News: Dr. Chuck Tingle’s 2017 State of the Buck Address

The following is Dr. Chuck Tingle’s (World’s Greatest Author) State of the Buck Address, delivered by yours truly on his behalf at Arisia 2017. Enjoy the wisdom and thanks to the eternal Dr. Chuck Tingle, constantly helping us find ourselves as bucks. It is unedited, presented in its original true buckaroo purity.

here is important statement: hello this is DR CHUCK TINGLE writing to you from billings thanks to online bud name of pablo and online bud name of mark! tonight is a good way son jon and clowy are watching a BIG TIME MOVE in the living room name of MATTS DAMON TAKES LAS VEGAS it is very loud and handsome matt just punched a scoundrel. i have had three chocolate milks jon thinks i have had 1. so that is my night how is yours buckaroos? it sounds like you have all gathered to talk about the buckaroo way and that makes me feel like his a glad bud, it is very interesting to think about how now bucks come out to TALK TINGLE and to PROVE LOVE to eachother and that makes me so HAPPY AS MAN NAME OF CHUCK. most important thing to remember as fans of chuck (worlds best author) is that the most important part of any of this is YOU PROVING LOVE. that is number one key, because as an author i need a reader to BECOME MYSELF IN THIS REALITY. without you am i here? (if a bud trots in the woods and nobody is around to see his way does it make anyone hard?) i cannot answer this but as a buckaroo i understand that YOU ALL NOW HAVE A CHANCE to take the message of chuck and turn it into reality. there will be moments tonight and tommorow and the next day where you have choices as bucks, they will be small and big but most of all they will be YOUR CHOICES. this is a powerful way! NOW YOU ARE THE STAR OF A TINGLER ON THIS LEVEL OF THE TINGLEVERSE and your choice is to be the hero or a scoundrel. when you see the buckaroo having a hard time getting through the door you say ‘i will hold this for you’ and PROVE LOVE. when you see the buck who can’t pay for their groceries you say ‘i will pay for you and PROVE LOVE. when you think about your friends or family who you haven’t talked to in a bit you will call them and say ‘i was thinking of you how was your day?’ and PROVE LOVE. these are small choices in the day but they take MESSAGE OF AUTHOR CHUCK and make YOU THE AUTHOR. now you are writing the story in this layer of the tingleverse, and you have the powerful to make it so beautiful for everyone here. YOU ARE POWERFUL AND UNIQUE AND SPECIAL AND THE DEVILS HAVE BEEN TELLING YOU THIS IS NOT TRUE. IT IS THE TRUTH. you have the power now, as buckaroos, to go out and tell the scondrels to get lost. thank you for listening i hope you have a nice panel thank you for being a part of my reality you have made my night so special and i hope your night is special too

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Report: Arisia 2016

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Or, as you’ll quickly note, my best convention experience ever.

Let me start off by saying that I’m generally exceedingly critical of conventions. I’ve worked, performed, spoken at, and attended more conventions than I’d like to actually declare, so it’s easy for me to pick apart even the best of shows. Fandom also has a sad history of not exactly getting it when it comes to catching up with the times and the issues of today, which is ridiculous considering its core is speculative fiction. However, this inaugural post to Pablovian Response is not about an event that failed or even one that was just mediocre, but it is about the greatest experience I’ve ever had at any convention ever.

For those of you not in the know, Arisia is a 4-day SF/F convention held every Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend in Boston, Massachusetts whose history is one of defying the norm and embracing the wider spectrum of Fandom. I only really attend volunteer-operated, fan-run/fan-centric conventions these days and before I was announced as the Fan Guest of Honor for Arisia 2016, Arisia was always one of the core ones in my mind that was missing from the schedule. Of course, in order to rectify this, I attended Arisia 2015 and while it ranked up there as a great convention experience, it still had issues and problems that could’ve been easily avoided. I’m well aware that every convention has their problems, but what makes Arisia so different is that they actually listened to all of my complaints and concerns and mostly fixed my issues with the convention.

