One Lone Black Nerd I be


It started with the movies. I used to go with my parents to every damn show possible. Alien? “Isn’t 4 too young, Donald?” my mom would say. “He’s 4! What can he possibly remember from it? He’ll be fine” I imagine he retorted. I was not fine. I ended up being afraid of the dark the rest of my childhood. You just never knew if that pesky xenomorph was hiding in the ceiling ready to punch your face out with its tongue. However, with the fear came wondrous amazement, joy, and imagination. Even at that age I imagined myself the hero. That was 1979. I’d already been indoctrinated by Star Wars and I thought I was like every kid in those days; full of spirit, giggles, imagination, and joy.

 

Then we moved to Texas from the East Coast and I met my best friend for life, who introduced me to video games! 1983. I had an Atari 2600, then he had a Nintendo, and it escalated from there. Dungeons and Dragons, Doctor Who (we’re talking Tom Baker Doctor Who now), radio serials, Star Trek, GI Joe, Transformers. I was hooked, like every kid. It didn’t hit me that I was any different than any other kid, besides being the only black kid I knew besides my cousins. I began to notice I was the odd kid when I started doing the voices of the characters from the cartoons whose toys I cherished. After all, Optimus Prime can’t sound like Cobra Commander and Darth Vader isn’t as intimidating when he sounds like a spastic nine year old. The kids at school would tease which would cause me to become introverted and only share with those I trusted. “You’re a nerd! You can’t be a nerd! You’re black!”

Well, shit. I’m a black nerd. Those were the worst world ever spoken! Ok, not really, but I was a kid. Words stung, yo. When I was 12, I struggled with my nerd/geek desire to still keep and display my toys, but also struggled with the peer pressure to “grow up” and “be a young man”. It was awkward and it felt wrong, but I put my toys away. “Young black men your age do not play with toys! They play football or basketball or do something cool and athletic.” I heard it, even from my mother. It hurt.  Everyone seemed to want me to do it the way you’re supposed to. I wonder if I would have faced such pressure were I the innocent looking white kid like my best friend. Would I have gotten more of a pass? People tease and ridiculed the white geek kids too, but they always had a click or group they could fall into that looked like them, sounded like them, and didn’t get suspicious looks when they went somewhere together as a group.

So I stopped. I played football in middle and high school…until I discovered comic books. Then it was another obsession. I got a job just to pay for them because my exasperated mother was not gonna pay for “One more damned comic book!” (I find out years later that she was a geek growing up too in an even harder time for black nerds. She had her own comic collection. We would watch movies together and nerd out in later years) I spent half my life in the comic shop. I felt at home, but I was usually always the only black guy in there, reading stories about white, homogenous heroes saving the world. I always wondered why there weren’t more. Where were the people who looked like me?

As I got into my twenties and turned my attention to trying to reach for a career in media, I started to really understand that I was an anomaly. The creators and artists who made the fantastic universes I would get lost in wrote and drew what they knew. They were majority white, and even more majority male. I was an exception to the standard geek rule. So that meant I was in an even more exclusive club. I had panache. I was cool by virtue of my rarity, like an Action Comics #1! The rest of these guys were just silver foiled, variant covered 1991 X-Men #1’s! I started to find heroes like Luke Cage, The Falcon, Spawn, Cyborg, Bishop,John Stewart Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter (dammit, he’s no Martian, he’s a Space Brutha)  and Deathlok. Men who looked like me (except Deathlok, that bruh got jacked up!) rising up and being the hero of the story; fighting injustice. Being a black hero became so damned cool, they went and made honky Nick Fury into Shaft!!!! I still love that one, especially now that he’s a fan favorite.

Now I’m in my early 40’s I see a subtle shift. I take pride in the fact that Dwayne McDuffie (RIP) is one of the most revered writers and creators ever in comics. These days my extended family and many of my friends still don’t quite get the level to which I nerd out and I don’t bore them to sleep with my obsessions, but they see my happiness and they get that. Though they usually stop listening after I start discussing the scientific reasoning behind Superman’s powers or why Batman is still better (He’s the God Damned Batman!). Now that being geeky is a mainstream, popular thing, I’m pleased. It’s a Golden Age! Now that it is mainstream means that more and more young black men and women will discover the wonders of geekdom and not be faced with being so alone in a crowd, if you get what I mean.

