Thursday, July 29, 2010

Got a comment from my good friend KnittyOtter that I haven't posted in a while. It's true, I've been horribly lax--sorry about that, gang. I've had these ridiculous books to finish, plus it's been so hot, and then there was Comic-Con...ah, what the hell, I have no excuse. You've been incredibly patient. But hopefully this is the start of a whole series of exciting posts.

Comic-Con. It was big. It was crowded. This is the second year I've gone to San Diego for this mammoth event, and I think I may have reached my tolerance. Not to say I didn't have a good time: the fishing in San Diego was fantastic. I caught like twice my limit in sand bass (I gave all my catch to other fishermen--what was I gonna do, bring 'em back to the motel?) and got to see all the things I've been missing since I moved away from Southern California almost thirty years ago: pelicans, dolphins, seals and sea lions, and even the huge, harmless mola mola or sunfish. So there was that. I also checked out the Old Town district of SD, which was really cool because I just saw the Hitchcock movie Vertigo, part of which takes place in the historic Spanish missions of San Francisco, and this was very similar. There was a bell tower exactly like the one from the movie, where Jimmy Stewart freaks out and Kim Novak falls to her death. I also just read Two Years Before the Mast, which tells of the sea trade with Spanish California, and specifically describes the San Diego area, so it was amazing to see some of those preserved sites.

Okay...Comic Con. What to say? Big. Crowded. Lots of great costumes! I read in the paper that a guy in a Darth Vader helmet robbed a bank. It was inevitable. Also, something like forty people got stung by stingrays--not at the Con but at the beach. Lotta stingrays in San Diego. Shuffle your feet, folks! Tons of surfers and tons of homeless people, which I guess you have to expect anywhere the climate is so great...and the economy so crappy. My friend Dave and I took a long hike along the San Diego River (mostly just a weed-choked gully leading to an inlet of the sea), and there were little hobo camps all along the way. It felt very post-apocalyptic, very Boy and His Dog. Relatively little panhandling, which was interesting. We did see a guy riding a bike steal a bike. The front wheel was locked to the frame, but he just threw it over his shoulder and pedaled off. I was also interested in the huge section of ads in the free paper for medical marijuana shops: Free Joint Fridays! Edible Mondays! Almost made me wish I smoked dope.

Comic Con...right. Well, I wandered the floor a few times. Same stuff as last year, pretty much. Afterwards, my friends Dave Ray and Chris Reilly and I went to Dick's Last Resort for fried catfish, cold drinks, and abuse from the sexy waitstaff (did I really see a waiter dressed as Gay Hitler? Yes--yes I did). I also went to the swanky Fang-Fest party at the Hard Rock Hotel, hosted by my publisher, at which I was easily the least cool person in the room. I was about to slink off in shame, when I was recognized by someone I actually knew: Ryder Windham, whose name sounds like a Jedi Knight and who actually writes Star Wars books. Ryder kindly invited me to the cool-kids' table and I was able to enjoy the party. Next day, I sat on a zombie panel with a bunch of other zombie authors, which was fun. I always like any chance to get out in public and talk about my work, and this was an unusually frisky discussion, since I actually had to defend the concept of "fast zombies." Who cares if they're fast or slow? All I know is, if your zombies eat flesh, are undead, and can be killed by a shot to the head, you should have to pay a fee to George Romero. Original ideas don't grow on trees, people! Anyway, that was pretty much the whole convention for me. After that I had time for another swim in the pool, then I was back on the plane for home. Which is where I am now. How can it possibly be hotter in New England than it is in San Diego? Sheesh.