This is a Cat in a Shark Suit Riding a Roomba and Chasing a Duck:
Apparently it’s quite a hit with all the cool kids.
And this week’s addition to the Testimonial Gallery is:
This is a Cat in a Shark Suit Riding a Roomba and Chasing a Duck:
Apparently it’s quite a hit with all the cool kids.
And this week’s addition to the Testimonial Gallery is:
This past week has been a tumultuous one for folks here in the US of A. I can’t add any new insight or words of wisdom that haven’t already been shared by better and wiser people than myself so, instead, I’ve decided to focus on several positive, yet admittedly frivolous, events looming in the very near future.
Tonight, Friday 4/19, my wife and I and a couple of friends of ours will be attending a performance of Grey Gardens at the ACT Theatre in Seattle, WA.
What makes this notable is that we will be seeing one of my favorite broadway actresses in the dual roles of Big Edie and Little Edie Beale – Patti Cohenour. I mentioned Patti previously in my review of the Broadway Revival production of “Follies”, where I lamented the miscasting of a popular actress in the role of Sally and wished that Patti had been there instead.
Patti has been getting STELLAR reviews as the Beales and I cannot emphasize enough how excited I am to see her on stage again!
Tomorrow, we’ll be teeing off at Smash Putt – an anarchic mini-golf/art installation where each hole is an exercise in fun, creativity, artistic expression and (occasionally) chaos and destruction. I’m looking forward to firing golf balls from air cannons, belly-crawling through laser beams and attempting to putt around my friends as they play NES while lounging on shag carpet – just to describe a few of the holes.
Smash Putt is a temporary installation in SODO (South Downtown Seattle) through the end of April, so we’re excited to have gotten the chance to play before it’s gone.
Farther out into the future, I am pleased to say that I was lucky enough to be one of the folks to successfully buy my passes to PAX Prime this year before they sold out within hours of going on sale. It was one of the most intense online purchases I’ve ever made. As I sat for over two and a half hours in the “queueing room” waiting for my turn to buy my tix I watched the four-day passes sell out and the Saturday passes sell out. It was a minor miracle that I managed to get passes for Fri, Sun and Mon, but I got them!
In other news on the “Super Neat-o” front, video of me “jaunting” in front of the Grand Cinema here in Tacoma was included in Hannah Hart’s new music video launching her cross-country tour. Hannah Hart is the genius behind the web-series “My Drunk Kitchen” as well as many other Youtube vids.
Her cross-country tour is called “Hello, Harto” and will be made up of charity meet-ups and on-location MDK’s.
Here’s the music video! I show up at the 01:02 mark!
Filming the jaunt for Hannah Hart has inspired my wife and I to film more jaunting videos, and you can look forward to seeing them here in the future as they are completed. Yay!
So those are some fun things coming down the pike, silly distractions from the heavy intensity of the past week.
My thoughts are with everyone affected by the this week’s events, and I urge everyone to donate time or money to charities helping to support those in need during this time.
Cheers until next week, everyone!
Last week Jane Henson passed away and, in mourning her, I suddenly realized that I knew next to nothing about her.
Here was a person who had been intimately involved in the conception and realization of the original Muppets and yet chose to allow the glow of the spotlight of recognition to fall solely on her husband, Jim.
Jim became the icon, but he never would have succeeded without Jane. Jim was a terrific and imaginative puppeteer, but he didn’t have more than two hands. Jane was there beside him, performing the puppets on “Sam and Friends” and, most likely, building them too.
After their children were born, Jane quietly stepped behind the camera and instead of managing a group of rambunctious and imaginative adult children (Jim, Frank, Jerry, et al.) she found herself managing a household of five rambunctious and imaginative ACTUAL children. One wonders how much of a change this really was, toilet training aside.
I don’t think that Jane ever really got the true credit she was due. Especially after she and Jim divorced. She still stayed closely involved with the Jim Henson Company, and started The Jim Henson Legacy after he died. Creating the Legacy wasn’t for her own benefit – it wasn’t so that she could gain fame or fortune from her husband’s name – it was because she still so strongly believed in Jim, and what Jim had brought to the world.
I recall reading a book on Sesame Street called “Street Gang”, and in the chapter discussing Jim’s short illness and subsequent death it was reported that Jim called Jane when he felt he was definitely dying. He was scared and he looked to Jane for help. I can’t remember who it was (though I’m pretty certain it was NOT one of the Muppeteers), but one of Jim’s business associates was quoted as saying something like, “To this day I have no idea why Jim would have called Jane.”
This derisive statement (by whomever it was) really rankled me. Of course Jim would have called Jane in this penultimate moment of need. She was his original creative partner, the mother of their children, perhaps the love of his life (likely since he never remarried) it only makes sense that he would have called her because with her he felt safe with her. Perhaps he even felt “saved” by her.
Once again Jane’s importance was being sidelined.
Jane continued to work, quietly, behind the scenes up to her passing. Most of the major accomplishments of the Jim Henson Legacy the past few years were due directly to her. She continued to put Jim ahead of herself. When she was asked to speak directly about her involvement with the early Muppets she would always sidestep and push Jim again to the fore. It was always about Jim.
As a result, to the average fan, Jane Henson was at best an enigma and at worst non-existent. This needs to be changed.
Muppet fan-site Toughpigs.com has compiled a wonderful collection of reminiscences of folks who knew and worked with Jane. You can read them HERE. I urge you to hop over there and take a read. Such lovely memories and insight about an amazing lady deserve to be shared.
And this week’s addition to the Testimonial Gallery is:
March 8, 2013 · Filed under Comedy, Conventions, Disney, Film, Gaming, General Geekery, Just for Fun, Memories, Music, Pop Culture, Social Commentary, Television, Theatre/Live Performance, Wil Wheaton, Zombies
Hi Gang!! I just wanted to drop in and let everyone know that my official “wrap-up” of this year’s ECCC will be posted later this afternoon.
Keep checking back! Lots of cosplay photos and panel reviews!
Update: Hi folks, sorry the wrap-up isn’t posted yet. I’ve been having some technical issues with some of the photos I’m trying to upload. Hope to have these resolved soon. Keep checking back!!
Ok, let’s wrap this up!
First off, this year’s Emerald City Comic was a lot of fun, but I can’t say it was more fun than last year. This may have been because of the drugs.
I threw my back out spectacularly just 3 days prior to the Con and, as a result, I was on prescription pain-killers for the duration which made me feel like I was almost walking outside of my body as opposed to in it. The upside was that I was so mellow that I didn’t stress out as much this year about making it to certain panels on time; the downside was that I felt more than slightly adjacent to everything happening around me, so it didn’t feel like I was actually experiencing anything. Weird.
ECCC nearly doubled in size this year, and with that came some interesting decisions about the layout of the event. For some reason they cloistered the Gaming area far away from the main hub of action (the main panel rooms, signing stalls and show floor) and so it took a lot of effort to get to. As a result, it sort of felt like Gaming had been put in the corner on a time out. We managed to make it down there for one panel (which wasn’t a gaming related panel AT ALL) and met Felicia Day, which was awesome. Otherwise, we didn’t really have any time to peruse the vendors in this area because we had a tight panel schedule we were sticking to, and we kept having to hot-foot it back to the show floor and panel rooms. It was kind of a bummer.
I realize that the key word in Emerald City Comic Con is “COMIC”, but gaming has always had a strong foothold in this world thanks to the likes of D&D et al, so it was just plain weird that it was so sequestered.
Anywho…. Onto Day 1!
First “main hall” panel of ECCC was Felicia Day, and it was delightful. Felicia chatted with moderator Melanie McFarland of IMDB.com about her career thus far, including her hopes for the future of Geek and Sundry (her YouTube channel). She kept saying that she could not confirm that they’d been picked up for another year, but something tells me that they have been. She stated that her goal if they get renewed is to create more gaming-centric programming, hearing this, I did a little wiggle of joy in my folding chair.
Ms. Day was incredibly laid-back and gracious with the fans, and even made a point of stating how unfair it was that the first dozen rows of seats were cordoned off for “VIP” attendees only.
Aside: Folks, there were about 200 seats in this special “VIP Only” section, and only 12 people sitting in them (FOR THE ENTIRE CON). The exception to this might have been the finale panel of ECCC on day 3 – Sir Patrick Stewart – but otherwise, the VIP section was almost always nearly vacant. I really appreciated that Felicia Day took a moment to point out the elitism that was starting to show its unattractive head at this moderately-sized event.
Ms. Day also announced that she is set to appear in yet more episodes of Supernatural (and is probably in Vancouver, BC filming as I am writing this); I’ve never been a hardcore Supernatural fan, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the two episodes she’s appeared in thus far, so I am very much looking forward to whatever comes next.
After the Felica Day panel we raced down to the Gaming Floor and managed to duck into the Paul and Storm Discuss Learning Town panel. For those of you unfamiliar with Paul and Storm (who have heard of me) and their web series Learning Town, take a moment to hop over to the Geek and Sundry YouTube channel and check it out. I’ll wait here.
Welcome back! Awesome, right? For those of you who didn’t actually check it out, here’s a quick synopsis: Thanks to an untimely death, Paul and Storm find themselves the new hosts of a children’s educational series called Learning Town. Puppets catch fire. Hilarity ensues.
Paul and Storm talked about the creation of the show, and their hope for a second season. P&S have always been a little bit hard to read (they’d be terrific poker players), and though I’m sure they’re actually super-nice guys, they have a tendency to appear aloof and bored. It may just be that they are actually painfully shy (not uncommon in performers, as strange as this sounds) and don’t feel comfortable without their guitars to hide behind. I say all of this because we didn’t really take away a whole lot from the panel except the the knowledge that they used a total twelve fire extinguishers on camera during the taping of the first season of Learning Town and that they wrote the first draft of most of the songs in less than a month.
After the Learning Town panel we stood in line and met Felicia Day, who is the sweetest, most genuine gal ever. When I mentioned that we’re both from Huntsville, AL she gave me a high five and asked when I’d last been back (2005) and then stated that she was a bad granddaughter who needed to get back there to visit her grandmother. I agreed, I needed to visit my grandmother in Huntsville, too. Then she drew a bunny on my souvenir photo. Awesome.
Next we made a slow circuit through the show floor and took many a cosplay photo (featured below), before wandering up to the signing room to see whose line was the shortest. Interestingly, Gillian Anderson’s line was pretty dern small, so we hopped into that and (after a few minutes queuing) strolled up to her table.
Gillian Anderson is over it. Either that or she’s still bewildered by the attention of fans. It’s not that she wasn’t polite. She was very polite on the surface, but it was the “bored now” undertones that rankled me. I can understand how a person might want to pull a Garbo and just want to be left alone, but if that’s the case, don’t come to conventions and line your wallet with the fans’ money. It’s just in poor taste. But, anyway, I met her. So I can cross that off my list.
This concluded Day One of ECCC on a rather odd note. But Day Two started off in a much better place.
Knowing that Sir Patrick Stewart’s autograph would be in particularly high-demand, I queued up for him as soon as we arrived at the convention center. There were so many people in line to meet him/get his autograph, that he was limited to maybe 5 seconds of interaction per person. Even so, it was a terrific 5 seconds! Sir Patrick is a cool-ass dude, man. He just oozes cool. He is the Zaphod Beeblebrox of planet Earth (only minus the second head and rampant narcissism). The guy is 72 and you’d never know it to look at him. He carries himself like a much younger person and is incredibly sharp. I told him that I really loved his performance in “Macbeth”, he replied (in that fantastic accent of his), “Yes, well. That was quite an experience.”
After meeting Sir Patrick, we headed back to the main panel hall for Gillian Anderson’s panel. There is only one way to describe this panel: weird. Just like at the signing table it was as if she couldn’t be bothered. I took nothing away from this panel with the exception of knowledge that David Duchovny may (or may not) be exactly like his character on Californication. I honestly wish I had spent this hour checking out the vendors on the Gaming floor instead.
However, things took a positive turn with the panel immediately following Ms. Anderson, Natalia Tena.
Ms. Tena is best known for her portrayals of Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter movies and Osha the Wildling in the Game of Thrones series. Natalia Tena is freaking HI-LARIOUS! The moderator warned us in advance to expect adult language and, wow, it was like having our own sailor onstage. She talked at length about her band Molotov Jukebox (which you should definitely check out) as well as the look of her “lady garden” (not joking) and how if she were a super villain, she’d be one of her own invention called “Wasp Woman”. I’m not even going to tell you where the stinger would be. Just guess. She was simply wonderful with the fans who stepped up to ask questions, genuine engaging, kind and FUNNY.
The final panel of Day Two was a Walking Dead panel featuring Michael Rooker (Merle) and Danai Gurira (Michonne). Unlike the character she plays, Danai Gurira is super talkative, sweet-natured and completely open. Michael was quite the rapscallion and you could easily imagine the two of them goofing around and teasing each other on set between takes of blood and gore. They were unable to provide any previews or spoilers of this or next season, but they did spend some time on their character’s personal motivations. This wasn’t as illuminating as you might have imagined. It’s fairly easy to read into these characters on screen, but it was interesting seeing inside these two very different actors and their processes.
On the final day of Comic Con, we started out getting a photo signed for our Godson by Natalia Tena. Our Godson had joined us on Day Two and had purchased a photo op with Ms. Tena, and asked us if we could have her sign it for him. This photo is terrific. She’d adopted what she called her “sexiest pose”, which in reality had her looking like she was grabbing the back of her own head while, at the same time, starting to sneeze. Basically, she looked ridiculous and hilarious next to our Godson who was simply standing there with an adorable, patient, grin on his face.
We presented the photo for Ms. Tena to sign and she grabbed it in horror exclaiming, “What the HELL am I doing in this picture?!” She then actually wrote “What the HELL am I doing in this picture?!” on the photo as well as an arrow pointing at herself and the word “IDIOT” before actually signing her autograph at the bottom. It. Was. AWESOME. If my Godson gives me the “OK” I will post it here.
After this most memorable autograph session in the history of EVER, we headed into one of the smaller panel rooms and sat in on Danai Gurira’s solo panel. I must say, I am seriously impressed with this chick. In addition to being an actress, she is an accomplished award-winning playwright, whose been produced off-Broadway and whose works focus on the struggle of women in Kenya, where she grew up.
Immediately following Danai’s panel was Jim Cummings, voice of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Zummi Gummi and HUNDREDS of other cartoon characters. Jim talked about getting into the industry and his experience working with Disney (all positive… although I doubt he’d be allowed to say anything negative publicly due to contractual obligations). Then the moderator decided it would be funny to ask Jim if he ever used any of his character voices “in the bedroom”. His immediate answer was, “No, of course not”. He then went on to MURDER MY CHILDHOOD by performing a “what if” scenario with Pooh, Tigger and Ray (the firefly from the Princess and the Frog). It was hysterical and oh so very, very wrong. I will never be able to watch Winnie the Pooh the same way again.
After this we ducked into the main panel hall again for the Geek and Sundry Panel of Awesome. What made this panel so awesome was that it was Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton with NO MODERATOR. Felicia and Wil came off as siblings. Teasing each other, telling fart jokes, torturing each other with embarrassing anecdotes. Wil also filled the big brother role of, “Hey, that’s my sister! Back off, man!” when a fan asked Felicia out on a date. They were simply adorable.
The final panel of the con was Sir Patrick Stewart himself. He held us all captive in his knightly hand telling stories of how Paramount had is toupee hand-delivered to him for his Star Trek audition (news flash, the toupee did not make the cut), accidentally getting cast in Dune and letting us in on the fact that the new X-Men movie will begin filming in less than six weeks!
My favorite story of the panel had to do with Sir Patrick being accidentally cast in Dune. The director thought he’d cast someone else, and when Mr. Stewart arrived on-set it was too late to do anything about it. A juicy anecdote to this story was that Sir Patrick did not know (at the time of filming) who Sting was.
He said, “I mean, I’d heard of this musician fellow called Sting and I knew his arrival on-set was causing a lot of excitement, but I really had no idea who he was. During a pause between takes I turned to him and said, ‘So you’re a musician?’ and he said, ‘Yeah.’ So I asked, ‘What do you play?’ and he said, ‘Bass.’ Then I said, ‘You know, I’ve always wondered how you deal with having to tote that massive thing around. It must be a headache.’ Sting then explained to me that he, in fact, played a bass guitar, not a bass fiddle. So then I asked who he played with and he said he had is own band. So I said, ‘Oh really? What sort of band?’ and he said, ‘The Police.’ Folks, I then turned to him and said, ‘You play in a police band?’”
Yeah, the entire hall pretty much died of laughter at that point. It was awesome.
That concluded our ECCC ’13 experience. We met a lot of folks over the three days and took plenty of cosplay photos. Sadly, not all of them are here because a number of the image files somehow got corrupted and went kerplooey. But do see below for the photos I was able to save.
(Comes racing in, arms full of pop culture, dropping things left and right)
Sorry! Sorry, I’m late, everyone! But, hey, it’s still Friday, so technically I’ve met my deadline!
Hi there, hope everyone is doing well.
Not too much to report this week, except, you know, a GIANT FRICKING ROCK EXPLODED over Russia,
the “Blade Runner” (Oscar Pistorius) probably killed his girlfriend and is apparently (refreshingly) sad about it,
the Walking Dead returned on Sunday and Rick has lost his EVER-LOVING MIND,
and finally, perhaps most importantly, journalist El Mayimbe used his saucy Latino swagger to squeak out this awesome piece of information about the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII….HARRISON FORD IS GOING TO APPEAR AS HAN “KESSEL RUN” SOLO!!!
So, yeah… you know… pretty dead week.
Hopefully next week will be a little more interesting.
My face still hurts from laughing. That is how awesome Chris Hardwick’s set was at the Tacoma Comedy Club last Saturday night.
Equally brazen and apologetic, Mr. Hardwick spent his 45 minutes on stage trying out new material on a willing, receptive and energetic crowd.
The theme of his set appeared to be “Times I’ve Been Embarrassed Sexually”; I never imagined that I’d find myself rooting for an encounter with a cheap blow-up doll to turn out well, but I did.
Mr. Hardwick held the audience in the palm of his hand and worked the room with expert ease. For moments where his material wasn’t as tight as he would have liked, he switched to audience interaction bits, showcasing his well-honed improv skills and keeping the pace moving at a perfect clip.
Afterward, he spent time meeting,taking photos with and hugging audience members who smartly chose to linger behind.
The one “hiccup” during Chris’s set occurred when he looked up and discovered a patron videoing his set. He called them out on it and handled it as nicely as he could, pointing out that his material is copyrighted (as well as a work in progess) and that the venue should have put a stop to the videotaping immediately. He spent a couple of moments explaining (not the legal) but the moral and ethical “wrongness” of filming an artist’s work without their permission. The guilty party seemed embarrassed yet indignant. I hope for Chris’s sake that they kept their promise to him not to post what they had filmed on Youtube… even though his set was pretty much flawless.
I spent a couple of moments chatting with Mr. Hardwick after the set, and let me tell ya, the guy is the nicest, most unassuming, celebrity I have ever met. Not a trace of ego and genuinely nice.
You can find out more about Chris Hardwick’s “workshop” stand-up tour on the Nerdist site HERE. If he’s coming to your neck of the woods I highly recommend you make the effort to see him!
And this week’s addition to the Testimonial Gallery is (naturally):
Chris Hardwick! YAY! [kermitflail.gif]
Trying to come up with something to write about for this week’s blog and having a hard time. Geek Girl Con is this weekend here in Seattle and I’ve decided, after much thought, not to go. Nothing against GGC, money factored into it more than anything else.
