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Friday, December 14, 2012

'The Hobbit,' 'Star Trek' and more

Let's see if I can come up with as many bullet points on the movie as there are people in Thorin's company.  In no particular order.  (Spoilers, natch.)

1. Straight out of the book.  Lots of little things (like the origin of golf) and then some bigger things, like songs.  I'll admit it.  When I read The Hobbit now, I skip the songs.  But when those first trailers hit with the mournful Lonely Mountain song, I was entranced.  That's in the film, of course, along with a couple more.  That surprised me.

2. LOTR setup.  Of course, it was nice to see Ian Holm and Elijah Wood back as Bilbo and Frodo, pre-Fellowship, but I'll be honest: I don't think it was necessary.  I have two caveats to this, though.  One, this allowed old Bilbo to read the famous opening lines to the book.  Two, it allowed for a nice transition from old to young Bilbo.

3. High Frame Rate.  I saw it first in Digital IMAX 3D and then in the controversial 48 frames-per-second HFR 3D.  The 3D was very well done throughout in both formats.  Oddly, the CG characters in the HFR version seemed more "real" than in the regular 3D.  Perhaps it had to do with the games my brain was playing with HFR in the first place.

You see, a lot of people have complained of "Keystone Cop"-style speeded up movements.  That's not actually the case.  What's happening is pretty simple.  Your brain is expecting to see a movie the way it always has: at 24 fps.  In 24 fps, you see motion blurs and other artifacts of that speed.  At 48 fps, motion blur is nearly absent.  The tells that make a movie look like a movie to your brain aren't there, so the occasional bursts of speed someone has on screen look unnatural to you.  In fact, it looks more realistic than any other movie you've ever seen, but, again, your brain isn't expecting that.

I recommend you see it in 24 fps first and then HFR after that, if you want.   If you see it in HFR first, you'll be too busy trying to figure out what your eyes are seeing and you won't really be paying attention to the story.

Enough of HFR.

4. Gollum.  When you consider that it's been nearly ten years since a computer farm in New Zealand had to crank out the 1s and 0s to make the warped hobbit junkie, you'll realize that there had to be some leaps in realizing the character since then.  But when you see it on screen, your mind will be blown.  He looks straight-up real.  There are a few times where Gollum is straining and squirming to think of an answer to Bilbo's riddles and you just know lil' Sméagol exists somewhere.  It looks so good you'll want PJ & crew to go back to LOTR and insert the new Gollum.

5. Music.  Howard Shore is back and on his game again.  I've seen a couple of reviewers bemoaning the lack of "new" music, but I'm at a loss to grasp this.  Yes, there are certainly reprises of LOTR themes: Rivendell, Lothlorien, Shire, Ring, etc.  But these are new variations on those themes, most often.  Add to that the new dwarf music (based on the great Lonely Mountain song) and there's plenty of new music.  I've seen the movie twice but I can't say for certain, but you know there's a Smaug theme in there.  And a Radagast theme, too.  I will point out an odd musical choice (to my ears, anyway) that doesn't exactly aid my point about new music.  Near the end, as the trees and wargs burn, Thorin steps away from the tree to confront an orc ... the score here is, essentially, the same that was played for the Nazgûl as they hunted Frodo and stormed the Prancing Pony in Fellowship.  I would have thought some variation on the Moria music might make more sense (chanting male choirs and such), but what do I know?

6. Smaug.  Skip on if you want to be surprised.  You don't see much of him in this, of course.  Some destruction of Dale and Erebor at the beginning and then a nice little tag at the end (pre-credits).  No voice is heard; just growls and roars.  We don't see much of him at the end, so I can't say if it appears that gold and gems have become embedded in his scales.  Also, his skin seems dark gray instead of the reddish hue he is most often painted as having.  Perhaps that's just because of the lighting in the scene.

