After the Crunch: Rubble and…Ewoks?

Since I work near the Century/Aviation intersection where Metro is planning to build a light rail station, I’ve been watching the demolition of the old bridge with some interest. The northern rise is pretty much obliterated now. The southern section is down to a single wall.

bridgewall

Here’s what it looked like three weeks ago, for comparison.

bridge-tunnel

Let’s take another look at that graffiti at the top of the wall:

bridge-graffitti

Not only do we have “Endor,” and “Death” (spelled funny) in a lettering style reminiscent of the Indiana Jones logo…I swear someone wrote “Ewok” off to the right. Or at least “EW[head]K,” which amounts to the same thing.

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No, thanks. We don’t want any.

SARS Outlet

Typical of an outlet store. SARS is soooo last decade.

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Not Invited to the Avengers Ball

The Avengers Ball

I was at the grocery store yesterday with my 3½-year old son, and he stopped as we passed a bin of balls. Most of them were solid or mottled, but he immediately picked up the Avengers ball, plastered with the logo and the heroes.

He turned it around for a bit, looking it over, then looked up at me and asked, “Where’s the Black Widow?”

I looked at it myself. Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America…they were the comic book versions of the characters, but the lineup was clearly chosen for movie recognition. (We haven’t shown him the movies, but his mom is an avid Marvel Puzzle Quest player, and he’s learned the characters from watching her.)

And no, there was no sign of Black Widow. (To be fair, I didn’t see Hawkeye either.)

“That’s a good question,” I told him, suggesting maybe we should ask Marvel.

Really, Marvel — and DC too (someone got him a Justice League T-shirt when he was younger that subbed Green Lantern for Wonder Woman in the DC trinity) — you don’t have to be afraid that boys won’t want your merchandise if there’s a girl on it. They aren’t going to be bothered that she’s included, unless you teach them to be.

But even a three year old notices when she’s missing.

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This Fan Used To Post Tons Of Comic-Con Coverage, Then Stopped. Can You Guess Why?

SDCC Crowd with TVs

Social media has drastically changed the online aspect of Comic-Con. So much is up instantly that you can follow the event live without setting foot in San Diego. But for those of us who are on-site, there’s a trade-off between being part of the conversation and part of the convention.

Because we can post in real time, people want to follow in real time too, and lose interest quickly afterward. No matter how interesting I think my follow-up articles might be, none of them are read anywhere near as much as the half-assed pieces that go up during or right after the con. Even interest in photos drops off steeply as soon as the event is done:

Flickr SDCC traffic graph

But it takes time to write and edit, to curate, crop and adjust, and (dare I say it) to promote — and if it’s not your job, it comes at the expense of other things you could do at the con.

There’s Far Too Much To Take In Here

I’ve been posting my con experiences and photos for over a decade now. At first I’d just post when I had time. Once I had a smartphone, Twitter, and a second blog at Speed Force, I was live-tweeting and live-blogging everything.

Then in 2011, we left our then-infant son with relatives and spent a single day immersed in the pop culture madness. It gave us a new perspective:

  • Comic-Con is gigantic.
  • Your time at Comic-Con is limited.
  • Make the most of it!

I changed the way I approached the convention. No more liveblogging; other people are doing that for their job. No presentations that will just be online by the end of the day anyway. No three-hour lines. I wanted the experience I could only get by being there.

I also cut my social media activity to a minimum:

  • Instagram when I had a minute or two of downtime, set to auto-share pictures out to Facebook, Tumblr, etc.
  • Twitter rarely, again when I had a little downtime. No more stopping in the hall to post a comment. This year I didn’t even check for conversations (which, it turns out, I should have).

Sure, I’m a little disappointed that my SDCC 2014 writeup hasn’t been read by very many people. Our photo album at least got some attention. But you know what? If I’d taken the time to write about it during the con, whether live or nightly, I wouldn’t have had as much to write about, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much. I think that’s a good trade-off.

P.S. Apologies for the clickbait headline. It seemed appropriate for the subject matter.

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Comic-Con 2014 – Now That’s Better! (Writeup, Photos and Cosplay)

Mecha-BatmanThis year’s trip to Comic-Con International in San Diego went a bit better than last year, when we ended up losing an entire afternoon to an ER visit. That didn’t happen this year. (Well, not quite…) Even better: we managed to catch some fascinating panels, meet some artists and writers, find some cool stuff, see people in awesome costumes, and even learn some useful information.

(For the TL;DR folks, you can jump straight to the full photo album on Flickr.)

Alice (Once Upon a Time in Wonderland style)

The Paper!It’s been a while since either of us attended in costume, but this year Katie put together an Alice costume from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Some parts were collected across weeks of shopping trips, but we made the vest, and she made the necklace and beaded the belts together. It was the most elaborate costume we’d done since my Jay Garrick Flash costume in 2009. I think it came out great, but she was disappointed that so few people seemed to recognize it. For Friday she bought back her Yomiko Readman costume from a few years ago.

As far as other cosplay went, I noticed an unusual number of costumes from Princess Mononoke and Battlestar Galactica (both versions). Katie spotted several women as Quicksilver (X-Men: Days of Future Past–style. By our count there were at least five. There were a lot of Frozen costumes (and before you object, Elsa has super-powers and a character arc that reads like an X-Men storyline — wish I could take credit for this, but I saw someone make the point on Twitter & can’t remember who). One of my favorite costumes that I didn’t manage to catch a photo of was Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck-it-Ralph, complete with her race car.

Also: Every Cersei Lannister we saw was carrying around a wine goblet. Every. Single. One. Continue reading

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Cosplay: Alice from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (SDCC 2014)

Katie as Alice (OUATIW) cosplay

There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland cosplay out there, so here’s a feature post on Katie’s Alice costume from Comic-Con International.

She made the necklace and the vest, and beaded together two narrow belts to get the right look. Blouse, skirt, tights, belts and boots (plus material and beads) were obtained through shopping trips and online searches. Katie’s aunt helped adapt the pattern for the vest and do fitting. I helped with finding the pattern, sewing, transportation, and keeping our three-year-old son from melting down on those many shopping trips looking for just the right pieces.

Check out our SDCC 2014 photos to see pictures of her with other Wonderland characters, plus our usual collection of sightseeing and cosplay photos. [Update] Or read my writeup of the event.

Katie as Alice (OUATIW) cosplay Katie as Alice (OUATIW) cosplay

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Aftermath: Century Crunch

I was looking forward to checking out the aftermath of last weekend’s “Century Crunch” bridge demolition (see the before photo), but for various reasons I didn’t get a chance to really look at it until Thursday, when I finally felt up to walking down to the corner at lunch.

Century Blvd - railroad bridge remains

The most interesting part is the rise to the south of Century Blvd, where the remnants of the bridge come up to about 15 feet from the street. It’s fenced off, but of course when you’re walking by, the thin canvas they use doesn’t completely block your view. I was able to get my camera lens between two pieces of canvas to get the image here. It’s interesting that the ramp is hollow. I’m not sure what the normal design is, but I’d always thought that ramps like this were filled in with dirt, and that’s the impression I’d gotten from various projects I’ve seen in progress. Perhaps railroad bridges are different than freeway bridges? Or perhaps they emptied it out when they tore out the span?

It makes it look like the entrance to a tunnel, sloping down into the earth.
Continue reading

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Slated for Destruction

Century/Aviation Railroad Bridge

Next weekend, construction crews will tear out this old railroad bridge across Century Blvd near LAX to make way for a Metro station on the future Crenshaw Line. They’ve dubbed the road closure the Century Crunch. As of Thursday, they were already breaking down the parts of the bridge that don’t cross the street.

I actually drive under this bridge every day on my way to work — that’ll be a change. It’ll be interesting to watch progress on the Metro station as well. It’s been a while, but when I first started at this job, I had a much longer commute, and I would drive part way to the end of the Green Line and take the train to the nearest stop, Aviation Station, which will become the transfer point between the Green and Crenshaw Lines.

Torrance Medical Building

Another soon-to-be-demolished structure. This old medical building in Torrance has a lot more character than the bridge, but it’s being replaced by something less exciting, IMO: parking for the currently-expanding Del Amo Fashion Center. As if the mall isn’t big enough already. Sure, parts of it needed renovation, but the parts that needed it the most haven’t been touched by the current project.

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Hunting grounds?

Posted: No hunting, fishing or trapping...

I really don’t think they need to worry about anyone hunting, fishing or trapping here.

There are squirrels in the neighborhood, but I don’t think this would be the best spot to trap them.

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Sundog above juniper trees.

juniper-sundog

This stood out starkly when viewed through my polarized sunglasses late Friday afternoon, but disappeared completely into the glare without them. I had to put my sunglasses in front of my phone to get this, and even then I enhanced the color saturation before posting. The sun is off to the left.

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