oceantheorem: (gg R pensive)
Friday we are giving Claire away. In theory we will be able to get her back when we move to a place that allows pets and has more room for her to run around, but this clause of the Giving Up does nothing to lessen my sadness.

Here are some pics of my Clairebeast over the last three weeks.

In the car


First day in the House of Awkward


Enjoying California Sun




Desperately Trying To Find Familiar Things






Asleep on my lap


Kitty, this is the best thing for you, but I will miss you. :-(
oceantheorem: (women and tea)

Okay, where to even start?

We moved in to the crazy community house in San Francisco on August 1st. It seemed awesome. The house is incredible; it's a beautifully preserved and restored Victorian mansion, with original flooring and woodwork everywhere. I'm totally in love with it.  The people for the most part seem pretty cool, and the first week was exciting as we got to meet all the new housemates.

Apparently the people organizing the house didn't like us as much as we liked them, because they told us on August 6th that they didn't think we were a good fit for the community they are trying to create and they'd like us to move out. They offered to let us stay for the month of August rent-free while we look for a new place, but other than that it was non-negotiable. We were both pretty shocked and upset at first, but as the last couple weeks have gone by I'm more and more on board with the "we are not a good fit" assessment. I think we had expected a community house in which people hung out together, cooked dinner together, had interesting conversations about the structure and nature of society, etc... and what we have instead is sort of a house in which no one is ever around except for an hour or two late each evening, and then they talk about their startup businesses and how awesome they are and how they are going to modify this incredibly beautiful Victorian house to turn the basement into some kind of hostel. They don't communicate well. They don't seem to have any regard for other human beings. They seem to be happy to be at the top of the financial pyramid, and their only concern is how to climb further upwards. It is extremely frustrating to have moved into a community house in California and to realize that the people inside it are capitalistic and competitive. Seriously. How weird is that?

So anyway, we found a new place to live. It's extraordinarily expensive - like four times as much as we were paying for our 1-bedroom in Ypsilanti - and it's a studio loft. So it's basically a living room with a space for a bed above, but hey, we spend all our time on our computers anyway, so it's not like we need a lot of space... The good news is that it's extremely conveniently located. It's a very easy bike ride to work for me, and it's right next to the BART station on Market Street, so Jim can get to work in Oakland really easily (assuming he actually gets this job). 

Speaking of jobs... Jim went to LA last week for orientation and training, but still doesn't know if he actually has the job. Apparently this company is having trouble getting Jim's last employer to verify his exact employment dates. Maybe they keep their records on cowhide or something, because otherwise I don't see how this could possibly be a difficult fact to verify.

My job is really good. I like my new lab and I like the research. I'm working with a German postdoc, and he's got a great sense of humor and has given me a ton to do, so I feel like I'm starting off hitting the ground running, which is nice. I've only been here two weeks and I can already do a large portion of the things the lab does. I am getting up to speed really quickly.

The negative part of the new job has been all the HR stuff. All the official paperwork and security and benefits stuff has been one long nightmare. First I had to get a university ID card, which I couldn't do until I had a California driver's license, because my Michigan driver's license still had my maiden name on it. So two trips to the DMV and one trip to Santa Cruz later (there was a saga involving the loss of the original certificate of marriage, so I had to drive to Santa Cruz to get a new one), I have a temporary CA driver's license that has my married name on it, and the university finally issued me an ID. Of course then it took another WEEK to get me access to the building, despite the fact that I had completed all of the online safety training... I actually got access to the animal facility before I got access to the building itself. This building is so secure you have to scan your card to use the elevator, so I actually got trapped once trying to get from the animal facility back to my floor, because the elevator wouldn't let me select the correct floor.

So now I'm trying to sign up for health insurance and shit, and I log into the stupid university website with my social security number and my birthdate, like I'm told to, and it comes up with my maiden name and tells me I'm not an employee. WTF? Some digging around shows that my last W2 form (wait, why do I have one?) was issued in 2005. Oh right. I worked as a TA at UCSC my second year of college... in 2005... so I have technically been an employee in the UC system before.

Further digging reveals that there has been no mixup with names or employment dates. The problem is not that I existed previously as my maiden name. The problem is that the person in HR responsible for putting me in the system last week typed in my social security number wrong. So there are now two accounts for me in the UC system - one from 2005 with the right SSN and wrong name and no current employment info, and one from last week with the right name and right employment info that I can't access, because it isn't attached to my SSN. And no one in HR is answering the phone this afternoon. ::headdesk::

Apparently there is now internet available at the House of Awkward, though, so I'm about to head home and see if the rumors are true. It will be nice to have internet access again!

oceantheorem: (I am volatile chemistry)
We have a place to live! We got into the awesome community house. It is a 7000 square foot Victorian mansion in downtown San Francisco that used to be a Buddhist temple. Yeah, I know. It sounds insane. And awesome. I can't wait to see it in person.

We leave a week from today (well, yesterday, since it's waaaaay after midnight now), and I'm finally starting to feel the excitement I've been looking for. It's becoming REAL. I really get to go home. I get to go back west, where there are mountains and ocean and family! And friends! Lots and lots and lots of awesome friends.

Friday was my last day at work here, so I have this entire coming week off to work on packing and loading up the car. It always amazes me how much stuff people manage to accumulate in a year. I think I own more stuff right now than I've ever owned, but I'm looking forward to paring that down and giving a lot of stuff I don't need anymore to Goodwill, and packing everything important to me into my car. For some reason, being able to fit everything I own into my car is some kind of mental achievement for me. Maybe because I've been nomadic for the better part of a decade now, and having less stuff means spending less time packing and unpacking. 

I'm awake right now because my teeth are hurting me and I took some of the Tramadol the dentist gave me a couple weeks ago. It claims it might make me drowsy, but every time I've taken it I've become unable to sleep. Which also explains why the last couple entries were written in the middle of the night and sound like I'm on drugs - because I am on drugs. Anyway, the dentist also gave me a bite guard, which is supposed to help alleviate teeth clenching, which is theoretically the cause of the sore teeth, but I've had the guard for about six days now and I don't think it's helping. I think getting to San Francisco will help, because I've never had a teeth clenching problem before, and I'm pretty sure it's connected to this move. Once we're on the other side of it - and living in a mansion in my favorite city in the world - I should calm down enough not to grind my jaw into pieces while I sleep.

On yet another painkiller-induced tangent, I'm annoyed that we somehow managed to decide to drive across the country just as the Olympics start. I'm going to have to find radio stations that offer some kind of coverage, or maybe stream something from my phone. That should actually work out pretty well; it'll give me something to think about during the 34 hours of driving with Claire meowing the entire way.
oceantheorem: (be careful pretending)
The fireflies are out! Claire is sitting on my lap. I will miss these things.

The problem, as I have said many times, with moving across the country (well, one of the problems; there is certainly more than one) is that you leave bits of yourself behind each time you do it. Even leaving Connecticut, a place I hated, felt like tearing off a part of who I'd become. Michigan is hands-down an all-around better place to be than Connecticut, and leaving is going to be hard. Especially because Jim's family is here, and I've gotten quite attached to them. I feel awful taking their son from them, too. Even though he wants to go and they say they understand and that we'll all go someplace tropical for Christmas together.

I'm trying to simultaneously remember that California is not Eden and will not make life magically perfect, and also that I do have good reason to be excited about moving there. I'm not imagining that California is "home". It is. It truly is. I feel markedly different in California than I do elsewhere. The sun is stronger, the land actually has texture (I'm so sick of the flatness of the Midwest!!), the food is locally grown or raised or caught, and the proximity of the ocean changes the flavor of the air and keeps the temperature within a narrow range. It calls me. In a really stupid, juvenile, romanticized, nonsensical way, I really feel like California calls to me. Besides, I've always wanted to live in San Francisco. I love cities, and San Francisco is my favorite city. 

So why am I so scared and sad?

1. Michigan is safe. We have a routine, we have Jim's parents, we have a safe little life and safe little jobs that would eventually lead to having a safe little house.
2. San Francisco is big, and fast-paced, and culturally very different from anywhere I've been in the last six years, and very different from anywhere Jim has ever been, and I worry about the culture shock.
3. If we don't love it, it will be my fault that we are there and poor and not here and safe. 
4. My mom and I will be closer and have a chance to have a real relationship again, and if it falls apart I won't be able to handle it.
5. We most likely have to give up Claire (a friend of mine is willing to take her for up to a couple of years, and she lives just north of SF, so this really isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I will still miss my fluffy demoncat).
6. It's so expensive. So, so expensive.

