Day 2 – The Longest Night and the Awesomest Day

This story begins after my first full day at my first San Diego Comic Con in 2012.  Since there was no sleep, I am starting day 2 at 10pm on Thursday night.  I had just represented my awesome self at the Dr Horrible screening and costume contest.  After this ended, my goal was to find the line for Ballroom 20 for the Firefly reunion panel the next day.  (Only Hall H, the biggest hall, has a permanently outdoor line, so we had to find out where they were having everyone line up overnight.)  A confused old convention worker near Ballroom 20 had no clue.  He said there was no line.  Next stop was the front of the convention center and there we found it!!  There were already a couple hundred people in line.   Remember it’s 10pm and the panel we (mostly) all want to see is at 12:30 the next day…

We staked our spots and settled in.  At this time, I’m still in my Dr Horrible costume, complete with big white galoshes.  I’m getting into my handy big-ass swag bag and get my extra clothes to change into for the night ahead when I realize I forgot the bloody flip flops!  I have no other footwear than the big white galoshes.  
Thinking quickly, I remember reading about a 24 hour store open a few blocks away and according to the person writing it, they have “everything”.  I head over and find said store (still in my costume, btw) and guess what?  It’s a small grocery store and they sell pantyhose but not even socks, let alone flip flops.  So, Boo.
Ok, time to pull out the phone again, which is already blinking it’s low battery light.  I look up the nearest Walgreens/CVS/RiteAid and head to it.  It’s a couple blocks away, but parallel to the convention center so not any farther away.  I get there and it looks promising, only I was fooled.  Their lights are all still on but they are closed.  Boo again.
I check the phone again for the next closest store, which is a bunch of blocks in the opposite direction from the convention center.  Well, I figure I’ve come this far, wandering through the people partying in the Gaslamp in full Dr Horrible getup, so what’s some more blocks?  Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention it’s muggy and just warm enough to get to an uncomfortable level when wearing big rubber boots and an evil genious lab coat and walking around for blocks and blocks.  
The next 3 stores were actually relatively close to each other, but all 3 were closed.  At this point I’d been gone about an hour.  I’m hot, sweaty, annoyed, and I’m sure Jon’s sitting there getting concerned (I am using his phone because mine already died. Guess I forgot the extra and external batteries for the phones, too!  See how well I plan!!!).  I start the dozen-block walk back to the convention center, admitting defeat.  All the while I am trying to convince myself that wearing a t-shirt and jean capris with big white galoshes will not be the weirdest thing anyone sees at the con that day.  Also, I can just go around in socks once we get inside, I suppose.
Just a few blocks from the convention center, I notice a touristy-type store with it’s lights on and I see a couple people inside.  Trying not to get my hopes up as it’s now after 11pm, I dash over but the door is locked.  A shop guy comes and says they’re closed.  I notice there are still a few actual patrons in the store so maybe, just MAYBE…. I beg the guy, tell him all I need is some flip flops and I promise I’ll be quick!  It was so comical, he looks at me, looks down at my galoshes and then lets me in!  I’ve never been so happy to pay $16.95 for a pair of Roxy flip flops that I don’t even like the color of!
I finally cover the last block and a half back to the convention center to Jon’s relief.  At this point I start stripping.  Galoshes come off, socks and coat.  my undershirt is drenched in sweat, as well as the pants from the knee down (the part that was inside the galoshes).  I feel so gross!  I grab the t-shirt and jeans and go wait in the line for the bathroom (regulated by some sadistic bathroom-hating wench, this line took forever, and they only let 2 people in at a time.  This is a convention center bathroom, remember…it’s HUGE).  Anyway, at long last, I am in dry clothes and I can finally start cooling down.
Back to the line.  Here are some pictures of the line at this point.
Those in line near me say the tweets are reporting the line going down around the corner of the convention center, going around the Hall H line (people were waiting for Hall H for Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones and/or Walking Dead panels the next day).  As you can see, people just make the best of it and try to sleep there on the sidewalk, even though the shuttle busses for half a dozen routes run 24 hours, and trains and trolleys keep coming by.  The trains were the worst…a couple of them decided they needed to blare their horns (not ALL the trains, just some).  I don’t know if you’ve ever heard a hardcore train horn, but it’s frakkin’ loud.  Anyone who managed to fall asleep was awakened.  Poor nerds.
Then it started to rain…
These guys had their handy NASA-style blankets so they were fine and dandy to stay where they were.  One of them even did a little bit pretending to be a jiffy-pop popper for a minute.  We were not so lucky, being in one of the sections without an overhang (why, convention center designers, did you not make the overhang all the way along the sidewalk?!?!).  Granted, it wasn’t pouring or anything, but we were wet.  Not hysterical, but wet.  Here is me and Jon huddling by the building trying in vain to stay out of it.
