Tag Archives: Comic Con 2009

Comic-Con Hotel Review: Holiday Inn on the Bay

During Comic-Con we stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Bay (not to be confused with the Holiday Inn Bayside). It’s sort of in walking distance of the San Diego Convention Center (we did it one morning…and I did it again one evening after an incident with the shuttle that deserves its own write-up), but at more than a mile it’s not a distance you’d want to walk with a heavy backpack, or in a costume, or carrying bags, or on a hot afternoon, or after a long day of trudging around the convention center.

It’s located on the bay (of course), near the San Diego Maritime Museum where they have several classic ships permanently anchored and available for tours. If you happen to have an upper-floor room, the views are quite nice. (We were on the second floor, so our view was of the roof of the hotel’s conference center. It’s funny how quickly we got used to the sound of the air conditioner.)

It’s an easy walk to Little Italy (we went out to one of our favorite San Diego restaurants, Indigo Grill, on Wednesday) or the trolley, and on the convention shuttle route.

Holiday Inn RoomThe rooms were nice, clean and spacious (absolutely huge, compared to the last few places we’ve stayed in San Diego). The bed was comfortable, and they had pillows with two different levels of firmness, so neither of us had any trouble getting to sleep. The hotel restaurant/pub, the Elephant and Castle, is quite good. There’s also a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in one tower, and a deli next door. And for those looking to save money on breakfast, the in-room coffee service is a single-cup disposable-basket setup, so that if you want plain hot water for tea or oatmeal, it won’t taste like coffee! Wireless internet access is complimentary, and easy to set up. Our room had locked doors to adjoining rooms on both sides, so a large group could presumably link together at least three rooms into a suite.

The only annoyances were:

Internet access during the convention was absolutely swamped. Sometimes pages just wouldn’t load, and the Flickr uploader actually gave up several times. This would have been less of a problem if I hadn’t been so determined to post photos and blog during the con, though at least with photos it turned out I could (usually) start them before going to bed and let them run overnight. The one night that it just gave up, I tried when we got up at 6 AM and they posted extremely quickly.

The bathroom had a sliding door that didn’t seal. Like the room at the Omni, it blocked light but not sound or airflow. On the plus side, it was actually big enough that we could brush our teeth at the same time.

Overall, though, we really liked it, and agreed that it would be near the top of our list when it came to hotels on the shuttle route. Though if possible I’d really prefer something close enough that we wouldn’t have to rely on the shuttle or other transportation.

Note (2014): This hotel is now the Wyndham San Diego Bayside.

Mad Science: The Science Behind Science-Fiction – Fringe, Eureka! and Caprica

This was a fun panel with representatives from Eureka!, Caprica/Battlestar Galactica, and Fringe, moderated by Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy.

Some interesting moments:

After they talked about the ethics of interrogating a corpse, one of the guys from Fringe (I think Rob Chiappette) remarked that he wanted to see a Law & Order: Fringe show. I think I’d watch that!

One of the reps from Eureka revealed that they’d planned an episode that would take the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes concept and play it seriously, but it didn’t make it. Jamie Paglia said “It’s so good we didn’t do that episode.” Either Glenn Whitmann or Rob Chiappetta remarked immediately, “You’ll see it on Fringe!”

Phil Plait asked why there wasn’t more astronomy on Fringe, and Glenn Whitmann explained it was because it was a horror show, and it’s easier to creep people out with biology & neurology than astrophysics.

A fan asked the panelists whether they had ever done something dangerous on their show that made them worry about people trying the experiments at home (“Don’t try this at home, kids!”) For the most part they figured the level of technology, gadgetry and genius that their characters had made things impractical to imitate, though Rob Chiappetta added, “If you see Walter [Bishop] do something on screen, don’t do it!”

Another audience member mentioned that he worked in robotics, and was concerned about the way robots were portrayed as good or evil. If too many robots were portrayed evil, he might lose funding… Jane Espenson explained that “Killer robots are a lot more fun to watch.”

And of course Phil Plait plugged his book, Death from the Skies! “I love having a microphone!”

Photos will be on my Flickr account later tonight, once they trickle through the incredibly-slow hotel wifi. Update: They’re up! The trick was apparently waiting until 6am when no one else was using the wifi.

Why I Want a Netbook (and why I’m not letting myself get one)

I have to confess: I’ve started seriously thinking about a netbook.

Not that I actually need a netbook. I’d only really end up using it for conventions that I’d want to post live (which would probably boil down to Comic-Con International), and I have the ability to do that using either my G1 or the laptop.

Long-time readers (all five of you 🙂 ) may remember that last year I agonized over upgrading my phone to something with real web capability until they announced wifi, and I just lugged the laptop around. Which worked fine, but it was heavy, especially the day I was also carrying around Comic Book Tattoo.

Of course, now I can use the G1 to post to my blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, or (almost) anywhere else even without wifi.

Except…

  • Typing on that tiny keyboard is slow. Not as slow as the onscreen keyboard, but still a lot slower than typing on a full-sized keyboard. Then again, netbook keyboards are also smaller than standard, so it might not be much of an improvement.
  • There’s no easy way to transfer photos from another camera. I can only think of two ways other than using a computer as an intermediary: use a Micro-SD card with adapter in the camera, or get a card reader that will clone data from an SD to a Micro-SD.

The camera issue shouldn’t bother me. Chances are I’d just end up doing what I did for WonderCon this year: post the occasional phone pic to Twitter and then upload the good photos to Flickr each evening. Just like I’d mostly be writing brief posts from the convention and detailed posts at the hotel.

Not my book, but the same page that she signed in mine.But then I remember the post I made on the Tori Amos signing last year. After the signing I was so hyped that I found a table, set up the laptop, banged out a blog post, hooked up the camera and added a couple of photos…and the post ended up getting linked on a major Tori fansite, producing a traffic spike so big that not only is the following day still this blog’s busiest day ever, but that post, even though traffic fell off over time, is the 8th most-viewed post on the site over the past year.

Still, the promise of another 15 minutes of blogfame isn’t enough to justify several hundred bucks. (Though the < $200 models that pop up on Woot from time to time have been tempting.) So I’m making an effort to practice typing with the G1, both the physical and on-screen keyboards. I’ve got Twidroid and I Tweet for posting to two Twitter accounts. I’ve got wpToGo to simplify blogging. I’ve got a plugin that will automatically liveblog using Twitter, which I still need to test.

It’s just a matter of making full use of the tools I have, rather than running after the latest cool toy.

Update: I posted this last night, but somehow it ended up backdated to the day I started it on May 20. I think wpToGo must have set a publishing date when I posted the draft. Yes, I started this post on my phone.

Why Las Vegas is a BAD idea for Comic-Con

It seems as though every year, around the time of hotel registration for Comic-Con International, people start clamoring for the con to move from San Diego to Las Vegas. More hotel rooms! A bigger convention center! Gambling! Strippers!

It makes me want to headdesk.

Now, I don’t hate Vegas. I’m not ZOMG in love with it, but I’ve been there more than once and I don’t think it should be removed from the face of the earth. What I believe about Vegas is that it is a law and a destination unto itself, and that everyone should be able to choose whether they go based on the merits of the place, not on the merits of what else might be going on there that isn’t a usual part of the location. Please keep this in mind as I present my list of Reasons Not to Move CCI to Las Vegas:

1. Weather. San Diego may be incredibly hot some years, but it’s coastal. There are breezes a lot of the time, and it’s often quite bearable. Vegas is inland desert and is 99% guaranteed to be nasty hot in July/August. Part of the crazy fun of CCI is seeing costumes on the street, which would become darn near impossible for a lot of people given the temperature.

2. Distance. I’m not talking about the distance for people to get there (though I will in a bit), but the distance between things. It can take over half an hour to get from the front door of one hotel to the front door of the next one over. In San Diego, it’s pretty easy to leave the convention center, go find food that’s not jacked up in price for an inferior product, and come back. In Vegas, unless you take the monorail, that’s a pipe dream, especially given that the convention center is off the Strip and not really near a lot of hotels. Keep reading for more. Continue reading