My trip to Katsucon last weekend was worth all the stress that I went through to get there.

I must be the only mook who thinks he can rent a car without a major credit card. When I laid my debit card on the counter, I was informed that I would need a major credit card. To make a long story short(er), the amount of jostling that it took for me to finally swing the rental cost me two hours and more than a few grey hairs.

But it made for a good story. The lady from the rental agency was explaining that they needed a credit card to prove that I had a line of credit to cover any damages that might be incurred while I had the vehicle.

I said, “I have enough money on that debit card to BUY that car!”

“How much do you have?” she asked, calling my bluff.

“About three-thousand dollars,” I said weakly.

She stared at me.

I stared back, then smiled, saying, “What a bargain!

I stood there, laughing at my own joke. She… was an oil painting.

So, I finally got on the road, shooting down I-95 for Arlington, Va.

Now, some of you might remember what happened last year when I attended Katsucon. In short, I got so lost that I had to call Dave Kellett and have him play my personal GPS over the phone.

It was so bad, my in-laws gave me a GPS unit for my car that year for my birthday.

So imagine my chagrin as I’m driving down a highway with no exits, no turn-offs and no intersection and the GPS chirps cheerfully: “You have reached your destination!”

Right in the middle of the road!

I panicked! But the only thing I could do was keep driving straight. There was a Holiday Inn up ahead, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what hotel the convention was being held at.

And there were two hotels on the other side of the street. I had no idea which of these — if any — were right.

Then, thank goodness, I saw someone in a Sailor Moon costume, and I knew just where to go.

I’m so happy I spotted that guy.

And, boy, was I glad that I found the place. I had an absolutely tremendous showing at Katsucon. I spent the entire weekend greeting old friends and making new ones. The Evil Inc books were well-received and I took several pre-orders for Phables (which will be coming out in March).

The Katsucon show staff are among the very best I’ve ever experienced. To say that Kris, Dave and I were treated like royalty would be putting it mildly.

Of course, most of all, this was one of those rare opportunities for me to get together with some of the Halfpixel crew. We did a couple of panels (videos to be posted soon, hopefully), but I have to say I live for the time we get to spend hanging out after the con.

I was talking to Onezumi and Harknell, who were instrumental in inviting us out this year, and they said that Katsucon was planning to move to the new convention center in the area next year, which will allow them to blow way past the 6,000-person cap they had at the Hyatt.

And that makes me happy, because I plan on being there for as long as they’ll have me.