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It's been really interesting to read the press about Comic-Con. First of all, it's really interesting to just see how much press there is about it, and how easy it is to find. Comic-Con is so mainstream now, there are stories about cosplay showing up in my regular news feed.

I love the idea of Comic-Con, but I'm not sure if I would actually love being there. I just read an article on what it's like to sleep outside overnight in order to get into a "Hall H" panel the next day. That just seems ridiculous to me. What's the point of paying a lot of money to get into the convention -- not to mention all the other hurdles you have to jump to even get access to Comic-Con tickets -- only to not actually get to see the convention unless you're also willing to sleep outside in a line all night? (In case you're interested, the article is here: http://www.theverge.com/2015/7/12/8937951/comic-con-hall-h-line-horrors)

Now don't get me wrong; some of what goes on in "Hall H" sounds pretty cool. For example, I heard that those who got into the Star Wars panel got to go see a surprise Star Wars concert immediately afterwards, with free light sabers and the San Diego Symphony. I would have loved that. But even if I had known about the concert ahead of time, I wouldn't have slept overnight in line for it. If I go to a convention, I want to experience the convention. And to me, experiencing the convention is not about spending all of my time in a line.

It just seems that more and more, these really big conventions are about exclusivity: "I got to be one of these people!" And that's an atmosphere that I really dislike. It makes me wonder if I do in fact want to go to Comic-Con. In the meantime, since I'm not one of "the chosen," I'll make do with videos of concert performances of Star Wars music, like this one, look out for local pops concerts where I can enjoy the music live, and celebrate that I can still get a good fandom experience without sleeping out overnight on a sidewalk.

Thoughts about suicide, and reaching out

Don't worry, I'm not suicidal. But, I did just come back from a memorial for a friend who committed suicide. And so I've been thinking about him, and about the mental state that leads to committing suicide, and I feel I have to write about it.

My friend planned his suicide. He left messages -- lots of different messages, for lots of different people -- and one of the things he said in his messages was that he knew his suicide would cause pain, and that the people he loved, and the people whom he knew loved him, had kept him alive, and that if it weren't for that connection, he would have committed suicide long ago. But now it was too much, now he wanted to end his suffering, and while he knew help was available, he was deliberately choosing not to seek it out.

I didn't know this friend very well. In truth, I am probably stretching things by using the word "friend"; he was more of an acquaintance, and a mutual friend of other friends, and I had had no idea that he even struggled with depression, let alone to this extent. That was one of the things he said in his suicide notes, too -- that he had become good at mimicking happiness because he didn't want to inject his unhappiness into interactions with others.

And I think about the times when I've been depressed in my life, and I realize I've done the same. There have been times when I was severely, deeply depressed, and no one knew. When you're in that state, reaching out is the very last thing you want to do, and even if you know intellectually that it might help you, your emotions tell you that it won't -- that it will only cause unhappiness to others, and stress to yourself at a time when you absolutely cannot bear one more iota of emotional pain -- and so you curl in, and instead you just endure. If you're lucky, then, like in my case, the depression eventually lifts, and you come out again. And you don't talk about it, at least not in any real, deep sense. You don't talk about it because it's uncomfortable to talk about, and worrying to friends and family, and even stigmatizing. But mostly you don't talk about it because there isn't really anything to talk about. There's no story to tell. There's just a feeling, something that encompassed you for a time and then went away -- or, as in the case of my friend, didn't go away, until he couldn't bear it any longer and made it go away using the only method he believed would work.

And so, in memory of my friend, I just want to say -- reach out. If you're depressed, and have nothing to say, then just say that you're feeling depressed, and have nothing else to say. If you're not depressed, reach out to the people around you. Check in with them, and find out how things are going -- try to find out how things are really going, moving beyond the shallow shorthand of "everything's fine." Try to reach beyond the mimicry.

Try to create a world where help is not only available to those who seek it, but already there to those who lack the capacity to seek it. Reach out, one person at a time.


