Category Archives: General

An Open Letter to Jessica Blankenship from a Dragon Con attendee

I know I promised my year ends as my next post here. I assure you, they are coming. I’m also certain you are all tired of the open letter craze that was going around last year with Miley Cyrus, Sinnead O’Connor, and Amanda Palmer. Who are all terrible in their own right. Believe me, I was sick of it too, but this is something I need to get off my chest. It probably won’t change the intended recipient’s mind since she’s set on calling my people “weirdoes” and “Dragon*Condoms,” but at least I’ll feel better from it.

Hi Jessica.

You don’t know me, but we do have mutual… well, I guess “friends” is a word for it. They’re friends of mine, but I don’t know if they’re friends of yours anymore. Still, we’re only a few degrees apart from each other. Which could be potentially terrifying for you because you “have nothing in common with those Dragon*Con weirdos” beside a love of drinking, partying, screwing, and Nathan Fillion. But I don’t know your life as much as you don’t know mine, so I guess we’re square on that at least.

Now, I don’t think you’re a bad writer. I enjoyed your article on Women’s Issues for Creative Loafing and the writing for the 10 Of The Actual Best Things In Atlanta Because There Isn’t Even a Waffle House here was pretty fun when it wasn’t coming across as hypocritical or misinformed. Because first of all, there are two Waffle Houses in the downtown area alone and 16 within spitting distance of my address in the EAV.

Secondly, while Criminal Records is awesome (they’re my local comic book store as well as my local record store), it seems very weird you used a picture of their old storefront when they haven’t been on that location in Moreland in almost six years. I remember because I couldn’t go to Criminal the first month I moved to Atlanta in 2008 because they were moving around the corner to Euclid. There are MANY pictures of the Euclid storefront on Flickr if you search “Criminal Records Atlanta.” Why not use any of those?

Also, why go on about the best tofu scramble in Atlanta, but mention that you can still smoke at El Myr? I’m just curious.

Really though, let’s get to the dragon sized elephant in the room.

The #6 on your list was about how sneaking into Dragon Con is one of the best things about living in Atlanta. I know you said you weren’t attacking us, but the whole vibe of the blurb comes across as “I don’t get it, but hey, you do you. PS: I’m totally sneaking in anyway lol.”

First of all, the asterisk had to go away when the con finally dissolved Ed Kramer last year. So any press that refers to Dragon Con as “Dragon*Con” isn’t technically correct. I can’t really hold that one against you since that happened so close to the con and as a longtime con goer, I’m still getting used to it.

there are not “three hotels full of nerds getting more laid than their adolescent selves ever dreamed.” There are five plus the America’s Mart as of last year. Do you want to know why we have five hotels for the Con?

Because 50,000+ people attend this con every year.

I incorrectly stated 30,000+ in my Dragon Con Survival Guide, but mostly because that was the number just a few years ago. The point is that a LOT of people attend this con and it gets frustrating to get around the convention, even when it’s just people attending the con. Throw in people who come to be tourists and it gets even more annoying. Hence why there is security checking for badges and hotel key cards at all the entrances to the hotel. To cut down on crowding and harassment from non-paying attendees. If you somehow managed to sneak into this con in the past two years without paying, I want to know how you managed to do it without getting caught by security so I can report that weak spot.

It wasn’t just that though, it was the fact your whole bit about sneaking into Dragon Con and being a tourist followed the blurb about how much you hate it when people from outside of the city come and hangout on your precious bars on Edgewood during the weekend.

Now do you understand why some of us got so pissed off at you? There isn’t much of a difference between OTP-ers crowding your favorite bars and tourists coming to gawk at your while you’re trying to let loose at your favorite con. Maybe in sheer strength of numbers, but not in terms of having people that don’t really get it ruin your good time.

Plus, good luck trying to get into Trader Vic’s on Dragon Con Weekend.

