I Miss Our Con Family

This weekend was a tough one for me. It’s the first year that we aren’t doing the Convention Circuit. And our favorite con- Calgary Expo- just ended.

I missed seeing our friends. The jokes, the smiles, the love. But we couldn’t go. New commitments, the kids growing older, and the realization that there is no money in the Banana Stand this year.

Our Con Family made the pilgrimage to the yearly reunion. We did not. I sent messages of encouragement and watched on social media how their weekend was. A little bit of me died inside this weekend. It was already hard last year when we had to Say Goodbye one last time.

Now the weekend is over. No new con memories made- at least not for us. I’m sure our friends had some entertaining moments. At least that’s what I could see from time to time on social media while hiding out one province over. Maybe one day my family and I will make the trek out to where it all began for us. But I doubt it.

I think that part of my life must remain in my past. Just a distant memory of the way things once were. Time to move on and let others create their own memories.

Long Live The Con Life.

Spoiler Free Zone

This weekend my son and I were at Calgary Expo: a veritable nerd haven of fandoms and merchandise. Thousands of geeks gathering together… on a weekend when the new Avengers movie hit the theaters. This could not end well…

Many tables had signage saying “Spoiler Free Zone” or “No Spoilers”. Because we had to work the tables/booths all weekend- many of us couldn’t escape in the evenings to view the newest movie. The best part about the weekend and the attendees was the fact that no one spoke about the new movie with those of us who hadn’t seen it yet. Complete and utter respect given to everyone in this regards.

It made me happy that our nerd culture can do such a thing. This weekend I avoided viewing social media. All I did was post a few things, but never scrolled through or read anything that could diminish my movie going experience.

Tonight, I am taking the family to go and see the film. Just a couple of more hours to go in hopes that I can avoid hearing anything about the film. I’ve made it 4 days so far… we can do this.

Weekend Haul

Here’s some of the fun stuff we got this weekend. These Conventions always mean souvenirs and fantastic art to come home with us. We already packed up some of the artwork safely for our drive home.

First off is a T-Shirt from Calgary Expo. A quick freebie for getting a bunch of stamps.

I got this cute pin from Anne Wheaton as she is here promoting her new book. I gave her a set of pink cosplay ears that reminded me of “Piggy” from her book.

My son bought a “Box of Mystery” from one of our artist friends. It contains some fan art stickers, magnets, and pins. Pretty cool for only $5! Sadly, it is our friend’s very last ever convention.

After our recent trip to Japan, we have had a renewed love of Studio Ghibli. I found an artist that makes glass with shadows over prints. So I had to buy one.

Lastly, my son worked hard helping me this weekend, so I picked up a Mudkip Pokémon for him. It’s rare for us to find this Pokémon, and he loves it.

As usual, we also traded some of my wife’s hats and such for other art. People love using the barter system. We all have a value that we put on our time and work. Sharing is a great way to create new friendships and showcase work.

Only one more day to go. Maybe more art is going to grace our home.

The Bad Eats

Traveling around and doing convention shows often means eating poorly. It just goes hand in hand. Like fries and a burger…

It starts on the first leg of the road trip with a stop at Costco for a cheap hotdog. We always get a hotdog on our way from our home. It doesn’t matter if we are driving east or south. We plan Costco as the place to stop for lunch. Cheap and easy so that we can hit the road again quickly.

Yesterday’s Dinner was cheap pizza. After a day of sitting at our table making idle chitchat with strangers, making a food choice is tough. So basic pizzas get ordered. Ham and pineapple, pepperoni, or meat lovers are always easy and quick to choose. Pizza is like the safety net of food.

Throughout the day we end up grazing through candy, chips, granola bars, and sodas for the most part. Sure, a bottle of water or heavily processed vegetables are consumed periodically, but not enough to offset the other junk.

Dinner on day two is usually a side of french fries and some sort of grilled sandwich or burger. Again, just like pizza- ordering is easy, quickly served and digested. Then off to end the evening in the rented room before day 3 of the show is upon us.

That is pretty much every Convention weekend for us vendors. I’m positive our next couple of days will involve bad eats as well. It’s the price you pay to do these shows.

My Favorite Convention

My son and I leave today for my favorite convention- Calgary Expo! We’ve been coming here since 2012 and have enjoyed every year so far.

This year has all of the artists placed in the “Big 4” building. So many of my friends have been designing pictures to showcase their new locations. It’s one of my favorite things to follow along on social media and see how excited they are getting. Countdowns, messages, fun new products… so much to see and talk about when we get together!

It’s also nice that there is so much love shared throughout our groups. Last year I mentioned how I feel that they are all A Fandom Family. I look forward to seeing them every year. These are some of the most artistic and energized people I know.

Oh, and I’ll be having fun as well being a Table Tart at table AA 5211 for Ningen Headwear. If you need to find my son- he’ll be teaching people Table Top games like he does every other year.

So remember to stop by the Artist Alley in Calgary this weekend if you want to see the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse…

Desperate For Company

Next Wednesday I leave for Calgary Expo. I’m taking my 11 year old son and we are driving 10 hours from our home to get there. This is immediately after I finish a 12 hour night shift. By the time we get there, I’ll have been awake for over 24 hours. I’m not too excited about that aspect of the road trip…

This year, my wife cannot attend as she is only a couple of weeks into her new job. Because she booked for the show last year, we have a couple of tickets and a place already booked. At the show, my son and I will be able to wander a bit since we have many Convention Carny friends whom we trust that can look after our table. So now I’m trying to find a friend to come with me to share the driving duties. I have to make it through the mountains to the other side.

