A Con, a Podcast, and an Album (none of which are mine)

How ya doing, Internet?  

Long time no talkie.  My bad on that, by the way; due to some apartment-hunting nonsense and uncontrollable delays, I've been living out of boxes and suitcases in my mother's office since mid November, which makes most attempts at staying organized end up in failure and sadness.  

In any event, here's a few things I've been doing!

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This already happened!  A couple weeks ago, in fact.  And it was awesome!  FWA is one of the more casual, "fun" cons I used to go to, and I was very sad to miss it last year (TL:DR version - the Life-altering-stuff-that-wont-be-elaborated-on happened right during dealer's sign-ups for 2013, and I was... well... distracted). Didn't have a ton of new stuff sadly, though it was more of a chance for me to see so many familiar faces - and NEW faces - from year's past, and remind myself that I don't just throw what I do into a void where nobody cares.  YOU care! Or at least, I hope you do... right?

...Right. I was talking about the con.  

Jon also accompanied me for his first furry con in almost 10 years (his prior one, and first one ever, was also MY first one, in Canada.  RIP, CACE!)  Jon is what you may call my new "gentleman companion."  He seemed to enjoy it.  I mean, he was pulling out a small flask to freshen up his coffee periodically throughout the day, but that's fine.  He's 30.  You can do things like that when you're 30, just so long as you don't go and try to drive a car or operate heavy machinery.  Nowhere in those warnings does it mention "conversing with furries".

In any event, the con was a lot of fun, and I got a lot of positive feedback about BPD coming back.*  And as an added bonus, I made just enough to be able to pay off all my taxes for the year so I don't have to be dragged away kicking and screaming by the IRS!  Joy!!

That leads us to the next thing....

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My dear friends Kevin and Ursula allowed Jon and I to crash with them on the way to and from Atlanta, a welcomed half-way break from what would have otherwise been a 14 hour drive from our starting point in New Jersey.  On the return trip, we were invited/tricked into doing their podcast "Kevin & Ursula Eat Cheap".  I had been on the show once previously, back in November of 2012, and I'm not exactly sure why I did it again other than the fact that I love Ursula and Kevin and I'm a glutton for punishment.  And bad food aparently.  Jon joined us as well, and being he's heavily strict on a Paleo/Primal diet, it was rather interesting.  There was angry ranting about things.  I won't tell you what.  You'll just have to listen.



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This last thing isn't a thing that's happening to me. I'm not involved in any way.  But it does involve something - or rather, someone - that I have strong opinions about, so I hope you can excuse me for a bit of ranting.

In case you don't know, I'm a huge Michael Jackson fan.  I'm of a generation that grew up with his music; granted,  I'm young enough that I just barely missed the "Thriller" era, but my first videogame memories are playing "Moonwalker" at a friend's house, and I remember seeing "Captain EO" at Disney World as a young child when it was still relatively new.  I was more of a casual appreciator until the mid-90's "HIStory" album came out, when I became well and truly obsessed, which also happened to be my awkward & formative teen years.

I won't go into a lot of detail, but I'll just say that Michael & his music really helped get through a lot of things and informed a lot about who I am and the values that I hold. He meant more to me than just an entertainer, and when he died it pretty much ripped a giant black hole into my gut that very little else could possibly fill.  (You're allowed to roll your eyes if you want; it won't change anything on my end, but if it'll make you feel better than I'll allow it.)

Anyway, there's a new album of music coming out in May, called "Xscape".  From what I've been reading, they've taken a bunch of tracks (8 I believe) from unfinished songs Michael had recorded finished vocals for over the decades of his life, and given them to various producers to "contemporise" them.  I don't follow many MJ fan boards so my gauge of his fan response is based on the MJ pinners I follow on Pinterest, but most of them are of the mindset of "OMG CAN'T WAIT!!!"

I'm sort of torn.  Part of me really does want to hear new music from Michael, and is curious about these songs, some of which could have been originally recorded in the 80s or later.  But the word "contemporise" scares me, particularly since these producers, some of which I don't think have ever worked with Michael, don't know or share his musical vision.  The final songs will, at best, be parodies of a Michael Jackson song; they'll be what that producer things a MJ song "should" sound like, which could be in a totally wrong direction from where Michael would have wanted it to go.  And given Michael was very picky about the quality of the content he put out, he might not have wanted ANY of this material to get out.  

