Nerd Confessions (pt. 4)

Missed Nerd Confessions (pt. 3)? No Worries.

Sunday: Ending Comic Con on a High Note

Like most nights during Comic Con, I didn’t get much sleep Saturday night.  My brain was on complete overload and refused to shut down. After a day of Seth Green, Nathan Fillion, Josh Gomez, and Captain Awesome, I’d say that’s pretty understandable.  Despite my lack of sleep, I had come to a new realization this week: If I had something exciting to do with my day, something to look forward to–rather than going to work in a middle school where I feel like a little piece of me dies each day, I’m actually a morning person. (I know mom. I never thought I’d say those words either.)

  • Today was one of those exciting days.  We were going to meet Zachary Levi.  It didn’t matter that his conversation panel was sold out. We were determined.  We arrived at the Nerd HQ a little after 7am. We landed a place pretty close to the front of the standby line, which was good, but that also meant we had some time to kill.  There’s not that much to do in a standby line, but eavesdrop and make new line friends. K Jo and I met this these two (the ones in the middle). The girl in the Nerd HQ shirt, was a volunteer–we call her Staci (we never did get her name but we decided on Staci, spelled with an “i”) and she was really cool. When we found out the people in front of us were calling their friends and trying to save places in line for them, Staci put the smack down.  The guy (I’ll refer to him as “Line Friend”) was pretty cool as well.  He was on a mission: To get Zachary Levi’s autograph for his wife, who couldn’t get off work to come to San Diego with him.  He was pretty funny.

    K Jo, Line Friend, Staci & Me. Making friends just as nerdy as we are.

Line Friend:  “I swear Zac thinks I’m crazy.  I’ve asked him like 3 times for an autograph for my wife but he was always mobbed by people or really busy. I don’t even think he believes I have a wife.  That’s why I have her picture on my phone and her number on speed dial. I have proof.  I swear I didn’t make her up.”

K Jo: “Great. I’m line between the two craziest Zachary Levi fans on the planet.”

Me: No comment.

While Line Friend and Staci were pretty fun and personable, the two people in front of us (Lets call the boy “Dumb” and the girl “Dumber”) left much to be desired. Aside from trying to sneak their friends into the line, they were full of asinine comments like:

Dumb: “You do know that like 90% of the good lines in movies were made up by the actors don’t you? Writers just come up with plot because nobody knows how to write good dialogue. Except for me. I write excellent dialogue. My mom people have told me so.”  *Side note: If Dumb sells a screenplay before I do I am going to be beyond pissed.

Time ticked by and the next thing we knew, people with tickets were filing in. Then came the donation bucket and the spare tickets. I got the last ticket. K Jo was one person behind me.  As I snaked my way through the roped-off line, I looked back at the desperation on her and Line Friend’s faces.  Thank God they were also allowed in. (I’m not sure how things would have played out if only one of us had gotten in, but I’m pretty sure it would have resulted  in a little more than a Facebook de-friending.) *K Jo is now instructing my writing process:

K Jo: “It was more like you ran through the roped lines waving your ticket yelling back, ‘I’m in! I’m in!’ It was only after they let us in as well that you were all, ‘I would have totally thrown a rope down and hauled you up.’  Right. A whole lot of good that would have done.  You were totally, ‘I’m in!  See you later bitches!’ Why don’t you write about that part?”

Like I said, thank God we all got in. 🙂

Adam Baldwin (yep, he's tweeting), Mark Christopher Lawrence, Zachary Levi & Josh Gomez @TheNerdHQ

Giddy with excitement, we made our way to our standby seats in the back. In a few minutes, Zachary Levi would take the stage, and based on our past Nerd HQ experience, we knew he would not be alone.  He did not disappoint.  Zac was joined with Chuck costars Mark Christopher Lawrence (Big Mike), Adam Baldwin (Casey), and my good friend- remember we had that bonding moment the day before- Josh Gomez (Morgan Grimes).  I decided I was going to make this Q&A session count.  I was going to ask a question. As soon as they started taking question my hand shot into the air… and stayed there for the remainder of the hour.

At various points, I switched arms, waved my arm/arms around, had my arm  held up by K Jo, had my other arm held up by the girl sitting next to me… At times Zac would say, “Let’s see.  Who has a really good question?” At which point I would jump out of my seat and make Oooh Oooh seal-esque noises.  …and other questions came and went.

