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My Overwritten Journey To SDCC 2017: Day Two – Meditation, Renee Young, And Still No Mango Salsa

Friday 21st July 2017 by Derek Kraneveldt

Read day 0 here.
Read day one-ish here.

I slept so freaking well last night.

It was a pretty relaxed evening as you may have read in yesterday’s piece. I turned in at about 12:30 AM after putting on the finishing touches to that article, and between the T3, melatonin, earplugs, and exhaustion, I passed out nearly right away.

Because of those glorious, orange ear phalluses, I barely recall hearing any snoring whatsoever. It was Bobby Roode level glorious, and I woke up far more energized this morning than I did yesterday. I did’t set an alarm, as I figured I’d simply wake up when the sun rose (it was pretty gloomy in the morning so it wasn’t actually that bright). I started stirring around 8AM when Matt was preparing to leave the hotel, and (I think) when someone started singing some sort of improvised Puyo Puyo theme song, which is bound to become this Con’s DANGANRONPA or SPRING BREAK chant.

Matt and Zack left the room while Jonathan and I got ready for our day. I showered, cleaned up, and took my sweet, sweet antibiotics. We were about to leave to grab breakfast when Jonathan realized that he hadn’t completed his daily meditation session (which is something that’s become pretty important to him since I saw him last Comic-Con. He invited me to partake – meditation is not something that I’ve ever tried or really thought about before, and today’s session was far along in a chapter with a specific goal, but I joined in. It was an interesting, relaxing experience that I enjoyed more than I though I would, and as Jonathan explained the purpose around the process, along with what it means and what it’s doing for him, it became something that I would love to explore and experience more of when I return home (which I’m sure is something that my fiancé will love).

Jonathan and I went to 7-Eleven to have a quick Chiller Club reunion (my first Chiller in more than a year, and I definitely had forgotten how tasty, sugary, and addicting they are). We then hit up a secret Subway that was super dead and right across the street from our hotel (the steak, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich is to die for). I took a quick look at Facebook, and naturally my Facebook memory for the day was a picture of mango salsa from a couple of years back. Why must you torture me like this?

The floor was about to open just as we finished eating, so we began the walk back to the convention centre, and into the BELLY OF THE BEAST (the San Diego crowds, not the Steven Seagal classic). Here, we learned that a year after everyone was expecting Pokemon Go‘s first legendary creature to drop, Niantic revealed that at the ongoing Pokemon Go celebration in Chicago, attendees will have the very first opportunity to claim a legendary bird. Pretty freaking cool. We chatted about the game and how it’s changed, and the conversation alone made me want to jump back into the game after a substantial period of not even opening the app.

We did a quick tour of the crowded show floor before making our way back to the booth, where the BOX OF MYSTERY AND DANGER (where attendees could earn their way to free stuff, or potential death) had found itself refilled with even more Loot Crate swag care of Natalie. I grabbed a couple of pairs of themed socks (Optimus Prime for myself, Superman for my dad, who’s a big fan and even has a Batman/Superman logo tattooed on his arm).

I split up from Matt and Jonathan and headed upstairs. It was approaching 11AM and I wanted to be sure that I could attend the WWE and Mattel panel at 1PM. I thought that I should grab a coffee to keep my energy up, so I ordered a Cold Brew from one of the local Starbucks kiosks. I walked away before taking a sip and then realizing it was a Raspberry Iced Tea instead. I planned to go back so that I could get my sweet, sweet caffeine fix, but I couldn’t find the damned kiosk again.

I jumped in the back of the line for Room 5AB, where the WWE Panel would be taking place in just a couple of hours.

