FRIDAY (Now with pictures!)
All-in-all the con was a blast. The trip got off to a shaky start when I ended up working until 4:30 Friday morning. Had just enough time to take an hour nap before showering and checking on a friend's cats while she's out of town. Then it was off to pick up our buddy Christian and head to Charlotte. Suzanne took pity on me and threw the inflatable mattress into the back of the Suburban and, after a quick stop at a fast food joint for breakfast, let me sleep the whole trip away. At first, I thought it would be impossible to sleep. There wasn't room to stretch out and the sun coming through the windows was brutal. Plus, whenever Suzanne changed lanes, the motion was a little jarring. But fatigue won out and I ended up passing out with a blanket covering my face and only woke up when I heard Christian utter the words, "Turn here, onto College Street." I poked my head up, shocked, and said, "We're THERE!!?"
We checked in quickly. We're old veterans of staying at the Westin for Heroes. It's a wonderful hotel and we're always treated well. Shelton Drum scored big when he managed to get the Westin as the "official" Heroes Con hotel. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we ended up staying in the Omni last year and it just wasn't the same. The Westin is right across the street from the convention center and it has a great little coffee shop right by the door to the street. And the BEDS! The Westin's claim to fame is their ultra-comfy beds. I don't know what it is, but it is literally impossible to not fall asleep when you lay your head down on one of those suckers.
The Savannah College of Art and Design was hosting a series of presentations at the convention this year and I was anxious to check them out. Unfortunately, we were too late to catch the first one at 1:00 because of the late start. This did free us up, however, to say "hi" to the usual suspects: Mike, Craig Rousseau and the always-funny Todd Dezago. "Hi" was about all we had time for because they were all busy signing and taking commission orders. After the howdies, I wasted no time looking for bargains. This year, there was a plethora of dealers selling trades and hardcovers for 40%-60% off cover price. This was to be my downfall. Right off the bat, I scored the 9-11 REPORT HC (by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon) for $15.
We hadn't been there long when Christian bowed out to go take a nap. He'd been up all night with his baby daughter and wasn't feeling well. He hadn't had the luxury of a nap like I had. He eventually came back briefly but ended up grabbing some pizza at the Fuel across the street and eating dinner in his room.
It seemed like we'd barely gotten there when the con ended for the day. While I was filling my backpack up with a frightening number of trades, Suzanne was negotiating our dinner plans. We usually only get one chance to eat dinner with Mike during the con and tonight was the night. Suzanne was in her element. She had to find a place that would accomodate a strict vegetarian (Mike) and what Suzanne calls a "Steakasaurus" (Craig). We were also to be joined by the omnivorous Todd and an acquaintance of theirs (and Nick Cardy's), I nice fellow named Sean. Suzanne settled on a place about six blocks away called La Vecchia's. It was a nice place, if a bit pricey, and everybody (well, except Suzanne) got something they loved. Suze and I both ordered the beef tips with cheese grits but, while I loved the jalepenos in the grits, she wasn't that impressed. She did like the two bottles of wine Mike ordered though. I skipped the wine and enjoyed a couple of pints of Guinness instead. After a grueling morning and exciting day, the stout really hit the spot. Nothing will ever replace our beloved, lamented Bistro 100, but I had a great meal and a great time. I don't usually take to new people easily but Sean (who's Canadian) was very nice and easy to talk to. And, as usual, Todd told some great stories. But then, that's what he does.
We got back to the hotel, all stuffed and a bit tipsy and went our separate ways. Suzanne went to see a screening of Rosario Dawson's new indie film DESCENT in one of the hotel ballrooms. She's a big fan of Rosario's, especially after her charming turn at hosting last year's Heroes art auction and was really looking forward to the film. I just didn't have it in me to sit through an entire movie, so I went upstairs to read. I only made it about two pages into one of the trades when, true to its reputation, my Westin bed eased me into dreamland and some much-needed rest.
Day Two later.