Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


"This should be good."

Angelica laughs a little. "What?"

"How did I get back to my hotel?"

"Well, let's put on our thinking caps, shall we? You got drunk..."

"Wait. Wait. I don't drink."

"You did last night. First time?"

"Only time."

"I figured. You puked everywhere. Anyway, you got drunk. I brought you back to the Convention Center."

"But you were drunk, too. I saw the pictures."

"Some of the people I deal with, I can't help but drink. I'm used to it. I can handle it better."


"I went through your pockets and found your room key. I told the driver to let you off at Days Hotel. I guess one of the staff guided you to your room."

"That was nice." A thought struck me. "You and I didn't do anything, did we? Not that I wouldn't want to. You're very pretty..."

"Nothing happened."

"That's the sense that I didn't violate you. I don't want that to ruin this Con for me."

"Shut it."


"I think there were some good shots last night."

"I can't really see them. My phone is nearly dead. I'm gonna go charge it up."

"Cool. I'll come with."


"By the way, you gonna tell me about the shirt?"

"My shirt?"

"'Topless Robot'? I'm starting to feel relief that nothing happened."

"I won it in a contest. 'Future Casualties of American Cultural Imperialism'. Take a foreign property and speculate the best way for Hollywood to fuck it up."

"And how'd you win?"

I clear my throat for dramatic effect. "He made you laugh in Little Nicky. He made you cry in Click. Now, Adam Sandler takes on his greatest role to date: Adam Sandler is...Blackadder."

Angelica puts her hand up. Color drained from her face. "Stop right there. That's just diabolical. Was it worth it?"

I shrug a little. "I got the shirt, didn't I?"

Angelica checks her phone. "Oh, crap. There's a panel I need to get to."

"Do you really have to go or was the mock-outrage...not mock?"

She holds up her phone.

"'What's Cool in Graphic Novels'. Okay. Have fun."

"You, too. You horrible person."

She said that with a smile. I don't think she meant it.


The panel for "The Cleveland Show" is going on in Hall H. The show is just okay, but I had to see the inside of Hall H, just once. Sweet crap, this place is huge!


Don't want to miss the next panel. Film music is awesome! I bump into someone. We both hit the ground. I stammer out hurried apologies.

I get a good look at the woman I knocked over. Time stands still for a moment.

Something like this could only happen at Comic-Con.

I just knocked over Tara Strong.

"I am so, very sorry."

"You must really be in a rush."

I help her up but she doesn't really need me. "Kind of, but that's no excuse. Again, I'm sorry. You're not hurt, are you?"

"No. I'm fine."

"This isn't the most opportune time, but I'm a huge fan of your work."

"Thanks, I guess."

I back away, trying like hell to break through the crowd that has gathered. "You take care. I'm sorry. Have a nice day."


I don't think I've ever run that fast in my life. I didn't even look back, I was so nervous.

Here I am at the TV and Film Music Panel. Marc Shaiman is on the panel. Been a fan for years.


Panel's over. I rush right up to Shaiman. I ask him a couple of questions, mainly about his Addams Family scores. Very quick-witted.


I rest outside the building. A few people approach me. Some laugh, some scowl, some make cracks about assault charges. At least, I think they're cracks.

I'm the guy who knocked over Twilight Sparkle. How fortunate.


Here I am, back in my room and burning through Star Trek: the Motion Picture. My flight leaves in about seven hours, so I'll have to get packed and going eventually.

My phone's fully charged. Out of morbid curiosity, I check my Twitter feed.

tarastrong: Had a run-in with a fan. We didn't trade insurance info. That's #SDCC for you.

Good that she has a sense of humor about this.


At the airport. Bags are checked. I'm just killing time before my section is called. I check my e-mail.

Someone at added 'It's a Changing Life' to their favorites. I click on the link.

I can't help but read the reviews. Huh. A new one.

"This is a well-done story. Very true to the episode. You have a real gift for writing. You ought to do it professionally." - angieg

Even though, Angelica's on her way to Wisconsin and I'm going to New York, I feel like we're really close now. Like friends.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday, 2:22am

I wake up suddenly. Still in my clothes from the previous day. I'm sleeping on a mattress. Very soft. I reach for the lamp next to the bed. my room. I don't even remember getting in, and yet, here I am.

In a panic, I rifle through my belongings.

Everything is where it should be.

That's just weird.

I check my abdomen. No stitches. That's reassuring.

