Dragon Hats

Back in 2007, my wife began to make fun winter hats. Specifically dragon hats. Over the last couple of years, she hasn’t put much time into her online business. Family, career, moving, etc… has taken over.

Roaring since 2007

Over the last couple of days, I have been wearing one of the hats she made for me. I have had nothing but compliments on it. I know that my wife has a bunch of hats premade, and I’m trying to get her to post back on her website in order to get noticed once more.

Over the next couple of weeks, my wife is planning on setting up her sewing studio once more. Stay tuned- we may just get to see some winter Dragon hats. Just remember the name- Ningen Headwear. I’m sure that I will post more details once she gets started!

Locality

Friday night I met up with some friends at a brewery. I screwed up the date and ended up at the location a day early- sitting by myself. As embarrassing as that was, I enjoyed the location and the sunset while sipping on some beers.

The brewery is located just up the road from our old house. It opened last year about a month after we moved. Thursday was the first time I had been there. We don’t tend to go back to our old neighborhood much, so this was a nice treat.

This brewery is still in its infancy so to speak. They haven’t put much money into fancying up the place and the seating outside is eclectic to say the least. But the beers are by far some of the best I have had over the past few years. What makes this place stand out is the pond and the serenity as you sit in the farm land and sip on your beers. Even with other people around, it is far quieter than any other brewery I have been to.

I’m sure if we had stayed living in our old home, I’d be attending this brewery weekly. Lucky for me- my friends were there the second day I showed up (albeit the date I was supposed to meet them.) I also picked myself up a pizza from the pop up Raving Gamer pizza truck that was on the premise. It was not too bad, although about five bucks more than it should have been. But when there isn’t much in the way of food out there- you have to enjoy what is offered.

So check out Locality Brewing if you live in Langley or Abbotsford; or if you want to check out a farm feel brewery just outside of Vancouver. You will not be disappointed. I know I wasn’t- with the fact that I was there two days in a row….

Food Trucks!

This weekend there is a Food Truck Wars going on just up the road from our home. My wife and I took our middle child and wandered around. There was so much food! Plus it was busy. Feels as though we are getting back to a sense of normalcy in the world.

We hit up four of the trucks in order to sample some of the goodies. By far the Greek Honey Balls were the favorite of ours. But all of it was delicious. We spent a little over an hour there wandering around trying to figure out what to eat. The lineups were huge, but well worth the time spent!

I haven’t had much in the way of food truck foods. In fact I can count it on one hand how many times I’ve eaten street food prior to today. All of these vendors are good at what they make. I do enjoy supporting small businesses as well.

If you’re looking for a chance to get out and enjoy the sun- hit up a food truck or two!

Trading Post 6 Years

Second in line

I have attended every anniversary of the Trading Post as well as opening day. To say I like their business is an understatement. I have been first or second in line every year waiting to go inside.

I always meet up with different friends for the anniversary. We always sit upstairs and enjoy a few beers. Even during these Covid times, the brewery still manages to draw a crowd. It’s not shoulder to shoulder like it has been in the past, but it’s still just as popular.

My wife and I had a good time talking with our friends. We spent a couple of hours shooting the shit and polished off a few beers along the way. Even just that brief interaction made me appreciate having a place to go and people to be with. Supporting small business and watching it grow and succeed also bring me joy.

Thank you Trading Post for six years of good drinks and fun with friends. I’ll be there again next year!

Not Feeling Today, So Let’s Think About The Past

It’s rare that I have a day where I have no idea what to blog about. I had a couple days lately where I really didn’t do much or think much. I just floated through my life. Off to work, back home to watch tv and go to sleep. All just to do it again. Time to figure out something completely random to write about.

My family moved in the summer between my grade 9 and grade 10 year. My parents downsized into a newer home in a newly built suburb. It was a really nice place, but I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood. A few blocks away was a family run video store. Not a Blockbuster by any means, and the selection did lack. I remember going there the day “Problem Child” was to come out on VHS. They did not have a copy that week. But because we went there every couple of days that summer, the owner got to know me and had the film ready the following week for me and kept a copy aside for me to rent. (Little secret- it’s not a good movie.)

