Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Next Week: Part 2

Ask anyone who’s ever worked a table. There is always at least one completely crazy person every con who will insist on talking about Uwe Boll for 45 minutes with you (true story). As they might actually be a customer or an editor from a major comic company, you don’t want to be rude. So, you smile and nod and hope that if they go on a spree, they’ll remember you fondly and not attempt to make a hat out of your liver.

That’s one of the funny things about cons: you can’t really make assumptions about the people walking by. The guy in the stained Wolverine short and jorts could be multi-millionaire while the guy in the tailored suit with the briefcase might just be trying to show people his original work: Suitman and Copy Boy, which was done in stick-figures and crayon (semi-true: it wasn’t called Suitman and Copy Boy).

Where were we? Ah, yes. Mental preparation.

Now, everyone mentally prepares differently. By far the single most popular method is beer, followed by more beer, leading to staggering, and if possible yet more beer. Said beer is generally drunk in the evenings after the con and sometimes well into the next morning, leading to vendors who haven’t actually ‘slept it off,’ as they never actually went to bed in the first place.

Yes, I actually heard ‘Dude, I think I’m still drunk’ one fine con morning as I went by a table.

I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to mentally prepare for a con. Some might read old comics. Some might walk into their local comic shop on a busy Wednesday and mention loudly that ‘Batman could totally beat Superman,’ thus sparking off a nerd riot.

NOTE: According to my mother, Superman would win because Christopher Reeve was the ‘handsome one.’ Except what she actually said was ‘the handsome one who was in that movie where he traveled back in time and fell in love with that woman with dark hair’ because she can’t remember the names of actors or movies. However, having known my mother all my life, I was able to interpret this as Christopher Reeve, as he was in Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour.

Personally, I have a very simple regimen for mental preparation: I try to cancel a credit card. Now, if you’ve never tried to do this, it’s worthy of being one of Hercules’ Twelve Labors (right after the one where he had to clean the stables), as the person you’re talking to is being paid to get you to not cancel. They will try every verbal and psychological trick in their arsenal from guilt to coupons to dates with celebrities in order to keep you as a customer. It is the art of verbal sparring at its most intense. If you can successfully cancel a credit card, you can deal with any potential customer.

Though, I must point out that I still haven’t gotten my date with Olivia Wilde.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Con Training: Part 1

Con season is almost upon us and I’ve begun vigorous training in order to prepare myself both physically and mentally.

You see, cons are not just a large gathering of like-minded people interested in the buying, selling, and conversing about and in relation to paraphernalia related to their hobby or pastime.

Well, actually, yes. They are exactly that, but metaphorically speaking, they’re a battle. The sellers are drawn up formation, their books polished and gleaming in the fluorescent light, their pens held at the ready, their cash boxes unlocked and ready to receive the booty earned from the rampaging hordes who are about to descend upon them and . . . okay, forget I said that.

Ummm, what I really meant was that cons are like circuses. There are bright lights, strange and unusual animals, noxious odors, over-priced food, and people dressed in bizarre, often frightening costumes. The sellers are like caged beasts, roaming their ten foot tables, ready to pounce on any . . . . and crap.

So, let’s just agree that my analogies suck and move on.

Anyway, you can’t just ‘do’ a con. This could result in broken pencils and/or limbs. You have to work up to them. As a seller, you have to haul boxes of goods, get your cash ready, buy donuts, and do all sorts of things. Have you ever been to a con and seen a seemingly empty table, only to discover a disheveled man in a stained Green Lantern shirt lying in a fetal position on the floor behind it?

This is a man who did not properly prepare.

NOTE: Yes, I’ve actually seen this. I also once saw a Technically Not Topless Woman. Seriously. Ask me about it.

Now, the physical preparation is quite easy. You simply need to eat as badly as possible for about a month. You see, con food is one of the most destructive things in the known universe. Do you remember how the Aliens bled acid? That’s because they ate con food. In essence: your stomach is Helm’s Deep and the chili-dog you just had is an Uruk-Hai army, intent on your destruction. So, you have to toughen your innards up to handle the pseudo-food your about to eat for the next couple of days.

This doesn’t sound too bad, I’m sure. However, the mental training is even more difficult. You have to prepare yourself to talk not only with the happy, well-adjusted comic-book fans, but also the legally insane. And yes, these are two different groups.