7. Azog.  Again, spoilers.  Skip ahead if you want.  In the appendices to Return of the King, we learn all about Azog the Defiler.  In the text, he is killed by Dáin Ironfoot, Lord of the Iron Hills, after Azog killed Thorin's grandfather.  Here they leave Azog's slaying to Thorin.  I don't have a problem with that.  It makes the revenge aspect of the story more personal for Thorin.  Here's my problem, though: (spoilers again) Thorin lops off Azog's arm and that's it.  The huge orc is still kicking and screaming when he's dragged back into Moria but Thorin assumes he's dead?  That doesn't make sense to me.  If Thorin had lopped off his arm and then stabbed him in the gut ... and then if his body was carried, lifeless, into Moria, sure.  Here's a question I have, though: what about Bolg?  Bolg is the big bad of the big battle coming later ... if Azog is still alive, where does that leave Bolg?  (According to the end credits, Bolg is in the film, but I don't remember seeing him.)  Here's a cool thing, though: what if the Necromancer is responsible for Azog's reappearance?

8. Necromancer.  They're playing him nice and quiet in this film, which is good.  There's a cool scene at Dol Guldur but that's about it.  I'm really hoping we see him live up to the "necro" part of his name in the next movies.

9. The Dwarves.  I've seen a couple of reviews that criticize the film for not giving most of them any real characterization.  These same reviews also complain that the first 45 minutes or so drag.  Morons.  At any rate, I'll go out on a limb and say the dwarves feel more realized in the film than in the book.  Yes, Thorin's the leader with a proud history.  Fili and Kili are young and adventurous.  Balin is wise and friendly toward Bilbo.  Bombur is fat.  These apply to both the book and the film, but the film does a good job of giving some time to the other dwarves.  Bofur, in particular, comes off great.  He might be my favorite.  Dori and Ori also have plenty of nice moments.  Gloin and Oin, too.  Supposedly, the expanded edition will have about twenty minutes added in.  I wouldn't be surprised if more dwarf time is included.

10. Goblin Town.  Very huge, very packed with squirmy orcs.  Good action beats, too.  (You'll love the bit with the swinging ropes wrapping around the walkway.)  It's a testament to the technology that I couldn't tell which ones were CG and which ones were makeup.  The Great Goblin, though, is all CG.  His swinging testicle chin, too.  His talking and pontificating are straight out of the book.  It makes sense that they got Dame Edna to do the voice.

11. Elves.  The brief glimpse we get of King Thranduil and his men of the Woodland Realm was intriguing.  Very elvish, but still different than the soldiers of Rivendell, Lothlorien and Lindon we've seen before.  (Speaking of Rivendell, Elrond's armor was very nice.)

While I'm on Elves, let me say how odd and amazing it was to hear words like "Gondolin" spoken aloud.  Much of the LOTR trilogy was focused on the rising world of Men, Hobbit will be focused on dwarves ... the Elves are sprinkled throughout, but we'll never get that true Elvish focus unless The Silmarillion gets adapted.  If I ever get bored, I'll outline for you guys my idea for a trilogy, complete with framing devices and more.

12. Gandalf.  Sir Ian McKellan is fantastic, of course.  Thanks to the story of The Hobbit, Gandalf displays far more magic in this film than he seemingly did in the entire LOTR trilogy.  Yes, I would have liked to see Gandalf use some wizard math on the attackers at Minas Tirith in ROTK but I recall that PJ told McKellan that his staff's batteries were running low.  If I can dork it up a bit, I can tell myself that, maybe, Gandalf was focusing all of his wiz-biz through Narya (the Ring of Fire) to inspire the thousands of Gondorians to fight.

13. Bilbo.  Martin Freeman is the shit.  It's no wonder Peter Jackson was so fixated on getting him for the films.  I've seen a couple of fans complain that Bilbo was too willing to go ... I didn't have a problem with that.  PJ & crew just wrote him with a bit more Tookishness than they expected.  Making him more willing helps us believe that he wouldn't just leave the company at the drop of a hat later on, which he has several opportunities to do.  Also, someone asked about Thorin's embrace of Bilbo at the end.  It more than worked for me.  It will help really contrast their relationship in the third film when Bilbo betrays him.

14. New Zealand.  To quote Tina Fey's daughter, "I want to go to there."  I'd be fine with living there, too.  I had a dream earlier this week that I did live there.  I loved it, except I was frustrated in the grocery store, trying to figure out all of the alien brands and foods.  My wife was annoyed with the accents.  Still, nice dream.

