Beautiful Girls With Guns, 
And Other Things That Make
Bad Years More Bearable

Thoughts About Life, and Death, and ComicCon 
 (NYC Oct 2011)

By John V. Brennan November  2011

Thanks to Champion Hamilton (
for the use of this photo of actress, model and friend Laura Aguinaga.

     Well, 2011 has been a hell of a year.  What can I say about a year in which my mother's best friend and my best friend's mother both died within weeks of each other?

     That actually happened, and they weren't the only good people I know who died this year.  Good people getting sick, good people dying all year long. Some of the best people I know, including Pop.

     My father, Eugene Brennan, developed heart trouble in March after undergoing a "minor procedure" (don't get me started). For the next seven months, he was in and out of the hospital several times and eventually wound up in a Surgical ICU unit, hooked up to a respirator and a feeding tube.  God bless him, Pop never lost his spirit or his sense of humor.  Whenever the family would go to visit him, he was the one who joked around with us, not vice versa.  Even when the respirator tube made him unable to speak, he would write out notes such as "Escape!".  Some day we though he wouldn't make it through the night, other days we thought he looked so good he would be home in a few days.  Eventually we all realized he would never be coming home, and he was moved to the hospice wing of the hospital where, on September 7th, he passed away peacefully at the age of 81. 

    A little while after Dad passed away though, we all had to adjust suddenly having free time again. After spending five months taking care of Dad and each other, we did not know what to do with ourselves. I knew one thing though, that I had to get out of the house for a while and just go somewhere and relax.  

    My good friend, fellow Queens residence and actress Laura Aguinaga, was going to be at ComicCon at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City in October to promote an upcoming movie she was going to be in.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to get out and relax after seven hard months.  

    I had never been to ComicCon before.  It is a celebration of comics, graphic novels and anime, none of which are really my thing.  I am much more of a horror, sci-fi and fantasy guy (hence why I created this site) but I figured there would be enough weird and interesting stuff  there to sustain my interest once I had finished visiting Laura at her booth.

     Before I found Laura, I stumbled across a video seller hawking rare DVDs. That is usually my first stop at any convention. Others go for celebrity autographs and panel discussions, I go for movies.At  Chiller shows in New Jersey, I have picked up such films as the original The Stepfather starring Terry O'Quinn years before he finally gained fame on TV with Lost, and Bad Ronald, a cheesy but unforgettable old TV movie starring Scott Jacoby and Kim Hunter.  This is what I love about these conventions.  You can find stuff you just can't seem to find anywhere else.  At ComicCon, I found one Walt Disney film that seems destined never to be released on home video: 1946's Song of the South.  Held back from rerelease because of concerns that parts of it may be culturally insensitive to some African- Americans, Song of the South is a part live action, part animated adaptation of the "Uncle Remus" stories of B'rer Rabbit by Joel Chandler Harris. The movie's greatest claim to fame, aside from its supposed controversial status, is the happy little Oscar-winning song "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah!".  Having watched the film now in the comfort of my own home, I can say that, while it is no classic and may contain a small handful of uncomfortable moments (like many other older films that are out on home video), it certainly deserves to be out on DVD. Release this film now, Disney.  

    Now onto the beautiful girls with guns.

   I tracked down Laura a few minutes later at a booth where she was promoting the upcoming independent film S.E.A.L.S. by ACS TrouperTouch Entertainment about a deadly all-female task force.  Outfitted in her costume for the movie (see the picture at the top of this page), Laura looked amazing but was nervous because she was the only member of the cast who was there at that time, and it was her first time promoting her own work rather than working for others ."I was so excited yet having a heart attack at the same time," she told me later.  "You are not only there to promote your work, but you are also there to promote yourself as an actor so you start thinking to yourself 'What if nobody shows up!? What if nobody cares!?'. Then you have these people show up showing nothing but love and support for you and that feeling was amazing!" 

    2011 may not have been a great year for me, but it has been an excellent year for Laura, and I am so happy for her.  Not only has she been filming S.E.A.L.S. but she has also been interviewed twice by our local paper The Queens Tribune about her acting and has appeared as herself in an episode of Animal Planet's "My Extreme Animal Phobia".  As she told me a little while after we became friends, she gave up her regular job to devote her energies to her acting career, which also includes modeling and promotion.  She deserves all the success that comes her way, because she works hard at it and takes it seriously.  Plus, she's just a supernice gal.

     Laura told me that if I came back later, the rest of the S.E.A.L.S. cast would be there (more beautiful girls with guns!), so I moved on after having her autograph an 8 by 12 photo of her in character of "Li'l Bit" from the movie.  I also took some pictures with her, most of them useless because (a) my camera phone did not have a flash and (b) I suck at using my camera phone, flash or no flash.  This was a problem all the time I was at Comic Con.  So many people walking around in outlandish costumes, yet two out of three times when I tried to take a picture, I would mess it up.

    And that brings up Bigfoot!  He (well, somebody in a costume) was walking around and spied me attempting to take pictures, so he moved toward me and gestured, in that clever, endearing way Bigfoot has, that I should take a picture of him. So I tried.  It didn't work.  I tried again.  It didn't work again.  So Bigfoot, detecting an emerging pattern, slowly walked away shaking his head in disgust at me!   I'm there like the kid from Shane yelling "Bigfoot! Come back!" but it was no use.  Bigfoot was gone.  I silent cursed him out and moved on, hoping nobody saw the embarrassment that just occurred to me.  Even today, sometimes I wake up thinking "Dissed by Bigfoot - dude, you've got nowhere to go but up now."

    I did manage to take some fun pictures, such as these two girls dressed as elves.  I think that's what they're supposed to be.  I got a definite Lord of the Rings vibe from their costumes, but having only seen one of those films and forgetting it immediately after, I can't be sure  They kindly posed while I took two pictures.  By the second one, they seemed to be getting a little bored of me. First Bigfoot, now elves!  I just can't win with mythical characters!

     There was so much to see and do at ComicCon, but there is a rule in life, my life at least, that goes "When you finally get to that day you've been waiting for, that will be the day the plumber has to fix your toilet."  I was under the gun.  I could only spare a couple of hours there before having to go home and deal with the plumber, who had a track record at successful plumbing on par with Curly from The Three Stooges.  I figured I'd better get home before I had water gushing out of my television.  Still, I had time left to check out some really amazing artwork on the third floor, talk with a guy dressed in an ancient Grecian costume who was selling what looked like a very cool video game about the art of war, and indulge in some overpriced food, a staple at any convention.  A three dollar bag of honey roasted peanuts?  Sure, I'd love some!  I also almost knocked myself out by sitting down in a comfy chair in a lounge area.  I won't even go into the details on that one.

   Oh, and I took a picture of Death. ("Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me" - Emily Dickinson) ("And let me take his picture!" - I added that part). The irony of taking a picture of Death was not lost on me considering the events of the past few months, but I did not let it bother me.  The family all agrees that Dad would be the first to say "Hey, I'm gone. Don't just sit around moping and crying!  Get on with your lives!".  We've all been dealing with our loss in individual ways, and mine is to remember the good times with him but to keep on keeping on.  Even my memories of ComicCon makes me think of him.  I know he would have enjoyed watching Song of the South - two of his favorite movies were Disney's Pinocchio and the Fleischer Brothers' 1939 animated feature Gulliver's Travels.  I know he would have been happy hearing that Laura, whom I pointed out to Pop in an episode of "Law and Order" once, was going to be on Animal Planet, one of his favorite go-to channels when the Yankees weren't playing. Even seeing this picture of Death makes me remember one of the last things he mouthed to us, a joke about Death, on the day before they were going to remove all his tubes: "You coming back tomorrow?  Bring flowers!".  Damn, even when the man gave up, he never gave up.

    Before I left ComicCon, I did make it back to Laura's booth to say goodbye, but the other girls had not shown up yet and I didn't have time to wait.  It's a shame I didn't go back the next day, because it was apparently "Insanely Sexy Dress" day for all the S.E.A.L.S ladies, judging by the pictures Laura shared.  Oh, well, maybe next year, when I hope they will be well on their way to a sequel: S.E.A.L.S 2: Beautiful Girls With Guns VS. Bigfoot.

    Laura promises me that she will have a bazooka by then.

The Secret Vault     The Secret Vortex

Copyright © John V. Brennan, 2012. All Rights Reserved.

The Secret Vortex
Copyright © 2010 John V. Brennan, John Larrabee