Gally One and What IS This Crazy Weather …?

[Dear Readers: My apologies for the length of this blog—no good spot to cut it. Sigh.]

WELL, IT’S BEEN A VERY INTERESTING TWO weeks. Between threats of major storms, I managed to make it down to The LAX Travelodge—reasonable traffic (considering it’s LA), not bad accommodations and service for what we needed. And not too bad a walk (0.5mile—three long blocks) to the event hotel—Marriott at LAX. That is … if my knee wasn’t throwing fits and the wind was trying to turn my umbrella inside out. Still, all in all, it was not bad.

I left home on Wednesday and made my ritual over-night stop at Lebec, hoping I would be in good enough shape to trudge around taking pictures—beautiful mountainous countryside. Mmm … not if I wanted to keep my camera dry and me upright. Fits of rain intermingled with bigger fits of wind (gusts) … and exhaustion kept me from playing with my good camera. I was going to take a few Blustery Skies ...shots from the window (a south-easterly view), but really not much of a view—18-wheelers were parked between the hotel and my view. Drats. Well, this one is from my return trip.

Since I ended up with loads of “chill-time” on my hands in Lebec, I caught up on what wasForcasting Rain happening at home via my iPhone and Facebook. The beginnings of a monster storm front started to dump rain … by the time I arrived in LA (actually, Inglewood) the next day, the front had hit the entire coast line—including LA. It only took a little over 1.5 hrs to get to the Travelodge from Lebec and thankfully they were able to accommodate my early arrival (yay). So I settled in and leisurely Dr. Who Paraphinalia unpacked before trudging up to the Marriott. Registration officially opened at 3pm … so I wandered around up in the Lobby for a bit before heading downstairs—plenty to do. By the time I got down there, they were already allowing people through (around 2:15-ish). Score! No queuing, no waiting! Lovely.

Whilst waiting in the faux-line, I met two gentlemen from Canada. After I was asked a few questions—I won’t say what, as John will probably use the same ones next year … we exchanged con ribbons—not my first since I was activelyRibbon Collecting Begins seeking people out up in the Lobby to share my ribbons (and hope to get some in exchange). John and Jake turned out to be hilarious—quick, dry wit that had me in stitches. We ran into each other over and over all weekend—and they had new costumes for each day. Jake did purchase all three of my books on Saturday—I was ecstatic! If he likes them, he promised to do a review and spread the word up in Canada! Yay! Saturday was the “dress your best” day—costumes were absolutely magnificent on everyone!

I nearly forgot the two Thursday events: trip to the local InNOut Burger place (unofficial)—poor locals never know what hit ’em—and Ice Cream Social Ice Cream Socialthe ice cream social (official) … both were tons of fun (but I cheated—took a taxi A Sneak Peek at Dealer's Roomto and from the InNOut Burger spot … I vividly remember the walk last year—LOL).

Captain Jack

Captain Jack

The costuming all weekend was amazing—especially on Awesome Weeping AngelSaturday as I mentioned. Weeping Angles (very few this year, but that made the ones I saw more special), tons of different Osgood or Zygon ...? Third DoctorDoctors, oodles of Amys, Daleks, TARDIS costumes in various shapes and sizes, a delightful K-9 Lovely Cardboard K-9(full size, but of cardboard and pulled about on a leash), Osgood … oooh, the list goes on. This year, I chose to not cosplay, but rather wear a hodge-podge of Dr. Who things: 4th Doctor’s hat and scarf, question mark pin (I didn’t realise so many doctors used that—three of them to be precise … do you A Bevy of Doctors Sutek and Mummiesknow which ones without googling it?), bow tie of the 9th My "Cosplay" AttireDoctor, vest of Sarah Jane … etc. I left the Osgood lab coat in my bag—no glasses (they broke the week before I left) to make it official. I also left Sarah Jane’s raincoat behind. I didn’t want to be lugging it around—no cloak room. Next year … I plan on making my cosplay outfits (only two) much more special. Next year—that is, if I’m able to manage scoring a pass …

I did have an umbrella—a Doctor Who “special” umbrella (insert huge grin) Dr. Who Umbrella-Inside Dr. Who Umbrella-Outsidethat I found a rubber tip for (I used it as a cane on Thursday—oh, yeah … I’ll explain that later) I finally got to use it asUmbrella ... and Crutch an umbrella on Friday and Saturday. It’s gorgeous—and huge! I didn’t need any other protection and stayed relatively dry—once I worked out how to keep it from becoming a “rain collector” (sniggle) and still keep the rain off.

I scoped out the Dealers Room as early on as I couldDr. Who Pins and found my two missing pins for myA Sneak Peek at Dealers Room hat—the War Doctor and 12th Doctor (Capaldi). Yay! That made me happy!

My buddies that came down late had awesome costumes! Renée was a very posh Dalek and Pam had a dress with the exploding TARDIS. Friends' Cosplay OutfitsMichelle chose to be neutral—she’s not into cosplay, which is perfectly fine! She and I did a number of the talks together … we only occasionally saw Pam or Renée (at Gally) since they had their own agendas for the talks.

Ood

Gallifrey One was amazing, running smoothly throughout the weekend. The all-volunteer staff did a marvelous job. Kudos—to all of them—for their tireless work that made the event such a fun time. I didn’t do Best Doctor Cosplay Ever What Can You Do With Ribbons??Queen Elisabeth or Zygon ?? Dalek Ood and Nurseany of the autograph or photo sessions like I did last year as I was feeling a bit “poor”—unwilling to spend the money for the opportunities. I did attend quite a few talks, both in the main room and auxiliary rooms.  And … unfortunately, I did not go on Sunday. My injured knee (remember the “caned” umbrella? That was not a Ooooh!prop—I trashed my knee … and ankles at the end of January), using a cane instead of the crutch for two days and all the walking took its toll on yours truly. So instead, I packed up my bags, put them in the car and headed home—I was going to try to do it in one day, but knew I needed the down-time in Lebec, so I made reservations at “my” Motel 6.

My trip home was relatively uneventful … Leaving LebecStop For BreakfastOminous Cloudsuntil I was about fifteen minutes away from my house. Flooding, downed trees/power lines and road closures from slides Accumulation of Rain (Wed-Mon)Flooded CulvertDowned Trees—Across Power LinesMore Downed Trees On My StreetUmbrella Damage Umbrella Damage Umbrella Damagebrought the highway to a standstill. I attempted to take alternate routes, but the country roads couldn’t handle the amount of rain and were completely flooded, so back to the highway to wait it out with everyone else. It took over an hour to drive a normally 15-minute drive. I came home to no power and a boil water notice. A tree came down and took out the water pipe for our little community. They had it fixed by the time I got home, but contaminants were in the system (my neighbor had told me to just stay where I was, but I really just wanted to come home, so I had steeled myself for the worst). It wasn’t too bad—that’s what blankets, coats and bottled water are for … and power was back on 24 hours after I got home (still on a Boil Water order … hope that ends soon because hand-washing dishes with boiled water is a nuisance). A glass-topped table with an opened umbrella toppled over. Only damage was to the umbrella (yay) and an aluminum ladder that mysteriously moved in the winds. There’s lots of very soggy ground so I’m treading lightly. I consider myself extremely lucky. No, let me amend that comment—I am blessed. There’s no luck involved.

Many people have standing water—or even literally running water—rushing through their homes. The roads are not just flooded, but in many cases the foundation of the road has given way and whole sections of road are gone. In the case of Big Sur, slides and flooding are the least of the problem—one bridge near Pfeiffer has been deemed unsafe and will need to come down and rebuilt. Our area is not the only area that has been inundated by the storms. Dams and roads in Oroville, San Jose and Yosemite (to name o few) have been compromised with flooding and erosion. Getting out from under all of this damage is going to take time  … and money—lots of it—and I’m not sure California has planned for a catastrophe of this magnitude.

