I get progressively less and less sleep at conventions that go on for several days, or in the case of the San Diego Comicon several months. It’s how I imagine cartoon blood cells must feel in between sessions of racing around at a breakneck pace through crowded arteries full of noise and terror and farts. I just lay there with all the noise and faces of the previous day floating around in my head and on top of all the thoughts of the day to come and it makes for some serious tossing and turning and doing parkour in the room to try to relax.
I once parkoured on a seriously sad orangutan at the L.A. zoo.
My convention sleeping, or lack thereof, just means that the best time to actually meet me at a convention is a week before the convention happens and I’m just out going for a walk feeling actually pretty good about things and completely forgetting that, in a week I’ll be going to a convention where I can’t even do a wall walk without slamming into a shitty coffee maker because I don’t actually know parkour.
It’s not all bad, however, these things. I do get to see friends that, because of our schedules back home, I don’t often get to see in more casual settings. Ran into Bryan Konietzko at a party last night. I don’t often do the comicon parties because I don’t trust myself around napkins, but it was one or those rare occasions I felt like standing around in way-too-loud music so you have to shriek every single word at someone wincing at your lips penetrating their ear canal like a hummingbird jamming its beak into a flower in search of honey or pudding or…whatever nature is selling.
So Bryan, as many of you know, is the co-creator of Avatar and the Legend of Korra, and he was also a board artist and art director on INVADER ZIM. He’s pretty much one of my favorite people I met through my show bidness dealings. While we were sitting around, talking about how cool we both are, a fan of his came up and immediately lost her cool in that genuinely adorable, awkward way some people have of doing around people whose work they like a lot but can’t quite express efficiently. It was loud so I couldn’t really pick up all of it, but the gist of this girl’s somewhat rambling praise was that Bryan’s show had changed her life and gotten her through some rough patches and maybe something about parents getting divorced and a sibling who also loved the show passing away and all sorts of stuff like that.
Throughout all this, Bryan’s nodding and smiling in a way I find way more convincing than anything I ever pull of when I can’t quite hear people. I usually nod a bit, yeah, but then, once I realize I’ve totally lost track of what’s being said, if I have a glass of anything in my hand, I throw it hard against the wall behind the person speaking to me and run off as they’re turned around to look at what I’ve done. Bryan, however, really looks engaged in this person’s story and I was a bit jealous that he could exude such a personable demeanor at the point where I’d be hiding behind a plant or something, crying and picking out pieces of glass from the blowback.
So the person’s story comes to a clumsy end, and they’re smiling and apologizing for going on and on and Bryan just stands up, says don’t worry about it and how flattering it was to hear all that and then bids everyone good night and starts walking away. The girl sorta just stood there, not sure of what to do, an awkward, nervous smile on her face, but also the sense that something was missing.
Bryan stops, about three feet away, his back to us but his head angled so as to suggest he’s sensing us behind him, and he says ”Oh, one more thing.” loudly enough to cut through ‘You Can’t Touch This’ blaring all around us.
Bryan spins around, his foot swinging high and up, and he spin kicks this girl into a giant flat screen tv silently playing The Dark Knight Returns. After a wave of paralyzing horror, I realize just what’s gone down and I look up at Bryan, and jump on him to restrain him. he doesn’t resist, just gives me this look of “it’s cool” and nods over to where the girl is slowly rising, covered in glass bits.
She’s beaming, like freakishly happy, happier than at any time since she first walked up.
It’s just a thing Bryan does, I guess.
Anyhow, time to get ready. Wish me luck, maaans.