Articles for the Month of September 2013

Malcon – the Unexpected Convention

20130930-162629.jpg I was originally planning on going to this convention, and then, due to the high potential for drama with the Ex and his GF, was planning on not going, and then I wobbled back and forth several times, and then Thursday morning I was chatting with the owner/organizer and she commented that she’d already printed up my badge with my name on it and everything…so then I was going.

This was a great first year convention. I got there Friday evening and the registration table was well organized, people seemed to know what they were doing, and directing people to the right places. The t-shirts, programs and badges designed by Chaz Kemp looked awesome. I had the opportunity to catch up with a number of my friends, and people that I pretty much only get to see at conventions. It was really great to see everyone. Thankfully Friday night I managed to crash with a friend in Denver, so I didn’t have to make the drive home.

I really love going to conventions. It’s a fun place to flirt outrageously with everyone, and not be taken too seriously by anyone. I wouldn’t want to live in a convention atmosphere all the time mind you, it would get old not ever getting taken seriously but for a weekend now and again it’s great. Sadly, on most of my dates if I flirt pretty much at all, my date immediately takes that to mean that I want to hop into bed with them. Some people take life way to seriously. Flirting is easily half the fun, and should not be taken to mean more.

Saturday I didn’t actually show up at the convention until late. I had some prior adventures already planned, and they took longer than anticipated. (And were also a lot of fun) I did get there in time to hear Pandora Celtica’s set at the Buccaneer Bash. (Which was great. If you’re local to the Front Range, and you like acapella music you should check them out.) I spent a good portion of the evening flirting with a lovely writer gentleman. Very likely he falls in the category of “really I should know better, he’s a bit old for me” but I had a great time, and as we didn’t exchange numbers, likely he will end up being one of my convention friends that I see a few times a year, and not someone that I will go out with on a regular basis. I left about half way through the kilt blowing – there are some things I just really don’t need to see more than once.

Sunday I finally managed to get down to the convention around noon. Despite the relative simplicity of my outfit, it required some tailoring before it fit properly, and that took a little while. As always on the Sunday of a convention, I made my way through the dealer’s room and purchased the couple of items that I wanted. Mostly books this year. (If you go to any of the local conventions and you like tea, make sure to check out the Dryad Tea booth. They’re always awesome.)

The vast majority of the rest of my day was spent flirting with another wonderful gentleman that I run into regularly at these conventions. That is one thing I enjoy about being part of the convention circuit. You make friends, and even if you only see them a few times a year they’re almost always happy to see you, and because you only see them a few times a year they’re not bogged down in whatever everyday drama is going on in your life. Nor do you have to be bogged down in theirs. It’s very refreshing. As the day closed out on Sunday I made one last trip through the dealer’s room to say goodbye to folks. Networking is a wonderful thing. As I was saying goodbye, one of my author friends, Paul Lell (go buy his stuff), offered me a ticket to Mile High con if I’d come help work his table. So, hopefully I will be seeing most of the wonderful people I saw this weekend again in three weeks.

May you live in interesting times is not –always- a curse.

Edit: for those of you wondering Malcon is Myths and Legends Convention

Cooking for one

20130926-113128.jpgThere are many different aspects to being single, not just the entertainment of the dating scene. (Though that can certainly be fun) I’ve slowed down on dating a bit, as I try and wrap my head around being in a new place, a new job, having to walk my dog twice a day, and dealing with a bunch of stuff surrounding the recent flooding in Colorado. (I’m fine, I did not flood, but there is a bunch of stuff to be dealt with anyway).

One thing that I hadn’t considered before is the annoyance of cooking for one. When you’re living with someone you can cut most recipes from four servings down to two if you don’t want leftovers. I am not a fan of most leftovers, and find that they don’t get eaten, go bad in the fridge and become a science project that I then have to clean out later. I prefer not to waste the food, or the money. This does leave me in a bit of a fix though, as I do enjoy cooking and eating good food.

There are a couple of work around options to this – I could patronize Whole Foods a lot more often. I hear that their takeout sushi is actually half way decent, and they do have a wonderful looking hot foods section. Of course I would in pretty short order go bankrupt from paying their prices, but I would eat well in the process.

I could go vegan like the rest of Boulder. This doesn’t really solve my cooking for one problem though, as the vegan cookbooks are also geared towards cooking up at least four servings. And really – I like steak. And chicken. And fish. And although cutting back on meat IS good for you, I’m not actually convinced that eating nothing but vegetables and tofu is.

I could cook for two and take the leftovers as lunch the next day (that way they’re leftovers for less than 24 hours) – ok, so this is a decent idea, and I do this about half the time.

I could keep everything on hand to make cheese and cold cut plates all the time. This works great in the summer, particularly when it’s too hot to cook anyway. It’s very tasty, if you’re getting expensive cheeses or sausages, it can be pricy at the outset, but since they usually last for a while you’ve got meals for at least 3-4 days. It’s great for summer, but winter is coming. I need some hot alternatives.

I could live on pasta with a variety of sauces – ok, so this is what I have actually been doing as it gets chillier. I like pasta, it’s easy to cook, cheap, tasty depending on the sauce, and has very little nutritional value unless you dress it up with veggies and/or meat. But since I’d prefer not to gain 50lbs in the next 6 months, I need another option.

Keep an eye out– as I come up with decent recipes for one person I’ll post them here.

Human nature -a rant at an inappropriate time.

In the vast scheme of things, everything I am about to write here below is unimportant. It is also a bit of a rant (sorry, I’m stressed out) If you were looking for deep insights about the flooding and devastation in Colorado I don’t have them. I did however learn two important if unfortunate lessons about human nature this weekend. 1. Some people really ARE that selfish and out of touch with the reality around them. 2. Some people are seriously lacking in good common sense about what is appropriate, even in an emergency.

1. You may have read my blog about “The Dating Professional” – well, generally I thought favorably of him, and so agreed to a second date. I would classify that date as not really very well done on his part, though he pulled it out at the end. I had just had a major verbal altercation with someone when I showed up, and was visibly upset. (This is unusual for me, but he had no way of knowing that) I told him that, and that I needed a bit to collect myself, and as I was trying to collect myself he went into, well – not really a tirade, but a series of complaints about what I wrote about him in my blog, and how hurtful it was. Well if you’ve read the blog, it’s actually fairly positive, but everyone is entitled to their feelings. After this hour-long discourse about what a crappy person I was for writing my opinions, it did cast a bit of a pall over the rest of the evening. Nevertheless I agreed to try for a third date given that my initial bad mood was none of his doing. We had to re-schedule twice, once due to my being sick, once due to his something-or-other. We finally rescheduled for this past Friday. Which as all of you in Colorado know, was right in the middle of the largest flood Colorado has likely ever seen. I texted him on Friday to say that I thought getting together might be a bad idea given the circumstances; all of the emergency channels were asking people to stay off the roads and in their houses, roads were collapsing, bridges were out, even if none of this was in our personal immediate areas. I promptly got a response of “well, you should come to my house then” – no. “Well, I could come to your house then” – no. I just don’t want to get together. “well it’s not raining NOW” I already wasn’t feeling great about this date, and his pushiness pretty much cemented THAT. So after I didn’t respond for a while, I got this long series of text messages about how he had wanted to spend this evening with me, he had set the time aside in his schedule and how he’d met lots of other nice women, and how I was just too difficult to get together with, that the weather was fine and he didn’t see the problem, so he wanted nothing more to do with me. (Ok, fine, he wasn’t all that, and he’s allowed to think that about me too) But seriously; we are in the middle of the worst natural flood disaster the state has ever seen, people around us (not just people – my friends) are losing there homes, their lives and their livelihoods, and the ONE request that emergency personnel are making is to stay off the streets and not become part of the problem. And you want to go on a date. And you’re offended that I don’t. Get over yourself.

2. As many of you know, I am single (hence the name of the blog) and for the most part I have not discussed the reasons for that here. Nor will I. However, my ex and I are …trying…to be friends. I don’t know that it’s a good idea, but nevertheless we are trying. In addition to being my ex, he is also my business partner. He is one of the people living in Jamestown, a small mountain community that was –entirely- cut off by flooding. Before the phone lines were cut I was in communication with him, and agreed to keep his Facebook fan page updated with his status, so his fans and friends would have information. He has also passed me messages through friends up there that were evacuated. In addition to that, I stay in contact with his parents, because they are super nice people and I like them.

I did not however agree to keep his girlfriend updated, nor do I feel any call to do so. She is the primary (not the only) reason that I lost my best friend, the love of my life, and my home. She also maintains that she had absolutely nothing to do with it, which is decidedly deluded and misguided – but hey, whatever helps her sleep at night. My feelings towards her are – to put it politely – not charitable. So when she contacted me on Saturday night (I’m pretty sure it was Saturday, but the days have run together a bit) I politely told her to never contact me again for any reason. To which I got the rather rude reply that I was “A real piece of work” and that I needed to “Grow up” and that she’s “ not the reason that things didn’t work out with the two of us” All of which are a bit counter productive to someone trying to find out information from a hostile source. And really, in what universe do you think your boyfriend’s ex girlfriend, who loathes you and has made that abundantly clear, is going to be happy about a) hearing from you and b) providing you with assistance. I am a font of patience, understanding and helpfulness in most situations, but even I have my limits. ( it likely also didn’t help that quite a few women have contacted me directly to pass messages along to him, most of whom didn’t bother to ask how my situation was)

Thankfully the flooding did not impact my new residence. I do have about half my stuff stored up in Jamestown, with no way to check on it, and in talking to the insurance company, no recourse if it is damaged. I think it is most likely intact, but I won’t know for a long while. If it’s gone, well, its just stuff. (Stuff I like mind you, but just stuff) If it’s not gone, then 6 months to a year from now I’ll get to have stuff again.