Naturally, there were still a couple of panels to go before then, starting with a panel called ‘Wonderstruck: From Page to Screen with Brian Selznick’. Going in, I knew nothing of Wonderstruck or Selznick. Pretty quickly, however, I realized that Selznick wrote the book that the Martin Scorseze film Hugo was based on (a film that I freaking loved, and haven’t seen in way too many years). Selznick moderated the panel, which took us through his stories writing the book, the experience of it being made into a film, and giving us a behind the scenes look at the Amazon Studios adaptation of another one of his bestsellers, Wonderstruck, which was directed by Academy Award Nominee Todd Haynes, and looks like a very, very beautiful film. Selznick noted that Amazon was even able to finish up the film’s first trailer preceding the panel, and he debuted it for those in attendance. The trailer solidified my interest in the film, and I can’t wait to watch it when it debuts later this year.

The final panel before the WWE / Mattel presentation was called ‘Sherlock Comics With Stephen Moffat’, during which showrunner and writer Stephen Moffat chatted with the audience about the Sherlock manga and mostly just reminded me that I need to freaking watch Sherlock. I spent some of this panel working on some other pieces (like my expanded thoughts on The Tick Takeover event here), but the amount of passionate Sherlock manga fans was pretty incredible. Also a lot of that artwork is pretty bad-ass, and it’s amazing just how much some of it looks like Benedict Cumberbatch. The Q&A question that received the most fanfare was definitely when a fan asked if we’d ever see any crossover manga with Doctor Who, to which Moffat replied that he’s only in charge of one property, and he begged and pleaded to the Doctor Who show runner, who simply said no.

The panel ended, the room cleared, I got a seat as close as I could, and then it was finally time for the WWE panel that I’d been waiting all morning for. This was more interesting to me than the Hall H panels that I’d visited last year, and almost any of the offsite events that I’ve had an opportunity to visit over the past five years. This is something that I’ve become super passionate about over the past 18 or so months, and to see these athletes that I spend so many hours watching each month in a setting such as this was worth the trip alone.

I’ll have a whole write-up on the panel in the coming day or so, but it was truly incredible to see just how passionate all of the fans were. For some of the superstars, it was their first visit to SDCC, and they all looked honoured to be a part of this presentation.

The hour flew right by (probably aided by me typing as fast as I could as a means to be able to write as much about the event as possible) and at its closure, before the superstars exited, they thanked the fans for helping them get to where they are today. The superstars spoke of their favourite career moments so far and what they still hope to accomplish, about the most meaningful advice given to them as they rose through the ranks, Brie talked about being a new mom and wanting to return to the ring, while Nikki revealed that her neck issues aren’t completely gone, and why we haven’t seen her in the ring since Wrestlemania.

People began to clear the room, and I attempted to approach the stage as a means to get a few closer photos for my write-up. The crowd made getting anywhere near the superstars pretty tough, but Renee Young, who is incredibly charismatic, and who I may (possibly) favour over much of the in-ring talent (male or female), was kind enough to stop for a photo. I was so excited for this. I don’t often become star struck these days after years of doing this kind of stuff, but in this moment, I did. It’s sure to be a convention highlight for me for years to come. Also, #SaveTalkingSmack.

Once the panel finished up and I could make my way out of the room (on the way I ran into Noelle Foley who was not a part of the panel, but was apparently there watching). Turns out that there was a signing with much (if not all) of the talent from the panel at the Mattel booth immediately following, but by the time I got in line there were substantially more people around than the alloted time would have allowed.

I left the lineup and quickly checked in with the Geekscape booth before headed to the Wired Cafe for a couple of beverages and some snacks. While in the tiny lineup to check-in, a DirecTV (who is sponsoring the cafe this year) employee took the opportunity to ask if I was familiar with the service. “I’m from Canada,” I answered. “Sorry,” he responded.

So no, I am not overly familiar with DirecTV.

Many of the booths at this year’s cafe were themed after upcoming AT&T (they make TV now?) series Mr. Mercedes. The bar had some themed cocktails, there was a neat wall made up of smartphones and tablets that were all playing in-sync footage, there was a stand offering themed, frozen treats, and there was a booth that was printing Mr. Mercedes themed t-shirts (which I definitely snagged one of). Also, while last year’s one-day Wired Cafe had a lineup around what seemed to be the entire hotel, this time around it’s again expanded to three days, and I was able to walk in with less than two minutes of waiting. Thanks again to Wired for hosting us, as it’s a great opportunity to get in some conversation, some food, and some beverages off of the show floor and away from the incredibly long lineups.

