zaterdag 30 november 2013

This Christmas

This Christmas
It won't be like any other
It'll be different...
Everything's different
Everything will feel different

It'll be one person less
One person more
And one person less
It'll be strange...
Mixed emotions
But at least we're together... Yet apart

This Christmas
There's one day more
It won't be so bad
It doesn't have to be.
It's the same lights,
the same songs
the same decorations...

This Christmas
We'll be fine
It'll be fun
It'll be good...
It will just have to be
That's the spirit of Christmas...

donderdag 14 november 2013

Everybody needs light in their life :)

This week (until Saturday the 16th) the city Eindhoven is the city of light. Artists, students and children all worked on the greatest works of art with light. Glow is a five kilometer walk (give or take) and there's lots of sideshows in different buildings that you pass by (or choose to go in). Lastly there's a different part of the city, Strijp S, where there's lots of stuff as well.

It was a very rainy day. First me and my dad had dinner and then we took off to the festival of lights - rain coats and all. We didn't start at the beginning - you're walking in a circle anyway, so there's no real need for that - but started at the first point we came to. There were three sort of flying fish, soaring on the wind. It was beautiful and great to start with.

Next we came to a tree, where the lights changed on the beat of the music. It was very beautiful. Just take a look ;-).

Of course we had a map on us, but there were so many people that we didn't even need it. We could just follow the crowd. It was the opening of the festival, so it was really busy. There were also a lot of queues to see the side shows, so we skipped most of them. Usually these are quite good, but it was just so cold and rainy that both me and my dad didn't fancy waiting around for hours. Another thing was that there was already a lot to see and I was very tired (I already worked the morning shift - which meant getting up at 4 o clock in the morning), because it was turning out to be a very long day.

This is one of the things I really enjoyed. I love how they can just fit everything exactly like the house. The house changed colours and I must admit that it kinda reminded me of the flower power times, but I still liked it. They were beautiful and the colours were very bright and sharp. It was pretty awesome. Below you can see another house where they did the same. These houses also reminded me a little of the Efteling (one of the themeparks that mainly focuses on fairytales), because of their bright and lively colours. The one below especially makes me think of Hansel and Gretl :P.

One of the highlights is always the Catherine Church. It's such an amazing show, defying laws of physics and messing with your brain: It's awesome. So my dad and I got there and it was very quiet, so we could get a great spot to check it out. Images were being projected onto it, but no sound appeared. And... nothing happened on the left side of the church! So we waited and waited for something more spectacular to happen, but it didn't... Only a guy showed up, saying that it wasn't functioning correctly and we should come back in 1,5-2 hours. That's how much time it would take for it to get fixed. So my dad and I moved along.

As I said, we didn't start at the beginning, but we arrived at the starting point about half way there. And let me tell you, that was quite an impressive show. It was a water and lights show. Above a pond there was this thing that blew the water upwards and onto that a 3D DRAGON was projected!!! Man that was awesome! You had to find the right place to stand though, because if you stood by the sides of the pond, it would simply be like looking at a projecter screen: You'd see colours but no real picture or the 3D dragon. It was kinda epic.

My dad and I were both really curious about what was happening in the PSV stadium (from the soccer team that celebrated it's 100 years this year). It took a while to get in and even than we weren't sure what was gonna happen. We still had a lot to see, so we ended up walking right through it instead. Stupid choice as it turns out, because above you can see the spectacular light show they created.

Across from it, there was one side show that we both really wanted to see. Because they wanted to recreate the northern light (if that's how you say it). It was nice, they used steam and everything, but it wasn't that mesmerizing as I'd hoped. We saw a lot of little things as well, like the flowers in the water and the stuff that kids made. Finally, around 22.30h we were back where we started from. We had walked for over 2,5 hours and I was incredibly tired, soar feet and I still had to get back to Utrecht.

Just like previous years I enjoyed going, even with the bad weather. Yes it was cold and we probably didn't take as much time as we usually do or saw as much as previous years, but nonetheless it was another great year of Glow.

dinsdag 5 november 2013

HalloWhedon 5 - More Epic Shit

Last weekend was the best weekend of the year: HalloWhedon - 5th edition already! The weekend devoted to works of Joss Whedon, where fans gather and actors come to meet them. This year was a little bit different than others though: It wasn't in London as all the previous editions had been, but it was in Birmingham (Hilton Hotel). Initially it wasn't even supposed to be for just Whedon, but also other shows. Luckily we got our wish and it stayed Whedon and the line up was amazing!!! We even had one of the most amazing writers with us: Jane Espenson :D. Unfortunately Amy Acker had to cancel, because of work (Person of Interest), but we still had seven guests so it was promising to be a busy and awesome weekend.