If you really want to admire people at the con without paying, why not just people watch at a nearby restaurant or come see the Parade on Saturday morning instead of trying to sneak into the hotel and further crowd everything up? I swear, you’ll still get plenty to see. My Aunts Millie and Lisa have plenty of proof from their times just hanging out at the Durango Steakhouse after work on Friday. Including me leaving the con just to say hello.

Like adopted niece, like adopted aunt.

Like adopted niece, like adopted aunt.

But hey, if you ever decide to pay for a badge and come hang with us, we’re around. With plenty of booze to spare.

Sincerely Yours,

Ashley Leckwold

Blogger for Nerdophiles, Former Media Editor for Steampunk Chronicle, and Dragon Con attendee since 2006

PS: I apologize for the tenth grade mentality remark I made to you on Twitter. Your tweet got to me after a particularly rough day at work and I wasn’t particularly appreciative of your “Dragon*Condoms” remark. For what it’s worth, I agree with you about the view of the city from Freedom Parkway.

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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in General, Internet, Personal


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No Fooling: The Diary returns!

After many adventures across the aether that include getting involved with fire spinners, taking up the media editor reins at Steampunk Chronicle, zipping all over the east coast with The Extraordinary Contraptions, and the general tiredness that comes from that, I’m happy to announce that starting today, The Diary of a Dimension Hopper is back in business!

Did you miss me, friends? Because I missed you. And with all the fun that’s coming out this year in movies and music, I’d be remiss to stop writing the Diary. Plus, you might be hearing me on a podcast or two soon, but more on that when it happens.

I’m hoping to be on a MWF schedule, but I’ll be at least posting once a week on one of those designated days.

We’ll truly resume on Wednesday where I’ll reflect on the life of the recently broken up My Chemical Romance, but for now, let me give you the six songs I’m currently listening to over and over again.

1.) ‘The Phoenix’ by Fall Out Boy – The second single/opening song from their upcoming album Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy is proving that they’re back with a vengeance. With intense instrumentation, Patrick Stump dialing it up on the vocals, and production from Butch Walker that brings out the best of it all, ‘The Phoenix’ is a driving track that has me foaming at the mouth to hear it live (which I will on June 2nd). Plus, the video for it brings back the weirdness I didn’t realize I missed during their four year hiatus mixed in with a fandom kink meme for good measure.

2.) ‘My Simple Pop Song’ by Professor Shyguy – I’ve known Professor Shyguy for almost two years through his band The Aeronauts, but I hadn’t had a chance to see his chiptune solo project live until this past weekend. Now my brain is filled with 8-bit music and his extremely clever and catchy lyrics. ‘My Simple Pop Song’ has been the main offender, with a precise breakdown of how a simple pop song that burrows its way into your head is composed. Kind of ironic, but I don’t mind. Mixed with some excellent dance moves, I can see why he calls himself “The poor nerd’s Justin Timberlake.”

3.) ‘Mirrors’ by Justin Timberlake – Speaking of Justin Timberlake! Now, I’ve been very bad in the fact I haven’t actually gotten a chance to listen to The 20/20 Experience yet. Sorry Justin! But the second single ‘Mirrors’ definitely surpassed ‘Suit and Tie’. ‘Suit and Tie’ is a little bit catchier, but ‘Mirrors’ just pulls at the heartstrings and shows why Justin Timberlake is one of the best voices in pop music right now. Plus, the video Target released of him performing the song with fans is really adorable.

4.) ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ by Against Me! – Back on Election Day, I made a trip down to Athens with my friends BFT and Little Spoon to see Against Me! perform at the 40 Watt. It was an amazing show that opened with this song and just unleashed fury in the pit that I had to spend a few days recovering from. It’s been consistently stuck in my head since then, but there is sadly no recorded version out yet. I await patiently, opening guitar loop stuck in my head, and a review will happen when it does.

