Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Writer's Block Wednesday: Looking Back at October

If I thought September was insane, clearly I hadn't prepared myself for October.

(To be complete honest, it was actually an overwhelming month, and not necessarily in a good way.)

I've been 'absent' from A Geek Saga a lot this month (as in, most of my blog posts have been pre-scheduled and not exactly, um, 'deep')...but mostly that's because I've been busy elsewhere. For instance, I posted a record five articles for The Geekiary in October! And it was a very Walking Dead-heavy month, considering four of those five articles were TWD related ;)

(A brief look back at my little trip to Anime Weekend Atlanta at the end of September)

(Exploring my love/hate relationship with The Walking Dead - most especially its female characters)

(Recapping my interview with Eric and James, organizers of this coming weekend's Walker Stalker Con!)

(Review of The Walking Dead season 4, episode 2)

(Interview with Zach Galligan of Gremlins fame - and one of the guests for Walker Stalker Con!)

October also included a lot of traveling (which isn't that much different from September, I suppose ;) ) First I had Not*A*Con in Ohio, which was a weekend of Ice & Fire con research, pirating, and random Game of Thrones photoshoots...

Additionally, I went on a family trip to Walt Disney World! It was definitely interesting and different being there with three children (my nieces, ages 7 and 2, and my 4-year-old nephew)...thankfully I had plenty of alone time and time with my friends and was therefore able to take some breathers away from the kids. I have to give a shout out to some of my amazing friends who still work for Walt Disney World, because without them these awesome moments/memories wouldn't have happened:

I know that the month isn't quite over yet, but *almost*! And as tomorrow is Halloween (one of my favorite holidays) I also wanted to share a blurb that I wrote for Needless Things Site's 31 Days of Halloween. It's essentially about a cosplayer's Halloween, so check it out!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Confessions: a.k.a. Post-Vacation Blues...

I confess...that I missed The Walking Dead last night because I was flying home from Orlando. I'm still sad about it, and I'm itching to go home and get caught up on this week's episode...

I much as I always have fun visiting Disney,nowadays my trips down there are mainly about seeing my friends who live in Florida. Every time I return to the parks and whatnot, it has changed just a little more - for the worse. It's kind of sad...I feel like I was part of a 'golden age' of Disney that won't ever exist again.

I confess...I love my family to death, but they drive me absolutely crazy sometimes.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tara's Hardcore Walking Dead Drinking Game v2.0

* As always, assume that there are spoilers for all aired episodes throughout this post. *


While watching the second episode of the new season of Walking Dead, I realized that despite having posted my original Hardcore Walking Dead Drinking Game just about 8 months ago, it's obviously time for a new version. Version one was really meant to be played while watching several episodes in a row, but there's also been a lot of changes to how things are done and to the character roster - especially in the second half of last season. I mean, we lost Dale and Shane in season two, then Lori and Andrea in season three. Additionally, Carl is no longer so young that him wandering off is the biggest worry anyone has about him ;) All of that rendered about a third of version 1.0 obsolete, and what in the world is the point of a drinking game that isn't [at least fairly consistently] forcing you to drink? (Especially if it's supposedly a 'hardcore' drinking game...)

And so I give you version 2.0! (Though I'm too lazy to add "v2.0" to the picture, sorry.)

~ Rick gets all angsty about making a decision (and let's be honest, lately he's been angsty about basically every decision he makes) ~

Shirtless angsty Rick gets two drinks.

~ They encounter a horde of zombies ~

~ Any time a "redshirt" dies. ( ::cough:: most of the Woodbury people now living in the prison ::cough:: ) ~
~ Daryl *or* Michonne shows their soft side ~

Two-fer! Michonne soft side moment combined with a woman doing womanly things!

~ Subversion from within is discovered - you know, someone is feeding the zombies by the prison fences! Someone burned the obviously sick people! (Because surely there is more to come...) ~

~ People in the group have a lovey-dovey serious talk (I'm Michonne-side-eying Glenn & Maggie and Tyreese & Karen really hard right now) ~

~ A woman is shown cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, teaching or reading to children/watching children/holding babies, or any other task that apparently only women can do in the post-apocalyptic world ~ 

~ If Beth is singing, you have to drink consistently until she stops. ~ 

~ When a zombie 'dies' or is 'killed' in a particularly ridiculous and/or gruesome way. (I'm looking at you, zombie who falls through the roof and explodes on the floor of the Big Lots in the premiere of season 4.) ~

~ Plot hole drink! (That sounds bad.) Now, we can ignore the really miniscule, nit-picky plot holes (seriously, don't Google "Walking Dead plot holes, it ruins things). But hey, perfectly groomed lawn? Drink. Helicopter crashes into the roof of a Big Lots but somehow doesn't break through said roof? Drink. ~

~ In fact, you might as well drink every time you predict that a character will die and they do. Or don't. Just drink, okay? ~

Again, though, don't forget the original version of this game, and if you're doing a marathon or re-watch, I highly suggest combining the two ;)
But um...drink responsibly, and all that stuff. You wouldn't want to be dead to the world (heh, see what I did there?) when the zombies come a-wanderin', -bitin', -roamin', or whatever else they do.
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Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Confessions

I confess...that I've stretched myself far too thin the past couple of months, and it's definitely starting to show.

I allowing myself the guilty pleasure of some Red Dead play time yesterday (what can I say, writing my "Why I Love Red Ded Redemption" blog made me want to play the game verymuchbadly).

I confess...that doing the above was more than worth it (despite the fact that it kept me from finishing several necessary chores - oops). Because I caught the fastest horse in the game! And then I bought its deed, so it's truly mine forever! And yes, I really am so excited about this that these exclamation points are necessary! (Just be glad I'm not writing in all caps ;) )

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Random Recipe Post

So I've not been the best at posting recipes lately, hence this being 'random' ;) But I happened to snap a picture of my dinner the other night (really, that's why I so rarely post recipes - I never remember to take pictures of my food, it's just not in my nature)...and this is one of my favorite, fairly quick and easy meals.


1/4 pound thinly sliced salami
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp Italian seasoning
3 large eggs
One 1 pound brick whole-milk mozzarella, sliced (FRESH!)
One 9 oz bag mixed greens (I prefer a spring greens and baby spinach mix)
Balsamic vinegar & olive oil for salad dressing

- In a large skillet, cook the salami over medium heat until just browned, about 3 minutes per batch - turning once halfway through; drain on paper towels.

 - Meanwhile, transfer the breadcrumbs to a plate or large bowl. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Coat each cheese slice in breadcrumbs, dip in the egg, then coat again with breadcrumbs; place on a sheet of wax paper. In the same skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 4 cheese slices and cook until crisp, about 1 minute on each side; transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining cheese slices. (If it looks as if the oil is cooking down, add a little more!)

- Serve the fried mozzarella with the salami and a side of greens. Drizzle the greens with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, to taste.
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why I Love Red Dead Redemption

* Please note that this includes spoilers for the ending of Red Dead Redemption. *

Come on, that COVER! Amiright?

I have to admit that I seriously considered naming this blog entry "Why Red Dead Redemption is the Best Video Game Ever"...but after a bit of thought I realized that I'm in no way qualified to say such a thing. So while yes, *I* think it is the best video game ever, my limited video game experience (as compared to many others, I mean) makes me just a little bit hesitant to outright name it so.

ANYWAY. To be completely honest, before I got sucked in to RDR, the extent of my video game play was limited to original Nintendo, the Wii, and some random nights playing the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers game with my friend on his XBox.

Steve bought RDR on a whim maybe two (or two and a half?) years ago, and until he started playing it I had never seen him so sucked in to a video game (though according to him it had definitely happened in the past).

Stranger missions FTW.

Soon enough, I got sucked into it as well. I'm still not really sure what it was that grabbed my attention, but I started watching him play it like I would watch a movie. And I was a very bad, err, back seat driver. Thankfully he was patient when I questioned his decisions, or asked what were probably pretty silly questions.

What really hooked me and made me want to play for myself, though, was the ending. Because oh. my. God., that ENDING. When Steve finally reached it and John Marston died, I don't think either one of us believed it. He went back and played John's final mission a second time, though, and Marston still died. At this point he was ready to believe that there was no way to keep the character alive - but *I* wasn't ready to believe that. I insisted that he try one more time - and of course, he died again. At this point I was seriously distraught. I'm still not quite sure why, but I'd gotten really freaking attached to John Marston! Eventually Steve had to Google the game ending to prove to me that yes, it was supposed to happen that way.

I've seen this ending probably half a dozen times now, and it still gets me all worked up.

Was I happy with that? No. But I think that is a big part of what made me go from simply being intrigued with the game to being, well, downright obsessed with it. And playing it myself only fueled that obsession, rather than quelling it.

Perhaps it's the fact that my mere presence spawns cougars and bears (no lie, one night I got attacked by 11 bears, at times several at once but literally without a breather/break between them - I had to throw the controller at Steve because I'm not, like, totally amazing at video games, and I was kind of overwhelmed).

Need I say more?

Okay, the cougars and bears probably aren't it ;)

In all seriousness, it's a combination of pretty freaking good graphics (please remember that the game is already close to 4 years old), of it being a sandbox game that gives you an amazing variety of terrain (including some damn picturesque vistas), and an absolutely amazing - and almost surprisingly deep - storyline. Sure, the dialogue is cheesy at times - but this is the 'old West'. But the Red Dead story gives you so much more than that - the enigmatic stranger, for instance, or the dynamic of the John/Bonnie relationship.

I will ship these two for life.

To dwell on John and Bonnie for just a moment, while their attraction to and respect and feelings for each other are very subtle, that's what really makes this an almost tragic story. John Marston is tied to his wife and son, and so far as we know he remains true to that relationship. Bonnie, for her part, respects his choice. It's sad and maddening and perfect and that's what leads me to my next point - that being, it's probably not the truth.

This idea is not something I came up with, but rather found in a random moment of Internet luck - and it honestly changed my entire perspective of the game and increased my love for it ten fold. The basic gist of this article about the 'real' John Marston is that the entirety of John Marston's story actually takes place in his son Jack's head.

I mean, think about it - we learn that Jack loves to read, learn that he loves adventure stories (particularly, from what I remember, cowboy adventures). Also, while it is possible to turn John Marston into an honorless "bad guy" as you play the game, that's certainly not what the general storyline and missions encourage you to do (and they also don't make it very easy to, say, go on murdering rampages, either).

The problem is, all of that makes John Marston seem like a near perfect man. Oh sure, he was once an outlaw, but his gang robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. And he even turned his back on that and decided to struggle as a small-time rancher so that he could give his wife and son a real 'family life'. Later, after the government spirits Abigail and Jack away in order to force John to do their bidding, he rides around helping those who can't help themselves while still completing the tasks necessary to earn freedom for himself and his family...and all the while, he remains true to his wife, despite the fact that he's almost constantly surrounded by whores or in the company of the aforementioned Bonnie MacFarlane.

I'd be skeptical too, Abigail.

Umm...yeah. I don't think so. I don't think so in today's world, and I really really don't think so in ye olde Wild West. (Okay, so RDR takes place at the tail end of the Wild West hay days, but still. Come on.) But that's the beauty of the idea that Jack either romanticized or outright fantasized his father's epic adventures and journey back home - you still get to enjoy honorable, chivalrous John Marston, and if you want, you can imagine all the things he really got into outside of his son's overactive imagination.

And in the end, you get to avenge him regardless.

All of that is why this is the game that remains either in the PS3 or on the TV stand right next to it, ready at a moment's notice for us to turn it on and lose ourselves in the Red Dead world.

(Oh, and yes, I'm already tapping my foot, waiting impatiently for Red Dead 2's [supposed] 2014 release.) Pin It

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Confessions (Part 1)

Because my trip this past weekend included an unplanned detour, I missed Monday Confessions...but I figured that combining that post with a Travel Tuesday post would work for this week ;)


(And I do think this will become a once in a while thing, therefore I'm only giving a few confessions today!)

1. I can't stand delays when I'm traveling to places, but delays coming home - such as the honestly much-needed little detour we had to take on our way back from Not*A*Con this past weekend - don't bother me in the least. (Well...okay, there are sometimes delays that DO bother me a bit, but hey, at least I often get good stories out of them.)

2. While I try to travel on a budget more often than not, I also need most creature comforts. Camping for a night? Okay. Camping for a week? No thanks. Small bathroom/shower? I can handle it. Sharing a bathroom/shower with strangers and/or no hot water? Probably not going to happen.

3. It's not just that I love to travel and experience new people and places and things - it's become so ingrained in me as to be as much a need as a love. I miss home when I'm away - my bed and my pets most of all - but after just a few weeks at home (sometimes less) I'm ready to go again. Or rather, I have to go again. It's all both a blessing and a curse. Pin It

Friday, October 11, 2013

Book Review: Loose Girl, a Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen

This is one of those books that I'm unsure of, but it's hard to put into words exactly why I feel that way (or rather, why I feel or don't feel any way about it).


Often I find myself questioning or complaining about authors' writing styles - but Loose Girl is actually an easy yet good read. I think the questions I have about this book lie in the fact that while the author clearly had her own personal issues - issues that led to her having unfulfilling and unfulfilled sexual relationships - I get the feeling that it still walks that line of 'if she was a man, she wouldn't question herself or her decisions this way'. Promiscuity is a tough subject, period, and while I don't think it was badly handled in this memoir, but while the author consistently writes that she knows she has a 'problem', I'm just not sure she does the best job of getting her message across. To the point where I'm not even 100% sure what that message was.

Therefore, I guess the final verdict is: a good read, but not enlightening by any stretch. 3/5 stars.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What's that? An Ice & Fire Con Update? (and more!)

Since we have our own News page on the Ice & Fire Con website (which I think I've mentioned before), I obviously have less reason to post regular updates here in my own blog. But rest assured...we're still plugging away and already preparing for next year (well, now that Dragon Con is behind us...we did allow ourselves a bit of a break around that).

But the Big! Important! News! our new "About" page on the site - including an introduction to the new third head of our organizational dragon (heh) - Murphy!

As you can see, he has yet to fill out our little organizer survey, but my guess is that the answers are Stark, somewhere in the North, and Dani (yes, that's supposed to be spelled like that and if you know Murphy you know why). Likes and dislikes are a bit more specific, though, so I'll leave those alone ;)

On another note, The Hump and Bronto Show has been really picking up - though I was 'out sick' with bronchitis last week, we had a great episode two weeks ago and last night's wasn't too shabby either. Also, our website is basically complete and I have a bio, yay!

So while I'm off in the wilds of Ohio on our Ice & Fire Con 'scouting' trip for the next few days, go listen to some of our old Hump & Bronto Show episodes or something!

Last but not least, I am ridiculously excited about the latest Walker Stalker Con news...that being that ANDREW LINCOLN is going to be there!

Yes. That man right there, Rick Grimes himself. I already couldn't wait for this convention, but now my anticipation has reached epic proportions.

And that's about it right now for important updates! I'll be back in a few days after my little unplugged vacation (which I am actually really, really happy about - being unplugged, I mean)... Pin It

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Confessions

I confess...I have bronchitis and therefore can't get the "Ain't Nobody Got Time For That" autotune the news song out of my head.

I confess...knowing that I'll be heading up to Ohio in a few days for our little Ice & Fire Con scouting trip is going to make the next three days crawl by.

