Weekend at Shore Leave

by Mike Shea on 15 July 2007

Michelle and I spent this weekend at Shore Leave, a Star Trek fan-run convention near Baltimore. I always leave these events with a big smile on my face. It is a rare thing to hang around with so many fellow nerds who just plain love science fiction. I sat in hour-long panels discussing Heroes, Firefly, and Battlestar Galactica. I stood in a 90 minute line to get my Moleskine signed by Uhura from the original Star Trek and Chief Tyrol from Battlestar Galactica.

Aaron Douglass, the actor who plays Chief Tyrol, started his discussion with the almost AA like proclamation "I'm Chief Tyrol and I'm a cylon". He had a lot of great stories to tell.

The costumes were amazing. A lot of people spend hours and hours hand-making costumes that blow away anything you'd be able to purchase.

This was also my first full field test with my iPhone. I didn't bring a PC at all and there were few places in the two hotels where we spent most of our time that had public wifi so I spent most of my time on AT&T's Edge network. It is certainly slow but very usable. The iPhone's camera which, while ok, is no where near as good as a real digital camera. However, being able to snap a picture, write a quick email with the subject as the title of the photo, and send it directly to Flickr is very cool. No doubt I had few people if any who were watching, but it is neat to know that I can instantly capture and broadcast pictures and text directly from an event like this. After watching an hour of video and taking about 20 pictures all sent to Flickr, the battery was at 10% by the time I got back to the room around 7pm. An hour charge during dinner had it back up to half. When in heavy use, the phone lasts about a day on a single charge.

The iPhone is a great device for surfing the net and maybe sending a few emails but it isn't good at all for a mobile blogging device. The lack of cut and paste is a big problem when you're trying to hyperlink things. It took me about 15 minutes to write my previous post just to get a pointer to my live Flickr posts. This is the price we pay for a convergence device. Still, the iPhone was the only electronic device I brought with me on my trip and it did just about everything I needed and wanted.

All of my photos from the event can be found in my Flickr Shore Leave 2007 photo album.

Michelle and I also had the opportunity to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Each of the Harry Potter movies is better than the previous. From the original who-done-it adventure that spent more time showing crazy magical effects than a real story we are now seeing the movie focus on the story. They no longer need to tell us all about Hogwarts or the teachers or magic in general. We know all that now. Now we can focus on important matters like why Snape hates Potter so much, who the Death Eaters really are, and watch as the world moves to a new wizard war. The wizardly battles at the end of the movie are incredible without being overdone.

Snape is, by far, my favorite character in the movie. He is the one character that isn't clearly on one side or the other. He has direct and powerful motivation to hate Harry Potter but still does what is right. He's great.

So we had a great time on our weekend away and it gave me a good glimpse at the fun we should have at Gencon in August. Unfortunately it's back to a reality of working for the man to pay off the mortgage.

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