Monday, June 9, 2014

A Quick Word From An Octo-Mazing Octogenarian!

My dad turned 80 this passed March, and he's still acting like he's in his 50's.
I posted several of his best one-liners on my Facebook page in honor of his birthday...but here they are again for those of you who may not know me, or my father in real life.

This a collection of some of his antics and ramblings from over the passed few years:

He’s an Octo-Mazing Octogenarian!!
I tried something unique in honor of my Dad's 80th birthday. I appealed to my Facebook friends with the idea that if my dad had said or done something to make them laugh, or make them smile...would they consider sending him a birthday card through the post to help commemorate his 80th.
The idea sort of took on a life of its own, because my father ended up receiving over 80 birthday cards by the time the final card arrived. He was shocked...and the kindness of people he'd never met, but who's lives he had touched made him go all teary-eyed. He received cards from all across the country! He received cards from Hawaii, from New York, New Mexico, Florida, Alaska, Ohio, name it! It was an amazing gift, not just for him, but for me as well, and I will never be able to thank my Facebook family enough for the kindness and the love they showed to him on that birthday.

My daddy is overwhelmed by all the birthday love he received from everyone and would like to thank each and every one of you for your thoughtfulness and birthday wishes!!
January 12, 2014
Dad: The only Mexican food I like is pizza.
Me: Daddy, pizza is Italian. Not Mexican.
Dad: Not in Lincolnton it's not. Have you seen who runs the Pizza Hut?

November 14, 2013 
In the car on the way to dinner with my dad....
Dad: Is your butt hot?
Me: your's?
Dad: Um....yes.
(I look down to see that the seat warmer has been turned on by accident...)
Me: Oh...the seat warmer is on!
Dad: Oh well thank God! There for a minute I thought I had crapped my pants....

October 22, 2013 dad thinks Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus are the same person.
Makes perfect sense to me.

My daddy models my Evil Lyn headdress I got from Johnny Bilson at Power-Con 2013!!
Dad: What's that noise?! Do you hear that??!
Me: *straining to listen* nah...what does it sound like?
Dad: it sounds like whispering...
Me: oh, maybe it's my iPod. *checks purse to find iPod playing Daft Punk album*
Dad: whew...I knew I was hearing something. I thought it was a Pentecostal!
Me: You thought it was a WHAT?!
Dad: You know, a Pentecostal. Like a ghost, or a boogie man.
Dad: What did I say?
Me: Pentecostal.
Dad: Oh...well hell, I'm glad you got that all straightened out. Being Pentecostal is MUCH scarier than being a poltergeist.

Dad: I think I'd like to have one of those cell phones with a camera in it.
Me: Okay...well, what do you want to take pictures of?
Dad: I don't know. Stuff. Bugs. Vultures. Cows. Clouds.
Me: Okay...well, I could probably just get you a better camera.
Dad: nah...I think I want a camera I can talk to. How much is one of them phones that has a Suzy in it?
Me: *puzzled for a minute* Do you mean SURI? Are you talking about an iPhone?
Dad: I don't's one of them fancy phones that has a lady trapped inside it. You ask her things and she tells you jokes and how to get to the dry cleaner.
Me: Daddy...I don't think you need an iPhone. You just need a phone, and I can get you a phone with a camera in it if you want.
Dad: well, get me one of them phones that will talk to me. Sometimes I get lonely when your Mama's busy watching NCIS reruns.

Dad: I can't go back to that restaurant anymore.
Me: Why? What happened?
Dad: Well...I ordered a sausage biscuit and I told the waitress I didn't want mustard on it. When it came out it had so much mustard on it that it looked like a baby had taken a poop on it.
Me: *nervous questioning*, the food and service aren't good...and that's why you can't go back?
Dad: Nah... I think I can't go back because I asked the waitress who's baby sh*t on my biscuit.

I would like to wish my two favorite superhero's a very Happy 48th Wedding Anniversary!! Your unconditional love for one another has been nothing short of an inspiration and constant reminder that true love lasts a lifetime. I love you both more than words can express. Happy Anninversary Mom and Dad!!

Now...let's go celebrate over a steak!!! The same way you did the day you got married!

I have the BEST DADDY in all the world. My love for him is infinite and unconditional. I wish everyone could have a father as wonderful as mine. We've never had much money, we never lived in a fancy house, but I have never ONCE doubted how much I am loved or appreciated. We are rich in the things money cannot buy...and that is truly priceless. Happy Birthday sir. You're making 79 look good!

"There's a difference between bein 'naked' and bein 'nekkid'.
Naked means you don't got no clothes on.
Nekkid mean you don't got no clothes on, and you're up to something." - Dad

Sometime ago, back in the 80's, my brother was with my dad at a gas station in Shelby. Dad must have been in "a mood", because a rather large "beast of a man" was standing in the doorway as my dad tried to walk in to pay...and my brother says THIS is what transpired:
Dad: you gonna move?
Man: what'd you just say?
Dad: I said you gonna move dammit?
Man: what?!
Dad: listen son, just cause you shit in the woods don't make you no damn bear. gonna move, or do I have to make you?
Man: (looks at my dad like he might be an escaped mental patient) I'm moving old man, sorry. add to the story, my brother was watching this from the car, where he was pretty sure my dad was about to get his ass kicked. He was amazed when the bigger guy walked away flummoxed. It also turns out that the big guy was just attempting to HOLD the door for my dad in the first place.
*and on a side note:
My dad has been much calmer and less likely to lay a beat down on innocent bystanders since his triple bypass surgery in '98.

Dad: so whatcha gonna do tomorrow night?
Me: oh, I'm going to the movies.
Dad: oh. Whatcha gonna see?
Me: I'm going to see Les Miserables with some friends.
Dad: what makes it less miserable?
Me: means "the miserable ones"
Dad: well hell baby, if you want to see someone be miserable make some popcorn. I've got the shingles and will let you watch me do stuff for free.

Dad: Baby I know you will grow wherever you're planted. You're like a weed.
Me: a weed?!
Dad: well, flowers are delicate and god knows they don't weather storms and cold very well. You're more like a weed. You'll grow wherever you decide to put down roots, and you'll be hard as hell to kill.
Me: gee thanks...
Dad: now don't be like that. You're an awful purdy weed.

Dad: remember when you used to play hide-n-seek when you were little?
Me: I remember hiding, and you never coming to find me.
Dad: I was letting you win.
Me: I hid under my bed for hours waiting for you to come find me!
Dad: well, it's not my fault you always wanted to play when Miami Vice was on.

Dad: Did you already have a cup of coffee this morning?
Me: Yeah, I brewed it at like 6:30 this morning. I'm on my second cup.
Dad: Did the first cup taste wrong?
Me: Not that I noticed.
Dad: Well it should have. It didn't belong to you. The first cup is mine.
Me: Oh...? Okay? Should I have poured it and put it aside for you?
Dad: No. That's silly. It would've got cold. You should have poured it, poured your cup, then poured mine back into the pot so it would be warm when I got up.
Me: Daddy, that's silly...even for you.
Dad: no, that's good manners. It's not my fault if good manners are crazy.

Mom: I'm sorry to be so much trouble...
Me: Mama, would you hush. You're no trouble. Have you MET my father?!
Dad: hey wait...why am I in trouble?
Me: oh darlin, you're not IN trouble. You ARE trouble.
Dad: true enough.

My goodness daddy...where'd you get that good lookin shirt!?
June 11, 2012 
I can't sleep because I have the memory of my daddy singing, "there's a skeeter on my peter, knock it off!!" stuck in my head...

"your mama can fix the dresses, I'm gonna wear this hat" - dad at Shane's
Me: sometimes getting old is a pain...
Dad: nah...eventually your eyesight will be so bad that you won't be able to see what's wrong in the world, your hearing will go and you won't be able to hear people complaining about how bad the world is, and then...your mind goes and you just won't give a sh!t.
Me: wow. And that's good...?
Dad: well, it's definitely better if you can stop giving a sh!t first...

Dad: Did I tell you about the other day when I dropped my medicine and mistook a piece of cat litter for my blood pressure pill?
Me: NO! What happened?
Dad: Well, for starters, I don't think cat litter helps lower your blood pressure...but it'll make you slobber like a bulldog.

Happy Birthday Darlin!!!

Dad: so you passed out at the doctor's office eh?
Me: yeah...wilted like four-month-old lettuce.
Dad: you get that from me, sorry about that. However you also get a lot of other stuff from you break even.
Me: yeah, like what?
Dad: oh you know...your love of cars, your love of awesome stuff, your sense of humor, your dashing good looks, all that stuff...
Me: Really? What do I get from Mama?
Dad: You're ability to boss me around....oh, and your eyes.

