A million years ago, I was working at the Dell Factory Outlet in Austin. This total nasty lady came into the Outlet Repair Center, barged through the line, going on and on about how our products were shit, and that she was Very Important and demanded an immediately fix or replacement. Basically, it was this NL25 386 notebook. There was a known issue with the chassis, as seen here:
We did free replacements on the cases via recall. These were not manufactured at the Dell facility, and we had to send them off to New Mexico or something to get them fixed at the factory. There was about a 3-week turn around. Mind you, this was about the time the first Pentium chips were coming out in the mid-90s, and this Very Important Person was furious about her beat up 386.
I get it. PCs are expensive and laptops more so. Especially back then. She ranted and yelled and cursed. Of course, the sales manager went and talked to the back of the house tech support manager. We actually repaired walk-in PC repairs (or folks could send them in) at the Factory Outlet Service Center.
At any rate, she said she plugged the thing in, it poofed and sparked, then went dead. She demanded our techs fix it (even tho we didn’t have the parts. The tech manager agreed, due to sales manager escalating. Charge for us to look at it was $129.00. She agree and said to fix it.
She left her number (pre cell phone days) for her office and went away. Our team continued to help the line. Wasn’t 2 minutes later I got a call to come to the back.
A tech bench had a bunch of folks around it, some with cans of spray. The tech manager used a screwdriver to lift the unscrewed lid and hundreds of tiny roaches scattered. The rest of the team started stomping and spraying. The manager grabbed a bunch of dead ones (he was wearing gloves) and put them in a baggie. Taped the whole thing shut, with the big bag of roaches taped to the top. They refused to touch it further and told me to call her to pick it up.
The same folks who were waiting in line were still there in line. Since she was easy to reach, I called her from the Front Desk, instead of the back of the house (because i cannot abide abuse. Angry customers? Sure. Abuse? NEVER).
“HELLO MS SO-AND-SO? WELL, WE DID SEND YOU THAT RECALL NOTICE YOU REMEMBER AND YOU REFUSED TO LET US FIX IT? WELL, THAT’S WHAT CAUSED YOUR ISSUE. BECAUSE IT IS CRACKED, AND IT ALLOWED A NEST OF ROACHES TO TAKE UP RESIDENCE. YES, I AM SERIOUS. SOME BUGS ARE ATTRACTED TO ELECROMAG…YES, I AM SERIOUS. NO, THIS ISN’T A JOKE.
ANYWAY, YOUR NOTEBOOK IS PERMANENTLY FRIED, FULL OF ROACHES AND NOW WE HAVE TO DECONTAMINATE OUR TECH AREA. WE SUGGEST YOU COME PICK UP YOUR LAPTOP IMMEDIATELY. AND OH, YOU OWE US $129 FOR DIAGNOSING YOUR ISSUE. THANKS AND GOOD DAY.
When I hung up, the whole waiting room bust out laughing and also with nervous “ew gross” gigglesr. She arrived 10 minutes later, paid the $129 without speaking, grabbed her laptop and stormed out the building.
It’s gatekeeping elitist narrow-minded BS of the worst sort to cowardly hint that a drive for diversity has caused the Industry Insider program to mysteriously lower its standards and result in a slate of lesser-known designers. And yet, many people are doing so, and some leaders in the industry are winking and elbow-nudging rather than taking a stand and calling BS.
So for the record, claiming diversity was only achieved by lowering standards in the program IS BULLSHIT. Of the highest order.
I was an Industry Insider once, with more than a decade of experience under my belt. Most of the other *PANELISTS* had no fucking clue who I was.
Next time someone makes that claim, I want to grill them about who the people who were in the program over the past decade were, and see how many of them are known, as compared to multiple salaried developers and managers…
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I don’t have it in me to go into what Prince’s music has meant to me and the impact it had in my life when was younger. I do have a story about how his music came up in a very unexpected way for me many years ago.
My favorite Prince song is “Baby, I’m a Star”. I first heard it while watching “Purple Rain”. It was a pretty emotional movie. Sure, the acting wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t full of actors. But boy, did that movie have heart.
When Prince & the Revolution played this song at the end, I heard it as a joyful expression of just playing music. The joy of music. Of performing. It was like everyone in the audience of that live recording was all in sync with Prince. Being a part of his joy. You can see it in this video.
So. I used to be a club DJ. Back in 1985, I was working in San Antonio. I was the DJ at the Hyatt, down on the Riverwalk. It was a slow night, in winter. Most of the customers around that time, were folks who worked in the bars, hotels, and restaurants on the River. It was super slow, as it was the downtime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a ‘school night’ to boot.
Normally, I stuck to a lot of the regular Top 40 dance tunes, but also a lot of my fave funk/freestyle tunes like Debbie Deb, Shannon, Freestyle, Trinere, Sheila E, Dazz, Gap Bad. On those slower nights, I also mixed in Lena Lovich, Nina Hagen, King Creole & the Coconuts. As long as the bar was full of “river rats” aka the folks who worked in hospitality, I could play what I wanted. After all, they were spending LOTS of money on drinks.
Anyway, so that December night, there was a KISS concert in town. There were heaps of young women and teenage girls running around the area. Apparently, they were staying at the Hyatt, I think? A lot of women tried to come into the bar, but since they weren’t 21, they were turned away.
I was playing some tune and folks were dancing. Until these two ROCK GODS walked in. I quickly saw it wasn’t Gene Simmons nor Paul Stanley, which were the only two KISS people I knew on sight. They were taken to a table with some security dudes and groupies.
Of course, the whole crowd wanted me to start playing KISS music. I figured that was the last thing they would want to hear. And the only song I had from them was “Lick it Up”. Yuck.
I put on a long song and went over to talk to them. ‘Hey, I’m the DJ here and everyone wants to hear some KISS. I’d rather play what YOU want to hear, and I’ll make a dedication or some shit”.
One of the dudes, “BABY, I’M A STAR! PLAY THAT!”
I was so jazzed and excited. Except, you gotta slam that one in right. Remember, this is Ye Olde Vinyl Dayes, so I have to be super precise on how I put this one in, for a couple of reasons. First, it comes very quickly after I Would Die 4 U. Essentially, you have a downbeat to knock it in on Baby’s first note. When mixing vinyl, you have to have a precise touch for matching the beats, which 12″ dance singles are made for. You match the beats, adjusting so it’s seamless. (gods, I miss this). With this one? You basically have to have your finger ready in the exact place, to hit the exact beat of the song already playing. You “slam” it in there. BAM. The song just HITS you.
I don’t even remember what I was playing, but I was talking over a part of the music with the “hey folks, this one goes out to you from KISS” and then SLAMMED IT.
Hard and loud.
It wasn’t what the crowd expected. But they went wild. Like jumping up and down wild. And that one dude from KISS…came out and dance in the middle of it all. People weren’t trying to do the best moves. They weren’t trying to show off, hook up, or anything.
For those few minutes, people were simply dancing joyfully. The feeling of oneness between the DJ, the crowd, and the song is one I simply cannot describe. It’s a feeling I think that Prince would have loved.
It’s the time of year again, when I dust off the blog and post my NorWesCon schedule. I’ve got a pretty light year, with only 7 panels! Go me! I’m moderating most of them, so I really should email the panelists so we’re all on the same page regarding the discussion.
First, the non-panel things. We’ll have an OrcaCon table in the Club Table row. If you’re at NorWesCon, you can drop by and say hello. We’ll be handing out ribbons and promoting OrcaCon 2017. We’ll have a suite this year for #NachosBeerCon, which is really just having a quiet space to play games, eat nachos, and drink beer.
Now, on to the panel schedule!
Make a Gaming Night Recipe Book / 4:00 PM-5:00 PM – Cascade 12
A good thing to have for gaming nights is a recipe book with quick recipes that can be dished up away from the table, including good meals that are friendly to all participants and don’t get in the way of the evening’s games. For bonus nerd points you can give the recipes nerd themed names, which we’ll definitely be doing … because nerds.
Elizabeth Guizzetti (M), Lilith Whitewolf, Ogre Whiteside, SunnyJim Morgan, Donna Prior
Non-Traditional Gamers Speak / Fri 1:00 PM-2:00 PM – Evergreen 1&2
Come hear how gaming is and be an even more inclusive environment.
Donna Prior (M), J. F. High, Burton Gamble, Mickey Schulz
Video Games 101 / Sat 12:00 PM-1:00 PM – Cascade 5&6
FPS, MMO, RTS, MOBA… What do these acronyms mean? How do I select a console or platform that suits my needs? How do I manage my time and not miss dinner? How do I deal with harassment and trolls? What’s good etiquette for various online interactions? If you’ve asked any one of these questions or have similar queries, come ask our panel of experts.
Donna Prior (M), Elizabeth Sampat, Jonny Nero Action Hero, Annie Bellet, Burton Gamble
Internet & Real Life Trolls / Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM – Cascade 7&8
From Gamergaters to Rabid Puppies to the person who just doesn’t think that being “PC” is important… How does this affect the real people who are being subjected to mistreatment? What can we do take a stand against it? Should we and how should we?
Donna Prior (M), Mickey Schulz, Elizabeth Sampat, Rafeal Richardson
Is Fandom More Diverse & Accepting? / Sat 6:00 PM-7:00 PM – Cascade 7&8
The idea that fandom and SF/F is more accepting and diverse is often bandied around. Is that true? How do we move beyond the oppressive tropes? And what can we do to be aware of creating a truly accepting environment? How do we build inclusive communities?
Rafeal Richardson (M), Donna Prior, Brenna Clarke Gray, Sheye Anne Blaze
Geek Policing: Don’t Do It / Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM – Cascade 9
Geek policing and gate-keeping happens when someone evinces interest in something of the nerdy persuasion, and someone else starts quizzing them on it like nerddom is the Ivy League. It’s not okay. And we—all of us nerds of all races, genders, orientations, and ages—need to stop it. Period.
Donna Prior (M), Jeff Harris, Shubzilla, J. Rachel Edidin, Jonny Nero Action Hero
Star Wars: A (New) New Hope / Sun 3:00 PM-4:00 PM – Cascade 10
The Force Awakens came out last December, and fan passions are running deep. Was it a brilliant update that brought the saga to a new generation? Or a lens-flared fiasco of Jar-Jarian proportions? Either way, Disney is going all-in on all things Star Wars, so there’s much, much more on the way.
Donna Prior (M), Rafeal Richardson, Dee Wright, Jeremy Zimmerman, David Fooden