Saturday, April 26, 2008

My First Comic Con

I'm no longer a Comic Con virgin. WOW! Definitely different from the Auto Show and business conventions. I went to all three days of the NY Comic Con held at Jacob Javits Convention Center, New York City from Friday, April 18 to Sunday, April 20, 2008.

After unplanned work *GRRRRR*, I headed into the city. I walked right in after the Con was opened to the general public for an hour and a half -- got my badge holder and lanyard. I checked out some of the booths as I went to find Sherrilyn Kenyon's booth (1907). It was the primary reason I was attending the Con -- see the Author Goddess. Sherri had a LINE. So I picked up a couple of the freebie book, peruse the store (yes, I bought stuff), and waited off to the side until I could give Sherri a "HI" and get a hug. She always give great hugs to fans she gets to know :). Sherri saw my Daimon Biting T-Shirt from K*Con 2007 and handed me "Under the Protection Acheron" button. Off I went to run errands for my bro and co-worker. For my bro, I went to see Sean "Cheeks" Calloway to buy his 2 sketchbooks. Cheeks was nice enough to draw Thor and Superman and autograph the books. Now I'm broke and have to hunt down an ATM machine *If you plan on attending one of these type of Cons, bring lots of cash. Rare do you find plastic accepted* I got majority of what Chris, co-worker, wants. Still got two more days to hunt for his stuff. Back to Sherri's booth I went. I introduced myself to the other Sheri who was manning AG's booth. I got put to work handing out freebie book, bags and restocking the other freebies (buttons, postcards, bumper stickers, bookmarks). Ed was taking care of the storefront. When the public was finally shooed out, I hung around to help clean up, restock what we can for tomoorow and discussed additional signage. AG's hubby and kid and Alethea Kontis finally arrived. I met them, got some DH wear for tomorrow and headed home. I worked on signage before heading off to bed.

I met up with my bro to hand over the sketchbooks and hitch a ride into the city. I could always count on my bro for a ride. He dropped me off 10 minutes before the Con opened. Whoa, what a line to get in. I got to be in a line that was about 15 people wide and about two blocks long. It took me 40 minutes to get into the Exhibition Hall. What a difference from yesterday! They had Star Wars characters to entertain the masses as we slowly inched our way in. Once in, I hurried over to Sherri's booth, put up the signage and then disappeared. I spent the next several hours at the IGN Theatre.

** Disney's WALL*E -- This is the latest production from PIXAR. Multiple scenes from the flick were shown. It's a hit with me and I think it will be a great hit for all ages. It tugs at your heart.

** Disney's The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian -- Besides seeing the movie trailer, the audience got to talk to Ben Barnes (Price Caspian and what a cutie), William Moseley (Peter Pevensie), Peter Dinklage (Trumpkin) and producer Mark Johnson. Mark Johnson said there will be at least one more Narnia. I guess I should find time to see the first one soon. For me, it will still be a DVD movie.

** SciFi Battlestar Galactica -- I only sat through this cause I was waiting for the next offering. Besides the clip, the panel had Michael "Tigh" Hogan, Michael "Anders" Trucco, Rekha "Tory" Sharma and SciFi exec. There were lots of fans for BG. If you're interested, there are YouTubes that captured the panel discussion.

** Star Wars and Indiana Jones -- The press agent for LucasFilms presented videogame Star Wars: Force Unleashed, annual celebration in Tokyo 2009, animated TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and live interview with Seth Green and Matt Senreich who produce the stop motion Star Wars: Robot Chicken (YouTube has this really entertaining interview). Did you know there's a Lego videogame of Indiana Jones *LOL* cute. We got to see the trailer for the movie.

** Universal Wanted -- Timur Bekmambetov, director, presented this new action-flick based Mark Miller's graphic novel series. I did not know anything about this. The trailer shown makes me want to see it. It has some great stars in in -- Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman. A great fan question was why don't the characters wear costumes. Timur said you would know they were assassins :D

** Universal Hellboy 2: The Golden Army -- Yes, we got to see a trailer. When the lights came back on, we saw that monsters/aliens joined the panel. Along with Guillermo Del Torro (director) was Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy), Selma "Liz" Blair , Ron "Hellboy" Perlman, Doug "Abe Sapien" Jones and Luke Goss (Prince Nuada). As promised, Guillermo dedicated his three-headed dog which got cut to a fan.

As I headed back to the Exhibition Hall and went in search of a late lunch, I came across this

WOW! *two thumbs up Jack!* Next time, I need to stroll outside of the Exhibition Hall cause I'm sure I missed other promotional items. But not this one

I did some leisurely strolls up and down the aisles, picking up stuff here and there. Not much though. After that, I headed over to Sherri's booth to help out for the rest of the day. I got to hang with Dimitri, NYC Dark-Hunter *shhhh don't tell Ash* Dimitri was steering minions to Sherri. I got to meet Loretta, a long time fan, who was helping to woman the store.

As my BIL works retail on Sunday, I arranged with him to drop me off and pick me up. What a great idea it was!!! Unlike yesterday, I decided to bypass the regular entrance (me not like lines). Instead, I used the other entrances and got into the Hall pronto. Since the crowd was still inching in, I was able to visit many of the booths. By the time I was finished, I had more goodies than I got from the other two days. Plus I had a goal -- Sunday was Kid Day, pick up kid friendly goodies for my nephews and nieces. Onto Sherri's booth I went to help out for the day. On my breaks, I found more stuff :) The kids are so lucky to have me for an auntie. Once the public was shooed out again, I helped Sherri to pack until my BIL got me. I'm so glad as it would have stunk to lugged all the stuff to the bus terminal.

To see pics of Sherri's booth, go here.

I finally unpacked all the goodies and split them up between the two kiddie families and stuff for my brother and sisters. I even found the stuff I got for myself :D. Since I had extra, I'll pass along stuff to my SIL's niece and nephew. As I was going through the items, I thought what a difference in goodies that I got from this convention vs. business convention. At business conventions, I got stress balls, toothbrushes, items to clean your computer screen, dental floss, pens (lots of them), highlighters, bandaids, etc.

I had a blast and will be attending the next NY Comic Com, Feburary 6-8, 2009. But, this one is too far away. I'll be heading to the next Con in Atlanta, GA -- Dragon*Con, August 29-September 1, 2008. I did my ticket registration last year. Just need to take care of my hotel today -- thank goodness for frequent guest points. My work should take care of the airfare *VBG* If not, no big deal as I have frequent miles.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Mona Lisa

What's is it about Mona Lisa? I was lucky to get the chance to see the real live Mona Lisa who is currently living in The Louvre, Paris, France. Mona is not really big. She is only 20 7/8" x 30" (53cm x 77cm) -- oil on poplar wood. She was immortalized by Leonardo da Vinci.

Why am I investing time on Mona Lisa? Well, it had to do with this

then I remembered seeing this last years ago.

and this always put a smile on my mug when I hear this

When I went internet hunting, I found "Her" website (well I think it would be if she was alive): Mona Lisa Mania. I wonder what else is out there that people have done with Mona Lisa.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Join Kermit, Be Green

HGTV (U.S. Home & Garden TV) had 10 easy things to do to be green.

1. Have a barbecue - Outdoor grills take less energy than electric kitchen stoves. They also keep heat out of the house, lowering air conditioning costs. Stick with grills that use propane or natural gas; they emit 5.6 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per hour while a charcoal grill belches 11 pounds of the air-polluting compound for the same. One more thing: dine on reusable plates made from bamboo, not disposable paper ones. The trees will thank you.

2. Upgrade your toilet - Low-flow toilets have gone high-tech. Manufacturers of new designer loos use advanced computer modeling to deliver more flush power with less water, trimming around $90 from your annual water costs. Several new models feature dual-flush buttons that let you opt for a mighty 1.6-gallon whoosh or a gentle .8-gallon splash.

3. Lose the lawnmower - Everyone wants a putting-green perfect lawn. But constant mowing, watering and fertilizing is a bore, as well as a burden on the environment. A two-stroke, gasoline-powered lawnmower releases as many hydrocarbons into the atmosphere in 30 minutes as a car does in 90 minutes. Switch to an electric mower, which costs $8 to $10 a year to operate, and replace some of your sod with attractive, more environmentally friendly alternatives like clover, strawberries, and ornamental grasses.

4. Get a flat screen monitor for your computer - uses 1/3 less electricity than bulky old monitors

5. Buy organic, locally produced food - Organic food tastes better and it's kinder to the earth. Thirty percent of the fossil fuel used on farms goes into the making of fertilizers. Get greener by buying items grown or produced within 100 miles and you'll reduce the amount of diesel fuel needed to ship food. You can get fresher food and help small-scale agriculture by shopping at neighborhood farmers' markets.

6. Use safer paint - If you feel a little woozy after painting the bedroom with latex-based enamel, choose a product low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) instead. New designer colors and improved quality make these safer paints equivalent to standard ones and they benefit your health as well as the planet's. If you don't mind a paint fume buzz, try recycled paints. Filtered, reprocessed latex keeps harmful chemicals out of the landfill and at $5 to $7.50 a gallon, they're a bargain. Colors and finishes are sometimes limited, though..

7. Get a solar-powered water heater - Stand under the pulse-jet guilt free with a solar hot water system. You can install solar panels on your roof that will work with your conventional water heater. The panels cost between $2,000 and $4,500, and they can reduce the need for conventional water heating by around two-thirds. A solar water heater cuts around 12 percent off the average household's monthly electric bill. Most solar systems use a conventional backup heater, so you're never left with a cold shower.

