Monthly Archives: July 2013

Comic-Con So Far

Here it is Saturday night, and I’ve not posted much about what I’ve been doing at Comic-Con.  I’ve posted a couple of things to Google+, Facebook, Twitter and one to LiveJournal without hitting my WordPress site. {For those reading this on one of those, I usually cross-post things from my blog to all of the above, and often post the same – or very similar – things on Google+ Facebook and Twitter that don’t end up here}

Wednesday, I took the day off to help with setting up the Conjecture + Westercon 68 table.  Since we didn’t need to be anywhere until 11:00am, when we picked my vice-chair and the stand for the banner up in La Mesa, our morning was fairly relaxed.

After picking Kae, my vice-chair, up, we drove to the Convention Center and parked next door at the Marriott.  We had two boxes of stuff, the banner stand and a loose poster tube with the Westercon 68 banner.  It turned out that getting this stuff from the Marriott to the convention center wasn’t trivial.  Tara took the larger and heavier box on her scooter – which wasn’t as easy as she’d originally thought.  I had the other box and the banner stand, and Kate had her own stuff and poster tube (I think I’ve got the distribution right).  With this stuff, we had to work our way from the parking garage, to the sidewalk along Harbor, and then up to the front of the Convention Center.  Once we got in front of the Convention Center, we needed to work our way down to the doorways in front of Ballroom D.  Ballroom A is the closest to the Marriott, and was were Volunteers were being allowed in to get their credentials and assignments.  Ballroom B had the disabled entrance, but it was mostly unused.  The people lining up to be the first to get their badges were outside of Ballroom C, where they would later enter.  So we had some cross-traffic to deal with before we could go in.

It didn’t take too long to get Kate her badge (one of our two exhibitor badges) and Tara and I the stickers that granted us access until the floor officially opened.  Nor did it take long to set up the table once we found our way up to the Mezzanine.  The only thing we were lacking was tape to tape up the banners.  So, Tara and I shortly left – getting the car out just shy of it being parked into a third hour (at $7.00/hour after the initial $8.00 hour).  We then headed to see if we could park at Old Town (no spots) and then on to Qualcomm Stadium – stopping briefly at Lowes for the missing tape.

We boarded the trolley, and headed over to the T&C to get our non-preview night 4-day badges.  The ride and walk from the trolley station to the exhibition hall at the T&T was a bit longer than I’d expected – mostly because I didn’t expect them to be sending us in the furthest door into the furthest end of the T&C’s convention center.  {This is MUCH further than any of the space being used for Westercon 68, except for the hotel front desk, and we’ll make sure people coming from the trolley to check in know that they can call for a golf-cart shuttle from our foyer which is much closer to the trolley station}.

After we got our badges through the regular lines, we were briefly directed over to the disabled services desk there, but some communications mistakes kept us from getting our disabled sticker and attendant’s badge there.  We returned to the trolley, and proceeded down to the Convention Center and back up to the mezzanine, to find the table fully set up and ready to go.  Tara and I waited up there until the exhibition opened, went down and talked with some of our friends (but didn’t buy anything, because we’d already bought them or they weren’t available), and headed out for dinner before heading home.

Thursday, we got a reasonable start and made it to Qualcomm Stadium in time to catch a not-unreasonable trolley.  We arrived, and promptly found the disabled line for Ballroom 20.  We were let in fairly reasonably and Tara got a good spot.  However, due in large part to one person with five or six attendants, I ended up sitting in the middle of the row behind the row for the attendants and non-chair using disabled, where I remained until the third panel – when I finally was able to get the seat behind her.

The first two panels were preview showings of the pilots for Intelligence and Star Crossed – both mid-season launches.  Both Tara and I enjoyed Intelligence, but found Star Crossed to be less interesting.  The former has some similarities to Jake 2.0 and Chuck, except the enhanced agent was an agent before hand, and the show is strictly serious action-drama.

We mostly ignored the panel on Beauty and the Beast, but really liked the panel we’d really waited for: Psych.  Psych was its typical love-fest between the audience, writers and cast – but fun as usual.

