Thursday, March 01, 2007

Steve's off to Wondercon. 

I'll be at the con all three days, sitting in artist's alley, table AA78. Stop by and mention you saw this on the Mercury Studio blog and time permitting, I'll doodle out a free quick sketch.

Hm. I guess I might as well start my con diary. I haven't done one in a while, so let's see if I still have anything to say.

Thursday,March 1st. Sara and I got home late Wednesday night after an evening at the local comics salon, a weekly event at which people who are interested in comics meet to talk about everything but. Mostly I ink at a lap board, look up occasionally and make wisecracks. I used to never sleep the night before flying off to a show, but as I stare into the gaping maw of my 40th year, the attraction of staying up the entire night becomes less and less attractive. I'm sure there are important pre-con things I could accomplish. I could run from message board to message board publicizing my appearance, or start a bunch of commissions. I could gather and carefully comb through the stack of original art I plan to bring. Instead, I think I'll spend the time with my wife. We lie down and I close my eyes. My last thought as I drift under is that I'm losing my mercenary edge. Thank god.

Jesse Hamm and his wife Anna are dropping me off at the airport. I'm waiting for a file from an associate, so we hang out at the house a bit and chat. I think Jesse's appalled at how much luggage I plan to lug. I've got two enormous suitcases stuffed with books and art supplies, a giant backpack that's full to bursting with stuff: a laptop, a fed-ex box packed tight with original art, and assorted gadgets and their chargers. And there's a fourth bag with some medical stuff. I've seen people take less to go to Europe for a semester.

Anna's playing with the new cat, and he seems a bit less inclined to murder her than most people. Jesse's checking out a Kurt Schaffenberger page I bought at a con in Jersey twelve years ago. It's a marvel family page with gorgeous, perfect line work and plenty of camp value. Kurt's price is still on it: $25. I distinctly remember sweating over those 25 bucks, agonizing over the choice between this page and two others, equally great. I had a different career then.

I've overpacked, of course. Both of my bags are way over the airline's fifty pound weight limit. I probably won't be able to do curbside check-in, and I'll wind up paying a fifty dollar penalty at the counter. Can't hurt to try, though. The guy at the kiosk is a bruiser. There's a twenty visible in my hand. The guy hefts the bags, says "kinda heavy" in a way that sounds like approval, then loads them on his cart. "There's a, um two dollar per bag fee, sir." he informs me, gesturing to a sign. "Here you go. Keep the change."

The flight's delayed and I spend an hour or so emailing back and forth with Jesse Hamm, Jeff Parker, Ron Randall, and David Hahn. Ron Chan calls while I'm google chatting with a guy he's sitting next to. It's like I've never left the studio. Meanwhile there's some awful hacking going on next to me. Just like the studio- no, I kid. No, it's a tiny, lovely woman, Filipina, maybe, and every time she coughs, her hair flies straight forward. When she stops, she's got the total Cousin It thing going. It's kind of adorable. An older woman starts a conversation with her and evidently they're part of the same sorority. "Bet there's a lot of colds and coughs going around the house." "Oh yah- pneumonia, the flu, some weird stomach bug. It's reall-HUKACK-really bad." Whenever the older woman looks directly at Coughing Girl, she puts on an odd expression. She closes her eyes and scrunches up her entire face, then smiles. She doesn't open her eyes again until she's looked away again.

Eventually, we get to board. Easy flight. No anecdotes.

Arrive in SFO and pass security on the way to baggage claim. There's a woman at the metal detector, arms straight at her sides, wrists six inches from her hips. It's a familiar pose from countless amateur portfolios. She's being wanded in the glass front box for some reason or another, and there's an air vent catching her hair, blowing it in her face like the Coughing Girl back in Portland, but she's got a huge delighted smile, like the world's happiest sheepdog.

My cabbie is enthusiastic and friendly with no English vocabulary I can discern. He looks at the printed hotel address I show him. Light dawns! Aha! Yes! We take off and he drives like a maniac. Worse, when I glance in the mirror, I notice something truly scary. I think he's closing his eyes when he changes lanes. Christ. I'm the last guy to tell anyone how to drive, but that's fucked up. I know I'll never get it across to him that he shouldn't do that, so what can I do? I close mine, and hope to god it really does take two to make an accident. When my eyes open, we've arrived safely at the Chancellor Hotel.

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