i’ve got kitty pryde – and nightcrawler, too. waiting there for me. yes i do. i do.

Trillions of nerds, super fans, cosplayers, pop culture junkies, LARPists, geeks, toy enthusiasts, comic lovers, and others generally seeking to avoid human contact by befriending televisions, fictional characters, and inanimate objects ventured out of their garages and into the open arms of San Diego Comic Con 2012. Okay, so, maybe there weren’t trillions, but until you’ve waited in a 6 hour line, please don’t judge my need to exaggerate for effect. (Oh, and P.S. – I’m back, bitches. Pretend like ya missed me.)

The curious thing about Comic Con is, that by any amount of reasonable logic (see above), it should be a cesspool of terrible human to human interactions. It should be a whole lot of awkward, awful exchanges born solely out of necessity.

“Hey, Panthro – you’re stepping on my foot. Actually, you’ve been stepping on it for the last 20 minutes. I figured I would just continue to endure, but I have to go to the bathroom.”

“No cuts, no buts, no coconuts, buddy. If you really loved Firefly, you would have gotten here last night like I did.”

“Yes, this is the line to get into the line to get into the line for Hall H.”

However, it’s not like that at all. I mean, sure, you have your occasional encounter with the wild-eyed socially inept: “Oooooh, you would like one of the free Last Airbender posters on the display case above my head? You don’t have to shove or crush me to get it. Just say excuse me . . . then I will gladly move out of your way while explaining to you how lame The Last Airbender is.” Seriously, of all the things to get pushy about; IRON MAN himself just made an appearance a few feet away. (See how I used Robert Downey Jr. to provide perspective? Only at Comic Con.)

The actual worst interaction of the entire experience took place on the last train back up to Carlsbad on Friday night and involved guys coming from the bar, not the convention center. So, my point here is that my SDCC experience was full of awesome interactions with awesome people who were all just as jazzed as I was to share in the magic.

Alright, admittedly, I am a little rusty with the words after such a lengthy hiatus. In lieu of more rusty words, I think I’ll let pictures do most of the talking for the rest of the post (you’re welcome). Some of the pics are mine, but some are not. The excitement and visual overload of the Con caused me to take pictures in a way that would not even be considered advanced for a hyena. Without further ado, here are some of the highlights.

More costumes than you can shake a stick at.

How unbelievably happy are Wolverine and Gambit here? Props to Psylocke for killin’ it.

And while we’re talking X-Men…

The best part about Scarecrow’s costume was that it interfered with his vision. I saw him walk into the girls’ bathroom.

Closest I got to the Firefly panel. Literally – this was in line outside the Ballroom 20 doors.

Who knew? Jayne fandom knows no bounds.

Totes ugly.

And then there was this guy.

. . . and this Thing.

You can be one, too!! Yeah, no one knew who we were . . . probably because Planeteer clothes are our regular clothes. WIND!

I hope he didn’t have to drink all that swill. Photo credit: http://fuckyeahcomiccon.tumblr.com/

Absolutely does not need a caption. Photo credit: http://fuckyeahcomiccon.tumblr.com/


At this point, I feel like I need to recognize two very special costumes. When there is such an abundance to choose from, it can be difficult to distinguish the true leaders of the pack. Actually, it really wasn’t that hard.

Best kid costume ever. Best kid ever. If my own kids are half this cool, I won’t have to hit them very much. Photo credit: http://fuckyeahcomiccon.tumblr.com/

Supremely clever. So clever, in fact, that my short-circuited brain made me yell, “Deadpool of mi5e!!!” before steam came out of my ears. Photo credit: http://fuckyeahcomiccon.tumblr.com/

Hey, did you know that trying to format photos on this blog is like trying to herd kittens?? Aaaaanyway, there are a few more things/people that/who deserve tribute before I can close out the Comic Con chapter.

The King of Con

I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Joss Whedon a few years back in a much smaller venue (Wesleyan University – what up, M-town?). He was no different in that setting than in this one. No matter where he is, no matter how many people are staring at him (about 4,500 at the time of this picture), he remains the same witty, humble, radical dude. I salute you, Mr. Whedon.

The King of Meth

If you don’t watch Breaking Bad, then I probably don’t like you. Don’t worry, I will continue to “tolerate” you. Just understand that if we are ever in a situation where I am clutching both your hand and Brian Cranston’s hand as the two of you dangle off of a cliff, you’re going to die.

The Queens of Con

What a treat this panel of intelligent women was. Didn’t hurt that Kristin came out in the Walmart sweatshirt and that Sarah referenced Prison Break. Oh, and Lucy Lawless was an unannounced guest. I wish I’d recorded the reaction the girl in front of me had when Lucy walked on stage. I was pretty sure the girl was giving birth and began to boil some water.

The Grand Finale

If there was a better way to close out my Comic Con experience than Sons of Anarchy, I don’t know it. Remember what I said about the whole cliff dangling thing and Brian Cranston? Same goes for the competition between you and any one of these cast members (hell, I’ll even throw Sutter in there). Thirty seconds of the trailer for season 5 was blacked out for content. Epic.

And one more thing (because there is always an additional scene after the credits roll) . . .

A Comic Con sized thank you to this gentleman, who offered me a free pedi-cab ride from the train station on the last day simply because I smiled and responded to him politely. Kindness, people, it makes the world go round!


clip show

Hey! Who remembers clip shows?? Maybe I shouldn’t be asking that question like clip shows are a thing of the past. I just realized that I haven’t watched a sitcom since Friends. For all I know, clip shows could be alive and kicking, just as relevant (ha, I certainly don’t mean relevant) as they were in the 90’s.

Back in my day, you could smell a clip show from a mile away. Danny Tanner would gather everyone around the kitchen table, the Seaver clan would hunker down on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, and there would be some trumped-up reason for everyone to start reminiscing. Cue the flashbacks, anecdotes, and lowered production costs.

This is really my over-complicated way of telling you that what follows will be a montage of clips designed to catch you up on what’s been going on out here in the land of sunshine and assholes. While this post differs from traditional clip shows in that it will not be a collection of stuff that I have already shared in this blog, I am willing to ignore that if you are.

Now, imagine me, staring off into space as the screen gets progressively more fuzzy until clearing on a new scene . . .

Remember the time when: I actually won that writing contest on Breaking Up to A Beat.

I know, right?!? Believe me, no one was more surprised than me (except maybe the other writers in the contest). I can’t thank everyone enough for voting – because of you guys I am now the proud owner of a $25.00 Amazon gift card. (Well, I *used* to be the proud owner of an Amazon gift card. Now, I am the proud owner of one “Girl on Fire” t-shirt . . . which I wear while running around with a rubber band, launching pencils at Nate and screaming, “May the odds be ever in YOUR favor, bitch!!!!!”)

Remember the time when: I saw The Hunger Games three times (and counting) in the theater.

I have this thing with even numbers; so after seeing it twice, I pretty much had to see it again.

Katniss for freakin' President.

Remember the time when: I got a job.

A real one. That pays dollars.

I didn’t know it was picture day. If I had, I might have made some different styling choices before heading out to the district office that afternoon. I also probably would not have chosen to have the light hit my nose that way.

Remember the time when: I bought the most delightful lip balm in all the land.

photo credit: Long Winter Farm

I know I am prone to exaggeration (let’s call it hyperbole, sounds less crazy that way), but I really don’t think I have ever been this pleased with a lip product. For the record, a neon narwhal smells delicious. And so does everything else in this shop! I also have a couple perfume oils that are equally as awesome. Buy things, you won’t regret it: Long Winter Farm.

Remember the time when: I yelled at a 12 year old boy.

To be fair, he was harassing a bird. This bird actually:

I wish I didn’t have to yell at the kid, really I do. I wish his parents (seated a few feet away) gave enough of a shit to teach their kid how to treat other living things. Oh, but never fear, crappy parents and punk-ass kids, the bird-crusader is here to tell you exactly what you are doing wrong and why you should never do it again. The boy got an earful (and then hid behind a display of stuffed animal snakes . . . coward), but the parents were spared the lecture I was planning to give them on the connection between animal cruelty and future serial killers. My mom thought that would be going to far.

Remember the time when: My mom came to visit, and we held a baby panda!

pay no attention to the levitating camera at the bottom of the frame. this picture is 100% legit.

Wonders never cease out here. I tried to make sure there were as many “wonders” as possible during my mom’s visit in a desperate attempt to convince her that moving to California would be a good idea. I think I had almost persuaded her when she heard the sound that our toilet makes when it flushes (kind of like a dying T-Rex meets a giant’s stomach after too many beans). Back to the drawing board.

Remember the time when: Kira came to visit!

It was a glorious time, full of TOMS, Mexican food, and tattoos. However, I have no photographic proof that she was really here (other than a Kira-like shadow eclipsing a lizard on a rock) . . . so maybe I imagined the whole thing.

Remember the time when: it was way past the time for the clip show to end.

So, here’s the part with the hearty laughter, warm smiles, concluding music, and return to the original scene. I hope you all have learned whatever lesson you were supposed to have gleaned from this dog and pony show. Please don’t ask me what that lesson was supposed to be; you’ll likely just get a rant about the proper treatment of peacocks.

the heathers

What is your damage, Heather? - image via guardian.co.uk

What better day than Oscar day for a movie-themed post (kind of)! I jumped out of bed this morning, threw open the window, took a deep breath, and sang out (towards THE FIVE), “it’s Oscar Daaaaayyyyyy!!” The red carpet interviews, the dresses, what I just saw Sacha Baron Cohen do to Ryan Seacrest, the awkward hosting/speeches – I love it all! I am currently relishing the fact that award shows air nice and early out here on the left coast. No more battling with my eyelids until the final award is given. No more nodding off during a commercial and coming to just after the best actress Oscar winner has walked off the stage. And (this one might actually be unfortunate) no longer using the best song performances as opportunities to power nap. (Let the record show that I would never power nap during “It’s Hard Out There For a Pimp,” the best song ever to win an Oscar . . . take that Celine Dion.)

As usual, I have gone off the course here. Refocusing . . .

I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure I have wandered through that little door behind the filing cabinet at LesterCorp (it’s on floor 7.5 if you are having trouble locating it). Instead of finding myself behind the soulful eyes of John Malkovich, however, I’ve found myself in a Heather-centric recreation of the infamous scene where Malkovich himself ends up inside the portal. Perhaps I am exaggerating slightly (me? exaggerate?? never). It’s not as though I am surrounded by people of all shapes and sizes sporting my head and speaking to one another in a little language I will call Heatherish. But that being said, everywhere I turn (on reality TV), nothing but Heathers.

Being John Malkovich

Just in case you had no idea what I just spent the last paragraph referencing. For shame, by the way.

Too many Heathers to ignore:

Heather Sinn – Ink Master (Spike)

The Heather with, by far, the coolest last name. I haven’t done my post-wedding legal name change yet and am now considering the plethora of options open to me. I will entertain all suggestions that make me sound like a bad ass.

Heather Henry – Face Off (SyFy)

SyFy shows are not good. Don’t argue with me by naming the one or two shows over the years that have not blown. Usually, Ghost Hunters is the only reason SyFy ends up in my channel rotation (Can you believe Grant’s decision to leave?!? For real, I teared up.), but Face Off is actually pretty entertaining. It’s all monsters and creepy things. Seriously, it is worth checking out.

Heather Macia & Heather Grubb – Next Great Baker (TLC)

The show with so many freakin’ Heathers that they had to resort to using last initials.

Heather Dubrow – The Real Housewives of Orange County (Bravo)

Get this: she is new to the show this season, she is a brunette, and she is originally from the east coast. Was there an open casting call that I missed??

As you can see, the world of (questionable) entertainment is just oozing with Heathers. This leads me to the only logical conclusion: my 15 minutes of fame MUST be just around the corner. The universe has never spoken so loudly and so clearly.

I’ll leave you with my favorite clip from one of the greatest films to ever grace the silver screen. For reasons I cannot begin to fathom, this film was not an Oscar winner. Major snub. It’s your turn, Heather.

there’s no bathroom, and there is no sink. the water out of the tap is very hard to drink.

That’s right. Tomorrow. Tomorrow (2/13)  is THE day to tune into Breaking Up To A Beat for an original short piece of fiction by everyone’s favorite blogger. I think it’s probably necessary that I specify that I mean me.

On a side note (there is always a side note), I’m not sure it’s common knowledge that the tap water in San Diego is legitimately hard to drink. It tastes like a cross between an old puddle near a dumpster and chlorinated sour milk. Now, I did grow up in Newington, CT, home of the most delicious water to ever spring forth from a tap. However, I don’t think that my distaste for SoCal water is a form of water elitism. They can hardly keep Brita pitchers on the shelf at Target.

English: Drop of water falling into a glass of...

Image via Wikipedia

tell me baby, what’s your story?

