Archive for August, 2017


GenCon, a Faltering Kingdom and the Return of Bernie


 Joel Osteen in some mega-cathedral, walking back and forth…smiling at the frail and desperate flock that follows him. Other Televangelists sticking to the Trump Principle and refusing to call him out-instead, they are rebuking citizens who would oppose the Crimson King. A twenty-some year old girl dressed up as a female version of Marvel’s Thor. A female Deadpool. Tony Schwartz, the co-author of Trump’s book The Art of the Deal predicts the President to quit by Autumn, if not sooner. All this activity going on and I don’t even feel I have adequate time to jot down notes or thoughts before a new day erupts, and more insanity unfolds.
Then news hits about Bernie Sanders coming to town to speak on the Circle, downtown Indianapolis.

It started out as small groups of kids and nerdy adults gathering inside rooms at cheap motels throughout the U.S., and grew into a billion dollar business. Sales of games, game pieces, dice and playing boards, architectural structures, costumes, books, videos…so much crap one can hardly believe it. Back in the late 70’s I was privy to having some freelance association doing illustrations for an indie game/magazine publisher in the Austin, Texas area. The era of computer gaming was just about ready to open up; Dungeons and Dragons had brought about new found interests from players wanting a more elaborate scenario than Monopoly had to offer in a board game. I saw the involvement small business people put in to create a more elaborate game. They used stunning graphic models to play with rather than generic plastic pieces, introduced more variable game options…a continuing quest to make the game play more imaginative. This upcoming line of games definitely added flair and flexibility, but required more dedication to learning rules. When I looked at some of these highly detailed board setups in the main Con gaming area, a huge hall that used to host major rock concerts, I was impressed with their devotion to the play. Some boards averaged the length of two eight foot tables, neatly arranged with thousands of dollars worth of miniature scaled villages, rulers to measure movements and effects, multi-sided dice, cards and chits…it blows your mind. This is a sandbox, taken to extremes and enhanced with quality merch, that could only have been imagined decades ago. This is Twenty-first century gaming, bitch.

The mesmerizing affair at GenCon laced with the reality of a young woman killed over a disagreement, sparked by a leader who drove one guy to get in a car. That’s a strange mixture of action going on. I didn’t want to leave the serenity Con brought to me and those attending, the nonsensical folly you could lose yourself in while attitudes heated up out in the real world.  I knew I had to leave though, and hearing of a Bernie Sanders speaking engagement the day after GenCon might at least be something to help me transition back into the world. Bernie Sanders on the steps of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. This couldn’t have been thrown together quick enough to respond to the Charlottesville incident. The Sander’s bandwagon was certainly already in full motion, visiting other states, but this would be an interesting time to see what response he would get out there from disgruntled citizens in the Indy area. I wanted to see if the feel of things, the tension between the two sides of our main political spectrum would flare up. Is Amerika now going to become some abstract version of the Crips and Bloods that mutate from the scores of freckle headed Trump followers out there that believed he would make America great again? Will the U.S. become a Western Hemisphere version of the conflict we see in the Middle East?, or can Americans skip all the back and forth violence and focus on getting things in running order?

Bernie Sanders seemed to be a man with a plan when he stepped onto the 2016 Campaign Trail. Unlike Hillary Clinton, who vanished from sight for all intentional purposes after losing the race, Sanders continues to be vocal and stands up in defiance against the Crimson King. Bernie Sanders, out there keeping the drive alive…personally, I think the King is scared of Sanders, probably because Sanders is still working toward dethroning him. I needed to update myself on what the plan of strategy was now from Camp Sanders. Trump will continue to wander around out there, day after day, stirring pots of trouble and media attention, but I had no idea what Bernie was up to at present. It was time to wave Aloha to GenCon and prepare to see the man and hear the plan. One downside would be that, like so many rallies and speeches, they take place during the week day when many people would not be able to attend. The representation numbers of supporters and opposition at a weekday event isn’t a true ratio, but it is pretty close to accurate. Probably better for me in a small number turnout. GenCon crowds were strange enough…political rallies have a whole different set of cosplayers and I would be navigating it solo-no Miguel for the Bernie speech gathering.


GenCon Visit as the Kingdom Falters pt. 2


The Merchandiser area of GenCon is a mega money institution that caters to those involved in the gaming and cosplay world. Some businesses offer artwork for sale, or sculptures, but the majority of merchants at GenCon seem to revolve around games and costumes. There was one unique table set up who professed to be there for the soul intention (no pun intended) of spreading the word of Jesus Christ. I couldn’t see any merch for sale on their table. They were giving away lanyards with full color badges, depicting Jesus holding a PS4 game controller in his hand, touting the slogan WHAT WOULD GAMER JESUS DO? Brilliant. I almost walked by those lanyards, had it not been for Miguel, mi hermano de este viaje, who grabbed one up and threw it to me. It scared the hell out of me for a minute; crowds freak me the fuck out. Too many bad concerts. Arena situations always make me twitchy so even if it’s someone I know coming at me fast, I get the Panic. Miguel seems to have no trouble jumping into the scene of the crowd and becomes really handy at pulling me into scenarios I probably wouldn’t have ventured into on my own. He can politely impose, I can’t pull that shit off.

Many in the upper echelons of business, entertainment and politics made a pact with Trumpenstein, the monster they had created. They said they would let him stay in charge-for now. That now came due when the Charlottesville tragedy hit and dropped the bottom out of his floor. He’s sinking fast now and little support is left for him other than what he gets from his base of voters; those who supported him among the common men and women and those who despised Hillary Clinton enough to go out and yank the voting handle. Not everyone who voted for Trump was an adamant supporter, but they were willing to jump on board and see where the cruise would take them. Then everyone waited to see what happened after the killing-what next? Those who still believe in Trump cling tight to him…as tight as he clings to them.

Gaming has stepped it up a notch or two since the days of Parker Brothers board games, like Monopoly or Risk. Involvement and tactics have become laws of logic within games, leaving their complexity at a level where you probably will use that Algebra learned in school. Not so much in a numerical format-more about dealing with variables. Variables are the key ingredient that stir up the rules of play for hundreds of different games being represented at GenCon.

Miguel took time off to attend GenCon from it’s beginning date and had a two day jump on me to see the sights. He said I had to see the ‘gnome people’ play live and he knew just where to find them. You can’t imagine all the games, costumed people, huge robot sculptures and inflated Pikachus you have to snake your way through to find things around here. I could have spent hours searching for the gnome folk, but after following him through the carnival atmosphere of the Con floor, he got me in front of a half dozen grown men and women in gnome outfits standing on a huge plastic sheet with shapes and paths printed on it. Their game mat represented some forest/woodsy theme and at various spots on the sheet, little stuffed animals or bugs were waiting to be put into play. Players rolled oversized foam dice to move. The vests they wore, the white cutout beards some players wore, it was perfectly charming. One man moved the number he rolled and when he stopped, the other gnomes roared with delight at the consequences that would ensue. They picked up a stuffed bee and plopped it on his cone hat. He had to wear the bee on his hat and playing continued. Another gnome kept the action alive landing on a spot near the bee guy, causing all the gnomes to chant….woot woot wooot…something like that. A confrontation began and the two gnomes started producing cards or some weird shit from a pouch they wore, which I assumed would result in a negative consequence for one of them. The point is, this was therapy for them. These people just want to leave the fucked up world we live in and drop all the politics, all religious persecution and the Fear, and go be a fucking gnome with a god damn bee on their head!

Trump still has the consent of Christian themed leaders Jim Bakker and Pat Robertson. If all other people abandon him, at least he has those two…for now. The reason I mention them is not to suggest they might become potential staff replacements, but rather to state their ability to milk large sums of cash from naive followers. Religious voodoo holds strong in various countries throughout the globe. America’s practitioners tend to hide behind the name of Jesus and wear nice suits. Really nice suits. They can raise a lot of cash and persuade a lot of minds. Trump might conceive a plan to twist old Pat’s arm for some bread, or maybe borrow Jim’s followers-or what if he could latch on to the teat of that Big Money showman, Joel Osteen?



