gwalla (gwalla) wrote,

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San Diego Comic Con 2006 report part 1: The trip down and Preview Night

I started off the trip on a bad foot by getting off at the Concord BART station instead of North Concord, and ended up waiting around until after midnight. I didn't have Starlock's cell number at that point either. Fortunately Starlock, his daughter Caitlyn, and CPOK did end up getting there (good thing, because BART stopped running) and we took off. The drive down was mostly uneventful (read: I slept through most of it, although we did talk for some of the it, about random things like driving and patriotism and anime). Chief and I did switch off driving duties in a rental (Starlock and Cait took his truck) so he could catch some Zs, but somewhere down a little south of L.A. (I think), I woke up and managed to avoid swerving out of my lane. We took the opportunity to grab some breakfast at Crap in the Sack and swap again. I forget when we finally rolled into San Diego, but I do recall CPOK getting agitated about Starlock not signalling in the lead, forcing us to e.g. cut off a Lincoln just to make an exit.

The first thing we did in San Deeg was head to the airport to pick up moltare and TSKy. Caitlyn had drawn up a two-sided sign for the purpose, and I regret to say I never got a picture of it. It was quite impressively silly. We found Mol first (he'd actually arrived the previous night and gotten a hotel room near the airport), but had to wait for a while for TSKy's plane to empty out. Once assembled, we went (more or less) straight to the Holiday Inn in National City, which is a considerable distance from downtown SD (past the Naval station). We were a little early, and one of the rooms wasn't ready yet, so we chilled in what became the "girls' room". Mol and I exposed each other to silly music via iPods (and I got Wesley Willis's "I Whupped Batman's Ass" stuck in his head). TSKy kept getting calls from her friend whose name I can't remember, who she was at first supposed to meet downtown but it got changed to him just taking the trolley all the way out because she didn't realize how long it would take and then he overshot because he didn't realize that you had to press a button to open the doors and detrain even though he lived there and TSKy kept getting madder and madder. He did finally make it. I introduced a few people to Bang!, the spaghetti western card game. TSKy liked it (which could have had something to do with the fact that she won).

johnforstershowed up, and I cajoled him into giving me a ride to get some camera batteries (I had film, but no power). We were also joined by CPOK's two Canadian friends, Hellfire and The Quiet One Whose Name I Could Never Remember. Sometime later, after we'd gotten our stuff into the second room, we took off for Preview Night. For those who've never done the San Diego Comic Con thing, Preview Night is something they added some years back, a special half-day only for people who pre-registered. The booths aren't necessarily fully set up yet, but it is a good opportunity to case the joint before the real crowds. When they first started doing it, it was pretty quiet, but word got around and now even Preview Night is pretty busy.

Pardon the weird color washes. Part of this roll of film got exposed to sunlight. I'm surprised any of it's salvageable, actually.

When taking the trolley from National City, you have to transfer to a different line to get to the convention center stops. The transfer point is actually not far from the convention center itself—it's a bit of a walk, but not bad. I ended up just walking to and from the transfer station most of the time unless I was really tired, since it was quicker than waiting for a trolley. This shot is of a large sculpture thingamajig next to the center, as seen while walking from the transfer station.
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Getting in on preview night was a breeze. It used to be that at the pre-registration line, you had to go to the booth for the first couple of letters of your last name, and they had to look up your name in little index cards. No more. The new pre-reg tickets have bar codes, and they just scanned it and let you through. No line whatsoever, even thought Preview Night was pretty packed. Pre-reg has always been the way to go (the on-site lines are insane), but now you're crazy if you don't pre-reg.

New Line had a big area to promote their upcoming movies. One of them was Guillermo Del Toro's new movie Pan's Labyrinth, which looks weird and potentially cool. However, most of the space was devoted to a film that everybody on teh Intarwebs should be familiar with by now:
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I bet you that if SoaP hadn't become an Internet phenomenon, it wouldn't have even been mentioned at the New Line booth.

They really had a ball designing this booth. Not only did they have a big snake/airliner thingy, but they laso had put up "in case of snakes" safety instruction signs (and passed out a little handout with more), and if you walked into the snakeplane you could see actual props and costumes from the movie (the sign is a little blurry but says "Actual Wardrobe worn by Samuel L. Jackson"), and a video that included the SoaP trailer and music video.

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The UDON booth. Sadly, zubkavich is not visible in this pic. Fortunately, some hawt pixxx of Capcom fighting ladies as drawn by UDON artists are.
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That booth was always crowded. I should've made time to get a sketch of Taskmaster (love their redesign for Deadpool/Agent X), but never got around to it.

The Hot Wheels booth had LIVE SCRATCHING! This was super sweet. On Preview Night they only had two guys and they weren't in costume (more on this later), but they were actually pretty good.

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After the dealer floor closed up, John and I met up and tried to gather the rest, but it turned out they'd left earlier. So we went to the Gaslamp District and got some good (albeit pricey) Italian food. Nice seafood pasta. Back at the room there was horsing around and watching videos (far too many AMVs), and sleep sometime in the early morning.
Tags: cons, photos

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