Category Archives: Travels

Story time!

The wind was cold and the moon was full and bright in the sky. Well. The moon wasn’t actually up yet and I’m pretty sure it’s waning crescent right now. But picture it that way anyway. I took John’s hand and we plunged into the corn for a wild adventure. Or, you know, a walk through the corn.

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John consulted the map occasionally, in a stalwart manner, refusing my offer of a flashlight. He was the fearless leader of our expedition, pulling me along over the furrows and felled corn stalks. I was sure we were lost most of the time but not John, he directed me left and right and left again with all the confidence of a drill instructor.

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We had a brief false alarm when we stumbled upon a broken in exit that had clearly been made by some maze-goer that was not nearly as skilled in directions as my husband. Alas, we were not yet free.

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After an arduous journey we stumbled out of the maze and into the safety of the floodlights. As it transpired, the exit we found wasn’t an “official” exit so maybe we didn’t actually complete the maze. But damn it, we survived!

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Filed under Marriage, Travels

Harvest 2013 (The fighting part)

I’ve admitted in the past that the fighting doesn’t matter to me even a little bit. It matters to John, though, so I climbed off of my high horse for a bit and took pictures.

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Sometimes I’m rewarded with awesome shots. Like this one, of Kael unintentionally posing.

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Or this picture of Leo looking incredibly outraged. I don’t know why he’s outraged and I don’t want to know. Somehow I think the real answer won’t be as entertaining as what my imagination will come up with.

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And then there’s my most favorite capture, this picture of Rau that looks like he’s pointing at me. I was taking pictures from pretty far away so it’s almost guaranteed that he wasn’t angrily pointing at me to tell me to stop taking pictures. But I like to pretend that he was, anyway.

My favorite subject (surprise surprise) is my beloved husband. So much of my battle footage revolves around him. I have all his most exciting activities. Here he is listening:

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Defending!

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Charging into battle!

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And the very best one, winning a fight!

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Staying on my favorite subject, I want to chronicle the most photogenic battle of the event. A one on one between John & Cassius. You remember, this guy:

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Anyway, when these two fought it was more like they were playing than anything and it tickled me. John started things off right with his most mischievous grin.

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Cassius, of course, responded with a serious business attitude. He is not to trifled with.

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John clearly worked at wearing down his fierce attitude, but Cassius was having none of it.

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Really, they were both quite cheerful.

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Harvest 2013 (Part One)

This past weekend was yet another fighting based event. A camping event, no less. Now, I have declined these pretty steadily every time they have come up but this time I decided to try it out.

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I did not help with the putting up of the tent, John had another manly man (Donald, Kael, if you prefer) to help him with that. So while I can no longer say I have never been camping I can still say I never pitched a tent. (Cue adolescent laughter.)

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Of all the delightful camping companions, Mister Rusty here was my favorite. Sweetest old dog you could ever imagine. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise though, because his owner is a totally awesome lady.

Not so delightful were these guys:

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I only encountered a couple while I was eating in the picnic area but Tati and Rau were King and Queen of the spiders. Their tent was fairly overrun by 8-legged uninvited guests. Together they claim to have vanquished dozens of the tiny menaces.

Easing my way into the wild world of camping was Krystal. I didn’t take a thousand pictures of her this time so you’re just going to have to remember what she looks like. On Saturday we took a nature hike while everyone else was beating each other up with foam weapons.

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The trail we were walking along was frequented by people on horses and that was made evident by the sheer amount of horse droppings. And, more pleasantly, by these:

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We ran into a bit of trouble on the way back. Specifically, my lungs decided to quit functioning. The whole way there was downhill so of course the whole way back was uphill. I needed to stop quite a bit to keep being able to breathe. My asthma was not improved by sitting in front of a fire the night before. On the plus side, I got lots of great pictures while I recovered.

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Ultimately what I learned from my very first camping trip is that I should probably never camp. But if I am going to camp, I should definitely do it in the Spring or the Summer when it isn’t quite so freaking cold.

