Thursday, July 29, 2010

San Diego Revisited, Part 2: Hero Worship at the Museum

Last week, we visited the San Diego Museum of Art (motto: "See Below for Our Motto in Mexican"), where they have an exhibit on the heroes of Greek mythology. My favorite part was the interactive bit, the bulletin board just outside the main exhibit, which asks the following question:

As you can see, there were many contributions. Here are some I liked in particular:

And, apparently from the opposing camp:

(though I am sorry to say Team Rocket got no love)

And, last but not least, my very favorite contribution of all, submitted by a young person who obviously took the Greek-hero theme to heart:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

San Diego Revisited, Part 1: The ComicCon!

I've now returned from the ComicCon, where, defying predictions, I never did contact the dreaded Pony Rot. So I guess I can call it a success. And that's not the only reason: those of you who remember last year's GREAT LOOMING PIKACHU ASS OF DEATH will be pleased to know I found a worthy - if not quite equal - successor in the Great Lego Buzz and Woody:

Let me tell you, these guys were popular. More Con attendees were interested in getting their pictures taken with old B. and W. here than with, say, Angelina Jolie. Side note: curiously, despite being an American and therefore exposed daily to more Angelina Jolie images than air molecules, I would probably never recognize her in person, whereas it took me approximately .05 seconds to recognize MythBusters' Grant Imahara in the crowd outside the convention center, an anecdote I related with great enthusiasm to my sister, a loyal fan of the series:

MY SISTER: Like you even care about the show.
ME (Cleverly): Shut up.

My other Celebrity Sighting occurred while my dad was doing signings, when some guy from some TV show walked by the booth. I have no idea what TV show or who the guy was, but I am assured it was awesome. So I just wanted to share the experience with you. Thank you.

Here is my father (on the left) at his signing, alongside author Alan Dean Foster:

I will of course refrain from mentioning those four Pibgorn books on the table, available respectively for $26.99, $16.99, $19.99, and $18.99 from Pib Press,, and not mentioned in this paragraph.

But you and I have not yet discussed the most pivotal, the most fundamental - yes, the most meaningful - part of the ComicCon: namely, finding a lot of perfectly useless products you absolutely totally desperately need NOW NOW NOW. I refer specifically to the following journal, distributed by Chronicle Books, which has cute little anthropomorphized internal organs on the cover. Every home should have one:

I don't know for a fact, but I like to think they have names, like Sally Spleen and Patrick Pancreas. (DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: If you were an anthropomorphized spleen, how would you feel? Do you think it would be difficult to be a girl spleen? Explain.) Either way, Chronicle Books has become hands down my favorite publishing company, easily eclipsing all the other publishers I pretty much never had any opinions about anyway. Not just for the internal organ diary, but for the following notecards, suitable for familial communications:

Thus it is with a heavy heart that I return to "the grind" back east, with an entire ComicCon-devoid year stretching before me, a year of no parasitic bloodsucking supervillains whatsoever, at least not unless I feel like going over to the university Career Counseling Center. So I'm a little melancholy right now, but it'll pass. After all, there's always next year. I'll be back at the ComicCon before I know it.

Who knows: I may even be moved to send you a notecard.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Notes from the Land of Geek Bling

Edit: Footnotes fixed. Whoops.

I'm at the San Diego ComicCon, where, each July, thousands upon thousands of eager comics fans descend on this city* with a hearty WHUMP, splattering face paint everywhere and causing seismic activity as far away as Phoenix. Yes-sir-ree, they are a “breed apart,” these hordes of Popular Arts enthusiasts. They are “wacky,” they are “kooky,” they are “off the wall.” And now, they’re here once again, to show the world just how wacky and kooky and off-the-wall they are by means of basically all dressing up as the same licensed mass-market characters as everybody else.

(Interesting side note: a little while ago, my father observed a guy in intense sci-fi getup – highly elaborate alien costume, menacing props, bodily makeup worth more than the gross national product of Luxembourg,** etc. – pick up his cell phone and say, with a perfectly hangdog expression and no hint of self-awareness, “Yeh? … Naw, naw, I can’t do that, ‘cause I gotta go to … ” as his advanced weaponry clanked forgotten by his side. It was an odd juxtaposition, the kind that brings you right back “down to earth,” or would if you didn’t already notice the scads and scads of nametags, eyeglasses, Hasbro collectibles, paunches, etc.)

