W00tstock Awesomeness.

I had fully intended to write this blog yesterday, but I was a complete zombie. I’m *mostly* recovered now, so let’s see if I can do this thing justice!

Back in the beginning of March, I received an email from one of my tweeps. She excitedly told me that w00tstock was coming to Minneapolis, and “I don’t know about you, but I think w00tstock would be better with cake!”

Well, I had to agree, so I got a hold of Paul and Storm, the geeked out musical comedians in charge. Offered up some cake, they were interested, mentioned I’d have my husband – a photographer along with me to take pics… they asked if he’d be willing to be the official backstage photographer (Willing? Hell YES he was!)…
and we were on track for an adventure in epic geekery!

The plan was to make a surprise “Tardis” cake for Adam Savage & Wil Wheaton. Hubby would photograph the goings on, while I doled out samples of our caffeinated brownies and blondies (from our line of baking mixes. Cake would be served, geeking out would occur, and it would be an awesome night.

Monday was the day, finally! It had been difficult to not blab the details of the cake design itself, while I had been free to tweet that I would be DOING a cake. Everyone wants to know what it’ll look like, especially when it’s a.) Geeky, and b.) Intended for geek royalty! This blog entry is gonna get long and image-heavy, so click through to read & gawk!

The day got off to a bad start. Due to some dropped communication between the various parties involved, we ended up cakeblocked at the last minute. The Guthrie decided – between the time we left, and arriving at the loading dock – that 1″ samples would be too much competition for their concession stand, and we were left with 600 samples we could not serve. Damn!! Woulda been good to be told that – we briefly considered a tweetup sampling out of the back of our truck. LOL.

We loaded up the dolly with everything else, and set about to get the cake discreetly delivered to a room where Wil Wheaton wouldn’t see it. Of course, he was one of the very first people we came across. While a few people tried to guide him away from where we were, there were a few tense moments as we tried out best to stand in front of / conceal out delivery. My minion of the evening – Rachel – and I set about setting up our merch booth, while my husband went on the photography gig he’d been looking forward to awhile.

At that point, the rest of the evening kinda became a flurry of activity, so let me just point-form our highlights. This probably won’t be accurately chronological in any way!

– It was great to meet SO many of my tweeps! Thank you all for coming by the booth and identifying yourself as such! Kaji, TheGreenAvenger, PerpetualMind, NorthernGypsy, off the top of my head… hi!

– At one point, Wil Wheaton warned my husband (as the photographer, not knowing he was in any way related to me or the brownies backstage) that the brownies may taste really good, but watch out – they’re REALLY caffeinated!. Wil later told the story to me as well, saying that a little bit of one had him feeling like.. damn, I can’t remember how he put it. Like a hyper chipmunk or something. He was talking very fast ๐Ÿ™‚

– Minutes before the big unveiling, I was told in no uncertain terms that Wil would “lose his shit when he sees the cake”. He did. It was great! Here are some pics:

(What happens when you present a geeky cake to a room full of geeks!)

For more pics of the cake & backstage presentation, check out our Facebook page – fan us while you’re at it!

– I took a really crappy cell phone pic of Wil on the floor, photographing his cake. Cake Wrecks retweeted it… Wil tweeted pics.. both (with a total combined follower number of 2,889,949!) including my username… and my twitter feed went wild. Here’s a more pro version of the Pic I tweeted:

(Being married to a photographer is handy!)

The cake, if you don’t recognize it, it the TARDIS from Dr Who. What made this cake really cool – and a stand out for my husband – is that the light on top was not only functional, it blinked. That meant a trip to Ax-Man – his favorite store in the world – as well as ripping apart a few different lights/components, and making custom electronics for it. He was in his glory ๐Ÿ™‚ We let Wil keep the blinky light!

Another interesting thing about the cake was the inside joke we piped on the back. If you follow either Wil Wheaton or Paul and Storm, you know what that’s all about ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not describing here, as I don’t want to attract certain types of spam comment bots!

– Being approached by a friend of mine who’d seen Twitter just blow up over the cake – and all of the high-profilers tweeting about it – and the first thing she said to me was a rough quote of a local “bigshot” (in her mind) planner who told a friend of mine that I have no idea what I’m doing, that by catering to geeks and doing stuff like having Klingons as escorts at an Awards Night (see Here and Here, and Here), I was – quote – “throwing my business down the toilet”. Ah, sweet, sweet vindication. I’d actually forgotten all about that until the friend brought it up. I was very smug after that reminder, LOL.

– While he wouldn’t OFFICIALLY “bust the myth” of fondant tasting bad, (oh, how I was hoping for video of that!)… I was told that Adam Savage liked my fondant, and was totally unaware that fondant has a bad rep.

– We met two of the guys from Thaco! While hubby was photographing Wil with his cake, I went over to inform him that I noticed Bill Stiteler in the corner. You should have seen his grin! He loved that movie.. and had the “claim to fame” of being Thaco’s first review on Amazon. As Bill pointed out, that’s their ONLY review… so if you’ve seen it and loved it, go review it already! (That’s a totally unsolicited request/recommendation, by the way!)

Actually, I should be more accurate. Hubby met one of the Thaco guys, I met two – Duck came up to my booth. I have NO idea if he wanted info or anything, cause I immediately asked “Are you the guy in Thaco?”, and when he confirmed, I may have sort of screeched excitedly about my husband being a big fan, and asked for a photo with which I’d torment him. He graciously allowed it ๐Ÿ™‚ Hubby WAS jealous, just as I called it.

– Hubby had a GREAT time photographing the whole thing. His highlights included getting shoved on stage a few times to take pics, looking out on the audience and seeing a bunch of people he KNEW. That had to be pretty cool… we really did end up knowing a TON of people in attendance, too!

– You see this couple? They got engaged at W00tstock! On stage. I didn’t get to see it personally (was at my booth!), but I hear it was a geeked out moment of beauty! They later told me, at my booth, that my cakes were one of the first things they thought about after getting engaged. What a compliment! It was also cool for my husband, who was “shoved out on stage” to capture the moment. I think it’s the first engagement moment he’s been a part of, aside from his own!

– Speaking of couples getting married, guess who stopped by my booth? Check this out:

That’s a crappy cell phone pic I took of one of my favorite couples ever! They were actually anonymously “famous” that night, and have been for awhile – they’re Cory and Tori, the couple who ordered the Super Mario Brothers wedding cake for their wedding a year and a half ago! You know, the one on the front page of my site, and on most of my advertising… the one that something like 90% of the attendees at W00tstock geeked out over? Them! Awesome to see them again – and doubly awesome that he was wearing a Super Mario Bros shirt for the pic!

– We got a hell of a shoutout on stage from Paul and Storm. I’m used to very dry “we’d like to thank our sponsors” kinda mentions… this was nothing like that. I knew they were excited about the cake and enjoyed it, I didn’t expect it would come through SO much on stage. I was very honored.. and luckily, quick enough to capture most of it on video:

I CANNOT tell you how electrifying an experience it was when they crowd went SO nuts over the pics of the cake. I have goosebumps just typing about it. Thank you SO much, all of you. You made my night!!

– On the subject of unexpected ego boosts, holy crap – I read the comments on the cake pic Wil tweeted. Awesome, check it out!

– Being surrounded by not only almost every geek and nerd we know – which is ALWAYS a good time, we were surrounded by geek royalty, which was really cool. Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage, Paul and Storm, as mentioned.. but also several “Mystery Science Theater 3000” guys there: Trace Beaulieu, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy… authors John Scalzi, and James Kakalios – who I’m told COMPLETELY brought the house down with his Physics talk. (Twitter sure went nuts!), and more!

– I got to meet Neil Gaiman! I had gone back to the green room to look for my husband, poked my head in to ask for him.. where Neil was the one to answer. Neil thought that he knew where he was, and very kindly led me back. Very gentlemanly… and he actually contributed to my most surreal moment of the night. He stopped, turned around and extended a hand, and said “I’m Neil Gaiman”. Like I had NO idea who he was! Kinda caught me off guard.

I’ve met and/or worked with many celebrities over the years, and I’m pretty sure he’s the first to ever introduce himself. Many/most just expect it’s a given that I know who they are, even when that’s NOT the case – sports stars are particularly guilty of this. (Ironically, I’m usually quite guilty of not having a clue WHO they are!). I follow him on Twitter, as a result of SO many of my friends talking him up.. even though I’ve not had time to read fiction in.. wow, maybe a decade? He was just such a down to earth and nice guy! I think I’m gonna have to seek out one of his books and give it a go, as soon as I have a minute to breathe! (so probably end of July, by the current looks of things!). Any recommendations?

– As part of the show, artist Len Peralta (of the Geek A Week project) was on stage, seated at his computer… designing the official W00tstock poster. They set it up so that the audience could tweet suggestions as to what all should be on this poster… and yes, my Tardis cake ended up on it! How sweet is THAT? Thanks Len! You rock.

