Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Disney Alligator Attack

I love Walt Disney World. It's my favorite place to be anywhere in the world. To get some Disney at home, I'm a member of several Disney related Facebook groups.

It was nearly time for bed last night when people started posting in those groups about an alligator attack that happened on the beach of the Grand Floridian. You can read about it here, but this morning they still haven't found the child who was taken. 

I knew that there were alligators in the waters throughout Disney World. Florida, in general, has a lot of alligators. But Disney World was built on land that was originally all swamps. I've heard stories of people seeing alligators at the resorts and sometimes in the parks.

When Todd and I took our Disney Honeymoon, I remember seeing signs about not going in the water. I was confused when we started planning since we were staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort. I mean, when I think of beaches, I think about swimming thanks to growing up in Michigan. But it soon became clear why swimming wasn't a good idea.

I feel terrible for this family. Disney is suppose to be a happy, magical place. I don't think Disney is at fault at all, but I know that they will probably put more signs up, maybe even block some of the access to the beach. 

When we go to Disney in October, I know I'll be keeping extra close tabs on Emily. She's obviously older but it's still scary. A family's child is still missing and the chances of a happy ending are slim. 

Some Thoughts about the Pulse Shootings

When I heard about the shootings at the gay dance club in Orlando, I felt sick to my stomach. There is so much violence in the world and it's so horrible. It's taken a few days to even process it all, especially as the stories and pictures of the people killed start rolling onto the internet.

I've also seen several posts that say if you aren't LBQT+, that you have no business commenting on this tragedy. But on the other side, I've seen posts that say that straight, cisgendered people like myself haven't said enough.

I'm about as straight as they come. But I have a lot of LBQT+ friends. I see them as just people, awesome people since they are my friends. I don't understand the hate, and I don't think I ever will. I've had people who have hurt me physically and emotionally over the years, but I don't hate them.

The shooter sounds like he had hatred for himself, along with the people he killed. Mental illness is real. It's something I suffer from. Though I'd be more likely to kill myself rather than take others out with me if I went off my medicine. Thankfully I do have medicine to help me with my brain imbalance.

I'm also a Christian. And it sickens me to see Christian folks, especially pastors, cheering for the deaths of these people. No-one would choose to be out of the norm and live a life knowing that they will be bullied and even killed for they way they were born.

Of course, there has been a lot of talk about guns and gun control. I've never been comfortable with guns, but I can see a use for hunting rifles. Less so for handguns, but I'm totally for a ban of semi-automatic weapons. No-one needs a firearm that can mow down a bunch of people in just a few minutes. But that's just my opinion.

But in the end, this was a tragedy. I grieve for all those who lost loved ones as well as all those who are LBQT+.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Why I Love Social Media

20 years ago, I first discovered the internet. It was 1996 and I was in my 2nd year of college. In those days, forums were the main way to communicate with lots of other people. I found a forum for Star Wars fans and suddenly I had all these like-minded friends.

While the internet has changed a great deal from those days, I still use it every day. In fact, most of my life is run by the internet. I work from home via the internet, I do all my banking and bill paying via the internet and of course, I use it to talk to my friends.

I have local friends but most of my close friends live far away from me. I'm an an introvert with chronic pain so there are days I don't leave the house. But I do long for human contact outside of my husband and child.

This is why I love social media. I can talk to my friends without having to leave my house. Some of my closest friends are people I've been friends with for years but have never met in person. A lot of my friends are also people I only see one a year at conventions that I talk to a lot over social media (mostly Facebook).

I never understand why people want to take breaks from Facebook. More power to them if that helps them out, but I could never do it. While Facebook isn't perfect, it works for what I use it for. I can message people directly, I can see what people are up to and I can talk with people who share the same interests in private groups.

A friend of mine is very ill. We are part of the same private group and most of the posts from this weekend were us worrying over lack of news. Praying and sending good thoughts and just huddling together via the internet as we worried and worried. I probably checked Facebook for updates every five minutes. Once we got an update, the relief was palpable. She still very ill but she's still with us.

Also after the shooting in Orlando, it was nice that my friends who live there were able to mark that they were ok. And of course, social media gives people a chance to mourn these awful tragedies together.

Social media isn't perfect, and I'd love to be able to get together with my friends in person. But until science finds a way to make transporters a thing, social media will have to do.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

ConCarolinas 2016!

