Settling in for the summer

Life has been quite complicated lately. The first week of May was finals week. The end of my first year as a Ph. D. student. I didn’t write the best papers for my classes, but they were good enough to get me Bs. It took me almost another week to get caught up on my grading. But, my students didn’t seem to hold it against me too much. I got some of the best feedback I’ve ever gotten. Even their problems and critiques were useful, not just “it sucked”. I am so happy and grateful to have had this class. They really helped me to become a better instructor.

The weekend after grades were due was Marcon. It was so nice to get to see my friends again, go to panels, and be on panels. I’m starting to realize that my attitude is keeping people from approaching me in costume. I don’t know how to change that. It’s who I am. But as much as I am an introvert, I do like getting compliments and recognized when in costume. I put a lot of work into the whole thing, from the clothing to the props to the make-up. But if it doesn’t seem like I want to be approached, no one will. I need to be more aware of it when I can. Lets face it, sometimes you have ten minutes to get all the way across the con –  which is a very long distance at DragonCon. Sometimes you can’t be stopped.

Anyway. After Marcon, summer semester began. Well, the first term of summer semester. We have two terms over summer, two six-week classes that contain all the information of a 15-week class. In order to get caught up with where I should be, I’m taking one class each term. My first class is online, and it’s a split undergrad/grad student class. That is the more interesting aspect of it, not being online. Grad students have different readings and different responsibilities. Thankfully, because of my two theory classes and International Popular Culture, it’s going over topics I’m already very familiar with. It’s from a slightly different angle, but similar enough that I’m not too stressed over it.

At the beginning of the month, my dad moved to New Hampshire. It’s a very good move for him. He didn’t need to take any furniture with him, so I got to take some things off his hands. We now have a dining room table, the old microwave hutch (which is at least 20 years old, probably more) that is now our bar, one of the end-tables that my parents have had since before I was born, and an almost 20-year-old wood futon frame. The futon is in my room, patiently awaiting the spring mattress to arrive so I can finally properly use it to stretch out on and study on.

But those weren’t the only things he couldn’t take with him. He couldn’t take Harry. We have had Harry almost his entire life. He’ll be 15 at the end of July. But between his age and the fact that he’s black, we knew that he wouldn’t last if my dad took him to the local humane society. He’d be high on the list to go if they needed more space. We’ve been taking care of him until Saturday. He hadn’t adapted well to being here, and we just can’t take care of him properly right now. So I drove him to Columbus to a no-kill shelter. They couldn’t take him. They had no space, but, more importantly, they couldn’t have taken him even if they did. He’s never been to the vet. Without vet records, they couldn’t take him. The lady there said that at his age, the best thing would be to have him put down. He’s perfectly healthy, as far as we can tell, for a cat his age. Why would I do that? So after a breakdown in the car, I decided to take him to Columbus Humane. But they require you to make an appointment to surrender a pet, and charge more than I can afford right now.

So I changed plans. I found Marion Area Humane Society and headed there. I felt bad because it wasn’t cool out yesterday, and he had been in the carrier for over an hour at that point. But he seemed to be okay. We got to MAHS and I started to break down again. He had been part of the family for almost 15 years. They had space for him. As they processed his information and mine, I talked with one of the volunteers. She said that they get people looking for older cats sometimes. More importantly, she told me that they are a no-kill shelter! He is going to be taken care of for the rest of his life. I am completely fine with MAHS being his home for that time. They are going to take care of him. Last night I had to fight the urge to check on him behind the futon – where he had made his home. I miss him, but he’s going to be fine!

Remember, always take your pets to the vet. You never know what will happen to you. They may have to go to a shelter, and vet records are required by some before they will take your pet in.

Well, that went longer than I thought it would. I’ll just leave this here and get back to working on the paper and presentation I need to have ready for CPAC and my summer watchlist.

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Look Around List!

“Look around! Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!”

The semester is done! I have survived both being a student and being an instructor. I’m ready for the break that is summer to get recharged for fall!

Doctor Who paper. For my International Popular Culture class, I wrote my final paper on “The Day of the Doctor”. Well, that was my intention. I allowed too much background in and it kind of took over the paper. Now I can look at it and see where to separate it into two and develop both!

Amazon Video. Hubby and I have been discussing cutting cable for a while now. Thanks to Hulu and CBS All Access, most of my shows are covered. But there have been a few hold outs. Until now. Amazon Prime has been charging for the new episodes of Doctor Who for a few seasons now, and the past seasons are available for free for Prime members (aka me!). This means I have season 9 for free, and I decided today to go ahead and pay for season 10. I’ve got the episodes aired so far, and I’ll get the new episodes as they come out. Commercial free!!! Which is the best way to watch Doctor Who, especially since it’s not designed for American television and it’s numerous commercials. They do the same thing for Orphan Black, which I’ll be paying for as soon as the season is available. The only big thing I was holding out on was RuPaul’s Drag Race. I love my Drag Race. I was so happy to see it on VH1, since we no longer get Logo. But Amazon Video has it!!! So I paid for this season today, and it is so nice to have it legally without commercials. While it is about $30 per season up front, it’s much more than that per month for cable. Totally worth it.

I’m Home! Now that I’m (mostly) done with my master’s degree, I am home with my hubby for good. Wherever we end up for my Ph.D., it will be together. It feels so good to be home. Seriously, this has been running through my head the last week or so:


I’m Mandy/Nina and my hubby’s Chris/Benny

Marcon! Marcon 52 was so much fun! I got to hang out with friends, fellow geeks, and be on panels (sometimes in charge of them) to talk about the things I enjoy! Seriously, I know for now it’s over Mother’s Day weekend, but I highly recommend Marcon to anyone who enjoys being able to hang out with fellow fans in a more relaxed setting than what I’ve heard anime cons can be like. Nothing wrong with them, if that’s what you like! Marcon 53 is May 11-13, 2018. Registration will hopefully be up soon.

More playlists from Lin!! Seriously. If you haven’t already, go to Lin’s Spotify and be ready to have fun! He is just pouring creativity into each one.

Remember, despite the chaos that is going on in the world, remember to “look around” and realize “how lucky we are to be alive right now!”

I’m feeling good!

I am done with two of my classes. The other class work I’ll have done this week because the professor for that class is amazing. My students’ grades are in, and they’re complaining about them. The semester is done! I’m almost done with my first year as a graduate student! Exclamation point! Hehe.

Seriously, I am feeling good right now. I had a good time at Marcon, even if my brain was fried from writing papers and grading tests. I spent time with friends, realized I need to rewatch a few things a few times before Marcon next year, and made one of my favorite authors happy due to my costume.

I just got caught up on a few of my webcomics. I also got caught up on a couple of blogs. I’m getting some work done that will make writing my thesis easier (I hope). I am at home. I am in the apartment that I live in with my hubby. Yes, my stuff is everywhere and I need to start going through it so things can actually get put away. But I am home.

It’s nice to be so unstressed and relaxed again. Now if my Hamilton Research GoFundMe would take off, I would be ecstatic right now! I guess I’ll just have to be happy being unstressed and relaxed. 😀

Marcon Influences

Every time I go to convention, I always end up into something new afterwards. Marcon is no exception.

First there’s the fabric. It’s on my mind even more since I’m working around it all day long. But it has to stay there because there are more important thing the paychecks need to go to right now.

Second, there’s Seanan. I’ve been a fan of hers for a while now. But I’ve been kind of limited as to what I’ve read. The Newsflesh series (which she writes as Mira Grant), the October Daye series, and Indexing. She’s got a lot of other works out there. I just hadn’t gotten around to them. Until now. I checked out Sparrow Hill Road for my Kindle from the library. It is awesome! Not that I expected anything else, but it’s making me look forward to getting into the InCryptid series and Velveteen.

And of course, there’s the lists. One of British shows and one of sci-fi/fantasy. I’m so glad I went to that panel. Because of, well, both panels, really, I have a huge list of shows to get into. I’ve started on the list with Daredevil. This show is amazing! If you like Marvel and you have Netflix, go watch it! I’m not done with it yet, but I’m loving it! I’ll be posting about it over at Ianto’s Black Book once I do.

Unfortunately since the British list isn’t the most recent, I may be relying on the magical pixel faeries to watch some of those shows. I can’t wait to get started on it!

I just love that post-con geek high. I’ve got shows to watch, books to read, resources for costumes, and a burning desire to get more done. I love it!

Marcon 50: Saturday and Sunday

Saturday I was ready and raring to go! First I went to a panel about reboots and we ended up spending about 1/3 of it determining what is a reboot vs a remake. Even then it was still muddy at times. The thing that really got on my nerves was they kept referring to Doctor Who returning as a reboot. It is definitely not a reboot or a remake; it’s a revival and continuation of the series.

