So, my big Star Trek vacation. I attended this con five years ago, and it had been impressive then, but this year was even more impressive. Over 100 guests (some major, some minor), and seating for 6000 in the main panel room. That may not seem like a lot - hell, the Corral here holds just as many people - but that's still up from the seating for 4000 attendees when I was there last. Total attendance was, supposedly, around 10,000. That's a lot of people to squish into the hotel's convention area, which is large, but contained to one section of the hotel.

Actually, now that I think about it, that's probably 10,000 attendees over five days. The con sold one day admission passes for the first time. Still, that's a ton of people for any con in general.

Everything kicked off on Wednesday and went on straight until Sunday. I'm so glad I had a room in the hotel. After a long day, you could just go back to your room and lie down.

I should note that I didn't get my new camera until Saturday, so there's a mix of pictures taken with my phone and with the camera. I should also warn you that this is a long post with several pictures.

Star Trek Las Vegas 50th anniversary convention )

Now I really want to re-watch all of the Star Trek shows, starting with TOS and ending with Enterprise. That's only what? 700+ episodes? Wait, should I include the animated series, too?
Man, I have a Star Trek hangover. That was a very busy five days. I'm ready to have a good night's sleep in my own bed.

But the convention was great fun! I sat in on a ton of panels, got a few autographs, saw some awesome costumes, and generally was grateful that I love yet another fandom that has stood the test of time. I seriously want to watch all of the episodes from every series from start to finish.

I need to organize myself, but then I'll have a general write-up. I will actually have non-crappy photos for once! My uncle, who also attended the con, gifted me with a new camera (thank you so much!), so I was able to snap some decent pics from our seats in the 14th row.

Sleep now, though...
Though at this point the cruise ship might be in the Ionian Sea; I haven't checked the navigational map on the TV in a while.

So yeah, on my vacation, cruising around Italy and visiting countries like Croatia and Slovenia along the way. It's really hot here, hotter than I anticipated, and I don't do well in hot climates. I guess that's my own fault for not checking the weather report before we left. But it's cool, visting all of these ports. A lot of history in these parts. I've seen a few walled cities along the way.

And, being the geek that I am, I've also visited some filming locations. :-) Found the church/library from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in Venice. My god, the streets are nearly impossible to navigate; so many twists and turns. We got super turned around trying to find the church. I swear we walked all of Venice in the few days we were there. I also visited some of the locations from Assassin's Creed II for Venice. The attention to detail in the game is amazing. In Split, Croatia, we did a shore excursion to Trogir, which stood in for Venice in the Doctor Who episode "The Vampires of Venice". Everything was so small; the TV screen makes the locations look huge. And the last port we just visited, Dubrovnik, is King's Landing in Game of Thrones. It was so crowded in the old town. I guess the show has a big enough budget that it can basically shut down the old town while filming, because it was crawling with tourists when we were there.

Oh, and it's kind of crazy how many wifi hot spots I found along the way. I guess the need to stay connected and to post pictures forces a lot of places to offer wifi in public places. I can't decide if that's a good thing or not, but it is handy if you quickly want to check your email or Facebook.

The ship is currently on it's way to Malta. After that, it's Sicily, then Naples, then Rome, and then the cruise is done. We're spending a few extra days in Rome before going home, so I'll get a chance to visit all of the touristy spots in Rome.
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It's Saturday night and I'm not watching Doctor Who. :-( Alas, the hotel doesn't have the Space channel and it doesn't look like Space streams the episode on their site until later. I know I shouldn't be this disappointed, but this episode looked really good. Oh well...

So, Montreal. I was in Quebec City a few years ago but it's probably been ten years since I've been in Montreal. My French is still rubbish.

And holy heck, it's humid here. I had forgotten how humid it can get and it's not even summer. My sister said to pack a sweater but I should have brought shorts and a hat. Of course, I'm a big wimp when it comes to heat, so anything hitting the high 20s is too hot for me.

Aside from the heat, it's not so bad here. The atmosphere is so different from home. People are out at all hours. At home? Yeah, the downtown gets pretty quiet after midnight. I guess the Québécois really know how to party. ;-) The upside is you can walk through the downtown late at night and you don't feel awkward because there's still lots of people out and about. And the Metro is a lot like the Tube in London so it's not too bad getting around.

I need to get some poutine now or maybe some Montreal smoked meat. Or maybe poutine with Montreal smoked meat on top. Mmm...

Firefly lives!

Feb. 1st, 2014 10:36 am
locker_monster: (Big Damn Heroes)
- Anyone reading the new Serenity comic? The first issue was out this week. With Buffy and Angel living on in the comics, it seemed only natural that Firefly would join them, too. Seeing as we won't get another movie, likely ever, this is the next best thing.

Just some initial thoughts:

Spoilers for Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 )

I'm a bit conflicted about the art. Georges Jeanty worked on seasons eight and nine of Buffy and I never really warmed to his style. Sometimes it worked, but other times, the characters didn't look at all like the actors. I know when you're drawing comics based off of a TV show it's a little difficult to capture the actors' likeness, but you shouldn't have to guess who someone is at times. At the same time, it's dramatic license so I can overlook it, which will be easy to do if the story is really good.

At six issues, it's not a sprawling story like seasons of Buffy and Angel, so I worry it's not enough time to tell a decent story. In the end, though, I just want the comic to do well so they keep doing them.

- So yeah, went on vacation again. Did a week long cruise of the Caribbean. Visited five islands and Puerto Rico to boot. It's safe to say that hot weather does not agree with me. I'm accustomed to Canadian weather, where summertime temperatures rarely go above 30 C. A whole week of 27 - 28 C? Yeah, it's a nice break from winter but it's a little uncomfortable for me.

But aside from that, it was a great vacation. I've never been to the Caribbean before and it's gorgeous there. Turquoise water. It's real! It's not Photoshop. And everything is so green and lush. I was showing my co-worker some of my photos and there were times when I couldn't tell the islands apart.

I was expecting more pirate themed stuff at the ports, since actual pirates used to sail around those islands, but alas, there wasn't much. There was lots of rum, though. :-)

- Returned home to the usual madness at work. :-P And so many people are sick. What were you guys doing while I was away? One co-worker keeps telling me to sanitize my hands every time I leave her cubicle. Oh well, that's cold and flu season for you. Remember to wash your hands, everybody!

Whew, got home on Thursday. Spent an extra day in London because my flight got delayed. The airline was nice enough to put up everyone in a hotel for the night, but still. I lost a day there and man I was pooped when I got home. The whole thing felt rather fishy, too. They told us the co-pilot was "ill" and there was no one to replace him. Seriously? There were no pilots to fill in? I think it was because the flight was half full and they didn't want to fly out and waste fuel on a half full plane. Because the next day? The flight was absolutely full. Sigh. Oh well, what are you going to do?

Had a great time in London, though. It was colder than I expected but it wasn't like I was freezing to death. No rain, too! I even saw the sun a few times. ;-) And everything is so green. I'm used to bare trees and dead grass during the winter.

So yeah, basically went to London for Doctor Who's 50th anniversary. I did a tour of the TARDIS set (yes, that TARDIS set) on Friday, I was at the con on Saturday and watched the special in a theatre, and then I capped it off with a Doctor Who walking tour on Sunday.

A Doctor Who filled vacation behind the cut )

So that was my big geek vacation. Happy to be home but a little sad that it's all over. Back to work on Monday. :-P
- I've been so exhausted from work lately. Not physically, but mentally. There's so much crap going on with this data entry that I do. Office politics, very little support, and so much apathy from the engineering departments. I'd give it up, but then I'd be leaving my co-worker in a bind and he totally doesn't deserve that. I just want to get away from it all for a little bit; thank goodness I'm going on vacation in November. Speaking of which...

-I'll be in London in November. Anyone know what the weather is like then? Online, it says the mean high temperature for London in November is around 8 degrees Celsius. That's downright balmy when compared to home. We can get into the minuses around that time of year and we get snow, too. I'm under the impression that London doesn't get a lot of snow. I mean, if it does snow, no big deal, but do I pack snow boots just in case? Or do I just bring shoes? What if my feet get cold? And do I bring a winter jacket? I've never travelled during the winter before.

