Cosplay is always one of the big attractions at scifi and gaming conventions, and Origins is no exception. There were some fine costumes again this year including some outstanding furries, but the most prevalent were the Steampunk outfits from an alternate Victorian universe. While I couldn’t get pictures of all of them, I did take several pictures, and I’m here to show them to you. I envy these people, and wish I had something besides an old battered fedora to wear to the cons. Maybe if I would loosen up and spend some money, I too, would have some steampunk finery to show off.
- This handsome gent had the booth across from ours (Flying Buffalo). He sold hats, weapons, and a Steampunk role-playing game.
Many handsome couples were shopping for games.
A gentleman can hardly venture out without vest and goggles.
Steampunk ladies don't always need male escorts.
Top hat and vest, all one really needs to be in fashion.
An ossifer of the crowne.
How fine a thing--to squire an elegant lady around Origins Towne.
The redheads are winning!
Beware the one-eyed man!
Gary Wolf, storyteller and sharp dresser.
Glub, glub!? It's a crazy mechanical headpiece.
Even trimmer. Never too young for a corset.
I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!
Have you seen Stanley?
And that brings me to the end of the Steam Punks at Origins. They certainly were a well-dressed crew of scoundrels, gentility, and reprobates. Long may they flourish, and more power to them!
- You’d better not make a mistake!
spent way too much money to go see Priest on Saturday night. It was one of the grimmest motion pictures I can remember seeing, and yet, I had a hard time taking it seriously. Maybe it was because the hero . . .Paul Bettany as the Priest . . . looks too much like Tommy Smothers. What do you think?
Mom always liked you best!
The critics at Rottentomatoes.com only gave Priest an 18%. They are harsh. I thought it was at least twice that good–snurk.
Synopsis: after the Vampire Scourge had been defeated by the superhuman Priests of the Church, the world was a wasteland except for the giant armed cities ruled and protected by the Church. The slaughter of a family of wasteland farmers and the abduction of a teen girl bring Priest out of retirement to track down the Vampires that did it and rescue her–if possible–or slay her if necessary.
What seemed comment worthy to me about the movie was how many other things it reminded me of–not directly but in a sideways manner. When I saw Priest and his lawman buddy taking off into the wasteland, I immediately thought of Judge Dredd.
Judge Dredd on Lawmaster motorcycle.
- Priest on cycle tearing through desert wasteland.
Priest is a kind of steampunk western. Another thing it reminded me of was Clint Eastood westerns about the Man with No Name–things like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Certainly that title could have been used for Priest. The main villain is only called Black Hat. Does he remind you of someone?
Can you hear that strange whistling noise?
I hear a strange whistling noise.
Then there was the martial arts aspect of the movie. Priest and his fellow vampire killers were all fabulous martial artists. They do incredible leaps and major hand to hand damage. This part of the movie comes straight from the antics of Bruce Lee.
It’s hard to find a good picture of Priest in action- Photographer prefer the still shots, but here’s what I could find to indicate the kind of action in the movie.
The fight is about to start.
The fight is about to start.
These similarities are not exact, but they were close enough in style and tone so that while I was watching Priest, I was remembering all these other movies (that I watched and enjoyed long ago.).
Critics might not like this sort of thing, but the more I think about it, the more I think I do like it. Priest was its own movie, but it reminded me of Judge Dredd, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and Enter the Dragon. They were all great fun, and in retrospect I think Priest deserves to be classed as great fun also. I’m going to revise my movie rating froma 36% to an 85%. This dark action thriller made me think of a lot of other dark action thrillers that I’ve seen, and I’ve decided that it’s good enough. Go see it, and tell me what YOU think.
I’ve been friends with Terry Lee Ballard for a very long time, since early college days at least, and I graduated from college more than 40 years ago. He is the man whose wise advice turned me to a career in librarianship, and that has been a very good career for me.
Terry Lee Ballard--librarian, photograjpher, amigo.
Decades ago, Terry went east to seek his fortune, and he found it as an academic librarian in New York. From time to time, he returns to Arizona–he still has family here–and when he does we usually get together for a few hours–have a meal, talk about old times, catch up with what’s happening in each other’s lives. Good times! When he called me to set up something for his current trip, I suggested we do a photographic expedition together–Arizona is full of interesting places to photograph. I suggested Wickenburg as a place to go, and he did some research and made a counter-suggestion of a trip past Wickenburg to a hole-in-the-road called Nothing–Nothing, Arizona.
When he arrived at my place yesterday morning, we got into his rental car, and took off for the Arizona desert and wild small towns northwest of Phoenix. The rest of this blog is a photographic record of that journey. He also took photos and should be telling his side of the story in his own blog.
Now, to be fair, these two blogs are designed to be a bit of a friendly competition. After you look at mine, please go look at his, and then leave a comment on whatever you like the best. Terry’s blog can be found at: http://terryballard.blogspot.com/2011/06/hometown-blues.html. You will notice that he is much better at integrating words and pictures into a connected flow than I am; however, whatever the reason, I think I got the better pictures on the trip. I really enjoyed the expedition, and hope we’ll get a chance to do it again some time.
Beautiful downtown Wickenburg.
This was my first photo of the day. How often do you see a horse on the roof of a building? I guess that’s not too uncommon in the West–the Big Apple Restaurant in Phoenix also has livestock on the roof. But you have to admit, it’s not a common sight. The horse is a pinto–a common cow pony type. No, it’s not a real horse–just a wooden effigy of one, but it looks good.
We got out of the car here and walked around town for a couple of blocks. The following pictures were all taken on the streets of Wickenburg.
Flags and Flowers
Sun-blasted map. I like the ironwork above it.
Can you read the beer signs hanging down? They say "Stay Thirsty", and it's an ad for my favorite beer--a Mexican brew called Dos Equis (Two Xs), On the sidewalk ahead of me are my son James and Terry forging ahead in search of who knows what?
I almost took a picture of the Mexican pots in front of this bar. They were very pretty.
I really liked this window. We almost had breakfast here. I kind of wish that we had, although the other place was ok.
Notice the key word “almost”. It turned out the be the best description of the day. Things almost worked out the way we wanted them to.
Terry, posing by the Wickenburg Jail Tree.
Before Wickenburg got big enough to build its own jailhouse, prisoners of the law might find themselves chained to a tree until they sobered up or met the Hanging Judge.
The Jail Tree itself. Such a tree would have to be over 150 years old, and I don't think this tree is that ancient. I suspect they made up this story, or maybe this is the son/ddaughter of the original Jail Tree.
It's a public clock for people who don't carry watches. Cool store beyond it--I must return to iit some time.
Wickenburg was gold mining country. Here's an old prospector, fully provisioned, and heading back out to the desert.
You can almost hear the music. Ay ay ay ayyyyyy! Canta y no lloras!
High point of the morning--breakfast. My friend is a restaurant architect.
Horses are things of the past. This is how today's western outlaws get around. These are some sweet rides.
You've heard of the Iron Horse . . . ?
The turning-back point. We didn’t find Nothing, Arizona. Here’s Terry again in front of Arizona desert.
We found this ruin that symbolizes all the ghost towns of Arizona. Desolation, but judging from the graffitti, also the scene of some good times.
The last picture of the day--a truckstop trading post that symbolizes all the back country of Arizona highway life. Everything you need can be found inside, and a good time when it gets dark.
We never made it to Nothing, Arizona–took the wrong turn in Wickenburg. But, we had a good time–a pleasant ride through the desert, a good meal, interesting scenery. Why do I call it a Five Hawk Day? I saw five hawks gliding over the desert during the trip. They have a distinctive look, and I always enjoy seeing desert wildlife in its own setting. When was the last time that you had a five hawk day?