Thinking Back On The Backup Bash

Man I don’t know.

I got a little dizzy earlier and am just trying to get through the work day. Not sure what to write about. So much in my head that I can’t really focus on anything in particular!

And I slept like crap, which probably has everything to do with everything.

Memories of the Backup Bash are circulating on FB lately, as our 10 year anniversary approaches nearer the end of the year. SO CRAZY to think it’s been 10 years since I got on a plane to go to my first convention in the US – a Firefly-themed Flanvention that promised to be just as amazing as I’d heard the first one had been and my excitement was through the roof! I even had a t-shirt made for one of the many photo ops I’d purchased ahead of time. Ten years since my plane landed in Burbank California and I found out the convention had been cancelled. Ten years since the SoCal Browncoats and members of the Firefly cast and crew (aka REAL Big Damn Heroes) rose up and cobbled together one of the most unforgettable and life-changing weekends of my life, the Browncoats Backup Bash. Or B3, as we call it. Ten years since I found myself drinking in an exclusive bar, not yet open to the public, in downtown Hollywood with the cast of my favourite show, busloads of Browncoats and even a few surprise guests who felt like joining the party.

Ten years since I first learned to trust and follow The Hat.

That weekend was the sole reason I ended up on the Browncoat Cruise the following year, where I would shake hands with the love of my life. So when I say it changed me, I mean it in such a way as to express that the emotions and connections and pure experiences of that crazy random happenstance are still very much with me to this day. There’s never been anything like it, nor will there ever be again.

Though how tempted am I to jump on a plane and head to Burbank for the tenth anniversary reunion currently being planned?

If I could just toss all responsibility aside and go be with my people – including said love of life – I can’t even express…like, my mind works so differently now. I’ve been constantly stressed and anxious about keeping my life from falling apart again for most of the past 7 years, or so. Every decision is made carefully and with concern over whether or not I can get away with it; make it work out in the end. What would I give for the opportunity to throw such caution to the wind and just do it. Just go do something that makes me happy and freaking work it out later.

I can’t even remember what it was like to be that person. Yet part of me is still aware that I’ve always been able to make things work out. Definitely not always as I’d hoped or planned, but still – I’m here. Here I still am; carving out my life, and creating my world. Earlier today I likened it to swimming with water wings. I’m not getting very far, but I’ll still afloat.

Adulting is dumb. Why can’t I just take a weekend off from it once in awhile, really?

Fan Expo Canada 2016 Preview

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Thanks once again to Touchwood PR, The Mind Reels will be covering Fan Expo Canada as press! I am particularly grateful this year, as it’s the first time since 2005 that I haven’t been able to purchase a pass for the weekend, and was not sure if I would be able to attend at all. Much to my surprise and delight, I won a day pass for the Saturday, so I at least knew I would be there for part of it. But then Mark Hamill was announced as a guest and I knew I needed to be there while he was around for as much as I possibly could. Thankfully, Touchwood came through for us yet again, and now Tim and I are gearing up to cover the largest event of its kind in Canada!

The guest list is insanely impressive across the board this year, with big names known in the realms of Comics, Sci-Fi, Horror, Gaming and Anime all descending upon the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for four days beginning on Thursday September 1st and running through the majority of Labour Day weekend. It also happens to be my birthday weekend…er, well, the event kicks off on my birthday. The rest is just bonus, really. Thank goodness for that holiday Monday!

I have my wishlist all ready to go as far as photo ops and autographs, so now it’s just a matter of waiting for the schedule to be released, along with preparing for whatever Touchwood may have in store for us again this year!

My personal goal is to basically stalk poor Mark Hamill as much as possible – definitely need to meet him, get my photo signed, get a pic taken with him and my awesome nephew…and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be heart-broken not to get into his Q&A, if he has one. I’m hoping to be able to park my butt in that line-up for however long I need to in order to secure myself a seat inside.

I mean, it’s Mark Hamill. Top of my dream guest list. I want to experience this as much as possible, especially since he’s essentially been an enormous part of my life since I was 5 years old. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. A long time. (See what I did there, Star Wars fans?) I am so excited to see him that I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only August 5th! Gotta wait a little while longer yet!

