Toronto Fan Expo 2012 Fancy Sketches

HijiNKS ENSUE At Dallas Animefest

This weekend I’ll be at Dallas Animefest with Rob from Explosm. We’ll be in the dealer room, terrified of glomping cat-girls and Sailor Bubbas alike. I’ll have both HE Books, Prints, sketch cards, “Grammar Dalek” Shirts and “The Doctor Is In” shirts.

This was my first Toronto Fan Expo, but my second time in Toronto. Once again, I found the city and it’s comic-loving citizens to be as kind as pleasant as the Canadian Constitution requires them to be under penalty of mild reprimand. I only had one goal for my weekend in Toronto, which was to dine once again at Korean Grill House. This is a restaurant where you are given a table that is on fire, tray after tray of raw meat, some tongs and ZERO instructions, guidance or supervision of any sort. It’s $10 all you can (m)eat, and I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite place in the world. I wondered if I was hyping it up to my friends too much, but after seeing them marvel at the quantity and quality of meats, the looks of childlike wonder at the thought of throwing said meats into a flaming grill that was built into the table, and their amazement as we elected to reward ourselves for consuming our own weights in meat with celebratory milkshakes, I knew that I was significantly UNDERhyping the fantastical nature of this (m)eatery. If you are visiting Toronto, there is a KGH on Bloor and another on Queens. The service is terrible, the staff is incredibly uninterested in bringing you more lukewarm soda, and the bathroom was unusable, so please take all of that into consideration when I STILL DEMAND that it is my favorite place to eat.

I left the con a day early so I could get home in time to accompany my daughter to her first day of kindergarten. Delta lied to me and told me even though my flight from Buffalo to NYC was late I would definitely still make my connection to DFW. I was still on the first plane when my connecting flight home took off. Even if every plane had been on time, the flights were scheduled 27 minutes apart. Given the 15-20 minutes it takes to de-board the first plane, the time it would take to get to the other terminal (which was a “bus ride” away according to my flight attendent) and the time to board the following flight there was essentially no way possible for this connection to be made. Delta sold me an impossible flight, lied to me about my chances of making it home, then when presented with a plane load of passengers that missed their connections the Delta agents elected to offer us NOTHING as compensation. No flights into TX (for me at least), no flights on other airlines that might have gotten us to our destinations, no hotel and no travel vouchers.

The dead-eyed, policy spewing assfaces I spoke to (Shout outs to Kentun and Chris the PO at Delta in LaGuardia!) made it clear that if I had been the only one affected I would have been taken care of, but since their error screwed 10-15 people NO ONE would be given any sort of consideration. “What would you have me do? Give ALL THESE PEOPLE a hotel?” Oh, the people your company lied to, bilked and stranded hundreds if not thousands of miles from home? Yes, I would. That would be doing the right thing. Delta had an opportunity to make me a customer for life that night. Instead they made me miss my little girl’s first day of school, lose hundreds of dollars by skipping a day of the convention for no reason, and through their arrogance and lack of compassion they lost a customer (who spends nearly $5000 a year on air travel) FOREVER.

COMMENTERS: Please feel free to share your stories about Toronto, Fan Expo, Korean BBQ, or air trave nightmares.  

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  1. Crap in a handbasket, that sucks Joel… I'm sorry they royally fucked you over. I'm kinda glad the worst stuff to happen to me was having to run through Detroit airport and just barely making it to the gate, all because of someone's dim-witted idea to have a full jumbo jet coming from Japan greeted by two customs agents. Then the woman in Buffalo asked me if my plane arrived yet when they lost one of my bags. I swear she was the one Bill Engvall met. At least they brought it out to my house for free.

  2. Sorry to hear that Joel. I experienced a very similar situation through U.S Airways. Like you, my flights were scheduled extremely close together, and the flight left late apparently due to one of the passenger's relatives dying. They got her off and her luggage as well, so when I arrived in Las Vegas for my connection, I ran out of the plane to look for my new gate, which to my dismay was the one I just walked out of. Like you I got told too bad so sad, but they would sell me a new ticket at full price. Being stranded and almost out of money(moving) I had no choice. At least they gave me a voucher for a cheap motel and a voucher for the closest casinos buffett(awful), but it was wasted anyway because my flight was just hours away so I couldn't sleep. There is nothing good about Las Vegas when you're broke.

    • Completely agree. Or at least we could join the 20th Century in that regard. It sucks that the airlines have this nation over a barrel so much. I love travelling to new places, and will continue to do it, but airlines are pure evil. Maybe another way to put it is to say that if the Doctor had to travel via airline, the world would have ended long ago.

