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Comic-Con 2009 TABLE for Wire-heads.com [23 May 2009|12:26am]
In case you have not seen the latest Comic-Con Booklet, wire-heads.com is listed among the Small Press Pavilioin Exhibitors.  We will be at Table S-13 (same as last year).  This is against the back wall of the Con, just off of Aisle 1500.
Yeh!  Also, we will have a LIFE-SIZED Zombie Bunny there (we take orders) as well as skateboards, shoes, t-shirts, buttons
and of course, WIREHEADS: BOOK 3 "In the Hall of the Zombie Bunny Queen!"

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Quick one -- COMIC CON 2009! [27 Apr 2009|09:48am]
Wire-heads will be at Comic-Con this Summer in the Small Press Pavillion again.  Be sure to look for the Zombie Bunny Plush!  Heh heh.  In other news, today (April 27th, 09), marks the 300th strip for Wire-heads!  Whoo-hoo!

         fireworks, bands playing, shouting/cheering in the streets!

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I Survived Comic-Con! [29 Jul 2008|10:19am]
I have many, many images from San Diego to share, but mainly I want to say "THANKS!" to all the wonderful Wirehead's fans and newbies who came by our Small Press table, said Hi, listened to my pitches and bought stuff! Comic-Con was Awesome and the crowd's responded really well to "Zombie Bunnies!" Seems like Wirehead's struck a nerve there. A nerve which we will begin teasing and taunting greatly over the next year. By the time San Diego comes around again, we should be well on our way to the Hall of the Zombie Bunny Queen! [salute].

So, right now, I'm at work, waiting on a render (note to self: What to do while waiting on a render? Update your Blog!), so I don't have the pix with me. Tonight, I will start putting them in.

The table was fun and I had the BEST NEIGHBORS surrounding me! Randy of WCG Comics! and Tim, founder/creator of Comic Foundry! You guys were great! Hope we can do it again next year.

More to come.
- Jimbo

Okay, well, August has been amazingly busy, so here are FINALLY some Comic-Con images (Can we get a small "Yeh?"):

This is the Wireheads Booth in the Small Press Area (aisle 1500). And another view of it.

Did you see us? We were right next to The Comic Foundry (2008 Eisner nominee). They were really nice, enthusiastic people; especially after lunch when they woke up! Here they are -- Tim, Laura and Michelle! (Awake, it must be afternoon).

Also, on the other side of my booth, my other neighbor was a super nice guy, writer and artist, Randy Reynaldo, who creates the comic "Rob Hanes" from WCG Press. Great inking style and comic-style, a sort of "Terry and the Pirates" look, but brought up to date adventures. His daughter was the cutest BatGirl ever.

Here are several views from my hotel room of the Convention Center (and the fireworks over the bay):

Plus, as usual, there were many, many cool cosplayers venturing by. Here is just a sample:


Captain Jack -- nice sword.

Penguin and frends.

Poison Ivy - She had a different character costume every DAY! I think she was schilling for someone down the aisle.

A bevy of Bounty Hunters. Love the look on the 2 boys faces.

Yeah, the non-cosplayer is me! Finally getting out from behind the booth.
And no wonder...

And I wonder how many people really remember Plastic Man!

And the aisle I was on (against the back wall) was ALWAYS busy. A lot of folks stopped by to inquire about Zombie Bunnies. We sold all our buttons (in 24 hours -- note to self), the t-shirts sold out by day 3, and the books by the last day. I guess you guys like Zombie Bunnies. Look for a lot more of them in the strip coming soon.

This guy was Johnny-on-the-spot since Mummy3 had just come out!

And of course, Comic-Con would not be complete without a visit to Jennie Breeden in her booth. Funny. She looked at me the second time a came by and said, "You look really familiar. Should I know you?" I gave her a hug, smiled and walked off.

That's it for this year. I'm hoping to find some looneys like myself for next year, 2009, who want to form a co-op and get a nice booth on the floor. Any takers?!

See you soon.
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Writer's Block: In the Event of a Zombie Emergency [29 Jul 2008|10:18am]
Are you prepared for a zombie outbreak, or are you just going to wing it?

I am preparing for a Zombie outbreak, albeit in Janet's dreams or troubled sleep as it were. Yeah, that is coming BIG TIME.
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WONDER-CON!! (...and we're back) [28 Feb 2008|10:54am]
Okay, this HUGE space is now reserved for what will be an epic post in my LJ (as soon as Speed Racer production allows me to have a real day off, that is). I have pictures (although, not enough) and I have commentary for all of them, plus I finally attended a Con beside Comic-Con. YEH!

Now that I broke that virgin experience, I'm looking forward to preparing for Comic-Con in July (Yes, I have a table in the Small Press "Pavillion" as they call it --> Pavillion? There's only one building.) The nice thing about being in small press as opposed to Artist's Alley is that I will be MUCH closer to all of the other webcomic clowns that I know (I foresee balloon wars and maybe more mischevious EVIL among the webcomickers --> How can I start this? Ideas welcome).

I think we could have quick-draw middle of the aisle gun battles, but maybe it's really a DRAW-ing contest challenge thingy. Hmmm...

Anyway, more to come once I have my photos in the same computer to post.

Cheers! AND...


The wire-heads booth over in Small Press at Wonder-Con!

And with the addition of yours truly!

Here is the outside of Moscone on the first day (Rainy and cold -- Brr...)

A few fans waiting to get inside...

Some Con Pix to remember...

Some pix from the floorl...

Yes, getting throttled by the Dragon-Ninja!

Yeah, the Dragon-Ninja was the coolest costume at the Con.

And one final shot of the floor...

Til Next Time. It was fun.
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Back from Comic-Con... [30 Jul 2007|01:48pm]
[ mood | from the Con ]

Yep, I'm back. Still exhausted. Have pics, stories, new knowledge, etc. As Jennie said, "What a Mar-a-thon!" Will post more soon.

UPDATE: I have images on my HTC phone and would have posted by now, but ActivSync has decided not to work for the first time (Thanks MicroSquish). So, I have to re-install the software and hope for the best. If all of that crap finally works, I should be able to post tonight or tomorrow. Hang in there!

OKAY, HERE WE GO: I left work about mid-day in Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 25th. This was after working the previous 2 weeks to get everything ready for Comic-Con; Getting the new Wireheads Book ready, getting business cards printed (Yes, I print them myself to save $$), getting button displays setup and getting ahead on comics, so that I could leave to see all the lovely people. Not to mention all the paperwork, tax forms, etc. that CCI (Comic-Con International) requires.

So, 3 and a 1/2 hours later (it's only 100 miles, but the traffic always sucks going to and from San Diego from LA), I finally arrive excited, worried and elated in downtown San Diego. Fortunately, the traffic was not bad. I checked into my hotel, the Manchester Grand Hyatt (cool hotel) and dropped off my bags.

Here was the view from my room:

Pretty bitchin', huh? Well, I liked it. Nothing like overlooking the San Diego Harbor entrance at Sunset!

I wanted to get Clydene (see below) a present of something she liked for including me in the Artists' Alley list this year, so I asked the Concierge in the Lobby if there was a stuffed Toy store near by and he told me there was one 200 ft. out the back door of the Hotel in something called "Seaside Village." I walked out back and found a HUGE outdoor mall along the hardbor's edge. After asking directions 2 or 3 times, I finally found "Seafari Toy Village" and entered. Now, Clydene had told me that she liked chocolate and Polar Bears. In fact, she had sent me a picture of a cute Baby Polar Bear from a European Zoo that she liked. I entered the Toy Store and asked about Polar Bears. They said something like "ceramic or plush" and I said "stuffed." So, after a little initial confusion, they brought out this perfect Stuffed Polar Bear (exactly what I had in my mind's eye) from a Toy Company callee Aurora that had "just been put on the market" according to them. Got it. Wrapped it up and left for the SDCC.

