The great journey and my near brushes with the big man.
The great journey and my near brushes with the big man.
I’ll tell you why though. Chris, Reb and I have been working on something awesome and it’s taken up all my time and energy because it was amazing enough to be voted into the finals of Microsoft’s Code Your Art Out competition this Friday! I have been trying to keep abreast of things but with the exception of NXNE happenings I’ve been head down with the guys making sure our presentation is ship shape for Friday’s invite-only event. I was even working while manning the tech for NXNEi!
I’ll spill the beans real soon about what this mystery awesome thing is but I owe it to you all to tell you what’s going on. I promise after Friday that I will get right back to work on telling you all about my experience at NXNEi with Epic Meal Time, Peter Chao, Corey Vidal and Matt Gibson, and I will also tell you all about Social Media Day, which I am helping organize! Actually you can go to the facebook page right now and RSVP as it’s stacking up to be a GREAT night with amazing speakers!
So just hang tight and I’ll be right back in the saddle with announcements about the above as well as the details on the NEW MichaelNus.com! That’s right, another thing that I’ve been working on in my secret lab is a redesign and relaunch of the site to commemorate it’s first year anniversary (officially on June 21st!) so I’ve been swamped making sure it’s right before I push it out the door. I can’t wait to do the big reveal but until after Friday I’m afraid you guys have to wait so life can get back on track!
Miss you all and stay classy!
In a nod to my vegetarian friends I thought I would cobble up something that is not just vegetarian but vegan even! I like food of all kinds, but I respect my friends’ decisions to eat whatever and however they want so I figured I would take a walk in their shoes.
Let me dispell something for you hardcore carnivores: eating your vegetables doesn’t have to taste bad! In fact if you’ve ever been to a good vegetarian restaurant you’ll have noticed that they try really hard to be more creative with their preparations to make whatever dish that comes out of the kitchen as flavourful as possible. So, uh look…there’s no need to make beautiful plates like they do at a restaurant to get tasty food so let’s focus on flavour ok?
I don’t usually cook vegan food but here’s my first real attempt. It was actually surprisingly easy and it turned out so delicious. The best part is that I just pretty much raided my fridge and came up with this super easy ratatouille inspired hors d’oeuvre. You can find all these ingredients as fresh as they come at a good store like Longo’s.
Another thing I noticed is that vegans are as picky as anyone and just because they’ve cut out about half of the food pyramid from their diets doesn’t mean that they eat any and all fruits and veggies. Everyone has preferences and the two veggies that kept getting the black x were zucchini and eggplant! GASP! I love both those veggies but in the interest of making this as accessible as possible I’ve omitted them from the recipe.
Either way this really came out tasting amazing!
A bunch of Yukon Gold potatoes. The smaller the better. Look for the mini ones.
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 a red onion, diced
5-6 stalks of asparagus, woody ends removed.
1 tomato diced
1 large leaf of basil
1 tbsp (or to taste) of dried thyme
1/2 a cup of vegetable stock (you can buy this at any store – Campbell’s makes them. Knorr too)
Fresh cracked pepper
- Just dice everything as shown in the picture. For a tutorial on how to dice and onion, click here. You can apply the same method for dicing an onion to the tomato.
- To dice the carrot: once it’s peeled, cut it in half widthwise in the middle, then cut each half lengthwise into about three sticks. Cut across the sticks for the dice.
- Mince the garlic and throw it in a pot with a little olive oil to sautee.
- add all the vegetables and stir for about 2 minutes.
- add thyme
- slowly stir in the vegetable stock
- Season with the pepper and salt.
- cover and let simmer for 40 mins
- about 20 minutes in, cut up the basil leaf and mix it in. Taste your creation and adjust flavours accordingly with salt and pepper.
- Halve the cooked potatoes and spoon a little of the mixture on top of each half.
- Tell that classy vegetarian lady who called you a disgusting meat-eating T-Rex that you’ve changed and that you would like to group hug with an ancient redwood.
- Hug redwood and girl.