I used to feel like the odd man out, but now I don’t feel so awkward as I attend comic cons. I feel like an attraction, but in the best, most positive way possible. Maybe that’s maturity and learning to accept who I am and not worry all that much with other’s impressions. I feel like I’m the voice there to keep it honest and not let things stay the way they have been. I’ve picked up the mantle and I’m one of the trailblazers now!

I was totally a nerd before it was cool.

Damn, does that make me a hipster? I do have a Chewbacca beanie…..

To Aquaman


I found this handwritten letter while cleaning my apartment. I had forgotten I wrote this. This was on the day one of my friends, Jonathan Vela, passed away. These were my thoughts at the time. Please be respectful in your comments.

To Jonathan,

I wish I knew you better. I should have known you better. We were classmates. We attended so many of the same geek events. I had every opportunity to get to be a true friend to you. You were a greater man and human being than any I’ve ever known, save for my mother. Your selfless attitude and passion for helping others knew no limits. You had a level of bravery unmatched by even the most legendary warriors. You would dress up as Aquaman and people would ridicule you and make fun, but you always shook it off with a smile and a disarming charm. I grew to admire your unwavering dedication to and love for your community. Humanity, really. The example you set for us all can never be eclipsed. The world was far too undeserving a place for the likes of you.

To know that you are gone makes me very sad and incredibly angry; angry at a universe that would allow such a terrible end befall such a beautiful, soulful human. Why you? Why in the prime of your life? What could you have possibly done in your short life to be saddled with such a tragic and unfair ending to your story? Why are others, evil others, rewarded for their cold actions against mankind? Why do they live and you do not? The only thing I can think is that there is no intelligent design and we are on this blue orb, hurtling through the black void, alone and rudderless. Maybe the universe is completely fair in its complete unfairness.

All I do know is that the world, San Antonio, cosplay, geekdom, and most of all the Velas, have lost a man of immesurable beauty and good. We all look for heroes in the world. I can say with certainty that we lost one today. We lost a legend. Rest in peace and take solace in a job well done, Aquaman.

You will always be my friend, Jonathan.

Aquaman

The Declaration of Geekdependence


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People ask me why I am doing this. Why am I chasing down this dream of becoming a professional, paid geek entertainer, podcaster, and voice actor? Where did you get this drive to do what needs to be done to make it happen?

To answer that question, I have to go back to July 6th, 1975, when I was born to Carolyn and Donald Coe. That was a year of the rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac. Why does that matter? Well, the traits of men born in the year of the rabbit are:

“…those who always treat people politely, with a gentle smile that makes people feel that they are credible and sincere. When meeting trouble, Rabbits can handle it in an orderly way; when encountering tough difficulties they are never discouraged, but are persistent to seek solutions. So they eventually achieve enviable success.”

Enviable success?  I like that.

So I’m totally destined for greatness?

Perhaps, but having those traits doesn’t guarantee anything. I still needed the nurturing and the constant push to speak up, to do the right things by people, to make them laugh, to make them happy. I credit my mother with this, the toughest woman I have ever known. She came from South Central Los Angeles and could survive almost anything. She showed my sister and I how to take life’s punches and punch back. I never saw her complain or quit, and she had every right and reason to. I used to ask her why she never gave up. My mother always said, “Baby, I never was given the choice. I have you and your sister. You need me.” She loved my voices I made and how I made her laugh, and fed my burgeoning geekiness. She encouraged me to be me. She said if I could overcome my shyness, I could do wonders with what she says God has gifted me.

I always thought I was ugly and odd shaped. I would hide and make my voice small, freezing up when I had to speak in class or give a presentation. I sneaked silently through school, only really being myself around my trusted friends. They had always told me, “Your voice is great! You should do radio! Cartoons! Something! You could be the new Movie Trailer Guy! You are funny, seriously. You can do it!” I would say, “No, I’m nowhere near as talented as Don LaFontaine!”  They’d say, “Who?” I would roll my eyes, “How do you not know who that is?!”  I just didn’t think I was worthy of the success I craved, the goal I desired. I thought that my heart disease, low self esteem, and size wouldn’t allow me to be anything other than invisible.


