Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Home Alone 2014

Before I get into the main portion of this post I want to mention that Weird Al’s new album – Mandatory Fun – comes out today and that you should go to your local independent record store and buy a copy.

I don’t have a local independent record store, so I’m going to Best Buy. Blech. I also need to get the new Mastodon album that came out last week. I probably won’t even get them until tomorrow because the family is out of town and as it is I feel absolutely fucking terrible about leaving Mister Otis home all day while I’m at work; never mind making any stops on the way home.

Mister Otis is our Boxer. I don’t mention him a whole lot because he’s a very good dog that gives our family a lot of love but is well-behaved so doesn’t give me a whole lot of stories. His full name is Otis Chewbacca Troublemaker. The “Mister” portion was added by our son a few years ago when we got this Christmas ornament with a picture of a Boxer wearing a top hat and a monocle. Maybe a tuxedo, as well. Lil’ Troublemaker said that was how Otis looked when he got dressed up for a fancy party and that on such occasions he would be referred to as “Mister Otis”. Obviously as a result of this “Mister Otis” stuck.

The family is out of town with my wife’s side of the family. I couldn’t get yesterday and today off, so I have been home alone since Saturday morning. That is technically what this post is about.

Photo by Jeanine Munoz
Friday night I attended MarksterCon.com’s Time Lord Party at The Masquerade. I would have preferred to spend the night before the family left with the family, but I felt like this was a significant event and that Earth Station Who – and Needless Things - should be represented there. Nobody else from the show was available, so it was up to me. I’ve been in communication with the guy running the show – Mark – for a couple of months; including recording an interview for ESW.

I arrived at The Masquerade a little after 8 PM with a table and the ESO Network and Needless Things banners. I actually had the Needless Things banner made up several months ago in anticipation of the big Free Comic Book Day event that got sabotaged the fuck out from under me. I never wrote about that because the whole thing was an ugly situation that upset me deeply. Suffice it to say I will not endeavor to plan an event like that again anytime soon.

Okay, well – that’s not entirely true. I’ve already scheduled a dry run of Whose EFF Is It Anyway? for August 5th at the Red Light Café. But that’s a whole other thing. If that one falls apart I might reconsider Phantom Troublemaker’s role in the universe.

So I got to The Masquerade and found Mark, who told me to set up at the upper level bar in Hell. This was not a rude dismissal – there are three different rooms in the club – the ground floor is Purgatory, upstairs is Heaven, downstairs is Hell. That name was more than apt on Friday night, but I’ll get to that. The bar actually ended up being an excellent spot for promotion. My banner is bright and huge and the light I brought with me made it visible from everywhere in the room – particularly from the entryway. I do believe I talked to every person that came out to the party. I definitely talked to every entrant into the costume contest.

I had told Mark that I would do pretty much anything at the party that involved being on a microphone. I don’t know that he really planned on using me, but I ended up hosting the costume contest. Because of that I had the sign-up sheets at my bar location and that turned out to be great because people had no choice but to stop by and talk to me. Everybody there was super nice and I got to see some awesome costumes. It would have been an incredible night if the air conditioning had been working.

Oh, did I forget to mention that?

The club was positively sweltering when I arrived. Outside was a typical Georgia July day and it was hotter inside the club. I asked a barback about the situation and he said that they had installed a new air conditioning system. He said that the Freon unit was charging and that the club should be positively chilly by the time the party started. This did not happen. From 8 PM when I arrived until after 2 AM when I left I was drenched in sweat. I am not good at estimating temperatures with any degree of accuracy, but if I had to guess I’d say the inside of the club was around eighty degrees. Add in several hundred dancing Whovians and you’ve got an almost literal Hell situation in, well, Hell.

I made a joke later in the evening that the point of the heat was to reenact the parallel universe from the Jon Pertwee story, “Inferno”. The number of laughs suggested we had a mostly new-Who crowd. Or everybody was just hot and exhausted.

But I have to give MarksterCon a lot of credit. The party was so much fun and planned so well that even the sweltering heat couldn’t kill the good time. I’m sure there was attrition that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred, but we still had a great crowd all night. The Extraordinary Contraptions played an excellent set that they kicked off with a rendition of the Doctor Who theme. DJ Ghost and DJP both did great jobs with their mixes. All of the tracks were great and fun. 
I often reminisce about 80s Night at The Masquerade. There was no other party like those Thursday nights in the late 90s. There would be 80s music from around 9 until maybe 1 AM, then a different DJ would come in and play goth, industrial, and dance music. The dance floor was packed so tight it took five minutes to get across the room. 80s Night was the event and everybody went. It didn’t matter what social clique you belonged to, you could go to 80s Night.

That’s what the Time Lord Party reminded me of the most – 80s Night. And that’s about the highest compliment I could pay an event. Add on top of that the geeky theme and it was a major party that hit on all cylinders. 
The costume contest started about an hour late. Aside from the interview I was something of an unknown quantity to Mark. I have a pretty high opinion of my hosting skills, but unless you’ve been to MCW or seen me at a con running a panel I’m just some giant goofball in a mask (for who knows what reason). I assured Mark that he could just hand me the mic and go party, but I think he was a little nervous. Eventually things got underway.

My co-hosts and co-judges (I was a defacto judge because nobody else was there) were Jevocas Green from Doctor Who: The Forgotten Doctor and Christina Marie Jones, Bewitched Raven. They are both absolutely delightful people that I adore and I wish we had had more than one microphone and three feet of mic cord between us so that we could have actually performed a bit more. I am fully aware that I hogged the mic and I feel kind of bad about that, but Java and Christina seemed okay with it.

Despite the heat, despite the mic situation, and despite the lack of preparation we had fun and created an entertaining show. I would love to work with those two again.

Of course, the very next day I ended up on a video shoot with Christina, but I’ll get to that.
I left the Time Lord Party a little after 2 – thoroughly dehydrated and exhausted. I can’t remember the last time I was so tired. When I got home I chugged as much water as I could manage, threw my soaked costume on the floor, and collapsed into bed. I didn’t even take a shower.

Side Note: Java kept his Forgotten Doctor costume on all night. It was fucking inspiring. I had my purple and green Fourth Doctor scarf on (and that thing is going to need a serious washing thanks to all of the disgusting funk it got dragged through), but couldn’t manage my coat except for the opening of the costume contest. 
I was awakened what felt like minutes later by my family, who were departing for their trip. I did my best to show love and fondness, but my body was so tired and aching all I really wanted to do was sleep. Which I did for a couple more hours. Then I had to get up for another exciting event that had sort of come up out of nowhere.

I ended up being cast in a Dragon Con TV special as a result of a Facebook post.

I have spoken of Dragon Con TV often and fondly. It’s a major part of Dragon Con that I look forward to every year. I love everything about it – the morning news, the late night weirdness, the live panels, the music videos. And the sketches. Oh, the sketches. The funniest stuff I see all year long is from Dragon Con TV. That’s no hyperbole – there’s nothing like excellent sketch comedy that is aimed directly at your geeky heart. These people understand the geek community and know all of the right things to gently poke fun at, and it’s because they are the geek community.

So the opportunity to be a part of this entertainment entity that I have been admiring for so many years was tremendously exciting. I didn’t even consider the fact that I would be meeting some of the amazing people that are part of DC*TV.

The shoot was at a dance studio in Loganville and almost as soon as I walked up Brian Richardson walked out the front door. If you’ve been to Dragon Con and seen DC*TV, you know Brian. He’s the blonde guy that’s been in a ton of sketches and is the main host of the morning news. He is hilarious. I was a little star struck upon seeing him because to me it’s not just about how much of the world knows you, it’s about how much talent you have and what you do with it. Granted, being known by a huge percentage of Dragon Con attendees is no small feat, but this guy is an energetic and creative force of geek nature. I admire the heck out of that. He was also incredibly nice.

Everybody at the shoot was nice. And so fucking quick and creative. It was inspirational seeing that many creative people just spilling ideas all over the place. I often find myself in situations where I feel like the most creative and enthusiastic person. This was not one of those situations. I wasn’t even in the top ten here. And that was no bad thing. Just being in that atmosphere was invigorating.

I don’t want to talk about what we did because everybody worked really hard and I think this is going to be a great sketch. Since it was in the Facebook post I can tell you it was a bunch of costumed people operating in a call center, so look for that. I don’t even know the full concept, but I can tell you that what we filmed was hilarious. I got to work with these two awesome people:
I had to keep up, you guys. They were outstanding. Chain Mail Guy is a player you should recognize from DC*TV. His name is Jason. I’m pretty sure I recognize the third member of our party as well.

Everybody was great, but the real standouts that I saw were a girl dressed as Ariel from The Little Mermaid and the aforementioned Bewitched Raven in her trademark Pinkie Pie costume. Those two ladies were just unbelievable. They had everybody on set in tears from laughing. Watching the two of them perform made me want another opportunity. It was like, “Oh – that’s how it’s done!”

I had a great time working on that and I hope to someday have another opportunity to take part in Dragon Con TV. Brian had what I think is a fantastic idea for another sketch. Partly because it’s funny, but partly because I would be great for one of the leads.

I spent the rest of the weekend trying to stay busy enough to not miss the family. I put up a new ceiling fan in the living room. This sucked for many reasons:
  1. The only reason we needed a new ceiling fan is because that tree that fell on the power lines in front of our house earlier this year:
Blew out the light fixture on the old one. And of course you can’t just replace the light fixture on this type of fan.
  1. Installing a ceiling fan sucks, especially doing it by yourself. You end up spending several hours with your arms over your head, either holding a heavy thing or turning screws.
  2. The cretins that built our house put short, little wires in the outlet box for the living room fixture so it is very difficult to splice them.
I also put up some new shelves and reorganized most of the toys, books, and movies in the house. Well, I started reorganizing those things. I will be trying very hard to finish tonight before the family gets back home tomorrow. I really don’t want Mrs. Troublemaker to see all of these books all over the floor.

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