After that, we got a late lunch, early dinner (it was about 3:30 or 4) at Burger Lounge, and then spent some time at the part of Petco Park that has been turned into Nerd HQ for Comic-Con.  We then found the parking lot that has been turned into an extension of Comic-Con with some tent and trailer exhibits and the food trucks and tent vendors.  After that, we found our way back to the Convention Center for the facilities (which we couldn’t find in the parking lot) and then – at my suggestion – worked our way back and found the 12th and Imperial trolley station giving us very good seats and easy loading for our trip back to Qualcomm Stadium.

Late in the day, and even when we got home, I was noticing some burning pain in my right heel and some aching under the balls of both feet – but mostly the right foot.

Friday (yesterday as I write this) we got a similar early start, and got in line for Ballroom 20 again.  They moved the overflow disabled line to a more sensible location, but did cause some concern since we could observe that they let three groups into the room before they let anyone out of the overflow disabled line – but it turns out they were doing a good job of enforcing the reserved seating so we got pretty good seats (same rows, but further from the center).

The first two panels were great – one with the writers from The Big Bang Theory, and one on The Legend of Korra.  The latter included a full run of the first episode of the second season.  We then partially tuned out for the panel on Bones.

The best, and most anticipated, panel of the day was the panel on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  After receiving a partially standing ovation, Joss Whedon answered a question (possibly by a plant) about showing some clips with a statement to the effect of “We had a bit of trouble with the lawyers getting permission to show any clips, so we’ll just show the whole pilot instead.”  Of the three pilots seen, this was by far the best – a good follow-on to The Avengers, with elements expected both from Marvel and from Whedon.

After this, Tara and I got lunch from one of the tent vendors, spent a bit of time in the exhibit hall and returning a phone call (from Thursday) before splitting for two evening panels.  I went to one featuring Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, moderated by Wil Wheaton, which was a lot of fun.

Over the course of the day, my heel continued to hurt off and on, but more on than off.  So, I decided that I should bring my cane with me today.

This morning (Saturday) we got another good start and got to the convention center at about the same time.  Once we got into Ballroom 20 for two pairs of back-to-back related panels, I took an extended bathroom break and tried to pick up some stuffed animals for Tara from the Nick store (Pabu and Naga).  But, I was too late.  (We have a different plan for tomorrow that should work better – hopefully without costing us seeing the Doctor Who panel).

In the first pair of panels, we saw an 18-minute preview of the new series: Once Upon a Time: Wonderland, and then saw a good panel on the parent show Once Upon a Time.  Afterwards we got a panel with the full voice cast of Futurama and a panel with mostly writers for The Simpsons.  The panel on The Simpsons also featured two performances by The Spring in Springfield – a quartet that performs many of the songs from The Simpsons, albeit mostly from earlier seasons.

Today we had a not-quite-so-late lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory, checked on the staffing at the fan table, and headed over to see the final Warehouse 13 panel (boo, hiss. SyFy).  This was also quite a good panel, although several of the cast were a bit broken up and knowing that in just about six-weeks their run on this show is over.

After that, we grabbed some yogurt at the other branch of our local (4S Ranch) frozen yogurt place – Sweet Things – in the Hilton.  They’ve cut their hours back for Comic-Con; that is their closed hours, so they are open from 5:30am until 2:30am.  And they were hopping in there.

We made a quick run back over to the exhibit hall so I could take a look at the $50.00 Game of Thrones pop-up map book (which looks good, but I’m not going to get it this weekend), before heading home.

Tonight’s trolley ride was less pleasant than some.  First, we had to get a couple to vacate one of the priority seats so that we could fold up the bench for Tara to park her cart.  Then, having had one confrontation already, I chose not to try to kick anyone out of the other seat.  So, Tara had to listen to one of the people we evicted complain about her until they got off, and I ended up standing for the entire run.

While the cane did help my feet, they are still sore.  And, I managed to leave my wrist-brace in the bathroom the first time I went, so my right hand is griping a bit as well.  I’ll use the cane again tomorrow (and I think I know where another brace is, so I may be able to help there as well) but if it is still bothering me on Monday, I’ll probably go to urgent care and get it overanalyzed only to be told to rest it up and take anti-inflamatories.


