gwalla: (comics code authority)
Psylocke. Not the most flattering photo of this particular cosplayer, I'm afraid.

I wonder what he's an interpreter of? Grunts and growls? Dogslobberese?

Spike of Templar, Arizona and R. K. Milholland of Something Positive

That Psylocke again, with a few others. We have here a Deadpool bunnygirl of some kind (Deadpoolina?), Harley Quinn, Lady Gaga, and a female Punisher. And a couple of dudes I do not recognize at all. I didn't even notice the fortuitous placement of that CD character's face until uploading these photos.

Tried to get a better shot of the Deadpool girl, but some asstard stuck his head in front of the camera. Tried to salvage it as best I could. Yes, she has grenades in her Easter basket.

Overall I wasn't really feeling it this year. I think it may be partly be because I haven't been following anything very closely since scans_daily got shut down, and especially since having to stop at home to pick up my bogu before Kendo practice means I can't hang around downtown and browse Comic Relief. Plus there just wasn't a whole lot that was new to see. The only sketch I got was of Terra's head, by Amanda Conner.

I only went to a few panels. I got there too late for the big Disney/Pixar panel on Saturday, and for Andrew Farago's panels today. Yesterday I saw the Gail Simone panel (fun) and the CBLDF Art Auction (fun, and some sweet art, though I didn't buy anything). Sunday I went to one of the Comic Art Conference panels, but the one presenter whose talk sounded like it would be interesting (on urban environments and the cyberpunk they inspired) never showed, and the first guy's talk was so completely dull that I ended up walking out. It seemed like a case of signing up for a talk with a specific thesis in mind, then discovering during the course of research that the thesis wasn't really supportable, and just never coming up with anything interesting in its place.

Bought a bunch of stuff, of course. Con haul:

  • From the overpriced out-of-print soundtracks booth: soundtracks to Willow, Big Trouble In Little China, Labyrinth, and Robotech
  • Gunnerkrigg Court vol. 2 and Mouse Guard: Winter 1152
  • a set of six art nouveau-inspired robot mini-posters from a guy in artist alley
  • a poster of Power Girl giving someone a sock to the jaw, by Amanda Conner. Also, got my copy of the PG trade signed by her.
  • Lackadaisy Cats
  • Richard Stark's Parker: The Man With the Getaway Face, adapted by Darwyn Cooke

Also, I re-upped by Comic Book Legal Defense Fund membership.

I thought I might check out Bamboo Blade in the anime room, since one of my coworkers has been going on about it since I started doing Kendo, but I was a bit late.

That was pretty much it. Pretty busy but not crazy crowded. Not a bad con, I had fun, but I dunno. Something was missing, and I think it may have been something in me.
gwalla: (camera)
Last Sunday I went to the city for the final day of the Japantown Cherry Blossom Festival. The sky was clear and the temperature was scorching hot. Forgot to bring my good digital camera, so cell phone pics are all I've got; hopefully I cleaned them up enough that they don't look too horrible.

Saw this sign in Berkeley while walking to the BART station. Not related to Sakura Matsuri at all, it just amused me.
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At the festival, I caught the tail end of the parade. This was the very last of the mikoshi: the sake mikoshi! Yes, those nearly naked guys were standing on it as the others carried it on their shoulders down the hill. One of them was even bouncing up and down. I felt kinda bad for the porters. Some of the folks walking alongside would occasionally toss cupfuls of water over them so they wouldn't get heatstroke.
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This was the next to last of the mikoshi. The porters for this one were all teenagers from the neighborhood, I think.
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The reason for the season:
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That object you can barely see through the cherry branches is the Peace Pagoda.

And of course, it wouldn't be a Japantown festival without a bunch of crazy white people dressed as anime characters:
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It's hard to tell from this distance, lighting, and resolution, but that first picture, with the Sailor Moon cast? Yeah, those are all dudes. With beards. Dancing and doing karaoke of the opening theme.