And speaking of collectibles: say what you will of the ComicCon, but it is here I have learned of the dangers of Pony Rot. I am dead serious here. I visited a collectibles counter run by a lady dealer who takes her collectibles-selling very, very, very seriously. Seriously enough that we had the following exchange:

ME: So do you actually get this much for your My Little Ponies? I mean, I sell them on eBay, but I only get about half this much.

HER: Oh, yes. See, in a place like this, people can touch them, and that’s what makes the difference. (Pause.) It’s very sexual, you know? Very sexual.

I smiled at her in what I hope was a nonchalant manner, but she might not have noticed on account of I had suddenly relocated across town. However, we did eventually continue talking, and that was when she filled me in on Pony Rot. I swear. She said – in the same tone of voice she might have used to introduce to her teenage daughter the notion of Personal Freshness – “Have you had to deal with Pony Rot?” I said I couldn’t say I had. She explained: it’s a condition the old My Little Pony dolls get wherein they develop rings around their various little pony parts, causing all the other collectibles to ostracize them, not breathe in near them, spread whispered rumors that they sleep around with the Care Bears, etc. I asked what you do about Pony Rot, but – and you have no doubt guessed this already – there is no cure. Thus it is very, very important that you be aware of its dangers before you ever get to this stage. If I have helped one person today, I sincerely hope that person and I shall never meet.

Other notable sights seen at the Con:
- Jewelry for sale called “Geek Bling”

- A guy loping through the crowd holding up a sign reading, quote, “I NEED TO PEE” (this sign was shaped like a yellow blotch)

- Another guy with a T-shirt that said: GONE TO HAPPY PLACE – BACK SOON.

- A genuine handcrafted statue of Marilyn Monroe with – this is true – Mickey Mouse boobs. Of course you can be sure this was highly historically inaccurate; in real life, her boobs looked like Goofy.

- At this same booth, a statue of Barney the Dinosaur with a skull in his mouth. This is just a little disconcerting, because when you were little, weren’t you just a little afraid that sometimes Barney, while taping a show alongside his cute little human co-stars, got hungry, and, you know, ATE one of his cute little human co-stars, like maybe Min the little Filipino girl? Well, obviously, I never thought about this.

- The people hanging around outside the Con informing us that the CIA is evil.

And with that, I’m off to another day of merrymaking at the Con. If you’re there, you should definitely stop by and say hi.*** Have fun, be safe, watch out for light sabers anywhere near your personal eyeballs, and – whatever you do – do it with protection, and don’t, don’t, DON’T contract Pony Rot. Know the dangers now, for yourself and for future generations.

* Los Angeles.
** Estimated at 13 euros, a button and half a chicken sandwich. But still.
*** Try and find me.

(c) 2010 Nicola McEldowney

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stay tuned!

I'm at the Comic Con, where I've already had a load of rollicking good entertainment in the form of wonko batshit crazies, er, excuse me, popular arts enthusiasts. More on that to come soon.

In the meantime, check out the webegirls (.com) blog where a new column of mine went up this morning.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Scenes from home

SAMMY (the Siamese cat, who bleats rather than meows): Maaaaaa
ME: Maaaaaa
SAMMY: Maaaaaa
ME: Maaaaaa
SAMMY: Maaaaaa
ME: She keeps responding. I wonder what she thinks I'm saying.
MY SISTER: She's probably correcting your pronunciation.

In other language-related matters, my mother observed earlier today that the term cul de sac means, roughly translated from French, "ass bag".*

I am deeply proud of my genes.

*Of course, it is literally "ass of bag," but I suppose I will have to let that little detail slide.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A quickie

With apologies for not being better these days about blogging from work ...

1. My next piece, "Culture Schlock," is up at Scrolling required: I'm a little late on the announcement, which means it's a few pieces down from the top. It's the one with a picture of a Starbucks logo next to it.

2. I'll once again be accompanying my father to the San Diego ComicCon next week, which means I'll do my best to blog about my fantastic adventures such as discovering that Hello Kitty toilet paper last year.

3. These four guys may be old news to some of you, but I myself only discovered them the other day: