When you wish upon a star...

So I am going to finish up my San Diego trip now - this has went on too long. Between my home life and the tremendous amount of hours I have been putting in at work, I just haven't had time to record everything in the detail I want to do it in. I am sure you guys are so done with my "Vacation Slideshow" by now anyway.

I just wanted to finish up by showing you some pictures of the great stuff I got to see.

First of all, here is the thing I would love to have most. It is from Sideshow Collectibles. All I can say is that The Tick rocks.

Since I really don't have $150 to buy the limited edition figure, I thought I would take a page out of Lisa's book and ask folks to send me the money to buy it. I mean its working for her. Why shouldn't I jump on the bandwagon?

UPDATE: My friend Eric said he would buy the figure, but only it I would take the Tick to Amsterdam. He said The Tick is a little too tightly wound and could use a nice week long vacation. So he is spotting me $150 for the figure and tossing in starter money of $100 to buy me a plane ticket to Amsterdam. He said he would pay me an additional $100 if I took a picture of The Tick "enjoying" himself with one of the city's famed sex workers. I've got my seed money - are there any other readers out there who is interested in helping me achieve my dream? Any generous soul who donates will be thanked here in the blog and I will personally send you print outs of all the photos of The Tick and myself enjoying the pleasures of The Netherlands' most famous city.

While I wait for you folks to "support" me, here are the last of my Comic-con pictures...

My hubby posing with his cousin Jabba.

Tony - these are not the droids you are looking for...Now put them back!

I nearly geeked out when I saw the Night Owl's ship. I can hardly wait until Watchmen comes out!!!

Shop smart!

Ahhhhhhhhhhh... Baby Fett

And for everyone who thought that Comic-con was about comics, or movies, or pop culture...
well you can draw your own conclusions...

"Jason - I've heard you've been a naughty boy..."


I love electrons!

My street before the real damage. We lost nine trees on this street alone.

The rumors are false. I did not run away and join the circus.

I just got power back Saturday evening. It was a long long week. I had just stocked up on groceries and wham! Goodbye four dozen eggs. Goodbye motley collection of condiments who had taken over my fridge. I think maybe it was a blessing in disguise - I got to scrub out every inch of my ancient refrigerator with bleach. At least that is what I am telling myself.

Actually, the eggs did not go bad. I boiled them on my grill. My neighbors thought I was nuts - until I used up all the mayo in the fridge and made a HUGE batch of deviled eggs. I think they were gone in about two minutes flat. Tony was sad because he only got three eggs worth.

I also put my collection of cast iron skillets to work on the coals and browned off some ground beef. I was going to try making chili but it got dark - boy was it dark. I could see the stars without any light pollution.
Hard Boiled Eggs!!

My big freezer had been packed full and when I finally opened it yesterday, a lot of things were thawed out, but still nice and cold. I am cooking every thing off that I can.

Part of my bounty was shared with Eric, my hubby's best friend. I cooked off three pounds of Thurn's bacon for breakfast yesterday. Yum. And Eric called me a bacon snob. Hell yes. If loving Thurn's bacon is wrong, then I don't wanna be right.

Now that I have lots of freezer room, I am looking into 'Once a Month Cooking or OAMC, or something close to that. More like "make some stuff ahead so I have something to eat when I am too busy to cook" or MSSASIHSTEWIATBTC. Hmmm... That is a bit much. Kind of defeats the whole acronym purpose. Lets see... Too Busy To Cook... Yeah. T.B.T.C. I don't think it will catch on, but hey, ya never know.

A couple items I am looking at are from Cook's Country, owned by Cook's Illustrated. I read a while back over on Tigers and Strawberries about the problems with reproducing recipes from the publishing group. Well that and Barbara has personal issues with how Cook's Illustrated treats non-traditional foods, such Indian and Thai. I am surprised she doesn't have an ax to grind with other venerable institutions such as Better Homes and Gardens or Redbook as well. I guess having grown up in the era of Home Ec for every gal, I just don't get as worked up about stuff like dumbing down exotic cuisines for American consumption. I think of it as cooking with training wheels. Personally, I use Cook's Illustrated like any other resource, pick and choose what I like and leave the rest. And yes Barbara, Chris Kimball has quite an ego, but no worse than any other famous persona I've encountered. You get use to heads that large when you meet showbiz folks from time to time.

So as for plumbing the depths for ideas, I am looking at the freezer lasagna, the freezer enchiladas and the frozen pot pies from the Cook's Country. I also have a lot of other things like Cincinnati Chili (which I've made for years), spaghetti sauce and beef stew. I've been over the OAMC books plus the sites and most of the recipes leave me kinda cold. Anyone out there have other resources they can suggest?

So that's pretty much it. The next week is going to be hell at work. I don't anticipate having much free time, but if I get a few minutes, I'll make another post. If not, I'll surface eventually. I always do.


Day Three: Swag with a Smile

Yes, I know it's been well over a month since Comic-Con and you are probably all tired at looking at my vacation photos by now. Too Bad!!

Saturday was the big day at Comic-con. The single day passes for Saturday get sold out before full ride tickets do. It was a crush of humanity. I had opted to volunteer at 11 am so that I could get there early and grab some more swag (like I needed more crap!) I went to the Warner Brothers booth first. I had missed out on these huge swag bags the booth had been distributing since Wednesday night. I knew that I needed to grab at least one so that I could carry around all the crap I was going to collect.

Unlike the day before at the Fox booth, the Warner Bros. crew had the whole distribution down to a fine science. Once I made it to the booth, I was through the line in less than five minutes. I then wandered around the Dealer Hall and picked up stuff like posters from the upcoming Spirit movie.

I am a huge Spirit fan and I so want this movie to be cool, but I just have a bad feeling... Not to bring down Frank Miller, the man who resurrected the Dark Knight, the man who made you want to be a Spartan and come home on your shield, but I swear the artwork reminds me more of Sterenko than Eisner. We'll see.

Some of the steampunk folks from the convention

Annie had decided to get into a little cosplay for Saturday. Annie and I are huge fans of the Steampunk movement. I am not sure why - it probably has something to do with reading 20,000 Leagues Under Sea too many times and watching First Men In the Moon multiple times when I was a kid.

Here she is in her partial costume. She has boots, but they are not broken in yet and she opted not to wear them. To be truely steampunk, she needs to obtain some rocking goggles, some bits of neo-victorian mechanical apparatus and a watch. We are working on that. In the mean time, I think she looks very nice. (Being her mater and all...)

Around 9:30 am, I was hanging out with Annie at the WETA booth ogling the awesomeness that is their wares when I discovered that I had not pocketed my credit cards and cash when I changed clothes that morning. PANIC!

I looked at the time and decided I could make it to the hotel and back in time to meet my volunteering deadline. I was wrong. I missed my chance to go to the professional suite again by 15 minutes. Instead I was able to greet folks just coming in the door. Easy work. You just handed out bags of scheduling information and welcomed folks for 3 hours. My cheeks hurt after smiling for that long.

While I was making my dentist proud, my daughter and Tate had gone off to see Howard Chaykin. Annie said she was amazed at how few people were there to see him speak. Afterward she talked to him, telling Howard how she had read all her dad's American Flag comics and he complimented her on her "bosom". Yes - he actually said "bosom".

No, she did not get to buy this. I think it's illegal to tempt men into sinful thoughts if you are under 18.

Speaking of bosoms, I have to say that if you have one, you do get great swag. Annie's shirt popped a button and it allowed her to display a more than average amount of cleavage. (She was lucky I did not have a safety pin!) Her Saturday swag included, but was not limited to: a 4 gig USB drive (shockproof and waterproof), a role-playing guide ($50 retail value), goodie cards for City of Villains, t-shirts, autographs and lots of invitations to after hours parties.

Where was my hubby all this time you ask? Why wasn't he keeping our daughter buttoned up and lady like? 'Cuz he was doing magic. There is a strong magic community in San Diego and Tony went to hang out with J.C. Wagner who performs at a bar on Coronado Island. I was kinda sad I did not get to hang out as well. JC does some amazing stuff.

I had planned on attending the Masquerade - if you love costumes, this is the event you wait on. I went to look for the end of the line, when I found the beginning of the line at about 5 pm. I asked the lady sitting in pole position one how long she had been waiting. "Since 7am," said she. "Screw this!" said I and went looking for Tate and Annie instead. I called Tate on his cell. My journey to find him took me past all the poor souls who were sitting in line to see the Masquerade. It almost wrapped around half the convention center. And this was at 5pm. The damn event didn't start until 8pm. The convention even made an overflow room with a live video feed for people who couldn't fit in the ballroom. The ball room seats almost 4,500 people. You get the idea.

Tate and I grabbed Annie and headed back to the hotel. 6 pm and we were pooped. Tony was waiting and I made him take us to dinner. We found this tiny little Mexican restaurant that said "Mexican Food" over the door, ate some mediocre food, had a few margaritas and went back to the hotel. Jet lag was really getting to all of us by then and we turned in.

Just one more day!! Well actually one more day of Comic-con and two more of vacation... I will try to be brief...I promise.


Day Two: Swag Fever hits!

So the next day - I was rested and ready. Annie and I had decided to volunteer early, so we got down to the convention center at a rather early hour.

My assignment this time was to man the professional suite, which provided a much needed quiet space for the guests who were presenting programming at the convention. The lady who ran this room plus the con suite (being held at a local hotel) had been doing so for over a decade. My job was to make sure things were tidy and that folks who had the wrong kinda badges didn't come in and bother folks (ie press and fans). Sharing my duties were a couple of guys from Jersey - I suggested they check out In and Out Burger before they left the coast.

Annie managed to make it to the Joss Whedon panels.
She is totally stoked about DollHouse, his latest TV series

I had wanted to see Joss Whedon talk about his past and upcoming project, but by the time I got out, the room was totally filled. I later learned that the staff did not clear out the rooms between panels. Hence, even if you had been waiting in line for hours to see Josh, you may not make it in the door unless the folks camped out inside the room left.

So I said screw it and went to the dealers hall. I have a feeling lots of other people said that too. It was then that I developed Swag Fever. (What is Swag you ask? Swag is all the cool free stuff that is being passed out by the various vendors. Mostly it is promotional items pimping out upcoming movies or tv shows, comic books or artists. The main rule is that you didn't have to pay for it!) I had picked up a few posters the previous day, but they had become damaged on the way back to the hotel.

The Fox booth was passing out these poster tubes with a carrying strap. But wait! The tubes were going like hot cakes. The next time they were getting passed out was a 1pm. So I got in the (at present) very short line at 12:30. It was here that I met Byron. (If you wonder why I remember his name, it because he was the only guy to give me a business card!) Byron runs a small website called Row M. He was there on a press pass - which I immediately began to covet. (Press passes let you bypass all the long lines!) Byron and I passed the time talking about stuff - Star Wars, collectibles, you know - geek stuff. Then the crowd started to build. The Fox staff has a guy come up about 5 minutes before the tubes were going to be passed out and started pushing people around to form a line. (You will find this is a reoccurring theme with some booths: lack of planning when it comes to crowd management.) The guy pushed me out of line and Byron yelled at him and pulled me back onto the right side of the rope. Thanks Byron!!

We were watching the beleaguered Fox staff getting the tubes ready for distribution when a lady on the outskirts of the crowd starts yelling at Byron, "I got the last one!!". The last what? Turns out Intel had hooked up with the new Star Trek movie and was having a contest. There were scratch off cards with different "staff positions" from the Enterprise printed on them. If you collected all eight positions, you got a cool laptop bag. The catch? To turn them in, you had to have eight people, one to hold each card. Byron had been working with two other people since earlier in the convention and now had all eight cards. Byron generously offered to let me partake of his swag bounty by giving me a card. I was to meet him at the Star Trek/Intel booth after we got our tubes.

