Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Visited States, Part 6

Well, I'm finally getting down to the wire with this "Visited States" list :) This week and next week will both feature six states so that I can go ahead and get this wrapped up, and today we have...

26) Ohio: I visited Columbus (and therefore Ohio) for the first time back in 2011 - my job sent me to a training session at the DFAS center. And of course I returned to Ohio just a couple of months ago for Ice & Fire Con!

27) Oklahoma: Waaaay back in 2002 I visited Oklahoma City and Norman for spring break. Yes, I know, what a weird spring break...but hey, I had a friend from the WDWCP who lived there, so I met up with him and another mutual guy friend and had a good few days hanging out with them.

28) Pennsylvania: Although I can't remember exactly when I first visited PA, my parents took my sisters and I to Lancaster County several times when I was young, and I had to go to a wedding in York (ugh) once. What's really crazy, though, is that I've actually never been to Philly *or* Pittsburgh! (Maybe that's why I literally have not one picture of any of my trips to Pennsylvania...)

29) Rhode Island: To be honest I have no idea if I ever crossed the border into Rhode Island until I was in high school and started going to the beach there with my friends. Funny considering we lived less than an hour from the Connecticut/Rhode Island border! Anyway, since then I've also been to Providence several times, most of those times being recently when Steve and I went to visit his family members who still live there.

First trip to RI that I *remember* ;) April 1999, the Roger Williams Park Zoo!

30) South Carolina: Though I drove through South Carolina several times on my way to and from Florida, I guess my first real "visit" here was in April 2005 when my sister and I went to Myrtle Beach. Of course, I live here now, so there's that ;)

Technically this was my second trip to SC, but still one of the most fun! (Myrtle Beach, August 2005)

31) Tennessee: My job sent me to Nashville for a trade show in April 2000, but since then one of my friends from college moved to Nashville and I've been lucky enough to get to visit her several times throughout the past couple of years.

Second trip to Nashville and my first as an adult, and I met Rob Schneider!

I've got one more week of visited states for ya, and then perhaps I'll move on to visited countries? Hmmm... ;) Pin It

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Confessions

I confess...I tried to hang out at the MonsterCon afterparty on Saturday...aaand begged Steve to take me home at about 10:30. Two long days at the con had done me in, I guess!

I confess...I'm finally to the point where living in a house that's being renovated is pretty much driving me nuts. Also, I fear that there is no foreseeable end in sight, and that's not helping things. ::sigh::

I confess...that I can't believe it's just 30 days until Dragon Con! How will I ever get everything done... :O

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ice & Fire Con 2014!

So I feel kind of bad, because I haven't written about Ice & Fire Con lately!

The reasons behind this are good, I promise :) The big one is that we are holding it at Ravenwood again next year, which unfortunately limits our ticket availability. A lot. But Jim and the staff at Ravenwood were just so amazing this year, and it's such a perfect setting, that we really couldn't NOT hold it there next year.

And I honestly can't express how I feel about our 2013 attendees and how amazing and loyal they are. We had about 60 people at Ice & Fire Con this year, and of course sold out all of Ravenwood's accommodations (and had a few people staying off-property as well). As a thank you to those who supported us in our first year, when most of them knew nothing about Matt, Valerie, or myself as people and had only vague ideas about what would happen during the con, we gave them first right or refusal to tickets.

Tickets go on sale to the public August 1st - and we have already sold 47 of the available 80 tickets.

Ashley and Amin from Podcast of Ice & Fire will be attending again next year, as will Alex from Tower of the Hand. We've also got a slough of amazing volunteers to whom we can delegate certain tasks, which will hopefully leave a bit more free time for us organizers at the con next year.

What is one of maybe three or four pictures of Matt and I at Ice & Fire Con this year. And there are about the same number of pictures in which either of us is sitting down and [sort of] relaxing.

We'll be doing some things differently - roundtable style discussions instead of full-on panels (because the con is small enough to allow more input from attendees during the "panel" times), no 'tiered' tickets (which will make things easier on us, yes, but will also make registration a much faster process), and moving the gaming tournament to a daytime slot so that it doesn't conflict with the panels and other activities that occur at night (karaoke, Cards Against Westeros, the Game of Thrones drinking board game).

...but of course some of the favorites will remain about the same :) The tournament, for one, which - to my surprise, honestly - was a huge hit. The mock election (yes, we know that they don't hold elections in Westeros - that's why this is a MOCK election, and it's hilarious). And of course the general laid-back feel of the con, which should probably be referred to as a "retreat" or something of the sort, as attendees are literally immersed in the series for approximately 48 hours straight ;)

There is actually an official Facebook PAGE now for people to "like", and we also have a tumblr, a twitter, and a news page on our website that all contain updates on available tickets and accommodations, and will include other information on the con events and scheduling as May 2014 approaches (all too slowly, in my opinion).

(Screenshot of our countdown taken at 2:28 AM, Sunday July 28th, 2013)

Oh, and speaking of our website! It is new and HIGHLY improved! Check it out and feel free to contact us via email (iceandfirecon AT gmail DOT com) to let us know what you think, or if you have any suggestions :)

So that's about it for Ice & Fire Con updates. I'm sure I'll post some sporadic ones here on my blog throughout the next 9 months or so, but generally the most up-to-date information can now be found on the sites/pages that I listed above. Because we're all professional like that nowadays ;) And I do hope that we get some new attendees for 2014 and can continue to grow and make things better...all I know is that I feel so blessed to be a part of this event - to be a part of organizing it - and to have met so many awesome people who I can't wait to see again next year! Pin It

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wait a minute...KILTmas in July?!

As you probably know from previous blog entries I've written - about local author Tyffani Clark Kemp's novel A Beast Within, and of course my more recent entry about local comic community Cannon Canvas Comics and the debut issue of their first published comic Ubermenschen - I'm really into supporting self-published authors and indie publishing companies, *especially* local ones :)

Well, it just so happens that on July 25th (just yesterday!), Tyffani Clark Kemp and J.A. Howell, another author who works with local Side Street Cookie Publishing, started a blog hop for their new novels. The hop is called "The 12 Days of Kiltmas" - because both novels are set in, you guessed it, Scotland!

Tyffani's new novel is titled Shaggy Maggie. It follows Harvey Young - lead of the Scottish band Shaggy Maggie - and Magda Canady, editor for a New York publishing company. Harvey and Magda attended high school together in Scotland, though they were more enemies than friends, as Harvey bullied Magda until she essentially ran away. However, they've never quite forgotten each other - for very different reasons, of course - and many years later, when Magda returns to Scotland with her long-time boyfriend, she and Harvey have a chance encounter that leads to much, much more.

Author J.A. Howell's Kiltmas in July novel is Possess My Heart, a story about a young man named Brody who passed away, but who hangs in limbo so long as his lover Aggie's heart still belongs to him. Aggie's family sends her to Scotland for the summer, where she meets Camden MacTavish and butts heads with him constantly - though at the same time she finds herself torn over letting Camden into her heart...and therefore having to let Brody go.

As you can see by the cover, Possess My Heart is actually the third book in a series! It's called the Possess Saga and you can find information on the other books on the saga's Goodreads page :)

So what are you waiting for? Help support local (if you live in the upstate South Carolina area)/indie authors and check out Shaggy Maggie and Possess My Heart - what better way to celebrate Christmas Kiltmas in July? :)
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cannon Canvas Comics and Ubermenschen

Recently I learned that right here in good ol' Greenville, there's an indie comic community that is working to promote upstate South Carolina artists and writers, and even offering a growing fanbase to those artists and writers for when they release their own graphic novels.

This community is called Cannon Canvas Comics, and it was co-founded by Kevin McVicker and Jon Riggins. Kevin and Jon met through a mutual friend, the lead singer of the band The Fire Tonight, and are actually paying homage to that band with the name Cannon Canvas, which comes from The Fire Tonight's song by the same name :)

So if you're in the upstate area and enjoy supporting local artists, I highly suggest checking out the Cannon Canvas Facebook page and keeping up with them! They've got some great stuff happening right now - including the release of their first comic, Ubermenschen...which I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to preview.

Now, I'll begin this brief review by saying that Ubermenschen is not for the faint of heart. Kevin McVicker, who does the writing for this comic, told me that "The...concept of the series is not to change history, [but to] throw superhumans in[to] the events that happened...I wanted to...see if I could somehow make the most despised villains of the last 100 years empathetic."

So are you intrigued yet? I hope so! Because the basic premise of Ubermenschen is that the Nazis had a brigade of X-Men-type "superheroes" (um...in quotes because they're, you know, Nazis). That right there says it all - this comic is destined to push buttons, and the very first issue - which is debuting this week - does exactly that.

The Ubermenschen story begins with a man named Christian, and this issue shows him as he begins to bring these super-powered men together. Now, rating a single issue of a comic, especially the first issue of a brand new comic, is kind of impossible - but I can say this: I was absolutely intrigued. Issue #1 is set up to draw people in, and it does exactly that - I was absolutely left wanting to read and know more. And good thing, too, because they have at least 20 issues planned, issues that will follow the Ubermenschen throughout World War II - from the September Campaign to the London Blitz to Russia's advancement into Berlin.

As for the art - well, I can only say that I was impressed. Too often I come across comics ( ::cough:: Walking Dead ::cough:: ) where you can't tell the characters apart. It's not that the art in those comics is *bad*, per se, but it feels...rushed, not filled in, almost...well, to be honest, almost lazy. I didn't get that feeling with Ubermenschen and I've got my fingers crossed that they keep up the hard work in this department as clearly the artist, Jon Riggins, is incredibly talented.

So all that said, where can you find Ubermenschen? Well, several places, in fact! First things first, if you're in the upstate South Carolina area I highly encourage you to go to one of the following events:

Pre-Release & Signing
TODAY, Wednesday July 24th, beginning at 2:30 PM
at Borderlands Comics on Laurens Road in Greenville

Official Release (& Signings, of course!)
Beginning THIS FRIDAY, July 26th at MonsterCon
(this convention is being held in Timmons Arena at Furman University, and the guys from Cannon Canvas will be there with an artist's table all weekend)

I don't think I need to impress upon...well, anyone...the importance of supporting indie/local artists - especially quality ones who are also trying to give back to their community. So...what are you waiting for? ;) Pin It

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Visited States, Part 5

This week's visited states update is dedicated to the "N's"! :)

21) Nevada: My first trip here was in the fall of 2007, when I went to Vegas with a group of people for a friend's birthday. I've now been to Vegas nine times in all...needless to say, I love it there! On past trips to Vegas I've also visited the Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon.

Trip to Vegas for my baby sister's 21st birthday in 2008. Still the best Vegas trip EVER.

22) New Hampshire: I honestly can't really remember the exact year I first visited this state. I think it was the summer after 4th (or maybe 5th) grade, whatever year I first went to church camp in Monadnock, NH. I've also been to Portsmouth, and visited Lake Mascoma several times.

July 2001 trip to Lake Mascoma, NH...still the best NH trip ever ;)

23) New Jersey: I've driven through here a lot, mostly on my way from Connecticut to Florida and back, but I've also visited friends who lived here, including spending a weekend at Montclair University with a friend who attended there.

I literally do not have a single picture of any one of my trips to Jersey. To be honest, while this surprised me at first, I quickly realized that there are several [good] reasons for it. ;)

24) New York: My aunt lived in upstate New York when I was really young, so I've been all over this state - visiting her in Norwich and going to the Catskills with my family, then later visiting friends in Long Island and of course several day trips (and a couple of actual mini-vacations) to New York City.

Mini vacay to NYC in March 2005...to see Wicked, of course!

25) North Carolina: Yet another state that I drove through many many times before ever truly "visiting" it. I went to a wedding in Greensboro in 2002, and that was the first time I actually stopped/stayed somewhere in NC. Since then, though, I've been to the shore a couple of times, including a random last-minute trip to Atlantic Beach just last summer.

First "actual visit" to North Carolina - my friend's wedding in Greensboro, September 2002!

Just so I can finish my visited states posts in a timely manner, I've got two more weeks' worth of this for you - but with additional states tacked on ;) Stay tuned! Pin It

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Confessions

I confess...that even though I was in bed by midnight last night, I'm exhausted and dragging today. That may or may not have something to do with "Sunday Funday" yesterday... ;)

I confess...that I actually had fun tearing up the stone and concrete hearth that's been plaguing us since we moved into our house. Just wish doing so hadn't rendered me sore and aching yesterday and today!

