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WesternSFA
Jeffrey Lu's Blog:
Being There

Being Jeffrey's thoughts and observations on life, travel, fandom
and whatever else interests him
January 2015 - A Beginning
February 2015 - Fandom in Phoenix AZ
February 27, 2015 - On the Passing of Leonard Nimoy
March 12, 2015 - On the Passing of Terry Pratchett
March 27, 2015 - Dreams
May 4, 2015 - Grace Lee Whitney Remembered
May 27, 2015 - Costumes
A Beginning 

Sometimes, life can be overwhelming.  Case in point: I have pressures from bills to illnesses.  I have problems that I would rather not have.  When I think everything will be okay, something goes wrong.  Not my day, week, month, or year.  (Maybe a streak of years.)  Not happy, but still going even when life throws a whirlwind of punches.  (I duck and proceed the best I can.  I do not give up.)

Being here, I decided to write about life, fandom, and/or other cool stuff that might be helpful to others who are either having a hard time and/or need something.

So, this will be my observations/experiences in, hopefully, a monthly fashion.

Others have wondered why I have not written for a while.  To be honest, I have been busy in many projects.  Some failed.  Some are on the back burner.  A few succeeded.  I now have time to write this column.

Sadly, I will be going to a funeral on a Saturday, a day before this column is due.   I have in the past written tributes and/or poems to friends and/or people I admired who passed away.  I do this as a way of remembering them.

I will write more as I finish this beginning. 

Next: Fandom in Phoenix, Arizona.


Fandom in Phoenix, Arizona

Believe it or not in Phoenix, Arizona, there are a lot of fans of almost everything: sports, fantasy, romance, science fiction, science, technology, etc.  To those new, fandom in other words is where a group of fans follow a specific event (i.e. The Super Bowl).  The problem is to find it.

From my experience, I generally look into local bookstores, libraries, and/or conventions.  Another is talking with friends or someone who knows about my interest.  Then, I go to the event.

That is how I found about LepreCon, my first local science fiction convention.  In high school, I had a science fiction class and wanted more than the required readings. 

I found a flyer at a local bookstore.  I wrote it down, paid, and signed up. 

On that convention day, I was there talking with authors, fans, and book/craft sellers.  I began to enjoy my lifelong journey into the local sci-fi/fantasy fandom.

Later, I went to more conventions (Westerncon, CopperCon, Phoenix Comicon, Nebula Awards Convention, HexaCon).  All were held at least once in the Phoenix area.

Now, I get emails from friends/places in fandoms all over the world.  In addition, I look into social networks, media (newspapers, blogs, magazines, flyers, Internet), and word of mouth.  But if I can, I look into Phoenix because it is growing.  There is a lot of new stuff from writing conventions to science events (i.e. Stephan Hawkings at A.S.U).  Another, there are also a lot of celebrities making visits (i.e. Last year, I met Dawn Wells a.k.a .Mary Ann from "Gilligan's Island.")

Being here in this growing fandom in Phoenix, Arizona is cool.  Make time, bring money, and enjoy yourself.  Someday, I'll write other fandoms in other cities.  Good luck.  

Next Time:  Dreams

February 27: On the Passing of Leonard Nimoy

It seems illogical. Mr. Nimoy died today. This man did not have to continue his legacy as "Spock" yet, he helped reboot the new Star Trek movies with his appearance. Also he went on the show, "The Big Bang Theory." He was well loved at any convention he attended. He became a legend who went beyond his acting duties. In retrospect, Leonard Nimoy could have just retired and enjoyed his golden years. No, Mr. Nimoy became a renaissance man- photographer, director, writer, narrator, spokesman, patron, etc. Logically, he will be missed for only being "Spock" but also someone to be inspired with the time he had to fans, friends and loved ones. Leonard Nimoy: Thank you.

March 12: On the Passing of Terry Pratchett

I met him at 1st American Discoworld Con a few years ago. The convention sold out. Mr. Pratchett did not seem at all effected by his Alzheimer's disease. He was brilliant with his humor on a variety of subjects. Sir Pratchett was thoughtful and interesting especially talking about British history and strange knickknacks. He also paid for con suite fried chicken. Not sure if this is a good omen but I know he's a cool author. He's a great example to follow.

I'll miss him.

Being There: Dreams

I had a dream...actually a few of them.  Luckily, I have fulfilled most of them.  Yet, I learn that one must be open to other possibilities and adapt due to unforeseen circumstances. .

Sometimes, a dream fails due to unexpected things (i.e. death of an author).  Another is timing (i.e. 50th anniversary of Star Trek).  In addition, technology is not there yet (i.e. trip to the moon).  Other factors, life happens (i.e. sickness) and/or other dream derailments (work, school, accidents, etc.).

But when a dream comes and one acts upon it, one remembers the joy in doing something worthwhile.  This person can then dream again.  Also, the same person may attempt to do more "dreams."

In reality, dreams come at costs.  There is a price of failure.  There is a time to commit.  There is energy that needs to be spent.  Dreams are a lot of work.  Yet, a dream fulfilled is itself  a great reward.

Case in point, I had a college class called "International Business."  I had failed this course before due to an instructor who could not teach.  Luckily, I retook this class in the next semester.  Fortunately, I had a new teacher named Dr. Archer.

He always wrote a quote and/or question on the bulletin board before each class started.  One day, there was a question: "If you had unlimited wishes, what would you do?"

I wrote a quick list.  Before the end of the class, Dr. Archer wrote something underneath the question of the day, "What is stopping you from doing it, now?"

I paused.  I looked closely at my "wishes."  Nothing was my answer.

I had finished this list within ten years- graduated, seen/met all the TV Star Trek crew, solved a real mystery case, spoke in public, wrote an article/letter to a newspaper, win in an election, and met a few writers (D.C. Fontana) .  I went after my dreams and have no regrets.  I dream often but do it, today.

Next: Costumes.

A Lady Is Gone From The Stars, Today- The Lovely Grace Lee Whitney

Grace was literally grace under fire due to her life problems. But she survived and thrived by fans, friends and family throughout the world. A kind and caring person who was not only a beauty but a smart one (i.e. She a.k.a. Yeoman Rand was a red shirt in Star Trek: The Original Series. She was one of a few who did not die). Later, Grace made appearances in Star Trek: Voyager. Even now, her passing will be missed. Yet, remember- she lived long and prospered by the loves from her family, friends and/or fans. Thank-you, all.

Being There: Costumes

In every sci-fi/fantasy/anime convention, I am amazed at the details of people dressing in their costumes.  Most are fans of certain characters (i.e. Harry Potter or Dr. Who).  Sometimes, a few are wearing certain historical pieces and/or past fashions (i.e. Tudor, Victorian).  The creativity in making these works of art is really cool.

In the past, I had entered costume contests.  Most I did not win.  But I did like wearing my outfits for fun.

Come to think of it, I won two- both 1st place for original.  (Actually, I think I tied in one of them.)

My first win was in jr. high school.  There was a class competition in sports.  The winning class gets a pizza party.  The others get a ribbon award for participating.  To be honest, we sucked.  We lost in every sports event.

Yet, there was a silver lining.  I tied for 1st place in the school's costume contest.

I had worked on a costume for a month.  My plan was being a mascot- a knight with a shield and sword.

The shield and sword were made of wood and covered with aluminum foil.  I had a sheet of purple to use as my cloak.  My clothes were the school's colors- purple and yellow.

I shared first place with a girl who had great KISS makeup.  Very cool.

Later in life, I was working for a healthcare facility.  There were Halloween costume contests.  I decided to dress up as a Sphinx with a twist- I had Groucho Marx's trademark glasses, cigar, and mustache.  I won 1st place for humor.

Costumes are cool.  Just let others costumers be.  Their work is wearable art.  Watch them and enjoy.   

Next: Reading      

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