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2017 Convention Schedule (A New Home)

blerdy momma selfie.jpgI. am. SO. EXCITED!!!!! Y’all, we got orders. We got orders on pretty short notice and we PCS’d to the East coast. That means a whole new crop of conventions to attend!! I loved San Antonio, and already miss it terribly, but I cannot overstate my excitement at being a blerd family living right in the DMV (D.C./Maryland/Virginia, fyi). This is going to be so great!!!

(Sidenote: I cannot neglect to mention my absolute heartbreak at learning that the 2017 Royal Rumble would be in San Antonio a month after we were leaving. Undertaker was there… I’m still not over it, but I’m trying not to dwell…)

So beyond doing all the responsible adult parent research (schools, neighborhoods, etc.), I immediately started researching our options for keeping up this blerd family lifestyle. Are there any local conventions? Where are the comic book/ nerd shops? How often does WWE come to town? #Priorities, people. Check out my dreamsheet for the year below!

  1. MAGfest- Jan 5-8; We missed out on this festival for 2 reasons: 1. We were hip deep in boxes and paperwork. 2. By the time we found out about it, badges were insanely expensive! It would’ve been nearly $250 for our family just to get in the door, and it just didn’t make since financially at that moment. Day passes were no longer available, so we’ll just have to shoot for early pre-reg next year.
  2. Animore- Jan 13-15; Unfortunately, we missed this convention this time around. We simply were too busy settling into our new house and unpacking. But I don’t want to forget about it. It looks good for next year.
  3. Katsucon- Feb 17-19; This has been like a mythical event I only ever heard about in POC nerd groups on Facebook. I am too hyped to be attending myself this year! I already love that there’s an entire section of kid-friendly panels listed on the website.
  4. Anime Fan Fest Baltimore- Jun 3-4; Apparently this will be the first year of AFF Baltimore, and June means I have plenty of time to get cosplays ready for my whole family on my new sewing machine!
  5. BlerDCon- Jun 30- Jul 2; I am thoroughly excited to go to a con that expressly caters to nerd of color. This will be the inaugural year, so I have high hopes that the first impression is a great one!
  6. Otakon- Aug 11-13; This is another convention that seems popular in POC nerd groups, but I’ve never been to it in person. The website says they’re expanding for 2017, and registration isn’t even open yet, so I know I can get some great cosplays ready!
  7. Baltimore Comic-Con- Sept 22-24; I love any event where my kids get in for free!
  8. Congress of Gamers, Fall Session- Oct 7-8; The gimmick of this is just adorable. The whole website is written in the style of our founding documents. That dedication was enough for my to check out the Fall session. If I enjoy myself, I may check out the Winter and Summer sessions as well.
  9. Southern Maryland Comic-Con- This con did their 2016 event in November and hasn’t posted a 2017 date yet. Right now it’s on my radar, but it’s only a one day event, so I’m not yet sure the drive will be worth it. For now, it’s worth keeping my eye on.

Ugh… this list looks expensive… I better kick my virtual assistant hustle into overdrive! What conventions are you going to this year? Will we be at the same ones? You better say hi if you see me at a convention!!

Update: Umm… why did nobody tell me about Awesome Con (Jun 16-18)?? It’s right in Washington D.C and it’s only the weekend directly before my birthday! I must be in the building! I guess that rounds things out for 10 conventions for the year IF I can make it to them all…

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Classic Game Fest, part 3: My goodies

Are you tired of hearing me talk about Classic Game Fest yet? I just had so much fun that weekend. I promise this is the last edition in the series. I just want you to see the rest of my haul. Beyond the video games and the nerdcore music, we found some pretty sweet baubles.

Ok, ok. I’ll stop talking about Classic Game Fest now. I’m not sure that we’ve ever spread $200 so far outside of a grocery store. San Japan is right around the corner this coming Labor Day weekend. I wonder how much trouble we can get into there this year.

But check out this other cool stuff we saw!

