Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eerie

Now Playing: Marilyn Manson - Great Big White World

Back in the early days of my research binges into serial killers, I was never all that into the Zodiac Killer. I think it's because the "mystery" of an unknown serial killer never really caught my interest all that much. I want to know who they are. Where they were born, what their families were like, what their childhood was like, what they did the years preceding their first kill, how every confirmed attack and murder took place.

I knew I was alone in this because the prototypical serial killer is a Jack the Ripper figure. An anonymous killer sending letters to mock their pursuers and brag of their conquests so people can go nuts trying to figure out how, when, why, and, most importantly, who. Half the time we're not even sure we want to know who did it. Part of the intrigue is in the mystery.

But I got to thinking about the Zodiac again the other day. I saw a documentary on YouTube, This is the Zodiac Speaking, and then I saw the David Fincher film Zodiac. I showed it to Flip and a couple of times throughout the movie he'd asked, "did that part really happen?" There's discrepancies here and there, but the movie's surprisingly accurate to the actual events. They did their research, and even if some things since have been brought into question or disputed, the terrifying aspects of it come from how accurate it aims to be.

Because I was thinking about it, I decided to look up some more info on the Zodiac. And I came across a post from a guy who was trying to crack the remaining, unsolved encrypted letters the Zodiac had sent, as well as a follow up asking just where the hell that redditor went and if he managed to uncover anything.

The original redditor came back to say nope, they weren't able to figure out much.

But then he closed with this:
"The second biggest thing I found interesting was just the journey itself. It was admittedly a little creepy, to dig into this guy for days on end. It gets to you. The Zodiac claimed he wanted (paraphrasing) "slaves for his afterlife".. Well, he certainly got them. Anybody who spends time looking at the evidence, or scratching their head trying to decipher the remaining cryptograms could be thought of as a "slave"... For a brief time, he had an army of them.. A couple hundred GHz worth of them, worldwide. 
Looking at it now, my belief is that Z340 is a red herring... Pure garble. It was probably created as a device to bog down and tie up as much investigative manpower as possible, something that would consume hundreds if not thousands of man-hours to fully evaluate...40 years later, we're still hammering away on it. It's a brilliant strategy, when you think about it."

I don't know why but I got this really creepy feeling about it. It disturbed me. It's the same feeling I get when I read police reports or when I hear interviews from witnesses.

For months now I've been thinking part of the reason I can't get into detective novels or crime shows or anything under that umbrella is just because, well, it's not real. It shouldn't stop me from getting attached to it. I love grand, sweeping, impossible stories of fantasy and sci-fi. Dragons and fully-sentient robots not existing doesn't mean I can't love their fictional selves. But I guess because crime fiction is so closely tied to reality but has a lot of the absurdities or grandiosity of fiction, it's stuck at this weird place where it's not enough for me. It's not grand enough (and when it tries to be, it's ridiculous) and it's not real enough (and when it tries to be, it's often boring). But I can't fault it for not being perfect because it's my bias. There's no sweet spot that'll make me love it. It has to either be something it's not (secretly about monsters only possible in fiction) or it has to be the truth.

To me, a crime is only terrifying when it happened in real life. A fictional crime--no matter what body parts are chopped up or how much I care about the main character or how terrifying the actor playing the serial killer is or whatever--can't ever be scary. And it's because, when I read about real cases, I can't help but imagine being in the position of the victims/witnesses/investigators. It's scary because it's real, and no matter how inventive a movie or book gets, it can never match the fear attached to reality.

Shortly after reading that post, I went up on the FBI's Most Wanted pages and read some of the postings there. Missing person cases, unsolved murders, a couple on hate crimes. And later that night, I couldn't sleep at all. I stayed up talking to my brother about this absurd fear I have involving, like, being murdered. It sounds ridiculous to mention, let alone worry about, but that's another thing about fiction: when people are murdered in a crime novel or TV show, I'm absurdly aware of the fact that they're not people. They're concepts and playthings. But when I read about the real life victims of crimes, I think about the day they were born, taking their first steps, learning to talk and to read, going to school, making friends, graduating, finding jobs. Mundane lives with ends no one could see coming.

