Over there! In the water! High above the crowd! It’s — rubber duckie!
Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category
Rapper Vanilla Ice, who is better known these days for his home-renovation reality show than for his early-90s hit song “Ice Ice Baby,” received a warm welcome to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia earlier this week, after tweeting about the Mountain State and one of its popular attractions, Snowshoe Resort.
— Vanilla Ice (@vanillaice) March 3, 2013
Ice, who now lives in Palm Beach, seems to really love skiing.
Ninja – Skiing, fresh powder, had to take a break from the sun and run to the snow for some fun. pic.twitter.com/5pD8x0UXA4
— Vanilla Ice (@vanillaice) March 2, 2013
But he also gives a shout-out to some other activities and destinations in West Virginia:
— Vanilla Ice (@vanillaice) March 3, 2013
Rep. Shelley Capito said Vanilla Ice was on plane yesterday, flying in to Snowshoe, WV. When she was first told, said, "Who's Vanilla Ice?"
— Taylor Kuykendall (@taykuy) March 8, 2013
It was unclear if the 45-year-old Ice was coming back for another weekend in the mountains or if Capito was referencing an earlier flight.
Either way, his public shout-out to the state saw nearly 500 retweets from plenty of people who seemed thrilled to welcome West Virginia’s newest celebrity endorser.
San Diego Comic-Con (http://www.comic-con.org/cci) will not be a destination for Ashlee and I again this year. We missed last year and, sadly, will miss again this year. It’s almost a full-time job to swing tickets with the near “Power Ball” chances of being chosen, and between airfare, hotel, and car rental, it costs more than some full-time jobs pay. Considering that we do not go ‘small’ for our trips to California, we felt it would be best to avoid pretending to be Mitt Romney with our monetary capabilities, if you catch my drift.
We are heading to a couple of familiar geek-friendly spots, though.
Mega-Con (http://www.megaconvention.com) is an Orlando, Florida convention, held on February 17th-19th, with a variety of fan entertainment. There is a major focus on anime, which is highlighted by a slew of slothful sycophants wearing garb from their favorite Pokemon. I become annoyed by their constant hugging and interaction with random strangers who share their interests in squealing upon meeting – and hugging.
Apart from the deluge of woven hat wearing, pubescent squealers, Mega-Con offers fan interaction with panels of comic book artists and writers, Star Wars, and various other topics, as well as autograph lines for celebrities like Stan Lee, cast members from Start Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and other favorites.
Lego fans are always abuzz over the diorama displays of dynamic dimensions. Lots of vendors are available for screen printed shirts to display your love of Dr. Who or the Green Lantern, the Green Hornet, the Green Arrow, or possibly even the Green Giant.
Further north, Steel-City Con (http://www.steelcitycon.com) is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania convention, held on March 2nd-4th. It’s a smaller scale version of Mega-Con by far, but still has great media guests.
The focus for Steel-City Con is different. It has a majority of its space taken up by vendors of classic toys and collectables. There are no panels.
Media guests in the past have included Adam West and Henry Winkler. This time, there is an incredible lineup of 70s stars and Star Wars actors. Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and his son, Corey Dee Williams (Klaatu – a minor character from Star Wars) will join Anthony Daniels (C3PO) for autograph signings and photo opportunities.
Stars of the classic television series, The Brady Bunch, will be in attendance as well. Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady) and Christopher Knight (Peter Brady) will be there. Wesley Eure and Kathleen Coleman (Will and Holly – Land of the Lost), Butch Patrick (The Munsters and Lidsville) and Johnny Whitaker (Sigmund and the Sea Monster and Family Affair) will all be representing a mini-reunion of Sid and Marty Krofft Superstars. That will bring back Saturday Morning memories for me!
Lidsville <–Theme Song/Intro
Stepping forward two decades, Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210) will be appearing and Ian Petrella, who played Randy on ‘A Christmas Story’. That should cover most famous people named Ian. There are plenty of other media guests and artists attending to fill up a full weekend, so this should be a fun excursion without the high cost of airline travel cross-country…although, there is not a more pleasant city on earth than San Diego, California.
One day I picked up my iPhone, looked at the list of available podcasts and saw that there was a new episode of Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.
“Oh!” I thought. “That needs listened!”
OK, that wasn’t exactly my thought. But it turns out the episode was about the way we talk — we Appalachian people.
The episode was called “Needs Washed” with the subhead “Fascinating regionalisms.” It was all about this speech pattern we have, which apparently seems peculiar to people elsewhere, where we drop “to be” out of some sentences. Thus, “needs washed” or “needs cooled” or “needs vacuumed.”
Grammar Girl calls this speech pattern “Pittsburghese.” Fine by me.
Pittsburgh is the epicenter of “needs washed” kind of sentences, but they’re also very common throughout Pennsylvania, and roughly as far west as Iowa, as far North as southern Michigan, and as far south as northern West Virginia.
