Results tagged “parakkum” from kwc blog

Tour de Comic-Con/Team Uni: Sunday

|

Sunday's stage is short largely ceremonial. Panels are sparse, most of the good schwag has run out, and everyone is generally exhausted.

Team Uni did several celebratory laps around the convention floor, picking up some last-minute sketch points and some goodies for the Credit Ruining Accoutremonts Classification (CRAC). bleusky, m, and ota hung together to hit up the Flight booth for additional sketches while parakkum and kwc struck out on their own. kwc focused most of his attention on James Jean sketches, purchasing a NYTimes science sketch and a Snow White and tiger sketch for his sketchbook.

ota and kwc made early exits to head to the airport, while parakkum, m, and bleusky celebrated at the team dinner along with parakkum's parents, who provided amazing support to our team throughout the Tour: lodging, transportation, food, and good company.

Tour de Comic-Con/Team Uni: Friday

|

Schwag

Team Uni was riding at full strength for the first time yesterday as ota did a full course and there were temporary reinforcements from Temecula, as bleusky's friend jw drove in. The full team showed immediate dividends in the schwag competition: bleusky and jw were able to collect the popular Harry Potter bags, while ota did a blazing timecheck through the Wizards of the Coast booth to collect a Magic starter set.

The team's fast start was helped by a switch to The Cheese Shop for morning grub. There was no Guinness/coffee combo to be had, but massive carbs were delivered promptly.

Sketch Classification

Team Uni sent honeyfields, bleusky, and kwc to collect points in the sketch competition. bleusky collected several sketches, including a Stardust sketch from Charles Vess and a color painting from Scott Morse that earned her first in the sketch ranking on the day. kwc focused on collecting points at the Flight checkpoint, getting an excellent vampire from Rodolphe Guenoden, a beautiful fairy from Sarah Mensinga, and generally filling up the front of his Flight book with signatures. honeyfields added two more Sakai sketches to Team Uni's totals, with both a sketchbook sketch as well as a detailed sketch in the Art of Usagi Yojimbo hardcover.

kwc collected on the long-promised "Usagi Yojimo Charges into Battle on Bike," which was assisted by the Tour de France being on TV in Stan Sakai's hotel for visual reference.

Usagi commision from Stan Sakai Flight 4 Guenoden sketch

Panels

Team Uni made a wise decision to avoid the early day Hall-H-Category (HHC) sessions. The Whiteout session was reminscent of Paris-Roubaix as Kate Beckinsale was caught behind a the train tracks across from the Convention Center and her fellow panelists were unable to convince security of their status.

The team instead sent a big contigent to the Neil Gaiman talk, which did not disappoint. Despite have no prepared remarks or plan, Gaiman 'burbled' his way to many laughs with his Alan Moore ("he's very big and very hairy. And as he gets interested in something, he loooooms") and Guillermo del Toro (Neil's "Magic Dumbo") anecdotes. There were also some anecdotes of the early days of Comic-Con:

Gaiman: You'd sign for 10 or 15 people and then no one else would come
Audience: awwwwww
Gaiman: It was great!

Someone asked him why, if there was a God, why is there the Endless? "Isn't that like saying, if there was a God, why do you need to buy hamburgers?"

On Volume 2 and 3 of Absolute Sandman: "And of course you could kill someone if you dropped it on them. Useful. For the right person."

parakkum's diary covers the talk as well, including the Spectacular Spiderman panel beforehand. I like "Cheeks"' character design for the cartoon, but the backgrounds were crap.

m held fast in the Stargate doubleheader, taking many photos and reporting that the folksy girl from Firefly is moving to Stargate: Atlantis.

The strenuous course eventually helped Team Uni commit some missteps in panel selection later in the day. The very attendable HHC Star Wars at 30 punished ota, parakkum, and honeyfields with non-Star-Wars marketing, and the Jim Henson talk similarly punished bleusky. A Scott McCloud family slideshow had kwc gritting his teeth and pulling an early exit.

The team's spirits were lifted as parakkum's parents treated the team to a dinner at Nati's in Ocean Beach. The team stuffed its stomach with quesadilla crisps, jalapeno-soaked carrots, and Mexican-flavored carbs.

The ever-busy Saturday promises much in the way of panels. Just in Ballroom 20 is a string of Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, Futurama, and Joss Whedon. The hopes to avoid crashes on the convention floor and ride a good race, though it will have to do so without honeyfields, who has made a planned early exit for this year's Tour.

Tour de Comic-Con: Thursday

|

Nutrition is important to Comic-Con: eat enough calories at breakfast, you can hopefully hold off hunger until the floor closes for dinnertime. Fail, and you must choose between crappy convention floor food or losing a couple of hours to venture out into the Gaslamp district.

Just as important is where you get your food. Team Uni has traditionally eaten at Hennesey's on the weekday mornings and The Field on the weekends -- the The Field offers true Irish breakfast but is not open on weekdays; Hennesey's approximates Irish breakfast. The compromise has worked until yesterday, when poor service cost Team Uni an hour right out of the gate and set the team back in the CRAC (Credit Ruining Accoutremonts Classification). Harry Potter bags were already gone; tickets for exclusive Transformers were gone. Shaun Tan advance reading copies were offered as consolation from Scholastic.

Such missteps do not keep Team Uni down: the team recovered by heading over to the Wizards of the Coast area and making quick work of the giant d20. parakkum, honeyfields, and bleusky combined to win Axis & Allies: D-Day, an Axis and Allies Naval Starter Set, and a Magic core starter set with online CD. kwc picked up a Star Wars Bounty Hunters booster pack but wasted too much time collecting stamp bonus. Team Uni hopes to repeat its Thursday morning gameplan on Friday with better results; Hennesey's will be avoided and kwc has already pre-collected stamp bonuses to move through the Wizards area quickly.

bleusky showed she has good legs despite being a rookie, easily collecting all five cards scattered acround the Convention Floor for the Avatar competition, earning a sixth bonus card for her efforts. She and honeyfields also teamed up to do a privacy-for-schwag manuever, earning Eduardo and Samurai Jack cellphone accessories from the MMOG booth.

