Category Archives: Geeking Out

My Pathfinder Initiative: A Road Bump (Month 3)

Today marks twenty-five days past my self-imposed deadline for the next entry in the Pathfinder Initiative I began to better my life. I’ve managed to nearly skip an entire month, and as the days stretch, I feel the increasing pressure to produce something for accountability. (IT’S WORKING!) Unfortunately, I’ve attempted the entry a dozen times, and I can’t seem to get past the lede. Continue reading

Wee First

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Wee friends

This past weekend, we finally had the chance to experience my verra first Highland Games, thanks to some wonderful employees who helped cover the bar for us. I’ve been battling a cold, so it was a bit of a struggle to get out the door early enough for a full day. Still, we managed to squeeze in nearly five hours at the games themselves, and the fresh air seemed to do wonders for my allergy-induced cold.

If you don’t know already, I am unabashedly, profoundly, and deeply in love with Scotland. I love their weather, their vegetation, their food, their drinks, their accents, their fashion, and their wildlife. Scotland has always fascinated me, and the love affair blossomed when I visited in 2013. (More on that later.) And so, the Highland Games were satisfying in so many ways, from the haggis-flavored everything, to the throngs of kilted kin tossing, pulling, and pushing heavy objects everywhere. Continue reading

Here comes the General

264981_10100610153264917_986997695_nGrowing up, I always wanted to be a princess, but for some reason, the “princess mold” never fit well with me. I preferred blue jeans and baseball hats, balanced with tea parties and makeup. Perpetually mouthy, I use my sarcasm and self-deprecation to diffuse any situation. Like millions of others, I grew up loving Princess Leia – my snarky, no-bullshit role model. And like those millions, I am heartbroken that the fearless, courageous, and inimitable Carrie Fisher is now gone.

In a world filled with smoke and mirrors, infected by selfies and photo filters, there aren’t many real people anymore. Carrie Fisher stood out among the masses with her middle fingers and punchy remarks; she was a true leader of the rebellion against bullshit. I’ve followed her on Twitter for some time now, clinging to every emojii-filled quip, and adoring her cheek, or simply, her beloved dog Gary.

But last week, the world became an emptier place when Carrie suddenly passed. Fucking Christmas. Unfortunately, Carrie didn’t leave the hospital, and she left us mere mortals to fight 2017 alone. Carrie Fisher was only 60 years young. She was less than a year older than my own mother. That’s too damn soon, people. Just last year, she proved to everyone in Hollywood that you absolutely CAN age as a female actress and be a total fucking badass, beautiful heroine. She was flawless, and I loved every moment of General Leia on the big screen. Through tears, I watched as she lost Han, not knowing just one year later, I’d be crying because I lost her.

Roller Derby Leia, at Star Wars: Celebration

Roller Derby Leia, at Star Wars: Celebration

Quite frankly, this is the hardest celebrity death to hit me. I’ve cried more over this than over people I’ve known. I always had the dream to meet Carrie, but I never had the money to stand in line and get the pleasure.

I’ll never forget attending Star Wars: Celebration here in Orlando; she was a guest and her autograph line spanned the length of the exhibit hall. There was no way I was meeting her. We stood about 20 feet outside of the autograph and photo spaces, attempting to peer in between the inch-wide cracks in the curtains just for a single glimpse. Was that … that’s Mark Hamill, isn’t it? OH MY GOD IS IT? WAIT, IS THAT? AHHHHH.

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Leia and Han’s love story was the main inspiration for our 2012 wedding. I even walked down the aisle to Princess Leia’s theme.

It was a few minutes after we identified a pair of shapes as “probably” Mark Hamill and “maybe” Carrie Fisher that a friend trotted up to us with a tale. He had been in line for Carrie Fisher. A gentleman ahead of him pulled out a giant Star Wars poster with almost all of the Star Wars cast autographs on it. We’re talking old-school autographs, acquired over a period of years. The poster was plastered in sharpie scrawls, and Carrie Fisher was one of the last autographs it needed. Carrie, being as spectacular as ever, obliged and signed the poster … except … she signed it: “Suck my dick.”

This threw the guy into such a fit of rage that he ripped the poster up, to the horror of all. I remember hearing that story and realizing at that moment just how much I loved Carrie Fisher. While she could have simply signed her name and fit within his mold, she broke away and left her characteristic sass emblazoned on the paper. That poster would have been worth so much money with that unique sendoff, and it’s a story I will never forget.

So that’s how I’d like to remember her, my princess, and my general. She may have drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra, but she will forever remind me to rebel, hope, sass, and most importantly, never apologize for telling a stranger to fuck off.

Thank you for everything, General. And until next time, keep those stiffs on their toes.

Fifteen After Fellowship

It’s incredible to think that FIFTEEN years ago, I was sitting in a movie theatre in Columbia, South Carolina with my parents, waiting with baited breath for The Fellowship of the Ring to begin. It was a midnight showing, and my awesome parents (who united back together for a night to honor our love of Tolkien) took me, a hormonal 15-year-old, to see it.

