Friday, August 3, 2007

Comic-Con 2007!!! (Part 1 - In the Beginning)

Ahoy there!

"Hey, who the hell is this guy?"
"I think he's the guy who maintains this blog."
"Wait, someone actually maintains this thing?"
"A...apparently..."
"Well, he must be a hack, because this thing hasn't been updated in a week and a half."
"Indeed. Want to go shoot some pool?"
"Sure!"

Hey, guys, wait up! Guys...okay, I'll talk to you later, guys! Now, where was I? Oh, yes! Hello, one and one alike. It's been a while, hasn't it? Too long. I feel like a slacker and a sloth. Well, I'm going to make up for it right...now!

This Sunday, I returned from my trip to the International Comic-Con in San Diego. Now I know what you're thinking: "Sunday? Then why are you only posting now?" Well, Mr. Magoo, I've still been busy this week, finishing up a paper and prepping a speech for my communications class (which went perfectly, thank you very much). I also needed to use that time to organize everything. That is to say, put pictures from my camera to my hard drive, from my hard drive to Photobucket, from Photobucket onto Blogger, and from Blogger into your brain. It is the very definition of "Tedium" (in one of the less-reputable dictionaries, I think...).

Now, onto the stories. So, Comic-Con is the world's largest popular arts convention. It began as a simple comic book convention (hence the name), but has since grown into what can only be described as the premiere entertainment convention, spanning comics, books, movies, TV, video games, card games, board games, the whole shebang. This year was the largest year yet, selling out and garnering 125,000 attendees. That's a lot, in case you were wondering.

I had gone to this convention last year, and if you were interested in reading about it, you can do so here. You'll find some interesting connections betwixt the two years (which I will point out regardless). Now, last year I had attended with a couple of friends (who just so happen to be regular commentators on this blog) named...well, I'll go by their preferred names of Squall and Rinoa. Last year, I drove them down, and we stayed at the house of my most gracious cousin and her family in Chula Vista, about 25 minutes outside of San Diego proper.

Now, this year I couldn't really drive down with them, seeing as I'm, y'know, in Berkeley. So, I just flew down and met up with them (my cousin, though? Still a gracious house host). What I will be presenting is my adventures in San Diego.

...Oh, not all at once, mind you. Bandwidth concerns ("im in ur inturnetz, sukin ur banwith"), along with the fact that doing them all at once would take me an unnecessarily long time to complete, and the fact that I had 125 usable photos, led me to split this into 5 6 different blog posts. The first 5 will will have 25 shots apiece, and the final one will include the miscellaneous extra.

And now, without further ado, let's all take a look at this trip through the eyes of [the camera of] Andrew Schnorr......

Ummm...that's not San Diego. It's actually in the sky. The sky? How is this possible? Through the power of science, my friends! This picture was actually taken in what's known as an airplane, a machine which can fly in the air, ferrying passengers with it.

Now, that's all fine and good, but why did I take a picture from this so-called "aired-plane"? Simple: it looks cool. When you look at that picture, you almost don't know if it's a snowy plain with some hills in the background or what. I feel as though I could walk on those clouds.

Uh, yeah. I actually took a bunch of pictures of this. Don't worry, I'm only putting up four of them (the rest were either blurry or uninteresting). Why did I take so many. Well, as many who remember my young years will know, I love clouds. I have described them as "God's Watercolors". In fact, I love them so much that I used to take pictures of them. I don't anymore, sadly, but the ability to photograph them from the other side was too tempting to pass up. So I did. And I think that it's really awesome, like a sea of white.

I think this is my favorite of the four. Isn't it just cool? Sometimes I wish that computer screens were more vertical so that I could make this my screensaver.
Going back to my "white sea" analogy, doesn't this just look like an island in the ocean, rather than a mountaintop in the clouds. How cool do you think it would be to be on that mountain and see the clouds below you all the time (I'm making the assumption that you don't need oxygen to live here).

Ah, here we are! Welcome again to Comic-Con. Now, this picture is a little deceptive. I didn't actually get in the building right after I got off the plane. No, because I didn't have my badge, I had to stand in line with all the people who pre-registered. Now, on the Wednesday preview night (which I couldn't go to thanks to class), the registration line takes about 10 minutes. On Thursday morning, though? 2 hours. No joke. The line wrapped around the convention center and traveled into the docks. When people asked me where the end of the line was, I said, "Look for the boats, and keep going."