-Broadchurch has started airing in North America, so I thought I would start watching. Obviously the only reason I wanted to watch was because of David Tennant and Arthur Darvill, but the show's not that bad. It's so serious, though. I'm used to my dramas having a bit of humour in them. The accents are also throwing me a little. I'm not sure where Broadchurch is supposed to be situated in England, but the accents kind of remind me of Newfoundland accents. I'm almost near the end and I still can't decide who the killer is. I want to think it's someone you don't expect, but a part of me wonders if they went with something obvious. And the show is just chock full of former Doctor Who people.

-Since work is being annoying, I've been playing Assassin's Creed II a lot. It was a free download and that was the main reason I got it, but turns out the premise is really neat and it's fun running around on the rooftops of cities in Renaissance Italy. Assassinating virtual people also helps to relieve stress. With the way missions and side quests are set up, you can do a bunch in a short amount of time, so it's really easy to get lost in the game. I usually think to myself, "Oh, I have time for just one more mission..." and suddenly it's an hour later. And I can see why guys cosplay as the main character Ezio. His costume is pretty bad ass. I'm in the process of getting the first game if only so I can understand more of the backstory.

- I want my TV shows to come back soon. I need some mindless brain candy.
- I somehow ended up planning a vacation a year in advance. January next year I'll be on a cruise in the Caribbean. This may come as a shock, as I live in Canada where it's winter for like nine months of the year, but I've never taken a vacation during the winter months. Never. So this will be my first time escaping to somewhere warm. I already know I won't do well in the heat. I'm not just made for hot climates. It's probably from all the time I spent indoors.

- Stargate is coming back! Okay, in a video game, but still. All 4 original cast members from SG-1 will be voicing their characters in the game, too. :-) Well, 3 out of the 4 are confirmed, but I'm pretty sure they got everyone. Video games are easy to do. You can literally phone in your performance. I'd be more excited if I actually owned a tablet or some sort of IOS device. Hopefully these games are successful; then it might reignite interest in the franchise.

- And thanks to the local comic book expo, I realized today that Princess Leia is a Disney princess since Disney owns Star Wars now. Does this mean Leia could be part of the Disney Princess line-up? *shudder*
Did you know that LJ only lets you go back 380 entries on your flist? I'm trying to catch up on everything I missed while I was away, but LiveJournal seems to have other ideas. So if anything important happened before September 25, well, I guess I'll have to find out about it another way.

Playing catch up was the theme of my day today. There wasn't a huge pile of work waiting for me when I got in today, mostly because it was all sitting on the other admin's desk. I guess she got super swamped while I was gone so it all started to accumulate. I don't want to complain, the lady was essentially looking after every single project, but it's sort of a mess and it's not fun trying to sort through someone else's work. Oh well. That's life.

Vacation was great, though. Being cut off from the internet for two weeks wasn't horrible, but I feel like I missed out on a lot of stuff, most notably TV. So much TV to catch up on...

Vacation highlights:
- Awesome cruise ship. I'd totally sail with this company again. The staff were super awesome about my nut allergy. And my god, there was so much food. It's so hard to resist when it's sitting right there.
- Pandas! Not on the ship, but at the San Diego Zoo. Only two of them were out, and both were lazing around because of the warm weather, but that's two pandas more than my local zoo has. Only downside to the zoo trip was the overwhelming number of kids running around. Two words. Free admission.
- Penguins! I got to pet one! I bought tickets to do a behind the scenes tour of the penguin exhibit at Sea World and it was so worth the money. For the curious, penguin feathers are super soft. I thought they would be sort of rough, to cope with the cold weather. Nope. It's very downy, almost soft as cat fur. Yet again, tons of kids at Sea World. I'm not sure if I enjoyed Sea World as much as the zoo. Sea World is too much like an amusement park and that's not for me.

I did some other stuff, too, but nothing as fun as petting a penguin. I wished I could have smuggled the penguin home. The enclosure is the same temperature as where I live right now. It'd be right at home. ;-)
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Well, I'm off on my vacation tomorrow. Yes, that's two vacations in one year for those playing at home. ;-) This one was planned first, though. This will be my fourth cruise, but it's a new cruise company, so I'm not quite sure what to expect. Well, I expect a lot of eating; that's always a given.

