Personal Log: A bit of advice for attending San Diego Comic Con…

Short and Not So Sweet

This won’t be one of my usual deep dives, as I only want to convey a bit of reasoning as to why I won’t be writing a whole lot of fresh content this week (and possibly next); during the recent excursion to San Diego Comic Con 2023, my wife and I were forced to leave a day early after she tested positive for COVID late Saturday night (thank goodness we had a spare testing kit in our luggage; this is why I overpack).

The quickest way to cut a trip short.
Pro-tip; always pack a spare COVID test kit or two in your luggage if you plan to attend a convention.

We drove home early Sunday morning of course, after alerting the hotel staff, and we’ve been more or less housebound ever since. As of Sunday, I was still testing negative, so I did a few errands and stocked up on groceries (wearing a mask, of course). Later on, I began to feel gradually worse, until I took another test on Tuesday morning (my third), and the sample line on the test came up deep merlot red within 30 seconds. Oh yeah, I had COVID. With a vengeance.

There’s only 130,000 people attending this event–what could possibly go wrong, right?

I am grateful that I’ve been vaccinated multiple times, as our symptoms could’ve been much worse. Right now, it’s more like a flu from hell; with a fever, hacking cough, intermittent sneezing and worst of all, a complete lack of energy. I’m the guy who enjoys taking weekly 5 mile walks, and as of this writing, going to check the outside mailbox leaves me exhausted. Fortunately, my sense of taste and godawful sense of humor are fully intact. If I had to name one symptom of this that I despise the most, it’s the absolute lack of energy. It’s as if someone is draining electric current straight from my earlobes…

My friend Jackie Dallas (“Stranger Things,” “Criminal Minds” “13 Reasons Why”) and I during a photo op. Yes, I was wearing masks even during photo ops when I wasn’t sporting my Fred Flintstone look.

While attending San Diego Comic Con, I wore masks whenever I was indoors (especially in the “Soylent Green”-crowded Dealer Hall) or seated in an auditorium, only taking it off for quick photo ops (I was cosplaying as Fred Flintstone again) or if I was walking in a large open space. Mind you, I’ve been masking up religiously ever since the pandemic began in early 2020, and I haven’t stopped. I’ve quit going to movies almost completely (save for two this year), and I prefer cooking most of our meals myself or getting takeout. I’ve become a bit hermit-like, to be honest. However, I let my guard down a bit; not with my own masking, but with my wife in the same hotel room. My wife isn’t quite as adamant with masking as I am (and it’s no longer mandated in our state), so we assume she was most likely exposed to COVID around Preview Night (Weds) of the convention (based on the timing), and well, I caught it from her.

My wife, as “Gale Cumulus” from Pixar’s “Elemental” and me, in my trusty Fred Flintstone costume. I was lucky that my black mask matched the spots on my costume, though I would briefly take off my mask during photo ops. Well, I know better now.

To be honest, I’m glad we caught COVID at the same time, since we’ll most likely recover around the same time as well (we’re both vaccinated). I also joke that she’s my ‘canary in the coal mine’ when it comes to symptoms–I see what symptoms she has and I know what to expect for myself in a day or so. She’s doing a little better today, and while my own fever seemed to have broken this morning (so says the thoroughly drenched t-shirt that I slept in), it seems to have risen a little bit tonight. So advance warning; forgive any grammatical or spelling errors–I’m not exactly firing on all thrusters here.

From last year’s “56-Year Mission” in Las Vegas.
How to say “We Lost the Star Trek License” without saying “We Lost the Star Trek License.”

I also had to cancel my reservation for the annual Star Trek Las Vegas convention, aka “The 57-Year Mission” (or ’57-Year Mission’ as they call it now, since Creation Entertainment lost the Star Trek license), which was supposed to be next week, which crosses into our COVID self-isolation period. I cancelled my stay at the Rio hotel with no problems, but I had to absorb the convention ticket costs myself because Creation Entertainment refused any possibility of a hardship refund for my wife and I. Their ‘solution’ was to suggest that I go on FaceBook (which I’m not on) and try to scalp my own tickets (?!). I’m not even kidding. Most likely I will not be attending another of their conventions ever again. My sincere apologies to those who were looking forward to a 57-Year Mission report from Las Vegas.

I had some really wonderful memories at Star Trek Las Vegas in years past (this was from 2019), but they are really adamant on that ‘no-refund’ policy; even if you and your spouse are sick with COVID.

