I've been listening to Drabblecast. Here's their own description, "Short stories at the far side of weird". Sometimes they highlight weird news. In this podcast, narrator/producer Norm Sherman presents his rap version of the whole Utah teen arrested for rapping his order deal. It's the first item on Drabblecast 164. I love this podcast.
Nice illustration by Mick Collins (aka puggdogg) via the Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki.
I just ran across a few interesting notes from Comic-Con 2006...
I attended a panel with Kazuo Koike. He's the author of Lone Wolf & Cub, Lady Snowblood, Crying Freeman, etc... That year, an illustration from Lone Wolf & Cub graced the cover of the comic-con program. But, the poor guy thought the illustration was on the back....!!
I loved hearing George RR Martin complain that "Magic is supernatural... it's not supposed to follow any laws!" He said magic is like salt in a stew. "A little bit of it gives a great flavor. But, too much and you've just got a salty stew." It was also amusing to hear him describe concocting some dangerous situation, then realizing... "You know, there is no way this character can survive this." Yes, Martin actually kills off major characters. I remember when he killed a particular character in Game of Thrones... I kept reading and re-reading, thinking, "Whoa... Now, wait a minute.... that was the main character, the hero! WTF?!?!" Game of Thrones is part of the Song of Ice and Fire series. Highly recommended reading; I love that series. How we all beg GRRM to finish it, but he's just not the kinda guy to get pushed around.
James Kochalka has produced a bunch of comics and graphic novels, including Monkey vs Robot, Little Mister Man and American Elf. He related a funny anecdote... How was he published in the first place? He had to wait until the readers of his self-published comic had managed to become publishers.... so they could publish his stuff. Ah, yes, the long-term approach.
Every year, Comic-con holds a film festival. The quality is varied. In 2006, I saw a wonderful short, called, Der Ostwind. It was created by students at Brigham Young University and it won Best Action/Adventure Film at Comic-con!
Spotlight on J Michael Straczynski: Always an interesting speaker... "Writing is about touching passion and coming back and telling what it's like." When an audience member attempted to address him as Mr. Straczynski, he told him, "Call me Joe. Even I can't say Mr. Straczynski without blowing out an incisor."
He described his chats with Warner Brothers, thus: "It's like talking to a goldfish." and "It's like a cat staring at a doorknob." He has secured the rights to the Lensman books and has just started working on a screenplay. He describes the author as "an engineer who was afraid of girls". Ron Howard to direct.
Regarding college... In grad school he ended up with a negative GPA. "Somehow I owed them a point." Ha! "They asked me to leave and I did." A couple of universities have invited him to teach, but he wants to teach at a junior college, because he spent a lot of time at JCs. Yay! That's so much awesome. I work at a CSU, but I love our JC. They teach all the courses I really want to take.
He posed a question, which was asked at an Israeli convention.. if Israel was located on a planet with an eight day rotation, when would the sabbath be? He received an email a week later, informing him that fights broke out at the convention over his question. Years later at a different convention, a fan was getting his autograph, said he was in the Israeli military, pointed to a chipped tooth, "...that was you." He was present at that convention.
Joe has a good relationship with city officials. He was notified by City Hall that they were discarding old court transcripts and discovered one they thought he'd be interested in. He read the transcript and wrote a rough draft screenplay in eleven days. He was fascinated by the story. In 1928, a woman's son disappeared. The boy was found months later, put on a train and shipped back to her. But, she claimed he wasn't her son. The police insisted that he was. The woman was eventually institutionalized. Murder and mayhem follow, but Mr. S wouldn't elaborate. Ron Howard read his rough draft and wouldn't let him alter a word of it. He'll produce and Clint Eastwood will direct. Angelina Jolie stars as the mother. Title is The Changeling.
Comic-Con Independent Film Festival: Saw this hilarious short, Signerz.
Spotlight on Connie Willis: Connie is a fabulous writer. She's written tons of things. I love her book, Doomsday Book. At the start of the panel, she was awarded the comic-con Inkpot Award, which she proclaimed "very cute"! She expressed her disappointment in comic-con. She was told it was big, but instead it's this tiny, miniscule event. She also warned the audience, "I never really answer any of these questions."I didn't get a picture ofher, but here's a great shot someone else took at a different con.
First Connie revealed that, "Writing is hopeless drudgery." Then she mentioned an ephiphany she had, "Writing is about experiencing increasingly humiliating experiences as you go along." Her latest book got a little out of hand is now being published in two volumes. She's currently working on a short story, Paper Dolls, for women her own age. And she doesn't care if the rest of us don't understand it! :-)
She spoke of her need to obtain "manly halloween outfits" for her bulldog, Smudge. No frilly, fou-fou stuff for him.