They needed to work on their synchronization.

This one's for [ profile] maggiemarmalade: a couple of FLCL dolls in the window of the model shop. Unfortunately I have yet to master the art of shooting through glass.
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Picked up a CD at the S.F. Taiko Dojo's store in the Japantown mall, and a flyer for the Soko Gakuen Japanese language school, which I'm seriously considering. I just need to figure out which class I should join (I've taken a few years of Japanese, but it was a long time ago and I'm really rusty. Still, I already know kana and some kanji.)
gwalla: (question is a geek)
As usual, I am ridiculously late with a Con report. Actually, this is going to be a bit short on report, and mostly just photos, since I spent most of my time on the dealer room floor.

Technical difficulties precluded taking any photos successfully on Friday.

I started off Saturday taking pics of cosplayers. Here are the highlights I saw on Saturday:

More photos under the cut: Lackadaisy Cats! Graphic novelists! '80s wrestlers! Artists! EEGAH! )

My cat, just because )
Cobra )

I also attended Pixar's panel promoting Up. The clips were pretty funny, but the movie looks like it's going to be pretty weird. There's a huge bird that reminds me a bit of the Dodo from the old Warner Bros. cartoon, and a bunch of dogs who talk using electronic collars. Right before that I caught the tail end of the panel on Tim Burton's new 3DCG movie, 9, which looks pretty cool graphically and has an interesting premise (a group of little robot rag dolls after the end of humanity), but also seems to have some badly clichéd dialogue ("We've awakened something." "Something horrible.")

Merch haul:

  • From the Archaia Studios Press booth, I got Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 and Gunnerkrigg Court vol. 1: Orientation. I also got a Mouse Guard poster at David Petersen's booth, and he signed both it and the book. He told me a bit about his workflow: he first sketches each figure, prop, and background on a page separately, scans them in and composites them (shrinking or enlarging each as necessary), prints out the composited sketch, inks that by hand, then scans that back in and colors in the computer (despite the watercolor look, the coloring is all digital); this means that a single mistake (like drawing a figure out of proportion to a prop) doesn't scrap an entire page of work, but he also gets the hand-drawn feel that he wants. I can't argue with the results; Mouse Guard's art is gorgeous.

  • A bunch of retarded back issues, bought for the lulz, and to post bits from on [ profile] scans_daily. Of course, when I got home, scans_daily had already been killed. Oh well.

    • DC Special Presents: Super-Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas — The title says it all, really.
    • DC Super-Star Holiday Special — the cover has Superboy, the Legion, Abel & Cain, Jonah Hex, Sgt. Rock, and Batman following the star of Bethlehem!
    • DC Special Presents: Strangest Sports Stories Ever Told! — "Who was the mysterious worlds' series team that couldn't be seen? Which planet will win the Olympics of the future? What was the secret of the phantom prize-fighter? How and where will championship golf be played in the 24th century?"
    • Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time-Traveling Thieves — The titular thieves, Fred (a short alien guy with a black visor and a mohawk) and Bianca (a brunette), are press-ganged by the time police into recovering the stolen formula to Classic Coke, the loss of which would cause an interstellar war between soft drink companies and force everyone to drink New Coke. There are references to Alf. Can you tell this was made in the '80s? I only got this because I recognized it from an ad in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles "ninjutsu guides" that Solson put out. It's pretty awful.

  • A couple of self-published comics from booths in the small press area.