As such, the difference in quality and enjoyment between Arisia 2015 and Arisia 2016 for me and my friends attending was massive and noticeable. Apart from the minor issue of long registration lines, I noticed very little issues popping up and I try to keep a watch for these things like a noted food critic at a fancy restaurant. The programming was top notch and every panel I ended up attending or being a part of was fun and informative, along with not annoying or offensive or awkward (which is something I experience often on panels). I found myself constantly entertained and in such good company that I couldn’t believe the panels were over so soon. Also, in a moment of true rarity, there were actually PROGRAMMING ITEMS I WANTED TO ATTEND, which is honestly truly surreal. I’ve nearly stopped attending programming items because they seem so repetitive and boring, but here at Arisia, they’ve managed to catch my interest and keep things fresh.

django-unchainedMe when looking at the Arisia program book

Now, I’d be misleading you if I didn’t mention that I probably saw the best of things because I was a Guest of Honor, but in light of experiences friends of mine have had as Guests of Honor, let me tell you, I wasn’t really expecting much. Believe it or not, there are conventions out there that actually begrudgingly invite Guests of Honor and usually throw them into the convention without much guidance or assistance as to what the convention needs and what the Guest of Honor wants. However, I was heavily mistaken, since I felt at Arisia 2016 like I was treated like absolute royalty. The staff went out of their way to make me feel welcome, listen to all of my concerns, and even give in to some of my ridiculous requests, like having a band of roving musicians follow me from panel to panel and even deliver me an absolutely delicious birthday cake. Never once did the Arisia staff and my wonderful liaison Colette Fozard ever dismiss any of my questions, concerns and/or requests and were even there for me when I didn’t even know I needed them. My programming was not a mess and they put me on panels I wanted to be on, including giving me my own panel where I told stories for a hour and even arm wrestled someone from the audience.

12717294_522829687896190_5760693668018316537_nSpoiler alert: I won.

Now, to get personal here, one of the reasons Arisia 2016 was so important for me was that even after dealing with the worst of the worst in fandom, life, work, and moreso for months before (including an accident that totaled my car and lost me my job), it was like being thrown from the jaws of the Leviathan into the rings of Paradise. I’ve never felt so amazing at a convention especially after feeling so down and I’d be remiss to ignore that Arisia’s amazing staff, from the wonderful chair (Nchanter, you’re the best!) down, had a major part to play in that. I was losing my vigor, contemplating whether I really deserved this honor or not (imposter syndrome is one hell of a thing) or if I even deserved to be in fandom, and now here I was reminded why I did all of this in the first place. It was just what the doctor ordered pretty much (if I could actually afford healthcare, so we’ll call it a holistic doctor) and that experience alone helped me regain my spirit and my energy for my fandom life and my own professional and artistic aspirations. All in all, just like the eponymous lead of the Broadway hit (and my current favorite alt-history work) Hamilton sings, I was feeling once more my usual “young, scrappy, and hungry” and damn did it feel great. Thanks, Arisia, for being where I got my groove back.

After all that fluffy talk, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, this is all well and good, you felt good and happy, blah blah blah, but what about the parties? Well, I’m constantly in favor of more parties and drinking opportunities and Arisia did not disappoint in that department. Once again, this is another case in which the staff did not disappoint in making sure there were various avenues of nighttime entertainment, from music to the masquerade (which I judged and dressed up for) to the room shindigs to even nighttime programming. Hell, even the lobby bar was hopping and was a great place to hang out late at night, as evidenced by the very first photo in this post, which came from drunken lobby bar adventures and the delightful sight of snow (another plus for Arisia). I also threw a few parties in my suite, which were pretty fun. Did I mention the convention got me and my friend Jared a birthday cake?

Anyways, I’m rambling. Arisia was such an amazing experience and I hope you all get the chance to go. I’ve never felt so welcome, so included, so respected, and most importantly, actually listened to. The response level of the staff to any of my concerns and even just mild suggestions was phenomenal and I never once felt truly uncomfortable, unhappy, or in need of an escape. In fact, Arisia is probably the only convention where I didn’t have one single boring moment and it was all so good. I’m sure the experience was also wonderful for my co-GOHs John Scalzi (who I slung my guest basket sodas to) and Johnna Klukas (who is an awesome artist), but I’ll let them talk on that. For me, especially after witnessing directly what had happened to dear friends of mine at another convention, this was such a wild ride in all of the best possible ways. Surrounded by such an awesome and diverse group of fans, with friends old and new, all across the spectrum of beautiful diversity, Arisia 2016 really felt like a home to me. It reminded me of one of the reasons why I’m so involved in fandom and so happy for it. Go next year and you’ll see what I mean and if you’re like me, you’re going to go to Arisia every year that you can.

12644962_520902534755572_6150195792327552589_nThe author at the Art Show Reception with the other Guests of Honor, enjoying possibly a 5th glass of wine and looking mighty happy.

PABLO’S VERDICT:
A MUST-ATTEND CONVENTION AND ONE OF THE BEST
10/10 EXPERIENCE

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