Monday, November 30, 2009

Starbase Indy

Once again, Thanksgiving weekend has brought a fabulous Star Trek convention to Indy.
And while I've been to SBI before, this one blew it out of the water.

As they were charging $25 for a weekend pass, I could afford to go on both Friday and Saturday (normally I attend just one day of a con).
Not only did my lovely wife go with me on both days, but my children came ALL DAY on Saturday.
Dalyn and Ireland were even in costume.
I, of course, went as a Klingon.
It was actually my first convention in full Klingon gear.
It was also Ireland and Scotland first cons ever.

The con kicked off with a free screening of Star Trek.
My brother-in-law, Harrison, and his female companion, Steph, went with us for the free flick.

They abandoned us after the film as they hadn't registered.
We showed up a bit late, so I missed the beginning, but it was still a great film.

Before we actually entered the hotel, we ran into qurgh and his female companion.
After the movie, Dalyn and I managed to score some uniform accessories. Pretty sweet.

Prop Making:
We atteneded a really lame prop making panel. While the guys seem to know what they're doing, and they seem to have been doing it for a while, they don't seem to know how to be interesting.
It happens.

I took mental notes as I was co-hosting a Klingon Language Panel in the morning.

More Klingons showed up throughout the day, and by the time the Klingon Language Pit opened up, there was a fair amount.

Klingon Language Pit:

I got to meet several people in real life that I only knew thought the internet before. Even played a bit of Klingon scrabble (turns out it doesn't work too well on a Klin Zha board...)
Very nice.

As we had left the children at home all day, we left before the Klingon party really got started.


As we had gone to bed late on Friday, it was a chore to wake up early on Saturday.
But as I mentioned, I was co-hosting a panel.
Once again, I became a Klingon. So did Ireland. Dalyn once again had a last minute costume idea.
Scotland wore clothes.

Klingon Language Panel:

I arrived a bit late, but not too late.

The Klingon Language Panel was tons of fun.
An entire crowd of people were there to listen to us talk about Klingon.
People that were actually interested. Wow.

As qurgh and I didn't actually plan anything together, I just followed his lead.
I have no idea how much of his plan was actually followed.

I even got to see a hardbound copy of ghIlgameS.

The day moved on with no formal structure.
I'm sure things were happening, just nothing I cared about.

I played some Klingon scrabble with qurgh and Twisty, lots of fun.

Ireland and Scotland took turns wanting to be held, walk, and ride in the stroller.
I spent most of the day with a child in my arms, when I woke up on Sunday I was sore. Very sore. It had been a long day.


That evening, they had masquerade. Some people did skits, some people just showed off their costumes. They were all impressive.

But even more impressive were the Klingons who showed up right before it started.
As I was standing outside of the main room, an entire family of Klingons came in.
It was a grand entrance indeed.
I didn't know it at the time, but it was Chancellor Krahl and his family.
I think he had five or six children around him--all Klingon. (Okay, the youngest didn't wear a prosthetic, but that's understandable.)
The younger ones were passing out flyers for The Empire (TE).
I think Ireland was overwhelmed. I remember her saying that we had "enough Klingons".

Things moved slowly after that, and I eventually took my family home.
But I returned in search of my fellow warriors.

I eventually caught on that Krahl was the Chancellor, and was even promoted to Lieutenant in TE.
Once again, this was my first time to actually hang out with other Klingons. A very nice experience indeed.

Both days:

I posed for a lot of pictures.
Like I mentioned, this was my first time as a full Klingon. I'm not used to random people requesting pictures.
And more pictures. Really.

Dealer's Room:

Smaller than previous years, the dealer room is always a fun place to check out.
Sadly, we didn't really have any money.
Luckily, I had won a contest before the con and won several $10 coupons.
There wasn't a whole lot that I was interested, but there were a few things.
I obviously had to leave the $90 Bird-of-Prey on the shelf.
The two "big items" I found were a knife, and a Klingon communicator pin.
I think I probably spent an hour and a half over the two days talking to the knife dealer. Interesting fellow.

I approached most merchants with the question, "What do you have for a Klingon?"
Sometimes they had stuff, sometimes they didn't.

The knife dealer approached me.

(I'll let my wife brag about her deals if she wishes.)

