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Sunday, July 24, 2011

San Diego Comic-Con: Saturday Recap

Wow, where to start. Comic-Con is crazy and crowded and intense, but it's also so amazing and fun and exciting. It's a four-day event filled with panels from popular TV shows and upcoming movies, autograph signings, sneak peeks, crazy costumes, free stuff, artwork, LOTS of comics and more. It's sensory overload.

Hubs and I bought our Saturday-only tickets way back in February. Tickets originally went on sale in the fall, but they had a bunch of technical difficulties because their site kept crashing from too many people trying to buy them. We had our tickets and arrived at the San Diego Convention Center before 6am on Saturday. We waited in line for about two hours (I read Imaginary Girls), got our badges, then went to the back of a very long line to get into the Chuck panel.

Once inside, we got a free T-shirt (score!). We sat toward the back of the huge hall, but they have big video screens so we could see the actors just fine. Almost the entire cast was there at the Chuck panel, including Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovsky, Adam Baldwin, Joshua Gomez and more. In fact, you can watch the entire panel here. Here are some pics:

I zoomed in the best I could on this last one. The other shots are of the big screens.

Next, we got to see the entire first hour of the pilot for Terra Nova, a new series on FOX produced by Stephen Spielberg. Before the panel, I honestly thought the show looked stupid. The premise is that the world is quickly becoming uninhabitable. So, they find some tear in time so they can travel backward and end up in the time of the dinosaurs. It looks pretty interesting, actually. The pilot explains a lot of the questions, like why back to the time of the dinosaurs? Wouldn't traveling back in time affect the future? We will DVR this one to see where it goes. Then the show's writers, the dinosaur engineer, and one of the actors came out to answer a few questions. The actor is the bad guy from Avatar, Stephen Lang. We liked him :). Here is more info about the show.

On the left side is Stephen Lang, who played that military guy in Avatar with the big scars on his face.

Our last panel was Futurama. The voice actors were all there, plus Matt Groening (the show's creator; he also created The Simpsons). We got to see some footage from future episodes, and then they had a draw-off with Matt Groening and one of the show's artists. Matt Groening is so quick! He drew a couple of Bender sketches, Popeye and then started Bart Simpson before time was up. The other guy only drew one sketch, but it had multiple characters (Bender and Roberto, a robot who likes stabbing). I love John Dimaggio, who does Bender's voice. I got to meet him and Billy West (voice for Fry and many other characters on the show, and a zillion other voices on other shows) at the 2009 Comic-Con.

Here's me with Billy West (middle) and John Dimaggio (right) at the 2009 Comic-Con. John even did the Bender voice for me! I didn't go to their signing this year. For every signing, you had to wait in line a couple hours earlier to get a lottery ticket. If you happened to have a lucky ticket, then you could go to the signing. Lame.

After those panels, we wanted plenty of time to explore the exhibit floor. We saw a ton of actors at various booths and up on platforms being interviewed. Here are some highlights:

Me with Laini Taylor, author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I got a signed ARC. Yay!

Jack Sparrow with .... Jack Sparrow (LEGO version).

There were steampunk costumes EVERYWHERE. I got a card from the League of S.T.E.A.M. booth too.

Hubs and I in front of the Hunger Games sign. We even got our very own mockingjay pins! And a couple of posters.

Hurley (Jorge Garcia) from Lost. There was a VIP-only platform where the stars could hang out and look out over the crowd.

Laura Vandervoort, who played Clark's cousin Kara in Smallville and Ana's daughter on V. I guess she's the voice of Mary Jane in an upcoming Spider-Man video game.

Cool Firefly artwork! Just a couple hours earlier, Nathan Fillion himself tweeted a photo of this very same piece.

The cast of Fringe at their signing. Not sure what she's doing, lol.

The back of Summer Glau, who plays River on Firefly and is in the upcoming movie Knights of Badassdom. She walked through the crowd right by us, but my timing was off when I took the pic and she was completely obscured by some guy. Anyway, I did see her face just a few feet away.

An awesome costume and I just had to get a pic with this guy. He's Sora from the Kingdom Hearts video games. He had the keyblade and the big shoes!

A blurry pic of the cast of Nikita.

Replicas of the Harry Potter wardrobe. It even has the Nimbus 2001 broom. Where can I order my Hogwarts robe?

As we wandered through the booths, I spotted some familiar faces: Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss, and upcoming Lola and the Boy Next Door) and Kiersten White (Paranormalcy trilogy). I was a total fangirl and my face turned bright red from being nervous and excited. They were too sweet, and Kiersten even recognized me from her previous book signing. Yay! They had a panel on Sunday (today) with the afore-pictured Laini Taylor, Andrea Cremer, Tahereh Mafi and Amanda Hocking. Plus, their moderator was Nathan Bransford. I wish I could have been there!

BEST PIC OF THE DAY. We were all the way on the other side of the exhibit hall (which is huge) when Nathan Fillion (Firefly and Castle) tweeted that he was at the G4 booth. Hubs and I made our way as fast as we could and got there in time to see him. He finished his interview with Attack of the Show and then walked right by us! SQUEEE!! He was smiling at everyone and seemed super happy to be there. Apparently he was roaming the floor earlier in disguise, but we didn't see him. Oh my gosh, do you see how close we were? He was even closer right after I snapped this pic. Like, I could have tackled him with a well-timed leap. Dang, it! Why didn't I?

