Comic-Con Overview

Entertainment

(I have time to kill before check-out time.)

Things of note related to Comic-Con:

1. I have entirely forgotten everything that was supposed to be an announcement made during panels I attended. Ex. Alexis Denisof (Wesley from Buffy) will be joining Dollhouse in season 2. Totally forgot that until I read it somewhere else. I’m a terrible reporter. Also, Aug. 21 will be known as “Avatar Day” (by whom? James Cameron?) and theatres will be screening 25min of the movie for free. Stuff like that.

2. Everything people said in guides and tip lists for the con were true. Showering during the four days is hard. People always ask stupid questions. You really do have to line up super early and stick to a single room if you want to see big panels. Now I know.

3. Seeing celebrities on stage is disappointingly similar to seeing them on a screen.

4. Meeting someone you adore is never as satisfying as you’d like it to be. You will not become best friends. They will give you an autograph, smile, crack a joke, perhaps, and then it’ll be someone else’s turn.

5. Comic-Con is a better experience if you’re a comic book fan. (Go figure.) Those people are more likely to get up close and personal with the writers and artists they admire.

6. If you like reading funny t-shirts, go to Comic-Con. I have never seen so many in one place.

7. You can tell when a celebrity really gets off on the crowd cheering for them. Most extreme case of this: Joshua Jackson. Yeah, I wouldn’t have thought so, either.

I’ll leave it at 7. I’m sure I’ll think of more later, though. All in all, the con was absolutely a worthwhile experience and I’m glad I went. Will I go again? I’m not sure about that. Considering the kinds of things I tend to like (with large fanbases and a bit mainstream), it may never be a very satisfying experience. I don’t really care for the fan-celebrity relationship that goes on here. You won’t see me screaming and cheering for a free t-shirt or a hug from Nathan Fillion.

Uh… but on a high note, I still do love the culture! I love that in almost every panel I went to, there was someone from the Jossverse (a.k.a. Whedonverse) and that mentioning Joss in any context anywhere at the con got huge cheers. And I love the geeky conversations you can hear while waiting in line (“I left for two weeks and when I got back my entire guild had disbanded!”). I love how downtown San Diego becomes a hotbed of geek activity during the con (one restaurant turned itself into the cafe, Cafe Diem, from the show Eureka, complete with life-size cardboard characters). All awesome. 🙂

Comic-Con: Day 4

Entertainment

Ah, the last day of Comic-Con. *tear* Thankfully, this was the one and only day I did NOT wake up before dawn to join a massive line-up. This time, I very casually strolled down to the exhibition hall a little after 10am for some shopping and autograph hunting (thankfully, I was not to be disappointed! *suspense*)

I actually didn’t end up buying anything else; I was still pretty satisfied with my Serenity Zippo lighter and grocery bag. I did, however, go down to the Comic-Con Fulfillment Room (doesn’t that sound like something from an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?) to redeem some of the tickets I’d picked up from random panels for swag. I ended up with a bunch of buttons from Family Guy, Simpsons etc. and a clock from 24 (how appropriate). The best swag was for True Blood, which gave out a bag with a t-shirt, a notebook and the second Sookie Stackhouse novel. Sweet.

I tried to find someone interesting who was signing autographs in the official autograph area, but it was slim pickings – it was the last day, after all. Down in the exhibition hall, though, I saw Edward James Olmos and Terry Carter (Adam and Colonel Tigh from BSG) signing stuff but they were expensive. Screw that.

Then I headed to the California Browncoats Fan Meeting since I had time to kill, not expecting much to happen there. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the guest speaker was Shawna Trpcic (yes, that’s spelled right), she’s the costume designer who worked on Firefly, Dr. Horrible and now Dollhouse. She had lots of fun stories, including one about how Joss always get credit for her ideas. *lol* She also explained the origins of the Jayne hat, which was inspired by a pair of slippers her grandmother made for her.

Then all of a sudden she was smiling and waving at someone in the back of the room and everyone looked around to see who? Who??? It was Nathan Fillion, who had just wandered into the room and proceeded to say, “no, please, don’t let me interrupt.” It was awesome. Everyone was very excited. And it was a really small room!

