How is This My First Comic Book Convention?  Easy Costume Time!

I love an excuse to put on a costume, I have no idea why I’ve never been to one of these shindigs before.  I attended HeroesCon 2015 Saturday and it was pretty overwhelming.  I can’t even imagine going to something on a huge scale like the one in San Diego.  

  
Am I a comic book fan?  Is “sort of” an answer?  I was kind of dragged into the scene in high school by my boyfriend, spending all his money each week when the new issues came out.  Hours spent in local stores pawing through boxes, and then hours spent at home studying the price guide and figuring out what to sell and what to hoard.  Bored to tears, I picked up my own appreciation for Lobo and anything drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz.  I tried to like Sandman but it was too emo for me.  Didn’t like Fantastic Four but loved when Thing would be peeking out from something on the cover saying hi.  

  
These days, I know nothing about con characters other than going to the lastest blockbuster movie (who doesn’t cheer when they spot a Stan Lee cameo?  NO ONE.) and what I grew up watching on TV as a kid (Justice League of America! Wonder Woman! The Incredible Hulk! Doctor Who! Star Trek!).  I started brainstorming costume ideas on Thursday for a Saturday event and it was quickly obvious that I wasn’t going to know most of what people were into.  So I did what I always do when I need random advice: I put it out on facebook.  Most ideas involved way too much work or some kind of face covering that I don’t have the patience to wear all day but then my crafty friend posted one of her aprons…

  
JACKPOT.  It was out of the question that I was going to get an exact correct costume of any character with no time and little money but THIS I could work with.  I would be Housewife Wonder Woman.  I crossed my fingers that WW fans wouldn’t be pissed about my version and proceeded to gather accessories. (BTW, my crafty friend makes and sells all sorts of delightful aprons including this model so if you are jealous and want your own, you can contact her on etsy at The Googerhopper Shop! 

So here’s what I needed:

  • Apron (got it!)
  • Red boots (got it!)
  • Blue short skirt (got it!)
  • Red tank top (Goodwill)
  • Red blue and yellow mini backpack (Goodwill)
  • Bag of red white and blue felt star stickers (Hobby Lobby)
  • Official DC Wonder woman patch (Hobby Lobby)
  • Yellow hankerchief (Hobby Lobby)
  • Yellow dish gloves (Dollar Tree)
  • Yellow jumprope “lasso of truth” (Dollar Tree)
  • Red spatula (Dollar Tree)
  • I wish I could have found a feather duster to carry

With a caribiner I hung the lasso (handles removed) and spatula on my waist on the apron tie.  I stuck white stars on the butt of my blue skirt and a red one on each dish glove.  I folded the yellow hankie in half, stuck a red star on top in the middle and tied my hair back with it.  Sewed the WW patch on the backpack over the Jaguar (?) tag. Ta-freakin-da. It was a hit, although I kind of forgot to get a picture of me and when I remembered, of course the picture looked terrible.  So I present to you my costume taken in a dark parking garage  by my friend’s phone which is nice and blurry.  Not suprisingly, I think I look best when blurry.

  
Right?  Blurry rocks.

The con was a lot of fun, but so much to look at I never got to go to any sessions that sounded interesting like Violent Images or Race in Comics.  Next time, I promise.  And maybe I’ll spring for the photo with Stan. 

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In Which I Play at Being an Internet Minister

I’m on a turbulance-filled plane ride back from California, where I just used my Universal Life Church credentials for the first time to marry two friends in a shady grove with giant pinecones and an active golf course behind us. California recognizes the ULC as a denomination and me as a minister. Ain’t that some shit?

I did hardly anything in the way of ceremony planning because the bride was very hands-on and did pretty much every task herself. She sent me the “script” for the whole thing a few weeks ago and now that I’ve done the deed and it’s fresh in my mind, I felt I should make some notes so I’m better prepared if I am ever asked to do this again. If you are also a magical Internet wizard – I mean minister – maybe me talking through this will help you as well or you might have some tips for me!
It would help if I actually cared about weddings and ceremony trends but honestly, I’ve never been a wedding person. I’m always bored at them and I didn’t really plan my own that well. I’m missing that gene almost every female seems to have which causes them to plan every last detail of their ideal wedding by the age of five. Then small changes are made in the plan every now and then as new trends emerge in magazines or on Pinterest. Not me. So when the future bride said she wanted some kind of humanist ceremony I had to look up what the hell that meant. We kept meaning to discuss what exactly they wanted but in the end, she researched what she wanted and doled it out to those of us involved in it. Cool with me, although now I will feel more comfortable having an idea of how things actually work on my side of it.
She knew there was no way I was going to remember all the parts of my script so I used a small, cute blank notebook to write in my portion, as well as stage notes about what I or the others should be doing at critical points. ALWAYS IN PENCIL – I brought a pencil and a nice clean Pink Pearl eraser so I could make changes as we decided on specifics while talking things out and during the rehearsal. Since there were some times when I had to put the book down to do other tasks, I think I need a bookmark so I don’t waste time nervously flipping through the pages. Probably best to use a book with a ribbon bookmark attached so I don’t have to worry about dropping it. A whole blank book for one ceremony might seem wasteful, but I could use it for multiple ceremonies as well as take further notes about the couple and the day. That gives me a reason to use all the blank books I own and never use because I feel I don’t have anything important enough to write in them.
I did mess up twice as a result of: not making a note where I needed it about if I should turn off music at one point or let it play out, and then totally ignoring a note I had about introducing the second reader. I must be diligent in my note taking at the time we are discussing things, even if it means scribbling it in fast and making it clearer later. As far as missing my note, maybe it needed to be its’ own page rather than in parentheses at the bottom of a section. Or are colored pencils erasable? Maybe changing colors would help get my attention but still be adjustable.
Backups, backups, backups for everything. Just because you aren’t the event coordinator doesn’t mean you can’t help with ensuring backups for things you will be responsible for in the ceremony. This ceremony had a Unity Cup section and I was given a bottle of mead to pour in the glasses. We also had a backup bottle for whatever reason we might need it. (Did we have a bottle opener? WE DID NOT, but the best man earned his title by opening it with the bottom of a lighter – don’t me how but I was in awe.) The music was four songs broken into three Spotify playlists on an iPad. When the recessional song wasn’t available because of an error, we had the songs also available on someone’s iPhone.
The wedding license is terrifying. The ceremony is nothing compared to filling this thing out properly. I don’t know if every state/county is as rigid, and I understand the reason for wanting perfection in a legal document but OMG I had chest pains when I looked at my officiant paperwork that came with the license form. Along with the example that listed all the ways I could make this paper unacceptable, I had a half sheet where the witnesses could write down their address for me so I could slowly and deliberately (holding my breath) fill their addresses in correctly where it mattered. Originally my plan was to write it all in pencil and go over it in pen after proofing the information one billion times. My fear of the forbidden ink smudges if I tried to erase any showing pencil kept me from doing that. I am no ink pen expert but I feel there has to be some kind of quick drying, smudge proof pen that I am willing to invest in. Do they still make erasable ink pens? I absolutely need a wedding pen besides my mechanical pencil and a Pink Pearl. Along with that, a wedding information binder.


Technically, my job isn’t over yet. I am responsible for making sure the paperwork is submitted to the county clerk with 10 days of the ceremony. Being a destination wedding complicated this a little bit. The wedding was Saturday, we are all leaving on Sunday and in order to mail the license on Monday it needs to travel in a backpack all day long getting shoved under airplane seats. The original plan was something else but plans change. In the future, I will look for protective storage so I don’t worry about the condition it’s going to be in when I get to the post office. What is happening in this case is the Maid of Honor will save the day. She leaves the resort Sunday, has time in Sacramento Monday before her flight to take the paperwork to a post office and mail it Priority Express with tracking ($19.99). I will track it obsessively until I see it has arrived. I don’t feel as good about this as doing it myself, but I do know this person is trustworthy and takes the task seriously. I will be prepared next time, if there is a next time.

UPDATE! The very important paperwork has been delivered to the county clerk office at 10:38a.m. today! :)

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10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings

deepfriedyankee:

I think the world doesn’t have enough Venn diagrams. I must fix this by coming up with one for every meeting I have to sit in this summer.

Originally posted on @PaulGordonBrown:

I came across this post from thecooperreview.com and it had me laughing with just how oddly accurate it is.  So if you’re attempting to appear smart in meetings, this infographic has got you covered!

View original

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I Can’t Even Spell What Makes Me So Angry

Several things are making me all ragey today, but at least I think I am past the stage of Ugly Cry from this morning.