In the early years of the COVID pandemic, three people I know passed away. And while COVID isn’t quite so deadly these days in most cases, it’s still deeply miserable, and if you’re a relatively active person who enjoys attending conventions, you don’t want to get this virus. I am not kidding.

Update: As of this morning, July 27th, both my wife and I have lost our senses of smell and most tastes, too.

One of the less-crowded spots in the Dealer Hall, and yes, you will still see a few masks now and then.
Pro-tip: Find a cosplay that either matches your mask, or which can incorporate a mask.

So, the point of this shorter-than-usual column is, if you’re going to attend any large-scale indoor event, particularly a super-crowded convention like San Diego Comic Con, you’d be well-served to wear a mask. Yes, they can be annoying. Yes, they sometimes get tangled on our glasses, and yes, a handful of ignorant people might accuse you of ‘virtue signaling.’ My advice? Ignore them. I’m here to tell you that COVID is still very much out there, and it’s still one helluva nasty bug, and it just loves big conventions. Even if your symptoms remain milder than mine (for the record, I’m 56 years old), quarantine protocols in my state require a period of isolation, and that’ll really cramp your style.

Yes, meeting Leonard Nimoy was another wonderful memory I had from attending San Diego Comic Con 2009.

Now, I would never tell anyone not to attend San Diego Comic Con, because there are truly special memories and experiences to be had there. All I’m saying is to be safe, and be sensible. Masks and COVID testing kits are still available at most drugstores or even through Amazon. If you’re going on a long trip to a convention? Pack a test kit or two in your luggage, and a few spare masks, as well. It’s worth it. Take care, and stay healthy, my friends!

May all of you continue to live long and prosper!

All Photos: Author, Paramount Pictures

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul Bowler says:

    So sorry to hear you got COVID while at SDCC. I have a lung condition (Cystic Fibrosis), so I’ve had to be careful for a long time now. Like you I still have tests kits and use mask in crowded places. However, testing isn’t mandatory here in UK, and mask wearing is practically non existent now. I think everyone thinks its gone away, which it has to an extent, but for some of us its still a very big worry. I’d love to go to something like SDCC, but I doubt it’d be something I’d ever be able to do – so I do so vicariously through your posts and other bloggers I know who’ve been. I hope you are recovered and well again soon.

    1. If my posts give you the vicarious sense of attending these events safely? Then that’s the greatest compliment I could ever have. Health is paramount over all else.

      1. Paul Bowler says:

        You’re welcome, your coverage of these events are always a joy to read. I’d love to visit the states but health issues mean I will probably never be well enough to do a long haul flight. I’ve been lucky enough to attend smaller conventions here in the Uk and press screenings ect, so enjoying your blog posts of other events is a pleasure I always look forward to. 🙂

      2. I’m humbled. 🙏

  2. scifimike70 says:

    I know what it’s like to be hindered by a medical condition to the point where the chances for going places can be limited. Because of an essential medication, I’m very sensitive to heat and therefore at risk of heat stroke during the brutal summer. Whether it’s COVID or global warming, humanity is being forced to reevaluate so much in this decade. I hope that you get well again soon too.

    1. Thanks Mike.
      Both global warming and COVID are dire warnings that are being sadly ignored for the most part. If I can convey the feeling of these events to you safely? I am more than happy to do so.

      You take care of yourself.

  3. Hoping for a speedy recovery for you and your wife.

    1. Thank you. 🙏

  4. David Cheng says:

    I am sorry that you and your wife caught Covid. I hope and pray for a speedy recovery for both of you. I also wore a mask most of the time and plan to do so at next week’s 57 Year Mission Convention.

    1. Thanks David.
      It’s a really nasty bug, even when you’re vaccinated. 🥴🤢

  5. Lady Maneth says:

    I hope both you and your wife recover quickly with no long-term effects. I had a fairly mild case of Covid last October after getting all the vaccines and boosters I was eligible for. I’ve been sicker with the flu, even when vaccinated, and with strep throat, and I never lost my sense of smell or taste, but the exhaustion was brutal. Thankfully I was able to work remotely, and could go back to work after five days on sick leave, but it took about a month before I no longer needed to take a power nap during my lunch hour.

    I really enjoy your convention posts, it’s like being there except for the crowds.

    1. Thank you.
      If I can vicariously deliver the experience? I’ve succeeded. 🙏

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