From there I went and listened to lots of fans sharing their love of Babylon 5 before going to a panel celebrating the 10th anniversary of the return of Doctor Who. Sadly half of it ended up being people insisting on talking about the 20th century Who instead of the 21st or complaining about how different it is now. I wanted to point out how with the Twelfth Doctor, I feel a lot more 20th century Who having an influence. But I couldn’t get a word in edgewise, so I bit my tongue and tried to focus on the positives. It really was a good panel, it just strayed a little, which happens in the best of panels.

After a few interesting panels, it was time for my moderating debut. British TV Addicts. I had suggested it because I figured if DragonCon can have an entire track of paneling devoted to British media, we can have one panel. It was a huge success! Well, I thought so and my fellow panelists seemed to agree. It mostly consisted of someone throwing out a show and everyone gushing over it. I’ve got a list of shows I want to watch and that only covers about half of what we talked about that I haven’t seen. It was so much fun. And, the Jaffa Cakes went over quite well. Part of that was due to the fact that one panelist is British and so is the husband of another panelist. They descended on them like they hadn’t seen them in years. It was great!

I finished off the night by being on the Urban Fantasy panel. I have not felt so out of place before! My fellow panelists were all authors. Two of which have been successfully doing so for years! I mostly sat back and chimed in where I felt I could add something. One thing we did was try to come up with a definition of “urban fantasy”. We settled on two things. First, “urban fantasy” refers to any fantasy that takes place in an urban setting. Second, “contemporary fantasy” is a more accurate term for most of the books that are being labeled “urban fantasy”. A book can be one, the other, or both. Like The Dresden Files; it is a contemporary urban fantasy. The Sookie Stackhouse series is a contemporary fantasy since it doesn’t take place in an urban setting.

The other great part of that panel was the end. We went down the line and suggested an author or series that hadn’t been mentioned yet. Seeing as one of my fellow panelists had talked quite a bit about Jim and The Dresden Files, and Tanya Huff and the Blood Books, I figured I’d mention the other urban fantasy author I love to read: Seanan McGuire. That got a chorus of “How did I forget about Seanan?!” from the panelists. It made me feel so good to know that the three main urban fantasy authors I enjoy are held in high regard by their fellow authors. It also inspired me to check out Sparrow Hill Road from the library.

I was going to go to a couple of events, but I ran into a couple of friends I hadn’t seen for a while and ended up talking to them for around 2 hours. So I went up to the room, got as much packed as possible to assist my check out Sunday morning, and crashed into bed.

After getting everything to the car and a quick group photo, I went to the last panel I was on for the weekend: The Dresden Files panel. I had been looking forward to it all weekend, mostly because I was going dressed as Harry. I thought it added a nice touch to the panel. I am so glad I was on it this year. It was so much more fun being on it than just attending it. We had an absolute blast talking and theorizing about the series.

I was going to go to a panel about patterns, but a friend convinced me to go to the panel he was on instead. I’m so glad I did. The panel was called “Do You Watch What I Watch?” Pretty much it was a chance to talk about the stuff we enjoy watching that no one outside of the convention seems to be watching. I came away from it with a long list of stuff to watch. Thanks to that panel I’ve started watching Daredevil on Netflix and I’m starting the process of re-watching and getting caught up on Grimm.

It was an amazing weekend and I’m eagerly looking forward to next year! I can’t wait!

Marcon 50: Friday

I figure since it’s been a week, I should write up a post or two about Marcon 50.

It. Was. A. Blast!

This was only my second time attending, but it has become my favorite convention. I still love DragonCon, but there’s something wonderful about Marcon. Part of it is being around fellow geeks for the weekend. Part of it is the more relaxed and less crowded nature of the con. Part of it is having friends to chat with, be on panels with, and attend panels they’re on. And it’s great knowing that the convention is why I know them.

But I digress. The panels were so much fun this year. Only one time did I go to my room instead of a panel. And that was because I needed food and a break from the chest binder. I wrote a bit about a couple panels over at Cosplay Notes. But they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

After the two costuming related panels, I was going to go to the panel about religion in science fiction. But as I passed the room where the Star Wars Episode VII was setting up, I noticed who was on the panel and decided to go to that instead. Totally worth it! We watched trailers. We talked about all the movies. We talked about why the original trilogy was awesome and the prequel trilogy sucked. One thing that was brought up in regards to that really hit me. In the original trilogy, the world was worn: things were scarred and scuffed and dusty and dirty and used. In the prequel trilogy, the world was shiny and clean; everything was neat and clean and polished. There was no dust or dirt or wear and tear. That is what keeps throwing me off with that set of movies. Aside from the other problems, but that’s for another time.

