Friday, June 5th:
- Chris returned, healed! Character-Land is whole once more!
- There was a lot of good-natured ribbing about my swift exit from the theatre the previous night. Rob looked upon me in horrified disgust and accused, “You SHAME me!” I waved a stapler threateningly in his direction. It was kind of glorious.
- We found out that a really, really, really awesome spot was awarded. I DANCE! It’s going to be an absurd amount of work, but it’s going to be so much fun that it’ll be worth it.
- I got to model Audrey Tautou as Amelie!
- It didn’t feel like a Friday at all, but it WAS! Rapture!
Saturday, June 6th:
Okay, this is going to be a challenge. Saturday was miserable. Some good stuff happened: I reposted my ad on Craigslist and got a small handful of responses, for example, filling me with a sense of productivity and cautiously enthusiastic anticipation. But at 12:30 or so, when I got up from my computer to take a shower and get ready for MoCCA, I started feeling lightheaded, overheated, and gastrointestinally distressed. I spent an hour switching between the toilet and a cold bath and desperately trying to throw up. Eventually, I managed to tumble into bed and find some position where my lower abdomen didn’t hurt so much and retreated into unconsciousness.
I woke up around 5, feeling entirely cured, and fixed myself some cereal, as I hadn’t eaten yet that day. However, in the short time it took to assemble the materials, the weakness and discomfort started to return, so I sat down on the couch in hopes being off my feet would help. It didn’t. I brought my computer into my bedroom, thinking I could be fine if I lay down instead, but no joy. I retreated into sleep once more, returning to consciousness around 7. I felt fine once more, but this time, I didn’t even get up from my bed, knowing that discomfort lurked in wait for as soon as I attained verticality. My bed-ridden evening was quite pleasant, actually! Hurrah! My horizontal exploits are detailed below.
Happy things for today:
- The aforementioned Craigslist re-porting.
- Feeling better. There’s nothing that can make us appreciate our health more than a momentary hiccup. I’m grateful that the overwhelming majority of the time, I have energy and the full range of human ability. I have access to clean water and fresh food to keep my body nourished. And if or when my health takes a tumble, I have insurance and access to treatment–heck, I live in a world where Stem Cell Contact Lenses Cure Blindness in Less Than a Month–, and I have family and friends to help nurse me back to health, both local and long-distance. That’s something that certainly qualifies as a Thing to Be Happy About for today.
- And related: There’s a great deal of satisfaction in “out-thinking” an ailment, to be able to figure out “hmm, if I lower my body temperature like this, and lean forward like this, or lie down like this, I don’t feel nearly as awful.” At least this way I don’t feel awful and helpless.
- In the evening, on Ko and Fred’s recommendation, I watched the first two episodes of Leverage. This show is so much fun! I’m delighted to see that it was renewed.
- One of my friends was in a very cruddy place emotionally, so I called her and we shared a much-needed girly gabfest. We also watched the Glee pilot simultaneously, keeping a running commenting over IM. It was adorable! Feel better, friend! I love you!
Sunday, June 7th:
- I took the morning slowly, as I still felt a bit fragile from the previous day. However, I soon discovered that standing up was no longer an impediment. Woo, mobility!
- I checked out MoCCA, my first time attending the festival. I didn’t stay for long, as the combination of being on my feet and the building’s lack of air conditioning threatened to drain my precious stores of energy, but I had a lovely time while I was there. I was finally able to give back to the creators of webcomics I’ve loved so long! I bought trades from Dylan Meconis (“Bite Me”), the inimitably brilliant Kate Beaton (“Never Learn Anything From History”), and David Malki (“Wondermark”). I got a t-shirt from Ryan North of “Dinosaur Comics,” but upon getting it home, I saw it was too big for me. I’ll have to find a medium-sized friend to give it to. :D I also bought a sketch from Randall Munroe of XKCD for pi dollars–I accused him of swindling the public by rounding up to $3.15. I mentioned his strip’s popularity at my workplace, so he redrew the “We’re Rendering” swordfight comic for me. Highly entertaining! All of the artists were a delight to chat with. Time and money well spent!
- Next, I returned home to recover my strength. It was going to be a late night, and I didn’t want to run out of steam early. I watched a few more episodes of Leverage while working on an illustration for a friend.
- Strength restored, I hopped on the subway to Union Hall, the awesome little venue where I first saw Vienna Teng, Christina Courtin, and Jonathan Coulton perform live. My first month in New York, actually! Tonight’s occasion? John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton were performing the list of 700 Mole-Man Names from More Information Than You Require. I ended up being the first person in line, as I thought the event started at 9:15 when it actually arrived at 9:30, and I arrived around 9. Ah well! I met some cool people in line, and we had delightful conversation.
