Salt Lake Comic Con 2016, Day 2.

Strap in, people. This one is going to get bumpy.

Today’s discussion of Salt Lake Comic Con is a sad tale of woe and despair.

SLCC16 LOGO-indigo

In short: it was a disaster.

No, no, no: the event itself was fine. As expected, entry was smooth, crowds were plentiful (and got more so as the day wore on), and the energy in the Salt Palace was near-manic.

The disaster, such as it was, was entirely my fault. Well, fault may be a harsh way to put it, but no matter how I look at it, there is a single point of confluence of all the negative events of the day.

This guy. The one typing this right now.

In retrospect, I suppose I should have seen the signs early on. Those little hints from the universe that are there to tell you to go back to bed. But hindsight, such as the saying goes, is 20/20.

And so, I ignored those warnings from the universe.

The first seemed harmless enough: I cut myself a couple of times shaving off my goatee. No biggie there. Happens all the time. I thought nothing of it.

Why would I?

Then the universe got a bit more clear in its attempts to get my attention.

As I was dressing (as Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the cargo vessel, Serenity) and packing my things for con this morning, I thought to myself, “I won’t take the big camera. It’s so cumbersome and heavy. I’ll just take the smaller one. It’ll be fine for what I need.”

So I put the camera in my bag, gathered up the necessary QR codes for today’s photo ops, and jumped in the car.

Did I mention that I plugged the camera battery into the charger this morning to top it off, just to make sure it was full for the day? Don’t want to run out of power, right?

No? I failed to mention that?

Probably because I forgot that I did that, too, until about halfway down to Salt Lake, and I was not going to turn around and drive all the way back, to drive all the way back down to Salt Lake. That’s a wasted hour.

Which left me with my cell phone. Just my cellphone. Great for taking casual (but still useful, mind you) shots of cosplayers, but a shot of any distance? No. And maybe a short video with any decent (read: “intelligible”) audio in the mass of bodies on the vendor floor? Not a chance, especially since, for some unfathomable reason, I neglected to put my digital audio recorder (cheap, but effective), in my bag, either.

“Well, poop,” I said to myself, recognizing that I would, in fact, be typing this all up later, and deciding that I might want to at least try to make it family friendly, instead of using my usual, Deadpool-approved, but Colossus-frowned-upon, vocabulary.

So, having righteously pooped up my morning, I resolved to at least try to get some shots of the always-excellent cosplayers that attend Salt Lake Comic Con. Without fail, there are always those costumes that make me think that I should have paid more attention in home-ec class in middle school (Yes, I’m that old: metal shop, wood shop, cooking, and sewing mandatory for three years of middle school. We really should bring those classes back, by the way…).

But, middle school classwork aside, I arrived at the Salt Palace a little past 10 am, so there was no entry line at all, and proceeded to start walking the floor, determined to enjoy my day and wring as much from it as I could.

That lasted about forty minutes.

Have you ever hurt your back? I mean really hurt your back? Like, “Oh, God, I want to die,” hurt your back?

I did. Many years ago. Funny thing about back injuries: they never really get right. For me, it’s not just “oh, my back hurts;” it’s “Why can’t I feel my leg? And how is it in excruciating pain at the same time!?”

I won’t say that I literally couldn’t walk, because that would be an abuse of the word literally.

But at one point I barely made it to a chair in the food court.

[Editors note: And by the way, what’s up with the lack of seating outside the vendor floor this time? No bench/couch things on the first floor, only upstairs? I understand that con is a game of getting around and shopping, visiting, etc., but occasionally, everyone needs to take a load off, and then what?

Yes, you could go into a panel room, but that’s hardly relaxing, is it? And what about those people with kids? Just something to think about for the future. And sitting in the food court takes up valuable room from those who are trying to EAT.]

So, every half hour or so, it became a game of finding a place to sit for another thirty minutes or so, sometimes longer, or of seeing how long I could physically gut it out before finally having no choice but to squat down in an effort to take some stress off my lower back.

Again, this is all the fault of one person: this guy.

There were a couple of bright spots, as brief as they might have been. First, I got a photo-op with Sean Maher, which accomplished two goals: A) I now have photos with SIX members of the Firefly cast, and B) it reminded me why I am a writer and now podcaster and not an actor: my goodness, that man is attractive.

Also, my daughter and her friend, along with one of my wife’s co-workers and his daughter, Tymber, got a photo-op with John Cena. My wife graciously stood in the VIP line with them so they wouldn’t have to wait as long (although EPIC really seems to be doing a bang-up job on keeping things running smoothly over there. I have heard nary a peep of serious dissatisfaction about that), so then this happened when they got into the booth:

John Cena - SLCC 2016

The girl to John’s left is Tymber, who was over the moon, maybe more so than when we helped her get a photo with Chandler Riggs at a previous Salt Lake event. Don’t quote me on that though: she loves Chandler Riggs.

I’m kind of sorry now that I didn’t get to meet John, though. He seems like a really tremendous guy.

The only other thing that went according to my hastily conceived plan was this tweet (@MWWoodring):

han solo

Juvenile? Yeah, probably, but it still makes me laugh.

But, aside from those things, today was a pretty not-good day.

Miserable is the word I choose to use, actually. Yeah: miserable. I was miserable. Technically, I still am, as the day isn’t over yet, but I had to bail at 5 pm because I literally (yes, literally) couldn’t stand the pain any longer.

Home now. Medicated on multiple fronts, and hoping for better tomorrow. I have already lined up the necessary equipment to take (including the previously mentioned “cumbersome and heavy” camera and audio recorder), and have no plans to shave in the morning.

Please, Universe, have pity on me. Let me get to speak with some celebs, however briefly, and maybe catch Dan Farr and/or Bryan Brandenburg walking around so I can tell them “thanks” for continually putting on an outstanding event (even if I have been known to be critical from time to time). Let me only break for a bite to eat or a panel or two. Let me stand with my daughter in photo-ops with Evanna Lynch and Millie Bobby Brown without being in agony the entire time. Smile on me, oh, great vastness of existence, and let me make it to the con-ending showing of “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” (hosted by the Utah Browncoats. Tickets may still be available at their booth next to X96 by the photo-op area, for only $2, with proceeds going to “Equality Now.”).

I love our con. I really do.

But today was a nightmare from the word “jump.”

So, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go die for a few hours.

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