Emerald City Comic Con!

I’m excited to announce I will be attending Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle from March 12th through the 15th of 2020 on a press badge. I have never been to Seattle, but I have always wanted to go to the Pacific Northwest. I’m planning on flying in on Wednesday and flying out on Sunday. I want to explore Seattle in addition to attending the convention. I’m beginning to do my research as to celebrity guests to meet, comics to purchase and how much I need to budget for this convention.

Emerald City Comic Con hosted 98,000 fans in their 2019 show. That’s so many people! Reedpop has been hosting this showing for years and they also put on C2E2 which I attended this year in Chicago. Emerald City Comic Con does have a harassment policy which is super important. I have been harassed at conventions before and it’s an unpleasant experience to say the least. Attending a convention with a dedicated harassment policy makes me feel safer as a fan.

Seattle is a great city to host a convention for a variety of reasons. It’s important to point out that Funko is based in Everett, WA. Additionally, both Image & Dark Horse are based out of Oregon which is only a state away. I’m going to be on the prowl for graphic novels to add to my collection and I may pick up a Funko pop along the way.

To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I wanted to shout out Reedpop for giving me a press badge. As the convention gets closer, I will plan out what I intend to write about. It’s nice because when the show gets closer, I will start getting press emails which will allow me to plan out my days. I already booked my hotel which is 0.4 mile walk to the convention center. 2020 is already starting off with a bang.

 

Colorado was Mesmorizing

Two weeks ago I took a solo road trip to Colorado driving 13-14 hours one way. Colorado is a beautiful place with the Rocky Mountains extending throughout most of the state. I have seen the Appalachian’s in Georgia, but the Rockies are an entirely different scenery. I had an amazing trip and I wanted to share my experience.

Sioux Falls.jpg

Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Picture taken by Me. 

One of my childhood friends recently moved out to Federal Heights which is half way between Denver and Boulder. As soon as I found out about his recent move, I knew immediately I wanted to go and see him. I left on a Wednesday and made stops in Sioux Falls and Mitchell, South Dakota. Sioux Falls has the falls park, which is rather pretty, but now that I have seen it, I wouldn’t stop there again. In Mitchell, South Dakota, there’s the corn palace. The Corn Palace is a gigantic castle with a history of corn inside. It’s very midwestern which is part of the reason I stopped there. It’s corny, *see what I did there* but I had a fun time exploring the castle. Eventually, I reached Denver by 9:30 PM. I stayed in Colorado for three full days before heading back to Minneapolis on Sunday.

Corn Palace 2.jpg

Outside of the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. Picture taken by Me. 

While in Colorado, we did a lot of hiking. I’m surprised at how much the altitude impacted me. I consider myself mostly in shape, but I found I was out of breath faster. The hike was a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. I wish while I was in Colorado that I drank more water. I had a tension headache throughout most of the trip which was probably due to dehydration and lack of oxygen. Despite the headache, the hike was breathtaking *I have got to stop with these puns*

Harry Potter Tattoo Hike 2.jpg

Harry Potter Tattoo Hike. Photo taken by My Friend

The last hike we did was the Garden of the Gods. Garden of the Gods is located in Colorado Springs which is two hours south from Denver. Unlike the first hike in the Rockies, these rocks are bright red in color. This hike was less difficult than the one in the Rockies, but again with a mounting tension headache, I started to lose steam towards the end.

Garden of the Gods.jpg

Garden of the Gods. Picture taken by Me. 

Towards the end of my three days, I didn’t want to leave. I had friends from college who had moved to Colorado as soon as they graduated. I can see why. My friend said I’m welcome back anytime and I might take him up on that except I wouldn’t do the drive again. Colorado was one of my favorite trips I have ever taken and I can’t wait to go back.

As a side note, Colorado is a geeky place. My friend took me to a numerous amount of game stores, comic shops etc. My favorite game store I went to was in Boulder titled Gamer’s GuildWe were able to sit down with the owner and his cute puppy. We even did a Throne of Eldraine draft on Friday night. I didn’t do so well in the draft, but it was still fun to experience the geeky culture in Colorado.

 

Cream & Amber – Best Independent Book Store in Minneapolis

My favorite way to shop is to go to an independent or small business. It’s the best way to get to know people in the community, while also being able to use my limited disposable income to show which businesses I want to support. Recently, me and my fiance moved into a two bedroom apartment which we both are in love with. This apartment is a five minute drive to Cream & Amber, my favorite local book store.

Cream and Amber Grand Opening Feb 2019.jpeg

Launch Day! February 2019. Photo taken by Me. 

Cream & Amber opened recently in downtown Hopkins, MN. I went to the launch with my friend and her husband where we were able to have a pint and chit chat. The Happy Hour deals at Cream and Amber are decently priced and it’s never too busy. I like Happy Hour prices, but I don’t like crowds of people swarming the bar for drinks. Cream and Amber allows me to purchase a MN based beer, sip on said beer and buy more books then I could possibly read in a year.

Cream and Amber Grand Opening Feb 2019 3.jpeg

Mmm.. Beer. Photo Taken by Me!

It’s really convenient for me to order books. There’s an email form on their website if you want specific books ordered. They take care of the rest and send you an email when you can pick them up. I’m sure they would ship the order to you, but I like being able to stop in and have a coffee to take with me. I follow Cream and Amber on their Instagram feed and they post good deals on used books. I have messaged them from their story and requested books that way as well. In suburbia, there are two Barnes & Noble within 10 minutes of each other, but I still prefer stopping into Cream and Amber. 

Cream and Amber Grand Opening Feb 2019 2.jpeg

Cream & Amber is now Open. YAY! Photo Taken by Me. 

Cream and Amber is not only a small business, but it’s owned by women! It’s not a requirement for me to support businesses owned by women, but it certainly is a plus. It’s also LGBTQIA+ friendly as well. Cream and Amber also has a book club, but I haven’t been following it enough to know what their October book is.

Cream and Amber is a book store I can’t recommend enough for any of my Minnesotan readers. Their customer service is fantastic and they make buying books easy. If I wasn’t going to Colorado this week, you better believe I would be sending them an email of all the books I need.

Colorado Road Trip

In two and a half weeks, I will be taking a road trip to see a friend in Colorado. The exciting part is viewing autumn colors, but also seeing a new state. Colorado has been a bucket list trip idea partially because of the scenery and the hiking trails. I have known college friends who have moved out to Colorado and don’t have anything negative to say. If any of my readers have ever been to Colorado and have suggestions for me of places to see, please comment your recommendations below. 

Rocky Mountains.jpeg

Beautiful Rocky Mountain picture. Photo from Pixabay, free images. 

With this trip, I have actively chosen to drive versus fly. The driving time will be 13 hours one way. For some, this would be dreadful, but for me, I enjoy to drive. I put on my favorite podcast and I have control of making stops along the way. It’s an achievement to say that I drove 26 hours all by myself. I will say if I do make a return trip to Colorado, I will fly, but because I have never been, I want to drive the distance.

The current trip itinerary includes:

  • Visiting Boulder, Colorado
  • Casa Bonita from South Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • 16th St. Mall
  • Some dispensary 🙂
Durango Colorado.jpg

Durango, Colorado. Image from Pixabay: free images. 

In between my trip, I have been checking out Atlas Obscura for unique things to do while I’m in Colorado. I would love geeky ideas including escape rooms, comic book stores etc. while I’m there. I’m going to bold this again, but if you have any geeky Colorado recommendations of activities I must do please please please make a comment on my blog post. 

This will definitely be my last trip of 2019. This will allow me to save for future traveling in 2020. I’m counting down the days until I see the beautiful Rockies in person.

 

Always – My Harry Potter Tattoo

I have known about my future Harry Potter tattoo since high school. In February, we took a family vacation to Orlando to see Universal Studios specifically “the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” It was an amazing trip and I hope to go back in the next couple of years. Once I got back, I started giving my tattoo a lot more thought.

