Alexandria Safe Zone

Well, well, well.  Where should I begin?  Should I talk about that brilliant season finale last night or get a few small things out of the way first?  Okay, let’s start with the small stuff.

First and foremost I am still riding a major high from CoastCon last weekend!  Not only was the event a great time, my blog post about it has gone on to become my most read post ever with over four hundred viewings!  It really warms my heart to think that over four hundred of my fellow nerds actually took the time to read my post about CoastCon.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Secondly I would like to mention that CyPhaCon will be taking place in about three weeks in Lake Charles, LA.  They’ve definitely upped the ante this year by adding Jeffrey Combs and Vic Mignogna since I last posted about their guests.  Be sure to look them up on Facebook or on the interwebz.  If you can make it down to Lake Charles and the convention, be sure to stop by the USS Lafitte table at the convention.  That’s where I’ll be and I’d love to meet some of my readers.

Lastly (at least before I get into the meat of my post), I want to say that The Flash has been blowing me away with its most recent episodes.  The show has definitely amped up things with two back-to-back episodes that could easily qualify as season finales.  Tomorrow night looks very promising, and I plan to blog about it later this week.

Now, if you haven’t watched last night’s episode/season finale of The Walking Dead, you may or may not want to avoid the rest of this post.  I won’t give anything away that hasn’t at least been hinted at all season, but I will definitely say a few things that many will consider major spoilers.  So, with that said:  READ WITH CAUTION!!!  SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

For starters, I really enjoyed this episode of The Walking Dead.  It was well-paced, full of suspense and loaded with looking for something.  Morgan was looking for Rick and ran into the Wolves.  Daryl and Evan were looking for potential Alexandria citizens and, at least to me, acceptance of one another.  Carol was looking to protect her friends.  Nicholas was looking for revenge against Glenn despite being the real reason that Noah died.  Abraham and Eugene were looking for their old friendship, even if it was based on a lie.  Gabriel was looking for redemption and Sasha wanted (walker world) normalcy.  Rick and Deanna were looking for control in very different ways.

Morgan in turn found Daryl and Evan, who had just decided that they were going to go out in a blaze of glory after being pinned down by a lot of walkers.  I’m really enjoying the interaction between those two characters.  Hopefully we will see Evan develop even more and eventually become a strong member of Rick’s group within the walls of Alexandria.  Carol began telling fibs to members of her own group in order to protect Rick and to also figure out who had really bought into the whole idea of Alexandria.  Of all of the characters on the show, Carol is my favorite.  She seems to have her head on straighter than anybody else in this crazy new world.


Nicholas, chicken of all chickens, knew that eventually the truth would be clearly revealed about what went down between him, Glenn, Noah, Tara, Eugene, and Aiden.  Perhaps out of fear (but more likely out of revenge), he led Glenn into the woods outside of the walls of Alexandria and attempted to kill him.  The odds were not in his favor, however, as Glenn quickly turned the tide….and the other cheek….and let Nicholas live.  Something tells me that what happened between those two will be resolved later next season.


Abraham, who seems to be taking on the role of grand philosopher within the walls of Alexandria, was duped into talking face to face with Eugene by Rosita.  The duo talked out their differences, apologized to one another, and seem to be back on steady footing.  I’m glad to see that Eugene has finally grown a spine.  Hopefully Abraham will guide him on his way to becoming an excellent ally in the new world.

Gabriel and Sasha’s stories intertwined.  Gabriel at first seemed to be looking for death after ratting on Rick’s group to Deanna, intentionally walking up to a feeding walker and whistling to get its attention.  Instead of giving in, though, Gabriel grabbed the walker by a noose around its neck and decapitated it.  He then dashed its head open with a rock and finished off the poor soul that it was feeding on when he walked up to it.  Sasha spent the episode laying on top of a walker bed and then headed to the church looking for answers.  She confronted Gabriel and put her gun to his head, but Maggie came in and saved both of their necks, as Sasha probably would have had to answer for killing Gabriel.

