First, there's a lot of hullaballoo as I try to make my way to downtown San Francisco in time for lunch with Buffistas, JZ and hecubot and Katerina Bee. The train is late, and there is much calling back and forth as we figure out which Muni to take in order to get me to Market and Spear. It turns out the N Judah solves all problems.
Now, on the way there, no less than three sets of people ask me for information. On the train, some Indians, noticing that I, too, am Indian, check with me as to where the train is stopping at this very moment. Later, as I wait for the N Judah to depart, I hear another group of Indians, who I'm not sure weren't actually the same as before, ask whether the train goes to Ocean Beach. Taking a look at the very easily understood map, I inform them that yes, it's the end of the line. A few minutes later, they ask me if the train goes to the Embarcadero. I tell them yes, that's where I'm getting off as well. On the way, a Chinese woman, seeing that I am the purveyor of purportedly correct public transportation information, asks me if the train goes to Fisherman's Wharf. I take a look at her map and advise her to get off at Embarcadero and get on the F train heading north. You'd think I was a native, but apparently I exude confidence when I pretend to know what I'm talking about. That's the thing about being smart, you see. People totally believe whatever you say.
Who should I see at the corner of Market and Spear but a very dignified-looking Hec, heretofore referred to as David, and an attractive woman who does not exactly look like JZ, per se. I shake David's hand. I shake the other woman's hand, and she leans in and kisses me on the cheek, and it's the best greeting I've had in...months. Possibly years. All attractive women should greet me like that. Even when I don't know them.
There is chatting about the current absence of both JZ and Katerina Bee, at which point it is without a doubt confirmed that this woman is neither one of them. So I swallow my confidence-exuding pride and admit that I don't know who she is. She identifies herself as Juliana (e_juliana), and I feel completely stupid since I've seen many pictures of her. But...what the bloody fuck is she doing here? I thought she was in Wisconsin or Minnesota or one of those other states people don't actually live in. It turns out I'm way out of the Buffista loop, but it's a nice surprise to meet her. Unfortunately, she has certain duties to perform and cannot join us for lunch.
JZ arrives and compliments my haircut, but in between those two verbs is a very nice hug. Katerina Bee graces us with her presence, and we head off to the Ferry Building, where David points out all the fancy and expensive edible wares.
There's one place that's specifically dedicated to caviar. Caviar, people! If it's so bloody rare, how can there be enough to sustain a small establishment of its own?
JZ and KB are constantly falling behind by checking out samples.
After I tell David I only eat poultry, he shows me to the best chicken in the joint, at Mistral. When he tells me lunch is on him, I decide that the best chicken in the joint is all right with me. I grab a chicken sandwich with two sides, the much-lauded potato confit and the fancy macaroni and cheese. Also, 500 mL of Coke. In a bottle! We navigate our way back to some tables and polish off lunch with time to spare. Conversation topics include Martian invasions, the longevity of royal oak, and the color of monkey semen. Okay, I made that last one up. All right, and the oak one. And the Martian one.
Time to spare is filled with the eating of gelato. As the place offers two flavors with every bowl, I mix Scharffenberger chocolate with fresh mint. The fresh mint is not what I expected, as it lives up to its name: it tastes like eating actual mint leaves. The Scharffenberger chocolate, however, is good shit. We eat outside and look out at the bay.
During all of this business, I am reportedly "kind and sweet and quietly snarkalicious." I can neither confirm nor deny these claims.
On exiting the Ferry Building, I embrace the wonderful weather. It is sunny and nice; San Francisco is showing off for me. And I am showing off for David, as I proceed to squawk like a bird at his behest.
At the corner of Market and Spear, David takes his leave to return to work. JZ gives me a hug infused with the very essence of pleased-to-meet-you. Katerina Bee shakes my hand and accompanies me down Market until Stacy's Books.
The next leg is upon me, as cadhla calls me about a dozen times to gauge my ETA at Moscone Center. I consider running but am lazy. Fourth Street finally shows itself, and I turn left.
I see Moscone Center with its WonderCon signs but no sign of a pink shirt, which is what I presume Seanan will be wearing, being a Pretty Pink Princess and all. So I go inside and use the restroom, which is where I receive yet another call from Seanan. I do not answer it, because who wants to talk to me when I'm on the toilet?
