ComicCon-ing: Mr. Nola Nerd Couple’s Top 5 Panels at MegaCon

Panels are always a highlight of going to a con for me. Since cons have basically opened up panels to be about anything, there is basically something for everyone.  We can’t get to Orlando until Saturday, so here are the top five panels I will make every effort to attend on those two days.

Saturday Panels:

CELEBRITY Q&A WITH ACCLAIMED ACTOR AND VOICE STAR WALLACE SHAWN (11 am in W311)

Wallace Shawn has such a varied career as an actor and a playwright that this should be an entertaining and informative panel. I’m hoping for a few My Dinner with Andre questions.

CELEBRITY Q&A WITH THE LEGENDARY JEFF GOLDBLUM (11:30 in Chapin Theater)

While Jeff Goldbloom is a celebrated actor, let’s face it, his most famous role his playing himself.  He is just an entertaining individual, and this should make for great entertainment.

CELEBRITY Q&A WITH DOCTOR WHO’S CATHERINE TATE (3:30 in W311)

Donna is one of my favorite companions on Doctor Who because she forced the Doctor to understand who he was.  Plus, Catherine Tate is a comedian by trade so she can probably take any question and make it hilarious.

Sunday Panels: 

COMICS IN THE CLASSROOM (Noon in W205)

As teachers, this panel screams for us to attend.  I have used some comics in my computer science class, but am interested in seeing how others use them.

WRITING FOR COMICS (3pm in W304A)

Writers from both DC and Marvel will be presenting their process for creating comics.  This is an excellent panel for anyone wanting to break into the business or get a behind the scenes look at how comics are made.

Of course, there are some great panels when we won’t be there.  Thursday evening has the 2001 50th anniversary panel. Image Comics is having a panel about creator owned projects Friday morning. At noon, my favorite comic creator, Tom King, will be having a panel focusing on his career. Friday afternoon there will be a panel conversation with Dan Didio, co-publisher at DC comics.

Of course, MegaCon has tons of entertainment scheduled for you throughout it’s entire run.  Plan your days by visiting their schedule here.

ComicCon-ing: MegaCon Continues to Focus on Comic Creators

MegaCon has excellent celebrity guests year in and year out.  This year is no exception, and we are trying to figure out how to pay for it all.

However, MegaCon, which is under the Fan Expo umbrella of Infroma Exhibitions,  doesn’t forget the comic part of their convention. To comic book collectors, this year’s guests is as star-studded as the celebrity guests.  In fact, we might spend more time in the comic creators’ area.

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Comic Book Creator Area at MegaCon 2017

Some of the people that will be appearing:

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ComicCon-ing: 2001 at MegaCon

Few times do I get to the “spare no expense” level with a con guest for myself.  Of course, Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple seems to find her self in that situation a little more often. For me, it was meeting Sarah Michelle Gellar and John Hurt.

Now, MegaCon has Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea.

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Concert-ing: Exile on Bourbon Street

Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones is a mess of a record. Mick Jagger has never actually warmed up to it. Keith Richards was intoxicated most of the time. The mix isn’t muddy and could be so much better. They just run with the mistakes throughout the album.

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2622307

By Source, Fair use, Link

In other words, it’s a perfect rock’n’roll album.

Over the years, it has always gone up in stature. It continually appears on the multitudes of best rock albums of all time and usually quite high on the list.

It’s a monolith of an album that can intimidate anyone trying to cover any of the songs off of it. Someone would have to be crazy to cover all of it.

Enter Ryan Adams.

Ryan Adams is one of the Nola Nerd Couple’s favorite musical artists. He is the rare artist that we both love equally. He can rub people the wrong way, but he doesn’t say things that are genuinely insane like some other more famous artists in the news today. He has always had a prolific output, and he is consistently good and sometimes reaches the heights of his idols. He has done the cover the entire album thing before with his intriguing cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989. He found his truths in the songs.

But that was in a studio. On May 5, 2018, he will cover Exile on Main St. live at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans (tickets). He will be joined by Cyril Neville, John Medeski, Mark Mullins, Terence Higgins, and more are promised. Don Was will be the musical director.

Ryan is readying himself for the challenge.

 

We will be there, thanking California for its bitter fruit along with Mr. Adams and company.

Parenting: 5 Surprising Facts I Learned About Being A Dad

When people find out that you and your wife are expecting, they have tons of advice for you. Most of it sounds as if it comes from a Sith especially with the use of negative absolute words (“You will never sleep again,” “you won’t be able to travel again,” etc.) Of course, some advice is constructive (“Fed is best”).

However, even though parents tend to tell you everything you go will through as a parent, here are five things that still surprised me about being a parent.

5. Going to the bathroom when it’s just you and baby: Maybe this is a form of male privilege, but I have not had one person tell me how to do this when it’s just you and baby in public. Women have to be able to do this all the time, right? If I have our carrier, it’s not a problem, but with a stroller? Or while I’m holding her? This was seriously never discussed with me, and I never read about it.

4. Girls have crevices everywhere: Changing diapers was new to both of us. It really did shock me how poop could get all over the place with girls. And while we are talking about poop…

3. Babies poop really loudly: This one really amazed me. Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple was actually in the back of our house in a different room and heard Miss Nola Nerd Baby. There are times it startles me if I’m not ready for it. And on more than one occasion the sound has awakened me.

2. Shake, Shake, Shake: Formula requires lots of shaking. That’s why the moment I started this actual entry I went to Amazon and purchased this.  It has already made making the bottles easier.  I give it a perfect 5 out of 7.

1. Better Sleep: My wife and I share getting up with our baby. Now don’t get me wrong, I am sleep deprived and exhausted. Yet, my rest is actually better. I fall asleep quicker and fuller. I actually fell asleep the other night watching television which is something I have never done. Before Nola Nerd Baby, I was always restless and suffered from insomnia. Since she has come along, my body knows it needs sleep and makes sure that I get when I can.

Extra surprise: I can’t wait to write more of these parenting blogs!

Comic Con-ing: Pensacon 2018, part 2

One of our favorite cons to attend is Pensacon, in Pensacola, FL. Not only are the workers and volunteers some of the nicest that we have ever encountered at a con, but they consistently get good guests, have quality panels, and supplement those with people from Escambia Amateur Astronomers Association with telescopes, West Florida Public Libraries conducting Superhero Training for kids, a gaming room with tons of different games being played all day (both tabletop and video), and The SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism), who recreate the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  

It is not just the Pensacola Bay Center that gets involved; instead, the entire town takes part in the fun, from the airport to the restaurants. You can fly into Pensacola Intergalactic Airport and have lunch at the Star Trek Holodeck at Atlas Oyster House, where you could take a photo in the Captain’s chair and check out original props while you drink a James Tea Kirk or a Spock’s Mojito. Dinner could be at Nintendo at The Tin Cow, where you could eat Bob-omb Nachos or a Koopa Burger, drink Lon Lon Milk, or have a spiked shake like Yoshi’s Cookie and the Princess Peach. Everything downtown is walkable, so you do not have to worry if you imbibe in too much Milk of Poppy or Basilisk Blood at The Cabaret. Larger guest panels take place at various established around the town, like the Saenger Theatre, Pensacola Little Theatre, and the Rex Theatre. It truly is a wonderful weekend.

 

Images from Pensacon 2017.

This year, we finally scored a room at the Pensacola Grand Hotel across the street from the Bay Center. Not only is it the official host hotel, but they have panels there and many of the guests stay there as well. We were giddy with excitement to finally be in the thick of the action day and night. If you read my previous blogs on Introducing: Nola Nerd Baby, you will know that I became pregnant in June 2017, which put my due date two weeks after Pensacon. I remained hopeful that even though I would be 38 weeks pregnant, I could take the three hour drive to Pensacola and attend. We had the host hotel, I could always just walk back to our room if I became tired. Right? Oh so wrong.

My doctor diagnosed me with preeclampsia and admitted me into the hospital on February 20th. I had my daughter on Thursday, February 22nd. Pensacon was February 23rd-25th. Needless to say, either one of us going was unfortunately out of the question.

There were so many guests this year that I was looking forward to meeting! A brief list:

  • Adam Brown: Ori in The Hobbit trilogy. I started dwarf poster and adding him would have been cool.
  • Arthur Darvill: Rory Williams in Doctor Who and Rip Hunter in Legends of Tomorrow. Rory is my absolute favorite companion (yes, he is a companion!) because his undying love for Amy Pond reminds me so much of my husband’s love for me.
  • Barbara Hershey: Cora Mills on Once Upon a Time and Ann Rutledge on Damien. I loved her on OUAT and the short-lived but amazing Damien, while my husband loved her from The Entity. She plays villainous so well.
  • Camille Coduri: Jackie Tyler on Doctor Who. I loved Rose’s family and Camille brought such a sweet comedy to her character.
  • Chris Sarandon: Prince Humperdinck in The Princess Bride, voice of Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas. TNBC is one of my all time favorite movies and I am itching to start a poster with all of the cast on it.
  • Claudia Gray: author of Star Wars novels, like Bloodline. I intend to read all of the new canon SW novels, so she would be cool to meet.
  • Hugh Spight: Gamorean guard and an Elom monster in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. I probably have more Star Wars autographs than any other fandom. Even the background characters.
  • Ian McElhinney: Ser Barristan Selmy in Game of Thrones and General Dodonna in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Two of my top fandoms so I really wanted multiple signatures from him!
  • Jason Isaacs: Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, The Grand Inquisitor in Star Wars Rebels, and Captain Gabriel Lorca on Star Trek: Discovery. Even though I want his autograph for all of these characters, the amazing Lucius Malfoy would have be first. He was amazing in that role.
  • John de Lancie: Q in the Star Trek universe and the voice of Discord on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Discord is my favorite character on MLP.
  • Pom Klementieff: Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I am a big MCU fan so I would have loved to add her to my collection.
  • Seth Gilliam: Ellis Carver on The Wire. This is my husband’s number one fandom and the person he was looking forward to the most.
  • Wai Ching Ho: Madame Gao in the Netflix Marvel universe. She gave us a shoutout!

This list does not even include the cool guests that we have already met:

  • Tony Isabella: Creator of Black Lightning (now a television show!)
  • Tommy Flanagan: Chibs on Sons of Anarchy
  • Ryan Hurst: Opie on Sons of Anarchy
  • Ray Park: Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
  • Paul Blake: Greedo in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
  • Lou Ferrigno: The Incredible Hulk
  • John Barrowman: Capt. Jack Harkness on Doctor Who, Malcolm Merlyn on Arrow
  • Jason David Frank: The original Green Power Ranger
  • Ian Beattie: Meryn Trant on Game of Thrones (he gave us a shoutout!)
  • Garrick Hagon: Red Three (Biggs) in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
  • Charles Martinet: voice of Mario, Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Baby Mario, and Baby Luigi.
  • Brent Spiner: Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation

And these are just the ones I am interested in! Pensacon had over 100 guests!

Luckily, one of my best friends was going to the con and was able to be our correspondent. He wrote about his experience here (spoiler alert: he loved it). Next year, our daughter’s first birthday will be the Friday of Pensacon, which is February 22nd – 24th. Are we still going to go and celebrate her first birthday in Pensacola? You bet your sweet bippy we are! We cannot think of a better first birthday party for her, than to experience it with thousands of other like-minded people. She might think everyone is dressed up and having fun in honor of her birthday. And as far as I am concerned, they are. See you next year, Pensacon! We cannot wait to take our little Nola Nerd Baby!

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Nola Nerd Baby’s first cosplay: Yoda

#GiveNOLA Day

If you follow any profit organization, including museums, Audubon institutions, religious organizations, schools, parks, libraries, etc., you might have seen posts about GiveNOLA Day. GiveNOLA Day is a 24 hour event where nonprofit organizations ask for charitable donations to support their work. It is completely online and extremely successful; according to their website, last year, GiveNOLA raised nearly $4.9 million from 38,000+ donations across the nation!

This year, GiveNOLA Day takes place on May 1st. Although any day is a great day to be charitable and donate money to wonderful nonprofit organizations, if you donate on May 1st, you are not only participating in a region-wide fundraiser, there are awards and hourly prizes, in addition to lagniappe funds given to organizations. (Amount you raise ÷ Amount raised by ALL on May 1 = Your lagniappe fund percentage.) The nonprofits are divided into small and large categories, and for each of these categories, awards will be given to the five nonprofits that raise the most money AND the five nonprofits that raise the most unique donors. Two hourly prizes are awarded to any nonprofit organization that receives a donation of at least $10.

If you would like to donate, go to GiveNOLA on May 1st and search by either name, service area, or parish for the nonprofit organization to whom you would like donate. You can even browse all of the registered nonprofit organizations if you do not have a specific one in mind. your credit or debit card to donate to any nonprofit that has registered to participate. You can search for a nonprofit by name, service area, or parish. Donations begin at $10, payable by debit or credit card, and there is no limit to the maximum size or number of donations you would like to make. You may give to as many different nonprofit organizations as you would like! Your bank statement will read as “Greater New Orleans Foundation,” “GNOF,” or a similar abbreviation and is 100% tax deductible.

To help celebrate GiveNOLA Day, there will be the GiveNOLA Fest on May 1st from 5-8pm at The Circle: Center for Philanthropy, 919 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans. Entry is free and attendees will enjoy music from Soul Rebels and Irma Thomas. A portion of proceeds from food and drink will benefit the Lagniappe Fund, which is distributed proportionally to all participating nonprofits based on total amount raised. Attendees can also enter to win one of two sets of Southwest Airlines tickets!

If you would rather hang out with Saints punter Thomas Morstead, he will be celebrating GiveNOLA Day at Sal’s Sno-Balls in Metairie by handing out free snoballs to help raise money for What You Give Will Grow. What You Give Will Grow hopes to inspire action behind the idea that giving back makes a difference and to inspire others to give.

Here are some of our favorite nonprofit organizations to which you can donate. Remember, there are over 700 total, so find a cause you are interested in and be generous!

Al Copeland Foundation https://www.givenola.org/al-copeland-foundation
American Italian Renaissance Foundation https://www.givenola.org/american-italian-renaissance-foundation
Audubon Nature Institute https://www.givenola.org/AudubonNatureInstitute
Bayou Playhouse https://www.givenola.org/bayouplayhouse
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans https://www.givenola.org/ccano
The Devon Walker Foundation https://www.givenola.org/TheDevonWalkerFoundation
Geeks Empowering Extraordinary Kids https://www.givenola.org/geeksforkids
The Green Project https://www.givenola.org/green-project
KATRINA NATIONAL MEMORIAL MUSEUM https://www.givenola.org/KNMFM
Louisiana Books 2 Prisoners https://www.givenola.org/louisiana-books2prisoners
The National WWII Museum https://www.givenola.org/wwiimuseum
NOMA https://www.givenola.org/noma
The Posse Foundation https://www.givenola.org/the-posse-foundation
STEM NOLA https://www.givenola.org/stem-nola
WYES-TV https://www.givenola.org/wyes
Youth Empowerment Project https://www.givenola.org/youth-empowerment-project
Zeus’ Rescues https://www.givenola.org/zeus-rescues

For a list of all of the nonprofit organizations, click here.

If you have any questions, please call 504.598.4663 to speak with a Greater New Orleans Foundation staff member or email givenola@gnof.org.