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Soooo...

Saiderin
Yeah, in case anyone's still reading this at all, please accept my humble apologies.

I've pretty much abandoned LiveJournal.

All I have time for is Facebook, and it's doing what I need for the most part. Combine that with my (hopefully) upcoming radio show and the accompanying video blog that I'll be doing through Livestream, and that's about all the social networking I can manage anymore.

My Shaintar muse is kicking my ass, and I am getting a lot of writing done. The day job with OneBookShelf continues to be the dominating force of my days.

And I am building my new life with my new family as we enter 2010.

So, yeah.

I'm not shutting this down, but I really don't expect to be doing much posting here.

Come find me on Facebook, gang.

Cheers!

[WeddingCon] Update 10/21/2009

Love is a Journey
(Cross-posted from the WeddingCon site)

Yeah, I know, it has been a very long while since I last updated this thing. Life has been going at a million miles an hour, to say the least, with lots of changes.

One thing that hasn't changed, though, is our going forward with this wonderful craziness we call WeddingCon!

We finally have something like a schedule, so here goes - 

 

FRIDAY DAY

"Come Together, Right Now, Over Drinks."

Over the course of the day, good friends and colleagues will gather at the Cobb Conference Center. We hope to have some decent snacks and drinks (of both varieties) on hand early on. Lots of meet-and-greeting going on for the most part.

 

FRIDAY EVENING

"The Big Shaintar Game and Other Shenanigans."

Friday after dinner is meant to be a gathering of Shaintar fans, old and new, in one of those massive epic event things I'm pretty well known for. Everyone who wants to play will be welcome. Those who have existing characters will be encouraged to bring them (or send me info so I can recreate them for you); those who've never played before will have pre-generated heroes to choose from.

Note - I've picked up quite a few techniques for running "Big Epic Games" over the years, and I think this will be one of my better ones. I intend to do something rather dramatically different in this one...

All those who aren't keen to play in a giant RPG/Battle event will have quite a selection of other games to select from, including at least one decent poker set.

There will likely be an area set aside for just "lounging" with some cool tunes playing. As well, the folks from Play On Con are planning to set up Rock Band for folks to just go nuts with.

 

SATURDAY DAY

"The Main Event!"

At 2:00 pm, Eastern, the main ceremony will occur. The details are yet to be outlined (I am waiting on my lady and her folks to get all that worked out and into my hands). 

What I can tell you at this point is the following:

  • The event is a handfasting, not an actual wedding. This is important for all the legal reasons. Spiritually, we are bonding just as tightly and just as eternally.
  • The lead singer of the wonderful Molly Maquires, Marc Michael, is scheduled to perform the ceremony.
  • The ceremony doubles as a Costume Contest; what you wear to the event will be judged by a select group of folks in attendance. Currently the three categories in consideration are Most Evocative, Most Creative, and Best of Show.

Following the Ceremony will be much wooting and what-not, followed by announcements about the Costume Contest Winners. Clothes changing and other necessities will call for a break, which will also be time for the Mollys to set up, as they are the Main Act for the "Reception" portion of the day. There may be a few other performances in the mix there, too, depending on who wants to do what at that time.

 

SATURDAY EVENING

"The Revenge of the Nerds Dance Party."

DJ Cat Ninetails (AKA Amber Ginsburg) is slated to spin primarily 80s Dance Tunes for your dancing pleasure while we party the night away!

Those not really digging the party scene will have places to lounge, and I suspect there will be games afoot in another space as well.

 

SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY

"The Dead Dog Day."

What with folks checking out and leaving throughout the day, we're pretty much planning on folks eating whatever's left of the food, hanging out with new and old friends, and saying goodbyes. Those who are hanging out for the day may well end up doing some gaming of some kind (but I imagine brain-deadedness will be the real order of the day).

Those of us still hanging around into the evening will probably go get dinner somewhere.

 

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?

I am extremely glad you asked!

