Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nightmares and school (unrelated).

Today was the first day of school at the University of Washington. I saw all the college-aged kids swarming the streets of the U District today with their backpacks and their cell phones and their cups of coffee.

You know what I did today?

1. Slept until 10.
2. Went to Target.
3. Set up a green screen and lighting device in my dining room.
4. Finally took a shower around 5.
5. Filmed a video, learned how to chroma key in Sony Vegas, and replied to a ton of emails.
6. Watched a movie with Eia.

I'll admit, this is actually a pretty standard day in the life of Kristina Horner. But every single thing I did today felt the tiniest bit wrong when I stopped and thought about the fact that literally for the past 18 years, on this day in the fall, I was putting on my backpack, a new outfit, pouring over my schedule and going to my first day of new classes. There's a small part of me that misses school (new clothes, school supplies, new friends, new classes), but mostly it feels really freeing. I can do ANYTHING I WANT. Anything. Except fly. I still can't fly.

That sentiment is only slightly dampened by how much time I have spent on the phone with car insurance companies this week. Real life, man. It has its plusses and minuses.

So my sleeping schedule is all off right now for some reason (a combination of staying up late to catch up on YouTube videos, to talk to Eia because it's the only time she's ever home, and just generally losing track of time), but I have this viciously meticulous internal clock that will not, under any circumstances, let me sleep past 10. No matter what time I went to bed. And usually I'm up by 8, on a normal day.

Anyway, the point of this is that when I don't sleep well, I have nightmares. Not like, exorcist boogieman mentally-scarring nightmares, but just... really weird, disorienting stuff.

I dreamt a few nights ago that a friend of mine tried to give me this herbal tea stuff that had worms in it that were apparently great for detox or something, but when I opened the lid they just started flying out and attaching themselves to everything. That's not a fun situation to wake up from.
I had a dream, too, that my face was covered in these creepy lumps and nobody wanted to tell me about it, and I actually woke up from it unconsciously feeling my cheeks to make sure they were alright.
I also had this dream one time where a guy was trying to hunt me down from the internet and wanted to kill me or kidnap me or something, and in the dream I remember coming home and seeing my place was trashed - when I woke up I actually had to have Luke reassure me that nothing was wrong.
And one time I dreamt Eia was demanding we move into a dancer's commune where you sleep in a different room than you keep your stuff in, as an attempt to share the living experience on a deeper level with your housemates -wtf! And she wasn't listening to me at all when I was telling her that I didn't want to live there, and I actually woke up angry at her, before I realized it wasn't real.

These are just a few of the recent ones, and while it's not really a big deal because I tend to get over it within about five minutes of waking up... I guess I'm just wondering if this is normal. Nightmares seem like such a little kid thing; you know, in movies, it's always a child in their rocketship jammies waking up and screaming for their parents from some nightmare, but I seem to have them pretty frequently. And sometimes they really shake me up for a few minutes.

So anyway, that's all. Do you have nightmares? Do you have them often? What kind of nightmares are they/do they affect you for awhile after you wake up?

This blog post got very personal very quickly, so I am going to turn attention away from myself now, and reply to a comment I got on my last post from a lovely girl named Alex who comments on just about everything of mine. :)

Advice time!

kira902k: What should I do when my friends that I've had for a really long time are suddenly showing their backstabbing, bitchy sides and I have a whole new group of nerdier, more amazing friends (who are all either not at my school, or in a grade younger than me)? Do I ditch my longtime friends and graduate without friends in my grade, or do I just play along and deal with them until high school is finally over?

Let's take this one piece at a time. First of all, it sounds a little bit like you've answered your own question. You can obviously tell the difference between bitchy/backstabbing people and people who are truly worth your time, so you should be super thankful you have those other friends, regardless of where they live or how old they are.
I went through some trials and tribulations in middle school and high school with mean, backstabby people, and if I'd had another source of awesome friends to turn to then, it would have helped so much.

Graduating with people you know is fun and important, but you're always going to remember if those friendships were hollow or in fact meaningless. Even if you're not surrounded by your best friends on graduation day, you're still going to be celebrating a HUGE achievement you made on your own, and you're still going to have those great other friends waiting for you at the end of the day. Don't make yourself miserable just to take pictures in caps and gowns with people who aren't worthwhile.

Basically the moral of the story here, is that it's NEVER better to "play along" until some predetermined time if you're unhappy. Your life is happening right now. Spend it with the people who matter. Even if they're a grade below you. Or far away. :)

And that's how Kristina C's it! LOL.

Last google search: darkstone
Chipotle burritos: 20

Monday, September 27, 2010

Leftover advice questions - and answers!

Alright. So last week on fiveawesomegirls we did silly advice week, and I'll admit… most of my answers were less than helpful. So today, I'm going to be answering some of the more serious questions in a more serious manner here on my blog. Annnd.. here we go!

lobi89: how do you know if a guy likes you?
I know everyone's experience is different, but I've always found it to be pretty obvious if a guy liked me in the past. If he starts complimenting you in ways he never did before (especially on things like your looks), or starts randomly doing nice things for you out of nowhere, those are generally the first tell-tale signs that he's started thinking about you differently.
Or, in my experience, if he posts a song on YouTube telling everyone he likes you; that's a pretty dead giveaway.

xfallenwarriorx: How do I find a nerdy boyfriend? It's so complicated. D:
You're going to hate this answer, but sometimes you have to wait for that nerdy boy to find you. Love usually doesn't come when you're looking for it; in fact it quite often falls out of the sky, into your lap, at the worst possible time when it was the last thing you would have expected. But that's why it's called "falling in love", not "bundling up, heading outside with a compass, and hunting love down".

penguin1124: Do you have any advice for my senior year of high school?
I was one of the few (it seems) who actually really enjoyed high school. I mean, I definitely had my share of hardships, with friend problems and identity issues, but I really felt like I had it all figured out by the time I was a senior. In my last year, I spent most of my time either in the theatre (where I was drama club president), in the journalism lab (where I was the Opinion section editor) or in the TIP lab, which was were the other computer nerds hung out.

And I'll admit, my lesson here, really, is to spend the first three years of high school working your way up to the things you know you'll love senior year, and not everyone can do that. But you don't have to be president of a club to enjoy it - just get involved. Seriously, get involved in high school and make your experience there about your extra curriculars and yours friends, because while classes are great and all, they're definitely not what made high school amazing for me.

madamesuede: what should I bring to my first and only HP-con (which will be Leakycon2011)??
Hmmm. Definitely bring a camera (video or still, whatever your thing is) because there are memories to be captured there and you don't want to miss out on that. Bring any Harry Potter related clothing you have (cloak, wand, t-shirt with Ron's face on it) because this is one of the few times you'll look like a total baller wearing it, rather than that weird kid in the corner. Bring your phone (obviously) so you can tweet about how much fun you're having every second, and bring something super hawt to wear to the ball, because generally wizard kids tend to go all out for these things.

ProfessorAliceC: What's the hardest thing you've had to give up for Harry Potter? (eg. not attend a b-day party for a HP book release) .
My family takes this annual trip to North Dakota every summer to see my grandparents and all our other relatives who live back there (it's a lot of people). I really, really enjoy going and seeing my cousins, my aunts and uncles, everyone. We live so far away from so much of our family that it's usually the one chance we have to see everyone until the next year.
I've had to miss this family trip twice now because of Harry Potter. And while I wouldn't give up the opportunities I've had to tour and go to conferences, it was pretty hard for me, knowing my family was having fun without me.

margaretdarling: @KristinaHorner How do you deal with procrastination? Perhaps not you, since you are a goddess of productivity, but maybe the other girls.
Haha. Procrastination is a real problem for me, now that my job IS blogging, making videos, and recording music. I don't have a boss looming over my shoulder, causing me to minimize my freecell game or pretend I'm working when actually I'm checking email.

I've always been a go-getter, though. The internet, while a pit of procrastination for a lot of people, has always been a golden chalice of opportunity for me. I have FUN doing things that other people might see as hard work: blogging, replying to email, building my presence online, researching things for various writing projects, etc. I don't have a schedule of deadlines given to me by other people for the most part - I operate under self-appointed goals, and before I go to bed each night I ask myself, "have I accomplished enough to feel good about how I spent my time today?" If my answer is no, then I make sure I do more tomorrow.

The short answer is, "I live out of a very meticulously organized planner with a complicated system of prioritizing and crossing things off as I finish them".

ProfessorAliceC:@KristinaHorner Where where you and what were you doing when you heard about MJ's death?
I was actually at @Mickeleh's house with Alex Day. I remember Alex was visiting and Michael had wanted to have us over for dinner, so as we were eating our chicken and salad and discussing everything under the sun, he got a text from his roommate Leslie about it. It's amazing how big events create such vivid memories of how you found out about them, because I remember so many tiny details about this night with such clarity.

loosee123: Do you have any tips for cheap travel? It is breaking my bank.
I always use for booking flights; I believe it to be, by far, the best flight comparison site around. Beyond that, this question is kind of hard for me to answer, since I don't know exactly what kind of travel you're talking about. But if you're traveling abroad - definitely check out hostels rather than hotels. If you're traveling to see friends - try to go at off peak times in the year, and fly on days like Monday or Tuesday when it's cheaper. If you're traveling for Harry Potter conferences or shows - start a wizard rock band so you're asked to play and don't have to pay for registration. Ha.

m3lf4c3: how do you decide what personal information to share with your online community and what to omit?
You know... I share a lot of myself with the online community. Thinking back over fiveawesomegirls, I put a lot of myself out there. I keep it a little more contained on my personal channel (being more about entertainment than talking about myself) but the 5AG videos are still all out there. Twitter makes it so I can share literally any fleeting thought I have with an audience of nearly 12,000. But the real kicker here is my blog. If you read my blog (which I assume you do, as you're here reading my blog) then you know a LOT about me. You get a first hand account of probably 60% of the things I do. You read about my reactions, my emotions, my problems, my happinessess... and over time, I have needed to learn to omit things here and there, based on the past and what I know is good for me to keep private.

I try to leave out times when I am feeling really low. I try to leave out specifics about my personal relationships, romantic or other. I try not to share information about my friends if I know they wouldn't want that online, because while I enjoy "broadcasting myself", my friends and family might not be so keen on it. I also try not to mention things that are happening in the future that aren't sure things, because I don't want people to get disappointed if they don't happen.