I confess...I just found out that the Pixies will be playing in Asheville on February 1st. We missed them the last time they came through our area...won't miss them again :)

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Book Review: A Separate Country by Robert Hicks

Now that I've read A Separate Country and perused some other reviews for it, I wish that I'd read Widow of the South - mainly because it seems that most people believe it to be far superior to A Separate Country.


That's not to say that A Separate Country isn't well-written - it is, and it is also, clearly, well researched. Unfortunately, it seems that whenever Hicks writes from John Bell Hood's point of view, he's writing what he personally thinks Hood should have thought or felt, rather than what the General probably actually thought or felt. Now, I understand that this is essentially historical fiction and not an outright biography, but far too often the disparity between what Hicks wrote and what was actually likely to have been the case served to merely take me out of the story.

Probably the best part of this story was the way it portrayed New Orleans. The portrait that Hicks paints of this city in the post-Civil War era is detailed and sadly beautiful in the way the city itself is. For that alone I give A Separate Country 3/5 stars. It was interesting but didn't hook me the way historical fiction often does.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Out and about on the Internetz...

I really need to make these link share posts a bit more of a regular thing, because I'm always finding interesting things that I'd love to discuss and inevitably forgetting about them ;)

First things first, I have to give a plug to some awesome Song of Ice & Fire fans (yet again, I know)! Some time ago the ebook Tower of Hand: A Flight of Sorrows was published - but they're finally releasing an actual physical copy of it! I don't know about anyone else, but as convenient as ebooks are, I really like to have hard copies of certain books - and this one has been on my list for a while. You can purchase A Flight of Sorrows on Createspace (which, yes, I've already done - because obviously I want to bring it to Ice & Fire Con next year and get Amin from APOIAF and Alex from ToTH to sign it).


Next up - eventually I'll do a more personal recap of my trip to Anime Weekend Atlanta last Saturday, but for now I've got a brief con report up on The Geekiary! Check it out, if only for a sneak peak of some cosplay pictures ;)

And last but not least, it's been quite a while since I shared any of my videos, so I figured I'd throw this one in for good measure - a cover of "Roar" by Katy Perry :) Probably not the best I've sounded on this song, because I was losing my voice the night it was recorded, but as cheesy of a song as it is, I do enjoy singing it...

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Travel Tuesday: Conventions Galore! (sort of...)

So as it turns out, I've been lucky enough to attend several conventions throughout the past several months - and I'm happy to report that there's really no end in sight when it comes to my convention schedule :)

Actually, maybe I should re-word that - because coming up next I've actually got a little trip that we've dubbed "Not*A*Con!

Basically, my fellow Ice & Fire Con organizer Matt and I are meeting some other Ice & Fire Con friends at Ravenwood this month! We're actually going to do a bit of convention research/work while we're there, of course ;) So stay tuned for some Ice & Fire Con announcements...though they will likely be made on our website, now that we actually have our own news feed/blog-type page.

And following close on the heels of Not*A*Con is something else I'm very, very excited about - Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta!


This will be the second time I attend a convention that is mostly themed around horror and zombies (the first being MonsterCon here in Greenville back in July), and once again I'll be attending one of these on a press/media pass! If you're interested in attending, there are several different levels of tickets available for purchase - everything from single day passes to full weekend passes to VIP tickets that come with all sorts of awesome perks. Seriously, if you're a fan of The Walking Dead, I can't see how you'd want to miss this convention - obviously I don't want to. Here's just a sample of the amazing guest list...

...and trust me, that's not even half of it. There are plenty more guests, including some actors who have had spots in Dawn of the Dead, Breaking Bad, and more! It also doesn't hurt that the host hotel is the Westin, which is of course a really awesome place to stay right in downtown Atlanta, and that room rates start at just $139/night ;)

So there you have it, my next month (or so) in a[n admittedly not very small] nutshell. I'm almost sad that I don't have any conventions planned for December...anybody have suggestions?
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