I’m a terrorist, eh?

February 6, 2007 by Tim

Well that was a rough two days. Sebastian and Brian from SplitReason were great, and fun to hang out with while I signed books, but everything else about the trip sucked.

I stayed up all night Saturday, figuring I’m usually up to 3am anyway, I may as well stay up to be sure I don’t oversleep for the flight. I can just sleep on the plane. So I stay up all night, I’m out the door at 4am, on the plane taking off at 6am. Quick hour flight down to D.C., plane change (because there are no direct flights from Hartford), then off on a six hour flight to Vancouver, Canada. I did manage to sleep through most of it.

We landed on time at 11:30am PST. Now, I’ve been to Canada a few times previously, and customs was a breeze. I just told them I was a cartoonist, there on business because the distributor of my merchandise was located in Canada, and they let me right through. However this time I was randomly selected to pass through the immigration office as well. What a nightmare.

First of all, it was like pulling teeth to try and wrap this lady’s head around my reason for being there. She just couldn’t quite grasp what I did for a living, and what that had to do with Canada. She gave me the third degree, and I was stuck there in immigration for three hours before they let me into the country.

Now, I can concede that it may have looked suspicious, the fact that I was asking to enter the country for less than 24 hours. My flight landed at 11:30am, and my flight out was at 6am the next morning. So maybe that set off some sort of red flags that they had to investigate.

But she kept questioning why I had to come to Canada to sign the books, and why I couldn’t just ship the books to me in the states. When I explained to her how ridiculously more expensive and time consuming it would be to ship the books from the printer in Texas, halfway across the country to New England, then all the way back across the country to Vancouver (They’re very heavy, and they have to ship freight- we’re talking thousands of dollars), she said that seemed like a personal inconvenience, and had nothing to do with the greater good of Canada.

What, my books need to cure cancer in order to be deemed beneficial to the country as a whole?

[As a side note, I should mention that I wasn’t the only unfortunate soul getting the third degree. There was a whole line of people who got picked to pass through immigration, and subjected to ridiculous questioning. “You’re coming to visit your boyfriend? What size shoes does he wear? Why don’t you know what size shoes he wears? WHAT COLOR ARE HIS SHOELACES?! ARE YOU A TERRORIST?!”

While I was standing there for three hours, waiting for my immigration torturer to perform numerous researches like looking up my website, looking up SplitReason’s website, tracking the WHOIS info, etc etc, all to confirm I really was who I said I was and why, I overheard a good portion of the ordeal going on next to me. A group of four travelers, two men, two women, all called individually and giving slightly different information led the immigrations officer to uncover that the couple were not boyfriends and girlfriends, as they had contested, but in fact the two men were married, and were running up to Canada for a tryst with their mistresses.]

Anyway, I finally got through, poor Sebastian and Brian were waiting for me at the airport the whole time. We got a bite to eat and headed to the warehouse to get down to signing. Now, signing my name a couple of thousand times in a row, while mind-numbing, is something I’ve done a few times before, so I knew what I was in for. No surprises there.

Finished up signing books, and went to crash at the hotel for a few hours, before I was up at 3:30am and headed over to the airport for my 6am flight. Didn’t get held up at immigrations, but there were an astounding number of people flying to the US at 6am on a Monday, so customs took forever.

Three hour flight to Chicago, where we landed and it was 20 below zero, and all of the fuel pipes at the aiport had frozen. Additionally, the baggage handlers could only work eight minutes at a time, with a five minute indoor break inbetween, due to the cold. So there was a two hour delay, and four gate changes before we finally took off for the last leg of my trip, which was riddled with turbulence

I hate travel to begin with (not going to new places, just the act of getting there), so maybe I’m biased, but this trip ranks right up there with my awful travel experience to Megacon the first time I went.

Anyway, the books are signed. All one-thousand limited edition hardcovers and their signed and numbered certificates of authenticity, as well as three-hundred of the paperback books. So if you’re among the first three-hundred people to order a paperback book, you’ll get a signed book.

Here’s a quick peek at what goes on sale tomorrow:

All of this stuff goes on sale tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10am PST. (PST is -8 GMT) You’ll probably see it pop up in the store later tonight, and it will say “out of stock”. That’s because it hasn’t gone on sale yet. Tomorrow at 10am PST they’ll flip the switch and make this stuff available.

Only half of the the limited edition hardcover books will be available at 10am. The other half will go on sale at 6pm PST, to give people a good chance to nab one despite work, school and timezone differences.

The store ships to anywhere in the world.

Ok, that’s it for now. I’m going to go enjoy the fact that I don’t have to travel back to Canada for at least another year…

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