It's all a balancing act. I am a lot more candid with my life than most people like to be, but you have to decide what you're comfortable with. Some people, like the SHAYTARDS or Dan Brown, are completely fine with putting everything online. I try to be a little bit more guarded, but still like sharing as much as I can with you guys. :)

feqwhy: You seem like you're always happy and have your life put together. How do you do that?
I know this isn't true in every instance, but you get out of life what you put into it. I approach life as if it's an adventure, and every day is a new opportunity to do great things, have fun, and hopefully touch other people's lives in some small way. I also try to find joy in the smallest aspects of life, because then you'll always be surprised by what can put a smile on your face.

I would say, having just graduated from college, I am far from having my life together. But I know that the things I am doing now are things that make me happy, and that hopefully are leading me down the path to finding the career I will love for the rest of my life. When I know I am working toward a goal like that, it's tough to not be happy.

Also, my friends rock, and there are thousands of strangers that I get to interact with every day that are some of the kindest, sweetest people I've ever had the pleasure of talking to. I wouldn't be surprised if my blog comments were a big part of why I seem so chipper every day.

Thanks for the great questions, guys! I had a lot of fun answering these, and I wouldn't mind making it a more regular segment of my blog. Have a great Monday, and let me know in the comments what you have on the agenda today. I'm just curious. :)

Last google search: "commonly misused phrases"
Chipotle burritos: 20

Sunday, September 26, 2010

TSA Agents make my day.

I leave for tour in ten days.. I can't believe how soon that is. Sometimes it still feels like I just got HOME from tour. I think it's going to be amazing though, since so many of the people I'll be spending those two and a half weeks with are some of my best friends.

Speaking of best friends, I just got back from LA last night. Luke and I worked on our acoustic album a fair amount but mostly spent the week building our Magic the Gathering decks with Jason and playing each other over and over. And going to Disneyland. And eating pizza.

It always feels weird coming come from a trip to LA. It takes me a day or two to readjust to being in Seattle, because I have so many friends down in California, so many really great friends, that it doesn't really feel like a vacation. It just feels like hanging out with friends, which in turn makes it feel lonely and distant up here without them at home.

But then I remember how much I love my city and my bedroom and all the friends I have here and things start to go back to normal. It's kind of like being pulled in two very persistent directions constantly... but now that I've graduated and have free time to spend in the ways I choose... I dunno, I think things are going to be good for me. I'm excited about the upcoming year.

So yesterday when I was leaving California, I was waiting in line at security and this TSA agent kept looking at me with this goofy grin on his face. I went about my business as normal; taking off my shoes, removing my laptop and putting it in its own screening tub, walking through the metal detector... then as I was gathering my stuff to leave, he runs up to me. "Were you in a music video about World of Warcraft?" he asks me sheepishly.

I burst out laughing. "Yes, I was!"

We chatted for a few moments as I put my jacket and shoes back on and then he had to go back to screening people, but how funny is that. Of all the places for a complete stranger to look up and think "Hey, is that the girl in the blood elf costume from that video I saw once online?"

Anyway, I got home and waiting here for me in my YouTube inbox was this message:

"Hey hope you dont mind me writing to you, this is the TSA officer who recognized you at LAX, just wanted to say hello and hope your tour goes well."

Some days I feel like my life just never stops being fun. And to prove that point, I am now going to play video games for awhile before calling insurance companies, all while waiting for Luke to send me tracks from the acoustic album that need my vocal takes. Overall, not a bad day. Except the whole part where I'm out of college so I have to start paying my own car insurance. Bleh.

Question for today's comments: I've been thinking off an on about the concept of "feeling at home" or being "from" a place. I was talking to Alex and Jason about this yesterday... like I can say I'm from Seattle because I grew up here, but I can also say I am from North Dakota because I was born there.
But also, you could live in a place for years and never really identify with it. Do you think you can truly be "from" more than one place? Do you have multiple places that feel like your home?

Last google search: "lunk errant"
Chipotle burritos: 20

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The most exciting deal of your whole lifetime.

I'm sitting at SeaTac airport with about an hour to kill before my flight leaves, and thanks to the beauty of free airport wifi I get to spend it typing up a blog post.

There is this guy behind me standing at a kiosk, and he's doing what is probably the most hilarious thing I've seen in a long time. He's apparently supposed to be pushing people to sign up for Alaska Airlines Credit Cards, but it's clear he knows that nobody wants to apply for a new card at 8:30 in the morning. He's slouched over, chin on his hand, speaking in a medium-loud monotone, "Hey, you. Yeah you. Do you want to go to Disneyland… for FREE?"

But don't forget he lacks any semblance of enthusiasm whatsoever. "Step right up here and talk to me about the most exciting deal of your whole lifetime. Why? Because. Don't miss out."

Hahaha. Now a woman just went over to him, stars in her eyes… but a few seconds later said, "Oh it's a CREDIT CARD? Nice try."

"But it's round trip!" he said after her, only mildly sarcastically. "Spread the word!"

