Good morning from sunny and humid South Florida. Spare time has NOT been a luxury I have had lately, so my blog posts have been few and far between. The good news, though, is that my blogging has slowed down because my active life in the fan community has been busier that is has ever been in my thirty-some-odd years alive. So far this year: Florida Anime Experience, Project Anime, Anime Expo, InvaderCON, and Anime Festival Orlando. Still to come: Gen Con, DragonCon, UmiCon, PinUpalooza, and WasabiCon.
November and December are looking like the “take a damn break” months.
I could easily spend hours upon hours telling the amazing tales of InvaderCON and the past week spent in California. To make sure I get my other work done, though, I’m going to cheat and use my Instagram photos as the storytelling tool to share the gist of it all. Here goes:
This is a Gir backpack clip thingy that Shannon bought about ten years ago. She found it and put it on her carry on luggage so I took a photo of it while we were waiting for our flight at the Orlando International Airport. This was only her second time ever to California.
When I told the flight attendant on Virgin America that this was Shannon’s first time flying Virgin, he found an empty row to put her and I together in with more space. Since we didn’t want the third seat to be wasted, we put her Blue pillow (from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) in the other seat with my hipster hat. It SEEMED like a good idea, but then I realized how sorta creepy this photo looks.
I usually take an isle seat when I fly, so having all three seats allowed me to look out the window during the flight. As expected, we saw mountains and stuff.
We got to the hotel in Torrance, California and immediately got to work. One of the things we do at conventions ahead of time is sort the prizes for all the forthcoming contests. This is a photo of a throw rug donated by Nickelodeon.
Things were BUSY once we got started, so I didn’t take as many photos personally as I would have liked. That said, here’s a shot I got of the Ultimate Panel of DOOM. From left to right: Wally Wingert, Richard Horvitz, Jhonen Vasquez, RIkki Simons, Ian Graham, Melissa Fahn, Rodger Bumpass, Eric Trueheart, and Jason Stiff.
The InvaderCON costume contest was A. MA. ZIIIIIING. I walked in and hosted on stage while the judges were picking the winners. While there, I made all the entries stand on stage and sorted them by ZIMs, GIRs, and OTHERS. Here are the three photos I took (’cause the stage was SO BIG!)
It was hard to keep it quiet, but Wally Wingert contacted us a week before InvaderCON and agreed to come out for the convention. He even surprised some attendees by attending The Dinner of DOOM! with “Cardboard Jhonen” – his own creation.
Rumor has it that anime fans tend to like Invader ZIM. Here’s some proof:
This is during Jhonen’s panel on Sunday. I tried to take it at a distance to make it look like the famous Bigfoot sighting photos. (He wouldn’t walk outside with me and take long strides through the trees.)
Speaking of Jhonen, here’s a photo of the coveted signed print that was offered with the JVP ticket at the convention. Each one was signed by Jhonen personally.
Want to know the definition of TALENT? You’re looking at it in this photo below. Half these folks flew out from Florida and half were folks I worked with at Anime Expo. THEY MADE INVADERCON HAPPEN AND THEY ARE AWESOME. This was taken at the group dinner Sunday night after the con.
This was on the wall in the barbecue restaurant we were it. It was not the MOST disturbing thing written on a wall there… but close.
After InvaderCON wrapped, I spent Monday playing tourist and taking Shannon around Los Angeles (with Lyn and John.) We, of course, drove up into the hills and scored a nice view of the city.
From that same vantage point, we managed to see the Hollywood sign, too.
The vantage point from where the last two photos were taken? The Griffith Observatory… WHICH IS CLOSED ON MONDAY. (At least we got a nice view.)
This is me standing on a ledge overlooking a cliff at the observatory. It was dangerous, stupid, and made for a great photo. The longer version is the header on my Facebook. (I love this picture.)
After that, we drove around near Hollywood. I took the group up to Mulholland Drive and saw the houses owned by all the poor people.
While tooling around town playing tourist, I heard from Wally Wingert who was leaving work and wanted to know if I could stop by his house since we were nearby. THE MAN’S HOUSE IS A GEEK MECCA. Wally’s the best type of voice actor – he respects his own craft by being a bona fide nerd to his passion. An entire reality serious could be filmed about the amount of stuff in his place… collectibles celebrating cartoons and pop culture like you wouldn’t believe. He even had a couple of costumes laying around that fit Shannon and Lyn. Check it out:
Yup. Cosplay in Hollywood. You betcha.
After Wally’s we headed to downtown Hollywood to walk around (since Shannon had never been.) We found the star on the Walk of Fame for the largest movie star of all time:
We walked around the Chinese Theater.
This next one is another of my favorite photos. I love the Muppets. Repeat: I LOVE THE MUPPETS.
We walked down the road and took a pit stop at Mel’s Diner. Since it was after midnight, it had become Shannon’s birthday and she opted to celebrate by having a massive milkshake full of chocolate and sugar and more sugar. Lyn was stunned.
Strangely enough, Shannon has never seen American Graffiti – but she HAS seen The Muppets. Thus, while at Mel’s, she took time for a “Me Party.”
We got in the car at o’dark thirty and started heading back to the hotel. Along the way, we drove through Beverly Hills. I made an Axel Foley reference. Shannon, instead, made a Shelly Long one. Go figure.
Late the next morning (for Shannon’s birthday) we went to Disneyland. We were joined by Daric, Megan, Allison, Rikki, Tavisha, Jo, and Jo’s family. I don’t Instagram too much in theme parks (to keep my battery life intact) but I did snap this next photo INSIDE Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Up until this trip, we didn’t know that you could do a walking tour of the inside. It was pretty cool.
This was the last photo of the trip – taken after mindnight in the park. Rikki, Tavisha, and Shannon all wanted snacks. I just wanted to die of exhaustion. We didn’t leave the park until AFTER 1:00 AM.
From there, we drove a hotel I reserved (right next to LAX) and slept for a couple of hours before catching a plane back to Florida.
All of it – InvaderCON, California, time with friends – made for an astounding adventure that I’ll never forget.
For you Instagrammy folks – my username is TomCroom (I know, original) if you want to find/add me.
(Now I have to get back to work. Thanks for reading!)