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.

Nerd Confessions (pt. 3)

Missed Nerd Confessions (pt. 2)? No worries.

Saturday- The day things got AWESOME. Literally. 

Seth Green

When K Jo and I originally made our Comic Con plans, we were bummed because we couldn’t get tickets for Saturday. Our plan was to go to Sea World where we would be completely distracted from our heartache. Instead we woke up Saturday morning eager to face the day. I believe our mantra for the day became, “Screw Shamu. We’re goin’ to the Nerd HQ.”  With our Seth Green tickets in hand, we headed down to the Nerd HQ.

In this conversation, Seth Green and Robot Chicken partner Matthew Senreich were joined with their Stoop!d Monkey cohorts.  They talked about how they got started, what they were working on, showed us clips, answered questions from the audience, and then signed autographs.  Yep.  I talked to Seth Green. And shook his hand.  And got his autograph.

  

After the conversation with Seth Green & friends, K Jo and I headed down stairs to grab some lunch.  We met a couple of girls who waiting for the conversation with Nathan Fillion (Castle) to start. We talked about what a good time we were having and K Jo and I kicked ourselves for not investigating the Nerd HQ sooner. K Jo would have given her right kidney, and her left, to be in the same room with Nathan Fillion. Luckily, she didn’t have to.

We decided to hang around to see if there was any way we could get in. We headed outside and joined about 10 people who were watching those with tickets file in.  After a couple of minutes, we saw the donation bucket approaching. And just like that, we were in!  We headed back upstairs, grinning from ear to ear.  What an unexpected turn of events.  When we entered the room Zachary Levi was welcoming people, and talking about Operation Smile. K Jo settled into our seats in the back still in disbelief that in a few minutes, we would be within pouncing distance of Nathan Fillion.

I quickly glanced behind us and told K Jo:

Me: “There’s nobody behind us.  We can stand up to take pictures if we want.”

K Jo: “Um. Nobody except for Josh Gomez.”

Josh Gomez

What?!? I turned around and saw Josh Gomez (Morgan Grimes from NBC’s Chuck) sitting right behind us. I quickly waved at him to get his attention and he smiled and waved back.  I quietly asked him if it was alright if I came back there for a picture.  He waved me back and I shoved my camera to K Jo and  headed his way.  When I got back there, a bodyguard stopped me. I told him Josh had said it was okay and he let me through.  Just as I was about to pose, I heard Zac calling to the back.

Zac: “Um yes.  It looks like we already have a question in the back? Josh Gomez?”

I’m not sure what the question was because I was too busy trying to decide what I should do. Everyone was now facing us, but I still wanted my picture.  I stood out of the way while Josh answered the question and people took pictures.  When he sat down, I decided to make my move. This time, as I moved in, some guy suddenly came crashing through the curtain and sat next to Josh. (K Jo later told me: “From my perspective, he came barreling through the curtain and pushed you out of the way. Then the security guard was all ‘Grrrrr’ and I was like , ‘I don’t know what’s going on’ while trying to take pictures.”) Great. Now I would never get my picture.  I looked to K Jo for advice, but she was trying to tell me something.

Photobomb that was almost awesome (had it been in focus)

K Jo:  “Awesome.”

Me: “What?”

K Jo: “That’s Captain Awesome.”

What? People don't like total strangers in their pictures? (Yep- that's my hand... wrapped around Captain Awesome! Good times.)

I leaned forward to see his face and sure enough, it was Ryan McPartlin (Chuck’s Devin Woodcomb/ “Captain Awesome”).  I couldn’t believe it.  I’m not 100% sure what happened next because… well… I was standing right next to Captain Awesome!  I went for it.  I wrapped my arm around him as K Jo began snapping pictures. Unfortunately, at that same point, all 200 people turned around and began taking pictures as well. This time it didn’t even occur to me to get out of the way. IT WAS CAPTAIN AWESOME!!! (I guess the blurry photo is Karma’s doing for ruining everyone else’s pictures.)  I did find a clear one online, but I had been cropped out.

Ryan McPartlin & Josh Gomez @ the Nerd HQ

Here’s a better picture of my boys. (That’s what I call them now. My boys. We had a bonding moment. It counts.)

*Update: After stopping by my blog, Megan, who happened to have the cropped photo bomb picture on her blog, sent me this picture this morning.  Thanks Megan.

My AWESOME photobomb with Josh Gomez (Morgan Grimes) and Ryan McPartlin (Captain Awesome) @ the NerdHQ

All this craziness and the panel hadn’t even started yet. I made my way back to my seat and the conversation was under way. Not only were we blessed by the presence of Nathan Fillion, but he brought friends. Firefly costars, Jewel Staite and Adam Baldwin, joined him for the conversation. My favorite- they brought with them a “bag of shit”-  random stuff they had sitting around home, that they gave out to people who asked questions.  (I have a bag of crap in my desk drawer that I sometimes use for bingo prizes. Most of the crap in my bag consists of toys and trinkets I have confiscated from students: bouncy balls, mini decks of cards, slightly used erasers… Their crap was of a much higher caliber.) They gave out signed copies of Serenity (which they all starred in), autographed beer mugs from various vacations… it was great!

  

I do have to admit that I’m not sure what was going on during most of this conversation.  It was really hard to focus with this guy standing right next to me… not that I’m complaining.   

After another successful day at Nerd HQ, our Sunday plans were beginning to shape up. Sunday would be the Conversation with Zachary Levi; another sold out panel, but we were determined. After all, it was the Nerd HQ-  the place where miracles happened.

To be continued…

Nerd Confessions (pt. 2)

Missed Nerd Confessions (pt.1)?  No worries…

Fantastic Friday:

The Nerd HQ. The place where miracles happen.

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!!!

Leia: "I love you." Hon: "I know."

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.

Roommate & I gettin' our Nerd on

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.

Chevy Chase & Adam Baldwin @Nerd HQ

Dominic Monaghan & Elijah Wood @Nerd HQ

 

 

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:

Zachary Levi

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.

Nathan Fillion aka Castle

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…