Disclaimer: I’m tired and accept no responsibility for typos or grammar errors.
After getting to the Austin airport early enough to grab a cheeseburger from Matt’s Famous El Rancho (Austin has the best airport food in the world), I boarded my flights to San Francisco and began my weekend. I need to throw out a quick mention that Continental has the worst carry on policy in existence. When I cram a bunch of crap into a backpack, I don’t want somebody to follow me onto the plain with a full suitcase and a guitar. Under no definition is that “Carry On.”
So I hit San Fran like a motherfucker, throwing my stuff into my hotel room (saying hi to my new roommate, Bailey Hunter of Dark Recesses), and then heading straight to the bar. In the elevator I ran into two coke-heads who I would eventually learn were Kelli and Kelly of Horror-Web. For the rest of the weekend, whenever something vibrant and loud was going on, I’d find at least one Kelli/y.
We hit the bar as a unit, and Brian Keene practically popped out of his seat to administer hugs. Say what you will about the Keene and his online persona. I’ve never met a nicer guy. In fact, he walked me around the tables, introducing me to every writer, editor and publisher.
“This is Nate Southard. He’s my protege.”
In the following days, he would introduce both myself and Steven Shrewsbury (Shrews) in this manner.
Speaking of which, Brian introduced me to Shrews and Minh, who would be my amigos for the whole fucking weekend. Between the three of us, there wasn’t a liquor, bookstore, or restaurant that was not our bitch.
So we all hung out for a bit, then ran to a pizza place to get dinner before running to catch Lost.
So there’s me, Brian, Kelli, and Don Koish of Necessary Evil Press watching Lost. Brian’s sweating over Sawyer, and I’m telling everybody how Eko makes me wish I was gay. Liquor is passed around, and Don nearly kills himself on some fucked up apple liquor. Brian prank calls Maurice Broaddus, and all of us team up to kill two cases of Corona the Kelli/y’s paid for. Kelli fluffed her pillow by smacking Cullen Bunn(who has a beautiful-looking Oni series coming out in April) in the face with it over and over again. We ran down to the bar, closing it out, and I talked to a Kelly Laymon who could do nothing but stare at my mouth. She would later cast her dinner about the sidewalk and elevator (at least, that’s what I was told).
At 2AM, I went to bed.
Thursday was the first day of the con-proper, so of course I spent most of it walking with Brian, Shrews, Kelli, Minh, Jim Moore, Solow, Christopher Golden, and a few others over many, many block to go check out Isotope Comics. On the way, we cut through the Tenderloin district, and I got to see the O’Farrell porn theater and strip club.
I did not jerk off in celebration, but I took a picture.
I’m happy to report that everybody agreed with me that the Isotope is the greatest comics shop in the world. James Sime provided us with three cases of beer, and Larry Young came out to say hi and ask me to sign the copy of Drive he had purchased. Lots of comics were bought, and lots of beer was drunk, then we walked fourteen blocks back to the hotel.
The rest of the day was spent checking out Brian’s reading (it was incredible), having Shrews introduce me to William Jones of Elder Signs Press, who agreed to let me pitch A Family Matter to him, eating more pizza with a dash of Chinese thrown in, and attending the wondrous Borderlands Books Party.
Where there was free beer and a bathroom in plain sight of a public basketball court.
That night, there was more drinking and schmoozing. I attended the party on the 7th floor (I can’t remember who threw it, just that there was MORE free beer. I think I crawled into bed at 2:30 or so, but details are fuzzy. During this day, I met Nate Kenyon and his lovely wife Nicole, Larry Roberts of Bloodletting Books, Steve Lukac, Jim, John Hay, Mary Sangiovanni, Dan and Suzanne (or is it Susan?) of The Other Dark Place, Weston Ochse, and a slew of others.