October 15th, 2008


Updates on Necronomicon, Sarah Connor, the House, and Self Abuse!

Necro win-ness: I'll hopefully make a long, in-character post about this soon, but the short & sweet version is that from a costume standpoint Necro last weekend was nothing but win. The time spent designing and building the rocket pack costume really came to fruition. On Saturday afternoon I won a Hall Costume ribbon - the first I've ever gotten. That alone would've been fantastic, but our "Aethereal Explorers" group (Me, Mark, zensidhe, Jack, and Myrna) also took first prize in the Masquerade contest and won the Bret Hill Memorial Costume Award. Not damn bad!

I really like the steampunk rocketeer costume - so much so that I wore that damn rocket pack for 15 hours straight on Saturday! My shoulders complained all day Sunday, but all in all I have to say that, frighteningly enough, the rocket pack costume is actually more comfortable and quicker to get into and out of than my cyberpunk costume. It's also a bit cooler, even with all of the layers of clothing. Plus I don't have to stick anything in my eyes!

The con itself was, for me at least, a lot of fun, though it had a very different focus and feel this year, owing mostly to my focus on the rocket pack costume and the absence of many of our regular `con gang. Still, it's good to get a taste of some of the other facets of the event, and I *definitely* enjoyed having lots of people wanting to take my picture! It was weird and wonderful to be the focus of attention instead of the guy taking the pictures, at least as a temporary change. :-)

Oh! TBT posted a bunch of Necro pix, including this so-so one of me:

Better still, zensidhe posted most of our work-safe pix to his Picasa album here. There were some simply amazing costumes this year! Sorry, you guys don't get the nekkid ones or the non-public ones of people who haven't given permission to publicly post, but there are some great costume photos as well as some tasty shots of femetal in her schoolgirl outfit. Teh hawt! 8-)

The other thing that happened at Necro that was a real treat was that I got to chat with Timothy Zahn for a couple of hours in the con suite late Saturday night. As you hopefully already know, Terminator: Salvation is in production and will be coming out next year. Timothy Zahn is writing the official prequel novel, From The Ashes. This means that he has a copy of the script for the next Terminator movie. He's also close friends with the Stone Hill gang, so as soon as he got tapped to do the novel Mark let me know about it.

When I saw Zahn in the con suite the conversation started like this:
Me: "Mark made me promise not to kidnap you and torture you for information."
Timothy Zahn: "You must be Eric!"

We ended up talking for at least a good couple of hours, mostly about all things Terminator related. Of course, he's under an NDA regarding the new movie, and I would never have been so rude as to ask him for any details about the movie or the novel. The only thing I did want to know was simply how he thinks the movie is going to be. His response was very encouraging. The basic gist of what he said is that given the script that they're working with they'd have to try very hard to turn it into a bad movie. He's gotten script revisions as the movie has been in production, and said that all of the revisions have been improvements, and show that they really do care about the story. That's worth more to me than any spoilers would be! And speaking of the Terminator...

Keeping up with the Connors: Con prep took up all of our spare time for the last week, so we didn't watch any TV at all. We *finally* got caught up on The Sarah Connor Chronicles last night with season 2 episode 5 ("Goodbye to All That"). It's the episode that aired last Monday (last night was a repeat) and IMHO it was hands-down the best ep of the entire series so far. This didn't just exceed my high expectations for a Terminator TV series. It exceeded my expectations of what could be done with a Terminator TV series. The plot was superficially similar to the first movie, but with enough original spin to take it in new directions. Great character development for several of the main characters, good action scenes, a fanboi nod to the first movie, exploration of the implications of time travel on character interactions, future war scenes that felt genuine (they all took place in a single bunker, but it never felt "small" or like it was constricted by budget as some of the previous flash-forwards have). Oh, and we got to see a new piece of Skynet hardware - a ground tank called (appropriately enough) an "Ogre" that's either a counterpart or a precursor to the ground H/K. The end of the episode was genuinely touching. My only complaint is that they almost certainly played fast and loose with the normal policies and procedures for a military academy (I don't imagine that cadre hiring decisions would be made off the cuff or by a single person, even for a temporary position, and there were one or two breaches of protocol here and there). However, they nailed - word for word - the standard field procedure for unjamming an M-16, which made the Gator Guardsman in me do a happy dance.

John Connor needs a fraggin' haircut the next time he puts on a uniform, though. I wanted to mug him and shave his head.

Bathroom: A while back a spot on the wall of our master bathroom started to turn discolored. The discoloration grew and became a hole as the wall literally began to rot away. We eventually traced the source of the problem to some shoddy work that had been done building the shower walls. We stopped using the shower in the master bathroom (which halted the progression of the damage) and decided that we'd like to redo the whole bathroom.

That was eight years ago. During that time, both the toilet and both sinks also fell into disrepair, eventually leaving the room useful only as a place for APAR's litter box.

When we began the "Clean the House With a Shovel and a Shotgun" project, getting the bathroom actually rebuilt was not the very first priority, but it was on the "urgent" list. I'm happy to report that as of yesterday work has FINALLY begun! We're getting a real bathroom like humans would use, with water that only runs where it's supposed to go and almost no Cthuloid Horrors hiding in the walls at all! Take THAT, EPA! ;-)

Self Abuse: My New Year's resolution was to eat right and do some form of exercise every day. For a while I did a great job, avoiding junk food altogether and doing either sit ups or push ups every morning. This gradually became an okay job mostly avoiding crap food and exercising more often than not, and eventually a not-very-good-at-all job where I'd largely given up. A month and a half before Dragon*Con I found the One Hundred Push Ups training program and refocused myself. I'd be a bit less strict as far as food, but would stick to the exercise program. I find it much easier to stick with a regimented program, and this one promised to get you up to doing 100 push ups in a single "sitting" in 6 weeks doing push ups 3 days each week. I decided that on the days that I wasn't doing push ups I'd play DDR to balance it with a good lower body/cardiovascular workout.

I started it in late July. It's now mid-October, and I'm "officially" on Week 5. As bad as that may sound, things are actually going fairly well. A simplified description of how the regimen works is that you periodically test to see how many push ups you can do and that determines which "week" you do. If you're unable to complete that week's routine in the manner directed then you repeat that week until you can complete it. I plowed through the first couple of weeks with no problem, but it ramps up fast! Week 3 took 3 weeks to get through, and Week 4 (which was interrupted by Dragon*Con) took over a month. Now I'm on my second trip through the horrors of Week 5, and despite switching to a somewhat easier version of Week 5 (it's kind of complicated) it's still beating my ass on an epic scale. Seriously. I'm sure I sound like I'm being murdered as I flail about trying to push through the last couple of sets. This morning I tried doing it without the push up bars that I've been using for alternating sets. It helped a little, but I still got pwned. ;-)

Interestingly (for me anyway), I checked the site and found that they've published a revision to the program. Some days look easier and some look harder. Today's looked harder, so slacker me stuck with the original program.

That's about it for now!
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