Sketch competition

Scott Morse "sketch"kwc had a very good day in the sketch classification. Scott Morse did a "sketch" that was, in fact, the first color painting that he's done for kwc in five Comic-Cons and two APEs, and an awesome one at that. kwc also got a Mike Mignola, and Stan Sakai sketch, as well as a Wolverine sketch from David Finch of Ultimate X-Men fee. The latter was a split category prize: 1/2 sketch and 1/2 CRAC as it was a paid sketch. A Stan Sakai Usagi commission should earn Team Uni full dual sketch/CRAC points but will not be ready until Friday's stage.

honeyfields scouted the Flight booth and racked up huge sketch points: Sarah Mensinga, Johane Matte, Kazu, Clio Chiang, Reagan Lodge, and Ryan Estrada all did drawings for her sketchbook. They are all fantastic, but the Mensigna sketch deserves special mention. The rest of Team Uni will be making passes by the Flight booth based on honeyfields scouting report.

m's big prize on the day was a Magic art print from the artist that shows off all the detail that is lost in the smaller card form factor. m got his first-edition Stardust hardcover signed by Charles Vess alongside a previous Neil Gaiman inscription. He also dropped back to help kwc get his Stardust signed after kwc's legs cracked on the first attempt.

m, honeyfield, kwc, and bleusky did a team ride through the David Petersen/Mouse Guard booth, picking up three copies of the hardcover volume one and many sketches -- Petersen humored us and shared stories of eating dinner with Sergio Aragones, Mark Evanier, and Stan Sakai. The moral:

Never follow a Sergio shortcut through the snow,
what lies beneath you do not know,
for saved time you try to beg,
you must sacrifice Mark Evanier's leg.

King of the Mountain (KOM) competition

Thursday's stage had an unprecented addition that is a sign of Comic-Con's growing popularity: a Hall-H-Category (HHC) KOM with twenty-or-so unlabelled switchbacks that cut across half the length of the convention center and around the sculpture garden outside the Hall. The Hall-H-Category climbs were added in 2005 (related: Team Uni's first Hall H experience), but the major-movie-studio events that are held there have typically only occurred on the more popular Friday and Saturday stages. The Thursday event was a bit of an unknown: a Thursday major motion picture event, with Neil Gaiman and JJ Abrams.

m and kwc attempted to conquer this HHC climb, figuring that it would be easier than typical HHC climbs due to it being a Thursday. Instead, the course was harder than any previous HHC climbs, including events with Natalie Portman and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Only the fabled Spiderman 3 event ranks more challenging. m and kwc were forced to abandon after being told by referees that they were outside the time limit. With this surprising early defeat, m has already decided to forgo the KOM competition; kwc has yet to determine if he will have the legs to make a solo attempt on Friday or Saturday.

Panels

Team Uni regrouped at the Groo 25th Anniversary panel, which featured everyone who has worked on Groo, i.e. all five of them. parakkum's stage diary highlights some of the entertaining bits. I also enjoyed the banter between Sakai and one of the colorists (Colorist: "You could read the completed issue" Sakai: "But then the color would ruin it").

You can also read parakkum's diary to find out more about the Bill Plympton event.

Doping report

Overheard: Charles Vess remarking to his teammate, "I just had gummy bears, I can do anything!"

kwc has been suspiciously consuming packages labeled "doubleshot."

Tour de Comic-Con/Team Uni: Prologue

|

Team Uni limped (literally) into the Prologue Preview Night: honeyfields is sporting a fashionable cane and kwc visited the team doctor this week to get his patella taped due to a problematic kneecap. The team scouted the very crowded Comic-Con Convention floor and scouted the offerings in the schwag competition: starter sets and booster packs from Wizards of the Coast appear to have the best $$$:item ratio and Harry Potter Deathly Hallows bags from Scholastic are of good quality.

m came through with passes to the Stardust screening Thursday night; kwc was five minutes too late, even though he showed up five minutes early. m was less lucky in obtaining a CC-exclusive Transformers Ford GT Rodimus for the CRAC (Credit Ruining Accoutremounts Classification), but he plans on going in an early morning break to attempt it once more.

Team rookie bleusky gave Team Uni its first points in the sketch classification, picking up drawings from Stan Sakai, the Flight folks, and Owly. The Stan Sakai sketches are rumored to be more difficult this year as Sakai and Aragones are unhappy with the eBay aftermarket, so it could turn out to be important as the standings shake out.

parakkum rode in the wind and carried hardcovers to protect honeyfields and they focused on heavy CRAC so they wouldn't have to carry it on the longer stages ahead. kwc had a similar strategy and picked up a limited-edition Scott Morse Scrap Mettle, RD8 Mimobot, Isadore Vimobot, Usagi Yojimbo Vol 21, Penny-Arcade Birds Are Weird and Armadeaddon poster, and CC-exclusive pink R2-D2 (R2-KT) (to add to his collection of R2s). kwc has never waited in line at for a CC exclusive before and was exposed to the troubling underbelly of Comic-Con: parents forcing their kids to go around the convention floor with them to pick up exclusives (to game the item/person limit) and schwag.

The early-morning Thursday gameplan for kwc and honeyfields is to pick up Harry Potter bags from Scholastic and possibly head over to Mimobot. kwc will head from there to pick up his Stan-Sakai-commissioned "Usagi Yojimbo on Bike" and to the Wizards booth to start collecting schwag points.

ota rejoins Team Uni today, straight out of a five-day stage race in Vancouver.

This American Life on TV

|

chris_ware.this_american_life.jpg

parakkum told me about This American Life migrating from radio to a Showtime series. I was dubious -- the personalities of TAL were more book and radio sorts of stars. My opinion is being swayed by the Chris Ware clip above. If the rest of their storytelling has similar sorts of production, I could really start to go for it.

Team Uni branching out

|

Team Uni was in effect yesterday. After much practice with the Tour de Comic-Con, it was time to branch into the cycling realm with the Tour of California. parakkum loaned the necessary video capture equipment, offtopicartisan shot the video and reconnoitered the course, and I shot photos.

The hardest stretch was when ota initiated the sprint from Telegraph Hill down to the Embarcadero so that we could catch the podium presentation. Or perhaps the hardest stretch was when we had to walk back up Telegraph Hill to get to my car.

Seven Kurosawa

|

1) Why didn't I know that Rashomon is public domain? I love that movie.

2) After finding out (1), I did a Google search and found out that Sanshiro Sugata is also public domain and on Google Video. There's a whole bunch of 1940s Kurosawa films I've never seen, including this one. All Japanese movies pre-1953 are public domain, so now its just a matter of finding them.

3) Regardless, I love my Criterion Collection restorations (even if I end up buying the Seven Samurai from them twice).

4) parakkum sent me the Seven Samurai Drinking Game, which is good if you subtract out references to exact scenes (e.g. Kambei "gets shorn bald" is a silly drinking game rule, but "Has to remind himself he's bald by rubbing his head" is a good rule).

5) Speaking of which, I finally scanned in the painting I had Scott Morse do at APE 2006. Morse noted that he's a bit sadder in this painting than he was in the movie:

Scott Morse - Kambei - Seven Samurai

6) It goes well with my Yojimbo Comic-Con '05 commission

Scott Morse - Yojimbo

7) Tacked onto the seven like he was in the movie, Kikuchiyo, from Comic-Con '03:

Scott Morse - Kikuchiyo - Seven Samurai

Asimo fall down

|

littlestar and parakkum got me a great R2-D2 robot that I can send spinning around a table. The trick that gets everyone's applause is when I cause the robot to fall over. For all the chirping and whistling noises it makes, it's the satisfying thunk of falling that convinces everyone that it is real.

Now witness the video above. Brave Asimo robot attempts to climb up stairs. Poor Asimo falls down. Dumb Asimo continues to talk even as it lies on the ground broken and its handlers pull screens around it to hide its pain.

via

Lemony Snicket and The End (San Bruno, CA)

|


Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler
Originally uploaded by mhuang.
Yesterday we went up to go see Lemony Snicket's book reading for The End, which continues my initiation into musically accompanied book talks (see John Hodgman at Codys). I wasn't sure what to expect from a Lemony Snicket reading -- with such a mythology of secrecy surrounding the character of Lemony Snicket, I wasn't sure how the actual author, Daniel Handler, would maintain that mythology in front of a crowd of mostly children. The answer was that it was fun, entertaining, and worth the trip, but you'll have to click through for specifics as I don't wish to spoil the details for those that wish to discover for themselves.

Update: added last of the videos (introduction, "This Abyss")

Talk: Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things

|

Fragile Thingsupdate: all videos from the talk are online now

The Villa crew went out to Keplers tonight to watch Neil Gaiman speak. It was very nice to actually see Gaiman at Keplers: last year Keplers went out of business just before he was going to speak. I would hate to think that Gaiman is somehow cursed. It was charming to see Gaiman reading Anansi Boys from a church pulpit instead, a but one-minute drive to my local bookstore has its benefits. It was also special because Gaiman helped promote the Save Keplers cause.

The Fragile Things talk was charming as Gaiman talks are. I like to argue that it is important to hear Gaiman speak if you are to read his works: much of what he writes, especially his children's books and short stories, make much more sense if you can imagine a Neil Gaiman voice in your head speaking with the appropriate rhythm and inflections. It is also fun to hear Gaiman speak because he can make a story about buying a pair of pants at Armani yesterday amusing. littlestar was entertained enough that she went and bought a copy of Fragile Things immediately afterwards, going against her inclination to wait for a smaller paperback edition. I, of course, am a whore for Gaiman product: excluding individual comic book issues, my current count is 24 plus an autographed backpack. My count is only impeded by my desire to acquire my Sandman within the same printing vintage.

In the past, I've generally taken lengthy notes at book talks at spent hours upon hours transcribing them into blog form. Now that I'm slowly coming to the realization that my camera takes video and therefore is also an audio recorder, I've decided to make life easier by just including video with short summaries.

NOTE: all of the videos are of crappy quality shot with my ELPH. I was more concerned with just getting audio -- think of the video as bonus ;).

Intro

See the extended for more videos

Tour de Comic-Con: Sunday's Stage

|

Sunday is a day to explore the floor, break out the wallet, and fill up the bag. Yes, today is the day that Team Uni goes out in search of a high ranking in the Credit Ruining Accountrements Classification (CRAC).

Before getting started in the CRAC, there was some loose ends with schwag and sketch points to get out of the way. Team Uni started off with a quick stop by the Wizards of the Coast booth to see if they had restocked any Attack on Endor sets. They hadn't, but there were new prizes and Team Uni managed to pick up some Magic starter and booster packs. Then it was off to Scott Morse's booth, where I got a Triplets of Belleville-style sketch of Tom Danielson drawn with sharpie and honeyfield's water brush. The sketch combines a bit of the alien-ness of time-trial cycling gear with impossible Spiderman-like body positioning and the elongated Triplets form. It'll be posted soon with the other sketches I got. I didn't commission a painting this time around as I got one at APE and I wanted to wait until I've had a chance to hang up the ones I have in my new place before I decided what I want next. Morse should have a new book out with Lou Romano and others at APE, which I'm looking forward to.

The wandering gets a bit more difficult-to-remember from there. We won some hats from Viz Media, I got a sketch from Adrian Tomine and Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Push Man), and we got some sketches at the Flight book from the always super-nice and talented Johane Matte as well as Dreamworks storyboardist Phil Craven.

The big purchasing came when honeyfields picked up nearly every book in First Second Books catalog -- and I do mean nearly every (five out of the six spring catalog books and two out of the six fall catalog books, the latter were only available as gifts for buying the spring books). I also picked up a bunch of New X-Men issues for daveextreme, which was fairly easy to do for cheap once the Sunday fire sale began in earnest. It's always fun to see what you can buy on Sunday because some dealer doesn't want to ship stuff back.

Sunday ended earlier than normal as I wanted to get back home at a more reasonable time given the dearth of public transit options on a Sunday from San Jose Airport. m and I took off at 3, tired and happy.

Tour de Comic-Con: Back Gearage

|

In parakkum's photo above you can see a shot of honeyfields and I walking the convention floor, which is deceptively clear of traffic. You can see honeyfields with Timbuk2 bag and me with backpack, poster tube, and camera strap. Next year I may switch to a setup more similar to honeyfields. The camera strap will stay but the poster tube and backpack will probably go. A backpack is hard to get access to, especially with poster tube and camera strap wrapped around your neck. You end up having to memorize an intricate order of strap removal in order to avoid strangling tangling. I've previously carried a Chrome messenger bag, which is a better than a backpack for breaking out the sketchbook, though mine is too big to easily swing around from my back to my front. I've wanted to get a medium-sized messenger bag for cycling, so now I will shop with Comic-Con also in mind.

Tour de Comic-Con: Saturday's Stage

|

I spent most of the morning killing time until Quick Draw, which is really the highlight of every Saturday for me. More will come on the Quick Draw panel later, but for now I'll say that it was as fun as expected. A bit more repetitive than usual with the types of prompts, but this panel always delivers year after year.

Next up was the Brisco County panel. Due to poorly managed long lines I got into this panel late, but I got to see a lot of the Q&A with Bruce Campbell, Carlton Cuse, John McNamara, and Julius Carrey. There weren't as many entertaining verbal ripostes as the Bruce Campbell one-man Q&A show, but it was full of plenty of fun moments in the semi-reunion. I may actually try to get the DVDs, though $65 ($100 list) is a bit steep to try it out.

After failing to get into the Spiderman 3 session, the day ended with watching the Masquerade on the projection screen in the Sails Pavilion. I don't know who won, but I think our favorite was the Nintendon'ts, which featured humorous interactions between various Nintendo characters, punctuated by the decapitation of Pikachu in a Highlander showdown.

