My Beef with SDCC

I swear to all that’s unholy, if I see one more tweet, Facebook post, or Tumblr post with people lamenting over missing San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, I’ll jab a red-hot knitting needle into my eye.

I’ve been to SDCC. It was by far my worst convention trip ever (barring a local horror con I volunteered for that was pretty much doomed from the get-go). What went wrong in San Diego? Everything.

-Hotels are expensive. They sell out quickly. What’s left is on the fringes of the city. Ya know, the parts where you don’t want to walk, let alone walk in costume.

-Parking at the convention costs almost as much as the passes.

-Driving in San Diego is like driving blindfolded. With one arm taped to the seat. And your right leg in a plaster cast. Maps are guidelines, suggestions, more like. Everyone is lost and pissed off. Everyone.

-Public transportation isn’t bad, but it’s crowded. Hot. And often confusing. I lucked out, managing to cram in beside a group of locals who knew the drill. You won’t always be so lucky.

-If you’re not paying attention, you’ll get hit by a train or a car. Even with police assistance, the crowds are just too much for foot traffic. Impatient people shove others out of the way. A few times, I was pushed off the sidewalk. Luckily, oncoming traffic was stopped at the light.

-Waiting. And waiting. And waiting some more. Everyone sees the panel list for SDCC and says, “Oh my god, you get to see [insert TV/movie cast here].” No you don’t. The line for Hall H, where all the big panels are held, is like . . . 12 hours long. At no point are you guaranteed a spot inside. When I attended three years ago, the Hall H line was over a mile long. I ended up watching the Walking Dead panel online in my hotel room that night to turn in my report for the ZSC. The *only* time I got to see a person I’d planned to was after standing in a ~3 hour line to draw in a lottery to get autographs from Sherrilyn Kenyon. (Note: This is no reflection on Sherri, her staff, or her publisher. This is how SDCC handles guests who a) Draw a crowd, b) Have a marketable name, c) Do not wish to charge for autographs at a smaller signing table. Sherri was a sweetheart, giving each person in line ample face-to-face time–despite suffering from a migraine.)

-Food. It’s awful. Greasy. Inedible for someone like me who has to be very, very careful about what they eat. I ended up surviving on Starbucks oatmeal for the weekend. It was *literally* the only food on-site I could find that wouldn’t land me in the hospital. Not to mention, the food is expensive.

-Overcrowding. There were times when I couldn’t walk the floor. Traffic just stopped. Usually because some named actor was making an appearance and everyone wanted to rubberneck/take a shitty overhead picture. I had to make scheduled breaks and find a quiet place to hide where I wasn’t being elbowed, stepped on, yelled at, or forced to endure the stench of humanity. Even if everyone bathes before entering the con, about an hour in it just smells bad.

-General confusion. The convention is huge. I probably saw less than 1/4 of what was available because it’s so spread out. The maps fucking suck. The schedule is useless if you don’t know where stuff is. If you’re a first-timer, there’s no point attending unless you have a guide who knows *everything* about the convention. Don’t bother asking staff. They’re too harried to deal with someone who’s trying to salvage their trip.

Some may say, “Oh you don’t like comic-cons, then. They’re all like that.”

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One of my day jobs revolves around conventions. Attending them. Working with their staff. Meeting fans and hearing their stories about their trip. I’ve seen both sides of the convention coin. When I say SDCC is awful, I mean it.

What conventions do I like? Wizard World has been doing good things lately. Their staff is friendly, hard-working, and in-tune with the needs of not only their guests and vendors, but also the fans attending their events. WW works their butts off to deliver a fun weekend. Texas Frightmare Weekend (when I attended a few years ago) was likewise hard-working and kind. Wondercon, run by the same folks who do SDCC, is much more fan-friendly. There’s a few conventions the day job works with, but since I haven’t been to those events in person yet, I’ll hold judgment.

