Dukes and Drives: Our World of Wheels Indianapolis 2017 Photos

2015 Polaris Slingshot!

The 2015 Polaris Slingshot looks like a science fiction car, but is in fact a three-wheeled motorcycle that just needs a matching super-hero to go with it.

This weekend my wife and I attended our very first World of Wheels, a popular car show that holds court in numerous North American cities every year. Friends who know us well questioned this choice at first because they know cars aren’t our thing. When we told them our primary motive, they understood and stopped looking at us funny.

Strangers tend to assume I know cars because I’m male. This is incorrect. I’m not one for knowing makes and models on sight, how to disassemble and reassemble engines, how to change my oil, which olde-tyme cars are the most awesome, which parts are which, why anyone should spend more than fifteen grand on one, or why anyone should run out to buy a new car the exact millisecond they pay off their existing car loan. To me cars can be pretty in the same way that flowers can be pretty, and my familiarity both is largely, equally superficial.

But we had our reasons for giving it a go, for trying something new, and for approaching this great big car show as we would any given comic convention: because my wife is as big a fan of classic TV as she is of Star Wars and Star Trek, and they had two special guests she was rarin’ to meet.

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Road Trip Origins Year 2, Part 1 of 3: Internet Fandom Rendezvous 2000

Gateway program!

If you recognize the logo that this program cover is aping, then you may appreciate who we met that year…

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son rode along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. From 2004 to 2011 we recounted our experiences online at length for a close circle of friends. From 2012 to the present we’ve presented our annual travelogues here on this modest website for You, the Viewers at Home, which I’m grateful includes some of those same friends. Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover, we told the story of our very first road trip together, an amateur expedition to Wizard World Chicago 1999.

Fast-forward one year later to July 14-16, 2000. While we remained best-of-the-best friends in separate apartments, we had begun pooling resources on select line items and seen our situations improve when she left McDonald’s after a ten-year stint and switched to an adjacent, much better-paying career track — call-center work for a major mail-order club. It was still customer service, but with 100% less grease and 0% chance of having to stand for hours at open drive-thru windows in zero-degree weather. Overall we were in slightly better standings one year after WWC when an idea for a second road trip walked right up, pinched my cheeks, and wouldn’t let go.

As with our inaugural outing, this would be another geek convention in a state beyond our own, with a guest list of well-known media personalities and hotel accommodations required. However, the proposal was far more ambitious in one groundbreaking respect: it would be our first time meeting people we knew only from the internet.

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Cooking with Alex Guarnaschelli at Indy’s 2nd Fantastic Food Fest

Alex Guarnaschelli!

True story: Chef Alex is the first person we’ve ever met at a show who mentioned jazz hands in a Q&A before we even had the chance to ask.

Last year my wife Anne and I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Fantastic Food Fest at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, planned by its creators at Circle City Expos as an annual event bringing together the best and brightest providers from numerous restaurants, markets, farms, caterers, bakeries, and other tremendous sources of locally sourced ingredients and cuisine under one roof for foodies to gather and escape winter doldrums. Year One’s big show brought in a headliner we loved to meet, Chopped host and hometown hero Ted Allen. If the show was successful, we figured we’d return regardless of the guest list.

As Chopped fans, we weren’t disappointed. Year 2 brought in a related special guest all the way from New York City, Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, the Chopped judge most likely to deliver a ruling composed entirely of clever metaphors. Alex summed up the order of the day as she opened her 1:30 cooking demo: “It’s time to eat and cook and forget about a whole lotta other things for a while.”

Right this way for a photo gallery of amazing colossal foodstuffs!

Road Trip Origins, Part 2 of 2: Our First Wizard World Chicago

Wizard World Chicago 1999!

July 17, 1999, a day that shall live on in the hearts and minds of at least two geeks.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. Every tradition begins somewhere. As longtime friends and readers might expect, ours began with a convention.

Enter Wizard World Chicago 1999. It was probably the largest comic con within 500 miles of home. We figured if we could handle a 2½-hour excursion southeast to Kings Island, then we could handle driving three or four hours northwest to Chicago.

Thus did two twentysomething best friends embark on their first real road trip, arrive at their destination in the Chicagoland town of Rosemont, and walk into the largest geek convention they’d ever seen in their lives.

Right this way for our grainy 35mm photo gallery and a big batch of exhumed memories!

Road Trip Origins, Part 1 of 2: From Wallflowers to Wanderers

Anne + Randy 1999!

Flashback to 1999: two twentysomething youngsters enjoy a church fish-fry with no clue what their future held in store.

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. From 2004 to 2011 we recounted our experiences online at length for a close circle of friends. From 2012 to the present we’ve presented our annual travelogues here on Midlife Crisis Crossover for You, the Viewers at Home, which I’m grateful includes some of those same friends. (For newcomers to the site, our complete road trip checklist will direct you to hundreds of previous entries covering our explorations, including remastered retellings of our pre-MCC outings in 2001, 2006, and 2011.

Every tradition begins somewhere. As longtime friends and readers might expect, ours began with a convention.

Right this way for a very special presentation starring our 1999 counterparts!

The Complete MCC Convention Photo-Op Jazz Hands Collection (so far)

John Barrowman!

One of many faves from Wizard World Chicago 2016: John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Arrow), who’s game for just about any pose you suggest, several more that never would’ve occurred to you, and a few you’ll never live down.

Here in the doldrums of January, when not much is going on outside our humble abode, my wife Anne and I have already tentatively mapped out our 2017 convention plans, with room for additions if any wild opportunities come up in the months ahead. As an antidote to the soggy winter blues and the current political climate that has all but murdered my enjoyment of most of the internet lately, we’d like to take a look back at the actors we’ve met over the past three years with this very special photo compilation of one of our favorite convention activities: asking actors if they’ll join us in a bit of jazz hands.

Right this way for an easy-to-browse all-star gallery!

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