Monday, December 31, 2012

Post Christmas

Christmas 2012 is over with and now I can write about what happened. I snuck into my mother's house (knowing full well that the hounds would be released if I knocked on the door and they saw me) so I could get a good, home cooked meal. I don't want to be that guy who just takes and takes so I brought a bowl of stuffing mix to leave behind. The mix just lay in the bowl. I didn't actually make it. I was going to let my family do that since my cooking skills are nonexistent and I did not want to be the one who made the horrible, horrible dish. My talent in the kitchen is so bad that I can burn anything even if the stove and oven are off.

Unfortunately, my family was waiting and they caught me trying to sneak in through the basement. My mother was at the front, surrounded by my siblings, cousins and their kids.

"So you have been writing about us." She crossed her arms and, like a wave, all the other arms behind her crossed as well. I almost asked my mother to start tapping her foot to see if everyone else would as well.

"Wasn't me. Someone hacked into my account. I would never write about my loving family."

A slight pause and my mother pointed her fingers at her eyes and then pointed at me. I got the idea. She wanted me to look at her. I did. I made eye contact. I forget that means I am challenging her authority. In my family, you never make eye contact with our mother.

Her right hand went up, pointing to my brother. "Sweater him!" My brother and cousins moved with the speed of a cheetah and rough hands grabbed me and I felt something being pulled over my head. I struggled to no avail and then I was released only to discover the horrible thing they had done. I was now wearing a snowman sweater. I started to yank it off but when I grabbed the edges the family started to move towards me. I let it go and they backed off. I grabbed the edges and they started forward. This went on for some time. I was not amused by the sweater (don't like the things) but enjoyed seeing them moving forward and back.

I stuffed my face during dinner. I ate so quickly that the other people at the table stopped to watch me. My cheeks puffed up like a rodents as I shoveled the food down. I was moving so fast that my fork grew hot. I dropped it and began using my hands. Social niceties be damned. My belly grew tight. The button on my pants flew off and bounced off the wall across from me.

After eating my fill I decided I needed to work it off so I started to run. As I ran I yanked the horrible sweater off and let it drop into a snow drift. My brother and sister watched me from the window.

"Was that the sweater we gave him?"
"He's still running."
"Did we give him those pants or t-shirt?"
"He's taking everything off!"
"He's running bare naked down the street!"

Thus ended my 2012 holiday.

Monday, December 24, 2012


     Roommates are an interesting mix of things. I have one and I am starting to understand why most animals are loners who mark their territory. I probably would do that but I am sure my roommate already has. This is just another reason why I shouldn't pick roommates from the Internet.

     Warren, my roommate, does nightly security checks which would not bother me so much if he did not end up in my room, pantless. The light from the hallway wakens me so I can see him standing in my doorway.

     "Man, put that thing away!" is a phrase I use way too often living with him. I am not going to explain what the thing is.

     It got worse one night when I came home from work late to a dark house. As I moved toward the light switch in the living room, he jumped on me from behind, putting me in a choke hold. When I came to, he handed me what turned out to be a report card. It read as follows:
                                                       Reaction time: F
                                                       Awareness:      F
                                                       Fighting skill:  F

     "You have a lot of room for improvement."
     "I'll keep that in mind." Somehow I find it little comfort he is grading my performance.
      To be fair, he did the same thing when I brought a woman home. Needless to say the date pretty much ended there since there is no point trying to get intimate with a woman your roommate put in a choker hold and she passed out. It kind of destroys the mood. After that I never brought a woman home. This affected my dating life as women grew concerned that I would not let them in. Nothing quite says your quality like telling her she can never ever come to your house.

     I normally have a sleepy eyed looked but the morning he announced he was getting married caused my eyes to pop open like the pull down maps on a classroom board. I wondered who would ever marry this nutjob but then he started to laugh and said I should have seen the look on my face. It was priceless.

     At this point I realized I needed to move. Thus began my quest to find the perfect roommate and I did it. I found the perfect person to live with. It's me! Who else understands my wants and needs better than I do? No one and that means there will be no arguments about where my laundry is laying, no conflicts about the smell of food I cook and no real arguments about is on my DVR. Isn't that the dream, to live with just that perfect person?


