We are off on what I believe will be the most amazing trip of our lives. To be discovering the USA, a place I have dreamed of since I was tiny, with my new husband makes me unbelievably happy. Here is a sneak peek at what we will be up to over the coming days. Flight leaves tonight at 9:20pm, first stop Hawaii.
I am going to do my very best to post while away. But as I am sure you can imagine I want to spend most of the trip enjoying the trip and will do a wrap up when I am home.
The Top 5 and Bottom 5 of Oz Comic-Con Melbourne
This past weekend saw Melbourne’s first Comic-Con, a name synonymous with nerds, cosplay, guest stars and (to an ever decreasing margin) comics. To attend one of these for the first time is an experience unlike any other, but it is not one that is perfect, idyllic or in certain circumstances, even enjoyable.
The Melbourne Oz Comic-Con had its fair share of problems, and if you were to follow its Facebook page you would see some world class “nerd rage” over what some people perceived as a mismanaged event. While those displeased are clearly the loudest, it is unclear if they are the majority, so in the sake of fairness we present the Top 5 and Bottom 5 of Oz Comic-Con.
One thing Oz Comic-Con had that was similar to almost any exhibition, conference or show was people out to sell their wares. Which can range from great – where you find a company you knew nothing about that fills a need you didn’t even know you had – to “gouging” price wise. Oz Comic-Con leaned more to the former, and while the latter was present, none of the sellers ever felt particularly pushy. Most were content on letting the flow of traffic browse their wares with a passing conversation and not an attitude of “buy it or GTFO”.
4.) The guest photos and signings
Disclaimer – This does not refer to the organisation, lines or waiting associated to the photos and signings but for the guests themselves. All the guests were great, willing to make brief banter with guests who had been waiting hours to see them, and extra props to Patrick Stewart and Stan Lee in particular, who crammed as many photos and signings as humanly possible, even after the organisers oversold their ability to do so. They exuded professionalism, even under pressure and duress.
3.) Guest panels
Some guests treated the panels like acting jobs, others like a personal Q&A session, but every one of them brought something fun and entertaining to the table. The Australian attendees may not be as chatty question-wise as their American counterparts, but the guests took it in their stride and were always gracious and thorough in their answers.
2.) Prepurchase of VIP and Platinum Tickets
There were a lot of things that Oz Comic-Con did wrong ticket wise – overselling, mismanaged lines and many more things that belong in the second part of this article – however one good thing they had was the ability to buy a bypass for the queues under the title of “VIP” and “Platinum” tickets. While far more expensive, and having to be bought well in advance, these VIP and Platinum passes were worth their weight in gold, if you are someone who considers time to be money. Being able to sleep in until 10am and then make your way straight in, as well as the ability to walk out mid-day and come back without having to re-queue makes a world of difference.
1.) The people and cosplayers
Regardless of being a regular or VIP attendee, if you went to Oz Comic-Con, you would have spent at least an hour waiting in a queue for something. Being able to watch cosplayers and try to guess who they were dressing up as, and how they found the time to make such extravagant costumes (as well as in some special cases, what degree of sneeze intensity would send them flying out of their costume) made lining up that much more bearable.
In the same regard, standing next to the same person for hours on end often opened the floodgates to conversation, and easily the best thing about Oz Comic-Con were the people who attended it. Brought together by a common interest, the conversations that arose were just as interesting and enjoyable as anything the organisers came up with.
Normally as a rule, I’m against murder. However when facing the prospect of having the person in front of you drop dead meaning that there’s one less person between yourself and your goal – only 5 metres away, but a twenty minute wait – you begin to see the perks. As stated above, when in a queue you can normally generate a rapport with those around you, yet when you’re just trying to get through a queue blocking an entrance (as often faced by the VIP and Platinum ticket holders) people just become a mass of angry, rude and pushy bodies. If you are somewhat of the “meeker” temperament (as many nerds are) you may find having to push people to the side to simply get to where you need to be a quite dehumanising experience. We did.
Simply put, the branding looked cheap. The website went down at a the drop of a hat, the social media control was nearly non-existent and the whole lead up felt like it was being winged one day at a time. Some would say “oh it’s their first time” and that excuse goes a little way, but as someone in the advertising field, I can say the logic in successful companies is “If I don’t know how to really do it, hire, find or ask someone who does”. It comes across as cheap, arrogant or greedy if you don’t.