I'm going back to bed. Whatever happened, I'll figure it out in the morning.


I'm awake. Okay, based on the one time I saw The Hangover, I can only assume that evidence of what happened will be on my phone.

I grab it. The power bar shows but a sliver of green. I go to the camera function and click on the pictures.




That stands to reason. I finally get some excitement in my life and I don't even remember it.


Not enough time to wait for my phone to charge. I'll have to bring the charger along. Angelica's got some 'splanin to do.


Breakfast time. Pancakes and sausage with a frittata on the side. So awesome.


The shuttle bus is nearing the Con. I check over the schedule. There's not that much going on today. Still, it's the Con. I'm sure I can find something.


I just went to the "Jack Kirby Tribute Panel" to see Mark Evanier and Paul Dini (two of the many architects of my childhood entertainments), but this is turning out to be intriguing.

I glance toward the far wall. I think that's Angelica. With the last bit of power on my phone, I check my Twitter feed.

artbyangieg: Really digging this Jack Kirby panel.



Angelica left before I could get to her. I hope she's not avoiding me. For Christ's sakes, this isn't high school.

Wait. Can it be?

I can't believe it. I freaking found the Boom Studios booth...and they have "Supurbia"! $20 well spent, let me tell you.


More incredible cosplay: New Harley Quinn, Harley Quinn Classic and...Joan from "Mad Men". Weird to see someone dressed like that here, but who am I to take away someone's reason to dress up?


The second "Cartoon Voices" panel. Different group of performers, but just as enjoyable.


Back on the convention floor. Managed to get a shot of Nacho Libre. No piledrive to the face, though.


Nothing too interesting for now. I take a seat outside the convention center. Sometimes, it's nice to just sit down.

"Is this seat taken?"

"No." I glance up. As I live and breathe...

"Hey! You still have your kidneys, right?"

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Friday, July 27, 2012


Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. Went here two years ago. No better time to come back.

I'm so wrapped up in my Chocolate Brownie Sundae that I barely notice Angelica not eating her Banana Split.

"Not liking the Split?"

"What's your deal?"

"I'm sorry?"

"You know about me, but what do I know about you?"

"What do you want to know?"

"Are you planning on doing anything with your life?"

"I hope."

"And what does that mean, 'I hope'."

"I want to be a writer."

"Have you written anything?"

"Short stories. Some fanfics."

"Anything I've heard of?"

"Probably not. There was one story I did that got some notice at"

"What was it?"


"What?", she says, loud enough to attract attention from other chocoholics.

"It was a 'Twilight Zone' fanfic."

She gives me a hundred-yard stare. "How do you fanfic that show? With no recurring characters, except maybe Rod Serling?"

"You know the episode, 'It's a Good Life'?"

"A classic."

"Watching that episode last New Year's, an idea hit me. What if Anthony Fremont were a sexually frustrated teenager?"

Angelica gives me a look that's somewhere between awe and shocked disbelief.

"The story's better than I make it sound."

"You've got to send me that link", she blurts out, almost on the verge of laughter.

"Can do." I return to my sundae. Hey, I don't want it to melt before I can enjoy it.


Angelica and I stomp around the Gaslamp District. Looking for a party. Looking to hang out. Hell, just looking.

She drags me toward a parking lot where there seems to be a rave happening. People dancing to some thumping techno track.

"Come on! Let's go!" She struggles to be heard over the music.

"No, thanks! I don't rave!"

"Neither do I!"

I shake along as best as I can. I guess she can see that I have no rhythm, as she grabs my arms and guides me into a groove.


"You looking for a party?" Some blonde says to us.

"Yeah!" I try to nod, but I'm still a little worn out from raving.

"Right this way!"

At this point, I just want to crash in a nice, soft bed, but Angelica drags me along. The happy faces and bright lights fade into one big blur. I wish I could say that I remember what happened next, but...I just can't.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012


Managed to score some good advice from this panel, but I currently face something that every Con goer faces at some point: a conflict. I'd like to go to the BOOM! Studios panel. Recently, I've grown fond of two titles from their fine company.

On the other hand, there's the panel that spotlights William Shatner and Roger Corman. What to do.


I flipped a coin. It came up heads.

The crowd is going nuts for Shatner. Can you blame them?


In the midst of footage from some thing about a 50-foot tall cheerleader, I surreptitiously check my Twitter feed.

artbyangieg: Still in Hall H. Pacific Rim and The Hobbit look sick!

