Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dragon*Con 2010 - Part 6

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!
Okay, so this actually picks up right after the parade, but I just can’t resist a Bay City Rollers reference. This is where things seriously went South for a while. I said some mean things about the wrestlers in the DCW bit, but I didn’t mean a one of them. I love those guys and I love DCW, so I hope you all took that with a grain of salt.
Today is different.
I am going to say some mean things about the Dragon*Con event staff, and I mean every fucking word of it to the core of my being. They are clueless and incompetent and those are the nicest things you will ever hear me say about them. I have a lot of words for those dumb motherfuckers. Like, crazy profanities from Cthulu-land that have never been uttered on this plane and would make human ears bleed black nightmares of doom. Foul words that transcend good or evil and lie directly at the heart of chaos in the absence of light.
The Dragon*Con event staff did not exactly impress me this year.
The Venture Bros. panel started at 1:00, so I had about an hour to kill before I really needed to get in what was sure to be an immense and ridiculous line. This is another area where on-site registration will benefit me next year. I won’t have already spent three+ hours in a line before the con even starts, so I will have a whole lot more patience stored up for panel lines; which are the main thing inhibiting my attendance of more panels.
I decided the best way to spend my hour was going back to the room to get my Halloween 2 poster and tracking down Danielle Harris to complete my signature trifecta. I really should have just gone straight to the Venture line.
After retrieving the poster, I headed over to the Hilton where the Walk of Fame celebrities are stored. I think I had already been in there on the previous day, but hadn’t really paid too much attention. I made the circuit and didn’t see Kane Hodder or Danielle Harris, so I stepped outside to check that late and informative tool, the Pocket Program. This was when I noticed there was a whole group of folks that were separate from the regular Walk of Fame people. They were under a column called “Paranormal Pathway”, which seemed really gay and stupid. According to the esteemed Pocket Program, these folks were in my very own base of operations; the Sheraton. Shit. At this point I had maybe half an hour before I really needed to get over to the Hyatt for the Venture panel. I was mildly annoyed at this.
I made my way back over to the Sheraton and wandered around for a while, foolishly thinking that I would be able to find the location of the Paranormal Pathway on my own (it’s a guy thing and it is fucking dumb). After poking around the first and second floors – the only places I could conceive of my goal being located – I admitted temporary defeat and headed for the Hyatt. I was relatively irritated at this point.
I speed-walked over to the Hyatt and saw what I assumed was the end of the line for the Venture Bros. panel. I walked up to a friendly, obese Henchman and asked him to verify this.
Yep.”
I really didn’t want to sit in that line (but should’ve), so I made my way towards the front, hoping Monkey was somewhere in it. All reports were that he would be attending this panel as well. I got some pretty neat pictures on my trek, including this one of Adventure Time people:
I really hated the promos for that cartoon, but now me and Lil’ Troublemaker watch it regularly.
As I moved up the line – which wrapped around and through the Hyatt, just as it had two years before – I began to despair over the absence of Monkey. Unless he had shown up at 9:00 I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to find him in that line. Right around the time I got to the entrance to the ballrooms (the same ones DCW took place in), they opened the doors and started letting people in. I decided I would just hang around there and wait until the end of the line arrived to go in. I knew it would be somewhere after the large Henchman that I had spoken to what seemed like hours ago.
A whole lot of time passed and I finally saw the large henchman. I waited a little bit until people stopped coming from the stairs and made my way in. We got seated surprisingly close to the front. I turned around and watched as some more people came through the door, hoping Monkey had shown up. As I watched the door, I saw the Adventure Time people walk in. I thought that was pretty weird, and then I realized that there could well be more than one fat Henchman in the line. As more and more people came in, it dawned on me that not only were there more familiar faces; but also that way too many people were still streaming in. Damn my evil soul, I had line-jumped again – this time without even realizing it. I felt so bad I got up and went to the back of the room. The Dragon*Con toadie directing people gave me a weird look and I told him I had to wait for somebody. I kept an eye out for Monkey but never saw him. I did, however, spot what I’m pretty sure was the original portly Henchman and he was seated a good bit closer to the stage than me, so hopefully karma is satisfied.
The panel was great, as usual. Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer treated it like an episode of Donahue, going so far as to enter the audience and take questions. The Donahue music even played while they were walking around. I’m going to check and see if it is up online, (it is - here - though the clips are of varying quality) because it is well worth watching. I particularly enjoyed the dehumidifier bit. It’s disgusting.
About halfway through the panel, I realized karma was not satisfied. I did not have the Henchman 24 figure that I wanted to get signed. In all the frustration and running around trying to find the absentee Paranormal Pathway, I had neglected to return to my room and get it. The Venture Bros. signing was right across the hall at 2:30, so maybe if I really hurried I could make it to the Sheraton and back after the panel. There weren’t actually that many people that stuck around for the signing last time, and it was even held in the same room as the panel; so maybe I could make it.
Hammer and Publick wrapped things up, and I waited for the people to move out of the ballroom so I could get to my room. Every second was an eternity. Finally, I made it out of the giant clot of people in the ballroom and into the giant clot of people in the corridor. It took me at least ten minutes just to get from my seat to the exterior doors. Once outside, I literally ran to my room. I ditched the Halloween poster, grabbed 24 and ran back to the Hyatt, eyeing my watch the whole time. I made it to the conference room where the signing was being held with seven minutes to spare. I didn’t care if I looked like some sweaty, out-of-breath maniac – I was going to get that damn figure signed.
I walked up to the door and asked one of the D*C staff assholes if the room in front of me was for the Venture signing. He said it was and directed me to the line behind me. Cool. I was in time. I walked around the corner and saw that the line was going all the way out of the building. Suspicious, I asked one of the people there what he was in line for. He said the Firefly panel.
This sucked for two reasons. First, I wanted to see the Firefly panel, but if the line was this long at 2:30, there was no way I was getting in. Second, this was not the line I wanted and that meant I wasn’t sure what to do.
I walked back to the door to the room I wanted and asked a squat, ass-faced troll woman with a D*C event staff badge where I needed to be. She looked at me as though I had just asked her to hold on to a turd for a second and told me the overflow line for the Venture signing was right outside the door. I felt like I was being put-on, but she seemed serious. Two other individuals had noticed the conversation and were also wanting into the signing, so the mentally deficient goat-hag led the three of us (yes, three. Asstard felt it necessary to put THREE people outside to wait to get into the signing) out to what she claimed was the beginning of the overflow line. One guy said, “This is fucking bullshit,” and left. Me and the other guy, I am sad to report, were not so easily dissuaded. We stood there to wait.
The young man bravely struck up a conversation in which he explained that he had a blog and was some sort of entertainer or something and made a valiant effort to be amusing. I’ve got to give him credit. It’s pretty easy to be entertaining for the faceless internet or even for a group of people – it’s much harder to put yourself out there for a single individual. He gave me a business card (!) with his blog address and told me he knew how obnoxious it was but that it was just something he did. I’m totally doing that next year. If I can find that card I will put the address up here (here it is - judge for yourself, I'm not going to rag on the guy).
About ten minutes passed. I was already at the point where I had given up any real hope, but I’m a Taurus; I wasn’t going anywhere until they made me leave. I knew chances were pretty good that Hilda the Shit-Eating Taint Mutant would forget about us, so I had been intermittently eyeing the windows in front of the room. Sure enough, there was some sort of line there. MOTHER-FUCKER.
I stormed up to the door, yanked it open, and as calmly as I could asked the young lady standing there what she was in line for (knowing damn well what the answer would be).
The Venture signing.”
I just about lost my shit. There were about twelve people standing by the door.
I stomped up front and found this ugly little woman whom I was (and still am) wishing an intense case of non-contact gonorrhea upon and had this conversation:
Me – “HEY. You told us the line for the Venture Bros. panel was outside. What is this?” (pointing at the line that was, clearly, not outside)
Shitdumpsterface - “It is out… what…”
(looks intensely confused for a second and then turns to the hapless young lady nearest the exterior door)
Shitdumpsterface – “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? THE OVERFLOW LINE IS OUTSIDE!”
(turns to guy in front of exterior door girl)
Shitdumpsterface – “You’re the end of the line! Why didn’t you tell them to go outside?”
Guy - *shrug*
Me – “Because he doesn’t work here and you do. You’ve been standing here this whole time not paying any attention?”
Shitdumpsterface – “All of you! Follow this man outside to the beginning of the overflow line! This line is not inside!”
This is the point where I totally gave up any hope of getting in. This stupid bitch had no idea what was going on. I went back outside and probably shouldn’t have started stirring everybody up, but did. I went into detail about how disorganized everything had been this year, how this was the first year that this particular person had been running things on her own and how much it was showing, and my personal experience dealing with her. As I got more fired up, so did my small crowd of nerds. They started sharing their own displeasures and other people – having nothing to do with the Venture signing - started to gather to listen. I pulled myself out of the moment and had a lucid thought about the possibility of getting kicked out of Dragon*Con.
At this moment I looked up and saw Shitdumpsterface talking to a giant douche. Like, literally a giant; but not a literal douche. This guy was Kurrgan big. We locked eyes and he pulled the door open and walked outside, leaving Shitdumpsterface cowering inside as he strode towards my growing group of dissidents.
Megadouche - “What are you people doing here?”
Me – “Waiting to get into the Venture Bros. signing.”
Megadouche – “Well I can tell you that’s not going to happen. That room is full and nobody else is getting in there. Those are people just like you who aren’t going anywhere until they get signatures, so you all need to leave now because you aren’t getting in.”
Me – “We were told that this was the line to..”
Megadouche – “Who told you that?”
Me – “That fat little woman you were talking to right before…”
Megadouche – “Well the room is full and you need to leave…”
Me – “I’m not disputing that. My problem is that we were told to stand here in the first place and you’re being incredibly rude.”
Megadouche – “Whoa, I’m not trying to be a jerk (he clearly was until I called him on it), I just need to clear this spot for another panel.”
Me – (walking off) “Whatever, ass.”
I wanted to take a picture of Megadouche, but I also wanted to extract myself before I got any more pissed. I don’t really have a quick temper, but once it gets going it really can be sort of a problem. So I made the terrible decision to go back to my room, drop off the 24 figure, grab the H2 poster, and find Danielle Harris. I was super-fucking-pissed by now. Oh, and Megadouche looked like this:
Alright. So after I switched merchandise I went back down to the first floor of the Sheraton. I didn’t have anything else to do now that the Firefly panel was a no-go, so I was devoted to finding Ms. Harris. My first stop was a booth manned by D*C event douches to ask if they knew where the Paranormal Path was. The shitty little tramp inside managed to maintain an amazing sneer while telling me that she didn’t know, but maybe they would at the information booth. Fair enough. She didn’t need to be such a dickhole about it, but I guess the information booth would make more sense than whatever functionless nook this bitch was inhabiting.
I approached the information booth and wasn’t quite sure who was the proper person to ask for information. Lord knows I didn’t want to offend any more of the esteemed D*C event staff by posing them a fucking inquiry. Two people were actually sitting down inside the booth that bore a not-ironic resemblance to Lucy Van Pelt’s Psychiatric facilities. I aimed my question at the female because she looked slightly less inbred than the male.
Me – “Excuse me, I was wondering if you could tell me where the Paranormal Path is? You know, the other Walk of fame thing?”
Lady (she will be Lady because – unlike the rest of the D*C event staff – she was dumb, but not aggressively so. She was actually trying to be helpful – and failing) – “Oh, boy. We’ve had a lot of people come through here and ask that. Nobody seems to know where it is! They tell me it’s in the Georgia Ballroom.”
