My nightmare plane trip

NY Comic Con week was great. My favorite week of the year, but coming up was not fun. I got back to Miami on Monday, but the trip was not as easy as it usually is.

For one thing, I got to the airport very early because they have been working on the bridge and tunnel in and out of the city, when I arrived last Saturday, there was a half hour delay at the Midtown tunnel, traffic was at a standstill. And with all the major construction at La Guardia, I didn’t want to miss my flight, so I added extra time, but too much extra time, as I left the hotel at 6 am for a 9:30 flight, which ended up leaving at about 11 am because of planes backed up on the tarmac.

But the worst part was this little kid, maybe 2 years old, who cried and screamed from inside the terminal, through the whole tarmac wait and for the three hour trip to Miami.

He was a spiteful little creep because he knew what he was doing – screeching, at high decibles. He would cry and then SCREECH, where it went right through you. He knew what he was doing. I don’t know what he wanted or why he was crying non-stop, but his parents ignored it.

Everyone on the plane was going nuts and saying things under their breath, but no one said anything to the parents or the airline crew. We were all afraid to say anything for fear of being thrown off the plane. You know how that goes. Say something and they turn the plane around.

So it was basically six hours of non stop, screaming, crying and throwing a tantrum, he stopped for a bit, maybe to eat, but 99% of the trip was him carrying on.

I took a video, but it does not do the six hour tantrum justice so I won’t post it here, as you may think I am exaggerating.

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From skyline to brick wall

My first couple of days in New York sort of suck. But things are better now. I got to see the 30th season premiere episode of The Amazing Race today, and that was a lot of fun. I took a little film of that, you can see that below.

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This is the usual view from my favorite hotel in NYC, the Affinia Dumont, which is now closed and turning into condos. I pay for this view, but it’s worth it.

But to start out, I have this favorite hotel in New York, the Affinia Dumont, where the views are spectacular, you think you are living in a postcard. It’s amazing.

Well, after all these years, they were sold and  becoming condos, the Murry Hill Marquis, so the hotel company put me at another one of their Affinias up the street, the Shelburne. I stayed there once, and didn’t like it, but figured what the hell, it can’t be that bad.

It is.

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This was my view when they changed me from the Affinia Dumont to the Affinia Shelburne.

They gave me a room facing a brick wall. You can see it here! Then they charged me $25 a day for “incidentals,” like wine at the wine bar, $10 worth of things at the gift shop, internet, etc. I’m here 10 days, do the math. I would only use the internet, and possibly the gift shop for a bottle of water and maybe the newspapers. I don’t drink wine, and I don’t mix with total strangers and free wine socials at hotels.

I asked for them not to charge me the $25 and they said that’s the way it is. I could do nothing about it. This was one of the managers who said this to me. Basically, that’s tough, you’re stuck with the bill. Then I asked to change my room from the dungeon that it is and I was told there were no other rooms! The two little bitches at the front desk were quite rude. The manager literally told me that they stuck me in the dungeon room because they wanted to give me an inside room which is more quiet and preferred. I guess she thought I was a mental patient, who need to calm my nerves.

The coup de gras was the next morning when I got stuck in the elevator! A couple from England and I got stuck. This changed everything. I’m not sure why, because it wasn’t long and I didn’t complain, that sort of thing doesn’t phase me, but they were now falling all over themselves at the front desk, the manager called me, he removed some of my $25 “incidental” charges and they moved me to a room with a view. There is sunlight coming in the window as we speak!

The hotel is surley and not friendly, I asked one of the ladies from housekeeping if I could have a bar of soap, Her response – “Call 64 and they’ll bring you the soap.” In quality hotels, she would have brought me the soap herself when she had a chance.

Anyway, I went to Washington Square Park at about noon for the filming of season 30 of The Amazing Race. There were quite a few reality starts there like Cody and Jessica from the recent Big Brother season which only ended a few weeks ago, that was quite fast signing them up. It was fun to watch, Phil Keoghan is a really nice guy, you’ll see in the film below that he approached a little boy, about four years old, who has a sign that says he wants to be on The Amazing Race. Phil is cracking up. He asked the little boy how he know about the show at such a young age.

I think this will show this winter, probably February. They had the little boy’s mother sign a release, so I guess that interaction will be on tv.

The day I confronted the syndicate

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Batman at last year’s NY Comic Con.

One year I had a plan. I was attending New York Comic Con and I knew that one of the large syndicates would have a presence there. I had it figured that I would go and meet the people and ask why they keep turning my work down. I guess the answer would be, “You are not good enough!” or ” Your work is not funny!” But I had to find out.

I had it all planned to go to the Jacob Javits Center and I got up the courage to approach their booth. It was quite busy and I didn’t want to make a scene so I decided to walk around the convention for a bit and then go back when it was quieter. There were a couple of famous cartoonists singing autographs and meeting fans, so the booth was quite busy.

