September Recap, Part 1: Volunteering at Fan Expo

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Fan Expo occurred over the Labour Day weekend, and for the third year in a row, I came back as a volunteer. Being how busy my weeks are, I once again could only commit to working Saturday/Sunday. As a volunteer, it’s mandatory that we do four shifts during the Con, so I ended up pulling double shifts for the weekend. For the past two years I got assigned to work Volunteer Registration, which in the end really meant that I was a Floater and worked wherever I was needed. I didn’t mind it, honestly, and I was fully expecting to be there again this year. But then assignments came and I found out I got moved to Autographs! I was f**king excited! I mean I knew I was gonna be dead tired by the end of it, but didn’t matter. Because despite having to work all weekend, I still got to see most of the celebrity guests, and got to work with some of them. Well, work with the celebs, really means working with the handlers/agents who work with them. But still, close proximity!

I got to work Gillian Anderson’s line on Saturday. When she left, I got to work Katie Cassidy’s line, which was in between Danielle Panabaker and John Barrowman, so I got to see all three of them. On Sunday, I worked the lines for Jewel Staite, who brought her husband and adorable baby boy as well. Getting to work Jewel’s line was pretty awesome, because her and her handler were just so great to work with. But also, on the one side of Jewel’s booth was Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, and Ben McKenzie; on the other side, Mark Hamill. Like I said, AWESOME.

Despite all the craziness and busyness of the weekend, volunteers were still allowed to enjoy their time. That meant if there was a photo-op or autograph we wanted to get, or even a panel we wanted to go to that fell during our shift, our Team Leaders/Coordinators were very accommodating. Working in Autographs, it was easy to get them, as long as we paid for them like everybody else. We were told not to straight up ask the celebs for a free autograph, ESPECIALLY while we’re on shift, because it makes the volunteers look bad and we’re all (including the celebs) there to work. And honestly, it’s understandable. So with that being said, even with double shifts, I managed to do a photo-op with Hayley Atwell, and got autographs from Ben McKenzie and Charlie Cox.

I had never done a photo-op at a Con before, but I’ve always known that it goes really quickly. So it barely even registered that I met Hayley. Walked into the photo-op area, quick “Hi!” to Hayley, took the picture, and out. It was barely 10 seconds. Enough time for a not great picture (there’s a reason I hadn’t done photo-ops, I just generally don’t like taking pictures), but not enough time for me to get awkward.

During a bit of a lull while on shift and kind of close to the end of the show, I went over to get Ben McKenzie’s autograph. And guys, I totally forgot how much of a crush I had on Ryan Atwood! I mean every time he walked over to his booth, I’d have a stupid smile on my face. Then when I actually went up to get his autograph, I couldn’t even get anything O.C.-related to come out of my mouth. It was the standard pleasantries: “Hi, how are you? Are you enjoying your time here in Toronto?” I was just total fangirling! Ben, for what’s it worth, was just so nice and thanked me as a volunteer for the hard work we put in over the weekend.

By 4:30 Sunday, the majority of the celebs were done and gone, and it was then just a matter of cleaning up the booths. So after cleaning up and such, I was pretty much done my shift before the Con was even over. I looked over and saw Charlie Cox was still signing autographs, and he stayed there until the very end. I was just hanging around at that point, and impulsively decided to get Charlie’s autograph. End of the day, not much of a line, whatever. Anyways, when I got up to meet Charlie, he read and mispronounced my name, which happens all the time, so I just waved it off and said “It’s T.” Charlie being adorable was like, “Oh, sorry! T? I love tea! I drink it all the time. Because you know, I’m English.” It was cute, especially with the accent; I fangirled, obviously. And then, even after he got through signing for everybody that was left, I don’t know for sure how it was instigated, but he was about to leave and then came back to take a group picture with a few fans (and us volunteers that were still hanging around lol). I am still looking for that picture.

It was such a busy weekend, but my third year volunteering turned out to be the best year so far. Working the autograph lines was such a fun experience, tiring as it was, though so completely worth it. My only hope is that I get to do it again next year!

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SDCC 2016: Doing the Con Without the Badge

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Admiring the Convention Center and all that was happening inside, while we tried to have fun outside of it

It was a sad day in November when my cousin and I failed to secure our SDCC badges during Pre-Reg. We felt even worse when we struck out again during Open Reg. Despite our bad luck, we decided to still head down to San Diego and partake in the off-site Con activities, with Nerd HQ being our main priority.

Even with our focus on Nerd HQ, if you’ve ever tried to get panel tickets for it, you know it’s almost as hard as getting actual Con badges. They go on sale and less than a minute later, they’re gone. Cousin and I couldn’t get tickets for the Zachary Levi panel, or Zac and Friends, or Orphan Black, and then somehow we FINALLY lucked out and got tickets for the Stephen Amell and Friends panel. So we set Friday as our day to wander downtown.

First on the agenda? Go see Star Trek Beyond. Yeah, we know, so much to do, so little time, but it’s Star Trek! During Comic-Con weekend! In San Diego! We weren’t gonna pass on that. So we went straight to Horton Plaza for the 10AM showing, and because everybody was busy doing actual Con stuff, we were maybe 2 of 10 people in that screening. For what it’s worth, it was a really fun and enjoyable action movie, with just the right amount of character building/drama to push it past some other mindless action movies.

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Special postcard-size lithograph from the screening

After the movie, we had about two hours to check out all the stuff around the Convention Center, so we made our way down Gaslamp. Our objective was pretty much to get the Entertainment Weekly Comic-Con issue (because duh, Wonder Woman/Gal Gadot on the cover), which we knew wasn’t going to be difficult, and get whatever free stuff we could get our hands on. Free Zico coconut water? Thank you for the much needed hydration on a hot day in San Diego! I would’ve liked to check out the Suicide Squad Belle Rive set-up and the NBC stuff at Tin Fish, but there were some hella lines going on and limited time. Had we not gone to see the movie, I definitely would’ve hit up Camp Conival just to check out the Nerdist panels (mainly to see the always wonderful Dark Matter cast) but I didn’t feel the need to go otherwise. It was a quick run through the Petco Interactive Zone, which seemed a little lacking this year, though maybe it was just that there was nothing that particularly interested us. The FXhibition was just whatever for me, seeing as how the only two shows I watch on the network are The Americans and You’re the Worst, both of which are not Con shows, so didn’t care for it. Ditto with the Adult Swim.

I think it’s always fun to check out the yachts docked behind the Convention Center, mainly because celebs make their way through to do interviews. But unless you’ve got insider info somehow, you don’t know who will be coming at any given time. A couple of years ago we caught some of the cast of The Walking Dead walk by. This year, we stuck around for all of 2 minutes and nearly bumped into Stan Lee!

A highlight of our short time around the Center was Con-X, the Entertainment Weekly off-site. It was located in the Embarcadero Marina Park, so it was quite a bit of a walk from the Center, meaning it wasn’t that busy. It might’ve been a little busier had we gotten there when they were doing interviews, but at that moment there wasn’t anything. Anyways, the free stuff was obviously the best part. Free Krispy Kreme donut, with a side of Power Rangers swag (posters, lanyards, pins)? Why, thank you! Free water? Again, thanks for keeping us hydrated! Free ice cream? That one came with an asterisk of having to take a picture with the Scream Queens people (not the cast) and sharing on social media (an annoying re-occurance). Really, you’re gonna make me work for the ice cream? I don’t even like the show, I just want the damn ice cream. PASS. Free t-shirts though?! YES PLEASE! Except there was a sizable line-up that we didn’t have time for, so unfortunately we also had to pass on that. So a good amount of free food, drinks, and swag – hope EW brings this back next year!

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Then it was onward to NerdHQ for the panel! When they announced the Stephen and Friends panel, I immediately just assumed that more of the Arrow cast was going to be there, but then I thought “Wouldn’t they just call it an Arrow panel then?” I followed up that thought with “What if he brings Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist?!” which didn’t happen. Instead, the “and Friends” part of the panel consisted of Emily Bett Rickards (YAYYYY!!), Cody Rhodes fka Stardust (amusing but meh), Arthur Darville, and a surprise appearance from John Barrowman. I’m not gonna go into detail about the panel because you can just watch it, but needless to say, it was pretty fun. Stuck around NerdHQ for the rest of the afternoon after the panel, in hopes of catching some Smiles for Smiles, but nothing happened so that was it for us.

