Category: Events

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Look Who I Met at Comic-Con

I spent today, with my daughter, at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. Finally. My praise to the organization for providing shockingly accessible accessibility services for the temporarily or permanently disabled. Because of corrective eye surgery two days ago, I fit the category for this Con, and hopefully none other. SDCC graciously gave Molly an onsite pass to be my attendant. In introduction, my impaired vision frames an unexpected encounter with Christopher Gorham.

When the surgical procedures are complete, I expect to have as good eyesight as my youth, but without the need for glasses. I wore a pair of dummy ones today, to protect the operated-on right eye (e.g. plastic with no prescription applied to them). Thus, the left eye is a complete blur without a corrective lens. On the right, my vision for things far away is exceptional. But my personal space, out to about a meter, is blurred out; my visual range will normalize sometime after the dilated pupil normalizes. So, yeah, Molly’s assistance is helpful. 

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SDCC 2016 Badge Changes

Well, this is a development. My San Diego Comic-Con 2016 badge arrived this afternoon—and much is changed from previous years. I attend for the eighth consecutive time, and the second as paying attendee rather than press. Previously, badges were given onsite. Now, beforehand, they are mailed out, with built-in RFID that is scanned on event entry. Presumably, the electronically-read tags will reduce fakes and increase movement in, out, and around the venue.

Like last year, I plan to attend all four days and the Preview Night, which is July 20. I count myself lucky to, on Nov. 14, 2015, plow through the random-selection queue and buy a pass. Entire event is a coup. Many people who want to attend get fewer days, if any. I paid $245 for the privilege, and I will work the show as if a press-pass holder. 

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My Crushing Coachella Concession

This afternoon I sold my Coachella 2016 Weekend 1 Pass to a young woman from Texas who relocated to San Diego about a year ago. Earlier in the day, she spontaneously decided to attend the music festival, responding to my Craigslist post about 10 minutes after I placed it. Disappointment goes with the pass, which I purchased during presales last June. The photo is the only shot of the kit—to accompany the ad.

The Weekend Oner was an unexpected extra. During presales, I bought a pair of Weekend Two passes for my daughter and companion, after being informed the other likely wouldn’t be available. While purchasing, I left the other browser tab open and unexpectedly got pushed through to sales with a single option: Weekend 1 with Shuttle Pass. I grabbed it, thinking to go myself. 

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The Apple Event to Sleep For

Editor’s Note: I wrote this for Frak That!, where nothing should be taken seriously.

“The snoring was so loud, I couldn’t get any work done”, Maybell Lindsey says about the March 21st Apple Event that introduced nothing. She is among a handful of litigants planning to sue the company for failing to fulfill its longstanding obligation to wow watchers with exciting new products—or, in the parlance of deceased cofounder Steve Jobs, present “one more thing”. “One less thing, actually and a lot of `em”, Lindsey heckles.

Litigants largely fall into two categories: 1) Those suffering emotional trauma for being denied the “got to have it now” exhilaration that makes the product launches must-see events. 2) Those tormented by snoring coworkers lulled to lala land by the oppressive focus on energy efficiency and recycled product packaging rather than earth-shaking new tech. 

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There’s Nothing Sweet About CES

It’s Zero Day in the desert, when technology vendors stampede the gambling mecca’s convention center groveling for attention. A narcissist gangbang couldn’t be more self-absorbed or self-seeking attention than this lot. Their annual pilgrimage to the Consumer Electronics Show is an abomination of noise, and it is a metaphor for the fall of 21st Century civilization.

Forget climate change. CES will kill us all first—if not this one than look to 2050. Climate change scientists warn of rising sea levels causing global disaster by that year. The hot air coming out of each CES will doom the planet sooner. You want to stop carbon emissions? Disband the Consumer Electronics Show. 

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Flickr a Day 330: ‘Tommy’

Gobble, gobble, it’s turkey day as the United States celebrates another Thanksgiving (the first was 1621). We don’t know the fate of this bird, whether he survived the butcher’s block four years ago or any other thereafter. But being named is hopeful for longer life.

Chris Burke shot self-titled “Tommy” on September 24, 2011, using Canon EOS Rebel T2i and EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS—one of the manufacturer’s best non-“L” lenses. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/200 sec, 135mm. 

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Flickr a Day 320: ‘Demonstration Against the Notre Dame des Landes Airport’

We follow up yesterday’s street protest pic with another: Self-titled “Demonstration Against the Notre Dame des Landes Airport”, which Philippe Leroyer captured on Feb. 22, 2014 in Nantes, France. You did not misread—and identify major reason why the photo takes the Day. The raging flames feel wrong given what looks like a war zone but is not. The pic’s composition is excellent and is more dramatic in black and white (see the color companion for comparison).

The violent clash captured by Philippe, a photojournalist, is but one in a series of tense encounters. The airport remains in the news more than 20 months later as a family faces eviction from the home for refusing to vacate lands designated for the facility. 

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SDCC 2016 Preregistration Success!

At 9:35 a.m., I completed buying a full pass to Comic-Con 2016, four minutes after moving from the Waiting Room to the purchase queue. The pulp-media cultural event costs more every year. I paid $220 this year and $245 for next, which works out to $40 each for Preview Night and Sunday (Family Day) and $55 apiece for the others.

SDCC 2016 is the second year I pay to attend. Comic-Con International did not recertify my press status for 2015. I have submitted fresh verification documentation but took advantage of preregistration rather than wait. My concern is not attending rather than paying. Press certification’s major benefit is assured attendance. But there’s no guarantee that my media status will be approved. 

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Wow, the Amazon Home Page

Solidarité is right, and nothing for sale visible above the fold. Americans are often too oblivious to tragedy overseas, even among Western allies. If someone didn’t see the news, and shops Amazon, they have to wonder what the page refers to.

My wife and I watched live coverage for hours from CBS and Sky news services, streamed, since we’re cord-cutters again. To recap: Coordinated terrorist attacks left more than 120 dead in Paris, late last night (local time there). The city is in lock down. 

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Take the Pledge and Stay Off the Internet This Saturday

You spend too much time online. Take a break from the Net on November 14th. Show us all that you aren’t a connected device junkie—that you can step out into the real world and enjoy fresh air and sun, and prove your ability to talk to real people face to face (pack the breath mints!).

Aren’t your thumbs tired from texting and Facebook Liking? Don’t your eyes need a break from squinting at flat-screens? If you must stare at a screen, make it a big one—catch an early matinee. Take the pledge to give up the Internet for one hour. You could even go 90 minutes. Turn off the PC, smartphone, or tablet. Join others taking the challenge. Let’s everyone start at 8:45 a.m. PST and commit to staying offline until 9:45, or later. You’ll feel better for it. 

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Flickr a Day 304: ‘Never did the Pumpkin Thing since Childhood!’

I debated long-time about what pic to pick for Halloween. Jack o’ lanterns are cliché, but Cristian Iohan Ştefănescu does them well—and I want to draw attention to his photostream, which is a real treat (no trick, promise). 🙂

One word describes Cristian’s style, whether expressed from the lens or in post-processing: Interesting. He has a terrific eye for composition and perspective. Some of his more recent art I could have featured if not for the holiday: “Study: Cats Understand Humans but don’t Really Care“; “Try walking in My Eyes!“; “Bring the Art Down on the Street and They will Come!“; “Life is a Foreign Country“; or “Hable Con Ella“.