Jan. 11th, 2006 03:33 pm
captpackrat: (Plush)
Hotel reservation canceled. No FC this year.

I just couldn't see spending $600 (minimum) to go to a con when I've got $900 worth of taxes due in 2 months, $400 worth of bills sitting on my desk and only $1400 in the bank.

EDIT: After paying off all the bills and the property taxes (which are technically due Feb 1, but they don't start fining you until April), I've got about $270 left in the bank until next payday (the week after FC). Definitely no con this year.
captpackrat: (Plush)
Took the first step today and withdrew from the dealers room at FC.

Not having the stress of working a table has somewhat increased my willingness to go, but losing the income from the table hurts my financial chances of going.

I have until Sunday before I have to make a decision whether or not to cancel the room reservation. After that point, there's no turning back. If I cancel the reservation, I can't go, not without staying in another hotel (which sucks). If I don't cancel the reservation by then, I might as well go, because I'll be charged for the room anyway.
captpackrat: (Plush)

I'm wondering if I should skip FC this year.

It's going to cost about $400 for the hotel room, and at least $100 in gas.  And even if I cheap out and bring my own food, that's going to cost a good $50-100 more.

And what will I end up doing at FC?  Sitting behind a table all day, selling art that nobody is interested in and comics that everyone already has.  The people who I really wanted to spend time with aren't going to be there.  Without my SO  there to motivate me to do stuff, I'll just end up sitting in my hotel room the rest of the con.  And I'll probably get sick, like I do every year.


Or I could be just as bored and lonely at home, use that $600 to pay the property taxes, and save up my vacation time at work.


Anybody want a table in the dealer's room?

captpackrat: (Default)

Bold = dealer   Italics=Professional   Underline=sponsor

Disneyana Con 1994

Comic-Con International 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

Comic Book Expo 1998, 2000
Confurence 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003

Condor 1998, 1999, 2000
Further Confusion 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

Critter Con Diego 2000, 2001

Califur 2005

California Computer Expo 1999

captpackrat: (Akbar Press)


Big ass boring convention report )


Even though I'd paid for a table, I changed my mind about it, unfortunately too late to get a refund.  

My SO wasn't going to be there, so I'd have to man the table alone.  Yarf!, which had been my neighbors at CCI for the past 7 years, wasn't going to be there.  Anthrocon was the weekend before CCI, so sales would be abysmal.  Gasoline is up to $2.70 a gallon, so I'd end up spending over $100 in gas.  There was a Padres game every night of the Convention, making traffic and parking an even greater nightmare than ever before.  And I'd have to take a day off from work without pay.

 Since I wasn't going to use my table, I offered it to the folks at Califur.

Friday, I got up at about 5 am to get ready for the trip down there.  I hit the ATM for some cash, then dashed through Jack In The Box for a couple Jumbo Jacks, then headed for the Oceanside Transit Center.  I got there at about 6:15, and the lot was already about half full.  I'd just missed the 6:06 Coaster, so I waited for the 6:44.  I met a few other people who were also going to the con.  Many jokes were made about my looking like a security guard or conductor (I was dressed in black slacks, a white button-down shirt, and my trademark Captain's cap), especially when people came up to me asking for information.  Since I used to take the Coaster all the time, I was able to answer their questions with ease, which set my new travel companions to giggling.

The train was getting pretty full by the time we got to Solana Beach station.  Virtually every seat was occupied on the lower level of the train.  But at the next stop, Sorrento Valley, about 3/4 the passengers left.  It's funny that the busiest station is also the smallest and has the worst transit connections.

We arrived at the Santa Fe Depot at about 7:45.  The station is a relic from the days when people used to do most of their traveling by train.  All the other stations on the line, even the Amtrak stops, are fairly simple concrete sidings, most with overhangs to keep the passengers dry and a few vending machines or lunch carts (Oceanside is the exception, with a Burger King as part of the bus/train complex).  Santa Fe Depot is an honest to goodness train station, with rows of benches and kiosks and whatnot.  It appears that large sections of the building have been shut off from the public, probably because train travel is so uncommon today.

