Monday, July 29, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Last Comic-Con post, I mean it

I've been a bit waylaid by the infamous "Con Crud" - a sore throat and vague sinus troubles that are the inevitable result of cramming 100,000 people in a relatively small area and recirculating the air endlessly. But here are my thoughts, favorite things, and a few last pictures from this year's Con.

  • Lots of good cosplayers this year. There seems to be much more variety in the costumes and that's a good thing. The point of this event should be to geek out about the things that are dear to you, not to dress up like something just because every other nerd will be doing it.
  • Lines are never fun but at least in the lines I was in, people took things in stride, were cheerful and friendly. Karen and I had a nice chitchat with Deadpool Waldo (see my entry from a few days ago), talking about movies and TV, and introducing him to the Castle tie-in books. 
  • Con is way too crowded. Seriously. There should be no reason for people to camp out all night to get into Hall H. I'd heard that unless you were there at 3 in the morning, there was no way to get into the hall, and that is just ridiculous. Unfortunately, I don't see SDCC cutting back on the crowds, because if you build it, they will come, and that means more profit.
  • The upside of this is that maybe more people will check out smaller panels. Aside from our day of Ballroom 20 and Agents of SHIELD, we tended to stick with the medium-to-small events and had a great time. The Roger Rabbit anniversary panel gave good insight into the making of the movie and what an amazing technical achievement it was, and the Spike and Mike animation show was very entertaining. 
  • Props once again go to Zachary Levi's Nerd HQ. This time the HQ took over a portion of Petco Park and I think it should stay there. Panels were held in a small, intimate location (only 250 seats) and rest of HQ was a pleasant getaway with comfy couches and video games aplenty. Best of all was the night-time showing of Serenity, out on the grass of Petco Park - just fans with their blankets out on the grass. Only way we could top that is to make it a pajama party. 

And now here are a last round of photos. Enjoy!

A prop from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea 

The gun used in publicity shots by Sean Connery as James Bond 

Nerd HQ in Petco Park gets ready for the evening showing of Serenity 

One of the best cosplays - Big Tall Headless Dude 

Inside Nerd HQ - a great place to relax for a while 

At Nerd HQ, lots of video games - you could choose from the latest ones or old school arcade games like Centipede and Galaga 

Alan Tudyk introduces Nathan Fillion's Nerd HQ panel. 

Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion at Nerd HQ (same for all the rest below)


Might get a few more pictures in from friends, but you can probably tell that it was a pretty good time!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kelly's Big Score: Comic-Con 2013 edition

Bought a bunch of books at Comic-Con this year, which made my suitcase really heavy to drag back. But it was worth it, as I brought home:

  • Some of Your Blood - Theodore Sturgeon
  • Psycho - Robert Bloch
  • Volume 4 of Dark Horse's Crime Does Not Pay crime comics collection
  • 50 Girls 50 and other stories illustrated by Al Williamson

I also got a novelization of the film All That Jazz and a graphic novel adaptation of Something Wicked This Way Comes, plus a HALO encyclopedia for my son.

I just want to give a shout-out to William Wu Books, from whom I got many of these books. It's a great source for collectible and hard-to-find SF, fantasy, and other kinds of books. Check out the wares and tell them I sent you.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Comic-Con 2013 Day 4: I have a real feeling of Serenity

Hey! Thanks to the miracle of wireless technology here on Amtrak, the Sunday update will actually be on Sunday.

Last night we went over to Petco Park for the outdoor screening of Serenity put on by Nerd HQ. It was very fun and festive as there were no seats, just people sitting on the grass with blankets and enjoying the movie. Zachary Levi came out before the show and danced about enthusiastically, giving high-fives all along the front row (yes, I got a high five), then Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk came out to introduce the film and give a bit of MST3K-type riffing for the first ten minutes or so. I'd never seen the film on a big screen and the whole event was fun and very special - I really hope these movies out on the grass become a tradition, as they really reinforce the whole notion behind Comic-con of communal enjoyment of the arts. On the way out we spotted Nathan on a balcony above the grass - he waved and called out to us and at one point joked that he was going to crowd-surf (he was a good forty feet above us).

The next morning we slept in, sort of. Packed up, had breakfast, checked out, and left our bags with the front desk. Then we headed down to Nerd HQ for our 12:30 panel with Nathan. As we got there a bit early, we loitered around Nerd HQ, playing some games and generally enjoying the laid-back atmosphere. When the panel time came, Karen and I were delighted to find ourselves in the second row, very close to the stage. Woohoo! And to add to our luck, the panel was not just Nathan but Alan as well (it turns out that folks like Nathan and Alan had been doing some host duties throughout the weekend as Zachary Levi's voice was giving out and he has a Broadway play to get back to). This was all good, as Nathan and Alan play off each other like a pro comedy team and the session - part Q&A and part auction for charity - was lots of fun.

After the panel we headed over to the convention center. And here's where my luck began to run out. While I was having a snack in line, one of my crowns came off. Guess I'll be going to the dentist Monday. And the panel we were lining up for, Neil Gaiman, filled up before we could get in. Oh well, such is the way of things at Comic-Con.

We met up with some friends to say goodbye and then headed back to our hotel to get our bags, grab some takeout for dinner and then head to the train. Which is where I am now, heading north. I'll do one final update tomorrow with some photos and thoughts on the con overall (plus I'm running out of laptop battery and the angle on this tray is very awkward). But to sum up - it was a fun and really lovely time.

Let's hope 2014 is as much fun!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Comic-Con 2013 Day 3: MacGuyver saves the day!

I decided to go ahead and cosplay Phantom of the Paradise today, now that the weather had cooled down. I was all dressed up when we realized that part of my helmet/mask was broken (it's a two-part affair connected by hinges, and one of the hinges had broken off and vanished. Fortunately Karen is way more handy than I am and she made a connector out of a hair tie that held the mask together for a while. 

So down we went to Petco Park for the Nerd HQ panel with Joss Whedon. It was in a bleacher box and intimate for Comic-Con, just 250 people. Zac Levi (of the Chuck show) runs Nerd HQ but by this far into events he was losing his voice, so Nathan Fillion filled in as host, an entirely welcome turn of events by my standards. 

I suspected Joss was a Phantom fan based off some movie quotes that had emerged in his tweets, so I made sure I was all helmeted and ready when he entered. Sure enough, he saw me, pointed and grinned. Later I got the mike and stood up to ask a question; when I did, he said something along the lines of "Why are you here? Shouldn't you be in the rafters terrorizing people or writing beautiful music for Jessica Harper to sing?" I replied, "Today's my day off." I asked him about his reputation as a bloodthirsty writer who kills off lots of characters and how he felt about that; turns out he's very tired of it. Which I can respect, but I'm still mad about what he did to Fred and Wes. The whole panel was great, with lots of laughs not just from Joss but from Nathan as well (quelle surprise). But my inner fangirl was all happy at the interaction with one of the creators I admire and respect the most. 

After the panel it was over to the convention center, where I got in line for the panel about Live Forever, a biopic about Ray Bradbury. It was a good panel (the only disappointment was that my longtime crush Malcolm McDowell, who reads Bradbury's poetry in the film, could not attend). I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for the film, as Bradbury is one of my idols.

Then I paraded around the place in costume getting compliments and my picture taken, until my patience with the sweaty costume and the jury-rigged hinge gave out and I caught the bus back to the hotel.

We still have a full night ahead of us, as Nerd HQ is putting on a screening of Serenity in Petco Park with Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk in attendance. It will be late by then, and in the morning we have to pack before our full day and travel back to Pasadena, so the next update will be Monday morning!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Comic-Con 2013 Day 2: We have achieved nerd-vana

We got up early-ish to head down to the Convention Center and get in line for Ballroom 20. Our goal was to camp out for the Marvel's Agents of SHIELD panel, and we were concerned that there would be the same nightmare of getting into the room that we had last year with the Firefly reunion.

It turned out that the odds were ever in our favor. We knew the minute we got into line - under the tents and NOT all the way down the stairs and out by the marina - that things weren't going to be as bad as last year. It turned out that we were able to get into the room with no problem for the first panel of the day - a panel of the Big Bang Theory show writers. We hung out for that and the subsequent panels as well (Legend of Korra, Bones) and then it was time for Agents of SHIELD.

Much of the show's cast was there, most notably the ever awesome Clark Gregg as the not-quite-dead Agent Coulson, and of course director Joss Whedon. They answered a few questions, and then showed us the season premiere episode. Not a clip or a trailer. THE ENTIRE EPISODE. We were just giddy after this - it was well worth the wait. And I won't give spoilers but let me say that the show looks to be a whole lot of fun, and I'll be tuning in this fall.

Joss Whedon and Clark Gregg at the Marvel's Agents of SHIELD panel

After that I got one of my son's Big Nate comic collections signed by cartoonist Lincoln Peirce, we did a bit of looking around on the exhibitor floor, and then went back upstairs for a 25th Anniversary panel on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Many of the animators were there, along with Charles Fleischer, who did the voice of Roger and several other characters. The panel was full of insights into the making of the movie, and showed what a remarkable achievement it was given the technology of the day.

Big Halo figure on the exhibitor floor 

Boba Fett on the exhibitor floor

Han Solo after waiting in line for Hall H all day

Dalek and Doctor

 One of the actual tribbles from Star Trek!

A guy dressed as Deadpool dressed as Where's Waldo

Marion, Sallah, and Indy

After the panel we went out for dinner at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza, which is just fabulous (they even had one of my favorite wines on the list so we each got a glass). Then we toddled on back to the hotel for a soak in the spa and hitting the hay.

My brie and truffle oil pizza at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza - nom nom nom!

Tomorrow will be a very Whedon-y day with us catching the Nerd HQ Joss panel in the morning, and then in the evening a showing of Serenity. And I might cosplay, depending on the weather and my mood.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Comic-Con 2013 Day 1: I'm gonna get some swag, only got $20 in my pocket...

Got up without too much urgency, met up with Karen's friend Colin, and we all made our way down to get our badges. I then dropped off some promotional swag for books by my friends Gary Glass and Emily Thompson at the freebie table, and then we all went downstairs to the exhibitor hall to do some shopping.

One of my first stops was William Wu Books, where I got a copy of the novelization of the film All That Jazz (and if that isn't an oddball rarity I don't know what is) and Psycho by Robert Bloch. Then I went back upstairs to the Sails Pavilion for an autograph session with Chuck Palahniuk, who signed my copy of Fight Club.

Then it was downstairs for more shopping. Can't go into details on all of it as some of the goods are surprises for folks back home, but I got a Jayne hat antenna ball, a Fantagraphics book of Al Williamson's comics work, a crime comics compilation called Crime Does Not Pay, a poster of the cover for Pink Floyd's Animals album, some buttons to go on the fangirl jacket, and a few other things.

We had an early dinner at La Fiesta, where we had some great Mexican food. Then it was back to the Convention Center for a Spike and Mike Animation show, which had some great stuff, and a viewing of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which was fun as always.

It's late and tomorrow's an early day (hoping to get into the Agents of SHIELD panel) so I'll keep it brief and post photos tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Comic-Con 2013 Day 0: Nerds In Spaaaaaaace!

Every phase of our journey down to San Diego was uneventful: cab to the Metrolink station, Gold Line to Union Station, Amtrak to San Diego. Unfortunately a cabbie we asked about a ride to our hotel misunderstood us (he thought we were looking for 701 West A Street when we really wanted 701 East A Street) so we ended up walking to our hotel. Not so bad except it's up on top of this hill and it's a bit warm down here in San Diego. This may end up affecting my decision to cosplay later this week (my Phantom of the Paradise costume is many things, but cool and well-ventilated is not one of them).

We got settled into the Sheraton Symphony Hall, where we have a room looking out at an office building. But there is an indoor pool and spa that I'm sure we'll be taking advantage of at some point. In the lobby Karen saw "Mohawk Guy" from the Mars Curiosity team at NASA (he's here for a Nerd HQ panel).

The view from our hotel room 

Inside our hotel room. It's nice and spacious. 

The indoor pool at our hotel. Might go for a dip tonight. 

The indoor spa at our hotel. We will definitely be taking advantage of this!

We made the obligatory trip to Ralph's to get snacks and stuff for breakfast and lunch (we bring stuff along for those meals, particularly if we'll be camping out for a panel, and then go out for a big dinner). On the way back we stopped at The Counter and had burgers - we've found it's best to eat dinner at times that are a bit off the usual, as it really helps battle the crowds.

No Preview Night for us, so we're just kicking back and going over our schedule. Tomorrow we have to check in and get our badges, then I'm hoping to make it to a signing and do a lot of shopping on the exhibitor floor, and then maybe after dinner catch a showing of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

So long Mom, I'm off to Comic-con

Yes, it's that time of year again! Tomorrow I'll be on a train for beautiful San Diego, where I'll join more than 100,000 of my fellow nerds for Comic-Con.

Basically, for the next few days on this blog, there will be a whole lot of this:

Am hoping to post an account of each day, along with photos and whatnot. I'm hoping to get into the Marvel's Agents of SHIELD panel, get some stuff signed, and catch some other panels. I'll be seeing a panel with Joss Whedon, and also catching an outdoor showing of Serenity with Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk in attendance.

Should be fun!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ashes review and author interview at The Reading Cafe

Over at The Reading Cafe you'll find a review of Ashes, along with an interview with yours truly. Stop by, take a look, and spend some time at this terrific blog!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Day After Yesterday is a Frugal Find of the Day!

My novel The Day After Yesterday is one of Frugal Ereader's Frugal Finds of the Day. Take a look!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Today's mood

Review: Alice, Sweet Alice

My review of the low-budget but effective Catholic horror film Alice, Sweet Alice is up at Horrorview.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Books read in 2013: June

Here are the books I read in June:

Joyland - Stephen King

The Light Between Oceans - M. L. Stedman

Nightmare Alley - William Lindsay Gresham (re-read)

The Other Typist - Suzanne Rindell

Any Duchess Will Do - Tessa Dare

The Autobiography of Henry VIII - Margaret George (re-read)

Not sure what's up next but in July I'll definitely be reading Frozen Heat by Richard Castle (I always take a Castle book with me to Comic-Con).

Monday, July 1, 2013

Giveaway of The Day After Yesterday at Goodreads

Good news for Goodreads members. I'm celebrating July (my birthday month) by giving away 5 autographed copies of my debut novel The Day After Yesterday.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Day After Yesterday by Kelly Cozy

The Day After Yesterday

by Kelly Cozy

Giveaway ends August 01, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win