Who Can Settle This Argument – What IS the Capital of Northern Ireland?

Today was filled with those minor irritations we all recognize as first-world problems. It kicked off when my Bubble Yum order arrived from Amazon – not the sugar-free kind that I ordered, but $41 of sugary Bubble Yum. I guess my Halloween candy shopping is done early this year. Parents, don’t send me your dentist bills.

Then came the Gloria Estefan CD I ordered, purportedly her “Greatest Hits,” yet it didn’t contain the one song I wanted, “Live for Loving You.” Sigh.

Next came Pub Quiz, a night I have been looking forward to for a very long time, reuniting me with my trivia-loving friends, plus I made a couple of new friends. (BFF Marovich would shrug, “More for your Collection.”)

One of my friends is an older gent named Shea from Northern Ireland. With that gorgeous accent, he could read the phone book and I would be mesmerized. The trivia emcee was a young woman who predicted Shea would get this next question correct, knowing his ethnicity. She queried, “What is the capital of Northern Ireland?” Shea immediately submitted his answer, which was: Stormont. We trusted he would know, so none of us even considered debating him. We only knew of Belfast. And according to the trivia emcee, the correct answer was: Belfast. D’oh!!!!!

As you can imagine, with us 8 rowdies–okay, let me rephrase that–seven rowdies plus Dave Dorman, this created quite the uproar at our table. According to Shea, the parliament is in an area called Stormont, and that is technically the capital.

We asked the emcee to challenge the veto.

Soon, our escalating dissension caught the notice of this woman’s supervisor, the Grand Poobah of Trivia–a 40-something guy with too-long hair, a beer gut, a sloppy t-shirt, and flip-flops–who approached our table with his MacBook Air parked on some Wikipedia page, which he somehow felt trumped the page of proof we showed him on Dave’s iPhone. Grand Poobah thrust his page in Dave’s face, snapped his Macbook Air shut with an air of finality, and walked away in a huff. I couldn’t help but think of Cartman from South Park:

If the Trivia Grand Poobah were a South Park Character...

If the Trivia Grand Poobah were a South Park Character…

We didn’t win our point.

The fact that our score’s outcome was being held in the balance by this Beach Boys wannabe was about a 5 on the Pucker Scale. Especially when we had evidence:

Proof!

Proof!

The other unsettling moment of the evening was learning that the final episode of Third Rock from the Sun aired the same year Train’s song “Drops of Jupiter” came out, which was the same year Legally Blonde came out. Wrap your brain around that for a second. Guess what year it was? 2001! Hand to God! Yeah, that was unbelievable to me, too. Drops of Jupiter just doesn’t seem that old. We’ll  be hearing the Muzak version on some Las Vegas elevator any day now.

Despite losing our footing early in the game with the Northern Ireland question, we managed to come in first place and win the whole trivia game. That showed ’em!

However, I still have to know…the Truth Is Out There…I’ve already emailed my comic book writer/creator friend in Belfast. The journalist in me will be verifying this Stormont business with at least three sources by day’s end tomorrow.

I’ll let you know what I learn.

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The Glamour of #SDCC from the Exhibitor’s Side of the Table: Or, What It’s Like Traveling to SDCC with a 9-Year-Old

Dave has always encouraged Jack to cosplay at San Diego Comic-Con, so this year, Jack took the bait. Dave waited until Monday night–the night before we left for San Diego–to order Jack’s “morphsuit” costume on Amazon. FYI, morphsuit is merely a new term describing Woody Allen’s sperm costume. Jack wants to get his costume covered in autographs.

Unfortunately, Dave ordered the suit via an Amazon third-party provider with our debit card.  Thirty minutes later, while Dave and Jack were at Jack’s very first football practice on Monday night, I received a call from the bank informing me that a bunch of suspicious charges were placed on my card. In Germany. Sure enough, the bastards cleaned out our bank account the night before we were traveling. The next morning Dave was literally the last one to board the plane because he was finishing up his call with the bank to reverse the charges. I think there’s still a $400 charge on there we have to fight.

After many tearful outbursts from Jack about never getting his costume in time, it finally occurred to me to call the front desk of our hotel this morning. It was here all along.

So…all of this hassle for this:

The Morphsuit That Cost Us Our Life Savings.

The “Morphsuit” That Cost Us Our Life’s Savings.

As a parent, there are few places we take our son that amp up my anxiety disorder more than a 150,000 attendees cosplay convention. “Yes, officer, you are correct in understanding that I cannot identify the pedophile in a police lineup who snatched my son from Comic-Con, because the kidnapper was a grown man dressed up in a Batman costume.” Most geeks are the coolest people on earth, but I remain ever vigilant, convinced the pedophiles are lining up to execute kidnappings in disguise.

For all of the celebrity sightings, super-exclusive TV and film panels, and fun creatives and fans we encounter at San Diego Comic-Con, this show is exhausting. The most exhausting part? Keeping a 9-year-old happy. We are very fortunate to have friends we trust who will take Jack around the show here and there. Jack has no empathy for the idea that we need to remain at the booth to serve customers and meet industry professionals. He has less empathy for the fact that I need to remain at the hotel and work during business hours on week days. The work I do actually funds these five expensive, angst-filled days.

How I miss the days I could just head out to the Gaslamp District after the show and grab dinner and drinks with industry friends. Flash forward to 2014: by 7 p.m. when the show ends, Jack is already lying on the floor of our booth under a table half asleep.

Honk if you see a sleepy child...

Honk if you see a sleepy child…

These days Jack and I head back to the hotel by ourselves, I miss all of the fun conversations, industry gossip and laughs, and we dine on the limited menu of over-priced hotel food while Dave, the reluctant introvert, has to socialize without his buffer–me. Glamorous, ain’t it?