And I try to imagine the intensity of the fear that hits someone dying a violent death. I don't think any kind of fiction in the world, no matter who writes it, no matter how hard we try, could ever capture a fraction of it.

It's abstract because the only way I'll know it is if I ever experience it, though I (unwillingly, sometimes) try my hardest to put myself in their place no matter how fruitless it is to try to imagine that horror. And somehow, not being able to feel it makes it all the more frightening.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Supercon!

As a somewhat-belated anniversary present, Flip and I went to Fort Lauderdale this past weekend to spend two days at Supercon. First day I got to dress up as Harley Quinn and Flip went with his Fairy Tail shirt.


We went all out and managed to grab a fancy hotel--with a bathroom that was way too fancy for my liking, but with a Jacuzzi bathtub that made up for the weirdness of a toilet without a lock.

Plus the view was beautiful. But that picture is on Flip's phone >.> I was too enthralled to remember to take pictures of everything.

At the convention, I was mostly excited to see Ricky Whittle's Q&A, but due to bad planning on my end and never ending make-ups, plus the unforeseen circumstances of a giant line outside, it took us a good two hours to get inside the convention center, from leaving the hotel, to getting to the convention center, to finding parking, getting in line, and getting our wristbands.

Because we missed Ricky's Q&A, I decided it was imperative we get a picture. Last time we went to a convention at Fort Lauderdale, Summer Glau was there, and I deeply regret not paying for a picture. (That said, I was about to switch jobs and both Flip and I were super broke; would not have been smart to spend money).

Getting the picture with Ricky was one of the better ideas ever. In the line, girls were running around back and forth giggling. Mostly because Ricky is impossibly funny. He had people straddle him, he gave them kisses on the cheek, he had two guys on the floor grabbing onto his legs as he posed with his hands on his hips. He was doing the most romance-novel poses ever. Flip kinda regrets that we didn't straddle him for our own picture, but we did get to hug him and I gave him a kiss on the cheek :D

Plus, the three of us look super cute together. (Even though my wig betrayed me slightly cuz it keep moving everywhere). I might just have to write a character based off of him.



The sad thing is, part of the reason we missed his Q&A was because we needed to watch the last episode of American Gods so we wouldn't get spoiled. That caused us to leave an hour later than planned >_>

Later that day we saw Karen Gillan's Q&A, and she was so adorable we decided to splurge on a picture with her too. I was a little worried during her Q&A because I knew she was gonna get some fuckboy douche who'd try and hit on her and yeah, I ended up being right, but most of the questions were fine, including a couple from little girls who adore her. Mostly she gave some hints about Avengers: Infinity War and at one point got a heavy question about the rates of suicide in Scotland which she answered perfectly by talking about the highest rate being among boys who she feels aren't encouraged enough to communicate about their struggles and feelings.

The funniest one came from the boy who came in last. Because the host/moderator announced he'd be the last question, he brought up this like 12 year old boy up on stage and made him sit next to Karen. (The boy tried to be very polite and give the seat back to the host, but the host insisted he take it and  the microphone). This kid was so visibly smitten with Karen, it was adorable; he kept kind of laughing nervously, looking at her, looking away, then looking back. Their conversation went something like,

Boy: "So you're from Scotland, I'm from Ireland."

Karen: "That's great!"

Boy: "Yeah, yeah, so, you know we're kinda neighbors."

Karen kinda laughed here and so did we. The kid's accent was too cute.

Boy: "So because we're neighborly, I wanted to ask--well, this is a very Irish question to ask, but what's your favorite drink?"

And the host, like, half-freaked out, half-laughed and ran to the stage to grab the microphone away from the kid. He said something like, "Well there goes my job," and gave it back. So laughing Karen said, "you mean like alcohol?"

