Stories From The Con

“Hey, look the Toyota sigil,” our boy says while we are standing in the advance ticket line that stretches to the horizon.

Fifteen minutes later, we are standing at the front door.

“I smell popcorn,” he says as we enter the snake like cue to turn our printed out tickets into a red wristband allowing us to enter and exit the con as we like

Ten feet later we are surrounded by people, this would affectionably be known as crowded, oh how we would learn what a crowd really looked like the next day. In front of us a sticker booth with Spongebob stickers. Yes, I was the first to go “Ooohh” and completely destroy our plans to walk the con first. In my defense the stickers were cool.

As a family we had two shopping goals, a few new posters, and comic books. You would think finding comic books at a giant comic con would be easy. Not if you are me and not if you didn’t feel like dealing with people who are collectors, as opposed to me who hasn’t collected in over thirty years. I really wanted some New Wolverine and some New X-Men, took me until the third day to find New Wolverine that was affordable.

In no particular order here are some stories from the con…

On Saturday, the adult costume contest happened. Now, at this point all of us were tired, a really shitty night of sleep (a story for tomorrow), had us sitting in a corner praying for our feet to recover and trying to figure out how we were going to last until the Wil Wheaton experience in 3 hours. As we sat there, people in costume gathered. Lots of people. Then John Snow fell asleep just as Godzilla’s tail arrived. Soon enough Godzilla’s body arrived and we watched as the body attempted to eat a boy trying to put the body on. Seriously, nothing else was more fascinating than watching this boy and his dad (assumed) put this Godzilla costume on before the contest.

“You collect organs from the other players,” and that is how I found myself purchasing Organ Attack the Family-Friendly Game of Organ Harvesting. This person knew exactly what to say to me and the family. Even better, next to the stack of Organ Attack a stack of Fowl Language. Barb was excited by that as she gets the cartoon on one of her social media feeds. Hilarious, if you can find it and are a parent or going to be one, get it!

The baseball sized illustrations were from an artist around the corner. Hundreds of illustrations of anything and everything popular media wise. He was cools sitting in his chair inviting people to look. That was something that stood out to me, way to many artists and other people did nothing than display their stuff. Those who engaged, they were the ones we stopped at and had fun with.

Which brings me to fun encounters starting with the kids…

Karen and Darrin (link is to their webpage) had a booth with children’s choose your own adventure style books, Myth Solver and many variations of the standard superhero posters, a favorite I am Goof: Goofy and Groot merged. They got our kids attention and then got our attention. By the time we left their booth the kids had picked up six volumes of Myth Solver (our girl is almost done with book one and LOVES it).

Sometimes all it takes is a name, which how our boy found ourselves in front of Donovan Scherer’s booth. Now I can’t claim to know most of what happened, I was on the other side of the aisle ogling artwork. What I can say is that our boy walked away a few bucks lighter, wearing a smile, and with his own reading material.

Tomorrow the Wil Wheaton experience and a high five.

And Now A Word About Dinosaurs

I do not control some of my minor urges, most noteably the “OOOHH look at that toy in the vending machine” urge. A few days ago walking into Meijers I saw a dinosaur skeleton puzzle with, if the display was to be believed, skin to go around the skeleton. I had not, up to that exact moment, thought a fucking thing about dinosaurs after all Jurassic Park mind fucked all of my boyhood joy of dinosaurs long ago and watching Jurassic Nonsense with my boy only reinforced that media was not to be trusted with dinosaurs and because of that, right up until that exact moment I had not thought about dinosaurs. Godzilla and other non-dinosaur giant lizards got plenty of thought just as an aside.

Wait…

It’s a dimetrodon

So back to the toy. I had to have one. Thankfully Barb, saw a cat sticker in the machine next to the dinosaur wonder toy machine that she had to have. At times we can be worse than kids who are essentially lit adults thus we are large children, at times, and this was one of those times. A short shopping trip and a fist full of quarters later, Barb had five stickers (fuckin’ machine wouldn’t spit out the damn cat until it finished spitting out a unicorn, flower, rainbow, and heart) and I had a tiny four-piece puzzle of a…well I thought it was a dimetrodon, but after reading the fortune cookie sized information sheet learned it was a spinosaurs…or so the sheet said…

This is a spinosaurs, this is NOT the toy I got. I got a dimetrodon

What the sheet really did with stats like 12.19 m body length was trigger that boy inside of me who used to love dinosaurs. I had to have a dinosaur book. Plus I have kids and they too should see that dinosaurs are lizards always gray, brown, or green in color (more on that in a moment). Quest to find a dinosaur book took two stores, one very quizical clerk, and the same question asked and answered twice, “A book for kids or (insert pause) an adult?” The answer, “Whatever I find most amusing.”

Twenty happy minutes later I left with an encyclopedia of dinosaurs, a dinosaurs in 3D with an extra pair of glasses to share with a friend, and a build your own dinosaurs out of paper no glue required book.

Remember the lizards, gray, brown, or green in color comment from above? If not, I wrote it. I wrote it because when I was a kid dinosaur books were all the same and all dinosaurs were the same. They lived in the same time period because publishers had not figured out a child friendly way to explain time periods. They were one of three colors and that was that.

Have you looked at a dinosaur book today? There are colors, easy to read charts that explain why the stegosaurs was NOT eaten by a T-rex and feathers. Glorious colored feathers and did I mention the dinosaurs are in colors, not one color but many with designs and patterns looking like lizards and snakes do in our world. I haven’t read anything yet, but I hope I am surprised by the advances in paleontology and I have been with the advances in coloring dinosaurs. 🙂

Don’t Judge Me Before I Judge You, That’s Just Rude And Other Stories Of My Day

Not to bring bad luck, if the current rate of healing continues, I should return to writing stories instead of slices of life, next week. Crossing my fingers. Sensing (in other words I bitched a lot) that I was tired of being sick and tired of being sick at home, I was taken out.

No, not taken out. You know taken out in public.

Around here it was a mixed signal day of weather; blue skies, white fluffy clouds, and kind of chilly especially when the wind blew or overcast, looks like rain, still chilly when the wind blew, but with no wind kind of warm.

Dressed for the weather and success, pocket vest festooned with sarcastic buttons, we headed for civilization, which if you pay any amount of attention to the blog you know is always an hour away. And an hour away we went to…

THE MALL!

Say what you want about THE MALL, I happen to enjoy looking for parking in a frustrating and futile manner, I enjoy rubbing shoulders with hoi poli, and I really enjoy that the only reason we actually went to THE MALL are on opposite sides and you know what that means…you guessed it, EXERCISE!

Walking into Barnes and Noble, I felt at home surrounded by books and clearance items and games and junk and…does anyone know when Barnes and Noble attempted to turn into a big box store with all of the organization and charm of a flea market? Cuz I want to know. Still books is what I wanted and books is where I started…

“We do have books for adults over here,” the saleslady said, each word dripping with condemnation that I and adult would be standing in front of a selection of young adult books. As if, adults who read young adult books had something wrong with them.

Rounding on her, “I have two children.”

Wide eyed, she took a step back and mumbled something about asking her for help.

And then it happened a second time on the second floor.

What the hell people! I was shopping for my kids who were not there and even if I was shopping for myself what is the attitude that I as an adult should not be seen looking at those books?

I did not let their ignorance ruin my day, I found Fight Club 2 and vowed to touch myself a lot while reading it. Suffice to say, I was NOT bothered by another salesperson until we checked out and bothering me was her job. 🙂

As Barb shopped for shoes she could stand in for 12 hours at a time, I and a friend headed to Hot Topic for more sarcastic buttons. There I engaged in a lively debate with the saleswoman about the definition of criminal: If I do not observe your laws I do not see myself as a criminal. You, as a person who does observe your laws, will understandably think of me as a criminal and label me a criminal. I however, do not see myself as a criminal and reject your label. Which is we found ourselves back in the shoe store right as the salesperson demonstrated the water repelling power of the water repellent spray (see smile photo).

With new shoes we headed off to lunch where…

“Welcome to Ju.* What can I do for you?” The hostess asked starring hard at the three of us, none of whom was dressed even remotely professionally.

Took me a minute of pondering her question to form a response.

“Lunch.”

“Oh?” Now in her defense while say Oh in a shocked and disappointed manner she did attempt to grab menus (she dropped one).

I dislike when people judge based on my (in this case) our appearance. She found a corner to shove us into and I think she thought we would get lost. We did not. Why did we not get lost? Not because of me, but because of the best waiter EVER! Hearing our bafflement he took care of us and got a hefty overtip.

Then we came home.

And that is the story of how I learned to play the piano.

I Wonder If This Is What Librarians Go Through

It started with a simple thought, “What if I move this there, making room for that to be moved there, which would free up space for that to go there, which would open up space for games poorly stacked on shelves there to be properly stacked, making not one but two rooms look a lot better.”

See simple.

Even better all of this would get done in time for me to write the next installment of Menagerie.

Yeah, not so simple.

We have a bookshelf with what is left of our collection of movies. I don’t know why anyone owns movies anymore, physical copies I mean, really I don’t. And this is coming from someone who used to purchase new movies every Tuesday. Then one move to many and that huge collection was reduced in size and reduced again after another move until here we are today with a smaller collection that…collected a lot of dust, but looked…cool isn’t the right word; I have never walked into someone’s place, saw a collection of movies, and thought to myself, “Now this person has/is (insert one of the following intelligent, well-rounded, well-read, interesting, etc. all).” Yet, we had movies on display as if that meant something or because back when having a movie player was a necessity easier to get too, not that we watched a lot of the movies. Nope, purchased for one reason or another and for the most part left to collect dust because Netflix, On Demand, and Cable have made seeing movies a shit tonne easier.

Now books are something to have on display and unlike movies do get used more than one time, especially if the books are cook books, craft books, or game books. And yet, in our “library” are books are crammed onto shelves. This wasn’t the plan when we moved, but necessity of unpacking meant that to make space for other boxes, boxes of books were unpacked onto shelves without any thought about organization. Due to the necessity of keeping places clear for the various bits of maintenance this state of disorganization remained. Internal maintenance of a major size is done for a while.

See where this is going?

No?

Tired of looking at movies nobody watches on display as if they meant something and tired of speaking needless hours searching through disorganized bookshelves I decided this morning, three hours ago as of now, to do the following:

Move the movies to a more compact space while I decide what to do with them

Find all of the cookbooks I use regularly and move them onto a bookshelf that previously held all of my human sexuality books which were moved into the bedroom because while nobody actually looked at the human sexuality books were not as read as the cookbooks.

Next, with an empty bookshelf, find books that would look good on display-Game of Thrones and Harry Potter series-find them, organize them, and put them on the bookshelf that formerly held the movies.

At this moment, I have the movies moved, most of the cookbooks, and so many stacks of books that I finally noticed what time it was.

Binge Rearranging Spice Book Reading

Nothing new and yet a bunch of new stuff. I thought I had the kitchen in order. Then I thought to myself, how could I make this better, so I ordered a hanging door spice rack. The thought being to free up shelf space and make the pantry smell awesome. Unfortunately, Amazon was not able to send me one nor send me a replacement…well, allow me to amend that as I just finished a third chat with an Amazon person, now I have a new order ID and a delivery date. Crossing fingers, there are a lot of to spices to move.

See what happened is in anticipation of the spice rack, I moved all of the spices to make room for a kitchen appliance that would fit better. The spices ended up on a counter in a pile, then on a shelf in a pile, and finally today on a shelf in good order…and hopefully, Monday, on a spice rack. I tell you this, I will not be moving the spices again until I see a spice rack. 🙂

Like a butterfly flapping his wings in China and causing rain…you pick the place…moving the spice rack lead to moving games which lead moving books which lead to several days of rearranging the house.

In and around rearranging, I have been writing, as you may have read. Things are starting to take shape, especially with the compilation of notes coming along nicely. I will be continuing to post bits and pieces and revising them here; I find it fun to do and I hope that there are some people who are getting something out seeing a writing process (definitely not the writing process).

And in and round rearranging and writing I have been on a reading binge. Every so often, I get on this binge where I devour every book in front of me. This binge has been rather interesting:

Dangerous Dames: The Plutonium Blonde and The Doomsday Brunette by John Zakour and Lawrence Ganem was a pleasant surprise. A cyber-noir detective setting with Zachary Nixon Johnson as the last Private Eye in the year 2057. Fast pace, great dialog, and fun stories to follow along.

In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez is the second book I have read by the author. I did not care for the main character Never Dead Ned nor the pacing. This seemed like it could have been a shorter story.

Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez however (third book I’ve read by author) was a non-stop page turner. I finished the book before I realized it, following along with Phil and Teri and their Raccoon deity of luck Lucky. This was a great book, for me not a dull moment and I wanted to know what happened to each of the characters.

At the moment I am in two books X-Men Siege by Christopher Golden and Star Wars Battlefront Twilight Company by Alexander Freed. I don’t have a good grasp on either, Siege is an older book written in an older style which is a bit disjointed and stilted. Twilight Company starts off odd and carries that forth, by odd meaning really short chapters on different characters without a chance, yet, to get to know them or care what is happening.

 

500 And 1 Words At A Time: The State of Life

For the first time in five years I feel like I have done right by my family. Don’t get me wrong the whole back to college thing was necessary, but for much of it I felt like my family, specifically the kids, were getting the proverbial shaft. Their interests and well being were placed on-hold so that the two adults in the place could get their shit in gear the way they “should have” years/decades ago.

20160915_162649Our kids did not go outside much for five years. There was no front yard. There was no back yard. There was no safe playground. There was no safe place to play period on campus housing. Now, they have a front yard, a side yard, a front front yard, and a small sliver of back yard. Where I used to tell them “no” when they wanted to go outside for fear of some student fucktard hopping the curb and killing them or some non-paying attention campus employee driving a vehicle (VAN) on sidewalks killing them, now I tell them “Have fun.” And I mean it. Other than some rather large sized gopher holes, the yard is far away from traffic. Plus, from any window in the house I can see them, even if they are at one of the far edges.

20160910_174714The kids are happy. The come home with smiles on their faces. Even if school sucked they know when they get home that they have a room that is more than a glorified closet with paint peeling off the walls. They know they can go outside and enjoy life without fear of some fucktard student. Want some proof of happiness, our daughter is teaching our son how to ride a bike out in the yard as I write this. 🙂

The adults are happier. We have a place where only we have the keys to the doors. We have a place that is being improved weekly by us and the realtor. We have a place where we can relax and enjoy life. Barb has a job that she likes and is wrapping up a craft room where she can work on her multitude of crafts without making a mess in another room. She also has a garage, not for the car although I suspect the car will end up in there, but for her wood working. She has not been this happy in at least 5-years.

20160915_075527Me…I am writing for myself. I am wrapping up setting up this house. I am cooking and grilling. I wake up each day with a few more mosquito bites and a beautiful view out the windows. I spend my day taking care of stuff for me and mine. I write in a space designed by me, surrounded by books. Long before I go to bed I spend time outside watching the sun set, a bat hunt, and the clouds roll on through. No, I do not have a job, but I know there is one on the horizon. Life is good.

I’m So Excited!!!!

The kitchen is open for food.

Boxtopolis continues to fall.

And is there such a thing as a fancy bar?

These questions and many more will or may get addressed in today’s issue of Adventures In Unpacking.

My kitchen is at a state where I can begin to cook regularly. I cannot express how excited and happy this has made me. I could, but I would have to use vulgarity and I am not that guy…oh who am I kidding, I had a full-on Kitchen Works Chubby once the last plate was stacked. Is everything where I want it, not yet but I know where my cooking equipment is, I know where my ingredients are, and best of all I found my spice racks.

Already I am planning the first series of meals. After the obligatory rice will be a dish of cold noodles. Then I want to…oh my I forgot to mention this, my wok. I found my wok, five years in storage because the stove at the college did not work with my wok. This stove, WOKABLE! Wok Chubby!!!! So after the rice and cold noodles, practice my woking skills. I am so excited.

Obviously, Boxtopolis continues be taken down. The kitchen alone was 12 boxes and that does not include the 3 boxes of cookbooks. Next up would be games, but I unpacked many of them first in the hope of gaming this weekend, even thought I only had a place for 5 of them. Which five, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Krosmaster Arena and Quest, Star Wars Rebellion, Rivet Wars, and Munchkin, of course. 🙂 With the kitchen table assembled we have a place to eat and game.

In a few moments I will start unpacking books and putting them on shelves. This will clear space for me to start working. Remember back when I graduated and had goals? Yeah, I don’t remember that time either. Yet, I am told I had goals as such, once the books are on shelves there will be space enough for me to put in a desk and start…what is it I do again?

Writing?

Are you sure?

Why that degree does include the word write. Hmmm…I will have to take your word.

Food, Games, and some life. Sounds like things are heading towards center again. As part of that process, it took two days of sweltering muggy heat to figure out how to cool this place out. When hot and muggy apply fans is usually the answer, but that made things worse. Today, I turned the fans around, so that they sucked the air out, after I woke up from passing out from holding my breath (I didn’t want to assfixIate), I immediately noticed home is much cooler. Ahhhh.

Lastly, a friend of ours has been invited to go to a fancy bar while on vacation. The friend has no idea what a fancy bar is. I tried to explain that fancy bar was code for either place with boobs and wings or wings and banana hammocks. Our friend insists that the person who invited them to the fancy bar would not go to a place with wings. So I ask, is there such a thing as a fancy bar? Lets ask The Todd from Scrubs.