Harry Potter Tattoo September 24th .jpeg

Hearing the noise of the Tattoo machine. Taken by my friend through snapchat. 

In April, I started researching tattoo places in the Minneapolis area. I specifically was looking for any artist who specialized in colored ink. My tattoo idea was the blue / white ghostly stag of Harry’s patronus with a whisp of blue at the bottom leading into the Deathly Hallows symbol. I found Jackalope Tattoo located in South Minneapolis and I was impressed by the variety of artists they had on their staff. Each artist specialized in a different art technique meaning I could find someone who meshed with my idea. I clicked with Amo Azure, due to their profile which included bright art and watercolor infused tattoos. Amo was professional, direct and knowledgeable about where my tattoo should go on my body and what it would look like.

Harry Potter Tattoo 3.jpeg

Outline is done! Picture taken by my friend through snapchat. 

When I arrived, Amo was ready for me and my friend. I wasn’t nervous about the pain of the tattoo until I heard the tattoo machine turn on. One fact I learned while getting my tattoo is to never use the term “tattoo gun” because it’s a prison slang term, instead using tattoo machine. When I describe how it felt getting my tattoo, I would say it’s a cat scratch on a sun burn. This was advice given to me from two of my friends when I asked how does getting a tattoo feel. The higher up on my shoulder, the more it hurt. The color hurt the most because there were more needles than the black ink. After an hour and a half, I was done and super satisfied with my tattoo.

I’m waiting anxiously for the tattoo to fully heal, but I’m thrilled with the finished design. One of the benefits of putting my tattoo on my shoulder blade is that I can see it in the mirrors when I work out. It gives me an extra boost during my workout. My only regret is not getting the tattoo done sooner.

Harry Potter Tattoo 4.jpeg

The finished tattoo! Picture taken by my friend. 

Gaming at Gen Con

This past weekend, I attended Gen Con for the first time. Gen Con is a four day gaming convention located in downtown Indianapolis. This convention encompasses several facets of gaming including: board games, PC gaming, trading card games, RPG’s, LARP (Live Action Role Play) and more. Detailing my experience attending Gen Con is more difficult than I imagined. It’s challenging to put into words how much this convention meant to me as a gaming geek. I’m starting to get teary eyed as I type this post because I had such a fantastic time gaming for four days straight. For those who are looking to attend Gen Con, I would highly recommend it. 

My journey to Gen Con started in February of this year. I applied for a press badge on a whim because why not? I was approved for a press badge for C2E2 in Chicago, so why not try it for Gen Con. My press badge was approved within a couple of weeks after I submitted my first application. Within a month before the convention, my email was flooded with board game developers wanting to set up a time for demos and interviews. I settled on two demo’s with Goliath Games and Games by Bicycle. To prevent this post from being incredibly long, I’m going to write a separate post on the games I did “demo” from both of these developers.

After realizing I was actually going to Gen Con, I recruited my brother to come with me. I was already planning on driving down to Indianapolis, but I didn’t want to go by myself. Having my brother with me throughout the drive made it more bearable. We listened to Not Another DnD Podcast as we drove to get us hyped up for the convention.

Thursday waiting to rush the vendor hall.jpg

My friend, Me and My Brother waiting to go into the Vendor Hall at Gen Con 2019. 

Me and my brother chose to stay in an Air BnB versus a hotel downtown. Part of this decision resulted because I couldn’t find any hotel on Gen Con’s website with a room available. As soon as passes go on sale in January, hotel rooms are reserved as well. This meant by the time I was looking for a room, I was coming up with nothing. Our Air BnB was about 25-30 minutes away from Downtown Indianapolis. One of my regrets was not staying right in the heart of downtown. I wanted the full Gen Con experience, but I felt that was stunted because of knowing we needed to take a Lyft every single day. We also had to bring almost everything we needed for the full day because we didn’t have anywhere to store our stuff. This didn’t take away from the convention, but it made me realize what I want to do for next year’s convention.

Thursday Rush Vendor.jpg

LOOK AT THIS CROWD! Waiting to enter the vendor hall. 

When I first approached the Indianapolis Convention Center on Thursday, I was in awe of how big the vendor hall is. There are 30 ROWS OF GAMES. 30 ROWS!? I was overwhelmed. How could I look at all the games where there are that many developers who appear at Gen Con? It wasn’t until after the third day of attending that I felt I had seen every vendor. I brought $300 of spending cash with me and even though it was enough cash for me, I could have easily saved more.

Lander Lost.jpg

I lost the game.. playing Lander at Gen Con 2019. 

As far as the gaming, it’s extremely organized. On the Gen Con website, I signed up for a couple gaming demo’s before the convention began. However, I discovered I could also buy generic gaming tickets if I found a game I wanted to demo, but didn’t have it in my schedule. I demoed an intergalactic strategy game titled Lander which doesn’t launch on Kickstarter until March of 2020. Again, to prevent this post from being gigantic, I will write a separate post of my game testing of Lander. I do plan on “kicking” the game once it launches because I enjoyed the strategy of what the game had to offer.

Another reason I loved being at Gen Con was I felt I was at the center of board game news. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I played Lander which hasn’t even been released yet. It felt like I was getting a “sneak peak” of a game that hasn’t launched.

To end my post, I wanted to sum up the turn out of Gen Con 2019. Gen Con had a record breaking year with 70,000 attendees. There were 19,600 ticketed gaming events, over 2,000 of these tickets were electronic tickets found on the Gen Con app. Finally, Gen Con took measures to cut down on waste that the convention produces. For their efforts, they prevented 24,000 cups from ending up in Indiana’s landfills.

Gen Con 2019 2.jpg

Gen Con was super cool. 

Gen Con was a life changing experience for me. I never felt more proud to be a gamer and to be in a place where I fit in. This convention is one I hope to attend again in 2020. Hopefully I will see some of you there 😉

 

Convergence & New Beginnings

I will be honest, this week kicked my ass. I was working extremely long days which led to me coming home and passing out on my couch. The break from writing was much needed as I feel rejuvenated to bring content to BizarreBrunette. I wanted to recap my sixth Convergence convention which happened during the Fourth of July weekend. This year was different because Convergence moved hotels from the Doubletree in Bloomington to the Downtown Minneapolis Hyatt. This Convergence was one of my favorite years I attended due to the change in hotel.

Convergence 2019.jpg

Daddy’s Little Monster, Convergence 2019 

The Downtown Minneapolis Hyatt Hotel was a perfect location for Convergence. Since the hotel is located in the heart of Minneapolis, it’s easier to drive to. I ended up staying with a friend who lives slightly south of the cities, but we ended up taking an Uber each way which was convenient. It’s freeing to not have to worry about the status of my vehicle and whether or not I’m parked in an illegal space. This was the first Convergence where I didn’t have my car on site and it was worth it.

Convergence 2019 2.jpg

Convergence 2019 

One of the highlights of Convergence besides the hotel was the accessibility to the gaming floor. In Doubletree hotel, the gaming floor was on the 22nd floor. In order to play a game, you had to leave the festivities on the main level, wait for an elevator only to get to the 22nd floor with all gaming slots being filled. Instead, this year, there was more empty tables to play games with friends. Additionally, since the gaming room was on the fifth floor, it was easier to play a game here and then there while being able to return to the con at any given moment.

Convergence 2019 3.jpg

Wonder Woman cosplay! 

Finally, being in Downtown Minneapolis meant there was access to great food. There were many restaurants, breweries and taverns located within walking distance. We visited the local brewery, Lakes and Legends, quite a few times. I may have been the only one in cosplay at the brewery, but I had no shame. I was able to limit my food intake to one meal out to eat which allowed me to save money while exploring the Downtown area.

This Convergence was one to remember. Severe con depression sank in the Monday I returned to work because of how great my weekend was. Convergence is always a highlight of my summer and I always count down the days till next year.