Me: what's wrong? You not feeling good?
Dad: (in a grumpy voice) I feel fine.
Me: you're not convincing me.
Dad: it's winter. The trees are nekkid and my bones are cold. I don't have to be happy until spring.

"I'm so tired of all these college ads making people feel stupid. Going to college doesn't make you smart. That's like saying puttin sugar on a french fry makes it a sweet potato. Being smart makes you smart, and french fries are always better with a hot dog and a milkshake." - My Dad

Me: That spider was so big that I thought you were going to need a glowing blue sword to kill it! (Not joking...said spider was HUGE)
Dad: You can't kill a spider with a sword, everybody knows that. Spiders are skilled swordsmen, and have eight legs. I would've lost that fight, and I'd still have had to kill it with the broom.

Don't ask me how it started...I think with a discussion on Martin Luther King day...and spiralled out of control, but this is where it wound up...

Dad: Why do we celebrate Columbus day? Columbus didn't discover America, America Ferrera did. Otherwise it would have been called "Columbisca" or something like that.
Me: (laughing so hard I can barely breathe) Daddy, I don't think America was named for America Ferrera, I'm pretty sure she's not that old. I think you meant Amerigo Vespucci.
Dad: Who? Amacrigo? That doesn't even sound CLOSE to AMERICA. I think you should Boggle it.

Dad: you know what we need?
Me: what's that?
Dad: hot chocolate and Crocodile Dundee.
Me: word.

In the car tonight...
Me: I'm SO SAD...people are already taking down their Christmas lights.
Dad: Not everybody...those people still have decorations up. (Points toward the graveyard we're passing by...)
Me: Um...yeah, Daddy...I'm not sure the cemetery counts.
Dad: Whatdya mean? Dead people decorations count! Ghosts LOVE Christmas!! Ain't you ever watched "A Christmas Carol"? There's like FIVE ghosts in that, and they all celebrated Christmas...

Me: (Unloading my car)
Dad: Is that my present?
Me: No...that's for Phil.
Dad: Can I have it?
Me: No. I've already got you presents.
Dad: Are they better than Phil's?
Me: Um...they're just as good.
Dad: I don't know about that...maybe you should give me MY presents AND Phil's presents...and let me decide.

Dad: What are you watchin?
Me: Jem. Phil just bought me the new Complete Series.
Dad: Oh. (Walks away...)
Me: I don't have to watch them right now, you can watch something else.
Dad: What are you talking about? I was going to make popcorn! Pause it til I get back.

Dad: It'll be okay baby-girl. You just gotta keep your chin up.
Me: Thanks Dad...I know.
Dad: You know what would make you feel better? A Tony's milkshake!
Me: You mean what would make YOU feel better?
Dad: Well, yes...but doesn't making ME happy also make YOU happy?

Two Tony's milkshakes later...
Me: You're right Dad. Buying you milkshakes DOES make me feel better.
Dad: See. I told you.

October 12, 2011
Me: hey, Dad...say something funny. It always makes me feel better.
Dad: I'm not funny, I'm honest...and you THINK it's funny.
Me: *smiling* Thanks. I needed that.
Dad: I'll be here all week, try the Vienna Sausages! No wait, the Vienna Sausages are mine. You can try the Beanie Weenies.
Me: *big hug* THAT'S what I needed. ;-D

Dad saying: You better hurry up and take the belly thinks my throats been cut! 
Uh oh...

Me: All my "get-up-and-go" "got-up-and-went".
Dad: Well, when it gets back, ask it if it would make me some peanut butter crackers.

"You? Again?! Boy, didn't I tell you not to show up here again unless you had Girl Scout cookies?!" - My Dad to the Jehovah's witnesses this afternoon

Dad: Where'd you put my tire gauge?
Me: I didn't have your tire gauge...
Dad: Yes you did.
Me: Really? When?
Dad: When you checked the pressure in your tires before you went to Knoxville!
Me: Dad, that was 6 months ago...
Dad: I know that...but you're the last one that had it. You're supposed to keep up with it! You were born almost 30 years ago, and I've kept up with YOU haven't I? I don't know why you couldn't keep up with a little tire gauge.

So today a lady with a questionably short dress sat too close to my father at lunch... When she dropped her silverware in the floor my dad said, "what are you wearing?" The girl looked up and smiled and said, "where i'm from they call this a dress, why? You like it?" To which my dear sweet daddy replied, "well, where I come from they'd call you a hooker. And no, I don't like it."
One of these days he's gonna get me in A LOT of trouble...