    • Islands in the Sky (not to be confused with the Arthur C. Clarke story) is a manga-styled sci-fi/fantasy comic set in a world of, well, flying islands. The art is quite good (and I'm not just saying that because the main character is a ridiculously voluptuous redhead who spends much of the issue naked and still shows a lot of skin when clothed)—the artist trained in Western-style animation, and it shows in the characters' exaggerated facial expressions. The writing is not so good, featuring a lot of clichés, and the main character is one of those egocentric cutesy-hyperactive lunatics only found in fiction, who is also supposedly a skilled monster hunter despite having the physique of a Playboy model and the attention span of a fruit fly. It's supposedly the preview to a webcomic, which was supposed to start during Wondercon weekend, but so far it doesn't seem to have taken off.
    • Native Drums, by Chuck Paschall and Vince Riley, is a postapocalyptic sci-fi action series set in Africa that follows a soldier (mercenary?) with a bit too much conscience for her own good. The art is really good; it's digital but has a watercolor feel. It seems like something that could fit right in as a feature in Heavy Metal Magazine.
    • FISH: Furtive Intelligent System of Havoc, by Paeng Thitaya and P. Jeep Naarkom, is a very cute little silent graphic novel about a robot living among a troop of monkeys in the jungle.

  • A bunch of DVDs, from a bootleg cult video booth:

    • The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut/Collector's Edition — This is a recut version of the failed animated movie, with scenes restored using storyboards and unfinished animation, but using the original voices (which include Vincent Price, Sean Connery, and Donald Pleasence)
    • Grindhouse Double Shock Show: Star Odyssey/Prisoners of the Lost Universe — "Sacrificed to Intergalactic Vampires!" "SEE! Psychotic Love-Starved Robots!" A pair of late '70s/early '80s sci-fi B-movies on a double feature disc. Prisoners of the Lost Universe sounds from its description on the back like a ripoff of Flash Gordon.
    • Tales of Voodoo, vol. 2: Ghost Ninja/Primitives — Another cheeseball double feature disc. Primitives looks like an Italian hunted-by-cannibals-in-the-jungle gorefest a la Cannibal Holocaust. Ghost Ninja appears to be one of those flicks slapped together to cash in on the big ninja fad of the '80s, redubbing an asian movie the producers could get on the cheap and cutting in scenes of lousy American actors fighting ninjas. I've seen one like that, titled Diamond Ninja Force, which gave the treatment to what was originally a Hong Kong knock-off of Poltergeist, of all things, and swapped stuff around so that the ghosts were "really" a bunch of ninjas using ninja magic to get back some idol for their ninja cult, and some Chuck Norris lookalike saves the day without ever interacting with the terrorized family. Great stuff.

  • A couple of cartoon series DVD sets, from another bootlegger booth: Bionic Six, which I loved as a kid (I'm a bit scared to watch it now and contradict my memories), and Megas XLR, which I never saw when it was on the air.

  • From Ernie Fosselius's booth, Hardware Wars: 30th Anniversary Collectors Edition, the original Star Wars spoof, and Plan 9.1 From Outer Space, which does the original's wooden acting (and director's name) one better by recasting it with wooden puppets, using the same sound track. I told Mr. Fosselius that I'd originally seen Hardware Wars at a public library, of all places, and he told me that since it was originally distributed on 16mm film, that was more common than you'd think.

  • CDs from the out-of-print soundtracks booth: Phantasm, which also contains tracks from Phantasm II as a bonus; a collection of Akira Ifukube's themes from the early Godzilla movies; Film Music Classics: Monster Music, which is a disc on the Naxos label of the Moscow Symphony Orchestra playing Frank Skinner and Hans J. Salter's soundtracks to Son of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man Returns, and The Wolf Man; and Danny Elfman's Music for a Darkened Theater, vol. 1. That last one they didn't have at the con, but did have in their warehouse and shipped to me a day later; it replaces a copy I had way back in high school but lost.

  • A book of hand-drawn stereograms (well, drawn on computer with an illustration prgram, but not 3DCG) by Donnachada Daly. Since they are side-by-side stereograms, rather than the speckle patterns of the Magic Eye books, and don't require color-lensed glasses, he can use full color. He does some neat tricks with color mixing between both sides, and even some impressive transparency effects. Very cool.