Too Much Time on the Road

I’m tired. Yesterday, I drove up to Reno and drove back today (538 miles each way – 8:48 travel time according to Google Maps).

Yesterday, I didn’t get on the road until after 11:00 due to delays at this end, and had The Kid with me (I was taking up to a treatment facility in Reno that, hopefully, will be able to deal with his issues). As a result, we had lunch at the Lake Elsinore McDonald’s I use as a way-point I used to make sure that my car’s GPS didn’t argue with me about taking I-15 through the Inland Empire rather than the slight shorter, but actually slower, I-215 route.

However, my car’s GPS apparently thinks that freeways are much faster than non-freeway highways, so it tried to run me through Sacramento. Having driven both of the Sacramento routes within the last week and the US-395 route two years ago, I still argued with it until it gave up and quit trying to send me to I-5, somewhere around CA-60.

Because I had The Kid with me, I couldn’t keep listening to A Storm of Swords, so had planned on listening to music; but could not get my iPod to play properly through the car stereo until I got a 3.5mm audio cable in Bishop (I couldn’t find one at the Arco in RB, nor at one of my other pit-stops, nor could I find the one that should be in my office), so I ended up listening to KNX for several hours.

We stopped for dinner in Bridgeport (it was too early when we hit Bishop, and I could tell it would be way late by the time we reach Nevada), at a burger walk-up that wasn’t too bad.

We arrived late – after 9:00 – and it was after 10:30 when I got settled into my hotel.

Said hotel, a Baymont Inn, was not that nice. The room was fairly clean, but the bathtub was stained and they forgot to give me soap (which I could have gotten from the front desk, but it wasn’t worth it for the short night).

I stopped back by where The Kid was about 9:00, only to find that all of the paperwork had been sent here by FedEx, so I could have left earlier. My early trip wasn’t quite as quick as I’d have liked. I ended up stopping in Carson City at a Lowe’s to make use of their facilities (and briefly look at blinds to appese some of my guilt), then at a McDonald’s Minden for a supplement to my breakfast, and finally at the Wal-Mart in Minden to track down something to keep the tea stain on my shirt from becoming permanent.

As lunch time was nearing, I took a detour (not really worth it) onto Mammoth Scenic Loop, and grabbed lunch at the Pita Pit in Mammoth Springs. This added a bit of a delay – and probably more than just doubling into Mammoth Springs would have – but was at least a recognizable option rather than the sometimes gamble of small-town restaurants. I probably could have held on to Bishop, since it is much closer to Mammoth Springs than I tend to think it is (even after less than a day).

I made another stop, at Manzanar National Historical Park. I spent more than an hour there – and could have spent more time in the visitor’s center museum alone. I cannot say that I enjoyed the visit, after all this park records one of the darkest chapters in American History, but I felt it was worth it. The reconstructed barracks and mess hall are quite telling, as even with possibly better construction, sand and dirt were everywhere in all three buildings. As I was there, I kept thinking that yesterday would have actually been a better day – today was mostly overcast and not that hot, but yesterday when I had made a pit-stop at a rest area not too much further south it had been over 100 degrees and the wind was blowing; which would have probably made those barracks even more depressing.

The last legs of that drive are the worst. I ended up stopping for dinner near where CA-58 crosses US-395, selecting my dining spot as much on the strength of “its not Burger King” as for any other hope of a good dinner. However, the dinner wasn’t bad.

The drive across the Inland Empire was after dark, and I got slowed for some construction on I-15 between the county line and Escondido (which my GPS tried to route me around, but I ignored it since I couldn’t see the back-up it told me was coming).

I suspect that sometime in the next month (and possibly again regularly for a while afterwards) both Tara M Oakes and I will be making that trip. Given that we’d need to be able to spend part of one day in Reno, I’m thinking that we’ll need to go about as far as Bishop after work on a Friday, the rest of the way to Reno on Saturday and then home on Sunday. At least if we’re both in the car, I won’t have to do all the driving.

(FYI, based on Google maps, I’ve driven about 2,099 miles over the last 8 days – all without a co-driver, and mostly with only myself in the car)