The Long ComiCon

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This has been a crazy weekend! But overall, I guess it’s been a good kind of crazy.

On Friday, I was slated to volunteer at the Phoenix ComiCon from 7pm-11pm. I’d agreed to do this a few months ago, back when the thought of early morning marathon training was as foreign a concept to me as Mandarin Chinese. I wasn’t too excited about having to be in downtown Phoenix until 11pm, knowing I wouldn’t get to bed until 12am the earliest… and I had to be up by 4:30am for the first team training event at the park on Saturday morning. But a promise is a promise, and I wasn’t gonna crap out.

I took the light rail downtown, which is a new thing for me. I liked it! It was cheap ($3.50 for a full-day pass) and I enjoyed not having to drive all the way down there and try to find parking (and then pay $10-$12 for the privilege to park). Going home late that night, though, was a little weirder. The strangest people come out and ride the light rail at night. Lots of homeless dudes, seemingly going from stop to stop for no real reason. Possible meth addicts. Drunken sorority girls getting off at the ASU campus stop. Hippies.

But either way, it was the best option to get down there. And once I got off that train, holy crap! The costumes I saw wandering the streets! It was nuts. That’s because I had just witnessed the tail-end of a Zombie Walk. People were shuffling around as zombies and there were also patrols of “Zombie Defense Squads” and members of the “Zombie Research Society” walking about with guns, swords, and fake stun-guns. Also in the mix: tons of bizarre anime people, a few Darth Vaders and Boba Fetts, a Dr. Who, people in gorgeous steampunk costumes, Iron Men… and everything else you can think of. It was awesome.

The best part was looking for “regular” people who just happened to be staying downtown this weekend, or had unknowingly booked rooms in the Hyatt. Talk about confused looks and gratuitous staring! It was hilarious. I could only imagine what they were thinking. I felt a little bit sorry about the hotel guests, though… I hope the ComiCon attendees staying there weren’t too obnoxious or loud all night.

As for volunteering, it was pretty much a cluster fuck. No one knew what I was supposed to be doing, or where I was assigned to do it. This resulted in a lot of running around in the Convention Center and the Hyatt, trying to locate someone who could figure this out. My boss from work was also volunteering, and I was glad he was there because he helped me by also calling the volunteer coordinator on his walkie-talkie in addition to cell phone calls. We finally found out I was stationed at the Info Desk in the Hyatt. Terrific, I thought. I’m not going to see anything good in the hotel. All the action was in the Convention Center.

Or so I thought…! It turned out that several big events were going on in the hotel. A Steampunk Ball. A gaming lounge. Concerts. The Zombie Beauty Pageant. And lots and lots of people wanted to attend these things and needed to know where to go.

Funny thing, working an Info Desk when you, yourself, have no information! That’s because I didn’t get any training, or information about what I would be doing. Luckily, there was an experienced woman at the desk with me, and two huge binders with schedules, maps and all kinds of stuff. It was an intense crash course in ComiCon stuff! People didn’t stop coming to the desk all night. I only had time to run to the bathroom once during my shift, and forget leaving to eat.

On the plus side, I saw a lot of fantastic costumes as people headed into the Zombie Beauty Pageant and the Steampunk Ball. The steampunk people… wow. I really might be turning into a fan of that stuff, for sure. Not only are their costumes and gadgets amazingly complex and beautiful, every single person I talked to was polite, friendly and almost seemed like they *were* from another time period. A time when guys dressed in three-piece suits and carried pocketwatches and handkerchiefs for the ladies on their arms. And girls were decorated to the max. Gorgeous gowns, corsets and hats on these ladies.

(The WORST people were the anime fans. They were ruder than any other type of geek, and also were the most obnoxious in their behavior walking around the hotel. They screamed and yelled to their friends, they swung big fake swords and guitars (?) and were generally oblivious to other people. Ugh. Sadly, there was an “Anime Rave” going on and I had to direct several of these a-holes in the right direction. I wanted to direct them into traffic, though.)