I also got a few sketches for my sketchbook: Matt Wagner did Kevin Matchstick from Mage, Chris Giarusso did a mini-The Spirit, Phil Foglio drew Bangladesh Dupree from Girl Genius, Vince Riley drew an anonymous girl's head (super fast; he told me that he used to work as a caricaturist and now can't help but draw at top speed), P. Jeep Naarkom drew FISH, David Petersen drew one of his characters from Mouse Guard (I think Kenzie, though it's hard to tell in black and white), Steve Leialoha drew Bigby (in wolf form) from Fables, Richard Starkings (the writer of Elephantmen) drew Hip Flask, and Donnachada Daly drew a stylized woman (though not a stereogram).

Richard Starkings is a writer, not an artist, but did a sketch for me anyway. The artist, Moritat, wasn't there at the time (though he was supposed to be at the con; he must have just stepped away for a bit), but Starkings gave me a Moritat Elephantmen sketchbook free of charge for being a loyal reader.
gwalla: (aww crap)
Anybody got any leads? Starlock's not going this year, and I haven't gotten any bites at the CRFH forum (of course, I haven't hung out there in ages—I only just found out that it'd moved from the Keenspot Forums—so most of the people there don't know me from Adam).

The only available rooms I could find for July 23­–27 that weren't out in freakin' La Jolla or something were for about $355 a night, which over that time frame (and with taxes etc. figured in) comes to OVER 9000 $2000 total. I'm desperate for a room, but not that desperate. The hostel has no vacancies.

I also looked into a couch-surfing connections site, but I'm a little dubious.

gwalla: (batstrangle)
Anybody going this year?

It looks like I missed the hotel announcement. Anybody willing to share a room?
gwalla: (batusi)
I need to be better about updating with stuff I've done reasonably close to when I do it. It's been a week since WonderCon!

I went all three days, but only have pics from Saturday and Sunday. Oh, I brought my camera on just refused to turn on! Batteries were fresh too. I was a little put out, since I'd lugged the damned thing to work with me (I work just a few blocks from Moscone Center), and I'd just had it fixed (I just hadn't bothered to try it out since I got it back from the shop, and it'd been too long since then to just bring it back and get it fixed again for free). I borrowed my folks' digital camera for the rest of the weekend

Dr. Who, Cobra, and Girl Genius )

Art Adams, Silent Hill, and Cartoon Network graffiti )

By the gleamin' gates of funky Asgard! )

lol wut )

Street Fighter, Star Wars, Mike Mignola, Johnny Depp, and Batty bad girls )

The Dark Horse panel, plus criticism )

Violet Incredible, Dan Brereton, Halo, and MST3K )

Above ground: R2D2, Link, Cassandra Cain, and a monster )

Boba Fett, Green Hornet, the Clone Wars, Mike Royer, and ROB! VAN! DAM! )

Boba and Boushh, Gandalf, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon )

Kurt Busiek, manga maestro Jason Thompson CHARGIN EYE LAZOR, Sergio Aragones and Steve Leialoha )

I also attended the latter half of the DC panel, saw some Bleach, and saw a couple of movies. One was the 3DCG anime Appleseed: Ex Machina. The semi-cell-shaded look took some getting used to, but it was pretty fun. Although it's kind of hard to believe that Deunan is an "unmodified human" when she's pulling off crazy Matrix gun-fu acrobatics. And it's produced by John Woo, so naturally there are flocks of doves everywhere (later it's revealed that the doves are actually robots broadcasting a mind-controlling signal. At this revelation, the entire theater broke out laughing). The other was the animated Justice League: New Frontier, based on Darwyn Cooke's revisionist (but not "superhero deconstructionist") take on the Silver Age DCU. I missed most of the first half, but what I saw was pretty good (I don't think there was any need for Hal Jordan to be abducted by a UFO to find Abin Sur rather than just being led to him by the ring, because blowing up the room he was in makes his secret identity a little harder to justify, but then by the end it seems like a lot of folks, including Rick Flagg of all people, know his ID, so it hardly matters). Both are worth checking out, JL:NF more than Appleseed (unless you're up for some fairly mindless explodification).

And to sum up, here's all the stuff I got:

Con haul )
gwalla: (comics code authority)



San Diego

Apr. 24th, 2007 04:19 pm
gwalla: (Default)
I have yet to find an open hotel room for Comic-Con this year. So, does anybody out there going this summer have room for a couple more guys? My artist friend Mondo, who's never been, also wants to go and we were planning on sharing a room until it turned out there weren't any.


Mar. 4th, 2007 01:04 am
gwalla: (comics code authority)
WonderCon started on Friday, but I didn't go, since work and gym conflicted. I came kind of late on Saturday, but I don't feel like I missed anything—none of the early panels really grabbed me. I didn't go to any panels, actually, and just hung out in the dealer room spending money and getting sketches.

The dealers room was very good to me. Just about the first thing I found was a booth selling old comics, where they had a table of random issues they were selling for $5 each (not bad at all for vintage stuff in still-readable condition). We're not talking Action Comics #1 here, but there was some stuff that at the very least would be fun to post on [ profile] scans_daily. I picked up a Silver Age issue of Action Comics in which Superman goes up against a criminal made of kryptonite, an issue of Blackhawk in which the Blackhawks (a WW2 flying team) fight a magician who shoots himself into the water with a cannon, an issue of Giant Size Man-Thing (hee hee!), an issue of Dial H For Hero where Robby Reed turns into three bizarre creatures, and an issue of Where Monsters Dwell featuring Kirby art. At another booth I got some old weird DC stuff: Anthro #2 (a caveman hero), Star Hunters, and DC Super Stars of Space (a collection of reprinted adventures of Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Tommy Tomorrow, and SPACE CABBY!).

Then I found what I was looking for: most of the DC Challenge maxi-series. It's missing a couple of issues from the middle, and the last two, but I'd never been able to find any issues before (and I looked at the last Comic-Con!). I'm looking forward to reading this silliness. The samples on scans_daily are just too awesome.

Got a sketch of Nocturne by Michael Ryan. It's beautiful.

After some ships-passing-in-the-night hijinx, I caught up with Shaenon Garrity and bought signed copies of Narbonic volumes 2 and 3, and chatted for a while. She agrees that Fin Fang 4 should be an ongoing, and told me that the original pitch was for a miniseries which at one point was to involve a Stan Lee clone with hypnotic powers. God I wish they'd gone through with that. I got vol. 3 signed by Phil Foglio, too, who did the bonus story. From Phil I got a few cloisonne pins (why does nobody else sell these? I love 'em), volume 1 of Girl Genius, and a copy of Dealer's Choice: The Complete Guide to Saturday Night Poker (which he illustrated). Both books were signed, and I got a sketch of Agatha. Also, since he collects poker variants, I told him about Crosstown Traffic.

Caught up with Chuck Whelon and bought a book from him. I left my sketchbook with him while I wandered around Artists Alley, and when I came back he'd filled the page with a huge and very detailed cartoon dragon! Chuck is awesome. Read his comic.

Bought the new K Chronicles collection and the new Marginal Prophets album from Keith Knight. Got a sketchfrom him, too...of his K Chonicles alter ego riding a milk bottle (captioned "don't ask").

At the Oni Press booth I got a sketch of Pandora from Death Jr. by Ted Naifeh, and bought his comics Polly and the Pirates and Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things. Good stuff.

And one booth I got DVDs of Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death (the Rowan Atkinson parody), Wild Wild Planet (partly just to impress my dad, who still repeats his favorite line from it, "look out for those gadgets on their chests!" said regarding a bunch of buxom space amazons), and Light Years (a French animated sci-fi film directed by the guy who did Fantastic Planet, with an English script by Isaac Asimov and a whole bunch of famous people in the voice cast before that was common). At another I got a bootleg 4-DVD set of the early 1980s Incredible Hulk cartoon, which I remember watching once on video way back in the day (on Betamax!).

