AppleCamp 2015- One MechaGodzilla step forward, one Superhero Step back

Last year, we discovered the joy that is AppleCamp at the Apple Store for Co-Pilot. They welcome kids from 8-12 for 3 days of learning fun. This is a FREE program. Yes, you read that right, free.

Last year, Co-Pilot worked in iMovie and learned how to create his own movie…and save my rear end when I applied for the Disney Moms Parks Panel (that’s another post for another day.).

So, when sign ups opened again this year, I asked him and he was excited to go. This time, we not only signed him up for iMovie, but we signed him up for the interactive books workshop as well. We were excited, we were thrilled, it meant we pulled Co-Pilot out of summer school, and that made him insanely happy.

Heck, what kid WOULDN”T be happy not to have to go to summer school?

We signed the permission slip and I shipped the Co-Pilot and the other half (parents/guardians need to be on premises for the duration of camp) to the first day of Camp.

It was awesome. It was amazing. The one leader brought MECHAGODZILLA for the kids to work with and film with.

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Yes, Co-Pilot took this photo. Note the cars. Two guesses what MechaGodzilla is going to do to Lightning McQueen and friend…

The workshop was amazing. The staff worked diligently with each kid to make the movie of their dreams. They taught them how to score things with Garage Band and insert that score into their movies. It was amazing to watch their brains fly. Plus, there were PARENT WORKSHOPS! Tricks, tips, really delving into iMovie! Fun for all!

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(Co-Pilot looks like a Scruffy Nerf Herder here…he doesn’t anymore…)

The movies were a kick. Co-Pilot’s “Godzilla’s Revenge” was a scream. He was happy, it was amazing and we were looking forward to week 2.

Fast forward to day one of week 2. We were late. I misread my email and got us there about 15 minutes late…thinking we were early. *sigh*

So, we came in, got the Co-pilot settled and I decided NOT to do the parent workshop. It was iMovie and we learned that last time. I know what i”m doing and I didn’t have my laptop. So, I sat in the lobby of the store, where I sat for the last camp when we finished early on our parent workshop. Where we were TOLD was OK to sit.
That’s important. Keep that in mind. We were TOLD it was ok to sit there…

A few times, I popped my head in, because Co-Pilot seemed lost, and I got the look that he was fine. He told me he was fine, so I went back to my seat.

At the end of the time, I popped in and was greeted with “We have some things to go over.”

Ok..fine.

First was a complaint about Co-Pilot’s drawings for his book. He was told that they were “violent,” because they had an explosion and a bomb in them.

Excuse me? Really?
he’s a BOY. He’s an 11 year old boy writing about super heroes and if an explosion bothers you, really?

So, I was told I had to help him Storyboard and make new drawings.

Then, I was given a lecture that started with:

“The permission slip you signed said you had to stay here. YOU LEFT.”

No, I didn’t leave. I was in the approved area. When I confronted this leader with this fact, she said “Oh, we didn’t see you there. We didn’t look.”

Wait. You didn’t look? You didn’t even peek around the PYLON YOU WERE STANDING BEHIND to see me sitting right there the entire time? Really? And you have the nerve to accuse me?

So, I had a long chat with Co-Pilot. He assured me that his book was a superhero book and he wasn’t just randomly blowing up things. And he said something that bothered me.

“I don’t want to go back.”

What? He couldn’t WAIT to get back to the iMovie workshop. Why is this…

oh, wait. He was made to delete drawings. Just because there was a bomb in one.

No other reason.

So, we made a parental decision to not send him back. Normally, I’d be all “GO IN AND PROVE THEM WRONG.”

this time, nope. I wasn’t going to fight someone who’s already pegged my child as a troublemaker and me as a “problem parent,” when we did nothing wrong to begin with.

So, we hung home, played games and then wandered down to our favorite Doughnut place and got our favorites- Homer Simpsons and Sprinkles on Sprinkles.

 

Will we do AppleCamp for one more year? We’ll see. I know he’ll want to do the movies again. He’s got love for that program like no one’s business and he learns new tricks every time. I think we’ll skip the book though.

