It couldn't have been a better day for a trip weather-wise. It was just me and my old best friend Nikki aka Healr spending a weekend in the Big Apple. Even my allergies decided to take some much appreciated time off. Before hitting the bus station we took the scenic route through Kutztown to catch a few last glimpses of fresh green farmland sprouting endless crops of dandelions. We stopped for a quick lunch at the Airport Diner where I sat munching happily on a tuna melt while watching to see if the planes were going to take off or fall shamefully into the quarry. Every time I see those little planes I'm reminded of Bert and Ernie in Follow That Bird, and how they missed Big Bird because Ernie was heavily involved in a song about flying upside down.
We arrived at the bus station with only 5 minutes to spare, relieved because the following bus wouldn't be around for another 2 hours. We rested our luggage at the back of the waiting room and shortly after a bus pulled up. Before we had a chance to check if it was our's, the doors shut and the bus took off. We missed the bus. The desk clerk informed us that we could try to catch the bus before its next stop in Allentown, and that's just what we did. We jumped into the TrailBlazer and and sped down the highway at 80MPH past a line of convoys and behind a cop. Anyone else wouldn't have managed, but Nikki drives and works in ambulances for a living as an EMT, so she's a skilled professional at that kinda shit. At the station I flew out the car, bags in hand, just as the bus pulled up while Nikki parked her car and sprinted across the parking lot.
We made it. Barely.
In less than 2 hours we were dumped off at the Port Authority and dragged our bags to the Milford Plaza. Yes, the "Lullabuy on Broadway" Milford Plaza. When we checked in I began playing one of my favorite mind games with myself in which I try to pick out which people around me are European before hearing them speak. I'm queen of the "find the Euro trash" game.
After we picked up our card keys, I asked where the closest bar is, and was highly shocked when the response wasn't, "There's one in the hotel just down that way." That didn't seem right. It didn't seem right at all. But we made our way up to our tiny room and jammed open the windows. They only opened about 10" so any hopes of plummeting to my doom from 24 floors up were squelched. When I looked around at the meager room I realized that the Milford is nothing more than a highly made-up whore of a hotel. By all means it's practically motel quality but they give it a nice front so you can't actually roam around the lobby in your pajamas with sex-hair.
Regardless, I found my way to a bar and grabbed a lager. As I peered around, something seemed wrong again. I was in a bar, but no one was poisoning my lungs with cigarette smoke! Madness. Absolute madness. It was time to get up and head over to Toys "R" Us.
Toys "R" Us was a madhouse, but I loved it all the same. The fantastic new toys promoting the spring/summer blockbusters were out and stacked high on display. There was Indiana Jones, Iron Man, and with Speed Racer there was an impressive statue of the Mach 5 that poor anxious children were being yelled at one after the other not to go in and touch. I passed up a tempting and deliciously discounted Golden Chocolate Coin Maker, knowing that ultimately I wouldn't have room for it on the voyage home.
At this point it was supper time, and Nikki wanted to go to Bubba Gump Shrimp. I'm all for restaurants themed entirely after movies, so I agreed and even waited a good half hour staring at things in the gift shop before we got in. I've never seen so many plush shrimp and shrimp-themed glassware in my life. The restaurant was completely decked out, anything and everything was related to the movie and the waiters and waitresses were amped to quiz you about movie facts. I ate the most sinfully wonderful dish ever -- shrimp stuffed with crab with garlic butter and monterey jack cheese. I washed it down with some crazy Ecto-Cooler colored spirit that cost $10 but I got to take my receipt to the gift shop for a souvenir glass, so it was all good.
We wandered around Times Square in the warm Spring night, admiring all the lights and billboards as we went. I stopped in at the M&Ms Store to have a look around and was happy to see they had dispenser tubes filled with the new "Mint Crisp" Indiana Jones M&Ms. I instead opted to make a mix for myself of black and hot pink candies. I'm still torn between eating them or putting them in a fancy crystal dish and never letting anyone touch them.
I also hopped over to the Hershey store and grabbed a pack of some fancy foreign Hershey Bars filled with a green tea paste. On the whole, I wasn't nearly as impressed with the merchandise in the Hershey Store as the M&Ms Store, but I'm sure some of that is because they have 1/4 the space. One only needs so many candy-themed refrigerator magnets.
Shortly after we picked up a 6-pack, went back to the room and turned in for the night. I found out my bed had a pathetic single pillow on it, so I took to the task of dissecting my bedsheets. I ripped out the totally unnecessary ugly brown foam sheet in the middle and folded it into a makeshift pillow. I may have caused myself to flip my sheets every which way in the middle of the night but dammit, I wasn't about to sleep with only one pillow under my head. It was bad enough I forgot my fuzzy socks and had to sleep sockless during the night.
In the morning I slowly went through my excruciating long process of showering and getting ready. It's not that I was crimping my hair or curling my eyelashes, but I'm not as content as I used to be to let my hair droop flat and slip on an old Sailor Moon t-shirt. I had to get reassurance that I looked like a perfect combination of Miss Piggy and Elvira before I left.
We stopped at McDonald's for breakfast, and I was oddly excited because it was years since I had McDonald's breakfast. I was a little saddened to find that McDonaldland cookies were no longer on the menu. Full on hash browns and orange juice, I flagged down a cab to drive us to the Javits Center. On the way there Nikki inquired as to the large glistening ring on my left hand I a simply responded, "deterrent." It wasn't until we started walking by a long line of fanboys that she went, "Man look at all these guys staring at yooooOOOOHhhhh! Now I get it!"
As we were getting in line I noticed my right shoe felt a little funny, and as I took it off to inspect, I noticed it a huge crack had formed through the heel. I should have seen it coming, I'd gotten nearly 2 years of fine service from those shoes, but the end came all too sudden. Thankfully, Nikki had a bottle of superglue in her purse and we managed to glue and hold my shoe together as I limped along with only one shoe on, laughing at my own inconvenient misfortune. Between the glue and nailing in a straight pin from my the mini-sewing kit in my purse, I managed to keep my shoe together for the duration of the day.
Standing there in line a few volunteers would emerge periodically to toss freebies into the crowd. The first round I reached out far enough to practically molest a small asian girl into giving me a free toy. No one stands between me and free actions figures. I scored a pretty sweet Japanese Batman that seems to have 30 points of articulation -- just enough that you can make him scratch his ass and smell his finger afterwards. There were also some stormtroopers and random people with lightsabers parading around making the crowd hoot and holler a little as they waited.
When we got in I scored another freebie, this one much smaller than the first but about 100 times weirder. Promotional "The Andromeda Strain" hand sanitizer from A&E. I grabbed a program book and paged through as we walked around. Nikki stopped for an autograph and photo op with Lou Ferrigno from the old Incredible Hulk series. I was set on finding Seth Green, but unfortunately when I did I wound up 3' away being told I couldn't meet him without a ticket. As it turns out, the tickets were sold the day before and you had to find the secret location and sacrifice an orphan to get one. I was seriously contemplating what the repercussions would be if I asked his surly bodyguard if I could meet Seth Green in exchange for letting him touch my boobies. I'd of offered Seth Green free access to my loins, but I've already promised that to one man and I don't want to lessen my gift by giving it away all willy-nilly.
Nikki wanted to see Stan Lee, but if you thought the process to see Seth Green was bad, it was 1000000x worse for Stan Lee. I believe it involved pup tents, a goat, blood ritual, and rescuing ponies from the Midnight Castle. After some more wandering around and photo-taking, I stopped to grab a snack and a rum and Coke. While I was sitting at a long round bar table I took out my make-up bag to do a face check, and some of the contents started pouring out onto the ground. It was then I realized just how thankful I was that I have such a discreet condom case.
Around mid-afternoon I met back up with Nikki to pop into the IGN theater and catch the "Star Wars and Indiana Jones: What's Hot from Lucasfilm" panel. The prior panel ended late, so I was in line for 30-40 minutes. It was worth waiting just to see the wide-eyed face on an excited young soon-to-be Indiana Jones fan as a nearby fanboy told him with intricate, loving detail about the golden idol scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
It was great to see all the sneak peeks and trailers for Force Unleashed and Clone Wars but I was especially fond of the preview for the Lego Indiana Jones game. It wasn't so much the fantastic graphics or the excitement of playing through the original Indy adventures as a Lego Man... it was the cute little Lego Man smirk. The best surprise was when Seth Green and Matt Senreich came on stage to talk about Robot Chicken Star Wars. I was smiling ear to ear listening to them talk about ToyFare magazine, stop motion, and getting to work with George Lucas.
After the panel our next stop was the cafeteria where I -- SUPRISE -- STOOD IN LINE!! 15 minutes just to grab a cheeseburger and a Snapple. I felt a little re-energized afterwards and headed back to the show floor to get some swag and grab a few photo ops. No trip to Comic Con would be complete without a photo of me molesting stormtroopers and scout troopers.
I never could resist a man in uniform. The only thing hotter than a man in uniform, is a man in uniform ironing. It's like kryptonite to me, I'm rendered weak and helpless in its presence.
I didn't buy a ton of merchandise, and nothing pricey managed to catch my eye short of a nearly $300 Doozer statue. My first purchase was some cute skull and crossbones stationary and an awesome sticker pack that included skulls with bows. I also picked up a Lego Star Wars Vader pen which enamored me so much that I think I might just tie capes to all my pens from now on.
