Sunday, July 27, 2008

Post-Comic Con Report

Today I went to the Comic-Con Convention, which is probably the biggest event of the summer down here in San Diego. I've been before, in 2001, but not since. So, when the option of making a trip to the Con an excursion for the Asperger's activity group I'm a part of came up, I totally went for it. I bought my ticket really early, per advice from my coworker Laura (Heather's sister), who was also going. Then, because most of the group didn't buy tickets way in advance like me, they changed the date, so I had to get a new ticket and get rid of my old one (which our group leader bought from me and sold on Ebay for some amount she won't tell me -- but she said that "it sold really fast").

We were to meet at 12:00, but I got my mom to get me there early for the Harry Potter panel that was happening at 10:30. I wanted to go to this because Melissa Anelli and Sue Upton from PotterCast were going to be on the panel, and as a big PotterCast fan, I just had to go to see them if nothing else. Although we left a little later than planned, we still got there around 10:00. But what with having to go get my badge after waiting in a long line, I got to the room where the panel was after it had started, and had to wait in a line with other eager Harry Potter fans to even get in the room. This was kind of fun because some of us actually started talking about the series while in line. Having never gone to an event for Harry Potter fans, to be talking about Harry Potter with other people who actually knew what I was talking about was very fun.

Well, long story short, I finally got in, but I didn't get to meet Melissa or Sue -- though I got within like 2 feet of Melissa cause I went up to the panel afterwards to see if they were still giving away stuff, and to meet Melissa and Sue. But they announced they were going to meet people outside, and all I got was a Azkatraz postcard (for a convention in San Fransisco) for my trouble. I went outside and tried to group up with other people to meet the panel, but convention staff shooed us all out of the hallway, so none of us really got to meet anybody. I did meet a very nice girl dressed as Luna Lovegood--with a robe (which, strangely enough, had a Gryffindor patch on it, though Luna is Ravenclaw -- the girl explained it by saying something about having snuck into the Gryffindor common room), a wand, a blue-and-white Ravenclaw tie, and even an edition of the Quibbler, the magazine Luna carries around in the movies and books -- and we talked as we left the hallway, with me saying that if I ever cosplayed as a Harry Potter character, I'd probably try to do either Ravenclaw robes or the Beauxbatons outfit. I asked if I could take her picture and she agreed. It was very cool. One of the rest of our group met her later when we were in the main exhibit hall and wanted to get a picture of her, and she asked, "Do you want the wand behind the ear, or...?" She did put her wand behind her ear (something Luna does in the books) for the picture. The sole male of the group, Adam, asked Rebecca (the person who took the picture) and I what the girl's question meant, and not really knowing how to explain it to a non-fan, I simply said that you have to know Harry Potter to understand it.

There were a LOT of cosplayers at this con. Aside from the aforesaid Luna Lovegood and her Ravenclaw-robed friend, there were a few other cosplayers at the Harry Potter panel, including McGonagall and Umbridge (sitting next to each other, ironically) and a guy I called "Quidditch Ron" because he looked like Ron and appeared to be dressed for Quidditch (they wear different robes for Quidditch than for normal school). I also saw an Inuyasha, a few Naruto characters, some Jedi, one group with video game characters (Mario, Princess Peach, Daisy, Link, Princess Zelda, and a guy Amanda thought was Marth from Fire Emblem), a Sailor Moon-related pair with a Sailor Mercury and a Tuxedo Mask with a kind of weird mask that didn't fit his character, an Asuka (from Evangelion), one girl dressed as Freya from Chobits (I know it was Freya cause she had a black dress, whereas Chi/Elda is always shown wearing white), an older woman dressed as the main guy from Avatar: The Last Airbender, and a guy as the Joker, as well as many characters I couldn't place.

After the panel, I found my way downstairs toward our meeting spot and got out cash to buy something to eat (I wasn't sure if the food booths took cards, as I had just brought my debit card since I wasn't sure how much cash to take out), and bought a pretzel and a can of Coke and sat down by our meeting place to eat.

