Saturday, September 28, 2013

2013 Convention Wrap-Up: FanimeCon/Clockwork Alchemy

There will always be a special place in my heart for FanimeCon.  While I did attend other conventions before Fanime, this one sucked me in and I've been attending every year since.  I suppose there are a few reasons for this, from the transformation of San Jose to a cosplay paradise, the 24 hour immersive nature of the event, to the fact that I ended up with my boyfriend thanks to this convention.  Additionally, I spent my first year of FanimeCon as a volunteer in order to get a free pass, and had a great time meeting people and getting the inside scoop on everything.

While being a volunteer was a great experience, I wanted extra time to attend panels and explore the convention.  Thus, I spent the next two years as a regular attendee.  During this time FanimeCon introduced Clockwork Alchemy, a steampunk addition to the convention.  I really enjoyed the interactive panels of Clockwork Alchemy and felt that I found the right place to spend my time as I aged out of FanimeCon's dominant age demographic (not that there's an age limit to attending Fanime!).  However, I missed being able to help out and often found myself with more downtime than I wanted.  This year after some internal debate, I decided to volunteer once again.

I definitely took on more responsibilities this year, and even got assigned a walkie-talkie for the first time. Being a volunteer was rather nerve-wracking at times since I didn't want to be "that person" who screwed up and made into one of those "what not to do" stories they tell during trainings.  Working this convention was no joke, and I'll admit that the shifts were long, grueling, and stressful.  While I am a social worker by trade, managing mobs of congoers (with the occasional angry person) was really different from anything I've ever experienced at work, and I definitely gained insight on interpersonal skills I should hone for next year.

Was the experience worth it?  While I found that I spent even less time exploring the convention than that the last time I volunteered, I'd definitely do it again.  Volunteering for Fanime allowed me to experience the event in a different way, a way that allowed me help others better enjoy themselves.  Furthermore, I really enjoyed getting to see more of how Fanime/Steampunk Alchemy is put together, and working with those who are just as passionate about the convention as I am.

I realize that FanimeCon/Clockwork Alchemy 2013 has its fair share of problems, and I also realize that tons of improvements need to be made for next year (especially after reading the forums).  This is one of the reasons I'd like to return and increase my involvement in the planning process of the convention.  With my increasingly busy schedule, hopefully I'll have the time to volunteer again next year!  We shall see how things go over the next several months!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer Travel Wrap-up!

With Labor Day comes the unofficial end of summer travel season.  Sadly, I'll be spending this long weekend at work, but I don't mind too much as I've had a rather eventful and travel-filled summer!  In the next few days/weeks, I'll be posting about my various trips, including FanimeCon, Comic-Con, Hearst Castle, Catalina Island, and Star Trek Las Vegas.  Hopefully there isn't too much delay in getting these posts up as my work schedule ramps up once again.

Fortunately, the end of summer doesn't mark the end of my fun.  Autumn is by far my favorite season of the year, marked by pumpkins, cooler weather, hot apple cider, football, falling leaves, Thanksgiving, and Halloween!  On top of that, I have several upcoming trips to New York, New Orleans, and Texas which I will be planning over the next several months.  For me, I almost get as much excitement from the planning stages as I do the actual trip!

As someone once said, "Travel is about the journey, not the destination. The destination is only the means for the journey to begin."  Let the journeys continue!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cosplay is NOT Consent

Instead of writing about the events of today's Comic-Con, I'd like to focus on a single encounter that essentially defined my day.

After successfully picking up some swag from the Plants vs. Zombies booth, I was approached by a woman. The conversation went like this:

Woman: You know EVERYONE can see down your top.

Me: Excuse me? I am wearing a shirt under my corset.

Woman: Doesn't matter. EVERYONE can see down your top.

Me: I don't see what the problem is. I am covered up.

Woman: It doesn't mater. [At this point, I believe she says] It makes it seem like you have something that you don't.

