July 30, 2009

Friday morning on the way to the Convention Center I watch a guy defy a crossing guard. She has told a big clot of pedestrians to stop and he keeps walking, shouting,“I have stuff to do!” He has spiky hair, is muscular, and is wearing the t-shirt of a street-marketing firm, so I assume he is both hopped up on and on his way to get more free promotional energy drink. He makes it to the other side of the street and a cop yells “Hey!” and starts chasing him on foot. I have often felt the false sense of superiority “having stuff to do” imbues you with, but I rarely act on it in such a brash and dick-y way, and now I know why: it will get you chased by the San Diego police and put you on the receiving end of a stern curbside talking-to.

After a morning at the booth we go to a hotel where we will have a “roundtable” with journalists at Wired Magazine’s promotional café. None of us knows what this means. We are going to grab a bite at the restaurant downstairs at the hotel, but it turns out we won’t have enough time, so we bail. I split off to find coffee before going upstairs. I have been told the Wired café is on the roof, but the “roof” turns out to be on the sixth floor, despite the hotel being several stories taller than this. When I get there a few minutes after everyone else, I am whisked onto a balcony by an official-seeming person with a clipboard. I am rarely whisked anywhere, so this is exciting.

There is free food and a not-unattractive female DJ and a make-your-own mojito station. A girl empties excess mojito ice into a nearby planter full of tropical flowers. The coffee-getting turns out to have been redundant because there are veritable rivers of energy drink and booze and coffee-related sweetened canned beverages flowing everywhere. We are planted at a table and we talk about the movie with lots of nice folks.

At one point I am drinking a Patron-and-pomegranate cocktail and a Monster energy drink. I ascend into doucheheaven and am seated at the right hand of the douchefather.

This seems like as good a place as any to say, I love steampunk! There are tons of people at the Con all done up in steampunk gear and I love them all. I love that it is not (to my knowledge) tied in with any one particular book or movie or property, but just something that sort of organically appeared, and it’s a space in the sci-fi/fantasy spectrum that isn’t “medieval guys” or “future guys” but something in between that’s elegant and hand-made and just…COOL. I mean, airships! Top hats! Gilded laser eye-wear! Hell the fuck yeah!

Another costume-related thing I love about the Con: when you are dressed up as a character, as far as anyone else is concerned, you ARE that character. Particular if your costume is awesome. People are star-struck to be in your fictional presence and want their picture taken with you. Why have you spent countless hours and lots of money attempting to emulate an alien who is only briefly on-screen in the “New Hope” cantina scene? Because it rules, is why. And we get it.

A trolley and an actual no-fooling train track run right outside the Convention Center. This leads to lots of wonderful snares where thousands of costumed Con-goers are trying to cross, in both directions, and a train comes and the bells start clanging and the red-and-white striped arm comes down and the red lights are flashing and no one is excited. At one point walking back from the roundtable, trolleys going in both directions are slowly crawling through when we’re stuck on a median between them, and then, an actual train comes by. This is hilarious because Donald is trying to talk on the phone.

After some more time at the booth, we join another absolute mob leaving the Con. Outside the restaurant where we end up eating dinner with Donald’s dad and sister, a homeless woman with cigarettes in her please-give-money tray draws tiny, detailed cross-hatching on a sheet of paper using a reggae flier as a straight edge.

The jazz band playing right behind us at dinner plays a slow cover of Green Day’s “Long View,” which is only the eight or ninth time a trio of middle-aged guys in various kinds of hats has played an ode to masturbation while I dined in San Diego.

Across the street after dinner, a trio of skaters try and determine if the faux-broken windows at Urban Outfitters are actually broken, or if they can be broken more.

After going by the hotel to freshen up, we get in line for a big fancy Con party at the Hard Rock Hotel. There is something about waiting in line for a big event where your name is supposed to be on the list that makes me ready to punch someone at a moment’s notice. I don’t know what it is. The highlighter, the flashlight, the list, the crossed-off-names. The unbuttoned top buttons on button-down shirts. The throb of techno from inside. Just let me in there, you want to say, I swear I will be able to make fun of this music much more effectively once I’m inside. It’s a whole process.

This party is on the roof of this hotel. The “roof” turns out to be on the fourth floor. I guess the “roof” is always on 4 or 6. I think about asking to see the blueprints, but I am too busy being whisked. A lot of whisking today.

The party is suitably crazy. People are watching the festivities from their rooms overlooking the courtyard, and from hotel rooms in adjacent buildings. If you look up you can see the silhouettes of little kids and their parents and people drinking like it’s a sporting event. I guess it is sort of a sporting event. There is a wrestling ring in the center of everything and briefly, professional wrestling guys are wrestling in it. “Don’t look or you’ll be complicit,” says James, a film writer for MSN. I must be complicit, then, because I look. I am also complicit in the drinking of free Japanese beer and the talking of too loud. Something not surreal almost happens but then it stops happening so the surreal stuff can keep happening unabated.

Later that night, I eat French toast.

Posted by DC at July 30, 2009 02:56 PM

"Something not surreal almost happens but then it stops happening so the surreal stuff can keep happening unabated."

This is one of the most tremendously delightful sentences ever written. I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now after seeing Moriarty's press for your new movie. Love your sensibility and writing style, and can't wait to check out Mystery Team when it gets to Atlanta. You got one book buyer right here too, based on the great writing on the blog. Best of luck with it all...


Posted by: Kevin

Wow! Thanks Kevin!

Posted by: DC

Double-fisting with Patron and a Monster? Bro bro bro your boat, dude!! Hahahaha. Makes me feel as though we are not so far apart.

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