When the music began, my skin shivered and my heart began racing. The sultry tones of the opening monologue heated my blood, my mind began to scatter, and I was in it. As I watched my favorite creatures (hobbits, duh) come to life on the big screen, and no longer solely in my imagination, I dazzled in delight. There was a sharp intake of breath as I watched Samwise Gamgee – my favorite book character to date – breathe life onto the screen. There he was, my Samwise! It’s known that I have crushed on Sean Astin since his Goonies days (I just want to remind everyone he kissed a girl named Andrea so really what did anyone expect) and I applied to Notre Dame solely because of the influence Rudy had on my early years. So when Samwise waltzed onto the screen, with his golden curls, and his perfect intonation, I did like any normal teenager – I squeeeeeeeed. Thankfully, my parents ignored me to save me embarrassment.

As the movie progressed, I was blown away. I don’t think I even blinked, and I barely breathed, forgetting any basic functions while the perfect world of Tolkien perfectly played out in front of me. But then, the hobbits were running from the Ringwraiths. The tension in the theater could be cut with a knife; everyone was intensely focused on the chase. “Buckleberry ferry!”

The hobbits ran. The Ringwraiths galloped faster. The music rose. The action intensified. YES. THIS WAS AMAZING. I WAS SO EXCITED. MY STOMACH WAS IN KNOTS. MY HEART WAS BEATING SO FAST I COULD FEEL MY SKIN, I …. oh GOD OH GOD OH GOD

I immediately motioned to my parents that I needed to GO RIGHT NOW PEOPLE. My heroic dad ushered me out quickly as I dashed to the bathroom, and proceeded to puke my brains out for a solid five, gut-wrenching minutes.

Looking like I had just endured my own chase through the woods, I slithered out of the bathroom, as pale as ever. I looked up at my dad in defeat and tears, and he knew – we had to go home.

I was crushed.

Today

Ever just have a total shit day at work? I started off not getting enough sleep (again) thanks to a distributor making a delivery mistake. My poor kitchen manager had his windows smashed in, and they forgot to bring us potatoes (most of our menu is potato-based.)

Did I mention I started my period? Oh, I haven’t mentioned my monthly menstrual musings yet? There you go. Quota met.

Pair all of that with the continued stress of life, plus some things going on in the background that I’m not ready to talk about yet, and it becomes the perfect storm.

So when the night was closing out, there I was, sitting at the bar with my glass of water and grilled chicken, feeling pretty low. A minute later, one of my staff came rushing down to me and told me “She knows your song! She was singing ‘I Should Go!”

A lady leaving my bar had heard my Mass Effect song parody, and SHE FANGIRLED. Guys. I HAVE A FAN! Like, that was the most magical, amazing thing that had ever happened. This brilliant human came up to me, excited to meet me, talk to me, and tell me how much she loved my song. It was the most wonderful thing to experience, and I hope she knows how much it meant to me.

So thank you, kind lady, for turning my day into a heartwarming, feel-good, fuck-yeah kind of night. I love you.

‘Emma Approved’ and Why Web Has Won

The face of storytelling is radically changing thanks to the explosion of social media and closer access to the global community. One of the wonderful upsides of this evolution is the birth of web series, that is an episodic drama or comedy that is published through the web (no film or television.) Some of the best shows I have seen are purely web series, whether it’s The Guild, Dragon Age: Redemption, or more recently, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD.) 

Last year, a company now officially called Pemberly Digital, took a chance on a unique retelling of the Jane Austen classic Pride & Prejudice. In their vision, Elizabeth Bennet was a voracious lady starting a webcam project to detail the story of her life – for educational purposes! The series, which has won several awards and nearly 2 million views on the first YouTube episode, was a resounding success for the company and cast, so when Pemberly Digital announced their next project, the internet awaited with baited breath.

Unfortunately, Welcome to Sanditon truly paled in comparison whether for lack of translation, characterization, or simply a weaker story (I lean toward the latter.) Pemberly’s third series, however, has been an absolute brilliant success that has not only proven their ability to perfectly and beautifully translate a story, but also shown the world how much they have grown and that they’re only getting better.

tumblr_mv6oxsqEdw1qlbyp3o1_500-2Yesterday the finale episode of that series aired, wrapping up several months of perfection from the cast and production team. Emma Approved, a modern retelling of another Austen classic, took Pemberly’s web series model to an entirely new level, incorporating social media accounts and corporate sponsorships for the characters and a fully interactive website/blog to further suspend our disbelief. The lovable, though misguided, Emma was an absolutely perfect modernization of the character.

Without spoilers, the story follows the original closely, and the chemistry (which ended up being real!) between the main characters can’t be matched. 10/10 would watch again. Seriously, GO WATCH THIS NOW!

