Meeting strangers in Vegas

<—–Previous Vegas Post

Bloggers in Sin City, Day 1

Upon my arrival at The Flamingo, I proceeded to spend the remainder of the day meeting more people and drinking.  Because those two things go hand in hand, do they not?  This was probably the first time I have ever hung out with a large group of people, none of whom I knew previously, and actually felt comfortable.  We talked as if we were old friends.  I’m not saying that I wasn’t awkward, because it’s safe to say that I probably definitely was.  But I’m always awkward so that’s nothing new.  I was already friends with a lot of them on Facebook, and some of them recognized me from updating my status all the time everyday.  But since they’re all social media fanatics as well, no one was judging me for it.  A couple people also recognized me as the girl who loved shoes.  Apparently when I posted about Army & Navy, some of them thought I was actually buying army boots at some sort of military store.  I had to clarify and explain what Army & Navy really was.

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Carlo & Charlie’s

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Mango margaritas

It was happy hour at Carlos and Charlie’s when I arrived, so perfect timing.  New friendships were made and margaritas were drank.  Larissa pretended it was Tom‘s birthday so that the waitress with the big boobs would come over and pour shots in his mouth.  And she did.  And it was awesome.

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New friends

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Happy hour

When it was time to check in, I met Megan, who I would be rooming with for the first and last day of our stay.  Being the awesome person that I am, I used my Total Rewards card in order to get ahead in line.  We went back down to Carlos & Charlie’s and had some awesome quesadillas.

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Quesadilla Charlie’s

At one point, we all seemed very depleted and worn out and we weren’t sure why.  We were also all very on edge and upset about the fact that our phones were all dying.  It would appear that when you’re a social media buff and your phone battery is drained, your energy level may also become drained.  The solution?  A phone charging party, naturally.  And so a bunch of us got together in the hotel room to charge our phones, and as we did, we too slowly regained our energy.

My original plan was to go see strippers that night.  Because why would I not go see strippers that night?  But I wasn’t feeling it.  Shocking, I know.  There were only a few people who had originally wanted to go and the strippers we wanted to see were all the way on the opposite side of the strip.  I mean maybe if I had more energy at the time I would have been all for it, but I decided my first night would be better spent wandering around our side of the strip and meeting more awesome new people.  Besides, I had already seen Thunder From Down Under last year in Vegas and again this year in Vancouver.  I’m thinking once a year should be what I aim for.

Instead, a few of us wandered around the strip and walked down to The Venetian where we contemplated taking a gondola ride but decided against it.  We walked past Madame Tusseauds wax museum, where we took pictures with The Rock and Justin Timberlake.  Next time I’m in Vegas, I want to actually go inside and take pictures with all the celebrities.

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The Venetian

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The Rock

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Group shot with JT

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Obviously I needed a solo shot too

We later met up with others at Centre Cut Steakhouse in the Flamingo for martinis and bacon.  Because who doesn’t love martinis and bacon?  Especially when there’s three different kinds of bacon.

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Pomegranate lemon martini

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Trio Bacon Satay

More people showed up as the hours went by.  The group from DC took a limo from the airport, which somehow may have ended up being cheaper than the shuttle I took.  I was jealous.  Eventually I met Kitty and another Megan, who were my other roommates for the night.  I think I ended my night watching TV and eagerly anticipating what the rest of the trip had in store for me.

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Interterminal Issues

<—–Previous Vegas Post

So I’ve decided to sporadically write my posts about Vegas whenever I feel like it, in between posts about various other things.  At this rate, I’ll still be writing them in the winter.  But whatever.  That works for me.  Bloggers in Sin City was just full of so much stuff that I feel like I need to write like ten posts about it at least.

When I arrived at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas in May, I was supposed to meet up with Jessica, a fellow blogger who I had never met, because our flights arrived ten minutes apart.  So it made sense that we could just meet up, and make our way to the Flamingo together.  Simple, right?  Or so we thought.

I picked up my luggage at baggage claim 26.  Jessica was at baggage claim 10.  This is where the confusion began, because wherever Jessica was, the numbers only went up to 16.  How was this possible?  I was clearly at baggage claim 26.  Had I entered some magical world like how Harry Potter goes to platform 1 and 3/4?  I didn’t recall having ran through any walls or anything, so that couldn’t be it.

photoAnd that’s when we realized that we were at different terminals.  Curse the Las Vegas airport for being so damn big.  So we brilliantly decided to take the interterminal shuttles to meet each other.  So we both went to the shuttles and got on them.  At the same time.  Going in opposite directions.  It was too late to turn back.  So I believe Jessica simply stayed on her shuttle and took a round trip to meet me back at terminal 1.  Or was it 3?  I don’t even know anymore.  And yes, this was all as confusing as it sounds, possibly more so.