The shuttle busses to the convention center didn't start until 8:00, and wasn't supposed to reach the train station until 5 minutes later, so I had a bit of a wait.  I thought about crossing the street to the trolly station and looking around, but I didn't want to take a chance on missing the bus.  At that time of the morning, they only ran every 20 minutes.  It was a good thing I didn't, because the driver showed up at almost exactly 8:00.  As they have for several years now, the Con had contracted a bunch of charter busses, the kind with the nice, cushy seating.  They always have the TVs turned off on the busses; I've always thought they should be running advertising from local businesses.  The route schedule said it would be 15 minutes from the train station to the convention center, but it only took about 5 minutes.  The bus dropped me off way down in front of hall F.  At first I was a bit annoyed, because my table was up at hall B, but I discovered that the dealer reg was in hall E, so it saved me quite a walk.

Got my dealer badge, and asked the person behind the counter if [info]alohawolf had picked up the second badge, and was told yes.   Good, that means he must have gotten here before me!  So I made my way down to hall B to wait for the dealer setup to begin and to meet up with the Califurs.

 I waited there for about 30 minutes until they began letting dealer into the main hall and never did see anyone.  So I headed over to the table and hung out there until just before they started letting the public in.  Still nobody.

I headed to one end of the convention hall, hall A, and started walking up and down the aisles, checking out what everybody had.  I slowly made my way up through the hall until about 11:30 I got back to the Small Press area.   My table was still empty.  I sat down for a while, drank a bottle of water and ate some of the granola bars I'd brought.   Still nobody, so I headed out again, continuing my way along the convention hall.

As I started getting into hall C, I started running into the Big Booths, the gigantic spectacles of DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and the like.   The small booths began to thin out, and I started getting into the movie studios and gaming companies and whatnot.   They took up the vast majority of the convention hall.   It's not really a "comic" convention anymore.  The booths actually selling comics make up less than 1/4 of the floor now.   1/8 if you don't count the "Golden Age" booths just selling back issues.

The crowds were thickest in this portion of the hall, so I gave up on trying to see anything further, and just headed down to Artists Alley.   I worked my way though the tables, but didn't see anyone I recognized.   The Alley seemed a lot smaller than last year.

I was getting tired of the crowds, and I figured I'd bought everything I was looking for, so I decided to head home.   I made my way back to the shuttle bus stop and waited.  And waited.  And waited.   I missed the 12:45 Coaster, and the next one wouldn't leave until 2:15.  Great.  It was very hot and humid, and I was hot, sweaty and tired.  The bus finally arrived and I piled onboard.   Fortunately it was well air conditioned.  After a few minutes, we started out, and then I learned why it took 5 minutes to get from the train station when it was supposed to take 15; they had the schedule backwards.  So after waiting a good 20 minutes for the bus, it took about 15 minutes to get to the station.  I could have walked the 1/2 mile in less time.   Along the way, the bus stopped and who should get onboard but Mitch Beiro.  Since nobody had shown up at the table, I offered him the space.

Got to the station, and sure enough, the Coaster was long gone.  But there was an Amtrak waiting there.  I checked at the window, and learned it would be boarding in less than 5 minutes, so I bought a ticket.  It was $13, instead of the $5.25 that the Coaster cost.  But the Amtrak is faster, has a higher priority, has only 1 stop between Oceanside and San Diego (vs 6 for the Coaster), offers a dining car, and has nicer seating.  So I went to stand in the boarding line.   It was nice to see other people taking the train for obviously long trips.  After a few minutes, they started boarding, and I hopped on the dining car.  I snagged a $3 hot dog (still a bargain compared to the convention center food), then made my way further along the train apparently to the first class section.  Nice, airline type seats that fold back and have leg rests, a tray in the seat in front of you and curtains on the windows.  It took about half an hour to get to Oceanside.  I was in my car driving home before the Coaster even left San Diego.

I got a call the next day that [info]alohawolf had car trouble the day before so he wasn't able to make it.  Some of the other Califur folks apparently used the table on Saturday, and were thinking of purchasing a table for next year, so the furry presence in the Small Press area won't be completely lost. 

I'd still like to know whether the person at the registration booth was just an idiot and couldn't look up the badges right, or if someone else had taken the second badge.

Total miles walked: 4.8
captpackrat: (Akbar Press)
For the first time since 1996, I will not be attending Comic-Con the full 5 days and spending the whole time trapped behind a dealer's table.

I'm also not planning on driving, I'll be taking the Coaster. Unfortunately, because of the craptastic weekend Coaster schedule (only 6 trains Saturday, and none at all Sunday), I won't be able to go Saturday or Sunday, and since payday is Friday, I couldn't go Thursday.