  • Reserve a hotel room! Our cost on this thing is directly tied to how many rooms are stayed in, so please get those rooms reserved. That will be a huge thing for us. At $45 a night, it's a pretty sweet deal!
  • Become a Member of WeddingCon. The event is inherently free, but we are asking for donations (in lieu of wedding gifts). Every little bit will help; otherwise, we are going to be left with a rather steep bill at the end of it.
  • Bring Stuff! This thing is under classic S.R.O.B.Y.O.W. Rules, which stands for "Standing Room Only, Bring Your Own Whatever." We don't have any kind of "catering" set up for this, so we are really hoping eveyrone will bring stuff to share, pot-luck style. There's a kitchen in the facility where stuff can be kept cool. It would also be great if someone could bring heating plates, a small microwave, or similar items. Betty Morgan is going to be helping to organize a lot of this, so look for more information on here (and in other info places) soon.
  • Mostly, just show up! We want lots of people to come and have a good time and help us celebrate in a style we think is fairly unique, even in the geek culture. If this is a big enough success, we may well turn it into a regular event.

That's what I have for now. As always, thanks to Gayle and Michael Reick for hosting the www.weddingcon2009.com site (and putting it together). Thanks to Play On Con for stepping up with game help, as well as Lee Maile, who is planning to bring a significant number of board games. Thanks to Betty Morgan for stepping up to organize, and thanks to all the game companies who have offered prize and other material support!

All for now, and I hope to see many of you soon!

 

- SPF

Contemplative
So when putting together something like this, it's a good idea to have a solid branding message. I think I've come up with one.

The Eclectic Power Board

The things we think about. The dreams that power us.


For the show-opening introductory piece, I am thinking of the following (voiced as a nice, semi-sexy, not-annoying answering message kind of thing) -

“You have reached the Eclectic Power Board, your source for creative ideas, geek interests, and 21st Century zeitgeist in the Huntsville and Tennessee Valley region. For science and spirituality, games and fandom, speculation and skepticism, sci-fi and fantasy, media and politics, and whatever else catches our collective, eclectic interest, please hold for your host, Sean Patrick Fannon. Once again, you have reached the Eclectic Power Board.”

I've also come up with a decent list of ideas for shows.

In no particular order (except the first one, which is the proposed pilot show):

The Real Revenge of the Nerds. What is a geek? What makes geeky things geeky? And have we really taken over the world?

Bagpipes, Fiddles, Beer, and Kilts. Celtic stuff – why is it so enduringly hot?

Bloodsucking Heartthrobs. Wherein the Cult of the Vampire is exposed (or at least tiraded on).

D&D – People Still Play That? The inevitable discussion about tabletop RPG gaming.

New Age Faith from the Olde World. Pagans, druids, heathens, wiccans, and a discussion about the whole mix and its parts.

Turn Up the Steam. Steampunk – what is it, where did it come from, and where is it going?

The President Geeks Elected. Politics and NewMedia, and how the latter is affecting the former in all kinds of ways.

Love & Rockets. Let's get into the Space Center and see what's going on there!

Not-So Socially Awkward. What is “geek chic?” “Nerd hot?”

What the Filk? Fandom's strangely popular-yet-perplexing music form.

The Local Con Game. Exploring the Alabama and Tennessee Valley convention scene.

Welcome to Tech Town. Huntsville is considered one of the top places in the country for tech jobs. Let's talk about why, and who the big players are.

Redstone: Should We Be Scared? The Redstone Arsenal is a major fixture in the area. Let's find out what's up with that place. If we don't get shot or “disappeared.”

Mike Seyver VS Darwin. Kirk “Growing Pains” Cameron goes after Darwin and science. Let's explore this... whatever it is.

Sci-fi Fly-by. What kind of UFO culture do we have in the area? What about other “freaky phenomena?”

Hear ye, Here ye! Medieval and Renaissance groups and events in the region, and a general discussion about the enduring popularity of such things.

Who Ya'll Gonna Call? Ghost hunters in the local and regional area.

Think It Through. A congenial hour about telling others they're full of it. More to the point, an exploration of modern skepticism.