Things that kept me awake last night, excited (when was the last time I couldn't sleep because I was excited?):

1. We might get to live in a really interesting community house, the ad for which sounds like a listing for a social experiment. We'd be surrounded by intelligent, capable adults who are trying to make the world a better place. I miss that kind of environment. I miss it in a way that surprises me - like a piece of me was excised, but it was so cunningly and slowly removed that I didn't even see it go, and at the mention of its return I feel lighter and freer and smarter and more adventurous. I want to take risks. I want to try new things. I want to learn about new subjects. I want to contribute. I want to try.
2. The food. Just the thought of the food! Did you know I had a dream about our wedding cake after the wedding? It was so perfectly made, just the right texture and the right sweetness and not too heavy and not at all dry. All the food is like that, whenever I visit California. It's perfectly ripe and fresh and always has the perfect hint of salt or sweetness. THE FOOD.
3. My new job is just like my current job, except with more spreadsheets, an iPad in the mouseroom that was my idea (apparently the university is implementing these now, but my new lab is giving me credit for coming up with the idea before the university announced it), amazing people that sound like they just fell out of a joke (three postdocs walk into a bar - a German, an Indian, and a Frenchman...) and have extremely flexible work hours and seem to value work-life balance. And there is a gym next door with a pool on the roof. A POOL. ON THE ROOF.
4. Sunshine.
5. Sunshine.
6. Sunshine.
7. My family!
8. 3D printers! I know. This is out of the blue. For some reason my brain is associating 3D printing with California, and is excited about it. Let's just roll with this one...

I've been pretending to be quiet and safe and normal and now I am quiet and safe and normal. I want to be wild and daring and clever again, but it is scary.
On the other hand, it's not like I have a choice anymore. We've set it in motion; it's happening. We leave on July 30th.
oceantheorem: (btvs battle ready)
I got a job in San Francisco!

I started looking for a job after we got back from the honeymoon (I'm married!) and got a few calls back right away. One lab had me do a phone interview, then set up a video conference with the entire lab so they could all ask me questions, then asked me to fly out to California for an in-person interview. They had me in the lab for an entire day, talking to people as a group and one on one, and then took me out to dinner two nights in a row. Through all of that, they were friendly, interesting, and casual, and they seem to like me as much as I like them, so I was thrilled when they offered me a job. It's a really similar job to what I have right now, with a little more focus on mouse colony management and less focus on hiring other people or ordering supplies or training undergrads (they already have a manager; they just want a tech to help breed and to do experiments). They study the immunology of multiple sclerosis, so I've got a lot to learn...

Jumping back a ways, the wedding was amazing. It was perfect. It was exactly the kind of small, casual, intimate gathering I had hoped it would be. My favorite people were there with very few exceptions, and I got to wear a pretty dress and eat delicious cake. And, you know, the marrying. I've got a Jim now. Permanently. Mwa ha ha!

I had deeper, more introspective stuff to write about all of this. Last night. And then I didn't write it down. So now I'm sleepy, and my brain is muddled, and I'm overwhelmed with the emotional onslaught of everything that's happened since February (when lab became a much different beast without my graduate student around) and everything that is going to happen between now and August. We're leaving Michigan on July 30th, and I start my new job August 6th. We don't yet have a place to live, and Jim doesn't have a job, and we may or may not have to find a new home for TinyCat, but things are in motion and five weeks from now I'll be in California. Home.
oceantheorem: (Default)
I should go to bed, so I'm gonna make this quick again.

1. Internet communities.
2. Warm pajamas.
3. Nerd art.

I've felt kinda nauseated all weekend, not sure why. Hopefully it goes away tomorrow. :-/
oceantheorem: (ff Kaylee happy)
Whoops. Okay.

Friday's things:

1. Chocolate. In massive quantities.
2. Coffee.
3. Headphones.

Today's things:

1. A local dance studio! We can fall out of bed and be in dance class in under 15 minutes.
2. Smartphones with entertaining games like Words with Friends.
3. Jim's family. They're good people, and spending the evening with them has only become more and more enjoyable as I've gotten to know them better. Now that both his siblings have significant others, we are a nice round, symmetrical number of people (Jim's parents, us, and his two siblings and their significant others - a round 8), and gatherings feel... good. Like family.  It's nice.
oceantheorem: (don't wok)
I don't know why I didn't post yesterday. I've just been tired lately. I got into bed at like 9:30. Didn't get to sleep until midnight, but hey... progress...?