The Red Hot Chili Peppers band members in 2000...

Image via Wikipedia

Gah, I know. Second post in a row with a RHCP title. Can I blame California?? The Red Hot Chili Peppers must hold some sort of record for the most references to the Golden State . . . if not in song/album titles, certainly within the lyrics. With California monopolizing all levels of my consciousness, it only makes sense that I would arrive at RHCP music while using song-related free association (my favorite school bus game of yesteryear btw) to title my posts.

I guess it’s not entirely fair for me to blame California (for this anyway – if you would like a list of the other things I am currently blaming on CA, just ask). My thing for the Red Hot Chili Peppers didn’t start when I moved here . . . nor did it start when Anthony Keidis and Dave Navarro made out in that video (H-O-T). It actually started in 5th grade when I insisted on singing Under The Bridge to an audience of parents at some girl scout event. Yes, that really happened, and nothing I can say right now can possibly encapsulate how monumentally amazing it is that a moment like that actually occurred.

Want more examples? Oh good!! Because I have one more. I also walked down the aisle to a Red Hot Chili Peppers song (an orchestrated version of Soul to Squeeze). *Sigh* I am such a romantic.

Well, I sure am glad I just spent all that time establishing my feelings about something that has nothing to do with the reason I started writing today. My intention for this post is to announce my participation in a very special guest blogging opportunity set up by talented writer and all-around keen dude, Tim Stevens. I was going to explain the particulars, but since I wasted a lot of writing energy on the Red Hot Chili Peppers thing, I will instead direct you to the blog where Tim does a better job of explaining it than I would have anyway (he wasn’t the NHS class of ’99 El Presidente for nothing, folks).

Breaking Up to A Beat <—– click it or ticket

I will admit to being a little nervous here stepping outside my comfort zone. (Do I even have one of those? I am almost always feeling at least slightly awkward.) I’m fairly certain that I have not touched this subject matter since I was an angsty teen, and I’m really not trying to do the angsty teen thing . . . right now. In the end though, I was intrigued by the concept, and the idea of doing something a bit different than the usual for me was the clincher. I encourage everyone to follow along for the month of February, and then vote for your favorite at the end. Your favorite doesn’t have to be my piece, but it would be a lot cooler if it was.

I will post again once I know the date that my story will appear. Then my loyal readership can feel free to flock to the website in droves, overwhelming the server with sheer numbers and also with brute force (because that’s just how my readers roll).

with the birds i’ll share this lonely view

All you have to do to get a job in San Diego County is agree not to get paid for it.

This past Friday, I discovered bird heaven. I am using the word “discovered” in the same way that it is applied to Christopher Columbus. Like, I am positive that a decent amount of people already know of this bird heaven’s existence and have spent a lot of time there, making me in no way the first to encounter its awesomeness. That being said, I still expect some sort of fanfare or a national holiday in response to my “discovery.”

I claim this new land in the name of Rainbow Brite (who comissioned my arduous journey).

Batiquitos Lagoon is a birder’s paradise (not to be confused with a Gangsta’s Paradise . . . because I see how one could have confused the two) due largely to the fact that it is a perfect storm of vegetation and geology, attracting waterfowl, shore birds, birds of prey, and perching birds. Swoon!

While on my hike, I spent a lot of time internally squealing with delight over all the little birdlets hopping around in the brush. The key was to remain as still and as silent as possible (hence the internal squeal). If I was able to do that for just a few beats, sparrows, finches, and phoebes would peak out of their hiding spots and dart through the air and over the path. Once they were out and about, I spoke to them in a voice I generally reserve for psych patients.

Crazy bird lady status: Cemented.

The only interrupting factors during my own personal bird parade were joggers. Just as I was sure I was about to experience my Snow White moment, complete with birds landing lightly on my out-stretched arms, a runner would bolt around the corner and scare everything back into concealment.

I was so completely happy on this lagoon-y slice of land, that I decided I needed to spend more time there. It is no secret that adjusting to the unemployed life out here has been pretty isolating. Nate works 3 (and sometimes 4) jobs to support his coaching habit, and it leaves me with a LOT of alone time. Since Batiquitos brought me some reprieve from my shit spiral, I figured I would see how I could get involved. I emailed about volunteering to be a docent and have already heard back! Real jobs are for the birds!!


