Quite a few months before, I had been contacted by a curator at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island in New York. They were opening a new exhibit, a Mission to Mars ride, and wanted science fiction people to promote it. I told him I would see what I could arrange.
There was a tremendous lead time and the date got moved around so I didn't get much of a response. Even so, I told him that I would come up. New York is an 8 hour drive for me but my brother lives on Long Beach, about 15 minutes from the museum, so there would be no hardship there.
I was supposed to go in on Friday for a publicity photo shoot but the press said "Sorry, can't make it Friday. Can you do it Thursday when there isn't as much news going on?" I couldn't and the museum missed out on having a Klingon for the newspaper articles that would appear in Saturday's papers.
Kordite, qar'jagh, pIn'a', HeSwI', patra, and buraD
A crew from Maryland was able to show up and we spent the day doing all the Klingon things we do all over the museum.
I have to say that in a decade of doing public appearances, the Cradle of Aviation museum was the most generous host I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They gave us "run of the place" which included full admission, any IMAX film we wanted to watch and full access to the cafe. We could just walk up, take some soda, chicken nuggets or pudding cups off the shelf with no questions asked. They bought me and my consort dinner on Friday night. For the crew from Maryland they put them up in a hotel. Absolutely first rate.
I was only there for the Saturday but buraD and his crew stayed to be there for Sunday as well.
And, after many years of searching, I finally discovered an excellent makeup remover. One that I should have thought of a long time ago. Dish soap. A liquid dish soap that can cut grease yet is gentle on your hands is a great way of removing rubber mask grease paint.
Dover was hit very hard this year. First, a gas company wanted to purchase the hotel and demolish the Day's Inn and replace it with one of those large gas stations. It looked like the demolition would begin in April, necessitating the moving back of the con into March. I'm sure this in and of itself had a negative effect on attendance. Next, the date that Dover was moved back to was also the same weekend for Galacticon. This probably hurt worse than anything else as most of the people that I go to Dover to see; Kuuriis, K'Jett, Kerla, KwISt and qurgh, were at Galacticon.
In the end, the con was moved for nothing as the gas company discovered that the hotel was built on a land fill making the site unsuitable for the installation of the underground gas tanks. The demolition has been postponed and the sale might not go thorough at all.
And lastly, for those that actually did show up, the whole con was affected by the "CNN effect" as many people spent a lot of time watching the invasion of Iraq on TV.
From what I hear, the room parties were wild. Wilder than anything I'd heard of previously. I, of course, didn't witness any of this because, even the less-than-wild Dover parties are too loud and too smoky for me. How can you converse about anything significant when the music is blaring and you have to shout to be heard. The answer is that you can't. That leaves just smoking, drinking, dancing and feeling up members of the opposite sex. Since I don't generally engage in any of those activities (well, at least the smoking, drinking and dancing parts), my weekend seemed to be an almost pointless trip.
In fact the highlight of the weekend was on the way back when I stopped by a new Veteran's Memorial park in Weirton with a tank, two howitzers and a Cobra attack helicopter. I had a great conversation with the guy setting the whole thing up and took a few pictures. You can see some of those pictures (and some of other memorials) at http://www.geosnapper.com/view.php?coll_id=108.
Pittsburgh has not had a major sci-fi related convention for a very long time. Years back, Creation Con made some scheduling blunders, booking their Star Trek cons against several major sporting events in Pittsburgh. They then had the nerve to be surprised when people didn't show up to their con. Thus, they declared Pittsburgh unsuitable for conventions and have not been back since.
Sure, Confluence has continued but, as a literary con it doesn't draw the sort of attention that a more media con can draw and it's not a great opportunity to walk the halls in costume.
Well, some local anime fans put together a con. And, since I don't have any anime-style costumes, I went in my Klingon gear.
