I don't have cable so I have no idea what the newscasters have been saying. Judging by the sheer panic I've seen over the last week, it can't have been anything uplifting. Having lived my entire life in Florida, hurricanes are just a way of life. They are for us what a blizzard is to the northern portion of the country. Unlike blizzards, though, hurricanes blow through for a day or two and wipe everything out. So why am I not scared? Why on earth would I live in a place where my entire livelihood could be wiped out in a day?
The answer to the first question is easier than the second. After Hurricane Harvey tore through Texas leaving the state flooded, there's an extra level of fear that seems to be pervasive. I'm not scared for two reasons. The first is that I am as prepared as I can be. The second is that I know that I can't change the outcome.
I imagine if you're not used to this sort of thing, it's hard to imagine preparing for a storm like this. We board up our windows. Stock up on drinking water in case the public supply gets tainted. We buy candles and lanterns and flashlights. We invest in generators, shutters, waterproof everything. We have evacuation plans and bins with important papers. We know exactly which mementos we can't live without. We know where we'll go in the event of a major event like South Florida is about to experience. My entire family lives along the Eastern seaboard in various towns along the way. All the way from Central Florida to South Carolina. A major storm could touch each and every one of us.
It's a little easier to not freak out when you know that you are prepared and that there is nothing that you can do. It also helps when you're not exactly attached to the place you live. Let's say the storm was coming to my current home as a major storm. I certainly can't stop it from doing so. If a storm comes and wipes out my apartment building and everything in it. I have places I can go. I have family I can stay with. I'd still have a job to go back to. Would rebuilding be awful? Sure, but that's how it goes sometimes.
I've been through plenty of hurricanes before so all I know how to do is prepare. It's just a way of life here.
My lackadaisical attitude towards the idea of losing everything at once my seem callous. You may not understand it, but it's just stuff. It's just things. Death is literally the worst thing that can come of this storm. The rest is ancillary.
So here I sit in my living room on a gloomy and cloudy Saturday. The storm isn't going to arrive until Monday so all I can do is wait. I have my books, food, water, puzzles, and my puppers. I'll feel some of the effects of the storm but nothing so scary I can't handle it. Everything is going to be OK.
I do not consider myself to be overly sensitive to being objectified. Quite frankly, even when I was thinner it was never an issue for me. It's definitely not an issue now. Recently, in an attempt to branch out with my social media circle in an effort to promote this blog, I joined a bunch of "nerd" communities on Facebook. I've found that there are quite a few issues with how these groups are run, but I'll save that for another post. Something that I've found that troubles me is the blatant and vulgar objectification of women. By both men and women.
Let me explain…
In multiple groups, a picture of a scantily clad cosplayer is posted. Sometimes by the cosplayer themselves and sometimes by a random person who "appreciates" the cosplay. What follows are crude comments about how hot the girl is (because it's always a girl) and how turned on these guys are by her and her cosplay and please excuse them while they go masturbate. For those of you who just went "uh…what?", I wish I was making that up. Grown(ish) men, online on Facebook declaring for everyone to see how uncouth they are.
Somehow we've decided this is OK. Women themselves, cosplay these outfits and post them online in these forums seemingly to obtain this sort of sexual validation. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I genuinely don't understand. While these posts should be about the cosplay and craftsmanship itself, they end up being the verbal equivalent of this…
I think that what bothers me most is that there is no longer a filter for anyone online. Granted this is part of a broader conversation in general about politics or religion or really anything; but my point here is the fact that people feel completely at ease with the complete deconstruction of societal norms. I can't tell you the number of times I have typed out an angry retort to something I have seen online that is rude or ignorant. I always have to stop myself and ask what purpose my angry response will serve. Is it just to make me feel better? Am I truly trying to change the minds of these people or am I just reacting to them in the way their desire in order to feed their need for attention? I then consider, why is it that I am wired to stop myself when others are not?
Nearly every convention I've been to has to remind people that Cosplay is not consent. In other words, just because someone is scantily clad, does not mean that you have their permission to put your hands on them. What I struggle with is why this has to be said at all. You wouldn't walk up to someone you don't know in the grocery store and put your hands on them. Why would you think it was OK to do so at a convention?
