One can never be too sure of what kind of friends he has until he asks one of them to shave down to just a mustache for him.
As it turns out, I have an amazing friend. Ward hadn't seen his chin in at least two years when he agreed to help.
FriendS, really, because Erin of Flutterbee Photography helped tremendously with this idea, offering tons of creative feedback and taking these wonderful pictures. You guys, don't even try to think of a reason to need a photographer. Just book her. She's got talent. Lots of it. I was all like, "Oh dang! Your talent is burning my eyeballs!" And we had to stop taking pictures for a minute so I could put some Clear Eyes in there.
I've been working on this project for several months now. I made a ton of ridiculous mistakes while building the first couple of 8-bit guys. Super crazy ridiculous. The worst came when I moved the 1-up Mushroom far too soon and the initial glue had not yet cured. Aaand it shattered. And I cussed. I cussed a lot. Big cuss words. Loudly. You know that scene in A Christmas Story when the dad goes down to the basement to battle the furnace? Yeah, it was like that, only not safe for TBS.
The photo shoot was the most fun, though. I quit acting when I changed my major from Musical Theater ten years ago so it was a blast getting into an improv character again. I had my phone playing mario music as I approached couples chatting in Marietta square. It would go down something like this:
Me: Hey, I'm sorry to interrupt- do you guys live around here? Like are you familiar with directions?
Male Stranger: Yeah, we've lived in Marietta for a while. What are you looking for?
*strangers make great eye contact but do nothing to address that I am clearly dressed as Mario, holding a fire flower, or that the level 1-1 theme of the original game is playing out of my overalls*
Me: I think I have it right, but do you guys know if this is the way to Bowser's Castle? *switch hands on fire flower in order to gesture in direction*
Both Strangers: *puzzled looks* Bowser's Castle? bowser...s.. mumble mumble... hmmm, I don't know that I've heard of that. Is it new?
Me: No, as far as I know it's been around for almost 20 years. I guess it used to be called 'King Koopa's Castle', but very few have called it that in a long time.
*The lady really can't believe she's never heard of it and starts squinting as she scans her mental map of Marietta.*
Guy Stranger: Wow, really? Twenty years? That's how long we've lived here! hmm... Bowserscastlemumblethinkingtoself- Did you saw BOWser's Castle? CASTLE, right? Man, I've just never heard of it.
The guy now has pulled in another couple he knows to be local to help give me directions. A child 200 yards away screams to her dad that she sees Mario. The bit continues.
Me: Yeah, Bowser. Never heard of him? He's kind of got a bad reputation for predatoring on ladies. I want to make sure to get there as soon as possible to deal with this dude. No? All right, well, I really appreciate you guys helping me. I'm gonna keep trucking this way. I guess I'll know if I'm going the right direction if I find a flag in the next 150 seconds. You guys are awesome. Stay cool. *I flash a classic SNES Super Mario peace sign. They continue discussing amongst themselves as I was away which buildings might possibly be the one I was looking for.*