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It’s been a couple of years since I’ve written about this. Since Burning Man is still consistently selling out, a lot of us long-time Burners are having to look for new ways to experience they Burn without making the trip to the dust. There are so many people who can’t or have no desire to make the trek back to the desert. So, what is there for people to do when Burning Man being a sell-out event is an issue?

Well, then we get creative with what we do. We obviously can’t make it in to the desert party itself because… well, no tickets.  And you can try to sneak in, but the people who work the gate have spent many years spotting people trying to come in over the trash fence or in vehicles. So, what to do.

Well, because the event has sold out, that means that Burners can’t make it out to the event. Instead of putting emphasis everything pointing to the event in the desert. They now are putting emphasis on practicing bits of Burning Man all through out the year.

Then there are those of us who aren’t going, not because of choice or design but because of circumstance.

Burning Man is starting to get to the point where it’s not really affordable for most people. In this economy where we’re still dealing with companies just not hiring with the frequency they used to. So, what’s left for those of us who have the desire to go, but not the means?

There’s an online refuge for those of us who still want to have a simulated experience of being there and seeing some of the art, but from the comfort and relative safety of your own home. Camp Envy is still going strong. We all gather around our computer, laptops and tablets and watch what’s happening at Black Rock City and chatting in chat rooms. We share the community that we all have come to know and love. It’s a place for discourse and snark.

It’s everything that many of us love about Burning Man, but without having to leave home.

For me this year, I had to take the replacement over the actuality. While I did have tickets for this year, We didn’t learn that we had tickets until the beginning of August, just after we returned from Comic Con. It was too late for us to truly prepare. There were things scheduled that couldn’t be undone. So, we had to give tickets a by this year. This year for me was a bit more difficult. Though, no worse than the last time we had bought tickets for the Burn.

Camp Envy helped me try to make it through this year, which was already full of many trials. It’s been really hitting me this year. Camp Envy has been helping me out this year.

If you’re interested in Burning Man, but don’t want to make the financial obligation to take the huge jump, Camp Envy is a great place to learn what it’s all about. After all, there are plenty of veteran Burners who are willing to share their knowledge. In many ways, Camp Envy is a wealth of knowledge and community.

And I keep coming back every year. The helpful, wonderful people make it worth logging in and joining in on the community.

campenvy.com

A Word About Suicide

ASo, I know that I was going to post about Comic Con, but there’s something that keeps weighing on both my heart and mind. It’s something that is hard to deal with and requires some thought and exorcising. This is something that I’ve had to deal with for a good many years and I feel like I’m better equipped to deal with this than I was when I was younger.

Whenever someone who holds an importance to me successfully commits suicide, it brings back a flood of feelings and memories from when I was a child. When I hear people simplify suicide by saying their a coward or they’re selfish, it brings back a lot of anger and hurt.

Since Robin Williams passing, I’ve tried to work out some personal feelings surrounding suicide, depression and specifically bi-polar disorder.

When I was younger, my mother struggled with bi-polar 2. This is the most severe bi-polar. The mood swings are quite severe. When they’re manic, they’re up for days doing everything in excess. When they’re low, life isn’t worth living. It’s a horrible disease where they can’t control how they feel and it fluctuates radically. This is the household that I was raised in when I was a child.

I lived in a world of instability. My dad worked graveyard shift and was effected by the motorcycle accident where he had a severe brain injury. My dad wasn’t there largely because he couldn’t be there. He was working odd hours and coming home late at night. It wasn’t always that way, but that’s the situation that we were in when my mom was hospitalized.

When it finally happened, I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about it. After all, my mom was being taken away in an ambulance. I had no idea where we were going. I knew my dad couldn’t take care of my sister and I because no one would be home at night.

Of course, my sister and I wound up in a place that was ultimately the worst place I could have gone. A place where I was abused horribly.

It took me many years to be able to start processing my feelings. It wasn’t until Kurt Cobain killed himself that I had to go back to work on these feelings… and they were still pretty raw. So, for the first time, since it first happened, I was faced with dealing with these feelings. I mostly tried to handle it intellectually. Learn as much as I could about bi-polar and suicide. This was no small task back then because the internet wasn’t a huge thing. It wasn’t in every house yet. So, I read a lot of books.

Understanding it didn’t deal with the feelings that I still have. It just helped me look at suicide more compassionately. It gave me a greater understanding of what it might be like.

