Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why, hello there 

Feel like doing a little catching up? No? Well, hold still just a moment. This won't hurt but a little bit.

A.P.E. in San Francisco was a pretty fun time. San Fran, itself, is pretty grand. Would've been nice to have had a couple extra days just to kick around in the city, exploring and getting into trouble. As it was, the A.P.E. dominated most of our posse's time. I will say this, though. Whether you're drunk or sober, San Francisco is an absolute nightmare to navigate through if you're a visitor. The only difference between being lost when drunk versus sober is that you're enjoying yourself when you're drunk. For anyone living in L.A. that hasn't been to SF, think of Silverlake and how horrible it is to get around the streets there. Now imagine that Silverlake is the entire city. Sucks, doesn't it?

As for A.P.E. I didn't really know what to expect heading into the weekend. All I knew is that I was donning the uniform of Ca$h Milliondollars and philandering around the convention hall, promoting the ever-loving hell out of Asa's online comic (for which I am the muse). And that's what I did. Bling, blazer, captain's hat, white snakeskin shoes (which cut the hell out of my achilles tendons), monacle and all. I was pretty well in character on Saturday and as I dropped fliers and sample strips from booth-to-booth, I encountered mostly warm, positive responses. Here's the gammit of welcomes I received and my response to each:

Them - Nice hat, Captain.
Me - Why thank you. It's mine.

Them - Hey, I really like your monacle (got many many compliments on the monacle)!
Me - Oh sure, had it specially made with custom plastics. Rare.

Them - Hey, Captain. Where's Tenile?
Me - The fuck you think she is? I hacked her up into little pieces, some of which you can find in the dumpster out back. By the way, I fucked your mother and then pissed on your father's rotting corpse. Here... have a flier. We're at the booth down on the righthand side.

Generally a very friendly lot on the whole. As you might imagine, I ran into several people either later on Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, and/or Sunday who would snag me aside to say hi to the Captain. It was swell. Much smaller convention than I had expected, but the one panel I attended was a fairly accurate encapsulation of who was in attendance. As opposed to the super-nerds one might find at Comic Con, these were predominantly struggling, independant artists with a very workman-like ethic, dreaming of success while firmly grounded in the reality of how exceedingly difficult it is to excel in the comic book industry. Much less the mini-comic industry. It's a sensibility that I found true and respectable. I like it.

The drive back to LA on Sunday night went off without a hitch. Monday was filled with recupperation and organization, but over the course of the day I encountered little scenes that made me take stock in people or shun them. I did neither outwardly, but just observing can do wonders for your perspective. Walking back from lunch on Hollywood Blvd, I saw two elderly men, perhaps in their 60s, enjoying the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They were clearly from out of town and having a ball. One knelt down in front of Alfred Hitchcock's star while the other took a picture of him. The song "Old Friends" by Simon and Garfunkel immediately sprung to mind and I was actually really touched by the moment.

A little later, walking to the metro to pick up my car from the shop, I stopped at a crosswalk and hit the crosswalk button. As I do so, I see a pair of ladies arriving at the same time I do, observing me pressing the button. A beat and then one of the women hits the button, too. Why? Why'd she do that? She saw me press it. Two seconds earlier! I just gave her a glare as she slurped her stupid Jamba Juice. I'll teach her not to trust my button-pushing abilities. With a staredown!

So I hop on the Metro headed for downtown, grab a seat. A stop later, two high school girls sit next to me. They're gabbing and whatever and it's melodramatic and yadda yadda yadda. Then one drops a bomb on the other, revealing that the guy her friend doesn't like took her virginity and that's why she's stuck with him for so long. Not only that, but they did it unprotected. The girl with the confession begins to weep openly and her friend hugs her, burying her face in her bosom. The tears fade away and it seems as if a palpable weight has been lifted off the shoulders of not only this girl, but the whole train. The friends walk off at their stop, arm-in-arm. They couldn't have been older than 16.

Later, at the post office, I was sending off my taxes. Reaching the window, I asked for a pen so that I could write down the addresses on the envelopes. So I step out of line to do so, will come right back when I'm done, let the next person go ahead. But that next person... man... his face was totally fucked. Sounds harsh, but the guy's nose was literally bone thin -- the type of nose that could only have resulted from having your face burned off. But the guy wasn't a burn victim. Just his nose. And he had really long, stringy, greasy hair. Anyway, he steps up to the counter and the postal employee asks if Burnface's envelope was picked up at this location. If so, he'd had to pay for it. Simple question. Burnface got all red. Obsenities, personal attacks on the employee. It was ugly. Finally the employee relents and Burnface asks for a stapler so that he can "be sure his package is sealed. (tee hee)" This leads to another squabble as the employee states calmly that they're not supposed to staple packages. "WHY?" asks Burnface. He's told that the staples could hurt some postal worker's fingers (admittedly weak reasoning, but okay). Burnface's response, "Aww, well we wouldn't want that, huh? We wouldn't want anyone to hurt themselves on the staples. Let me ask you, does it make you sad to hear about all those dead soldiers in Iraq? Does it make you sad? Huh? Just answer the question, does it make you sad to hear about Iraq?" At this point, my head is buried deeply in my hands and I, like everyone else in the room, just wanted this guy out. For crying out loud, Burnface, just because you have a not-burn-face, doesn't mean you have to be a royal prick to this rarest of rare beings -- the polite, friendly postal worker. God! Quit being such a Burnface. "What the hell do you even have a stapler for, then," he snaps. "To staple receipts." ... "Oh."

Watched a surprising crowd-pleaser yesterday in Millions. Judging from the preview, I thought it would be the sappiest, syrupiest saccharine this side puppies and teddy bears giving Valentines to small children with cancer. What I found instead was an incredibly wonderful piece of storytelling. It's simple, clever, sweet, and sincere. And never does it once attempt to trivialize the emotions or actions of our young protagonists. Good film. Check it out.

I bet you're tired. You? Hey, I just drove into Phoenix, today. The travels don't stop on this white hot bus of passion. A.K.A. my bod. Went out to dinner tonight with my dad before he jetted off to work at an establishment called "Bahama Breeze." More like, "Diarrhea Breeze." No, actually, the food was fine. But the place was exactly like an Islands restaurant. Everything about it. The interior, the staff uniforms, menus, layout, you name it. Shit, even the front of the menus said, "Welcome to the Islands," which I found pretty funny. Anyway, I urge that you all refer to that place as "Diarrhea Breeze."

Good night.

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