If you live in a city that participates in Nuit Blanche I highly recommend you take it in. You don’t have to be an art expert to appreciate it and how you participate is completely up to you. Most people wander around town looking for interesting or cool art installations, while the the real Nuit Blanche gormandizers pick up a copy of the official program and plan their night out. Some people are just there because it’s one of those nights where so many people are out and about that police have a near impossible time catching people drinking in public.
Just don’t go to Nuit Blanche and pretend to be an art critic as chances are that you don’t know jack about art or art history – my knowledge is OK but still sub-par, expecially when it comes to understanding the expression behind modern art pieces in which an artist welds, or sticks together a lot of an everyday object to create something new. When I lived in New York I would visit the MOMA from time to time and be completely dumbstruck, to which my industrial designer brother would reply, “now you’re getting it.”
Yeah, so anyway just take from the art what you will and let it speak to you (or not) as it will. If all else fails just look for the biggest and shiniest things – somewhere between each of those you may find something really awe inspiring.
My night started out on Queen st where I ran into a stone balancer and a spiritual cleanser. The rock balancer was able to take any stone or cement, regardless of size and irregular shape and find the zen of the stones enough to balance them on top of one another in a column. People were flabbergasted. I didn’t try my hand at rock balancing, much to the joy of tender toes looking on, but I did sit down for a cleanse. It was a bizarre experience: the mature, yet still beautiful woman clad in a long matrix-like leather coat and leather driving gloves asked me to hold a fresh egg in my hand as she undertook the ritual. She explained that the egg’s porous characteristic tends to
absorb whatever is around it – odors, essences, and in my case any old feelings that I didn’t want any more. The egg was straight out of the carton and was not meant for anyone else but me, she explained, and would not be used again afterwards. I sat holding this egg and she circled me, burned sweet grass and sage, shook them all around me and under me, next to my head, behind my back, at my crotch and in front my eyes as she chanted something of a prayer.
When it was all over she asked for the egg and was amazingly able to balance it upright despite it’s liquid core. She told me that I was now balanced like the egg. Strangely I felt pretty good afterwards. Update: check out the second video below for the footage!
After that experience my travelling companions and I made our way west to Trinity Bellwoods Park to see Melissa Smich’s Virgin America announcement, which was preceded by a strange dance art piece by the name of Ruby Venus, performed by a troupe called Company Blonde. Really hard to explain what I experienced there but try to imagine (with the help of the picture to the left) a small army of women in red hoop dresses and blonde wigs walking as if they are touching earth for the first time while exploring their surrounding with childlike curiosity. As I was snapping photos quietly my cell phone rang and that brought one of the girls scuttling over so she could stick her wide-eyed expression inches from my face. Damn you, Joel!
After the performance, Melissa held a happy dance contest with the winner receiving two free flights on Virgin America. I got a runner-up prize for my break dance moves – a little model airplane.
I spent the rest of the night running around town until about 6am before calling it. Here’s a list of some of the really memorable things I saw.
- Rock balancing and Spiritual cleansing
- Ruby Venus
- Jungle gym
- Bubble wrap sidewalk
- Street Fighter II controlled by drums and keyboard
- Stupid campfire in the middle of Dundas Square
- Motion sensor fan array with Olive oil and bacterial culture light bulbs (See imageat the top of this post)
- David Akermanis Djing at an art installation at Cumberland Terrace
- Ghost Piano – I had a lot of fun getting a tired audience to clap for pianist that didn’t actually exist =)
- Gregorian chants at the ROM
- PhotoJunkie running around town with a giant picture frame and snapping shots of random people and drunks on the street. Check it out on 140characters.ca – maybe you’re in there!
Sean got some good video of some of the night so here is the embed. Check out his site for the daily vlog!
Like last week I am keeping things pretty simple here because I want to make sure that anyone can make these meals. There’s nothing like a homemade meal and you can feel proud that you actually made something delicious that didn’t break the bank or burn your house down. Simple is better and much more accessible for the dilettante and kitchen wiz alike. It’s fast, delicious and easy on the dishes!
Always invite a guest when you cook as there’s nothing worse than eating alone. I do a lot of things solo but eating and drinking are things that I would much rather have company for.
