Sunday, July 26, 2009

Financial aid update, Comic-Con, first live PotterCast and wizard rock show, and other things

Okay, first things first. I added another class, and so far things seem to be going ok with financial aid since I haven't been dropped from any of those classes yet. I don't know if the financial aid will pay out or not because the financial info you need to look at to ascertain this is a little confusing.

That out of the way...yesterday I went to COMIC-CON. Yay! Aside from the San Diego County Fair, Comic-Con is the big event of the summer in San Diego (and the salvation of local hotels and businesses, my dad says).

It wasn't nearly as crowded as I'd expected from the rumors I heard and also based on last year's experience, where it seemed like we were in a mob constantly. There were parts that were crowded, but some parts you could walk through rather easily, and there wasn't much of a line to get badges either. I made it to the first panel I wanted to go to with time to spare!

I managed to get to two of the five events I'd planned to attend. The first was a rather crowded panel on "How to Get a Job in the Video Game Industry" and was sponsored by Capcom. I took notes, but they didn't say much worth noting. After that panel, I went around (since you have to exit the panel rooms from the back) to the room next door for a panel on "Spirituality in Comics." It was less packed and a little more intimate. I got to ask a question!

The other two panels I'd planned on going to were one on voice-acting and the big Mythbusters event. I missed the voice-acting one because I went to the live PotterCast/The Remus Lupins show in town (more on that in a minute) and by the time it finished, it was too late to make the voice-acting panel. The Mythbusters one I couldn't make because I rushed to stand in a line, got to the front of it, and found out it was the handicapped line (it was NOT labeled as such). I took a look at the regular line, and decided I didn't want to wait. I also was going to go to a Steampunk Meetup, but decided to pass so I'd have more time to explore the exhibit hall.

After all the excitement, I waited a really long time for a trolley, waited about an hour for an Amtrak train that was delayed because someone pulled the emergency break (I hope it wasn't a prank or I'd be mad), and long story short, I didn't get home till around 10:30pm. Since I'd had to leave super early (6:45am) because my dad, who'd offered to take me to the con, had to do a live interview at 7:30 at his work (he works at a Christian radio station), it was a LONG day.

After the "Spirituality" panel, I found a spot on the floor, put down my stuff, and went and bought a soda to have with the lunch I'd packed (since Comic-Con food vendors are usually rather expensive and often only take cash, bringing a lunch is a good idea). I also tried to tweet about not going to the Steampunk meetup (which I'd said I was going to on my writer site blog and my MySpace blog) using my iPod touch and the supposed glorious free Comic-Con wifi (provided by iGoogle), but even though I had a signal, Twitterific couldn't connect.

After eating my lunch, I headed to the exhibit hall, which I explored until 2pm, when I had to leave to go to the live PotterCast. The door I first walked in through led to an area mostly populated by booths selling anime stuff, including one for Media Blasters (a fairly well-known anime dubbing company). There were also booths selling some fairly indecent figurines and some for-18-and-up-only yaoi and hentai manga (I'm NOT kidding). I started making a list on my iPod's "Notes" thing of stuff I saw that I wanted so I could come back for it later. I spent some time at a booth for GameRave, a store that sells video games, trading cards, and action figures. They had a ton of Pokémon stuff, including a whole table's worth of cases with little figures that you could get a charm made with, or for $3 more, a keychain made with. In true Pokémon Ranger spirit, I got a keychain made with Plusule (the girl character's partner Pokémon in the first Ranger game).

I managed to make my way about halfway down the hall before I left. The last thing I did was play a demo game of the Pokémon TCG with a kid named Alex (after taking pictures of the booth there in hopes of posting them on The Pallet Tribune). It was fairly easy since the guy showing you how to play was giving you advice all the time. So with that advice, Alex and I played, and I WON! YAAAY! This is the first time I've ever won a Pokémon TCG match in my entire life. I took a picture of the kid (with his permission) for the record. I also got a free promo Riolu card, a free inflatable Ultra Ball, and a free Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky poster from this booth.

Using directions I'd gotten from the NCTD trip planner, I found my way to the downtown branch of the San Diego County Library, where the live PotterLupinWillow tour show (so named because the shows consisted of PotterCast and the wizard rock bands The Remus Lupins and The Whomping Willows) was to take place. I got there about 20 minutes early. When I got there, I saw the three PotterCast hosts who were on the tour (one of the hosts, Sue Upton, was unable to come on tour this year) - Melissa Anelli, John Noe, and Frankie "Frak" Franco - and nearly freaked out. I recognized them from watching the PotterCast vlogs, but to see them in person was a whole different experience entirely.

I had intended to get their autographs at the show, but was initially too nervous to do so, even though I had time before the show started and they were in the same room. Finally, I worked up enough courage to approach Frak, who was at the front of the auditorium, and ask him to autograph the page in my composition book that I'd reserved for that purpose. I acted totally starstruck, saying something about getting there and thinking, "Oh my gosh it's Frak," at which point I think Frak actually laughed. He took a while actually autographing, and I found out later why: he'd signed his name in a word bubble coming from his trademark Pellegrino bottle! Cool! Then, after some more nervousness, I approached Melissa in the back of the room and asked her to sign my copy of her book Harry, a History. I had to tell her how to spell my name since Comic-Con messed it up on my badge. I got John's autograph after the show, as well as that of Darren Criss, a.k.a. StarKidPotter or the star of "A Very Potter Musical", who happened to be there (he lives in L.A.).

