Category Archives: My Life

A RROY REPORT Special Report: LawyerCon 2016: Denver: Part III

Part III: You won’t need a cab to find a priest

Day Five: Wednesday

As everyone knows, Wednesday is New Comic Book Day. What you may not know, is that Denver is the home of Mile-High Comics — the largest comic book shop in the world. Anyone who’s spent much time reading comics knows about Mile High. They’ve been running full-page ads in comics for years. Their mascot is a beaver or raccoon or something  holding a flag.

Naturally, I had to go. According to the iPad, it was 3 miles or a 1-hour walk away. Again, it looked a lot longer than an hour walk on the map. But I couldn’t bring myself to hire a cab to take me to a comic book shop, so the boy and I got up early and started to walk in the direction on the map. After 40 minutes it was obvious that we were nowhere near the shop and I wasn’t all that confident about this map. Streets in Denver curve around and change names frequently.

We walked back to the hotel and ask for a cab. Hey, this isn’t some hole-in-the-wall comic shop — this is Mile High. It’s like a museum of comics. Some guy pulls up from Mile High Cab — it’s a sign, right?

“Where to?”

“4600 Jason Street.”

The guy turns around and looks at me. “What is there?”

“Uh..Mile High Comics” I mumble.

“Comic Books? OK.”

Never having had a fare ask to go to the largest comic book shop in the world, Haraldo (or Gerardo, I’m not sure) plugged the destination into his GPS and off we went. Harry was one of those affable, chatty types of cabbies. Normally I don’t care for that type but he was so nice I didn’t mind. He let us know when to roll down our windows and breathe in the pot smoke. That kinda guy. And yes, comic shops are often located in those types of places.

The Jason Street location is a warehouse, hence the large size, and as such is located in the warehouse district, far too far to walk to as I soon realized. We arrived at the location and there was just a big, square, red building. The only sign we were in the right place was the Mile High Comics banner on top, the first word of which had blown over so all you could read was High Comics. Harry drove around until he found what looked like a front door.

“Do you want me to come back for you?”

“Would you mind? Give me, say, 45 minutes?”

“Sure. Here’s my card. Call if you want to stay longer or leave earlier.”

Now at this point you’re saying — Ha Ha! You don’t have a phone! True, but knowing my plans for the day, I took Laurie’s. She wouldn’t need it in class.

milehigh1

We walked inside and — oh my god — it was the biggest comic book shop in the world. Aisle after aisle of comics and graphic novels and toys and posters and action figures and statues. There was a life-size Superman suspended in mid-flight. A life-size Spider-man crouching on a table. Sentinels and tie-fighters and all kinds of stuff.

milehigh2I soaked it all in and found the new comics wall and picked up an issue of “Uncanny X-Men.” They had a stack of free Hawkeye vs. Hulk “Civil War II” posters at the front door so I took one of those for my souvenir. I finished a little early (I don’t dawdle, especially with Andrew in tow), so I gave Harry a call. “Be there in 10 minutes.” And he was.

I asked Harry to drop us off at the McDonald’s on 16th street for a cheap but satisfying lunch. He turned the meter off halfway there and thanked me for taking him to Mile High because now he would know where it was when the next tourist came along. We had a good ride and when we were done I tipped him mightily and was glad to do so.

After lunch we hit the pool and I read my comic, satisfied that I did all I came to Denver to do. Laurie came in excited that she had won a Kindle Fire at the vendor event. This was a good thing since I had dropped my iPad at the pool earlier in the week and put some cracks in the screen.

That night there was a dinner and dance at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The event took place in an opera house that was a neat venue. The food was …OK. It sounded better on paper than it did in the stomach. I ate a lot of cake balls that night.

The entertainment was a band playing ’80s hits (Although you’re not fooling anybody — “Staying Alive” is from the ’70s). If there’s one thing this bunch of lawyers likes to do — it’s drink and dance. L and A spent a good deal of time on the dance floor. I spent a good deal of time at the bar. LawyerCon is the only time of year I enjoy a good Whisky Sour.

denverdance

Day Six: Thursday 

Final conference day. Spent the morning at the pool while L was in class. When she got done we went for a walk. Since we’d done the downtown shopping district to death, we went the other way. First we went to the Convention Center to get a picture with the giant blue bear. Then we wound up at a park full of food trucks, but sadly the Greek truck was all out of Gyros. From there we walked up the hill to the Capitol building. It was nice but ours is better.

denverbearMade our way back to the burger shop from night one. Next door they sell ice cream, and more importantly, shaketinis. Laurie had been wanting one all week and it was now or never.

That night L had her end-of-conference banquet so the boy and I were on our own. I found a cafe that had an Alex Ross “Secret Wars” poster hanging up so I figured it was a good place to eat. The menu was extensive. I was torn between the burrito and a gyro. I figured there was no way they would have a better burrito than Mexican Villa, and I had been thwarted from my hopes of a gyro at lunch so I went Greek. Andrew had chicken strips. As per usual.

When we got back to the hotel it was cool and overcast so I decided we wouldn’t make it to the pool again. Packed up our stuff for the early morning flight out and we sat on the bed together and watched whatever was on TV. I took great comfort and relief in knowing that we had made it through the conference without a single meltdown or trip to the hospital.

denvericecream

Tomorrow: The thrilling finale 

 

A RROY REPORT Special Report: LawyerCon 2016: Denver: Part II

Part II: You just roll around Denver all day

Day Three: Monday

On Mondays Laurie is usually in class all day so the boy and I are on our own. We both got up early for no reason so I figured I might as well face the music and call AT&T customer service.

It was a disaster. The connection was lousy and I most of the time I couldn’t understand the guy and when I could understand him I didn’t understand what he was saying. We kept going round and round for about an hour and in frustration I hung up. I’ll deal with it when I get home. Or rather I’ll have the people at the store where I bought the phone deal with it.

Now I’m all worked up and angry and the boy is tired of being cooped up in the room so we go for a walk. Two hours later we have walked all over downtown Denver. I’ve gotten turned around and lost more than once. One minute we’re at Union Station and the next we’re at the Convention Center and I have no idea how I got to either one. By 11 a.m. we’ve somehow made our way back to the shops near the hotel, so we go into a pizza joint for lunch. I’m still worked up over the phone situation so I don’t eat much. We end up taking half the pizza back to the hotel to put in our fridge which is just as well — now I have a snack for the next lawyer meal that doesn’t fill me up.

We spend the afternoon at the pool until time for the evening’s activity — dinner at the History Colorado Center. The food was OK. Glad I had pizza back at the hotel. They had some shredded bison meat that Andrew devoured, so good for him. I’m not big on history museums unless they’re natural history museums and this wasn’t. They did have an exhibit on “Awkward Family Photos” that was a highlight. We had a good time laughing at other people’s expense — but since they submitted the photos for the exhibit I guess we are laughing with them and not at them. Where Andrew is concerned, many of our family photos turn out awkward. And I’m hardly God’s gift to photography.

100_2729

We started to walk through an Olde Tyme Colorado exhibit but then someone turned out the lights which seemed to be a hint that it was time to go. We left.

Day Four: Tuesday

This was Laurie’s short day. She finished class at noon. Now, we could’ve spent our free day at the golf tournament – but we don’t play golf – or we could’ve gone to a professional baseball game – but I hate baseball – so we wound up at the Denver Museum of Nature and
Science. Because, you know, dinosaurs.

denverdino3According to the iPad, the museum was a measly 3 miles, or 1 hour walk, away. Still, those 3 miles looked much longer on the map. We took a cab. When you walk into the Denver Museum of Nature and Science you are greeted by a T-Rex in an imposing position that looks like he’s either about to pounce — or dance.

Either way, it’s an awesome way to enter a building. I think all buildings would benefit from having a dinosaur skeleton in the lobby.

Our first stop, of course, was Prehistoric Journey. Like many museums that want to teach you something, you have to walk through several exhibits about the beginning of life with trilobites and other really prehistoric junk before you get to the dinosaurs. Did I mention there were like 100,000 children visiting that day? Why must children love dinosaurs? Why aren’t they all at the robot exhibit?

