Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Confessions



I confess...after watching and then reviewing last night's Walking Dead season finale, I'm feeling more than a little bit slow today. Which doesn't bode well for next Monday (after Sunday's upcoming Game of Thrones premiere, that is)...

I confess...despite frequenting Reddit, I generally stay away from the ASOIAF and GoT subs...and because of this, one of my friends had to school me on what "Clegane Bowl" is. For a such a big Sandor fan, I should probably be ashamed ;)

I confess...I'm not ready for it to be April tomorrow. Not ready at all.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

MegaCon 2014 Recap: Day 2, Part 1

Though I hopped right out of bed on Saturday of MegaCon - and was well-rested to boot - it took me forever to get ready. I ended up missing one of the earlier panels that I wanted to go to, though most of that was due to the amount of time it took me to walk to the convention center...I mean hey, if I'd been right next door, I would have made it ;) I was able to meet up with my buddy John, though, so good timing there.

Because the panels at MegaCon are sadly a bit sparse, this meant...dealer room time! But hey, at least I got to see some more awesome cosplay (and continue to narrow down what I was going to buy)...



Around 12:30 I headed upstairs to that same tiny panel room from yesterday for "World Building for your Novel". I'd learned my lesson about showing up just a few minutes prior, and this time we were actually able to snag seats. Seriously though - at least fifteen or twenty minutes before this panel began the room was full, and once again there were people lining the walls and standing in the door. Apparently when MegaCon moved from West to North Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center, they gave up panel room(s) for dealer room space...and I don't think this turned out as well as they'd hoped, but again, more on that later.

I do have to give a shout out to John, who totally saved seats for me for a minute while I ran out to catch some pictures with this amazing Thranduil...



He was very nice and had the most amazing costume. I'm sure it helped that he was really really tall - something like 6'5"! Just perfection.

The panel itself was good - not the best 'world building' panel I've ever been to, but certainly better than some. It was really more of a Q&A with a lot of audience involvement, and though there were a couple of questions that I just couldn't wrap my head around, most of them were pretty quality.

After this it was time to grab some spots in line for the 3:20 Walking Dead panel - which we did. A good hour and forty-five minutes before the panel was supposed to start. And here is where I will leave you, because what happened next...well. Let's just say that I don't want to end this part of the recap on a bad note ;) Pin It

Friday, March 28, 2014

MegaCon 2014 Recap: Day 1, Part 2

After a couple of rounds in the dealer room (during which I saw way more awesome stuff than I could have possibly afforded to buy), it was time for my first panel of the weekend..."Hardware Store Props" with the 501st!


While I do feel that a lot of the information in this panel was skimmed over, and at times the panelists talked so fast I could barely keep up with them as I tried to take notes, it was still extremely informative...and I suppose we can't expect them to give away all of their secrets :) The building of the power droid probably interested me the most because look at it (the brownish thing at the far left of the above picture) - that could be a great geeky trash can, no?!

I will say that I arrived maybe five to eight minutes before the start time and the room was packed. There were people lining the walls and standing in the doorway! The room was far too small, obviously, and as I attended two other panels in the same room over the course of the weekend, I spent way too much time in it for my liking. I'll go into a bit more detail on that in one of my Saturday recaps, though, so stay tuned ;)

The prop panel wrapped up and I decided on one more loop around the dealer room before heading back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner. I have to admit that mostly I just wanted to see and be seen...and I did get pictures of some great costumes.

Green Arrow and Black Canary

ANNAkin Skywalker and HANS Solo...get it? haha

As previously mentioned, it was a long walk back to my hotel...especially after many many hours roaming the convention. Last year I'd booked the Rosen Centre and ended up being quite a bit farther from the convention hall than if I'd stayed at the [much cheaper] Rosen Plaza...this year I booked the Rosen Inn, which is right next to the Rosen Plaza...only to find out that they'd moved MegaCon to the complete opposite end of the ridiculously large Orange County Convention Center :-/ So it was about a mile walk there and back. Needless to say, I'll pay more attention when booking my room if I decide to attend MegaCon again in 2015.