Next Week: Part 2

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

This Is Shaving!

I don’t like shaving. I’ve made this clear in the past, but I felt it had bearing for this blog, so I figured I’d repeat myself a little.

Shaving is just . . . irritating, in more ways than one. Not only does it take away valuable time I could be using to sleep, if done improperly (or half-asleep), you can carve the hell out of your face. In fact, I need to psyche myself up to shave the couple-three times a week I actually do it. Sometimes I shout inspirational lines to get myself worked up. I’m sure my neighbors appreciate someone yelling ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS!’ at 9 am.

NOTE: I appreciate the irony of using a line from a famously bearded character to get myself to shave. Likewise for ‘THIS IS SPARTA!!!!!!’

Anyway, whilst preparing to shave the other day (dampen face with hot water, miss, attempt to dampen face again, get face damp, scream ‘TETSUO!’), I sprayed some Barbasol into my hand and rubbed it all over my face. In doing so, I managed to get some in my mouth.

Now for those of you who’ve never tasted Barbasol, it’s not pleasant. It’s not bad. Definitely better than Brussel Sprouts. Worse than paint chips. It then occurred to me that someone should make a shaving cream that actually tastes good, just for such an occasion.

Now, it wouldn’t need to be terrific tasting. After all, you wouldn’t want people gorging themselves on shaving cream like it was some sort of fraternity ritual.
It just needs to be not bad. Also, it should have some sort of mint taste, as everything else in the bathroom is mint-flavored. I currently have Clean Mint toothpaste, Fresh Mint mouthwash, Mint dental floss, Amazing Mint toilet paper, and I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Mint ceiling fixtures.

Honestly, it can’t be that hard. You just need someone with a PhD in Mintology or something. And a big batch of shaving cream. And a lot of mint.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fact: Most Walls Are Solid

I walked into a wall the other day.

Now, I could lie and say it was a ninja wall or fitted with spikes or something. I suppose I could even get away with saying it was invisible. I mean, no one seems to bat an eye when I ramble on about fighting mimes and ninjas, so running into an invisible wall would just seem par for the course.

Sadly, however, it was none of the above. It was a perfectly ordinary, flat, off-white wall that I managed to more or less punch myself in the face with. And, just in case you hadn’t noticed, walls are pretty damn solid and generally non-ambulatory.

Note: Now, I hesitate to say that all walls are solid, as I have not made an exhaustive study of them, but I can reasonably say that in my experience, most are. This particular wall was most definitely solid.

At this point, you might be wondering how I managed to do this. You may also be wondering why you’re reading a blog about a guy who not only walks into walls, but admits it publically.

No, I don’t know why either.

Imagine if you will, an apartment with a TV, a giant bean bag, and five swords, a sallet, and a mace hung on the walls or sitting on shelves. This is not because I’m a huge nerd. It’s in case there’s a sudden zombie apocalypse. Well, okay, it’s because I’m a huge nerd. Now imagine Olivia Wilde is there wearing her outfit from TRON. Now imagine she has a twin sister. Wait, as long as we’re doing this: Three Olivia Wilds, 2-dozen bottles of real-sugar Coke, a big bowl of popcorn, and the entirety of Farscape on Blu-Ray.

Yes. Colossal nerd.

Here’s the real story. I was walking out of the bathroom after having just washed my glasses. There’s a short hallway, with my living room to the right and my cyber lair to the left. Yes, I have a cyber lair (enormous nerd). Anyway, as I was raising my glasses to put them on, I turned left about half-a-second too early. My right arm missed the wall and I continued forward, ramming the left side of my face directly into the wall.

Bad words were said. In fact, I may have made up several new ones. After some hopping around and continued swearing, I went back into the bathroom to inspect the damage. I had managed to hit myself just off to the side of my left eye. It was tender, but there was no swelling. The wall was fine.

Well, there you have it. I didn’t give myself a black eye, though in hindsight, I could have made up a killer story about muggers or ninjas. My face is still a little sore, but fear not, my good looks are still intact.

So, to sum up: I’m dumb enough to not only walk into a wall, but to tell people about it. It is always possible that I’ll do it again at a later date, which is why I duct-taped a pillow to the wall. It never hurts to be prepared.

Or to be a ginormous nerd.