My First San Diego Comic-Con: It was OK

The first highlight of SD Comic-Con 2015 was getting a free coconut water. A few blocks after I stepped off the trolley, a Vita Coco employee in a blue minivan said, “Want a coconut water?” and I said “Yeah!” and she gave it to me and then I kept walking. Sami getting free stuff and perking up after marching through crowds of nerds is going to be a common theme.

I was surrounded by nerds a lot; it was ok.

I was surrounded by nerds a lot; it was ok.

I am going to be using the word “nerds” quite a bit. I prefer it over the (probably) more accurate descriptor, “geeks,” because it has more dignity. I call these convention-goers nerds not because I think they are uncool, but rather out of deference to their superior knowledge. You see, I am not nerdy enough for San Diego Comic Con.

Write your own blog post about SDCC by filling in the blanks!

Write your own blog post about SDCC by filling in the blanks!

I am nerdy about birds, and words, and throwing theme parties. I am not nerdy about movies, videogames, and definitely not comics. When it comes to movies (and actors, and directors) I have to tell people to pretend I grew up Amish, because I don’t know anything. I have a game I like to play when someone mentions a title I don’t recognize: Describe the Movie in a Convincing Way So People Don’t Make Me Watch it Because They are Stunned I Have Never Seen it.

Wait, you lie about movies you’ve never seen? Do “Wag the Dog”

Yeah, it’s that movie where the emotions of one person screws up everything for everyone else and it makes you wonder about systems of control and…I’m totally off, huh?

No, actually, that’s pretty accurate.

SD-comic-con-giant-sriracha-bottle

I heart Sriracha but I didn’t heart how many booths seemed to be reselling cheaply made goods from China.

Videogames are pretty cool. I watched my brother play them growing up, and I have clocked enough hours in The Sims to have built an actual house. Same goes for Minecraft. More recently, I enjoyed GTAV and I even have a little murder song I sing under my breath when I kill innocent civilians for petty cash. I’m on kind of a lifelong binge-and-purge cycle with viddy games and, by keeping no gaming systems at my house and using OSX, I’ve remained purged of these time-sucks for a very long time — long enough to be totally out of the loop with real “gamers.”

Wait. Does anyone really enjoy a person listing their interests, especially when their interests are things they can do in their pajamas? Next I could prattle about the webcomics I read, and how at Comic-Con I stood near Dumbing of Age creator David Willis and took a bookmark from his booth, and didn’t say anything to him because I didn’t have anything to say. A person getting their caricature done asked Willis if Joyce, the main character, was based on anyone real, and the answer is Yes. It’s all there, it’s all in the website and the comics and there’s really nothing to ask David Willis because he makes quality art and quality stories and just pay goddamned attention.

I was grumpy because my free bookmark wasn’t nearly as satisfying as the free Mad Libs booklet I got earlier. The emotional cycle of feeding a swag addiction was getting to me. I wanted good swag only, and I didn’t want to carry a lot of it, and I also didn’t really want it — I was just bored. One of my favorite swags was ice cream, even though they made me take a selfie for it, simply because I got to throw the trash away when I was done with it.

Another cool swag I got was this hat. It also required a selfie -- with this attractive woman.

Another cool swag I got was this hat. It also required a selfie — with this attractive woman.

Some of the nerds had these giant swag bags. Katelyn explained that they fill them with “trash” (flyers, cheap posters, cards with advertising on them) and then put them in a corner of their bedrooms for several months before throwing them away. I admit this sounds like a strange custom to me, despite being pretty happy about this Mad Libs booklet I will hold onto for a few weeks in case it becomes fun for a party, be disappointed, and throw away.

She also explained that Comic-Con used to be the place to get rare comics and other nerd stuff that you couldn’t get at your local comic stop, as well as a place to see exclusive previews. Nowadays, you can eBay and also videos of previews go online about an hour later. She didn’t buy anything or preview anything, but I can only assume that going through every single row gave her some ideas for her nerd shrine.IMAG1212

It seems, to this newcomer with no nerd cred, that SDCC suffers an identity crisis. If buying cool comics has been replaced by buying overpriced junk, then what is it? Is it a cosplay event, a chance to meet celebs, a place to play pokemon, great for geeky photo opportunities, an art show, the home of [adjective] panels (I did not go to any of these), a nostalgia circle-jerk, even worth it at all? Not for me, not really. I’d rather just go home and decorate my bicycle because even though that’s what I do for fun, I’m just not nerdy enough for Comic-Con.

You say black I say white You say bark I say bite You say shark I say hey man Jaws was never my scene And I don't like Star Wars

You say black I say white
You say bark I say bite
You say shark I say hey man
Jaws was never my scene
And I don’t like Star Wars

Never been? You can:

  1. Not go at all, and enjoy the convention from the comfort of home by watching it on snapchat!

:)

Dayglow San Diego 2013 (a.k.a. Life in Color)

Dayglow San Diego pissed off about 3,000* people last year who couldn’t get down to the over-packed floor, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when it got re-branded as “Life in Color” this year with noticeably restricted ticket sales.  I didn’t comprehend this at first. I walked in past a dude shouting “is anyone selling tickets,” I didn’t wait in line, and I walked in to what felt like a very empty San Diego Sports Arena Valley View Casino Center. I thought to myself, where is everyone?

I think they did right. Security felt relaxed throughout the night. I didn’t really get patted down; a tired-looking woman whisked her hands on my sides while avoiding eye contact. So much for the sticks of Stride I hid in my crotch (wasn’t sure if they’d be confiscating gum and I really wanted to have it, don’t judge me)…  I heard about 30 people bum-rushed the event fences, so for awhile they checked tickets in and out of the smoking patio.  Later, I helpfully asked a zoned-out yellow-shirter if he’d be checking my ticket. He laughed, said “yah” before ushering me through the door without even a glance. Ok, saucer-eyes, I guess not.

Or, maybe, you know, security didn't spend a lot of time patting me down because I didn't wear very much clothing.

Or, maybe, you know, security didn’t spend a lot of time patting me down because I didn’t wear very much clothing. Picture stolen from Mel Marcelo, who photographs like 90% of the event pictures in this town.

Later I jumped up on my lesbro’s shoulders for a better view of the stage because I felt like being TALL. I made eye-contact with one of the guards. ‘Want me to get down?’ I mouthed. He shrugged and let me stay. Kids sat all over the floor, enjoying light shows and massage trains. At Beyond Wonderland last year they did not allow anything like this. It felt like being in a kindergarten where you’re allowed to eat the crayons. I got down from my perch and said, “I’m looking for people to adopt as my rave children.”

I enjoyed the relative emptiness of the venue. We saw the same faces, had space to burst around the halls, could find friends again we made an hour ago.  A skinny, solo guy shook and jittered next to me. His eyes pointed in different directions. Overcome with empathy, I asked if he needed a hug, and squeezed him like I could make his pupils point forward again.  Later I spotted him looking much happier, and much less cock-eyed.

Another picture by Mel Marcado. I wasn't too sure about my decision to wear braids until a girl ran up to me, touched them, and told me I looked "so cute, like an anime character."

Another picture by Mel Marcelo. I wasn’t too sure about my decision to wear braids until a girl ran up to me, touched them, and told me I looked “so cute, like an anime character.”

I had a major moment of skeptism when they unleashed the confetti. I hadn’t even made it down to the floor yet; I sat in the darkened stands at the far end. A cloud blasted into the paint smothered bodies below us. “Great,” Katelyn said, “Let’s make paper mache. Wow.” She insisted that it was paper, but the pieces fluttered like wings and shimmered like mylar. They floated upward (turns out it was the rising heat) and really did look like live butterflies. I imagined insect antennae and legs sticking to wet skin and grimaced. Yet the whole night all I saw was a single square of tissue paper stuck to Mel Marcelo’s clavicle — the only evidence that the thick sparkling swarm had ever existed.

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Visit this article for photos of a similar confetti cloud effect @ a paint party in Dallas last year – it’s a good read too.

*Ok, rough estimate. I had a difficult time tracking down actual numbers. Google Fu is weak today. I blame hangover. When do I ever not blame stuff on my hangovers?