So tomorrow morning, I'll drive over to the Coaster station in Oceanside, park in the commuter lot there, and take the train all the way down. There's a handy shuttle bus to and from the convention center, so I won't even have to walk the extra 3/4 mile. It'll cost about $10.50 round trip, but parking at the convention center alone is $8 (or possibly more this year)

I plan on making two sweeps of the convention center, one end to the other and back. I plan on trying to carefully examine each and every booth this year. And when I finish, I'll probably head home. I won't be attending the furry party on Saturday, because there would be no way for me to get home via the train (the last Coaster leaves at 6:45 pm, there's probably a later Amtrak, but they cost a LOT more)

I've offered my table space to Califur, so if you haven't already signed up for next year, drop by Small Press table S2.

I won't be purchasing a dealer's table for next year. It's just gotten WAY too expensive. It was $200 this year for a "fan press" table, with a maximum print run of 350. I think the convention is deliberately trying to push the small press out so they can sell more $1500 booths. Small Press was once a sizeable section of the convention, now it's been whittled down to an area smaller than some of the movie studio spaces.

Fortunately, I qualify for Pro status, so I'll still be attending next year, just not as a dealer.
captpackrat: (Akbar Press)
I'm wondering if I should bother with Comic Con this year. I've already got a table, and I can't get my money back.

But to man the table, I'd have to take a day off of work, put over 500 additional miles on my car, have to fight the worst traffic in the country 5 days in a row, fill up the gas tank at least twice, pay at least $40 worth of parking, and spend money on 5 days of fast food breakfasts (and probably dinners). That's over $300 there.

There's no way I could make $500 profit at the table to break even. Not at the Comic Con, and especially not since Anthrocon is the week before.

Anyone want to rent a small press table at Comic Con? Prime location (S2)!
captpackrat: (Default)
Sales were MUCH better on the second and third days. Combined with the small dealer's room, I actually left with more money in my wallet than when I started, a rare event for me at cons (usually I end up spending everything I make on comics).

I was a bit disappointed that they didn't have the paperwork ready to buy tables for next years con, I always try to get that taken care of at the con so I can hand them the money in person and get a reciept.

The Exploding Whale video was quite popular.

There were a couple ladies walking around wearing EXTREMELY tight pants/shorts. Mrrrr.

There seemed to be a much higher percentage of the fairer sex at this con than usual.

But overall, it was a fairly uneventful con. But I'll be back next year.
captpackrat: (Argh!)
I don't mind people flipping through the comics, what bugs me is the jackasses who spend TEN FREAKING MINUTES standing in front of my table reading a book, getting greasy fingerprints all over it, then putting the book down and walking off.

People like that I want to hit upside the head!

The book costs THREE DOLLARS, DAMMIT! If it interests you that much, JUST BUY THE DAMN THING! Don't block access to my table and get fingerprints all over my merchandise.

"This is not a lending library. Now put that down or I'll blow your head off!"
captpackrat: (Packrat)
I drove up to Califur this morning. I figured I'd save some money by commuting each day instead of staying at the hotel. It's about a 1 hour drive each way.

Registration was a MESS. I was the first person in line, and it took nearly 15 minutes to get my badge.

Rule #1 for convention registration: DO NOT try to laminate everyone's badges on-site! Dealers and pre-reg badges should be assembled in advance. Assembling and laminating a badge takes about 2 minutes. When you have 50 people in line....

The dealer's room was small. VERY small. There were only two comic book publishers there, myself and Jarlidium Press. A large proportion of the tables were people selling "stuff" (i.e. books, jewlry, leather goods, etc, as opposed to art or comics).

Sales were utterly pittiful. I don't think I even made gas money.

I spent a large part of the day playing video games. A large crowd gathered around when I was playing Postal 2. I guess most people have never seen a game with just over the top violence before.

After 8 hours sitting in that awful chair, my back was killing me, and I was feeling very tired and a bit anti-social, so I decided to head home.

Time for bed now, I have to get up at about 6:30 to repeat it all tomorrow.


May. 11th, 2005 05:40 pm
captpackrat: (Default)
My first employee evaluation is coming up Monday. I have to fill out a self-evaluation form. I hate these forms.

Got my InnoPocket magnesium hard case for my Dell PDA. Fits like a glove, it's actually slimmer than the cloth case that the PDA came with, and it nicely protects the screen. The case also makes it hard to accidentally hit to "record" button, which switches the unit on.

