Wondercon: 2006!
February 15th 2006 @ 11:54 am All Categories,Random

Wondercon BannerWondercon: 2006!!!

Last weekend I got to experience a comic book/sci-fi convention in San Francisco… I’m not really into comic books, but I have a friend, Tim, who loves them and who kept bugging me to go to this major comic event… I was hemming and hawing over it since the event wasn’t really my thing, but Saturday came around and I didn’t have any plans, so it was either mow the lawn or go spend the day in San Francisco… so I asked Farah, my girlfriend, if she wanted to go to a comic book convention in San Francisco, after explaining about how it would be fun to go to something different, do some fun people watching, and get out of the house for a day, she finally wiped off the stink look that she had on her face and agreed to go. I called Tim and said that we were on our way.Princess Bubbles BadgePrincess of Wondercon!

We met Tim at Jillian’s, a restaurant/bar at the Metreon that was across the street from the convention center. We were already there having lunch when Tim, Tim’s brother, Lance, and another friend of ours, Rick, showed up. They were cool enough to have already purchased us our tickets/entry badges so that we wouldn’t have to wait in the two hour line, which was a good thing, because if I had to wait in a two hour line, I would have just said, “Later!”, turned around, and drove back home… Tim was also nice enough to write names for us on our name tags so that we didn’t have to bother with it… I ended up being Dr. Von Frankenweiner, or something, and Farah was Princess Bubbles… Nice.

The convention was being held in the new Moscone West building on Fourth street. We got to the entrance and after my Dr. Von Frankenweiner badge was thoroughly examined, we were granted access and were now in the presence of WONDERCON 2006!!! The place was packed with all sorts of ner- er, people meandering around with half of the people dressed up in costumes. Tim and Rick were excited about seeing a presentation by Kevin Smith, of ‘Clerks’ fame, that was supposed to start any time now, so Farah and I trailed behind them as I looked around, jaw agape at all the commotion, costumes, and craziness as we made our way toward the main auditorium. We entered the auditorium and Tim found us some seats. Tim then got up to go to the bathroom as the three of us stared at the huge pillar that was now between us and the main podium where some dude was currently talking – Nice job, Tim. So, while Tim was gone, we got up and moved to a better location. The pillar was still somewhat in the way, but not as bad as before… actually it didn’t matter, we were so far back, you couldn’t hardly see who was at the podium anyway, they did have projection screens, but still, I didn’t recognize the guy talking, so I didn’t really care…

The best thing about the new location, was that there was some dude dressed up as the Hulk who was sitting all by himself in front of and to the side of me.The HulkHulk Lonely! I stared at him rather than the guy at the podium because The Hulk was WAY more interesting… THIS guy should be up at the podium talking. In my head, I started reciting dialogue of what the Hulk would say up there, “Hulk no like what Ang Lee did to me in movie!!! Why not Sam Raimi make Hulk movie!!! Sam Raimi make much better movie than Ang Lee!!! RARRRR!!!”. But, as I stared, I couldn’t help it and started feeling sympathy for this poor monster all hunched over in his torn shirt, green hair, and purple pants who was sitting there all by himself… “Hulk sad, Hulk lonely…” is all I heard echoing in my head… I was finally tapped on the shoulder by Farah and informed who was droning on and on at the podium and it ended up being J.J Abrams, the creator of Lost. He was talking about something, but the sound was reverberating in the hall so much that I couldn’t understand a word. I noticed that he looked fairly young, and I started thinking, “Shit, he’s THAT young and he created Lost!!! Oh my Ghod! What the hell have I done with my life!! Nothing, that’s what!!! I suck.”, I now felt as sad and lonely as that poor hunched over Hulk that was sitting in front of me…

Tim finally returned and somehow found us in the seats where we’d moved to, I don’t know how he found us, it was so crowded there. I supposed we should’ve called him on his cell and told him that we moved so that he didn’t have to stand there wondering where we went… eh, whatever, hindsight is always 20/20… Sitting there, we realized that Kevin Smith was a half an hour overdue… I was getting bored so I started looking through the Wondercon guide and found that there was a symposium on television horror hosts. Supposedly to be in attendance were, Bob Wilkin’s, John Stanley, and some other dudes whose names I didn’t know. Horror hosts, for those who don’t know, are people like Elvira, the vampire looking chick… Local TV stations would often have late night campy horror movies with a personality hosting the showing, making inane jokes and puns,… like a radio DJ, or MTV “VJ”… I used to watch “Creature Features” on Oakland’s channel 2 when I was a kid… Bob Wilkin’s hosted it on that channel for years, then later John Stanley took over, so I knew who these two guys were. So, I decided to go check that out. Farah was up for anything else besides listening to J.J. Abrams answer moronic questions from the nerds in the audience, and so we said, “Later!” and bailed out on Tim, Rick, and Lance.

At the Horror Host symposium, the room was a little less than half filled, and they had all these old horror TV show hosts lined up behind a table on the stage, the youngest guy had the most energy and did most of the talking, he was a host from Channel 54 or something… I only knew Bob Wilkin’s and John Stanley, both of who I was surprised were still alive… actually, Bob actually might have been dead… he looked like the Cryptkeeper and didn’t move or say one word the whole time we were there. I think he was just waiting for the stupid convention to end so that he could get out of there, cash his check, and buy another bottle of Wild Turkey to wash his lonely tears away with. The guys on stage droned on and played games with the audience while projection screen behind them played footage of themselves in their glory days…Will the ThrillWill The Thrill!While staring at the stage waiting for something entertaining to finally happen, Farah tapped my shoulder and pointed to this character sitting across the aisle… His nametag said, “Will the Thrill”. “Will the Thrill?!?! If you say so buddy, but the only THRILL that you look like you could deliver would be a free car detail that you’d throw in with that used 1995 Ford Fiesta your selling."

Sherlock and Watson from BackI say Watson. Lord Vader’s
speech is quite dramatic
Beyond Will the Thrill, I noticed something that I’m still trying to wrap my head around… a couple of dudes dressed up as Sherlock Holmes and Watson, sure, fine, but from the neck down they had Stormtrooper costumes on… WTF!!! I’m now wishing that I would have been thoroughly debriefed on to what what to expect when I was entering here with this Wondercon thing, because I’m still a bit traumatized by whole Sherlock and Watson Stormtrooper thing. Turning my gaze back toward the front, there was now a dude who had just sat down right in front of me who had this incredible amount of hairy fuzz growing off of his ears. I stared at the ears and the fuzz growing off of them and tripped out on it for awhile. It was an exquisite sight as the earfuzz glowed from the backlight of the overhead fluorescent lamps. I tapped Farah on the shoulder and whispered to her and pointed to them. All she did was say, “Ew…” and go back to watching the boring presentation, she clearly wasn’t as fascinated as I was with them. I finally took a picture of the ears so that I’d have proof of their existence, and I just sat there staring in wonder at them… After a few minutes, they finally started to bother me and I couldn’t think about anything else but those ears, so I decided it was time to go and I grabbed Farah and we bailed out of the Horror Hosts symposium.

Hairy EarsHey dude, while your shaving your head,
why don’t you hit those ears too!

Back out in the main lobby, I called Tim on his cell and he happened to be nearby, so we reconnected. Rick had disappeared somewhere with Tim’s brother, so the three of us, Tim, Farah, and I, wandered down to the flea market and vendor area. This area is the booth area with vendors selling every sort of conceivable comic book, sci-fi, and cartoon related novelty and merchandise. We wandered around with Tim’s eyes alight in the glory of all of the comic and sci-fi related merchandise. Lucky for me, I wasn’t really interested in any of this collector crap, which means I wouldn’t be losing any of my money buying it. Good!

While we were wandering, Tim says, “The porn stars are in the back corner…”, “Hunh! Wah!! Porn stars!!!”, I exclaim. “Yeah, the porn stars always set up a few booths at these things… they sell the opportunity to take a photo with them, as well as sell their autographs and such, to all the nerds here… I already got mine earlier.”, Tim says. “Really?”, I reply and I turn to Farah and say, “Uh, maybe we should check that area out… you know, out of curiosity… it, uh, could be funny, or something, you know, uh, checking out all the dorks getting all bent out of shape over the porn stars…” Farah, looks at me, “Um, yeah… all the dorks…” So, we started making our way in that direction. The whole vending area was packed with people going nuts over all the comic related crap… After a couple of stops at the various tables so that Tim could examine the assorted collectables, we finally made it to the porn star area, and it was, of course, super crowded there.
Porn Area 2Porn avenue is a…Porn Area 1…great place for kids!

I managed to get a couple of snapshots of the area in general by just holding the camera over my head and clicking. While I was entertained by the scene there, I kept noticing the look on Farah’s face, and could tell how she wasn’t so amused, so we hustled ourselves through the crowd trying to get out of the crowded aisle.Tim and AriaDo you believe that Aria didn’t
even know that The Punisher’s
real name is Frank Castle!!
HAHAHA! Talk about lame!!
Throughout the chaos, I did notice Tim talking to one of the porn chicks. He was no doubt trying to get her opinion on and debating what she thought of “The Punisher” movie that was released a few years ago.