  3. Delta is a worthless crapbasket of an airport. I'm relatively certain that flying into atlanta, missing your connection, having to bounce from terminal to terminal with no clear guidance, finally getting on a massively delayed flight and then circling around, landing, and doing it over and over again for all eternity is oen of the circles of hell. My job requires me to fly just about every other week, and I do all that I can to avoid going near Delta. Unfortunately, they're the largest airline in the country, and cooperate with pretty much all of the major airlines in international travel, so if you travel enough, at some point you're going to want to go somewhere and delta will be your only choice. I rue those days. Hooray for mediocity surviving by necessity.

  4. Sorry about the bad service. As an airline employee, and frequent traveler, I have seen both sides of this. A big part of what determines compensation is what caused the initial delay. If it is our fault, mechanical issue, crew timing out, or something like that, we can do the hotel and meal vouchers. If it's weather related, then we just rebook you on another flight. Also, there is a "minimum connection time" between flights that varies by airport. Dunno about the airport you were in, but for O'Hare, it's 45 minutes for a domestic flight. Sounds like who/wherever you got your ticket screwed you in the first place.

  5. That really sucks! Delta is the reason for my rule: if it's less than a days drive, don't fly. Waited over 12 hours to get to SC from DC – on plane, off plane, on plane,at gate, on runway, back at gate, off plane, on plane – could have driven home faster. And it isn't just Delta, my sister and her family arrived at the connecting gate while the plane was STILL boarding to find that Air Canada had given their seats away and wouldn't give them back. Visiting my dying mother in Canada in May with all the attendant family drama of insane siblings and eccentric stepfather, the thing I most dreaded was having to deal with the airlines.

  6. Joel – sorry! I just meant to sympathize and commiserate with your situation. I didn't realize just how much hate I harbor toward the airlines but I shouldn't have let that overwhelm my real message which is: screw Delta; we love you.

  7. Joel, as a Toronto resident I can tell you that the Korean BBQ is a HUGE deal! People LOVE that shit! Personally I'm not a big meat eater, so I don't go often, but man, they aren't kidding when they say All You Can Eat! Plus, the bean sprouts and spicy potatoes are super tasty! The first time I was terrified that someone was going to get set on fire cause those grills are hot and everybody's reaching over each other, but thankfully there were no injuries. We all just ate til we couldn't eat no more! And, really, the service doesn't matter too much when you're doing all the cooking. We just get a table near the bar so drinks are never far away. : )

    Also, I was following your tweets and I'm really sorry for how much your trip home sucked. I hate traveling. You pay a small fortune for the pleasure of being treated like garbage and they are apparently free to just screw you over and give your seats away and there's nothing you can do about it! Where's the Better Business Bureau for airlines? We're pretty lucky in Canada; Air Canada sucks but I've never experienced anything like the horror stories you hear from the States (like people being trapped on a plane on the runway for 9 hours!) I'm glad you got home in time for lunch!

    • "You pay a small fortune for the pleasure of being treated like garbage"

      I think that's Delta's new ad campaign.

  8. I missed you Saturday and was bummed to find out you weren't around Sunday (maybe I'm destined to never own a signed Vol.2?) but your pain is way worse than my pain. Totally crappy for you but here's hoping your daughter's day 2 is even better than day 1!!!

  9. Korean BBQ is good, but Grill Time is even better. It's cleaner inside, the staff is nicer (though still a bit aloof) and the washrooms are pretty decent. Plus the food is better AND they sometimes have all you can eat sushi included in the all you can eat BBQ price! Definitely check it out next time you're in town. I've tried both and Grill Time is superior. Word to the wise, ask specifically for the sausage. It might not be on the menu, but they have it and it is MAGICAL.

  10. There is a Korean BBQ chain in London (or there was a few years ago) though it worked slightly differently. You picked up a bowl and collected all your meat and veg buffet style, then took it to chef in the middle of the restaurant who cooked it all on a massive hotplate, doing many bowls at a time. Pro's like me obviously took more than one bowl at a time to the chef…

    • I think what you're referring to is called Mongolian BBQ, at least it was at the few restaurants that do that in Alaska.

      • I remember Mongolian BBQ. All the ones I used to see have gone out of business. Maybe because of their policy of having staff stand and suspiciously watch a group who have a member who is not eating (due to not feeling too well but not wanting to spoil everyone else's night) to make sure they don't try to eat from anyone else's bowl. Or maybe it was all the food poisoning.

    • every great once in awhile I get on a plane, get off when it lands and almost nothing happens before, after or during the flight of any consequence. It's like a beautiful dream.

  11. Two air-travel stories:
    My sister and nephews live in Maine. Every once in a while, my sister and I persuade our mother (who HATES to travel and, like me, lives in Maryland) to fly up there and visit. For a long time, there were no direct flights from BWI Marshall (our nearest airport) to Portland (my sister's nearest). There was always a connection in Philadelphia.
    One year, I went to pick Mom up at BWI and there was absolutely no information available on her connecting flight from Philly. It wasn't on the arrival board, she wasn't there waiting for me and nobody at USAir knew ANYTHING. I hung around for about an hour, learning fuck-all, and then went home to call USAir from there. They said all passengers had been put on a bus from Philly to BWI and should be arriving shortly. So I drove BACK to BWI and found nobody and nothing. USAir gave me a meal voucher, since I was by then complaining rather intensely about the giant, seemingly-insoluble clusterfuck in which I was embroiled. I eventually went home to find a message on my machine from Mom. The bus had arrived shortly after I left BWI the FIRST time, she'd had me paged, and when I didn't show up (since I was home on the phone with USAir) she took a cab home. Fired off a letter about that one and received a voucher for a free flight which ended up going unused.
    Then there was the trip we took together over the same route. I bought my ticket after she did, so we were on separate flights going up. No problems there. On the way back, though…First of all, I got pulled aside for a patdown in Portland. I thought this was interesting, since I was dressed exactly the same as I had been on the flight up, but this time was clearly traveling with my 64-year-old mother. Anyway. Odd, but not a problem. The problem was when we arrived in Philly, got to our gate with about two minutes to spare and then found out our connector was cancelled and the next availble flight was in SIX HOURS.
    You can drive from Philly to Baltimore in considerably less than six hours, and we briefly considered it, but ultimately we just went to a bookstore and the food court and waited.
    We later started flying from BWI to Manchester, NH, and taking the airport shuttle or driving to Portland. Last time I went, I just rented a car for the duration of my stay.

  12. why didn't you send your bloodwolf-pack after the assholes?

    also, mal always shoots first, at least whenever he can help it

  13. So sorry that you missed your little girl's first day of school, dude. Hopefully there was ample photographic/video evidence to compensate. Airline owes you big for that. While travelling is never 'fun' in the sense that you wish it would never end, when travelling out of Seattle, Alaska Air manages to be less horrible than the rest. You can still get dicked occasionally, but it's rare. I know they don't go everywhere you need to go during the year, but it's worth a look. Best of luck!!!

  14. Luckily I haven't needed a connecting flight in years (see? there are benefits to living in Chicago), but when I was flying to Toronto last year, I left work 2 hours early so I could make my flight, then it gets delayed for 3 hours for rain. I ended up getting to Canada at like 1 am.
    Boo rain.

  15. Well, I don't get to travel much so I don't have any horror stories to tell, but Fan Expo was pretty great. There was this one guy who kept complimenting me on my Grammar Dalek shirt, can't imagine why. 😉 (Love this shirt to death.)

    I have to say, anyone who was at the con on Sunday and didn't go to John Barrowman's Q&A was seriously missing out. It was hilarious and inappropriate and the best thing I saw the entire weekend. Also there was lap dancing (go look it up on YouTube).

    Joel, did you get a chance to see the Doctor Who Society's Daleks? They're life-sized and amazing. I know they were hidden away at the Society's table a lot of the time, but they did visit the main room occasionally.

  16. Thanks for Signing my Mom's and mine shirts. Sorry to hear about your horrible flight story. I can also confirm that John Barrowman was amazing to listen to, maybe I post up the short the short video I took of the intro. If only I kept going till after the microphone joke.

  17. I totally wussed out on getting an autograph from you. The con was so busy and the people were so packed in that I only glanced at all the stuff and moved on by. I was also slightly embarassed that I didn't know which one of the nice people behind the booth you were. Heh…

    Ah well, maybe I can catch you at another con sometime, where I don't feel like I am DROWNING IN PEOPLE.

  18. sorry that you didn't get back to see your daughter to her first day of school. Kyle, Mike, and I are loving our three sketches that you did for us. Hope my little "present" made your trip to Toronto better and look forward to the next time you are in the great white north.

  19. we need a Fancy Sketch Drive to get Joel his own Cessna Citation Mustang. and the pilot's license to go with it. That way you can fly your own self to comic cons and such.

  20. Good crapbaskets, that sucks, Joel. But hey, on a happier note, have you ever eaten at B.D. Wang's Mongolian Grill? It's a chain that lets you pick whatever fruits, veggies, meats and sauces you want and then they grill it with SWORDS. It's kind of totally amazing!

  21. I would quote your final paragraph(s), Joel, but that much horror doesn't need to be placed on the interwebs twice…

    If you fly that often, have you thought about private charter?
    Skip the "strip" (TSA), fly on your schedule, and (most times) land 15-20 miles closer than the hub airports.
    If you can get a few others that are going to the same places you can split the cost, as well – instead of a flat rate with the heavy 7.

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