The woman and I walked away from each other, and I was left in shock. My cosplay outfit of the day consisted of a sleeveless shirt with lace shoulders, a long black bustle skirt, and an overbust corset on top of the shirt. I did not feel my cosplay was inappropriate in any way. Moreover, why did it matter what I was wearing? Why did it bother her so much that she took the effort to approach me?

Conventions are one of the few times people can come out of their shell and dress in unique ways. For me, cosplay is one of the big reasons I attend conventions, and I take pride in the outfits I put together. I strongly believe that wearing cosplay does NOT give others consent to harass or make unwanted advances. There should be no place for such negativity in an environment where everyone is simply trying to have fun.

This is not the first time I've been victimized by sexual harassment at a convention. While dressed up as Pinkie Pie during FanimeCon, an individual made negative comments about what I was wearing. I realize that I probably should have brushed off these comments, but at both Comic-Con and FanimeCon they bothered me enough that I went back to my hotel and changed.

I share my story because I want to prevent other con-goers from experiencing the shame and self-consciousness that I felt today. Harassment can ruin someone's convention experience, so please be respectful and keep your mouth shut if someone's dress does not please your personal aesthetic. Let's keep Comic-Con and other conventions a safe place for self-expression and creativity.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Comic-Con 2013 Begins!

Hello! I apologize for the lack of updates, but between FanimeCon, working, and completely unplanned family trips to Hearst Castle and Catalina Island, I haven't had much time to blog these past few months. I will write about my trips eventually, but for now I will my shift focus to Comic-Con!

The road leading to Comic-Con definitely had some bumps. In fact, here's a list of situations I've encountered the past two weeks:
-The seamstress who was supposed to make my Star Trek uniform didn't quite work out, so I had to mail the fabric across the country. The uniform is being shipped back to my friend in San Diego, who will hopefully get it to me by tomorrow. I just hope it fits.
-My car was broken into, back window smashed, and my purse stolen from the trunk. Fortunately, no credit cards or ID cards were taken.
-I had issues trying to keep my luggage under the Megabus weight limit. Cosplay (especially boots) can be heavy!
-My printer ran out of colored ink and refused to print anything. Fortunately, I figured out how to get it to print in black and white only.
-My Comic-Con barcodes printed out as outlines of barcodes instead of the actual barcodes themselves. I found a way around this.
-Lugging my suitcase around L.A. Union Station was more difficult than anticipated. Once again, I blame heavy cosplay.
-My camera's SD card stopped working. Fortunately I have a spare, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to save the pictures on the corrupted card.
-Back in January, I booked an Amtrak train from the Bay Area to San Diego. When I managed to get a Megabus ticket to Los Angeles Union Station for $1, I canceled the train trip and rebooked it for LA to SD instead. This morning, I received an e-mail from Amtrak telling me I missed my train. When I called Amtrak, they told me that the original trip was never canceled. Fortunately, they refunded me my money or I would be out $130+ right now.
-I've probably averaged 4-5 hours of sleep this past week. Hopefully I can get some rest tonight before the big action starts tomorrow.
-Shortly after the Amtrak train left Union Station, the person next to me stated that he was from a city north of Los Angeles. I misheard it as him saying he was headed there. This nearly made my heart stop as I thought I had gotten on the wrong train. Thankfully, I am now relaxing on the correct train and typing this post.

I can only hope that it's relatively smooth sailing from here. Hoping that the hostel is a nice one, that I have fun roommates, and that Comic-Con is more fun than stressful. I declare that the fun starts now!

Not sure what I'll be doing tonight after I check into the hostel. Given that my train arrives in San Diego at 7pm, it might be too late to make the SDCCBlog Party. I'll probably swing by to see how the lines are and if they're too long I'll just get dinner. After the past few days my goal should be to get sleep tonight!

I'm not sure how much I'll be able to blog during Comic-Con, but I'll definitely be posting updates on my twitter account: @TPumpkins. I will also be carrying my Nintendo 3DS around so see if you get a Street Pass from me!

