Everywhere I walked people handed me stuff. Not just postcards, thought there were a lot of those, but other stuff. Good swag is a real tribute to designers and an art unto itself.
Here’s some of my favorites:
• The Three Stooges refillable water bottle. Not only does the cover unscrew, but the part with the small nozzle for drinking unscrews as well, leaving you with a wide mouth container. You can wash it really well, and put all kinds of other stuff in it, like cut up fruit or goldfish crackers. And its clear so you can see how much is inside.
• The glow-in-the-dark Paranorman bracelet that says “You don’t become a hero by being normal.”
• The Dodge Dart bracelet that matches my Coma scar. For reasons I don't understand, someone at Chrysler thought it would be good publicity to have a contest where 4 people live in a car. On a stage. In public.
• The Revolution (NBC next fall) aluminum refillable water bottle. I myself don’t watch postapocalyptic shows, but the kids think this one looks cool.
• The Three Stooges whoopie cushion.
• The book “The Life of Jesus.” It’s pretty interesting to read the condensed version.
• The bookmark signed by James Andrew Bond, author of “Hammerhead,” a book about a guy in the Mojave Desert who tears apart junk spaceships for scrap. The bookmark gives a link to an excerpt from the book.
Then there’s swag you have to work for, by doing something silly or mundane. My favorites of this kind:
• The XCom game t-shirt. It’s really pretty. You watch a demo of the new game in a room on the second floor of the Hard Rock Hotel. They really treat you well in that demo. There is a whole buffet of snacks and soft drinks and comfortable couches to sit on while you watch. The buffet was picked clean. I snagged a Hershey bar for Daughter but missed out on a KitKat for Son. Just wasn’t fast enough.
• The Grimm poster. NBC has taken over the corner of 5th and L Streets and the Tin Fish restaurant. They have Aunt Marie’s Airstream trailer for you to walk through, and it is worth the look. The weapons are really vicious looking and the book very informative. You can also get a Grimm temporary tattoo. Mine is almost worn off now.
Lastly, there are places you can go just for fun. I liked the Defiance restaurant experience created by SyFy. The staff would not tell us the name of the restaurant, but it’s on the west side of the Hard Rock Hotel, and you can get into the hotel directly from it. It’s like a coffee shop, but the food was good and the staff exceptionally nice. I sat at the bar, nursed a beer and ate the cheapest thing on the menu, a great garden salad.
And I loved the XBox play area on the second floor of the Hard Rock Hotel. Lots of comfy places to sit and play many video games. Plus unlimited snacks and soft drinks. The air conditioning worked and the staff was very pleasant. I had a great conversation with a young lady who demonstrated Crackle. She ‘s a local temporary hire, and told me she’d driven in her first day to find parking lots charging $50 for a space. She finally found one for $35, but the company only gives her $15 to park, so she’s going to have someone drop her off the rest of the days she works. I’ve heard lots of stories about the price gouging that goes on by the locals, but that’s yet again another topic).