SqueeCon 2018

Super thrilled to be a part of Squeecon’s inaugural event this Saturday.  I am really looking forward to being a panelist as well one of their many talented cosplay guests.

There will be tons of things to see and do including film screenings, local artists & vendors, locally sourced food and snacks, performances and a fabulous mixer with nerd karaoke at the bar.

 

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If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, then go do so! Looks like it is going to be a lot of fun and also a great way to support diversity in art, film and all things fandom.

Did I also mention there is a cat cafe down the street?

 

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For more info and tickets:

https://bit.ly/2DOYTyV

Kakawa Chocolate House, Salem, MA Opening

Kakawa Chocolate House – Salem, MA Opening.

For months, we have been tempted and teased with the “Opening Soon” signs of the new Kakawa Chocolate shop here in Salem, MA. Up until now they have had only one other location – in Santa Fe, NM. Week after week, myself and all my friends, would stop by, peek into the windows, curious to see if there was any indication of movement inside. We used to joke that Willy Wonka himself would eventually pop out of the door. Welcoming us.

One gloomy Saturday, an exceptionally large group of us walked by and just as Paul and I placed our faces up against the glass and mouthed “Chocolate!” we heard the door open. A lovely man peered out, and said, “SOON! We open on Tuesday, 10 am!”

Obviously I had to shake this man’s hand, introduce myself, and tell him that we would be back. On Tuesday. At 10am. That man was one of the owners, Jack. Wonderful man, great sense of humor to accommodate all of us peeking into his shop!

Tuesday morning was rainy and cold. But I kept my word to Jack, and showed up at 10am (well, ok 9:40) with my friends Sarah and Chuck. People on Essex Street kept asking us why we were standing outside in the alcove. “CHOCOLATE!”, we said.

At 10am on the nose, the door opened, and Jack, ever the bubbly host, said “Who wants to be the first through the door?”

Well, I happened to be closest, so it was me! The first customer! I got a wonderful hug from Jack and inside we went for our tour. It really did feel like we had golden tickets.

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Speaking of gold, this truffle is not Cyberman friendly.

We were greeted by the other owner, Tony, and handed small samples of their sipping chocolates, known as “elixirs”. Which were the single best things I have ever tasted. Ever. We sat down and enjoyed the sipping chocolates paired with some lovely conversation. Then we wandered around and perused their yummy wares.

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The Jeffersonian is my personal favorite elixir. And we tried them ALL.

They didn’t have a full showing of every item they will be selling as this was a soft opening, but even with limited stock, we were in awe. And they were so knowledgeable about every piece. We each bought some truffles and received some free samples for being the first customers.

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Nothing like a good book and fine chocolate.

 

All in all, this new shop is a tasty fit for our Witch City and I am very excited to go back for it’s official grand opening on Saturday with even more friends!

Weekend Update – November 18, 2018

 

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Good evening everyone, I’m your host, Mr. Clever and welcome to another Weekend Update.

The weeks before Thanksgiving is what Salem residents refer to as “Recovering from October” while I refer to it as “Post October Depression.” It can be tough running on all cylinders for 31 days, then abruptly halting come November 1st.

But have no fear, that’s why we have #conlife.

Despite the cancelation of Jenna Coleman, a few of us wondered if it would still be worth it to attend that most stressful of local cons – RICC. Anyone that has attended RICC knows the many potential challenges. The amount of people and the issues just getting inside. People (and children) getting locked out of the con. Being unable to get back to one side of the con or the other. The list goes on (and on and on and on). But, the tickets were bought, the bags were packed, so off we went.

It was so much better than expected. They made a lot of changes to the layout and we went on Sunday. I don’t know if it was one or the other or both but this was the first time it didn’t feel like I spent the entire time elbowing through crowds as thick as Halloween in Salem. It was wonderful and felt like maybe I wouldn’t need a special reason to go next year. (Ask me about my RICC must see list…)

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My good friend Gregory in his sea dog finery
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Waiting in line for Tom Felton is more fun with friends!
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I first met these two lovelies at The Cosplay Affair that I co-hosted back in 2016.  It was great to see them again!

 

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I don’t normally scare the vendors, but I do when they are the amazing Juli Mayers from https://www.facebook.com/WickedLittleStudio/

As I bid goodbye to another October and RICC, some of my friends and I decided to treat ourselves with a little day trip to Maine. Now mind you, to me, Maine means one thing – Stonewall Kitchen. And lots and lots of pumpkin butter. And possibly one or two things for CJ (but not likely).

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Even Cybermen can appreciate the yummy goodness

If you have never been to the flagship Stonewall Kitchen location, go now. I foresee many more trips in my immediate future!

For the weeks ahead I don’t mind saying I don’t really celebrate Thanksgiving but I am excited about the grand opening of a new chocolate shop in Salem: Kakawa Chocolate House. I got to meet the owner / proprietor and you can bet I want to be one of the first in line to taste whatever goodies they have in stock.

This has been your weekend update for the week ending November 18, 2018.
Cyberplanner out.

Weekend Update – Halloween 2018!

Good evening everyone, I’m your host, Mr. Clever.

What can I say about the week of Halloween 2018?  It was one of the best Halloweens I have ever had, and that is not an exaggeration.

When you live in Salem, MA, the Witch City, Halloween is a month long celebration.  Starting with the annual Haunted Happenings Kick off Parade in the beginning of the month, and ending around the first weekend of November. During the entire month of October there are festivals, events, street fairs, costume parties and just thousands and thousands of people in the streets celebrating.

Every year we walk into town with friends and explore the city, seeing the sights, taking in the energy.  My zombie Mr. Clever costume was a lot of fun to wear and was a huge hit. I think people just like zombies!

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Photo by Creative Collective

One of the fun things we did was visit some artist friends at their art show.  Bought some beautiful prints, too. I love the work these two brothers do. Such talent!

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Paul and Nick Demakes

This year we were even able to enjoy taking our friend’s daughter trick-or-treating! Which sounds like it would be, well, dull. But when you have my crew of friends – it is anything but.

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Some of the Best Friends ever!

So, TL:DR, see that drag queen in the corner? That’s our friend, Richard, aka Tequilla Mockingbird.  See that young man near him in the grey hoodie? That’s his bf, Donnie. Richard’s feet were hurting halfway through trick or treat. Donnie carried the giant drag Queen boots all the way, and ended up going up to houses with them in his hands and got candy. In the boots. BOOT CANDY. No lie.

“Oh, hello young man, would you like some candy for your boots?”

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Trick or treat, smell my feet. For real.

Candy. Friends. Great memories. The energy of the city. I can not wait for next October and may already be counting the days!

This has been your weekend update for the week ending November 4th, 2018. Cyberplanner signing off…

 

 

National Cat Day

It is National Cat Day, and in my household that really is like every other day.  Especially when you are a foster cat parent.  I grew up always having at least one cat, but it wasn’t until I became an adult and became a foster home for various shelters that I fully grasped how many lives needed saving.

When my spouse and I first moved to Los Angeles we had a one bedroom apartment, with very little furniture and somehow managed to foster every single cat we could.  Many times we did this at our own expense, because the shelter system in L.A., like most major cities, leaves much to be desired. Most of the rescue groups there were running on fumes and many of the cats’ lives were at stake if someone didn’t jump in asap to swoop them up. And even then, sometimes that didn’t always work. More times than I care to count, I would call and say I could take an entire family, and a wonderful rescuer would drive two hours to pick them up and they would already be put down.  This is the life of a rescuer in most major cities.  Bless the souls that do this every day.

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This is Moo Moo.  He was supposed to be a cat sitting situation.  Friendly, lovable, giant ball of fluff.  Family never came back for him.  Turns out he had a tumor over his left eye that exploded while we had him.  It was operated on, and he did find his forever home with a new loving family.  Poor guy, at least he had a happy ending.

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Most photogenic kitten ever. This is Kerouac. He was part of a litter that all got adopted except for him.  We ended up with a momma cat whose babies died. She ended up loving this kitten and we somehow managed to get the two of them adopted together.

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What can I even say about this little guy, Jedi. We got Jedi from a rescue group, and had him as a foster for over a year and a half. We had a really bad skin condition that made it so he basically lived with a cone on 24/7. But he was the single most sweetest cat we have ever had. And he was the welcome committee whenever we had new cats come in.  A wonderful family with the money to care for his skin condition came forward and wanted to adopt him. This was one of the hardest decisions to make. This is always hard when you foster. But we did the right thing and gave him to a good home that could afford to give him the meds that he needed daily.

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This was our Fred Weasley. He and his sister, Foo Foo Cuddly Poops were two foster failures.  After about a year, we woke up to Fred dragging his lower part of his body across the floor, after a blood clot permanently paralyzed his legs. We had to make the hard decision to put him down. His sister cried for days.  And was never fully ok until we got another litter of kittens and sort of adopted one, which of course meant we had to keep her.

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This is the Doctor. We recently lost him to old age. His story is the epitome of why we foster.

We met the Doctor while we still lived in L.A. They gave him to us because he had been on the streets, snatched up and living in a cage for almost a year because they said he didn’t get along with other cats. We took him in, and had him for the entire time we lived in L.A. No one wanted him. He was sort of friendly to people, but cranky, typical old tom-cat syndrome. Hissed at other cats. But our Jedi wouldn’t stop until he felt at home.  Took years, but the Doctor finally settled.

Finally we get a message from the shelter that someone wanted him. This woman came in, got to know him, loved him, took him.  Next week we left to visit Salem, and get a message from the rescue group saying this same woman had taken the Doctor to the vet, found out he had asthma and arthritis and proceeded to dump him off there.  And left.  Just left him.  No one had room for him in their house so they put him back in a cage. When we got back to CA, he had lost so much weight from being depressed. We swore we would never leave him in a cage again.

Fast forward to us moving back home to Salem. And still no forever home for the Doctor in CA. Well, guess he is going to have to come home with us. Except we already had two cats coming with us. We took a huge chance but he stayed in CA with a nice woman that was friends with the rescue group, and then he flew home on a flight with another kind soul. So right around Christmas we drove to Logan and picked up our cat and he never changed families again.

We lost the Doctor last week to old age, but he was purring up until the end. He was the poster cat for why we foster, why we rescue, and why we continue to do this. His spot in our family of six cats will always be for an older, special cat that no one else wants.

There are so many more cat stories I could tell. Like Adam and his sister Gaige. Captain Peanut and Bellatrix Cabal. Baba who was blind most of the time he was with us until he got surgery. Lorraine our real first foster who had cat leukemia. Hundreds.

So many of them need help, even a little. We do what we can. And to all the other fosters and cat parents and anyone that rescues…

Happy National Cat Day

 

 

 

 

Jenna cancelled RICC

I am so humbled by the amount of people sending me messages and checking in on me after finding out that Jenna cancelled RICC. She must have gotten word that Mr. Clever was coming to see her.  😜😜 I love that so many of my friends knew how much it meant to me to meet her.

I’m sad, but that is the risk you take when going to a con for a guest. I’ve never done that in the four years of Conlife. It’s a gamble. But the way I see it, it’s like anything else. When you buy a con ticket you don’t know if you will get sick, have to work, get a flat, have a miserable time, etc.

Eventually I will get my Clever/Clara pic. For now, I am happy with the array of lovely Clara’s that I have met over the years!

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Clever and Clara at the Pandorica Restaurant.
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Clever and Clara at Regen.
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All the Claras at Super Megafest
Pandorica road trip
“Jenna Cancelled” “Whaaaaat?”
Mad Hatter Ball
Night out on the town for Clever and Clara at the Wonderland Ball