Tech. Travel. Nerd Culture.

Back on the Oregon Trail, and Rose City Comic Con 2019

I’ve visited upper west northern of the U.S. a few times already, where I have contemplated if I would move in that direction some day, wherever life eventually takes me. Maybe when I’m older, if SoCal doesn’t successfully entice me first. In Oregon, the trees are green, the population isn’t crowded, and no sales tax!

I’ve recently headed back up there for RCCC, and to visit my good friends, Andres (tech guru and late night online gamer) and Jenn P. (pilates-fu expert and farm gal) & James (nerd!).

Not before then, I indulged myself in more #TooMuchContent watching YouTube video clips of HGTV’s A Very Brady Renovation, where all the (grown-up) kids from the Brady Bunch are renovating the exterior of the house shown in the opening sequence, with the actual floor plan of the interior, that’s featured in the show!

Anyways, for most of the Oregon trip, I was staying with Andres in Salem. The town is so similar to southern spots, like Campbell, here in the Bay Area: coffee shops, arcades, used bookstores, and a clock tower. I’ve past that building where they shot “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” various times, but never actually stopped to breathe in its surrounding air. Next time…

We spent most of the nights playing old school games on an emulator: Alien 3: the Gun, Paperboy, Marble Madness, Alien vs. Predator, Game & Watch: Fire, Donkey Kong, and Ikari Warriors, to name a few. I know most of you recognize those names! And, we also finished both Super Karate Kid and TMNT: Rescue Palooza!, which recreated a lot of the arcade levels in one, by Merso X. You can grab them for free at merso-x.com.

I continued to stock up on nerdy collectibles when I’m in Oregon with Andres. The good stuff I picked up included an Alien xenomorph shirt and the (insanely hard-to-find) NECA “dancing” Pennywise figure with the LED light-up deadlight head(!) at F.Y.E., a PS Classic at Gamestop for $19.99(!!!), and got a penny back – Andres helped hack the PS Classic full of old school games that I prob will never have the time to finish.

Other than RCCC, which I will get to below, we spent most of the days eating, shopping at the Halloween Spirit store, and laughed our asses off watching Good Boys, at the Cinebarre Salem 7 theater. I love this cinema spot every time I come up here, as it’s decorated with classic film posters like Reservoir Dogs, Forbidden Planet, and New Wave French titles I can’t pronounce.

Rose City Comic Con 2019

I didn’t attend any panels, nor sought any specific events or celebrity signings. I just wandered, mostly, booth to booth looking for good deals on nerdy collectibles or artwork that would catch my eye. No sales tax, remember? I did bring along my personal art journal, but did not find an artist to contribute to my book (I will speak more about this journal in a future post). But, Andre’s eldest daughter (who’s on the road to becoming a famous artist), Gabby, contributed a Halloween themed Michael Myers & Laurie Strode portrait. I won’t post a pic here yet, as I want to do a separate post, as mentioned, in the near future.

A funny thing during this hunt for artists in the “Artist Alley” section of this Con, Andres had inquired at two separate Hentai themed booths about costs and time for a commission, and both said he would have a wait time of about one year! There’s a long line of fans for big bewbie Anime art, apparently! Andres never admitted if he had put in an order, tho. But, I have my suspicions.

For myself, I had ended up buying a Funko Deadpool (to go along with the Punisher one I have at home), a Transformers G1 Bumblebee (for the vintage packaging), and a bunch of Ultra Pro protective sleeves and comic protecting hard cases (see the Preacher issue I’m about to mention).

…in which comes to my most pricey purchase for a comic book ever. I had bought the Preacher #1 for $100 (actually, $80, they had a 20% off deal). And, since CGC was there to sell their services, I became fascinated with how comics grading works. CGC or CBCS? What’s the Difference? Invigorated with this hobby, next on my list of comics I want to get my hands on are The Walking Dead #19 (the introduction of Michonne), Sin City‘s “The Yellow Bastard” and “A Dame to Kill For,” and Scalped #1. The hunt is on, at the next Cons!

Finally, the following anecdote illustrates what could happen to a naivete Comic Con attendee:

So, I witnessed, at the Con, some lady grabbed an Aquaman comic at one of the vendors, and rushed to the cashier to pay for it. She had a $1 bill in her hand, all ready.
The seller said,”$250.”
The woman screamed,”$250?!!! I don’t want it!” as she wagged the crumpled $1 bill in her hand.
The cashier pointed out the price tag on the comic book next to the grading level of 9.6.
The woman kept on screaming,”I don’t want it! Where’s your $1 bin?!! I don’t want this!!!”
The cashier pointed to the next aisle with all the $1 comics. 
The woman said,”Do they have any Aquaman in there?! For $1?!!!” still with the crumpled bill in her hand. She stumbled to go look.
The cashier looked over at his employee, and said,”Why did she have to be so loud?”


The Rest of Oregon

On my continued adventures, I spent a couple of days at Butterball’s Folly. It’s a nickname for a farm area out in Albany where my favorite Oregonian couple, Jenn & James, resides, along with their doggie, Butterball, and Cleo, the (non-psychic) cat.

On the ride over, we first stopped by the Original Roadhouse Grill to devour me a big, juicy bison rib eye steak. I’ve been at this spot once before with J&J, and I vividly remember wolfing down a combo steak & BBQ chicken. It’s a meat lovers heaven where a portion of the kitchen is a giant window which looks into the cooks searing all kinds of tasty meat for the carnivorous beast in you.

The next first full day, Jenn had to attend a certification class for first aid, since she’s a Pilates teacher, she’s got to gain that medical knowledge & skills. So, I spent the day hanging with James, mainly browsing a few comics and bookstores.

