Category Archives: SDCC

GeekSideShowing's SDCC 2016

SDCC 2016 Recap: A Lead Up

When I got badges for SDCC 2016, after missing out on 2015, I was thrilled. I was able to get Thursday, Friday, & Sunday badges. Immediately, I got to the business of planning the ins & outs of SDCC 2016: secure lodging & flights, (slightly) obsess over waiting for the panel schedules to be released, wait for Nerd HQ info (any info, really), etc. As we neared the weeks before, it got serious with news everyday.

Where to stay:

I started with finding a place to stay that was a better distance from the Convention Center than 2014, while also enabling me the possibility to cook my own food due to my dietary restrictions. I was lucky to find the perfect place, a room with access to a kitchen, in Little Italy. This, would allow me to get back & forth from all of the SDCC happenings with much more ease. Check!

What to do:

This is the obvious biggie. The biggest factor is how can you fit all you want to do into the time you have. SDCC is when you really wish Hermione would lend you the Time-Turner. The struggle is real, & here is a glimpse at my overly ambitious schedule for SDCC 2016:

GeekSideShowing SDCC 2016 panel off-site tentative schedule

So, yeah. Not realistic, but definitely an important thing to think through because during SDCC throws you a couple curveballs. One thing that you early seriously think a whole lot about is the distance between rooms & locations. SDCC has grown to so many locations outside of the convention center that you can log in a LOT of steps & minutes just getting from place to place. It helps to have a Plan A, B, & C!

What to pack:

When preparing for SDCC, you need to consider the amount of walking & standing involved, as well as carrying merchandise & food. The first time I went, I was not as prepared as I should have been. Even though I read copious blog posts on the topic, some things can only be learned through personal experience. This time around, I wanted to make sure that I had a comfortable & supportive backpack, along with super good footwear. I bought a new backpack at NYCC 2015 & have been using every time I travel. (No, I haven’t been paid by EQ USG) It is from Equilibrium Urban Survival Gear:

SDCC 2016 backpack setup

 If you follow me on Instagram, you saw a bit of what I packed as far as clothing, including what I planned to cosplay:

SDCC 2016 packing

As you can see, I wanted to represent my love Star WarsGhostbustersStar Trek, Doctor Who, & Destiny. Not pictured was my Captain America t-shirt.


That is all for now, stay tuned for more SDCC 2016 recaps!

SDCC Countdown series

Couldn’t get SDCC 2015 badges, now what?

I was one of the many who embarked on the quest to secure SDCC 2015 badges this past Saturday during the Online Open Registration.  Unfortunately, also like many, I was left in the purgatory that is the spinning blue dot waiting room for a total of 2 hours with no spoils at all.SDCCOOR-ends

This was only my second year trying to secure badges to SDCC.  My first was 2014 & I had the SDCC gods smile upon me with 4 Day badge plus Preview night on my very first try.  Therefore, not getting a badge this year was disappointing, but not wholly unexpected. I know of many who have tried for years without securing a badge at all.   I am by no means bitter that I didn’t get a badge, just bummed because I was looking forward to reliving all the geeky goodness I reveled in last year.

Is there a glimmer of hope that there will be a badge resale?  SDCC-2015-resale-unlikelySeeing as there wasn’t a badge resale at all last year, the outlook is grim.  Badges sold out in under one hour this past Saturday, so I doubt there will be that many people who will return their badges.

So, now that the harsh reality of not securing a single badge for SDCC this year has set in, what is my next move?

I’m not really sure.  My going to San Diego at all is definitely up in the air at this point.  Last year, I was completely consumed with SDCC badge related everything, that I really only had time & energy for 2 unofficial events.  Was there a lot concurrently going on in San Diego that I could have seen/done? Absolutely!  I just didn’t have the time nor energy to cram more than I already was able to cram.  [Check out my overly ambitious panel schedule for last year!]  I didn’t get a chance to do anything at PetCo Park, nor NerdHQ, nor Game-con.  But, is the cost of lodging counterbalanced by all of the unofficial/other events?  I don’t know.  I would be going alone again, which means I would be the sole person paying for a room during the peak of San Diego tourism.  It makes a lady think twice.

I’d love to hear in the comments what you have done in the past or are planning for this year.

SDCC Countdown series

SDCC Open Reg is coming!

So, if you have wanted to go to SDCC this summer & have not been under a rock in the last week, you know that the open registration for badges is being held this Saturday, February 21st!  Squee!

My first SDCC experience was last year, after realizing much too late in 2013 that I needed to register for a Member ID FIRST ( a classic newbie mishap) & therefore having to wait a year for my opportunity.  I absolutely hit the jackpot right out of the gate & was able to get a Four Day Badge plus Preview Night for SDCC 2014!  It was everything my little geek heart ever wanted: got all possible badges, secured a hotel room on the shuttle route during Hotel-mageddon, got into Hall H with an unheard of 15 minute wait, got into Ballroom 20 with approximately 30 minute wait, & many more SDCC blessings.Selfie-waiting-in-line-at-the-Amazon-Geek-Boutique-(titled)

As I looked forward to SDCC 2015, I was (im)patiently awaiting the Pre-reg sale with baited breath … only to have it land on the very day of my half-brother’s wedding  … at a resort with wonky wifi & equally sketchy cell coverage!  Needless to say, I was unable to successfully log into the waiting room & thus missed out on the opportunity to secure my badges back in November 2014.pre-reg-sdcc2015-fail

Now, the date for Registration is a few days away & I am looking forward to taking my chances of securing my SDCC 2015 badges, along with a gazillion others.  Maybe not a gazillion, but definitely more demand than there are available badges.  Here is to hoping my SDCC luck continues!  May the odds be ever in our favor!

San Diego International Comic-Con 2014 Recap

SDCC 2014: Day 1 Recap or “How I just walked into Hall H” (Part 1)

I’ve been super busy catching up on post-SDCC work & life, so my recaps have been slow to come together.  So many pictures to sift through! Without further ado, my Thursday, July the 24th recap … or The “How I just walked into Hall H without waiting in line” Day!

One does not simply walk into Hall H (LOTR Mordor spoof)

Challenge (inadvertently) accepted!!

After getting a good night’s sleep on Wednesday, I was ready to take on Comic-Con’s first full day: Thursday the 24th.

SDCC 2014 Day 1 selfie

I had a custom t-shirt made in order to support my blog while at SDCC, so Day 1’s outfit was set!  The line for the shuttle was loooooong, so it took a while to get my day started.  I had my entire day overly planned, chuck full of options on what smaller panels I wanted to see.  Since I was on the Red Shuttle Route, I was let out next to Petco Park’s SDDC Interactive Zone.

SDCC 2014 Interactive Zone at Petco Park

SDCC’s Official Interactive Zone at Petco Park

Selfie-waiting-in-line-at-the-Amazon-Geek-Boutique-(titled)

I decided to check it out (deviation from day’s plan #1).  I wandered into Amazon’s Geek Boutique, which was promoting Amazon’s new delivery lockers with a Transformer’s themed giveaway.  It was my first non-shuttle line at SDCC!  I ended up winning a poster, which didn’t make the trek over to the convention center without the protection of a tube.  Lesson learned!

Amazon Locker at SDCC 2014

Next to the Geek Boutique, was the Pizza Hut area dedicated to the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  I’m a child of the 80s that loved the TMNT toy-buying machine that were the cartoon series & arcade video games (see #4 of my top Multiplayer at the Arcade post!), so I have some very mixed feelings about the new TMNT incarnation.  There was a line for free personal-sized Pizza Hut pizzas, a couch made entirely out of Pizza Hut boxes, & a pizza shooter with what I am sure was quite the liability waiver.

TMNT-pizza-thrower

I skipped all of that & headed to the X-Men dome-thing sponsored by Norton Anti-virus.  Sure, why not?!  I took a quiz on an tablet which determined that I would be Magneto if I was an X-men.  Next, I was able to pose for this great picture.

Holding Wolverine's hand: I'm thrilled, he's playing it cool.

Holding Wolverine’s hand: I’m thrilled, while he’s playing it cool.

It was then time to head over to the convention center.

How I just walked into Hall H without (really) waiting in line

Is that actually the line for Hall H?

Tents for SDCC 2014's Hall H line appear empty.

Must be an optical illusion … or a different line?

As I was crossing the skybridge, I looked over at the tents for Hall H & saw that they appeared empty.  I figured I must be mistaken, but as I walked up to them only about 10 individuals were standing in chute 1.  Still sure I was looking at the wrong line, I asked a staff member who in fact confirmed this was the line for Hall H.  So, I said, “What the hell, let see what this is all about!” (deviation from day’s plan #2)  I stood in line for 5 minutes before I asked myself what in the world was in Hall H today that no one was in line. I knew people had camped out the night before in order to see Benedict Cumberbatch, for his first SDCC appearance, in the Dreamworks panel.  Surely there was something good after that panel, right?  I checked my events guide & saw that the next panel was for The Giver, followed by Paramount Pictures. Before I could finish placing my events guide back into my backpack, the line was moving!

I initially thought we would then be let into the convention center into a new series of zig-zagging lines, similar to the disillusion caused at Disney World when you have been waiting outside in line & you finally get inside the building/ride only to have a huge sea of continuing zig-zagging line awaiting you, only now with at-least air-conditioning.  To my complete amazement, we were ushered directly into Hall H as the preview of the upcoming Penguins movie was playing.  It was dark, but Hall H was definitely over 50% empty.  As if there was a massive exodus, once Benedict left the building. I happily reaped the benefits!Inside Hall H during SDCC 2014

As soon as the preview was over & the lights came on, signaling the end of the Dreamworks panel, I got up & made my way as close to the front as possible.  I finally found a spot in the second section from the front, next to the bathrooms.  Great seat & vantage point. Disclaimer: Unfortunately, the cellphone I ended up having to buy last minute the night before <see previous post for details> made most of my pictures look as if a drunken baby was trying to use the camera.  The focus was horrible, as was the aperture speed.  I cringe at the (lack of) quality of the majority of the pictures I ended up with, but at last I have some pictures!  Next year, I will bring a back-up digital camera!

The Giver panel

The Giver panel in Hall H SDCC 2014

This panel was interesting because I had not yet read the book, which made me part of the minority of the audience, understandably given this was the panel for the movie adaptation of the book.  What was really interesting is that the panel included the book’s author and actor/executive-producer, Jeff Bridges.  “The Dude” was amazing.  He has been trying to get this movie made for 20+ years!

Paramount Pictures Panel

So many mixed feelings! This panel was a medley of all the movies Paramount was showcasing, so it had a completely different feel than the previous panel.  Here is my wrap up of the lowlights & highlights:

Lowlights
  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
    Disclaimer: I grew up watching TMNT in cartoons, playing the amazing multiplayer arcade video game [so fabulous & memorable that I wrote a post about it!!], so I am definitely coming into this whole topic biased.  I also inform you that I have not seen the movie, but its 19% on RottenTomatoes.com seems validating.  Michael Bay is at it again, & by “it”, I mean trying to ruin my childhood memories.  I spoke about my misgivings regarding TMNT back in a fabulous Female Geek Blogger’s G+ Hangout.  Things that had me very worried: mentions that the script originally had our beloved TMNT as neither Mutant nor Teenage.  I’m sorry, I didn’t know we could change the key aspects of a character at will.  Especially, key aspects in the TITLE!  To follow this means: Mighty Mouse is no longer bound by the limitations of being a mouse nor mighty, or that Two-Face doesn’t need to have two faces!  Nope, I can’t keep going with this insanely flawed logic.  Due to completely justified geek rage vented throughout the internet, these changes were reverted back to the way it was supposed to be all along.  A fellow TMNT fan even brought it up and asked what was with all this alien talk during the Q & A, only to have the following answer given by TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman, “In TMNT #4, the Ooze is described as being of alien origin.”  Yeah, I’m not a xenobiologist, but I’ve seen enough on television & movies to know that just makes the Ooze alien, not the turtles MUTATED by exposure to the alien Ooze.

    TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman at SDCC 2014

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (TMNT) co-creator, Kevin Eastman on the movie panel in Hall H during SDCC 2014.

    Something that didn’t get changed back & should have IMO: Shredder is now a left-over Transformer special effect?!  Ugh.  I was not really pleased with the footage that was shared, either.  Don’t get me wrong, Raphael came off as bad-ass as he should be, but Mickey seemed akin to a Valley girl, which was just wrong.  Michelangelo is cool, not an absolute airhead.  And what in the world did they do to poor Donatello?!  He is not a rejected go-go-gadget lackey!  I just can’t.

  2. Project Almanac (2014)
    Time Travel + Teenagers = Mayhem.  Always.  Especially when the trailer includes the line, “I can fix this!”  No, no you can’t.  Or rather, it hasn’t really happened in movies before, so … Also, I just feel that if you have access to something that results in time travel, you should have at least learned a couple of basic rules, such as don’t go visit a sleeping past version of yourself because you create a paradox & no good ever comes from creating a paradox! (see Back To The FutureDoctor Who, and Harry Potter).
Highlights
  1. Hercules (2014)Hercules SDCC 2014
    Disclaimer: I’ve been a big fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for quite some time, but I went full-on fangirl when he surprised all of us by showing up to promote his movie, Hercules Let me set the scene for you: The screen shows the Hercules title, then the lights go out & everyone is waiting for the trailer only, as had been the case with The Mazerunner earlier in this panel, but then all of the sudden the lights turned back on & there is The Rock, 2 rows in front of me, coming out into the crowd with his music playing.  I was so busy fangirling that I didn’t start taking pictures (which came out horribly, so I didn’t include them in this post) until he was really far away & up on the stage!  He was there to promote his upcoming movie by renting out 3 movie theaters in the San Diego area to screen his movie one night before the scheduled World Premier on a first-come-first-serve basis for those with a valid SDCC badge & who followed his Twitter feed.  I took a video of The Rock’s “panel” but haven’t gotten a chance to upload it nor to create a Youtube channel to upload it to, etc.  So as soon as I get around to that part of my ever-growing To Do list, I will let you know because it was fabulous!
  2. Interstellar (2014)Matthew McConaughey Interstellar SDCC 2104
    How could this panel get any better after The Rock? Well, the lights dim, a clip starts playing of real scientists, astro-physists, & entrepreneurs talking about space exploration, the lights come back on & out comes this handsome fellow: Matthew McConaughey! This was a complete surprise for everyone in Hall H, as well as the first appearance for both Matthew McConaughey and Christopher Nolan!  The trailer they showed looks amazing & I will definitely be seeing this when it comes out.

Entertainment Weekly: Television Visionary Show-runners

EW panel Visionaries: TV ShowrunnersAfter the Paramount Pictures panel wrapped up, I picked up my things and headed as close to the stage as I could.  I scored great seats: just behind the press seats.  This panel turned out to be very interesting.  I’ve watched a couple of EW hosted panels online on Youtube from previous SDCC and have mostly enjoyed them.  This panel had the show runners who were previously writers on shows I loved (hello Veronica Mars, Alias, and Dawson’s Creek!) and currently are in charge of various shows I’ve been meaning to watch (Sleepy Hollow) or already love (Arrow, The Flash).

I honestly have not gotten into Vampire Diaries nor The Originals, but for no reason in particular.  I guess my TV card was already pretty full after adding Doctor Who.  I absolutely enjoyed the Star Trek movie reboot written by Alex & Roberto “Bob”, as well as the show Fox tried so hard to kill, but couldn’t Fringe, but I haven’t gotten around to watching Sleepy Hollow either.  After SDCC & watching this panel along with both main actors in other EW panels, I am definitely planning on catching up on season 1.

It was very intriguing to watch this panel & get some insight into how each learned how to be a show runner from their respective mentors: Tom Kapinos (Dawson’s Creek) & J.J. Abrams (Alias).  Greg Berlanti & Julie Plec know each other from college, while Alex Kutzman & Roberto Orci know each other from high school.  Rob Thomas felt a bit like the odd man out, but in a wonderfully quirky way.  This was such a great panel over all.


To be continued …

So much more happened that day, which I will continue in my next post on Wednesday.  I hope you come back to find out more about the Female Geek Blogger SDCC Meet-up & the San Diego Symphony Video Game Concert, because it was also really great.

I’d love to hear other’s Hall H experiences.  From what I gather, my experience is not part of the norm.

San Diego International Comic-Con 2014 Recap

Lessons learned from SDCC 2014

In the aftermath of my first ever San Diego International Comic-Con (SDCC), I was reflecting on my experience & trying to see how to make next year even better.  I’m definitely going to come back next year! I’m still working on my daily recaps, with special focus on Hall H on Thursday & Ballroom 20 on Friday, but both posts should be up shortly.

So, I’ve broken down my experience into a few categories & listed the Pros & Cons of each.  I hope this is helpful to anyone else who is looking to go to SDCC, too.

Hotel

I thankfully selected the little box stating that I would rather be placed in a hotel along the shuttle route if my 5 choices were unavailable during the Early Bird Hotel Sale.  Staying so far from the convention center, 2nd to last stop on the red shuttle line, has its pros & cons.

SDCC 2014 Red Shuttle RoutePros:

  1. It is much cheaper than staying downtown.
  2. Once you get on the shuttle, it is a short ride.

Cons:

  1. Long waits for the shuttle, especially in the morning & after 10 PM can be at least 45 minutes.
  2. The shuttle is sometimes almost to capacity when it finally does arrive to the hotel to pick you up; you may have to wait a couple of shuttles before actually getting on a shuttle towards the convention center.