I still have to clean up around my property plus empty out my refrigerator and freezer—”better to be safe than sorry” is the adage I’m holding on to—then make a trip to the dump to toss the spoiled food. We have a few days respite before the next round comes.

My biggest concern is that I live on a hill … I’m praying that my hillside stays put.

Dear readers, please enjoy your Friday and the coming week. If you’re a praying sort, please pray for California and all of the effected residents—for their safety, for dams to hold back their burgeoning water supply and for this rain to slow to a trickle for the remainder of the rainy season.

The drought is over for the majority of the state—a blessing. Have a serendipitous week, my friends.

 

 

 

Fandom

YEAH … IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY FIGURED IT OUT, I’m a Doctor Who fan:  “FAN noun | a person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport, art form, or famous person : football fans | I’m a fan of this author. DERIVATIVES fandom |ˈfandəm| noun
image  ORIGIN late 19th cent. (originally U.S.): abbreviation of fanatic.”
I’m not as — hmmm … how do I say this without offending? — not as crazy about it as some … like I was as a Trekkie when I was a teen. The über enthusiasm. Willing to queue for hours just to get an autograph and/or photo — with my Swinger camera — of my fave actor (Spock aka Leonard Nimoy). The encyclopaedic facts … I knew everything about the program, about the actors, wanting to attend anything remotely connected to Star Trek … about … well, everything. I just loved it. A lot. A true fan(atic). As a Doctor Who fan, image I can’t tell you all the minute details, or even remember all the Doctors (they are adding up — there are twelve of them now). I don’t feel as vested as I did as a young adult. I’m sure this change has to do with my age. At least, I think (though I do know a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan that is at least my age that borders on fanatic — both my daughter and I were a bit creeped-out at his level of interest). In addition to the hundreds (thousands?) of youngsters in attendance — infant through teen and young adult, there were quite a few in and around my age (older and a wee bit imageyounger than I). I was completely surprised at the age span of attendees that were there for the entire weekend, milling about, attending the seminars, getting their photos taken with the writers, production crew and the actors … and generally, having a terrific time. Now, had River Song (Alex Kingston) been

David Tennent Lookalike

Pretty good look alike of David Tennent, the tenth Doctor. Kinda fun to see such a good impersonator. Very quite guy…

there, I might — just might — have taken the time to queue up and pay for a photo and autograph with her. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get away from a imagecommitment in NY (weather & production delays) — insert huge pout, so I’m hoping she’ll be at the Gallifrey One convention next year — and hopefully, I can get a ticket. Apparently, it’s a tricky thing getting tickets — they are gone in a flash. Sure hope I can. I have such great plans!

(Sniggle) Oh, I can see this is going to be one of those blogs that have a myriad of tangents … and is super long. I’m going to apologize now image(insert impish grin). Oops. Just try to follow along.

Now … I can go without it — the tv show — without knowing all the minute details, not being current with the ongoing series — without going bonkers. As a teen watching Star Trek, and even as a young adult following the antics of the at-the-time current Doctor, I never missed a weekly episode — and agonized when we went on a trip or when  they went into their annual hiatus. Now, it’s not such a big deal. When I could, I’d go onto the internet (when it was finally an option) and search for any new-to-me episodes. But I am so far behind it isn’t funny. I don’t have NetFlix … just Amazon Prime (and have just figured out how to use it). And it doesn’t really matter. I love it when I can watch it, but I don’t get bent out of shape when I cannot.

After this weekend, I am now “current” … I saw the last Christmas Special and it was good — except there is a huge gaping crevasse with only a few

Lighted Hat with the TARDIS

Had to laugh…this guy had a harness at waist level (hidden under the outfit he was wearing) that he used to either light up his hat with a solid image, or flashing (as in when it slowly disappeared) or in off mode.
Loved it!

stepping stones (some episodes of the newer Doctors) in between linking me back to the classic series where I began the Doctor Who journey.

