Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Dude, Where's My Update?

Hey kids, remember me?

First, to answer the two most pressing questions on everyone's minds, Yes, I'm still alive, and No, I'm not running for governor. As much as I would've loved to have that little tidbit to add to my resume, I just couldn't scrape up the required cash and signatures in time. I had a great idea to win, too. I would change my name to Arnold Schwartzenegger (with an added T) and get all the votes from people who weren't sure which way to spell it. Perfect! At the very least I could get into a debate with Gary Coleman and a porn star. sigh. Alas, it was not to be.

So, what's up? Oh wait, that's what you're asking me. Hey, there's an idea. Rather than my usual blathering on about the dumb stuff I'm doing out here, why not just open the conference up to questions from the gallery?

How's the writing going? Seen any more celebrities? How's the job hunt coming? Are you rich and famous yet? When's the next comic book coming out? Got a girlfriend yet? How's the writing going? When are you coming back to Houston? Have you been in any movies? How are the screenplays coming? What are you doing with your life? When are you going to get a haircut? What's the boiling point of Mercury? Do you really think anyone cares about this crap anymore? When are you going to get a job and get serious? How's the writing going?

Ummm.... On second thought, why break with tradition. On with the blathering!

San Diego Comic Con -- Went down to San Diego for this massive comic book convention that gets bigger every year. I was able to get free entry with a press badge this year because of my friend Joe. We wrote a really short article (just a blurb, really) for Indie Slate Magazine in exchange for the passes, so that was pretty groovy. The show is just huge, and vastly expanding beyond just comic books into all sorts of genre-related stuff like movies and toys. We also had dinner with an agent for ICM, one of the big agencies out here. It was great to hear him talk about "Mel" and "Will." Imagine all the clich├ęs you've seen or heard about Hollywood agents, and he was them. However, he did give me his card, and was open to having me send him my stuff at the end of the summer. Woo hoo! So I guess I'll have to have something pretty dang good by then.

Classic Gaming Expo -- I went to another, totally geeky festival, but this one completely unrelated to comic books. This was all about video games, mainly the retro games from my youth, Atari, Intellilvision, Colecovision, Vectrex, etc. It was pretty amazing, in a nerdy sort of way. There are actually people out there who program new games for the Atari 2600! They had a little museum of all these old games, rarities, and prototypes, which was really interesting. I heard Nolan Bushnell speak, the inventor of Pong and founder of Atari. Some really crazy stuff. But the best part, by far, was seeing Black Bill. In the main room, they had set up about 50 arcade games for free play and nostalgia. Wandering around the floor, carefully supervising the players, yet staying respectfully distant, was Black Bill. I don't know his full name, but I did hear him referred to as Bill once, so I'll stick with that. He was a fairly tall man, thin, late 30's or early 40's, with dark longish hair and a beard, giving him the appearance of one of the Oakridge Boys. He dressed entirely in black (of course). I came to learn Black Bill is the holder of the world's record high score on several different arcade games from the '80s, ranging from Centipede to Missile Command to Donkey Kong (recently challenged, but that's a different story). (Editor's note: That story was recently in the documentary film The King of Kong.) Yes, I was in the presence of greatness, and he apparently knew it. He glided regally from game to game, carefully checking to see if anyone was approaching the number one spots he had dutifully captured on nearly every game there. I just cannot express to you the aura he exuded. Behind his eyes, you could just see his thoughts: "By day, I am a lowly stock boy at Wal-Mart; but here, among my people, I am a god."

Disneyland -- Woo hoo! I finally made it out to The Happiest Place On Earth (tm)! No, not Tijuana, but old Walt's place. Even better, through the kindness of a friend of a friend of Marie's, we were able to get in free! Which meant that we could actually afford to eat there! Cool! I hadn't been to Disneyland in probably 20 years, and it's still just as impressive. It's amazing how quickly it can make you feel like a kid again. When we first got in the park, Mickey himself came out for an appearance. I rushed to get an autograph book, and from then on I was pretty much an 8-year-old for the rest of the day. I got Mickey's autograph, and, and Baloo's, and, TiggerandEeyoreandPooh's autographs, and Pluto, and, and, and Goofy. Goofy was the most disappointing, though, especially since he was one of my favorites. All the other characters had very stylized signatures that were very expressive of themselves. Goofy's was just a name. I could be imagining it, but I also felt a little bit of scorn emanating from beneath that oppressive heat-baking head gear vaguely shaped like a dog. As if I, a 35-year-old male, had no right to be shoving little girls to the pavement in a mad rush to get Goofy's autograph. Whatever. Sadly, I missed the cut off time to get in the line for Cinderella and the Little Mermaid, Ariel (rowr!). Maybe next time. As for the rides, they were pretty good, I guess. Pirates of the Caribbean didn't seem as good as I remembered it, but the Haunted Mansion was just as great as ever, if not more so. The best part was during the opening narration. Half the people in the room were narrating by rote right along with it, and when the lights went out, the screams were blood curdling. It made one little girl cry most terribly. And while I don't mean to revel in her distress, I have to say I thought that was great. I mean, haunted houses are supposed to be scary. That's the point. You get scared, you endure, and you come out into the sunlight none the worse for wear. An emotional roller coaster.

Okay, well, that's it for now. I'm hanging in there. I miss Houston and everyone there, and I appreciate the support and well-wishing all of you have expressed. I hope everything's going great for you. I'll talk to you soon.

Movie Quote Challenge:

Number 1: "I love you more than any woman's ever loved a rabbit."

Number 2: "You've enjoyed all the power you've been given, haven't you? I wonder how you'd take to working in a pocket calculator?"

Good luck.


Movie Quote Answers:

Okay, were those just way too easy or what? I had two correct responses almost as soon as I sent them out. But, judging from the time code on the e-mails, Kevin Marcus just edged out current champion, Mary Felder.



Number 1: Who Framed Roger Rabbit, by Jeffrey Price and Peter Seaman

Number 2: Tron, by Steven Lisberger.

And I really thought about trying to find some really obscure ones this time, just to see if I could stump you guys. Guess I'll have to do that next time. So consider yourself warned-- next time they'll be really really hard, and I'll check the Internet first to make sure they're *not* in the IMDb. Anyway, have a great day/week/month!



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