Next door to the video store was a small fast food burger restaurant. I got employed later that year as my first real job flipping burgers. My boss was a great Korean fellow named Byung Sunny Kim. We called him Sunny. He would sing songs in Korean and if it was just the two of us working, he’d incorporate my name into the song. He was a pleasant man and took really good care of me while I worked there through high school. Even buying me my first flat of beer (yeah, I was 17) and we had a couple beers on the back steps of the restaurant- and he told me to behave.

At the video store they ran a contest to guess the day the owner would give birth to her first child. Winner would get a year of free movie rentals. I have no idea who won, but it was a community feeling as we waited for her to have her baby. I remember seeing the child shortly after she was born as the owner had to work regularly at her own store. That’s the difficulty of running a small business.

This little neighborhood strip mall die die shortly after I graduated. Burger Brothers was bought by McDonalds as Sunny cashed in for retirement. The video store was squeezed out by a Blockbuster Video that was on a major road, garnering more traffic. It took me turning into an adult to realize that I had it pretty good when I lived there as a teenager. The emotional connections I made with the small business owners meant a lot and have stayed with me a lifetime. I continue to support small businesses and have grown to appreciate the personal touches they give to me as a regular customer.

I had nothing to write about today, so I chose a time in my life that I forgot about. Maybe I’ve mentioned these stories in the past, maybe I haven’t. But at least I created some content, which is my daily goal. It also made me a bit sad to think about these old family run businesses that are no more.

But they impacted who I am today in their own way. And for that I am grateful- looking back when I am unsure where to go in the future.

The Little Touches

Part of running a good business or having excellent customer service, is the little touches that are included. We have had nothing but good experiences with the selling of our old house and the purchase of our new home. From our real estate agents to the mortgage broker- we were given all start treatment.

Recently we received a package in the mail. It was unexpected but a really nice gesture from our mortgage broker. A bag of gourmet coffee and a couple of coffee mugs were inside along with a thank you letter. My wife and I were pleasantly surprised by this.

Months ago, our mortgage broker went above and beyond for us. Deryk even answered my phone call as he was walking into the hospital for the birth of his first child! That was an unexpected commitment. I wholeheartedly thanked him for all of his time (and his associates) for how they helped us get the mortgage we required for our home.

Going above and beyond feels like a luxury these days. Where a company puts people first and foremost when doing business. Anyone locally who is looking for a mortgage, I will back the Thrive Mortgage company 110%. If it wasn’t for their assistance and help, I have no idea if we would be in the house we are in now.

A big Thank You to Thrive Mortgage for helping us achieve our dream home.

Telestrations

This afternoon my wife and I picked up our two youngest kids from school and headed out for an early dinner. As I have mentioned previously, I like to support local and small businesses. Tonight we took the kids to The Raving Gamer.

My wife and I have been to The Raving Gamer a few times ourselves. We enjoy the atmosphere of eating and playing board games. It always gave us a chance to try some games before purchasing them.

Tonight, we were the only people at the Raving Gamer. That is mostly because of the COVID restrictions in British Columbia. No indoor dining permitted. Outside in the parking lot of The Raving Gamer is only one table for four and a few tables for two. Not exactly a “Patio” compared to mainstream restaurants. But it serves its purpose allowing patrons to still enjoy a meal. As you can see, the food was appetizing and tasty.

Just before our early dinner, we played a game called Telestrations. Where you get given a word and have a minute to draw it out, then the next person guess the word, the next person draws the word and the person afterwards has to write what they think the word is and so on until it gets back to the original player. Like a game hybrid of telephone and Pictionary.

The game was fun for the four of us. I would like to see how much more creative it would turn out to be for up to twelve people playing. During the few rounds we did play, we laughed pretty hard. We all wanted to play more of the game, but know that it would be a fun party game with more players.

It was definitely a game we would recommend for larger groups. Obviously once Covid restrictions are lifted.

