Sunday, May 31, 2009

All Good Things...

I've got a Bumblebee temporary tattoo on my left hand. It's fading now as we speak. Somehow, that seems very appropriate.

It's over. It's really over.

Too tired to post much of anything today and don't know if I'll be able to post tomorrow, since it's the travel day. I'll try on Tuesday. I'm about to crash even as I'm typing.

Primus, I'm actually rather melancholy about all this. It's really over.

--Weasel, "I know all good things must come to an end, but why so soon?"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day One

I'm back, just as exhausted as ever. A quick word of warning: I probably won't be updating tomorrow. I'll be coming back from the Paramount Studios party well after midnight. So I won't be alert enough to turn on Alexa, much less type. Expect something on Sunday, though.

Got up this morning at a little after seven; I was up and dressed within the span of about five minutes. (Odd fact about yours truly: I never like getting up in the morning. I hate it. But when I'm at the convention, that changes rapidly.) Prime took a bit, yet again. He had to shower, get dressed, eat a bit of breakfast (Sandwiches. Nummy.) and all that other wonderful slag. So we were a bit late leaving the hotel. But it didn't matter; we got to our stop, got picked up by the 686 and were on our way.

It was a bit of a walk to the convention center and there was quite a crowd when we arrived. A pretty decent number seemed to be either picking up their pre-registration items or hitting the club store. Prime and I hit the panel room, where we took in the various and sundry panels.

First up was the Collector Club panel, which dealt with the club magazine. Fairly interesting stuff. Next up was Stan Bush and Vince Dicola, followed by the movie writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. For the last panel, I had to ask a quick question about movie Bumblebee. As if I would ask about anyone else. (I'll explain it later.)

After those three panels were done, we waited in line for the opening of the dealer room. It was an hour long wait, but it was worth it.

The dealer room is literally the heart of the 'Con. Everybody goes there. If you're looking for anyone, just head to the dealer room and you will find them. Today was no exception. Prime and I ran into someone we hadn't seen in a few years.

But it got even more awesome.

As I was standing near the IDW table, waiting for Prime, I spotted Mark Ryan. My heart jumped into my throat, but I made my way over to him and said hello. And yes, I got his autograph. He's a really really great guy. XD

After wandering the room for a bit, we decided to head on out, but hooked up with a few friends of ours and spent the remainder of the day with them. Eventually, we all went out to dinner together. A great, but nerdy time was had by all.

And it's not over yet. We've still got two more days of geek heaven on earth. But truthfully, I wish it wouldn't end.

--Weasel, "Still exhausted, but it feels so good."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Zero

I didn't blog yesterday because, simply put, I was too damned tired. So today, I'm going to try and pull a little bit of double duty. Ready? Here we go.

05/27/2009

Yesterday was the Universal Studios tour. I got up stupid (and I do mean stupid) early to head out and catch the Rt 10 ARTS bus that runs not far from our hotel. After catching the bus, I made my way to the convention center to begin the wait.

I was there an hour early. Yeah, I had myself a pretty long wait. But soon enough, more and more Transfans began to show up and we had ourselves a good size crowd. There was laughing, joking, and many long nerdy conversations about toy robots. I was in heaven.

Once our tour buses arrived, we all climbed aboard, took our seats and began to enjoy the ride. Upon our arrival, we decided it would be best if we traveled the studio using the buddy system. I hung out with a small group of fans, led by "Chicago" and "Aussie". Are the names indicative of origin? Dunno. I digress...

We decided to hit as many rides as possible. The first was Shrek 4D. Being a total Shrek virgin, I can honestly say that the attraction was a lot of fun. I'm actually a bit interested in seeing the movies now. (I can hear Prime groaning in the back. To which I say, "Tough." To which he replies "Scre' ye, ye li'tl bas'ard" in an atrocious Scottish accent. Weirdo.)

After Shrek, Aussie wanted to hit the Terminator feature, so we headed over to catch the show. Unfortunately, it had already started, so we had to wait. In the meantime, we had a quick lunch.

I keep forgetting how Godawful expensive it is to eat in a place like that. Seriously, ouch.

After the meal, we went back and took in the Terminator. I would be lying if I said it didn't creep me out at a couple of points--part of the event involved having several Terminators shooting out some targets overhead. The very moment the blasted 'bots popped up, my heart began racing. I might adore most everything robotic, but anything that comes from Cyberdyne has a tendency to scare the living hell out of me. And the T-1000000 was no different That thing could cause nightmares.

