Better Late than Never. Outlandish Vancouver delivered – Big Time!

I decided to take a bit of an extended vacation after my adventures with Outlandish Vancouver. That is why I am a little late to the show., plus, it’s me. You are used to it.

I decided I was going to do two blogs about my time at the Outlandish Vancouver event. One, overall, about my experience, some highlights and observations. Another to cover a uniquely mind-blowing life-altering magical moment that I couldn’t have predicted. No one could have possibly predicted.  Here is a hint – Ed/SomeStuff/Me. That’s all I’m sayin’.       giphy

My fellow ABOotlander Admin, Lee and I decided that we have had enough of watching others have all the fun at these big Outlander events. With our group being based in Alberta, a trip to B.C. was pretty do-able so we made plans to attend Outlandish Vancouver, obviously the closest Outlander fan/cast event to us. We did so, in style. Lee hooked us up with matching T-shirts with our lovable mascot, Toger the beaver, emblazoned on our chests.                                                                             leeme.png

He ended up getting quite a bit of attention over the wknd, being repeatedly mistaken for my beaver. So many jokes.

You are all going to have to wait for that story.  It’s a gooder, watch this space.

I am not great with huge crowds, have newly forced mobility issues and to be honest, am apprehensive about any kind of ‘convention’ thing.  My dear friend, Cat, VideoRecap/PhotoOp Convention expert, assured me this particular event was not only small (about 100 attendees) but was a smooth-running machine. This eased my anxious nature of not knowing wtf was going on being sent into overdrive. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have people in your bubble, that have experienced MANY events who can let you know what to expect without blowing smoke up your ass.

KoKo, Pippi, Hey, You! (I am sure there are other things she was answering to over the course of the weekend) the event coordinator, as busy as she was – never made me feel like I was a bother. Even though, I was. I gots the mobility, dietary issues and well…I’m just annoying, you all can tell.

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Koko made every effort to be sure EVERYONE was feeling good about their experience. Her team (seen below with the Outlander talent) was extraordinary. If one was asked a question they didn’t know the answer to – they knew who would know and never left you hanging. They worked with their cast members closely, keeping them on top of things and happy. What a delight to see.

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Photo Courtesy: Outlandish Vancouver – Front row/left to right: The OV Dynamos – Karin, Christine, Koko and Samantha. Back row/left to right: Braeden Clarke, Keith “Kikki” Fleming, John Bell, Carmen Moore, Trevor Carroll and Ed Speleers

I may not have attended an Outlander cast event before but I have been to a plethora of events in my lifetime and this crew, this event, had it down. They knew their stuff and the best part was how obvious it was they were enjoying themselves.  If they were stressed or panicked by any problems, in particular, their guests never knew it or sensed it. THAT’S HUGE.  From the outside, it appeared they were experiencing others have a fantastic experience. Fans AND talent, alike.

The Outlander cast invited were meant to bring OLD and NEW world together were and brilliantly selected. They played off of one another, getting along fabulously, it was pretty special to be a part of.

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Yes, there is a lot going on in this photo. Carmen was embarrassed for us? Or to be with us? The answer is most likely, yes.

Let’s talk about the cast who attended, in no particular order.

Carmen Moore (who I previously interviewed for this blog), was as bewitchingly intense as I had hoped she would be. She has such an incredibly kind and open heart. One thing I admired about Carmen, her understanding of self and willingness to share this path of growing into the warrior she is.  We were honoured to hear about her latest work making the film festival circuit. Rustic Oracle, a story told from the perspective of an 8 yr old girl when her older sister goes missing. By exploring the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous girls and women, it is receiving powerfully positive reviews.  Carmen and her young costar, Lake Delisle have already won awards for their portrayals in this groundbreaking film.  Please watch for its release in a theatre near you, March 2020.   *warning- have tissues handy*

As the only woman from the cast to be present at the event, Carmen wasn’t at a loss for entertainment or topics of conversation. It seemed to me that she and her costars are as equal as it gets with their respect and banter with one another. Carmen has a certain way of carrying herself that says very clearly, “I belong here.”  I admire her self awareness, her willingness and desire for constant growth. Those striving to learn about themselves and the world they live in, are the most interesting kinds of humans. I thought myself lucky to have interviewed Carmen all those months ago, now I feel blessed to have hugged her lots (I’m not a big hugger) and to have gotten chances to chat with her one on one. I do love a good side-eye over breakfast. I hope Carmen finds herself in Edmonton one day, with a little extra time on her hands – she knows she has a place. ❤