Then came Robin Williams. It’s a huge loss to the world . It also brought back feelings that I still haven’t quite dealt with.

My mother tried to kill herself, but she was never successful. She was hospitalized for it for about a year. Ever since then she’s been on medication to control her depression.

There’s something a bit more difficult for me to handle. That’s how it made me feel. How it made me had to grow-up long before I was ever really ready to. That I was never enough for my mother. I think in some ways… being able to mourn an actual loss can be easier to deal with. There isn’t this lingering feeling. You’re able to have that closure, even if it’s a tragic one. In many ways, I think that this is probably the start of me never feeling like I’m ever going to be enough ever. It makes me question my self-worth not just to myself, but to others as well. It’s an issue that I have to deal with, but it’s not something trivial.

It’s something I know that I need to work through. It’s going to take time.

It’s Monday. Yay.

That’s right, it’s that wonderful time of the week known as Monday. That time of the week where we have to throw off the fun of the weekend and it’s time to get back to business. It’s a time that is both loved and hated, depending on the person and the job.

It’s also a time I talk about what I plan to get done.

Or in this case, what I might not be able to do.

This week has filled up fast with interviews. This isn’t a bad thing… Well, for the most part. It does mean that I might not be able to put up any new stuff this week. This makes me sad as this is also Burn week. I will attempt to put up stuff on the two days I don’t have interviews, Wednesday and Friday. Friday’s will more than likely be focused on Burning Man and what it’s like being my 5th year away from the place that some call Home. This year has a distinct edge over previous years that I will discuss in that post. So, keep an eye out for that.

I should keep this short as I’m off to an interview this morning.

Until later!

Of course they talked about new volumes of both Bleach and Naruto Shippunden. This year, Viz had brought Junko Takeuchi, a voice actor from Naruto, who signed autographs and took gifts at 10:45 on Friday morning.

Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing

They’re going to be releasing the complete Vampire Knight (which breaks down to Vampire Knight and Vampire Knight Guilty) in to one complete and very nice looking box set. The set looks amazing and comes with some pretty nifty extras. That was released on July 29.

They’re also re-releasing the complete set of Moribito, this time on Blu-Ray DVD. This will be available on August 26.

They have decided to release Ranma ½ in glorious HD. This is something that any fan of classic anime would love. Ranma is being released in very lovely box sets. Sets 1 and 2 are currently available,

set 3 will be out in September.

They’re also going to be releasing all of Blood Lad (the anime). The series is short (10 episodes), but it doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be worth having… especially considering that it’s a satire series. The series will be available on September 2.

They’re Also releasing a box set for Gargantia. It looks like an interesting series. If you’re already a fan of it, it would certainly be worth picking it up on DVD. The set will be available in October.

Viz Media panelists

Viz Media panelists

Viz is also releasing a new Naruto movie for the general populace. The movie is Naruto: Road to Ninja. It will have a limited release in movie theaters. It will be in theaters for a limited release on August 29. Keep an eye out to see if it will be in a theater near you. If you live in San Francisco, it will be playing at the New People theater from 7-9 PM.

And finally, they’re going to be releasing all the Sailor Moon catalog. It will be released in an amazing looking, sparkly box set. It will be a combopak release (so a season at a time instead of individual DVDs for 3 or 4 episodes). Set 1 will be released November 11. Something to look forward to for all you Sailor Moon fans out there.

After all of that information, they also did questions and answers. This gave birth to one of the most awkward and uncomfortable pick-ups I’ve ever seen anyone attempt. A guy went up to the mic to ask if Viz was ever going to release any hentai because he really liked hentai. They told him they weren’t sure, but Viz does release Yaoi. He then used this point to state that he was also single and looking for a special woman.

Comic Con accessories

Comic Con accessories

After he said that, I looked at the girl next to me and we both said no. There was no way that would happen. I have to say, that has to be one of the most awkward pick-up attempts I’ve seen. Who knows, he might have found a girl who shares his passion for hentai. If he was successful, more power to him. To me, it was awkward and uncomfortable.

Of course, this was a lot to have packed in to 1 hour. It’s a lot of information. However, it wasn’t the only informational panel that I went to on Thursday. After hitting the Viz Media panel, I made my way to the other end of the convention center to make it in time to see the Funimation Industry Panel.

Monday, Monday…

Here we are again at Monday. So, what was happening last week?

I was busy mostly with job interviews. Every time I was going to designate writing time or putting together posts for the day, I was waylaid by an interview.

