A shout out for Toronto Comicon

March 7, 2014

Some hard-core fans are already gathered at the Metro Toronto Convention Center tonight, for Toronto Comicon. A few things you should know about the con. It’s not affiliated with San Diego Comic-Con (the BIG one,) and really it’s a spin-off Spring show from the company behind Fan Expo, the big for-profit Canadian multifandom expo that hits Toronto late in August. So it’s pretty commercial compared to fandom-organized cons, but still a good opportunity to meet cool genre celebrities, pick up some cool graphic novels, see people in great cosplay costume and maybe dress up myself.

I was pretty excited about Toronto Comicon because they’d booked Morena Baccarin from Firefly – she was a cancellation at Fan Expo last year, and they try to get guests who had to cancel for Fan Expo at Toronto Comicon–last time Patrick Stewart made up for missing Fan Expo by bringing along a bunch of TNG castmates. πŸ˜‰ So I bought a ticket for Saturday online and figured that I’d figure out if I wanted to go Sunday once the schedules were out, or after seeing how Saturday went.

Unfortunately, a week ago, they announced that Morena had cancelled again on account of filming commitments for Warriors.Β And when I checked the schedule on Sunday night, I didn’t see anything I was interested in for Saturday. The Q&A with Eliza Dushku, panels for Bitten and Continuum were on Sunday. I was really disappointed and felt that if I went on Saturday, I wouldn’t have much fun.

Well, it took a little while to get the details sorted out and confirmed, but I’d like to thank the people behind Toronto Comicon for helping me out. I have my ticket for Sunday, and they were able to process the refund for Saturday, which they didn’t have to do, because the small print does warn, ‘no exchanges, no refunds.’ But I’m grateful and looking forward to the show on Sunday. Whatever you’re doing this weekend, especially if you’re heading out to the Convention Center too, have a great time!

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Disappointments versus great memories

August 27, 2013

It’s easy to focus on disappointments versus the good side of our lives. For instance, at Fan Expo this weekend, I had a lot of cool experiences:

  • Took part in the costume masquerade as a contestant, (as Harry Dresden again) and had a blast!
  • Got some cool graphic novels for decent prices.
  • Watched and listened to three great Q&A sessions, with Zachary Quinto, Colin Baker… and Nathan Fillion! (Whoo-hoo!)
  • Got my Serenity blueprints book and ‘Those Left Behind’ graphic novel signed by Gina Torres

However, there were also a few things I was looking forward to that I didn’t have a chance to participate in, mostly because of the insane crowd of other Browncoat fans from hundreds of kilometers in every direction converging on the Metro Toronto Convention Center, and having to make choices and settle on priorities without full information about what all’s going on. Specifically, I didn’t get in to see Gina’s Q&A session, and I wasn’t able to get anything signed by Nathan. Big sigh here.

I also didn’t get much sleep on Saturday night; the costume masquerade ran late, and I had to stand on the GO bus to get back to Hamitlon by midnight. I was on the road again by quarter after seven in the morning Sunday morning, and spent a nervous hour waiting outside Room 105, my gray bag with all my stuff (including cell phones, other electronic gadgets, and the things Gina had signed and Nathan didn’t,) stuck inside, unable to go back in to get them before the Walking Dead panel let out, hoping that I’d be able to reclaim it, and that I’d get a seat for Nathan’s Q&A. Which I did, for both, even if it wasn’t quite as nice a seat as the one I’d had before I left the hall and managed to slip past the security Nazi without somehow figuring out I had to tell him that I was going to the bathroom. *facepalm*

Umm… yeah. Need to remember to look on the bright side. πŸ™‚


Ad Astra 2013 flashback: Best Fuego Grilled Burger!

May 11, 2013

Okay, well, the first thing you need to understand is when I went to bed on Saturday night, I set an alarm on the iPhone to wake me up with a custom ringtone. The second thing is that I’ve gotten into this habit of taking the iphone with me when I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, because whatever email might have arrived between midnight and 3am is obviously SO important. πŸ˜‰

So I wake up very groggily to the dim strains of a ringtone playing over and over again in the next room. By the time I finally got to the hotel bathroom to shut it off, that alarm had been ringing for something like ten minutes. Oh well.

I went to the hotel restaurant for the breakfast buffet, and wasn’t too impressed with their french toast or milk, (and there were no pancakes at all,) but went back for a second helping of bacon and breakfast potatoes. Maybe that was because I’d gone the day before with no meat and possibly a low level of protein, (peanuts notwithstanding.)

So after breakfast, went back up to the room again; the plan was to check out by nine AM so that I could help out with the vendor’s room again and not need to worry about running back upstairs. That worked out pretty well, except that I forgot about a work thing I was supposed to do on the laptop Sunday morning, (but that worked out okay twelve hours later.) I took a few things out to the car, and left other luggage behind the front desk with a claim check. It was a little while before anybody showed up for the vendor’s room, so I pulled out the Kindle and read some of Jim Butcher’s “Ghost Story.”

After the vendor’s room was open, I went upstairs, and met Magie and Maggie from the browncoats in the corridor. They were a little upset that the Star wars/Disney panel (with Jim!) wasn’t where they’d expected it to be, but I pulled out my schedule and figured out that they were nearly an hour early. πŸ™‚

The Masquerade awards were given out at ten-thirty Sunday morning, and the participants outnumbered the few fans who’d come out to see who won. (And one participant, Link, wasn’t able to come because he was stuck on duty at the registration desk.)

So… I won an award!Β  Read the rest of this entry »


Ad Astra 2013 flashback: Cosplay Saturday!

May 9, 2013

Well, it’s more than a month since I went to Ad Astra, but I figure I can still tell you guys about it. My last Ad Astra post covered Friday, so this time I’ll start with Saturday morning.

I woke up pretty early, showered, headed out to look for the Tim Horton’s at the corner that I’d seen listed on Google Maps. It turned out to be a coffee counter at a gas station, and they didn’t have TimBits, so I grabbed two maple dip donuts for breakfast. πŸ˜‰ Once I’d eaten, I suited up into security gear and went downstairs to see if I could help.

The volunteer room wasn’t open by nine, so I just kinduv hung around, and kept an eye on the vendors moving their stuff into the room. Soon the guy who’d deputized me as a volunteer showed up, and told me that my main job was to keep non-Vendors from wandering into the Vendors room before it opened up at ten. That worked out pretty well; I got to say hi to a lot of people, even though some of them were disappointed that they couldn’t get an early start on their window shopping. I also challenged a vendor or two who didn’t have their lemon-lime colored vendor badges out, and let a few people with ‘panelists’ slip through because I wasn’t sure I wanted to give them a hard time about hanging out with their vendor friends. πŸ™‚ And it was fun to get to check with the ConCom liaison in charge of the Vendor’s room and tell the gathering horde that it was time to go and buy!

At ten, I went to a panel for ‘What’s new in fandom’, but started paging through my schedule and realized that I had a busy day of stalking Jim Butcher ahead of me, so I left the panel to take care of some business. First I checked in with the guy in the volunteer office to ask some questions about spending the day in Cosplay. The volunteer guy said that I could just leave the yellow T-shirt and the radio gear in my hotel room while I was dressed up. He was bonding a staff from somebody’s cosplay outfit when I got there, so that answered another question, if I should ask to get my blasting rod bonded as safe. So up the elevator I went, put on my Harry Dresden finery, and back down to the volunteer office, where a bit of black zip-tie was wrapped around the end of my ‘blasting rod’ broomstick, to mark it as convention-safe or whatever.

There were Jim Butcher panels in the next two time slots: “Standalone novel versus series” and “Magic in the big city.” I was complimented a few times on my costume, and two people suggested that I should sign up for the Masquerade contest that night, so I left after the first few minutes of the ’50 years of Doctor Who’ panel to go to the signup table and entered as a novice, no craftmanship judging: I didn’t craft most of the costume myself. My Mom did more of that, with all the time she put in on the white bead pentacle, and helping with the shield bracelet too.

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Ad Astra 2013 Highlights – Day One

May 3, 2013

Hi there, friends and followers. It was nice to be able to take a day off from blogging, now that April is over, but I’m happy to be back!

And I’ve got some exciting memories to share. I didn’t get a chance to deliver an Ad Astra report while the A-Z challenge was going on, but I made some notes that I’d love to share. Let’s begin at the beginning.

Okay, so I left work Friday around two in the afternoon, picking that hour so that if I made really good time to Toronto, I’d get there just in time for the 3:00 hotel check-in. Of course, things didn’t quite work out like that. This was the first time I’d driven into Toronto on a Friday afternoon; actually I think the only other time I’ve actually driven into Toronto by myself was going to the airport on my way to Kansas last summer. It worked out fairly well, but I got a little lost twice; once because I wanted to get off the highway for Burger King takeout, because the takeout bag was going to be part of my cosplay. There was construction on the exit I’d picked, so I decided to drive over to the next on-ramp, but couldn’t figure out the right way to get on the highway driving East, and ended up driving East along the surface streets until the highway drifted north enough to intersect my street, and getting on then.

I also went too far north on the 400, because I’d managed to print out the wrong directions. But I got to the hotel in good time, got checked in, ate my burger and fries, and went down to get my convention badge and program and all that. Rather interestingly, I got them on the honor system; the volunteers at the registration desk had a big list of everybody who’d pre-paid, but I wasn’t on the list. “When did you pay?”

“Um, last summer at Polaris.”

“Oh, that explains it then. Here you go.” And he handed me a badge. Apparently the list of people who’d paid at Polaris got lost, and they weren’t rechecking anybody who said that was where they’d signed up. I even had my payment stub, but he didn’t want to look at it. Oh well.

Read the rest of this entry »


Lots of Dresden Files stuff going on.

March 22, 2013

I’m on a Harry Dresden blitz at the moment. Let’s see, trying to take the list in some sort of logical order:

  • There’s only two weeks (minus a few hours,) until the Ad Astra 2013 convention kicks off in Toronto, with Jim Butcher as one of the guests of honor. I’m really excited to meet him and attend as many of his panels as I can, and a lot of the other items are about trying to get ready for Ad Astra.
  • I’ve been absorbing the Dresden Files novels on Audible at a fairly quick pace, for me at any rate. The marathon started about two months ago, Jan 13th, when I downloaded ‘Dead Beat’, the seventh in the series. I now have a little more than an hour to go in ‘Turn Coat’ (Dresden Files number eleven.) The plan is to finish the Audible version of #12, ‘Changes’, sometime in the week before Ad Astra, and get #13, “Ghost Story”, on Kindle, since that’s the one that has John Glover, not James Marsters, narrating the audiobook version. The Kindle will also be great for reading while I’m at the con.
  • Side note: If you’re catching up on the Dresden Files like me, you’re spoiler averse, and you haven’t already checked out the blurbs for #13 or #14, then don’t.Β As far as I can tell, there’s so many cliffhangers and plot twists at this point of the series that it’s impossible to tease what’s going on in one book without spoiling the one before. (Fortunately I don’t mind a few spoilers too much, myself πŸ™‚ )
  • I’ve also picked up “Side Jobs”, the collection of Dresden-verse short fiction by Butcher, from the library, and read the first two pieces. It’s been fun so far, a different look at the characters and the world, and also a peek into the head of the author, since he’s written a short introduction to each one and explained the circumstances that prompted them; often an invitation to contribute something to an anthology run by somebody interesting. Read the rest of this entry »

New tech and building magic.

March 16, 2013

Well, I didn’t get as much done on editing as I’d hoped today, because a few other things ate up a lot of my time. First – new computer!

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Enigmatic convention notes: How to write a graphic novel in one hour

March 11, 2013

Do you wish you had been at Toronto ComiCon this past weekend, to learn about writing graphic novels from Ty Templeton? Well, fear not, because you can copy my notes!

Warning: Notes were taken on an iPhone and have undergone minimal editing. πŸ™‚

Comicon graphic novels

Triangle of fiction. Information. Action. Emotion.

Show the normal, change it with action. Resolving it emotionally

Intriguing normal.

Normal character, situation, event

The blankiest blank in the blank. Smartest girl in the family. Only man left in the universe

Plot. Character desires something and makes an effort

Sex, violence, suffering, wickedness, comedy and novelty

Tallest girl in the school wants to be shorter

Creepiest zombie in the graveyard wants a date with a living girl. Loneliest geek at comicon wants to become friends with Stan lee

Unexpected gain or loss- she becomes the basketball star and finds love with a tall boy

Set pieces. Scenes where the location plays a part. North by northwest

The roof, to be alone

Earning karma , rescuing cats and things from the roof

Roadblocks make the story longer and show off how the character solves problems

Money and finding a surgeon who will help her

Figure out what you want the solution to be first, then invent the fix

Tragedy and comedy. Ending in disaster, or life continues on (marriages)

Six kinds of fiction: Plot tale sketch character piece monograph

PS: I’ve got my G road test tomorrow morning, so wish me luck!


Toronto Comicon with TNG

March 9, 2013

Hey, friends and followers. I’m a bit tired after my day at Toronto ComiCon featuring most of the cast of “Star Trek, The Next Generation”, but I’ll share some of the highlights and some pictures. πŸ™‚

Got to the Convention center around ten minutes to 11am, which was when the Con was supposed to start. It was at least 11:30 by the time I finally got onto the Dealer’s floor, and I spent nearly half an hour waiting outside. It wasn’t bone-chillingly cold today, but it wasn’t really warm either, and I hadn’t wanted to lug a heavy winter jacket around with me. Luckily, my “Can’t Stop the Serenity 2012” zippered hoodie was pretty good at keeping me warm.

I wandered around the Dealer’s room a little, picked up a flyer for the November TCON Doctor Who convention, said hi at the Toronto Browncoats fan booth, and found the one comic vendor who regularly stocks a good supply of Dark Horse graphic novel collections. Picked up Buffy Season Nine, volume 2, which I’ve been looking forward to, at a great price, and then I hurried off to a talk on “How to write a graphic novel in an hour.”

That was a great talk – there wasn’t much graphic stuff in it, except for a bit of discussion of ‘set pieces’ – scenes where the setting is important to both the plot and the character. But the guy talked a lot about fiction and plot in general, and mentioned some interesting stuff about the four other kinds of fiction other than plot – Tale, Monograph, Character Study, and Sketch. The audience really loved it, especially when he called for volunteers to judge the plots we worked out on 6 criteria: sex, violence, suffering, wickedness, comedy, and novelty.

After the Graphic Novel talk, I planned to go in for the Innerspace taping, but was tempted away by the next line, where people were lining up early for the Brent Spiner / Michael Dorn joint Q&A session. So I hurried off to the food court first – because I knew that if I joined that line, I’d be busy with Q&As for a few hours, and would need some pizza to keep up my strength.

Important Con Note: Always remember to double-check what a line is before you join it. There was a couple who got the Innerspace line mixed up wht the Brent and Michael line, for instance. I also saw a line of people mostly pointed at the food court, and figured that there was actually a long line for pizza or something else. Turned out that it was Patrick Steward photo ops. πŸ˜‰

So I got into the Brent and Michael line with my pizza, ate it up quickly, and got some fanfic editing done on my Palm Tungsten – the first time I’ve used it for revision in many years now, but I think it went well. Then I got back up and they brought the lines in, and I got a pretty good seat. Michael and Brent played off each other pretty well, talking about how many hours they spent in makeup chairs over the years, and Brent did this really really good impression of Patrick Stewart.

20130309-182524.jpg Read the rest of this entry »


A few quick updates

September 24, 2012

Had a GREAT time at the Doctor Horrible screening on Saturday – got a chance to catch up a little on ‘The Guild’, though I really need to watch some more of it, and sang my heart out. I also won the biggest charity auction lot of the evening, including the Joebot ‘Doctor Horrible’ t-shirt, which I’ve been keeping an eye out for ever since I missed it on teefury. πŸ™‚ And I had a great time at the Pauper’s Pub shindig.

I’ve been making some good progress on my end-of-the-month goals, including making notes on the home-workshop stories to critique, and putting together the Block Revision draft of ‘Children.’ I had one scary moment when I thought I’d completely forgotten to do any revision whatever on scene 18 – there wasn’t a file on the Alphasmart called block18, so at first I figured that I’d edited it entirely on the printouts, but there was no editing markup on any of the right pages. Finally I found the content at the end of the block17 Alphasmart file. πŸ˜‰ There hadn’t been a clear dividing line between the scenes so I just kept on typing.

And I’m just one story shy of my ’52 books in 2012′ goal, since I finished “Star Trek TNG: Behind Enemy Lines’ on the bus this morning.


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