Wow, just wow. No matter how tough we New Englanders are, our insane winters always find a way to surprise and challenge us. This winter has already proven to be no exception. So, the question on my mind is: Is there a way to actually enjoy the winter as opposed to just surviving it?
In the interest of sharing more than just my methods, I reached out to my fellow ladies to get some of their ways of beating the winter blues. They should be following up during their weeks.
Disclaimer: I feel that it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t take a moment to acknowledge that both depression and seasonal depression are very real things. The methods we discuss here are meant to be fun and might be helpful to some, but are by no means designed to replace a doctor’s or therapist’s guidance.
Part 1: Smalerie
Last year I wrote an article about focusing on self-care when the weather gets you down. This still rings true, but when I really start to feel the winter blues, I actually require a bit more structure and frankly a bit of a push. So for my part of this article, I’m going to write a little about pushing these ideas a bit further.
- Goal Setting and New Skills:
Beyond just wacky projects, winter is a time when I actually benefit most from sitting down, creating a plan, and developing a new skill. Sometimes, frosting cookies to look like Muppets just isn’t enough. Instead, I need to stretch my brain, test myself, and strive for that sweet sweet feeling of accomplishment.
This winter, I’m taking a page from The Red Menace’s book and attempting some real bread making. There’s a lot to be said for the experience of kneading dough (meditative and stress reducing) and trust me when I say that baking fresh bread is great for the ego since it really impresses the friends and neighbors. When you think about how few ingredients you need to make bread, it’s really incredible. Not to mention how comforting a warm oven is on a frigid day. Seriously, if bread making interests you in the slightest – do. the. thing!
In fact, let us even point you to a great beginner’s recipe.
2. Join a thing and make yourself accountable:
During the winter, I can find it even harder than usual to follow up on things. It’s easy to tell a friend that you’re not up to heading out to brunch because it’s too cold or you just can’t seem to motivate yourself to change out of your flannel pj’s. When I start letting this happen, that’s when I know that I’m in trouble and can start to lose momentum. And then after a certain amount of time, the winter blues can really start to settle in for me.
I battle this by adding accountability to my activities. That’s right, I give myself someone or something to answer to. This can be as simple as buying tickets for things like movies in advance or even planning more events with timed tickets. I promise you, if I’m already in $20+ for that ticket, the weather is going to have to be pretty severe to stop me. Otherwise, I feel like I’m throwing money away.
Another method of accountability I use is leaning on the kindness of my friends and family. This might not work or even be necessary for everyone, but I will flat out ask people to push me and stop me from flaking out on things. Does this mean that people have shown up at my house unannounced and lured me out with promises of tater tots or even provided a bit of tough love via text message? Absolutely, but if it’s something I respond to, that’s exactly what I needed to battle the blues. And then once I’m out and about, I rarely regret going.
This week’s accountable activity is the Ladies’ first ever D&D campaign. We started last month and even if the weather is not great, I know that I must bravely fight my way to the castle beyond the goblin city to take back the…I mean, it’s going to be a lot harder for my team to finish up without me. So I will be there, and will even bring snacks. Hey, it’s the right thing to do.
So yeah, take that Old Man Winter! We’re not going to take your guff lying down. We’re gonna fight back!
Shameless plug: Looking for a way to punch Winter in the face? Like us on Facebook and sign up for our mailing list. We have a whole year of fun stuff coming your way. Join us and let Winter know that you mean business!
LadiesCon 2017 is just days away and we hope you’re as excited as we are for our second ever convention celebrating women of kinds in comics and pop culture. Although you can just walk on in on Saturday and start looking around, there are a few things you can do to prepare for LadiesCon to help make you experience even better. Continue reading
If you joined us for our puppet making event, you’re now the proud owner of a unique, handmade puppet. If you didn’t, you may still have a random puppet lurking around your house somewhere. Or maybe you’re looking at that sock that doesn’t seem to match any of the others in the laundry basket and wondering if it’s meant for better things. Wherever you are in the puppet making process, it’s important to remember that building the puppet is only part of the experience. Here are some ideas for what to do with your newly made felted friend.
The Ladies are still hard at work making sure that our very first LadiesCon is an amazing experience for everyone. But we still wanted to take a little time out to tell you, our devoted readers, how you can prepare for the event and be ready to get the most out of LadiesCon.
Get Your Tickets!