And it will be so nice to get away from work. I wasn't super busy or anything, but doing the same thing over and over again can get a little tiresome. Also, I can get away from my co-workers. They aren't annoying, but there are some days where it's tempting to tell them to go bug someone else for a few minutes. I don't expect things to fall apart while I'm gone, but every time I go away, I always get the sense that no one really knows how to do anything. It's job security, sure, but you can't always rely on one person. I'm sure I'll have a nice pile of work when I get back.

As for missing Doctor Who, well, I'll survive I guess. It's just that I've really grown fond of Rory as a character and of Amy and Rory as a couple. I don't want to see them go, but that's the nature of the show. Companions come and go.

Also, I wish I hadn't started a new video game just days before my vacation. Borderlands 2. So addictive. I'm going to be so behind the rest of my friends when I get back. Oh well.

See you guys in a couple of weeks!
Whew, I'm back from London. I got home in the afternoon yesterday but I was so pooped. I think it is virtually impossible to sleep on a plane.

But London was good. Saw way more stuff than last time. Two days total of sunshine, I think. Rest of the time it was cloudy. Oh well, it's London. ;-) So amongst the many things I did, I had high tea, visited a few museums, ate a ridiculous amount of fries (chips), toured the Harry Potter sets, and, oh yeah, saw the Queen. Okay, it was from a distance and she was in a car leaving Windsor Palace, but it was definitely her. She was on her way to Ascot and wearing a pink outfit that matched all of the pictures of her from that day. She even waved at us.

Only downside? My pedometer broke on the friggin' first day! So angry. So I did a ton of walking but I don't know the exact total. I'm going to have to get a new battery or a new pedometer when I get back to work tomorrow.

Also, there is nothing to watch on the BBC when Doctor Who isn't on. ;-) I watched that show with David Tennant and Billie Piper, True Love, but only because it was on. Mostly I ended up watching QI. So amusing. I might have to find some eps now.

I'll post some more later. I want to blab a bit about the Harry Potter tour.
Though, with the flying time and the time difference, I won't land in London until Thursday. Meh. It's London!

I can only hope that work doesn't implode while I'm gone. I told my buyer not to do any work while I'm gone. ;-)
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T-minus 6 days until I'm off to London. Thank goodness! Though, it looks like I'll be trading one rainy and grey place for another rainy and grey place. Sunshine! Is it too much to ask?

I can't wait to get away from work for awhile. While they have hired another admin, it still feels like I'm doing all the work. Okay, yes, the new admin is still training and stuff, but it doesn't seem like she's trying to learn at all. Yet again, someone who doesn't take notes. I mean, unless you have a photographic memory, you need to take notes. The job isn't rocket science but there's a lot of stuff to keep track of.

And there are times where I find she isn't doing the work. I'll hand her something to do, something fairly easy, and an hour later it's still sitting on her desk. When I was told who they were hiring to replace the other admin, I thought, "Okay, not bad." I had met the lady before and she seemed competent enough. She pretty much had the same role I have, but on another project, so I thought she wouldn't have a tough time learning our project. Not that she is having a tough time. I would certainly hear about it if she did. This lady is so talkative. There are times where I wish she'd stop going on and on about her old project and it's not like she's praising it either. It's constant complaining about how stupid our job can be. Yes, some things are stupid, but I don't need to hear about it all the time. I just wish she'd stop talking and pay attention because there will be a lot of things to look after while I'm gone.

I think I would have been happier doing everything myself. I would have been super busy, yes, but it would help to pass the time. Sigh. Oh, and random factoid: since joining this project, I have gone through three co-admins, four if you count this new one. I'm not sure what that says about me, the project, or the position.