Yesterday I was grateful for coffee, and the quiet sanctuary of the mouse room when no one else is in it, and friendship.

I wish I had more friends in Michigan. Why does it get so hard to make friends when you start to get older? I used to have this amazing support group. Now everyone is scattered, and focused on their own stuff, and it's hard.

This entry sort of fails at positive thinking, doesn't it? Hmmm.
oceantheorem: (french kiss)
1. Inspections that go well (I know, this is a cop-out. I'm tired...)
2. Goat's milk
3. Video chat that lets me talk to my best friend for two hours even though she lives a thousand miles away.

Also, I watched French Kiss tonight, because I hadn't seen it in... uhhh... a year. And it's a good movie. I'd forgotten how hilarious it is...
Okay, sleep time now!
oceantheorem: (Default)
My friend's friend (they are both marine biologists) just got these shoes for her wedding. Do want!
oceantheorem: (btvs battle ready)
1. Digital clocks (NEAT, right??)
2. Chapstick (useful)
3. Snow (it hasn't been too cold, it hasn't clogged up transportation, and it's pretty).

Gotta be at work at 7am tomorrow for a mouse room inspection, so, bedtime now. 
oceantheorem: (be careful pretending)
Today! I am grateful for

1. Microscopes! I took some really neat images today. Not sure we're going to get any interesting results out of this experiment, but it's possible the knockout sample wasn't a knockout, so maybe if we get a new one things will be more exciting... anyway, I took some really pretty pictures, regardless of the implications, and it was fun. I should post a wild-type one at some point...

2. The cafe in our building. It has terrible selection and the warm sandwiches are too small and way overpriced. BUT it always has yogurt with blueberries, and it almost always has fresh bananas and oranges, and sometimes the soup is pretty good. And because of that, I've been eating pretty healthy lunches for the last several months.

3. The damn cat. She's cute and entertaining. We played throw-the-mouse tonight. She was adorable. Except for the part where I lifted up the super heavy couch to retrieve a mouse, and she went under it and refused to come out, and I was afraid I was going to give out and crush her. But then she came out and everything was fine. I know - cool story, bro.

Gonna be a long day at work tomorrow - we have an all-day experiment planned, AND our mouse room is being inspected first thing Wednesday morning, so I'm in charge of making sure it looks perfect, and I don't know how I'm going to do both things in a single day. Oh right. I'm just not going to come home before dinner. Le sigh.
I am grateful for a job in which I do not do the same thing every day...
I am grateful for a job which challenges me.
I'm grateful for coworkers who are pleasant to be around.

There. Six things today, without even trying. Not bad for a Monday!
oceantheorem: (I am volatile chemistry)
Apparently I can't remember to post these before midnight, so now they're all gonna have the wrong date attached...

1. I'm grateful for weekends. This one totally wasn't long enough, but it was still a good weekend. And it was good Jim-time.

2. I'm grateful for Jim. Thank you for putting up with me even when I'm cranky for absolutely no reason. You are an incredibly patient human being. You deserve a medal.

3. I'm grateful for having gotten to work with my coworker Ann for the last year and a half. She's leaving to go start a new position in Boston this week, and the lab just isn't going to be the same without her. She was great to work with and is a good person. (Anns tend to be good people!)

Okay, definitely sleep time now. I read all the comments on the last post and I will answer them all tomorrow, I promise. :-) But now... neeeeeed sleeep...
oceantheorem: (cheat lightswitch rave)
Today I am grateful for
1. Clean, drinkable water
2. Naps.
3. Dancing!

Jim and I are taking dance lessons, and this evening we went to a lesson/party. It was Jim's first time going to one, and I haven't been to anything dance-y since I was at Yale, so it was a lot of fun. It's always cool to watch people who've been dancing for a long time. Hopefully, our current lessons will be more productive than the ones I've taken in the past...

Also, I bought dancing shoes today, which I'll wear for the reception at the wedding. They're gold, which I think is actually going to go really nicely with the green of the dress. I'm excited. :-)
oceantheorem: (ten more minutes of sleep)
Oi! I missed two days. I have excuses! ::hides under them::

So, Wednesday was a pretty busy day. Work has been crazy all this week, because the grad student I've been working with graduated and found a job and is leaving the lab next week, and we've been trying to get in One Last Experiment before she goes. So, I haven't had as much time for browsing the internet as I usually do (I've been working through lunch! madness!).

