Can’t stop the Serenity 2011

June 17, 2011

The Toronto CSTS screening event is tomorrow afternoon. I’m so excited that it’s almost here!

Background: Can’t stop the Serenity is a charity fundraiser put on by fans of the ‘Firefly’ franchise, benefiting Equality Now, an organization that fights for the human rights of women around the world. (It’s a favorite charity of Joss Whedon, the creator of Firefly.) They run events in many US cities and other countries around the world, though I’ve only ever been to the Torotno screenings. Check http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com/ to see if there’s one near you!

The 2005 feature film ‘Serenity’ is screened, some of the attendees dress up in character, there’s an auction of some cool geeky souvenirs, (some of which have been signed by celebrities,) and then some of the fans move to a local restaurant for the ‘shindig’ party.

This will be my third screening. I actually found out about the first one, in 2008, more or less by accident, from another member of the Hamilton Nanowrimo writer’s group, who was saying that she wouldn’t be available to meet at a coffee hous that Saturday. I decided it was too cool not to go into Toronto for it. That was really the start of my participation in the Toronto fandom scene, though it took me a little while to actually go back in for another Shindig.

I didn’t actually make it to the screening in 2009, though I prepaid my ticket and my t-shirt, so I still contributed to the fundraising that year. (And I love the shirt.) I had some health issues that summer, and if I recall correctly I was out of the hospital by that weekend, but not feeling up to much more than sitting around the apartment and going out for my clinic appointments. I did have a little Firefly DVD marathon to console myself for what I was missing.

And last year, I went in costume for the first time, having put together a thrift-store outfit that looked recognizably like one of Simon Tam’s suits. Picked up a great needlepoint at the auction that I still have sitting on my desk – and that’s the day that I had a bit of unexpected excitement getting home on account of the G20 riots.

This year, I’ve got my eye on a Serenity mousepad as well as some other goodies at the auction. And I’d like to actually put myself out there socially and talk to more new people than I have before.

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Lost notes from long-ago conventions.

May 26, 2011

Well, I went through the memo pad files on my Palm tungsten handhelds this evening, looking for more material on Ad Astra, but when I realized that I had some notes from even longer ago, I thought that I had to share them first. I’ll try to edit for a bit of clarity when I can, but these will generally be very rough, just what I managed to type down at the time. Please reply with questions in the comments about anything that intrigues you, and I’ll answer in more detail if I can, or speculate otherwise.

This first memo I don’t honestly know where it’s from, but it could be from Polaris 2010:

How to write
worldbuilding – know how things work and where things are
map of dystopian ontario – civilization around hydro plants, cancer pollution zones
writing a story in 24 hours – with prompts from strangers and libraries
outlining a story before starting the first sentence
have to be willing to kill characters off, even if you like them and they don’t want to die
two characters running around a building in opposite directions but not meeting
to master the art of outlining… Or not?
character driven writing – know their skilllsets, and then make them go beyond
appendectomy with a spoon and first aid training
wars and the aging of characters – retconning your history
computer tools – custom dictionary spell check, massive internet research, excel file for character bible, search and replace, macros for italicizing ship names
chinese font issues – pdf submissions
preparation details that don’t get into the book – lots of them
helps you live in that world
the grist mill – after being in one when it was working, the feel was wrong, needed to rewrite
tinker’s plague, triangular trade deficits, drove some of the plot
writing programs – ms word with all auto functions turned off, simple good manuscript format
Read the rest of this entry »


Toronto

April 23, 2011

T is for…

Well, I’ve already dedicated H to my true hometown of Hamilton, but Toronto is sort of a half-adopted hometown, a place that’s also very dear to my heart. I didn’t really pay it that much attention for the first eighteen years plus of my life, except for a place to occasionally go to ride up the CN tower or see a baseball game or get government records, and really I suppose I was really ignorant of the benefits of living so close to such an amazing city. But then, I was young.

I moved to Toronto, to the suburban wilds of North York at least, for university, in the fall of 1995, and spent four years at York University, commuting back home to crash at my parent’s place every other weekend or so. (For some reason I still have dreams about finding my way across the big city on the TTC and looking for a new room to rent in Toronto.) I spent the first year, including the summer, in residence, and then spent the regular school term in rental places found on the housing board and summers back in Hamilton.

After seven months spent trying to find a job with only a bachelor’s degree and no work experience, during the consolidation days of the Y2K scare, I ended up going back to school in Toronto, taking the applied IT course at the Herzing institute in the Eaton center, and commuting into the city and back every day from Hamilton on GO transit – which would have been much more stressful, except that regular classes only lasted for four hours a day when I wasn’t doing teaching assistance or tutoring or grading for the school, so a lot of the time I could head back to Hamilton early. It was really a worthwhile experience, rounding out my university education with some more marketable skills, and also giving me a few useful connections, including the referral that led me to the job that I’m in now, (indirectly.)

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My Wizard world diary – day three

March 29, 2011

Crusader spotlight has been pre-empted tonight to bring you the conclusion of my Wizard World series. I expect that I’ll have plenty of plug posts in April – especially featuring blogs that start with letters that are otherwise hard to come up with A-Z posts for!

After buffet breakfast, (including some sadly uninspiring french toast,) and working on some editing in my hotel room, I packed my things and checked out of the hotel a little before 11am. Carried my suitcase over to the streetcar, and so on to the convention, where I gratefully left it under the care of friends at the Can’t stop the Serenity table, and making a ‘donation to their charitable society’ as thanks. (They were collecting for Equality Now, I’m not sure if I mentioned that last time.)

I enjoyed the Battlestar Galactica panel with the chief and Ellen Tigh – even though there were lots of spoilers about cylons, since I’m still not very far through Galactica season one.

Then the big Buffyfest panel. Read the rest of this entry »


My Wizard World diary, day One

March 24, 2011

I wrote down most of these notes on Friday night, after getting back to the hotel after my first evening at Wizard World Toronto Comic Con, but they’ve been somewhat edited for clarity:

I’m starting to get the hang of planning my time for this convention stuff – remembering to anticipate plenty of time for getting from place to place and waiting in lines and so on is key.

I left from work around 2 in the afternoon, pulling my suitcase behind me down Fairview street to the GO train station. Got some editing done on the train, using the Aspire netbook, and when I got off the train, I headed over to the Via rail concourse, planning to grab a double burger at the Harvey’s.

Whoops. The Harvey’s location on the Via rail concourse has apparently closed forever. There was a little sign letting me know that their nearest location was only minutes away, but I didn’t bother looking for it – headed back to the GO concourse to grab a Big Mac, then headed off onto the CN Tower skywalk, and from there south to Queen’s Quay and checked into my hotel.

After taking a few minutes to unpack a few things from my gray laptop bag, (including the netbook,) it was off via streetcar to the Direct Energy center. Paid for the upgrade from an ordinary weekend ticket to Buffyfest VIP pass, got my fancy lithograph VIP souvenir, and out onto the convention floor.

I didn’t do that much wandering Read the rest of this entry »


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