Monthly Archives: May 2014


28 May

Lucky 13 Part I: Birds of a Feather

Posted by on May 28, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Jason and I don’t hesitate to celebrate. No, no one could ever accuse us of skimping on festivities. So, not astonishingly, when our thirteenth anniversary came around this year we spared no revelry. Jason, whose turn it was to plan our activities this time, decided that the proper commemoration of this event shouldn’t be limited to one day but distributed over weeks. Yes, weeks of anniversary exploits means weeks of related posts. I wouldn’t want you to be subjected to more excitement than you could handle in one sitting.

Kea are very intelligent and curious. They are often called "the clown of the mountains" because of their inquisitive nature.

Kea are very intelligent and curious. They are often called “the clown of the mountains” because of their inquisitive nature.

Our dedicatory partying started on our actual anniversary. Jason made a lovely breakfast for us that morning, after which we headed to Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City. He had arranged for me to take a behind-the-scenes photography tour with the Curator of Exhibit Collections there. This was extremely cool and a very thoughtful idea on my hubby’s part. I was able to go into the birds’ enclosures and take pictures of them up close while learning fascinating facts about those feathery creatures from the curator. I got some terrific shots and a glimpse into the personalities of each of these rare species, some of which are now completely extinct in the wild thanks to the stupidity of our species.

Green Magpies are native to Asia. These pretty creatures can mimic other bird calls.

Green Magpies are native to Asia. These pretty creatures can mimic other bird calls.

We finished our afternoon by strolling The Gateway and stuffing ourselves with sushi from The Happy Sumo. Then, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 occupied the bulk of our amazing evening. After all, seeing superhero flicks has become an anniversary staple for us.*

These White-faced Whistling Ducks seemed to think I was disturbing their naptime.

These White-faced Whistling Ducks seemed to think I was disturbing their naptime.

Our anniversary was relaxing yet distinctive. It was an outstanding day spent with many fantastic fowls and one fantastic non-foul. But the merriment didn’t end with these fine happenings. Check in next week for all the mind-blowing details about the second phase of our anniversary saga.

*We are uber-nerds.

22 May

From Basin to Brighton

Posted by on May 22, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Utah: one of the best places on the planet for snowboarding. Snowboarding: the best part of the winter. Winter: the worst part of the year. Ah, life is just full of complexities and incongruities, isn’t it?

I'm getting much better at launching myself off jumps.

I’m getting much better at launching myself off jumps.

We went to Snowbird on Memorial Day, which was their last day of operation for the year. The snow was surprisingly still good and the sun was charming.

We went to Snowbird on Memorial Day, which was their last day of operation for the year. The snow was surprisingly still good and the sun was charming.

I hate winter. It’s a lot like that girl that’s too mean for anyone to get along with but all the boys chase anyway because she smooches like a goddess. Yup, that sounds like winter to me. With strings of days when the temperatures never get above freezing and inversions block out what little warmth the weary sun might offer, winter’s got few charms but that frosty imp lures you in with its sweet, sweet powder and you find yourself longing for its blustery tempests with an eagerness that’s nearly nonsensical. Here are the highlights of our recent sporty encounters with that moody succubus.

One of the first good snowstorms of the season brought out all the boarding rabble.

One of the first good snowstorms of the season brought out all the boarding rabble.

No, that's not lens dust; it's many magnificent flakes of snow.

No, that’s not lens dust; it’s many magnificent flakes of snow.

This year’s snow patterns were a little abnormal. The flurries came late and infrequent until early spring and then storms raged aplenty. Because of that belated precipitation, Jason and I didn’t go boarding as much as usual. We only hit Brighton five times and Snowbasin and Snowbird each once. But don’t let those limited visits fool you; we got it while the getting was good. A few tantalizing blizzards found us in the mountains surrounded by powder so deliciously deep it’d make Charles De Mar weep.

He wants to be?

He wants to be?

What you're seeing here is the clumsy ending to my best jump ever. I got three feet of airborne bliss and one awkward landing.

What you’re seeing here is the clumsy ending to my best jump ever. I got three feet of airborne bliss and one awkward landing.

As for my progression as a boarder, that went quite satisfactory this season. I’m pleased to report that many speed and height advancements came without much conscious effort. My new record for jump air is now approximately 2-3 feet. Not impressed? Remember, previously I was soaring measly inches.

Boarding is one of the many activities that Jason and I go gaga for.

Boarding is one of the many activities that Jason and I go gaga for.

Spring is unabashedly here now. The heavens hint at the hot temperatures to come and the mountains’ once glorious frocks melt into sticky slush. Winter will have no power to persuade us to pursue its luscious slopes for months but, after the heated passions of summer have passed, pursue them we will. What fools we boarders be!

