San Diego Comic Con 2015

It was one week ago today that I said goodbye to San Diego Comic Con. This was my fourth year attending SDCC, and I feel like every year tops the previous one. There are really no words to describe those five days in San Diego- it truly is a very surreal experience. Yes, it is crowded and you wait in lines for pretty much everything, but it is such a phenomenal time. Here are the top five things that I did this year:

1. Camping Overnight in Hall H-

Hall H is famous to con goers. It’s a room that holds 6,500 people, but it’s so much more than that. It’s where movies stars and directors preview their work. A seat in this room is so coveted that people will spend the night outside the Convention Center for a chance. I have never camped out in Hall H, as I really feel like a warm bed and time on the floor and outside the convention center is usually more exciting than a panel I can see later online. But this year I decided to camp out for a chance to see Peter Capaldi and the writers of Doctor Who.  I got in line around 8 pm on Wednesday night. Sleeping on the hard concrete wasn’t the greatest feeling, even though I did have a fluffy blanket. Eventually, we were moved to the tents, where I slept on soft, wet grass. “Sleep” is a bit of an exaggeration. I mostly stayed away, trying to keep warm and reading Twitter. But once we were in Hall H, there was a definite energy. I saw panels with Bill Murray, the cast of Mockingjay, Part 2, Doctor Who, and Con Man (which was one of the best panels I’ve ever seen). Throughout the day, it appeared that people could just walk into Hall H without having camped overnight, but I’m glad I had a chance to experience it. I feel like I earned my con cred.

  
  
2. Offsite Activities-

You hear it from everyone who attends SDCC, but it’s true that even without a badge, there’s so much to do in the Gaslamp District. This year, I did more offsite events than ever. I attended the annual Star Wars breakfast, where fans bonded over their love for the movies and bacon. They also had cute swag bags for all in attendance.  

 
I also went to the amazing SherlokedCC party on the top floor of the San Diego Public Library. The party had it all: killer views, great swag, a fun photo booth, delicious food, and a surprise visit by Sherlock writer Steven Moffat.  I even met the awesome Elle, creator of the Your Friend Elle blog.

 
I also went the Game of Thones Experience the Realm offsite, the Nerdist’s Conival (they had Lego velociraptors!), and the Agents of Shield Wrap Party.

3. Friend Time-

I was able to spend time with great friends who don’t live close to me and met many friends I have on Twitter and Instagram. It’s always so incredible to find that people you talk to on social media are just as amazing, if not more so, IRL. You make friends with people in lines, who become your friends online, who then become your friends in real life. I love it. This year, my Twitter friend Robert (he has a great blog called Legion of Sand) hooked me up with a VIP entrance to the Game of Thrones experience. His wife Stacey had an extra ticket, so I went with her. We geeked over Doctor Who, Supernatural, and obviously Game of Thrones. This is why I love San Diego Comic Con: you really do make friendships based on fandoms.

4. Photo Ops-

No, not the kind with celebrities. But I love taking photos, and SDCC Photo Hunt created by The Nerdy Girlie really had me on the lookout for cool photo ops. I didn’t complete all of them, but I love the ones I did.

  
  
5. Shopping and Swag

I love shopping for my friends who can’t make it to SDCC more than I love shopping for myself. That being said, I found great things for both my friends and me!  

 
I also scored some great free swag on the exhibit floor, including a great Supernatural hoodie, a Game of Thrones t-shirt, novels, and posters.

I absolutely love San Diego Comic Con. The city is beautiful, the energy is palpable, and an unforgettable moment is always to be had. I’m already making plans for next year, and I can’t wait for July 2016.

How about you? Is SDCC on your Con bucket list? 

 

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Pros and Cons

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to score badges to San Diego Comic Con after being shut out at the Pre-Registration sale in November. My best friend and I left nothing to chance and situated ourselves in a computer lab at her school. We had Comic Con IDs that we created plus some that our friends created for us to use. I had friends also trying for me in Arizona and California. I got in at the  same time my friend in Arizona did, within the first few minutes of the sale! I even managed to score badges for a friend who was not having any luck. I can’t wait for July because SDCC is always an incredible experience.



We weren’t messing around this time!



But before SDCC, I’m going to dabble my feet in the con pool by attending Star Wars Celebration in April. I’ll be doing this con by myself, but I’m so excited! As a lifelong Star Wars fan, I cannot wait to see what they have in store, especially with the release of the newest film in December. Another draw of this con? Disneyland is right there. 

Scruffy-looking nerf herder

I can’t wait to see what’s in store at these cons. As a very popular kickstarter project is proving on Indiegogo, cons are truly unique events where anything can and usually does happen. (And totally check out that Con Man project- anything with Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion is going to be awesome).

What about you? Any conventions in your future? 

Sigils in San Diego

The best experience I had at this year’s Comic Con was HBO’s offsite “Survive the Realm.” For any Game of Thrones fan, this was one thing you wouldn’t mind waiting for hours. And as the days went on and word spread about how awesome it was, lines were wrapped around the block for a chance to experience the show in the coolest ways. I found my place in line at 8:30 am on Thursday, the first day of the experience. It didn’t start until 11:30, but there were already about twenty-five people in front of me. Incredibly, if you didn’t want to wait in line, you could bypass it by getting a GoT tattoo. That’s right. They were doing free tattoos. It was pretty entertaining to see people who were debating getting inked to skip the line, the irony being that the wait would be just as long once you figured in the time for the tattoo. But for diehard GoT and/or tattoo fans, I could understand what a cool opportunity this was.

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Waiting in line for a little over three hours was starting to get a little difficult, but my mind quickly changed once I walked inside the building.

The first thing that I saw was a green screen, where they showed how they create many of the special effects. I was able to take a green screen picture with one of Daenerys’s dragons. I then received a GIF of the photo session as well as a photo. So cool.

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I then saw the costumes from the series. Although the costumes look amazing onscreen, I was not prepared for the amount of detail in each costume. Margaery’s wedding dress was breathtaking, with the thorn details and train of velvet roses, nods to the Tyrell sigil of a golden rose.

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The best part of the experience, though, was having the true sensation of climbing The Wall. Using the Oculus Rift technology, this allowed people to feel like they were being pulled up thousands of feet to top of the famous Wall of the series. I was locked in a iron cage similar to the one that they use on the show. Even though I logically knew that I was standing straight, my body felt like it was being lifted. Cold air blew around me, the floor vibrates, sounds came from every direction, and when I walked to the edge of The Wall and looked down, I felt the dizzy feeling of being on a ledge. Oh, and the final seconds involved me being killed and FALLING off The Wall, which was terrifying. I loved every second of that ninety second journey.

Finally, I got to sit on the Iron Throne! I didn’t have to kill anyone, break any oaths, marry a crazy king, or turn on any of my family members! I just had to wait in line for a few hours. I think Cersei is going about things all wrong.

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SDCC 2014: Plenty o’ Panels

It has been nearly a week since San Diego Comic Con wrapped up, and honestly, I can’t seem to shake off the sheer exhaustion that amazing week caused, so there have many binge-watching marathons on Netflix and binge-reading of Game of Thrones to help me recuperate.
But all this downtime has also given me some time to reflect on the awesome panels I saw this year.

This was my third visit to SDCC, and the panels are always an interesting cause of excitement/stress. Of course you want to hear the talent behind your favorite television shows, movies, comics, or books, but how much time (and comfort) do you give up to wait in line for the panels? How hardcore are you in facing down the eternal line of Hall H? How well can you sleep on the cold cement while waiting?

For me, panels are something that I look forward to, but I also look forward to sleeping in a bed and showering, so I know that Hall H and I will never become close friends. I have woken up around 3 am in the past to see certain panels (Psych, Sherlock), but that’s kind of the extent of my panel badassness.

