Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Lone Ranger Premiere at Disneyland!

The movie The Lone Ranger opens on July 3, and we got to attend the Red Carpet Celebrity Arrival Event at Disneyland Resort! The event was at Disney California Adventure.
Here I am, Live on the Red Carpet

They had gray cotton candy for this event.  I do not know why.  But Gray Rabbit liked it:

 Disney gave us Lone Ranger masks.  I wore mine as a hat.

We didn't know who this young actress was, but she was very excited to see the stilt walker on the red carpet.  This is when she spotted him:

And then the stilt walker just picked her up and hugged her; it was very sweet.

 Here are some of the Celebrities we saw at the Event:

Emma Roberts:

 Marg Helgenberger:

Cal Ripken, who reached across the rose bushes to shake our hand:

And of course, the two big stars of the event: Armie Hammer:
The Lone Ranger himself


It was quite the event! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Comic Book Recommendations!

Some people think comics are all superheroes like Spider-man and Batman.  We try to tell these people that comics are an artistic medium, like film or television, through which many different stories can be told in various different ways.  That's when they usually ask us to recommend some comics.

We've been reticent to post this, because we feel we need to read every comic in the world first.  We honestly thought there might be a quiet weekend when we would get around to that, but it just dawned on us that that's never going to happen, so let's say this is a work-in-progress; by no means comprehensive.  We haven't read every comic, or even most.  But there are some lesser-known, non-superhero titles that we think deserve more readers/attention/love/Eisner awards.  Maybe we'll add on to this in the future, or do another post entirely, but we decided that shouldn't preclude us from piping up about our favorites now. 

Ongoing series 
Fables: our all-time favorite comic.  Fairytale characters find themselves in modern-day America.  Funny, tragic, romantic, thought-provoking, intelligent - this comic introduces you to the richest, most layered characters that you (thought you) already knew, and masterfully weaves outstanding, profound and unexpected stories with them.  

Fairest: a spin-off of Fables, featuring stories about the most beautiful in all the land. 

Castle Waiting: more fairy tale characters! But this group lives together in a land of fairy tales, and it's the characters and message that are quite modern.

Stuff of Legend: a child is kidnapped by The Boogeyman, and his brave toys set out to rescue him from a dark underworld of discarded playthings. This is a stunningly beautiful and moving comic.

Cursed Pirate Girl: a pirate girl sets sail on the high seas of adventure to find her lost father.

Love and Capes: sitcom-style comedy about a Superhero and his girlfriend Abby.  Abby may not have superpowers, but she's no shrinking violet, and many moments are just laugh out-loud funny.

Girl Genius: steampunk comic about a scholarly student with a mysterious background.  

Princeless: a young princess sets out with her pet dragon to rescue herself and her sisters.

Superbia: Superheroes and their respective spouses/girlfriends/boyfriends live and work together in their own (off the grid) neighborhood. It sounds like "Real Housewives of Superhero Lane" but it's really not.  Smart and deftly plotted, this has great characters and unexpected humor.

On Hiatus 
American Vampire: the title says it all really, but the female protagonist is a fantastic vampire heroine.  Manages to make the vampire genre fresh, which is no small feat these days.

Completed series 
Courtney Crumrin: a mysterious little girl who lives with an even more mysterious uncle in an even more mysterious neighborhood.  Funny, sometimes dark, but always fascinating.

The Sword: we've given this to several people and all of them have loved it.  The story of a young woman who discovers a mysterious secret about her family - and then battles with gods.  A truly exceptional comic.

Cinderella: What if Cinderella were actually a secret agent for fairy tale characters and their Fable homelands? This comic is another Fables spin-off, and both of the stories are impossible to put down.

Reed Gunther: just a guy and his bear, having adventures in the Old West.  Great all-ages comic.

Bunny Comics (a topic in which I am an expert) 
A Home For Mr. Easter: a wonderful, moving story about a girl out to save the Easter Bunny.

Fluffy: The tale of a fluffy bunny and her human dad.

So those are some of my favorites.  What about you? I'd love to hear what comics you're reading!

Friday, June 14, 2013

E3 2013!

I got to go to E3!

E3 is a videogame trade show in Los Angeles.  It is (to quote Wikipedia) "an exclusive, industry-only event" that is not open to the public.  Attendance is 40,000+, so it's not Comic-Con sized, but it draws a large crowd nonetheless.

