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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Issue : Games : Introvert Exodus



It's that time of year again where the outside of the city I live in looks more like the inside of my workplaces. Nerds from all four corners of Pangaea walking around in tight formation, lanyards slung, bags in tow, stopping the flow of traffic on fifth street crosswalks to play live action Pokemon snap. The convention center playing kiosk Mecca, the crowd walking concentric circles around it like that onyx square to the east.

Tradition is like that, and fantasy world people love their comfort food. It didn't dawn on me until recently that the con is an event people elsewhere save for and dream about all year long. It's always just, been there. Or that it's a thing that has the the potential to persist even past the time we are all gone, unless someone in city planning decides it doesn't need to be, or decides it can't afford to be. That's California life though, all part of our grand tradition of taking bounty for granted. 

Sports teams, Conventions, all a matter of pragmatic fiscal feasibility I guess. Kind of like the Disneyland effect. As a kid you go there and Goofy is Goofy, the Matterhorn is a giant ice mountain you can ride through, and the magic costs nothing. 

As an adult Goofy is some kid dancing around in a heavy suit in the summer heat, and you wonder if he/she is staying hydrated. The Matterhorn is a rickety physics aberration, and the magic costs approximately a dollar a step. When the blinders are gone and you truly grasp just how much it costs to cast an illusion, you say, "Got-daam! A hundo for this!? Ten bucks just for that!?" Etc..  The only workaround for the Disney effect is going with someone who still believes in magic. 

Watching them run up and hug Mickey, squeal on the teacups, or eating one of those oversize lollipops make money worthless. Best part about the Con is that once a year everyone runs around acting like kids at Disneyland, and that's awesome. But c'mon, pick up after yourselves people, and learn to ride the trolley, clogging up the exit doors in a Gundam suit. Really?


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Issue : People : Lanyards


My name was Rommell Trias at the first comic con I ever attended. He was a photographer for some newswire that couldn't make it one day of the event, and a reporter buddy was kind enough to let me tag along with him while he worked. 

His only caveat was that I had to carry around this bulky camera, a cannon something or other, and that I had to pretend to know what I was doing. As in, he would interview people then say "Ok Rommell, get a couple angles, and we are done!" Then I would pantomime what I saw all the other photographers doing and saying, "Head up a bit please?" "Ohh this looks great!" He told me not to worry to much that I wasn't actually taking any pictures, he would throw on stocks if worse came to worse. 

But I learned very quickly that walking around the con with a camera was catnip to floor cosplayers, as they would stop people with cameras unsolicited to take pictures of them. And I would oblige, using the same tactics I learned on the famous people. Only thing is unlike the famous people who couldn't care less what the photos looked like, seven times out of ten the cosplayers  wanted to see the pictures, which means I had to start taking pictures. 

Not that I am complaining mind you, but my buddy treated them like homeless people begging for change outside of the 7-11. "Go on now! GET!" He told me to stop wasting rolls on them because he wasn't getting paid for floor shots, I asked him what was the point of bringing a camera to the stuff he was getting paid for, since he couldn't get paid for pictures we didn't take. He said, " Those flash wall pics never sell, and that's why you are Rommell Trias today."  

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