Friday, February 29, 2008

MarsCon 2008 DAY 1

Loaded up the Jeep and headed out to MarsCon this morning. The hotel is doing renovations and the room wasn't ready yesterday but thankfully was today - though you can tell they just finished it because it smells like fresh latex paint.

This is my first year volunteering at this Con, rather than just attending it. Anyone who's been to one of these things knows there is "downtime" in your schedule, like you might be waiting for a panel or something later on so basically you're just waiting. Waiting is boring. Volunteering at least is DOING something, even if you're still just sitting there - hey, at least you're racking up volunteer hours toward fabulous prizes like buttons, patches, t-shirts, even a free meal and massage!

I've basically been camped out in Ops at the "Martian Militia" (Volunteer) table. In fact, as I write this that's where I am. Opening Ceremonies just started so there aren't a whole lot of people wandering into Ops right now. So far, though, things seem to be running smoothly. Yeah, I know, I just jinxed it.

Then the Daleks invaded ops and exterminated everyone. See? There's photographic evidence!

For those who weren't exterminated by the Daleks, there were parties! Parties with food, drink, and drink, and drink some more. Anyone who didn't swing by the World Defense Force party and get a glass (or three) of "Green Death" clearly wasn't trying to party at all, imo.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Counting Down. . .

So, it's now down to just HOURS before MarsCon 2008. Am I ready? Of course not! I've got some last minute fixes to do on my costumes, have given up trying to rush my prop building (it can just wait until the next con. I cannot change the laws of physics!). I DID, however, just finish working on a kick ass visual aid for an Anime discussion panel - which I'm not even on, but will probably have to run the thing since I seem to be the only person with a laptop that can S-Video output to the LCD projector. Which isn't a feature I use all that often and I'm glad I checked it tonight with my TV because "Eris the Goddess of Chaos" struck yet again and my S-Video cable had gone bad so the laptop wouldn't recognize that a TV was connected. Thankfully I have a bunch of S-Video cables around so it was just a matter of digging out a different one.

MarsCon 2008. . .T-minus 1 day and counting down. . .

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Purina Blog Feed

I've had this blog hosted a couple of other places since I started it last year and finally decided to just move it to Blogger and feed it elsewhere (like back to my main site). Though I noticed that the dates on the feed all show the day I created the feed, rather than the dates of the posts. It would also be nice if the feed would let you comment directly from it without having to go to the Blogsite first, but oh well. Not like I ever got many comments anyway, though for the last setup for this blog the comment function wasn't working.

So, anyway, blog is up and running and people can comment to the posts if they like, blog is being fed into my web site - now I can cross that little project off my "to do" list. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

MarsCon Is Entering Orbit

I can't hardly wait for next weekend to get here and bring MarsCon 2008 with it. It's a welcome break from the cold and gloom of a Minnesota Winter, that's for sure. Assuming that, unlike last year, the season's big blizzard doesn't hit that weekend.

I'm working on another "Star Trek" prop to go with my costume, but I don't know if I'll get it done in time. It may have to debut another time. Seems like that's always the way, doesn't it? Trying to get something done at the last minute, where if I'd had my brain in frontwards I'd have started working on the darned thing right after LAST year's convention.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

To Boldly Go!

Wow! This was a fantastic evening. My boyfriend and I, along with another couple, went to the Minnesota Orchestra "Boldly Go. . ." performance. It was a selection of science fiction (or otherwise space-related) music presented by none other than George "Mr. Sulu" Takei. Originally it was supposed to be presented by Leonard Nimoy, but he had a scheduling conflict with shooting for the next "Star Trek" movie, so it was great that Takei stepped in.

Our evening started across the street at "Brit's Pub" for a drink and dinner. I used to work downtown years ago within walking distance of it, it was nice to get there again for a proper pint of cider and some fish and chips. My boyfriend was in his Han Solo costume and our friend was in his "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" uniform - which, given it was designed after the British "red coat" uniform, he didn't look out of place at all in a British themed pub! LOL. What's with the costumes you ask? Well, thankfully the Minnesota Orchestra isn't all snooty and snobby - they understood their audience enough to realize some would come in costume whether it was kosher or not. So they had a "costume contest" scheduled before the main event. Nobody I knew won anything, and frankly the Trek uniform SHOULD have won - not just because he's a friend of mine, but because so many people in the audience were commenting that he should have. But, alas, the audience wasn't the judge. I should maybe mention that this was also the first time I've ever attended a real orchestra concert in a concert hall. I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

They also renamed the drink offerings at the bars in the lobby area of Orchestra Hall, calling (for example) one of the beers a "Romulan Ale," there were also Tribbles stuck all over the place, and all the staff were wearing Star Trek TOS-era uniform shirts, which made scifi geeks like us feel we were among people who "get it" instead of a bunch of mundanes. Though I suspect some of the staff wouldn't have, under any other circumstances, worn a Star Trek uniform shirt.

The concert itself started with a medley of Star Trek music. Then they played selections from Gustav Holst's "The Planets." Which George Takei mentioned was used as "temp track" music by George Lucas when he was editing "Star Wars." Then came Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune" followed by the "Adventures on Earth" composition from "E.T." I should mention that, on a projection screen above and behind the orchestra, they were showing images from the movies and NASA images from the Mars Rover and Hubble Space Telescope.

A 20 minute intermission was a welcome break and gave a much better notion of just how many people were AT this concert. I had actually looked around the auditorium and there were very few empty seats, mostly up front. When my boyfriend had purchased the tickets in November all but some scattered Main Floor seats were sold out. Oh, yeah, we ended up in ROW TWO of the Main Floor - so we were practically on stage with the orchestra. Hopefully it was such a success they'll do more concerts like this in the future!

After intermission the conductor (Sarah Hatsuko Hicks) came out wearing a ST:TOS uniform shirt and pants too - and the Tribbles had multiplied all over the conductor's podium (well, that's what Tribbles DO, right?). The orchestra kicked the second half off with "Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss and then into "Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss.

Before going onto the theme from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" the conductor took a moment to explain that the "hand signals" that go with the alien sounds are actually part of a method for teaching music to young children, developed by another conductor. It turned into audience participation as she had everyone doing the hand signals. However, on the last time through the orchestra (which had been playing the tones) finished with the extra loud "response" from the spaceship - which I don't think the conductor knew the orchestra was going to do that because it looked like it took her by surprise - and then she (and everyone else) just about died laughing!

After actually hearing the "Close Encounters" theme they went into another medley of "Star Trek" music, which I felt was better than the first one. It was kind of sweet that the audience erupted into spontaneous applause when an old "Star Trek" publicity photo of "Mr. Sulu" on the bridge of the Enterprise was shown. Finally the concert finished up with two selections from the "Star Wars" saga: "Duel of the Fates" from "Phantom Menace" (which sounded a bit different as it was lacking a chorus) and the main theme from all the "Star Wars" movies.

While it was a nice selection of music, I'm hoping they'll do another such concert in the future so they can maybe include some other pieces I was dying to hear performed live by an orchestra. For example, the theme from the original "Battlestar Galactica" would have been a great addition. I was also sort of disappointed they didn't play the "Imperial March" song everyone knows goes so well with Darth Vader - making him menacing just walking down a hallway. I'm sure I could come up with some other ones if I looked through my MP3s. Nonetheless it was a magical evening.