Bat-Tastic!!!! Celebrate Seventy Five Years Of Batman Today!

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Worldwide

Today, DC Comics officially celebrates seventy five years of Batman.  Events are scheduled to happen all across the globe in book stores such as Barnes & Noble and in comic book shops everywhere.  Some events include exclusive free comics, masks, capes, and tons of other freebies.  Are you hosting a party to celebrate the Bat today?  Perhaps this weekend?  If you are having an event or attending one, be sure to comment about it below.

Batman is, was, and always will be my favorite superhero.  For anyone that’s ever read a comic and/or dreamed of being a superhero, he’s the one person that we all believed we could potentially become.  Why?  He lacks super powers.  All of his success against crime is based solely on his intelligence, hard physical training, and, here’s the kicker, money.  Sure, there are other heroes out there who lack super powers that do quite well for themselves such as Iron Man, the Punisher, and even the Boy Wonder, Robin, but Batman seems the most real character of them all.  Heck, even Dr. Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory believes that he can become Batman!

So, go out into the world today and share your love of everyone’s favorite detective.  Wear a Batman tee, read a Batman comic, watch one of the many Batman films, or watch Batman:  The Animated Series or any of the other wonderful cartoons featuring the Bat.  Do it with your family, friends, and loved ones.  Oh, and don’t forget to show some love and become a fan of the Discount Dark Knight at http://www.facebook.com/discountdarkknight.

Happy birthday, BATMAN!!!!

USS Lafitte/CATS 20th Anniversary Party

Lake Charles, LA

On Saturday, July 19th, I attended a wonderful party in celebration of the twenty year anniversary of the U.S.S. Lafitte/C.A.T.S. Star Trek Fan Club.  The group, founded twenty years ago by Stuart Griggs, was originally called C.A.T.S. (Calscasieu Area Trekkers Society).  As it grew in numbers, it eventually became an official part of Starfleet International as the U.S.S. Lafitte.

The group holds monthly meetings that include a viewing of a Star Trek series episode (currently TNG episodes) and also a science fiction or fantasy film.  The group also enjoys a number of other fandoms, from Star Wars to Firefly, Battlestar Galactica to Lord of the Rings and beyond.  The group also attends science fiction and comic conventionst to promote all things Trek.

I have only been with the group for roughly nine months, and in just that small amount of time I have gained quite a few new and solid friends.  We come from different backgrounds, generations, and interest groups, but Star Trek binds us all together as one happy family.

If you happen to live in the Lake Charles area, look up the group on Facebook and reach out to us about joining.

I Want You!!!!

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Everywhere

Here’s a shout out to each and every person out there who reads this blog regularly or just happened to stumble upon this page out of sheer dumb luck.  I want YOU to tell me which topic to blog about next.  Simply comment below as to which topic needs to be addressed by yours truly from the list that follows and I’ll write up something about it next week.

  • Doctor Who
  • Star Trek
  • Star Wars
  • Batman
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Bad Superhero films
  • Good Superhero films
  • Firefly
  • Toy collecting
  • Randomizer (post this comment and I’ll randomly choose a topic from the list)

 

The Houston Con

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Houston, TX

I’ll be attending The Houston Con in about a month’s time.  I am not 100% sure if I’ll be there strictly as an attendee or as part of a fan group, but I’ll definitely let you know here whenever I find out.

This event was formerly known as Space City Con, which was awesome in its own right.  For reasons that I personally am not aware of (although rumors are rampant), that event was dissolved and from its ashes rose The Houston Con.

The guest list includes numerous Power Rangers actors, members of the cast of Star Trek:  AxanarTeen Wolf celebs, a cast member from the upcoming (and highly anticipated by me ) The Flash series, plenty of comics artists, authors, and those wonderful ladies in green, Orion’s Envy.

Check out the link below and if you’re going to this event, lemme know and maybe we can talk a bit.  Also, I’ll be the Discount Dark Knight at some point during the convention.  Come by and talk to me!

As always, thanks for reading.

The Houston Con.

Outpost: Silver Dollar City

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Branson, MO

Okay, so you’re probably wondering why I’m blogging about a visit to Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO on a blog that centers primarily on nerdy things.  Well, here’s why:  Just because there’s no science fiction or comics involved doesn’t mean something can’t be nerdy!  In fact, there’s quite a bit of good nerdiness to be had at Silver Dollar City and in the Branson area if you know where to look.  I was actually quite surprised at just how much fun I had at SDC and in Branson, so I decided it was definitely blogworthy.

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Myself with the Fouke Monster.