The Fox staff started passing out the tubes and the crowd surged forward. If you have never been part of a huge mass of bodies before, it can be frightening the way you are just swept along by the pressure. I am a large gal so can hold my own, but a smaller person - there is always the chance you would be overwhelmed and lose your footing. We spewed out of the end of the line and swirled away from the main press of human bodies. I lost Byron in the crowd.

I started towards the Intel booth - the flow of bodies was against me. I only had to go over two rows, but it must have taken me 5 minutes to get there. And when I did arrive, there was Byron and his two compatriots, waiting. We still needed four more people, so we grabbed folks out of the passing press of bodies - a kid, some other geek who had a hand full of cards, and two gals who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. We turned in our cards and received our swag. I thanked Byron again, and promised to get him the Hasbro ticket that Annie had left in the room. (To even get into the line for the Hasbro collectibles shop, you had to have a ticket, which they passed out at random intervals. Annie had scored one, but not Byron. And he really had to get his toys.)

My Swag Bag!!

I then wandered around the dealer hall for a little while longer, then went back to the hotel with Annie and Tate. We had wanted to see the Robot Chicken and Venture Brothers panels, but just couldn't get in. The whole wait in line for hours thing was kinda getting us down. I suggested we try this restaurant, Doa Son, I had seen suggested online. It specialized in Asian noodle dishes.

Now normally I would not be so bold in a strange city, but we had rented a GPS unit along with the rental car. (It was affectionately known as "The Bitch" - as in "Shut the F*** Up, Bitch!" because of it's constant talking.) So we follow the Bitch's instructions to the restaurant only to find - there is no parking. This is one of the problems we encountered a lot. We would want to hit these small out of the way restaurants and could not park. So we kinda said screw it. I popped in and ordered take out while Tony drove around the block again and again and again. Tony was greatly amused.

Sorry there are no pictures of the food. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were all so hungry we fell on the food like a pack of wolves. The noodles were really good. The broth was clearly homemade loaded with lots of veggies, meat and noodles. Tate got so much food that he couldn't finish it all, so he said "Screw the noodles! It the broth that make a good noodle soup." and downed the rest of the liquid nectar.

We then passed out to get ready for Saturday - the big day!


Still here!

Hey folks!

Just dropping a note to let you know that I still exist and have not given up on the blog. My work schedule has become insane the last three weeks, working 50+ hours the past week. My paychecks look great, but it's grueling.

The lack of free time in my schedule has forced me to drop out of the Daring Bakers group. I am very sad to have to quit. I was unable to particiapte this summer because of my vacation, and now because of my job. I hope that I get to rejoin the group

My cooking has gone to basic survival level - making a large bunch of food on my days off and eating leftovers the rest of the week. I did treat myself to a Bahn Mi and an iced coffee from Mi Mi - or should I say Mi Li Cafe. Our favorite little Vietnamese place was forced to change their name by the Polaris area restaurant MiMi's Cafe. Of course my chances of going to the Polaris Mimi's Cafe has just dropped to about nil. Bully!

Dosa Corner was featured in the Dispatch today. A great place to eat. It's right next to my work and I have eaten there quite a bit - and I am mostly meat-a-terian. So If you like home-made Southern Indian food - Dosa Corner is the place for you.

A last little something to keep you amused - 100 things you should eat. I did pretty good except for the following items: 99,85,71, 68, 65 (Cognac but no cigar), 64, 59, 55,50, 42,39, 38, 37, 36 (Does Durian flavored items count? No, I didn't think so.), 33, 29, 25,21,17, 12 and 8. Not too shabby and I can fix a few of them really soon. And yes - I really have eaten roadkill.

Here is hoping that my life will calm down a bit. I hope to make it to the Meet-up group at the Cafe Shish Kebab next Wednesday. If you like grilled lamb - then you have to attend.

'Til next time!