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Super PAX Post Part 2 (Party Edition)

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We tried to recapture our perfect PAX experience from last year this year but it didn’t quite work out that way. Last year Amber, John and I were looking to lower our cost by having a few roommates in with us. Through that we ended up meeting Rowdy (James) and Flip (Brandon) who turned out to be really awesome guys. There was also a straggler, Pixie, but she didn’t really hang out with us. Together we shared the living quarters half of a suite and had a hell of a great time. You can see Rowdy below, photo-bombing his own candid shot.

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I don’t have a picture of Flip because he, like all majestic, mythical creatures, cannot be properly captured on film. I am totally not covering for the fact that I never got any pictures.

This year we were in two separate rooms and had two extras (Rowdy’s girlfriend Amelia and my super best friend Krystal) but we still managed to get together every night to talk and laugh. And drink. There was quite a bit of cider to be had. Plus a few games of cards against humanity. Honestly, I think last year we were still getting to know each other so we played more games to fill in the gaps. This year we all just wanted to catch up and all we needed for that was ourselves and good feelings all around.

In between the drinking and the laughing there was a convention to be had!

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The handheld lounge is where I spent a lot of my first PAX but this year I only stopped by for a photo. It’s a great place to play Mario Kart with a bunch of strangers but otherwise there are much better things to see and to do. For instance, when I took this picture, we were headed over to the room where Crit Success was located to get ourselves some fancy d20 rings. 019 021

After that it was on to the Expo floor! Where the very first thing that caught my eye was, of course, this:

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The line was a mess, though, so we didn’t bother and anyway Chessex was right next door. Amber needed to get dice for Kyle and John couldn’t resist the lure. Even I found something that entertained me. Yo, dawg!

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Later on we ran into Amelia and she and John got a chance to make soup. A truly exciting proposition.

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It’s a game called Pixel Junk Inc and I was completely disinterested. Except they were offering a chance at winning a green tea Kit Kat bar, so I was so on board for that. Spoiler alert: we didn’t win. But they had fun and isn’t that the point? (No.)

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This was the highlight for me! It’s a very simple game with a simple premise: you are an octopus with a human family that does not know you are an octopus. Basically you just do dad stuff but it’s really hard as you have tentacles. Tentacles are not exactly very helpful for things like making coffee or mowing the lawn. It’s hilarious and sad to watch him struggle. Poor Octodad.

Later, John posed amusingly with a cosplayer. I don’t have a story to go along with this, I just love the picture.

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As usual, I saved the best for last, Acquisitions Inc!

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It’s strange, but I was never really interested in D&D until Penny Arcade started playing around the time 4.0 came out. I remember that was when it was because they were specifically running a 4.0 game to try it out. These days they’re playing D&D Next because they always roll with the newest thing.

Acquisitions Inc is the name of the motley crew of characters they assembled to go on these adventures. This time around they discarded Wil Wheaton and the crew was Jerry Holkins as Omin Dran, Mike Krahulik as Jim Darkmagic (of the New Hampshire Darkmagics), Scott Kurtz as Binwin Bronzebottom and Patrick Rothfuss as Viari.  I didn’t know who Patrick Rothfuss was until this game but as it transpires, I find him hilarious. I guess he’s a writer? Still kind of in the dark. More research must be done.

I laughed until my stomach hurt and, FYI, so can you! The video is hosted in many different places but if you go the Wizards of the Coast website, you can listen to the podcasts as well. Enjoy!

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More Medieval Rugby (Leo’s Nameday Battle)

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It’s gotten to the point now where I am legitimately happy to go to events. I still don’t want to fight (much to John’s dismay) but you can’t beat the company. Well, actually, you can, but you oughta sign a waver first, cause they’ll want to beat you back.

This event was to celebrate the birth of a great fighter and all around awesome guy, Leo. You can see him in the picture above, grinning as he’s about to be killed. I don’t think he stopped smiling for more than a minute all day. But he’s a jovial sort.

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I brought my best friend Krystal along with me and she wanted to try out a little swordplay. She got comfortable with taking that leap a lot faster than I ever did. And with a little bit of social pressure at work I picked up a sword as well. She wasn’t bad at all. I would prefer not to disclose how I did. Assume as you’d like.

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Fortunately, being behind the camera, I don’t have to worry about any pictures of me with a sword. Phew.

Of the others, though, I have plenty. Here you see Rau catching a spear that had been thrown at him.

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And then, of course, preparing to chuck it back.

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At one point, my husband found himself in quite a difficult predicament. He was facing two kings and missing a leg.

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The results were predictable to say the least.

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The lovely Tati, while not really fighting that day, was a great herald (read: referee) and very willing to pose as well.

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The after party was even more fun, hosted by the totally awesome Fugook, seen here looking like a king of the forest.

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We didn’t get home until well after 2 am and it was a wonder that either of us ever got out of bed today. Though it should be noted that John did go back as soon as he could.

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Let’s Talk About PAX

Six or so years ago I started reading a video game based web comic called Penny Arcade. I instantly fell in love with the characters and over a few months became a super fan. Imagine my excitement upon finding out that they have a convention dedicated to the comic every year in September. And then my sadness when I found out it’s all the way in Seattle. But I had a handful of friends that made the trip every year and, after much agonizing, in 2009 I decided to join them.

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I don’t make new friends easily, I don’t go new places and I generally avoid everything. I’ve suffered through severe anxiety since I was ten years old and every new thing is a huge trial for me.  I want to be very clear about those facts so that the next one will hit harder. PAX was easy for me from the very second I walked through the doors at the convention center in Seattle. I went places by myself and I talked to strangers. I smiled and laughed the whole time. Every second was a joy.

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My happiness increased tenfold when I became an Enforcer (in short, a volunteer for PAX). I didn’t get the job I wanted and I groused about that because complaining is something at which I excel. But the moment I walked on shift with my Enforcer shirt on everything changed. My customary PAX joy snapped back into place and I carved my own little niche in Console Freeplay (my station, wherein my job was sanitizing controllers). By the end of the night, I had six new friends. And an enemy.

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Now every year, crossing the bridge from Portland into Washington I feel a lightness in my chest. I feel a warmth that fills my veins and thrills me. It’s the best part of every year. A feeling like coming home.

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This One Time, in Redding (Road Stories, First and Secondhand)

One of the best parts about riding on the truck with John is the odd people that you brush up against at truck stops. One day we were getting Popeye’s in Redding when we looked out the huge windows to see a lady talking to a cop. Or rather, shrieking at a cop. She was wearing a long flowing skirt over a one piece bathing suit and was acting completely crazy. It was hard not to stare. We talked to a couple other people in the store about her and one man was actually taking his lunch outside to get a better view. I asked John if we could stay to see how the whole thing turned out but he said we needed to go. Rats.

Another time, in a nowhere town in Washington, we stopped at the most miserably small truck stop I’ve ever seen. We parked at a truck stop that wasn’t open 24 hours but did have a very nice diner. The bathroom there is where I took this picture. I still think it’s quite a good deal.

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There was another truck stop that was 24 hours right across the street and I was annoyed about not staying there, until we went into said 24 hour truck stop the next morning. I got this from the bathroom inside.

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The clerk seemed nice enough but apparently he’s quite the zealot. When John told me he had argued with the guy before, I accused him of being a zealot himself. Of course that was before I saw the little pamphlet. I don’t think I could have expected him to not say anything.

That truck stop is also the place where John was shown a picture of Big Foot on a fellow truck driver’s cell phone. It was dark and blurry and unrecognizable as anything living, which sounds pretty damn authentic to me. Must have actually been Big Foot.

And of course the oddness isn’t limited to the people you actually meet on the road. Sometimes you get a peek at the weird by what they leave behind on the walls.

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In case you can’t read it, as it is quite small, it says this: “I love to watch your size, figure penis…that’s nice…kool!”

I don’t know, either.

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