Sunday, July 15, 2012

Comic-Con Day 3 (Hall H Part 1)

July 14, 2012

So, after the grand disappointment that was yesterday, I was determined to make it into the Hall H panels on Saturday, which I have managed to get into the last two years.  Last year, if I recall, I depended on the motel to wake me up, and they didn’t call me, so I only managed to wake myself up out of worry, and barely made it in time.  The year before, I had thought to bring an alarm clock.  This year, no such luck, but I did program my phone to awaken me, and had, as stupid as this sounds, an egg timer as a backup.  The damn thing went off every ninety-nine minutes (which is its maximum), and I would awaken, look at the time on my phone, and then start it over.

I needn’t have bothered, because nerves kept waking me up to check the time, and I was already awake and waiting to see if my alarm clock went off when it finally sounded.  I chose to err on the side of caution, so set my alarm for 3:30am, two hours or so earlier than the last time. 

I got up, and got going, only a bit groggy, getting to an excellent parking spot and on my way by four.  It’s dark and humid as he--actually, I don’t imagine Hell (the location) will be this humid.  It was surprisingly quiet, with almost no vehicles on the street, and only the homeless around to remind me that life (or “life,” if you prefer) goes on.*

Convention Center around 4:00am.
I walked across the bridge to the Convention Center, and there the masses were.  Hundreds of people, nearly all of them sleeping, could be seen, on the sidewalk, on the grass . . . and snaking off into the distance. 

Unlike the last two years, they didn’t allow people to pack in like sardines in the queue for Hall H.  Amusingly, because of fire laws, they spread people out so greatly that the end of the line wasn’t near the Convention Center, but down the sidewalk blocks away, right (literally) alongside the ocean. 
It’s pretty daunting, but having seen the front of the line, I understand that once people awaken and start lining up proper, I’ll move up at least a block. 

So, I sat down and fired up ye olde craptop.  There are hundreds in line ahead of me, and in the few minutes I’ve been sititng here, another hundred have lined up behind.  There is a faint, pleasant breeze blowing onto me off the water, and the dudes next to me have all gone to sleep.  I chuckled to discover that the battery on my craptop, if I sit here and type constantly (it doesn’t pick up the wi-fi signal way over here), won’t even make it until the doors open.  I bought this one specifically because it had such a long-life battery (or maybe I just bought it because I'm cheap).  Sigh.

So, I can come up with something to write, or I too can go to sleep.  Not sure which to choose.  Maybe both, since I’m stuck here a long time.

I laid back for a few minutes, and the breeze blowing was really, really nice.  Some are complaining that it’s cold, but I think it’s pretty much perfect.  I might have been able to sleep, except the group I’m sitting with are pretty chatty, and there are a couple of loud talkers among them.  I’m not complaining, they seem like cool folks.  They were going through the schedule, mocking the panels that sound stupidest.  Some of the ones I’ll be sitting through to get to IRON MAN were among them.

A few minutes after that, the sprinklers on the grass near us went off, spraying several of those who were sleeping, so it was fortunate I hadn’t let myself get too comfortable. 

Not long after, the sun started to come up, and it was pretty.  Now the sky is the same color as the water, a sort of combination of grey and white. Of course, I could be an idiot and the water is just reflecting the sky.  Sorry.

As it got lighter, I discovered that I'm near the marina, and that there are several boats moored right behind the Convention Center.  One is a huge yacht with a helicopter on a pad, and the folks ahead of me joked that it either belongs to Tony Stark or Robert Downey Junior, whichever one is real.

I’ve seen two middle-aged women dressed as Merida from BRAVE this morning.  One might have actually been old, not middle-aged.  That amuses me.

It is now nearly six am.  I’m not tired, and not cold, and am in high spirits.  If you know me at all, I tend to be either really up or really down, and apparently, the roller coaster as gone up the ridge again.  I just saw a legitimately-attractive girl go by, dressed as Silk Spectre.  Miraculously, that did not push me into the realms of despair.

Now, it’s later, and amazingly, the people keep on lining up.  I do not exaggerate when I say that the line now goes off into the horizon.  The girl next to me joked that eventually, they’ll be wading, and only people with kayaks will be in line.

The very small people are at the tail end of the queue.
More time passed.  I wrote a sketch for the Dunesteef.  I tried to get online and couldn’t. I turned this off and talked with the people around me. The guys behind me said that they don’t even go onto the show floor, or buy anything from vendors, but merely sit in panels all day (which seems pretty fun).  I listened to the girls ahead talking about tampons and womens’ restrooms.  One of their friends "rage quit" the convention after seeing the lines on Thursday.  Funny, the only other time I'd ever heard that term was regarding my podcast. 

Right before eight o’clock, the people with sleeping bags were forced to line up (taking their bedding back to their cars, or motel rooms, or simply tossing it into the Pacific), and we moved forward for twenty minutes or so, filling the tents more than three blocks away.  Now I am under the second tent, surprisingly close to the front of the line.  It’s possible that people that showed up an hour or three after I did will actually get in.  And good for them; it sucks that anybody today would get turned away like I did yesterday.

Unfortunately, the grass below me is wet and disgusting.  I can’t figure out how the grass could get this mashed down and muddy unless people urinated on it day after day.  I also smell tuna fish.  At least that’s what I think it is.

Not having a blanket, I ended up tearing about twenty pages out of my program and sitting on them, eagerly awaiting the moment that the wetness soaked through and I felt it on my pants.  But I lucked out, and it only soaked partway through by the time it was time to stand.

I’ve seen a lot of cool costumes.  I saw a Judy Jetson and Rosie the Robot.  Several Poison Ivys, Katniss Everdeens, and Meridas.  A remarkably gorgeous girl in a simple Batgirl costume.  Lots of Jokers and Batmans and Thors (including at least three lady Thors).  Way too many zombies.  A guy just walked by with a faded Captain America shield t-shirt.  Wow.  A handful of Marios and Luigis.  A couple of Mal Reynoldses, Doctor Horrible, Stormtroopers, Master Chief, Star Trek uniforms, Sailor Moons, and one of those “I’m Sexy and I Know It” Rapebots.  I saw a really impressive He-Man yesterday (it was real muscle, but he was only half the size of the cartoon He-man).  There was a two year old dressed as Snow White walking with her mom in the main hall, which surprised me because there’s no way a child can walk in there and not get stepped on. 
Last year, those manatee-fuckers from the Westboro Baptist Church were out picketing the show, telling us who was going to burn in eternal hellfire and who really pisses God off.  This year, they have been replaced by a bunch of more non-descript Christians with signs and megaphones, apparently (at least from their words and tone of voice) trying to save our souls and let us know the Good News.  You know, I don’t really appreciate them being here, but they’re so much less caustic and hate-dripping that I don’t wish them ill at all.  I do wonder why they chose to come here:  because they are seeking publicity (which the Westboro defecants also sought), because they think we’re doing something wrong, or because they know there will be crowds and they think some of us may listen to what they have to say?  I’m not really complaining about them, mind you, and I guess it beats going door to door, I don’t know.

Oh, I was going to mention, though, that last year there were counter-protesters at the Westboro thing (people holding up signs that said “God Hates Vampires” and “Odin Hates Straights” and such), but that I did see a couple of similar signs this year, one of which read “GALACTUS IS COMING.  Are you prepared?”  There might have been a scripture too, like FF Vol 1:49.

This Beta Ray Bill costume was one of the most-impressive of the con.  Unfortunately, he wouldn't stop moving for anyone to take his picture, and this was the best I could get.

Big sent me a message yesterday, wishing me a happy birthday, and declaring that I was at the place where I am happiest.  I don’t know about that (I could be in Malibu right now, trying to help Anne Hathaway grow her hair back), but I do feel like there are more people who are like me in this crowd than anywhere else.  You see some real psychos, don’t get me wrong, but I genuinely think that most of these are good people (or at least decent people, in the upper fiftieth percentile as opposed to the other half).  They’re passionate about something (many somethings, in many cases), and willing to sweat and strain and spend their money to express it (or be around those that do).

I don’t have kids, but if I did, I’d try to bring them to stuff like this (though maybe not the SDCC, since it’s just too darn big and too darn difficult), to show them the sights and the passion, and let them know that if there’s something they enjoy, they can explore it as deeply as they like.  I think it would be wise to help them express why they enjoy something, and be able to defend it to somebody who doesn’t.  ‘Cause that’s the thing: any kid who had me as a parent would be bound to get picked on or mistreated in some way, and it might be good for him/her to know how to react to that.

Maybe he'd have to get some hand-to-hand combat lessons somewhere in there too.

There was a really impressive Beta Ray Bill costume walking around that I tried hard to get a photo of, but he wouldn’t stop for pictures.  I’m not saying he was a jerk or anything, but if you put in a lot of work on a costume, you want people to notice you, right?   It’s like a woman who gets breast impla--

Well, maybe not.

I did turn this off for a while and attempted to write something in my program, writing in the margins like a notebook.  I hate many things about myself, but one of the big winners is that, when I am someplace I cannot write, my mind goes to a creative place, coming up with stuff I would write if I could.  But once I’m in front of a computer or notebook, my brain empties like a waterballoon with holes in it.  I wrote for ten or fifteen minutes, never with a goal, or even a good idea.  I think I’ll have to throw away everything I wrote on those pages.

Of course, I might forget I wrote them, throw it away, and forever wonder what great stuff was in there, lost forever.

. . . To Be Continued . . .

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