Friday, September 28, 2007

Knowledge Through Experience

Good Idea: Watching a large protest group from a distance, snickering at them somewhat.

Okay Idea: Walking up to said group in order to see how ridiculous they look up close.

Bad Idea: Asking said group, "So, what's your problem?"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Imagine All the People...

In a radical departure from yesterday's topic, I'm going to be visiting a piece of video game-related news which is old as dirt (well, dirt that's a month-and-a-half old), but I doubt you've heard of it, so it's news to you!

The Nintendo DS has sold over 50 Million copies worldwide. Part of its success has come from the fact that it's selling to non traditional gamers, such as middle-aged folks (with favorites like Brain Age and, um...Brain Age 2) and to girls (with the Pink DS).

But now that there's so many young ladies playing with the DS, somebody needs to teach them things.

Like their place.

At least, that was the idea that someone had at Ubisoft's (pronounced Yoo-bi-soft) UK studios. You see, they released "Imagine," a short series of games in the UK which was aimed at girls 6-14. What are these new age video games for girls, you ask? Let's take a look at the first three games in the series!

Ah, this looks promising, doesn't it? Let's look at some of the features this £25 ($50) game has, according to Play.com.
  • Take care of 6 babies (one after the other), each with a distinctive character. Prepare their bottle and baby food in the kitchen, check on the amount of food in stock and buy the right food according to their needs. Rock the babies in a cradle, put on the soothing radio or move the mobile to help them sleep or to calm them down. Change their nappies to keep them clean, keep an eye on their health and dress them up with different clothes
  • Entertain the babies - Play with them and their toys, play music to make them dance and take them into the garden to play on swings and other garden toys.
  • Keep the house clean - Use fun mini-games to create a welcoming home for the babies: wash up, clean and vacuum, paint the walls, mow the grass, trim hedges and drive away spiders!
So, yes, this game not only teaches the ladies how to rear the children (I hope they skip over the actual birthing part, for the sake of their 3+ rating), but it also orders teaches them to keep the house clean, dammit!

Now, one thing I'm wondering about is that wide-hipped, underage mother on the box art (and don't you try to fool me and say it's a babysitter). What's the deal, Ubisoft? That should have been a 21-year-old woman with a wedding ring on her finger, watching her heterosexual husband walk out the door to do some bread-winning.


What is it about fashion designers looking like they're completely wasted, high, or highly wasted? I'm not really sure how realistic you can get with just a little 2"x2" screen when it comes to honest-to-goodness design. Also, I'm sure there's an alternate version of this box that appeals to "men with alternative lifestyles" and has a picture of, I don't know, Perry Ellis or something.

From what I heard, the alternate title to this was Imagine: Get Back in the Kitchen! Believe it or not, though, this is actually not the only cooking game on the DS. The other (far more popular one) is called Cooking Mama. However, despite the explicitly feminine title, that game has sold surprisingly well amongst men. While I'm not sure, I'm going to have to guess that those men are lonely single apartment-dwellers who buy it for the recipes it provides. I doubt those same men would buy this game, though, for two reasons. First, it's only available in England. But even those British boys won't be buying it because Cooking Mama's mascot is a cartoonish (and slightly creepy) middle-aged woman. This, though, has a young girl on it's cover. "I'm Chris Hansen. Why don't you have a seat over there?"


And there not stopping there! Some of their future games include such estrogenous topics as figure skating, pet veterinary practices, and...cooking, again. And yes, these games are not exclusive to girls, but c'mon! What self-respecting lad is going to buy one of these, except to give to his girlfriend (who will proceed to dump him). Ah, those crazy Brits!

Now, I'll admit, I didn't find this on my own independent research. I found it on prominent video game-oriented blog Kotaku (at least, it's more prominent and more video-game oriented than The Lobotomist's Dream). It got quite a few comments (240-some-odd; I'll get there one day), many of them naming possible sequels. Here are some of the better (by which I mean, worst) titles that I saw.

Imagine: Speaking When Spoken To
Imagine: Making Me a Sandwich
Imagine: Learning to Drive
Imagine: Ironing
Imagine: Earning 10 to 20 Percent Less for the Same Work
Imagine: Men Are Ten Times Better Than You At Everything

It looks like it's on its way to being a prolific franchise!

Monday, September 24, 2007

An 'MagiCal Experience?

You ever have one of those days where you wonder, "You know, has everyone just been humoring me this whole time?"

Yeah, today was one of those days for me.

It was either going to be that, or a really good day.

Let me start back at the beginning. A couple weeks ago, I heard about this thing called ImagiCal, which was the UC Berkeley Chapter of the American Advertising Federation. This member came in before one of my classes and said that there was some sort of competition to make an advertising campaign for AOL. One of my fellow classmates and I exchanged glances. "Hmm, this sounds like a case competition. We should check it out."

So, I went to the info session (the other guy missed it). What I found out, there, was that it was not a case competition; at least, not in the common sense of the word. It was actually a group, a team. Officially, it's "a student-run advertising agency whose primary focus is to create a multi-million dollar communications campaign for a corporate sponsor and present it at the AAF National Student Advertising Competition." It was a year-long thing, and it was split up into several departments:
Strategy
Accounting
Media
Public Relations
Media Productions
Creative

Er, what was that? Creative? And what was their job? Basically, after being told what the strategy for the advertising campaign would be, they would think up what the advertisements would be.

My jaw dropped. I don't think there could have been a more perfect place for me. After all, as I say, I'm one of the most creative people I know. I think many would agree that I'm pretty blessed in that respect. And I love the art of advertising. This ImagiCal was a gift to me. It was the major thing (outside of RAing), the major thing that I could do. I'm not a frat person, not even for the business frats. I needed something, and this would scratch that itch.

And, as fate would have it, the Creative Coordinator was actually an RA. He was from another unit, but we still knew each other. So even though that wouldn't be factored in, I at least had some sort of relationship with him, and wasn't approaching a bunch of strangers.

So, I filled out the application, and I think I did a pretty good job of it, too (if confidence was the only factor involved, I'd've got the position the first night). Now, they said you could include some works to give them a better idea about you. So, I took full advantage of that. I first went to my blog and showed them a couple of old posts that, as it turned out, related directly to advertising. I also showed them one of my skits, and a couple of other posts, just to show them the variety of things I could do. Now, because Media Productions (the department that actually made the ads) was my second choice on the application, I included some of my more sophisticated Photoshops. Hell, I even included a storyboard of a commercial that I had thought up, just to show them that 1)I know what the hell I'm doing; and 2)I take initiative on these sorts of things.

So, I turn in the application, and later get an email that says I've been offered an interview. Now, let me clarify a thing: there were three rounds of the recruiting process. After each round, the applicants were reviewed, and a certain portion were eliminated.
Round 1: Applications
Round 2: Personal Interviews
Round 3: Group Case Interviews

So, with Round 1 out of the way, I was that much closer to getting into the group. So, we signed up for interviews, and I got the second to last time slot. (As it turned out, one of my coworkers at Unit 2 was encouraged by the Creative Coordinator to apply. He ended up getting the last personal interview time slot.)

So, a week passed, and I finally got ready for my interview. I made sure to come prepared. We were supposed to bring a portfolio with us if the Media Productions was in our top three choices. I brought with me a writing portfolio, and a image portfolio. I even brought my laptop, because, as I explained to several people, a lot of my work doesn't translate well to paper. However, with a scant 30 minutes to the interview, we never even got to that stuff.