Wednesday after work I walked downtown and attended a workshop on 3D design for 3D printing. It was a 2-hour class put on by these two guys who are trying to start a business based on printing custom 3D items for people. I learned a fair amount, and it was really interesting to attend, but it meant I didn't get home until almost 11pm. So I ate some food and went to bed with a minimum of internetting, and consequently completely forgot about journaling.  BUT. I did think about things I was grateful for throughout the day, so I think I am getting into the mindset, even if I'm doing a terrible job of writing it down.
Wednesday's grateful things:
1. Living in a town with a more active social center (as compared to where we lived a year ago). There are neat things going on in Ann Arbor!
2. A fiance who introduces me to neat things like 3D printing, which resulted in me finding this class and then being the only woman in a room of about 20 men. (Ladies! Have you just not heard of 3D printing? Are you not interested? Did you just not want to walk downtown at 7pm to go to the class?)
3. Public transportation that runs until 10pm. (I caught the very last bus! But there WAS a bus, so that's awesome.)

Yesterday was another super long day at work, or, at least, it felt that way. I didn't get home very late, but after eating a quick dinner, I decided what I really needed was a long, leisurely bath, so I went and read in the bathtub for about an hour and a half. After I got out, the internet didn't seem interesting, so I went and read in bed for another hour and a half, and consequently, once again, completely forgot about journaling my grateful things until it was time to go to sleep. And then I made myself stay in bed instead of getting up to write them down.
Yesterday I was grateful for:
1. Being able to read at work while deparaffinizing slides.
2. My bathtub! Seriously. It was a really nice bath.
3. The cat not being a total pain in the ass for an hour and a half. I don't think she's afraid of the water in the bath, per se, but she left me largely alone while I was in there, and she didn't even sit at the front door and meow piteously, which was really nice.

Today, it's not even lunchtime yet, but I think I'm going to jot some things down in case I don't get another chance to sit at the computer. I need to go coverslip some slides, and then I'll be imaging all afternoon, and then Jim gets home, and then we have gaming, sooo....
1. Our washing machine. It works again! You don't realize how awesome washing machines are until you don't have one. I'm wearing clean pants!!
2. Being able to order coffee beans from the internet. Salt Lake City Roasting Co, I love you.
3. A really, really awesome smart phone that also holds music and allows me to stream radio stations from the internet. It makes staining/coverslipping/imaging soooo much less painful.

Okay! Back to work, now.
oceantheorem: (books!)
1. Hot, running water
2. Memory foam mattress pads
3. Books.
oceantheorem: (Default)
Things I'm grateful for today:

1. This winter being really, really mild.
I know this is a bad thing overall. Climate change = bad. But on a selfish, personal level, I am so, so grateful that this winter has been warm and easy to endure. It's the first winter in several years I haven't sunk into depression, and it's really nice to be in early February and not feel like I want to drive into a tree.

2. My job.
I have a really flexible job. Some days are difficult and challenging and hectic. Some days are quiet and I have a lot of free time. I almost always have a lot of choice in what I'm doing minute-to-minute, and I feel very lucky for that.

3. This beer.
Today was one of the longer, more hectic days, and came with a lot of frustration. I'm grateful for the financial stability that lets us keep beer on hand and that I don't have Celiac disease and I can enjoy this beer at my leisure in my own home.

I looked in the mirror this morning and felt like I've lost a pound or two around the stomach. I don't know if that's true or not, but I have been walking a lot lately, so maybe. I look forward to living somewhere that I can/have to walk everywhere.

I finally sent my resume to my coworker's friend at Google. She gave me the contact info in December and I spent about four weeks actively freaking out over the sad state of said resume. I finally got it into decent shape and then spent several more weeks just sitting on it, lamely, petrified with fear. Fear of what? Rejection, probably, though it's a lot harder for them to say "yes" instead of "no" if you never send them your resume... So, anyway, today I finally sent it in. And then I looked up a 3D printing company in San Francisco and made first contact with them, too. Yay! Go me. Job Hunt 2012: California has officially kicked off.
oceantheorem: (Default)
So, I like TED talks, and I watched this one earlier today, and I thought, "Hey. I can do that. I should do that..." So here I am.

I've been working on the wedding a lot lately. The reception is going to be pretty casual and very nerdy. Apparently there are not a lot of nerdy weddings out there that aren't just straight-up Star Wars or Lord of the Rings themed, so it's been interesting trying to sift through all the info the internet has to offer. But I think it would be a million times harder without the internet, so...

I am grateful for:
1. The internet.
2. A Practical Wedding 
3. ThinkGeek

I've actually found a lot of really cool stuff this week, so most of the decoration-shopping is just about done. Now I need to sit down and write up explanations for all the strange stuff we're going to be putting on the tables, and then figure out how to display the explanations. I think this might call for a trip to Michael's.

oceantheorem: (gg R pensive)
Last night I had this really awful dream. I was driving an SUV (like, a GMC Jimmy. a red one.) and I had Jim, Kayla, and Clark with me. It was late at night and I was driving down a straight road, and I fell asleep. I swerved off the road and Jim verrrrry slowly reacted and tried to grab the steering wheel to correct, but we ended up rolling. Everyone was fine, but we were all strewn across this weird field and everyone was mad at me.

I realized that the problem with journaling these days is that I do it in bits and pieces all over the internet. I don't write anymore because I've already written all the things I have to say. Mostly I have Ravelry, where I can communicate more easily with knitting friends than I can through a blogging interface. And more recently I have Google+, which I can use to post all the things that make me go "Huh, that's interesting", and then I can have a discussion with people easily in the comments.

It does mean I'm doing less introspective writing. Like this post. And I don't write down my dreams anymore, which is sad. So, I don't know what the solution is. Telling myself I'm going to write in my journal every day never works, and if it did work I'd just produce a series of short, shallow paragraphs telling you what new weird dream I had last night and that it's raining again, and I'm not sure that's compelling writing for either your sake or mine.

Oh well. LJ just renewed my paid account for another year, so it's not like I'm thinking of leaving. This journal does still serve a purpose, even if I only use it once a month, and even if only half of those entries end up being visible to my friendslist.

In other news, I should really update my journal icons. I don't think I've changed any of them since like, early grad school.

DragonCon!

Sep. 8th, 2011 09:43 am
oceantheorem: (surprisedragon)
Note: I have a ton to say about DragonCon, but I haven't had much time to write it all down. The below is what I wrote Tuesday night in the airport while waiting to board the plane. I'm hoping to spend some more time writing at some point today...

6th September 2011
DragonCon! Fabulous time. I’m sitting in the airport now, waiting to go home, and felt the need to decompress. I kind of wish I’d brought my paper journal, but I guess I’ve been moving more and more away from that for a few years now… everything is so digitalized now. Oh well.  I guess this means I can post this on LJ when I get internet access again.
 
DragonCon turned out to be very dragon-y for me, which I didn’t expect. I knew it was a big nerd convention, and had a lot of sci-fi stuff, but I didn’t expect there to be a ton of fantasy. It initially seemed that, despite the name, there weren’t really going to be very many dragons at DragonCon. I was happily very wrong. First off, there is an Anne McCaffrey track (tracks are just little individualized sets of scheduling for the weekend of the con; each track has a theme and its own schedule, and con-goers can either stick mostly with one track or pick and choose and go to lots of little elements from a wide variety of tracks. I went for the latter approach), which had a number of interesting panels (I went to three). Second, the art show was fabulous and was very heavy on fantasy and dragon art. Michael Whelan was there, which I hadn’t expected. I mean, I hadn’t even known beforehand there was an art show, and was originally not at all interested in it. But Barb recommended it to us, so I went through it Friday with Amy and her husband, and was floored. The art was beautiful, and at one point I came around a corner and came face to face with a large painting of Ruth. It’s actually the original painting of the book cover of All The Weyrs of Pern, which features the white dragon Ruth in the foreground. I almost fell over – it’s an iconic painting and one I knew immediately and recognized on a visceral level. Until that moment I hadn’t realized how deep in my psyche the Anne McCaffrey books are located.
 