I saw some very adorable guys. They were all steampunk-y dudes. No surprise there! There were two that came back to the desk twice and one seemed to be flirting with me, very nerd-like. Asking me extraneous questions about some of the events on the schedule, and then saying “It was a pleasure” (cute!) when they walked away. He looked back, quickly and shyly… but I didn’t see him again after that. Oh, well. It was still fun. And flattering!

I ended up being able to leave around 10:30, which was nice. Also, I was able to clear out before the Rocky Horror people began showing up in earnest for the 12:30 showing. I’m not really the biggest fan of that shit.

I’ll write a separate post about running the next morning. I figure it’s best to break this weekend into a couple different blog posts.

Anyway, on Saturday we went back to ComiCon. ‘We’ being my sister and I. We went to support BIL, who had one of his short films screened that morning. I wasn’t all that psyched to go, for two reasons. The biggest reason was the aftermath of the arduous run that morning. The second being I was sure to see X there. See, as it turns out, X is now the person in charge of the film screenings at ComiCon. He’s been doing it for a few years now, actually. BIL had seen him on Friday night, when two other films BIL was in were screened. BIL said it was, naturally, very awkward. X does not speak to or acknowledge BIL when he sees him at these ComiCons. One year, he sullenly stared at BIL and my sister (I didn’t go to ComiCon until this year, actually) but stalked away before they could even think about saying anything to him. Either way, it’s just weird that X has to be a part of this. But, then again, he did choose three of BIL’s films to screen this year. Maybe X is finally realizing that, yes, BIL actually IS talented. Duh. Of course he is.

Well, anyway, I did see X at the screening on Saturday. I know he saw me when I came into the screening room with my sister and BIL. He made a quick exit and didn’t stick around in the room while the films showed. (BTW, the other films were mostly horrible. They showed SIX episodes of a very crappy web series in a row, and it was painful. Ugh. I want that time back!) Afterwards, there was a Q&A with the filmmakers and he wasn’t in the room for that, either. We did see him out in the hallway, and I pointedly stared at him just to see if he would glance over and make eye contact with me. Why? Because I am a better person than him. If he looked at me, I was going to wave and be cordial, which he wouldn’t expect. But noooo. X did everything in his power to look anywhere BUT at me. It amused us. I still was so grateful when we could finally leave that area and go away. Whew.

Later, as we were eating lunch in the uber-crowded food court, X walked by. He had some girl with him, but I couldn’t tell if they were together-together or not. If they were, it would be hilarious, because she did NOT look happy. She was walking just a few feet behind him, a glazed look in her eyes. No kidding! I think that’s how I used to look. I’d love to find out if he remarried yet, because I totally bet he has. He likes the idea of being married. I could see him going out and seeking a new, dutiful and easily-controlled wife. Anyway, it was interesting.

That wasn’t the only ex I saw at ComiCon. A little while later, my sister and I saw Writer Ex. And his very-pregnant wife.

Writer Ex was there as a guest; signing copies of his books in an aisle of the exhibit hall with other writers. How trippy, again. But here’s the thing of note: He was super nice to me and my sister when he saw us. And his wife and I chatted amiably for a few minutes, too. We were all laughing and talking for a few minutes before some people came up and wanted to talk to W.E. and get his autograph. The difference between seeing X and Writer Ex was remarkable. Even though that was the first time I have seen Writer Ex in person in about 3 or 4 years, he was friendly and didn’t freak out at the sight of me. X, on the other hand, is clearly so butt-hurt and emotionally scarred from me “walking away from our marriage” that he cannot bear to look directly at me, let alone speak to me. Ha ha. What a freak. I mean, we’re all adults here. And I didn’t do anything wrong to X. Maybe he knows now how awful he really was to me, and can’t bring himself to apologize. Yeah, right. I’m sure he hates me. Lots.