First off, however, I want to state for the record that Ben Nye's Prosthetic Adhesive is mediocre at best. It just did not hold very well. I had been using some Pros-Aide which, while it didn't hold as well as the Freon-containing Medical Adhesive that was banned a few years back, it did fairly well. But, after knocking over the bottle at Dover the week before, I had to get something new. Well, Ben Nye's product isn't as good as Prose-Aide.
Expecting this, I also bought a bottle of Krylon's replacement for the freon-based Medical Adhesive, figuring that I could use that to touch up the spaces that didn't hold right. Even with the Pros-Aide I would occasionally have spots like that on the nose and near the ears. Well, not only did I have spaces that didn't hold all along the prosthetic's edge, the Krylon stuff wasn't near as good as the old stuff. It dried way too fast and left long, gluey strings from the bottle to the brush. I want my ozone-depleting Medical Adhesive back.
Also, the Ben Nye Liquid Latex I purchased dried very thin. Even after two layers it was still thin. That makes it more difficult to work with. In the case of one of the horns on my head, the first layer didn't stick to the second layer and it pealed off. But, with a little white-out, I was able to paint it to look like the skin had pulled away from the bone underneath. I told people I had hit my head on the hatch frame getting out of the shuttlecraft.
Anyway, enough whining and back to the convention.
I have never seen so many cat-girls in one place at one time. I took to calling them Caitians. Some were better than others, costume wise, but most were just a pair of cat ears. One of the best was one dressed as Aisha Clan-Clan from the series "Outlaw Star" (not pictured here). There were also plenty of Japanese schoolgirl uniforms.
Most people appreciated the appearance of a Klingon at their anime convention. Mostly, I think it was because my costume and makeup is very good. There was lots of picture-taking. Only a few seemed to question the presence of a Klingon at their non-Star Trek con, but to them I said, "Am I not allowed to like anime AND Star Trek?"
Klingons and Japanese films go very well together. A common underlying theme in Japanese film is the conflict between giri and ninjo. Giri refers to the obligation to act in relation with other persons with whom one has some particular relations while ninjo refers to universal human feelings of love, affection, pity, sympathy, sorrow, and the like which one naturally feels toward others.
The Klingon Heart of Virtue (from "Klingon Academy's" history of the Imperial trefoil) embodies Honor, Duty and Loyalty. These virtues do not equate exactly to the Japanese giri and ninjo, but there are similarities. Giri equates fairly closely to the Klingon concept of duty and loyalty. These are your obligations to one's Commander, Lord, Emperor and Empire. Ninjo is much more challenging to fit into the Klingon mold. I look at ninjo as being somewhat selfish and, to a Klingon, nothing is more selfish than honor. It is the definition of an individual. The rules that one has set for oneself. The Japanese would place honor under giri but for a Klingon, honor is ninjo.
These slight differences aside, I could well imagine Klingon films being very much like Japanese films, focusing on the challenge of balancing those competing virtues. That, and buckets of blood. And the manga style (more "Lone Wolf and Cub" than anything else) would do well for Klingon comics.
And speaking of that, an artist at the con named Robert DeJesus (http://www.robertdejesus.com/) was creating customized manga con-badges. I could not resist having a portrait done. Hmmmm. It came out unnaturally kawaii (cute). Chibi-Kordite?!?!?! Oh, that is just so wrong.
OK, so that particular artistic style wouldn't work for Klingons. But there is much in Manga that would. The over-the-top emotionalism and action that is common in Anime and Manga would fit the Klingons well. Very operatic.
A picture of me taken at Tekkoshocon has been published in the July issue of Animerica Anime & Manga Monthy. It's a pretty good full-height shot on page 22. And, as you can see, litters of cat-girls. Another interesting observation is that all but one of the other photographs are of women. My Klingonness was cool enough to not only overcome my not being anime but also to overwhelm all the other male hall costume competition. The stage masquerade had some fairly impressive entries but I think the hall costumes show what people really like enough to wear all day.
Click here for full image
One of my websites had an essay on the appearance of the atlatl in "Klingon for the Galactic Traveller." I noted that Marc Okrand had the chetvI' spear thrower but did not have a word for bow and my essay speculated on why that might be. At a June event of the World Atlatl Association at Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Avella, PA, the newsletter editor complimented me on my website and asked if she could re-publish it in the WAA newsletter. My permission was, of course, granted, and I got front page in the July issue.
In may ways, this year's picnic was much like many other years. There was piles of goose poop all over the Carnegie Science Center lawn area. We brought a rake this year to help clear the deficant away. There was also the thunderstorm late in the afternoon that thoroughly drenched us all.
What was new was the discovery after the fireworks that someone had stolen my belt pack. It had my keys, my PDA and my GPS receiver. Needless to say, I was not pleased.
On the plus side, the next day I received a call from a good citizen who had found my belt pack a short distance away from our picnic site. Everything was there except the GPS. That was a $300 cost to replace. At least I got my keys back and didn't have to change all my locks and got my PDA back with all my addresses and system passwords.
Adding all that frustration and the two hours it takes to get home because of the traffic I am considering no longer having the Dark Justice Fireworks Picnic. I have a house with a decent sized yard. I could just have it there. No fireworks but also no traffic, no criminals, no parking hassles, a place to take cover should it rain and no restrictions of alcohol consumption.
In addition to having my GPS stolen on the 4th, I had also recently broken my digital camera (a $170 expense) and my wife's car was in an accident (a $500 deductible). Add to that political garbage at work and I was very much looking forward to the escape from mundane reality that would be Year Games.
After last year's event, I obtained a rooftop cargo bag to increase our portage capacity. We therefore had plenty of space for all the stuff we needed and had room left over to fill the trunk with wood for the fire.
I had made my own foam sword for the Black Knight Challenge and it served me well. The length of the no-dachi style weapon allowed me to take third place. It was a near thing, though, and there was much discussion among the judges as to whether I struck before my opponent. Generally, to get past my sword's reach, my opponent would have to rush me, usually impaling themselves in the process.
I skipped participation in the Mace Battle, again it became clear that it had degenerated into a wrestling match. They should probably just call it the Sumo Challenge and dispense with the maces.
I again resorted to the last verse of taHjaj wo' and again took second place in the Cry of the Warrior. I'll do something different next year, I promise. No, really. I mean that.
The second year for the Grand Melee and a second injury. This time, I took a sword strike. . . well. . . low. A solid blow that immediately sent me to the ground. Onto gravel, no less. As I lay writhing on the ground, my attacker apologized, saying the "lethal" strike was unintentional. My simultaneous blow to the side of his head had been equally unintentional.
I was able to get up and return to battle in spite of the pain. In reality, it wasn't that bad, although two weeks later the muscles of my leg still hurt.
My injury earned me a special medal. One I'd rather not have earned.
The Legend of the Oar continues to grow. Not only has the story of Pete's become legendary at the Year Games Great Lies of Battle, it has expanded. beyond those borders.
Kuuriis told the tale of traveling to Galactacon and hearing someone else tell the story, almost word for word, but with himself as the protagonist. Astonishing. This Great Lie of Battle, which is in fact a true story, has become a lie of mythic proportions. I wish to say right now that if you go to a convention and hear this story, unless the storyteller is me, the person telling the story didn't have this happen to him and doesn't know Pete. Don't let him tell you different.
The legend won me a second place medal.
The Great Lies of Battle story circle closed up shop very early. I believe the Strip Twister game going on in the nearby tent had drawn people away from the campfire. However, when I looked in, everyone was still fully dressed and had given the option of taking a Jello shot instead of instead of loosing an article of clothing. I stayed away from participating because I do not drink, I would have had no choice but to loose some clothing. In the end it was a wise decision because the games ended with everyone in full possession of all their clothes but completely inebriated. I would have hated to be the only naked one.
|http://www.tasigh.org/kordite/events-2003.html -- Revised: 26 January 2003
Copyright © 2003 Kevin A. Geiselman