This is how my Dad likes to start a story: "I knew I was in trouble when I ate those green pears on my paper route and accidentally used poison-oak as toliet paper..."

so last night, over dinner, my dad told a lovely story about an Indian named "Bowels". Uncle Sam tried to get Bowels to move, and Bowels would not. Uncle Sam visited many times, and each time Bowels would say, "Bowels no move!" One day, after many months of failed attempts, Uncle Sam went to Bowel's teepee and found Bowels with all his possessions in a bundle, moving away. Uncle Sam asked Bowels why he had suddenly decided to leave and Bowel's said, "Bowels move now...teepee full of sh!t."

Dad: What are you doing?
Me: Cleaning out my spam folder.
Dad: You have a folder full of Spam?! I wanna see...
Me: It's just junk mail Dad, that's what they call it.
Dad: Well Spam's not junk. Spam is delicious!! Why would they name junk after something delicious?
Me: Beats me.
Dad: They shoulda named it Raisin Tuna Sardine Cheese. Because THAT sounds disgusting. And THAT woulda made sense.

Me: So this winter when it's 20° and I'm complaining that I'm cold, I want someone who loves me to smack me in the back of the head.
Dad: *SMACK!*
Me: Oww!! What was that for?
Dad: What? I only heard that last part. You said you wanted someone who loved you to smack you in the head...
Me: I meant THIS WINTER. If I complained about being cold!
Dad: Oh. Whoops. Well, that was just practice. And you're welcome in advance.

Dad: Remember that time your Mama asked you to say Grace and you sang the Wonder Woman theme song instead?
Me: Yeah...I remember you laughed at me and we both got in trouble.
Dad: Oh yeah, I forgot that part. I only remembered how funny it was. You were a funny kid.
Me: Well, I get it honest.
Dad: I don't know what you're talking about. Your Mama's not that funny.

Me: I just don't know what to do.
Dad: I just want you to do what makes you happy. Like the time I had to choose between a Klondike Bar or a Nutty Buddy.
Me: I don't think that's quite the same thing. You were happy either way...
Dad: oh, I guess you're right. What I meant was you should change your that no matter the outcome, you have ice cream.
Me: Thanks dad. You really do give the best advice.

Dad: Babe, you look like you've had a bad week. It reminds me of that time I got bitten by that barracuda I caught off the Oak Island Pier.
Me: Um...okay. Why does it remind you of that?
Dad: I don't know, but I want to go to the beach.

My dad paid PCH $20 for flower bulbs. He set them out 6 weeks ago & NOTHING grew. Tonight, he got out the bag they came in & read the directions. After realizing he planted the bulbs upside down he remarked, "I bet those damn flowers are blooming on the other side!! I bet they're blooming in Hell! I bet the Devil looked up & said, 'look at those pretty flowers! I HATE pretty flowers! Cause I'm the Devil. BLEAH.'"

it's 2:44am...I'm still awake.
Dad gets up..."What are you still doing up?"
Me: Can't sleep. I'm watching He-Man until I fall asleep.
Dad: Oh. Well, since you're up...would you mind making me some peanut butter and crackers? And move over...I want to watch He-Man too.

Dad: Do you have any comic-books about funny skeletons?
Me: Um...not that I know of...
Dad: Well...I want to read one about a drunk skeleton who wants to be sheriff one day, and maybe he has a pet. Like a funny monkey, or a wolverine or something...
Me: Wow...yeah. I'm pretty sure that doesn't exist yet.
Dad: Well that's what I want for Father's Day...see what you can do.

"When I see anyone else with those silly colors in their hair, I think, "now that's just stupid"...but when I see them on you...I barely even notice. Maybe that's because you're my baby girl, and I think you're beautiful...or maybe it's because you're my baby and you ARE beautiful. Either way...the blues looks good on you."
Thanks dad. I love you too.

So, at lunchtime, I bought a box of a DOZEN fudgecicles and took them home. So, 4 hours later, my dad calls me and says, "Hey. You know those chocolate popcicles you brought home? Well, you need to go get more...because I accidentally ate them all."
Accident my foot.

Dad: A rich man counts his gold, a wise man counts his blessings...*long pause*
And a lucky son-of-a-b!tch counts both.