Grammar Girl winds up calling the parts of the country that speak this way the “North Midland Region.” Myself, I think that would be an excellent new football conference to spring forth from realignment: “The North Midland Regional Football Conference.” A Bowl Championship Series berth needs bestowed.
Anyhow, our little language quirk doesn’t sound strange to an Appalachian ear. But to someone from the Northeast or Southwest — it’s wrong! These folks think you should say, “My car needs to be washed.” Or, “That rug needs vacuuming.”
It turns out there’s a fancy name for our speech pattern, which has been the subject of linguistic research.
For those of you who are curious or want to do your own research, professor Barbara Johnstone, who studies Pittsburghese at Carnegie Mellon, calls the phenomenon “infinitival copula deletion.” “To be” is a copula, also known as a linking verb, in its infinitive form.
In other words, we take out “to be.” Though if I were diagnosed in a hospital with “infinitival copula deletion,” I would be worried indeed, and probably plenty embarrassed.
We actually inherited the speech pattern from early settlers in the region.
The “needs washed” construction is common in Scotland and Northern Ireland according to both linguists and a few Scottish and Irish respondents to my question, and when southwestern Pennsylvania was first settled by Europeans in the late 1600s and early 1700s, most of the settlers were Scots-Irish, a group of people with Scottish heritage who had settled for a few generations in the Ulster region of Northern Ireland. Not surprisingly, they brought their language–or what we might call quirks — with them.
But is the construction wrong? Depends on who you ask, Grammar Girl says. If you ask us, then no. If you ask someone from elsewhere in America, then probably so.
I think it’s reasonable to say that, at least in certain communities in the North Midland region, the “needs washed” construction is standard. Nobody who grew up there notices it as odd or thinks it’s wrong. Nevertheless, outside that region, almost everyone considers it wrong; and people who move to the North Midland region from other areas will likely think everyone else there is speaking “bad” English.
Grammar Girl winds up concluding that it’s fine to talk this way amongst ourselves. But if we’re writing a cover letter for a job application or talking professionally with someone from outside our region, we’d best include “to be” in our constructions.
So there’s your grammar tip. From Grammar Girl to me to you.
I’ll keep you up to speed if she ever talks about buggies vs. shopping carts or sweepers vs. vacuum cleaners.
And if she ever talks about Putman County, Sissonsville or CMAC, I’ll totally let you know.
Alert reader David Richmond wrote in to let us know about the upcoming Tsubasacon Japanese Culture and Anime/Gaming Convention in Huntington.
It’s the only one of its kind in our state, and it will be Oct. 7-9 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
That means the arena will be the scene of groups of ninjas, soul reapers and video game characters during those three days. Cool? Cool!
Here’s more from the organizers:
Several new guests are attending Tsubasacon include Chris Cason whose best known voice credits include: “Gluttony” in Fullmetal Alchemist, “Tien Shinhan” and “Mr. Popo” in Dragonball Z, Robert Axelrod, who is the voice of Lord Zedd and Finster on
the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers!” We also have Robert McCollum, a former marketing director-turned-stage, improv and film actor; commercial voice artist, writer, producer, director and well-known voice actor for FUNimation Entertainment, his credits include Baki the Grappler (Baki), Dragon Ball GT (Goten), Yu Yu Hakusho (Sensui), Witchblade (Yusuke Tozawa). Returning this year is Leah Clark, who was the voice of Noah in Full Metal Alchemist and Paris in Shin Chan.
Also appearing will be comic creator Gina Biggs, author of Red String,
Erstwhile, and Love of Sausage, and artist Kittyhawk, the creator of
Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki (SGVY, if you want to save your tongue) and co-creator of the Jar. Musical entertainment will be provided by Year 200X whos guitar driven video game music covers immediately became popular when they were featured in Nintendo Power Magazine (June, 2006). Their debut album “We Are Error,” included a compilation of 13 tracks from games for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
This is the eighth year for the event. Registration hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. that Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
The event will be open noon Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday, then 9 a.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday morning and finally 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Full day passes will be sold at the registration desk for $25 for Friday, $35 for Saturday, and $15 for Sunday. Full weekend passes will be sold for $40.
Registration is available online at http://tsubasacon.org/ or at the door in Huntington.
Last year, more than 1,300 patrons gathered for the three-day event.
This year’s gathering will help assist the Huntington Area Food Bank by encouraging attendees to donate cans of non-perishable food.
Point Pleasant River Museum will be selling chances for a plush Mothman, metal police pedal car and metal fire engine pedal car now through Dec. 24 as part of its fall and winter fundraiser.
The items will be on display at The River Museum.
The items will also be on display Sept. 16-18 at the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant.
Tickets are $3 each or two for $5.
The drawing will be at the River Museum on Dec. 24.
Proceeds will go to The River Museum, 28 Main St., Point Pleasant.
Call 304-674-0144 or visit www.pprivermuseum.com for more information.