Are you supporting small businesses these days? Or perhaps playing games during the pandemic? Send me some recommendations for either of those. I want to still enjoy life and share experiences with others.

Take Out Day

Since it was my daughter’s birthday yesterday, we wanted to do a nice dinner for her. Usually we get Nikko Sushi for any celebratory meals. But our daughter wanted to try something different. Due to current health restrictions in British Columbia, we had to order take out.

It also happened to be “National Take Out Day” as well! We picked up some slushies from a corner store, some Indian Food from Taj, and an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.

Besides samosas, my family doesn’t eat a lot of Indian food. We did buy samosas, but we also had coconut chicken curry, butter naan bread, and paneer. It was delicious. I am impressed that our kids are always willing to explore tastes from other cultures.

17? Ugh. As if

The ice cream cake was a delicious end to the meal. Our daughter has been enjoying 80’s/90’s movies all her life and went with a “Clueless” inspired cake. We watched the film afterwards for a good laugh. (Wow, there are a lot of stars that were up and comers from back then! Thanks IMDB for helping me to recognize them.)

Did you enjoy some take out yesterday? What did you have?

Do you like Indian cuisine? What would you recommend we try next time from a restaurant?

Let me know in the comments.

Supporting Local as My Birthday Gift

For my birthday yesterday, my wife took me out to support a trio of small business restaurants in Langley. I’m a big proponent of helping out and buying from local businesses as often as I can afford it. To enjoy my birthday, I asked to support locally.

We started off with a late brunch at a place called Egg Bomb. This was the first time my wife and I had eaten there. It was funny because while we were inside, we talked about how the two of us used to attend the original coffee house that was first built in that location. Neither of us had met one another back in the 90’s at Castle Bay Coffee.

Egg Bomb was exactly that. Eggs! And amazing coffee. I had a teriyaki sandwich and my wife had prawn with hollandaise sauce. It was awesome. I would highly recommend them.

For dinner, the entire family went to a favorite restaurant of ours in Fort Langley- The Little Donkey. Burritos that were jam packed with delicious quality ingredients that filled our bellies.

And for dessert, my wife picked up a dozen Boston Cream donuts from Gourmet Donuts and Coffee in Walnut Grove. My wife remembered a story I had shared about my father from my childhood. Whenever he would attempt to quit smoking (this happened about five or six times) he would come home with a dozen Boston Creams for the family.

I enjoyed my birthday yesterday and all the food that my wife took me out for. Spending time with her and enjoying her company in the different atmospheres was wonderful. I really appreciate what she did for me and I’m glad we went out and helped other businesses by enjoying their wares.

Nikko Sushi

My wife and I were welcomed to our favorite sushi restaurant for lunch today. It was quiet in the restaurant, but we were still seated in one of the closed off booths for added privacy. We have been coming here since they opened their doors- 20 Years Ago. Our Loyalty for great sushi is with them.

Every time we arrive, the staff (its a family run business) talk to us as if we were part of their family. At first we only went for birthdays and special occasions. Now we end up going there once a month it seems. The quality and value is unsurpassed.

When Nikko first opened, and for a couple of years following, they would take our picture. If you look closely in a few of the booths you will find our family up on the wall. For twenty years, the staff at Nikko Sushi has watched out family grow. Even today, when it was just my wife and I, they asked about our kids.

Because of our commitment to them, we are treated like royalty when we walk in those doors. Almost every meal we end up getting a sample of some sort of treat they have. And every year for their anniversary, we have been given a gift. Previously we have received bottles of wine, this year was a lovely hand towel (that our oldest daughter has claimed.) We also leave a generous tip as I have always proudly supported small business.

If you haven’t eaten at Nikko Sushi, you absolutely have to try it. Trust me, it is quality food. I plan on still going there over the next twenty years!

Shopify Summit

My wife has been with Shopify going on 3 years now. Every summer they have a “Support Summit” for their region. Last year was held in Whistler. The year prior was in Vancouver. This was supposed to be in Victoria, but COVID had other plans.