After the deaths of too many friends and family before their time, including my mother and father, I realized there was no right moment. I had to push myself to believe I had talent and, most importantly, that I was worthy of success. I had to make it happen. I had to make it the right moment. So with that in my heart and the integral help of my brothers Timmy Stewart, Alex Trevino, we formed The GeekVengers. We started small with local conventions here and there locally, did some videos, and had a blast. They gave me the mic and put me out front. “Use your natural humor and charisma! Fuck the fear!” I did just that and at our very first convention we met and interviewed Jennifer “Lil Bit” Adams.  I had no idea at the time how that singular event would chart the course of my life going forward. 4 years later, with some heartbreaking subtractions and some wonderful additions like Adam Garcia, Courtney Goodrum, The Blurred Nerds Podcast, and GVTV, we are going strong and growing stronger.

This is my calling. This is my focus. This is my destiny.

No quitting.

Alamo City Comic Con 2015: Generalissimo Pwns It!!!


We’ve had such an amazing run since September when we attended this event. We apologize for the delay, but we’re only human! So now that you’ve whet your appetite with The Blurred Nerds podcast‘s newest episode, you can give your ears AND eyeballs some sweet geek loving and watch this panel! He’s The Man.

Excelsior!

Episode 3: The Holidays Awaken


 

 

On this episode, Lil Bit and I discuss unending Force Awakens trailers, best Christmas gifts evah, holiday memories, wishlists, and I beg just about the entire known universe for an Xbox One. So click the picture and sit down for an hour of fun and geek frivolity! We’ll be back soon with all new musings and rants to sate your geek appetite.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, VENGERS!!!

The Blurred Nerds: Episode II


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We discuss some Adele, Mockingjay Part 2, Jessica Jones, the etiquette of talking at the movies, what we’re thankful for, Black Friday shenanigans, some dog wrangling, and the joy of being a geek!

Words, Feely Words.


Hello and salutations to you, my geek brethren and normals! How are you? Good! Anyway, sorry I don’t blog enough. I mean to, but I’m such a procrastinator.

I was out tonight having dinner with a close friend of 20+ years and the subject of relationships came up. We went on about how tangled and deep we get when we find someone we feel is worthy of giving our love to. He, like me, is a Cancer. We live for being able to care for and watch over others. We are unrepentant romantics at our core. We are honest men and very forthright. Sadly, that has not been a great attribute as of late. So much so that both of us are semi-retired from seeking love and a relationship. I’m not going to speak for him, but my reasons are simple.

I think I’m kinda terrible at it.

I am a deeply honest person. I’ve never been a good liar and I never will be. I take pride in that. I used to think that it would be a benefit to me in a good relationship. I hear it’s what women all ask for. Honesty? I has that! Humor? I has that, too!!! Handsome, big, black, and charming? Check, check, check, and check!!!! Total package, right? Hmmm, so far, no. You see, I am honest probably to my own detriment. I want to be straightforward with anyone I get involved with and the women I have met lately don’t cotton to that so much. That’s the part I am terrible at. I fall in love with being in love and perhaps it puts me into overdrive and that’s what freaks women out. Now I purposely move really slow and take my time, and it is really difficult. I must fight the screaming crazy person inside my heart at every turn. 🙂

Now here’s the part I can’t control…

A little history for you- I have non-ischemic cardiomyopathy. Huh? Layman’s terms? My heart is defective and I take all manner of medication to regulate it and make so I don’t die. I like not dying. It’s my life goal. So, when I do get involved with a woman and I like her, I am sure that she knows the score. Not on the first date or anything, but usually when I am comfortable sharing such info. They almost always run away like King Arthur’s men in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. I’m not asking them to take care of me or watch out for me or any of that shit. I can do it on my own and have been for many years before you and I’ll do it for many years after you, thank you. I share out of total honesty. Perhaps I’m just meeting the wrong women.