I confess...I think I'm going to treat myself to a nice greasy burger for lunch today ;)

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

MonsterCon 2013: A Last-Minute Change of Venue

Please note that despite efforts on my part to contact the Hilton (in a professional manner, mind you), I was unable to get any official statement from them. Not that I'm surprised.
Any information directly referring to MonsterCon was taken directly from the Facebook page run by its organizers.

Okay, so, the "bad" stuff first ;)

Imagine my surprise when I signed into Facebook Thursday night around 10 PM...and saw an update from MonsterCon's Facebook page stating that the convention was moving locations.

Just one week and one day before it was supposed to happen.

Now, I have to be completely honest - my first reaction was pretty much, "WTF? This sucks." Because (a) they moved it from the Hilton, which is 3 miles from my house, to Furman University, which is 11 miles from my house; and (b) Furman is essentially a dry campus, which means if I want to sip a beer while I hang out between panels, it's...not gonna happen. I couldn't even imagine how upset anyone traveling in from outside of Greenville would be - especially because the closest hotel to Furman is 2 miles away, and who the heck wants to have to drive to and from a con for three days straight? Some people don't even have that option if they actually want to wear their costumes. Luckily I don't have to worry about that particular issue, but yeah, I wasn't too happy with going from an approximately 8 minute commute to a 25 minute commute. I'm still not.

However...there is that old adage, 'shit happens'. And I personally believe that MonsterCon has gotten the shitty end of the stick in this situation - and that they've handled it as well as they possibly could. And their efforts should be recognized - perhaps even applauded.

First things first, I feel the need to point out that the Hilton does not have the best reputation in Greenville when it comes to events and conventions. Once upon a time I worked for a company that had some one-day events there, and after some pretty hefty issues with our second event the decision was made to not have them there anymore. And apparently other business in Greenville have had issues with holding events at the Hilton as well...but I suppose I digress from the truly important information.

What I have concluded in regards to MonsterCon's issues with the Hilton is the following:
  • There were issues with the accommodations portion of the agreement, possibly from the very beginning (some people had to pay deposits up front while others did not; some had confirmation emails stating they could cancel up to 7 days in advance without penalty, while others had confirmations stating 14 days), but the biggest problem was that the Hilton released their available room inventory for MonsterCon, to the public, 12 days ahead of schedule.
  • The parking situation was shaping up to be a nightmare. Now, I understand that the Hilton cannot just create extra parking spots, but the information I was getting made it sound like they weren't even trying to help the convention in terms of finding additional parking. In fact, I know that the Hilton has a shuttle that does runs in the immediate area, and with the talk of people having to park at the mall, I just have to wonder why a large convention bringing in so much money wouldn't have use of that shuttle throughout the weekend.
  • While capacity issues are something that the convention has to keep an eye on in terms of how many tickets they sell, MonsterCon was very vocal about the fact that they were running out of tickets and then *suddenly* capacity became, according to the Hilton, a huge problem. A convention that was clearly controlling the number of tickets they would sell simply shouldn't have had to deal with that sort of flak.
  • At some point the Hilton started expressing concerns about us con-goers as a group. While I don't have exact quotes, the wording that was used was that the hotel was worried about how their "regular/'normal' guests" would react to us. What appears to have happened is that the hotel began to see just how many people were attending MonsterCon and suddenly thought, "Oh no, what about the 50 or so people staying here who aren't participating in this convention?! The attendees will be tacky and will embarrass us! MUST PROTECT THE 'NORMAL' PEOPLE!" (Note that I'm using 'normal' in quotes, please and thank you.)
  • Eventually the Hilton threatened MonsterCon with cancellation. Just over a week before the convention. So rather than bow to the hotel's extraneous demands - or cancel/reschedule - the organizers went out of their way to find a new venue. 
So not only did the organizers refuse to be bullied - and let the convention attendees be bullied - by the Hilton, but they didn't take the easy way out. At least one of them, from what I have heard, put up personal monies in order to relocate MonsterCon to Timmons Arena at Furman. We now have more space and won't have to deal with lack of parking or overcrowding. Furman is a beautiful campus, great for cosplay photos.  There have even been new room blocks set up at two downtown Greenville hotels - the Hampton Inn and the Courtyard Marriott - and new nightlife scheduled at a great venue, Ford's in downtown Greenville. There will even be a (from what I know, *free*) shuttle from the downtown Greenville hotels to Furman, provided by the convention.