Since my wife works for an online e-commerce platform, most of her job is done remotely. Meaning she has already been working from home for ages. And because of restrictions, numerous businesses are setting up shop with Shopify. Work for her has been busy.

This year, their Summit was done remotely. Lots of video conferences and online tutorials to help improve their customer service. Instead of going out and getting a Swag Bag, it was shipped to our home instead. Where she was told to open it on day one of the Summit.

My wife and her coworkers take great pride in their job and the company. So any time my wife gets swag with a Shopify logo on it- she displays it proudly. From hats to shirts to mugs. My wife loves the company she works for and her “Shopifam” as well.

I’m really happy for her that she fell into this job as well. It has been a great opportunity for her to connect with people and assist them in creating a better business for themselves. My wife always has a “feel good” story to share with me after each shift. Sometimes the stories are humorous in nature as well. Even with some negativity that happens on occasion- my wife goes back each shift and is laughing with her coworkers online as they start their day video chatting.

From an outsider looking in- it appears that Shopify has a great business culture in how it is run. So for any small businesses out there looking for an online platform with good customer services- try Shopify. You may even speak with my wife. You can tell it’s her because you can hear her infectious smile through the phone.

And no, Shopify is not paying me to write this. Although it is paying for a bit of our livelihood, but not without some hard work on my wife’s part.

Take It Slow People

British Columbia is starting to allow businesses to open today. With a ton of stipulations mind you… Many of which require extra sanitization and precautions.

The best practices for everyone is to remain civilized towards one another as we navigate these new ideas. The other thing is we should remain vigilant is our respective spacing from one another. Avoid touching your face and cleaning your hands regularly should remain paramount from now on anyways.

Be smart people.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed my time at home. I’ve learned to make dough, pasta and deep fried desserts. I’ve also had the opportunity to be closer with my teenagers than I thought possible. We’ve had a bunch of fun singing Disney songs and cracking jokes. Sure, the occasional disagreement and a bit of space was needed, but all-in-all I think the time at home has been beneficial.

At some point, I’ll go to a restaurant or get a haircut. I’m in no rush to do those activities. I wasn’t feeling trapped or lost without a coffee shop being open. My life has remained relatively the same. Enjoy the world people. Be smart doing it. And support small businesses to the best of your ability!

Planning For The Solitude

With everything going on in the world today, I have made a plan to keep our children busy. Go Joe!

Today I headed out and hit up the Home Depot for a pressure washer, some cleaning supplies, tools and paints. A $1000 later and I have enough projects to keep us busy for quite some time.

I also made a point of getting my haircut, an oil change and to pick up some old records. Those last three were in order to support small businesses during this tough time. With everyone rushing to buy toilet paper and pasta sauces, remembering that those small businesses rely on us now more than ever. These small businesses are also taking precautions to ensure healthiness. As well, I did my best to avoid touching stuff and sanitizing frequently.

Starting tomorrow, I don’t plan on leaving my house anytime soon. I am on a week of vacation that I was already planning on just staying home. We have enough food to keep us fed for nearly a month. But that’s how we have always been. We keep our freezer and pantry stocked at all times. Of course this could all change if required.

Like if I run out of beer. But I got a decent stockpile of cheap beer to keep me going.

Seriously though, I plan on not going out any more. Every place I went to today was pretty empty. And no one was rude or panicked. Let’s keep it that way please.

Winter Hats

Who makes the best winter hats? Clearly I’m going to tell you it’s my wife! She has been making fleece hats for almost fifteen years. So she knows a thing or two about what she’s doing. She’s the definition of a “Mompreneur”.

What does the Fox say?

As a family, we’ve had so much fun because of her small business. From sporting these great hats to attending a Multitude of Comic Conventions. Nowadays, my wife and I are far too busy to attend those shows, but she still makes hats from her online store- Ningen Headwear.

So while your stuck at home and despising the weather- surf the Internet and check out Ningen Headwear . My wife would be happy to make custom colored hats to keep you warm this winter!

