This weekend is the annual San Diego ComicCon, and once again Tara and I are attending.
For the preview Wednesday night, Tara took the day off, but I worked a normal day. I did need to get out a bit early to catch the train downtown, so I managed to have some things come together so that I actually ended up having a busy afternoon. But I was able to get off and catch the train. While on the train, listening to a book on my iPod I missed Tara’s call asking when to leave, but caught her follow-up call needing routing advice shortly, which I provided. Since she’d barely left this meant that this year I got to the convention center first.
I got there, stopping briefly at Seaport village for a snack (a chai tea latte and a pastry) and then walked along the bayfront to the passageway between the Marriott and the Convention center. I then had to walk across the front of the convention center – including past the sign warning people that state law prohibited smoking by the doors – which to me should imply the entire from – which had people smoking almost next to.
After a brief confusion over the fact that the long, mostly unmoving line, was NOT for regular attendees, I got up to the registration area, got my badge, giant bag and other goodies all within just a couple of minutes. I then headed out to area behind the Sails Pavilion where I sat on the wall almost surprised people weren’t smoking back there. After about half an hour, Tara got there and we met up near the registration area.
We quickly decided that we were hungry and wanted to let the exhibit hall crowd distribute into the hall before going in ourselves, so we went into The Gaslamp and found that once again the SyFy folks have taken over Maryjane’s Cafe and turned it into Cafe Diem – so we ate a dinner of very good, but not cheap, sandwiches. The only disappointment was that our table had ads for the WWE program, not some actual SF program.
Afterwards, we returned to the convention center where we spent longer than we realized (or intended) shopping. Tara picked up a book on the art of the Avatar: The Last Airbender TV series at Dark Horse comics, and a couple of other things at the Nickelodeon area – more of which she may explain. I got a sketched (while we waited) edition of Evil Incorporated Annual Report: Volume 5 directly from Brad Guigar. While he was sketching and chatting, I observed that he’s taken a page – almost literally – out of Howard Tayler’s book by including a page specifically for the sketches. We also spent some time talking with Barb and Ray at Off World Deigns.
We then headed home to rescue the dog who was trapped inside and head to bed.
On Thursday, we got moving a bit later than optimal. Forgetting that last year Tara was dropping me off at work about 7:30 or earlier and then parking at Old Town, but remembering how long it took for us to get to Qualcomm Stadium, we made the mistake of heading to Old Town. When we couldn’t find parking, we doubled back to Qualcomm Stadium (almost being hit by a parking shuttle on Qualcomm Way) and boarded a trolley without incident.
Tara was worried that we’d be too late to get into the three items in Ballroom 20 (the second largets hall used for most of the big TV presentations), but we were fairly early in the line and still had almost 90 minutes to wait – since the first item wasn’t until 1:00.
The first panel was on Burn Notice which neither of us actually watch, but can still appreciate. If I’m reading comments in the panel correctly, the people who were there actually interrupted their filming in Miami to be there – so actually the only main actor present was Bruce Campbell. But the main writers were there, along with Tim Matheson who has also directed some episodes, and another guest actor (also a villan from what they said) who moderated. Both the shtik and the fact that intelligent questions were asked kept this panel entertaining even with not being a viewer of the show. During the panel, there were two announcements made. First, it was announced that the show just reached 1,000,000 FaceBook fans. Second, it was announced that USA network and Fox Studios reached an agreement to do a movie prequel featuring Bruce Campbell’s character – clearly a deal that was finalized during the convention that morning.
The next panel was on White Collar which I’ve watched since the beginning and Tara’s seen an episode or two of. The full cast was there, along with a couple of the writers and a producer. Again the panel was entertaining and informative. One of the best stories involved shooting on location in New York where Willy Garson was filming on a street where tour busses come by regularly. But the operator’s of the open air busses kept announcing when they saw him (and possibly missed the film crew) “To the left you’ll see Sex in the City’s Willy Garson,” which ruined the takes.
I had to step out during the panel to use the bathroom, so I missed someone asking a question about having the show feature a couple in a happy established marriage. But Tara was able to fill me in later when I mentioned it.
The third panel was on Psych, which we’ve both watched pretty consistently from the beginning. This was another fun panel, but a bit more chaotic both because of the nature of the cast and crew, and the nature of the fans.
After the three panels, we got our memberships for next year, and then headed over to the Marriott to find the fulfillment area – we’d gotten t-shirts from all three panels. We did get lost in the Marriott due to the nearly complete lack of signage – coupled with my mixing up where the fulfillment area was. Instead we spent a few minutes waiting for the Con Suite to open, and a few more munching. Then we headed for fulfillment – which was at the far end of the world – and got our goodies.
We then headed back to the exhibition hall and did some more shopping – ending with Tara buying the latest edition of Girl Genius, which got autographed by both of the Fogilos – who also ended up autographing a bunch of old Magic cards that they’d illustrated.
We then left, a bit earlier than we might have. In part we needed to be home in time for my brother and niece who were flying in from Colorado so that she could attend freshman orientation at SDSU. On the way home we stopped at Rubios where our ComicCon badges got us free drinks.
In part because their flight was delayed as was their arrival at our house, and in part because we all got talking about stuff, none of us got to bed quite as early as we should.
On Friday, Tara and I all got moving pretty well – although I was a bit delayed by Tara getting into the shower about the time I was thinking of getting in. But we did a bit much talking, and neither party got out at 7:00 like we intended. This time we went straight to Qualcomm Stadium and got to the Convention Center in good time.
But we were still a bit further back in the queue for Friday’s panels, which started at 10:30, than we were for Thursday’s panels. But we still got good seats – only a few rows further back, and to one side – but actually with a potential better stage view if it weren’t for heads.
The first panel was on Stargate Universe, which had a sampling of the cast including Ming Na, David Bloom(?) and Robert Carlyle, as well as the head writer. A couple of minor spoilers were leaked, but nothing too great. Again some very intelligent questions were asked, a few that actually made the cast and writer think. We both enjoyed this panel quite a bit.
The second panel was on Caprica. Since I got so burned out before the last season of Battlestar Galactica, I have had absolutely no desire to see Caprica, so I tuned out most of what I saw at the panel. In fact, I actually snuck out at got us lunch – identical to our Thursday lunch – and later go to the bathroom and probably missed most of it.
The third panel was on The Big Bang Theory which was moderated by Wil Wheaton (not in his pseudo character), and had the full cast and both Bill Purdy and Chuck Lorry. As a not-quite surprise Wil warmed up the audience by having Barenaked Ladies lead the audience in a sing-along of the theme song. Before singing, their lead singer admitted to being a geek – including writing an introduction for the 30th anniversary edition of D&D.
This panel was loads of fun, with a cast and writers who appreciated the audience and an audience who was wildly enthusiastic about the show. Again no real surprises. The writers quickly confirmed that the character who is a potential love interest for Sheldon would reappear.
Someone did ask about the possibility of setting an episode at ComicCon, which may or may not have started the process of the writers figuring out how to pull this off when someone from ComicCon offered the use of some of their banners. It was pretty much confirmed that they way the show is done would prevent any major location shooting. Later it occurred to me that with the right photos the set dressers in Burbank could probably get pretty close on a couple of key sets, and having authentic props would help. Getting any real shots for establishment might be a trick if no shooting was scheduled, but I’m hoping we see something.
After that we left and headed down to the exhibition hall. It was more crowded then Thursday or even Wednesday night – which turned out to be an unexpected problem. At some point when we were a fair ways back I realized that I was feeling extremely anxious – which doesn’t happen all that often. But in the past I’ve had claustrophobic reactions to crowds, so I knew it was lurking under the surface. I also had some symptoms of a migraine so I suspect that the two may be related but I’m not sure which is the cause and which the effect.
But we managed to get out of the hall without any major issues, and then headed over to The Gaslamp. After finding nothing much there to do, we decided to head home early and got home before my brother and niece, giving us an opportunity to get some dinner.