After the attraction was finished, we were all about to leave when we were told by the ushers that our group could stay and meet the actors. Earlier in the day, we decided to buy a few 'Front of the Line' passes and one of the perks of said passes was a meet-and-greet. So we stayed, asked a few questions, met everyone and got a few pictures. Much awesomeness, if you ask me.

Chicago decided that we should hit The Simpsons ride afterwards, so we headed over. After taking a few pictures and video of Springfield, we hit the ride proper.

A word of warning: If you ever decide to ride that particular attraction, you might get a bit of vertigo. If you feel a bit dizzy, just put your head back and shut your eyes. Trust me, it helps. The attraction is actually a motion simulator--your brain and body may not sync up immediately and it might throw you off a little. It took me a few seconds to adjust to it but once I did, I had a blast.

We wandered about for a bit, then hit Jurassic Park. Four words: Most. Awesome. Ride. Ever. I didn't get too wet when we made splashdown, but Chicago got freaking soaked. I have never laughed so hard in my life.

Once we had gotten away from the dinos (and I had gotten myself a cute little souvenir), the rest of the group headed to The Mummy ride. I saw four words that encouraged me to sit that one out--high speed roller coaster. I don't do too well with those. Mostly because I risk throwing up. But I did visit the nearby gift shop and snagged another souvenir. This one was a litte pewter Bastet figurine. I can't help but think it was cool.

By now it was getting late in the day, so we hit two last attractions. We saw the behind the scenes/effects show and Backdraft. Both were a lot of fun, but Backdraft freaked me out towards the end. Stupid collapsing catwalk.....

By now we had approximately an hour and a quarter to wander about. So wander we did. There were costumed characters out and about, so I got a couple of pictures with some of them. It wasn't long afterwards that we left the park and our tour buses came.

I left Universal Studios exhausted and achy (my everything hurt!), but utterly ecstatic. It was wonderful.

Today:

Today was the Hollywood tour and Prime had the customizing class, so we both had to get up stupid early. There was just one problem: We had only gotten four hours worth of sleep! Now usually, I'm the one who's dragging their tail to get up and get dressed in the morning. Not so today--it was Prime who couldn't get moving. Seriously, he just wouldn't move. (Not that I blame him.) But after some prodding, we were on our way.

We missed the first bus, but caught a later one. After arriving at the convention center, we went our separate ways. I waited outside for the tour bus, while Prime headed inside for the class. Once the buses arrived and everyone got checked in, we were soon on our way.

This tour was different; we were basically being driven from place to place and given a bit of time to see the sights and take photos. I was able to see the Hollywood Bowl, the Chinese Theatre, walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, see the Kodak Theatre and best of all, walk down Rodeo Dr. I even ducked into one of the shops with a few of the others and walked around. The sales clerk kept glaring at us. It was hilarious. (And I'd do it again. In a second.)

We also made an unexpected detour to the La Brea tar pit. It seems we inadvertantly left someone behind, so he had to take a cab to catch up with us. I'm actually kinda glad it happened; I've never seen anything like the tar pit in my life. I found it a little bit sad.

Once we got back, we were dropped at the convention center. The first sight that greeted us was the incredibly long line for pre-registrants to pick up their gear. At first we all freaked out--we were thinking that was the line for the club store! But our line was much, much shorter.

I caught up with Prime and apologized for being late. We didn't have much time for talk; not long after, the doors opened and we were allowed inside. Prime and I made our way towards the club store when I saw something. It looked like a wing. A yellow, car door shaped wing.

That was when I gasped. And it wasn't the typical sort of gasp, either. This one was reserved for someone special. Namely Bumblebee.

I was staring at a movie Bumblebee statue.
I had to fight the urge to hug him.

Prime mumbled a soft, "Oh hell," as we passed by. He knew I was going to be insufferable after seeing this sight. But I kept myself pretty much in control until we got to the store. We got our forms, placed our order and paid. When we left, we spotted DA (who got in last night) sitting nearby. Prime rearranged our swag and gave me permission to go take a few pictures of Bumblebee.

I lost count of just how many I took. I was actually afraid I might fill the SD card.

