Wednesday, February 19, 2014



Last month, accompanied by my best friend and the master of travel Bob Ingersoll, I was in Los Angeles from January 9 through 18. My trip report resumes on Thursday, January 16...

This is going to sound like a weird thing to include in a vacation report, but, decades ago, I was diagnosed with severe depression. It has been a lifelong struggle and, in my case, medications just made things worse.  Eventually, I found ways to fight back and, for the most part, depression has become just one of those things that I keep in the back of my mind unless and until I recognize one of the warning signs of a reoccurrence.  Sometimes it takes a couple days, usually just a few hours, but once I recognize the onset of a reoccurrence, I can beat it back into the darkest regions of my brain. So, fuck you, depression.

This is important.  Don’t take my own experience with and struggles against depression as indicative of whatever you are going through or have gone through in the past. I’m sure of two things.  The first is that everyone’s experience with depression is different.  The second is that you should take control of your own treatment.  I eventually went the do-it-myself route because that’s what worked for me.  That might not work for you.  Listen to your doctor, try the various recommended strategies, but, ultimately, make your own decisions for yourself.

Despite all the great times I had been having in Los Angeles, when I woke up on Thursday morning, I was having a tough time.  I hadn’t been sleeping well.  The temperature shifts between the very chilly mornings and the pleasantly warm afternoons and then the once again chilly evenings were playing heck with my internal thermometer. It didn’t help that the thermostat in our hotel room was a sick joke and the hotel lobby was always cold.

I wasn’t sleeping well.  I was missing my Sainted Wife Barb and my cat Simba.  I was missing my comfortable Medina home.  I was really having withdrawal pains over not writing.  I was a grumpy puss and a friend less patient than Bob would have thrown me down an empty elevator shaft and been done with me.

I shook off my depression to join Bob and his friend Eugene Son for lunch.  Eugene is an animation writer and story editor who’s worked on Ultimate Spider-Man, Ben 10, the Super-Hero Squad Show and many others.  Since returning to Medina, I’ve watched and enjoyed Son-written episodes of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Avengers Assemble.  He’s a fine writer and a nice guy.  It was great meeting him.  That was a rare “up” moment that Thursday.

Lunch was at The Counter on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City.  It’s a fine burger joint that serves up delicious fresh food and which offers “options that are only limited by your imagination.”  Since my imagination was running on near-empty that afternoon, I ordered the Purist. Burger. Bun. Yummy.  Best burger I had the entire trip. The french fries were very tasty as well. 
Bob’s daughter Laura was flying in to join her husband, but had the evening free.  I declined Bob’s invitation to join them and stayed in the hotel.  Which didn’t help my depression.

My room service pizza was too big and too terrible to eat much of. I paid way too much to watch a movie, even though I thought it was an entertaining and even heartwarming movie.  I’ll likely review it in a future bloggy thing.

The worst thing is that the room that had been too hot most of the time was now getting colder and colder.  I’m taking “fully dressed and under the covers and still freezing” cold.  I had a miserable night.  How the returned Bob managed to sleep soundly, I don’t know though I might wager alcohol had something to do with it.

Finally, at 3 a.m. on Friday morning, I left the room to confront the night manager about those deplorable conditions.  I’d already resigned myself to not getting any sleep.  I wanted to make sure I wasn’t facing the same thing Friday night. To the night manager’s and hotel’s credit, they sent someone to the room in the morning and actually put enough of a band-aid on the problem that the room was pleasantly warm throughout Friday evening.

Teaser. My early morning journey of the bitching led to one of the coolest moments of the trip.  But you’ll have to wait a little bit before I get to that part of the story.

Bob and I kicked around on Friday until it was time for me to go to Meltdown Comics and Collectibles on Sunset Boulevard.  It’s a very cool store that has a lot of room and a lot of stuff.  The former makes it easy to shop the latter.

I was there to be interviewed for the Nerdist podcast by my friends Adam Beechen and Len Wein.  Adam and I have been online pals for a good many years, but had never met face-to-face until last year’s Akron Comicon.  Len and I go back four decades or so and, like so many of my old chums in this business, we almost never get a chance  to hang out. Seeing Len for the first time in years was wonderful and I hope we can do it again sooner rather than later.

The podcast? We talked about Black Lightning, the Champions, Ghost Rider and a bunch of other things.  I could tell you all about it, but, instead, I’ll just direct you to the podcast so you can listen to it at your convenience.

As I said earlier, Friday night in our hotel room was pleasant.  I got a good night’s sleep, though, as is my habit, I woke up early Saturday morning.  When I walked to the bathroom, I was surprised to see two things had been slipped under the door.

One was our hotel bill, which was a bit of a surprise for reasons I’ll go into later.  The other?

Oh, look, I’ve run out of time for today’s edition of the bloggy. I guess I’ll have to tell you about the other thing when you come back tomorrow.

Ain’t I a stinker?

© 2014 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. If folks are down for the San Diegon Comic-Con and want a good burger there is a Counter on 695 6th Ave downtown. I agree that the burgers and fries are really good and the staff could not have been nicer, even though the place was packed with con-goers and business folks on their lunch hour.