Cenandi – Sam’s Shepherd’s Pie

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Cenandi
Sam’s Shepherd’s Pie
November 25, 2022

Note: I know that everyone dislikes the wall of text preceding the actual recipe, but the United States Copyright Office requires “substantial literary expression” to accompany the ingredients and instructions. You can jump to the recipe by clicking here.

This recipe comes from Sam the Cooking Guy. Sam Zien is a Canadian chef and restauranteur who lives in the San Diego area. I came across his YouTube channel some years back and started finding inspiration in his creations.

This particular dish looked amazing so my wife and I decided to give it a try. This was before he published the recipes as he demonstrated them, so I watched the video multiple times to estimate the proportions. You see, Sam is the kind of chef that cooks by what looks and smells right, so his bottle shakes and weights are educated guesses based on experience. We have tweaked this recipe over time to fine-tune the details to our tastes.

Among those details are the proteins and the produce. We have tried ground beef, ground turkey, and ground bison, and the key to the protein is the fat content. The higher the fat, the more likely that the ground meat will stick together and stay substantial. We have also experimented with produce by adding bell peppers and mushrooms.

If you are not a meat-eater, I would love to hear how you adapt this recipe to your dietary needs. I don’t have enough experience with tofu or meat replacements but I want to learn as I grow and experiment.

Our red wine of choice for the dish is the famous “two-buck chuck” at Trader Joe’s. It’s a wine that cooks well and is enjoyable on its own. Note that the alcohol cooks off in the making of the dish, so the wine is providing an earthy and fruity body to the meal. We have also tried Yellow Tail. The key is getting an inexpensive bottle because you’re cooking with it. There’s no sense in using an expensive bottle of wine here.

This is one recipe that I recommend playing with. Even if it isn’t quite right for your palate, the results are still amazing. The leftovers are even better since the extra time allows the flavors to meld and enhance.

The original video by Sam the Cooking Guy can be found on YouTube (and is embedded below).


Sam’s Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

Meat

  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1 lb ground meat or protein of choice

Produce

  • 3 to 4 Yukon Gold potatoes (or equivalent)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3-4 large carrots
  • 1-2 bell peppers (optional)
  • 2 mushrooms (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
  • 2 cloves garlic (pressed/minced)
  • 1 handful of fresh spinach
  • Chives or parsley for garnish

Dairy

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Liquids

  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (or equivalent based on meat choice)
  • 1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste

Spices and Staples

  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Miscellaneous

  • Aluminum foil
  • Cooking oil of choice

Instructions

These instructions are separated into four parts, however, Part 2 and Part 3 should be accomplished simultaneously if possible.

Part 1 – Bacon

  • Chop the bacon into bite-size pieces and cook in a frying pan
  • Reserve 2 Tbsp of the cooking grease
  • Place the bacon (and a small amount of grease as needed for moisture) in a warm space

Part 2 – Mashed Potatoes Topping

  • Wrap unpeeled garlic cloves in aluminum foil and roast at 300°F for 30-45 minutes
  • Chop the potatoes into similar-sized pieces
  • Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes and drain thoroughly
  • While the potatoes are boiling, combine butter and cream in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until melted
  • Mash/whip the potatoes while adding the butter-cream mixture
  • Add salt, pepper, paprika, and roasted garlic (discarding the paper skin)
  • Mix in parmesan cheese
  • Fold in bacon
  • Set aside and keep warm

Part 3 – The Insides

  • Finely chop the onion, carrots, (optional) bell peppers, and (optional) mushrooms
  • Using the reserved bacon grease, soften the onion, carrots, and bell peppers over medium heat
  • Add minced/pressed garlic and a splash of cooking oil, then cook until fragrant (30-60 sec)
  • Add meat of choice and cook thoroughly
  • If using mushrooms, mix them in and cook briefly
  • Mix in the flour and allow to thicken
  • Mix in wine and broth and allow to thicken
  • Mix in Worchestershire sauce, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper
  • Add spinach and mix until wilted
  • Remove from heat

Part 4 – Finishing the Dish

  • Add Part 3 contents to an oven-safe dish
  • Top with mashed potatoes, ensuring complete coverage
  • Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes
  • Broil to crisp the top for 1-3 minutes
  • Top with garnish and allow to rest for a short time (approx 5 minutes)
  • Serve and enjoy

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Cenandi is a collection of recipes and culinary concoctions. Cooking is a dual expression of art and science, and I like making good meals and tasty treats for the people in my life.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Theater Nerds

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Theater Nerds
November 21, 2022

Now, for something completely different, let’s talk about the performing arts. This week, I’m thinking about the Venn diagram between theater and pop culture, courtesy of the Theater and Musical Lovers YouTube Channel.

The channel and its associated Facebook group were established as an unofficial gathering of Dragon Con attendees who love theater, musicals, and the performing arts. Their goal is to create a community of fellow thespians and fans at the convention.

On November 18th, the community’s leaders Gary Mitchel and Sarah Rose were joined by Sue Kisenwether (@spaltor on Twitter, Women at Warp), Kelly (@broadwaykelly on Twitter), and Courtney Bliss (website) to chat about why theater is definitely a part of nerd and pop culture.

Note: Depending on security settings, you may have to click through below to see the video directly on YouTube. You should definitely subscribe to their channel for more updates.


The Theater and Musical Lovers Group will be hosting more of these panels. If you’re interested in participating or have some topic ideas in mind, head over to the group on Facebook and drop them a line

You can find Gary and Sarah on the socials: On Twitter, they are Gary_Mitchel, SarahRose_KPK, and Daisuki_Suu; on Instagram, they are Gary_Mitchel and Daisuki_Suu; and Gary’s horror-themed podcast that he hosts with Erin McGourn is A Podcask of Amontillado. Of course, the Theater & Musical Lovers channel can be found on YouTube.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

STEAM Saturday – Mars Quakes and Loading Plant Vogtle

STEAMSaturday

STEAM Saturday
Mars Quakes and Loading Plant Vogtle
November 5, 2022

In this edition, Vogtle 3 gets loaded, climate change takes the stage at the United Nations, Mars quakes, and more.

STEAMHeadlines

Scientific American – The World Isn’t Adapting to Climate Change Quickly Enough, U.N. Says (Nov 3, 2022)
“The world is doing far too little to prepare for the impacts of a warming planet, even as climate-fueled storms, floods, heat waves and drought become more extreme. That’s the conclusion of the latest report from the U.N. Environment Programme, which finds that efforts to build defenses against climate change impacts—what’s known as adaptation—are not keeping up with the growing risks they pose to humanity.”

WABE (NPR) – Fuel load begins at Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle (Oct 14, 2022)
Workers have begun loading radioactive fuel into a new nuclear reactor in Georgia, utilities said Friday, putting the first new American nuclear reactor built in decades on a path to begin generating electricity in coming months.

[Note: Fuel load was completed successfully.]

Science News – Marsquakes hint that the planet might be volcanically active after all (Nov 3, 2022)
The finding, based on more than 1,000 quakes, suggests the planet isn’t geologically dead.

Scientific American – How to Inoculate against Midterm Misinformation Campaigns (Nov 2, 2022)
A New York University professor advocates “prebunking”—sounding the alarm before a conspiracy theory spreads too widely.

Science News – Deer-vehicle collisions spike when daylight saving time ends (Nov 2, 2022)
Year-round daylight saving time could keep tens of thousands of deer and dozens of people alive.


STEAMSci

Be Smart – A PBS Digital Studios science show hosted by Dr. Joe Hanson (Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology). 

Veritasium – A combination of the Latin for truth, veritas, and the suffix common to many elements, -ium, this show is literally an element of truth. It is hosted by Australian-Canadian science communicator, filmmaker, and inventor Derek Muller (Ph.D., Physics Education Research). 

Kyle Hill – Kyle Hill is a science educator with degrees in civil and environmental engineering and science communication. He previously hosted the popular Because Science YouTube series, but now runs The Facility.

Ask a Mortician – Caitlin Doughty is a mortician, author, blogger, and YouTube personality known for advocating death acceptance and the reform of Western funeral industry practices. You got death questions, she’s got death answers. Ask a Mortician was suggested by Sue Kisenwether.

Johnny Harris – Johnny Harris makes videos about maps… and other things.

 


STEAMTech

Becky Stern – Becky Stern is a maker living in NYC. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions!

Jerry Rig Everything – Zack Nelson has used his love of repairing, simple explanations, and brief tutorials to help millions of people with repairs of their own. Outside of YouTube, his ‘to-the-point’ style of teaching has created instructional and informational videos for manufacturers and factories around the world.

Nostalgia Nerd – The Nostalgia Nerd has an addiction to nostalgia & things often categorized as “nerdy”. He talks about software, hardware, games, toys, programs, magazines, and other things from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, sometimes with a liberal amount of dry humor.


STEAMEng

Practical Engineering – Grady Hillhouse is a civil engineer in San Antonio, Texas. His channel aims to increase exposure and interest in the field of engineering by highlighting the connection between the world around us and the energy, passion, and thought that goes into making it a nicer place to live.

Not Just Bikes – Stories of great urban planning and urban experiences from the Netherlands and beyond. There are a lot of reasons why Dutch cities are so great; it’s not just bikes.


STEAMArt

Shop Time – Peter Brown is a geek with a full set of power tools, and he uses that knowledge to experiment, craft, and have fun.

Ben’s Worx – Ben is a maker from Queensland, Australia who has always had an interest in woodworking. He makes all kinds of things from wood, metal, plastics, and epoxy resin, and loves to experiment in the name of entertainment.

Moonpie Creations – Ken is a woodworker and creator who likes to have fun. A combat veteran, he uses his tools as a way to relax and deal with everyday stress. He loves to try new things, think outside the box, and stay cool.

 


STEAMMath

Patrik Pietschmann – Patrik Pietschmann is a keyboard player, arranger, and programmer from Germany who creates piano arrangements of popular current soundtracks.

8-bit Music Theory – This YouTuber loves music, video games, and analyzing and talking about music from video games. He promises that if you are a big nerd, you’ll love it too!

 


STEAMMulti

Mark Rober – An engineer and inventor, Mark Rober presents popular science concepts and do-it-yourself gadgets in easy-to-understand terms. He was previously a NASA engineer (where he worked on the Curiosity rover) and a product designer at Apple’s Special Projects Group (where he authored patents involving virtual reality in self-driving cars). One of his best-known series involves the development of a glitter bomb to combat porch pirates and internet scammers.

Frank Howarth – A Portland, Oregon-based architect and woodworker, Frank Howarth uses stop-motion animation to demonstrate his design and building process for a variety of projects and art pieces.

I Like To Make Stuff – Bob Clagett likes to make stuff, whether it be home renovations, fixing up a vintage car, or building an astromech droid.

 


If you have any suggestions for STEAM Saturday, please leave them below in the comments. If your suggestion is used, your name will be credited.

Disclaimers: Any sponsored content or advertising presented in videos and/or links highlighted in STEAM Saturday are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Creative Criticality. Pursue such content and offers at your own risk. The links and videos attached to this post were publicly available at the time of publication, but there is no guarantee of availability after publication.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope that something inspired you to get out there and explore the universe.

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STEAM Saturday is a celebration of curiosity and imagination through science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, the very building blocks of the universe around us.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Lycan Subscribe

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Lycan Subscribe
November 4, 2022

It has been a hot minute since I have written up a segment for this recurring feature, but life has been non-stop since Labor Day. This week, however, I’m thinking about werewolves. Specifically, the favorites of the lycanphiles at the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track.

The term lycanphile may or may not be a real work. Regardless, it’s on the internet now, so it must be true. On October 20th, Joe Crowe and Gary Mitchel were joined by Shaun Rosado (@pneumaz on Twitter), Sarah Daisy Splitt (@SpiffyKeen on Twitter), Amy Splitt, Sherman Burris (@Nerdburger358 on Twitter), and Lola Lariscy (@LolaLariscy on Twitter) for a little bite at the lore of werewolves (in London and elsewhere).

The panel’s title is courtesy of James Palmer (@palmerwriter on Twitter). I liked the pun, so it’s also the title of this segment. Thanks for the laugh, James!


These Classic Track Quarantine Panels are held once every two weeks (or every fortnight, if you will). If you want to play along at home, grab your internet-capable device of choice and navigate the world wide webs to the track’s YouTube channel and/or the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

If you want to connect with the track, Joe, and/or Gary on the socials, you can find them on Twitter (ClassicTrack, JoeCroweShow, and sneezythesquid) and Instagram (SciFiClassicTrack, JoeCroweShow, and Gary_Mitchel). And, of course, to celebrate more pop culture awesomeness, you can find Dragon Con all year round on the internet, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

You can find those discussions and more every other Thursday as the American Sci-Fi Classics Track explores the vast reaches of classic American science fiction.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp: A Star Trek Podcast.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Debrief: Dragon Con 2022

Debrief: Dragon Con 2022
Atlanta, GA – September 1 through September 5, 2022

Boom! Dragon Con 2022 is in the books!

And it was an experience of highs and lows.

Attendance was reported at 65,000, and while it was definitely higher than the 42,000 from 2021, it was still pretty manageable. The big issue was the convention’s pandemic precautions (or lack thereof… more on that later), but I could still get behind an attendance cap in the 65,000 to 70,000 range. It felt comfortable enough.

As usual, we did a lot of good charity work this year. Open Hand Atlanta will be receiving at least $190,000, which is $70k more than we raised in 2021.

Dragon Con was also a getaway from reality that I really needed. Life and work have been insanely busy lately, and it was refreshing to decompress with the geek family, especially the former Scapecast folks that my wife and I hadn’t seen for three years.

On to the discussion!

Read More »

Culture on My Mind – Totally True* Tails of Dragon Con

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Totally True* Tails of Dragon Con
August 29, 2022

This week, I’m thinking about the stories from Dragon Con. Some true, some not, and others somewhere in-between.

On August 25th, Joe Crowe and Gary Mitchel were joined by an all-star cast of characters, including Kevin Eldridge (The FlopCast), Sherman Burris (Nerdburger358 on Twitter), John Hudgens (director, editor, producer), Shaun Rosado (pneumaz on Twitter), Sue Kisenwether (Women at Warp), Cristie Walker-Pettis (hvnslittledevil on Twitter), and Deanna Toxopeus (RevolutionSF) to swap tails tales about the best convention in the history of ever.


These Classic Track Quarantine Panels will be held once every two weeks (or every fortnight, if you will). If you want to play along at home, grab your internet-capable device of choice and navigate the webs to the YouTube channel and/or the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

If you want to connect with the track, Joe, and/or Gary on the socials, you can find them on Twitter (ClassicTrack, JoeCroweShow, and sneezythesquid) and Instagram (SciFiClassicTrack, JoeCroweShow, and Gary_Mitchel). And, of course, to celebrate more pop culture awesomeness, you can find Dragon Con all year round on the internet, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

The next panel will be live at Dragon Con 2022! Like, a whole five days of them! After that, Joe and Gary will take a little break before picking up this series once again. After that vacation, you can find those discussions and more every other Thursday as the American Sci-Fi Classics Track explores the vast reaches of classic American science fiction.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp: A Star Trek Podcast.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

STEAM Saturday – Retinal Revival, Necrobotics, and Views From the JWST

STEAMSaturday

STEAM Saturday
Retinal Revival, Necrobotics, and Views From the JWST
August 27, 2022

In this edition, we learn about reviving human retinas after death, the art of reanimating spiders, views from the edge of the universe, and more. 

STEAMHeadlines

NASA – NASA’s Webb Reveals Cosmic Cliffs, Glittering Landscape of Star Birth (July 12, 2022)
A landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth.

NASA – Webb Captures Stellar Gymnastics in The Cartwheel Galaxy (Aug 2, 2022)
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has peered into the chaos of the Cartwheel Galaxy, revealing new details about star formation and the galaxy’s central black hole.

Scientific American – Scientists Revive Human Retinas after Death (Aug 1, 2022)
Few biological facts seem as irrevocable as brain death. It has long been assumed that when we die, our neurons die with us. But a new study on the neuron-packed tissue of the eye is beginning to challenge that dogma. Restoring eye tissue postmortem could pave the way for reviving other types of brain tissue. 

