My lesson from Boston Comic Con 2013: the kids are alright

I had the opportunity to go to this year's Boston Comic Con a few weeks ago, rescheduled from April due to the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent manhunt.  Though there was a lot of a lot of griping about the postponement at first, I think the show was better for it... safer environment, better weather, and a significantly better venue (if you have to wait in a huge line, a seaside view sure as hell doesn't hurt).  And the crowds... if people had been disappointed, it didn't show because they turned up in huge numbers, which made moving around difficult at times but everyone was generally polite, supportive, and pleasant.

That was my biggest take-away from the event... so many people, particularly the younger folks (and, sadly, I'm old enough that my idea of "younger" now extends into the twentysomethings) were happy to be there, excited to find cool things, show off their costumes and admire those of others', get together with old friends, make new ones, meet some of their artistic/entertainment idols, and so on.  It was a stark contrast to the sort of misanthropy you tend to associate with fandom when you interact with it mostly online, and a definite mood brightener.  Happy begets happy... we forget that sometimes, but it's often true.

Better still... they were proud of their nerdiness.  For people of my generation and our forebears, even though we passionately embraced our nerdy interests, there was still enough of society putting us down for it that it always felt shameful.  If we called ourselves nerds or geeks or whatever, it was an attempt to take back the words and redefine it without the hurtfulness it was meant to embody.

Well, if these kids are any indication, the words have been taken.  The words have been redefined.  We called ourselves nerds as an act of defiance.  They call themselves nerds because they want to, because they (and a larger - if not truly large - segment of "non-nerd" society) realize what we always knew but couldn't/wouldn't admit: being a nerd is fun and our stuff is awesome.

I might be romanticizing things, of course... middle school and high school are probably just as miserable now as they ever were, but thanks to social media and the internet in general, I think its a lot easier to find your pod now than ever before, particularly if you don't live in a major metropolitan area.  I grew up in a part of Maine that had a good comic book store, a couple of decent bookstores, and an okay record shop or two, but even that felt remote.  I knew a few other kids into comics and Star Wars, fewer still into Doctor Who... it was hard to find people who liked that sort of thing.  For kids in even smaller towns, it must have been really lonely.  But now it's a lot easier to connect with like-minded folks, strike up friendships, and arrange gatherings.  For instance, while I sat in an out-of-the-way spot to eat lunch I watched a huge group of Homestuck cosplayers gather for photo ops, and though it had clearly been pre-arranged people were introducing themselves to each other left and right.  It was fun to watch, even if I still couldn't tell you what the hell Homestuck actually is.  But whatever... these people clearly found their tribe in a way I would have loved to be able to have done when I was at that age.  I admire it a lot, and I kinda envy it a whole lot more.

Long story short, this generation of nerds has it pretty great.  They are proud, happy, confident, and seem to lack the negative self-consciousness bred into and, paradoxically, embraced by my peers and those who came before.  That's a good thing, and I hope that never changes for them.  I hope I can in some way make sure that it doesn't.

Pretty Sketchy: The Fifth Doctor by Tressina Bowling

Custom bookmark (how much cooler than a regular ol' sketch card is that?!?) of the fifth Doctor (as portrayed by Peter Davison), drawn by Tressina Bowling.  She just absolutely killed this one and I couldn't be more pleased.  Best of all, she laminated it so I can actually use it as a bookmark if I want.  For a librarian, a bookworm, and a Whovian, it's the best of all possible worlds.

My first MOC: the wrestling ring (or, Legomania is runnin' wild, brother!)

As has probably been pretty clear on this blog, I've gotten back into Lego in the past few years thanks to playing with the kiddo, and recently I decided to have a go at my first real MOC (My Own Creation) / scene, a wrestling ring.  It's very much a work in progress, and though I've been building actual kits for a while now, I'm still very much a newb to the AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego) world and I'm not going to be getting the call to go be an official Master Builder anytime soon.  I think I'm off to an okay start, but I've still got a ways to go before I feel like I'm satisfied and if there are any other AFOLs (or KFOLs, for that matter) out there who have any literally-constructive criticism and feedback for me, I'm all ears.]

Here's an overview of the ringside area.  I'm already not very satisfied with the green baseplate.  The color doesn't really work for the environment, and the basic square is a bit too small to build out with much hope of giving an arena feel (not going to build the whole arena, but I do want to have room for guardrails, front row fans, and maybe an entrance ramp).  They make the larger gray plates which I may upgrade to eventually, but then I think I need to make different-colored stairs into the ring.


Closer view of the action in the ring.  Wrestling rings usually have three sets of ropes and turnbuckles, but I tried that and it didn't really work with the scale of the minifigures.  Not as much room on the ring apron as I would've liked, but moving the ring posts in resulted in too little room within the ring itself.  The dimensions are still a bit small, but a.) I wasn't making it specifically to scale; b.) this was what I had access to, brickwise.

An even closer view of the action.  El Funkistador is putting the hurt on The Birthday Boy, but Surfer Rosa is attempting to turn the tide.  I still need a ref.  I'd also like to replace the ribbon I'm using for ropes with a nice, thick cord or twine, but again, that's what I had access to (thanks to the wife's craft table) and it works well-enough for right now.

The announce team calling the match from ringside.  Yes, this is supposed to be Jim Ross (r.) and Jerry "The King" Lawler, because I watched a lot of wrestling during the Monday Night Wars and that's just how it should be, man.  I'm reasonably happy with them, not so much with the table.  I need another monitor, for one thing, and I'd like to find a way to have them look recessed into the table the way you see with WWE announcer tables.

The ringside PA announcer (yeah, that's supposed to be Howard Finkel, too) gets ready to call the result.  I've already replace the microphone head with something smaller, and if I can get 3 more of those pieces, I may use those for the tops of the ringposts instead.  I think I'm going to look for an actual microphone piece (like the one that came with the rapper collectible minifig or the rock band set from the Lego Store) or 3, also, so all these guys can be properly miked.

One more shot of El Funkistador and Birthday Boy.  E.F. is, of course, the Super Wrestler from the Series 1 collectible minifig wave, though I got him from the Build-A-Minifigure assortment bins at the Lego Store, which is why he also has an Afro because it was there in the bin and he needed another accessory and I don't have to explain my ways to you people.  Birthday Boy is an amalgam of various parts.  The torso is from a party favor kit because we still had a few extras kicking around from my son's birthday last year.

All this is what I came up with a few weeks back.  Haven't had much time to work on it since, but it's been in my head pretty much the whole time.  As I said, feedback and suggestions are greatly appreciated... let me know what you think!