I knew beforehand that it was going to be bad, and I told my travel companions to go on ahead (I didn't want to hold them back), so the only thing I was wishing was that I was standing next to people who were at least somewhat interesting. As it turned out, I was the most interesting person in line, but that's really to be expected, really. However, the people I was with could carry on a conversation, and two of them were rather attractive females (who were there for some business reason). Thanks to my silver tongue, I was graced with a couple of hugs by the time we got out of the line and went our separate ways. Smooth operator, I know.

Oh, yeah, and you'll see a picture like this a few times throughout this series. For some reason, I just liked taking a picture of it. This is probably the worst of them, but I needed an introductory shot, so nyah.

Ah, and so it begins. Yes, one of the mainstay of Comic-Con is the multitude of fans who "cosplay", or dress up as their favorite characters. Some of the costumes that people come up with are rather elaborate, others are absurdly simple. This gentleman here was dressed as Beast from the X-Men series. He actually looks pretty good, aside from the fact that he's about a foot or two too short. Still, good to know that I tower over the furry blue beast.

And here is my more diplomatic side. Note that I would have edited the red out of my eyes, but the fact that I was shaking hands with a Sith lord was too uncanny to be coincidence. So, I decided to let myself remain Sith-ified.

Okay, here's an interesting little exhibit that was at the Star Wars booth. Now, the theme for this year's Comic-Con was actually Star Wars itself. Hence, the stormtroopers were everywhere. Seriously. I'm sure that the 501st had quite the presence there. I eventually just started taking pictures (oh, you'll see pictures of them) with the hopes that one day, I'd be paid a dollar for every stormtrooper I saw. I'd be rich as the king of Spain! For purposes of this blog, I'm going to request that every time you see a stormtrooper or other Imperial soldier, take a shot of sparkling cider or the drink of your choice.

Oh, yeah, so there was a collection of Darth Vader helmets that were each painted a different way. These appeared to be inspired by the design on the Death Star as well as Van Gogh's Starry Starry Night.

I'm...I'm not exactly sure what either of these is supposed to be. The one on the right appears to be a kind of face-like thing, most likely a face, but it scares the hell out of me! The other one just looks like hipster graffiti.

Again, I'm not sure what the one on the right is supposed to be. I am a fan of the Carmen Miranda version, however. There's just unlimited potential for a Star Wars!: The Musical Broadway show with a sexy Latin Darth Vader.

Don't bother looking for something special about the helmet on the right. That's just a plain one, probably meant for comparison. As for the one on the left, I think it's the helmet that Vader wore when he was just a young soldier fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. His experiences there embittered him, and that's what really turned to the dark side.

I'm not sure what little cartoons are on the left helmet, but I know for a fact that I don't like the one on the left, because it reeks of hippie propaganda.

Okay, based on the design of this final helmet, I'm guessing it's either supposed to be an alternate reality in which Darth Vader joined the rebels, or an alternate reality in which Darth Vader was an employee of Terminix.

Now, this year I had a couple of things I wanted to do. First among these was to get as many different sketches of me as possible (more on this much later). The second thing I wanted to do was make myself get "injured" in every picture that I was in. I think those made for some of the best pictures in the my collection. So this was the first one. For those who do not know, that is a Pokémon called Charizard (or, as I later found out, is called Glurak in German). And he looked a little hungry. His mouth was open just wide enough, and...argh!

Take a shot. Funny story, I was actually somewhat ostracized in the Star Wars booth thanks to my T-Shirt, which had this design (of my own making) of Captain Jean Luc Picard (of Star Trek's making). While there, I had to convince people, amidst a sea (okay, a couple) of boos and hisses. My defense: "Hey, I like Star Wars too!"

So, anyway, when I asked this guy to pose like he was punching me, he happily obliged. Though honestly, this looks less like a punch and more like a eye-noogie.

Ah, yes, another Pokémon. I actually didn't know what this big guy's name was, so I had to look it up. ........Feraligatr? What the hell? What kind of name is that? Well, anyway, I noticed that the Feraigsjklfgjsfoiu had something dripping from its arm, be it an icicle, or water, or...something else entirely. However, I found it to be a perfect opportunity for a lovely, disturbing shot.

Now, during the show, there were a bunch of things called "Gatherings". These were times in which like-minded cosplayers could, surprisingly enough, gather together. They would all have some common theme, and would take pictures as a group. Because my companions dressed up essentially every day, they were always going to these, and I followed along to a few. This particular one was for the Super Smash Bros. Gathering, so everyone was dressed as a character from that series. This particular fellow here was dressed as a presumably older and taller version of the character Ness (one of the most annoying characters to use), whose primary weapons are a baseball bat and yo-yo (go figure). I thought his costume was really good; I particularly wondered where on Earth he could buy that shirt.

By the way, I look particularly German in this picture.