She spoke of the choir members who kept St Paul's Cathedral from burning down when the entire city of London burned during WW2. Incredibly, they kept wetting down the building and suspending themselves precariously to reach dangerously high precipices and scrambled about the roof. They kept that amazing place from burning to a crisp.
Connie tells us that "Nothing is fun to write." But she does find herself endlessly fascinated with chance and coincidence. She mentioned that Mencken is her hero and recommended the Mencken Chrestomathy.
Regarding her book, Passage, she spoke of her dislike of the lies surrounding death. People promise all sorts of things which they couldn't possibly know. She said she'd love to reveal what happens after death, if she could get a message to us, but seeing as even Houdini hadn't managed and "he had a plan!", she doubted that would happen. She spoke of a book given her by a friend. The title was... "Nearer to the Light or Close to the Light or Embarassed by the Light". She hated it and thus it inspired her to write Passage.
She loves musicals and spoke of the variety of wonderful musicals available everywhere... except Cats. Oh, she hates that thing. Claims it's the worst musical ever made.
She said she picked up two t-shirts at comic-con: Republicans for Voldemort and an Obama t-shirt.
The most hilarious thing she spoke about was her query to her physicist husband, "Honey, I need light to go backwards..." And his reply that light is non-directional. "Well, yes, but if light were to go backwards..." She ended up doing the research herself and "light goes backwards, goddammit!"
M'kay, so thursday was the first official day. Was it crowded? Yes. Yes, it was. I really admire the way the san diego convention center and comic-con manage crowds. It's evolved over the years and gets better every year. Don't get me wrong though... comic-con is still way too crowded.
Jim and I stopped at this Mexican place, Maria's, and shared a cheese enchilada plate, because we knew that later we were going to that crazy meat place Christine is always talking about. Hokay, so here are tidbits from the panels I attended:
30th Anniversary Battlestar Galactica panel with Richard Hatch, Bear McCreary, Tom DeSanto and Dr Kevin Grazier: First of all, Bear McCreary was really fun. He's the composer for BG and presented a hilarious video he made, featuring most of the BG stars. In this video, they all pretend they have no idea who he is and frequently insist that there's no music on Battlestar Galactica! James Callis (Gaius Baltar) is the first person approached by Bear. He has no recollection of speaking to him...
Bear: "But, I just spoke to you on the phone an hour ago...?"
James: "How did you get my address?"
James informs Bear of the music that he himself has composed for BG, which is horrendous and hilarious. Callis is pretty dang funny. I also love the completely blank look that Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck) gives James when Bear is mentioned. Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama) and Michael Hogan (Colonel Tigh) really give James a hard time, claiming there's no music on BG and that it's really cute that he refers to this unknown person as "The Bear". Growling and laughter ensue.
We also got to see some of the rejected designs such as the cool battleship-style guns mounted on the BG and the very flexible, fluid almost ninja-like cylon model... also a funny clip of a cylon pitching a baseball. There was an earlier idea pitched with Richard Hatch as a cylon. One audience member asked, "Richard, are you the last cylon?" Richard replied, "Yes, I don't think I am." Hah! Nicely phrased. Apparently there will be a Battlestar Galactica 2-hour movie. How did I not know this? Richard states there will be three movies and is corrected... no only one. One panelist suggests that if Richard says there'll be three maybe he can make it happen. :)
Richard Hatch was very gracious to his fans. Whenever he was directly asked a question, he always thanked the audience member for asking. He made very warm and and sincere comments (they sounded sincere, anyway) regarding the new BG and obviously appreciates the opportunity to be a member of the cast. Remember, this was one of the stars of the old series, watching something he loved being turned into something quite different and with a whole new cast. I think he's a highly perceptive and intelligent person. He knows how important the fan base is... I mean look at Firefly! Hell, the original Star Trek was cancelled early in the season and only renewed due to overwhelming fan support. He really wants to be a part of the new BG and well... he is!
Jimi Hendrix' Watchtower will be featured in the series at some point. Bear created a heavy metal version exactly the way he wanted to, fully expecting it would be rejected. Then he told us he would bring it to next year's comic-con and bitterly complain, "This is what it could've been." Instead... they loved it and it will be used exactly the way he envisioned. Poor guy. :)
They've been very keen on getting military aspects of the series as accurate as possible. Not just the type of armaments and equipment used, but exactly how they would be used, carried, etc...
Richard loves playing Zarek. Although he loved playing Apollo, he finds Zarek's role more complex and in-depth and appreciates the chance to play him. Richard feels that Jaime embodies Apollo. "It's wonderful that they found that man to play that role." Once he met Jaime he felt no competitiveness and feels it was a wonderful choice.