Once Prime had gotten everything together, we met up with yet another friend who offered to stash our stuff in their room. So we headed outside. It was then I spotted someone who looked familiar--it just so happened to be the King himself. So I got his attention then nearly fractured one of his ribs hugging him. Good times, good times.

We stashed our swag, grabbed some eats and got back to our hotel. All in all, it's been a wonderful couple of days. I wish it would never end.

--Weasel, "I'm both sleep and food deprived, but I feel just great!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2

I'm here. At last, I am here.

Would've posted a lot sooner, but the last few days have been insane. Saturday was a "nerd's day out", so to speak; Prime and I hit the local comic shop and did a double feature. We finally saw both Wolverine and Star Trek. Both rocked, as you can imagine.

Sunday I had to work, which cut into our prep time. Still, I managed to get some slag done, which put us a bit ahead.

Monday was the killer. And I do mean killer.

Between the last minute packing, the last minute print outs, the last minute laundry, the last minute ATM run, and grabbing the last minute snacks, I could barely function. Even worse, my nerves started kicking in; trying to sleep wasn't very easy for me. But I managed to grab a few hours. (Prime sez: Oh, frickin' PLEASE. One bottle of Mike's Harder Cranberry Lemonade and you were down for the count, shuuuuut upppp.)

Today, we got up at around four this morning (ugh!) and prepared for our flight. After getting dressed, we finally got on the road around five-twenty.

Got to the airport at 7:45. After going through TSA, we got to our gate and boarded soon after. It was a rather long but very uneventful flight. Our airline had XM, which kept me quiet and occupied.

Got to LAX at about ten-thirty. After the shuttle ride, we got to our hotel.

I am tired. Really tired. I could probably crash out and take a nap right now, but I won't. I'll be heading to bed early tonight, since I'll have to be up at a ridiculous hour tomorrow morning. I'm going on a pre-BotCon tour to Universal Studios. Yes, I can hardly wait.

Let the fun begin!

--Weasel, "I'm tired, I'm hungry and I feel great."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

5

I'm off today, work tomorrow then I'm off on Monday and my vacation starts. Weird schedule, I know. But I'm not complaining. Too much.

My suitcase is packed. I'm about halfway done with Prime's (it sounds odd, and...it kind of is--he can pack boxes for shipping toys to eBay winners or for moving, but suitcases drive him nuts); I'm thinking I'll have it totally packed by tomorrow night. At least I hope I will.

In a few more days, I'll be heading to California. And I don't think I'll need the Tylenol PM to keep me quiet while on board. Not considering this piece of news.

Oh yeah, I can board that plane. Nothing's stopping me now.

--Weasel, "This will be awesome beyond words."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

8

Just tangled with my local CU; that was not a fun time, I tell you. But it's done.

I'm not as far ahead today as I was yesterday, preparation wise. But it's nothing I can't get on top of. It's just really annoying. (Doesn't help when I feel like I blew most of the day dealing with stupidity.)

I can hardly wait. I've been needing this.

--Weasel "For a few short days, the world will not suck."

A Public Service Announcement

If you ever move to Wisconsin and you're looking for a credit union, stay the hell away from Lakeview. Apparently, they do not know their ass from an effing hole in the ground.

--Weasel, "It'd be easier pulling teeth with a screwdriver than dealing with these morons."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

9

Got a couple of days off, so I'm doing the usual: Trying to nail down a few things before I leave for BotCon. I'm actually a little bit ahead of myself right now, so I'm taking a bit of a break.

Work hasn't been so bad lately, which is a blessing. It helps to make the wait a bit more bearable, if you know what I mean.

I haven't had any run-ins with Sammy. I am counting my blessings on that one because I'm hearing more and more crap about her. To be perfectly blunt, she's actually scaring me a little. A lot of the other cashiers are getting pretty pissed off at her because she's riding their skidplates over stupid crap. That tears it-- she really is from my old hellhole store. A week away from her will do me a world of good.

I just dread getting on board that airplane. But whatever it takes, I guess.

--Weasel, "Gotta finish packing my bags..."

Saturday, May 16, 2009

12

The new schedules are up: My vacation has been approved, like I had expected.

Today was insane; I was bounced around at least five times throughout the day. At first, I was people greeting, then I was on GM self-checks, then it was 23, then 17... By the end of the day, I could barely remember where the hell I was or what the hell I was doing.