Nathan then regailed us with stories and obliged our Q&A, and even took group pictures with every two rows (these will be posted on the Calfornia Browncoats site, eventually). Following the meeting, he went to their booth in the exhibition hall, where we all got autographs as well. Thankfully, I had my Dr. Horrible DVD and he signed that for me. Score!

To end the day, and the con, I went to the Once More With Feeling screening, which had plenty of extra room (it does fit over 4,000 people after all…) and had a joyous last couple of hours. They handed out little finger monters (Grr… Argh…), fake Sunnydale parking tickets (scene from the musical) and commemorative buttons. Yay! People laughed at the right times, cheered racously for Spike, booed Dawn, rose their lit-up cellphones for Giles and Tara’s duet, and just generally were awesome Buffy fans, and it certainly ended the con on a high note for me.

Of course, all this was a couple days ago now, and I’m not home yet. I’ve been doin’ some other stuff, took a day trip to Tijuana and saw an old friend, but I’ll post about all that later. Tonight, I fly home!

Comic-Con: Day 3

Entertainment

Yesterday was a mix of panels and emotions (see? see what I did there?).

It was another early-to-rise, long day of panels, again, all T.V. This time I made the fifth row (and later moved to fourth). Woot!

Chuck: It started with Chuck, which I don’t watch, but I was happy to see Adam Baldwin (Jossverse alum!) on the panel. I made a video of him eating the Hershey Kisses they leave on the table for the panelists; I’m going to put it on YouTube. Someone asked the panel if they were going to make action figures, and Baldwin quipped, “I would like another one.” And the crowd went wild, and it was hilarious. (Reference to his Jayne action figure(s) from Firefly). I love how huuuuge Joss Whedon is here. The guy who plays Chuck made fun of him: “Oh, I have an action figure. Oh, I was on Firefly…” Then he mimicked his own action figure beating up a Jayne action figure and yelled, “You’re not so shiny now, are you???” (Firefly reference). Ha, awesome. On that note, at the 24 panel, Freddie Prinze Jr. mentioned that he had been watching 24 with his wife, uh, something, something, something. Anyway, the word “wife” totally set off the crowd (he’s married to SMG, who played Buffy). To which he said, “oh yeah, I forgot, she’s huge here.”

Back to Chuck, they also showed a clip of the Chuck actor sitting with the show’s creators who were talking about life after being cancelled, to which the Chuck actor kept replying with, “but we haven’t been cancelled yet!” Then they get a phone call saying they’ve been renewed and they panick ’cause they didn’t plan for this and they have no new ideas, plus they gave Chuck kung fu skills that they now have to deal with. Anyway, the creators just turn to two guys (cast from the show) wearing Jeffster shirts, and they “you’re on.” Then they came on stage and Jeffster (a fictional band from the show, like on The Office!) rocked out and the audience got on their feet and it was hilarious. Look for it onYouTube, someone must have it on there by now.

Family Guy/The Cleveland Show: The Family Guy panel was kind of interesting. I was happy to see Seth Green on there (Jossverse alum!) and the rest of the cast as well as Seth MacFarlane were pretty funny. They showed a clip from the next Star Wars spoof, and I have to say I laughed pretty hard. Kudos. By the way, it’s kind of strange and distracting to watch something with the creator sitting right infront of you. Wheird. The clips from The Cleveland Show, however, were really, really not funny. Like, not at all. Do not watch this show. Even if you like Family Guy, it’s not even in the same zip code of funny. Don’t do it.

Futurama: Sadly, none of the voice actors were at the panel because of labour disputes, but Matt Groening was hilarious. He was absolutely fixated on giving out prizes to people asking questions and he didn’t even seem to care about answering them. I wouldn’t be surprised to find him on the street corner trying to hustle with his own merch. In any case, not much was shown or talked about. Next!

The Simpsons: Again, Matt Groening was mainly giving out prizes to Q&A people while other writers answered questions. Although, he did say that he and Danny Elfman make the “s” sound at the end of “The Simpsons” at the beginning of the credits. Fun trivia! Then someone from the Guiness Book of World Records came out and gave them two honours, one for the longest running sitcom in the world and another for being voted one of the most important records in the last 100 years. Good for them! To which Matt Groening shouted to the crowd, “There is no end in sight. Simpsons forever!”

V: New show based on an old show. Yes, someone made the BSG comparison. On the panel were the entire cast, including Morena Baccarin (Jossverse alum!) who made the crowd crazy. The showed the entire pilot episode, which was actually pretty good, except it really reminded me of The 4400, which couldn’t hold my attention past the first half season. But we’ll see!

Fringe: I don’t watch this show either, it’s also looks too much like another X-Files wannabe, although I have heard good things about it. Mulder (Josh Jackson) was adorable and really egged the crowd on. It was adorable. They threw t-shirts to people who answered trivia questions. Points for effort! Didn’t show much other than a montage of the past season, but the Q&A was fun.

True Blood: This was the panel I was waiting for. Oh man, most people in the audience were wearing TB-themed shirts, mostly girls with shirts that said “fang banger.” *ahem* One guy had fangs and a bottle of true blood. Eeck. Anyway, when the entire cast walked on stage, the crowd was the loudest I’ve heard it so far. Possibly even louder than for Joss Whedon (*tear*) but I think that was partly for the hot guys in the cast. Charlaine Harris (author of the books) and Alan Ball (show creator and American Beauty/Six Feet Under guy of fame) were also on the panel. Have you ever seen what Charlaine Harris looks like? Look at her picture and then think about the sex and violence (often simultaneous) on the show. Actually, that would be really weird. So don’t. And then they showed a trailer for the second half of the second season, and it was possibly the most exciting thing I’ve seen at the con so far. Please watch this show. Please. Not that it needs the ratings! Booyah! Also, it was Anna Paquin’s birthday.

Following the True Blood panel, I promptly went to the exhibition hall to see if I won the raffle for the Dr. Horrible signing – I did not. 😦 Joss Whedon (and Zack Whedon!) was mere steps from me but I couldn’t get his autograph or take a picture with him like all these other stupid, lucky people. It was heartbreaking. I’m sure you can feel my pain. Although, I did take a picture of me with Joss in the background… talking to some other fan…

And then the day was over! That night, I went to the overflow room (not the live show, but where they screen it for people who didn’t spend all day in line) to watch the Masquerade. If you’ve been to a convention, like FanExpo in Toronto, you know what this is. People in costumes either parade around on stage or do little skits in their costumes. It’s pretty fun. I had the strangest bit of deja vu, though. Mainly about the guy who hosted it (who always hosts it) and the way they call out the contestants (the host goes, “And here’s contestant number…” and the audience yells out “26 ha ha ha” (or whatever number it is). It’s a tradition. Ask me whenever I see you next, and I’ll do the laugh for you.

That’s it for Saturday. Today I’ll be wandering around the exhibition floor and trying to see the musical episode of Buffy to cap off the con. And tonight I’ll try to talk more about the con as a whole (like the crazy people here, and how San Diego turns geek for a few days every year).

Comic-Con: Day 2

Entertainment

TV Day!… with JOSS WHEDON!

I started off yesterday much the same as the day before – in a long line. This time, though, my aim was to get as close as possible to Joss Whedon, who was doing the Dollhouse panel in the afternoon. Before that was a bunch of other T.V. panels, about half of which were for shows I don’t watch… but now I might! Oh, and while I was behind about 200 Twilighters yesterday in Hall H, today I was in the middle of the SECOND ROW, baby!

Stargate Universe: I think this show suffers from the same lame name as Battlestar Galactica. And, of course, BSG is one of the best shows EVER. So maybe I shouldn’t be too quick to judge. Everyone else in the room seemed to think highly of the first two Stargate series. In any case, the whole cast of the new SGU were there, and for the sake of time (I have to go line up soon!), I won’t list them all here. But the show does look interesting! Kind of ripping off BSG, but whatever…

Caprica/BSG: The Plan: Oh man, Edward James Olmos is awesome. He’s so cool he’s like the Latino Jack Nicholson. He directed BSG: The Plan, which looks just as good as any other BSG episode and everyone should watch it (watch BSG first, if you haven’t) when it comes out on Oct. 27. I have more mixed feelings about the new show Caprica (set 50 years before BSG), although I should know better than to doubt Ronald D. Moore and David Eick (BSG creators). Also, Jane Espenson is a head writer (or the head writer), and she’s awesome! I loved seeing so much Buffy alum in other shows. Speaking of which…

Bones: David Boreanaz was not at the Bones panel ’cause his stupid wife was about to give birth at any moment. In any case, the Scully to his Mulder was there, as well as the show’s creator, who is Canadian. Still not convinced to watch Bones (a.k.a X-Files 2).

The Big Bang Theory: Maybe it had something to do with it being a sitcom, but this panel was hilarious. I don’t even watch the show, but all the actors are really funny in person. They showed a long reel of their geekier moments from the show, which of course, the crowd loved. Someone asked Jim Parsons (Sheldon) to put some of his DNA on a napkin (he dabbed his forehead and nose a bit), to which he obliged, even though we’re asked not to make personal requests during Q&As. I may watch this show.

24: This panel was exciting ’cause a bunch of people defied the rules and rushed to the stage to snap pictures, mainly of Katee Sackhoff (of BSG fame) and Freddie Prinze Jr. (of SMG fame), who are joining the show as an engaged couple. Also, Slumdog and Bollywood’s Anil Kapoor will be in the next season as the president of Iran (he’s playing very diverse), so I guess he’s enjoying the American spotlight. Another Buffy alum, David Fury, was on the panel as a writer. Yay!

Dollhouse: This is more personal. When the lights went on onstage, and Joss Whedon walked out smiling all big and basking in the applause and cheering, it was a highlight of my geeky life. I’m very proud of myself for getting so close to him without becoming a stalker, btw. He seemed so happy to be there, and joked a lot ’cause he’s funny and awesome. Then he showed the ‘lost’ episode of Dollhouse called Epitaph One, which is set 10 years in the future and stars Felicia Day. Oh, on that note, I saw the cast of The Guild in the exhibition hall on preview night signing autographs at their booth. If I were creepier, I was so close I could have stroked Felicia Day’s cheek… but I’m not…

I unfortunately didn’t get to ask Joss a question due to the logistical issues of being so close to the front, but it was worth sitting so close to him during the entire panel. I have about a thousand pictures to show you all when I get back, or just when I have time to upload them to FB. Hopefully I will get chosen in the raffle for the Dr. Horrible signing later today (yeah, it’s a stupid raffle).

Oh, and two other cast members showed up along with Eliza Dushku: Sierra and Topher. Good times all around. Too bad Tahmoh Penikett didn’t show up, even though I’m pretty sure he was here for something else last night. But back to Joss. I feel as though I hit my geek peak when he came out, and now I’m afraid it’ll all be downhill from here, but I will persevere.

I know this wasn’t very detailed and there are no links, and some things I should have explained further, but I’m tired and will fix this all when I get home. I also don’t like this keyboard.

Comic-Con: Day 1

Entertainment

Movies!… in 3D!… for the first time!!!

Yes, yesterday is definitely classified as ‘movie day’ for me. I woke promptly at 4am (7am Toronto time) to saunter over to the convention centre armed with reading material and snacks to get in line for the day’s panels. So although when I left my hostel the street were pretty much empty except for the odd shady character or two, by the time I arrived at the centre, I was surrounded by teenage girls, soccer moms and a handful of good-humoured men – it was Twilight day.

So, thankfully, I ended up in the part of the line where there is soft, soft grass, so I camped out and read until the sun rose… then I read some more. It was intense. The first people in line were camped out there since Tuesday night (so I heard). Burger King handed out Team Edward and Team Jacob cardboard crowns… then people wore them!

5 and a half hours later, we were marched into Hall H. It looked as though there were only one or two hundred people in front of me and the hall seats 6,500, so I got pretty good seats – considering some fools who only showed up an hour or two early only ever got to watch a giant screen. Now, it’s movie time! (By the way, all the IMDb pages I’m linking the movie titles to have pictures from Comic-Con. Enjoy!)

A Christmas Carol Patton Oswalt moderated a panel for all the Disney 3D movies. This one was with Robert Zemeckis (again, I’ll post pictures later). And, for the very first time at Comic-Con, the clips were in 3D! We got snazzy glasses and, I must admit, the visuals were spectacular for this particular movie. I’m not particularly excited about Jim Carrey playing nearly all the parts, or the fact that it’s ANOTHER retelling of the same story, but the clip was quite good and kind of funny. I’ll see it if you do!

Alice in Wonderland Oswalt insisted on showing this trailer (which was also in 3D) 3 times since Tim Burton didn’t bring any clips to show. Didn’t matter, though, the trailer was awesome. I think it will be as off-the-wall and visually creative as people expect it to be, so now the plot just has to hold up. Burton was adorably awkward on stage, and was obviously bewildered when they showed the trailer for the 3rd time. He asked if he could go after that final showing. But before he did, Johnny Depp randomly showed up to wave at the crowd (which went MAD) and when given the mic, all he said was “Tim Burton’ while gesturing towards Burton. Awww. Btw, he looked sweeeeet.

Tron 2.0Though it’s the lesser known in mainstream circles than the previous two stories, I was most impressed by this footage. I recently saw the original 1982 movie, and wasn’t all that impressed (of course, I live in 2009). But the conceptual art and the clip they’ve done so far is truly, truly awesome. And the actual narrative in the clip was pretty good, too. Suspense! Intrigue! Murder! It has everything! Go see this. Also because Jeff Bridges is returning in his original role. Oh, and the cast and original director were there to answer questions. Of course, a member of the audience during Q&A said to Bridges, “the dude abides.” Bravo.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs This was after the Disney 3D panel, and was mostly there to utilize the 3D glass, I’d reckon. All they showed was the trailer, and then Anna Faris, Andy Samberg, and that kid from Role Models came on stage to wave, smile and… walk right off stage again. They didn’t even say anything! Andy even said, “hello!… and now we’re going…” (I’m paraphrasing.) What a crock.

The Hole This was a very lacklustre trailer and clip we got to see. Pair of arguing brothers and the spunky girl next door discover a mysterious hole in their basement. They open it, and scariness starts to stalk them. The end. I was expecting more from the guy who made Gremlins.

The Final Destination – I missed this because I was in the bathroom. While I was in line, however, I did hear them announce that it would likely be the last installment. High five?

Astro Boy – They just showed the trailer for this, but it was exciting because Kristen Bell was there! She’s awesome!

Sorority RowThis is basically I Know What You Did Last Summer, but in a sorority. Cast includes Rumer Willis and Audrina Patridge.

The Twilight Sage: New Moon Kristen Stewart looked like she was trying not to look attractive and look as uncomfortable as possible. She also kept complimenting Taylor Lautner (I think she’s recruiting for Team Jacob). Taylor Lautner looked very happy to be there and was more than happy to keep mentioning things related to being topless (I think he likes it when girls scream for him). Another cast member (one of the Cullen clan) was also there to look presentable and be normal. And Robert Pattinson did his darndest to be as awkward as possible and look bewildered at every question while running his hands through his hair. They showed two clips. The first where Taylor takes his shirt off, the second where Robert takes his shirt off. Robert won the screaming war. By the way, isn’t it highly inappropriate for the whole world to be fixated on Taylor’s abs (like when the blonde VJ at the Much Music Video Awards asked him when they’d be able to see him topless again). He’s underage, people! Why is it okay for a boy to be verbally molested like this?

Avatar – I was pretty excited to see footage from the new James Cameron movie, but I must admit I was a little disappointed. It’s kind of like Pocahontas, but on an alien planet and the ‘John Smith’ character is a human inhabiting an alien avatar so he can walk among them. Unfortunately, the 25min of footage we got to see (in 3D!) was just a little cartoony for me. Cameron went really heavy on the CGI and made everything really pretty – but like an RPG game pretty. I wanted to join a guild or something lookin’ at that place. And it’s hard to say if the plot will hold up – as I said, it sounds like Pocahontas. Oh, and that the main character (played by Sam Worthington) doesn’t have legs as a human, so it’s all exciting for him to walk via his avatar. Also, Sigourney Weaver is a botanist who loves the alien planet, called Pandora (of course). I liked seeing her on stage, though. 🙂 Worthington couldn’t make it, but the love interest – Zoe Saldana – was also there, and she’s pretty hot, too.

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus From the brilliant mind of Terry Gilliam, who brought you a bunch of awesome movies, comes… the last movie Heath Ledger acted in before he died. That aside, the clips were really good and I like the premise (look it up). Visually nice, too. Go see this one. Also because Johnny Depp (and Jude Law, I guess) make small appearances.

Pandorum – The director himself said this was going to be like Aliens… and it was. Hilariously, the moderator kind of went “Ooooh, really? Like ALIENS?” The director kind of backtracked: “Well, similar… you’ll be the judge!” The trailer they showed was pretty good. Hard to say if there’s anything original in there, though. Ben Foster was on the panel, who I adore. Points for effort.

Kick-Ass – The director, Matthew Vaughn, was quick to say at the beginning of the panel that whether or not this movie gets picked up for distribution depends on whether the audience likes it – which certainly spurred us on to be overly encouraging, I’d bet. In any case, it’s a slightly obscene take on “teenagers who want to be superheros, and who get their asses kicked doing so” but with a little girl who actually does kick ass ’cause she’s been trained in superheroism by her dad (Nick Cage). She wears a purple wig and shots and stabs people – a lot. The action was pretty bloody and ballsy, but I liked it ’cause the clips were funny. Also, Christhoper Mintz-Plasse come on stage recording the audience on his phone; I like it when they do that.

And that was Thursday! *phew* Now I have to get in line for today! Bye!

Comic-Con: Day 1/2 Part 2

Entertainment

Sorry, I think I may have messed up the numbering of these days. Anyway…

It’s 4:20am here, and I’m about to go line up for the big panels of the day. Unfortunately, since they don’t clear out the rooms in between panels, if you want a good seat (or any seat) for a big afternoon panel, you have to park yourself in the hall all day – meaning I’m joining the Twilighterers currently camping outside Hall H at the convention centre so I can go to the Disney 3D panel and the Avatar panel today. Pray for me.

Yesterday at preview night was ridonkulous! The convention centre is massive and filled to the brim with people, booths, people, vendors, people, displays, people, free stuff, people and… more people. I’m just glad that a) I don’t like more stuff or I would have either spent more money or just killed myself trying to soak up everything and b) that I won’t be in the exhibit hall on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, which are supposed to be even crazier ’cause I’ll be in panels all day. Sunday will be my exhibition hall day. That being said, I already splurged. I bought a Serenity grocery bag ($6) and a Serenity Zippo lighter ($30)!

I’ll post pictures on FB when I get back, probably, or on Sunday, by the way. For now, that’s it. Time to get in line.

Comic-Con: Day 1/2

Culture, Entertainment, Travel

This has already been one long-ass day, and I haven’t even made it to the convention centre to grab my con badge yet. But as I wait for the hostel phone to be free so I can call my dear mother, I figured I may as well recount my adventure thus far. (These will be a combinaton of Toronto and local times. Frankly, it’s all a blur and probably inaccurate.)

4:45am: Took a cab to airport. Had a frustrating conversation with driver about the purposes of flat rates.
5am: Told airport personnel that ‘Dallas was not my final destination.’ Immediately thought saying ‘final destination’ in an airport is like saying ‘Macbeth’ in a theatre. Have stopped saying it since then, just incase.
5:45am: Was man-handled by security for ‘random search.’
6am: Spent $9 on drinks and snacks.
6:45am: Left Toronto for Dallas.
9:45am: Arrived in Dallas. Immediately accosted by ‘Everything’s bigger in Texas’ and similar paraphenalia.
10:00am: Was offered a $300 voucher with American Airlines to take a later flight since they overbooked. Took the offer with pleasure.
10:15am: Toilet flushes four times while I’m on it.
11:30am: While waiting for new, later flight to San Diego, surveyed boarding area for other people going to Comic-Con. Guy with Joker tattoo? Check. Guy with poster tube and Watchmen t-shirt? Check. Guy with thickest glasses I’ve ever seen, looking somewhat unkempt and a little detached from reality? Double-check. Of course, there were probably others in ‘civilian’ clothes, like me.
12pm: While boarding plane, lady scans my boarding pass and looks confused. Asks me if I’ve already gone on the plane. I say ‘no.’ She says, ‘That’s weird. It says you’ve already boarded. Oh well, on you go.’
12:05pm: Confusion reigns as another woman and I realize we have the same seating assignment. I win when flight attendant discovers they accidentally printed my boarding pass a second time and gave it to another lady. Lady is offered a first-class seat on a later flight.
12:25pm-1:55pm: Stalled at gate while ‘engline problems’ are fixed on the plane (!), followed by seemingly aimless taxiing around until take-off, about 1.5 hours late.
2:30pm: Arrived in San Diego!
2:45pm: Claimed baggage, was flooded with relief it didn’t get stolen since it arrived on the earlier flight that I gave up my seat on.
3:00pm: Enjoy a tour of San Diego as I take the shuttle bus to my hostel. I get an eyeful of the convention centre as we drive by. Am excited. I also become smitten with San Diego, which is gorgeous and very well planned out.
3:30pm: Arrive at hostel after being delayed in crazy convention traffic. Check-in with lovely Australian lady and collapse on bottom bunk. Have not seen roommates yet.
4:30pm: Use free Internet to update you all on my journey thus far.

‘Til next time!

Geek

Culture

Are you aware of the difference between nerds and geeks? Nerds are members of chess clubs and have test tubes in their rooms. They are characterized by their general studiousness and intellectual (usually science and math) prowess. Geeks, on the other hand, play D&D and watch X-Files… and go to comic book conventions.

They are often mistaken for each other because they are both usually anti-social (outside their own cliques) and are prone to general social awkwardness. And, of course, someone can be both. I know this, because Tyler knows this. They also quote movies at random. To be fair, these are exaggerated stereotypes. These days, everyone has a little geek in them and even nerds can be cool.

To learn more, you can read an article on this exact subject that we ran in Excalibur a few years ago (please note that I made the graphic). I even wrote an article on the essence of fandom that ran beside it. 

Ah, fandom. It’s one of my favourite topics. When you get so obsessed with a T.V. show that you watch the entire first season in a single night. Or when you spend hours reading message boards (those old things?) and blogs to find out about that movie or book or next episode. It’s even when you’re at the movies and after watching the final post-credit clip of Iron Man, someone in the theatre yells “to the blogs!” That was Buffy for me. And Veronica Mars. And Harry Potter. And many, many others. 

It also means going to conventions sometimes. I’ve been to FanExpo in Toronto a few times, mostly in high school. It was a thrill to walk alongside other geeks and see so many people indulging in their fandoms. It’s like Halloween but mostly for adults and you can meet people you watch on T.V.! 

Sadly, it started to lose its thrill as time went on. I think it started when I met Mercedes McNab, who was late to her booth and less than enthused about signing an autograph. Honestly, meeting those people isn’t always particularly exciting. That, and the fact that some of my infatuations eventually wore off. I just really don’t need a limited edition Buffy statue at this point in my life. 

But before these geek pride parades completely lose their luster, I’m going to the Mecca of all fan conventions: Comic-Con. I’ve wanted to go for years, starting back when I really wanted to meet Joss Whedon and he would only ever attend Comic-Con. I almost went last year, but I ended up interning in Hawaii, which was okay I guess… So about two months after last year’s convention, I registered for Comic-Con 2009. I booked a hostel. I bought my plane tickets. And then… I waited. Now, it’s only a week and a half away! *high five*

I blog about it now because the schedule went live this weekend. I can’t begin to express how exciting it was. Kind of like finding money in pants you never wear while also discovering they’ve brought back your favourite flavour of ice cream… and it’s on sale! 

I was surprised to see how many panels were for T.V. shows; I was expecting a lot more on the movie side. What happened to Prince of Persia? And The Last Airbender? (See more here.) But, I must say, it’s a very exciting time for television. I’ve been trying to learn myself in some key shows before the convention. Dollhouse? Check. The Guild? Check. Dexter? Next on my list. I don’t want to miss a panel or, worse, go and not understand what’s going on because I’m not caught up.

I was also surprised by how many panels were for wannabe comic artists. I know it’s a comic book convention (or started out as just a comic book convention), but my past experiences have all been with FanExpo, which was much heavier on the “popular arts” side of things. I was also interested to see that they don’t really make any distinctions in genre the way FanExpo does (horror, sci-fi, anime etc.).  

Some highlights I’m looking forward to are the panel (and 3D clip) for James Cameron’s Avatar, seeing Tim Burton at the Disney 3D panel for Alice in Wonderland, the panel for Dollhouse with Joss Whedon, of course, (although it isn’t the best content he’s ever produced, it’s okay and I expect it to get better), the panel for True Blood, the one for Caprica and BSG, and some of the night-time programming, like the screening of the musical episode of Buffy, and, of course, the masquerade, which sounds very entertaining. 

Unfortunately, much of what I want to see is very mainstream and bound to involve very, very long lines. Well, I had no misconceptions about that. It will give me plenty of time to ‘people watch,’ which, if you’ve ever been to one of these things, is one of the best parts. It should be a very exciting experience overall. That being said, I will have to do my best to avoid the Twilighters who are bound to congregate. I’m also going to have to miss things because of conflicting scheduling. The worst of it is that I can’t go to the panel for the sequel to Boondock Saints. *sigh* Such is life, I suppose. Oh, and as much as I want to see Kristen Bell, it looks like she’s only going to be at the panel for Astro Boy and I’m not going to that.

Well, ups and downs aside, I’m psyched. In preparation, I’ve been reading as much as I can from bloggers, mainly, as well as Twitterers and some news sources. Right now, it’s mainly announcements on who’s attending and lots of guides and tips from regular attendees. One of the more interesting tips I came across was this: Don’t go Tijuana while you’re there (which is just a trolley ride away). Lots of people suggested I see a little of San Diego, visit the beach, go to the zoo during the con, but, unfortunately, people scare easy when it comes to Mexican border towns. One even commented, “Your desire to see Santo or Mistico (Mexican wrestlers) may be great, but it’s not worth getting killed or kidnapped.” While I understand the need for caution, I honestly don’t see the harm in taking a day trip. Let’s not ostracize Tijuana any more than it has, please.

Wow, I’ve written almost 1,000 words on Comic-Con already. But, wait, there’s more! Be prepared for blog posts during the convention, which is July 22-26, unless I’m too tired to post. Which I probably will be… from all the fun ‘n all.

Just like an episode of Touched by an Angel!

Writing

I had a visit from my teenage self a little while ago, thanks the kindred souls over at Shameless. They had a book launch for an anthology of teenage awkwardness and shamelessness with a prom theme that was oddly reminiscent of my own high school years (they showed an episode of BtVS in the background!). 

One of the highlights was a series of readings from some teenage girls who had taken part in a creative writing workshop earlier that day. From the painfully transparent rebellious tendencies of one anti-feminist girl to a nervous-looking girl whose parents came to videotape her 3-minute reading, I felt like I was watching my teenage self on stage.

There was a time when I, too, committed my soul to dollar-store notebooks – first just for the sake of writing, later with the hopes of being published and fabulous. 

I’m not sure what happened. I feel as though I’ve spent my entire post-high school career punishing myself for wanting to do anything impractical. Author? Pipe dream. I need a real job. At the very least, I should have a ‘real’ job during the day, and I can nurture my silly pursuits in my off-time. That sounds smart, doesn’t it?

But then there were these accomplished and obviously happy women – ones who worked at Shameless, others who contributed to the anthology – who had actually humoured their writing hobbies when they were young, and found a way to keep doing it into adulthood. 

Long story short, it was very motivational. Between those younger versions of myself and the women I could be if my guardian angel would get off its ass, I felt a sudden urge to be irresponsible again. You could say, I suddenly feel shameless… but that would be horribly corny. So don’t.

Becoming a Woman of Leisure

Personal

You know how sometimes on T.V. and in movies, people who are recently unemployed mope around aimlessly and watch bad daytime television ad nauseam? I don’t have that problem. I think I could find useful things to do to fill a thousand unemployed days. Of course, I consider watching the entire first season of Dollhouse “useful.”

If money wasn’t an issue – and if I didn’t care about aspiring to anything higher – I’m sure I could be quite happy nurturing any number of random hobbies. French classes, writing, learning piano… On that note, I tried to use my lame Wal-Mart telescope at the cottage a couple weekends ago and I was sorely disappointed with its performance. Add that to my recent trip to Montreal, where we went to the planetarium, and now I want to be a hobby astronomer. Once I get a job (it’s a vicious cycle) I want to buy this:

 

Meade DS-2130LNT Reflector Telescope with LNT AutoAlign Technology

Meade DS-2130LNT Reflector Telescope with LNT AutoAlign Technology

I suppose the grand irony is that all these things cost money. It’s too bad I have to do anything. At least I can be a woman of leisure while I consider my grand life plan and try to make things happen. (What things? Not sure yet.)