I was still in a lot better spirits than I was before I found the flip flops, and I used my big-ass swag bag as protection for my legs, so it wasn’t so bad.
It’s around 1am now, and some are deciding they can’t stay up anymore, and others are that sort of slap-happy tired and it just makes them goofy.  This girl in line by us decided to make it look like her head was on backwards…
Not the best, but whatever…it was entertaining.
For a little while, not much happened.  Earlier in the night, random passerbys kept asking what we were waiting for (so much so that we were trying to figure out how to make a sign to put up so people would stop asking), but anyone still out at 1am were pretty much other con-goers and they knew what was up.  A random lady brought around free cupcakes.  Food from strangers?  Sure!  I don’t see what could possibly be wrong with that!?  It was very tasty and nothing went wrong.
As I sat there, slightly rejuvenated from the chocolate and sugar, there was a very small commotion going on, walking down the sidewalk along the line.  There are a couple cameras going off, and people walking very fast.  It was Adam Baldwin!  Apparently he had come down with the ‘con crud’ already so he didn’t want to stay long but wanted to come say hello to everyone and thanks for the support.
I can’t actually take credit for taking this pic, but I was standing just off to the left when that pic was taken…see those people in the chairs back there?  Those are the jiffy-pop people sitting near us!  It was all over in a couple flashes and more fast walking.
I think to myself, oh that’s really cool that he’d come out and say hi…
2am rolls around.  I notice another commotion.  This one is bigger, but way up at the front of the line.  After a few moments my curiosity gets the better of me and I wander over to the gathering crowd.  Joss Whedon himself came out (apparently drunk?) and literally walked the line, signing autographs and taking pics with people.  Apparently he even went and laid down next to those asleep in line so they could get pics too (for when they woke up).
And here’s the pic Jon got of him signing my book…
The mass of people around him was a weird type of entity…all I had to do was stand relatively still and the people swirled all around me as the crowd moved further down the line.  It was a trip.
Oh, I almost forgot…around 1, Jon went and rode one of those shuttle busses back to the timeshare to get some pillows and our extra phone battery stuff.  So after the Joss encounter, I was too jazzed to try and sleep again, so I decided to hit up twitter and see what other #SDCC shenanigans were going on.  I finally connected with some of the girls I was planning to meet up with for the Castle fan dinner on Sat.  We were all sitting pretty near each other in line.  It was sortof a ‘I’m sitting by..’ then ‘oh, I’m right by there, stand up!’  and then we gathered and chatted.  I didn’t get any pics of us chatting…maybe one of you did?
So now it’s like 3am or so.  Still chatting with the other Castle gals, when one of them reads a tweet that Jose Molina saw us all in line from his hotel room and was coming down, too!  A writer for both Firefly AND Castle…good stuff.  He actually sat and talked to us for like 15 mins.  A really cool guy.
The next few hours pass more or less un-eventfully.  They had everyone get up and condense the line twice, and then around 6am they let the line inside…only to go up the escalator, across the lobby and back outside, but upstairs!   Here’s one of the girls in line near me, not wanting to wake up.
They have us all in the ‘real’ Ballroom 20 line now, snaking everyone into the maze of back and forth with the line chains.  From there, we could see the back of the convention center.  This shot is of the Hall H line wrapping around after zigzagging a bunch of times on the side of the convention center.
Later, the line close to the water doubles back on itself and goes down towards those boats and past.
After an hour or so they allowed the front part of the line into the inside line part.  Lines for lines for lines.
From here, we could see all the people in line behind us being led up and around and down to wherever the line overflow goes.  It was really amazing.  Granted, there were many people in line to see a few other panels like Community, Legend of Korra, and Bones, but the majority were for Firefly.  I saw the Jeyne hats to prove it.
Around 8-something, they start letting people into the ballroom.  The first panel doesn’t even start until 10.  This is where being a couple hundred people back in line for a ballroom that seats 4,000 comes in very handy.  We had great seats!  And if you think 4,000 is plenty, you did not see all the people still in line to get in for the rest of the day.  HELLOF people wanted in.
Here’s what looks like a tauntaun hat on a camera.
First panel finally starts!!  I like Community a lot, but if not for Firefly, I would not have waited in line for this.  It was fun though, and funny.  Here’s some pics.
Oh yeah, it was a trend among people in the panels to take pics of the audience…I saw it at every panel.
The next panel, for Legend of Korra, that was my bathroom break.  This ballroom doesn’t have a bathroom so they have to give you a pass to go out, but you have to come back before the panel is over (usually an hour).  I went potty, stretched, and got some lunch for Jon and I.  Hot dogs, yum.