Anyway, I'd been told by Clydene, the manager of Artists' Alley, that we would be able to unload at the loading dock behind the Convention Center (SDCC), but found out I could do that, but the Union guys would charge me $95 an hour (1 hour minimum) to let me use the dock and they would have to carry it for me. F-that! I parked at the only available public parking lot next to (read: just East about 300 meeters and six floors up -- Hey, at least I was next to the elevator), the parking below the SDCC was filled by 2 or 3pm, and walked inside to figure out registration. I found the line for the Professional Registration and stood there for a minute, but then saw that I had to go to the "Artists' Alley Registration." There was a special booth for that. I had my bag with credentials, tax forms, etc. and the Polar Bear in another bag from the store.

I got to the front of the line and went to the Artists' Alley Booth. I saw Clydene sitting there (I remembered her from 2006) and waited for a couple of artists' to finish. I stepped up, she smiled, said hi, Jimbo and I handed her the bag. She was really excited and loved the bear! Yeh! Apparently, she carried it around all weekend and told other artists' that I had asked what she liked and gotten her a present. Which, by the way, I totally think she and others who put this thing on all year deserve. Little gestures like that go a long way in all walks of life. Just do it once-in-a-while, really pays off, and it makes me happy to see them happy.

Anyway, now I had my credentials and it was about 4pm. The Con opened for Preview night in 2 hours and I had yet to unload my car. I walked inside and saw everything -- Giant Booths, small Press booths, Artists' Alley all in a state of getting setup and ready. I found my table on Artists' Alley, EE-03. Now, knowing where I was going to be, I headed for the car to find the shortest path from it to the table since I was going to be walking it 4 times.

Security was already up and doing its job since thousands of people were already there 2 hours early milling around out front, waiting for the Con to open.

Hot, sunny and sweating (although, not nearly as humid and hot as the previous year, I made the 4 trips to the car and setup my table. I finished setting up about 1/2 hour after the Con opened, but I was so excited to be there and be a part of it all, I didn't care. Heck, there were 3 tables around me that didn't even show up for the first night!

I set out my buttons, t-shirts and books and started drawing with my portable animation table (which attracted quite a bit of attention on Artists' Alley what with most artsists' drawing in their laps or on the table in front of them. With my table, I had a light board and animation disc built-in for quick work).

Anyway, as I got setup, I noticed some old friends from previous years setting up as well. Nigel the Pirate of Keelhauled Studios was just 3 rows away and selling some really cool shrunken heads (which he said "were difficult to explain to the guy on the plane coming over.") The shrunken heads looked like shrunken heads, but in the typical Nigel way were actully stress balls for squeezing after working too long at a computer. As always, Nigel was a real gentlemen, fretting over how he didn't have someone to send along with me to help with the loading.

On the next aisle over I saw "John Boy" Myers, a great DC and Marvel illustrator that sat by me in 2006. We chatted like old friends and later I talked with him about helping out with a trailer I want to produce. He introduced me to his friend "Attila?" who sat next to him and told Attila to show me what he had on his PSP. REALLY Cool. Attila had created a trailer for this Graphic Novel he wants to produced using his drawings and doing moves on them in After Effects. He downloaded the MPG files to the PSP and could take it in his pocket anywhere to show complete with Music and Sound Effects. How cool is that?

Got me thinking right there.

Here is how my table along Artists' Alley looked (from the front without me sitting there):

Over the next several hours of Comic-Con's Preview Night (6 to 9pm), I started honing my pitch for people as they came by...

"Hiya. I'm a visual effects' artist by trade. I worked on Spider-Man3 and Ghostrider this last year and at night after work, I create this comic called "Wireheads" which is about what goes on at work." Typically, they would laugh at this point. And I would add "Feel free to look through and ask me anything about it." They would stand there a flip through the book. Some bought, some were interested, some asked about the web site (gave them a buziness card) and some bought stuff like t-shirts, books and buttons. I was getting there. Finally, selling stuff at a Con -- Hey, a new experience for me. The previous year at Comic-Con, I was happy simply to promote what little work I had done at that time. This year was going to be about finding out what to sell, how to sell it, and how to produce the books more cheaply.

Preview night was over and I made it to the sixth floor (remember, near the elevator?) around 9:30pm. Well, by then, the wait to get into the spiral that would take you off the sixth floor was about 45 minutes, then 15 to 20 minutes to get out of the building. We were already paid, so no one was taking money, it just took that long because of the traffic flow to get into the streets down below. I finally got back to my hotel (3 blocks away) at about 11pm. All the restaurants and Cafes were already closed, so I had to order room service. With no lunch and no dinner and late at night, I ordered a green salad and a quesadilla. The quesadilla kept me lightly sleeping all night in the new hotel room and I was already tired for my first full nine-hour day at the Con.

I had a "breakfast voucher" that came with my room that I would have to pick up at the front desk each morning. This being the first morning and me being me, I was nervous about being late. I just wanted to get to the Convention Center 1/2 hour before the place opened up so that I could set up and be ready when the floor opened at 10am. So, I thought, "Fine. Get up at 7:30, get a shave and shower, get breakfast, read the paper and walk to the Convention Center 3 blocks away. Arrive by 9:30am and everything is golden."

I went to the front desk, got my voucher, asked about extending my stay at the Manchester for all 4 nights instead of switching over to another Hotel as I had planned previously (plans changed since my wife and son were planning to join me for the weekend and I knew they would like this place). Went to the only breakfast cafe in the hotel with my voucher -- twenty minute wait! Hmmm... Not conducive to my needing to get through this quickly. I asked if I could just get the food "to go." They looked at me like I was speaking Swahili. They just were not set up for that. Knowing what I know now, they could have easily sent me to the coffee shop at the other side of the lobby, but no... They needed to suffer through. "Could I get a coffee while I wait? (more Swahili looks). Funny how everyday service requests can seem so difficult to a poorly managed enterprise. Someone finally got a coffee for me about 15 minutes later. Right after that I went through the line with a plastic "to go" box they had to get from somewhere deep in the kitchen -- You know, if you just put them outside, I could have been out of your hair 15 minutes ago. But with food and newspaper in hand, I headed to the empty bar in the lobby to eat, read and get out of there.

I walked with about 5,000 other people at 9:15 am in the direction of the SDCC and Comic-Con International (which it said on the side of the building in 10 foot letters).

I got inside with my Exhibitor's badge and started to setup. A guy "Larry?" who monitored and managed the Alley came by (big smile on his face). He remembered me from the previous year and we chatted as I setup. He would later come by with this cool Artists' Challenge that everybody on the Alley did.

The Con Floor, minutes before opening on Thursday morning:

[I'm going to pause here and continue this later. I'm still tired from the Con and have a LOT to do over the next several days to stay ahead on the strip. So, I will complete this when I can later on. MORE TO COME!]

- Jimbo

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The Police! [24 Jun 2007|10:56pm]
Yep, I saw The Police, the great band from the 80s with Sting singing and playing bass, Andy Summers on Guitar, and Stewart Copeland playing drums and percussion. Never have three guys on stage made so much sound and music! It was in Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and I understand that there were approximately 55 to 60 thousand fans present. I described it to my wife as "a Police songbook sing-a-long led by Gordon Sumner"(Sting) and she countered by calling it a large karaoke night, but without the lyrics being read. Everyone knew the lyrics. At one point during the concert, the crowd was singing "Roxanne", one of the band's famous hits at the top of their lungs along with Sting. Pretty amazing to listen to such a huge crowd singing together like that.

The lead-off band was called Fictionplane and featured the singing and playing of Sting's son.
The second band, though, was much more famous -- The Foo Fighters! They were great. I had heard some of their music, but had not been a fan until last night. The lead singer said, "It was an honor to be leading off the 'Greatest Rock Bank' in the world. Here is a picture from their set. Kim and I were down on the field, just outside the pitcher's mound, about 120 feet from the stage in the outfield.

The lead singer, guitarist for the Foo Fighters at one point, got down in the crowd and continued playing after he crawled up on some equipment boxes about mid-field. Apparently, now-a-days, it's very common for all the musicians to have their instruments communicating "wirelessly" in arenas, so, it wasn't too unusual for him to play, but I dare say the distance (several hundred feet) was a challenge because of the sound delay. Although, he seemed to pull it off just fine. Secret: watch the drummer's stick as it moves and ignore the sound as you hear it. Play with what you see, and you'll be okay.

After the Foo Fighters, there was about a half-hour of additional setup and the Police came on. They played hit-after-hit for an hour and forty minutes. Andy Summers, I think, is having a time of keeping up with his former "chops", but from what I heard, he is catching up. It's only a matter of time and he'll be right there with Sting and Stewart Copeland's abilities.

Here's some pictures of the grandstands before they filled up and the sun went down. By the time, the Police started, they were full -- A sold-out performance!

After the Sun went down, the lights finally went out and the Police came on, the stage went berserk with lights as well. Here is one where they were playing "Demolition Man."

And, naturally, they put on the red lights when they played "Roxanne."

Kim and I stood almost the whole 4-hours of music and danced and danced and danced along with singing at the top of our lungs (not that you could hear anyone).

Great concert! Great band! Glad to see them together, having fun and touring again. And before last night, like I said, I hadn't bought any Foo Fighters, but now I will. My son, Jack, was terribly jealous. He really likes them. (Of course, I didn't know they would be playing before we went. They didn't play the other local venues where the Police were playing over the last week).

Cheers and Enjoy!
- Jimbo
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Star Wars Con! [30 May 2007|10:02pm]
I went with my family to the Star Wars Celebration IV this last Sunday (May 27th, 2007). It was apparently a Star Wars memorabilia Convention as well as one of the Cons where they have endless (it was FIVE days long) chats, forums, and panesl discussing what could have been and what may be in the future of the attendees favorite fantasy experience. Needless to say, there were thousands of people. I thought to myself, "How can I NOT go to this? No, I'm not a huge fan, but how could I allow myself to miss seeing such a gathering of the Clan Geek?" Nah, had to go. So, I plunked down my $112 entry fee for 2 adults with kid and off we went.

Ironically, my wife had $60 bucks stolen from her by a machine right off the bat. I mean, we hadn't even registered (we were in line) and an ATM took $160 from her account, but only gave her $100 -- FYI: mobilemoney.com! Just say no.

Okay! And here is where I was going to post about 100 pictures I had taken with my mobile (some really great shots, too), but they are gone with the ether.

Yep, all the pix I took at the Scottish Highland Games in Pomona (horses, bands, hundreds of people in kilts) and the full day at the Star Wars Con -- gone. Yes, I feel like crap, but in this wonderful tech world, shit happens.

This evening, I should have had my comic and all of this done hours ago, but due to some fun with Windows XP OS, I panicked at one point thinking I needed more space on the PC and removed a folder of all the pics. I hadn't realized that those were not just copies of what was on my mobile. They hadn't been copied over, they had been MOVED over to the PC from the mobile.


Sorry. I'm really disappointed. No amount of verbage will sucessfully describe the pix, so I'm not really going to try.

Well, now I know. Which is so damned typical of things that computers make you do. Why would you move the files over, when you could easily copy them and removed them from the device later?

Ah well.
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Not APE-ing [19 Apr 2007|05:43pm]
[ mood | artistic ]

Well, sorry, but Wireheads will NOT be at APE this weekend. Yes, I really, really wanted to attend, but because of the crush of work on the end of Spidey3, just couldn't get everything together. Like getting a table. Sheesh! I must've had that paperwork on my desk for 2 montsh. They sure blew by. Next time I looked up the "reserve to get your name in the publishing" was gone. And the next time I looked up, the "tables are all gone" date had passed.

So, merch is still in-progress. 6 color buttons are on their way to me from the press. I'll be mounting all those for sale. And, I'm waiting for a date retrieval to start the book of the first year. Yep, disk crash last September at strips 11 though 34. We'll see if they can get them back. Yikes.

But on the positive side, I'm done with Spidey, awaiting my next assignment and now looking for another Con to attend in APE's place sometime between now and ComicCon in San Diego. So, if you have any suggestions, send them my way.

Cheers, everybody.
- Jimbo

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The Oscars 2007 [26 Feb 2007|08:54pm]
[ mood | chipper ]

Just in case you didn't know, I'm a member of the Academy or A.M.P.A.S (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences). 'Have been since 2000 after my work on Dinosaur and other pictures got me admitted into the Visual Effects' branch.

So, every year, my wife and I enter the lottery (eg. there are about 10,000 members of the Academy and only about 5,000 seats at the Kodak Theater) for tickets. This year, we got lucky and got the best seats we've ever had. We were sitting on the bottom floor just behind the orchestra section, so every time there was a planned shot of the audience (Yeah, this isn't a sporting event. The audience shots are planned ahead of time), the Klieg lights would go up in our face. But it was cool being on the same floor with some of the nominees and celebrities.

Heck Larry David of Seinfeld and his own show on HBO sat at the end of our row (on the aisle, of course. More camera time there. Ha.). We sat next to a couple of guys who must be worth a penny or two since they insure and bond almost all of the films for the major studios.

"Oh, who do you work with?"
"Disney, Fox, Paramount, Universal, Dreamworks, Columbia, Sony..."
"No independants?"
"Oh, no. I think we do mostly independants, don't we?"

And on and on and on... They were very charming fellas and we chatted with them most of the evening, but I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

First, days ago, we found out where we were sitting by snail mail from the Academy. My wife was the one who noticed the little footnote "Orchestra/Paterra".

"What's a Paterra?"
"Holy Crap, are we in the Orchestra?"
"I wonder where Al Gore is sitting."

My wife has worked on literally hundreds of commercials, theme park attractions and films over the last 25 years. She has done wonders with a diet and exercise over the last year and I encouraged her to "show it off." She decided to design and build her own gown. Now, I know she's good, but I had no idea just how good. Wednesday morning there was still no dress, no material. By mid-morning, she had bought the material. By 11pm that night, there was a dress. By the next night, it was done and tailored perfectly.

"What is that?"
"That, my husband, is about a $6,000 dress!"
"Holy crap!"

But wow, did it look great.
I, being the peacock of the genders, would simply pull out the penguin suit I had worn previously and wear the amazing oriental silk vest (gold, of course with matching gold tie) that she had made years before.

The promised photo of us on our way to the shindig!

I arranged a time to get my hair trimmed and the car detailed. (After all, don't want the Valet looking down their nose at you, do we?) She set times for getting hair done, nails done, skin done, massage, feet, hands... I'm not sure what all needed to get done, but she sure looked amazing when it was all complete.

I thought she looked just like a young Helen Mirren, the actress who would later take home the Oscar for Best Actress in Stephen Frear's "The Queen." My date, ahhhh... Never looked better. I wanted to take her in some private room, and... Well, more about that some other time.

Anyway, I also arranged... Lunch!

You see, when we have gone to this event in the past, we learned over the course of years of attending that they really, really DON'T feed you. Yes, what they do bring tastes great. Yes, it's catered by the infallable Wolfgang Puck, but... You consider yourself lucky if you can find a waiter/waitress bringing food and when you do find one, often the platter is...

"Oh sorry, just empty. Let me run off to the kitchen. Be right ba-ack."

And you never see them again.

On the other hand, there is a bar on every floor and the booze (Yeah, good stuff) is free. Well, until the program starts, then it's a cash bar. And the food at that time dwindles to brownies and little, dry chicken salads. I don't think Wolfgang has anything to do with this cuisine.

So, I made a luncheon appointment, otherwise know in the restuarant parlance as a reservation.

I made it a full week before we would need it.

When I told a friend of mine who inquired where we would be eating, he said, "Wow. WHEN did you make THAT reservation? Last Summer?"

Well, as luck would have it, it was only last week. I had a reseravtion at THE IVY.

The Ivy is a nice restaurant in West Hollywood on Robertson Boulevard. It is also the cafe/restaurant where all of the Agents from William-Morris, CAA, and many others take their clients for lunch and as a result has a certain cache for Hollywood class. In other words, for completely inexpicable reasons, it's popular, crowded and expensive and full of "The Beautiful People." We spent a casual morning getting a nice, light meal (else we not fit our clothes) and chatting with our wonderful neighbors (we really, really like the new neighborhood we moved into. Then around noon, we realized, we'd better start moving our butts and getting ready.

Kim jumped into the shower first and I followed.

See, the broadcast starts at 5pm Pacific Standard Time. In that was, it's a bit early in the evening on the West Coast of North America, and prime time (8pm) on the East Coast. So, the Academy, or particularly, ABC who pays a LOT of money for the rights to broadcast the event, wants us, the attendees, in our seats by 5pm. To do this, they make the place more attractive, by throwing the "red carpet arrival party" around 3:30pm. Then, no matter when you arrive for the next hour-and-a-half, an announcer annoyingly tells you over the house public address system again and again, how many minutes are left to "get in your seats, please."

Kim and I had lunch, a lovely lunch, at The Ivy, with our reservation set for 1:30pm. Naturally, we were late, and the staff at the Ivy was very understanding. We only had to wait for ten minutes to get seated, probably around 2pm. On one side of us was a charming Southern couple visiting the area for the first time and on the other was a Mother-Daughter combo where, for the first time, it really was difficult for me to tell which was which. The Mom, apparently, asked me, "Are you going to the Oscars tonight?"

Me in tux and Kim in her unbelievably beautiful silk gown...

"Uhm, yes, yes we are."

We chatted about that with the Mom/Daughter and the Southern Couple. The waiter brought us great food, nice hors d'oeuvres, and plenty to drink. We finished around 3pm and went by a friend's house, Joyce, to do last minute make-up again, tie straightening and put on the AUTO PASS that all the car's going to Valet at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue need to get in. We took the route suggested by the map and got to see saw tons of snarled traffic.

"Why do they have to close down Hollywood for this friggin' thing every year. Damn!"
"What thing?"
"The OSCAR thing!"
"Oh, is that today?"

And on and on and on...

We finally got to the blockades where we were waved through and everyone else acted like deer in the headlights. Then we saw it. The amazing Media gauntlet glinting in the afternoon sun. Oh no, wait. Those are camera strobe lights.

We stopped and politely chatted with the Los Angeles Police Bomb Squad, drug sniffing Rin-Tin-Tins and the Fire Department, who were eating in the street at the time, I think. Anyway, we waved at them as we entered the bomb corridor. Bomb corridor? Yeah, the security guys rig up a bunch of those concrete blockades, so that you have to zig-zag your car through a maze to get to the drop-off point.

The street was lined with onlookers, police and a few protesters.
"Global Warming is a FRAUD!"
Okay, maybe, but I wouldn't depend on that one.

We finally got to the end of the line where a couple of nicely-dressed ladies with headsets asked us to get out of our car, handed me a claim ticket, gestured for a guy in a red jacket and wished us a nice evening.

Hand-in-hand, we slowed ourselves waaaaay down and started walking the mall-speed walk towards the red carpet. Ahead of us, I could see an enormous bevy of photographers in their own pseudo-stadium surrounding the red-carpet, which is basically Hollywood Boulevard covered for about half a city block in gleaming, lush, padded red. Before you get to that part, however, there is the security tent. An enourmous Circus-sized tent filled with beefy, smart-looking gentlemen in nice black suits, each with a mic and speaker in their ear. You get the "once over" a good thirty times passing through the Security Tent. Plus there is the usual metal detector, then event runners who yell, "Nominees on the left! Everyone else to the right, please. If you walk on the left, you will delay your entry."

The reason being that on the other side of the tent is the Red Carpet arrival area, and literally hundreds of photographers, media interviewers, studio marketing kinds, actors, directors and actresses with projects coming out who are being sheparded around to all the network reps for appearances and interviews, particularly if it's something to do with ABC or their parent company, Disney. Every year, there is one celeb who is ushered everywhere and they are all over the Red Carpet. At the rate I walk (very slowly and pause whenever I can) this person will pass me four times. The last time I was there, it was Owen Wilson. This year's ushered star seemed to be either JLo or Penelope Cruz.

Whenever a star comes out of the tent, if they are in need of promoting themselves, will immediately start posing and flashing their pearly-whites at the huge phalanx of photographer that line the south side of the Red Carpet. And they, the photographers, start yelling.

"J-Lo! J-Lo! Turn to the left. Look over here! Nice dress! Show it off! J-Lo! Work it, baby!"

And on and on and on...

As we went down the carpet around 4pm, the celebs getting photographed were Daniel Craig, the new James Bond, J-Lo and Marc Antony, together, I think, Penelope Cruz and Celine Dion. I liked Penelope's dress the best, very cool and stylish, I thought. Kimberly and I were walking right behind Jack Valenti, former press secretary in the Nixon Whitehouse and former head of the Motion Picture Association's Rating Board for a couple of decades. We later met him and his wife. I'm always surprised by how short some people are after you've seen them for years in photographs, magazines... He seemed very nice and didn't mind a perfect stranger (me) introducing himself, shaking his hand and wishing him a nice evening.

Finally, Kimberly and I made the turn past the media tower overhead that straddles the Boulevard with program hosts "Can we talk?" and into the entry way to the Kodak Theater. We slowly strode past the oversized gold curtain on the outside of the building where we saw even more photographers. They hadn't been inside the building in previous years, but with ABC doing interviews which featured the marquee of the El Capitan Theater in their backgound shot (owned by Disney), I guess they had to let more press inside. We passed Penelope doing yet another interview and went up the grand staircase and into the foyer of the Kodak. We gave the nice ladies at the door our tickets and went into the lobby with about two or three thousand other people.

The Kodak lobby is situated on five floors and everyone is ushered from the entry to their respective floors where their seating will be at air time. All the better to get their butts in the seat at air time. This year, we were on the main floor. There is a bar and food served on every floor and smoking allowed on the outside balconies. But this year, someone had the great idea of shutting down the bar on our floor, so that no one would hesitate there, but instead go straight upstairs to their floor. Which meant that there was no bar on our floor. And all I wanted was another drink at the moment. We would have to climb the stairs up to find another bar. And the result of this little manuever was that two floors of people were now on the second floor and the bars were over-crowded. Grrr...

Anyway, we got a hint that a second bar had been set up and there was short line which there was. We went there got a champagne, downed it and got another. We mingled a little. Looked around at who was there, how they were dressed and noticed that most people were doing the same thing. Looking over the shoulders of whomever they were with to see who else might be there, or who they might miss catching site of. Speilberg and his group passed by and Kim made a note to tell our friend, Eric, because he would be so jealous.

Below us on the Orchestra Level, were all the nominees and celebrities, presentere, stars. Kimberly looked over the stairway balcony (A note: There is a huge spiral oval-shaped staircase that links all the floors and in the middle towards the top of the structure is an immense, beautiful crystal chandalier done in some modern fashion -- looking very 60s to me. So, you can see top to bottom in the lobby.) Kim watched the stars mingle below us for a while. I noticed Tobey Maquire walking in the lobby where we were. I picked him out instantly since I have been working on his face in CGI for the last several weeks on Spider-Man 3. He was with a beautiful woman who led him down the stairs to the star level. My wife noticed first.

"He really doesn't look very happy."
"Probably wondering what he's doing here."
"Well, he should just get over it and realize that this business of being a celeb is making him a lot of money. He should be thankful."

Yeah, I thought, easy to say in our work-a-days lives, and he gets millions for one job, but I can't imagine what it must really be like. What with family, friends and business associates depending on you for their livelihood. You just can't act any old way that you want to without losing contacts and potential income. If you act up, someone loses their job. Pretty weird existence.

Anyway, we stayed out in the lobby, trying to locate friends. Being the floor we were on this year, we didn't see too many friends of ours. I think we are usually in the nose-bleeds, and that is probably where most of our friends were. At just before 5pm, we finally made our way inside to our seats and the theater. If you saw the event on TV, you saw everything I saw with the exception of the DJ during the commercials. The producer counting down the return from commercial over the PA system and camera flinging themselves through the air on wire-rigs hung from the ceiling.

It was nice. It went too fast for me. Then, afterwords, we finally got invited to a post-Oscar party on the red carpet by a friend from work -- a Sony Party which we couldn't find. Was that 3rd street? The 8000 block or 6000 block? So, Kim and I went to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, or the "Pretty Woman" hotel as you may know it. Got a drink or two, dessert and settled down from all the excitement of the evening.

We went home around 11:30pm and crashed. Me knowing that I had to get up for dailies in the morning.

Fun stuff.

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VFX Back Stage [06 Feb 2007|09:38am]
Just got back from a visit to a friend of mine's very cool Visual Effects facility up in Marin County (just north of San Francisco). They're working on "Evan Almighty" (the sequel to Bruce Almighty) and "Pirates 3" (yet another famous sequel). I've been to the location where they have their buildings many times before (for work and visiting friends working there), but lately there was a dramatic change in management and the new company is off and running like crazy!

It's always wonderful to see a visual effects company turn a corner to success, especially after going through really trying times.

Anyway, the facility is totally magical and seeing the ships from Pirates laying all over the place on huge motion control stages and blue screens was way cool. Too often in my end of the business (digital), you don't get the magic of touching your product. Sure, it looks cool, and a lot of our technology is still just ahead of the curve of public knowledge (thank God for that still), but actually touching the thing that you will admire on-screen for me has a special quality that you just can't get anywhere else besides being "on set."

That was a very special trip. Thanks, guys. You know who you are!

[i](Sorry, that I am being a little mysterious here. You never know how ridiculous client's might get, so I'm keeping the names to myself for now).

- Jimbo
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My Last Saturday [06 Jan 2007|12:40pm]
[ mood | busy ]

Spider-man 3 is going to 6 day weeks to finish the last 350 or so shots it has left for the release in early May, so this will "likely" be my last saturday off until mid-April. (In case you're new here, I'm a visual effects artist, currently working on SP3).  I'm going to try and create updates twice-a-week still.  Can't let the fanbase down after all this effort, but be aware the artwork my be simplified to meet the schedule.  Hopefully, the drafting/inking will not suffer, but I may not be shading everything like I have been.

Adverts:  Well, it's been a month of advertising (for the first time) for Wireheads. I advertised with Dominic Deegan (two weeks) and Something Positive (five days, 3 on the small and 2 on the large ad).  The 2 days on the large ad at Something Positive was by far the greatest amount of traffic generated (is the ad so large -- which it is -- that people just click on it by mistake?) It's an ad on every page of the web site, so I guess that's possible.  On the first big ad day, I had the most traffic ever: over 4500 unique visitors came to see Wireheads.  Wow!  I was stunned when I saw the figures yesterday in the statistics.  The result of all of this effort is that my web traffic has tripled since Thanksgiving on a daily basis.

Con(ventions):  I'm plannning on attending 3 conventions in 2007:
1) A.P.E in San Francisco, April 21-22, 2007
2) ComicCon in San Diego, July 25-29, 2007
3) DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia, August 31-Sept 3, 2007

Last year, my only "Con" was at ComicCon 2006 in San Diego.  As great as that was being on "Artist's Alley", I wasn't there to try and make any money, just to promote Wireheads.  Heck, at the time, I'd only been doing the webcomic since May on-line, and designing since March, so it had only been 3 months of two-a-weeks.  Not a lot to look at.  I just wanted to "get the word out."  Since that time, in talking to Christi Johnson of In The Puddle through her Webcomic Artist's Lounge Forum, I have come up with a litte bit better plan on the next cons and I've started my plans, largely aiming at a good presence at Comic Con.  Some of the merchandise I am planning will be available at A.P.E, but not all of it.  In particular, I'm going to try to create a book of Wireheads' Year One work on-line working with Lulu Publishing.  Anyway, stay tuned for updates on that.  I'm going to start working on the book over the next month, and see how far I get before April.

Well, that's all for now.  Thanks for coming by everyone.  I really, really appreciate it.
- Jimbo

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Two Days Til Christmas [23 Dec 2006|10:16am]
[ mood | calm ]

Okay, it's been a long time since I posted. But who can blame me? Sure a lot is going-on and a lot has happened, but I've kind of set myself up for this with those last two posts. They each took about 3 hours and the last one took so long, I almost got in trouble with "she who must be obeyed." So, this one will tell some of the past four months, but not too much.

It's two days til Christmas. Yep, that's what I and my family celebrate this time of year. Of course, in our diverse community, I don't want the neighbors or anyone else to feel slighted, so I say "Happy Holidays" to everyone, not  "Merry Christmas." Funny, how this makes the conservatives angry. Here I am, trying to be considerate of others' feelings and they get ticked. Not being very Christ-like, are those Christians?

Well, they'll get over it.

Here are a few pictures of stuff that's been going on in my life these past months. My son is HUGE into Legos. You know, the little plastic bricks that snap together into models and toys that you can build and play with? He's got a ton of them, and has built a little "town" model out in the garage. Here's a few snaps.

Also, my wife builds costumes I think this one was called "The Pumpkin Princess."

My wife and I got away to have some time alone in order to remember what it was like before we were parents and we were still dating and exploring the world together. So, we returned to a place we used to get away to once-in-a-while when we were dating -- The Blackthorne Inn in Inverness, California.  It's a bed-and-breakfast built in amongst an old forest of Oaks and Sycamores and Conifers that actually sits on the Pacific Plate just north of San Francisco Bay next to Marin.  Most of the locals know it as being on the way to Point Reyes National Seashore.  Here some pics of the place and the Sea Shore.

Pt. Reye Seashore looking north from the Lighthouse.  We saw a Humpback Whale right down at the bottom of the cliff that morning.  This was in November, I think.  The Rangers were sure surprise to hear of one migrating at that time of year, but there he or she was heading north still.

And the Blackthorne Inn where we stayed this time.  A lovely, romantic, quiet getaway with amazing sunsets filtering through the pines on the upper deck next to the hot tubs at the end of the day.  Ah...

More to come sooner rather than later.  I hope everyone is thinking postive thoughts out there and giving love to those around them. That's the only way to enter Heaven.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!
- Jimbo

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Carmel, Pebble Beach and Monterey Bay [04 Sep 2006|01:14pm]
[ mood | relaxed ]

"The greatest meeting of land and sea in the world."

- Robert Louis Stevenson

Being in the movie business is certainly not all glamour. One of the things you must learn to do is schedule time for the things that are important. Sometimes months in advance, I schedule time for my wife and family. As silly as that seems, work can certainly get in the way of a healthy relationship. Communication can easily break down, if you don't plan, plan, plan.

So, every year, we try to take time off to just "be" together and have the luxury of time away from our work-a-day world with, with any luck, little to no plans. How incredibly luxurious it is to wake each morning, and ask,"So, what do you feel like doing today?" We are so lucky to experience it.

And as has been since we first discovered it, we go to California's central coast to experience a different world from where we live. Only five hours north driving, it's a land that may as well be on another plane of existence, another planet.

Signing my name with my toes in the sand along Carmel Beach.

The tiny village of Carmel-by-the-Sea (Yes, that's it's real name)is a little hub of peace and quiet between the major California Cities of San Francisco to its north and Los Angeles to the south. Ocean Avenue, the main drag in the village of Carmel. The town is filled with little cafes, art galleries, and out-of-the-way alleyways to explore. Usually, one of the days we spend there is devoted to simply following our noses around the village. One of our early stops for the week is to Friar Tuck's, a little "coffee shop" stuck on the edge of what might considered town central. The comfort food served there goes well with the cottage atmosphere and the witty repartee of the chef, usually in attendance slinging hash and jokes from behind the counter in the middle of the small cafe. To me, it is such a part of my experience in Carmel that I can't imagine the place without it.

