Saturday, August 17, 2013

Otakon Photo Journal

I'm settling in after a long trip on the road.

Thursday alone was an 11-hour journey that's given me quite the back spasms. It was worth it.

So for today, please, enjoy this photo diary of cosplay from Otakon's 20th anniversary.

For the anniversary, Baltimore lowered the thermostat below 105 degrees for once.
The first photo I took at the convention: he wanted to be a tank, and so he was.

No one on the escalator knows the horror about to unfold before them.

A family of Majin Buus. It was then that I knew I was home.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Never Forget How to be Alone

It's long after the club has closed, and the Funny Man stands on the circular stage, one of the nicest he's ever seen, even though it's too dark to make out much more than its purple plastic cover bunching over oak boards. The seats are all empty, cushions collapsed upwards and into their seatbacks, the only things in the world the Funny Man knows of that collapse upward.

He makes a joke about it. Two people in the front row chuckle, and he bends to his haunches, looking them in eyes that aren't there for a follow-up. Laughter ripples in the seats around them.

He's working the crowd, feet already shuffling, smoothing out the purple plastic cover. It becomes his playing field, his circular baseball diamond, and he paces the bases as he likens politics to foul balls. The Funny Man raises three fingers in a gesture like no one else he knows has ever done, saluting into an imaginary outfield, and back rows clap with amusement. The Funny Man has never been comfortable with audiences applauding rather than laughing at comedy; he is there to be enjoyed, not agreed with. Yet he can't deny the warm feedback, the adulation radiating from a packed house. No one is even complaining how dim it is.

He asks, who decided to run a show in the dark? And the two people he started on in the front row are wheezing with laughter and clutching their ribs. He riffs on the dark theatre, the darkness of night, scary places that aren't lit well enough, for minutes upon minutes, until he regrets not having set up a camera to record a special live from the dark circle with its purple plastic cover.

Then he riffs off wishing he had a crowd like his for his live-to-tape special. Then he riffs off live-to-tape. Then he riffs off of Youtube, Son of America's Funniest Home Videos, and then what the Daughter of America's Funniest Home Videos would look like, and how the internet leaves no man unconnected. It's on that word, "unconnected," that a car alarm blares up through a window and his audience dampens, and thins, and three blinks later, dispels down the drain of imagination.

Four blinks later, there are no cushions that collapse upward. There is only the private theatre of his kitchen. He steps off the circular dining table, dropping to the floor and straightening the plastic table cloth. It's purple. It's not made of cloth, he thinks. He thinks that would make good material.

He has not forgotten how to be alone.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: The iBelieve

"Your religion needs an update, Father. This crucifix. Yes, it's a cross, and the image of Christ suffering for mortal sins, but those are just two functions, and most consumers see them as one. Single-use devices are unfashionable. Can't it be a keychain, too? 

"Put a bottle opener at your Savior's feet. Can't this thing play music? I've seen MP3 players and flash drives smaller than this. You could fit a terabyte in Jesus's chest. 

"It needs WiFi; pray with the rosary beads, fine, but get some Facebook integration so God can Like your best prayers on your Wall. Twitter integration, for short requests and pithy spiritual thoughts. Boundless functionality. Auto-updates. The Vatican authorizes new canon and bang, streamed straight to your personal iconography. 

"Launch it next month. A new model next year. Make people feel like they've got outdated faithware. If you can't make Steve Jobs convert, you can at least convert his methods. You're not going to Hell because you don't have one; life is Hell because you don't have one. The iChrist. The iBelieve. Think about it."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: 7 Ways Writing a Book is Not Like Raising a Child

1. Mine inspires the movie. Yours won’t shut up during it.

2. Mine falls on the floor in the mall and flops open. Yours falls on the floor in the mall and screams so loud security runs in.

3. People are more favorable about my Used market.

4. If mine breaks someone’s heart, it’s amazing. If yours break someone’s heart, he/she’s a douche bag.

5. I don’t send holiday cards with photos of my hideous rough draft.

6. They can both get banned from the library for bad words, but only yours gets banned for defecating in the Science section.

7. I can make sure mine turns out well.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Leave the Silver Bullets

"Don't bother with the silver bullets. That can't be true."

"You don't believe in the curse of the werewolf?"

"I don't know, but I've never seen a monster that shrugged off having its heart blown up just because the pellets were tungsten. And leave your Bible. "

"Oh, you don't believe in Christ now?"

"I believe in not pissing him off because you dropped his book in the swamp because you were fumbling for your gun."

"Fine. But I'm taking the wolfsbane and the silver bullets."

“Well, good luck.”

“You believe in luck?”

“I believe in a lot of things. Luck helps keep some of them away.”

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: The Worthy

"This will sound self-serving, but I don't think you've paid enough attention to the god you're trying to feed me to. This is an ancient god of five islands in a patch of frozen sea, who only appears in blistering weather, and whose only favored worshippers are giant raiders. He's demanded revenge killings for at least six centuries and decreed the blood of the "minor" be poured into his icy sea to thaw it. If local history is anything, he favors huge, cruel killers.

"I'd love to be walk across the cursed ice to the first for you, I really would. Then we'd have something to bond over and you'd stop considering me so dispensable. I understand why people from my culture would see this challenge of ice, beckoning the worthy to walk it, and you'd elect me. In my culture, the educated and the well-dressed are worthy of perhaps too much. I'm unscarred, I'm unsullied (thank you for that), and still probably electable for office if I get back home.

"Now if you'll look at these documents, you'll see none of the god' favorite heroes are even blond. Certainly none of these are unsullied city-folk; they're swathed in animal or human hide and scarred to the verge illegibility. So when he's talking about the worthy, he's not talking about lawyers.

"There's a perfectly good prison three days from here, full of perfectly good murderers and thieves. Some of them are probably his people. Half of them have to be some kind of descendents. The five island raiders got around, you know. I don't mean to be racist, just practical, when I say to buy a few of them and toss them at the ice.

"If none of them can walk the icy reef, then you should send a lawyer. For now, aren't I better used finagling prisoners for you?"

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lit Corner: Hemingway, Terminator, and Why I Love Twitter

Twitter is my favorite social network. It gets people the chattiest, the most conversations spring up there, and at its best, humor rolls out of exchanges rather than in somebody's polemic Facebook status. I saved this image a couple years ago to always remind me what Twitter is about.

This exchange started with Randall Nichols and I jawjacking about optimism and Ernest Hemingway. Then it became this:

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