Saturday, November 12, 2005

Homeland Insecurity


Just got back from Texas... well, not really. I got home on Monday but I haven't found time to update the blog until now, my suitcase is still unpacked, I'm reluctant to open it at this point for fear of getting knocked out by the putrid smell of my dirty clothes.

I told you the trip to Texas was going to be a good one, but you didn't fuckin' believe me. Quite frankly, I also thought I wasn't going to top the fun I had at the New Hampshire show but I was dead wrong! This was, without a shadow of a doubt, the most fun I have ever had at any of the conventions so far, but let's start from the beginning:

I'm at La Guardia Airport in NY waiting to be fondled by the homeland task force, I've been traveling a great deal since 2003 so I already know what's involved, I travel light, wear sandals so they won't ask me to take my shoes off, I leave my belt at home and I put all my coins and metal objects in my carry-on bag so I won't set off the alarm, things are going smoothly until the big gorilla stops me in my tracks and informs me that I've been selected for "Additional" security screening, "Do I look like a terrorist?.. wait, don't answer that" he says "No Sir, you bought cheap tickets from an internet vendor, their computer chose you at random, we have nothing to do with this", I assume the position and the caressing begins, suddenly I realize I've made a big mistake, I have brought the same bag I took to Nashua last week, inside the bag I had a box cutter, a pair of scissors, 2 x-acto knives, a bunch of loose blades and a plastic gun, everything you're not supposed to bring onto an airplane. The box cutter and the x-acto blades I used to un-pack my books and to sharpen my pencils, the plastic gun I use for reference and the scissors I use to clip my toenails, (do I hear a collective Ewwww! ?).

The bag was handed to me after the inept security officers told me that they were done playing with my balls and that I was free to go. Not one of the items I mentioned was brought to my attention, I was shocked! I proceeded to my gate and eventually boarded the plane with my "special" cargo of deadly weapons. These are the people protecting us from the terrorist threat, you draw your own conclusions.

Wizard World Arlington
The show itself wasn't anything to write home about, the "Artist Alley" area (where most of the artists are sitting) was not in the main hall, convention goers had to walk across to the other side of the building in order to meet the artists, I'm positive many people didn't even know that other area existed, that was lame planning!

Henry Frew and I were sitting next to the talented Chris Moreno of "Monkey Vs. Lemur" fame and a great guy. John H. greeted me with 2 bars of Cadbury's roast almond chocolate, thank you, John. I also met my buddy Chad Townsend, who took over an empty table and sold plenty of his nice sketchbooks.

This is a ONE DAY convention for sure and that day is Saturday, Friday and Sunday sucked 7 kinds of ass, on those two days "Artist Alley" looked like a ghost town. Somehow we managed to recover our investment and made a few extra bucks to spend on food & entertainment.

The Texas Karaoke Massacre
The best part of the Wizard World Texas experience was the extracurricular activities, which happened soon after the convention halls emptied. Henry and yours truly hooked up with Greg Thompson and his wife Jennifer, my friend B. Clay Moore and the rest of the Image Comics crew, including: (but not limited to) Robbi Rodriguez, Jason LaTour, Grant Alter, Jeremy Haun, Tony Moore and his lovely bride Kara Fairfield, Russ Lowery, Ryan "K" Cody, Jim Mahfood and more childish individuals, too numerous to mention.

Friday night was nice and mellow, we all gathered around a cozy fire in the backyard, drank and socialized like normal human beings with Greg Thompson acting as our personal bartender, Greg added a touch of class to the all-geek affair, clad in a lovely ensamble: a stylish black tuxedo with bow tie and black shorts to match, of course no outfit of such elegance is ever complete without a filthy pair of worn out Vans.

On Saturday night, we were treated to such delicacies as BBQ burger Cincinnatti style, a mind-altering potato salad and a superbly baked corn bread, courtesy of the ever charming Kara Fairfield, of the Ohio Fairfields. If the evening would have ended right then and there, it would have been a success, I felt more than satisfied with both the meal and the company but there was more to come, yes, much more.

