July 28, 2008

one down, 23 to go

Whew!! Just got done with day one of my Couch to 5K plan. Tougher than I expected, but not impossible. Which is good, because it only gets tougher from here. I went about two miles, about half a mile of that I ran. A little over half a mile was cool down and warm up, and the rest was my intermittent walking. Two more days of the same, then next week it steps up a notch.

Next, I am finally doing day one of the 100 push ups challenge. then, it's regular strength stuff.


Posted by raven at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

things to do, things to do...

So, in just a couple of short months, I will be having what some refer to as a milestone birthday. The number isn't so much of what bothers me, it's what I've done with my life thus far. It's not that I'm unhappy with where I am, I just wonder why I've stopped myself from doing some of the things I've dreamed of doing. So, I figured that this pending birthday was a great deadline to set for myself to check some things off of the ol' to do list. There are some things that I won't be able to do, just because of silly things like once-a-year events, but I will put those at the bottom of my list to do within the coming year. Silly? Yes, very. However, if I don't give myself a deadline and stick to it, I will procrastinate forever. (see sewing stash in closet)

So, without further ado, here's the list (subject to addition):

1) Run 5k consistently (not as events, as distances around the hood. I've never been able to run much more than a mile in my entire life...this will be huge for me!!)
2) Weigh 128 pounds (I did, once. It was glorious. I wasn't in my teens either. I figure that number one will help me with that)
3) Have two tattoos. (These go along with number 2, when I hit that weight, I will have two tats. Eventually it will hit three, though that might be shortly after the b-day.)
4) Build up stock and start an Etsy store, and sell at least one item. (this is a pretty massive item!! Big challenge, but worth it)
5) Get into hot blue vinyl pants (one and two are crucial here)
6) Have an amount, which I will write down so I know it, but will not disclose publicly, in my savings account.

Things I will do in the year following (as I didn't think of this in time)
*Audition at the Guthrie Generals
*Audition for at least three of the paying gigs in town (as in really paying, not stipend paying)

That's all I can think of right now. I am off to begin on that first goal. EEEEE! Scary, yet exciting!

Posted by raven at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2008

nothing like procrastinating

So, CONvergence was nearly a month ago, and I am just now getting to a somewhat real post about it. I've been putting it off, because I feel like there isn't much I could say to do it justice. However, I feel like I should say something, because despite there being about 3000 people there, I think there are lots of people that don't go, that should. I feel a little silly saying this CON was life-changing...but it sorta was. I mean, I learned some things and met some people that made me look at some of the things I do, and realize I can so take them to another level. Besides that, however...it was just plain fun!

Now, of my blog readers that don't go, I specifically think a certain couple of writers (this means you Ms. Heiber and Florida Mom) and a certain prop mistress (yes, you Ms. Proptart), and a certain woman-of-many-trades (Ms. Heather) would all not only enjoy CON, but you would get a lot out of it. So, in an attempt to highlight some things and talk you into going in '09, I shall try to recap.

To begin, CON is normally three days. However, this year, being the tenth CON, it was extended to four fantastic days. Once again, G was a gaming subhead, in charge of the LAN gaming room. This year he finally got a budget to purchase some systems to be owned by the convention. This was good because he didn't have to try talking so many people into loaning their systems. This was tough, because it meant he had to track down systems to purchase for a limited budget and with certain specs, and get them up and running. He was mostly successful, with only a few that had to be returned. As a bonus, this was the first year he did it in which there were volunteers to help run the room! I actually got to see him, and he actually got to see what CON is really about.

Thursday was opening day. We checked in to the hotel, noting that checking in the night before would have been better, and adding that to our notes for what to do next year. Upon getting our registration packs, we pulled out our CON guides, and our pocket Grids, and made notes of what we would have to see over the next four days. On my list were mostly panels: Costuming 101, Sophisticated Sewing, Corsetry, Doctor Who Series four, Torchwood, and Propmaking. I also made a list for some of those people I thought should attend, mainly a whole bunch on writers, writing, and living with a writer. Did I also mention there is a lit lounge where you could hold book readings and signings? That super cool writers (*couch*Mercedes Lackey*cough*) attend. That there are networking opportunities galore? Anyhow, back to the plan. We got our stuff unpacked, made our plans, and watched the opening ceremonies from the comfort of our hotel room. This was a nice addition this year, since there is limited space in the ballroom, and because we weren't 100 percent ready to be out in public yet. Eventually, it was time to party. Every year, the cabanas around the pool are filled with parties. Each usually has a theme, such as the TARDIS Tea Society (for the Doctor Whovians), The Dreaming (which was this bad ass Egyptian themed room), Willy Wonka (candy, flavored vodka...YUM!), The House Of Toast, where you can get any imaginable toast topping (and some pretty unimaginable ones too), and lots more. Some offered beverages of the adult variety, some just offered good friends, an all offered lots of FUN. There was a dance in the ballroom with some mad DJ action, which I wasn't able to make it to, because I am old.

Friday, I hit the gym. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the equipment. The machines were nice, and the room was well maintained...and being at a geek convention, it wasn't crowded (I ran into two people). Then, it was shower time, and into my Pearl costume.
Here is what I was going for:pearl.jpg
And here's what I managed, given the short amount of time I from when I got the idea: me as pearl.jpg
I spent the day attending panels and hit the dealer's room briefly, where I purchased a pretty sweet black and red pvc bat choker. I enjoyed the two sewing panels very much, learning lots to take my sewing to a better level. I also immensely enjoyed the propmaking panel with Christian Colquhoun, which was pretty amazing. Seeing people with that level of passion for their work is inspiring. I saw Peter Mayhew, and was disappointed I didn't have my camera to get a shot of the two of us. I had to separate from G, as he was in the best of Masquerade show with our dear friend the Seamster, and thus headed to Torchwood solo. I was disappointed in this panel. I felt like most of the panelists were just bashing the show, despite them saying repeatedly how much they loved it. There was one panelist I felt had constructive things to say, and I sort of wished it would have been just her chatting. Not one to point out a problem without coming up with a solution, I promptly signed up for next year's panel. We hit all the parties once more, and had yet another delightful evening, discovering in the hotel room that HGTV makes for an excellent drinking game.