Wow, this entry is long and crazy. Trying to think if there was anything else?

Oh! At the end of the night, when the Geek Royalty was lined up at a table across the room, signing autographs.. 4 or 5 people came by my booth with their autographed poster.. and asked for MINE! Signed em and did a quick “Tardis cake” sketch. Fun!

All in all, a crazy awesome night!! What were your favorite memories of #w00tstock ?

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33 thoughts on “W00tstock Awesomeness.

  1. Wow, what an awesome experience – I’m so jealous!

    Re: Neil Gaiman, I love his work. I’d recommend starting with “Neverwhere” or “Stardust,” though “Good Omens” (co-written with Terry Pratchet) is great, too. “American Gods” and the “Sandman” graphic novel series get a bit heavy, so those are usually good 201-level reads, after you’ve gotten the hang of his style with the earlier recommendations.

    Major congrats to you – sounds like it was a hell of a day. I’m so jealous you got to meet Kevin Murphy – I met a bunch of the MST3K guys at CONvergence last year but I’ve never met him, and Tom Servo was always my favorite ‘bot! (I even had a Tom Servo birthday cake for my Sweet 16.)

  2. The only thing that could make the tardis cake any better would be if it were bigger inside that out!

  3. Read “The Graveyard Book.” It won the 2009 Newbery Medal, but it’s really not a children’s book…. It’s dark and lovely.

  4. Wow that sounds amazing! You’ve managed to combine 2 of my favorite things, cakes and geeks lol Okay if you want to read a book by Neil Gaiman that you can finish relatively easy and has a lot of comedy, I suggest “Good Omens” which he wrote with Terry Pratchett. It’s not like his graphic novels, but you should be able to get through it on a busy schedule.

  5. I highly recommend Good Omens – it has long been one of my favorite books. My brother reads a lot of Neil Gaiman and has long been trying to get me to do the same. We have similar taste in books, I’m just lazy.

  6. That cake is AMAZING! Pure, total awesome!

    My only problem with this level of awesomeness: you’re not closer to me (Portland,OR)! I have a horrible craving for a Dalek cake now!

  7. I actually started with American Gods myself. I’m not certain I’d call it heavy but definitely enjoyable.

    I’m also quite excited for you. I got lead here by a Wil Wheaton retweet of Neil Gaiman but the pictures and stories made the night sond awesome. I’m gonna have to see if w00tstock will get closer than Chicago to my area.

  8. That cake is made of awesome! I want a TARDIS cake!

    Re: Neil Gaiman, I agree with Annie, don’t start with American Gods {good idea if you have a time crunch anyway as it’s a big book} or Nanasi Boys. I’d go with the fairy tales stuff mentioned above, {Good Omens will make you laugh your ass off} or Graveyard Book. If you have a time crunch OR just for the awesome, Neil reads Graveyard and many of his other audio stuff himself and as you’ve heard. He has a glorious voice.

  9. Re: Gaiman “American Gods” is my favorite. In the meantime, if you haven’t seen it yet, rent “Stardust” – scratch that, _buy_ a copy of “Stardust”. Wonderful movie.

    Thanks for sharing your (amazing) day with us :o)

  10. “- At one point, Wil Wheaton warned my husband (as the photographer, not knowing he was in any way related to me or the brownies backstage) that the brownies may taste really good, but watch out โ€“ theyโ€™re REALLY caffeinated!”

    No wonder w00tstock was almost 5 hours long!! They were all hopped up on caffeine!

  11. I second the _Neverwhere_ nomination for “which @neilhimself book do I start with?”. As much as I love _American Gods_ (I’ve read two copies to tatters, and the third is well on its way to the same state), it is a VERY heavy book.

  12. That cake was mad awesome.

    I’m Duck’s fiance, and I gotta say, you made my night. I love it when people recognize him around town. We did manage to enter into the cake drawing, but didn’t get a postcard — though now that I’ve made it here, facebook should solve that.

  13. Hi there! Congrats on your cake success, it’s (well… was… :^) beautiful!

    As for Neil Gaiman, I’m also one of them people madly in love with him, and I also have phases in which I don’t get round to reading, so here’s my recommendation: Get ‘Anansi Boys’ (my favourite N.G. so far…) as an audio book (unabridged), performed by Lenny Henry. It’s totally beautifully done, and you can listen to it whilst crafting/ baking/ driving and all that stuff!

