I don't know why I've never been to a Comicon before. Actually, yes, I do know why—because I thought I wasn't "legit" enough to go. I like some so-called nerdy stuff, but I don't read comics or play video games or Dungeons and Dragons, etc. But I have always heard that the Comicon population is really welcoming and inclusive—I can now say that that is the absolute truth!
My friend Amie works at EMP Museum and invited me to volunteer at their booth at the Emerald City Comicon this year. I'd work for three and a half hours, but have the rest of the day to explore the con. Um, YES! The list of celebrity guests was pretty great: Eliza Dushku, Alan Tudyk, Chad Coleman, Emily Kinney, Rachel Nichols, J. August Richards, Mark Sheppard, and Karl Urban (and those are just the people in shows and movies that I like—there were a ton of other really famous people like Ron Perlman, Richard Dean Anderson, and Nichelle Nichols).
I am a huge fan of dressing up, so I decided to be Kaylee Frye from Firefly. And since Alan Tudyk was going to be there, I decided I'd pay for a photo op with him. I found the perfect turquoise kimono jacket for Kaylee's pilot episode look and assembled the rest of the costume in a mere week. It looks really cute on Jewel Staite, but let me tell you, those men's coveralls are extraordinarily unflattering, especially in pictures. But hey, at least they were comfy.
I showed up on Sunday right at ten, when the con opened. The Washington State Convention Center was already teeming with people. I saw some really great Avengers costumes, including a really hot Captain America. I followed the crowd up to the fourth floor and into the celebrity area. I asked one of the photo op minions when I could buy my Alan Tudyk photo op and she looked at my badge and told me to come back at 10:30 and get in the VIP line since I was an exhibitor. Sweet! I walked around for a little bit, getting a little too excited every time I saw anyone in Firefly gear. One woman wearing a "Browncoats" shirt got very confused when I waved at her. But I did end up getting some really great pictures with other Firefly cosplayers. And I got to walk around and see all the cool stuff. I bought a great postcard of a black cat in Loki's costume by the artist Jenny Parks.
At 10:30, I got in the VIP photo op line and bought my ticket. I asked when I should show up to get in line for the actual picture and the minion told me fifteen minutes before. I didn't quite believe her, so I decided to show up an hour before, at 11:45. They told me to try again in fifteen minutes. I did and they told me to wait another ten. Finally, I heard someone directing people to Alan Tudyk's line, so I rushed on over, but there were already TONS of people in his line. WTF?! I was seriously ready to stand in it at 11:45, but they said his line wasn't open. But I got in line behind another Kaylee cosplayer and we waited for at least half an hour, during which time, only like twenty people got to go get their picture with Alan. I was nervous that I wouldn't get to the EMP booth by 1:30, when my shift started, so I went to speak to a minion and I showed him my exhibitor badge and asked if there was any way I could get my picture taken in time to be at my booth at 1:30. They totally let me cut in line! Yippee!! I would have felt bad, but since I was prepared to stand in line at 11:45, 12:00, and 12:15 and kept getting turned away, I think it was okay that I got to cut.
However, since I was rushed in, I didn't really get to prepare for this experience. There were only a few people in front of me by the time I got there and they were rushing people through SO quickly. My sister had done one of her rad Dia de los Muertos style paintings of Wash and asked me to give it to Alan during my photo op, so I was clutching it in a manila envelope, holding my receipt, and grabbing onto my Kaylee parasol. When it was my turn, Alan turned to me and said hi or hello—I don't remember which. I don't even know if I made eye contact with him; I just blurted out the first thing that came to mind, which was unfortunately, "You're alive!" (meaning Wash, not Alan, who is obviously alive). It made sense in my head since I was dressed as Kaylee, but I think it confused him. I put up my parasol and stepped next to him, putting the hand holding the painting behind his back, and smiled for the camera, not even thinking about a certain pose or expression. It was over so quickly! Then, I handed him the manila envelope, saying "My sister did a painting of you," to which he replied, "Really?" in a "that is really cool" tone of voice. But because they were rushing people through so quickly, he had to set it down without opening it, which I completely understand. Now I wish I had taken it out so he could have seen it right away. But like I said, I didn't think I'd be in to see him so quickly, so I didn't have time to prepare. And, just as quickly as I was in there, I was out. I honestly think it was no more than five seconds. It was kind of a letdown, honestly. I wish they'd let you have a moment or two to speak to the celebrities, but I guess that's what the signings and panels are for. I wish I could go back and re-do it, knowing how short of a time I'd have. Oh well, next time. And, hey, I do have a picture to prove that I (sorta) met Alan Tudyk:
After my photo op, I went to get a quick sandwich since I hadn't eaten since breakfast. And for someone who is used to eating every few hours, this was quite an abnormality. Someone saw me eating my sandwich and commented that I should be eating strawberries. Ha! I really loved feeling like a celebrity myself because of my costume and the number of people who love Firefly and Kaylee.