Saturday, I gymmed once again. Then, it was into the amazing boots I scored at Goodwill that look as though a Blood Elf must have donated them (they are dark red leather, over the knee...hot!), a cute flippy skirt, my /dance tee, and some blood elf ears. There were more panels, hanging out with friends, and general awesomeness. My sister was a volunteering fool, hoping to get to the level of flashy mug goodness. G and I popped into the dealers room. We went to look at a monocle, and drool over some other leather goods. However, we managed to find a gorgeous binder. I thought it would be perfect for a wedding album. Our wedding album. Yeah, I've kinda been putting that one off.... geoff and the blood elf.jpg
My youngest nephew was a party animal...he hit all the parties until roughly four or five in the morning, and wasn't awake until the afternoon to do it all over again. My niece just liked changing costumes, and seemed to get a lot of photographic attention while hitting all the panels and rooms. Eventually day switched to night, so I got changed into party clothes. I didn't want to undo the pain that it was getting into my ears, so I decided to wear them with my dancing clothes. I also got to wear my new choker.
blood elf raven at con.jpg
We first headed to G's Vilification Tennis show. He did all right, considering he didn't realize right away that it was a free-for-all. Then, he changed into dancing clothes, and we hit the parties, this time with his new leather batman flask full of Tattoo, and a glass in my hand. I ran into some peeps I was surprised to see, and chatted with even more peeps. We got drinks wherever we could...erm, I got drinks wherever I could, including a Klingon hooking me up with some Wild Turkey. By the time we hit the dance, I was a tipsy girl. I danced with my niece, then was taken by someone I thought was spinning poi. I wanted to try, so I went over, to discover he was twirling a homemade baton. I got into twirling with him, then lets just say wacky highjinks ensued. Apparently, if someone would have had a video camera, I would have been great fodder for youtube.
Sunday I wound up primarily lounging. We were glad we made the choice to keep the hotel that night, as we didn't have to deal with trying to get out in the middle of the day, when just about everyone else was trying to get out. I helped unload some of the LAN room, and we circled to see the last of CON. We caught the closing ceremonies, once again from the comfort of our room. Monday, was home, and some sadness that another CON was over. It goes super fast!

I know I didn't do justice to the event, and if you can't figure out why I think you should pony up and go next year, email me, and I will try to better explain myself!

Posted by raven at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2008

why i love the theater

I have a confession. I deep dark secret that has been lurking in my closet, banging on the door, crying, begging to be let out. I've been ashamed, afraid my street cred would be in jeopardy if this privity were out. However, I feel as though I must let it out, atone for my sins as it were.

Here it is:

G and I are Guthrie Theater season ticket holders.

I hope this doesn't spoil any illusions you may have of us. One might think we were cultural elitists, rubbing elbows with the wealthy suburbanites, Thomas Kinkade prints adorning the wall above our tasteful sofa, my closet full of faux-artsy clothes purchased at Chicos. This would be wrong. We simply enjoy theater of all kinds, preferably thought provoking, or at least something to absorb us for a couple of hours. If we can get it for cheap, then all the better!

It started innocently enough. I saw a title that made my heart flutter. We'd waited for deals in the past, hoping we could see interesting shows at affordable prices. However, I felt deep in my heart this was something I needed to see, so I figured we should pony up at our first chance. Then, G found out we could get season tickets for as few as three shows. For twenty dollars a show. Rush tickets are $25. There were two shows that we kind of wanted to see, one of which had buzz not unlike a honey farm. We were sold. We purchased tickets, and we were off. The first show was okay. I didn't want my two hours back or anything, but it was a little disappointing all the way around. The script was not up to the playwright's usual par, the actors were capable, but not outstanding, and the set was pretty lackluster. The next show was ambitious, and I would even say enjoyable. However, it fell a little short of being ideal, or even outstanding. I gave it a whole lot of credit, however, as I will take an ambitious piece that falls short over a predictable or safe piece.

We just saw our final play, the play I had been waiting for, on Thursday. The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde. We were schedule to see it a month ago, however that night also happened to be opening night of the show I was in. Fortunately, because we had season tickets, we were able to exchange our tickets for another night at no additional charge. Sweet! Unfortunately, that night was the night before the show closed. This meant no opportunity for failure! We couldn't miss this show, and we couldn't see it again. It was do or die.

Luckily we made it. We had rather delightful seats, third row, house left (stage right). I was able to let every single impeccable detail wash over me and seep into every pore. It was an amazing experience. Easily the best thing I've ever seen at the Guthrie, and definitely on of the top things I've seen in ten years of living in the Twin Cities.

Not only was this show ambitious, it was successful. I feel as though words cannot adequately express what I witnessed on the stage last Thursday evening. As an audience member, I felt invested in these characters and haunted by the storytelling. Even inanimate objects were enthralling. I wanted to see it again, to let all the details not only wash over me, but absorb into my pores.

Alas, it was not to be. Only one more performance, and we could not attend. Positively brill. It was everything I love about the theater. It truly showcased the effectiveness of a talented collaboration. When every detail is spot on, and those involved are truly invested in their craft. How a piece of art should make one react, with emotion and feeling that fills you.

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to have this experience. It is the kind of thing I aspire to create and share with the world.

Posted by raven at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)