Thursday, July 31

San Diego Comic Con - the reality

here we are, a week removed from the start of the 2008 San Diego Comic Con and it's time to put down in words what i experienced. to sum it up in two words, the San Diego Comic Con was crazy fun. crazy because of all the people and the countless things to do in a span of just 3 days. fun because it's nerd heaven and i got to hang out with some of my bestest of friends.

let's break down what has easily become one of my favorite extended weekends of my entire life.

Wednesday, 9:45pm

i depart for San Diego via Salt Lake City. why in the world Delta has me flying all the way to Salt Lake City first and THEN returning to San Diego i'll never know. all i know is that it was the cheapest flight i could get.

Thursday, 10:45am

i arrive in San Diego and meet up with Bill (my good friend from Phoenix) and Dave (one of my good friends i met in Vancouver). i quickly learn that Todd (another good friend from Vancouver) has not arrived yet (he should have arrived first). we end up waiting for him for over an hour. at the point when his plane finally lands we are hungry and hearing the call of nerd prom (the con).


we arrive at the hotel, drop our shit off, and head out to find some sustenance. as luck would have it, there is an excellent, EXCELLENT Mexican restaurant across the street. we eat up and head off for the trolly. see, since we booked our hotel sort of late in the game, we couldn't stay near the convention center, so we had to settle for a hotel a few miles away but right near the trolly that would take us to the con.


we finally arrive at the con. it is wonderous. there are people everywhere and it is only Thursday. the most packed days are to come. we hit the main exhibition hall floor and just walk around in a stupor. Bill and i manage to buy some toy exclusives (available only at this year's con), but otherwise we just sort of wander around.


Diego (the third and final friend from Vancouver) calls us and lets us know that he's arrived. we meet up with him and Outsourced Games (+ Bill) is reunited for the first time in a year and a half. it's great seeing everyone. if i were a girl i would have cried.


we all wander around the main floor - sometimes together, sometimes by ourselves - and just get lost in the nerdiness. no panels were attended. oh, and Dave showed off Saints Row 2 (there were surprisingly a lot of video game publishers showing off their wares at the con - probably because E3 was the week previous and was just up in LA).

the main floor is divided into several areas. first are the big companies giving away free stuff and showing off their wares. next are the artists and creators that aren't necessarily affiliated with any big company showing off their wares. and finally there's the retailers selling a bunch of shit. at the Chicago Comic Con (the only other one i've been to) the space was pretty evenly divided. this time around it seemed like more room was given to the big companies, followed by the small companies, and then the retailers. i was actually expecting a few more retailers. oh well.


we all 5 leave the con and grab a bite to eat in San Diego's Gaslamp District (right across the street from the convention center). the place reminded me of Vancouver sort of, but with even more bars and a little more upscale. we find a hole in the wall bar and get some bar food.


at this point Dave, Bill and i are pretty much done. our legs are tired from all the walking and we just want to head back to the room. Todd and Diego however want to head back to the con for some nighttime entertainment - there were a few panels they wanted to see. so we go our separate ways. Dave, Bill and i catch a cab back (too tired to walk the 10+ blocks back to the trolly station), grab a case of beer from a nearby liquor store, and drink, talk, and watch TV.


Todd and Diego return. we call it a night. Day 1 is a wrap.

Friday, 8:30am

we all get up and get ready for the day.


we head across the street for some Mexican breakfast. and a beef taco. oh man is it good.


we arrive at the con. we walk around for a while, trying to decide what to do. we finally split up, with Dave and i checking out the line for the Spaced panel. surprise surprise, the line is long.

now it's time to take a time out and explain something about the panels at SDCC that i didn't know going in. ok, so at SDCC you can attend one panel early in the day and then squat in the room until the panel you want to see comes up. you never have to leave the room! it's unbelievable. on top of that, they scheduled some of the MAJOR panels in the smallest of rooms! i wasn't able to see Spaced, MST3K, or JMS because of this screw up! so next year i'll know NOT to plan to see any big panels in small rooms and learn to squat in a room earlier in the day if there's an awesome panel i want to see later.


ok, so we got screwed out of seeing Spaced. that's fine, because there's ALWAYS another panel to see. so Dave, Bill (he met up with us) and i went to see the Spectacular Spider-Man panel (even though they'd never really seen the show). it was great. a lot of the voice actors were there and the creators were there too. it was a great panel with a good balance of questions from the moderator and from the audience. got to see a bit from season 2 and learned it won't be on until next year! oh well. i still love you Spectacular Spider-Man.


Dave, Bill and i hit the main floor and again got pretty lost in it all. to be honest, i can't exactly remember what happened. we probably hung out for a while, then split up, then got back together again. i know we took a look at some of the retailer booths. got another exclusive toy. Bill went off to meet up with some other friends for the rest of the day.


i split off on my own to check out the 24 panel. it started at 5:30, so i knew to arrive early and stand in line. i got up there (2nd floor, almost all the panels were on the 2nd floor) and there was already a pretty long line. no big deal i thought, the room was plenty big.

well, i barely got in. i'd say that at least HALF the people in this huge room (the third largest at the con) didn't leave from the panel before. damn squatters. anyway, maybe 50 people after me were let in and that was it. there was AT LEAST 300 more people after that that didn't make it in. that's nuts.

anyway, i got in and it was a great panel. Kiefer was there - along with the guy that plays Tony Almada and a bunch of the writers and producers - and they showed off clips from the season 7 prequel movie (airing in November) and talked about the upcoming season. basically they got me all excited for 24 again. i really think the year off did them some good. at least it sounds like it. oh and man was Kiefer awesome. he said it was his first time at the con. glad i got to see it.


met up with Dave, Diego, and Todd. we decide to take off and get some supper. after a lot of walking around and not finding what we wanted, we decide to grab a pair of bike taxis to take us to a fish market that's a little ways away. now, these are guys that have a cart for 2-3 people that they pull behind them on a bike. it's sort of like a modern-day rickshaw. so we get a price estimate on it and we all hear the guy say "two ninety-five." everyone but me thinks we're only paying $2.95 a person, but i'm worried that's WAY not enough and that he's going to charge us $295 for the 4 of us. so the entire ride there i'm completely nervous. we get there and he wants $25 per cab (so $50 total). we argue but i guess when we all heard "two ninety-five" what it really was was "twenty five." haha. whatever. at least it wasn't $295.


we eat at this really great fish market place right on the water. i've never been a seafood guy, but ever since Vancouver i've been a lot more willing to try foods, and being back with my Vancouver crew i felt it only appropriate to try something new - so i ordered the swordfish. freshly caught by the restaurant that morning. $30. oh my GOD was it good. also tried for the first time clam chowder (holy shit was it creamy) and boiled peel-and-eat shrimp. not a big fan of the shrimp. but the rest was excellent. even the creme brulee.


Todd was going to leave us to hang out with some Vegas friends in town for the con, so Diego, Dave and i had to decide what we wanted to do with the rest of the night. well, none of us had seen The Dark Knight yet, so we decided that's what we'd do.

oh what an adventure it was.

we all 4 grab a cab back to the Gas Light District. we tell the cabby to take us to the movie theater in the Gas Light District. he drops us off pointing a block away saying that the theater is there. ok, so Dave, Diego and i split off from Todd and go check it out. nope, no theater there. we walk around a bit more and finally ask someone. they tell us the theater is 5 blocks up, not even close to where the cabby told us it would be. ok, so we begrudgingly walk the 5 blocks and come to a theater. in the ticket window is a sign that says:

sorry, we're not showing The Dark Knight. try the so-and-so theater a few blocks up.

we ask the guy at the ticket counter where the theater is and he says it's only 2 blocks up, 1 block over. so off we go. in retrospect, we should have asked WHY they weren't showing the #1 movie in the country, but oh well. we get to the theater, get our tickets for the 10:20 showing (next showing was an hour later - at least we lucked out at something that night) and got ready for The Dark Knight. FINALLY!


Dave, Diego and i watch what is:

- the best movie of this year
- my favorite comic book movie of all time
- one of my favorite movies all around

The Dark Knight does not disappoint. but that's for another post altogether.

we grab a cab back to the hotel (the trolly shut down at midnight, and besides, it was at least 20 blocks away from where we were at that point) and are greeted by Todd and Bill when we get back. we all talk a bit and then turn in for the night. end Day 2.

Saturday, 9-11am

we get ready for the day and head down for a free breakfast at the hotel. then we hit the trolly and head to the con.


we arrive at the con and all head into the Dean Koontz panel. Dean Koontz used to be my favorite writer in high school, so to hear him speak in person was really awesome. half the panel was a prepared speech which consisted of personal stories that were rather humorous and the other half was questions from the audience that were pretty good. overall it was a blast. i really should start reading his stuff again.

then Todd, Dave and i became the very thing we hated: squatters. see, the Battlestar Galactica panel was in the very same room only an hour away, and if we were to leave, we'd have to get in a no-doubt HUGE line to get back in, so we stayed. we saw the Dollhouse panel with Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku, and Hilo from Battlestar. the Dollhouse is a show coming out on FOX this January and, well, the panel made me a believer. i'll check it out.

FINALLY the Battlestar panel started and wow, a ton of the stars/creators were there:

- Ronald D. Moore, the creator/writer
- the main producer
- Tricia Helfer/Six
- Gaius Baltar
- Starbuck
- Starbuck's husband
- Lee Adama (wasn't scheduled to be there)
- Hilo (wasn't scheduled to be there)

oh, and it was moderated by Kevin Smith.

anyway, it was really great seeing all of them and hearing them talk about Battlestar - especially since it just wrapped up shooting a few weeks ago. unfortunately there were too many stars on the panel and not enough time. i think the moderator should have kicked it to the audience sooner because there was hardly any Q&A with the audience. panel should have been 2 hours instead of 1. oh well. got to see a longer teaser for season 4.5 (not coming out until 2009) and a trailer for Caprica, the prequel series. looking good! and Eric Stoltz to boot!


well, it was time to hit the main floor finally for the first time that day and pick up some more toy exclusives. Dave and Todd were with me, and we eventually met up with Bill. now, Bill was leaving us at 6pm to head back to Phoenix so i decided to grab a bite to eat with him, Todd and Dave before he left. i missed the JMS panel for this, but it's no big deal. JMS was in one of the small rooms. i'm sure i wouldn't have gotten in.


Todd, Dave, Bill and i grab a bite to eat at a Mexi-American bar a few blocks from the convention center. food was ok, beer was good. we had a good last meal with Bill. we said our goodbyes and Todd, Dave and i were off to the con for my last hour there.


i hit the floor one last time by myself and look around for any last minute purchases. i find one last exclusive toy that had alluded me up until then. finally, it's time to say goodbye to the con.


Todd, Dave and i head off in search of a bar to hang out for the rest of the night in. we happen upon Jolt N Joes (or something like that) and it's just perfect. we spend a good chunk of the night at the bar, then Diego joins us, and so do a few of Todd's Vegas friends, and we head upstairs to hang out. we have some more drinks and i do some drunk texting to Bill. ah, good times. it's a great blowout to end San Diego 2008.


we're back at our hotel. i promptly pass out.

Sunday, 8:30-9:30am

i somehow get up and ready for my flight at 11:30. i say my goodbyes to Dave, Diego, and Todd, have the hotel call me a cab and i'm off.

goodbye San Diego.


we've been talking since we've been back and everyone wants to make this a yearly thing. so watch out San Diego! come next year, we'll be back with a vengeance! and maybe we'll know what we're doing this time. like maybe we'll grab a hotel that's right there next to the convention center. oh! and we'll know all about squatting.



ps - those that know me, watch out for pics. and i might do a post on the toys i got... though i don't want to seem too nerdy.


1 comment:

Ben said...

I heard army of 2 was little fun, what's your reason for wanting to play it? I have rented and played lately Halo 3 (never did it before), and N Gaiden II - the battles are fun, archery is not too bad, and big enemies are interting - bosses too hard for me, I have to go and read walk-thrus. For a pretty new game, it has little buzz now. Bc of no multiplayer?

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