Thursday, September 11, 2008

Update and Comic-Con of the San Diego variety.

Alright, to all those people who have been writing to me asking when I will update my blog (those people don’t exist), I am going to put you out of your misery. I will post everything in separate posts, so you don’t have to read a completely massive single entry. I’ll add them over the next couple of days, and make sure you check out the corresponding photos!

The last few weeks have been pretty fast moving, so I haven’t had so much time to sit down and write. However, it has been an absolute blast. I can’t express it (good for a blog, you say). This last month and a bit has been the best time of my life, to date. Comic-Con was once again the satisfying and fulfilling experience I expected it to be. The lines were RIDICULOUS this year, but it didn’t push me to the point of exaggeration (much). I went to a bunch of fantastic panels (the ones we didn’t miss…grr…See? I am bitter) and met some legendary voice actors. I’ve said it a couple of times, but for me the convention is a great hit of inspiration and a yearly ‘kick in the pants’ to get me going. Very good.

The majority of my idols attended Comic-Con this year, as shown in the Facebook photos. If you aren’t on Facebook, get an account and add me! (Yeah, now….what? Why? This blog ain’t goin’ anywhere). Highlights were meeting Chris Edgerly, Dee Baker and Phil LaMarr for the first time, the Kevin Smith panel (I was crying), Deepak Chopra and Grant Morrison, the American Dad and Family Guy panels and most of all, a sensational breakfast with the great, prolific and talented Maurice LaMarche and three brilliant friends – Sherry, Madeleine and Jaime. Plus I have never met Maddy in person before, so it was very cool to meet my internet buddy from Sweden. It was a very inspiring meeting overall. Although I believe no person has the right to be arrogant and conceited, Moe is so approachable and generous, despite his fame and immense talent. It’s refreshing to see that in someone. He shared some great stories with us (not to mention impressions and characters galore) and gave us a lot of his time.

Other random things during the Con were going out (late nights, every night). We went to a really great place called ‘Yardhouse’ which sports over 200 beers and it’s special feature is the ‘half yard’ glass. Great beers – I’ll have to get back again and try the whole 200!

I also had my first Quizno sub (even though I think you can find them in Australia, apparently) and I just kept thinking of the American Dad quote every time I had one.

We also returned to the Irish Pub that we went to last year, which was a nice novelty. I’m pretty sure I had exactly the same meal as last time, too. New York steak and Guinness. There was this really talented muso there, playing all sorts of hits (mostly classic rock) as a one man band. I asked him if he knew any CCR, and he played ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain’ – that made my night. There are some pretty fun photos of the four of us (Jaime, Sherry, Madeleine and I). I’ll add photos to the blog eventually, but for now, it’s too much effort.

I was also lucky enough to go to the Video Games Live concert, on the first night of Comic Con. I have wanted to go to that show for YEARS. Since it first came out I’ve been waiting for it to come to Australia, but…no go. However, the timing lined up perfectly and I lived my dream. For those of you who don’t know what it is, Video Games Live is a massive concert with performers and a live orchestra playing a variety of music from many different video games. As a lover of both games and an orchestral musician, this was huge! There was also a surprise guest (I could feel Jaime’s head explode beside me) – Dee Baker. Dee is a ridiculously talented voice actor, and is probably most famous for his work as Klaus on American Dad. However, he also does a lot of video games and in particular, he does ‘vocal effects’ – Monsters, screams, aliens belching, ceiling fans…you name it, he can probably do the sound. Anyway, the orchestra played selections from the score of Gears of War (XBOX 360) and Dee stood there with a microphone creating incredible noises. That man is simply inhuman. There was also a guy who won a recent Guitar Hero contest, and they had him play along with a song on ‘expert’ difficulty, accompanied by the orchestra.

It was such a great performance – they covered so many games. From Space Invaders, Mario, Final Fantasty, Zelda…to a massive Metal Gear Solid medley. Totally grouse!!!

I also got to spend some time at the harbour at nighttime, which was beeeeautiful. I have really enjoyed visiting the marinas throughout my trip, as they remind me of home.

So, Comic-Con was an overall loud and boisterous success. I would love to go back again next year (for the 40th annual convention) but time will tell if it’s a possibility!

Oh, here is a random tip for future travelers (I'm sure I'll be full of these):

Don’t let yourself get sick.

I didn’t get badly sick, because I hardly ever get sick. BUT – you don’t want to sacrifice your health for going out and having a great big night on the town, ‘just because you’re travelling’. It’s harder to recover when you keep pushing yourself to your limits. Trust me, I did it in San Diego. Of course, it's always hard to fight peer pressure, but sometimes ya just need a night or day to recuperate. If your trip is shorter - no problem, but if you're travelling for a while, it's likely you'll keep going downhill.

Another tip, for anyone taking a laptop along on their travels – Be extremely careful of what Wi-Fi spots you connect to. Not that anything happened to me, but I have seen some extremely enticing, yet dodgy unsecure access points. If you are usually not wary of such things, pay particular attention and only connect to internet access points that have been recommended to you. When in New York, I saw a wireless ad-hoc connection titled “FREE INTERNET”. Oy.

SO. Next up, some thoughts from the VOICE conference in Los Angeles. Or maybe Chicago and New York – I’m not sure yet. I should really try to do things chronologically, right? Otherwise you’d probably get confused. I’d love to hear comments from you. Mainly to find out what’s happening back home or on your side of the world, but also to hear whether you want more or less detail. A simple “Matt, you’re boring” or “Matt, you’re as vague as traffic lights in Athens” (more on that in the near future).

Thanks for reading, and there’s more coming soon.

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