We wandered a bit and eventually had to go ask someone where the hell the hotel shuttles were.  Upon finding them, we patiently waited until it came time to board.  And then patiently waited while it drove oh so very slowly around the strip, proceeding to drop off every other passenger but us.  Not only were we the last to get to our hotel, the driver even stopped to pick up people to take back to the airport before finally dropping us off at The Flamingo.  Actually, she dropped us off a block away from the Flamingo because of “construction” or whatever.  We hoped that this experience would not be indicative of the rest of our time in Vegas.  It was unfortunate that our shuttle ride took so long, but if I was going to have to spend a ridiculous amount of time getting from the airport to the hotel, I’m sure as hell glad that time spent was with Jessica because she made it awesome.

Next Vegas Post—–>

Is there such a thing as blogging depression?

You know how when a person is depressed, they feel lack of motivation and the things that they once enjoyed no longer interest them?  I’ve kind of been feeling that way about blogging.  It used to be easier.  It used to be so effortless.  Now sometimes it just seems like a chore.  A chore that isn’t even necessary really.  And so I keep putting it off.  And no one knows when it will ever get done.

I don’t know why I feel this way.  It’s not what I want.  I do want to gain back that joy that writing once brought me.  I want that excitement I once felt just thinking about it and looking forward to being able to write.  Now and then it does cross my mind, but then I come up with excuses as to why I can’t do it or I don’t have time.  And if I do happen to have a free moment, I fill it with other things.  I’m always out doing something.  And when I do have that rare time at home, I give up and concede that my time would be better spent watching TV.  When the hell has anyone’s time ever been better spent watching TV?

So productivity as far as blogging goes is now at an all time low.  I’m not really sure how to get it back up to a reasonable pace.  And I’m not really even sure what a reasonable pace would be.  But definitely more often and more consistently than I have been lately.  Setting a schedule doesn’t really work for me.  Randomness is how I function best.  Although randomness hasn’t been working for me either as of late.  You know how you tell a lazy person to get up off their ass and go do something?  Would it be the opposite for me?  Like I need to sit my ass back down and stop whatever I’m doing and start writing again?

When a person is depressed, they begin to wonder whether they even matter to anyone and what the point of their life is.  Similarly, I wonder whether this blog even matters to anyone and what the point of it is.  Is there a point?  Although I’ve never actually cared about it having a point.  And I have had a few people ask if I’m still blogging or say that they enjoyed some of my previous entries.  But is that enough to motivate me to continue?  It should be.  But I’m not sure if it is.

Is it ironic that after I went to a blogging conference, I kind of stopped blogging?  Not as a result of it, but coincidentally I suppose.  I always blame time.  I have no time.  I was recently talking to a friend about how I didn’t understand how she had time for everything she does.  And she told me that she doesn’t, she just forces herself to do things.  Which I totally understand.  I used to be like that.  I still am, in many aspects, just not with blogging anymore.  A lot of people would tell me that they didn’t understand how I had the energy to work full time, take classes, volunteer, blog, and still go out as much as I do.  And the truth is I really don’t have the energy.  I’m tired all the time.  But I force myself to still do all the things I want to do.  When something is important to you, you make the time for it.  Right now I’m just wondering how important blogging really is to me.

If you’re a blogger or a writer, I’m sure you understand where I’m coming from.  And it’s not even writer’s block.  Or blogger’s block, or whatever you want to call it.  Because I have ideas.  I haven’t even written properly about Vegas yet.  And you know how important Vegas is to me.  Time remains a key problem for me.  And the lack of motivation stems from me doubting my abilities as a writer.  I feel like I used to be better than this too.  I am better than this.  So why won’t it show in my writing any longer?  I know everyone has self doubt at some point, no matter how good they are.

I think I’m going to try and find the time for this.  Try, being to key word.  Wish me luck.  Or don’t.  Are people actually more likely to accomplish something if someone tells them “Good luck”?  Does that really ever change anything or make a difference at all?  Also this is very small life goal.  Of course I could be putting my time and my efforts into bigger and better things than trying to start writing again.  But whatever, I can choose to focus on this for a moment if I want to.

