Wiped Out At The End of C4

And we are back from C4 or Cherry Capital Comic Con in Traverse City. If you are in Michigan, are looking for a smaller comic book convention, great for people new to cons, C4 is perfect.

In fact, the only complaint by everyone is a really lousy start to Saturday, of no fault of C4, but affected our day. If you can sleep in late, say on vacation, sleep in late, don’t wake everyone else up. 😦

Friday, was a preview day. Visit the convention for three hours, meet and greet, purchase and set up for your Saturday. Friday was the best day for all of us, we walked around Traverse City for a while before the con, enjoying several individuals playing musical instruments and singing. Checked into the All Seasons Hotel, a great hotel by the way, they even had forks for the whole breakfast service, something the Comfort Inn in Novi did not have. Speaking of breakfast, normally I avoid breakfast in hotels. Sure the food is free and there is a reason why. Not at the All Seasons all I have to say is biscuits and gravy…and forks.

The great thing about the preview day is a really small crowd. We as a group were able to make several purchases and met a few artists without having to jostle and maneuver around throngs of people.

Highlights of Friday…

  • Tex and the Omelet Guy
  • A lady really into Munchkin who gave me a Infinity Gauntlet promo just for talking to her (I have been after one of these cards since Munchkin Marvel was released)
  • Barb and the kids played a game, great to see our kids open to playing a game in the middle of a game room with unknowns
  • Getting a custom Thanos piece of art for Big Man
  • Meeting the Manley Cartoonist, I have been following him on Instagram and finally met him, very cool
  • Bumping into people from Motor City who remembered us

Saturday is the main convention day, everyone vendor and guest wise is there, as are the crowds. We went because we had tickets and we had scouted out booths we wanted to visit and a few games we wanted to take part in. Unfortunately, due to one person waking the rest of us up 3 hours early, there was a lack of energy and patience. This meant that after a few hours everyone was ready to leave. We did not attend the panels or join in the games we wanted to.

Sunday the other best day to go. Kids costume contest in the morning, then smaller crowds and good sales. Except we were still wiped from Saturday. However, that did not stop us for going, picking up the last few things we wanted (see it Friday and mull it over until Sunday) and because of this our boy who made an adult decision to NOT spent 115 dollars got an 80 model for 40.

While this was not perfect, this was a great weekend get away that has become family tradition. Hopefully, next year goes better, until then we need to unpack and play with our toys. Speaking of which, I did get comic books, lots of comic books, seems that if you express interest in an artist’s work they will sell you multiple issues at a discount. 🙂



Wil Wheaton And A High Five

How can I put this?

We went to Motor City Comic Con because we as a family enjoy comic cons and game cons. Barb went to Motor City Comic Con to meet Wil Wheaton. Going to the con was an idea that quickly turned into a must do family vacation when she learned that Wil Wheaton would be attending and she could get an autograph, meet him…or a photo with him.

As con approached we learned more about the photo-op, such as the kids could be in the photo. With that in mind I asked if they would say, “Thank you for Tabletop” to him. Why? Because Tabletop is responsible for the children taking an active interest in the games that they play, being better gamers, having fun playing games, and a whole host of other good reasons why a simple thank you made sense. Plus, if nothing else if they got star struck they would be able to form one sentence.

The kids were as excited as Barb to meet Wil Wheaton. I was happy with seeing his head over the crowd. I like him, but I do not take good photos, thus I declined the photo. Meet him some other situation, not in an autograph line0to busy, crowded, and hectic for me, for sure.

At the prescribed time, we got Barb and the kids to the photo-op and went and shopped.

They found us, beaming with smiles and carrying their photo, much later. Keep in mind I was not there so this story is second hand, details may lack: after standing in line, reading the sign (see above pic) for what seemed like forever, they got in where…

  • both children thanked Wil Wheaton
  • who engaged with both of them, including asking to hear our girl’s Spellwarz voice
  • our boy, as I told, did what he always does and talks…a lot

the result…

That is our new family photo on the mantle…oh sorry on the shelf, I looked up mantle and we don’t have one, my bad. They, meaning all three of them, gushed about Wil Wheaton for the rest of the day, the next day, and…well they haven’t stopped. An awesome memory indeed.

Meanwhile, tired and ready to leave, I headed towards the exit. One of the parts of smaller cons I enjoy is meeting, talking to, and engaging with vendors, especially smaller vendors with unique items. Motor City Comic Con was not one of those cons. So many people packed into the venue, as I described previously, finding room to turn, breathe, or sit was problematic. I have to be honest, I was bummed that I had not had one of those moments like with Alderink.

And then…a very tall and enthusiastic man, Ben Goldsmith, got our attention, called us over to his section of the Source Point Press booth where he began to, with much enthusiasm tell us about his comic book Séance. I say his because at that moment his partner was missing; a very funny moment when he went to introduce us to the artist, Keyla K. Valero, “And…she is missing.” His passion impressed me as did the artwork, I bought a copy that he signed, we talked for a while about a lot of things such as the similarity weather wise between Michigan and Boston, before leaving. I had my moment.

That night in the hotel room, I read Séance. The premise is that people enter a house and encounter one of six aspects (see my crappy photo) and experience a revelation, comeuppance, or otherwise have their wrongs attended to. Not in a violent over the top way, but in a smart way. I was impressed where they could have gone all Hellraiser they went more thoughtful. And true to his word, I enjoyed the story and art.

So much so that I went back the last day of the con to tell them, pick up another copy signed by both of them…except they weren’t there. Sad monkey.


On our way out the door to go home, dead tired, hungry, and glad to have had the experience we walked path the booth. He was talking to another couple when I walked up, he greeted me by name, we high-fived, and then I told him and Keyla how much I loved the first book. The couple bought a copy right there. All of us talked for a bit before getting another copy, this time signed by both, feeling damn good, and promising to keep an eye out for them at cons.

That was my feel good moment.



I Didn’t Have Time To Run To The Store So I Did This

Happy Anniversary Barb,

I have to confess, I forgot our wedding anniversary.  I don’t normally forget. But I did. I could go on about why I forgot…I won’t.

For 14 years we have been through thick, thin, high, low, hot and dry spells side-by-side. No, it has not been perfect nor will it ever be perfect, we are flawed vessels after all. It is those flaws that make us who we are and some of the multitude of reasons why I fell in love with you and am still in love with you.

I look forward each day to spending time with you, even when you are occupied. I love our dinners together and spending time out on the deck roasting, toasting, and burning marshmallows. I love our conversations about everything and nothing. You have shaped me into a much different man than I ever expected.

A decade of stress and school is over. We have time to do more than hop from assignment to assignment. I, even though I forgot this time, am looking forward to many more anniversaries with you…some of which I may forget. Between the anniversaries I am looking forward to all of the memories we will create together.

Happy Anniversary.

Next time…oh who are we kidding, I may forget next time too… 🙂

I Could Have Melted Out There

101 HeatThat is a picture from our car today. Triple digits. So hot out that a friend had to apologize to our boy because she burned her fingers on her car after telling our boy that a car could not get that hot. I believe the conversation was around cooking eggs on a car, but the apology was given none-the-less. 🙂

Apologies given what do you do when it is the second blistering hot day out and you have no air conditioning? If you are us you look for places that have air conditioning. If you are us and you live here, you know that you will be spending at least an hour in the car with the air conditioning. This is one of those times where being an hour away from everything is a good thing. Two hours in an air conditioned car, sign me up…yesterday and today only.

Because Barb has to work on her birthday we celebrated her birthday yesterday and today. She wanted sushi and I found sushi in Mount Pleasant: Midori Sushi and Martini Bar. If you like sushi, avoid Midori. If you have a date that you want to impress because your date is:

  • impressed by wasteful spending
  • average sushi
  • overpriced rolls
  • bland flavors
  • rolls that look large, but are actually overstuffed with rice
  • “fancy” looking dinnerware (I have most of what they use to serve, I bought it at Meijers, just in case you want some)

Then I highly recommend Midori. The silver lining, Barb got some sushi. The gold lining, we will be taking her for better sushi later. I would make sushi, but everything I need to use is packed up. 😦

Walking to Midori, hell (ha) walking anywhere, was an exercise in darting from shade to shade, standing in other people’s shadows, and praying for a stiff breeze or a torrential downpour to strike us as we walked. The craziest sight, an outdoor yoga class. Yes, outdoor yoga class. I love yoga, but as much as I love yoga and as excited as the instructor sounded over the PA system, even I would not be caught dead in this heat yogaing.

Tired of the heat we headed to Target, because surely they have air conditioning. They did, but it seemed to be struggling mightily to keep the building cool. Wandering around slowly I kept finding things we will need for the new place, such as a microwave. If I am to have a hated microwave, it will be a good one. Good as defined by powerful enough to actually “cook” stuff like the package says instead of having to multiply the time by 1.5 and hoping it all works out. Never did.

While looking at microwaves I stumbled across clearance copies of Munchkin Legends and Wizard of Oz. With most of the games packed, Munchkin has been our go-to game. Cart filled with Munchkin and another box fan, I could create a windstorm in here if I set them up right, we headed out. The cashier was excited to see us, “her people” as she kept calling us. A recent transplant from Traverse City, her and her husband play a lot of Munchkin and was excited to meet other people who played. I imagine the gamer quotient in Target lines is small. We chatted for a bit before heading out into the heat. Thankfully the car had not melted. That car ride home was bliss.

Now I sweat with fans blowing on me.


Ratatouille Is Not In That Box

More adventures in moving and home buying. I should write a “How to not to” guide. Not that it will help anyone else, unless they are us or unfortunately for them, have our “luck.” I feel bad for those people.

In the basement, another round of finding boxes filled with stuff. What is this stuff? Apparently, anything we could fit in the box regardless of the relation of the stuff to other stuff in the box. My favorite today, a box filled with books, porn, a smattering of Legos, and every single Jelly Belly smelly pencil and eraser I could find.

Obviously, I was reading a book (Halo series), while watching porn (free compilation porn that comes free with any purchase of an adult toy), building with Legos (five unrelated pieces) between chapters (book or porn your choice), and deeply inhaling the glorious odor* that is Jelly Belly smelly erasers. Not the pencils, those were still in the packaging. I know, I know how do I live at that speed? I couldn’t, thus I tossed all of the stuff into a box to forget about until today.

There were more casualties of packing, water damaged books, crushed toys, and a metal dump truck covered in rust. Time has not been kind to some of the stuff left in storage. I blame Ferris. I should take responsibility, but it is easier to blame the school. It is a long standing tradition around here to blame the school for misfortune.

While I packed and sorted (5 more bags of garbage), Barb dealt with the bank and the realtor. I am hesitant to mention good news, but there was some good news in the form of accepted paperwork (I am going to guess that this paperwork is accepted for this stage of the process and will be disregarded for the next phase-so not jumping for joy yet) and really awesome home owners. There were some concerns of ours from the inspection. Our options, ignore the problems, present them to the homeowners who could offer a solution or kill the deal. You can guess, I expected them to kill the deal. They did not. They offered a solution or two that quite honestly were thoughtful and nice.

At this moment, the boy and Barb are working on the ratatouille. I know I was supposed to work with him, but I felt he could work with his mother who made bread while I worked in the basement. What really happened was I worked in the basement, came upstairs to assist him, and then took out garbage. Along the way the boy learned to let the knife do the work. He kept pressing down hard instead of sliding the knife over the food. A few times of holding his knife and hand while making proper cuts later and he was a slicing fiend.

Including his palm. Some how he caught his palm with the edge of the knife. He is fine, a small clean cut, quickly taken care of; although if you listened to him his thumb was going to fall off. Having taken time to rest and eat a popsicle, they are working to assemble the dish. Looking forward to diner. Not looking forward to another day/night in the basement, but it must get done.

* It should be noted that smelly pencils and erasers are not so pleasant years later buried under tons of stuff, better than musty moldy smell.


Time Travel…Oops, Time and Travel

Week three, post graduation and I am finally starting to feel like a person instead of a student. More of my time has been spent on person stuff than school stuff. A welcome change indeed. I no longer think about applying for financial aid, classes, or what I need to do for my degree. I may start thinking about that if I bear about my grad-school application. Four to six weeks used to be the standard response to any mailing or shipping question when I was younger. Now four to six weeks, hell days and in some cases hours seems glacially slow.

I applied online and online is instant, isn’t it? If not instant, at least faster than four to six weeks. Doesn’t help that a copy of my transcripts had to be sent via snail mail because…well I don’t know why an electronic copy couldn’t be sent. I know I would have authorized it, nope snail mail. So, maybe add one or two days to get my transcripts and change the time to three to seven days. Find a form acceptance or denial letter, email that to me and blamo, done in record or at least expected time. Four to six weeks indeed.

Of course this is nothing compared to the time it takes Barb to fly from Atlanta where she has been on a corporate training event to Grand Rapids. Removing the TSA from the equation she has to fly from Atlanta to Detroit and then Detroit to Grand Rapids. Totally flying time somewhere around six hours, take on TSA and she is looking at a 9 to 12 hour day. Just to get from one part of the country to another. Why not fly directly from Atlanta to Grand Rapids? I’m sure there is a reason, but is there a reason it should take 12-hours?

Maybe Amazon has spoiled me, I can get almost anything I want shipped to my door two-days later and if I lived in certain areas of the country one day or delivered by a drone to my door. Thus in my head we should have Amazon handle getting people and freight anywhere in the country. I know I would love to be assured that my loved one is packed safe and sound in an airplane with a smilie face, complete with tracking number. Individual tracking number that way I can see where my loved one has been and is doing…creepy, maybe, but try and tell me you never stalked a package of yours?

Plus with Amazon’s current practices you could order yourself something nice, an airplane ticket, and have both done in the same box or at least arrive at the same time. Hell, add that to the cost of Prime membership and I am all there; guaranteed anywhere in the country in two-days or less provided you are willing to drive to a fulfillment center or slap a “Person Delivery Label” on your forehead and wait for convenient local pick-up and delivery to the nearest fulfillment center where you will be packed, bundled with other deliveries to the same region and whisked away.

You listening Amazon? You changed the nature of shipping as we know it, now do it with travel or people boxes. 🙂

Celebrating the Holiday

My apologies for the late post and the short post. We were out celebrating the good news of a job offer for Barb.  It has been ten-years of moves, struggles, classes beyond count, and mounting student debt. On the eve of our graduation the best news of all came in. Proud of Barb and her accomplishment, we went out to celebrate the job offer and the start of a very interesting (I hope) Valentine’s weekend.

Tomorrow I will tell all about our Pathfinder Adventure Card Valentine’s Weekend Marathon.