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Cheers, kittens! One week to go! San Diego Comic-Con (July 24-27, 2014, S.D. Conv. Ctr.) is nigh and America's Finest City is all abuzz. Not only is our lovely beach burg stuffed to its cliffs and cul-de-sacs with not just the usual summertime crush of les touristes from all over the globe, but also with a healthy, amusing dose of geekery. Bienvenue a tous! San Diego loves geeks!

Be ye a local geek (comme Moi) and didn't get in (ni comme Moi), there's still a faint ray of hope. Local "news" station FOX5 is giving away a pair of badges a day, in this week leading up to the Con; naturally, one must actually watch the local broadcast to learn the "Code of the Day". Of course, considering what I went through for badges, the hoops could be more difficult than having to endure an hour a day of local news. If you are going, local or not, contest winner or no, I proffer a few helpful tips and links to help your Comic-Con 2014 be as easy-peasy lemon-squeezy as can be.

  • Toucan Blog: daily tips leading up to the Con from the very wizards themselves behind the Comic-Con Int'l (CCI) curtain
  • Programming Schedule: SDCC's complete, online, Wed.-Sun. catalogue of panels, screenings, autograph signings et al
  • Transportation Info.: quick links to parking, hotel shuttles and local transportation like the MTS Trolleys, Coaster and Amtrak
  • Uber and Lyft: sure-fire, friendly ride-sharing to, from and around the Con; but know these private companies' rates fluctuate depending on the time of day/night and need. Business 101, kids. Supply and demand hard at work here.
  • Taxi Magic: the beauty of free enterprise and capitalism? It forces real competition! The taxi industry is trying a friendlier, gentler, cleaner approach to service. Download the Taxi Magic app and give S.D. Yellow Cabs another chance.
  • North County Coaster: a great option if you're coming anywhere from Oceanside south; the Coaster is a quiet, clean ride with great views of the Pacific for most of the way (Snag a seat on the west-facing side for the best views!).
  • Call a friend or beg Dad: if you have anyone in the area whom claims to love you, even tolerate you, even a little bit, capitalize on that. Beg them for a ride! Drop-off and pick-up anywhere in the Gaslamp District makes your life easy-peasy!

    As one expects, SDCC is a complete jumblef#&*. Whether you end up inside the Con rubbing elbows and armour with the likes of  Salma Hayek, Daniel Radcliffe, George R.R. Martin, Weird Al and Seth Green or, enjoying the wild festivities that occur just outside the Con doors, it can, at times, feel like a claustrophobic nightmare. Remember to be kind. (As a dyed-in-the-wool geek, I can attest that a lot of us don't groove well in large volumes of people; we're oft a pale, quiet, nervous type.)

    Comic-Con is a haven for nerdery, creativity and pop-culture camaraderie. It's also a Tokyo metro-style, sardine-packed, hot-and-humid mess. Try to say "Pardon me" when you bump into Poison Ivy, "Thank you" when Adam West Batman holds open a door for you and a chivalric "After you, Milady!" when you and Princess Leia arrive at the same egress, at the same time. When it comes to cosplay, leave the snark and sneers at home; compliments go a long way in making someone's day. Some of those costumes take forever to make, are probably raw-ther uncomfortable and it's a good bet that no matter how smoking they look, the wearer feels just a tad self-conscious.

    • Apropos: the boobs. Yes, the boobs. As I wrote in my coverage of WonderCon Anaheim 2014, "Of course, de rigueur, there are lots and lots of boobs. There are always lots and lots of boobs. Funny thing is, after a few years of this, I’m beginning to recognize some of them." There is also a lot of chatter about the appropriate amount of attention one should give those boobs. For this girl's take, if you're going to put them out there, waaaay out there as some of the ladies do, I think you'd better expect some feedback. Still, that does not excuse some of the vile, verbal assaults hurled their way. Keep it clean, folks. Common courtesy guides one should ask before taking a picture, glance but don't gawk and never, ever touch! (Please, see official guidelines below.) Just be nice. Like Thumper's mama says, "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all." A good time shall be had by all, especially when we're all cheery comic chums! Come on, everyone! Let's all play the Pollyanna Glad Game!