Questions: “How do you feel about Chuck entering its final season?” “When Chuck is not filming, what do you do with your down time?” “Which actors do you hope to work with some day?” “Zac, since you love video games, would you ever want to make a Chuck video game?” ( I did like that question. LEGO Chuck- another game for my XBox, which I don’t know how to use.) “What’s with Chuck’s hair? Will it go back to the look from Season 1 cause that hair was stupid?” (Not all questions can be winners.)

As our time together was winding down, I noticed flashlight flickering on and off behind me:

K Jo: “They are totally signaling him to call on you.”

Me: “No. That’s just what they do to let them know that time is almost up.”

K Jo: “I don’t think so.  I think he’s totally going to call on you.”

Meanwhile: “…in that one episode, Morgan ate a sandwich.  I was wondering, what is your favorite kind of sandwich?  Like if you were on an island and could only have one kind of sandwich?”

In the middle of their answers, a voice came from the back indicating that time was running out and there would only be time for one more question.  I’ll bet you’ll never guess what happened next…  (You can’t see me because I am on the other side of the room… where Zac keeps looking… at me… while we have our conversation…)

After the Conversation, came autographs followed by pictures in the photo booth. There were 200 of us so that meant more

quality time in line.  It was fun to see the different things people had signed: Comic Con badges, shirts, DVD cases, Nerd Machine merch… At the autograph table, I had Zac sign my iPad and the following conversation transpired:

Zac: “Where would you like me to sign this?”

Me: “All over.  Just go to town. And this is for you.”  I gave him a Nerd Machine button with my twitter handle and website on the back–shameless I know. Don’t judge me.

Zac: “Wow. Thanks.”

Me: “I wrote my name on the back.  You’ll want to remember that name because some day, in the near future, a screenplay is going to come across your desk that will change your life and you’ll think, ‘Hmmm. Melissa Lewis. I remember her.  She was the girl with the button’.”

Zac: “Alright. I’ll do that.”

Me:  “And thank you for setting all of this up away from all of the craziness.  It was really nice of you, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Zac: “I know right?  I’m glad you had a good time.”

At this point I was ushered back into the line for the photo booth.

This time in line, we were all crazy.  We had just met Zachary Levi, we all had his autograph, and now we were going to get our pictures taken with him in the photo booth.  As the pictures began, they were projected overhead on the big screens and you could overhear people talking about how they were going to pose. K Jo, Line Friend, and I invented a new game called, “Yep. That just happened.”  It mostly involved eavesdropping (not that it took much effort) on Dumb & Dumber whom we couldn’t manage to escape.

Dumb: Sang the Zac and Mandy Moore duet from Tangled, with high hopes for compliments on his angelic voice.

Dumber:  Took out her birth control pills and popped a tablet right there in line.

Dumb: Refused to take off his ginormous Comic Con backpack therefore kept smacking us with his posters every time the line began to move.

Dumber: Eagerly watched as the photos were projected and would say phrases like, “OMG. That is so presh.” Or my personal favorite, after seeing a girl pose with Zac standing behind her resting his head on hers, “OMG. It’s like a little totem pole. Hi yu-yu-yu, Hi yu-yu-yu.”

At this point Line Friend stepped up.

Line Friend: “Alright ladies.  I’ll take one for the team and stand by them.  We have to treat them like radiation. If we take turns, and time it just right, we can each avoid a lethal dose.”

Finally It was time for my picture with Zac:

Me: “Hi Zac. Let’s just get rid of this footstool.  We’re going to go for comedy.”

Zac: “Alright. I like your style, and I like your shirt.”

Me: “Thank you. Ok. Here’s the plan. I’ll look up at you, you’ll look down at me and we’ll swoon.”

Zac: “Ok. Sounds good.”

I look up at Zac and he looks down at me with that face that’s all Zachary Levi-like and…

Me: “Hee hee hee.  I don’t know how to swoon!”

So help me, I could not stop giggling.  Finally, we settled on plan B in which Zac looked down at me while I tried not to pee my pants.  This was the end result.

