Content from 2013-04
I met up with my guides around 11, and we made it down to the south side, where the McCormick center is located by a not before 12:30, when we finally made it into the hall.
It was enormous in there.
I have never seen so many little action figures, toys, and comics in one place. Not to mention the art, which was all sorts of styles I don't get to see enough, sporting all permutations of popular game characters and styles. There certainly was no want of things to buy.
Some of it was really creatively done, but I think in retrospect, with the afterimages of star trek medallions faded from my eyes, a lot of it was crap based on popular shows and comics. This is probably just my mental image of the event not lining up with what it actually was supposed to be, but I would have loved to see more original work there - less of the industrially produced story and some of the greater breadth of storytelling that has been gaining fame in comics lately.
Even the panels had a lot of a corporate feel to them. The first one I visited was on role playing and tabletop games, and what was supposed by the three panelists to be new and exciting in them. They did have a few honest suggestions, which I'm hoping to look into, but after the first run through the panel died the death of industry talk and made up business speak that I hated when I worked at SAP.
The second panel, though, was on censorship and comics, and was far and away the most interesting thing I witnessed that day. There, I heard about rulings as recent as the 80's, when an artist was told he was not allowed to draw - complete with random house checks by the police to make sure he hasn't been drawing. The artist was Mike Diana and the comic that landed him in trouble was called boiled angel. An earlier comic battle was back in the 50's, when Bill Gaines testified in downtown NYC that horror comics were not obscene and should be allowed to be sold as they were. Unfortunately, public opinion was against him and led to strict rules on what could be printed in comics for decades. The speaker was from the comic book defense league, and was a great speaker.
Finally, to end on a question, it was exciting to see all of the costumes at the show. People obviously took a lot of time to design and make them, and it was fun to have superheroes and demons walking around, but there is obviously a gap between the genders in skin shown and body parts on display. I certainly have no problem with anyone wearing a revealing costume, I just worry about the double standards that are obviously there somewhere, and I hope that gap will close somehow in the near future. We need more brave men in sexy costumes, I think!
While I'm excited about the future and the work I'll get to do, I'm now faces with for months until I go, and what to do in that time. Certainly don't of it is to breathe a sigh of relief that I have a job waiting for me, but after that congress the doubt and uncertainty.
Having not worked for a while, I feel anchors about going back to a work environment, even one as open as academic research can be. When you've been unemployed a while, you go out less, because you can't afford to eat out, or go out for drinks, and so you see less of other people as a result.
Can I still deal with criticism? How long will it take to get used to working with other people again? I know these problems will sort themselves out, but there's still doubt and fear even now as I'm happy to have a chance to do science again, something I thought was slipping away from me.
Fear and doubting aside, realizing how much socializing can cost was disappointing, as was realizing how few ways I knew to do it. Lately, I've been spending more time trying to think of good ways of guttering people together with less of a buying things aspect, and I'm hoping to have more game and movie nights, as well as language practice nights in the near future.
In support of making the game, I've been using the waveform file format (.obj) for things I'm working on in Blender. I'm not entirely happy with the obj loader, which is currently living on github, but still subject to tremendous revision. To work with that, I've just begun working on cl-tga, which loads tga images. It seems that obj files use mtl files to describe surfaces, and they in turn use tga files to hold the textures. I haven't written anything to read a binary file format before, so it's been interesting.
It only took me a day to get things almost right, but they way in which it's currently wrong is amusing.
You'll notice that it's the same image repeated three times, but in each one the marbles are different shades. For some reason, it's drawing the red, green, and blue as separate images. Here's the file it's loading from:
As much as it's frustrating to write all of this infrastructure, I'm hoping it'll make the barrier lower for other people who want to use lisp for games like this.
Today I finished my first foray into home appliance repair! Apparently, the most common point of failure by far for rice cookers is the thermal fuse, which seems to be hidden along some wire inside the cooker.
I found mine in a piece of plastic shielding near the edge of the casing, presumably where the 142 degree tripping temperature would indicate a serious problem and stop the machine from seeing things on fire. Thankfully, a YouTube video had all the answers, and, having located the little device, it was a simple matter to get another from my local radio shack and replace it tonight. Now I'm watching its lights flow again, and it's starting to steam. So, as long as it doesn't catch fire, I think I can count my first repair a success.
It's empowering to be able to fix the machines that work for you. I find myself hoping that something else fails soon so I can learn how to fix something else as well!
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