Woah there, crazypants! What’s with the giant, intimidating capital letters!?! Are you shouting? Are you angry?? Did you forget what the button marked “Caps Lock” does??? *

Observant readers will note that I never use uppercase letters in the titles to my blog posts even though, grammatically, I should. There is just something so visually appealing and aesthetically pleasing about lowercase letters. They’re so small and uniform and delicious . . . I will spare you my love letter to the fairer case (as well as the one I have in the works about the Garamond font) because that is not what this post is about. Really, I just need you to know that I do not take the use of capital letters lightly. If I have made the decision to use all caps, you better believe there is a reason.

5. An Interstate highway on-ramp sign. Scott R...

Image via Wikipedia

Today, that reason is THE FIVE (and yes, I am going to keep referring to it like that throughout the post). THE FIVE is what cool kids ’round these parts call Interstate 5, the massive, parallel-to-the-Pacific-running highway that starts just south of the border (Mexico, pronounced MEH-hee-co) and ends just north of the border (Canada, pronounced EH?). That’s 1381.29 miles, folks – and no, I did not know that off the top of my head. While THE FIVE’s span is impressive, what is more impressive is the amount of vehicles that utilize the highway on a daily basis. I recently read a statistic that the north county corridor (referring only to the section of I-5 that runs through Northern San Diego County) is traveled by 70,000 vehicles A DAY (see what I did again there with the capital letters). I used to live in East Hampton, Connecticut; I don’t think Route 66 saw 70,000 vehicles in a year.

Now, hopefully you are beginning to see why THE FIVE deserves its towering stature. It’s not just a highway – it’s an omnipresent entity, an enigma wrapped in an exhaust cloud, a beast. You know how the road in Cormac McCarthy‘s The Road is more like a character than a setting? Yeah, it’s like that.

As is such, THE FIVE and I have a relationship. I should mention that THE FIVE and I live together. It’s kind of a big deal out here to live west of THE FIVE. In the area of Carlsbad where I dwell, it means you live, at most, 0.85 miles from the beach. For those of us not blessed with trust funds (thanks a lot, Mom and Dad) or six-figure salaries (thanks a lot, art therapy), it means that you live just west of THE FIVE. Some days, THE FIVE is a really bad roommate, loud and emitting toxic fumes. Other times, THE FIVE can be a real pal, drowning out your neighbor’s maximum volume TV and scaring away girl scouts.

The most important part of our interaction, however, is governed by fear. THE FIVE rules by intimidation, and I am definitely the beta in our relationship’s dominance hierarchy. I would like to say that my first experience driving on this roadway was atypical, but I think I know better now. THE FIVE will destroy you if you fall into that kind of complacent thinking. I was driving southbound to La Jolla when I noticed a pick-up truck entering the highway via a somewhat curvacious highway on-ramp. Just as my vehicle moved to parallel with this vehicle, the pick-up lost control, smashed into the sidewall, and flipped into the air, finally landing behind me on its roof. Welcome to THE FIVE, bitches.

Similar to Stockholm Syndrome, I do sympathize with THE FIVE. It’s not THE FIVE’s fault that the drivers in California are bananas. There are way too many people in way more of a rush than anyone needs to be. Californians accelerate as though they are trying to break the sound barrier. There is no gradual, gas-tank conscious build up of speed. The moment they turn their white, luxury SUV onto the highway ramp, they expect to be at highway speed (highway speed, by the way, has nothing to do with the speed limit). What this means for me is a long line of irate looking tan people trying to figure out how best to leave the Focus in their dust while I attempt to coax it above 60. I guess I just thought that Southern Californians would be a bit more relaxed as drivers than they actually are. Like, where exactly are you hurrying off to at 11:30 am on a weekday? Will the beach not be sunny again tomorrow??

So, Nate and I have a deal worked out. I drive if we are staying local and not spending too much time on the highway. He drives if we will be doing the majority of our driving on THE FIVE. While he drives, I attempt not to hyperventilate or scream when I see brake lights. Nate appreciates my efforts, but would probably prefer that I take my anxiety and hang out in the trunk. Some might say that I am avoiding, letting fear run my life, and in doing so, I am missing out on what could be a positive and meaningful relationship with THE FIVE. To those people I say, eat shit.

* In case you’re still plagued with wonder regarding those questions in the first paragraph that I asked myself while pretending to be you: 1.) Nope, singing.  2.) Always.  3.) No, but I honestly have no idea what F1 – F12 are good for.

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