(Time for EPICNESS)

Rocky start

On Friday morning Christa and I planned to meet up at Schiphol at eight for our flight. But as I got there, I got a text that her dad lost his ID... We all went through some pretty crappy shit to see what our possibilities were and they weren't all to good. Eventually it was decided that I would get on the plane and Christa and her dad had to rebook so they could go home and search for his ID. It was an awful way to start a weekend that was supposed to be amazing. So we hugged, wished each other luck and we would see each other in Birmingham at the hotel. My flight was alright - even though the left propellor not working in the beginning made me a bit anxious - and when I got to Birmingham I ran into some other Dutchies including my roommate Yvonne. We found our way to the hotel and checked into our rooms.

One of the most important things of a weekend like this is good food. So we took a walk around the hotel and in the hotel to see what our options were. It was nada. There was nothing around so we would either have to order pizza or go to the airport again (which was not too far away). We did manage to get some fresh air though: it was a beautiful park and had a lovely pond. As we started to make our way back again we ran into the twins from Belgium and we made our way back to the hotel. When the twins were busy checking in some very familiar faces caught my eye, because everyone started arriving!!!!! Lots of hugs were given and received and I even got a little teary eyed seeing Nicola, Sarah, Joey, Elspeth, Rhys and his lovely fiancé Joanne, Stephen and Carrie again for the first time in a year. It truly was the best!!!
And I was overjoyed when I saw Christa and her dad standing in the lobby!! They made it and all in time for the opening ceremony. We hang out some and decided to eat at the airport with a group of friends. It was a delicous meal and I was so happy I couldn't get the smile of my face.

(Getting a bite to eat with the scoobs and newbies)

At 19.30h the Opening Ceremony was about to begin and all guests were called on stage!!! This moment always reminds me of a rock concert with all of us screaming, shouting, yelling and clapping... So much clapping, because they all deserve it. K Todd Freeman (Buffy, TMNT), Jeff Rickets (Buffy, Angel, Firefly), Sarah Hagan (Buffy, Freaks and Geeks), Tom Lenk (Buffy, Angel, Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing), Brad Bell (Husbands), Jane Espenson (writer, Buffy, Angel, Once Upon a Time and soooo much more) and Alexis Denisof (Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, Much Ado About Nothing, How I Met Your Mother) all said a few words and thanked us for making it possible. The usual things were explained about what you could find where and how everythig worked and then it was time for the wine reception for the Gold Card Holders (which was me :D ).

Our friends group has become so big over the past few years that we immediately took up an entire table. We started chatting and were soon joined by - I believe the first person was Alexis Denisof. *sigh* He's so handsome... *sigh again*. All the guests get some time to chat to the people at various tables and we chatted a lot. They probably say this to every table, but I still liked hearing it that pretty much every guest told us that they enjoyed our table the most :D. I asked Alexis when we could see him dance and Tom if he'd ever been in Amsterdam. Jeff tried to pinpoint where we came from by our names and Jane told us she had a friend from the Netherlands and could still remember the numbers 'elf en twaalf' (eleven and twelve) because they rhymed. Unfortunately Tom wasn't feeling well, so he wouldn't shake hands or hug, but that didn't really matter. It was just awesome to have him there! K Todd and Sarah were also so nice and a real treat to be around. Everybody had so much to talk about and time simply went to fast. The one guest that I totally fell in love with though, is Brad Bell. He was so shy in the beginning because he thought nobody knew him!!! He and Jane made the most amazing sitcom/webseries Husbands and it was so nice to get to talk to him.

As I said, the time went by way to quickly and the reception ended... By then the party had already started, so we all went to our rooms and changed for the Hawaian party. Even Brad, Jane, Sarah and Jeff showed up (I hope I didn't miss anybody). They didn't know it was a themed party, so I gave Brad one of my 'Lei's' and we chatted a bit. It was an amazing first day/night, but it was very eventful so I went to bed pretty early. With lots of hugs from all the friends I had to miss for a year and even a surprise hug from the great Clairificus :). 

(The ReWatchers - our facebookgroup with whom we rewatch Joss' shows and movies)

Quite the busy schedule
Because we had so many guests this year - which was awesome - we had a very busy schedule of getting our autographs and photographs taken. It pretty much meant running from one side of the hotel to the other and passing friends along the way. I must admit that I was a bit bummed about this because I hardly got to see or talk to my friends. Even at the talks - which took place in the afternoon - our group was very much split up. The talks were great
, I even got to ask some questions myself: Alexis had so many wonderful things to say and he's just the nicest guy! Alyson is one lucky lady!! And Sarah and Jeff together, that was something alright! We also had a screening of the episode Band Candy (Buffy) with commentary by Jane Espenson and K Todd Freeman. Afterwards they also got on stage and we got to ask them some questions. It was so wonderful and we had a lot of laughs with all of it. The final talk of the day was with K Todd and Tom after which the Auction followed. There's always so many great things that people pay soooooo muuuuuuch money for! It's uncanny. I wish I had that kind of money :P. But I always go, because I wanna know what kind of wonderful stuff they have every year.

(Our wonderful group of friends during the Halloween party)

After the auction we had some time to kill - or eat... We had actually planned a pizza party with the ReWatchers (our facebook group with who we watch all the works of Whedon), but it got kinda late so we ended up eating crackers and elves bread (from Lord of the Rings) which Christa made. Then we finished dressing up and went to the HalloWeen party. When we arrived people were already dancing. And con-goers truly have the most amazing costumes!!!! Seriously, some of them really frightened me and others were so damn cute.
The thing that really bugged me though, was that as soon as Alexis came in the room people flew to him like moths to a flame... They started asking for pictures and honestly: That's simply not done! That's what the photographs are for and guests should be left alone to enjoy the party for themselves. That's my oppinion anyway. Alexis turned them down for pictures and went on his way to ride the mechanical spider (you know what I mean!), but once again: Moths. So he simply watched. My friends and I got kind of annoyed by it so we chose the dancefloor, which was relatively empty by this point. We were having a lot of fun and even Alexis walked around a bit on the dancefloor. We were just having a good time, when suddenly someone from Showmasters (or was it Massive Events?) came up to us and asked if we would like to take a picture of us enjoying the party WITH ALEXIS!!! KARMA BABY!!! We didn't have to bother him for a picture or to ask and try to make him dance with us, it simply came to us. This was such a great moment for us, because the picture turned out great! Of course we didn't know what it was for, so I went to find the lady/girl who took it and asked her if we could get it too. As it turned out: it was for their twitter. So everyone could see us partying with Alexis. GAAAAAAAAAH.
After having bothered Alexis three times now to ask if he would dance for us (he tweeted that he would if HalloWhedon was sold out), Alexis came through! His dance! OMG... there are no words. It's awesome and amazing and definitly qualifies as an EPIC MOMENT.
I think that every one of the guests actually showed up for the party, which was kinda epic as well. Brad had the coolest costume and Sarah even wore vamp teeth! It was all very awesome. We partied till we couldn't party no more - well, some of us anyway - and then we went to bed, glad to have that one hour extra when the clocks get reset.

LESSON LEARNED: Going to bed before the party ends, is never a good thing at HalloWhedon. This was proven by my friends when they finally got Brad Bell to play Pop-Up Pirate IN JOEY'S ROOM after the party had ended. And I missed it!!! Stupid, stupid me!!! (just fyi: the Pop-Up Pirate thing, was also a twitter thing between us scoobs).

(Our party pic with Alexis!!!! *swoon* EEEEEP)

The Perfect Day
The Sunday we met up again for breakfast after which we had to get the remaining autographs and photographs. I bought a photograph extra with Brad Bell, because I still had mine from the Saturday and I completely fell in love with this guy over the weekend. He's just too cute! This was soon done and then we had some time to kill. We had a chance to talk to our friends and hang a bit, go to the dealers room and buy some extra stuff if we liked (I already bought my ticket for HalloWhedon 6 ;-) ).
On Saturday Brad and Jane also gave writing workshops. But there were so many write ins, that it was pretty tough to get in. Instead of just one writing workshop (which they had done on Saturday), they organized one extra on Sunday. One at noon and one around four o clock. I immediatly signed up for both and then I had to wait until half an hour before the workshop to check if I got in. In the mean time we went to the guest talks and had a blast. Everyone always comes up with the funniest questions and the guests tell us the most amusing stories.

(Me and Jane acting out Coulson's death :'( )
One of my favorite things on the Sunday is also the Game Show. Four guests - devided in two teams - will test their Whedoknowledge and every year one person from the audience is chosen for each team. Usually I sit a little bit more in the back or I simply raise my hand to late, but this year I was really enthousiastic. LOL. AND I GOT PICKED!!! I was on Tom's and Jane's team "We are as Gods" against our worthy opponents Jeff, Sarah and David (from the audience) "ESP's". Though my mind totally blacked out and I couldn't remember some of the easier questions (the Shanshu prophecy for example), we did pretty awesome! I guess I was a little bit nervous and star struck, haha. My favorite round was definitely playing out some scènes - I even tried my best to get the characters right. When I think back I still get a huge smile on my face! And WE WON!!! I totally didn't expect it, because I felt we had some wrong answers, but we did. And I think we can be pretty proud as well, because we set a new record!!! 51 points :D  (usually the winning team has about 39 points). I even got a little gift bag, which was filled with amazing stuff.

(Tom being Anya and me being Andrew from Storytellers)

I almost forgot to mention that I got a hug from both Jane and Tom while on stage and Sarah congratulated me on the win. It was some pretty epic shit. For me anyway. I totally felt like a rockstar. Especially when the quiz master asked my name and said 'Amy' instead of 'Immy'... the whole crowd - and by that I mean ALL THE WONDERFUL AND AMAZING FRIENDS I MADE OVER THE YEARS - shouted my name "it's Immy with an 'I'" !!!! OMG!!! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH, I EVEN GOT A LITTLE TEARY EYED AT THAT MOMENT. It means so much to me and it was a once in a lifetime moment... Once again: I LOVE YOU ALL, YOU ARE THE BEST!!! <3

(We are as Gods vs. The ESP's)

Because I was so high on what just happened I totally forgot to check if I got in the final workshop and I DID!! My day literally couldn't get any better. So I raced to get my bag and ran to the room for the workshop and spend an hour picking Jane's and Brads brain about writing. It was so interesting, fun, inspirational and informative. I'm really glad I got to have that chance.

After the workshop there was only one thing left: the final talk with all of the guests (once Jeff did his laps around the room so he could join the rest on stage) and I love it when they are all just spitballing of of each other (or however you say it). It's so much fun to see them exchanging thoughts and experiences and being able to compare their worst job experiences and stuff. It was the best time. Immediatly after - while they were still on stage - the closing ceremony followed. Me and a couple of friends decided to have our 'last meal' together in the lobby and we had a perfect chilled out dinner.
Even though HalloWhedon 5 was officially at an end, they arranged a showing of Once More With Feeling - which, yes, made everybody burst into song - and the pilot of Jeff's new movie, where he plays a Dutch officer!!!! The sad part was that during the sunday the group started to get smaller and smaller because people were already leaving. Some of us partied on till the end of the night and even then we didn't want to face reality so we hang out in the bar some more... But it had to end sometime, so we eventually went to bed and promised each other we would see each other at breakfast or at least say goodbye before we left.

(The final talk, with Tom, Sarah, Brad, Jane, Jeff and Alexis)

Going back home
On monday we decided to have breakfast at nine, because there was supposed to be a fire drill at 8.30h. This would function as a wake up call for most. By that time, my roommate left and I went to breakfast. Everybody felt the goodbyes weighing heavy on them and was a bit groggy, but we had a delicious breakfast. But then the fire alarm went of again!! So we were all escorted outside. This turned out to be a good thing for us because we got to say goodbye to the Captain and his fiancé, although it was messed up for them. After about 15 minutes I think we were allowed to finish our breakfast and we said our goodbyes and went upstairs to pack our stuff.
I already did most of my packing and decided to check out and wait in the lobby. Once there, a couple of Whedonites were talking to Jeff who was still hanging around. I ran into Joey and we chatted for a bit. When Jeff passed us to go upstairs, he stopped when he saw me, gave me a hug and congratulated me on the win from the Game Show. We chatted a bit and it was just awesome to have a little time like that. The lobby started to fill up with our group again and we said our goodbyes - again. It was kinda sad, but luckily we can all stay in touch and most of us promised we would be there again next year. Back in LONDON, BABY!

(Survivers photo, of all the Whedonites that stayed till the bitter end of the party)

Our flight went great and it was only at Schiphol that hardly any trains went... It took a lot of waiting, a lot of time, and a lot of rain and wind, but eventually I arrived home. Still high on all the memories and experiences of HalloWhedon and all the hugs that we shared. It's always so amazing how much all the guests can surprise you. They are truly the nicest, sweetest and most amazing people to meet and they are such a joy to be around!
Next year will be even better, because it will actually be ON HALLOWEEN!!! And I cannot wait for it to happen... So: Let the count down begin ;-). 

(Every year our group of friends grows :D )

p.s. I probably forgot to mention a lot of stuff as well, but I think most of it is in here. If you wanna read my blog from last year, take a look here. I also wanna mention how much I missed Danni and Thomas, my dear friends who I met at my very first con. You better be there again next year!