I do understand what most companies probably frown on their employees acting like this (Alaska included, I'd bet) but I can't deny that I'm much more entertained by this method of salesmanship. I'm not going to sign up for a card though, so that sort of negates that.

I wanted to type up a blog post this morning to tell you about something that happened to me yesterday. It was the day before my trip so I was doing standard last minute errands and things, and I had a few checks to deposit. So I got to make a stop-in at my favorite place in the whole word, my local US Bank.

I don't know what was different about yesterday, but as I was pulling into the parking lot, I was thinking about my security guard friend, and how he probably smiles at everyone since he's a nice guy. I started to convince myself that I really have no reason to believe our interactions are anything out of the ordinary for him. He's such a jolly man; he probably has this happy-making 'smile-and-hold-the-door-open-while-making-pleasantries' connection a hundred times of day with handfuls of people.

I hopped out of my car, checks in hand, and like usual he was waiting to open the door for me. And on that day he literally said to me, "Hey, it's my favorite person."

Not only did this make my entire day, it then amazed me that he has no idea that he's become a 'character' in my blog. And that thousands of people probably wish they had a security guard as nice as him at their bank.

Hahaha. "You can go ANYWHERE. You know, in the US. Even Wisconsin!"

I feel so bad for that Alaska Airlines credit card guy. Another woman just yelled at him for talking to her because she's not a US citizen and can't sign up anyway. It almost makes me want to go apply for a card from him.

That's probably how he gets you. Tricky guy. I'm such a fool.

Halloween costume hint: It's from a TV show, and it's neither Powerpuff Girls or Sailor Scouts. Those were popular guesses!
Question for the comments: Do you have any special people with bit parts in your life like my security guard?

Last google search: trapped in sunken pirate ship
Chipotle burritos: 20

Monday, September 20, 2010

Everything is your favorite thing.

I've been bad about blogging. I didn't mean to be; after BEDA this year I definitely told myself, "Self? You really enjoyed blogging every day in August. Because of that, you should carry that over to the rest of the year and BLOG MORE IN GENERAL."

But you know we rarely listen to ourselves lecturing ourselves.

Our last day in the Bahamas was amazing. After sleeping in, we went to this little cafe where I had a delicious panini and then it was time to meet up with our guide for the snorkeling trip we'd signed up for.

Immediately upon arriving at the meetup spot, the three of us knew we were in for a hilarious afternoon, because we were the only ones signed up that weren't on a honeymoon. So Liz, Eia, and a whole slew of happy couples boarded our catamaran and set off in the sun in the direction of some fantastic coral reefs.

It was a little scary right away, the snorkeling. We put our masks and flippers on, and I remember standing at the edge of the boat thinking, 'I can't believe I paid money for something this scary." I'm kind of a water wimp, you know, the kind who likes to ease her way in, one toe at a time. So the prospect of just jumping into the ocean from a boat with god-knows-what beneath we was very, very terrifying.

For about 3 seconds.

The second I got in the water and felt how warm it was, I relaxed considerably. It took me a little while to adjust to using the snorkel and the mask, but once I did, I flippered my way around taking in the colorful fish, the amazing reef below me, and the faces of my friends in their masks.

Eia had bought an underwater camera so we had a ton of fun playing around with it, posing for shots underwater and diving down to try and touch a fish. I remember seeing a rainbow fish, and a fish that looked like Dori from Finding Nemo, and everyone claims they saw a huge Barracuda but I couldn't see it no matter how hard I tried.

I'm so glad we tried snorkeling. It was amazing and I can't wait to do it again.

The rest of our trip was a blur of making "Atlantis Pals" - which was essentially build a bear - and going to the nightclub called Aura that was finally open on our last night in the Bahamas. We also found some time to go swimming in the ocean near our hotel, which was about a thousand shades of awesome. I cant even convey to you how amazing it was being up to my shoulders in salt water and having it be so clear I can see my feet way down below in the sand.

Since I've been home I've been plenty busy. First I watched the Season 5 finale of Buffy (which was heartbreaking and extremely intense, and I haven't had time to watch any of Season 6 yet so I am going crazy --- ahhh Spike's FACE when he found out ahhh) and went to my friend David's wedding.

Our friend Corey (a girl we met through Harry Potter stuff who lives in Florida) didn't have a place to stay so we offered to let her come hang with us until her flight home, and then found out it was her BIRTHDAY. So we took her out to Red Robin, had them sing to her, stuck her in a hurricane simulator, shared cake and ice cream, and then took her to see "The Full Monty" at the theatre I used to work at.

The Full Monty was amazing. We had such a blast. It was only the Friends and Family preview so we got to sit in the "family room" with my old coworkers (it's a glass enclosed room meant for crying babies but often used by us for partying) and eat snacks and things during the show. The point of the show is that a bunch of average joe middle aged guys who've been laid off decide to try to make it as strippers to show their wives they aren't just deadbeats - and at the end of the show, they ACTUALLY get naked. I mean, you see down to a thong and then the lights flare out so you can' actually see anything when they "go all the way!", but I can guarantee the whole theatre was laughing their heads off. It was so much fun.

Now I've been keeping busy with upcoming ALL CAPS stuff (leaving for LA tomorrow to go down and finish our new album with Luke) and ZAXY stuff (we had a sleepover the other night where we demo'd the new game Vindictus, watched Zombieland, and spent hours pouring over costume sites to figure out what we should be for Halloween).