14 May

Nerds with Benefits

Posted by on May 14, 2014 at 9:58 pm

There are certain benefits to having a full fleet of nerdy friends. For starters, discussions on whether Gorn or Mugato is more impervious to Kirk Kicks or which Doctor has the most effective screwdriver are frequent and fascinating in our circle. Plus, it’s easy to find a companion for pursuing a Pathfinder quest or the latest Miyazaki flick. Also, having many geeky acquaintances means you always have somewhere to go when you happen to be dressed like a giant fox. On that note, our friends, the Rowleys, again hosted Rowley Con this spring, their annual tribute to all things gaming and geeking. It, once more, filled that twenty-sided void in many a heart and provided a loving home to unnaturally-sized foxes everywhere.

Jason took on Captain Kirk with this Friday facsimile. He had all the details down to the badge and phaser.

Jason took on Captain Kirk with this Friday facsimile. He had all the details down to the badge and phaser.

My Saturday duds consisted of long johns and various foxy parts. Jason looked suave dressed as my backup dancer.

My Saturday duds consisted of long johns and various foxy parts. Jason looked suave dressed as my backup dancer.

While the busyness of the particular weekend that Rowley Con was scheduled on this year prevented Jason and me from cavorting our usual amount at it, we stayed and played enough to participate in the competition for total nerd domination. The challenge categories this time were Dance Central 3, Love Letter, Crokinole, TowerFall, and a zombie game with ambiguous victors. Although neither of us succeeded at securing placement as the grand winner, I did manage to win the Dance Central 3 contest, which, frankly, is surprising since I had never danced the competition song until the three times I performed it during this tournament.

Milo donned his best bowtie and sonic screwdriver for this Eleventh Doctor outfit.

Milo donned his best bowtie and sonic screwdriver for this Eleventh Doctor outfit.

Love Letter was one of the tournament games this year. I believe Brandi proved herself the most appealing suitor.

Love Letter was one of the tournament games this year. I believe Brandi proved herself the most appealing suitor.

Many of the little kids preferred spending Saturday outside rather than amongst the congregated herd of nerds.

Many of the little kids preferred spending Saturday outside rather than amongst the congregated herd of nerds.

As is customary, Jason and I dressed iconically for this con occasion. We wore Starfleet uniforms on Friday and told everyone just what the fox says on Saturday. That’s right, I broke out my fox outfit, with some modifications, and Jason, in full feral splendor, dressed as my backup dancer. We were happy to see that a few other attendees actually sported costumes this year. I won the best female costume prize and the best male went to my brother Drew for his Doctor scrubs.

Andrew and Simone paid homage to the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond with these great costumes.

Andrew and Simone paid homage to the Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond with these great costumes.

The prize for my award-winning costume was a unicorn mask. It found its way onto Bart’s head rather quickly.

Thanks Jeremy and Amber for hosting Rowley Con once again! Nerds may have sweet nunchuks skills but they’re not always competent in the gratitude department. So allow me to say thank you, on everyone’s behalf, from the bottom of my two hearts.

7 May

Spring Seekers

Posted by on May 7, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Easter in my family means a couple of things. First, it means a delicious meal made by my parents that’s supplemented with some decadent dessert contributed by yours truly. Second, it means stuffing eggs, treats, prizes and money into every bush, bench, pot and tree in my parents’ backyard for the nieces and nephews to rabidly pursue.

Miles found the coveted golden egg this year and was thrilled with its monetary contents.

Miles found the coveted golden egg this year and was thrilled with its monetary contents.

This Easter held its usual joys. My parents cooked more baked beans, potato salad and barbecued chicken than any army of oinkers could consume and Jason and I added ice cream cupcakes from Cold Stone Creamery to the gluttonous mix. It was quite a satisfying spread.

For a little tike, Abigail sure accumulated a lot of goodies.

For a little tike, Abigail sure accumulated a lot of goodies.

Madison may have been giving off that "disgruntled teenager" vibe here but she was rummaging through the bushes with as much gusto as the rest of the kids.

Madison may have been giving off that “disgruntled teenager” vibe here but she was rummaging through the bushes with as much gusto as the rest of the kids.

The hunt this year went exactly as expected. Quite a few adults were involved in the cramming of goodies around the yard but it still took a while to hide the collected heaps of treats and toys, way too long as far as the kids were concerned. Those kiddies practically exploded outside when they were finally allowed to emerge from the house and, of course, due to overstimulation, they missed much of the entirely obvious plunder around them.

Isabelle thought this "golden egg" was a prestigious enough find.

Isabelle thought this “golden egg” was a prestigious enough find.