It's interesting to have seen this evolution occur. I'm old enough to remember a time without internet, but young enough to have been involved in the AOL chat room boom of the late 1990's. The internet was this amazing place where a person could be their true selves without repercussion. For someone like me who had a ton of social anxiety, I was able to speak freely and be myself and there were countless people who truly got me. There were trolls then too, but we ignored them because they weren't as prevalent as they are today.
It's hard to see the forest through the trees on this issue. You have women who are self-objectifying and men who think that ogling and making lewd comments is appropriate. I think we ought to get back to what we ought to have been taught as children in which we treat everyone with respect. We are not body parts. The idea that people (or their parts) are reduced to sexual objects that are fodder for masturbation is terrifying to me. Our respect for our fellow humans and our ability to connect on an emotional and intellectual level is part of what separates us from the animals. I have no answers for this issue, despite my want to wave a magic wand and fix it.
What do you think? Have you witnessed this yourself? Do you think that I'm overreacting and that this sort of behavior isn't that bad? Let me know in the comments.
Articles for further reading:
My to be read pile continues to grow. Right now between my physical shelves and my Kindle shelves, I currently have enough reading material to last me at least three years based on my reading speed. And yet, I still buy more books.
I can't help it. I continually look for deals and my wish list on Amazon for books alone is about four pages long. Three days ago someone introduced me to a website in the UK that also carries a good selection at a low cost. Normally I stick to Amazon. They typically have the lowest prices. Barnes and Noble has decent online prices as well, but considering I go to Amazon for literally everything else, it's easier to stick with them.
I was scrolling through my news feed and saw that someone had a paperback copy of the fifth book in a series that I have been waiting for. I've been waiting almost a year for the paperback. Along with being a book lover/hoarder, I'm also incredibly particular. If I start a series one way, then I have to finish that series in the same format. In other words, I have the first four books of this series in paperback. I can't just switch to Kindle or hardback now. It doesn't work that way. I see this book in my newsfeed and immediately asked where they got it.
Apparently the United Kingdom releases hardback and paperback books at the same time. Who knew? And why don't we do this in the United States? That's a frustrating thought for another time. The important part is that now I can get these books when they come out instead of waiting nearly an entire year. I know it's silly but it's partially about the cost and it's partially about the feel of the book in my hands. I treat books in a way that they will last a long time. The binding is never broken and when I've finished with them, you'd think it was still brand new and unread. Books are to be handled with care.
Being a book addict is problematic. The main issue is that it's expensive. Unless you're buying second hand, even a new paperback can cost up to $20 depending on the subject matter or where you're buying from. The second issue I face is time with its close companion, mood. Because I still work a full forty hour a week job, reading is relegated to my breaks during the day and when I get home from work. I can normally get through about fifty to seventy-five pages an hour depending on the subject matter so a 400 page book can be read in a six hour sitting. Those books I call brain candy. They tend to be all fluff and adventure. The ones that are more introspective and technical can take much longer.
On the bright side of things there are local libraries here in the United States where a person can borrow books for free at any time. Even better, there's a app called Overdrive that syncs your library with your e-reader or Kindle and it let's you borrow e-books and audiobooks through your library digitally. The possibilities are endless. The most exciting part of that for me is the audiobooks. Audible is a great subscription based service for audiobooks, but if I can get the same books on my phone for free through the library, then I'm set for a while.
So here's where I have an issue. I have all these books to read and yet I can't stop buying more. I have five tote bags worth to take to the used book store and the pile keeps growing. I follow people on Instagram that love to read as much as I do and every time I am scrolling by, I see another book I'd love to read. I've ordered twelve new ones in the last three days and won two via Goodreads giveaways. I inhale these things. Granted, it gives me things to write about so as to entertain you, but it's a lot.
I keep wondering when I'm going to find the time and then I find it. I don't know how but it just works. So what do you think? Are you as addicted to reading as I am?
If you read my last post, you know that my annual family vacation is meant to gather my family together for a week or two in the summer so that we can reset and enjoy each other's company. The tricky part of this is that we're a bit spread out. Travelling 1500 miles is a lot and most would fly. I had intended to fly this year but there were circumstances that prevented that from happening.
