Life in Czeltistan

Notes from my first Comic-Con, part 1

Friday, July 30th, 2010 | General, Life in Czeltistan | 2 Comments

So back in late-October or early-November, my friend Bridget and I decided we should go check out Comic-Con. Passes were still available and, we thought, quite affordable. By the time we actually got around to buying them, Preview Night was sold out, but we still managed to get four-day passes.

Next came the hard part: waiting for July.

By the time July came around, we had a booking for a cute little cottage and a vague idea of what to expect from the convention itself. Except that nothing could really prepare us for the Con. It was pretty mind-bending, right from the get-go.

For starters, the convention center was HUGE. (You’re looking at less than half of it in the photo above.) It took us the better part of three days to see everything on the exhibit hall floor. Seemed like every exhibitor had something interesting we had to stop and check out. Our mantra for day one was “we don’t need to impulse buy everything.” (MUCH harder than it sounds.)

We started at the far end of the convention center in a section called “Artists Alley.” It was one of my favorite parts of the show floor. It’s just a bunch of tables. Nothing fancy. But at each table is an artist — some more well-known than others. They’re selling their wares, of course, like just about every other vendor at the show, but at their booths you can watch them actually create their art, commission a quick on-the-spot piece, or get them to sign existing pieces they have with them. Name a style of art, it was there.

A few days before we left for San Diego, I’d seen a retweet by someone on Twitter and followed a link. It led me to an artist named Katie Cook. She had a booth at SDCC, so she was on my little map of vendors I wanted to see (and was the reason we started at the Artists Alley section). Not only did I get the piece I wanted from her, I got a little drawing she did and got two commissions from her (one of Cliff and Norm). Bridget got a few pieces, too. Visiting Katie’s booth was an excellent start to the event. (Later in the weekend, we visited another booth in Artists Alley and bought fab posters of Boilerplate the robot, signed by artist Dan Guinan. It’s the World’s Fair image at the top of this page.)

After that, we wandered into the rest of the exhibit hall floor. The displays were massive and eye-catching. People in costumes were everywhere. There were lights and movie props and giant robots and things going “pew pew pew.” We wanted to buy nearly every cool new thing we saw (and there was a LOT of that). In short, it was to nerds what a bowl full of Pixie Stix and a giant ball pit is to a group of pre-schoolers. I’m surprised our heads didn’t explode.

Around noon, it was time to explore the surrounding area in search of lunch. I’d heard the SyFy Channel turned the nearby Hard Rock Cafe into Cafe Diem from Eureka. I had to check it out. The food was pretty much standard Hard Rock fare, but I enjoyed nerding out on the decor. I may have “liberated” a Cafe Diem pen at the end of our meal. (Oh, dear. Was I supposed to leave that on the table? My bad.)

After that, it was back to the convention center to pick up where we left off. After a bit, we decided to check out a couple panels up in Ballroom 20. We’d heard warnings about the lines, especially for Ballroom 20 and Hall H. Now it was time to experience them first-hand. We thought our first line was huge. It went all the way down the hall and started up again outside! Turns out the hall is massive and the line moved pretty quickly. (It also turns out this was a “short” line for the room.) We got into the room in time to see both of the panels we wanted to see. Hooray! (For those of you playing at home, the panels were for USA Network shows White Collar and Psych.) It was also our introduction to panels with giveaways. Oh, man, do those spoil you for panels that don’t give things away. It’s amazing the lure a couple of t-shirts and a foam pineapple “finger” can have.

After the panels, we made an attempt to check out more of the exhibit halls, but quickly realized we were pretty exhausted from the day. I was also anxious to call home and see how my basement was surviving the massive storms at home, especially in light of the fact there was now a massive new sinkhole farther down my street. (Answer: some water in the basement, but not that bad. Considering how hard many of my neighbors were hit, I was very, very lucky.) We picked up our panel giveaways and set off back into the Gaslamp Quarter in search of a cocktail and some food.

After food, it was time for an exciting game of “get ready for disappointment.” Bridget is a huge Dr. Who and Being Human fan and there was a screening of both in one of the conference rooms. We went back to the convention center and got in line (Line-Con!). We got within six people of the door to the room when they announced the room was full and no one else was getting in. Bummer!