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Short 2012 recap

                The year is quickly coming to a close. I know this because Christmas is almost here and that is a very clear sign the year is almost over. It is amazing how that works. What a way to end a year—with unbridled consumerism and candy canes. I have learned several things over the course of the last year and I am going to pass on some of my wisdom. My advice is to duck and cover while taking everything I say with a grain of salt. I do.

                My year began in February (January is dead to me). I started off attending Katsucon at National Harbor, Maryland. This is where I met Meagan Marie and Linda Le. Not that they would admit to this. In fact, if you were to ask them who I am the reply would be “Al who?” I also met Yaya Han and proved the old adage “Good model, lousy photographer” which, to be honest, was basically the one statement that defined my year. It turns out that if you go out into the world you actually meet people. I had no idea. That is a double edged sword though. While you meet people, you also have to meet people which is how most people define their interactions with me. Which comes to the one thing I heard repeatedly this year:

                “What is wrong with you?” or some other variation, which most would find insulting. I don’t, since there is actually no good answer to this. Plus, the amount of space it would take to explain what is really wrong with me (well, according to “the experts”) would take up too much space to cover. Some of the things I have done caused someone to remark “If anyone else had done this I would be shocked. With you, I’m not surprised anymore.” I took that as a challenge. This lead to the statement listed above as well as the much beloved “I hate you, Al.”

                March was horrible. Too horrible to discuss. Actually, I don’t even remember that month. Great, I lost a whole month. Well, I thought I lost it but then I looked under my seat in the car and found it. After brushing it off and seeing that it was lackluster, I dropped it back under the seat.

                April brought me a lot of confusion about birthdays. First, how could my special day be so ignored? Very few people on Facebook even acknowledged it and isn’t that what FB is for, to know when to tell someone happy birthday? Then there was the issue with the cosplay model/writer A.L. who, after I wished her a happy birthday, wrote back with the following:

                Glenn, thanks for the birthday wish. How are you doing?

                Al, sorry, Facebook is screwing up my messages.

                Wait, where was my thank you? I don’t even rate a thank you. Man, the things you learn from social media.

                Anyway, after my birthday I joined LinkedIn. I cannot say it has done much except for introducing me to Kim Bookless which made it worthwhile. If you don’t know Kim Bookless, you should. She is the reason my blog has become coherent and makes sense (well, it is supposed to and if it doesn’t that is my fault). Kim also made me sign on to Twitter where I decided to use the name TheOneTrueAl. I am still not sure what I am doing there but I’ll take her word that it is important.

                September brought my first trip to Dragon*Con, and what happens at Dragon stays at Dragon. Except for the YouTube videos. And the posts on Facebook. Plus every other type of social media where people can post pictures and comments. Whatever happened to privacy? I will say this is where I learned that Brandy Gibson has a mean right hook, that there is an ultra secret group called the Superhero Cosplay Forum and Sherri Lyn, along with her sister Mae, made me try sushi.

                Later I learned not to trust translator programs. I translated a phrase into Turkish and sent it to a person with Turkish heritage. She is no longer speaking to me and I am blaming the program as there is no way anyone would EVER want to stop talking to me since I am such a delight.

                One thing that amazes me is how much the start of the year has in common with the end of the year. I started the year with no money, single and sporadic employment. I’m ending the year with no money, single and sporadic employment. You would think that things would change in 12 months. You haven’t met me.

                                                                                Her majesty Kim Bookless made this blog better.

Monday, December 10, 2012

meeting Danea

            This is about the woman, Danea (pronounced like Dana but spelled with an e), who became the love of my life or maybe the one I am a little scared of. I’m not sure she is the love of my life, but she says she is and I am too scared to contradict her (or I am not smart enough which seems much more likely).

                 See, my sister has a simple system of getting things she wanted (our brother was a reward/incentive). She got rid of people she didn’t like (sending me in to get them to leave her circle). Everything was fine until Danea had to go and ruin everything.
                Danea had something shiny Janie Mae wanted (the exact phrase my sister used was, “Oh, shiny”) but rather than going with Joseph, Danea told Janie I was the reward Danea wanted. Janie tried to convince her otherwise, tried to make Danea see the error of her ways but Danea was insistent. So this is the story of how I met Danea (and things that occurred later).
                Janie pushed me towards her where Danea scribbled a series of numbers on my hand. The pen dug into my flesh and even though I tried to pull away her grip was like a vise. When she finished writing, she released my hand and whispered, “If you think that hurt, wait until later.” With that, she left. Janie demanded to know what she had said but I kept that little treasure to myself.
                Danea arrived in a red dress and hair coiffed. I came in a t-shirt and jeans. Obviously she took this more seriously than I did. Of course, if you know me than you know that is not hard to accomplish. Serious is not something I excel at.
                “Why do you spell your name so crazily? There’s no e in Dana so why do you insist on putting one there? Is there something wrong with your spelling ability?” Normally, going on the attack works. It forces my date into a defensive position, which means my later moves go down smoother. Not with Danea. She avoids the whole mess altogether.
                “Keep talking like that and there won’t be a second date.” She leaned back into her chair.
                Sucking down the buffet shrimp, I told her “I don’t care about a second date. I’m just here for the food and God willing, some sex.“ Another specialty of mine is mentioning physical relations but not saying with whom. That leaves the night ending with someone open. Danea doesn’t buy into it.
                “Oh, you say the sweetest things,” she replied. At this point I know I am in trouble since my two early moves have been avoided. It is like she knew what I was going to do before I even did it. Like someone had coached her. Like this had been set up before
                “I see you came prepared for this” I said, looking into her green eyes.
                “Gee, what ever could you mean?” Danea asked as she batted her eyelashes innocently and folded her arms over her chest.
                She didn’t sleep with me that night. I thought it was over. I was wrong. She was just getting started with me. As I sit here typing this I realize she ruined me for unintelligent women. She made me realize I need someone to challenge me (and she did every day of our exasperating, beautiful relationship).
                The next time I saw her was when she showed up where I was working at the time. I say “at the time” since I change jobs like most people change socks. She stopped at the front desk where, when they asked whom she was there to see, she told them we were newly married. She even had on her spare wedding ring.
                As soon as she said it multiple heads raised their heads above their cubicles like gophers coming out of a hole. They all wanted to know who would dare marry me and who would even admit it. People surrounded her. I couldn’t see her through the mass. Later she said she thought some of them even sniffed her. I don’t doubt it. People are strange. I brought the ring thing up. I asked her what kind of person has a spare wedding ring just for emergencies. Actually I think the word crazy slipped out of my mouth. In case you don’t know, calling a woman crazy is never a good idea.
                “Is this really the conversation you want to start with?”
                My head lowered. “No, ma’am.”
                I was doomed.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Secret to Women

The Secret to Women

                I have discovered the secret to women and I am going to share it with you. I know this is one that has plagued men for generations and I am going to reveal it here. I am going to expose it for the low, low price of $19.95 and I take all major credit cards, as well as some minor ones. If you do not want to know, if you prefer that it stay a secret since you do not want this life-altering information then stop reading and go back to your ordinary life where you are mystified by women. Go on, scram.





                Still there?

                Okay, here it is:

                Women are people. That is the big secret. Shocking I know.

                Some women are good, some are not.

                Some are kind, some are not.

                Some are happy, some are not.

                Some donate time to charities, some do not.

                Some are in the WNBA, some are not.

                Some have chosen to get married, some have not.

                Some think I am crazy—okay, they all do that.


                The point is that women are just like men. They have hopes and hates, dreams and desires. Women want to be successful, accepted, loved, have good relationships, be understood and acknowledged. All the same things men want. This makes me wonder why there are so many derogatory names for women and so few for men. Men and women both do many idiotic things but women have labels attached to them when they do it. Men are just laughed at but no label is attached to the action. Is there a male equivalent to tramp or whore? Also, if a man doesn’t get married it is okay, but if a woman makes that choice people think something is wrong with her.

                One problem I have noticed is that it is not always men doing the degrading. Woman can do just as much to hurt their own gender. Some women choose to judge other women based on fashion and beauty rather than positive qualities such as generosity and intelligence. “Girl, you look so pretty today,”is what might get said instead of “You did okay on that presentation but I know you’ll do better next time.”

                 Yes, I know women differ from men in a biological sense. Women can have babies and men cannot. That is one thing I am confused about. One would think that the gender responsible from keeping the species going would be held in higher regard and not treated as less than.

                Yes, I know there are other biological differences such as women having breasts (well, some men do but they are not supposed to as far as I know) and women handling certain situations differently. This does not mean women are better than men or will make better leaders than men. Well, women won’t refer to rape as legitimate and there won’t be as many female politicians sending pictures of their anatomy to interns. Hmmm, maybe they are better leaders.



The secret to women may change at any time and this secret does not guarantee accuracy to the nature of women. The writer bears no responsibility for any action taken by a woman upon a person who claims to know the secret of women. Men may use this statement at their own risk and the writer bears no liability for injuries sustained.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Things to know.

I am going to list things in this blog that you should know about me. They will not be obvious things such as I have never been married (well, duh) and that I don’t have any children. These are some not so deep and dark secrets.

My parents have given up on telling me I need to find a nice girl. Now they tell me they would be happy even if I found a nasty girl. I don’t think they mean someone who is physically dirty. At least I hope they don’t. I need to go check. Hold on...

I want to be a pimp since that is the one career where you can legitimately say “Gimme my money, Bitch!”

I believe in mythical creatures and aliens. I hope they come for me. Heck, at this point, I’m even willing to succumb to the probing. I need a good probing.

I'm willing to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny if there is a profit in it.

I have never tried Starbucks coffee and I fear I am one of the last. This means that, when Starbucks closes their doors after getting the population addicted, I will not be one of the millions who commit suicide since they were cut off. Yes, I have decided Starbucks is an evil alien plot to get the population addicted and they will take over when we are sufficiently hooked.

I often question the validity of the phrase “family sized” especially in relation to food packages. Whose family are we talking about, the mouse family? I wonder since I can sit and eat a whole package of some product that claims the box/bag is family sized.

I hate the expression “priceless”. Basically, it means something/someone has no price and is worthless. People take offense when I say this and then try to take the item as I claim it must be free.

I can be really quiet at times and sometimes people start talking about things. Sometimes women start telling stories, pregnancy stories. Stories that I cannot unhear. Horrible stories that are part of the reason I don’t have any children. Well, that and women don’t want me touching them.

I like to protect my privacy at all costs. This is exactly why I joined Facebook and Twitter as well as starting a blog.

I am fascinated by the novel Frankenstein. So much so that English teachers have told me they will never look at the book the same way when I am done discussing it. I feel like I am the monster which is why I shun mirrors. I feel like Frankenstein’s monster, other people tell me I am a vampire. Either way, I’M A MONSTER!

Many people tell me I need to smile more. These are the same people who tell me to stop smiling when they see me actually doing it. Maybe I should smile more often. It worries people…

I once walked a 43 minute mile. I am still proud of this.

My tip jar reads “Will mock for tips.” It usually stays empty. People always say play to your strengths but they never tip for it. Cheap bastards. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pimping and pretty things

                I’ve mentioned my sister, Janie Mae, before. What I have not told you so far is that she was a pimp. Yep, she would sell people for material possessions. Well, the only two people she used were my brother and I.

                My sister devised an ingenious way to handle her friends. If they did something that pleased her (which was rare since she was, and is, hard to please) or she wanted something from them than she would set them up with our brother, Joseph. I can see how this can be perceived as a reward since he is over 6 feet tall and built like a tree trunk (by that I mean muscular and not knotty). He has a huge smile and women constantly throw themselves at him. Literally. We were in a Wendy’s for lunch and women hurled themselves at him. Women even skip trying to catch the bouquet at weddings and opt to have him catch them instead.  It’s sickening, really.

                Yes, my sister was a pimp. She never got any money for this but she got a lot of pretty, pretty things. She always carried around a set of photos of Joseph just in case something caught her eye. Every week she had to update her photo collection so Joseph was constantly in front of a camera. Giving Janie something she wanted was a sure way to get a date with our brother.

                He claims that they were dates only and that he never slept with a woman he went out with. Hearing this sent me into gales of laughter. Unfortunately this occurred at a family gathering and, after picking myself up off the floor, had to explain what I was laughing about. I answered “He never slept with a woman because he always leaves right after sex.” An uncomfortable silence fills the room (except for my laughter) until I am told “Get out!” Apparently they don’t like my smut talk. I am told to get out a lot.

                On the other hand, if the friend has done something to displease Janie Mae and Janie wants her gone, I come into the picture. One or two nights with me and Janie Mae never has to worry about this person bothering her any more. Yes, I am that good. No, it is not a talent. Yes, I could market myself like this. No, I am not proud of it. I am nowhere near as tall as my brother and no one has thrown themselves at me. The closest I have come is someone tripping as they tried to run away.

                Eventually Janie Mae’s friends caught on to her little scheme. The sad part is exactly how long it took for them to catch on. Her friends began to resort to bribery to get Janie Mae to set them up with Joseph. Sarah, one of Janie’s friends, offered a BMW for a chance with Joseph.

                Debra, Sarah’s friend, had this to say. “You offered up a BMW to just go on a date? There is no one that looks… (This is when Joseph walked in) OH MY GOD! Janie, my family has a yacht!”

                Janie asked if the car was a 7 series. Anything less than a 7 is an insult. My sister has developed a taste for the finer things in life by pimping out our brother.

                The day our brother got married is a dark day for women. November has Black Friday. That June has a Black Saturday. All the forlorn women stood outside the church, weeping, wearing black armbands and cursing the heavens above. Security was hired to keep women out and from ruining the event.  Security at the reception after the ceremony had to drag one woman away after she tried to drive a Vespa through the front doors. Security also gave me a hassle as I tried to come in. I wasn’t on the list.  

                 No one ever offered her anything to be with me (things have been offered to keep me away) but understand I was the punishment. One time I woke up next to Elaine who lay next to me, holding the sheets up to her chin.

                “I feel so dirty.”

                My response did not make her feel better. “You should feel dirty. I have no shame and I am a little disgusted with what happened here last night.”

                Janie also uses me as a deterrent and a threat. “Don’t make me call Al in here” usually brings all the other women in line. If I actually am called into the room it ends in tears due to a wink, a nod and a highly inappropriate suggestion. I’m full of those.

                Janie’s system worked well for some time until Joseph got married (another story for another time) and until I met one of Janie’s friends, Danea (It’s pronounced Dana but spelled with an E) which is also a story for another time.


Monday, November 5, 2012


                Another statement that annoys me (yes, there are many) is “Christmas snuck up on me.” Christmas is not a ninja, people. It is the same day every year. It is not like the day jumps around from year to year.

                “Okay, people, this year Christmas is going to be on February 12th. Next year it will be September 7th.”

                It never moves. It is always December 25th. It is even marked on calendars. This is one of those days that you cannot escape seeing since retail stores start promoting it in October. When someone says it is December you should realize Christmas is almost here. Even if you don’t celebrate this holiday (which is fine since I have had all the holiday spirit bled out of me) you should still be aware of it. Radio stations start playing holiday music right after Thanksgiving which is something else I really hate. I feel like smashing radios that are tuned to stations playing non-stop Christmas tunes.

                Shouldn’t the fact that Thanksgiving just happened be a REALLY BIG CLUE to what comes next? I don’t mean Black Friday which is a good way to start the last month before Christmas. Let’s trample an electrician since a human life is worth less than a TV on sale.

                “Timmy, you had better like that 42’’ TV. Do you know what mommy and daddy had to do to get it?”

                Having worked in retail for many Christmases has made me hate the season. First, the weather gets cold. Well, it does on the East Coast. The West Coast has it a lot easier what with all the sun and warm temperatures. If there were no threat of the big one coming I am sure everyone would be living there. Of course I would have to adjust my thinking to make fun of these fools who wear Santa hats with bikinis.