Not being content acting as friends (perhaps even allies), I forced big-Ness to attack me with yo-yo of pain. I look less German in this photo...more French (oooh, burned!.......*cough*).

And here's the whole group for the Super Smash Bros. Gathering. From left to right, we have Luigi, Princess Daisy, Wario, Princess Peach, Mario, Ness, Dark Link, Nana (of the Ice Climbers), Sheik, Fox McCloud, Princess Zelda, and Falco Lombardi (who I, for the life of me, couldn't recognize, seeing as they had nothing to show that they were trying to be a bird. Seriously, I though he was just some random space mercenary).

By the way, that Dark Link character? That's actually one of my companions. And the sword? Real. Dull, but real. That's what I love about these types of conventions; you can bring deadly weapons into a room with thousands of people and nobody bats an eyelash.

Now, here's me with a little girl.......let me rephrase that. Here's me with a young enthusiast of the character Sheik, and she probably had one of the best costumes in the show, right down to red contact lenses. Unfortunately, the picture came out somewhat blurry. (Let me take a moment to apologize in advance for all pictures that are somewhat blurry; not totally blurry, but just enough that its not clear. Those drive me insane too!)

Oh, those things she's holding? Well, in Super Smash Bros., Sheik carries throwing needles, and that's what those are supposed to be. In reality, they're four of my pens that I was going to Photoshop into needles. But since the shot is blurry, you can't tell, so I just got lazy.

Not all the people who dressed up were simple fans. For others, it was part of their jobs. These people are called "cospayers". Get it? No? :( Anyway, this slithery gorgon lady was promoting some computer RPG game. Which one, I can't remember. So much for that advertising!

On another note, the person who took this picture is now working as a bird feeder in the San Diego Central Park.

I'm not sure what scared me more: these guys' incredibly well-done zombie makeup, or the fact that I could see that one guy's beer belly sticking out.

What? What does this picture mean, you say? You can't see anything, you say? Well, there's still a bit of narration to go along with this, my doubting Thomas.

There is a parking structure just outside of the San Diego Convention Center. It is close-by, and it is (relatively) cheap - $10 for the day. If you can get this parking, you're golden. However, on Friday, we must have gotten there just a little too late (despite coming rather early). The parking structure was closed. This is bad. Bad. Because that means you have to drive through San Diego to find another place to park. Now, apparently that weekend was full of stuff in SD. Not only was there Comic-Con, but they also were hosting an American Idol audition, as well as about two other big things. So the streets were packed. It would take 10 minutes just to get past a single street light. And finding a nearby parking structure? Fugetaboudit. We just went from street to street, further and further away from the convention center, until we reached the Westin Hotel, almost a mile away (we were able to get a college kid to drive us in a bicycle rickshaw deal [which is something the faint of heart should never do; it's scary as hell]).

Now, we went into this parking lot because we saw that it was only $10 for "Special Event Parking." When we went inside, though, we discovered that that only meant special events at the Westin. For everyone else? $28. Twenty-Eight dollars?! How could they justify such a price? Two words: valet parking. We had to give them the keys to the car and pay them a premium so that they could drive the car the last 20 feet (literally, that's it) to the parking space. Ridiculous as it was, our options were limited, particularly since there were cars behind us, making escape difficult. So, we had to pony up the money. In order to make sure that the dirty, dirty valets didn't steal our stuff, I took a picture of the inside of the car, so that if anything was missing, we could prove that it existed in the first place.

Looking back on it, it's a good thing that the valets didn't steal anything, because with this picture, I wouldn't have been able to prove squat.


As we were walking toward the convention center, we say the queerest thing: six jet fighters flying across the sky, releasing bursts of...whatever they release and spelling out "HA HA HA". (And on the other side of the sky, a final "HA"). That's it. Nothing else. It was really odd.

My theory (which I just confirmed with Wikipedia) was that it was a marketing move for the sequel to Batman Begins (called The Dark Knight), in which the main villain is - who else - the Joker.


And so, that is the end of my first set of Comic-Con photos. Tune in soon to see when I get the next ones up! I'm working tirelessly (actually, I'm quite tired) to make sure that these entries are of the finest quality. See you soon!

2 comments:

dad said...

looks like a Funtastic time was had by all! Looking forward to the next exciting episode!

Squall said...

Spell check maybe? Oh, well, I suppose you can't be expected to spell every single word correctly when it is a blog, and I only found a couple of mistakes...

You know, I think that you may not have taken any pictures of me. Such a shame. But meh, this means I get to be an anonymous face on the internet for a while to come, till everyone finds the gazillions of shots taken of me and Rinoa at Anime Expo and Comic Con.