SDCC 2018!!

Yes, it did take me a week-and-a-half to recover from San Diego Comic-Con this year, why do you ask?? I’m only packing and deep-cleaning my house and taking care of two kids under three and I never go out anymore, much less three days in a row ahahaha anyway.

This was the best SDCC I’ve had in years. It was so low-key and relaxed. I only endured one long line (for The Good Place panel on Saturday, which was amaazeballs) and otherwise only committed to panels I could stroll up to half an hour beforehand. There were more authors this year, so I got a good dose of book content and signings, and my husband peeled off for his usual comics.

There was, of course, fab cosplay all around.

Frankly, the departure of major Disney properties (*sigh* goodbye Marvel and Star Wars) is kind of good for the SDCC vibe. There was no Hall H mania this year. I felt no desire to camp out, and I was shocked to discover on Saturday morning that there were still wristbands left for the big room. You’re telling me…nobody needed to camp?? I mean, they did, because you kind of do it for the perverse badge of honor and also to scramble for front-third seats. But you didn’t have to?? How the mighty Hall H has fallen.

Even though the major panel rooms weren’t soaking up thousands of extra bodies in line, the Exhibit Hall was not outrageously overcrowded as a result! (Another problem in previous years.) The external programming has expanded considerably, drawing bodies outside of the convention center. And, perhaps even more importantly… SDCC finally instituted an online raffle system for folks to win shopping time slots at the major toy booths!

This sounds convoluted but oh my goodness what a relief. The entire middle of the hall was usually impossible to squeeze through due to layer after layer of lines circling Funko, Hasbro, and UCC, and this eliminated them. It was always a gamble whether you managed to walk by at the exact moment they opened the line for a new chunk of bodies, so the element of chance was already there. The raffle just decided the chance in advance.

So! My accomplishments! I scored a signed arc of Robert Jackson Bennett’s new book, Foundryside, which I’ve been coveting for months. I bought Spinning Silver, the new Naomi Novik book, and also got it signed.

I went to some really fun book panels, including one on apocalyptic fiction with Emily Suvada, Cory Doctorow, Elizabeth Hand, and Scott Westerfeld, which was surprisingly funny and gave me a lot of food for thought. I also went to a fantasy panel just to see Nalo Hopkinson and was not disappointed. 😀 😀

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Then Saturday was TV day, with the hilarious aforementioned The Good Place panel, and later Cosmos, which was also hilarious and thought-provoking and very, very tactful when discussing science in politics.

Outside the convention center we found a Good Place activation with flying shrimp carousel; a Shark Week shark; a Hulk hug photo op; and the original Ecto 1 ghostbusting car with grody jumpsuits to put on!

hulk hug

Oh, and of course: ALLLLLL THE BUTTON AND PIN SWAG!!! Including this sweet Out of Print library card pouch to keep my buttons safe while shopping. XD By the way, I waited half an hour in line for that San Diego exclusive Golden Girls pin, ahaha oh San Diego Comic-Con, you do drive us to do ridiculous things.

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sooo i’m also a sucker for cats and Star Trek and therefore Star Trek cats

Til next year!

convention center

pre-SDCC 2018!

It’s here, it’s here, San Diego Comic-Con is here!

July is second Christmas for San Diego, because July means all of downtown and a perplexing amount of not-downtown transforms into a pop culture wonderland for an all-too-brief and all-too-traffic-congested period of time.

SDCC programming alone overflows the convention center, the baseball stadium, multiple hotels, the public library, and a theatre. All of the nearby bars, restaurants, art galleries, and other businesses at least decorate for the occasion, if not put up displays and tie-in specials. The tallest buildings get covered in enormous advertisements for new shows. The buses and trolleys put on skins, plus SDCC runs an elaborate shuttle system all weekend to transport folks to Hotel Circle out in the valley. It’s…gloriously excessive.

The convention’s official attendance maxes out at about 130,000 due to fire code, but huge numbers of non-attendees also flock downtown, to people-watch, to sight-see, and to engage in the growing number of off-site attractions that are open to the public. Bye-bye parking lots, hello additional sitcom activation sites.

One year I was trying to sleep in an overnight line along the waterfront, and some girls laughed at us as they drunkenly departed a Youtube yacht party. Excuse me, there would not have been a yacht party if not for us doofuses sleeping on the concrete, thank you!