      As in years past, Eslilay Evoreday (Twisted Pair Photography) and I shall be covering SDCC 2014 for geek-culture website GoodToBeAGeek, even Preview Night! To boot, Yours Truly is champing at the bit to learn if this year's submission to the official Souvenir Book (a Hellboy retrospective) made it in again: previous published articles include Peanuts, Tarzan and Bongo/Simpsons Comics. So, follow us on Twitter and stop by GoodToBeAGeek.com in the days following the Con for all the geeky, gooey, booby goodness coming straight from San Diego Comic-Con 2014!
  • *CCI's Code of Conduct and Anti Harassment Policy

    Attendees must respect common sense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and badge of any attendee not in compliance with this policy.

    Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security, or a Comic-Con staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner. If your safety is at risk and you need immediate assistance you may also use a white house phone and dial 5911.

    Security may be contacted by visiting our Show Office in Lobby C. A Comic-Con staff member will be in the office during public hours.

    Follow  @JennyPopNet @GoodToBeAGeek @Eslilay for Con-floor Tweets and pix! #geek #SDCC #cosplay

 
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Holy moly, Hellboy!! This year was a close one! If you read my Adventures in WonderCon post, you will have noted the tint of sadness that came with realizing WonderCon Anaheim (WCA) was it for the year; the Comic-Con Badge Quest Slaughter of 2014 had left Dr. Lucy and myself emotionally exhausted and near expiration, with little hope of survival on the Con battlefield. Yet, like a Phoenix, rising from Arizona -wait, that doesn't sound right- we mustered every cell of life that remained, gathered our courage and cerebral weaponry and ... huzzah! With two weeks to spare, we parried and riposted our way into San Diego Comic-Con!

Dr. Lucy and I have had a pretty good run of not only getting into SDCC to cover it for geek-culture website GoodToBeAGeek, but also of Yours Truly getting into the accompanying Souvenir Book for a number of years. (Past years included articles on Peanuts, Tarzan and Bongo/Simpsons Comics.) This year's submission is a piece on the 20th anniversary of Mike Mignola's half-demon/half-Boy Scout, Hellboy. (Cloven-hooves crossed I get in the Book this year, too!)

Still, as anyone will tell you, SDCC is becoming more and more difficult to permeate. Getting into the Con via standard, online badge purchase is a crap shoot; obtaining a Member ID is simple enough and getting in the online queue is equally non-taxing; getting to the front of the queue before every day sells out is a seemingly random, lottery-style mind%&*#. GoodToBeAGeek's very own editor, Jessa Lynn Phillips, who one should note is closely tied-in with SyFy Channel's upper-echelon, stated, "I don't think I know anyone who got passes (other than panelists) for more than one day this year."

To wit, not only is a badge purchase a shot in the dark, this year Comic-Con International (CCI) eliminated the ability to purchase 4-day badges. (Exception being if you purchased a Preview Night badge, for an extra fee, you can add an automatic 4-day pass.) The purpose, according to CCI, was to cut down on unused, precious badge space: folks buying all four days with the intention of only using one or two days. Further, the ability to purchase for friends (up to three plus yourself) during the pre-registration phase -which one can only enter if one attended the previous year- also limited those three friends to those whom attended the previous year. (Crikey! Getting a law degree has got to be simpler. Of course, based on some attorneys I know, it very well might be!)

Naturally, WCA was a blast and, for someone whom loves to play dress up, getting to don my Louise Belcher costume was fun enough in itself and enough to hold me over until Hallowe'en. Still, there had been a faint raincloud over my head as I read CCI's Toucan Blog daily posts counting down to SDCC 2014.

I had worked my wee fingers to the bone massaging every contact, acquaintance and stranger I could. No one can say I didn't try. I jiggled all the door handles; like Hillary trying to get into the White House. I even answered an ad on Craigslist to wear an M&M costume; and offered my scribing services for legit pro or press passes, only to be flagged. Apparently "honest-work for honest-comps" is offensive to the CL community; had I offered boudoir photos for scalped badges, I might have made "Best of Craigslist". Besides the Badge Quest Slaughter, we here at GTBAG applied for press passes, only to be sliced and diced by CCI's intensely perlustrative press wizards: You shall not [press] pass! I offered to man a booth at GoComics -sadly that contact was no longer with the organization- ; and I looked into volunteering anywhere there was a need within the Con, except the lavvies. One industry-insider advised with a pitiful shake of the head, "Volunteers was filled months ago. It goes almost as fast as the badge sale these days."

