Is This My Last Comic Con Ever? 2014 Edition Part III

Saturday, July 26

First thing in the morning I was going to make one last futile try to get the wampa Hallmark ornament, but boy is it insanely crowded on Saturday. I couldn’t get up to the door at Hall C, so I had to go further back. They let us in around 9:20 and of course, the Hallmark line was already capped. Ridiculous. They are just as guilty in perpetuating scalpers as the scalpers themselves and the desperate collectors who buy from them.

My other plan for the morning was to swing by the MAC store close to the convention center. Its Marge Simpson line won’t be available until September 4 but the store was going to make the line available one day only. But the store didn’t open until 10, so I went by the Tokidoki booth first and got a hat, and impulse purchased a Skelanimals unicorn tee because I saw a girl wearing one. Got five bucks off!

I went outside and pushed past the crowds streaming to the convention center to get to the MAC store. It was right at 10 a.m. and of course…there was a line that went down the block. Ugh! Honestly, I should’ve just walked at that point. I’m not even a Simpsons fan anymore; I just liked the color palette. (No, it doesn’t include yellow foundation and blue hair dye.) I should’ve taken it as a really bad sign that many of the people in line ahead of me were groups and were men. I don’t mean the kind of men who dig makeup either. That meant a lot of these people were, you guessed it, scalpers. But I decided for some crazy reason to stay. This is when I’d noticed that the Pinkberry at the Hard Rock was gone. Oh no! Where was I going to get my frozen treat later?

So I stood in the hot sun for well over an hour. I put sunblock on before leaving the house, but as I was going to discover when I got in my car, the straps on my backpack pulled back my shirt so that part of my shoulders that didn’t get the sunblock treatment were exposed. I spent my time in line talking to a lady who was hoping to buy the Simpsons line for her daughter. She told me there were folks who had camped out at Hall H and still couldn’t get in but she’d lucked out in that day’s drawing for Weird Al Yankovic’s panel at the Horton Grand Theater. She’d also gone to the Outlanders screening on Friday night and scored some free pizza courtesy of Starz. I guess they figured hungry fans were going to be a lot less forgiving. After a half hour or 45 minutes in line, the MAC employees told the extremely slow-moving line not to worry, they had plenty of stock. Then 20 minutes later, they started to run out of stuff like the eyelashes and lip gloss, which I wasn’t planning to buy anyway. Then after I’d been there over an hour, they sold out. One employee said the first people in line got there at midnight. “Yeah, so they can sell it on eBay.” Unsurprisingly, the dude bros ahead of me bought one of everything. Unless they’re undercover drag queens, they’d only do that to sell it. Even though the line is coming back in September, I know from experience with other limited edition lines from MAC based on pop culture, things sell out very quickly. I had a devil of a time with the Disney villainesses line from a few years ago. Then almost everything ends up on eBay. Whatever the case, I hated that I wasted my time with this nonsense. My only gain was some free protein bar that was actually pretty good.

I left the line–I have no idea why so many people remained–and walked over to Nerd HQ in Petco Park. I took the long way because I couldn’t find the entry. Nerd HQ is a free event (except for certain panels and autographs, which benefit Operation Smile) open to the public. No Comic Con badge required. Even though it was really geared toward video games and there was some annoying electronic music playing on the speakers, it’s great for three reasons: it’s free, you can sit down in someplace shaded, and there are open restrooms. I practically had a nap there. Also got a free Aliens bag and a comic book based on some upcoming video game. Once I ate my packed sandwich and chips (I do SDCC on the cheap), I decided to head over to the Comic Con Interactive Zone. You don’t need a badge to get in there either but it is part of the con. It’s on a big open lot. There was some kind of Adult Swim funhouse with a massive line, a promotion for “24” where you could fly a drone (45 minute wait), a Pizza Hut thing where you can fire cardboard pizzas at targets, a swag booth for the new “Sin City” movie with a huge line, an Amazon “geek boutique” with a huge line (really, you can just shop on Amazon on your damn smartphone or iPad), a Hello Kitty booth, and a thing promoting Angry Birds where they told people to go away so the booth workers can go to lunch (huh?).

But the reason why I wanted to be there was to check out The Sleepy Hollow Experience. It’s supposed to be some kind of virtual reality game where you avoid getting decapitated by the Headless Horseman. But they weren’t letting anybody in. Why was that? All of a sudden there was a bunch of people with cameras and boom mikes and then I saw the actress who plays Abbie’s crazy sister Jenny. Oh, that’s nice, she decided to drop by. It was a little hard to see her though, with the media people standing in front of her and some fake trees. Then show stars Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison appeared. Wow! I’d have gone to the “Sleepy Hollow” panel on Friday had it not been scheduled in a different room right after the “Vikings” one. It’s impossible to go from one room to another back to back like that. So this definitely made up for missing the panel! Beharie is tiny in person. Petite and skinny. Tom Mison is actually even better looking in person, if that’s possible. I think I took a lot of pictures of him, heh heh. A few brave fans jumped the rope and got close to take pictures but I still got some good shots. Some girl whiningly asked for a picture with Tom and he politely declined. Later on I heard her complain about it, heh heh. But I understand. If you do it for one person, you’d have to do it for everybody. Although Orlando Jones also turned up and he quickly did a few autographs and took a couple of pictures with fans.