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photo credit: Carmen Moore Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pg/therealCarmenMoore/photos/

I can not say enough good things about Braeden Clarke. Those in attendance were privileged to meet the other side of this dynamic young man.  Onscreen in Outlander, Braeden played Kaheroton, the dark yet vivid war chief of the Mohawk Village where Roger is being held captive. The flip side is this entertaining, engaging and wildly energetic yet compassionate young man.  Braeden is obviously a natural-born actor. His enthusiasm for creating a scene that is not only believable but sincere comes straight from his guts.  He most certainly gets lost in his role which creates nothing less than magic.

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All actors know to ride horses – on their CVs. He also catches rolling babies. Good times!

He relayed to us, during a take (as he watched the woman he loved, Johiehon, walk into the flames that engulfed the man she loved) the director asked him to bring his emotions up to the point of just about to break – but – don’t break and HOLD. Of course, that was much harder said than done but he held it, barely –  so when the director ended the scene he had to get away from everyone to let it tip over the edge. Taking it to that point, he couldn’t swallow it back,  it could only come out. The dam needed releasing, so to speak.

Oh, and a fun take away from this guy – any life hacks you need when you don’t know how to do something, or maybe you stretched the truth on a CV – “YouTube that shit.” Great advice! Know why? It’s true. Literally…everything!

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Braeden Clarke “really” acting and the “real” Braeden Clarke. This young man is F’AWESOME!

Trevor Carroll who played, what some may consider a small role, Otter Tooth joined us. Many fans that attended Outlandish Vancouver have also read the books, so Trevor’s character has deep meaning. His haunting portrayal of Otter Tooth, a man with a foot in both worlds, believing he is capable of changing the tragic fate of his people may have been short on screen time but it won’t be forgotten.

Trevor was asked, not surprisingly, as an Ojibway man, would he take the opportunity to go back in time to change the fate of his people? He diplomatically made it known, he probably wouldn’t have done things as Otter Tooth did, but being an Indigenous person, wanting to change the past for his people, would be the only option. Both of his panel costars emphatically agreed with him.

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What might be a “wouldn’t it be cool” question becomes an -if it were possible it might stop a genocide- reality.

Trevor is clearly a family man. He lovingly spoke of them a number of times. It was heartwarming to see how protective of his family he is.  Protectiveness is a running theme in his life, it seems. He has a passion for mixed martial arts, his involvement in Battlefield Fight League brings this to light. Also a creative artist as well, you can find examples on his website, Reverie Arts.  His art shows more of his soft-spoken and intent nature.  He is definitely not a simple man but one of many talents and tastes.

Most were saying how very different he looked from his character. I guess it’s true what they say, “A smokey eye can make all the difference.”

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photo credit: Outlandish Vancouver/Trevor Carroll

For our UK cast, let me start with Keith- who goes by- KiKKi, Fleming…the ill-fated Lesley. Who believe me, when you get to hear his views on a) politics b) his fellow castmates c) politics d) food e) politics f) great places to visit close to home, he is filled with fantastic quips, quotes, jokes and antidotes that will make you think, smile and laugh out loud. Ummm, Koko, we didn’t talk about politics!

Fear not, he also isn’t bitter about being killed off. Not even a little. 👌 Pretty sure we fans, after the weekend was over, were far more upset about that than he. kikkied.png

Kikki is a very engaging human. He had his fellow entertainers in stitches a great deal of the time. You can tell he is a born storyteller and really, onboard for just about anything. When asked to perform the lament he sang in Episode 401, he was bashful for all of 2 seconds, cleared his throat then sang it loud and proud. It was a treat for all.

Why we thought it was fair to caterwaul the Skye Boat song back at him, I’m not altogether sure. 🤣🤔Never let any good deed go unpunished or something like that?  Braeden took a video of us- I thought at first “It must be because we are SO awesome.”  Then, I looked at my picture really close…

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This photo clearly says – Braeden takes out his phone to video the torture he is clearly being put through. John laughs because he had the balls to do it in front of everyone. Kikki is stunned by the pain of his bleeding eardrums and Ed tries desperately not to make eye contact with anyone in hopes they will stop this unbearable noise they call singing.  At least that is what it looks like it is saying to me (maybe I have a GREAT imagination 😜 maybe I’m an expert people reader)

As a Scot, the man can spin a yarn and it isn’t because of his accent you sit spellbound. It is because he is funny AF and damned interesting.  We all enjoyed a fun recounting of a table read re: Jamie/Claire sex scene where his internal dialogue was having the best time making fun of things and he had us ALL in stitches. Those sitting on the panel included.  It is really easy to see why he stays friends with many of his fellow cast members. When you can delight so many, so easily, they want to be around you.

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Thank frig for photobursts! GIF this for days. ❤ happy.

Kikki made my face spasm more than once.  There was a LOT of beaver talk. Sorry, not sorry, you will have to stay tuned for the Ed Speleers-n-Me blog for THAT whole story though. There I was, poor Lil Bell’s Palsied face me…laughing so hard my face seizes up in its fool hemifacial spasms – I tell ya, it’s a cute look absolutely NO ONE EVER said, so for our selfie (that wasn’t a selfie) we decided to see who could look serious for longer.

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Me n Kikki. We behaved for a whoppin’ 1.3 seconds

I believe John Bell might be the sweetest, most charismatic and genuine souls- ever. As an outgoing, silly and wonderfully accommodating person as he was – the 3 or 4 minutes on a quiet balcony where two introverts got a recharge from the chaos, was probably my favourite time with him. It was simply he and I…some quiet thoughts about the importance of alone time and just ‘being’.

John truly loves to make people smile, he enjoys giving fans “their moment.” All you have to do is check out the photos from those who attended the wknd. Every photo with John, that smile – catches his eyes. As a young man, he is incredibly mindful of the people around him, he has a deep understanding of their desire to be around him and puts it into its rightful place. Where it could be misunderstood, it isn’t and he continues to be grounded (because he does the worm like a master) To be completely transparent, I don’t think there is ANY dance move that guy can’t do.  It’s impressive and entertaining!

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Yes…yes you were…are (source)

He has been acting since he was 8 but it is very obvious the young man was born a star. There is a light in his eyes that simply shines through. Which is noticeable the first time you speak with him. Funny enough (not funny 🤣 but funny 🤔), when he spoke about Young Ian’s arc to come, he knows how changed Ian will be. John wants to be sure Young Ian always has that *twinkle* in his eye.

I think that may just be the icing that John Bell has put on the Ian of the Outlander TV show.  Yes, Young Ian in the books is an amazing character, always was one of my favourites. John’s portrayal of Young Ian has given us another version of him and I love him equally. I look forward to when and how he returns. John was very tight-lipped and no, the head shave was for him, not the show. He did add, for those in the back, he will be fighting for those face tattoos. He wants them VERRA badly.

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Such a great guy, blocking my palsied side!

And…then…there was Ed. Ed Speleers. I have a lot to say about my experience with Mr. Speleers. You will be able to read about it here, in a couple of days. The truth is, I didn’t “see” Stephen Bonnet in him at all.  That is a good thing – there was none of the ‘slithering’ or the thing sunnuvaBonnet does with his face…you know, that ‘thing’. sb

Ed isn’t shy, he shares openly what he thinks about himself, his previous work. Even the things he may not be so proud of. He also lights up when he talks about projects he has in the works, like Dad Was.  This guy listens when you are speaking not just hearing the words but listens to what you are sharing with him. Ed takes in more than what is immediately in front of him, he seems to have one of those minds that sees what is shown and then dissects all the things beyond in order to truly understand. This is likely what makes him passionate about producing.

It was refreshing and let’s face it, a helluva a time, to talk to someone that is as filter-free as myself.  He has a sense of humour that is can be dark and sometimes as crude as mine, all the while empathy and awareness are right there on the surface. You know what I call that? Well fricken rounded!

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I mean, look at that smile. There’s no SunnuvaBonnet in him.

