The day began with shopping. I decided to buy the 'C' and 'D' sets of 72 Copic Sketch Markers to complement the 'A' and 'B' sets I've been using since October of 2004. Yes, these markers have lasted nearly three years, and are holding up great -- unlike the Prismacolors I replaced them with, which were going south on me after only a year of use. So... I spent just under $700 in one go. Looking around on the web three days later I see that I could have gotten a better price, but I had to examine those sets before deciding to buy. I regret nothing. I spent the next hour re-organizing my markers so that the colors were in numeric order and spanned all four boxes. It was kind of tedious, but I enjoyed it. Then I got to work. The first thing I did was whip out a couple of marker pieces with the new toys. The picture above sold for $50 just a couple of hours after I finished it. The one on the right is still with me, but will probably go onto the auction block sometime next month. Ah, dead lawyers. I never tire of them. At noon I had a nice, crowded panel discussion with Randy Milholland, Jin Wicked, and Brian Denham on "Being A Successful Artist." I moderated, and the four of us talked about how we define success (being able to make a living at it seemed to be the common element) and how we work to achieve it (maybe someone will post video... that bit is hard to summarize.) Back at my table I banged out more artwork, sold a few more books, and got ready for my 4:00pm solo panel. As it turns out, there's really no way I could have prepared for it... It was supposed to be a two-hour event, and it was scheduled for a large room. There were only about 20 people there, so the discussion was kind of intimate, and we had a good time. After about 90 minutes I was starting to wind down, and was considering ending early. Then the hall monitor arrived and said "there are 200 people in the hallway waiting for the next panel, and we need to get them out of the hallway or the Japanese rock stars who need to walk this way will panic and die" (or something to that effect.) In essence, "Can I send 200 people into your room right now?" These people would not know me from Adam, and they certainly were not coming into the room to see me. But I know an opportunity when it knocks, so I said "go ahead and bring 'em in. Just have 'em try to be quiet." As they filed in I finished an anecdote about chupaquesos. It was probably incomprehensible and boring for the new crowd. By the time I finished, however, the room was full, and there was this sense of anticipation. I dropped the "intimate setting" voice, grabbed the microphone, and proceeded to do what amounted to thirty minutes of improvised stand-up comedy as an opening act for the show they were waiting for. Ye gods, that was scary. I know geek humor, I can work a crowd, and I'd been warming up for the last hour and a half, but WOW. I was standing in front of a completely unfamiliar audience with unknown expectations and no introduction, and I was expected to entertain them for at least 20 minutes. Long story short... I killed. That's comedy-speak for "the audience laughed at my jokes, and ate out of my hands." It was absolutely exhilarating, and there's a remote possibility that some of them will remember "Schlock Mercenary" as something that comes from the short, bald, funny guy they saw at A-Kon. Or at least that's MY read on it. If anybody who was there would care to post their take on it, I'd love to know how you think I did. I was pretty jazzed after it ended, so I bounced around a bit and then did commissions until late. My table was in the "secure" area, which they taped off at 8:00pm, but at my request they left a gap for me. I worked until 10:00pm and then headed for bed. There was a party next door again, but by now I knew how to sleep through it.