July 23, 2004

The things we do as geeks

This is Comic-Con weekend in San Diego, the premier event in the comic/anime/fantasy world, turning my adopted hometown into Geek Mecca. Of course the Mrs.F and I attend, don’t be silly. This will be our third time together; we went last year and in 2001. We skipped 2002. I can’t honestly remember why. It may have been one of those times where I try and pretend I’m not a great big geek, that I’m some sort of cool person. They don’t last long. In 2001 we had a great time, I actually bought her birthday present there. It was a painting up for auction. The painting was of a lion with wings. Yes, a lion with wings, that’s how geeky we can be.

Last year was not so successful. In 2001, we had no problem getting in. We didn’t pre-order or pre-pay for tickets. We waited in line for about 30 minutes and in we went. We stupidly thought that we could do the same thing last year. Somehow, in 2002, the SDCC went from mildly overcrowded to something resembling the fall of Saigon. We had it all planned, the show opened at 10:00 AM, there was a panel I wanted to see at 11:00 (I can’t even remember what it was). We arrived at just after 10:00, and had to park pretty far away from the convention center. In 2001 we were about 3-4 blocks away; in 2003 we ended about 10 blocks away. Not an auspicious start. The Mrs. Frinklin and I saw a line just outside the center and we joined it. The uber-geek in front us sneered a bit and told us that this line was for ticket holders only. We needed to be in the ticket buying line. No big deal, we walked a little farther and found the head of the ticket buying line. Now we just need to find the end. We went past the end of the convention center, down the stairs past that, under the parking garage, around the back, down the waterfront, and eventually ended at the farthest edge of Seaport Village. For those not acquainted with the general layout of the city of San Diego, let me but this as succinctly as possible: It was so fucking far away that we couldn’t even SEE the convention center. The giant, two-story cylindrical StarTrek set-looking convention center: Could not see it.

Suffice to say, I didn’t make my panel. We got in line at about 10:30. We got inside the con after 1:00. That is right; we spent 3 hours in line, in 85-degree sun. The amazing thing about this was nobody left. I mean NOBODY. It was either the convention or death: the Bataan Comic March. Even the guy wearing the Scream suit never left. I’m pretty sure he died on the way, but he didn’t get out of line. We eventually all became friends, comrades in a noble but foolish effort. That was especially true of the two in front of us; geeky, shaggy young men who looked disturbingly like a cross between the lead singer of the Spin Doctors circa 1993 and slightly more svelte version of the Simpson’s Comic Book Guy. One guy was there for art, lots and lots of art. He had this giant box to keep said art flat. That struck me as being even more cumbersome than the Scream suit. The other guy tried hard to seem interested in art and toys, but it seemed to be as if he was mostly there to ogle girls dressed up as anime characters. Nothing wrong with that, but really… three hours in the sun for it?

Eventually we did get inside, but after 3 hours in the blazing sun, we were… umm…kinda gross. At least I was; chunky, pale-skinned lads such me aren’t meant for such things. Let me tell you, there isn’t anything more fun than being in an incredibly crowded claustrophobia-inducing area, unless you’re there at your sweatiest and stinkiest too. Of course, me being who I am, it did get a little less fun.

We had just come inside the con, and the entrance is one of the few areas not packed with people, we actually had 6-8 inches to ourselves. We were deciding where to go first when someone called to my then girlfriend, a high feminine voice very excited to see her. I turned to see the source of the voice. It was a tall, thin, strikingly pretty young woman with short black hair. Ensie introduced her as her friend Stacy…. Now where had I heard that name? Oh yes, beautiful but flighty, and someone who had a massive crush on my future wife for a long time. Now, just so everyone understands, I don’t worry about Ensie ever leaving me. I trust her with all my heart, unless Orlando Bloom or Eliza Dushku shows some unforeseen interest, and in that case, she has my blessing. Still, it is really embarrassing to meet your significant other’s former person of possible romantic interest while looking as I did. To make matters worse, she, as beautiful women usually are, was completely at ease, certainly not sweaty, stinky and altogether unappealing as I. We exchanged some meaningless chitchat, and moved on.

Yes, it does get worse. We decided to head for the food court to get some lunch. While standing in line for the privilege of spending 24.00 for hotdogs and small cokes, I ran into my boss. Well, not my direct boss, but the Director of Training, and since I was training coordinator for my unit, so I worked with him a lot. Fortunately, for me, Erik, who has since left our company, wasn’t as preternaturally calm and collected as Stacy was. We talked for a while, he was REALLY excited about some goofy anime stuff, and then he moved on. I was rather stunned to find him married to a woman and with several children. As my wife very succinctly asked, “Does he know how gay he is?”

At this point, I was worried about who might show up next. Fourth-grade teacher I had a crush on? High School guidance counselor? College Sweetheart? The mind boggles. Thankfully, very thankfully, we didn’t run into anyone else. I did compound the badness of the day by making some questionable purchases, topped by my Rob Liefield-signed copy of Youngblood: Bloodsport #1.

Yet, we’re all set to go again tomorrow. We did learn our lesson and bought tickets ahead of time. Well, sorta, we waited to last possible day to buy the damned things, but we get to head for the short line this time. I will be back, either Sunday or Monday and give a report on what we saw and did.

Oh, and I know Eliza Dushku is appearing on Saturday. Do NOT EVEN THINK of it, Mrs. Frinklin!

Posted by Frinklin at July 23, 2004 06:06 PM

Thank you for talking me out of driving to San Diego this weekend. I think I'll just stay home after reading your glowing endorsement of Comic-Con.

Posted by: Richard at July 23, 2004 09:38 PM

Ya know what, despite all that, the Con is great fun. Hell, I'd be going even if I had to stand in line again. C'mon, they have a life-size X-Wing for pictures for crying out loud

Posted by: frinklin at July 23, 2004 11:00 PM

Not that I've ever been tempted, but I'll second Richard's comments. I just don't think I'm gay enough (not that there's anything wrong with that).

Posted by: Rob McMillin at July 24, 2004 08:01 AM

"...topped by my Rob Liefield-signed copy of Youngblood: Bloodsport #1."

Please tell me you intend to burn it in some sort of dark ceremony.

Posted by: Richard at July 25, 2004 12:21 AM

Actually.. no. I still have it. In fact,after writing that post I pulled it out, to see if it was as bad as I remember. It was.

Posted by: frinklin at July 25, 2004 12:40 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?