I highly suggest saving your money and sparing yourself the aggravation SDCC breeds. Look for a smaller convention. Sure, they won’t have all the big names SDCC does, but as I said before, just because those big-name actors are present, doesn’t mean you’ll ever see them. A little secret, you can request actors attend certain events. Send a (nicely-worded) note to the convention you’re considering. They’ll work to contact the actor or their representative and make necessary arrangements. Sometimes it doesn’t work out–the actor isn’t comfortable with public appearances, they’re filming, have another engagement preventing them from attending. But it doesn’t hurt to ask. Convention promoters aren’t psychic. They don’t know who you, the fans, want to meet unless you tell them.

This rant ended up longer than anticipated. Oops. Whatever. It’s necessary information, I believe.

Podcast-Thingie: Everyone, Let’s Hump!

Here we go again. Another episode. Another dent in the longevity of my liver. My poor, poor liver.

Also, I attempt to predict where the show is going plot-wise. And likely failed.True-Blood-1x05-850x560

Clicky, clicky. Hands off dicky. (Yeah, I’ve ran out of ways to get you guys to actually click the link to listen to the podcast.)

Brilliant!

Today’s post is a complete cop-out. And I’m not sorry in the least. Everyone’s sent this video my way today. They were right to. It tickles my writer/editor brain. Yes, the source music is gross. Weird Al made it something far better.

Podcast-Thingie: Not Total Rubbish

tumblr_n8epd8IFPt1rud800o2_500I survived another week of True Blood. This deserves a celebration.

Instead you get another twenty-minute podcast. I’m so giving.

Click the damn link and listen to the podcast.

Too Much Self Love

Get your heads out of the gutter, guys.

We’re talking body image today. Major media has its own idea what we should look like. These standards change hourly and are completely unrealistic. For most of the human population. For the few who happen to meet the standards, they’re suddenly a puppet for the media or weak-willed for giving into the bullshit rhetoric.

The people calling bullshit? They’re supposed to be the ones standing up for our right to be us. I’m looking at a certain musician, whose vast fanbase foams at the mouth anytime body image issues hit Twitter or Facebook. It’s insane. These people buck at anything they consider propaganda of “the man” who wants to hold us back from being our true selves.

Don’t shave your legs or armpits. Be happy with your beer belly. Natural hair all the way. Weight doesn’t matter. Go ahead, eat that entire fucking cheesecake. Wear whatever clothes you want!

It goes on and on until I want to gouge out my eyes. And the worst part? They think they’re helping.

But they aren’t. They’re making people who detest body hair feel ashamed. Personally, I hate it. Body hair (aside from my arms) is uncomfortable, downright painful at times and itchy the rest of the time. Give me smooth legs without constant tugging anytime I put on a pair of leggings. Dare I point this out in the midst of the “Leave our bodies as they are naturally!” group? Fuck no. I hide my smooth armpits. Duck my head and shuffle away from the social media shitstorm until they find a new topic to yell about or their leader vanishes into another creativity cave.

Don’t even get me started on fitness shamers. “Eat what you like.” Sure, if you want to be dead around 50. I watched my father eat himself to death. Spent my entire childhood certain that this time when Dad went in for surgery, his cholesterol-clogged heart would give out. He topped the scales at over 500 pounds at one point. Couldn’t walk. Doctors spent decades attempting to fix his back after a motorcycle accident and with his added weight, nothing worked. His diabetes had us wondering when the day would come when they had to amputate his feet. Would he eat correctly to save himself, to stay alive and spend more time with his two daughters? Nope. Fuck the man, he wanted to eat two pounds of ground beef for dinner.

My father wasn’t at my high school graduation.

So when people look at me, having recently lost over 50 pounds, they sneer. “You looked fine.” “You’re getting too skinny.” “Look at you, scrawny.”

I also had a health condition I couldn’t get treatment for until recently. The only way I could be here for my mother and nephew was to change my diet. I would not leave them behind so I could eat cheesecake and hamburgers. The weightloss was a bonus. I just wanted to live.