15. Radagast.  Plenty goofy but also cool.  Not the "Jar Jar" some of have said.  Sylvester McCoy disappeared into the part.  Saruman's mushroom line was funny.  Oh, and Sebastian?  Sincere "awwww."

And one more:

16. I'm getting old.  Going to see the midnight showing, followed by another showing at 11, kicked my ass.  Even if I didn't see it at 11, I would still be wiped.  Ugh.  Still, I'll try to do it again next year.  Maybe for Star Trek, too.

The nine-minute preview was great.  The opening in London with parents maintaining a vigil over their sick child ... only to have The Batch show up and offer a life line.  Still no clue about who he is or what his character will end up doing.

Then we whip across the galaxy to the primitive planet Nibiru.  I won't wreck it except to say that all of the main crew has their part to play in a mission to save a group of primitives from a killer volcano.  Lots of Prime Directive talk, too.  That made me very happy.

(One question though: did they say why the transporters wouldn't work?  They may have; I just missed it.)

And the 3D ... holy crap.  If I didn't know that it was post-converted, I would have assumed it was filmed stereoscopically.  Well done.  I only wish we had a better shot of the Enterprise so I could see it in its fully rounded space glory.


Man of Steel - The trailer looked very nice.  I hope it's not as self-important as it seems at this point.  I saw Zod ... and in the next shot, it looked like Kal-El was kneeling.

Great Gatsby - Glitzy.  I'm not very interested.  Sorry.  I'll stick to Boardwalk Empire for now, thanks.

A Good Day to Die Hard - A good day to stop milking that franchise dry.

Jurassic Park 3D - Yeah, I know.  But I'm going and I'll be taking my son, too.

Disappointed that neither screening I saw had the trailer for Pacific Rim or the full regular trailer for Star Trek into Darkness.  Sunday, my wife, my son and I will go have a Hobbit breakfast at Denny's before we see the movie.  Yes, a third time for me; first for them.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Weekend SALE

To kick off the holiday season, how about I give away some books?  (All I ask in return is that you RATE & REVIEW when you're done.)

My post-post-apocalyptic teen road trip zombie epic is FREE.

Go to SMASHWORDS and use code QR69F.

My time-travel scifi action adventure tale is also FREE.  Like Lost but with a clearer plot and more solid ending.

Go to SMASHWORDS and use code HC92L.

On the erotic side of things:

Issue #1 of my superhero erotica is already FREE.  Click here to get it.

For Issue #2 to be FREE, go to SMASHWORDS and use code QZ27G.

This one's not FREE; just reduced:
My semi-autobiographical bit of erotica involving married life, threesomes, foursomes, etc.  Usually $2.99; get it here for 99¢.

Go to SMASHWORDS and use code HD92L.

Don't forget to RATE & REVIEW!  Happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Need Your Help

Over the last year and change, thousands of people have downloaded my stuff.  That's awesome and great.  It's why I started publishing, naturally.  But I would like for even more people to see it.

So, I need your help.

Do me a favor.  Go to the site where you downloaded/bought my book and please leave a rating & review.

(Don't worry; there's something in it for you, too.  The more people who get my books, the more encouraged I feel to keep writing.  See?)

Right now, on just about every site, my books have about four stars out of five.  The problem is, most of the sites where my books are ... there isn't a rating or review at all.  My Lords of Kobol books don't have any star ratings or reviews at all on Smashwords.  On Amazon, my biggest sellers, Displaced and Sexcalation, have nothing either.

In order for me to reach more people, that needs to change.  And I can only change that with your help.  

Again, please just go where you got 'em and leave a rating and review.

Here's my profile page on Smashwords, with all my books listed toward the bottom.
Here's my Barnes & Noble page (No, I don't know why my name is so jacked-up there.).
Here are some of my books on iTunes.  And here's DoaSL.
My books on Amazon.
On Kobo.
On Sony part 1.  On Sony part 2.
On Versent.

Any other e-tailers I didn't list?  Please, let me know.