Having finished my business, I walk out into the lobby and inform Seanan of my position, who freaks out because she has been waiting for me at the corner of Fourth and Howard. A woman in a black shirt with a cell phone to her ear enters the lobby and runs past me, saying, "Hi, Sunil, bye, Sunil." She doesn't hear my response of, "Um, you can't be Seanan." I expected her to A) be in a pink shirt and B) be a tad larger. The latter assumption is a funny one, really, because it seems that many people at Wondercon would be having a "You can't be Seanan" response due to her being ninety pounds heavier the year before.
I am quickly introduced to a Chris (porpentine) and a Julia, and Seanan and I quickly get our day passes (thank goodness I bought an advance ticket), and we hurry upstairs. Julia is puzzled by how quiet I am because she had gotten the impression that I would be somewhat of a chatterbox in real life. I tell her it's all about the mood, and I am currently feeling a little bad because I think I've slightly pissed off Seanan by both being late and not coming to the appointed meeting place. We proceed to the CFQ Horror Movie Preview. It's a strange mix of trailers, really, ranging from low-budget gorefest to incomprehensible Japanese horror to...Mission: Impossible III. Yeah, we couldn't figure out why it qualified either. The fun part is watching Seanan get excited and lean forward when she hears the words "Some horror franchises never die" and watching her sigh in disappointment when she discovers it's Final Destination 3.
Also, Seanan hands me a giant poster tube with no explanation. There is a very large poster and a much smaller poster nestled within. I unroll the small one since I have room. It's one of them cartoons about apostrophes and how not to SUCK AT USING THEM! Signed! "Poltercow is the greatest"! He forgot the hyphen! That's kind of ironic! Thank you, tibicina!
Afterward, we head across the street to the Metreon so Seanan can get her DDR fix. The machine is occupied when we get there. This guy and girl are fast and furious, and I think they're going to break the machine. Seanan puts her card on the display to reserve her spot in line.
Now I have room to unroll whatever large poster Seanan has given me. I tried to see before but the only name I could make out was Joel Silver. I figure it's a V for Vendetta poster.
I unroll the poster and give it my highest honor, which is an "OH MY FUCKING GOD!" It's the Veronica Mars noir poster from Comic-Con last year, signed by Rob and Jason and Enrico, and it's even more awesome than I could possibly imagine. It has the names of the main cast and the major recurring characters, plus what looks like a list of the entire goddamn crew. It is so fucking awesome. Thank you, Seanan!!!
We wait for the two hot-footers to finish. I cannot fathom how they're doing what they're doing.
When they're done, Seanan asks if the card in front of her own is one of theirs. It's not, and it doesn't belong to anyone in the vicinity, so it looks like it's her turn, the machine being vacated. She chooses her first song and DDRs away. Her goal is to not miss a step for all five songs: she gets a free song!
The fun part here is not actually watching Seanan play DDR. It's watching the two little Hispanic children completely entranced by Seanan playing DDR. They stare at her feet like they're little hopping dinosaurs.
Sadly, she doesn't accomplish her goal, but she has fun and burns calories. She collects her card.
"Did you see anyone take my WonderCon badge?" Chris and I hear her say. He points out that she's wearing it.
"My bag," Seanan repeats. She had put it right by the display. And her cell phone was in it. And it is gone.
Neither one of us had seen anyone take her bag; we were paying attention to her, not her belongings. I hadn't even noticed it.
Seanan frantically begins looking behind the machine and everywhere around it. She runs around the entire arcade. I see that Julia, who is shooting people, has a WonderCon bag, and I wonder whether she took Seanan's to keep it safe. I call Seanan's cell phone, but I don't hear anything coming from Julia's bag.
I pore through my visual recollections of the past fifteen minutes, and I cannot recall anyone even coming near the area where Seanan's bag was during the time she was playing DDR. I ask her if she was sure she'd brought it here because my first guess is that she left it at WonderCon. She insists that no, she definitely brought it here, and she took out her cell phone and put it in the bag so that she could DDR properly.
Okay, readers. You have enough clues to solve this mystery by yourself. Do you have it figured it out yet?
Got it? Good.
The guy who was playing DDR when we got there stops me and says he thinks he picked up my friend's bag by mistake. I take a look inside, and sure enough, there's a cell phone. He must have noticed when it started ringing.
Seanan rejoices and dubs me Veronica Mars for solving a mystery by using a cell phone.
Then she is off to work, and Chris and Julia and I try to rendezvous with hobviously. We do one of my favorite types of meetings, which is where you're both talking on cell phones and describing where you are and then you see each other talking on cell phones. We hug like the dickens.
Chris and Julia return to WonderCon, and Tris and I (also referred to as "my Cow") walk around the block because we are aimless. Then we choose an aim: Union Square. There, we admire a memorial featuring some chick with a trident. We lie on the grass a few yards away from a couple who keeps making out. We essay to take a cute picture of us. Tris attempts to prove how punk rock she is. She tells me stories and is generally cute.
My phone rings: "Where in the cotton-picking land of happy bunnies are you?" A greeting like that could only come from Seanan.
Tris and I head back to Moscone Center, where we decide to WonderCon. It is the first con for both of us. We admire various comic books, pretty artwork, and porn stars. Seanan tries to keep up. She knows just about everyone there from having gone to so many cons before. Some of them are even former co-workers, like the woman at the New Line Cinema booth. I talk to them about the Running Scared game that sweinberg pointed me toward.
The interesting thing about a con is that people aren't shouting at you to convince you to come to their booth. They know that the people who want to hit their booth will hit their booth. They just wait, rather than waste effort. The product will sell itself.
There's an intriguing booth for Hatter M, by Frank Beddor. He tells us that he was a producer for There's Something About Mary. I, surprised, tell him that I quite enjoyed that movie. Tris music-geeks out by asking him if using Jonathan Richman was his idea.
Beddor is promoting his complicated and edgy reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, called The Looking Glass Wars. He has a review of the book displayed, and I'm rather impressed that he chose one that, while mostly positive, still criticizes various aspects of the novel.
He mentions a tagline he came up with for the second issue of Hatter M, which features a rather wicked monkey on the cover: "Do you like your monkeys curious...or furious?" I like it and offer "spurious," "luxurious," and "penurious" as well.
We also see Frank Miller. Like, really, Frank Miller. He's alive! Right there! Signing shit! The man who made whores with guns a national pastime. I take a picture because it's Frank Miller, but I don't actually go talk to him because he doesn't need one more person to tell him that The Dark Knight Returns is awesome. He's supporting a fund that fights comic book censorship, and Seanan regales us with tales of how awesome said fund is.
Then she points out Kevin Smith.
Kevin fucking Smith is right there in the next booth. Tris and I saunter over because I have to tell him about his bio. He's talking to some other guy, and he talks to this guy for, like, forever. But I wait. I step forward a little so that I am closer than other people. When he finishes with this guy, he declares his intention to leave to someone else, but then he stops to talk to another guy. These guys seem to be guys he really knows, so I certainly do not want to intrude on their conversation. He also makes mention of being very tired, having been up since very early. I know he has a panel later on in the con, but he must have been just stopping by and checking out the booth today.
Finally, when he finishes talking with the second guy, after I have patiently waited for maybe fifteen minutes, seriously, I say, "Kevin, I know you're tired, but I wanted to talk to you about Veronica Mars."
"I love Veronica Mars!" he replies.
"I know," I reply. "You were on it, and you were great." I begin to babble, and the speed of my speech approaches its usual catastrophic rate. I ask him if he improvved most of his lines, and he says that they did let him ad-lib most of his lines. I ask if the meerkat line was an ad-lib, and he says it was. I tell him about the fact that it was cut in the torrent, though he says that it did show up in the West Coast feed.
I tell him that I work on a fansite called Mars Investigations and that I wrote the bio for his character.
"Based on what?" he asks, which amuses me. I respond that it's based on what little we know of the character, but mostly it's just a string of references to his movies, in chronological order. And I mention that I link to his blog ("'cause, whatever"). I tell him how to find it by going through the site, but I don't know if he'll remember. I should have told him to just Google "mars investigations duane anders."
We talk about the possibility of his returning; I've told Rob they should bring him back for whatever reason just because he was really funny, and he's wanted them to give him a call and tell him his character was responsible for the bus crash.
I ask if he minds if I take a picture, and he doesn't as long as I can take it right now. Tris saves the day and visually commemorates the time I babbled to Kevin Smith about Veronica Mars and totally didn't mention that I actually liked his movies too, as well as his Daredevil issues. He will not remember me, and he will not remember to check out his bio, but what the hell. I randomly met Kevin fucking Smith. This is what happens when you roll with Seanan.
There is a little more piddling about at the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes booth and the California Browncoats booth before it is time for me to go. And then, well, it is time for me to go, and there are hugs and all that business. Our time was too short.
I close out the day by watching Red Eye, which is a fine, competent thriller (Rachel McAdams is hot, and Beaver has a small role), and Shaun of the Dead, which is hilarious (and I didn't know Harriet Jones was in it!). I could write more about both movies, but that's not what this post is about.
In nine hours, I begin the journey home. Could this be home soon? We shall see.