Convention Navigation!

Okay, advice so this started off as a blog post…and it remains a blog post but I also think I’m going to make it a new section on the actual blog. It got way longer than I meant it to but that’s okay.

Because a nerd’s heaven is the convention…its a place where you can go to finally be YOU, pilule and nerd out and see all those fabulous celebrities that you worship from home. Its the place where people won’t roll their eyes at your geek tattoos or your cosplay outfit. Its home.

But it takes some navigation to make it through a con successfully and that’s where this blog came in. With the help of some of my nerdy friends, ampoule I came up with this list of do’s and don’t’s for conventions and with it, you can have the confidence to go to ANY con and rock it :D

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DO: Dress to Impress

Cosplay, cosplay, cosplay! Dress up! Don’t be afraid to dress up because so many people do and its fun! If you show up in regular ol’ Joe Shmoe clothes, you’re going to be sad that you left your super badass Black Widow costume back at home. Be creative, get crazy!

And don’t feel like you need to dress as Spiderman or Batman, just because its a comic convention. Throw on a Marty McFly (shout out to the badass The Nerdy Girlie for that one), or a Disney princess, or an old school cartoon cartoon. Again, be creative and have fun.

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DON’T: Be Unrealistic

Keep in mind that when you’re wearing a cosplay outfit that you’re going to be walking ALL day. You’re going to be waiting in lines, and navigating through crowds. You may want to wear a crazy awesome costume, but do remember that half way through the day, you may be sweaty and incredibly uncomfortable. Be aware that those sexy stilettos that you’re wearing for your Emma Frost costume will look super cute until you’ve been walking in them alllll day.

Now I’m not saying to ditch those things but I am saying that you need to think of these things. Be realistic about your day. Bring a separate change of clothes, bring a second pair of shoes. Be comfortable while you’re at the conventions because there are a lot of lines and a lot of walking. Wear comfy shoes, and if you’re cosplaying, BRING comfy shoes. Your feet will thank you!

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DO: Plan your Day Well! 

There are SO many things to do while you are at a convention and sometimes its hard to hit them all. However, you can manage to get a lot done if you plan ahead. A lot of conventions put up their panel schedule before the actual convention. Print out the schedule or keep the program handy, take a look at some of the things you want to do and plan your day from there. Some conventions even have a feature where you can create YOUR schedule, which is super handy.

Also make sure to plan some time to hit the floor of a convention, and some time to hit the vendor area of the convention. There’s always A LOT going on, and it takes a good chunk of time to get a good fill of the convention floor and the vendor area.

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DON’T: Be One A Line/Seat Hogger 

Like I said before, there is A LOT of things to do at a convention, and its sometimes hard managing to do everything that you want. That being said, be respectful when it comes to lines and saving spots. I’m not saying don’t save spots in lines, or seats in panels. That’s okay, but be respectful about it. Don’t save spots in line for more than a few people. Don’t block out an entire row of seats at a panel. Its just plain disrespectful, and you’re not going to win points with anyone. Most panel rooms do NOT clear out inbetween panels so saving seats for that many people, when someone really wants to see this particular panel…its just not right.

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DO: Take Care of Yourself

This means eating, staying hydrated and sleeping well enough the night before. I’m not saying don’t party hard, because that’s fun. But there’s a time and a place for that. Gallifrey One is a party con, but its also a convention held in a hotel, so if the party gets too much, or you need a nap during the day, you can hop in an elevator and hit the hotel room for a nap. Not all conventions have that convenience so make sure to get a good night’s sleep. You don’t want to be too tired when you have a whole day of awesomeness ahead of you, and you don’t want to yawn in front of that hot actor you’ve been waiting two hours in line to see’s face, now do you?

Make sure to drink LOTS of water, bring a water bottle, or canteen! You can usually find water fountains in the convention centers and you’ll be able to refill it. Drinks, even water, are usually VERY expensive. The same goes for food. Food at the conventions is not cheap and you don’t want to be spending ten to fifteen dollars on food when you could be spending that on a new Star Wars poster or that Star Trek box set that you’ve been eyeing for years.

Pack snacks, protein bars work really well to curb your appetite. If you are staying in a hotel room, keep snacks and fixings to make a meal, especially if you have a fridge. Bring fixings for sandwiches and stuff. The weekend is NOT about eating fantastic food; its about enjoying the convention and sometimes eating sandwiches three times a day is part of that. If you do eat, eat outside the convention center. See if there are any fast food or cheap restaurants within walking distance and hit those up. Your tummy will be happy and your money can be spent on way better things.