Thankfully my hotel was right across the street from Pointe Orlando, where I was meeting some friends for dinner at The Pub. There were I think 8 or 9 of us, so we had to wait about 30 minutes to be seated (thankfully we got our name in just before 7 PM and beat the rush for tables)...but we did get to sit at the "King's Table", which was fun :)

Oh, and the bartender loved our BSG costumes...so much that she wanted to take a picture with us!


Unfortunately the day had been a long one and I was exhausted (and full!) after eating...which meant that I went right back to my hotel and collapsed into bed, falling asleep around 11 PM. And I slept straight until 9 AM the next morning! (Told you I was tired...) Getting that much rest was a very good idea though, because if I thought Friday was long, well...I wasn't at all prepared for Saturday. Stay tuned for my next update! Pin It

Thursday, March 27, 2014

MegaCon 2014 Recap: Day 1, Part 1

This year marked my second attending MegaCon in Orlando, Florida. While not my favorite convention by any means, I've managed to have a good time...though mostly because of my friends, rather than because of the convention itself. However, that's a story/conclusion that I'll revisit at the end of this recap. For now...


I was lucky to have a press pass this year, which meant that my badge pickup took maybe ten minutes and I had an actual badge on a lanyard, not the awful wristbands that MegaCon usually supplies. I get that they're trying to keep people from 'sharing' badges, but honestly...why? I've never been to another convention that is that worried about badge sharing ::shrug::

However, I did have friends who were waiting in the pre-reg pickup line. In fact, they had just figured out where the end of that line was by the time I had my badge in hand, because there wasn't a single MegaCon worker/volunteer around to direct the flow of traffic. (Seriously, my friends walked up and down the length of the convention center twice looking for the end of the line.) I ended up just waiting with them, and it took about an hour (possibly even closer to an hour and a half?) to finally get their wristbands. This happened right as they opened the dealer room, and the first panel I wanted to attend didn't start until 3:20, which meant we had plenty of time to check out the wares...

Ian Leino, Illustrator & Graphic Designer

I also discovered that if you bought fountain drinks in the "Refreshments" area - which was sort of like a cafeteria - you got free refills! Score!

My buddy Tarl also opted to wear his duty blues from BSG while I wore my Starbuck costume. What can I say, it's always more fun going around as a pair or group when cosplaying :)

Serious picture...

He's going to put me in the brig for this one...

I also hung out with my friend Tammy for a while, and she recognized Ken Spivey of the Ken Spivey Band (sort of...Dr. Who-themed filk rock? or something like that?). He was actually super personable and funny, and did a darn good job trying to convince me to start watching Dr. Who even as I tried to convince him that he needs to watch Game of Thrones ;) We actually talked with him for a good 15 or 20 minutes before we finally released him from our clutches...he was quite a good sport about it all.

Me with Ken of the Ken Spivey Band

Seriously though, if you're a Dr. Who fan you should really check him out. He almost made me wish I knew what his music was about...

(No Tara, no! Don't fall into the clutches of Dr. Who and its fandom!...haha)

Stay tuned for another update about my first day at MegaCon, including a panel with the 501st Star Wars costuming group and the long long hike back to my poorly chosen hotel... Pin It

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Last Unicorn

Once upon a time, when I was just a little girl, my mom brought my sisters and I to the video store (remember those? heh) and told us that we could each pick out some movies to rent.

Now, I understand that this probably sounds like a completely normal occurrence, and in some ways it was - but in fact there's more to the story, and I'm just not sure it's a good idea to share all of the details ;)

I can't remember exactly how old I was during this magical video store trip, but I know that at the time I loved horses. Really loved them. And this meant I also loved any horse-like animal, real or fake - for instance zebras on one end of the spectrum, unicorns on the other.

Which is why, on that fateful day, this VHS cover caught my eye:


Guys, this is not a children's movie. It scared the crap out of me when I was a kid, and to be honest it wasn't even super enjoyable as an adult. And yet...I loved it then, and I still do.

Many years later, I introduced my best friend Jenna to The Last Unicorn. I think she probably thought I was nuts, but she loves me, so she gave it a chance. It ended up being such a big personal joke between us that when we got friendship tattoos, it was decided that mine needed to be the sort of beatnik butterfly featured at the beginning of the movie ;)

(sorry for the silly picture, but obviously I don't have many on-purpose pictures of my back)

It was actually some time later, long after Jenna and I had sat down and watched this movie probably a dozen times (let's not lie, we did so mostly for the crazy butterfly), that I finally bought and read The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. And while I loved it in its own right...well, it was quite different from the movie. Still, every time I hear about one of those movie viewing/book signing combos that he's been holding all over the US, I die a little more inside when I realize that for whatever reason (prior commitments, lack of money, etc.), I can't make it.

