Thursday, April 03, 2008


I went to the MidSouthCon last weekend. I had a pretty good time, too, though I think I set my expectations a tad too high. I didn't have a plan for events (especially all the programming tracks) and let myself drift around too much. I missed or wasted a lot of opportunities that way. Below are some photos I took. I wasn't really thinking photos, so I just snapped pics when it occured to me that I should do so.

A few views of the Dealers' Room. Lots of repeats from last year, but the used bookseller I was hoping would be there wasn't this year. And all the board games were of the Munchkin / Carcassonne / Settlers of Catan stripe. The only dealer who had games beyond that didn't have anything I was interested in. (Or could even afford.) There were a couple of t-shirt dealers, though, which was new.

Found this woman in the hallways. There seemed to be fewer costumed people this year than last, though that may be a subjective perception. The wagon she's holding onto is a Radio Flyer-type that she had some Con stuff in along with her infant son, who seemed to be enjoying himself way too much.

Here's a series of shots from the Boardgaming Room, which was mostly my base this weekend. Surprisingly, I didn't play that many boardgames on Saturday. I did spend some time in the video room (which was packed) but didn't have the nerve to rock out on the Rock Band videogame in front of all the kids. (I could have been a grandparent to some of them! Yeesh.) The boardgame closeups are from a game called Tide of Iron. Pretty fun; similar to Memoir '44 or BattleLore.

I did spend some time in the Anime Room, which had some good stuff this year. I missed the truly weird, dark stuff Saturday night as I was ... boardgaming! The Video Room was hopeless -- lots of the same old movies you've seen a million times. (Star Wars! Star Trek! Superman! Independence Day! King Kong!) Nothing bizarre or foreign or out there or hard to find. I was deeply disappointed.

My buddy Mark Havener was manning the Games Workshop / Battle Bunker demo table on Saturday. That's him in the red t-shirt. He's with the Warhammer 40K Apocalypse game.

The Battle Bunker also had a demo of the game Space Hulk. I'm not much of a tabletop wargamer (like with figures shown here), but Space Hulk seems kinda appealing. I only play Epic: Armageddon, which is with 6mm figures and is much more strategic (almost chess-like), rather than slugging it out man to man.

Mark and I did a demo of Epic at last year's Con, which was a lot of fun. Many folks stopped by to watch and participate. But now that Games Workshop has withdrawn support for the Specialist range (which includes Epic), it wasn't going to happen. Ah well....

Another costume pic I took. Zombies!!

That, unfortunately, is that! Not many pics, but I thought I'd share my meager selection anyway.

I'm already saving up for next year's MidSouthCon.
Homeless Guy Returns!

In February of 2007 a homeless guy took up residence on the front steps of the antique store on the corner. (Monroe and Avalon) He showed up anywhere from early in the morning to around 10AM and stayed in that spot until dark. He never went anywhere else, nor talked much to anyone. Once in a while, he'd yell at traffic. But mostly, he just sat there all day. For a while, he was bringing a bike with him. No one ever saw him leave at night; he just disappeared. We suspected he took up a spot in the alleyway behind the strip malls on the north side of Union.

We started calling the police on him. The guy told a story about waiting for his girlfriend down the block's boyfriend to leave for work before heading to her apartment and laying up there while the boyfriend was away. Suuuuuuuure.... And the business wasn't posted with signs (it's been closed for years) so the cops couldn't really do anything. Homeless guy would show up anywhere from three to six days a week and just sit there in the shade with his carry-alls and backpack. And he always wore a red cap of some kind; usually knit.

One day, I saw someone working over there and went to introduce myself. Turns out it was the business agent for the elderly woman who owned the antique business! He said she was afraid to come into Midtown for fear of being robbed or killed, so he was taking care of things. I told him about the homeless guy and our problems with him (he had begun to attract the occasional friend).

The agent went out and bought a "Posted No Trespassing" sign to put in the window, right next to where the homeless guy sat. When he got back, the homeless guy was there! Agent told him to get lost, stay gone and if he returned then he'd be arrested. Much yelling, but the homeless guy left.

For a week. Saturday, he returned. And then Sunday. We called the police again. But they told us that since I wasn't the owner or the agent, I had no standing to do more than report a trespasser and they couldn't really do anything but shoo him along. (They gave me the sense that they were getting tired of that, too.) We had to get the agent to sign an "Authorisation of Agency" so the police could actually arrest the guy for showing up.

One problem: we had to have the guy's name. This was the fall now and we still didn't know who he was. The police wouldn't tell us, either. Quandary.

One Sunday night, after he'd been there all day, a bunch of fire trucks show up and break into one of the apartments across the street. There are twenty units in three buildings, but it's abandoned mostly. A handful of apartments have been rented out to some guys attached to the Door of Hope program. I can't understand any agency putting people in there, as there are safety issues (no outside lights in the whole complex at all) and health issues (mold and rot inside the apartments), but their response is always, "Well, where else would you have us put these guys?"

Anyway, turns out someone had broken into the apartment and started a fire while cooking something. Problem was, the guy next door didn't call the fire department and if they hadn't show up, he likely would have died, as he was deep asleep at the time and had no idea what was happening. There was no external sign whatsoever of a fire inside.

Homeless guy showed back up to watch the activity and then I heard someone talking about how the fire department had received a cell phone call about the fire. We know homeless guy has a cell phone, as we've seen him use it. We think homeless guy was actually inside the apartment, maybe sleeping or cooking, and the fire got out of hand. He fled, then called 911. Can't prove this, but it seems to be the concensus of the neighborhood now.

After a few serious squabbles with the cops over the "No Trespassing" sign over the following weeks, he was forced to take up residence west a couple of blocks up the street, under the shade of some old trees. The couple of times I went past him, he gave me the Death Glare.

The situation dragged on until the cold set in, about December. He stopped coming around all winter. We thought he was gone for good.

Nope, he showed back up yesterday. Today, when he returned, I called the agent and the cops. The agent will be down tomorrow if homeless guy shows up again and we'll reolve this once and for all.

Here he is today, napping on the steps:

A closeup:

Just a minute (literally!) before the cops appeared, he suddenly collected his things and moved up the street.

The cops arrived and talked with him. He left for points unknown.

I don't doubt we'll see him tomorrow anyway.
Your Monty Python of the Day

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