You really get the chance to connect with someone when you break bread with them and a little bit of hospitality goes a long way in helping someone get to know you. We’re all busy people and, let’s face it, we shoot the sh*t a lot when we’re out at the tweetups, the big events, the bar etc, and don’t REALLY get to know one another all that well. So if you can find the time, invite someone over that you may have met at a social gathering and get cooking!
Sean Ward was my guest this week and he brought his video camera along, as usual! So this post will have the recipe and some fun footage to help you get a visual idea of what the process is like.
Italian Chickpea salad:
Extremely easy to make and oh so delicious. You can even make a bunch of this to take to work with you. Just watch your co-workers come sniffing around when you heat it up.
1 540 ML can of chick peas, drained
1 small red pepper, thinly sliced
1 small onion , thinly sliced
3 slices of prosciutto
2 cloves of garlic, minced.
a handful of cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
It’s all about the prep. The cooking part is dead easy.
Cut the pepper in half from top to bottom, remove the seeds and white membrane. Slice very thinly lengthwise.
Cut onion into 4 quarters, slice thinly by sliding your blade across the cutting board and through the onion in a straight line.
Mince the garlic, slice the prosciutto in chunks – you don’t have to be specific about the shape of the slice. Just cut it up. Give the cilantro/parsley a rough chop.
on medium heat, saute minced garlic in oil, add the onions cook for about 1 minute, add peppers cook for 1 minute, drop the prosciutto in, cook for 1 minute.
Empty entire can of chick peas into pan, season with pepper and salt to taste.
Turn of the heat but leave the pan on the burner, add the cilantro/parsley and mix it all together so everything is warm.
Say grace, crack a beer.
Serve at once with lots of crusty bread.
The very basic recipe involves only 4 ingredients: Chicken breast, 1 egg, flour and bread crumbs. I like to jazz it up with herbs and spices to give it that extra kick. If you want to do the same, I added the spices I usually use as “optional” ingredients.
2 fresh boneless, skinless breasts
1 egg, beaten (in a bowl)
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1/3 cup of flour
Optional Nus Ingredients:
Fresh Ground pepper
Combine the flour and bread crumbs either using a sieve or just your clean hands. Beat the egg in a bowl.
Fillet the chicken breasts by holding your blade flat and horizontally (as if you are going to place your Boba Fett figurine on the flat surface of the blade) and CAREFULLY cutting the chickens in half lengthwise. NOTE: This technique can be a bit tricky and dangerous if you’ve never cut chicken before – so until you’ve had some practice I would recommend asking the butcher to just fillet for you and save yourself a trip to the ER.
Some people like to hammer the fillets down. If you want your fillets really flat (they will cook faster) then hammer them gently in a plastic food bag with a meat hammer or a rolling pin.
Coat the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil. The oil should be about half a centimeter deep, turn the heat on to about medium high.
As the oil heats, dip the breasts in the egg, dredge them in flower and toss them into the pan. (If you’re not fast at doing this consider breading the chicken before turning the heat on – just make sure you wash your hands before you do)
You will know when to flip them when you start to see the underside get golden brown.
Prepare a big plate and line it with a double layer of paper towel. Put the cooked chicken breast onto the plate and let them stand for about a minute.
Garnish with a lime wedge to squeeze onto the chicken and serve with any side you wish. Pasta, steamed veggies, rice, the chickpea salad we made above.
Crack another beer. Go into food coma.
For those of you who’ve been reading this blog from near the beginning, you will most likely have caught my post about the Holy Trinity of Happiness. The Trinity is a philosophical framework that I came up with and adopted years ago and it is pretty much how I get on day by day. The short version is that one only needs 3 things in life to be happy: Love, expression and sustenance.
Cooking, for me, gives me the opportunity to satisfy all three criteria of the Holy Trinity of Happiness at the same time. I get my expression through the art of cooking, I put my heart into my meals and like to cook for others – the love, and of course I get the sustenance because I get to eat the food I make. Cooking at home is one way to synthesize the Trinity and it puts me in a state akin to zen meditation.
