Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jason Vs. Irene

Last year, there was an episode on South Park titled “Poor and Stupid.” In it, Eric Cartman (the show’s go-to teen-year-old asshole) gets it into his head that he wants to be a NASCAR driver. He winds up going to a race, commanding a vehicle, and immediately crash it. As he’s airborne, he exclaims, “Well fuck my ass!” Eventually, he managed to get his own car and race for real. Just as he’s about to win (after committing a few acts of vehicular manslaughter along the way), he gets bumped and thrown into the air. His final words before hitting pavement? “Well fuck my ass again!”

It’s early afternoon at the Metro Centre. I’m waiting on line to ask Ty Templeton if he could sketch on a blank cover of Daredevil #1. Thinking myself clever, my idea revolves around Daredevil (known as “The Man Without Fear”) riding on top of Man-Thing (tagline: “Those that know fear BURN at the Man-Thing’s touch!”) I get a call from my mother. We exchange words, and then she hits me with the news. Apparently, Hurricane Irene might be heading for the New York area on Sunday. Turns out that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is shutting down the transit system, and the city is getting ready for the worst. That means that there’s a good chance that the airport in Newark might be shut down on Monday. That’s the day I’m supposed to fly back home.

Well fuck my ass again.

I can’t believe it. New York City isn’t a magnet for hurricanes. They’re not as rare as earthquakes, but if one swings by the area, it’s usually classified as a tropical depression. Aside from hoping my mother and grandfather will be okay, I face the grim prospect of having to spend at least one more night in Toronto. Granted, there are worse places to stay, but out of all the possible outcomes, three bad ones keep popping up in my head.

1. I wind up staying at the Fairmont Royal York, but they decide to charge me the full rate for the extra night, as opposed to the affordable-by-comparison convention price I have right now.

2. I call Continental Airlines, and I wind up having to pay full price for a hotel room near the airport. Even if I get a discounted rate, there’s no real tourist stuff I could do without throwing in a long bus trip into the city.

3. Here’s the worst scenario I can think of happening within reason . . . after getting stiffed by the hotel and airline, I wind up being forced to stay at least one night in the airport. Alone. I can nap while sitting down, but I can’t imagine sleeping overnight. I don’t even camp out for real. Would I have to use my full backpack as a pillow, or should I swipe some from the hotel before checking out?

I know that there’s a chance that everything might work out all right, and that I’ll get home to an undamaged house and uninjured mother, but I tend to make mountains out of molehills . . . . then the enlarged moles go in for the kill.

The Mixed Bag Project continued apace, as I wound up paying a little too much for waffles and orange juice at one of the hotel’s restaurants. On the bright side, the OJ didn’t cost $7, or whatever the price of that was at the place I stayed in San Diego two years ago. The convention experience went okay today, though I did do some aimless wandering later in the day. I wound up going to just one panel, centering around DC Comics’ Flashpoint miniseries. I also hit what I thought would be a panel for Supernatural: The Anime Series, but it turned out they were just showing episodes from the DVD without any back-and-forth, and I already saw those episodes. On the sketch front, I got the Daredevil/Man-Thing concept fulfilled by Ty Templeton. I also got sketches of the Face of Boe and Lady Cassandra (from Doctor Who) by Katie Cook, Hawkeye by Valentine DeLandro, Captain Britain by Leonard Kirk (who drew the character in the short-lived/critically acclaimed Captain Britain & MI:13, and Matthew Patel (Ramona Flowers’ first evil ex) by Adrian Alphona (best known for his work on Runaways). Truth be told, a lot of today was a blur. I do remember coming within three seconds of running smack into Nichelle Nichols. In the second I saw her, I recognized “Uhura” by her hair and what I think was a Starfleet insignia necklace.

I did hit one snag, sketch-wise. I came to Greg Hyland (creator of Lethargic Lad) with the concept of the Spaceknight known as ROM in front of the Royal Ontario Museum. In other words, ROM at ROM. Hyland didn’t know what ROM (the character) looked like, but I had the reference ready . . . or I thought I did. Two minutes of rustling in my backpack and totebag (newly acquired for $3, with the Fan Expo logo on it), later, I had to bail. It’s either in my room, I missed it in my bags, or I lost it. Worst case, I’ll find a cheap back issue, and Hyland could work with that.

After getting lost trying to get to the hotel (the Skywalk shuts down at night, which complicates matters), I got to go online in the business center and post my first two blog entries from my flash drive, as well as pictures of the sketched I acquired so far. Going out, I got turned off at the prospect of paying out the butt for dinner. After two restaurants displayed high prices, I wound up wandering to Union Station, where I committed what I believed to be a sin: going to McDonald’s. I mean, I’m in another country, and I’m going for a fast food joint that’s commonplace back home. Granted, going to McDonald’s in Canada isn’t as sad as, say, hitting one in Italy, but I should know better. Worse, I was prepared to get Chicken McNuggets and fries, one night after I had chicken wings and fries at a sports bar. But then I saw that they had the McRib sandwich, and I got that meal instead. I don’t know if that made things better or worse.

I can’t believe it’s after 11 p.m. now, and I’m getting ready to shut down the computer. I didn’t get any calls from Sylvia, though from my brief time online, I saw that she understood why I dropped my would-be rescue plan without telling her first. Between the laptop and the impending hurricane, I’m pretty sure I can’t take much more. Still, I should have a good time in the second half of the convention . . . and here’s hoping that statement doesn’t bite me in the ass.

PS: It's Saturdy morning, and I found out that the damn business center is open from 10-6 . . . meaning if I want optimal online time, I'd have to bail out of the convention and beat feet back to the hotel. In other news, I should probably check myself for bleeding in really inconvient areas.

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