Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pics or it didn't happen

Walking into the Worldcon is truly an eye opening experience. It wasn't the cool displays, of which there were many. The many writers and artists present are certainly wonderful to talk to. People watching is very nearly a hobby of mine. A Scottish Highlander standing next to a Renaissance noblewoman doesn't phase me in the least. Seeing everyone dress up made it feel like a parade. But the thing that made me smile the most was being around like-minded people.
Folks came up and talked to me as if they'd known me for years. In turn, I shared more of myself with those people who struck up the conversation. What it boiled down to was a bunch of individuals sharing what they like and love with others.
While taking a break in the con suite, I made a new friend. By trade he is a chemical engineer and had been invited to sit in on a few panels.
"Excuse me, may I sit here?" Two strangers who broke the ice over what time the next panel began. Sort of like speed dating, our conversation went from sports to religion to food to cities. Two guys from different states, different walks of life. As we parted to go our separate ways, I recommended the German deli down the street. Then I had to jump once more into the fray.
Chaos machine: Now with tracks

 Round and round she goes

Calling this work, is like Tom Sawyer and his fence. It may have started with another guy and myself, but more people joined in the amateur engineering experiment. Basically, this is one big pinball machine. Marbles get their start on a pendulum or a chain carrying them to the top of this contraption. From there, a variety of ramps, switches and gears allow them to descend.
Next up: The fanboy stuff.
The unhappy Chimera

Autographed by Phil Foglio
 The first time I met Howard Taylor was seven years ago. His web comic, Schlock Mercenary, is part of my daily routine as much as my morning coffee. To give you an idea of how popular this guy is, I'll tell you whose written the introductions to his books. David Brin, Ben Bova, Laurell K. Hamilton to name a few.
If you have to ask 'who are those people?' then I humbly suggest you put those names into a Google search and prepare to be amazed. Howard's artwork and story telling have only improved with time and practice. We're becoming friends and that's a good thing. He's a neat guy who I really admire.
The next picture is of a board game called Robo Rally. To my knowledge that particular game is no longer being produced. The artwork was done by none other than Phil Foglio. Having only just met the man, I've been a reader and followed his work for over 20 years. After saying our hellos, I wanted to show him the game and let him know I still run it at our cons here in town. The look of astonishment that came over his face confused me at first. He hadn't seen the game in quite a while either. All he said was, "Where's that pen?" He autographed it right there and then without my asking. That alone spoke volumes about him. I thanked him and shook his hand. That alone would have been enough for me, but by taking it to the next level, going beyond what was expected, only raised my opinion of him. What a class act.

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