Today will be a two-post day, to catch up for missing Monday. A little support network with my friend and her 6-week old took out a big chunk of the day. I discovered he likes sucking on my pinky more than his pacifier. It’s always nice to find new ways to make kids happy.
Speaking of kids, time for a recap of the big trip to Orlando with the nieces (yes, both decided to go) and their girlfriend to the Megacon convention. Megacon is held in the Orange County Convention Center, a big sprawling thing that has exhibitors and guests from areas such as comics, anime, movies and TV.
We started out at 5:30 am to get up there early enough to buy tickets and wait in the extremely long line to get in. I packed a variety of healthy items (grapes, bananas, citrus, cheese, nuts, water), but little was eaten as the three mostly slept on the way up. Worked for me!
These conventions are usually places where fans of all of these various entertainments “let their hair down”. Many of the attendees are in costumes; from a shirt or jersey to full home-made, astoundingly impressive creations (make-up included, as applicable). There is not the slightest hint of self-consciousness as it is a feeling of one big family. At any time, a costumed attendee may be asked to stop and pose for a picture, with or without the asker in the shot. Even as an old comics convention-goer, I’m still impressed by the sheer inventiveness of the fans.
The girls immediately began their search and destroy mission, snaking around hundreds of dealers to survey, ponder and ultimately buy those things they wanted. Punctuated by the occasional squeal of delight or sigh of disappointment, they showed great moderation in spending. My younger niece picked up a pink stuffed pig (with a yellow belly), kind of square shaped and about the size of a small dog (or a small pig, I suppose). Carrying this around for most of the day, she received great interest by most passer-bys. I got to hold it a couple times and I do have to say it was quite comfortable. She was not pleased by my suggestion it would make a great foot rest.
For the most part, I stayed out of their way, standing off to the side and simply letting them do their thing. From that vantage, I could also watch the faces of the boys in the vicinity. Since the girls are all pretty, I knew there would be at least a couple of times I might need to be alert (I was once a boy, too). As it turned out, there were only a couple times I felt I needed to move a little closer and strike up a random conversation with one of the girls…just to let the boy know there was an adult nearby. I think I was subtle, but if not, I don’t feel especially apologetic.
The highlight of the day for the girls was meeting their favorite voice actor from a number of their favorite anime shows. While I had no idea what they were talking about in specifics, I was favorably impressed by the man’s demeanor and attitude towards the fans. Either he was an exceptionally genuine and caring person or he should consider acting beyond just voice.
As we waited in the incredibly long line for the girls to get an autograph and picture (which he did not charge for, another generous gesture), I noticed a number of tables adjacent to the line that had actors or other Hollywood related people. There were no lines of people for these tables and that’s the subject of this afternoon’s post, so I’ll leave it there. One odd thing that happened while I was standing in the line was a kid asking me if anyone ever told me I looked like Stephen Spielberg. You can see the picture on the website, so you know no one ever has. A girl in line nearby said “I can totally see that”. I just chuckled and chalked it up to the natural tendency of people in these environments always looking for more “star” sightings.
By mid-afternoon, the girls had walked the halls a couple times and now hunger was overwhelming idle curiosity. We had put in a solid five hours of shopping and they seemed to be satisfied with the day’s haul.
We made a stop for some food before leaving the Orlando area and then headed out on the road home. The girls were mostly awake for that trip and the three of them became quite goofy on the way back. Funny what teenage girls find funny. I would have expected the topics of discussion to be more fitting of boys. The things you learn as a fly on the wall (or the invisible driver of the car).
It was nice to see a day where the sisters got along and had fun (ok, there was a moment here or there, but for the most part). It was a tiring run up and back, with all the walking in between, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend the time and see them so happy.
It’s a full year before the next one rolls around. Each of the girls will be a full year older, so it will be interesting to find out if they still want to go up there. If so, I’ll be happy to do the chaperoning honors. Only next time, I’ll wear an ET baseball cap and look up Spielberg’s autograph on the web to see if I can make some money signing autographs. Hopefully I can make enough to buy my own pink pig.