For all the condemning, this really is constructive criticism; it’s an area that can be improved. Don’t just use mates who can use iMovie or give you a freebee website – Rebrand, get better servers and hire a marketing person or company to just deal with this aspect and the event will only grow.
3.) Treatment of VIPs
The pre-bought VIP tickets were a wonder for queue jumping, the exclusive sessions and in theory were a great idea. The problem came with the execution of those ideas – no effort was made to separate VIP queues from regular admission and the instruction given to all VIPs of “Just go to the front of the queue and talk to the volunteer there” is at best not thought out and at its worst actually a worse experience than just lining up normally, as there was no way to get to the “front” of the queue without pushing all the way from the back against people who had no intention of letting you through (See: 5.) People).
2.) The dinners
At Oz Comic-Con there was an opportunity to have dinner with a celebrity. This option was not cheap and engendered certain expectations. Our guests (Sir Patrick Stewart and his son, Daniel) were much like the ride at the beginning of Jurassic Park – one no-show and one who felt ill and couldn’t stay long. Much like the dinosaurs in that film, I had no hard feelings towards the men who didn’t come or couldn’t stay long; they are humans who were jetlagged and had worked a very long day.
The distain here fell to the organisers who came across as simply greedy. They put as many people on two tables as physically possible so it was often difficult to hear or see the celebrity. The event was not cheap and yet something as simple as drinks were not included (this surprised even Sir Patrick Stewart, who at the beginning of the evening when asked if he wanted a drink exclaimed “We ALL need drinks here!”). A round table with drinks, a private room, fewer people, not making the celebrity work a 12 hour day (and if necessary up the price to compensate) would have resulted in 12 glowing reviews instead of 30 negative ones.
(As a side note, to anyone at that dinner, all I can say is thank you – the conversations with you all during and after dinner made the whole event a good learning experience, rather than a massive disappointment.)
Recently humanity came up with an amazing machine that could help with relaying instructions. You should look into it.
Thinking about: all of the things that need doing before the wedding. The amount of work to do both at home for the wedding/honeymoon and at work is mind numbing. Sometimes, when it all gets too much, I just have to sit with my head in my hands and stop. My parents used to say to me “how do you eat an elephant?” the answer “One bite at a time”. While I know this logic works sometimes it can be hard to not chew on that elephant and think Ï will never finish eating all this before it goes off”. A lot of people (including Richard who has been unbelievable) have been so helpful to us in getting us organised and I am so grateful to them. To be completely honest with you though I wouldn’t have it any other way and I would genuinely regret it later in life if I hadn’t been a driving force in pulling the day together, it will be a proper celebration of us because we did it. I would never give that up.
Motivation: that at the end of all of this work I will be Mrs Alys Holz! It is really important to remember that, because it is the MOST IMPORTANT THING! Everything else that seems so important right now really isn’t, what matters is that by the end of August we will be married.
Watching: it tends to be in the background but we are still working our way through House MD (8 seasons takes a long time to get through). There are also new episodes of Once Upon a Time, Big Bang Theory, Colbert Report, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Conan for our viewing pleasure. Not really focusing on any one thing at the moment but and I look forward to a marathon of something once the wedding is over and we get our weekends back.
Obsessing over: the little details for the wedding. We’ve done all the big things so now everything is about the little details. With two months to go now is the time to order any supplies we need online and to start making the rest of them ourselves. I am so glad that we have a venue with a planner and decided to invest in a decorator. Not only does it mean that we have professionals looking after us but it also means at the end we aren’t going to have a room full of wax lanterns.
A good cause: I adore our Rorschach, he really is our first child, and I cannot imagine ever hurting him. I know though that he is lucky. Not every animal is treated with love the way he is. There are a few charities out there working hard to protect animals but I personally support the RSPCA. I am attracted to the fact that they run both on the ground, practicial programmes to care for and protect animals. As well as the national campaigns around public and government awareness of animal cruelty and protection. I am not a vegetarian though I do believe in trying, where I can, to buy from suppliers who care about animals too. The RSPCA’s Shop Humane campaign around humane foods is a great one, find out more on their website.
