Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Pelzer Springs Ranch Open House is in just TWO days!

For the past year or so (a little more than that, actually) my sister and brother-in-law have been working hard to start making a living off the family farm. Nowadays they raise pigs and cows, have a giant garden, and recently started keeping bee hives.

I'm super proud of the fact that this weekend they'll be having their first open house. It's from 2-6 PM at Pelzer Springs Ranch, 169 Berry Road, Pelzer SC 29669. See the pictures below for more information...I'll be volunteering, hope to see you there!

You can also find them at the Fountain Inn Farmer's Market on Saturdays from 8 AM to 12 PM, or check out their Facebook page :)

Ugh, I apologize that this is sideways. I rotated and saved it properly, but for some reason it won't upload to my blog that way ::sigh::

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dragon Con is Coming...

Part of me wanted to wait until Dragon Con was exactly a month out to post this, but it's not as if I write in this blog very often, and my costume choices have long been decided. These days I'm just patiently awaiting the release of the schedule, crossing my fingers that I get to be a panelist again this year, and also hoping to participate in a few writing workshops depending on what happens with said schedule/panelist stuff ;)

I have to admit that I'm a bit nervous about this year. My first two Dragon Cons - 2012 and 2013 - were awesome...but sadly, I won't be seeing most of the people who made those first two years so great. And last year...well, last year's Dragon Con was something of a massive joke. And not a good one (for my own personal reasons, not any fault of the convention's, of course).

I could tell myself that this year certainly can't be worse than last year, and that's probably true...but instead I'm trying to focus on the positives - I'll be rooming with three awesome people, I'm part of several great costume groups, and I've got a bunch of friends attending who have never been before and can't wait to show them around :)

Also, I'm not being quite so adventurous with my costumes. Most of them are ones I've already worn before that need either no work or only very slight modifications; as for the new ones, well, most of them are mostly done at this point. To be honest I'd like to say that I'm ahead of the game, but I'm afraid that if I do, something will go wrong or I'll remember that I forgot something major. So instead I'll just share my Dragon Con costume schedule!

Clockwise from top left: Ellie Sattler (Jurassic Park), Kara Thrace/Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica), Midorima Shintarou (Kuroko no Basket), Katy Perry (Superbowl XLIX Half-Time Show), Roxy (bassist from The Misfits, Jem and the Holograms), Dee Reynolds ("Nightman Cometh", It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Katya Kazanova (Archer)
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Confessions

I confess...I may be in a better place now than I was this time last year, but things still aren't GOOD. Sometimes I wonder if they ever will be.

I confess...I just did a major cleanup of my Facebook friend list and I feel...a little better, I guess.

I confess...I'm finally in Dragon Con mode. I just hope I haven't put off everything I need to do for TOO long ::sigh:: Pin It

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Magic of Traveling by Yourself

Once upon a time, I took a vacation by myself. To Hawaii - Kauai, to be specific.

At 32 years old, it was the first time I'd truly traveled alone. I'd flown to places by myself to meet friends. I'd been on short work trips on my own (seriously, two, maybe three days at most). I've never had any problem eating out by myself or even going to the movie theater by myself.

But this was over five days completely on my own...and to be honest, I was worried about it. Even after those five days, I headed to Oahu, and though I have friends there, I wasn't sure how much time I'd be spending alone. In the end it wasn't much, but in the end that was okay - both because I got to spend time with awesome people, and because when I was alone, I appreciated it all the more. (I'll definitely write more about Oahu later :) )

Anyway, back to Kauai. Funny, I was so nervous about traveling so completely by myself, but then I met a brother and sister in the Phoenix airport (we were all on a layover waiting for the same flight). They were talking about Game of Thrones, I commented on that fact, and after talking for a while about where we were going and how I was alone, they invited to hang out with them when we reached Kauai. I only saw them one day - I spent an afternoon hanging out on the beach with them, my first full day on the island - but that whole experience just reaffirmed for me that there are friendly, open people in this world. And hey, I got to spend that afternoon discussing Game of Thrones, Walking Dead (show and comics!), Arrow, conventions, and more. I couldn't have asked for a better first real day of vacation.

First morning sunrise

Kilauea Point Lighthouse

Hanalei Bay

I spent the rest of my trip on tours - sea rafting along the Napali coast, snorkeling off Ni'ihau, and taking a helicopter ride to the waterfall from Jurassic Park. In fact, I met some people on the Ni'ihau tour, and spent the afternoon/evening/night with them, and once again was reminded that there truly are open and accepting people out there.

Sea rafting along the Napali Coast
Kauai Coffee Company!
Spinner dolphins...they were everywhere!

Jurassic Falls!
I rode in a helicopter and it was amazing

Waimea Canyon
Hanalei Bay by air

Center of the island
Last night on Kauai

'Opaeka'a Falls
Truly, the important thing was that I had some crazy amazing experiences on my own. Were there times when I wished I could be sharing them with the person or people most special to me? Absolutely. I wished it when I was sailing with dolphins, stopping under an overhang along the Napali to let the cliffs rain on me, riding a helicopter as it banked through a narrow mountain pass with the Jurassic Park theme music playing in my ears, and during a hundred other seemingly smaller moments that still took my breath away.

But I'm glad I did it on my own, too. Because it proved that maybe - just maybe - I'll eventually be okay. Pin It

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Confessions

I confess...I'm still at a loss about what to write in this blog, these days. I have another ASOIAF re-read installment almost finished, but don't feel like finding or making a picture for it. I could post about my recent vacation (Hawaii and San Diego for Comic-Con) but that just feels like too much work. Blargh.

I confess...I keep conveniently forgetting how soon Dragon Con is. Because I don't have most of my cosplays ready. And I'm not really excited about any of them anyway. And Dragon Con being so close means that summer is almost over. And yes this is a Monday Confessions post full of complaining. ::sigh::

I confess...I'm still struggling to finish my SDCC articles anyway, and that's what I'll be focusing on today (and maybe tomorrow?). So this blog still takes a backseat. Pin It

Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday Confessions

I confess...UPS is literally the worst these days. I had to call three separate times and muddle through several automated menus just to get a bill paid for work...only to be told that they've changed their policies (without sending us any warning) and we have no choice but to comply immediately. On top of that, they're using the word 'replenish' and they clearly have no idea what that word means.

I confess...Later this week we'll finally start getting more SDCC info, and I'm both nervous and excited to [hopefully] start really filling in my schedule for it!

I confess...I feel like there need to be some changes in my future, I'm just not sure about the exact details - especially the "when". The 'what' and the 'why', thankfully, are a bit more certain, though that doesn't make them any less scary ;) Pin It

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tara's ASOIAF Re-Read: ACOK, Davos II - Daenerys IV


Oh gosh it's been a while since my last re-read update. Like, months and months. What can I say, I've been...busy? Sort of? Let's say that's my best excuse. Yeah.

I know a lot of people don't care for Davos, but I'm glad that when I picked this up again it was with one of his chapters. A good bit of it is made up of Stannis making frustrating decisions (hey, what's new), but in the end it all works out in his favor thanks to good ol' Mel and [what I presume was] Shadow Baby #2. Which was definitely shocking the first time I read this book - especially the part where Davos realizes that the shadow baby looks like Stannis - but now was actually kind of easy to shrug off. I think if I didn't shrug this and a lot of other things off, this entire series would be far more maddening than enjoyable.

Oh wait...

Aaaanyway. The men of the Night's Watch have been hanging out at the Fist of the First Men for a while and let's be honest, nothing much was happening there until Qhorin finally arrives in Jon V. And even then we only learn that Mance has gathered the wildlings in the Frostfangs because he's looking for some magic way to take down the Wall, and then Qhorin decides to go scouting and to take Jon with him. Probably the most interesting part of this chapter is the bit about the horn Jon gave Sam, because of course there are plenty of theories that it's actually the horn of Joramun (that magic thing that Mance is looking for, of course). I wonder if we'll ever ACTUALLY find that out, or if it's just a red herring...

As I write this particular entry, I realize more and more that most of the chapters in this section were more about moving pieces into place than about anything actually happening. Tyrion X is mostly about him visiting Shae and meeting the soon-to-be-very-unlucky singer Symon Silver Tongue...though at least we get a bit of Varys' back story, and that's interesting enough. Of course nowadays it's hard to decide if that's really as important as I once thought it was, because it's obviously very likely that Stannis is dead in the show...which makes me question whether he was ever going to cross Varys' path in the books :-/

But I digress. Catelyn VI reveals that Tywin has marched southeast and she notes that he's probably already reached the headwaters of the Blackwater...but not before she learns from Cleos that he saw Sansa at court, but not Arya. Obviously we readers knew for quite some time that Arya had escaped King's Landing, and Catelyn is still left wondering WHY Cleos didn't see her, but recalling that Catelyn knew about this makes the fact that she later releases Jaime (in hopes of getting her daughterS back) a bit harder to swallow.

And then of course Theon (oh, Theon...) takes Winterfell. Gosh, I forgot just how maddening ACOK can be!(And yet it's still my favorite book in the series, go figure.) Even knowing now what happens to Theon later, it's hard to stomach everything that he does. Or perhaps I'm not wording that right...but regardless, Mikken's death and Hodor being beaten are bad enough, and knowing that there are worse things on the horizon is a good reminder of why I just really can't stand Theon. And poor Bran...I'm not a big fan of his either, but he really does try in this chapter. It sucks that in some ways he fails (again, Mikken dies because he won't stop taunting Theon even when Bran tells him to), and it also sucks that he sees Osha "betray" him. (That's rough to read even when I know she's not really betraying him.)

Things are looking down for Bran but a bit up for Arya, whose Weasel Soup earns her the position of Roose Bolton's cupbearer. Of course, her refusal to tell any of the Northmen - not just Roose, but any of them - is a lot more telling on re-reads, I think. I mean, I get why she didn't give up her secret to creepy Roose, but before it always bothered me that she didn't tell anyone else, either. Now, though, I'm in the "good for her" boat. Plus of course she gets that coin, which I always assumed was important, though it takes long enough for her to have a chance to use it, no? ;)

And finally, Dany! This is the first re-read post in quite a while that has been entirely in order, but of course that's because there are no repeat POVs in these seven chapters...and honestly they were a pretty slow seven chapters, to boot. That said, ending this section with - of all things - Dany's trip to the House of the Undying definitely means it went out with a bang. Of course that also means that we get to read Dany's constantly wondering about the prophecies of three (three mounts to ride, three treasons she'll know) and not wondering enough about all the other things she sees (symbolic visions of Jon Snow, Victarion, Stannis, etc.)

I will say that the one thing that really interested me was the description of the house with the red door. For some reason I always pictured it as a small, cozy type of place, but this chapter says Dany "remembered those great wooden beams and the carved animal faces that adorned them". Probably doesn't matter at all but it's something I'd never picked up before, and to me means that this house she remembers as her only real "home" for so long was actually much more...ornate, I guess, than I would have thought.

Yeah, I know, I notice the strangest things. I think that's just what happens when you've read these books several times over.

Or maybe it's just me.

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