We could have waited around to see if anyone left the room (unlikely) but it was time to call it a night. Eleven hours of crowds was enough for one day. We made a quick run to Ralph’s for groceries (yay for lodging with a kitchen) and went home to crash.

So, yeah. There’s more, but I tire of typing at the moment and this is long enough, so it’ll have to wait. To keep you occupied in the meantime, head over to Flickr and sift through my photos from the weekend. I’ll try to write up the rest over the weekend.

Fingers crossed

Friday, December 18th, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 2 Comments

Car situation may not be quite so dire. Apparently some replacement parts can wait if you drive as little as I do.

Still waiting on a final tally, but it’s looking to be under $1000.

Excellent news, as I’m in no mood to go buy a car right now. Besides, I was feeling a little weepy at the thought of giving up my Camry. She & I have been through a lot together in the past nice (almost 10!) years.

Today’s craptastic decision:

Thursday, December 17th, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 5 Comments

Sink $2500 in repairs into a 17-year-old car or get a new car?

FML. Is this miserable year over yet?

Slowly digging out

Friday, October 9th, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | No Comments

I finally got around to posting my pix from my Toronto trip back in July. You can find them here.

Could have sworn I had a lot more of them. Well, ok, there were a lot more, but let’s just say that after viewing many of them, I question my photography skills. It’s best I stick to these.

Off to mete out justice

Monday, October 5th, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 3 Comments

Typical: All the times I’ve checked the reserve juror check-in message during the last two weeks, it’s said “thanks, but we won’t need you.” Now that it’s my day to be a reserve juror, it says “come on in!”


Jury duty for me generally consists of sitting in the pool room, bored out of my mind for a day and a half, only to be called up then quickly dismissed. (If you’re going to dismiss me, call me up on day one, please.) The difference this time was that I got to spend Friday afternoon attempting to plan a schedule around not knowing whether or not I’d be at work on Monday or Tuesday, then spend Monday morning trying to plan a schedule around whether or not I’d be in during the afternoon or not. (Who knew jury duty could be made into more of a hassle? Kudos to those who figured out how to do it.)

So I’m off to the courthouse to determine someone’s fate. Or, more likely, I’m off to the courthouse to sit around and read more of my book. At least they’ve got wi-fi now. (Oh, hell. Forgot my headphones. There goes any hope of watching Dr. Horrible.) I wish they could use the same exciting technology as restaurants and give me a little buzzer to let me know if I was called or not. Then I could spend my day digging through files in the Records Office. Ah, well.

Update, Monday night: Guess who’s on a jury. Will end up being more than two days of service, but at least it’s not just sitting around in the jury pool room.

Ian Frazier, you are wonderful

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 | Bloggity goodness, Life in Czeltistan | 3 Comments

Were the Cursing Mommy an actual weekly column, I would be adding it to my bookmarks and feeds right now. I’m sure Cursing Mommy and I would get along like a house on fire.

I also have a sneaking suspicion Ian Frazier was eavesdropping on me as I was packing and cleaning this weekend. It’s possible I may have sounded like this a little. Ok, a lot. But it’s not my fault that both the Swiffer and my beer kept misplacing themselves. Also, 5-gallon drums of paint are heavy. That stupid thing can just stay there in the trunk until I get keys to the new place.

What? Oh, sorry. Was re-living the weekend a bit there. I’m done now.

(New Yorker link courtesy of The Morning News.)

Dear Monday evening,

Monday, August 24th, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 2 Comments

I’ve had enough of your crap. Get out.

Moose kisses,
Czeltic Girl

The following few bits of joy from the last half hour are the only things saving this craptastic evening. I want to hug them: I Can Has Cheezburger (most notably this photo), Gay Perry, and a quick review of today’s XKCD. (Pretty sure Gay Perry is the only one of those three things I could actually hug. I’m ok with that.)

I’d have a cocktail, but Rocket Science Girl here packed up the liquor cabinet, and the beer I have in the house isn’t cold.

Holy crap, y’all. I’m gonna be a homeowner!

Friday, July 31st, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 6 Comments

A bungalow a couple blocks from my apartment went on the market last week. It was a couple blocks north of my ideal location, it has forced-air heat (which I hate) and it’s on Oakland, which is a fairly busy street, but it was cute and looked like it was in good shape. Plus, it was in my price range. I had to look at it.

Did the initial viewing on Tuesday. The house is a decent-sized duplex in excellent condition. (Except the linoleum in the downstairs kitchen. Oh, god, that stuff is hideous.) It’s got a new roof (a tear-off, too), new furnace, new central air in both units, and new Pella windows throughout. Built-in china cabinets in the dining room, built-in book cases in the front bedroom. Giant deck off the back and giant porch off the front. Needs some serious cleaning and some paint — no surprise, as the woman who owned it lived there a long, long time. But all in all, it was in fantastic shape. And seriously — aside from all the stuff the packrat…er…former owner had, it had the cleanest basement and garage I’ve ever seen. (Where did she keep her spiders? ‘Coz I didn’t see any, except on the front steps rail outside.)

So I spent part of Tuesday night trying to avoid the panic attacks that came with being as busy as I am right now and having to make a major decision like this. Decided Wednesday that I needed another look, this time with a second set of eyes, so I brought Miz BB along. Her verdict, along with Mom’s, was “hell, yes. I should buy the house.”

I had to concur. The positives far, far outweighed the negatives. So I put in an offer on Wednesday night.

Found out this morning that the offer was accepted. I even got the set of Franciscan Starburst dishes that were sitting in the china cabinet. (Hey, what the hell — as long as I was asking for things, I asked for things.) Squee!!!

They asked that the closing be about three weeks earlier than I’d have liked, but I’ll figure out how to work around that. (Note to self: Call landlord TOMORROW and let him know you’re moving out.)

So yeah. Gonna be a crazy next two months, but it’s exciting (and scary).

Now I gotta go break it to the cat that she won’t have radiators to lay under any more. I think she’s going to take it harder than I did.

Ok, Monday. You win.

Monday, July 6th, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 4 Comments

Figured I’d be having a busy week this week as catalog deadline nears and Irish Fest prep is fully under way (not to mention planning for an upcoming trip). Tried to prep myself as best I could. Thought I was off to a pretty good start this morning — I was even running 10 minutes earlier than usual.

And then I got out to my car. Unlocked the door and was halfway to getting in when I noticed the shiny little pieces all over the seat and floor. *pause. blink.* Oh, hell. That’s the passenger side window, isn’t it?

Yeah. Some schmuck broke the window. Glove box open, center console open. (Change drawer still shut and full.) They apparently didn’t want my huge stash of fast food restaurant napkins (odd), and there was really nothing else to steal.

Didn’t realize until later that they managed to get an iPod charger out of the glove box. Joke’s on them, though, as it doesn’t work on the newer models. Hope you enjoy the 25 cents you’ll get for that on the street, moron.

So I did the dutiful, crime-reporting citizen thing and called it in. Nothing the cops could do for me, but it sure doesn’t hurt to get the stat posted somewhere in case it becomes a neighborhood trend. Talked to my insurance guy for the first time in about a year, too. And the auto glass repair guy. Good times all around. The auto glass guy could come to me, though, so that was helpful.

Still, it took a chunk out of my morning (not to mention my wallet) and threw me for a loop for about half the day. Not good, considering how much work I’ve got this week.

So look, Monday, I’ve got enough on my plate without any extra help, ok? Spread the word. Tell your little friends Tuesday and Wednesday that I cry uncle. (Thursday, you’re going to be a crazy day. I’m not above bribes. Just sayin’.)

So how’s everyone else’s week going so far? Any exciting stories to tell?

Happy blog day to me…

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 | Bloggity goodness, Life in Czeltistan, You Call This News? | 3 Comments


See? Even Norm’s excited. Though were it not for Mr. m@, I’d never remember that June 24 is officially Czeltic Day. This year is the seventh anniversary. My, how time flies.

Isn’t age seven the “age of reason” for children according to the law? Gosh, I hope I’ve taught it well.

It’s been a long week, and it’s damned hot, so I’m looking to get off the computer (I’m pretty sure it’s using me as a heat sink). I’d write something witty about the last seven years and the changes the internet has gone through, but I’m feeling more melty than witty, and no one needs to hear any more grousing from me about the heat. (Oh, god. It’s only June. *weeps quietly*) So here are a few links I’ve come across in the last few weeks that I found fun or interesting. Hope you find them fun and interesting as well.

1. Morning people vs. Night people I fall strongly into the second camp. I’m a firm believer the day should start no earlier than 10am, but I can’t seem to convince the rest of the world that everyone can get enough work done between 11am and 6pm to make that work. It is nice to know though, that next time a morning person gives me that “damn, you’re lazy” look because I’m not awake early, I can point out that it’s just a difference in how our brains are wired. And, then since night people get stronger as the day goes on, I’ll wait until the morning person is settling in for the night to beat them up. They’ll never see it coming.

2. We want to watch Jurassic Park I love that they included the cat. You know you want to flag this as “best of craigslist.” You should do that.

3. So just what the hell are Grape Nuts? Did you say “flour?” Yeah, they’re pretty much what you think they are, but it’s still a good piece about them. Or maybe I just think that because I have a little place in my heart for Grape Nuts. You have to love anything that improves the taste and texture of your yogurt and makes a tasty meatloaf.

Oh, and before I go, let me take a minute and say thanks to all of you for stopping by. It always kind of amazes me anyone reads this. Hmm. Maybe I should add my Twitter feed so you have something to read more often. Yeah. I think that’s what I’ll give the blog for its birthday. Much better than a silly party hat. (I’m not giving the cat a party hat for her birthday this year, either. It took me hours to get the photo for it last year. Cats are not keen on headgear.)

Whoa. I’ve got a doppleganger.

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 3 Comments

Check this out: Me or not me? (The fact she’s holding a newspaper really doesn’t do much to help you out, does it?)

I just wish I was still that skinny. (Did you know that you actually have to work to lose weight? Dammit. Where’s the weight loss option for us lazy people? This is the future. Where is my magic pill?)

Anyhow… thanks, Brian, for the tip. I think I’ll send her an email telling her not to rob any banks, though. I make enough trouble for myself all on my own.

Update: Mosey found her head shot, which is not quite sucha match. Still could be related, though.

Clearly not awake yet

Sunday, May 31st, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 4 Comments

A prime example of why I should never be taxed with anything too complicated before noon:

I had a couple things I needed to do before I could take a shower this morning, some of which involved seeing other people, so I got dressed rather than lounging around in my jammies.

Finally got the chance to hit the shower. As the water started hitting me, I realized something felt a little off. Looked down. Still wearing my bra.

Whoops. Think I need some more coffee.

And quit popping your gum

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 3 Comments

Our HR director was running around the office today, putting up instructional posters about covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and putting out antiseptic gel containers. (Regarding the posters: I find it immensely sad that adults need to be told this.)

I was tempted to follow behind her, putting up my own posters to remind people to chew with their mouths shut, but I somehow don’t think it’d go over well.

Might as well throw in a Geritol chaser, too

Monday, April 20th, 2009 | Again with the hockey, Life in Czeltistan | 10 Comments

Went to get a beer at the Admirals game on Saturday. The bartender carded me. She looked over my ID, and as she handed it back to me, she told me, “You’re four years younger than my daddy.”

::blank stare::

::stunned attempts to calculate if bartender is actually old enough to serve me::

Ooh. Tempting. Oh, wait. No, it’s not.

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 12 Comments

I got a Flickr mail today from someone over at GQ, asking if they could use my Lafitte’s photos for a new online guide to New Orleans they’re creating.

Ok. With you so far, GQ photo person.

And then the email said, “Generally, we would never ask for something for nothing. However, at this time we are only able to give credit.”

Whoa. Back the truck up. First of all, if you generally don’t ask for something for nothing, then let’s stick with that policy. If you’re going to be in the habit of doing that, though, then maybe skip that sentence. Secondly, you’re a major, for-profit publication. I think you can spare a few bucks for a stock photo budget. To tell me my images are worthy of publication, but only if they’re free, is a bit on the insulting side. If you were a non-profit group, it would be an entirely different story. But to pretend Conde Nast doesn’t have a little money to offer for such things is, well “Condescending*.” I heartily decline your offer.

(*Many thanks to Tony & Sam for letting me pinch that term. It fits the bill quite nicely.)

Scenes from a Saturday afternoon

Saturday, April 11th, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 3 Comments

I: I took a little walk along the lake at Big Bay Park today, looking for sea glass. Decided to take a break from my hunt and stack a couple rocks. I wasn’t paying much attention to what was going on around me — when I started, I was the only person down there — but after I finished my second stack, I looked up to see two small children staring at me as if I had multiple heads. Guess they’d never seen anyone stack rocks before.

It’s only weird until you’ve tried it, kids. Then it’s an addictive little challenge.

II: I was walking through the craft supplies aisle at Winkie’s. A few feet down the row was a man, staring intently at one of the shelves. As I approach him, out of the blue he asks me, “Do you think you could use fabric dye for eggs?” It takes me a second to figure out what he’s asking. I look at him, look at the dye, look at him and reply, “Um, well, you could, but I’m not sure you’d actually want to eat them.” (For the record, I have no idea whether or not fabric dye is in any way toxic or if enough of it would make it through the shell to matter. But damn, man, if Winkie’s is out of dye, try Walgreens. They’ve got tons.)

III: Boswell Books is open!! Hooray! I didn’t realize they were, but almost did a little happy dance in the middle of Downer Ave when I saw the book carts outside the door. It’s kind of Schwartz Books Light in there right now, but it’s up and running and I think that’s a fine start.

I was thinking earlier in the day how it’d been almost a month since I’d been in Schwartz. Pretty sure that’s the longest I’ve gone without a visit and it was a bit depressing. Finding Boswell completely made my day.

Nanobots 1, Surgery 0

Thursday, April 9th, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 3 Comments

Finished occupational therapy yesterday. Saw the doc today. He came in holding my new x-rays, and said, “You’re very good at making bone.”

What’s the proper reply to that? Thanks? I’ve had lots of practice? (I’m a Cylon?)

He showed me my x-rays, making sure to point out the new bone growth. Pointed out one remaining crack, but said that’d fill in soon, too. He also said, “In a few years, you probably won’t even remember which elbow you broke.” (Uh, yes, I will. I think the snapping sound is one I’ll remember awhile.) Put me through a couple range-of-motion exercises and then told me (in a very nice way, of course) to go away and quit coming to visit so often. I’m completely ok with that prescription.

I still have strength work to do and I’m not quite at 100%, but considering surgery was an option and I made do without it, I’m pretty damned pleased. Massive props to my therapist. If anyone in the Milwaukee area needs a really good OT, I know one. She doesn’t even make it seem like work.

Not dead

Friday, April 3rd, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | No Comments

Just don’t have any particularly interesting news and haven’t found any must-share links.

Maybe something will cross my path today. Don’t hold your breath, though. I think everyone’s out enjoying spring (or digging out from spring snowfalls).

That’ll teach me to go to bed early

Monday, March 2nd, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 2 Comments

I was exhausted last night, so I was in bed before the news last night. Probably should have stayed up to watch the weather. I knew we were expecting flurries or light snow. Had no idea I’d wake up to 8″ of the stuff.

On the plus side, it looks all very Dr. Zhivago out there, especially now that the sun’s coming out.

Had a good day at PT

Monday, February 23rd, 2009 | Life in Czeltistan | 2 Comments

According to my therapist (who is actually an occupational therapist, not a physical therapist), I am “far more flexible” than she expected I would be “for someone who’s had a fairly traumatic arm injury.” Guess I’m ahead of schedule on my recovery. (Yay me!)

My elbow can only bend at a 50% range of motion, but we’re working on that. Nearly everything else was much better than either of us expected. (Including my wrist movements on the arm I broke four years ago. I have no limitation of movement at all there. I gathered from her comments that was better than would be expected as well.) She seemed pretty confident I’d be back to normal in no time. I’m hoping she’s right.