Interviews

Doc Travis. The Souther-fried Buckaroo Banzai, local physicist, and Baen Books sci-fi author.

Stephanie Osborn. Sci-fi thriller writer, known for her space shuttle disaster mystery Burnout.

Richard Hatch. BSG's Appollo and Tom Zarek, with a new reality show called “Who in the Frak is Richard Hatch.”

Many others to ask and line up.

...

So. Whatcha think?

[Eclectic Power Board] The Show Outline

Geekery
So for everyone who is interested in the new radio show, here's the actual format for the show, more or less -

“The Eclectic Power Board”
General Show Outline

(SPF; October 8, 2009)


Canned Intro: Music, V/O description of show

Live Intro: Greetings, who's with us tonight, the topic; thoughts about last show; general comments & random things [5-10 minutes]

What's Going On: (Music, V/O describing segment); Rundown of events, happening, releases of interest in the city, region, and state. [3-5 minutes]

The Topic: The meat of the show. Overview; intro of special guests; discussion. [15 minutes]

Check It Out: Pre-recorded review of a movie, TV show, music, game, etc.. from my “peanut gallery” of critics. [3-5 minutes]

The Topic Continues: Getting back into the topic; Call for call ins [10 minutes]

The Random Rant: Sean (or someone) gets on about something fun/political/philosophical (usually pre-recorded) [3-5 minutes].

Topic Q&A: The rest of the show is interacting with callers and chatters about the topic (or whatever).

And We're Outta Here: Thanks, special mentions, next week's topic.

The Eclectic Power Board

Misbehave
"I c'n haz radio show?"

This is it, folks - the Big Announcement.

I had the distinct pleasure of spending some time at the offices of WLRH (89.3, Huntsville, AL) with the Program Director, Oliver Stoutner. What began as a complaint-oriented phone call a little over a week ago has turned into an amazing opportunity for me to fulfill a childhood dream - to host my own radio program. Oliver is "one of us," which in my parlance means he's a creative spirit, a gamer, a progressive thinker, a dreamer...

... a geek.

So we've come together on the program idea, and it's a doozy! "The Eclectic Power Board" is a show about geek-oriented pop culture, creative ideas, science & technology, spirituality & philosophy, and whatever else floats out of the ether and into my brain.

In other words, it's a show about "us."

Take a look at the entire series of Programming Tracks at DragonCon. Yeah, that's a pretty good idea of where we'll be going with this show.

Now the focus is going to be on the local area first - Huntsville, the Tennessee Valley Region, the state of Alabama, the Southeast, etc.. However, we can reach out across the globe with this, as well. I am going to want to get a hold of celebrities, artists, authors, scientists, and other cool folks from the area to focus on, but I will also want to bring in people from all over as we proceed.

So there's some work to be done. I am currently hammering out a basic outline for a one-hour, weekly, live show. It will broadcast from the studio in Huntsville, and will live-stream on the Internet. As well, we'll be recording and setting it up as a podcast. Call-ins and live-chat will be a part of it all, too. I'll have a Facebook page for it, and I think I'll finally have something to Twitter about.

For now, it's a purely volunteer effort; there may come a day when it becomes something more, and I wont' say that idea doesn't appeal to me, but for now I am doing it simply because I am moved to, and I think I can have a great deal of fun as well as do something for my community.

I need help.

Specifically, I need:

- Critics. Folks who are willing to do a pre-recorded audio review/rant about movies, games, music, TV or Web shows, books, comics, and other related stuff. About once a month at most. Ping me direct (seanpatfan {at} gmail ^dot^ com) if you'd like to be a part of the show. If you've got a thing to promote, I'll be sure to push it for you in return on the shows you help me out with.

- Art and graphic design for the web site. I'd really like it to sing, at least a little. If you can help me out, you'll be getting a plug at the end of every show.

- Topic suggestions. I've got a few really good ideas lined up, but this thing will be weekly, so bring on the ideas! Suggestions for guests are also greatly appreciated (including contacts if you have them).