However, I did manage a sneaky little thing. One question I was asked by my five interviewers was, "Are you more of a visual person or a word person?" My answer: "That's really a question I can't answer, because I really think I'm both. I'm very much a writer, but when I write, I'm literally just transcribing the movies that play through my head. Would you...would you mind if I presented something to you?" They said they were happy to see anything I had brought. So, I took out five copies of my book and passed them to the interviewers. I tell you, their collective surprise was so palpable you could bottle it. I presented that as an example of my wordsmanship and my initiative (after all, it takes some drive to get a book published before you graduate from high school).

All in all, I think the personal interview went great. I was able to answer their questions without skipping a beat. Some of my answers:
1. Ad Campaign I Really Thought Worked: Sprite's Sublymonal Ads
2. Bad Ad Campaign: PlayStation 3 (Especially in Europe)
3. How to advertise a new "Extreme Power" Toothpaste in commercials: Zoom in on guy brushing his teeth to show his teeth as winter wonderland. Zoom out with him happily releasing a foggy breath.
4. Make Up Your Own Product (it didn't have to be realistic; I asked): "The Time Weaver," a time-manipulation device that could freeze time around you, make certain things go back, other things go forward, give you the physics to walk on water and air (by slowing down gravity), etc.
So that's how the interview went. I was quite confident after that point/

Then they scare me half to death when they call me the next day.

Her: "Hi, Andrew?"
Me: "Yes?"
Her: "This is [NAME] from ImagiCal."
Me: "Oh, hi."
Her: "Hi. We've been looking over your interview and application. We'd like to begin by thanking you for applying with us."
Me: (Off the Phone) "Goddammit!"
Her: "And we'd like to extend you a group interview this Sunday."
Me: "I, uh...thank you."

Now, if any of you ever become an employment offer, and you're not eliminating someone from the recruitment process, do not begin your conversation by thanking them for applying. That just screams "you didn't make it."

But I did make it, past Round 2 and onto Round 3!

Because my interview was at 11am Sunday morning, I set my alarm for 9am. Then I set two more. I was not going to miss this. But, I probably didn't even need them, as I was afflicted with what I call the "Christmas Morning Jitters". You know, when you're anticipating something so much that you wake up early? (I'll admit, I still wake up at 5am on Christmas morning.) Same thing here. I ended up waking up at 7am. Go back to sleep. Wake up at 8am. Go back to sleep. Wake up at 8:30am. Go back to sleep. Wake up at 9am to a barrage of alarms. Here we go.

So, I get myself dressed and prepared. The only thing I forgot to do was shave my whiskers from two days prior (though mine grow so slowly that I could have easily played off that they were from the day's progression). But overall, things were good.

I arrived 20 minutes before my interview, and eventually met up with the rest of the people who were going to be in my group. They seemed like a nice bunch. And when we finally did get to the interview (there was little actual interviewing; it was mostly them observing how we worked on the case). One thing I noticed about myself was that I was able to come up with campaign slogans on a dime. One thing I was called out on, though, was the fact that I never used the name of the product of the product (Ion, a hypothetical MP3 player). I told them in the interview that in the time provided, I couldn't think of any viable slogan using the product name that matched our campaign theme. (Only later in the day did I think of slogans like "InspiratIon" or something like that.) But hey, they had to cut us some slack; we only had 15 minutes to figure out the whole thing.

Overall, though, the group seemed pretty satisfied with how things went. Things seemed to be okay.

When I got back, I drank a bottle of Mexican coke (more on that later) to celebrate my getting through it all. All that was left was to play the waiting game (also known as doing homework until you hear something). That waiting game ended at 5:31pm, when I got a call from one of the department coordinators. I awaited his answer with bated breath. And that answer was:

"I'm sorry, but we can't offer you a position on the team this year."

(I'll admit, you probably saw that coming, considering the first two sentences of this post.)

My answer? A bright and chipper "Okay. Thank you." He told me that as a 3rd year, he recommended that I try again for the position next year. "You know, I think I'll do that." He apologized for my not getting on. "Oh, no it's okay." Did I have any questions? "No, that's cool." He told me to take care. "You too, and thank you for this opportunity."

I closed my cell phone and said with a smile, "Well, that's the end of that dream."

...Then I closed my room door and proceeded to go into breakdown mode for about fifteen minutes.

I then called the guy back, just because I wanted to put my mind at rest. I called and said, fully professional and chipped, "You know, you asked if I had any questions, and I think it would be foolish of me to waste an opportunity like that. If I were to apply next year, what would you recommend for me to improve upon what I did this year."

Translation: "WHAT THE HELL DID I DO WRONG?!"

His response: "I'll be honest. There were a lot of applicants, especially for Creative. It was by far the most popular department. Just the fact that your were able to make it to the third round means you're qualified. In fact, you're fully qualified. It's just that we only had three openings, and we wanted to make sure we had a team that we knew could work together for that department."

Translation: "It's not what you can do, but rather who you are."

And so it comes down to what is effectively a personality thing. Apparently my personality wouldn't work well on their team. Or, at least, not well enough.

This was a pretty harsh blow on me for three principle reasons:
1) This is exactly the kind of thing I should be doing at Haas. 110% my niche.
2) I'm trying to get an cold internship (that is, one they didn't advertise for) in the marketing department at Nintendo of America this summer. I was going to add ImagiCal to my cover the moment I heard I got in, if that did indeed happen. Being part of the American Advertising Federation would have given me a huuuuuge leg up in being considered for an actual internship. Now, I'm not blessed with that advantage.
3) The fact that this is not the first time I've been rejected for something in this same way. Always, they say, "You're perfectly qualified, we just don't have enough room," or "we couldn't find the right place for you." That's my curse, I suppose. I'm "good" at everything...just not good enough.

..................

...Okay, I'm done.

Now, don't worry about ol' Andrew. I'll get by. I just needed to let off some steam. It was just supposed to be a really good day. And I have the distinct feeling my coworker got the position. Not that it would create any animosity between the two of us. It would just be weird.

Okay, next time you're here, I'll have something a little more upbeat to talk about (unless something bad happens between now and them). Until then, ugh.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bite-Sized: Something to Tide You Over

I have an interview Sunday morning (I'll talk more about that later), so in order to tide the both of us over until then, here's a short and horribly-pixilated video that I took on my new phone (I'll talk more about that later, too).

Yes, I will become king of the squirrels one day.

video

It's my sunglasses. They make my eyes look more like that of a squirrel's.

Catch back with you soon!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Late-Night Ramblings of a Sleep-Deprived, Hypercharged Sugar-Junkie (Hi Mom!)

You ever hear about Full Throttle? You know, that energy drink from Coca-Cola? The one that's supposed to "hypercharge" you for hours?

Well, it works!

As of my publishing this, I have been awake for 37 consecutive hours (hence, you can't blame me for it not making any sense). What's the cause of this madness? Well, you see, I had a marketing case study brief due today. And I figured I would work on it all day yesterday.

SO!

I decided to sleep in and skip my Accounting Lecture, or as it's been dubbed by all its attendees, the "Why-the-Hell-did-I-wake-up-for-this?" Lecture. Seriously, the professor is nice and all, but she doesn't deviate from the PowerPoint slides (which we download and print out prior to class) at all...at all! Many of the times in which I've decided to be a "good little boy" and get up to this lecture, I've regretted it. And I've often had to take a nap after class that did nothing but eat up my day. So, as I said, I decided to skip it and instead use that time to catch up on some sleep and start the brief refreshed.

Now, I figured that this brief would take me a few hours. Eight, max. After all, it was only supposed to be one page long, with three related exhibits. How difficult could that be?

As it turns out, exceedingly difficult. Because I had no idea what I was doing. We were given "guidance", but that only seemed to exacerbate my confusion. And, to make matters worse, I got sidetracked by my own creativity. I won't get into the details, but rest assured it had to do with a mix of some obscure online jokes (which you most likely wouldn't understand) and what may be the catchphrase of the week. This was bad! It was wrecking my concentration, and shaving minutes upon minutes off of my work time (and believe me, those minutes added up)!