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DON’T: Not Shower!

Comic conventions have a distinct smell…and that is the smell of BAD ODOR. I know we’re geeks and nerds and that not all of us spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, or in front of the closet, figuring out our look for the day. That’s fine, I get that. And I know that you want to spend as much as you can at the actual convention. That being said, DO NOT avoid personal hygiene. Please, please, please SHOWER and if for some reason you just don’t want to waste your time showering, then please wear deodorant. Keep your fellower con goers in mind, and keep the body odor to yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to talk to a really cool person but they’re just stinking up the room like Pig Pen on Charlie Brown.

A good note as well is to bring hand sanitizer. You shake a LOT of hands through out the day, whether you’re shaking the hands of a celebrity or just shaking the hands of someone who you meet while waiting in line for a panel. Everyone’s germs are being spread like crazy and the last thing you want to do is catch a cold on the first day of a convention. Hand sanitizer is a GREAT idea.

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DO: Think Preemptively 

Buy your badges WELL in advance. I don’t know how many times I tell people, tickets for such-and-such conventions are going on sale, and when they don’t get tickets, there’s all this anger and disappointment! Buy the badges as soon as you can! Keep in mind when badges go on sale, and plan head. Also keep in mind when badges go up in price! Buy them early and you’ll save yourself from having to pay double for a badge than what someone else paid.

With that, book your hotel well in advance too; sometimes even BEFORE the badges go on sale. Keep on top of when hotels will be releasing the rooms for that particular weekend. If you don’t stay on top of those things, the hotels will fill up fast, and you end up paying for a hotel that’s either a hefty walking distance away, or requires you to drive your car to the center. While this doesn’t sound too bad, the parking at conventions can be anywhere from ten dollars to THIRTY dollars a day, and do you really want to waste that much money on parking because your hotel is too far away? I don’t think so.

One more thing: if there is a badge pick-up the night before the convention starts, try and get there for that! Usually you can get it pretty quickly and you won’t have to wait in the LONG lines that can exist on the very first day of the convention.

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DO: Meet New People

This is one of the BEST parts about hitting up a convention. Finally, a place where you’re surrounded by people who finally UNDERSTAND you. They totally get your references and your excitement over a new movie or book or whatever. They get it! So meet up with people, get your nerd on, have different discussions about your fandom, make FRIENDS. Share your etsy page, or your blog, or geek group. I’m looking into getting some business cards for this blog to hand out to people when I meet them.

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DON’T: Be RUDE! 

Please don’t be disrespectful of those who like fandoms that are opposite of yours, or are of fandoms that you are particularly fandoms of. There’s just nothing more disrespectful than making fun of someone because of the fandom that they like. Everyone is there to have a good time and to represent the things they like and there’s nothing worse than having that guy in the Batman costume making fun of you because you’re wearing a Twilight shirt. Just don’t do it.

Also, its okay to get into discussions with people, I do that all the time! Its friendly and its fun to debate back and forth, but again, respect. Don’t criticize people for their ideas or beliefs, don’t get in their face and don’t be MEAN! I’ve seen actual arguments and fights at conventions and that just shouldn’t be happening.

One last thing: I know you’re there to have a good time, and see all the panels you’ve been looking forward to, and meet your favorite celebrities, but if you’re in a badass cosplay outfit, keep in mind that people are going to LOVE it and APPRECIATE it and that they’ll want to take a picture of it. Its always really disappointing when someone in a real cool costume refuses to take pictures. Stop and take a picture; it only takes a minute. If you’re on your way somewhere, all you have to say is “I’m on my way to a panel but find me later and I’ll be happy to take a picture!” Don’t wear a cosplay outfit if you don’t want people to notice and appreciate it.

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DO: Show Your Appreciation

Tell those celebrities you love them! They want to hear that they did a great job, they like to hear that their performance, or writing, or whatever, meant something to you. When you see them walking around, say hi, tell them they rock, etc. They want to hear these things. However, this leads me to my next DON’T.

