Wednesday, June 12, 2013
This past weekend EVILBOY and I attended our second convention.
We learned a few things from our first nerd fest adventure, so we went into this one a little more confident.
While it was significantly smaller than Fan Expo in Toronto was, NFCC held its own and provided us with the excitement and geek culture that is Comic Con. In fact, I found it a little more enjoyable than Fan Expo simply because it was not so overwhelming - and it seemed like a lot more people dressed up. Not to mention, Niagara Falls is breathtaking. One of my most favourite places on earth.
There is a sort of unity in these types of events. Everyone is SO nice. I mean everyone!! Compliments on costumes all around, pointing out booths you may enjoy and just basic information to help you get through the day as smoothly as possible.
Even though people are helpful, it is always good to study the schedule and floor plan before you attend one of these conventions. Not only for your own sanity, but also so you can give your fellow geeks a few pointers that they may have missed. I heard a few people complain that they missed their photo op because they weren't informed it ended at a certain time. Meanwhile it is right there on the schedule.
Comic Con is still something new to us. The best thing about these conventions is that you can dress how ever you want and nobody will judge you. In fact, you may even get a few compliments on your superhero t-shirt. This year, EVILBOY dressed up as his most favourite guy in the whole entire world - the white power ranger. Unfortunately, I didn't really have the resources for him to dress up in the actual power ranger gear (helmet etc..) but I did get a pretty good deal on this ninja ranger costume on eBay for last Halloween and he was pretty psyched to wear it!
He got so many compliments and people were stopping to take pictures with him. He absolutely loved the attention. At one point he told me he was going to start charging people $1 to take a picture with him. It's funny the way kids think sometimes. The celebrities each charge around $10-20 for a picture with them so he adjusted his price to meet his celebrity level - pretty smart if you ask me!
In case you were wondering - nobody asked to take their picture with him for the rest of the day so the embarrassment of him asking them for money --AVOIDED!
The highlight of our day was definitely meeting EVILBOY's hero (and my third ever crush) - The white/green ranger Jason David Frank! It's amazing to me how nonchalant my kid is. I was an absolute nervous wreck and here is this kid, meeting his idol, without even a stutter.
In hindsight though, Jason David Frank made it so easy. He was very approachable and friendly. He was very apologetic when he had to step away for a minute to do his VIP meet and greet (which unfortunately was a little out of my budget -- maybe next time!). He worked through the day, not even taking a lunch break, to make sure every fan got to shake hands with the hero they idolized growing up.
Seriously, budget yourself, but then add an extra $10-20 in case you see a guest you would like to take your photo with. Even though there were times when their booths were empty and they sat there people watching, it's kind of awkward to walk up to them and say hi and not shoot them a couple bucks for a photo or autograph. Although - at one point EVILBOY told me he wanted to ask a question to one of the wrestlers there (Hacksaw Jim Duggan) who had his championship belt in front of him on display.
We tentatively approached the strong man with friendly eyes, someone who I watched smash metal chairs over the backs of his wrestling opponents as a kid, and EVILBOY asked in a little voice how old his belt was. Hacksaw (Jim?) (Mr. Duggan?) put his glasses up on his nose and answered my little guy "well son, this belt is about 15 years old...". We thanked him for his time and left and I had a new found respect for the guy who knocked Hulk Hogan around in the 80's.
We attended Comic Con both days and met some amazing people. It was so nice to network with people from all over the world, people you don't get to meet everyday - who also happen to be dressed as your favourite Pokemon.
You can also find some really neat things to buy. The rumour is that most things in the booths at these events are overpriced, but I found everything to be quite reasonable (and coming from a cheapskate like me, that means a lot!). Although we didn't snag any collectables this time, I did end up buying a necklace with a little moon in it that glows in the dark. It is a replica of the moon on the day I was born...I am quite smitten with it.
I was a little disappointed I didn't get to see Corey Feldman (my second crush as a kid -- if you can guess my first crush I will make a blog post with just a picture of your face on it - I am that confident you won't guess!). I walked by his booth a few times both days but he was never there. I also felt a little bad for the people who were lined up outside on Saturday because the venue was at capacity.
Do you know that feeling when you were looking forward to something so much, and you were so worried that something was going to go wrong but it didn't and then you had the time of your life but then it ends and you become sad because you have to go back to reality? That run-on sentence is the best way I can describe our time at Comic Con.
PS - I am already planning a costume for next year's event!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
One of my most favourite memories of being a kid was hunting for frogs with my “Pa” (grandfather). I had the cutest little rubber boots that almost made it all the way up to my (usually) dirty knees. I’m pretty sure they had My Little Pony on the side. I had this really cool frog carrying case – no, I’m not kidding, it was made for frogs. It had a little flap door and it was painted to look like a circus trailer.
My Pa, although not generally a very nice person, would listen to my demands and catch the frogs I would point out to him. I made him go after specific ones, usually ones that were the furthest away. What kid doesn’t enjoy a man in his 60’s falling in a pond?
The frogs eventually became a part of my very own circus of terror in my Ernie and Bert paddling pool. I made them jump through hoops, walk on a stick trapeze and swim in circles while avoiding flying rocks. I’m sure they loved it.
Naturally, EVILBOY has inherited my frog hunting genes – which unfortunately for him, were not all that proficient. I’m sure he would be good at directing me which frogs to catch for him – but he’s not the boss of me.
However, my son is a very dedicated frog hunter. Of course, he doesn’t have a Bert and Ernie paddling pool to bring them home to, so he just studies them, makes friends with them and releases them to go back and tell all their froggy friends about their ordeal of the day. This kid could try to catch a frog all day with no success and then go back the very next day with the same dedication – One of his greatest characteristics.
Our last frog hunt was spontaneous. No buckets, nets or My Little Pony boots. There was also a lack of sun and bug protection – which made for a pretty uncomfortable afternoon. EVILBOY was not having much luck finding some little green friends, so I decided to wander around the river bank a bit.
The sound of the trickling water was so calming, the sun was only burning a little at that moment and a family of ducks with fluffy little babies paddled past. It was one of those moments where everything is clear for a moment. After standing for a moment or so of enjoying the splendor, my view drifted to my feet.
When I saw the big ugly snake by my sandaled foot, the trickling water, fluffy ducks and warm sun was suddenly ripped from my mind. I never really thought I was that afraid of snakes. I have been around snakes, I have touched snakes and reptiles are kind of cute – but I realized as I was running away screaming that I am afraid of snakes. In fact, I hate them. I hate snakes – A lot.
I live in an area where poisonous snakes are about as common as an elephant – or so I would like to think, so I wasn’t too worried about having to suck out the poison out of a snake bite all Crocodile Dundee style. I did worry about running away with a snake’s teeth stuck in my foot though. That would have been traumatizing…not to mention a little embarrassing.
Sometime after I had calmed down (and ran about a mile away), I calmed down enough to assess the situation. I thought it was strange that the snake wasn’t moving around. It was also kind of strange that there were bees (who are also featured in my “burn book”) and flies around it having a party of some sort. It occurred to me then that the snake was actually dead. I ran away from a dead snake (and bees). It also just occurred to me that a snake and bee tattoo would be pretty bad ass.
I was then brave enough to send EVILBOY back to the snake area to take a picture to share with you all.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I can probably count on less than one hand how many times I have respected Angelina Jolie. I have known her to be many things, actress, sex symbol, collector of children, raider of both tombs and Botox – but never a role model.
I was first alerted to her courageous decision by clicking on a link that said “Angelina Jolie has a double mastectomy”. Strangely my first thought didn’t go to cancer. Why would she share this information? Why should we care? Maybe she did it so her boobs will never get old and saggy? I figured it was just another stupid celebrity trick to keep herself in the spotlight.
When I read her article “My Medical Choice” in the New York Times, my opinion of her was amended and I did a literal slow clap. Her forthcoming and sincere recollections of her procedure and experience were something to be thankful for. Not only was it very informative, it also made me think of the decision I would make were I in the same situation.
For me, the decision would be easy.
If you are reading this blog regularly, you are probably already well aware of my experience with cancer. Long story short, I lost the love of my life to cancer in 2005. I was invincible back then. I was 23 years old, a new mom and there was no way that cancer was going to ruin my life. But it did.
Before then, I hardly knew what cancer was. Nobody I knew had cancer. I didn’t know anybody personally who had died from cancer. Cancer was just the people who had no hair on the TV to me. Even after I met R. and he was going through his treatments, it never really hit me that it was a serious thing. For years I thought he was going to live through it, and even when they told us he wouldn’t, I still thought he was going to survive. I thought that way up until the day we found him unresponsive (I used to be really tenacious).
Having experienced that kind of loss (albeit not breast cancer), and being left as the only one to care for our child, I developed a fear of the disease.
I am not a beautiful actress. My breasts are not used for anything important. Even though they are possibly my greatest feature – as I was told by the inebriated guy at the bus stop a few years ago – I really wouldn’t miss having them hanging around(literally). If they stood between me and a long and healthy life with my son, then the choice for me has already been made.
Unfortunately, this decision is not always an easy one for all. The decision to have a double mastectomy is surely not one to be taken lightly. I think the most important message that Ms. Jolie is portraying to women everywhere is: “I Choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.”
Ms. Jolie closes with an important message to all: “Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”
I felt like this message was directed at me (as I’m sure many of us do). I devote way too much of my time being afraid of things I could potentially control.
The article is very inspirational. I urge you to read and to follow Angelina Jolie’s advice (Inever thought I would write that – ever).
Thursday, May 9, 2013
On the verge of a major decision.
The choice seems obvious, but everything matters.
Most of my worry is about him.
How will he cope?
Will it be too hard?
Just when I begin to wonder about his wisdom
he turns to me and says "My best friend might be switching schools next year. I am happy for him but I'll be sad if he goes".
...and then I did a back flip followed by a quarter twist on the inside and knew he would be okay with whatever I decide.
Affirmations like that do wonders for my decision making ego.
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