So yeah, sure, fine. Live your life however you want. Get fat. Wear clothes that cut off circulation and pinch nerves because they don’t fit your body properly. Grow your leg hair out and turn it into teeny tiny dreadlocks. Whatever. But keep in mind the decisions that’ll affect people who love you. And most importantly, don’t push your choices on the world at large. You be you. I’ll be me.

And I look fucking great, no matter what these nutjobs think we should look like just to spit in the eye of The Man.

Podcast-Thingie: Do You Even Continuity Check?

Three episodes in and I’m so close to washing my hands of this show, at one point while recording the podcast, I dropped my head in my hands and questioned my decision to see this thing through to the end.

Yes. This episode of True Blood is that bad.0

You know the drill. Click the link to listen to the podcast.

Character Interruptus

Please say I’m not the only author this happens to. I’m happily trucking along on the current WIP, pounding out 2k words in an hour or so. Suddenly everything hits a wall. Not because I’ve lost touch with the characters or plot. They’re all right there, staring at . . . a newcomer. Who doesn’t belong in this book or universe.

*facepalm*

Grab a trusty (falling apart, with half a blank page left, but if you lose the damn thing, you’ve lost the entire fucking book series) notebook and jot down whatever this newcomer spits out. Then happily go back to the WIP.

At least, that’s what is supposed to happen. And does, typically. I came up with my incubus series on the ass-end of writing the first vampire book. Now that the vampires are almost done, my brain is shopping for the next stand-alone idea. I’m not ready to jump back into writing two series a year after the vampires are done. It’s been grueling. My poor brain needs something fun I can vomit onto the page without putting a damn ring on that bitch. I need a one-night-stand. Okay, more like a six to eight month fling. Whatever, the metaphor kinda works.

Problem is, the voices waving at me from the dark are ones I’d given up as a total loss. I started their story eight or nine years ago. It was shit. Or at least I felt like it had no where to go. Now that I’ve figured out this writing thing, there’s a glimmer of hope. Maybe I can salvage them. Could this be my stand-alone to work on next summer? There’s a catch . . . .

“It’s not nice to talk about someone behind their back. Unless it’s flattery, little scribbler.”

Son of a whore. That’s the catch. Aksel. Long-time readers know this sick fucker well. Hell, some request his unholy presence far more often than I’m comfortable channeling him.

“Because you’re afraid you like what I do. Fear is weakness. We should cut it out.”

Would you let me talk, Aksel?

“Are you going to tell them how wonderful I am? My blade skills are unmatched in this world.”

You did it for me. Now give me a minute to get the ideas on the page before I forget what the point of this blog was. *pauses*

*Aksel motions for her to speak with a flip of his tanned, black-veined hand*

Where the hell was I? Right, the real catch is, I can’t use asshole over there as-is. He’s got a few . . . quirks that no publisher will touch with a ten foot pole and someone else’s hands operating the damn thing. Quit scowling at me, Aksel. Obviously, changing core traits on a character isn’t pleasant. It’ll be a fight. One I’m determined to win because Aksel and his cohorts for this story are good characters. I just didn’t have the skill all those years ago to do them justice. By the time I’m free to sit with them, I’ll have written two more books. That’s a lot of information to cram in on top of this long-neglected story and have any hope of digging it up.

The only thing working for me, Aksel is an egotistical motherfucker. He won’t let me forget him. His fellow characters? Not so much.

“Only she is important. The others I’ll take care of.”

Would you stop that? Wait until I start writing the book, THEN kill them. How else am I going to show off your skills? (See? I even know how to manipulate him. A voice in my head. Yup, I’ve lost my marbles.)

“You realize, scribbler, that I can see the little aside you typed up there, right? I was not born yesterday.”

Quit pointing out my stupidity, Aksel. I need to wrap this up, put you back in your box, and talk to the vampires for a few hours.

“They’re boring.”

You’ll like the baddie for this one. Trust me. Now say goodbye to the nice readers.

“All three of them? Sure. I’ll kill them later, as well.”

I give up. Some days, the characters win.

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