Rick, after getting cold-cocked by Mchonne last week, woke up with a ready plan to take control of Alexandria.  He hoped that he could do this without bloodshed but, as always, he was prepared to kill anyone that needed to be killed.  Deanna was attempting to restore order after Rick’s fight with Jesse’s husband.  A “trial” was held where everbody but the two prime suspects seemed to show up.  Rick was busy cleaning up a few walkers that straggled into the walls of the city after Gabriel intentionally left the gate open.  Jesse’s husband was getting drunk….again….desptie having a confrontation with Carol earlier in the day in which she threatened his life.

When it looked as if Deanna had arrived at a standstill with Rick’s group, Rick showed up with one of the dead walkers over his back and told them what he had found.  He then started to reason with Deanna and the rest of the group.  Deanna was still on the fence until Jesse’s drunk husband strolled into the meeting and made a futile attempt at attacking anybody that was near him.  His first and only victim was Reg, Deanna’s husband.  Reg’s throat was ripped open by a machete.  Abraham quickly slammed Jesse’s husband to the ground and Deanna, with hate in her eyes, uttered, “Rick….do it!”

And Rick did what Rick does best.  He then looked up and saw an old friend standing in shock, Morgan.

That seemed to be the end of it, but we were given a glimpse back at the place where Daryl and Evan had been trapped by the walkers.  On a vehicle by the gates of warehouse they had been at, a message was left by the Wolves, a message that let everyone know that they were coming.

What surprised me the most about this episode was that none of the major characters died.  I do see at least one or two of Rick’s group, most likely Carol and/or Abraham, passing away at the hands of the Wolves next season.  I hope I’m wrong, as both of these characters have become so much more than what they began the show as when they were each introduced.  I don’t think Daryl is going anywhere anytime soon, but I have a sneaking suspicion that his character is about to say his goodbye as well.

This was probably the best season yet of The Walking Dead.  The finale was excellent (although not my favorite overall), but the entire season was solid throughout, with no bad episodes at all.  I hope next season is just as great.

That’s all for now, folks.  As always, thanks for reading!

The Coast With The Most!

Biloxi, MS

After missing the last two years, I managed to finally return to one of my favorite conventions, CoastCon, in one of the most beautiful towns on the gulf coast, Biloxi, MS.  I hitched a ride with the gang from CyPhaCon on Friday, March 20.  We arrived in the early afternoon and quickly set up the CyPhaCon table.  While I’m not an official member of that particular convention, I do offer my services in return for a ride to and from the event (and a floor to sleep on).

The crowd was light on Friday (as it almost always is at fan-run conventions) but there was no shortage of fellow fans to hang out with until well into the evening.  I had a great time talking with a lot of friends that I haven’t seen in a long time.  That’s my favorite part about conventions like CoastCon.  Sure, there are media guests, panels, gaming, authors, and vendors, but it’s getting the chance to see old friends and make new ones that share our passions that makes these conventions so great.

CoastCon opened its second day as the oldest fan-run convention in the Gulf South at 10 AM on Saturday morning.  Panels included a Q&A with anime voice artist Tiffany Grant and actor Tony Amendola.  Other panels touched on everything from feminism to makeup and reading and writing in Elvish.  The ladies of Hip-ocrisy entertained con-goers with their bellydancing talents and gaming took place throughout the day.


CyPhaCon’s official mascot, Serenity, tangles with the Discount Dark Knight!

One extremely nice surprise about Saturday was the large number of awesome cosplayers in attendance.  Guest cosplayers Destine Magique and Awkward Cosplay Girl showed off their talents, but there were plenty of regular attendees showing off their own awesome cosplay creations!  Of course, the Discount Dark Knight took time out of his exceptionally busy schedule to snap photos with a lot of the cosplayers, and here is just a sampling of the excellent costumes at the convention!


Destine Magique cosplayer, Kitty, and DDK!

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Awkward Cosplay Girl, DDK, and Destine Magique cosplayer Alaska!

Awkward Cosplay Girl, DDK, and Destine Magique cosplayer Alaska!

At 11AM on Saturday, Southern Geek, a Gulf South-based fan group that covers all areas of fandom, hosted a panel about The Walking Dead.  Rafe White, SG’s fearless leader and founder, headed up an all-star panel that included Kristyn Tower, Claire Scates, Tim Nicholas, and yours truly as we discussed the show and the comic.  We covered where they both currently stand and where we believe that they might be headed.  Those in attendants were encouraged to join in on the discussion and Southern Geek was not disappointed!


