Saturday, July 11, 2015

SDCC 2015 Post

So, I went to San Diego Comic-Con again this year.  And after trotting out my camera for the first day, I discovered that one can take as many pictures with their phone as with a camera, plus it's smaller and more handy than a camera, so I took roughly two hundred pics during the time I was down there.  I couldn't help but delete bad ones as I took them, but then I remembered the tradition of putting up my worst photos on my blog and having absolutely nobody try to guess who they were.  So, I'll see if I have some stinkers that I can stick on here too. 

This backpack of mine has seen a lot of conventions.  And I've seen enough to know that, except for a paperback book or something similar, there's not gonna be room in there when the free swag gets entered in.  Hence, I only dared take my big heavy metal laptop in there once, on Saturday (is it normal for a laptop to be made out of metal?  Are they all plastic nowadays?  I wonder if that makes mine special, and/or if it would take a bullet for me.   Hmmm).  

And my back seen a lot of conventions too, and understood that it would be expected to cart around a great deal of weight in posters, buttons, toys, and the giant offerings people fight over to purchase from Hasbro.  So I made the mile-plus trip out to my car on multiple occasions, filling my arms (and back) with as much as it could possibly carry, then trudging down the road to put it in my car, then returning for more.  It'll be sad to look back on five years from now when I'm at the end of my life, but for now, it's just another part of Comic-Con.

Oh, and one more tiny detail along those lines.  Parking for this thing has never not been a bitch. Oh, there's pre-dawn Saturday when I can find a parking spot less than a mile from the convention center, but the rest of the time, it's always circling, doubling back, searching for a spot, or hoping someone will pull out just as I happen to drive by.  It's probably the second-worst thing about the con, traditionally.  And this year, on Thursday, I noticed a trio of cars that just parked right on the road (Harbor Boulevard, I believe) in no parking spaces, just on the soft shoulder of the road itself, and after parking in the lot of a grocery store (where I parked most of SDCC 2013, and only got a ticket once), I told myself, "If those cars are still there and ticket free when I come back here to move my car (mine was a 2 Hour Parking lot), I'm going to join them."

Well, not only were those cars unmolested, but they had been joined by between fifteen and twenty other cars, obviously thinking the same thing I did.  I parked at the back of the line (in just that stretch of time, the "lot" of Harbor Blvd. was almost full), and went my way, worrying for the rest of the day that my car would indeed have a ticket on it, or worse, be towed, almost-literally screwing me for the rest of my trip.  I worried, I ran it over and over in my mind, I kept thinking I should go back and check, and then finally, I came to an epiphany: "Either my car is fine or it isn't.  Either way, it is out of my control.  Worrying about it is not going to make my car okay or not okay."

It's something you obviously realized years ago, but in this case, it did make the convention more enjoyable, and every time I hiked back to the car, it was still there, and neither it nor the other many cars in that makeshift lot were bothered.  I do expect, however, to find No Parking signs in that area next July.

So, on Thursday, I was pleasantly surprised to walk into Hall H with no line and find myself in the "Doctor Who" panel.  I haven't really been following the show lately, but I know it's insanely popular, so to not have to waste hours in line, or even wait, was a nice change.

There was also an enormously entertaining panel for "Con Men," the crowd-funded passion project of Alan Tudyk's.  Nathan Fillion was his usual charming self, but the real joy came from Chris Hardwick's relentless mockery of Will Wheaton, who had been his roommate back in college.*

So, it was a more unpleasant surprise the next day when I sat in line for more than three hours to get into the "Star Wars" panel, only to be turned away when there were only forty or so folks ahead of me.  I suppose, if I had it to do over again, I'd have sacrificed even more of my day to see Luke, Han, and Leia again as senior citizens.  Or maybe I'd have just taken an AK-47 to the place.

Not that I'm complaining.  I just thought that would be nice (to see the "Star Wars" panel, not to murder strangers with an assault weapon).

In the two years since I last stood in the Hall H line, they've instituted a wristband policy, wherein they hand out wristbands to the first, say, thousand people in line, so those folks are guaranteed to get in.  They are even allowed to leave the line to go defecate, or if they dare, to go shower, eat, or sleep.  They just have to come back to the line and they'll be allowed in before the folks without wristbands.

I think that works well.  Of course, if I had a friend in the world, that might work well too.  You end up spending so much time in line with strangers that, occasionally, you'll befriend the people around you.  In the past, I've been happy to hold their spot in line as they go get coffee, go use the toilet, or go make the beast with two backs.  It would work both ways if I physically had to urinate anymore, but my body has discovered a way to simply convert it to fat, so that's pretty nice.


I'm in Hall H again, at the end of the night, and I could have typed a little on this thing earlier, but I didn't.  I did a good deal of reading, which I don't regret, and I finished up another story, which I TOTALLY don't regret.

I was glad to come here this year, after having missed it last year.  And even though it was work getting here, cost a lot (nay, a ton) of money, and I haven't managed to see everything I wanted to, or buy everything I wanted to, I'm in a good mood.  One day, I'll not be able to come here at all, because I'll be too poor, or too unable to get here, or most likely, too fat.  But for now . . .

I like being with people who feel the way I do about things.  It's like sports, really, a group of strangers cheering for their favorite team.  Except maybe it's not like sports, I don't know.  I don't know much.

Kevin Smith talked about lost opportunities in his Q&A, talked about regret, and did his "Why not?" speech again.  He said, "Everybody has a story that's uniquely theirs.  You need to get out there and tell your story."  I tried to take it to heart as best I could, and I'm really going to try, in the next few weeks, to do the things I obligated myself to do, and maybe do more.

If I were truly serious about my art, I would quit my job and focus 100% on writing, podcasting, publishing, and doing audiobooks.  I could make a go of it, I know I could.  But who knows if I will or not?  One thing at a time, right?

I think I'll go home tonight and see if I can't type some more of "Into the Furnace" and do a post update.  I know that novel needs a lot of work, but right now I am feeling positive enough I could just publish it, and say, "There you are.  Enjoy it if you can," then go on to the next project.  That doesn't sound foolish to me.

I should exercise more.  I should get out of my comfort zone a time or three.  I should work harder at putting out my art, see if I can't get the fifty items for sale that Dean Wesley Smith said you need out there to really make money from it.

And I will.  Maybe not at once, but if I can just keep this attitude in mind, I will do it.

Except for the exercise part.  Sorry, doctor.

Rish Outfield

*Remind me to tell you about my favorite part of the panel, if I haven't already.

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