Anyway, I can't wait until I'm in London. Tea! Museums! Castles! Harry Potter!
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I hadn't planned on going back to the UK so soon, but things sort of fell into place and really, how could I say no? ;-)

This time, I'm spending over a week in London, as opposed to the day and a half I had last year. Now I'll have the chance to visit places properly, instead of just seeing them as the tour bus drives by. And, being the geek that I am, I'm going to do the new Harry Potter studio tour. You get to visit where they shot the movies; they left the sets standing so fans could visit and waste money. Considering I did the Doctor Who Experience when I was in London last year, this is par for the course. :-)

I'm going to do stereotypical tourist-y things, too, like having high tea and visiting Harrods. I'm excited to visit the British Museum. There was this computer game I used to play as a kid, some educational archeological thing, and a lot of the items in the game are actually in the museum, so it'll be cool to see them in person rather than as low resolution pixels. Some day trips out of London look possible, too. It must be nice, living in a country that's so small. Here in Canada, in most provinces it takes three hours to drive to the next largest city. Three hours in the UK? You can end up anywhere and it's still cool.

Hopefully by June work has slowed down so I don't come back to a mountain of stuff. Though, knowing my luck, everything will fall apart while I'm gone...
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Back from Las Vegas and I survived the heat! Though, mainly by staying indoors lots. I think the longest I was outside for was about 10 minutes and that was to walk to a casino.

The Star Trek convention was good fun. Apparently it broke a record, at least in Creation Entertainment's record book. They said around 4000 people showed up on Sunday. I believe them. The room was huge. Luckily, I had awesome seats about ten rows back and right in the middle. :-) So I had a great view when three Trek captains - Kirk, Picard, and Janeway - were on stage together. They were a hoot. Kate Mulgrew got in a nice, playful jab at William Shatner. She was talking about how she and Patrick Stewart both had seven years as captain and then she looked over at Shatner and she was like, "And how many did you have?" And apparently, Patrick Stewart wore the same outfit he did last year. Whoops. He was still awesome, though.

And Brent Spiner crashed his panel! It was hilarious. He got into the Q&A line and started acting like a misinformed geek. He kept calling Picard, "Micard" and Patrick had to correct him. I couldn't tell if he was genuinely happy to see Brent Spiner, but he looked amused. There were other great moments, too. Jonathan Frakes got into a huff about how he wasn't on the poster for the con but Brent Spiner was, all jokingly of course. And he was nice enough to walk around the room during his panel and a poor security guard had to follow him around.

This was also Leonard Nimoy's last Las Vegas convention. He had a really nice presentation about his life as an actor and his time on Star Trek, complete with pictures from his personal album. He didn't take any questions, which was good, I think. He didn't have to answer any lame or awkward questions. At the end, when he was saying good-bye, he actually sounded a bit choked up.

There was also a really bizarre Klingon panel. They had four Klingon actors in make-up, the Duras Sisters, Gowron, and Martok, and they were in character the entire time. They were kind of there to promote the Klingon edition of Monopoly, but they also asked questions. At one point, Gowron tried to chase down a girl dressed like a Tribble. I don't know if they had done something like this before, but the four of them seemed used to each other. And we got to shout "Qapla'!" :-)

I'm not sure I'd go back though. I really don't like Las Vegas. The casinos all stink because everyone smokes. My allergies went nuts. Maybe for the 50th anniversary I'd go back, but this isn't something I'd do every year.

I also bought something for myself while in the dealer's room, not Star Trek related. I couldn't help myself. I'll post about it later once it's out of the packaging.

Vegas, baby!

Aug. 9th, 2011 07:20 pm
locker_monster: (Locker Monster)
Well, off to Las Vegas tomorrow, for, let's be honest, a Star Trek convention. This continues a trend of sorts. Last time I was in Las Vegas, my family and I mostly went because we wanted to visit the Star Trek: The Experience.

The con's run by the same people who do the Stargate conventions I've visited before, so lots of organized chaos is to be expected. Also tons of guests. It's kind of ridiculous how many guests they have, but really, a majority of them are actors who only appeared once at some point in the franchise's life. Don't get me wrong, there are major players, too. Like Shatner and Nimoy. And Sir Patrick Stewart! I totally would have gotten an autograph ticket or a photo-op with him if it wasn't so friggin' expensive.