In the meantime, however, the Photo Op schedule is up, and tickets will go on sale starting Tuesday here. But before you can snag those, however, you need to buy event tickets here!

As well, you can check out all the most up-to-date information on the event’s official website here. They also have a Facebook page and Twitter account to help you keep on top of things. The incredible guest list aside, there are also about a billion other things to do which would keep anyone busy all weekend long, not the least of which is the show’s retail sales floor, and gaming areas. Here’s a basic breakdown of what’s happening, but that will be fleshed out far more as the magic date draws ever closer.

So start getting ready now, Toronto and visitors! Fan Expo Canada is coming – and it’s going to be pretty epic, if I have anything to say about it!

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Hesitant Vacations

I got a list this morning at work of vacation dates for people in my department so that I could keep track of when I need to be picking up the slack in other areas when key people are off. It made me realize I should probably book a couple myself, especially for something like Fan Expo. It’s on a holiday weekend and those are usually the ones that people like to extend with their vacation days. Since I won passes for Fan Expo this year, I decided to at least make sure I booked the time off before one of the people I need to cover for books it off instead!

So I worked out the dates and submitted the vacation request for the day before, all 4 days of Fan Expo, and then returning to work on the following Tuesday, because the Monday is a holiday. It uses up 3 vacation days, but actually gives me 6 days off in a row. Even though a hefty percentage of those will be spent crammed into a convention hall. Still. Not too shabby.

Then I decided to do something I’ve never really done before. I booked off three more mini-staycations…for no reason whatsoever! Just because I can! Whaaat?!

Each one is essentially just extra-long weekends, using 2 vacation days for Thursdays and Fridays and returning to work the following Mondays. One in each of May, June and July. Some of those months have 3-day long weekends, andyway, and these mini stay-cations are not related to those. They are extras. And I have no particular plans for any single one of them.

Usually when I book vacations, it’s always for something, even when it’s just a day or two. There’s always an event, or a trip, or a trip for an event, or some other specific place I have to be or thing I need to do. When I was taking weekly Avonex shots to treat my MS, I usually had to burn a vacation day just to recover, if I was already doing something over the weekend and couldn’t spend a day feeling like ass. As my level of fatigue grew even more once I switched to a daily medication with less severe side effects, I started booking an extra day before or after a busy weekend, just so I could have one day where additional rest was an option. Though it’s always hard not to use those as zoo days, too, depending on the weather and my energy level.

Anyway, before all this MS stuff, I really only ever took vacation so that I could do other things – film festivals, conventions…even most of my trips have been for one of those things. I went to Mexico once for two weeks, but we filled it with day trips around the country. Still, it ended up being more restful than any other vacation I’d had. Probably because we were gone for the extra week so we actually could fit everything in and yet still just laze around on the beach sometimes.

And now here I am, more than a decade later, booking off a few long weekends for which I have no set plans…and it’s kind of scary! Haha

I chose the dates, and had no reason for picking those specific ones except for the fact that no one else had yet. I feel so…carefully carefree!

Is that a thing? Can it be? ‘Cause that’s how I’m feeling.

The doubts set in pretty much as soon as I hit the “Submit” button on the final vacation request form. Why am I wasting days when I am trying to bank as many as I can for unforeseen issues that could arise at any time? What if something comes up later and I use more days after I’ve used some for no reason? What if something comes up during those three to four months that I want to do? Do I take even more das, or see if I can change them? Every time I take days off things seem to get messed up or fall behind, and it usually becomes harder on me to get caught up again after, so why am I doing this to myself? Maybe I should cancel one or two of the requests and just work them, anyway.

I even gave reasons why it was okay to not approve them all, or ask that some of them be shortened or changed in some way. Like, from two days, it can’t get much shorter, but anyway – my brain immediately started trying to reason a way out of taking reason-less vacations.

They were all approved…pretty much in record time, I think.

And I let them be. It’s been a couple of hours now and I still have four small vacations coming to me over the next 4-5 months. As well as the 3 other long weekends that aren’t Labor Day (which is the only one mixed into my extended vacation time for Fan Expo purposes).

Part of me will continue to worry about the possibility of backfire, especially after this last mini-vacation went.

But another part of me is pretty excited, and looking forward to (hopefully) not over-working myself when I’m supposed to just be relaxing and hanging with the critters I love!