Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dinner Pics

Dinner at Mandalay with Dan.

Tea Leaf Salad (Lap Pat Dok)

Rangoon Fish

Coconut Rice

Chin Mong Jaw (a traditional Burmese sour vegetable) w/ Tofu

some on the house mango pudding.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wondercon, Early birds, Maverix

Sunday was looking to be rather busy with a day at Wondercon, one show, and one party to go to... It did not get off to a great start. First, I was up till 5am playing Crayon Physics Deluxe and Flywrench. After less than 5 hours of sleep, well I originally planned to hit Wondercon early to beat the crowds and get some traffic free shopping done. This plan however ran into a serious SNAFU when I quickly left my apartment and just as quickly realized I had locked myself out. I mistook the jingly in my pockets (my con-badge) as keys and was left in a pickle. Calling my landlord (all the way in Millbrae) she said that she just had thyroid surgery and her husband wasn't too well. Trying (and failing) to get a ride, they eventually decided I was such a good tenant that they'd come up to help me. Whew! So with some time to kill, I went up Geary in search of food.

I found this nice Irish Bakery called Jon Campbell's Irish Bakery. Why have I never seen this place before? Oh, the hours are Sat. and Sun. 10am - 3:00pm. I got a raisin scone and a "Belfast Bap," a sandwich with eggs, cheese, Irish sausages, and Irish bacon. The scones were quite excellent. The sandwich was pretty good too but I didn't get to really finish it as I had to relocate myself a few times and then it started getting cold. Would definitely get another one but there were some nice looking meat pies I'd want to try out next time. Of course, typing this I now remember this was one of Jen's backup brunch places. Good eats! A quick story on the sandwich name. Belfast is obviously the name of the Northern Ireland capital city. A bap however is a Scottish and Irish styled bread roll. It's about 5-6 inches in diameter and moundy in shape. As such is also a slang word for the female breast. Something I learned from my British friend Henry back in Chien Tan 1995.

OK, so I fiiiiiinally get my keys (thanks land lords) and now on to Wondercon. And since I'm late, the very crowded Wondercon. Above is a shot of what I would deam as "light traffic" were pockets of space are still visible.

American Cosplay done right. Well maybe not Stormshadow on the right but Cobra Commander and Baroness? The only critique I could have is Cobra Commander's shoes. As the supreme commander of an evil super organization, you couldn't find time to get those shoes shined? The imprinted facial expressions in the mask are great.

I met up with Thien and coworker Laurie and hit up some panels. I first walked in on a panel discussion for 10,000 B.C. for which I was tempted to ask if the Ringo Star movie Caveman had any influence on their approach to the movie. But the mic was so far away and the line was rather long so I quickly gave up on my curiosity. That was followed by Get Smart featuring the lovely Anne Hathaway (whom the panel kept referring to as "Annie") and the ever funny

but concentrated face dude, Steve Carell. For American The Office fans, having just finished a 2 week service in jury duty, Steve expressed interest in writing an episode about Michal Scott getting jury duty. The audience asked Steve lots of questions to the point where the other two speakers (Anne and director Peter Segal) were feeling left out. Finally someone addressed Anne and saying how awesome was. She was so happy saying something like "I no longer feel outcasted like back in highschool" to which the questioner asked "my question to you is.... what is it like working with Steve?" to which Anne quickly corrected herself "ok, now I feel exactly like back in highschool." Peter eventually got a question which would also turn into "what was it like directing Steve." Which goes to show, despite having lovely Anne Hathaway on stage, comic geeks are much more into their superstar heroes.

Andrew Stanton of Pixar presents their new movie WALL-E. Lots of clips. It looks like it will be a good movie. I also saw some stuff for the new Star Wars animated Clone Wars movie and TV series, Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian stuff, and Iron Man. All the stuff looked good.

Hey, congrats to Lark who was nominated for an Eisner award for best coloring in the comic titled American Born Chinese. I saw a girl getting the book signed by Lark gushing over "being represented" in comics. Growing up, all we had was Jubliee, the flat chested annoying Chinese girl with weak-ass "sparkler" powers and the obnoxious yellow (yes, yellow) jacket with bright pink flare. And there was sexy Psylocke but she was a blonde Brit surgically altered to look Japanese so she doesn't count. Doubly so.

previously featured paintings by Lark.

So besides all the shopping, that was my Wondercon. Next was the Early Bird Painters Art Show at Studio Gallery. So despite my bad luck this morning (plus my left eye pain was acting up again), how is that parking spot for reverse karma?

Early birds, Dice and Enrico participating in recursive photography.

New early bird and coworker JimmyG.

Millers for diner.

A hearty hot link, mac salad, and pickle.

Maverix Studios party. I guess there were a lot of parties that night because I was expecting this place to be seriously packed and it was sort of a light-to-normal sized crowd.

works by Sho Murase.

Sho with another American Cosplay done right. This guy had a fully articulated ape face capable of showing a full range of facial expressions, emotions, and mouth shapes.

Derek Thompson monsters originals for sale.

Finally home. Here is my Wondercon book haul. Finally got some Wendling and Alary books I've been wanting. After the long week I've had, I'M SLEEPING IN.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I tell people that the Game Developers conference involves developers giving talks to other developers about behind the scenes "technical stuff." There are colorful and interesting graphs like this one from my morning session.

And then there are insane graphs like this one from my mid-morning session. Fun stuff!

Not so fun was that I got called in for jury duty at 12:45pm. The good news was at 1:45pm they told me to go home. "Thank you for serving your civic duty" and something about taking a shower? Not sure, they were mumbling. So back to GDC where went to another design session and got some neat experimental games to play with. Some of them are available on the web.

The incredibly difficult Flywrench

Rod Humble's Stars over Half Moon Bay. Also on that link is the game titled "The Marriage" which is being cited as a definitive (of definite?) demonstration of "games as art."

Mr. Heart Loves you very Much!

Crayon Physics Deluxe (well the original prototype. we got to play the newer version)

Then on my way over to my last session of GDC, I ran into Jamie Fristrom from Torpex Games who I hadn't seen since E3, when E3 was superbowl E3 and not lame-o public marketing fest E3. It was nice catching up with him. Unfortunately as it would happen, not only my session of choice but even both of my backups were completely filled to capacity. I was sessioned-out-of-luck. So instead I mozied over to the Wondercon (San Francisco Comic Book Convenstion) across the street! Free entry for industry professionals. Hurray! As opposed to GDC which is something like $1400 at full price.

Comic Book Conventions. Home of yesterday's stars. Looking for $20 so you can be a part of reliving their former glory. Shouldn't it be enough that people care enough about them? And come on, $20??? There must be some rabid fan boys out there because they must be charging that much because people are willing to pay for it. Do you even get an autographed headshot with that? Anyways, I met up with Ben and some comic folks and we headed over to the Westfield to get some food. I must say that Westfield has probably the BEST food court for a MALL in the U.S. (that I know of). I'm not talking about shopping centers or complexes but a mall (albeit a fancy one). Indoors, with a movie theater, and shoe stores, and a book store, and a fruity smelling store. The choices are plentiful and the quality is way above mall average. That said, it is not a full endorsement but if you are in that part of town, it is most convenient to go there when in groups as you don't need to decide what everyone wants to eat. Someone will post to me about a better mall food court but then I will be all the wiser.

Afterwards we went to the Cartoon Art Museum. There was an awesome Mary Blair exhibit.

Original concept art from Alice in Wonderland.

Tomorrow I have to go back to Wondercon to pick up some Pierre Alary (OMG he has a blog) books I've been wanting.

GDC 08 - Less exciting day

Morning sessions were all duds. I went to the North Expo Hall, got in early with my exhibitor badge and walked around. There was a big mob outside waiting to be let in. Kinda crazy and reminiscent of E3's pre-hours crowd. Played Super Smash Brothers Brawl on the Wii and the Wii Fit balance board games. Tried some weird force feedback arm mouse device. =P Without pictures, my memory is categorizing those events as boring and not exciting. Oh well. I guess I should take more pictures tommorrow. I wonder if I can quantify my happiness by the quantity of pictures I take? Of course, I hate doing those 30-40 picture blog posts. They can be quite exhausting.

End of day. Very tired. Went to the no-thinking Game Design Challenge session. I forget if I've been to one before but it's all for fun and there isn't much to learn. Nothing really surprised me but the winner had a good lead-up presentation. Like me, he came up with a bacteria-based idea for the topic of inter-species game design although he had some business foresight to sell his super powered bacteria to bio-tech and later through audience suggestion, the military. K-ching!

7:00PM - ugh, I have to go into jury duty tommorrow so while Friday was a light day, I will be missing the second half of the day for civil service. And the worse part is that GDC lunches aren't served till 1pm and JD reports at 12:45pm so I will have to fend for myself. Laaaaaazy. T___T

GDC Suite night was disappointing this year as well. Guest lists? Come on! Why is it suite night if we can't mingle and network? Laaaaaaaame...zy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

GDC 08

There would be no "It's Ridge Racer, Riiiiiiiidge Racer!" memes this year (but there was a Super Bowl Tecmo Bowl Super Tecmo Bowl)... Microsofts Keynote was just one big marketing stunt =P Great for press but lame for developers.

I resorted to entertaining myself with taking pictures of myself.

Conference pictures are pretty boring. Well, they can be exciting. I guess they are boring when all you do is attend sessions and work. Last year was actually kinda crazy and exciting. Maybe they aren't so exciting when I don't take pictures. Well 2 more days of potential excitement left. Here is one exciting scene, behind the scenes at the Activision Booth in the career pavillion where a wall panel blew in by force of not-careful photographer falling through it.

Less exciting is our broken door. wtf?

Some tasty treats from the Activision Party.

Almond mini-eclairs

Catering was pretty disappointing. Especially when I asked the cater-cook about some of his dishes and he talked up how wonderful they were. Sorry dude!