In the end, neither the M&M suit nor a volunteer's t-shirt was necessary. Happily, Lucy and I were fortunate enough to garner not just an enviable Saturday-pass, but the much-coveted Preview Night-pass! How, you may wonder, mouths collectively agape like codfish? Simple: intricate dealings in the Black Arts, magick of the Teutonic strain and a serendipitous, random spin of Lady Fortuna's wheel.

Keep all this in mind next year, kids. SDCC online badge sales usually hit mid-February to mid-March. If you got in this year, use that pre-registration phase next year! If you don't get a badge for 2015, try not to utter in disgust the words of Dr. Sheldon Cooper. It’s okay. You know, th-there’s always WonderCon in Anaheim, you know? Th-that’s just as good. Excuse me. (Turns to cry)

Take not ye Cons for granted! Each one seems to grow exponentially, year over year. Citing Events in America, a North American trade show and conference directory, SDCC 2014 augurs 130K attendees once again: a self-imposed, max. capacity. Only CES Int’l Las Vegas and New York Comic-Con (NYCC) will bring in more geekage per cubic sq. ft.: 150K and 133K, respectively. NYCC's projected attendance is up from 117K last year.

As I wrote earlier this year of WCA, oft minimized and discounted as Comic-Con's little sister, "Whether you get into SDCC or not, WC is fast-becoming a good time all her own and very possibly, depending on how things line up, just as high-maintenance."

 

Follow  @JennyPopNet @GoodToBeAGeek @Eslilay for Con-floor Tweets and pix! #geek #SDCC

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online? JennyPop.net jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

 

 

 
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For some folks, summer can mean little more than warmer days, shorter nights and a de rigueur vacation: a pleasant yet slight change-up in the regular routine. This is particularly true for those of us inhabiting tropical climes. Born in Miami and raised in SoCal, where summer is not drastically different from the rest of the year, childhood summers notably signified no school, extra Disneyland and family holidays in Hawai'i, which in turn meant a month of guava juice, beachdays and new friends on Waikiki, dinners at Chuck's Steakhouse and shopping for bark-cloth dresses and Hawaiian dolls at Liberty House and the Polynesian Cultural Center. (Mom was bonkers for all things Hawai'ian, including Daddy, born in Honolulu.) Summers as a child were glorious, but not all that varied from the rest of the year, south of L.A..

Still, when everyday is postcard-perfect, it's easy to grow blasé. So, fast-forward quite a few years, when we couldn't take one more minute of our damned beautiful, sunshiny beaches, my husband and I picked up our three pets and moved to the East Coast for a very agreeable, wildly divergent change of pace. Both Californians, we never realized what we'd been missing! We spent a fabulous, expeditious six years living on the mid-Atlantic: Cape Charles and Williamsburg, VA. When I wasn't researching, writing and marketing my Savannah of Williamsburg books, we were driving up and down the East Coast exploring every wee waterway, historic burgh and major metropolis.

Both Cape Charles and Williamsburg are popular destinations for Easterners and Southrons; nothing says summer like seeing license plates from every state up and down the 95 in Colonial Williamsburg parking lots! Add in the heavy, humid, sweet air of summer and Virginia may be simultaneously one of the most uncomfortable and beautiful summertime stations of all. Speaking strictly with regards to American summers, there is nothing so festive and rewarding as an East Coast summer. (Summers abroad? That's another post. Ahhh, Nice is very nice indeed and the Alps are absolutely alluring.)

Summer actually means something back East: more than just School's out!, higher electricity bills and frizzy, beach hair. Months of truly stifling winter can breed severe and depressing cabin fever which, thankfully, will always give way to a semi-satisfactory spring thaw. Tulips and daffodils popping through the snow are indeed a lovely egress from Mr. Frosty's glassy grip; but it can still be damned cold, and oft snowy, through springtime. By the time summer rolls up the shore, folks are champing at the bit for warm days of comforting sunshine and carefree nights of fireflies and crickets. Fourth of July fireworks may traditionally celebrate our American Independence, but they also commemorate a new, deep breath of sweet and salty air. Devouring salt water taffy and sickly sweet pink lemonade, riding your bike on the boardwalk until ten at night, sleeping in until ten with nothing to do but put your bathing suit back on and find your friends down on the sand? This is summer, our American summer. San Diego and Huntington Beach this time of year are absolute barrels of sunny monkeys; but summers in Southampton, NY and Hilton Head, SC are treats you owe yourself, at least once.

Sure, summer's not my fave season, with the exception of San Diego Comic-Con. Anyone who's been reading me for a while or knows me socially can verify that autumn is my real gig. Still, I like a good time, no matter what time of year. In fact, this year's Summer Solstice finds me in 100-degree weather, under a blazing sun (sunscreen ga-lore!) far from my beloved beach. Nevertheless, I am thoroughly enjoying the clear, crisp chlorine of a fabulous family pool (a nice change from the salty surf hiding who-knows-what under the waves) and whatever cool, watermelon-and-mango, adult beverage floats my way.

Sure, it may not be Hallowe'en, but I can still have a blast! See, because I'm a Jazz-age designed, good time gal, I can do summer better than anyone, in my own, geeky way of course. Most likely, you're having fun wrong. Of course, one fabulous thing about summer? Autumn is right around the corner ... and then Christmas! Still, as long as summer is here let's get in the spirit! In addition to your languid beachdays, Charlie Brown-styled summer camp, vacations abroad, Hawaiian getaways, cross-country road trips, midnight-sun Alaskan cruises and lighter wine choices, please accept my humble suggestions for fun summer flicks to help fill those long, lazy, summer days.

As a fave musician of mine, Jannie Funster of Texas sings, "Where are the girls on banana seat bicycles, the ones with no shoes on their feet?" Why, Miss Jannie, they're in Laguna and Ocean City and Sandbridge and Bar Harbor! Happy Summer Solstice, everyone!

 

JennyPop's Fave Summer Flicks

What About Bob?

Lilo and Stitch

Jaws

Muppet Treasure Island

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Dogtown and Z-Boys

Lords of Dogtown

Poirot: Evil Under the Sun

Poirot: Murder in Mesopotamia

Poirot: Death on the Nile

National Lampoon's Vacation

National Lampoon's European Vacation

A Year in Provence: Summer

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown ... and Don't Come Back!

Addams Family Values

Little Darlings

The Parent Trap (original)

 

What are your fave summer flicks? LMK @JennyPopNet

#summer #movies #favesummerflicks #summertime

JennyPop's other Fave TV and Film Lists: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas!

 
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If summer calls for sans souci, seaside days of sun and sticky sand, then summer nights, especially Fridays, demand a touch of gold bling and a white linen blouse to accentuate that tan, plus just enough coconut rum to help lull you to sleep by the sound of lapping waves ... but watch your back, and your neck. Blackbeard's in town for the summer and not since Jaws has the beach looked more inviting, relaxing ... and deadly.

 

In a sea of fictionalized Blackbeards, the latest incarnation cavorts freely outside the traditional, Pyrate King design book. Clean-shaven (gone is his namesake beard tied with multiple bows of red and gunpowder fuses), bald and casually styled in island linens and sandals, casting off his trademark black velvet frock coats and leather bucket-top boots, NBC's Blackbeard appears more Gob Bluth than Rob Zombie. A mesmerizing figure to start, John Malkovich (Shadow of the Vampire, Being John Malkovich, Dangerous Liaisons, The Portrait of a Lady) portrays the 18thC. pirate with a soothing deadliness that lures the viewer into a unsuspecting trance: his escalating diatribes seep forth with an almost musical, rhythmic, Eminem-cadence, like an unsuspecting frog in a warm pot of slowly boiling water. Before you, or the frog, realize what's occurred, your kidney has been cut out; but Blackbeard has left you a lovely shrub glass of port to ease your dying moments.

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Today marks the 260th anniversary of the Jumonville Massacre. It also marks nearly as many years gone by since I started writing Book IV in my Savannah of Williamsburg Series. Folks, this one, I can honestly say, is the most difficult one yet to scribe. Not only is this period of Colonial American history intricately spiderwebbed with FFV (First Families of Virginia: the Fairfaxes, the Randolphs, the Byrds, the Carters, the Washingtons et al) and all manner of their ensuing drama and personal conflicts, but 1754 is also a period of exponential growth in commerce, communication and westward expansion.

As Book IV in the planned, six-book, pre-Revolutionary series running 1705-1776, it also serves as a slight pivot wherein, like true colonials of the formative years of mid-18thC. America, characters begin to see varying ideals of life across the sea from The Crown. Whether royal power is dispensed via greedy royal governors like Gov. Robert Dinwiddie, or faceless judges of the Privy Council back in London, personal opinions and political ideologies are being formed. This is an arduous road to take with characters whom have always been only the very best of friends with little to worry about than fishing conditions on the James River, which bottle of wine to take to a hostess and whether or not a pink or a green hat should be worn for a spring garden party. Such is life, though. Folks grow up and, sometimes, especially during great turning points in history, disagree. Yes?

History's account of the Jumonville Massacre is whitewashed and glossed over so much so that it has come to be known romantically as the Jumonville Affair, to Americans and British anyway. Even the National Park Service (as the massacre occurred near what would become Fort Necessity, what is now in the Farmington, PA-area, and is now a national park) labels it "The Skirmish". One particular "history" book describes the massacre as "A second expedition in 1754 led to bloodshed." Jumonville is most oft characterized by one or two sentences with an airy flip of the wrist that says, "who knows what really happened?". I do, and so does Savannah of Williamsburg. To be fair, PBS, as one might expect, has approached it with honesty and scholarship via their phenomenal series The War That Made America.

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Theme from Savannah of Williamsburg: The Trials of Blackbeard and His Pirates (Book II)

Blackbeard's Chanty:"Me Cup is Broke!"Music by PBIII, lyrics by Jennifer Susannah Devore

Meet Miss JennyPop

Jennifer Susannah Devore

Jenny Pop is the acclaimed Author of the Savannah of Williamsburg series of books and The Darlings of Orange County. In addition, Jen is a prolific consumer of media and pop culture. Never leaving the house without her journal and fave Waterman pen, an old-fashioned, analog book (usually Hunter S. Thompson) and a fresh coat of lipstick, she is constantly on the hunt for fun, espresso, animation  and comics of any kind and always ready for an impromptu day at Disneyland.  JennyPop.net is a natural extension of  Jen's World; so, spend some time visiting. You'll have fun, she promises!

Meet The Darlings

The Darlings of Orange County

The sexy, cashmere beaches of southern California aren't always what they seem. The dirty little secret here is what it takes to survive. Everyone has a trick up their silk sleeve. Liz Lemon meets Parker Posey, Veronica Darling is smart enough to know what it takes and is willing to soil her soul to bring Hollywood to the California Riviera. The Darlings of Orange County is a salacious, hilarious, harrowing romp chock full of eco-terrorism, horse-racing scandals, weed deals and the obligatory lipstick-lesbian affair that inevitably leads to murder. It all climaxes in a white-knuckled, glitzy, celebrity-stacked Laguna Beach Film Premiere that spells success for Veronica Darling and trouble for her friends and family.

Meet Miss Savannah Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Meet Miss Savannah of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Equal parts Amelia Earhart, Lucy Honeychurch, Scarlett O'Hara and Miss Piggy, Savannah is a scholar, adventurer and a lady. Moreover, she is a pebble in the silver-buckled shoe of injustice and with her best pals she is not a squirrel to challenge. She carries  the Magna Carta in one paw and the latest Parisian silk bag in her other. Whether fighting to end slavery, arguing for freedom of the press or scheming to end a duel, Miss Savannah does so with wit and persistence. Read more to meet her best friends and accomplices: Ichabod Wolfgang and Dante Marcus Pritchen. Prepare to also meet pirates, a Venetian fox and an Irish gull, The Commodore!

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Miss Miss Hannah

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

So, here's the low down, all you Joes and Janes ... I'm Hannah Hart, dead girl. Don't fret, it's actually a sweet dish being dead. Having perished in 1934 in a terrifically vicious accessories incident with actress Ida Lupino, I reside where I died: San Diego's gorgeous Hotel del Coronado. It ain't a bad gig at all, really! Great weather, swanky guests (not to mention a few fellow ghosties), amazing amenities, my own private turret overlooking the sea and all the java juice and giggle water I can handle; plus, these bartenders know how to make a Planter's Punch like nobody's business! See, I've been waiting for this Internet thing forever ... now, instead of slamming doors and moving lamps, I get to wag my tongue all I like at goodtobeageek.com

Abyssinia, kids!

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