Hodgman and Coulton were their usual quirky selves, Hodgman warning the audience of the upcoming unpleasantness with Snicket-like foreboding. He suggested the audience use the bathroom and purchase large quantities of alcohol before the ordeal. He explained a bit about Mole-Men for the uneducated, though I’m not precisely sure why anyone would choose to be there if they hadn’t at least flipped through his book. Perhaps for the benefit of those being dragged there by friends or dates? Ah well. It was still hilarious!
Finally, the recitation began! Coulton played endless repetitions of the colonial ballad “The World Turned Upside-Down as Hodgman plunged headfirst into what he anticipated would be a 90-minute endeavor. The audience was very receptive, laughing out loud and cheering wildly every 50 names. Every so often, I took minute-long clips with my little Flip Video camera, which I imagine I will eventually combine in an amusing way if I can find the time. I was particularly delighted to be reminded of mole-manic woman #538, “Miss Priscilla Thirtyfingers, a wall feeler.” When your name is as rare as mine, any uses of it by people you admire become a source for much joy.
As the list wore on, I exchanged occasional looks with Jonathan Coulton, mine saying, “I am in awe that your hands have not cramped and/or fallen off at this point,” and his saying, “Me too.” After Mole-Man #600, I shouted out “GO COULTON!”, and all gave him a resounding cheer. Hodgman took this opportunity for another sip of Jack Daniels.
Afterward, Hodgman declared that the event was being recorded for the audio book of More Information Than You Require, and that he was taking our applause at the revelation as consent to our voices being used on the recording. I feigned concern and asked, “Can my applause be digitally removed?” “No, it cannot, Miss Flip Video,” he quipped.
He graciously offered free drinks to all of us that endured the full list, though he winced at the admission that he thought more of us would leave midway. I was sitting near the front, so I didn’t see what the crowd looked like at the beginning, but the room was still mostly packed. Good thing he has those Mac ads to keep his pockets well-lined! :D
Coulton closed the “formal” portion of the event with a song–“Ikea,” by fan request–then we all dispersed. I lingered afterward and mingled with other folks from the audience. One of the folks I chatted with was Sam Potts, designer of Hodgman’s book jackets and mastermind of the Superhero Supply Company and Twitter On Paper. A very creative and motivated guy!
Eventually, the staff ushered us upstairs, so they could close the downstairs stage. Hodgman invited those of us remaining to join him in the comfortable leather seating overlooking the Bocce courts, and he gestured me to sit in the chair next to his, which exploded my little fangirl mind.
Our little group must have talked over an hour! It was a delight. Toward the end, we got on the subject of the Battlestar Galactica series finale, which was particularly awesome. It’s always cool to discuss something you’re a fan of with someone you’re a fan of, who is also a fan of said thing. It’s a sort of conversational equalizer. :D Our group seemed united in its criticism that the notion of an entire society being willing to regress to a primitive culture was difficult to swallow. Hodgman stepped into his exaggerated “John Hodgman” character a moment to comment, “For instance: my character, the brain surgeon, would be unlikely to want to return to trepanning.”
Finally, as 1am came and went, we all started migrating doorwards. We said our goodbyes, then went our separate ways. All in all, it was a joyous evening!
So that was the weekend. I’m now completely behind on everything that’s happened since! I hate to interrupt my run in what’s become a quite faithful daily practice, but I may have to grant myself a week’s amnesty, as the days are running together and I’m having difficulty pinpointing noteworthy events and ruminations for my lists. But let’s give it one shot…
Monday, June 8th: Monday was a struggle. The job I was so excited we’d landed on Friday turned out to be a lot more difficult than I’d bargained for, and we were given four days to accomplish what I’d imagined would be a challenge in two weeks. I spent much of the day trying to wrangle our traditional rig into something very exaggerated and cartoony, without success. Finally, around 6, Eric and I made the executive decision to start from scratch and build a new rig to accommodate the demands of the project. From then on, everything went smoothly!
Tuesday, June 9th: However, despite said smoothness, we still had an insane amount of work that needed to get done! We shanghaied a number of folks who aren’t traditionally character designers for the task, which helped things move quicker, but the prospect of finishing everything by Friday was still dicey. Compounding the time crunch was the sudden revelation that we were running out of space on the server, and Chris and I needed to be diverted to backing up old characters to the library. Yikes! Together, we managed to rock everything out just in time, though we had to stay until 1 am to accomplish everything we wanted that night. We only stayed until 11:30 on Monday.