E3 has two major floors in the Los Angeles Convention Center - one that has game software developers, and the other one with hardware console companies.  In the middle are the smaller game designers in these glass offices.

 [Sidenote: Looking for a videogame convention that IS open to the public? Try PAX.  They have two conventions, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast.]

As I am a fluffy pink bunny, I am not "industry" per se.  This meant I'd be going per peram (e.g. via handbag).  Also, in our family we are all pretty casual gamers, so if you're looking for hardcore in-depth news & scoops, you'd be better off with IGN or GameSpot.  Peter Paras did a good E3 preview for E! As such, our E3 interests were dictated by our regular interests: Disney, Fable(s), Telltale Games and, of course, anything rabbit related.

First off, we found an office with a rabbit.  This piqued our interest, as there aren't nearly enough rabbit-themed video games.  This one is by a company called Daedalic and is called Night of the Rabbit.
Hello fellow gaming rabbit

Then we headed to the Disney Interactive booth.  They were promoting Disney Infinity which comes out on August 18.

We were more interested in the Castle:

and the Motorcoach:

and their giveaway: custom screen-printed T-shirts, which, in our opinion was not nearly as cool as last year's Oswald the Lucky Rabbit ears.

The Oswald Ear Hat booth from E3 in 2012

Then we found Perry!

We wanted very much to visit the Telltale Games booth. Telltale Games is an outstanding game development company - their game for The Walking Dead was by all accounts one of the best games last year. We discovered that they didn't have a booth so much as a glass office, and you couldn't just walk up and chat with the employees so much as you needed an appointment.  That said, we spoke with the very friendly Laura, who gave us info on two titles we are super excited about:
The Walking Dead 400 Days, which is a new DLC for The Walking Dead that will take place in between season 1 of the game and the upcoming season 2, and
the Fables game from the comic book Fables, The Wolf Among Us, due out this summer.

Then we visited the Lionhead Studios guys at the Xbox booth to talk with them about the Fable Anniversary release coming up this year.  Fable is one of our most favorite video game franchises.

[Note: if you're a longtime follower of my blog you may be confused because Fables is is also our most favorite comic book that's being turned into a videogame (see above), so you should be fairly mixed up by now.
Just to clarify, the two are unrelated:
Fable (singular) is a videogame RPG Franchise by Lionhead Studios;
Fables (plural) is a comic book series by DC/Vertigo, written by Bill Willingham that will soon be a videogame by Telltale games.
...basically, if it's the word "Fable" we are a fan of it.]

Lionhead just announced that they were going to re-master the very first Fable game from 2004 in HD, to be called Fable Anniversary.  They claimed this was because fans had been clamoring desperately for such a thing, but just why people would be demanding a remake of a game nearly 10 years old instead of a new Fable game (Fable 4, presumably the next game in the series), is such a mystery that we think that story itself may be a fable. Either way, the development team at the Fable Anniversary section of Xbox were very patient and nice as they walked us through a demo of Fable Anniversary, which does look incredible from a graphic perspective.

That was our E3 trip - we were so lucky to go!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Teddy Olympics! *Updated for 2015*

Every summer we look forward to the Teddy Olympics!!!

The Teddy Olympics are an online event in which stuffed animals and other pets compete by submitting photos in various categories like "Naps" "Treats" "Hugs" and others.

Basically, it's exactly like the regular Olympics, only all online.  And with animals and stuffed friends.

Here's the link to the official site: Teddy Olympics

My entry in the "Naps" category in 2013:

 CC The Sleepy Sheepy's entry in the 2012 "Woogling" category was a big hit:
We didn't have fox poo, so we used shampoo

The 2015 Teddy Olympics start on Saturday, June 27.  
This year's categories have already been announced.  
Athletes have two weeks until Saturday July 11 to submit their photos; then the Judging begins!  
Closing Ceremonies are Saturday, July 18.

If you have a stuffed animal or pet you'd like to enter, please do! It's open to all.  

Good luck to everyone in this year's Teddy Olympics!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Comic-Con Prep: Countdown to #SDCC *Updated for 2016*

San Diego Comic-Con is so huge that tips aren't enough - you need to PREPARE. 
As of this writing it's 6 weeks to Comic-Con.  Here are some things to prep ahead of time:

You're Going To Need a Bigger Bag
SDCC Blog did a great roundup on fantastic backpacks for the more serious con-goers.  
The only thing I'd add is that Etsy isn't a bad place to check either. They probably won't be sturdy enough to carry all your Walking Dead comics, but if you're packing on the light side and looking for another way to express your fandom, you can find fantastic geeky bags, totes and backpacks that are handmade (Wonder Woman tote; Game of Thrones messenger bag, Sherlock backpack).  We got our denim backpack on Etsy from Poppy Patchwork, who does great work; we love it and use it for almost all our cons. 

Personally we prefer backpacks to purses, messenger bags or totes; it's easier to maneuver such large crowds with your hands free and the weight on your back rather than your side, but to each his own. Be mindful of personal space though; it's easy to smack someone with your large backpack when you turn around and don't allow room for your comic-stuffed pack. It's also generally considered good manners to apologize if you do swat someone right in the chest.

Best Prep You Can Do: Read and Watch  
--Comics! Read my piece on comic book recommendations

--Pop culture news sites and magazines:

--Books: no one's saying that you need to have read the entire A Song Of Ice and Fire series (well, actually, speaking as a Game of Thrones fan, you totally should), but if you've got any nerdy books on the nightstand, it can't hurt to be updated (World War Z; Hunger Games; anything by Neil Gaiman).

--SDCC Blogs: 

--Any shows you're a fan of that are likely to be at  SDCC (we like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead), and catch up on older pop culture shows as well - many of them are streaming on Netflix.  It's never too late to become a fan, even of a series long cancelled.  You're bound to find others with the same obsessions at SDCC, and expanding your geek horizons is a great way to meet new people. 

Note: make sure you're caught up on any shows, books or comics that are ongoing.  You want to be as updated as possible, because nothing's worse than getting spoiled in a panel because you haven't finished the latest season of The Walking Dead before the con. Comic readers who prefer waiting for the trade paperback collection (that'd be us, BTW), you are forewarned. 

--Movies are also good to catch up on.  If you might go to Marvel panel, make sure you see the most recent movie on DVD/blu-ray/streaming/iTunes/Cable.

--Also, The Confluence's Convention Prep Videos

Follow the Pros 
The official schedule for Comic-Con won't be released until 2 weeks prior, but start following any comics professionals you are a fan of; they may be tweeting that they'll be there.  This is especially important if it's someone who lives far away, or doesn't do a lot of shows, and it's a real once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet them and get your books signed.  This lead time is great in case you need to stock up on a creator's work in advance.

Stuff You May Need to Buy

  • Extra battery - a battery case, external/backup batteries or a mobile charger.  We use Mophie, but there are scores of others.
  • Swell water bottle - because warm water grosses us out.  Swell is a water bottle that actually keeps water cold for 24 hours.  Don't fill it up completely with ice, thinking it will melt to cold water - you'll still have ice HOURS later. It's the greatest thing ever, basically.
  • Shoes - you'll want them to be comfortable and closed-toed.  I know it's the height of pedicure season, but still - the crowds are too heavy for your toes to come out unharmed. We like Ecco, but there's no "right" answer for this one; find one that fits best for you.  We also just learned about steel-toed sneakers, which might be overkill, but we love the fact that they exist. 
  • Thorlo Walking Socks - sounds silly, right? Try it.  You'll be a believer.
  • Shoe Inserts or Insoles.  Both Superfeet and Dr Scholls make recommended types.
  • Nerdy T-shirts: Day of the Shirt is a fantastic daily T-shirt aggregator, meaning it compiles the shirts from Tee Fury, Ript, Woot and many others (too many to list and it keeps growing), so you don't have to check more than 1 site for your geek tees every day.  RedBubble is also a fantastic, huge site with tons of nerdy designs and terrific mashups for T's, cell phone cases, etc.
  • Etsy for all your handmade nerd gear - from steampunk earrings to Captain America hair bows to Bioshock Infinite necklaces, they've got your fandom covered.
  • Telescoping Poster Tube - we don't own one, but they do seem cool, and they often come with a strap.
  • Badge Holder - if you'd like something a little more substantial than the flimsy badge holder SDCC provides, these have a clear plastic front for your badge, and include a pouch for keeping other necessities.
  • Reference Material - if you're into original art commissions, make sure you have reference material for the artist of what you'd like them to sketch.  A comic or drawing will do. 
  • Clear plastic 11 x 17 sleeve/holder - protects any original art you may pick up.

Got all that? Great! I'll meet you back here in about a month for my Top Tips for Comic-Con 2016!