The first of likely several post-Dragon*Con posts

I realize that after giving out plug cards to my site throughout a weekend, it would be fortuitous if I actually had something about Dragon*Con on the front page, so that any new viewers aren’t hit in the face with social commentary or my more minutae ramblings, when ultimately they’re looking for pictures of themselves from the convention.  This is coming a little later than I had hoped, because upon coming home from D*C, it turns out that my furnace shit the bed, and I’ve been without air conditioning in a stifling home for the last 24 hours, until an HVAC guy could come fix it.

Anyway, it’s going to be a little while for me to process through the 300+ photographs taken at the convention, so if you’re just here for pictures, I’d recommend tracking me down on Facebook, where I occasionally inform folks when I upload my galleries.  Or, I certainly won’t mind having another reader, if you’re into verbose wordy opinions on a daily basis.

As for the photographs themselves, I say it often, but I’m definitely not a professional photographer, much less refer to myself as a photographer, in spite of the fact that I carry around expensive equipment.  This will be no more evident than what I’m about to say, which is the fact that I went the entire weekend, with the image stabilization on my lens, turned off.  This was the first convention with this particular camera and lens, and because I was so busy working on my Taric of the Fifth Age costume, I spent basically no time at all with my own hardware.

It’s about the noob of all noob mistakes I could’ve made, but it’s still a testament to my rig’s ability to compensate for my amateurism, because in spite of the lack of image stabilization, there are still more pictures that turned out good than there are ones that turned out poorly.

As for the convention itself, it was good.  It wasn’t the BEST D*C EVAR in the sense that something tremendously awesome had occurred, but it also wasn’t WORST D*C EVAR, which easily puts in a winning class.  I took lots of pictures, donned a costume that was received pretty positively, and I drank more than I really should’ve (again).

And as always, it was a pleasure to hang out with people, old and new, and I appreciate any new friends and acquaintances made over the weekend.  Ultimately, that’s really the only reason I keep coming back year after year.

Looks like someone should’ve watched some more Dual Survival

Long story short: Chef dies after decapitated cobra head bites his hand.

One of the many field skills that I retained that will in all likelihood never apply to me from watching Dual Survival, is the knowledge that the heads of decapitated venomous snakes are capable of biting down and injecting venom, for a long period of time after beheading.

Sounds like Chef Peng Fan wasn’t so aware of this knowledge.

Think about how much it sucks to have chopped a snake’s head off, which for all intents and purposes has killed the unfortunate reptile.  But then while consolidating all its guts and skin and whatever discarded parts, preparing to toss it into the waste bin, chef’s hand gets a little too close to the severed head, and by sheer force of reflex, it snaps down and injects lethal venom into him.

Talk about a true “if I’m going down, I’m taking you with me” kind of story here.

When this scenario was brought up in Dual Survival, Joe Teti took a severed cobra’s head, practically impaled on a stick to demonstrate just how hard a decapitated snake’s head can bite down, and buried it about 50 yards away and underneath a rock, before leaving the premises.

Maybe if Chef Peng watched some Dual Survival every once in a while, he wouldn’t be dead right now.  Que sera, sera.

A Dragon*Con with an objective

In spite of the self-imposed painstaking efforts I’ve undertaken throughout the last three years in doing League of Legends costumes at Dragon*Cons, I’ve never really gone to a D*C in the past with any sort of objective or goal in mind.  Usually, everything is up in the air, and all I really want is to walk around, take a bunch of pictures, and for one day, get in my own costume, before devolving into a night of drinking and partying and hanging out on all the nights.  I don’t care about guests, I don’t care about celebrities, panels, exhibitors or just about everything that is boasted being present at the convention.

As I’m sure I’ve said before, it really makes me wonder why I’m so eager and willing to drop exorbitant amounts of money on lodging, food, booze and parking, for what’s essentially a weekend of hanging out.

Probably, because it’s a weekend of hanging out, and I really enjoy simply hanging out.  The grandest stage for what’s essentially one giant convenient excuse to hang out with friends and acquaintances from near and far.

Anyway, I would like to change such a modus operandi this year, and not necessarily in a dramatic, table-flipping manner.

Simply put, most D*Cs are fun, and there’s often times great stories or memories that are had at them.  They’re all great and all, but sometimes I look back, and wish that there were more photographic evidence of such occasions, which is a vaguely generic way of saying “I’m narcissistic and I wish there were more pictures of myself from ___ event.”

The people I see, the people I meet, and the people I hang out with, are the reasons why I go to, and often enjoy D*C.  When it comes to their encounters with me, I hope that the feeling is somewhat mutual, but the fact of the matter is that I’d simply put, like more pictures of myself with awesome people, at a fun occasion.

So what it boils down to is that I have an objective going into this D*C weekend: I want to take selfies with people.  There’s no rules or conditions or anything like that, I would just like to have more pictures with people I enjoy the company of.

When I swapped cameras a little while ago, a surprisingly important want for the new camera was a rotating viewfinder AKA be able to frame your own selfies more accurately.  And my new camera includes such a feature.

Which makes it perfect for aiding in this objective.

Here’s hoping for another fun year of tons of cool costumes, pictures, good company, good stories, drunken debauchery, and an overall awesome time.

These things exist??

Impetus: A United flight going from Newark to Denver has to make an emergency stop in Chicago, to remove two unruly passengers from the aircraft.  The two passengers, seated one behind the other, had an altercation that stemmed from the rear passenger applying “Knee Defender” clamps, which prevent the seat ahead from being able to recline, and the front passenger taking objection to being incapable of reclining.  It culminated with front passenger throwing a cup of water in the face of rear passenger, before the flight was forced to land in Chicago to remove both from the aircraft.

Never mind the story about the altercation, the takeaway from this entire story for me is that something like Knee Defenders actually exist.  And I fucking love it.

Obviously, this is because I fly more than your average non-business traveler, and I’ve had more than my fair share of getting the one person on the entire flight who decides that they have to recline their seat.  Seriously, there will be times where I get an entire row to myself, so I decide to spread out a little bit, and the person in front of me has the exact same idea, but has to make sure that they’re in the seat in front of me.  As soon as the ding indicating that we’ve reached cruising altitude is heard, the seat plops back crudely, and if my leg is crossed, or the tray is down, it’s an unpleasant sensation of having something appear to fall into your lap.

Knee Defenders are a thing of beauty.  They’re like handcuffs for the people in front of you.  You want to recline?  Too bad, bitch.  It’s only three inches, and it can’t possibly make you any more comfortably, at least not to the magnitude it’s making me claustrophobically uncomfortable.  So I’m taking the right away from you.  And there’s nothing you can do about it but bitch about it, or tattle to a flight attendant, and hope they fare better in getting me to remove them.

Subsequently, it’s no surprised that some airlines have disallowed the use of Knee Defenders, but I think people riding on airlines that don’t prohibit them, have every right in the world to use them if they wanted to.  Obviously, given the circumstances in which I frequently fly, Knee Defenders are not something that I’d have with me on most of my flights.

However if I were ever to get on a flight with a different provider, that didn’t prohibit Knee Defenders, I’d totally have them.  And I wouldn’t be as obvious with it either; I’d give the inevitable fat recliner in front of me, perhaps an inch, but not the full reclining capabilities.  Make them think that perhaps it’s the seat, and not a third party force preventing them from getting full reclining.

I’m not really as swole as I like to think I am, but I’m apparently broad shouldered enough to almost always be rubbing elbows and shoulders with everyone if I’m in the middle seat; it would be fantastic to reduce my discomfort in at least one direction.

But god damn, does knowing that Knee Defenders exist really start creating sadistic fantasies of handcuffing inconsiderate passengers from being able to recline their seats and reduce my human claustrophobia just a little bit.

As if there was any doubt

For the past two weeks, teams from across the United States as well as several other countries in the world have been whittling each other down, to see who amongst them were the best of the best.  Throughout the journey, there have been tears shed, hearts broken, nationalistic pride abounds, and agendas emerged and dissipated upon the wins and losses of the varying teams.

And when the dust settled in Williamsport, Pennsylvania there was only one team that endured the journey without once tasting the bitter flavor of defeat: the South Korean team.  The Koreans went a perfect 11-0 en route to the world championship, where they defeated the U.S. champions from Illinois in what was basically yet another rout, in spite of the final score.

The best part is that this it was not in League of Legends.  It was in an actual, physical sport; the best one in the world, no less – baseball.

Sure, it was Little League baseball, but it’s still a worldly sanctioned tournament, and they defeated Japan in the process; twice, en route to becoming the true champions of the world in 13-and-under Little League baseball.

And I’m okay with that.  I’ll take Korean wins wherever I can get them.