a few days ago i got a book in the mail:
- a heartbeat and a guitar: johnny cash and the making of bitter tears - antonio d'ambrosio (nation books / perseus)
i didn't order it, so i'm guessing it's a present...probably from my brother. but there was no name or anything connected to it, and no one has 'fessed up or mentioned it, so i'm not sure.
also a couple of days ago i got something i ordered off ebay. it's the canopus advc-110, which is an analog-to-digital video converter. so you can hook any analog video source (vcr, analog-only video camera, etc.) into this and it will convert to digital, which can then be imported onto your computer. there are cheaper devices around to do this, but the canopus product is generally considered one of the best consumer-grade devices. there are three canopus models: 55, 110, and 300. the 300 has extra features but is about twice the price of the 110. i had watched them on ebay on and off for the last few weeks, but last week a brand new one with the power supply (an optional accessory) popped up on ebay as a "buy it now" for $100. the device retails for $200-$250 and the power supply is usually around $40. most of the ones on ebay, used without the power supply, end up going for around $160+. so i am pretty happy to have gotten what i did at the price point i did.
saturday morning i got up around 10am, then went to meet loopylow at a mexican restaurant on airline drive called teotihuacan. the food i had was good. from there we headed up to near intercontinental airport to go to apollocon.
i had a harrowing experience on the way up. i was on my motorcycle following scott (loopylow). just as we crested the 610 overpass on i-45, traffic immediately came to a dead halt. i mean completely. the car in front of loopylow slammed on its brakes and started fishtailing, scott hit his brakes hard, and i hit mine...but i could tell i wasn't going to stop in time. we were in the middle of three lanes and i knew there were cars to my right. i hadn't seen cars to my left so i quickly decided to veer to the left to go near scott, hoping there wasn't anything in my left blind spot (i didn't have time to turn my head or anything). as i started to slow and veer i heard my tires lock up and start squealing, but i managed to pop around him okay. fortunately no one was right behind me to my left so i was able to pass scott and slow down. (i guess maybe it's a good time to mention that when i renewed my driver's license this last time i agreed to be an organ donor.) the rest of the trip up was uneventful.
the main reason i went up to apollocon is because barrett (from technology bytes) and kd5gzi (david -- a radio show listener, irc-er, and geek gathering regular) were doing a presentation on open source hardware and following it up with a workshop on building your own arduino on a breadboard. i find the arduino stuff and open source hardware community somewhat interesting, but i'd never jumped into it on any level. (for example, i've been eyeing the ice tube clock kit on ladyada's adafruit site. not arduino, but a cool build it yourself kit nonetheless.) i figured this was a good way to push myself into getting my toes wet. i managed to be the first one in the group to get my kit to perform its first task: blinking a light. that was really all we were supposed to do, but i went ahead and started playing with it some more, changing it to blink morse code "sos", then adding a bunch of cables to control 6 leds and turn them on and off in sequence, then sweep back and forth like a cylon. i still don't really feel like i accomplished much, but i guess it's small steps that build toward something bigger and better.
the rest of the con reminded me of why i usually don't go to cons. it's not the con's fault at all. i know some people might think i should feel like i'm in my element there, but they're wrong. i used to be into and collect comic books, and i enjoy sci-fi/cyberpunk books and movies (fantasy not as much), and i played some d&d in high school, and i'm into computers/tech stuff -- but most of the people at cons seem like they're just living it all at a whole different level than me. maybe it has to do with my growing up in a small town. plus this was really a writing/gaming con and not a comic con, so even my history with comics couldn't make me feel like i fit in. and while the whole steampunk thing is intriguing, it's not something i want to get into myself. that one chick in the polished silver tight-fitting robot suit that completely covered everything head to toe -- based on sorayama's "sexy robot" work -- was pretty swank though. (and evidently won the costume contest, although i only saw her standing outside in the hallway since i missed most of the contest.) i managed to find two pics of the apollocon sexy robot: solo sexy robot and group shot sexy robot, both on facebook. i stayed around late because i was intrigued by what music dj hawz might play at the party, especially with his really cool poster of a skull with a mario hat on it over crossed classic nintendo console guns -- i was hoping maybe he'd be mixing some 8-bit, glitch, electroclash, etc. -- but while i was listening he played pretty typical party songs mixed with the occasional tip of the hat to geek culture (like a remixed imperial death march, the dr. who theme, etc.).
monday after work i went over to the flying saucer downtown thinking i was going to meet someone there. i got there and didn't see him, so i sat down at the bar and had a breckenridge vanilla porter. i didn't really taste vanilla, but it was pretty good overall. i still didn't see the guy, so i moved on to a southern star buried hatchet stout. (southern star comes from conroe, Texas.) it smelled like coffee, a bit of chocolate, and was pretty yummy. still no guy, but i decided i should probably stop. i got on my motorcycle and started heading home. on westheimer it started raining on me some, but i didn't really care. it rained on me most of the rest of the way home, but never really heavy. i got home and took off my wet clothes...then i woke up in my bed and it was 4am. i'm really unsure exactly what happened after i got home. but after i woke up, i couldn't get back to sleep. i guess maybe i'd gotten at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep already. so i was up very early for the next day.
tuesday i took the bike to work again. when i left work rain was coming in, but i figured i had 30 to 45 minutes before it arrived so i decided to go by taurian. i got about a block or two from them and then decided i wouldn't have time to go in and look and talk to them before the rain hit. so i turned and headed home. i got about 2/3rd of the way through downtown when big giant raindrops started pegging me. by the time i got on westheimer it was coming down pretty hard. i kept thinking i was going to get ahead of the rain but i never did. i was completely drenched by the time i got home. coming home drenched and cold is always a much better situation when you have someone waiting at home for you. when you're by yourself it pretty much just sucks.
tuesday night i made my first trip to the house of pies in a couple of months. a guy who used to be a co-worker that has been living out of state the last year or two was in town, and we planned to meet there for supper. we were there for some time, so i ate supper and then ended up getting a slice of bayou goo.
wednesday between work and the radio show i went back by taurian. i rang the doorbell but no one answered. i waited awhile, then rang it again. no answer. so then i tried the door, but it was locked. i started trying to call their phone number, but the line kept immediately dropping. after the radio show i started poking around online, and i learned that taurian had closed down. after some more google-sleuthing, i found someone that said byriah was now piercing at Texas tattoo emporium. i called their phone number and asked about him, and found out that is indeed where he is. so i decided i'd drop by the next day.
mr. henry: well, i mean, it couldn't hurt could it?
dignan: no, it couldn't hurt. but...well, you gotta weigh the pros and the cons, and you're the one who hit me to that, mr. henry.
mr. henry: shoot, go ahead. what are the cons?