I walked into the booth featuring the Ruth painting and found a large selection of Michael Whelan’s work, including prints of the All The Weyrs of Pern cover and the The White Dragon cover, which also featured Ruth. I bought the pair (they were offering a discount if you got both, and I desperately wanted both), and then the woman working the booth (who I later realized was Michael Whelan’s wife) told me I could get Michael to sign them if I liked. She pointed to a man in the corner of the booth and it dawned on me that this was the actual artist. For some reason I’d thought the workers were hired, or volunteers, so I was shocked to realize this absolutely famous and iconic dragon painter was working his own booth and interacting one on one with customers. Michael turned out to be extremely friendly, and chatted with me while we opened the packaging on my prints and pulled them apart so he could sign them, then held them apart while the signatures dried. I was surprised at how engaged he was in our conversation; it didn’t seem at all like he was bored or put upon to be speaking to a lowly fan.
 
I took my (signed!) art out of the booth, thanking Michael profusely, walked around the side of the booth, and burst into tears. The interaction had been so shocking and so incredible, and so positive, that I just couldn’t process all my emotions at once.
 
After a few moments I recovered and was able to walk around the rest of the art show. I ended up buying a small shoulder dragon made out of wire and ribbon, thinking I’d regret the purchase, but having my own little fire-lizard on my shoulder turned out to be a fabulous experience, and she immediately grew on me. She also turned out to be quite the head-turner, as I got tons of comments on her as I wandered the rest of the con over the next couple days, and most people asked where they could get their own. I hear that booth sold out of shoulder dragons the same day I got mine.
 
The dragon-ness of the con continued, as I wore the shoulder dragon again Saturday and gathered more comments. Jim had joined us by then, and we met up with Alma to watch the con parade. When the Weyrfest section went by, they invited me to join them, so I got a few quick pictures with them before returning to my seat on the sidewalk with my friends. I think next year I actually might join them, since I kind of wished I had after they’d gone out of sight.
 
Later that afternoon Jim and I stopped at an ATM (for the second time that day) and I got into a conversation with the girl in front of us (who was visiting the states from Australia and was having a blast at her first DragonCon!). She was also a huge Pern fan, and told me about Western Weyr and Hold, a community on proboards that’s been role-playing for god knows how long. She invited me to check it out, so I jotted down the name. It sounds fascinating.
 
Sunday I wore my brand-new corset and Jim and I went through the art show again (as he hadn’t seen it yet). We bought several more pieces of dragon art from several different artists, and I got a giant henna tattoo of a dragon over my left breast. I’m beginning to think that if I ever get a permanent tattoo I’m going to want a dragon. I mean, I can’t believe I didn’t think of that before. It’s so logical. If I had a patronus or a familiar, it would undoubtedly be a dragon or a fire-lizard. I think maybe I’ll try out the Western Weyr thing and see if the role-playing sticks, and see which dragon I end up with (I’m guessing a green, hmmm. not sure how I feel about that.). Then maybe I’d get a tattoo based on that.
 
Anyway. Sunday I also went to a couple McCaffrey-themed panels. First there was one about the bad girls of Pern, the ones with gold dragons. We talked about Kylara mostly. It wasn’t a particularly impressive panel, but it was interesting to interact with other members of the fandom for the first time. They were… ha. They were almost like the nerd rejects of the nerd reject world. They were very socially awkward, and the panel itself was in a very small room in the basement of one of the hotels, hidden away through twisting and turning hallways. It was like the whole fandom had been outcast.
****************************************
(That was as far as I got before the plane started boarding. From here on is stuff I'm trying to remember now, 8th Sept 11, Thursday.)

The second McCaffrey-themed panel I went to Sunday was one featuring Michael Whelan, talking about the cover art to The White Dragon and how it helped launch both his and Anne McCaffrey's careers. I can't remember any particular comments at this point, but the hour was overall very interesting and I was glad I went (even though it meant I ended up missing the Buffy panel featuring James Marsters).

Monday morning there was a panel about the Pern movie. The featured speakers were Todd McCaffrey and Anne McCaffrey's lawyer, and they spent most of the hour talking about the history of the rights to the movie. At the very very end they said they have a new person on the project now, and there is a script, and there is talk of doing a script arc for three movies covering the first three books. Everyone got really excited about that. I'm hopeful that the CGI dragons will look "right" and the actors will be decent... if they screw up Pern I'm gonna be really, really upset.

Anyway, it ended up being a very dragon-filled weekend. I'm  having a hard time now readjusting to real life and letting go of the happy dragon feelings from the con, but we do have a ton of dragon art to put up on our walls, and I've been looking at roleplaying Weyr communities online, so hopefully I can drag out the happiness a while. 

There is a ton more to say about the con, but I think I should start a new entry...




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