Tag Archives: Comic Con 2013

Rediscover THIS Day, But Maybe Not THAT One!

Google Photos has been sending me its usual “Rediscover this day!” collages from Comic-Con 2013. On Tuesday it sent me a collage built from July 18, and on Thursday it sent me a collage built from July 20, marking Thursday and Saturday of the event.

Wait, what about Friday?

Well, here’s the interesting thing: Friday was the day I spent the afternoon in the emergency room.

I’d like to think someone programmed the algorithm to skip photos tagged for hospitals. Imagine if it was my wife’s photo collection, and I hadn’t made it — “Rediscover this day” would have been rather cruel in that case.

The more likely explanation is that I don’t have very many photos from that day for it to pick from, at least not on the account. On my computer I have 19 photos from my phone, 19 from my camera, and 5 from Katie’s phone. Of those, I picked 21 for my Flickr album. In Google Photos, I only have six from that day, all from my phone — and they don’t include the ER wristband shot.

My best guess is that I cleared most of them from my phone sometime before I started using the cloud backup feature… but I can’t figure out why I would have kept the photos that are there, and not some of the photos that aren’t.

Here are the photos that are on there (though I linked to them on Flickr for convenience):

Game of Thrones Religious Protesters Duplo Enterprise View from the Floor Flash at the Grocery Store

It’s an odd collection, isn’t it? The three individual frames from the GoT protester collage are in there, so maybe the collage app saved extra copies of the sources, and Photos found the folder. I can see deliberately keeping the view of the blimp from the convention floor (literally the floor), but if I’d done that, I don’t know why I wouldn’t have saved the wristband shot as well. And why save the Duplo Enterprise, but not the photos of my son playing at the LEGO booth?

Phone cameras and cloud storage are supposed to augment our memory. But sometimes the context is just missing.

I Survived Comic-Con 2013!

And this year, that’s saying something. (I’ll get into that later.)

Gru's Floating Minion

Sometime Thursday afternoon or Friday morning I concluded that we’d remember this year’s trip more for the circumstances around it than for the con itself. I had no idea.

For starters: We had tickets for Thursday and Friday, and planned to drive into town Wednesday afternoon and drive home Friday evening. Sure, Comic-Con is stressful, but we always used to drive home Sunday evening and I was fine.

Of course, most of those times we weren’t bringing a toddler along.

Under Pressure

Comic-Con is a stressful, high-pressure, taxing experience. Vacationing with a small child is also a stressful, high-pressure, taxing experience. And so many little things went wrong the first two days: Leaving the stroller behind and having to buy a cheap one on the way, the leg cramp in stop-and-go traffic, having to search for outlets to plug in the lamps in our hotel room (and having to unplug them in order to charge more than one phone at a time), the fit at dinner that had strangers commenting on how J must be tired (actually, ma’am, he acts like this regardless of sleep quotient). Getting out too late to take the shuttle back and having to take the trolley instead (though that actually worked out fine, as J loved the idea)…at which point we learned that the routes had changed since we last rode the trolley, and we got off one stop too early to make the transfer.

Thursday morning we had everything planned out: We’d go to breakfast at Broken Yolk Cafe, then pick up our badges, then I’d take J around while Katie tried to catch the first big panel of the day. So what happened? We missed the shuttle because they moved the stop from where it had been last time we stayed on this route. Then I ordered blueberry crepes and managed to spill them on my shirt and shorts. They went into the con while I went back to the hotel to change clothes and try to rinse out the blueberry syrup before it stained.

And the first taste of Comic-Con is always overwhelming. Always. Add in these circumstances and you won’t be surprised that when I finally caught up an hour and a half later, Katie was ready to swear off ever coming back.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Always bring spare clothes. (Done, fortunately.)
  2. Don’t start the con with a breakfast that might stain if it spills.
  3. If you’re bringing a small child, find some way that you can start the con without them, then bring them in later.

Overheard: “It was! It was! It was Reptar!”

