I haven't been to Comic-con in six years; I get in for free, but nothing else is, and hotel rooms are WAAAY expensive. I usually stay at the Motel 6 in Chula Vista, and that (a half-hour trolley ride from the convention center) is 180 bucks a night. So when my friend Mark's kids stopped coming, he stopped coming, and then there was nobody to share a motel room with me.
Until now. Last year at the summer party Sarah introduced me to her friend Megan, who is a Teen Librarian. We started talking and I said something about Comic-con and her eyes lit up...want to go? I said. Will you split the motel with me? Hellz YEAH! she said, and the plan was born.
I was in Death Valley for the three nights before it started, so on Wednesday July 18, my camping buddy Jim and I drove from Mahogany Flats Campground down to San Diego. It took longer than we expected, eight hours instead of six, because there was so much traffic going into San Diego...oh, right, COMIC-CON. Because not only do they have something like 130,000 attendees (no, that is not a typo, srsly.) but it has become a destination even for those who can't get a ticket. So yes, the freeways were packed. I dropped Jim off at his family's place at 3:30, and had an hour and a half to get downtown, check into the motel, scrub off three hot days of no showers, and get down to the airport to pick up Megan...and I made it! Well, ten minutes late, but there was construction...and I didn't actually have time for a shower, just, um, 'freshening up'.
So we parked at a place from which we could catch a trolley home, and managed to get rock star parking. Had a great time in Preview Night, which is limited attendence (still packed) and only the exhibit/sale area, bought a lot of stuff, then went to the Gaslamp Quarter and had dinner at Rockin' Lobster. We fell into conversation with a guy about my age, from Idaho, who has a horse ranch in Wyoming; he was here to drop his middle daughter off at San Diego State, and actually asked what the hell was going on in town? LOL. We tried to explain Comic-con to him and assured him that this was nothing compared to Saturday night. He was nice, and actually paid for our (pretty good) margaritas.
On Thursday I got up and my camera was DEAD DEAD DEAD. Rolling lines on the readout; I tried a new battery and a new card, no luck. So no pictures for Thursday or Friday from me. Megan and I split up, and I went to panels all day- I saw:
We met up with Mark Williams and (after walking around looking at places) ended up at the Blind Burro, where they had good food and excellent drinks.
That night I ordered a new camera from Amazon, paid for one-day delivery and had it shipped to an Amazon locker a mile from the motel; I planned to pick it up Saturday.
Friday was our day to sleep in a bit; we went to Denny's for breakfast (yum! says Jo) and my first panel was at 12:30, a POGO panel, which was awesome. Then I had some free time, after which I went to see Terry Moore, another favorite comics creator.
Then I got in the HUGE LONG LINE to see the Archer panel. On the deck. On the concrete. In the sun. Smart people had ice cream carts and were doing a land-office business, I'll tell you! It was DELICIOUS ice cream. Fell into conversation with a woman from Sacramento, which passed the time...but I didn't get into the panel. Ah well.
I met up with Megan in one of the best panels at Comic-con, the 'best and worst manga of the year' panel. It's a wild ride but worth the effort.
Then I wanted to see the Worst Cartoons Ever panel, and Megan was seeing something else first but said she'd join me, so I just went to the room...in time to see the Sharknado 6 panel, which was more amusing than I would have expected. And Worst Cartoons was exactly that, truly terrible stuff, ably MC'd by a guy who's been doing it for years, and who has a great time dissing these 'toons.
Then we went back to the motel, and got there, exhausted, at 10 pm. No dinner. Let's just get something at McDonalds, we said, it's right there...but the walk-in restaurant was closed. I actually had to get in my truck and DRIVE THROUGH and park again, LOL. Chicken nuggets and fries never tasted so good...
