I left work and headed to the shuttle that would let me get to the southbound train. Caught the shuttle and the train with no trouble. At the Santa Fe Depot, I walked the half block or so to the America Plaza stop for the trolley, and noticed a sizable crowd.
One thing that surprised me there, and when The Coaster had been at the Old Town station which also serves the trolley lines, was the number of people already in elaborate costume. The most startling was the person in a full fur suite at the Old Town station -- in sun in 70+ heat with moderately high humidity ("Muggy" for San Diego, "average" or even "dry" for Chicago)!
As soon as the trolley got to the Convention Center stop, I got off, and found myself in a line just to get across the street. As I was finally approaching the intersection, I did notice that the walk signal was already a blinking red, but decided that stopping at that point might have resulted in me getting trampled.
I fairly quickly got my badge -- but after walking back and forth across the convention center a couple of times -- and found Tara. Since nothing was opened yet other than registration, we decided to head into the Gaslamp for dinner. We ended up a The Old Spaghetti Factory attached to the Hard Rock hotel (at least physically) and had a nice dinner. We then headed back to the Convention Center.
Not far down the block, the
SciFi SyFy people had taken over a vacant restaurant space, and dressed it as Cafe Diem from Eureka. We picked up some more SyFy swag (including a t-shirt and a bunch of iron on transfers -- more about that later) and posed for pictures with a couple of the characters. The person from SyFy who took the pictures said that they would be on Facebook, but they aren't there yet. (I'll keep checking back and will tag them when I find them).
We then headed into the Convention Center and started heading down the dealers' room. We fairly quickly found Off World Designs and said "Hi" to Barb (but Tara missed that Ray was also there busily painting someone's shirt. We continued around the room, looking at some of the stuff. Tara picked up a couple of $1.00 buttons, but I didn't find much that was of great interest yet: a couple of books I might pick up at some point, but probably from a local bookshop if I can find my way to Kerney Mesa (or is it Clairmont Mesa) and remember to buy them.
In the area with the Web Comics, we stopped by Studio Fogilio and said "Hi" to alicebentley, and Tara committed commerce with them (the latest Girl Genius). Nearby I noticed that there were copies of the Evil Inc. annual reports, and I think that Brad J. Guigar was signing. I may stop by later.
After covering only about half of the dealers' room (up to aisle 1600 of over 2600) we were both dead on our feet and decided to step out for a break. We quickly decided that it was time to head home, at which point we made the first of our two mistakes of the evening.
Upon leaving the convention center, we headed left towards the slightly nearer Convention Center stop, and promptly joined a crowd waiting to board trolleys. But once the trolleys started coming they were mostly full and could only take a few, if any, more passengers. Had we headed to the Gaslamp stop, we would have encountered a similar crowd, but would have at least had empty trolleys.
Out second mistake was shortly afterwords. We boarded an "orange line" train that would require two changes to get to Tara's car at Qualcomm Stadium. The problem was that each time, we ended up waiting for quite a while for a train. Worse, when we got to Old Town, we ended up boarding a "red line" train, which is the special event service from The Convention Center to Qualcomm Stadium. We've learned our lessons, and will now board only red line trains at the Gas Lamp (whether or destination is Old Town (where Tara hopes to park today and tomorrow, and I hope to park on Saturday and Sunday) or Qualcomm Stadium (the backup for all 4 days if Old Town is full).
Because of the combination of the delays getting the trains moving, and the waiting to change trains twice, we didn't get to Qualcomm Stadium until after 10:30 -- two hours after we left the Convention Center! Then, when we started heading north we discovered that CalTrans (or one if their contractors) had decided to close I-5 North down to 1 lane someplace North of Via del Valle -- resulting in a backup that exceeded what I've seen on Friday rush hours. Fortunately, we escaped at Via del Valle, and were able to take care of some personal business at a Chevron station before heading North on the Pacific Coast Highway.
When all was said and done, we'd got home just about midnight, much too late for my 5:00am alarm!
I'll admit I'm getting a bit worried about how much I'll enjoy CommicCon. While there are some panels I'm looking forward to (and several that I'd love to go to if I wasn't at work today and tomorrow), the crowds last night are starting to scare me a bit. I don't always do well in crowds (I actually have felt like I couldn't breathe at times, I got close last night). I'm not sure if it will be better or worse as the weekend goes on. Last night was mostly people who had 4 day badges, which is a set fraction of the total badges. So, there will be more bodies on site each of the next four days. But there will also be more events for them to be going to.
The crowds also worry me in regards to some of the potentially more popular panels. I don't fancy standing in line for a long time, only to end up sitting so far back in a massive, flat, ballroom that I cannot really see or hear what is going on.
I hope that we'll be able to spend a bit more time looking around the dealers' room (which does go by a different name, FWIW), and will be able to at least see some of my panels. But the pessimist in me is already planning on spending time sitting watching the bay, looking around Seaport Village or The Gaslamp, or finding other things to do while crowded out of the convention.
As I mentioned the SyFy people gave us white t-shirts and iron-on transfers to make a shirt supporting our favorite shows from their channel. I've been thinking that if I had the time, and the magic paper that turns an ink-jet printer into a source for iron-on transfers (both of which are not at hand at the moment) I'd be tempted to make up a shirt featuring the old Sci-Fi logo, and some of the shows that they killed before their time (Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Farscape come to mind). But I don't know if I'm up to either spending the time or being that provocative.