Monday, August 29, 2011

Jason Vs. The Unruly ATM

It’s Sunday, 11:22 p.m. as I type this. I just emerged from a mild coma. I knew it was coming . . . most of the time I’m away from home going to a con, the energy drains from me. I just missed most of the VMA’s. Then again, aside from the tribute to poor, poor Amy Winehouse, I probably didn’t miss anything. Did I see Lady Gaga pose as a guy, performing “You & I” with gusto? Check . . . and damn, who would’ve predicted she’d wear a t-shirt and jeans to open the show? Did that make “Joe Calderon” Lord Gaga for a few minutes? Also, I saw Katy Perry win Best Video honors for “Firework,” which was as predictable as Gaga winning last year for “Bad Romance.” She wore a yellow cube on her head, because she needs to be quirky 24/7, and damn it, being married to Russell Brand isn’t enough evidence of that. I still feel the VMA’s are long past their prime, and the voting is probably dodgy. For instance, I suggested to Sylvia that Britney Spears won Best Video honors a few years back on account that the voters thought she was going to die soon, and they awarded to reward her while she was still breathing. Sylvia thought that was hysterical. And there’s the logic that Beyonce can have the best overall video of the year, and yet she gets beat by Taylor Swift can beat her in the “Best Female Video” category. I should stop, lest I get derailed or worse . . . turn into friggin’ Kanye West.

In other major news, I am officially staying in Toronto for one more night. I tried calling Continental, but I didn’t get anywhere. I called Toronto Pearson . . . turns out flights are being redirected to other places, on account of the volume of people trying to get to Newark. Basically, the choice was either fly out to Cleveland (one of several cities) and possibly stay in a hotel on the airline’s dime, or stay in Toronto? No offense to Cleveland, but the latter option is less complicated, even if I might suffer post-con letdown in the process.

I kept rolling with the punches. I managed to wake up later than I had wanted, since either my phone’s alarm didn’t go off, or I slept through it. I dawdled as usual, watching coverage of Tropical Storm Irene hit the Northeast. Thankfully, my mother was okay in the end, though I wouldn’t know that until I got back to the hotel. The stores under the hotel were closed, so I had to trudge to Union Station. I was going there anyway, but I could’ve saved myself about five minutes. The good news was that my feet did not leave my body while I slept last night. The bad news was that my left foot decided it was far better vengeance to stay on and produce great pain. For half of the con, I had to go at half speed. With my body, that’s pretty damn slow. The only panel I wound up hitting was a sketch duel between Francis Manapul (whom I got a nice Barry Allen-as-Flash sketch from) and David Finch. Most of the day is a blur, as I was buying stuff and getting sketches. I wound up with seventeen sketches. It’s three short of my four-day record, but it’s impressive. It was one of the last ones that started my latest complication.

I get to Sara Richard’s table. She does kickass sketches, and I wanted her to do a color head sketch of Sarah Jane Smith, played by the late Elisabeth Sladen on Doctoe Who. Thanks to a miscommunication, she thought I wanted it on a separate page, independent from my book. We laugh about it, both of us figuring I should get glue dots and paste it into my book (this has come up twice before for me). The fee was $40. I had $15. Bad enough I was spending gobs of colored dough, but I lost track on how much I had. Oops.

I go for Plan A: use an ATM at the convention center. I figure that I can wait on line and get back into the action. So I wait for some time, and when I finally get up there . . . nothing. The machine couldn’t access my records. I try my credit card. Nothing. I’ve had bad luck in the past Up North with ATMs in the past, but I thought that I could press my luck. I ask for help, and I’m told that the machines are the worse. Super.

Plan B: get out and find a bank ATM. I wind up partnering with another con-goer on this quest. Her name was Raquel. She’s from Niagara Falls (Ontario, not New York), this is her one big convention trip for the year, and she’s carrying a picture of Bishop from Alien signed by Lance Hendriken. I want to try Simcoe Place again and hope the ATM where I got money yesterday is still working. She wants to go in the opposite direction. Because I am an idiot, and I’m still thinking about the lack of dancing and hobnobbing from the previous night, I decide to tag along with her. On the up side, I don’t think I came off as too annoying to her, and I wound up having my first experience with Orange Julius. On the down side, I waste more time, and I miss a panel for anime voice actor Vic Mignogna. This especially sucks, because I had to miss him at AnimeNEXT a few months ago.

In the end, the Canadian National Expo was a fun experience, even with the flaws that smacked me in the face. One example: at the bigger cons, I saw that there were places where you could get a massage. When I went to Wizard’s show in Philadelphia, there were girls in costume doing that. I would’ve killed for relief to my feet, but I wasn’t that lucky. I didn’t find too many deals, and I spent $15 on my third One Piece “Logbox,” only to find that it was something I got at AnimeNEXT. I spent $60 on four Logboxes, and only two worked out for me (remember, I dropped the first one). In other news, I’m grateful my digital camera was working for me, because I am the sort that needs a few thousand shots that I can delete due to any imperfection. I don’t whip it out for every cosplayer, but damn, I find a shitload of them interesting. I think the highlight of the day was seeing a guy who was obvious a huge Pokemon fan. He built a Team Rocket getaway balloon around himself, with the visage of an inflated Meowth above him. On his hands: little puppets of James and Jesse. I should have hugged the dude, because that shit was inspired. That’s what you have to love about conventions: just when you think that you’ve seen everything, somebody comes up dressed up as a character you never would have guessed.

After trudging around Rogers Centre and having dinner at Wayne Gretzky’s (hey, it was in the official Toronto guide), I managed to crash and burn in my room. With no convention to hit anymore, I can wake up sometime after 9 a.m. this time (on purpose, I mean) and figure out my plan of attack. Casa Loma and Sneaky Dee’s are on the table, as is Rogers Centre, since the Blue Jays will still be there tomorrow night. When I get back home, I’ll probably either check my laptop checked out right away, or I’ll plop on the couch and stay there for at least twelve hours. As fun as Toronto has been, and as nice as it has been to have kept my wits as I kept getting smacked in the face, it will be good to get home.

Update: Monday, 1:08 p.m.

Guess what? The flight that I thought would be cancelled or rerouted? IT WAS STILL SCHEDULED TO LEAVE ON TIME, TOWARDS NEWARK. Even better, I can't fucking get through to the airline to reschedule my flight, or to find out far up the ass I'm going to pay for doing that. If I don't assault somebody by the time I get home, I'm calling it a victory.

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