Friday, June 26, 2015

Moments of the Week: Hero Worship

A small fraction of the HeroesCon Floor
I promised this week's Moments would be interesting, yes? I hope it will be. It certainly was a lifetime memory for me. This past weekend was the biggest comic con of the year in my state, and as has been the case for the past three or four years, I was there.

Mr. Maxwell and I drove to town the night before to stay with our friends Phil Coulson and Captain America. The next morning, we picked up their buddies Joker and Harley Quinn and headed off for a day of fun!

We arrived at the convention center the moment it opened and promptly got in the wrong line. After five minutes of steady moving, we realized this was the line to get into the hall, not, in fact, to get tickets. So we split off and split up. Coulson and Cap already had their tickets, I had preordered a three day pass, and the others had to wait to buy their day-of pass. Preordering was clearly the way to go, because in minutes, I had my pass and wristband while the rest still wrapped around the entryway. Much as I love Mr. and as nice as Harley and Joker were, I had to get into the hall. Another short wait in the right line this time and I was in... another line.

A long, long line that wasn't moving. But excitement was high, costumes were great, and we enjoyed getting to know the strangers around us as we waited. And waited. Moved. Waited. It was worse than waiting for a Disney ride. But it was worth it for what was at the end.

Yes, it's exactly what it looks like. This weekend, I met Stan Lee.

And nearly passed out from fangirlism.

We weren't allowed to take pictures unless we'd bought one, so I kept my camera put away, but as the line moved, we could all get glimpses of a little old man wearing a green sweater and an enormous smile. Around me, people carried rare editions of comics, enormous maquettes, trading cards, and various other things for autographing. I had my giant Marvel 75th Anniversary collection ready for its first signature. Who better to christen what I intended to make a signature collection book than Stan The Man himself?

No regrets.

Isn't this the most adorable Jurassic Park cosplay ever?
Well, aside from the fact that when I finally got to the front of the line, I forgot every single thing I'd planned on saying. I couldn't hear my thoughts over how loud my heart was pounding. I don't know if he said anything to me, even looked at me. All I could do was stutter out a feeble "Thank you, Mr. Lee" before gripping the open edges of the book so the ink could dry and scurrying off past the line of other people waiting to get their signature verified.

I've never met someone I so madly idolized before. Stan had come to this con before, but I'd passed it up, to my enduring regret. I thought I wouldn't get this chance again. And then, two weeks before the con, his image appeared on the con site with the words Special Guest. I had a second chance, and I took it, to my ongoing delight. I met my hero, and I have proof. I didn't care how the rest of the con went after that; my day was made.

A simple piece of reflective paper made an awesome effect for Cyclops
I spent most of the rest of the con waiting in more lines for more signatures (Matt Fraction, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Erica Henderson, and Kevin Wada all added their signatures to Stan's page, to their own delights. Apparently asking people to sign the same page as the father of their comics is flattering) and taking not nearly enough pictures of all the amazing cosplays. There was photobombing aplenty and so much creativity in the designs. Maybe next year I'll get off my butt and do some cosplay myself.

You can see the rest of the pictures on my ConGoing board on Pinterest.

So that was this past week. Tomorrow, I leave for a weeklong vacation with my mother in Maine to celebrate my aunt and uncle's 50th anniversary. With whalewatching and lighthouse tours on the schedule, I should have some more pictures for you next week!

Did anyone have any moments of your own this week?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Moments of the Week: Old Cars and Sandwich Bars

Good morning, everyone!

I am unnaturally excited for this weekend. If you know me from real life or the Absolute Write SFF Cantina, you will know why I'm excited, but I'm not going to say why here, not yet. I don't want to jinx it. But suffice to say, next week's Moments should be interesting.

This week, we've got our first contribution from a friend of mine, Kat! Well, by contribution, I mean she told me this story, and I asked if I could share it. But I'm counting it because it's not my moment. If you've got a moment you want to share, you can either drop it in the comments or email me at maggiemaxwellbooks @
  • There was a man, young, late teens or early twenties, going around a high school track, but he wasn't running. He was hopping. Backwards. He had a soccer ball with him, and he was rolling it backwards with him with one foot as he hopped on the other. Hop, roll, hop, roll. I only drove by for a few seconds, but he kept it up the whole time I could see him. If it's a common soccer drill or exercise technique, it's one I've never seen before in my life.
  • Conversely, I encountered an older man, this one middle-aged. He had a long white braid down his back and looked to be of either Hispanic or American Indian descent from his tanned, wrinkled skin. But what caught my eye about him was his car: a rust red Edsel Corsair. Gorgeous old car, just out for a weekday drive. As we shared the road, he sped past a younger man in a modern green sports car, and as he passed, the man in the sports car rolled down his window and gave the corsair driver a thumbs up.
  • Kat's Moment: There's a sandwich counter downstairs from her office run by a man with a strange tick. When he makes a sandwich, once everything is on it, he pats it down, squaring up the sides of the bread as best he can. Once the sides are squared, anything that's left hanging off the side is removed. Then he squares it again, checks the sides, removes hanging parts. He repeats this until everything that is on the sandwich fits inside the bread. The end result is, ultimately, a sandwich with not very much on it.
And that's it for this week! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Moments of the Week: Cotton Bugs and Unforgettable Music

It's been a busy week. Lots of business going on in the workplace, plans being made and falling apart, money being spent, money NOT being spent (ask me why I'm angry at my bank).

But it only takes a moment to make a moment, so I have a few things  for y'all this week.

  •  I discovered a species of bug I'd never seen before. One afternoon this week, I arrived home to bits of cotton flying everywhere. It looked like dandelion seeds floating on the air at first, and then I realized they were flying of their own volition, not on the wind. I managed to convince one to land on my hand so I could get a better look. (Have I ever mentioned on here that I like bugs? As long as they don't sting or bite or I don't know that they sting or bite, we're cool.) They looked like a mix between a fly and a mosquito wearing a cloak made from a piece of cotton ball and were no bigger than a centimeter. I'd never seen anything like it before, and they were everywhere, specks of white dancing in the air. I have not seen a single one since.

    Evidently, they're called Wooly Aphids. This blog, Nature Posts, has some fabulous pictures of them.
  • I saw a man riding a dirt bike the wrong way down a sidewalk. The dirt bike was bright green and probably made for someone 3/4ths his size. He was hunched over and just toodling along.
  •  There are some things that are so engraved on your memory that encountering it again can spark flashbacks to another time and place, or that are so attached to their topic that you immediately think of it. You can't help it. First the smell, the sound, the taste is there, and then the memory.

    I went to the movies yesterday with some girlfriends, a big group to see Mad Max: Fury Road, which, if you haven't seen, stop what you're doing and go. This post will be here when you're done. Go see it. Go.

    Are you back now? Cool. So the movie ended, and we left the showing theater, the whole group of us hanging right outside in the hall and talking about the movie. Well, I say talking. Mostly listening to the girl who arranged the trip, for whom Mad Max is to her as Disney is to other people: her childhood, her obsession, her favorite thing ever. We stood between the Mad Max theater and another one with a marquee that I couldn't see; it was one-sided and I was on the wrong side. There were sounds that could only be described as "violent" every now and then. Easy to ignore as my friend told us the making of Fury Road. And then we went silent, because we heard it.

    A swell of music.

    THE music.

    We shrieked. At least a few of us did, myself included. Because suddenly in the theater beside us there were dinosaurs and those gates opening and we were 7, 8, 9 years old again, sitting there as Spielberg revealed his theme park that was somehow more magical than Disney World. And we hadn't even bought a ticket yet. But with just a few notes, in a single moment we were there again. A few notes completely changed me from "mildly interested" to "I NEED TO SEE THIS MOVIE" because those iconic notes tapped into the well of childhood memory and magic and transported me to a place and time I barely remembered. I've got plans to see it Sunday.
So, dear readers, how was your week? Did you collect any moments for your stories?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Moments of the Week: Purple hair and fireflies

I got an idea yesterday.

Orson Scott Card once said, "Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any." It's true, really. Everywhere you look, there are scenes, settings, stories, characters, all waiting to be transformed. Working in a third-floor office with a full wall window overlooking a hotel, an apartment complex, and shopping center parking lots, hundreds of them pass me by a day. I've had many times when I've stopped and just watched as something interesting happens: fire trucks, construction, police officers, traffic back-ups, barking dogs, limos, dozens of stories happening right under my nose. All those moments are mine and mine alone.

And then I keep them to myself. I store the really interesting ones away, forget others, probably forget some of the interesting ones.

Yesterday, I thought, "Why not share them?"

So starting today and hopefully continuing each week, I'm going to report on my weekly inspirations. All those little moments that lit a small spark, and all of you, dear readers, are welcome to them. Consider everything a prompt that you are welcome to take and twist and develop as your own if you like. Because the moments may have been mine, but there's not reason I can't pass them on to you as well. Some weeks I may have many, some only one or two, but I'll try to have something interesting for you every week.

This week's moments:
  • There was a woman walking down the side of the road. At first, I thought she was wearing a purple headscarf that wrapped around her hair and trailed down to her waist, but as I drew nearer, I realized it was her hair, set in small violet braids.
  • As I parked in my driveway, a firefly landed on the windshield of my car. I had just been lamenting to myself that I'd yet to see one this season, so it was thrilling to have the first one so close. Only lightly illuminated by the single lamp on the front porch, it didn't know I was there, leaning in over my steering wheel for a closer look. In the minute we both sat there, inches apart, it didn't flash, not once, but there in the darkness, I could see the promise of light inside it, green and pulsating, flashing and roiling around inside it like lightning in a cloud. In that moment, I understood why they're called "lightning bugs."
So, dear readers, what moments did you have this week?