Song of the Moment

Song of the Moment: "Shake it Out" by Florence + The Machine

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Weekend of Stalking Vampires and Creating Lifelong Friendships

Photo Credit: CW Network
If you know me at all, you will know I love all things vampires, whether it be movies, TV, or books.  From Buffy, to Twilight, to True Blood, I love it all.  So when The Vampire Diaries debuted in the fall of 2009 I knew it would be right up my alley.  Little did I know, that show would give me a chance to meet so many amazing people and travel to an area of the United States that I’d always wanted to go.

The very first exclusively The Vampire Diaries convention in the U.S. took place in Atlanta March 25-27.  The show films in the Atlanta area so not only was it convenient for the cast to attend the event, it created an opportunity for fans to visit locations that we’d seen on the show.  The town of Covington, GA is about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta.  This quaint, colonial style, town creates the backdrop for all of the outside shots of the town of “Mystic Falls” in the show.  All of the scenes you see of the characters in the town square, the local hangout “The Mystic Grill,” and the outside shots of the character’s houses are all located in this town.

Covington is so well known with The Vampire Diaries fans that an awesome resident of the town is actually making a living at giving tours of her town, showing all of the locations they’ve filmed at.  The Mystic Falls Tours tour was the highlight of my trip to Atlanta.  It was so fun remembering the scenes that were filmed at each stop on the tour.  Because our tour guide lives in the town they film in, she watches them film quite frequently.  She is always able to find them when they’re filming in town.  She refers to this as “stalking.”  People are allowed to watch, depending on where they’re at in town, if it’s a public place.  While I was in Atlanta, they just happened to be filming in town for 2 nights.  We watched until after 3am for 2 nights in a row.  We couldn’t really see what was going on because they were filming in front of a house and we had to stay at the end of the long driveway, but just being there, hearing them yell, “rolling!” and “cut!” was pretty freaking cool!  We got to see a few cast members come and go and they waved at all of us.  Two of them actually came out to greet us fans and take pictures.  They were very generous with their time, considering they were getting off work at the wee hours of the morning and didn’t have to stop.  It made all of us so appreciative and really made us realize how the cast feels about their fans.

The tour and watching filming were Thursday and Friday, Saturday and Sunday was the actual convention.  This consisted of photo ops, autographs, Q & As, a banquet dinner with the stars, and a masquerade ball.  Although the photo ops and autograph sessions were over priced and poorly organized, the question and answer periods made up for it (but that really had nothing to do with the company running the convention.  The cast are just amazing and funny people, so the event runners are still  douchebags).  The banquet was also a highlight of the trip, although many would disagree with me.  Most people hated the food, which I didn't really mind.  It wasn't gourmet like we were told, it was a mediocre buffet, and since 2 cast members backed out of the event a few weeks prior, not everyone was able to sit with a cast member.  I was lucky enough that since I had purchased a platinum ticket and purchased it as soon as they went on sale, I got priority seating.  I got to have dinner and chat with one of the actors for over an hour.  It was pretty amazing!

After the dinner it was time for the masquerade ball, which every one of us was anticipating.  The show actually did an episode entitled, “Masquerade,” so you can imagine our excitement when we found out we were going to get to have our own masquerade, that the cast was to attend as well.  Unfortunately this event was the biggest disappointment of the whole weekend.  The room it took place in was way too small for the amount of people attending.  With that many people crammed into that small space, you would think they would have air flowing, right?  Nope, it was hotter than hell and since everyone was crowded into a line like we were cattle to “mingle with the stars,” everyone was over heated and annoyed.  They had a couple of the cast members secluded in a side room and 5 people at a time were allowed to go in and talk to each person for about a minute and then you were scooted along.  When the information about the ball was posted, we were told that it was an “adult event and not for the faint of heart.”  Well, it was actually like a bad prom with balloons and someone’s iPod playing music.  There was apparently a bar in the small room, but because everyone was lined up to “mingle with the stars,” I didn’t actually see it.  The line of people was blocking it, I think.  We stayed at the ball for about 20 minutes and then decided to get drinks at the other bar in the hotel, which had one bartender working.  You can imagine the frustration we felt by that point.  This event and the dinner were not included in our tickets to the convention, mind you.  They were separate.  I’m not going to tell you how much I spent on each event because it makes me ill, but my money was pretty much wasted.

Besides the tour of “Mystic Falls” and watching filming, the best part of my trip was meeting all of my fellow fans, who will forever be my great friends.  Because of Twitter, there were a handful of people I knew that were going to be at the convention and we’d talked quite a bit prior to the trip.  It was so much fun getting to see, in person, the people I’d been talking to and planning this trip with.  It was amazing to meet people from all of the U.S. and there were quite a few people from out of the country that attended the convention too.  People from all of the world all in one place discussing our favorite TV shows was pretty epic!  Since I didn’t personally know anyone going to the convention at the time I bought my ticket, the company running the convention offered a roommate finder.  They paired up people by gender and age range.  I was lucky to be paired with Andrea, who was a local.  She was a great tour guide!  I was able to get a driving tour of downtown Atlanta and attend a Thrashers’ game (NHL).  I had so much fun with all of the girls that we’re already planning our next meet up.  So, besides the poor organization on account of the convention company and the sometimes rude convention employees, this was a trip of a lifetime that I will never forget!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Coffee Shop Diaries

Location: Starbucks
Time of Day: Mid Afternoon
Date: February 19, 2011

The Coffee Shop Diaries makes people watching a fun and exciting activity.  When I go to airports or coffee shop I like to sit and watch people for a while.  When I do this, I end up creating stories about their lives in my head.  I thought it would be fun to write down the things that I come up with.  This is purely for enjoyment and nothing I’ve written is true by any means.  The only things that are true (that I know of, anyway) are the physical descriptions of the patrons/servers in the shop.