Con closed at 7. Got beer & dinner at the ThirstyBear brew pub/tapas bar (Golden Hallucination ale is good, Menage a Frambois not so great, tortilla española really good, fried calamari too salty, olive tapenade for bread tasty). Then home.

Going back tomorrow ( How'd it get this late?)
gwalla: (headdesk)
That was very nearly the biggest mistake of my life.

Rewind. I found out earlier today that the hotel reservations for Comic-Con had opened up, but by the time I tried to get one they were all sold out. Shit. I tried a few times, but got nowhere. So when I got home from work, I tried again. Still nothing. I decided to bypass the SDCC booking service entirely and go straight to the hotel websites, because maybe they kept some rooms aside for other guests.

I was batting zero for a while, but then the Holiday Inn On The Bay let me make a reservation. Awesome! I select the cheapest option (about $187/night) and go through the whole thing, give my credit card info and all that, and click confirm.

The total comes to over $7,000.

I had accidentally selected June 25, not July 25, as my arrival date, but correctly entered July 30 as the departure date. I'd just reserved a 2-bed room for 35 days. And to get that lower price, I'd taken the advance payment option, which you still have to pay for even if you cancel.

I tried to correct my reservation on the site, but it wasn't working. So in a panic I tried to call the hotel (nobody there but an answering machine), then Holiday Inn's main reservation line. The woman there tried to shorten my stay to just the 5 days in July I wanted, but it wasn't working. Apparently they're booked for those days (although why it allowed me to reserve a room for those days as part of a longer stay makes no sense), and she insisted that an advance payment reservation couldn't be cancelled. I was on the verge of crying, and getting nowhere. I suggested that she shorten it down to one day, any day,not necessarily in that 5-day range, that I'd just pay for as a stupidity tax. I was really grasping at straws.

She said she'd try something, and then there was silence. A lot of silence. For what seemed like forever. She briefly reappeared to say she was working on it, and then yet another ball-twisting eternity of dead air. Finally, she came back on the line, and told me that she got it cancelled. I confirmed that that meant that I wouldn't be paying for any of it, and she gave me a cancellation number to give to my credit card issuer in case the charge had already been registered. I thanked her profusely.

Afterwards I tried a few more hotels, but that experience had sucked the will out of me, and I gave up pretty quickly. So I'm still without a room for me and my friend. But at least I'm not in massive debt for no good reason.

I need a drink. And a heart transplant.
gwalla: (batusi)
I started off the trip on a bad foot by getting off at the Concord BART station instead of North Concord, and ended up waiting around until after midnight. I didn't have Starlock's cell number at that point either. Fortunately Starlock, his daughter Caitlyn, and CPOK did end up getting there (good thing, because BART stopped running) and we took off. The drive down was mostly uneventful (read: I slept through most of it, although we did talk for some of the it, about random things like driving and patriotism and anime). Chief and I did switch off driving duties in a rental (Starlock and Cait took his truck) so he could catch some Zs, but somewhere down a little south of L.A. (I think), I woke up and managed to avoid swerving out of my lane. We took the opportunity to grab some breakfast at Crap in the Sack and swap again. I forget when we finally rolled into San Diego, but I do recall CPOK getting agitated about Starlock not signalling in the lead, forcing us to e.g. cut off a Lincoln just to make an exit.

The first thing we did in San Deeg was head to the airport to pick up [ profile] moltare and TSKy. Caitlyn had drawn up a two-sided sign for the purpose, and I regret to say I never got a picture of it. It was quite impressively silly. We found Mol first (he'd actually arrived the previous night and gotten a hotel room near the airport), but had to wait for a while for TSKy's plane to empty out. Once assembled, we went (more or less) straight to the Holiday Inn in National City, which is a considerable distance from downtown SD (past the Naval station). We were a little early, and one of the rooms wasn't ready yet, so we chilled in what became the "girls' room". Mol and I exposed each other to silly music via iPods (and I got Wesley Willis's "I Whupped Batman's Ass" stuck in his head). TSKy kept getting calls from her friend whose name I can't remember, who she was at first supposed to meet downtown but it got changed to him just taking the trolley all the way out because she didn't realize how long it would take and then he overshot because he didn't realize that you had to press a button to open the doors and detrain even though he lived there and TSKy kept getting madder and madder. He did finally make it. I introduced a few people to Bang!, the spaghetti western card game. TSKy liked it (which could have had something to do with the fact that she won).

[ profile] johnforstershowed up, and I cajoled him into giving me a ride to get some camera batteries (I had film, but no power). We were also joined by CPOK's two Canadian friends, Hellfire and The Quiet One Whose Name I Could Never Remember. Sometime later, after we'd gotten our stuff into the second room, we took off for Preview Night. For those who've never done the San Diego Comic Con thing, Preview Night is something they added some years back, a special half-day only for people who pre-registered. The booths aren't necessarily fully set up yet, but it is a good opportunity to case the joint before the real crowds. When they first started doing it, it was pretty quiet, but word got around and now even Preview Night is pretty busy.

Walking to the con )

Getting in on preview night was a breeze. It used to be that at the pre-registration line, you had to go to the booth for the first couple of letters of your last name, and they had to look up your name in little index cards. No more. The new pre-reg tickets have bar codes, and they just scanned it and let you through. No line whatsoever, even thought Preview Night was pretty packed. Pre-reg has always been the way to go (the on-site lines are insane), but now you're crazy if you don't pre-reg.

I'm tired of this muthaf***in' booth )

Delicious UDON )

Hot Wheels get funkay )

After the dealer floor closed up, John and I met up and tried to gather the rest, but it turned out they'd left earlier. So we went to the Gaslamp District and got some good (albeit pricey) Italian food. Nice seafood pasta. Back at the room there was horsing around and watching videos (far too many AMVs), and sleep sometime in the early morning.
gwalla: (batstrangle)

Photos later

Sleep now
gwalla: (batusi)
Well, I shall be leaving for San Diego Comic Con shortly. Of course, this means I will most likely be netless (horrors!) for about a week. I'll see some of you down there, and talk to the rest later!

Try not to break anything while I'm gone!
gwalla: (headdesk)
I was totally on the ball and got my time off from work arranged for Comic-Con well in advance.

And then today, talking to CPOK and Starlock, I find out that I'd misremembered, and we're leaving Tuesday night, not Wednesday night.


Gotta get that straightened out. My boss is a good guy, don't think he'd have a problem with it. But I still feel like a moron, and now I'm worrying about what if it's too late to get that day off?
gwalla: (ghost rider xmas)
So, who's going to San Diego Comic Con?
gwalla: (camera)
Photos from the 2006 San Francisco Japantown Cherry Blossom Festival: koto, origami, paper dolls, swords, tea, etc. )

I'll be going to the taiko performance on Saturday night. I would like to go back to the festival this Sunday, because it's the last day, with the big parade. Plus there's a kendo exhibition. However, that's also the day of the conlanging conference at Cal, and there are a couple of seminars there that sound interesting (plus, it may never happen again). I'm kinda torn. And I need to decide soon, because I would need to register for the conference. What to do...
gwalla: (wryyyyyyyyy!)
So I went to the Cherry Blossom Festival today in San Francisco. Despite the off-an-on rain, Japantown was packed with people. Caught some of the iaido demonstration, but it wasn't as interesting as I'd hoped (no tameshi-giri?), and that coupled with the rain drove me inside. Over in the Miyako Hotel I saw a little bit of a koto performance. The young girl playing the koto was definitely not the best I've heard—this was clearly a sort of student recital—but decent and didn't let the occasional mistake throw her off. And anyway, it made it feel more like a community event than something staged for tourists. I checked out the origami room (some fun stuff, including an origami Godzilla-menacing-Tokyo, a Starship Enterprise, and some cool abstracts as well as more traditional fare) and the paper dolls exhibition.