Settling In

Fortunately, things improved over the course of the day, and the rest of Thursday actually went pretty well. Friday, on the other hand…well, we’ll get to that.

Continue reading

Going to the ER at Comic-Con: Not the Peanuts I was Expecting

Wristband vs. Heart MonitorI’ve been attending San Diego Comic-Con for more than 20 years, but this was the first time I left the con in an ambulance.

I’m OK now. Though I might not be when I see the bill.

It started at lunchtime. We went to New Break, an independent coffee shop near Ralphs, which we’d been to before. They were offering samples of a blended peanut butter banana coffee drink, and while I really wanted to try their blended mint mocha, it was safer to skip something made on the same equipment.

What I decided on was a Mexican Mocha. Generally, these add cinnamon, maybe nutmeg or chili powder. I’ve had drinks with that and similar names, and Mexican hot chocolate, plenty of times. I didn’t ask what was in it, but I had just told them I was allergic to peanuts when I decided to skip the blended drink.

I considered getting it iced, but there was some confusion as to what was included in the lunch deal, so I got it hot instead. That turned out to be a wise decision, since I probably would have started out chugging a few ounces of a cold drink.

Two sips in, the back of my throat and my lips started tingling — a bad sign. I stopped, flagged over one of the baristas, and asked whether there were any nuts in the drink. She didn’t think so, but said she’d check.

I pulled out my emergency kit, took my Benadryl and Pepcid, and set my Epi-Pen on the table in case it progressed. I probably should have just taken it right then, but who wants to spend the afternoon in the emergency room instead of Comic-Con?

Meanwhile, the coffee shop staff had been unable to find ingredients for the mix, and had to call the owner to confirm that yes, there were peanuts in it.

Great.

Over the next hour, it felt like the reaction was under control, so I figured we could return to the convention center. Unfortunately, anaphylaxis can take several hours to run its course, and medication can wear off before it does. Continue reading

Tips: Keeping Connected at Comic-Con

Spider-Man answers his cell phoneComic book convention season has begun, and I’ve updated my Tips for Comic-Con with a bunch of ideas for keeping connected during and after the con. Smartphones, live-blogging and social networking have changed expectations and added a new set of challenges to the crowded event.

Getting Online

  • Wi-Fi is available in some parts of the convention center (which ones varies year to year). It’s frequently jammed, though.
  • If you see both free wifi and a paid hotspot on a service you already subscribe to, go with the paid service. It’ll be less crowded.
  • If you need to get online but can’t connect on the convention floor, hit a nearby hotel lobby.
  • Hotel internet access is often faster early in the morning than late at night, because no one wants to get up early to go online. That’s the time to upload your photos.
  • Cell reception can vary a lot by carrier in some convention centers, especially those with basement exhibit halls (Long Beach, I’m looking at you.)

Social Networking

  • If you want to update multiple social networks from the con, don’t spend time posting to all of them on a busy connection. Pick one and have it sync to the others using built-in connectors or IFTTT.
  • Tag your photos by convention+year and topic. Examples: Comic-Con 2013, #SanDiego, #cosplay, #SDCC, #StarWars.
  • Look for photo pools/groups dedicated to the convention (ex: SDCC on Flickr) or topics.
  • If you aren’t posting photos instantly but do want to share them, post them nightly or as soon as you get home. Interest drops off quickly after the con is over.

Hardware

  • Set your phone to vibrate and text instead of calling. You won’t be able to hear it ring or carry on a conversation on the main floor. Even then, you’ll want to check frequently for messages you’ve missed.
  • Bring a spare battery for your camera so you can swap it out in the middle of the day.
  • Make sure you bring chargers and data cables for ALL your electronics. Charge your phone every night, even if you don’t think you need to.
  • If you heavily use a power-hungry phone, carry a battery extender so you can recharge without finding a socket.
  • Save battery by turning off or slowing down notifications that you won’t be keeping up with during the con. If you only plan to check (for instance) Facebook in lines and after hours, you don’t need your phone checking every 5 minutes while you’re on the floor.

Head over to Speed Force for the full list of Comic-Con tips!