Huh. That's why I haven't seen Angelica all day. Who knows if she even went home last night? Good for her, I guess.


Missing out on the BOOM! Studios panel reminds me to search for issues of "Supurbia". It's been next to impossible to find at home and online.

Been trolling about a dozen vendors. Still nothing. Looking for the BOOM! Studios booth. Again, nothing.


Been sitting near the entrance for easily the last twenty minutes. Good day, but very tiring. I couldn't care less if someone steps on me at this point.

A figure passes by me, then returns.


I glance up. There she is. Miss Hall H herself.

"Hey. I guess you had a good time."

"I did. Hall H is effing massive, but worth it to get inside. They had the panels for Man of Steel, Django Unchained, Pacific Rim and The Hobbit."

"You'll probably be seeing these trailers for months to come, huh?"

"Oh, yeah. What about you?"

"Not much. 'Futurama', 'Once Upon a Time' and the William Shatner/Roger Corman panel."

"Sounds cool."

"So, I guess you don't need to go to the Hall H playback panel."

"Not really, but I could use something to eat. My rations ran out halfway through the Pacific Rim panel."

A lightbulb appears over my head. "You got a sweet tooth?"

"Who doesn't?"

"Good to know."

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Funny banter, funny footage. I love this "Futurama" panel. The Q & A is starting. I'm off like a shot. I run up, trying not to knock anyone over.

I wanted to ask this question two years ago, but I didn't have the nerve. Somehow, I feel emboldened to ask.

Matt Groening points at me. "Yes, sir, you have a question?"

"Yes, I do. I...was wondering how do you come up with so many designs for the many species of characters?"

My heart's beating so loudly in my head that I miss the answer completely. I'm sure it'll end up on YouTube, but I got to ask a question at a Con panel. Top of the world!


Could've stayed for "The Simpsons" panel, but I just had to file out for "Cartoon Voices". I love cartoons and I love the people who bring the characters to life.


Great panel, as ever, but now, I'm back in line for Ballroom 20. Definitely want to get into the "American Dad" panel. Line's longer than it was this morning and I'm much further back.


This line doesn't seem to be moving, at all. Starting to lose optimism. May as well snap pics of passing cosplayers.

One girl is dressed like Moka from "Rosario + Vampire". It's almost uncanny. I shrug my shoulders. Forget it, Jake. It's Comic-Con.

"Could you bite my neck while I snap a picture?"

"Yeah, sure."

I could only assume that I wasn't the first guy who asked. As embarassed as I felt, I was even more elated. Sadly, the moan that usually accompanied Moka's bite was not to be found.


Wait. The line's moving? Awesome. I just might get in.

Just twenty people ahead of me.

Only ten.


I'm nex--

"Sorry. We're full."


"Can't I stand in--"



I turn around and stomp off.


I'm sort of pursuing a career in show business. Though I'm looking to work on films, not television, I still think I can gain some useful knowledge from "The Write Stuff".

I get lost staring at the panel of writers. I can't help but envision myself on a Comic-Con panel cracking wise about the business and my own work. It'll be nice to know I'm entertaining people, but also to know that I'm attending Comic-Con on someone else's least, that's how I presume it's done.

I whip out a notepad. There might be some helpful tips, here.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Saturday, 7:25am

I really thought I'd be awake a little later. I guess I could crack open "Batman: the Animated Series - Vol. 2". What a joy to hear the score from "Mad as a Hatter".


Flipping around the TV, I run across a news story on Comic-Con. Just as it was two years ago, it's off-putting watching a story on the Con and it's only a stones-throw away.


Pancakes, eggs, sausage and juice fron Bunz. I should definitely consider staying at Days Hotel next year.


Another ride on the shuttle bus. This is one thing I miss since I got a car: sleeping while someone else does the driving.

I can only assume that Angelica left earlier. She's not on the bus now. It was probably kismet that we rode at the same time the last two days. There was no synchronization between us.


Waiting in line for Ballroom 20. I'm not as close to the front as I'd like. There are quite a few people in line...four, I believe, dressed as Rumpelstiltskin from "Once Upon a Time". No mystery what panel they're waiting for. It's the one I'm trying to get into.


The line starts to move. As I move along with it, I catch a glimpse of a cosplayer who seems to be outfitted in a Red Riding Hood's hood/Ruby's miniskirt combo. She even has long dark hair. Some things I probably shouldn't dwell on.


Took some time to find a seat, but I did it. Still waiting on footage from the second season, but the panel is quite spirited. I'm struck by how warm Lana Parilla is in comparison to the Queen.


Not going anywhere. The "Futurama" panel is about to start.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012


I am loving this "Black Dynamite" panel. I caught the panel for the show at New York Comic Con, but the screaming crowd made it hard to hear the dialogue. Not so here.


I do a lot of wandering around the convention floor. Caught a glimpse of Abraham Lincoln...Vampire Hunter. I guess people did like that movie. (It was okay, I guess.) I didn't dare take a picture. This was one creepy-looking mofo. It is not unreasonable to assume that the vampires already got him.


To make up for not going to the "My Little Pony" panel, I agreed to go with Angelica (who just got out of "Breaking into Comics Right Now!") to "Girls Gone Genre". I'm liking it better than "Most Dangerous Women".


"And Then What Happened? Serialized Shows that Ended Too Soon". Though I'm learning quite a bit about a bunch of shows I never watched, I'm hoping to get a few moments with Scott M. Gimple, creator of Disney's "Fillmore!".


Following a couple of questions to Mr. Gimple (all I really had time for), I run into Angelica. She's on her way to the Hall H and Ballroom 20 Panel Playback. I'm not as interested in the shows, so I bid her adieu.


Stomping around San Diego in search of a good time. Everything is filled to capacity or invitation only. It's like high school with even more beautiful people.


I'm on the shuttle bus back to Days. No parties, no nothing. Maybe, a late dinner and local TV will cheer me up.


A cheeseburger, onion rings, root beer and "The Big Bang Theory". Pretty cool night cap. I think I'll listen to one of my new CDs when the show's over.

I've always wondered what was missing from the original release of The Phantom soundtrack.

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Friday, July 20, 2012


I nervously take a seat across from her. Her brown eyes bore holes through me.

"You're probably wondering why I wasn't at the panel?"

"The thought crossed my mind, yeah."

"Well, there was the 'Dan vs.' panel at 10:30. As a fan of Better Off Dead and "Kids in the Hall", it would've been delinquent of me not to go."

She gives me a hard look. "You're lucky I'm also a fan of Better Off Dead. How was the panel?"

"Pretty good. The footage looked really good. Really funny. How was the My Little Pony panel?"

"I'm sure it's on YouTube already."

"So, you're not gonna tell me?"

"You could've been there yourself."

I flip through the pictures on my phone. I slide the phone over to her. Angelica's eyes goggle.

"Are those Katniss, Merida and Hawkeye...together?"

"Perfect storm. I missed the panel, but I got this. Decent trade-off."

"Please send me a copy."

I shrug. "Okay."

As I send the picture off, I notice a plate of nachos next to her. Not sure how I missed that the first time around.

"You bought that from one of the vendors?"

"What? I was hungry."

"And obviously rich."

"Excuse me. A girl can't get something to eat?"

"By the way, have you read the comic 'Fanboys vs. Zombies'?"

"No. I heard of it, but I didn't want to jinx the trip here."

"It's really good." I pause for a moment to process what she just said. I know I couldn't have heard that right. "Do you really think that this place could be overrun with zombies?"

"Hey, anything's possible."

I can't help but scoff.

"So, riddle me this: if your mom turned, would you kill her or let someone else do it?"

"You're really gonna Shaun of the Dead me?"

"I am."

I think it over. After a few moments, it dawns on me that, no matter what answer I give, it's gonna inspire a raised eyebrow. Ah, to hell with it. "I'd let someone else do it."

"You'd let someone kill your mother?"

"Or 'you'd kill your own mother'? It's a no-win scenario."

"It's the end of the world. Of course, it's a no win-scenario."

"So, where are you off to, next?"

"I was thinking the 'Peanuts' comic book panel. You?"

"The 'Robot Chicken' panel."


"It's funny. What, you don't like it?"

"Put it like this: one of the episodes had someone remark that it's all 'farting and retards'. It's like the show was razzing itself for me."


"Double fine."

The two of us sit in silence for a while. I really don't want to leave her on a negative note.

"There's a 'Black Dynamite' panel afterwards, so that'll be cool."

"Oh. That sounds like fun."

"You liked the movie?"

"Kills me every time."

"Great. Catch you later."

"Sounds good."

I take off. Definitely want to browse for comics first.


Watching the footage from the newest season of "Robot Chicken". Okay, so Angelica was kind of right. It's still pretty funny, though.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012


Picked up some more CDs from the La La Land Records booth, including Star Trek: the Motion Picture (at long last!), Hook and First Knight.

The cosplay continues to blow my mind. A female Rocketeer. A female TinTin. A kid dressed like Edward Scissorhands.

As much fun as I'm having, I'm still thinking about Angelica. I hope she isn't too mad I wasn't at the panel with her.


Been meaning to head for the "Love and Capes" booth and chat up Thom Zahler. Sadly, I end up making the same mistake I made two years ago: getting suckered into going to the wrong 2000 booth. Screw this frustration. I'm sitting down.


The "Regular Show" panel starts with a reel of upcoming episodes. Looks pretty damned funny.


Back to the convention floor. Time to kill before the next panel of interest. Sometimes, it's just cool to walk around, look at cosplayers, drool over stuff you can't afford.


Found the right 2000 booth. Can't wait to crack this new issue of "Love and Capes" open. As I pull out a banana nut muffin, I pass right by a table.


I take a couple steps back. She's got a bag of swag from the "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" panel. The 'Yay' t-shirt she's wearing may as well read 'Boo'. It would go well with her expression.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Friday, 12:01am

The shuttle bus just dropped Angelica off. We talked quite a bit about our favorite things. I don't know if this is just a friendship or if it's...more. I've never been good at reading signals. Whatever happens, happens, I guess.

The bus stops at the Days Hotel. A little logy, I stumble off the bus. I'm a little upset that my body just wants to sleep, because my mind wants to listen to the cool CDs I picked up while reading some of the free comics I picked up.

I'm lucky if I make it to my room without collapsing.


I guess I just needed a good night's sleep. My CDs and comics are (somewhat safely) stored away in my room's dresser drawer. The bus is almost here. I steady my backpack so as not to smash the muffins I nicked from the continental breakfast. I was in a hurry and couldn't really see what I was taking. No time like the present.

Chocolate chip, banana nut, blueberry...fine. I'll deal with it. Small price to pay to have enough money for other stuff.


The bus stops at Town and Country Resort. Amongst the eager cosplayers, Angelica boards, her 'Yay' t-shirt (the one that I bought for her) catching my eye. She smiles at me. There seems to be genuine affection behind this one. Cool.


I wait around the convention floor before my panel starts. Just ahead is someone dressed like Merida from Brave. To my immediate left, there approaches someone dressed like Katniss from The Hunger Games (which I still haven't seen for the curious). From the right comes Hawkeye.

I'm not the only person who notices this. No fewer than thirty people whip out their phones. A tidal wave of flashes and clicks overwhelm the trio. I feel for them, but at the same time, Hollywood is culpable for this perfect storm. Who knew that archery would make for an interesting character trait?


This "Dan vs." panel is a riot. The chemistry between the actors is palpable. I shouldn't check my phone, but I can't help it. I check my Twitter feed:

artbyangieg: Just got out of MLP panel. Waited for someone but he never showed. WTF!?

Yeah, she might be a little mad.

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Saturday, July 14, 2012


I'm learning so much from this panel on film composers and working relationships. A lot of give and take involved in this kind of thing.

As much as I'm focused on this, I'm still thinking about Angelica. I whip out my phone and check my Twitter feed.

artbyangieg: luv this panel on breakin into comix. wont be long now.

I guess she's having a good time.


"You're from Buffalo?"

"I'm not as proud of that as you'd think. How about you?"

"Evanston, Illinois."

I nod politely.

"You don't know where that is, do you?"

"I don't want to say no."

"Usually, I just tell people Chicago. Much less blank stares that way."


"It must be so cool working in a movie theater. Free movies when you want."

"Yeah. Sometimes, something really lame comes along."

"I hear you. This movie that's coming out, The Watch, looks so retarded, it should be illegal."

"Yeah, that looks bad, but I was thinking of Ruby Sparks."

"Oh, come on! That looks good."

"A guy writes about a girl and she comes to life. That doesn't sound like bullshit to you?"

Should I tell her?


"You think that Casino is a better move than Goodfellas?"

"I do."

"You're a freak!"

"What? I like the story better. I like the soundtrack better."

"Come on!"

"Maybe it's because I saw Casino first. Kind of like why I prefer Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey to Excellent Adventure."

"Why am I even talking to you?"

"I don't know."

"You're not even that funny, or that cute."

"You think I'm cute?"


"Too bad, 'cause I think you're kinda cute."

"You--! Really?"

"Really really. You don't hear it that often?"

"Nah. Most guys go for blondes with big cans. I don't stand a chance."

"My preference is redheads, but I do like brunettes."

She smiles nervously. "Cool."

"I heard there's a panel where you can see the stuff from Hall H and Ballroom 20. Wanna go?"

"Yeah, okay." She takes off. I follow her.

Going to see celebs talk about their latest stuff, and at Comic-Con? Best first date ever.


I'm with Angelica at the Hall H/Ballroom 20 panel playback. The Expendables 2. Disney's upcoming movies. "Psych".

The sense of community. Experiencing stuff with a new friend. I love Comic-Con.

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Friday, July 13, 2012


I check my Twitter account. Maybe some of the celebrities I'm following know of cool parties to get into. Nothing yet.


On my way to Ballroom 20 for the "Psych" panel. I've only seen a handful of episodes but James Roday and Dule Hill make a very funny team. I really should see more.

A volunteer worker puts up a rope. "Sorry. We're full."

Myself and about 200 others groan in disappointment as we are forced to find other ways of amusing ourselves.


If there's one thing I can do well, it's living vicariously through other people and I can't wait to hear about people who remember the movies of 1982 better than myself (it's hard to know about the year's genre movies when you're but a baby).

The quotes from the movies fly fast and furious. I have managed to see some of the movies on cable, but it's hardly the same as actually seeing them in theaters.


People watching. It's hard not to stare at the people that come here. Some guy's dressed in the same scorpion jacket that Ryan Gosling wore in Drive. As much as I didn't care for the movie, I've got to get a shot.


I'm about to sit in on the "Luann" panel. Hey, I love the strip and its creator, Greg Evans, was really nice when I met him on '10...

I see Angelica go into the room next to me. The panel? "The Most Dangerous Women at Comic-Con". Oh, what the hell? I might learn something.


Didn't learn a damn thing, but I did enjoy myself. I fight my way through the crowd and approach Angelica.


"Hey." She seems to be searching her memory for me. I'm sure a lot of guys have talked to her-- "When somepony tries to block, show them that you rock."


"Well, I've got a panel to get to."

"Me too." Lost in the fog of talking, I almost forget... "Is there some way I can contact you?"

She shakes her 4G Samsung. "You on Facebook?"


"What's your handle?"

I shake my badge. "And yours?"

"It's 'artbyangieg'."

"Cool. So, I'll see you."

She shrugs. "Maybe."

Who knew it was this easy to talk to someone, much less a girl? What was I so afraid of?

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12th, 9:12am

Bunz makes a sensational California Omelet. The downside of that breakfast is that I can't stay awake enough to savor the sights of San Diego on the way to the Con.

The shuttle bus pulls to a stop that jostles me awake. "Town and Country Resort". A small group of people pile on. Much like some of the passengers, many of the new arrivals cosplay some anime I don't even pretend to recognize. They seem to be immune to the stares they're getting from the squares. But then...


A young woman boards. Dark hair pulled back in a ponytail that hangs about four inches past her shoulders. Skin like a porcelain doll. A black skirt that shows off a pair of red stocking-clad legs. A pair of...I believe they're Mary Jane boots. A black blouse, encasing a decent-sized chest. A cute face; pert nose, brown eyes, but the feature that stands out most are her lips. Pouty, like a model's. She's in a hurry to get to a seat, but time moves so slowly, I'm able to absorb every detail about her.

She carries a poster tube and a sketch pad. I can only assume she's an artist.

The thing about bus rides is that I like my space. I don't let people sit next to me unless I really have to (i.e. there aren't any spaces left to sit). For her, I can't move my backpack fast enough. I smile at her. She smiles at me, likely out of politeness than anything else. She passes right by me. The story of my life. I guess there was a seat behind me. I'm too upset to look where she's sitting.

Yeah, I should get over that. In a matter of minutes, I'm gonna be at fucking Comic-Con! To paraphrase Don Lockwood, 'nobody wears a frown at Comic-Con'.


The bus pulls up in front of the Convention Center. Myself and the many passengers deboard, the Gates of Valhalla awaiting us.

I head for Sails Pavilion, printed confirmation in hand. The 'H' line beckons. I head there to get my 4-day badge. A "Game of Thrones" strap drapes around my neck, holding my badge in place. Where to first?


