San Diego Comic-Con ’08: The Rough Road Home

As much fun as Comic-Con is–and it is fun–it’s also hard work. Because our body clocks are still on Eastern time, we can’t sleep well, and so get up around 6 am. We drag ourselves over to the convention center to prep, and the doors open at 9:30 am, and we man the booths pretty much non-stop, except for minor breaks, until 7 pm.

After that we head back to the hotel for a quick breather, then head out for dinner and/or drinks, and then do it again.

No complaints here, but Comic-Con As much fun as Comic-Con is–and it is fun–it’s also hard work. Because our body clocks are still on Eastern time, we can’t sleep well, and so get up around 6 am. We drag ourselves over to the convention center to prep, and the doors open at 9:30 am, and we man the booths pretty much non-stop, except for minor breaks, until 7 pm.

After that we head back to the hotel for a quick breather, then head out for dinner and/or drinks, and then do it again.

No complaints here, but Comic-Con is a hard fun. Fun, but not easy. It’s work. My adrenaline was going all week. When you work the booth, you’re constantly selling. You always have to be on.

So after four days of all this mayhem, we have to break down the booth, ship our big stuff back, and then pack our bags for an early flight (after a night out, of course).

Sunday started out just fine. I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, the plane left on time, and it was a smooth flight.

Until.

We got word that New York was being hit by storms, so about 70 flights were being re-routed, including ours, and no planes were able to take off from New York. We had to land at a small airfield in Harrisburg, Pa., to refuel, and after about an hour or so, we got cleared to fly into New York. When I finally got there, it was pandemonium. Because of all the canceled flights and the late arriving ones, the baggage claim looked like the wreckage from a hurricane. Bags were everywhere. The arrival board had a long list of flights that said "Canceled." People were cranky and annoyed. At one point, my flight just disappeared from the board.

It was only after another passenger told me where our bags were coming out–no announcement had been made–did I find my bag. I literally had to climb over 20 or 30 bags, which were getting jammed in the conveyor belt due to overflow.

And then I had the daunting task of flagging a cab. Yeah right. After 20 minutes on line, I saw someone calling a car service, which gave me the idea to do the same. Another 20 minutes and my car was there. Had I waited for a cab, I might still be there.

All in all I was about 4 hours late getting home, so as I’m sure you can imagine, I was pretty frazzled. My buddy Ray, who flew into Tampa, had a similar experience. He left on a later flight, and rather than getting home around 10 pm, he got home at 3 am.

Needless to say I was pretty wiped out. Comic-Con was a great trip and I’m looking forward to next year … but I’m feeling it a bit this week. But when it comes around again, I’ll be rarin’ to go.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/08/02 09:05

Re:Comic-Con ’08: The Pictures

Oh, no.

Yer OUTTA HERE!Oh, no.

Yer OUTTA HERE!

Comic-Con ’08: The Exhibitionists

Now what would a Comic-Con be without the exhibitionists, the fully fledged participants who bring out their inner nerd to fruition? And let me tell you, it was a quite a scene. Among the highlights there people dressed up as Stormtroopers. As Darth Vader. As GI Joe and Indiana Jones.

We also had, no surprise here, many, many Jokers, including one who visited our booth with some real inspiration. Man, he was in character. It was awesome. I’ve got a great picture of him in the PHOTOS sectiNow what would a Comic-Con be without the exhibitionists, the fully fledged participants who bring out their inner nerd to fruition? And let me tell you, it was a quite a scene. Among the highlights there people dressed up as Stormtroopers. As Darth Vader. As GI Joe and Indiana Jones.

We also had, no surprise here, many, many Jokers, including one who visited our booth with some real inspiration. Man, he was in character. It was awesome. I’ve got a great picture of him in the PHOTOS section.

We also had visits from Hulk, Thor, Spiderman and Superman, a few Batmans, and, here’s a great one — Batbum. I’ve got a good photo of him, too. His sign read: "Will Fight Crime for Food." I thought that was pretty good.

Scattered around we also had some life size Pokeman characters, goblins, elves, sorcerers, Predators, Plastic Man, and a crazy chick who just got her inner beast all decked in orange. Seriously. It was bizarre. (Yep, got a photo of that, too).

And, of course, we had our share of slender ladies in skin-tight costumes of all sorts and varying degrees of cleavage … not that we were looking. (YEAH, RIGHT! Our nerd detectors went off like wildfire!)

So all in all we got the Comic-Con experience, characters in all.

And what a scene it was.

Comic-Con ’08: The Pictures

I’ve got pictures galore from the San Diego Comic-Con. Go to the PHOTOS section, and enjoy! More will be coming throughout the week, so keep checking back for updates. Lots of great stuff!

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/07/30 20:47I’ve got pictures galore from the San Diego Comic-Con. Go to the PHOTOS section, and enjoy! More will be coming throughout the week, so keep checking back for updates. Lots of great stuff!

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/07/30 20:47

Comic-Con ’08: Peanut Butter Hamburger. Seriously.

After each day working the booth, totally exhausted, we all gathered up for a few nights out on the town, hitting a different spot each night.

On Thursday, after getting shut out of a steak place we were all pining for due to a loooooooong waiting list, me, Rich, and a few buddies, Ray and Marty, wound up doing the pizza and beer thing. Not bad, not great, but it certainly hit the spot after a long day. Beer, pizza, talking comic and movies. It’s the geek version of playing poker.

FrAfter each day working the booth, totally exhausted, we all gathered up for a few nights out on the town, hitting a different spot each night.

On Thursday, after getting shut out of a steak place we were all pining for due to a loooooooong waiting list, me, Rich, and a few buddies, Ray and Marty, wound up doing the pizza and beer thing. Not bad, not great, but it certainly hit the spot after a long day. Beer, pizza, talking comic and movies. It’s the geek version of playing poker.

Friday night was the fancy-schmancy night, and we spent the big bucks at a restaurant called BluePoint Grille. I’d eaten there a few times before on my various trips, and so we jumped in for some seafood and steaks. I had the lobster. Yum. This night it was me, Rich, Ray and our other partner-in-crime Rich Koslowski (www.richkoslowski.com), and between the four of us we wracked up a $300 bill between the food and drinks. Pricey, but we got what we paid for. We had a great view of the Gaslamp District and more than a few laughs.

I won’t say where we ventured off to after that–some things that happen in San Diego stay in San Diego–but needless to say alcohol was involved, and we’ll leave it at that.

And then on Saturday night we went for our second annual trip to Brian’s, just a good food joint that offers a nice mix of fancier meals and comfort food. I had the Franky Burger, which is, stay with me … a burger with cheddar cheese, bacon and … peanut butter!

Yep. You heard right. Peanut Butter.

I have to admit, when I first saw that on the menu, I cringed, but the more I though about it, the more I came to think that it was just too weird to not try. And I figured that if I hated it, I could scrape the goop of and just and enjoy the burger plain. And you know what? That peanut butter burger was gooooooood. I know it doesn’t make sense, but [i]man[/i], it delivered.

More Comic-Con Reports to Come …

Comic-Con ’08: The Five Realms

The San Diego Comic-Con might have all been under one roof, but there were really five separate attractions going on simultaneously.

* [b]Main Floor, Times Square Mayhem:[/b] The main section of the showroom floor was more the spectacle area. This is where you had the DC comics booth and the Owl Ship from the upcoming Watchmen movie. Where you had banners up for LOST and a massive display for the Sci-Fi Channel. In essence, the most densely-populated, mobbed-out section of the convention The San Diego Comic-Con might have all been under one roof, but there were really five separate attractions going on simultaneously.

* [b]Main Floor, Times Square Mayhem:[/b] The main section of the showroom floor was more the spectacle area. This is where you had the DC comics booth and the Owl Ship from the upcoming Watchmen movie. Where you had banners up for LOST and a massive display for the Sci-Fi Channel. In essence, the most densely-populated, mobbed-out section of the convention hall. It was like the Times Square of Comic-Con. Bright, shiny and the area you try to avoid at all costs. Looks good from afar, but it’s constant mayhem. Our booth is perfectly located on the outer edge of the Midsection. We get the flow, but not the strangling crowds.

* [b]Main Floor, Comics Wing:[/b] On the other side of us was the comics wing, where you can actually find dealers that sell–gasp!–comics. For a show called Comic-Con, there aren’t nearly as many comic book creators and vendors as you’d think, but if you were looking for them, that’s where they are. It’s also the wing where they sell T-shirts and toys, posters and artwork. It’s far less crowded and much easier to navigate. And quieter.

* [b]Main Floor, Artist’s Alley and Gaming:[/b] On the other far side of the convention hall, beyond the Times Square, is Artist’s Alley. That’s where 50 creators, mostly who do their own artwork, have just a table, rather than a big display, and they do signings and sketches. Good buddy Rich Koslowski was over there, doing sketches all weekend. It’s a great spot to get a little one-on-one time with the artists and not be totally overwhelmed by the crowds. The other corner was filled more with gaming–both new video games and gaming (Magic, etc.). Still busy, but not the madhouse of the main section.

* [b]Panels, Main Floor and Second Floor[/b]: Outside the main convention hall are the side rooms and ballrooms, where they have big and small panels alike. Rich, Ray and me sat in on the Watchmen movie panel, which had about 5,000 attendees. Ray also hung out and saw the HEROES, LOST and 24 panels. There were all sorts of other good stuff, like Family Guy, Battlestar Galactica and many others.

*[b] Signings[/b]: Also upstairs is the main signings hall, which is open and well lit, where you have this oddball collection of fading stars doing signings. This year’s batch included Erik Estrada (CHIPS), Erin Gray (Buck Rogers) and Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), among a few others. It’s amazing how long the line for some of those are. And also up there is the art show, where you can buy statues and fancier comics art.

So that’s pretty much the layout of Comic-Con, in all it’s glory.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/07/30 07:50

Comic-Con ’08: The Next Harry Potter Franchise?

Just back from the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, and what a trip it was.

The convention brought it’s usual flow of madness, from movie premiers to dressed up fans (pics coming) to visual extravaganzas. And yet the biggest highlight was the attention we got from Hollywood:

At the booth with me promoting [i]Finders Keepers [/i]this year was partner-in-crime Rich Henn, who is promoting his autobiographical comic Zoomies, and the comic-book supernatural thriller [i]Timespell[/i], we wrote toJust back from the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, and what a trip it was.

The convention brought it’s usual flow of madness, from movie premiers to dressed up fans (pics coming) to visual extravaganzas. And yet the biggest highlight was the attention we got from Hollywood:

At the booth with me promoting [i]Finders Keepers [/i]this year was partner-in-crime Rich Henn, who is promoting his autobiographical comic Zoomies, and the comic-book supernatural thriller [i]Timespell[/i], we wrote together.

On the other side of the booth was a writer named James Owen. You might not recognize his name yet, but if all progresses as it seems, you will. Rich and I first met James about 10 years ago at a comic book convention in Ohio. He writes and illustrated a comic book called [i]Starchild[/i], which did fairly well in the comics world, but then he kinda went silent after that, at least as far we knew.

Well, turns out that he reinvented himself as a novelist, and has been working on a fantasy series of novels called [i]Here, There Be Dragons[/i]. He has already written three, and is writing the fourth. And they’re selling. If you like books from C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, then he’s right up your alley.

The truly big news is that the producer of the Harry Potter movies has signed James Owen, and said that his Dragons books are going to be the follow-up movie franchise to Harry Potter. Warner Brothers is supposed to start filming the first Dragons movie in October. So James could wind up being [i]that [/i]big. Not to mention that James, and his brother Jeremy, who works with James, are just truly good guys. You can check out James online at http://www.heretherebedragons.net/.

So little did Rich and I know, when the convention started, who we were palling around with. You bet your you-know-what we’re aware of it now!

Meanwhile, Rich and I got a little Hollywood love of our own. At least a half dozen Hollywood producers and talent agents expressed interest in our various projects, so we are definitely jazzed about that. Of course, saying they’re interested and them actually doing something might be two very different animals indeed, but we’ve got a bunch of serious leads, and we’ll be pursuing them like mad. So who knows? [i]Finders Keepers[/i] might be getting a big screen adaption of its own.

More from Comic-Con ’08 to come …

Here Comes Comic-Con 2008!

Alrighty …

I am all packed and rarin’ to go for the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con. I’ve got a car coming to pick me up in about two hours, and then I’ll be touching down in San Diego about 12:30 pm PST.

Once again I’ll be sharing a booth with partner-in-crime Rich Henn, and will be ready for the Hollywood producer-types just looking for the next great project to scoop up: [i]Finders Keepers[/i]! Thanks to Rich I’ve got promo copies printed up that I’ll be selling at the show, and have mAlrighty …

I am all packed and rarin’ to go for the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con. I’ve got a car coming to pick me up in about two hours, and then I’ll be touching down in San Diego about 12:30 pm PST.

Once again I’ll be sharing a booth with partner-in-crime Rich Henn, and will be ready for the Hollywood producer-types just looking for the next great project to scoop up: [i]Finders Keepers[/i]! Thanks to Rich I’ve got promo copies printed up that I’ll be selling at the show, and have my pitch down pat. Last year it took me a little while to get my footing, but a year later I’m feeling good. I’m primed. I’m ready. Having a half dozen publishers interested in [i]Finders Keepers [/i]will do that!

And although we won’t be sharing a booth this year with other partner-in-crime Rich Koslowski, he’ll have his own spot on the convention floor as well, and with long-time friend Ray Bonn, we’ll all be knocking back more than our share of cold ones come night fall.

With so much to see and even more to report, if I can scrounge up some Internet access I’ll blog from San Diego, otherwise, sit tight and I’ll have loads of updates when I get back, plus tons of pictures. I just bought a new camera for the event, and it takes some sweet photos. And if the event is anything like last year–and I’m sure it will be–it will be loads o’ fun.

So if you don’t see any blogs for a few days, fear not … Comic-Con reports will be coming in. And they’ll goooooooooooooooood …..

The Flux of Friendship

As a theme I seem to revisit, for all sorts of reasons I’ve been thinking a bit lately about how friendships go in and out flux, how two people can be really close and in sink for weeks, months … even years, and then, for probably several reasons, many of them subtle, you can fall out of sink, for a week, month or even years. Which isn’t necessarily to say that one friend did the other wrong or harm. Sometimes two people just drift apart. And sometimes they drift back. You’re in sync again.

As a theme I seem to revisit, for all sorts of reasons I’ve been thinking a bit lately about how friendships go in and out flux, how two people can be really close and in sink for weeks, months … even years, and then, for probably several reasons, many of them subtle, you can fall out of sink, for a week, month or even years. Which isn’t necessarily to say that one friend did the other wrong or harm. Sometimes two people just drift apart. And sometimes they drift back. You’re in sync again.

In [i]Cat’s Cradle[/i], Kurt Vonnegut talks about a [i]karass[/i], what he defines as [i]a group of people who, often unknowingly, are working together to do God’s will. The people can be thought of as fingers in a Cat’s Cradle[/i]. So those in our [i]karass[/i], to me, are the groups of people who are close to us, who influence us the most, for a while. And then some drift out of that circle while others drift in, and sometimes, the ones that drift away, come back, sometimes they never return.

It’s going back almost a decade now, but I had a friend that came into my life for a few years. Of those three years, I’d say we were reasonably close for about one year, sorta close for one year, and then a bit more distant for the third year, until finally, we drifted apart. We don’t speak at all now. We didn’t have a fight, nobody wronged the other. It was just our time.

But during the close year, he put me in touch with someone who wound up changing my life in a profound way. And so it became clear to me that our fates were to come together for a short while, and influence one another in a certain way. And once that happened, it was time to move on. It took me a little while to fully embrace this idea, but now I’m grateful for it.

We are not all meant to be close to everyone we meet. And we are not necessarily meant to be close to one person, to the same degree, forever. Which isn’t to say we can’t be. But I find it rare.

The key, for me at least, is being okay with the flux of the relationships. Is it absolutely important for me to be bestest friends truly and for sure with the same person all times forever? I’ve certainly had friendships at different points in my life when I felt as close to someone as I had ever felt up until that time. But it has never lasted. As human beings, we need continued shared experiences to keep the friendship going, or, inevitably, we drift apart. Without new shared experiences, we’re holding onto the past, and that never lasts.

And as I’ve learned about myself, it’s okay if the friendship ebbs and flows, or even ends, even when it pains me, or the other person, for a while. Losing a friendship is like suffering a little death. We grieve. And then we move on.

I have one friend in particular who I’ve known almost 20 years. At some points in our friendship we were as close as brothers. At other points we were much, much less so. And yet we always manage to find out way back. The friendship endures. We keep on keepin’ on. And my expectation is that we will be friends throughout our lifetime.

But it isn’t always easy.

I find that the closer I get to someone the tougher it is to remain that close, because when we open ourselves to the more intimate–and often fragile–elements of ourselves, there’s more chance for bruised feelings, bruised egos. To feel rejected. So sometimes we lash out, or we retreat.

Being close with someone is tough. And sometimes it’s easy. Just depends on the friends and the nature of that friendship. I’ve got one friend who I talk to every now and again, sometimes even years go by, and it’s like we were never apart. One of my very best friends lives in another state, and we’ve only been in the same room together three times in the last 16 years. Doesn’t matter. We’re as close as ever. With other friends, sometimes we run out of things to say after 10 minutes.

One friend I’ve known for 29 years. A half dozen others go back 19 years, and a few others go back almost 15.

And it’s a funny thing, how we define our friends. Sometimes having [i]buddies[/i] is easier than having [i]friends[/i], because with buddies it’s all playtime. It’s shared experiences of fun. You don’t get into the "stuff" too often. And because you stay out of the danger zones, the friendship endures. Is that better or worse than being closer with someone, but with more volatile components? Don’t know.

Through it all I just try to be the best friend I can, given who I am and what my values are, and act with the assumption that my friends understand my intentions are good. At the same time, I also know that, despite those intentions, I am simply going to get it wrong sometimes, just as my friends will get it wrong sometimes, and that we need to give each other enough space to get it wrong, and to get past it. If there’s room to breathe, to be human, then there’s opportunity for the friendship to endure. To thrive. And then we can hope it does, enjoying each other as much as possible along the way.

So now that I’ve blathered on and on, I dedicate this blog to all my friends, past, present and future, grateful for them all, in all the ways that make them who they are, and all they’ve given me (even when that was driving me bonkers–and vice versa!). And I look forward to all that is yet to come, because when it comes to being a friend, in some ways, I feel like I’m just getting started.

Another Example of How I’m Back Crackin’ Nutso

Here is yet another example of how nutso I can be.

I’ve been going to the same chiropractor for about five years. I hurt my back playing racquetball, and after the initial problem was corrected, I’ve been getting a monthly adjustment. Throughout the years I haven’t loved my chiropractor; he’s just OK. He seemed to have been at least alright on the snap, crackle, pop end of things, as I did get relief after each adjustment (although he was a bit fierce in doing them).

Buy my cheif comHere is yet another example of how nutso I can be.

I’ve been going to the same chiropractor for about five years. I hurt my back playing racquetball, and after the initial problem was corrected, I’ve been getting a monthly adjustment. Throughout the years I haven’t loved my chiropractor; he’s just OK. He seemed to have been at least alright on the snap, crackle, pop end of things, as I did get relief after each adjustment (although he was a bit fierce in doing them).

Buy my cheif complaint was that he runs his shop like a Jiffy Lube; he’s got four rooms working simultaneously, so it’s in and out with each visit. I would have to argue with him to get him to talk to me for even 10 seconds, when what I wanted was to discuss my progress, and how I can improve my overall back health beyond the monthly adjustment. I don’t want to have to fight for my doctor’s attention. I’m already paying for that attention.

Still, chiropractors manipulate the spine, so I had been reluctant to just pick a new one (talk about putting yourself in a perilous situation if you pick the wrong one. [i]Crack![/i] Oh, sorry, Russ, but you’ll be walking hunched over at the ankles. Permanently. That’ll be $100. See you next time.)

That said, I recently received a recommendation for a new chiropractor, and went for an adjustment last week. In meeting the new chiropractor, I explained how I first hurt my back, that I’ve been getting monthly adjustments, but wanted to try someone new for the reason I just explained. And as I supposedly wanted, this new chiropractor was calm, patient and attentive. He listened. He gave me his time. And while he’s doing all that, I was thinking:

"Come on! Let’s get on with it! Are you going to crack my back or what?! Time’s a wasting!"

I had been conditioned by my old chiropractor for so long to just come into the room and get right to business, that I was actually annoyed that the new chiropractor was doing exactly what I said that the other guy wouldn’t do–listen–and why I came the new guy in the first place!

Wow. I can be really insane sometimes …

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/07/21 06:46

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