I walked around for maybe an hour and when I got back to the booth, there was only one girl there. I thought she was a hired model to hand out brochures, but she ended up being a higher-up at the syndicate and she was the actual person that kept declining my work! So we ended up chatting and never did come to a conclusion as to what I was doing wrong. During that time I think the New Yorker in me came out to her midwestern sensibilities, and the clash may have affected her, where it did not affect me. To be honest, I don’t know how the thing ended up, but that was about four or five years ago and to this day, she still rejects my work. And the clash, wasn’t really a clash, it was just my rough around the edges, New York-style, against her quiet midwest ways.

That day, after speaking with her, I headed back to my hotel on the other side of town. As I reached the hotel, my phone rang. It was a call from the town where the syndicate is located. I got nervous. Was she calling me to tell me something good? I answered with bated breath. It was a customer calling about an order, regarding my business.

To that day, I have avoided their booth. All these years later, I don’t want to be seen as stalking them. Is that crazy? First off, they probably don’t recognize me or even know I’m alive, secondly, is visiting their booth, which is set up for visitors, stalking?

But I may stop by this year. I have, what I think, is a clever new comic strip and I would like to mention it to her/them before I send it in for consideration.  My problem is that I’m not a good schmoozer. I should be making friends and keeping in contact with them all these years and then pushing my work, but I don’t do that. I don’t know why; just a characters trait in me, I guess.

I almost had my foot in the door, but screwed that up, too. I’ll tell you about that some time.

NY Comic Con is coming up

cc12I’m headed to New York this weekend in anticipation of New York Comic Con which starts Thursday, October 5. I think it’s the best time of year – October in New York and Comic Con combined. It’s perfect.

Being in Union Square in October is special, too. It’s usually the first thing I do when I arrive in New York. In October, the pumpkins are out and the Union Square green market has all sorts of fall things, completely different than the summer’s Union Square green market.

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Union Square Green Market, NYC. Last October.

With Comic Con, I have different memories from different years that blur into each other, but I cover the event for the Huffington Post and I post things on my blog, so that is a diary for me, which differentiates each year.

One year I saw a guy on The View tv show, he was promoting his graphic novel, for some reason, that spoke to me, I contacted the guy through Twitter and we agreed to meet at Comic Con, I don’t know what I would gain out of it, but I’m not one to really reach out to people, so this was a big step. We did meet, ate at his hotel’s bar and chatted, but nothing much came out of it. I sent him my 10 With Tom questions later and he took six months to respond, which I found sort of rude and I just dumped the questions and I don’t think I ever contacted him again.

Another time I had it all planned to meet people from one of the big newspaper syndicates. That did not go well. I’ll talk about that in my next blog post.

The Distinguished Gentlemans Ride

Came upon the 2017 Distinguished Gentlemans Ride on Sunday morning, where they were all meeting up in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood for the start of the 11 am ride. The ride includes classic and vintage motorcycles where the owners unite to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer and men’s health issues. Money raised supports the Movember Foundation. This is a worldwide event and every city’s ride takes place on Sunday, September 24 this year.

Around the world, tens of thousands gentlefolk don their gentle gear and participate. The first ride in 2012, 2500 people took part, in 2016 it was over 56,000.

Over $4 million has been raised so far. Miami’s ride was from Wynwood down south to the Schnebly Redland’s Winery.

After the storm

So I’m back on the grid after Hurricane Irma. Power, internet and tv are up and running.

I had gotten power back fast but went a week without tv and internet, barely, what I mean is that I have ATT U-verse and my upstairs neighbor has Comcast. His Comcast was working so he gave me his password and I managed to get work done using his internet right down here in my own living room Very great neighbor.

The tv I sort of made due by watching shows On Demand on my cell phone, which worked during the outages. And as I previously stated, I would watch a Harold Lloyd movie or two each evening. So I managed.

Of course compared to Mexico’s earthquake and Hurricane Maria’s damage to Puerto Rico, I don’t have any problems and I am grateful. To think of all that damage and in Puerto Rico, they are saying that the whole country, that’s 100%, are without power.

When Connecticut was the world

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This is sort of like the picture I had seen in a book when I was a kid – a glass house in the woods.

There is this cool article in Vanity Fair about so many cartoonists who lived in Fairfield County, CT, for a period of time, from the 1950s through the ’90s.

When I was a kid and read books on cartooning, it would always mention places in Connecticut where the cartoonists lived. We once went to the Museum of Cartoon art in Greenwich, CT when I was a kid and that was really the closest I ever got to all those cartoonists.

Ironically, over the years, I always pictured myself living in a glass house in the woods in CT.  I saw an image in a book once, maybe it was about architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this was when I was about 14 years old and that always stuck with me and I thought it would be perfect to live that way in CT – all glass, surrounded by trees.

Ironically, I live up high in an all glass condo now, on Biscyane Bay in Miami, and if it was on the ground, it sort of would be the glass house of my imagination, only its not in CT and not surrounded by forest.

Anyway, the Vanity Fair article brought back so many memories of Mort Walker and Bug Sagendorf and Jack Tippet and so many more during the hey day of comic strips. I wanted to be like them, still do.