We drove to Fort Worth for the ultimate test of human endurance: Karaoke night! I can't tell you with certainty who went on first, all I can say is that the event was a boundless display of raw talent, the kind of talent that rivals American Idol at its worst and elevates idiocy to soaring heights.

The night saw Tony Moore's faithful and frightful rendition of Roger Miller's "King of The Road", Mineral Water Mike nearly popping an artery in a couple of performances worth the price of admission, Greg T. on his own, defying vertigo while belting an intoxicating version of Social Distortion's "Reach For The Sky" and teaming up with his better half, Jen in a crowd-pleasing delivery of Archie and Edith bunker's: "Those Were The Days". As if all that wasn't enough, the smooth-as-silk Jason LaTour brought the audience to its feet, singing Digital Underground's Hip-Hop classic: "The Humpty Dance", without ever looking at the lyrics.

And so the night went on with one moving performance after another until a local girl decided to put it on ice by venturing a sobering (and right down boring) rendition of Tori Amos' "Cut A Light Cheese", B. Clay Moore restored order soon after by regaling the lucky attendees with his unique take on Bobby Darin's "Mac The Knife"; Clay's unorthodox approach drew a long standing ovation from the inebriated throng, as he slowly built momentum in a masterfully timed crescendo towards the end of the song, not unlike a dormant Hawaiian volcano, erupting in a series of contortions and weird spasms worthy of a mental patient suffering from violent epileptic seizures, WHEW! I can almost feel the cold sweat running down my spine!.

Just when I thought I have seen it all, Robbi Rodriguez took the stage and proceeded to bring down the house with his own head-bashing interpretation of Ronny James Dio's anthem: "Holy Diver", Kara Fairfield of the Ohio Fairfields, overcame stage fright and gave us a moving adaptation of Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach", you're keeping your baby and I'm keeping mine, Kara.

Unfortunately I don't have the time to describe each and every performance, I took plenty of pics with the help of Grant Alter but alas my camera was stolen, lifted from my luggage, somewhere in the Fort Worth or Chicago airports, who the fuck knows?, pretty devastating if you'd ask me. Suffice to say they were all amazing in their own right. It really was a magical night, a night I'm still recovering from.

Luckily for you, there are pictures: B. Clay Moore's Photos Here


Edit: It has come to my attention that many of you, dumb asses, don't use the Radio Blog feature located on the side bar, that is not just a text playlist, you can actually play music, entire songs in full stereo sound, just sit back, click on the name of the song and enjoy. This week's playlist features most of the songs on karaoke night.


Craig said...

The only thing Kareokee night was missing was Big John Beatty singing "Blue Christmas."

Man, your life would have been complete!



PS - It sounds like a great time!

Anonymous said...

i like how im known as kara of the ohio fairfields, i guess it fits since im of scottish decent but, i didnt know we went by clans in ohio :)

Ryan Cody said...

Texas was a blast Alberto, my first real con trying to sell shit, but I had a lovely time, thanks for the karaoke playlist, i'll be blasting it in about 5 seconds. By the way, it's Ryan C., not Ryan K. I think Mineral Water Mike started some dubious rumor. Keep up the great work 'Berto! great blog.

- Ryan
artist of Hurricane Kids/vocal destroyer of the Clash.

Process Junkie said...

Craig: With any luck I won't be subjected to such torture, for some reason BigGuy doing Elvis seems wrong, very wrong.

Kara Fairfield of the Ohio Fairfields: You're in a "clan" all by yourself, please give my best to Tony.

LOL!! Sorry Ryan:! I originally thought it was C. but when I read Mineral Water Mike's comments I figured he must know better, that'll teach me! Never trust a guy who looks like a cross between Henry Rollins and a Microsoft programmer :D

Thanks for popping by.


The Original Dangster said...

DANG bro, you're onto something here..I would be so up for ssearches if they had hot ass chicks ( like your kick ass drawin' )swabbin my meat wad over with one of those metal detectors.

Wanna Win the " Heart and Minds" ? Two Words..Hot.Ass.Bitches

Well 3, but I ain't a math wizz

tha_Artslayer said...

some kick ass! sketches in hurrrrr. Keep em comin man!

PEPE said...

you know i'm a fan!!! with that said thanks for the travel tips!! peace!!

Process Junkie said...

The Original Dangster: Dream on, Dangster, with your luck, you'd probably get a big black guy wielding his meat wad all over your face. Thanks for the nice words, tho.

Tha Artslayer: Thank you my good man, keep on Slaying that art! That's a kick ass blog you and the Dangster guy have there!

There is nothing funnier than 2 butt ugly white nerds speaking hip-hop. (judging from the butt ugly pics)

Pepe: Diggin' your new blog, Robin.

Peace ya'll, over and out, I roger that. whatevah!


John Beatty said...

Oh, man...I've got to treat you to some Elvis tunes at the table! :)

"Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set, my soul on fire..."

Yeah...we need to Kareokee it one night!!!

Sweet drawing there too A!

spundman said...

Increible como dominas las formas femeninas de esa forma tan personal ;)
Sigue así maestro!!!!

leif said...

Loved your customs search story and the beautiful sketch, Alberto - that Hello Kitty g-string makes it! Further to your confusion re: customs searches, last year my family and a plane-load of fellow canajuns stood in silent consternation in the boarding lines at Orlando Int'l while two uniformeds made an eighty year old white man ON CRUTCHES struggle out of and back into his shoes while trying to stay vertical between those padded lane ropes in the middle of the airport. If this guy was Al Quieda then the Pope shits in the woods - but what would I know, my people are busy corrupting America's youth with BC Hydro when were not harbouring terrorists.

Process Junkie said...

What can we expect when we have $5.50 an hour rent-a-cops masquerading as specialized professionals, besides the technical aspect of this "job" they should be trained in sensitivity, you don't put an 80 year old person who can barely stand through shit like that, that is disgraceful -granted he could be hiding a dirty bomb under his Depend™ diapers :)

The guys who searched me this time were actually very professional, they noticed how irritated I started to become before I was told why I was being singled out, they reacted calmly and explained things to me in a rational manner but my past experiences with law enforcement of any kind have not been that pleasant, I am keenly aware of my temper and how it can get me in trouble, so now that I'm older and wiser? I tried to collaborate in as much as possible to facilitate their jobs and to minimize the discomfort but let me tell you, it's not easy to maintain your cool when these ignorant assholes get stupid.

Upon my return from San Diego, a dickweed at LAX, got fresh with my oldest daughter, I was right behind her and I'm positive he thought she was flying alone, so he yelled at her, ordering her around like a drill sargeant which made her nervous and visibly shaken, she fumbled about her paperwork with him on top barking away and making her even more uncomfortable in front of everyone she began to cry, I let that go as far as any calm human being with common sense could have, knowing that we had very little time left to catch our plane and then he did the unthinkable, after given her a hard time for over 5 minutes, for every little single irrelevant detail, asking her to remove sandals, baseball hat, see-through bandana around her waist, neclace, hair clip, etc. he ordered her to step aside for a full body search, at which point I just fucking lost it, I went berserk on this motherfuckin' goon, who not only affected me and my daughters but a long line of people waiting to go through, the crowd was tense but they got behind me and after 10 minutes of unrelented verbal abuse we were able to proceed.

Sadly, I'm conditioned and predisposed to have nasty confrontations with authority so I'm always at the defensive, which really sucks because all I want in life is to have a good time and be left alone, even in this new "Politically Correct" era of "Racial Harmony" being a brown man with an accent, living in a predominantly white suburban area, I've already had more than my share of police stories to tell you, NYC pigs are the worst scum on the face of the earth, second only to New Jersey state troopers, racist shitheads who live in their own all-white gated communities, forced to work in the urban multiracial streets of NY, which they hate to no end, they have no identification with the communities they're supposed to serve and protect. Fuck 'em all!

BigGuy: Thanks for the shirt, looks really neat, I have to talk to you about my T shirts, I may need your help getting them done, this guy keeps giving me the run around and I have lost my patience. Give me a call if you can, later tonight.

Spundman: Gracias compadre, it means a lot coming from a talented human being such as yourself.


Scott Neely said...

Hey there Alberto!
Just dropping you a line to see if you'll be at the show in NYC this weekend? I'll be in NY for business on Friday, but I'll be staying over till Saturday to check out the show. I be there walking the show, but I won't be having a table as I did in Baltimore. If you are there I'll stop by!
Talk to ya!
Scott Neely

Process Junkie said...

I won't be attending the NYC show, that show creeps me out. You're more than welcome to come over the house for dinner on Saturday, my cell # is 555EMAILME, there's a link on the main page (bottom right)


Mark McDonnell said...

I'm really impressed with your stuff man. You have so many talents all wrapped up into one. Love your unique shapes and great values/lighting. What can I say man, I really enjoy your work. I will bookmark your blog and make sure I keep comin' back for more. Thanks for the coffee breaks in the morning, REALLY fun stuff.

If you get time, please check out my blog and let me know what you think. Thanks!


Process Junkie said...

Thank you, Mark. I'll be visiting your blog for sure, thanks for the invite, I'll drop you a line once I'm there.


Bobby Chiu said...

Great story. I was thinking that I'd hit up a couple US conventions. I guess I won't be getting a booth at the texas wizard convention.

Process Junkie said...

Well, if you get a booth you'll be in the main hall, which is fine I guess. The first thing people see when they enter the building is the huge room with the big "Welcome to WizardWorld" on top of or next to the doors, there is no apparent visible clue as to the artist alley's whereabouts, one would assume it's in the same room, the main hall gets most of the crowd so if you get a booth you'll be where the action is.

Booths are different than tables, they are actually tables, divided from other tables by side and back curtains which make them seem more like individual cubicles, they have a more "professional appeal" . Booths cost more than tables, a lot more. I think next year I'll go to Texas just to hang out, I might get a table if I have something new to share.

The small shows are strictly superhero fanboy festivals, lotsa trekkies and babymen, that's why I don't attend the NYC BigApple conventions, even though I'm 25 minutes from the place. That show to me is the filthiest, creepiest event, held in the second floor of a two-bit midtown hotel.

If you're not drawing some muscle guy in his underwear for DC or Marvel I would strongly advice you against a booth, independent comics peeps and non-comics artists such as myself do financially and promotionally better at more prominent shows like the San Diego ComiCon and the Chicago conventions because the crowds are more diverse, a lot of animators, art students, sculptors, game developers and artists, as well as a bunch of graphic designers/illustrators and independent comix readers who might be interested in what you do, do show up at the major conventions.

At any rate, try your luck, don't go by me, your stuff might do really well, I'm only going by my own personal experience. Still I think you'd do better at any of these shows if you work in comics. I'm doing them more for fun than for financial gain, if I recover my expenses I call it a success.

I'm interested in sharing a booth at the Toronto show in 2006, send me an email if you'd like to share the cost of a booth with me, that could be a lot of fun.

Grant Gould said...

Aw, man, I'm jealous -- I was hangin' out with the Star Wars guys at the Texas show and we were lookin' for some good karaoke, but to no avail. Sounds like you guys had a blast. I managed to meet Tony Moore during the show though, so that was cool -- He's a fun guy. You might remember, I bugged you for a sketch for Jess :) Anyway, hopefully I'll bump into ya at the next show. Maybe I'll get to wow the crowd with "Little Sister" by Elvis.
- Grant

Melminda said...

I have been selected 4 out of the last 6 times I have flown for additional groping by "The Man".
Twice when I was running late for my flight. And did you know with women they have to check the under wire of our bra too? Hmmmmmmmmm good thing they didn't notice the chain saw and portable leaf blower in my carry on!! They did however bust me for my nail clippers and lighter.