Saturday evening was CoastCon’s legendary Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction and although I was personally unable to attend, I heard that it was just as crazy this year as it has been in the past.

Sunday continued the fun with more excellent panels and a ton of gaming.  I picked up a book from The Rob Cerio (https://www.facebook.com/TheRobCerio) and he asked DDK for a selfie.  Never one to deny his fans, DDK happily took a selfie with Mr. Cerio.  I also picked up a sweet CoastCon tee shirt and entirely too many buttons.  My poor backpack is running out of room for all of them!

CoastCon is definitely one of the best conventions in the Gulf South.  It offers fun for all ages and covers just about any fandom that people celebrate and love.  If you’re ever in Mississippi in the very early spring, be sure to check out the oldest fan-run convention in the south!!!!!

On a side note, I also have to mention a couple of places that I dined at while visiting CoastCon and Biloxi.  On Friday night myself and some friends ate at El Rancho.  It’s some of the best Mexican food in Mississippi and the restaurant itself offers up some great atmosphere.  I also tried out a sandwich at Zeppelin’s Pizzeria.  Again, the atmosphere was awesome and the food was excellent!

Finally, I want to mention just how wonderful the Mississippi Coast Convention Center and Coliseum is as both the host for CoastCon and as an excellent place in general.  I love the design of the center, especially the way that it incorporates the waves of the Gulf of Mexico into the design and layout of the building.  It’s one of my favorite convention centers to visit.DSCF6416 DSCF6417

Oh, and did I mention just how freaking beautiful the Gulf Of Mexico is in Biloxi???


As always, thanks for reading.  Next month I will be attending CyPhaCon in Lake Charles, LA.  It’s one of the fastest growing fan-run conventions in the southern states and I look forward to it each year.  See ya next time!

CoastCon This Weekend!!!

Biloxi, MS

I am SUPER excited for this weekend!  I’m heading to Biloxi, MS for the weekend with a couple of friends to enjoy the wonder that is CoastCon!  It’s the oldest fan-run convention in the Gulf South and it’s also one of my favorite conventions to attend.  I haven’t been able to go for the last couple of years due to work and personal responsibilities, but this year the gods smiled down upon me and gave me a chance to reunite with one of the best conventions around.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to revisit an old list that I created over on a webpage called Lunch.com.  The page isn’t very active anymore, but the list that I compiled is still very relevant.  With only a slight bit of alteration, this list is the one list you’ll ever need to survive any convention, no matter what the size.  Take a look at this survival guide and let me know what you think.  I’ll be blogging about CoastCon as soon as it’s over and I get back home.

Here’s my personal survival guide of things that are necessary for you or any other person to survive a convention.  I hope you enjoy it!

MONEY–You’ll need lots of money if you plan on having a good time at most conventions.  Cash is best, but a lot of conventions and, more importantly, vendors selling goodies, are accepting debit and credit cards.  The primary problem with using credit or debit cards is that often the vendors and the convention itself must rely on the Wi-Fi available to them at the venue where the convention is taking place.  If the servers can’t handle the barrage of traffic or if the signal is just really, really bad, using cards can slow down the process for you and for the vendor.  Just be sure to hit an ATM before going to the convention and you should be fine.


FAN SHIRT–Almost as important as that cold, hard cash is a tee shirt that lets the world know that you’re a fan of something.  It doesn’t have to be a flamboyant or distracting shirt, just a little something that tells fellow con goers that you’re a Brony, a Browncoat, a Trekkie, a Marvel, a DC, a….well, you get the idea.  Wearing your favorite character on your shirt also opens up lines of communication.  It’s a lot easier to approach that cute girl or guy if they are wearing a Doctor Who shirt and ask them a question about their fandom than it is to pace back and forth wondering if he or she even knows who Adric is, right?


COMFORTABLE SHOES–Be prepared to do a lot of walking and standing in line…..a lot of it……TONS of it….especially if you’re at a larger convention.  You’ll want to keep your feet nice and comfy so that they aren’t trying to Shane you by the end of the day!