I often spend the first morning here reading the Sheriff's report and local headlines in the local news publication (is it a newspaper?) called The Carmel Pine Cone". The articles there are often similar to what I read twenty years ago.

And what would a visit to Ocean Avenue be without a trip to The House of Sweets?

Inside this small shop, the walls are packed with hundreds of amazing confectionaries, some made ther and some imported from other countries (notably, a lot of the British candies I see in the local tea shoppes and importers in Santa Monica)

Also, a visit to The Secret Garden down a quiet alleyway just down from Friar Tuck's in another must-do visit for trips to Carmel for us. After wandering the rock pathways around the old geodesic dome which houses the shoppe in the middle of the garden, bubbling fountains and tinkling bells, we make our way into the town's "woo woo" book shop, Pilgrim's Way. Often times, I can find gifts for friends there that I just never see anywhere else in my travels. I'd probably have to go halfway around the world to find some of the tiny, beautiful items that line the shelves inside.

hundreds of candied delights meet the eye

We rent a house in one of the local neighborhoods, trying to blend in with the locals. We walk whenever we can (which is anywhere in town), spending a great deal of our time there outdoors. The foggy mid-coast weather in August sits at (what I consider perfect) a chilly sixty degrees with only brief afternoon visits of the sun shining above before the fog rolls back in at the end of the day. The only downside to this weather is the obscuring of the amazing sunsets that can be experienced (from previous trips, not this one) along the trails along the bluffs of and white, sandy beaches of Carmel). The slow mornings can often turn into lazy, long mornings where creeping out into reality around noon is the norm.

Me, still in PJs, answering email and posts on the Wirehead's Forum. Ah... Vacation.

Another favorite of mine... Kim calls it "the only other thing you love besides Jack and me" is golf. Yep, spend a lot of time hitting it and finding it, but it's a great pasttime where your demeanor must change in order to maintain control. <- A good life lesson for all of us.

The village of Carmel butts up against its more prestigious (And more expensive) neighbor, Pebble Beach, just to the north. It's the host to numerous events throughout the year, including my favorite golf tournamnet, The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am"

The Lodge at Pebble Beach.

I have played golf at every course on the peninsula with the exception of the four private golf courses at which you must be a member or member's guest in order to play -- The Monterey Peninsula Club, Cypress Point, Tehama Golf Club, and Pasadera Golf Club; Some of them are probably about as friendly as their websites (those that have them). So, likely, I'll never play these courses. But of the public available ones, you'll find some of the best in the world.

The first tee looking down the fairway at Spyglass Hill Golf Club.
Four of the local courses are managed by the The Pebble Beach Company which is currently owned and managed by Arnold Palmer, Clint Eastwood, and Peter Ueberroth. This time I got to play the The Links at Spanish Bay and Poppy Hills, home of the USGA's Northern California Golf Association. I didn't have my "A" game (as I haven't for about a year -- too much work, ya know), but it was a really enjoyable outting at both courses. I highly reccomend both as affordable, but wonderful courses to play.

These days, Kim and I have our son, Jack, in tow everywhere we go, and as a result, trips to the Dennis the Menace Park in Monterey and to the incredible Monterey Bay Aquarium are always welcome. Try not to confuse this aquarium with any other aquarium you have ever seen. It lies on the shoreline of the largest underwater Federal reserve in North America, where siting whales, seals and sea otters are daily events. They have a sister organization called The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute that is helping us all understand life in the Monterey Bay and throughout the oceans of the world. Here's a few shots from the Aquarium:
A view outside at the artificial large tidepool overlooking Monterey Bay on the Pacific.

The tidepool itself.

A circular tank where the waterflow keeps these thousands of sardines swimming along inside.

Another smaller tank with tuna swimming by (Yes, I was appreciating the "arty" quality of my digital cam).

underlit versions of jellyfish which often get their own hall for exhibits on the amazing invertebrates.

And last but not least, the HUGE outer ocean exhibit in the new north wing

I'm trying to give you an appreciation of the SIZE of this aquarium tank inside the building (Yes, those are adults with their faces pressed to the 12 inch thick glass).

And yes, it's dark, but here is a side shot showing the breadth of the tank. Wow.
We don't always do this, but a trip south along the Big Sur shoreline is like no other. So, this year, we drove along highway one which travels along the lip of the Pacific Ocean. We were literally hanging over the sea on some of this cliffside highway. On the way south, we stopped at one of our favorite watering holes for lunch, Nepenthe (nuh-PEN-thee). Apparently, it's been there for a long time about 700 feet above the ocean, but with coastline views like no other place. Prices are decent and the Phoenix Bookstore next door is often worth the trip. Here's a few shots:

Inside the restaurant Outside looking way down at the ocean below. Outside the building. I believe the architect was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright's. Finally, after a week of time off, and no clocks to watch, it was back home. Where on days like today with sunsets like this, it feels like a pretty good place to be.
Taken off my back porch.
Visit the central coast sometime in this lifetime. You'll want to move there, like I do. Now, I have to get cleaned up and get to a party. These 3 hour posts have got to stop! Ha ha, enjoy everybody.
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Boston and Siggraph, August 2006 [10 Aug 2006|09:57pm]
[ mood | brainless ]

The biggest "Con" in the computer graphics world is Siggraph. This is a long acronym, like many of the ones we computer geeks long to use, but short for its real name -- The Association of Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group for Computer Graphics, or S.I.G.Graph. Anyway, this conference is for everything and all things concerning getting the latest everything (information, software updates, animation from movies and individuals) on what has occurred in the last year on our little planet regarding computer graphic techniques, both in games, movies and on the web.

Typically, it's much smaller than ComicCon held in San Diego every year. Siggraph is usually 20 to 40 thousand attendees over five days, starting on Sunday and ending on Thursday. Every year it's someplace different. Over the last 22 summers, I've managed to attend every one from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Atlanta to New Orleans to Dallas, San Antonio, San Diego, Orlando and back again. This time for the 2nd time to Boston.

Coming from Los Angeles, the first thing that strikes me is that Boston is a "real city." It has a subway (that works and takes you anywhere). You don't have to own a car to get around. If you're in the city part of Boston, you can walk anywhere. There is a giant park in the middle of it (the famous Boston Commons granted by the City Council and Mayor in the 1600s), and the historical buildings are re-constructed to keep the city's charm, rather than abandoned and torn down for a new freeway, like LA's (Yuk!).

Anyway, I promised lots of photos, so here we go. This is the view I had from my hotel room near Copley Place:

[b]The view out my hotel room of greater Boston.[/b]

As I took the elevator down to the lobby each morning for breakfast, I could see these odd-looking vehicles across the street.

The "Ducks" Tour vehicles. Never found out if they actually took you on the water. They were old military vehicles called Ducks that could go on land or water. Behind them you could see a huge propellor.

Plus, I don't know why they chose cows, but cow sculptures were decorated and stuck everywhere. Here's a few choice ones I snapped up:

[b]Notice the shoes.[/b]

I arrived the day before the conference would start, so that I could get to see a bit of the city. Otherwise, I'd have travelled all the way to Boston, and I would only see the inside of the new Convention Center. So, I took a nap after the red-eye flew in and got up hungry for lunch. A stop at the concierge desk and I had the name of a few local eateries. I immediately started taking pics on my walk to Newberry Street -- a nice shopping area filled with shops, cafes and people.

[b]This beatiful building was just around the corner from my hotel.[/b]

[b] This is Newberry Street looking towards the Commons.[/b]

[b]And Stephanie's where I had lunch at the bar. I was sorry to see a beautiful woman there with her boyfriend who only had eyes for the Red Sox game on the tube. Nice chicken-ceaser salad and Arnold Palmer though.[/b]

After lunch, I took a stroll down Newberry Street to the Boston Commons. Here was a statue at the entrance.

