Sunday, October 25, 2009

Emily's First Comic Convention

I married a comic book nerd. Not the sweatpants-wearing, mouth-breathing kind. My husband is the entrepreneurial, sentimental, historical-context kind of nerd. He owned a comic book store for several years, his collections are based on good memories as a kid, and he knows a lot about the social significance of each era of comic books as literature.

I'm comfortable with that. My Dad grew up watching sci-fi B movies in the 60's and passed on an appreciation for battles between good and evil and not-so-special effects. With three younger brothers, I grew up playing with action figures (though my GI Joe's ran hospitals), watching Star Wars, and reading the occasional comic book. I have no problem with my husband's shelves of graphic novels and superhero memorabilia. We respect each others hobbies (I don't mess with his action figure collections, and he steers clear of my scrap booking supplies).

But yesterday I ventured further into Geekdom than I've ever been. I attended my very first ComiCon.

I tried to look nonchalant as I flipped through enormous boxes of comic books, but for the first half of our visit, I did not leave Hubbins' side. I heard old-timers lament, "Kids these days, and their acid free papers! They just don't read anymore!" I considered buying a T shirt or a clever fictional logo patch, but I couldn't think of a single place I could display such a thing. As I gained some confidence and made the rounds independently, I found several artists on site, sampling their wares. I looked through a few portfolios. I realized the artists (mainly goofy, middle-aged men) were watching me for a reaction as I looked at their renditions of various superheros. Every female body was sketched to it's proportional extreme, and made Barbie look average. I kept walking.

Some vendors wanted to engage me in a meaningful conversation. It felt a little like walking in the mall past the cell phone salesmen in kiosks. Don't give them an inch or they'll take a mile. I whispered to J, "You're going to have to teach me how to avoid conversation. I can't escape!" He said, "Quit making eye contact and don't smile so much. You won't hurt their feelings, these guys are used to it."

It was a very good cross-cultural experience for me. I bought my first comic book, conversed comfortably with J's former comic store coworkers, and avoided the extreme cases of full frontal nerdity (a guy dressed like a member of Insane Clown Posse? Really?).

Here's the comic book I bought, circa 1958.
See? Something for everyone!

I also bought a collection of postcards by artist Alex Ross. I figured the combination of fine art, stationary, and superheros was right up my alley.

Someday, I'll feel as natural as these guys, from our new favorite show, Big Bang Theory.

Check out the other great photos and plot synopsis.

And for the record? My husband doesn't even own a pair of sweatpants.

Friday, October 23, 2009

First time home buyers

That's us, the Property Virgins. (Have you seen that show?) We're hoping to be in a place of our own within the next month. Our offer was accepted in the beginning of September, but the holdup is whether or not we're approved for a USDA loan. I told a co-worker this recently and he asked, "What? The US dairy association is deciding the purchase of your first home?"

No, the US Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program is offering better loans for houses bought outside city limits. But I don't know much more than that. The best link I could find is here, but even looking at the introduction gives me a headache.

Husband says our file is on a desk somewhere in the state capital, waiting for a stamp of approval. I honestly don't know if this is an exaggeration or not. Is that really the only holdup? A rubber stamp? The first time home buyers' federal tax credit currently applies only to sales closed by Dec 1, 2009 (unless that is extended). Time marches on.

So. More waiting. It's really hard to have something so big be totally up in the air. It's like waiting 3 months for the love of your life to accept or decline a marriage proposal. Ack! Everything hinges on this! It's the first day of the rest of my life and I don't know how to prepare. Do I start choosing paint colors and shopping for furniture? Or do I re-organize my closet for the hundredth time to maximize space in our apartment?

I must admit I've been mentally moving in, even though our real estate agent advised against it. The townhouse we're hoping for is a vague ideal at this point, but I've got it all planned out.

Keep your fingers crossed for us, and watch your mail box for a housewarming party invitation, okay?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Rainy morning

Cinnamon Clove and Red Currant

It's pouring today. We had planned to go back to Stoney Ridge Farm this weekend (remember my report from last year?). But we're undecided on whether it's worth it. I think a rainy day in rubber boots, sipping hot apple cider, choosing pumpkins, and wandering a corn maze sounds like a great way to spend the day. Others (who shall remain nameless) think several soggy hours sounds miserable.

For now, I'm at the kitchen table with my seasonal candles lit, drinking coffee from my biggest mug, and listening to Madeleine Peyroux. The weekend is shaping up quite nicely. Stay tuned for photos of our wet neighborhood.