Saturday, April 4, 2009

Our Med-Con Con Adventure, Part 6

On Saturday, I announced my determination to find me a comic shop or two. I had addresses for the one in Georgetown and another one in Herndon, VA, that I found in the phone book, and was going to find them if it killed me. And it almost did.

I gave my addresses to the concierge at the Gaylord National and she printed out Google Maps directions. Unfortunately, the set that was to take me to Georgetown was defective and called for me to take a road that did not seem to correspond with any of the signage I saw and instead of winding up on the 295 loop, took me onto what looks like Old 295, the Anacostia Freeway, which leads out east away from D.C. proper. And shortly after I turned around and headed back, some asshole nearly ran over me going 80 mph in a 55 zone. Eventually, I saw Pennsylvania Avenue and decided to take it as I knew it would lead me in the right direction.

Once I made it to Georgetown, the shop was easy enough to find. Parking on a Saturday morning, however, was thin on the ground and I eventually had to park way back in a neighborhood.

I'd heard Georgetown was one of the cooler, hipper neighborhoods in the country and other than the parking situation, I'd have to agree. I got to walk around and see a good bit of the Wisconsin Ave section of it, cause the comic shop didn't open until 11. It has a really great atmosphere that I'd liken to a much larger-scale version of downtown Tri-Metro, or the Little Five Points section of Atlanta without the riff raff. I popped into a pet store to buy a new toy for Sadie, hoping to pay her off for ditching her for nearly a week (a factor we still felt guilty about).

The comic shop, Big Planet Comics, was well worth the wait. Huge trade paperback selection, including lots of indys, not to mention the last few months worth of all the current issues. I was able to find the first three issues of Top Ten Season Two, which my local shop managed not to get for me, as well as the 5th Goon TPB and the Tick 20th Anniversary Issue, which my old old shop back in Tri-Metro didn't get for me because they were in the process of going out of business and neglecting to tell anyone.

After nearly an hour in the shop, I was hungry and decided to walk across Dunbarton street to Five Guys Burgers. I'd never been to a Five Guys Burgers before, but it struck me as the sort of neighborhood place that made a damn fine burger. From the crowd there, I knew this would be true. (I'd later learn that Five Guys Burgers is pretty much a national chain, now, but this particular location was one of their earlier ones.) I ordered a bacon cheeseburger, that turned out to be a double. (You can order the "Little" bacon cheeseburger, if you want a single.) The guy at the counter didn't hear my fries order, so I had to come back and reorder them, asking for a regular fries instead of a large. After he'd already put the order in, though, I heard someone else order Cajun fries and I asked if he could switch mine to Cajun, too. This seemed like it might not be doable at first, but he wound up grabbing a different bag from the finished orders counter and passed them to me. On looking at them, I thought he must have made a mistake and given me a large order of fries, for within the paper bag was a very large paper cup filled to overflowing with hand-cut fried potatoes. Then, below that, the bottom of the bag had at least two inches of more fries, atop which was a small cup of Cajun seasoning. Now, while I thought I'd been mistakenly given a large, this was actually the regular size. I know this because I brought the wife there on Sunday afternoon and we opted to share a large, which turned out to be a big-gulp cup filled with fries and then half a bag worth below that. The burger and fries were outstanding and the experience of sitting at their bar and eating them while reading a free newstand copy of The Onion was even better. I highly recommend the experience.

Even though I'd had my fill of burger and comics in Georgetown, I decided to head up to Herndon and check out a shop up there. This involved following more Google Maps directions, which turned out to be accurate this time. Unfortunately, I wound up on a partial toll road and found myself hemmed in on both sides, in the EZPass lane and was forced to blow through the first of the toll booths. I was instantly terrified that my infraction at this 50 cent toll booth would come back to haunt me in a major way. Virginia, after all, is now infamous for issuing excessively priced tickets compared to other states when it comes to traffic violations. I was seeing figures in my head upwards of $500. I asked at the next booth if I could pay for the previous one, but the guy just pointed to a toll free number on a sign and told me to call them. As of this writing, things seem to be okay and I was able to call the number and pay my 50 cents over the phone. They didn't even seem to have my infraction in their system yet, but assured me that if it did come up the license plate associated with it would be flagged as paid.

Then, to add insult to injury, when I finally found Phoenix Comics & Toys, it was a closed up storefront for an out of business store. Maybe it will one day rise from the... well, you know.

No comments: