Monday, March 3, 2008

MarsCon DAY 2 (Part II)

Well there WERE a couple of last minute additions to the "Anime Smackdown" and I DID have time to update the visual presentation beforehand. The panel itself went really well, though we obviously have some bugs to shake out of it before next time, but it was a very energetic panel as the audience voted (and sometimes debated) why one character or the other should win the smack down.

The way this worked was that all the character names which had been selected beforehand by the panel were put in a hat. Two names at a time were randomly drawn from the hat by the "Referees" and handed to me at my laptop. My laptop was connected to use a LCD projector as a second monitor, so when I clicked the pictures on my laptop the big versions showed up side-by-side on the projection screen. The random selection, though, seemed to wind up with a lot of lop-sided matches for the first round. As the winners of each round were put against each other it narrowed down to the final smack down. The audience voted by show of hands which character won each round. By the end there was standing room only and we had quite a crowd clustered in the hallway outside the door too.

For those who are wondering, "Akira" ultimately won - though the picture I was given to use was actually of Kaneda, not Akira. However the character description the "Referees" gave was actually of Akira.

I do, however, need to come up with a better/faster way to find the character pictures for the matches and probably to set up matches between more than two characters at a time.

That was the only panel in which I was involved. Afterwards I caught some of the "Dementia Music" track programming, went through the Art Show (I actually had something in it this year - or at least 1/3 of something as it was a collaborative effort). Never heard if anyone bid on it or not. Also got through the Dealer's Room and Propatorium. The prop guys seemed quite impressed with my wooden replica of the Star Trek "Assault Phaser." I should have my movie Tricorder done by next year - maybe on the day(s) I'm not using those with my costume I'll put them on display. They certainly seemed to think my Phaser passed muster! Yay!

In the late afternoon I noticed a bunch of guys in camouflage in the hotel lobby and restaurant. It's not unusual to see an entire group come in costume, but they were the real deal.

I gotta say, it was a bit of a wierd and wonderful experience to see real military at the parties mixed in with people dressed as Space Marines and Stargate SG-1. Of course, some of the folks who do those costumes at the Cons are also served in the military for real. They were off to "somewhere" and the convention invited them to join us for the evening. Their CO wasn't keen on the idea at first, but eventually let the men who wanted to attend the evening of the convention. The convention provided "day pass" badges to them so they could get into the room parties that badge people. One party room in particular was clearly a familiar "touch of home" for those guys as it was packed. Their presence at the convention was an unforeseen, but interesting factor that made for a unique convention experience, that's for sure!

I think most of the people I meet at Cons are actually pretty smart folks, and they showed a lot of class in welcoming those guys to join us as both guests and heroes. Despite what the current administration thinks, you CAN make a distinction between the "war" and the "warrior." Soldiers go where they're sent, after all. It's the politicians who need to be made to answer for it.

I'm sure it will mean a lot to them too, they'll no doubt remember the night they had a drink or two with a Klingon, met a friendly Dalek, chatted up some Anime Cosplayers in a room that looked like the Firefly ship Serenity, and enjoyed a glass of "Green Death" in the "World Defense Force" room decorated like the inside of an Army tent. Hopefully all those guys will remain alive and well so they'll have those memories for a long, long time.

[Note: There was an request from the military honcho to MarsCon, which the convention has been trying to pass on to everyone who is blogging and such about it, asking us NOT to say who these military personnel were or where they are going and to blur their faces out of any photos online. While I'm big on "free speech," don't like governments trying to police the Internet, and highly doubt nefarious bad guys are really monitoring MarsCon Reports - I will nonetheless be respectful to them and have voluntarily removed anything I wrote which would identify who they were, where they came from, what branch of the military they were, or speculate on where they might be going. After all, there IS a war on, right?]

It was also my birthday on DAY 2 and my boyfriend threw an impromptu birthday party for me in our hotel room with a small gathering of friends who were also at the Con. We had a big cake which thankfully only had ONE candle on it. There were like 10 of us and we ate about half the cake and donated the rest to the ConSuite for whomever wanted a slice while it lasted. I went back in there about an hour or so later and it was all gone. :) LOL


88mm said...

Regarding blurring photos of military personal:( What is up with all this Tom Clancy BS? Are we at war? With whom? Where is the congressional decleration of war? There are "heros" involved? On wich side? What are the sides? Sorry, but I am not clear on any of this!

Off World Girl said...

Well, 88mm, I say if it looks like a war, sounds like a war, and acts like a war it's probably a war. The sad truth is the United States Congress has authorized military actions a dozen times - without a formal declaration of war - since 1798. This is not unprecedented and certainly not a new thing.

Besides, these particular soldiers are NOT in the US military, so Congressional declarations are a moot point anyway. As for blurring their faces out in photos, it was a request from their CO to the convention goers to VOLUNTARILY obscure the individual soldiers' identities. IMO, during wartime it was not an unusual or unreasonable request.

We greeted them AS "heroes" without any knowledge they ARE heroes, but mostly because they were not allowed to tell us anything too specific about where they'd been or what they'd been doing. So why greet them as heroes? A lot of us there were "playing" military - whether Starfleet, Stargate, Starship Troopers, or Space Marines. But those guys aren't playing, they're doing it for real and I think most everyone felt you have to respect that.

They're in a shitty situation made by politicians (who are the ones who need to be held accountable for it); soldiers don't have much to say about where they're sent or what they're told to do when they get there.

This was just a group of young guys, far from home, who we all know are shortly going to end up somewhere completely UN-fun. With that in mind they were invited to join our party. Whatever your views on the present conflict (and believe me, I'm no flag-waving war supporter) it was a time to focus on them as people, not on the politics surrounding them.

You CAN shake a soldiers hand one day and then protest the war he's fighting in tomorrow. Don't confuse the "war" with the "warrior."