Baltimore Comic-Con: Where Real Nerds Keep Artists in the Spotlight

by DiPaola Momma (HNIC) on September 10, 2014

Baltimore Comic Con

Sure,  you know who Stan Lee is. You watch the Big Bang Theory (almost as religiously as I do) and can spot Stan’s cameo in every incarnation of a Marvel hero movie to hit the silver screen. Maybe you even know who Matt Murdock is.

If you also happen to know who Bill Everett was, then you’d have felt right at home at Baltimore Comic-Con.

Baltimore Comic-Con honors the heart of the comic book culture in a way that seems to be fading under the glare of the lights and mainstream media coverage at the larger “cons.” Which made it the perfect first con for our kids. 

Watching my nine year old in the ballroom of the Baltimore Convention Center as he sat mesmerized, listening to Joel Hodgson recount the materials he used to build Tom Servo (a Leggs egg and a gumball machine, by the way) was priceless. The kid loves MST3K. Um, who doesn’t?

 Upon walking into the lobby and seeing a group of cosplayers dressed in awesome Attack on Titan garb, my fifteen year old daughter squealed, “Yes! My people!Dr. Who Comic illustrator Kelly Yates Baltimore Comic ConTotal win.

For this parent of daughters, the prodigious amount of Girl Power on display at this convention was reason enough to go back next year. From a fierce female Thor and her pal Miss America, to Marguerite Bennett, author of several story-lines in the DC Universe including: Batgirl, Lobo and Lois Lane, to the budding talent of Kate Allen who creates, writes and illustrates her own comics and graphic novels, the level of estrogen-laden awesome was immense and powerful.

Of course there were the typical conference staples: baubles, gadgets, gear, merch, on-site appraisals, and a phenomenal cosplay costume contest. Truly something for everyone – even things you never knew you wanted, but suddenly had to have!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for an event where I can cozy up to Patrick Stewart (make it so – yes, please) or Benedict CumberDragon, but the community that begot huge conventions of Nerdom – like International Comic-Con San Diego (which was still relatively easy to get tickets to when I went back in back in ’94) – began at the roots.  With the art, the artists, the storytellers.

The expo hall was packed with artists from nearly every fandom you can name. Daughters one and two are major Whovians. You think you know Dr. Who…?  Not like they do! Getting to meet and enjoy a photo op with Kelley Yates was an epic moment.  Taking home one of his Dr. Who illustrations -signed- was their own personal nirvana. Maryland’s own Frank Cho (Mighty Avengers, Hulk – Marvel Comics) did an unbelievable demo in which he created a veritable masterpiece for the live audience.  Seeing the passion in the artists and getting a glimpse of how they bring a world to life illuminated my children with the reality of possibility…and that was the meat of the experience.  The rest was great, but garnish.

Meeting illustrators and creators of original graphic novels, artists who’ve expanded universes that began decades ago…to me, THIS is the living, breathing heart of any Comic-Con. Keep the marquee names on the red carpet, let Bruckheimer promote his next movie on the talk-show circuit. Keep the “cons” about the artists, the creative cosplay of die hard fans, the amazing and world-changing creativity of the true nerds. 

My advice?  Plan your trip.  Start designing your costume.  Save your pennies for must have merch, sure…but know who created the fantasy world you like to visit.  Follow the artists, and make a point to see them in action, in the flesh.  Next year – go to Baltimore Comic-Con!

Baltimore Comic Con Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom 

 

 

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NFL, Cocktails & a $300 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

NFL, Cocktails & a $300 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

by DiPaola Momma (HNIC) on September 7, 2014

Changing leaves are great. Pumpkin spice lattes are awesome. Sending the kids back to school is … sanity saving.  The best thing about fall though is the return of NFL FOOTBALL! From the minute that the first fantasy draft books hit the news stand I start to hope again. Rivers‘ is going to stay healthy and on target. Mathews has at least one more season of greatness in him. We might actually have both a D and an offense this year. Hope springs anew with the first Sunday of the NFL season, the Superbowl is within reach. GO CHARGERS!  When it comes to game day though, I do enjoy a little bit of liquid faith in my team. Craft beers? I’m all about that. However, since 2014 is going to be OUR year, I thought I’d kick it off with a little celebratory cocktail. (also helpful for those inevitable crap calls from the Ref) I spent some time with my Mixology playbook, reached out to a team of experts on the interwebs and came up with two original recipes that pair perfectly with optimism and chicken wings! Cherry Bomb (to the End Zone)

Cherry Bomb (to the end zone)
Serves 1
Dark Cherry and Pomegranate Frozen Awesome, featuring PAMA pomegranate liqueur, black cherry rum, cherries.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 oz Cruzan Black Cherry Rum
  2. 1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  3. 1 oz Cherry Juice
  4. splash of Grenadine
  5. 1/4 cup Cherries (frozen)
  6. Ice
Instructions
  1. Place ice in blender (recommend 4-6 cubes). Add liquid ingredients, top with frozen cherries. Blend until smooth.
Notes
  1. Garnish with a frozen cherry skewer. A sprig of lavender adds an aromatic touch and brings out the tart sweetness of the pomegranate. To make a larger batch, simply adjust ingredients to serving size, keeping the number of frozen cherries to 1 cup or less to avoid changing the texture.
Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom http://chickennuggetsofwisdom.com/
  For those that like a little pig with their pigskin, we concocted an sweet, salty, aromatic option – because you’ve got to have options in your game plan. I’m a fan of a pass-option, and frankly since Ladainian left and took our kickass, two-back-run-game with him, it really is our best option. All American Apple Back Cocktail

All American Apple Back
Serves 2
What's more American that apple pie? Bacon! This cocktail pairs sweet and salty with an aromatic hit on the back end.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 oz Dr. McGillicuddy's Applie Pie
  2. 2 oz Bourbon
  3. 1 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
  4. 1/2 cup Tart Apple Sauce
  5. 1/4 cup Maple Simple Syrup
  6. 1 cup Martinelli's Sparking Apple Cider
  7. 2 slices Cooked Thick Cut Bacon
  8. 1 tsp Mulling Spices
  9. 1/4 tsp Fleur de Sel
  10. 1 Green Apple
  11. Ice
Instructions
  1. Place one cup of ice into a cocktail shaker. Add in liquids, and mulling spices. Shake rigorously. Rim highball glass with fleur de sel. Strain over mix over ice into highball glass. Garnish with bacon and green apple slice.
Notes
  1. A sage leaf makes a nice aromatic addition as a garnish.
Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom http://chickennuggetsofwisdom.com/
Do you have faith in a winning season for your team? Okay, maybe you’re not quite as delusional optimistic as I am… but YOU could still win. In fact I’m hoping you do… just not on the field against my Chargers. My sisterhood of traveling bloggers, Alpha Blogga Blogga Sisters has put together a great giveaway to get your season started off with a shot at that End Zone… YOU could win a $300 Amazon Gift Card, baby! Our sisterhood made of awesome is not only hosting this giveaway, the also have TONS of ideas to help you kick off your NFL season, from food to cocktails to love-of-the-game kvetching. PLUS endless EASY options for entering to win. See details below, and GOOD LUCK! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are some other great ideas, inspiration and gridiron chat from my ABB Sisterhood

 



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The International Spy Museum: Cloaks, Daggers and 007

September 4, 2014

  Across the street from the Old Patent Building in Washington, D.C.’s Penn Quarter neighborhood sits a building that looks rather unassuming. Don’t let the brick façade fool you into thinking that there is just another museum inside. You’d fall prey to a well-crafted cover. This is the International Spy Museum, and you’ve never seen anything […]

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Ten Minute Blueberry & Meyer Lemon Galettes

August 31, 2014

When life hands you lemons, toss some blueberries at them and stuff ‘em in a pie crust! Make my Ten Minute Blueberry & Meyer Lemon Galettes. Then open a bottle of wine and serve these fancy little bites of tart, sweet, awesome to friends and family. They’ll be all impressed with your gourmet-fancy-french-y-ness and have […]

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Dear 16 Year Old Me: It Could Be Worse

August 26, 2014

She came down the stairs this morning, golden hair flowing around her shoulders, wearing an adorable lace dress – and her Chuck’s (naturally). Her makeup was perfect in a way that mine never is, or was. Today is her first day as a Sophomore. There is something wonderful about 10th grade. You’re not that awkward, […]

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Smokey & Friends: Memories, Music and a Giveaway

August 22, 2014

My earliest memories involve my Dad with a guitar in his hand, sitting at a piano, or dancing around with Mom. Music has always been a part of my life – a friend. I grew up with the sounds of everything from 60’s protest songs, to classical compositions, dad’s original tunes to the soulful sounds […]

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Let The “Crazy” Ones Out

August 12, 2014

I believe that there exists a filament within each of us. Rooted in our hearts, it entwines itself throughout our being as it attaches like an umbilicus to our minds. The molecules within are dense and strong, yet pliable, having the ability to withstand the onslaught of all that makes us. In some of us […]

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Cocktail Time: Black Cherry Sloe Gin Fizz

August 4, 2014

A well-crafted cocktail can turn any evening into an event. Sometimes afternoons too. Just putting that out there.  Of late, I’ve been getting creative with mixology. The results of which have been, well… mixed. One of the more successful results (per my official taste-tester – the hubby) came in the form of a Black Cherry Sloe Gin Fizz. […]

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Visiting Annapolis, Maryland with Kids

July 14, 2014

From the hallowed halls of the United States Naval Academy, to the quaint City Dock, and dozens of points in between, Maryland’s charming and historic capital makes for a perfect day-trip (or longer) with the family.  U.S. Naval Academy Museum    This hidden gem of a museum welcomes over 100,000 visitors from around the globe […]

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You Don’t Have To Try

July 13, 2014

When I first heard Colbie Caillat’s new song, Try, on the radio last week I thought, “Well there is a good message in that song.” Then I moved on. Colbie isn’t exactly my genre of tunes, but I’d listen to it twice just for the message.  Then I started to see my Facebook stream flood […]

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