This weekend I tagged along with my sister to TusCon36 touted as “The Best Little Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror Convention in Arizona!”
I admit while I am a die-hard sci-fi/scary book and Star Trek fan, I have not ever attended a convention for their genres. I will leave the details to my sister in her blog, and let you know about my experience as a total noob (newbie) to all this. I did not know what to expect.
This little convention has a 36-year history and has usually been small with no advertising and is mostly centered on the literary arts. It was held at the Hotel Tucson City Center (also known as InnSuites). This year they had authors, panels and readings. They also had artists with an art show. There were dealers, movie screenings, anime, computer gaming, and CosPlay. I did not see anybody dressed as Spock, but I did see Kirk (below). However, I mostly saw costumes that were kind of western, kind of futuristic and didn’t understand why at the time.
CosPlay is short for “costume play” or in other words dressing up with an opportunity for role play. This year they had a CosPlay competition with a steampunk theme. Steampunk? What the hec is that?
While trying to figure it out, I came across these steampunk guns in the art show section. They looked like something from a Jules Verne novel.
Just then I came across the artist who made them, Gary Hayes, all 6 feet 6 inches of him, in steampunk attire.
Gary designed the cover of the TusCon36 program book and also did triple duty as convention security. I almost wanted to cause trouble just to be kicked out by him and get a picture of it.
I asked him, okay, what the hec is steampunk. He asked if I had ever read Jules Verne. Of course! Or seen the Wild Wild West series or movie. Yes! Well, that’s steampunk – futuristic western themes. Ahhhh. (If you have never read Jules Verne, you better get on it).
His wife, Rebecca Hayes, was on the convention staff and took us around downtown Tucson that evening for a fantastic ghost tour where we learned more about Tucson’s history and it’s architecture with some ghostly stories sprinkled in. I’m sure my sister will share more about that with you in her blog. Rebecca is also lovingly known as “Ghost Girl” and the two of them are quite a pair. If you attend a TusCon in the future, look for them. They have been a part of the convention for 14 years. They surely enhance the experience.
Here is Rebecca at the end of the ghost tour. I also had to take a picture of the staff she wielded – created by her husband, made from items around the house. In this case, the base is a shower curtain rod.
I am also a little bit of a computer gamer, so I have to mention what I discovered in the ballroom dedicated to gaming. There were a couple of modified computers that were hard to miss. They were put on display by folks from pcwormhole.com, a site that is “a gateway to bleeding edge PC’s and the innovators who build and bench them.” In layman terms this means people who modify their computers to make them go really fast for gaming.
Some people overclock their computers or make them run at a higher clock rate or GHz than it was designed to (it goes faster). However their efforts are limited by the temperature of the processor or some other internal components. Cooler temps allow more speed. Computers come with a heatsink to keep temperatures down. However for hardcore, extreme enthusiasts, it’s not enough and they modify it. Check it out:
These computers were using i7 processors and got to temperatures as low as -90 degrees and speeds were increased from a clock speed of 2.6 GHz to 5 GHz – making it about twice as fast.
I had heard of this, but had never seen it in action. Very interesting. The kids at the convention got to touch and handle some of the items, making it a pretty popular area.
I personally came away from the TusCon36 convention with a new interest in steampunk, new book sources, and a hands-on view of why some of the people in my online game go so unbelievably fast. Checking out Star-Trek/Star Wars items and dragon art was icing on the cake.
If you didn’t get to go and would like to attend the next one, keep an eye on their websites: