July 23, 2012
Annual Pilgrimage: San Diego!
This was the quietest year since I first started attending. Not in terms of the actual Con but in terms of personal experience. I needed to be quiet and low-intensity, so I was. And that was weird. But it was the right note, I think.
I balanced my floor time with panel time, none of the television/media panels though because I avoid those and spent most of my money directly on creators and artists.
Jeph Jacques’s Tumbler post noted precisely one of the things I have been noticing (er, not the light crowds on the floor though) in the recent years. I am not a fan of the ever-increasing emphasis on Hollywood, television, and big media companies that dominate to such a massive degree that it destabilizes the Con ecosystem.
When you have so very many people spending more than 12-24 hours at a stretch waiting in lines for something they may not even get into and sacrificing Con time to do it, there’s something wrong with the system. I actively choose not to attend those panels even if I do think hearing the latest on Bones, the Big Bang Theory, the Hobbit, Dr. Who or any of those other shows would be neat. For me, it’s not worth the loss of time, energy and opportunity cost. For some, it’s part of the fun, or it’s worth it. I’m too rickety for that but I’m also not at Con for that particular experience.
I am a bit disappointed that my own energies were at such an ebb that I didn’t get the chance to meet up with many personal friends or acquaintances. The list of people I wanted to see and hang out with is far too long to list. But I’m not going to dwell on it: next year, Con, or trip – I’ll make that happen.
Favorite new people to meet.
@justjenn was at her booth – I missed her the few times I buzzed her booth last year. This year I lucked out the first pass. I got to tell her that I love her recipes. We got to sample her delicious cookies.
Nate Powell of Top Shelf Comix and independent comic creator. Super nice dude and seriously hardworking. I had to buy all his books that he had at the show to support him. Devoured two of them on the flight back – and they were good.
Some Neat Things.
The financial breakdown.
Hotel: The Sheraton Mission Valley was quoted at $185/night. Happily, PiC and I were joined by budget-minded SDCC-lovin’ roommates at the last minute and we were all happy to split the bill.
Our room was fine but the bathroom was downright disgusting. It was obviously not cleaned since the last guests: there were hairs in the sink and the tub and bits and pieces of what looked like gunk and chunks of dried blood? I was not looking too closely. The toilet wouldn’t stop running, overflowing and flooding the bathroom, despite our best efforts to fix it ourselves. This is normally a very simple fix. We had to call for maintenance to deal with it more than once before it stopped.
Our roomie @theroseinbloom kicked butt getting on Twitter about the state of the room. I was surprised how quickly the hotel actually got right in touch to deal. She even got them to offer a comped night and comped breakfasts for the rest of our stay. (Grossly, the cleaning never happened.)
Final cost: $625 for party of four, lodgings / $15 tips at breakfast / $5 housekeeping tip = (our cost) $332.50
Savings: $205, comped room / $13 x 3 x 4, value of buffet breakfasts over remainder of stay = $156 = (our cost) $180.50
Car Rental: Using Carrentals.com on ebates.com, I compared rates and Enterprise was, not surprisingly, one of the more painfully expensive companies. But, after a really crap experience I’ve yet to blog with another company, I’d decided some few months ago that it wasn’t worth saving twenty dollars just to go through that sort of hassle again.
Renting with Enterprise has always been a fast in the door and out in a car process. Only this time, we were out so quickly, it took me until we hit the freeway to realize the car reeked of smoke. It was nauseating. But we simply didn’t have time to turn back and trade the car back.
With a sore throat, the next night, I called in a complaint – I didn’t want to take the risk of not establishing the timeline of the smoke occurring before our pickup of the car and be saddled with any associated charges. We aren’t smokers and we don’t smoke in rentals! Also, it made me feel ill and my throat hurt.
At the return, I mentioned the issue again. I gently made it clear that it was not due to our abuse of the car. I was offered an upgrade for our next rental but that’s not generally useful for us, so I thanked her but asked for a discount instead. She removed a day’s charge from the bill on the spot.
Final cost: $44
Purchases: This year was pretty me-oriented. We’d had unusual travel plans this year, so we had to travel much more lightly than usual and I had to buy less than years past. About half the books and merchandise I bought were for myself, and the other half were gifts. Typically I only buy gifts but I didn’t mind having something for myself!
Final Cost: ~ $200
Savings: $46, either “bulk” discounts from any single creator or the occasional discount shop.
Go figure it took fairly shoddy service to keep our costs low, but whatever works. We’re willing to speak up over less than decent products or competent services.
All in all, a lovely Con. Friends had pretty great experiences too, from what I can tell, more lively than mine as they were up to it and I’m glad for them.