No, don’t worry, that’s not code for a heroin habit. Interesting story behind that whole bit of slang, though.

Means it’s time to get back on the convention circuit again after a few months of downtime. Dust off the storage bins, check the inventory, and load up the car for a weekend of tabling at the Long Beach Comic Expo.

I’ll admit, last year’s Expo didn’t go so great, and it certainly didn’t help that both Dawn and I were “playing hurt.” Literally. Her hip was flaring up and I was dealing with a broken toe, all factors which will make you feel really, really young… so perhaps top that off with a bit of depression and stir in an underwhelming amount of sales and you had a recipe for bleah.

Now part of me says that means this year has nowhere to go but up! And another part says to keep the expectations low. And a third part says just chill out and go and see what happens. That last part is probably the best voice to heed. Whatever else, the Expo tends to be a fairly chill experience and that’s a good thing when you’re just trying to get everything sorted and get your mind back in the game. It being President’s Day weekend here in the States will also help since we can take advantage of a Friday load-in, and then Saturday all we have to do is drive down, throw off our tablecloth cover and be ready to go. I cannot express enough how nice it is to be able to not have to load-in and then do a full day’s conventioning on the same day. It’s so much less stressful and definitely less sweaty, but on the other hand due to day job commitments or costs or distance, sometimes you just have to suck it up and face a 10 plus hour day including travel and manual labor. That is not chill at all.

The best of all is if you can afford a hotel stay, but… that’s a matter of affording a hotel stay, and that’s getting more and more expensive every year. It’s not something we can justify for Long Beach which is usually no more than an hour from our house, but still, when we have to factor in setup that’s another two hours and so we’re waking up at what my ex-military father would term “oh dark thirty.” A Friday setup means some extra gas spent and possibly parking fees if we can’t finagle a spot in the loading docks, but it also means being able to wake up after the sun rises and getting on our (Subaru) horse with the pleasant knowledge that we’re looking at maybe five minutes of table prep once we arrive.

I don’t know what exact price tag to put on that but feeling but as first outings for 2018 go, I’m going to be happy to be a part of it.