FOOD–Be sure to stock up on a few quick snacks before entering the convention.  Also be sure that the convention even allows outside food because some of them don’t.  I always try to bring one or two Clif Bars with me so that I’m not forced to pay fifteen bucks for a hot dog and a drink.  Convention food prices are usually very inflated, so be prepared to spend big bucks unless you prepare ahead of time.  I highly suggest eating a large breakfast or taking a break during the day and visiting a local restaurant.  Better yet, make sandwiches and bring them with you to eat either in your ride or back at the hotel.


WATER–Again, as with food, be sure that the convention allows outside beverages.  Most of them do not, but many of them also don’t check bags, so you might be able to bring one in with you.  Just be ready to cough up any contraband if you decide to bring in outside food or beverages.


A SHARPIE–A lot of veteran convention goers might be shaking their heads at this one, since most guests at conventions that autograph anything will have Sharpies or other pens handy.  I’m not suggesting that you bring your own Sharpie for these situations.  What I want you to have a Sharpie for is that moment when you may not necessarily be at the convention.  For instance, say you’re sitting at the hotel bar and you happen to strike up a conversation with a media guest.  You hit it off with this person and spend a couple of hours chatting about something.  At the end of the night when it’s time to say goodbye, you might want to ask for an autograph.  Now, whether or not the media guest actually agrees to an autograph (or photograph, for that matter) is entirely up to them and you should respect their choice, but if you have a Sharpie handy, you can get that autograph a lot more easily!


CAMERA–This one’s a no-brainer.  You’re going to take photos…..a lot of photos!  Whether it’s celebrities, cosplayers, really cool stuff like the Batmobile or the Mystery Machine, you’re going to want to take a photo or two for the memories and to post on Facebook to make all of you friends jealous.  Be sure to have a fresh memory card, too!


BODY SPRAY–This one is a tad bit controversial.  Why?  Because there are a lot of people out there that bathe in body spray and it’s so strong on them that it’s often hard for those around them to breathe.  However, if given the choice between smelling AXE Body Spray or Swamp Butt, I’ll take AXE every time.  If you’re walking a lot or if you’re wearing a costume, you’re going to be sweating a lot.  Just a couple of quick shots of body spray will hold the stench at bay for a little while.


PHONE–This one’s kind of obvious, but you really need to have a phone handy for the simple fact that you might need to get in touch with your friend who is on the other side of the convention hall.  You can also use it to instantly take pictures and video and post them to the web.  Also, a lot of conventions now offer their programs as a downloadable file.

Set of touchscreen smartphones

A BACKPACK–I know you’re thinking, man, this is an excellent list, Kendall, but what am I going to carry all of this stuff in????  A backpack, of course!  Use it to haul around all of the above items that will fit in it and also use it to keep your hands free for high fives and hugs.  I personally like to decorate my backpack with nerdy buttons, but you can leave it plain Jane if you please.


COSTUME–Lastly, if you aren’t going to be wearing a fan tee of your favorite fandom, a costume is the way to go.  It isn’t a necessity, but it’s definitely very fun to dress up as your favorite character and interact with fans.  Also, don’t feel as if you have to have a screen accurate Iron Man suit or a cape just like Superman.  Buy and/or make whatever you can to the best of your abilities (and your cash flow) and have FUN!!!  If anybody makes fun of your costume, ignore them.  They are completely missing the point of cosplay if they believe that your costume has to look exactly like the one on the screen.


In summary, using all of the above items will help you successfully survive a comic/science fiction/pop culture convention.  The most important thing to remember is to have fun.  Make friends, share a few laughs, listen in on a few panels, and meet your favorite media guest.  HAVE FUN!!!!

As always, thanks for reading.

Right On Target

Star….err Starling City

Wednesday night has always been a tad busy for me.  I’m primarily bringing and picking up the kids at certain functions on that evening, so I’ve never really invested much interest in television on that night.  I knew that Arrow was on the CW on that evening and I also knew that a lot of people I know really enjoyed watching it, but I never got around to watching the show for myself.

Well, you can thank The Flash for getting me interested in Arrow this season thanks to the crossover episodes on both shows.  I was interested enough that I decided to plunk down some hard earned cash for the first two seasons on Blu-ray (which, ironically enough, was about three bucks cheaper than purchasing it on DVD).  I’ve only watched the first three episodes, but I can tell right away that this series has me hooked.  I especially enjoyed the episode that featured Deadshot.