Other "characters":
As I walked the con wearing a uniform that my wife and mother-in-law spent lots of time on, and a latex forehead that my father-in-law and wife had worked on, and makeup that lots of people had worked on, I took a look at other people's costumes.
You could tell who spent some time. And you could tell who had gotten their shirt out of a cereal box.
While I realize that a lot of people enjoy being Humans, and being Starfleet officers, it seemed rather easy. (An exception goes out to Gary "Spock", his uniforms obviously took some time and money. Keep up the good work.)
I was very impressed with the Klingon uniforms that I saw. Some of them were very nice.
And then there was this Cardassian.
She had even more latex pieces than the Klingons did. And she painted all visible skin grey. A very even, natural shade of grey. Very nice indeed. Rumor has it that it took two hours to put on. (For what it's worth, I saw plenty of uneven and unmatched makeup. Makes the good jobs stand out.)

And then there was this Borg.
I don't even know what to say. He even sounded like a Borg. Impressive.

I know I'm leaving something important out. There was just too much to keep track of.
Excellent weekend. Can't wait for next year.

My Loot:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wonder World Tour

On Monday, November 16, 2009, Miley Cyrus' Wonder World Tour made a stop at Indianapolis' Conseco Fieldhouse.

As Miley's #3 fan, I bought tickets the moment they went on sale this past summer.
The tickets were listed in three price ranges, and we bought the mid-grade ones.
Sadly, they were more towards the low end of that range...

This was a paperless ticket concert.
In order to gain entry, one had to provide photo ID along with the card used to make the purchase.
It apparently worked as a scalper deterent, as there were still tickets availiable the day of the show.

Doors opened at 5, amd the show started at 7.
Not sure when we left for the show, but traffic was crazy once we hit downtown Indy.
And in my opinion, $10 for parking is insane.

It was a crisp night, and we made our way to the venue.
You could feel the excitment in the air.

There were several side enterances, which I'm sure helped with crowd control and lines.
We may have received an odd look upon admission due to our lack of children. Whatever.

Amazingly, we were given directions to our seats from the door.
I'm not sure how complicated of floor plan a fieldhouse has, but giving everyone directions seems like a tough job.

First thing I noticed was an arrow pointing towards Hardee's.
Yes, there was a Hardee's inside the building. Sweet!

But we wanted to find our seats first, so the Happy Star would have to wait.

Normally, I would buy a T-shirt, but at $35 I would have to do without.

In the halls:

While I went to find a certain Happy Star, Dalyn stood in line to try and win better seats.
Not sure who planned this, but they had had big screens that everyone could see while you typed in your personal information: Name, address, etc...
And a very bored photographer waiting for a winner.
They also had a few manaquins modeling Miley's latest fashions.
Since little kids kept tugging on the clothes, one of the manaquins was showing off a breast. (No, I don't have a picture for you.)

Between there and the Hardees was a photo shoot.
You could get your picture taken and have a digital image of Miley added into the shot.
And then of course printed out for you to keep. Oddly free. (No picture here, either.)

Our seats:

We sat stage right up in the balcony.
Despite the height of our seets, they were pretty good since we were right next to the stage.
I started off taking pictures and soon gave up. I don't have a zoom.

The opening act:

Metro Station. I'd actually heard of them before the concert. I'd even heard one of their songs.
Normally that would be saying a lot for the random band that you're forced to sit through to get to the real act, but the lead singer of Metro Station is Trace Cyrus, Miley's older brother.
So everyone already knew who he was.

Now I'm not quite sure what type of audience Metro Station is used to, but Trace is covered with tatooes.
And while I'm pretty sure the band itself is all male, they had these two female dancers that went a little overboard.
Towards the end of their show, Trace had managed to become topless. The girls were going wild.
I think he shaves his pits.

Miley time!:

The roadies eventually got everything torn down and set up.

There were big screens set up around the stage.
I knew that Miley had a habit of rising up out of the stage, and so I was watching the various trapdoors.


The crowd:

I'm going to take a break and talk about the crowd.

Over all, the crowd was great.
They sang, they screamed, they provided camera flashes.
But the people next to us, and behind us, were kinda lame.

When I saw Green Day, we stood the entire time. We jumped, we swayed, we didn't sit.

Despite attempts from Trace and Mily to get people out of their seats, our section remained seated.
Oh, I tried to stand. But standing while the people behind you are sitting is rude. Standing while the people next to are sitting is akward.

So I sat through most of the show.
(Oh, and the people on our row got up and down way too many times.)

Back to Miss Miley:

The openin song was "Breakout", the title track from her first non-Hannah Montana album.
The big screens featured Earth's temperature dropping and an ice age coming about.

A big glacier rose out of the floor and Miley appeared.
On the word "breakout", she heated up the room and melted the ice.

The roller coaster had begun.


As this was a Miley show, and not a Hannah show, there weren't many songs to choose from compared to a more established performer.
She only has two albumbs out, and this last one wasn't a full album, just an EP.
So she sang almost every one of her songs.
The big displays did a good job of showing relevant images.
And of course, I sang along to them all.


I've been to a number of concerts: Green Day, Transsiberian Orchestra, Ozzfest, The Monkeys, The Go-Go's, Belinda Carlisle, and Savvy & Mandy to name a few.

I've never seen a show like this.

There were lights, and flames, confetti, the afore mentioned screens.

Miley flew over the audience not once, but twice. The second time was in a motorcycle!
She flew over the crowd on a motorcycle!

She asended through trap doors more times than I could count.
She even drove a car.

There was a lot going on.
Plus the dancing and the backup dancers.

She even brought some local cheerleaders up at one point to say thank you for whatever charitable things they had been doing.

It was non-stop.

Until it ended.
9:00 and the show was over.

Or not.


The show went on for another 45 minutes or so.
And it somehow managed to get bigger.



Miley apparently enjoys wardrobe changes.

I tried to watch as much of the stage as I could, which meant I wasn't really watching those big screens.
Plus we weren't right up on the stage.
While the choice in clothes seemed slightly off for such a young audience, I wasn't too bothered.

...until I saw some pics.


I had no idea what she had been wearing. Or not wearing.
Not cool, Miley. Not cool.
I've been defending Miley for a while now.
I'm not sure what type of audience she's aiming for, but the audience she has started with Hannah Montana.
The little girls that watch Disney Channel were probably expecting a wholesome Hannah concert.
Hannah's clothes are modest.
She wears pants.
I don't think that Miley wore many outfits that went past her knee (and when they did, they were split way up the side).

No wonder my wife was so offended.

The shock comes mostly from the fact that she's a role model to so many girls.
I hope the parents that were there had a talk with their daughters.

Miley seems to be rebelling against her Disney image. Her first album was "Breakout" afterall.
But she's dragging her fans with her.

While I'm still a fan, still love the music, I'm going to have to keep an eye on who she's turning into, what I'm supporting.

Can someone support two different fan bases? Can Miley the actress appeal to little kids while Miley the singer appeals to older generations?

I guess we'll see.

Images courtesty of here, here, here, and here (and of course, my Prē)
Typed on my Palm Prē

Monday, November 2, 2009


I just got out of a very akward interview.
During the process, I realized that I don't remember the last time I had such a formal interview.

I had an interview about a month ago.
"So you work at Now?
Here's what we do...
When do you want to start?"

Basically the fact that I worked for Now Courier was all they needed to know.

Hired on the spot.

Interview for Now?
Basically I was informed of what the job was.
It's like the HR lady was trying to scare me, and the fact that I didn't run off meant that I was qualified.

There was no interview.
I just subbited an application and showed up for orientation.
And proved I could lift 70lbs.

Sallie Mae?
I said I worked for Citi Cards.
Manager did too.
We chatted for a bit.

Summer of 2007. That was the last formal interview I had. And I don't remember much about it.

Boy was I unprepared.
Not only that, but I didn't actually know what company I was going to be talking to.
I never applied.
They found my resumé on-line and contacted me.

Turns out they want insurance salesman and managers.

I am not a salseman.
It's just not my style.
I have been a manager--back in 2004/5. I managed 2-3 people.

If I'm going to get a better job, I need to learn what stupid questions are being asked.

"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
5 years? I'm just trying to make it to Christmas.

"What's your dream career?"
Not selling insurance.
Do you need a translator?

"How competitive are you?"
I'm more of a laid back kinda guy.

(No, those weren't my answers.)

While I'm rambling, let's toss in some interesting interview stories.

First job ever. Cathy's Wok & Grill.
"So you friend Marc?"
"You Mormon?"
"You like Chinese food?"
"You're hired. Show up tomorrow after 6."

Yes. That's actually how it went.

Years later at Royalty Auto Care:
"So, you're a friend of Tims."
"And you're LDS?"
"Do you know anything about cars?"
"Not really."
And I got the job.

And then this one time I applied to be a banker.

"So what do you think about the phrase 'The customer is always right.'?"
*chuckle* "Well, they're not."
*shocked look*
"Let me explain.
See, in collections, we just assume that the customer is lying to us.
Like the other day, this lady called and I told her that she was 2 months past due.
She told me that she had just gotten back from outer space..."
"Outer space?" *laugh*
"Yes. And while it's possible that she works for NASA, she probably didn't leave the planet.
So I assume that she's lying, but I work with what she gave me.
'So, you've beem out of town. Now that you're back, let's get this account taken care if.'"

For the rest of the interview, the interviewer couldn't stop laughing about outer space.

I need more stories like that one.

Are you hiring?