So anyway, I got a lot of interest and questions about what I made today both before and after the meal so I figured why not do a food blog once in a while. The good part is that this meal is very easy to make and if you’re a bachelor, like me, you will appreciate learning how to make this meal for when you want to cook dinner for a special lady friend like a real class act. The gentle heat of the main dish will cure what ails you if you’re in the early stages of a cold (which I hear everyone in Toronto is coming down with this week) – at least that is what my superstitious, folk-remedying Italian family believes. It’s also been said that the capsaicin found in chili (an important ingredient in the main dish below) is an effective aphrodisiac. Some even call arrabbiata sauce “Italian Viagra.”
Here is the recipe for the appetizer and main course I made. I left out the ratatouille recipe for now but may do a post on it later.
If you ask what the secret to good Italian cooking is I will tell you that it’s heart and tasting your food as you prepare it. You can really tweak the flavours by taking a small sample from time to time. Also it’s the simple things that really count. You don’t need to be a master chef; just use fresh ingredients and lots of TLC.
- 1/2 ripe cantaloupe – not sure how to tell it’s ripe? Just use your nose. A few days after you take the cantaloupe home from the store you can smell the “butt end” of it (where the vine was detached). When it smells sweet and flowery, it’s melon time.
- 3-4 slices of Prosciutto – I like to use San Daniele because they put a piece of paper between each slice so they don’t fall apart from sticking together when you use them.
This is stupid easy and damned delicious.
Just cut the melon in half, divide it into wedges, remove the seeds, and slice off the skin.
Then slowly slice each slice of prosciutto in half lengthwise and lay a slice on each wedge of melon. You have to cut the prosciutto slices slowly and carefully as they are thin and delicate – if you just race your knife across them it will tear up the meat and make it look like a s**t sandwich.
Arrange the wedges artfully on a platter as shown in the picture at the top of this post or just put two on each small side plate (I did both presentations for variety). Chill in the fridge until your guest(s) arrive. Eat the leftover prosciutto and melon slices. Smile.
Nus’ Fireballs (serves 2-3)
- 1 lb lean ground beef, pork, bison or veal (I used beef today)
- 1 small onion, finely diced (see tutorial to the right on the proper and easy way to dice an onion)
- 1 whole egg
- 1 handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped (if you don’t have cilantro you can substitute Italian parsley)
- 1/2 a jalopeno, seeded
- 2-3 tbsp Bread crumbs
- Dried thyme leaves
- 2 tsp Chili or cayenne powder or to taste – don’t overdo it or the end result will be spicier than any of you mangia cakes can handle =) Use your best judgement.
- Garlic powder – DO NOT use garlic salt as it will make this dish overly salty and ruin your night.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 700 ml of Arrabbiata sauce (see recipe below or in a bachelor’s pinch, use 1 jar of Classico or La Mollisana Arrabbiata)
Before you start WASH YOUR HANDS with soap! I keep a towel on my shoulder because I know that I end up washing my hands quite a few times during this process. Nothing ruins a dinner date like food poisoning, so wash up for crying out loud!
- In a bowl, use your clean hands to combine the meat, and all the above ingredients. The egg and breadcrumbs help to bind the meat together so they don’t fall apart when cooking. Start with two tablespoons of breadcrumbs and add a little more if the egg and meat mixture is still too wet after kneading it all together for a minute or two.
- Form small meatballs, about 2/3 the size of a golf ball, and lay as many as you can on a flat surface (i.e. big cutting board)
- Wash your hands again
- In a large saucepan (pot), heat up the sauce to medium heat, stirring frequently
- drop meatballs into the sauce, reduce heat to low-medium and cover. Stir occasionally.
- simmer for 30-minutes until meatballs are cooked through.
- Have a shower
- Have a shave
- Have a wank
- Wash your hands a third time
- Comb your hair
- Brush your teeth
- Put on a clean shirt and underwear
- Call your mom once in a while, for Heaven’s sake.
- Steal your roommate’s wine because you realized you forgot to buy a bottle and your date is at the door
- Put on some good music – swear to God, if you think Sade is the way to go, then cancel dinner and go back to step 9.
