totchipanda: (floppy panda)
On Wednesday, we took a 2 hour cruise across Lake Tahoe on a large stern-wheeler paddleboat, the M.S. Dixie II, which goes across the lake and into Emerald Bay for a look at Vikingsholm, and back again. It was a lovely ride, and very hot (as usual, by this point). Afterwards, we dropped ourselves in the lake, of which the sand was BURNING hot (I could feel it on my feet still, later that evening) and the water was VERY VERY COLD. But it was so nice. Somehow, Mom and Maxwell got sunburnt from when we sat on the water's edge for a time, but I didn't. No idea how that worked.

After that we finished by driving around the entire lake (I fell asleep :( ) and then ate dinner and went to see Conan the Barbarian, fulfilling a silly dream of mine to go to a movie in the States. It was a pretty terrible movie, but the eyecandy was nice.

Then Thursday was a lot of driving... We cleared all of Nevada and made it to Pocatello, Idaho in time for dinner. Friday was MORE driving, a brief stop in Island Park (?) where the general store/bar we stopped at had a fenced house next door whose fence sign read "The fence outside this house is not a bathroom for dogs or humans!". I looked into the yard cuz they had a cardboard sailing ship set up, and was terribly amused watching one of their chickens chase dragonflies.

Made it to the Montana entrance of Yellowstone National Park around... I guess 12:30? We got to Old Faithful about 1:20 and it had just finished erupting. It began again at 2:25, and finished spewing about 20 minutes later. We ate lunch there and we had planned on going around to some of the other geysers nearby, but decided that it was getting too late and so we just headed out instead. We did do a tour of Firehole Lake, and a set of waterfalls, and then drove north up past the Mammoth hot springs and exited on the south Montana exit through Roosevelt gate. I saw a buffalo trundling up one of the mountain paths we drove, and several elk herds.

Made it to Great Falls VERY late. We tumbled into bed very shortly after reaching the hotel at 11:45. Left the next morning with a brief stop at Target for mint M&M's (no luck; anyone wanna mail me some?) and at the visitor's centre, and then we were on our way. Crossed the border just before noon, and I was home at 7:30 :3

It was a wonderful vacation despite the many personal issues I had (some things you just shouldn't know about your parents, especially what they may or may not sleep in) but I am very glad to be home :3
totchipanda: (floppy panda)
I'm not really sure Reno can count as a Day 5, as we didn't spend Sunday at the con at all. We figured we might as well do other touristy stuff while we're down here, since the likelihood of us ever returning is not high. Instead, we drove out to Carson City to take their steam train up to Virginia City, as it only runs on weekends.

Initially we planned on wearing Victorian dress on the train, but decided that since the weather is FAR hotter and drier than we're used to (more hotter than anything), we'd go in comfy clothes instead. Which is kinda too bad, because Virginia City is utterly adorable with it's main street of buildings almost all built in the 1860s and 70s, or if anything later was put in, it looks like the rest of the town. It still has a boardwalk outside the shops. There was tons of stuff to see and do. We saw a herd of wild mustangs on both legs of the train journey, I picked up a pair of granny boots, I had some delicious ice cream, I drank almost 2L of water before 6pm and still managed to pick up a slight heat-related headache.

Monday we left Reno and took the "back way" up to Virginia City to do some of the things we missed out on the day before. It's really steep and twisty XD We toured the Fourth Ward School and the Chollar Mine up to about 400ft in D: And also did a stagecoach ride :3 A team of 4 horses takes you around a short loop, and at the end they get up into a full canter. I kinda missed out on the stagecoach experience itself because I was too busy hanging out the window watching the horses. SO COOL to see them in a full gallop. (And all 4 were beautiful paints :3)

As we drove down into Carson City, we caught sight of the wild mustang herd again and started up a road to get pictures of them. The road also led to a bunny ranch, where there was a second herd hanging out. After that detour, we headed back on our way, and got a late visit in to the railway museum, where they have some beautiful old steam engines and a short ride on a hand cart. Then it was out to the hotel, and then dinner at Carl's Jr, cuz I looooove their $6 burger, which was only improved with the addition of guacamole and bacon.

Today we tripped out to Lake Tahoe and spent most of the afternoon hiking down to Vikingsholm and back up again. Vikingsholm was built in 1928/9 by a very rich lady (you had to come to dinner in a dress, or black tails for the gents) and was inspired by medieval and 17th century Swedish and Viking architecture. It was really, really lovely. Dipped our toes in the lake, hiked up to Lower Eagle Falls, and then Mom and I hiked back up the way we had come down, which is a rather steep switchback trail a mile long, and Maxwell took a 1.7 mile hike that let out at the campground. On the other side of the bay. He started hiking up the highway back to us, which was 2 miles away and up and around another steep switchback road, and he tried to catch a ride via hitching, and was finally picked up by a police officer who brought him back to us. It was really really hot in the sun, although if you could catch a breeze, it was very nice.

Now we're just chilling in the hotel again, relaxing off the hiking lol. Tomorrow we're taking a tour of the lake on a paddleboat, and then spending some time IN the lake itself. After that, Thursday is driving, Friday is a brief stop at Old Faithful in Wyoming, and I should be home Saturday. And some time after that, I'll get pictures posted, though I've been doing that sporadically if we're friends on Facebook :3
totchipanda: (floppy panda)
On Friday, I wore Ashura. A few people took my picture, and a few more commented. I think they probably thought I was a Generic Elf, but that's ok. Saw the art show displays, went to a talk on Urban vs Urbane Fantasy, one about travelling with horses, an interview with Tricky Pixie, tried to sign up for a small, very limited attendance "panel" with [ profile] gailcarriger but it filled up first of all the 24 authors they were signing up for this morning, so I got a reserve slot :( Eating tiems, then a couple more panels on the romance of sci-fi before it was romantic (uhm. Essentially, why was steampunk sci-fi fiction popular when it was contemporary) - the guy moderating this panel had a VERY loud voice and continued to speak loudly into the mic, while one of the panelists had a very quiet droning voice even when miked; I wound up playing Angry Birds to keep myself awake - and then one on elements of romance in speculative fiction. Came back to the room to putz about on the internet and we went out for dinner after the sun went down, and then I read for a few hours.

Today, I went down early to see if I could get into that limited-attendance "panel" and I could not, so I went to see a short (45min) independent Star Wars film which was rather predictable, but I couldn't fault anything else about it (well I could, but that would hardly be fair since it was independent and it was actually quite good), and then went to see 2/3 of Tricky Pixie and then Vixy and Tony in concerts back to back to back. It wound up being kind of a big love-fest between them all XD I enjoyed it immensely. I was very happy we ended up seated on the side of the cello player, Betsy, because I love cello, and she plays it amazingly, and it was wonderful to hear almost three hours of fantastic cello lines. After that it was time for a quick, final jaunt through the dealer's hall since we're heading out to Carson City tomorrow and will miss pretty much everything (including autographs of the one author I actually might have cared about to stand in line for) and then a still-small-but-allowed-larger-attendance "panel" with the same author I missed earlier. (It wound up being 15-ish people, where the morning session was a strict 9) She ran it in the same fashion, kind of an open-table discussion where we could ask anything we wanted and she'd reply as best as she could (keeping in mind some of us weren't caught up on the series, and to avoid spoilers as best as possible. I only noticed one, but I already had a stroooong suspicion about that without having read the book yet, so for me at least it wasn't a big deal). And then I decided that I'd had enough of the con and my corset, so here I am, writing this instead ;)

I'm planning on going to the pub for dinner again; the chicken strips were AMAZINGLY delicious. If you're ever in Reno, Foley's Irish pub is highly recommended by locals and this tourist alike ;)
totchipanda: (floppy panda)
Last night, I showered and put my hair up in pincurls in anticipation of wearing my Victorian dress to give my hair more body. I didn't bring my hat, but oh well. Got up way too early, lazed about in bed reading for a few hours, uncurled my hair into a giant poofball of curls, which I still have, ironed my dress, got ready, and headed down around 12:30.

Took in a panel on the history of humourous music by Dr Demento. Danced a bit with Maxwell at the Victorian waltz and tea class. Shopped and spent more money than I thought I would, and have plans to spend quite a bit more o-o;;; Took in a panel on the history of pirates and discussion among several authors on why the age of piracy was romanticized. Started a couple others, and a movie, gave up on all, and ended the con day with a panel by Gail Carriger on ceramic archaeology and experimental archaeology, which was quite fascinating :3

Came back to the room with a bit of a migraine running. Mom came in just before 9 and "dragged" me to a book launch party by one of her favourite authors, Jean Johnson. I was lured with the promise of food (which there was) and we got there just in time for a book drawing. We stayed a bit longer through a reading and some emails she had received (the book was a future military drama, and she read two emails from soldiers serving in the US military overseas praising her book), and then she drew the "grand prize" which was a surplus backpack filled with her entire published library, which I won :3

I got a loooot of compliments on my dress today. At various times I heard "elegant", "period-appropriate colours and fabric", and "so nice to see Steampunk not tarted up". I'm debating changing my costumes around to wear it again on Saturday, but we shall see. I only have one pair of shoes to wear with it to keep my hems from dragging on the ground, and they hurt my feet :(
totchipanda: (floppy panda)

This afternoon I took in a panel by author John Scalzi about his trip to the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which was both amusing and mind-boggling. I started a panel on how to make a costume but it was focused more on people who had no or little costuming experience so I didn't stay long. Took a quick tour around the dealer's hall and then went to the opening ceremonies. The guests of honour, including Dr Demento and Boris Vallejo, were introduced and answered a few questions, and then Tricky Pixie came onstage and performed a hilarious song about an alligator in the house XD

Went back to the dealer's hall, had a quick bite to eat, went to the Dr Demento concert, which was entertaining, and then took in the Tricky Pixie concert, which was fantastic. Then we decided it was time for dinner and chillaxing. My hair is up in pincurls for tomorrow, and I'm about ready for bed :3

This has got to be the most polite con I've ever been to. The fanbase is much older (and also more socially awkward, I think) and maybe it's just that sci-fi readers are more concientious, or something. Most people would ask me, the only person sitting at a table for 10, if they could use this one seat on the other side, or if they could possibly use the seat next to mine. It's kind of refreshing :3

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


Aug. 17th, 2011 11:16 am
totchipanda: (floppy panda)
I really need to update more often :( I just saw the top line of my last post, which was about sewing. After that, I had a frantic couple weeks getting ready for the train trip and Animethon. I spent 8 hours solid hand-sewing a hat, and at the end of it, my dress wound up being partially pinned together, as I literally could not push a needle through fabric anymore. I will have to post those pictures later.

I also worked an obscene amount. Such is the nature of retail :(

Right now, I'm on vacation in Reno, NV :) The original plan had been to leave Sunday and drive down through Montana, but the week before we left, my mom got a call that my gamie wasn't doing well, so instead we left a day earlier, and drove out to BC to see her and my geepa for the day. We also got to visit with 2 of my aunts and one cousin, whom I haven't seen since 2004 when she was 11. That was nice :)

We left BC Monday morning and drove down through Washington to Pendleton, OR. The most exciting things we saw were Dry Falls, WA, the field of rocks south of Dry Falls, and the horde of cute Irish boys staying at our hotel :3 The road was very boring from the border to Pendleton. It was beautiful in its own way, but it seemed very desolate.

On Tuesday, we took a side trip to Boise, Idaho, to go to Cheesecake Factory :3 Then we continued south on 95 through the south eastern corner of Oregon. The 101-mile distance between some little town and McDermott, NV, is the single most boring highway I've ever had the displeasure of driving on. We talked to some Boise residents this morning who drove the same way, and they said there are two 25-mile stretches on that highway that are perfectly straight. There is NOTHING to see. You travel between some hills that might be low mountains, and the land is all low scrub, and there's no signs of life ANYWHERE. And the sun was ridiculously hot coming in the windows, the AC got a good workout.

Finally arrived in Reno after dark, and it's not as fancy as Vegas (not that I was expecting it to be; I overheard people in Vegas say that unless you're in Reno to gamble, there is nothing to do here.) We registered for the con this morning, and things don't really get underway until noonish, so I came back to the room (which is very nice; the Atlantis comes highly recommended :) ) to write this and decide what to wear today.

More reports from Reno later :3


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