Thursday, January 23, 2014

FLASHBACK: Adventures in San Diego (Part Three)

DAY FIVE: Sunday [July 26, 2009]

            I didn’t have con fatigue today. I had con fumes. That’s when you walk around like a zombie, the toll from previous days weighing in heavily. It’s about three steps away from sleepwalking; nothing to do, few faces that haven’t been seen.

            Or maybe it’s because I had to wake up extra early to catch the Doctor Who panel. Yes, I actually made it. Had to get up before 7, had to settle for a free green apple for breakfast, had to walk down to the convention center instead of waiting for the shuttle (which I’ve done a lot during my time in San Diego), had to wait on line for a while . . . but I made it. Granted, my seat wasn’t close to the action, but that’s what the big screens are for. It’s more of an issue about my digital camera . . . .it don’t have that much of a zooming function. But it was a great time . . . David Tennant just wrapped up his final episode, and he was greeted like a rock star, as were the producers who came for the panel. The biggest news was the lack of news: no Doctor Who movie would be announced. However, they showed trailers for two upcoming episodes: “The Waters Of Mars,” and Tennant’s swan song, “The End Of Time.”

            The rest of my time was spent wandering. I didn’t have any other panels to visit. Well, there were panels of stuff I was interested in, but I just couldn’t be bothered. I was done with interviews, though I did have chances to drop off magazines and make new contacts. Honestly, I don’t think I made enough of my press badge. The only time it came in handy was when I went to the press room, and that was a disappointment. The interviews did gave me some semblance of professionalism, though I could have pulled that off without a press credential.

            I wound up ditching out early, crashing and burning on the bed back at the hotel. I went out to Horton Plaza to have dinner, which was about as much of a tourist thing as I could get on this trip. Another regret I have is that I didn’t get to do the tourist bit. I was going to go on a Seal Tour on Wednesday before the convention, but the day of flight hell happened. I’ve been to San Diego three times, and I’ve visited a lot of places: SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Coronado Island (I’m wearing a t-shirt from there as I type this) and so on. Before the trip, I was contemplating going getting out on Sunday to spend time at the zoo, but the idea of walking around for hours after walking around for hours just didn’t seem like a hot idea.

            One more day until I go home. I have a 1 p.m. flight, so I know damn well to get out around 10:30. I’ll be going through con withdrawal, but at least I have time to go over tape of the interviews and get them posted. That should keep me occupied for a good two weeks.

DAY SIX: Monday [July 27]

            It’s actually Tuesday as I type this. By the time I came home around 1:30 a.m., all I was able to do was have Wendy’s for dinner and collapse on the bed for ten hours’ worth of sleep. I didn’t even get my stuff from the trunk of my car.

            The flights were uneventful, save for the bouts of turbulence. I wound up in Salt Lake City for about an hour, my first-ever visit to the Mountain Time Zone. It wasn’t until the end of the flight where things got crazy. First, it took a long time to connect the jet to the terminal. Then I wound up walking for a long time to baggage claim, where four flights’ worth of passengers were waiting for their stuff. Naturally, my flight’s bags jammed up the system, and they had to be pulled out my hand. Once I got my luggage, I had to take it – along with my two carry-on bags – through the halls of JFK, which is a bit of a lonely stretch. Finally, I got to my car, paid the $108 for parking (less expensive then cab rides both ways) and drove home. The end.

           I had fun. Regrets? Of course . . . sometimes, I go out of my way to find them. But the events on Wednesday did give a little perspective. Also, nothing tops the worst con experience I had, which was the Canadian National Expo in 2007, where I managed to lose my sketchbook and camcorder on the final day. While I can smile about my time in San Diego (especially with the 90-plus degree temperature here in New York today), I do have some mental notes to make should I go back to cover Comic-Con next year:

1. Give Myself More Time For Panels

            Ninety minutes should be enough for the bigger stuff, rather than the sixty (give or take a few minutes) I had kept in mind. The Doctor Who panel was a good example; I wound up sacrificing sleep and a halfway decent breakfast, but I made it. I had all sorts of reading material with me, so boredom wasn’t an issue. It’s part of the beauty of a comic convention.

2. Go Outside My Comfort Area

            This doesn’t mean dressing up as Rorschach and posing for pictures the entire day. Panel-wise, I stuck to what I knew, and neglected other stuff. For instance, I forget to look into a panel with Stephen Pastis, the creator of the tremendously-funny comic strip, Pearls Before Swine. I had written out all sorts of panels, but I only hit a few. I actually groaned when I realized that I missed one on graphic novels, since all I do for Beyond Race these days is review those. In retrospect, I should’ve just picked a panel on Sunday and went with it for an hour. At best, I’d learn some new stuff. At worst, I’d get to sit and close my eyes.

3. Take Advantage Of Media Offers

            Once again: if I knew there would be a chance to interview the producers of The Venture Bros., I would’ve taken it, even with no prepared questions at the ready. I did have an opportunity to cover an event centered on Watchmen coming out on DVD, but then something fell through and I couldn’t be bothered with it. Aside from that, I didn’t see anything worth covering that I got e-mail about in the weeks leading up to the convention. This is something I’ll need to correct next time.

4. Dress More Professionally

            I did try to be neat throughout the convention, but the only time I wore the khakis that I had bought recently was at the party at my hotel on Thursday. Other than that, it was t-shirts and blue jeans all the way. I had people tell me that I’d be dying in the heat, but with the weather beings sunny in the mid-70s throughout my visit, I think I got off lucky. But I should get a little more gussied-up next time I go as a member of the media. Even if it doesn’t matter to my press contacts or interview subjects, it’ll make me feel like I belong.

5. Give Myself At Least Two And A Half Hours Between Leaving Home And Getting To The Airport

            Let’s just say I learned about that the hard way.

            As for going back to CCI? I’d love to, but I don’t know if I can pull it off two years in a row. I can settle for Heroes Con in Charlotte, which is a cross between the larger conventions and indie shows. The Canadian National Expo boasts the third-largest show in North America as well as the most anime-based cosplayers that I’ve ever seen, but a lot of things depend on the American-to-Canadian dollar rate. There’s also the fledgling Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo in Chicago, where I haven’t been since 2001. And as much as I’d love to apply for a press badge for the next New York Comic Con, it’s been moved from mid-March, so I don’t have to think about that until October. Of 2010. However, there are rumors that CCI might pack up and bolt for either Anaheim or Las Vegas in a few years, so fans such as myself need to treasure San Diego and the experience while we can.

            I hope you enjoyed this ongoing journal. If you want to drop a line, e-mail me at [defunct address]. While I might recap something a little less nerdy next time, I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

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