The highlights were…

We first headed over to Browsers Bookstore, where I picked up a few hokey movie tie-in scifi books, mainly “Terminator” and “V”, a random book by the Warrens (The Conjuring!) titled “Graveyard,” and “The Case Files of the Oriental Sleuths: Charlie Chan, Mr. Moto, & Mr. Wong“. The “V” books were a goldmine find, as I was reinvigorated with having to expand my nostalgic experience with my love for the TV series. As I paid for the books, the owner picked up the “V” books, looked at me with a smirk, and said,”I remember this series! It sucked!” =/

Then we headed over to the Book Bin in Corvallis – more of a Berkeley-style type of bookstore, where all the used books look “like new”! I picked up “Come and Knock on Our Door” a guide to Three’s Company, which I have owned before in my more youthful years, but was dumb to have donated somewhere. As fate has it, I found it again, being ironic that I’ve recently watched the 40th anniversary Three’s Company reunion, the reconciliation between Suzanne Somers and Joyce DeWitt, and “Whatever Happened to Jenilee Harrison – Star of Three’s Company…” all on YouTube. I’m such a hardcore Three’s Company fan, when the day I am on my death bed, I will binge the entire series!

The other book I picked up was The Watchmen (like new!) graphic novel for only $12. I’ve read it once before, and had a “WTF am I reading” moment with it, a decade ago. And, I’ve watched the Snyder film about three times. But, I’d felt I needed to revisit the Alan Moore book again to prepare for the upcoming HBO series.

Then driving through town, we stopped by a local arcade, and slaughtered a bunch of dinos with The Jurassic Park Arcade Game for a good half-an-hour, killing time until Jenn was ready to be picked up. I could only describe over-dramatically that “James was a dino murderer! He killed a bunch of innocent dinosaurs! And, a swarm of large insects!” #oldassnerds

The next day, we did some farm shopping. I always get fascinated checking out the baby chicks. Then we headed over to another bookstore… Escape Fiction, a bookstore that specializes in science fiction & fantasy books (they have other stuff). We’ve been here before too. The place is literally like a maze, with its twist and turns by every bookshelf corner you encounter. I found used copies of fiction books I’ve read back in my younger days: Quarantine and The Bridge. But, I resisted the impulse for nostalgic purchases.

Before we left the bookstore, I recall the owner rambling to James about Silicon Valley culture, and how WFH (working from home, you layman!) is more of an urban legend. And, that seldom do people in the tech industry practice it. I resisted the urge to tell him that I WFH every day, and that I was actually on WFH time at the very moment. In fact, Jenn would, at times, message me “what Netflix show are you bingeing now?” when I’m literally at home working. Some mock me by air-quoting that word.

Back at the farm for one more night, we caught up on The Good Place S3 finale (Oh, dip!), since the final season is premiering next week. Then we surfed through Netflix to find something to watch… of course, Jame and I were rooting for something “horror”. Jenn just hid herself in her mystery novel, as we watched Mark Duplass in Creep (2014), which surprised me how engaging and creepy Duplass is. It’s the beard.

As I was ready to head back to the Bay Area, James and I chatted about how modern books have included graphic novels. And, that reading stuff like Thoreau is getting harder to grasp for some. I thought about having missed my camping days, and that he may be right… then I thought more again… maybe, someday, I will rewrite Thoreau’s “Walden” through the lens of my Comic Con experiences… as my mind drifted out of their farm window


“The queue doesn’t control you. You control the queue.”
– James P., Oregon farmer, and fellow Nerdy friend

While waiting for my flights at the airport, going and returning home, I read the Jason vs. Leatherface (1995) three issue comic series. The implied title was a bit misleading, as the (small) battle occurs in no more than the last two pages or so. With comics, there tends to have an exposition by an unidentifed narrator, and it’s used in this comic series to save time and panels, like the turning of pages in a Creepshow anthology. 

My gripe is with the change from the film canons, that there’s focus on both iconic characters having grown up abused as the reason for their moments of “compassion” as motivation for their desires to kill. But these characters are anomalies, and have supernatural reasons for their behavior, canon-wise. At least for Jason. Then as, being part of a govt conspiracy for Leatherface, according to TCM 4, canon-wise. But, the ending in this comic series then upends the reasoning with Jason philosophizing his feelings of compassion and understanding as being “unnatural”. And a The End. *shrug*

When I got back home, I attempted to watch American Horror Story 1984 ep 1, and I just can’t continue anymore with AHS, in general. I was excited with the 80s theme, which is getting way too trendy, but I swear… I can’t help but still think that Ryan Murphy is making shit up with everything he creates.

Undone, an Amazon original, made up for the void left by AHS, was a meta, roto-scoping fantasy/psychological story that left me a satisfied WTF ending (can’t spoil anymore than that), which I had binged entirely in one sitting.

And, of course, I had to watch Creep 2 (2017), as I needed more weird Mark Duplass to nurture my love for horror “completeness” left in Oregon.

Battle of Big Rock Jurassic World short flick (YouTube): This was a mediocre piece of content. Lacks any original connection to the Jurassic Park world building, nor does it provide any scares or fascination about dinosaurs. And, the melodramatic acting kinda throws back with how Jurassic Park III was prob the weakest of the trilogy. I’d rather enjoy watching mockumentaries like Chased by Seas Monsters, which gives me the heebie jeebies about going too deep into the water.

The rest of #toomuchcontent:

Embracing the Absurd with Takashi Miike (YouTube)
Face Swap” Sci-Fi short film by Dust (YouTube): Utilizes deepfake.
Is there life on other planets? (1962)
Let’s Try To Figure Out the Wacky ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ Timeline (Bloody Disgusting)
Marvel Writers Explain How They Wrote MCU Blockbusters (YouTube)
When You’re Asian, but Only Speak English (YouTube)
Why physical books still outsell e-books (YouTube)

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