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.

Comic Con-ing: Pensacon 2018

If you have read our recent previous posts, you know that we had our first child on the Thursday before Pensacon; needless to say, we could not personally attend! Thankfully, we have a wonderful friend who went in our stead. Here is his great recap below:

Hello Nola Nerd Couple readers!  I had the honor of filling in for the Nola Nerd Couple this year at Pensacon 2018 due to a new arrival, Nola Nerd Baby. So once I heard I would be heading to Pensacon, I immediately downloaded the Pensacon 2018 app on my phone to see all the things I was in store for.  I arrived early to beat the Friday crowd to get a feel for this year’s layout and I was impressed how well the limited space was utilized.  As Pensacon regulars know, the Pensacola Bay Center has a very unique floor plan, which I’m sure leads to many challenges for the Pensacon staff, but they successfully pulled off another great year.

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Comic Con-ing: Megacon – First Look

Megacon in Orlando, FL is over Memorial Weekend and we will be attending! This will be Nola Nerd Baby’s first convention, so we are excited to dress her in some baby cosplay and have her see the sights and sounds that make comic conventions so much fun. We love going to Megacon and we just know our daughter will love it as well! Let us look at some of the offerings at this year’s con.

The guest list this year is fantastic. Jeff Goldblum! Besides portraying The Grandmaster in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he is the subject of that awesome meme from Jurassic Park! Not to mention, has the famous FaceBook page, The Same Photo of Jeff Goldblum Every Day. If you are into horror, like my husband, you will remember him from The Fly. He is a legend and I am stoked to be able to meet him and add him to my autograph collection! My sister and I are also doing a photo op, because, let’s face it, it is Jeff Goldblum. Jeff is appearing Saturday only.

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The amazing Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.

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NOLA-ing: NOLA Baby Firsts

If you follow cute New Orleans-centric stores like Fleurty Girl and NOLA Gifts and Decor, you might have seen the adorable NOLA Baby Firsts print by local artist Allie Behan. I ogled over this print on FaceBook, thinking that it would be a perfect keepsake to commemorate our daughter’s first NOLA experiences. From going to the zoo for the first time to eating her first crawfish or snoball, this print fits into our interests and lifestyle perfectly. Unfortunately, when I visited two different Fleurty Girl stores, they were sold out out of this popular print (they have since restocked). I was bummed, but figured I could wait; after all, it is not like she can do everything on the print yet.

Nola baby firsts

Image courtesy of Fleurty Girl.

A few days later at work, a coworker of ours gave us gift for our daughter. Happily, it was the NOLA Baby Firsts print! I think I squealed with delight when I saw it. It is so sweet to have such marvelous people in our daughter’s life. We are definitely blessed and started planning out when to start accomplishing some of these firsts. We then picked which first we thought we would accomplish last. My husband guessed her first Saints game since we have only ever been to one and that was during the preseason. I picked her first streetcar ride since in all my time living in and around New Orleans, I have never ridden the streetcar! Though maybe we will purposely ride one now, just to make sure we fulfill all of the firsts.

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Introducing: Nola Nerd Baby – Part 3: Birth and Postpartum

Click here to read part one – conception.

Click here to read part two – pregnancy.

Our baby was due on March 9th, 2018. Everyone says that first babies tend to stay in longer, so I hoped that I would give birth on 3/11. 311 is one of my favorite bands and I celebrate 311 Day every year (usually by going to their concert in New Orleans, but this year it was in Las Vegas and I was about to give birth), so having a 311 baby sounded awesome. I do not plan on having another child so this was my one shot! I joked that I would just cross my legs until the eleventh so I could have my 311 baby.

During January, I started having doctor’s appointments every other week to every week. And as the weeks went on, my blood pressure started getting higher and higher. I started monitoring it at home as well, and I would routinely get readings in the 150s/90s. Although I did not feel bad, my doctor started to worry about it. High blood pressure is the number one sign of preeclampsia and it can be fatal to the mother and the baby. Other risks include seizures, organ damage, HELLP syndrome, and placental abruption. The hospital conducted two non stress tests to make sure everything was okay with the baby (which it was), but my doctor warned me to be prepared to have an early delivery. When I went to my appointment on February 19th, my doctor told me I should come the next day to be admitted to the hospital to prepare to to have my baby. Thanks, blood pressure. So much for my 311 baby!

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NOLA-ing: New Orleans Tricentennial festivities

This year is a big one for New Orleans, as it officially marks the Tricentennial. The Big Easy’s 300th birthday is a year long celebration and this week has some extra-special happenings. We hope to attend a few of these occurrences over the course of the weekend.

NOLA Navy Week: The Tall Ships are coming! To help celebrate the Tricentennial, NOLA Navy Week is bringing up tall ships from not just the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, but from Great Britain and Canada as well.  VIP FastPass tickets available here. Here’s a schedule below of how to see them.

Thursday, April 19
12:00pm Tall ships arrive into downtown New Orleans. All times approximate. Ships will dock at Woldenberg Riverfront Park at Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. (No public boarding day on day of arrival.
Friday, April 20
10:00am – 12:00pm Pre-arranged school and social groups
12:00pm – 5:00pm Tall ships open to the public. Admission is free.
Saturday, April 21
10:00am – 12:00pm Pre-arranged school and social groups
12:00pm – 5:00pm Tall ships open to the public. Admission is free.
Sunday, April 22
10:00am – 5:00pm Tall ships open to the public. Admission is free.
Saturday, April 21
6:45pm – 12:00am Tall Ships® Tricentennial Gala – Tall Ships celebrate NOLA’s 300th! On-deck and dock-side black-tie gala in Woldenberg Park. Tickets include drinks, food, dancing and fireworks over the River. Download the Gala invitation (PDF)
Monday, April 23
9:00am Tall ships depart New Orleans. Please note: Navy ships maintain a separate schedule. Visit: NOLA Navy Week for more information.

Tricentennial Dog Parade: The Saints’ mascot Gumbo will lead those “lucky dogs” that call New Orleans home down the streets around City Bark on Sunday, April 22. If you want your dog to participate, check-in is at 10am and the parade starts at 11am. There is also a costume contest for your cute pooch. Registration is $40/dog or $45/dog on site. According to the website:

Dress your dogs up to compete in the following costume contest categories: Best NOLA-centric Attire, Most “Fest”ive Pet, Funniest Costume, and Best Pet Duo (dog and owner). Prizes include tickets to Zoo-to-Do, a membership to NOLA City Bark, a $100 gift certificate to Metairie Small Animal Hospital, a 5-day pass to Dogtopia, a gift basket from Magazine Street Animal Clinic and more.

Tricentennial Citywide Family Reunion: On Sunday, April 22, a celebration of jazz music will occur with music, food, and a nighttime fireworks display at 9pm at City Park’s Big Lake at 9 p.m. In Armstrong Park, there will be performances by Mia Borders, Ivan Neville and Friends, Kermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers and other local acts. A jazz stage in Congo Square (starting at 2 p.m.) will feature Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Patti Austin, Ledisi and other guests. Guests are welcome to bring their own food, drinks, blankets, and chairs to enjoy the festivities. If you cannot make it, they are filming the performances to be shown online as part of International Jazz Day on April 30.

If these festivities weren’t exciting enough, there is also Kenner’s Italian Heritage Festival.

Located at: 400 Blk of Williams Blvd. (from the River to the railroad tracks)

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With so many activities going on during this beautiful weekend, there is no reason to stay indoors!