Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Happiest Times

I've been MIA for a bit because last week I had the pleasure of attending San Diego Comic-Con. While the convention itself was fun and I've got a lot of great articles to write about it, unfortunately it came on the heels of what has been a really stressful couple of months, and then I had some personal trauma occur while I was there as well (nothing to do with the convention itself). Because of that, I may continue to be a bit absent for a while, but before I disappear again I wanted to make a quick post about some of my happiest times, in hopes that writing about them would remind me that happiness will come again.

Las Vegas, September 2008 - My sisters, our cousin Katie, and our friend Lauren went to Vegas for my baby sister Jenni's 21st birthday. To this day it's one of my best Vegas trips ever and I'm so glad I got to share this experience with my family.

Walt Disney World, Halloween 2008 - One of my best friends, Jonathan, my cousin Katie, Steve, and I traveled to Orlando for a long weekend over actual Halloween. The four of us made a great crew and I just remember being happy the entire time.

Sun Valley Idaho, January 2012 - This was the first big ski trip that I took as an adult, planning and paying for it entirely on my own. Although there were some minor inconveniences (like the fact that there was hardly any snow out west at that time), in the end three full days of skiing wasn't long enough and I wished we didn't have to leave.

Las Vegas, December 2012 - Seriously, what's better than spending your 30th birthday in Vegas with some of your most awesome friends?

Ice & Fire Con, April 2013, Ravenwood Castle in Ohio - Don't get me wrong, Ice & Fire Con 2014 was amazing, but nothing can really compare to the first time, ya know? To see the hard work of myself and my friends come to fruition, to meet so many amazing people, and to spend the weekend in a beautiful place like Ravenwood...well, there's a reason I now have a habit of traveling up there twice a year!

There are more than these, to be sure, but when poking through my Facebook albums for pictures that represented when I was most happy, these are the ones that really stuck out. I want to believe that I'll be happy like that again, but honestly, even just being not sad would be great right now.

And yes, I understand that all of these photos are of me traveling. What can I say? I do it a lot, I love it, and as my friends are literally spread around the globe, it's often the only way I get to see most of them. The only thing that makes me as happy as being able to spend time with my wonderful friends is probably my pets ;) So I'll include this one last picture, if only because the photo itself makes me happy (when I'm not feeling the way I'm feeling now, anyway). It's the only picture I have of all four of "my" babies together - Lilo, may she rest in peace, Stitch, Wendy, and Rigby...

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review: The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

I'm not ashamed to admit that this novel only ended up on my radar because of the new HBO show that is [very, very loosely] based on it...but this is one of those times that I actually wished I hadn't given in to the temptation.


Now, I'm not saying that this is exactly a case of the movie/show being outright better than the book. While it's happened, with The Leftovers I think it's that neither one is very good, but only the TV show has more time to convince me that it can be better.

The main problem with this novel is that I didn't care about any of the main/POV characters. Every one of them was either boring, maddening, or both - and any growth and/or change that could have helped them seem more sympathetic simply never happens. Two characters in particular who are maddening from beginning to end are Tom Garvey and Nora Durst; the former due to his obsession with the shallow, boring Christine, and the latter because we're apparently supposed to believe that her dying her hair is a life-changing moment.

I will admit that part of me was hoping Perrotta would give some information about why his version of the Rapture happened, though I wasn't surprised or even overly disappointed that he didn't do so. The problem really isn't that he doesn't reveal the reasoning behind it (or really, anything about it at all) - it's that nothing really happens. At all. There is no climax, there is no character development, and there's really not much story development.

That said, this was a quick and easy read. Overall it wasn't boring while I was reading it, but simply so disappointing at the end that I wish I hadn't bothered (if any of that makes sense)...and at the very least it did make me appreciate the TV show a bit more. 1.5/5 stars.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Confessions

I confess...the rain we experienced this weekend put a serious damper (literally and figuratively) on my plans. Bah, guys. Bah.