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DON’T: Bug Celebrities 

Seriously. Don’t do it. Don’t be “that guy” or “that girl”. I’m not saying that celebrities are in the own little bubble and we should completely ignore them. No way. A lot of times, celebrities and con guests are roaming the con floor just like you, and they want to enjoy it the same. Use your best judgement, there are some guests that don’t mind people coming up to them and asking for a picture or an autograph. There are some celebrities that will say no because they have a set autograph/picture slot sometime during the convention weekend or they are charging for photos/autographs at their booth. It would be very rude of a guest to take a picture with you on the con floor and then turn around and charge another fan at their booth. Use your best judgement when it comes to the guests. They’re as happy to see you as you are to see them, but you wouldn’t want random strangers getting in your face all the time so be respectful and keep your distance when necessary.

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Lastly:

DO: Bring a Backpack

Seriously, you’ll be thankful you did! Maybe it sounds terrible because you’re going to have to carry it all day but its better than some alternatives. Some cons provide you with bags but not all do. So bring a backpack. You can carry the things you’ll need during the day AND you can stash all the things that are constantly being handed to you in there. Things you should bring in your backpack:

your phone charger! Don’t forget this!!! You use your phone to keep time, keep track of the people you came with and to take pictures! you don’t want it dying!

chapstick! suncreen! possibly a hat/sunglasses! IBUPROFEN! At some of the bigger conventions, especially San Diego Comic Con, lines will be outside, and FOR HOURS. Be prepared. It gets hot, it gets sunny and you don’t want to get sunburnt. And always keep some Advil with you, the worst is getting a massive headache when you’re trying to have a good time!

laptop. Okay this isn’t a MUST but if you’re a blogger like me, it could be a good idea for up to date blog posts and twitter updates and things like that. I can do everything from my phone, so that’s why, back to number one, I bring my cell charger!

food/drink. Keep snacks and water bottles with you at all times! Trust me, you’ll love that you did!

CASH, CASH, CASH! I preach cash! Yes, more and more vendors are taking cards because of those new little devices that you can attach to your phones and tablets but cash is so much better. One, you’ll be less likely to spend money that you DON’T HAVE and sometimes, you can haggle the vendors for a lower price because you’re giving them straight up cash.

a sharpie. I always carry a sharpie with me. You never know when you’re going to randomly run into someone and you’re going to be SUPER bummed that you didn’t have a pen or a sharpie for them to sign your program

business cards for your blog, etsy/merch store or your geek group/club. Carry those babies around with you so you can hand them out to people!

mints/hand sanitizer: you’re going to be meeting people all day. Self-explanatory, yes?

jacket: it gets cold!

-for girls: a hairbrush/little makeup kit. Sometimes you need this to help you feel not so frazzled and alien.

ipod/book: I’ve only needed these two things a couple times but bring them anyway. You never know when you’ll be stuck in line by yourself, with no one to talk to (though this is SERIOUSLY rare), and you’ll have nothing to do. The Ipod is a must

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So that’s my super long blog post of how to navigate your first con! Its super long, and I apologize for it but if you’ve made it to the end, congrats!

I will be adding this as a new “section” on the blog so that it’ll always be available and easy to find!

Can’t wait to see you all on the convention floor :)

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What are some of your do’s and don’t’s of conventions? Share them in the comments! I’ll add them to the list!

Top Twelve Fictional Places (Oh Why Can’t They Exist?!)

Some of the best things about all these fandoms I’m obsessed with are the awesome worlds that come along with them. I think that’s partly what makes some of these fandoms so damn awesome: the fact that they’re taking place in some mystical, fictional place where amazing things happen. There are so many fictional worlds out there that I wish really existed and there are definitely places that I wish existed. So, of course, I created a list. I had to. I love lists :D and what a better list than one describing all of my favorite fictional places!

WhataNerdGirlSays’ Top 12 Fictional Places 

12. Pokemon World (Kanto, Johto, Etc). 

Pokemon Blue, Yellow and Red are my favorite video games of all time. They were really the first video games that I got into. I adored the show, I collected the cards, I played the game. Of course I did. To this day, I still love watching the show and playing the game (not so much the cards, I just never could understand it haha). I love the world of Kanto. For one thing, you’re ten years old and you’re ready to leave home and go on an awesome adventure. I don’t think I was old enough to walk home from school when I was ten years old! Then there’s all the awesome people, the pokemon, the training, the cool places to go, the battles, and so on. I wish this place was real! I could totally train pokemon! That or I’d just catch them all and stare at them all day because they’re so damn cute.

