Wednesday July 13
We survived the night in Motel Hell, choosing to not take showers and just get the hell out of there. We heard all sorts of bizarre noises during the night. Very freaky. I felt bad for Aaron since he was actually using the remote for the TV and God knows where that thing has been. I forgot to mention that the night before we saw a little kid swimming in the unlit swimming pool at around midnight. Now, seeing how our room was, can you imagine what kind of things are in that pool?
Anyway, we head out of Vegas by 9 AM and realize while on the main highway into Death Valley that we were almost out of gas. Not a single gas station in sight. Anxiety starts to set in, and we limp along on fumes until we see the sign for the "Last Gas Station Before Death Valley". We barely made it, we were seriously like 10 miles until empty, and were imagining the death march down the hot highway after running out of gas. Whew.
After a long day of driving, we finally get into San Diego around 2 PM; our hotel was the Courtyard Marriott in downtown, a very nice place and only 7 blocks from the Con. Great location for stumbling back in the early morning hours from the Gaslamp District. We checked in and Aaron and I laughed about the other brutal motel from the night before as we keyed into our nice, fresh, clean room.
It had one bed.
Silence. Just our luck, and not exactly what we had planned. We headed back down to the front desk and inquire about a room with 2 beds and they said the best they could do was try to find us another room the next day. They did, however, have a tiny fold-out bed, so we just decided not to be a hassle and just keep the room. We washed the evil from the other motel off, cleaned up and headed down to the Convention Center to scope the situation. In the Center lobby I spotted the giant Uglydolls and vowed to take one of them down at some point during the show. Aaron and I picked up our badges easily, and figured we were in pretty good shape for the show. And then we saw the lines. See, all the other times I’ve been to SDCC as a dealer so I didn’t really think about the line to get in for Preview Night. It was…long. Damn long. I’m not good with numbers, but I’m guessing there were probably a couple million people in line. We headed upstairs to wait around 5 PM. I think the line moved at 5:30, and again at 5:45. As luck would have it, we ran into Cantina-Dan had a great time chatting with him and his sister, who is hot (sorry bro!). Finally, around 6:15 the line really started to move and we were let into the main hall. Preview Night was here!!!
I had planned to do most of the exclusive buying on Wed, since Preview Night has the least amount of people. I guess the other 14,999 people had the same idea. I’ve never seen that many people on Preview Night, but SDCC just keeps getting bigger every year so I’m not too surprised. Luckily, most of the lines for the exclusives weren’t too long, although Gentle Giant already had like 100 people in it. NECA was the first booth we hit, and it already had 30+ in it. I was not surprised to see my luck hold true, as the limit for the King Randor Staction went from 2-per to 1-per when I was about five people from the counter. I next headed to the Mattel booth to check out the awesome new JLU stuff and tried to formulate a plan to steal all the cool new figures, but I was distracted by a bra-less cosplayer and I wandered off. There weren’t many costumes on Wed, but still some other really cool sights to see. The guy dressed as Nazi Kroenen from Hellboy was awesome. Of course I headed to the Hasbro booth to check out the new Joe stuff. Very nice. I was digging the Star Wars Lego setup too. We walked around and bought other stuff too, but decided against picking up all of our pre-ordered stuff (Sideshow, Leia, Mezco, etc) because we were lazy (which I really regretted later). I saw a fairly normal guy who was wearing a raccoon tail out the back of his pants. That was odd. We cursed ourselves for forgetting to hit Joyride for the clear Master Chief; by the time we got over there it was gone.
Around 9 PM I left Aaron to his own devices and headed out to meet the RTM gang for dinner, which was a blast! I think we had around 20-25 people showed up, which was amazing considering how much stuff was going on at the Con. Buca de Beppo was the place, and luckily the gang was smart enough to make reservations; I think the wait for 4 people was about 45 minutes when we got there. I sat with our pal Mike (SDcomics), Rob & Bobbi from RTM and across from the mighty Bill Burns. I didn’t get to meet everyone, but it was still good to put the faces with the likes of Animatedbat, MajorJoe23, BrianMan, FreshMonkey, SpyMagician and the others who unfortunately I’ve already forgotten who have probably already long forgotten me! (sorry!). The highlight of the dinner was the esteemed Mr. Burns showing off his Vigilante & Shining Knight customs. I kept trying to steal them and offering to trade him a soda for ‘em but he thought I was kidding. Seriously, they were truly, truly amazing. Everyone was genuinely nice too, very cool people. It’s pretty funny to be at a table of 25 people and mention the paintjobs on Crisis figures and JLU legs and everyone nods understandingly. Anyway, dinner was excellent and we all bid farewell for the night. At least, I did.
Turns out Aaron was just leaving whatever it was he was doing and he convinced me to go out and have some drinks. Even though we were exhausted, we chose to forgo a good night’s sleep for a good night’s fun. The Gaslamp seemed fairly busy for a Wed night, but some of the bars were virtually empty so we headed to one of the more crowded ones. I don’t even remember where we ended up but it was a cool little place with a live band that wasn’t really playing music as far as I could tell. Just some random playing of instruments and some guy screeching into the mic. And there were some nice-looking females who did their best to hide their obvious attraction. Yeah ladies, we noticed. The scene became a sausagefest pretty quick so around 1 AM we headed back to the hotel for some well-needed rest and to prepare ourselves for the full onslaught of SDCC 2005.
End of Wednesday July 13