Yet Sony insists on mining his corpse for as much profit as they can squeeze out, insisting all the while "Michael was always a valued friend to us" (which I could go on a rant for days about how that statement is pretty much bullshit, but I'll spare you).  It really leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and doesn't fill me with a lot of enthusiasm over paying money for this.

If I could guarantee that 100% of the money I paid for the album went to his 3 kids, I'd do it.  But I can't, so... I don't know.  Like I said, very torn.

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So we have a brief con report, a link to a podcast about bad food, and a probably too-long opinion piece about a new Michael Jackson that isn't really a Michael Jackson album.  All in all, a good blog post, I think.  ^_^

I'll be back into doing more regular posts soon.  I missed these talks.  With you.  I hope you'll join me next time.  And I hope that didn't sound as creepy as I think it did.

I'll be going now. ;^_^

-Lizzy B.


*YES IT'S COMING BACK!  I had preview pages at the con and everything!  I don't wanna spoil too much here too early so I'll just say LONG FORM FULL COLOR 30 PAGES and let that simmer in your brain pot.  I am excite. OH YES.

Kevin and Ursula (& Liz) Eat Cheap!

Last week, I went down to North Carolina to visit my friends Ursula Vernon and Kevin Sonney (Ursula makes art & word-things, one of which won a Hugo, and Kevin makes computers go good and DMs our weekly D&D game.)  Due to how our schedules lined up, I drove down on the Sunday after the Extra Life event. This meant I had basically stayed up for about 25 hours starting at 6am on Saturday, went to sleep at 7am on Sunday, woke up at 1pm, and then drove for about 9 hours. Thankfully I survived (obviously) and made it to Kevin & Ursula's house full of loving but ill-behaved animals.  (Really, they meant well. Except maybe Ben, but I learned quickly that if one simply does not bother the Ben, than he will not kill you. So overall, we got along fine.)

While I was there, I was given the grand tour of Ursula's expansive (but in it's less-than-ideal-fall-season-but-obviously-still-very-impressive) garden, got to have Sushi with fellow D&Der Jen (aka "Wilhemina" the flavored-potion making Gnome) & her family, discovered the magic of gray sketchbooks with Ursula, and rediscovered "Archer" with Kevin, among many other things.  Oh, and I ate some really terrible food (and some really good & mediocre) food with them as a guest on their podcast "Kevin & Ursula Eat Cheap".  It ended up being a nearly 2 hour show, twice the normal length.  I guess, umm... you're welcome?

My punishment for giving them Durian Cookies this summer.

My punishment for giving them Durian Cookies this summer.

Here are a few random things that I learned during my trip (queue picture of Ursula with the rainbow "The More You Know" logo hovering over her head):

  • I'm almost 30 and I'm still perplexed by the headlight mechanism on my mother's car (which lead to me accidentally draining the battery of said car)
  • A plant called an Ebony Spleenwort is a real thing.
  • The Hugo Award trophy is really frigging heavy. Like, potential murder weapon heavy.
  • They grow spiders BIG in the south.
  • Tuna Jerky tastes like fish and regret. (from KUEC)
  • Teriyaki should never be carbonated (also from KUEC)
  • There is no love like a beagle who wants his chair back.
  • Ben the cat may look like he wants you to pet his belly, but it's a trap. With claws.
  • Naked Mole Rats have hive social structures, complete with queens, and can breath Amonia. They're aliens, I tell you!

Overall it was an AWESOME trip, Kevin & Ursula were super awesome for putting up with me for 5 days, and hopefully they will allow me into their home again in the future.  Ideally without the Teriyaki soda this time. ;)

-Lizzy B.

Listen to Kevin & Ursula Eat Cheap!

PS: I also drew an adorable Cthulhu. ^_^  (click to open the full-view version)

See? Gray Paper!  You know you're an artist when you get excited by gray paper.

Source: http://kuec.libsyn.com