Well, it would appear that I have now written a blog post.  Kind of wordy one.  And possibly whiny.  Is it whiny?  I can’t actually tell.  I’m hoping it’s not because I hate it when people are whiny.  Does this fact that I just wrote a blog post mean that maybe I’m taking a step towards coming out of my blogging depression?  Only time will tell.

Leaving for Las Vegas

<—–Previous Vegas Post

On May 15th, I hopped on a plane to go to Vegas for Bloggers in Sin City.  I took a giant suitcase that I didn’t actually fill up.  Because clearly I needed to make sure there was ample extra space in there for any and all purchases I might possibly probably definitely make while I was there.  I had done this before.  I knew what I was doing.  My dad was nice enough to drive me to the airport, which was great because I didn’t want to have to spend money on a cab before going, as I knew I’d likely be spending a lot of money on cabs in Vegas.  And taking public transit with a giant suitcase, a carry on, and a giant purse?  Doable, but not at all ideal.

I went through bag check, security, and customs pretty quickly.  A lot faster than I was used to in the past.  It seemed so much less stressful to travel alone, with no one pestering me about whether I have everything or warning me not to lose things or making sure we’re on time.  Why did it take me this long to actually take a trip by myself?  It’s something I would totally like to do more often.

Guess who got “randomly selected” for a pat down at security?  Yeah, I’m used it.  Although at this point I’m pretty sure there’s nothing random about it.  My friend asked me if it was a hot guy doing the pat down.  Nope.  Instead, it was an old Filipino lady.  She gave me a choice and said I could either go into that large scanner booth, or get a pat down.  I opted for the pat down.  Then she asked if I wanted the pat down to be done in the private booth.  I said no, I was fine just doing it there.  I wanted witnesses.  Something about the need for a private booth made it seem like there would be more than just a pat down.  If it isn’t enough that your shoes are already off, they make you lean against the wall, bend over, and let them look under your feet as well.

Customs was better than security.  When the guy asked me what I was going to Vegas for, I said “A blogging conference.”  And then he asked what that meant.  He was like “Is that just like a let’s all meet up in Vegas thing?” and I said yes.  And then he asked me what I blogged about.  I believe my answer was something like “Just random stuff.”  I wanted to say “I blog about awkward interactions with airport customs agents,” but I somehow felt that would not be the best response.

I was really bored while waiting for my flight, so I decided to text people and browse the internet.  Because that’s what an iPhone is for, right?  But the battery life on that thing is so shitty that I had to stop at some point or else it would have been drained before I even got on the plane.  There was an “Everything under $20” store right by my gate.  Because of course there was.  Why wouldn’t they want to entice me to start spending money before even getting to Vegas, where I would inevitably be spending even more money?  I resisted for a while then decided to take a look.  Apparently “everything under $20” means, everything is $19.99.  I decided to save my money for more important things.  Like food and drinks and slot machines.

I flew with West Jet, which I thought was supposed to be a good airline.  But for the first time ever, there were no TVs and not even any music on the flight.  I mean understand that it was a short flight so there wasn’t much point in beginning to watch a movie.  But I expected little TV screens with the option to watch a show.  Nope.  Despite my disappointment, the flight went smoothly and I arrived when I was supposed to.

And now I’ll stop boring you with the unnecessary details of my flight and proceed to actually talk about Vegas.  You know, when I feel like it.

Next Vegas Post—–>

Bloggers in Sin City 2013

Last year, I came across a post on Laura’s blog Red Lips and Academics.  I had never met Laura, but I enjoyed reading her blog.  In this particular post, she had mentioned going to Vegas for a blogging conference.  I thought that sounded pretty cool, so I decided to look into it further.  And then I forgot about it.  And then months went by and I saw stuff about it again popping up on my Twitter feed.  And I began to debate as to whether or not I should sign up.

The event was called Bloggers in Sin City.  Essentially, 68 strangers meet up in Vegas for three days.  Did I want to be one of them?  I did.  I really did.  But then I thought about my finances and whether or not it was for me.  I’ve never been the type of person to be all social and join things.  I hate being forced to bond with people.  Whenever it happens, I always tend to rebel.  But this would be different.  No one was forcing me to go.  If I decided to go, it would be my own decision.  I looked through the registration page to see who the attendees were.  And they all seemed pretty cool. They blogged, they loved social media, they seemed to share my sense of humour, and they just all sounded like really nice people.  Why would I not go?  I love Vegas, so why not?

badge-2013And so I registered.  Well, I tried to register.  And somehow failed.  So I emailed Nicole, who’s been organizing the event for five years, and we figured out my payment method and it was done.  I wrote up my bio, looked through the itinerary, and then spent several months in eager anticipation.  And then freaked out trying to figure out my flight and all those fun details.  This was my first time trip traveling alone.  As an adult, anyway.  When I was like 11 or something, I went to visit my aunt and uncle in Halifax, and I had to wear a sign around my neck that said “unaccompanied minor” so that people would help me out.  But this time, I was going it alone.

It was a mix of excitement and confusion when I told people that I was going.  Some people would be like “Wow, that’s so brave of you to go to this on your own.” and others would be like “Wait, you don’t know anyone there?  Why are you going?”  I don’t really expect most people to understand.  And that’s okay.  It’s not like I went because I’m so Vegas obsessed and couldn’t find anyone to go with me.  There are people I could have gone with.  But this was more than just a Vegas trip.  It was an experience and I got to meet a bunch of cool people who I wouldn’t otherwise know existed.  And I’m really glad I did.

vegaI spent five nights in Vegas on this trip.  Which seems like a lot.  For Vegas.  I mean I suppose there’s only so much day drinking, overeating, and partying that a person can take.  But the time just went by and I enjoyed every minute of it.  It was filled with all sorts of epic things that I will never forget.  We spent the first day drinking at the Flamingo and meeting people as they arrived.  The next day, we got VIP bags and lanyards and played an awesome game of Cards Against Humanity.  We had a welcome mixer at Serendipity 3, complete with food, drinks, 8 second hugs, and the most intense staring contest I have ever participated in.  We drank and danced at Margaritaville to a band playing 80’s music.  One of the best Thursday nights I’ve had.

On Friday, we had a pool party at the Flamingo.  I don’t even know how to describe it other than it was awesome.  For dinner, we went to the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood, where there was so much food I could hardly contain myself.  Then we went to see “O” by Cirque du Soleil, which had a lot of crazy diving stunts by amazingly talented performers.  After that, some of us went out and danced at a shitty club but at least it was a shitty club in Vegas.

viewOn Saturday, we had a breakfast buffet at the Flamingo, and then I went to Minus 5 Ice Bar at the Monte Carlo.  We had another buffet that night at Paris and the night ended with a rooftop party on top of Pure nightclub.  Actually the night didn’t end there, it ended after following that up with clubbing at Act at the Venetian, and then getting lost trying to find our way out of the Venetian.

On Sunday, we had our fourth and final buffet and started saying our goodbyes.  There were strong bonds and friendships made that weekend and no one wanted it to end.  I went to In-N-Out Burger for the first time.  I had a cheese plate at Otto at the Venetian.  That day was filled with a lot of food and a lot of feelings.

wigsI’m really glad I went and that I got to meet so many great people.  This was the fifth and final year of the event, which I’m really sad about.  I should have found out about it sooner.  But some of us were talking about how there’s no reason we can’t just all end up in Vegas together at the same time next year, even if it’s not officially for Bloggers in Sin City.  I will post more later about specific things that happened in Vegas.  Because I can.  Because I want to relive them.  Because what happens in Vegas ends up getting blogged about.  And now I’m sitting here in my post-Vegas depression.  I’m not sure how long it will last but I’m beginning to think that the only cure is to go back to Vegas.

Next Vegas Post—–>

Fan Expo Vancouver 2013

I really wanted to go to Comic Con this year but those plans didn’t happen.  But Fan Expo Vancouver was the next best thing.  This event took place at the Vancouver Convenstion Centre from April 18th – 20th.  I’m not really a nerd or obsessed with any of the stuff as much as some people.  But I consider myself a fan.  I love comic books and super heroes and science fiction.  I’m not sure if my friend invited me to come with her, or if I invited myself to come with her.  But either way, I went.

There were photo ops and autographs but they were crazy expensive.  Stan Lee was there, but only on the Saturday and I went on the Sunday.  My friend got a photo with Nichelle Nichols, as well as her autograph.

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Defining moment in history

There was a bunch of random stuff and plenty of booths everywhere.  I’m not a fan of crowds.  So it was kind of overwhelming at first but then I got used to it.

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R2D2

I didn’t dress up.  Because I didn’t have a costume or time to find one.  My friend pointed out that since I had a red dress, I could have been Uhura or someone from Star Trek.  All I needed was the Starfleet symbol to put on it.  Oh well.  I decided it was best to leave the costumes to the experts.

One of my favourite costumes was this couple who went as Pam and Dr. Krieger from Archer.  I only started watching the show this year and I kind of hate myself for not having done so sooner.  Their costumes were awesome, right down to the dolphin hand puppet.

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Pam & Dr. Krieger

Along with the likes of Stan Lee and Nichelle Nichols, there were Elvira, Tia Carrere, James Marsters, Amanda Tapping, Juliet Landau, and others.

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Autograph booths

There were also a bunch of giant lego characters.  So naturally I had to go take pictures next to them.  I never really got into lego that much as a child.  But these were awesome.  There was a lego Yoda.

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Lego Yoda

And there were Lego Super Heroes.  Looking at this photo, it kind of looks like Batman is giving the finger.

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Lego Super Heroes

And I couldn’t not take a photo with the Lego Incredible Hulk.  He’s my favourite.

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Lego Incredible Hulk

And then there were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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Lego Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Does anyone remember Reboot?  It totally reminds me of my childhood.  I remember coming home from school and watching it on YTV.  We met one of the animators and Michael Benyaer, the voice of Bob.  I was so excited about meeting the voice of Bob.

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Reboot

And then we got to my favourite part of the convention.  At the far end, there was an area with a few stations set up for pictures.  You make donations to charity and in return you get to take awesome photos.  The first of these was with Ghostbusters in a proton pack and flight suit.

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BC Children’s Hospital Foundation

My friend had already gone the day before, but I told her I would pay another $5 to have her in my photo.  The money goes to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.  I realize I don’t look all that excited about being a ghostbuster.  But believe me, I was.  I think I was just annoyed because the guy taking the picture with my blackberry was complaining about how it took a long time to save a photo.

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Ghostbusters!

As awesome the ghostbusters were, that was not the best photo op.  There was a Back to the Future booth where you could take your picture with the DeLorean.  It was $20 and donations went to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  I was so excited, I knew this had to happen but we decided to come back later.

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Back to the Future

My friend bought all sorts of cool things like Star Trek Catan.  I’m supposed to go over and play it at a game night at some point, but it hasn’t happened yet.  She also bought some Tardis jewellery.  I never usually buy the jewellery at these places because I’m usually allergic.  But the lady told me the earrings were nickel free.  In which case I obviously had to buy myself some Mario & Luigi earrings.

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Mario & Luigi earrings

After a brief bit of shopping, it was time to go back… to the future.  It had to happen.

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Michael J. Fox Foundation

I got to sit in the driver’s seat.  Which is super ironic since I don’t drive.  But whatever.  I just had to sit inside that car.  My friend opted for the hover board because she’s cool like that.

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Best photo ever

I look good in the DeLorean.  I kind of never wanted to get out of it.

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The DeLorean

Another costume I loved was Where’s Waldo.  It made things fun because throughout the day, we would spot him in the crowd and be like “Found him!”.

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Where’s Waldo?

Along with the Ghostbusters and Back to the Future booths, there was also a Star Wars one.  We decided to wait until later, when Darth Vader was there.  We had to wait a bit because they were all taking a large group photo.

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Star Wars

With a $3.00 minimum donation to Variety Children’s Charity, you get a Star Wars pin, as well as the opportunity to take your picture with the characters.

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Variety Children’s Charity

Sadly, Darth Vader never came back.  Leia asked if we wanted her in our photo, because some people wanted just the droids.  Of course we wanted Leia in our photo.  One of the droids had a dirty uniform.  So naturally I stood by him.

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Leia & the droids

Before leaving, I wanted to go back and see the voice of Bob again.  Because I just really wanted a picture with him and forget to ask the first time.  Michael Benyaer was really cool about it.

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Michael Benyaer

Even though I don’t actually watch Doctor Who, I thought I should get a picture in the tardis.  My friend told me it was best that I don’t let anyone there know that I don’t watch Doctor Who.  I guess all the hardcore fans would not approve.

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Doctor Who

I thought I should get a couple comic books for my brothers before leaving.  Because I’m such a nice person.  And because some of them were really cheap.

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Comic books

Also candy.  Because who doesn’t love candy?  Especially when it comes in a Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Coin box containers.

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Awesome candy

Fan Expo was a lot of fun and I’m glad I went.  My biggest complaint was the complete and utter lack of food.  They totally needed at least one food booth in there.  But other than that, it was good times.  I mean where else can you go ghost busting AND time travelling?