Life has been good on my end, even if I haven't had the time (or the will) to write it all down.

Someone said something to me the other day that really stuck with me, and I wanted to share it here. They said, "everything is your favorite thing", and that they loved that about me.

I had to think about it for a little while, but it's kind of true. I feel like I am always logging onto twitter, Youtube, or blogspot to tell you guys about what I've been up to and how this new thing is "SO AWESOME" or "MY FAVORITE THING EVER". I had to consider whether this was a bad thing, like I am lowering the worth of these words by overusing them, but I don't think so. I think it's okay if everything is my favorite thing. It makes life more exciting.

Questions for today's comments section:
1. Guess what I decided to dress up as for Halloween. Hints - multiple girls can dress up like this and go as a set. Also, it's nerdy.
2. Have you started thinking about what you want to be? Am I crazy for thinking a month in advance?

Last google search: hot girl costumes
Chipotle burritos: 20

Monday, September 13, 2010

Take a look, honey.

I'm home now and it's a little bit more depressing to blog about the fun I already had back in the Bahamas while sitting at home in Seattle, but I want to remember everything so I am going to force myself through it. And besides, being back in Seattle isn't so bad. I went to a lovely wedding the other day, for my friends David Wood and Justine Kondrat, and it was my second wedding joining people I met on the Internet. I really, really love my life and the people in it. So anyway. More fun in the sun adventure blogging time. Here goes.

Wednesday of our trip was another day spent sleeping in, which turned out to be the theme for the whole week. We rolled out of bed again sometime around 11, and after eating a quick breakfast, ventured out of the hotel resort for the first time since we arrived. We took a taxi shuttle into town, passing by loads of brightly colored, old, interesting buildings. We showed up on the main street and hit up all the necessary places - the Bacardi rum store, various makeup outlets (things are cheap there!) and a whole den of marketplace style booths with women selling hand woven baskets and bracelets and all sorts of little nicknacks. They kept telling us to "take a look, honey", so you can bet we hurried out of there as quickly as we could.

The highlight of our day was going to Señor Frogs. If you've never been to one; it's essentially a Mexican Restaurant they have all over in tropical locations that boast their highly inappropriate atmosphere. The music is loud, the food is good, the clown makes you balloon hats while you're eating and if you get in the conga line, the waitresses will pour free shots of strawberry tequila in your mouth. We had an absolute blast having lunch there, right on the deck beside the clear blue water.

We made friends with some boys at the table next to us who were stopping in as an excursion from their cruise ship. Much to their delight we got the clown to make them balloon hats to match ours, and ended up combining tables and hanging out with them for the remainder of our lunch. I love making friends in new places when I travel; even if your lives and stories only overlap for an hour or two, like with our Señor Frogs buddies, it just makes everyone's lives a little more exciting.

After heading back to the Atlantis we spent a good portion of the afternoon back on the watersides, signed up for a Snorkeling trip, and then had dinner in a cute little deli. That night we didn't have any big plans ahead of us so we decided to finally go out to the beach (because what's cooler than walking along a beach at night?). There was a straight shot to the beach if we'd exited the hotel out the door on the right, but we instead chose the door on the left, through the aquarium. We got lost for a good while in the caves (which was kind of scary at night actually) so we turned it into a night photoshoot, taking silhouette style pictures in front of the glass and generally being silly in the empty halls.

When we finally made it to the beach, I just stood staring out at the black night over the shores for awhile. I'm not really sure when it happened, or what exactly the cosmic link is, but I am, without a doubt, a lover of the water. I was raised going to the beach, going clam-digging, boating and so forth, and nothing makes me feel more connected to our planet than standing at the edge of the water, sand beneath my toes and waves lapping up over my feet. Staring out at the horizon and knowing it goes on further than my brain can even comprehend.

The water was so warm, too, for being the ocean. I've always heard the term "the water was so warm it felt like bathwater" being said about places like this, and I scoffed. Being from the Northwest, feeling the water from the Pacific Ocean and shivering with the memory; it was hard to imagine any natural body of water feeling like bathwater. But it did. It really did. I'm getting a little sappy even thinking about it now, but it was just so beautiful there. I feel so fortunate to have gotten to experience it.

Last google search: no internet there
Chipotle burritos: 20

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Waterslide through a shark tank.

We slept in so late our first morning here; we're on no particular schedule or anything and it's awesome. We rolled out of bed around 11:30, threw on our swimsuits, and headed down to Aquaventure. There are seriously amazing watersides here, and we started the day right by doing the tube-slide that goes through a shark tank first thing. You start by going through a windy tube in the dark, and then it feeds you out onto this long stretch through an aquarium style glass dome with sharks and fish all around you. Coolest waterside ever.

Then we went down a few smaller slides before finding the Current River, which is just like the Lazy River, only way better. It's apparently over a mile long, and along the way you encounter rapids, waves, and all sorts of other crazy things. The best part about the river is that you can take a detour that brings you up to the park's best water slides by way of conveyor belt. So you're floating along in your tube, and then suddenly you're pulled onto this black stretch of moving rubber that brings you up and up and up, gradually getting an amazing view of the coast -- which, if you ask me, is way better than waiting in any line.

The water slides were amazing, with all the right amounts of sliding through the pitch blackness, and some even had parts that shot you UP. Imagine taking a huge plunge down and then having so much momentum that you can actually be sent flying back upwards. It was so great.

After awhile we were water-slided out, so we spent some time just lounging in the pool, finally calling it a day when our fingers were so pruny we couldn't stand it.

Lunch was eaten at a cute little pizza place, and then we had to hurry because our hotel has a free movie theatre and we'd decided to see the chickflick "The Last Song" at 5 PM. I don't care what anyone says, I think Miley Cyrus is cute, and we had good time seeing the movie (and crying our eyes out at the plot). Especially because we'd gone to the candy store just before, getting a bag full of sour things and jelly beans and swedish fish, just like when we were kids and would get to go to the Sweet Factory at the mall.

It started to rain a tiny bit on our way from the sweet shop to the theatre, which turned into a full-fledged storm within minutes. I've never seen rain as crazy as it was just then, but the fantastic luck of our trip granted us that it had quit by the time the movie was out. Seriously. We were so lucky.

We took a bit of a breather after the movie, hanging in our room, being goofy, and getting changed into our fancy dresses. That night we were going to a comedy club, which pretty much always promises to be a good time. There were three comedians and they were all hilarious, even though we got made fun of for being from Seattle (he told us very specific directions on how to get to the nearest Starbucks, har har).

That night we discovered a bar in our lobby that serves alcoholic drinks made of ice cream. ICE CREAM. It was so amazing, and we are going back before we leave for SURE. I am having such a great time here - being at a fancy hotel doing whatever the hell we want with my two best friends is just amazing. The next morning we slept in again, and after our round of showers we're heading into town to see what the rest of Nassau has to offer us. I'm sure I'll have plenty more stories next time I'm back to blog!

Last google search: no internet here
Chipotle burritos: 20

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Paradise Island.

I read through all of your comments on my my most recent post this morning and it almost made me well up in tears all over again. I'm glad so many of you understand what I am going through while watching Buffy, and that so many of you reacted the same way as I did to the episodes I outlined in Season 5. Thank you for the wonderfully deep and insightful comments and for making me feel like I am just a human being experiencing a beautiful piece of art, rather than a dork-extreme. Sometimes I feel like a dork-extreme.

On that depressing note, here is the first blog about my trip!

Bahamas: Monday!

It is so strange to be on a trip where literally all I have to worry about is whether I'd rather go to the beach or to the water park during the day, the nightclubs or the comedy club at night, or the marina village or a poolside snack hut when I'm hungry.

I'll admit, sometimes I feel like the most spoiled person on earth, but I'm not sitting in the Bahamas right now because my parents are rich or someone else paid for me to be here. Liz, Eia and I got free round trip tickets on AirTran last year when our flights home from LeakyCon got messed up, and when we realized those free tickets were about to expire, we booked 5 days in the most exotic/outrageous place the airline could take us. Which is how we ended up in Nassau, Bahamas on Paradise Island. Then Eia did some very excellent hotel sleuthing and managed to find us an amazing deal for the Atlantis, so here we are at one of the world's most famous hotels, sleeping in until 11 when we'd planned on being up at 8 because we're all exhausted from yesterday's traveling. So I guess I am a little spoiled, but I'd like to think of it as lucky.

We left Seattle at 11 pm on Sunday, endured a four hour flight (with some of the worst airplane sleeping I've ever attempted) to Atlanta, and then had a 6 hour layover. 6 hours! This time consisted of eating Cinnabon and hashbrowns at the equivalent of our 4 in the morning, finding a nice patch of floor to lay on and making camp there while we all attempted to sleep for awhile. It was pretty crappy, but I managed to squeeze about 2 hours of sleep out of the arrangement.

We all started getting a little goofy (including Eia, doing somersaults across the airport floor and Liz, finding a video game machine amidst the payphones that someone had left with credits still on it for playing) but luckily our flight left at 12:45, so we left Atlanta far behind us as we boarded the next plane.

This flight was super empty so the three of us were each able to get our own row of seats, which was awesome. My favorite type of flying is the kind where you can snag your own row of 3 seats. I think I attempted to read a chapter or so of Scott Westerfeld's Peeps, but I was so tired that I stretched out across my three seats and slept for the entire flight. Aside from when the flight attendant woke me with a, "Sorry, hun," and tossed me an immigration card to fill out. I think I filled in the bubbles in my sleep, stuck the card in my book, and fell right back asleep.

The Nassau airport was cute. It was small and everyone was friendly, and there was a little band set up in the immigration area to keep you entertained while you went through customs. Seriously! It was the weirdest and quaintest thing I have ever seen while traveling, especially after both of my stressful trips to London where the border patrol seemed to really not like me.

A very nice taxi driver took us to the Atlantis, and along the half hour drive I asked him about everything from the best liquor stores on Paradise Island to what his grandkids are like. He seemed to think the three of us were going to be trouble makers while we are here. I have no idea why he would think that. /innocent

Our room is a pretty standard hotel room, but the resort itself is amazing. We're right near the predators rope bridge and the manta ray and shark tanks, we can see the beach from our balcony, and the casino and nightclubs are just a quick walk away.

