Posts Tagged ‘geek’

Phoenix Comicon 2014: Redux

Bumblebee!

Bumblebee!

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime

There was so much going on at Phoenix Comicon that I’m still recalling bits and pieces, and here are a few that I left out of the last post.

Good Mom

For example, I totally forgot to mention taking Transformers photos for my boys. They were extremely impressed that mommy got to hang out with Bumblebee and Optimus Prime. Because obviously I’m awesome like that.

Good Food

I know I mentioned Taco Guild and The Holy Taco Church, but have I mentioned all the good pizza I had while I was there? I love pizza to a wholly ridiculous degree. We split a Pizza Bianca at La Piazza Locale, which was amazing, and so was their bacon and spinach salad. Yes, I put bacon first. Because bacon, that’s why. Also there were roughly equal amounts of bacon and spinach in the bowl. It’s like they knew me or something.

Beth also took me to a place called New York Pizza Department. You don’t get much New York style pizza in any of the areas I’ve lived in (for those not following along, that’s the west coast and Texas) so that was kind of fun. Also very tasty. Can someone convince them to open up a location near me? Thanks.

Booth Bane!

Booth Bane! Don’t even think about messing with Chuck Wendig.

 Good People

I met a ton of awesome people over the course of the weekend. I’ve already listed all the crazy writers, but I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t mention Kristin Sullivan, who cheerfully contributed a great deal of snarky wit to the weekend. Hats off to you, Govneh! She also makes one impressive Booth Bane. Seriously, don’t mess with her.

I mean it.

You will get stomped.

 And More Author Batsu

So, to round out the ridiculousness, I discovered that I actually captured some video during the infamous Author Batsu Game. To put it into context, the contestants had just been asked to write the sexiest sentence they could think of. Meanwhile, Patrick Rothfuss was still chewing the napkin he decided to eat during the previous question:

Phoenix Comicon 2014: Holy Crazy Authors, Batman!

So, Phoenix Comicon. Let me explain–no, there is too much to explain. Let me sum up:

It was fantastacular.

(Which is fantastic and spectacular, for those who don’t speak portmanteau.)

My dear friend, author Beth Cato, is anxiously awaiting the release of her debut novel, The Clockwork Dagger, on September 16, 2014. In the meantime, she had the brilliant idea of attending Phoenix Comicon to promote it–when she asked me to come along, how could I say no?

Sam Sykes, molester of bearded men. Not that Chuck Wendig seems to mind.

So, this happened. I didn’t ask.

That’s a trick question, as obviously I couldn’t. So I packed up my comfortable shoes, my steampunk gear, and my inner glee for all things geek and flew my giddy little self out to Phoenix, AZ.

Most of the fun I had wouldn’t make sense if you weren’t there, so I’m just going to hit the highlights here. Thursday started with a trip to the local art museum to appreciate some culture (jazz hands!). The jazz hands, you see, are how we differentiate culture from the pop culture we planned to indulge in for the rest of the weekend. Or something. Just go with it.

Afterward, we picked up some passengers and headed off to an excellent meal at Taco Guild, along with many members of the Holy Taco Church: Kevin Hearne, Chuck Wendig, Delilah S. Dawson, Sam Sykes, Leanna Renee Hieber, Brian McLellan, Stephen Blackmoore, Jason Hough, Django Wexler, and Wesley Chu–as well as not-actually-official-members-but-happy-to-eat-tacos-anyway folks like Myke Cole, Ty Franck, Priscilla Spencer, Jamie Wyman, and Olivia Kelly. Apologies if I missed anyone! If you think that sounds like a ton of people, you’re right. And yes, we took up half the restaurant. Many tacos and drinks were consumed, inappropriate jokes were made, much fun was had by all. Sam apparently enjoys a very affectionate relationship with other men’s beards. Beth may or may not have challenged Wes to a push-up contest. There was also an incident with a daisy-wheeled Volkswagen Beetle which lead to a new driving term.

Pulling a Daisy: Turning right from the center lane regardless of cars traveling forward in the right lane.

On the way back to the hotel, Olivia taught everyone in our car the proper pronunciation of “challah” and inadvertently signed herself up for a new greeting for the rest of the weekend.

Friday Beth and I split our time between casing the joint checking out the exhibitor hall and attending literary track panels. I picked up as many books as I thought I could pack back home (only a tiny fraction of what I wanted). We escaped before shenanigans got underway that night, so I sadly have no incriminating photos to share.

Saturday kicked off with a panel on speculative poetry that was entertaining but oddly confrontational (odd audience member is odd). Then we learned about the secret passages of the Phoenix Convention Center. That was where Beth and I met up with the always-entertaining Jaye Wells, and the three of us came face to face with Adam West and Julie Newmar as we exited one of the hidden elevators.

Biggest celebrity sighting at PHXCC was when I got off an elevator and Adam West and Julie Newmar were standing there with Chewbacca.

— Jaye Wells (@jayewells) June 9, 2014

After that we were all off to the ridiculously-named “Fantasy That Defies Description” panel, which would have made for a really short discussion had it been accurate. Thankfully the members of the panel were all hilarious and managed to point out the difference between defying description and defying the artificial construct of genre.

This panel, however, defies description. Left to Right: Django Wexler, Zachary Jernigan, Brian T. McClellan, Beth Cato, Myke Cole, Jaye Wells

This panel, however, defies description.
Left to Right: Django Wexler, Zachary Jernigan, Brian T. McClellan, Beth Cato, Myke Cole, Jaye Wells

Now, realize that we started the day with two goals: 1) Get Beth to both her panels on time, and 2) Stalk Nathan Fillion. Not in a creepy face-wearing kind of way. I just mean that we planned to show up early for his spotlight to camp some seats and didn’t care if we missed other cool panels in the meantime.

However, we also had to eat. I get hangry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m hangry. So, with saving time in mind, we made good use of the hidden hallways (catching a few minutes of Bruce Campbell’s spotlight from backstage) and made a quick round of author alley to invite some people out for lunch. The adorable Lela Gwenn joined us for delicious pizza at La Piazza Locale a few blocks from the convention center, which was great fun but a tactical error: By the time we returned, staff members were already turning people away from the ballroom where Nathan Fillion would be appearing an hour later. Silly us. Apparently there had been people camping the ballroom from the time the con opened on Saturday, waiting to see him.

Scalzi feeding Rothfuss salsa. Like you do.

Scalzi feeding Rothfuss salsa. Like you do.
Leanna is not amused.

Which brings us to Author Batsu.

Clearly, when you’ve been denied Nathan Fillion, you go watch a bunch of authors torture each other for fun. This game was a Sam Sykes brainchild, and as such, guaranteed to be weird, funny, and potentially dangerous. It exceeded everyone’s expectations. There was only one rule: No matter what kind of goofiness Sam, the audience, and the other authors get up to, Don’t Laugh. There was also only one punishment: Taking a shot of salsa.

Easier said than done. Over the course of the game we discovered that Patrick Rothfuss makes both a damn fine wizard and a decent goat; Myke Cole has no tolerance for salsa; John Scalzi is amused by everything; and Aprilynn Pike is amused by nothing, ever. Delilah S. Dawson and Leanna Renee Hieber also managed to stay stone-faced for much of the proceedings, proving that they are either inherently less humorous (not bloody likely) or that women are just generally better at this sort of thing. Which doesn’t explain how Chuck Wendig managed to escape punishment for so much of the game. I suspect that his beard may have something to do with it, though that rumor has been neither confirmed nor denied.

We finished up both the night and our Phoenix Comicon experience with the Drinks with Authors party. There were themed drinks, book giveaways, and as promised, lots of authors. Beth seemed sort of shocked when people wanted to stop and talk with her, until I pointed out that she is also an author. Good times. Now, since I really need about a week’s worth of naps and a foot massage, I’ll wrap this up. Just one last photo. No context for you!

And then this happened.

And then this happened.