Thursday, July 22, 2010

Comic-Con Day 1

So, here I am at Comic-Con once again. I’ll try to save my document as I go this time, instead of letting it all go away when my computer shuts down. So, this is the first time I’ve had one of these things with me to keep me occupied while I’m in the line. Unfortunately, I forgot to plug this sucker in the last couple of days, so now there’s only 6% of the battery left. I’ve said it time and time again: Comic-Con is a lot like childbirth. It’s horrible painful and sweaty and unpleasant, and when it’s done you swear you’ll never go through that again, but in time, you forget. And soon, you’re knocked up again, sweating and pushing and screaming and calling your husband a dipshit.

Last year, I drove through the night, but arrived in San Diego too early (motel check-in wouldn’t happen for hours), so I ended up falling asleep in the car and oversleeping. This time, I forced myself to leave later at night, trying to time it so I’d arrive in San Diego just in time to go to the show. That didn’t work either, though, because I got here around seven in the morning, and then found a parking spot (a pretty good one this time), and went to sleep for a couple of hours, setting my alarm to wake me up at nine. It worked pretty well, actually, except that I feel tired and muggy now. Add to that the myriad crowds and shitty organization, and the interminable lines that shouldn’t be interminable, and I’m already starting to rue my forgetfulness.

The highpoint of today was getting to see Danny Elfman, making his first appearance at SDCC, talking about his film score work, and a bit about Oingo Boingo. He was unbelievably humble and seemed almost embarrassed to have so much attention paid to him. Every time someone complimented him, he’d shyly thank them and stammer about it. My favorite question during the Q&A was when a girl said, “You know that song ‘Little Girls?’ Why would you write a song like that, and even if you did, why would you release it?” Another dude asked Danny about his wife, and people asked him about favorite pieces and aspirations and Boingo reunions and Tim Burton (in fact, the moderator actually referred to Danny as Tim Burton at one point), and people were cool.

As fat as he is, this guy looks more like Captain America than Chris Evans does.Surprisingly, it is rainy and overcast here today. There’s no sun in the sky, and it’s about 63 degrees (or it was last time I checked). It’s muggy, though, and humid in a way I’m not used to. I’m not going to complain about the weather, though. I could be skinnier if I wanted to.

I’ve been sitting in line for a long time, not going anywhere, not accomplishing anything, and the guy ahead of me told me to go ahead and find a place to plug in my computer, that he’d watch my stuff (famous last words, I know). I have been unable to get internet access, otherwise, I guess I would be blogging this, but that’s no huge thing. I recognize that I’m addicted to the internet, but just like my Pepsi addiction, I don’t give much of a crap.

They say there’s free internet for Comic-Con attendees, but I can’t get it to connect. I may be in a bad location, so I keep typing this with no way to publish it.

Which reminds me, my sister got me a new cellphone for my birthday last week. It’s only my second cellphone ever, and it has a camera in it. But the very first call I made on it, to my cousin, he couldn’t hear what I was saying, which never happened with my old phone. That doesn’t inspire me with a ton of confidence, but we’ll see.

Right now, I’m in line to pick up something from Mattel, which they’ve set up at a local Marriott hotel. The line should be like diarrhea through an underwear model, but instead, I’ve been here for, I don’t know, a month, and the line hasn’t moved. In fact, I’ve been able to sit here and type all this with my stuff in a pile, and never had to go move it.

I read somewhere that Brits are really good at standing in line. I have a problem with it. I remember going to a Kevin Smith signing one time where I read an entire book waiting in the figging line, and when I finally got up to Kevin (and Jason Mewes), it took approximately twenty seconds for them to sign and tell me thanks for coming. These are things I just do not get.

So, I had quite a drive last night. I consider myself a really good traveler, but after the ninth or tenth hour, I was the living dead. I stopped a couple of times to walk around or splash water on my face or light a candle to San Salieri, the Patron Saint of Mediocrity, and somehow, I managed to stay awake during that long pre-dawn stretch between Baker (home of the world’s largest thermometer, now in a state of disrepair) and San Diego. There was a lot of mist in the air, so much so that the sky was completely grey and I had to run the wipers for all the condensation. It might have been magical, had I been awake to see it.

I was going to go to bed, but I thought I'd run over to McDonalds and grab a McChicken sandwich before turning in. You see, in California, they have dollar chicken sandwiches that don't taste like the underside of a crematorium. So I ordered a couple and then saw a dude on his laptop (a real one) and realized they have free Wi-Fi here.

Would it surprise you to know this is the first time I've ever gone to a restaurant or cafe and used their signal to surf the internet? It's strangely freeing, like the first time I went to school with no underwear on.

So, the big thing today was walking around and carrying many bags with me. Unless you're staying at the Marriott (and one day, mayhaps I shall, just as soon as someone produces my NUDIST CAMP MASSACRE script), nothing is convenient around here. I parked, as I said, in a good parking spot, but it was still several blocks from the Convention Center, and once I was loaded down with all the purchases I was going to make today, I stumbled back toward my car, so I could stick it all in the trunk and go out and do it all again. Unfortunately, like that Springsteen song says, I took a wrong turn and I just kept going. By the time I realized my mistake, I had walked more than a mile, and there was a fenced-off railway keeping me from where I needed to go.

Around Comic-Con are always these dudes with rickshaws attached to bicycles, who will drive you to your car or to the convention if you are extremely fat and/or lazy. At least that's how Merrill and Matthew and I always looked at it. They're there preying on the weak-willed, over-burdened (with boxes or money), and the terribly out of shape. I'd never stoop to taking a rickshaw, not when I can grow calluses the size of Dalmatian puppies on the soles of my feet.

But today, after being so out of the way and so weighed down by bags and boxes and my ever-widening stomach, the first time one of those rickshaw operators asked me if he could give me a ride, I accepted. I told him where I was parked and he said he knew where that was and I asked him how much it would cost and he said seven dollars, so I loaded onto his vehicle, placed my bags beside me, and enjoyed five minutes of mid-summer breeze on my face.

Well, the driver didn't actually know where the address where my car was parked was, so we had to ask people before we got there. I thanked the man and he said, "Twenty dollars." I said, "You told me seven." "Yes, but this is very much more far than I think it will be." I was a bit upset about this, so I told him I'd give him ten (which I knew I'd still hate myself for afterward). He refused it, saying I made him go very far and owed him more.

So of course I paid him, and hate myself more than I expected to. After I got rid of my stuff, I walked around looking for a place to eat. I don't know how many miles I walked, but when I got to the traditional Wendy's on Broadway, I could've drank a Mountain Dew. Maybe even a DIET Mountain Dew.

At least at the end of the day, I was able to go the right way and make it to my car in less than an hour.

I've been sitting here for a few minutes and suddenly I'm extremely tired. I'm calling this a night.


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