It had been 10 years (or so) since the Dark Justice was founded and some 8 years since I joined so I thought it was time for a party. I own my own home now so, after a hectic few weeks of cleaning things that we had let sit since moving in a year ago, the night arrived. There was plenty of food and conversation and I think it went fairly well. Not something I necessarily want to do every year, though. I know my consort wasn't overly pleased. She served food, went to bed for a few hours, then got up and cleaned up. I figured people could well have served themselves but she decided to play something of a hostess. I'll be paying for that should I decide to have another party.
Last year, my line sister Kitara came to visit Dover Peace Conference. This year, I have decided to return the favor and visit her in Seattle. She also invited me to perform the handfasting between her and her consort Ghomersh. More on that later.
On the way to the con we came to a highway traffic signal that warned of debris on the road. When we finally got there, the "debris" began as a reddish streak, evolved into chunks of unidentifiable flesh and graduated to scattered heaps of internal organs and miscellaneous body parts. A truck of beef parts bound for the rendering factory had lost about a third of it's load on the highway. It was quite a mess and an entertaining way to start a weekend.
The partying starts early out on "the coast." While most of the con parties I've been to out here have started at 8 or 9, the party out here started at 5:30. They were a hard-partying group with the room very dark for effect and projection monitor with "Klingon Academy" for atmosphere. Events landed one in the hospital. The reveler had neglected to tell anyone that he was on anti-seizure medication and should not have been drinking in the first place. His comrade, believing the first to have done that intentionally to ruin his fun, attempted to hurl himself off the 4th floor balcony before being hauled back and sent to his room.
So, while they start partying earlier, it also seems to be over much earlier. People were toasted beyond active partying by about 10:30. People were hanging around much later than that but the show was pretty much over.
I had been conversing with various Klingons on and off for most of Friday. I was on the balcony continuing the conversation when someone came out and started "Hey, Kordite. . . " Suddenly, the cry went up "You're Kordite?!?!" Well, it's not like it hasn't happened before. At my first Dover, a similar cry went up as my reputation preceded me.
The wedding was on Saturday. I was the one responsible for getting Kitara involved in KAG and it was there that she met Ghomersh so, in a way, it's my fault. Therefore, it was appropriate for me as Line Leader to perform the wedding ceremony. Conveniently, I already had one written because I would hate to resort to the Paramount version used in "You are Cordially Invited." One thing did survive from that episode to be carried over into this event: the ceremonial beating of the groom by his comrades. The premise is a sort of Klingon bachelor party which consists of three days of self-inflicted torture. To conclude the wedding ceremony, those who took this spiritual trial symbolically attack the groom with clubs. There were no clubs this time but they did have hotel pillows.
You can read my script for the wedding here.
A group of Klingons marching down the hallway came upon a con-goer in a very good squirrel costume. One Klingon, Kaolin, yelled "Squirrel!" Kuge yelled "Lunch!" and the chase was on. Later, the group of Klingons was larger and could not all fit on the elevator. Half of them ran down the stairs, racing the elevator and came upon. . . you guessed it. . . the squirrel. They chased him down the stairs and towards the elevator. The squirrel heard the elevator *ding* and must have thought he was about to make good his escape when the doors opened to reveal an elevator full of nothing but Klingons. Priceless.
And so, the plan is hatched for next year's Norwescon. The Klingons will be pooling their resources to obtain a penthouse suite where will be held the Second Annual Klingon Feast and Squirrel Hunt. I have been invited back, of course, but I admitted that it might not happen because of the expense and time off.
A final note; before the con I contacted QI'Dar concerning the uniform she was making me and she said that she would be able to have it ready for me by Norwescon. She shipped in on the Friday before the con by Priority Mail so it should have arrived on Monday or Tuesday. By the time I had to leave for the airport on Wednesday it had still not arrived. I even called from the airport on the off chance that it had arrived and my consort would still have time to bring it out to the airport but no such luck. On returning, I found that it had finally arrived on Friday. Some priority, huh? It makes you wonder what you're paying extra for.
