Adventure in Con

haycation(Thank you again to my friend Amber Sturgis who made me this beautiful thing)

After much effort I squirreled away four days for the weekend. Four days for one big reasons. Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, colloquially known as C2E2.

Let’s start at go.

After a sleepless night I drove to Waterloo to wait for the train, which was, as it always is, delayed.

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I boarded the much delayed train from Waterloo to Chicago a little after 8 in the morning and effortlessly made it into the city.

Passing by the Elkhart train station, a station too cute for my own good.photo (48) photo (50)

Finally, I slowly rolled into the city and made my way, much more gracefully than my last trip, to Jenn, Courtney, Kyle, Steve, and Keeley’s. Oh Larry’s. Did I mention Larry?

photo (47)My first night there I stayed up late with friends catching up, but not in the these 20 things are the things I rattle off way. In the way that you pick up and start right where you left off the last time, which is the most beautiful way.

The next morning I got dressed in my finest and headed to C2E2. Flawlessly.

photo (46)The first two beautiful costumes I saw were these two very tall men, seemingly father and son. One was dressed as Peter Davison as the Doctor, the other was dressed as David Tennant as the Doctor, with amazing detail. I wandered. I wandered and wandered with Erica and Heather. We skipped our panels to see a shadowcast of Once More With Feeling, which no matter who you’re talking to always gets called “Buffy: The Musical.” Within the first two minutes you could see the whole audience shift their gaze from the stage to the screen, because they were dreadful. But the show can’t fail. We all know that.

While waiting for the dreadfulness to start I did see this Doctor Who love fest below us. It was actually really cool. Tens and Roses all in one big group hug. About 15 people getting their picture taken together. I saw it from this angle, and the longer I stared, the more I saw this unfold.

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It’s already more beautiful.photo (43)

But this picture. This one right here. That Doctor in the corner. He’s on his knees talking to a little boy. On his knees at eye level with that boy. Because that boy is a person too, and he wouldn’t talk down to him.photo (39)

Just like this. 

These are them. There were even more, but look at all of those Doctors. Would ya just look at ’em. (Photo credit: bacon_pancakez)
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This was probably the best Tennant Doctor I saw, and also the most HORRIFYING Rose. (photo credit: cdgo77)photo (17) This is the Doctor who was down on his knees. (Photo credit: katesemily)photo (18)

Honestly, I’m not sure what else we did on Friday.

But when we did leave I made my way to dinner with Headset, for our first reunion in two years.

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Dinner was surprisingly not what I thought it’d be. I suppose that’s not surprising. It was just tricky. It was loud. It was distracting. It was still good to be back in the arms of friends. It was just different than I thought it would be. But I suppose it’s been six years since we were all in school together. It would have to be different. Nonetheless, we did eventually get back to business as usual.

photo (33) photo (34)This would be the result of the above photo. We’re clapping and laughing at a job well done. photo (32)

The next day I almost missed my panel on writing for television, and after the guy who was directing the panel asked if anyone had a question on one specific thing, about 10 minutes in, we went down a terrible path of “What’s your favorite episode of NCIS that you wrote?” He never got to what he wanted to talk about, so I left 45 minutes into it. And made my way to the Patton Oswalt Q&A.  I skipped my panel on Fierce Females in Television. And after we were snarked by a turdknobbler in line for the Supernatural Fans panel, we opted to skip it. And I opted out of the Peter Davison Q&A the more I thought about how late it would go. But as we left the Supernatural line I did realize that the 400 or so people in line for whatever it was were probably in line for that Q&A, which meant that the line to meet Peter Davison would be nothing. It was nothing. I walked right up to him. photo (29) photo (28) photo (22)That was the end of the my time at C2E2. It was best to go out with a bang. But here are some more highlights. Some AMAZING costumes.

These are the two wonderful men who were also dressed as Five and Ten on Friday.
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photo (16) photo (21) photo (27) photo (24)This remote control R2-D2 beep boop beep boop booped all over the convention. He was incredible.
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I left the convention and made my way to Patrick and Pose’s for some time with more friends. Much needed laughs.

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Sunday I laid around the apartment with Courtney for a while, mostly because I realized too little too late there was a panel with the author of My Friend Dahmer. But it was good to just be around Courtney.

That afternoon Hannah picked me up and we went on a romantic stroll on the beach. The fog was pouring in off the lake. It was haunting. We just kept waiting for a g-g-g-ghost.

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Hannah wanted a romantic feet picture. But she thought this particular patch of sand was dirty. I reminded her that sand is dirt. She called me a douche. (photo credit for the next four photos: Hannah)photo (61)

Then I tried to lick the lake to make sure it wasn’t the ocean. This was never confirmed.photo (60)For the record I’m not laying hands on the beach.
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We finished the day we always do before I have to board that train home. Making fun of each other and driving around the city. I some times forget what it’s like to be around people who push me and still keep me from falling. But the minute I’m around them again, I’m overcome with what I can only assume is happiness. I think that’s what that is. It must be.

As that final push right before the train station, we passed this. This one last blow to my heart. Through the cackles of reciting John Mulaney jokes and laughing at each other, we passed this. This one thing that I think I’ll always be shooting for.photo (19)

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Adventure in the Stories We Hear

Straight up, let me be a little honest with you.

I moved recently, to a great location in downtown Fort Wayne. My apartment is small, but I’m just me. It’s near more people than I could ever hope to be near. People I love. Nonetheless, depression is a crafty monster, and he creeps in just when you feel most safe. To say that I’ve been completely balanced lately would be a gross lie, and going into this post I think it’s important that you know that that’s where I am.

Recently, my friend and neighbor, Dirk, and I have have taken to going to The Green Frog Inn. We go because Dirk’s coworker is the new bartender. We went a couple of weeks ago on a Friday to find this beautiful kaleidoscope of people. Honestly none of it made any sense. Warned by our friend that the man sitting next to me was a very colorful character we stayed for a while. When we arrived there around 9:15 the colorful barfly, Phil, was already pretty drunk. But what I did get from Phil, outside of probably an hour of solid sexual harassment, was a series of incredible stories. I take them with a grain of margarita salt, but even if they’re all completely fabricated they were incredible. I offer you this one, which I’ll do my best to clean up without losing some of the integrity of Phil as a person. Picture Phil, balding, hunched over a beer, his voice Clint Eastwood gravely and slurred. His body worn from digging holes for a living. “You thought Jimmy Hoffa disappeared…”

“My niece Kristen was dating this black bastard, who got her real methed up. (it’s important that you understand he meant Methed up. Not messed up). And my mom had just died and we were all at the funeral. And that bastard pulls up in MY niece’s car and yells to her right there at my mom’s funeral ‘Bitch! Git in the car!’ And I started to walk over to him, and Kristen tried to stop me and said ‘Uncle Phil no. It’s fine.'”
And Phil put his hand on my shoulder and said “I got this.”
“No Uncle Phil, please.”
And again he touches my shoulder and says “I got this.”
“And I walked right up to the passenger side of MY NIECE’S CAR, and I grabbed him by the throat with one hand, with this hand right here” he said as he held his hand in front of my face.
“I pulled him outta that car and threw him on the hood. I got right up in his face and he just smiled. And I said ‘You’re gonna disappear. We’re never gonna see you again. You’re never going to contact her again.’ And he just smiled. And I stared him down and said ‘You’re gonna disappear. Or I’m gonna make you disappear.’ And he left that funeral. On foot. I took two weeks off of work to DT that girl. To clean her up. He methed her up, and I methed her down.”

How is that story anything less than incredible? Underneath that surly, pervy man is a man who only had stories about how carefully he watched over his family. And also about all of the holes he digs. “If you thought Jimmy Hoffa disappeared…”

The second story I heard this week is more of a series of events. I get a massage every once in a while from a woman named Jessica, who leaves me looking like I’m abused, covered in bruises. Some days she’s chatty, some days she’s not. She’s about 5’3″ and boxy, but manages to put out more force in her fingers than a stiletto at a muddy outdoor wedding. I couldn’t tell you what caused her to start talking about it, other than perhaps a need to say the things she said.

Jessica used to be an analytic chemist. She was married before she turned 26. I know that second part because when I said I was 26 she sighed “26. That was a good year. Married. Lucratively employed. Full of hope.” What’s more is she said THAT almost an hour into our conversation. Jessica stopped being an analytic chemist after she got divorced, but not right after. First she got engaged again. But then her fiancee and two family members died all within the span of two months. She got dismally depressed and quit her job. She took a factory job to make ends meet, and one day she got a call from an employment agency explaining that they would essentially pay for her to go back to school. Already holding a bachelor’s she knew exactly what she wanted to do. What she always wanted to do. In the 80s Jessica wanted to study massage therapy, but said that every time she mentioned everyone thought she wanted to be a prostitute. So she became a chemist, which is a hilarious jump. When she told the employment agency that’s what she wanted to do they said they’d allow it since all of her gen-eds would transfer, but they wouldn’t let someone who had never been to school do it. So last May she graduated and started her new career. Helping her raise her 7-year-old son.