GenCon Visit As the Kingdom Falters pt. 1


The Crimson King stands teetering on the brink of his own destruction while GenCon came to Sleepytown. Events happened so fast that I don’t have time to go into detail about every nuance of insanity the newsfeed dripped on us. I see stories pouring in so fast it seems impossible to keep up. In my mind, I hear Bob Dylan sing:
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end?

Visiting a Con, whether it’s GenCon or ComicCon or WizardCon (you can hunt down earlier posts on this blog where I experienced WizardCon on mushrooms) is an oasis of eye candy and spiritual connection for the kid in all of us. GenCon is a place where you go and be open, express yourself through make believe or play an elaborate game with likened enthusiasts. Observing the Con goers universe helps take my mind off the every day world you and I live in. The every day world, where some Neo-nazi punks and overzealous White Supremacists caused the death of Heather Heyer.

Days passed before President Trump voiced a response on Ms. Heyer’s tragic death, and that response appears to be the most difficult obstacle of his Presidency to date. If he survives this, then he must be the Anti-Christ, because no one has ever taken such a huge shit on the public-on the world-and kept their career. He is reaching proportions of disgust from average citizens that during earlier periods of history, led to Marie Antoinette getting her melon chopped off. Folks are getting that worked up.

Trump didn’t initially denounce Alt-Right followers, who are the catalyst for James Alex Fields Jr. going off the deep end in Charlottesville, plowing his car into a bunch of citizens. Trump told the public there was wrong on both sides, referring to the two groups of protesters at that rally and the immediate reaction from almost everywhere was disbelief and anger. His second attempt at a response to the Charlottesville tragedy, which had to include an apology for his earlier statement, came off like one of those forced statements hostages are made to read as a cheap camera records them in a concrete room. Those on air statements added to the line of snafus the Crimson King continues to pile on his shoulders. It’s reported he walks around, alone and aloof, brooding and unable to understand why so many hate him so much. He fires the main Puppetmaster behind his Administration, Steve Bannon; a sigh of relief from so many comes out with that move. People and organizations continue to peel themselves away from their association with Donald Trump. One of his favorite haunts, Mar A Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, lost nine charity event bookings this week due to his statements. Trump’s advisors were reportedly “stunned” by his going with that second statement to the press and can’t see how his presidency will recover. His own daughter, Ivanka, told him (in a more polite manner) that he should just shut the fuck up. His National Economic Council Director, Gary Cohn, is ashamed of Trump’s actions. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the guy who stood next to Trump when the press conference took place, is trying to distance himself. Leaders locally and around the globe increasingly hound him on his egregious behavior. Top Generals from the various branches of our Armed Forces stand on the line of defiance to their Commander-In-Chief. Like the song says, the cheese stands alone.

Those are just a few of the reported things going on as GenCon swung into Indy. I was glad to experience it this year and almost missed it. I left the political chain of events to fall into play on our nefarious leader, to be driven on their own momentum.  I went to see the Con World.

I indulge in watching the Con crowds and have categorized three main tribes of Con goers; Cosplayers (and their followers), gamers and Merchandisers. The world of cosplay hosts people dressing up as the most recognizable iconic characters in media, like Batman or Star Wars characters, and runs a full gamut of strange beings, even including totally made up people; mashups of two or more characters from the realm of fiction. One girl dressed as some half deer/half human and I asked her what character she was.
“I just made this up. I guess I’m some kind of fawn forest creature….”
Sexy costumes, exact replica costumes, poorly designed costumes et al., walk the halls and stop to pose and be photographed. It’s selfie heaven and everyone gets to play, if they want. I saw a skinny twenty-ish male in a Sailor Moon outfit, a great replication of the female heroine from the famed Anime series, and no one is going to say a word to his five o’clock shadow. Cosplay viewing is one of the few, if not only, venues where men of all ages can take pictures of girls in skimpy outfits and not make it be creepy. No one wants the creep factor at a Con, and most no one ever gives it.



One life to Open the Game


Well they did it, folks, they raised the bar on citizen reaction in modern politics by giving us a kill. James Alex Fields Jr. has been charged with second degree murder in Charlottesville, VA, for smashing his car into a crowd of protesters, killing a thirty two year old woman. He injured a reported 19 other people as well with the car crash, so now the cherry has been popped on a new generation’s social/political  behavior. Rules have been broken and I now have to believe there’s a small, darkened room full of politicians somewhere in Washington D.C., old white relics in stuffed suits, wringing their hands with evil glee. Their formula has worked and they appear to have control over Trump followers, enough so to have them commit murder. The Crimson King has served his purpose and lowered the level of tolerance many of his more extreme supporters harbor. The hatred from those who oppose ‘fake media’ and “Hillary Supporters” (the woman appears to pull more power from not being elected, than if she were) will now be backed by the strength of legendary urban tales created from Field’s action. They can no longer be considered political activist virgins, they are killers.

The protest is said to have started over a proposed removal of the Robert E. Lee statue which resides in the city of Charlottesville. The semantics of the statue being allowed to stand, or being taken down, both are huge topics of discussion, but I won’t waste time writing on that debate. The people who live in their region have more a dog in the fight than me, because it’s their home turf. I will, however, qualify myself to look at and characterize the insane actions of one brainwashed individual that was driven to the point of taking a life and injuring others, all over his opinion. An opinion that was fed by the political agendas of a two Party system which can’t manage to get along on anything. A neighborhood and network of relatives and associates who classified Fields as a quiet person who kept to himself enabled him…we keep hearing about the loose cannons, the psychopaths that finally do snap, and I feel that number may grow. Certainly the potential for growth in numbers of loose cannons out there may be spurred by a critical lack of medical support for those who rely on meds to keep them together.

Our nation continues to crumble under the present Amerikan leadership, and we experience rot from within our neighborhoods. Neighbor battles neighbor as our nation’s infrastructure decays; and all this rang in a new level of bloodshed, Saturday, while I prepared to tour an historic old Coca-Cola bottling plant in downtown Indianapolis.

This tour was the nation’s largest Coca-Cola bottling facility (in it’s prime), now defunct and preparing to be scrapped after sitting years in abandonment. The eight acre lot is an architectural splendor to investigate, a showcase of Art Deco design from an era now past. They have made plans to tear down the Coca-Cola building(s) and surrounding ground to renovate into a new business area along Massachusetts Avenue. New facades, new growth for the area, a new era of development and progression. Now as much as I don’t have a dog in your fight, Charlotte, I will at least say that life goes on and sometime the old must make way for the new. Old factories die out, sometimes statues must be relocated; change takes place for different reasons, but is a statue really worth engaging a psychopath to take to the streets and kill someone? You can argue all you want about the ‘real’ issue being deeper than that, but after all the talk, it still boils down to someone being shot over a conflict that started from a statue. I have to imagine that the most pleasant memories Charlotte’s citizens hold dear to heart from growing up there, the history of their town, the citizens, all have little to do (directly) with the statue itself…certainly not such a reverence as to hypnotize someone into running over people with a car…not unless the person was Jared Lee Lougher, or James Cunningham crazy.

Here comes the bottom line, Alt Right enthusiasts: This time, you took out one of their people and want to justify and weigh that action on your core principles. Next time, they might take out one of yours. Is this how our nation should go down? Should the true enemy of America end up being our own citizens? A mutation took place once we allowed an ex-reality show tv host to be leader of the country and shit’s starting to happen real fast. We will have bigger battles ahead and haven’t even made it through Year One of this Administration.Which ever side caves in now will lose. The ante has been put in the pot; one human life. Who ups the bet?

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