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6 Nerdcore Artists I Hope You’ve Already Heard Of

nerdcore music haul

I could’ve just named this post “Classic Game Fest: Music Haul”,  but this title sounded more fun. One of My favorite things about Classic Game Fest is the fact that there are musical acts on the sound stage all day long. With the convention being hosted all in one large room, this means I get to blerd out to a soundtrack. As a musician, I love the moments when everyone hears a familiar game tune and there’s just a collective, nostalgic happiness.

Nerdcore is a genre of hip hop music characterized by themes and subject matter considered to be of general interest to nerds.”~ Wikipedia

For the record, I don’t consider the term “nerdcore” to be limited to hip-hop style, but that’s just my interpretation. At Classic Game Fest, we got to meet and listen to a great line up of artists. We made it a point to support our favorites by visiting their booths and buying their music. All of them were super cool and down to earth. We’re all nerds, after all! If you are looking for something new to listen to when you get tired of *insert craptastic pop song here*, check these guys out.

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Bitforce– This rock trio always puts on a high energy show. This was my second or third time seeing them live and they have a great sound.

Aramis– Game Fest was my first encounter with this rapper, but he was absolutely hilarious and chill. Check out his song “RageQuit” on the Sleight of Hand album.

1-UP Creative Mindframe–  This guy (real name: Emmanuel) was pretty cool and we talked to him at length about music. He had a little listening station set up at his booth which DJ008 enjoyed and it turns out he plays saxophone too. We picked up a cd after his set.

Tekforce– Funny story: Tekforce had his laptop hooked up to the sound system playing his background tracks and it died halfway through a song. Two of the other nerdcore artists present hopped up on stage and beatboxed so he could finish the song. It was hilarious and also impressive! Easily the second coolest moment on the sound stage. (Yes, Tekforce, I’m telling everybody.)

Doug Funnie– We missed part of his set, but his song about Psycho Mantis was what stuck with me most. I’ve spent many hours watching DJ008 play through most of the Metal Gear Solid series.

Megaran– So the coolest thing we saw happen on the sound stage was when Megaran did a freestyle using random fan-presented objects for his lyrical inspiration. If you only have 10 minutes, listen to “Infinite Lives” and “Cry of the Planet”. They’re definitely my favorites.

Honorable mention: Victim Cache– Ok. I don’t think we actually saw this band’s performance. But their booth was along with all the other artists and what caught my attention was the tapes stacked on their table. As in those things that music came on after 8-tracks but before CDs. Yes. They had them. And they had adorable cover art on them. They also had EPs (the little LPs)! Fret not, they include digital downloads so you can still listen to the music like a modern human being. But Victim Cache gets an honorable mention just for being creative, and I will at least give these a listen. DJ008 does actually have a set of turntables.

So there you have it. We spent a lot of time hanging out in front of the sound stage at Classic Game Fest. And if you saw my post about my Games Haul, you know that we are still within the $200 budget that we set for the weekend. Impressed? I sure was! Now go check out all these amazing artists and tell me your favorite songs!

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Classic Game Fest, part 1: Games Haul

Classic Game Fest games haul

Classic Game Fest is an awesome two-day convention held in Austin annually to celebrate retro gaming culture in all it’s forms. There are no Xbox Ones or Alienware. Instead, there are Power Gloves and cartridges as far as the eye can see. And it’s a marvelous thing!

If you’re following me on Instagram, you got to see a bit of our family experience. It’s going to take me a series of posts to share all that Classic Game Fest had to offer. 🙂 So where do we start? With the games! DUH!

