Thursday, September 16, 2010

Project Comic Con 2 This Weekend!

Project Comic Con, St. Louis’ annual comic book convention, is this weekend!  I’m really thrilled that StL finally has a proper comics convention in town.  It’s about time.

It’s hosted by Newcastle Comics, and they’ve got a great series of guests lined up, including Gail Simone, Josh Dysart and Greg Horn, as well as local great Lorenzo Lizana.  (I do wish they’d been able to fly in St. Louis expatriate Jim Mahfood for this.  Ah well, next year.) Also, Top Cow Productions will be doing portfolio reviews and Avatar Press will be looking at submissions.   

Project Comic Con is being held at the Maryland Heights Community Center on Saturday, Sept. 18 from 9–6 and Sunday Sept. 19 from 12–5.  Tickets are $12 for one day and $20 for a weekend pass. 

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Repo! The Genetic Opera -- Go See It at the Tivoli

"In the year 2056—the not so distant future—an epidemic of organ failures devastates the planet. Out of the tragedy, a savior emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants...for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for repossession and hunted by villainous Repo Men."

So begins Repo! The Genetic Opera -- a cult classic gothic rock opera released in 2008. And you can see it this Saturday at midnight at The Tivoli, complete with a shadow cast.

If you haven't already seen this movie, go see this movie. Great visuals, post-apocalyptic dystopian worldbuilding, lots of gore, and great songs. Plus, if you are a nerd living in STL you will probably run into people you already know in the theatre.

In conclusion, Zydrate Anatomy:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

NatsuCon Next Weekend!

Next weekend July 16-18 is NatsuCon, St. Louis' summer anime convention!

Guests include Chris Patton, Cristina Vee, Leah Clark, The Hsu-Nami, and Tracy J. Butler.

It'll be at the Sheraton Chalet at Westport. And you can still pre-register for the next 2 days and get a discount on your tickets.

Also, be sure to check out my friend, artist Lorenzo Lizana who has a table in Artist Alley.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

STL Losing Another Cool Company is closing its St. Louis office after being acquired by, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Woot is an Internet-based seller with a business model of only selling one deeply discounted item per day, in limited quantities. Sounds doomed to failure, but due to some awesome marketing and copywriting on Woot's part, they've built a devoted following, a culture, even.

Woot only employed about 20 people here in town, but its not the loss of jobs so much as the loss of potential. Woot was one more place that young, geeky writers like myself could get work writing about fun, geeky stuff. It was a place that valued innovation above the tried and true, and we don't have enough companies like that.

Woot's loss is just one more example of an ongoing issue -- St. Louis' inability to attract and keep startups.

Currently, the awesome Square Inc., manufacturer of devices that let you accept credit card payments, also has a small operations office here in town. But who knows how long that will last.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Social Media Day

Had a great time on Wednesday at Social Media Club St. Louis' Social Media Day. I took the MetroLink into town, got off at 8th and Pine, then walked around Citygarden for a bit. A bunch of kids were swimming in the waterfall pool and I wished I could join in.

The meetup was at Gio's Ristorante and it was massive. At least a hundred people, but probably way more. I don't know if anyone's released any numbers yet. But I saw a bunch of people I know -- @RossPR, @Jen_L_N, @NickGilham, @ShemTovC, @timotab, @SuntiDesigns, and I am probably forgetting a bunch of Twitter handles. (Comment and I'll edit the post).

A highlight of the evening was when @NickGilham and @timotab demonstrated to @SuntiDesigns and I how to do a bump with their iPhones. Easy, simple, yet so cool in that "shiny new toy" way. I'm hoping to get a bump-capable phone next time I upgrade.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

IT Company Unisys Building App Center, Creating Tech Jobs in STL

Sweet. Today Unisys announced it is building here in town a facility with the overly complicated name of the Application Modernization Center of Excellence. The main purpose of the center, according to Unisys, is to have a think tank of geeks creating software applications for government and commercial needs.

But really, once you strip away the marketing speak, basically this means that there will be a company in town where tech geeks can get paid to create apps for the iPhone, iPad, and the rest of Apple's cool nerd toys.

Better yet, the center is expected to create 300 or so IT jobs in the area by 2012, and they are already doing some hiring for people with skills in application development. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WasabiNet: The Key to Bringing Google Fiber to STL?

One of the presentations at the Arch Reactor open house covered WasabiNet, a 2-year-old community mesh network founded by Minerva Lopez and Ben West.

A mesh network is a cost-effective way for people to get Internet. WasabiNet uses about 8 DSL lines to cover 38 WiFi access points, and it covers about 14 blocks of Cherokee Street, and also provides Internet to Arch Reactor itself, near the intersection of Jefferson Ave. and Gravois. Access costs $9.99 per month for residents and $19.99 per month for businesses. Users can also access the network for free, but with speed limits and download quotas.

WasabiNet has been in the news since Friday, as PC World blogger Phil Shapiro cited WasabiNet as a prime reason why Google should bring its Gigabit Fiber project to St. Louis. The RFT interviewed WasabiNet founders Minerva Lopez and Ben West yesterday.

I've heard that KSDK did an interview as well, but I haven't tracked down any video of the interview, yet.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Aftermath: Arch Reactor

Overall, the open house at St. Louis hackerspace Arch Reactor was a fantastic time.

(Although Arch Reactor folks, seriously, you need to have some fricking fans going in your un-airconditioned space when you host an open house and the temp is in the high 90s. None of you highly intelligent people thought of that? Seriously?)

Lack of fans or A/C not withstanding, Arch Reactor had a number of great presentations on member projects, including building sci-fi fandom costumes, Arduino, and community mesh network WasabiNet. There was also a bunch of cool old and new technology to play with: Commodore 64s, an arcade version of Tetris, a 3D printer, a large scale blueprint printer, and a bunch of stuff I'm forgetting.

WasabiNet was especially interesting, as it hit the national media the day before the open house. More details in another post.

If Arch Reactor sounds like your kind of place, but you missed the open house this past weekend, you can visit any Tuesday night after 7:30 pm when Arch Reactor is open to the public.

Coffee for Comics Creators

I host a monthly meetup for local comic book creators -- artists and writers -- and our next meeting is coming up. Here's the official type blurb:

Coffee for Comics Creators

There are lots of creative people in St. Louis working on interesting comic book projects. Let's get together and introduce ourselves over coffee. We'll discuss our experiences pitching companies, running Artist Alley tables, collaborating with other professionals, Project Comic Con 2, and more.

See you Tuesday, July 6 at 7 p.m. at Wired Coffee, 1/2 mile south of the intersection of Lindbergh and Watson. Check out for map and directions.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Restaurants with Free WiFi in St. Louis

Sometimes when I'm working on my netbook, I'm in the mood for something besides coffeeshop food or St. Louis Bread Co (love Bread Co though).

Urbanspoon St. Louis has a handy list of all the restaurants in town that offer free WiFi. Did you know that Crown Candy Kitchen has free WiFi? This amazes me, because I can't imagine getting any work done there. I generally give up my seat as soon as I'm done eating because of the massive crowds.

Some of the other places include The U, a late night sandwich shop opened by a pair of SLU students specifically because they wanted a place nearby campus that was open late, and wasn't fast food. The U recently expanded it menus to offer delicious breakfast food along with its signature sandwiches.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Grand Center Arts Academy

Grand Center Arts Academy is a charter school based in St. Louis City on Grand Ave., a few blocks north of SLU and The Fabulous Fox. It's opening this August. There's no tuition, and 6th and 7th graders in St. Louis City, and some in St. Louis County, are eligible to apply.

You can get more info about enrollment, the school's mission, and other stuff here:

I'm basically a huge fan of anything that supports the arts in St. Louis, and this school sounds like it will be a fantastic resource. They've hired pretty much all the staff they need for this year, but as the school will be adding a grade each year, they'll also be hiring more teachers next year. So peoples who are interested in teaching gifted and artistic students should make some longterm plans.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Why I Need An iPhone

Last weekend I stopped off at the CWE Taste and Art Fair to visit my friend Sam at her booth for Sunti Designs. I parked on Walton at McPherson, and started walking to Euclid. I passed this guy:

The Pi Truck was just parked McPherson, and no one was inside or around it. It has a Twitter handle painted on the side. There was also a painted announcement that PiTruck accepts credit cards via Square, which is a device that I've talked about before.

