Friday, March 27, 2009

Our Med-Con Con Adventure, Part 4

On Friday, I decided to attempt my comic-shop search yet again, this time on foot. Armed with a map of downtown D.C. and my previous Mapquest directions, I once again took the shuttle to the National Mall and began my hike over toward Union Station. My Mapquest directions said the shop was located at 50 Massachusetts Ave, which seemed to be in the vicinity. And while Union Station's interior is quite mall-like, I didn't find any comic shops within. (Their website still claims its there, but I didn't see it.)

I then noted that Union Station is not located at 50 Mass Ave, but 40, so I decided to move down the street a bit and find 50. Trouble was, Union Station is at the intersection of 8 different roads and I wound up going down the wrong one. By the time I realized it, I'd committed too much to the road I was on and decided to cut over a block and hit Mass. Ave a bit further down. When I emerged onto it, I was in the 250s and nothing back the way I'd come looked very comic-shoppy.

Abandoning the initial search, I decided what I would do was to find the second shop on my list, which according to the Mapquest directions was not terribly far away, located on Dumbarton Street, which is in Georgetown. I found that on my Map, noted that it wasn't too far north of some of the more westerly National Mall attractions and decided it was a doable walk. I decided to cut over to Pennsylvania Ave, take it all the way to the White House, check out the sites as I walked around it and then hit Pennsylvania on the other side taking it all the way up to M Street and then down to Wisconsin Ave and on up to Dumbarton. However, by the time I reached the not quite half-way mark of my journey, I realized that while I could indeed make the trip all the way to Georgetown on foot, I wouldn't make it back on foot. My feet hurt way too much already and I could foresee a cab ride for which I did not have cash to pay in my future. Furthermore, none of the public transportation options listed on my map seemed ideal. So, I popped into the Ronald Reagan Building (actually, "popped" isn't the right word, as I pretty much had to go through a cavity search in order to gain entrance) and had lunch in the food court.

After this, I strolled semi-painfully near the Washington Monument and then down to some more of the Smithsonian museums. This time I checked out the American History Museum, where the most impressive things I saw were Dorothy's Ruby Slippers, and early Kermit the Frog and Oscar the Grouch puppets.

After this, I decided to take the shuttle back to the hotel and drive our car up to Georgetown. This involved walking a goodly distance, with my feet hurt increasingly more as I went. I was thankful that I'd not decided to walk all the way to Georgetown after all.

Only after I'd arrived at the shuttle stop in front of the capitol did I check my shuttle schedule and noted that while the shuttles ran every half hour from 8 a.m. until 12:30, they took a nice long break and resumed frequent service only at 3p. At that moment, it was around 1p.

Now, what I should have done in retrospect was hoofed it over to the Air and Space Museum and checked out their planetarium shows for the next couple of hours. Or gone back to the IMax theater in the Museum of Natural History; neither option occurred to me, though. Instead, I went back to EFFing Union Station and tried to find Massachusetts Ave again to see if I could find that EFFing comic shop. After successfully skirting around a rather large and scary gentleman who was screaming angrily at passersby, I found my way on to Mass. Ave and to what I thought was the vicinity of 50, where there clearly was no comic shop to be found. My feet hurt so much by then that all I wanted to do was get off of them, so I hobbled back to the capitol, collapsed in a shady patch of mulch and listened to Adam Carolla classics on my mp3 player. When the shuttle came, an hour and a half later, it was all I could do to climb aboard.

That afternoon, once the wife was free from conference sessions, the wife joined me back in the room and announced she'd won me a prize. She'd been the winner of a door prize drawing during one of her sessions and came away with a JVC Everio digital video camera. It's super sweet and is probably a better video camera than I would have picked out had I been shopping for one. I immediately set about recording everything.

Friday night we went to see Watchmen. This is probably the movie I've been itching to see for the longest time and is one I'd been convinced would be a horrible tragedy of a film until seeing the early trailers for it, which looked very promising. Everything I'd seen up until I saw the actual movie had led me to believe it was going to be pretty darn faithful to the original book and I had long since announced to the wife that we would be seeing it opening night.

Being in D.C., we had IMax theaters at our disposal, but they were all sold out for Watchmen, so we reserved tickets for a normal theater showing.

Because of some conference commitments, we didn't get out of the hotel until nearly 6p and only had an hour to find the theater, find parking, find someplace to eat, eat and then make the show. We managed to do it, (though the finding parking was the major obstacle, it turned out) and wound up eating at a wrap-sandwich place across from the theater.

Then we saw the movie.

I have to say, there were some moments from the book that I would have preferred they left in the movie which they could have accommodated by trimming some of the lengthy fight scenes a bit. (I'm thinking of an Ozymandias/Dr. Manhattan conversation toward the end, in particular, and maybe an actual scene at the magazine stand to give us the slightest reason to care about those two characters dying later--maybe that's all in the Tales of the Black Freighter DVD, though.) And there were some minor elements (sugar cubes, nostalgia perfume spilling on Mars, etc.) that would have been nice to see, too, and wouldn't have required much in the way of time.

All in all, though, I really dug the movie, particularly Jackie Earle Haley's performance. It seems to me that Zack Snyder's Watchmen is about the best Watchmen movie we could have expected to receive from Hollywood and is a far cry better than just about anyone else would have given us. Sure, we all might have a different version in our heads, and somewhere there's an alternate universe where the whole thing was done as a 12-part HBO mini. But I thought it was a very loving tribute to the original source material. I now await the director's cut DVD with the restored Black Freighter material.

We got royally lost on the way home, thanks to a wrong turn into road work, which turned into an even wronger turn when we tried to turn around and head back the way we came only to have the workmen pull a baracade into the very road we needed to take and rudely wave us in the other direction. Fortunately, the road we were forced to take did eventually cross a street that showed up on our tiny, underdetailed atlas map of D.C. and we saw that it would soon intersect with the beltway we needed.

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