Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Geek OD

I think I might, possibly, finally have overdosed on geek culture last Wednesday.

It's kind of shocking it never happened before, to be honest. I've been a geek since I was seven; I'm now 45. You would have thought it would have happened at some point sooner. Maybe Tim Burton's first Batman back in the 80s, or when the Avengers came out in 2012. But nope, Wednesday, May 13, 2015. I had a moment at the end of the day, when I was jittery, feeling really weird and had the thought "you know, maybe I ought to take a break. Or at least cut back a bit."

It probably was building for awhile. This has been a pretty geeky year already. TV-wise I'm watching Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, The Flash, iZombie, Daredevil and Constantine. I was watching Gotham, but gave up on that hot mess of a show. There was the months of build up leading to Avengers: Age of Ultron. When the gushing reviews of Mad Max: Fury Road starting coming in, that got me happy too (If I could see only three movies this year, it would be Avengers, Mad Max and Star Wars).

I nearly broke earlier the year when Amazon cut off shipping to most remote locations, but magically exempted Iqaluit. Cutting off Iqaluit would have been bad. Others depend on it for food or diapers. I depend on it for graphic novels. So that was stressful. Then there's my escalating Lego habit, which peaked at buying the SHIELD helicarrier....
She is very pretty.

So yeah, this was building for awhile. And there was certainly geek news on Wednesday...the trailer for the new Supergirl TV show, the news of a New Mutants movie...what ultimately broke me was New York Comic Con (NYCC).

NYCC broke a lot of people on Wednesday, and if you need to know why, well, here are a couple of stories. Tickets for the October comic con went on sale on Wednesday. I'd decided months ago that I wanted to go. I've been there twice before - once in 2008, the other time in 2012. They were both fantastic experiences.

But during those years, it was relatively easy to get a pass. In 2008 I actually won a VIP pass through an online contest. In 2012, I bought a four day pass, then a few weeks later they put VIP passes on sale, and you could upgrade. So I called, and was able to get an upgrade from a very polite lady. It still took another 24 hours or so after they went on sale to sell out.

In the last three years, NYCC has gone batshit crazy. For those of you lucky enough to catch Mad Max: Fury Road this weekend, imagine one of those road races  and vehicular carnage taking place online, on a website to get tickets. Death, murder and mayhem were happening on that website.

I knew it was going to be ugly. I was further crippled by living in Nunavut. To call out internet up here third world is frankly insulting to some third world countries. To make matters worse, our internet service provider, Xplornet, has had its collective head up its ass since February. They're switching satellites and services. Which is fine, but they've done it in such a horrific way that I've actually had to complain to the CRTC (Try download speeds that often top out at 0.40 Mps). I've been waiting since the end of March to get a new dish installed and switch to their new service. I doubt it will happen until sometime in June.

So yes, not the best way to try and attack a website to get tickets, especially when half the geeks in the world would be trying at the same time. It's why I enlisted one of my best friends, and my mother-in-law, to try and register as well, from Kingston and Mount Pearl.

I warned them it was going to be bad. They thought I was being melodramatic. If anything, I was underestimating how bad it was going to get. NYCC's servers melted down before tickets went on sale and it got worse from there. I was following on Twitter and chatting with my accomplices on Facebook. I don't think I've read so much concentrated profanity in a short period of time.

My friend Dups, who has a bit of experience with the internet, what with him being CEO of his own web-based company for several years, called it one of the stupidest, worst designed things he'd ever seen. On Twitter, people were losing their minds, as they would get the chance to buy a ticket, only for the site to time-out. Or crash. Or get error messages (a story about it here).

It was geek carnage, my friends. Geeks are friendly folks, unless you do something to fuck up the thing they want. Then there are few things more savage and vicious on the planet. NYCC's twitter stream and Facebook page featured some of the most condensed hate I've seen in a good, long time. And maybe that's silly to many people. And perhaps it should be. But I've been to these cons. They are a blast. It's worth fighting for. And I understand people's disappointment. And in geek fashion, they lash out. Also not helping was scalpers putting tickets on eBay and Stubhub while the NYCC registration carnage was still happening.

So what happened? After 40 minutes of stress, several crash outs Dups managed to land the big fish for me...a 4-day pass at NYCC. I nearly landed a 4-day VIP pass, but the system timed out on me before the purchase could go through, and then the passes sold out.

But I'm going, which is the important thing. A lot aren't. So I'm not complaining. Well, I am. NYCC needs to get their act together. That's two years in a row they were unprepared for the onslaught (here's their response to the mess. And then they had idiot things like demanding you fill out a survey before you could buy the tickets. I was in a such a hurry to try and fill it out before it crashed again I'm pretty sure I'm a 14-year-old girl who likes anime. I'm not the only one. So it was an annoying survey that collected information that was completely useless.

Anyway, I think maybe over the next few months I might want to step back from the geekery a bit. I'm still excited to be going back to New York, and in the weeks leading up to it I'm sure I'll be annoyingly geeky. But maybe between now and Labour Day weekend a short break is in order. A geek cleanse.

It'll be good for the sanity. And probably my long-term health prospects. Cathy's been a saint through my recent geek binge, but I'm sure saints have their limits...

Last Five
1. Love at the end of the world - Sam Roberts
2. The Irish Rover - The Pogues
3. Givin 'em what they love - Janelle Monae*
4. Soul of a man - Beck
5. Velvet snow - Kings of Leon

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