My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My experience at Silicon Valley ComicCon

I have tried valiantly this year to post at least every other day on this blog.  But, as some of you may have noticed, I have been strangely silent these past few days.  Why, you may ask?   Well, I have been on a mini trip to the first annual Silicon Valley ComicCon in San Jose, California!

I did attend a Buffy convention many years ago, but this was my first modern "Con" experience, and it was a blast!

The only negative for the trip was that my husband was horribly sick (with the same bug I had the previous week), and he could not attend.

Here is a run down of what we did:


We arrived at our hotel across the street from the San Jose Convention Center.  After quickly throwing our stuff in the room, we set out to the Preview Night.  Our first stop:  an autograph from William Shatner!  Thankfully, Mr. Shatner was running quite late (about 35 minutes) because there was a lot of confusion in the hall and I had two volunteers telling me two different things about what I needed to get in the line.  I was starting to lose my cool but decided to take some deep breaths and NOT yell at anyone.  I realize that the poor volunteers were not trying to be difficult.  They were just as misinformed as I was.  Finally, we did get the autograph and then sprinted over to a different line to get a picture with William Shatner.  As is typical of these events, both the autograph and photo experience was very quick so it's not like we could chat with Mr. Shatner.  But we did get to briefly meet him and that was cool.

After we perused the exhibition hall and all the cool vendors, we went into the main ball room for the William Shatner Panel.  We decided to get there early to get a good seat and sat next to a fun couple who we chatted with for about 30 minutes.  Then the program began with The Woz himself (Steve Wozniak, inventor of the Apple computer)  asking the first question.  Mr. Shatner was funny and charming during his talk and it was a delight to listen to him.  


Saturday was a crush of people and tempers as this convention got into full swing.  We got there early because we heard that Adam Savage was going to go on the convention floor in an "incognito" costume.   I follow his twitter to get all the inside information.  Very quickly we found him walking around as Hellboy.  It wasn't too hard to figure out who he was because there was a cameraman, and security people all around him.  But we did get some great pictures of him with my kids!

Adam Savage as Hellboy

The organizers didn't seem prepared for the estimated 30,000 people converging on the building.  We waited in line for a panel called Let's Go To Mars that included Andy Weir (author of The Martian) and Adam Savage (Host of Mythbusters).  The line was a holy mess that cut across the main staircase and through the registration line as well.  Needless to say, we didn't get in.  We were really bummed.  This panel took place in a smallish conference room that could maybe seat 200 people.  I think with those two panelists alone, they could have had it in the big ballroom (with seating for 3000) and filled it no problem.

The main event we wanted to attend on Saturday was the Back To The Future Panel.  This had Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, and Christopher Lloyd!  So after our disaster of not getting in to the earlier panel, we headed straight for the ballroom.  

It was several hours before Back To The Future so we sat in on the Jeremy Renner Panel.  

He was very interesting and had great advice to people trying to break in to showbiz ("If you can do anything else, do that instead").  But he also said that if performing is IT for you than go for it with all you have and DON'T have a plan B.  He said all that means is that you have a plan to fail. 

After the panel was finished, we got in line for Back To The Future.  We had to wait in line for over an hour, but this time we were first in line and got great seats.  It was wonderful being able to listen to Michael J. Fox talk about the filming of that movie and how it changed his life.  Lea Thompson was so sweet and fun.  And Christopher Lloyd gave off a very cool hippie uncle vibe that I was digging!  He said his favorite movie of the trilogy was BTTF 3 because Emmit had a romance in it (raising his eyebrows suggestively...).  He was so cool!

After the panel, we were able to cruise the hall and take in all the sights.  Even though it was crazy, there were so many cool costumes and fun people.


Our last day was a time to take the lessons we learned and apply them to see the panels we wanted.  We got in line an hour early, but we were able to get into the panel with all the writers from The Big Bang Theory, hosted by Adam Savage!  So we finally did get to hear Adam talk and interact on stage!  This was a great panel.  I was very impressed that of the five writers, two were women!  They had lots of great stories to share about guest stars and how they got ideas for the stories on the show.

Then we were able to be in the next panel, Webcomics Of The Universe (with special guest Andy Weir).  Again, the writers of these web comics were very insightful about their processes.  After the panel, Andy Weir stayed on and signed autographs!  He was very gracious and nice.

After that, we went for our autograph signing and photo with Christopher Lloyd.  Again, you don't really have time to do more than say 'Hello" to the guy, but it was still fun.  The photo was extra cool because it was with the Delorian Car from the movie!

After more shopping, we finally heading home.  What a fun weekend.  I only wish my husband could have shared it with us.  But I am sure we will attend next year's event, so he WILL make it to the next one.

Have you been to one of these events?  What was your favorite part?  Let me know in the comments.

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  1. Omg, this is SOOOO cool! Living in Holland makes me miss out on all this fun stuff, but reading your post about it makes me feel like I was there a bit as well :). Crazy cool pictures as well! Too bad your hubby couldn't come along, but next time! You now know the drill on how it all works :).

    1. Hi Anne. Most of the "Con"s are in other parts of the country, so we were fortunate that this one was so close. I think there are these type of events in England, if you would be willing to travel across the channel.

      BTW: I know you live in Holland, but I wanted to express my sympathy to the people in your area who are dealing with all this violence and terrorism. It is heartbreaking and I hope you, and your loved ones are safe.

    2. I'm definitely going to one in the UK some day! :)

      Thank you! It's getting closer and closer by indeed...and 3 Dutch people died in Brussels as well I heard yesterday. We're all safe, but I'm predicting a similar drama over here within the next 6 months. Or in Germany. Either way, I won't be flying or going to a big concert/festival this year because of it. There was a weird briefcase incident at my local supermarket a couple of months ago that scared me shitless. I was standing right behind a guy in the queue. He was dressed in typical Arab fashion and was carrying a slim briefcase with him. Then he walked out of the queue, put his briefcase on the gift wrapping counter, opened it a little and walked back to the queue. Next thing, he was grabbing something out of his pocket that looked like a remote control. I told my husband to drop the groceries and get to the car instead. Nothing blew up and I didn't hear anything about it in the news either, but that was just soooo weird and scary. And something to get way more paranoid over due to the current wave of attacks *sighs*.

    3. Wow, that is so scary. It is such a shame that we need to question everything out of the ordinary. Please stay safe.

  2. Wow! It looks like you all had a lot of fun. I've always wanted to experience a Con but I think the atmosphere would overwhelm me. I would've loved to listen to Shatner speak and get a photo with him. Thanks for sharing your experience it was fun to read :)

    Danica @ A Redheaded Bookworm

    1. Saturday was so packed with people, we could hardly move! But if you went to one of these things, go on the preview day or on the last day. Both Friday and Sunday were busy but not overwhelming with people.


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