Friday, November 30, 2012

Strange Tales on the Road to Virginia: NekoCon 2012 (Part 2)

When we last left our hero, he was falling asleep on the floor of a hotel room with an ominous noise clicking through the dark...

      The next morning, my eyelids slammed open about ten seconds before my alarm went off. I turned over a little and lay there closed while my body slowly came back online, phone clutched in my grip to spare my roommates the terrible and disturbing noise of a "vibrate" setting on hard wood. After defusing my phone, I slipped out of my sleeping bag, got dressed, and headed for the shower. I had a vague outline of things I wanted to do, after all, and while they started in "don't wake anyone up" and ended in "LARP", the general order was a little out of whack. I was able to put together a few thoughts once the warm water hit1, and sketched out a general plan that looked like this:

- Finish shower
- Cram gaping maw with whatever they had at the breakfast buffet
- Make contact with other friends
- Pay entry fee
- ???
- Roleplaying!2

         The first part was easy, and pretty much involved just turning off the water, getting dressed, and grabbing one of the tickets for the buffet. The second part meant I had to spin and pivot a little going out the door, as there was a sixth occupant of our room, Gerry, that I hadn't quite remembered the previous night. Gerry had also taken a sleeping bag on the floor. But once outside, I flipped open my phone and texted a little back and forth with my friend Abby so I could meet up with her. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Strange Tales on the Road to Virginia: NekoCon 2012 (Part 1: How We Got Here)

I decided to drop the "A Tourist in an Unknown Land" title for this...two colons is one too many. Also, sorry, this is turning out kinda dry.            

        We struck out just as it got dark, and headed south. My friend, occasional editor, and partner-in-crime Mr. Ellis* was at the wheel, and there were six hours of driving between us and the Hampton Roads Coliseum. The two of us were headed there for NekoCon 2012 and its live-action roleplay event, a new scene for us since we started hitting cons together, but one that most of the friends we have in this group seem to dig. Fresh off my pillage of NYCC** and hungry for another con, I had made an effort to go to this one, and even worked out that I'd be able to bum a ride off of Mr. Ellis**** and crash with a few friends of ours on the circuit. We had a backseat full of Coke, some peanut butter and bread, some onigiri, and several weird bread variants***** from the Asian market/restaurant by Mr. Ellis's house, and between the two of us we were pretty much ready for anything that might pop up.

          "So who would get thrown out of the library first," I asked, grabbing another Coke from the back seat and staring off at the ominous-looking dark mounds that constitute scenery when everything around you is pitch black, "Brian Blessed, or Tom Baker?"******

*His full name is "The most esteemed and nefarious Mr. Ellis, destroyer of worlds". You'll forgive me for not using all of it.
**Funny story, Mr. Ellis was supposed to pillage with me, but due to them denying me credentials and a tangle with the paperwork***, I wound up solo
** (I know, this running gag doesn't belong here, but...) Dicks.
****Who, by the way, is a god damn saint for putting up with me and my complete inability to stop talking when there's nothing to draw my attention away. For a total of ten hours in an enclosed space.
*****I do not particularly know the names of said weird breads. I just know they are breads and I do not completely understand them.
******The question should be credited to a dear friend of mine, whose privacy I will protect unless they're cool with me using their name here. Where I own a blog, and Mr. Ellis (and indeed most of the people who're also part of the con scene) knows that since I spent a fair amount of time with him that he's gonna wind up on here with his name displayed in some form, I try not to give people too much unwanted attention. And if you're reading this (and you know who you are), hi. Hope the month's going well.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Work Is Not Yet Done

           The rundown is as follows. This is arguably one of the nastiest things I've ever read, from one of the nastiest authors I've ever read. If you want a good, surreal Halloween read, you cannot go any better than Thomas Ligotti, whose works convey a certain pessimistic and existential dread. So the master of dread and dark pessimism doing a novella about a man pushed past the point of collapse who exacts some very creepy revenge on the people who wronged him gets a warm recommendation from me, despite the caveat that the novella and its companion pieces are fairly sick to read*. My Work Is Not Yet Done is not as human as Joe Hill's work, nor as sickeningly sensual as Clive Barker's early pieces, but Ligotti is in a class all of his own when it comes to unnerving the bejesus out of someone.
          The drawbacks come in when every narrator and main character sound like I imagine Ligotti to sound, not exactly purple in prose but using the same syntax and dialogue choices despite being presented as different people. The curse of Ligotti having such a unique voice is that it's kind of easy to pick out, and when confronted with a lot of it at once, it all kind of runs together a bit, with only the unique themes of the novella and two stories to keep things separate enough to be enjoyable. But pick this one up if you get the chance, or try to find it in a library. If not, try to find his other work.

*You'll forgive me for not going into too much detail yet...

Monday, November 5, 2012

State of the Blog: BEWARE, I LIVE!

So, sorry this isn't the post you guys are probably looking for, but I need to move a few things around. As you know, last week the Eastern seaboard was hit by a massive storm that knocked out most of the power*. I was out for the whole week, a week spent either weeping openly, or screaming at the PSEG trucks driving by my house**. 

I've also kind of been in a bit of a slump recently where reviews are concerned...if you notice, there are a lot more articles. I've been trying to get my happy medium back, but I may need some time to decompress. I went from a high-stress environment at home to a very low-stress but highly-exhausting situation at the last con I went to.

So: I'm sadly cancelling the Halloween Special this year***, gonna bounce back when I can finally get the My Work Is Not Yet Done review up, and we'll see how things go. I will say this, though: I am not going away, and the road piece on NekoCon is forthcoming. See you in a few days!

*Had I only stayed in Honolulu...
**And before you say "You shoulda bought a generator" or "You should have prepared better", screw you. I'm poor right now, and we did the best we could. Especially when the east coast is heavily dependent on infrastructure that was ripped apart by the high winds and the water. To say nothing of the stuff that was on fire for three days.
***I know, no caffeinated foghorn voice or pockmarked face to look at. C'est dommage.