Wed July 23rd
When we get to the airport the line to check bags is really long. For future reference, the curb side baggage check is almost always shorter you just need to tip them but who cares. We waited inside and were worried about the time when I realized our flight was actually 10:50 and not 10:10 so I thought we had more time. When we got to the counter I mentioned that I had a replica weapon in my bag for my Archer costume, and I was sent over to TSA for further screening. For the next 45 mins a combination of 5 TSA officers and 3 polio officers looked over my replica Walther PPK and in the end could not determine with absolute certainty that the weapon was fake and that I could not take it on the plane unless I had it packed and checked with the proper preparations. At this point Amanda is already through security and time is slipping away. I ultimately told them to confiscate the weapon as I did not have time to deal with it. At this point a very gracious TSA manager escorted me through the security line and pushed me to the front of the line to go through the scanner. If she had not done this I would have missed my flight. I was also in a bit of a panic and had looked at my boarding pass incorrectly and was heading towards concourse A. I thought Amanda was further ahead of me but as I got off the train at concourse A and was headed up the escalator, I saw Amanda back on the train in a different car. I yelled to her thinking she needed to get off, but she was waving me over. I got back on the train only to find out I was looking at my pass wrong and we needed to go to Concourse C. If I hadn't seen her at that exact instant I would have gone all the way to the wrong gate and likely missed my flight. Instead we made it to the gate just in time though we had missed our boarding assignment. We still got to sit together and all seemed well. Until we landed and waiting for our bags and the 1 bag that had been tossed by TSA did not come out. I had to file a missing bag report and they were confident it would arrive on another Atlanta flight. Later that night I got a call that it was there and the airline delivered it my hotel before the end of the night. We take a cab to the hotel, check in, and then grab another cab to Town and Country to pick up our passes. We get there before the designated start time so it wasn't that busy but by the time we left the place was packed. We managed to catch the same cab leaving as we had there as he was still trying to leave and on the way back we stopped and got some beer and a slice of pizza at a local dive that was awesome. A place we could have never found if it weren't for our driver. We get back to the hotel and still have an hour or 2 before the rest of our group is there so we relax, I start drinking, we "mess" with our badges a bit and then head over for preview night. Amanda did not have a 4 days pass so she did not plan on coming in. She grabbed some food and a drink, and once we were done with our buying for the night John went out with my badge and she came in and walked the floor with us for a while. Preview Night is no longer all that exclusive. The name implies that it should be less busy than the other days but it's not. It is still crazy busy. I get in line at Super 7 immediately and thought it was fast than last year it still took forever. I grabbed the Alien Playset, 4 deep space blind bag eggs, and some of their vinyl, and just like that all the cash I brought is gone. I don't think I picked up anything else on Preview Night but took in the initial night of craziness. We went and grabbed some food, and John and I went and got in line for the exhibit hall the next day so we could have a good spot in line for Hasbro.
Thrs July 24th
After Preview Night events John, Amanda and I went and got some food at this place called Bubs that we went to a bunch of times last year. They have this order of wings called the Russian Roulette Wings where you get 10 of them and just 1 has a crazy hot sauce in it. We got it last year and we got them again this year. I got the hot one last year and I got it again this year and holy shit was it fucking hot. I felt like my whole face was burning, I was literally sweating from every pore in my body and it basically ruined my appetite because it really hurt that much. I took the rest of my food to go so I could eat it in line as John and I were going to camp out for Hasbro. When we get there the line is at right about where the Hall H tents starts so a pretty good spot. The line we're in is for everything but Hall H so there is no way to tell who in line is there for Hasbro but we were confident we were good. Even though it was warm out it got a bit cool that night and we were on the grass and the grass started to accumulate moisture and dew. I had a chair but I could only sit there awake for so long. I layer down and passed out. I woke up