To everyone going to Comic-Con, I wish you a safe an enjoyable time!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Pre-Summer Convention Lull

Seems like the last time I posted was when I secured tickets to Comic-Con.  Not much has happened since then, other than lots of working and lots of planning.  Work has been a grind, but hopefully it's worth it come summer!

Anyway, here's what I've accomplished since my last post:
-Secured cheap bus tickets for my San Diego and Las Vegas trips thanks to Megabus
-Purchased parts for my Pinkie Pie cosplay and steampunk outfit
-Purchased fabric for my Star Trek cosplay (though I may pay someone to make it for me per my mom's recommendation)
-Worked tons of hours so I have money to blow this summer!

Fanime/Clockwork Alchemy is coming up fast - exactly a month from today!  Leading up to that are the releases of both Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness!  As I write this, I definitely feel the excitement starting to build.

To end this post, I'll share a picture from one of the more exciting moments from the past few months:  Giants baseball opening weekend!

Giants Baseball
Giants Opening Day Ring Ceremony

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Comic-Con 2013: Badge Registration Insanity

Between the Season 3 finale of "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" and Comic-Con badge sales, it's been a wild morning!

Saturdays are always my day to sleep in after a long week.  However, despite going to bed at 1:30am this morning I was wide awake at 7:00am.  Fortunately, I had My Little Pony to keep me occupied for half an hour before getting my equipment ready for 9am badge sales.

At 8:15am, I grabbed all the working electronic devices in my house and headed into the study room, where the internet signal is strongest.  I brought with me two laptops, an iPhone, and an android phone.  I also grabbed my camera in case I needed to take screen shots of my phones.

At 8:30am, I woke up my boyfriend so he could help me get badges.  A friend from across the country called her husband to make sure he could help me using his three computers and fast internet connection.

By 8:55am, I was set to go.  I had multiple browsers open on each computer with the Comic-Con landing page and the link copied in case I had to use the paste function later.  I also had twitter and facebook open in case of any updates.  On top of that, I had an online clock open so I could start clicking as soon as the clock turned 9!  For good measure, I plugged my modem's ethernet cable into my fastest laptop.

At exactly 9am, I started clicking/pressing enter on all my devices.  Nothing happened.  Most of my pages went into loading mode, while others went to an error screen.

At 9:05am, I got into a landing page which told me that the waiting room was full and that badges were likely sold out.  Checking twitter and seeing that most people were encountering similar issues, I continued to frantically reload my pages.

At 9:15am, I managed to get into the waiting room as #37729 with my fastest laptop using the Firefox browser.  My friend also go into the wait room as a number in the 29000s.  My other laptop running Chrome also got in as #46465.

Comic-Con Registration Waiting Room
Registration Waiting Room on Firefox browser at 9:15am

In the next 30-35 minutes, my number in the Firefox browser gradually decreased.  Meanwhile, my friend remained stuck on the same number while my Chrome browser continued to read #46465.  I took a screenshot and attempted to contact Comic-Con's customer service number, only to get multiple busy signals.

Around 9:50, I finally managed to get into the badge purchase area with my Firebox browser.  By then, 4-day and 4-day plus preview night badges were sold out.  However, there were still one-day badges left for all four days!  I managed to secure Thursday-Sunday one-day passes for myself and two friends.  Once out of the waiting room, the entire process went smoothly and quickly.

I checked out my last person a few minutes before 10am.  Minutes later, Saturday badges were completely sold out.  Roughly 30 minutes after that, all Comic-Con badges were sold out!

I consider myself extremely lucky that I managed to survive the buggy computer system and end up with badges for all four days.  After I finished paying for my last badge, my friend informed me that he was still stuck on the same number.  Looking at the computer next to me, my position still reads #46465.