Got an e-mail from Comic Con International. Looks like I've been approved for a small press table again this year. Unfortunately, the person who sent out the e-mail with the BOE paperwork put his entire e-mail list on the To: line, which means I'm probably going to be flooded with viruses now. Great.

Almost forgot to eat today. My blood sugar level got low enough I started feeling woozy. Time for some chocolate. :/
captpackrat: (Default)

I woke up at 5 am, just in time to see [ profile] cuttercoon  off.  I decided to go ahead and head out and started packing up the car.   I noticed there were a disproportionately large number of Wimpalas in the parking lot (at least 4 that I saw).  Only one other Caprice, an older "boxy" wagon.

I checked out of the hotel and hit the road at about 5:40.  I was making pretty good time, and keeping to a steady 75 MPH, until I started through the mountains on the 152.   At about the 700 foot level, the fog started rolling in, and at 1000 feet, it was down to less than 100 feet visibility.   I saw a bunch of cars and trucks had pulled over to wait out the fog, but there was a car ahead of me, so I stuck behind it, driving slowly as possible while keeping its taillights in view.  The fog didn't clear until I was nearly in Santa Nella.

The trip down I-5 was pretty uneventful, other than seeing the CHP on the side of the road arresting someone about 40 miles out of Bakersfield.

I got a few miles south of Bakersfield, and decided to check the traffic reports.   Good thing I did, the I-5 was down to a single lane around Gorman, and they were experiencing 90 minute delays!  I hopped over to the 99 and backtracked to Arvin and took the 223 to the 58, through Tehachipi, then took the 14 through Mohave and through Antelope Valley.  Unfortunately, there were lots of idiot drivers, so that ended up taking almost 90 minutes.

Best of all, I managed to make the trip using just the cash in my wallet, no need to dip into my perilously empty checking account.

captpackrat: (Whoo)
It's funny, the entire 8th floor of the hotel smells like rice now, thanks to my rice cooker.
captpackrat: (Default)

Well, dealer's room has closed for the last time, and everything except my clothes and personal stuff are packed in the car.  I'll be staying at the hotel for the night, then drive back home tomorrow morning.

Sales were abysmal.   I had the absolute worst table location in the entire room, off in the back of the room, in the corner, in a little alleyway that most people skipped.   You know you have a bad table position when your candy bowl is virtually untouched after 3 days.  This was the worst con, saleswise, since Confurence 13.

I screwed up a bit in my bidding in the artshow.   I'd placed a rather large bid on a Kyoht painting, Prince Of The Green, which sent it to auction.   Since I was running the table alone, I knew I couldn't defend the piece in the auction, so I figured it was a loss (especially since several other people had mentioned they were interested in it as well), and placed bids on a couple other pieces.  Lo and behold, I check with the art show pickup after the auction, and I WON the piece!  I wasn't expecting it, and with the other expenses (like a table for next year), I managed to drive my checkbook balance down to $29.   Not a problem, I thought, I'll just log onto the bank web site and shuffle funds from my savings account into my checking account until next payday.   Wrong!   The transfer won't go into effect until the next business day, which won't be until Tuesday!   Thankfully, that will also mean FC can't cash the checks until then, but I'm still going to have to be very conservative in my driving tomorrow to save fuel.   I've got about $55 in cash, enough for a tank of gas and maybe something to eat.   (I'm actually being insanely fiscally conservative, I know I've got 2 large uncashed checks floating around that probably won't be cashed for a couple months, but I hate going below 0 on paper, even if the actual current balance is much higher)

My rice cooker got a major workout this weekend.   I brought 4 kinds of rice, jasmine, brown texmati, "Royal Blend" (white, brown, red, and wild rice), and a rice & bean mixture, along with 3 kinds of bullion cubes (chicken, beef, and vegetable).  Every morning I'd fill up the rice maker with 4 cups of dry jasmine rice, some bullion cubes and water, carry it down to the dealers room, and fire it up.   It would cook the rice right there, then keep it hot all day.  I provided rice to several hungry dealers who weren't able to get away from their tables.  In the evening, I'd bring the cooker back to my room and fix some fancy rice for dinner, along with some tea.  My total food bill for this con was about $15, and that was only because I bought fancy rice.