  1. My former rheumatologist 
  2. My former diagnosis of Lupus and Sjogren’s Syndrome (now just Sjogren’s, as if it makes much difference)
  3. Hydroxychloroquine aka Plaquenil

Background:  I see a rheumatologist and an ophthalmologist every six months to monitor my auto-immune issues as well as monitor my Plaquenil usage.  In oversimplified non-medical terms, the pills keep my immune system under control so it doesn’t get all crazy and attack the important things like…all my major organs and such.  Plaquenil is the lowest in toxicity and least evil of my drug choices.  The other two choices would be steroids and cancer drugs.  Doctors have been prescribing this drug for decades, first for malaria and then for the noninflammatory effects, with the assumption that a patient will stay on it their entire life if it is tolerated.  Anyway, the OP did a retinal scan last visit and said the edges of my retinas are thinning a tiny bit, and the long-term Plaquenil use is to blame.  I told the  RH today and it seems patients like myself are embroiled in a bitter schism between these two types of doctors over Plaquenil and how harmful it really is or is not for eyes.  Long story short(er), I will try half my former dose from now on to make both happy and see how I feel.

Here’s the ragey part.  When I went on this drug over 15 years ago, the jerk of a RH I had at the time (not the one I have now) told me several things that I find now are inaccurate.  Not to mention he was pretty dickish about how he said them.  Honestly, the best shitty thing a health insurance company ever did for me was decide I couldn’t see this guy anymore because he was over the state line and I had to find a RH in my own state (which by then we finally had in my area). I get that auto-immune diseases are hard to pin down and find cause and effect and no one is ever really sure about anything but…

  1. Had he mentioned possible irreparable eye damage as a side effect of Plaquenil, I might have not chosen to take this drug at all.  I was told the most serious risk to me might be some hazy build up on my eyes that would go away if I stopped taking it.  He and my PCP were not interested in my concerns and were just pretty much – take it.  You need it.  That’s what all Lupus patients take.  End of visit.
  2. Since I felt mislead about the whole eye thing, I decided to ask my current RH the question that I had stopped asking over the years because I would always get shot down by my doctors with a big fat no.  In fact, a big fat no with added scary warnings of terrible consequences for even thinking about it. Could I have a healthy baby while taking Plaquenil?

Turns out, that answer is yes.

Yes. During my prime baby-making years, I could have grown a healthy baby.  A high risk pregnancy to be sure, with potential health problems to the developing fetus (especially cardiac system development), but in all the years my RH has worked with women in my position who have babies, it has not happened.  That’s a far cry from “you’ll need to adopt”, “your baby will be born without a fully functional heart if it lives at all”, and “how will you feel knowing this is your fault?”.  Not only did my old RH tell me these things, my two past PCPs supported these beliefs.  Even when I went searching for research articles and found bits of hope.  Everyone made this baby stuff sound like an impossible idea, and I believed them.  And now I’m 42.

mood

FUCK.

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The High School Reunion in My Head

It’s May and graduation time at my institution – also our closing banquet theme is “High School Days” (or something like that).  So yesterday I was thinking about high school.  More specifically, high school yearbooks and then it all spiraled into adolescent angst and despair.  I have two high school yearbooks that have survived many moves, from my sophomore year and my senior year.  Damn I was a bitter, hateful child.  I’ve decided I need to find a friend with a fire pit so I can burn those books and any assorted “nostalgic” papers from those years.  I found a folder of random high school/college stuff not long ago that entertained me, but also I felt a little dread creeping in there mixed with some self-loathing and glowering, angry distrust of the grown-up world.  I also found a notebook of the most terrible, horrible, no-good-very-bad teenage poetry you will never* see. These are not items I need to keep.  They are not enriching me in any way.

I’m sure I’m not alone in wincing while thinking of “the best years of your life”.  I call bullshit on that.  How could those possibly be anyone’s best years?  Trying to find your identity, dealing with a changing body, worried about rejection from your peers, pressure to conform from all sides, high parental expectations, SAT scores, etc…and that’s just as a white, middle-class, heterosexual, Catholic girl in suburban Western New York without any known disabilities beyond being the weirdest person in the room.  Which I was.  I was also the funniest because I learned early on, if you aren’t classically pretty you need to at least be funny.