My heart goes out to everyone who did lose a home, a loved one, a business, or a pet. And to those who suffered the trauma of being here and not being able to do anything as we watched everything wash away, even if you didn’t personally lose any stuff, peace of mind is definitely gone for the present. Please keep Colorado in your prayers and donate generously to the relief funds if you are able. Photo of Jamestown courtesy of Matthew Gurnsey

20130916-184531.jpg

Dragon Con – The Adventure Continues

IMG_0566 <- View from the 7th floor of the Marriott

Wow, where to start. Well, for those of you not in the know, Dragon Con is 4-5 days of serious geek nirvana. If it is geek related, you can pretty much find it at the convention. My particular reason for going is the music. I work at one of the band tables, which is exhausting but highly entertaining, and frequently gives me the opportunity to meet people that I wouldn’t otherwise come into contact with.IMG_0559

I arrived Thursday night, and promptly texted all of my friends to let them know I had survived the Atlanta airport. Actually as it happened this was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had getting from the airport to my hotel. My DM from Boulder happened to be on the same flight, and kindly convinced the friend that was picking him up at the airport to give me a ride to my hotel. (Thanks!) This was particularly useful as I hadn’t been to this particular hotel before, and my experience with Atlanta is that wandering around downtown looking lost is a recipe for trouble.(The guy in the picture…he was my ride…not in costume of course)

Got checked in at the hotel, and caught up with my dear friends Marc Gunn and Andrew McKee of the Brobdingnagian Bards. Hit the sack around midnight…this was the earliest to bed that I made it all con.

Friday – this is usually a fairly slow day. Boy was I wrong. Friday we got the merchandise table set up around 10am. This was only somewhat hampered by happy reunions with a half dozen or so of my favorite people. (Morning Bob, I’m looking at you) I did eventually get the table set up… probably closer to noon than I care to actually acknowledge. Big, huge thanks to Leigh – the Pandora Celtica booth babe that came and volunteered to help out. Mike, our normal (wonderful) other booth person was unable to make it this year due to a family emergency.

After the booth was set up, staffed, and things were rolling, I left to help out Keith R.A. DeCandido (go buy his stuff) with his self-defense panel. I make a pretty good crash test dummy still, despite the lack of practice. Ran into my sister, who still takes every opportunity to try and beat me up 😉 and generally had a pretty good time. I have a bit of a memory blank here, so hopefully it wasn’t –too- good a time. I think I was actually back at the table working.

The Friday night show went really well, full house pretty much, AND I ran into a wonderful friend that I hadn’t seen in 10+ years. Bonus points!  I ended up spending the rest of that evening with Chris and Lisa who I pretty much only get to see once a year.

Because it’s a con…I pretty much expect that I will be short on sleep. I got 3 hours on Friday night, and had the table open by 8:30 am the next day. Not too shabby. Thankfully one of my friends said we could store the merchandise in his room instead of having to haul it 4 blocks every day. I took the time on Saturday, during a break from the table, to tour one part of the dealer’s room (thankfully I escaped unscathed), the Art Show (good as always), and the Walk of Fame (i.e. where the famous people are). Adrian Paul (Highlander the TV show), who I’ve had a crush on since I was oh, 14 or so, was calmly sitting at his table chatting to folks and signing autographs. I was too chicken to go up and say ‘Hi’, even though his line was remarkably short at the time. (This gets better later).

IMG_0564So I take a quick peek at the other famous folks and make my way back to work. As I’m finishing my shift, Leigh (see above) mentions that Adrian Paul is giving a panel in the room across from where I’ve been working, so for grins we decide to check it out. It’s a Q&A session with questions from the audience. So instead of saying ‘Hi’ to him at his table, I ask him out to dinner in front of 300+ people in a panel that’s being recorded.  Naturally he said no – he is married after all – but wouldn’t that have been fun J And he handled it with good humor, which is always appreciated.

Saturday night I was going to try and catch the Abney Park show, but it didn’t start until 1:30 am, and I was visiting with my friend Rae (see above about 10+ years) and the guys with Emerald Rose, and well, I’d rather hang out with my friends. Barely made it back to my hotel awake, and hit the sack around 2:30 that night.

Sunday was a whirlwind of getting together with friends, working, and trying to make it to shows and keep the table manned at all times. (Did have time for an excellent breakfast with Keith R.A. DeCandido, lunch at Fires of Brazil with another friend, and two different coffee dates.) Fun stuff. Because I only do this once a year, staying up until 3am sitting around in a hotel hallway visiting with even more friends, again didn’t seem unreasonable.

Monday, which I had expected to be a mellow, tear down day – was almost as busy as Sunday! And I was starting to feel the con crud creeping up on me. After setting up the table, I helped a friend get moved out of his hotel room, ran to a Lost Girl panel, ran back, said goodbye to almost everyone, was dragged to lunch by Lisa (Thanks!) and eventually had everything torn down, put away and schlepped back to cars for transport home.

On the flight back, instead of my DM, I got to share the flight with Leigh! Called in sick on Tuesday and half a day Wednesday. (I was dreadfully sick) And now I’m trying to re-join the sane world.

This does not even begin to describe the insanity of the weekend, but well, you had to be there.

IMG_0570See you all next year!

Oh and yes, there were minions….