Augmented World Expo

me-AWEI saw cool stuff today at the Augmented World Expo. See this picture? I was scanned with an iPad and a 3D sensor (structure.io), and you see my scanned 3D image on the screen.

At the Epson booth, they had their BT 200 augmented reality glasses. The screen looked very good. I used them to play a version of that evil game on Star Trek Next Generation that brainwashed the crew. The BT 200 uses motion sensors, so I moved my head to gulp down the flying disks. Interesting that the BT 200 screen looks smaller when you look at a close wall than when you look at the farther away ceiling. The human brain at work. These glasses would be great for watching a movie, especially if you are in bed and have a blank ceiling handy.

The Optinvent booth had some glasses similar to Google Glass, except for a bigger and brighter screen which you can tilt out of the way when you want to talk to the person in front of you. Like I did with a guy I stood with when eating AW Expo mac and cheese He wrote psychology papers, and told me that people do not really multi-task: you pay attention to the screen or to what’s in front of you, but not both. I should add that to my stories: Cal’s super-intelligence allows him to drive the Intellecta-car with the Intellecta-interactive windshield, but Holly would find that VERY distracting.

Several attendees wore Google Glass. Lots of companies at AW Expo did software and hardware for Oculus Rift: big and very immersive VR glasses. SoftKinetic combined with Oculus to put my hand into virtual reality, where I grabbed blocks and built a big virtual beam. I imagined having big virtual flying fists to mightily punch the virtual world, MOO HA HA HA HA!!!!

At the award show afterwards, they did a Google Glass improv show, acting out a Chapstick and Massage company. The audience sent short text messages to the players to perform, such as: I’m gay, bitch please, be yourself, www101, and WTFATB (what the fat, boy?). I admire the players for being very quick on their feet, or rather, frontal lobes.

HOLLY EYES Reviz 2Oh, and I handed out several Holly business cards, since a big take in my novel will be 5D glasses, so that gave me another thing to talk about. And who knows, maybe someone there will buy a Holly story (of which I am writing more, there, now I can put a writing tag on this post). Guys and gals alike got a kick out of the Holly image on the card. One lady at the Epson booth liked that Holly is strong and tough, but she did wonder (as I admit I did) about Holly and Cal falling for each other. But the ladies in my critique group said Holly and Cal made a perfect couple. As in opposites attract. After all, Super(wo)man and Batman do not get along well.

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The BIG WOW Comicfest!!! (a San Jose comic book convention)

I went last Saturday and Sunday. The panel on cultural diversity in comics had Damion Poitier (actor and stuntman) and David Williams (artist for Marvel and DC Comics). Both are black. Well, Damion is a bit blacker, and he projected an actor’s voice that needed no microphone. Damion said that writers ought to call him when they have an idea that might be questionable. Like making the new DC Comics Wally West a teen guy of color and (surprise, surprise, I thought it was done to death when I read it) he is in trouble with the law. Sigh. He also said that Luke Cage of Marvel Comics ought to be running some businesses in the hood, not just running another Avenger’s spinoff superhero team. You know what? Much as I like how Luke Cage is done nowadays (the tough guy with a heart of gold, a heck of an improvement over the chain-for-a-belt blaxploitation version from years past), this is a great idea! I asked Damion if he has considered writing. I remember Damion better, although both guys were good. Actors have presence.

trina-and-meThe panel for Creating Comics and Book for all ages had Trina Robbins, writer and HERstorian for over 40 years. The secret to all writing all ages books: Write a good story, and leave out graphic sex and violence. You can have grown-up references (Rocky and Bullwinkle, or Powerpuff Girls and the Beatles episode). Bill Morrison of Bongo Comics (Simpsons and Futurama comic books) said that Batton Lash (cover artist for Holly’s Super Bad Hair Day, and artist/writer for Bongo Comics, Batton does it all!) would ask about events in old Gold Key 1960’s comics; as long as the reader does not have to understand the event to understand the story, it is fine.

Trina pointed out that girls did not like that comic books stores (1) were stuffed with boys and (2) did not smell good, but then came manga that girls love, like Far Away (a girl is blown into another world). Trina does an all-ages book called Chicagoland Detective Agency starring Megan, a vegetarian, manga-reading, haiku-writing teen girl. One story had a witch teen girl who was crushing on Megan: Trina was not to use the L word in the book. Trina had one copy left to sell at the convention. I said I got dibs on the L book! It was a wonderful read, I gotta buy more of her stuff! Trina said that kids tend to read up: tween girls read teen girl comics, teen girls read romance. NEVER write just for kids, that is writing down to them. I gave Trina my Holly business card and showed her Lash’s cover art for Holly’s Super Bad Hair Day. She said Holly’s costume looked tight. Yeah, that is part of the joke about how super heroines are drawn, and part of the burden Holly carries. But Trina seemed to like the idea of Holly, a superheroine with flaws. Maybe I should see if Trina would like to read a Holly story. Maybe Holly should meet a Trina character: Holly would like that. She could learn from Trina. I could too.

boy-artistA nine-year-old artist. He was good. Someday, maybe he will be great.

costume-contestCostume Contest. The guy in red and blue (Bucky Barnes before Winter Soldier) is Dwight, whom I have known for a while. We had dinner at Johnny Rockets.