Praying for: good weather for the wedding. It doesn’t have to be dry as our venue is indoors (but not) and I think rain in wedding photos can look good. But I really don’t want to walk along George St in my dress with the risk of it getting wet. I am already having to line up my entire family to carry my dress so it doesn’t touch the ground – it cannot be dirty before I even arrive – adding rain to the mix just makes me nervous. So here is to a gorgeous day with plenty of sunshine and that lovely nearly spring weather you so often get at the end of August.
Wishing: scientists had figured out how to clone people, I could really use 3 of me rught now. They need to be clones of me rather than assistants for the simple fact that I don’t have time to supervise more people, I just need bodies to get the work done. At least if they were all me I would know that they would think/react/purchase the same way as I would. As long as there was a clear plan of who was looking after what for work/wedding/honeymoon/life we would get it done and be a great team.
Listening to/Reading: Enders Game by Orson Scott Card but as an audio book. The book itself is fantastic. I barely believe that it was originally written in the 80s, it really could be set now the story is so relevant to now. Audio books are something to get used to, and I am still working on it.
We are making headway on choosing a venue. First site inspection last weekend and my folks are in town this coming weekend for us all to go and look at the last few places. Should have a decision very soon!
So the next big thing (besides my dress, photographer and celebrant) is to start planning the honeymoon.
At this stage I am looking to take a month off work, one week before the wedding and three after it. When we were trying to decide where to go for our 2011 holiday we ummed and ahhed about the destination for AGES only to decide on New Zealand. That sounded bad! We loved NZ and had a wonderful holiday, in fact we talked about returning to spend some time on the south island taking in the wildlife. Anyway, I thought I would pull together some of the places that I would like to go on honeymoon and why.
I feel it only fair to have some sort of rating scale, something to judge them all equally. I will be judging each destination on three criteria:
Each criteria will be rated out of 5, the higher the overall mark the more likely it is I will recommend it to Richard.
One thing we are very aware of is that the London 2012 Olympics is at the same time (27 July – 9 September). We can either incorporate the Olympics or not, but that is a story for another post!
God of all grace, friend and companion, look in favour on Anthony and Katherine and all who are made one in marriage.
In your love deepen their love and strengthen their wills to keep the promises they will make, that they may continue in life-long faithfulness to each other; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Two families gather together today to watch as my baby sister Katherine marries Anthony.
I am so happy for my sister and can’t wait to celebrate her big day with her. Today really is the start of something amazing for them both. They are saving hard for a big trip to Europe next year and being in their early twenties all of life’s adventures await them.
I know that Katherine, Anthony, my parents, sister Ellen and a slew of others have worked so hard to pull off an amazing day to celebrate love and the creation of a new family.
Welcome to the family Anthony! Congratulations to you both!
Prayer originally written by the Church of England for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Richard and I are off to a wedding this weekend in the Hunter Valley wine country. Richard has known the bride for a very long time so should be a great chance to celebrate love. Fingers crossed you have a great weekend planned.
After losing my temper with one internet provider, this week I moved to Google Chrome.
As an adult I have learned to appreciate superheroes as role models. So to see a Tumblr showing that superheroes are for girls too is hard to resist.
Speaking of Tumblr, I really like Ms. Muse’s tumblr and I like the idea of it being a place to store inspiration for her blog English Muse
The Glow is a really lovely representation of motherhood, beautiful yet still real.
After a month off I went back to Pilates on Wednesday, I hate going so long between sessions but so glad to be back.
Discovered Hello Giggles! Quickly becoming a daily read.
Always on the look out for good kids books but this one made me laugh so hard. David Bowie’s Space Oddity as a kids book, awesome!
Happy Birthday to Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales! One of the worlds most eligible bachelors at 27 no doubt he is having a great birthday.
One month til my sister Katherine becomes Mrs Powers (yes, awesome name) at Tulloch Wines. Running errands and applying for leave as the day approaches but so very excited for them.
After 7 days in South Australia I am finally home.
I’ve had a fantastic time catching up with colleagues from around the world as well as meeting new people. I am so very fortunate to know some incredible fundraisers
So many brilliant new ideas to take back to the office to hopefully help me do my job better. I am so pumped though I know one of the most important things to do at this point is to write down what I learned and make a judgement call about what we can achieve in the short term without spending any money.
Doesn’t matter how pumped I might be about the content I am exhausted! It’s only 9pm but I think I really need to go to sleep. Got to go back to work tomorrow so need a good nights sleep.