We spent the afternoon looking around for a place to eat and finally decided on an outdoor hut called "Shark Bites". After eating, we changed into our swimsuits and found that we had a Lazy River right outside our room, so we grabbed tubes and floated around that a few times. Seriously the most relaxing way to end your day. If I am ever totally rich and famous, I am installing a Lazy River around my house.

Then we headed back up to our room, changed into cuter outfits, and headed over to the casino. Neither of us were very keen on spending more than about $20, so we weren't there for long, but I managed to turn my $20 into $40 on one machine. So that was pretty exciting.

After gambling we went to the bar and grill right off the casino and had a drink and dinner, and I got into an argument with our waiter (because he didn't know the difference between honey mustard and a vinaigrette). It was still moderately early at this point, so we spent the remainder of the evening exploring the hotel and areas surrounding, finding a cute marina village full of shops, an arcade, a bunch of models of the whole resort, and a place called Atlantis Pals (which is just like Build-a-Bear) that we are definitely, definitely going back to.

Last google search: aura nightclub
Chipotle burritos: 20

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The beauty of human emotion.

Warning: I am being a huge Buffy dork in this entry, but if you want to hear me gushing about the beauty of human emotion, then please continue.

I am really embarrassed about this but I am feeling incredibly emotional today. That sort of pit-of-your-stomach emotion that will only pass with time.

Nothing is wrong with me, don't worry. I've just power-marathoned through a lot of Season 5 of Buffy this weekend (I was supposed to be out partying with gamer nerds at fancy PAX parties last night but an unfortunate burrito stomachache incident rendered me couch-ridden) and it is such a painful season to get through.

I mean, and I've just started getting over the sadness that struck me when I finished Mockingjay - I was not prepared for the amount of pain and loss that Joss Whedon has put on my plate with this season. The episode "The Body" actually made me cry as though I'd lost someone too, and the lack of any backing music made watching the entire thing an edge-of-your-seat gripping experience. "Forever" wasn't much better, and following that immediately with "Intervention" made me realize I spent much of my day mourning the loss of fictional characters in a way that felt distressingly real.

I'm not going to have time to finish Season 5 before I leave for the Bahamas, which is a real suck, but it'll make the last two episodes of the season that much more intense when I get home.

I was realizing the other day that literally every book I have read recently was depressing. First I read 13 Reasons Why, a book about a box of tapes left behind by a girl who committed suicide and blamed those around her for her decision. Then I read Feed, which shows a depressing version of the future where everyone is so "plugged in" that they lose sight of what's important and an innocent girl's life is lost because of it. Then I read Mockingjay, which obviously goes without saying as to the depressing nature of the book. And now Season 5 of Buffy has left me numb and cold, but it's been my favorite stretch of episodes thus far.

I think the reason that I love reading and watching these difficult, dark stories is because it makes me feel something so real. I love a happy ending, yeah, and a cute little whimsical tale or a romantic comedy can put a smile on my face, but it's not very impactful. It doesn't resonate something deep within you like a good tragedy can. A tragedy can kind of open you up, make you feel a bit raw, or change the way you view the world around you.

Maybe this makes me weird, like I thrive on other people's (fake people's) pain or something, but I don't think that's it. I just find human emotion to be the most interesting tool in storytelling, and when authors or directors can capture that so wholly and realistically and beautifully in their work; I find that to be the most powerful form of art.

Also, I know I am not the first girl, and certainly not the last girl to say this, but I absolutely love Spike and I love his transformation, and my heart breaks every time the gang kicks him aside. He's trying! He's really trying. I've had a soft spot in my heart for Draco Malfoy for the last ten or so years of my life that many people have always felt was unwarranted, but I'm seeing now that Spike is who I always wished Draco would become while I was reading Harry Potter. Justin and I fight about this all the time because he thinks that Spike has used up all his "second chances" tenfold, but I disagree. And not just because I love him as a character.

I am going to stop being an absolute dork right now, because I need to finish packing for the Bahamas. We have a long, looong red-eye flight tonight with a 6 hour layover (gross) so I need to make sure I am armed and prepared with books, laptop, gameboy, etc.

I don't know if I'll have internet but I'll be blogging regardless while I am there, so expect tales of adventures and funtimes, and in this case, hopefully, for all our sake, no tragedy.

Last google search: "Weeds S06 E03"
Chipotle burritos: 19

Saturday, September 4, 2010

PAX! Day Two.

Uggh, today was not nearly as bright and sparkly as yesterday. Haha.

I woke up around 8 feeling really crummy, but after awhile I finally dragged myself back to the convention center around 11 in the morning. Immediately upon arriving, the Zaxy girls had an appointment for a demo of Kung Fu Live. It was so much fun! It's a completely hands-free game where you pretty much just kick and punch the enemies you can see on screen, and the capture technology actually puts a little image of you on screen (which is by far the best part of the game). The guys running the demo were handing out these headbands to wear while playing so you really felt like a kung-fu master.