Take away from experience:

This year, I came solo to SDCC, so I bore the full cost of my hotel room.  Hopefully next year, I will be able to come with some buddies to help lessen the cost of the hotel room.  While I was thrilled to have secured a room, I will definitely try to get a hotel closer to the convention center next time.  The ability to stop by my hotel room during the day/afternoon to drop off merchandise, shower, power nap, &/or change is even more appealing to me after my 1st SDCC.   I had to take a change of clothes with me for evening plans/activities & change in the bathroom of the convention center before heading out to dinner because I didn’t have the time to wait in the line for the shuttle, get to the hotel, shower & change, wait for the shuttle again before heading out to dinner in the Gaslamp Quarter.  Due to my fibromyalgia, I get fatigued a bit sooner than most, so the idea of accessing my room without much of a wait is definitely moving my hotel situation to a higher priority for my budget next year.  I would rather buy less things & spend that money on my overall comfort while at SDCC.  Also, being able to carry less weight throughout the duration of the day will be a huge improvement & help reduce my overall fatigue level.

Cosplaying

I decided to cosplay as part of my first SDCC in order to try to get the most out of the experience.  This was also my first time cosplaying, so I was a bit nervous.  I described my process trying to decide on who to cosplay as in a previous post <click here to check it out!> & I’ll be posting about the details of each cosplay I wore while at SDCC in an upcoming post.

Pros:

  1. You definitely fit in.
  2. You can interact with fellow SDCC-goers on a different level.
  3. It is fun running into or meeting others who are cosplaying.

Cons:

  1. It can get intensely hot while outdoors & then a bit chilly once inside in the air conditioning or in the evening.  I met a woman who was cosplaying as the Black Widow in a full black pleather body suit.  She almost melted in the sun waiting for the Indigo panels.
  2. Depending on what components your cosplay entails, you may be carrying accessories all day long while navigating the masses on the exhibition floor & in lines. I met a woman who had an almost life–sized TARDIS on wheels.  Initially I thought that was a great idea, until the impracticality of it was brought to my attention: she needed to check it into the coat-check because it was near impossible for her to go anywhere with it.  Come to think of it, how did she get to the convention center with it?!
  3. Footwear: choose wisely!

Take away from experience:

I had a blast cosplaying.  I was by myself, so I had to take my trusty backpack each time I was cosplaying, which contributed to what I decided to cosplay as due to practicality.  If you are going to have an elaborate cosplay, you’ll need an assistant of some sort to help hold your things & navigate the exhibition floor.  You need to be aware of your surroundings.  I came across a lot of people who had parts of their cosplay that extended out in some direction & would end up hitting someone in the face or body because of not taking in account the new dimensions of his/her cosplay.  I purposefully choose to cosplay with sensible footwear & my body definitely thanked me for it!  It’s easy to not notice the actual amount of distance you end up walking during a day, plus a lot of standing in lines.  Both take their toll on your feet & rest of your body.  I will definitely be cosplaying again next year!

Food & Staying Hydrated

This was something I did a decent job of preparing for, but I will definitely be making adjustments for next SDCC.

Pros:

  1. If you plan correctly, you can camp out in line or in a panel all day & not worry about missing meals.
  2. Bringing your own food means saving lots of money.  Convention food is costly & very limited in selection.  If you have food or dietary restrictions like me, you won’t find anything at the convention center you could eat even if you wanted to shell out the money for it.
  3. There are various restaurants near the convention center & the events guide has a list & map to help you choose for the wide selection available.

Cons:

  1. Gaslamp Quarter restaurants close at 10:00-ish, even on Friday & Saturday evenings.  I grew up in Miami & this fact was a huge surprise.  I’m used to restaurants, not just bars with appetizers, staying open on South Beach until midnight or 2 AM.  I missed dinner on Thursday night due to what ended up begin the perfect storm of events: I was in Hall H all day & so I ate all of my pre-determined packed food, I didn’t have time before the Video Game San Diego Symphony Concert that started at 7:30 PM because I underestimated the amount of time it would take to walk up/down 5th Ave in the early evening with everyone else, & I had no idea restaurants would be closed once the concert concluded. I walked to the Gaslamp Quarter everything was pretty much closed.  Thank goodness I had leftovers in my hotel room’s mini fridge from the night before to hold me over until breakfast!
  2. Forgetting to hydrate was a problem on a couple of days.  I was in Ballroom 20 all day on Friday & didn’t realize there were water coolers available for me to refill my water bottle inside the ballroom until towards the end of the day.  Also, standing in line outside means limited or no access to water fountains & you can quickly dehydrate standing in the sun & sweating for hours.
  3. Not packing enough food.  I ran out of my non-perishable snacks on Day 2 & didn’t have time to go to the store & buy replenishments, so I was stuck with having to take time & extra money to eat lunch at a restaurant next to the convention center on Sunday.

Take away from experience:

I will definitely make sure to bring more of my nonperishable snacks & flavor packs for my water bottle with me.  The water fountain water tastes very different from what I am used to, so I think a little bit of single-serve instant tea would help make my hydration more palatable.  Plan dinner with anticipation & make reservations for anything in Gaslamp Quarter to avoid waiting even longer at the end of what is already bound to be a long day of waiting.  Bring more relatively lightweight non-perishables to the convention center in order to save money, time, & energy.

Panels

I had originally thought that seeing anything in Hall H & Ballroom 20 was not in the cards for me.  I was not willing to camp out the night before nor was I going to be able to withstand waiting in a line for over 1 hour.  However, due to the marvel of technology & Twitter, I was able to get into both Hall H & Ballroom 20 with relatively little waiting time on Thursday & Friday, respectively.  By following @Ballroom20Line & @HallHLine on Twitter, I was able to get real-time updates on the line status, capacity, length, etc.

Inside Hall H during SDCC 2014On Thursday, I was able to walk into Hall H right after Benedict Cumberbatch & the other panelist exited the Hall & the 2 minute preview of the new Penguins movie were showing.  This enabled me to get a great seat & stay through the following panels: The Giver, Paramount Pictures, & Entertainment Weekly‘s Visionaries.

Ballroom 20 during Sand Diego International Comic-Con 2014

On Friday, I was able to walk into Ballroom 20 right after the Legend of Korra panel finished.  I maybe waited a total of 20-25 minutes before being let in & finding a seat.  I was able to see the following panels: Bones, Marvel TV, Entertainment Weekly: Brand New WarriorsThe OriginalsThe Arrow (TV), & the world premier of the animated movie, Batman: Escape from Arkham, followed by its panel.

Pros:

  1. If you plan it correctly, stay up to date with the status of each line with anticipation, & have a fair amount of luck, you can check out panels in the big venues.
  2. Seeing footage & the panel guests along with a venue full of equally excited fans is an experience definitely worth experiencing live at least once.  The energy can be exhilarating in the panels.
  3. Free swag.

Cons:

  1. You might need to try to get into the venue 1-2 panels before the one you really want to see.
  2. Being in the venue means you can’t really be in the exhibition floor.
  3. Once you are in Hall H, you must stay inside or you will need to stand in line again.  There are restrooms & food vendors inside of the Hall.
  4. Ballroom 20 provides you with bathroom passes, which allow you to exit & return but only during a panel.  If you don’t make it back before the end of that same panel, you must go through the line again.
  5. Sitting all day can be tiring in its own right.

Take away from experience:

I am glad that I was able to experience both Hall H & Ballroom 20 during my 1st SDCC.  I wish I had been able to check out a bunch of the smaller panels, but time is finite & alas it was not possible.  Seeing the panels was fun, but it did eat up entire days.  This left just a short amount of time to walk the exhibition floor & shop.  Also, because I waited until late Saturday to drop off my sketchbook, I ended up missing on various Sunday panels waiting for the artists to return my sketchbook.

Shopping

The intensity of Point Of Sale purchasing is staggering at SDCC.  I got up-sold on a storage tube because it was less than $1 for the 37″ one instead of the 26″.  Well, now I have an artwork tube that is 3/4 my height & is cumbersome to carry, especially amongst the hoards within the exhibition floor & pretty much anywhere surrounding SDCC activities & venues.

Pros:

  1. SDCC exclusive merchandise is pretty sweet.
  2. There is a lot of variety to choose from & selections from all kinds of genres & fandoms.
  3. Special deals on getting commissioned work from artist.

Cons:

  1. Where did all my money go?
  2. What am I going to do with all this stuff I just (semi-impulse) bought?  I had to buy another suitcase just to transport all my new stuff back with me on my international flights.  If you live in the U.S., you can ship it home, but if you are coming from abroad this is not as practical.
  3. Falling victim to the up-sell.  Case in point, me and the tube!  My thought at the time was, “I can’t lose money on this deal!”  Silly, silly, silly of me.  Everything I bought that could be rolled up & stored in my tube is maybe 12″ tall.  So … think three times about a purchase, if you can.  I ended up needing to buy hard protectors for the comic art boards & original sketches I bought anyway.
  4. If you wait until the last day to buy anything, the selection can be limited.  I wanted to try & buy the Nerdist Convention Hoodie but couldn’t get to until Sunday; there were none left.  I wanted a particular shirt from Her Universe & there were only XL & XXL left.  At the BBC America booth, they had sold out of a lot of Sherlock & Orphan Black merchandise by Sunday, as well.

As I look forward to SDCC 2015, I have a lot of planning to get started on & am really looking forward to returning.  I’ll be recruiting my friends to join me, because I’d like to experience SDCC with a friend or two next time.  I enjoyed the flexibility going solos allowed me, but I’d like to change it up a bit for 2015.  I hope this post has been helpful & I’d love to hear any lessons learned you have to share in the comments below.  See you in San Diego in 2015!

SDCC Countdown series

Enroute to SDCC 2014! Wednesday 23rd Recap

So my day started quite early, as I had to get to the airport by 6 AM in order to catch my 1st flight to San Diego.  Check in was pretty smooth, which was very important since i was still a bit sleepy.  I had planned on sleeping on the 1st leg, but didn’t fall asleep.  When I arrived to Houston, I got to use the automated immigration kiosk.  Pretty nifty & a bit creepy simultaneously.  I had 2 hours between flights & so I was able to get some food.  The side effect was that I now had 10-15 minutes before boarding during which to charge my iPad & back-up battery (blanked out last night & forgot to do so last night!).  I figure approximately 80% of the people are on this flight for Comic-Con.  We board, all is well … until it’s not.   There is an overheating notification on the flight deck & back to the gate we go.  Need to get a new plane & now our arrival is delayed for 2-ish hours (still waiting for the plane as I write this).  This eats into my “I have enough time to get a bunch of things before picking up my badge & attend Preview Night” plans.  Eek!

Speaking of my pre-con check-list …

This time delay, as it were, is more problematic than I would have liked because I was actually going to go get a cellphone before heading to the convention center & now, I’m not sure about my time table.  About a week ago, my  power/sleep button on my trusty, unlocked iPhone 4S stopped responding.  At first I hoped it was just the new case I had recently started using.  Took the case off & no change.  I had a work around because I just modified my settings so my screen would lock sooner to compensate for no longer having control of the sleep button.  I had (naively) hoped I could make it a couple more weeks for the release of new cellphone models in the early fall.  Well, my phone had other plans it seems; 2 nights ago, my phone froze up & the easy solution to this problem was no longer possible: hard reseting my phone by holding down the Home & Power/Sleep buttons simultaneously for a bit.  That is not going to happen now.  I tried going to the Apple authorized tech center in my town (I’m currently living outside of the U.S.) & was told that for iPhone 4 & 4S they do not repair the button & cable (which I found out is a common failing issue regarding both models) so my only option was to buy a new 4S for $300.  Okay, never mind, crazy people.  For that, I’ll buy a new unlocked phone to use in the meantime while in San Diego & then when I get back home as soon as I get in San Diego … or at least that was the plan before my 2nd flight got delayed. I now arrive at 3:45 PM instead of 1:45 PM & need to get to my hotel, check-in, drop off my stuff, pack my con backpack, figure out how to get to a Best Buy or something, get to one of the shuttle stops & head down to the convention center to pick up my badges!  Also, I need to eat sometime between all of that.