I hate days like that. They make me feel like a total moron. And they also drag by.

But it's one less day's wait for BotCon, thank Primus.

--Weasel, "I'm too old and tired for this crap."

Friday, May 15, 2009

13

I really ought to be doing laundry, but I simply cannot work up the energy to do it right now. So I'll blog instead.

With only 13 days left for BotCon you would think I'd be in a pretty decent mood. I wish I could say that I was. Work has been driving me insane. Again.

Sammy, our front-end manager, is on the warpath. She's been tearing into people left and right, ususally over something that's really, really minor-- like being four minutes late from lunch. I'm not kidding. She's been going nuts on quite a few cashiers and worse, pissing off even more. Vi, who works the GM self-checks when I'm not there, has wanted to get a few more hours; nothing much, just maybe an extra half an hour each shift, since she's been stuck working five and a half hours almost every single day. When she asked Sammy what could be done for this, she was told to either change her availability (not happening, since she has to act as a shuttle service for her family) or sign up to fill a full shift.

The problem? She can't work a full 9 hour shift because she has to get her kids to and from school and work. Sammy knows this but she doesn't give a damn.

The kicker? Sammy's from my old hell-hole store. And she's acting like it. (Yes, that is one of the major reasons that I left that store. You would not believe the amount of backstabbing and bullshit that I had to put up with on a daily basis. It was insane.)

Less than two weeks. That's what I'm telling myself. If I can make it until then, it'll all be worth it.

--Weasel, "I wasn't kidding when I said I was earning this trip."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

15

The "i"s are crossed and the "t"s are dotted; we're almost ready to go to BotCon.

I'm already nervous as hell-- did I mention that I hate flying? Seriously, I do. Can't stand it at all. But I'll deal with it, like I always do. (Pass the Tylenol PM, please.)

I can barely wait. I've been looking forward to this since it was announced back in December. I just hope I can hold on until then. (Work has gotten worse; I'll blog about it later.)

--Weasel, counting down the days

Saturday, May 09, 2009

'POWER DELAY'

Well, there's something I've never seen before as an onscreen header when in the midst of watching a Brewers game on FSN Wisconsin. A mess of the lights went out at Miller Park tonight during their game against the Cubs. Prime and I watched as Milton Bradley (Yes, that is his real name...) stood ready at the plate as the Crew were blowing a significant lead in-progress when it suddenly darkened quite a bit.

44,428 people there, and I have to wonder how many dillweeds left the game early because of it. I mean, there're always the monkeys who leave during the last third of a game when it seems like one team or the other has it in the bag (and tonight is a perfect example of the idiocy inherent in such a call, as the Cubs are now within 3 of tying it up as I type this--not at all insurmountable...not that I want THAT to happen, hell naw). I've just never gotten that whole 'leave before it's over thing'--really, beating the traffic's that important to you? Why don't you just stay home, then, and leave the sold-out tickets to be sold to someone who'll fill the seats for the full nine?

Like me & Prime? /rant rant impotent raaaaage

Still can't believe that I've become such a fan of baseball in general and the Brewers in specific. Prime did this to me. He's still not sure how. And I think he's afraid that I'm going to steal all the swag/merch/paraphernalia he's collected since he was a kid.

(Maybe I will, unless he promises to get me a jersey. I haven't decided if it'll be 'Swindle' with his number--that's an actual Brewers player, BTW--or 'N. B. E.' 02. Decisions, decisions.)

...quick edit: woooo,
12-6!

This kind of ties in with my post from yesterday. While WGN was my original/main source for episodes of Transformers as a kid, there were many...MANY...times where I'd be unable to watch, because there'd be a damn Cubs game there to preempt the showing! Oh yes, there was much, much rage. So there's little surprise, now, that like a good Brewers fan, I haaaate the Cubs! XD


--Weasel, "I'll take Megatron over the Cubs anyday."

Friday, May 08, 2009

25 Years

Prime thinks I went a liiiiittle overboard with this. But he's not the writer, he's the editor. The editor under my THUMB OF DOOM. So nuts to him. :)


Twenty-five years ago today, the very first Transformers comic hit the newsstands. Although I have few memories of that day or that comic, the franchise it helped to launch became a very important part of my life.

