I’M GONNA WATCH IT!

You Can Fix It!

I’ve been hyped up for Wreck-It Ralph ever since I saw the first trailer.  While Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was a fun ride, it was more geared toward the NES kids that are just a hair younger than I am.  Tron and Reboot gave us a look into the ‘world inside the computer’ but Wreck-It Ralph is a love letter to the arcade games many of us dropped numerous quarters into back in the 70s and 80s.

The story centers on the titular Wreck-It Ralph, a “bad guy” from a fictional early 1980s arcade game who has grown tired of playing that role for the last 30 years.  He attends group sessions with other bad guys including such heavyweights as Zangief from Street Fighter, Kano from Mortal Kombat, Neff from Altered Beast and even Clyde (the orange ghost) from Pac-Man.  In an effort to become a hero he jumps into other games, eventually putting the arcade in jeopardy.

Disney has even gone through the trouble of making fictional posters, TV commercials and even real “Fix-It Felix Jr.” arcade machines.  I can’t wait, because the movie just feels right based on what I’ve seen in the trailers.  Those of us old enough to remember when arcade games were video games should probably watch this movie, it looks to be a fun one.

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Holstee and Me

Or at least, watch less.

“If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV,” the saying goes.  The phrase comes from the Holstee Manifesto, which in itself is a pretty good read.  I don’t quite agree with it completely, but that’s a discussion for another time.  At first, I thought: ‘Well, that phrase could also apply to video games these days.’  I got wound up and prepared to write a blog post about how people need to turn off their consoles, unsubscribe from whatever MMORPG they had become addicted to, get off their duffs, and start doing something.

The more I thought about it, the more heavy-handed I knew it was going to be.  Before I could start writing, though, I thought about the phrase just a little more, particularly in relation to my own creative life.

I had cut back on watching television several years ago; it was one of the consequences of having worked the phones at a cable company listening to TV addicts wail and gnash their teeth for 40 hours a week.  My television watching had been reduced to news, weather and sports.

A few years after that, I joined a couple of other San Antonio folks in starting what came to be known as First Storm Manga.  I also started writing fiction; I had long wanted to write a book about my experiences in technical support, but had never attempted to write fiction before.  I liked it, and eventually decided to try my hand at self-publishing my stories in ebook format.

Unfortunately, I also ended up taking on various ‘side projects.’  I joined a band, became editor of a video game website, and First Storm began to take up more of my time.  At the same time, I was trying to keep up a blog, podcast, and work on my writing. I eventually found myself spending more time on other people’s projects  and less time pursuing my own.

A few months ago, I decided to cut back on those “side projects.”  I had already left First Storm, so I quit the band, left a group that was putting an event together, and reduced my role at the game website.  My focus would be on my own writing, and that would be it.

I will be stepping down as editor of Original-Gamer.com at the end of November, and I wish OG and the crew nothing but success as I pursue my goal of being a writer full-time.

Back to the saying.  I thought it over, and felt it would be a bit hypocritical of me to say ‘stop playing videogames’ when I still play them myself.  I also still watch television, just not as much.  Then it came to me:

It isn’t a matter of “stop watching TV” or “stop playing video games.”

It’s a matter of “Stop letting other things get in the way of your dreams.”

Now get off your duff! 🙂

11 Things I Noticed After Oklacon

I would drive one thousand miles…

Of course, now that its all said and done, one last list.

  1. I heard more conversations about DnD this weekend then I have in my entire life up to this point.
  2. Not sure which is worse: watching the Dallas Cowboys nearly blow the game on TV or hearing them nearly blow it on the radio.
  3. I put 1,000+ miles on the Excelsior during the trip…whew.
  4. Three days of sleeping on the ground made me really appreciate my bed.
  5. I was fortunate enough to have only encountered one raccoon.
  6. No matter how tired I am, no matter how many hours I’ve spent on the road, no matter how badly I want to get home, there’s always time for a stop at Buc-ees.
  7. Gas at Buc-ees was $2.99 a gallon for regular unleaded, WOW.
  8. The logjam I hit on I-35 South going home had me wishing I’d taken 281 instead, ugh.
  9. RED DIRT EVERYWHERE GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF
  10. Lesson learned: if I come back I’m getting a tent spot away from the bathrooms and the campfire.
  11. I am so glad I took Monday off from work to recover.  After what happened the last time, I almost stayed home!

40 Things I Noticed During Oklacon

Have some corn squeezens!

I’ve never been to an outdoor convention before, nor to Oklahoma, so Oklacon promised to be a different experience.  Indeed it was!

  1. Parking on top of the hill made me appreciate having a Honda CR-V instead of a Dodge Neon all the more.
  2. Standing in the slow registration line wasn’t all that bad after 7+ hours on the road.
  3. I was a little worried about finding a decent radio station, then realized I should have been more worried about reception.
  4. Apparently only loud people stay up late at night…argh
  5. Chopping wood in the middle of the night?  SERIOUSLY?
  6. I know darn well there’s no signal, but I keep checking my phone. I may have a problem.
  7. About the only thing I could do with this phone was update this list.
  8. As is the custom, Artist’s Alley was located in Mos Isley.
  9. The hard ground kept me from sleeping at night, but at least I was warm. /shrug
  10. There were no smut writers at the artist’s meetup, or at least none willing to own up to it.
  11. The weather was pretty nice once the chill got out if the air…unfortunately it got a little too warm on Saturday.
  12. Doesn’t seem to be much concern about ‘breaking the magic’ here…then again there isn’t a ‘headless lounge’ either.
  13. I enjoyed the ‘Furry common sense’ panel, learned a lot of ‘good to know’ information.
  14. Love the little ‘codes’ they put on the badges.
  15. They had ‘predator’ and ‘prey’ designs for the baseball caps, clever.
  16. Bears are omnnivores, so I could go either way…fark it, I bought one with a predator design.
  17. Someone reportedly got cactus needles stuck in their hand, not sure if there was a mouse available to assist.
  18. What would a ‘redneck’ fur like Mr. Drunky up there be called?
  19. Bad Science was DEPRESSING, though Dr. Nuka kinda turned it around at the end
  20. Favorite new phrase, heard during Bad Science: “Animal Malfunction”
  21. Got my first badge commission done. I liked it, and I paid for another one.
  22. I really need to establish a fursona, the second artist I purchased a commission from had all these questions and I was all “I DON’T KNOW!”
  23. Some guy called me ‘Ed’ and totally confused me until I realized it was on the badge I had commissioned and was now wearing.
  24. Nothing like thinking you lost your wallet to make for an exciting evening.
  25. One benefit of being an early riser is there’s always hot water in the shower.
  26. Big thanks to whomever left the giant bottle of body wash in the showers.  Not that I was out, but ‘fresh mango’ wasn’t quite the vibe I was going for…need to check the label next time.
  27. I woke up on Saturday morning to find someone asleep on top of a hill…WTF?
  28. Finally realized what I had forgotten to bring: A roll of toilet paper.  Granted, they had plenty, but still, I always feel better having a spare roll.
  29. The bathrooms got progressively worse and worse as the weekend progressed, but I’ve used outhouses, so no biggie.
  30. Second thing I forgot: an air mattress.  I sleep on my side and my hip bone was constantly touching the ground as I slept…ow!
  31. The Mini Moon Pies were okay until the sun came out on Saturday,  oh well.
  32. Trebuchets are cool.
  33. Everything felt inverted: I eventually purchased a badge to identify myself as being straight.
  34. The fursuit parade got moved FORWARD an hour? They know we’re OUTSIDE, right?
  35. Never been to a con that had two fursuit parades, so that was cool.
  36. Sat in on a International Anthropomorphic Research Project group chat and learned a little bit more about myself.
  37. Someone made an interesting point: we use funny animals to entertain our children and expect them to forget about them once they grow up.
  38. When I heard they were making stone soup, I got a mental image of people throwing Cheetos, Pocky and M&Ms into the pot.
  39. Judging how much heat is coming out of a propane stove in the middle of the day is tricky.
  40. When the wooden handle on your saucepan catches fire, there’s too much heat.

20 Things I Noticed While Driving to Oklacon

Smiles?  What? Oh, its FIVE MILES, derp

My trip to Oklacon 2012 is now over and I had a fun time.  Due to a lack of access to the tubes while I was there, everything is going up late, so ‘bear’ with me as I get caught up. 🙂

  1. I have to start off with the oddball store names I saw on US 281: “Aristacats,” “City Drug,” “Mr. Cut Rate,” “Stop-n-fetchum,” and “Feedlot Restaurant.” Best one? “Scooter’s Adult Bookstore.”
  2. If you are in a small town, isn’t it presumptuous to call yourself a National Bank?
  3. Taking the scenic route was a good idea, lots of beautiful country to see.
  4. “Mountaintop Land Bargains” – not sure if company name or actually selling land on mountain tops.
  5. If the speed limit sign outside of a town has a red border around it, it means they ain’t fooling around!
  6. Best thing ever: “Pie happy hour”
  7. I was so happy to finally see a “Speed Limit 75MPH” sign.
  8. I think my heart skipped a beat when I first realized my cell phone signal was gone and it wasn’t coming back for 3 days.
  9. Passed by a store called “The Store.” And I thought the HEB marketing department was lazy.
  10. I’ve seen town names on water towers, but a silo?  I guess you have to work with what you have.
  11. Stuck behind a slow pickup after about two hours, surprised it took that long.
  12. A restaurant named “Hamburger Hill?” REALLY?
  13. I saw a bunch of classic cars pass by at a stop light in a small town.  It must have been Homecoming Night.
  14. Cutting horses?  Its a cry for help, methinks.
  15. Dear Dairy Queen, please make all of your restaurants like the nice one south of Mineral Wells. Thanks.
  16. “Keep Mineral Wells crazy?” Maybe they should have a furcon. NOTE: The next few are after I entered OK.
  17. “Bridge ices before road?” Thanks for the science lesson, roadsign.
  18. A lot of casinos here, hmm.
  19. Dafuq are ‘jake brakes’ and ‘engine brake?’
  20. When I first saw a 25MPH speed limit in a little town, I expected to see a horse-drawn buggy somewhere. I never did so I concluded that they were just being jerks.

Oklacon 2012 Journal #3: Road Trip!

I will drive 500 miles

One of the bigger challenges of my trip to Oklacon is going to be the drive: according to Yahoo Maps, the shortest route from San Antonio is more-or-less a 500 mile straight shot up US Highway 281 to Roman Nose State Park.  While I will be bypassing the messes to be found in Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, there will instead be lots of stopping at lots of small towns along the way.

Being from a small town myself, I’m okay with that.  It is going to be nice to be out on the road seeing things besides gas stations and fast-food joints.  Also, given my intolerance for spending long times in the car, there will also be plenty of opportunities to stop for rest, drink, food, and attending to certain biological needs. 🙂

This will be the first true test of my new vehicle.  Just going to Houston was a pain in my 2005 Dodge Neon (aka The Reliant) and I was not looking forward to taking longer trips in it.  I’m hoping that the increased interior space and more comfortable seating found in my 2012 Honda CR-V (aka The Excelsior) will make the trip more pleasant.

The thought of the fun to be had at my destination should be enough to keep me going, but if all else fails, there’s always coffee.