We made out like bandits considering we set a spending budget of $200 for Classic Game Fest. Now that doesn’t include leaving the con to eat and things like that. That was just money intended for shopping at the convention. And within that, we managed to score some awesome new peripherals and games (and much, much more; keep an eye out for future posts). Y’all know there is nothing I love more than a good deal. Take a look!CGF console peripherals haul

Peripherals

  1. NES Advantage- Can you say adjustable turbo? At $5, this thing was a steal!
  2. NES controller- We needed a second USB one after the kids got DJ008 one for Father’s day.
  3. SNES controller- Also USB connection. DJ008 is putting together a Hyperspin machine for our living room.
  4. XBox 360 remote- Our Xbox 360 lives in the guest room and spends more time as a Hulu viewer than a game console now, so it made sense to finally get a remote for it.CGF game haul

Video Games

  1. Star Ocean: The Second Story- You guys… I never finished this game. The copy I borrowed from a friend had a scratch on the first disk, so once I beat the boss at the end it was never able to finish the cut scene and load the second disc. That has bugged me to this day, but I never found this game at a low enough price to get it. FINALLY… THE BLERD WILL FINISH THE SECOND STORY!!!!
  2. Star Ocean Till the End of Time- This game was $8. I was not leaving it on the table.
  3. NBA Give ‘n Go- DJ008 picked this one. I don’t generally play sports games because I suck horribly at them and I’m ok with that.
  4. NARC- This cartridge is a port of the old 80’s arcade game. DJ008 picked this one too.
  5. Rad Racer- So now I’ll just admit that I didn’t actively get into gaming until Sega and Playstation. DJ008 picked all the NES stuff. I’ve just been slowly attempting to go back and pick up on things I missed.
  6. Driver- Grand Theft Auto without hookers!
  7. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell- DJ008 likes stealth games (MGS all day), but never got into Splinter Cell. Now is as good a time as any, I guess.
  8. Dance Dance Revolution DDRMax2- Candy is my jam… ’nuff said.

I think we got a good haul at Classic Game Fest, don’t you? Come back in a few days to see the nerdcore music, clothes, jewelry, and everything else we got in Austin!

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We went to Texas Comicon 2016

Texas Comicon was this weekend, and they have a military appreciation badge discount. Not gonna lie, Texas Comicon has been a disappointment in past years; so even though it’s only 10 minutes from our house, it’s always a toss up whether or not to attend each year. This year the website advertised Michael Dorn (Star Trek TNG Commander Worf) in attendance, so I figured we’d go for one day and get his autograph for my mom, the Trekkie Extraordinaire.

We decided to go on Friday after DJ008 got off work. Way to fail, Michael Dorn was already gone for the day when we got there. The hall was surprisingly empty, but then Texas Comicon has a habit of recruiting lackluster celebrities, and therefore drawing less than stellar crowds. Despite all that, I have noticed that the selection of vendors at Texas Comicon is usually very different from what other local cons have so it’s usually still worth going. This year, the vendors did not disappoint. They had great stuff at reasonable prices, and I walked away with several new trinkets to further inspire my blerddom. Little Man got to choose his first bauble, which he was very pleased with. He and Tiny Hulk both got badges at the door, too, which thrilled them to no end. Check out my spoils!

 

You probably noticed a tremendous lack of cosplay photos in this gallery. There were very few people actually cosplaying at the convention. I assume that’s because it was Friday and on Saturday there will be many more people in costume. We won’t be back to see it, though, since we’re going to Austin for Classic Gamefest instead.

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Anime Tokyo Grand Re-Opening

You guys!!!! This past weekend I got to check out the new, larger location of a local anime shop! The kids stayed home to hang out with grandma so it was just DJ008 (my hubby) and I, but we’ll be back with them another day. The store is known to locals as Anime Tokyo, and it started out as a hole in the wall with anime rentals, manga, and fun figurines. I was excited even then because it’s on the west side of San Antonio, and stores catering to the anime nerd crowd just aren’t common over here.

It turns out, Anime Tokyo was hosting it official grand re-opening this past Saturday. We stopped by because the Facebook page was advertising Q&A panels, cosplay, and pizza. I’m down! I should’ve paid closer attention, because we got there early in the day and the stage was still being set up when we got there. Oh well.

