That time I almost blinded myself: The most epic staring contest of all time

Don’t you hate it when there’s something in your eye and it stings and itches and you can’t seem to get it out and your eyes begin to water?  That happened to me at work the other day and I was pretty much almost crying in my office.  I know you’re not supposed to rub your eyes, but sometimes I can’t help it because they get really itchy.  Damn allergies.  Also for a long while, my eyes would water every morning as I waited for the bus because the air and the weather were so cold that they had that effect, so it would look like I was just crying when really my eyes would just end up physically watering as a reaction to the cold.  Apparently this happened to my sister recently and some guy went up to her and asked if she was okay, because it looked like she was crying.

Anyway, this all made me think of the time when I went to the Bloggers in Sin City conference in Las Vegas a couple years ago.  It was less of a conference, and more of a get together where I got to do a lot of fun Vegas things and meet an awesome bunch of people who love social media as much as I do.  It was the second day of the conference, and we had our own private party welcome mixer at Serendipity 3, across from the Flamingo.  There were lots of appies and drinks.  And also games.  Because of course with a group of strangers, you’re going to have some sort of ice breaker type thing.  I remember we had to pair up and give our partners 8 second hugs.  I’m not a hugger, but the hugs were good.  The hugs are not what almost destroyed me.  What happened after the hugs was.

Serendipity 3

Serendipity 3

We had a staring contest.  I’m sure most of you have had staring contests at some point in your life.  Because it’s a stupid thing that we do because we can.  Mostly as children, but why not as adults?  But this wasn’t just your average staring contest.  It was literally the most intense staring contest, or possibly contest of any kind, that I’ve endured.  There were prizes at stake.  And good prizes too.  There were 68 of us, and with the exception of the organizers, we were all assigned a competitor to begin with.  Each group would have a stare off, and the winner of that pair would then move on to face another worthy opponent, and so on and so forth until one of us would emerge victorious.

Now, I’m not very good at a lot of things, competitively speaking.  I am terrible at sports.  And pretty terrible at video games too.  I can do decently at a few boardgames.  What sucks is that despite my lack of skill, I’m still a fairly competitive person.  I love winning.  Because who doesn’t?  Don’t we all want to be winners?  Since I have zero athletic ability, maybe this was my time to shine.  Staring?  I was good at that.  Hell, I stare all the time.  Sometimes I space out and don’t even realize I’m staring.  And blinking is so overrated.  I could totally do this, no problem.

stare1

I fared quite well against my first few opponents.  My eyes were open far longer than theirs.  Finally, something I was good at.  I kept on going, beating every competitor who dared to stare into my eyes, for I stared back into theirs even harder.  They were simply no match for my supreme staring ability.  And then, there was Larissa.

stare4

I didn’t really peg her for someone who was so competitive.  Nor did I peg her for someone who could or would make me cry.  But she was, and she did.  Maybe I had gotten a little too cocky by this point and had just instilled myself with a false sense of confidence?  Maybe I had strained my eyes a little at this point from all the previous stare offs?  Maybe Larissa was just a superhuman who doesn’t blink like a normal human being?    All these things would eventually lead to my downfall.

stare6

We stared at each other like no one has ever stared before, our eyes piercing into one another’s as if seeing deep into our souls.  Perhaps she enacted some sort of gaze mind control trick, I can’t be too sure.  Minutes passed by and neither of us showed signs of blinking.  We had our game faces on and would not give in without a fight, no matter how painful.  And it was, indeed, painful.  As the minutes added up, my eyes eventually began to sting.  They were not meant to remain open for this long without blinking.  But no pain, no gain, right?  I could push through this.

stare3

And then came the water works.  Tears began to stream down my face.  No, more like pour.  Rivers just pouring out of my eyes.  But still, I did not blink.  People watched in horror at this spectacle.  Larissa yelled at me to blink, partly because she wanted to win, and partly because I think she was genuinely concerned and slightly horrified that I was literally crying right in front of her.  I was a mess.  And so was my face.  I’m pretty sure I lost more tears that day than on any other day of my life.  At one point, I thought I saw Larissa blink but I was mistaken.  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t see clearly at that point anyhow.  But still I stared on, doing everything in my power to keep my eyes open, despite every fibre of my being telling me I needed to blink.  But as more time passed, I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I offered up a single blink.  It looked like I was crying because I lost, but really my tear ducts were just still messed up from my lack of blinking.  Larissa went on to the final round, beating out Kitty and winning the whole damn competition.  I can’t remember what it was exactly that she won.  I think it was a gift card and some cell phone stuff.  Like good tech stuff.  I tried to forget, since I was clearly envious.  The whole ordeal had been a lot harder for me than it had been for her, and yet she reaped the rewards.

stare7

After my defeat, I had to sit for a while.  I know, it wasn’t like it was physically draining activity in terms of strength, but I was still a bit out of it.  And I couldn’t see properly.  Like my vision was really blurred.  I pride myself on having perfect vision and I was worried I may have jeopardized this all for a silly contest.  I made my way to try and find the bathroom, and the staff clearly though I was drunk, because I was out of it and stumbling and my makeup was all messed up.  Little did they know that this was because I couldn’t see properly.  I did my best to wipe away the last of the tears and to salvage my makeup and to gain my vision back.  Luckily, I managed to do so.

I don’t know if it’s possible to permanently damage your vision from excessive eye strain or lack of blinking, but I was so paranoid afterwards, especially when time had passed and my vision was still blurred.  Thankfully, it all went back to normal eventually and I vowed never to jeopardize my eyes like that ever again.  But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly dream of a rematch in which I vowed revenge took back the glory that should have been mine…

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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.

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