Monday, August 6, 2012

Pacific Northwest Trip March 2010 Day 3 Sunday March 14 Emerald City ComiCon Day 2

This is the third of a series of posts dealing my sixth trip to Seattle as an adult and first of two trips that year. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports. Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification. 

There's a few stories that I forgot to mention yesterday but the time switch has thrown things off kilter so will just mention the one that immediately springs to mind.  One person (can't recall if it was a pro, convention staff or other attendee) complimented me on my fancy watch and was surprised to learn I'd bought it at a dollar store.

[NOW: The watch eventually quit on me.]

More tickling of the throat last night so it took a while to fall asleep esp. since I was trying to hold in the coughs to not disturb other people.  Finally drank lots of water and that seems to have solved it.

Woke up once afterwards just before someone above me took a cell phone call.  He finally asked his wife/gf (it was definitely a she because I could partly hear her) to text her to don't disturb other guests (I don't think he considered moving the call into the hallway)

But despite the partial sleep deprivation I'm rested enough to be functional.  Got to run; again the time switch has thrown things off so I need to have a quick breakfast and then start heading downtown.  Have a great day everyone!

[NOW: The above was written in the morning; the rest I wrote in the evening.  Time switched from Pacific Standard Time to Pacific Daylight Time that night.]

After my last e-mail I had a quick breakfast, walked downtown, pop a pop for the convention at Walgreen's, then started heading to the Convention Center.  I saw my friend Troy en route, we chatted, then I finished going to the Convention Center.  There wasn't that much of a line yet so I visited Freeway Park.  For those of you who are new to these trip reports, Freeway Park is, yes, a park built over a freeway.  Lots of homeless people there so I tried to shoot around them to preserve their remaining dignity.  I returned to the Convention Center and found myself thinking that it must be tricky at time distinguishing between homeless people dress and some comic fans.

In the waiting area I marked on my floorplan the locations of people I hadn't yet met and saw a couple comic dealers from Victoria in the back before Troy rejoined me for a bit.

Inside my initial strategy backfired significantly.  There was one major comic pro pretty close to the entrance (Geoff Johns, current writer of Green Lantern) and two at the back (Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada and Captain America writer Ed Brubaker) so I opted to maximize the beginning part of the day with the latter two, and got in line for Quesada, Troy joining me sooner after.  40 minutes later it because clear that neither were in any hurry to arrive, and first Troy  and then myself bailed from the line.  By this point Johns' line was huge so I opted to return later.  Huge mistake: around 11:30 or so they stopped letting people in line for Johns for the rest of the *day*!  Ah well, truth be told his work's declined of late.

During this timeframe I got a number of autographs from people of varying degrees of fame, probably most notably Jim Valentino (Normalman).  I kept checked the other side as well where the celebrities were for Wil Wheaton (during the brief period he was around for autographs his line was always packed so I didn't get his autograph; I guess Trekkies only hate his Next Generation character Wesley Crusher when the actor is not actually in the room.).  I did manage to snap a shot of him this time though; I also finally saw Leonard Nimoy,  I got one shot from a decent distance away (careful not to zoom because I was trying to be unobtrusive) that I think was a bit blurry.  Was about to try for a better shot but then was told that photos weren't allowed.

I got X-Statix artist Mike Allred's autograph this time; line was short but he was a chatterbox.  I finally got Joe Quesada's autograph; his line was a good clip.  I considered going for Brubaker next but Troy was in line and told me it was a slow line, so I got a few other autographs instead.  The most notable of these was Ilya Salkind, probably the driving force between the 1970s and 1980s Superman movies, as well as the Superboy series of the late 80s/early 90s.  There was just a short wait to talk to him as he was finishing an interview.  His autograph cost $20 but he was one of the most fun people to talk to.  When he saw that I had a Superboy DVD to autograph he said "At last!") and mentioned his frustrations in trying to get the remaining seasons out. So for a series that's not that well known, it clearly has a special place in his heart.

I got some more autographs (including a couple people whom I'd overlooked one item each to autograph the day before; one might have been a bit earlier than that) and then attended a seminar on Breaking into Comics.  After that I completely fluked out: I caught Brubaker just as he was packing up to leave so got autographs from him with no line up and right before it would have been too late.

By this time it was now around 2.  I got more autographs including Y the Last Man artist Pia Guerra.  There were two people high on my list who kept eluding me for the better part of the day: Punisher actor Thomas Jane (artist Tim Bradstreet who did art for the DVD kept minding his store; I got his autograph during an early trip over) and Starman writer James Robinson (who's table was always empty when I visited him the day before as well).  Finally both turned up pretty close chronologically.  Jane was a bit distant in a movie star sort of way but he didn't charge either an autograph or a photo.  Soon after I got in line for Robinson, due to arrive by 3, knowing I was tempting fate given the earlier Quesada fiasco.  This time it mostly worked out beyond two people with about 50 comics each being in line ahead of me.  Please any comic fans reading this, ask yourself how many autographs you really need from one person if there's a large line behind you.

I visited a guy who had worked on the cartoon the The Incredibles and found that I'd misfiled it (it might have gotten left behind in my locker here in error.  This kept bothering me so I finally went out and bought another copy because I really wanted it autographed.  I finally had some brief time to shop and bought 15 comics from one person for $5. Just as thing were closing I got a final autograph I'd overlooked and bought a few DVDs.  I was low on cash on hand so I broke my usual rule and haggled down $2.  Much to my own surprise as I was leaving the Convention Center a switch went off in my brain and the thought, "Good, now the real trip can begin" popped into my head.

[NOW: I bought the backup copy of Incredibles from the downtown branch of the now defunct Borders and later found my old copy at home. ]

I visited Pike Place Market.  While there I visited a few stores including Left Bank Books (Commie haters should stay well clear of there), Holy Cow Records, and Golden Age Collectibles (with the cheerful sign telling people to leave their packs at the front and that they're not responsible if the bags get stolen as a result).  At Holy Cow I bought a cult movie I'd been meaning to see called Galaxina.  I have to get a bit extra serious here for a moment despite the likely cheesiness of the movie.  Sadly the movie's real significance is due to the fate of its lead actress.  Dorothy Stratten convinced by a guy named Paul Schraeder to become a Playboy Playmate.  When her career took off and he couldn't handle the fame machine as well as her he killed them both. So Galaxina is part of a cautionary tale now, part of her tragically short body of work; her life was dramatized in the excellent Star 80.

 I visited Swerve again, returned to the hostel to drop off some stuff, and then visited the International Fountain in Seattle Center.  This time the fountain was in full activity.  So were there still kids playing in the fountain in March? Yes there were! Not a lot, but some kids did leave the fountain wearing wet clothes.

 [NOW: Swerve is now closed.]

I then went to the nearby McDonald's, the only one I actually go to for the décor.  Yes I'm entirely serious.  It has an interesting sports motif that even not being a sports fan I can appreciate.  My table's top was a photo of basket balls.  There were four poles in one section, one with baseballs in inside, one with footballs, one with soccer balls, one with basketballs. 

After that I meant to just briefly pass the International Fountain again but I once more got mesmerized by it and probably spent over an hour taking pics as the sun went down and the light from the Space Needle lit the water spray for the elaborate jets.  I got some incredible shots of this amazing place and it's probably been the highlight of the trip for me so far.

I then visited Easy Street Records followed by the Metropolitan Market followed by Silver Platters, where I actually found a Michael Moore movie from 2007 I never heard of before, Slacker Uprising.  I then went to a nearby QFC, thinking it was probably closed by then since it was after 9.  It's actually open 24 hours so no psychic of the year award for me.  I bought a drink there, passed by the fountain again, which was then mostly off for the day, and then returned to the hostel.

When I had a bath the plug was gone (used my soap dish as a makeshift plug) and I noticed the same with another bathtub.  I checked and the staff have indeed removed the plugs from the bathtubs here.

Tomorrow begins the first of three full days in Seattle and neighbouring committees, no convention to be found.  Yesterday and today (until 5) were the days I needed to do.  After 5 the trip I actually wanted to do began and goes full steam ahead starting tomorrow.

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