As we broke through the crowd, we found our way down another aisle and I came across a booth that had a shitload of bootleg music videos… I stopped in my tracks and started feeling the saliva well up in my mouth… “No NO! Not music videos!!! My weakness!!! There wasn’t supposed to be anything here for me to be interested in!!! NOOO!!!”….Sixty dollars and four rare bootleg music DVDs later, I tell Tim and Farah that we have to get out of here before I stumble across anything else to buy. We end up traversing down another aisle trying to find our way out of the room and we come across the fanboy area of the booth scene. This area is where all of the comic and sci-fi clubs set up their nerd-fan club booths. Tim points to a exhausted looking man sitting behind a booth with a “Please get me the hell out of here…” look on his face… Tim says, “That’s Peter Mayhew! He played Chewbacca! You can get his autograph if you want!!!”, and I say, “Er… naw, that’s alright.” Poor Peter looked like he was just about one autograph away from going nuts and I didn’t want to be the one responsible for him snapping, letting loose with a loud Wookie growl and rampaging through the flea market area throwing tables and chairs around. I didn’t want to be the one in the headlines the next day, “AT THE WONDERCON CONVENTION, ACTOR PETER MAYHEW WENT CRAZY AFTER SUPERFAN SEAN MCGUIRE ASKED FOR HIS AUTOGRAPH.” Screw that, I don’t want to risk any headline like that, not the fact that I would have caused Peter Mayhew to freak out, but that my name would appear in the paper as the dork that asked for Peter Mayhew’s autograph at Wondercon…

Farah found a ‘Firefly’ booth with the Browncoats. She’s into ‘Firefly’, a short lived sci-fi TV show about a renegade cowboy like captain and his ship and crew who are constantly fighting their way out of the crappy situations that they constantly somehow get themselves into (Where do they come up with these original ideas!)… I’d never actually seen the show, so I had no idea what this was really about. For some reason, Firefly fans call themselves Browncoats, and we were alerted to the fact that there was going to be a Browncoat meeting at a room upstairs in about twenty minutes, and we were invited to come.Tim and Count DookuTim and Count Dorko Farah was all excited and interested in checking this out, so after a photo-op of Tim with some random dude who was wandering around dressed up as Count Dooku, we made our way out of the flea market area.

We ended up finding Rick and Lance and we all wandered up stairs to check out the meeting of the Browncoats… Tim and Rick, like Farah, were equally excited about this special event. We made it to the room where the meeting was being held and entered. In this large, about 40′ x 50′ room, there was a projection TV in the the corner showing “Firefly” episodes with a few people huddled around it and a few other groups of people scattered about chatting with each other. There were rows of chairs all lined up and facing forward like there was going to be a presentation. We found a table with some seats in the back of this large room and got comfortable while we waited for everything to start. We sat, waited, looked at our watches, waited some more, looked around at the people, looked at our watches, looked at the people talking, looked at the people watching the TV, looked at our watches, then finally looked at each other as we all came to the same realization together… That the meeting has already started, and this is it, people watching TV and talking in small groups about the TV show. There was no plan for the meeting, nothing outlined… The fans just figured that everyone would show up and the meeting would magically create itself, but the only thing it created was a room full of losers. Even Tim and Rick called these people nerds and we bailed out of there.