- Serve meatballs over linguine or spaghetti with fresh crusty bread on the side. (Parmesan cheese optional)
Tip: stir the meatballs occasionally by placing the mixing spoon against the wall of the pot and and and gently scooping up the meatballs from underneath to stir them. Be careful not to break the meatballs or you will have stroganoff. Try to cover as many with sauce as you can but don’t sweat it if you can cover every last one. The covering of the pot will take care of the cooking and bubbling sauce will cover all the meatballs anyway.
Basic Arrabbiata Sauce (serves 2-3)
- San Marazano tomatoes, the 13oz can (blended)
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- 4 cloves of garlic sliced thin
- one small chopped onion
- Crushed red pepper flakes. Start with 1 teaspoon.
- 3 leaves of basil sliced thinly
- olive oil.
Once you coat the pan with Olive Oil and heat add the garlic and onion and saute until tender. Mix in the tomato paste and simmer for 2 mins.
Now add the blended san marazano tomatoes and the red pepper and simmer for 20-30 minutes. After first 10 minutes throw in all the basil. I like to leave a bay leaf in the sauce and remove it before serving, but if you don’t have a bayleaf, don’t sweat it.
The red pepper heat expands as you simmer but you can always add more anytime during the simmering process or when you serve it over pasta.
Day three of the Toronto International Film Festival and Stella Artois had me pretty much teleporting around Toronto to cover the really interesting experiences the TIFF has to offer. The balance between film and parties is good and keeps me in a place where I can experience both sides of the TIFF, the way it was meant to be experienced. It can be kind of exhausting juggling both but it’s nice to know that Stella has my back and treated me to a sumptuous dinner at the Windsor Arms in Celebration of the screening of Jack Goes Boating, starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It was a real treat to have dinner with Phillip and we thoroughly enjoyed the 3-course meal prepared by reknowned Chef Craig Hopson from Le Cirque restaurant in New York. The exotic fruit minestrone with praline tortelinis was out of this world! Phillip is a very friendly and sweet gentleman and it was a pleasure meeting him. I’ll never forget his portrayal of Lester Bangs in Almost famous.
Special thanks to Ryan from LiveStyle Entertainment and William from BG&E Productions who were kind enough to furnish me with 2 tickets to the premier of Phillips movie at 1pm. These two fine gents were the ones responsible for the execution and delivery of this supper and all those in attendance have them to thank for making the event classy and ensuring it went smoothly. These two were real pros at pulling an event like this off.
After dinner Braden, Neil and I we headed to Maison Mercer for the LiveStyle Film Lounge event and had a swell time, even though the huge club was full to the gills. Not my scene but hey, it’s TIFF and hanging out with @PrimandPimp is always a 20% in any night.
The next afternoon, I took Casie Stewart to see the screening and the film was a treat. Check the film out when it gets picked up for distribution and released.
The TIFF is in full swing now and it’s time to see some movies! Although there are lots of parties to go to this year I still prefer the premier screenings. So lights, camera, ACTION here is my first movie review for you courtesy of my post over at the Stella Artois blog. Go on over to ClubStellaArtois.ca/film and check out the other posts as well as a special guest post from none other than Sean Ward reporting for MichaelNus.com as he took on the Red Bull Art and Sole show!
Without further ado, here is my review of Stone, starring Robert Deniro, Edward Norton and Milla Jovovich.
Thanks to Stella Artois I enjoyed an evening of great film with some of the greatest actors of our time. Directed by John Curran, written by Angus MacLachlan and starring Edward Norton, Mila Jovovich, Frances Conroy and Robert De Niro, Stone was one of those movies you know will be in contention for an Oscar. Although I had the pleasure of being introduced to the stars before and after the film I felt it was important to judge the film based on its own merits, putting aside any warm fuzzies that may come from the personal touch the TIFF affords a moviegoer by virtue of being able to interact with the cast of a film they are about to see.
I’m happy to report that Stone was exquisite in its profound depiction of how even the most ordered of lives can have its foundations crumbled by the human failings each of us struggles with. Norton plays Stone, a convicted arsonist who looks to manipulate his parole officer (De Niro) into granting his parole by thrusting his beautiful wife (Jovovich) into the life of De Niro’s character, Jack Mabry, while Stone himself begins to reform in prison. The dichotomous tension caused by the clash of Jack ‘s pedestrian regiment of work and home life with his subjugated wife Madylyn (Conroy) against his own ironic temptation to do wrong is brilliantly captured through excellent acting, cinematography and thematic music that puts the viewer into the head of each character subtly yet powerfully.
Stella Artois | September 11, 2010 | 12:00 pm
To all you folks who just love to say rock is dead, me and the Ruby Spirit have one thing to say to you: WE GONNA CUT YOU!!
If you’ve got your ear stuck to the radio and your idea of real rock n roll is Adam Lambert then it’s time to turn off MTV and MuchMusic just for a bit and get your asses out into the thriving rock scene Toronto has. Yes that means leaving your house, and yes that means putting on pants. I’m sorry.
So it’s like this: I put on pants last night and went down to the Great Hall near the west end to check out the Ruby Spirit for their CD release party at the recommendation of my friend, and the host of the show, Sean Ward (see his Video at the bottom of this blog post). He’s been jiving at me about these cats for a while now so I figured why not give them a listen. I love going to shows to hear bands I’ve never heard before simply because if they rock, they ROCK and you aren’t standing there disappointed if they didn’t play your favorite song. Every song can be your favorite for that night and in that divine moment when the sweat is dripping from the band’s foreheads, the stage lights are glimmering, the speakers throbbing, and you’re at the bottom of your beer, you are the perfect fan. Pure in your innocence to the music and able to allow yourself to be swept away in the music and stage performance.
It was an action packed night, to say the least. Ran into @bizaaron and caught the first act with him right after we checked out the photo booth. The band was called Jumple (no website yet) and I was very entertained. So here’s the lowdown on them: They are a collection of thick-accented brigands from Russia, the Ukraine and all points around the Carpathians (read: Gypsies), perform very upbeat, somewhat punkish music complete with violin and a very gifted drummer, employ a gypsy dancer, dance and run around the stage like lunatics and wear clothing that looks like they fell into the Tickle Trunk and came out right before their set. Sound familiar? Well it should, especially if you’ve heard of an almost identical band called Gogol Bordello. Jumple is pretty much a straight ripoff of the very established Gogol (right down to a lead singer by the name of Eugene) but a good band is a good band, and these guys rocked so hard that I was worried that any act that followed them would be put to shame – even the Ruby Spirit. But Sean assured me that with regards to the Rubies that I’d be “in for a real treat.” Taking pictures of Jumple was extremely hard because they were so kinetic that most of the pics were blurred beyond recognition. However through diligence and a lot patience, I was able to grab some good ones. Check the bottom of this post for the Jumple pics. If you want close ups and some extra pics, check out the Flickr Album
Reggie and Christine showed up after Jumple and I made sure to make them feel awful for missing such a great act. The whole night was just a music orgy really – at the same time as the show upstairs (where we were) was going on, a free show by a Beatles cover band called the Rattles was underway in the cafe. They didn’t look anything like the fab four but they sure sounded like them. Between Jumple, and the Rattles, came “Jesse and the Rippers” who turned out to not be the cheesy late 80′s hair band of Full House fame but instead were a light jazz ensemble. They didn’t rip that hard, to be honest, but I think in the right venue they would be very well received – say, the Montreal Bistro. I would say the Reservoir Lounge would be good too, but you gotta swing really hard to be in there. I have an old love affair with that place, which I will talk about in a forthcoming post.
Well well, The Ruby Spirit did not disappoint at all and thank God for that since I went ahead and pre-bought their CD before I even walked into the main hall of the venue or heard them play a single note. Really took a leap of faith on these guys based on Sean’s recommendation and I was not at all disappointed when they took the stage after he hyped them up the way he knows best – seriously, Sean is the white Flava Flav except he knows what time it is.