So I’ve tried to see if my friends on social media want to join me. I’m practically begging. I love my son and his company, but really shouldn’t let him drive the car.

But if it doesn’t pan out, I may have to find a Rest Area and take a quick power nap to recharge my batteries. Pretty sure Alberta has some nice Rest Areas.

I’m looking forward to the show no matter what. I have tons of good friends to see again. If I don’t hear from any of my other friends- it’ll be time to stock up on Red Bull and Coffee!

My Fellow Convention Carnies aka Fandom Family

When you do the Comic Con circuit you make lots of friends. When you’ve done it for seven or eight years- they become extended family.

This is our sixth year at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. I laugh and enjoy the time we spend here. We look forward to seeing everyone again in person. Of course we follow one another on the various social media platforms, but there’s something to be said about the face to face interactions.

Where’s Waldo- spot the artist edition.

First is Terry.  We met him as our booth neighbor on our third time to Emerald City in Seattle three years ago. We met up again at Stan Lee’s Comikaze later that year. We told him about journeying into Calgary, so he came out last year and loved it. He’s back for more this year.

Brass and goggles!

Attic Raiders/In the Attic are the first people who introduced us to trying to get out into Comic Cons.  Bless them for pushing my wife to branch out. We have had many adventures with them. If you need Steampunk- they are the people to go to.

Cute Glass.

Bling Squared is run by a couple named Stanley and Neacol from Salt Spring Island, BC. They make the most adorable glass figures. My wife met them through Etsy teams and we share many a Con tale with them.

East Van represent!

Awesome Sauce is another artist from Vancouver.  We met them at Vancouver Fan Expo when they sat across from us about three years ago. Now they are right next to us in Calgary for the second year. They make fun stained glass and also have classes available in Vancouver on how to make them.

Mike and Lisa are two very different artists and have tables next to each other. They are married and have been doing these shows for years.  The friendliest people ever. Always worth a stop to pick up fandom art, magnets and generally cute stuff.

Two Gargoyles sit directly behind us in Calgary. These are the two funniest guys around. We sing songs, talk about old 80’s movies and generally cause a raucous.  Oh, and they sell art and comics too!  Mike is also a very amusing West Jet flight attendant with a few YouTube videos worthy of enjoying. I guess you could say viral.

Crafty Geeks are a couple of tables up from us. They sew some pretty awesome quilts and quilted pillows. They even sell the patterns for those of you willing to make your own.  Numerous fandoms are represented in their designs.

These are a small collection of our Comicon family members. We share laughs, stories, network, and talk business. It’s always great to be surrounded by like minded people.

Expansion

The spring convention season ended and we had one summer show this year. This fall, there are only two shows we are confirmed for. The last convention we did this spring was Calgary Expo and it’s also our favorite convention (also happens to be the first big convention we ever did; prior to this one we did smaller venues) and we don’t want to drop it from our shows. One of the hardest parts about doing the same convention repeatedly is the worry that the market will get bored with our products. The other issue is the economy and there’s not much we can do about that.  But Alberta has always given us a warm welcome and the people we have met over the years are fantastic.


Running a home business is tough at the best of times.  You can have really good sales for a couple of months, then nothing for half a year.  My wife has a fairly successful Etsy Shop and her website is getting more traffic flow lately as well.  Her online sales are the majority of her business which helps keep initial costs down.  We do however enjoy traveling to different conventions to showcase her products to more people.  Costs of doing a con is much higher, but for 3 or 4 days the sales pay for everything surrounding the convention.  From table/booth costs to hotel and travel costs.  Doing an extended weekend push is worthwhile.  Conventions drive sales to my wife’s website as well.  

Doing the regular circuit is great.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, we get a lot of returning customers and people who specifically search us down.  That’s a wonderful feeling.  It also makes us want to add more shows each year.  We have only been doing the West Coast of North America for the past few years.  After talking with other vendors and artists, we think it is time to expand further east and south.

A photo of our daughter courtesy Edmonton Expo.

But in the meantime, look for my wife and daughter at Edmonton Expo this weekend.  She will be there selling her hats and hair clips.  This Convention is run by the same people who do our favorite one in the spring, and it is guaranteed to have some amazing guests and vendors.

Don’t worry East Coast!  We are coming your way soon enough!

The Changing Face of 2d Art


There are some amazing artists out there.  Some people and their art become famous and recognized around the world. Other people and their art never make it past the drawing board (so to speak).  Comicons are my favorite place to find one of a kind pieces and purchase from artists who may become the next Stan Lee or DaVinci.  Art is all about personal taste.  But once in a while, something just grabs you and you need to own it.

I was wandering around Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo before the doors opened looking at all the artwork.  One artist caught my eye, so I stopped to check it out.  As I was about to leave, one of the staff came rushing up with a few people and was all excited telling her companions that they needed to check out the art & the artist’s computer tablet as well.  This intrigued me, so I stayed for a moment longer, and I’m glad I did.

Not only was his art really good- but the artist himself created an app that brings the art to life when you looked through your screen at it.  The artist is utilizing augmented reality and it brings his art to life.  Fantastic selling feature!  It’s bringing how people view art into a whole new genre.  I have seen others try it a few times over the past couple of years; but never to the detail and care as this.  

Check out their website for more info at DPI Studios.  I hope to see more of Jaysin’s art as well as more artists adopting this idea.  

To quote Monty Python, “I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.”