Thursday, September 24, 2015

Mourning Memories Lost

A lost memory
As I've talked about before, I was very sick last November. I lost five days and woke up in the hospital the day before Thanksgiving in the ICU after having a series of seizures. Those five days are completely gone, though I'm not missing much - according to my husband, I mostly slept.

My brain is weird. That's pretty much the only diagnosis I've ever gotten. This is the 2nd time I've lost time, but this case was different. For a while, I didn't remember much of everything from last year. A lot of those memories did come back, but I knew the closer we got to November, I would get to a dead zone where I didn't remember much.

Memories are very important to me, probably in part because my mom is passed away and I don't have a ton of pictures of her. She is suppose to live on in my memory and she does - thankfully my long term memory was not affected.

For a while after I got home from the hospital, it seemed like every day I was finding something that I had forgotten. I was so excited to watch the movie Divergent again because I did remember that I had loved it in the theater, but when I started the movie I didn't remember any of it.

It's been months since I've experienced finding out something I forgot until last week. I saw on Facebook that one of my online friends had passed away, and thanks to the Timehop app a few days after that, I saw that I did know that he had died, but I had forgot.

We weren't close friends. Mostly online friends who met a few times at local Browncoat events but I felt extremely guilty that I had completely forgotten that he was gone. It's silly I know, but that's how I felt.

It also means that I'm in the dead zone now. From now until the day before Thanksgiving, my memories of last year are fuzzy at best. And a lot happened in October of last year that I wish that I could remember.

The only thing I can really remember about Emily's birthday is running to the dollar store near our house, but I don't remember why. The only things I remember from the Browncoat Ball is playing Cards Against Humanity with lots of people including Mikey Mason and then feeling sick to my stomach during the dance itself. Halloween I don't remember anything.

Because I had gone through the memory merry-go-round earlier, I didn't think it would be a big deal when I got to this point. But I realize now, that I'm still mourning for the lost memories. Thankfully I'm a big fan of social media and taking lots of pictures, so I've pieced together some of what happened. But I just don't remember it.

I'm sure I'll get over it, but the next few months may be harder than I anticipated. The healing just continues. I'm going to try and focus on making new memories as well.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Dragon Con 2015 - Sunday

Arrow panel
This is the last post in my series of recaps of Dragon Con. You can click to read the posts for Friday and Sunday.

We got up pretty early and back downtown on Sunday since I wanted to make sure I was able to get into the Arrow panel. I wasn't feeling too bad, but all the walking was taking its toll so I opted to wait in the handicapped area. 

The nice thing about the handicapped area is the chairs. I was there an hour early, and there was already a line of normal folks. There were a few people in the handicapped area too. I don't mind waiting but having a chair to sit on really helps me maintain spoons.

The panel was in the massive ballroom in the Marriott so it took some time to load everyone in. I enjoyed watching DragonConTV, my first time watching it all weekend since we hadn't done any panels and we don't stay in a host hotel.

Finally the panel started - it had all the Arrow guests there. Though Stephen Amell and John Barrowman totally stole the show. They were really funny!

Once the panel was done, I met Todd at the food court. After some lunch, we spent some time in the dealer's room. I got some stickers for my car / computer, but that was pretty much all I bought. I didn't want to be hauling a ton of stuff around. I did get to see my friend Elizabeth at the Austin Browncoats table - her daughter is even cuter in person!

From there, we headed to the Sheraton. We went to one paranormal panel, Historic Haunts Investigations, where author / ghost hunter Jamie Pierce answered questions about her experiences. It was really interested.

After that, we decided to go and wait for Aiden Sinclair's Paranormal Magic Show. His shows have been the highlight of our Cons the last few years and his show was different this year. We were the first in line, and we
Me and Aiden Sinclair!
sat in chairs that were outside the room. So we also started the disability area too. The line started forming behind us about five minutes after we sat down and we were about two hours early. 

Aiden Sinclair came probably an hour or so before the show and he was shocked to see all the people already lined up. I actually got a picture with him too which was pretty awesome!

