday (in the new shoes and jeans). Aside from a couple of tracks I couldn't get my head around, the music was very good and I danced the night away. Amazingly, my feet were still usable afterwards (for walking purposes), although I did have the aforementioned ankle woe. Normally after clubbing my feet feel like I've hit the soles with a meat tenderiser, so I'm guessing my new shoes are a really good fit for me?

I've played a tonne of Wurm too. Mostly my recent efforts have been to build a road up the side of the hill/mountain that [livejournal.com profile] midnightschilde's little patch of land lives on, cos the normal route to her place has been blocked by someone building a house. Building this road is not a trivial matter. It involves building a dirt ramp to reduce the gradient of the hill/mountain to something that mere mortals can walk up. Which means digging up a large amount of dirt, transporting it to the ramp and dropping it. This takes more time than it should because when I dig up dirt, it goes into my inventory. I then have to move it into my cart cos I can't carry that much dirt. I can't then drop it from the cart, I have to put it back into my inventory first before I can drop it.

I have been supernerdy/OCD and made a spreadsheet that details how high up the hill/mountain is at every point on the way up, how high up I want each point to be and the difference. It's very fiddly to update though, so I'm going to up the nerd factor and make a webpage that makes it easier to keep track of things.

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