It does look marvelous, though. It will make it's premier at Dover.
This year required two vehicles. My family had so much stuff to take; tents, sleeping bags, food, clothing, and wood for the campfire that we all couldn't fit into one vehicle. I went up early with "the campsite", having to take the full day off work, and my consort came up later in a separate vehicle with clothing and sleeping bags. We may have to do this sort of thing for a few years until I am able to replace my current vehicle with something with more space. I may consider getting a cargo pod for the roof in the meantime.
For Friday night food, I brought some "Rite of Ascension Chicken." A honey barbecue sauce that is supplemented with a hot sauce rated at 1.5 million Scoville units. I told people that it was really hot but a few stepped forward to say things like "I've never had anything that was too hot." Their response, after trying a piece was "Oh, that's not hot. I've had things that. . . oh my god!" The chicken was very tasty. . . for about 10 seconds. Then it got hot. Really hot. The hot that doesn't go away. And then, just when you think it actually has gone away. . . it comes back. Who needs pain sticks, I have chicken.
As the games got underway Saturday morning, I discovered that Mek'tor, the Dark Justice's Marine Force Leader, had it in for me. In several head-to-head competitions he insisted on being set against me. It may have been a challenge to his commanding officer but it may also have been revenge for the chicken of the previous night.
In any case, I was able to defend myself from his attack in the mace battle, only to be knocked out in the next round. In the sword fight, he was able to finish me off after my valiant effort.
The sword fight was a new event at Year Games. It involves swords made with pool noodles and thin pvc pipe, appropriately katana and wakizashi sized. Most chose to fight with the two weapon style but Mek'tor and I chose the traditional single sword combat. Eventually, he took my leg and I dropped to my knees to fight from there. In previous battles, people had been hopping about on one leg, like the Black Night ("It's just a flesh wound!") but in fighting from the stable platform of the ground, I was able to make a good accounting of myself. Eventually, he got in close and took my head off, so to speak.
I found this to be a much more fun game than the mace battle. For one, the mace battle devolved into a wrestling match, which gives the advantage to the largest competitors. Most of the other games aren't quite so overbalanced as the mace battle and I would like to see that dropped in favor of the swords so that anyone, regardless of body size, has a reasonable chance of victory.
I also want to make additional weapons to add variety. Admiral Kuuriis also dreams of having a grand melee, so I have been thinking about noodle axes, bastard swords, two-handed swords, halberds, naginata, no-dachi and maybe even shields. The problem I've had is that once I started looking for the noodles, they had gone from the stores. I've found a link online but their cost is easily twice retail. I may have to expand my search or wait until early spring when the summer pool things go on the shelves.
Singing the last verse of taHjaj wo' yet again won me a place in the Cry of the Warrior competition. I had intended to come up with something different this year but neglected to assign sufficient time. If I don't have anything different for next year, I will not compete.
I took second in the Klin Zha tournament. Again, most of my attentions were focused on teaching new people how to play instead of focusing on victory. Eventually, enough people will know the basic rules so I'll be able to direct my attentions to improving my game.
For the Great Lies of Battle, Mek'tor and I tended to play off one another. He would tell part of the story and I would pick up where he left off. Our tag-team storytelling won us a shared second place. First place went to a story that ended in a marriage proposal (I didn't realize that Klingons could be so sentimental) and third place went to a drunkard who exposed his . . . well. . . unique undergarment. It was a disturbing sight I shall take with me to my grave but it is was the sort of behavior I expect from Demon Fleet.
The small handful of medals was not enough for me to retain my title as SuvwI' pIn'a'. I didn't expect to, as last year's was more of a fluke. On the other hand, Admiral Kuuriis presented me with a promotion to Captain. Hoody Hoo!
Earlier this year, I was invited (and accepted) opportunities to be on panels at the World Science Fiction Convention in Philadelphia. This is the largest and most prestigious sci-fi convention of the year and normally I would not attend because of the expense. (Pre-reg tickets are over $150 a person). I had gone several years back because someone I knew offered me tickets at half price.