None of the early panels strike my fancy, so the convention floor, of course. Booth 429 is home to La La Land Records, at least during Comic-Con, and I have been salivating over the new releases of "Batman: TAS - Vol. 2", The Phantom and X2: X-Men United. $100 dollars later, they are mine. I cannot wait to listen to them.

I am truly astounded by how much there is to see and do on this floor. Especially see. The cosplay on display is as astounding as ever. I turn my phone on. Yes, it should always be on, but I like conserving power. That's not illegal, yet.

I have time to kill before the next panel. I may as well get some good shots in.


I'm enjoying this panel more than I thought I would. Mainly because the footage of new "Fairly OddParents" episodes is kept to a minimum. The "T.U.F.F. Puppy" footage looks pretty funny.

The voice actors on the panel crack me up. Jerry Trainor, in particular, is a stitch.


There's nothing like wandering the convention floor and taking in the sights. So far, I've snapped pictures of The Avengers, Dejah Thoris and a sexy Rainbow Dash.

Speaking of "My Little Pony", I come across a wall of T-shirts at one of the vendors. The one that catches my eye features Fluttershy set against Iron Will's Guide to Assertiveness. From the episode "Putting Your Hoof Down". Do not judge me. Thankfully, they have it in my size.

I have to part with twenty-five dollars, but it's worth it. I put the shirt against me to see how I wear it.


I turn, the shirt still draped on me somewhat. If color could drain from my skin, I think it certainly would now.

It's the porcelain angel from the bus. I'm almost too nervous to move. I want to say something, but I feel like my throat's been cut. I try to smile that same smile from the bus, but it's not happening. She probably thinks I'm one of those weird-ass hardcore bronies. I just like the show. I don't live or die by it.

"That's a nice shirt."

Whatever fears develop in my brain evaporate as she starts to smile. Not politely. She seems really happy.

I start to find my voice.

"I wanted the 'Yay' shirt, but they don't make them for guys."

The girl smirks a little. What's she thinking now?

"Well, you can buy it for me."

Is this girl for serious? Now, I've never been flirted with before, except in high school as a joke, so is this really happening?

Before I can register what's happening, I hand twenty-five dollars to the vendor. The vendor hands the girl the shirt.

She pats me on the arm and smiles sweetly.


I snap out of my trance long enough to catch a glance at her badge. Angelica...Geralds.

Somehow, I think I've made a friend. Not sure how, but I did.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 11th, 9:26pm...Pacific Time

They're just about finishing up Preview Night at the Con. I check my schedule. Only "666 Park Avenue" strikes my fancy.

I arrive at my destination: Days Hotel - Hotel Circle/Sea World, just off Mission Valley Highway. One of the cheapest hotels in San Diego. It's an outdoor hotel, kind of like the place I stayed at for the Con a couple years hence.

Following the check-in ritual, I head for Room 117. Pretty nice place. Very roomy. I dump my luggage on the other bed and turn on the TV. Local news. Meh. I keep flipping. Sweet. They have HBO.

I figure I should get to bed early. There's a full four days of fun to look forward to.

It always feels weird staying in a hotel far from home. Everything feels different: the blankets on the bed, the lighting of the room, the noises outside. I may as well be on another planet.

Less than twelve hours. Awesome.

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Monday, July 09, 2012

Random Thoughts - The Taste of Buffalo '12.

- The Spanish Yellow Rice with Pigeon Peas (from Papi's Family Restaurant) was, once again, too damn delicious to be a 'healthy option'.

- Maybe I needed a bigger portion, but the BBQ Bleu Burger (BW's Barbecue), while filling, fell short of great.

- New to the Taste this year were a quartet of food trucks. One of them served a burger topped with peanut butter and bacon and bore the apropos name 'the WTF Burger'. Ultimately, I opted for the Rocky Road Brownie (R&R BBQ Food Truck). Not even the presence of marshmallow fluff could ruin the overall deliciousness.

- The Potato Cheddar Casserole (Carmine's Restuarant), while a little too hot, was marvelous; best-in-show, for sure.

- I also tried the Seafood Bisque (The Original Soupman). I think I might want to visit the restaurant, especially as I have a coupon.

- As I did every year, I snagged a Junkyard Dog (Ms. Goodies), but the overabundance of hot sauce brought down my well as the day. (Of course, this could've also been the fact that I was wearing pants on a 90-degree day and that I was lugging around a raincoat for a storm that never came.)