Growing Up Autobot

My first introduction to The Transformers came from the toys, which I had spotted in a store in my hometown in North Carolina. It may have been Kmart, or it could have been the local Best Products. In any case, the result was the same...to say I wasn’t impressed was putting it nicely. My mindset was simple--a robot should be a robot, a car should be a car and never the twain should meet. It wasn’t until later that I would change my mind.

It was the cartoon that ultimately drew me into the Transformers universe. More specifically, a plucky little yellow Autobot who quickly became my first crush.

Since my father now worked for the local cable company, my family received free cable. One weekday afternoon, in a fit of boredom, I was restlessly flipping through the channels looking for anything decent to watch. I stumbled across WGN, which was called ‘The Chicago Channel’ by most people living in the south, including myself. In a stroke of good fortune, I discovered that they were airing cartoons. At that age, only animation would keep my attention for an extended amount of time. Curious, I decided to watch.

The first was GI Joe. It was interesting enough, so I stuck around to see what else was on. The next offering that met my eyes would influence me for many years to come, though I had no clue at the time. The second cartoon was Transformers.

Within a few moments, I was already draw into the mythos; an entire world of sentient robots? I had adored all things robotic since I was 4 years old, so sign me up! After seeing the first episode, I wanted more.

I watched the entire three-episode special. I was hooked instantly.

Then came Transport to Oblivion. It was then I fell in love. My first crush was an Autobot named Bumblebee.

In the episode, it happened so suddenly--Spike Witwicky was in danger and Bumblebee rushed in to save his friend. As if that wasn’t noble enough, what Bumblebee said during the rescue sealed the deal: “I got him into this mess, I’ll get him out!”

It was love at first sight--someone who was self-sacrificing, loyal and incredibly cute. At the age of nine, I had figured out who my dream date would be and it was Bumblebee. In my eyes, he was utter perfection. I idolized him, adored him and often thought how awesome it would be to meet him. He was the reason I became a fan of The Transformers.

I had very little money as a child, so my collection consisted of only two toys: one lone Powerdasher jet and an Astrotrain that I had gotten from my uncle at Christmas. But that did not stop me from being a fan. I showed my affection for the Autobots in other ways. During fourth grade, I begged my mother for Transformer-themed school supplies. I wrote short stories and fanfics in my spare time. When my mother would banish me from the house with the words “Go outside and play!” I would cast myself as a secret agent, working for the Autobots. In my fertile imagination, I would join up with Bumblebee to spy on the Decepticons or help him in mounting a rescue mission to save Optimus Prime and the other Autobots from certain destruction at the hands of Megatron. In the back of my notebooks and on spare pieces of paper I would scribble the words “I love Bumblebee”. Although I lacked the toys, I certainly did not lack the enthusiasm.

My Life as a Teenage Cybertronian

During my turbulent teenage years, I began to forget; I forgot about Bumblebee and Optimus Prime and the other heroic Autobots. My life had taken a different turn. I was now fighting my way through adolescence and desperately trying to fit in, which I never really did. It wasn’t until later that I began to remember...that fate guided me back.

During my freshman year of high school, I suffered through several particularly bad days. I was lost and lonely. I had no friends and had a very difficult time identifying with the other students. I literally knew no one; unlike everyone else, I had gone to private middle school rather than a public one. Not only was I the 'little fish in the large pond', everyone was a complete and total stranger to me. Being painfully shy did not help my situation, either. I was simply too timid to speak to anyone. Those that I did speak to often thought I was weird and wanted little to do with me. I had never felt more alone in my life.

Every day, after school let out, my mother and I would visit my great-grandmother. After a quick visit, I would walk to the Kmart that was located behind her apartment building. One especially lonely day, I wandered through the aisles of that Kmart, trying to take my mind off my lousy life. I had already tried losing myself in their book section, but that didn’t help. So I turned towards the toy aisles, hoping that I could simply forget.

It was then that I spotted him. He looked a little different, but I knew him just the same.

It was Bumblebee. The Kmart-exclusive Legends Bumblebee, to be exact. I picked him up from the hook and whispered, “I remember you.” With the only money I had in my wallet--five dollars--I took him home, smiling for the first time in weeks. When I returned to my great-grandmother’s apartment, I gleefully showed him off to my mother. “It’s Bumblebee!” I said, laughing. “Remember him from Transformers?”