For this situation I really don’t think there is a right one, though. The fear of getting involved with someone, falling in love, and having them die on you is strong. I understand, but just so you know, I have no plans of dying anytime soon. Could I? Sure, but we all could. Enjoy your life as it is now and worry less about what will possibly be.I suppose it also has to just do with hard-wired human instincts. People want to be with others who exude healthy qualities. No matter how much I work out or try to take care of myself, I am a damaged specimen and I will always bear the scars of that. Can’t worry or obsess about what you can’t control. so I’m semi-retired from all of that. It’s made my life easier. Do I get lonely? Sure. Do I still love naked women? Duh, yeah!!!!!! Do I long for companionship? Of course I do, I’m human. I want the togetherness and closeness of loving love like many do. I remember watching my mom live alone after my dad left. I wish I had spoken with her more about her true feelings. I’m sure her wisdom and her strength would have been immensely helpful now. I had no idea that I would be in a similar situation years later.  

It has taken me a few years to really be in the right frame of mind for something like this. I could not have been this kind of man in my twenties. I could not have been this kind of man even 4 years ago. Wisdom is a hell of a thing. Don’t feel sorry for me. That’s not what the goal of this blog entry is. I guess it’s just personal therapy. I’m not saying that I am closed to meeting someone special. I am open to it. I always will be, but the difference now is that hooking up or meeting a woman isn’t my first goal when I go out somewhere. Honestly, it never should have been. That’s not to say Chocolate Machismo isn’t going to be panty-dropping charming, though. That’s just innate skill, my friends. You can’t turn that off. 😉

The operative word in that paragraph was ‘special’. I want to meet someone I can truly know and who can see who I am underneath all the on-camera bravado and the gregarious ebullience. Until then, I’m focused on my work with The Geekvengers, being the best geek I can, being the best friend I can, improving the world in my own little way, improving myself physically and mentally, and being educated by the world.

Since When Did You Become the Physical Type?!


So, while watching Bane break Batman in their epic fight in The Dark Knight Rises, my mind wandered away from Tom Hardy’s manliness to this thought….

What are my 5 favorite showdowns? Mano a mano battles for the fate of mankind. The Universe. Chicks. Whatever. There has to be a reason. The hero is out for justice or redemption. The villain is out for vengeance or to break the emotional will of the hero so that he (or she) may stand over their fallen foe triumphant, after monologuing  first (even during the fight!) of course. As a man, there doesn’t really need to be a reason cause we like to watch good fights. We’re primal like that. However, when there is meaning and emotion behind the conflict, it makes my nerd parts tingle with brilliant joy and geekery. When something is on the fucking line, then the battle becomes epic.

I limited this to five and also to just what has been portrayed in movies. If I opened this up to TV shows, comics, and sports, I’d be here all night.

Sooo…..

5. Rob Roy MacGregor vs. Archibald Cunningham. (Rob Roy)

This had all the elements of what I’m talking about. Rob Roy was fighting a superior opponent in terms of speed, form, and knowledge. He should, by all rights, have lost this battle, but he had something on his side that cannot be quantified. Will. He wanted vengeance against Archibald for his land being taken, his good name being destroyed, and most importantly, his wife being raped. Rob Roy wanted to kill this guy so bad he could taste the rage in his mouth. Archibald was basically an erect dick with legs he was such a tool. Rob Roy took advantage of the opening Archibald gave him by being a showboating douche-bag and opened his chest like a ripe watermelon. Besides being one of the best sword fights ever put to film, it was the classic culmination to the hero’s journey.

4. Achilles vs. Hector of Troy. (Troy)

So, legend has it that Achilles was a near invulnerable bad ass motherfucker who couldn’t be touched on the battlefield. He most certainly wasn’t invincible….just really fucking good. He was the Michael Jordan/Bruce Lee of Trojan warriors. Hector was no slouch and was a great fighter in his own right. Problem was……motherfucker wasn’t Achilles. Achilles came for vengeance against Hector killing Achilles’ cousin Patricles. Hector had no idea until he struck the fatal blow that he wasn’t fighting Achilles, but Achilles didn’t give a fuck. Didn’t. Give. A. Fuck. He wanted Hector’s life. No, he wanted his soul. He took his body, desecrated it, and dragged it behind his chariot back to the Trojan’s camp in one of the biggest “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on’s” in history. The fact that this fight was an actual historical event makes it even more awesome. Well, not for Hector.

