Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#SDCC Lessons Learned

Like all good projects after the project is complete you need to review and develop your lessons learned.
It’s the time where you honestly reflect on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  SDCC is an emotional roller-coaster. There were times you hated being there. There were times you were ready to hand over your first born to guarantee getting tickets for the next decade.
What went well?
What went okay but you could improve?
What went South?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

#SDCC Cheat Omega

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
I’ve only listed websites and twitter.
There are a lot of blogs (most you can get from the twitter addresses) as most everyone is both blogging and twitting.
I know I’ve missed some great sites and twits.
Some I left out on purpose as they are great resources but a lot of the info is not SDCC oriented.
Some of my favorite website:

From the twit world:

Honorable mention to these as they aren’t 100% SDCC but they usually are helpful or entertaining:
If I omitted anyone it wasn’t intentional.
Let me know and I’ll check them out.

Trek Expo Tulsa 6/25/11

Trek Expo has been on my radar for a while.
It’s a 4 hour drive. 4 hours isn’t that much of an issue as I drive to Houston all of the time but I’ve never been to Tulsa before.
I waffled on going but the fact that Jewel Staite was scheduled to be there was the deciding factor.
The drive was easy enough until the detour sign popped up. I hate detour signs. The exit I needed to take was closed. I tried following the detour signs. In short, I got lost. I didn’t panic because the car had GPS but it was frustrating. The 4 hour drive lasted 5 ½ hours.
I got there later than I wanted and full of adrenaline. I met some friends and we chatted for a few minutes; which was good as I was too pumped up to interact with the guests I wanted to meet.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

#SDCC Cheat Psi

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
SDCC doesn’t end when the exhibition floor closes.
Every night there are official and unofficial activities in and around the convention center.
For activities on site - The Eisner Awards and the Masquerade are the two most prominent. If the Star Wars Award are held at SDCC then they in the top 3. But don’t forget about the Finger Awards.
The anime room runs 24 hours a day.
Either in the convention center or in the neighboring hotels, fan favorite movies are being screening around the clock.
Movies previews are done throughout San Diego. Most of them are hard to get into because of the amount of fans showing up.  Plan to leave early to get in those lines.
And speaking of movies, don’t forget to check the schedule for the IFF (independent Fi lm Festival). While this isn’t 24 hours a day, there are some great entries.
Parties and more parties are in the local hotels and elsewhere. Some are open to the fans. A lot are closed to the public. Various websites/blogs are devoted to helping you track down the parties so you can rub elbows with some Hollywood elite. Even check out the flyers being handed out near the trolley stop.
Before you know a day has past and you haven’t slept.
Pace yourself and enjoy,
Insomniacally yours,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#SDCC Cheat Chi

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
Do NOT plan on going back to the hotel during the day.
Those hotels are so tempting close.  It’s just a 5 minute walk – to the front door. Then a 5 minute wait at the street before you cross. Maybe another 5 minutes if the trolley is approaching. Now it’s a 5 minute walk to the hotel. Add 5 more minutes at the elevator.  Now double that for the return trip.  And how much time were you going to spend in your room? You’ve lost an almost an hour.
Do you need to take the shuttle?  Well, they don’t leave when just person boards. They have timetables to meet. Same thing when you leave your hotel. The shuttle will not be waiting for you. Expect to wait for the shuttle to come back and then you will be stopping off at the other hotels before arriving at the convention center.
If you took the trolley to the show (which I do every year) you will miss at least an hour even if the hotel is ‘close’ more like 2 hours.
Get the idea of going back to the hotel out of your head now.  
In the morning, before you leave the room, pack for the day. Foods, water, medicine, whatever you need, bring it. The time saved will be used in panels or shopping or standing/keeping your place in line.

#SDCC Cheat Phi

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
Comfy shoes.
God bless you if you wear high heels all day. Nothing says booth babe or Cosplayer like a pair of 5 inch stilettoes with ankle straps. Every guy in the convention center loves it too.
And I totally understand if you have to wear them.
For those that don’t have to wear heels, comfy shoes does not mean ‘cute’.
I have problems with my feet. So this is very personal for me. I know how much walking I’m doing and the pounding I’m putting on my back, knees, and feet every day.
While you love your moccasins, ballet slippers, flip flops, or whatever, if they do not give arch support or cushion to the heel you will be mistreating your feet.
Even though there is carpet at SDCC, it’s been pounded into the thickness of paper years ago. So you are essentially walking on concrete all day long. A few booths pay for additional padding but that’s the exception and not the norm.
Remember SDCC is a marathon; its 5 long days of walking on concrete whether inside the building or outside.
Don’t buy shoes just before the show (unless they are duplicates of what you already use).  It’s not the time to experiment with a new shoe. Buy your sneakers about 2 weeks before and use them to make sure they fit properly.  Shoes really don’t break in.  Well, they do but that stretching you are making them do is really because you got them too small.
Walk in them all day for several days. Keep them on for 12 hours or so because that is what you will be doing at SDCC.
Do you feel pain? Then you got the wrong shoes and try again. It can be expensive. But which is worse, a high Visa bill or a miserable time at SDCC?
Once you know you have the shoes you need you are in business.
Do you need additional arch support? Many drug stores will sell good supports you can add to your shoes. Small non chains drug store might even have someone that knows about the various products and get the best solution for you.
Are your feet swelling at the end of the day? You might want to try support hose or compression socks. 
It is amazing how much more enjoyable SDCC is when your feet aren’t complaining at day long.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

#SDCC Cheat Upsilon

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
Did you know FedEx has a location at the San Diego Convention Center?
What does that mean to you?
Well any last minute printing can be done there.
It also means when you buy that full size T2 replica you don’t have to try to pack it in your suitcase or buy a seat for it on the plane.
You use a hand truck (I’m sure the vendor will let you use theirs after this purchase) and roll it over to FedEx and have them ship it for you.  You don’t even need to leave the convention center.
And if you weren’t as extravagant, the box full of whatever you bought can be shipped home and possibly even waiting for you before you get off the plane. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

#SDCC Cheat Tau

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
If you are like me and collect autographs; think about what you need to bring. Books, graphic Novels, and Comic Books take up a lot of space and while individually don’t weight much; collectively they become a ton of bricks.
So what do you need to bring? If the author/artist is current and releasing new material, you can easily get it either at the convention center or at a bookstore/comic dealer in San Diego. You can walk, cab, or trolley to a local bookstore.
Mysterious Galaxy and Bud Plant are long time staples at SDCC. You can easily find them on the convention floor. They know who is showing up and what to bring. Most likely you don’t need to bring your copy of the latest book in the series to SDCC. They will have it.
If you want something rare/unique…you are at ComicCon – there are lots of booths selling the rare/unique.
The first time I attended SDCC I brought about 20 novels. The next few years I bought only one of two.
I found that packing books carefully and traveling across country still adds wear and tear to them. Mysterious Galaxy has always been friendly and in stock, especially for authors having signings in the Sails Pavilion. If you have the time, take a trip to their store. You’ll need a car though.
For author signings at booths, the variety is sometimes limited. It depends how much notice they have.
As I mentioned, I’ll only carry a book or two with me.  It’ll be something I bought decades ago and is in good shape and I have read a few times.  I had Ray Bradbury sign my Martian Chronicles. It wasn’t a first edition by a long shot. I bought it when I was in high school and I have an emotional attachment to it.
I brought several Star Trek Logs that Alan Dean Foster wrote. They were first editions and it was neat to say I bought these as a kid when I met him.
Bring your favorite book or two.  You just don’t need to bring the whole library.

Monday, July 4, 2011

#SDCC Cheat Sigma

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
The location of the convention center is gorgeous. The front (facing the street) overlooks the Gaslamp District and the Ballpark. The other side gives you a view of the marina and a few aircraft carriers.
Sunset is gorgeous.
How many times have you been to the SDCC? You know where Hall H, Ballroom 20, and the convention floor are. Do you do more than that? Do you have a need for more than that?
Go ahead and learn the layout of the floor and the rest of the convention center.  In the long term it will save you time.  You’ll know when to leave the floor and use the concourse to avoid the foot traffic and then pop back in. You’ll know which entrance to use when entering the building when you come back from lunch or from an event held at a nearby hotel. You might find one of elusive electrical outlets to recharge your phone, camera, or whatnot. Even if you don’t explore, knowing where a bathroom is off the beaten path might be helpful .
And you might find a nice quiet place to relax for a few minute to give your feet and back a rest.
Here are the floor plans of the convention center.
Get to know this place you will be calling home for 5 days.

#SDCC Cheat Rho

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
Feed your body not your belly.
You’ve been walking all day. You’ve been up since 6AM. You went to bed late last night. Your adrenaline has been coursing through your blood for the last week.  You’ve skipped breakfast or replaced it with coffee or poptarts or both.
Now you’re hungry, that pretzel with cheese dipping sauce or the big chocolate chip cookie looks really good right now. It knows your name and calls you from across the floor. While resistance seems futile you need to make a better choice.
Those are empty calories and do nothing but feed the belly.  Your body needs more than those calories. 
Pause and think for a moment.  Have a headache?   Maybe you feel a little light headed if you got up too quick?
Drink more water, take your vitamins, and get some protein.
Instead of Red Bull or other energy drinks (full of B12) try a real meal.  If you don’t want to step away from the convention then bring some food with you.
I mentioned I bring protein bars. They are small and fit easily in my backpack. I can eat while walking from one end of the floor to the other or while I’m in a panel. I also drink a full bottle of water after I eat.
The belly just wants something in it. It’s stupid. It only knows whether it’s full or empty.  Feed the body and you can go all weekend short on sleep and running at full speed.
Bon Appetite,

Sunday, July 3, 2011

#SDCC Cheat Pi

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
Remember your please and thank you’s.
I’m always surprised how often the swag is taken (almost ripped) out of the hands of the booth babe and then given a cursory look and then the convention-goer just walks off.  Believe me, if you want to get in good with a booth babe that is not the way to get her attention.
Are you getting an artist to create a sketch for you? Having an author sign your book?  You need to remember the little things that mom and dad taught you.
It’s easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar.
Be nice.
Be friendly.
Make eye contact.
And thank them.
A few years ago, Paramount was giving our scratch off cards. You needed to collect a complete set to be able to get a Star Fleet Messenger bag.  They had teams of booth babes walking the convention floor handing out the cards. Some guys whistled and leered. They got one card. Some guys were polite and they got a couple of cards. Some guys talked to them and felt for them because they were walking all over the convention center in high heels. Those guys got hand full of cards. And every time those girls met these guys, they got another handful of cards.
It’s the little things that pay off and how little is please and thank you?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

#SDCC Cheat Xi

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
SDCC has had a blood drive for ever. It fits with the vampire chic of today but its tradition is far older.
The blood drive celebrates a Sci Fi Grand Master with a very rare blood type that also most died except someone had donated blood that he was able to use.
Robert Heinlein, author of A Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Trooper, and The Puppet Masters was the rare AB negative. He needed blood and it was there for him.
Several conventions lured Heinlein to attend by having blood drives. ComicCon has been doing a drive since 1977.
If you are healthy and have some time go ahead and give a pint.  You have a chance to win some gifts from the convention and do a good deed and have a chance to honor a Grand Master all at the same time.


#SDCC Cheat Nu

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
Bring your camera.
This is another one that bears repeating.
The cosplayers really do want you to ask. They dressed up to be seen and to be immortalized by your photo.
They are actually bummed if no one asks. And they are depressed if they can’t find themselves posted on dozens of website after the weekend is over.
Many of these people have multiple costumes and spends months (I dare say all year) getting ready for ComicCon. This is their High School Prom, Oscars Red Carpet, and Royal Wedding all rolled up into one.
Stop them, ask politely for a photo.  Thank them.  Maybe even ask them something about the costume.  They will be happy to tell you. Besides some great photos, you’ll also have some stories to tell.  Maybe even make some friends.
Strike a pose,

Friday, July 1, 2011

#SDCC Cheat Mu

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
M&M’s are good.
M&M’s are so good they are a secret currency.  Good ahead and try.
Last year I swapped a bag of M&M’s for a swag t-shirt.
I was in the prize redemption room and I mistakenly went to the wrong table to redeem my ticket.  My ticket was for something not nearly as cool as the Captain America shirt I saw on the table in front of me.  I had my bag of M&M’s out and I saw the girl eye them. Dare I say she was salivating?  A long hard day at ComicCon sure does make a body hungry. I knew I had her.
I offered her the M&M’s for the shirt.  She paused.  She was thinking through the angles.  She wasn’t born yesterday so she knew there was a catch.  She just didn’t know what it was yet. I casually tossed the bag in the air without a care in the world.  I knew she would say yes. It was just a matter of time.
She opened her mouth. She paused. She finally asked – Do I get the ‘whole’ bag? 
I seriously replied - of course. That was only fair.  I quietly placed my bag on the shirt I wanted. She picked up the bag and I picked up my shirt. I left with a smile and a cool shirt. She torn into the bag and shared them with her friend.
Easy peasy.

#SDCC Cheat Lambda

These aren’t really cheats as anyone can do them and you won’t get in trouble.
Free Wi-Fi at the San Diego Convention Center.
I have no idea how fast it is or how reliable as my cell phone is only a phone and not a smart phone. My wife has had to use it several times because of work issues.
And speaking of phones… cell reception is spotty. Some places good and some bad.
And speaking of phones…do you need to have your ring tone on?  Set your cell to vibrate in the panels. You’ll make more friends that way.  When you do answer your phone, leave the room.  I don’t need to hear about your friends date and how they now need to go to the doctor to cure what they got.
Set to silent,