Posts Tagged ‘2010’


Celebrate Oktoberfest 2010 Wherever You Are

September 2, 2010

Officially, Oktoberfest starts in Munich on Sep. 18th and the beer steins will be kept full until Oct. 4th. You still have plenty of time to book a long weekend there, just don’t expect to find a place to stay close to the action.

So how can you Fest closer to home? Try one of these celebrations:

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest – Head just west of Toronto Oct. 8-16 for a traditional Bavarian Festival. More than a million people a year come for the food, the music and the beer.

Oktoberfest USA – Just south of the border in La Crosse, Wisconsin, they’re celebrating their 50th Oktoberfest Sep. 24-Oct. 2. The good news: There’s a Lederhosen Luncheon and a Craft Beer Night. The bad news: The Bret Michaels show is sold out already. Nooo!

Oktoberfest ZinZinnati – That’s what Cincinnati, Ohio, is calling itself from Sep. 17-19 and the menu alone is a reason to travel from far and wide to check this one out. There’s also a Chicken Dance with the Stars, which… yeah. I’m just going to leave it at that.

If you can’t make it to a huge public display of  sauerkraut and suds, put together your own cultural event. Gather friends, barbeque various wursts, download some classic polkas and make your own fun.

Travel isn’t always about going somewhere (especially on a budget, and especially during midterms). Sometimes it’s about bringing the culture and adventure to you.



Comic Con 2010: Highlights

July 28, 2010

Ok, so the live blogging didn’t really work what with the tens of thousands of people there trying to all use the wi-fi at once. Also, I was just having too much fun to stop and type.

So here are what I consider the best bits of this year’s Comic Con, based completely on my preferences and biases:

The USA block of panels (“Burn Notice”, “White Collar”, “Psych”). first, they had Bruce Campbell, who’s always full of swagger and good stories, then there was Matt Bomber who’s just ridiculously good looking, and then the “Psych” guys kicked off their panel by bringing out Curt Smith from 80s pop band Tears for Fears and performing “Shout” with him. Too awesome. Watch for yourself:

The Big Bang Theory panel. I just started watching the show this year but heard that last year’s panel was good, so I waited in line with a couple thousand people wearing “Bazinga!” shirts for my chance to see the biggest geeks on TV. I’m really glad I did, because not only did we get Wil Wheaton as moderator, we got the Barenaked Ladies as an opening act. They performed the theme song and we all got to sing along, like this:

The swag. My suitcase came home about twice as heavy as it left and most of that was free tshirts, posters, giant bags, autographs (ok, those aren’t heavy, but they are cool), magazines and, since it is Comic Con, a few actual comics. Anybody want a huge Green Hornet bag? Leave a comment.

The adorable kids. I’m not someone who really likes kids, but there’s a certain amount of wonder and joy and magic that a child experiences when faced with superheros and cartoons and toys come to life, and seeing a kid go gaga over something made me enjoy it even more. I don’t know much about Green Lantern, for example, but this was a favorite moment of mine:

The people watching. The one nice thing about waiting in line for something is that you get to stand still and watch the parade. Because that’s what Comic Con is: a four-day-long parade. From steampunk to anime to alien, I saw costumes that were unbelievable just for the amount of workmanship that went into them, as well as costumes that were simple but crazy creative.

The props. Hollywood doesn’t do anything small. You want to promote your military action film? Don’t just give out keychains, land a full-on helicopter outside of the convention center. And billboards? Ha! Puny. The only sign worth having is a 20-story high one on the side of a hotel.

The flight home. After five days of walking, waiting, shopping, lugging swag and getting almost no sleep, I was pretty thrilled to pack up and say goodbye to San Diego. I love it, but I love missing it even more.

See you next year, Comic Con!


Are You Ready for Comic-Con 2010?

July 14, 2010

Accio Weasleys!

Last week I offered tips for surviving Comic-Con, or any other con you might be going to. As the event gets closer – just a week away now! – I’ve got a few more tips on getting you ready.

Plan ahead. The full schedule is available so you can print it out and figure out where you want to be each day. Keep in mind that panels in the Ballroom and Hall H can fill up way ahead of time, so if you really really have to see “Glee”, get there at least an hour before it starts to get in line. Two hours might be better, since a lot of people get into those rooms early in the day and stay for everything.

They don’t clear the room before a panel, so if only 1000 of the 4000 people in the room leave, that means only 1000 of the people in line will get in. Yes, that sounds like a lot, but you’ll be amazed at how huge the lines can get for the really popular panels.

Or don’t plan. Just go. Sometimes the most exciting things are the ones you don’t expect at all, like wandering through the exhibition hall and seeing Seth Green walk by, just checking out the booths. Or standing in a hallway in line and seeing a favorite celeb stroll past on their way to something they want to see. Just keep your eyes open.

Make the most of technology. Comic-Con? Yeah, there’s an app for that. If paper schedules aren’t your style you can go to their website, create your own personal schedule and then export it to your phone.

Don’t just rely on the official schedule. Comic-Con will tell you who’s appearing on panels and in their official autograph area, but a lot of the booths also have celebrities do signings, and those aren’t always listed anywhere. (This is where keeping your eyes open helps. I almost walked right by Leonard Nimoy without noticing him.)

If you have a favorite artist or actor or writer who you think might be there, check their own website or follow them on Twitter to get their schedule. Dark Horse Comics, BBC America, DC comics and other booths should also have their own schedules.

See what’s happening outside the convention center. Studios and agencies rent out bars, movie theaters and other venues to host parties, screenings and “happenings” in the neighborhood, so keep an eye out for free events.

If you missed it, here are my posts from Comic-Con 2009, including my photo shoot with Nathan Fillion, panels for “Chuck”, “Burn Notice”, “Psych” and other favorite shows, and one of the greatest thrills of my life, David Tennant’s two appearances. Pause. Swoon.

Let the geek games begin!


Semester at Sea – Apply Now for 2010

February 9, 2009

Semester at Sea

Interested in traveling the globe without falling a semester behind? Apply now for the Spring 2010 Semester at Sea voyage (yes, you need to start planning way far ahead) and you can get your travel kicks and your college credits too.

Why pick one destination for your semester abroad when you can pick a dozen? Let your friends do a few cold months in London while you hit Casablanca, Naples, Sharm El Sheik, Honolulu, Istanbul and other ports of call.

The Semester at Sea program has been around for decades, and it’s a great way for a student to travel around the world while working toward a degree. There are programs for teachers and seniors as well, so even if you’re out of school you can still do a sail around the world without paying the outrageous price that most cruise lines would charge for the same itinerary.

Some financial aid is available for students and you can use any federal aid or loans that you receive, such as Pell Grants and Stafford loans, as well. Talk to your academic advisor to find out more about how you can make a semester sailing the high seas work into your graduation plans, then get your passport and visas and your ISIC. (It’s good all over the place!)