Thinking | Dreaming | Imagining


Thursday August 11, 2016
written by Steven
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An open letter

This is an open letter to my friends, family and readers…
I don’t know exactly where this post will go but I’ve been holding onto it for so long…

To anyone that may read this:

I don’t know if this is a goodbye post or not. It’s been over two months since I dedicated time to write a blog. I’ve sat down a few times but failed to commit to getting something written. Even this post has seen a number of starts & stops…I really don’t know where this is going to go…

I guess I’ve been stuck on an important point for quite some time.
Was I able to live inside your heart?
“Was I able to live inside your heart?”

Maybe that is a question that you ask when you know it is time to say goodbye. I’ve been writing here for nearly 5 years – in fact in about 10 days, it’ll be 5 years exactly. I’ve shared my projects, my stories, my adventures, my thoughts, my dogs, my friends, my family, my obsessions, my fascinations…I’ve shared my ups and downs, successes and frustrations, changes and routines…I’ve shared and shared and shared. I was pretty consistent for a good long while. I’ve had a couple extended hiatuses but for the most part I was able to write multiple entries a month. But I still find myself wondering if I’ve accomplished my goal.

I sometimes feel like I’ve given little portions of my soul away. Giving and sharing don’t exactly come easy to me. I fight against my nature when I post things here – even when I’m simply retelling a story, those memories are mine and to put them in a place where anyone can take from them is not natural. I try and try again. I do it because I want to reach my audience – I want to live inside someone’s heart. I want to be remembered.

Fullmetal Heart

I have gained plenty over these past 5 years. I’ve gained so much more than I lost. I’ve gained in so many different ways that it would be an impossible task to catalogue them all (as much as I would like to catalogue them because I do love seeing how things have changed). My world has opened up in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

I feel like I’ve explored a lot of the possibilities within my mind. Over time I conquered the writer’s block I felt I was trapped behind. I believe that I succeeded in creating something worth reading.

But maybe it is time to say goodbye. I’ve told myself in the past that if something is important enough that I’ll always have time for it. I think I’m realizing that this has run its course. I don’t know how long it’ll stay here…if I may one day try something new…or if I may return to this space again.

I appreciate anyone who has read my ramblings, shared my writings or took the opportunity to think about the things I’ve said here. Who knows what the next project will be…


Thursday May 26, 2016
written by Steven
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About a meme...

One focus in this blog for me has been finding balance. A search for balance is an ongoing one for me. I don’t like to think of myself as just “one thing”. My interests are varied and wide.

Spock meme

Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to say something regarding this meme that popped up on my Facebook news feed this last week…I know that a lot of my friends that do the convention scene aren’t particularly interested in sports and many of my friends that are into sporting events don’t “get” the cosplay/convention type of obsession.

I, however, have my foot in both camps – I guess that’s a form balance for me.

This is my first season with Indianapolis Colts season tickets. So at some point I’ll have to make an addition to my wardrobe of a new jersey (because the only ones I have are Manning, Harrison & James). But I’ve been to 14 conventions in the last 2+ years – and if I want to really embarrass myself I could probably tally up the amount of money I’ve spent on nerdy graphic tees in that time span. I’ve been to at least 6 Bark in the Parks – binding together my love of the Cincinnati Reds and dogs. I get excited about new animes and draft rumors; I get bummed out about losing streaks and character deaths. I do yell at the TV when there’s a particularly bad call in a game but I’m just as enthusiastic when something unexpected happens in my favorite anime. My library is equal parts classic literature, original art, sports memorabilia, games (video game systems, cartridges, CDs, and board games), and geeky collectibles that stay in their boxes.

Having these obsessions, even as different as they are, provides me with the feeling of balance. I find it totally acceptable to have these passions in such disparate areas. So maybe that’s why I don’t totally get the meme…

People should be allowed to get jazzed up about anything that interests them. We shouldn’t judge them for it (with the caveat that no one is getting hurt against their will). I love having this odd balance – going to a game at Lucas Oil Stadium on a Sunday after spending the weekend at the Indiana Convention Center for a convention and working the booth for SuperKayce…or completely talking someone’s ear off about my Penny & Dante at a Bark in the Park night…or reminiscing about classic Nintendo games then seamlessly transitioning into bellyache complaining about a historically poor Reds bullpen.

The point is to just enjoy the things you enjoy. There’s no judgment from me. If there’s something you’re passionate about, share it with me. Share it here or on Facebook or text me – some of the best things I’ve gotten into in the last couple of years have been from someone mentioning their interests to me and me just giving it a chance. Trying new things to try to find the things that I really like.

oh the places you'll go

Friday May 20, 2016
written by Steven
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Oh the places I've been...

At the end of my post last week I asked for some suggestions as to what I could write about to help break through this bit of an idea wall that I’m encountering. Well I finally got my first suggestion at the end of last week! I’ve got my Grandma to thank for the inspiration on this topic. Though I am still hoping for some more ideas to help catapult me into writing new stuff – so if you’ve got one don’t hesitate to send it my way.

In the last few years, I’ve been very fortunate to get to travel around to all sorts of new & exciting places. I try to do my best and write about all the adventures I go on, but occasionally things, details, and moments slip through my memory. So Grandma wanted to know more about the best moments…the fun ones…the ones that are totally worth remembering in every detail. I think it’s a good idea to have a list of those moments that stuck out to me.

I’ve been to a lot of special places, so this might be a long one…and I’m attaching my posts to each one, so I hope you can enjoy the memories like I am while writing this post.

First there was the Hawaii trip for Scott & Katie’s wedding…Gayle and I hiked up the Waimea Valley to the waterfall at the top. I don’t have an abundance of special memories with Gayle (plus she’ll agree we didn’t have the best relationship growing up) & ever since she moved away our time together has been limited…but she was the only one willing to make the hike up to the waterfall with me.

Next came Kayce & John’s wedding…and while it took some doing, I did manage to get booth pictures with both the bride & groom which was very special to me. It was a beautiful wedding and it was all the more special to me to walk away with such a great souvenir.

Then there was the start of my convention adventures with Kayce…it was such a laid back atmosphere that Kayce and I got to talk about anime for such a long time. It was my first chance to be her booth manager (even if I didn’t know it at the time) and it was the beginning to our regular gab sessions on anime.

I accompanied my family out to Wichita to visit Gayle & Scott…and I got to spend a magical 15 minutes flying Scott’s plane. I didn’t ever expect to fly a plane, but there I was…I was flying!

Then I made my first long trip with Kayce to Wizard World Minneapolis…we had one intense conversation on the drive back from Minnesota to Indiana over the course of 10 hours – NAIL!!! I saw a fish – that is all It was that long, rambling conversation that got us home with smiles on our faces – even if it was 3 AM.

Next was another trip across the country for Gayle & Scott’s wedding in Seattle…and being on top of Mt. Rainier (well not the tippy top but pretty close) and going on another hike to a waterfall. The whole trip was only the second time I’ve imagined living outside of my Indiana bubble.

Then (not so far away) was Cincinnati Comic Expo…and sharing the fun night out in the middle of Oktoberfest at Rock Bottom with all the cosplay peoples – and that look on Knightmage’s when he tried a piece of one of the best pizzas ever! It usually takes a long time for me to make new friends, but it was easy on this trip and that helped my happiness immensely.

After that it was Wizard World Nashville…and my confession that while I don’t speak much I will speak up when I have something to say and that I listened to every word of the conversation between Kayce & Casey on the ride down. There’s something satisfying to me to listening to anyone – I don’t need to say anything to have a good time.

Then the year turned over to 2016 and we took our first flight to a show – all the way down to Wizard World New Orleans…and let me tell you, if I could’ve spent all night in that jazz club, I would’ve. It was my chance to cross off an entry on my bucket list…the food was delicious, the music was amazing, and it was a real once in a lifetime experience to share with my friends.

Next came Wizard World St. Louis…and very few things can compare to the warm feeling of being one of Kayce’s booth babes. It means the whole world to me when she thanks me for my help & I cannot imagine where I’d be without those chances to help out.

The final adventure of this list (at least for now – I’ll have to remember to update it in the future) is the second trip to Wizard World Minneapolis…and that’d bring us to the Mall of America side trip that we took. It was just a lot of fun to see such a unique sight and experiencing that with my friends made it all the more enjoyable.

Beginning the setup at WW Minny

Thursday May 12, 2016
written by Steven
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Wizard World Minneapolis 2016

I guess this is another look at what’s happened in the last year type of posts. Last week I was remembering about what had happened at Indiana Comic Con…but this time around it is a return to Wizard World Minneapolis!

I don’t know how well my little detour from the norm worked last week…so I’m a little unsure how to share about our Minneapolis adventure.

Mall of America

Well last year we didn’t leave until early in the evening Thursday night – that meant we didn’t actually get to Minneapolis until after midnight (then throw on that we couldn’t get into the hotel room until like 3 AM). We were exhausted from the trip. Luckily, Kayce switched up the plan to have us leave Thursday morning for this year’s trip. Sure it was still a long drive, but we got there in the evening and had a chance to do some fun things! One of my favorite things now is to get into the city early and do something exciting to kick off our adventure. For Minneapolis we took a detour to the Mall of America – it was such a BIG place! We weren’t there to do a lot of shopping but our first stop was an anime only shop. Most of our time was spent just wandering around – though we were treated to our first ever Jamba Juice. There was a lot of excitement on the part of everyone else to ride the rides inside but I entertained myself by trying to hold onto 3 wallets, a purse and 3 cell phones – I also tried to get a picture of the group as they flew by on the roller coaster but I wasn’t very successful. After that we headed to the hotel and then went out for dinner – we repeated a choice from last year’s trip (Brit’s Pub) but sadly the kitchen had a reduced menu due to construction. Regardless it was still pretty delicious and a great way to end our 1/2 day in Minneapolis.

Dinner at Brit's Pub

Friday began with a little bit of frustration and stress. The cosplay guest booth wasn’t set up at all and we had some worries that a backup plan could be executed before the show floor opened. Thankfully we were saved by the efforts of Mo Lightning – he got us a booth & worked with the convention center staff to get us a set of tables that would let all 3 cosplay guests have a place to put their wares. We got another chance to wander around downtown Minneapolis and get lunch before we headed back and set up the booth for real. Kayce was Scarlet Witch for day 1 (in honor of Captain America: Civil War premiering that weekend). She also had a pair of panels. Then we all met up to watch RealBreakingNate record a live podcast with Mo – though we were accused of being hecklers more than once, I thought it was a delightfully funny podcast/panel. You could tell that they have some good radio chemistry – so I’m hoping that he’ll get invited back to do more Con Radio appearances. We ended the night with dinner at The Local – it is a wonderful Irish pub with some of the best food I’ve ever had. I ordered some delicious fish & chips and a piece of carrot cake. The carrot cake did not disappoint! The menu said it was the best…I don’t know that I can argue with that statement.

At The Local

Saturday brought the return of Kayce’s Diane. I think it is one of her best cosplays! It is a little bit that she’s so diminutive but in my mind she can be as big as a giant. All the things she does for others – particularly what she’s done for me – how could she be anything but a giant positive influence?!

Kayce & I WW Minny 2016

We had a strong day of sales on the show floor which does help the success of the weekend. I feel better when Kayce’s table does well (though I think that feeling isn’t as important as having a good time). I also took a few more frequent breaks to look around the show floor. I’m always so in awe of the kinds of talented people that come to these shows. All that art just inspires me to keep working at my Project 365 drawing journal. We got to hang out a lot which is nice. Though there was an epic long prank masterminded by Kayce on Joe & Nate & I’m not sure they’d call that “nice”. And of course Saturday night at Wizard World shows means the huge costume contest. In a change from the norm I did get a chance to pick a seat rather being forced to sit waaaaaay in the back, but I didn’t make the best choice so my pictures stink for another show. It was amusing to see Joe & Nate’s reaction to Kayce inviting them up onstage to meet Paige – I’ve never seen two grown men jump out of their seats as fast as those two did! I took the opportunity to get a selfie of my own with one of our booth mates Brit Bliss (and I’m so looking forward to playing some League of Legends with her sometime soon)!

Brit Bliss & I WW Minny 2016

We finished the night with a trip downtown to The News Room with our other booth mate Hannah Eva and her boyfriend. (Side note: I’ve rarely seen a male cosplayer just sitting around a booth get called out for so many pictures while the pretty girls are around…but Burt Macklin & Mrs. Doubtfire got some serious love in Minneapolis!) It was a pretty scrumptious dinner – the deep fried brie and grape ketchup was a delicious combination and the fish & chips I had was the best version of the weekend. Sadly it was the one dinner that I failed to get a group shot of our group.