And here's my Goodreads page.  That would help, too.

Beyond the good ol' "rate and review," tell your friends.  Send links to people you know who like BSG or zombies or time-travel stories or erotica.  My website's easy enough:  Please, pass it on.

Thanks for reading and thank you for your help.  I appreciate it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

'BSG: Blood & Chrome' Episode 1

Looks pretty good.  A bit lens-flarey.  The CG CIC looks good; not as noticeably false as I was afraid.  Love Bear McCreary's work, of course, on the score.

If you don't know, BSG: B&C comes out on Blu-ray and DVD in February:

Monday, October 29, 2012

TARDIS Halloween Costume

How to make a (Relatively) Simple TARDIS Costume

So James wanted to be a TARDIS for Halloween.  Being a lazy bastard, I rolled my eyes because I knew there would be no TARDISes on the shelf at Target.  "You've got your Finn (Adventure Time) costume from Dragon*Con.  Why not do that?"

"Awww.  I want to be a TARDIS."

"Ehh.  We'll see."

Last week, he said he would be Godzilla again this year.  He had been Godzilla for two years in a row.  It was cool and we used the sound shirt, too.  (Watch the video I linked in the previous sentence.)  The costume cost a little bit so I didn't mind the extra use.

But there was the slightest bit of resignation in his voice.  I didn't like that.  Yes, I'm a lazy bastard but I don't necessarily want to pass that on to him.

So I went to an office store and got most of that biz listed below.
  • A 20x20x20 unfolded box from any office supply store ($6)
  • An unused medium pizza box (preferably about 14"; free if you ask nicely)
  • Roll of gray fiberglass screen for windows (get white if you can; $6)
  • Two cans of "Gloss Brilliant Blue" spray paint ($4 each)
  • One can of white spray paint ($1)
  • One pack of Sharpies, one black and one blue ($5)
  • Top of hair product jar (free, if you dig it out of my wife's trash like I did) - You need a circular cap that fits on the bottom of the next thing ...
  • Cheap plastic drinking glass, mouth 3" diameter (less than $1)
  • Black posterboard (~$1)
  • White posterboard (~$1)
  • Taplight, about 2 - 3" in diameter ($3)
  • Multiple packs of 2" white block (or Helvetica) vinyl letter stickers (you'll need four 'X's and that meant four packs; $6 each)
  • Multiple packs of 1" white block (or Helvetica) vinyl letter stickers (you'll need twelve 'L's and that meant four packs; $5 each)
  • Blue construction paper ($1)
  • Bottle of tacky glue ($1)
  • Duct tape (you've already got that, right?)
  • TARDIS note (free, click here)
  • ThinkGeek Personal Soundtrack Shirt ($40, not really needed if you have a cell phone or a Doctor Who sound device)
  1. Assemble the 20x20x20 box with one end open.
  2. Measure two inches from the edges and three-and-a-half from the top (of the assembled end of the box).  This forms two sides of your windows.  From the 3.25" line, measure down 6.25".  This is the bottom of the window.  Find the midpoint on the box and bisect this rectangle.  Draw the inner edge of the window one inch on either side of this line.  You should end up with two rectangles seven inches long, six-and-a-quarter inches tall.
  3. Repeat on all four sides and then cut the rectangles out.  (I only did this on three sides because I worried about structural integrity.  Needlessly, as it turned out.  Also, you'll see in the video above that the front window is one big rectangle instead of two smaller ones.  This was for visibility's sake.)  Save the cutout bits for later.
  4. On the pizza box, measure to find the center point and then place your plastic drinking glass there.  Outline the mouth onto the box and then cut the circle out BUT cut it about a quarter of an inch smaller than your circle.  (This is so the box will fit more snugly on the glass.)
  5. Cut oblong arm holes on two opposing side of the box.  Place them wherever you'd like.  I measure my kid and put them where they seemed most natural.
  6. Glue the pizza box to the top of the bigger box upside down.  This is so the bulk of the cracks/creases will be underneath.
  7. Shake those blue cans and spray that mofo.  (Prop open the pizza box so it doesn't get painted shut.)  Also, paint the cap for your drinking glass.  Save some of the newspaper that got coated with blue.  You'll need it later.
  8. Measure out the roll of screen and cut out four rectangular panels, 20 inches long and 8 inches high.  Hang them from a wire or something and spray one side white.  (Don't spray them lying flat; the paint will likely fill the holes.)
  9. With your black posterboard, measure out four rectangles 19 inches long and 3 inches tall.  Also, measure and draw guidelines half-an-inch from the top and bottom of the rectangles.
  10. With your 2" vinyl letters, spell out "POLICE" on one side (the letters will likely need to be snug) and "BOX" on the other.
  11. With your 1" letters, spell out "PUBLIC" and place the tops on the top guideline.  Then spell out "CALL" and place the bottoms just below the bottom guideline.
  12. If you chose to leave the back windows intact (meaning you didn't cut rectangles out), use the cutout rectangles to trace and then cut out false windows on the white posterboard with blue construction paper lines for the panes.
  13. Use the rectangle cutouts to trace in pencil the detail rectangles under the windows on all four sides.  Use the blue Sharpie on the pencil.  It stays on the painted surface well and stands out just enough.
  14. Measure one inch in from the edges of the box on all sides and draw lines from near the top all the way to the bottom.  Then go over them and the center bisecting line in black Sharpie.  These form the so-called door lines.
  15. Resize the TARDIS note to be six inches tall and print it out.
  16. Glue it to the front in the left rectangle just under the window.
  17. Glue the "POLICE BOX" signs above the windows on all sides.
  18. Duct tape the screens inside the windows (with the spraypainted sides facing out).
  19. Open the pizza box, place the taplight inside and put the glass over it.  Close the pizza box.  See if there's any light spillage and then tape the blue-painted newspaper scraps inside to block it.
  20. If you've got a sound shirt or other audio device, download some TARDIS effects, theme music, etc.  
  21. Enjoy.
If you're an adult, this will easily cover your torso.  For a kid, it comes down to their thighs.