But weird trumped funny every time and in my senior yearbook where they put those stupid awards like “most likely to…” there I am, with my “award”.  Most Unique.  At the time I was pissed that I didn’t get Funniest.  I remember thinking that they clearly misunderstood the term Funniest and chose to go instead with Biggest Obnoxious Loudmouth.  Then I thought maybe they realized I should win both but it wouldn’t be fair that I be recognized twice, so they had to give Funniest to a runner-up.  In reality, I also thought then what I still think now:  Most Unique is a polite way of saying “You will be remembered as a big weirdo who shops at Goodwill instead of The Limited and doesn’t care about getting drunk with us at Friday night house parties and lives on the wrong side of the tracks in the old houses but we aren’t allowed to say all that so we are going to make it sound as if we admire your qualities”.  Most Unique is a dis in disguise.

My sophomore year yearbook is relatively unscathed except for highlighting some quotes from friends but the senior year…well, let’s just say the nicest thing I or my friends wrote in there is this on the inside front cover:

yearbook

It all goes downhill in a shitstorm of teenage rage from there.  Because those were the BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE!  Yours too I bet.

Stay weird, my friends :)

*Never might be too strong a word.  Some of the poems are so bad as to be completely hilarious and maybe one day I’ll torture you with a few gems before I destroy them.

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A New Orleans Love Note

By 6:45 Sunday morning, both my bronchitis and my antibiotic decided I was done sleeping.  Looking out the hotel window, I see there is already a line forming at Mother’s.  It’s grey and sun is just starting to show off through the clouds towards the river.  Might as well go out and see the Quarter in a way I don’t normally see it.  Sleepy, foggy, non-Carnival time. 

Even at this time of year and even in the CBD, the wet streets smell faintly of spilled beer and broken bits of Mardi Gras beads hide in plain sight at the edges of the sidewalks. Those up are quietly going about their business of finding breakfast, making breakfast, or setting up their day.  Street entertainers are preparing their instruments and getting their tarot cards out.  Artists in Jackson Square are hanging their paintings. Passing one of the many coffee and beignet locations, a piano plays the question of whether I know what it means to miss New Orleans.  Yes.  Yes I do.
The French Market is just beginning to stir when I get there.  Vendors setting up their areas, ice thrown on the sodas, the crepe grill warming up.  In the flea market section I have to maneuver quickly around dollies full of heavy bins carrying cheaply made wares of no particular importance.  Most aren’t ready to greet the tourists who will wander through later to pick up Voodoo dolls made in China or ignore the signs asking to please not pick up the dried alligator heads, but one book seller has a nice box of old Mardi Gras doubloons to root though.  A weakness of mine, I pick out 20 that either correspond to mine or my sister’s birth year, or are sentimental favorites like Pete Fountain’s Half Fast Walking Krewe.   
  
After the market I wander aimlessly, slowly, up and down the streets that cross Bourbon, never able to remember the correct order of them all.  St. Ann, Dumaine, St. Peter, Toulouse…  Looking in gallery windows on Royal, stopping to try hot sauce and pralines on Decatur.  In the Royal street police station I stop in to check their NOPD vending machine and see what t-shirts they have this year.  I overhear a family of out of towners wanting something done about an aggressive panhandler.  They weren’t out and about yet on my way to the market but I see them everywhere now; beards and backpacks and dogs at their sides, in groups as numerous as the street musicians.  And why not?  If I had to be (or chose to be) a wandering vagrant, why NOT a city like New Orleans?  
Making my way back to Canal Street felt a bit like failure.  Not even noon and I was going to head back to the hotel?  But the sun had come out and I was definitely overdressed for the heat.  Maybe after a shower and lighter clothes I’d come up with an afternoon plan before my actual conference work began in the evening.  Maybe ride the streetcar down St. Charles. Then the serendipity of New Orleans happened, as it only does there.  Opening up the iPad to facebook a picture of doubloons for my sister, I see a message.  One of my Mardi Gras family just so happens to be visiting her boyfriend this weekend who lives in the Quarter.  He is having a crawfish boil and would I like to come over?  I love you New Orleans.
  
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Freddie’s New Shoes



That’s right kids, Freddie the Mercury has his new GD-expensive whitewall tires!  Considering the other ones were probably 60 years old, I guess it was about time. That meant it was time for HIGHWAY DRIVING!  There he is, flaunting his awesomeness at the mall.  He did @70 miles of high-speed driving Saturday and I must admit, the ride was smoother than in The Mighty Geo.  

That makes the next important thing (as far as I’m concerned) the window seals that leak like crazy, even the new seals.  One piece at a time.  



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