This concluded our time at the Nerd HQ.  We had defiantly ended our Comic Con experience on a high note.  We did decide to make one last loop through the exhibit hall. We entered the hall and it was packed. Uncomfortably crowded. Less than two minutes after our arrival, we found ourselves in the front of a mob clearly waiting for something. Cameras shot into the air, and K Jo said, “Hey, isn’t that Coach?”  Sure enough Coach Beiste along with several members of the Glee cast were headed our way.

K Jo: “Do you want to get autographs?”

Me: Completely overwhelmed, “I want to get out of here.”

We picked our escape route and right in front of me I noticed a little boy, no more than 3, and his mom and sister were being swept away in the crowd. I held him up in the air and hollered, “Hey.  You forgot your kid.” She was horrified, and K Jo and I were officially done with Comic Con.

Thank you San Diego, Thank you Hotel Del Coronado, Thank you Comic Con,  and Thank you Zachary Levi & The Nerd Machine for such an awesome summer adventure.

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Nerd Confessions (pt. 1)

During the school year, it’s all about the kids. This summer past week, has been all about me.  I have finally checked of a major item on my bucket list: Attend an International Comic Con Convention in San Diego California.

So without further ado: I present to you, my summer Nerd confessions Part 1.

What in the World Have We Gotten Ourselves Into Wednesday:

What is Comic Con?  I like to refer to it as the Pop Culture Mecca! Over 130,000 people from all over the world, converge in one spot to let their Nerd Flags Flow Freely! Fans of comic books, super heroes, science fiction, fantasy, the super natural, gaming, movies, television, collectables…

I do teach 8th grade for a living, but writing has always been my passion and, as an aspiring screenwriter and lover of television and film, Comic Con has been on my radar for a while.  All that was missing was someone awesome enough to go with me.  Enter K. Johnson, aka my roommate.

Having never been to The Con, we weren’t really sure what we would be walking into, so K Jo and I made a list of expectations:

  • Double-digit celebrity sightings.  Our wish list consisted of: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy is my favorite super hero), David Boreanaz & Emily Deschanel (BONES!), our friend- Jason Momoa (we call him our “friend” because we had met him a few weeks prior at a wedding), Nathon Fillion (Castle), Zachary Levi and Adam Baldwin (Chuck).
  • Attend a panel show.  Our wish list: The Ringer, Game of Thrones, & Glee. (There were several other panels we wanted to see, but they were on Saturday, and we didn’t have tickets for Saturday. We would use Saturday to take a break from the chaos and go to Sea World instead) *Spoiler alert- WE NEVER MADE IT TO SEA WORLD BECAUSE BY SATURDAY WE WERE DROWNING IN AWESOME!!!
  • Check out the Gas Lamp District (Where we ended up spending most of our time)
  • Visit Balboa Park (Balboa what? Never made it there)
  • Take a ferry – did I mention we’re from Iowa? (Never did this either…)

    Hotel Del Coronado

Wednesday night, we arrived at Hotel Del Coronado (Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Johnson! Parental time shares are lifesavers.)

High Adventure Thursday:

I knew going into this thing that the crowds were going to be ridiculous, but I think I need to come up with a new word.  We arrived at the convention center and were introduced to a word we would be hearing a lot. LINES.  The process ran pretty smoothly, but the sheer masses of people was completely overwhelming.

After we spent a little over an hour getting acclimated to the exhibit hall where we picked up our true treasures: Mockingjay pins.  To be honest, an hour in the exhibit hall was about all I could take.  There was so much going on, my ADD was pushed to the limits.  At one point I told my roommate, “I don’t even know where to look.”

The Incredible Hulk

Her response, “Ummmm  Oh my God.  You can look behind you.  That’s Lou Ferrigno.

Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock

We then decided we should head out to see if we could get into a line for a panel. On our way out, we went through the “signing room,” where we ran into this fella.

Next, we were off to Ballroom 20. We could see the ballroom, several of the doors to the ballroom were open and we could see inside, when we asked a worker, “where do you go in,” he replied, “Just through those glass doors.”  What that translated to was: “Go through those glass doors, down a flight of stairs, across a walk way, and you will find a group of people.  Walk past that group of about 100 people, go down 2 more flights of stairs, and you will find the tail end of the line.  The time was 11:00AM. Our goal- get into the Panel for The Ringer with Sarah Michelle Gellar- which would start at 1:45, and then stay for the Game of Thrones panel where we could see our friend Jason.

