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.)

  • 1 rough sketch of Aahz and Skeeve by Phil Foglio.
  • 1 finished sketch of the Flash by Scott Kolins.
  • Mick Gray signatures on Chase #1 and Promethea Vol. 1.
  • Wendy and Richard Pini signatures on Elfquest Archives Vol. 1.
  • Phil Foglio signatures on Girl Genius Vols. 1 and 2.
  • Pre-signed Powers print by Michael Avon Oeming (from the CBLDF booth).
  • Almost got Marv Wolfman to sign his novelization of Crisis on Infinite Earths. I left it at the hotel on Friday, and he wasn’t there when I went back to the table the next two days. But at least I got to talk with him briefly about The New Teen Titans (which was what got me into comics in the first place, back in the mid-1980s).

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.)

Ah, Comic Con! The show doesn’t seem much bigger than last year (and they’ve already filled the convention center floor), but there are more people. Last year, Friday was quite comfortable, but this year it was more crowded than I remember.

Let’s see… News from panels so far. Serenity and Mirrormask are apparently opening the same weekend (September 30), so I’ll be spending an entire day at the movies. Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier are working on a script for a CGI Groo the Wanderer film. They apparently held out for years for a deal that gave them enough creative control to satisfy them. And early next year they expect to release the 4-part comic book, Groo vs. Conan.

The Jim Henson Co. 50th anniversary panel was great fun. In addition to seeing some early experimental muppetry, we learned that they will be producing a sequel to The Dark Crystal that takes place several hundred years later, and a prequel anime series.

Katie went to the big Warner Bros. movie panel, featuring Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, V For Vendetta, The Fountain (from Darren Arenofsky), and The Corpse Bride, all of which look promising.

And if you have a chance while in San Diego, don’t miss Fellowship!, a musical parody of The Fellowship of the Ring. With the exception of one running gag that got old very fast, it was a great send-up of the movie (and it was also fun looking for tropes and in-jokes from musicals).

This year is absolutely crawling with Jedi costumes. So many that we didn’t bother to take pictures, except for one Anakin & Obi-Wan pair where the former actually looked like Anakin. There’s also a booth selling high-quality light sabres with removable, light-up blades that are sturdy enough you can duel with them. The cheap ones run for $120.