This is not at all bad. I need to get a new job yesterday, so I’m taking all interviews. I’m glad to be getting them. It does, however, make me posting regularly a problem. As much as I love to write, it doesn’t pay the bills. While I would love to just write for the rest of my life, the reality of the situation is that until it pays, I must have a regular job.

So, what would I love to cover this week (and am hoping to actually get to do so)?
Comic Con. I want to put out more of my Comic Con posts. I have so much more to talk about and show. It was an interesting weekend and it’s about time. I would also love to put out more fiction. I’ve been working on more things. I also have a post I’ve ruminated about touching on suicide. It’s not something that’s easy to talk about or read, but it is something that needs to be talked about.

So, that’s what I have on deck. I hope you are looking forward to reading it as much as I’m looking forward to writing about it.

Until later!

A Wednesday Quickie

Just popping in for a quickie post to let you know what’s up.

I”m posting from a coffee shop while I’m waiting for a job interview. This is both relaxing and making me a bit nervous. Partially because  lot of people are oblivious sitting, prodding their smartphones as they see people sitting with laptops desperate for a charge port. I must say this is not my idea of a great place to write. While the background noise doesn’t bother me, the inability to no worry about my computer dying does. I have no idea who thought that his would be a great place to write.

So, here I sit, quickly pounding this out.

I will try to return either tomorrow or Thursday with another Comic Con post.

And possibly another special personal processing post in light of something that happened recently… beyond me having a job interview. Until then.

This Week in Preview

Here we are.

Yup, it’s Monday.

So, it’s a day to take care of things that have lapsed over the weekend.

So, that’s what I’m doing.

Unfortunately, that means the day gets busy, busy, busy… especially when you’re looking for work. Which is the bind that I find myself right now.

*le sigh*

All I can do, is keep on keepin’ on. Try to find some other place to work. And hope that it doesn’t take me another 2 years to find a job… or hope that my writing finds an audience.

OK, no time to mope or be upset. Time to pull myself up b my bootstraps and get it done.

Until then!

Banners around the Gaslamp District

Banners around the Gaslamp District

So, after taking a brief moment to gussy ourselves up for the day, we were ready to head out for breakfast. Because we were staying over by the convention center this year, it meant our normal breakfast spot was a bit further out this year. That is something that we neglected to factor in when we headed out to the Mission. It took us about 30 minutes to walk it. Not too bad, unless you’re on a schedule and hadn’t factored it in. It was also hot and muggy. It was more the mugginess that was getting to me. While I’m used to a certain amount of humidity where I live, I’m not used to it with heat (it’s often foggy to the point of leaving water on the ground). So, that made the walk a bit more unbearable.

When we finally got to the Mission, I ordered some chilaquiles… mostly because they’re tasty, tasty food. It was certainly worth the walk. The food was as good as I remembered it. They were also as slow as I remembered too… so slow that I missed my first panel. I was a bit annoyed with that, but the tasty breakfast made up for it… mostly.

After breakfast, we walked back to the convention center. As I stated, I missed my first panel which was the Shonen Jump panel on Naruto. I was hoping to see it, but breakfast was more important. So, I was sad to have missed it, but grateful for the food.

Marking where the mens restrooms are

Marking where the mens restrooms are

Instead I made my 11 AM panel which was about getting news coverage. This panel was quite interesting. It was largely with making sure your Kickstarter or Indiegogo request for group funding got press attention. In that sense, it was interesting, because I’ve never thought about that aspect of it. I never thought about how it’s possible to get your Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaign and therefore getting people who might back you. It gave me a lot of good information on how to do some better marketing.

It also turned out as an awesome opportunity to network… which is by and large my whole purpose to go to Comic Con. It’s to learn things and to network. Year after year, I give out more and more business cards. This year I managed to do it. Which, is also a good thing about these panels.

After that panel, I made my way to Female Heroes, Then and Now. It wase emceed and one of the panelists created the Heartbreakers comic. They also talked about the fact that the comic was in its 25th year. They also talked about Comic Con has changed in those 25 years, especially that there was greater attendance by female geeks. Not only did the population of Comic Con blow-up to 130k, the gender demographic changed as well.

They also talked about some issues that were effecting women in the geek community. Particularly in the

Some panelists from Female Heroes Then and Now panel

Some panelists from Female Heroes Then and Now panel

last couple of months… which, of course, leads us to talk about Ubisoft and more particularly Assassin’s Creed. It’s a moment that is fairly problematic, and has offended a lot of women in gaming. It’s not an isolated incident when it comes to Assassin’s Creed, but I tell that tale in a bit. They also brought up that the latest writer on Wonder Woman said that she’s a strong female, but definitely not a feminist.

Which lead us to discussing whether we should try to reclaim the term feminism… and the fact that it’s still largely misunderstood by what it means. After that they talked about issues in comics and dealing with diversity. They also covered what had they done to offend others and how they handled the situation, which has been known to happen when working in the media. After all, everyone has done something to offend people in the past. It’s a matter of how you handle the situation. They also talked about sending a creative response. They also talked about sexism in video games.

This Week in Preview

Here we are, once again, back to Monday. This is a special Monday. This is the first time when I’ve awaken and turned on background noise that I not only discovered the TV is on BBC America, but it’s also on Doctor Who… to be followed by Torchwood. I think this counts as an awesome way to wake up.

So, I didn’t post much last week. Here’s why. I didn’t realize how mentally and physically exhausted I was from Comic Con. I spent a lot of time among 130k people. It drains me to the point where I just want to sleep. I know that I keep saying every year that I’m going to pace myself. I think it’s become imperative for me to do so. It took me a week to finally get back to speed.

So, here I am… back up and raring to go. It’s time to get more writing done. So, that means I will keep working on getting my Comic Con report out. I also want to get some more of my short stories out. It’s something that needs to be done. It’s something I feel that needs to be done. So, I will work on it.

What else is there?

Not much else right now. Now is the time to write.

See you again tomorrow!

Every time I go to Comic Con, I always wind up 2 weeks before being all nervous and hectic trying to get everything together. Making sure that we have everything we’re going to need. Confirm hotel reservations. Go grocery shopping. Go liquor shopping. Buy all the last-minute garments that I might need. Make sure I have promo goods. Make sure I have business cards… and so on. It is a lot of prep.

We managed to get our stuff together, all of it. Well, a majority of it. One always forgets a thing here and there. This time, the only thing that I needed and forgot was a notebook… which is easily rectified.

We left bright and early at 3 in the morning… after a whole whopping 0 hours of sleep. It was earlier than our start time from last year. I figured getting an earlier start might have meant missing out on LA traffic.

That wasn’t quite correct. We landed in LA in the middle of rush hour traffic. So, just before we got to Burbank, I decided to find a good place for us to get a good brunch. When I’m outside of the San Francisco area, I depend on a handy-dandy app called “Find Me Gluten-Free”. One of the suggestions the app had been a restaurant called Bea Bea’s. It’s on the border of Burbank and Toluca Lake, about a mile from Warner Bros. Studio.

We got there about 9 in the morning on Wednesday morning. They have a good-sized menu, and they have plentiful gluten-free options including waffles and pancakes. I went with something fairly simple by having eggs and bacon. The food was good… really good. I recommend them both for gluten-free people and people who can eat gluten. The food is good. It’s not expensive. It was worth the diversion.

Instead of travelling straight through downtown LA this year, we decided to go around LA. While that sounds like it should take longer, I think it might have actually taken less time. We saved ourselves 2 or more hours in traffic, just sitting and waiting. We made it to the place to pick up our badges by 1 PM. This year, instead of the ungodly line of traffic there was last year. It was in and out with no wait. That’s a first. It was awesome just going in, picking up the badge, getting ice-cold water and heading to the hotel. I love not waiting to pick up my badge. It was awesome.

After we picked up our badges, we made our way to the hotel. It was a long drive and we were very tired. Of course, there was an expected line to check in to the hotel. While I did wait in a line, it did move quickly. And soon after we got there, we had all our stuff in the room and could begin to unwind from a long, hot drive… including a brief nap.

After a nap, we headed out for some dinner. We hit the Burger Lounge for dinner. It was OK. As far as burger joints go, I still prefer both the Counter and Roam (though I would only be able to find the Counter in San Diego as Roam is local to me). It was a good dinner, but I’m not sure I would call it great.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel and had a couple of drinks at the hotel bar. The bar at our hotel is quite swanky. It’s a great place to sit and have a drink. While drinking we had a great conversation about Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda with the bartenders. The bonus to geek events is that sometimes the people serving you are also geeks. It was fun to talk video games with them. After that is was back to the room and to bed.

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