Me – “That’s pretty amazing.”
So I walked over to the “Georgia Hall” area of the Sheraton and made a thorough sweep of the entire first floor (there was no actual “Georgia Ballroom”, so I don’t know what the fuck she was talking about; but clearly neither did she). I ended up in the kitchen at one point. After making a complete circle, I asked one of the actual hotel staff if she maybe knew where they were keeping the famous people. She didn’t believe me that none of the crack D*C event staff knew. She really thought I was fucking with her. Obviously this was her first year dealing with these bozos.
I went back to the “Information” booth, waited for the current crowd to clear off, and stepped up. I placed my hands solidly on the small plastic counter and made eye contact with both the male and female. I spoke clearly, and re-placed my hands solidly on the counter with each sentence to emphasize my words (I swear to you that all of this is absolutely true).
Me – “I have faith in you people.”
Lady – “Well, thank you.”
Me – “And I believe that you can find out where the Paranormal Pathway is and tell me and I am not going to leave until you do.”
The guy got up and left. Seriously. He just left his female counterpart to suffer my polite wrath.
Lady – “Oh, um… Well, we told everybody that it was in the Georgia Ballroom and some of them didn’t come back – maybe they found it?”
Me – “I think they lost faith in you and just left. I am not going to do that.”
Lady – “Um…” (gestures to some snotty bitch with a tail) “Do you know where the Paranormal Pathway is?”
Me – “With Kane Hodder and Danielle Harris.”
Tail Bitch – “Oh, yeah. They moved it to the Hilton with the rest of the Walk of Fame.”
Me –
Actually, my head did not explode, surprisingly enough. Sparing no more words for this pair of fine human beings; I walked straight back over to the first booth I had stopped at, looked the shitty little tramp I talked to the first time and said, “You were wrong. They were just as useless as you.”
Troublemaker out.
I could actually feel my head getting hotter over the course of the twenty or so minutes I just described. I thought there was a decent chance I would end up in an inadvertent Ghost Rider costume before all was said and done.
I made my way to the Hilton, entered the Walk of Fame and walked around looking for the darling Ms. Harris and the congenial Mr. Hodder. I didn’t see them. I did, however, see Saul Rubinek. He is one of those odd character actors that has just fascinated me from the very first time I saw him. He was the coked-up director/would-be drug dealer in True Romance that first time, though he has made countless appearances in other movies and TV shows since then. Rubinek is currently portraying Artie on the excellent SyFy series (funny how I don’t even flinch at that awful moniker anymore) Warehouse 13. I went to his table and spoke with him briefly, then bought an 8x10 and had it signed. As I was turning around, a crazy vampirate couple accosted me. It turned out it was Mrs. Troublemaker’s co-worker Minda, and her husband Don. Don is my hero of the day, because he promptly led me to where Hodder and Harris were located – in a corner nook (is that redundant?) behind Lou Ferrigno’s unnecessarily immense table. I thanked him profusely and probably came off as a little rude because I kind of just walked off towards my goal. I need to get those folks a bottle of rum.
Kane Hodder was dominating their little corner, jovially strangling people and taking pictures with everybody in line. The guy is great. I made a mental note to come back here first on Monday when we brought Lil’ Troublemaker down. An annual family portrait with Kane Hodder would be pretty awesome.
There was a small line at Danielle Harris’ undesignated table. The poor girl didn’t have a banner or nameplate or anything. I waited my turn and stepped up, relating the story of my poster and mentioning (for reasons I don’t comprehend) that I was an extra in the movie. I bought an 8x10 and she signed my poster and that was it. Her handler told her she had signed too big, but I disagreed. I explained if I wanted a crisp, pristine poster I wouldn’t have people writing all over it. I was thrilled she and Zombie had put big ‘ol signatures on it. Harris was perfectly pleasant. Almost seems like an anti-climax, doesn’t it? But I finally have my Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 poster as completely signed as it is likely to get:
I went back to my room to drop off my now-even-more-invaluable poster, had a couple of beers, and headed back to the Exhibitors’ Hall. Where I had an extremely awkward moment with Wonder Woman.