Science News – Scientists turned dead spiders into robots (Aug 4, 2022)
In a new field dubbed “necrobotics,” researchers used dead arachnids to clutch objects

PBS – The Story Behind Earth’s Most Famous Photo | The Bigger Picture with Vincent Brown (Aug 23, 2022)
How did the “Blue Marble,” as it is now known, come to be? Host Vincent Brown learns just how extraordinary a technical feat it was for Apollo 17 astronauts to snap the photograph in 1972, and how early environmentalists hoped that an image of the whole Earth might spark a desire to protect our planet.

WIRED (UK) – Your Final Resting Place Could Be a Coffin Made of Mushrooms (Aug 26, 2022)
Loop wants to rebuild the world with ecological structures made of fungal mycelium. Its proof of concept? Living coffins.


STEAMSci

The Science & Entertainment Exchange – The Science & Entertainment Exchange is a program of the National Academy of Sciences that provides entertainment industry professionals with access to top scientists and engineers to help bring the reality of cutting-edge science to creative and engaging storylines.

Be Smart – A PBS Digital Studios science show hosted by Dr. Joe Hanson (Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology). 

Cheddar News – Cheddar News feeds curiosity about what’s next with the latest in business news, culture, media, technology and innovation shaping our world tomorrow.

 


STEAMTech

Nostalgia Nerd – The Nostalgia Nerd has an addiction to nostalgia & things often categorized as “nerdy”. He talks about software, hardware, games, toys, programs, magazines, and other things from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, sometimes with a liberal amount of dry humor.


STEAMEng

Practical Engineering – Grady Hillhouse is a civil engineer in San Antonio, Texas. His channel aims to increase exposure and interest in the field of engineering by highlighting the connection between the world around us and the energy, passion, and thought that goes into making it a nicer place to live.

Today I Found Out – Today I Found Out is a place to learn something new and interesting every day, brought to the internet by a host of various scientific contributors.

 


STEAMArt

Nick Zammeti – A woodturner and artist based in the United Kingdom, Nick Zammeti thrives in funky and creative projects fueled by a healthy love of pop culture, especially Back to the Future.

Ben’s Worx – Ben is a maker from Queensland, Australia who has always had an interest in woodworking. He makes all kinds of things from wood, metal, plastics, and epoxy resin, and loves to experiment in the name of entertainment.

 


STEAMMath

Alex Yard & Knuckles – Enjoy some video game music theory videos with Alex Yard.


STEAMMulti

Mark Rober – An engineer and inventor, Mark Rober presents popular science concepts and do-it-yourself gadgets in easy-to-understand terms. He was previously a NASA engineer (where he worked on the Curiosity rover) and a product designer at Apple’s Special Projects Group (where he authored patents involving virtual reality in self-driving cars). One of his best-known series involves the development of a glitter bomb to combat porch pirates and internet scammers.

This time, I’m showcasing Mark’s appearance on Hot Ones. Don’t worry… he still uses science. 

Frank Howarth – A Portland, Oregon-based architect and woodworker, Frank Howarth uses stop-motion animation to demonstrate his design and building process for a variety of projects and art pieces.

Wendover Productions – Wendover Productions, run by filmmaker Sam Denby, is all about explaining how our world works. From travel, to economics, to geography, to marketing, and more, every video will leave you with a little better understanding of our world.

 


If you have any suggestions for STEAM Saturday, please leave them below in the comments. If your suggestion is used, your name will be credited.

Disclaimers: Any sponsored content or advertising presented in videos and/or links highlighted in STEAM Saturday are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Creative Criticality. Pursue such content and offers at your own risk. The links and videos attached to this post were publicly available at the time of publication, but there is no guarantee of availability after publication.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope that something inspired you to get out there and explore the universe.

cc-break

STEAM Saturday is a celebration of curiosity and imagination through science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, the very building blocks of the universe around us.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Werewolves, Zombies, and Spiders (Oh, My!)

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Werewolves, Zombies, and Spiders (Oh, My!)
August 22, 2022

This week, I’m thinking about the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track and some monsters of 2002.

On August 11th, Gary Mitchel was joined by Shaun Rosado (pneumaz on Twitter) to discuss Dog Soldiers, 28 Days Later, Resident Evil, Eight Legged Freaks, The Ring, Cabin Fever, Below & more.


These Classic Track Quarantine Panels will be held once every two weeks (or every fortnight, if you will). If you want to play along at home, grab your internet-capable device of choice and navigate the webs to the YouTube channel and/or the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

If you want to connect with the track, Joe, and/or Gary on the socials, you can find them on Twitter (ClassicTrack, JoeCroweShow, and sneezythesquid) and Instagram (SciFiClassicTrack, JoeCroweShow, and Gary_Mitchel). And, of course, to celebrate more pop culture awesomeness, you can find Dragon Con all year round on the internet, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

The next panel will be on August 25th as a Dragon Con teaser leads the track into live-action panels at Dragon Con 2022. You can find all of this and more every other Thursday as the American Sci-Fi Classics Track explores the vast reaches of classic American science fiction.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp: A Star Trek Podcast.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Dragon Con 2022

Dragon Con 2022
Atlanta, GA – September 1 through September 5, 2022

Logo_no_background

Dragon Con!

It’s an annual tradition for me. It’s also a family reunion of sorts as I catch up with dear friends from around the world. This year will be my (lucky) thirteenth time attending and my (lucky) seventh year as an attending professional.

If you plan to be there, you can find me at various places over Labor Day weekend according to the schedule below. This year is still a bit lighter than normal due to the continuing spread of COVID-19. It is neither joke nor hoax, and I fully support masking and vaccination until the spread is knocked down. I’ll still be around having fun while adhering to Dragon Con masking policies to combat the virus.

The convention app is available now – look for Dragon Con by Core-apps in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store – and will have the schedule of events soon. The list of confirmed guests, performers, artists, and attending professionals is available on the official Dragon Con site.

Dragon Con itself takes place in downtown Atlanta spanning five hotels (Sheraton Atlanta, Hilton Atlanta, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Hyatt Regency Atlanta, and Westin Peachtree Plaza) and the AmericasMart Atlanta exhibition center. The convention draws approximately 70,000 to 80,000 attendees (or more) annually and showcases one of the city’s most popular parades on Saturday morning at 10am. This year, the attendance numbers will be lower with a pandemic-related attendance cap between the reported 85,000 in 2019 and 42,000 in 2021.

Dragon Con prides itself on contributions to charity and the community. You can find more information about those efforts on their webpage. Each year, the convention partners with a local charity organization and this year’s partner is Open Hand Atlanta. Open Hand’s mission is to help underserved individuals prevent or better manage chronic disease through tailored nutrition interventions, which include a variety of therapeutic meal plans as well as nutrition counseling and coaching delivered by an experienced team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. With the dedicated support of over 14,000 volunteers, they currently prepare, pack, and deliver over 5,500 meals per day in Metro Atlanta and rural Georgia. Donations can be made at various locations around the convention, including donation buckets in each track room and contributions from the annual charity auctions. Dragon Con will match every donation up to $100,000.

The convention hosts the Dragon Con Hustle, a virtual 5K conducted on the honor system. The registration fee is donated to the annual charity and each participant gets a physical medal two weeks after the convention ends. This is probably one of my favorite ways to donate since I routinely log 30 to 35 miles during the convention as I walk to and fro. You can run, walk, roll, or even skip your way to the goal, and all Dragon Con asks is for a progress update on social media with the #DragonConHustle hashtag.

Dragon Con also hosts one of the most successful blood drives with the donations going to the non-profit Lifesouth Community Blood Centers. Lifesouth serves 125 hospitals in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, and the Dragon Con blood drives routinely outperform those held at that big west coast corporate convention.

If you’re new to the convention, consider stopping by the Dragon Con Newbies group on Facebook. It is run by Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony, and me, and is an in-depth community resource for information about this massive (and sometimes overwhelming) event. Memberships (tickets) for this year’s convention are available, however, due to the pandemic-related attendance caps, memberships are limited.

Along with the attendance caps, all attendees are required to wear masks that adhere to CDC guidelines. The other preventative measures taken by the con this year can be found on their website.

Note: All Dragon Con schedules are tentative until the convention ends on Monday. Even then, things are a bit suspect. As things change before the convention, I’ll update this post.