Once I left the interactive area, I headed back to Fifth Avenue to see if I could score some swag. Sure enough, there was a t-shirt giveaway to promote “Sharknado 2.” I missed out on the popular foam chainsaws but I’ll take a free t-shirt anytime! The only catch was you had to get pictures of the “street team” in action and have it ready to upload to your social media outlet of choice to get the t-shirt. Mine didn’t work but I was already in possession of a t-shirt and halfway down the street when it didn’t go through to Twitter. Ha ha! Not too far away I had to do the same thing again to score some free popcorn from an “American Horror Story” promotion.

All of this hunting for free swag in the hot sun made me thirsty so I wandered around for a place to get something to drink and of course, there were lines everywhere. So I went back to Petco Park and bought the $5 tub of soda. Boy was I dehydrated. Then I went to the first Mexican ice cream cart I stumbled across and bought an ice cream sandwich. Oh well, at least I was walking/sweating off the calories.

From there I investigated the Simpsons land set up next to the convention center. The swag line was ridiculously long. There was a carnival game where participants got an inflatable doughnut. Aside from using it in the event of severe hemorrhoids or a broken tailbone, I saw no need for one. Then I checked out the Batman/Gotham zipline to watch other people risk their lives (not me) and got a bad picture of me with Godzilla to promote the DVD release. After that I noticed a crowd at the marina. It turns out T.V. Guide was hosting an event aboard a yacht with stars of different t.v. shows and saw some of the cast from “True Blood” go on board. I just hate how these Hollywood people always look so glammed up, even at Comic Con, while I feel like an unwashed medieval peasant because I’ve been walking around outside all day. One lady walked on board with mega heels even as the dock and boat were moving. Must have a lot of experience with yachts.

I decided to visit the Hilton for a trip to the restroom. I reach this floor with a sign marked “Restricted Access” as though they had a bunch of Ebola patients being treated in the ballrooms. But I asked the security guy for the ladies’ room and he pointed to the one on that floor. I noticed there were a lot of empty seats, a premium at Comic Con, so when I came back out, I decided to rest the aching dogs for a bit and rotate my shoulders in a chair. I noticed there were a bunch of people out in the patio and a Rotten Tomatoes logo sign. Then I noticed a pair of women talking to a journalist at a set of chairs next to me. I recognized one of them as the odd-looking chick who dated Raj briefly on “The Big Bang Theory.” I put two and two together and realized this must be some floor reserved for celebrities and press. So I discreetly got up and got out of there before getting tossed out on my ear.

I went back inside the convention center to do my last minute shopping before leaving for the day. I passed by the Fox booth and sure enough, there was a pile of those Firefly pins I needed just there for the taking. I grabbed one of them, stuck it on my lanyard, and went back to the booth to get the paper foldups. I’m glad that went better than the Hallmark thing. I also dropped by the Espionage Cosmetics booth for a free nail sticker. I got a better look at the lifesized Darth Vader Big Wheel. It opens and everything! Then back at the Lucasfilm zip code, I watched a bunch of people watch Obi-Wan take on General Grievous in ROTS, then bought the Sparkle Factory Artoo bracelet. The cheaper one anyway. The pearl one is like 80 bucks. I went to the Stylin’ booth and got a belt with characters from all of the Star Wars films. That one turned out to be really popular. There was a bunch on Thursday and on Saturday I had to dig around to find the last one.

Well, that was kind of it for me but for the tragedy of the zombie walk. I was heading back to my car when this incident occurred about a block away from where I was walking. There was a big traffic jam, an ambulance, cop cars, etc.. A guy was waving away oncoming traffic, saying there was an accident at that intersection. When I walked past the supermarket, I saw a car with a shattered windshield and some upset-looking people standing around with the cops. I had no idea of the specifics until I watched the evening news that night.

Here’s my opinion. I think it’s time that they put an end to this zombie walk business if they won’t get permits and can’t afford police escort. Or do like the Walking Dead thing at Petco Park, confine it to an area where it’s not on open, public streets. Exacerbating the problem was the huge number of looky loo/partiers heading down to the bars at the Gaslamp who were treating the event like it’s Mardi Gras or Spring Break. I don’t know if the driver just grew impatient or if he and his family were scared and upset, but I know how I’d react if people started pounding on my car and breaking the windshield. Especially if I was deaf and if I had small children in my care. If a car starts moving the logical thing to do is to BACK UP AND GET OUT OF THE WAY. Right or wrong, a two-ton car will win over your 125 pound self every time. This wasn’t a situation where the car just barreled through the intersection full of pedestrians at full speed because the driver was on PCP or something. It would also help if there was more traffic control in the intersections near that end of the convention center. Bring in cops from other agencies in the county if necessary.

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