My first visit to the comic book convention to beat ALL comic book conventions. San Diego Comic Con International. It’s nearly impossible to describe how big this event it. 130,000+ attendees over the 4 days of the convention. I arrived on Thursday and flew home on Sunday. During the 3 days I was at the convention I walked a total of 22 miles tromping around the convention center and the surrounding area.
Every conceivable vendor was there. All the big toy makers and publishing houses as well as TV and Movie studio reps. The big discussion panels for shows like Dr. Who or the new Star Wars movie were attended by throngs of fans who camped as long as 48 hour in advance for a chance to get into the panel of their dreams.
I was less dedicated. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t things to see and do. I explored the show floor, bought a few souvenirs and even got to photograph the press event for the FX show “Archer” which featured most of the voice actors for the show.
My favorite part of the show is all the fans dressed in costume. I am less enamored of the “serious” costumes, but I love the whimsical stuff.
All in all, a great event if you can get tickets. And try not to take things too seriously…
The Cutlass has been sitting up in the garage for the last 6 or 7 years. Unstarted, with a dead battery and two flat tires. I finally worked up the energy to have it removed from the garage and towed to a mechanic. All fluids flushed, new tires, new intake manifold, new carburetor, new brakes, rebuilt transmission, new top, new air cleaner. A lot of work over a long period of time, but she’s running. There’s more to do, but I don’t have the money right now. She does run real good, though. Need some cooler temps to enjoy it.
It rained and rained and rained all night. Water got up into the yard, but did not get into the house. We lost power about 1 am and it wasn’t restored for 24 hours. Fortunately it was not terribly warm the following day. We lost everything in the fridge and the deep freeze.
Annual pilgrimage to Comicpalooza. Seeing Mayor Annise Parker in the Mach 5 was especially satisfying.
As someone who has had his photos stolen too many times to count, I have heard all the excuses you can imagine. With that in mind, I created this helpful infographic.
Kaufmann’s Posographe is an analog mechanical computer for calculating six-variable photographic functions to determine exposure time for taking indoor or outdoor photographs, depending on which side you use.
From the History Of Computing site:
At first glance this is just a small rectangular plate, about 13 x 8 cm, covered with dense scribbles, with seven pointers fixed to its frame. Then you realize that the pointers are not fixed, but can slide on the frame… and then you note that they are somehow interconnected — moving any of the small ones will move the larger one this way or that. Strange. But when you see the diagram of the inner mechanism you realize what this is, and it can take your breath away. Kaufmann’s Posographe is nothing less than an analog mechanical computer for calculating six-variable functions. Specifically, it computes the exposure time (Temps de Pose) for taking photographs indoors or out (depending on which side you use). The input variables are set up on the six small pointers; the large pointer then gives you the correct time. The variables are very detailed, yet endearingly colloquial. For outdoors, they include the setting — with values like “Snowy scene”, “Greenery with expanse of water”, or “Very narrow old street”; the state of the sky — including “Cloudy and somber”, “Blue with white clouds”, or “Purest blue”; The month of the year and hour of the day; the illumination of the subject; and of course the aperture (f-number). For indoor photos, we have the colors of the walls and floor; the location of the subject relative to the windows (depending also on the number of windows, and indicated by the little diagrams); the extent of sky in the window, as seen from the location of the subject (again illustrated in little pictures); the sunlight level outside, and how much of it, if any, enters the room; and the aperture. The output indicator actually has four points, designed to show the respective exposure times for different emulsion types.
The first one I came across was the French version which seems to be the most common version. I found it at a shop in Paris, via their Web site. I was able to have a friend in Amsterdam contact his friend in Paris to go to the shop and purchase it for me. His friend delivered it to him and he brought to me in Texas when he came for a visit. It has its own carrying case and it is quite ornate.
Later, I came to find out that the device was made not only in French, but German, Spanish and English. After a bit of searching, I found the English version
Awhile back a good friend loaned me a kaleidoscope that was fitted to be attached to the end of a camera lens. I attached it to my 50mm Sony lens and went to Discovery Green to shoot some stylized photos of The Fab 40, a Beatles tribute band headed up by David Blassingame. Apparently there’s a name for this artistic style that I applied to my photography. It’s called “Vorticism” which started out as a short-lived modernist movement in British art and poetry of the early 20th century and was partly inspired by Cubism.
These are my “vortographs”
We took today to go to the National Portrait Gallery as Cynthia wanted to see the Tudor and Elizabethan portraits. You see these paintings all the time in various context but seeing them in person is quite remarkable.
From there we decided to go to Fortnam and Mason to have high tea. When we got there it was still closed and they would not open till noon. We did notice that there were barricades up for the New Years Day parade so we decided to watch part of that as it was only about an hour away.
Interestingly enough, most of the marching bands were from Texas.
There were bands from Austin and Dallas as well.
There were also some London specific entries to the parade
We stayed and watched the parade for about an hour before deciding it was too cold and headed inside of Fortnam and Mason to experience high tea.
We enjoyed a nice tea and a tray of finger sandwiches and made our way back to the hotel to pack. Tonight we had our going away dinner and are preparing to come home.
It has been a wonderful trip to London.
Today our plan was to go see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. We got there early and staked out a great spot for watching the ceremony.
One of the reasons we had a good spot for viewing the ceremony is due to the fact that we met a remarkable man who was also there to see the changing of the guard. His name is Michael and he is 80 years old and was one of the children evacuated during the blitz in WWII.
He was a wealth of information about the war, the crown and London in general. After the ceremony he invited us to a pub to have a drink and then proceeded to walk with us all around Westminster. He showed us many things and told us many stories as we walked and talked for hours.
After we finished our specially guided mini-tour with this amazing man we found our way back to the hotel to freshen up, get some dinner and prepare for the evening’s festivities.
Though we are not usually the type of people who go out on new years eve, we had managed to secure tickets to attend the The Mayor of London’s NYE 2014 Fireworks which takes place on the Thames River. Since they had limited ticket sales to 100,000 we felt that it might not be TOO crowded to go down and ring in the new year with a mass of London revellers. It really turned out quite well. It felt safe and the people were so fun and friendly. We met up with our friends Michael and Katrina and rang in the new year in amazing style. The fireworks display was one of the best I have ever seen in my life. Words can’t even describe what it was like to stand there and have the London Eye erupt right before your eyes.
Fortunately our hotel is not too far from the site where the celebration was held so we were able to walk home after the event rather than have to try and crowd into the subway or find a cab.
What a fantastic day! Tomorrow is our last full day and we will likely take it easy as we get ready to come home.
Things are truly winding down now. We’re taking it easy in hopes that if we save our energy we might be able to stay up tomorrow night and join in the new years eve celebrations which include a huge fireworks display at midnight over the London Eye.
We spent the morning just trundling around along the North Bank. Nothing much to report for today’s adventures so here’s some photos of Cynthia and me wearing the London Eye like a sombrero.