I was a little on the late side to one of the tea ceremony demonstrations. Not so late that I missed any of the actual demonstration, but enough that I got kind of a lousy seat and couldn't see much. Not that there's really a whole lot to see if you don't know the significance of all of the things they do. Still, it was interesting to watch, and the guy MCing did explain some of what the two women were doing. They only did the final segment, the serving of "thin tea"; a full tea ceremony, which includes a small meal, sake drinking (the host shares a cup of sake with each guest—as the MC said, "one should be careful not to invite too many people!"), thick tea, and finally thin tea, takes about four hours! After the demonstraton was over, anyone who wanted to could sit at a table on one side of the room and be served a bowl of thin tea and a Japanese sweet. I tried it, and it was delicious. Tea ceremony tea is made by mixing ground green tea leaves with hot water, rather than steeping. Thin tea is just a more dilute mixture than thick tea, but both are much thicker than, say, genmai-cha. The MC, who was a student of the hostess performing the demonstration, did a Q&A with the audience. Somebody asked about water, and he said that the sites famous for their tea water in Japan are not springs, but places along rivers. He said that it seems water is prized not for its mineral content but for a lack of minerals. Well, I thought it was interesting anyway. On the way out, I saw the tail end of the wu shu demonstration (yeah yeah, wu shu is Chinese, but the group has a place in Japantown so they get a pass as part of the community).

Of course, I had to hit the food stands. Like the last time I went, the food concessions were all fundraisers. I got a teriyaki burger from the senior services group, which wasn't great (teriyaki sauce and mayo is just overdoing it on the glop, frankly) but wasn't terrible. There was a stand selling cold beer and hot sake again this year, and I got a cup of the latter. Mmmm, sake. Passed on the Zen temple's takoyaki. I've tried them before and they're just kinda bland with a sour-ish fishy sauce. Not my bag. The stand selling those little pancake thingies stuffed with bean paste was there again, and I got a couple. It was right next to the booze stand, and they announced last call while I was in line, so as soon as I got my beanie cakes I hopped over and got another cup of sake for half price. Mmmm, sake. Got back up to the peace plaza just in time to see the end of the S.F. Nipponto Society's sword demonstration. They actually did some tameshi-giri!

Browsed around the shops for a bit, and ended up buying a Domo-kun t-shirt and a couple of books from Kinokuniya. I also got tickets for the big taiko festival next Saturday. At the CDs-and-other-stuff store I got my spine mangled by a massage chair before taking off for home. I think I'll be back next Sunday—that's when they have the big parade (and the cosplay parade). Plus there'll be a kendo demonstration, which I'd like to see, because I'm always up for some swordplay. So if anyone in the area wants to meet up, the offer still stands.

Easter dinner was a delicious leg of lamb with roasted potatoes and carrots, and steamed asparagus. Dessert was spice cake with a honey-caramel glaze, and strawberry-rhubarb fool.

Life is good.
gwalla: (domoslide)
The Cherry Blossom Festival in SF Japantown is tomorrow and next weekend. Anybody want to go? There'll be good eats, stuff to see, anime to watch, and plenty of sake. There's a schedule here (Acrobat/PDF format). If you want to meet up, reply here and we'll work something out.

I may not go next Saturday, because there's a conlangers meetup that afternoon.

Coming soon

Apr. 2nd, 2006 10:54 pm
gwalla: (camera)
I got my second roll of Wondercon pics developed about a week ago. I'll try to get those up tomorrow.


gwalla: (Default)

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