Brambles Bistro

We are two days into January and my wife and I had our first date of the year. We went for breakfast in Abbotsford at a place called Brambles Bistro at Tanglebank. It was a quiet location with only two other patrons inside.

Besides having great company (my wife!) we enjoyed some local farm fresh meals.

I ordered the Short Rib Skillet: Braised short ribs, au jus, roasted potatoes, smoked cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions, apples and two poached eggs. It looked like it wasn’t going to be a very large meal, but by the end I was definitely satisfied and full.

My wife ordered Huevos Rancheros. It contained smoked yams, charred corn and beans, smoked cheddar and two sunny side up eggs. It was served with avocado, pico, lime, and cilantro. A fantastic mix of sweet and spicy.

We savored our breakfasts then wandered around the shop. I could see how this place would be busier in the summer as the bistro is a part of the nursery and garden. I’m surprised that this was our first visit here since the Bistro has been open since 2012 and the Nursery since the mid-nineties.

As I love supporting small businesses, this is another one that I’d recommend to everyone.

Local Beers

As I have mentioned numerous times before- I love to shop local and support small businesses. If you live in Langley, BC I recommend you follow Tourism Langley on Instagram. They are always out there sharing great moments in our little neck of the Fraser Valley.

Yesterday they shared this picture. Langley grew over the past year adding four more breweries to their name. Previously it was only Dead Frog and Trading Post that graced us with craft beers.

I was excited to hear about the other breweries that opened This Year, that I went out and filled some growlers to share tonight. We have a few friends and coworkers stopping by for the Winter Solstice. And what goes great with food and friends? Sharing beers. I picked up samples from Dead Frog, Trading Post, 5 Roads, and Farm Country. I’m excited to try them and share with everyone.

Hopefully the beers I grabbed taste as good as their names sounded. We shall find out tonight.

Raving Gamer

For my wife’s birthday, I took her out for lunch this afternoon at a place called The Raving Gamer Bistro in Langley, BC.

It’s the perfect style of place for my wife and I. It’s locally owned and operated. The menu serves locally-sourced ingredients from many of the places that I love to visit in Langley and nearby.

I enjoyed the Three’s Company Grilled Cheese: Golden Ears cheddar & gouda on Langley’s A Bread Affair’s Three’s Company bread.

My wife ate the Raving Water Buffalo Burger: a house-made patty of local water buffalo with bread and butter pickles, fresh tomatoes, red onion, gouda from Golden Ears Cheese Crafters, double smoked bacon and a house-made Russian dressing.

Both of us opted for the house-cut fries with “butta-shoyu” & Japanese spice; and a local beer to wash it all down.

During our lunch, we had a chance to enjoy some one on one time while playing board games. The selection of games to play was extensive. After our meal, we browsed through some of the games for sale. These aren’t your typical Monopoly variations or poker games. Many of the games I had never heard of. But when I asked the staff about games- they had knowledgeable answers.

We had a nice quiet lunch- we were the only two customers in there. It sounds like they are much busier in the evening time, especially on the weekends. I highly recommend visiting the Bistro. But be prepared to spend time and money! We were there for about an hour and a half and spent $100. But we also picked up a game that we have been wanting for some time now. So it was worthwhile investment for the future of our fun!

Car Care Small Business

When my wife and I buy a car, we get it serviced at the dealership for the first few check ups. After the warranty kilometers are gone, it’s time to give the smaller automotive shops our business.

Our Honda Element is at 286000 kilometers now and still runs smoothly. I recently took it to a tire shop to get a screw out of the rubber and the guys were efficient and reasonably priced. They also didn’t try and upsell me on other stuff that I didn’t need. Kudos to them. I’ll be back when I need new tires!

Today I dropped off the element at a fellow’s shop that he runs from his home’s garage. He’s our neighbor’s son who is Honda Certified and has worked on our vehicle in the past for us. He’s putting in new shocks and the like in order to smooth out the ride. He’s always been able to take our Element in and get it back to us in a timely manner. I appreciate the work he does as well since working on cars is his passion.

