Spring is the perfect season to suck in stale air, to sit in the shadows, to gorge on Funyuns while strategizing how to take over the world… it’s the perfect time for RowleyCon. Coincidentally, spring is also the perfect time for graduate school to ruin the perfect time for RowleyCon.*
I decided to take some gritty pirate pictures in our basement.
This April, our friend Jeremy again hosted a weekend-long tribute to all things geek. Videogames, board games, anime, cosplay, and nerdy crafts all had a rightful place at this affair, as did I. However, school, the enemy of free time, inhibited my undivided appreciation of the chaotic masterpiece that is RowleyCon. Drat my needy education!
All is fair in love letters and war.
Jason and I won the costume contests at RowleyCon again this year but no one else dressed up so it would have been literally impossible for us not to. Yippee! We achieved first place… and last. Yet, assembling different sets of costumes both Friday and Saturday was kind of an accomplishment in of itself.
With his resin weapons and manly arrrs, Jason was ready for some steam-powered piracy.
My buccaneer’s hat was handmade by Captain Jeff MacKay.
For college claims most of my innovative energies these days, leaving little oomph for other original endeavors. My brain still has a few tricks up its nodes though, tricks to bypass school’s creativity tax. I thought of a new steampunk-pirate-ensemble idea as I was drifting off to sleep the night before RowleyCon, something with a little Middle Eastern panache that incorporated harem pants and Moroccan jewelry. Sometimes I think my noodle pulls fast ones on me during my waking hours and saves all of its good stuff for sleepy time.
I dig dramatic lighting but not drama queens. Go figure.
Jason and I have enough costume parts and accessories to create new outfits from nothing new.
Jason and I didn’t play too many games at RowleyCon. (Did you somehow miss all of those whiney comments about school?) We did undertake a little 7 Wonders and learned how to build Castles of Mad King Ludwig. Jeremy, of course, underestimated the amount of time needed to play Castles of Mad King Ludwig by about 5000% so we weren’t able to finish constructing our royal residences before the lateness of the night ended our stronghold struggles. (Only a crazy person would think they could erect a castle in half an hour.)
Virginia fashioned a very fashionable gnome.
We also made meeples, which are personalized players’ tokens that can be used for just about any board game. This was probably the highlight of the con for Jason and me. I sculpted one meeple strutting the exact outfit I was currently wearing, which happened to be a Starfleet uniform. I also molded a slave Leia version of myself to go with the Han Solo that Jason crafted. I’m pretty sure my Leia could eat his Han for dinner and still have room for a Hutt; like me, she has a big head. Drew and Simone organized the meeple animation so thanks Drew and Simone!
The meeples ranged from animal to alien and spanned beyond legend, space, and sense.
And thanks Jeremy for putting up with a bunch of messy, kid infested, ungrateful gamers for an entire weekend. Despite my presence at RowleyCon, I’m afraid I’ll never achieve my 8th-level potential. As carefully constructed as my schemes to take over the world are, I think school’s plot is much more liable to succeed. For graduate school is like a prestigious and unstoppable doomsday machine that sucks the energy out of the universe one assignment at a time. Funyuns anyone?
*I actually love school. But I also love a whole lot of other things too and school makes enjoying those other things nearly impossible.
This February I gave Jason the same thing for Valentine’s Day that I gave him last February, a year’s supply of monthly date surprises. Now don’t you be thinking that my unoriginality is lame. I only echoed the concept from last year not the actual activities; I don’t do gift repeats. Jason’s most recent date surprise centered on snowshoeing. Since Jason and I are both suckers for new terrain and we’d never snowshoed at Solitude Mountain Resort before, you can probably guess where we decided to go.
Silver Lake looked like a snow-covered meadow not a buried chunk of ice.
Solitude turned out to be a great choice. It was still an abominable snowman’s paradise when elsewhere winter’s fluff was slushed beyond recognition. We shoed around the Cabin Loop and Silver Lake, which was an alpine ice block at the time. Plus, we detoured through part of the Solitude Trail. In total, we trekked a little over two miles through that sun-speckled forest. Not a terribly impressive distance? We were hiking with giant paddles strapped to our feet so give us a break!
Spring is a great time to play in the drifts. Don’t be too hasty exchanging the racquets on your feet for the one in your hand.
On a side note, sections of Solitude’s cross-country skiing trails actually go over Silver Lake. You can ski on top of a frozen lake. How cool is that? I almost wanted to toss my snowshoes just to give it a try.
Why, school? Why do you get in the way of me being a first-rate nerd? Aren’t you supposed to further my betterment? How can you stand for progress while hindering my cultural education?
I encountered a green-blooded giant.
Salt Lake FanXperience 2016 happened in March. I love having fantastic fan conventions in my quadrant. Normally, I’m engrossed in these things longer than the USS Bozeman was stuck in that time loop but I was mid-semester during this one so I couldn’t completely nerd out. Still, despite school being a downer, Jason and I condensed FanX rather effectively.
Holy Doctors, Batman!
Hearing Buzz Aldrin speak was a privilege.
We went to a special presentation given by astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Hearing from someone who’d been to real space instead of plywood space was fascinating. We got a picture with Matt Smith and Alex Kingston while wearing full bowtie, attended some intriguing feminist panels, and went to a session on male cosplay so Jason could get a few tips on how to perform better. Data showed him how it’s done.
You never know when you might come across a Catbus or Dogvan.
This happened in a galaxy really ridiculously far away.
We attended the Doctor Who Ultimate FanXperience, which featured the Fifth Doctor, Seventh Doctor, Eleventh Doctor, and River Song this year. It was over an hour and a half of Doctors jabbing each other on their weird wardrobe choices and reminiscing about aliens. It was quite entertaining. We also witnessed our first FanX cosplay contest. This wasn’t trick-or-treating; it was the big leagues baby!
Carbonite. Why did it have to be carbonite?
Moreover, something truly momentous happened at FanX this year. I acquired the last autograph for my ST:TNG cast poster. That’s right, LeVar Burton’s signature made my cast collection complete. I have arrived!
A guy in spandex with multiple mouths… that’s pretty scary.
Hmmm… after some consideration, it would appear that I am still a first-rate nerd even if my master’s courses made it impossible for me to immerse myself in FanX like the Joker immersed himself in that vat of chemicals. Hey, I wore a Darth Vader dress and lightsaber earrings to one of my graduate classes just so I would be properly arrayed for FanX. That took some serious nerd balls; you know I’ve got big ones.
Although Jason and I had dined at a yurt recently, (How many people can say that?) we ended up doing so again last month. When our friend Jeremy and his fiancé invited us to check out The Viking Yurt at Park City Mountain Resort with them, we said ja.
As it turns out, besides its round shape and mountainous setting, The Viking Yurt shares little in common with Solitude’s primitive Mongolian version. The Viking Yurt is posh, fully heated, pumping with electricity, and even has a grand piano somehow sandwiched in its innards. It may be remote but rustic it is not.
The Viking Yurt is 1,800 feet above the base of Park City Mountain Resort.
To get to The Viking Yurt, you hop on a massive sleigh pulled by a snow cat. It dashes you up 1,800 vertical feet, which takes about 25 minutes. At 8,700 feet, you find a warm mug of glogg, a spiced berry drink, awaiting you inside a surprisingly inviting shelter.
My many Viking ancestors were “peaceful traders” according to my mom.
You are then served a six-course dinner with Scandinavian flair that begins with butternut squash soup and smoked trout salad. Next, to cleanse your palate, you’re given a scoop of sorbet stuffed in a rock from Norway. (My stone came from Goxdeglicindovajavinojaslovan.) The main dish, braised short ribs and Jarlsberg potatoes, follows. A cheese course, which features a variety of unusual fermented and pickled products, comes next, presented on aspen slabs. Then, a warm pear strudel with lingonberry ice cream crams itself into your already occupied stomach. Yummy!
The helmet, the mug, the look, the man… it all fits doesn’t it?
After all that eating, you jump into the sleigh again and it drags your heavy butt back down the slopes. The particular night we went the moon was full so we were expecting a spectacular return ride but clouds came between us and that lunatic dream.
The Viking Yurt seemed particularly luxurious considering its isolated location.
So which of the two yurts was my favorite? Would I rather be conquered by a Viking or a Khan? That’s a hard call because Vikings have those cool hats and Khans have… those cool hats. Really, the two experiences were dramatically different but we loved both of them. The food at Solitude was a little better and it was cool to watch it being prepared. Plus, it was refreshing to completely unplug from modern disruptions. However, if you want to be pampered at 8,700 feet, then The Viking Yurt may be your kind of hut dining. You can’t go wrong either way… unless you don’t like eating amazing food in unique settings. If that’s the case, you best stick to gobbling P&J in your PJs.