 

 

 

 

Wait-is that R2D2 on your head?

Where I have my day job, we’re in uniform.

Not that i’m complaning…it’s all about looking good and the whole “brand” thing. Frankly, it’s not such a bad uniform, the material of the shirts…welllll…..ick. But a tank top under it solves all problems, and wearing scrub bottoms is my idea of a perfectly good time. All the lotion and things come out and they look good. Plus, I get to wear my favorite shoes. But I digress. We’re not talking about my penchant for Mary Janes.

I tend to do things to my hair that make the entire uniform more “Me.” My hair HAS to be up and restrained. Who wants a massage with someone’s hair all over them? Certainly not me! So, when it comes down to it, I have to do SOMETHING.

Enter my “Nerd Hair.”

Since my style of choice is a very fast, time efficient bun or ponytail, I tend to favor bows. They clip in fast, don’t fall off and give people a good laugh when they meet me.

Let’s start with my Star Wars Day choices:

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Yes, you see Yoda, Boba Fett, Chewbacca and a Storm Trooper/Darth Vader combo. This was quite the choice. The bows sat on the break room table while I made my decision as to what to throw in the hair.

One of the girls snagged the Storm Trooper/Darth Vader bow…just because it was May the 4th!

me? I went with this:

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Yep, Yoda.

(don’t mind the frizz. This was taken at the end of the day-and a shirt change later….)

So, you get the idea.

(oh and I got all of these, plus some of my other insane collection, at Hot Topic)

Now, since I do have the “frizz factor” cranking, I decided to get in on the game by adding a headband to things. Seeing as both a headband and a bow are overkill, it’s usually one or the other. Plus, who wants the the work of full on coordinating the bow and the headband. Certainly not this low maintenance Nerd.

So, I went looking for nerd style headbands that would be flexible enough to work with me and sturdy enough to hold back this head of frizz.

Plastic headbands hurt. Seriously. OUCH. I have yet to find one that works both with my oddly shaped head (sometimes too tiny for adult stuff and at other times, too big for kids…), and is cute, and even, just maybe, slightly nerdy.

So, I went trolling…and stumbled across these amazing, wonderful, NON SLIP little beauties that made me grin on so many different levels.

Check these suckers out:

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So, Left to right for the uninitiated: Baymax, Lilo and Stitch, LEGO Star Wars and R2D2. I also got a Mulan one…but that hasn’t been broken out yet…

These are made by an amazing person by the name of Kayla. She works from home, making these…and she runs a group called Magic Headbands

She posts pictures of the ribbon she has, you message her, order the suckers and she lines the back with velvet so they don’t go flying. She also has the “in-between” size of Small Adult! HOORAY!!!

So, I went and wore my R2 out and about the other day and a friend of mine said:

“Wait- is that R2D2 on your head?”

“yep. You have noticed me getting my nerd on…again.”

“SOLID. I knew I liked you for a reason…”

Yeah.

These are my friends. And my hair was secure…and I didn’t lose my headband.

PERFECT day in Nerdvana land.

(and just for the record-none of these are affiliate links. I did, however, ask Kayla if I could post her headbands because I love them so…and she agreed…)

Big dreaming…

The other day, Co-Pilot was in the back of the Hamstermobile (otherwise known as my car) ripping open his latest score of Skylanders. We had been chatting about costuming for ComicCon and how if we want to make something we have to make decisions NOW.

He stated the following:

“Mom, so next year, when we go to E3…”

I stopped him there in his tracks.

“What? Did you just say E3?”

“Yep. When we go next year…I want to go to the Activision booth….”

“Small one, there are a few problems with your theory here. First, E3 is an industry conference. It’s almost impossible to get in unless you are a buyer, work in the video game industry or win your way in, we don’t get to go. Plus, sadly, you’re not old enough.”

The back of the car got quiet and he said “Ok, so I’ve got a few years…”

yeah, you do Co-Pilot.

And this is when he decided he wanted to be a video game designer.

We got a long way to go with that one, but hey-GOALS.

Heading into the story with the Avengers

Co-Pilot and I were provided with a personalized book to facilitate the review. No other compensation was received and all of the opinions are our own. 

Co-Pilot loves a good comic book. He also loves anything related to the Avengers/Marvel. So, when we were offered a personalized Avengers Black Ops Field Guide from Put Me in the Story, we were thrilled.

Put Me in the Story‘s website is super easy to navigate to find the book of your child’s dreams. Of course, we went with the Avengers…and the Black Ops Field Guide. Can’t go wrong with that.

The process was so simple from start to finish:

First, find your book…

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and start the process by “personalizing your gift now!”

On the first screen, you spend time adding your child’s information-name, vitals, and a photo for the dedication page.

(no, our last name isn’t really Nerdvana, and his first name isn’t CoPilot…but I digress)

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The dedication is a lot of fun. You can go absolutely wild with this and put whatever you want your child to read.

You click that you have checked all the text and the picture is the way you want it, as you can edit it, and then add it to your cart.

The cool thing about this is that you can preview each page of the book and see exactly how the personalization comes out through the book.

From there, drop it in your cart and wait for the magic to arrive in your mailbox!

Initially, the website said it would take 7-10 days to complete. I can tell you, ours arrived within 5 days. Superfast!

The Avengers Black Ops Field Guide is a 34 page hardcover, interactive book. Cut out and laminate the ID card with the decoder on the back and watch your child go! Right now, Co-Pilot is immersed in the pages of the book, writing and drawing and decoding.

Here’s a sample of what those pages look like.

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It’s not only fun because his name is in it, but he’s loving the activities, especially for down time when he wants something to do, but doesn’t have his devices. He hasn’t put this down yet!

Want one of these amazing books for your kid?

Head over to Put Me in the Story and start personalizing one of these! They retail for 34.99.

 

 

 

 

How I survived a Wicked Cyclone at Six Flags New England #thrillitup

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the launch of this amazing coaster as a member of the media. All opinions of this jaw dropping ride and the amazing day at the park are mine.

 

Some days, my side job is more fun than my day job-which is pretty fun-and Wednesday was one of those days.

I got to be one of the first to ride the…

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Let’s get this out of the way-I hate heights.

Hate is not a strong word in this sense. I think loathe would even be a better word for how I feel about heights. So, when I heard that the coaster at Six Flags New England had a 87 degree drop, I nearly backed out then and there.

But then my love for roller coasters took over. I figured I’d at least TRY to get on this sucker. Tears were not optional…

So, I grabbed Puddle from Thoughts Inside The Box and we set off for Six Flags New England for the day.

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and we were granted these little beauties

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Team Wicked? Awesome. I can get behind that…

Loading into the center of the amazingly themed queue for the ride, we got to hear from Park President John Winkler, Communications Manager and Jennifer McGrath all about the process of the ride, how it fits into the amazing, high thrill park and the 14 air time hills.

14?

Really?

Yikes!

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Then, Reed Timmer, Storm Chaser Extraordinaire (and amazingly cool guy), Steven Weigel, COO and EVP of Friendly’s as well as representatives from the Red Cross hyped us up even more..and scared me. They were insanely excited for the coaster.

Check these stats on the Wicked Cyclone:

  • 10 stories high
  • 87 degree  vertical drop
  • 14 airtime hills
  • 200 degree stall and 2 zero G rolls
  • 97 second ride time with speeds of 55 miles per hour
  • 3,320 feet of track

Now, I was officially panicking. 10 stories? VERTICAL drop? What the heck is a stall?

With a blast of confetti

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the first riders were off…

Including Reed Timmer and Steven Weigel in the front seats…

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What can I say about the ride-

INTENSE…AMAZING…the airtime? PHENOMENAL.

I still wanted my Mommy, walked off shaking and in slight tears, but it was WELL WORTH IT.

Want to see what it looked like for me?

 

Wild, isn’t it?

One of the neatest things about this coaster is the fact that it is only one of 5 hybrid coasters on the planet. This is a wood-steel hybrid and you have the beautiful flexibility of wood and the smooth ride characteristics of steel. I was impressed at how smooth it was.

