Tony Stewart and Coke Commercial, Not Pulled?

My husband and I checked out the summer blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, on Sunday night. (The review is coming.) I was looking forward to the previews but before that there were the usual commercials. One commercial that caught our attention was a Coca-cola commercial that featured Tony Stewart with a bunch of other well-known race drivers. Here is the full version of the commercial on YouTube.

Considering we are in the Poconos and racing has returned to the Poconos. We are a little aware of the racing world, albeit however little. We were both surprised that Coke wouldn’t have pulled ALL commercials with Tony Stewart after he struck and killed a fellow race driver, Kevin Ward Jr., on Saturday night at Canandaigua, NY. While Stewart hasn’t been charged for any criminal wrong doings and the incident is still under investigation, any endorsements by Stewart should be postponed to pay respects for his fellow race driver. Or, perhaps, Stewart would want to start a Kevin Ward Jr. Fund?

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Comic-Con 101

I survived my first Comic-Con and am living to tell tales. Here are my observations from my experience.


Welcome to Comic-Con

  1. To get a pass or not to get a pass – After having been too late to the game to purchase my own pass, then miraculously getting one and then only to lose said highly-coveted pass on the FIRST day, I can honestly say that you really don’t need a pass to enjoy the magic that is Comic-Con. Or, at least I didn’t. No, this is not an Aesop’s The Fox and the Grapes fable. I have been lucky enough to venture into both realms, the haves and the have-nots. The truly hard core Comic-Con fans need the pass in order to attend, or at least the chance to attend, the numerous panels and opportunity to purchase exclusive memorabilia. However, the most popular of both of these activities also require immeasurable patience for standing in line! It’s worst than lines at an amusement park! Without the pass, you can still see many of the amazing cosplay characters roaming around. There are also many activations outside of the convention center to partake in. Additionally, the entire Petco Field, normally crowded with baseball fans, and surrounding fields and parking lots had a plethora of activations and displays to entertain those who don’t have passes. (You can read about my two favorite pass-free friendly activations in my previous post, Top 4 Comic-Con Experiences.)
  2. One day or four days - Obviously, if you can stay all four days, do so. Comic-Con is THAT huge! It literally takes over the entire downtown of San Diego. Restaurants cater to Comic-Con goers by having their servers and staff don superhero and cartoon t-shirts, or costumes, even. Some shows may even take over the entire restaurant with their marketing. (Like my friend’s show, Witches of East End, did at the Tipsy Crow, as I previously posted, Witches of East End Comic-Con Party.) However, if you could only do one day, that day should be Saturday, hands down. It is the most crowded day since everyone is off work. This was the day that I saw the most cosplay.
  3. Day and night - Comic-Con is not just for the day, there are plenty of activities, namely parties, at night as well. Some shows may not have a booth but instead opt for other ways to engage with their fans. You may be there for fun but this is work for your favorite shows. They are trying to maximize their interactions and engagements with you, their loyal fans, so that you will help they spread the word about the show. Additionally, they are also courting other businesses, especially media, to better promote their brand and ratings. This is best done with parties for networking and engagement purposes. So be sure to check out your favorite show’s website to get on their Comic-Con party guest list.
  4. Where to stay - I happened to stay on Coronado Island, 2 miles from downtown San Diego, this time. Would I stay here  again next time? Honest answer is that it would depend on several factors. a) Transportation, if it’s not an issue, then yes. Otherwise, if I’m trying to save money from having to take cabs this would not be my option. Even if I had a rental car, this probably wouldn’t be my option either because parking would be a big issue. b) Time, if I am only here for one day, definitely NOT a consideration. You would lose most of your precious time figuring out how to get back and forth and then lose your precious time getting back and forth. c) Relaxation, if you need down time and a buffer from the Comic-Con frantic energy, definitely consider staying in Coronado. It offers an escape from Comic-Con participants and madness. That’s not to say that you won’t run into any as there were celebrities, show staff and general admission guests all the way out here.
That pretty much sums up my Comic-Con wisdom from this adventure. I hope it help you with planning your next, or first, Comic-Con experience.

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Top 4 Comic-Con Experiences

I don’t think I need to tell you I had an awesome time at Comic-Con. So much so that I’m looking forward to checking out the NYC one in the fall. It has grown in the past few years, from a dinky location near Penn Station/Madison Square Garden to the Javits Center.