                One of the worst parts is those people who wait until the last week to try to find gifts when all the good presents are gone. These are the gifts for the people who the giver does not really care about but are last minute thoughts since the giver feels obliged to give something. The is the time when people shop for 1) people they don’t like but feel like they have to buy this person something or 2) The person is your Secret Santa name from work who you really, really hate but you drew their name and no one else will trade with you.  The third reason is that the giver is just lazy. They don’t feel like shopping so they go at the last minute and end up getting the worst gifts imaginable like skis for that person who is afraid of snow, a three pack of car scents for a friend or a 6 pack of socks for a loved one with that being all the giver intends to buy and give.  

                The last week is bad since people smell of desperation and all the good gifts are gone. Customers go into the ‘If it is not nailed down, take it’ phase. These are the people who shout “How can you be sold out of this? There are still 6 hours left till Christmas!” This is also the time where people realize they need batteries and retail chains can charge anything for these items. This is when I like to stand back and watch the tears and pleading begin.    

                 “I don’t care if the cookie platter is half eaten. I’ll still buy it.”

                “The plant only has one leaf left and is dying? I’ll take it.”

                One of my biggest pet peeves about the holiday is what people give out as gifts. Specifically I am talking about clothes. My wardrobe is pretty simple. I wear black T’s and black jeans. That is the core of everything yet people still gave me clothes that there is no way on this world or the next that I am going to wear. “Uhm, that is a lot of purple.”  When I was growing up I had to fight a long and hard battle to get people to stop giving me clothes (mainly sweaters). It eventually worked and everything was fine. Now people have started up again and so the fight begins anew. I am getting too old for this.

                I tend to avoid holiday music and movies since I don’t believe in messages of goodness and coming together during this time. I think the Grinch had it right at the start and they ruined a perfectly good character. I have been called Grinch, Scrooge and many other names but I don’t care. During this time I limit my vocabulary to two words and they aren’t Merry Christmas. I have been given coal as a gift in case anyone is wondering. It came in a little red sack. I kept it and love it. Finally, someone gets me.

                Bah, Humbug.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nekocon 2012

This was the first time I have been to this convention and it is worth going back next year. Set in Hampton, it does not have the crowds of other anime cons which is good since this made it easier to move around. I have heard about this con for some time and decided to finally take the plunge. As always, many pictures were taken (not as many as other cons) and they are displayed below.

What I liked:
1) The con had a friendly feel to it. It was smaller than other conventions I have attended and this seems to be one where a lot of the people know each other. Many people know each other which is something I cannot claim (a downside for me-not having anyone who I can meet and go hang around with). The attendees seemed pleased to see each other and catch up. I was able to meet many people who had some fantastic costumes. See below for some great costumes.

2) Getting Final Fantasy 8. I have been wanting to reacquire it for some time and accomplished this goal here. Now I have games 7 and above. I am pleased.

3) Meeting Chiara Scuro. We have known each other on FB for some time. I have been trying to be at the same con as her but I keep missing her. I despaired of ever meeting her and was about to give up hope of this but lo and behold, it finally happened! I got to see her in a Sailor Moon cosplay (see below).

The not so good.
1) The artist alley was limited. While there were some talented people there, other cons have had a greater number of artists in attendance. I only found one piece I really wanted.

okay, onto what you really want--THE PICTURES!

Lizzy Bush (Batgirl)
and Brittney Taylor (Nightwing)

Erica Bortnick (Glados-Portal 2)


Elyse Teeney (Police Box) and
Lauren Barham as the Doctor

Elhonie Kirchoff

Watson and Madeleine

Sammii Ponseti

Hayley Boone

William Mountford and
Ariel Matthews

Rob Wilson and
Stacie Hudson

Sarah Dove and
Patrick Jenkins



Racheal Hrinda and
Leah Boadway

Alice and Emma

Laura Howell

Samantha Ripert


Dana Plinkington

Kristy Bock and Daniel Hart

V. Faulkner

The Hawks without their masks

Chiara Scuro (to wrap things up)