Just two notes
were in my notebook when I hit the (619). The only one I
got around to using read “Meet us at the cul-de-sac
near the corner of 1st and J, Thurs 9:30pm, Tron 2.0.”
This info had
come from far too much free time at a law office temp job
the first half of the week and a lot of billable hours spent
on various nerd blogs. A few had received mysterious arcade
tokens for Flynn's Arcade “Home of Tron” and
USB sticks that through the magic of cooperation led to
The message came directly from the site and the time a countdown
timer and my uncanny ability to sling, as my Welsh friends
A later check
of the site from the Con floor revealed my maths were indeed
uncanny as they had changed the message to indicate Thursday
at 930pm by name instead of trusting something as nimbly-pimbly
timey-wimey as a clock.
After a cheap-yet-tasty
burrito at a taco stand and some free-yet-cold beers at
a mixer where I was a lovely industry professional's arm
candy, we lit out for the cul-de-sac, but only after quoting
The 'burbs' Dick Miller, "I hate cul-de-sacs.
There's only one way out, and the people are kind of weird."
We got there
about a half hour early which in Comic-Con parlance means
an hour or so late and the line was already forming at a
table. We were sent to the end of line, but not before one
of the “Flynn Lives” shirted street team members
let the cat out of the bag asking if we were here for the
scavenger hunt. At the back of the line there was a buzz
and we began to accumulate clueless passersby sucked in
by an assumption of free gear and speculation ran wild.
Once the hour
was at hand and the herd began to move, we were asked to
sign waivers which none of us read before filling out to
receive intriguingly heavy packets. Inside was the main
item I'd hoped for, a shiny (both in the old-fashioned and
Serenity ways) token from Flynn's.
Not only that,
but a map of the vicinity with the blocks that were in play
marked, some instructions, a vellum overlay with a grid
and other note taking areas as well as a nifty combo torch
(not another shoutout to my Welsh friends, but actually
what the switch label said) and blacklight. Just the thing
to make my DNA-rich hotel bedspread light up like a velvet
About that time
we teamed up with a buddy and his wife for little of that
teamwork my soccer coach always seemed to be on about. We
all had seen a couple of Flynn Lives posters in various
windows earlier in the day and broke into the Dr. Who dash
for our first clues.
We found a pair
of posters and no one in sight in the windows of a closed
store front. We got all CSI on the posters and soon learned
we had located 1 of 3. Some more searching over the handbills
with our black lights revealed tiny letter/number pairs.
While two of us called out our data and the other two recorded
(just like Junior year chemistry!) a voice from above my
crouched position would lead to the biggest lesson I learned
at my first Comic-Con.
“What do we
have here?” I turned to drop some puzzle solving science
on a fellow traveler when one of our group recognized him
and asked if we knew him from somewhere. I glanced up, told
her that it was TV's Paul Scheer, shook his hand, told him
I was a fan, and then returned to the task at hand while explaining
how things were shaping up. I mention this not in a lameass
I met a famous person way, but to explain part of what I found
to like about Comic-Con.
new friends at Comic-Con!
Here we were
running around the Gaslamp Quarter and instead of hitting
hot bars or fine dining we were shouting out co-ordinates
revealed by black light from posters hyping the release
of the sequel to a 27-year-old Disney movie about video
Even in a life
that has included such activities as memorizing Steve Martin
albums, reading comic books, and modding pez dispensers,
this was one of my nerdiest moments ever and I was loving
it. Not only that, but then there was this other guy who
creates some of that nerd culture through things like Human
Giant and 30 Rock not calling his manager to get
him on a list for this event or whatever, but running around
just like us being a huge nerd and we were all cool with
that. Forget Mythbusters tote bags and Prisoner
buttons; this is what it is all about.
Once we've relieved poster 1 of its secrets, Mr. Scheer
hips us to the locale of a 3 he had found and we head that
way. We scan and record the new info from that poster and
some folk offer to trade info with us. It turns out they
don't have Poster 2 so we point them to Poster 1 and leave
them behind. It may be about the geek glue that binds us
together, but it's also about the thrill of the game and
the challenge of the puzzle.