Stephen Amell is both deadly serious and very funny as Arrow/Oliver Queen.  I’m still getting into the series, but he’s the primary cast member that I has me intrigued.  Green Arrow has never been a favorite character of mine, but I might actually pick up a trade volume or two just to see how big the differences are between the TV show and the comic.  I know right off the bat that Ollie’s home city, Star City, was changed to Starling City for the show, and from what I’ve heard through the grapevine, the show relies heavily upon some of Batman‘s villains that AREN’T Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, Riddler, Catwoman, etc.  In other words, mentioning a character like Bronze Tiger won’t throw up a red flag if a non-comic reading person watches.  However, if the Joker popped up all of a sudden, some people might think that the show is stealing from the Dark Knight Detective even though most of Batman’s villains have had run-ins with most of the DC’s bigger name heroes.


As I’ve already stated, I’m only three episodes into the first season, so there’s plenty of things for me to catch up with on the show.  In a way I’m glad that I’m late to the game on Arrow, since I get to have a few binge-fests with the show.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

In other geeky good news, I’m reading more Aquaman and I’ve also picked up Batman:  The Court of Owls, Volume I.  I haven’t read Owls yet, but I plan to this weekend.  I’ve pretty much been converted to a DC, but Marvel will always be there for me when the DC steam starts to fizzle out.


I am also attending CoastCon in Biloxi, MS, later this month.  I’m really excited to go since I’ve missed out on this great con for the last couple of years.  In my opinion it is one of the biggest “little” conventions in the Gulf South and it’s also the oldest fan-run convention in the southern states.  I plan to give a full report once it’s over and I’m also trying to determine what sort of shenanigans the Discount Dark Knight can get into while he’s in the fair state of Mississippi.

I’m also going to be digesting the latest episodes of The Walking Dead and plan on writing about them very soon.  I’ve been watching ever since the season kicked back in, but I haven’t really sat down and thought about what has gone down so far.  A brief hint at Dale (one of my favorites from the earlier seasons) in a recent episode had me thinking back over the many people that have died since the show started.  I might do a list or two about those characters that have passed that I miss the most.

Well, that’s it for now, kiddies.  Thanks for reading and let me know in the comments if you like, love, hate, or really don’t care for Arrow or anything else that I’ve mentioned in this post.  Have an excellent rest of the day wherever you are!

Shiny! Celebs That I’ve Met Over The Years (And A Couple Of Funny Encounters)


I have been fortunate enough to meet quite a few celebrities in my day.  One of my favorite memories from childhood was the chance to meet and take a photo with Benji (yes, the dog) at a local drugstore in the Lake Charles area.  He was the main attraction, but there were a few other “celebrities” there like He-Man, Skeletor, and Tinkerbell.  I was scared to death of He-Man and Skeletor, and firmly rooted my feet into the concrete of the store’s sidewalk when I saw both of them walking to the store.  My mother eventually convinced me to get a high five and a handshake from He-Man, but I didn’t want anything to do with Skeletor.  I’m sure that my mother has the photo with Benji somewhere and I also believe that I took a picture with He-man, but I guess you could say that my interaction with Benji was the first in what has turned out to be a long line of celebrity meetings over the years.


One of my biggest fanboy moments occurred when I met Sylvester McCoy, the Seventh Doctor from Doctor Who.  I grew up on the classic Doctors, so the chance to meet one was very exciting.  Mr. McCoy was extremely courteous and joked around with my son about the pronunciation of his name.  I was a tad bit speechless when I first saw Mr. McCoy, and was very glad that he decided to speak with my son for a bit.  To this day McCoy is the only person that I’ve ever paid to have a professional photo-op with, and it was done with the TARDIS console from the television movie from the 90’s.  Hopefully I will get to meet more of the Doctors as the years go by.

Another celebrity that I entirely fanboyed over was Jeremy Bulloch (pictured in the featured image).  While most of the celebs I have met over the years have been very nice, Mr. Bulloch went out of his way to be super friendly to all of the folks that came to see him.  When he saw me walking up to him, he noticed my Cybermen shirt and talked to me about it.  He mentioned that he was also on Doctor Who and, being a typical nerve-rattled fanboy, I cut him off and told him that I owned one of the serials he was featured in on DVD.  He laughed, talked for a bit more, and posed for a photo.  He was a truely nice gentleman.