And then it was Saturday. I had nothing on til 4 pm, so I did what I always do when I have time in a city: I did bookstores. I had names and addresses for five of them; I had figured out what order they should go in, and also where the best place to have Del Taco would be. I picked up my camera at the Amazon Locker at 9 am, and off I went...and thanks to Miranda, my awesome Waze, I got to all five bookstores and lunch in four and a half hours! it was a wonderful morning.
Then I saw the panel I was looking forward to, Scott McCloud on the 25th anniversary of Understanding Comics, and talking about his next project. And CORY DOCTOROW sat next to me during the whole thing!!!! omg omg omg! I kept vacillating between, Scott McCloud! Awesome! but THAT'S CORY DOCTOROW! but... Afterwards I said to Doctorow how much I enjoyed his work and told him that I had voted for him for president of the Oasis...had to say something...he did laugh, so yay.
Then Megan and I met up in Manga for Comic Readers, which wasn't very good and did nothing for us, so we left and went back to Rockin' Lobster for dinner, and back to the motel for games...we were in bed reading and texting and I looked at her and said, you know, it's 12:45 am...should we get some sleep? LOLOL.
We got up around 9 on Sunday, packed, had breakfast, I dropped her off at the airport and picked up my friend Kathy Dart, who had been visiting her family in San Diego. We drove north to Corona, where Kathy was staying in a motel because Jo Nell's air conditioning was broken and it was 80 degrees in the house. Jo Nell came to the motel, we played games, had dinner, played more games, then dropped Kathy off and I went home with Jo Nell and...yes, more games. It was fun!
Monday: I left Jo Nell's around 9, picked up Kathy, and we went to LA and had lunch and shopped a bit at Olvera St, then drove home, getting there around 6 pm. An excellent week was had by all!
|I had no camera until Saturday, so the first days of pictures are all Megan's.
I love that she took a picture of the Deadpool toilet seat cover.
And I got her to take a picture of Stitch as the Loteria devil, ¡que bueno!
|Thursday night when we had dinner with Mark and ordered frou-frou drinks, our 'Comic-con specials' came with these Deadpool bottle openers. And they were DELICIOUS. The drinks, not the openers.|
|Some of the stuff in San Diego in and near the Convention Center.|
|Saturday is bookstore day! These were all excellent bookstores and very different from each other: Pennywise was a traditional used book store. Book-off is more like Hastings in the Southwest, they buy and sell everything media-related, including a large section of manga in Japanese. Book Tree had a really cool front and inside; they were mostly new-age/spirituality/popular cult sort of store with a smattering of other stuff thrown in. Fun to look through, though. And Verbatim was awesome, full of great stuff.|
|The Egyptian is, I think, an apartment building...I took this pic while at a stop sign. Footnote Books is in a really fun and funky part of town with ABSOLUTELY NO PARKING. I had to circle three blocks three or four times and finally parked in a small shopping center and walked over...and found that it is one of those places where there are so many books stacked in front of the shelves that you can't actually get to or look at anything...I gave up after ten minutes or so. It was late, the store was very hot and I was tired. I got a pic of the Cabrillo Bridge on my way back to the motel. The sign is from the trolley station on the way back to the Convention Center, made me laugh. Including feeding birds!! Noooo! say the birds...|
|My sister is a big Guildwars 2 fan, and wanted me to check out the booth in The Experience, which is a big outdoor thing with loud booths for many tv shows and web stuff. On the left, this booth is the whole GW2 deal. Srsly, pretty disappointing. I was at least hoping for some swag...but no.
I did take this one picture of someone in an awesome costume.
And this is 5th Street, across from the Convention Center, revving up for a crazy Saturday night.
|And here is the proof that Megan and I were on the same vacation! We are at dinner at Rockin' Lobster. The skeleton was hanging on the wall. The third picture is our snack shelf in the motel, lol. And of course we played games Saturday night!|
|And I dropped Megan off and picked up Kathy. On the left, Kathy, Jo Nell and I are playing games in Kathy's motel room. On the right, Kathy and I are having lunch at Olvera St. on our way home. 'Ritas!!!|