Sunday, August 03, 2008

CON-CISE

Looking over my last two entries about the con, I realized the flustering over the drama had caused me to leave out a lot of what I wanted to put in. Soooooo, I'm making this third entry not only the third day, but a concise version of the pervious two combined. So, hopefully for you frequent readers the tale I present is new enough for you to read all the way through. If not, skip on down to where we left off and finish up.

DAY 1

The train ride up was pretty standard. I got my usual seat, ensuring that my oversized legs wouldn't allow anyone to sit across from me and crowd me. I also caught some Zs here and there. New NY member Stephanie was supposed to catch the same train at her stop with her sister, but somehow ended up on a different one.

When I got to New Haven, I had some time to kill as Liz had to stop for gas and basically only just left to come and get us. Good thing as I needed to find an outlet and put my phone on charge. I shoulda turned it off on the subways to preserve my already crappy battery. I then decided to grab some lunch from the Subway in the station, which is where the two girls found me. It wasn't long after we settled to eat our respective snacks that Liz showed up, calling me for the first time since she got my number. There I learned how different her voice is over that thing!

We made our way for Hartford, stopping at a Burger King to get Shawnti some food as she's been at the table all day with nothing to eat. We got to the convention center...and promptly evicted for their having food. Liz went up to send Shawnti down, and I stuck with them for a bit before getting my registration badge and finding a bathroom. I met them inside and we all headed up to our table on the top floor. The center is pretty large, maybe as big as Javits, but has this crazy design. The area we were was basically by the edge of the floor overlooking the entrance way and all the stairs coming up. It really turned out to be quite the shitty spot but that's what happens when you get something for free. We were entertained, though, by an extreme game of duck-duck-goose where people were sliding into safe and literally being tackled. HARD.

That wasn't even the craziest thing, lemme tell ya. But, what do you expect when you got a place filled with people in outlandish costumes ranging from good, to bad, to WTF?! The costumes also helped drive home that this con was actually an ANIME con, and not a Comiccon. Gee, thanks for the heads up, Liz. You had your assortment of various characters of anime design, some monsters, a couple movie characters (some Joker's in attendance, but not as many as we'd though) and even a remote-controlled R2D2 dragging C3P0's head behind him.

I stayed at the table with the rotating cast of CAGers present, while some guys from the Secret Identity podcast talked to us and one even asked Liz to contribute a character to a series of Teen Titans comissions he's having done by every artist he meets. She ended up doing Starfire which came out pretty amazing by night's end. To pass the time, I stole some internet from a nearby Starbucks and goofed around with the gals. That goofing around would be what shaped the rest of the weekend to come.

While closing down the table for the night, I was handed our banner rolled up to hold. I played around with it as one would expect me to, and in the process used it to GENTLY whack Steph. It was at that point she freaked out and stormed off. We caught up to her downstairs acting all crazy to her sister, almost deeply traumatized by it. Not knowing what else to do, I offered to do the short walk to Liz's place while they drove there, as they were staying with us since Sue screwed up and couldn't put them up like she initially said she could.

Well, the directions given were hasty at best, and she neglected to tell me how to get to the starting point she mentioned. So I ended up walking in the wrong direction. I asked for directions, sure, and they would have taken me where I needed to be if I kept on following. But, after getting the directions from Liz again in a text, I was going to go back to the center and start over...maybe tap the wireless to look up a map like I shoulda done before the trip. Turns out I didn't need to. I ended up basically taking the long way in a circle around to where I needed to be, and a lucky guess took me in the right direction. At least the bonus was I managed to do some form of sight seeing and couldn't believe how much Hartford reminded me of Austin. Maybe that, and my natural sense of direction, played a role in how I got to Liz's house.

Anyways, I got there to find that Steph barricaded herself in her room with her sis. Liz was doing her best to make them comfortable, but they wouldn't even eat. After all that walking, I was starving so I enjoyed her mother's cooking before she disappeared in the downstairs apartment for the night. The interesting part was when I ended up being lectured by their mother over the phone. What the hell?! Why is a grown-ass woman calling her mother over nothing, and why the hell am I, a grown-ass man getting a lecture on how to act with women (keep in mind that 95% of my friends ARE women) like I'm some flipping 2-year-old?! With that, we didn't see them the rest of the night save for the occasional trip to the bathroom. I'm pretty sure the phone call is what made me go from feeling bad to being pissed off.

While Liz did the inks on the comission, I watched Resident Evil while flipping through her endless amount of past artwork from school. There were dozens of paintings and several portfolios full. In fact, the whole apartment was like a Liz museum with all the projects she's ever done all around. Oh yeah, she's got talent.

By the time the movie was over, we were about ready for bed. She was sleeping on the couch while I had her room, the nutjobs in her parents'. Liz tried to be funny by giving me Batman Begins sheets ('cause, ya know, I AM Batman). It was pretty cool to see where she lived finally; get an idea of the environment of which she speaks and that I've seen pieces of in pictures. See, when Liz joined CAG and shared her Myspace address, I contacted her to welcome her to the group and we started talking through there and upgrading to where we are now. That was around July of last year; we wouldn't actually meet until that October's Halloween party. And the rest, as they say, is history.

DAY 2

Liz had gotten some air conditioners for her place, because she's basically immune tot he effects of heat and so far this summer has been fairly hot and humid. Well goddamn if the one I had wasn't awesome. I woke up about 6AM freezing my ass off. Ordinarily, I can tollerate the extreme cold but not when I've been dormant for several hours in it...such as sleeping. So I had to get up to turn it up some and settled back into sleep...only to get woken up 7 minutes early by Liz. Ugh.

I had opted to leave earlier not only to get some more sight seeing in, but to avoid any more of yesterday's drama. So I showered and hit the road. Now that I knew where I was and where I was going, getting lost was more on purpose than it was last night. I retraced some of my steps, and even found some new spots along the way, snapping pictures as I went.

I made it to the convention center only to discover our table was gone. A little later Liz showed up with the other two, and the confusion only grew. We ran into Sue and Ev as they were checking in and they helped us find out from one of the staff that our table was moved to the other side of where we were to give the 501 Star Wars Batallion more room. Shawnti was there and as set up as she could be without what we had. Unfortunately, a casualty of that crisis was me and Liz weren't able to film her friend's cosplay performance at 10, since it was half after. Instead, she suggested I use one of her cameras I carried to film the con itself since I wanted to look around, having not had the chance to the day before.

Once she put on the rest of her Jedi costume (which was the outfit she wore the first time I met her at the party, incidentally) we started out. I filmed as we walked, swinging by the modest artist's alley and then the sales area where Free Lunch was set up. I also recognized this one dick who constantly tells people not to film his artwork; seen him at a few cons now. One day I just wanna tell him to go eff himself and that his work isn't all that great to begin with.

The one benefit to this being an Anime con (which I didn't know until that weekend, thanks so much for the heads up, people!) was that there was NOTHING there for me to buy. Well, almost nothing. I did snag a giant-sized Ghostbusters 2 poster that wasa replica of the two-sheeters they used on the NYC Subways back in '89. Liz told me that the last couple of years the con DID have books in my vein, but we figure they just didn't wanna bother this year. Figures!

I spent a good portion of the day writing on the laptop, talking to Britt for a bit where she informed me she was in fact moving as she planned, and doing more sight seeing. Actually, had to sight see twice as the first time I went when I went to get lunch it was threatening rain and didn't wanna risk the camera, so I went back out to grab some shots but with Liz for company. The area is definitely filmmable. If I was able to make a movie tomorrow, I would so use the area. It's got this nice run-down urban appeal, which is funny since mere blocks away it's like this built-up metropolis. Once you leave the center of the area in any direction, the neighborhoods get visably poorer. Remarkable. There were also a few abandoned buildings, one I was able to get inside to explore the first time, and of course the typical tourist spots. Liz gave me a rundown of her history with the area, as well as how it's changed in the 10 years since she's been in that particular part of town. We had a lot of fun. Oh, and the cool thing? Their walk signals actually COUNT DOWN how many times they'll flash before going red. Man, do we need a system like that around here! Not that these morons'd pay any attention to it...

That fun was cut short by the end of the night. Matt had decided to make life easier on Liz because of all the drama and the stress she was getting from the nuts that I should relocate to someone else's house for the night. This, of course, pissed me off on several levels. First, this decision was made without me. Liz was all confused as to why I was leaving my stuff at her place, which confused me as to why I wouldn't. And then I get told I'm moving out. Yeah, I didn't like that, despite Matt's intentions. Second, *I* was the INVITED guest. The other two were an unwanted bonus. Why in the hell should *I* have been the one to move when THEY were the ones causing all the trouble and shouldn't have even been there in the first place?! Annoyed beyond belief now, I was opting to just go with my earlier feelings of leaving the con a day early since I was bored out of my skull. It's anime, there's nothing for me there, so why should I stay? I figured I'd catch a ride with Steve when he took James, who came up for the day, to the train, but that was before I realized he took Amtrak and not Metro North. But Matt begged me to stay the last day with either him or Steve, and I said I'd consider it after the pizza party they were throwing that night.

Liz took me to her house where she changed and I gathered the last of my stuff. Saying goodbye to her ma, we head on out for Grandby to Steve's pops' pizza parlor. The party ended up being just a big ol' informal CAG meeting (including some Free Lunchers and random creators they know) as well as a bday party for Steph, whose bday would be Tuesday. Basically, it was a lot of fun. A lot of jokes thrown around, some very unexpected and flooring. Keith came with his gal and showed me his progress on my NYH cover, so at least THAT much is being done. He should have it ready to give to Alex to ink at the BBQ Saturday.

I decided to stay at this point, so Liz took the pains back to her place and I opted to go with Steve. We had a nice chat about current events and comics along the way. His house was very large and VERY nice, too nice to be a bachelor pad. However, that was taken care of with the typical bachelor messes here and there. The kinda mess I liked, though, was the comic books all over the place. That'd so be my place. We talked for a bit more, showed him my websites, and even chatted with Liz some. I also got assaulted by his very large, very playful dog. Kinda ADD like Fuzzy, but with more slobber. He tried to get me into Twin Peaks by showing me the DVD, but didn't quite work. But, soon, it was time to turn in for one more day of con "excitement."

DAY 3

So far this con, CAG has been regarded as the information booth, employees and the lost and found. That's pretty much all the roles we were asked to play instead of people, y'know, checking out our books and stuff. We did get some interest in that department, but otherwise not so much. We gained an extra table due to the Secret Identity guys bailing for the day, so we had a nice spread going. Me and Liz were supposed to see cosplay chess, a big deal the previous years, but the set-up was taking far too long for her liking and we ended up ditching it. Steph also told me that she wasn't mad no more about the other day. All I could think was that's nice, but guess who still is? It's horse shit; she freaks out over nothing and ends up putting Liz in something and makes her uncomfortable in her own house.

The ladies all went off to do the CT version of the Women in Comics panel, and I got stuck at the table so Ev could go this time. Unfortunately, this ended up being the one to go to as Sue misspoke and ended up advertising girl on girl action. Funny, funny shtuff.

Me and Liz headed out to get some pics and explore around this factory she pointed out yesterday that we forgot to go back to. We poked around a bit, taking in the awesomeness, then opted to skip the lunch we planned to get so she could take the pains back to the train and get rid of them once and for all. She got back as the con was wrapping up, and we headed to a nearby Burger King to supposedly meet with the Free Lucnhers for, well, lunch. Steve was the only one who made it, the rest still cleaning up. So we ate, talked, had fun, and then we all took our leave, no longer having the time to wait for the others.

I got home (not as comfortably this time as some stupid bitch decided to squeeze into the seat in front of me...dammit) with enough time to get some of my pics resized and up onto the web, and to download the files I worked on into my hard drive. I'll have to finish up the rest as time goes on since I've gotta get to bed for work in the morning. I really need to learn to take the day after a con off.

I'll say this much, this crappy little con sure made the Big Apple/Nationals look damn good. Can't wait for November now...

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