At one time Dirk Benedict was considered for a few shows... one was a visionary sequence with Baltar and 6 in a concert hall, where Dirk introduces himself as God. Another idea was Dirk playing a crew member who meets a hot-shot pilot (Starbuck) and tries to seduce her, only to discover she's his daughter. Heheh.
In the third season, regarding the episode where Adama and the president are smoking together, "Yes, they were smoking a fatty."
Bear informed the audience, "You guys are the most astute soundtrack fanbase I've ever heard of."
Some panel with Daniel Waters, director of Heathers and Josh Olson, Masters of Science Fiction mini-series: I can't figure out which panel this was and the comic-con schedule doesn't seem to list it... very helpful. But Daniel Waters said some very funny stuff.... "After Columbine, I'm like... where are my mass murder residuals?" After the malfunction of a Heathers clip, "The blu-ray will have pictures. It'll be great!" Daniel claimed to be heavily influenced by the Island of Misfit Toys in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, "That's the kind of movie I like to make." Regarding Heathers being made into a broadway musical, "I hope I'll be standing near my mailbox collecting residual checks." Josh Olson talked about working with Harlan Ellison, which few survive... "I don't think I've ever been a called a cocksucker as much as I was those three weeks." Apparently, they got along okay as their working styles were similar... "We both like to stand around screaming at each other."
Superhero Kung-Fu Extravaganza with Ric Meyers: Awesome as always! Ric is a great host; he's always hilarious and has so many fascinating tales. He showed an amazing martial arts film from Chile called, Kiltro. Or something like that. I have to find out. Also, the director and star were there, which was very cool! They seemed like really nice guys and so appreciative of the audience and the opportunity to show their flick at comic-con. Oh and the star is a kick-ass martial artist and a total babe. Just wanted to mention that.... ;)
So, we got to the airport no problem. Of course, my luggage was searched at customs, because... well, my luggage is usually searched. There's just something about me... something "hinky". Unfortunately for airport security, I use packing cubes. This means that's it's just about impossible for them to mess up my luggage. Maybe they can tell when your packing chi is centered and they feel they must rise to the challenge. Ah, well, it's so sad for them... so very, very sad. I noticed there's a Max's at the Oakland Airport. Jim got a turkey sandwich and it looked pretty good. I settled for a really average Chinese chicken salad from some other joint. Apparently, Jim and John were tossing back beers or bears or whatever, cuz Christine and I had to haul their luggage into line since they took so long.
I like the way Southwest works their seating. Of course, we'd gotten our boarding passes exactly 24 hours in advance, which is the earliest they allow. I'm not sure how 23 people got ahead of us... bastards. Anyway, our flight went really smoothly and we arrived five minutes early. Then we caught a taxi, because it was dang cheap for four of us to share.
After dumping our stuff at the Hotel Occidental, we hoofed on down to the Convention Center. It's about one mile away. The weather was great... warm, but not hot. Then we queued up in an incredibly long line to get our badges. Man, that was one helluva line. It took about an hour. People were in good spirits and everything moved along, but there were just a buttload of folks.
Finally we got in and Jim and I attended the Fringe screening, while Christine and John hit the vendor hall. They'd gotten in earlier because they're all special 'n' stuff. Since John's a "professional" (and I think you know what I mean...), they were able to skip the big line. Plus they cut in front of a ton of folks in the "professional" line. They claim it was an accident. But, I'll describe them, in case you'd like to hunt them down and kill them. Hah. Just kiddin'!
Then we had dinner at Fred's Mexican Cafe. It was okay, not really fab or anything. Then it was time to limp back home.
In about two hours I head off to comic-con with three of my friends: Christine, John and Jim. After evaluating many travel methods, we decided to fly. I really love the whole road trip thing, but none of us owns a car large enough to seat all of us and our luggage. Well, everything would probably fit, but it would be pretty tight. As Larry David would say, "Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty tight."
Amtrak would've been fun, but the dang train only leaves twice a day and the timing just didn't work out. Flying turned out to be about $190 each and it'll be fast. Plus we can divvy up the cost of long-term parking at Oakland Airport. (Thank you, Expresso Parking! Umm.. your little musical jingle is pretty silly.) And we'll divvy up the cost of a taxi to our hotel, the fabulous Hotel Occidental. I always stay at the Hotel Occidental. It's about one mile from the convention center, which I consider a nice little wake-up each morning. Plus you get your own fridge, microwave, sink, kitchen supplies, etc... I usually get a room where I have my own toilet, but share the shower. Rooms start at $79, which is pretty dang amazing. Let's hope everyone at comic-con doesn't find out.
Comic-con also provides free shuttles to the convention center. I always think I'll take one, but I really like to walk. They'd sure come in handy if you picked up a ton of loot.
Okay, time to pack this laptop away! I'll be blogging from comic-con.