Only 2,500 people in front of us...

Some things you should know before committing to the line for Ballroom 20.

  1. The ballroom holds approximately 2,500 people.
  2. Each panel lasts a little over an hour.
  3. They do not require people to leave the room after a panel is finished.

Standing in line for so long, you make friends whether you want to or not.  We stood in line with two guys who kept us well entertained with their tales of Comic Cons gone by.  They are the ones who gave us a realistic perspective of how things were going to go down over the next few days.

We told jokes, got pissed because our cameras were never at the ready when celebs walked by, (including Dexter’s C.S. Lee.  He walked by twice. I missed his photo twice.) and brainstormed ways to make the Con take a turn towards our favor.  Some suggestions included: Start a twitter feed that certain celebs were hanging out at various locations signing autographs and giving away free stuff, spread rumors that certain celebs had been no shows and it would be best to pack up and leave now, food poisoning- this plan wasn’t well though out, but it did come up several times. My favorite line quote: “It’s times like these I wish I had gone to Hogwarts. Oh to use Harry Potter magics.”

Four hours later, we were still in line, had missed the Psych panel, The Ringer panel, and the cut off to the Game of Thrones panel by 20 people. (They were kind enough to leave the ballroom doors open so we could be mocked by the outrageous cheering from those who were fortunate enough to make it inside. Having waited so long, we refused to give up. We consulted our program, and discovered, the next panel was “TV Guide Favorites.” We saw the name Kevin Williamson, and being huge fans of Dawson’s Creek, the Scream Franchise, and The Vampire Diaries we decided we might as well stay.  While waiting for the Game of Thrones panel to end, a woman walked by and asked, “What’s this line for?” One of our line friends responded, “A lot of pain and suffering.”

As we sat on the floor waiting, waiting, waiting… I tweeted.  That’s when I saw a tweet that had been sent a couple of hours prior from @JuliePlec (co-creator /co-producer of The Vampire Diaries). “Starting my descent into San Diego. Come see me & Kev at the TV Guide Fan Favorites Panel today. I hear Chuck will be there. He seems fun.” WHAT? Zachary Levi was in the house?  I had already reigned to the fact that we would not be able to attend the Chuck panel on Saturday (we didn’t have tickets for Saturday) but this was a nice curve in our plans. It also officially became the moment when our Comic Con experience took a sharp turn towards the AWESOME!

Zachary Levi is Chuck

*Something you should know before you continue reading*  I love me some Zachary Levi, and not just because he can act, sing, and has a smile that can melt your Popsicle, but he is genuinely a nice, decent, sweet person.  How do I know all of this? A LOT of cyber stalking via Facebook and Twitter (@ZacharyLevi).  Oh shut up.  That’s what they’re for.

Lost's Nestor Carbonell & Jorge Garcia and Zac

So… we stayed for the Zachary Levi TV Guide Fan Favorites panel.  The panel featured Kevin Williamson & Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries), Nestor Carbonell, Jorge Garcia (Lost), Zachary Levi, Johnny Galecki (Big Bang Theory), Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Kristin Bauer & Nelson Ellis (True Blood), and Leslie Hope (The River).

 

Here’s a funny moment from the TV Guide Fan Favorites panel. When the audio refuses to play on the Chuck clip, Zac steps up.

When all was said and done, we enjoyed the panel, and it was fun to see some of my favorite television stars interacting with fan.  More importantly, seeing Zac, reminded me of some other events that were being held in the Gaslamp District during the convention.

As a result of my cyber stalking internet research (does that make me sound less crazy?) I discovered a little project called The Nerd Machine. An organization that allows people to openly celebrate their lifestyle choice to live openly as a Nerd.On the way back to the hotel, I told my roommate about Zac’s NerdMachine HQ which was located off site in the Gas Lamp district.  I had read a bit about it, wasn’t really sure where or what it was, but I knew there were conversation panels scheduled, and that was going to be a Nerd Party open to the public on Friday night.  When we got back to our room, we did some research and decided to stop at the Nerd HQ Friday morning to get our day started off right.  Best. Decision. Ever.

To be continued…