Boy: "Yeah!"

Karen: "Uhm. Wine. It's gotta be wine. But--but don't drink that until you're old enough!"

Boy: "What kind of wine?"

Karen: "It's gotta be...red."

Boy: "Oh my grandma loves red wine."

Karen: "Well she knows what's up."

It was so cuteeee.

We didn't get to have a picture with Karen until the day after. I want to point out Flip did the respectful thing and didn't, like, death-side-hug her like I did:


But it was Karen Gillan! I actually did base a character off of her back in my old RPing days. I had to hug her!

The same day we got a picture with Karen was the day we got to see Peter Capaldi. He had some pretty cool sunglasses on, though Flip disagrees with him covering his amazing eyebrows, and he got some pretty interesting questions. It was also rad that the host called forth all the Doctor cosplayers, at first together, then leaving the 12th cosplayers for the very end so he could sneak Peter in between them. Flip saw Peter sneaking in behind the back and join the other cosplayers, but I didn't notice until people started standing up and clapping once they recognized him.

He's veryyy funny and very animated. It was also hilarious to see him censor his curse-words or lewd stuff out knowing there were kids in the audience (and either way us Americans are weird about curse words. Hella sensitive to them, it seems).
The doctor cosplays excluding 12th. I regret not getting a picture of all the Capaldi look-alikes amidst the real Capaldi but there wasn't enough time. I was too busy fangirl-ing.

Shitty far-away picture of Capaldi. It doesn't look it but we actually got pretty good seats. I didn't have to use the camera screens to see him at all.

The answer I remember the most is when someone asked him if he ever improvised while filming Doctor Who, and he said it was neither discouraged nor encouraged, but that he thinks it's a little disrespectful to a writer when you look at his/her script and go, "I can improve that" or "I can do better."

He said it's a bit common and easy for a performer to say, "Well my character wouldn't say that," but it's much more challenging and therefore rewarding to instead ask, "how can I make my character say that so it rings true?"

I find that very admirable about Mr. Capaldi. He said other people sometimes did improvise on set and were great at it, but even that made it so that he felt imperative he stick to the script in case others wanted to make adjustments to it on the fly.

I'm not against improvisations and a lot of the time they can turn out great scenes, but I do admire both his restrain and his respect for the writer's work.

Outside of the two events, we went to a panel about villains (which we're gonna stop doing because every time I drag Flip to a writing panel, it's always the most 101 pointless questions/discussions ever >_>) and also bought some cool art for the new apartment:


This artist's originals were all painted on glass and were gorgeous, but I'd already spent too much money at the con, so Flip and I split the cost of three prints and will be buying frames for them later.

At the con, we saw a lot of cool cosplays, but I didn't take a lot of pictures because I always feel weird stopping people to shove a camera in their face. Mostly what would happen is I'd see someone posing for someone else and I'd sneak up on them to take a side-picture.

Then they'd either move on or notice me trying to be sneaky and just outright offer to pose for me. So that was nice!
Flip should also totes be the 10th Doctor.
The 10th in this pic was hanging out with a Daenerys who had a rubber dragon.
Shirt I got. Flip got Firefly and Death Note shirts.
This R2D2 was moving on his own. So rad.
Had to take a picture with her. The candles actually lit up!

All in all, it was a great weekend. If we get to go to a con again, I'll put more effort in my Harley Quinn cosplay. Probably add more make-up, get a giant mallet, and get myself a Poison Ivy or a Joker to tag along. (Flip thought about it, but money and wearing make-up/layered clothes on a hot day proved to be a little discouraging). There were a lot of Harleys--both Suicide Squad and originals, plus a couple dudes--and every time we'd see each other, we'd say hi or point at each other and grin. The repeated Deadpools also did the same~

Oh and if Ricky Whittle's ever anywhere in a con near us, I am so going. I'm so happy he's our Shadow Moon~
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.