So I’ve been the target of a great deal of scorn over the past 34 hours regarding something I posted on Facebook. No, it wasn’t some political debate I inspired involving some highly controversial, hot button issue argued vociferously in the halls of places where smart people hang out. It’s over something I thought — at the time — was a simple, random, innocuous admission:
Random Fact: In my 29 years, I have never eaten a Funnel Cake.
Yes, my friend, I am a 29-year-old Funnel Cake virgin. Never before has this deep fried, sugary powdered concoction ever touched my lips.
And the reaction by my socially networked friends to said admission — made while I was roaming the aisles of the Ravenswood Foodfair as I was waiting on my mother to figure out what we were making for Father’s Day dinner — was something I never could have expected.
Here’s a sampling:
“What are you, Al Qaeda?”
“Un-American I say…”
“This should be illegal!”
“So Jared….the CIA called…they could use you since you’ve been living inside North Korea for the past 3 decades….Communist.”
“I’m shocked and appalled…..that’s a staple of the Black Walnut Festival — really, just shocked an appalled.”
“U r not human.”
This was magnified today at work when several of my co-workers expressed utter shock that I’ve gone 29 years absent of deep-fried goodness.
It’s not that I’ve made a conscious effort to avoid them — growing up in Jackson County, we had the annual Junior Fair, 4th of July carnival, Art & Craft fair, Ohio River Festival and Ravenswood Octoberfest — it’s just whenever I attended any of those events, I always went after the Philly Cheese Steaks or Lemonade (you know, that special carnival lemonade that’s like 68 percent sugar crystals, 10 percent lemon juice, 5 percent water and a remaining portion of an addictive substance I can only assume is crystal meth).
So now, before my friends inform federal officials informing them of the need to revoke my citizenship, I now send out a plea among fellow festival-istas —- where/when can I get a funnel cake in the greater Charleston area??? I know there are kits that you can use to make at home, but then, if I make it there, how can I be sure that I got it to that greasy fairs & festivals level of quality everyone else has apparently grown to know and love?
And beyond that, what do you think — what is it about the funnel cake that has drawn out such a reaction among those I know? Do you have any particular memories tied to a funnel cake? What does this deep-fried bread concoction mean to you?
And please, help me find one before I’m excommunicated from society…..
Let’s face it. The 30-Day Song Challenge on Facebook is just so … yesterday.
Plus you’ve probably already done it.
So here we offer the 30 Day Nerd Challenge. It offers just enough geekiness, randomness, variety and nonsensicality to be a mild diversion for about a minute a day for the next 30 days.
We wish you luck:
Day 1, your favorite superhero:
Day 2, your least favorite superhero:
Day 3, a superpower you wish you had:
Day 4, a superhero death (followed by a possible resurrection!) that makes you sad:
Day 5, a summer action movie you love:
Day 6, an imaginary planet or world you’d like to call home:
Day 7, a time travel paradox you’d like to take part in:
Day 8, an oath that you know all the words to:
Day 9, a TV theme song that you can dance to:
Day 10, a really long novel that makes you go to sleep:
Day 11, a lyric from your favorite TV theme song:
Day 12, a super villain you hate:
Day 13, a reality TV show that is a guilty pleasure. (Is that redundant?)
Day 14, a celebrity nobody would expect you to love:
Day 15, a three- to four-syllable adjective that describes you:
Day 16, a professional wrestler that you used to love but now hate:
Day 17, a movie that you’ll stop and watch no matter how many times you’ve seen it:
Day 18, a video game you wish you were playing:
Day 19, your favorite board game:
Day 20, your favorite spaceship:
Day 21, a robot you admire:
Day 22, a distant planet you’d just as soon stay away from:
Day 23, a talking animal that you would want to be your pal:
Day 24, a sidekick you’d like to have a beer with:
Day 25, a common household item that you secretly believe has become self-aware and is likely plotting to kill you:
Day 26, your favorite movie theater snack:
Day 27, your gut feeling about who would win a fight between the Avengers and the Justice League.
Day 28, the first video game you bought with your own money:
Day 29: someone from another planet who you admire:
Day 30 (!): What kind of Nerd are you?
Here at Nerd Living, we don’t know from cool. However, the entire town of Lewisburg, W.Va., does by virtue of its designation as America’s Coolest Small Town.
And Lewisburg keeps on getting mileage out of the honor, which was bestowed on it by Budget Travel earlier this year.
The latest is a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer called “A visit to America’s Coolest Small Town: Lewisburg, W.Va.” The article then was reprinted in newspapers like the Miami Herald and Newsday.
If I were to do a movie blurb-style summary of the article it would be this:
This is no staid and stuffy town living off its past.
It’s always interesting to see what people from elsewhere have to say about familiar places in West Virginia. In this one, Lewisburg gets a detailed, friendly treatment as the writer enjoys local baked goods, noses around in art galleries and peeks into the General Lewis Inn.
So, that’s pretty cool. Right?