Muffin Monday: Stay Calm and Comic-Con
This weekend was all about one thing and one thing only: comic-con tickets. I mean I was having NIGHTMARES about the process for the last week. It’s that important and that intense. There are not enough passes for everyone trying to buy—I don’t know the numbers but I’d guess there are at least double the number of people trying to those who get tickets. Oh and this is just for PRE-registration. This is just for people who had passes last year and get an advance ticket sale for next year. The Open Registration is not yet even upon us. As that comes closer I’ll post an actual guide to help some of those looking to try and get into this shitshow.
TLDR -Spoilers: I got my ticket and will be matriculating with the class of 2014.
Why am I dedicating a blog post to this? Well for one thing this is like finding that golden ticket in the Wonka bar okay, a certain amount of celebration is required. Also I find the whole process and the community it has generated to be pretty fascinating. But first how about some background for those who still don’t know what it is or who have only ever been exposed to the words “Comic Con” because they watch Big Bang Theory. (I can’t tell you how many people now tell me “OH I KNOW WHAT THAT IS—I watch BBT”)
For those of you who don’t know, Comic-Con is *the* comic book convention. There are dozens, if not hundreds by now, but there will only ever be the one “big” convention and that takes place every year in San Diego for the last 40+ years. This will be my seventh year attending and each year buying passes gets progressively harder. How hard? We’re talking sold out in seconds when the tickets get released online. In the last two go rounds, how fast your internet speed was determined if you made it through…and even then it was a crapshoot. The website would repeatedly crash on people. It was nail biting, time consuming and caused far more expletives to be uttered in my house than any other time.
Prior to 2012 you could buy tickets on site i.e. I could buy my pass for 2012 at the 2011 convention but because the online sales were getting so crazed people were lining up the night before—people who had paid to attend the convention mind you as these on site sales were only for ticket holders—to wait in line to buy passes for NEXT year and miss out an almost an entire day of the CURRENT convention. So they stopped those on site sales.
Once sales became online only—well that’s when things got really crazed re: millisecond sellouts and website failures because too many users were logging in. SDCC starting introducing all sorts of controls to make this system better—requiring member ids for ticket purchases, emailing out links only to those with valid member ids and status, limiting the number of badges you can buy and punishing the abusers of the F5 key by causing them to get kicked “out of line” during the sales process if they try to refresh. This year the process became truly randomized. After logging in all those looking to buy badges were randomly sorted for a chance to purchase. That’s it. No speedier internet advantage.
The only strategy that really works anymore is cooperative purchasing.
See the one thing that you CAN do is purchase a total of 3 badges at a time—because families do go together and it would be pretty crummy if only one person got a badge and the rest didn’t. But what this also allows for are large convention pass networks. I’m lucky enough to be in a network of convention attendees I met through The Guild. I know maybe only a third of them and yet…we are able to, without really too much direction, come together each year to coordinate the ticket sales process and ensure everyone gets a badge utilizing this 3-badge maximum purchase option. A few people do help to coordinate a facebook page and we all just make sure to converge together at the right time. Then as some people get randomly sorted to buy passes, they will start buying passes for others further down the online sales queue. You’d think it would be chaotic, and it is, but it works. It’s not quite the perfect example of spontaneous order, but it comes close. It also reaffirms my belief that when you want something done, the most efficient and effective results come from small scale communities coming together to accomplish it…provided the parties are properly motivated. At my rough count we had 50 people in this network and we all had badges by the end of 2 hours.
You meet people, friends of friends, who you are buying passes for and the network grows. See clever Comic-Con has figured out how to make a group of nerds, so stereotypically seen as anti-social and isolated, into a dedicated tribe that depends on communication and socialization to survive…er, get tickets. As anxiety inducing as this whole process is, and let me tell you there ought to be a prescription for a comic-con chill pill, it’s also kind of…nice? It’s kind of nice to see it as a way for good people to come together, trust each other and accomplish something that makes us feel…mighty. I could not be more grateful, humbled and awed by these individuals who all work together. I am lucky to know and have them (and not just because it gets me a badge) because really, I can focus so much on the bad things people do, it’s nice to have my lens shifted at the good once in a while.
Which is why I’m sharing this recipe for one of my top 5 favorite muffins—possibly in the top 3—that I’ve developed. Lavender is the most popular floral note I think used for aromatherapy and stress reduction. I love it in my tea—Peet’s coffee has an earl grey with lavender that blew my mind years ago. So I was thinking—wouldn’t it be delicious in a muffin? Heck just the smell in your kitchen while they bake would be a good way to counterbalance the stress of the ticket sales day. I was right and oh man I love the way these taste. If you don’t like floral notes in food they won’t be for you, but I could eat them all day. So if you plan on trying for open registration be sure to keep an eye on my blog for advice, find some other friends who want to go too and host a ticket-purchase party. You can invite everyone over, dish up these muffins and just remember: Stay Calm and Comic-Con.
Lemon Lavender Poppyseed Muffins
An Olivia Original
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp crushed, dry lavender (food grade)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ Tbsp poppyseeds
Preheat the oven to 350F and prep two muffin tins—this will make approximately 18 muffins.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
In another bowl blend together the sugar, lemon zest and crushed lavender. The sugar should begin to get very fragrant as the oils from the zest and flower break down. Once thoroughly mixed sift this into the flour mixture.
In another bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and canola oil. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the dry and mix just until blended. You can also add the poppyseeds a pinch or two at a time while you do this to avoid over mixing. DO NOT OVERMIX. As always with muffins lumps are not only okay, but encouraged. Just be sure your flour is fully incorporated and back away from the spoon.
Scoop into the muffin tins filling up approximately ¾ of the way and then bake for about 18-22 minutes. Keep an eye on the muffins and if the edges start to brown a little remove OR make sure they pass the toothpick test.