2015 Road Trip Photos #36: Shopping With Sharks

Anne vs. Shark!

If I ever got self-deluded enough to pay for a Midlife Crisis Crossover booth at a convention, this would totally be the image on our banner.

Whenever we meet new people and tell them about our annual road trips, we’ll talk partly about the famous attractions and the Very Important sights, but sooner or later we make a point of mentioning the expected “biggest ball of twine in Minnesota” sort of roadside whimsy and bafflement. Some places are more self-aware of their kitsch levels than others. Some places stop just short of posting “STOP HERE FOR PHOTO OP!” signs begging you to drop in and go wild. We’ve seen a few places that go all the way with full-on shameless billboards dozens of miles in advance. (Wall Drug, I’m looking in your direction.)

U.S. Route 90 through Biloxi runs near the Gulf of Mexico and features a pair of souvenir shops ready to sell you Mississippi memorabilia, provide all the beach gear you’ll need for your extended near-ocean stay, or just let you hang out with their marine life collections — all of it colorful, most of it inanimate.

Right this way for a gallery of sharks, crabs, and more!

Our Least Favorite Wizard World Chicago 2014 Souvenirs

Autograph Ticket!My wife and I are now at home recuperating after spending the last two days at Wizard World Chicago. As usual it was a whirlwind cavalcade of comics, costumes, actors, fans, merchandise, art, commerce, geek glee, exhaustion, frustration, and disappointment. All of those elements, for better or worse, are unavoidable in the average convention experience. Some pleasures make us giddier than others; some situations grieve us more than others.

To its credit, we’re not knee-jerk Wizard World haters. For all the flak they draw online for a variety of reasons, they get a lot of things right that other fledgling convention companies take years to figure out. We’ve personally attended conventions where management was poor, tempers were boiling, and mutinies were nigh and not entirely unjustified. We’ve heard still other horror stores from other Midwest cons. Numerous entertainment companies are out there competing for the chance to become the San Diego of the American heartland. Wizard World is not in last place.

As expected, MCC will be providing you, the Viewers at Home, with copious photos from our Wizard World Chicago 2014 experience over the next few days, though I honestly have no idea how many entries in all. I haven’t yet uploaded my pics or looked at my wife’s as of the moment I’m typing this sentence, and we still have a Doctor Who season premiere to watch On Demand. Also, there are adult, non-internet chores begging for my attention. I’m pretty sure some of you will be pleased with the results, even though we skipped the costume contest. We had our reasons, some of them logistical.

In general, this weekend was successful on a number of levels for us. But not on every level. Pictured here are Exhibits A and B for the prosecution — the front of one card, and the front and back of another. Together these limited-edition artifacts cost us $40.00 to bring home unredeemed.

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