For those of you who live in MN, you've probably been to CONvergence. For those of you who haven't, you probably have something similar near you. A 4 day science fiction/fantasty convention with anime and gamer undertones, where nerds get together (sometimes in costume) to chat and nerd and go to panels and dance and drink entirely too much.
These themes are pretty common among a lot of conventions. I haven't been to any outside of MN (although that is going to change), but I've been going to CONvergence for years and years. And last year, it kinda sucked.
[Read ALL my thoughts on the subject!!]Part of that was due to the fact that we had a mixup at the hotel we'd booked, and they ended up giving us a hotel room that quite literally smelled like the toxic garbage inside of an outhouse, only we were too Minnesota Nice to complain, and it was a horrifying experiene. Plus our bathroom door had a hole punched through it. WTF, Days Inn. You fail.
But I feel like CONvergence has been shifting a lot lately. More and more as the years have gone on, I've left with a sense of "well, that wasn't as good as last year", and this year I left with a sense of "that actually kind of sucked." Not because anyone was rude or mean, or because my costumes weren't on point. (They always are. Thanks Diane!) I just feel like it's... become something else now.
For one thing, it's HUGE. Not San Diego Comic Con huge. But we're talking 5-7000 people smushed into one hotel huge. That's A LOT OF PEOPLE, especially for someone like me who doesn't always like large crowds, and at night they all get plastered on free booze and become even more fun. (You couldn't hear the sarcasm in my voice right there, but I promise you, it was there.) It's all volunteer run, so they are consistantly understaffed, and things don't run as smoothly as is perhaps needed. Let me not confuse. It's GREAT that people volunteer, that a convention like this can be pulled off at all! Well done, all you lovely volunteers! But as a result things can get kind of cluster-fuck-y. And as the numbers of con-goers keeps growing, things continue to get tighter.
The other thing that really struck me this year was that all of the same people run all the panels, and they're all comedians. Really funny comedians too, for the most part! I am not arguing that! Nerd comedy is great. But I feel like it's become all about the comedians of late. Opening ceremonies, mainstage shows, really big panels, all of it now has been taken over by the same group of people, and to me it has lost it's nerdiness.
An example. There was an amazing panel that started a few years ago called "Judging a Book By it's Cover", it which someone found really horendously weird old sci fi covers, and a panel of four people split up into 2 teams and tried to come up with a pretend story of what this book was about. It was HILARIOUS. I went two years in a row, and just adored it. The panelists were people I didn't recognize, not one of the "comedic troop" that seems to run everything. But still, it was funny! This year, three of the four panelists were part of the troop, and suddenly the panel became all about getting the laughs, and not about nerdy literature, or imagination. I ended up leaving half way through, perhaps just because my brand of humor doesn't always match up with the comedians', and I wasn't enjoying myself.
Yes, they still have show-specific panels. Doctor Who, Supernatural, Fringe, etc. I don't really go to those, because I've lost my interest in a lot of nerdy television. (Which is a shame!) But the really creative panels -- the PUN-el, slideshow karaoke, Judging a book by it's cover, etc-- have all become a stage on which these comedians perform. And it's the same group of 10 people over and over.
I think mostly I am looking for other things in my conventions now. I want discussion and discovery. I want to wear my costume and feel pretty, and talk about things I enjoy, not necessarily traverse halls of full of scary drunk people or listen to personalities talk.
So this weekend, me and Dad and Sister are going to Arcana, which is a teeny tiny horror literature convention in St Paul. There was no website-breaking race to book a room, because there will only be 300 people there. There may be drinks passed around (I kind of hope so!) but no one is going to get shit-faced and barf into a trashcan. In April, I'm going to Odyssy Con in Madison, which is said to be similar to CONvergence but on a smaller and less scary scale. Plus Brandon "I need to read all his books real fast" Sanderson will be there. So bonus. CONvergence really hasn't gotten anyone good in a while. I am excited for that too.
This upcoming year, I actually can't go to CONvergence. Sister has a wedding shower being thrown for her by her in-laws in Wisconsin, and has asked me to come along. And honestly, I was relieved. Maybe i'll go again next year. It is sort of the social hub of the nerd community. At the same time though, for me it has turned into awkwardly dodging exes, seeing people I don't actually like but am too Nice/Chicken not to say hi to, and moments of "OMG, can we please just go to TGI Fridays so I can get my burger on and escape this crush?"
Those are my opinions on the matter. You don't have to agree. But there we go.
Now if you'll excuse me, "The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy" by Sam Maggs just came in for me at the library, and I have to go get my geek on again.
I thought I should get back into blogging. I certainly love READING blogs well enough, and while there isn't necessarily anything super interesting going on in my life, I should still get the word out to all my adoring fans (see: my cat) what's going on in el Casa del Arielle.
So here's the skinny, party people.
Books I adore lately: "Kitchens of the Great Midwest" by J. Ryan Stradal. (Half way done with this. Can not put it down! It's fantastic! Beautiful! Makes me want to eat everything in sight! AND it's set in my home state, so bonus.) "My Boyfriend Threw Up In My Handbag... And Other Questions You Can't Ask Martha." by Jolie Kerr. (A book about cleaning? Who wants to read that? Oh wait, I do. Because it's absolutely hilarious. Also, her upbeat chatter about the joys of Scrubbing Bubbles inspired me to go out and by some, and then clean my bathroom. If you know anything about me, you know this is a rare occourance. So this is a gem of a book.) "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. (Listening to this one, actually. It's read by Jim Dale, a.k.a the guy who narrates the Harry Potter books? It's fan-freaking-tastic so far. I am 3 discs in.)
Shows I'm hooked on: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. (Season 3 just came up on Netflix. You bet your ass I'm all about those cocktail dresses and fascinators.) Longmire. (Cowboys plus Katee Sackhoff plus the beautiful scenary of Wyoming? Yes puhleeze.) Vikings. (I kind of have to be in the mood for this one, but the music is pretty, the costumes are great, and everyone is just gorgeous. Plus... Vikings!)
This weekend's plans: Most of Saturday was taken up with working (#SaturdayLibrarian) but tonight, I'm going over to Miss Dezra's for a little D&D goodness. Tomorrow, I suspect, will be spent not moving for vast periods of time, and watching TV.
How is your life, gentle reader? Please tell me everything.
I very rarely do nothing. I am a very lazy person. Don't get me wrong. I love binge watching on TV shows, movies, video games, I'm not exactly active. But rarely do I do nothing. Just sit. Listen to music. Stop staring or reading or talking and just listen to music. Tonight, I took a bath. (Gasp! A bath, you say? How scandalous, Ariel!) For my birthday, my lovely friend Emily gave me two little tiny bath cupcakes that smell of ginger, and have honest to god flower petals in them. I took a bath with flower petals in it. I've never done that before! People in movies do that. How fucking fancy! Thanks Em!
So here, my lovely friends, is to doing nothing. To sitting in hot water and listening to classical music. To sprawling on the couch and staring at the ceiling. To not watching tv or reading or engaging in the world, but just thinking.
Wow, remember when I used to write in this thing all the time? Moving on. Sister and I went to go see Jurassic World over the weekend. I thought I'd share my thoughts.
List of Thoughts about ---oooh a dinosaur!
The Bad: -I didn't realize until after the movie was over that it actually wasn't Jessica Chastain as the main character, but Bryce Dallas Howard. -Chris Pratt was muscley and gorgeous, and had a few one liners, and yeah, we all like to watch him kiss things because he's so darn pretty. I would have liked it better if his character had more sass. Maybe they thought if they gave him too much sass (personality?) it would look too much like C-Pratt's other characters? -I thought they had chemistry at the beginning, but basically nothing happened between them, and the his last night "we should stick together. for survival" was delivered rather poorly so NOPE, your ship sucks. Back it out of my harbor please. -What the fuck did they do to poor Katie McGrath? -What was the point of those two kids, honestly? like the younger one, okay, he was nerdy and full of science, and I appreciated that. But the older one was a giant asshole. And aside from the "becoming a good big brother" trope, he served no purpose. Feed him to the dinos!
The Good: -Dinosaurs! -The part where the Alosoemthingasaurus popped his head in and was like "hi guys! Whatcha doin?" -Revisting the original visitors center from the first film. Yussss. -Everything that came out of Nick-From-New-Girl's mouth. -Even though John Williams didn't write the score, it was still a great soundtrack. Especially the primordial chanting in the trex vs genetic dino fight scene. -The dying bronosaurus scene! Very touching. Hooray for animatronic dinos! THAT is what Jurassic Park is all about. -The dinosaur petting zoo, and the riding of the tiny triceratops! Yup, I'd do that in real life. -Not-Jessica-Chastain's character. Everyone said she was dumb. I appreciated that she turned out to be a badass, even if she did make dumb choices (footware and otherwise.) Also, it takes guts to drive an emergency medical van full speed down a dark dirt road while being chased by velociraptors while NOT simultaniously peeing your pants. -T-rex saving the day. Then, at the end of the movie, he gets up on his little platform and does a victory rawr. You go, T-rex. We're proud of you.
So here's the short version. Was it a fun blockbuster romp? Yes. Were the dinos cool? Yes. Would I watch it again? Maybe if I were Rifftraxing it or playing a drinking game.
I went into this hearing it was bad, but going okay, I love disaster movies, so maybe I'll be okay.
The first half: I don't really know what happened. I watched 15 mintues of it, thought it was crap, and decided to fast forward to the part where the volcano errupted.
Once the volcano errupted: Really, it was shit. They spent more time slow-mowing Kit Harington on a horse than they did anything with the volcano. Lots of things fell from the sky, a tidal wave happened (that was kind of cool), the pyroclastic flow killed everyone. Only none of it was cool. it was just cheesy. They took a perfectly good volcano, and made it dumb. They made it a stupid love story that had no foundation, with a woman whose face appeared to be more silicon than actual facial muscles, and a dude who, admittedly, looks really good with his shirt off.
Can we talk about the part where a fucking volcano is errupting, and I can't actually remember the girl's name becuase she's that stupid walked VERY FUCKING SLOWLY over to where the bodies of her parents are? And Kit H. just lets her? Not that there is a time crunch or anything. Oh no.
Or the bit at the end where their bodies were captured perfectly in ash, kissing? Nope. They would have been blown off their feet by the force of the wind. (I think. I feel like that sounds scientific. If that wind flattens trees, it's not going to leave two lovers standing, I don't care how great their hair is.)
Good points: -Kiefer Sutherland. He's just awesome in anything. -Kit Harington's beautiful man muscles and floppy hair. -the soundtrack -literally nothing else.
My thought upon finishing the film was "way to horribly ruin what was one of the most horrific disasters in human history, assholes." I'm going to watch a Nova volcano documentary now and pout.
Whenever I tell people, I am a librarian, I get three responses.
1) That's nice. (And they mean it. I genuinely like these people.)
2) You're a librarian? (And the boredom is conveyed in their voices. As if to say why would you choose to spend your life in a library? Why would you want to work around books? Your job is boring. This is often equated with my favorite school response "you have to go to school to become a librarian?" as if being a librarian really isn't that hard, and you shouldn't need a master's degree to really pursue it.)
3) So you're a sexy librarian, huh? (This is a twofer. 25% of the time, it's someone I like, so I can laugh and say "hell yes!" because knowledge is sexy, and being a librarian IS a sexy job, in my opinion. 75% of the time it's the people with the stereotypes in their heads, people who I don't know well, and then it just comes off as creepy and lecherous. Not all librarians wear enormous horn rimmed glasses and short little skirts, and want you to bend them over a stack of books. And even if they did? Still not your god damn place to be a creepo.)
I am damn proud to be a librarian. I fucking love my job. And I'm proud of all the hard work and schooling it took to get me here. So when someone tells you they are a librarian? The correct response is: "Let me bow at your feet and treat you like the god damn queen you are." (Or king. Kings too.)
Depression is an issue we are all not supposed to talk about. It's taboo. We're supposed to keep it inside and fight it quietly with medication and not tell people because *gasp!* they might think us somehow less of a person.
Except I hardly know a person anymore who hasn't struggled with depression or anxiety at some point in their lives. Many are still in a constant battle with it. So you know what I'm going to do? I'm gonna talk about it. Because I can. Because it's a part of who I am. Because I am fabulous and beautiful and a mother fucking ray of sunshine, and also, I struggle with depression and anxiety.
Here we go.
I've been off my meds for about a week. I waited until the last possible minute to refil them, and then oops, the insurance company had some issue, so I had to wait more, and then resubmit my stuff. Then it went to the wrong Walgreens. It's okay. Shit happens. Except when depression starts to creep in, subtly, as it sometimes does, things that are normally little, those everyday things that go wrong, suddenly turn into really big things. The fact that my meds weren't at the proper Walgreens through me off my game so much I went home, instead of using my phone to figure out where the proper one was and picking it up.
