Lego Fest and the Gaming Rooms


Another part of the Alabama Phoenix Festival was the Lego Fest and the Gaming Room areas at the Hilton Perimeter Park.  The Lego Fest was held by the Magic City Lego Users Group.  It featured some very creative Lego builds including large ships and a large building.  Legos were placed on the tables for people so they could build their own things.  But this model with a train track and various moving parts was very cool!

The gaming areas was held at the Hilton Perimeter Park.  There were various tables set out so people can play various board games and card games such as Magic: The Gathering.  There was also a video gaming area for people as well.  Some vendors were there as well selling plenty of Magic: The Gathering cards and other stuff.  The biggest highlight was the bar area at the hotel.  Some people got a quick drink before playing even more games!

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Admit It; We’re Too Big


I think most of you has now heard of this new plan from New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.  You know this plan has stirred some feathers with the Big Gulp fans.

The newest plan that might take effect next year would limit the size of all sugary drinks in restaurants, movie theaters, food carts, and cafes.  The drink size limit would be 16oz.  And this rule would only affect places that get a letter grade from the health department.  Supermarkets and grocery stores would not be affected.  So why do I think this law will not help in the battle of the bulge?  Watch this video below and see the reactions from some New Yorkers.

If you are eating at a restaurant and you know they offer free refills.  There is going to be a huge line at the drink counter.  Plus if you get your food to go; a little 16oz drink is not going to satisfy me or anyone else.  And for movie theaters; they are not going to be affected.  Since diet drinks is not part of this rule they will now offer many more diet drinks that you can get in any size.  They might even just do away with the regular drinks.  Plus all of the food carts might only offer diet drinks as well.  So this plan is stupid and is not going to work.

Don’t get me wrong; New York City has done a few good things for people who like to be in good health.  One; all restaurants have to post the calorie count on their menu boards.  For someone like me who is trying to get in shape that is a good thing.  Also they have made it harder for smokers to smoke in public places.  I had to suffer from a parent who loved to smoke often in the car with only the window slightly cracked.  All of that nasty second-hand smoke was horrible to breathe in.  And I do not want to smell it from others who likes to smoke.

I also like seeing what the city is doing in schools to get kids to be healthier.  One; all soft drinks, sports drinks, and unhealthy foods have been banned from being sold.  And two; there is a movement for school lunches to be healthier with fresh fruits and veggies and salad bars.  Plus if I had kids I would not like seeing them eating chicken nuggets made from strange chicken parts or eating pink slime burgers.  Sounds appetizing doesn’t?  I would also like to see more recess and gym classes in schools so kids can stay active during school.  Not this keep them in the classroom so we can teach them to the test nightmare.  By the way here is a video about the effects of sugar on your body.

I also want to talk about the folks who say “the government needs to stay out of our lives” or “we need to quit being a nanny state.”  I applaud what the government is doing to get us healthier.  Obesity is costing us taxpayers billions of dollars each year and if nothing is done to stop this trend it might bankrupt the entire health care system.  And if that happens we are screwed!  Unfortunately seeing the huge number of people being too big is getting worse and worse.  And it shows that some of these people have no control and needs some help.

Now a lot of this is not their faults.  Many foods in the supermarket are loaded with calories and high fructose corn syrup.  And if you have a big family and are poor.  Which are you most likely to grab?  A pack of cookies for $1 or fresh fruit for $3?  I wish the government would force all big restaurant chains to post calorie counts on their menus.  And also require the food manufacturers to quit adding all of this extra sugar and calories to their foods.  I would also like to see a new farm bill which would subside family farming, fresh fruits and vegetables, and sustainable farming that would deliver to local farmer markets.  Instead of this factory farming, fast food farming, and corn syrup farming.

We need to move to new ways of growing crops and selling produce where you support local farms and buy local goods.  Instead of buying your stuff that was trucked in from California.  That is why I love the Freshfully model.  And once I find a job (unemployed 11 months now) I would love to support them.  Sure this does cost more; but the government needs to transform the food stamp program so you buy better foods instead of the junk some people buy now.  It’s very hard to buy healthy food for a large family if you are poor.

I’m not suggesting banning certain foods or limiting what you can buy because of your weight.  But some things needs to be done now to stop the exploding obesity crisis.  Yes the government needs to step in and help.  But also the people needs to learn self-control and personal responsibility.  Where is Richard Simmons when you need him?

Animation at Alabama Phoenix Festival


I would consider this my Animation Monday post for this week.  Some of the guests at the Alabama Phoenix Festival were very talented animators.  The festival had the comic area where you could see comic book animators and people who love to draw do their work!

One of the panels I attended was Animated Characters with C. Martin Croker and Kevin Rubio.  And both guys has had an interesting history.  C. Martin Croker started working for Cartoon Network when it launched back in 1992.  Then he developed and animated the show Space Ghost Coast to Coast.  The show threw crazy questions to all of the guests that appeared.  And the show did whatever it wanted to capture the weird emotions in its guests.  A little known secret about the show is most of the animation came from the original Space Ghost series back in the 1960′s.

Originally Aqua Teen Hunger Force was a failed episode from the Space Ghost show.  Aqua Teen was brought back when Adult Swim launched on Cartoon Network.  And now there are around 120 Aqua Teen episodes versus 96 Space Ghost Coast to Coast episodes.  Croker said the first episodes of Aqua Teen and the episodes today are night- to-day.  It took him around four months to produce the first two episodes.  And he even gave the people a hint to watch the Paul episodes on Aqua Teen coming soon!  And Aqua Teen is animated on Photoshop while many other animated shows are animated on Flash.

Before the end of the festival I talked to C. Martin Croker and he had some interesting animation!

Kevin Rubio has worked for Lucas Films for 15 years.  He works on the shows Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the Ben 10 franchise.   He was amazed at the great success of the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and its Emmy nomination.  He loves that its grown up fans are called Bronies.  The latest show in the Ben 10 franchise is called Ben 10: Omniverse premiering soon on Cartoon Network.  One part of the show he gave away is Ben at age 16 and Ben at age 10 will meet up.  Currently there are around 38 episodes made but he could not go into detail about anything else.

Both guys gave some great advice about being animators.  Animators are good at knowing   all episodes from past cartoons.  Because they have to go back sometimes to grab images and create new stuff such as commercials and new TV shows.  In fact the Atlanta metro is home to numerous animators and shows such as Archer which is made in Atlanta.  And for all of you Animaniacs fans out there.  Sorry the master tapes are in a mine somewhere in Utah.

Next up was a couple of panels done by Kittyhawk.  Kittyhawk has done comics for around 13 years now.  The first panel was about making a comic page.  Most comics and cartoons are done on a computer now.  She recommended not to write any words on a page first.  Do the drawings and then describe what’s in the scene.  And try not to use many words on a page as well.  She also told everyone not to feel bad if you use a pencil to create your page.  But it’s now recommended to go digital.  She uses the Manga Studio EX program to create her comics.  And for anyone creating comics; “if it’s not working, toss it aside.”  A great piece of advice.  Here are some photos from this panel.

Another panel I attended from Kittyhawk was all about drawing Hentai (porn).  The people including me enjoyed watching some Japanese porn which was very hardcore!  We also got to draw some Hentai.  Here is my drawing with the private parts censored.  (I have to keep this a family blog)  If you want to see the uncensored version shoot me an e-mail at barcncpt44@aol.com.

Another panel involving an animator was Page by Page with Larry Hama.  This panel with Sean Taylor was all about the comics career of Larry Hama which he got into by accident. Larry was a fan of comics when he was a kid.  And he wanted to be a fashion designer or a shoe artist when he grew up.  When he got into the comics business; he had mentors that helped him make comics.  He considered that to be “very lucky.”  Larry Hama has worked for Marvel as an editor for around 15 years.  And he has also worked for DC comics as well.

Larry Hama said that technology has changed everything about comics.  And today the internet has made it possible for anyone to learn how to make comics.  He never considered himself a writer.  And he sees comics as a story with a series of pictures.  When he was working at Marvel Comics he was one of the last writers in the editor’s bay.  And when a team from Hasbro came to him to talk about starting Gi-Joe; he said yes.  Mainly because he needed the freelance work.  And he did around 155 issues and got no reviews from anyone.

During the first meeting he was shown 10 black and white drawings with one or two words.  And somehow he made it work to the success it is today.  When the Gi-Joe movies came out he got no say about the movies.  And he was not happy when Snake Eyes talked in the movie.  He also talked about how he creates his comics.  Larry said he has no idea what’s on page three while he works on page one.  And he makes things up while he is writing and animating a comic book.  He also loved how he helped turn Snake Eyes into a mythology.  Overall it is was a great panel!

At the end of this post I wanted to share some pictures of a volunteer laying down while a mask is curing on his face. Yes this was very cool!  Notice how hard it is to separate the mask from the mold.  And the green goo that was put on people’s thumbs was to make a plaster mold thumb of themselves!

Games, Auction, and Radio


I am going to show off some more scenes from the Alabama Phoenix Festival.  The first one is a War of the Worlds radio reenactment on Saturday.  Four guys did a great job telling the story of the original radio broadcast.

The next event was a fun game on Sunday.  The game called Marvel vs. DC Jeopardy pitted people who volunteered to answer questions from the comic books.  The people did have a good time.

The last event on Sunday was a charity auction featuring items such as an autographed shirt from Adam Baldwin, poster with all of the guest autographs, and several comic books and drawings.  Around $300 was raised for the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund.  One suggestion would be to move the auction to Saturday so more money can be raised!

Extra Scenes From the Alabama Phoenix Festival


I still have more posts to go from the Alabama Phoenix Festival.  In fact I am converting another video right now for a future post.  But this old computer is taking its sweet old-time in processing the video.  But here are some photos of extra scenes and props on display at the festival.  Some of the stuff looked very cool!