As someone who has organized a convention herself (albeit a much smaller one), I can't imagine the amount of work and the amount of stress the organizers of MonsterCon have endured, and I hope - no, I know - that it will pay off for them in the end. So please, please, if you are in the upstate South Carolina area or can make it here next weekend - come support MonsterCon and the people who, against all odds considering these recent developments, are making it happen...and in fact, probably making it better than it could have been had the convention been held at its original location.

I know I'll be there! :) And while yeah, I'm not fond of having to drive 11 miles each way to Furman for three days in a row...I'm definitely excited that the nightlife is being held in downtown Greenville, and I'm hoping that at the very least, everything that has happened will lead to MonsterCon 2014 being held entirely in the center of this beautiful city :)
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Home Renovations 104: In which we actually DO something!

When we moved into our house in late 2009, Steve and I knew that it would be a work in progress.

Unfortunately, we didn't know how bad things really were.

I'm not going to get into that story, because it involves a lot of shady people - the seller himself, the real estate agents (both ours and the seller's), the contractors (yes, plural), the inspectors (again, yes, plural). Needless to say, we did everything we could to cover our asses, and we still got screwed. And while this wasn't my first time buying a house, it *was* my first time buying a - for lack of a better word - used house. (And it's not a gently used one, either.)

Slowly but surely, things started going wrong. We finally - just recently - found a contractor to come in and fix those things. Seriously, any time we had a contractor out to our house before the one we recently found, he would come out, fix the extremely minor thing that needed to be fixed immediately, and then disappear and never return our calls in regards to future fixes. This new contractor promised not to disappear, because we told him up front that such a thing had happened to us several times before.

And he made a few suggestions. And we fell in love with most of said suggestions. Here's a three-minute mini-tour of our home in which I show/explain what we're changing...

And finally, finally, he started working on things this week! I went to work on Tuesday and our house was the same as it had been for the past three years and eight months (well, minus the fact that we'd emptied two entire rooms of furniture in preparation for these renovations)...I came home to this:

Standing just inside our front door (well, and sort of to the left of it), looking toward the back of our house.

Standing basically against the back wall of our house, looking toward the front of it/the road.

Unfotunately...opening up these areas led  to some not-so-great discoveries :-/ But more about those later, because for now I just want to bask in the glory of the giant awesome open room running down the center of our house. Because it's bigger than my first apartment. Because opening it up has already shown us how much more light there can be in our house. And because admittedly, we were simply ready for a change.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Visited States, Part 4

Today it's the M's and the M's alone in regards to my list of visited states...enjoy!

16) Maine: I want to say that the first time I visited Maine was the summer between 6th and 7th grades, though to be honest I could be off by a year in either direction ::shrug:: After that first trip, though, it was almost an annual thing for us to go to Maine for a long weekend or up to a full week in the summer. I missed these trips when I moved away, so I made sure to take Steve up there in the summer of 2009 before we moved to South Carolina :)

Walking the Marginal Way in Ogunquit with Steve, August 2009

17) Maryland: Though I have to be honest and admit that I haven't seen much in the way of cool stuff in Maryland, I've driven through here more times than I can count, and I went to a wedding in Columbia back in 2005...

Unfortunately it pretty much rained the entire weekend for that wedding in October 2005, so this is one of few pictures I have of me actually being in Maryland ;)
18) Massachusetts: My dad was born and raised in Mass, and my grandparents still live there...plus, the area where I grew up in CT is not but 20 minutes from the Mass border...so needless to say, I've been all over Massachusetts about a million times. (Okay, maybe a MILLION is exaggeration, but you catch my drift.) Lots of Western Mass, Boston of course, Cape Cod every summer when I was little, the Berkshires, and I even went to Martha's Vineyard once.

Bike trip on Martha's Vineyard, summer 2000

19) Michigan: Some close friends of mine got married in Flint in February 2011, and then a couple of months later I went back to visit a friend in Traverse City. It was very cold, and that's about all I remember of Michigan ;)

With the bride and groom at their frigid Michigan wedding ;) Also, yes, we donned fake mustaches before it was a thing/"cool".