I can’t say I have many opportunities (if you can call them that?) to see two people I was once engaged (and one that I followed-through-with) to within the space of an hour. But there it was on Saturday. Honestly, it’s totally cool if it doesn’t happen again, universe. I’m fine without it.

Overall, the ComiCon was just too much. I think they’d estimated there were over 20,000 people there. That is HUGE! And it showed. The crowds were unreal. We could barely move in the exhibit hall. My sister and I opted to leave pretty quick after we saw Writer Ex and our friend B, who also had a booth there. We were just done with it.

Some of the famous people there were Leonard Nimoy, Stan Lee, Wil Wheaton and Nicholas Brendan. YEAH, Xander was there! And quite by accident, BIL got to meet NB. BIL and his friend were sitting in the Hyatt’s bar, and in walked NB. He was very nice to BIL, who was pretty excited he got to say hello and shake hands with someone who was part of such an iconic and all-around awesome show. BIL also went to the panel where NB was speaking, and I guess he was really very funny. Yay! Xander is cool. (BIL also listened to Leonard Nimoy speak, and said LN was very inspirational and a great speaker.)

I didn’t personally see anyone famous, but that’s totally OK with me. I’d prefer not to see people, because there is always a huge crowd of sheep-people all gawking and being asshats, as though this ‘famous person’ is a demigod or something. It’s awkward and strangely creepy to me. It makes me think of stalkers. Ick.

So, that was the ComiCon experience. It wore me out and yesterday when I finally got home, I crashed big time. I was sore, too. My left knee started doing this painful thing when I was walking at the ComiCon… it felt like something inside it was sliding, if that makes sense. And the sliding hurt a lot. It comes and goes. I don’t know what crap I did to my knee now, but I’m very concerned. A blown knee could ruin this whole thing for me! I can handle shin splints, even if they hurt like a bitch. A knee is a pretty complicated joint and I’m well aware of how bad things can go in there. I’m praying so hard I don’t get seriously hurt. Please, no. Not when I am starting to get through the hardest part of training, which is right now– the point where you think “is it always going to be this difficult?” I can get through this and I WILL get through this. I’m not giving up. I absolutely do NOT want to quit this because of something stupid.

Speaking of something stupid… my final thoughts on ComiCon… mehh. Loved the costumes and the sights to be seen, but these things can only be handled in moderation. I can’t tolerate crowds like that, either.  And it’s always best when exes aren’t swarming about!

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3 responses »

  1. I’m glad you got to go to this- and I enjoyed reading about it! I never figured ComiCon to be my thing, but you made it sound fun, interesting and entertaining!

    The light rail part reminds me of a recent trip to Home Depot, where one of the employees was sweeping candy wrappers and other such trash out of the ready-made, portable sheds in the parking lot. “Gotta clean up after the homeless!” she announced. “They sleep in these buildings at night.”

    Um, what? I never thought of that before.

    P.S. You survived your annual sighting of the exes. Go, you!

  2. yeah, that anime crowd is big here in AZ. So much so that they have their own con in Tucson. I just hate them. Special rules about not flying into your friends and hugging them while screaming had to be added to attendee decorum last year. Spazzy stinky costumer kids who speak the crappiest Japanese evar. Its what makes me not want to spend my birthday weekend there at the con.

    The Steampunk folks are just awesome. A lot of them come from San Diego and do such a great job.

    Also, volunteering and dressing up are not my thing, learning from Joe at San Diego, because you cant enjoy the cons.

    I would love to have seen Nicholas Brendan though. I met him in 1997 when Buffy was first taking off and loved him in Criminal Minds. Plus hes a twin like me. 🙂

    Glad you had a good experience.

  3. Sounds like an interesting time. And I am so impressed with how you handled both x-es. Bravo!! I would have died meeting Nicholas Brendon. I LOVE him, Xander was always my favorite character on Buffy. I wish he would find a good show to be a part of again. He was good in Kitchen Confidential but that was on for only three episodes.

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