Supporting a small business or local shop is important to me. Without these people, who generally take pride in their work, the car dealerships would gouge us every time we dropped off our car for service. Owning a car is expensive no matter what you do. But the freedom that comes with a vehicle is invaluable at times. Especially for my family where we have nonexistent public transit nearby our home.

Here’s to you small automotive businesses! Thank you for being a great alternative to the dealerships.

Berry Good

Living in the countryside means fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available. There’s a place I stop at throughout the summer that has cheap hothouse peppers in red, orange and yellow that are extremely tasty. I love to sauté them on the bbq with a bit of garlic or red onions.

We are also close by to not just one, but two berry farms. I love eating Fresh Berries in the summer. It means that I’ll be making more waffles, smoothies, putting berries in my sparkling wine, toppings for yogurt and ice cream or just eating them straight out of the bowl. Juicy, healthy treats.

Today I stopped by both berry farms. Mainly I wanted to see the difference in quality and price. Krause is all flash with a winery and food available. While Driediger is mainly just berries. Both have U-Pick available which is nice for a morning out with the family. Honestly, even though most people love Krause for its high end look, Driediger has better quality berries that are sweeter and lower in price as well. I do enjoy Krause for a bike ride to sample wine with fruit.

Whichever you choose to hit up, just remember that you’re supporting a local business. Which always adds sweet karma to your meals.

Roots and Wings

There’s a Distillery located just south of Fort Langley called Roots and Wings. We drive past it everyday taking the kids to and from school. I finally decided to stop in and sample some of what they had to offer.

Looking at the building from outside doesn’t seem like much. It’s still fairly new only being established in 2015. Supporting local businesses is always something I encourage. Since they grow their own potatoes and corn for their vodka, gin, and whiskey (or rather, rye because it hasn’t been aged long enough yet)- it didn’t surprise me that there was only a small tasting room.

Inside holds about a dozen patrons. I was alone when I sampled each of their liquors. Natural flavors and a taste unique to each bottle kept me wanting more. There wasn’t a throat burn or the cheap taste of “nail polish remover” you find in bottles of similar price point elsewhere.

As I sat there, the hostess gave me a history of the distillery and the name. “Roots” being their starting in Langley, and “Wings” for how they want to expand and grow. I also learned that in the following month or so they will be offering cocktails in their tasting room along with charcuterie. Sounds like I’ll be back for more when that happens.

I took a few small samples home. A coffee infused one, a cinnamon one and a horseradish one- that last one turned out to be perfect for a Ceasar FYI.

I recommend checking out Roots and Wings on a Saturday to try some of their offerings. Or be on the lookout for them at the local Farmers Markets coming up this year.

Saying Goodbye

Sunday was the last day of our Convention. I had to say goodbye to all of my friends. It was the last day of Calgary Expo, but also a bitter end to many years of shows. We won’t be returning.

I’m severely saddened by this. But many factors have come into play over the past little while. Last year I toted about My Fandom Family and how great everyone is. I love these people. Even back in 2016 we were hoping to Expand our small business- it just won’t be happening.

Since 2016, sales at Conventions have dropped. To be honest- the sales more like nosedived. What used to be lucrative and profitable, suddenly became, “Are we going to just recoup costs?” We gave it a couple of years, but sadly no increase.

Besides our declining sales, a few other factors have also come into the decision to not return. First, my wife has started a new job. She will be working for a company full time and can’t create stock or take off time for out of town shows. So her Business will be scaled back to just online sales- no more travel to conventions. We can now use vacation time to vacation!

Secondly, our children are getting older. We do not want to take them out of school as their workload is heavier than it was when they were younger. Our oldest has entered adulthood by getting (and loving) her first job, so time off for her means she makes less money. She is now saving up for her next big purchase.

Lastly, after doing Conventions for nearly a decade, we’re a bit burnt out. So many stresses lead up to a show as well as when we are there. We also haven’t done a decent cosplay in a couple of years. There was just too much going on in life. I am hoping to take on a new hobby and just make replica movie props for myself.

Yes, I’m saddened by the fact that I put down in words the finale of our traveling business. And just like that, our convention circuit is pretty much all done. We went out with hardly a whimper. No big fanfare saying it’s over. It’s just over.

Just some hugs and handshakes to say farewell to our friends- with many a promise to stay in contact. All of the conventions were a blast, but now it is time to move on. Let the next stage of life begin.

She Works Hard For the Money

My wife has been running her own business for what seems like forever. Check out her website (that I helped design) at Ningen Headwear. She loves what she does. All of her hard work has paid for our vacations and the kids’ activities. I love her products and enjoy talking about them to everyone I know.

However there is a small change a brewin’.

My wife had a job interview on Friday. It was a Skype interview that lasted about 45 minutes. She did well enough that it was followed immediately by a secondary interview that involved problem solving skills. I hope that she nailed it.

My wife was a bit anxious and is having some mixed emotions about this. She never really used Skype before (neither had I) so it was a fun challenge to get it set up and see what it can do. She also expressed feelings of doubt in both her abilities to do this new job and in herself for having “failed” at her own business.

I reminded her that she didn’t fail at running a business. She successfully made something from scratch. I don’t see it as failing for trying something new by working for someone else. It’s time for her to change it up a bit. She will continue to work on her own business if she gets this job. She is passionate about what she does.

Fingers crossed she gets this job. It seems like a perfect fit for her. Now we wait… waiting is tough. But in the meantime she will continue to work from home making awesome hats and cosplay ears.

Hometown Convention Weekend

This weekend is Fan Expo Vancouver. We attend this one every year. It’s close to home and we get to see lots of friends. It almost doesn’t feel like a “Work Convention” because of this. But it is…


With every convention we attend, there is pre-con jitters. Even our hometown con is no different. My wife gets herself so worked up before a show, she becomes sick. Then the first day of the show- she is full of energy and excited. She knows that the shows here and it’s game on. Sell hats and have fun!


My role beforehand is to help pack up and get lunches prepared. My other routine before a show is to calm my nerves with a couple of cold ones the night before. I’ll wake up in the morning and help get the kids ready for the show. My wife will go through her inventory and supplies one (or two) last time(s).


We also get our cosplay and outfits ready before a show. My son has a “pin hat” that he wears with a collection of buttons he has received over the years. It’s his pride and joy. The other routine we have is to get our Nintendo 3DS’s charged and ready to go. During the shows we have fun doing “Street Passes” throughout the weekend. 


When we get to a show, we create a plan for what we want to see while attending. Panels, celebs, games, or meet ups. There’s always something for everyone. Even a game card of “Artist Alley Bingo” comes out. At the end of it all, we have a great time.


Come by and see us! We will be waiting with craziness and fun. You know, for kids.

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.

Emerald City: Friday


Our first full day at Emerald City Comicon began as it always does.  Since we are in Seattle, a trip to the Starbucks is in order.  This is so I can try one of their specialty Comicon inspired drinks.  This year’s was a choice between “The Groot” and “Hulk Smash”.  I opted for Hulk today.

The next thing we do is re-arrange our set up.  I have no idea why this happens- but it happens every time.  It’s like we show up, place the merchandise out, and then on the Friday- change it up.  And we end up selling lots of stuff!

Then we head off to greet old friends. As you start to become more familiar with them, you know how to act around them.  

There is one fellow who shakes hands by clasping your hand between his.  He also insists on hugging us. He is super friendly and exudes a pleasant energy that makes the rest of the day joyous.  A great way to get your convention juices flowing.  As we do our rounds, we start to network with more vendors.  Most everyone is friendly and willing to share advice about the con or future events. 


Then the sales begin.  The day rushes past in a flurry of smiles and chitchat until suddenly there’s only an hour remaining.  During that hour is a lot of talking with the nearby vendors about how the day went.  Many have big smiles knowing it was a success.  All of us knowing there is still two days left to go.

Now it’s time for a quiet evening in the hotel.  The next day is the big one.  Saturday.  The day that most people attend.  The day that sometimes increases the attendance by 50%.  The busy day.  The rough one.