This past Saturday, Emily and I made the trek to Concord, NC to attend ConCarolinas. It was the first time in years that we've gone and both of us were really excited.

I donned my Tightrope Girl costume and Emily in her Kairi costume and we made the two hour trek. Driving in a corset was interesting! We made it a little before 10 am and quickly got our badges. From there, Emily wanted to check out the dealer's room.

I tried to encourage her to look at everything before spending all of her money. She did ok but did end up buying a Beanie Baby Unicorn coin purse almost right away.

We saw my friend, Mikey, and bought one of his coloring books. We mostly wandered around after that until Emily declared she was going to die from hungry. We found that one of the food trucks was set up and we got a couple of hot dogs. We enjoyed our meal on a patio area and got to watch some SCA knights do battle.

After that, it was time for Live Action Hungry, Hungry Hippos. It was an activity for the kids but the parents had to get involved too! Emily thought this was great fun but it was hard for me! I was still in my corset and Emily isn't exactly a lightweight anymore. We did about five rounds until I basically said no more! She got a ring pop as a prize and she was very happy with that.
parents had to get involved too. We had to wheelbarrow the kids to the middle of the floor where the kids had to grab as many balls as they could then we dragged them back to their respective corners.

We did some wandering around after that. She got to spin the wheel at one table and I got to answer a trivia question. I answered it correctly and won Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. Emily practically screamed with joy! She also gathered a lot of candy from the different tables - it was like geeky trick or treating.

After a trek in the blazing heat back to the car, I got changed into my 2nd costume. My Kaylee costume is still very geeky but it's much, much more comfortable to wear. It was nice to not be corseted anymore.

We went to a panel about the lack of Rey toys and female characters in general. I found it interesting but Emily got bored after a bit. She is apparently still a little too young for panels

I wanted to see the costume contest but Emily didn't really. I offered her a compromise - that we could sit in the very back and she could play with her new stuff while I watched the costume contest. She agreed and had fun quietly playing with her Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. There were a lot of amazing costumes to see!

After the judging of the costume contest, we slipped out to get some dinner because now I was hungry. There were several other food trucks but one was wasn't open and the other was just a dessert one. So we opted to get hamburgers and chips. We went to the lounge area inside and had a nice little dinner.

It was getting to be closer to my friend Mikey's concert so we went to the room where it was going to be. We had an hour beforehand so we just stayed and watched the belly dance show that was happening right before the concert.

The belly dance show was very entertaining. The theme was Star War vs. Star Trek so all the dances were inspired from those shows / movies. By the end, Emily was trying to belly dance to the music herself!

After that, it took a few minutes for Mikey to set up and then his show got rolling. Emily, ironically, spent some time coloring in Mikey's coloring book while Mikey was singing. I enjoyed the concert a lot. I've only seen him live once before at the Browncoat Ball in 2014 but sadly I don't remember it because of my seizures. I pretty much sang along the whole concert!

After Mikey was done, we headed out. It was after seven and we had a two hour drive home. The drive home was uneventful and Emily slept most of the way. She says she wants to go the whole weekend next year.

ConCarolinas is a great con! Lots of great people, fun entertainment and lots of geeking out!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

ConCarolinas and Me

ConCarolinas is a mid-sized con that takes place outside of Charlotte every year at the beginning of June. It's a great con because a lot of my friends go to it and it's like a mini Dragon Con without the massive crowds.

It's been a few years since I've been able to go to ConCarolinas, but on Saturday Emily and I are heading there for the day. I'm very excited to go for a lot of reasons. Emily's excited to show off her Kairi costume and go to Mommy's friend's concert (Mikey Mason!).

Emily was about 8 months old whens she went to her first ConCarolinas. It was her first con ever! But more important than that, ConCarolinas was instrumental in me realizing that I had Post Partum Depression. I wasn't excited for the con and I knew I ought to be. This caused me to finally get help and get back on a good track.

We went back the next year. I did some gaming while Todd chased around a mobile Emily. It was at this con that Emily had her first picture with a celebrity. Claudia Christian who played Susan Ivanova on Babylon Five thought Emily was so cute that she wanted a picture with her. Claudia Christian's husband sent Todd a copy of that picture. It's the first one in Emily's Hall of Fame Scrapbook.

I've had other great experiences at ConCarolinas and I'm sure this coming Saturday will be no exception. It's a great convention and everyone in the Carolinas should check it out!