I have often said that Bumblebee may either be my jinx or my guardian angel. This was the beginning of that trend--having a horrible day and finding a new Bumblebee toy or catching wind of a related bit of news--anything along those lines. But I had no idea how important that action figure would become later in my life.

At the age of seventeen I met the boy who would be my significant other for the next five years of my life. My then-boyfriend had been an avid Transformers collector and, until he decided to pick up the controller to a Nintendo Entertainment System on a regular basis, owned over 200 figures. When I first visited his home, I was shocked; it felt less like a trip down Memory Lane and more like a family reunion. I was completely enchanted. Transformers brought us closer together and we often spent time reminiscing about the franchise.

When I started college, one of the assignments I was given was to bring an item that I felt was important. I brought Legends Bumblebee. At first the other students seemed slightly shocked until I explained how he reminded me of my childhood and of my past, which was very important to me. This actually started a pretty spirited discussion in class. I actually felt proud of myself for once.

When I got home, my good mood vanished. My mother and father were not on speaking terms. Dad was stressed out due to his job; he had come home that night and had suddenly rearranged the furniture in the living room. Worse, he barely spoke to Mom. It was like walking on eggshells. Neither one was sure whether or not things would work out. Mom was already talking about a temporary separation.

I managed to slip into my bedroom and collapse on my bed, clutching my favorite little Legend. He was a slight weight on my chest--so very slight. But he was like an anchor that kept me from feeling completely adrift. I have no idea how long I laid there, cradling Bumblebee. It may have been hours, it may have been seconds: I honestly cannot say. I only know that his presence was the only thing that kept me calm that night.

Thankfully, my parents worked things out. But during that time I spent a lot of time in my bedroom, writing terrible fanfic and cradling my Bumblebee. The fanfics are long since gone but my Legends Bumblebee remains with me to this day.

It wasn’t terribly long after this incident that Hasbro released Transformers: Generation 2. Frank and I spotted them while out and about one Saturday. When he pointed them out to me, my heart soared; one of the figures on the pegs was Bumblebee. I had a second chance to collect the figures I had missed during my childhood. And collect I did. Every spare bit of money I could scrape together went towards my brand new Transformers collection. My very first figure? Bumblebee, of course. Frank began collecting as well. Whichever figures he couldn't buy, I would buy for him and vice-versa. Those were happy days for us; collecting seemed to bring us even closer together. Unfortunately, that feeling wouldn’t last.

The Beast Within

Generation 2, the successor to the original series, wasn’t much of a success, and it eventually died away. In its stead came what many at the time first considered to be the pretender to the throne--Beast Wars Transformers. Frank was underwhelmed, to put it gently.

“They’re not real Transformers,” he scoffed. I, being so very na├»ve in spite of my age, believed him. So my collecting stopped. It’s a decision that I still regret to this day; I missed out on quite a few figures.

Even though I was no longer actively collecting, I was still quite interested in the franchise as a whole. But I honestly believed that I was one of the few people who still remembered them. That is, until the advent of the internet. One day, on a whim, I typed “transformers” into a search engine on a library computer at my local college. Most of the results were related to electrical equipment, but a decent number of them were dedicated to those robots in disguise that I loved so much.

I wasn’t alone. There were other fans out there. Eventually, I found an email group called the Cybertronian Conference, or CybCon for short. I signed up and after a little lurking, began to actively participate in discussions about the toys, the cartoon--everything. To most it would have been idle nerd talk, but to me it was the most fun I had in a long while.

Then the bottom dropped out of my world: On 30 October 1997, Frank admitted that he had cheated on me with my best friend’s stepsister. I was devastated. Everything I knew (or thought I knew) had been turned upside down. Although I tried to forgive Frank and work things out between us, it couldn't be done. We couldn't even remain as friends. In one fell swoop, I not only lost my significant other, but I lost almost all of my friends as well. Most of them quickly sided with Frank, believing that I was the one at fault for the whole sad affair. I was alone yet again. I was adrift, with no idea what to do next.

Cupid in Disguise

During this time, which I refer to as the Year of Hell, I kept my mind occupied by getting more and more involved in the online Transformers fandom. Also, now that I was free of Frank’s influence, I began to pick up some of the Beast Wars action figures that still lined store shelves and hung from their pegs. The first one I ever purchased was a Fuzor--it was Silverbolt. My reason for purchasing him was pure aesthetics; his being a mixture of wolf and eagle made him the most visually pleasing to my eyes. I was bitten by the collecting bug yet again. I simply couldn't get enough of Beast Wars.

When the WB network debuted in our city, I was able to catch up on the episodes of Beast Wars I had missed, and came to realize just how much of an idiot I had been; Beast Wars might have been a different chapter in the mythos, but it was an incredibly engaging one. I mentally kicked my own butt for denying myself such an amazing storyline. This would be the first of many things that I would discover than Frank had been terribly wrong about. It would also be the first step in relearning to trust my instincts, a step I owe to Beast Wars.

But even though I had fallen hard for the Beasties, I was also trying to recapture a bit of my youth. I was always on the lookout for a "new" Bumblebee to add to my paltry collection. Thanks to CybCon, I was able to get my hands on a G2 Go-Bots Bumblebee and managed to acquire a pair of G1 Action Masters Bumblebee toys. One remained sealed on his card, while the other was freed from his paper-and-plastic prison to adorn my desk. What I didn't know is that Bumblebee wouldn't be terribly safe on that desktop.

It was an accident, really--I was opening one of the drawers and it got stuck. Irritated, I slammed it shut, which caused my poor little Action Master to tumble off the top of the desk. When I noticed he was gone, I panicked. Frantic, I tore apart the area around the desk looking for him. Five minutes later, I found him. He was lying behind the desk, none the worse for wear. I apologized to him (!) and placed him back in his spot, all the while threatening to burn the desk for allowing something so horrible to happen.

Later that night, I made mention of the incident while posting to CybCon. Imagine my surprise when someone contacted me privately about it. "It's that top-heavy thing, isn't it?" the email began. The member, whom I knew as Prime, apparently had his own difficulties in keeping his AM Bumblebee upright while it was wearing its heli-pack. It was an odd start to a conversation, but what a conversation it was.

Frank and I were officially done in August of 1998. It was a difficult time for me, so I took a few months off trying to collect myself and figure out how I was going to get on with my life. But after wallowing in more self-pity than truly necessary, I decided to stop existing and start living. In November of that year, I asked for a computer for Christmas. When I got it in early December, the first thing I did was re-subscribe to CybCon.

I got a warm welcome back, which surprised me. I actually had friends out there. After a few weeks, I also reconnected with Prime. We began chatting again, only this time it was a little bit different. I started to really look forward to his messages in my inbox. I begin to giggle happily every time he replied to me. I was acting like a giddy little schoolgirl with a crush on someone. It felt wonderful.

As the summer of 1999 approached, BotCon loomed on the horizon. A few CybConners mentioned that they were going, among them Prime. Since I had been saving some of my money for the past two years and had about three thousand dollars handy, I decided that I could afford a trip as well. I preregistered and with the help of my mother and her credit card, I was able to go. I told a few of the CybConners that I would be there, but I emailed Prime personally, gave him a description of myself and told him that I would be looking for him. I gave no one else that information. It only went to Prime.

I arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota on Saturday. After heading to the convention center to pick up my prereg items, I rushed into the dealer room. It took several minutes, but I was able to spot Prime standing in the ridiculously long checkout line at Rugby's Starbase. It took me a few moments to get my nerves under control, but I managed to walk over to him and introduce myself.

For the few hours we spent together, we were inseparable. We talked, laughed, and acted goofy. For the first time in nearly a year, I was having a great time. When Saturday came to an end, we had to go our separate ways. I went back to my hotel and he to his. Although there was an "official" CybCon gathering at the convention hotel, I couldn't make it due to extreme exhaustion. It was my fault; I had only gotten a grand total of 6 hours of sleep in the last two days. I'm surprised that I wasn't hallucinating by that point.

I was only able to stay a few hours on Sunday, but I spent as many of those hours as I could with Prime. We wandered the dealer room yet again, just enjoying each other's company. As we wandered about and made a few purchases, I spotted a MOSC Goldbug (Bumblebee's 'evolved' form) on a dealer's table. I looked him over for a few moments but put him back down; I didn't have the money for him, as I had purposefully limited the funds I brought along for the trip. "Don't you have him?" Prime asked. I shook my head. "Nah, I never had the money to grab him when I was younger," I replied, a bit sad. What happened next is something I will never forget.

Prime picked up Goldbug and bought him. I patted him on the arm and said, "You give him a good home, now." Prime smiled and said, "Oh, I will." He then handed the Throttlebot to me.