But this year, something strange happened at SDCC. Yes, there were still lines for miles for Hall H, but I managed to just walk in to several large panels. I even heard from other friends that they were able to walk in to Hall H on Thursday and Sunday (which seems crazy). Con luck was on my side, and I was able to see not only great panels, but the panels I actually wanted to see! Even though I didn’t get to see a few that I wanted (ugh, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, why do you have to be so popular??), I saw so many awesome ones. Here are some of the best ones that I saw:

1.Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog
This is the first year I’ve been able to participate in this panel. It’s one of my favorite Joss Whedon projects (that’s saying a lot), and when you can sing along with Nathan Fillion on the big screen, well that’s a glorious thing.

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2. Penny Dreadful
I loved hearing the creator John Logan’s insights into his characters and how they differed from the original source material. He also mentioned Wordsworth. It was like being in one of my favorite English literature classes in college, only hosted by Aisha Tyler.

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3. Marvel Television
This one was high on my list of “musts,” and I was shocked to get in so easily. The panel showed sneak peaks to the new Marvel series Agent Carter which looks incredible. Set in the 1940’s, it is the story of the beginning of SHIELD. The panel then switched to the cast and talent behind Agents of SHIELD. My mad crush on Clark Gregg (if we’re being honest here, the whole dang cast) raged on after seeing them talk about their show. (Seriously, how much do we all love Gregg/Coulson?)

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4. Brave New Warriors
This panel featured the leads from The Giver, Sons of Anarchy, Bates’ Motel, and Fury, but the real standout here was Tom Mison from Sleepy Hollow. He has all of Ballroom 20 laughing hysterically with his one-liners, funny anecdotes, and his facial expressions. Oh, and that British accent? YUP.

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And, finally, the best panel I have ever seen at SDCC…

5. Sesame Street’s 45th Anniversary
Chris Hardwick. Grover. Murray the Monster. Cookie Monster. ALL IN THE SAME ROOM. I was smiling throughout the entire hour, when I wasn’t crying from laughter at the spoofs “Numeric Con” and “Star S’mores.” Best moment? When Chris Hardwick took a selfie with Grover in the middle of the panel. I lost my phone that morning and couldn’t take pictures, but awesome Twitter user @HiddlesEducates graciously allowed me to use her photo. (Someone also miraculously returned my phone. Con goers are the best!)

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How about you readers? Did any of you go to SDCC or Nerd HQ? Which panels did you see? I’d love to hear from you!

Comic Con 2014

I’ve waited all year for these past few days in San Diego. It might seem strange for some, but attending Comic Con always trumps my other trips and vacations, even those to beautiful, foreign lands. Now it is Sunday evening, and the convention is officially over. Last year, I started this right after Comic Con because I had so much I wanted to say about it. This year was no exception, so here are some of my highlights and a few regrets.

Highlights

1. Panels: I always say I’m going to camp out for the infamous Hall H to see all the celebrities and get the sneak peaks, but my soft bed always wins out over cold concrete. This year was the same story, choosing my pillow over Game of Thrones and Marvel. But I did see some amazing panels, just by luck and wandering in (this has never happened before!). I saw the Brave Warriors panel that featured the male leads from Sleepy Hollow, Sons of Anarchy, The Bates Motel, The Giver, and Fury (aside: it was in this panel that I realized how charming and funny Tom Mison is!). I caught the awesome S.H.I.E.L.D and Penny Dreadful panels, both shows I adore. For the first time, I did the interactive panel for Dr. Horrible’ Sing Along Blog. And finally, the panel that put the biggest smile on my face: Chris Hardwick interviewing Grover, Cookie Monster, and Murray Monster for Sesame Street’s 45th’s anniversary. They showed two hilarious, upcoming spoofs that were very appropriate for the Comic Con audience: Numeric Con and Star S’mores. They showed the entire spoofs, but you can get a quick sneak peak of Numeric Con here .

