3DS Mario Kart!

For the first time in about three years of conventions, we enjoyed some gaming time as a family.  Sort of.  Well, the three of us who came on this trip got to play together.


We always bring our Nintendo 3DS’s on road trips.  All of us own our own 3DS.  Each of my children saved up to buy their own.  (It was a good lesson for them to learn how to save money and budget for big ticket items.) At the conventions, we will sit behind our table for a bit of quiet time and do “Streetpasses”.  Or play a solo game of some sort.  We all love playing some videogames. This weekend my wife, son and I did something a bit different. We never took our devices to the show.


Instead, at the end of each day, we spent time playing Mario Kart 7 against each other.  It was a blast.  I hadn’t really played this version, although some of the races are similar to other Nintendo versions.  The best part was that we were pretty evenly matched.  And the smack talk is always fun.

Being entertained is what life is all about. Taking a break for a bit of fun on our trips is great.

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Home Away From Home

While we are attending Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo this weekend we are staying in an Airbnb. It’s my first time using the service (my wife’s second). I’m impressed with the crazy amount of savings compared to a hotel.

We are staying in a two bedroom apartment that is fully furnished.  Cable tv, comforts of home include two full bathrooms and a kitchen at our disposal.  My only complaint, if I can really complain, is that the place we are in is in various stages of renovation. None of which are affecting our stay in any way.  But that makes it feel more like home.  Especially for me.

Our home is in a constant state of renovation or changes.  Being in someone else’s place that is the same, means to me that they are regular type folk.  I appreciate the fact that the owner of this place is allowing us to take over for a long weekend.  It’s in a great location and really close to the convention.  We have made a few meals as well which has saved us tremendously instead of dining out all weekend.  


For my first experience using Airbnb is worthy of wanting to use it again.  The savings and comforts are unbeatable.  I have a feeling we will use this service more often as our travels continue.

My Fellow Convention Carnies aka Fandom Family

When you do the Comic Con circuit you make lots of friends. When you’ve done it for seven or eight years- they become extended family.

This is our sixth year at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. I laugh and enjoy the time we spend here. We look forward to seeing everyone again in person. Of course we follow one another on the various social media platforms, but there’s something to be said about the face to face interactions.

Where’s Waldo- spot the artist edition.

First is Terry.  We met him as our booth neighbor on our third time to Emerald City in Seattle three years ago. We met up again at Stan Lee’s Comikaze later that year. We told him about journeying into Calgary, so he came out last year and loved it. He’s back for more this year.

Brass and goggles!

Attic Raiders/In the Attic are the first people who introduced us to trying to get out into Comic Cons.  Bless them for pushing my wife to branch out. We have had many adventures with them. If you need Steampunk- they are the people to go to.

Cute Glass.

Bling Squared is run by a couple named Stanley and Neacol from Salt Spring Island, BC. They make the most adorable glass figures. My wife met them through Etsy teams and we share many a Con tale with them.

East Van represent!

Awesome Sauce is another artist from Vancouver.  We met them at Vancouver Fan Expo when they sat across from us about three years ago. Now they are right next to us in Calgary for the second year. They make fun stained glass and also have classes available in Vancouver on how to make them.

Mike and Lisa are two very different artists and have tables next to each other. They are married and have been doing these shows for years.  The friendliest people ever. Always worth a stop to pick up fandom art, magnets and generally cute stuff.

Two Gargoyles sit directly behind us in Calgary. These are the two funniest guys around. We sing songs, talk about old 80’s movies and generally cause a raucous.  Oh, and they sell art and comics too!  Mike is also a very amusing West Jet flight attendant with a few YouTube videos worthy of enjoying. I guess you could say viral.

Crafty Geeks are a couple of tables up from us. They sew some pretty awesome quilts and quilted pillows. They even sell the patterns for those of you willing to make your own.  Numerous fandoms are represented in their designs.

These are a small collection of our Comicon family members. We share laughs, stories, network, and talk business. It’s always great to be surrounded by like minded people.

Evil Footwear

I’m an idiot.  I thought wearing some rugged shoes would have been a good idea in Alberta. I was wrong.


Standing on my feet for the last six hours has pained me.  The concrete floor of the convention center sucks.  Luckily My wife almost always remembers to bring some foam mats to cushion below us.  This year, she brought her gel mat from her studio with us. 


I am eternally grateful that she did this. Tomorrow I am going to wear my runners instead.  Forget looking good- I need to last three more days on my feet.  I don’t want to be grumpy at my favorite convention of the year.

Perhaps when we get back to our AirBnB I will take some Advil and soak my feet.  A little me time… Maybe some scented candles? Aroma therapy? Foot rub? That last one won’t happen- who am I kidding.

Calgary

‘Cause Alberta doesn’t suck, but Calgary does…

Every time I think of Calgary, this song lyric pops into my mind.  It’s the final line in a song from a brief tv show in the early 90’s on CBC titled “Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie”.  

I’m not a fan of our neighbourly province.  However, we are here in town for the Calgary Expo. The best reason to head into Alberta.  It’s the sixth year we have driven to this convention. I really don’t know any other reason to cross the Rocky Mountains.  The views through the mountains are beautiful though.


I love Calgary. It is one of my favorite cities in Canada. I love driving around it. I love the people here.  It’s a big city with a small town feel. Even the high rises aren’t that tall. We are staying at my first Airbnb. It’s a lovely corner apartment on the outskirts of Calgary. The view of the city is worth the cost. What we are paying here for five nights is what we would have paid for two nights in a hotel. So far, so good!


I don’t think that the Three Dead Trolls In A Baggie were right. Perhaps the song was sarcasm. Because Calgary is the only place in Alberta that doesn’t suck.

Break? What Break?

Last week we drove from the Vancouver, BC area to San Jose for Silicon Valley Comic Con. We left on Wednesday stayed one night in Ashland, Oregon before a weekend of nerdiness.  We returned home by leaving at 05:30 on Monday to make it home by 8:30pm the same night.  We only have a couple of nights at home…


And we are leaving again tomorrow morning at 08:00 to drive through the Rocky Mountains and into Calgary, Alberta. We are going to drive straight through and should be there by 8:00pm the same day.  Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo is a four day event beginning Thursday. It’s a hard go, but a lot of fun.  

It’s even harder go to have a day and a half in between traveling.  I’m on vacation from my regular job and when we return from Calgary, I’ll have six days of recovery.  My wife isn’t as lucky.  Her business is always on.  She is constantly working.  Even while selling at these shows, she is often sneaking off to email correspond with online questions.  Her business is her pride and joy and she takes it very seriously.


My wife also has ups and downs but can’t just leave it in the office.  Her studio is only steps away from the side door of our home. She doesn’t get to go on vacation as easily as myself.  But when I’m on vacation and traveling with her- I like to think that I’m alleviating some of her work load.  

And I get to hit conventions!  Have I mentioned how much I enjoy those?

The Little Adventurers

This past weekend my wife and I attended Silicon Valley Comic Con. We did not bring our children, which is a rarity most of the time. We did however bring along a Pop Vinyl toy from each of our kids. We posed them and took photos of their adventures. 

My wife and I got some strange looks. Nothing like a couple of forty-somethings playing with toys and laughing as they took pictures. It made sense at the convention, but on the road and in restaurants- just a couple of looney tunes.

Here’s a quick peak at the mischief they got into:

Excitement as we hit the road.

A little bump on the road.

Dinner break.

The fair was closed due to rain!

We made it to our first hotel.

Why is he swimming in the rain?

Day 2- Checking out the Vista views.

Check out those views!

Thumbs up! We made it to California!

Photo bombing my selfie.

Group shot in the sun.

Check out the sun!

Learning about the landscape.

Let’s do it! Let’s move to Mars!

We want to work for NASA!

The whole reason for our trip!


We had fun with our “kids” this trip. A big thank you to our son Theory for his Domo Stay Puft who always looked excited; Darwin’s Hello Kitty who kept her cool the entire time; and Random’s Cyberman (whom we kidnapped without her knowledge).

You Should Never Meet Your Heroes.

Comic Cons are great. A group of like minded people gathering together to share in favorite pastimes and fandoms.  We’ve been attending numerous cons for a few years now.  And I always find something new to be excited about.  This weekend was all things NASA.  I even bought a jacket- because I’m a dork. But something else happened today that surprised me. I don’t have any celebrity heroes any more.

I’ve mentioned before how I have met celebrities and spent time just talking to them. Most are people whom I think are neat and look bored. I’ve only ever paid for one photo and autograph a couple years ago.  I’d never do that again. But it was Bruce Campbell.  And he is pretty awesome. He was my hero at one point and he was a lot of fun to meet.  Even my brief meetings with him as we were ushered through were jovial and entertaining.


During our first trip to Emerald City- I won the opportunity to play Munchkin against Felicia Day. (She is currently starring in the re-boot of MST3K for those who know what that is…) She was a blast to play a game with and the time I spent was far more than just a quick 30 second smile and laugh.


This weekend it surprised me to see some of my childhood heroes at Silicon Valley Comic Con.  I didn’t have the courage or heart to go up and meet the cast of Sesame Street. They’re old and frail- not the young adults that I once looked up to as a child learning to count and read.  I couldn’t help but stare at them as they sat at their tables with one or two people lined up to meet them.  The only thing that made it more awkward was when David Newell (Mr. McFeely) yelled  “Speedy Delivery” out to me and raised his finger in the air- as I stared in wonderment. He was directing it straight to me because I was the only one around at the time. I smiled uncomfortably and nodded my acknowledgment back to him.


They say you should never meet your heroes. It takes away the magic that you’ve built up in your head of who they are. So I met someone else’s hero.  I met a cosplayer dressed as Wonder Woman. She was one of the nicest ladies I’ve ever met.  We talked about being a hero and we posed multiple times together for some fun pictures.  She wasn’t exactly in character, but she was one of the most friendly Super Hero cosplayers I have ever met.  

Perhaps it was her lasso of truth that is making me write this. So it must be true.

SVCC 2.0 17 Panels

This is one of the few conventions that I really get out there and sit in on panels. At most cons, it’s usually actors telling a quip or story and laughing with the panel host. It often seems rehearsed, repetitive and fake.

But this convention was different. The people speaking at the panels were passionate and knowledgeable. Especially in their areas of expertise. It all began last night.


The first panel I went to was hosted by Seth Shostak of SETI. He was memorable and amusing in how he explained his vision for how we look for extraterrestrial life.  I learned a lot about where mankind has gone wrong (lack of funding much?) and where we should be looking to the skies in the future.


The second panel I went to was earlier today. It was about emerging technology. What was neat about this panel was the fact that it seemed like four friends were on stage. There was a venture capitalist, a board memeber at Spacex/Tesla, a member of NASA, and Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry (son of some guy who created that sci-fi series that wasn’t Star Wars…) The discussions were about the technology advancements and speculation on where mankind will go in our search into the stars.

The last panel I attended was titled “Droids and Death Stars: The Science of Star Wars”. It involved a panel of a founding member of the 501st Legion from California, a lady who is a psychologist that deals with PTSD victims, and another female panelist from NASA who also loves Star Wars. The two ladies in the panel surprised me in many ways.  First- the comparison of PTSD of the Star Wars universe that is often overlooked.  (Chewie needs a hug after his loss in the last film…) And the other lady was being a realist about how the spacecrafts really wouldn’t work well.  Even though she is a fan, she also has a better scientific grasp on how things should work.

There was far too much knowledge shared in the past 24 hours for me to write about.  But now I have some topics that I can discuss with my other nerd friends when we return home.

Convention Carny

My favorite part about the conventions we attend? Being a Convention Carny.  And we hit quite a few conventions.


We get to be there before the show opens.  Often setting up a day in advance or sometimes only hours before the public comes in. My wife and I learn the layout of the show floor by wandering around talking with other vendors and artists.


We see all the cool stuff and have extra time to talk to everyone prior to the tens of thousands attendees flooding in.  I try and keep my cool, but sometimes my inner nerd goes all Fan-Girl.  I’ve gotten giddy over the Batmobile, Delorean, and a slew of astromech robots (R2-D2 for those who didn’t know). This show? NASA gives me a bit of a chubby.


I’m 41. Dreams of being an astronaut have long since gone by the wayside. But it’s still fun to see where mankind is going. This weekend I’m planning on attending some of the panels about space and exploration.


The coolest thing for me though was seeing the WordPress booth.  I spoke with some of the staff there.  Most were hired for the show only, not really knowing anything about the app or the website.  I’m no genius when it comes to using this app- but I spoke with them about writing a daily blog.  They accepted my knowledge and in the end- looked me up.


For a moment I was a mini celebrity to about… three people. It felt good. I never expect to have thousands of followers. I write for the joy of it. 

Tomorrow is the busy day.  Saturday.  I’ll be my wife’s “Table Tart” and try to sell her handmade hats and cosplay ears. Mostly in between the guest panels. Come out and visit us at Ningen Headwear table B24 and say hello.  Or buy something.  We like that as well!