Archive for January, 2007

Your Jedi Mind Tricks Will Not Work On Me

January 6, 2007

I answered a lot of phone calls at my Los Angeles internship at Dark Horse Entertainment. Often this also involved taking messages for people who wanted to speak to my boss Chris. If, for some reason a person were to call wanting to speak to his boss, Dark Horse Comics President Mike Richardson, I would transfer them to Chris and he would take care of it personally.

Even though we were a small independent production office, 90 percent of the phone calls we received were people looking for some kind of job. Even people who you would assume already had a job, people whose names you would recognize, called on a somewhat regular basis looking for work and trying to sell their latest projects. If someone called specifically to do so, regardless of who they were, the appropriate action was to take a message and have Chris or Mike call them back at their convenience.

Formerly attractive

On one day a particularly eventful phone call came in. I put down whatever I was doing at the time (most like an AIM conversation or reading through back issues of Hellboy) and answered the phone in my typical friendly fashion:

“Hello, Dark Horse Entertainment.”

“Yes… I need to speak to Mike.”

The voice sounded strangely familiar, and it took only a second to recognize it. Holy Crap. Mark Hamill was on the phone!

You’re probably wondering how I knew it was Mark Hamill. First of all, I’ve seen every episode of ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ and could recognize his voice instantly. Also, he sounded like someone who used to be incredibly attractive, famous and popular (as opposed to someone who currently is.) Who else could it be but Mark Hamill?

After a few seconds of silent awe, I realized that both Mike and Chris were in the middle of a meeting. I would have to take a message. This seems like a simple task, but in my world it’s always the things like this that end up with disastrous results.

“I’m very sorry, sir. Mike is in a meeting right now. May I take a message?”

“No. I need to speak to him now. This is Mark Hamill.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Hamill. I’ll have to take a message. Mike is unavailable.”

It was at this point I realized how much it must suck to be Mark Hamill. At one time he probably could have gotten a private audience with The Pope, and now some college intern is making him leave a message. Once again I reasserted my dominance, only further upsetting the guy. After asking a fourth time to leave a message, Mark Hamill shouted an expletive and hung up on me. I laughed at the absurdity of the situation, and went back to killing time in a more entertaining way. About an hour later Chris walked up to my deck and asked if anyone had called while they were in the meeting.

Yeah, Luke Skywalker called and he was pissed.

365 Degrees of Josh: Minnie’s Moonlight Madness

January 5, 2007

About a year ago my friend Karly called me up and asked if I’d like to participate in ‘Minnie’s Moonlight Madness.’ For those of you unfamiliar, ‘Minnie’s Moonlight Madness’ is a massive trivia game and scavenger hunt and trivia bowl which takes place after hours at Disneyland Park. While the event is mostly for current employees, it just so happened that our mutual friend was still technically an employee at the Walt Disney Company (She works with the Disney Studios in Burbank.)

The three of us, combined with also-current Disneylander Michael, gave us a strong chance to do well in the competition… or so we thought. Festivities began with a musical revue performed by a local performing arts school.My team (Code name: Chicken, Chicken, Chicken, Chicken, Rooster, Rooster, Dog)  was far too anxious to actually listen to what was being performed, but juding by the large applause they received the group didn’t screw up too badly. A generic host welcomed everyone to this year’s competition, and volunteers then began to hand out pencils and paper to the audience. Then each team was asked 100 questions of intense Disney trivia, ranging from Michael Eisner to ‘The Wuzzles’ to ‘Victory Through Air Power.’

Minnie Mouse Pin

We felt very comfortable with our answers for the trivia portion. All of us are world-class nerds; so much so that all of us answered the Wuzzles question as if we were idential twins (“THE LAND OF WUZ!”) Between us we had spent a solid decade of our lives inside of the 50-acre theme park, we started to have high hopes for the night. Who could blame us for being a little arrogant?

As it turns out we kind of sucked. Hardcore. Immediately following the test each team was sent to Main Street U.S.A, and handed an envelope containing the first of various mental and physical challenges. The goal was to complete these challenges as quickly as possible before the night was over. The event was on a timer, and we would be deducted points for any challenges we did not complete (or completed incorrectly.)

Most of the various challenges involved Disneyland trvia in some form, but had a difficult twist such as geometry or Morse Code. How the hell were we supposed to learn the name of Walt’s dog by listening to a series of beeps and dashes? Just have us turn lead to gold while you’re at it!

Chicken chicken

Between the Morse Code challenge and an awkward Spice Girl’s singalong, most of our night was spent on only six of the ten challenges. A team of our friends didn’t do much better, and failed to complete all of the challenges as well. Due to the many dozens of teams participating that year, judges were not able to announce winners until many weeks after the night had ended. We weren’t surprised when they never called. I’m told the important thing is that we had fun.

Piggy Bank

January 3, 2007

Over a year ago Aaron and I visited LA’s Chinatown. If you’ve ever actually a Chinatown outside of San Francisco (or possibly China) you’ve no doubt found yourself underwhelmed by the place. Many of the buildings are run down, businesses are closed or filfthy tourists flood the streets. I’m not even sure I saw any Chinese food restaurants there, bleh.

Piggy

Anyway, we manage to stumble across a small store that sold all sorts of novelty crap, ranging from samurai swords to imitation jade panda bears! With only a few dollars in my pocket I spent nearly an hour trying to figure out what I was going to take home with me as a souvenir. Finally I settled upon an enormous gold piggy bank. It was easily the size of a real pig, and the coolest thing ever.

In my serving job I end up with quite a bit of change, so within a few months the pig was almost completely full. I had decided that my pig’s savings would go towards my 21st birthday trip to Las Vegas, and when that day finally rolled around I had saved over 200 dollars in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters! Unfortunately to open the pig I had to smash it into pork rinds, meaning that I was now left without a handy holder for all of my loose change.

After many months of filling up cup holders, junk drawers and coffee cups with cash my Tim was generous enough to give Aaron and I a new, larger pig for Christmas. Between the two of us I expect the pig to be filled up rather quickly, just in time for another trip to Vegas.

Ecto Cooler

January 3, 2007

If you’ve seen any pictures of me you can probably guess that I’m not a ‘food person.’ Despite the fact that I work very closely with the stuff, my appetite and interest in food as a whole is very limited. In fact, if I didn’t have to eat the stuff to live, I doubt I’d be putting much in my mouth besides salt water taffy and Ecto Cooler.

In case you weren’t familar with the product, Ecto Cooler was a nectar of the gods produced by Hi-C from the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s. As the name suggests, this was a tie-in product of the successful Ghostbusters feature films. Anyone who has ever experienced the orange/tangarine glory of Ecto Cooler agrees that it is the most delicious thing ever (as evidenced here.)

Ecto Cooler

Growing up I ate school lunches, so Hi-C was kind of a treat for me. I only ever drank it on field trips, and, sometimes, when my family went out for a day at the beach. Most of the time I despised going out in the sun and getting burnt, but Ecto Cooler helped dull my pain as much as a green juice drink could.

Unfortunately Ecto Cooler is no longer available in its’ current form, and has since been repackaged to keep up with the times. Finding the modern equivalent is nearly impossible in my area, but I’ll always hold a special place in my heart this Hi-C flavor featuring a dated pop-culture icon.

For some reason I still hate Slimer, though. Go figure.