On Easter, munching and seeking has become a family tradition for us. I’ve been told by nieces and nephews that rummaging for Easter loot with their cousins is a preferred pastime and seeing the excitement on their small faces as they tear around the yard in search of oval treasures has made it a favorite pastime for me as well.

1 May

Fabulous FanX

Posted by on May 1, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Utah was recently named the nerdiest state in the Union by Estately. I’ve never been prouder of my magical homeland. This epic announcement, fittingly, came only days after a record-breaking geeky gathering ended in Salt Lake City. Although Utah’s capitol hosted its first comic con just six months ago, the biggest inaugural con ever, a couple of weeks ago it shattered its own heroic numbers with Fan Xperience, a spring rendition of that costume-loaded convention. FanX’s over 100,000 attendees assured it a position as the third-largest comic con in the United States. Way to go my fellow Whovians, Trekkies, Dungeon Masters, Tolkienites, Pottergirls and LARPers!

Karl Urban got the girl and the gun.

Karl Urban got the girl and the gun.

Jason and I, of course, bought tickets to this fanatic affair months ago and have been debating our many apparel options for a while. We attended all three days in costume and I even went into work at 5:30 AM that Friday so I wouldn’t feel guilty about leaving early to touch Karl Urban.

I got to get in the actual Batmobile, talk on the Batphone and push some hood-popping buttons.

I got to get in the actual Batmobile, talk on the Batphone and push some hood-popping buttons.

The delights of this convention, for an all-purpose nerd such as myself, are too numerous to be itemized but allow me to relay a few. First and foremost, we met the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, minus LeVar Burton. Besides talking with them all over autographs and camera flashes, we saw them onstage at the Star Trek Ultimate Xperience, an evening entirely devoted to my favorite TV show of all space and time. The genesis of the Galaxy-class perma-grin I’m currently wearing can be traced to that very night. On a side note, the Enterprise’s stellar crew does not disappoint in person. Our interactions with them were entertaining and moving; their wit and warmth made it so.

Getting a picture with this many members of the Star Trek: TNG cast fulfilled an intergalactic fantasy of mine.

Getting a picture with this many members of the Star Trek: TNG cast fulfilled an intergalactic fantasy of mine.

Along with those star stars, we also encountered, i.e. got photos with and gawked at, Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin, of Firefly fame, Karen Gillan, of Dr. Who notoriety, and Karl Urban, who needs no filmography index.

This could only happen in an alternate universe.

This could only happen in an alternate universe.

Check out newstarship.com to learn more about the refurbishment of this fine set.

Check out newstarship.com to learn more about the refurbishment of this fine set.

Our celebrity pursuits made FanX a strange mix of euphoria and listlessness. The lines for any sort of iconic contact seemed endless and self-replicating. On Saturday, between autographs with Patrick Stewart, pictures with the hunky boys of Firefly, and then pictures with Patrick Stewart, we were in line for most of the afternoon. But, given the choice, I, like Rory, would wait all over again.

The kids got their own TARDIS. I'm almost kid-sized but, apparently, I'm still too big to travel in short space.

The kids got their own TARDIS. I’m almost kid-sized but, apparently, I’m still too big to travel in short space.

I bought many geeky treasures in my wanderings on the convention floor. My acquiring tactics may have been a little too exuberant for rationality, I’d make a pathetic Ferengi, but my resulting stash is glorious indeed! I purchased an oil portrait of the Tenth Doctor painted by a local artist, piles of nerdy t-shirts, unique prints, Starfleet jewelry and steampunk accessories.

This shuttlecraft was lovingly made by The Seventh Fleet, a local fan club, over the course of a year.

This shuttlecraft was lovingly made by The Seventh Fleet, a local fan club, over the course of a year.

I have humbly offered much advice over the years regarding comic cons, from one geek to another, but allow me to give another insight: expect uninformed volunteers and disorganized lines to be as prolific at these conventions as Gangers in an acid factory. Be skeptical when a staff member tells you that “these aren’t the lines you’re looking for.” And definitely get confirmation before you jump out of a place you’ve been lingering in for a while, based on someone’s instructions, in favor of a new spot someone else randomly directs you to or you may find yourself in a temporal line-loop without a dekyon emission to save you.

This DeLorean was definitely a blast from the past...or the future?

This DeLorean was definitely a blast from the past…or the future?

Salt Lake FanX confirmed that a comic con of a slightly different name does smell as sweet. For FanX certainly smelled ever so sweetly of musty costumes, fangirl sweat, foam armor, waxed concrete and star-induced drool, all the odors of nerd paradise. Yes, as Utah has proven by outranking all those other so-called cosplayers and level-20 wannabees, nerdery’s roots go deep in Salt Lake City. With that in mind, I propose we stop calling Utah the Beehive State and start calling it the Borg Hive State. I’m just saying.