Thursday, November 04, 2010

This Was The Winnipeg Week That Was, or: C4 2010 Was Good Times (or: You Got It, Park... Bus)

It's been a big week!

Remember all that noise that people were making on and around Election Day, trotting out the old saw about how "if you don't vote, you don't have the right to complain"? (There's an awesome old George Carlin routine from his Complaints & Grievances special that cleaves right though this saying, but let's humour it for the moment.) Well, we the Winnipeg electorate as a collective are the sort of folks who really love complaining, enough so that we will cheerfully re-elect absolutely everybody we complain about because we are geniuses and defenders of accountability to the utmost.

(Mind you, if an alternative involves voting for a woman, then clearly we--what? No, no, I intend to reference this forever. Sampert ain't never gettin' over that line.)

There's another old saying about politics, that "the people are never wrong", so... well done, people. I am glad that you like the city so much, exactly the way it is.

So, yeah, the civic election played out pretty much the way I'd been expecting. Personal best: I was only one point off with my voter turnout guess. So close, and yet so far! But how is a politics enthusiast like myself supposed to cope now, with all of the electoral excitement and hullabaloo over and done with?

(Bam! Segue:)



Uptown Magazine! It's a real long chew!

The day after the election saw my newest column hit the streets, and as you can tell from its general tone I am just a dude who does not know what to do with myself any more. There was a lot to enjoy about this electoral season, with new twists and turns almost every day as we neared the end, and now that it has ran its course our local matters are inevitably destined to fall into disinterest.

Equally concerning is the sudden spate of alt-media departures, as esteemed and established members of our local blogging community either retired gracefully or disappeared abruptly. Yes, I realize that two people may not technically be considered a 'spate' -- but both the honourable Mr. Brown and the honourable Mr. Watson were longstanding juggernauts of the scene, comprising nearly a decade's worth of quality material between the two of them, and neither gentleman leaves an absence that will be easily filled.

Lest anybody worry that I'm setting this stage into my own swan song, let me assure my dedicated fanbase of six or seven people -- I may or may not be including my cat in that total -- that I am both entirely too obscure to incur any legal attention and entirely too stupid to know when to quit.

(Graham's smart, he's taking the moment as an opportunity to bust out a redesign. Me? I'm busy complaining that the election is over and then stuffing distressingly bulky handfuls of Halloween candy into my gaping maw, which I like to tell myself is an equally worthwhile pursuit.)

Speaking of stupid -- (Bam! Segue!) -- I was dumb enough to get paid two weeks' wage on the same day that the Central Canada Comic Con opened for the year.



The Con -- henceforth "C4" -- was held as usual in the Convention Centre downtown, which means anyone who was so inclined could wander away from the event and admire the bizarre art on the second floor instead.




...presented without comment.

As you would expect from the event's consistently strong organizers, all the trappings of a fine comics convention were in play for the weekend. Costumes!





Displays!











Products that you can barely believe anybody would legitimately purchase!



A thrill ride!



A live band!



And... oldschool pinball machines? Oldschool pinball machines!













I also want to make a point of bringing this to your attention:



Those who know me know that I am not, by nature, an envious person, but Jesus Christ a Fourth Doctor scarf gimme that shit give it give it give it give it.

There were some sweet costumes floating around for the weekend that made me regret not carrying a camera at the time: an Optimus Prime with his truck bed in an accompanying plastic wagon, a fully functioning Dalek, a particularly convincing Towelie, a Frank West with a perfectly-constructed Servbot Head, the Black and White Spy(!), and the blue Yip Yip alien(!!!).

But I did get these couple of shots, which I just want to mention right now:



My second-favourite costume of the Convention was five completely different-lookin' dudes who came dressed up as "Multiple Man" Jamie Madrox, because that is funny for a variety of reasons.

But my favourite costume?



I will level with you, right here, straight up. If you do not think that Baby War Machine in the centre there is the cutest weapon of destruction that you have ever seen in your life, you and I got nothing to say to each other. Look at him! He's adorable!

The event's Facebook page has a thorough photo gallery of the various cosplaying that went about over the weekend, so be sure to check it out if you enjoy costumes and general nerdery.

(Incidentally, if you were at C4 on Friday or Saturday and overheard a voice introducing or announcing matches in the Super Street Fighter IV tournament, that was me you were hearing. Despite being absolutely terrible at the game, I am a bone fide one-man Hype Machine. Real talk.)

And because my nerdery knows no bounds -- remember earlier, when I'd mentioned how the Convention featured products that could really only appeal to lunatics and eccentrics? Well, me being both, you know that I had to buy this sucker the second I saw it sitting along the shop aisles:



Yeah, that's right. I'm that guy. I am the guy who dropped thirty bucks for a complete in-box original edition of the Manitoba Theatre Centre's old locally themed knock-off Monopoly game. Now I have guaranteed content for a sure-to-be-entertaining blog post down the line, and I can have up to seven people over at a time to get hammered and crack jokes about the city. There are no possible downsides to this.

I also dropped the additional two dollars to own a Dusty Rhodes figure, because I am the biggest dorkball on your blogroll.



A COMPUTER! TOOK YOUR PLACE, DADDEH! THAT'S HARD TIMES!

(Ahem.) So! The week has had its ups and downs, and for now our fair city is down to the business of getting back to normal. Or as normal as it gets when you have at least three seasons going on at once outside.



(It's November.)

But then the worst news of all for Winnipeg dropped earlier this week, a bolt out of the blue and a devastating blow to our civic psyche that will soon bring decades' worth of history and tradition to a screeching halt. When this news br--what? The stadium overruns? Naw, son, nobody's even pretending to be surprised about that one. I'm talking about the sudden disappearance of a critical fibre in our local character, the unthinkable becoming reality as we stand gobsmacked and dumbfounded at the new world before us.

That's right, our worst-case scenario has come to life: General Motors has terminated the Pontiac brand.



There are now no new Pontiacs being manufactured, which means within the next five to ten years Winnipeggers will have no piece of shit Pontiacs left to drive. So the City of Winnipeg needs to get its act together on rapid transit, and it needs to get its act together on rapid transit right now, because there is going to be a very sudden and very pressing need for Winnipeggers to get around somehow once all of their old shitty Pontiacs die and they find out that the shitty Pontiac supply has been completely exhausted. Our infrastructure and services spending is absolute god damn dead last in the country, and there is absolutely no way that our meager transit system in its current state will be able to accommodate the influx of passengers who have to take the bus because they can't afford to buy the actual dependable, functioning, grown-up cars.

Do you believe that our Mayor and Councillors have what it takes to make the major improvements as necessary and ensure that the flow of human traffic through the city will run smoothly? Well, of course you do! You voted them all back in.



Hard times, daddeh. That's hard times.

8 comments:

H said...

LOL - my husband attended with a group of people, including Towelie, who is a super nice guy.

Anonymous said...

I've never been to Comic Con but will have to go next year. I think I want to marry the girl who dressed up as both Wonder Woman AND a Green Lantern.

Anonymous said...

PS> James, keep up the good work.

Yours truly, a fellow Fort Rouge-ite

CreativeNige said...

Oh, Mr. Howard. That was you announcing the video-game tournament at Comic Con?! I was there, and wanted so badly for you to shut up. The microphone is not a toy.

James Hope Howard said...

Oh, dear. I'm sorry to hear that.

We had done what we could to keep the microphone use to a minimum on the Friday -- twenty-to-thirty-second introductions for each of the five matches, including the winner of the match previous -- and used the microphone on the Saturday exclusively for the ten-to-fifteen-second introductions of the Top 8 all in one shot.

It was actually unexpected and quite gracious that the organizers and event staff on hand brought us the microphone; I had handled any introductions and announcements to that point (and afterwards) entirely unamplified, so it was very thoughtful of them when a Batman with a microphone showed up and told me that this method may be slightly more efficient.

We also made a point of having our members go and stand at various areas around the venue, to make sure the output was limited to the speaker at the exhibition venue. There was a hiccup on the Saturday when somebody had futzed with the volume on it -- the knob being right on the physical speaker, which was behind two layers of cloth and a series of pipes thirty feet away while our sound guy had the music cued and everybody ready to go -- so I did what I could to hold the thing as far away as possible, but I apologize and accept responsibility if the earliest of the entrances were too loud.

Other than that, I thought it went rather well, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive; the event staff enjoyed the introductions enough that they invited me afterwards on Saturday to MC the rock-paper-scissors on Sunday, which was both flattering and encouraging but unfortunately clashed with prior commitments of mine.

(I really can't say enough about how great the organizers and staff were; our group was thrilled to be invited to have a Friday and Sunday presence in addition to the usual Saturday one, everybody on C4's end was a pleasure to work with, and I wish them all the best with the new Wizard World affiliation. But, I digress.)

If the microphone use at Section G compromised your experience at the event, please accept my apologies.

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Emily Jane said...

Comic Con is the best! I went a couple of years ago as a World of Warcraft night elf and it was SO much fun. Sadly this year I got sick so I missed nerding out AND Halloween! :(

CreativeNige said...

Ah, well. Don't forget that we comic-book nerds tend to be a surly bunch. What with the no-kisses-from-girls and so on.