8. Buy new light bulbs - You've heard that replacing old light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones can trim 5 percent from your monthly electricity bill. But this doesn't mean you have to live beneath the ugly glow of low-end fluorescent bulbs. Go for the premium fluorescents that cast a pure white or buttery golden light across your interior. The cost difference? Bargain basement fluorescent bulbs cost between $3 and $5; the higher grade ones cost $9 to $12.

9. Become an expert in recycling - Shopping bags never go in your bins, even if they do organize the empty vino bottles nicely. Look on the bottom of your plastic items for a number and only put the articles with a 1 or 2 in your bin; most areas don't take the ones with higher numbers. Don't put light bulbs, broken glass, or bits of food in your bin, either. They gum up the process and make your waste professionals feel a little, well, tossed aside.

10. Invite birds, bugs and bats into your yard - Skip the pesticides and use nature's method of bug-eradication: other animals. Install birdhouses to shelter feathered friends who dine on pesky beetles and grubs. Put out egg cases of Green Lacewings or Praying Mantises (less than $15, and they'll gobble up aphids. Bats, and toads will dine on mosquitoes; attract them with bat houses ($25) and toad houses you can make yourself by overturning flower pots.

I would love to do 1, but town ordinance does not permit propane tanks and I would have to run a line for natural gas (one of these days). So I had an electric grill that I've retired three years ago. Waiting for my bro to start doing the BBQ. The BIL does nothing with the housewarming gift I gave them.

House has 2. No need for 3 or 4 or 6 or 7 (no sun). Haven't done the organic thing yet. I've done 8 and okay with 9. Don't know about 10.

How are you in becoming green?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Blockhead, Am I

Two hours and several hundred dollars poorer, it will be an experience that I will never ever replicate again. How does a tax preparation service get you? By completing a form or worksheet and not necessarily a form I watch the tax preparer used. The software used by the tax preparer is smart enough to complete the form on its own behind the scenes. Each form and worksheet had a fee. Boy, did it love me. Plus, I was not happy with the tax preparer. He looked at me to asked how he should be entering my W-2 info. Well, once I told him, he was suppose to be the expert, he didn't ask me again. He got up and asked a fellow tax preparer.

I've always completed my taxes on my own. First the paper forms the government is nice enough to send you each year. Then I upgraded to tax software. Several years ago, I upgraded to an online service. Why? Online service was a lot cheaper and my company offered a discount. It was great. Gotta save the dollar here and there for something more worthwhile.

An unperk of working for my company is multi-jurisdiction taxation. Whatever state I work in, I have to pay the state taxes. Last year introduced a new state. I tried a new online service because it was cheaper. After it noodled all the entries I made, I did not like the results. So, as it was getting closer to April 15, I decided that I can afford to splurge a little and have a well-known tax service do it. My SIL uses them, and she's a CPA who refuses to do her own taxes. It can't be all that bad.

Never again! I guess the tax software was right because it came up with the same numbers the tax service did. And it costed me a whole lot more than it did my SIL. I'm going back to do my own next year even though I know already that I'm going to have to deal with another new state -- 3 states for tax year 2008 so far.

Well, it time to pay two governments -- the Fed and my Home State. Hopefully see the tax dollars get put to good use.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Virgin and Sexy

"4 Minutes"...don’t go there. The Virgin - Madonna and Sexy - JT aka Justin Timberlake. I guess Madonna was not one when she released "Like A Virgin" or the title would not have "Like" in it. Whether JT brought sexy back *shrugs* Oh, Timbaland opens the video.

According to the news, this song "4 Minute" will be in the "Get Smart" movie by Warner Bros.-Village Roadshow Pictures, coming to theatres near you on June 20th.


If you do not see the video, Warner Bros has been getting them pulled. You can try here: 4 Minutes. The video will be next after the ad.

In case Warner Bros catches that one, here’s another link.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Guy Konked His Head

My fellow lift rider misjudged the glass elevator *LOL*. It’s a great view once it leaves the interior of the hotel. It was a good sounding konk, too. His excuse was that he was looking at the wrong window. Right!?! There was no other window. The glass elevator was it.

I had a wide grin as I got off my floor and headed to my room. His konk reminded me off other occurences...

My ex-BIL put butterfly decals on his glass terrace doors. His friend ducked to avoid the butterflies *LOL* I think friend might have had too many beers.

I had my terrace doors open and only the screen door in place. My sis thought she could walk through the screen. *idjit* The one who has more degrees than what she knows to do with it.

Then Windex, the glass cleaner, has commercials where birds and humans trick each other *LOL*