Comic Con 2011 Recap

We’re back from another successful week at Comic Con. I’m seriously suffering from post-con depression now that it’s over. With 150,000 people attending the con this year, we still managed to have a great time. Good thing K and I waited in line at 2:30am Sunday morning to purchase our tickets for 2012! Here’s a brief recap.

Wednesday

We flew out on Wednesday and spent the afternoon in the Gaslamp district. K and I grabbed a quick bite at the Burger Lounge that takes pride in their all organic menu. After that, K and I headed over to the Nerd HQ, Zachary Levi’s (Chuck) off-site event, to pick up our Conversations for a Cause with Zachary Quinto tickets. While waiting in line, K and I ran into Zach Levi himself and each got a photo with him! Comic Con didn’t even start yet and this pic alone made my week.

After grabbing our tickets, we headed for the exhibit hall for the Preview Night. We tried to get in as much of the exhibit hall as possible this night so we wouldn’t have to come back. We were able to snag a t-shirt from the Marvel booth, buttons from the DC booth, a foam sword from the Summit booth, and much much more.

Thursday

On Thursday, we decided to change up our Comic Con experience and participate in the Nerd Quest scavenger hunt by Nerd HQ rather than sit in Hall H all day. So glad we did this because you’re looking at the grand prize winners right here! Thanks to TheNerdMachine for the brand new custom Xbox 360 and Kinect coming our way in the next few weeks!

After this, we headed to Dick’s Last Resort for some grub. At this point, K and I were so exhausted from running around, that all we wanted was some quick food for sustenance. Dick’s is not the place to go for that. We had no idea this restaurant was themed where the servers treat their patrons like crap. On any other day, I could play along, but at that moment, I really didn’t want to be called an oxymoron for being an “Asian nerd” or have a cup of water thrown at me.

We quickly ate our tequila cheese nachos and our crabby balls and headed for the Jon Favreau and Guillermo Del Toro panel in Hall H. Boy these 2 guys are entertaining. Guillermo has the mouth of a dirty truck driver and it’s just plain hilarious hearing him talk. The 2 movies they spoke about were Favreau’s Magic Kingdom and Del Toro’s Haunted Mansion. Can’t wait for those! After this, we shuffled out of Hall H and headed back to the hotel.

Friday

Friday morning started with The Adventures of Tin Tin panel with 2 of the biggest directors of our time, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson. I’ve never read the books, but the movie looks interesting. The 2 directors talked about how they debated between live action and animated. They shared a screen test of the live action, which I thought was cool. But I’m assuming it failed since the movie is now animated.

At 12pm, K and I headed for the Nerd HQ for our Zach Quinto talk. The actor spoke with his group, Before the Door, about their upcoming graphic novel Mr. Murder is Dead. After the talk, the guys stuck around for a 2 hour signing. I ended up getting my Zach Quinto photo I took with him 2 years ago signed!

On our way back to the convention center, we grabbed a 2 hot dog/soda combo at an ice cream store for $4.75. We were desperate and needed to eat something quick before The Amazing Spiderman panel. We ended up missing that panel because the hall was full.

Boo… Anyway, we jumped out of the line and wandered around the Gaslamp. Walking around the little South Park town put together by Comedy Central, we discovered a little food truck area. I found the most devilicious sandwich at a truck called Devilicious. I cannot believe I ordered the PB&J with bacon and cream cheese. Yeah, you read that right. The sandwich was so warm and gooey from all of the ingredients. On top of that, the bread was buttered and pan fried. This was probably the most sinful sandwich I’ve ever eaten.

After this, I sped-walked back to the hotel to work off the sandwich and get ready for the most anticipated party at the Nerd HQ. Zach Levi was expected to be there with all of his celebrity friends. So we all got dressed and headed out to the venue Jolt’n Joe’s.

The HQ was actually pretty cool. They set up demo stations for pre-released games like Gears of War 3 and Rayman and a free photobooth to take unlimited photos. We hung out here for a few hours and then we realized that we’d never be able to actually hang with the celebs, so we headed back home. On the way, we ran into another Chuck cast-member, Mark Christopher Lawrence (aka. Big Mike).