Inbetween this was the usual schwag and sketches, as well as my first big points in the Credit Ruining Accoutremonts Classification (CRAC). I got a doodle from Dave McKean and sketches from Chris Mitten and Ben Templesmith -- the Oni booth is always fun to stop by and dangerous on the pocketbook, as I picked up three more comics: Julius (Antony Johnston), Past Lies (Weir and DeFilippis), and Wasteland (Johnston and Mitten).

Team Uni picked up some of the last available Attack on Endor sets. After winning two in the morning, we went back to the booth in the afternoon to discover that the prize heap had been reduced to worthless figurines. We considered it a job well done, walking away with seven sets by my account, for a total retail value of $140.

The big CRAC points came from buying an Usagi Yojimbo original drawing that has Usagi jumping up into the air. Next year I might commission a drawing from Sakai as it's the same cost, though it's not very important as I'm really happy with what I have. I'll scan and post it in a later entry.

Tour de Comic-Con: Friday's stage

|

I haven't really posted about yesterday's stage, but today's stage was so awesome that let's just leave it at my "Tired" entry for now and move onto this morning and afternoon.

Entertainment along the route picked up throughout the stage. After Snoop Dogg and Lando failed to show up for their session, things picked up dramatically with a rollicking Battlestar Galactica session. They probably gave away too many Season 3 spoilers, but Edward James Olmos and Lucy Lawless added a lot more entertainment to this year's panel. The day ended with the New Line Cinema event. Kenan Thompson was a hilarious host and things got great once the Final Destination 3 promo was done. They showed a clip from the upcoming Tenacious D movie (hilarious rock opera clip with a Meat Loaf and Dio) and then, what we were waiting for, Snakes on a Plane, featuring Samuel L. Jackson, live snakes (anaconda!), a 10-minute clip, and a hilarious mashup of some of the fan parodies. Samuel L. Jackson played his bad-ass part well, kinda like a Bruce Campbell session but with a lot more muthafuckas thrown in.

The schwag points in this year's Tour have been much more difficult to come by: the movie studios aren't giving away schwag at their presentations, there's a lot less t-shirts, a lot less posters, a lot less of everything, which doesn't make much sense as this is the biggest Tour de Comic-Con ever. Or perhaps it's so big that companies don't want to give out that much anymore. m and I are probably going to save some crucial weight tomorrow and leave our poster tubes behind as they are fairly empty.

Nevertheless, this year's Tour has some of the best schwag booths ever -- so good that I hestitate to call it schwag. After trying yesterday and only coming up with a Magic Booster pack, Team Uni got five Star Wars Attack on Endor sets that retail for $20 each. Team Uni also picked up three Boba Fett limited edition Bust-Ups, which non-limited versions retail for $4-5.

The sketches also went very well for kwc, who has been working since Thursday to get a Mignola sketch but has failed repeatedly. Today, success, as I now have a Hellboy sketch to add to my collection as well as a Stephen Silver sketch. honeyfields and my sketch books are much less full this year, but the focus has been much more on getting sketches from specific people and it has paid off. kwc has gotten sketches from Mignola, Kazu, Silver, Sakai, Guenoden, Kurtz, Aragones, and Gabe, which is a happy haul.

For both the schwag and sketch point competitions, this year's strategy has been much more in the style of Michael Rasmussen and Richard Virenque: ignore the piddling Cat 4 and Cat 3 climbs, go hard on one of the stages and take all the big climbs. Today's stage was that stage for us. With over $100 in retail with about an hour's effort each, Team Uni can coast to the finish, though we may pick up an extra Endor set or two just in case.

Tour de Comic-Con: Prologue

|

Team Uni bonked like Floyd Landis on the opening day of Comic-Con. m and I got off our Southwest flight and went straight to the convention center with parakkum and honeyfields. I thought of picking up a pizza in the airport feed zone, but I figured that we were taking an early dinner after and I could power through a light and easy preview night. Preview night is only open to pre-registered attendees, and as there is no actual programming and it only lasts three hours, the convention floor is fairly open and an easy course to manuever. We weren't prepared.

Every year attendance Comic-Con gets larger and larger, but for the past couple years the size of the venue has not. The number of people on the convention floor at this year's preview night was as bad as a Friday or possibly even Saturday of last year. Instead of a nice easy prologue stage to get the legs warmed up, it was hectic right out the gate, or rather, right through the double doors that thousands of people were squeezing through. I was dodging strollers, stormtroopers, and camera crews as I tried to swim like a salmon upstream to the Kinokuniya booth to buy a large sketchbook and then over to Mike Mignola's booth to grab a small Hellboy print and book of sketches. Mignola politely refused my request for a sketch, so my new sketchbook remains blank front to back.

We kept our run of the floor to a short one hour, but by the end I was exhausted, wishing I had carbo-loaded like I would on a regular stage. parakkum's parents treated us to Mexican dinner afterwards, which I gobbled like I had just ridden a stage through the Alps.

Take note Tour de Comic-Con riders: preview night is now just like any other day in the Tour. It may be shorter, but that just sends people flying around the floor faster. Watch your nutrition, stretch, and remember to draft to save energy. Luckily, this was just a prologue stage. My sketchbook may still be empty and I may have no schwag points, but I'm hoping for a nice easy start to Thursday's stage as a lot of people will be at work or in sessions instead of on the convention floor.

FYI: Samuel Jackson, Robert Rodriguez, Sam Raimi, Quentin Tarantino, Snoop Dogg, RZA, Edward James Olmos, Deepak Chopra, Bruce Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Nicholas Cage, and many others are guests this year. It's going to be crazy. Even Marvel put its name on a booth this year (shared with Activision), which is an odd move for them. It's a different event this year, but I'm looking forward to it.

Great Mountain View Blackout of 2006

|

IMG_1796_edited-1

Power went out on the north half of Castro Street in Mountain View last night. After taking an initial trip around the block to search for techies rioting and throwing chairs through windows -- all we found were people BookBuyers attempting to browse using flashlights -- parakkum and I returned back to Hope to retrieve my camera and warmer clothes. Witness the horror, the devastation, of absolutely nothing happening... in my flickr photoset:

Blackout Pouring light on the Blackout Blackout

Full photoset

Epic battles, with hornets and bees

|

parakkum has noted that historic battles with swords and such never really occurred like they did in films. IIRC, they usually just had some mild skirmishing, followed by one side getting scared, retreating, and getting slaughtered as they ran away.

