Boldly Going.

With going from two jobs to one, I am readjusting to a more “normal” schedule again. I’m getting used to the idea of not checking my clock all times of the day, and being able to actually commit to plans again. It’s a weird, but welcoming feeling. It does, however, give me more time to devote to my primary job, and all the potential benefits that they can offer, such as time off, for one. I can take time without feeling guilty or like I’m inconveniencing anyone. With my birthday coming up next month, the timing is perfect for my next roadtrip…. Car willing, that is.

Plans upon plans….

With all the “free time” I’ve been experiencing, the missus and I went to the Star Trek Convention at the Rio. It’s fun checking out the various props, costumes, and general geekery that goes on at these events (though I never really buy anything, now that I think of it. Whoever is in charge of Star Trek these days needs a better marketing/creative team). It’s fun for me to go, and despite the Tribbles and Darth Vader Borg assimilated costumes, there are larger reasons why I enjoy it.

A few years back, I made a post about geekery and what it means to me. Like I said, I grew up with The Original Series and Next Generation. As a kid, I’d watch these shows with my Dad, and the characters were heroes to me. And now seeing them as actors, they just seems to enjoy the love they get from fans and are by and large just warm and wonderful people to talk to. They seem very settled and very content with their place in pop culture, and yes, I do have a small bit of envy to have lived a life being involved in something that enduring. But I suppose that one can argue that I’ve had my moments as well.

But there is something deeper that goes on in just watching the fans of things like this. This really is “their” place. You can feel the comfort from fans because they’re among like-minded daydreamers and believers, and getting a chance to see their heroes as well. And the moments that people connect… to watch it really happen, you really “get” why people love the worlds that fantasy and fiction create.

Sir Patrick Stewart did a talk on one of the stages. He remains one of my favorite actors due to his presence and versatility, so Jen and I went to watch him speak. Of course there are the standard questions of “In this episode” or “In that movie” that come up, but you see moments of realness that goes far beyond scripts. One young girl wanted to know what Mr. Stewart thought about domestic violence (you may not realize that Stewart is an advocate and a patron for preventing domestic abuse), and certainly the mood changed as she revealed that she had been sexually assaulted, but the elegance and grace that Mr. Stewart conveyed to her during their discussion, expressing sympathy and reiterating that violence is never the answer, and that it starts with men to make the change. You could feel the support for the message and the girl, and how it takes a level of bravery to admit such events in a room full of hundreds of strangers.

Another woman had a disability and claimed that would be the one and only time she would ever see Steward in person. She just wanted to talk to him, and her responses were forward and funny as her candor clearly caught him off guard. But at the end, because of her disability and uncertain future, all she really wanted to ask of him is if she could have a hug. And to that, he stepped off the stage and gave her one. Other moments were light teasing back and forth between fans and Stewart. Another was a child that loved X-Men, to which he responded how much fun those roles of Xavier and Picard were for him. You can see why people see these characters… these people… as heroes, because very often, they turn out to be so in reality. Some just see a television show. For others… they see hope. And ultimately, that’s the very message of the show outside of all those props and make-up. It’s about people trying to make a difference.

It wasn’t all contemplation, of course. We did get to meet George Takei, and as you can imagine, he’s a pretty awesome guy.

Oh myyyy....

Oh myyyy….

I’m trying to get better about updating my blog. Perhaps shorter posts, but a little more insight in my life. As always, I tend to post more spontaneous moments of my life on my Instagram, so it you want to see a few more photos of the event there, then there you are.

And so wraps up my entry for tonight. I’d like to say that I’m off to do something deep and introspective, but really, all I want to do is play Goat Simulator on my Playstation.

The fourth decade and I are going to have to have a long discussion next month….

California and Beyond.

Hard to believe it’s been two months since I last posted in here, but when you write all day, one finds that you either don’t have the time or mental energy to do it for yourself. I’m a better narrative than technical writer, but I need to stay in practice, especially if I ever plan to get my own writing projects off the ground.

So what have I been up to of late? I gave up my second job. After my hospital scare last fall, I needed some extra money to pad out my finances, so one job led to two, and while everything is not perfect, I am now back to one. It was a good move for me. Working anywhere for 8-16 hours a day 7 days a week is surprisingly not as much fun as you’d think. But it’s over, and now I get to re-experience what “weekends” are actually like again. It truly is the little things in life.

My regular (and now only) job sent me to Lake Tahoe a few weeks ago to cover a charity event at Shakespeare Ranch. Pictures don’t do the place justice, as it’s unlike any other place I’ve seen in Nevada. For starters, it’s actually green up there, something of which I actually had doubts of existing in this state.

Shakespeare Rock.

Shakespeare Rock.

The charity raises money for Alzheimer’s disease, and while it was a lovely event, I need to rewind a bit.

Getting there was typical for my adventure set.

A co-worker and I went as a team, and while it started out fairly normal, by the time we landed in Los Angeles for our stopover, it was anything but. LAX airport is a dump. There. I said it. And I mean it, for that matter. Our terminal looked like it was out of some third world country, and to access it, we had to take a shuttle that literally had us racing alongside planes, and stopping at intersections for them. By the time we got to the terminal, we looked around for precisely thirty seconds, turned to each other, simultaneously said “Nope” to each other, and immediately hopped back on the shuttle to visit the bar and avoid staying there any longer than we had to.

When it came time to go, they shuttled us on this tiny plane that looked like it had been shipped out of the Warner Bros. prop archives fresh out of Casablanca. As we walked to the loading door, I stopped by co-worker before we got on: “If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” The door opened. “Here’s looking at you kid”, I quipped. I looked again at the plane. “I hope this thing can actually fly”, I muttered as I got on the tiny craft. I also half expected that the pilot would eject us over Mayapore, India, where we would be unexpectedly be dropped off and have to slide down a mountain in a giant raft before being asked to retrieve the neighboring village’s Sankara stones.

I watch a lot of movies, by the way.

But back at Lake Tahoe, the grounds were beautiful, and the people were nice. We got to watch the rodeo as we did social media updates, and there was a lot of cowboy flinging involved by angry bulls and horses.

This lady here could shoot pistols while riding a horse. That made her pretty badass.

This lady here could shoot pistols while riding a horse. That made her pretty badass.

I also got to see Reno. Not so much there, from the limited time we had, but I did get to see the arch.

Reno's arch.

Reno’s arch.

If there’s more to see in Reno, we didn’t get to see it. We did go to a casino where I had an absolutely awful Bloody Mary. Seriously, who makes a clear Bloody Mary? Sacrilege!

The next morning, we decided to go to Tahoe City on the California side of the lake. I love small lake/beach towns, so exploring the sights, and taking in the fresh air (and real trees) was a much needed break before we started the second day of the event.

Everything went well, Michael Bolton performed for the evening’s entertainment, and as the event closed down for the evening, I actually got to chat with Michael for a moment, where we got into a nice discussion about our appreciation of Ray Charles. And this also happened at the last second:

Bolton and I (Not from Office Space or Game of Thrones).

Bolton and I (Not from Office Space or Game of Thrones).

The following morning was brutal as we had to be up at 5:00 A.M. to catch a 6:00 A.M. flight. Added to this was a birthday party to attend right after I landed. Despite my best efforts, I sort of short circuited, began to hallucinate from lack of sleep, and had to call the day.

As the next few weeks passed, I ended my second job, then back to California with Jen, where we went to Disneyland. I can’t believe it’s been a year and a half since my last visit, which is an obscenely long time for me. Still, it was the 60th anniversary, and we had fun.

Following the footsteps.

Following the footsteps.

Two days of theme parkery was a lot of fun, but I was taken aback on how expensive the park is. It’s no longer the jaunty day trip that I knew from my California days. It’s more of a planned vacation event, which makes me a little sad. Disney needs to settle down on their price hikes.

Still, you can’t beat the view….

60 years....

60 years….

Or the Paint the Night parade, which basically merges Disney with art cars from Burning Man.

What a funny girl, that Belle....

What a funny girl, that Belle….

On the following Sunday, we marked off another bucket list item: The Gentle Barn. It’s an animal sanctuary that takes in abused, neglected, abandoned, and overworked animals, emotionally and physically heals them, then just lets them hang out and simply… be animals. Some of the stories are so sad, like this little blind pig named Sydney:

Sydney the Pig.

Sydney the Pig.

He had a pretty rough life and was given up on, but he was just casually bumbling around nudging his tray in case more food was there. There were all sorts of animals, and human and animal alike were in the same spot just interacting together. It was admittedly moving.

It takes all kinds.

It takes all kinds.

Besides, where else are you going to be able to hug a cow?

Buttercup.

Buttercup.

This has been an interesting summer for me. Outside of my car breaking down and the struggle to get it running again, two full jobs and the struggle to get it down to just one, trying to plan a wedding, trying to plan my birthday gathering next month, trying to remain sane through everything, I can’t help but feel that I’ve learned a lot. Mostly about the things I’ve seen and experienced, and what I want to be. What really matters to me. Where my purpose lies. I’ve had some opportunities to reconnect with parts of my earlier days, in projects I can’t discuss just quite yet, and something of a settling within myself, and there has been some internal struggle along the way. Fear of compromising my dreams, mostly. But mostly… mostly is just comes down to the want to try and be a good man, until I won’t have to simply try anymore and will simply be. Stepping outside the routine is good, if only for a little while, and especially with a few new adventures under my belt.

It’s nice to be reminded that I have a few good stories left in me.