- The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie (Danny's Restaurant) has become a tradition, by now, and it was as good as ever.

- I remembered enjoying the Spring Rolls (Saigon Cafe) last year and gave them another go, but the creamy sauce I was expecting was replaced with this clear topping that wasn't as good.

- The next day, with a pair of shorts and renewed energy, I returned. First stop: the Vietnamese Fried Wontons (Papaya Restaurant). Delicious with or without the dipping sauce...and so good that I returned for seconds before I left for the day.

- Speaking of seconds, I returned for more Potato Cheddar Casserole.

- It had been a while (a container of Perry's Ice Cream many years ago), but I really enjoyed the Cake Batter Ice Cream (Anderson's).

- The Crab Cake & Sicilian Cigar (Bing's) was delicious, and I'm surprised that the mixture of respective toppings (Remoulade sauce and melon salsa) grew on me.

- Of course, I couldn't leave without a Chocolate Brownie (Zebb's Deluxe Grill and Bar) or two.

- At a certain point, I just wanted to get rid of my tickets. I decided to sample the Cheesy Chicken Pasta (MaGavin's Restaurant and Pub). It wasn't ready yet and I figured I could move on, but then, it was. I'm glad I waited. Very tasty.

- Following that, I tried a Brasciole Slider (Orazio's Restaurant). Again, an issue of portions, but pretty good.

- The Lobster Crab Dip with chips (Jack Astor's Bar and Grill) was - literally - finger-licking good.

- I picked up a Chocolate Chip Cookie (DiBella's) that I, after a couple of pieces decided to save for later.

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Sunday, July 08, 2012

Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012)

Red. Hannie Caulder. The Poseidon Adventure. The Split. The Black Hole. When Time Ran Out. Emperor of the North (Pole). Small Soldiers

And then there's the movies I haven't seen: The Wild Bunch. The Dirty Dozen. From Here to Eternity. Marty. Superfuzz. Willard. Ice Station Zebra. Escape from New York.

Even if most people on Twitter don't know these movies, hopefully they'd know Borgnine as the voice of MermaidMan on "SpongeBob".

He will certainly be missed.


Friday, July 06, 2012

July 11th, 1:35pm...Mountain Time

I made it to the airport on time, but then came the security procedures. The late George Carlin summed it up better than anyone in that they were instituted to keep White people safe.

Not too long after, the journey began. It's not a direct flight to San Diego. I go to Newark to Chicago and then to San Diego.

A little cumbersome lugging my crap from one plane to another, but the hassle will soon be worth it.

I'm an unfortunately quiet man, but I make a promise to myself that I will try to make nice with at least one person.

They're showing John Carter on this flight. I don't care what anyone says. This movie was awesome.

Soon the fun will begin. Soon, I will belong.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

July 10th, 9:27pm

Socks and underwear? Check.

Two pairs of shorts and a pair of pants? Check.

T-shirts, including the one I won in a Topless Robot contest? Check.

Autograph book? Check.

Poster tube? Check.

Plane tickets? Check.

Backpack that I've had since high school? Check.

CD player with various soundtracks? Check.

Double AA batteries? Check.

Cell phone and charger? Check.

Toiletries, including comb and deodorant? Definite check.

Credit cards? Check.

Comic-Con schedule printed online? Check.

Comic-Con confirmation for 4-day badge? Check and mate.

I really feel like I'm forgetting something. I hate that feeling and yet, it won't leave me alone. Wait...

Condoms? Check. (The only way a guy like me could get laid, at this point, is by accident, but one must hope for the best.)

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Monday, July 02, 2012

March 3rd, 12:44pm

Been waiting in line for the opportunity to buy Comic-Con tickets for a while now. This new system is a pain in the ass, but it's cleaner than the clusterfuck that was last year's ticket buying system.

And I'm up. I plunk down $116 for a 4-day pass. I want the full Comic-Con experience, as should we all.

I make it. My personal information and credit card number are entered. Processing...


I am going to Comic-Con.

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

March 3rd, 8:17am

The morning air was crisp. Winter still lingered, but the sun refused to concede defeat.

As I booted up my computer, I told myself, 'This was the morning where things would change for the better'.

Much like the sun, I would not allow defeat in the face of insurmountable odds.

This morning, I would get tickets for San Diego Comic-Con.

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