Category Archives: Summertime

Summertime Woes

Going to the beach requires a lot of work.

Before you start throwing things at me through your computer screen, let me explain.

See, I live 45 minutes from the actual ocean. Yes, I’m luckier than most because I can still make it a day trip, whenever I want. But still….a lot of planning goes into a trip to the beach for me. There’s the weather watching, and the guesswork that goes into whether it’ll be worth an hour long car ride, only to get to the beach and be rained out. There’s the logistics of the thing: will I also have time to stop for groceries on the way home? Can I make it to the post office before it closes, or should I leave early and go first? I wonder if I can eat at that little cafe nearby in a swimsuit and cover-up?

Then comes the packing. Beach towels for me, an extra for a friend, and another extra because you can never have too many towels. Sunscreen: SPF 50 spray for my body, special baby formula lotion for my face, SPF 15 chapstick. Can’t forget my hat, my sunglasses (because I have to wear my real glasses while I’m driving), headphones, a book or two, maybe a magazine if I’m feeling so inclined. Oh…and the cooler. I’ve got to fill it with ice and add healthy snacks, tons of water, and a trash bag for use at the actual beach.

I load it all into my car as the sweat drips down my brow because HOLY CRAP it’s A HUNDRED FLIPPIN’ DEGREES OUT HERE.

I’m all loaded up, all the i’s have been dotted and the t’s crossed. I kiss my husband goodbye, grab my keys and my wallet, and hit the pavement. Twenty minutes into my drive, I’m ignoring the giant black thunderhead that decided to pop up in the direction I’m heading. It’s July in Charleston…if there’s a thunderstorm this early in the day, it’ll be a quick one. I forge ahead, determined to get my time in the sunshine.

There’s traffic; so much traffic my nerves begin to fray. A dude driving a giant blue pickup cuts me off (because it’s always a dude in a pickup), and those nerves snap. My “Yay For Me, I’m Going To The Beach” mood begins to turn into my “If This Poo Face Doesn’t Start Driving The Speed Limit I’m Going To Scream” mood.

And then, finally, my car crests the bridge over to the Isle of Palms, and I see palm trees, and wide expanse of sand, and an even wider expanse of blue, all the way out to the horizon. My heart releases in my chest, and the smile creeps onto my face without my realizing it. I grin at the giant pelican as he flies lazily over the bridge into the marsh below. I stop at a red light, gladly waiting for a few minutes because I know I’ve almost reached my destination. I allow a tourist, then another, to merge before I cross the street, since I know they’ve probably never been here before, and I want to share this little section of my world with everyone and anyone. I greet the volunteer at the gate and happily¬†hand him my parking fee, and we chat, momentarily, about the weather and the tides.

Parking achieved, I unload the bounty that needs to make the trek across the sand with me: my beach bag, my cooler, my lounge chair. I strap it all around my chest, all twenty pounds of it, sweat dripping down my back, but I do it all with a song in my heart. I nod and smile and speak to all I pass: people are just happier at the beach. And so am I.

And finally, I choose my spot and set up camp. There’s no better moment than this. I whip off my cover-up, douse myself in sunscreen, don my hat and sunglasses, and take a seat.

It is always worth it, in the end.

Beach 3Beach 1 Beach 2

Between you and me, friend, I probably won’t think about how much work it takes to get to the beach when I go again next week. These are the kinds of summertime woes I can deal with. And happily.

ComicCon 2013: The List, Part 1

When you’ve waited for a trip for years and it finally comes to fruition, it’s a heady experience, my friends. The walls of the San Diego Convention Center rang with my squees from the moment we descended into the hallways amongst several Princess Leias, Captain Mals, and Red Shirts.

Our first glimpse of the concourse from the escalator. This was one of many “Squees Heard Round The World.”

There was SO much to do, to see, and to enjoy that trying to describe every moment to you all would take weeks. So instead, I’m sticking with what I do best. Here is a list of my top 5 favorite things about our ComicCon Experience.