Comic-Con Registration Waiting Room
Registration Waiting Room on Chrome browser at 11:45am

While I still would have gone to San Diego without a Comic-Con Badge, I'm super excited that I now have passes for all four days!  I definitely attribute this to beginners luck because based on social media, a lot of people were not as lucky.  At this rate, I may not get badges for next year (or a Fanime hotel room, given how similarly crazy reservations were this year), so I plan on trying to make the most of this experience!

I hope that everyone vying for a badge got at least something!  After this eventful morning I think it's time to go back to bed!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Comic-Con 2013 Prep: Badges Go On Sale Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the day thousands of Comic-Con fans have been awaiting for months!  At 9am PST, badges officially go on sale for 2013's convention!  Sadly, I missed out on volunteer registration, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.  If things don't work out and I end up empty handed, I still plan traveling to San Diego and hanging out in the Gaslamp District!

Here's the youtube video with detailed instructions on how to purchase a badge.  I definitely need to watch it one more time before tomorrow's madness.  Also need to make sure to set several alarm clocks to I'm actually awake.  I suppose I could get up before at 7am and watch the Twipocalypse.

Good luck to everyone vying for a badge tomorrow!  Not sure I'm ready for the impending madness...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Musings On Super Bowl Eve

I am so lucky to be a sports fan in the Bay Area. Even luckier that I have the time and knowledge to appreciate what's happened this past year.

The last time I remember the Bay Area having dominant sports teams was in the 1980s. I was really young back then, so I can only speculate on the chronological order of events. One of my first memories was having a joint birthday and Super Bowl watching party. The 49ers were playing and I remember thinking that they would win because Joe Montana was quarterback. Indeed, they won that year and the year after. To this day, Joe Montana is still my favorite quarterback.

Another memory was the 1988 United States presidential elections. My parents took me along to the polling place, and while I was there I remember someone asking, "Who are you going to vote for, Bush or Dukakis?" My enthusiastic response: "JOSE CANSECO! With Mark McGuire as Vice-President!"

The next year, I was playing with my cousin and waiting for game 3 of the World Series to start when the living room started shaking, prompting my family to evacuate the house. Definitely a moment that many in the Bay Area will never forget.

Once I started school, I just didn't follow sports as much. I recall following the Golden State Warriors for a few years and catching baseball and football every now and then. I also maintained a baseball collection, which is currently collecting dust on top my bookshelf. In college, I followed my school's basketball and football teams, but that was only because I was in the marching band and attended almost every game.

Several months after I finished college in 2010, the San Francisco Giants went to the World Series. Reading and learning about the team through the internet and news, I couldn't help but gravitate towards their personalities and individual stories. Spending Halloween in San Francisco, I was immediately drawn into the excitement as I was surrounded by people and stores with orange decor and signs supporting the home team. Watching the game on TV, I was engrossed by the excitement of the sport. Unlike people around me who find baseball boring, I found it suspenseful, gripping, and exciting. After 20 years, I was hooked on baseball yet again.

Sadly, I had to miss the World Series Championship Parade because of work, so I promised myself I wouldn't miss the next one. In 2011, I watched/listened to every single Giants game of the season, whether on TV, radio, or at AT&T Park. I essentially did the same thing in 2012, except I watched playoff games at various restaurants with other fans. When the Giants clinched the NLCS I was at a restaurant in Walnut Creek, high-fiving complete strangers. We were so busy celebrating that we didn't realize that the same rainstorm that hit San Francisco that night was headed in our direction, resulting in many drenched fans as we ran to our cars.

During the World Series, I loitered around outside AT&T Park, taking in the sights. A number of TVs were set up outside the stadium, so you didn't need to go to a bar to watch the game. The only problem was the TV delay, causing us to hear the crowds inside of the stadium cheering before actually seeing it on TV 10 seconds later. I spend game 4 with thousands of people in Civic Center Square, and subsequently got sprayed with champagne and apple cider. As per my promise, I booked a hotel along the parade route and had a front row spot as the team drove past. Best Halloween parade ever and definitely one of the more memorable Octobers I've had.