Before I knew it, it was midnight, and I was no closer to finishing the brief, due at 12:30 on Thursday.

I kept rereading and rethinking.

What did I need to do?

What did I need to do?

2am.

Luckily, when I had gotten dinner at 5pm, I got myself a lot! It was meant to last all night if necessary. No, I found myself nibbling on my dinner into the wee hours of the morning. I also took a shower.

3am.

I wrote my first sentence on my brief. I still had no idea what I was doing for the included exhibits.

4am.

This is when I went down, in my camouflage pajama pants, glasses (I took my contacts out), and froofy hair, to the kitchen to purchase a can of energy drink. Unfortunately, the vending machine wouldn't accept my Cal 1 card, so I had to scrounge around for enough change to make $2.

But, it was worth it. Drinking an energy drink, I'm sure, is the legal equivalent of doing hardcore drugs. You're putting a bunch of weird chemicals into your body in order to elicit some sort of unnatural response. That's 100% drug use. But anyway, I guess I can say this time drugs worked for me! Duh duh DAH!

6am!

No, I'm running out of time; I need to do this!

8am!

Oh, thank God I'm not in the 8am section. Then I'd be...well I'd be pretty much screwed. I was about halfway through at this point.

10am!

Okay, Andrew, get up and do some jumping jacks. Rejuvenate your body. You're doing good; you're doing good! Just a little bit more to go, you're in the home stretch.

11am!

Oh, God! Oh, God! Should I have written this completely differently? Should I have done the exhibits totally differently.......no, it's too late to make any changes. Just clean up what you got.

11:55am.

Yay, printing out the final copies..........I should probably get cleaned up and dressed.

12:15pm.

And I'm on my waaaaaaaaay!!!


The common consensus among the class was that figuring out what to do with the brief was brutal, and essentially nobody got any sleep. That was actually the professor's first question: "Did anyone get any sleep last night?"

But I think the energy drink still had me in its grip, because I was raising my hand at almost every question.

So........yeah. Maybe I should sleep now.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Comic-Con 2007!!! (Part 6 - And the Rest)

Over one month ago, from July 26th to July 29th, I attended the San Diego Comic-Con.

On August 3rd, I posted my first series of pictures of my adventures (and misadventures) there.

And now, on this day, I finally post the final chapter, and finally get this leaden monkey off my back. SO, let's get to it, shall we.

Now, this will be slightly different than my previous entries. So, if you're expecting another 25 pictures taken at the convention, get out! ....No, wait, come back. It's so...lonely here. Wait, where was I, oh, yes. These are things that wouldn't have fit in with my previous entires.

The first one is actually a video that I took (as a side-note, I hope you enjoyed my little excursion into the realm of moving pictures). I forgot exactly when I took it. I believe it was Saturday, because I was alone, and it was probably after my companions had left to go donate blood. But that's kinda irrelevant. What is important is that I was just walking outside when I see this group of......singing pirates? What the hell? Take a look:


So yeah. I kept on getting peeved at that "professional" cameraman who was getting in the way of my shots. I guess he was more important because he had a tripod. Anyway, the video has been a sensation on YouTube, garnering a staggering 190 views. All sarcasm aside, it has a pretty high comment/view ratio (being 3.15%, whereas even the most popular videos are closer to a ration of 1.3%, not counting a couple of videos that actively encourage commenting). But, thanks to the comments and a private message, I was able to find out that this group is called "Pirates Charles." I've thought about that for a while now, and I still have no idea what it could mean. But they were pretty good (they sounded better in person than they did in the video). It was a treat to see them.

Remember that bear that was supposed to be for that movie. Well, right behind that bear was a big booth that you could go into, and inside was a large green screen. You could have your picture taken in front of this green screen, and though the magic of technology, an entire scene would appear around you. Now, the scene that they were using for this so happened to be one of the posters for this movie. Personally, I think that little girl in that poster looks a little depressed, despite the fact that she has a huge armored polar bear as an ally. Now, if I had a polar bear as my friend (and steed, perchance?), I would be flippin' ecstatic. Hence, my expression in what I'm sure will be the poster for the sequel.

Okay, now that I got those miscellaneous items out of the way, it's time to introduce:

The Many (Drawn) Faces of Andrew (Schnorr)

When I went into this years Comic-Con, I had an experiment in mind. Last year, I had brought with me a Composition Book with which I obtained many people's signatures, and even a few sketches from some select artists. If you haven't seen my photo-blog from last year's con, I highly encourage it, if only for that group of pictures. It's a real treat.

So, anyway, last year I had just gotten a bunch of excellent, but rather unrelated, sketches from a group of artists (primarily those who work for Magic: The Gathering, because those are the ones I know). So this year, I wanted to do something different. I wanted a common theme. A common subject. But what? WHAT?

And then I looked in the mirror.

It was all so clear at that moment. A visage of such beauty, matched with an ego of such grandiosity, was simply begging to be the subject. And so I decided that I would ask each artist to sketch some form of me.

This was a lot more difficult than it sounds. First of all, do you know how awkward it is to ask them for it.
Me: "Excuse me, would you mind doing a sketch?"
Artist: "Sure. What do you want it to be?"
Me: "Um...me?"

Of course, with my silver-coated tongue, I was a bit more eloquent than this. In fact, I explained the entire experiment to each of the artists. While a couple of them seemed rather disinterested, the majority thought it was a pretty cool idea, and looked through to see what their talented brethren had done.

The second problem was more monetary in nature. You see, last year I was lucky enough to get most of my sketches free of charge. This year...not so much. Maybe it was the way I approached them last year (I didn't explicitly ask for a sketch; I told them to "do whatever [they] wanted." Or maybe the artists are wising up to us cheapskate fans, and milking us for all we're worth. Whatever the case, this experiment put a sizable dent in my pocketbook, with the average sketches ranging from $5 to $20. Now, before you cry "highway robbery!", keep in mind that $20 was just my limit; some artists (who, despite probably being well-known, I had never heard of) were offering sketches for $100! And that's not including color. Also, know that a few of these I purchased as part of a slick "combo deal". Finally, consider the fact that I was prepared and willing to pay these prices, painful though a few of them may have been. Don't make me whip out my old Supply & Demand graph!

And, before I ramble on any more, let's get started!

Randy Gallegos
I think I'm going to name a new personality archetype after Randy. That is, the kind of person who, when you look at them, seems to be very friendly and approachable. Then, when you actually talk to you, they're not out-and-out rude or mean, just a little cold; definitely more-so than you were expecting. And then when you finish with your conversation and leave, you feel unsatisfied and somewhat offended, even though he didn't really do anything. Simply put, the further you are from him, the closer you want to get, and the closer you are, the more you want to get away. I had the exact same feeling last year.

Maybe it was because he seemed a little...I don't know...disturbed about my experiment. And, despite my telling him to let his imagination run wild and not limit himself to a realistic sketch, he went and drew the single most realistic one! And it's small! And it doesn't make me look too hot! And he wanted five bucks!

In short, after my first piece, I was having serious doubts about my experiment. Luckily, it was all uphill from then on.

Katie Cook
This was a nice young lady whose gimmick was pen-and-crayon sketches for a dollar.I like the way it turned out. Seems almost trendy. Now, you may be wondering what that saying on that shirt is all about. Well, remember when I was saying, way back in my first part of this series, that I was wearing a t-shirt with a Che-ified version of Star Trek's Jean-Luc Picard? Well, as I said before, the people at the Star Wars booth didn't take too kindly to that, and I had to assure them that I did, indeed, enjoy Star Wars as well. Well, I had told this story to Ms. Cook, who was interested in my shirt. I guess she was so tickled by it that she incorporated into my sketch.