“faster than a chicken chasin a June-bug...” Dad

“holy crap...that storm done skeered my monkey clear up a tree.” Dad

me: you know, people always want what they don't have...
Dad: That's true...the key is to want what you DO have.
Dad: (after a thoughtful pause)...but you're still right. I want a milkshake, and I don't have one.

this morning, my boss told me the reason his feet hurt was because he had his socks on the wrong feet. I told my dad that at lunch. My dad said he put the wrong socks on his feet one time. I laughed and said, "Daddy, that's not possible, there's no wrong way to wear socks." "Joke's on you," he said. "They were YOUR socks and they WERE on the WRONG FEET...and after that day, they were never the same."

A milkshake date AND Don Williams...all in ONE WEEK!!
Dad: (at Bojangles) Can I get some mayonaise?
Server: Sure. (hands Dad some Miracle Whip.)
Dad: (puzzled expression) No. I said mayonaise. Whatcha giving me salad dressing for?
Server: That's the only mayonaise we have sir.
Dad: Well that's dumb. If it ain't Dukes, it ain't mayonaise. You can keep your salad dressing. I'm not a rabbit.

Dad: You got any cartoons I can watch?
Me: Are you KIDDING? What do you want to watch?
Dad: You got any of them Hero-Mans on DVD?
Me: You mean He-Man?
Dad: Yeah, that's the one. The one with She-Ra in it. I wanna watch She-Ra.
(I KNEW I was a Daddy's girl...77 years old, and still wants to watch cartoons!)
Romanian Doctor (who speaks very limited, broken english): Mr. Marsh, how do you feel?
Dad: I don't feel worth a hoot.
Doctor: What is hoot?
Dad: What do you mean, "What is hoot"? Don't they have a "hoot" where you come from?
Even when he's sick...he's still...wait for it....a hoot. 

Keep your cat-calls to yourself...

There were a couple of fellas doing repair work to the house across the street from my parent's house this morning. They were both in their late 50's or so, shirtless, with cut-off jean shorts and hiking boots...and maybe 6 teeth between them. As I was loading my car to leave...they both let out whistles in my general direction. I rolled my eyes and noticed that my dad was sitting on the front porch swing. He looked at me, looked over at them, then got up and walked silently across the yard. I went back in the house and watched from the front door as he walked over to them and talked for a few minutes. Without incident, he then started walking back across the street and back into the house...

Me: What did you say to them?
Dad: Oh...I just said, "Hey boys, that's my baby daughter you just whistled at. Now, I'm pretty sure she don't appreciate the whistling...and I know I don't, but let's get something straight. If you do it again, you won't have to worry about me coming across the street. You'll have to worry about HER coming across the street. Cause I don't know what she did with my shotgun, but SHE does."
Me: I love you too daddy. <3

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Turning 30 with a friend...30 years with HeroesCon

It's hard to believe that Charlotte's own HeroesCon 2012, America's Favorite Comic-Book Convention, has already come and gone. I'm still reeling over the fact that this was the 30th Anniversary, and that I've attended EVERY SHOW.
I started attending HeroesCon in 1982, 13 days before I was actually born, when my 13 year old brother threatened eternal hatred of me if I was the reason he didn't get to attend a comic-book convention. His threats against the unborn served him well, and two weeks later my overly pregnant mother drove him (and me too, I guess) the hour from Lincolnton to Charlotte in the sweltering heat of a 1978 Granada to attend the first ever Heroes Convention.
I have to say, that first show must have been worth it, because we continued to go back the following four years as a trio, my brother, mother and me. It was in 1987 that things started to change, and I thought I was going to miss the big event I had grown to love.
My brother announced that since he had his own car and could drive himself, he would be going without my mother. I was too scared to ask him if I could go too, though I wanted to more than anything...(big brothers are sometimes scary to little sisters...especially when they duct tape you inside a refrigerator box and threaten to ship you to Clemson on a regular basis) My fears, however, were unfounded, as on the morning of the convention my brother woke me up super early (it might have been more like Noon...but anytime before 4pm was early for me back then!!) and told me to get ready, we were leaving in 10 minutes!! I remember rushing to get dressed. I was only 5 and not necessarily gifted at dressing myself. I remember running out with my shirt on inside out and backwards and wearing two different shoes. My mother laughed at me as she fixed my outfit and made my brother promise to keep a close eye on me.
And that was it...the beginning of the pilgrimage that would last another 15 years for one big brother and his little sister. We went every summer without fail. It was almost my birthday present every year, sometimes it was actually ON my birthday. It turned into a ritual celebration that nothing could interfere with. We scheduled vacations around it, we avoided family reunions because of it. HeroesCon was OUR thing, and it was the one time of the year that I was proud to be a "nerd", as I was so deemed by my classmates growing up. At HeroesCon I fit in. At HeroesCon I was the "cool girl" who read comics and watched cartoons. As I got older, I even got a few compliments about being the "cute girl" who read comics. It was good for me and my self esteem. It made me feel like I belonged somewhere...which can be hard for anyone to find, especially a teenager. Going to HeroesCon was like going home once a year. Those were my people, and I couldn't wait to see them again the next year...