Wednesday, June 10th: Another challenging day! We could tell that everything was coming together, at least. We were in awe of the amount of work we’d accomplished in a few short days! And to further brighten our spirits, the Gods on High moved our deadline from Friday to Monday. What a relief! To our greater joy, Eric discovered a book online that gave detailed instructions on how to draw the characters we were modeling. I zipped across the street to Barnes and Noble, where they were selling the $30 book in the bargain bin for $9. WIN! The book henceforth became known as “The Bible” in Character-Land. I stayed until 12:15, feeling good.
Thursday, June 11th: We continued work, the Bible showing us just how off-model many of the existing characters were. Our first passes definitely needed a second! Fortunately, I didn’t have to stay late, as my good friend Tex had a show in the city tonight, and I was able to attend! Tex is a ridiculously talenter composer, and he performed a number of his original pieces, accompanied by a woodwind quartet and a cellist. Afterward, we walked back to my apartment and spent an hour or so catching up on each other’s lives. He was staying with his brother, Davio, and his very pregnant wife, Jessica, who live about a ten minute walk from my place. T’was quite nifty!
Friday, June 12th: Work remained workful. I spent most of the day squeeing over Fred and Christie’s Twitter posts, updating us on the status of the birth of their first child. Welcome to the world, Evelyn Violet Hicks! The universe has a new contender for Cutest Baby in the World.
When I wasn’t in baby-squee mode, I was counting down the hours until the Battlestar Galactica panel at the 92nd Street Y. I sprang from my workplace at 6:55 and joined Shecky and Sue in line. We were close enough to the front of the line that we managed to find seats in the second row!
The panel was fantastic. BSG was represented by Mary McDonnell (the iron-ovaried President Roslin) and Michael Hogan (the grizzled Colonel Tigh). I was initially thrilled to see Mary McDonnell and only lukewarm about Michael Hogan, as Tigh wasn’t among my favourite characters, but hearing him speak about his role gave me new appreciation for the role. It made me want to rewatch bits of the show! Mary was even more gorgeous and eloquent in real life, which is terribly unfair to the rest of us mortals. I want her shoes.
The scientists were absolutely intriguing. Roboticist Hod Lipson works in evolutionary robotics and has created several ‘self aware’ robots. The video clips he played for us were mind-boggling–he made me wish the panel devoted less time to BSG, so he would have more time to explain how his robots were able to discover how to walk. The man is the architect of his own Intelligently Designed universe.
Cyberneticist Kevin Warwick works in robotics and artificial intelligence, and has created implants that allow humans to sense the world around us beyond what we experience with the traditional five. In another implant experiment, he was able to control objects remotely with his mind and receive sensory feedback. It was staggering.
Philosopher Nick Bostrom was also in attendance, providing a counterpoint to some of the scientists’ more radical ideas, and drawing a distinction between pop culture urges and scientific realities. Moderating the event was Faith Salie, whose palpable enthusiasm for both sides of the panel kept the conversation going smoothly. All in all, I had a fantastic time!
However, afterwards, when Shecky, Sue, and I headed back to a Starbucks to hang out, we passed an apartment whose anteroom floor was covered in fresh blood. The glass inner-door had been stoved in. We stood gawking for a solid minute, trying to parse what had happened and trying to decide if we should call the police. Just as Sue was taking out her cell phone, we were met by the building’s superintendent, who was even more floored than we were. Meeting him on the other side of the door was a twentysomething girl, standing gingerly on a leg smeared with blood, irately explaining how she had been coming home with her dogs when she slipped on the tiles and her leg went through the door. Assured that we weren’t looking at a crime scene and that the situation was under control, we left.
The scene was still fresh in our minds as we walked away, however. Sue is trained as an EMT, and she watches enough CSI and Dexter to understand blood splatter analysis. We couldn’t help thinking that the girl’s story didn’t match up to the scene we found. Very curious.
Saturday, June 13th: I had to work again. Bleh. 10-7. The day was chill, though, and I had a vegetarian moussaka for lunch that convinced me of the existence of a loving God. Afterwards, I met up with Craig, and we hung out and people-watched for a couple hours to make up for me not being able to support him and the rest of the NY Jedi at Big Apple Con. T’was nice.
And now, it’s Sunday, June 14th! I’m simultaneously relaxing and getting stuff done! Life is good, and now I’m up-to-date on it, even though I can’t imagine anyone but perhaps my father is still reading at this point. Ah, well! At least I feel better about my newfound fidelity to my blog.