Paige, the lead singer of the Rubies came out larger than life and was equipped with a candy striped megaphone, confetti launchers, a see-through dress with sleeve streamers and more stage presence than Jesus Christ. Really talented musicans in that band, I tell ya. The freaking place was packed and I was old schoolin’ it like I did back in the day by standing at the very front, hands clutching the stage, beer flowing and head bobbing like a bobblehead. Here was a band I’d only heard of in passing and I may as well have been their #1 fan. And why? Because it’s bands like The Rubies who are in the trenches and giving it their all who are proving to the world that rock is back with a vengeance. I think we’re starting to get into a musical rennaissance of a second coming. It may be like the days when the Beatles and the Stones were building momentum – the air is electric, the social media networks are abuzz, and people are coming to shows! You’re should be thankful that you’re all part of some pretty exciting stuff. People are starting to leave the Nickelback camp and are craving something fresh and I think this city has it.
So get your pants on and get out there before these bands get so big that $10 bucks won’t cover admission!
EXTRA BONUS TRACKS!
Here’s Sean Ward’s Vlog
MY first time at Fan Expo was definitely an experience. Look, let’s get things straight here: I may not seem the type but I’m actually a big nerd. If there was a sci-fi, comic and fantasy Jeopardy I think I could throw down pretty soundly. So don’t act too surprised that I was tooling around Fan Expo wearing a Superman t-shirt picking up comics. This is not my first “con” mind you as I’ve been to PAX and the Emerald City Comic Con, but Fan Expo was just unreal. This thing blew anything I’ve been to right out of the water. The artists and companies that attended spared no expense and really transformed the Toronto Convention Centre into a whole other world. The only bad thing was that so many people showed up that the line was massive and the fire marshal was not letting anyone in. Good thing I didn’t have to wait long in the heat.
I got to meet Adam West, Julie Newmar, and Michael Dorn and hang out with the Batmobile, hold Captain America’s shield and chill with my good pal Sean Ward while helping him with his daily vlog. I really enjoy vlogging with Sean and I think after the SafeKidZone and SafeTREC launches I will be sprucing up my youtube channel and doing the vlog equivalent of Gonzo journalism – since Hunter S. Thompson is my hero. Here’s Sean’s coverage of the expo with a cameo by me and @laurenonizzle:
We also got to feast our eyes on some pretty epic cars on the weekend of the expo! One of them may very well become the next NusMobile if things go well. The Batmobile’s ok I guess but its jet turbine engine really guzzles gas. On the other hand the Delorian is efficient on fuel but not very responsible since going back to the future could undo the fabric of time. So I think I may go with the Lexus CT200h that I saw at the Lexus Live event since I can get the batmobileish gadgets and the Delorian fuel consumption without causing damage to my gas budget or the space time continuum. As the Lexus marketing team says: it’s “Thrilling yet responsible.” Check out Seanward.net for our video from the Lexus Live event by clicking right here.
If I could describe Fan Expo 2010 in one word, I would say it was a “nerdgasm.” The last time I used that word I was watching Scott Pilgrim and it was appropriate. I’m sure there were quite a few bloggers hanging around there covering all the artists, celebrities and hot chicks in spandex or Princess Leia bikinis and other various wicked cool things but I wanted to take a different angle. One thing I’ve noticed about all comic cons I’ve been to was that cosplay (dressing up as your favorite fictional character at a convention, for the uninitiated) is a big thing. What’s just as common though is the siginificant number of folks who either half ass their costumes or just can’t pull it off because, let’s face it, the costume doesn’t fit right. Tragic. For the con veterans reading this all you need to think of is that pimply, obese guy with the bad goatee in a Batman cowl and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
I don’t want to come off as a jerk though. At first I was taking candid shots of these people without their knowledge but early on in my photo hunt I realized that they are all too happy to be photographed and are actually pretty swell folks who just love all things nerdy and awesome. I guess my beef is that I tend to be a details Nazi when it comes to Halloween costumes so I get all OCD when I see a costume that completely misses the point of the subject matter it’s emulating. It’s not really a “haha look at those nerds thing” really. Even I have a guilty pleasure in that I download episodes of Naruto Shippuden every week – so these people are, in a way, my brethren. I’ve not yet gotten into cosplay at comic cons, but I do LOVE halloween, so maybe it’s up my alley. Maybe.
Here are the good ones.
And here are the tragedies.
And here’s a tranny jedi: