gwalla: (Default)
I'm pretty proud of how they turned out this year. The one on the left is my dad's, and the one on the right is mine. Dad was working around several bite marks made by (we think) squirrels, while the mouth of mine started with a gouge I made accidentally when I was gutting it. Mine was going to be a triclops, but the middle eye wasn't centered enough and I decided I liked the lopsided face more.

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There were a lot more trick-or-treaters coming by this year than there have been in recent years, which was nice.

I finished off the night watching the MST3k of the classic crapfest Robot Monster, a movie so cheap that they couldn't afford a robot costume, so they used a borrowed gorilla suit with a helmet instead. Season One of MST3k was...odd. Not a big fan of Josh Weinstein. Larry, the second mad scientist, wasn't that funny (replacing him with TV's Frank was a good move, because the boss/lackey dynamic had more comedic potential) and I prefer Kevin Murphy's sarcastic, slightly fabulous version of Tom Servo to Weinstein's deadpan one. They were still definitely working out the kinks: they wasted pretty much the entire opening credits sequence to the Commando Cody episodes that preceded the film proper with unfunny variations on "not another one" and "wow, this is bad", and in general there weren't really enough quips. The show really hit its stride in Season Two; two of my all-time favorites are from that season (First Spaceship on Venus "Secretly, we've replaced their planet with Folger's Crystals" and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster "Kabob, and Ka-Steve!").
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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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: (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 Friday...it 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: (lon chaney)
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So, I saw SoaP on Friday. Capsule review:

It was awesome! Snakes everywhere!

Slightly longer report (spoilers and pics) )
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 [livejournal.com 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).

[livejournal.com 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: (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: (camera)
Hey [livejournal.com profile] starline,
I didn't know you were an entrepreneur )
gwalla: (camera)
Took me a while to get these developed, but here's part one. Part two (which includes most of Sunday) is waiting for me to finish off the roll of film, because I don't like to waste it.

Behind a cut to protect friendspages from utter ruin )
gwalla: (camera)
So I'm going to inflict photos on you all, including some really old ones!

Like this first set. These are from the first time I met [livejournal.com profile] craziesunshine, on Free Comic Books Day. This is back when she was with her now-ex, before hooking up with [livejournal.com profile] walkerton.

Teh photos! )

That's the lot. I have so much more to show you all (I let 4 whole rolls of film build up before finally getting them developed), but fixing them up in Photo Express is a pain, so they'll probably come out in small bunches.

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Garth

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