2015 Road Trip Photos #2: Supping on the Shoulders of Giants

Pork Shoulder Sandwich!

We weren’t ready for lunch by the time we left the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, but we knew I wouldn’t last all the way till Nashville without food. We pressed ahead another hour or so, letting Anne nap for a bit and keeping a lookout for a convenient lunchtime stop that was not a national chain. Interstate exit signs trying to entice us into McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Subway, and/or Waffle House were a waste of logo paint to my eyes.

Pictured above is my prize for outstanding achievement in the field of stubbornness: a pork shoulder sandwich on a pretzel-roll bun with barbecue sauce, discovered in a town called Munfordville, population 1600.

If you think this is large, wait’ll you see what my wife ordered…

Experiment #3: Red Sonja

Red Sonja.

Right this way for 150 brief words or so…

Confessions of a Former Costume Contest Fan

C2E2 2015 Finalists!

C2E2 semi-finalists, left to right: a Warhammer 40K Inquisitor; Takuto Tsunashi from Star Driver; an original Norse Valkyrie; the Khorne Marauder, also from Warhammer 40K; and I believe you’ve met Groot.

Each time my wife and I attend a convention, we love coming home with dozens upon dozens of photos to save for posterity once we’ve turned elderly and forgotten everything we ever did, to show to friends and family interested in what we do, and to share with followers and passing strangers here on Midlife Crisis Crossover. To us it’s all a part of the geek experience, a sort of community service for those who couldn’t be there, or for those who were there but are looking for more shots, different perspectives, or simply proof of their existence when they were unable to take or locate any pics of themselves.

On a related note, for better or for worse, MCC’s highest single-day traffic figures every year are nearly always from cosplay photo galleries. Longtime readers who have no use for cons may wonder why I devote multiple entries to each con, but for me the math is easy: cons provide plenty of new content, anecdotes, and visual wonders to share with the world; and we usually see a traffic spike with each miniseries, especially when it comes to reporting costume contest results. Everybody loves winners, and even runners-up in such showdowns are impressive in their own right.

The grandest of them all is Gen Con, which we’ve been attending since before the recent boom in the Indianapolis con scene. Anne and I aren’t even tabletop or TCG gamers, but their exhibit hall contains scintillating multitudes and their costume contest attracts some of the most imaginative, hard-working, dedicated fans around with a penchant for representing characters and concepts far from the mainstream norms. I come away from each Gen Con a little more wowed and schooled at the same time. I’ve made no secret that the costume contest is the primary reason I attend Gen Con.

After our recent con experiences and no small amount of self-examination on my part, I think I need to let the whole costume-contest thing go.

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2015 Road Trip Photos #1: Close Up with Taylor the Swift

Mini-Zachary Taylor!

All the best road trips start with a stop. Sure, you could drive fourteen continuous hours from Indianapolis to New Orleans with pauses only for gas, food, bathrooms, and traffic jams. Or you could break up the monotony of hundreds of miles of forested interstate scenes with some creative opportunities for learning, thinking, or gawking. Some say the journey is better than the destination, but why settle for just one destination?

After an aggravating forty-minute delay due to hometown road construction that saw a three-lane interstate reduced to one backed-up single-file BMV standstill, we were all too relieved to escape town and head south toward open roads, sunny skies, fresh air, American freedom, and pure vacation joy.

Our first stop: a Presidential burial site. Say hi to mini-Zachary Taylor.

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Yes, There Are Scenes During AND After the “Ant-Man” End Credits

Ant-Man!

“Why can’t I just stay in my black suit? Daredevil looked great in HIS black suit!”

Once upon a time in 2003 there was a cute throwback comedy called Down with Love in which Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger were paired together in a light, fluffy homage to the Rock Hudson/Doris Day sparring matches of cinematic yore. It had a man’s man taken down several pegs, a feminist who rejected romantic love yet came around to her own version of it by the end, a bouncy soundtrack, a zippy pace, winning supporting turns from Sarah Paulson and David Hyde Pierce, a musical number during the end credits, and an absurdly convoluted revenge speech delivered in a three-minute uninterrupted take. Anne and I were among the very few viewers who loved it in theaters and bought it on DVD. I made a point of remembering the director’s name, Peyton Reed, in hopes that someday we’d see more from this up-‘n’-comer.

Reed’s resumé includes other well-known works such as the original Bring It On and The Weird Al Show, but I’ve seen none of them. Regardless, Reed is back at long last with his latest comedy Ant-Man, which was shot on a much higher budget and made more in its first two days of release than Down with Love made in its entire three-month run worldwide. So maybe now Hollywood will take him seriously.

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2015 Road Trip Prologue: Our Accidentally Topical Vacation

Beignets!

Certain parties insisted beignets would be the most important important and life-changing aspect of our experience. Let’s just get these out of the way up front.

Each year my wife and I take a road trip to a different part of the United States and see what sorts of historical sites, natural splendors, bizarre man-made creations, culinary marvels, and valuable life lessons await us. We began the tradition in 1999 during our best-friend years as an excuse to attend geek conventions and fan gatherings outside Indianapolis. After four years of narrowly focused hijinks, the tradition evolved through our happily married years into an ongoing project to visit as many other states as possible, see what they have that we don’t, and filter the results through our peculiar sensibilities.

For some families, vacation means picking a campground, braving the wilderness, and hiking until everyone succumbs to bug bites. For some, vacation means a beach, too much alcohol, and sunburns severe enough to scald away the worst hangover. For me as a child, vacation was visiting elderly relatives and napping on their furniture until time to leave. For my wife as a child, vacationing was something other families did because they had spare money.

Today we keep our own agenda. Finding creative ways to spend quality time together. Searching for tourism options that wouldn’t occur to our peers. Scouring for surprises in unusual places. Sometimes investigating the popular destinations when their claims to fame intersect our fields of interest or just pique our curiosity.

We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.

Right this way for a brief overview of this year’s road trip!

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