Now, another San Francisco team is about to play in football's biggest event. Instead of being orange, San Francisco's City Hall and Coit Tower are colored red and gold. 49er shirts, which were on sale a few months ago, are now impossible to find. At work yesterday, many of my coworkers were wearing jerseys and NFC Championship shirts. While not everyone loves sports, there's no denying that the 49ers have once again united San Francisco.

It's a great time to be a Bay Area sports fan, and I'm definitely enjoying the fun while it last. I mean, how often do we get a local baseball team and football team in championship games within the same year? So glad I've come to love and appreciate sports again!


Niners Logo

Friday, February 1, 2013


Mark your calendars and set multiple alarm clocks!  According to an e-mail I received from the Comic-Con mailing list this afternoon, badges go on sale Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM Pacific Time (to convert to your time, you can use this handy time zone converter)!  Read more about badges here: Comic-Con Badge Registration

For those of you planning to try your luck at tickets, make sure to register for a Comic-Con Member ID by February 12, 2013!  While you're at it, double check your settings to make can receive Comic-Con e-mails!  The link to registration will only be sent by e-mail and won't be posted on any social media site this year!

Let the madness begin.  Good luck to us all!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Super Bowl Eats

Super Bowl XLVII is this Sunday, and since Civic Center Plaza isn't having a public viewing, I'll be enjoying the game from the comfort of my couch.  While I'm not as big of a football fan as I am baseball, I have many fond memories of past Super Bowls celebrated with friends, parties, and 49er Championships!  This year will probably just be a small gathering with my folks and boyfriend, which is fine because I haven't planned what to eat just yet!

Food is probably my favorite part of the entire Super Bowl experience, besting the game itself and even the commercials!  I love finger food, and this is the one day out of the year I allow myself to eat it the entire day.

Here's a rough menu of what I'll probably have this Sunday:
-Spinach dip with sourdough bread and/or tortilla chips
-Vegetables with ranch dip
-Cheese fondue
-Things to dip in cheese fondue like chicken apple sausage, bread, vegetables, fruit
-Chili (possibly this chili recipe) with Fritos and/or tortilla chips
-Chocolate or caramel fondue
-Things to dip in fondue like pound cake and fruit
-Beignets instead of dessert fondue? (if not too difficult)
-Beer, wine, root beer, water
-Extra food my parents buy

For the Super Bowl, I'm all for food that is easy to prepare, can be prepared in advance, and is ready to eat without a lot of reheating.  Looking at this list is making me hungry already!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

2013 Cosplays: Star Trek TOS Uniform Shopping List

Today, I spent an excess amount of time researching uniforms from season one of Star Trek: The Original Series.  After reading posts on The Starfleet 1701st and Star Trek Uniforms and Costumes I've come up with a rough shopping list:

-Fabric: Craft velour from CR's Crafts (in Kirk Gold, Trek Teal, or Red) or Xscapes Props.  Currently undecided about which color I want, but I'm leaning towards blue since I work in healthcare.  Depending on my mood, I just might get all three colors!
-Ribbed black fabric for the collar (undecided on where I'll get this). 
-Uniform insignia from Xscapes.
-Rank braids from Xscapes.
-Sewing pattern from Xscapes.
-Tracing paper for sewing pattern.
-Boots from eBay Done!
-Zipper from fabric store.
-Pantyhose I have plenty!
-Sewing lessons so I can actually make this outfit!

This is definitely a much longer list than I anticipated!  It won't be cheap, but at least it'll hopefully be cheaper than getting a uniform commissioned by someone else.  Hopefully my friends are right in that learning how to sew is not that difficult!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fanime Prep 2013: Pre-registration and Hotel Madness!

Today was the day many Fanime fans have been anticipating for months!  At noon, the Fanime 2013 website went live, and along with it pre-registration and hotel registration.  Here's how it all went down for me:

I happened to be at work today, so I gave my credit card number to my boyfriend and asked him to book a room for me.  As noon approached, I began to becoming increasingly nervous about my chances of getting the room I wanted, so I opened up a browser with an online analog clock.  I entered in the Fanime website address and pressed "enter" as soon as the second hand hit 12:00.