I asked Morpheus if I should take the blue pill or the red pill. He said it depended on what I wanted.

bucky-and-mopheus

 

The presenter did a great job as Zantanna: she looked the part (wow), and she did magic flashes with her hands (WOW). Robocop won the costume contest. He insisted.

zantanna-and-me

robocop-and-zantanna

I bought a lot of comics and books, figuring that I would not be going to the San Diego Comic Con this year. (I don’t even have a hotel reserved yet!) A few standouts from my purchases:
* The first half of the Bobby London run on Popeye. Excellent.
* Edison Rex, a super villain-turned-hero who gets no heroic respect.
* Terry Moore’s Echo. After I told him that Holly punched her way to the top of my stories, he told me that his character Katchoo took over his comic book series Strangers in Paradise when he had planned on her only being in the few issues. Characters can push the author around. Frank Miller was right about Sin City’s Marv. (Update: I read it all in one sitting, or one lay-in-bedding, lost sleep but worth it.)

I finished by watching The Batman Chronicles, a non-profit fan flick about a younger Batman just starting out, by Actor (he did the Joker, and did a great Joker laugh for us), Producer & Editor Anthony Misiano. Look it up on YouTube, it is worth watching. Anthony said that the Joker is fun to act out because you do not have to hold back.

My book review: The Siege, by James Hanna

bullet holes in metal background(I posted this as a review on Amazon. It went through okay. Yay.)

I know James from the Peninsula Writers Club. Among other things, he runs the open mic. His story about the Tea Party guy who grew an extra head was one of my favorites. At the open mic, when James reads, we writers listen. And we are entertained. So I bought this book. I knew I’d find interesting characters in it.

Many of his characters seem to emerge from his years as a department of corrections counselor and as a probation officer. Like in The Siege, with, as James puts it, a towering drag queen named Trinesa. A Conduct Adjustment Board member whose voice was as dry as powder, his gaze as steady as an eagle’s. A squat excitable commander of the prison emergency squads who nodded reverently and positioned his thumbs into the effigy of a steeple. A Henry Yoakum who, when about to testify, looked like a turkey vulture sipping from a well. I can learn from James.

James won’t write a boring prison siege because James knows that characters drive stories. Check him out. http://www.willwriteforfood.org/Home.html

P.S. I mentioned a comedian at the Red Rock open mic in a previous blog post. His name is Ellis Rodriguez at https://www.facebook.com/ellistrated (I wonder if he would like a new friend?). I think that next Monday, he will be headlining at Red Rock, meaning he’ll show up around 9 or so. I think. (I did not make the open mic this week; I was at the South Bay Writers club.)

Dying is easy, open mic comedy is hard!

(From Wikipedia: An open mic (or open mike) is a live show where audience members may perform at the microphone. Usually, the performers sign up in advance for a time slot with the host or master of ceremonies. These events are typically focused on performance arts like poetry and the spoken word, music, and comedy.)

Monday night, I gave up my open mic slot at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View, CA to four older ladies who sang and played guitar. They had come in from out of town, how could I NOT give them my slot? The host said that was nice of me, the ladies were sweet and told me about another open mic location they did. Cool, another place for me to perform! Ooo, I am such a good person!

caseywickstrom-livevocalAt open mics, I do spoken word. I read from my stories, sometimes accompanied by music off my iPad. Open mics have a lot of musicians: Casey Wickstrom is one. He is most excellent. Check out his music on YouTube (like Blues Song #666)!!! Then buy it!!!!!! I got two of his albums!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Over my many years at open micing, I have seen that the audience is polite to comedians, but comedians are lucky to get more than a couple of laughs. Except for last Monday, where a comedian WOWED the crowd! He started with a fart joke (when you hold it in, where does it go?). From there, the laughs got better and better. He was black and from Panama, and asked us if we’d peg him as hispanic. He dissed Walmart, always a good joke in my book, always! (I shoulda got his card so I can plug him here.) Off stage, he wore a hat like the kid in Adventure Time. He was a tall guy with a shaved head. The cap made him look, well, more like a kid. An incredibly big kid.

Over my open mic years, I too have gotten laughs. But my biggest hits have been the sad chapters with a funny punchline. That’s what I’ll be reading next week at Red Rock.

Kickstart an artist and support your local zombie!

batton_lash_zombie_wifeBatton Lash, of Supernatural Law, is doing  Kickstarter campaign for his latest graphic novel, Zombie Wife (click for details). Batton is a very talented artist and writer. He drew the cover for Holly’s bad hair day, plus a little extra. He also writes well: Wolff and Byrd stories are fun to read, and the monsters they defend are very, very human. And Alanna is a strong, smart woman. (Click to see how’d she’d react to Holly.)

Anyway, Batton has a couple of weeks left in his Kickstarter campaign. Consider kicking a little $$$ his way, he has some nice rewards (like $30 gets you a signed book and some extras). I’ll do that myself, when I get to a secure WiFi connection (my apartment). (Okay, I just did.)