The trip to San Diego rarely is.
We were ripped off by The Toll Roads, where the fare taker returned change for a $10, when we paid with a $20. There was nothing we could do at the time, because we were several miles down the road when Len counted the change. I told this to the fare taker on the way home, five days later. He handed me a card and said to call the number. They don't take calls. They tell you to use the website. Where it says you have two days to report a problem. Apparently they get lots of complaints about these things and no longer want to deal with them. I guess that's how Orange County balances its books these days.
What looked like it was going to be a reasonably time trip when it only took about an hour and a quarter to get to Costa Mesa came to a screeching halt when we got to Oceanside and crawled the rest of the way into San Diego. Total time: almost four hours for a trip that runs about 130 miles.
We checked into the Hilton Bayfront Hotel and were told we were getting a room with two queen-sized beds. Len said he requested a king with a fold-out or roll-away. They said we could have a king with a roll-away, but it would be $20 more a night because it had a bay view. We can afford the additional $20. What they didn't tell us was that it was, in theory, a handicap room, with a too-small closet, a too-large bath room, and no tub or way to keep the shower from going all over the floor. The shower curtain didn't cover the entire area because it had been folded over itself--there weren't enough hooks for all the holes. Annoying, but not worth the bother of repacking to go to another room that probably wasn't available anyway. I still think they should have disclosed this little fact to us at check-in. I would have opted for the two queens and Michael would have been happier than on the cot.
Len and Michael headed over to the Convention Center for the preview night opening while I took care of a few things in the room and then I went over, checked in, got my badges (for me and "adopted daughter" Sara) and went looking for my men. I was surprised that I got to the DC both before they did. It turns out that Len fell on entering the Convention Center and managed to bruise himself up pretty well. This was his third fall at a convention this year. He fell twice in Chicago, once because he tried to go over a velvet rope to his signing area--his own fault--and once because a megasized guy backed into him. I'm concerned about him going to other shows this year without a minion to keep him safe. I think that his new requirements for being a guest will have to include at least one minion to help him negotiate the crowds and to make sure he eats.
|The floor of the San Diego Convention Center on Saturday morning taken from the DC Entertainment green room on the mezzanine level. Strangely, there is still room to walk around on the floor on what is usually the most crowded day.|
|Trying to cross the street into the Gaslamp District for summer is a challenge at any time, not just when the showroom closes each evening.|
|So called "Christians" protesting at Comic-con.|
|My spousal unit when he finally showed up for his scheduled panel on Saturday.|
|Quentin Tarantino makes a surprise visit to the Before Watchman Panel at SDCC.|
|Len Wein enjoying himself at Michael Davis' post-Eisner Awards party. Len won a life-time achievement Eisner in 2008. Yes, the leather doublet is supposed to look like Captain America's.|
The invitation authorizes invitees to invite "other awesome" people. So the first year, I brought Melinda Snodgrass along and last year and this year I also brought George R.R. Martin--a major hit and inspiration for a change in decor at the Leonard and Sheldon apartment, because they now have a replica sword from A Game of Thrones situated where it is shown whenever anyone enters or leaves the apartment. Very cool. (I've seen a number of Len's covers show up around the set and a copy of Legacies was on the table next to Sheldon's seat the last time we visited the set.)
I was delighted to meet Adam Savage from Mythbusters the first time I went to the party and got to speak to him again last year. This year, he was pretty busy talking to other people, including John Landis, and I didn't want to interrupt. But I spent a bit of time talking to Wil and Anne Wheaton, Chase Masterson, Chuck Lorre's assistant Mackenzie Gabriel, and my old friend George. I introduced George to Felicia Day, whom I knew had been dying to meet him for quite some time, and we all got to meet Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from Star Wars) and Paul and Storm who recorded "Write Like the Wind (George R.R. Martin)" as a plea to George to finish A Song of Ice and Fire. Here's a link to the video.
Here are some of the photographs I took at the party. I know it looks rather like I was there as George's personal photographer (been there, done that), but everyone wanted their photograph taken with George, and I was happy to oblige:
|Sam and Topher, a couple of my "adopted children."|
|George R.R. Martin with Max Landis, a writer-director in his own right and son of John Landis who was somewhere else in the tent.|
|Felicia Day (Geek and Sundry) with George R.R. Martin.|
|George R.R. Martin with Wil and Anne Wheaton.|
|George R.R. Martin with Chase Masterson.|
|George R.R. Martin with half of Paul and Storm|
|George R.R. Martin with host Bill Prady.|
|George R.R. Martin with Peter Mayhew.|
|Len Wein, Felicia Day, Wil Wheaton, Peter Mayhew, George R.R. Martin and Chase Masterson. How many fans would like to be in this room?|
|My "adopted daughter," Sara Katz-Scher, with George R.R. Martin.|
|My "adopted daughter" Dani Dornfeld and Chase Masterson with Brent Spiner.|
|My most awesome moment at Comic-con in several years, meeting Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.|
|Paul and Storm, Wil Wheaton, and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.|
I've become a huge fan of Dr. Tyson's over the past few years and was heartbroken when I learned he had done a guest spot on The Big Bang Theory when I wasn't in the audience. When I saw that he was at Comic-con because of a Facebook photograph, I was beyond excited that he might show up at Bill Prady's party. As it happened, Bill did not know he was attending Comic-con until he saw my post and shot off an invitation. He hadn't heard back from Dr. Tyson, but then I got a phone message from my husband, who had to go back to the Convention Center for a meeting, saying that he had just passed Neil deGrasse Tyson who was walking in my direction. Then I got a call from Ginjer Buchannan, who had left the party and wanted me to know she had just touched Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was headed in my direction. When he showed up, I went rather school girl crazy to Mackenzie and then I went to speak to him. Sometimes, it is fun to be a teenager for a few minutes. Len is still jealous, because Dr. Tyson was gone when Len got back to the party.
It turns out there are a tremendous number of people who look at him like he's a Rock God and he got a great reception at what I've been told is his first-ever Comic-con. Here he is at the Starship Smackdown Panel on Sunday. Wish I had been there, but I was trying to get Len out of the Convention Center before it became a mad dash to the doors and the roads became engorged from the traffic back north to Los Angeles.