This time, people I knew were on the programming committee and they thought of me.
The first panel I was on was "Star Trek Aliens and Cultures" with Lawrence Schoen (director of the Klingon Language Institute), Saul Jaffe and Jacqueline Lichtenberg. Jacqueline and I were on opposite ends of the discussion but never seemed to actually debate directly. My comments were that aliens served two purposes in fiction; one is to be a "force of nature", things that humans struggle against and so reveal things about themselves. "The Doomsday Machine" is a Star Trek example of this. The other purpose is to act as representations of an element of human culture and so mirror ourselves in a way that might not be otherwise done in regular fiction. The racism between the half-black/half-white guys in "Let This Be Your Last Battlefield" are a good example.
One of the problems I have with Star Trek is that they are not alien enough. Aside from the budgetary and make-up restrictions that put bumpy-heads on aliens, Star Trek seldom takes the time or effort necessary to make an alien culture in any way alien. As a Klingon, I brought up Klingon mythology and religion. The Kahless in "Rightful Heir" was a Jesus figure, "Barge of the Dead" was just a retelling of the Greek myth of Charon, the boatman of the river Styx, and Gre'thor, the afterlife for the dishonored, was little more than a re-staging of a Christian Hell with the same fire, brimstone and upside-down symbolism. The writers make no real effort to explore a truly alien warrior culture and merely cobble together the known Terran cultures of the Vikings and the Japanese Samurai.
Jacqueline didn't really counter this except to say things about Roddenberry's vision and that Star Trek was the first TV show to present aliens. Actually "Lost in Space" came out a year earlier and "Doctor Who" had been on British television for quite some time. She seemed afraid to be critical of Star Trek.
My second panel had noting to do with Star Trek; "Godzilla, Past, Present and Future" with Jim Mann (the panel committee member who got me on the panel), Film critic Dan Kimmel, and artist and Godzilla fanatic Bob Eggleton. I had met Bob at Norwescon and got from him an autographed copy of &quit;The First Men in the Moon" for which he had provided the illustrations. I know a bunch about Gozilla but, compared to Bob Eggleton, I am way out of my league. Bob knows just about everything there is to know about Godzilla including many of the people involved in the Godzilla films. Next time, I want to be in the audience instead of up on stage. I was a mere shadow.
Saturday morning was to be my Klingon Costuming Workshop so I got up early to do the makeup. I had poured a new headpiece and everything so everything would be perfect. Except nothing was perfect. Something had gone wrong with the headpiece and it didn't fit. I'm not sure what went wrong but an hour and a half of work could not get it on correctly. I ran out of time and had to go to the workshop without makeup. I was literally hopping mad.
The class itself went OK. Admiral Kishin, who lives in Philly, showed up and was able to add to things. Attendance probably wasn't as good as it could have been because the workshops were not in the Convention Center with the con or even in the adjacent hotel. It was across the street and fairly well hidden. Even so, I had a dozen people. All my extra flyers and patters were set out in the freebee area and were gone in a few hours.
I was also on several gaming panels with Steve Jackson. I even had dinner with him. That was all pretty cool. For one of the panels, the time had been pushed back an hour. Except that Steve and most of the audience didn't realize it so they showed up and he did the panel anyway. When the rest of us arrived to discover that Steve had been going on for an hour already and had pretty much covered everything, we just had to try to add to the topic and go on for another hour.
If you recall having read the story of the "Prop collecting feddie" back in 1996, you'll remember him showing surprise at my having my Klingon prop collection sitting out for just anyone to pick up. Well, he's taken a step towards my philosophy in that what is the fun of having all this cool stuff if noone gets a chance to see it?
Well, he's put pictures of his stuff up on a website. It's not like being able to pick it up but at least he's sharing a little bit instead of keeping it all for himself. He even quotes me. The next thing he needs to do is kill the music that plays when you enter his website.
|http://www.tasigh.org/kordite/events-2001.html -- Revised: 18 May 2002
Copyright © 2002 Kevin A. Geiselman