I’m a nerd. If that’s news to you, your powers of observation are not likely to earn you a place at Scotland Yard. Also, not astoundingly, Jason and I attended FanX, a smaller version of Salt Lake Comic Con, last month.
Frankly, we’ve been to so many geeky cons that they feel more like the familiar cling of spandex than the uncharted regions of the Delta Quadrant but that doesn’t mean we don’t make new discoveries at each one. Here are a few of our findings from FanX this year:
1. Weird Al’s hair is naturally curly. Sorry ladies and gentlemen, he can’t provide sweet perm advice.
I tried making a Weird Al face for this picture but, instead, it was just a weird face.
2. Zachary Levi gives great hugs and leads great panels. Honestly, he put on one of the best con panels I’ve been to and I’m not even a serious Zachary Levi fan.
Who shot first?
3. John Rhys-Davies is a storyteller and a gentleman but he’s not best buddies with Legolas. Apparently, wearing dwarf parts influences the inner grouch. (The skin-stripping adhesives holding on those parts might also.)
The largest room at FanX seats thousands and fills up regularly.
4. Bonnie Wright does not appreciate bucking broomsticks, Nimbus 2000 or otherwise.
We got to spend some time with our niece at FanX wandering the exhibit hall and recounting our con experiences over dinner.
5. Cary Elwes is adorable with kids. During the Princess Bride panel, which featured both him and Chris Sarandon, he shared hugs, kissed hands, and brought youngsters up on stage.
I felt like a traitor without my Starfleet uniform in this picture.
6. “Fangirl neck” is a real phenomenon and should be taken seriously. Just look at my picture with Zachary Levi for proof. If you are taking a picture with a gorgeous star, I can guarantee that you will not look gorgeous; this is one of the unchangeable laws of the universe.
This is a truly terrible picture of me. It’s included here to prove two things. One, I did get a hug from Zachary Levi. Two, fangirl is not a flattering look.
Even if you’ve been to more comic cons than Stan Lee, there will always be countless con mysteries yet to be revealed. You may still uncover ways to win Snakes and Foxes, reach Jareth’s castle in Goblin City, or duplicate Weird Al’s hairdo.
Walking is entertaining stuff and mountain walking all the more so. That’s why I’m sharing the accounts of the rest of our elevated strolls from last season with you now before the 2017 treks begin. I wouldn’t want to overwhelm you with excitement.
Rattlesnake Gulch: Millcreek Canyon
Memorial Day Weekend
We did this short 3.5-mile hike on a whim because I had a hankering to get outside. Lightning and rain threated to make the occasion more memorable but, although the storm whipped and flashed about to the west of us, we only got sprinkled on.
We’ve hit this viewpoint many times while riding bikes but never with such a stormy show.
Desolation Trail: Millcreek Canyon
We rambled 4 or 5 miles roundtrip on the Desolation Trail just to see an amazing sunset above the Salt Lake Valley. What did we witness? The Great Salt Lake became misty and the lights of civilization started to beam and glimmer on like winking charms. The clouds blushed strawberry and tangerine with the approach of night. It was a sky worth every step.
We waited in this beautiful spot for the sun to disappear.
With some tiny shorts and tube socks Jason could be back in the 80s.
However, the thing about hiking miles to see a spectacular sunset is that you have to retrace those miles in the dark. The moon hung nearly spherical above us but we had to use flashlights on most of our return journey regardless. At one point, something in a tree made a loud clamor and sent a shower of wood chunks down on us. Griffin, hydra, sasquatch, racoon? Who’s to say? It sure didn’t fill me with warm forest feelings.
The receding sun transformed the heavens into this stratospheric punch.
Sugarloaf Peak: Little Cottonwood Canyon
If you’re a fan of topping all 30 of the Wasatch Range’s 11,000-foot mountains, Sugarloaf Peak is a good place to start. Sugarloaf is 11,051 feet high but it doesn’t demand much skill or shape to conquer. The hike to its pinnacle is a continuation of the path to Cecret Lake and totals 5.8 miles out and back. It gains 1,381 feet with 500 of those coming in the stony steep between the saddle and the summit. Still, considering its height, that’s not much of a challenge.
Somehow we managed to get a picture of Cecret Lake without gobs of people in it.
The real difficulty with Sugarloaf isn’t the rocky rubble but the rabble. Despite its cryptic name, Cecret Lake is certainly no secret. The parking lots near its trailhead were so packed that we had to park a mile down the road. Notwithstanding the crowds at the lake, we didn’t see many wanderers beyond that point.
Alta doesn’t allow snowboarders so this is as close as we’ve come to catching one of its lifts.
Jason got at least a few more feet out of Sugarloaf Peak.
It took us a bit less than four hours to do this hike, even with the extra two miles that the area’s vehicular surplus made necessary. We made it back to our car just before phone flashlights became needed.
Horse Flat Trail: American Fork Canyon
One fall afternoon we trekked across the Horse Flat Trail for an undetermined distance until the sun skedaddled. We didn’t encounter many trekkers after the first fraction of a mile but we did come across a couple of fine meadows and inspiring views. Yup, it was a gloriously generic mountain climb.
Patches of gilded groves accented the shooting hillsides around Horse Flat.
A warped aspen offered Jason a perfect perch as we progressed along Horse Flat.
We ended our Horse Flat hike here… wherever “here” was.
There you have it, an ambling account of our wanderings through the woods last summer and fall. Didn’t I say that walking is entertaining stuff? Let the 2017 hikes commence!
I was pleased to be invited to Visions of History’s Ladies Victorian Tea at The Grand America last month.
I was fully prepared for the social and genteel demands of this occasion. With my delicately-netted gloves, stiff taffeta skirt, puffed sleeves, and equally-puffed hair impeccably placed, I gracefully nibbled scones topped with clotted cream and lemon curd, macaroons, and cucumber sandwiches. I sipped tea with a perfectly-popped pinky while carrying on stylish conversations with my companions. Indeed, the tearoom was titivated by my refined presence.
My outfit was appropriately ruffled, puffed, and laced.
The Grand America provided the perfect setting for our elegant affair.
Not convinced of my overpowering poise? Okay, perhaps my charm was not quite sufficient for the fanciness of the affair. I spilled tea on my dress and had to hunch awkwardly a bit to keep from dribbling anything else. With that said, I had a splendid time chatting with my fellow history aficionados and we were the highlight of the memorable atmosphere for many of the ladies and little girls taking tea; we received a number of picture requests from these females.
It was a delightful afternoon spent in the company of fashionable foods, bygone vogues, and cultured companions.
Today, I am graciously giving you males out there some life-altering information and advice. Prepare for your world to be rocked.
My man is hot in a cravat!
Men, to 80% of the women you encounter you will never be hotter than when outfitted in Regency attire, like a Jane Austen character. Why do I feel compelled to give such random priceless wisdom? Well, frankly because you boys are a little dense.
I was tasked with creating flower arrangements for the ball again this year.
Jason and I were among the dance demonstrators at the ball.
Jason and I recently went to the Regency Romance Ball in Salt Lake City again. At this affair, attendees are carried back to the time of Jane Austen by elegant surroundings, tasteful food, period attire, and vintage dancing.
Every year I debate whether to make another outfit for the ball, I only have three after all.
This year, the ball sold out with around 300 attendees. As popular as it was, not everyone that wanted to go was able. You see, I’ve been privy to a lot of female protests over the years regarding the difficulties of securing male companions for this event. And, thus, the importance of my message emerges.
Obviously, a lot of men are wise and I’m sure they reap the rewards of their wisdom.
Jason is clever; he’s never once complained about wearing clothes that look supremely fine on him.
For I can only assume that if you blokes, being self-serving creatures, knew that attending such affairs would not only earn you an uncalculatable amount of brownie points but also elevate you from modern dud to Regency stud that you’d be all too eager to go. Therefore, I must conclude that you are grossly unaware of the facts… or were until a moment ago.
The food at the ball is elegant and tasty, another reason for you men to cease your objecting.
Men, you don’t need to understand Mr. Darcy’s appeal to benefit from it so I hope to see more of you at next year’s ball proudly pirouetting about in waistcoats and cravats while your ladies ogle you. Don’t say I never gave you nothing.
Can’t go on one more day without knowing how Jason and I fared in our 2016 races? I figured as much and thus I am willingly sharing these completely mediocre finish times with the world. You’re welcome.
Tulip Festival Half Marathon
Race Specs: This is the hardest half marathon in Utah. It’s not downhill like most. It’s a rollercoaster and, as with any notable coaster, vomit’s a standard.
Race Stats: I finished in two hours and 26 minutes. Overall, a much better run for me than my last tiptoe through the tulips. I didn’t break any land speed records but I kept a steady pace and met my time goal of less than two and a half hours. Further, I only walked up three or four of the steepest hills, which was quite an accomplishment considering the bountiful bumps on this course. Jason finished under two hours, which was his aim. He crossed the line at one hour and 53 minutes. Jason’s dad, Keith, also ran this race. We were proud of him for taking on the Hungarian Horntail of half marathons on his first half attempt and slaying it.
My parents walked the Tulip Festival 5K so we had a hefty cheering section at the finish line. Thanks Ben Norell for the great pict!
Race Repercussions: Following the race, my knees hurt dreadfully the rest of the day. It was embarrassingly difficult to go up and down stairs. By the next day, the aches had retreated to mostly just my thighs but stairs were still painful. However, my discomfort was lessened by Jason’s awkward shambles. That boy really struggled with his knees both the day of the race and the day after… and probably some days after that. Within 24 hours, his calves and thighs also limped onto that bandwagon. Yup, he ran like a little boy during the race and then hobbled like an old man for days.
Lehi Roundup 10K
Race Specs: This race isn’t exotic but it is generally well planned and has become a tradition of ours over the years.
I’m not a competitive person, my only rival is myself, but I still appreciate the exhilaration of a starting line.
Remember that whole fight or flight evolutionary thing? Well, Jason is very flighty.
Race Stats: Jason won first place in his age group with 46:44. I finished at exactly 1H:3M:26S, coming in seventh in my age group. While this is nothing to be proud of, it isn’t too awful considering that typically about half the participants in any given race inevitably end up being women in my age group.
Fairy Tale Fun Run
Race Specs: Although not a timed event, this is, as its name suggests, a fun run. The course winds through Thanksgiving Point’s gardens where mermaids, pirates, princesses, and bad wolves await. I’d highly recommend this race if you’d like to get some little ones interested in exercise or just want to take your family on a running stroll through enchanted greens.
This fairy didn’t get the dust memo.
Jason galloped through the Fairy Tale Run wearing that unicorn head even though he couldn’t see where he was going and the plastic fumes choked his brain.
Race Stats: None, unless you want the speed at which Jason killed off brain cells inside his unicorn mask.
Fallen Officers Memorial Run 5K
Race Specs: This race’s purpose is to raise funds and promote caring for the families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. It has a superhero theme and participants are encouraged to dress up. This year, Jason’s uncle was among the officers being honored so we felt particularly compelled to support the event.
Jason donned uncomfortable headgear again for the Fallen Officers Memorial Run for which he cut his nose and got his picture in the paper. Photo courtesy of Laura Seitz.
Race Stats: We were joined at this race by a small gang of family members. Jason, Jeremy, and Keith all placed first in their age groups. I came in 3rd in mine. Jason finished in 24 minutes exactly and Jeremy came in seconds behind him. It took me 29 minutes and 20 seconds to drag my cape to the line. How did we fit in the grand sprint? Jason came in 10th overall out of 267 participants and I came in 42nd.
Night of the Running Dead 5K
Race Specs: The Night of the Running Dead is an undying favorite of ours. It has changed management, style, and locations over the years. This time it crept over a dark route that went along parts of the Porter Rockwell Trail and unused portions of Highland Drive. Glow sticks placed here and there gave the only meager indication of the course direction. With leaves crunching unseen under our feet and a shrinking moon eyeing us behind a sharp breeze, the night felt deliciously fall. It was a far howl from previous, more theatrical, versions of this race where the undead danced about and the apocalypse was broadcasted. We’ve found all renditions terribly satisfying.
I used the strip of light from the timeclock to transform Jason into a brain biter.
Race Stats: Jason placed 2nd out of all the men. Good work Jason! His time of 26 minutes and 58 seconds was more sluggish than normal but the darkness and hills slowed everyone down. I placed 5th in my age group with a 9:56 mile average, not amazing but not too bad considering my putrid physique.
Yes, your life can go on now that you know Jason is still fast and continues to place often while I am still committed to maintaining my streak of mediocrity.