The most recent celebrity that I met was Mary Kate Smith.  For those of you who might not recognize Ms. Smith, she’s from Season Two of King of the Nerds.  She was extremely friendly, extremely positive, and I’m glad to say that I met her.  She’s an excellent role model for not only young girls, but for young boys interested in science and engineering.

Some other celebs that I have met over the years include Hacksaw Jim Duggan (pro wrestler), Brent Spiner (Data from ST:TNG), LeVar Burton (Geordi from ST:TNG), Michael Dorn (Worf from ST:TNG), Chase Masterson (Leeta from DS9), Ray Park (Darth Maul from SW Episode I:  The Phantom Menace, and a ton of other films), Daniel Logan (Young Boba Fett from SW Episode II:  Attack of the Clones), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Jon Bernthal, Michael Rooker, Steven Yeun, and many, many more.

Meeting Chase Masterson actually got me into the local newspaper.  They took a photo of us while I was handing Ms. Masterson a photo to autograph.  She is another celeb that is very nice and goes above and beyond to make sure that her fans have a good time with her.  I can also say that the cast members from The Walking Dead that I have met over the years have been very cordial as well.

Two celebrities in particular that I want to mention are Zendaya (pop singer and Disney Channel star) and Marina Sirtis (Troi from ST:TNG).  I met Zendaya a few years ago at an auto show in New Orleans.  I was actually attending a Wizard World event on the same weekend and overheard that she was at the auto show next door.  Knowing that my daughter was a huge fan of Zendaya, I paid the small entrance fee and stood in a line with a friend of mine for roughly twenty minutes.  Needless to say that we were the oldest (and only male) people in the line.  Roughly estimating, I’d say that the average age of girls in the line was twelve.  When it was my turn to get an autograph and a photo with Zendaya, she was noticeably shaken by the appearance of an overweight dude nearing forty in the line.  My face went red and I immediately said that I was there because my daughter was a huge fan.  She laughed and said something about that being sweet of me and signed the autograph.  One of her handlers, a massive mountain of a man with a deep voice, looked at me and said, “Come on, man.  You know you love Zendaya!”  It was an embarassing moment, but the look on my daughter’s face after giving her the autograph was more than worth it.


Finally, I have to mention one of my favorite celebrity encounter stories.  It was at Comicpalooza in Houston, TX a few years ago.  I was standing in line to meet Marina Sirtis of TNG fame.  There were a couple of people ahead of me in line and no one behind me at the moment except for this one person who doesn’t have the best personality on the planet.  We are former friends, and I’ll leave it at that.  When I approached Mrs. Sirtis, she introduced herself and called me “Love.”  That right there was really all I needed, but I was there for an autograph, so I started to look over the photos she had to offer.

There were many photos to choose from, and it was taking me quite a bit of time to decide on which one I wanted.  She and I made small talk until the acquaintance behind me said, “Hurry up and pick one!  Just pick one!”  In one sharp movement, Marina turned to the dude and said, “You shut up.  He can take all the time he wants!”  She then turned to me and said, “Take all the time you need, sweetie.  Pay no attention to that nasty man.”  It took everything I had to stifle my laughter.  What made the moment especially funny was that the guy is a massive TNG fan and he just got owned by Counselor Troi!

When I finally picked a photo for her to sign, I chose one from Star Trek: Nemesis.  I’m a big fan of that film despite the fact that a lot of people, including the schmuck behind me, dislike it very, very much.  He again opened his mouth and said, “Nemesis?  Nemesis?  You picked a photo from Nemesis?” to which Marina once again snapped at him with, “He can like Nemesis if he wants.  Leave him alone!”  She signed the photo for me, said, “Here you go, love,” and told me to be extra careful with it since she used a silver marker and it takes longer to dry.  The scolding of that “nasty man” made getting that autograph one of my favorite moments of all time.


Sadly I didn’t have enough money on me to get a photo with Mrs. Sirtis, but if I ever run into her again, I plan to recount the story of my first meeting with her and will definitely get a photo with her.

As always, thanks for reading.  I’ll post more celebrity encounters later.