The actual tour started very early on a Saturday morning in Lake Charles, LA.  Myself and the family hit the road at around 4:45 AM.  We stopped in Leesville, LA for a quick bite of breakfast and our next stop was in Fouke, Arkansas at Peavy’s Monster Mart, which is home to all things Boggy Creek.  What’s Boggy Creek, you say?  Well, Fouke is supposedly the stomping grounds for the Fouke Swamp Monster, who was written about by a gentleman that went by the name of Smokey.  Smokey’s tale made it to the big screen in the form of the film The Legend of Boggy Creek.  The film is a cult hit, and I’m proud to say that I own a copy of it.  When I was a kid, finding Sasquatch or Bigfoot or the Yeti was one of my biggest dreams.  I still want to find one, but much like Wile E. Coyote and his pursuit of the Road Runner, I don’t know what I would do if I ever did manage to catch one.  Our stop was brief, and I managed to get a few photos (and a mug), but we were soon back on the road.

We stopped at the Arkansas Welcome Center on I-30.  I-30 is quite possibly the most boring stretch of interstate highway in the universe, so I highly recommend going “off-road” and taking Scenic 7 through Hot Springs, AR and the Ouachita National Forest.  Hot Springs is a pretty cool place.  It’s an old city with a very trippy vibe to it.  The Ouachita National Forest is beautiful, and there are plenty of great places to stop, hike, explore, or just have a picnic.  Eventually we entered the Ozark Mountains and then Missouri.  It was a long ride, but well worth the long hours on the road.

Iron Springs in the Ouachita National Forest.

Iron Springs in the Ouachita National Forest.

We went to Silver Dollar City on Sunday.  For those of you who aren’t aware, Silver Dollar City is an amusement park that is based around life in the Ozarks during the late 1800′s.  It spins local history with the spirit of the American pioneer, and gives visitors a glimpse into the lives of these hardy and proud people.  There’s also plenty of roller coasters, water-based rides, musical acts, magic shows, and demonstrations centered around the area circa 1880.  There’s blacksmithing, glassblowing, gospel singing, country music, and food, lots and lots of food!

The American Plunge.

The American Plunge.

Dancin' girls at the Silver Dollar City Saloon.

Dancin’ girls at the Silver Dollar City Saloon.

Words of wisdom like this are scattered throughout SDC.

Words of wisdom like this are scattered throughout SDC.

The Powder Keg.

The Powder Keg.

A look from the observation deck of Wildfire.

A look from the observation deck of Wildfire.

I’m a huge fan of roller coasters, and SDC had no shortage of exciting one on hand.  My personal favorite was Wildfire, but if you ever make it out to SDC, be sure to ride Thunderation, The Powder Keg, Fire In The Hole, and Outlaw Run (a wooden coaster).  All of them are excellent rides.

I also highly recommend going on a tour of Marvel Cave which is located on the property.  It’s actually the primary reason that SDC even exists today, as the park was built directly above the cave.  The daytime tour is free, but there’s also a “Lantern Tour” that can be taken for a small fee ($10.75 as of this writing).  The “Lantern Tour” is the last tour of the day.  Marvel Cave is well lit throughout the day, but for this final tour, all of the lights go out, your tour guide wears period specific attire, and takes a small group down into Marvel Cave for a tour that runs roughly an hour and a half and includes a lot more stories (including ghost stories) and even a few looks into places that are off-limits during the standard daytime tour.  I HIGHLY recommend the “Lantern Tour.”  Not only is it a much more intimate tour due to the limited group size, it’s also a great way to learn a whole lot more about this wonderful cave.

Marvel Cave.

Marvel Cave.

Marvel Cave.

Marvel Cave.

Marvel Cave.

Marvel Cave.

Our tour guide on the daytime tour, Madison.  She rocked!

Our tour guide on the daytime tour, Madison. She rocked!

Now, we didn’t spend our entire trip at Silver Dollar City.  We did take a couple of days to explore the city of Branson as well.  We visited Branson’s Wild World, an aquarium/mini-golf/arcade complex that featured bull sharks (that we got to feed), wolves, dingos, and a cool 3-D mini golf course.  We also saw Optimus Prime in front of the Ripley’s Believe It….Or Not museum.  All in all, it was a great trip.  We also visited the Cliff House Inn in Jasper, AR, which had a breathtaking view of the Arkansas Grand Canyon.

Arkansas Grand Canyon at the Cliff House Inn in Jasper, Arkansas.

Arkansas Grand Canyon at the Cliff House Inn in Jasper, Arkansas.

Branson's Wild World.

Branson’s Wild World.

Optimus Prime!

Optimus Prime!

A-1 Logger burger from SDC.

A-1 Logger burger from SDC.

Red Velvet Fried Oreos!

Red Velvet Fried Oreos!

Red Velvet Fried Oreos.

Red Velvet Fried Oreos.

Peanut Brittle!

Peanut Brittle!

Branson's Wild World.

Branson’s Wild World.

Branson's Wild World.

Branson’s Wild World.

 

As always, thanks for reading, and if you have any questions about anything I’ve posted here, drop me a note or leave a comment!

Bayoucon 2014

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Lake Charles, LA

Bayoucon 2014 is a fan-run convention in Lake Charles, LA that takes place every June.  I have attended this event (and was even the vice president of the convention’s board at one point) every year since its inception with the exception of 2012.  Originally this convention was primarily a science fiction based event, but it took a shot at anime last year.  This year, it seems as if the convention went back to sci-fi, featuring guests from Stargate SG-1, Star Trek:  First Contact, Star Trek Continues, The Walking Dead, and one anime guest.  I’ll speak about some of these later on.

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Photo credit: Garrett Manuel

I attended the event as a guest panelist and as a member of the crew of the USS Lafitte, a Lake Charles based Star Trek fan club that is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year.  I arrived on Friday and met up with the Lafitte crew for the evening.  Neither of my two panels took place on Friday night, so I had a lot of time to walk around and check out the event.  I also got to visit with a lot of friends, some that I had not seen in a very long time.  Attendance was okay, but there was still plenty of room to roam around without being crunched shoulder to shoulder with other guests and fans.

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Photo credit: Stuart Griggs

Saturday was a bit more active than Friday night.  All of the celebrity guests were available for autographs, photos, small talk, etc. on this day, and I took a little bit of my free time to speak with the lovely Noelle Hannibal, who many of you might recognize from Star Trek:  First Contact.  A few more of you eagle-eyed fans might remember her from the TV series, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and I commend you if you recognize her from that, because she was in full makeup for that show.  We talked for a bit and I got a photograph and an autograph from her.  She was very cordial and a pleasure to speak with.

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Photo credit: Kendall Fontenot

Saturday was also the day that the lovely ladies of Orion’s Envy made their appearance in all of their green glory.  These ladies are excellent dancers and capture the allure of the Orion Slave Girls with perfection.  It’s hard to say anything bad about these ladies because A) they are as friendly and lovely as can be and B) they are real Star Trek fans.  I consider them friends and look forward to seeing them at any convention that I attend.  They performed on Saturday evening for the crowd in between sets by the Consortium of Genius, who jammed out to a ton of original tunes culled from multiple genres.  COG (as many people refer to them) also cranked out an epic version of the theme from Doctor Who, which is my favorite series of all time.

I hosted a panel about the Fifth and Tenth Doctors from Doctor Who on Saturday.  I called it Five and Dime and briefly highlighted the multiple similarities and differences between the men (Peter Davison and David Tennant) that portrayed these two incarnations of the Doctor and how the two relate to one another in real life.  I was shocked at how many people attended the panel.  Apparantly the Lake area is hungry for Who.

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Photo credit: Garrett Manuel

Sunday was much, much more laid back, and attendance lightened as the day went on.  Despite the small numbers, though, I had a nearly packed house for my second panel, Upgrades:  From Mondas to Cybus Industries, which covered the ever-changing Cybermen from Doctor Who.  This panel was much looser than my previous one, drawing a lot of interplay from the crowd, and we even went off on a few tangents like Superman and Harry Potter, but it was still a lot of fun and well-attended.

The event closed with what was supposed to be a panel focusing strictly on Cliff Simon, but he suggested that all of the celebrity guests take the stage with him and it basically became a free-for-all where photos were snapped, autographs signed, and plenty of fun was had by all.

After the convention called it a day, I managed to grab an autograph from Michael Koske, a featured Walker from The Walking Dead.  I asked him how many times he died on screen as a Walker and he told me that of the forty-three Walkers that he portrayed, forty of them bit the dust on the screen.  He was a genuinely nice guy and I wouldn’t mind seeing him at another convention down the road.

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Photo credit: Some random dude who offered to take the photo for me. I returned the favor. Thanks, random dude!

I also got to hang out for a bit with Larry Nemecek, who is bascially a Trek library full of knowledge about not just the many series and films, but of many other Trek related things.  He also portrayed Bones in the first two episodes of Star Trek Continues, a fan created series headed up by Vic Mignogna, who is best known as an anime voice actor.  If you ever get the chance to check out the show, do it!

The best thing about small cons like Bayoucon is the fact that you spend almost no time in lines to meet celebrities, shop vendors, or interact with artists.  Even better than that is the fact that you get to hang out with friends in a very loose environment.

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Photo credit: Garrett Manuel

Bayoucon has had many ups and downs over the years and still seems to be trying to find its footing, but two very important staff members, the husband and wife duo of Michael and Jenni Moreau, have managed to make this an enjoyable event.  They go out of their way to make this event special, and they should be recognized for their work on this event.

If you’re ever in the Lake area during the early days of summer, be sure to check out Bayoucon.  I plan to attend this event again next year, and hopefully with new panels to present.

Header photo taken by Garrett Manuel.

Busy Weekend Ahead!

Lake Charles, LA

Bayoucon takes place this weekend in Lake Charles, LA.  It’s a science fiction/pop culture convention that has morphed from sci-fi to anime and then back to sci-fi over the years, but has never really experienced a lot of growth.  It’s a small convention that is in its sixth year (called Con du Lac for its first two years).  In fact, I was involved with this convention during its third and partially during its fourth incarnation.

I am now going to be a panelist at this weekend’s event.

I’ll have a full report and photos next week.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!