Hopefully this trip is better than the last Vegas trip. Last time, I was under age and thus couldn't gamble. I couldn't even legally hang out on the casino floor. I also got horribly sick and the heat totally kicked my ass. Not that I'll be outside lots. I really have no reason to leave the hotel. Well, except maybe to find some free wi-fi.
Back in Canada. So tired. This is the part of travelling that I hate the most. The flight there and back. Inevitably there's always a crying baby who doesn't stop bawling for the entire flight.

Does the sun ever appear in the UK? The entire time I was there it seemed like it rained every day. And then I got back home and it was cloudy and rainy, too.

I need to fall asleep now.
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I am tired. It's 1:00 in the morning here and I should be asleep but it's been a busy two days.

So got into London yesterday, about an 8 hour flight, and right after we got to the hotel we went out again. We probably should have taken a nap before going sightseeing, but hey, we didn't have much time so might as well make the most of it. Saw all the usual stuff: the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, etc. It's crazy busy here. The weather's nice so I guess it brings out all of the tourists.

But so far, the highlight of the trip has definitely got to be the Doctor Who Experience. :-) The only thing that I can compare it to is the Star Trek: the Experience that used to be in Las Vegas. An interactive bit with a museum section

Squeeing about the Doctor Who Experience )

And Ten would have liked this: there's a little shop at the end. Full of Doctor Who merchandise. There was a lot of stuff, but I was limited to things easily transportable, so I settled on a fridge magnet. Incidentally, the only magnets they sold were of Four. I think they missed out on a great opportunity here. Where were the TARDIS magnets? And the sonic screwdriver magnets? And the fez shaped magnets? My sister said they should have sold fezzes, too. Oh well. As part of my ticket package, I also got a voucher for a free t-shirt so that was nice. It's actually not half bad. It has the TARDIS in the Time Vortex on the front and it "Doctor Who Experience" on the sleeve. I had to get a large youth's t-shirt since I'm so short, but at least it won't be too long on me.

All in all, it was a fun little detour. I mean, I came all this way, might as well spend the money and have some fun. Tomorrow, new Doctor Who! Oh, and some wandering around Edinburgh, too.
Off to London tomorrow!

Okay, I won't officially get there until Thursday morning, but still, tomorrow's the start of my vacation.

I don't know, it must be a law or something, but every time I've gone on vacation while working with this company I've been loaded with last minute work. Last year was horrendous. Today wasn't so bad, I managed to get it all done with an hour to spare, but I am utterly convinced that the office would grind to a halt if it weren't for admins. I was training my buyer today on how to create a purchase order in our system and this is stuff he should have learned already. Hopefully everything isn't in utter chaos when I get back.

But I figure admins are like the engineers on all the Star Trek shows. People expect us to be miracle workers. I think I'll take a page from Scotty's book. Overestimate how much time a task will take and when it seems like you've taken less than that, when really you only did the task in the usual amount of time, you'll be proclaimed a hero and everyone will praise you. ;-)

I'll be taking a netbook with me this vacation so the first time I'll be able to stay connected while I'm gone. I warn you now there might be a lot of squeeing, especially around Friday/Saturday. Doctor Who Experience! Doctor Who watched properly on the BBC! I won't be ashamed if those two things are the highlight of my trip. :-)
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Yay, leaving for London/Scotland in a month!

Please tell me that London and Edinburgh doesn't have snow anywhere on the ground. I'm getting sick of the white stuff.

I still have no clue what to see when I'm in London though. I wish I had more than two days there. There's so much to see in the city. I don't think a bus tour or a river cruise is going to cut it. I mean, what are the greatest hits of London? What are the things I must see in case, for some awful reason, I can never go back? I will get to see a friend I haven't seen for awhile when I'm there, so at least there's that. That, and the Doctor Who Experience. Frankly, I'm more excited to see the Doctor Who Experience than to see my friend. Honest. I know my friend would just roll her eyes if I ever told her that.

I think this trip is mostly going to be about, "Yay, I'm in a different country!" I've been to the U.S. and... Well, that's it really. So it's about time I went somewhere different. Okay, granted, I'm not going anywhere where the people speak a different language, but it's a start, right?
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