Me vs. the Jack Fruit (Spoiler Alert: I Lost)

Yesterday Dave Dorman left for comic book convention Space City Con in Houston, which left Jack and me (a dangerous combo platter by any measure) to our own devices. We had just seen the episode of Bob’s Burgers where Teddy and Bob go to stunt man camp, and Linda Belcher made up this ridiculous song about best friends. The line I couldn’t get out of my head that made Jack and me laugh the hardest: “He helps you pee when you have that thing…” Naturally, I had to belt it out in my best Ethel Merman voice as he was exiting the vehicle to set foot on his school campus yesterday and this morning.

After school yesterday, I made the grievous error of taking Jack grocery shopping with me. We were in the produce section when I asked him to grab an English cucumber. He held it up and announced loudly, “This looks like something that rhymes with Venus!” And so it began. Mind you, this is the same kid who stood before the Christmas windows at Chicago’s Marshall Field’s State Street store  (I steadfastly refuse to call it Macy’s) this past December, thrilled that there was a planetary display so he could rifle off about 100 Uranus jokes. I was doubled over laughing so hard I couldn’t even stop him. Thankfully, so was the crowd standing around us. This may have been the tipping point that pushes him into a career someday as a standup comedian.

That glint in Jack's eye, the moment before he rifled off 100 Uranus jokes to a mostly adoring crowd. I was momentarily paralyzed by my own laughing to stop him.

That glint in Jack’s eye, the moment before he rifled off 100 Uranus jokes to a mostly adoring crowd. I was momentarily paralyzed by my own laughing, unable to stop him.

Eventually my sight line was gratified by an alien-looking produce with a weird texture, about the size of a football. “What is that?” I asked aloud, not really thinking Jack would know.

Xenomorph egg or Jack Fruit? You decide.

Xenomorph egg or Jack Fruit? You decide.

“It’s a Jack Fruit!” he piped up.

“Are you making this up?”

“I swear!”

I  approached this xenomorph egg with a little trepidation. “Where’s your queen?” I said to no one in particular, under my breath. One of the Jack Fruits was cut in half, the orangey-yellow color of papaya, which I love. It had huge seeds dotting its perimeter.

The inside of a Jack Fruit.

The inside of a Jack Fruit.

“What does it taste like?”

“I saw on Youtube it tastes like onions,” Jack replied instantly and with such confidence, I stupidly believed him.

“Hmmm…well, I like onions…maybe we should try this. I wonder how you prepare it?”

At this precise moment–as always happens to me whenever I am in the grocery store–a strange woman approached us. In her thick accent (Jack says it was Russian, I say South American) she declared “Oh, you will love this. My kids eat it like candy! It tastes like pineapple mixed with mango!”

“Really?” I biffed Jack upside the head. “Onions? Really?”

The next part of this bizarre conversation was mission critical. The part where I wish my A.D.D. hadn’t taken over. The strange woman said to me, “Are you allergic to latex?”

The last time I heard that, my new OB/Gyn was stuffing me with his hand like a Thanksgiving turkey as I writhed uncomfortably in my stirrups up the table and away from him, so I automatically replied “No….?” My mind was in another place. When I try to recall the next part of what she said, it was like Charlie Brown’s teacher in my mind, “Blah, blah, blah.” I thanked her and we parted ways.

I plopped the giant fruit into my cart. Eight dollars later, Jack and I were on our way to a new culinary adventure!

After dinner, I took the saran wrap off of the Jack Fruit and started cutting away. This was work! I took a bite and it was really sweet – like candy – almost sickeningly too sugary. After about five minutes of struggling to perform an autopsy on this beastly thick produce, I began noticing this gummy, rubbery white residue on my hands. I stopped and soaped up, trying to rinse it off. It was going nowhere. “Jack!” I screamed, panicked.”Get on YouTube! See how I get this glue off of my hands!”

“Didn’t you hear what the lady said? About the latex?”

“You mean this Jack Fruit is where latex comes from?”

“No! She said to wear gloves when you cut it open, if you’re not allergic to latex!”

“Oh! Now I get it! Well, it’s too late for that. YouTube how I get this off of me! Chip chop!” The more I soaped up and scrubbed, the more it clung to me. I cannot stand being sticky. I had an epiphany. Coconut oil, my miracle cure for everything, would probably take this off. As I was rubbing coconut oil on my hands, Jack piped up from my office, “YouTube says coconut oil works!” My skin and the rings on my hands returned to normal.

I was relaying this whole crazy story to one of my vegan friends, who further confused my reality with this advice:

Note to self: Ask a friendly vegan the next time I get a wild hair up my ass to try exotic produce.

Note to self: Ask a friendly vegan the next time I get a wild hair up my ass to try exotic produce.