And then the other day I discovered that there's actually a 'coda' of sorts to The Last Unicorn! It's a novella called 'Two Hearts'...of course I read it, and I loved it - it's sad and beautiful and just perfect.

Oh, and of course the first thing I wanted to do was re-watch the movie that I fell in love with as a child (which, by the way, was many years after the movie was actually released). Also, I'm crazy, so cosplay came to mind as well...but I'm too lazy for purple contacts and my hair's not quite Amalthea blonde anymore, so that probably won't happen ;) Still, that dress of hers...so very simple...and therefore tempting...



Thankfully at the moment I've been able to tell myself "No, Tara. Bad, bad. bad. Console yourself with watching the movie and maybe re-reading the book as well, and stop associating everything with cosplay." We'll see how long that lasts, hmmm? Pin It

Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Confessions



I confess...I ran a 5k Saturday morning and my legs STILL hurt. But it was worth it - my official time was 28:58, though my personal stop watch says I finished in 28:54.52. I shaved about a minute and a half off my last 5k so I'm pretty proud of myself ;)

I confess...I'm already tired of this disgusting weather. Two cold rainy days in a row? Go away kthnxbye.

I confess...I don't normally dress up for holidays when they fall on days I have to work, but I couldn't help it today...I broke out a green shirt and shamrock socks for St. Paddy's Day :)

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sovi: An app born right here in Greenville!

I've already gone into [possibly a bit too much] detail about why I love Greenville, SC. I've lived in this area two separate times and every year that I spend here, I love and respect this place just a little bit more.

Sadly, though, there are some things in which Greenville is behind the times. I won't get into the fact that they enticed businesses downtown a decade ago, only to tax and fee them out of that area in more recent years. Or the fact that the taxi/cab service here is a complete monopoly (do I even need to talk about why that is a problem?).

But I digress. Because there are some things that happen in this city that are different and exciting ::cough:: MonsterCon ::cough:: - and generally, the community supports them.

Recently, a social media app that has technically been around since May of last year was announced to the public. Though the app itself is buggy and the website is impossible, I absolutely love the idea and I really hope it catches on.

What I'm talking about is Sovi, which is being used in cities like Charleston SC, Atlanta GA, and Nashville TN...as well as Greenville, of course :) Because it was founded by three locals, and they're aiming to link local businesses and promoters with all of us who are looking for something to do...well, any night of the week.


Basically, I'm super excited that Greenville is one of the cities in which Sovi is already being utilized, and that the funding and education the founders are receiving from Tummi in San Francisco will quickly work out any bugs in the app and streamline the website so that this can become THE way to find out what's going on in our lovely little city :)

To be honest, in larger cities an app like this could easily get lost in the mix, or simply have no way to keep up with everything that's going on...but despite there being plenty of fun activities in Greenville, it's nearly impossible to find out when or where any of them are (other than by chance) - and Sovi could be the perfect fit for that. So fingers crossed that this app/website will continue to develop and soon be even more comprehensive than it already is! Pin It

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Walker Stalker Con 2013: Day 3

Usually when I attend conventions, by the time the last day rolls around I'm ready to go home (or just have to do so)...which means I often get up, check out of my hotel, and leave. But last November I simply wasn't ready for Walker Stalker Con to end - and a big part of that was because they had some interesting panels scheduled for Sunday.

The two that I ended up attending were vastly different - one being an interview-type panel with Daniel Thomas May and Melissa Ponzio, the other being a discussion panel between several authors who have published horror-themed novels.

