Ok, first, the political stuff. Ryan has been nice enough to supply me a new acronym. The following paragraph is labeled OINK, or Only Iowans Need to Know.
Iowa Ennui decided today to stop posting for a while. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I've been considering moving them down the list of blogs on the right for a while. I've never really said this on the blog, but that list reflects the order in which I read them, most days. Bear in mind, no one else is even close to State 29, I check with them at least 4-5 times a day. Furthermore, Iowaennui's content has been fading. Their level of coverage is good but their choice of issues makes me yawn a bit lately. Certainly, Katrina was going to dominate the news, and is for a long time, but mainstream media covers that to no end. The blogosphere really serves as my means for catching other stuff. Stuff I'd miss cause it's buried on page 10 of the Cedar Rapids Gazette (subscription only), but should know, and should care about. State 29 and Drew Miller do a much better job of that.
If you're ever trying to make a decision on the question "Am I strange?", the answer may very well lie at an anime convention. If you're too scared or poor to go inside, stand outside. The effect is similar.
A long time online friend of mine who I had never met in person IM'ed me tonight to let me know she was in DSM and we should meet. She was at Hotel Fort Des Moines for Anime Iowa. I had been to Hotel Fort Des Moines for parties before, most recently for the Election Day Party for the IDP in November, which wasn't much of a party at all, really. See this post if you've forgotten.
This one was a little different. I wore my black pirate shirt, and asked how I'd know her. She told me "I'm wearing red boots." So I arrived in front of the Hotel Fort Des Moines, and sure enough, there's a girl with red boots standing there, looking a little older than I expected, but I went up, said hi, and tried to solicit a hug. This girl definitely didn't know me and probably thinks I'm a creep now.
The girl I was waiting for came out a few minutes later. It went similarly to every meeting I've ever had with people I've met online. We had a 5-minute, exceptionally awkward conversation, I excused myself and went to the car and cursed at myself for being so boring. Then I went home. But in those five minutes, I saw:
-- Four different colors of neon hair.
-- Two pocket protectors.
-- Three girls wearing tags with "minor" written on them. None of them looked old enough that I would've had to ask. And if you get drunk enough at an Anime con to "accidentally" fuck a 13 year old, perhaps you deserve the consequences.
Aside from the pocket protectors, everyone I saw was dressed in a manner that normal society would deem as "weird." Some of them were friendly, one guy coming out for a cigarette did stare at me talking to two girls for a long time before saying "hey," and two girls did say they'd vote for me. Even though I'm not running for anything. (Anymore.) Neither of them were 18, though.
Most days my concern isn't really the question "am I strange?" But today it was. And after standing outside Anime Iowa for 5 minutes, the answer is a resounding no.