To my horror, absolutely nothing happened.  My boyfriend promptly messaged me, informing me that he could not access the site.  I told him to keep trying and in the meantime continued to refresh my screen while my coworkers weren't looking.

Eight minutes later, I still couldn't get the site to load.  In fact, the 2012 site loaded instead.  I grabbed my cell phone and went to the Fanime facebook page.  To some relief, it looked like many others were having the same issues.  When I refreshed the facebook page several minutes later, I noticed that someone had posted a direct link to the housing website.  I tapped it and it worked!  Unfortunately, I didn't think I could enter my information quickly enough, so I copy/pasted the link to my boyfriend hoping that he would get my message.  When he didn't respond, I typed the website address into my browser and decided to try for a room myself.

By then, all of the hotels adjacent to the convention center were completely sold out, along with the double beds in my preferred hotel.  Fortunately, they still had the room I book every year, so I picked that and started entering my information, using an alternate e-mail address since my boyfriend was already using mine.  Unfortunately, being in a rush I entered in the WRONG E-MAIL ADDRESS.  However, the registration site lets you send a carbon copy of your registration to another person, so I simply entered the correct e-mail address there.  I didn't want to risk going back and losing my room.

After I checked out, I looked at my phone and found out that my boyfriend had successfully booked the same type of room in the same hotel!  At this point, I decided to just take my lunch break before I got written up being on a non-work related website.  In the break room, I went ahead and cancelled my room so as to free it up for someone else.  For fun, I went to see what rooms were left.

By 12:40pm, all the available hotels in the Downtown San Jose area for Thursday-Monday were completely sold out.  As of now (7:30pm), the only Thursday-Monday bookings that are left are at DoubleTree near the airport.  Now, if you plan on spending most of your time at Clockwork Alchemy, this is actually to your benefit.

I really feel that I got lucky this year.  Hotel rooms sell out faster each year, and at this rate I probably won't get my preferred hotel next year!  While the hotel registration went pretty smoothly once the Fanime staff fixed the website problems, the process produced an adrenaline rush I'd rather not experience until I have to do this again in 2014.  If Fanime hotel room registration is like this, I can only imagine what Comic-Con badge registration is going to be like!  Hopefully it'll be on a weekend or else I'll get written up at work for sure!

Fanime badge pre-registration, on the other hand, was a total breeze.  I purchased my badge when I got home from work and had no issues whatsoever.  $50 is such a great deal for a four day convention, plus a few extra hours on Thursday night.

Looks like I'm all set to go to Fanime (minus the cosplays)!  Can't wait 'til May!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2013 Cosplays: Ideas

One of my favorite things about attending conventions is cosplaying.  This year, my goal is to learn how to sew so I can produce more quality outfits at a (hopefully) cheaper price.  If all else fails, I suppose I could just fork out the money for some commissions.  Fanime is roughly four months away, so I really should get started soon!

So far, my planned outfits are as follows:
-Star Trek: The Original Series officer from season one (undecided on color, but probably Uhura red)
-Something steampunk
-Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Haven't really come up with any other ideas, as I'm not sure what works for a short girl with black hair.  I'm sure what I have so far will be plenty!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

FanimeCon Prep 2013: Lodging and Registration

According to Fanime's facebook page, convention pre-registration and hotel registration go live this Thursday at noon Pacific Time!  Unfortunately, I have work that day, so hopefully my boyfriend or a friend will be kind enough to help me out!

I'm not too worried about getting a Fanime badge, and will probably purchase between Thursday and when pre-registration ends.  By registering early, you get a discounted rate and a laminated badge with your name on it.  The catch is that (save for special circumstances) you don't get a refund if you can't make the convention.

However, what might cause some mild stress is hotel room registration.  Last year, hotels sold out in around the same time as Comic-Con badges.  Fortunately, my preferred hotel is a little ways away from the San Jose Convention Center, so there were still a number of spots left when I finally got through to the Fanime housing site.  Despite this, I'd never book my hotel any other way as Fanime offers generously discounted rooms for attendees.

If for some unfortunate reason I happen to miss out on a room, I'll probably check the roommate thread on the forums.  It helps that I'll be volunteering this year, so maybe I'll be able to find housing that way.

Best of luck to everyone vying for a room this Thursday!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Comic-Con 2013 Prep: Lodging and Transportation

Comic-Con is still roughly six months away, but when it comes to planning it seems like I've gotten a really late start.  Fortunately, despite a few bumps along the road, I've managed to book a place to stay and a means to get to San Diego.  Here's how it all transpired:

-Lodging: Since I'll be attending the convention by myself, I decided to book a room in a hostel.  I used to narrow down my search, but unfortunately most places in the Gaslamp District were already sold out!  However, when I called each place one by one, I ended up finding a bed in the Gaslamp District for a rate cheaper than that on!  So rule of thumb, always call the hostel itself before booking through a 3rd party site.  This will be my first time staying in a hostel, so hopefully 1) it won't be like the horror movie and 2) I won't be the oldest one there!

-Transportation: I knew from the start that if I decided to go to Comic-Con this year, I would be taking Amtrak to San Diego.  It's cheaper than flying, generally less stressful than flying, and the train station is conveniently located near the San Diego Convention Center.  I purchased my train tickets this week, and to save a few extra dollars, I used my AAA discount and my Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card.

As a potential first-time Comic-Con attendee, I had no idea you had to start planning this early.  If I decide to go again next year, I now know to reserve lodging more than 6 months in advance!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tentative Travel Plans for 2013

My travel plans for this year are the most ambitious yet!  Thinking about it really encourages me to be more frugal and put in extra hours at work so I can save up a decent fund for hotels, food, cosplaying, and shopping!  Trips I am actively planning include the following:
-San Jose, CA for FanimeCon and Clockwork Alchemy
-San Diego, CA for Comic-Con International
-Las Vegas, NV for Creation Entertainment's Star Trek Convention
-Numerous day trips to places like San Francisco and Napa
-Cruise with the parents

Additional trips I may throw in include:
-Disneyland in Anaheim, CA
-Disneyworld in Orlando, FL
-New York City, New York
-Europe (specifically Great Britain, Germany, France, and Greece)

So far, I have secured the time off from work for my convention trips.  The day trips can easily be done over a weekend or when I'm not scheduled to work.  The Disney theme parks are up in the air due to expensive ticket prices (unless I take my parents and use their military discount) and the fact I was just at Disneyland a few months ago.  If I go to New York and Europe, they will likely be trips taken with my parents since we have never been to either.

Personally, I try not to get too excited about upcoming events because they are always subject to change.  For instance, today I missed a sporting event I was looking forward to due to a stomach bug!  However, I can't help but feel a little excitement looking at my plans for 2013.  It should hopefully be a fun and adventurous year!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Hello and welcome to Traveling Pumpkins! Thank you for stopping by, and hopefully this will be the first of many visits!

 I actually decided to start this blog as part of my New Year's Resolution for 2013, which is to travel a lot more. I'm fortunate enough to have a job that is really flexible and parents who insist that I live at home (though there are definitely tradeoffs to this). Hence, I have the means and the time for some extended travel! This blog will essentially be about my various trips and what I do to plan for them.

When I do travel, I tend of gravitate toward places I've enjoyed in the past and local places of interest. I also enjoy attending science fiction/anime conventions and am planning many of my vacations this year around such events. My preferred method of travel is train, but am working on becoming less scared of flying so I can take to the friendly skies more often!

Enjoy your stay, and if you have any questions you can always comment of e-mail me at! You can also add me on twitter @TPumpkins. If you're not sure why I named my blog "Traveling Pumpkins", then you'll just have to get to know me and find out!

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4.1  change or remove (temporarily or permanently) the Website or any part of it without notice and you confirm that shall not be liable to you for any such change or removal and.
4.2  change these Terms and Conditions at any time, and your continued use of the Website following any changes shall be deemed to be your acceptance of such change.

5  Links to Third Party Websites Website may include links to third party websites that are controlled and maintained by others. Any link to other websites is not an endorsement of such websites and you acknowledge and agree that we are not responsible for the content or availability of any such sites.

6  Copyright
6.1  All copyright, trade marks and all other intellectual property rights in the Website and its content (including without limitation the Website design, text, graphics and all software and source codes connected with the Website) are owned by or licensed to or otherwise used by as permitted by law.
6.2  In accessing the Website you agree that you will access the content solely for your personal, non-commercial use. None of the content may be downloaded, copied, reproduced, transmitted, stored, sold or distributed without the prior written consent of the copyright holder. This excludes the downloading, copying and/or printing of pages of the Website for personal, non-commercial home use only.

7  Disclaimers and Limitation of Liability
7.1  The Website is provided on an AS IS and AS AVAILABLE basis without any representation or endorsement made and without warranty of any kind whether express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of satisfactory quality, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement, compatibility, security and accuracy.
7.2  To the extent permitted by law, will not be liable for any indirect or consequential loss or damage whatever (including without limitation loss of business, opportunity, data, profits) arising out of or in connection with the use of the Website.
7.3 makes no warranty that the functionality of the Website will be uninterrupted or error free, that defects will be corrected or that the Website or the server that makes it available are free of viruses or anything else which may be harmful or destructive.
7.4  Nothing in these Terms and Conditions shall be construed so as to exclude or limit the liability of for death or personal injury as a result of the negligence of or that of its employees or agents.

8  Indemnity
You agree to indemnify and hold and its employees and agents harmless from and against all liabilities, legal fees, damages, losses, costs and other expenses in relation to any claims or actions brought against arising out of any breach by you of these Terms and Conditions or other liabilities arising out of your use of this Website.

9  Severance
If any of these Terms and Conditions should be determined to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable for any reason by any court of competent jurisdiction then such Term or Condition shall be severed and the remaining Terms and Conditions shall survive and remain in full force and effect and continue to be binding and enforceable.

10  Governing Law
These Terms and Conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of USA and you hereby submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the USA courts.

For any further information please email webmaster

Privacy Policy -

Privacy Policy -

What information do we collect?

We collect information from you when you register on our site, respond to a survey or comment on a post.

When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name or e-mail address. You may, however, visit our site anonymously.

Google, as a third party vendor, uses cookies to serve ads on your site. Google's use of the DART cookie enables it to serve ads to your users based on their visit to your sites and other sites on the Internet. Users may opt out of the use of the DART cookie by visiting the Google ad and content network privacy policy..

What do we use your information for?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways:

; To personalize your experience
(your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs)

; To improve our website
(we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you)

; To process transactions

Your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested.

; To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature

; To send periodic emails

The email address you provide may be used to send you information, respond to inquiries, and/or other requests or questions.

How do we protect your information?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you enter, submit, or access your personal information.

We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to?keep the information confidential.

After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.

Do we use cookies?

Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information

We use cookies to keep track of advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business.

Do we disclose any information to outside parties?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.

Third party links

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.

California Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

Because we value your privacy we have taken the necessary precautions to be in compliance with the California Online Privacy Protection Act. We therefore will not distribute your personal information to outside parties without your consent.

Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.

Online Privacy Policy Only

This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.

Your Consent

By using our site, you consent to our privacy policy.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will update the Privacy Policy modification date below.

This policy was last modified on 1/16/2013

Contacting Us

If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us using the information below.

This policy is powered by Free Privacy Policy and Rhino Support help desk software.