I was actually surprised that there weren't more people interested in the one with Daniel and Melissa, but in the end that's the loss of those who didn't show, because it really was an awesome interview/discussion between the moderators and these two actors. I've already detailed some of the best parts in the Panel Highlights article that I wrote for The Geekiary, so I won't rehash all of that - but let's just say that I'm really glad I stumbled into this panel :)


Sadly, the one bad thing about forgetting to finish my Walker Stalker Con recaps much sooner than this is that some of my memories have gone a bit fuzzy. I remember attending the author panel, and though I remember it being good but not great, that's basically the only impression it left me with. I will say that the audience members asked some interesting questions, and that some of the authors mentioned books of theirs and others that I ended up adding to my 'to read' list, but I do think that this particular panel would have benefited from some bigger names in the horror writing world. And perhaps one of the upcoming Walker Stalker Cons will be able to offer something like that :)

After the literary panel I was ready to stretch my legs a bit. I wanted to make one more trip to the dealer room, but sadly even as early as 2 PM a lot of the booths were closed up. Funny enough, I did end up buying a couple of things...buuuut they were all Game of Thrones themed. (Seriously, who goes to a Walking Dead themed convention and only buys GoT items? Other than me, I mean. haha)

One thing I'm really sad to have missed was the live viewing of that night's new Walking Dead episode. I really should have just sucked it up and stayed, but I guess that all I can do now is cross my fingers that they'll have a similar activity at Walker Stalker Con Atlanta later this year...because yes, I'll *definitely* be back for it! Pin It

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

source

A friend recommended this book to me, and as it was a friend whose opinion I trusted, as soon as I finished what I'd been reading I picked up The Lies of Locke Lamora.

Not since George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice & Fire series have I been so taken with a fantasy novel. Though the number of characters and the world are both much smaller than those in ASOIAF, I was drawn in quite quickly. Though some named characters remain a mystery (a good way for Lynch to make me feel there's a reason to keep reading the trilogy), the fact that many of the main ones were quickly fleshed out was a refreshing change of pace from other fantasy novels.

Additionally, the story never seemed bogged down. I will say that Lynch places 'Interludes' - basically, flashbacks - throughout the novel, and there are several in the latter half of the book that seem more like filler, or at least something that could have been told via a [shorter] scene. However, despite the fact that Lies of Locke Lamora wasn't completely action-packed, I found myself wanting to pick it back up any time that I put it down.

The characters are believably flawed, and despite some outcomes being a bit predictable, there are more than enough shocking developments to even things out.

:: SEMI-SPOILER ALERT FROM HERE ON IN! ::

What this novel does suffer from is the fact that the author clearly (hopefully?) didn't know for certain that the other two installments in the trilogy would be picked up by his publisher. At least, I'm hoping this is the case...because otherwise Lies of Lock Lamora wraps up far too neatly. So neatly, in fact, that it could easily be construed as a stand-alone novel. In general, there's nothing wrong with that...except for the fact that it doesn't leave me immediately reaching for the second book in the trilogy.

:: END SPOILERS ::

Overall, the world- and character-building in this novel are exemplary. The title character is memorable and important, but so are the secondary and tertiary ones, which many books - especially those in the fantasy genre - fail at. 4/5 stars.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Confessions



I confess...I'm surprised at how much I got done yesterday, especially as we 'lost an hour' with daylight savings time. Mostly I just wrote a lot, but hey, that's important! ;)

I confess...to finally trying HOT yoga on Friday night. And to be honest? I didn't really like it. I think I'll stick with regular yoga classes from now on.

I confess...if my wallet could cry, it would be crying right now. My dogs' vet appointment this morning cost nearly twice what I expected it to. Ugh.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

MonsterCon 2013 Recap: Day 2

One thing I have to say about MonsterCon is that they had a great panel lineup. And no, I'm not just talking about the ones I was scheduled to be on ;)  The first half of Saturday was packed with them - Indie Publishing 101, The Craft of Writing Science Fiction, Podcasting 101, and The Writer's Life.

Unfortunately, when I woke up Saturday morning it was pouring rain. Before I could head all the way out to Furman for the better part of the day, I had to walk my dogs, eat something, and get into my costume for the day - which happened to be Cersei Lannister (sort of...). And let me tell you, those hair extensions are a bitch. Which meant that it was every bit of 1:30 PM before I made it out of the house, and then all I could think about was gulping down a Bloody Mary.

Sadly, Furman is a dry campus, and let me tell you it was a pain to find that drink! We drove all the way there, realized there weren't any bars or restaurants nearby that were actually open (at least not in the direction we were coming from; it probably didn't help that I don't know the area around Furman very well), and had to turn around and go back to the Cherrydale area. But I did finally get my Bloody Mary, and once that was gone I figured it was finally time to make my way to Timmons and settle in for the few events I needed to attend.

And first things first, I ran into another GoT cosplayer!

First things first, some local Redditors had decided to have a little meetup at the convention. There were only a handful of us that were both active on Reddit and attending the convention, but hey, it was a great way to meet a few people with whom I had several things in common :)

And then began my three straight hours of panelisting! (Yes, I know that's not a word, but I'm going to use it anyway. Deal with it ;) ) First up was the "Panel of Ice & Fire", followed by the "Game of Thrones Fan Forum" and finally "Star Wars Trilogy - Take 3". Of those, the Star Wars panel definitely had the most attendees by far, though the Game of Thrones 'fan forum' was also fairly well attended.

Game of Thrones Fan Forum - note incredulous looks on the other panelists' faces as I explain how awesome Sansa is.

Needless to say, after three hours of talking my head off I was more than ready for another drink. There was a quick stop at home to walk and feed dogs before heading out to Ford's, but even so we were there by a little after 9 PM. However, because we hadn't eaten a full meal since breakfast, we decided to eat dinner downstairs before heading up to the party...only to finish eating and go upstairs a little after 10 to find that the 'after dark' event/party was already over. This was a bit disappointing, if only because I'd stayed in costume, driven out downtown (about 15 minutes from home), found parking, and even eaten dinner out (which I rarely do)...all in the name of con nightlife :-/

At this point, though, it seemed that not very many MonsterCon people were out and about (or staying that way, since the official party was over), so I decided to call it a night. There were some panels that I'd thought about attending on Sunday, but when it came down to it I couldn't muster up the energy to drive all the way back out to Furman that day.

All in all, despite what could have been really major setbacks, MonsterCon appeared to be quite a success. From what I heard, they had much higher attendance numbers than they anticipated, and they announced that there would be a MonsterCon 2014 quite soon after last year's convention was over. This year it will take place in mid-July (the 18th-20th, to be exact) and unless something crazy pressing comes up in my 'real life', I'm sure to be there! Pin It

Friday, March 7, 2014

MonsterCon 2013 Recap: Day 1

From the moment I heard that there was going to be a multi-genre convention in Greenville last summer, I was excited. Obviously I love attending conventions, but it's not a cheap 'hobby'...so to have one happening right in my backyard meant a fun convention weekend that wouldn't require a ton of gas or a hotel or eating out for several days.

As it turned out, the guys who run MonsterCon were looking for people to help with Song of Ice & Fire/Game of Thrones programming. I was put in contact with them via a mutual acquaintance and the next thing I knew I was slated to be on four panels - Battlestar Galactica, Song of Ice & Fire, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars :)

I arrived at Furman University on Friday afternoon of MonsterCon weekend last July, to take a little tour with VIP ticket holders and fellow press badge holders before my BSG panel. Because the convention had to make a last minute venue change, things were a little bit hectic in terms of what activities were being held where, but from the start it was clear that the organizers were doing a great job handling the situation.



There was a Literary Meet & Greet scheduled for 5 PM, right before my 6 PM Battlestar panel. Once my 'tour' was over I had a bit of time to wander around the dealer area and still make it to the Literary Meet & Greet. Though MonsterCon was taking up a good chunk of Timmons Arena, it was still small enough that everything was centrally located and easy to find.

(Unfortunately, due to the layout of the arena and the last minute changes that MonsterCon had to make, there was also no signage regarding where panels were located, but I'll get into that more later.)

The Literary Meet & Greet was actually more of a discussion panel, or perhaps roundtable, than anything else - there were six authors on it, all self-published or published via small press. They definitely had some decent input, especially about giving people 'tastes' of your work via blogs and whatnot, and I was sad that the event wasn't better attended. I did have to leave it a few minutes early to make my way down to the 'panel 2' area. This turned out to be a table in front of a section of bleachers, right on the edge of the dealer area. Not exactly the most suitable location for a panel, but again, I knew what these guys were working with.

And hey, at least I was properly dressed to talk about BSG!