The Dragon Con organizers has put a mini Maker's Fair in the room  that was suppose to go until right before the show was suppose to start. They actually had to end that early and then have a bunch of staffers come in to set up the room. Even with that, the show did start on time and we were in the front.

The show was titled Paranormal Illusions: The Haunted Circus. All the tricks told the story of a tragic circus fire that happened in 1944 that had a paranormal incident surrounding it. He had artifacts from the circus that he used. I actually got picked to help in one of the tricks.

It was an amazing show! Again the highlight of my con. Afterwards, we also were able to get Aiden Sinclair's autograph.

From there, it was after 9 pm. So we left the con, happy with how the weekend had gone. Honestly, it was one of the best Dragon Cons I've attended!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dragon Con 2015 - Saturday

This is the 2nd post in my series of recaps of Dragon Con. You can click to read the posts for Friday and Sunday.

We got up and going early on Saturday morning since I was going to march in the Disney section of the parade. They had to change the parade route and the staging area because of streetcars that were put in downtown. It took me a bit but I found the staging area which actually worked better than the old one.

There were only a few Disney cosplayers when I got there, but they started coming in. We were near the front so I got to see a lot of cool costumes. The parade got started pretty much on time, and it was the long walk. Even though the parade route was only .1 of a mile longer, it felt much longer.

But the best part of being in the Disney group is watching the kids along the parade route get so excited to see their favorite princesses march by. There was also a great Gaston cosplayer who marched next to me who was really hamming it up for the crowd.

Once the parade was over, I went to find Todd who was in the food court. He had gotten a bunch of autographs with little wait because so many people were at the parade. I was near the front of the parade so it wasn't very crowded outside of the parade yet. We headed over to the Hyatt to go to the Artist Alley.

There, I quickly found Peter David's table and finally got to meet him. He's been one of my favorite authors since I was in high school and I've been meaning to get his autograph for the last couple of Dragon Cons but I never make it over to the artist alley. But it finally happened this year!

Todd and I looked around the Artist Alley a bit and peeked in the Art Show. By this time, it was starting to get crowded. We had decided before we even got to GA that we were only going to stay a short time at the con on Saturday. It just gets too crowded.

So we headed out, and I changed out of my costume once we got to the car. From there, we went to a big mall that isn't far from my Aunt and Uncle's house. We shopped a bit - they have a Disney Store and a LEGO store and then went to the movies. We saw The Man from U.N.C.L.E. which was a fun movie.

We got back fairly early to my aunt and uncle's house and turned in early.

Up Next - Dragon Con Sunday

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dragon Con 2015 - Friday

We usually head down to GA to go to Dragon Con fairly early on Thursday but this year we waited until Emily was out of school. Because we didn't get to my aunt and uncle's house until the evening, we didn't go down to the con at all until Friday.

Todd and I got up bright and early Friday morning to head downtown. I wore my Tightrope Girl costume and I actually got asked for my picture before we even got into the Peachtree Center. That was awesome because I rarely get asked for my picture.

Sheraton was our first stop to get our badges. Badge pick-up was a breeze again this year. It took us longer to walk into the building than it did to actually get our badges. I also had to pick up my parade bracelet as well as get the disability sticker on my badge.

Dragon Con offers a variety of disability services. Because of my migraines, I got a sticker on my badge that lets me sit in the disability area and then I get a seat at the end of the row. I didn't end up using it until Sunday, but it really is nice to be able to sit and wait for panels in a chair.

We went to the Peachtree Center after that and got some breakfast. We didn't have any issues getting a seat and the food court is a great place to relax, eat and people watch

From there, we headed off to the Hilton. I had signed up for a massive Disney photoshoot. We were a little early but there were a lot of people there already. I love Disney and it was fun to see everyone's costumes.

Todd wandered away for a bit while we were all herded outside. Because of the uniqueness of my costume, I was only in the big group photo. It took a bit to get everyone posed, and then lots of pictures were taken.

