It is chile time. Our big box of spicy love shipped from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico to us just last week. The timing was not fortuitous, as it was also one of the busiest times of the year for me with Chicagoist, but we rolled with it, and soon there will be plenty of delicious payoff.
I didn't grow up in New Mexico, but it did catch my soul pretty quickly, as I'm sure anyone who knows me knows. The smell of chiles blistering over an open flame instantly takes me to fall in New Mexico, which, though not as varied in color, is one of my favorite things ever. It's time for burning Zozobra and your worries from the past year, time for stocking up on the good stuff to feed you through the winter, and a fantastic time to get out and hike the beautiful canyons, mesas and mountains.
For me, chiles are the first sign of fall, and I adore fall, even if it is sneaking up on me way more rapidly than I'd supposed it would.
Still, the last two weeks have been full ones. Two weekends ago, I got the chance to go to Great America with my friend Erika and her daughter, who had never been before. It was a pretty excellent day, weather-wise, for the trip, and her daughter turns out to be all for the splash down, so we went on every water ride we could and some of the smaller rides in between. It's amazing how little has changed at the park, and how many memories it brought back being there. It's also really, really fun to see the park through a child's eyes.
I may even have gotten some cool-friend-of-mom's points when I decided to follow her into the splash area here.
This past weekend, it was all pop culture, all the time. I took on my annual coverage of Wizard World Chicago for Chicagoist as both writer and photographer. In fact, if you haven't seen it yet, please check out my coverage here, including the amazing cosplay shots from all four days of the show!
Basically, I lived in Rosemont for four days and subsisted solely on trail mix and Red Bull while taking in panel after panel of behind-the-scenes fun and stories from the likes of the X Files cast, Bruce Campbell, Lea Thompson, Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox.
STILL ALIVE! See, eyeliner tricks people into thinking you're bright eyed and bushy tailed. Nailed it!
And sugary, bad for you energy drinks trick your body into thinking you have energy. Thank you, science!
This is not an official pic of Barrowman, it's a "omg he's running around too much this is so blurry" pic of the whole ensemble. See the article for a more, um, stable view?
John Barrowman wove hilarious tales and wore interesting things, and Carrie Fisher made me remember how much I adored Star Wars in high school and how much of Leia just exists in her, with her fierceness, kindness and humor. If I hadn't wanted to be Princess Leia before, I'd certainly like to be like Carrie Fisher.
She manages a self-deprecating, humorous, kind voice of an advocate, and puts action behind her words. She can admit to her own struggle with her appearance and how she chased after looking great at the same time she admonishes us and herself that beauty isn't an accomplishment and being vain is a waste of time. She can also make even those who have the hardest time speaking up gather courage and strength to do it, connecting through mutual interests and a little bit of encouragement, and she did when she invited a girl and her helper dog to meet Gary Fisher. It wasn't just a photo op, either. It was a real meeting, and she really cared. That much was entirely evident.
At the end of all the panels, malnourishment, cosplay and purchase avoidance, I was left a lot exhausted and a little disheveled, but it was all worth it.
This cat is tired and has no idea what's happening. She also wants to go back to sleep now, dammit. This cat was me every night when I got home from Rosemont.
It's been a slice, August, and I can't believe you're almost over. New things are just around the corner and I'm excited about them.
One other thing that happened while I was Wizard Worlding this past weekend?
I officially became the editor of the Beyond page for Third Coast.
It's an exciting addition to my resume, an awesome opportunity and a little bit frightening all at once, but I'm hoping to do Nancy and her team proud and bring great stories to Third Coast.
While remaining, as ever I have, a Chicagoista.
Let's see what happens next.