I walked down Euclid and checked out the various booths, and stopped to chat with Sam. We got word that rain was coming in, so I said my goodbyes and headed back to my car. I walked past the PiTruck again, at about 4:45 pm and figured I would check out @PiTruckSTL when I got home, which I did.

"'ChefBaltes' will be serving your free pi tonight! See you on McPherson b/w Euclid and Walton at 5:30pm. 4:55 PM Jun 11th"


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Arch Reactor!

This weekend is the open house at local hackerspace Arch Reactor, a "space in st. louis for artistic, technical and educational pursuits."

I'm really excited that St. Louis has a group like this. I'm a big fan of collaborative workspaces, and while coworking hasn't quite taken off here, this hackerspace, while definitely a different concept, addresses some of the same needs -- for solo creatives to have a space to interact with each other.

A bonus is that Arch Reactor has space in the fantastic Jefferson Underground building, at the intersection of Jefferson and Gravois. I had the privilege of attending my friends' ten-year anniversary party at this venue last year. The space on the top floor where the party was held is amazing -- indoor seating for food, and an outdoor chimney/fireplace, dancefloor, dj booth, bandstand and tiki bar.

And to get there, an elevator operator takes you up in a car elevator. I can't wait to check out Arch Reactor's space.

Look for a follow up post.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

In Memoriam: Rivalz Technology Cafe

Summer 2004. I'd just finished grad school, and was living with my folks in St. Charles. I really needed a place to get out of the house and worked on my freelance. And I found it.

Rivalz Technology Cafe, on Dorsett, was a coffeeshop/Internet cafe that was open until 1 am on weeknights and 3 am on weekends. Most of the seating was beatup old comfy couches. The drinks were cheap and the WIFI was plentiful. Word spread like wildfire through St. Louis' geek community.

I would park myself there most nights with my iBook and a breve. I met one of my best friends in the world there, and we started hanging out on a regular basis. Rivalz became the place that my circle of friends and I would hang out. We'd game, chat, gossip, rehearse plays (our group did a lot of performance art at local goth shows), flirt, and brainstorm. If we had any wild and crazy ideas back in those days, it was a sure bet the genesis occurred at Rivalz.

Another one of my best friends, Jen, can tell similar stories about the coffeeshop Caffiend. I should get her to do a guest post.

The brain and life of Rivalz was the main barista/manager, Sean. Sean was the guy who knew all his regulars and their drinks, and knew how to run a business. Everyone knew him by name. He had the best pastries in the case and picked the best music pump into the cafe. One night after he played a tech remix of Alice Cooper's "Poison", I asked him for the name of the song and the artist so I could buy the track online. Sean loaned me the CD on the spot.

Not long after Sean ran off to LA with his girlfriend, Rivalz went downhill. DJs playing loud music, roving hordes of high schoolers descending upon the place, and then in early 2006 Rivalz closed its doors for good. I still don't know all the details, since I'd also moved (out to San Francisco) by then, but numerous sources indicated that the owner blew all his profits on hookers and blow. Is it true? Who knows?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Take Credit Card Payments With Your iPhone

I love living in the future. Anyone who sells at ren faires, outdoor festivals, sci-fi conventions, take note: you can turn an iPhone, iPad or Android phone into a credit card reader with the Square Card Reader: Seriously, how cool is that?

Someone on my Facebook pointed out that using an iPhone doesn't exactly scream Middle Ages. My response: "Hey, they've already got signs up at Ren Faires that say 'Accepting Lord Mastercard, Lady Visa, and New World Express.' The iPhone at least has a much smaller footprint than those clunky credit card hand scanners. And let's face it, the types of geeks who sell stuff at Ren Faire are exactly the types of geeks who buy iPhones and Androids."

I'm wondering how cost effective it would be for a solo creative like myself. I'll probably check it out in the next few months.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I Heart St. Louis

Hi, I'm Caitlin Moriarity, and I love St. Louis. I think it's a great town. I grew up here, moved away to San Francisco for several years, and then moved back to St. Louis when I decided that as much as I liked San Francisco, I loved St. Louis more.

There's a lot to love about this town, and here's where I'm going to talk about it.