The EMP booth had a replica TARDIS, which was a very popular destination for the thousands of Doctor Who fans. My job as a volunteer was to tell people about EMP, the $5 off admission they could get with their Comicon badge, and how to Tweet their TARDIS photos in order to win a Doctor Who prize pack. I was so drained from having spent all morning amongst thousands of people and my stressful photo op experience that I wasn't as upbeat and outgoing as I could have been, but I did end up getting in a rhythm. It helped that so many people liked my costume because in our conversations, I felt comfortable working in plugs for EMP and the contest. I met a lot of really cool people in really cool costumes. It was so awesome! That's Amie below in her glorious Wonder Woman dress in front of the amazing TARDIS—and I really hope she doesn't mind that I stole this pic from her Facebook. ;)
In the end, it really was one of the best days of 2014 so far, and I am beyond enamored with the Comicon experience. The whole time I was walking around waiting for the photo op, I encountered nothing but the politest, coolest people. I am a very shy person by nature, but I never once felt intimidated to talk to anyone—I felt very included, even though I was wandering around by myself. And now I know more for next time: a signing is a better celebrity experience than a photo op, but if I have the money for both, I will definitely do that! The next time I go, it will just be as a regular guest (no fancy, VIP exhibitor badge this time) and I'll go for all three days and try to space out my fun. I want to go to a panel and do a signing next time—maybe multiple of them! I'd also like to spend more time walking around and seeing all the costumes. I really only took pictures of Firefly and Avengers costumes, but there were SO many more that were very impressive. I'd like to spend a lot more time people watching and picture taking next time. Also, if I ever go to a con with Eliza Dushku again, I am SO paying money and standing in line for any of her fan experiences. She tweeted and instagrammed the hell out of this con and that is so, so rad.
This time last week, I was busy passing my RD exam!!!!!!!!! Yay!!
I've been studying for it since October last year when I decided that I really wanted to go back into Nutrition. It had been nearly seven years since I'd worked in the field and eleven since I'd been in the clinical setting, so I really had my work cut out for me. However, I feel that I can toot my own horn and say that I am a pretty smart cookie and through studying, I've remembered much of what I learned in school.
The exam itself is very difficult and can cover nearly any topic in four main areas of Nutrition: principles of dietetics, nutrition care for individuals and groups, management, and food service. Now, my interest solely lies in the principles and nutrition care areas. I have absolutely zero interest in management or food service. When I first started studying for the test, I neglected these two areas and it showed. But then I decided to study them diligently because I knew I'd be asked several questions pertaining to both areas. And surprise surprise—I ended up scoring higher on those two portions than the other two. Ha!
I was very saddened to hear of Harold Ramis's death today. Ghostbusters has been my favorite movie for thirty years and he is greatly responsible for its enduring charm. I usually get sad when celebrities I love die, but this is sadder than most for me. I've seen Ghostbusters more times than any other movie on the planet. My sister and I used to recreate scenes from it and play Ghostbusters in the woods. We'd watch it nearly every day when we got home from school. Harold Ramis was a very important part of our childhood. And now he's gone. I keep crying because it's so sad and he was way too young. But at least we'll have the movies he wrote, starred in, and directed to remember him by. What an amazing talent he was and he will be so sincerely missed.