After that first day of waiting line after line after line at the convention center, K Jo and I decided to head to Jolt’n Joe’s, aka the Nerd Machine Head Quarters, to check it out. The Nerd Machine had taken over the bar, and was hosting its own panels or “Conversations for a Cause.” Tickets were being sold for each conversation to raise money for Operation Smile. We found out there were still tickets available for Seth Green and Stoop!d Monkey. (We didn’t know what Stoop!d Monkey was either, but we do love some Seth Green.) The best part, each conversation had seating for about 200 people and tickets were sold for specific seats which meant, NO LINES! SOLD!!!
We bought tickets to Saturday’s Seth Green’s then headed to the exhibit hall to people watch and buy things like ice-cube trays that made ice cubes in the shape of tiny Hon Solos frozen in carbonate. You know. The necessities. After a couple of hours, my ADD had hit its threshold and we needed to get out of there. We decided to head back to the hotel for dinner and naps before heading back to the Nerd HQ for the Nerd party.
When we arrived back at Nerd HQ, we got in line where we met Collin (a key player later on in the game) and his wife Michelle (she had been walking in the exhibit hall earlier that day and turned around to see Ryan McPartlin, aka Captain Awesome, and had gotten her picture taken with him. I was jealous- but not for long…) They were pretty cool. While we were in line Mark Christopher Lawrence and Adam Baldwin came strolling by. There were also a few Zachary Levi sightings, but being 5’2″ I had to take everyone’s word for it.
The Nerd Party itself consisted of a bunch of us sitting around, eating, drinking, photo boothing it up, while waiting for Zachary Levi to come grace us with his presence. To entertain us, we looked up to see the pictures being displayed from the photo booth. And then the pictures from the upstairs photo booth began to play. Apparently the really cool Nerds were partying upstairs.
As the midnight hour drew near, Nerds on the lower level began to fade, but K Jo and I stood our ground. Our line friends, Collin and Michelle roamed the bar bringing us back updates like:
Michelle: “There are these girls in shorty dresses with big hair are trying to sweet talk their way up stairs, but it’s not happening.”
Collin: “The body guards are trying to strategize a way to get Zac into the room without him getting mobbed.”
K Jo rolled her eyes. I tweeted. And then, the magic happened. Collin gave us the nod and we were off. Zac was coming down the stairs. We made our way to the base of the stairs to see Zac walking right towards us. Then, just like that, he was whisked out the side door and around the building. He would be entering the bar on the side we were just at. This is where all those years of navigating through crowded middle school hallways paid off. I yelled, “Move it K Jo. Throw elbows!” and made my way to the front of the room just in time.
And just like that… he was gone. *Now at this point some of you mightthink I’m crazy, or obsessed, or… whatever. Did you SEE him? I darted out the door after him, but was stopped by an iron gate and a couple of bodyguards. Plan B- I once again used my middle school hallway navigation skills to make my way back through the bar to the other door. When I came out the other side, I found myself face to face (or face to chest- as I am 5’2″ and he is 6’4″.) And then we spoke:
Me: “Hi Zac. Do you think I could get a picture?”
Zac: “I’m sorry. Not right now. I don’t want to get mobbed. If you come back to Nerd HQ over the next couple of days, I’ll definitely be around and we can get one then.”
I couldn’t believe it. I was being denied a photo by Zachary Levi. In person. It was fantastic. (It reminded me of the time my dad took me to see the New Kids on the Block when I was in the 6th grade. I was in the front row of the balcony just to the right of the stage. At one point in the show, Joey Joe McIntyre took off his shirt, looked up into the balcony and let it fly. I leaned over the railing as far as I could. To this day, I can still feel the sweaty fabric of his shirt as it brushed the edge of my finger tips before plummeting to the girls below.) I was that close.
The next thing I know, he was being swept back upstairs by security. A few second’s later, K Jo was punching me in the arm. She was trying to say something, but couldn’t find the words. Finally she said, “Turn around.” I did and right behind me was this guy.
Finally K Jo and I pulled ourselves together and decided to catch a cab back to the hotel. Both of us were giddy with excitement. When we got back to the hotel, we checked the Nerd HQ website. It turned out, there was a Conversation with Nathan Fillion the next day. It was sold out, but like I said, Nerd HQ is the place where miracles happened so we decided to take our chances anyway. And that’s when things got awesome. Literally.
To be continued…