There were a handful of people who attended, and one guy who actually came and sat at the panelist table with me so that I wouldn't have to sit there by myself ;) I simply wish we'd actually been in a room, because it was hard to hear in that area, and also people kept stumbling by asking what we were doing because of course it didn't really look 'official'. Still, it was a fun discussion between a small group of fans, and I'm hoping they'll let me do another one this year :)

Though there was a later panel that I wanted to attend ("Censorship in Entertainment"), at this point I had to head home to eat something and walk the pups. Unfortunately Furman is a good 20-25 minutes from my house, depending on traffic, so staying there until 10 PM just wasn't going to happen. But I was able to handle things at home and make it downtown for the first night's 'after dark' event - a sideshow put on by The Captain and Maybelle.


The choice of Ford's as a nightlife spot was a great one, though again a bit unfortunate in terms of its distance from Furman and the convention's daytime activities. However, the guys of MonsterCon busted their butts to have shuttles running for those staying closer to Furman, so again, they totally deserve props.

I would have liked to have stayed out a bit later than I did that night, but as interesting as the sideshow was, stuff like that isn't really, err. 'my thing'. Besides, I knew I had a long day ahead of me the next day, as my other three panels were scheduled back to back late Saturday afternoon. So stay tuned for a recap of MonsterCon day two! Pin It

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

MegaCon Recap: Day 2, Part 2

So yes, I totally failed at finishing several convention recaps last year, and this is me trying to make up for it. I understand that we're fast approaching MegaCon 2014, but as I only have one last part to write for last year's MegaCon, I figured I'd get this out of the way before moving on to the others that went unfinished...those being MonsterCon and Walker Stalker Con.

Anyway, let's move on, shall we?

I made it back to the convention center just in time for a little photoshoot I'd set up with a fellow tumblr user. It didn't take that long, and at the time my Starbuck costume wasn't anywhere near as complete as it is now, but I was happy to get some great pictures! (Which I've actually already shared in my Starbuck Off-Duty BDU Tuturial...)

PHOTOGRAPHER

PHOTOGRAPHER

As it turned out, I'd actually missed a few things the first half dozen times I perused the dealer room - one of them being an awesome lego display featuring some of my favorite TV shows!

Lost

Walking Dead

I also ended up finding the first Walking Dead comic compendium...I was even smart enough to look it up on Amazon, but it was being sold for a few dollars more there and so I made another dealer room purchase. (I really don't usually do that, I don't know what came over me on this particular weekend...) I even took my compendium outside and sat on the grassy knoll and read for a little while in the beautiful Florida sun. It was a perfect end to my day at the convention...but the day as a whole wasn't over yet!

Next up was another dinner with friends at The Pub (hey, good food, good drinks, walking distance...plus my buddy Tarl apparently doesn't go anywhere else ;) ). I even ran into some awesome Hobbits while I was there!


We wrapped up the evening by heading back to the hotel and jumping in the hot tub, where we met several other con-goers and had some great conversation (there was even a girl who remembered me from the Game of Thrones panel at Dragon Con 2012 - all because of my voice!). Unfortunately there were also some really weird kids hanging out in the pool area as well - I'm guessing they were high school age but I may be a bad judge of how old people are when they're more than 5 years younger than me - so eventually I decided it was past time to call it a night. Or at least, to go back up to my room and fall asleep watching BSG episodes on my computer ;)

And that was the end of my first MegaCon experience! Did I have a good time? Yeah, sure. But 'good' is about as far as I would go. The problem with this particular convention is that last year it was very Star Trek-centered, and I'm just not a big Star Trek fan. Additionally, it's very weak in terms of panels/workshops - and these also tend to happen at very odd times (as in they are very often not on the hour or half hour). I will say that the dealer room was one of the better ones I've experienced, in terms of offerings as well as layout - even when it got really crowded, it was never as horrid as Dragon Con's dealer rooms have been.

But hey, I'm going back this year to give MegaCon a second chance, so we'll see what happens! Pin It

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Confessions



I confess...despite being 31 years old, it's difficult at times for me to be as mature as I should. But at the end of the day, the knowledge that I am in fact more professional than certain people who are in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s, makes me feel a heck of a lot better about certain things. (Yes, I know that this is a bit vague, and I apologize for that.)