After meeting up with the group, we went into the hall. It was really crowded so we started walking around the edge and not really in the middle. This went on for some time, and because of the crowds we didn't get a good look at much. I ended up writing down booths I either wanted to visit or come back and buy something at in a little notebook I'd brought with me (to allow me to see what there was to offer before buying stuff, something I didn't do the last time I went to the Con). We did all stop at a few booths, one of which was sort of a mishmash of stuff from old shows like Ren and Stimpy, Gummi Bears, My Little Pony, and older Disney stuff. I bought a "rare PVC figure" there of Hades from the Disney movie Hercules. It's kinda tiny and was only $5. But it was the only figure that really grabbed my attention, other than the one of Percy, Governor Ratcliffe's dog from Pocahontas. Here is a link to a picture of the figure from Ebay, to sort of give an idea of what it looks like:

Another booth we stopped at had lots of DVD's of old TV shows, including some that other members of the group recognized but I didn't (must have to do with not having TV most of my life). I did find a few surprise products there. One was a set of seasons 1-3 of Kim Possible. I'm not sure if it was professionally done, seeing as I have never heard of professionally-made Kim Possible season sets. One clue on this is that there was a DVD of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars and a full-season DVD of PGSM, neither of which have been licensed in the U.S., that had English text on the covers. I'm guessing they were fansubs, and while it not impossible to buy fansubs -- I watched all of Sailor Moon S subtitled and two episodes of Sailor Moon SuperS subtitled via fansub VHS tapes my friend Maryanne got from one of her other friends -- I did not expect a booth at a place like Comic-Con to be selling them. Fansub companies that sell their fansubs in a tangible form for profit usually sell it themselves, not through a third party. So it seemed very fishy. (I did not buy these DVD's btw...just as well as they could very well be bootlegs...I didn't check the prices, which can sometimes tell you whether something is a bootleg).

There was one booth with a huge inflatable Pikachu over it, where a Pokemon TCG tournament-of-sorts was set up. There was also someone dressed up as Pikachu -- in a full-on Disney-characters-at-Disneyland kind of costume -- and I ended up shaking his/her (its?) hand as it walked by. Later, I also got a free promo card (a promo Shellos...woo...oh well, at least it's a water-type).

We wandered around for most of the day, until around 3:30, when we decided to start heading back to where we'd met cause Wendy needed to meet her parents at 4:00. Wendy was distraught cause she'd accidentally dropped her cell phone into an auto toilet while using the bathroom. Along the way, we came across a booth Amanda had been looking for (she'd passed it earlier when she and Adam were by themselves), which was chock full of artbooks and the like from different animes. I almost bought one for the Phoenix Wright game series. It was all in Japanese, though, but it had nice pictures, and I figured it compensated for not seeing any Phoenix Wright material at the Capcom booth. In the end, I left the book and bought a CD instead after perusing the CD area. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the price so I didn't know what it was till I went to pay, and it ended up being $32.50!!! FOR A CD!!! It's one CD, mind you, not like a set or something. I swear, that is way too much. My mom said on the way home that she hoped I would end up liking it since I paid so much for it, and I agree. It is Future Soundscape II, one of the OST's for Tsubasa Chronicle (the anime of Tsubasa: ReserVOIR Chronicle) and, not being too familiar with the music (and not being able to read the Japanese track titles), it was mainly the cover art that drew me to it. From the art, I knew it was Tsubasa, for one, plus the art is really pretty. I figured if anything it gave me more options for music for my fandub projects. Plus, new music to listen to is always nice -- that is, if it's playable on anything I own (someone on Facebook told me CD's are not region-exclusive, so they should play, but I won't know till I try). I debated between this and an Ishida Yoko CD, with her singles (I've heard Yoko-san in Sailor Moon songs and also on my ParaPara CD). The problem with that one was all its track names were in Japanese, so I didn't know what songs it had.

After this, we lead Wendy to her parents, then Amanda and Adam and I wandered around for a bit. I'd bought a new disposable camera (the one I'd brought had run out of available pics long before) and so I started taking pics of thing I hadn't had a chance to take pics of before, since Amy had asked me to take pictures at the Con. I also bought a DVD at the Funimation booth that has both the Tsubasa and the xxxHolic movies on it for the low price of $20.

After a while, I ditched the other two to try to find this one booth I was looking for -- one that had lots of figurines, including some Sailor Moon ones -- before the Con closed. I never did find it, but I did end up at a booth where I bought the Japanese edition of the Princess Mononoke soundtrack for only $9.99 -- an excellent deal for a 33-track movie soundtrack. They had a few different Miyazaki soundtracks -- the only thing in the case I was drawn to -- one I wasn't sure of the identity of and two My Neighbor Totoro soundtracks. I knew whichever one I got would be good, since Joe Hisaishi, the one who usually scores Miyazaki's films, is a composing genius. I chose the Mononoke one though, not sure why exactly. I guess for one it was all in one CD, and also I may have simply liked that movie better than Totoro (which is possible).

So, after being at the Con almost all day, I bought four things, aside from a new camera, a can of soda, and lunch. I spent close to $70 on those four things, which is a lot, but still not bad. I think just using my card rather than cash (not all the booths took debit or credit cards), combined with being with a group, helped me not buy so much.

