Monday, July 29, 2013

Waiting For Hall H

(I typed this outside, waiting for the Saturday show to begin . . . twice)

So, here I am in the Hall H line at Comic-Con.  Again.

I predicted that the line would be longer this year than last, and I was right.  It was so much longer that, if I recall, where I ended up at 4:45 in the morning was about where the end of the line was last year at 9:30 or 10:00.  The line begins at the sidewalk before the Convention Center, then loops around and around there on the grass, then goes across the street and down the sidewalk there, then takes a sharp left back toward the dock (which is where I sat last year at this time), then loops around again just alongside the railing, then goes past all the boats as far as you can go, then takes a left, goes down that sidewalk, and onto the grass there (this is where I ended up today), and loops again on the grass, and keeps going to where only Rod Serling knows for sure.  But ah well.
It was dark when I arrived, and I was tired, so I laid down and closed my eyes.  A minute or two later, something tiny crawled over my arm.  It was an ant.  I flicked it off and tried again.  After five or more minutes, the line suddenly started to move.  I can't explain it (as it was about five am when this happened, and still dark), but everyone stood and walked slowly forward, until the line stopped again about half a mile upward.  My new spot was against the pier railing, where the water meets the land, about seventy people from where I started in 2012.

People talked all around me, and I never really tried to sleep again.  The family directly behind me in the line were jonesing for coffee, and when Starbucks opened, their dad volunteered to go get them some.  He never returned.*
After a while, when the sky got grey, I got out this laptop, and began to type.  There's a cold breeze blowing off the water onto my back, as I am three feet from the ocean.  That breeze felt awesome yesterday and Thursday, but this morning, it's really chilly.  I'll try to be a man about it, though.

This is my first year using my brother's laptop (instead of my own--deceased--craptop), and I worry about the battery.  My craptop might not have been very useful, but it had a battery that lasted for four or five hours (that was instrumental in my decision to buy it, despite it having absolutely no other features).  This one seems to last about an hour, maybe ninety minutes.  We'll see.

So, I have to admit that there were a few minutes on Thursday morning when I thought I shouldn't come back next year.  Mostly, it's just the crowds, the incessant sea of sweaty, shoving humanity.  I thought it would be fun if Joss Whedon would make a short film about Bruce Banner being at Comic-Con, saying, "Excuse me, Please don't shove.  Uh, please stop shoving me.  I'm warning you, please don't shove me anymore."

Maybe I'm the only one who would dig that.

But yesterday was pretty darn satisfying, pretty darn fun, and I walked back to my car feeling happy to be here.  There was a parking ticket on my windshield (despite the section I was in having no posting time limits), saying I'd been there too long.  I'm not sure if I'll pay it or not, but I won't dwell on it now.

I have been getting up early each day, and so I'm tired, but all of this is by choice, and I'll not complain. 
Oh my god.  This fucking program.  I've been typing for nearly an hour, putting down my thoughts and ideas, and writing a story even . . . and it deleted it all.

F**k you.

So, let me start again, god dammit.

I guess I was saying I was here by choice, and then I started talking about writing.  I write a lot, and then it gets deleted for absolutely no reason.  In fact, fuck this program.

I’ve started again in a new word processing program.  I cannot believe it lost everything but my first half-page.  I feel like a kid again, and am about a second away from throwing this against the wall.

But I’m going nowhere, and unless my battery dies, I have time to start over, type it all again.

So, I was saying that it's my choice to come to Comic-Con, so I shouldn't complain.  I hate the crowds and the long, long, long walks (I probably got the kind of exercise this weekend that Big gets in a normal day, the runnin' bastard).  And everything costs a fortune, and yes, it's pretty much impossible to park.  I found that they'd built a Mexican supermarket in the area where I used to always park my car (which is still about 1.3 miles from the Convention Center, but at least it was free), and after driving around frustrated, I just parked there.
I did all the stuff you do on the first day of the con (fight your way to the doors, be told you're at the wrong door, fight your way to another one, be told the first door was actually correct, get your badge, try to buy or see something only to be told that the line was capped hours before anyone would've been allowed inside, see someone in a cool costume, stand in a line, be shoved by someone who has no reason to touch you, admire a display only to be told not to look or take pictures of it, discover that San Diego is hot in July, realize there's no God, etc.), and after I'd loaded up on purchases, I wandered back to my car.  There's a Mexican eatery (not really a restaurant as I typed the first time) attached to the supermarket, so I decided to eat lunch there, to reward them for letting me park there.  It was really heavy food, if you know what I mean, and sat solidly in my stomach for hours.  I went back to the con for a couple hours, saw a panel or two, then decided to duck out early so I could go get my motel room, have a bath, change clothes, check my email, and lather some aloe vera all over the sunburn and groin chafing I'd received.
Again, to be decent, I went into the supermarket to buy sunscreen and aloe vera, only to discover that everything was in Spanish.  The announcements over the intercom, the price signs, and the employees.  I realized I had no idea how to say "sunscreen" in Spanish, but luckily, found a manager who spoke Spanglish to me (they had aloe vera, it turned out, but in *drink* form rather than something to lather onto burns).  I also bought a Pepsi from them, feeling I'd earned my day's free parking there.  So when I got the parking ticket the next day, I was a bit disappointed, but hey, I hadn't shopped there that day.

But despite adversity, I was in a much better mood on Friday than I had been on Thursday (Thursday was hard simply because I'd spent the whole previous day driving, got almost no sleep, and despite rising at pre-dawn, I still ended up arriving to the Convention Center late.  And then, there was the chafing, the less said about it the better).  And despite this laptop's best attempts, I refuse to be in a bad mood this morning. 
The line up and moved again at around seven.  Last year, they told people to clear out their tents and sleeping bags at eight o'clock, so the line moved incredibly after that.  This year, they did so earlier, and once all that space is compressed (there were people sleeping on those huge air mattresses this year, which would be really nice), a couple of literal blocks of the line disappear.  When it closed up, we were on the grass next to Hall H, which shouldn't be possible, but it happened.  I typed a lot, and then, the program just froze.  When I reopened it, everything but the first few paragraphs had gone.  I've gone through and tried to recreate that, but I did despair for a minute or two.
So, the other thing I wrote about, besides Comic-Con, was how I wish I could write more.  Even though I write more than anybody reading this, and wrote today, yesterday, and the day before, I know I can do more.  For example, yesterday, I had an idea for a story while walking down the street, and I was too busy to sit down and write it, but sat down to do so in the afternoon . . . and it was totally gone.  No clue what it was about or how complete an idea it was.  How could my mind think it up and then toss it out like that? 
It pisses me off, and to think of all the hundreds of projects that I’ve started and then abandoned, it makes me wonder how many of those would have been better than the ones I actually managed to midwife into completion.

I tried to think of what the story might have been, whether it was a horror story or a comedy or what, but it didn’t come.  This morning, I thought about writing a superhero story set in the Wild West, of maybe a telekinetic living in the frontier or something, trying to make a difference in a rugged land, but trying also to keep his abilities a secret.  I also thought about a story set in the future (or a parallel now) where everybody born has superpowers, and a kid is born who is just a normal human, and how much that sucks for him.  I thought about writing about some kind of virus that makes every child between one and five go insane and want to kill adults, and how at night packs of murderous children run rampant through the city, killing and raping, and whatever else a four year old would do if allowed.  My friend Ian loves the idea of feral children that run on all fours, so if I wrote the story maybe I could dedicate it to him.

Then I thought of a man, traveling somewhere, maybe lost, and he sees a sign that says “Murdertown 1 mile.”  He is curious, and a motorcycle cop pulls him over and asks if he’s headed into town.  “No.  Why, will I get murdered?”  “If you go cross into town, you’ll have to kill someone, so don’t enter unless you have to.”  The guy laughs, and asks for directions.  The cop tells him to make a U-turn and where to go.  The man considers turning, but is curious, and goes into town, seeing a gas station ahead.  There’s a billboard that says, “Do Unto Others.  Kill Humanely.”  He is worried.  A couple of old men watch him drive by, but they’re not armed.  At the station, it’s all full service, and a kid comes out.  Twelve, maybe.  “You here to kill me?” the guy asks.  “No.  You want to kill me?”  “Not today.  Not when you’re pumping my gas.  Haven’t seen that in a while.”  The boy explains that this used to be Indian land, and through a loophole, one murder is legal here.  People kill their wives, kill their friends, kill strangers.  “Have you ever killed somebody?” the man asks, thinking this is some kind of hoax or publicity stunt.  “No,” the boy says, "but I don’t want to leave.”  He explains, if you kill, then you must move away.  He thinks the boy might be telling the truth.

An old woman comes to him, asking if he’ll kill her husband, who’s real sick.  He declines.  A farmer asks if the dude has killed yet, and if not, if he’ll kill his teen son.  “He don’t like girls, you see.”  The man is disgusted and heads out of town.  A pregnant woman actually lays down in the road and he goes around her.
I wrote this story in a bit better detail, to the end (or at least until the point where the man makes his decision and runs into the policeman again) before my "mishap" with the computer.  I didn't use MS Word before because there's all these irritating hoops to jump through because it's not a registered version, but I've got to jump through them from now on, to avoid losing it all.  When I think about the extra half hour or so that I wasted rewriting all this, when I could have been fleshing out "Murdertown," or working on synopses for the other two ideas I had, or talking about the things I saw each day at the Con, I just feel tired.
They have started letting people into Hall H now, so those hours flew by.  I ended up sitting toward the back (but still far enough up that I know five or six hundred people behind me also got to go in), next to a couple of heavy-set ladies who were here about the HUNGER GAMES panel.  I ended up not liking them in the end.  I had no internet access, for some reason, which was disappointing, since this is a better computer than the one I've previously had, but the chaps in the row behind me told me theirs weren't working either.  I saw several panels I wasn't particularly interested in, but only one did I truly hate.  A better man might have used that time to read, write, or blog, but I didn't for some reason (I kept thinking, I'd better keep this laptop with a little bit of charge in it, in case of an emergency, but ended up not using it again before going back to the car).
I'm not sure how much I'm going to blog about SDCC2013, as Big and I usually talk about it on our podcast, but I imagine I would've gotten more done, had--
Nahh, I won't say it again.
Rish Outfield
*This is an exaggeration, but two hours later, he called his wife on her cellphone and said he was about to order.  He asked her if that guy in the line with her wanted anything.  I really appreciated that, but wow, I can't imagine any coffee, Starbucks or otherwise, being worth a wait like that.  And the saddest part is, that family was from Seattle.

1 comment:

Seraph said...

You have some cool story ideas there Rish. I like the 'Murdertown' one in particular. I had a similar idea to your superpowers one, but in a fantasy setting where everyone has some innate magical ability - except this one kid. He's a street kid in some town, abandoned and left for dead due to his difference. But as he grows so does his un-magical-ness, until he's effectively anti-magical. Magic can't effect him at all - and he becomes a kind of Batman figure - taking down corrupt Wizards and such who have literally no power to stop him. I think that might be a novel idea though - it wouldn't fit in a short story. I think I got the idea from pitying Muggles in the Harry Potter books, who get really looked down on my the magical community. Self righteous bastards.