5.) ‘Slut Like You’ by Pink – A month ago, I had the chance to see Pink perform at Philips Arena with The Truth About Love tour. And to quote Rona Thorne, it was AMAZIIIIIING. The Truth About Love is already an amazing album, but getting to hear many of the songs live mixed with her theatrics was certainly a treat. While I may not have tickets yet, I know I’m going to see her again in December. There were plenty of catchy songs during that show that have been in rotation on my iPod, but the dirty  feminist power anthem ‘Slut Like You’ has been up there the most. Especially after the weekend I just had.

6.) ‘Bone China Cup’ by The Extraordinary Contraptions – Okay, I had to slip ONE April Fool in here. This was all Teodore’s idea! See what kind of Steampunk silliness you can spot here!

Until Wednesday, my friends…

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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in General, Internet, Music, Steampunk


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Announcing the June Blogathon!

I’m going to be honest here, I have not been paying as much attention to my blog as I should the past few months. It makes me sad, especially when I promised I was going to be a Monday/Wednesday/Friday blogger. Right now, with my current recent graduate/unemployed regular person status, I have plenty of time to blog and I’m not doing it.

So, starting now and ending July 4, I’m going to be blogging once a day for 30 days! The topics will range all over the place from movies, music, books, television, and god knows what else. Some things I know what I’ll be talking about, some I don’t, but I’m going to keep writing until the 4th.

Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about Snow White and the Huntsman, but have another six songs I’m digging right now!

  1. ‘Gasoline’ – Shovels and Rope – The opening track of Shovels and Rope’s self-titled debut. An immensely great track set to a working march.
  2. ‘Confession of Jack Bonnie and Sally Clyde’ – Frenchy and the Punk – Sadly, this song is nowhere online yet, but it’s a wonderful song from Hey Hey Cabaret about finding love and partnership in a dire situation.
  3. ‘Myself’ – Sunday Driver – The penultimate track from The Mutiny. A chaotic track about independence and selfishness.
  4. ‘Lonely Boy’ – The Black Keys – I don’t know how they did it, but The Black Keys created the perfect driving song. I look forward to eventually adding this to my karaoke repertoire. Maybe? Hopefully?
  5. ‘Breath of Life’ – Florence and the Machine – A beautifully epic song from Snow White and the Huntsman befitting those of fairest blood. I’m sad that this wasn’t on Ceremonials.
  6. ‘Yes’ – Murder By Death – The most cheerful song I’ve ever heard about death and moving on I’ve ever heard. Especially considering that Murder By Death has produced some of the most tragic songs I’ve ever heard.

Posted by on June 4, 2012 in General, Music


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Even Punk Rockers Deserve Respect

Hello readers! Sorry for the lack of updates in the past month. I’m afraid that my blinders went on as I headed for the finish line of university. Which, by the way, ended up being a successful run.

As my formal return to my blog, I wanted to speak about something related to my Journalism degree and interests in music. It’s been a topic that’s been on my mind since Patrick Stump spoke candidly about his depression and lack of motivation brought on by disrespectful “fans” at his shows, but came back to the surface when Tom Gabel of Against Me! came out as Transgender, and that she will soon be adopting the name of Laura Jane Grace.

Now, maybe these two topics seem so far apart, especially with my own unfamiliarity with Against Me!, but both of these topics bring up issues of respect in both the fan community and in journalism.

Patrick’s issues seem to stem from some members of the Fall Out Boy fan community. It’s a problem that all the members of Fall Out Boy have been facing since the band went on hiatus, and it’s the fan community’s unwillingness to change. I can understand the frustration and wishing Fall Out Boy would get back together. I especially know what it’s like to not be happy with the direction the project is going. However, there’s a difference between not being happy with something, and constantly berating someone both online and at their shows.

I mean, seriously. What makes someone think it’s appropriate to pay $20-$50 for a show just to tell someone that you liked them better when they were fat? That’s not just terrible manners and general horribleness, that’s wasteful spending on top of it. And all because they think telling someone that they think he’s horrible now will send him back to the band he used to play in? Well, guess what? Patrick Stump is now reluctant to go back to music. How’s that for results?