2. Offsite experiences: There are over 150,000 people at Comic Con, and sometimes it’s nice to explore the Gaslamp District in San Diego. However, some of the cooler events in Gaslamp have lines just as long as the convention, but they are worth it. I waited three hours for HBO’s Game of Thrones experience called Survive the Realm, but it was so worth that small wait (I say small because every day the line grew longer and wrapped around blocks). I was able to see actual costumes from the show, take a greenscreen picture with Dany’s dragons, and experienced scaling the Wall with the 4D Oculus Rift technology. Oh, the Iron Throne? Totally sat In it. The Mockingjay experience took place in a very Capitol like setting, where you could order a delicacy from Peeta’s bakery, drink a restorative beverage made by Haymitch, design your own tee, tank, bag, or dry erase board with District designs, and take your picture with the holograms of Peeta and Joanna while sitting in President Snow’s chair. We were also shown the world premier of the Mockingjay trailer while sitting in futuristic pods. Finally, I waited in line for one of 250 tickets for a chance to eat BBQ at Terminus. Any fans of The Walking Dead will know what that means…possible cannibalism! We were given a TWD shirt, delicious food, and photo ops with zombies. The area was decorated to look like Terminus complete with flowers, candles, ominous sayings scrawled on the wall, and the RV where Martinez and the Governor hit golf balls.

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3. Celeb sightings: One of the coolest things about Comic Con is seeing celebs just popping up all over the place. It seems like every con goer has their own brushes with celebs, from quick glances to actual photo ops. I didn’t get any photo ops, but I did see Donal Logue (one of my favorite actors) and Zachary Levi (so handsome!), so I’m counting them as my celeb sightings.

4. Shopping: I know it sounds crazy, but you have to wait in line for hours to get merchandise from popular vendors, if you’re lucky. Often, you’re warned about fire code violations and told to come back in a few hours. I had a list of what I wanted for friends and family, so I sucked it up and waited for two hours for merchandise from BBC America and an hour (the shortest time from what I heard) for Marvel. Totally worth it.

I always have a fantastic time at Comic Con, and I believe that positivity goes a long way. But I have a few regrets which I look at as things I want to change the next year.

1. Failure to meet Twitter friends: I have so many Twitter friends that make going to Comic Con so exciting, including so many of the awesome female bloggers in our G+ group. There was even a Female Geek Bloggers meet up planned! But these days are crazy and sometimes the plans you made just fly out the window. I really regret not meeting my Twitter friends IRL, but I hope I do get to next year.

2. Sold Out Merch: This happens every year. I see something that I want, hesitate, and before I know it, it’s sold out. This year’s items? The Nerd HQ Nerd Army shirt, light up lightsaber chopsticks, and a Doctor Who Pandorica Yahtzee.

3. Bad clothing choices: Sure, my “You know nothing, Jon Snow” long sleeved t-shirt is super cute, but the unusually warm weather was tough on some of my fashion choices. Ditto the über cute tennis shoes that resulted in the über painful blister.

4. Not enough Nerd HQ time: Nerd HQ is an incredible offsite convention of its own held in Petco Park by Zach Levi. There are small celebrity panels with all money going to Operation Smile, photo ops, and gaming demonstrations. I didn’t get any tickets to panels (they sold out in seconds), but I should have spent more time there, especially when I learned that they were releasing standing room only tickets for some of the panels. I also didn’t get my Nathan Fillion photo op…again. Oh well, next year!

Comic Con is such a surreal time. It’s exhausting, sometimes frustrating, but always exciting. As long as I’m lucky enough to get passes to the biggest pop culture event in the world, I will always appreciate what I saw and did.

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Resolutions I Want to Keep

Like many other anxious nerds, I spent my Saturday morning getting emotionally ready for Pre-Registration. As soon as the blue little circle stopped spinning and that precious Comic Con badge was officially mine, I knew I could actually write this post and not jinx it! So here it is.

This will be my third trip to Comic Con, and every year I try to make it even more amazing, so here is a list of my SDCC Resolutions for this year.

1) Meet Twitter and G+ Friends IRL
Social media is a weird thing, isn’t it? You make these friendships and
have these awesome conversations with people you may have never
met in person. I can’t wait to meet some of the incredible people I’ve
nerded out with online.
2) Explore More Offsite Events
Last year, all my SDCC highlights were offsite events: SherlockeDCC,
Matt Smith and the Nerdist podcast, the BBC Doctor Who meetup,
Nerd HQ panel with Nathan Fillion, the Psych midnight premiere…
This summer I plan to explore Gaslamp a little more and see which cool
offsite events will be offered.
3) Lose the Photo Phobia
I have tons of pictures for the last two years at SDCC. I am literally in six.
I’m trying to push away those little self doubts and just get in the damn
picture already. In the end, I’d rather have a goofy picture of me next
to that Doctor Who cosplayer than a generic picture that looks no
different than anyone else’s, which leads to…
4) Snag the Smolder Shot
For the last two years, I’ve hemmed and hawed about taking a pic at
Nerd HQ with Zachary Levi, and every year I talk myself out of it. Last
year, I also talked myself out of a picture with Nathan Fillion. (What was
I thinking?!?) So this year, I’m slapping some lipstick on and getting that
picture once and for all.
5) Hello, Hall H
Nerd confession: I’ve never made it into Hall H. My first year I stood in
in line for nearly seven hours to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
and Iron Man 3 to never make it in. Last year, I chose the Doctor Who
fan meetup instead of seeing that now legendary Marvel panel (which I
don’t regret for a single moment). This year, I hope to find the strength
to give up sleep in a comfy bed to have that ultimate Comic Con
experience.
And finally…
6) Run with the Walkers (Or At Least Consider It)
As a fan of The Walking Dead, I love the idea of The Walking Dead
Escape in Petco Park. And as a fan of The Walking Dead, nothing scares
me more than the idea of The Walking Dead Escape in Petco Park. This
year I hope to at least entertain the idea of maybe one day perhaps
attempting to think of running this course some day. And in doing so,
I should probably forget how just taking pictures with The Walking Dead
zombies inside the convention center almost gave me a heart attack.

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What about you, SDCC goers? Do you have any SDCC resolutions? July is right around the corner!

Comic Con 2013

This time last week I was saying goodbye to the San Diego Convention Center for another year. I ended my Comic Con 2013 with the Buffy singalong, “Once More With Feeling.” And that experience encapsulates everything I love about Comic Con.

In this one room were hundreds of fans, singing unabashedly to the songs they had memorized. It was just pure love for that show, and that’s what the week was for me: wearing your heart on your sleeve for these characters in television, movies, books, and video games that mean so much.

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My 2013 experience ended with a musical, but it also began with one, too: the Psych midnight premiere of the musical episode fans have been anxiously awaiting. What a gift this night was! Although we were exhausted from driving since three a.m., we were excited to wait in line for hours. The doors wouldn’t open until ten, and the movie wouldn’t start until midnight, but the people over at USA know how to thank their fans. Every hour we were given adorable Psych swag, and we were even greeted by the stars who arrived in the weiner mobile, visited the line, and checked on their fans. Dulé Hill even asked how long we had waited in line. Once inside The Reading Theater, we were greeted with free concessions and another visit by the stars who threw out t-shirts and thanked the fans. This experience itself would have been amazing, but the musical was hilarious. And all this was before Comic Con even began!

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At four a.m., I made my way to the convention center, realizing I had been awake for about twenty six hours. But I had a great seat inside Ballroom 20 to see the Psych and Sherlock panels. I have to admit I fell asleep during the first two panels, Intelligence and Starcrossed, but I was awake for the panels that mattered the most to me.

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That evening I went to the SherlockeDCC party, which was incredible. People went crazy for Sherlock’s first appearance at Comic Con, and who can blame them? Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are fantastic.

Although I had so many panels I wanted to see (Walking Dead, Doctor Who, Marvel, and Hunger Games), I decided to skip these panels and do several offsite events, including the BBC America Doctor Who Fan Meetup, which was amazing and had surprise visits by Mark Gatniss and Matt Smith, the Nerdist show with Chris Hardwick and Matt Smith (notice a theme here?), and a Nerd HQ panel with Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk.

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What I love about Comic Con is this feeling that there are others who share the same enthusiasm. Throughout the year, I get these looks when I talk excitedly about Doctor Who or Joss Whedon to co-workers and even some friends. But at Comic Con, that person who has been sitting in line next to you for twelve hours gets it. And that’s a pretty awesome feeling.