Oh, naive little me. I had thought, since they limited membership this year and Saturday was actually sold out (no memberships sold at the door), that it might be a little more manageable. Wrong! Every single panel we wanted to go to was so overrun that the only way you could get in was to line up hours in advance. Sorry, that last time I waited in line that long for something was the midnight showing of The Two Towers
. Even so, I heard horror stories of people who waited more than two hours to go to the Heroes
panel and STILL couldn't get in. We did finally get to see an interesting panel with several professional costume designers (people who have designed for 300
, Men in Black
, and a ton more that I can't remember), so that was good, but that was also the ONLY panel we went to. Otherwise we tried to avoid getting crushed to death in the exhibit hall (it didn't help that we kept getting stopped so people could get pictures of Erik as Snape), hung out where we could, and tried to stand under air conditioning vents. :-P My friend Kim went down for the day because she's a Young Adult librarian and she had some money to spend on books for her section, but she didn't find nearly as much as she'd hoped for. (Also, it doesn't help that she's even worse in crowds than I am. Oops.)
We did get to have a very fun meal with a bunch of friends at our favorite Irish pub down in the Gaslamp District (The Field
...highly recommended!), and we also had a good time hanging out in the satellite viewing room in the Sails Pavilion for the Masquerade (which is much better than going and sitting in the actual Masquerade audience, because in the Pavilion you can sit at a big table with your friends, drink (not that we did much of that this year; actually, Erik didn't drink at all), and heckle if you want to. It makes the Masquerade much more tolerable if you can MST3K it). There were some parties going on after that, but we were both tired and had a two-hour drive home after that, so we decided to get the hell out of Dodge.
The highlight of the day was almost getting in a car accident on the way home. Trust the good ol' 57 to try to screw you after you've managed to drive more than 200 miles without incident! We were in the carpool lane, and some numbnuts in a big truck (sorry to anyone out there who has a full-size truck, but it seems to me that most of the people who drive those things are complete assholes) decided to cut right in front of this guy in a Mitsubishi Eclipse. The Eclipse had to swerve out of the way, spun out RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, and ended up turned around the wrong way on the median next to the K-rail in the middle of the freeway. Somehow Erik managed to swerve around the guy (I could feel the car straining, but thank God for that Mercedes engineering -- Gunther screeched a little, but that was it), and we were able to continue up the freeway having lost only a little rubber off the tires. All I have to say is that if the guy in the Mitsubishi and Erik weren't such good drivers, there would have been a serious crack-up right then and there. I don't think the Mitsubishi was damaged, except for its tires (serious cloud of burning rubber as a result of his spinout), but it was really scary. Erik and I had been feeling kind of tired and sleepy up to that point (I'd been trying to keep up a conversation so we both wouldn't pass out), but let me tell you, after that incident we were both wide awake. Yikes.
Consensus? Although I had fun, I'm not sure Comic Con is really worth it anymore. I love dressing up and hanging out with my friends and doing all the geeky stuff going to a convention involves, but frankly, I'd rather go to a small local convention like Loscon
-- it's a lot closer, unbelievably less crowded, and I don't have to play walkie-talkies with my cell phone because it's the only way to find anyone unless you tagged them with a tracer and have GPS.
But at least I managed to get a semi-decent picture of Erik as Snape and me as Professor Sinistra: