AwesomeCon

Feeling kind of down today, so maybe a post about some happy stuff.

How about AwesomeCon? This was a Con I have meant to attend multiple times. Last year health issues kept me away. This year I had organized a science panel for work, so dammit, I was going! The plan was Saturday afternoon panel, and then dinner with Mike and Gloria – and then Sunday we were going to meet up with them again, but this time Gloria and I were going to wear our matching A League of Their Own uniforms we made last year, but then I didn’t get to wear. This year went according to plan.

As luck would have it, on Friday at work, the tour I had agreed to give turned out to be for John Barrowman from Doctor Who. Which was super exciting because he was very very nice. I blogged about that in one of my recent posts: http://lovelyrita-mm.com/2016/08/john-barrowman-visit/

As it turned out, we timed going to AwesomeCon and getting my panelist badge just so we had time to get on the back of Barrowman’s HUGE line for his panel. We were in the back, but they had screens and I’m used to that from DragonCon (and plus he’d TOUCHED me the day before), so I was good. I knew he really puts on a show at these things, and I was not disappointed when he came out in a Darth Vader helmet, a Darth Vader mini dress and heels. Over the course of the panel he kept removing costume pieces and putting street clothes on, so he was in jeans and a polo and sneakers by the end. He was so good with the crowd and answering questions and keeping things moving and telling stories. Clearly a professional.

Not my pictures. Screencaps from instagram.
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Cool convention center decorations:
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After the panel we headed for my panel room and met up with the rest of my group.
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We took some selfies. :-) This is Chris (right) our photographer and Rob (left) a writer.
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Rob with Laura (writer) and Nasreen (video producer)
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Me and Rob
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Me and Mike (lead video producer)
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This was before we started and I’d say we at least filled 3/4 of the room for the panel. It’s always weird because you’re never sure if you’re boring people or not. But then once or twice when I said something jokingly and got a laugh, I knew they were actually listening, which was a cool feeling. (And thanks, Mike & Gloria for being there for moral support!)
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You can’t see our screen (which is to the right), but we had slides of some of the cool stuff we’ve gotten to do and the amazing footage our photographers and videographers have taken of JWST. Our panel was on how our team tells the story of this mission as it’s coming together.
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It was a good time, and we’ve applied to do a more multimedia intensive version of our panel at SXSW. We’ll see if that gets accepted.

We chatted with a lot of people after the panel and answered questions and overall I think it went really well. We also handed out NASA stickers. I ended up with a bunch leftover and I ended up handing them out to everyone we interacted with at the restaurant for dinner.

We ended up going to Zengo, which was delicious as always. And the company was also awesome as always!
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We got one of the tables with the nice view of Chinatown. I like that Starbucks across the way, it’s a convenient spot if you’re waiting to meet someone. You can just chill out and people watch and it’s really pleasant.
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My fav tuna tacos. SO GOOD And I’ve never been into tuna like this, but it’s amazing.
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We tried the shrimp tacos for the first time and they were amazing too. Definitely on our “always order” list now too!
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The fried tofu, another favorite.
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And their churros are so good.
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Sunday we met up by the artist alley, which honestly is one of my fav parts of any con these days. There is SO much amazing art available now. I keep buying it (because I don’t want to not regret buying a piece I might never see again and because I love supporting artists) even though I have no wall space. I’m starting to rotate stuff out more now though.

Anyhoo, I love looking. Doug and I browsed for a bit until Mike and Gloria got out of a panel. Then we took some pics of our Twinsie outfits before hitting the rest of artist alley. Seriously, I have been costuming a LONG time and I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten so much attention for wearing a costume. We were stopped for pictures multiple times, we had numerous people yell “there’s no crying in baseball” at us, and we even had one person start singing the theme song for the League that the characters sing in the movie. It was honestly so fun. I’m glad we finally got to wear the costumes together!

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This was before I’d changed to meet Gloria. I spotted Tim Zahn and said hello for Janine because I know they are good friends and Janine was at a North Carolina con that weekend. So we took a selfie to send to her. :-)
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A GORGEOUS Karen Hallion quilt. I did make a t-shirt quilt of some of her work, but this is above and beyond.
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Before I went to change, I also chatted with this one artist, Dane Ault, who had really cool stuff at his booth. His style really appealed to me AND he had a lot of space/NASA inspired art, including a series of spacecraft like Hubble and Cassini. I told him to do JWST and he said someone said not to do it til it launched, and I said, no, no, you totally have to do it. Come visit me at Goddard and see it!

He was in town a couple more days, so he, his wife, and his sister-in-law met me at Goddard and I gave them a tour. They were all very nice, and a couple of weeks later, he sent me this:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BJLeFcHhRry/?taken-by=monkeyminionpress

He did JWST! We LOVE being able to inspire/reach out to different audiences, so I’m really excited that he enjoyed the tour and did some art because of it. So that was a win, I think. :-)

Here’s a few shots of me and Gloria. I have cleats, but I wasn’t going to walk around in those at a Con, so Chucks it was.
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Mystery boxes! I liked the Portal cubes.
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This was someone I had shared Holly’s Bespin pattern with! She painted hers!
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A Chris Pratt and dino. After posing, “Chris Pratt” picked up dino’s tail, and handed it to her, and she minced away after him. It was so comical. That suit must have been so hard to walk in!

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I don’t know what video game (?) these were from, but they were SO impressive.
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After we were all shopped out, we changed and headed to Graffiato, a place I’d been wanting to try, since it’s Top Chef Mike Isabella’s restaurant. And OMG the food was so good. Like SO good. It’s small plates Italian.
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This was a potato dish with cheese and porkbelly and garlic and it was amazing.
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Cauliflower with a sort of mint pesto and cheese and onions. It was also really delicious.
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Gnocci with pork ragu. The gnocchi were perfection.
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This pizza was life changingly good – it’s not going to sound good but omg it was so good. It was called the Jersey Shore and had calamari on it and hot sauce and it was so good I was still thinking about it weeks later.
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This chocolate dessert was good, but..
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These zeppoli were so light and non-greasy (for a friend dough?!) that I liked them better than chocolate. Which is saying a lot. They came with cream and strawberries. The four of us split both desserts so we could each have a taste of everything.
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One other thing came out of this Con – I did a later phone interview with a guy who was at our panel for his thesis work on communicating science at Cons. It was really fun. I am bad and can’t remember exactly the set-up now, but I got a big laugh out him when he asked me something about how you use personal social media to communicate science and my answer was “getting in Facbook arguments.” :-)