I found myself needing to drive the entire trip on my own which is incredibly daunting. For this particular trip I break it up into three days' worth of driving. It's about a twenty-one hour drive from my home, so it's too much to do alone in a day. I could technically do it in two, but I've yet to find a hotel that's at the halfway point that is clean, takes pets, and feels safe. I break it into three days. Eight hours to the hotel, six hours to my sister's and then six hours to the place where we all meet.
Planning something like that takes a little bit of time. Packing for a road trip is not the same as packing for a flight. Especially when you have a dog to pack for too. There are food considerations to make. Snacks and drinks are definitely cheaper outside of the convenience stores. I like to bake muffins for the mornings of the trips because you never really know what you're going to get when it comes to continental breakfasts.
This year the drive got off to a rocky start, I wasn't even fifteen minutes into the trip and I got stuck in traffic. There was a massive accident involving multiple cars and eleven people who had to be transported by ambulance back into town. What should have taken about thirty minutes of driving ended up taking two hours. After that it stormed. It stormed like I'd never seen before. I grew up in Florida. It's the lightning capital of the United States. I've driven through plenty of hair-raising storms. This storm made me seriously uncomfortable. I've never seen so many lightning strikes so frequently. The storm was so intense I nearly pulled over. If you're a Florida native, I hope you appreciate how serious that statement is.
Somehow I made it to my first stopping point unscathed. I didn't get there until 1am which was unfortunately but I had my audiobooks to keep me company as my dog snoozed in her bed on the floorboard. After checking in and walking around for a bit so the dog could pee, it was back in the car for some Taco Bell. It was the only place open at that time of night and even though I can't stand it, but it was better than nothing.
The nice thing about this extra stop is that I can sleep in the next day. There's no rush for the second leg of the trip to make sure I get in by a certain time. The second leg of the trip was totally uneventful (thank goodness) and I managed to get to my sister's house before dinner.
One of the things I like best about solo travelling by car is the total control over the trip. If I need to stop and take a break from being cooped up? I do. I can listen to my audiobooks instead of the repetitive radio stations. I leave when I like and I arrive when I like. It's nice in a way, to not have to make conversation, to be alone with your thoughts if you choose to have them. It's weirdly therapeutic to be able to focus on a single thing…driving…instead of the hundred other things that you normally think about in your daily life.
The downside to all of this is that with the longer road trips, if you're alone, there's no one to help when you get too tired to drive. This was the first year of driving this trip where I felt like I had to pull over and nap. I did it a few times. It's odd to sit in your car by yourself in a public rest area and sleep. I kept the car running with the A/C on. It is the summer after all and temps were anywhere from 85-95 depending on where I was and I was NOT going to get sick from the heat. Each nap was really only fifteen or so minutes long, but it replenished my energy and I was able to get back on the road and continue on.
Overall there were six days of my twelve day vacation that I drove during. I finished six audiobooks in that time. This was over last year's trip in which I finished four. My co-pilot puppers slept the entire way. She's cute, but not always the most engaging company.
I wonder about the other people on the road with me. Do they enjoy the drive? Or are they hating every minute of it?
What about you? Do you road trip solo? With your family? What's your favorite part?
My last vacation seems so far away. I returned a mere 15 days ago but it already feels like forever has passed. I meant to write as soon as I got back, but I lost my buffer day between the drive back and going back to work. I had to get right back into the swing of things.
It was my annual vacation with my family. Every year we travel to a family home together and spend a week or two just spending time and relaxing. It's a bit rustic. We're in the middle of the woods. The plumbing is…different by western standards. It's a septic system in the middle of nowhere. It's not exactly an easy thing to deal with or correct should something go wrong. There are bugs and dirt and no air conditioning. There is no phone, no TV, and no internet. This is the way it has always been.
For those of you who are like me and live in a world where those things are readily available, you may be thinking how one can survive without them. It's part of the charm for me. I like that my cell phone doesn't really work. I like that I have to get back to basics and tear myself away from social media. It's basically a blackout until we go to town. Now, we could get things like cable and internet and phone, but why would we want to?
We grew up without these things in general, one of my sisters and I were born in the 80's…long before the availability of thousands of channels or the internet. We put together puzzles, played cards for hours, colored in coloring books. We talked and got to know each other and ourselves. It's simple. It's what's missing from my world in general, but that's another post. I have countless memories of staying up into the wee hours of the morning just talking or reading. Hours spent playing cards with my cousin or making bracelets. Days spent entirely in the water doing nothing but swimming around and enjoying nature. Nearly every meal is eaten together every day. Even when we have a "fend for yourselves" meal in which nothing is prepared, you're usually eating with others.
I wish that we didn't get so far away from this. This idea familial community is so important to the livelihood of the family unit. There are countless studies that tell us this. How it's healthier for people who disconnect from technology and enjoy the experience of social interaction and for those who take the time to simply share a meal.
I know for me, since I live apart from my family, it's incredibly important for me. I don't get to see them as often as I would like and I don’t like feeling so disconnected from them. This trip is my reset button. It's my chance to step away from my life and focus on releasing all the stuff that's been building up throughout the year.
Now take that all away. Imagine a place where none of that exists. Just the wind through the trees. A light rainfall maybe. Just you and the open air. When you're done reading, take a moment to watch and listen to the clip I uploaded for you. It's only twenty seconds but I listen to it to remind myself throughout the year of the peace I feel when I'm there. I know how fortunate I am to have a place like this. It's a part of me and I'm a part of it. I miss it when I'm gone from it. It's a dull ache in my bones that never quite abates. You've already seen it. The trees in the pictures on the blog are the trees that are the main view from the porch of where we stay. I try and stay there mentally as long as possible but it's incredibly difficult to do. Life gets too loud.
Where is your "happy place"? What helps you to relax and get away from the stresses of your life?
Breaking up has always been touted as hard to do. For romantic relationships, I will completely agree. The ending of my marriage was an incredibly intense and difficult decision to have made. I'm grateful for it all now, with hindsight being what it is, but it was definitely hard to go through.
Breaking up with terrible friends, however, turns out to be incredibly easy to do. I had this friend. Let's call them Sam. A nice gender-ambiguous name. Now Sam is someone I started talking to over IM one day. We had been acquaintances prior to that, but we had never really been close before. Suddenly Sam was my new chatting BFF. Every day, all day, we'd discuss literally anything and everything over IM. Complaints about society, the election, global warming, work, mutual friends, general personal gripes, etc.
We made silly pacts. We told deep secrets. We spoke in the way that you can only speak to someone who you never actually have to see in person…ever. Except…
Somewhere along the way I got frustrated with them. The constant negativity and need to constantly be right even when I was agreeing with them got really old, really fast. Something about the way they spoke started to rub me the wrong way. I always felt as though I was on the defensive with them. There were two things that made me finally want to cut the cord.
The first was a conversation about one of the home food shipping services. They were trying to convince me that it was cheaper and I was arguing that while it was certainly more convenient, it definitely isn't cheaper. I then went on to explain how I cook and then reheat my meals throughout the week and blah blah blah. Not even interesting. They came back with "you cook?" As though this was some revelation. Suddenly every conversation we'd ever had about food had a weird coloring to it. Did they think that I just sat home sad and alone eating frozen dinners every night? Do they see me as some slovenly sack of fat crying into my Lean Cuisines?
From there the conversations started to become fewer and fewer. At one point they "accidentally" unfriended me and when I asked what the heck, they claimed they were cleaning out their friends list and it must have happened by accident. Sure, have you ever unfriended someone on Facebook? Literally no need to lie. Then, they told me that they weren't coming into town for a work thing during a specific time. Then, during the specific time? I saw them in the lobby. Weird how that works.
I tried to pull back. I attempted not to be standoffish, but it's hard when you've got someone who clearly doesn't respect you, lies for no reason, and then calls on you when their self-esteem is low or they've run out of people to complain to.
The final straw came while I was out one evening and with family and friends enjoying a show. They attempted to make small talk and I sent a picture of where I was at. It was clear where I was. There was no room for error. The conversation deteriorated from there. Ending with my snarky-jerk attitude shining through despite the fact that I was trying to reign it in and them being a sarcastic-ass right back at me.
I stopped talking to them. Then and there. Decision made. I waited a few days and was weighing the decision of a total social media blackout of this person. Turns out…they beat me to it. I unfriended on Facebook. I blocked them on Instagram since I have a public profile for business reasons.
It's amazingly freeing to have cut that cord. They cut their end and I cut mine. They can go on with their life and I can go on with mine. It's been a couple of months since this happened. It's interesting because this was something we actually discussed before. Where if we're done with someone, we're just done. There's no need to continue to drag things out. Even though we both said that, we clearly waited too long. We didn't let it peter out naturally, we needed a big bang.
Every once in a while I see a meme or article that I think they would like and then I remember that we're not speaking anymore. It's funny though. To think about having someone in your life so intensely only to forget about them so quickly. I'm sure it's the same for them with regards to me. Part of me wonders if they go around telling people what a terrible human I am, but more than likely they've forgotten all about me. Which is as it should be.
If you've been following along for a little while now, you know that my dog was having issues with walking and with the strength in her front legs. If not, then check out parts one and two below:
Last week I toughened up and took her back to the neurologist for surgery. She had two discs removed from her spine. These were putting pressure on her spinal cord which is what was causing the issues and pain. I was completely fine up until we got to the doctor's office. You know that weird nauseous feeling you get in your guts sometimes? The one that feels like you're vibrating? That's what I was feeling when I dropped her off.
We got into the office and the gal behind the desk talked me through the policies and the paperwork and the deposit. She made sure I had all the phone numbers I could need should I want to get in touch with them. This is about the time that I started crying. It was one of those times where my eyes just spontaneously combusted and there was nothing I could do to stop the tears from falling. The woman was very understanding as I handed my puppers over to her.
Then, somehow, I was supposed to just get in my car and drive directly to work. I was going to have to pretend that everything was totally cool and that I wasn't distracted all day long. The surgery to remove the discs went perfectly. A nurse called me midday to tell me this and that the doctor would follow up in an hour or so. I went back to my desk and tried not to cry with relief. Then, hours went by. Three and a half hours to be specific. No call from the doctor. I had been in a meeting for most of that time so when I was done I called them. He was absolutely going to call me back in an hour. Then, it's 5:30 and I still haven't heard from him. I'm still being told that my dog is fine but the doctor will call me in an hour. By 7:30 I had run out of patience without much recourse. I called the overnight hospital where my dog was supposed to be staying and they took me through a few more details than I had before, but again assured me that she was OK.
The next day was moderately better. A call from the doctor himself! Finally! He tells me she's doing really well and just resting. I ended up calling a few more times throughout the day to check in on her. Always OK. Good.
The anxiety of not having her in the house with me was a lot to handle. I have a low level anxiety issue on a regular day so adding to it didn't help anything. When you're home with your pet you don't necessarily notice the energy they produce. It's something that you're used to. For me the emptiness of the house wasn't so much palpable, because that implies a thickness. Having her not home created a quiet void...an emptiness. The emptiness made me feel extra lazy and depressed.
I got to bring her home after forty-eight hours of stress. I finally get her in my arms and she's still pretty drugged up and so she wasn't entirely sure what was happening. That is until she got in the car and decided she needed to roam all over the car. Then in true Florida fashion is starting storming like crazy on the drive home. My stoned little dog curled into a shaking ball in the backseat as I tried to get us home as quickly as possible and in one piece.
Once home we rested. That was a Thursday. I was able to work from home the next day and all of the next week. Working from home is a dream come true anyway and I'm incredibly grateful to my boss for letting me do it. She's definitely been feeling better so she's thinks she can go and jump around now. Apparently I was supposed to keep her confined this last week but all they really told me was keep her calm.
When we went to get the stitches out they told me she could be on "room rest" and short walks. Oh…well, we've already been doing that. Hmph. Now I'm paranoid again. Every time she gets up, I'm looking for a limp or weakness that isn't there. The main issue is with me coming home. Yesterday I left to get the oil changed in the car and came back and she got so excited she was doing that thing she does when she flings herself everywhere.
This is when I wish that dogs understood logic. To where I can sit her down and talk it out. Tell her to take it easy. That she's got a couple more weeks of recovery and that she needs to calm down. Even then I doubt she'd listen.
I'm just glad that the surgery was a success and that the weakness in her leg and the constantly swelling in her neck is gone. I hate that it took so long and so much money to fix it but at least she's better. That's the most important part.