And the Swan boats I remembered from the 1989 conference, still being peddled around the small pond in the park. Many wedding photos were being taken from the bridge above the water.

There is a large monument declaring in the original language, the deal that Boston stuck to open the Commons:

The city is filled with old churches poised somehow gracefully right next to modern skyscrapers. It's one of the many thins that gives Boston its unique ambience.

I had a map with me and started making my way towards the harbor and the market area. On the way, I stopped into an old cemetary:

Funny how words change in their context, but this is where many "Patriots" of the American Revelotion were buried. I wonder if they might be called "Terrorists" in today's America. Ben Franklin's parents, John Hancock, Paul Revere and many other figures from the beginnings of the Rebellion against England lie interred here:

[b]Ben Franklin's Parents[/b]

[b]John Hancock's Marker[/b]

[b]Paul Revere's Grave[/b]

[b]And one who's beer will likely outlast us all.[/b]

Women and men were dressed (yes, in the heat) in period dress, giving docent tours of the downtown area:

I walked a little further to the Market Area. It was a fabulously hot day, around 98 degrees, and humid. The best place to be was in the cool room at the flower market. I hung out there amidst all the fresh cut flowers for about a 1/2 hour. Whew!

[b]I can't recall the name of this building, but there were wonderful historical structures everywhere. I think if you look at the large image by clicking on this one, that you might find out more about it from the signage on the building.[/b]

And this was the market area.

There was some kind of loud, animal rights protest going on with a guy abusing the crowd with a megaphone. I passed a couple of young women with big sheet signs talking about not eating meat, and it made me want to get a hotdog. I didn't but that's how my rebel-self expresses what it wants.

At Siggraph, I took the rest of these pictures with my mobile camera (I'm positive that I barely know how to operate it, and I probably don't take good enough care of the lenses -- ever hear of a cleaning cloth, Jimbo?)

This was the first time I remember Siggraph having long lines to get through registration, at least, since the last long lines I saw at Siggraph in the mid-1980s (1985 in San Francisco and 1986 in Dallas had long lines, but since there, it's largely been handled by electronics and no lines appear).

Now, I think the confernence has gotten a little overconfident and the slow down was due to the faulty card printers on site. Why, when they are paid for months in advance, they aren't already printed and waiting in an envelope is beyond me).

This is a shot from a gathering of like software users called a "Birds of a Feather" gathering, or BOF. This BOF took place Sunday afternoon at the Convention Center 2nd floor and was users of the Open Software Animation Software called "Blender". Blender was originally a Dutch software company that was entering the Computer Graphics market making animation software for Game Builders and specializing in that about seven or eight years ago. The company almost went bankrupt, but before it did, the owner of the company, fearing the loss of the software, took the software public. So, now, it's available to anyone by free download. Lots of documentation, examples, and wonderful lessons are also available on-line.

[b]The producer and director of the CG short "Elephant's Dream" talk about how they did it.[/b]

That same day on Sunday evening there was a gathering the Maya User's Group. Notice that there are about 1500 people here in the outer lobby waiting for the User Group meeting to start as opposed to the 60 or so people who were are the Blender meeting.

Maya is very expensive software used by almost all of the "professional" companies who make visual effects for motion pictures. I believe May now-a-days cost around 12 to 15 thousdand dollars US for each license. You'd better have some work lined up before you buy.

[b]Maya users wait for the Maya User's Group Meeting to Start at the Westin Seaport Hotel that opened 3 days before the conference.[/b]

At the conference Trade floor which is opened from Tuesday through Thursday afternoon, you never know what cool thing you might find. One of the coolest pieces of hardware I saw there was this little guy:

[b]Nvidia's new Mobile chip[/b].

Nvidia is a hardware manufacturing company based in San Antonio, Texas, I believe that make some of the coolest realtime software and hardware available anywhere to developers. This little chip, no, not the big green board that it sits on but the little tiny rectangular black chip in the center of the picture is basically a workstation. It can compute up to 30 million fully shaded polygons per second for realtime animation on your cel phone. The first cel phone with one of these in it hits the US market next month. Samsung already has it in their new phones available over in the Far East.

Pretty bitchin' for any game developer that wants to network users for on-line gaming from anywhere/anytime.

And here's another, sorry that it's sideways, but in the emerging technologies area they had these very Lego-like pieces that you could fit together. The big difference was once you built it, it could move, roll and walk.

I saw a great Art Gallery with a nod to a Computer Graphics Artist Pioneer Charles Csuri of the Ohio State University and formerly, co-founder of Cranston-Csuri Productions before they went belly up in the late 1980s. Also, I spent three days at the exhibition telling people about Wireheads, handing out buttons, postcards and the now-famous Siggraph T-shirt to many people who had never even heard of such a thing as an on-line webcomic. I also connected with many old friends, most of whom I have worked with at one time or another on some old movie from the 80s or 90s. Many of them have moved on to some other part of the business, looking for what they really want to do in their lives, the same way many of them stumbled onto CGI to begin with.

It was a great time in a great city with a bunch of great Wireheads. Can't wait to do it again, next year in San Diego.

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Quickie: Back from Boston [07 Aug 2006|03:53pm]
I have a LOT to post regarding the Wireheads' trip to Boston for the annual Siggraph Con, but I will not be doing it yet. Look for it soon, pictures of the Con, Boston, crowds of Geeks and tunnels under the city.
Coming Soon!

- Jimbo
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Siggraph!!! [27 Jul 2006|06:14pm]
Okay, another "Con," although I've never thought of it with that name before. Being the long-time computer geek that I am, I've been going to Siggraph (eg. S.I.G.Graph -- The Association of Comupter Machinery's Special Interest Group (<- see? S.I.G.) for computer GRAPHics) for 22 years. This will be the 22nd for me. Gee, you'd think I'd know a thing or two by now with all the damned conferences, but the really cool thing about conference attendance is the inspiration. I mean, you know, last week I went to ComicCon in San Diego, and the whole time there I'm working on my next strips. Well, sitting right next to me are two awesome draftsman, and I couldn't be drawing next to these guys and suck. The stuff I drew was way better than what I usually crank out for the strip. Pressure. Peer pressure, it's good. Good for me, and good for you. The art looks better. Yeah! Amen!

Same with the computer geek thing. This year it's in Boston, and it has been there before. Boston is a really cool town, filled with Catholics who are guilty. Nothing like an Irish Catholic for guilt, I'm tellin'ya. You get drunk and then according to your upbringing you feel bad about it the next day. Jesus, people get a clue. It's okay to cop a buzz now and again. Certainly takes the edge off all the guilt, am I right?

Well, Beantown (why do they call it that?) beckons and I'm running out of alliteration. So, see you in a week. It's off to the Geek Con in the East!

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ComicCon 2006! [24 Jul 2006|10:59pm]
[ mood | tired ]

Okay, the Friday afternoon before ComicCon, I sent off an email to the cci@yahoo.com that governs the Artist Alley tables. I received and exchanged several emails with a very nice lady named Clydene who runs that part of the show. She took a look at my site, paid me a nice compliment. We talked about her work in Cancer Research, Comic Books... My work in computers and visual effects... She told me around 6 or 7pm that Friday that we could likely "work something out" to get me a spot on Artist's Alley. Wow! I had been planning up until that point to simply show up, try to make a few connections with other artist's, attend some panels, talks, etc.

Now, I had a space on the floor and nothing to put in it. Oh, Jeez. Plus I had strips to get done, and a week to get ready. I ordered t-shirts and buttons for the show, plus I put together a portfolio made up mostly of the work I'd created for the Strip and character development. I bought a portable animation desk so that I could keep working while I was at ComicCon (drawing strips), and for the following week where I would be at Siggraph in Boston.

I had arranged months ago to get off work a day early, so that I could attend 3 days of the show starting Friday. I had also arranged my hotel (a little too late) some weeks before. I had been planning on taking the train down from LA so I wouldn't have to deal with the driving, and the hotel was right next to the station.