and went to eat my food only to find it completely swarmed with ants. It had just been sitting under my chair but obviously too close to some vegetation, so that box of food was long gone. They moved the line inside about 6 AM so we're making our way up to the Sails Pavillion to get in line for Hasbro and as we make out way out we're led down the stairs that do down that back side of the convention center. If any of you are familiar with the Lego Mini-Figure give away line, it was in the same place, and we ended up down at the bottom right as the stairs meet the water, but the line went far down the side walk so though there was some worrying I was still confident that we'd be ok. Thankfully they lead us up and give us are redemption tickets at like 7 AM so we're able to get in line for the exhibition hall very close to the front and we have our time to purchase our Hasbro shwag. At this point I decide I'm going to the Marvel booth to try and purchase my Star Lord hoody. They let us in, I run/walk to the booth and I get a good spot...only like 40 people in front of me. What's even better is they go down the line and if you're there to purchase the hoody which was a Thursday release only that it was not actually there yet and I was given a ticket to come back Fri to purchase and pick it up. So at this point I've killed 2 birds and it's only like 9:05. After that I swing by Mondo and find John getting the Moss "Last of Us" print, and then we're about done until we're to go stand in line for Lego. I get a text from Amanda that she is on her way so I go stand in the giant Line for Tokidoki so by the time Amanda gets there we only have to wait for like 45 mins. The line was LONG. There was a bunch of great stuff at the Tokidoki booth but Amanda only ends up getting a t-shirt, a canvas bag, a sweet lanyard for me, and a plastic tarp like bag that is good for the beach. After that we look around for a bit and then head over to purchase our Hasbro stuff. We wait in line there for quite a bit too so while I do that Amanda goes and looks around by herself for a bit. I get the Black Series Jabba the Hutt, the Kreon Set and the Magic The Gathering set for John...but I got to keep the axe. John had so much crap including my set of Magic too which was a giant ass box that he went back to the hotel and we went and got in line for the giveaway Lego Mini-Figure. Thursday is the Bard The Bowman from The Hobbit and since Amanda is there too we have 2 chances to win. We go to get in line and it goes all the way down the back of the convention center like the Hasbro line did but the end was also down the sidewalk aways and since the format changed from last year the line went slower. But instead of having to check back in the afternoon to see if you win, this year all you do is touch an iPad and you find out if you win or lose on the spot. So we get up there and Amanda loses but I WIN...so we're 1 for 1 on the mini figures. After that we're about spent for the morning and then we head back to the hotel to hit the pool and some beers.
We laid out for a few hours, relaxed and got ready for going out that night. There were a number of things going on — A. The MTV party at Petco Park with Linkin Park playing. They were giving 4 Day pass holders precedence and Amanda did not have a 4 day pass so we weren't planning on going. B. The Monkey King party at Bar Basic. We went by there for a while and they were doing some live painting but the place isn't all that big so we sat in the back for a while and left. C. The Nerd HQ party also at Petco. Johns friend was there so we swung by after we left Bar Basic. Nerd HQ was inside the actual concessions area and entry to Petco and it was really big. There were all kinds of things to do and play with in there and there was a DJ and a dance party and a ton of people, but we just walked around and checked everything out. Part of NerdHQ opened up to some of the lower seating in the stadium and we went out and sat in the dark for a while. We could hear the music from the Linkin Park show on the other side of the stadium but it was faint and it was quiet enough from the dance party that we could talk and it was pretty cool...to be inside the stadium when it was all dark. We didn't stay long and we were pretty tired so we hung for a while and went back to the hotel. Amanda went to bed and John and I went to the hot tub. There was this dude down there who was from the same area as John in Michigan and he would not shut up about being on several reality tv shows like Comic Book Guys and Toy Hunter. I was pretty exhausted and pretty much just stared at the bubbles the whole time zoning out as this dude went on and on about his 15 minutes of fame. When the pool closed we went up stairs and I literally passed out with my clothes on on top of the covers...needless to say I was exhausted and it was only the first full day.
Friday July 25th:
We don't have any specific purchasing plans for the morning but we get up and John and I head over to the convention center around 8 AM. By the time we get in the line for the exhibition hall is packed so we resorted to our little bypass that we learned last year and it worked again... like a charm. So we get down on the floor quickly and we attempt to go to Lego but it is LITERALLY a circle pit. I'm trying to find the end of the line and everyone keeps pointing in the same direction and before I know it I've ran all the way around the entire booth and am back where I started and I still have not found the end of the line. It was hopeless. I gave up quickly and ran a bit down the floor to the NECA booth and hop in line to hopefully get the Pacific Rim Jaegers for my friend Chad. I had hit the booth the day before in the afternoon but they were sold out for the day, but luckily there weren't many people in front of me so I got them successfully and after seeing them I decided to get myself a set. I love Pacific Rim and after seeing the Jaegers I had to have a set for myself and they are sweet. After that the Marvel booth was close so I ran over there to get my hoody and yet another stroke of luck... I don't even have to wait in line to get it since I had my ticket from the day before. The line was SUPER long and I hopped in this secondary line with 2 other people in it. Got my hoody and my Jaegers and I was done and it was only 9:15. John was down at Mondo, we met up and when he was done we went back to the hotel to meet up with Amanda and went over the bridge to the off site Adult Swim location as we had decided to spend some time out of the convention center. We decided to get tickets to go to the Meat Wad Full Dome Experience and ticketing didn't start till 11 or so, so we sat in line, but the whole time we did very close by Pizza Hut was giving away free pizza to promote the new, abysmal looking, Ninja Turtles movie. I absolutely LOVE TMNT and this new film just looks terrible, but the pizza was delicious and we just kept getting in line until we were stuffed. Someone else ended up giving away free drinks and there was lunch, gratis. Our tickets for the dome were for 7 pm that night so until then we had a few objectives: Lego Mini Figure Giveaway #2 - The Collector, and the Archer Panel was at 4 which was going to be our unveiling of our Archer Cosplay... and the panel was inside our actual hotel so we were not gonna have to go far. But first we hit the pool for a bit and the line for the Archer panel was spilling out the back of the hotel and was snaking out past the back edge of the pool. I ran upstairs to get something and came back down with my Archer head on and chilled with it on for a while at the pool. When we'd had enough we went up to the room and changed into our costumes. As I had said before I lost my prop gun at the airport but I still wore the holster I had made for it albeit was empty. We went downstairs and went directly to the line for the Archer panel. We got an immediate reaction, took a bunch of pics and headed for the convention center. There were supposed to be 4 of us, Archer, Lana, Barry and Dr. Krieger but there was a small scheduling issue and Geoff couldn't make it back to the hotel so we went without him. I really wish we could have had the whole group but 3 was better than none. Our other friend Nico showed up right as we were heading out and he tagged along and took some really great pictures. The problem with being in the costume is that you can't really take any pics of yourselves so you either need someone with you or you scour the web afterwards. We walked around and took pics until 6:15 or so and headed back as we had tickets to the Meatwad dome at 7. We decided to get a drink in the bar at the hotel and ran into a bunch of other Archer cosplayers as the panel had just been let out. While we were there we bumped into one of Amandas BIGGEST celebrity crushes, Travis Fimmel who plays Ragnar in History's Vikings and Alexander Ludwig who plays Ragnars adult son Bjorn. Amanda took a pic with him and we said hi, and it was cool. Later Amanda said she's over him now as he smelled like cigarettes. Her trip was complete. We had to cross over the large foot bridge to the lot adjacent to Petco Park and we get there literally at 6:58 but are directed in a bit of a round about way to the dome and when we get there it is 7:01 and evidently we're too late to make it to the 7:00 show. Less than a minute late and we get the cut. Luckily it seemed that each show there were people that had the same problem so we waited and were able to get in on the 7:20 show. We laid down on the floor inside this inflatable dome and they played a sort of trippy animated short film on the underside of the dome. It was narrated by the Aqua Teen Hunger Force character Meatwad and lasted like 17 mins or so. It was pretty cool. We left and as long as you had the wrist band we got when we signed up there were a few other activities we could do including getting a t-shirt made from around 8 different designs on a plethora of shirt and tank colors. The line was pretty long but we waited. Right before we got into line 2 dudes ran past me and it turned out they were EMT's. I looked where they were going and I saw a guy laying on the ground, his face covered in blood, and there was a big pool of blood on the ground underneath him. I have no idea what happened. My guess was the guy had some kind of seizure and collapsed and smashed his face on the pavement. There was no sign it was an assault as there was no police but it looked pretty bad. We waited in line, got our shirts and decided to head back. There was also this large inflatable funhouse but the line for there was long too and we'd had enough of waiting in lines for the day. Plus, it appeared there were 3 exits to the funhouse. 1 made it look like you were crawling out of a cats butt, one was a big slide, and the other emptied you into a cage where you had to sing karaoke in order to get out. And I DESPISE karaoke as does Amanda so we did not want to risk getting turned around and ending up in the karaoke cage. We decided to get some food and walked around the Gaslamp District looking for somewhere to eat and ended up at The Blind Burro which is directly across the street from Bubs. I don't really know why but I had a bit of a hissy fit on John and Amanda and stormed off and pouted on the curb around the corner for 20 mins or so while we waited for a table. I eventually ditched my stubbornness and went inside though I was still upset. I finally gave up on it and we ate and headed back.
Saturday July 26th:
I was going to get up early and go to the exhibition hall to either try for LEGO again or look into getting the Rocket Raccoon Marvel hoody, but neither Amanda nor John wanted to go... they were gonna go to this awesome donut place called Donut Bar. So at the last minute I decided I didn't need another hoody and we all walked to Donut Bar. This place had the most amazing donuts and they were all super hero or comic con themed and all the girls working there were wearing cute super hero costumes. There was a Simpsons donut and it was HUMUNGOUS! They were so good and I basically ate them for the next 2 days. For the past couple days John had been monitoring this poster drop they'd been doing since the beginning of the con. An artist named Mark Engler did a Jurassic World print with a run of 500 and each day they would tweet a location and the first 50 people there would get a poster. The previous drops had mostly occurred at the same times and the close to the same locations and we were close so we headed that way with no real expectations. We were about 4 blocks away from the Friday drop location and John got the tweet. Amanda was holding the donuts and isn't really into "running" so John and I took off. I had been training for the Zombie Escape so I was on the move pretty steadily or else I would have been gassed before I got there — and I was wearing my messenger bag too, but we got there in time and man the line surpassed 50 people in like 90 secs. Amanda even made it to the line in time to get a poster. I love the chase of trying to get toys and posters so the fact that we were in the right place at the right time and managed to get the poster it ended up being one of the best mornings of the con. Donuts, coffee, a short run, sweet posters, it was a good morning. We dropped off our posters and went down to the pool as Amanda did not have a Saturday badge. We had a small snack and John and I left her there and headed over to Lego. When we got there the line was super short which was great...but I did not win and with no Amanda I only had 1 shot. The Batman wasn't that cool but I wanted a whole set... which I would end up getting with a little help from my friend Jeff. John and I walked around some more and we headed back to the pool. I can't recall what we did the rest of the afternoon. We probably spent much of it at the pool until it was time for dinner. Might've taken a nap. Geoff and I were doing the Zombie Escape at Petco that night so we all went and had dinner. As usual none knew where they wanted to go or what type of food so we walked around the GasLamp District for like 30 minutes and ended up at a bar. The others that weren't running the Zombie Escape came and watched. This year there was an area on the course that anyone could walk into from the outside and watch as people ran past so they all waited out there while we ran. I bought Amanda a spectator pass so she could go inside and watch and that ended up being a waste. I expected a spectator pass would give you access to various vantage points on the course so you could sort of follow someone along as they ran, but no... all it was was a viewing area at the end so she basically did nothing. The course this year was easier than last years. There were fewer actual obstacles and more scenario actors and setup. Last year there were tunnels, and things you had to climb over, jump over and maneuver through, and there wasn't much of that this year. There were areas where there were far more zombies than last year which I liked. And last year at the end of the course you were scanned to see if you had been touch using a black light and some kind of paint or marker that the zombies had on their hands, which gave you a goal to strive for — survival. But this year at the end they herded everyone into a room where a doctor basically tells you that they know EVERYONE has been infected and they went on to mow us all down with machine guns. So regardless of how you fared with the zombies you still got killed...so not much of a final payoff. I still liked the run this year and will do it in the future but it was not as good as 2013 and was a bit easier. In 2013 I could barely walk after and almost threw up. Afterwards John, Amanda and I went to the hot tub, soaked a bit and went to bed.
Mondo had this Star Lord poster for sale at SDCC as well but the blue was orange. I passed on it at the con but when I got back I decided I wanted it and was able to snag the blue on online a few days later.
Sunday we walked around in our DC box heads — Huntress and Martian Manhunter, did Lego and got our Uni-Kitty and decided to go and get Ramen that night. The place we chose was a bit far from the hotel but it was nice to get away and check out a different part of town and it was worth it....it was the best Ramen I've ever had...literally, it was amazing. Amanda got something I'd never seen before called the Ramen burger, and right next store there was a Chinese shave ice place which I've also never heard of and it was DELICIOUS. Amanda was stuffed and wasn't gonna get anything but while we waited for the cab Amanda gave in and got some and we're glad she did. The Ramen place was named RakiRaki Ramen and if you've ever in San Diego I highly recommend it....totally authentic and AWESOME. We had a great time at the con and I was really happy I could finally sure it with Amanda. It was a long tiring weekend and we were ready to get home.