Bees and hornets, on the other hand, do full, thrash-'em-out, give-no-quarter, gore-fest battles. This video of hornets attacking a beehive would certainly get an R rating and use up plenty of the special effects budget. WARNING: do not watch the film if you find bees gore disturbing.

Best Comic-Con Costumes

|

parakkum and I saw this costume walk by, we exchanged a laughing glance, and then chased down the three to ask to take a photo. As there was no other costume that caused me to run with my camera to snap a photo, I have to give this one top awards:

Best Comic-Con Costumes: Humor

Technical costume: General Grievous

This costume was amazing to behold. The creator actually entered two elaborate costumes in the Masquerade, with this my favorite of the two. He designed the costume so that he is standing inside the cape, with the Grievous appendages in front of him for that skeletal look. You can kind of tell from the people in back that the costume is also very tall.

Best Comic-Con Costumes: Technical

Like last year, Elvis Stormtrooper and Samurai Stormtrooper were present. I love those costumes, but as they're reruns I didn't snap any photos this time around.

Comic-Con: Quick Draw

|

Comic-Con 2005 Quick Draw Panel
Host: Mark Evanier
Artists: Sergio Aragones, Scott Shaw, Kyle Baker, Jeff Smith

The Comic-Con Quick Draw panel is most consistently entertaining event at Comic-Con. It is dominated by Sergio Aragones, whose blazingly fast drawings, humor, and occassional inability to understand English are highlighted throughout, but Shaw/Baker/Smith are fun as well. I'm inclined to remember the 2004 Quick Draw Competition as being more fun, but that may be a trick of memory.

The Quick Draw Panel is, well, quick, so this year's blog-based summary is a two-person effort. Notes were taken by parakkum and the photos were taken by yours truly.

WARNING: this entry is very, very long, with many, many photos.

Tour de Comic-Con: Friday's Stage

|

Friday's stage was a ride through Hollywood: Goblet of Fire, V for Vendetta, The Fountain, Corpse Bridge, Battlestar Galactica, and Jim Henson's 50th Anniversary (thumbs up, down, up, up, up, up). The biggest challenge for Team Uni was conquering Hall H, a Hors Category hall holding over 6000 people. The line of people entering the hall stretched over half the length of the entire convention hall. The most painful Hall H challenge was listening to Natalie Portman during the V for Vendetta preview. Her only honest answer of the entire session was:

Q: How has your liberal arts education influenced your acting?
A: It made me good at not offending anyone and being very PC about my answers to 6000 people.

Portman could use some lessons on how to answer questions the Bruce Campbell way.

jamesq went on some breaks through the several portfolio reviews and stayed close to the top, but not as well as hoped. parakkum joined him for a final attack on Disney that netted the most positive results on the day, getting a business card from the editor and specific interest in Inhabit. Only one portflio review remains, a final sprint for Marvel on Saturday.

h.o.b. rode in support of neverthere, who has picked up an impressive collection of sketches that have to be seen to believe. neverthere commissioned a Grendel sketch on black paper that's darkly beautiful, and kwc commissioned a Yojimbo sketch from Scott Morse that will be framed as soon as he gets a chance.

kwc was disappointed with his performance in the schwag classification. The Lego Star Wars booth professed to be out of Lego Mini schwag and the Battlestar Galactica panel gave out no schwag, instead raffling off a chance for one person out of the one thousand plus people there to meet the cast. kwc did pick up a V for Vendetta mask that appears to have monetary value to some and will be sold at first opportunity, as well as some lightsaber letter openers, a Goblet of Fire mini poster, and some pins that are curious.

Team Uni is very tired after yesterday's ride, but they will have to dip into their energy reserves to survive today's hectic stage. Saturday is the day in which the convention floor is most packed with fans. Team Uni riders will have cut through crowds and lines all day in route to the final climb up to the Masquerade. The Masquerade is always good for a surprise or two, so let's hope that Team Uni is up to the task on this penultimate stage. They're heading off now for their daily Irish breakfast to build up as much energy as possible, with coffee and Guinness for kwc for that extra punch.

Tour de Comic-Con: Thursday's Stage

|

threadlessGood news for Team Uni today. honeyfields started in the yellow t-shirt jersey after her superb efforts in the CRAC. She continued her efforts today, picking up a variety of comics, Gagne's Odd Numbers, and a limited-edition painted version of Scott Morse's Little Book of Horrors.

  • sketches: honeyfields, ln m, "Mega-Calves" neverthere, and kwc all picked up sketches today, including ones from Ted Naifeh, Mike Norton, Michel Gagne, 'Gabe', Ryan Claytor, and Ken Steacy. kwc also got four mini sketches in his copy of Flight #2 by some of the many contributors, including Kazu.

  • schwag: kwc, honeyfields and ln m scored the coveted Lego mini schwag, taking three sets in an early morning attack. kwc attempted to score more points with later attacks, but was turned away. Team Uni scored five Adult Swim blank journals late in the day, so kwc will be wearing the green t-shirt for tomorrow's stage as he tries again to collect more Lego mini schwag.

parakkum went on an early breakaway to protect jamesq's spot in the DC and Disney artist portfolio reviews. Today was mostly jockeying for position in those classification: tomorrow will be the big day where jamesq will have to put the portfolio hammer down.

Team Uni morale continues to be high. A panel by Bruce Campbell kept everyone in stitches for an entire hour (a partial transcript of his remarks will be posted at a later date -- update: here are the notes). The full team of dlf, ylf, h.o.b., jamesqq, parakkum, ln m, honeyfields, kwc, "kitchen" neverthere, MC neverthere, and jay had dinner in the opulent backroom of Rama, ordering far more Thai food than could be called reasonable. Fun was had, though anytime h.o.b. mocked a Robert Jordan panel he attended, items on the table seemed to mysteriously fall over. The day ended with a meeting in the hotel to strategize for tomorrow's stage.

The Hollywood star power for Friday's stage has greatly increased from previous years. Warner Bros will be previewing Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire, V for Vendetta, The Fountain, and Corpse Bride, Disney will be previewing Cars and Chicken Little. The presence of Natalie Portman in the convention center will likely drive things into a frenzy that hitherto has not been seen on a Friday stage. Perhaps it will equal the madness seen for Sarah Michelle Gellar's appearance at last year's Saturday Stage. Team Uni will to ride carefully, perhaps going for some of the coveted Hollywood schwag, but they will have to avoid spending too much time in the long lines associated with these events.

Tour de Comic-Con: Prologue

|

Team Uni made it through the first climb up the escalator to the registration booth in record time. The entire field was moving at a much faster pace than last year, which bodes well for this year's Tour.

