Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Let me tell you about Homestuck . . . .

From the Urban Dictionary:

"A web comic pertaining to an incredibly complex network of intertwined relationships between the space-time linear parallels of a group of juvenile human beings and a slightly larger group of juvenile troll-like humanoid extraterrestrials who must work together to stop a rogue villain from destroying our universe, communicated through and perpetrated by a with the ability to manipulate time and space while simultaneously bringing about the end of the world, interspersed with interruptions from an omniscient talking cue ball as well as a separate group of gang-involved beings hellbent upon exacting revenge on a rival group of gang-involved beings, all tied together by a characteristic ironically ridiculous and self-deprecating sense of humor with homage to both classic character archetypes from throughout human history as well as the familiar internet-central humor of today’s youth." []

My own definition is a bit more personal.  It is a web comic, sure.  But it is also something that has created a social group my girl-child (also known as the "Pumpkin") has found commonality with.  These kids (most are age 13 to 20) are incredibly funny, creative and aware.  They even let an old lady play with them on occasion, even though I have not read the 4000+ pages of Homestuck and do not get many of the 'inside' jokes and references.  I have managed to grasp a few of the names . . . Jane. .Dirk. . .Gamzi (or is it Gamzee). . . Jade.  

The characters seem to morph and change daily but the trolls can pretty much be counted on to have candycorn coloured horns regardless of whether they are humans, sea creatures, dogs, cats, dragons or even My Little Ponies.  Not all of the incarnations are the work of Mr. Hussie, in fact it seems most are created by the fandom of Homestuck devotees.  

There is much "shipping" or romantic pairings of the various characters, something of which I know from my own journey into an almost as crazy fandom on the 1990s -- that of the X-Files television series.  Much fanfiction and art work has been inspired by Homestuck, and my child occasionally shares it with me.

And then there's the costumes.  Oh boy are there costumes.  The Pumpkin's first costume was a doozy.  She spent several months creating a full head mask for a character named Bec Blanc . . . who is apparently a dog-like creature with wings and a sword. Well, see for yourself.  She test drove the costume at the Calgary Comic Convention in April. . . which is where the above photo is from.

In May, there is an amazing event held each year at the University of Calgary called Otafest.  We went last year. . . before the Pumpkin discovered Homestuck.  That year was sort of like an experiment.  She dressed as an Anime character and observed.  This was when she apparently saw some Homestuck fans. . . and asked them about their characters.  The rest, as they say, is history.

This year Otafest was. . . well EPIC.  I tagged along . . . spent much time sitting in the Student Centre reading my books and occasionally going to different sessions with the Pumpkin.  There was a Homestuck "Panel" where I got to learn about Homestuck . . . or try to . . . as I said. . . it's COMPLICATED.

I learned about some of the characters.  I learned about the girlchild's friends.  I learned about 'cuddle puddles'.  

Yup, these kids are fun.  They are funny.  And they even let an old lady play dress up with them.  Yes, a few weeks ago when the Homestuck kids got together for a rollerskating party, my kid dressed me up and I discovered I can still skate!  

Yup, my kid -- she dressed me up as a Homestuck character . . . which character -- why MOM of course.

So what is the point of this Blog post?  To tell you about Homestuck.  Sort of . . . it's about what being a parent means to me.  It is about learning about what makes your child happy.  What makes her light up.  And THAT is what HOMESTUCK really is . . . something that lights up my kid.  And for that, thank you Andrew Hussie.

Monday, September 24, 2012

What are the odds . . . .

Turning 50 . . . the BIG 5 - 0 . . . over the hill . . . 50 is the new 30

Whatever. . .

The more time I spend on the this planet, the younger I feel.  Age, like weight, is simply a number.  And numbers are things we spend much of the first part of our lives trying to make obey rules.  Less than.  Greater than.  Adding.  Subtracting. Multiplying.  Dividing.  Shortly after we master these concepts about numbers, new and more confusing ones arrive on the scene.  For example, dividing by zero.  Quadratic equations, square roots and geometry.  Before long calculus and trigonometry join the game, and then everyone's favourite, Sadistics . . . err. . . statistics.  I admit it, I ditched high school math before having to deal with calculus or trig. 

I took my last math class sometime in my twenties.  A psych stats class that was required for my degree.  It was NOT a good time.  The professor, who was a million feet tall, dressed in the 3-piece suit look of the 80s with flowing Rapunzel hair to boot, paced the front of the room like a tennis ball between Federer and Roddick.  You could tell statistics was his religion.  Having just gotten out of one, as not in the mood for conversion.  Dutifully, I took copious notes, supplemented them with the notes my older sister took the previous semester when she took the class (also required for her nursing degree) and read the text book.  Just when I would feel a concept solidify in my hands, whoosh, it would get swept away into the haze of my brain.  I did pass the class. . . thankfully the professor was of the view that we could bring anything into the exams to help us, with the exception of someone who had previously gotten an A in the class.  Somehow the combination of my sister's old notes and tests and my own gut instincts got me a B. 

Now I am looking at the kind of math that makes Psych 2000 look like counting to 100.

I have now lived 50 years on this planet.  Five decades.  That works out to roughly 438,000 - - give or take.  Two thousand six hundred weeks (and consequently weekends!).  Of that time, I spent 9 years in post-secondary school of one kind or another.  Over 100,000 hours being a parent.  Over 170,000 hours being a wife. 

At one point over the past few years, I made up a bucket list.  I just looked back at it . . . and laughed.  I have now come up with a new list which I call:  What I'm going to do in my fifties!

1.   Finish writing the book I've been working on for the past several years.   Thumping around in my head for quite a while has been a novel.  I know the plot outline.  The characters talk to me at odd and random moments.  I just need to get the bloody thing down on paper.

2.   Fall in Love again and, more importantly, be successful at keeping love alive and growing over the long haul.  As they say:  Second marriages are proof that optimism outweighs experience. 

3.  Take my girl-child on a BIG adventure trip.  Right now we are planning to go to the U.K. the summer after high school, which would be 2015.

See, I told you it was a short list.

What didn't make the 'cut' were places where I'd rather not waste my energy: getting over my fear of heights, learning to play the piano, drive the Alaska Highway, do daily yoga.  One of the things I think I'm becoming is more focused.  And for the functional ADHA poster child, this is something I am proud of.  Now, if I can . . . . ooohhhh look a butterfly.