Sundays continue to be tough days for me at conventions. I didn’t exactly have the best night of sleep and that was compounded by a rather nasty nightmare. I was a bit anxious and stressed all day. I picked up a few gifts on the show floor – spending a little more time than usual away from the table so that I could try to get back to normal. I felt like our sales Sunday were pretty good but we packed up early to head home (I think we learned our lesson last year when we left after the kids costume contest and didn’t get back to Noblesville till almost 3 in the morning). It was a pretty quiet trip home – I think all the excitement of the weekend knocked the energy out of us. There were a couple accidents on the road that we managed to skirt around – though a mile outside of Noblesville we hit stopped traffic which could’ve been a major bummer but we weren’t stuck for too long.

It’s going to be about a month before the next convention. So I’m hoping to get some new content posted in that time frame. If there’s anything you’d like me to write about please leave a comment or contact me on Facebook. I really want to get back into writing regularly but I feel like I’ve hit a wall on ideas of my own.

Kayce's banner at ICC 2016

Monday May 2, 2016
written by Steven
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Indiana Comic Con 2016

I cannot believe it has been a whole year since Indiana Comic Con 2015. And while my adventure as SuperKayce’s booth manager really began with Giant Comic Con, last year’s ICC was among the first big shows and really the first one where I felt like I contributed to her brand & business.

Kayce & I at ICC 2016

Actually the first thought I have about this is one that I shared with our booth buddy (Revington) – all these stories are so ephemeral, so fleeting. I think that’s a major reason why I keep writing. I’ve got to save them – it’s what motivates me. Even if no one else reads them, I need them for me.

That said I’m going to take a slight detour from the normal way I do these “story-telling” blogs. First let me give you a few of my highlights from the extended weekend and then I want to talk about the super people I got to hang out with!

Well first off we were pretty lucky to have John Rhys-Davies swing past the cosplay area and wish us all luck before the show started. We had pretty excellent dinners all three nights in Indy: Thursday we ordered in some pizza and relaxed before the busy weekend…Friday we went out to Buffalo Wild Wings as a big group (and I managed to catch a little bit of the NFL draft on TV while we ate – which is important since I’m an Indianapolis Colts season ticket holder for the coming season!)…and Saturday we stayed in downtown Indy to get some Champs (conveniently across from the convention center and home to a delicious bacon grilled cheese sandwich). Kayce had two debuts this weekend: Friday was Diane from Seven Deadly Sins & Sunday was Squirrel Girl. Both were totally adorable – I keep wondering how she keeps surprising me with her skills, but she never ceases to amaze! We got to host another anime panel (also on Seven Deadly Sins) and that was a whole lot of fun – even if Kayce kept her discussion questions secret from us until we were actually doing the panel. I also got my copy of ICosplay Magazine signed by the cover cosplayer Fake Nerd Boy and by my FAVORITE cosplayer SuperKayce. I also picked up a really cool Saber canvas print to join my other geeky posters and I found 3 old school games I’ve been dying to add to my collection for forever (Blades of Steel, Mortal Kombat & Gauntlet Legends).

Squirrel Girl & I at ICC 2016

My friends really make these weekends for me!

First and foremost, I have to thank Kayce first. This “hobby” is such an integral part of my continued development and she’s the reason I’m there. She supports me…and even when I struggle or make a mistake, she doesn’t let me shut down or give up. I’m challenged and encouraged simultaneously. I think that’s a unique mark of our friendship.

And I’ve got all my friends that are there to help me have the best time I can have: Moster for putting up with me as I went on my shopping trips through the convention floor…Nate for answering all my annoying Pokemon questions & cracking me up with all his snapchats…Beth for being so willing to answer all my spam texts…Joe for being an awesome bro & always having a fist bump ready…John for being the other half of the best host couple ever & letting us all steal his wife’s attention for every second we occupy his wonderful home…Austin for taking all of Kayce’s threats in stride (and not getting too upset when we’re all trying to keep a joke from him)…Anne for being the boss to keep Nate in line & for her patience with my mega-late birthday gift to her…Joseph for coming all the way up from Cincy to hang out with us Hoosiers…New Austin too because someone walking around as Lovehelm needs to be recognized…Casey Renee for her totally wonderful Belle & that huge trophy…Dixie for housing Casey too so that we all could hang out together (and because her Prince Eric is pretty fantastic)…Lola for that crazy transformation from poofy to DEATH…Tony & Kass for stopping by (even if I didn’t recognize Kass and I may have insulted Tony by pointing out his “makeup sweat”)…and Michael too – except he might’ve stolen my soul – I’m not sure how to feel about that yet.