So…if you were ever wondering what to prepare for a vegan while your steaks are sizzling on the grill, Jack Fruit is the answer. Apparently, with barbecue sauce. Mind you, there is not enough alcohol in the world to make me try this.

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Madrid Comic Book Convention: Tapas, Tourism & Travails

One of my earliest adventures in comics was the Madrid Comic Book Convention in November of 2002. This trip cemented many comics industry friendships, and I cherish them to this day. My friend Mike Kennedy just posted a Facebook video about Botin, the World’s Oldest Restaurant, which was the first restaurant we tried in Madrid, triggering this trip down memory lane. The first thing that struck me about Botin was the prosciutto, sitting out in the open, and the liberal number of flies alighting on the marbled hunk of meat. I ordered prosciutto-free entrees.

Comics legends, bestselling authors and me at Botin Restaurant in Madrid. L-R: Dave Dorman, me, (can't recall his name), Mike Kennedy, Rebecca Moesta, Kevin J.  Anderson, Chris Warner, Randy Stradley, Randy's former wife, Joyce Chin and Art Adams

Comics legends, bestselling authors and me at Botin, The World’s Oldest Restaurant, in Madrid. L-R: Dave Dorman, me, Ramon Bachs, Mike Kennedy, Rebecca Moesta, Kevin J. Anderson, Chris Warner, Randy Stradley, Randy’s wife at the time, Joyce Chin, and Art Adams. For the paranormal fans among me, note the orb over Randy Stradley’s face.

At this first gathering, we sat across from Joyce Chin and Art Adams, and they were both fascinating to talk with; these were the days before either of us had children. I remember admiring Joyce’s passion for dog rescues and the work she did with dogs. Post-kids, our conversations today would take a much different turn: “How do you arrange the stuff crammed beneath your SDCC booth tables to accommodate a sleeping kid?”

Along with Dark Horse Comic‘s Chris Warner and Randy Stradley, writer Mike Kennedy (now publisher of Magnetic Press), artist Ramon Bachs, and NY Times bestselling authors Kevin J.  Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, we embarked on a five-day odyssey of comics autograph sessions where the crowds rushed the tables and orderly lines were not even a possibility, tapas meals together at 10:30 p.m. were the norm (yes, it IS actually possible to tire of garlic potato salad after three nights in a row), we experienced the world’s best hot chocolate (like hot chocolate pudding poured into a mug), squid ink pasta (I’m not a fan, Kevin J. Anderson ended up eating mine) and Rebecca Moesta introduced me to mango yogurt shakes at the one vegetarian restaurant we hit (I am still hooked). In the hotel lobby one night before going out for tapas, one of our handler Miguel’s friends brought in a platter of thinly sliced horse meat appetizers, which was a delicacy there, but I just couldn’t do the whole when-in-Rome thing. I love my horses too much.

Joyce and I hit the Museo del Prado and followed it up with a lunch at the Hard Rock in Madrid (do yourself a favor and do NOT order the spaghetti there–it was out of a can). Since I’m a morning person, the whole noon siesta and up-all-night culture was an adjustment. I could handle it better today than I did back then. The one thing that stays with me was how beautifully the buildings were lit at night. I’m hard-pressed to describe it, but it’s something you have to see at least once in your life. This was the pre-iPhone era, so few pictures remain of that trip; this one from Mike Kennedy’s archives is such a treasure to all of us.

Immediately following the Botin lunch, I was the naive tourist flinging my purse about like I hadn’t a care in the world–it was promptly pick-pocketed in the town square. Miguel took me to the local police station, but after sitting with the unwashed masses for 30 minutes and feeling more endangered than safe, I begged off. It was fruitless. My wallet was long gone. I spent the next hour on the phone canceling all credit cards. Lesson learned.

On Facebook right now, we’re all posting, reminiscing, and wishing we were back at Botin, reliving that moment.

H.G. Wells, how’s that time machine coming along, anyhow?

#C2E2 #Chicago 2015: A Growing Show

This Ghostbusters Staypuft Marshmallow Man was one of my #cosplay favorites this year at #C2E2 – as was the Lego Boba Fett costume (I don’t have an image of the latter). This one had to burn a lot of calories, being so onerous to lug around!

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at #C2E2 Chicago 2015

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at #C2E2 Chicago 2015 – Photo by Ken Heinemann

I heard the show was busier this year, based on the fact that Lot A at McCormick Place was full already before 10 a.m. It’s always good news to hear a fairly young show is thriving, especially one so local to us. Dave sold out of his #Marvel Issue #1 #StarWars variant covers the first day, which is always a good sign (have no fear, he brought in more).

C2E2, like San Diego Comic-Con, is a like a family reunion with our many artist, writer, publishing, and creator friends. Dave Dorman‘s table is stationed at J-1 in Artists Alley, which is ideal because directly across from us is Bill and Linda Lessman Reinhold, two of my favorite carbon life forms:

Bill and Linda Lessman Reinhold, great friends and enormous talent

Bill and Linda Lessman Reinhold, great friends and enormous talent

and behind us is Darron Jackson and Steve Howard, two more of my favorite humanoids.

Illustrators Darron Jackson, Steve Howard, and me.

Illustrators Darron Jackson, Steve Howard, and me.

I reconnected with Ken Heinemann, my cameraman for my video and TV show production projects; he was handling A/V for all of the panels. He came to visit me during the M. Night Shyamalan/Matt Dillon panel (a new Twilight Zone-style show, I’m told), which just goes to show you how non-plussed he is by all of the geeky fun. He just came off of the Soundstage tour, so this was an easy gig in comparison. I offered to be Kenny’s grip, but my non-union status precludes me from that.

I want to mention that our friend J. Anthony Kosar of TV’s Face Off winner fame has expanded his Kosart Atelier where he teaches special f/x makeup, and classes are available, so be sure to check him out at http://kosartartelier.com

TV's FACE OFF Season 4 Winner, J. Anthony Kosar with Dave Dorman & me

TV’s FACE OFF Season 4 Winner, J. Anthony Kosar with Dave Dorman & me

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s Amazing, Grace! Introducing The Reverend Pastor Dave Dorman

As my beloved father rests comfortably in a local hospice facility in the end stages of his life, we here at home are scrambling to organize funeral arrangements and plan ahead. Unfortunately, my mom’s current pastor isn’t on his “A-Game” when it comes to funerals. At my uncle’s funeral last year, he not only mispronounced the names of my cousins, but also printed the same hymnal verse twice in the funeral program, and you all know how I am about typos – an unforgivable offense. So…in the spirit of giving my dad a more dignified send-off, Dave volunteered to become an ordained pastor and do the service. I know, I know, I couldn’t believe it, either, but he did. I remembered you could do this via the back of Rolling Stone magazine, back in the day, but now it’s all online here.  Here’s proof that for an $80 investment, Dave can now park in the “Reserved for Clergy” section of any hospital parking lot:

Pastor Reverend Dave Dorman - Official Credentials

Pastor Reverend Dave Dorman – Official Credentials

Dave suggested that he customize Dad’s service to what attendees might expect from Dave, peppering the service with “In the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and Obi-Wan Kenobi,” but that’s where I had to draw the line. My mom will go non-linear if anyone messes with her Lutheranism.

As I cut together a video of my dad’s life from old photographs, I’ve found some rare treasures in the old photo album, which are giving my Facebook friends a good laugh. Here’s Dad and me on one of our many hikes in the mountains in Colorado.

Dad and me, hiking in Colorado, circa late 1980s.

Dad and me, hiking in Colorado, circa  mid 1980s.

As you can imagine, my Facebook friends are all blowing me shit about the photo below – deeming me “Molly Ringwald” – here’s my Junior Prom, back in the day when I was still pure as the driven snow. To quote Grandpa Simpson from the Strike Busters episode, “…because that was the style at the time…”

Junior Prom

Junior Prom

And here are some shots from my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. I threw a huge pig roast at the family farm (yes, my Aunt Karen actually has an “Old McDonald’s Farm” in Burlington, IL) with 200 of our closest friends, hired hula dancers and a fire eater, and naturally, chaos ensued, but it’s too much to write here and now. If Marovich and Nancy Peshel are reading this, I think they’ll readily recall the background drama they created during this precise moment below–tapping into my sophomoric poop humor. My only regret is that we didn’t catch it on film.

Hula Lessons at Mom & Dad's 50th Anniv. Celebration

Hula Lessons at Mom & Dad’s 50th Anniv. Celebration

I have no idea what a ball on a string has to do with Polynesian customs, but this was another hula “lesson” we endured. Dad was always game for my silliness:

Polynesian Ball-on-a-String Lessons

Dad, Mom & Me: Polynesian Ball-on-a-String Lessons

And before I forget to mention it, speaking of “The Reverend Pastor Dave Dorman,” Dave will be appearing this coming weekend at Salt Lake Comic Con from Thursday through Saturday, so if you’re in greater SLC, please be sure to pay him a visit. He will have his new limited edition Marvel variant cover Star Wars comics from retailer M&M Comics on hand!

If you’re not doing so already, you can follow my hijinks, shenanigans, and tomfoolery on http://facebook.com/comicbookwife or on Twitter where I’m @WriteBrainMedia.