I confess...Amazon Vine has totally revamped their program and the new version begins today, and I'm just not sure how I feel about it. Vine has changed a lot in the mere three years-ish that I've been part of it, but this is a much bigger one-time change than they've ever made before...

I confess...I have no idea how I'm going to be ready to leave for San Diego [Comic-Con] tomorrow. No idea.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

ConCarolinas 2014 Recap: Day 2, Part 1

In my first ConCarolinas recap I mentioned that I didn't quite start Saturady the way I wanted to...and that was thanks (or rather, no thanks) to the alarm that went off at about 8 AM. Not my alarm, either - some sort of hotel emergency alarm. I put on my sneakers, picked up my backpack, and made my way outside (where it was unseasonably cold, by the way) with dozens of other people...only to get sent back in a few minutes later. I heard that the alarm was due to someone being injured, in which case, WTF? I mean honestly, why did the alarm in the ENTIRE hotel need to go off, telling people to exit the building ASAP, for someone who hurt themselves?

Anyway, once back in my room my half-asleep ass somehow turned off my alarm and slept through the first two panels I'd wanted to attend. Oops :-/ I *was* able to sit in on some of the writing workshop early that afternoon, as well as chat with some Game of Thrones cosplayers (despite the fact that I wasn't wearing any of my Cersei costumes) and snap a picture of this awesome Crocodile Dundee cosplayer...

The thing that took up most of my day, though - or rather, almost all of my afternoon - was waiting in line for George R.R. Martin's autograph! Thankfully I had my trusty, err, 'coffee' mug...

Galadriel sure knows how to have her fun...
We got the "golden tickets"!
Note that I'm not at all complaining about waiting in that line :) As I wrote in my Geekiary review of this convention, ConCarolinas was very well-organized, especially in terms of this line, and on top of that Mr. Martin signed for a lot longer than he was supposed to so that everyone could get his autograph! He took a moment to say hello to people, as well, and was just generally very pleasant. It was a great experience overall...though it could have been a bit cooler outside (yes, it warmed up quite a bit between that 8 AM emergency alarm and waiting in line from 1:45 PM until 4 PM).

Thanks to my press pass I had a guaranteed seat in GRRM's 5 PM reading, so after I got my book signed I was able to relax for a little while. Considering I was running on maybe 5 hours of sleep, and I'd been standing for over two hours, this time was very precious to me. (Ha! See what I did there? preciousssses precious. Anywayyyy...) As for his reading, more on that in my next recap, I promise! Pin It

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Confessions

I confess...this weekend was pretty much the opposite of what I wanted it to be. Not bad, per se, but certainly not as relaxing OR productive as I hoped it would be.

I confess...I *am* glad that I postponed my night out on Saturday just a bit in order to write a timely news piece for The Geekiary, about a convention called DashCon that, err, failed miserably. It was posted around 7:30 that evening and so far has nearly 79,000 hits!

I confess...SDCC is in just over a week and I can barely keep up with all the 'regular' stuff I have going on, so getting ready for this huge trip/convention is going to be interesting to say the least.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Summer Vacations 2005

In asking people to give me suggestions for a Throwback Thursday post, a friend suggested 'summer vacations' and I felt (for obvious reasons) that it was a timely subject :) I asked him to give me a year (preferably between 2004 and 2010, so that it would be 'throwback' but I'd still be able to find pictures)....and lo and behold he chose 2005, which was pretty much just a summer full of vacations for me!

It began with a [slightly delayed] college graduation cruise in honor of, well, me! My family and I took a Western Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Valor, and it was amazing! (And also kind of amusing that the last cruise we'd been on was in honor of my high school graduation...)

Snorkeling off the coast of Honduras

My sisters and I in Hell, Grand Cayman

And because I was living in Virginia at the time, I totally counted it as a vacation when I went back to visit my family in Connecticut in July of that summer...

High school buddies

I had to include this one because WHAT AM I WEARING. Also, the camera. LOL

Later that same month I took an extended trip to Orlando, and although I *did* put in some shifts at Disney to keep up my seasonal employee status, I count it as a vacation because I was definitely in vacation mode at least 60% of the time I was there. (Oh, who am I kidding, it was probably 70% of the time...or more...)

Ridiculously funny trips to Hooters with some of my WDW gals

DATW with a WDW/college buddy

Paying our, err, 'respects' to Canada at the end of an amazing DATW day

The summer wrapped up with a trip down to Myrtle Beach for my sister's orientation at Coastal Carolina University. Let me tell you, that long orientation day was a kick in the pants after the partying we'd done the night before...but we had plenty of free time and trust me, we made the most of it. The weather was perfect, the company was great (at the time, at least), and it's definitely a vacation of which I have tons of fond memories.

Jello shots in syringes? Sounds like a great idea! (or...probably not.)

Hanging out on the beach...such an amazing day

I'm actually fairly certain that I also went to Atlantic Beach in North Carolina that summer, but it was this awful trip revolving around Ex and his job, and I was one of the youngest significant others there, and the weather was terrible to boot, so I'm just going to pretend that the aforementioned FOUR awesome vacations comprised the summer of 2005 and leave it at that!

Now if you've read this, leave a comment and tell me where you went on vacation during the summer of '05 :) Pin It

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Confessions

I confess...I wore myself out on Greenville this weekend. I love showing people around my city and we definitely saw a lot of it these past two days...not to mention a trip to my parents' farm and some hiking. It's always good to remind myself how much I love it here :)

I confess...I like the new HBO show The Leftovers buuuut I'm just not sure it's worth staying up late to watch it and then review it the night that it airs. I've also started reading the book and there are already quite a few differences, so needless to say this should be interesting.

I confess...I was so worried I'd forgotten to turn the coffee machine (as in, the heater/heating element) off this morning that I got 10 minutes away from home and had to turn around and go back to check it. Needless to say I *had* already turned it off, so I felt like an idiot and I was about 15 minutes late for work. Awesome.

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

I'm lucky this year in that instead of traveling this weekend, two friends came to visit! We started our celebrations with a baseball game last night, and continued it today by driving down to the family farm for pool time and a cookout :)

I'll be showing them more of what Greenville has to offer over the next couple days, but for now, Happy 4th of July from "Tar-KK Con", because I'm off to be patriotic by drinking some Budweiser from an American flag can...

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

ConCarolinas 2014 Recap: Day 1

My first trip to ConCarolinas was a month ago now, but I've been so busy finishing my Ice & Fire Con recaps that this one got delayed a bit :) But hey, I guess that kind of goes along with the fact that my first trip to this convention was delayed a bit, considering I've lived in South Carolina for nearly five years and ConCarolinas takes place not even an hour and a half away.

Anyway, originally I was only going to drive up to Charlotte for Saturday and Saturday night, but once I got a look at their packed panel schedule I decided to hoof it up there Friday after work. I made it in plenty of time to lug things up to the hotel room, grab my press badge, and attend the 8:30 PM "Writing Kickass Characters" panel. I took some good notes, and that in and of itself made driving up Friday worth it :)

There was a dance party Friday night as well, but unfortunately it wasn't very popular as a nightlife option. It seemed like room parties were the name of the game at ConCarolinas, and though Friday wasn't nearly as crazy as Saturday, it was certainly a fun night just hanging out and meeting people in the lobby and in a few hotel rooms (including my own).

I even put on a costume - sort of...

Vampire Tara hanging out with another Game of Thrones fan at ConCarolinas

I definitely went to bed much later than planned, which led to a couple changes in my Saturday schedule...but it wasn't just my late bedtime that was at fault, I swear! And more on that in my ConCarolinas Day 2 recap, which is coming soon! (ish...) Pin It