I tried going to a make-up panel, but I didn’t learn anything new. Then I was on my first panel ever. All my worries and jitters vanished as soon as I saw one of my fellow panelists was also dressed as Dr. Abbey from the Newsflesh series. After that I went to my second panel ever where we ate Twinkies and talked about zombies. Well all the zombies out there that aren’t in the worlds of Romero or The Walking Dead. It was great!

It has begun…

Well, technically Marcon 50 starts tomorrow. But I’m at the hotel ready to go! After much yelling at my stuff, I got to the room, got the basics sorted, and took a nice, long shower. After work and hauling everything around I needed it. Then I got things further sorted and set up before getting the wi-fi up and the computer hooked up to the TV.

There’s only one thing that would make this evening better: a bottle opener. I have ten bottles of beer sitting in the mini-fridge getting cold and I can’t drink them. They’re not twist off and I am not putting on anything in addition to my nightshirt. I really want a bottle of beer, but I refuse to go buy one at this time of night.

Anyway. I am really looking forward to the convention this year. Being on panels, knowing many people attending, it’s going to make this year so much more fun! And I think I’m pretty prepared this time around. I’ve got three snack Ziplock bags full of salted almonds, two boxes of GoGo Squeez, and almond milk and chai concentrate for in the mornings.

Now I just have to hope my paycheck is big enough so I can buy some food as needed. Silly hotels don’t include tax when they tell you how much it is going to be when you make the reservation.

Tomorrow night I should have some fun to report. If I have the energy left that is. 🙂

Marcon 50 Preparation: Part 2

Part 1 is located over at Cosplay Notes.

I think this is going to bounce between the two blogs. For me, preparing for a convention involves so much: costume preparation, food preparation, gear preparation, mental preparation. It’s too much for one blog. 😉

In two weeks I’ll be sitting here recovering from another amazing convention. It’s only going to be my second Marcon, but I couldn’t have picked a better one to be my second. This year is the 50th Marcon. This convention has been happening for 50 years! This year’s guest list is made up of many previous guests and is much longer than usual. It is going to be great!

This Marcon also holds a couple of firsts for me. I’m going to be on a few panels, as well as moderating one. I’ve never been on a panel, let alone moderated one. But I have been reassured that I’ll be a great moderator. But this means another level of preparation: panel. I want to have the topics of the panels as fresh as possible in my mind. So lately I’ve been doing quite a bit of rereading and rewatching. It’s been great since they’re, obviously, topics I enjoy. But it’s definitely different than any other convention prep I’ve ever done.

What a weekend!

I know I said on Friday that I would be updating throughout the weekend, but I didn’t want to interrupt the wonderfulness going on.

That was an experience I am really looking forward to again. It was unlike any convention I’ve been to. It was very low key, calm, and much more mature. I’m never doing Ohayocon again. I felt so comfortable all weekend. Well, most of the weekend, but even then it wasn’t that bad.

Nearly every panel I went to was a wonderful experience of getting to talk with other fans about one thing or another. Yesterday morning at 10am we had a fairly full room for Doctor Who. It was wonderful. Later we had an almost as full room for The Dresden Files! I loved it!

I can’t wait to get things set up for next year. But I did learn a few things:
-Definitely stick with Sci-Fi or literary costumes
-Don’t get a hotel for Thursday night
-Be willing to hang out and talk with others

It was an amazing experience.

Marcon: Registration

Seeing as I have free internet access, I’ll be posting little updates throughout the con. Yay!

In less than an hour I have picked up my badge, and bought and eaten my lunch. Completely different experience than Ohayocon. I am loving this! Aside from it being cheaper, pre-registration means I was able to simply walk in to the room, tell them my name, and get my badge with a Pre-Registration ribbon on it already. Yay!

Now I’m starting to reconsider my costume line-up. Since I’m not doing Harry, I think the Doctor would be better for tomorrow instead of tonight. But that leaves tonight for Arthur. Unless I decide to do a genderbend Arthur (which I’m seriously starting to consider), I have to get the wig in shape first. And since it was originally Ten’s wig, it’s got a ton of hairspray and gel in it.

I guess we’ll find out later! For now, I’ll just watch more Doctor Who. 🙂