    1. I think Carmen’s suggestion is the best of all because if you’ve got your headphones on you can quite easily breeze through any number of Gaiman’s unabridged books. He even reads some of them himself, but since my copies are all dead-tree editions, I couldn’t tell you which ones they are.

  14. I will be posting the opening segments soon, which has a great angle on the Creation Generation part. In fact, very soon. Tweet me? @ryaninmpls

  15. Wonderful story =) Wil linked this in his twitter feed and I had to come check it out. So glad you had a good time and met so many cool people.

    I hope that your business blows up, especially the caffeinated brownies which I will be purchasing very soon =)

  16. I have most of the books Neil has ever published, and you are welcome to borrow any of them. I will buck the trend and suggest that you start with Sandman, since that was the first thing he was really known by (or if you like Douglas Adams, his biography of him).
    If you don’t have much time, try one of his short story collections.
    For a real quick intro, go to Youtube and type in either
    Blueberry girl neil gaiman
    instructions neil gaiman

    for audio versions of two of his children’s poems. Instructions is imho the better of the two. He reads them both, so there’s awesome added voice. mmmm, gaimanvoice.

  17. Chivalry is one of the most perfect short stories I’ve ever read — it’s available in his collection Smoke and Mirrors, amongst other places. And since nobody else seems to have mentioned it, I’ll add Coraline to the list — it’s delightfully creepy.

  18. Damn. See this is why I wish I lived in America, so I could go to these awesome sounding things!
    You said you may read a Neil Gaimen book. I suggest Smoke & Mirrors his book of short stories. It shows all of his different styles really nicely, and has some stories (like the first one “Chivlary”) which are all lovely and warm and fluffy, some that make the reader think, and some that creep me out. It’s awesome!

  19. Multisquee! Good thing I picked Chicago in a way — if I’d picked Minneapolis I’d have tryed to pay you off to be your cake equipment hauler or backup photographer and I’d have felt all creepy about it later. I didn’t even go through the autograph line.


  20. Getting in on the book selection conversation: If you like audio books, I would suggest any of N.G.’s books that he reads himself. Stardust is just delightful this way. I don’t know that I could pick a favorite of his books, though if you just want a flavor of his writing in a quick and easy read Graveyard Book would be my recommendation, with Odd and the Frost Giants as my second pick. If you want something more intense, Neverwhere is a great place to start. Just my $.02.

    Love the cake, and I am totally jealous of your experience!

  21. Oh, Wil Wheaton introduces himself too, he did to me at least, and we were at the short-lived GenCon SoCal, no less, one of the Geeky of Geekyist places, and we were assigned to the same group for TrueDungeon (http://www.truedungeon.com). He and his friends were pointed towards my husband and I when they checked in for TrueDungeon, and when he walked up to me, he said “Hi, I’m Wil” and held out his hand. I was a bit stunned, and well, my response was “Wha, yes you are, I’m Stephanie.” *subdued squee* “My friend is going to be so jealous, she has been a huge fan of yours for years”. After that mini geekgasm, though, it was totally normal, he and his buddies were just fellow gamers that my husband and I had been grouped with for some live-action dungeon-crawling. Wil did very well as a Bard ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Meeting Neil Gaiman is definitely on my Bucket List! He just seems like such a nice guy in addition to being a literary genius. I read an interview with him where he said he loves it when his fans forget their own names at book signings because then he doesn’t feel so bad when he forgets his name when meeting his idols! I disagree with the people who are saying not to read American Gods or the Sandman books first. That was the first Gaiman book I ever picked up and it was done in a matter of days because I couldn’t put it down even to sleep! It was magic! Then I went looking for other Gaiman works and the only other thing the store had in stock was the 1st Sandman graphic novel. I was completely addicted. I had to go to three stores in two towns to get them all, one each payday. I was heartbroken when I’d read them all, because I wanted the tales to go on forever.

  23. I was standing there when Wil was talking to Marie about her Jacked Up Java brownies. I just had to write down what he said about them:
    “It made me feel like a squirrel that’s been injected with cocaine”. I must note that Wil only had 1/4 of a standard size bar. They are awesome stuff, I need my fix.

  24. I had so much fun reading this because you clearly had so much fun doing it. I wish w00tstock would tour Europe (well, I can hope). The Neil Gaiman-moment made me giggle. I’ve seen him a couple of times, reading his work, and he really is a perfect gentleman. And I second what people suggested about audio books read by himself, they are awesome. I like American Gods best of all his novels and the short stories are great as well – someone mentioned Chivalry, that one’s hilarious.

    And speaking of awesome: the Tardis cake is made of it.

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