Revision History:

    • Rev 0 – 19 Aug 2022: Initial post.

The Schedule

DC-Wednesday-1

Attendees start rolling in up to a week before the convention and start partying. I don’t have any big plans for Wednesday yet, but I will definitely be in the area on Thursday to check in to the hotel, pick up my badge and Hard Rock Dragon Con gear, and get started with programming.

DC-Thursday-1

12:00p-4:00p: Dragon Con Newbies Walking and Rolling Tours (4 hours)
Main Programming
Marriott Marquis, Atrium Level, A601-A602
Want to get a ‘lay of the land’ and find your way around the hotels? Did you know there’s a food court? Meet others new to Dragon Con and get a tour with some veteran con-goers. The last tours will leave at approximately 3:30pm.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

5:30p-6:30p: Dragon Con Newbies Q&A (1 hour)
Main Programming
Marriott Marquis, Atrium Level, A601-A602
First Dragon Con? Confused or overwhelmed? Savvy con attendees will share tips and tricks.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

8:30p-9:30p: James Bond: No Time to Die – A Review (1 hour)
BritTrack
Hilton, Galleria 5
Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007 has finally been released. Love it or hate it, it was definitely climactic. Our discussion will answer the burning question: was it finally time for Bond to die?
Panelists include: Caro McCully, Alan J. Porter, Janné McKamey, Tony Bowers, Niki Veasey

DC-Friday-1

10:00a: Dragon Con Newbies 101 (1 hour)
Main Programming
Hyatt, Regency V
First Dragon Con? Confused or overwhelmed? Savvy con attendees will share their tips and tricks for making your experience an awesome one.
Panelists include: Kevin Bachelder, Sue Kisenwether, Kim McGibony

11:30a: Go Web! Spider-Man Movie’s 20th Tobey-Versary (1 hour)
American Sci-Fi Classics
Marriott Marquis, M103-M105
Bonesaw is ready for our tribute to the movie that launched the Spider-Verse as well as webs from Peter Parker’s hands (that’s still weird.)
Panelists include: Michael Bailey, Kevin Cafferty, ToniAnn Marini, Derek B. Gayle, Gary Mitchel

1:00p: 60 years of James Bond (1 hour)
BritTrack
Hilton, Galleria 5
The 007 film franchise is turning 60 on October 5th, 2022. This panel investigates the long-lasting impact the film franchise has had on the action movie. Where has Bond Been, and where will the franchise go after ‘No Time to Die.’
Panelists include: Caro McCully, Lauren Carey, Van Allen Plexico, Alan J. Porter, Janné McKamey

2:30p: Severance: Of Two Minds (1 hour)
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Marriott Marquis, Marquis Level, M302-M303
Working at Lumon Industries is complicated. First, you have to agree to a specialized medical procedure called severance, and then you are not entirely sure what you’re working on. It’s pretty stressful. Take a look at what the MDR team, Mark, Helly R, and one of its former members, Petey, have to say about the experience. Oh, wait, you can’t, unless you’re talking to their ‘innie’, since their ‘outie’ doesn’t have a clue. A unique story, an intriguing allegory, consider our panelists’ perspectives, and then offer your own.
Panelists include: Thomas Mariani, M.C. Williams, Felicity Kusinitz, Kevin Cafferty, Lindy Keelan

4:00p: Earth Station Who Podcast: A Look Back at the 13th Doctor (1 hour)
BritTrack
Hilton, Galleria 7
The era of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th incarnation of the Doctor is slowly coming to an end. The crew from the Earth Station Who Podcast will host a retrospective of her time in the TARDIS. We will look at how The Doctor and her “fam” took on villains of all shapes and sizes from across the universe as well as figuring out the mystery of the Timeless Child & the Flux, and reveal the good, the bad, and the Chibnall.
Panelists include: Mike Faber, Michael Gordon, Mary Ogle

5:30p: Doctor Who New Series (1 hour)
BritTrack
Hilton, Crystal Ballroom
Doctor Who returned to our screens this year with the “Flux” saga and two other specials showcasing the Daleks and the Sea Devils (last seen in 1984’s “Warriors from the Deep”) We will discuss the themes, storylines, and ramifications of these stories, and how they might affect the upcoming 60th Anniversary special.
Panelists include: Caro McCully, Sue Kisenwether, Anthony Williams, J.M. Tuffley