If I had it to do over again, I might have painted blue pane lines on the windows and gone ahead and cut out the rear windows, too.

Also, I might have tried to put a block of foam in the top of the TARDIS and cut out a small circle.  For his head.  I'm imagining Halloween night will be kind of difficult for him to keep it steady.  I might put something in there before then.

At any rate, I hope you like it.  Maybe some of you more crafty types can make it even better.

Friday, October 12, 2012

'Lords of Kobol' UPDATED Versions!

See?  Brand new cover designs for my Lords of Kobol books.

What?  No.  That's not the only thing I updated.  Jeez.

The maps inside are now full color.  I went through and did some selective editing.  (Re-reading them recently, I found some spelling errors, grammar errors, a poorly worded plot beat or two ...)

Also, I tightened up Book One.  It's been no secret that the first book was the hardest for me and in re-reading it with some distance between the present and the writing, I saw things that could be changed/shortened/removed.  There were some redundancies.  All in all, I removed five chapters from Book One.  You won't miss 'em.

So, if you're so inclined, head over to and download the newest versions!  (Currently, Smashwords has, in multiple formats, the new versions.  They'll trickle out to the other distributors in the coming weeks.)

Naturally, they're still FREE ...

(I've also updated Displaced.  The maps and chart are also full color.) Is Open!

Yes, is my official website and it's running right now.

It's pretty basic.  A simple one-stop shop for anyone interested in my stuff.  Easy to navigate with separate pages for my various different books/genres and several links provided for each work in order for you to download from just about anywhere you want.  New covers will be posted there, news, etc.

Of course, I'll keep maintaining this blog.  This is where I'll be getting detailed with every little thing.

In the meantime, check out  I appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"The Red Kick": DOWNLOAD NOW!

For years, citizens fed up with crime have donned masks to help their fellow man and call the police when the need arises. In Pilgrim City, one such seductive costumed hero has taken things further. 

 At night, she dances as Blaze or Ginger or Ruby at the city's strip clubs, scouting out and learning all she can from the seedy underbelly of her town. Later, she'll slip into her tight black outfit and her signature thigh-high red boots to patrol the streets as The Red Kick. She fights thugs, drug dealers and gangsters on the reg, but this time, she has uncovered a sprawling plot that threatens to destroy half her home and kill thousands. 

 "The Red Kick" is an action-packed, sex-filled novel written like a comic book. "BIFF! POW! BANG!" punctuates the adventures both on the street and in the bedroom (or in the strip clubs or wherever else the mood strikes). Put on your mask, grab your junk, punch fools and enjoy THE RED KICK!

All five "issues" for $4.99!

Download from Amazon HERE
Download from Smashwords (multiple formats) HERE
Download from iTunes HERE
Download from Barnes & Noble HERE
Download from Inktera HERE


5 out of 5 stars on Smashwords
4.25 out of 5 stars on Goodreads

"Thought this was a great little story, the cover art is awesome and reminiscent of Sin City and various other film noir classics. The writing style is original and evocative, the imagery great. The story itself reads like a cross between Dick Tracy and Kick Ass with plenty of action, intrigue and some hot sex. Everything a discerning guy could want in short. Oh and hot women."
-- Mikey Lee Ray

"Enjoyed this and will definitely recommend it. Great action and liked the way the steamy parts were written, hot." -- James Riddel


Not sure you want to buy the whole thing?  You can download "Issue #1" for FREE right HERE!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

'How to Raise a Geek'

Once The Red Kick is out of the way, I'll begin in earnest on my next book, How to Raise a Geek.

Yes.  A parenting book.  There will be funny stories and anecdotes and all kinds of fun stuff.  If you ever aim to (or already do) have kids, I think it will be worth your time.

In the meantime, I've rebranded my Tumblr to match this aim.  CHECK IT OUT.  I post pictures of cool toys, videos, movie posters and a lot more.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lords of Kobol - Book Zero: Taking Notes

Three years ago at Dragon*Con 2009, I sat down and wrote out a bunch of stuff that formed the skeleton of my Lords of Kobol trilogy.

At Dragon*Con 2012, I did the same for Lords of Kobol - Book Zero: Of Gods and Titans:
(Not sufficiently blurry, I had to white out a few spoilery things just in case you could read my writing.)

If you haven't already, read Books One, Two and Three now.

With an outline, I can start hanging flesh on it pretty soon.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

MST3K: James' Robots

As I mentioned in Tuesday's post, I felt there was something missing from this year's Dragon*Con: Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Every other time we've gone, some folks from the show were there to talk about old times, Cinematic Titanic or Rifftrax.  On one night, Joel, et al, would even show a whole CT episode to a room of hundreds.  Big fun.

I was disappointed when I saw none of the Brains were coming this year and I was even more surprised when I emerged from the weekend with a Satellite-of-Love-shaped hole in my heart.

There's a legit reason for this and it's all about my son, James.

When he was about two (maybe less), he toddled into the living room and saw me watching an episode.  He saw the 'bots goofing around on the bridge.  He looked at me and asked, "What's that?"  I answered, "Robots."  He said the word himself and plopped onto the floor and kept watching.  He got bored during the movie but he always perked up during the host segments.

Since I watched one episode every week at that time, he sat with me and watched with me.  He said the "La, la, la"s in the theme song, laughed at the shenanigans and said, "Robots silly."  After a couple of months, I had an idea.  I'd make a MST3K storybook for him.  We read a couple of books to him every night so why not one about MST3K?  I got the lyrics to the theme song, pulled some screencaps and made the thing.

Here it is.

I kid you not, he learned how to count to six because of the door sequence on that page.

I planned on making a Mike version, but time got away from me.  (In case you're wondering, James doesn't have a preference.)

So, you're wondering, exhaustedly, what the poopie does this have to do with Dragon*Con?

Beginning with our first trip some years ago, I took the book with me to Atlanta.  It was just me and my wife; the boy stayed with relatives given his age, natch.  But since folks from both Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax were there, I got them to sign the book.  Bill and Trace signed Crow's page; Kevin and Josh signed Servo's page; Frank signed the Mads' page; Mary Jo signed the page with the feather cannon.  (Haven't met Mike, Jim Mallon, Patrick Brantseg or Paul Chaplin yet.)

One year, Joel was there.  I had gotten a couple of the CT crew's signatures and I moved down the table.  He saw the book and immediately seemed intrigued.  He said, "Tell me about this."  I explained, in condensed form, how James first saw the show, his love for it, how he learned to count to six ... Joel smiled, nodded and said, "That's really cool."  And then he signed a page:
"To James, from your friend, Joel Hodgson"

Couple ALL of that with the fact that this year, the first of any year we went to Dragon*Con, was the first we took him with us ... I think you'll understand why I came away disappointed that nobody was there.

"'Waa, waa, waaa,' emo-Trey."  Yeah, I know.  James had fun and he's eager to go again.  Maybe next year he can meet the Best Brains himself.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dragon*Con 2012

Got back yesterday and here are some cool pix.  I didn't take nearly as many as I had in the past and there's a simple reason for that: we took our 9-year-old son with us.  Far more stressful than we imagined it would be.  While we navigated the crowds, we were too focused on getting him through with us intact and not so much on taking pictures.

Regardless, he had fun, we did, too, and here are some of the highlights for which we managed to take pictures.

 At the parade, a slew of Ghostbusters, including Jake & Elwood Blues.

Dr. Clayton Forrester (in boxers, for some reason) and The Master from "Manos": The Hands of Fate.

A DeLorean Time Machine (with Dr. Forrester at the wheel?).

A classic Time Machine, straight outta HG Wells.  The disk spun, too.

The Dude, complete with White Russian.

A Steampunk UFO, I think.  Whatever.  It looked cool.

Stan Lee.  Excelsior!

Amidst the video game characters, there came a group of Tetris blocks.

Mr. & Mrs. Freeze.  Nice that Nora came out of the cryo tank and joined him in his life of crime.

Go, Speed Racer!

Random characters, including Marceline the Vampire Queen, Lock, Stock & Barrel, Inspector Gadget, Mr. Hat and Carmen Sandiego.

The entire periodic table was represented, as seen here.

Sleestaks!  SSSsssssSSssssssSSSSSssssssssssss ...

AMC was on the ball with their anti-DishTV campaign.  The faux campaign character was staggering through the parade and meeting people all day long.

My son as Finn the Human, poses with Lady Rainicorn at the Cartoon Network store in the CNN Center.

He also managed to pose with a couple of Fiona's.  Here's one.

Here's another.  There were more but we didn't always get pictures.  And, for some reason, he didn't want his picture taken with one particularly badass (and hot) looking Marceline.

We did other stuff, too.
He met Adam West.  We've been watching the original series and he got a big kick out of that.

I saw Gillian Anderson.
She was totally making eyes at me.

We also met (and got an autograph from) Katee Sackhoff.  So pretty.  I had her convinced for half-a-sec that my son knew her as Bitch Pudding.

My favorite autograph is still this one from the Shat back in '09:

The Star Trek: TNG panel with Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn and LeVar Burton was a riot, the Saturday Galactica panel with an unscheduled Aaron Douglas filling in for Katee was hilarious, the big Lord of the Rings/Hobbit panel was funny ... Oh, and the Masquerade.  I nearly forgot.

This to-scale Totoro captured hearts and an award.

So did this cool pair of dinosaur skeletons.  Seems to have a Tyrannosaur skull, but with three-fingered forearm claws and a raptor toe claw ... I'm a dork.  I know it.

Stuff-wise, my son got a purring Tribble and an Adventure Time map, my wife got some jewelry and I got a signed Batman print from Neal Adams.

I realized after all was said and done that I missed something.  No, not a thing that was there and I missed but something that just plain wasn't there.  I knew going in it wouldn't be there but I didn't expect it to dampen my enjoyment as much as it did.  What was it?

The lack of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Seriously.  This was our fifth trip to Atlanta for Dragon*Con and for every other trip, there was some contingent of MST3K vets there to talk about the show, present some Cinematic Titanic or Rifftrax stuff and sign things.  In a day or two, I'll post the thing that really made me appreciate their coming.

In the meantime, Dragon*Con 2012.  It was fun.