It was shortly after that we met up with our camera crew; these two guys were hired to follow us around and film our PAX adventures. We played a game called Slambolt Scrappers (which was fun, but kind of a mess of a game that combined elements of Smash Bros. with Tetris). Then we interviewed some people walking around the conference, waiting in line, and got some particularly fun footage of a man in a bacon suit.

The best part of our day was when we got to play Just Dance 2 - which meant going up on a giant stage with a bunch of onlookers below while we shook our hips to "It's Raining Men". I'm sure we looked incredibly silly, but hey, I got the high score!

Throughout the day I also got to demo a game called Hakfu (which was visually stunning but kind of confusing) and Rift. I liked Rift a lot, but all of the controls and most parts of gameplay were almost identical to WoW. The visuals were a bit prettier, but it was just really, really similar. I got a free t-shirt from them. It's a 2XL though, so it may be better suited for a dress.

I headed home early due to overwhelming exhaustion and have spent the rest of my afternoon watching Toddlers & Tiaras and now I am almost to the good part of the Parent Trap. You know, where the parents meet for the first time after 11 years and we know they'll inevitably fall in love again. Also, Lindsay Lohan was so CUTE in that movie.

My time at PAX was really great. I am so excited about the prospect of getting to go to more events like this, and even though game-playing is probably horrible for my productivity, I kind of want to check out some of these game betas I was given. So, if I disappear for awhile, you know why. Haha. I met a lot of fun people while hanging out at PAX and learned a ton about the gaming world.

I am going to get back to the Parent Trap now. They're about to go on their annual camping trip and I think they're planning to do something horrible to Meredith - and I don't want to miss that part.

Last google search: NVIDIA dead rising 2 pictures
Chipotle burritos: 19

PAX! Day One.

This weekend has been an absolute blast.

Yesterday morning I woke up incredibly early (like 6:45 eww), donned my sneakers and ZAXY tshirt, and headed out the door for my first day of PAX.

Now, I don't really know what I was expecting. I've been to more Harry Potter and YouTube conferences than I can count, so I thought I would be prepared for a gaming conference.

I was not prepared for this gaming conference.

We walked in and immediately there were so, so many people everywhere (I think they were projecting 70,000 people to attend over the course of the entire weekend). Tara and I took a picture with a real delorean and then headed to the queue room. Which was literally a whole room just for queuing to get inside. We got our free bags of goodies (including a whole bunch of fliers I haven't read yet, and Magic the Gathering starter decks!) and then proceeded to be entertained for about a a half hour by a giant screen with "wait-in-line" games playing. In the duration of that time we danced to the Numa song, were Rickroll'd, enjoyed the ending song to Portal, texted in our answers for a Would You Rather, and played a game where we, collectively as an audience, had to lean left and right to make a jumping man make it up the screen by going in the right direction.

Once inside, I was on complete sensory overload. There were multiple floors, with so many rooms, and each room was just FULL of awesome booths, all trying to outdo one another with how flashy and impressive they were.

Tara had all these press demos lined up so we alternated between running to appointments and meandering aimlessly through the convention center. We got to meet with the Alienware people and learn about their gaming systems (which I thought were pretty sweet looking). Our next demo was for this new MMO called Vindictus, which none of us really knew anything about, but we wanted the free Wolf hood they give out as swag. But when we got to this particular demo appointment, they had a fancy little buffet set up for us and were super excited to tell us about their game. So we stuffed our faces and actually played through the entire demo and it was really fun! The characters are incredibly customizable and I was really impressed with the detail and options for the girl characters. You can pick up anything in the game and throw it at your enemy, so Tara and Brittney and I (I think I neglected to mention I was running around PAX with the other Zaxy girls) were cracking up at each other when we'd see our characters walking super slow off in the distance since they're lugging a giant clay pot bigger than their whole body. We had a blast and got beta codes to try the game before it comes out.

Then we got to demo this awesome new game called "The Ball", which had a really cool concept; you have this giant magic ball and you go through this ancient Mexican tomb thing, solving a series of puzzles and guiding the ball along with you the whole time.

As for other things we did at the first day... we got to play Epic Mickey (which looks really, really cool), we tried Deca Sports for Kinect (I can see some games being fun but it's pretty limited in what you can do without a controller. We tested figure skating and it was lame). We saw tons of people in hilarious cosplay, I met 2 different people who recognized me from YouTube, and actually ran into a lot of people I knew, some from the Internet and some from high school. And I got a lot of free tshirts!

That evening we were throwing an afterparty at Neumos, which started a bit slow but ended up being a whole lot of fun as well. Major Nelson was there, and we had a few bands play, but the best part of the night was the nerdy trivia competition. We had 3 rounds and then a championship round, and the whole thing was hosted by Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy fame [I love him]). Tara, Britt and I acted as Vanna White for the trivia, walking across the front of the stage to award and deduct points, and Ken was a terrific host, keeping the game upbeat, exciting and running smoothly. The audience got really into it as well, which was fun for us, since the ZAXY girls wrote the questions.

I am so, so tired now, and already planning to go into PAX a bit later than I told Tara I would be meeting her there. But we have more demos today (including Kung Fu live, which should be hilariously fun) so I can't stay in bed too long.

Last google search: "pax tri-wizard drinking tournament"
Chipotle burritos: 18