Friday afternoon I was walking down Fifth with a couple of Subway sandwiches in my backpack. This section of the Gaslamp Quarter is almost entirely restaurants, and most of them have dining areas out on the street, with the host or hostess’ podium right there on the sidewalk. I had spotted something odd ahead of me, but I’ll let this overheard exchange speak for itself:

Hostess: “Come quick, or you’ll miss something really cool! There’s a sandwich in the street!”
Voice from inside: “Oh, I already saw him.”

Guy dressed as a sandwich

For the record, it turned out to be part of a big promotion for the movie, Accepted.

The convention clearly strains resources to the limit. These traffic cones, used for creating lanes for the shuttles and whatever traffic was allowed in front of the convention center, include such messages as “Reserved,” “No Parking,” and “Stop”—none of which applied to their current use!

Traffic cones with varying labels

Now, I have yet to figure out the connection between Playboy models and comic books, except that these days they do seem to have the same target audience. There were several models doing signings and photo ops around the hall. On Thursday morning, though, this model hadn’t set up her booth yet. The bag on the table looked disturbingly like a body bag.

Playmate Body Bag

This last one actually has no connection to the con, but I forgot to post it on Monday. It’s probably only funny if you’re familiar with the BSD operating systems. (It took me a while, but I eventually realized BSD in this case meant Broadway San Diego.)

BSD Wicked

Here’s the latest round of strange sights from San Diego.

[Outhouse on a crane]We stayed at the Radisson Harbor View. The end of the hallway had a view of the harbor, but our room had a view of the construction across the street. When we first stepped onto the balcony, we saw a crane lifting an outhouse up to the topmost floor of the site. There’s something inherently absurd about a port-a-potty flying through the air.

We walked up and down Cedar Ave. from the hotel to the Little Italy trolley stop at least once a day, stopping at the same It’s a Grind coffee house we frequented two years ago. Strangely, we didn’t notice this message on the street until our last day in town:

No SBC to India

Now, it may look like a tagger’s commentary on outsourcing, but it makes more sense if you happen to know that India Street is just a block away.

Apartment high-rise with identical balconies... and one red umbrella.There were quite a few high-rise buildings that looked very much like this one. Sort of the skyscraper equivalent of clone homes, I suppose. This one had one difference: One of the tenants had set up a large, red umbrella on their balcony.

Moving on to the Gaslamp Quarter, we saw—but didn’t photograph—a club called Tsunami Beach. I don’t know about you, but if there’s a tsunami, the last place I want to be is on the beach!

This next one was actually pretty neat. The window boxes outside Dussini (a Mediterranean restaurant on Fifth Avenue) are full of low-water plants. Practical, low-maintenance, and still decorative.

Windows box with low-water plants

Finally, here’s a sign from somewhere along the 5, elsewhere in San Diego:

Fish and Richardson

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Richardson isn’t a fish…

Next: con-specific weirdness.

If you’re in danger of losing your religion, try…
Sign: Faith Insurance

We saw this by the side of the road in Old Town, and both of us immediately thought of cake topping. Not something you’d want to use this for.
Empty bag of Mortar and Topping Mix

There was just something inherently amusing about seeing Xena standing at Mrs. Field’s.
Xena buys a cookie

You know, ever since the new VW Bug came out, Katie’s said that the yellow ones looked like Pikachu. Well, the Pokémon people fixed one up and were raffling it off at the con.
VW Bug done up as Pikachu... with licence plate PIKA 10

This probably belongs in with the hall costumes, but the cardboard thought balloon was a nice Farscape reference.
Cardboard thought balloon: What the Frell?

One oddity we didn’t manage to catch on virtual film was mixed into the city’s graffiti. In two places (one visible from the Blue Line trolley, one on a freeway on-ramp), someone had spray-painted the word Enron on the wall.

Taste of China sign... shaped like a hot dogThe last two were actually in San Clemente, where we stopped for coffee on the way back. We picked an exit and got off, looking for a Diedrich, Starbucks, or other coffee shop. We found a Starbucks (with a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf across the street that we didn’t notice until we got back in the car), but we passed two odd signs on the way to and from the freeway. We couldn’t get decent pictures from the car, and neither of us was in the mood to find a parking space and take the photo on foot. But I did find photos on Flickr by Brian Mitchell, under a Creative Commons license that allows me to repost them here under the same license. The first: Taste of China…in the shape of a hot dog. And practically across the street was a place advertising the Pastrami Love Burger.

Pastrami Love Burger

(Continued in Volume 3.)

Some more strange sights from around San Diego (continued from last year’s series).

First, a modern Stonehenge from the UC San Diego campus, all made with stone (or cement) cubes. Update: Found some info on USCD’s Stonehenge.

Modern Stonehenge

Then there was this cactus in Old Town, which looked like it was made up of feet!

Cactus feet

Vegetable Garage
Something about the phrase “Vegetable Garage” just sounds funny. (This is at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego.) There’s also a Fruit Garage.

Samuel Adams... Smoothies

Sam Adams Smoothies? Where’s Lister from Red Dwarf? Someone needs to tell him he can get those beer milkshakes here! 😉

We weren’t entirely sure just what was supposed to be haunting this hotel, but it’s next to Hooters. Make of that what you will…

The Haunted Hotel

And finally, here’s a movie-style marquee from the Ghirardelli shop.

Ghirardelli - Now Playing!

(On a side note, I really miss having a Ghirardelli shop in South Coast Plaza. After shopping overload, I could just stop in there, get a milkshake, and be able to face another store or two. Plus I actually had a reason to go to South Coast Plaza on occasion.)

(Continued in Part 2.)

(Continued from part 1.)

Our hotel was located within walking distance of the Little Italy trolley stop. Diagonally across from a coffee shop (“It’s a Grind”) that we frequented during our stay was this restaurant:

Indigo Grill

Katie informed me that one of the Indigo Girls has, in fact, opened or invested in a restaurant, but this doesn’t seem to be it.

Here’s another restaurant (or more likely a bar) that we spotted, this time in Downtown San Diego:

Martini Ranch

This was Friday night with Sean, when we were wandering around the Gaslamp District and environs looking for a place to eat. We found ourselves wondering… was this a martini made with Ranch dressing? A place where martinis grazed and rustlers had to watch out for stampedes? Did they serve a crispy ranch martini with bacon?

Actually, “Grand Admiral” Sean should take the credit for the next one: I don’t remember if it was this year’s con or a past one, but he was on one of the escalators with Timothy Zahn, who remarked that the view always reminded him of the view inside the Death Star cannon. Inspired, I checked out that particular escalator, and Zahn’s right: it does look like the Death Star cannon!

[View from the escalator on the east half of the San Diego Convention Center]

And, in closing, an image from our hotel room this morning. It seems that Salvador Dali had somehow gotten into our room and transformed our soap:

'Melting' soap

(Continued in Volume 2.)