We finally arrive at the dinosaur hall and it’s pretty impressive. The centerpiece is an Allosaurus attacking a Stegosaur and its baby. Across from that is a very impressive Apatosaurus. There’s a Triceratops skull and a variety of other skeletons. They also had a decent setup of ancient mammals and a Woolly Mammoth skull with tusks. I was very pleased.

denverdino1

From there we checked out the mummy exhibit and the animal dioramas. I’m usually not into dioramas but they had some really nice dioramas. So much better than the zoo. Sure, the animals are dead and frozen in place, but at least you can see them. They’re not hiding or sleeping. This got me thinking that someone should open a museum full of dinosaur dioramas. That’s a billion dollar idea that I just threw out there for free. Whoever jumps on it needs to hire the guys who did the dioramas at the Denver museum.

denverdino2It was now time for a late lunch at the T-Rex Cafe. After lunch we walked through the minerals exhibit and something called Space Odyssey then we were ready to leave. The Robot exhibit cost extra so we skipped it.

Called the cabbie and he said it would be a half-hour before he could get to us. So we decided to take the bus. The lady in the museum said to go to the bus stop right out front. While we were there a lady told us the bus we wanted didn’t stop at this stop anymore — we needed to walk a couple blocks to the stop by the zoo. We walked to that stop and waited. First bus was not out bus but it stopped anyway. Second bus was not our bus but it stopped anyway. Third bus was our bus — it didn’t stop. We stared in disbelief as the driver just sped on by. We started to chase after him but gave up and went back and waited. Finally our bus showed up. We got on and he drove a couple blocks, stopped, and said “We have to wait at this stop for about 10 minutes.”

Public Transportation: Can’t get around with it, can’t get around without it.

Eventually we made our way back to the hotel. After chillin’ for about an hour, we went back out to find dinner. We headed out for a pub but when we got there it was closed. We settled for the Appaloosa Grill, which was good but a little pricey. Oh well, I didn’t get any souvenirs at the dinosaur store so it was OK to splurge.

Tomorrow: The Largest Comic Book Store In The World! Oh, and the state capitol. 

 

 

A RROY REPORT Special Report: LawyerCon 2016: Denver: Part I

Part I: Things to do in Denver when your phone’s dead

I can’t say I was all that excited that this year’s National Convention of Appellate Court Clerks, hearinafter referred to as Lawyer Con, would be taking place in Denver, Colorado. All I know of Denver is John Denver and “Rocky Mountain High” and really, I’ve had my fill of the mountains for a good long while. At least until someone invents mountain escalators.

But then I learned that dinosaurs were big in Denver. And then I remembered that Mile High Comics was in Denver. And suddenly Denver didn’t seem like such a bad place to visit after all.

Day One: Saturday

How I hate travel days. They are usually a totally wasted day. You spend morning worrying about dying in a fiery plane crash. Then you drive to the airport and spend hours going through baggage checkout and security and then waiting for departure. Then it’s a couple hours on the plane. Then you land and you have to find baggage in a strange airport, then find a cab, then the long drive into town, then the check-in. By the time you get to your hotel room you’re exhausted — and you haven’t done a damn thing all day but sit and stand in lines and wait. 

100_2721This year our first travel day wasn’t all that bad. The plane was delayed for 35 minutes, which of course turned into an hour, but we didn’t have a connecting flight to catch and were in no hurry, so no problem. I was unaffected by the descent, which is always nice when that happens.

We spent the week in the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It was nice. The room was smaller than usual and made even smaller by the fact that instead of two medium-size beds there was one large one. Now, no matter how large a bed is, we’re not sleeping three people in it, so they had to bring in a roll-away bed for Andrew. This took up what little free space we had left. But then, who ever uses that extra chair they have in a hotel room anyway?

The hotel offered free HBO which had the movie “33” on a continuous loop.Sigh. So much for lounging in the hotel room all week. Once we settled in it was time to eat. The folks at the front desk recommended a burger joint down the street. The 5280 Burger Bar served some decent burgers. I had the “Ring of Fire” burger and yes, it really was hot. Very, very hot.

After dinner we went for a stroll downtown. 16th Street is the big pedestrian walk street — lots of restaurants and shops and whatnot. Random pianos and other things in the middle of the street. Plenty of people holding signs asking for food. The occasional crazy yelling person. Had a nice walk then went back to the hotel and called it a night.

Day Two: Sunday

Got up, got dressed, made our way back to the 16th Street Mall and found ourselves at The Corner Bakery Cafe where we had a nice brunch. Walked back to the hotel where Laurie had to get ready for the first meeting of the day. While she was in the meeting, Andrew and I checked out the outdoor pool on the 6th floor. It was crowded when we got there and the only shade was in one small corner which someone else had already staked out. I settled in for what I feared would be a long, hot afternoon.

100_2723Andrew got in the pool and was soon befriended by a nice old lady and someone I assume was her grandson. Most strangers leave Andrew well alone so it was nice that they were so friendly. In short order it began to rain — not really rain, just sprinkle. Everyone took off. I figured we could wait it out and sure enough, after a few minutes the rain stopped. I moved over to the now empty shady spot and we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.

Sunday evening is the traditional happy hour/dinner followed by a silent and live auction followed by a slide show of photos from the previous year’s conference. The event usually takes place in the hotel but this year it was at the new Justice Center which meant walking. Laurie was already going to be there for the meeting so Andrew and I would have to join her later. The plan was to use our new, exciting cellphones to text each other as to when it was time to hook up.

At time to hook up I sent Laurie a text. It wouldn’t go through. I called Laurie. “I’m sorry, you do not have access to make a call. Please call Customer Service.”

I hate cellphones.

Luckily we ran into someone in the lobby from the conference and walked over to the Justice Center together. Had some drinks and odd appetizers until time for dinner. Dinner was OK (LawyerCon sponsored meals are rarely delicious. Think wedding dinner). Went upstairs for the auction which went on way too long but our Andrew Roy Original Hand-Painted Christmas Ornaments went for $200, so we were pretty proud. I should get him an account on Etsy. It was late by the time they started the slide show and like most everyone, we left before it was over.

100_2726

Coming Up: More Pool Time! Dinosaurs! AT&T Customer Service Sucks!

 

 

 

 

 

Ode To A Feather Pillow

By Rodney Dean Roy

 

Today is a sad and inglorious day

My dear feather pillow was taken away


It got a small tear, the feathers did fly

It made a small mess, I cannot deny


The Wife had enough, she wanted it out

It went in the trash bin, I started to pout


That pillow was squishy and never so boring

Perfect for sleeping, and tossing, and snoring


Today's modern pillows are made out of foam

I'd rather just rest my poor head on a stone


Yes, this is a sad and inglorious day

My soft feather pillow is all gone away

2621a4a366dad6accaa7d2ccab9316c8

 

What’s With All The Ugly Funko Dolls?

Or, Ronnie Goes To Wizard World St. Louis Comic-Con, 2016

This past weekend was the fourth annual Wizard World St. Louis Comic-Con. I was out of town last year and missed the event so I figured I’d better go this year to reestablish my nerd cred.  Once you’ve lost your nerd accreditation it’s very hard to get it back.

I couldn’t go opening night due to the annual trivia fundraiser for the Center for Autism Education.That was fine because I scored a lot of money at trivia. Not by winning trivia, oh no, that’s never going to happen, but by collecting the entry fees from my cohorts while Laurie is not around to stop me. (She thinks she and I should pay for the tables out of the goodness of our hearts. My cohorts and I like to let her go on believing that.)

So Sunday morning I’m loaded up with 20s and on my way downtown. I’m dressed as casual Hawkeye so as not to attract attention. Mission accomplished. Only one person commented on the outfit.

The cosplay was OK but I’ve seen better. Probably would’ve been better Saturday as that’s the main day and the time they have the costume contest. Sunday is when con fatigue sets in, I believe. There were no Hawkeyes or Black Widows, which is unusual. Lots of Deadpools, as usual. Why is it the people who cosplay on TV or the internet always look better than the people you see in real life? Nerds are generally not an attractive bunch, and no, you don’t need to tell me to look in a mirror.

I wandered the main hall, wondering what to buy. Everywhere I turned, walls and walls of POP! Funko dolls. I hate Funko dolls.  They are like Troll versions of action figures. They’re short and squat with giant heads, big eyes and no mouths. Ugly. Here’s how unattractive Funko dolls are: There’s a Hawkeye one out there, and I don’t own it.

maxresdefault

Look at that. How ugly is that? And yet, they are like today’s Beanie Babies. They are everywhere and there is one of every pop culture figure you can think of. And practically every booth at Comic-Con had stacks and stacks of them. I amuse myself thinking of all those poor vendors who brought in boxes and boxes of these things and as they meticulously started stacking them for display, noticed that everyone else had the same thing.

I walked the hall for an hour-and-a-half and nothing really struck my fancy (Plus, it’s hard to casually shop when the people who want you to buy their stuff are sitting right across from you — staring). It was now 11:30 and I had a choice: Go to the panel on Saturday Morning Cartoons, or go to lunch. I figured they probably wouldn’t dedicate enough time to Penelope Pitstop and left the hall in search of food.

I was going to eat at Snarfs, a sandwich shop, but after waiting and waiting for the guy at the counter to take care of the first customer I gave up and went across the street to Sugar Fire BBQ. I figured even if they were busier they would be quicker. I was right. Enjoyed some pulled pork, fries and baked beans then headed back to the convention center. Thought about stopping in at the new Blues Museum next door but didn’t have time.

Got back in time for the Elizabeth Henstridge: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Q&A session. She was charming. Followed that up with the James Marsters, a.k.a. Spike, Q&A. He was very amusing. They both seemed genuinely happy to be there (and yes, they are actors and yes, it could be acting, but if that’s the case then they fooled me).

100_2718After Spike’s chat I went back to the main hall for one more run through before heading home. There seemed to be as many, if not more, Funko dolls than when I was there earlier. Do they breed? Is that why there are so many? At this point I realized I hadn’t taken any photos. I wasn’t too bothered by it because (a) my camera seems to be on its last legs and (b) I’m not really comfortable taking pictures of strangers. I tried taking a couple but usually someone would walk in front of the shot. Here’s one of an alien in line for nachos. It’s the best I could do.

I left the hall around 3 p.m., exhausted but pleased with how the day had turned out. I didn’t spend any money except for food. Maybe I’ll buy a new camera.

 

 

 

On Stage: Marvel Universe Live

Real men take their sons out in to the woods to hunt.

Real men take their sons down to the creek to fish.

Real men take their sons out in the wilderness to camp.

I took my son to “Marvel Universe Live,” a multimedia superhero extravaganza on stage this weekend at Scotttrade Center.

MUL_cast

Oh sure, I could’ve made The Wife go with me as penance for all those Shakespeare plays, but the timing didn’t work out. So I figured why not bring The Son along? That way I won’t look so odd, even if he is almost 25 years old.

I decided to take the train, as I am not that familiar with the Scottrade area and neither is Andrew and no one wants to get lost in downtown St. Louis after dark. Plus, Andrew likes the train.

We arrived at the station, got out tickets, and walked up to the platform. Now I remember why I hate mass transit. The waiting. In the cold. The train eventually arrived and we made it to the arena without incident. Well, Andrew’s spontaneous laughing did cause the woman in front of us to move, which caused another woman to move into her seat, which she then abandoned after sitting in front of Andrew’s spontaneous laughing after a few seconds, but nobody got arrested so it wasn’t really an incident.

MUL_20140712_6572-Edit_1Arrived a little early but there were still plenty of junior Captain Americas and Spider-Men waiting in line to get in. Could not find the press table, so thought maybe it was at another location. So we walked around the building. It’s a big building. Did I mention it was cold? Wound up back where we started and still no press table, but Julie was there so we hung out with her until the tickets arrived.

Walked up to the first table of merchandise. The usual stuff — T-shirts, programs, figurines, dolls, light-up swords, boomerangs (I have no idea what boomerangs have to do with this…or swords, for that matter). There was no Hawkeye merch. Oh there was plenty of Black Widow stuff for all you Black Widow whiners who are always going on about how she gets left out. There was a Black Widow doll and she had her own T-shirt as well as being on most of the other shirts. But no Hawkguy. I decided not to buy a $30 T-shirt there as I could get a better one cheaper at Hot Topic. Take that, merchandising geniuses behind “Marvel Universe Live.”

We made a circle around the building as I figured it was a good strategy to wear the boy out before the show. Went to get dinner but the first place we went was taking forever so we moved a couple of stalls down to another vendor who had their act together. Got chicken fingers and fries and ate them while sitting at an abandoned stairwell (Note to Scotttrade: More seating for eating would be nice).

Watched the crowd go by. So many little kids in superhero costumes. There was dad in his Marvel T-shirt, and the kids in their Marvel T-shirts, and mom. To be fair, there were a few moms in Marvel attire. I never knew there were so many different styles of Marvel shirts.

It was now 10 minutes to showtime so we went in and got our seats. They were good seats. Jarvis politely informed us the show would be starting in 3 minutes.

MUL_20140712_3717_2The show opened with Thor (a good sign), who has decided to destroy the tesseract because it is too powerful for anyone to possess.  Loki responds by creating a faux-cosmic cube using the mutant energies of the captured Cyclops, Storm and Wolverine. Oh, who cares about the plot? Suffice it to say, act 1 is all about establishing the threat and gathering the team; act 2 has the heroes and villains going at it. There was some pretty broad fight choreography going on, but Black Widow was fairly convincing.

MUL_20140709_0676_1So, was it entertaining? Yes, no doubt much more so for the young ones. Was it cheesy? Oh, God yes. But again, I’m not the target audience. The little ones around me seemed to really enjoy it. In addition to the actors there was plenty of smoke, laser lights, explosions and scattered images on giant video screens. It’s basically Marvel Stars on Ice but with motorcycles instead of skates. In fact, they should probably rename it “Marvel Universe Live and Motorcycle Stunt Show.” Who knew that riding a motorcycle on one wheel was a superpower? And why is The Falcon riding a motorcycle, anyway?

Spoiler Alert: In the end, good triumphs over evil and wraps it up in under two hours, which I appreciate even if it did have an intermission. We did wind up with a souvenir — a cap that came with a bag of popcorn. The cap’s a little too small for Andrew and me but I’ve probably got a nephew who would like it.

“Marvel Universe Live” runs through Sunday at Scottrade Center. http://www.scottradecenter.com/  

 

 

The 30 Most Entertaining Things Of 2015

…in semi-chronological order

american_sniper_ver2_xlg1. American Sniper

MDQ Year 4 Photo 12. The Million Dollar Quartet

DFEIRd2EL2Gfn4QgBrxoxp9xnaDf19XZxlB7ftdX_xg,XQCCKvBd34nm4F54rNoXQdr0CD8d977V6Ikyr5dbrCo,SyqHv5-T306fPJW6NuU--ZeIdKWUoj58xO9ntfAwCjw,jg-e6hLU7oImp8Nzxd6wCH-qO5xYfQeYneslUfTjFx03. Kinky Boots

0054. Trivia Night 2015

unnamed5. The New Basement Tapes

avengers-age-of-ultron-alternate6. Avengers: Age of Ultron

ls_topten_200906167. Late Night with David Letterman

barber-main-image-325px8. The Barber of Seville

richardmain-image9. Richard the Lionheart

TOAD10. Toad the Wet Sprocket/4th of July

BF_Payoff_1-Sht_v8_Lg-1309x194011. Ant-Man
20150716_214308112. Hawkeye

steelydan_0_142416523613. Steely Dan/Elvis Costello

relay114. Walking for Causes

the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart15. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

07616. LawyerCon: Snowbird, Utah

00317. Festival of the Little Hills

Daredevil18. Daredevil

14919. The EC Summer Whoop-de-do

11393239_10204413656169007_541491465855502009_n20. Cracks in the Cobblestone029 - Copy21. Wedding Weekend in Kentucky

late-show-with-colbert-1000x60022. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

12115603_1075387272473477_5225033021861492715_n23. Laurie’s Winery Spectacular

imgres

24. The World Series

4_Snow25. Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

2B89064B00000578-0-image-a-25_144011547175026. Spotlight

Ornaments%20on%20Tree27. Cirque Dreams Holidaze

Star_Wars_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens28. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

FullSizeRender (1)29. The Roy Family Kansas City Christmas Spectacular

100_270730. The Executive Committee Holiday Dinner