3. Batman vs. Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)

This one had it all. Brutality, ferocity, vengeance, power, and even monologuing. The fear that I saw in Batman’s eyes the moment he realized that Alfred was right was like getting that special gift at Christmas. He could not beat this beast of a man. This intelligent, ruthless wall of brutal efficiency was going to not just physically best Batman, HE WAS GOING TO BREAK HIM emotionally. Bane WAAAAANTED it more than Batman did. Every hero needs to take a beating such as this in order to become better, otherwise they don’t learn and just continue being total self-righteous dickbags. This was a test of just what was inside of Batman. His guts. How much want-to did he have? Could he rise from being humiliated in every way possible and come back? We of course all know the answer now. He’s the God Damned Batman! I love that there was no music. Just the sound of Bane and Batman BEATING THE SHIT OUT OF EACH OTHER. The stark lighting. The location. It all screamed “WHUPPIN!” Bane was so calm and Batman was so harried and fighting with desperation. The differences between the two was beautiful. The comic version of this was certainly more cat and mouse with Bane toying with Batman and after months of setup, pouncing on him and ending Batman’s world as he knew it. And damn, look at Bane’s shoulders when he climbed down that chain!!!! I’m not gay, but…..

2. Optimus Prime vs. Megatron (Transformers: The Movie)

Optimus. Motherfucking. Prime. Megatron. Millions of years of hatred. One final fight. I really don’t need to say more, do I? All us geeks understand this one on a level deeper than our own consciousness. I was 11 when I saw this at the movies and I was blown away. I still am. This fight wasn’t just about Optimus vs Megatron. It was incorruptible lawful good versus unrepentant and irredeemable chaotic evil. This fight was for Cybertron. For Earth. For Transformer and humankind alike. Optimus went in to this fight without fear for his life. He knew what he had to do. No matter the cost.

And Hot Rod had to go and fuck it all up. Fuck that cunt. Turns out Optimus’ death was just a ploy to sell new Transformer toys, but Hasbro underestimated the level at which Optimus Prime and what he stood for resonated with my generation. They had to admit their mistake and bring him back for fear of destroying the Transformers brand altogether. He was our father. He was our friend. He was our leader. He lead with a soft heart, a stern attitude, and unwavering loyalty to his people and his beliefs. That’s why he’s still the shit today 26 years later. Thank you Peter Cullen for making such an indelible character.

1. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader. (Empire Strikes Back)

There is nothing made or that can ever be made that will ever displace this conflict from my number one spot in my mind and most importantly, my heart. My level of connection to, affinity for, and attachment to the original Star Wars trilogy and this movie in particular cannot be diminished or broken, no matter how many shitty prequels or potentially shitty sequels they make. I first experienced this ultimate battle between good and evil when I was 4 1/2 years old, sitting between my mother and father in the movie theater, my mouth agape and my eyes falling out of my face when the scourge of the galaxy Darth Vader admitted to a battered and beaten Luke Skywalker that he was his father. What a dick move! Luke had rushed away from Yoda to face off against an opponent with 20 years of Jedi AND Sith training in Darth Vader. He realistically had no chance of winning, yet he went anyway for his friends. I admire that and I’d like to think I would do the same for my loved ones. Luke exhibited a total lack of emotional control just like his father (and just like me more than I like to admit), but there are two things he did exhibit that his father did not. That would be compassion and sacrifice. Anakin never showed the courage to let go and give for the greater good. It was always about how much power could he gather to protect what he wanted or thought was his. Luke was all about how much he could give of himself to protect what was EVERYONE’S, which was freedom and free will.