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I also had an amazing time meeting fellow fans/friends I have had online but not had the pleasure of meeting in person. In MY like fashion, I got ZERO pictures of us together, not bc I don’t like taking pictures BUT because my mouth is too busy yakking with them to even think of it. By the time I do – the trip is over and I say “Next time!” and then it happens – AGAIN. I’m insufferable. Truly.

Cat has been someone I have played online with forever and to finally have met her was a big ole tick on the ABOUTFUCKINTIME box. This fandom thing is a blessing. It brings us together…over the miles…across oceans and countries…like attracts like.

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A flock of nerds is called a fandom…right? (source)

I have been reading and following Erin Conrad from Three If By Space for what seems like forever and suddenly, she becomes our ride or die over a matter of days.  A heart as big as her brain – though I’m not sure everyone is supposed to know that. Too late. Sorry, Erin…now they know. You are going to have to come at me…I will put the coffee on. Alyson was our navigator – she turned out to be a better friend.😜  I feel lucky that Erin and Alyson let me and Lee hang out in their back seat…we can be a real pain in the ass.

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Not that bad, maybe. (source)

It was great to sit and shoot the proverbial shit with Karmen of Outlander Anatomy. It’s all kinds of nice to connect with people we have had the pleasure of getting to know online. When we get to see with our own four-eyes that they are what they put out for the world, it’s a comfort.

I only got a smidge of time with Courtney  from #OutlanderBehindTheScenes but you know, a smidge is better than nothing.  The girl knows how to give a hug, I will say that. It was a fairy tale…catching her eye across a crowded boat, running slow motion into one another’s arms.  No. That didn’t happen. We did recognize one another instantly but my hobbly butt was parked in stationary mode.  I look forward to getting to see her again for a longer visit. Until then, we will continue to make one another snort on the interwebs.

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snorts, martinis n bunnies – oh my! (source)

There are so many wonderful people I was able to finally meet. Kelly, Linda, Karin, Samantha, Frances ( I am sure I am forgetting names and people because – I forget my own most days) and made new friends too. Zee, Christine, Marcella (others I am forgetting).  You simply can’t be in a group of people who love the same thing and NOT connect with many of them.

The atmosphere of Outlandish Vancouver is one that doesn’t force you to be stampeded or corralled. There is room to breathe and not feel rushed. While making allowances for those in need, there is no playing of favourites for perceived popularity. The planning is down to the minute and anyone that knows event planning, understands when staying within a 15-minute window – shit is under control – and it was always within 5-8 minutes.  Not that I paid attention.

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It’s a me problem, not a they problem (source)

The truth of the matter is expectations for attendees are clear. “This is what is happening, aren’t here by this time? It will happen without you”. It is, what I call “respect the event” and as someone that values my time and appreciates other’s efforts, I am so grateful for this. Watching how relaxed others were and how much they enjoyed the event proved I wasn’t wearing first-timer goggles.

As a wrap-up, Outlandish Vancouver suits me, my personality, all of my weird quirks and yeah, those pesky needs.  Everything happens for a reason and well…Outlandish Vancouver and I were meant to be. I don’t think I will be seeking out any other events and will be comfortable saving for this one, right next door, again next year.

I have said it many times already but I think they are due for a public one. Thank you, Koko for all of your hard work and dedication to this event and to me. Your extra care and kindness towards me were most certainly not necessary but it was very appreciated. To the rest of the team, Karin, Christine and Samantha. The venues and the lunches – all went without a hitch.

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You deserve this and more! (source)

Do stay tuned.  I am hoping to have part 2 of my adventures published by midweek.

And Lee…you are a spectacular roomie! Love you through the stones and back xoxo

ABOotlanders Blatherer, Sher XO

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not About You. My take away from the #OutlanderFinale #ManofWorth.

Funny, the way things happen.  All season I have been happily live-tweeting our #OutlanderCAN hashtag each episode as they air on W Network, here in Canada. I then ponder over each episode to try and pull something not so obvious from it.  I have gotten decent feedback most of the time and am pretty proud of what I have done in both departments.

It so happens that during the airing of season 4’s finale, I ended up in the emergency department of my local health center and then whisked to the hospital for testing. What was I thinking about? Well…my imminent death or loss of a limb was first in my mind but I was also thinking about not being there to live tweet.  I’m not even shitting you. I was thinking about that. So I tweeted to apologize and explain why I wouldn’t be there. Like people cared like I did. I mean, come on.

