Let Your Geek Flag Fly

As I begin writing this post, we are recovering from Gen Con 50, a massive game convention that invades downtown Indianapolis at every summer’s end. We’ve been 15 years in a row (yes, same as we’ve been married), and each year we still manage to discover something new to enjoy.

This year, my favorite event combined three of my favorite things: day drinking, Scotty’s Brew house, and Call of Cthulhu. I’m a fan (or should I say “cultist?”) of H.P. Lovecraft, though were he contemporary, I’d probably boycott him because of his personal politics. Not only did I play in the posh private room of my favorite happy hour spot, I got to hang out with the head Brew Mistress! I’ll give you a moment to be envious of how cool I am.

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One of the most impressive parts of Gen Con is the massive Exhibit Hall. Everything from Magic the Gathering, to Euro strategy, to Exploding Kittens can be found here to play, as well as all the geeky paraphernalia to go with it. During some free time, the Mister and I played a Demo (which we promptly purchased) of Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time. To our surprise, one of our fellow players materialized a hand-held camcorder afterwards and recorded a YouTube Video synopsis. Check out that video, as well as other fantastic game reviews by GreyElephant Gaming here.

One gem from the Exhibit Hall was revelation of a revamp of my all-time favorite childhood board game, Fireball Island. I’ve been trying to buy this game for years (the one I played was my cousin’s), but it’s hard and expensive to obtain. You’d think it was only available via actual active volcanoes. Not only is this game being re-released, but the team at Restoration Games promise to make the rules meatier. It would be impossible to find a bigger fan of this game than I am, but even I must admit, looking back, that it was simplistic.

With hotels at a premium availability and cost, we were excited this year to host a Lousvillian friend and a friend of his. Our guest-of-a-guest turned out to be the host of the +1 Forward podcast. Thankfully, he doesn’t seem to have recorded anything from our basement accommodations; that might have been too scary to publish.

Even the ambiance of Gen Con is a geek-tastic, with local restaurants switching their televisions from 24/7 sports to showings of Princess Bride and Marvel movies. For four days, it’s completely normal to see Gandalf or a Storm Trooper moseying in the crosswalks. If, like me, you need a friend (or a thousand) to conquer a legendary Pokemon Go raid, you are covered.

As always, our circle of friends debriefed after the Con, inevitably asking the question “What was your favorite part of Gen Con this year?” While my highlight reel includes the Scotty’s game, puppet karaoke, and Fireball Island news, my favorite experience was geeking-out and not adulting for 5 days. Sure, we operated on limited sleep and too much junk food, but it was awesome to spend time just being me. No dishes, no laundry, no arguing with kids about whose turn it is to feed Josie Junebug. Especially with two little ones, I get so bogged down in the minutia of managing (micro-managing?) everyone around me that, even if given an unlikely hour of freedom, I have nothing left in me to be…me.

While we were getting in touch with our geekiness, Josie Junebug was at her dog sitter’s enjoying being a dog. This girl loves to be with her people, but sometimes, there’s nothing better than wrestling with someone who doesn’t mind if you playfully stick their head in your mouth or sniff their privates. This visit, she got to romp around with Ted, the giant doodle therapy dog, who makes our eighty pound mutt look like a pup. Click here to watch them play.

tribeSometimes, you just gotta be with your tribe. Those groups (and there likely is more than one) that bring out the you-ness of you. We play a lot of roles in this life, but if there’s one thing Nicolas Sparks has taught us, it’s that everyone you love dies. Wait no, that’s not where I was going. You have to practice being your best self before you lose it and resent everyone you love. That’s only slightly less depressing. How about this…

 

 

Take some time every now and then to LET YOUR GEEK FLAG FLY!

 

Drop a note in the comments about Geek culture, dogs being dogs, or who brings out the best in you.

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Measuring Life in Bruce Willis Time

I got this wild idea a while back to re-watch all the Die Hard movies. After streaming services left us empty-handed, we bought the DVD pack and our quest began with the original 01-dieDie Hard (1988). This classic Christmas movie hit theaters when I was nine years old–too young to see rated “R” movies. Watching it on DVD reminded me that R-rated movies are never the same on cable.

Die Hard 2 (1990)–the one in the airport. I’m not sure I ever watched this one before my current mission. (Wait, why are they switching ammo? OMG!) I was probably too busy being a middle-schooler and trying to figure out if/how I would survive into adulthood.

Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)–the one with Samuel L. Jackson. In 1995, I was in high school and obsessed with Pulp Fiction (featuring both actors) that released the prior year.

Half-way through our Die Hard journey, we introduced our kids to Fifth Element one family movie night. My daughter was confused on the plot most of time, but enjoyed the crazy setting and appreciates any movie where chicks kick tail. It came out twenty years ago, which is even harder to believe since that was the year I graduated from high school! It’s still at least monthly that someone in my social circle references either a “multipass,” or “I got no fire.”

Continuing the theme, we next introduced the wee ones to The Kid (2000). I was still a kid myself when this released, finishing up University–the terrifying and exhilarating unknown possibilities of life before me. Willis played a grown Russ Duritz, confident he’s winning at adulthood, when his younger self unveils that he has lost his way. “So, I’m forty, I’m not married, I don’t fly jets, and I don’t have a dog? I grow up to be a loser.” His evaluation of adulthood success is reminiscent of my first post, where I mentioned always envisioning life with a dog. (As it happens, the hypothetical dog, Chester, is also the “world’s best dog.”)

In 2000, Unbreakable also came out. We re-watched this movie New Year’s Eve going into 2002, the night my husband and I got engaged.

Next up, we watched Live Free or Die Hard (2007), a pretty solid addition to the franchise in which hackers immobilize America. Sadly, it reflects a time when gratuitous violence against innocents mars our real world, reflected in cinema. At this point, I’d graduated from college (twice), gotten married, and our first baby was coming soon.

We have not yet re-watched A Good Day to Die Hard (2013). By the time this movie released, I’d transitioned into a new career specialty and baby number two was on-scene.

Unlike Russ, we don’t have to wait until our impending 40th birthday to check-in with our childhood self, and it’s not too late if your 40th is behind you. We celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary last month by marking an adventure off our bucket lists: whitewater rafting. One day, we may actually go on relaxing vacations; so far, though, there are too many adventures ahead.

It’s good to take stock, every now and then, of the vision you have for yourself (childhood and adult versions) and see if you’re missing out on anything, like being a pilot or having a dog. Often, some adventure has come up in conversation, and we all say “we should do that sometime.” If you don’t PLAN it, “sometime” becomes never.

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Copyright © 2017 m.padgett photography

Watching these “old” movies, especially with our growing children, has highlighted the passing of time. Recent health issues with family a generation before us, as well as our anniversary, have even my husband (who’s the least nostalgic person I know) remarking on the speed of life. I’ve heard from those my senior that they still see themselves frozen in their twenties. You’d think I’d have a better sense of aging, since I work with college and high school students. That I don’t is probably a sign that I’m way more embarrassing and un-cool than I realize.

IMDb lists Die Hard Year One as rumored to be in the making. Wonder where life will have taken me when it hits the big screen?

How would Josie Junebug mark her years in film? Well, she’s still pretty young. I know she’d approve of having the World’s Best Dog in your life as soon as possible. I’m sure she’d be a Bruce Willis fan too, if she ever met him. Split did just hit video, and she never misses a family movie night. I guess I’ll put that in my Redbox cart for the weekend and continue the theme.

To those experiences life has been throwing at us lately, I’ll channel my inner John McClane who, beat to hell, defies his enemies with a hysterical battle cry, “Yippee-ki-yay-mother—–!”

Special shout-out to my new followers, who encouraged me to get a new post out. If you love our totally awesome family photo that marks our anniversary milestone, checkout more of the genius of Mandy Padgett here.

In the comments, share something you’ve been wanting to do–and when/how you’re going to do it. Or, name your favorite Bruce Willis movie.

You’re an idiot, but we can work through this

I sometimes project the illusion that life is perfect since Josie Junebug came to live with us. The truth, however, is that two members of the household are immune to her charms and remain resentful to this day. Those two individuals are our teenage cats.

Before her, they were the adored pets of the house. Now, they are forced to cohabitate with a giant slobbering beast. She tries to play with them, which is as tempting as as a freshman playing tackle football with a senior. She drinks their water with all the grace of a blender-weilding toddler. She lurks as they eat, has a resounding bark, and is gassy. She hoards the comfy furniture.

Our more outgoing cat smacks her as she walks by, for the mere crime of being annoyingly alive. The other, more reserved yet also vengeful, likes to plant himself passively in Josie’s path, a living blockade.

Yet, there are two particular occasions where tolerance is practiced.  One such case is in the prewashing of dishes. As we load them in after supper,  Josie works from one side while one of our cats stands on the door and works another angle. There is a complete lack of drama.

Nearly every day in our house concludes with a bit of calm, found only when the kids are in bed. My husband and I usually sit and watch an hour of television. Having emptied our laps and hands of the louder offspring, our fur babies all find their way into the living room, settling in as close as possible for cuddles and petting. This also, apparently, is a tolerable neutral zone.

With presidential campaigns coming to a close, I find myself hoping, after all the months of ever-more-bitter vitriol, that we can also find a tolerable neutral zone in this country.  Every time I opened Facebook the last couple of months, I found myself slammed with each side’s newest “how could you vote for Major Party Candidate after reading this” post. On the upside, the nastiness was enough to help me cut way back on my mindless Facebook habit.

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I’m not naive enough to hope, or even ask, that after the election, we all put aside our differences. I do have concerns, for the first time in my privileged life, about our transfer of power being less than democratic or peaceful.

I do hope we can remember, though, that whatever the outcome, we share many goals for ourselves, each other, and this country. Even though our country has been fighting like (you know it’s coming…) cats and dogs, even those two famed enemies can put aside their differences to accomplish some common goals.

Everyone deserves peaceful homes and loving cuddles. So, please, let’s find a way to work through this.