Geek on wheels

RMN 3rd Fleet ConCarolinas 2014
San Martino Fleet of the Royal Manticoran Navy fan organization at ConCarolinas 2014

I want to apologize for not blogging much lately. Life has been a bit on the busy side, but has slowed down since my mentored teaching has ended (and giving me my mornings back to sleep as I’m a night owl). The nice thing is that my summers usually involve some fantastic geek social interaction opportunities, aka conventions.

The first one of the summer was ConCarolinas.  I’ve only gone to this con once about five years ago with a live action role play (LARP) group that I used to play with before my spine became unstable.  This time I was going because of a combination of George R.R. Martin being a guest of honor (the guy who wrote Game of Thrones) and a meeting of the Third Fleet of the Royal Manticoran Navy (RMN) fan organization (Photo description: an outdoor shot in front of water, showing about 20-30 people, most of us decked in black shirts, black pants, and either black or white berets depending on whether or not we lead a local chapter. I’m in the lower left corner with my wheelchair & a white beret with my partner right behind me).  Because of time and money, we decided to just go for Saturday because Charlotte is only an hour and a half drive.

I was really ambivalent about using my wheelchair at the con, which in retrospect is pretty silly.  I acquiesced because my partner said that he’d rather know that people weren’t going to crash into me with my crutch/es, that I wouldn’t have to worry about trying to find places to rest, and that I would be happier if I was able to move at a quicker pace.  Other than the frustration of some places not being accessible (or barely accessible, like most of the bathrooms at the hotel) or dealing with what I usually call “demon carpet” (plush carpet is a wheeling nightmare that tears up shoulders and sometimes hands, and if it’s bad enough, involves a sequence of wheelies to try to maneuver through it).  Several people crashed into me, which made me very thankful that I had four wheels instead of two faulty legs and a stick or two!

Although I didn’t get to meet George R.R. Martin as I really didn’t want to wait in long lines to go to his panels or to get his signature, I did get to meet Anthony Montgomery from Star Trek: Enterprise and David Weber, the author of the Honor Harrington books that the RMN fandom is based on (I’m biased as I think they’re awesome, but the first two books of the series are free on Baen Books & Amazon Kindle so you can try them).  Because of the RMN dinner that evening, I had a chance to meet with some really fantastic people and chat about a variety of geeky and non-geeky things (well, talking about my scholarly work might be more on the geeky side….).

The next convention is my fifth annual trip to CONvergence in Minnesota at the beginning of July then my third consecutive Gen Con in Indianapolis in mid August before classes begin (I have posts about both conventions on the Blogspot page). There will likely be a few “flying with wheels” posts related to those trips as well, although I’m hoping that U.S. Airways stays awesome like it has been for me.

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Want to support this blog space? You can donate to my scooter fundraiser so I can actually get around my campus with textbooks!  My birth defect means that wheeling on such extreme hills is tearing up my shoulders and my body doesn’t make enough of what it needs to heal, and any time spent walking takes away my ability to belly dance. It will also allow me to stop driving my car to campus as that scooter will be able to do the 2+ miles a day to get to and from campus!  Any support is greatly appreciated!

Fat Chick Rages: Don’t Teach Exercisers to Ignore Body Signals!

I’ve been TAing for a sociology of sport & exercise class for our undergrad Kinesiology majors….and I have to keep telling them how our current culture of “no pain, no gain” is a cultural construct that is not useful for encouraging physical activity (and maintaining it as a lifelong pursuit!)

My dear friend Ragen Chastain mentioned on Facebook that she had gone to an enjoyable Zumba class the night before, but was dismayed the next day when she checked out the Zumba studio’s facebook page.  Apparently they posted an image stating: “Are You Feeling Dizzy, Sweating, Tired, Breathless? …  Good, Great Workout!!!”  I’ve posted my modified version below:

Not even going to take a chance this will get reposted without a little alteration on my part... Not even going to take a chance this will get reposted without a little alteration on my part…

Okay, so let’s get started on how wrong this is.  Not a little bit wrong.  Not even a medium amount of wrong.  A Carl Sagan, galaxy-filled COSMOS of wrong.  This is not inspiring.  This is not cool.  This is irresponsible and dangerous.

This sign to me represents a culture where we learn to ignore the signals our bodies send as we work out.  This is about a culture of masochism, where the more pain…

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