Needless to say, it was a whirlwind day. It’s true, there is SO much going on in the downtown area outside of the convention center that it will keep you busy. But just like everything else, it all comes down to personal preference – not to mention how willing you are to wait for something. I mean sure, SDCC (or any other Con for that matter) is lovingly nicknamed Line Con, but when you’ve got one day, or in our case a couple hours, you gotta pick your battles.

BUT WAIT! My cousin didn’t get a chance to meet up with her friend on Friday to deliver some stuff, so we managed to squeeze in one more hour on Saturday! As luck would have it, in that hour that we were back downtown, somewhat close to NerdHQ, they announced separate Smiles for Smiles with Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights) and Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley). One of my other cousins got a picture with Kumail, while I ran in to get one of the last pictures with Scott. Even if it was for only like 20 seconds, at least I can say I finally got to meet Scott (Jason Street/George Tucker, y’all!) Regardless, my limited SDCC turned out to be a success!

Smiles for Smiles

So SDCC without the badge was fine, but just for the day. I guess if we had spent more than one day then we probably could’ve done more of the other stuff that required us standing in line for a long time. But honestly, being so close to the Convention Center and not being able to go inside was kinda brutal. I mean with all the panels and not getting to see some of my faves again? Harsh. I missed the final SDCC panel for Orphan Black (I’m certain I’ll still be able to see them at one of the Toronto cons at least). Missed DC TV, Agents of SHIELD, Luke Cage. I missed getting the chance to see my Nikita people again – Shane West for Salem, and even Maggie Q came back this year promoting Designated Survivor! I MISSED SEEING ANNA KENDRICK AND JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE (there for the Trolls portion of the Dreamworks panel)! I’m not entirely sure I’d want to put myself through that again if I don’t get badges again next time. It’s one thing to suffer serious FOMO when you’re at home, but when you’re so close to the action and not at the same time? I don’t think my fangirl heart can take it.

5 Fandom Friday: Fandoms I Love But Didn’t Think I Would

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I’ve been MIA from blogging (again!) just due to personal circumstances and not having the time or energy to really write. So this is my attempt to get back at it, with a 5 Fandom Friday topic that once I saw, knew that it wouldn’t take that much effort to get to it. Thanks again to Megan (The Nerdy Girlie) and Kristin (Super Space Chick) for the ideas!

So this week’s Fandom Friday is all about the movies/shows/whatever I love but didn’t think I would.

1.) STAR WARS

Truth be told, I was late to the Star Wars game. My first foray into the SW universe was Episode I, and needless to say, SCARRED FOR LIFE. But before The Force Awakens came out, I was determined to watch the original trilogy. After I finally saw it, I totally got the appeal. The original films were amazing and so much fun to watch. Then TFA came out and I truly became a fan; not to the same level as a lot of people, mind you, but still a fan nonetheless.

2.) FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

You know, this was one of those shows that I watched well after it ended and I kinda hate myself for watching it when it originally aired. When it first premiered, I didn’t watch because I legitimately thought it was all about football and football is the one sport that I seriously do not get. So I thought to myself, “Why the heck would I want to watch something about football when I don’t get it?” But years later, after hearing so much about the show, all the critical praise, and really falling in love with a lot of the actors who were on the show, I finally watched it and understood why so many people loved it.

3.) iZOMBIE

I never got into The Walking Dead, so zombies for me were an iffy subject matter. Hearing that this is a zombie show with case-of-the-week stuff, made me really unsure. And it’s not like I ever watched Veronica Mars either, to have a basis on how to judge Rob Thomas shows. So when I went to their first panel at SDCC, it was pretty much to see Robert Buckley (who I love from One Tree Hill), but they quickly won me over. I mean, I was still a little on the fence to how it would all play out in the long run, but it’s definitely one of my favourite shows now.

4.) ORPHAN BLACK

I hate to say this, as a Canadian, but Canada hasn’t had a great track record of creating truly awesome TV shows. Obviously it’s important for me to support Canadian content, but truth be told, Canadiam shows were never that great. The production values looked cheap, despite Canada being home to many TV and film shoots, and there was a lot that was super lame and cheesy. So when Orphan Black quietly debuted, I didn’t think much of it. Turns out, the show was totally up my alley, and it marked the first of many Canadian-made sci-fi shows in recent years to make an impact on US TV.

5.) HAMILTON

I never liked learning history. US history? HA! So when I first heard about Hamilton being a musical about a US founding father, I was like “Seriously?!” When it started picking up accolades and profuse praise from everybody, I decided to finally check out the music. All I have to say is that it is nothing short of genius, and I (like everybody else) completely fell in love with it.

5 Fandom Friday: Dream Crossovers

5fandomfridayCrossovers are what fan dreams are made of, aren’t they? Sometimes they make sense, other times not so much. I’d say it’s a TV sin to make a crossover happen and the end product be terrible. Keeping that in mind, this week’s 5 Fandom Friday is a little on the random side. Picking TV shows, past or present, and essentially mashing them up? Why not? It’s all in good fun. Forget the logic of them happening because they wouldn’t (except maybe one), and I actually wouldn’t want them to happen in real life. But again, all for fun! Also, keeping things short with this one because…time.

1.) Nikita/Alias: Two of my all-time favourite shows with awesome female leads, set in the spy world – obvious enough?

2.) Salem/Sleepy Hollow: Salem, inspired by the Witch Trials of the 17th Century + Sleepy Hollow, which deals with witches from time to time. I’d say there’s enough crazy stuff to crossover with.

3.) 12 Monkeys/Fringe/Orphan Black: Speaking of crazy, how’s this for a three-part crossover?! Time travel, alternate universes, clones – shows that on their own, play with your mind and sense of logic. Together?! Excuse my language, but wouldn’t that be just a great and huge mindf**k?

4.) The Mindy Project/You’re the Worst: Mindy is like an ode to romantic comedies, Worst is like the anti-rom-com. When I put it that way, it makes it seem like the two shows are completely different, but I’d like to think Mindy and Gretchen would get along pretty well.

5.) iZombie/The Flash: They’re both DC comics-based shows, airing on The CW, and filming in Vancouver – so why isn’t anyone talking crossovers? I mean besides the obvious of there being no “superheroes” on iZombie. But just imagine Cisco, being the fanboy that he is, interacting with Liv and Ravi, and finding out about the existence of zombies.

So many other shows I wanted to attempt to crossover with another show, but couldn’t find a good fit or the right reason: Suits, Happy Endings, Jane the Virgin, Chuck, One Tree Hill, Fresh Off the Boat, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation. Oh well.

5 Fandom Friday: Favourite Fandom Phrases

5fandomfridayI’ve been neglecting the blog. After a well-rested vacation, I came home to a lot of work and have just been so busy. When I saw the prompts for August, I knew I had to at least do this one. But of course, I forgot and didn’t get to it. So this is me, sharing some of my favourite fandom phrases/quotes a week later.

FRIENDS – “If you know it through a wall, you know it too well!”

I love Friends. What else is there to say? As far as phrases go, I feel like I always say “Could you BE…?” and half the times I say “Oh my god”, I hear Janice’s voice. And I will find an excuse to yell “PIVOT!” But this is one of my favourite lines because, well, doesn’t it just explain us as fans? I mean you watch or hear something often enough, and you can just figure it out from just about anywhere/anything? We’ve all been there.

ONE TREE HILL – “Always and forever”

I loved OTH, but more than anything on that show, I loved Naley. This line was them, and I’m tearing up just looking at that gif.

FRINGE – “You belong with me”

Speaking of lines that make me cry…I mean, like come on, Olivia and Peter! The way she said it just kills me every time I watch it.

NIKITA – “Live the lie until the lie becomes your life”

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I could’ve continued the sappiness, and pick a Nikita/Michael quote, but this one is just so meaningful. Being spies/undercover agents, they have to forget who they are and take on these roles. Sometimes they have to immerse themselves into their cover, that it does become their life. It’s a quote that gets said a lot on the show, and as the characters grew, so did the meaning of the quote.

HAPPY ENDINGS – “Suh cyuht”

So many quotables! But I have found myself incorporating “Suh cyuht” (“So cute”, Penny and Alex-style) and also “A-Mah-Zing” into my life a lot. It’s kind of just engrained in me at this point.

HONOURABLE MENTION:

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – “On your left!”

Every time I hear the words “on your left”, no matter the context, I instantly picture this scene and just laugh.