The prologue stage was a quick circuit around the convention floor. There were no talks, movies, or other entertainment to worry about, so Team Uni focused on schwag and sketch points, as well as the extremely dangerous CRAC (Credit Ruining Accoutremounts Classification).

  • schwag: There weren't too many schwag points to be had on this stage. kwc attempted to go for bonus Lego Mini schwag that was hidden in a bag at the Star Wars booth, but they were too closely guarded. Now that they have been spotted, though, they should be easy takings in tomorrow's stage. The easiest schwag takings were dwarf mercenary DnD miniatures: parakkum and kwc both took two and ln m picked up another. No one on Team Uni plays DnD miniatures, but they have five dwarfs.

  • sketch: kwc got two sketches from Michel Gagne, but it was a bad day for honeyfields and ln m, who both forgot their sketchbooks. honeyfields plans an early assault tomorrow on Sakai and Gagne to get back into contention.

  • CRAC: The best showing for Team Uni today was in the CRAC. ln m and honeyfields tore through the Kinokuniya booth, purchasing two copies of the Art of Cowboy Bebop, as well as a Final Fantasy digital concepts book and a FLCL animation sketchbook. kwc added a set of Copic cool grey markers and Michel Gagne's Odd Numbers to the collection. Other teams spent a huge amount of time in line for mini Megatron statues and Han Solo busts, but Team Uni feels its nimble strategy focusing on more useful purchases will yield better results.

The nevertheres will be competing in all the stages contrary to earlier reports, which is a big boost to Team Uni morale. h.o.b. was spotted in the Viz booth but returned to his hotel room before this reporter could get comments.

Tour de Comic-Con: Team Roster

|

Team Uni's roster for Tour de Comic-Con:

  • parakkum: Tour veteran. He's been doing this his whole life. If there were a comparable cyclist, it would be Viatcheslav Ekimov, who has finished all 13 of the Tour de Frances he has entered. There isn't a curve or a bend in the convention floor he doesn't know, and his knowledge of Tour history will keep the Team Uni in the right position for the right opportunities. He'll be looking to ride well for himself in the writer's competition, but he'll also using his veteran skills to help his teammates ride high in their classifications.
  • kwc: This is his third year riding with Team Uni and he'll again be looking to collect the schwag points jersey. The need to avoid all knowledge of the Other Tour will put a burden on his fellow teammates to keep him protected. Last year's effort was ruined by an inopportune radio snippet, "..Armstrong in yellow..." This year's strategy will be to place a teammate between kwc and all newstands, TVs, and anyone wearing yellow. It's a 946 mile course, but hopefully he'll be able to finish this year's Tour without any mishaps.
  • honeyfields: honeyfields possesses multiple skills that will be crucial in keeping the pace high in this year's Tour. Her uncanny knack of befriending fellow artists, even the geeky antisocial ones, should make it easy to get good sketches and her ability to find parking spaces quickly should shave off minutes from their overall time. She's a proven ally of kwc in the schwag points classification, so look for good performances there as well.
  • jamesq: Tour rookie and designated penciler, he is Team Uni's Popovych. parakkum will be trying to help jn to ride into a good place overall in the artist portfolio review competition. His inking style is bold, the form is clean, he should do well in his debut.
  • ln m: Tour gearhead and new member of Team Uni. His nose for sushi and complete collection of Apple-emblazoned gadgets should keep Team Uni in good spirits. His impressive collection of Asian cinema will also be important at the Kung-Fu Extravaganza.
  • h.o.b.: He's a last-minute entry, a Tour veteran that's been away from the sport for several years. He and parakkum used to ride together and hopefully he can quickly come into form. With him and parakkum riding together again Team Uni should be unstoppable. He's a hometown boy, so he'll be looking to impress.
  • dlf: Recently back from several years in Japan, he's another hometown boy who should return from foreign competition with an edge in the Tokyo Pop and other anime-related courses. As a veteran of the San Diego Comic-Con, he should be able to pull off an impressive run.
  • nevertheres and tooches: They'll only be competing in a couple stages, which should make their efforts even more frenzied and impressive. The tooches will be arriving with the Tour bus which will hopefully provide Team Uni with some much needed rest.

Movie: Batman, the IMAX Experience

|

I don't know if I need to add my voice to the chorus of parakkum, ln m, and o.t.a., so I'll try at least to be short.

I saw Batman: The IMAX Experience at The Tech, which has a dome-style IMAX screen. Very early in the film, when there's this wide shot of Himalaya-ish mountains, I thought to myself, "Now THAT's IMAX!" Later on in the film, I started to get a little twigged at the fact that one eye on each actor's face was always bigger because of the fishy effect of the dome (we weren't seated dead center). There were also problems following the fight scenes. It was just too big and too close. I thought this was the fault of the IMAX projection, but from the reviews, it appears that even on a normal screen you really can't tell what's going on.

Overall, I thought this was the best of the Batman movies, though they definitely emulated the Spiderman model. Batman Returns still has the best villains, but this felt like the better story.

Bunnies on Stairs

|

Stormy tends to get more of the photo-love because of her Evil (Dead) Tendencies, but just to show you that the rest of the bunny troupe are all equally cute (even when they're not being evil cute):

Bunny stairs Bunny stairs

more bunnies in the extended

My ten first liners

|

Blasted midnight

|

I was shopping for Episode III tickets online and came across this difficult-to-interpret listing:

screenshot

12:30am is listed last, which would seem to indicate that it means the morning of the 20th, but if I click on 12:30am it tells me that I would be purchasing tickets for "12:30am the evening of Thu, May 19."

parakkum has clarified that they actually mean "12:30am the morning of the Fri, May 20," as it appears that the real midnight showing tickets are listed when you choose Wed, May 18.

Evil Dead Bunnies

|

In a followup to my Evil Bunnies photo posting, I now present my dead-as-in-possum bunny photos, featuring histrionic Stormy. Rabbits don't appear to be capable of "slackness," so, when you turn them upside-down, their bodies have a rather rigor-mortis-like rigidity.

2005-03-05-001 057 2005-03-05-001 058

mac world, mac office, iLife

|

I think I've discovered my mutant superpower. I've long pondered this after we discovered honeyfield's ability, which is the power to speak to anyone, including extreme geeks (artisty/gamer/programmer), for extended periods of time; hers is a very useful power to have at Comic-Con.

My power, depending on your allegiances, either qualifies me as a superhero or supervillain. Without saying what my power is specifically, I will present evidence rendered in crude infovis.

MacWorld (data you have provided in comments, as well as macs at work not in my immediate vicinity):

macworld.jpg

Mac Office ('k' = me):

macoffice.jpg

iLife (Macs that have had direct, frequent contact with me [metamanda, honeyfields, d, parakkum, ln m, pqbon]):

maclife

I think I'll make frequent trips to the Apple Store to see if I can focus my powers...