It wasn't a huge deal. I was a bit off, but things weren't bad. Then I ran out of money. And when I say ran out, I literally mean I ran out. Credit card is maxed out, bank account has $2.25 in it, no savings to speak of. There are bills coming up. The rent is paid for this month, but a huge chunk of my next paycheck is going to rent. And bills. And groceries. And all those things I wasn't able to do this paycheck, because I let my vanity get the best of me and paid a lot for a haircut on top of car payments. Now I'm left looking down this tunnel of endlessly playing catchup on bills and rent and car payments and groceries and general finances, and never having any money. I wanted to go to Mexio with Sister when we turn 30. I wanted to go on a roadtrip with Cirien this summer. Those are not going to happen now.
But I don't think about it. I push it to the back of my mind. Travel is for other people, at least for now, I have things to take care of. And all the while, the depression & anxiety is getting worse. I wake up in the middle of the night, panicking about finances. I start sobbing in my car because the ice on my windshield is hard to scrape off. I freak out unreasonably about presentations I have to give at work, even though they really aren't a big deal.
Tonight, I went to bed in a mild state of panic, because I realized I only have 2 days worth of cat food left, and 5 days before I can buy more. I woke up in the middle of the night, full blown nutso, because I feel like I am a bad mommy. I don't really care about myself and food. I can live off rice and pasta and canned beans for 4 days. It won't kill me. Kanye can't. So what do I do? Do foodshelves have cat food? I could make my own cat food, but I have no meat or veggies to speak of, and I don't think cats do well on rice and tilapia. So I sat on Tumblr for an hour, trying to distract myself, failing. Decided a bath was in order. Hysterical breakdown as I fill up the tub results in me crying when the water was too hot. What? Seriously? The water is too hot. Just turn the faucet down a smidge, let it keep filling, you'll be fine. But that's not how it works when the depression and anxiety are there.
I finally make it into the tub, light my trashy-romance-novel-scented candle, let the tears stop. Kanye jumps on the rim of the tub, and it cheers me up and calms me down enough to think "hmmm, let's blog about this."
And here we are. So where do we go from here? This is the battle plan I came up with in the tub. (Isn't it amazing, the curative powers of a well-timed bath?) It isn't perfect, but it's going to work for me.
1) Tomorrow morning, begin taking meds again. They will take a few days to kick back into effect, but that's okay.
2) Go to work. Do not panic and call in sick. It's easy to want to do, but the truth is, my entire St Cloud support network works with me. And even on the worst days of work, there has been at least one thing that has made me grin like an idiot. So work is a good place to be. Good people. Friends. Interesting patrons to tell stories about later. Occasionally someone will bring in chocolate. Go to work every day.
3) Distract myself. I know I'm supposed to "face my fears" and "not hide" when it comes to depression. And usually yes, I would agree with that. But I think these latest shenanigans are the result mostly of a lack of medicine, which will start working again in a few days. If I can get through the next few days, things will look brighter. So I will play video games. Read books. Watch more of the West Wing. Go out with friends. Do all the things I do when I want to retreat, because it will take my mind off the things that haunt me long enough for medical backup to arrive.
4) Keep in touch. Call Sister a lot. Call the parents a lot. Make sure I chat with friends every day. I am very lucky to have such a great support network, and though most of them are down in the cities, a few of them are up here. Talking with people makes me happy. That will give me at least one reason to smile every day, and that's a good thing.
5) Remind myself that my depression and anxiety is not a failing on my part, it's just a weird biological thing, and I will get past it. Every day I make it through is another day I can claim in victory for myself. Every day I get through with a smile on my face is a party. I need to remember to celebrate the victories. All of them. Helped a patron today? Check. Kicked a boss's ass in Fallout? Boom. Made a delicious meal? Well done me.
I will make it through this. Not just the depression and the anxiety, but the financial troubles. The always being single. The awkwardness and fear of moving to a new place. Some day, I know I will look back on it and think "Oh, silly Ariel, if you only knew what lay ahead of you." I believe this with everything in me; that things will improve, and I won't be alone forever, and someday I'll get a handle on these pesky finances.
It's just a matter of taking it one day at a time. This week is healing. Distracting myself so that I don't get swallowed up by the panic. Taking care of myself. I can worry about next week's problems next week.
I started this at like 3:15 am, and should probably try and fall back asleep now. I had a hella long work day yesterday, and can definitely use the sleep.
Thanks all for listening, and for being here for me. If you're reading this, it means you care, and that means I love you. So thanks.
"Nevah. Nevah. Nevah. Give up." -Winston Churchill (as quoted by my dad)
Ready for random lists? It's a random lists kind of night.
Things I am craving:
-donuts -pizza -soda -tacos from Acapulco -sister hugs -Chinese food
Things I am doing right now:
-Watching The West Wing. (Bartlet for President!) -Chickend out while playing Fallout: New Vegas. (Vaults are scary. Don't judge.) -Loving the hell out of my couch -Will probably get a glass of water soon. -Wondering when Josh and Donna will have adorable babies. (Hurry up already, guys. It's season 4 already.)
Things that are awesome:
-I kicked ass on my first solo genealogy presentation today. -I still have some ice cream left. -It's 30 degrees outside. -My cat is super adorable, guys. I now like him more than I like most people.
I won't even touch on things that aren't awesome because you know what? I'm having a good night. Let's leave it at that. In the far off state of Arizona, one of my best friends is starting a new life, and I miss her so so bad. But I'm glad she is spreading her wings and being amazing (like always) and I'm so proud of her. Also, we are planning a fabulous roadtrip for hopefully soonish whenever I manage to get my finances together. Which will be hopefully before the end of 2015.
Okay, I need to get some water now. And then I'm going to stretch out on my fabulous couch, and I'm going to relax. Good night, lovelies.
A lot of people have been giving the latest Hobbit film, Battle of Five Armies, a bad review. I'll admit. It was not as good as the first two. Not by a long shot. But overall, I liked it. Here are my thoughts.
[spoilers abound, dear readers]-5 armies? Men, orcs, dwarves, elves. Who was the fifth one? Smaug? Did I miss something? (the answer is probably really obvious. like "galadriel was her own mother fuckin army" or "you forgot about [blankity blank] Ariel.")
-The whole entire movie was made worth it because BATTLE PIGS, GUYS! BATTLE PIGS!
-Also, a battle moose.
-Everything Thandruill did was perfection. Like walk around, swish his hair, make sweeping statements. The time he whipped out his sword and the sheath and went to town on like 40 orcs.
-`Galadriel was THE BEST. Especially where she picked up Gandalf like he was nothing and carried him. And then totally kicked Sauron's ass.
- I think Tauriel and Killi are adorable, haters. I was only disappointed that all we got were a few awkward glances and some crying. But come on. How can Aiden Turner NOT have a romantic part? Those eyes? Damn, I gotta watch more Being Human Yeahnow.
-Yes, okay, it was basically an hour of plot, and an hour and a half of fight scenes. But it was called The Battle of Five Armies.
-The Academy Award for best actor goes to.... MARTIN FREEMAN! For being such an amazing actor, and making my heart bleed just a little. In a good way.
-There were definitely dumb parts. Like when Thorin got stabbed through the foot. Really? Was that necessary? Or most of Thorin's wigging out. Like when he started tripping balls over gold, I left to go to the bathroom. When I got back, he was still tripping balls.
Overall though, I thought it was a nice movie. Dramatic, in some places overdramatic, but I liked it. The scene at the end where Gandalf and Bilbo are sitting after the battle, and Gandalf starts cleaning his pipe? Uggh. So good.
I am going to miss that world. I know a lot of people don't like that Peter Jackson took a 100 page book and turned it into 9+ hours of film, but I liked it. So there. Pbbbbth.
Now, I'm going to go walk on the treadmil for a bit. Because nothing makes me want to work out more than watching beautiful people fight and run and jump for two and a half hours.
Thanks to Kylee, I now have groceries. And a meal plan. I've been freaking out about food/eating/not eating/blah blah blah, pre-Emily-Program goodness, and part of that was because my shelves were growing bare, and I didn't have any money to buy food. So she sat me down and said "we're making a meal plan." I picked 5 meals I wanted to make this week. They are as follows: -beef stroganoff (made it in the crock pot, it was delish!) -tacos (that's tomorrow) -veggie pasta -Max's soup (a.k.a chicken quesedilla soup that Max makes and is delish) -there was one more. i can't remember what it was. i'm sure it's also delicious. [edit: the final one was apple burgers. yuuuuus.]
Each one has enough for a dinner and leftovers for lunch, so I'm sorted. You have no idea how relieved I am to have this detail sorted for me. It seems trivial, but it was a giant gaping hole into which panic poured itself, so now its taken care of. Phew. Thanks Ky!
Up next: getting through the pile of books that all decided to come in at once. -The Scorch Trials -The 100 -The Infinite Sea -Lockdown: Escape from Furnace 1
Current Mood: relieved
Current Music:In and Out of Love - Armin Van Burren