Airport wifi, you tricky temptress

As soon as we were told that we’d be taken back to the gate & reassigned to another airplane, my initial reaction was “Great! Now I can charge my devices a bit more & surf the net to find more info about which San Diego Best Buy has the unlocked phone I need to buy, etc.  I got off the plane, quickly found a seat & opened my laptop to find out what the situation was with the Airport wifi.  Turns out I could get 45 minutes of complimentary internet courtesy of Biongo.  Sold!  I accepted the terms & was able to download a pic of my SDCC badge barcode onto my iPad (I had it stored as a PDF on my iphone, but now that is inaccessible).  Then about 2 minutes into my complimentary 45 minutes, we were notified of our new gate in a different terminal.  I get over to the new gate & try to hop back onto the Biongo.  It says it has full signal …

tricky airport wifi

It says I can join the network … until it times out indefinitely.  Oh, Biongo wifi Hotspot, why are you lying & getting my hopes up?

tricky wifi denial

After being frustrated for quite a while, it was finally time to board!

I arrived at LAX & hoped on the Super Shuttle to my hotel.  Now I had to check-in, drop my bags off in my room, freshen up, & locate where to buy a phone.  I headed over to the Best Buy in Mission Valley & took a taxi down to the Convention Center.

SDCC experience begins!

selfie after getting my SDCC badges

I picked up my badge & took it all in! I was finally at my first SDCC!  I went down to the Exhibition Floor, albeit with only 1 hour left, to try to see as much as I could.

Here are some glimpses of what I saw as soon as I entered the floor:

San Diego International Comic-Con 2014 Preview Night First Impressions

I only stayed within a tiny portion of the floor, but these are just a few of the sights encountered on the Exhibition Floor:

SDCC-Preview-Night-collage

It was almost too much to take in all at once.  Having so many people coupled with very tiny & detailed items at different booths, it was a lot just looking around.  Plus there is a large portion of people power walking to booths in order to buy the SDCC exclusive merchandise before it sells out.  Very hectic, but exhilarating.  I came across the Star Wars toy booth & saw a lot of cool casts & busts of Star Wars figures (see pic above).  I turned a corner & ran into Final Fantasy figures.  I was able to play the PS3 demo of Kingdom Hearts 2 (see pic above for screenshot of the home screen), which was fun.  I tried to buy a Doctor Who shirt from the BBC America booth (see pic above), but they had just closed the line in order to finish all sales prior to the Exhibition Floor closing.  There was a big WETA booth with all kinds of props & Lord of the Rings/Hobbit stuff, including a life-sized Azog (see pic above). a further down there was a Game of Throne life-sized guy (see pic above) that was all kinds of creepy looking.  And with that it was time to leave!

View of Gaslamp Quarter from Convention Center

As the Exhibition Floor closed, it was an exodus onto the streets, with almost everyone heading over to the Gaslamp Quarter.  I stopped by Syfy’s Ascension Cafe, as they promote the show & had a burger for dinner.

SyFy takes over Ascension Cafe

I’ll be posting the SDCC related sights of the Gaslamp Quarter in a future post.  Geeking out 24/7 while here!

 

SDCC Countdown series

SDCC Countdown: Ultimate Panel Wish List (3rd & Overly Ambitious Draft)

So, I was without constant reliable internet the last 2 weeks & it was torture!  During that time, I was able to get a glimpse of the SDCC Unofficial Blog’s panel announcements & create my 2nd draft of SDCC Ultimate Panel Wish List. Now that I am back in the world of the inter-webs, I am on geek out overload with all of the SDCC panels announced!  Here is a screenshot of my overly ambitious SDCC Panel Wish List:My-overly-ambitous-SDCC-ultimate-list

Making a list & checking it twice …

So, yeah.  Reality set in once I glanced at my Calendar, after gleefully & blissfully clicking away on all the panels that sounded enticing on MySched.  I have some pretty tough choices, many of which will be made for me by the requirements of overnight camping for Hall H.  As I have stated, my original mindset was plan big & then be flexible.  I don’t want my first SDCC to be overwhelming in a negative way, but I am also (clearly) a wee bit too ambitious.  Oh yeah, and this isn’t even considering Nerd HQ nor GamerCon.  The only off-site events I am already certain I will be attending are the San Diego Symphony’s Video Game Concert, <fingers-crossed> the APPLESEED ALPHA screening (still holding out for more tickets to become available for those on the waiting list), @midnight, The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fan Dinner, & The Voice Tour (just because).

Brand new information:

Toucan Tracker Wristbands for the initial morning panel in Hall H were announced today. This is the first year SDCC uses this system, & only for Hall H, so it will be interesting to see how it all goes.  This now brings a different dynamic of starting the camping out early & then once receiving a wristband, being able to take shifts with your line group mates with (hopefully) less line drama.

Other considerations:

In a previous post, I talked about how I take certain steps to minimize the symptoms of my fibromyalgia when traveling by plane.  I need to remind myself that I will need to be careful not to let my overly ambitiousness cause a flare up of my symptoms during SDCC & then result in me missing a full day, etc. With this reality check, & of course the ridiculous visual of my SDCC panel wish list, I don’t think camping overnight for Hall H or even Ballroom 20 is in the cards for me.  Unless I can find a group at SDCC that will enable me to start off in line until 1 AM, then leave to sleep in my hotel & return in the early morning with food & beverage reinforcements, I will just need to take my chances during the day for later panels in those large venues.


The SDCC planning continues, as I await what NerdHQ has in store.  All in all, I know I will be having an amazing experience & I know that during it I will be able to measure out my energy & time in away that maximizes my fun without costing me a lot of mandatory downtime as a result.

9 days & counting!

SDCC Countdown series

SDCC Countdown: Ultimate Panel Wish List (2nd Draft)

We are just 17 days away from San Diego International Comic-Con & that means panels have already begun to be announced.  And like an eager first-timer, I have already begun planning out my (tentative) ultimate panel wish list!  How can I be anything but giddy with excitement as the days near to my first ever SDCC.  I was lucky enough to get a badge for all available days, including Wednesday Preview Night.  I have found out about the following panels from wonderful resources such as SDCC Unofficial Blog, Twitter feeds, etc.

So, here goes my tentative panel wish list (for the ones already assigned a day):

WEDNESDAY – Preview Night

  • The Flash (TBD): I have been enjoying The Arrow, so I had suspected there would be a panel for the upcoming spin-off.  From what I have been researching from all of the amazing SDCC veterans, I figured it would be part of Wednesday’s Preview Night panel line-up. Yay!
  • Constantine (TBD): I’m not a huge follower of the DC Comics this is adapted from, but I have read a few & am interested in how they will be translating this into a TV series without feeling like many of the other shows that deal with demons, hell, etc.

THURSDAY

  1. TV:
    Batman: The Complete Television Series (TBD): This is slated for Hall H, so possibly wishful thinking, but with 17 days until everything starts, anything is still possible!
    Teen Wolf (TBD): This is a recent guilty pleasure. I like it!
  2. Comics:
    Hip-Hop and Comics: Cultures Combining (7 PM): @DepthZine tweeted about this panel & the ever-wonderful resource, SDCC Unofficial Blog, brought it to my attention.  Details are still forthcoming, but my interest is really peaked.
  3. Other:
    The Most Dangerous Women at Comic-Con: Positive Portrayals of Women in Pop Culture (Room 7AB, 3PM-4PM):  Follow @JaneEspenson for more details!
    Taming The Web (Room 24ABC, 10:30AM):  Follow @Leah_Cevoli for more details!

FRIDAY

  1. TV:
    Arrow (Ballroom 20, 5:30PM-6:30PM): This show is a lot of fun & I have been enjoying the adaptation from the DC Comic.  The actors have been great, plus John Barrowman!  I’m a Whovian, so that is a great addition, especially since he has been announced as a series regular for this upcoming season.  He has already announced he will only be at SDCC for this panel, so all the more reason this is on my wish list.
    The Big Bang Theory (Ballroom 20, 10AM-11AM): I love all the geek references within this show, as well as all of the great chemistry amongst all of the actors.  I’ve watched this SDCC panel from previous years online, so it would be really great to get to see this in person.
  2. Other:
    Fandom, Transmedia & Transformative Works (Room 26AB, 7:30PM-8:30PM): Follow @TheOrlandoJones for more details!
    Science of Science Fiction (Room 7AB, 6PM-7PM): If I can’t get into the Arrow panel, this would be lots of fun!  Follow @KevinGlazer for more details!

SATURDAY

  1. TV:
    Grimm (Ballroom 20, 3PM-3:45PM): I have been watching this show since it first aired & get a kick out of the little tweaks and twists the writers use to rework classic Grimm fairy tales. I saw last year’s SDCC panel online, so it would be great to see in person.
  2. Comics:
    Batman 75th Anniversary (TBD): This is bound to be a fun-filled panel.  The Dark Knight is one of my favorite characters from comics.

SUNDAY

  1. TV:
    Buffy The Vampire Slayer Sing-Along: Once More, With Feeling (3:30PM-5PM): Grrr … argh!!!! Once more!
    Supernatural (Hall H, 10AM-11AM): I’m not a die-hard fan, but I have been watching episodes as they have come on late night. Thanks to the wonder that is Netflix, I am sure I will be caught up soon enough. This is in Hall H, at 10 AM, so …. I can still wish!

  2. Comics:
    Women of Marvel (11:15AM): I will be catching this panel, if possible. Follow @semisocialite for more details!
  3. Other:
    Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation (Room 23ABC, 2:30PM): I love video games!  This is happening!

That is it for my SDCC Ultimate Panel Wish List (2nd draft).  If you are interested, check out my first rough draft and keep an eye out for upcoming revisions as more panels are posted and assigned dates!


 

What do you have your eye on that has already been announced?

SDCC Countdown series

Tentative SDCC Wish List

Here is a working wish list for my first SDCC (in no particular order):

  • See/meet Stan Lee
  • Go to Marvel panel
  • Go to X-Men panel
  • Go to Once Upon A Time panel
  • Go to Doctor Who panel
  • See/meet Kevin Smith
  • Meet/see Nathan Fillion
  • Meet/see Joss Whedon
  • Go to Star Wars panel
  • Go to a Nerd HQ event/panel
  • Go to Big Bang Theory panel
  • Go to the Arrow Panel
  • Check out Studio Ghibli anything
  • See/meet Joe Quesada
  • See/meet G. Willow Wilson
  • Attend the 40th  Annual Comic-con International Masquerade
  • Take pictures with fellow cosplayers
  • Take part of at least one cosplayer Photo Op
  • Get some swag

As SDCC nears closer, what is one your wish list?

SDCC Countdown series

Cosplaying at San Diego Comic-Con 2014

The first con I attended was MegaCon in Orlando, FL close to 10 years ago.  It was a very last minute, disorganized affair.  I definitely didn’t get the most out of my experience because we only bought an one-day pass, had to drive to Orlando, & got there close to 2 PM.  Needless to say, I wore regular casual wear, as it was my first con experience.  Had I known what I would have in store, I would have definitely have brought more cash & insisted we got there early. We didn’t get to see any panels, but I insisted we stay to watch the Masquerade.  There was a lot of Fullmetal Alchemist cosplaying, as well as Cowboy Bebop. I bought a couple of t-shirts, but nothing else due to limited cash on hand.

In order to get the most out of my upcoming SDCC experience, I have decided I am going to cosplay.  So, with SDCC less than 80 days away, I am seriously starting to finish up my cosplaying plan of attack!  I will ambitiously be attempting to cosplay all 5 days on SDCC.  As a first time cosplayer, this may prove to be a tall order, but I’m planning big so that I can always adjust as conditions change.  Obviously after deciding I would be cosplaying, I had to figure out who I would be cosplaying as.


The brainstorming began by acknowledging my limitations:

  • I’m currently not able to get too crafty to make intricate components for my outfits.
  • I am not wig-savvy, so long dark brown hair was what I had to work with.
  • I have trouble maintaining my core body temperature regulated, so I’d need to be able to use layers that I could adjust as needed, but not lose the identity of my chosen cosplay character.
  • Comfortable foot attire is a must.

With this list, I began trying to see who I would cosplay as.  My first instinct was Carmen San Diego because I loved her, the video games, & the TV show!

Carmen San Diego

Requirements:

  1. Red trench coat (could buy)
  2. Red hat (could buy)
  3. Black gloves (check)
  4. Yellow scarf (could buy)
  5. Loose, long dark hair (check)
  6. Maybe tiny versions of the Eiffel Tower or other monuments I would have stolen (could buy online).

The problem was that if I got hot & took off my coat, then what?  So, the brainstorming continued.

Next, I was talking with my best friend, with whom I geek out about video games & football (see Time Crisis II discussion in my arcade post), & we came up with Lara Croft.

Requirements:

  1. Long brown hair in pony tail/braid (check)
  2. Shorts/Pants (check)
  3. Black fingerless gloves (check)
  4. Turquoise tank top (check)
  5. Thigh holsters (could buy online)
  6. 2 play hand guns (could buy online)
  7. Small leather backpack (could buy online & I don’t need much convincing to buy a bag)
  8. Hiking boots (check)
  9. Various options for jacket or hoodie (could buy)

We had a winner!  I checked out possible items on Amazon & scored big.  The guns are originally orange, but that isn’t anything a little spray paint can’t fix & they come with the thigh holsters.  I can have the holsters altered/reinforced a bit if needed, but other than some hair gel, I should be good.

One down!


I’ve seen various Assassin’s Creed cosplay pictures on Pinterest, which had me dying to try it.  I was giddy about gender-bending Ezio, but my mom brought up a good point: the hood makes it hard for anyone to see my face & for me to see everything around me. I was going to SDCC for the very first time; I wanted to meet people & see as much as possible, so this idea would hinder both those objectives.  Also, I’d have to really have intricate accessories, so that if I needed to take off the coat, I’d still look like an Assassin.  And so, my dream of being an Assassin would have to wait for a future SDCC or other Con.  Once, I know how I’m likely to react to walking around all day at SDCC & whether I’d probably overheat or not.

I am freakishly pale right now, because I have had a couple of health issues this year and thus have seen little sun. So my genius mother said, “Could you go as Morticia Addams?”  YES, yes I can! I geek out over the Addam’s Family movie all the time & have made my mother watch it a couple times, so it was actually quite shocking that I hadn’t thought of this earlier.  Anjelica Huston & Raul Julia were perfectly cast as Morticia & Gomez Addams.

Requirements:

  1. Pale skin, enhance with makeup (check)
  2. Tight, black mermaid shape dress (could buy)
  3. Black lace to add to black dress (could buy & add to dress without too much work)
  4. Makeup for intense smokey eyes & red lips (check)
  5. Loose, long dark hair (check)
  6. Blood red nail polish (could buy)
  7. A silk red rose (could buy)
  8. Gothic rings (could buy)

So I had another one down, three more to go!


I decided I wanted to be a classic super hero & started looking for options. Wonder Woman was a possibility, but I thought I would get too cold & I wasn’t sure wearing a corset an entire day was gonna be the best idea.  I didn’t want to wear a wig, so I was looking at the brunettes out there in the super ‘verse.  I came up with Kitty Pryde, but I couldn’t find a way to make it work for me right now.  Did I really want to have to carry a dragon the entire day?  I thought of Catwoman, especially since Anne Hathaway’s version had been a brunette, but all the Catwoman costumes I found were either very slutty or full body, but near transparent, so no to that idea.

Then I saw that Amazon had a Female Green Lantern costume that had rave reviews.  It came with a green mask & a ring.  A huge plus, it was not transparent!  I figured I could always spruce it up & that it would be a good foundation.  If anything, I could be Jade if I wanted to get specific.

Requirements:

  1. Green body suit (could buy)
  2. Green eye mask (could buy, included)
  3. Green Lantern ring (could buy, included, or upgrade if needed)
  4. White opera gloves (could buy)
  5. Smokey eye makeup (check)
  6. Black boots (check)

We had another winner!  Now, I could participate in the DC Cosplayer Photo Shoot on Saturday of SDCC!  Just two left!


I have a full length dress in leopard print from a previous Halloween costume, which I am repurposing into an interpretation of Pebbles Flintstone all grown up.  I will just need to make a bone barrette for my top bun & do an exaggerated cat eye.

Requirements:

  1. Leopard print dress (check)
  2. Cat eye makeup (check)
  3. Bone barrette (could fashion)
  4. Hair in a top bun (check)

For my last cosplay idea, I wanted to do something sci-fi.  Since I had had such success on Amazon, I gave it another try.  I lucked out & found more non-slutty Star Trek options.  I chose a Classic Star Trek Science Officer mini dress.  I’m 5’4″, so this is probably not going to be as short as pictured on the model.  I could even wear black tights under so I don’t get too cold & take them off if I get too hot.

Requirements:

  1. Classic Star Trek dress (could buy)
  2. Starfleet Science Officer Badge (could buy)
  3. Classic Communicator (could buy)
  4. Black boots (check)
  5. Optional black leggings (check)

So there you have it, my SDCC cosplayer plan of attack.  I”ll be posting updates with pictures as soon as I have my components & we get closer to SDCC.  I will be doing a practice trail run in the upcoming weeks, so be on the look out for my pictures!