Animation festival

|

Went to Shrunken Head Man's presentation of films from the Ottawa International Animation Festival. The first segment was best student films from 2003. The second segment was best professional films from 2004. Much fun, too tired to write much about it other than what's already here. I wish I had several of these on DVD, but for now I'll have to be satisified with the few clips I found online. I'm not going to write much about the ones I didn't like, except to mention that I think "Mr J. Russel" scarred both parakkum and honeyfields -- during another short, honeyfields muttured, "No, no more dogs," a bit louder than she intended, and a several rows laughed (probably because they shared the same fear).

Favorites that have clips online:

howtocopewithdeath_web.jpg

How to Cope with Death, Ignacio Ferreras: one of my favorites, featuring a confrontation between an old woman and Death. short excerpt is online (have to navigate to films->How to Cope with Death).

crabes.gif

La Revolution des Crabes, Arthur de Pins: a funny film about crabs that can only move from side-to-side, unable to turn (I saw political undertones, others did not). Update: just realized clip online doesn't have subtitles. Oh well.

ryan.jpg

Ryan (Chris Landreth): not quite a favorite, but visually interesting with an good human interest story (with an animation crossover). I personally was not a fan of the aesthetic.

Urinal.jpg

Proper Urinal Etiquette, Kurt Nellis: funny parody of classic education films dealing with the all important choice of urinal stall.

Ten Things I've Done That You Probably Haven't

|

Following up on parakkum's entry, I was tempted to list something like, "born in a country that I was never a citizen of," or "been in the eye of a typhoon," but I didn't really accomplish those as much as they happened to me. Similarly, I was also tempted to get really specific and say things like, "drank chianti with a nice coconunt-mango-vegetable salad and chili last night," but that perhaps defeats the purpose of this meme as well. Depending on who reads this entry, at least two of these could easily be disqualified (Push Stars and public transit), but we shall see:

  1. Burned myself with a homemade EKG
  2. Found a deadly poisonous mushroom while mushroom hunting
  3. Ate an entire pumpkin pie in one sitting during a pie-eating contest
  4. Performed in an opening act for the Push Stars
  5. Hiked to the top of two extinct volanoes (Mount Fuji and Vesuvius)
  6. Played videogames at an arcade as a typhoon approached (<200 miles) (cheating, yes, to get around the "accomplished" vs. "happened to me" qualification)
  7. Snorkeled off the coast of Okinawa
  8. Had coffee in the Captain's quarters of a US Navy vessel
  9. Flew three times between Japan and DC in two weeks
  10. Commuted on public transportation from Berkeley to Mountain View/Menlo Park/Anything past Millbrae (observing my fellow passengers, I'm pretty sure on this one)

Even less likely to be unique, due to fellow participants:

  • Filed a patent covering a novel mechanism for establishing secure connections in both the US and Europe (oh wait, DARN YOU BP!)

  • co-founded a failed startup company that made it to the front page of the WSJ

Meet the Feebles

|

More fun with the Yahoo! Japan avatar tool as well as some previous avatars to round out the set.

me (forgot this the first time around):
kwc

redchilipepper:
rcp

d (who claims this is far too girly):
devon

honeyfields in work mode and winter mode (she is now using the avatar tool to choose future haircuts):
honeyfields honeyfields

parakkum (with the only semi-anglo face available):
parakkum

metamanda (oldie but goodie):
meta

Kenji and Justin did their own:
kenji justin

Hope-ful Thanksgiving

|

Apologies for the bad title pun, but parakkum and I just signed the lease for a townhouse on Hope Street (so long No Hope! The Curse is over!), about a block away from Dana Street Coffee. This location does present some problems, as the close proximity to my favorite caffeine dispensary may result in permanent tremors, and the close proximity to both new and used bookstores will leave me in literate poverty. Thankfully, the new Scientology center down the street can provide me with daily e-meter readings so as to correct any imbalances.

If you're hanging out on Castro Street in MV, give us a buzz.

I'm leaving tomorrow to visit my Aunt and Uncle. I shall return on Monday with photos from the Renoir to Matisse exhibit at LACMA and the USC/Notre Dame homecoming game -- my first USC home game, I'm looking forward to it.

Proposition Hell

|

I had a hard time going through all these propositions. parakkum's entry inspired me to finally bite the bullet and work through how I was going to vote on each. I decided to post my recorded thoughts here because, the fact is, these propositions were complicated, and I could be swayed by a well-reasoned argument on some of these.

1A (No): Ensures local property tax and sales tax revenues remain with local government thereby safeguarding funding for public safety, health, libraries, parks, and other local services. I'm voting no, mainly because California suffers from enough bureaucratic hoops when it comes to how money is spent and where it comes from.

59 (Yes): Public Records. Open Meetings I like the openness principle this law embraces, so yes.

60 (Yes): Election Rights of Political Parties This pretty much sounds like a restatement of primary principles. While I think our election process in this country is flawed, 60 sounds better than the other proposals.

60A (No): Surplus Property This is a hard one. It's such a narrow way to pay off our debt because it only targets one very small source of income (2-3 orders of magnitude less than the debt it attempts to repay), and by making that source of income unusable, I don't think it will have much effect. I'm voting no, as I don't think the payoff is worth having this on the books. BTW - why the hell is this 60A? Were they afraid of running out of numbers?

61 (Yes): Children's Hospital Projects I agree with parakkum that this doesn't address the real problems with child healthcare (mainly that many are not covered), but I still support throwing money at structural needs in the hopes that they may secondarily address the overarching problem.

62 (No): Open Primaries A whole-hearted no

63 (Yes): Mental Health Services Expansion and Funding. Tax on Incomes over $1 Million. Initiative Statute Sure, why not. I don't make $1M ;). On a more serious note, California could really use better mental health services.

64 (No): Limits on Private Enforcement of Unfair Business Competition Laws I'm voting no, mainly because it seems like it would help companies pollute more easily and engage in other forms of bad behavior that don't necessarily constitute monetary damage.

65 (No): Local Government Funds and Revenues I'm voting no (as I'm voting no on 1A as well)

66 (Yes): Limitations on "Three Strikes" Law I'm voting yes, as I'm against mandatory sentencing guidelines. The US incarcerates an absurd number of people, and has very little to show for it in terms of public safety other than massive costs that take away money for more useful measures.

67 (Yes): Emergency and Medical Services I'm voting yes on this. Emergency medical is hugely expensive, especially in California, where we allow companies to abuse illegal immigrants, in effect creating a large workforce without any medical coverage (but often in need of it). It will also help community clinics, which will improve the overall health of the community, which is good for everyone.