The absence of [ profile] animale , both in person and online, has made me extremely depressed, so I've spent most of the non-dealers-room time in my hotel room, watching FCTV, the official convention television station broadcasting over the hotel's cable system.

captpackrat: (Plush)
I wish I knew what I'd done to upset [ profile] animale .  He's been actively ignoring me for a week now.  I've been depressed the entire con as a result.
captpackrat: (Plush)
While standing in line at dealer registration, I realized I'd brought the two boxes of Tygger's prints, but forgot the binders with the samples of her art. So, it was either forget selling half my stuff, or find an office supply store.

The nearest store, Staples, was on the other side of the airport. So, I typed the address into my GPS, and it helpfully gave me directions... Except the map was out of date, and the road it wanted me to turn on wasn't there anymore. So I wound up driving around the airport for 10 minutes, pissing off airport security because I was doing 35 in a 20 zone. I finally managed to find the Staples, and got the stuff I needed. $15 down the hole. Feh.

I started back, and realized I'd need the GPS to find my way back after driving around in circles. So, while driving, I started punching it up. As I approached an intersection where I had to choose between a left or a right turn, it was still calculating. I took a stab at it, and pulled into the right lane. "Turn left". D'OH!!! So it was BACK through the freaking airport again.

Spent another hour and a half putting prints into the plastic sleeves and using a Sharpie to cover the whamadoodles. Some of the censorship wound up looking even more suggestive than the original art! :)

At least there's some good news, the rice maker I brought with me performed flawlessly, producing the best damn brown rice I've ever had.
captpackrat: (Salute)

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley.

I hit the road at 5:30 this morning, hoping to beat most of the traffic through LA.   I decided to risk the I-5, hoping if I got there early enough, I'd be able to squeak through and save some time.   And sure enough, I'd averaged 75 MPH until I got to near the 605.  But, fate likes to screw with people, and naturally, that early in the morning, there were two major accidents, turning the freeway into a parking lot.  I managed to make it over to the 405, but by then, it was 7:00, and the rush hour traffic had started.  I finally managed to get into the mountains around 8:30.  Feh

I down-shifted into 3rd, reved up the engine, and blew through the Tejon Pass at 90.  I was driving conservatively....

There were a LOT more cops out than previous years.  For the last 3 months, my radar detector had been on the fritz, but after futzing with it on Sunday, it's worked flawlessly, picking up 3 different speed traps.

I got to the hotel about 12:30, checked in, and dragged all my crap up to the room.  Because of the construction, the hotel is offering free high-speed Internet access in every room.  Yay!

I'll be heading down to the convention space shortly, the dealers room will be opening up for setup in 15 minutes.  My roomie [ profile] cuttercoon  won't be arriving until well after 7:00.

captpackrat: (Cheer)
Further Confusion, here I come!
captpackrat: (Grrr)
I got up at 5 am this morning so I could get to work early, 6:15 to be exact. Put in 8 hours, dash home, do a last load of laundry, pack the car, and be in bed early so I could leave early on Thursday. Easy-peasy.

Of course not!

At exactly 2:10 the company VP comes into my office and complains that Outlook won't launch. In a bizarre twist of luck, the company VP has the OLDEST computer in the company, and it takes 2 hours to repair his .PST file and show him how to archive stuff. Argh!

So now I'm 2 hours behind. Traffic is at it's worst about now. And then I remember I need to check my PO box. And I notice the gas tank is down a 1/4 since Sunday. Feh. More crap to take care of.

I get home about 5 pm, toss most of my stuff in the car, then I notice how dirty the windows are after the rain, and decide to clean them. Then I notice the bottle of glass wax that I forgot I had, and decided to apply some since it'd been a while. Big mistake. That wasted an hour of my time.

It's 6:20 now. Dinner will be rice with chicken bullion. The rice maker will take at least another half-hour. And the laundry will take at least another full hour to wash and dry. And I still have to pack my clothes, wash the dishes, make sure the house is locked down, do my daily VCL hunt, sync the furry porn on my laptop ;) and pack up the laptop and the last few odds and ends.

Then I can go to bed. @_@


Jan. 12th, 2005 07:10 am
captpackrat: (Packrat)
Last day of work before FC! Just 7 more hours!

I woke up at 5:00 this morning so I could get into work early so I could leave early upgrade the server. Now that I'm done with the server, I'm about to fall asleep at my desk. I think it's caffeination time.

I'll probably get up about 5:00 tomorrow so I can beat the traffic through LA. If you see a silver police car with YIFFY license plates and driving like a bat out of hell, that's probably me. :)


captpackrat: (Default)
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