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11:30a: Host, Co-Host, or Group Host That is the Question
Digital Media
Hilton, Galleria 6
Do you need a co-host? Do you want one? What about group hosting? How do you find a compatible co-host and what do you do if the honeymoon is over? Whether it’s a new podcast or you are changing it up with your current one, we’ll talk about how you can find the right co-host, how to divorce a co-host, and how to create connections for guests to fill in the gaps without needing an HR department.
Panelists include: Tyra Burton, Mike Faber, Tony P Henderson, Sue Kisenwether, Leighann Lord, Lali DeRosier

1:00p: Space: 1999 – 45 Years Later (1 hour)
Military Science Fiction
Westin, Chastain DE
What is the enduring appeal of Space: 1999? Where else could it have gone? We look at this iconic show that, even now, still lives on in the hearts of fans. This cross-track panel between BritTrack, American Sci-Fi Classics, & Military SciFi Media discusses the legacy of Moonbase Alpha.
Panelists include: James Henson, Ryan Carey, “Badger”

2:30p: Shake Your Tailfeathers: You Have a Podcast, So Now What?
Digital Media
Hilton, Galleria 7
What do you need to do to take your podcast to the next level? How do you keep your listeners engaged while continuing to come up with evergreen content? We’ll talk about networking, topic generating, watching for scammers, and when you need to tackle the business of podcasting.
I will be the moderator for this panel.
Panelists include: Tyra Burton, Mike Faber, Bobby Blackwolf, Marc Leary

4:00p: So, You Have A Face For Radio: Surviving The Evolution of Podcasting To Video
Digital Media
Hilton, Galleria 7
Podcasting has evolved from being audio-only to including video and live broadcasts. How do you make the switch to being on camera? Join us as we chat about equipment, setup, solutions, and apps. Get ready for lights, camera, and action whether it is on Twitch, Facebook Live, or YouTube.
Panelists include: Tyra Burton, Mike Faber, Bobby Blackwolf, Rob Roberts, Todd Cochrane, Kyle Sullivan

DC-Sunday-1

No panels scheduled at this time.

DC-Monday-1

11:30a: Battle of the Fictional Bands: This One Goes to 11 (1 hour)
American Sci-Fi Classics
Marriott Marquis, M103-M105
Be part of the discerning audience of music connoisseurs who decides the winners in a tantalizing tournament of bands from Josie and the Pussycats to Spinal Tap.
Panelists include: ToniAnn Marini, Chris Cummins, John G. Hartness, William Joseph Roberts

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Culture on My Mind – So Much Yummier

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
So Much Yummier
August 15, 2022

This week, I’m thinking about the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track and a big anniversary.

On July 28th, I joined Joe Crowe, Gary Mitchel, and Kevin Cafferty (Gleaming the Tube) to discuss the 30th anniversary of Batman Returns. This was my first introduction to Batman on the screen, and it led the way to my discovery of Batman ’66. This film is pure Tim Burton (for many reasons) and pushed the boundaries of sexuality, feminism, and brutality in the 1980s-90s era of comic book film.


These Classic Track Quarantine Panels will be held once every two weeks (or every fortnight, if you will). If you want to play along at home, grab your internet-capable device of choice and navigate the webs to the YouTube channel and/or the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.

If you want to connect with the track, Joe, and/or Gary on the socials, you can find them on Twitter (ClassicTrack, JoeCroweShow, and sneezythesquid) and Instagram (SciFiClassicTrack, JoeCroweShow, and Gary_Mitchel). And, of course, to celebrate more pop culture awesomeness, you can find Dragon Con all year round on the internet, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

The next panel will be on August 25th as a Dragon Con teaser leads the track into live-action panels at Dragon Con 2022. You can find all of this and more every other Thursday as the American Sci-Fi Classics Track explores the vast reaches of classic American science fiction.

The episode art each week is generously provided by the talented Sue Kisenwether. You can find her (among other places) on Women at Warp: A Star Trek Podcast.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.