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Really, not. (source)

There is where the “not so obvious” for the season finale popped up for me.  It’s not about you. The season finale wasn’t about me being there to live tweet or not, how important do I think I am anyway? 🙄 There were many instances  I could easily say that to a character during the episode.  I also find it amazing how often this happens in our every day.  We tend to personalize other peoples behaviour, internalize it and make it about ourselves.  We will get it in our heads that other people get up in the morning just to make ‘our‘ day more difficult.  A little FYI, that usually isn’t a thing. Most peoples objective is to do things “for” themselves, not “against” someone else.  This is not to say there is not collateral damage, there always is. That usually isn’t their intent.

The opening title card scene we see two young boys running around playing what they are taught to believe is an innocent child’s game of “Cowboys and Indians.” Watching is a proud Native American man that we later realize is Otter-Tooth because of the gemstone around his neck.  This is not about the children, this is not about the ignorance of the systematic racism that caused us to believe this game wasn’t hurting anyone. This is about the man on the bench, the history of his people being changed and being replaced by society.

Claire, Ian and Jamie make their way into the Mohawk village looking for Roger. They know he is there. All three are trying to wheel and deal to get him back.  Claire ends up with her scarf off and Otter-tooths gemstone exposed.  This causes many in the tribe to gasp in fright and move away. Claire and Jamie’s first reaction is to calm them down, say they mean no harm, they want to help, to trade.  Their immediate first thoughts are about what they can do for them. This isn’t about you Claire. This isn’t even about the tribe. This is about the gemstone. It is about the fear the tribe has for what that gemstone represents.

Murtagh has more than a few “this ain’t about you” buddy moments.  What I found very interesting was it was Ulysses that silently gave him a lesson. Murtagh and Jocasta are discussing Brianna’s impending marriage to LJG. Which, Murtagh is taking very personally.  There was one point when the discussion between Jocasta and Murtagh went from curt to argumentative. We could only see Ulysses’s hands- he went from gently holding them in front of him to loose fists at his side. Signalling protection. When Jocasta decides to leave Murtagh to his food, Ulysses takes her arm and offers Murtagh his assistance but with a very curt manner, the extra eyebrow added all we needed to know in this scene.  Jocasta and Ulysses were letting Murtagh know Brianna’s future…not about you dude.  Little did they know…it wasn’t about them either.

Going back to Otter-tooth for a little bit.  I know people get upset about the story here, about his message of killing all the white people, of the war he wanted to lead in order to save his people. It upsets me too but maybe for different reasons. It upsets me because it would seem like the logical thing to do if I were in his place.  If I were to be 100% honest with myself, which is not an easy task in any event, what he was saying would be the most effective way to save his people.  It’s brutal and it is ugly, so is what the Native Americans and First Nations people of North America went through because of colonization. So, for this one. It’s not about you. Or me. Or any of the people Otter-tooth wanted to save his people and his history from. It was about the Mohawk and what they ultimately went through.

We finally get to Roger. Finally. Naturally, there is this crazy “no take-backsies” going on but since trading seems to be the currency in all things, even peopley things, Jamie offers himself up.  Young Ian goes to work something out, in this, he thinks he is a better deal than the old gingersnap.  Jamie is caught off guard, assumes he will rescue Ian away or Young Ian will escape when Ian shuts him down.  This isn’t about you Uncle Jamie.  Young Ian swore to the Mohawk, he gave them his word.  He would stay with them, in return, Roger could go with Jamie and Claire, back to Brianna. Sweet Young Ian was taking responsibility for his actions as well as making a choice for his future. One that didn’t have anything to do with anyone else.  Sometimes the choices others make can hurt us but they aren’t making them ‘to‘ hurt us.  We have to be aware of that.

So, off goes Roger with Claire and Jamie.  The first opportunity he gets to put a beating on Jamie, he takes it.  I don’t blame him in the least. Apparently, neither does Jamie.  Claire tries to stop him but Jamie knows, this is what Roger needs right now.  I believe Jamie also wants Roger to let loose on him.  His form of penance so to speak.  In a way, Jamie is making Roger’s rage about him in order to rid himself of some of the guilt he feels over what he has done. Error in judgement or not, he owns it, as he should.

When Roger doesn’t go back with them to River Run right away, I don’t think it about the news that Brianna’s baby is possibly Bonnet’s.  I think it is more about staying in the past. This has never been the plan.  This is a new thing.  It not just about Roger and Bree and their future anymore. It is about being a family in a completely different time. It is about living in a family with a man that damn near beat you to death and sold you to the Mohawk.  It’s about living in a time when your wife was raped.  This is a dangerous world and making the choice to live there.  Making a choice like that without taking a moment to think would be doing a disservice to yourself and to the one you love. Not to mention all the people that will end up in your life as you move forward. This is a case of it’s not just about you.

Brianna was the one that was the victim of so much “It’s not about you” that it was painful to watch.  Only because she did personalize so much of it.  I was thankful that the birthing scene was Bree focused. It showed her strength, tenacity, ability and her dedication to doing this thing on her own when everything came down to it.  Yes, she had her aunt there, her friends but ultimately, giving birth is about a mother and her child. There is no need a secondary narrative to focus on there. When Bree held her son for the first time, this story became about him now. That was her choice. Her love for him shone through.

When Claire and Jamie arrived back at River Run without Roger, the look that came over Bree’s face when she realized he wasn’t with them was pure heartache. It wasn’t about her but we all do what Bree did. She was personalizing Roger not coming back. Very likely creating a story in her head to match the pain she was feeling. It is such a common mechanism for us humans and so often our imaginations don’t match the reality. We replay other peoples choices like we have control over them. It is this weird dance we do. If I had done a, b or c.  Only, it doesn’t work like that because they will always make the choices they want to no matter what we do. Roger does return to her though, as I knew he would. He returns to claim her as his wife and the baby as his son.  It isn’t about any one person, it becomes about them as a family.

As Red Coats come riding up to River Run everyone assumes they are after Murtagh because he is, after all, the local fugitive in hiding. Jocasta and Murtagh share a little tête-à-tête that both Claire and Jamie witness and share their WTF faces. It’s ok guys, THIS little love affair…isn’t about you, so step off.  Aunty Jo is getting herself some Silver Foxtail on the side and won’t be listening to any of your nonsense about it.

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Daactualfuq?

Last and certainly not least is the not so love letter from Governor Tryon. Jamie is expected to follow his beck and call.  In this case, that means whippin’ up a militia and hunting down and killing Murtagh.

Well, Tryon, I know he likes to think everyone is just clamouring to serve him and his brilliant red coat wearing English army but here is the thing, they aren’t. No matter what Jamie’s obligation is to him we know that Jamie’s first obligation is to his family. It always has been and will be. Gov. Tryon happens to think this whole Regulator thing is me against them. That is where he is wrong. The Regulators have said from the start, they are more than willing to pay taxes, they are not willing to pay for the elites shitty castles and corruption. Plain as day, Gov. Tryon. Not. About. You. It’s about the people he is supposed to be helping.  If he were to take the same amount of time he takes to fight them and listen to them instead, he might learn from them.  Even this shows us we often make up our minds because we feel attacked when someone disagrees with us.  Instead of listening we react. So much can be lost when all of that noise is happening.

Imagine. 13 weeks of Outlander is already gone. POOF!  I absolutely loved this season.  Every episode I enjoyed for different reasons and I was able to learn a little something in the hidden corners that helped me realize the writers, directors, cast and crew give so much to it.  Still, Outlander isn’t about me.

It’s about so many people.  Too many people to ever keep track of or make happy and that’s o.k. too. Want to know why? That is what makes life interesting. We can have animated conversations. We can discuss what we love, what we don’t and the things we missed and maybe why we think things were done the way they were.  What I think the secret might be is respecting one another’s views and opinions as just that. Personal opinions based on personal experiences. They don’t have to assume someone else’s intent or be presented as facts. We can have fun with it because when it comes down to it, this thing called Outlander is a TV show that is created for our entertainment. It is supposed to bring up emotions. All of them. That is what makes great TV.

I’m not going to stop blogging over #Droughtlander, granted, I probably won’t do one once a week. I hope that we can keep each other company, stay engaged and not lose focus of what brought us together in the first place. A great story.

Sher (Founder of the #ABOotlanders)