San Diego Comic Con 2018: Sat – Mon

Saturday, July 21

I had been waffling all weekend about whether I wanted to go see the Supernatural panel on Sunday, because I had a lot of other panels I wanted to see and no organized group for line sorting. I was browsing the twitters when I saw a request for some help line standing. There were people who could stay the night, but needed help during the day. I worked things out with them, and G was an absolute angel and offered to do some line standing for me even though he had no interest in the panel. Thank you, internet. I appreciate you.

The first panel I went to of the day was called, “I Will Always Love You: A Panel Dedicated to Our OTPs”. “OTP” stands for “one true pair”, or the two people you, as a fan, either love together or desperately want to be together (this is also known as “shipping” them as in “relation-shipping”). Josh/Donna from West Wing is a common one. So is Spock/Kirt from Star Trek. There are also such things as the “broTP” which is people being the best of friends, usually denoted by using & instead of / separating the names. Turk & JD from Scrubs is an excellent broTP, and I personally love Clint & Natasha in the MCU. There are also noTPs, which are the pairings you absolutely 100% do not support or want. Some of my own noTPs include Thor/Loki from the MCU and Sam/Dean from Supernatural because no thank you to incest, Rey/Kylo Ren in the Star Wars 7 and 8 because he DOES NOT DESERVE HER, and Anyone/Howard from Big Bang Theory because he’s a gross predator.

Thank you for coming to today’s TED talk.

Anyway, I enjoyed this panel, because one thing I really love about fandoms and fan fiction is exploring relationships that exist or could exist, reading between lines, exploring “what if” scenarios in alternate universes, and getting further inside the mind of characters that never get a POV. This is called a hermeneutic analysis and taken very seriously when it comes to biblical scholarship or considered novel and brilliant when Little Red Riding Hood is rewritten from the Wolf’s perspective or the best show on television when dudes write Sherlock Holmes fan fiction and get it on a network (see: Sherlock and Elementary and House), but have ladies do similar treatments for books, movies, or television shows they enjoy and suddenly it’s weird and shameful. Blah, to that! BLAH, I say! Media is ultimately about people, and people are ultimately about interactions and relationships. Spending time thinking about those things and analyzing them is a natural human thing to do for all people. Also, sometimes the stories are really dirty, and that’s scandalous. Heh heh heh.

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After that panel I wanted to go to a panel on “Women Rocking Hollywood” but by the time I got there the line was impossible, and I could walk into the panel on IDW’s latest news. Since I enjoyed their previous panel, I figured I’d give this one a shot. I lost interest quickly, but it was nice to sit and rest a bit. I left somewhat early so I could go get in line for the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton where the panel on the new season of Cosmos was happening. I didn’t realize until I got in line that Neil deGrasse Tyson himself would be on the panel, but that made it even more exciting. Definitely worth standing in the sun for over an hour chatting with a young woman from Iceland. I just barely managed to make the cut-off, but I did, and the panel was fantastic. We saw footage, we listened to them talk about the importance of science, and I was thrilled every minute. NdGT is also handsome and delightful. *swoon*

I walked out of there with stars in my eyes. No, not just because of NdGT, but because we live in a wonderful universe, and I need more frequent reminders of how amazing everything is out there. I know it, but sometimes I get lost in the details and miss the galaxy for the stars.

The last panel I wanted to see before going to take my shift in the Hall H Line was “Alien Worlds: NASA’s Quest for Life”. I lined up over an hour early, but apparently lots of nerds are interested in weird things like exoplanets and alien life. Dang it, nerds. There’s plenty of interest to go around, but not enough seats! Alas, the room filled up before I got in. I was pretty close to the front of the line, but losing confidence. Close enough for a glimmer hope, though, so I stayed. They let people in one or two at a time as people left the panel. Now I’m outraged in other other direction. Dang it, nerds! You got in the room! How can you not appreciate the amazingness of this stuff! But, strangely, people trickled out. They let in a whole group of seven people! I was person 8. At the front of the line. So full of hope and far enough into the panel that I was convinced that everyone was in there to stay.

Then! THEN! They let me in! They didn’t just let me in, they let me in and led me down to a seat in the SECOND ROW so I had one of the best possible seats. Thanks, nerd who left that seat. I appreciate you, even if I don’t understand you AT ALL. The panel was great, and I got up to ask a question about if there were any resources available to help students see how looking for exolife was a beautiful interweaving of earth science, life science, chemistry, physics, ethics, and about a thousand other things. The NASA engineers first thanked me for being a teacher and led the audience in a round of applause. I was very touched by that. Then they told me about resources available on NASA.gov that might be useful. I have checked those out before, and I’m not sure they fully understood my question about integrated resources, but that’s ok. It was a nice moment. And if it doesn’t exist, I guess I need to create it.

Ok, so, the Hall H Line for Sunday. My new friends (Lexie and Phoebe) started the line around 2, G took the 3-5:30 shift, I took the 5:30-7 shift, and multiple people took the 7-8 slot while I went to one last panel. That last panel was Defending the Defenders when the same nerd lawyers from Poe’s mock trial analyzed the actions of the lawyers and criminals in the Marvel Netflix shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, The Punisher). They also looked at the Punisher’s trial as portrayed in Daredevil and explained some of the for-TV drama that was complete shenanigans. I found it all fascinating, especially since G and I occasionally listen to a podcast called Opening Arguments that is on the law and current political policy. I am certainly no expert (even if my foray into jury duty sure opened my eyes to a lot about our “justice” system), but it was nice having that recent exposure.

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Oh, the basic result was everything the lawyers did was pretty much 100% illegal and they would be less disbarred than have their licenses taken away and ritually sacrificed to the Elder Gods, because holy smokes. Good stories, excellent characters, largely horrible people. And isn’t that what we love about these things? I mean really.

After the panel, I got back in line to wait for wrist-bands. It was well over an hour later before the “Blinky Blinks” (the people with the wrist bands wear blinking light up head-bands and other such things) arrived and banded me the hell up.

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A band! Wooo! Once that was sorted, it was after 10pm, so we headed to the bus! But the bus was yet again at the other pick-up! For another 20 minutes! Just enough time that if we walked over there, we would probably miss the last bus there and have to walk back here! Having already been through that foolishness the night before, we decided to grab a snack at a nearby hotel restaurant and kick it until we KNEW the shuttle would be at the nearby place.

I got a mule because I love whiskey and ginger and came to the sad, sad conclusion that getting a drink with a meal is not something I ever really want to do again. One drink isn’t enough to chill me out AND is like $10 so really wtf I’ll just drink water for free. If I’m going to drink, I want to FEEL IT. Not get drunk drunk, because that stopped being fun when I turned 27 and started getting hangovers, but at least get a little silly. So, yeah, since I don’t drink alone, G doesn’t drink at all, and I’m too cheap to order multiple drinks out unless it is a super special occasion, that mule was p much my last hoorah. You were a good mule, Bessie.

Sunday, July 22

I did not get ten hours of sleep on Saturday night. We got back late, and I had to be up at 5:30 to be back in line by 7 to stand in line until we were let it at 10:30 for the 11:00 panel. But I did it! I hurried up and waited! Mostly we sat and hung out and chatted and stuff. It was nice to talk to some kids on the far other end of the Millennium generation if they even are (they were early 20s). We had good conversation, I told them my story, they asked questions about adulting and careers. We talked fandom. It was pretty good.

The line handlers eventually started compressing the line from where it was all strung out to give people room to sleep for the night, and the next step was to get people through a metal detector and do bag inspections before loading us all into chutes. The goal is to get the line through the metal detectors and into the chutes with as little disruption in the order as possible. Most people are well aware of the order of groups before and after them for quite a ways since most everyone was camped out the day and night before. My group was me, Lexie, Pheobie, and a lady with her nieces, so we were a solid group of 6. This transition did not go smoothly for us. One person from three groups back managed to work her way farther forward in the line to be ahead of us, and then all of her friends in a group of ten also wormed their way up to join her. We asked them to please return the order to what had been established literally 18 hours ago, and they refused. And then they got shitty about it. And then we got shitty about it. And we still had like an hour to wait in the chutes before anyone got let in. It was shitty.

They actually did let us go in front of them into the Hall, so there’s that. Even if they hadn’t, once we got through the door everyone scattered to one of the 6,500 seats, so I don’t even know where they did or did not end up sitting, probably pretty far back if all ten of them wanted to sit together considering how hard it was for our six to find seats. Whatever. I usually try to be more “Will this matter in three hours? No? Let it go” but it was really hard to pull that chill up on little sleep, hours of standing, and them being so rude. The principle of the thing remains “Don’t Be a Cutting Douche”.

The panel itself was pretty good. I’ve watched through season 12, and they showed a clip reel from season 14, and now I really, really, REALLY want to catch up on season 13 because Things Happened Holy Smokes. My only complaint about the panel was how hard they were ripping on each other. I get it, friends josh each other, G and I rip on each other nigh constantly, but we don’t do that in public. Maybe it’s their Thing at panels, I don’t know, I’ve never been to one before, but I got a little tired of them dumping on Misha especially, considering he is literally the sweetest dude ever. He also handed out voter registration cards so people could sign up if they hadn’t already before the midterms.

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The most perfect moment of the panel was when the questions started. There’s this kiddo who apparently had asked the first question at every single Hall H panel every single day, considering the mutterings of, “Oh, THAT guy again,” and the like. He asked them if they could battle any monster, what would they choose. There was a moment of silence before Misha leaned forward and said, “Donald Trump.” One more question was asked after that, but Misha had already won the panel. It was over.

After I met up again with Dawn and her friend Kait, and we went traipsing through the Exhibit Hall to find good art. We were winding our way through really outrageous crowds. NB: If you go to Comic Con and know you want to buy things, do it on Thursday. Every day the Exhibit Hall gets more crowded, more overwhelming, and harder to navigate. I did not know this until I hoped to just stop in briefly on Sunday thinking the crowds would be smaller, like things are usually on the last day of a conference. Conference != Convention. Got it. I know that now. Yes.

We were close to where Dawn had seen art she really liked, and I got distracted by dinosaurs! I had discovered the art of Alex Grey. She is phenomenal. I looked through all her prints and her books and her originals and her cards and all her things. I finally settled on two prints. This one:

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which is an illustration from her book Blanket Fort and was impossible for me to pass up as well as one of the baby dinosaurs prints that are so stinking adorable I CANNOT STAND IT but didn’t take a snap of it before leaving for my next conference where this was typed up. I also picked up a copy or three of the book. And had her sign them.

We all needed a break from the crunch after that. Most of Comic Con isn’t overwhelmingly crowded and crushy, but the Exhibit Hall was terrible, especially with a group of three of us trying to stay together. Luckily it’s easy to find a reasonably quiet, low-people-density spot within a few minutes’ walk from anywhere in the convention. We pulled up some floor, sat down, pet our new purchases, and let a little of that anxiety flow on out.

My final panel of the entire Con was called, “Psychology and Shipping: Factors that Influence Character Pairings”. I spoke of shipping above, and this one did research into how people felt about different pairings, some canon some popular in fandom, and how feelings about that reflected the way a person related to relationships in their own life. I found it super interesting that the ships I like the most were all indicators of liking drama and conflict in relationships, which could not be farther from the truth. I mean, I like them in my fiction pairings, because drama and conflict and tension are what make a lot of stories interesting. A lot of the things I’ve read or watched have taught me lessons in how NOT to have conflict and drama in my relationship, because so much of it comes from not talking, ‘white’ lies, being deceitful, assuming instead of asking, and all those plot points that make stories wonderful and real life a goddamn mess that I want nothing to do with. Once this panel was over, as I was leaving I walked by the FedEx kiosk and saw this sign. It made me giggle.

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I had three last errands I needed  to run in the exhibit hall before leaving the Con on this last day. I was not looking forward to them, but I girded my loins and made it happen. First, I stopped by Alex Grey’s booth and bought a fourth book. I NEEDED IT. Don’t look at me like that. Next, I stopped by IDW and bought the graphic novels I had been sold on at that very first panel I went to with members of their staff. By this point I was loaded down with MANY pounds of books, four different bags, and starting to hurt. The very last errand was stopping by the booth of the 13-year-old artist, hoping he was there to sign the print I had bought the day before. Just like the day before, he was off taking a break. I completely understand that! I was zero upset!! Kiddos need to take care of themselves. But his dad was so apologetic and said he felt horrible and made me take two more prints since I couldn’t get the one I’d bought signed. So, now I have THREE of his prints.

I texted G and wandered around a tiny bit more to give him time to respond. I ended up in the publishing aisle and walked away with eight more books. Oops? Well, two of them were free! So, there! I’m going to have to schedule in reading time, because they are all books I genuinely want to read, too. Dang you, Comic Con! Having reading materials for me to buy! An outrage, I tell you what. I didn’t hear back from G for a while, so I headed back to the hotel. I was completely weighted down with books and art and my day bag and still had to walk the half mile to catch the shuttle, but I got everything arranged, made the trip, and caught the shuttle. About ten minutes later, so did Dawn and Kait! Perfect timing! So we rode back together, had a couple burgers, and finished out Comic Con similar to how it started, with wonderful friends and so much to look forward to.

Also, driving.

Monday, July 22

More driving. All of the driving. Similar to the way down, I drove the shorter bit with garbage traffic (basically until we got through LA and over the Grape Vine), and G drove the longer boringer bit. Very happy to return to my kitties. Went to bed early and slept for 14 hours. It was glorious.

SDCC: A++++++++++++ will attend again

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