The “old” fan me (is that grammatically correct??) would dress to the nines, wearing and buying all the “stuff” from the conventions and from PBS’s quarterly pitches for money when they offered up Dr Who swag as incentive to dontate. I still have quite a bit of my Trekkie stuff and even some old books, etc from the Classic Doctor Who series. Somewhere in storage. Maybe, before next year, I’ll have to see if I can find it.

The TARDIS at Marriott Hotel

Someone brought a TARDIS to put on their balcony. I love it!

That may be a monumental task not worth taking at this time. I do know (not knowing the value at the time) that I gave away some of the Doctor Who books and goodies (gasp) to my daughter and friends. Sadly, at my age, they really are just things.

The “new” fan me did purchase a bunch of little inexpensive goodies to give to my more avid Doctor Who friends…gifts to be dispensed at the weekly NaNoWriMo writers meeting. It was fun seeing who wants what. I love to gift things. So much more fun than hoarding things, don’t you think? I did buy a Fourth Doctor scarf (Tom Baker was my introduction to the series through the local PBS stations … and my favorite of the Classic series. I think David Tennent, the tenth Doctor, is my favorite of the newer Doctors) — I’ve been wanting one of Baker’s scarves from the very beginning, but I was too much of a scrooge to justify the cost. It was expensive, but well worth it. The weather back home is not frigid like the Midwest or East Coast (thank goodness), but for us, the mornings are pretty chilly — nearly year round! And it’s great to wear when I have the top down on my Miata. So, I’ve already enjoyed wearing it in the mornings and when I’ve taken the Miata out for a spin. Snuggily warm (insert grin). I also (last minute) purchased one of the cute little dresses — really made for teens, right? It has many hand-drawn TARDIS, Cybyermen, Daleks and Weeping Angels (in black, on white). It’s cute — but if I wear it in public, it will definitely be with leggings … or pants — it is a wee bit too short for this old fogey — don’t want to damage anyone’s eyes. Oh, yes. I also bought a Sonic Screwdriver (tenth Doctor’s, I think), but it’s a bit wonky. Works when it wants to (even changing the batteries didn’t help).

I did have fun with the fandom’s ribbon thing … many, many participants and attendees came with bags full of ribbons (with an adhesive strip so you can stick them together) that had not so random things printed on them  most referencing something said in an episode. My favorite was:

Ribbonated

Some of my collection of ribbons

“Permission to Squeee” — I love to squeee, right? I loved it … that is, until I saw the episode at the convention where the character asks permission to squeee, then he gets vaporized (insert frown). LOL. I received my very first one at the registration table (since it was my first year) and was told I’d been “ribbonated” as she handed me a black ribbon with gold block lettering: “THING”. I laughed. At first, I thought, “right…I’ll probably get two or three of these…” but found it was quite addictive. I found myself keeping an eye out for either clusters of people swarmed around a person, or people with little baggies in hand — both clues that there were ribbons for the asking. My hotel roomie, Renée is a wee bit bashful and in past years has collected only a few. With my help — I just politely asked for two … one for my roomie and one for me (99.9% of the time, they said yes) — she ended up with enough requiring her to clip them up so she wouldn’t trip on them. I plan on bringing my own next year so I can hand out and exchange (some were only available as an exchange, so I missed out on those). Renée and I put our heads together and figured out a phrase for one of them … something to do with books being dangerous. I think I may

Secrets Beyond Scymaria Swag

There were multiple tables participants/attendees could leave brochures, bookmarks, etc. I couldn’t pass up the chance to do a little advertising…
Next year I’ll be prepared with ribbons!

try to come up with one more. I’ve got a year to figure it out. And cross my fingers I am able to get a ticket (they are sold out within ten minutes, I think, and in 2016, there are no transfers … which is how I acquired mine for this year). Here’s hoping…

My apologies that some of the photos have captions/descriptions and some don’t. When I loaded them, I filled in all the important info, but I’m not seeing it on the first ones, as I insert them into the blog. I’m really not sure why. I will hopefully have this resolved before I post this, but in case I can’t figure it out, there should be a description when you click on the individual photos. We’ll see.

To say I had fun was an understatement. Not staying at the hosting hotel was not a negative — with it about two blocks away, I got a good amount of walking in, which for me is a very good thing. Especially with my poor choices in food, it helped to keep me from adding unwanted pounds. And the walking was good for me. I’m just glad that the smog wasn’t bad — the weather was actually quite excellent … blue skies, temps in the 75-85 degree range. In fact, terrific! I’m only sorry I didn’t venture out to the outlying area (which happens to be my old stomping grounds) — I didn’t want to lose my parking space … a very precious commodity in the city. I would have had time, but I’m not complaining. There was plenty to do and see at the convention. Next time, I’ll plan time before or after the convention to visit the various places I grew up in and around.

Wow. Time to close this rambling post. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. Even as I’m polished this one, my mind has begun pondering the next blog — triggered by memories. (Insert huge grin…)

I wish you and your family a week filled with discoveries and memories — big and small, precious and heart wrenching — they make us who we are.

 

 

 

Drawing A Blank…

WELL, THIS IS UNUSUAL. MY BRAIN SEEMS to be blank—at least where my blog is concerned. Well, I do have fleeting ideas, but none manage to take root. Often, when I’m driving around town, an idea comes to me and churns ’round in my mind till it forms into a line of thought. But this week, nothing. Nada.

This is when I consider going through my photos to come up with a pictoral blog. Usually, about half way through rooting around all the pictures, I come up with a nice blog—one of prose. It’s only Tuesday. We’ll see what happens…

And now…it’s Thursday and I’m still drawing a blank. My edit has my mind fully engaged in the story. Working on making it better—with the help of my awesome editor, David Antrobus—with each pass. Surprisingly, I’m having fun going through the edit and re-reading what I’ve written (this does not mean it’s not hard to make the changes needed—unfortunately, it seems that will always be a challenge). I will never get tired of this story I’ve created and the characters (especially the two protagonists) that have evolved. They each have such a distinct persona. I love it. I find myself giggling and/or shaking my head at their antics, actions and thoughts. And, thankfully, they are still developing. Growing. My children (insert huge grin here).

I’ve read somewhere that the characters in a writer’s story are usually bits of that writer’s own persona. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I have drawn characteristics from people around me—and, yes…I guess some from me, too—to make them real, to give them depth. I certainly hope I have succeeded.

Working concurrently on both book three’s edit and the creation of book four has helped keep the continuity of their character…but at the same time it has slowed my progress on each one—trememdously. In addition, writing/editing has made it difficult to concentrate and create this weekly blog. I certainly don’t want to discontinue the blog…but it may get a bit spotty now and then as I struggle to juggle so many different things. For this, I am apologizing in advance. Though I hate to just fill the space with “fluff”—I’ll endeavor to avoid this—at the very least, I’ll try to post a few photos of what life has thrown my way during the week. You may (insert wink) get tired of my dog and cat…and Point Lobos…

I’ll keep you posted on my writing/editing progress, for sure. But, I do have a visit to Gallifrey One Convention in LA at the beginning of next month, so at least one blog will be about my adventures there. For those unfamiliar, I am a Doctor Who fan. It’s a on-going science fiction tv series from the 60s…still going strong. Gallifrey is the Doctor’s home planet, hence the name of the convention event. I stumbled upon it in mid-70s when Tom Baker portrayed the Doctor. I haven’t been to a convention is a zillion years, so this event aught to be interesting…. I’ll probably be one of the oldest attendees (giggle). Like I said…interesting.

Trying to sneak in a book signing whilst I am in LA was on my agenda, but it looks like that’s not going to happen. Perhaps in March—I’ll be back down in Southern California then for a family reunion…I just have to see if I can round up critter sitters for the extended time I’m gone.

So, this has been a mish-mash of thoughts, ideas and an apology. I’ll try to keep my future blogs a wee bit more focused. In the meantime, I hope this next week is filled with amazing discoveries, good books to take you far afield and blessed with friends and family to share your life’s adventures.