In 2003 though, for some reason, my brother couldn't make the trip. He had two kids and a job that had him traveling around the state and sometimes the country. Our dad had been in and out of the hospital a lot from 1999 to 2001 and I had gotten rather familiar with driving to Charlotte, so I decided to make the trip with my then boyfriend. I remember being a bit overwhelmed by the trek. I was 21 and with a guy who didn't read comics and thought the idea of a comic-book convention was juvenile (that should have been my first red flag!). Even though I was super happy to be back at HeroesCon, it was weird to be there without my brother, my mentor and trusty side-kick. It just felt like something was missing.
Thankfully though, those feelings of weirdness didn't keep me from making the most of my first convention without my brother. I walked through artist alley and looked at peoples prints and sketches, I bought arm loads of books from various vendors, and I bought three new Masters of the Universe comics from a guy named Val Staples, who flirtatiously signed them for me. (It would be years later that Val and I would become fast friends, and work together to make some really amazing things happen in the MOTU world, ex: Power-Con / ThunderCon!!) I remember feeling like Heroes was part of who I was, and I wasn't about to give that up for anyone or anything...which made the most difference the following year when I met Phil.
I was still dating "Mr. Not-Quiet-Right" from the year before when I met Phil at the Heroes store the Monday before the convention in 2004. He had mistakenly asked my then boyfriend what he could help him find and I rather rudely redirected his attention to me, the one he should really be assisting. "A thousand apologies my lady," he said as I blushed, "what can I help you with?!" The boyfriend chewed me up one side and down the other all the way home that night for flirting with the guy at the comic-book store. But it didn't matter...Phil had flirted his way into my heart, and he was never going to leave.
Me and Phil at the HeroesCon After-Party in 2006.
It was that following Saturday at HeroesCon 2004 that I saw Phil at the Heroes booth and he blew me a kiss as I passed by. That sent boyfriend over the edge with rage...and we broke up in the parking lot after leaving the show. It was an uncomfortable ride home...but it was the last uncomfortable ride, and HeroesCon had freed me from yet another anchor in life.
I started going to the Heroes store on a regular basis after that, instead of my regular 3 or 4 times a year, and I eventually got up the nerve to ask Phil if he was ever going to ask me out. He gave me his phone number on the back of a Heroes bag, and we've been together ever since.

It was in 2005 that I started volunteering behind the scenes of HeroesCon. It was mind boggling!! All the work that goes into the little comic-show that could!! It's incredibly impressive how something as big as HeroesCon runs on the man-power of a select few. It was like watching an orchestra perform!! I continued to volunteer for the show every year, right up until early 2012. It was in February 2012 that Heroes stepped in and, once again, changed my life.
Shelton Drum, owner of Heroes Aren't Hard to Find and organizer of HeroesCon, asked me to dinner and made me an offer that I couldn't refuse. He offered me the job that it seemed I had been preparing for my entire life...the position of Events Coordinator for the shop and the convention. I had been working as a graphic designer for 12 years at an area newspaper at the time, but there was no need for consideration, I said YES immediately...and quit my job at the newspaper the following week.
So this year was my first year as a true "Employee" of the convention, and not a mere "volunteer". Sure, it was a LOT of work. Even though we spend months planning, there is always too much to do, and there is never enough time to do it all! And was REALLY rough a couple of times, but would I change a second of it? Not a snowball's chance in Hades!!
This year I got to meet the incredible Stan Lee, I got to spend time with remarkable talents like the magnificent Earl Norem, Adam Hughes, Cully Hamner, Mark Brooks and more, and best of all...I got to help answer a wish for the Carolina Sunshine, a Make-A-Wish foundation organization.

