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
Monday was a weird day for me. My dog had an appointment again at the neurologist, this time for her MRI. With everything that's been going on with her neck and her leg lately, it's just time to take next steps. Thank goodness the doctor is nice since he's the only game in town. We talked through everything and what tests they would do. Chest X-rays to make certain there are no issues there. A MRI of the head and neck to make sure there are no tumors and potentially capture any issues with her vertebrae. Lastly a spinal tap to make sure there was no infection in her spinal cord.
Leaving her somewhere is incredibly stressful for both her and me. Other than staying with my Mom, my dog doesn't spend any amount of time with people she doesn't know. In fact, she's pretty terrified of strangers. Every time I have to leave her at the vet, even though it's only for the day I know that she's sitting in a crate being scared. That's what stresses me out, that she's sitting along in a crate scared and worried that I'm not coming back for her.
I left her for the day and attempted to work for a few hours. Picking her up later was a mixture of empathy and humor. After anesthesia she's incredibly out of it. She struggles to keep her tongue in her mouth and wobbles around sort of in circles because she's "drunk". She gets so excited to see me but can't express it the way she usually does so it just comes out in a low constant whine. They shaved her little head and neck for the spinal tap too, so she looks quite ridiculous.
The spinal tap showed no infection and the MRI showed multiple bulging discs. It also showed a congenital fusion of two vertebrae which isn't really the issue. So next steps are surgery, planned for a couple of weeks from now. While I am moderately terrified of this supposedly routine surgery I know that they'll take great care of her. Mostly I just want her to be OK.
Having a pet is a funny thing sometimes. It's also an expensive thing. Everything is going to work out the way it should, but in the interim it's just a bit stressful.
Have you ever had something so long that it lost its meaning? Only to be hit with a wave of feeling on a random day for no good reason?
I have this t-shirt. It’s nothing special, just a simple navy blue t-shirt with writing on the front and back. The front bears my first name on the left breast side and the back reads “Fritz Carlton Hotel”. It’s faded from its original deep blue to a somewhat purple-hued dark blue. The lettering has been washing off for years now and there are small holes in the armpits. This shirt is approximately seventeen years old.
The obvious question here is, why do I keep it after all of this time? The answer is not as simple as telling you it’s for sentimental reasons. The three people involved and/or were the reason for its creation are all gone. They are also the three people whose besides I have sat beside and watched as they’ve taken their last breath.
In 2000, my Grandmother succumbed to breast cancer in August. That summer, my Grandparent’s home was overrun with a barrage of guests and visitors. People visiting for days or hours. Everyone wanting to come and say hello or goodbye…it was a revolving door. Thinking back on it now, perhaps we should have tempered the steady flow of visitors. My “Aunt” Lauren was there through most of it. Helping with my Grandmother’s care, helping around the house, and just being generally wonderful. Somewhere along the way she had the idea to make us all t-shirts that read “Fritz Carlton Hotel” after the family name and because the revolving door of guests made it feel like we were in a hotel.
My Grandmother passed and life moved forward.
In 2004, Lauren was told that her liver disease had progressed to the point where she would need to make the appropriate arrangements. While I was somewhat removed from my Grandmother’s day to day care, I was not so from Lauren’s. I spent an inordinate amount of time helping her. I spent nights there. I more or less moved in to help her when I wasn’t at work. Aside from nurses, in the end, I was more or less her primary caregiver. I don’t know how many people even know that about me. The nights I stayed up chasing the morphine demons away. The time spent on floors holding her as she cried because she was scared to go. The screaming matches about whether or not she should be allowed to drink. I was not mentally equipped to handle that at the age of 23, and yet no one stopped me from doing it. Or rather, I don’t remember anyone trying to stop me. I remember some things and others I don’t. I know I still have a bit of anger left over from then and it’s been thirteen years. It cost me two of my three jobs, an attempt to go back to school, and a six year relationship. I include the relationship because Lauren’s passing was the push I needed to end it. That “love” was dead long before I pronounced it as such.
The shirt has followed me all this time. My Grandfather, the last of the three, passed away a few years ago. His passing, if I can write about it at all, will be in a separate post.
So now I have this old shirt. I don’t wear it often, but it ended up in the rotation this week. It doesn’t really fit anymore and it hit me yesterday that it’s the last thing the three of them have in common outside of my head. It has so many memories wrapped up into this one tangible thing. Now that it’s clicked in my head, it feels like a sacred object. I know logically that it’s just a t-shirt but my worrisome brain is concerned that when I’m old and gray, that I’ll have forgotten all these thing that helped shape who I am. That maybe this one simple t-shirt will be the thing that helps me remember those I’ve loved and lost and the strength I learned from knowing them.
Am I alone in this? Does anyone else have an object like this? Does anyone know of a way to preserve cloth for the next forty years or so (half kidding)?
I was totally going to leave the house today. I keep wanting to drop off a package at the UPS store for a friend. A surprise gift. Instead I got completely distracted my a revamp of my blog. I did some major work on it today, spent four hours and nearly forgot about breakfast.
Recently I joined a Facebook group for bloggers and after weeks of lurking in the shadows, I participated in one of their "Feedback Friday" posts. I have to tell you that this was incredibly terrifying. Other than a single friend who occasionally reads the blog and gives me feedback when I miss a spelling error, I've not had anyone I know take a look.
Part of Feedback Friday is that you go to other people's blogs and give them feedback and they respond in kind. In reviewing other blogs, I suddenly hated the way mine looked. Scrolling through post after post seemed dull and unimaginative. When I advertise my posts, I do them individually, but if anyone ever wanted to see what else there might be to interest them, they'd have to scroll through post after post.
While I definitely appreciated the feedback from the others, it left me feeling inadequate. I did seem to be one of the only (if not the only) person blogging in my particular genre. I feel like there is so much more work to be done and I just want it to be as good as it can be.
It's amazing to me how much there is to learn about blogging, SEO, and ads. Ideally I would make money from blogging but I'm not entirely sure how that can happen. People have to read the reviews I write first…then have my words move them to click the links to purchase the corresponding items for the things I've reviewed. In today's overly jaded world, how would that even happen? Then there's Patreon which is a whole other thing that's difficult to grab onto. There are thousands of blog posts about increasing traffic and monetization and, and, and…
Honestly? It's relatively overwhelming. I had to take a break from all the reading of articles and editing the page. I think I've likely done enough tinkering for right now. Or at least until I figure out how to arrange the rest of it in a way that I like. Besides, what's the good of having a blog if I don't write anything?
Hope everyone is having an excellent Saturday. I'm off to knock out some posts for you guys for the coming weeks. What overwhelms you?