PH and I drove to Seattle for Emerald City Comicon. We’ve been looking forward to it for months, ever since we found out that George Takei, a bunch of PH’s favourite web comic artists, Christopher Lloyd, and a bunch of great voice talents would be there.
My only disappointment was that Journey Quest didn’t seem to be making an appearance. Then Christopher Lloyd dropped out and I was more diappointed.
Nevertheless, the lure of George Takei was strong, and PH and I haven’t had a trip to Seattle since Owl was born. We went to stay in our usual motel, a sleazy inn with rates to match, but with the added benefit of in-room private Jacuzzis in some of the rooms. Carol Heaven. Probably also Chlamydia Heaven, but so far I’ve been lucky.
In preparation for meeting George Takei, I ordered a special onesie for Owl. After all, you don’t get to meet a Meme Hero every day.
I should mention that while I have no objections to Star Trek, I am not a trekkie. My fandom of George Takei has been slowly growing since he made this video:
This man is the same age as my father, but as awesome as my father is in many ways, he has never made a Youtube video calling a homophobic teacher a douchebag.
I love pretty much everything George Takei posts on his Facebook page, which I now follow. I love how comfortable he is with his sexuality, and how he commits himself to the LGBT cause. I love his sense of humor, which matches that of a much younger man (seriously, how many 70 year olds do YOU know who use Facebook correctly and are up to date on the latest memes?). I love that his husband changed his last name to Takei.
…And let’s face it, you have to love that deep voice and his arch tones.
So George Takei was totally my number one goal in attending Comicon.
We knew it would be busy. I knew the lines would be crazy. Even so, we were overwhelmed. PH was shocked by the sheer density of the crowds, whereas I had simply not anticipated how broken-up everything was.
I think we spent three quarters of our time at Comicon just trying to go from Point A to Point B. There were several floors, which were to be expected.
What we had not expected were the following:
- That events would be split between two separate buildings, joined only by a single crowded pedway.
- That escalators and elevators would be constantly broken down (our favourite moment was wrestling a stroller down a non-moving escalator after being told that the elevator was broken, only to be told by a different volunteer at the bottom that it WAS working, but being reserved for people in wheelchairs, seniors, and PEOPLE WITH STROLLERS).
- That there would be almost no signs directing you from place to place.
- That the map in the booklet would be completely impossible to navigate from, since it just showed each floor separately without showing how each one connected to the other or WHICH BUILDING EACH ONE WAS ON.
- That comic book artists would be constantly disappearing from their signing tables, even when there were signs up announcing that they were supposed to be signing right now.
So our day looked like this:
- Follow the directions “Go down the hall, turn left, turn left again, go through the glass doors, and turn right to get to the badge line”
- Wait in line for forty five minutes just to get our admission badges (having purchased tickets well in advance). I wander outside the line with a restless Owl.
- Try to figure out map.
- End up outside.
- End up wandering the road trying to find the other building.
- Discover other building.
- Wait for elevator.
- Discover that elevator is broken.
- Discover that we cannot call the other elevator, because every time the call button is pressed, the broken elevator’s doors just pop open.
- Figure out that pushing the down call button calls an elevator, albeit going the wrong way.
- Get up to the correct floor.
- Fight way through crowd.
- Find line for George Takei. Realize that we will be waiting in line for literally hours.
- Wait in line for 20 minutes only to discover that this is an autograph-only line, and photographs will be taken later.
- Leave line, go to find comic artists.
- Find the table for one of PH’s favourites, but there is a sign directing us to a different table for signing. We buy merchandise for him to sign and fight our way through the crowd to the signing table. Artist is not there. No one knows when he’ll be back.
- Realize it’s already Owl’s nap time and we have accomplished nothing.
And so on.
