2000 Marbles Make Mechanical Music

Wintergatan – Marble Machine

I love this amazing invention! Don’t you?

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An insider’s view of volunteering at Phoenix Comicon

Comicon? What?

It’s a fan convention, originally centered around comic books, but now encompassing all kinds of pop culture. The most popular Comic Con is held in San Diego every summer, but its success prompted similar events around the world including the Phoenix Comicon (PCC), which we’ve held since 2002.

I gave away these homemade Fae Wishing Tins at my panel: with a luck penny, pixie dust, Charms candy, and one even included a thumb drive with my "Song of the Ocarina" ebook on it.
I gave away these homemade Fae Wishing Tins at my panel: with a lucky penny, pixie dust, candy, and one even included a thumb drive with my “Song of the Ocarina” ebook on it.

I started attending with my family four years ago because of our love of sci-fi and fantasy media: Star Wars, Dr. Who, Farscape, Star Trek, etc. This year, though, I spoke on a panel about “Finding Your Inner Fae,” and volunteered in Outdoor Programming.

I had not volunteered at PCC until this year. I had a blast working in Outdoor Programming along Third Street, just outside the main entrance to the con’. The idea of this blocked-off street is to entice people to the con’ and to keep the main foot-traffic area free of motorized vehicles.  Unless they were parked and on display, like these beauties.

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Our team, headed by my friend Joanne de Biasi, helped the outdoor exhibitors load into booths, get what they needed, and find answers to all their questions. Not only was it fun to interact with the booth folk — like Build-A-Bear, and the dog rescue organization — but as a side perk, Event Staff receive a full event membership, t-shirt, $20 in vouchers for Hyatt food kiosks, and discounts with vendors. I’d already purchased my membership, though, so I donated mine to a friend.

Phx Comicon 2015 - 020My son’s band, The Darling Sounds, also played a set as part of the programming.

Besides the hundreds of break-out sessions on every geek topic you can imagine, including a writing/author track, I’ve developed a favorite trio of activities when I go to con’:

Celebrity panels. We’ve seen Nathan Fillion, William Shatner, Steve Amell, Summer Glau, John Barrowman, and many others. It’s so fascinating to see their personalities first-hand, and hear behind-the-scenes info on their shows/activities.

The cosplay costumes. These people are dedicated to creating authentic and fun costumes. You’ll never see anything like them.

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The Expo. Every possible geek product and service covers the main floor of the Phoenix Convention Center: posters, books/comic books, clothing, art, and tons of items you didn’t know you needed until you see them. My favorite may be a Castle badge sporting Nathan Fillion’s character photo and the title “Writer.”

I met some of the most creative, fun, and smart people, and cannot wait to do it again. Watch for next year’s post when I talk about my volunteer work with the writers/authors programming track. Woot!

If you’re interested, find out more details about volunteering at Phoenix Comicon.

Life’s Little Pleasures — the coveted Videan family gingerbread kids recipe

A word-of-mouth marketing example from the lens of Ann Narcisian Videan
to inspire your readers or tribe/village.

(You may want to subscribe to my LINC enewsletter announcing
more word-of-mouth marketing examples.)
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Gingerbread orchestra.
Gingerbread orchestra.

The good story behind the goodies

My mom was famous for her gingerbread kids. She baked dozens and dozens every Christmas, and her friends waited all year for them to arrive on their doorstep.

To try our family gingerbread recipe is to love it. Really. Everyone who tastes them, raves about how tasty, soft and chewy, and uniquely iced they are. Not to mention highly tasty.

We’ve continued, and slightly enhanced, the tradition. We still give them away as gifts at holiday time, only usually in one or two of my “scrapboxed” tins. I use my scrapbooking materials to creatively cover the many tea tins I accumulate from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf every year. Plus, my family loves to make the kids’ icing unique. One year, we iced on car logos. Another year, Harry Potter characters. Last year, the dwarves from The Hobbit (which will have already seen if you subscribe to my LINC enewsletter.)

My tins are perfect for our award-winning Molasses Crinkles, too! :)
My tins are perfect for our award-winning Molasses Crinkles, too! 🙂
 My "scrapboxed" cookie tins for cookies and gingerbread
My “scrapboxed” cookie tins for cookies and gingerbread

I thought this year I’d add to your holiday cheer by sharing the recipe. Enjoy every morsel!

Gingerbread Kids

(makes 70 mini gingerbread boys)
From the kitchen of Madge Narcisian, via Ann Narcisian Videan

1/2 c. soft shortening
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. light or dark molasses
1 egg yolk

Beat shortening, sugar, molasses until creamy. Add egg yolk and beat well.

2 c. all purpose sifted flour (maybe just short of 2 cups)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cloves
1-1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg

Sift flour with salt, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg. Blend into sugar mixture. (If the dough is too granular, add a tablespoon or two of milk.)

Chill dough for more than one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On lightly floured board, roll out dough to 1/4” thickness. Using two-inch gingerbread cookie cutters, stamp and place 1/2” inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Icing

1-1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1 egg white
1/2 t. cream de tartar
Use water not milk to thin icing.

Why not share one of your favorite family recipes, below in the comments…

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Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth

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