I kept going back to the HarperCollins booth hoping to spot Tahereh Mafi. Then I found her! For the brief minute I spent with her, she was every bit as sweet and awesome as she is on her blog and Twitter. I got an ARC of her highly anticipated debut novel, Shatter Me, and she signed it for me! Hubs said my face turned red when I met her too, but luckily the redness went down when we took our photo. I freakin' can't WAIT to read Shatter Me!! I have to restrain myself from starting it because I am in the middle of two other books. I should at least finish one of those first, right? Right ...... maybe. Maybe not. We'll see.

Finally, here's a look at my loot. I got a few books, some awesome eye tattoos from Laini's signing, a Twilight magnet and pin, a mockingjay pin, two Hunger Games posters, my Chuck T-shirt, and a few other random things. Score!

There you have it. My super-detailed, photo-laden recap of Saturday at Comic-Con 2011. Before this year, we went to the 2009 Comic-Con and then I hadn't been since the '90s. It was so different then. I remember meeting an astronaut and getting actual comic books (I collected The Simpsons and Ren & Stimpy comic books). Today, the focus is much more about Hollywood and celebrities, but it's such a fun event. Really, it's the only place I can think of where you can actually meet your favorite characters in person and all in one place. We will definitely get tickets for next year!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fresh Perspective: A WiP Update

I'll admit it. I neglected my writing these last couple of months. Dun-dun-duuuuunnnn!!

It's not that I didn't want to write or that I was bored with my story. I totally and completely LOVE my story! I just didn't make writing a priority. Then after a while, I knew it would take some work to get back into the voice. Plus I was a little stuck on where to go next.

Last weekend, I finally sat down and read my WiP from page one. I've read that intro SO many times before and couldn't figure out how to make it better. But this time, I had a fresh perspective.

Suddenly, I could see the weak sentences and unnecessary descriptions. I don't know if I learned a lot from reading blogs and talking with my crit group (without which, I would be wandering through the dark with not but a name and an idea!), but it was great to finally see how to fix the intro that I felt lukewarm about. A little time away was just what I needed.

Guess what? I DID get back into the voice. I even started a new scene and felt good about it instead of thinking, "Well, that sucked. I'll probably just delete it." I also had a shiny idea about something that I didn't realize I was already doing but TOTALLY works with the plot. *victory dance*

I'm excited to get back into the story and write some more. Maybe I can even figure out how two characters are supposed to randomly meet each other in a totally believable way (this one has been plaguing me for weeks!). Or maybe the story will take a twist that even I don't see coming.

Today, I am a happy writer :). How are your WiPs going?

P.S. - I learned a new term today. I think I'm a mix between a pantser and a plotter. So what does that make me? A PANTYLINER! HA! 

P.S.S. - Anyone else SUPER EXCITED to see Harry Potter this weekend?? Eeeeeeeee!! Maybe I should by my tickets now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tag, You're It!

One of my awesome Blogger friends, Anita Grace Howard, has tagged me in a rather odd but hilarious meme. So without further ado, here are my answers:

Are you a rutabaga?
No. Why, do you know something you're not telling me?

When was the last time you ate lion meat?
I wouldn't dare mess with the king of the jungle.

Upload a heartwarming picture of something that makes you smile.
Hubs and I on our honeymoon in St. Lucia - the best vacation ever!! This pic definitely makes me smile because it's goofy and brings back awesome memories. We had a romantic dinner on the beach and while we were waiting for our food, we got a little silly. (Don't worry, Hubs gave me permission to post this pic.) Side note - I won second place in a beer drinking competition AND ate fire during this trip. Plus we learned how to scuba dive. Like I said, BEST VACATION EVER!!

If you could go back in time and kick the crap out of someone, who would it be?
That *BLEEPING* *BLEEP* who stole my laundry out of the dryer at our old apartment complex two years ago. The person stole my favorite pajama pants, my favorite T-shirt, my bathing suit, my UNDERWEAR. I felt so violated. If I could go back in time and catch that person in the act, I would open up such a can of whoop-ass!

Name one habit that makes other people plot your demise.
Talking too quietly. I'M SORRY. I'LL USE MY MAN VOICE NEXT TIME.

What song would you like to be playing while you are kicking the crap out of someone?
How about "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister? Or maybe "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns 'n' Roses. Or anything by AC/DC. Just need an awesome rock song. (It's ridiculous how much time I spent looking up songs on YouTube, ha ha.)

Where da muffin top at?
Hanging over my waistband. Thanks for pointing that out.

How many goats, stacked atop one another like Yertle's Turtles, would it take to reach the moon?
Ummmmm, 100,000? I'm not good at distances. Are we talking tail to nose, or are the goats standing on each other's backs? The bottom ones would get squished - are we taking into account the inevitable squish factor?

Describe yourself using obscure Latin words.
Proin non velit nec potuisse (wishes she could do magic). Yes, I used Google Translate. Someone really should come up with a way to do magic. This is the closest I could get: magic wand remote control.

Why does evil exist?
Because Voldemort and Darth Vader make it look so cool. Though if I was evil, I wouldn't go for the snake look.


What the chiz are you thinking right now?
Someone should make a spoof video of Voldemort teaming up with Darth Vader. Or maybe doing a walk off, Zoolander style. Then, I thought about this Tumblr post by Tahereh Mafi and snickered.


There you have it! Now, the rules say I can tag as many or few blog buddies as I want. Here are my picks:

1. Taryn Tyler
2. L.T. Host
3. Adam Heine
4. K.M. Criddle

Pick a funny nickname for number 1.
Oh gosh, I'm not good at nicknames. I'll go with "Queen of Old School Fantasy" because she rocks at it.

Make up a rhyme about number 2.
Horses, bunnies and cats,
I never see L.T. wear hats,
She's creative and sweet,
Doesn't like people touching her feet,
She's my bestest pal, and that's that!

Where would number 3 hide in the event of the apocalypse?
Inside a perfectly structured outline, safe from harm.

Where does number 4 purchase her pants?
If we're talking about those comfy crop pants, I think she got them at Target. I gotta get me some of those!

If I tagged you, feel free to play along! Or not. Up to you :). Have a great week.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fried Frog Legs and Rastafarian Bananas

Every June, we have the annual San Diego County Fair (or Del Mar Fair to those of us who REFUSE to call it by its new name). It's a pretty big deal to us San Diegans. About 60,000 people attend the fair each DAY while it's here. People go to eat weird fried food, maybe buy some new knives or a crystal dragon figurine, look at the livestock, ride an elephant or try to win a Rastafarian banana. It's all great fun!

Hubs and I went last Sunday, thanks to some free tickets from his grandma.

Some steampunk guys at the entrance! See, K. Marie Criddle? Told ya!

Every year there's a new fried food to try. This year, it was Deep-Fried Kool-Aid (see a couple photos down). We didn't buy them, but we saw a lot of people partaking in the red balls of fried dough. Not sure if they were any good. Yes, that is deep-fried butter in this picture. No, we didn't try it (ew!). A couple of years ago, we did try chocolate-covered bacon. But I wouldn't recommend it.

Chicken Charlie's appears to have the most bizarre fried foods. Even though hubs says frog legs are pretty tasty, I don't think I can ever try them. Even if they're deep-fried. Ick!

Here is the place we ordered from (an extension of Chicken Charlie's). We got the "Totally Fried Avocados" and the fried Oreos. If you can't read the sign, yes that's a chicken sandwich with Krisy Kreme donuts for the bun, and then deep-fried.

Here's hubs and me with our fried avocados. They were AWESOME. They came with some olive oil dipping sauce with herbs in it. So good! I was pleasantly surprised. Oh, I just noticed that's the first aid station in the background. Good thing it's right next to Chicken Charlie's!

Then we walked through the rides and games area. For some reason, the big prize was one of these Rastafarian bananas. They also had Angry Birds.

Normally I love to go on rides, but they're so expensive here. And we'd just eaten fried Oreos and avocados. It made me a little queasy just to watch people get twirled upside down. But this pic is perty :).

Elephant rides!! I totally would have done it if I wasn't so cheap. No, I don't know these people. Hope they don't mind being on my blog.

In the livestock area ... llamas! We backed away quickly because that white one kept giving me the stink eye. I was sure it was going to spit on me.

"You know it's hard out here for a pig". Or hog, I guess. This photo doesn't really show how MASSIVE this hog was. From tail to nose, it was probably a lot taller than me.

These music guys were hilarious. They did "Thriller" and did a great job acting like zombies.

I totally broke the rules by taking this picture, but it's Cindy Pon's brush art! Later I wanted to take a pic of a painting of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, but hubs was like "You can't take pictures. There was a sign." Oops.

Another one of Cindy's brush art!

OK, this was seriously awesome. This is in the woodworking displays. The sign reads: "The Wand Chooses the Wizard - 25 Wizard Wands." I asked hubs which wand he'd want to have, and he said, "The wand chooses YOU." Oh, right.

In the gemstone displays. I just love "Paul's Holey Balls."

I didn't take a picture while we were there, but we usually go to the fair to browse the shops areas. Basically, it's like booth after booth of infomercial products. After agonizing over whether it was a good purchase, we spent $60 on this cleaner (we're so young and hip, right?). The demonstration was very convincing! And, we can bring it back next year for a full refund if we hate it. It has a 20-year shelf life and claims to take care of most of our household cleaning needs. I DON'T HAVE TO JUSTIFY MYSELF. YOU'LL SEE WHEN WE NEVER HAVE TO BUY CLEANER AGAIN - BWAHAHA. Ahem.

So, there you have it - my very professional recap of our fair visit. How does this relate to writing? There was SO much inspiration here. A whole novel could take place at the fair: so many interesting people, things to do and see, experiences that are different from everyday life. What's it like to travel from city to city, trying to sell your wares or entice people to buy fried candy bars? What shenanigans can ensue?

Have a great Fourth of July, everyone!!