I ended up taking Owl back to the car (three blocks away) and driving him around for an hour and a half so that PH could find his artists and wait in lines unencumbered. When Owl and I returned, PH was happily carrying several signs pieces of memorabilia. His favourite comic artist had not yet reappeared at the signing table, however, and he had decided that the line for Byan Lee O’Malley was too long, so his complete collection of Scott Pilgrim books didn’t get signed. This miffed him slightly because he liked Scott Pilgrim before Scott Pilgrim was cool, but on the other hand, choosing not to wait in the insane line was his own choice.
Then again, there were so many fellow geeks there, that I wonder whether the movie really had much to do with that long line…
We fed Owl and then we decided to try for The Missing Artist again, so we fought up to the Comic level and through the crowd to the signing booth again. The good news was – he was there! The bad news was – a “minion” (the volunteer helper types) said we couldn’t get in the line for a signature because the people who were currently lined up had won some kind of lottery. He did not know when we would be able to return for an autograph, or whether we even could. PH turned away from the minion’s useless shrugs before he could punch the guy.
Instead, we went to get in line for a photo with George Takei.
At first, we thought we had actually managed to do something right. We paid for our photo in advance, and were some of the first people in line at the photo op section. Yay!
Then they let in about 100 people in front of us – VIPs or something.
So we waited. And waited. And waited. We read to Owl. I nursed him. We tickled him. We tried to keep him from poking other people. We tried to keep him clean.
When the line finally started moving, we were both relieved and concerned by HOW FAST it moved. Clearly you didn’t get any actual time with George Takei – the “minion” at the autograph line had said things move slowly because “George likes to talk” but clearly that would not be the case for the photo ops. They had hundreds of people who had paid good money for their photo with George Takei, and he had a talk scheduled in forty minutes.
When we got to the front of the line, it was like being thrown into a war zone. They snatched our bags and stroller from us, yelling “go! go!” and when I slowed down to put Owl’s boot back on they nearly exploded in frustration. They pushed me next to someone who I recognized as George Takei, snapped our photo, and threw us out, yelling “next!”
Credit goes to George Takei, who must have been feeling more like a dummy than a human being, grinning inanely for hundreds of photos while people dressed as Klingons and women with snotty babies were thrown in next to him. Even with all of that, and a time budget of, like, 5 seconds per photo, he took the time to say hello to Owl, comment on his Trekkie onesie, and ask me his name.
I was impressed, really.
If felt that as long as the photo turned out okay, it would all be worth it. I wanted a picture of Owl looking cute with George Takei.
An hour or two later, we picked up our photo. PH looked apprehensive as he handed the photo to me. The picture had cost me a good chunk of my E-lance money, and several hours of our time. He knows I don’t take disappointment well.
“It… there’s… some lense flare on your glasses,” he warned me. I grabbed the photo from him.
There certainly was a bright flare on my glasses, making me look like I have no soul. George Takei had a fixed and slightly manic grin on his face (the man’s mouth must have been ACHING by the end of the day) and he looked sort of as though he was contemplating devouring my child. PH was standing slightly off to the side, looking as though he had just sidled into a photo that wasn’t really supposed to include him, and Owl looked completely bemused.
Because it is:
Better yet, guess who we spotted while waiting in line somewhere else?
THE ACTORS FROM JOURNEY QUEST.
It turns out they WERE there, just under the banner of ZombieOrpheus entertainment. I got to meet and talk to Emilie Rommel Shimkus, the actress who plays Wren, who says she has a baby just Owl’s age. I was introduced to Christian Doyle, who plays Perf, and we bought the DVD of the 1st season.
And we came out sporting the photo with George Takei, signed books from The Oatmeal and Questionable Content, signed artwork from Something Positive, and signed refrigerator poetry from Dinosaur Comics (which includes the word “heteroflexible”, to PH’s delight).
So, basically, despite everything, the weekend rocked.
And Owl LOVED the Jacuzzi, which he called “BUBBLES”.
*Seriously, please leave hilarious caption suggestions in your comments – that picture is TOO AWESOME*