Then it was time.  They started late; I’m sure it was a tactic to heighten our antici……….[wait for it]…………pation.  Here are some of the pics as they introduced everyone.
Hugs with Joss and then they sit down.  Already the emotion is starting to build.
Panel discussions, and then questions from the audience.  I don’t remember what was being said at this exact moment, but everyone looked a little bit goofy, so you know it was some shenanigan-filled story or another.
Adam Baldwin put his Jeyne hat on his mic, which he then gave away to a fan who answered a question (shakily, but correctly…..eventually).
Also, I stole this from another site, but I like how he looks all protective and caring for the hat…I could just picture him saying “it is my very favorite hat…”
This is when they started to tear up
At the end, Joss got a standing ovation from the panel members and audience alike.
It was very cool to see.  Totally worth the night.
Then the panel was over.  We were given $20 to give up our seats to a guy for the Bones panel.  We were pretty sure we were going to leave after Firefly anyway, so hey, why not?  At this point we lugged our pillows and such back on the shuttle bus and went back to the timeshare to shower and change.  It’s now 2pm and I have been awake since 7am the previous day, and actually not feeling too bad!  Adrenaline, I think?
So at 3:30 we leave to go back to the Gaslamp district, not for the convention center, but for Nerd HQ, a few blocks from there.  I’d bought tickets for a ‘Conversation with Nathan Fillion’, which is basically a small Q&A session (like 225 people) that they do for charity.  Aside from having that opportunity, I was even more pumped because we had seats 13 & 14, so front frakkin’ row!  If you follow me on FB, you may have seen the pic I was tagged in from that.
Zac Levi hosted, as I think he did with a lot, or all of the Nerd HQ conversations (they had various different ones over the weekend).  Also, go figure they started this late, too.  They just really want to keep that anticipation up, I tell ya.  
But finally, Nathan was on stage, mere feet from me!
Now, I think I have like 80 pics from this, so I won’t post them all.  If you want to see, you can check them out on my Picasa: HERE.  I’ll just post a few couple a moderate amount for a Nathan Fillion fan.  Also as a surprise, Nathan brought out Adam Baldwin to sit with him for most of the session.
So, here are some of my favs…
He looks like he’s cheezin’ right at me in this one…
Then after the end and Nathan went away (*sigh*), they weren’t done with Zac yet.  Evidently, he had offered kisses on the cheek for anyone that donated $100, or a real kiss for donating $1,000.  Well, someone ponied up the G, and they actually brought her on stage to do it.  He apparently didn’t know this was going to happen, based on his reactions…
Here’s the guy explaining the donation deal
Then Zac starts to get the idea what they’re doing…
Then he quickly prepped himself…
Then it was smooch time!  Very suave, Zac.  Well played.
And THENNN…amongst the cheers and applause, Nathan comes bursting back onto the stage, throws a wad of bills at Zac and then kisses him too!
And then not to be out-done, Adam Baldwin saunters out, throws cash at him as well and then proceeds to go in for a more….sensual?  gentle? –I dunno…it was a more intimate man-kiss.
Let me just say, if given the opportunity, I would donate $1,000 for a kiss from Nathan Fillion.  I would be willing to make that payment plan on my credit card.  Totally worth it.
Ok, now that you’ve read and scolled all the way through this mess of a blog, if you want to sit through the video of the Conversation, here’s the link:  Nathan Fillion Nerd HQ Conversation 1
Oh, and if you do go watch that all the way through, just know that after listening to all the Q&A at the Firefly panel and this, I decided to go with a….less traditional-type question.  Don’t judge me.  I got a kick out of it.

Also, it’s worth noting that I managed not to squee or otherwise spaz like a fangirl whilst asking my question, so GO ME!
And for good measure, here’s the video of all the kissing shenanigans
So there ended the Nathan Fillion experience number 2 for me (the first being the Firefly panel, which was obviously much less direct, but I was in the same room with him so I’m counting it!)
The rest of the day is pretty anti-climactic…we ended up eating dinner at Dick’s Last Resort, which, if you haven’t been to one….just go.  You’ll see.  Here are some pics.
And yeah, that’s our waitress co-licking that whipped-cream dick in Lisa’s drink…
Yes, she made us these lovely hats, too.  Looks like a fun place to work anyway!
After dinner we did the slightest bit of putzing around Gaslamp and then it was back to the timeshare to pass out for maaaybe 3 hours before getting up again to go get in line for Hall H….. but that’s a story for another day.  The  NEXT day, in fact!!  Mwahahaha!  Day 3 Here

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