- Advocates. Help me get the word out. When the show launches, listen. If you like it, link to it. Tell folks.

And... there it is. Someone's giving me a microphone, some resources, and a platform to be creative for an audience.

Batten down the hatches!

Goodbye, Maggie

Nothing False
(Cross-posted to Facebook)

I just received some very heartbreaking news. One of my fur-babies, Maggie (the bouncy greyhounds Tiffany had when I met her), had to be put down tonight due to her bone cancer coming back and running rampant. Tiffany is beside herself, so give her a day or two before trying to call. As for myself... yeah, it hurts. She was a very good girl. Here's hoping she's running with Precious and the others at the Bridge...



Misbehave
Excerpts from the last 24 hours that pretty much say it all -

"... and, yes, I do think most poor people are lazy. This country is full of EQUAL opportunities for everyone that is willing to work and sacrifice. Most are not! I deal with one gentleman who started with nothing and is now worth over 300 million...he once told me, 'I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but I'll outwork anybody!' Enough said." - Glen Barden, Conservative poster to my Facebook discussions.

"Thanks to all of you who FB me, text me and called me. Am feeling much better today. I was having a very stressful moment yesterday trying to figure out how to hold it all together and get thru my training for 3rd job. I will be much better when the training is over and am back at my reg. morning jobs and then work the new one in the afternoons. I appreciate all of you good buddies that sent out words of encouragement - it meant the world to me and I won't soon forget the kind words! Love to all of you and you know who you are:) I have to remind myself that 'this too shall pass!' And I know that where God guides God provides!" - Eve Simpson, a dear family friend, practicing Christian, working hard and sacrificing just to keep her family alive.

"Remember Rome collapsed from the inside out as have most other great nations due to divisive politics." - Robert Adams, Conservative friend and student of history.

"In terms of healthcare, where America is in the global spotlight right now, of course, the country is morally bankrupt. Future generations will judge the American dream as dead and point the finger at things like the healthcare system (or lack of it) as proof that the US of A deserved what was coming - its own decline in global importance like other 'empires' that have gone before, including the British. And it is coming, I fear; coming in our lifetime." - A dear friend of mine from England, who I choose to protect, so I'll own this one.
Misbehave
I have sleep apnea.

My doctor, a wonderful lady named Michelle Brown, is doing everything she can to treat the various difficulties that plague my health, the worst of which is degenerative arthritis that is causing me constant, often debilitating pain throughout my entire body. As I sit here and write this, having awoke much earlier than anticipated due to the demons of Pain and Frustration that will not leave me be, the shooting pain that rides from just above my back hip down through my right knee and into my shin is driving me to distraction, and there's no position I can stand, sit, or lay in that will truly relieve it.

I eat Darvocet and Arthritis-Strength Tylenol like candy just to get through the days.

(Right about here, I'm supposed to put this behind a "cut" to be nice to my Friends Page. I love my friends, but I am not feeling nice this morning. I am, in fact, hurting, and this particular piece is my effort to share that hurt.)

I am also dealing with pre-diabetes, high cholesterol issues, and a few other things. I am thus far fortunate that my heart and blood pressure seem to be pretty solid.

And, yes, I am overweight. It is a lifelong struggle. I have lost quite a bit in recent days, and I am doing what I can. Hard to exercise when you can barely move most of the time, though, you know?

(Well, many of you probably don't know...)

Oh, yeah, the sleep apnea.

My doctor, you see, is absolutely convinced that many of my conditional issues are directly related to this. I have all the classic signs of it. Carinn, bless her amazing soul, has stayed up more than once to observe it as best she can, and is convinced Dr. Brown is right.

So, naturally, the good doctor has prescribed a sleep study.

Enter the Insurance Company. Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Let me be very clear here. I am incredibly grateful that my company provides me access to health insurance at all. It's a tiny company, scattered over the country and the world, so any kind of plan is going to be absolutely horrendous to acquire. They are doing the best they can, especially in the economy we currently face. I hold my bosses in the highest regard where this is concerned; without their efforts here, I'd have nothing, like too many millions in this country.

BC/BS wants profit. Lots and lots of profit. It's a company, a very large one, that is driven by the same greed that every other for-profit company in the world is. It competes, and in doing so, it does everything it can to not spend money.

This doesn't make BC/BS services better for me. In fact, it has absolutely the opposite effect.

You see, because of the plan it offers my company - the only one my company can afford, not having the collective bargaining power of a corporate giant - there's a $1000 deductible for out-of-office tests, followed by an 80/20 split. This means the sleep study I need in order to have my sleep apnea treated will cost me, out-of-pocket, over $1400.

If you know me at all, you know I've "worked hard." You know I've "pulled myself up by my bootstraps" - over and over and over. I won the genetic lottery, born with a good mind and personality, yet I have never made more than just over $40K in my life (I make about 3/5 of that these days). Things never swung that way for me. I discovered my talents and passions lay in directions where professional success did not mean wealth, only creative and personal satisfaction, and the capacity to help many others do well with their own businesses. None of us are rich, but we are making basic ends meet and feeding our families.


I don't have $1400. I don't have the ability to lay my hands on that kind of money. I don't have credit - no cards, no access to loans. I am far too in debt as it is, and with hand-to-mouth living, can't even pay on many of those debts. I am struggling like hell to launch some creative endeavors that have the potential to lead to some real wealth, but the daily struggles and requirements on me make it hard to spend enough time on them to make the progress I need to, so it's slow going.

(I forgot to mention the daily stress headaches that crush the back of my skull, didn't I?)

So there is no way in hell I can afford to pay for this study. As such, my doctor can do very little to actually treat what she feels is the primary contributing condition that affects most of my health. All she can do is treat the increasingly worse symptoms.

All of this is because the health insurance company will choose profits over my well-being every single time. All of this is because of the Glories and Greatness of Capitalism and Competition... and the fact that I did not compete well, thus making me less of an American than those of you who stand in judgment, shake your head, and say things like "Well, you should have chosen a better path, man. It's your fault you can't afford this..."

Not everyone can run fast enough to win the race. Some just run as fast and as best they can. They paid their entry fee like everyone else - they pay into the same system. Why do they not deserve something as basic as affordable health care? In a world where civilized folks in all the "lesser nations" get it, why are we so arrogant as to deny it to our own people in this great nation?

Because it somehow offends our sensibilities? Because it somehow stands as slap in the face to our most holy principles of Greed, Competition, and the Free Market?

Let the televisions, Broadway plays, sports cars, computers, home furnishings, restaurants, comic books, vacations, ad infinitum all be driven by such things. I have no problem with the Free Market handling the vast majority of what we want to spend money on in this world.

So long as we collect together as a society and have already agreed to share certain burdens, there is no rational argument that exists anymore against adding the "general welfare" concept of human health to that mix.

...

I have sleep apnea. It is a condition that, untreated, could kill me.

I cannot afford to have the test done that will enable my doctor to effectively treat it.

Because health care in this nation is BROKEN, I continue to suffer.

This is a very personal matter for me, as well as a moral one in light of the fact that my struggle - as painful and nearly debilitating as it is - is nothing compared to the millions of stories others have that are far worse. Stories of dead children and agonized parents and bankrupted families whose only crimes were they didn't get the right job with the right company or get born into families with money.

There is a plan - a work in progress to be sure - that could go a long way towards making things better. It is not perfect, not by a long shot, but it is rational and reasonable, and if we could actually work together on it, it could fulfill desires and needs and principles on both sides of the philosophies at odds here.

Those of you who stand in opposition to this effort, for whatever reason you do...

... you are hurting me. You are contributing to my very personal pain. You are supporting efforts that could lead to my continued suffering, as well as the suffering of millions of others.

You think you are "holding the line" against socialism and Big Government. You pick now to rally and march and point fingers and accuse with the greatest vitriol you've ever summoned. All because Rush and Glenn (who know perfectly well the evils they are perpetrating, and have been known to privately apologize behind their hands for it) and respected Capitalist Gods (sitting comfortably on their piles of cash) tell you that your country is being taken away from you.

Where were you when torture was being euphamised into "enhanced interrogation?" Where were you when the lies were revealed that led us to a war that has spent far more of your money than health care ever will? Where were you when your own hard-earned money was being used to build boondoggle military projects that cost orders of magnitude more than health care reform ever will?

I don't care about your vaunted "principles" anymore. I've read and heard all your arguments. I've listened, and I've tried to understand.

No more.

You're wrong. You are dead wrong.

Only it's people like me who will end up dead because of how wrong you are.



PS - This only applies to you, the Individual Reader, if it actually fits you. There are many of my friends who are Repulblicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians who this does not apply to (Ben, I am thinking particularly of you when I write this), so please do not assume I am pointing an indiscriminate flamethrower at every single person who identifies with a party or philosophy. My words apply to you only if you fit the Opposition I describe above.

(An anti-climatitic postcript after such a strong ending, but these days, a necessary one...)

Post DragonCon Brief

Ale & Whores
With all I must get done in the post D*C days, I'm going to have to make this a brief one.

* Serious mixed feelings from this one. There were very positive moments, some hysterically fun times, and long stretches of distress, discomfort, and disappointment.

* Court was a great chance to meet some folks, see some friends unseen for a time, and introduce folks to each other. At the same time, the classic gonzo vibe was completely missing; lots of folks I had hoped were going to join us never made it, or only stopped by for very short whiles. The Marquis has become just about as insane as the Hyatt. If I do Court again next year, it will only be for one night.

* Drum Circle was very, very therapeutic. And, with the help of another very sexy redhead, we got Carinn to dance for the first time in decades.

* Having Brandon around was awesome. Carinn and he got on famously, thick as thieves.

* I really wish I could spend more time around Dan McGirt. Our day together was fabulous. On an offhand comment by him, walking out of the Walk of Fame, I found a place on the same floor to set up the "Walk of Infamy." We signed anything people wanted to let us sign (garbage, programs, coffee cups, my business cards). We promoted his book (Hero Wanted), thanks to Carinn having purchased one from him earlier. We promoted the fact that I "did stuff." We took pictures. We gained fans. We had a blast for about an hour or so. Possibly the best "event" of the show for me (outside of rather spectacular moments with my love).

* We spent stupid money on cabs for staying at the Days Inn. Getting a room in the Marquis this time around.

* The panel I was on went extremely well. Made some great contacts.

* The game I ran went extremely well. Made some great contacts.

* Got to see my good friend Nathan play in Abney Park's concert, and spend nowhere near enough time with him.

* Got to be at Amber's "80's Party" DJ concert. Carinn danced again, with and for me. It was insanely hot.

* Got to see my Queen of Bedlam looking like this, causing people to literally fall over themselves. Uh-huh. Mmm-mmm.

* I am happy for DragonCon that Shatner and Nimoy turned out to be great guests. Having seen the YouTube vids, their big appearance was really very good, and stories tell they stayed longer than arranged and really want to come back.

* I was very, very glad I hooked up with Richard Hatch before the show ended. It was a highly productive chat.

* My degenerative arthritis has advanced to the point that I am going to have to acquire a cane (and maybe some better pain meds).

And that's about that. Next cons are Con on the Cob and MACE.

Court of Bedlam Needs Sodas

Ale & Whores
The Queen and I attained vodka, rum, cranberry juice, orange juice, and receptacles for the conveyance of boozahol. We did not get any kind of cokes, diet cokes, etc.. So Courtiers (or, as I like to say, "Courtlings") should bring any sodas they can for additional mixers, please.

That is all.

And thanks!

Welcome, Friend

My name is Sean Patrick Fannon, and this is my journal.

Sometimes I write about my personal life.
Sometimes I write about politics.
Sometimes I write about my professional life.
Sometimes I write about gaming.
Sometimes I write about utter nonsense.
Sometimes I write about stuff that matters.

What I write is mine to share; what I say, I mean to say.

Welcome, Friend

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