She and Wonder Girl were browsing around, and both of their costumes looked pretty awesome. A guy took their picture and I had the misfortune of being the guy who asks for a picture just as somebody is un-posing. I hate being that guy and it happens a lot. They took a moment to adjust themselves, and in the process Wonder Woman dropped her lollipop. Now I really felt bad. She picked it up and awkwardly put it on one of the tables, obviously not wanting to mess anything up.
Me – “Crap. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cause you any calamity.”
WW – “That’s okay. That was my bacon lollipop, though.”
Me – “Ew, seriously? Now I don’t feel so bad…”
WW – (defensively)“No, I kind of like it…”
Now I was really feeling bad, so I took off. I did not need to stand around debating artificially-flavored bacon treats with a amazingly hot impressively accurate Wonder Woman. If I kept going I might end up offering to buy another one and it would be this whole thing and I don’t need that. I’m not saying she would have jumped my bones or anything because I think the chances of that are about equal to my head spontaneously combusting, I’m just too old and married for awkward.
Wonder Woman, if by some bizarre chance you read this, sorry about your lollipop. I’ll have Varis buy you another one.
And that’s the real shit, folks. I do not self-censor for the sake of my own pride. Mostly.
Now that I had sampled a high school-worthy mix of frustration and embarrassment for the day, I went back to the room to start drinking. I had never recovered my beer bag from the community room and hadn’t seen any of my crew all day, so I tried to down several before heading out for the night’s festivities. Having done so, I decided it was time for the return of Leopard Suit. (no, that isn’t a Furry thing)
There is a story to the Leopard Suit that I am not going to tell here. Suffice it to say the Leopard Suit saw a lot of action back in the day, but I haven’t been able to fit in it in about ten years. Thanks to my most recent dietary control effort, however, it fits better now than the last time I wore it (which required that I belt the pants and leave the button unclasped).
I might have looked damned good Friday night, but on Saturday night, between my new mask and Leopard Suit; I looked fucking magnificent.
Just as I was finishing getting ready, Mrs. Troublemaker called to inform me they had arrived. She was coming down for a few hours with Jeffistopheles, All-New Action Companion Lady G™ and Friend Steve since nobody in their right mind will house-sit our crazy-ass new dog, Evie. Mrs. Troublemaker swore she wasn’t coming back after last year, but she swears that every year. I think she just wants to keep an eye on me, which is ridiculous because (not even considering that I am not the cheating sort) regardless of how amazing I may look, I have no game. Like, negative game.
So I met up with the Missus and the Day Shift and we took a bunch of pictures. Shortly after that Gnoll showed up and so did the rest of the crew. It was on like a pot of dorky neckbone
There were a whole bunch of lanterns that were posing together for pictures. They all looked pretty great and I was particularly happy to see Orange Lantern Lex Luthor.
There was this mostly-naked little waif that seemed to have very little idea what was going on. We got pictures with her and then struck up a conversation with a couple of esteemed members of the Royal Order of the Water Buffalo. Barney had it together, but Fred was pretty much blitzed out of his mind. We talked them into getting their pictures taken with waif girl. 
They were all thrilled. I’m pretty sure they all went back to Fred’s room and got. it. on. With a tiny Pterodactyl playing Al Greenrock records in the background.
And holy shit there was a guy dressed up as Sean Connery from Zardoz!
Mrs. Troublemaker had to leave because it was past Jeffistopheles’ bedtime, so I bid her adieu and got my favorite picture of the whole weekend:
Then we went to a rave. 
I have absolutely no more stories from Saturday night because I honestly don’t remember that much. Tomorrow, however, I will share the awesomeness that was GoggleQuest 2010!
Until next time, stay creepy
-Phantom

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