#FLtoGenCon : 32 Hours of Commuting

Because we’re crazy, Markus andI decided to drive to GenCon – the greatest four days in gaming! It’s a 12-hour journey to our friend’s house in Nashville, and then just another 4 or so hours to Indianapolis. We tried to keep up with tweets along the way (don’t worry – we were passengers when we tweeted) using the hashtag #FLtoGenCon. At one point, I even started a trivia game with other GenCon travelers. If you missed the journey, here it is. Next year, we’ll use the hashtag more.

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Growing Up GenCon

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My hands are clammy and continue to tug at the bottom of my skirt. It took me four weeks and seven stores before I found a skirt that even roughly matched those suitable for a day of class. My wool sweater stifled me in the heat of the convention, no doubt worsened by my nervousness, and the white Oxford shirt scratched beneath. Why did I decide to wear this in the summer heat of Indianapolis? I had just spent an hour attempting to hand-stitch my Ravenclaw patch onto the just-arrived-from-the-internet robes, but ended up safety pinning it to the black cloth before leaving the room. Continue reading

Be Proud.

NeilWhoahI listened to an amazing podcast the other day from the Morning Coach series. In it, JB Glossinger talked about sharing the positivity and negativity in life. He encouraged “you” to tell the world when you were having a great success. This  is opposite to what I was taught growing up. “Stop showing off, Andrea,” my mom would politely intone as I displayed a theatre award from my school. I never had much self-confidence as a younger adult, but as I have come into my own in my 20s; I’m finally feeling like a confident, successful woman.

So I want to share with you some happiness, some positivity, and some success. I know in reading my own posts that I generally post about the pub I own or my weight/depression. When I feel down and start to tread the slippery slope of depression, I turn to writing to work through my negativity and receive reassurance from you guys. Even though only a few people read these blogs, the support I receive via comments, tweets, etc., is better than any medicine I could afford.

Back to the podcast, JB explained that we should be happy to share the success in our life – he described it as providing a light for others to follow out of the darkness. And then when we are in the darkness, we can follow that light from others. This really rang home for me. In my darkest times, it’s always an encouraging message from strangers that bring me back to even ground. I don’t think most people realize the power of just one tweet but when you’re struggling with depression and in “the low” – it’s hard to feel anything but encouraged when your phone lights up with a message full of love. <3

With that said, and in an effort to focus on positivity, here’s what I’m happy about RIGHT NOW! 

  • I’ve lost 5 pounds since #BecomingShepard – I’ve tracked daily on my FitBit, worked out, and stayed true to my nutrition, the occasional tater tot aside. I’ve also cut down on my alcohol consumption and haven’t skipped a single workout. :)
  • I own a geek pub at 28 years of age. I often have to be reminded that this isn’t a usual feat and rather something I should be proud of, so here it goes – I OWN A FUCKING PUB THAT’S AWESOME AND AWESOME GEEKS GET THEIR GEEK ON THERE! Sure, I have a lot of trolls and assholes in its wake but on the majority, I have a great group of regulars that make me happy to work long hours and a fantastic staff that I don’t mind sharing 90% of my life with each week.
  • I have really awesome friends. I have friends behind me from all corners of the globe who I’ve met just over the last year. They’re amazing geeks doing amazing things and I’m so honored to have their encouragement and love from afar.
  • My husband is pretty cool and let’s face it – that Star Lord costume is the sexiest. I’m very happy that despite being told this bar would ruin our marriage, we work together and love each other more than ever. Marry your best friend because if the friendship isn’t there, love has a harder time of overcoming the obstacles life dishes out.
  • I get to see all of my friends at GenCon in just a couple of weeks! I can’t help but be anything except excited at the prospect of all-night gaming, hugging friends I haven’t seen since last August, and meeting even more nerds like me.

Be proud and leave that smile on your face. Tell me what you’re happy about and share your success. I would love to hear it. :)

The Guardians of the Galaxy Screening!

10489856_10101702398471767_6126923288228522261_nYesterday I had the awesome opportunity to attend a special screening of the new Guardians of the Galaxy flick, thanks to the lovely people at Disney Parks Blog. This is our second DPB meet up ( the first for the Monstrous Summer 24-hour Disney party.) If you haven’t applied for one of their events, you should keep an eye out because they’re wonderful. We closed down the pub Saturday night so we were running on four hours of sleep when we arrived at Downtown Disney to check out the film. Markus was very happy to debut his Star Lord costume for the first time, and I got to wear one of my punny GotG reference shirts. I was a little too tired to venture into my Rocket Raccoon costume so that’s saved for GenCon in a few weeks.

When we got to the theater, the Disney Parks Blog team did a great job of making everyone feel awesome with free popcorn and drink tickets, and limited-edition 3D glasses. The glasses, themed after the different characters from the film, are really solid and comfortable. They’re meant to be kept! After obtaining our wristbands, we stopped for photos in front of the large cardboard movie poster. Markus was pulled away for pictures with fellow attendees and the media staff. It was really fun seeing all of hard work pay off as I watched (and swooned) from the sidelines. The blog team had cute costumes as well, including this awesome AWESOME MIX VOL 1 tape costume. Continue reading