Thursday started out reasonably enough. It was a day for errands and laundry and such. The errands included the quest for tires… my car had desperately needed new ones. I thought I’d try CostCo… since they’re supposed to have all sorts of deals and stuff. And they did have tires for about $5-$10 less than what I’d seen elsewhere. But the membership costs $45, so it isn’t a win.
And, as it turns out, Sears had slightly less name-brand tires (Dunlops) that seem to work just fine, and were a lot ($25/tire) cheaper. The remainder of the day included exciting things like laundry, buying a mini-fridge to stick into the car, running gaming, and doing all the packing. I also got some batteries and film for the camera. I hope my old 35 mm camera still works… and I won’t find out until later. The film was relatively cheap, so I now have four 24 exposure containers to go through on this trip. Given how rarely I generally take pictures, it’s going to be a bit of a challenge to go through them all over this trip. We’ll see…
Shortly before going to sleep, I poked around on the web to
find out what the Comicon schedule was going to be.
See, one of my goals was to see if I could get my Buffy rug autographed by some
of the cast. Sadly, Emma Caulfield (Anya) was going
to be there on Friday, but I couldn’t get down there until Saturday and stick
with my original plans to see people in
I was sufficiently excited at the prospect of seeing Joss, and trying to figure out how to get him to sign the rug, that I had difficulty falling asleep. That and something I ate, I think…
After a fitful night sleep, I woke up at about 8 and got set
to go. My original plan had been to get up a bit early… maybe 6 or 7, drive
down to LA, wander around Rhythm & Hues and see people for a bit, then visit with Mike, Elaine, and Cassia, and stay overnight
Unfortunately, with an wakeup, that wasn’t going to happen. So I got myself together, said my final farewell to Einstein, and hit the road. Since I wasn’t going to have buckets of time to spare, I figured I’d take 101, since it’s much more scenic.
That drive went as expected. The view out the window was
nice, and the driving was easy, most of the way down. I stopped in Solvang for
gas and such… I was contemplating visiting the tourist trap stores, but decided
against it. I took a few pictures out the window on the way down of cool
mountain scenes and such. And a picture of the island off the coast (somewhere above
The first hint that something was wrong with my scheduling
plan came at about or so, when
there was a brief traffic jam in
That’s when I hit the real traffic jam. See, I think I’ve blocked out of my memory how bad LA traffic really is. I know that every time I visit, I’m always late getting to Mike & Elaine’s to visit with them. But I never remember why.
It took two hours to get from
As it turns out, you really can’t go home again. The building was the same, but I only found three or four people that I knew. Others were theoretically around, but I couldn’t find them. So I left a couple of messages on whiteboards and business cards under door frames, ran into Perry on the way out, and left at .
R&H is in Marina del Rey. Mike and Elaine live in
Doing lots of cutting around in LA, I managed to get to their place at . At that point in the day, I’d spent about 5 hours driving freeways at reasonable speeds, and about 3.5 stuck in LA traffic. At several points in the process I commented to the world around me… or at least to my radio… that I really don’t like LA. The driving just sucks.
But I did get to Mike and Elaine’s intact. Charles was there, as expected. So was Cassia (Mike and Elaine’s almost-2 year old daughter). An added bonus was the presence of Ami Rintoul nee Choksi, and her 5-year old daughter Miranda. I hadn’t seen Ami in years… possibly since school. And I’d never met Miranda. There were kids everywhere… it was really cool. Cassia seemed to be shy, so I didn’t get to chat with her too much. But Mike and Elaine and Ami and Charles and I got to do some catching up.
We went to Clancy’s Crab House for dinner… which is the same
place we went out to when I last visited a year ago. I’m starting to wonder if
they’ve torn up all the sets for restaurants in
We got back to Mike and Elaine’s, and I quickly got tired,
so Charles and I wandered off to his place. He lives in the
His house was pretty nice. Very spartan, but with tall ceilings and such. Apparently it was built using a particularly artistic architect. Charles and I sat up until talking about life and such. And then I finally collapsed on his sofa bed mattress on the floor. (I usually find sofa bed frames really uncomfortable, but the mattresses work ok on the floor.)
I woke up at around 8, showered, and went out to breakfast
with Charles at about 9. In honor of vacation, I had hot chocolate and French Toast for breakfast (yum!). And I hit the road heading south
at about 10. I figured that it’d be a little tight to catch Terry’s SiP presentation at ,
but it really shouldn’t take more than two hours and change to get from LA to
Those of you reading carefully will note the sinister foreshadowing in the above statement.
PCH was clear. I-10 was clear. 405 had a couple of minor
traffic snags, but was fairly clear once I got past LAX. Along the way, I saw
an ad and turnoff for some sort of toll road to
Basically, most of the trip, until actually getting to
I didn’t actually get to
There was a bit of a nasty line for registration, but I got through it reasonably well. I even ran into Terry Moore in the hallway, but he was busy chatting with someone else and didn’t notice me waving the rug around again. No matter, I thought, I’d see him later.
With registration complete (at about ), I wandered down to the show floor. I practically walked into the Abstract Studio booth… Terry wasn’t around, but I showed the SiP rug to the people in the booth, who were appropriately appreciative, as were the people standing around. Terry was supposed to be back to do autographs from 3-5, which was going to overlap a bit with Joss’ presentation, but I figured I’d catch him. I wanted to get a photo of him holding the rug, and to offer him another opportunity to get a picture of it for the comic. Terry’s wife was a bit confused by this; she was of the opinion that he’d already run a copy of the photo. So we were all confused, but I figured I’d ask Terry later.
I went upstairs at to be sure I got a seat for Joss’ presentation. As it turned out, that wasn’t really necessary; the room was huge. Oh, and along the way, I found out that Joss was supposed to be spending an hour from 5-6 signing autographs. So I didn’t have to catch his eye during the show; I could just find him later.
The presentation before Joss’ was by Julius Schwarz and Ray Bradbury. I got to see Ray Bradbury! He was telling all sorts of old geezer stories, which were appropriately amusing.
Joss showed up afterwards, with lots of applause and such. He was as entertaining as ever, with a number of interesting Buffy bits… as well as a few scenes from Firefly (nothing too spectacular, IMHO. We’ll see how the real show works). Tidbits of note:
And then it was back to the show floor. I got in line to get a picture of Terry with the rug. He said that he actually received the photo of the rug that I e-mailed him, and was all set to run it in issue 52’s letter column, but the column ran long. I took a picture of him with the rug, and someone took a picture of both of us holding it. Terry will wait until I can send him one of those pictures, and then (hopefully) pick one to stick into SiP. –beam-
By the time I was done with Terry, there was a huge line waiting for Joss autographs. I showed the rug to the line, got appropriate oohs and aahs, and eventually an offer from my new-found long-lost friend Corina (sp? I wish I could remember names…) to join her in line. While chatting with her and her friends, I also learned that Amber Benson was signing autographs about 4 rows away… but with tickets required. I wandered over quickly to ask if I could get in line anyway, showing my rug and looking pitiful. The lady behind the counter said to come back later, and we’d see…
So I waited in line, chatting with people about Buffy and such. I kept showing the rug to people… and got a number of requests to take pictures of it, which was very gratifying. Joss eventually saw me holding it up in line, and did a wonderful double take… and then looked a bit frightened. I smiled. It was very amusing.
I eventually got up to the front of the line. He was amazed by the rug, and I talked a bit about how I made it. He asked me to back up with it. “Farther!” “Farther!” I leapt over a couple of chain fences holding autograph-requesters in queue, saying “Excuse me! Pardon me!” a lot. Joss stood up on the chair in his autograph area, so he could see it from far away. He was very amused.
I wandered back, and explained my fiendish plot to have everyone from the cast sign it. Joss signed it on the side, writing, “To Harold—This is the Frikkin’ Sistine Chapel—Joss Whedon”. I beamed. Pictures were taken of the two of us holding the rug. I sang my filk line from the musical for him, “I’ve got a theory / that Joss is dreaming / and we’re all stuck inside his wacky Broadway nightmare”, and he laughed. So apparently he hadn’t heard that one before. I also asked him if he’d be willing to sign my unofficial CD of the musical, and he looked shocked and said, “Bootleg?”, and then signed it. I beamed, thanked him for the entertainment, wished a moment of happiness for the characters (which he looked uncomfortable about) and then I said, “Well, at least a moment before you muck up their lives again”, which seemed a bit more satisfactory.
Then I asked Corina, just to check, if she might happen to be Jewish and single. Alas, she was neither, but was apparently flattered by the question. Somewhere along the line I gave her my card, and asked her to remember me in case she met anyone appropriate and in fandom. One can never tell.
She followed me over to Amber’s signing area, where they were just finishing up. I looked appropriately pitiful at the person who was controlling the line, and he said he’d let me in. Amber eventually saw the rug, looked stunned, and went back to autographing. About ten minutes later, she finished up, and signed the rug. She mentioned how this gave a whole new meaning to people’s comments about her being a rug-muncher. I thanked her for the entertainment, and moved on.
It was about . The floor was going to close at 7. With Corina following behind, I ran through as much of the Golden Age booths as I could, looking for Actions. I found four that I liked enough to buy in various places before time ran out. And I managed to flip through all the books in the Golden Age session before I left, so I didn’t think I missed anything.
Then it was back to pick up the car. Since the machine used for paying for parking only gave change in quarters, I’m now the proud possessor of 68 quarters. I’ll find something to do with them.
On the way out of town, I tried stopping at a hotel cluster
to see if there was somewhere local I could stay, so I could go to the parties
and such. Apparently I was feeling in a social mood. But the desk clerk claimed
that there wasn’t a hotel room available at his hotel, or anywhere in
I’m staying (and writing this summary) at a random Best
Now it’s time to figure out where to go from here…