Viva La Nerdolution!!: The Top Five Things That Made Me Squee At ComicCon ’13

FIVE: ALL THE STUFF!!!
Holy sensory overload, Batman! When I say there is tons to see at ComicCon, I’m not lying, friends. For the first two hours in the exhibition hall, I felt like a five year old with OCD that had been dropped into a candy factory that plays boy band music over the loud speakers while also making a myriad of toys and giving away free puppies.

Yes. It was just like that. Exactly.

When I wasn’t distracted by the flashy lights, the giant screens playing cartoons and movie clips, and the professional cosplayers whose costumes rocked my world, I was busy shopping. Because OMG ALL THE STUFF!

ComicCon is a veritable smorgasbord of all the nerdy things in the world you could ever wish to purchase, all under one roof. And purchase we did.

There weren’t just things to buy, either! Movie props, museum quality displays of famous costumes, life-sized Lego sculptures, pop art of our favorite TV stars…Wowzas.

A short list of the swag we came home with: multiple Doctor Who collectibles, including an entire set of teeny tiny Doctors (all 11!); t-shirts ranging from Star Trek to Doctor Who and everything in between; Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Graphic Novel, Volume One (more on that later); and the crowned jewel of the Transformer collection, the ComicCon exclusive Mr. Metroplex himself (he’s two and a half feet tall, y’all.)

To say that we would have bought more stuff if we’d had the room in our luggage is an understatement. I saw no less than ten other things I wanted (including but not limited to a television remote control that is the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. WHAT the WHAT?!?)

 

Four: Um, That’s John Barrowman, You Guys!!?!?!
On our first day wandering the floor, we noticed a booth advertising autographs and photo opportunities with a few nerdtastic celebrities. While we were intrigued by the possibility of meeting Star Trek TNG royalty Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, and Michael Dorn, there was one name that caught our eye above the others.

And that name, ladies and gents? John Barrowman, aka, Captain Jack from Doctor Who and Torchwood.

There was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity to meet, talk to, and touch him, for two reasons: 1) he’s Jack Harkness, y’all!! and 2) He has not only worked with, talked to, and touched David Tennant, but he’s kissed him. Which by proxy means we did, too.

So we took our places near the front of the line (we were numbers 3 and 4) and waited for nearly an hour for just that opportunity. We were behind Rose and the Doctor who, despite holding a sign that read “end of the line,” were actually at the very front of the line.

Side note: the next day I was delighted to find that "Rose" had followed me on Twitter. I officially made a friend at ComicCon!!

Side note: the next day I was delighted to find that “Rose” had followed me on Twitter. I officially made a friend at ComicCon!!

Behind us was another Doctor, this one the Matt Smith version, who had a relatively thick German accent, and we spent that hour discussing the many anamalies taking place in that precise moment when two Doctors are crossing timelines while waiting to talk to Captain Jack. (These are the types of conversations that happen in line at ComicCon. It makes the time go by faster.)

To the delight of both Doctors, Rose, Brian, and myself, John Barrowman walked out and smiled his one-million watt smile right in our direction. He joked with the Doctor and Rose, saying, “Hey, I think I know you guys from somewhere!” We anxiously awaited the moment when the booth bosses would take us in to meet our celebrity.

After a brief mix-up over tickets, we were led behind the curtain. Mr. Barrowman smiled at me and wrapped his arm around my shoulders, leading me to stand on the X at his feet. He smelled wonderful. (Sorry Brian.) We looked up, the photo was snapped, and he thanked us for our time. As Brian exited the booth, I turned to Mr. Barrowman, put my hand on his shoulder, and congratulated him on his recent nuptials. He smiled again, dazzling me down to my toes, and said, “Thank you. Sincerely.”

I melted.

Here’s the photographic evidence that I’m not making this up:

John Barrowman smaller

Thank the photography gods that I didn’t look as star struck as I felt. This baby’s going in a frame.

 

Three: Nerd HQ, Zach Levi, and the Serenity Viewing Party
I have to say, as much fun as we had at ComicCon, I think our day at NerdHQ might have been my favorite. Here’s a little back story—

Nerd HQ is a home base separate from ComicCon. Located at the iconic Petco Park, it was originally a place for nerds to congregate away from the bustle of the convention center, and it offered charging stations, arcade game play, cutting edge technology, and most importantly, a chance to encounter celebrities. Nerd HQ was the brainchild of actor and philanthropist, Zachary Levi, who donates the proceeds from the event directly to¬†Operation Smile–a charity that helps children around the world born with cleft lips and palates.

First and foremost, let me take this opportunity to thank Mr. Levi and his team for providing some weary nerds with a place to SIT. The entire area was filled with plush black leather couches. After three days pounding the pavement, my feet and my arse were thrilled with all the sitting that was to be had at HQ. I also got to charge my equally exhausted iPhone, and we were dazzled with a hilarious puppet show featuring Glove and Boots. (Check them out. They’re really funny.)

We also had close encounters of the celebrity kind with Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame, as well as Evangeline Lilly from Lost. (Wil totally brushed my shoulder while walking by, you guys. No kidding. Thanks, insanely crowded concourse!)

There were two huge moments that happened for us while visiting Nerd HQ. Firstly, we got the chance to meet the man behind the whole shebang. While recycling some water bottles (we were in Cali, y’all) and deciding what to do with the rest of our afternoon, we noticed Zach Levi himself walking toward the Operation Smile photo booth. Excited to get the opportunity to thank him, we joined the queue. We were encouraged to be creative with our photo op, and since the couple in front of us stole our idea (getting him a gin and tonic for a “cheers!” pic) we opted for goofy instead. Here it is:

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I think we made the right choice because, let’s face it, no one’s gonna pull off hotness quite like Mr. Levi. I mean, look at that smile, wouldja???

After the shock and delight of meeting Mr. Levi, we took the opportunity to take a few shots, just the two of us. And I’ve gotta say, they may be my favorite photos from the entire weekend.

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(Let the record reflect that we totally won ComicCon with these Joss Whedon-inspired shirts from RedBubble.com. We were stopped everywhere we went and asked about them. It restored my faith in humanity, learning there were so many Joss fans in the world. Le sigh.)

Anywhoo, awesome moment number two was the Serenity Viewing Party on the baseball field, hosted by none other than Nathan Fillion himself.

(Pause for maximum squee-age.)

I didn’t get to wrap myself around Mr. Fillion’s leg while promising to always adore Captain Mal, but I did get to watch him and Alan Tudyk introduce one of our favorite movies of all time.

We were about 6 rows back, so there’s no close up of our guys, but I recorded it anyway. For Firefly/Serenity/Joss Whedon/Nathan Fillion fans, it’s pretty squee-worthy, in my opinion. Here are a few snippets from the event.

How cool is that? I stopped recording when the movie came on because, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s about experiencing not recording. So we sat back, enjoyed the movie, and cried when Wash died (as usual.)

On the way out of the stadium, both Zach and Nathan came out onto the balcony above us and waved us goodbye. Each of them took a photo of the crowd and tweeted them later, and guess what—Brian and I are in BOTH SHOTS. Proof that we are now famous by proxy because we live in celebrities’ camera rolls:

Nathan's Photo

Nathan’s Photo

Zach's Photo

Zach’s Photo

SQUEEEE!!!

To complete this list, I have to share 2 more total squee-worthy moments with you…and since this post is already bordering on a novella, I’m going to save those for next week. So stay tuned for the next 2 installments of ComicCon 2013: The List!

Welcome To Nerd Nation, Abby!

The house is quiet for a moment, Brian and Tina off to pick up lunch and run some last minute errands. My list of “things to pack” keeps growing exponentially, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s all going to fit in our luggage. My Matt Smith crocheted doll sits nearby, irrationally snuggling with my blue plush Dalek. My iPhone is at the ready, in case any last announcements come through my Twitter feed in the next few hours.

By this time tomorrow, our bags will be packed. By this time tomorrow, we’ll be eating lunch and making last minute plans and loading the car. By this time tomorrow, we’ll be animatedly dissecting the final episode of Doctor Who, predicting the series’ next move with a frenzy.

And in a little over 24 hours, I’ll be boarding the plane to San Diego with my husband.

I hear the familiar “ding” of my phone from the table behind me, and as I pick it up, my hands shake with the hopes that The Nerd Machine is finally, FINALLY announcing Nathan Fillion’s itinerary for the weekend.

(And I’m equally as geeked out when I find it’s a random tweet from Wil Wheaton instead.)

My anticipation and eagerness begins to overflow as I realize I’m about to partake in a weekend where I’m allowed–nay, expected–to fly my nerd flag at full mast with pride.

Abby In Space

We’re going to ComicCon, y’all. And I couldn’t be more jazzed.

I’ll be in California (squee!) until next Wednesday, readers!! While this *might* be my last post here till then, there *may* be a few surprises coming your way over the course of the next 10 days. If you’re curious what’s going on with me in Nerdvana, follow me on Twitter (@ThatGabbyAbby) and look for the hashtag #ComicConGab.

And while I’m gone, why not don a red shirt, discuss string theory, fix a broken pipe with bubble gum and a shoestring, repeat your favorite catchphrases, and watch your favorite episode of Firefly? It’s all in the name of Geekdom, friends.

Our ComicCon Schedule

One week from today, Brian and I will be boarding a plane to head to San Diego, and Nerdvana Bliss.

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!

As the Con approaches, more and more information is being released about events hosted throughout the weekend. We’ve got TONS of them flagged–things we might be interested in, things we’d definitely be interested in, things that we can do if one of those super-interesting things fills up before we can find a seat.

But there are four all-important events that we are the MOST excited about. And I’m here today to share those with you.

Blog 1

That’s right. Nerds don’t play, homie. Brian will get to partake of not one, but TWO Transformers panels, back to back, on the very first day of the Con. (I’ll be there, too, but more to watch Brian’s excitement than anything else.) I haven’t the foggiest idea what a toy company could possibly talk about for 2 whole hours, but I guess at ComicCon, anything is possible. Fortunately, there isn’t anything else pressing for a few hours after these panels, which is a great thing. I’ll need the time to figure out how to scrape my overly excited husband off of the ceiling.

Blog 2

OH-SO-MUCH Joss Whedon! Finally, after years of worshiping this creative genius from afar, we get to sit through not one, but TWO panels hosted by our very favorite writer/director/producer EVER. One of the panels will be focused solely on his upcoming television series, S.H.I.E.L.D. The other will be just Joss, in all his wonderfulness, talking about all the things we love from the Whedonverse: Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, The Avengers, and much, much, MUCH more. It all goes down on Friday, people. Prepare yourselves for the SQUEEE heard around the world.

Blog 3

Holy crapballs, y’all. I don’t even know what to do with myself. I cried when they finally announced it. A one-hour-long celebration of Doctor Who, featuring Steven Moffat, Jenna Coleman, AND MATT SMITH. Since he has announced that he’s leaving the show, I feel so totally blessed to be able to be at this year’s ComicCon with him, since it will be his last as the Doctor. I will cry, I will shout love phrases at him, and I will wear a bowtie. For those who aren’t Whovians, I can’t explain it to you. But to those who are—Matt Smith is MY Doctor. And I love him so. *sob*

These three major events will be stuffed between panels like “Geeks Getting Published” and “Showtime’s Dexter” and “Stan Lee’s World of Heroes.” We’ll be learning all about the new Assassin’s Creed game, meeting the creator of the Buffy comics, and stalking stars like Nathan Fillion and Chris Hemsworth. And when it all comes to an end on Sunday evening, we will be finishing off the Con with a bang. Because the very last thing we will be attending is a:

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I have no words. All I can do is start practicing now.

Is it ComicCon yet?

Let The Countdown Begin (Again)

Today is Thursday, June 27, 2013.

In exactly 20 days, something extraordinary happens to my husband and me. Join us as the countdown begins.

(Does this post look eerily familiar? It’s not. Seriously, watch the video. It’s different, I swear.)

 

 

Special thanks to guest star, Brian, who will always be my Superman.