I confess...going to Barnes & Noble is a very dangerous thing for me to do, but yesterday I gave into the temptation anyway. Oops?

I confess...yesterday I had to carry my 65 pound Retriever mix across a bridge that was essentially a giant metal grate. I'm not sure what about it bothered her more - the fact that she could see through it or the fact that it was probably uncomfortable to her feet - but really, what the heck, Swamp Rabbit Trail? Build a proper bridge!

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Con Nooga Day 2: Business in the Front, Party in the Back

Let's just say that on Saturday morning of Con Nooga, I hit the sleep button on my phone alarm a few more times than was necessary...which meant that I wasn't able to make it to the "Writing Great Action Scenes" workshop on time. I arrived about halfway through the workshop, but was at least able to get a handout and take a few notes as others read the scenes they'd been writing when I arrived.

When the workshop was over, I had plenty of time to wander around before the 3 PM Game of Thrones panel, "Road to Kings Landing". I ran into plenty of awesome cosplayers and even saw an all-female a cappella group, the Misbehavin' Maidens, perform!

Loved this couple's Shrek costumes!

Cutest little Walking Dead crossplays ;)

The Game of Thrones panel was really more of a roundtable, but was fairly well-attended, especially for such a small convention. It turned out that almost everyone in the room had read the books, so the panel itself ended up being a mixed bag of show and book discussion. What I really loved was that there were several Sansa (and even SANDOR!) fans in the group...you don't find that very often, and it seriously made my afternoon ;)

There was one more panel I wanted to attend that evening - "The Writing Life" - which was peopled by mostly small/indie press authors. It was definitely interesting to hear their stories about how they ended up published, though to be honest I was hoping for more of a talking-to about how to be a published author you have to suck it up and write write write, or something like that. A firm pep talk, if you will. Ah well, perhaps I was just in need of a more comfortable costume and another drink...but first, I made sure to get a few pictures of my friends and I in our Game of Thrones outfits.

Fist bumps...of a sort

Littlefinger is not fond of Jaime...'s stump

Clearly the Bridal Affair sign was the joke of the weekend. Along with 'sideboob'. Don't ask.

Love this one!
We knew we'd want some actual dinner, so we ran back to the room for quick costume changes before walking down toward the Choo Choo (that would be the host hotel). Unfortunately everything near there was either overpriced or had an hour long (or more) wait...and then we stumbled on a little Latin place. The service was kind of atrocious and it took forever to get our food...which was sad, because if we hadn't been so hungry and annoyed with these things, we probably would have enjoyed it more. But hey, at least it still allowed us to arrive back at the Choo Choo in plenty of time for the parties to begin!

Admittedly, I wasn't quite certain what was meant by 'room parties' - at least not so far as Con Nooga went. But to say I was pleasantly surprised would be one heck of an understatement, because Con Nooga's version of 'room parties' is pretty much amazing. Basically, the Choo Choo has a U-shaped building with a courtyard and pool inside the U, and a bunch of rooms on the first floor open their doors to that area. They play music, offer drinks (and sometimes even snacks), and things stay pretty rowdy until at least 3 AM.

Awesome Magneto!

The Dude! He even shared his White Russian with me :D

"Jenny" Powers & Booker...just hangin' out

It was close to 4 AM when I finally decided it was past time for bed and made my way back to my hotel. And yeah...that's a long walk that late at night, in the cold, with no coat. But worth it, because from what I saw of the rooms at the Choo Choo, I paid a LOT less for a MUCH nicer room, and while the walk to the host hotel may have sucked, my hotel (the Staybridge) was - as previously mentioned - right across the street from the convention center where all (or at least most of) the daytime programming was held.

And that brings me to this conclusion: the reason this blog entry is titled "Business in the Front, Party in the Back" isn't just because of my Kenny Jenny Powers mullet ;) It's also a great way to describe Con Nooga. The literary track is one of the best I've ever experienced, and for such a small convention that really says a lot. But I also had a great time - both Friday and Saturday nights - with the nightlife Con Nooga had to offer. It also helped that everyone I talked to throughout the entire convention - volunteers and panelists and attendees - was extremely friendly. This was definitely one of the best convention experiences I've ever had and I *will* be back next year! Pin It