We accidentally went to Comic Con on Thursday. The plan was just to pick up our badges that afternoon, but there was a panel on balancing action and character development with some really big-name authors – Robert Jordan, Peter David, Raymond Feist, etc. (The basic lessons: let combat grow out of the characters’ actions instead of tossing it in, and be aware that combat is confusing. Focus on individual characters as much as possible, rather than trying to present a long view. Quotes here.) So we stayed, I got massively dehydrated, and we spent the next hour slowly drinking water and recovering. We ended up running into a group from the UCI RPG club and just stayed around and talked for a while before we headed off to dinner.

Neither of us had ever been to Comic Con on a day other than Saturday, and my experience with conventions tends to be that Thursdays are very light. Not so! Continue reading

I’m beginning to think I should recommend convention-going as a good form of exercise. At this size convention, anyway. Not only do you get winded just traveling between panels (which comes standard at just about every con I’ve been to, since they all go overtime and the next one you want is always at the opposite end of the place), but there’s the opportunity for climbing multiple flights of stairs, the walk to and from your car is a great hike, and the food at the convention center is expensive enough to keep your caloric intake down. Also, the dealers’ room is sort of like an Olympic-sized crowd-weaving practice ground. Fun if you’re me, not so fun if you’re trying to follow me.

The other thing about cons that makes me want to exercise is seeing how the medians of the demographics play out. You have the younger contingent, who are mostly good-looking and relatively thin. You have the really old people, who are using hand-carved canes and usually there because they’re connected with actually producing something, and who are generally moving pretty well. Then you have two basic groups of middle-aged fans: the ones who are really skinny and nerdy-looking still, and the ones who put the “middle” in “middle-aged.” It’s wonderful motivation to lose weight when you see a forty-year-old Arwen on a Lark. (Please understand that I’m not trying for a cheap shot. I consider myself lucky that I’m able to lose weight when I want to, and I wish everybody were that fortunate. It’s just kind of heartbreaking in a weird empathetic way.)

So I’ve been on a real veggie kick the last couple of days, and I only just figured out what was up with that this afternoon at Subway. (Found out they’ll give you spinach on your sandwich if you ask nicely. Score!) And all things considered, it could be worse. I could be on a steak kick in the middle of India.

Day 1. Hotel room contains two queen beds, each with the usual number and placement of pillows. Pillows are highly inadequate. We grab the pillows from the other bed and double-layer them. All is good. *sleep*

Day 2. The pillows from the unused bed are stacked on the side of the bed we slept in. We laugh, and move the pillows atop the other set. *sleep*

Day 3. The bed is made… with the pillows already double-stacked! (They’re learning!)

Well, we made it to San Diego, and if you’re reading this, we managed to scrounge up an Internet connection. The drive down was fairly uneventful, and we arrived too late to do much sightseeing, but we still managed to find some interesting sights.

For example, when we walked into our hotel room, we found a pizza flyer shoved under the door, and the following stand-up card on our table:

[Long card all about how illegal garage pizzaa parlors are pushing fliers under doors and you should rely on the hotel to choose your pizza place]

OK, so they have deals with some places, but come on! Garage operations with “unsafe” pizza?! I suppose it’s possible, though.

For those Babylon 5 fans, here’s an excerpt from the dining guide:

[Ad for the Zocalo Grill]

And we encountered another relative of Boba and Jango Fett at dinner:

[Part of a receipt indicating Medit Fett]

While driving back to the hotel, we missed a turn and ended up driving through the seedier part of town (we passed no less than three nudie bars). We also spotted a restaurant calling itself “Extreme Pizza” (which might explain the card in our room) and a movie theater with an interesting cross-section of Hollywood:

  • Hellboy
  • Kill Bill
  • Passion of the Christ

Sadly, we didn’t have a chance to capture either on fil– uh, pixels.

There! Everything’s set for Comic Con. I had been really annoyed with myself last month when I pulled out the pre-reg forms only to discover I had missed the deadline by two days, meaning we’d have to… <reverb>STAND IN LIIIINE!!!!</reverb> *cue scream*

We had to stand in line for on-site registration a few years ago, and let me tell you, it was a near-disaster. We got there before the doors opened. By the time we got through the line, it was time for lunch.

The thing is, we’d been thinking about getting a hotel room in San Diego and going for several days, which would mean we could go through the registration line on a smaller day, with (we hoped) a smaller line. Combined with the fact that we haven’t really taken a honeymoon trip, we came up with this grand plan to take the whole week off, go to San Diego, do the touristy thing for several days and wander in and out of Comic Con at the end of the week. Various things conspired to cut this down, and we ended up planning half a week.

And of course the hotels are all booked.

I went back again tonight, to see what might have opened up and to look farther out. There are places charging $150/night for Wednesday and then $750/night for Thursday through Saturday. There are places charging $200 during the week and $1000 on weekends. The price difference is just insane! I almost wanted to sign up with one of the nice hotels for the first night or two and then head over to someplace else when their rates changed. [Edit: It occurs to me that this price difference probably isn’t an insane markup for weekends/a big convention weekend. More likely it’s the difference between a standard room and a deluxe suite, and while standard rooms are available for Wednesday, they’ve all been snapped up for the weekend, leaving only deluxe rooms open.]

The really cool thing, though, is that when I checked back at the Comic Con website for hotel info, I discovered they had added ONLINE REGISTRATION. *cue choir*

So we’re pre-registered after all (even if the form does arbitrarily choose who the primary contact is when you list more than one person. I filled out myself, then Katie and it tried to use her for the credit card info and email contact. So I started over, filled in her first, then me, and it used me for billing and listed my address for email contact… but it sent her the confirmation email.)

The hotel we ended up with — after a number of false starts that ended in “sorry, no rooms available” — isn’t fantastic, but it at least looks like it isn’t a total fleabag, and it’s reasonably close to the convention center. [Edit: It was the Super 8 in Little Italy.] We could probably walk if we had to, and it looks like we ought to be able to take the trolley, except for the fact that the %^$# trolley map is so abstracted I can’t actually tell whether there’s a stop nearby. (I figure driving on Saturday, at least, won’t save us any time.)

Vacation time? Check.
Registration? Check.
Hotel Reservations? Check.


(Originally posted at LiveJournal, and brought over here because the rest of my con posts are here, and it’s an interesting look back at a time when you could get tickets and a hotel for Comic-Con a week and a half before the event!)

Current Mood: accomplished