So, I’m kinda bummed about the next few days because originally I was supposed to be in Chicago (the town and not the musical) this weekend to watch one of my oldest and dearest friends get married. But then we had a sudden home-repair that sucked up all of our savings and POOF there went that trip. Then I thought I might go to GGC, but I waffled about it too long and now I don’t have money to do THAT.
It sucks when your reasonably flush savings account (for emergencies and/or fun things) is suddenly not there (due to an actual emergency) because it’s almost like finding yourself rock-climbing without a rope. Or tight-rope walking without a safety net. Or riding a BMX without a helmet. You get my point, but you can continue insert your own similes and metaphors if you like. (Maybe in the comments? Hmmm?)
Now I’m struggling to write about something fun and geeky instead of dull and self-pitying which is what I am doing right now… sorry.
OH! Ok, ya’ll, here’s some awesome geeky news! If you’re a fan of The Bloggess you already know this BUT she is coming here (Seattle) for TWO (count’em) TWO book readings/signings! I will be attending at least one of these and, of course, I will be reporting about it right here, so stay tuned!
Plus, as you know, I’ll also be attending PAX Prime at the end of this month. I’ve been looking over the schedule, trying to decide what panels to attend, and I gotta say, I am completely overwhelmed. This is my first time attending a gaming convention and I am going seriously big right out of the gate with PAX. What I can’t seem to find yet is the exhibitor’s list for the Expo Hall or a list of media guests. Frankly, other than the musical acts for the evening entertainment, I don’t know if PAX even HAS media guests. I keep thinking they must… but who knows? Not me. It’s scary and exciting.
Here’s another, semi-related, geeky thing! Guidebook! Are you familiar with this app? Thanks to PAX, I am now. It’s a pretty darn neat way to navigate conventions and other events! Basically, if the convention you’re attending is tech saavy and has the forethought to put together a guide to upload to the app, you, as an attendee, can view the event, its schedule, an expo hall map (if applicable), media guest list, panel descriptions, etc, etc. You can even create a “to do” list in advance and the app will keep you on track with reminders of where you’re supposed to be and when. I will absolutely be taking advantage of this tool… just as soon as PAX Prime uploads all of the information for this year’s convention to the Guidebook. And they will, probably a week out from the actual show.
So cool, this week’s post didn’t turn out too “woe is me” after all. Yay!
So, I have this weird quirk. When I’m reading an email, or a text, or a status update I tend to hear it in the voice of the person who’s written it (if I know what they sound like in person, if I don’t, I hear my voice). This isn’t the quirk. I’m sure this is fairly par for the course with most folks. The quirk comes into play when somewhere in the text I am reading a particular misspelled word appears – generally a word spelled in a way that could be considered phonetically correct, but wouldn’t win any awards at Scripps.
The word is “ya”. Used in-place of “yes”, meant to be the casual “yeah”, but with only two letters. When I stumble across this little word suddenly the voice in my head (be it my friend’s or my own) becomes German, because when I read “ya” I hear “yaw”.
Here is a pictorial example of this quirk in action:
Another example of “mishearing” a written word is with another variant of “yes”. This time, the also three-lettered “yea”. Again, meant to read/sound like “yeah”, but when I read it, I hear “yay” and read it in context as the old English “Yea” as in “Yea, verily, thou didst speak a silly thing”.
So in my mind, this happens:
I’m generally not a grammar or a spelling Nazi (unless you’re my Godson, in which case, I am). Plus, I don’t want to be “that guy”, otherwise known as the uptight pedant who lives to red pen the world. So, I’ll continue to live with my little quirks…besides, the mental images alone are worth ignoring the spelling errors.
And this/last week’s addition to the TESTIMONIAL GALLERY is:
If you’ve not seen Husbands: The Series yet, please do check it out! It is terrifically good!
Special thanks to my friends Erik and Kai who allowed me the use of their images
And you know what that means….
(WARNING: NOT. SAFE. FOR. WORK.)
Please continue to send your “I’ve Heard of…” pics to email@example.com
Be sure to check back here every week to see who’s new in the gallery!