I imagine this fight matters so much to me because it was one of the last movies I remember seeing with my entire family. Just a short three years later, my father left my mother when she needed him the most and our family when his two young children desired to bathe in their father’s love. As a grown man now I understand what my dad was going through being a Vietnam veteran and most likely suffering from PTSD and trying to deal with a sick wife and two small kids, but as a child I thought it was my fault. I thought if I could have just been a better kid, he would have stayed. I struggled with it for years. Who’s to say that my parent’s relationship wouldn’t have still gone sour had he stayed? My dear mother died in 2003, mere months after we saw ‘Attack of the Clones’ where Yoda (her favorite) whupped that ass. My father and I reconciled in his final years as much as you can expect before he died in 2009.  I see and feel a lot of parallels between Luke’s experience with who he thought his father was and who his father really was. Darth Vader wasn’t so much a villain as a man who made choices that had dire consequences and trapped him within a prison of his own making. One that he felt he could never escape from and that maybe he wasn’t worthy of escaping from for what he’d done. Every time I watch this fight I am reminded that we are both villain and hero. We choose which.

So, that’s my list. Hope you enjoyed and sorry for getting all deep there at the end. 🙂

The Prose of Cons


Hiya everybody? How are you all? The Geekfather is here to glaze you with some more verbal love juice. I’m gonna give you guys my take on the Geekvengers recent comic convention experiences. I would have written this blog sooner, but I’ve not had a free weekend since the first weekend in October and Chocolate Machismo is very tired.

What is it like to attend a comic con? Well, it’s fucking fun as shit!!!! It’s like getting to eat the best burrito you’ve ever had in your life while Eliza Dushku/Alan Tudyk (choose your preference people) makes sweet love to you all the while Patrick Stewart is cheering, “Make it so, Number 1!!!” followed by you letting out the hugest fart and Bruce Campbell and Stan Lee both sniffing it while bowing to you.

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It’s just like this…except you’re 37 and the one dressed as Superman.

 
Okay, maybe not like that, but it is super awesome. We attended Dallas Fan Days on October 20th and Austin Comic Con on October 28th. Each convention is different and have their own pluses and minuses. After only our 3rd Con as a group, I have some observations and tips for those of you who may not have ever been and are on the fence. I want to help you be prepared so if you decide to go, you won’t run into a major snafu and be geek fubar’d. Like stuck in downtown Indianapolis at midnight with no money when it’s 33 degrees and you don’t have a cellphone or remember what hotel you and the lesbians you road-tripped with are staying at fubar’d. True story.

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The lesbian road trip was soooooooooooooo not like this.

On to my observations!!

 

 

1. Buy your tickets in advance. I don’t just mean tickets to get into the event, but ALL YOUR TICKETS. Autographs, photo ops, and VIP meet and greet packages for many of the Cons can be purchased early. I recommend it highly if you can afford it. If you want to nerd spooge all over your favorite nerd/geek/dweeb crush/love/obsession then this is the way to go. If it is offered, do it. Why? Because it guarantees you get to stand in one less God forsaken line, that’s why! As nerds we are all used to standing in line and waiting to get in another line to wait some more. I think the Nerd Gods do it on purpose, those cunts. The headaches and time you waste will be greatly decreased, which means more time for you to think of what unintelligible babble you’re going to vomit all over Felicia Day when she looks at you with those big, purty eyes of hers.

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I either said, “Hubgagbaabbbagooo!” or “Hi!” I don’t remember which.

 

 

2. Treat the celebrities like human beings. Just because you’ve watched them on television or in movies since you learned to rub and tug or diddle the fiddle doesn’t immediately make them your bestest buddy in the universe. Also don’t assume they remember every episode ever of every show they’ve ever been in. For them, it was a job that had the great fortune of turning into a once in a lifetime opportunity that catapulted them to geek icon status. Many of them have fave episodes or stuff they’ve done, but they aren’t nitpicking this stuff like we are. Do you remember every day of work you’ve ever had, even the exceptional ones? Most likely, no. Neither do they. Praise them on their work and say you’re a huge fan, but don’t go on and on about how you have an action figure of them. Just because Michael Biehn was impressed when I told him that doesn’t make it a good idea. Ask them how they like whatever city you are in. Small talk them a bit. Keep it cool. Don’t get too personal. Don’t be an asshole. I’ve found I’ve had some of the most engaging conversations and experiences with celebrities when I just ignore the fact that they are famous and just see the person behind the character. That’s how you end up fist-bumping with LeVar Burton and asking him why they didn’t give that bruh no space vagina on Star Trek: TNG.

 
His answer? “Ask the white writers.” DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN! I didn’t know Mr. Reading Rainbow was so gangsta angry!

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He was Kunta Kinte angry!!!!

Seriously, though, just swallow some bravery and talk to them. You will quickly discover the great celebs and the complete douchecannons, just like in real life. So always keep your expectations in check.

 

 

3. Be prepared for the unexpected. Things happen. Celebrities schedules change and they can’t make the event you had planned to go to, and often it is at the last second. Don’t let it get you down. Save that Princess Leia action figure for the next time you get a chance to cry over Carrie Fisher. Let go of your boiling anger at having missed Eliza Dushku. Relax your nerd loins. Just go with the flow. Like with us, we were disappointed with the lack of celebrity interviews we got, but Cons have rules and you have to respect those rules, even if you disagree with them. I remember going to Star Wars Celebration III in Indianapolis in April I believe. Well, there was a cold snap and it fucking snowed the 2nd day we were there. Folks waiting outside in costume for the Flannel One himself, George Lucas, got soaked and were freezing. You just never know. Always roll with the punches.

 

 

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“Dammit, we lost Marselles…AGAIN.”

4. Stick to your plan. You plan to go with a group of people? Always be sure you have each other’s cellphone numbers, have your phones charged, bring a charger with you, and just in case, have a set location and time for your group to meet at the convention. Also, always have cash on you. These events aren’t debit or credit card friendly. These events get massive and you will lose people in the crowds. IT WILL HAPPEN. We’re nerds. We are attracted to shiny baubles and nerd-knacks. One minute you’re walking along with your buddies and then you see a hot geek woman whose whole breastesses except the nipples are just all out like clothes don’t exist in this universe, the next thing you know, you’re Alice and you’ve gone down the rabbit hole. Take the red pill and just enjoy it. Seriously, though, if you do bring kids along, take pictures of them and designate a safe location they should head to if they get lost if they don’t have their own cellphone.

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5. Bring an assistant. This is for you costuming people. While dressing up as a stormtrooper or as Batman is seriously cool, they aren’t traditionally known for their ample pocket storage space or their ability to sit down. That’s why you need an assistant. Someone to carry your wallet or purse, someone to hold your helmet when you need to actually breathe so you don’t..you know…die, and someone to take pictures for all the jabronies who want to take a bajillionty pictures with you. For the ladies who feel the desire to dress in the most skintight, revealing, provocative, suggestive, and absolutely filthy costumes…please keep doing that. Chocolate Machismo approves and endorses this behavior. Also, bring a trusted male friend or female friend to help keep the geek creepers away and even sometimes the celebrities. I’m not naming names. Let’s say it rhymes with Moo Furrigknow. Ahem.

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“Seriously, bro, YOU tell him to stop hitting on your girlfriend. You want I have 911 on standby?”

 

 

6. Be patient. The lines will be long. Stars go on breaks. Q&A lines turn into pits of despair from which no one can escape. This is where patience comes in. It is one of two things that will keep your sanity and prevent you from stabbing that guy in line after the 100th time he’s told you he “fist-bumped with LeVar Burton.” “What’s the other thing, Marselles?” Water. Seriously, I get so fucking thirsty at these things it’s not funny. It’s like they suck the juice right from your lips with their sorcerer’s ways and put all the water fountains and soda stands at the farthest point from where you are currently dying of thirst, no matter where that may be.

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“FUCK…Steve has my wallet.”

And finally…..

7. Don’t squander your opportunities. If you have a shot at meeting one of your idols or someone you have nerdmired forever and two days, then by all means, get their autograph. Get their photo. Say hello. Get a photo with them. That may cost you money, but when your friends come over to your place and you see the geek jealousy spilling from their eyes as they stare upon your picture of you and Stan Lee kicking it like you’re best buds, it will have paid for itself. The one thing that won’t cost you money? Just walking up to them, shaking their hand, and telling them how much what they do means to you. They love to hear that. Really. Artists, actors, writers…they all love to get validation that what they are doing matters and makes a difference in someone’s life. That’s part of the reason they do what they do, besides loving it. That’s also why 90 percent of them go…for that fan connection. Don’t ever leave a convention with any regret.

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Only an empty wallet and a content geek heart.