Now back to my top 4 experiences at this year’s Comic-Con:

1.  The Vikings activation. Guests got to go through make-up, by actual make up artists, and then costume to create their own 30 second Vikings promo in front of two scenes, village and boat. Afterwards, they can see the final product that they can share via social media. As if all that wasn’t enough, everyone who completes the experience gets a souvenir plastic Das Horn drinking vessel with a map of all participating bars with drink specials.

Vikings activation at SDCC
2.  The Assassin’s Creed Activation. I’m not much of a gamer, unless you count Plants vs. Zombies 2 and Tiny Village on my iPhone, but this was activation was cool! Guests go through a gauntlet of daring trials similar to those in the game, based on what I see on their commercials. (Speaking of their commercials, they are so very cool that I wish I was a gamer!) On a side note, someone told me that the activation got shut down because someone got hurt on the obstacle course. That someone was a fairly fit guy wearing a Captain America costume, no less! I wish I had a video of it to share with you because one can’t make that story up. But here’s a video of the activation on YouTube.
Assassin's Creed Obstacle Course 1 SDCC
3. Anomaly The Graphic Novel. This one you needed the highly-coveted Comic-Con pass to see them in action. Anomaly has this really cool, like out of this world awesome, app that brings their graphic novel to 3-D life. My pictures don’t do this amazing app any justice, so do yourself a favor by clicking through to their website,
Anomaly demo
4.  All the cosplay! For those of you who don’t know, cosplay = costume play. I thought I saw a lot but looking at Adam Savage’s, from MythBusters, post or, shows that I missed out on a lot. You can check out all my pics from Comic-Con here.

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I Love You, Travis Fimmel, But We Have to Stop Meeting Like This

You know how people say once you meet someone you, you’ll then notice how often you run into them? For me at Comic-Con, this was the case with Travis Fimmel. Travis, who plays Ragnar on The History Channel’s Vikings, is here at Comic-Con to promote their upcoming 3rd season in 2015.

As I posted earlier, I ran into Travis — yes, we’re on a first name basis now — Thursday night at the Witches of East End party.  Later that night as I’m walking, ok, maybe stumbling, through the hotel lobby, who do I see eating “room service” at the reception desk? It’s Travis and his friends. It’s late so I’m too tired to do anything.

Next morning, on the way to breakfast, who do I see on his way out to Comic-Con? Travis, and this time, he’s with Katheryn Winnick (Lagertha Lothbok), who looks stunning in an orange jumper. Not now, Travis. It’s too early and I’m too hungry.

My last night out during Comic-Con, my well-connected friend got us invites to A&E’s Bates Motel party, sponsored by Playboy and Patron. After checking in at the Witches of East End fan appreciation party, we head out to find the Playboy/Bates Motel party that doesn’t have an address. Playboy is too coy. Like Batman knows where he’s needed, we followed the Playboy/Bates Motel signal to the party at a dressed up parking lot.

As you can imagine the draw that any Playboy party will garner, no matter its secret location, the lines were wrapped around the corner. Fear not, not well-connected friend easily gets us through the shortest line.

My friend may have gotten us into the party but it was Travis who got me into the VIP section. I happened to be standing next to him at the VIP entrance. I said hi to him, hoping that our chance meeting the night before has been etched in his mind ever since. It wasn’t.

But that fleeting exchange made an impression on the bouncer. He assumed that I was with Travis’ party and held the velvet rope for me. Well, who was I to correct him?

I love you, Travis, but I know how to take a hint. Thank you for your parting gift though.

SDCC Travis

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The Other Side of Comic-Con

While I am striving to surpass my daily 10,000 steps goal on my Fitbit everyday at Comic-Con, I know I need to pace myself. I am in San Diego after all. So in between Comic-Con sessions, I managed to squeeze in some pool time. Here’s my view from the pool. Life at Comic-Con is tough.The other side of Comic-Con

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Witches of East End Comic-Con Party

As my friend is here to promote Witches of East End, I had easy access to their Comic-Con party at the Tipsy Crow on Thursday night. (Fear not, they are hosting a party the next two nights, too. So if you’re a fan, swing by for the free party. Did I mention it’s open bar?)

Witches of East End in its second season, airs on the Lifetime Channel on Sundays at 9 p.m.

Being a supportive friend, I chained smoked the entire first season on Netflix.

I could be biased, but I kind of enjoyed the show. It is based on Melissa de la Cruz’s New York Times best-selling novel by the same title. Witches of East End features not just one strong female lead but four. They’re a family of witches — mom, Joanna Beauchamp (Julia Ormond) and her two grown-up daughters, Freya Beauchamp (Jenna Dewan Tatum) and Ingrid Beauchamp (Rachel Boston), and aunt Wendy Beauchamp (Mädchen Amick). The hot men of the show are Dash Gardiner (Eric Winter) and Killian Gardiner (Daniel Di Tomasso), Dash’s younger brother.

Back to the party, the cast did the red carpet and granted interviews with reporters. To say they are even more lovely in person is an understatement. Real-life Rachel Boston is the sexy librarian in every man’s fantasy. Real-life Mädchen Amick is the fun aunt we all wanted. Speaking of fun, Daniel Di Tomasso freely showed his appreciation of the DJ’s skills.

As an added bonus, Travis Fimmel (Ragnar) from the History Channel’s Vikings attended the party. I ran into him standing in line outside. He was that cool and chill, not minding waiting in line like other fans of Witches of East End. He played it off that he wasn’t Ragnar when I approached him but did say his name was Travis. Being a fan of the show, I wasn’t fooled and asked for a picture with him anyway. (Then I dutifully went inside to let my friend know, so she could greet her guest properly.)

Alas, being the dork that I am, I did not pack my memory card reader to upload my pictures. You’ll just have to wait until I return from my trip to see the pictures.

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Have Cape, Will Travel

I’m on my way to earning my cape.

Where am I going?

To Comic-Con International in San Diego, where all amateur dorks go to get their cape, of course. Comic-Con is the Disneyland for all dork kind. It’s not like Halloween, where you don a costume for a day. No, this is better than that. Comic-Con is four days of sheer dork blissful heaven, where your angels are veteran dorks dressed as your DC or Marvel Comics superhero, science fiction character or their version of an angel. Well, at least this is how I envision it, since this is my first time going.

It’s getting more real flying from JFK to SAN as I see the soft glow of fellow dorks’ laptop screens. I glanced upon some email about The Walking Dead from the screen across the aisle from me. On another screen, I spot the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association, LIMA, logo. (They are THE licensing group for all your merchandising needs. They sponsor licensing expos around the world.) A guy is wearing a Batman T-shirt. A girl is sporting an HBO tote bag. The passenger next to me works for CBS somehow.

Did you really think I’d be brave enough to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger? Hello! I’m a dork on my way to EARN my cape.

Oh, the fearless, exciting things I could do once I get my cape.

But first, I need to get my hands on a Comic-Con pass, the key to my dork nirvana. They, the Comic-Con international gods, don’t just give away the pass willy-nilly. They test your true dork resolve. In order to enter this challenge, you need to create and validate a unique Comic-Con member ID. This only entitles you for a chance to purchase tickets, which are first reserved for veteran Comic-Con goers and professionals who work in the dork realm.

As a newbie, I failed miserably. I didn’t look for tickets until July 15, one week before Comic-Con. Everything was sold out. Had been for weeks. Even StubHub and Craigslist had nothing to offer.

But wait! This newbie has a little trick up her sleeves — a friend. Not just any kind of friend, a friend who is going to Comic-Con for work. She didn’t have a ticket for me, but she offered me use of it when she didn’t need it for work. Beggars can’t be choosers. I’ll take it!

In the meantime, I continued to scour Craigslist for possible leads. One post offered a ticket for a male child. (Yes, tickets are sex- and age-group specific. Didn’t I mention that they really make you work for the privilege of getting these tickets?) Another post hinted at a San Diego radio station holding a contest to win tickets. Yours truly didn’t win.

Undeterred and determined to experience and enjoy my first Comic-Con experience, even if vicariously, I wait for my friend at the San Diego airport. She also flew out from New York City but on a different flight. Her flight was delayed more than two hours due to mechanical issues — another wrench the Comic-Con gods throw my way.

As I loyally wait for her at the airport, I am still boiling with the anticipation of what lies ahead. Two messages came while I was in the air. One, as you know, was my friend telling me of the delayed flight. The other one, also from her, said she had a Comic-Con pass for me because a colleague’s trip got canceled!

Woohoo! I ran the gauntlet and came out victorious!

It amazes me when people’s secret power shines through. My friend’s secret power, today, is her ability to conjure a highly coveted golden ticket. As for my secret power, I think, it is to be her sidekick for this glorious four-day dork fest.

This sidekick may have just earned her cape.

Have cape, will travel.

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