I was contacted a few weeks before the convention by the Carolina Sunshine, an organization that grants wishes for terminally ill children in South Carolina. I was told about a 5-year-old who's wish it was to meet Spider-Man, and the organization didn't know what the best way to grant his wish was. He was too small and fragile to go to an amusement park, and meeting Spider-Man wasn't something that they felt they could do justice by buying a Spider-Man costume from their local Wal-Mart. So they turned to Heroes for help. I was more than happy to help them answer his wish, and so they sent the family the two hours north to Charlotte to attend their first HeroesCon.
Me and Matthew, slinging some webs at HeroesCon 2012.
I have to say, meeting the Roldan family this year was easily one of the highlights of my convention experiences. Matthew Roldan, the 'wish child', is a charming young man who is suffering from terminal lymphoma. He and his precious family were the singular most appreciative, and deserving, family I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Matthew's wish was to meet Spider-Man, and though Phil and I had organized to have a Spider-Man costume on hand for the event, and we had several people lined up to play the part, the best Spider-Man imaginable showed up on his own the Friday morning of the show.
I approached Spider-Man and explained our situation to him, and he, in typical Superhero-form, was more than happy to help us out!
When Matthew and his family arrived at the show Friday evening, Spider-Man ran out and greeted them in true Spidey-style, sliding across the floor with hands ready to sling webs! Matthew looked up at Spidey with true wonder in his eyes and raised his little arms for a hug. Spider-Man looked at Matthew and said, "Oh MAN!! You want to give ME a hug?! I'd be honored little buddy!!" Spider-Man then leaned down and gave Matthew a true Super-Spidey hug. He asked Matthew if it would be alright if he carried him around the show for a little while, as there were villains all around (pointing toward a couple dressed as Harley Quinn and the Joker). Matthew agreed to a lift from Spider-Man but leaned down and told Spidey, "it's okay, that's just Harley and Joker, they're just shopping too..." Spider-Man looked back at me for a second, and I could see that his Spider-mask was wet from tears. It was almost too much to take in. The kindness in the heart of this tiny Hero was limitless, he just wanted everyone to have a good time.
Spider-Man and his friends pose for a photo with me
and Matthew.
Spider-Man graciously spent the rest of the afternoon with us as we walked around the convention. I introduced Matthew and his family to several creators, some of whom even did sketches for Matthew (THANK YOU Cully Hamner & Yale Stewart!!), and he got to visit a lot of vendors, some of whom donated toys to Matthew and his brother Nick! (THANK YOU to Mike Ridlen of New World Toys and Collectibles!!) But the real treat came on Saturday, when the family got to meet the one-and-only STAN LEE.

Matthew and his brother, Nick, talking with Stan Lee!
I had explained the circumstances to Stan's staff, and Stan was more than happy to help make a wish come true. He stepped away from his line of paying fans to spend a few minutes meeting with the family, taking pictures, signing a Spider-Man movie poster (THANK YOU to Justin of Regal Cinemas Stonecrest for the poster!) and even gifting Matthew with a set of special Avenger's toys. He also took a few minutes to visit one-on-one with Matthew and his brother Nick, which I'm pretty sure was the experience of a lifetime for both boys!
When Stan met with the family, he leaned in to introduce himself to Matthew and said, "Hey there, Matthew, I'm Stan Lee! Do you know who I am?!"
Matthew nodded, but didn't say anything.
Stan then said, "You know, I'm kinda like Spider-Man's dad."
To which Matthew said, "nuh uh, Uncle Ben was Spider-Man's dad."
Stan looked surprised, but smiled at his little friend and said, "well, you're right! I couldn't take care of Spider-Man the way I needed to, so Uncle Ben took care of him for me."
"It's okay," Matthew said. "Uncle Ben was a good Dad."
"Yes, he was. Wasn't he." Stan replied as he patted Matthew on the arm. He then leaned down to Matthew and asked, "Do you remember what Uncle Ben taught Spider-Man? With great power..."
"Comes great responsibility...," Matthew finished.
"My goodness, but you are a smart young man!" Stan declared.
It was then that Stan noticed the Wolverine toy Matthew was holding and said, "well, who do we have here?!"
Matthew handed him his action figure and said, "that's Wolverine!"
Stan tells Wolverine to watch Matthew's back.
"Why yes it is!" Stan laughed. "You know, he's a pretty good friend of Spider-Man's. Did you know that?"
Matthew nodded.
"You know...he's also a good friend to have when the going gets tough!"
Stan then held the Wolverine up and spoke to it, "Now Logan," he looked at Matthew and said, "I can call him Logan, me and him go WAY BACK," Matthew giggled.
"Now Logan," he started again, "this is my friend Matthew, he's a TRUE BELIEVER, so you watch his back for me, okay?!" He then handed the figure back to Matthew.
Matthew looked at the Wolverine figure, then back at Stan. He then looked at Wolverine and said, "Watch his back too," and pointed at Stan.
Stan looked at Matthew and smiled, he placed his hand on Matthew's arm and said, "You take care now, True Believer." He then shook the hands of Matthew's family and turned and put his hand on my shoulder and smiled. He didn't have to say anything to me. His look said it all.

He waved to us and to everyone who had gathered around as he made his way back to his booth.
It was a true Heroic moment that I will never forget as long as I live. No matter how big and important Stan Lee is to thousands of fans all across the globe, he wasn't too big to share a moment making a memory for this little family who needed it. It was as touching and sweet as any moment I've ever had the good fortune to experience, and I will be forever grateful to Mr. Lee and his staff for making it possible.
Stan Lee is a TRUE HERO, and he will forever have my respect and gratitude for what he did for the Roldan family.

While meeting the Roldan family, and seeing what HeroesCon meant to helped put a lot of things into perspective for me. HeroesCon was turning 30, and so was I. It was a beautiful milestone for both of us. We had grown up together, HeroesCon and I...and it was nice to see what HeroesCon meant for the new generation. It hadn't grown old, it had grown GREAT. I'd like to think that I'm following that same path.

On the Sunday night of HeroesCon each year, we throw an After-Party for our guests called the "Dead-Dog Party". It's a time when HeroesCon staff and guests can finally sit down together, share some food, drinks and conversation, and just enjoy each other's company and trade stories from that year's show. I was particularly surprised by this year's party some very special people who decided to honor me with a very special birthday gift.

My friend Val Staples (and Phil, though he swears he had very little to do with it) had organized a very special 30th Birthday present that they presented to me at this year's After-Party. 
Me and Izzy, as I'm just starting to figure out what's going on.
When Val told me that they needed me inside for a minute, I naturally assumed that we were gathering to honor Shelton and all that he has done over the past 30 years. 

The unveiling of an amazing gift...
I almost passed out when I realized that this gift wasn't for Shelton, but for me instead. Val had assembled a select group of some of my favorite artists to do a very special piece for my 30th birthday. I am now, and always will be, a die-hard She-Ra, Princess of Power fan, and Val had arranged 9 different pieces by 9 different artist, all of She-Ra characters, to spell out "Happy Birthday Karla". I was FLOORED. It was a gift beyond my wildest dreams, and something that I would have never thought possible, much less probable. The pieces are as follows: Peek-A-Blue, by Mike Maihack; Flutterina, by Cliff Chiang; Frosta, by Joe Staton; Bow, by Matt Tyree (who also did the visual layout for the entire piece!); She-Ra, by Brandon Peterson; Catra, by Andrew Robinson; Shadow Weaver, by Craig Rousseau; Scorpia, by Casey Jones; and Mantenna, by Mike Mignola.

I was so stunned that I couldn't speak. I just stood there in the middle of the room and cried like a tiny injured child. I have never felt so loved...and to receive a gift like this from such an amazing group of talented melted my heart. I can never express my gratitude to them enough. It truely was a once-in-a-lifetime present, made possible by some once-in-a-lifetime friends. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!! From the very bottom of my heart... I love you all to pieces!! we are. 30 wonderful years later, and HeroesCon has been a constant source of love and inspiration for me throughout my life. It has brought me closer to my friends and family, it has led me to the love of my life, and it has given me the opportunity to give back to others in ways I never thought possible.
To the Amazing Spider-Man who helped me grant a wish, I know you're true identity...but your secret is safe with me. As far as I'm concerned, you are the REAL your acts of kindness made you a true SuperHero in my eyes. To Stan Lee, you sir are not only a legend, but an inspiration to all mankind. You are worthy of a legacy that will last a millennia...and even that won't be enough.

And to everyone who has ever loved something with all their heart...hold on to it. True love is special. If you take care of it, it will take care of you. Sometimes there are things in your life that you take for granted until you step back and look at the big picture. HeroesCon was just an event 30 years ago, and a trip my mother made to appease my brother, but it turned out to be much more than that for me. It turned out to be the epi-center of my life. The heart of everything that has mattered to me, and continues to matter.

I owe a lot to HeroesCon , and I plan to try to give back to it for as long as I possibly can.
It's taken care of me, in one way or another, for 30 years. Now it's my turn to take care of it.
Happy Birthday make 30 look good.

Until next year, my friend...