20) Montana: For our second big ski trip, Steve and I chose Big Sky Montana! Getting out there (and home...) was a huge pain in the butt, to be honest, but it was another amazing ski trip. Big Sky is...big. Haha :D

At the top of the SoCo lift on Andesite Mountain, Big Sky Montana, February 2013

...and that's another week down! But at least we're through the middle of the alphabet, right? ;) Pin It

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday Confessions

I confess...I'm beyond antsy for our home renovations to start! I know, I know, last Monday I said that I was already sick of them but part of that is because they keep getting delayed due to the crappy weather we've had.

I confess...the best thing about these renovations (so far) is that Steve was forced to clean up our garage ;) (Something that I've been begging him to do for nearly a year now, no lie.)

I confess...that this isn't really a confession, but I finally got my hands on some video of me singing with The Brats, and I can't wait to get it all up on my YouTube channel :)

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rain, rain, go away...

Okay, that's it, I have to say it: I'm really, really tired of the rain we've been getting here in upstate South Carolina. Seriously - it has rained at some point in a 24 hour period every single day since June 5th. June 5th! The last summer I experienced something like this was in 2009 when I lived in Connecticut, and it rained pretty much every day from Memorial Day weekend until just after the 4th of July.

The thing is, it has really only been becoming problematic within the past week. We're supposed to start some renovations on our house, but the contractor is stuck working on another job because of the rain.

And meanwhile, the trench that runs through the middle of our yard (and under our house) - which we not-so-fondly call our "moat" - has been looking more than a little crazy...

Excuse the fact that our lawn looks hideously overgrown...that is of course another unfortunate side effect of this rain :-/

And of course it's hard to make plans when you have to assume that it's going to rain. I've lost count of the number of baseball games that have been canceled or that we've had to leave early, this summer...and just the other night we thought the Black Keys concert that we had tickets for was sure to end up canceled. It wasn't, and the Black Keys were great, but woooow did it suck trudging through those parking lots and the lawn of Charter Amphitheatre in Simpsonville! I stepped in what seemed like a hundred puddles that were all several inches deep.

The concert was shortened a bit as well, but I at least got to hear a lot of my favorite Black Keys songs...

So sure, there have been some good moments despite the rain...and I just keep telling myself that it has to stop sometime. If it doesn't, well, perhaps we can just tear our house down and use the scraps to build an ark ;) Pin It

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Writer's Block Wednesday: Who - or what - was Starbuck?

In preparation for MonsterCon I'm trying to finish my rewatch of Battlestar Galactica, and one of the things that came up as we hit the middle of season four was "what the heck is up with Starbuck?"

Now, I'm not one of those people who was - or is - up in arms about BSG's ending...but I have definitely always thought that the Starbuck storyline was the weakest link. However, I'm now beginning to believe that this is due to the fact that I basically shrugged my shoulders and accepted the extremely basic "she was an angel" explanation (despite not really caring for it). And of course, I accepted that explanation - and how simple it was - because I was too lazy to do my own research ;)

But this time, I wasn't too lazy. Pretty much the exact opposite, in fact, because I had to read through several (okay, more like about a dozen) blogs and old message board threads before I was able to begin piecing together a theory that had a bit more depth to and reasoning behind it.

First things first, though - for those who insist on still subscribing to the "Kara/Starbuck was an angel" theory, well, Ronald Moore is there backing it up with his explanation of her being a "super angel" who people can not only see, but touch as well. Many people also like to refer to Starbuck as a "Seraph", and admittedly I would say that this is my second choice in regards to what to believe about her - mainly because Seraphs existed in the original series as wingless angels who could take on normal human form as needed, and I think it would be a cool shout out for them to actually be kind of important in the reimagining. Especially as they were supposed to feature heavily in the Galactica 1980 series before it was cancelled - a script was written in which the original series' Starbuck actually joined the Seraphs.

Seraph from the old BSG series

The issue I have with this is that Seraphs are described as a "race of sentient beings" - not only that, they knew who they were and how they became what they were. Starbuck, on the other hand, has no memory of the time period when she was missing and presumed dead (or rather, when she died, period). Nor does she know who or what she is - at least not for most of the rest of the series.

All of that said, on to a Starbuck theory that I have newly adopted, because let's face it - we know that she wasn't a cylon, and her being some sort of angel always felt like, well, a bit of a cop-out.

The thing is, just because Kara Thrace wasn't a skinjob cylon, doesn't mean that she wasn't half cylon.

"What's this?" you say. "How in the hell could Starbuck be half cylon?"

Well, remember that cylon model - the seven, Daniel, the one that Cavil destroyed? While it certainly made just enough sense for the show to bring that model up and explain its demise the way it did, why did we need to know about the model's sensitivity, musical and artistic inclinations, and the fact that it was a favorite of Ellen Tigh's? I personally want to believe that there's more to it than just showing us how awful Cavil was - after all, did we really need that drilled into our heads yet again? We already knew that he hated being humanoid, that he turned on his creators (Ellen et. al.), that he wiped the other humanoids' memories of the Final Five, and that he boxed the threes after one of them saw the faces of those Final Five.

So Daniel was Ellen's favorite, and she clearly knows Cavil inside and out - yet she didn't foresee him killing off the sevens at all? Didn't, I don't know, try to save at least one of the sevens?

Let's just say that she did ;) After all, when Ellen talks about the Daniel copies being destroyed, she never once mentions what happened to the original Daniel, the one she loved so much. There's a much more in-depth review of Cavil and Daniel and the general cylon history over at Televisionary Blog, and this is a blog entry about Starbuck specifically, isn't it?

Starbuck, who seems to have some pretty artistic inclinations - inclinations that very likely came from her father...especially when we consider how Starbuck's mother acted and treated her daughter (she certainly wouldn't have been encouraging Starbuck to paint, of all things).

Especially since we know that he taught her how to play the piano. (I won't even get into the piano player from season four who may or may not have actually existed but who certainly, with the use of a few well-worded lines, put Starbuck back on her path again. Not to mention that they were playing The Song.)

Starbuck, who seems to have way more stamina than any other human. Who is constantly touted as being the best pilot in the fleet - and possibly even the best pilot ever, having amazingly short reaction times and almost extra sensory perception. Who was able to essentially hot-wire a Cylon raider on instinct alone.

Starbuck, who the Cylons - at least some of them - take a pretty particular interest in...to the point where they even lock her up in their breeding facility and at the very least took eggs from her - and possibly even extracted genetic material.

The thing is, it's clear that Kara Thrace is extremely important in regards to the plotline of BSG and in helping the humans find Earth - or rather, later, a suitable replacement for it. With her genetic material in their possession, it makes more sense that she would have been essentially resurrected - or maybe perhaps cloned is the better word. The only thing I can't quite seem to place is how that resurrected/cloned version of Kara ended up with all of her memories, right up until she flew into the gas giant. However, there is some cylon technology that is never quite explained to us, and there's the information that Starbuck herself is very likely half cylon - add it all up and I'm sure there's a pretty plausible explanation for how new!Starbuck remembers everything from her "previous life".

After all, for some reason the hybrid thought that Kara was the "harbinger of death" - why? This prophecy of sorts was never realized, unless you count Kara's leading everyone to Earth only to find it a dessicated wasteland - because right after that Dee committed suicide, there were comments made about how suicides in general were up, and then Gaeta and Zarek orchestrated their failed coup, which led to plenty of other deaths.

But maybe the hybrid was simply wrong. Or perhaps she could tell that this Kara was brought back by the cylons, who hoped to use her against the humans, but then things changed when the rogue cylons joined the colonial fleet.

What it all boils down to is that Kara Thrace was - more often than not - a survivor. So to me it makes pretty damn good sense that she is a blend of the human and cylon races. She has human flaws, but she has some awesome qualities as well - qualities that could have either downright come from her cylon side, or were at the very least enhanced by it. And Starbuck was certainly as important - if not more so, as she was an adult and could make her own decisions and other people didn't have to rely on dreams and drawings to know what she wanted.

(And yes, I'm trying to ignore that whole disappearing act she did in the series finale. Honestly, my head canon is that she heard Anders say "I'll see you on the other side" and therefore never left Galactica. It's a lot easier to believe that those who loved her most - Apollo and the Admiral - were imagining her being on 'new' Earth for that super short period of time, rather than that she was a head-Starbuck for the entire effing human and cylon races for all that time after her death.)

I guess that I'd just prefer to believe that Kara Thrace, a.k.a. Starbuck, was a badass half cylon who came back as a resurrected version or clone of herself, rather than her being a troubled but exceptional human who died and came back as a nearly-unexplained supernatural being.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Visited States, Part 3

Picking back up with my visited states list - this week it's the I's, the K's, and the L's :)

11) Idaho: In January 2012, for my first ski trip out west in just over 9 years, Steve and I went to Sun Valley. It was the first big ski trip we took together, and even though there was like *no* snow out there that winter, we had an amazing time :)

Skiing Baldy at Sun Valley in January 2012

12) Illinois: I've been lucky enough to visit Chicago three times now. On my first trip up there, in April 2010, Steve and I stayed with friends out in Aurora and also visited Naperville, so we've sen the 'burbs too.

Cold Cold Cold at a mid-April Cubs game in 2010

13) Indiana:The Ex and I were looking for a cheap Labor Day weekend getaway back in 2006, and ended up in Louisville, Kentucky. The Caesar's casino in Indiana was only about 30 minutes away, so we drove up into Indiana and spent a day there as well.

Caesar's Indiana, Labor Day weekend 2006

14) Kentucky: See above! Haha. Seriously though, for that particular trip it turned out that Louisville was driving distance from our home in Virginia, and we also found a hotel downtown for about $60 a night. Driving across Kentucky was awesome - it truly is a beautiful state - and I loved Louisville. I'd go back for another visit in a second!

Enjoying an official Churchill Downs Mint Julep in Louisville, Labor Day weekend 2006
15) Louisiana: Well, to be honest the only part of Louisiana I've seen is New Orleans ;) Even driving down there, we only drive through a very small portion of the state before reaching that city. Our first trip to NOLA was in February 2010, and we returned last year for Halloween. I absolutely love the city and it's the only place other than Greenville or Charleston (SC) that I would move to in a heartbeat.

February 2010: NOLA Police Force...keeping Bourbon Street in line WHILE watching the Superbowl. Talk about multi-tasking!

Told you that I had a lot of states for this list :) Just about halfway through the alphabet now, though, and I'm sure I'll be back with more next Tuesday! Pin It

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Confessions

I confess...I'd rather be home watching Battlestar Galactica than doing just about anything else right now. Including what I'm actually doing. As in, working. ::sigh::

I confess...we haven't even officially started our home renovations, and I'm already sick of them. heh.

I confess...part of the issue with said renovations is that apparently the only place that carries the flooring we want is Lowe's, and I really, *really* don't want to buy from Lowe's.

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

What I'm doing vs. What I *should* be doing.

What I've been doing the past two days:
  • Playing Journey on PS3 (the game, not the band, and it's crazy and amazing and everyone should play it)
  • Watching Steve play BioShock (and never giving me a turn :( )
  • Taking out the supplies for my Apocalypse Aurora costume for Dragon*Con, but never actually working on it.
  • Being super on top of the play-by-play ticket and room availability for Ice & Fire Con 2014. (at the moment, we have 25 base price tickets left, an additional 20 tickets on top of that (which will be priced at $90-100 due to Ravenwood's facility charges for anything over 60 people) - and 1 Ravenwood cottage, 5 Ravenwood castle rooms, and 4 Ravenwood cabins still open for booking.

New logo designed by the incomparable T.M.!

What I should have been doing the past two days:
  • Working on the cover art for my novel. This is all that I have so far:

  • Packing up the glassware in our hutch and my shot glass cabinet in preparation for some major home renovations that we're starting this coming week.
  • ACTUALLY WORKING ON MY APOCALYPSE AURORA COSTUME. Or the necklace for my Bonnie from Red Dead Redemption costume. Or painting my prop gun for my Starbuck costume. (I could go on and on and on and on.)
  • Designing the rest of my "business/calling cards" for upcoming cons. I'm theming them around my costumes, but the only ones I have done so far are for Cersei - and that only because I cosplay her so much that I actually ordered them rather than printing them myself. I'm hoping to be able to hand these out to people who take pictures of me so that they'll actually know who I am/contact me when they post said pictures online :)

    (don't mind the name tag, it's for the modern!Cersei costume that I've put together for Dragon*Con)

Whatever, I'm blaming my lack of productivity on the weather. And what has essentially been a long weekend. ;) Pin It