Thursday, August 25, 2011

San Diego Comic-Con, Part 2

Thursday was full of big panels and plenty of celebrities. Bruce Campbell was first, then talent from Covert Affairs, Psych, Game of Thrones, and Ringer. Last in that room was a bunch of "fan favorite" actors, which included a dozen or so stars. We heard a bunch of news and spoilers, saw some footage (both old and new), and received tickets from several panels which we traded later for exclusive swag. Covert Affairs and Psych gave t-shirts, but Ringer gave folding stools and Game of Thrones gave bags, mousepads, t-shirts, AND the first book of the series in paperback!
Bruce Campbell
Live Performance of the Psych theme song
Game of Thrones cast
zoom-in on some of the Game of Thrones cast
George R. R. Martin, the author of the books upon which Game of Thrones is based
 After sitting in Ballroom 20 for the bulk of the day, I moved to another room (only having to wait in line for 20-30 minutes) to see a panel on Comic Books that I enjoyed quite a bit. It focused specifically on X-Men, which is a series I really enjoy.

That panel ran a little long, but since it was that last one in that room for the day, it kind of made sense in a way. I headed to an off-site event that wasn't far away, and proceeded to find a nice patch of grass to sit on to wait. KA, one of the Cirque du Soleil shows, was promoting the show by featuring part of it. It was on an outer wall of Petco Park (where the Padres play), and the idea was that there would be a choreographed fight scene set to music, which takes place in a vertical setting of sorts. I was really excited to see it, but sitting on the grass for 90 minutes wasn't worth the five-minute performance. It wouldn't have been so bad, except the grass that hundreds of us were sitting on hadn't had the sprinklers go off while we were waiting! Not only did I lose my "primo spot," but I was working on my laptop when it happened. I was astounded by how friendly and helpful those around me were, as when I dived over my laptop and started shoving stuff into my bag, two guys blocked the nearest sprinklers to help me out and another returned my camera after I moved and dropped it in the shuffle. No damage done, but it could have been loads worse.
The wall had a countdown after a while, since we thought the show would start around 8, and it didn't until about 9:30.
the battle begins
only two "fighters" were real, the rest were CGI
I made my way back to the hotel after that, and spent a couple hours writing some articles before eating my leftovers, showering, and hitting the hay. 

Let's cap off the day with some more photos of costumed fans, including Snape from Harry Potter, the group of kids on South Park, and a guy promoting Shark Week.
 Shark Week guy
 South Park characters
 some Superheros

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

San Diego Comic-Con, Part 1

So I'll be covering Comic-Con more thoroughly on the television blog, but there were some things that are more appropriate to put here. Basically, I'm going to cover a little bit of background and some information about what I saw and did and whatnot. If you want details about what I heard and learned and received, check the other site, it'll be quite a few posts over there.

First off, what is Comic-Con? It's a gigantic (read: 120,000 attendees) convention that takes place once a year in San Diego. It started out particularly to cover comics, but is now a popular culture mecca of sorts. I've kinda wanted to go for a few years now, but it's not cheap (the convention itself is reasonable, but because of the giant influx of people, hotels are all really high, plus travel and food and whatnot), and I didn't want to go alone. So, when my friend Kelly (who is the sister of one of the first friends I made in college - Katie) announced that she wanted to go, the plan started to be set in motion.

Long story short (and really, it IS a long story), we secured tickets and booked a "reasonable" (read: subjectively reasonable, given the other prices) hotel about a mile from the event. If Jonathan and I had two cars out here, I might have driven to San Diego, though I ended up getting a decent price on airline tickets. Amazingly, our flights got into San Diego about ten minutes apart, so it was easy to find each other. Kelly had a friend who lived in San Diego who picked us up at the airport and helped us run a few errands on our way to check-in at the hotel.

Two big things about Comic-Con: you don't leave a room once you're in (the lines to get in are thousands of people long), and food is very expensive (like $4 cookies from a Mrs. Fields kiosk). So, we both stocked up on snacks at the grocery store, which we packed in our backpacks each day. They were lifesavers!

I had originally planned a little sightseeing on Wednesday (Jonathan and I visited San Diego in 2008 and hit the major sights then), but that got scrapped. I had looked up a great place to eat in Little Italy and got take-out: a delicious, fairly-priced dish of chicken parmigiana with bread. Aside from that, Wednesday was hanging out, blogging, and preparing.
Thursday started out early; we left the hotel a couple minutes after 6am, walking to the Convention Center. Several thousand people were already in front of us in line to pick-up registration badges. We started snapping photos of the costumes and the excitement. We sat on the concrete as hundreds of people walked by, heading for the end of the line. About 90 minutes later, we started moving... and kept moving. We weren't sure what was happening, but the line just kept going, and as we picked up the pace and turned corners, we could see the building. And then the doors. And then we were entering the Convention Center. Volunteers and workers barked out orders to close gaps in the line and have our vouchers and IDs available. We assumed the line would stop again at some point, but it didn't. We rode up an escalator, kept moving, and we were in registration before we knew it. Badge pick-up was very quick, and we then split ways.

Kelly dashed off to get into the line for her preferred room of the day (Ballroom 20), and I headed to get into the line for 2012 pre-registration (after what we went through to get 2011 tickets, I wanted to ensure 2012 tickets). Unfortunately, the line was over a mile long, and I actually got to the end and waited about 15 minutes before realizing there was no chance I'd make it to the front by the 11am closing time. So, I moved on and headed to my first room of the day. I was planning on a lower-key panel, so there were only about ten people in front of me in line. I took the opportunity to whip out my laptop and write a bit, plus charge my phone. I was still a bit overwhelmed by the whole experience, and when Kelly texted to let me know there were only a thousand people in front of her, I ended up packing up and started making my way over to join her in line. I quickly learned that you can't get where you want to go via the shortest means possible, and had to backtrack to get to Kelly, as her line started moving. We were soon inside Ballroom 20 and Comic-Con became real.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Back to Denver, Part 2 of 2

I went back to the hotel and hung out in the lobby for a couple of hours until Jonathan arrived.

We didn't do anything too special during the week, as Jonathan worked long hours and I had more than enough to work on. Plus, we saw a lot of the Denver sights two years ago (Part 1   Part 2   Part 3    Part 4). We did have dinner with his colleagues twice, and we spent some time shopping at the stores nearby. It was only a mile to "stuff" so I didn't have a problem walking to get myself some lunch on the days that I didn't have leftovers. I even managed to snag a deal on a pair of running shoes, which I've been needing to replace for a while now. (and time was of the essence since I was about to go to San Diego for a lot of walking, but more on that another day...) Here are a couple images of a gorgeous sunset we saw in the Mile High City.

Thursday night we went to see the new Harry Potter film at midnight, which was a very strange experience. We had pre-purchased our tickets online more than a week before, and when we arrived at the theater we found the parking to be atrocious! We agreed that we had never parked so far away to see a movie before! We got seated in our theater about an hour before the movie began, and there were several people up dancing to "Thriller," which caught us by surprise. I was also weirded out by how many people felt it was okay to wear a graduation gown as a Hogwarts robe, with little or no other accessories. I feel like that shouldn't count.

Friday we requested a late check-out which allowed me to stay in the room until 2pm while Jonathan worked. Then I moved to the lobby for a couple hours, until Jonathan left the office for the day. We had originally intended to meet a friend from high school for happy hour, but he was thrown a project at the last minute and would be delayed for at least half an hour, which was the bulk of the time we had set aside to see him. Oh well, I guess we'll catch Tym next time! (we also didn't have time to connect with any of our other friends in Denver, so don't feel bad, friends!)

We stopped by a Chick-Fil-A on our way to the airport so we could have some poultry deliciousness one last time (we don't have any within 50 miles!) for a while. Then, onward to the airport. As I mentioned last time, Jonathan and I booked our trips separately, so we were on different airlines on flights leaving about an hour apart. I was on Southwest so I checked both our bags (yet another reason Southwest rocks!) and went to wait at my gate (Jonathan was in a different terminal so we parted ways soon after dropping the rental car). We texted back and forth about how ominous the clouds looked, as we worried about our flights being delayed and whatnot. His took off on time, but by the time it was time for me to board, there was lightning within five miles of the airport, which put us on a temporary delay. They went ahead and boarded us, and we took off within 15 minutes of our scheduled departure, through some of the darkest clouds I'd ever seen. By the time I landed Jonathan had staked out a spot across from my gate so we reconnected quickly, grabbed the bags from carousel, and were off toward home!