Getting Ready for Comic-Con International: San Diego 2012 - Yes, Already

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jerry Robinson and Mark Evanier
Yes, it's only February - but February isn't too soon to begin to consider July's Comic-Con in San Diego. Anyone who has attended within the last decade knows it, and the strange aspect is that many of those who know it also find themselves becoming tense about what is, year upon year, a delightful mix of adrenaline and unexpected pleasures. The catch that makes many tense is the uncertainty over what is to come. So it's time to take a look at a few suggestions and to solicit even more from those who know what's what. (By the way, one of the most expert of those who know what's what is Mark Evanier, whom the convention drafted long ago to evoke anecdotes and other information from those who have made the comics industry what it is. If you have not made it a point to attend his panels, make this your year to do so. He is also a prime source of general advice about attending the convention, and you'll find that and more at his website. Don't miss that, either!) Anyway, in the midst of making my own plans, I've so far come up with suggestions to myself that I'll set down here for the record.
(1) Plan ahead. Look at the convention map, the San Diego map, the convention schedule, etc. Note whatever is of interest to you.
(2) Don't let #1 stop you from preparing to seize the opportunity, if something that looks like fun offers itself. Years and years ago, Don and I realized that we were growing so tense over planning that we decided to relax at the next Comic-Con and just enjoy whatever happened. We had a resultant relatively stress-free event that was packed with surprise encounters we'd have never experienced, had we gone with an agenda so strict that it didn't allow us to take time to hang out with nice people.
(3) Consider what to pack. If you want photos, take your best camera; it's not as though you'll see these folks all together somewhere else. Not to be morbid - but this photo is the last one I was ever able to take of Jerry Robinson. (And I love my digital camera and have since added a telephoto lens to the one I had last year - but don't forget to stick some extra memory cards in your pocket. I actually had to walk half a mile back to my hotel room last year to grab one I'd left there, when I realized the one in my camera was full.)
(4) Sign up for Twitter and begin to follow people you care about. Then check it during the show. Sometimes, folks will Tweet about where they are, what they're doing, and what news they've learned. It's a pop-culture festival, after all.
What have I forgotten?
And, before many minutes had gone by, Mark Engblom reminded me of his invaluable tip sheet.


Caveman Is Preparing for an NPR Tiny Desk Concert

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


What? You Thought I Had No More Chicken Bowl Photos?

Admittedly, there were rules and regulations controlling the attendees. The daughter of the household outlined a couple of them for the visitors; it could have been complicated, since her office consists of the entertainment center atop which sat the television set that a few of those present were actually watching. But I'm here to report that everyone was well-behaved, and both fort and office remained intact throughout.
And did I mention there was food? Linda Holmes (of NPR's Monkey See pop-culture blog) brought a contribution that was actually pretty much consumed before all the guests had arrived: hot dog pieces in corn muffins. She said she'd found the recipe online. Thank you, Internet!


Chicken Bowl XVI Follow-Up

This was the moment of triumph, in which Stephen Thompson (right) announced Dan Cernikovsky as winner of the binge-don't-purge event.
In the brief moment during which my laptop is functioning, I feel it incumbent upon me to provide at least a few images of Sunday's Popeye Chicken-Enhanced Chicken Bowl. Given that this laptop will crash at any moment, let's see what I can post before it does ...
... And, indeed, crash it did. When will I learn to save, save, save? In any case, the house was filled with about 50 attendees - from as far away as New York City and Iola, Wisconsin. There were those who savored the food (which, yes, did include a black bean soup for the vegetarians in attendance), those who actually watched the Super Bowl, those who raced from room to room firing Nerf missiles (those racers, it should be noted, were among those still in grade school; none of those who were older came remotely close to the racers in energy level), and even a few who took photos (especially at the moment of the tiara-winning triumph of the attendee who earned the most points for chicken consumption).


Chicken Bowl XVI: It Begins!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

There are those who believe that national attention will be solely focused on the Super Bowl today - but I'm here to tell you that there are those whose sporting spirit will not wish to neglect the wonders of another form of competition. That form was initiated by Stephen Thompson a decade and a half ago, and followers have been impressed by his ongoing dedication to the sport. He has summarized the event for the National Public Radio website on its "Food" blog The Salt - and commenters there have already sneered at what they perceive as its frivolous nature. But come on: How many of you would have devoted yourself to this sort of annual event for so many years so devotedly?
So here I am in Maryland, preparing to be surrounded by chicken-eating devotees. Some of them may even watch the game while gorging. Stephen and I went yesterday to the Popeye's from which the chicken will be picked up today (and let me recommend this particular Popeye's establishment; the gentleman was charming, if a bit bemused: the Takoma Park restaurant on New Hampshire Avenue).
I've already managed to incapacitate myself slightly in all this: a missed step led to a certain bruising, including a swollen right foot. But the way I figure is that it will let me all the more empathize with the Super Bowl players requiring icing during Today's Other Event. But, of course, that'll be secondary to the true excitement. Up with chicken!


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