We did get to see that Anime Tokyo has expanded to include T-shirts, Plushies, a viewing area with couches and tv, and a much better snack selection. We had to treat ourselves to some treats, of course. What I know my boys will love, though, is the awesome wall of gashapon! I’m going to get them a pile of tokens and let them go nuts starting a collection of capsule toys. As best I can tell, there was no longer a section for renting anime, but I imagine that in the age of Crunchyroll and Otaku-Streamers, renting anime probably wasn’t their biggest seller.

DJ008 and I didn’t get to stay long because we got a call saying that little man wasn’t feeling well. We grabbed our treats and went straight home. I was lucky enough to see a couple of amazing black girl cosplays before leaving, though. I wish I had asked them about potential Facebook pages to follow or something. I guess I’ll have to go back and hope I run into them again one day. In the meantime, go check out Anime Tokyo if you’re in San Antonio! And if you know of any other awesome shops in town, please do share!!!

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Five Tips for Con Vendors from an Attendee

I’ve been going to conventions since 2011, which isn’t long; but being in a major metropolitan area means I still get a pretty awesome rotation of local cons to attend each year. I’ve been to enough to start noticing things I do and don’t like about con vendors. I love my nerd interests, but I hate to see a vendor cut corners thinking they’ll get my money or attention just based on how much I love Mortal Kombat (and that’s a LOT). So let’s talk about what it takes to separate me from my money/time/attention, shall we?

  1. Have an online presence!- I can’t believe I have to say this in the age of toddlers owning iPads, but seriously, get a website! A Facebook page! An Etsy shop! An Instagram! Get something!! I go to cons knowing I can’t afford EVERYTHING that I want that weekend, but if you have a means to connect online, I can order something later. If I like your product, I can order again. Why would you not have some sort of online presence in this era?
  2. Look up when I approach your booth- I can’t tell you how many times somebody’s work has attracted my attention, and then their lack of interaction sent me right on my way. All I want is a hello. Acknowledge my presence! I don’t need your entire sales pitch right when I walk up but let me know that you’re aware I’m there. I see this problem most in the Artists Alley.
  3. sword replicas final fantasy kingdom heartsBe unique- The fastest way to get me to buy something is to make me believe you’re the only place I can find it. I’m a big fan of finding a good deal, and if you’re selling nerdy t-shirts, I’m going to look around at the 6 other vendors also selling t-shirts and probably not buy from any of you. However, my Mortal Kombat nightlight was definitely a unique item which I had to have right then and there.
  4. Be pro level- We are not all crafty people. That is why some of us are willing to pay others for their custom made work. In this age of Pinterest and Youtube tutorials, it is very easy for me to convince myself that I can do most things on my own. Your wares need to look like I can’t do that at home for cheaper. I once saw a vendor selling custom onesies. They were adorable, except the part where they looked like simple cut felt hand-sewn onto the blank onesies. I sew all my own cosplays. I think I could manage a felt applique on a onesie. Impress me, please.
  5. do you even gameBe geeky- This doesn’t happen often, but there have been occasions when I encounter a vendor who actually knows zero about geek culture and the products they’re selling. That bugs me. Maybe that’s exclusionary, but if you aren’t at least a little bit into geek life, I feel like you’re just here to profit off of my nostalgia.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, be accessible. I mean, how far did you come and drag all your wares to just stare at your phone while thousands of people walk by? I know the world tries to act like geeks aren’t a social people; but if that were true, why are conventions a thing? Yes, as a con-goer I am thrilled to see a vendor selling wall clocks made out of classic consoles. You still have to give me a reason to buy it, though. I’m curious to hear what some vendors and other con attendees have to say on this subject. Tell Blerdy Momma what you think!

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Free Comic Book Day Family Haul

free comic book day haul

Last Saturday was Free Comic Book Day! You knew that right? I had a countdown going over in the corner just in case.  The family and I got up that morning and rushed on over to Alien Worlds comic book store to browse this year’s selection. Check out our spoils!