It seemed a little weird that I picked up Christmas items in April, but I know when it comes time to decorate my work desk in December, it will all be worth it. This Santa Yoda is sure to make me the envy of the office.
This is my favorite treasure, it's a battling Jason vs Freddy game from Japan. I picked it up from Hollywood Heroes and they told me it was only available as a prize at Japanese carnivals. I was in love the moment I saw it, because they both look just like Weebles. If there's anything better than a Jason Voorhees Weeble, it's a Jason Voorhees Weeble that can stab the fuck out of Freddy Kreuger.
The last thing I picked up at the con has a bit of a story behind it. I found a cool stand selling vintage toys and in a glass case was a bag with a used but complete She-Ra action figure in pretty good condition. I looked at the $40 price tag and walked off, but I just couldn't shake how cool it would look on my desk. That's when I went back to the stand to look at it again, except I didn't just look at it. I made a very intentional and very low bend over to inspect it, then looked up, batted my eyelashes at the stand attendant and expressed I was interested, but just didn't think it was worth $40.
There's no other explanation than this guy was either gay or married, and if he was married, his woman had a very tight grip on his balls because he didn't take the bait. I stormed off and flopped down on a large purple bean bag chair in one of the rest areas. My cell phone beeped with a message from an online friend asking about the con, and when I told him my predicament with the figure, he laughed at me.
I wasn't going to be defeated. I went back for a third time, smiled at the attendant and went, "Are you sure you can't sell me She-Ra for $30 just because I'm so cute?" He offered to meet me half way, and I left with a $35 She-Ra doll.
I stopped to eye some sort of lightsaber battling going on up stage, and cuddle Chewbacca, but then realized it was 15 minutes until the Robot Chicken: Star Wars panel. We headed out of the main center and tried to make our way downstairs. There was only one problem.
The downstairs had reached maximum occupancy.
On top of that, the escalators had broken and were temporarily stairs. All the ways down to the lower level were blocked and the people that managed to sneak down were caught and promptly sent back up. We waited patiently to be told it was clear to go down as they sent hordes of people up the stairs. Then we did what everyone does best at Stand In Line Con -- we stood in line. We literally had to form a line to go down the stairs. After waiting for half an hour in the "going downstairs" line they made an announcement that basically boiled down to, "Robot Chicken Star Wars is full. Fuck off."
The day was turning out to be quite the rollercoaster ride, and even Mr. T pitied us fools. It was getting late in the evening and short of watching a guy finish a chalk drawing of Captain America, there wasn't much left to do. Despite the stumbles and falls, I managed to see the glass as half-full and enjoyed my experience at the Comic Con. We took one last look before I hailed a cab back to the hotel.
It felt good to get back to the room and crash. We lounged for quite a while, resting our weary bones. I thanked my poor battle-torn shoes for lasting me one last day and toasted them with with a bottle of Bacardi Silver Razz. Once our strength was regained we crossed the street to a pizzeria and grabbed a medium pepperoni to take back to our room. I knew I was going to be eating nothing but junk on the trip, so I took the preventative measure of having my diet consist mostly of lettuce and tomato for about 10 days prior to the convention.
After downing some greasy slices of pizza, we loafed around watching Cartoon Network and sorting through our goodies. I finally curled up in bed to get a long rest before our noon check-out the next day. Unfortunately, that rest was very rudely interrupted. At about 1:30 in the morning I woke up feeling nauseous and sweaty, and stumbled in the bathroom.
My first fear was that I was having vertigo. 4 years ago I would get these weird vertigo spells every 5-6 weeks where I'd wake up, get dizzy, and throw up, but it had been since that time since I'd last blown chunks. I sat down in the bathroom, wondering how the hell I was going to travel if this continued the next morning. I was hoping it was just going to work it's way through my system in the normal downward fashion, and it seemed as though it did, but I still felt like hell. I was just about to try and make my way back to bed and see if I could sleep it off, but I never made it up.
I threw up in the bathtub.
The good thing was after coating the bottom of the tub and rinsing it out, I felt a lot better. Plus I managed not to wake up Nikki, but it was good to know I at least had EMS on site. I curled up under my sheets and grabbed my cell phone, wondering if any of my friends were up that late on a Saturday night to possibly comfort me. I decided to be nice and not try to text anyone into a late-night Mystie-pity-party and just tried to relax and fall back to sleep. Still, I wonder which of my friends would have shown compassion and which would have considered it a sign of a job well done and issued me a high-five.
In the morning we packed up the last of our belongings and dragged them to the bus gate. It was a tiring ride home, and I was glad to get back in Pennsylvania with my cows, my smoke-infested bars, and my booming e-mail box.
So long New York and thaaaannkks for the meeemooorieesss....