It’s a little crushing, but over the course of however long I get to see Jessica, I hope that something beautiful comes of it for her. Not because of me, but because of whatever it is God has planned.

In my own withering state, I’m preparing this week for some much needed relief. Today through Wednesday I’m doing some serious marathon working at the store, but it will all be worth it because Thursday morning I board that train and head to Chicago. This is wonderful for many reasons. One, because I’m going to Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2, where I’ll get to geek out for three solid days. Meeting Peter Davison, Felicia Day, Amber Benson, and anyone else I’m fortunate enough to see. On top of getting go to some panels I’m pretty excited about.

More than that though, I’m really looking forward to the beauty of getting to be around so many people who know me in ways new people in my life have yet to understand, or have yet to be allowed to know. A Headset reunion is planned for Friday, which is beyond satisfying. It’s been since Patrick and Bekah’s wedding since we were all even together. I haven’t even met Deanna’s husband. So I’m thrilled.

I’ve been looking back at some college memories that really shaped my life, events, misfortunes, moments, words, people. What I haven’t yet been able to replicate in my life since probably sophomore year of college, with the exception of a brief few months in my last stay in Huntington, is this unmatchable group of friends. As a whole we were actually pretty terrible. We did stupid things to each other and a lot of us walked away from that year pretty hurt, but somewhere in my head all I can seem to focus on is, and this is how truly selfish I am, how funny I felt in those times. How complete as me I felt. How I felt like my soul was in place and hinged and full. Not entirely because of the people, because as I said, some of that was soul sucking too.

But some of the best times in my head took me to a place where I finally felt like I was a part of something important, even though it really wasn’t anything at all. It was just people living life together, which I suppose is pretty important.

Many of the people I’m seeing this weekend were a part of that, the good parts. The constant sisterhood. This surrounding of hilarious women, who simultaneously lived to pursue Christ. Something my life has really been lacking in. In a lot of ways. In the surrounding of hilarious women, but also women pursuing Christ. I guess because it’s growing cold here in my head, and I don’t want it to spread to my heart.

It wasn’t perfect, but some days it did feel a lot like this. Bliss.

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chevy and john And once we did all stand around a piano and sing Weird Al’s Star Wars rendition of American Pie. Ray Charles was not there for that.piano punch

It wasn’t the same, but it wasn’t that different.

bus 2 because little shop posey bus represent sghetti stance this

stance 2

I think spring time makes me nostalgic in sort of sickening way.

I might need theatre in a way I didn’t realize before.

Adventure in Voice Control

I was a loud kid. In the way that all kids are loud. The way that kids seem to have no control of the volume of their voices. The way they shout that they want sprinkles to their mom who is holding them in their arms. The way the shout that they have to pee. The way they shout secrets.

But I was also a loud teenager. I was a loud college student too. I slowly grew quieter as college went on, but when I started I was obnoxious. I was awful. It wasn’t that I just shouted everything in my head, but I thought no one was listening to me. The truth is, most people weren’t. I made the same joke three or four times until someone heard it. Because I spent a lot of time with other loud people. Louder people than me.

I felt like I had to be funny all of the time. That I had to be loud to get people to notice me. And in a lot of ways I did. There were people who looked to me to say things even when I didn’t have things to say. So I said things. Things that didn’t matter. Things that didn’t mean anything. Just to say things.

I never wanted to miss things. I went to every event, even if it was stupid.

People that knew me 10 years ago or even 5 wouldn’t believe it, and many of them don’t. But in my 26 years I’ve slowed down. My friends now may not even really notice. They don’t notice that I’ve slowed because they didn’t know my life was so fast before. That my head and my heart were running in the race to see how quickly I could lose.

I’m slower now. I’ve stopped. In my last three jobs they’ve called me the ninja. They never knew when I showed up. I’d get made fun of for not talking enough, but I didn’t have anything to say.

When I moved to Huntington a couple of years ago to work for the paper, I moved in with two girls I barely knew. And it was perfect. Because Melissa and I became close over our mutual disdain for leaving home. We became close over lots of things, but it was our desire to stay in that grew us together. Which is what I needed. I was this raging extrovert that was taken down by life and morphed into an introvert. All of these things pouring into my life quieted me. And continue to quiet me.

I don’t want to talk anymore. Not unless I need to.