11. The Kingdom in Howl’s Moving Castle

“In the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist…”

This mostly comes from Hayao Miyazaki and the Studio Ghibli team. They do an amazing job in all of their movies; their animation is stunning and the artwork is beautiful. This is what makes me want to live in Howl and Sophie’s world, known as Ingary in the books. I don’t know that they ever call it by anything in the movies but its called Ingary in the books. Yeah, the kingdoms are a little screwed up in their pointless war, but once that’s all done, I feel like it’d be an awesome place to live. The city where the palace is located is bustling and busy and so fantastically metropolitan. Then there’s the beach front town where Howl’s other shop is located where there’s the vast ocean and street market. Plus there’s magic and fancy clothes and it’d be so fun to do all of that. Oh yeah, and I want a fire demon named Calcifer, voiced by Billy Crystal.

10. Hundred Acre Wood

“Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.”

 I have a completely unhealthy obsession with Winnie the Pooh for a fangirl of twenty-four. I ADORE Winnie the Pooh. I love the old A.A. Milne stories and I can’t get enough of the Disney adaptations. I will sit on that ride over and over again at DisneyLand and you can catch me singing various songs from the movies at any point in time. Is it no wonder that I think it would absolutely and totally brilliant to live in the Hundred Acre Wood. When I think of the Hundred Acre Wood, I think of childhood. It represents childhood so much; think of the last original Disney movie where Christopher Robin leaves the forest to grow up and go to school. And who doesn’t want to revisit their childhood when it involves adventures with a silly ‘ol bear and a nervous little piglet and a gloomy donkey and a bouncy tigger? I know this girl does.

8. Rivendell/the Shire

“Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?”

I’d like to say that I would love to just live in Middle Earth, but besides Rivendell and the Shire, Middle Earth kind of scares me, even after its saved. It’s so vast and unknown and there are so many creatures of unknown out there and it seems so dangerous. I like to stick close to home. Hobbits don’t stray to far from home, and some people may not like that much, but I don’t think there’s much harm in that. Of course, I want adventures and fun, but in the end, I love coming home. And the Shire is a quaint little countryside home that is perfect for those Hobbits. Besides, I would fit in sooooo well with Hobbits. And there’s Rivendell, where the lure is just the beauty and mysteriousness of it. Elves are such a mystery, even after all the encounters you have with them. They’re gorgeous (hello, Orlando Bloom in a wig. Hubba hubba). There is something very magical about Rivendell.

8. The Burrow

 

“It’s not much, but its home.”

I am part of a big family. I so know what its like to be a Weasley. There are seven kids in the Weasley family and there are six in my family. I think this is partly why Ron is one of my favorite characters; I can totally relate on the whole big family thing. That being said, the Burrow just sounds like everything I could’ve ever wanted in a home. It has the family together in once place, being a family together. It doesn’t have a forced feeling. It’s a real home, with messes in the rooms and the gardens, and homemade blankets and sweaters all over the place and a homemade dinner every night. Even though the Weasleys are poor, they have the Burrow and the Burrow is their home. It feels like a home. Its where their family gathers to be TOGETHER. Its where Harry gets his real, first experience on what its like to have a home and a family. And that fact that it’s a hodgepodge of rooms and additions makes it that much better. Like everything else Weasley, it’s a little crooked, a little out of place, but perfect in every way.

7. Narnia

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”

Now I’ve probably said it about a million times already, but I mean MOVIE Narnia, not book Narnia. My quote is from the books, and don’t get me wrong, I do like the books but well that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. I like the idea of Narnia, as this secret place that the Pevensies escape to and its where they belong and where they are able to become themselves. If the Hundred Acre Wood was childhood, Narnia is that middle ground, where a child becomes an adult. All the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve that pass into Narnia give to Narnia…but Narnia gives them just as much back. I like the idea of being able to find a secret, magical land in the back of a wardrobe where I’m going to have adventures and learn more about myself and the world.

6. Tortall

 

“Does anyone in this land act like they’re supposed to?”

The quote itself explains it. Tortall is a land of its own, where things happen that seem so out of the ordinary. The King’s Champion is a woman, one of the most powerful mages in all the world is a woman, there’s woman fighting, there’s schools for the lower classes, there’s so much. Tortall has everything a fangirl could need with knights and mages and fantastic creatures and all of that, but it’s so revolutionary at the same time. It shows equality and tolerance. It promotes the idea of educating your population, all of it. It has a king and queen, who get to know their people, who act like normal people. Girls are amazing in Tortall; they’re clever and ambitious and powerful, just as they are in the real world. I would live in Tortall, easily. I could become a female knight or a mage (if I had the Gift) or a scholar or a Queen’s Riders or join the King’s Own. Tortall represents a sort of crazy wishful world, an example of what we should be. It’s not perfect but its near enough and King Jonathan and Queen Thayet work their butts off to make it so.

5. Time and Space in The Tardis

 

“Think you’ve seen it all? Think again. Outside those doors, we might see anything. We could find new worlds, terrifying monsters, impossible things. And if you come with me… nothing will ever be the same again!”

The Doctor has a way of pulling you, making you want to go with him, even though its dangerous. And it IS dangerous. The Doctor gets himself into crazy, insane, dangerous situations where your life, his life, a species life, the universe is at stake. And yet, you see amazing things as well. There’s a reason that his companions are so enamored with him; there’s a reason they’re so attached and they find it nearly impossible to leave. The Doctor gives you the entire universe, a life that is amazing and unique and different every single time. You literally have the entire universe in the palm of your hand. Anywhere in time and space.You can go anywhere you’d want to go. I couldn’t even begin to make a list of the places I wished to see. I wish that the Doctor’s world existed. I wish he existed and he’d take me along with him.

4. Camp Half-Blood

“Keeping Young Heroes Safe from Harm (Mostly) For Over Three Millennia”

I’ve been absolutely obsessed with Greek mythology for a good chunk of my life. It’s fun and it’s interesting. It was the religion of these people; these tales were what they used to explain everything, whether it was to do with the body, or the nature or anything. I remember wanting to name my cat “Artemis” once and everyone made fun of me. It took me awhile before reading the Percy Jackson series because I thought of it as a little kids’ series. Mistake one. Harry Potter is a kids series and I ADORE it. And I adore Percy as well. How cool to be a demigod, with a god or goddess as a parent (though in the book, they all seem pissed at their parents) and to have cool powers and save the world. Camp Half-Blood sounds so COOL. I wish I could live there. Its like all my obsession with Greek mythology come to life! Obviously I couldn’t be a daughter of Artemis, even though she was always my favorite, but I’d imagine being a daughter of Athena. Athena seems like a good Ravenclaw counterpart.

3. The Galaxy

“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes”

I want to be a Jedi. I want to live in the Star Wars universe. I want a lightsaber and a blaster. I want to be Princess Leia. I want to rip Han Solo’s clothes off. I want to fly an X-wing or the Millenium Falcon. I want to race pod-racers. I want to save the galaxy. I want to live by the Force and battle the Dark side. I want to be part of the Rebel Alliance. George Lucas created a wonderful, vast, epic world and who wouldn’t want to be a part of it? The fact that the first movie came out in 1977, over thirty years ago, and still enjoys a crazy popularity just shows how captivating this world is. It has those classic elements of a typical fantasy, with the princess and the “knight in shining armor” with the swords (lightsabers) and the evil empire taking over. It has a magical component, it has the wide old man and the loyal retainers. And yet it is set in this badass science fiction world. Its the best of both.

2. Idris 

“To a Shadowhunter, Idris is always home.” 

Shadowhunters are humans who have angel blood and spend their lives fighting demons, and keeping the earth safe from demons. There are Shadowhunters stationed all across the world to keep it safe but their home is the country of Idris, and its capital city, the glass city, Alicante. It is described in the books as the sort of Jerusalem for Shadowhunters. I want to be part of this world and live in Alicante because I want to be a Shadowhunter and marry Jace Lightwood. I’m half-way kidding with that.There’s something intriguing about a glass city where the world’s most powerful warriors and protectors live.

1. Hogwarts

“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

“Hogwarts was the first and best home he had known. He and Voldemort and Snape, the abandoned boys, had all found home here. ” 

How much do I really have to explain about this? Hogwarts is my home just as much as it was to Harry and Snape and Tom Riddle. It was the first time I ever felt like I was a part of something. I learned the meaning of good and evil, right and wrong, the meaning of friendship, of love, of bravery, of tolerance, of courage, of happiness and sadness, of gain and loss. I get teared up just thinking about it, just reading those quotes by Queen Rowling. There is nothing in this world that has touched me or changed me like these books have. How could I not want to go to Hogwarts? Its enchanting, and mysterious, and fun and wonderful. It’s every good word that is out there. There is no fictional place in the world of movies and books that I wish was real like Hogwarts. Its real for us. It will always be real for us. Always.

So that’s my list of favorite fictional places. I’m sure there’s about a hundred more that you all are thinking of so share them in the comments! You know I always love hearing from you :D

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