Hugo award controversy

I'm surprised that I haven't seen more about what's currently happening with the Hugo awards on LJ, but then again, I'm not exactly "hooked in." Anyway, I thought I'd share this article for the benefit of those who might be as clueless as myself. The whole thing raises some important issues, not only for the Hugos but for fandom:


Better Call Saul

I don't know if anyone else out in LJ-land is watching this show, but I just had to post.

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Signal boost: Calufrax needs more reccers!

calufrax, the reccing community for Teaspoon, is in need of more reccers! It's now easier to rec on Calufrax than ever before, because you get two whole weeks and only need to come up with 4-10 stories to rec. Also, there is nothing like the feeling of watching a really good story pick up new reviews just because you posted about it! Seriously, it feels like those reviews now belong to you or something.

Um, I mean, it feels almost like those reviews belong to you, because of course you realize they are not actually your reviews. *cough*

Go sign up to rec! More information here!


Television round-up

Just some random thoughts about some of the TV shows I've been watching lately (pretty non-spoilery).

Broadchurch episode 4 was better again. I wish we were getting more of Rory and less of Gwen, but I'm still enjoying it. (Yes, I know those aren't their names in this show, but that's how I think of them, okay?) I am particularly enjoying the scenes between Hardy and Miller. Their relationship is great.

Thanks (or blame) to lost_spook, I went and watched the pilot episode for Adam Adamant Lives! It reminds me of a very strange mix of Avengers, Wild Wild West, and Doctor Who. I think the Doctor Who part is mostly because of the accents and the '60s vibe, but it was there nonetheless. In fact, it drove me slightly crazy that at the end of the pilot episode the woman just lay there and didn't do anything to help in the fight, because she kept reminding me of Jo, and Jo would've waded right in there! Or else done something clever. I would've liked the episode better with Jo, in other words. But it was still fun. I do have a special fondness for old 1960's era television.

Speaking of old 1960's television, watching Adam Adamant Lives! put me in the mood for Wild Wild West, so I went and watched some of that. What a great show. Some of it is a definite product of its time, but most of it still really holds up. That is, if you like wacky spy stuff in the old west that sometimes strays into sci-fi with brainwashing and shrinking people, with super-villains like Miguelito Loveless, who is awesome.

Then there's the Flash. I'm still not very into it, but I did see the last episode with its trailer for this week which will feature MARK HAMILL as THE TRICKSTER!!!!!!!!! Whoo hoo, I am really looking forward to that.

Finally there's the surprise addition to my television habit of Better Call Saul. I found Breaking Bad to be way too dark for my taste, but Better Call Saul is hooking me. We'll see.

Writing meme answers

Here are my answers to the writing meme:

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Writing meme

This writing meme has been going around, and since I've been having fun reading other people's answers, I thought I'd give it a shot.

Ask me [one or more of these] questions about writing:

1. Which is your favorite of the fics you've written for X fandom?
2. Favorite piece overall?
3. Which was the hardest to write, in terms of plot?
4. Which has the most "you" in it, however you'd define that?
5. What is an image/set of images that you're particularly proud of?
6. Idea that you always wanted to write but could never make work?
7. Least favorite plot point/chapter/moment?
8. Favorite plot point/chapter/moment?
9. Favorite character to write?
10. Favorite line or lines of dialogue that you've written
11. If I'm showing off just one of your pieces to someone, which one should it be?
12. What WIPs do you have going now? Are you excited about them?
13. Are there any things that might have happened in any of your stories, but you changed them at the last minute? (So-and-so dies, they don't actually kiss, main character has long extended ballet-based dream sequence, etc.)
14. Would you want to write canon for any of your fandoms (like be hired by showrunner to do an episode)? Which one?
15. Does font matter to you when you're writing a draft?
16. 3 favorite comments ever received on fanfic.
17. Any mean comments? How'd you deal with it? Who laid the smackdown?
18. If you could go back and revise one of your older stories, which would it be?
19. Do you make up scenes at work/on the bus/at the gym? Who are the characters that pop up the most? Do you write them down?
20. Go nuts, and talk about writing.