Tommy Castillo
This was a guy who obviously prided himself on his "dark" and "nightmarish" work. Hell, his booth was called "Tommy Castillo's Nightmare." So when I go up to him to ask him to sketch me, he seems a little incredulous. After all, I'm not a nightmarish figure, am I (am I?!)? I was able to calm him down when I told him that the idea was for each artist to put their own spin on me. After all, I know what I look like; I don't need a bunch of perfect likenesses.

So, he took a good look and me and got to work. I didn't really see what he was doing until he asked "Have you ever wondered what you'd look like as a burning zombie Hell-demon?" As I clumsily replied, "Uhh...no?" He said, "well, there you go." So, it appears that if I ever become some sort of demon, the bags under my eyes will become even more prominent.

Shelly Block
Shelly Block was the first in a series of artists who really felt they simply couldn't do a human face. For those people, my answer was to just do something like what they'd do normally, but add a goatee to it. Now, this lady, she was a Disney comics artist. In particular, she drew for Donald Duck comics (which I honestly didn't think existed anymore). So I was hoping for some duck-like creature, most likely a duck. But no, she had to cop out and do a mouse. And there's something not quite right about that goatee...

Therese Nielson
Perhaps the sketchiest of the sketches, I like this one nonetheless, probably because its the most similar to my own style of drawing. The one thing I wish was that people wouldn't include that hideous Comic-Con badge in the sketches. It's bad enough that I was immortalized with them on film; those I can at least Photoshop. But being drawn with them? That's forever.

(Yes, I realize I could easily erase them with an actual eraser, but that would be terrible. Shame on you for thinking that.)

Ben Thompson
Ben Thompson must love profile shots. He did one last year of a dude with a helmet, and this year he did one of me. I really like how he kind of fantasified me, despite making me less of a shining knight and more of a barbarian. Do I really seem like the guy to carry around a club? What's really cool is that he transformed my sunglasses into some kind of mage-punk fantasy goggles. A really nice guy, too.

Dave Garcia
Now you may wonder, what the heck is this supposed to be? Well, then you obviously don't know The Tick. The Tick is a more absurd superhero, almost a mockery of the idea in general, but he's pretty funny. His battlecry? "Spoon!" That's basically all you need to know about this...

...Except, what's that blue stuff on the page? Why, it's the work of...

Jim Hillin
Who this guy is, I have no idea? Why he decided to draw on the left page of the sketchbook, when everyone else was clearly drawing on the right, I have no idea. Why I have that somewhat emotionless face in the sketch, I may be able to explain. You see, the thing about having someone sketch you is that they actually need to see what you look like. Hence, you need to be standing there the whole time, so they can look up and see what they're doing. This would often be for (relatively) long periods at a time...that is, several minutes. It's amazing that I can walk around for hours, but make me stand still for a few minutes, and I get really uncomfortable.

So, anyhoo, I guess this guy has a webcomic, and I'd be rude not to give it a mention (that was the only way he'd give it to me for free), so it's called Wire Heads. Haven't looked at it, myself, but there you go.

Paul "Kapitan Kartoon" Dale
This guy was a real comedian, and I'm not being sarcastic. He was really entertaining, cracking jokes with every other sentence. The person who was talking to him before me was one of those people who is such a nerd-in-appearance (that is, shoulder-length hair, partially covering their face; pock-marked face; wearing a t-shirt two sizes too big), that I honestly couldn't tell if it was a guy or girl (I think it may have been a girl). They were talking about how much they liked the guy's nude portraits, because they apparently liked hentai (that is, Japanese cartoon pornography). When that...person left, the Kapitan told me that "it's kids like that which make me want to suck up more Social Security."

The Kapitan's deal was that he was drawing anime caricatures of people. I thought it was a perfect fit for my experiment, and indeed, it turned out rather well. Except...that face seems a little...young, doesn't it? I guess he was going for the chibi, or "cute," look.

Thomas M. Baxa
Tom was another really nice guy (you see, most of these people were cool). But he seems like he contradicts himself. He talks about really happy, friendly stuff, and then he draws really creepy, albeit cool, things. Here, he draws me as a zombie, which is obviously a favorite amongst the "nightmare" crowd.

By the way, a quick interjection: would you have known this was a sketch of me had there not been a goatee attached? I sincerely doubt it. That is one of the reasons I have one. I am almost universally recognized as being me; no one ever mistakes me for someone else. And I love it!

Mike "Gabe" Kahulik
This was one by the guys who do the Penny Arcade comic. They did free sketches, despite what some people may tell you. The guys are very sociable, but I was lucky enough to get them at a relatively unoccupied time. I also had a little gift for them. You see, they share a love that I do: reading SkyMall catalogs. Hell, they even made their own fake SkyMall page (which you can only truly appreciate if you've read the catalog). So, I was sure to pick up a copy for them on the way down. When I gave it to them, they were most appreciative, and thanked me for a minute before poring through it, looking for the most ridiculous stuff they could find (which isn't very hard). So, there's always the possibility they'll do another comic about SkyMall. There's also the very small, yet existent, possibility, that when doing another comic, that involves some peripheral character, that they remember my face that was just drawn one, and slip it in there.

...And when they do, that's when I'll sue for royalties! Hah!

Ken Meyers Jr.
This one took me by complete surprise. If you look at Ken Meyers' gallery, you see that it's filled with traditional mediums and near-lifelike renderings of people. So I was expecting a pretty realistic sketch (not true-to-life, necessarily; a picture can be realistic while still being fantastical). What did I get? A caricature. A goddamn caricature. A goddamn caricature that has my neck as thick at the rest of my head (I immediately went into a bathroom to look in the mirror and see if my neck was that thick; it isn't, thank God).

Still, I can't really stay mad at the guy. He was really kind, and he put a lot of effort into my piece. And the fact that there's so much stuff about writing was not the result of the traditional caricaturist question, "So, what do you like to do?" Ken and I had a good conversation, where he picked up that I was a writer. He also gave me the sketch for free if I were to buy one of his prints. I ended up buying a nice angel picture to eventually add to La Pared de los Angeles. He even told me to come back later and show him my sketches when I had got more. Unfortunately, when I tried, he had already left. So Ken, if you're reading this...well, that's a little unsettling, actually.

Joey Mason
This was another guy who didn't really give a hoot about who I was or what my experiment was. He seemed more interested in talking with his boothmates, even when I was standing there, looking at him. In truth, I had gone to him twice. The first time, he had simply asked me to come back later, because he was too busy talking to someone else. Why would I come back, though, if he was so rude? Well, his style was pretty unique, and I wanted to get as many different kinds as I could, so I had to suck up my pride and let him draw me, even if he didn't give a hoot. And that's all I have to say about that.

Attila Adorjany
This was another example of a guy who said he couldn't do me, and so did his own thing instead and just added a goatee (that red thing on the chin). Which I didn't really understand, because the guy had a bunch of actual pictures (including those of humans) all around him. I guess he felt like he couldn't do me justice in a sketch, whereas he'd been drawing these little guys all weekend and was feeling pretty confident in them. Whatever. The color is pretty nice, and so was the guy. It was his first time at Comic-Con, and so he was telling me about his experience and the lessons he learned for next year (one lesson being to bring lots of stuff to sell, because it will sell). It was a nice conversation, so I don't mind the fact that the picture's really weird.

Cyril Van Der Haegen
Ah, Cyril. By far, my favorite artist at the convention, both this year and last. Nice man, cool Slavic accent, awesome name, awesome signature, and a devotion to skill makes him one Class-A dude. In fact, he was the only person from anywhere to remember me from last year. That blew me out of the water. I ended up talking to him every day, but it wasn't until the last day that he actually did the sketch. I didn't care, though. He was such a fun guy to talk to. His girlfriend even offered me chopped up fruit from the local farmers' market. Plus, he likes H.P. Lovecraft. Score!

And this was the second year I bought a print from him. The first was a Magic card called Circu, Dimir Lobotomist. My mom can't stand that one, but I love him. I just love the idea of some shady doctor-dude wiping his nose wise his arm and saying, "*Sniff*, next." (There used to be better resolutions of the picture, without the watermark, but dirty pirates have changed the game).

This year, the piece I bought from him was another that my mom will probably not like, called "Gabriel's Revenge". I try not to refer to it by it's title, though, because that's not what caught my attention. What caught my attention was the fact that this is almost exactly how I envision Fate in my long-since-worked-on novel series The Chronicles of Fate. Literally, it jumped out at me (okay, not literally). Funnily enough, when I told Cyril this, he said that that was kind of like what the character in the painting was. Great minds think alike, I suppose. I told him that I had to get it, and so I did, along with the sketch. It was a limited edition, number 2/100. Even though that's almost as low as it can get, it doesn't sound terribly impressive, does it?

As for the sketch itself, it's a sort of Lovecraftian view of the twisted "Writer's Brain" (he also learned I was a writer, well, when I told him that I had a seven-book series planned). He remembered to add the goatee. Oh, you don't see the goatee? Well, just look at the ends of the tentacles. >_<>
Phillip Moy
Phillip Moy is apparently one of the main artists who worked on the Powerpuff Girls. He wasn't one of the particularly nice ones, nor was he particularly cold. Kinda lukewarm. Anyway, I thought that if I was getting a bunch of different versions of myself, a Powerpuff version was inevitable. So, I had him draw it. And yes, the clothes I'm wearing in the sketch are what I was wearing in real life, my camo pants and my Picard shirt (again). And I think those are sunglasses on top of my head. That, or really weird shading.

He has me giving a kind of tough guy look, which is fine and good, but sometimes, I wish people would portray more of my THE_BOLSHEVIK side, like my Mii avatar does. Still, I guess I just naturally exude testosterone (I should really have a doctor look at that, by the way), so all portrayals of me will be of the rough-and-tumble variety.

Patrick Blaine
And finally, we have this. Patrick Blaine was actually at the Top Cow Productions booth as a special guest artist. I stood in line for at least an hour just to get a sketch from him (it's okay; I wasn't doing much else). He was an extremely kind man. When I asked him how long he'd been there, doing sketches. He said since 10am (it was currently 2pm or 3pm). I asked why he hadn't left when his time slot was over a couple hours earlier. His response? "There are still people in line. I'm not going to leave them hanging." Now that is a class act, ladies and gentlemen.

Now, as for this picture, you may be wondering what it is. Well, when I described the experiment to him, he said, "You wanna know something? If you shaved your head, I think you'd look like Kratos." Now, Kratos is a character from the video game God of War, which is one of the few games that has ever tempted me to buy anything related to the PlayStation. And yes, he has a very prominent goatee. Take a look. Personally, I'm inclined to agree that, hairless, I would somewhat resemble him. Halloween Costume 2007? ...Possibly, but I think I'd have to firm up my abs first. Anyhoo, Kratos is a really angry dude who kills Greek gods and such, and so that's what's with the aggressive flavor text.

And the kicker? Guess how much he wanted as payment? ......Nope, lower.......lower......lower still. Nothing! The guy wanted nothing, despite the fact that it's an extremely well-done piece. I even offered to pay him, and he refused. True gentleman, there.

........Aaaaaaand with that, I end not only my "Many Faces" experiment, but my series on Comic-Con 2007 as a whole!

I sincerely hoped you enjoyed it. While I will admit that nothing really comes close to the experience of actually being there, I hope you at least got a good idea of what it was like.

I also hope you appreciate the work that went into this. Looking at all six parts of the series (viewable by clicking the "Comic-Con" tag below), they combine for a total of 16,750 words. That's about 2/3 the length of The Tapping Wand. That's a lot! And this definitely kept me up late at night when I even had the time to work on it. In fact, it's nearly 5am as I'm finishing this. Why so late? Well, that's really the only time I have. This whole thing has been a huge labor, but it's been a labor of love, and I'm happy to have done it. I hope you feel the same.

And so, from now on, we shall resume normal Lobotomist's Dream programming. Until then...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Announcement: My New Favorite Fruit

I would just like to announce that I have a brand new all-time favorite fruit.

In the past, my reputed "favorite fruits" have included such perennial favorites as the Granny Smith apple, the grape, and the strawberry. In fact, I was once quoted as saying:

"A grape is always good; but a good strawberry is blissful."
-Andrew Schnorr

Now, I have nothing against these fruits at the moment; they're still all very good fruit, and I would definitely eat them should the chance arise (and arise it does; I'm eating at least two fruit with every meal). However, my palate has grown more sophisticated. I've learned that happy taste buds don't come from aromatic soils and years of tender-loving care.

No, they come from genetic engineering!

I present the pluot!

(Contrary to what the tabloids want you to believe, that is not my thumb.)

Yessir, this bespeckled baby is the hottest thing in my life since I accidentally sat on the stove. If you can't tell by the portmanteau name, it's the unholy bastard child of the plum and the apricot. More specifically, it's 3/4 plum and 1/4 apricot. Yet, despite having only fractional amounts of each, it's eight times better than both! Delicious, I say! Delicious!

According to Wikipedia:
The fruit's exterior fairly closely resembles a plum's. Pluots are noted for their sweetness (due to a very high sugar content) and for their intense flavor. They are also very, very juicy. Pluots are also rich in vitamin A.
It's true, they are juicy, and that juice likes to fly. Consider this conversation I had with one of my residents over dinner.

Resident: "Andrew, have you ever taken Math 16B?"
Me: *Munch*
Resident: "Argh! My eye!"

What's best about the pluot, though, is that they're just so damn cute! Look at it! I just want to pinch its cheeks (thought doing so would probably get juice in my eye). You know what they're calling these mottled little guys? Dinosaur eggs! That is pure awesome!

So here's to you, pluot! You've risen to the ranks of my all-time favorite fruit, a distinction that very few plants have. I shall celebrate this momentous occasion by consuming you and your kin. Huzzah!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Comic-Con 2007!!! (Part 5 - The Last Day)

(Just a quick administrative note: I've been informed that one of my readers [my father, to be exact] experienced some sort of system failure when trying to check out my blog. While I personally believe this was a fluke and/or freak accident, I can't help but think my 100+ pictures couldn't have helped the situation much. Hence, I'm going to play on the safe side and change the formatting of the blog for a little bit. For the next little while, I'm only going to be showing one post on the front page. If you'd like to check out any previous entries, just click the "Older Posts" button at the bottom. This is just temporary, until the Comic-Con series rotates itself out of my normal 10-post format. You see, children, Uncle Andrew does this because he cares!)

Okay, then, welcome back to the program! When we left off last time, I was just beginning the fourth and final day of Comic-Con. The Sundays in San Diego tend to be a bit more subdued than the other days, mainly because the biggest events have already taken place, people need to go home, and...it's "Kids Day." Ughughughugh... Fortunately, I didn't see any little punks running around the floor; I think the family-oriented activities were on the upper floors of the convention center. But the fact remains, it was the smallest of all four days. So, to be honest, this may be the least "exciting" of all my entries in the series.

Marketer Malone: "Andrew, m'boy! You're trying to sell your product. You want people to read this, don't you?"
Me: "Yes, Marketer Malone."
Marketer Malone: "Then don't downplay its quality before it even begins!"

This is the goddamn best thing you're going to read all day! So let's get to it!

Now, I've seen this guy before. He was at last year's Comic-Con (thought I didn't take a picture of him then) and at other conventions where people dress up. For those that don't know, he's dressed up as Buddy Jesus. He does that exact same pose with absolutely everybody (I did a quick Google search). I particularly like the little neon halo thingamajig. Well, I guess I could complain that he's unoriginal by dressing up as the same thing all the time, but if you've found your niche, I guess you should stick to it.

Ah, here's another of my "hand-and-them" pictures. I really like the style, personally. Has a very unique look.

As for the subject of this photograph...well, you don't know him, and even after I describe who he is, you won't care. But still, it was an awesome experience for me to meet him. As you may be able to tell from his shirt, this fellow works for Wizards of the Coast, the company that creates and produces Magic: The Gathering. This fellow is Brandon Bozzi, a relative bigwig in their creative department. He was at the con to showcase Wizard's new online game, Uncivilized: The Goblin Game. He seemed somewhat surprised when I came up to him and knew who he was.

Anyhoo, I asked if I could ask him some question. He said he was about to take his break, so I was able to walk with him to purchase an overpriced pretzel. While with him, I discussed a variety of things, from Wizard's plans for their online community website, Gleemax.com, to possible future internships in the Wizards creative department (which would be an absolutely awesome job). He was extremely friendly, sociable, and open, and goes to further my belief that Wizards has some of the best customer relations of any company I know of.

Yeah, remember when I posted earlier about the Batmobile. Well.......apparently, I forgot by Sunday that I had taken a picture of it earlier, so I took three more.

Interesting note: You see that little spinning doohickey on the hood, by the windshield. I completely forgot what that's called......but I know what it's for!

You see police radar guns work by sending multiple radar signals towards the car. The signals then bounce off the car and return to the gun. Depending on the delay betwixt the returning signals, the cops will know how fast the car is going. Now, when you're driving with one of those little spinners on, the radar signal will hit that thing, and because its spinning at some high speed, the relative velocity is greater than the car itself. Thus, when the signal goes back to the radar gun, it will say that the car is going, like, 300mph when it clearly isn't. The cop will have to decide that it's a fluke reading, and let the car go.

At least, that's what I think that little thing is. I don't know; I'm not sure if it's shaped or positioned correctly. Plus, those things are illegal, and Batman is a law-abiding citizen..........right?

Okay, my final conclusions? It's a hideous car. Black with orange piping just doesn't work. It just goes to show that everything was uglier in the 60s: the cars, the people, the mindsets, everything. And for those of you born in the 60s, I'm so very sorry.

Okay, remember how I said last time, when I showed you the picture of the Ark of the Covenant, that there was something special that happened with it? Well, I was just wandering around on Sunday, when all of a sudden I heard these voices behind me. Cheers and whoops and the like. I turn around, and a couple of fake Indiana Jones dudes were right in front of me, holding the Ark. I was trapped between the exhibitor table and the Ark. There was no escape for me. So I decided to take some pictures. And then I decided to follow the Ark, to see where my adventures took me. I was a leaf on the wind - I was ready to soar.

Yeah, I'm not sure what happened here. I think I was trying to take a really good, and somewhat stylistic, picture of the Ark, but I somehow ended up with a decidedly unglamorous picture of the middle-aged faux-Indy's torso and crotch.

......Let's move on.

While we were walking around, there were people yelling, "Don't open it, don't open it!" Obviously, the had some sort of prescient idea of what would happen were the chest opened. I, on the other hand, took the opposite mentality. "Open the chest!" I yelled, "Open it now!" Some nerd then looked at me.

Nerd: "You fool! Don't you know what will happen?"
Me: Damn right I do!"
Nerd: "But you'll kill everyone!"
Me: "That's your own damn fault, sucker! I'm closing my eyes!"

Now you may be wondering what all this is about. Why was there so much about Indiana Jones at this year's Comic-Con. Well, in case you haven't heard, there's a fourth movie coming out next year. (Don't worry, it takes place 19 years after the last one, so it won't be totally weird that Indy is suddenly two decades older. They were passing out posters at the Paramount Pictures booth, and I must admit, it looks pretty interesting.

...By the way, I like that guy in the little fox hat.

And here's what Indy would look like if he were a woman...and 20-something years old...and living in a time period where women could wear spaghetti straps, camouflage brassieres, and short shorts.

So, apparently the idea behind this whole thing is that these people were traveling around the floor, stopping at every so many booths for a photo opportunity and to pick up some mysterious cards with numbers on them. This particular stop was at the Pirates of the Caribbean booth, as you may have gathered from the fact that there's a statue of Jack Sparrow there.

It's appropriate, I think, that Jack Sparrow is lifting a little doubloon above what appears to be a golden treasure chest.

I'm assuming (or I would at least hope) that there was some sort of payoff for sticking with these people until the end of their journey, but I had already stayed with them for, like, 10 or 15 minutes, and they didn't seem to be going anywhere fast. So, my attention waned, and I decided to let them go on their merry way, as I went on mine. And that's the end of that chapter!

Ah, yes, the oooool' Batman LEGO statue. Yes, I took a (blurry) picture of it last year, and I took another (less blurry) one of it this year, but I think this is the best one of the lot of them!

And I must say, I think we need more gargoyles (and spires, for that matter) on our buildings nowadays. In fact, I think we should just make all our cities look like Prague.

Ah, this is the most inspirational picture to come out of the whole convention. Two bitter enemies, a pilot of the Rebellion, and an Imperial Scout Trooper, holding hands in solidarity. They're able to put aside their differences and come together, as though they were Michael Manley and Edward Seaga. Perhaps, one day, if we all believe, then these sides will stop fighting. They will learn to love one another, to raise their children together, to be one family. Now, with this picture in place, we all have an avenue to dream.

[NOTE: Immediately after this picture was taken, the scout trooper shot the pilot in the face. he remains in critical condition.]
Now, this crate was at the convention since the very beginning, but it was closed. Nobody could see what sorts of wonders lurked inside. Oh, people tried looking through the cracks to get a sneak preview (I know I did), but it was impossible to see anything. So, what lay inside...?

Treasure...?

Horrible secrets...?

A low-fat snack bar that doesn't let you down in the flavor department like so many others...?

No, it's.........

This. Apparently, they opened the crate on Saturday evening. This is Iron Man...or at least, the prototype Iron Man costume for the upcoming movie starring Robert Downey, Jr. Now, if I knew more about Iron Man, I'd have probably figured this out beforehand, since Iron Man's real name is Tony Starke, and the crate said "Starke Industries" on it. Oh, well.

According to the people at the Marvel, this is just a costume that is used in the earlier parts of the movie, until he changes into his normal USC-colored outfit. This makes me think that this suit will figure into some sort of sequel, where they will most likely bring in the very Iron Man-like War Machine, who looks a lot like this outfit.

Whatever the case, the Iron Man movie looks like it could be interesting. I'm just hoping their interpretation of Iron Man's voice is similar to Black Sabbath's.

And here's a trio of Green Lanterns. As you may remember, some internet quiz said that I would most likely be the Green Lantern if I were a superhero, and as you may remember, I tended to agree with this. Now, if I had to have the form of one of these three doppelgangers, which one would I be?

Well, I really like the first one's little neck scarf and staff, but I also like the second one's leather outfit. The third one is...well, it's a little rotund for me, and I'm not a woman. So, if I could mix the first two, I would. Otherwise, scarf and staff win out.

I will say, though that I give "mad props" to the middle guy for wearing the ultra-green contact lenses.

I don't know why I waited until the last day of the con to take a picture of this. I literally commented on it every time we passed by. And it went something like this:

"You know, I really can't see the practicality of having a book chained to your hand. Think of all the things you're giving up. For starters, you're no longer able to wear normal t-shirts, unless they have the widest sleeves ever. And it can't be particularly comfortable to go to bed with. And what if you want to go swimming? I bet that floating fish would say one day, 'Oh, look at that pretty lake over there,' and the monk dude would be like, 'Ooh, I wanna go swimming,' but that goth guy with the messed up hair says, 'You can't; you have a book chained to your hand,' and the monk's like, 'Goddammit! I hate this book!' I bet that monk dude stinks since he can't take a shower. Well, maybe he can take a shower, if he puts a plastic bag over the book. But what about that chain? Won't it get rusty if he takes a shower with it on. Yeah, it sucks to be that guy."

And here's my final picture from within the convention halls. As you may be able to tell, this is Mystique from the X-Men universe. In particular, it's the comic book version. I'm sure dressing up as the movie version would likely make her the most popular (that is, most photographed) person in San Diego that day, it would probably be extremely difficult to pull off, and she may have been taken by one of those early 1900s beach cops who arrested women in "indecent" bathing suits.

Still, it's an extremely well-done outfit, and the blue paint across her body is very rich and evenly applied. A well-done costume, I'd say. And, interestingly enough, this was a completely candid shot. I don't even think she ever realized that I was taking a picture of her. Does that...does that make me a voyeur? Creepy.

And.......I was off.

Because the drive to the airport was along the coast, we were treated to a bunch of tall ships which happened to be around that day. It seemed really funny, as they almost appeared to be driving along with the other cars. It was a whimsical, non-nerdish way to round out my Comic-Con experience.

But it wasn't all candy and roses. When I was a the airport (not pictured), I was stopped by security for being a terrorist. Or, at least, that's what they thought I was. Why would they think that? Well, you know how you're not allowed to more than 3 ounces of liquid/gel in your items, and they have to be in a plastic bag. Well...

Security Woman: "Sir."
Me: "Yes?"
Security Woman: "What do you think this is?"
Me: "....Toothpaste?"
Security Woman: "You do know the policy about liquids and gels, don't you?"
Me: "But it's in the plastic bag."
Security Woman: "You're only allowed to have 3 ounces or less."
Me: "I do. It's mostly used up."
Security Woman: "This is a six-ounce tube of toothpaste."
Me: "But it's empty! There's, like, half an ounce left in it."
Security Woman: "The packaging says it's six ounces, and so we're going by that."
Me: "That's ridiculous. The tube is flat! Do you think I've created some sort of wonder liquid that doesn't take up any space in a container?"
Security Woman: "Sir, please refrain from talking back. Now, you can either use the rest of this before you go through the gates, or we'll throw this away."
Me: "I'm not using an ounce of toothpaste at the airport."
Security Woman: "Then we'll throw it away for you."
Me: "Why don't you just keep it for yourself if I can't have it? It's perfectly good toothpaste. It shouldn't go to waste."
Security Woman: (Throws toothpaste away.)
Me: (Taking my bag.) "I sincerely hope not all airport security are as wasteful as you are, madam."

I can't begin to explain how upset that woman made me. In any event, because I was able to arrive at the airport so early, I was able to get an early flight. Unfortunately, because I was the last guy on the plane, they had to check my bag in. So, when I got back to Oakland, I had to wait at the luggage claim. But there was a bunch of confusion about what was going where. And I didn't end up getting my luggage until approximately the same time that my originally-planned flight arrived. So, my total saved time ended up being probably 5 minutes. That's why I never like checking in my luggage.

So, those parts of the flight home weren't particularly cool. The view, though, was.

Again, I began taking pictures from my window. It was a clear day today, so there were no seas of clouds. I was able to see the ground though. As you may be able to tell, this is the farmland of California. I'm constantly amazed at how...squared it all it. It seriously looks like some sort of civilization-building video game landscape from the mid-90s, back before graphics were the end-all, be-all.
What amazes me even more than that, though, is how uncivilized (in the truest sense of the word) so much of California is. We have the largest population of any state of the US, with millions upon millions of people, and yet there is simply so much wide open space. Now, I am in no way saying that we should expand our cities into these untamed area. As anyone who knows me well may know, I absolutely love rolling hills. The Microsoft picture "Bliss" really is my bliss. It's just interesting to think about.

Now, if I'm not mistaken, I believe I see a city in the distance, in what is essentially the middle of nowhere. I can never comprehend what it would be like to live in one of these cities, so separate from the rest of the world. Unless you go to a place like UC Merced (and Lord help you if you do), how good is your internet or phone connection. Are you essentially a pack of biped wild dogs with cars instead of fur. Is there some serious island tribe-like inbreeding going on? Is it a place where you can enter, but never return from? Who knows!

What I do, know, though, is that this is a real purty shot.
And finally, we have some random lake...*cough* What's really cool about these pictures, though, is that they really come full circle. If you are going through the pictures on my computer, say, in order, and you click "Next" after this one, it will take you to the very first one, which is also another picture from the sky. To the uninformed viewer, this may seem to be just a continuation, and it turns out that we're going back to San Diego for more Comic-Con fun! Hurrah!

And so, that is all of the pictures I took at Comic-Con 2007! Are we finally done with this series? No, not by a long shot! Well, actually, we're pretty close. Next time, I'll be showcasing all the miscellaneous items that didn't really get shown here. It's the light at a very long tunnel, so I hope you can make it.

Marketer Malone: "Andrew..."

You'd better make it! It'll be the greatest thing since sliced ham!

Marketer Malone: "M'boy, you'll go far."

Until then...

Monday, September 3, 2007

Comic-Con 2007!!! (Part 4 - Pseudo-Celebrities and Crowds)

Previously, on Schnorr: At the Comic-Con...

Arnold Schwartzanegger: "Andrew, you've got to get out of here! They're coming for you!"
Schnorr: "We're not going anywhere. We fight here and now...this is our destiny."
Keira Knightley: "Andrew, I love you."
Schnorr: "...I know."
Nameless Redshirt: "Here they come!"
Schnorr: (Picking up a practice sword.) "Give them nothing! But take from them...EVERYTHING! RAAAAAAARGH!"

And now, the exciting conclusion Part 4!

If you had read my previous Comic-Con photoblog, you may recognize this fellow. He's the eponymous character in the video game Alien Hominid. The game was made by Tom Fulp, creator of Newgrounds, where many of the Internet's biggest fans have originated (and then been stolen by YouTube users). I even have a Flash cartoon on that site. That's a topic for another day, though.

In any event, the Hominid seems rather dressed up this year. I never found out what the deal with that was.

My goodness! It's just a big reunion of all my old drinking buddies! I don't think the horned fellow (or lady?) is from any particular movie or show. It's just a generic costume. Last year, when I was threatened by the beast, he (she...I really think it may be a woman under all that), I was given a card for some costume maker. Too bad I threw it away shortly afterward. But I must admit, even though I've seen that costume before, it's still pretty technically impressive.

This is a perfect example of me having no clue what movie/show/game these people are from, and not really caring. The thoughts going through my head? "Oh, they dressed up, and it looks as though they put some effort into into it. I'll take a picture." And this is what you're left with...*cough*

Me: "Hey, you're that guy from the Assassin game."
Him: "I am."
Me: "You're not a very good assassin."
Him: "Why do you say that?"
Me: "Well, assassin's are supposed to be covert. You're out in the open. Everyone can see you."
Him: "It doesn't matter. Nobody can catch me."
Me: "But...you have a huge TV strapped to your back (not pictured)."
Him: "It doesn't matter."
Me: "It doesn't?"
Him: "No. Nobody can catch me."
Me: "So, what if I tried to catch you? Right now?"
Him: "You couldn't."
Me: "Oh?"
Him: "No."
Me: "Oh."
Him: "..."
Me: "...Can I take a picture?"
Him: "Yes."
*SNAP*
Me: "Ha! Now I captured your image, and your soul!"
Him: "Don't make me kill you."
Me: "Yeah, I'll go now."

Ha! Take a shot!

Another! Take another one!

(Yes, I realize that neither of the previous two pictures contained a stormtrooper proper, but c'mooooon. Besides, in a drinking game, you're usually not picky.)
This was the companion of the predator I had shown last time. I love how absolutely confused this guy appears to be. Also, does he have a weird skin, or is he wearing a fishnet outfit? Kinky (by which I mean, ew)!

This kid gets my vote for the best original costume not based on any specific character. I can actually see this as the villain in some made-for-TV movie loosely based on video games. Y'know, like he enters video game-land to spread chaos and crushed spirits. What was most impressive about his costume? Well, you see those piranha plants on his hands? They actually opened and closed, for serious snapping action. It was so cool that I forgive him for looking like he came out a Linkin Park concert.

Here's what I think his theme song would be (though the song is about Howard Dean, I think the insanity present is still relevant).

You know, I can be a little punk when I want to be. Like with this guy. He was trying to play as though he was blind - swinging his lightsaber all around - but I knew he could see perfectly fine. How did I know? Well, besides the fact that he would be a walking liability otherwise, he completely posed this picture. So, I go up to him later and stand up in front of him, trying to get him to hit me, someone else, something. Well, he just stopped doing anything. My line: "Well, I guess the Sith are easy to defeat." I walked away, satisfied in knowing that I had annoyed some guy.

...And I'm not sure, but I may have fought him last year).

Ah! Ah! Take a shot, baby!

While I liked the way that this Wolverine dress-up put the little markings on his hand to make it seem as though the blades were coming from somewhere, I don't know...he just doesn't have the same impressive physique of the gentleman I encountered last year. (In case you haven't been able to tell as of yet, there are some interesting parallels that I'm able to pull betwixt the two years).

...Wow, just...sometimes, even I don't know what to say, a picture's that ridiculous. You know, I want everyone to write their own captions in the comments section. A dollar goes to the best one!*
*Will not be honored.

I think this one, here is a perfect example of the theory that if superheroes (in particular, female superheroes) existed in real life, and dressed up as their comic-book counterparts, they would look both weird and skanky. It's really funny how a certain design works well in one medium and so, so poorly in another. In any event, I believe that was supposed to be the unknown X-Men character, Emma Frost. Why is she so unknown to viewers of the movies and TV series? I don't know for sure, but I'll assume it has something to do with the fact that she's pretty...pretty skanky, that is! Swish!

During a time of darkness, a time of unrest...one man, a weird pair of goggles, and a pretty big hammer must fight against evil. He travels long and far until he reaches the desolate land known as...the food court. His name is Gergadon, the Guy.

Gergadon: "Why is this place so empty?"
Cashier: "We drove all the people away, with our nine-dollar hamburgers! Hahaha!"
Gergadon: "What? How dare you!"
Cashier: "Well, that's capitalism for you."
Gergadon: "I suppose. All hail capitalism!"

I dunno, I really like this guys costume. I'd probably put it high on my list of costumes, though I'm really afraid that it's something from World of Warcraft. Still, it's just funny how awkward he looks there in the food court.

Oop! Take a shot! And, uh...a pink droid? I think that's worth three more shots, right there.

You know, I still have not seen the Transformers movie. I dunno, I just never got around to it. I heard mixed reviews. Some people said it was great, others said it was horrible. Who am I to believe? I suppose I should see it myself, but now it's out of theatres, and the best I can do is rent it on Netflix. Will I do that when it comes out? Perhaps. Probably, but there's no way of knowing for sure. In the meantime, here's a picture of Optimus Prime. He sure has changed quite a bit since last year.

Ah, and here's the Ark of the Covenant. Now, you may be asking yourself, "Why is the Ark, the most holy item in Jewish tradition, which was created after the Exodus from Egypt, being watched over by two statues which resemble the Egyptian god Anubis?"

Well, I...I don't know. I mean...wow. This is truly outrageous! Truly, truly, truly outrageous! I have never seen such a blatant case of anachronism in all of my days. I really hope someone got fired for that blunder.

(Oh, and this isn't the last we've seen of the Ark. Find out what happens next time!)

Okay, let me try to figure out what kind of scene this playset is portraying...

Indiana Jones is on top of a Mayan/Indian pyramid. With him are the evil Nazi Jewish Priest dude, a Pakistani guy with a shovel and torch, a cobra, and a three-fingered midget. They're all looking out over the side of the pyramid, but they all fail to notice the gigantic Indiana Jones hanging over the side. I...I can't even continue.

But this begs the question: is this the plot for the upcoming Indiana Jones 4 feature film. Perhaps it will involve some sort of cloning gone horribly wrong. One can only hope.

This is one I just stumbled upon (not literally). As I was walking around, I see a large group sitting in front of this panel. I can't really tell what the panel's for, but the booth was for manga (Japanese comic books). However, I was confused, as a a lot of the people in the panel were white (with one Asian guy and...a black dude?). Then I look a little closer and notice that the guy in the green shirt is none other than Wil Wheaton, who played the annoying little Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Nowadays, though, he runs a very well-written and pretty popular blog. I actually a link to it on the side of mine, and it's worth a read every now and then. So, as a fellow blogger, I felt compelled to listen.

Apparently, this panel was for a Star Trek manga. Drawn by Japanese, written by white people, with a black dude thrown in for good measure. Mr. Wheaton, apparently, was one of the writers. According to Amazon, the book is okay. But since it features a very flamboyant looking William Shatner inside, I think I'll have to pass.

Now, I'll admit, while Wil was very well-spoken, I simply wanted to run up, grab his microphone, and shout "Shut up, Wesley!"

Now, Comic-Con was full of pseudo-celebrities (with a fine sprinkling of real-yet-unapproachable ones mixed in). However, the majority of them would charge you to take pictures, as that's why they were there. However, Wil was there for another reason entirely, and didn't even think of charging people for pictures (at least, not while I was there). So, I had a bona fide pseudo-celebrity in my midst and the opportunity to take a picture...who can resist?

Problem: I was alone at the time, and I didn't want to give my camera to any of the other con-goers. Not so much because I thought they were going to steal it, but because, well, con-goers tend to have greasier hands than most, and I didn't want any nacho cheese stains on my camera. So, I decided to take the shot myself, yet I still wanted to be in it. And no, I didn't consider holding the camera at arm's length (I never like those shots). So, I decided my hand was good enough, and my picture was complete!

Aaaaand, that was the end of Saturday. However, as I had stated in a previous installment, my companions weren't with me, as one was giving blood. The original plan was for me to simply wait for them outside of the convention center. And so I did. I went across the street and waited. When I did, though, I watched the mass exodus of the convention center, and I decided to take a few shots, just to give you an idea of how many people were there.

To be honest, these pictures don't really give you that great an impression, unless you consider the fact that they were taken 45 minutes after the convention center closed. That means that this is just the "scant" remains of the con-going populace.

Yeah, like, when it was busy, those stairs would be filled with...is that the Jigsaw Killer's dummy walking down the stairs?

You know, seeing as the rest of the pictures are from Sunday, I should probably just stop here (after all, that'd make logical sense), but...

Who am I to make sense? Hoohoohaha! So here I am at the beginning of Sunday, the final day of the con. And while I am looking pumped and ready, my Gandalf-like friend seems pretty bored and lethargic (as is the wizards' way, I suppose). Want to see more of that Sunday? No? ...Well, too bad, because I'm going to show it anyway.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion Part 5 of Schnorr: At the Comic-Con next time!