Prime had just bought me a present. I was shocked. No one had ever displayed this sort of kindness to me.

I nearly knocked him down when I tackle-hugged him. I don't think I've ever thanked someone so profusely in my life. I didn't want that moment or that day to end.

It was hard to leave St. Paul and harder still to leave Prime. It was then that I knew I had fallen in love with him, the thoughts of which made me both happy and terrified. Happy, for we felt so perfect together and terrified at any possibility of getting my heart broken again.

When I returned home, I wrote him an email. It was the most difficult thing I had ever written. I gave him my telephone number and asked him to call, which he did. Eventually, I was bareing my heart to him, hoping he wouldn't reject me. Not only did he reciprocate, he admitted to the same feelings. I had found love, all thanks to a little yellow Autobot.

Their War, Our Shelves

In December of 1999, I took the plunge: I moved from North Carolina to Wisconsin to live my life with Prime. Since that time, my Bumblebee collection has exploded and our combined collection (including so many toys I had missed out on acquiring on my own) has grown by leaps and bounds. I've been an attendee at every BotCon since 1999 and made quite a few friends along the way. Prime and I have happily collected everything we could in that timespan, artifacts included. We've had long, drawn-out discussions on whether the Matrix may be sentient and if Tarantulas is actually Unicron's spawn. I'm working on building a shrine to my favorite Autobot, featuring not only toys but artifacts as well. I'm an admitted (robot collecting nerd/roboplastico addict/flaming robosexual/insert goofy robot-related term here) and I love it.

Although the Transformers franchise has changed time and again over the past twenty-five years, one thing remains the same--my undying love for Bumblebee and his Autobot friends. Because of my devotion to his character and the Universe of which he's a part, my life has become richer; I've made friends and family, all thanks to him. It's been an amazing quarter century for my favorite toy franchise and I can hardly wait to see what the next twenty-five years will bring. No matter what may come, I will always be a fan.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

21

I promised a longer post, so here we go.

* As of right now, I have a song stuck in my head. Now if I could find the soundtrack or movie on DVD, I wouldn't have this problem.

* I am utterly exhausted thanks to work. The whole "Work 8 days, get two days off whenever" completely drains me.

* If I'm dead within a week, you'll know why: one of the cartpushers thought that he had H1N1 (swine flu) this past Saturday. Seems his girlfriend had visited Mexico and was dreadfully sick, so he thought he had been exposed. Too bad management didn't see it that way. So if I'm too ill to enjoy BotCon, that's why. (I'm still going, of course.)

* I'm actually on a bit of a downer lately; I'm thinking that the letdown from Dairycon has gotten to me. If this is the case, I'm going to be insufferable when BotCon's over.

* From the "Customers Are Stupid Assholes" file: Three days ago there was a crying toddler hiding behind a display in one of our main aisles. Every employee who saw the kid did as they were trained; they stopped and looked for Mommy. Mommy (who was about six feet away and hiding behind a different display) got pissed off because everyone was showing some actual concern for her kid. Hey, moron? Would you be saying that bullshit if your kid had gotten molested/kidnapped/murdered? Don't think do. How about next time we call the state and let them take your kid. Have fun tangling with that, idiot.

* I am getting sick of the stupid. The more I see, the more it pisses me off. It's getting so bad that I'm afraid I'm either going to snap at a customer or a member of management.

* Prime said something about the upcoming BotCon that I kind of have to agree with: this is a convention we've been to before. The only new guest we know of is Weird Al. Everyone else has been a guest previously. Man, I really wish Mark Ryan would come. (I'm still going, though.)

And that about does it. Tune in next time to watch me lose what little sanity I have left. (I must be nutbars to post what I'm going to post on the eighth.) Until then, this has been
--Weasel, "Signing off."

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

23




It hasn't been the best week for me: I've just come off an eight day stretch, the stupid at work is driving me nuts and I have a blog post (click the badge above for the what-n-why of it) due in three days. (I'll be working on it tonight. I seem to work better at night. Don't ask.)

I am tired. Very tired. Mostly of people and their stupidity. And trust me, there's been plenty.

I really hope I can make it to the end of the month with my sanity intact. Right now, it's looking a bit doubtful.

--Weasel, "I'll post more later. I'm just too exhausted right now."