Tim looked at his watch and alerted to me that ‘The Ultimate Avengers’ cartoon movie, which was headed straight to DVD, and that wasn’t going to be on sale in the stores until the following week, was having it’s world premiere here at the Wondercon!Line For the CartoonThis extremely long line is for a cartoon. The showing was going to be held in another room in the next ten minutes. Tim and Rick got excited, and we found that the room number was right around the corner of the Browncoat’s meeting room.We walked down the hall and found the room and then found a line with about 500 (or more?) people in it stretching down the walkway and around the corner into oblivion… We quickly canceled the idea of watching the cartoon (Thank God!)… Tim and Rick can be pretty hardcore fanboys, but they have their limits.Bryan SingerBrandon and BryanWe journeyed downstairs and found in the large, main auditorium, that Bryan Singer, who directed the X-Men and X2 films, was there pimping the new movie that he directed, ‘Superman Returns’. So we went back to the main room to check that out. We found and got seated in some pretty decent seats which had a great view of the stage and podium. As as we waited for everything to start, it figures, a woman with big, fat head and a bunch of flowers and shit in her hair, conveniently seats her self directly between ME and the PODIUM! By then, the place was fairly packed, so it was impossible to find another row with five seats next to each other, besides, everyone ELSE in our group had a great view of the podium, it was just me that was stuck with a beautiful view of this woman’s mammoth head! Lady's Big HeadMy view of the PodiumSince everyone else’s view was great, I just decided to just deal with it and watch the presentation on the big projection screen. The event finally started to commence and it started with some previews of the movie and then, eventually, Bryan came out. Bryan ended up being another relatively young dude who’s out there directing blockbusters while my old, lame, do nothing ass sits out in the crowd of nerds. Bryan seems a little overwhelmed at the ocean of dorks spread before him, but he handled it well with some amusing patter… he rapped a little telling anecdotes about this and that then introduced Brandon Routh, the actor who plays Superman in the new movie. Brandon ended up being some super good-looking young punk and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Farah was sitting up and taking attention. Hmph… whatever… It’s not like he has REAL super powers… He’s just an actor pretending to be super… “so you can sit back and calm down, Farah. He’s just a normal loser like the rest of us… Hmph… so he’s humble, charming, good looking, and plays Superman in a big blockbuster Hollywood movie… big deal… I could do that too if I was good looking, and talented, and, uh, g-good looking.. and… doing more with my life than going to, um, comic book conventions….[sigh]”

Bryan and Brandon finally wrapped it up, and bid goodbye to a loud round of applause, and an emcee came to the mic and told us all to stay seated, that there was a surprise for us…V for Vendetta Mask We waited with our heads craning around looking for the surprise, and finally, some people came out and down the aisles and started handing out ‘V for Vendetta’ masks to everyone. We each got one and then shuffled out of the room excited about our exclusive gift for being such dedicated nerds. Of course, half of the people had to try the mask on immediately as we all made our way out of the auditorium. Since I wasn’t smart enough to take a photo of the sight, you’ll just have to use your imagination and visualize hundreds of nerds shuffling towards the door with at least half of them wearing these ‘V for Vendetta’ masks. For Farah and me, the day was finally winding down, so we decided to call it and started heading toward the door with Tim, Rick, and Lance walking us out, we took our time exiting and I took some more photos of all of the costumed dork, uh, fans who were posing around the main floor for photos. On our way out, I noticed that a lot of people use these conventions as an excuse to wear whatever stupid, irrelevant, old costume they happen to have gathering dust in there closet…
Rabbit and ThingWTF!?!?The Pink PantherThe Pink Panther?!?! GHOSTBUSTERS?!?!

We said goodbye to Tim, Lance, and Rick, and I gave Tim our badges because he wanted to try to see if he could make a few bucks selling them at a discount to any of the badgeless nerds outside who were still buying tickets to come in. Farah and I wandered outside and I noticed a hulking character sitting on the ground in a corner partially hidden by a pillar, smoking a cigarette with a woman hovering over him and seemingly trying to hide him from the crowd and I noticed that it was Peter Mayhew again hiding from all of the nerds so that he could just have a smoke in peace. I thought about asking him for his autograph, and asking if he sign it, “Chewbacca” instead of “Peter Mayhew”… but decided that that wouldn’t be cool.

Farah and I headed back to the parking garage, got the car, and upon exiting, found that they’d closed a major San Francisco main street because of some Chinese parade… the closing of the street left two extremely crowded and car filled roads being routed down one stupid street with no cop controlling the traffic, the intersection was completely jammed with cars, so the traffic light was useless, it would turn green, then red, then green, then red, with no where for anyone to go… it was an “every man for himself” situation and complete anarchy… All of the cars would inch and jockey themselves through the intersection trying to get through. There was no courtesy, no friendly, “No, you first, please, I insist!”, just ugly, “Me first, Asshole!!!” road rage, it was pretty sad… So, after I flipped off the jerk who was trying to get in front of me, I managed to force my way into and through the intersection and we made it to the freeway and finally home… I hate San Franshithole. Here, enjoy some more photos, click on them to make them bigger…

Fun YodaFun Yoda! Tim, Lara, and BatgirlComic conventions are for homo- Hunh!?!?! Jack SparrowHey buddy, the “White Swallow” bar is around the corner, this is the comic book convention
Troopers and Starbucks[crackle-crackle] Uh, squad leader, maybe you should lay off of those double venti banana mochas for awhile. WolverineHoly crap. What happened to Wolverine’s face!?! It looks like it didn’t heal right after that last battle! Alien and GuardAlien costume, pretty cool. Security Guard costume, eh… not so impressive.
Sherlock and Watson PosingWhat do you do when you have TWO costumes laying around?
-Sean

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