Sunday, December 29, 2013

GGS 075 GGS Best of 2013


Susan, Amelia, & Kelly talk about some of their favorite geeky things of 2013. We cover TV, film, music, games, and more. See you in 2014!

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Stay geeky!




Saturday, December 7, 2013

GGS 074 The Walking Dead in 10 . . . and lots of other things


OK, it's closer to 10 per episode . . . Susan & Kelly discuss The Walking Dead Season 4 through the first 8 episodes.

There is a short section at the end (at 53m35s) comparing what happened in the show to what happened in the comic. However, listening to it again, I hear that many of the details are wrong, so don't listen too closely...

We also briefly talk about Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones, American Horror Story, Derek, & House of Cards.
At 27min we discuss the recent Doctor Who special.
After that we discuss other shows starting or returning in January, then movies starting later in December.

In our conversation about books, I volunteer Kelly to lead the Geek Girl Soup book club starting in 2014.  Email us your book suggestions at GeekGirlSoup@gmail.com

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Rate and review our show on Stitcher** Available on iOS, Android, Nook, iPad
Stay geeky!




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

GGS 073 A Viking Visits the Vixie Chicks



Happy Thanksgiving. In this podcast, The Vixie Chicks (Susan, Amelia, & Kelly) get geeky with special guest Dan from Wisconsin.
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

BG 17 Broken Geeks


Susan, Amelia, Chris, Kelly, and Scot look back at the Breaking Bad series as a whole. We talk about some of our favorite moments, scenes, music, characters, and everything else BrBa.


Find Scot's complete list of favorite episodes, season 5 reviews, and more on his blog at  http://esotericcandy.com/

Thanks to Nick at tuckershole.wordpress.com for listing in the Breaking bad Podcast Guide.

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Geek on!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

GGS 072 Spoily McSpoilerson


Susan, Kelly, Chris, & Scot discuss what they've been watching lately...if you're not current on some shows (through November 6,2013), this podcast could be spoilery.
The Walking Dead
The Good Wife - no spoilers
Homeland - no current season spoilers
Boardwalk Empire - no current season spoilers
Game of Thrones
Sons of Anarchy - nothing too specific
Breaking Bad
American Horror Story - talk about the current season
Ender's Game
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Stay geeky!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

GGS 071 The First Annual Time Travel Discussion


Susan, Amelia, & Kelly discuss the rules and issues of time travel in pop culture. . . not necessarily in that order.
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Stay geeky!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

GGS 070 Gravity


In this "f**kworthy" podcast, the whole gang shows up for spoilery talk about the movie GRAVITY, some other movies they've seen this Fall, and a couple of TV shows.
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Friday, October 18, 2013

GGS 069 Fall TV BLOWs, Dan


Susan & Amelia talk about what they're watching this Fall. If you can give Amelia tips on driving in snow, contact us ;)
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

GGS 068 Scot Eric Candiotti

Dan & Scot at New York Comic Con 2013


Many have asked about him, so here he is answering many of your questions. Susan & Kelly are joined by our frequent guest podcaster Scot Eric Candiotti. Check out his blog at www.esotericcandy.com for updates on Do Not Disturb, his other writing, and the TV shows & movies he recommends.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

BG 15 Felina



Susan, Chris, Kelly, and Scot discuss Breaking Bad's series finale, "Felina"  Written and Directed by Vince Gilligan

Find Scot's analysis and review of Breaking Bad episodes and more on his blog at  http://esotericcandy.com/

Thanks to Nick at tuckershole.wordpress.com for listing in the Breaking bad Podcast Guide.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

BG 14 Chat with Heather



Susan sits down with Heather, a first time watcher of Breaking Bad, to discuss her experience with the show so far.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

BG 13 Extra Granite State v Dexter


Susan, Chris, Kelly, and Scot compare the lessons of the Dexter series finale to Breaking Bad S5E15, Granite State.
Find Scot's analysis and review of Breaking Bad episodes and more on his blog at  http://esotericcandy.com/
Thanks to Nick at tuckershole.wordpress.com for listing in the Breaking bad Podcast Guide.
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BG 13 Granite State


Susan, Chris, Kelly, and Scot discuss Breaking Bad S5E15, Granite State Written and Directed by Peter Gould. 
Find Scot's analysis and review of Breaking Bad episodes and more on his blog at  http://esotericcandy.com/
Thanks to Nick at tuckershole.wordpress.com for listing in the Breaking bad Podcast Guide.
The article Chris talked about can be found at slashfilm.com/author/joanna-robinson
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Geek on!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BG 12 Ozymandias



Susan, Chris, Kelly, and Scot discuss Breaking Bad S5E14, Ozymandias. Written by Moira Walley-Beckett, Directed by Rian Johnson
Find Scot's analysis and review of Breaking Bad episodes and more on his blog at  http://esotericcandy.com/
Thanks to Nick at tuckershole.wordpress.com for listing in the Breaking bad Podcast Guide.
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Geek on!




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

BG 11 To'hajiilee



Susan, Amelia, Chris, Kelly, and Scot discuss Breaking Bad S5E13, To'hajiilee. Written by George Mastras, Directed by Michelle MacLaren
Find Scot's analysis and review of Breaking Bad episodes and more on his blog at  http://esotericcandy.com/
Thanks to Nick at tuckershole.wordpress.com for listing in the Breaking bad Podcast Guide.
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Geek on!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

TB10 True Blood Season 6 Review


In this podcast, Susan and Kelly are joined by Donielle of Natter Cast and Michaela of The Chatter Box Podcast to discuss season 6 of the HBO show True Blood. In true Geek Girl Soup style, we only talk a little bit about Breaking Bad.

Hear more of Donielle this Fall on Natter Cast as she joins Jason and Sion for their Sons of Anarchy podcast.

Hear more of Michaela on The ChatterBox Podcast with @renmiked and @robvenger where they talk about whatever tickles their fancy.

Join us Wednesday nights for #TweetSoup and Follow us on Twitter @GeekGirlSoup
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Geek on!





The epic email from Pat From Maryland:

Hey, I wanted to send in some thoughts on the recent season, and why it might not be that bad in retrospect. If "not bad" means getting back to the usual True Blood stuff.

This season of True Blood wasn't necessarily great, but I don't think it was the worst either (and the same goes for the finale, which I'll defend momentarily.)

In some ways, it gets us past some of the oddness that was introduced with last season's Authority-centric storylines.

True Blood just happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine. I've only read the first book of Charlaine Harris' series (which we know is the only one that really got seriously adapted for the television series.) My wife has read many of them, but neither one of us are necessarily invested in the show following the series. It's not good, but it's great summer-television.

I'm a fan of the concept: that thanks to the creation of synthetic mass-produced blood, vampires come out of the coffin and into the spotlight and ask to be integrated into society. I've often wondered what the vampires who would have preferred that their existence (as a species) have gone unknown think about this. Since they had no choice in the matter.

Secrecy to me seems to be the vampire's greatest defense, and once the secret is out, it would take a miracle for humanity to forget vampires existed and let their nighttime vigilance drop. (I'm imaging one day vampires might decide as a species to fake their own death (or fake their true death, I guess) and go into centuries of hungry hibernation to more or less wipe the slate clean.)

So, the reason for vampires to expose themselves in this fashion would have to be offset by some great benefit. We know from Pam that vampires who nest together for extended periods of time lose their humanity (which is what happened to the Authority, even though they were strongly associated with the rationale for coexistence.) I could see that vampires would prefer a world where they could freely associate in society with beings other than vampires, so they could hold on to their humanity, and feel a part of something, and not necessarily be lonely all the time.

But for this to work, vampires should really go out of their way to reassure humans that they mean them no harm.

Luckily, humans in the True Blood universe are dumb as mud, and take no precautions to protect themselves. Most humans either seem to have no opinion whatsoever on vampires and behave as if vampires have never revealed themselves to the world, or they are extreme nosferatophiles, or crazed nosferatophobes whose anti-vampire sentiment stems largely from religious doctrine and not from a rational examination that Vampire Predator kill Human Prey.

Sure, we humans kill humans also. But in general, I don't suspect my neighbors of eyeing me up (or eyeing my family up) as a food source. And since vampires are above humans on the food chain, I only have to observe how humans treat their domesticated animals to extrapolate how vampires might consider humans.

Yes, vampires don't have to kill, just like we can keep dairy cows and hens for eggs. (But it doesn't mean cattle and egg-layers have great lives.)

Anyway, all I'm saying is that it's in a vampire's best interest to reassure the humans around them. But usually that's not the case. Season one set the tone with the three vampires of Bill's acquaintance showing up at Merlott's and behaving incredibly belligerent. Is it right that those three were killed by scared rednecks? Nope. Is it surprising? NOPE. Is it right for Eric to capture the rednecks, chain them in his basement for weeks, and kill them when tired of having them around? Again, nope.

But I don't want to get all caught up in season one, I'd rather talk about the past few seasons. Since this season literally sprung up where the previous season cliffhanger ended, the past two seasons were almost one mega-season.

Last season, Bill and Eric were caught by the rather underwhelming Authority, who go from being brutally anti-sanguinista to pro-Lilith in the blink of a bloody-teared eye. The reveal of how lame and kind of dumb the Authority were was kind of a let down, since they were always spoken of in hushed tones in seasons past. Creepy Zeljko Ivanek as the Authority's Magister who ordered Jessica's turning was great as our viewpoint into the Authority. Creepy and calculated. He bossed around Vampire monarchs. But the inner council (other than Christopher Meloni) just seemed ridiculous and overly-dramatic.

I was a bit upset with Bill Compton turning into a religious fanatic. It wasn't originally clear if he was just hallucinating from drinking what we assume was Lilith's blood, but certainly something happened when he melted and then reformed.

(By the way, do vampires just collapse into a collection of stem cells? It was the damnedest/weirdest thing when Bill reformed, flesh, bones, organ, hair, eyeballs, and memory-intact brain emerged from a pile of goo. That was just too weird, even for a show with a man who can turn into a fly or a horse.)

One benefit of this season was Bill's more or less purge of this religious Lilith aspect (or at least the Lilith power. Bill might still be a vampire-first believer.)

Warlow was introduced as a threat to Sookie last season, implicated in the death of her parents, and in theory the big bad this season. Bill Razinsky was fine as Warlow this season, I guess. His arrival in a ditch, groaning, just seemed way over the top dumb to be taken seriously. But his backstory was really interesting.

Warlow was a fey turned into a vampire from Lilith herself, and his existence and memories prove that Lilith is not just a myth. Does this mean that the universe of True Blood really is a creationist reality? (Since Lilith is usually apocryphally linked with Adam and Eve.)

I've heard people complain that he was lamely killed in the finale, but his death was orders of magnitude better handled than the necromantic witch Marnie's defeat seasons ago.

Warlow was killed in Sookie's bathroom, where he was being held at bay by Sookie's Faerie "Grandfather." Grandpa (as Jason likes to call him) had been hunting Warlow for millenia, and managed to come through a portal that Warlow himself had been the cause of, from the exile dimension that Warlow had imprisoned Grandpa in turn. I have no issues with any of that.

Marnie basically was talked out of killing all of the vampires in town by the ghost of an archetypal vampire-hating burned-at-the-stake witch who *for no reason whatsoever* decided that all was forgiven. Even after spinning Marnie up into a vampire killing crusade in the first place.

The season killed off Terry Bellefleur, and although I love Terry and was sad to see him go, the previous season really made him into such a tortured individual that I felt his character needed some peace.

I like Alcide, but I just found any scene with more than one werewolf in it horrible, so getting Alcide out of pack duties was fine with me. It's a win for the season.

So, how do I feel about the 6 (or was it 8) month jump in the timeline? I'm usually fine with those. Battlestar Galactica did it very well, as did Lost and the Dharma Initiative. (Sawyer's rise in power was a nice thing to have sprung into being, along with his relationship with Juliet.)

So, I don't think it's a disaster. And it covers Emma's age difference if she returns (hope she doesn't) but it also gives a chance for back-filling details which could be interesting.

The finale also set up an interesting premise which intersects somewhat with what I started the email about. Vampires are in society, and if they are going to survive they need to reassure humanity that they mean them no harm.

In general, I believe that *most* vampires do mean humans harm. We've seen counter-examples, but we've also seen Jessica, one of the kindest and most human of the vampires, kill three innocent faerie woman in an uncontrollable bloodlust.

But regardless of how I feel about vampires in general, thanks to Hepatitis V (or some less-deadly-than-Nora-got mutant strain) there are packs of feral, diseased, and hungry vampires. The smart reaction of humanity would be to read a copy of I Am Legend, fortify up at night (thank you inviolable threshold rules) and hunt vampires by day. Trying to take on  vampires at night is incredibly stupid.

But, I'm all for vampires agreeing to protect humanity, and to try to form an equitable mutually beneficial relationship. That level of trust has to be established, or else the healthy vampires really do need to fake their own deaths (unlifes) and as I said before, sleep a few centuries with complaining bellies while humanity kills off the last of the diseased vampires and comes to believe that vampires are no more. And lets down their guard. And vampires can once again very quietly, and accompanied by loneliness, feed on glamoured prey.

So... depending on what they do next season, I'm okay with the season finale. 

True Blood finales almost always deal with the season big bad early on in the episode, and then launch the set up for the following season, so this finale was no different really.

I apologize for the chaotic and rambly nature of this email. I hope you find it useful in some way, but don't feel obligated to use any of it. I'm just delighted to have someone that I can send True Blood emails to.

Pat from Maryland

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

BG 10 Rabid Dog



Susan, Chris, Kelly, and Scot discuss Breaking Bad S5E12, Rabid Dog, written & directed by Sam Catlin

Enjoy the Hello Kitty Song - by Simona Barbieri Mckenzie http://youtu.be/RFNhnnbL8uo

Find Scot's analysis and review of Breaking Bad episodes and more on his blog at  http://esotericcandy.com/

Thanks to Nick at tuckershole.wordpress.com for listing in the Breaking Bad Podcast Guide.

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Geek on!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

GGS 067 Fall Movie Preview


Susan, Amelia, & Kelly are joined by special guest Scot to countdown the top 5 must-see movies of the Fall. How do our lists compare to yours?

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Why does anyone care who’s playing Batman?

by Todd Eckert

August 25, 2013




Late last week Ben Affleck was revealed as the next film actor playing the role of Batman.  Within minutes of the announcement waves of indignation crashed through the ether and, predictably enough, indignation about the indignation soon followed.  It was the earthquake and the tsunami after the earthquake with lots and lots of grumbling triggered by what on the surface seems to be a super-trite issue.  As of this moment something over 30,000 people have signed a petition trying to get the guy removed and memes are being generated as fast as people can lift Gene Wilder’s face.

I know a little bit about this phenomenon.  A few years ago I produced a film called Control about Ian Curtis, the lead singer of the band Joy Division who killed himself in 1980 when he was 23.  Casting Ian was a difficult process and the public watched us really closely, particularly in the UK where he’s considered a pretty massive deal.  We were flying around, taking meetings, trying to find that person who would get the role just right.  We knew we were making the artifact by which the future would understand Ian and the responsibility felt huge.  But the public didn't know that, and every time some rumor would surface we’d get slapped around.

“Jude’s not (expletive)ing playing Ian!” screamed Stuart Braithwaite at me in a club in Pittsburgh just after his band Mogwai had left the stage.  I had known Stuart for some time and wasn't all that surprised he was upset – the rumor that Jude Law would be taking the role had surfaced that afternoon and made its way all over the world within hours.  Nothing against Jude at all, but he wouldn't have been right and we never considered him.  Still, someone thought we had and I was experiencing a particularly intense version of Scottish wrath over the idea.  The scenario would be repeated with different actors in different scenarios until we premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and the public accepted Sam Riley as having not destroyed Ian’s memory or legacy.

Perhaps it made sense – Ian was a real guy who touched millions of people very deeply and our film would materially affect the perception of the man.  Fine.  

So why Batman?  Isn't the outrage really . . . dumb?  I honestly don’t think so.  If anything I think the selection of Batman is probably more personal to more people, and therefore more meaningful than who we picked for Ian.

Batman, by virtue of not being real, is psychologically simpler to admire.  He doesn't run the risk of unforgivable behavior in public, growing corpulent or senile, selling out to a dodgy corporation – he’s interesting, he’s dark, he’s just damaged enough and he always wins.  Batman is a really tough, really cool version of Gary Cooper – a bench-pressing, world-saving everyman.  People see the best of themselves in him (he doesn't have super powers, after all) and they aspire to his greatest strengths.  In as much, the selection of the person who will play him, and therefore them, is crucially important to their sense of self.

It’s a self-perpetuated ruse – the ultimate inside joke because no one has to know if it’s not really supposed to be funny.  It informs a positive result and that’s enough.

So the indignation is ok.  They’re invested – the best audience Warner Bros could possibly want.  As for casting Ben Affleck, he probably seems like a bit of an intellectual schlub and therefore incapable of the depth these people need for the character to be satisfying.  But I’m sure that’s exactly why he wanted the role in the first place – to prove he can be great as the world-saving everyman.

I hope he’s great at it.

BG 09 Confessions



Susan, Amelia, Chris, Kelly, and Scot discuss Breaking Bad S5E11, Confessions written by Gennifer Hutchinson, directed by Michael Slovis

Find Scot's analysis and review of Breaking Bad episodes and more on his blog at  http://esotericcandy.com/

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Geek on!



Saturday, August 24, 2013

GGS 066 Dude Feud

Susan and Amelia were really too tired to podcast, so they bring you the Geek Guys Chris & Scot talking summer movies. Beware, this podcast contains spoilers galore for Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness.
Join us Wednesday nights for #TweetSoup and Follow us on Twitter @GeekGirlSoup
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or listen here:


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

BG 08 Buried


Susan, Amelia, Chris, Kelly, and Scot discuss Breaking Bad S5E10, Buried: written by Thomas Schnauz, directed by Michelle MacLaren

**SPOLIER ALERT** for THE SHIELD skip 1:03:20-1:05:11 if you have not watched the entire series run of The Shield

Find Scot's analysis and review  of Breaking Bad episodes and more on his blog at  http://esotericcandy.blogspot.com/

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Geek on!


Monday, August 19, 2013

TB10 21 Radioactive


In this podcast, Susan and Kelly discuss the HBO show True Blood S6E10: Radioactive, the season finale. 

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

BG 07 Blood Money



Susan, Amelia, Chris, and Kelly discuss the first of the final 8 episodes of the series Breaking Bad, "Blood Money"

Find Scot's analysis and review  of "Blood Money" on his blog at  http://esotericcandy.blogspot.com/

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Geek on!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

TB10 20 Life Matters


In this podcast, Susan and Kelly discuss the HBO show True Blood S6E9: Life Matters and try not to talk too much about Breaking Bad S5E9 Blood Money

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Geek on!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

BG 06 Breaking Geek



The gang's all here: Susan, Amelia, Chris, and Kelly welcome special guest podcaster Scot to discuss what's new in the latest rewatch of Breaking Bad and what, if any, predictions they have for the final 8 episodes of the series.  Find Saul Goodman's "The Defense Never Rests" series on Scot's blog at  http://esotericcandy.blogspot.com/

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

TB10 19 Oozy, But Productive


In this podcast, Susan &  Kelly discuss the HBO show True Blood season 6 episode 7: In the Evening and Episode 8: Dead Meat.

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

GGS 065 John de Lancie Q & Discord at Space City Con 2013

This is the audio from John de Lancie's Q & Discord at Space City Con 2013 hosted by Star Trek: The Next Generation writer Diana Botsford, introduction by Robert Picardo.
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Stay geeky!



GGS 064 Star Trek: The Original Series Panel from Space City Con 2013


This is the audio from the Star Trek: The Original Series panel from Space City Con 2013. ST: Voyager actor Robert Picardo introduces Don Marshall and Walter Koenig who both acted on the Original Series. Some of the audience questions are off the mic & hard to hear, but other than that, the audio came out pretty well.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

GGS 063 Breaking Geek 5 Catching up with Mike


Susan sits down with Geek Guy Mike to get his thoughts on the rest of Breaking Bad. When we last spoke with Mike, he was in the middle of season 2.
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

TB10 18 Don't You Feel Me


In this podcast, Susan, Kelly, and NatterCast's Donielle  discuss the HBO show True Blood season 6 episode 6: Don't You Feel Me. TB talk extends past the usual 10 or so minutes to 10 per person. TB talk concludes at 29:40 then we discuss other shows we're watching this summer and Donielle and Kelly each answer a random question.
Generation Kill is the HBO series Susan couldn't remember
We'll be off next week due to travel, so we'll cover 2 episodes in our next TB10 podcast in two weeks.
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Geek on!


Monday, July 15, 2013

TB10 17 F*** the Pain Away



In this podcast, Susan and Kelly discuss the HBO show True Blood season 6 episode 5 "F*** the Pain Away." Reminder, just like the HBO show, this podcast is also explicit.

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Geek on!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Surviving & Getting Your Geek On at San Diego Comic-Con

 
So, I decided to tackle a "small" topic for my introductory Geek Girl Soup article -- the geek-tastic, droolworthy San Diego Comic-Con!! Yikes!
 
Whether you are attending this year or in the future, I am going to share a few helpful tips to get the most out of your trek to the amazing geek mecca.
 
1. Attend SDCC at least twice. I know you think I am crazy, after you were lucky enough to afford/ get a ticket this one time. However once you attend, you WILL want to go back. And so you will skimp and save every penny you can to plan a second trip -- perhaps a third, fourth and fifth. The reason I highly recommend attending at least twice is... The first time, you will be so overwhelmed by everything. The visual spectacle. The celebrities. The panels. The cosplay. The exclusive collectibles. And more. While you should plan some and make the most of your first SDCC experience, you will still be blown away. Plus, being amazed and in awe is part of the fun of SDCC. So, the first year you need to just somewhat "go with the flow". Immerse yourself and let your geek flag fly high and proud!
 
2. Pack the basics. And take certain basics with you to the Convention Center -- small, lightweight bag, cell phone charger (a MUST have), some cash, water, food (healthier snacks will sustain you - like nuts, dried fruit, protein bars, etc), cell or camera with good zoom, download the official SDCC app to your cell, hand sanitizer (use often to avoid getting sick), and wear comfortable shoes. If you are wearing a costume, make sure it is relatively breathable. Wear extra deodorant. It can be HOT on the convention floor and in the packed panels (especially if you are in costume). There is food at the Convention Center. However, it is expensive and you will have to wait in long lines. So, that's why I recommend some snacks. If you do buy food, the most affordable choices inside the Convention Center are probably the pizza slices and the gyros. 
 
3. Pick up your badge early and at Town & Country Hotel, if possible (map: 500 Hotel Circle North). There will be a line at either the Convention Center or T&C. But, if you arrive at T&C 90 min-2 hours before they start distributing, the line will be shorter at that location. Take a book to read. Be aware that T&C is not close to the Convention Center. It is miles away. So, you will need to take the SDCC Shuttle or a cab. Link for SDCC badge pick up times: www.comic-con.org/cci/badge-pickup  Link to the SDCC shuttle info: www.comic-con.org/cci/shuttles Random, geeky note: If you do not get the GIGANTIC SDCC bag with the character/ movie/ tv show you desire, ask people as you are walking to the shuttle bus if anyone would like to trade. You can almost always find someone who would prefer yours or who is indifferent.
 
4. Don’t be shy about photos. Trust me, you will love your photos and can relive the memories over and over again. Do not be shy about taking cosplayer pics. Be friendly and polite. Ask them to pose for you or with you (and ask a friend or another attendee to take a pic). Most cosplayers love posing for photos. Don't try to sneak a quick, possibly blurry photo. Just walk up and ask. Or even shout from a short distance, "Hey, I love your costume! Could I please get a pic?" They appreciate the attention and will usually stop to oblige unless rushing to a panel/ screening. Then of course you need to post those awesome pics online to make all your geeky friends jealous.
 
5. Plan times for the Exhibit Hall. Go on the first day. Then go back on Sunday afternoon, if you can. Some exhibitors will discount items on Sunday to get rid of inventory (usually the small to medium vendors). The Exhibit Hall is grouped into areas. On the far left by Lobby G is Artist Alley. If you love original art, take some cash and you can get REALLY NICE sketches for an affordable price. Then going left to right there are all the movie/ tv exhibitors, followed by collectibles, and big comic companies. Finally at the far right side from Lobby B1-A are comic book dealers, t-shirt companies and other vendors. A lot of the bigger exhibitors, such as Marvel, DC, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, etc, will give away free promotional items at random times. Sometimes they are comics, posters, or tote bags. Also, find out of any of your favorite exhibitor booths are doing any separate autograph signings. Last year, my friends and I lucked out by going by the AMC/The Walking Dead booth on the first day to buy a t-shirt and they were just giving out tickets for an autograph signing by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore. Link to the Exhibitors list and map: www.comic-con.org/cci/2013/exhibitors
 
6. Prioritize your days around the programs/ panels/ screenings you really want to see. If you download the SDCC mobile app, then you can create an account and fill your calendar, by checking off which programs you want to attend. Hall H and Ballroom 20 will be insane. People line up for Hall H and Ballroom 20 up to 6-10 hours in advance. So, if you really want to see a program in either room, plan your entire day around that. Some people will arrive at 2 am the night before. But, if you get there about 6-7 am and get in the long line, you should be okay. No guarantees. Again, take a book or your tablet and headphones to entertain yourself. Basically if you want to see a panel in Hall H or Ballroom 20, plan to be in line about 6-7 am, and stay in that one room from when they open the doors until the one panel you want ends (even if that panel is at 3 pm and you have to sit through four other panels first). Hall H has bathrooms inside. For Ballroom 20, they give you a bathroom pass. HOWEVER... On the other end of the spectrum, check out the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. It is across the street from the Convention Center and easier to get into those panels. In 2012, Joss Whedon was in the Indigo Ballroom. I decided to see how crazy it would be. And it was not bad at all. I went into the Indigo Ballroom one panel slot before Joss' time slot, just to be certain. But, I only waited in line a few minutes and got a great seat. So, I highly recommend panels in Indigo. Plus, check out panels in other smaller rooms in the Convention Center. My friends and I saw a great screening of the Locke & Key tv pilot one year in a smaller Convention Center room. Link to Program Schedule: www.comic-con.org/cci/programming-schedule
 
7. You MUST check out events happening outside the Convention Center! I would argue that you could get a lot out of all the programs, film screenings and activities outside the Convention Center, even if you did not have a ticket to SDCC. Most of the Gaslamp District across from the Convention Center, plus most of Petco Park and other areas will be completely transformed during SDCC. In 2012, SyFy took over a restaurant and converted it to reflect the mood of their upcoming new series "Defiance". Also, DC Entertainment had an amazing art gallery exhibition in the Gaslamp area, promoting their We Can Be Heroes charity campaign. Last year, NBC had a huge "Grimm" behind the scenes event set up in the Gaslamp area and were giving out free posters, aluminum water bottles and more. At other locations outside the Convention Center, my friends and I saw advance screenings for "Captain America" (with Chris Evans in attendance), "Fright Night", "Attack the Block" and more. Check out advancescreenings.com and follow them on Facebook. Grab free tickets as soon as you can, as they will go fast. Often movie companies will have people walking around the Gaslamp area and periodically they will give out tickets. There will be tons of food trucks, usually at Petco Park. For lots of cool offsite info and Convention Center details, check out the SDCC Unofficial Blog (sdccblog.com) and follow them on Facebook/ Twitter.