  • free comic book day haulCivil War II #0 (Marvel)
  • Suicide Squad #1 (DC)
  • Valiant 4001 A.D.
  • Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft/Titan)
  • Steve Rogers Captain America (Marvel)
  • The Legend of Korra (Dark Horse)
  • Sonic Sampler (Sega)
  • Street Fighter V #1 (Capcom)
  • One Punch Man (Viz Media)
  • Batman: Earth One preview (DC)*
  • The All New, All Different Avengers (Marvel)*

*Those last two were in the store’s old Free Comic Book Day inventory.

We always try to support businesses during events like FCBD, so we bought a few things while we were there too.fcbd loot

  • Comic book box with organizers
  • Guardians of the Galaxy playing card deck
  • Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spiderman #1
  • DC Comics Essential Graphic Novels #1

Can I just take a moment to be proud of my 3-year-old? He comes with us every year to Free Comic Book Day but this was the first year that he really participated. He picked out his very first comic, the Sonic Sampler.

fcbd trip haulHonestly, I’ve never been heavy into comics like my husband was growing up. Of course, with all the best characters and franchises crossing over different media platforms; you can’t really avoid any one corner of geek culture. Not that I’m trying to avoid comics, but it’s certainly hard for any geek to not dip a toe in every sub-culture when you really love a character or franchise. That sounds like a topic worthy of further discussion…

So what did you get at Free Comic Book Day this year? Let’s compare notes!

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I Went to San-Japan! (My First Anime Convention)

This past weekend, San-Japan happened in downtown San Antonio. Let me just say, this annual anime convention is an experience like no other! For one, it’s a 24-hour experience! Maybe this is common and I’m just unaware, but I’d never seen a convention go all night long before. I just wish we’d had a babysitter so we could experience late-night geek life! I guess I’ll have to plan better for next year. (Note to self: Invest in babysitters and energy drinks)

The theme for this year was Samurai 7, an anime that I’ve only seen a couple episodes of. I debuted my Sailor Saturn cosplay, and my husband dressed as a Steampunk DJ. Our son was a button-mashing no0b, haha. Our cosplays are discussed in a separate post. In the meantime, San-Japan did soooooo many things right! I definitely got my money’s worth (and spent much more than I originally planned). So let’s talk about how they impressed me.

  • Open space- San-Japan took place in an entire convention center PLUS portions of the hotel next door. This offered breathing space for everyone, which is something other cons I’ve been to didn’t do. You could walk around without rubbing anyone inappropriately, despite the fact that there were thousands of people in the rooms at any given time.
  • 24-hour events- There was ALWAYS a panel, watch party, workshop, tournament, or other worthwhile event going on. From masquerade balls to sparring circles to karaoke, there was always something for everybody.
  • Affordable admission- My badge only cost $50 for the entire weekend, and had I ordered it earlier, I could’ve paid as low as $35. That’s an INSANE deal!
  • Pre-judging the Cosplay Contest- I love cosplay contests! What I don’t love, is sitting there for 3 hours just to get through the first stage of displaying all the costumes and then sitting around for another hour while the judges wade through their notes to figure out who won. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t start at 7pm, but really I just want to snap some awesome photos and see who won! San-Japan had cosplay contestants report during the con for a step called “pre-judging” where they got an in-depth look at the cosplays and got to ask whatever questions they had about construction. This meant that at the actual contest, contestants spent a grand total of 20 seconds on the stages each, and all the competitors were displayed in a timely manner. YES! It still took quite some time because the list of people was long, but it would’ve been sooo much longer if they hadn’t done it that way.

I had a great time at San-Japan. I only wish that I had more energy and hours in the day to attend more events, and maybe more guts to participate in a contest of some kind. I also wish money grew on trees, because the pile of loot I brought home is nothing compared to the pile of loot I wanted and left on the tables. My only gripe is that most of the celebrity appearances were very obscure people. The kind of folks who have cult followings but most lay-people wouldn’t actually know. It didn’t take away from my experience, but it would’ve been nice to see some bigger names. Maybe that’s just me being an anime novice…

Now check out my awesome collection of new geek swag!!

 

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