I got packed, finished my last prep, had dinner and drove down late Thursday night. Got in around midnight, went to bed, my head full of anticipation. I awoke early, not early enough, the next morning, got dressed, in the car and headed for the convention center.

I reached Front Street, the exit off the freeway leading to the Convention Center around 9am. Six blocks and an hour later, I was still on Front Street when my cel phone rang in my pocket.

"Jim? This is Clydene. You coming?"
"Yes! Yes! I'm stuck in traffic on Front Street."
"Okay, when you get here, go to Hall D, Artist Alley registration. Your credentials will be there. "

Wow, it was going to happen. I really had a table.

Another hour went by, and I had no place to unload my car full of stuff for it.
I decided on a somewhat devious plan.
I pulled up in front of the Marriott Hotel (adjacent to the Convention Center), and rolled down my window. A uniformed valet walked up.

"Checking in?"
"Need any help getting your luggange inside."

I got everything inside. Valeted the car. Checked it all into the Bell Desk, and went to register.

Found CLydene. Nice lady. Runs everything. Told her "Thanks very much!" and went back to haul all the stuff to the table. Artist's Alley, table II-05.

Three trips in the 100 degree, humid weather later, I was on my last load, hauling it on a little trolley. Only 100 yards to go to finish.

The lady at the door stopped me.

"You can't take the trolley inside."
"You're shittin' me."
"No, sorry. Rules. Crowd's too thick. It's for safety."

Oh God! Okay, now the last trip became four more trips. At least the two people at the door were nice enough to watch the pile of stuff as I hauled it in on my back.

II-05. As I first walked up, there was a guy whom I'd never met wearing a pirate outfit, and wearing it really well. I'd been reading Jennie Breeden's The Devil's Panties" for too long not to recognize him.

I put my hand out.
"Yeah, mate."
"Right on. Let me give you a hand."

Me muggin' with Nigel, the Pirate

I'd never know from what Jennie had written about the n'ev do well Nigel the Pirate in her book "Con Artists", but Nigel is a great guy -- funny, willing to go to that place too many of us shy away from to win someone over, and believe it or not, with a heart of gold. He charms everyone who comes by his booth. At least, those who are open to it.

On the other side of me were two amazing draftsmen, John Boy and Mark. I never really got their last names, but for the next two days they were up with friends they normally never get to see until 3 or 4am each night, and never hit the floor until around Noon-ish. I do recall that they were from Colorado.

Certainly, when I came in the next morning, I fully expected Nigel to be the last one there, and of course, he was the first. His booth setup and ready to go at 9am.

John Boy and Mark were apparently well-known in the Comic Trade, and many, many professionals and students alike came by to pay their respects and ask them "Where ya workin' now?"

Nigel was a bit taken aback when I confirmed for him that I was not there to make money, but only to market and promote my website.

"Gotta get people to know about the place first."

Hundreds of people came by. Mostly, I kept drawing my strip art, and kept my head down, but if anyone hesitated, looked around like they might be interested, I would tilt my head up, smile, and say...

"Hey, how ya doin?"
"Fine, fine."
"Havin a good show?"
(shake of the head)
"Lots to see out there, eh?"
(another shake, still lookin', trying to figure out what a Wirehead was.)
"I'm a visual effects artist by day."
"Currently, I'm working on Spider-Man 3, and I just finished my work on Ghost Rider."
(startled eyes)
"At night, after I get off work, I work on my Webcomic "Wireheads."
"It's a webcomic about what goes on at work -- a satire of my work in visual effects."
"Picture 'The Office', but in the dark with lots of Geeks and Computers making movies."
(the "Oh, I get it" smile)

I hand them my card. Invite them to stop by the site and tell me what they think of it. They smile and move on, dropping the card into the bottom of their HUGE takeaway bag. With any luck, they'll actually remember to do it, if they ever empty the bag (Note to self: bigger, sexier flyers).

After doing this for 4 hours on the first day, I realized I was sitting in the same room as some people whom I really wanted to meet. The first on my list was Jennie Breeden. Without getting into her Webcomic last January-February, it's very likely that I would not be doing this one now. For whatever reason, something clicked, and I said to myself, "Okay, let's go." I walked around for a bit in what I knew to be the webcomic area. I saw the Keenspot booth, and noticed one guy sitting there with blue hair. "That's gotta be Gav, I thought."
I leaned in. "You Gav?"
I smiled,"Jim Hillin, big fan of Nukees." Shook his hand, and asked for a picture.

Gavin Bleuel, creator of the Nukees webcomic, and part owner of KeenSpot.

Chatted briefly with him, and kept looking. Just around the corner, I found Blank Label Comic's Booth, partly owned by Paul Taylor, creator of Wapsi Square, another big influence on my webcomic, but he wasn't there at the time. (Turns out I wouldn't meet Paul until the next day, and wouldn't really get to chat with him until Sunday morning. All I have to say is What a nice man. Really, really sincere and sweet.)

Finally, I see sitting at the end of a short row of folks a row or tow over, Jennie. She's with all her cohorts that created the wonderful ComicCOn only issue "SuperCollider". You can find a link to where they might still be selling it over at her site. I managed to get all six of them to pose for a group shot, and got a couple of candid shots of Jennie, and others at the booth.

Right before this was shot, Jennie crossed her arms under her sizeable boobs, and proceeded to haul them north, saying,"So, is this a respectful picture or...?" I was impressed. The 'girls' who had never failed her, had me in their grip.

So, not in any partcilar order are: Pete Abrams of Sluggy Freelance, Robert T. Balder of Partially Clips, Rich Burlew of The Order of the Stick,Chris Impink and Barb Fisher of Fragile Gravity, Jennie Breeden of The Devil's Panties, and Tony DiGerolamo and Chris Moreno of Super Frat.

Cute, Fun, and not yet worn out, Jennie.

Later, I finally got to meet Paul Taylor as I said before, and Chris Daily of Striptease once alone, and once with my family. Funny guy, and very talented cartoonist. I remember watching him draw a sketch of one of his main characters as a princess for somone, and as I watched him, I thought,"Crap, I really need to work on my chops." The amazing, and wonderfully talented Chris Daily, Ladies and Gentleman! Unfortunately, I never had my camera with me when I met Paul or Chris. Obviously, I will have to do this more often.

And that's the way it goes for 3 days, 23 hours total, sitting on my first Artist's Alley at the Largest Comic Book Convention in the world. I heard there was a 100,000 people who showed up to see it on Saturday alone. Jesus, that's a bunch.

At the end of each day, I hoped to go down to the Hyatt where it was told, many thousands of groups and artists would be hanging out, talking business, sharing stories, but each night, I went back to the hotel, washed up from the heat, got some dinner, and crashed around 9pm.

I came home exhausted, happy, and completely satisfied Sunday night. I really, really need to write a nice letter thanking Clydene for the great opportunity.

Cheers, everyone! 'Til next ComicCon.

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Back from ComicCon Quicknote [23 Jul 2006|11:28pm]
Wow! Back from ComicCon. Have a lot to tell. Stories to share. Photos. Yes, photos. Met a lot of cool people and had three days of telling the world about Wireheads. Will share all shortly, but tonight, tonight I sleep... Zzzzzzzzzz.
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Getting ready... [13 Jul 2006|06:19pm]
ComicCon, the largest comic Convention of the year, is just over a week away, and I'm going for the first tim as an artist. It's pretty surreal for me. I've only ever chatted with most of the people I hope to meet face-to-face over the internet, and many of the ones I've connected with will not be making the trip this year.

I don't have a comic to sell, or enough artwork to make one. Or even enough additional artwork outside the comic to sell those things. I can't afford one of the booths, and I don't have any invitations to sit at other companies tables, etc. But I guess, this is the life of a newb in the gamer's parlance. I'm new, and no one really knows me yet.

By going to these things over the years (there are many, many of them by the way), you get to know others and possibly even collaborate with them. So, with any luck, this will be the first of many.

Excited. Scared, and somewhat intimidated, but going.
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