       “Man With a Fedora,” (we’ll call him Roger) wearing a button up silk vest, walks into the coffee shop.  He gets in line behind two other people.  He looks around, then glances down at his watch.  He’s running late and is hoping the people in front of him will be quick.  He needs to hurry up and get some caffeine in him.  He’s going to be up late and will need it.  Band rehearsal starts in 30 minutes.  They have their first paying gig tonight.  Roger joined the jazz band a few months ago.  The band had lost their sax player when he was injured in a car accident.  Roger had seen the posters advertising their audition session after he had his very last meeting with his lawyer.  His divorce had just been finalized and he was in the mind sight of doing something he knew his ex-wife wouldn’t have approved of.  He had been in a band when he was younger, but his wife wasn’t so keen on the late nights out that came with the gig.  He had quit to make her happy.  Considering the divorce was in result of her affair with her personal trainer, joining a band seemed like the very right thing to do. It was the best decision he had ever made. It’s finally his turn to order up at the counter.  He orders his latte, pays the woman behind the counter, then steps aside to wait for his order to be up.  He looks down at his watch again.  He has to be at the studio in 15 minutes.  If he leaves right now, he’ll make it just in time.  He takes his coffee from the barista and makes his way to the door.  He leaves with a huge smile on his face, because tonight he knows he’ll be living his dream.


       “Man With a Black Jacket” (we’ll call him Steve) opens the door for a fellow coffee-a-holic and follows in behind her.  The woman was going to let him go first, but he doesn’t get in line like the woman thought he would, so she steps up to the counter.  Steve slowly looks at all the coffee cups and coffee presses on the shelf to waste time.  He’s waiting for the barista (we’ll call her Lisa) to finish the woman’s order.  He’s been coming in every afternoon for the last week “looking for a particular gift.”  That’s what he had told Lisa, the barista.  He secretly has a crush on her but he’s been too nervous to say anything.  He’s only been single for a few months, since his girlfriend of 10 years broke up with him.  He’s in his mid 30s and has almost forgotten how to pursue a woman, since it had been so long since he'd need to.  Lisa finishes up the woman’s order and comes around to the other side of the counter.  She saw Steve come in and is anxious to talk to him.   Steve is unaware that Lisa is interested in him as well.  She walks up to Steve and shows him the newest shipment of travel mugs.  She touches his arm while he talks.  He picks a piece of fuzz out of her hair.  The sexual tension is clear to everyone around them, yet they are clueless to each other’s interest.  A line begins to form again and Lisa is called back to her duties.  Steve continues to look at the merchandise for a few more minutes.  He goes up to the counter to finally order his coffee.  They flirt a little more.  She smiles at something funny he said and tucks a piece of her hair behind her ear.  She hands him his coffee and they say their good byes.  Steve is regretting chickening out, again, as he walks to the door.  Tomorrow will be the day, he says in his head.


       “Man With Black Leather Jacket & Shades” (we’ll call him Mark) walks into the coffee shop, whistling.  He waltzes up to the counter and removes his shades once the barista comes to the counter.  The amount of flirting coming from Mark is obvious to the barista.  She laughs, awkwardly, and continues to take his order.  Mark doesn’t notice the signs of the brush off, so he continues to attempt to flirt while she’s making his drink.  There is no one else in line, so there is no one to save the barista from Mark’s over the top style of wooing.  After barely responding to his attempt at conversation, Mark get’s the hint and goes to the far end of the counter with his coffee and picks up a newspaper from the shelf.  He sits down at an empty table and begins to flip through the paper.  He glances at the date on the front page.  He still can’t believe it’s 2011 already.  Where has the time gone, he thinks to himself.  He’s been an executive at his company for nearly 15 years.  Has it really been that long?  He realizes, though he drives a Porsche and has more money than he knows what to do with, he has no one to share any of it with.  He’s alone.  He used to be able to pick up women left and right when he was younger, but at almost the age of 40, his old ways have been less than successful.  He finishes his coffee, puts the newspaper back on the shelf and thanks the barista for the coffee.  As he’s leaving he decides that something has to change.  If he’s going to find love, and not just a beautiful woman who knows how to act as a corporate wife, but real love.  Real love that is all encompassing, nothing else matters in the world kind of love, he’s going to have to come at it a different way.  He first needs to find someone he would enjoy having a cup of coffee with.