Saturday

Now this is when our trip got crazy. We wanted to see the Chuck panel Saturday at 10am and we heard that fans were planning to jump in line at 2am. So, K and Ivan headed for the expo hall at 1:30am to wait in line. YES. In line for almost 9 hours to see a panel. They weren’t even at the front of the line! This is my only qualm about the conference. People are willing to waste a day in line, and if you don’t do the same, you’ll miss out. I jumped into line around 8am and met K and Ivan’s new Australian friends. Apparently, Zach Levi visited the line at 4:30am to greet the fans waiting in line. So cool!

Anyway, the panel was completely worth it. We got some sneak peek footage of their final season and a performance from Jeffster. We even got a pretty cool Nerd Herd t-shirt. Too bad it’s a large and won’t fit me.

By this time, the guys were wiped out, so we decided to hang out in Ballroom 20 for the screening of the new show, Terra Nova, and the Futurama panel. Terra Nova is a new show on FOX. Cool concept (people from the future travel in time to restart civilization in prehistoric times), but I thought the pilot was boring. After this, we headed for the ticket fulfillment room to redeem our gift for sitting in on the Futurama panel – just a button.

But, on our way there, we ran into Nikita actress, Maggie Q! After this, we took another stroll through the exhibit hall for more free schwag. Guys were pooped, so we headed back to the hotel and ordered some pizza delivery from Dominoes.

It was Saturday night, and the biggest Hollywood party goes down at Hotel Solamar in the Gaslamp. Because of yearly tradition, I had to go. Lucy, K and I were the only ones that made it out and we were able to catch glimpses of the cast of Eureka, Sanctuary, Haven and Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite. The most famous celeb there, however, was eating at a restaurant across the street. Jonah Hill! We called it a night early and headed back for the hotel.

Sunday

K and I got about 2 hours of sleep before we headed for the 2012 registration line back at the convention center. I think we’ve already established that we were crazy. K and I attempted to sleep on cement on the marina at 2:30am before being herded over into a room in the Hyatt. At 8:15, K and I were the only members of our group with guaranteed passes to next year’s Comic Con!

We headed back to the room to clean up and then went back out to the exhibit hall in hopes to get a poster tube from the FOX booth. On our way there, we saw the cast of Glee signing at the booth! I love Darren Criss! Who knew he was so petite in person?

Lucy, K and I had a late flight out on Sunday, so we killed time in Hall H and sat in on The Cleavland Show and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia panels. And that was the wrap to our Comic Con experience.

Overall perception of Comic Con – still awesome.

Here’s a group pic we took at the Nerd HQ photo booth. Can’t wait for next year!

We’re going to Comic Con!

Other than food and traveling, K and I are major nerds. Video games, super hero movies, sci-fi tv shows, board games – we’re pretty deep in the nerd territory. This will be the 3rd year K and I attend Comic Con, and it never fails to be the BEST. WEEK. EVER.

There are a million things going on during the con, and to ensure we hit it all, we must come prepared. So, I’ve put together a little list to share how I get prepared for the greatest event of the year. Check it out:

  1. Create a schedule. There’s so much going on at this conference, I have to write up a schedule to ensure I see everything I want to see.
  2. Make some sacrifices. There are often times where 2 interesting panels are going on at the same time in 2 separate locations. For example, The Amazing Spiderman panel in Hall H and the True Blood panel in Ballroom 20. So after battling a mini internal dilemma, I’ve decided to check out the Spiderman panel.
  3. Be prepared to wait in lines. Lines suck, and there’s no way to avoid them. If you’re planning to hit up a hyped up Hall H panel, be prepared to wait in line at least 1 hour before the panel begins.
  4. Research the party scene. I love love love the celebrity watching at Comic Con. I like to describe this event as celeb Disneyland because there’s so many of them and they’re all over the Gaslamp district. Since I cannot figure out how an average civilian like me get into any of the celeb parties, my girlfriends and I are planning to hang outside the red carpet in hopes of meeting one of our favorite characters from our favorite movies and TV shows. My eyes are peeled for Zachary Levi (Chuck), Zachary Quinto (Star Trek), Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck), Lea Michele (Glee) and the cast of True Blood.
  5. Be connected through social media. A lot of industry peeps have been tweeting about the event, and Twitter is where I found most of the celeb parties – the Aushole party hosted by Michael Ausiello, NBC After-Party Access Event ticket contest and the infamous SyFy/E! party location. If one day, I figure out how to get into the SyFy party, I would be complete. My eyes are currently glued to Jon Favreau’s twitter account for the Cowboys and Aliens premiere tickets. See below for my Twitter list.
  6. Wear comfortable shoes. There’s a lot of running back and forth at this conference, so I wear comfortable shoes. I will be participating in the NerdQuest scavenger hunt this year, and I’ll be sure to have my game shoes on. I have to win!
  7. Bring a comic/book/smart phone/DS/PSP/iPad/tablet/etc. Have I mentioned that there are lines? I could be waiting in line for 2 hours to see a panel, and I’ll need something to keep me entertained! Usually I play with a DS or my iPhone, but this year, I may pull out the iPad.
  8. Research coinciding events. As if there isn’t enough to do at Comic Con, there are coinciding events. I found out about Zachary Levi’s NerdHQ event via Twitter and now it’s become one of the most anticipated activities for the whole con. This event is a casual hangout place where fellow nerds can gather in a more intimate setting and share their interests for technology, gaming and entertainment. They’ve set up “conversations” in sessions of about 200 people or so with a handful of celebs where fans can purchase for $20 (all proceeds go to Operation Smile). I, myself, purchased tickets to see Zachary Quinto speak with his group, Before the Door. After the convo, most of the celebs are planning to stick around for an autograph signing. It’s a win-win!
  9. Bring a camera. At any moment, I could fall upon my favorite celeb. I’ll be sure to have my camera empty and charged so I don’t miss any of those special moments.
  10. Buy tickets for the next con! It’s almost impossible to purchase Comic Con tickets online. Servers crash, tickets sell out, etc. So, I avoid all of the stress by buying tickets for the next con at the present. The bad news is that ticket prices are going up. 4-day with preview night is going up to $175 as opposed to the usual $105. The guys at Comic Con are smart because no matter what, I’ll still purchase tickets.

Check out my Twitter list for all things SDCC.

@Comic_Con
@thenerdmachine
@MichaelAusiello
@Jon_Favreau
@ZacharyLevi

San Diego Here We Come!

S and I are heading over to San Diego next week for a small convention.  I’m really looking forward to trying a few of the local dishes that many of my friends and colleagues have mentioned including the California Burrito, Carne Asada Fries and Fish Tacos.  They may have these dishes elsewhere, but I hear it’s the best in San Diego.

Courtesy of Yelp

I’m looking forward to trying out Mexican Fiesta for their California Burrito. What is a California Burrito?  I’m glad you asked.  A California Burrito is a San Diego treat that consists of carne asada meat, French fries, cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole.  Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Courtesy of Yelp

Next on the list? La Puerta to try out their Carne Asada fries which consists of french fries, carne asada, guacamole, sour cream and cheese.  I’m not really sure if this is supposed to be an appetizer or a meal, but it sounds really filling.  What’s up with the San Diego love of adding french fries to their Mexican food?

Courtesy of Yelp

Last, I want to make sure I make a stop for some Baja-style fish tacos at La Fachada.  I’m dying to find out why everyone says San Diego has the best fish tacos in the world. I love Nick’s Crispy Tacos/Underdogs, but I’d love to have something to compare it to.

We’re also open to suggestions so if you have any places you think is awesome and is near Gaslamp, feel free to leave us a comment!  I’ll definitely make an effort to try the places your recommend.

Mexican Fiesta
1460 India St
San Diego, CA 92101

La Puerta
560 4th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

La Fachada
20 25th St
San Diego, CA 92102