Shane would have loved this guy.
I stayed at the Wired Cafe briefly before heading to the Hotel Palomar for a special reveal of J!NX and Hot Topic’s upcoming Fall Collection, and to have a couple of drinks and some fucking delicious tacos. I’m not sure what was on it, but it was salty as hell and the meat tasted amazing (and went really, really well with a Dos Equis. I took a look at the Fall lineup, which had some neat, subtle t-shirt and long sleeve designs, a cool bomber jacket, and a lot of really, really soft cotton. It was a neat, small event, and it certainly made me excited to check out the lineup when it hits Hot Topic this Fall.

There wasn’t a lot going on at this point. Courtney and I decided to meet up at the Wired Cafe for a drink. On the way here, I saw an amazing Syfy sponsored drum line that was playing theme songs from a myriad of old cartoons (and even some Star Wars tracks). Courtney became associated with the brand when I was in a bit of a hiatus, and at this point we hadn’t really talked one on one. I was curious to know what she was into, how she became a part of Geekscape, and more about who she is as a person. It was great to have a one on one conversation with her, and to get to know a little more about her life outside of Geekscape Games. She lives just a couple of hours South of me too, and I think it’d be cool to meet up again in person outside of the hustle and bustle of SDCC.

We hung out at the Wired Cafe until it shut down, and then made our way back to the booth to reconnect with Jonathan and Zack. The Box of Mystery and Danger was almost empty at this point, and we met up with some cool con-goers that came by the booth (like Skip, the 60+ year old Scuba Instructing Dr. Evil cosplayer). It was great to finally have a seat, to charge my phone, and to make plans to have some dinner with the Geekscape family. Would I finally get my Rockin’ Baha? Read on to find out!

No. No I would not get my Rockin’ Baha.

There were apparently plans to grab some grab some quick food, and then to potentially go swimming at the hotel pool as most of us are planning for a bit of an earlier night, as were all fairly exhausted from walking around, talking, shilling podcasts at the booth, and the San Diego heat to do much more this evening.

Naturally, Matt Kelly tried to hit on more girls and invite them to the hotel pool. He struck out again, unfortunately (though he did get a hug out of the deal). But man do I admire his effort.

As we left the convention centre and began walking in the general direction of the hotel, we passed a Hooter’s restaurant. Someone made a joke about going there to eat, and I noted that I’d never been before so I didn’t know anything about the experience. Matt noted that the experience was “feeling like a creep and eating half-assed food,” to which I replied “So a day in the life of Shane O’Hare?”

I miss you, Shane.

We ended up back at Horton Plaza, and I intended to go for another round of Panda Express. It turns out that they were pretty close to closing for the night, they had a bunch of old looking food in the warmers, and they were completely out of Orange Chicken. I quickly exited and went to Steak Escape instead, where I grabbed some sort of Philly Cheese Steak sandwich that also had bacon on it, and Matt was pretty quick to tell me that the sandwich was totally inauthentic. He also said something about how where he’s from, people just order ‘Wit’ and the restaurant knows exactly what they’re talking about. Weird shit.

The hotel pool closed at 10PM, and we made it back to the hotel just before 9:30. The rest of the group opted to head up to the pool for 30 minutes, while I instead opted to finish up a couple of articles (like my thoughts on The Tick Takeover and the WWE Pop-Up Shop, along with the one you’re reading now), and give my fiancé a call now that she’d be finished work for the evening.

Josh and Megan put on some New Japan wrestling (which I’ve never watched before and was actually really cool) and Zack passed the hell out pretty much immediately. It’s 11:30 now, possibly the earliest that I’ve ever turned in on a San Diego Comic-Con evening, and I’m beyond ready to turn in for the evening to do it all again tomorrow.

Yeah, the floor was substantially busier today.