Once the big group picture was taken, Todd had wandered back and we headed over to the Marriott. Even though the Walk of Fame wasn't opening for another hour, we opted to join the line to get in. I found that sitting on the floor in a corset is not very comfortable.

When the doors opened, we walked around the Walk of Fame to see who were there and where everyone would be. I got my picture with the voice of Goofy, Bill Farmer, since I had gotten his autograph the year before. Then we joined the line for the voice of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, Caroll Spinney. 

The line wasn't took long long, but the people who had been in the front took at least 20 minutes to talk to Caroll and have him sign everything under the sun. It got really ridiculous after a while and rather rude because the line just kept growing and growing. It's fine to have a bit of a conversation with the guests, especially an icon like Caroll Spinney. But more than five minutes and you are being very rude to the people behind you.

Finally they left, and the people in front of Todd and I had better sense so it only took us a few minutes to get up to the front. We got an autograph that he signed to both me and Emily, plus I got a picture with him.

It was then time to head over to the Dealer's room. It took us a bit to figure out where it was since they had moved buildings and there was actually a line to get into the building itself. There were two floors of dealer's and the layout was so much better this year.

First stop was the BPAL booth where I got BPAL. I've known the owners for years, so I got a hug from Ted. I also got a hug from Beth and we stood and talked about our kids for a bit. It's a little weird talking about school and kids in the middle of the dealer's room at Dragon Con.

We had been planning on staying later but by this time I was starting to get worn out. Todd noticed and suggested we go back to my aunt and uncle's house in order to save energy for the parade in the morning. I agreed and off we went.

It was a pretty good first day of Dragon Con!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Good and Bad of Dragon Con 2015

I've been attending Dragon Con for a long time. I've seen it grow and change quite a bit over that time. Both last year and the year before, I've done posts about the bad of Dragon Con. While I'm going to touch on the things that I think still need to be fixed, I'm also going to address old complaints that have been fixed for this year.

The crowds were massive again this year and while I didn't have as many issues with them in the past, it's something that the con is going to have to address at some point. I saw lots of badge checks to keep the hotels free of anyone besides con goers and hotel guests. We also didn't stay very late most of the con because of my health issues, so we may have missed some crowds.

Vaping was a bad for me. We were in line for the Walk of Fame on Friday for a while and one of the people nearby was vaping indoors. I'm very sensitive to that sort of thing but thankfully I didn't get too sick. Someone asked her to stop and she got very defensive saying that it was just vapor. Well, it is vapor and other things. I had thought that vaping was not allowed in the convention, but I saw a lot of it.

This isn't necessary a bad, but I wish that either the dealer's room or the Walk of Fame were open earlier than 1 pm on Friday. There are some panels going on before but Friday should honestly be a full day like Saturday and Sunday, especially with some official Dragon Con stuff starting to happen on Thursday.

The worst bad of Dragon Con was not something I experienced myself, but heard about afterwards. Apparently there was more than one sexual assault at the con this year. As a not so strong female, this makes me very uncomfortable. I am usually with my husband most of the con and we don't stay late, but it's not a good thing.

But on that depressing note, onto the good things that have been fixed in previous years!

We didn't get down to the con until Friday morning because we didn't want Emily to miss two days of school. Thankfully the badge pickup process is still great. It took us longer to walk to the Sheraton and inside the building than it did to get our badges.

The main issue we had last year was the bottleneck in the Marriott where you could head back to the blood drive and some track rooms, take the path to the Hyatt one way and take the path to the food court another way. It was a massive mess last year. What they did was put a divider and routed the traffic each way - it worked extremely well so no traffic jams happened.

I've marched in the parade for four or five years. This year the route was changed because of a new street car system they put in. The new staging area seemed to work a lot better than the old one - it was really easy for me to find my group. Plus longer parade makes more room for people to see it.

That's just an overview of the good and bad from Dragon Con - I'll be doing reports of each day over the next week or so!