In summary, I bought (in order):

~A plain pretzel and a can of Coke (lunch) - around $7
~Hades PVC figurine - $5
~Future Soundscape II CD - $32.50
~New disposable camera -$10
~Can of Coke -$2.50
~Tsubasa/xxxHolic movie double feature DVD - $20
~Princess Mononoke OST CD - $9.99 ($10.76 with tax)

The figurine came from the aforesaid small booth, the Future Soundscape CD came from the Kinokuniya Bookstores booth, the camera came from the Protech Products booth (which also sold poster holders and poster tubes and the like), the DVD came from the Funimation booth, and the second CD came from a not-so-well-labeled booth that had a small card on the register saying it was "Comics n' Stuff," which is the same name as a comics store I used to go to quite a bit back in the day, but hadn't gone to since the one at the Carlsbad mall closed down for good, after closing and reopening several times, and also switching locations in the mall itself a few times.

I also got a lot of freebies, including a bunch of stuff from the freebie table in the badge pick-up area as I was leaving. In my Comic-Con bag, I got a free booster pack of MapleStory cards and a free deck of Magic the Gathering cards. From one Lord of the Rings-oriented booth, I got a free deck of Lord of the Rings-themed playing cards that came in a box within a cool drawstring bag. Quite a nice freebie there. From the aforementioned Pokemon booth, I got a free promo card. And most of the booths had free postcards and stuff. (Funimation's one had free coupons).

I also want to check out the book related to the Lord of the Rings fandom that one lady in the Harry Potter panel audience said she had written (she was apparently important enough to warrant a signing at the booth where I got the free playing cards, and yet here she was in the audience for a panel). She mentioned it because Melissa Annelli has written a book on the Harry Potter fandom, which she has discussed a lot on PotterCast.

Oh man hearing Melissa and Sue's voices live, even if I didn't get to meet them, was awesome. And actually seeing what they look like too. They were going to do a LeakyMug (a joint podcast between MuggleCast and PotterCast) later that day, but it was going to be in Mission Valley, which (I checked before writing this) is close to an hour's transit ride away. Plus, it would've been far for my mom to go to pick me up. As much as I would love to go to a live podcast (and in this case, not only see Melissa and Sue live but also Andrew Sims and Matt Britton from MuggleCast), it just didn't look feasible transportation-wise, which is a shame cause neither PotterCast nor MuggleCast ever do live podcasts down here. Eh well, it will likely be recorded and posted online, so I will look forward to listening to it then. I've always wondered what Andrew looks like, and if he looks as goofy as he sounds on the show.

So anyway, I'm glad I have a late day at work tomorrow (1-5) cause I'm tired. I should probably go cause I still need to do laundry for tomorrow.

A couple other things: my mom suggested for my birthday, they could pay for me to get a new eye exam and new glasses. Since I have been talking about doing this myself but haven't been able to, this is a welcome gift, so I agreed. Also, on the way home, I mentioned that Wendy had actually gone to see a doctor about her Asperger's after seeing the girl with Asperger's on America's Next Top Model (something I learned from the article the North County Times did on our group). Mum said her friend Laura McGrady (who's a therapist) knows someone who specializes in that area, and I said I would definitely like to get a firm diagnosis yea or nay on whether I have Asperger's. She said she will e-mail Laura McGrady about it. So a firm diagnosis on my Asperger's may be on the way. Yay!

So anyway, I am going to go so I can get my laundry together. I am going to restart my computer after I post this to get my internet working normally again. (Megaupload Toolbar, though I deleted it, messes the internet up still at this point, after a while). Bye!


Heidi8 said...

Hi! I am still so sad that the guards shoo-ed everyone out of the corridor after our panel was done - had we known they were going to do that, we would've had a post-panel meet-up so we could all continue chatting!
Thanks so much for coming!

- heidi tandy

Misty said...

Yeah I was bummed too. I had come to the panel mainly to see Melissa and Sue, since I am a big fan of PotterCast. I was happy to even get in the room though, since I got there late because of the long badge pick-up line and ended up having to wait in a line to get in the room! I was also one of the two people who were still in line at the mike when they stopped letting people ask questions. I didn't come up right away because I couldn't think of a good question, and I figured I'd think of one while I was listening to others ask their questions.

On a lighter note, someone sitting near me actually asked me what the "Scottish Book" was, and I was able to tell him, because I listen to PotterCast! Yay!

Being a Lord of the Rings fan as well as a Harry Potter fan, I am going to look into that one lady's "Lord of the Rings fandom" book too. And I also plan on buying Melissa's book. I figure it's my way of thanking her for pushing "His Dark Materials" so much that I chose to read that series.

Thanks for your comment!