68 (No): Tribal Gaming Compact Renegotiation I hate all these Indian casino propositions. I don't think they should be on the ballot they're so stupid.

69 (No): DNA Samples I'm not necessarily against collecting DNA samples from felons, but I think this particular proposal does not contain the proper balance necessary between privacy and public safety.

70 (No): Tribal Gaming Compacts. Exclusive Gaming Rights. Contributions to State (see 68)

71 (Yes): Stem Cell Research. Funding. Bonds I'm going to go against parrakum, man of bio that he is, perhaps because I've been reading Castells recently. The IT boom emanated from California due to a convergence of many factors, including strong public funding to promote growth of that industry here. This boom produced obvious benefits for California, though the bust had its problems as well. I think the factors that were present in California for the IT boom (strong university tie-ins, public funding, culture) are present for a boom around stem cell research as well, and I would like to keep California on the cutting edge of scientific and technological breakthroughs. I'm voting yes (because I also don't think stem cell research is evil, though it does have to walk a careful moral and ethical line).

72 (Yes): Health Care Coverage Requirements I agree with parakkum here. The businesses that California wants to keep (e.g. high tech) already offer health insurance, and the ones that don't offer health insurance (grocery stores, Walmart, etc...) can't leave. Good health helps everyone.

Comic-Con Schwag

|

Schwag is a big component of Comic-Con. I wasn't on as much of a schwag hunt this year, but I think I did manage to pick up some items that will survive in my possession, rather than get tossed in the trash several months from now when I realize how useless it is. I was also trying to be minimal in the amount of stuff that I was toting around with me, and, for the most part, I avoided posters, which are hard to keep in good condition.

1. The Tie Fighter Fleet of destruction.

tie fightersparakkum and honeyfields graciously donated their Imperial fighters to my fleet so that it would be more impressive.

I like the lego minis -- they have the proper amount of abstractness. I much prefer them to the mid-size lego models that assume too much detail; you become too aware of the differences between the model and the real thing. Not quite the Uncanny Vally, but perhaps similar.

On a similar note, s was talking to me during the ride home from the airport about McCloud's work and how McCloud discusses how abstraction in comics serves to allow the reader to project their own impressions on the work. I think they minis work this way -- I even found my subconscious playing the Imperial March as I assembled the minis, but that may just be because I'm insane.

2. Advance reading copy of Rucka's new Queen and Country novel, A Gentlemen's Game

honeyfields got me a copy of this while I was snapping photos of Buffy. Rucka signed it, "After this, everything changes." It contains numerous spoilers for the upcoming Q&C comics, so unfortunately this will have to sit on my shelf for awhile.

3. Incredibles poster by Mike Mignola (Min-yola, not Mig-nola)

Apparently Brad Bird is a big fan of Mignola's art, and the poster is a nice depiction of Mr. Incredible. I will try and get a photo once it is back in my possession.

4. Sky captain t-shirt

I liked this t-shirt because, unlike most free t-shirts, it isn't an advertisement first and a t-shirt second. A Punisher t-shirt I got, for example, has URL for the movie below the skull.

Honorable mention: The Grudge hat

It's a high-quality black hat with bright red kanji letters on the front. I think I will take a knife to it and cut out "The Grudge" translation that's on the back of the hat, at which point it will become a cool item.

Comic-Con Summary and Advice

|

First off, I must give my thanks to honeyfields and parakkum; without both of their unique skills Comic-Con would have been an impossibly overwhelming experience rather than the manageably overwhelming experience it has been the past two years. parakkum served as the war-hardened veteran with the encyclopedic knowledge of all things comics. Who's where, what's cool, where's this were all questions I repeatedly asked and had answered. Honeyfields served as the charmer: she'd approach the booth first and strike up a long conversation with the artist/author, by the end of which we'd both have great sketches (though usually hers are a bit better :) ).

Now that I have completed my second trip, our game plan has been further tested, implemented, and tweaked. This game plan pretty much summarizes how I spent everyday at the con, and it worked fairly well for me. I offer this as advice to all those who plan to attend future Comic-Cons.

Comic-Con: Kung-fu Extravaganza

|

parakkum says that this has gone downhill over the years. This year there were a couple of interesting clips for me, but overall the selection was poor.

Musa: never actually showed the clip he wanted to, and rather than recognize that the wrong clip was being played, he would wait until the end of the scene and then say, "that was the wrong clip." It didn't matter too much: myself, honeyfields, and parakkum all hated the freakin' movie.

All Men Are Brothers: This is cheesy fantasy kung-fu, but absolutely hilarious. By far the best clip of the night.

Butterfly Sword: A Michelle Yeoh/Tony Leung movie with a cool arrow maneuver.

Running on Karma: not particularly memorable for me. Not sure why he chose this one. About this guy (Andy Lau) who had the ability to see through cause and consequence and reenact previous scenes of violence. He also shadow boxes a piece of tissue.

Men Suddenly in Black: this movie is about a bunch of guys who are intent on cheating on their wives. The clip contains a hilarious a non-violent John Woo homage with cameras and other implements.

Master Q: don't even remember this one. I think this was the one where these guys take on a taoist demon with a mirror, but I don't know.

Red Trousers: a behind the scenes movie about stuntmen that we saw the trailer for

Legend of the Condor Heroes: boring anime that was being plugged

Samurai

|

samurai

parakkum, m, and honeyfields are coming over tonight for some RoboRally/LotR RISK madness, but I may have found a game for our next game night: Samurai. You get ten free games before you have to pay $20, and it comes with single player, multi-player, and multi-player networked play modes.

Movie: Musa

|

MusaIMDB users think that Musa is fantastic, but personally I thought this movie sucks. It's probably also fair to say that parakkum, honeyfields, and meta all thought it sucked as well. I picked this up in Chinatown with the help of rcp (who complained about not wanting to have to watch a movie with Chinese subtitles :) ) and I expected big things from a $60M war epic -- Hero was good, right?

Musa is a Korean war epic that takes place in China, where the band of Korean warriors struggle the make it safely back home. Along the way it manages to become a protect-the-princess flick, and then after that a confused mish-mash of other epics, like Seven Samurai. There's also probably more blood and dismemberings in this film than Kill Bill Vol. 1.

Instead of defining itself as an epic with its own character, Musa instead felt like a bunch of other epic movies edited together with Asian actors substituted in. The flow of the story is disruptive, the characters inconsistent, and suspension of disbelief becomes difficult when the character motivations are so thin.

As I mentioned at the start, though, apparently other people liked this movie, so if you want to borrow it from me, feel free; I don't think I'll be watching it again soon ;).