What I’m saying is, Comic-Con has something for everyone. Sometimes you end up sleeping against the wall of a park bathroom or in front of a haunted maze to see it, that’s all.

This year I’ve got some book panels on my itinerary, plus a couple of signings, off-site events, and my usual merchandising scavenger hunt. My button bag will soon be groaning with the weight of additional enamel pins.

Most of my panels should be fairly easy to get into (most of the impossible crush is reserved for movies and TV; books, comics, and the educational bits are more accessible). The only one we’re going to spend hours in line for this year is The Good Place on Saturday. I know the Indigo Ballroom well, and I believe our crack-of-dawn plan is sound. Wish us luck!! We also pre-registered for The Good Place off-site activity, which HAS BEEN SPOTTED IN THE WILD:

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GET ME SOME OF THAT YOGURT

I’ve got my badges. I’ve got my parking pass. I’ve got my button bag. I’ve got lunch supplies, a water bottle, suntan lotion, and reading material.

The only thing I don’t have is… ANYTHING GOOD TO WEAR!! X( I’m still shedding baby weight, so none of my costumes fit. I’ve got comfy shoes that don’t go with my clothes, or comfy clothes that don’t go with my shoes.

So I suppose I better run out to the store for better shoes! And my costumes shall wait at home, pining sadly for 2019.

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Next time, dear friends, next time

SDCC 2016!

Another year down and I am beat! For baby juggling reasons I did two main days at the con: Thursday was dedicated to the exhibit hall and surrounding attractions and Saturday was big time panel day.

On exhibit hall days we always buy some comics (usually including a Judge Dredd or Hellboy collection) and some art (always including a roll-a-sketch masterpiece by David Malki). And of course, scope out the swag and the cosplay. I took the cosplay easy this year and wore my Nostromo uniform because DUH Aliens 30th anniversary!

Highlights of Thursday!

This sweet Plava Laguna:

 

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Not all aliens are bad.

This sweet xenomorph statue:

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Yes I brought my own facehugger.

This obligatory Star Trek bridge:

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That’s Captain.

This outdoor South Park town with a dozen very specific photo ops:

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Like a clam on my tummy!

And finally, a Nichelle Nichols signing!!

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If only it didn’t cost $50 to get an actual photo.

We also popped into the Geek & Sundry panel because I love me some Felicia Day web shows and her adorable brother Ryon was there.

Then came…the ridiculous overnight slog that is Saturday in Hall H. Skip down to pictures if you don’t care about the details, because I am about to lay out the details.

Hall H is the big time. It is a massive room that seats 6500 people, which means line management is an ISSUE–especially since way more people than that attempt to get in for the big studio extravaganza that usually descends on Saturday.

And that means camping! SDCC hands out wristbands for the first Hall H panel each day, so if you get a wristband you know you’re guaranteed entry first thing in the morning–and if you don’t get a wristband you can gauge whether it’s worth waiting for the chance enough people leave throughout the day to get you in.

Every year they fix some issues from the previous year, and every year the mob finds a new way to cause problems. 2016 will go down as the infamous Year of the Parking Lot People. The Next Day Line started earlier than ever: something like 6 a.m. on Friday. It snaked around behind the convention center, and like always, at some point it got far enough that staff had to place a gap in the line and continue it in the park on the nearby Embarcadero Marina (hereinafter the Island), to avoid having people dangerously clog up the street in between.

Well SOMETHING went terribly wrong in the middle. At some point Friday morning (and whether it was a misunderstanding or deliberate is a Fight For the Ages), a gentleman saw the first chunk of the line end next to the Joe’s Crab Shack parking lot, decided that was where the line was continuing, and went on in. Other people naturally followed. The official line continued to grow on the Island, and the unofficial line continued to grow in the Parking Lot. Maybe a couple hundred people set up an umbrella shanty town and spent all day boiling to death on the asphalt.

It all came to a head around 10pm. SDCC staff had started handing out wristbands at 9. They reached the Parking Lot and all hell broke loose. For a couple hours people had been streaming into the lot to take advantage of the empty space and cram into the line (cutting ahead of the entire Island). Since it wasn’t a planned part of the line, there were no line markers and as soon as everyone stood up they blended into a solid mob.

The first solution was to skip the parking lot entirely, since it technically wasn’t part of the line, but that almost started a riot, since there had been dozens of people braving heat stroke all day genuinely thinking they were in the right place. BUT there was also no way to distinguish between the people who’d been there all day and the people who had snuck in late, so after more than an hour of arguing they decided to just give everybody wristbands. Which naturally almost caused a riot of Island People because every line cutter who got a wristband in the Parking Lot meant one more person on the Island missing out after spending anywhere from 4-12 hours in line already.

Aaaanyway. We were sitting pretty in the shade on the Island, watching it all unfold via Twitter and nervously waiting to find out if we’d get cut out, or if the entire thing would devolve into a Hunger Games battle. There had to be well over a thousand people who cut the line successfully, because earlier in the evening a staffer assured us we were in the second section of the line (wristband B), and we ended up in the last section (wristband D). Disastrous for the folks behind us.

My friends had reached the line at 4pm. I put the baby to bed at 8pm (my brother valiantly spent the night and babysat the next day) and rushed downtown to join them. Due to the parking lot fiasco, we didn’t get our D bands till after 1am. We ran to move my car (in a parking lot that closed at 2am), then settled down in our designated camping spot: an unpleasant stretch of sidewalk against the park bathrooms. Woohoo!

After a few groggy hours dozing we woke up around dawn to the tune of the bathroom cleaning crews blasting mariachi music. By 7am SDCC staff got everybody up and condensed the line, then ordered us to stay put (no putting away sleeping gear! no fetching breakfast! no bathroom!), because we would start going inside very soon.

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“Very soon”

Ha! Programming didn’t start till 11:30. They finally started pouring people in after 10. Everybody grabbed seats and then formed giant lines at the internal bathrooms and concession stand. I finally got some coffee. The ordeal was over.

Despite the night’s chaos, it was a good day in the Hall. WB’s panel was two and a half hours long and they ran through a lot of upcoming releases (though lately, irritatingly, they do a lot of “show a new trailer, trot out the actors for five seconds, then zoom on to the next thing”). I am tentatively excited for Wonder WomanAquaman, and Kong Skull Island. I’m even more tentatively interested in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur movie. And while I still think Eddie Redmayne is a lizard man, during the Fantastic Beasts section they gave everybody magic wands SO HE’S SLIGHTLY FORGIVEN FOR JUPITER ASCENDING.

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I changed out of my OD green undershirt. Sue me. You wouldn’t have wanted to smell it.

I’m excited about the new Star Trek Discovery show coming in January after hearing Bryan Fuller talk about the spirit of the original series: portraying a better, more progressive and diverse future. The spirit of teamwork and inclusiveness is what I love about TOS, so I’m hoping the new show takes it even farther. Don’t let me down!

Um, and then it was the Aliens reunion panel! And of course I loved it! And there were plenty of great cast anecdotes! And plenty of Sigourney! Even Newt showed up, and she’s a fourth grade schoolteacher now.

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My “RIPLEY IS HERE!” face, which also doubles as my “XENA IS HERE!” face.

Um, and then the Kickass Women panel, which I always love! I would listen to Lucy Lawless tell funny jokes and touching anecdotes all day!! Plus Tatiana Maslaney! Morena Baccarin! Connie Nielsen! And more! I was only moderately interested in Wonder Woman till I found out it might be chock full of mommy-daughter feels and now I am suckered in.

And that was my SDCC. The rest of my crew stayed on for the Marvel panel and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I had a baby losing patience at home so I had to bail. My husband and I were absolutely wiped out by the camping fiasco, so we carried on the spirit of SDCC weekend by power watching most of Ash vs. Evil Dead on Sunday. I’m not sure what I want to do next year. I love the con, and managed to get into what I wanted, but only through outrageous levels of planning and camping.

But these days, that’s SDCC!

sdcc memories

The All-Star Game is behind us. Pride is behind us. Now San Diego will spend the next few days transforming into the marvelously bloated, shamelessly commercial, media conglomerate shilling magnificence that is SDCC. There will be hundreds of things to do downtown around the con (I use the calendar at SDCC Unofficial Blog), and then of course there’s the convention itself.

In honor of SDCC this week, here are some happy con memories!

Ahh the first time I went in 2005 you could stroll up to buy tickets day of, and the line looked like this:

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Oh dear how will we ever get inside

The highlight of the day? Not my own gross greenish-yellow highlights, that’s for sure. Nope, it was A FRIGGIN AWESOME ALIEN STATUE!

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Get a haircut, Sam

My first cosplay, in 2012: RIPLEY OF COURSE

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I am the coolest person you know

I can’t fail to mention that we also debuted our group Jurassic Park that year!

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Unfortunately, I’m not exactly blonde

2012 was also the year that I passed out in a makeup booth, rock! I was getting some free zombie makeup from a Walking Dead artist, and ooops I hadn’t eaten yet and the combination of large cover-up gown and all my face pores being filled in made me overheat and black out. My husband talked the paramedics out of making me leave, I ate some trail mix, and then it was BACK ONTO THE EXHIBIT FLOOR, YEAH!

In 2013 we camped out for Hall H for the first time, since we’d barely got in showing up before 6am the year before. We ended up on a stretch of sidewalk in front of a gaping terror hole that opened into a hedge maze. An employee kindly came by to block it off for us…by stretching a useless bit of strap across the front.

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Oh good, we’re safe now

But sitting in Hall H all day was totally worth it. And lest you think I skipped a year of Alien-mania, feast your eyes on this sweet gem I commissioned from Noelle Stevenson:

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You gotta save Jonesy. ;_;

That was also the year we got to watch The Matrix as a flashback feature at the nearest theater, and we had a dance party when we realized we were the only people there.

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Before you ask, that’s a Ninth Doctor and a Tardis dress

In 2014 we camped again and had a hilarious night of free leftover pizza and concert popcorn; a homeless woman who took our popcorn and complained we didn’t also have meat; and a less-than-comfy final camping ground full of tree roots. It was the year of Boxtrolls and rocket boners and Nick Cage pillow.

We also did our largest group cosplay yet: Wild West Mario.

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It’sa me

Ahhh good times.

Last year was SDCC-lite because I had an infant at home, but this year! THIS YEAR! This year, I still have a young child, so I’m not doing the Wednesday night through Sunday afternoon hell marathon that we did in the early years. I’ll power around the hall and surrounding entertainment on Thursday, then camp out Friday night for a return to the mania of Hall H Saturday. Because! You guys! Aliens!

THIS IS NOT A DRILL

San Diego Comic-Con is in two weeks. TWO WEEKS!

two weeks

Two weeks.

I’ve got Thursday-Friday-Saturday. I’m in complete panic mode, hemming and hawing about how to best schedule my time and balance childcare. I will have to sacrifice Friday afternoon to the glorious beast that is The Hall H Line, because you guys.

You guys.

Hall H Saturday not only has its usual big budget studio panels (this year, Warner Brothers and Marvel), but the other three main panels comprise BASICALLY EVERYTHING I LOVE IN LIFE.

Star Trek: A panel about Star Trek on TV, rather than the increasingly disappointing film series (there I said it). “Join William Shatner, Scott Bakula, Michael Dorn, Jeri Ryan, and Brent Spiner for a conversation moderated by Bryan Fuller, executive producer of the new Star Trek television series coming to CBS All Access, following its network premiere in 2017.”

DON’T MIND IF I DO.

Women Who Kick Ass: An annual panel put on by Entertainment Weekly, which I enjoy more every year. This time around? Morena Baccarin, Lucy Lawless, Tatiana Maslaney, Melissa Benoist and Connie Nielsen.

YOU GUYS. MY FIREFLY BABE. MY ULTIMATE WARRIOR PRINCESS. MY CLONES. ALSO THE LADIES FROM SUPERGIRL AND GLADIATOR, WHO I’M SURE ARE ALSO QUITE NICE.

And, as if that isn’t enough. As if I wouldn’t camp for Star Trek and Xena. You guys.

Aliens 30th Anniversary: “Writer/director James Cameron and producer Gale Anne Hurd join cast members Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Michael Biehn, and Paul Reiser for a look back at the iconic science fiction classic in honor of the film’s 30th anniversary.”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m going to hyperventilate and die as soon as the lights dim in Hall H, so I should probably write up my will and get some old-fashioned godparents in place for my baby by the end of the month.

Ripley and Xena! The two top members of my ultimate squad!

Anyway, I know what I’ll be wearing that Saturday.

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