I haven’t gotten around to blogging from San Diego at all this year. It’s just been too busy. I’ve had a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my head, though. The con is over now, and I’m back in my hotel room with not much to do, so I thought I’d write a long rambling blog post on a few things that came up during the con.
A lot of people have blogged about how the city of San Diego doesn’t think that the con contributes as much to the local economy as other, smaller, cons that are, shall we say, a bit more upscale. I got into a discussion with a cab driver today, and I can tell you that the cab drivers have loved the past few days. This guy said that the cabbies were making $300 to $500 a day over the last few days, which is apparently a lot more than they usually make. He said things had slowed down today (Sunday), but he was still doing pretty well. And I can say that, just walking around the Gaslamp and Horton Plaza, I’m seeing a heck of a lot of con folks moving around and (presumably) spending money.
The combination of my iPod Touch and having free wifi at the convention center turned out to be a very good thing. There’s always a lot of empty time to fill at the con, sitting in a panel room between panels, or waiting in line for something. I got in the habit of bringing out my iPod Touch at these times, and browsing through a few comics-related newsfeeds through Google Reader. This allowed me to keep up with stuff that was going on elsewhere at the con during the day, rather than having to wait until I got back to the hotel room and my laptop. Very useful, and kind of fun.
Due to the huge size of the con now, I had pretty low expectations about how many panels I would actually be able to get into. I was pleasantly surprised about my success rate in that area. I got into the Fringe preview on Wednesday night, no problem. I got into the Doctor Who and Torchwood panels on Thursday and the Stargate Continuum and Atlantis panels on Friday. The only big problem I had was on Friday afternoon and evening, when they closed off the line for room 6B, so I didn’t see the Venture Bros panel or the MST3K 20th anniversary panel. I wound up leaving the con earlier than I’d really wanted to on Friday, just because I couldn’t really get into any of the nighttime stuff that I was interested in. I spent a little time in one of the anime rooms watching Gurren Lagann, then just took off around 7pm, I think.
I did pretty well on Saturday, though. Saturday is traditionally the most crowded day at the con, but I think the dynamic may have changed a bit on that. Or maybe it’s just me. I plunked myself down in one panel room around 10am, and basically stayed there all day, until around 4:30pm.
Saturday night I went to a live Rifftrax event outside the convention center, at the Balboa Theater downtown. It was a live “riff” on Plan 9 From Outer Space. Not that it’s at all hard to make fun of that movie, but the guys (Nelson, Murphy, and Corbett) did a great job. Very funny.
Today, Sunday, I again went to a bunch of panels, but this time I actually had to get up and switch rooms a few times. I never really had to wait in line for a panel, nor did I fail to get into any panel, though.
I stayed at the Sheraton on Harbor Island this year, which is the farthest I’ve ever been from the convention center. I can’t say I’m happy about that, and it has been a bit of an inconvenience, but it was manageable. The shuttle bus situation was a little problematic. There are two separate towers to the Sheraton, and they’re about a five-minute walk apart from each other. I’m staying in the “Bay Tower” which is basically the secondary one. On the first day of the con, a bunch of us waited in front of our building for the shuttle bus for about an hour. It turned out that the bus was filling up at the main tower, and just wasn’t bothering to come by our tower at all. I wound up taking a cab to the con that day, and I’ve just walked over to the main tower every day since and caught the shuttle there. No big problem, but it just seems like something they could have figured out, maybe by having every other bus (or every third bus) stop at the Bay Tower first.
And I’ve found myself taking cabs on a few other occasions, to get from downtown back to the hotel or vice versa. There’s really no viable mass transit option to get off Harbor Island, as far as I can tell. I’m definitely hoping to get into a downtown hotel next year, assuming I go back.
Overall, a great con. I’ve definitely had a good time, learned a few things, seen some interesting people, had a few good laughs, and discovered a few comics, movies, and books that I hadn’t previously heard of. I’ve got a bunch more stuff I could blog about, but this post is already too long, and I need to pack, so I’ll just save that stuff up for another day.