 

Even with how amazing Wicked Cyclone is…I don’t think this chicken girl will be riding it again any time soon…unless my dad comes with me and does his standard “pretend to puke at the worst time so the people behind him scream…” then, I’ll get back on.

Oh! And everyone! Meet Dr. Alan Cobb! He’s the storm chaser that hosts us on the ride! Listen to his safety advice! HE MEANS IT.

(oh and #butfirstletmetakeaselfie)

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But the rest of the day at Six Flags New England was amazing! We rode Pandemonium (a first for me!) and Flashback, and were treated to a MOST amazing lunch at the Take 6 Cafe.

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I was over the moon with the amazing options-it was all about “I MUST TRY THIS!”

and if you ask me, my favorite part of lunch was…

DESSERT!

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You know how long it’s been since I had one of these? I’ve been protesting since around me, all I can find is the dang Peanut Butter Cup Options. I was in my glory… Thank you, Friendly’s!

And then, my epic Nerd struck.

There are no words needed to describe this photo.

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Yes, I’m wielding the Batarang.

That is all.  Day.Made.

(yes I wore my Human Torch skirt. It’s just the way I roll…)

 

 

So, are you up for the storm chasing challenge to #thrillitup with Wicked Cyclone?

The amazing coaster opens TODAY (5/24) for the season! Give it a ride and let me know what you think!

Keep up with Six Flags TwitterInstagramFacebook

 

#NYCC ticketing and me-the 2015 editon

Last year, I spent a nerd filled 3 days at New York ComicCon (NYCC) with the wonderment that is a press pass. It was glorious, it was overload and it provided me with experiences like this:

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yes, that is the one and only Orlando Jones. I was at the Sleepy Hollow Press Room! Ah-maze-ing.

but that’s a story for another time…

So, this year, ReedPop has denied press passes right and left for people within an hour of us submitting applications. SO, I decided I’d attempt to get tickets and go for the day.

I stalked the website and got the go time for tickets. I figured I’d get a one day Sunday pass and get a kids day pass for my CoPilot.

Little did I know what a hot mess getting tickets would be.

Ticketing opened at 12 noon, Eastern. I attempted to access the website for ticketing. Little did I know the chaos that was about to ensue.

First-the website crashed, at the very least, 4 times. I kept reloading and reloading and reloading. I had multiple devices going at once.

I was able to finally join the “virtual queue” at 12:20. And wait.

I had so many devices out, I felt like this:

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I swear. I was all Sheldon.

about 15 408 errors later…and 2 devices…a cup of coffee and a pair of Rocket Dog Flip Flops later-hey-I went shopping with the site rolling on my phone. I wasn’t sitting around-

and 2.5 hours

Yes, you read that right.

2.5 hours later….

I had my tickets. Co Pilot and I are locked and loaded.

But here’s the thing. This was the biggest ticketing fiasco I’ve been a part of. When I finally was able to access the purchase page, all of the 3 and 4 day tickets were sold out. Single day Saturday was sold out. All of the VIP and Special Access passes were sold out.

They were already on StubHub, Ebay and ticket resale sites.

Scalpers.

50.00 tickets were now selling for over 100.00. It made no sense. It made me angry.

ReedPop says that they’re going to find as many of the scalpers as they can and void the tickets.

Fine, that’s all well and good, but seriously. Fans who pack Javits Center every October deserve better in a ticket buying experience. I shouldn’t have been chained to my device for over 2 hours.

ReedPop should have just taken a peek at twitter and noticed that the demand was going to be high. They should have anticipated with servers that would hold. Isn’t that the most basic rule of the internet? Have a server that can handle demand? If you’re not sure, TEST IT.

Today, ReedPop issued a statement.

Dear New York Comic Con Fans,

On Wednesday at noon Eastern Time we put tickets for the 10th edition of New York Comic Con on sale and after months of preparation and close working sessions with our ticketing vendor we almost immediately saw something was not right. I know you saw it too. This letter is an attempt to help you understand what happened, and while that still might not get you the ticket to NYCC that you wanted, we hope it will at least provide you with some portion of the explanation you deserve.

Some facts we have been able to ascertain by looking at the data:

  • The demand for tickets at noon was roughly quadruple what we experienced in 2014.
  • Those who were attempting to buy tickets in the queue know that it took several hours to move through the queue and received error messages along the way. This was a direct effect of an unexpected and unforeseen slowdown of the system.
  • What is important to note is that regardless of the slowdown and error activity, when the queue opened at noon, there were already more individuals “in line” than there were VIP, 3-Day, 4-Day and Saturday tickets combined. This means that beginning at 12:01 demand had already outstripped the supply of tickets. Thus even without the challenges we experienced unexpectedly, there was not a guarantee that people “in line” at 12:01 would receive the exact ticket types they so craved.
  • The queue slow down lasted until about 3pm. At that time most fans that remained in the queue or refreshed after getting an error message were able to buy whatever inventory of tickets remained. Admittedly, many ticket types were sold out due to the sheer demand for tickets.
  • Now let’s talk about those ticket resellers – we don’t like them either! We know you see tickets available on reseller sites and we know how frustrating that is (especially if you did not get the tickets you wanted) and please know that we continue to be aggressive about doing all we can to deal with those resellers. We further limited quantities this year. We will comb through those sites and attempt to get tickets removed. We review the data of ticket purchasers and cross check names, addresses, email, credit cards and then remove and ban where we find people trying to buy tickets over the maximum allowed. In short, we are as frustrated by people selling tickets at an inflated price as you are.
  • What can you do about those reselling tickets at inflated prices? DON’T BUY THEM! First of all, it creates a market for people to price gouge, but just as important, we will be cancelling as many of those people we can identify as ticket resellers (meaning those trying to cheat the system and buy large quantities) so you may be buying a worthless piece of paper.
  • A limited supply of New York Comic Con Tickets will be available for purchase at Special Edition: NYC 2015 on June 6-7. All details can be found here.
  • An event at Midtown Comics later this summer. Midtown Comics DOES NOT have tickets yet. All of the info for this event will be announced at a later date. Note that Midtown Comics is the ONLY Retail partner selling NYCC 2015 Tickets.

We are truly sorry that the ticket buying process did not go as well as we wanted and certainly not as well as you deserve. The reasons don’t matter though; we let you down and as a team, we are really, really sorry for that.  We know many of you won’t get the tickets you wanted for NYCC and for some it is because of sheer demand for limited quantities, for some it is aggressive ticket brokers and for some it is the challenges our system had thrown at it yesterday. No matter the reason for it we want you to know that we wish we could get tickets into the hands of everyone that wants them and we are doing all we can to assure that and that we value you as fans more than you can possibly imagine and what feels the worst is that many of you don’t feel that way today.

From,
Lance Fensterman

So, they admit they are a hot mess..but what is going to change next year? I know many people who are at their wit’s end with this, and frankly, I’m really not impressed. Am I excited to see friends (both new and old)? Yep. Am I excited to cosplay and show the Co Pilot the best cosplay EVER? Yep.

But, am I willing to deal with this hot mess if they can’t rectify the server issues and the ticketing issues?

I’m not sure.

ReedPop says we deserve better, and they need to show us we are valued as fans. I can’t wait to see how they show us better and we are valued.

 

 

 

 

Welcome!

 

Welcome to Nerdvana Kingdom. Your place for all things nerdy and generally geek-centric.

I’m Laura, the Head Nerd In Charge.

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I love to travel, cosplay and generally hang out in the Steampunk realm…but that doesn’t always happen, because I have a day job.

I’m a Licensed Massage Therapist and a mom to boot. So, when I’m not messing with the science aspect of my life, it’s being run by my 11 year old “co-pilot”, nerd in training. He tends to join me on as many adventures as he can.

see?

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(yes, he’s wearing a Tardis Bow Tie and an AT-AT shirt. Yep, he’s mine.)

The adventures will be as fun and as insane as they get around here and you can always count on a “nerdy” side to everything.

Come along, hang out and get your Nerdvana on!