June 2008

  • Origins 2008: The Visual Record


    A few days ago, while still at Origins in Columbus, I suggested that photographic evidence of my presence there (not to mention some of the bizarre and shocking things I had witnessed) would be forthcoming.

    I am not a liar.

    Fujifilm Finepix J10
    All of the photographs you will see were taken with my new Fujifilm Finepix J10, a camera I purchased at Best Buy on Saturday morning and then forgot I had in my pocket for much of the remainder of the day. My absentmindedness is the reason you do not see even more photographs to shock and amaze, for the opportunities to capture the following events were missed entirely:

    • A raging mob of Pokémon, led by a twelve-foot-tall Pikachu, turned the tables on a group of young children, chasing the terrified youngsters (all aged between four and nine years, by my approximation) through the convention center, muffled shouts of “Gotta catch ’em all!” echoing through the hall as bystanders watched in stunned silence.
    • During a corset fitting, a buxom young woman’s cleavage collapsed in on itself, creating a localized singularity that consumed every scrap of leather and link of chainmail in a five-meter radius before evaporating. Thirty-two seconds after the incident, the Troll & Toad booth quietly expanded to fill the empty space.
    • A group of investigators actually won a game of Arkham Horror. After the initial celebration, all six participants spent the remainder of the convention attempting to replay every move made throughout the game to ensure that they had not somehow broken one or more rules in the course of play. A representative from Fantasy Flight Games was quoted as saying, “No way. No [bleep]ing way.” He then indicated that an upcoming expansion, entitled The One That Makes Winning Impossible, would correct the rules loophole that allowed the victory. Pre-order sales for the expansion have already broken records.
    • SuperDeluxe Settlers of CatanDuring a game of Settlers of Catan, a player expressed a genuine desire to receive wood in exchange for sheep. He was understandably surprised when all four other players began to pelt him with wooden tokens and other small objects.

    I am far from the only photographer to provide a visual record of the convention, and the curious may find additional evidence of strange goings-on elsewhere on the Intertubes, provided they know where to look.

  • Origins 2008: Rumors, Baseless and Otherwise


    You may have heard rumors that I am presently attending the Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. I can now confirm that this is (as of this writing), absolutely true.

    You may also have heard rumors concerning the absence of one Mr. Ken Newquist and whether or not Mur Lafferty was somehow responsible. Though I cannot say with absolute certainty that this has no basis in fact, I have reason to believe that it is patently untrue.

    Finally, there is another dubious assertion that Cmar, M.D. goes around wearing a prosthetic noggin so as to appear taller than four feet and two inches, and that he uses a complex periscopic device to look down upon those around him through eerie, ever-staring artificial eyes. Is this true? I don’t know, but having spent considerable time with the man yesterday I have come to the conclusion that it could go either way.

    Radio IsopodIf you were under the impression that the rumor of the doctor’s false head was the last of the bunch, then I’m afraid you were deceived. It is unwise to believe everything you read on these Internets, even on this very blog. Here is the true final rumor of the moment, one I can happily assure you is one hundred per cent accurate and true: Natalie Metzger, known in some circles as The Fuzzy Slug and in other circles largely overlapping the first as minitotoro, has released the first episode of her fantastical new podcast, Radio Isopod. You would do well to listen to it; you might even recognize a voice or two.

    While you do that, I shall remain at Origins, attempting to substantiate or disprove the scurrilous scuttlebutt as I become aware of it. At some point, I expect there will be photographs.

  • The Sleep Study


    This is about how it went down:

    DOCTOR: You sound congested.

    ME: I am.

    DOCTOR: You still have your tonsils?

    ME: I do; they’re pretty big. 1I wasn’t bragging or anything, I just have large tonsils, and you know what they say about guys with large tonsils…yeah, me neither.

    DOCTOR: Any trouble sleeping?

    ME: No.

    DOCTOR: Do you snore?

    ME: Yeah.

    DOCTOR: I want you to have a sleep study.

    Fast forward to last Thursday, 8:45pm. I’m at the Sleep Study Center (or is it the Center for Sleep Studies?) at Lake West Hospital with various parts of my body (mostly my head) hooked up to monitors and a camera watching me as I lie in bed and try not to think about the fact that in order for them 2Yes, “them”. I don’t know who “they” are, but I wouldn’t be at all surprise to learn that at least one of “them” is someone’s Big Brother. to study me sleeping I first have to go to sleep.

    I’m trying not to think of it because I know what happens: once I make the conscious realization that I have to go to sleep, it becomes nearly impossible for me to actually go to sleep.

    Oh, yeah, the wires aren’t helping, either. They’re connected to my forehead, temple, cheek, scalp and chest. There are also straps around my chest, stomach and both ankles, not to mention (my favorite) not one but two separate sensors in my nostrils, taped to my cheeks and looped over my ears. The whole setup is a cross between light bondage gear and Six Million Dollar Man fetish porn. 3Of course it exists! Don’t be naïve!

    Now I’m trying, desperately trying to get to sleep, and that just makes things worse. It’s like the old “don’t think about purple hippopotami” trick: once it starts, you just can’t stop, and that way lies madness. It doesn’t help that even the slightest move is accompanied by a gentle, tugging reminder that a thumb-thick bundle of wires is running from somewhere in the vicinity of my left shoulder to a contraption that resembles the old electronics kits advertised in the back of comic books (“300 experiments in 1!”) and if I manage to yank out one of the leads the nice lady (nurse? technician? engineer? dominatrix?) will have to come in and hook me up again.

    Thankfully, that doesn’t happen. Neither does the whole sleeping thing, either, at first.

    Did it take me two hours to finally fall asleep? Three? Five? I don’t know, but after tossing and turning for what seemed like the entire night I must have finally drifted off, because I’m almost certain I was asleep when I heard the nice lady call my name.

    There are mornings when I wake up at home and don’t recognize my own wife for a few seconds, such is my state of cognitive disarray. I can only imagine the horror that would have resulted from awakening in such a state to find myself wired up like Geneviève Bujold in Coma 4It’s a movie from the 1970s, kids, look it up. and staring into the face of a stranger. At least I was wearing cargo shorts and a t-shirt and would have been spared the added indignity of my lily white butt flapping in the breeze as I ran down the corridors of the hospital, screaming in terror and tearing multi-colored wires off my face.

    Thankfully, I was well aware of my surroundings when I heard the nice lady call my name and we were all spared the drama. I was also very tired. On a scale of 1 to 10, I gave the night a 3, only because it was very quiet and at no point did a raving lunatic with a nailgun and a cattle prod break down the door and kill me. Apart from those two saving graces, it was one of the worst night’s sleep I have ever gotten.

    The results, they tell me, will be available in two to three weeks. My single greatest fear is not that I have sleep apnea (I’m pretty sure I don’t) but that they’ll tell me there was a minor technical snag in the study—that being that I completely failed to actually sleep at any point during the night—and would I mind terribly coming back in and trying again.

    I think I’d rather take my chances with the nailgun-wielding lunatic.

    1 I wasn’t bragging or anything, I just have large tonsils, and you know what they say about guys with large tonsils…yeah, me neither.
    2 Yes, “them”. I don’t know who “they” are, but I wouldn’t be at all surprise to learn that at least one of “them” is someone’s Big Brother.
    3 Of course it exists! Don’t be naïve!
    4 It’s a movie from the 1970s, kids, look it up.
  • Little Known Fact: Don’t Eat the Dim Mak


    The flesh of animals killed with Dim Mak, The Death Touch, is poisonous and cannot be prepared in such a manner as to make it safe for consumption. Humans, animals, insects and even bacterium that feed on such flesh will expire shortly after ingesting it. This is one of two reasons that the Dim Mak technique has never been introduced to the cannibalistic Korowai tribesmen of Papua New Guinea; to do so would be tantamount to genocide.