This is the most important step in your pre-LadiesCon preparation. Although general admission to the con is FREE, we are still using tickets to keep track of our attendees and ensure that we don’t let in more people than the building can handle at once. There are not many general admission tickets left, so if you plan to attend, reserve yours now.
We also have two special events that require additional paid tickets. Lunch with the Ladies takes place before the convention and gives attendees the opportunity to get into the con early, chat with the Ladies and our convention guests, and enjoy a tasty catered lunch from Daddy’s Bonetown Burgers. Making Masterpieces: The LadiesCon After Party is a post-con art event where attendees can get a lesson in comics coloring, decorate cookies, draw, craft, or just chat and sample light snacks. Tickets for both events are limited, so be sure to purchase yours now.
Check Out the Panels
The panels at LadiesCon will all be held at Comicazi, a short five minute walk from our main convention space. We have ladies talking about gaming, cosplay, fan fiction, and more. Planning your day is an important part of preparation for any con and that includes deciding which panels to attend. Look over the panels we have to offer and see what note rests you. You can then plan to visit the convention floor beforehand, after the panel, or both.
Investigate the Area
If you’re a Comicazi regular, you probably know what there is to see and do in Davis Square. But if you haven’t visited often or ever, then now is an excellent time to learn what the Square has to offer. Of course you’ll want to check out the convention floor and the panels, but since we’re a small convention, you’ll likely have time to check out the surrounding area. You could just wander around the day of and stop in anyplace that looks interesting. But if you’d prefer to plan your day more, you can do some research online to investigate local shops, places to eat, or simply spots where you can sit and people watch for a bit. We’ll also be offering a program with a map of local restaurants, shops, and even a few PokeStops.
Stuff to Bring
- Cash – While the miracles of modern phone peripherals mean that more convention vendors can accept credit or debit cards, not all of them do. Get your cash at your local bank ahead of time or stop by one of the ATMs in Davis Square. How much you want to spend is up to you, but having it on hand means you don’t have to worry about whether the vendor can take your cards or not.
- Books for signing – Our guests will have their work available for sale, but if you already have something they’ve worked on, you can bring single issue comics or collected editions for our guests to sign. Consider bagging and boarding issues to keep them safe. You can bring a bag to carry your items to be signed or purchase a LadiesCon tote bag from us at the front desk. We ask that you respect any policies our guests may have on what they’ll sign, how many items, and anything else related to their time and work.
- Convention Sketchbook – Artists bring their own supplies to cons, so if you’re looking to get a commission piece, you only need to worry about how to pay for it. But if you’ve got a convention sketchbook or are looking to start one, you’ll want to bring it with you. If you’re starting a new convention sketchbook – and with art from any or all of our special guests, you’ll be off to an amazing start, purchase a wire bound sketchbook with pages that can stand up to inks and watercolors. For more info on starting your own convention sketchbook, check out my post on the subject. Again, we ask that you respect our guests’ policies regarding what they’ll draw, what they’ll draw on, pricing, and anything else related to creating artwork.
We strongly recommend that you take public transportation. The Davis Red Line stop is mere steps away from Comicazi and the convention itself. It also spares you from having to plan you day around feeding parking meters, if you can even find an open spot.
If you are going to drive here, allow yourself plenty of time to find a space. We don’t want anyone missing an exciting panel while searching for parking. Most spaces around Davis can take cards, but having quarters on hand just in case is a good idea. You’ll also want to budget a little walking time, just in case the space you find is farther away than you expected.
Above all, prepare for fun!
Our hope is that LadiesCon will be a wonderful day for all our guests, vendors, and attendees. If anything interferes with your enjoyment of LadiesCon, if you have a question, or if you just want to tell someone what a great time you’re having, feel free to speak to one of us or one of our volunteers in the LadiesCon staff shirts. We’re looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends, meeting some new ones, and putting on a great show for all of you!
Did you catch the Ladies’ first panel at Boston ComicCon this year? We had a great time discussing how food is one of the newest way that peopl are expressing their fandom. Judging from the turnout and reaction, convention-goers enjoyed hearing what we had to say too. We’d like to thank everyone who came for all the support and the great questions.
But maybe you didn’t make it to Boston ComicCon. Maybe you were there, but scheduling conflicts kept you from coming to see us. Or maybe you did go and our discussion got you excited about the possibilities of creating food based on your favorite films, TV shows, books, comics, or other fictions. If you were at the panel, you know we promised you a post with some helpful links to get you started on your own food and fandom journey. So here we go! Continue reading
Hard as it may be to believe, there really have been five Muppet Trivias at Comicazi over the years, hosted by different combinations of Ladies. The very first one was a Red Menace project, and the rest of us have taken on various hosting and organizing duties through the years. It’s always a lot of work, but it’s also a ton of fun and it remains my favorite of the events we put together.
We know, we know, it isn’t Wednesday, and this post isn’t about Batman. But as you probably know (and most of our readers are local, so you experienced it firsthand) it was a weird and stressful week. It was scary and sad to live through. Despite all of the horror and loss, though, Boston and its police, doctors, EMTs and first responders of all kinds did us proud. There were many acts of kindness between the rest of the members of the city as well, and I hope that’s the part we all hold on to.
The reason we’re writing this bonus post is not to reflect on last week’s events, however; many other writers have covered that territory. Instead, we want to talk about one of those great moments of community that came out of it all.
You see, before the world turned upside down, this past weekend was supposed to be the Boston Comic Con. Since the situation was unresolved until fairly late on Friday, however, the Con needed to be postponed. Since many of the artists, writers and other guests had already come to Boston, the Con organizers decided to try to do smaller signings, gatherings and meet & greets in comic shops across the state. Since Comicazi is both public transit accessible and has a fair amount of event space, it became the site of a reasonably larger one of these mini or non-cons. Thanks to the hard work of both Boston Comic Con and Comicazi staff, in a few short, late night hours the “Not-The-Boston-Comic-Con-Get-Together” was born!
We Ladies had planned to attend Comic Con anyway, to hand out info about the blog and our Bat-Night event (Batman stickers with the date and time written on the back!) and to help out the Comicazi guys at their table, so it was a no-brainer to do the same at the shop. Tiny Doom and I live the closest, so we arrived an hour early to prep our swag and help run errands. We were assisted by The Goog, who earned his official Honorary Lady designation that day for Good Handwriting and General Helpfulness. Ten minutes before 11, the shop’s phone rang. It was Bill Willingham (whose works we’ve written about several times) asking if he could “crash” the con! Obviously the guys said YES, which meant some frantic updates by the web division on Facebook and Twitter to let folks know.
By the time we were really ready to open the doors, the line to get in stretched down the block! However, everyone was being very patient and kind. We also had a few MORE creators show up than expected, including Alé Garza and Nick Bradshaw, which was awesome but meant some adjustments. No problem – the guys just set up some tables in the back parking lot, but they made it work!
Tiny Doom and I worked the line, handing out bookmarks and acting as crowd control and general answer ladies (What is going on? Who is signing? Do you sell baseball cards?). Cartoon Sara soon arrived as well (Poor Smalerie, alas, had familial obligations) and we all had a grand old time chatting about Batman: TAS with folks (some of whom were very enthusiastic and full of high-fives, others of whom were a bit grumpy that we wouldn’t reveal the rest of the episodes).
Around 12:30, I tried to give a sticker to a gentleman who (nicely) told me we was from out of town so couldn’t make the event. Okay, no big deal. Then, some guys in line ahead of him asked me who was signing. “Oh, let’s see,” I said, “Tim Sale, Tim Seeley, Don Rosa, and at 1:00 Bill Willingham is supposed to be coming.” My out of town buddy said something I didn’t quite catch. I turned to face him, and he held up his hand and said, “I’m Bill.”
Oh, lord. Why hadn’t he said? I was so embarrassed. “I didn’t want to jump the line,” he said. I insisted that he come out back with me so that I could turn him over to the Comicazi guys and get settled. He could not have been more gracious about the whole thing – what a way to meet one of your favorite creators!
The crowd was steady for the rest of the day – we even had a few cos-players show up. They were determined that their hard work would not go to waste.
Around 2:30 we ran out of Bat-stickers, and while people were still coming in regularly, the line didn’t seem to require as much supervision. We decided to head in and check out the action. I’d forgotten to bring anything to be signed or really processed that I might want anything (and hadn’t known Bill would be there), until it suddenly hit me that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. When was I going to be in such an intimate setting with such big name artists sketching for free ever again? Cartoon Sara had been more savvy and gotten some the sketch she wanted already, but Tiny Doom and I had not processed that far yet. I asked Mr. Menace for some backing boards and got in line.
You can probably guess stop number one. Bill Willingham got his start as an artist, first for TSR and then for comics, before becoming a writer for DC, so why not get a sketch instead of a signature (besides, all of my Fables trades were at home)? I asked him for a Rose Red sketch since I wanted to show some love for a character who’s often forgotten from the original tale and who is a fellow red head.
While he worked, I asked him where he’d traveled from (MN), and assured him that if he became trapped in Davis Square, we’d put him up in a spare room. He was totally open and welcoming, with a dry sense of humor.
Then, I went over to Don Rosa – he’s a legendary cartoonist and was super fun to watch him sketch. I asked him for a Flintheart Glomgold – he made sure I knew it would be the comic version, which differs from the DuckTales one. I knew this thanks to Cartoon Sara’s awesome post here, and let him know that I wanted HIS Glomgold.
Finally, I approached Tim Sale with Tiny Doom. She went first and got a pretty amazing Catwoman sketch (she asked him his favorite lady to draw, which I thought was pretty good).
In the course of their discussions he also mentioned Mary Jane Watson, and it hit me – I could get TWO bad-ass redheads of comics. He even brought out his red pencil for it, which I thought was super great.
All told, it was an exhausting but amazing day. We handed out over 200 stickers and bookmarks promoting the blog, got to meet some world class artists, and had a great time doing it! Many thanks to the folks at Boston Comic Con, the artists, and of course, our pals at Comicazi for making it happen.
So you may have noticed that we Ladies like to cook. Smalerie has a whole blog devoted to the art of bento. Tiny Doom shared her love of infusions and fantasy-related cookbooks, and of course I have nearly 150 posts on the subject of food and cooking. We are comfortable in a kitchen, is what I’m saying. And that’s good, because in a couple of weeks Comicazi is hosting an event that annually puts our love of the oven to the test.
In fact, the event started a few years ago as sort of a joke between Tiny Doom, myself, and one of the proprietors of the shop, one Michael Burke. The details are lost to the hazy mists of memory, but the gist was that TD’s cookies are made with hate, while mine are made with love, or some such nonsense. A bake-off was suggested, an epic clash between bakers to determine who had the one cookie to rule them all. It was a joke…until it wasn’t.
And so, the Comicazi Cookie Clash was born! Now going into its third iteration, the event swiftly approacheth, and people are baking like fiends. Far larger than Tiny Doom or myself, last year 19 bakers produced 6 dozen each of some truly outstanding treats. This year we’re hoping for another amazing turnout -I know that some of contestants have already begun baking test batches in an effort to cover themselves in glory. Each baker (or team of bakers, if that is how you roll) bakes 2 dozen each of chocolate chip, bar, and their specialty cookies. Then our teams of expert judges vote on the winners. Competition is intense!
However, this event isn’t JUST about baking cookies – it’s also about eating them. If you live in the Boston area, we would love to see you at the event! It’s going to be held on November 3rd at 7 pm, and for a mere $6 you can hang out at Comicazi and eat as many cookies as you like! The best part is that all of the money raised goes to a charity near and dear to my heart, Boston Partners in Education. Boston Partners supports struggling students in the Boston Public Schools by providing them with academic mentors from the community – and now you can support that simply by eating cookies! What’s not to love? We’ve also got some very cool judges lined up, including last year’s Chocolate Chip winner, Linda from The Chocolate Tarte, and Inn at the Crossroads/Food Through the Pages‘ own Chelsea Monroe-Cassel. If you like comics, fantasy, or food, this is going to be the place to be.
So if you’re in the neighborhood on November 3rd, stop by and see us! We’d love to see you, feed you some cookies, and talk about the role of ladies in comics.
And unrelated to cookies, did you check out our Who’s Who page and our new logo? They were designed by the amazingly talented Sara Franks-Allen! Sara is the original lady of Comicazi – she was the first lady customer back when it was a wee baby store, just starting out in the world. Now the store is a big boy of 12, and Sara is a vital member of the community, participating in book club, hosting Muppet Trivia with Smalerie, and generally bopping around being awesome. We are hoping to feature some of Sara’s serious knowledge of animation and Muppets one of these days (hint, hint Sara) but in the meantime are overwhelmingly excited about the super artwork she did for us! Thank you, Sara!