When I was in elementary school our library and administration coordinated pen pal letter exchanges. I’m not sure if this was something all kids did, or just the kids at my school and the kids at the schools that we wrote to. Back in the 80’s we didn’t have the communication devices we have today. Computers were just becoming a “thing” but we didn’t use them to communicate with each other. For my generation they were mostly for games and typing/word processing. If you wanted to talk to your friend who lived in a different state, then you had to write them a letter. If a friend moved away with their family? It was practically the end of the world. You’d likely never see them again and there are several people that I knew in school that I no longer know now because of this. Today of course you can text or video chat whenever you like on your phone.
I thought of this during a text conversation with a friend who is currently visiting her son in Japan. Here we are in 2017, it’s practically the next day in Japan and she and I are texting in real time.
Growing up I had two pen pals. One was Claire Ball. I don’t remember much about her other than she lived in England and that she sent me a silver bracelet where it clasped with hands instead of the typical clasp. I still have that bracelet. It certainly doesn’t fit my grownup wrist anymore but it’s got such heavy memory attached to it. The other was Nathan Stephens from Washington State. I can’t remember where exactly he was from…Auburn…Bellevue? It was a suburb of Seattle. I vaguely remember that he was a ginger and that I had the most ridiculous eleven-year-old crush on him. I couldn’t begin to tell you what we talked about. I’m sure it was a lot of “how are you?” and “school is great” or “I got a new puppy!” There was nothing else to talk about with strangers back then.
Even now that talking to strangers online has become a daily culture when you consider the comment section of Facebook and as an extension this blog, it still feels odd to me. It’s funny to me that we’re reaching out to others for connection but we’re limiting that connection by keeping it relegated to the computer. Back when I was a kid I would have loved to have met my pen pals. I can honestly say that I looked for them on Facebook but I couldn’t find them of course. Their names are entirely too common and I have no idea what they look like. But for a little while, we were in each other’s lives.
Waiting for the mail to come was exciting. Every day things would get delivered and I’d hope there was something in the mail for me. It made me feel important to receive a letter. There was little that was more joyous than seeing your name on an envelope handwritten by someone who cared enough to take the time to send it. Of course these days, letter writing is a lost art. Holiday cards and occasional coupons from my mother aside, all I get is junk mail and bills. With the implementation of the email billing? Well then all I get is junk mail.
So what about you? Did you have pen pals growing up? Or are you part of the millennial generation who has more or less always had Facebook to keep in touch? Do you still write letters?
I'm writing this on the eve of my birthday. When it's posted, it will be my actual birthday. Thirty-six. A presumable third of my life has been completed and I find myself needing more. I keep trying to be my most authentic self and yet I post this blog with only a few readers and even fewer people in real life who even know it exists. I keep asking myself why that is. Why would I hide this massive project that I am pretty proud of?
I taught myself how to build this site from the ground up. OK, OK. Weebly helped with their fantastic drag and drop system, but I think you know what I mean. No one showed me what to do or how to do it, I just went and figured it out. I am smart and capable and confident…when no one knows what I'm doing.
It's something that's hard to pinpoint. I'm working on getting to the truest me and part of that person is a writer. I may not be incredibly skilled at it, but I can feel it in my bones. See! Even that last sentence. Somewhere along the line I told myself I wasn't good enough. I told myself that the thing I want to do most in the world isn't a viable career path. Don't get me wrong. This isn't a situation where I am regretting the path not taken. This is a time in which I am trying to figure out which path to take.
Do I sit here and write for you (me)? Do I quit my job and focus all my energy on writing and podcasting? While some people daydream about travelling the world, I daydream about packing some gear, my car, and my little dog; and hoofing it around the country. Cash out the 401K and just go experience the world. But how can I do that when there are so many bills to pay? Logic steps in and tells me I can't just quit my job, that I have to have a backup. My creative side says to buy a tiny house and plop it on a plot of land and leave everyone else behind.
I've avoided the original question already. Why shouldn't I announce to my circle of friends and family that I have this thing that I've created. Part of it is because of plain old fear. Fear that people will hate it. Fear that people will disapprove. Most of all, fear that people just won't care. This is that I have built and am building is an extension of me. If it gets ignored, well then it'll feel like real life I guess. I've struggled with feelings of inadequacy pretty much all of my life. I think that comes from a youth spent trying to break free of a mold that was set out for me but possessing an inadequate vocabulary to explain why I needed to oust myself from the "norm".
I do this every year on my birthday, which I always spend alone for reasons I can't get into. Well, I can…but I won't. I started to resent this day because I'm unable to celebrate in the fashion that I want. This makes me sad and cranky and wanting to avoid the whole thing altogether. I'm trying not to be that way this year. I'm trying to break free from the mold that I created this time. I have no idea how far out I'll make it. But I surely have to try.
Thirty-six. Where did the time go?
Happy Birthday to Me.
Random historical events that occurred today!
Yesterday we went to MegaCon in Orlando. Every year we tell ourselves that we aren't going to go and every year we change our minds. This year it was the same. Gina Torres popped up on the guest list. She's the last of the Firefly cast that we have yet to meet. Unfortunately we missed meeting Ron Glass prior to him passing away. This year they moved the con to Memorial Day weekend.
It started out normal enough. We woke up early and grabbed some McDonald's on the way out of town. We made great time since the traffic isn't too bad that early in the morning. Typically we get there early enough to where there are no attendants for parking and we end up not having to pay. While this was not the case this year, the entry in was certainly easier than if we went at a peak time. Upon arrival we parked in the West Concourse of the Orange County Convention center which is probably about a 15-20 minute walk to the North/South Concourse where the con was actually taking place. Most of that walk is spent walking through the air conditioned building. This year they had us walking outside to get to the entrance unless we already had our wristbands. We're assuming that this was due to the issue in Phoenix, but no one could confirm. Security was MUCH tighter this year than any other year previously.
Once we reached the entrance the issue became clear. It was 745 in the morning and they had us line up outside on the east side of the building. It's May. It's Florida. There was no shade. This was a bad plan. We had to wait there until the doors opened at 8:30. Some kid was blasting EDM while we stood there and we discovered a new kind of torture. Once they let us in to the air conditioned area it was much better, but they don't actually let you in to the con until 10am. So we sat and waited.
The plan was to go directly to the booth for Gina Torres from Firefly. It's always a crap shoot with the celebrity stuff. They either show up more or less on time or they just arrive whenever they feel like it. We were the 5th or 6th people in line so we knew this was either going to be efficient or painful. Lucky for us, she was relatively on time and we were done by 10:45. Gina was delightful and signed our items with a smile. I never know what to say to folks when they are signing a picture for me. It's terribly awkward for me to talk to people I don't know on a good day, much less someone I've admired for so long.
By this time we had already burned through our breakfast so we decided to eat our lunches. Con tip: if possible always bring a sandwich in a lunch bag and extra bottles of water. Everything is overpriced at MegaCon and I've yet to have a meal there that was anything more than disappointing. Honestly, how the Papa John's kiosk can produce lukewarm pizza that tastes like it's two days old during a lunch rush is beyond me. We brought in subs from Publix instead and ate amongst the costumed masses.
From there we went over to Artist's Alley to meet up with some friends who were at the Con. Then we just did our usual trek through the booths. This usually involves walking up and down every aisle and making note of the things that we like and making purchases along the way. I stopped and said hi to some friends from school at their booths. I've included the links to their artwork below not just because I know them, but because it's also awesome artwork.
I got some really fun stuff this year. I almost never see Parks and Rec stuff but managed to find a vinyl sticker for my laptop for the Pawnee Goddesses. Some new t-shirts, some night-lights, and my favorite items, the vinyl stained glass clings that I bought from another favorite artist as well as the "T is for Tardis" book for kids because it was adorable.
We left around 4, exhausted and sweaty but happy to have had the experience once again. If you're into nerdy things like I am but have never been to a con before, I highly recommend attending one. If you budget correctly you can do it fairly inexpensively. Aside from the beginning of the day which was a little rough, overall we had fun as we always do. Love my Nerd Culture and love being surrounded by thousands of people who are into all the same things I am. It's like the high school reunion I always wanted.
Here are the links for my favorite artists below.
You Found Jacob