I haven’t seen much terrible fan reaction from Against Me! fans about Tom, but there were plenty of reports that initially didn’t respect her pronoun preference that were later changed. The AP style guide dictates that a reporter has to respect what the person identifies as/presents themselves as, but shouldn’t that be obvious before something goes to print?

Of course, there will always be the people, journalists or not, who won’t respect gender pronouns and name changes and who will act like this will kill the band.

Friends, journalists and fans, I ask you to have some sense of respect when dealing with things like this. Whether they be someone you love creating music that might not be up to your standards, living as the gender they truly identify with, or whatever else it may be, you’re still dealing with a human being trying to live their life. A performer is not a robot, and you never know if your negative words are going to effect them or not. I’m not asking to be completely uncritical, but don’t be a dick about what you don’t like or don’t understand. And as a journalist, you have to be fair in your assessment.

And, of course, respectful of what someone is going through.

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Posted by on May 11, 2012 in General, Internet, Music


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I’ll be at AnachroCon! And other various things…

February has been rather busy. And fast. I swear I had just posted the review for Her Majesty’s Explorer and BAM! It’s a week later. Perhaps Sephora is messing with the Temporal Bi-Resonator again. Perhaps I should have ranted about the Grammys, but they were just so dreadfully boring this year. It just wasn’t worth it, even with Adele’s success.

Anyway, I’m here to let everyone know that I will be at AnachroCon this weekend! I won’t be on any panels, but I will be working for The Extraordinary Contraptions for the two days I will be there. Feel free to swing by the table to chat and perhaps pre-order The Time Traveler’s Constant for $12. That is, if you didn’t already back the album on Kickstarter.

If I’m not at the table on Friday or Saturday, I will either be chatting with the other bands (or attending their shows), visiting Dim Horizon’s photobooth ($5 for one session, $10 for the weekend!), partaking of Emilie Bush’s Men Without Pants party or reading of Her Majesty’s Explorer (two vast ends of the spectrum there), or attending the Music of a Time That Never Was panel at 3 PM on Saturday. Or just wandering the con and visiting with friends. I’m good at that. I hope to see you there!

After that, I will be hopping out of this dimension for a week to visit a man and his mouse down in Orlando. My internet use will be short, but I will be back on schedule soon after that!

As for upcoming blogs, I will probably do an overview of AnachroCon and my Orlando trip. For pop culture stuff, I will soon be finishing up Avatar: The Last Airbender and starting Game of Thrones, so I will be offering my views on those series for sure. I’m also planning on doing an overview of the first 13 books I’ve read this year as part of my personal attempt of reading at least 52 books this year. And the lead up to The Hunger Games will be an absolute blitz. Stay tuned!

For now though, I will be leaving this blog off with six songs I’m digging right now.

  1. ‘No Church In The Wild’ – Jay-Z and Kanye West – The amazing opener of Watch The Throne. Consider this album my #7 of my top albums from 2011.
  2. ‘Used To Love U’ – John Legend – From Legend’s 2004 debut album Get Lifted. Might seem a bit inappropriate now due to it’s reference to Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, but it has been stuck in my head since seeing John Legend perform at Georgia State University.
  3. ‘Synthesizers’ – Butch Walker and the Black Widows – Click the link to see the band perform the song on the Late Show with David Letterman. There were tears of pride.
  4. ‘All Warmed Up Inside’ – Rebecca Sugar – From the Season 3 finale of Adventure Time. Rebecca Sugar songs have a way of getting in my head, and Jake’s Finn-proxy serenade to the Flame Princess is just so wonderfully cute. John DiMaggio’s performance is just as great as Rebecca Sugar’s demo.
  5. ‘Barton Hollow’ – Civil Wars – Performed for 60 seconds at the Grammys, the duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White managed to be more impressive than most of the “big name” performers. Country music the way it’s supposed to be.
  6. ‘Starships’ – Nicki Minaj – A fun and lovely piece of pop from one of the most controversial names in popular music today. I wouldn’t be surprised if this song becomes bigger than ‘Super Bass’.


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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in General, Music, Steampunk


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