The PotterCast portion of the show was very short but fun. I made two comments about Half-Blood Prince, one about there not being enough Luna Lovegood and one about the first Slughorn party scene where Slughorn asks Hermione about what her parents do. I wished they did Canon Conclundrums, because then I would've asked the question I wanted to ask about what character they thought got its name from a church guestbook (in the documentary J.K. Rowling: A Year in Her Life that aired here recently, when they show JKR at the church she and her sister used to clean as kids, she's looking at the guestbook and then shuts it suddenly, saying "I stole that name for Harry Potter" - but she doesn't say the name itself).

The rest of the show was a show by The Remus Lupins, led by L.A.-born Alex Carpenter. I was kind of bummed that The Whomping Willows (a.k.a. Matt Maggiacomo) weren't there, as I've heard more of that band's songs than I've heard of The Remus Lupins. I stayed for the show anyway, though I couldn't get myself to dance with everyone else (apparently wizard rock shows are expected to be big dance shows). I was happy when they had Darren sing a couple songs from "A Very Potter Musical." He sang "Harry" (Ginny's song) and "Granger Danger" (Ron and Draco's song from the Yule Ball scene, and also the song they sang when Darren and a couple other Very Potter Musical people were interviewed on PotterCast). I recorded Darren singing "Granger Danger" on my cell phone, though it took 6 videos because my cell can only record 35-second video clips. I actually sang along to "Granger Danger," but not loud enough for anyone to really hear.

After the show, I headed back to the con (though I had trouble at first finding the trolley station I got off at to get to the library). I spent the time between getting back and going to the Mythbusters thing getting some dinner (which I ate out on the convention center's bayside terrace, which was a refreshingly quiet place compared to inside), exploring the other half of the exhibit hall, trying to find out where Shannon Hale was set up (I never found out), pre-registering for Comic-Con 2010 so I could get a 4-day ticket, and buying the things I wanted to buy. Then, as I said, I wasn't able to make the Mythbusters panel, so I left.

Once again, I managed to be pretty good about not buying a lot. I think I still spent close to $100 on stuff though. Here's what I bought:

- Plusule keychain - $9
- Amazing Agent Luna volumes 1-3 omnibus -$10
- PotterCast Tour 3 Poster - $5
- My Neighbor Totoro mascot small plushie with suction cup - $9
- Shaymin plushie - $20.81 ($19 + tax)
- Master Ball toy w/Squirtle ($15) , Lapras model kit ($5) , & 3-pack of Southern Islands cards ($1) - $22
- Two artbooks - Tales of Symphonia Illustrations: Kosuke Fujishima's Character Works (Japanese; $32) and The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service (English; $30) - $62

Oy! I just did the math, and that was $137.81! Maybe I did spend too much...*sweatdrop* Still, that's fairly modest considering how much I could've spent had I not controlled myself by making a list as I went along and going back for stuff later. I also paid for the Plusle keychain, Amazing Agent Luna volume, and My Neighbor Totoro plushie with cash, using my debit card for the others. Also, the fact that I got TWO artbooks for $62 is pretty good, seeing how high artbooks usually run.

This $137.81 total does not count food and travel expenses - the soda I bought at lunchtime (about $2 or $3), a trolley Day Pass ($5), a dinner of a drink and a hot dog (about $8), my Amtrak ticket ($16) and a can of soda and a bag of Cheetos on the train ($3.75) - which were all paid in cash except for my Amtrak ticket, which I used my debit card for. That comes to around $34.75.

This doesn't even count the $100 I spent to pre-register for next year! Agh!

*Sigh* I really must watch my money better. Although, I guess things like this add up, even if you don't spend much on things.

It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have a bunch of important things to get right now. I have to pay my parents rent, I need to buy my bus pass for August, and I put $5 on Wii Sports Resort. I'm going to call GameStop tomorrow and see if I can cancel my hold on the game. That's the only one of those three things I can give up.

I also need to call Gary, the guy who taught my spiritual gifts class. I need to call him during the day, and I haven't been able to do that this week with my crazy working hours (they switched departments on me so it got all weird, but this coming week it's back to normal). I get off at 2pm tomorrow though, so I can call him then. It's just that since we might be talking about some private stuff, I want to talk to him in private.

I also need to save money because I want to go to the San Diego Christian Writers' Guild conference in September. I just double-checked the dates - it's September 26 and 27 according to one site (I had to check a site other than SDCWG's site, because when I go to SDCWG's site, I get a page saying "this account has been suspended"). I have some time to recoup my losses and make the $165 needed for the conference.

Well that's pretty much it. Oh, one more thing. I had two happy surprises today. I found out this morning that my second TCG Feature article on The Pallet Tribune was up, which I did not know. I thought for sure the new features editor, Ducky-von-Karma, would send it back for me to edit (as KC did the first time), but he didn't. You can read that article here.

The second surprise came when I checked my e-mail after getting off work today. I got an e-mail saying my request to do a fanlisting on the Mamoru/Hina relationship had been approved! Hooray!

I have a month for each site to make it, so I need to start playing with phpFanlist (the script I'm using for my fanlistings) so I can get that site and my fanlisting for Hina herself done on time.

Ok I'm really going now. I'll post pics from Comic-Con as soon as my mom finds her camera USB cord, since I can't get the pictures off the camera and onto my computer without it. Bye!
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