January, you suck

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that there’s just nothing good about January. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the biggest fan of winter in general, but I really think that January, specifically, comes in a distant twelfth in a ranking of the months, in order of awesomeness.

New Year’s resolutions. Face it, I’m sorry, they’re going to fail. Everyone seems to always make the same ones: lose weight, eat better, exercise more, quit smoking, find a new job, go out and do more fun and social things, read more books, try new foods, declutter the house, go back to school. But by the time the middle of the month rolls around, most people are in one of two places with their resolutions: either they haven’t started at all, or they went, full-speed, for about two weeks, and are starting to face the inevitable backswing.

Losing weight? It’s hard, people. So is quitting smoking. Exercising more and dealing with the mess at home is not fun, and takes time, and results are usually slow. Doing new things can be fun, unless they cost money or rely on you overcoming your basic state of entropy in order to get off the couch and actually get your ass to that museum. I mean, I made the resolution this year to learn how to dance in 4″ platform heels so that if a pop star finds themselves in desperate need of a backup dancer for a video shoot or big concert with no notice, I’ll be ready, but watching all the Beyonce videos in the world isn’t going to get me off my ass and into those shoes.

The weather. It’s deep into the worst of all that winter has to offer. Snowy, cold, dark, miserable, wet, icy, and awful. February’s bad with this, too, but January is when you realize that the end of the tunnel is a looong way away.

The post-holiday letdown. Even if you don’t love the holiday season (which I don’t), January has this gloom of misery that’s exemplified by empty store shelves, bare, stark, houses, and the departure of any cheer that anyone may have been carrying through December. Abandoned Christmas trees litter the landscape with their decaying corpses. It’s just… bleak.

What year is this? You end up writing the wrong year all month. It takes a while to get used to the change of a new year, so for pretty much a whole month you’re writing the date as some weird zero/one hybrid number that looks like some sort of alien symbol for “war.”

I feel like January should be great. It’s a new year, a new month, new beginnings. It’s first. It’s “one.” It should be a clean slate, a fresh start, a chance for everything new. But it’s almost always a cold, sad disappointment. I wonder if January in the tropics is the same. Maybe I need to do some research. I mean, you need to have as many data points as possible, right?

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Three word presidencies

So, I got bored and, after someone (jokingly, I think) suggested it to me, I decided to sum up each of the American presidencies in three words. I tried not to skew too much one way or the other politically, but I have bias, and sometimes it shows. And Taft was really difficult, without somehow making fat jokes or figuring out how to sum up that he was the only president to serve in all three branches of the federal government in only three words. So, yes, I probably missed a lot of relevant information, but three words, people. Here it is:

  1. George Washington: America’s brand new!
  2. John Adams: Federalist; fought France.
  3. Thomas Jefferson: Louisiana Purchase; Monticello.
  4. James Madison: War of 1812.
  5. James Monroe: Monroe Doctrine; Missouri.
  6. John Quincy Adams: Diplomat; first “junior.”
  7. Andrew Jackson: Old Hickory; nullification.
  8. Martin Van Buren: Trail of Tears.
  9. William Henry Harrison: Shortest. Presidency. Ever.
  10. John Tyler: Declared himself President.
  11. James K. Polk: Got shit done.
  12. Zachary Taylor: Died in office.
  13. Millard Fillmore: Cabinet all quit.
  14. Franklin Pierce: Screwed shit up.
  15. James Buchanan: Dred Scott; secession.
  16. Abraham Lincoln: Emancipation Proclamation; assassinated.
  17. Andrew Johnson: First President impeached.
  18. Ulysses S. Grant: Reconstruction, nepotism, scandals.
  19. Rutherford B. Hayes: Great Railroad Strike.
  20. James Garfield: 200 days, assassinated.
  21. Chester A. Arthur: Strengthened the Navy.
  22. Grover Cleveland: First, government reform.
  23. Benjamin Harrison: Grover Cleveland’s placeholder.
  24. Grover Cleveland: Second, tariff and gold.
  25. William McKinley: Spanish-American War.
  26. Theodore Roosevelt: “Softly; big stick.”
  27. William Howard Taft: Reclusive trust-buster.
  28. Woodrow Wilson: World War I.
  29. Warren G. Harding: Really pretty awful.
  30. Calvin Coolidge: “Silent”; laissez-faire.
  31. Herbert Hoover: Crash! Great Depression.
  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt: World War II.
  33. Harry S. Truman: “Buck stops here.”
  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Cold War; Asia
  35. John F. Kennedy: Cuba, integration, Zapruder.
  36. Lyndon B. Johnson: Great Society; Vietnam.
  37. Richard M. Nixon: “Not a crook”
  38. Gerald Ford: Accession, pardon, Vietnam.
  39. James (Jimmy) Carter: Better after presidency.
  40. Ronald Reagan: Reaganomics, Cold War.
  41. George H. W. Bush: USSR, Gulf, recession.
  42. William J. Clinton: Jazz, Whitewater, BJs.
  43. George W. Bush: Dumb and dangerous.
  44. Barack Obama: Not over yet.

Why winter is an asshole

I really do not understand people who love winter. “It’s so magical!” “It’s so beautiful!” “All the warm, fuzzy clothes!” No. No way. Winter is a hellish bastard of a season, and it needs to end as quickly as possible. Here’s why:

-Snow. Yes, snow is pretty when it’s delicately perched on tree limbs and blanketing the rolling hills in white. However, snow does not exist only in postcards. In order to navigate through your life when there’s snow, you have to figure out a way to get around it, through it, over it, or exert an absurd amount of energy making it go away. And then you have the added bonus that everyone forgets how to drive, and you can count on almost being run off the road by a douche who thinks that 4-wheel drive makes them freaking Zeus on his chariot, with no regard for the lesser beings who are trying to survive everyone else’s stupidity.

-Everything is cold and wet. Your feet. The floor. Your hair. The dogs. The hem of your pants. There’s just this frigid, soggy mess that attaches itself to every damn thing and won’t go away until April.

-Bundling up. Dude, it is a pain in the ASS to wear fifty layers of clothes every day. Locating lost gloves. Finding a coat that fits over the giant sweater. Having a thousand pairs of socks because the ones you’re wearing will eventually be cold and wet.

-Christmas. Yeah, I hate Christmas. I’m Jewish and I work in retail. I hate Christmas carols, I hate red and green, I hate the forced cheeriness, I hate Santa. Yes, I hate Santa. He creeps me out. I hate claymation Christmas cartoons and It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story for a month straight. And then I hate the Christmas aftermath. I don’t get how people can make a one day holiday last for ten weeks. It’s absurd.

-Heat is freaking expensive. Heating a house costs a ton of money. And you never really shake the chill in your bones.

-Driving becomes ridiculous. Aside from the aforementioned driving in snow shenanigans, now you have to warm up the car, scrape the windshield, make sure you have a shovel and some ice melter or kitty litter in the trunk. You go through windshield washer fluid like crazy, because everything has a dirty, sludgy film on it. Your floor mats become sponges for dirty, cold, wet stuff that sticks to your boots.

-It’s pitch black at 4:30 pm. Come on. My light therapy box can only do so much. Where’s the freaking sun?

Should I move away from here to somewhere that has less dramatically differing seasons? Probably. Is it easier to stay here and bitch about it? Absolutely. Plus, winter sucks so much that it makes me appreciate summer that much more.

10 geek girl gift ideas under $30

Stumped on gift ideas for the geek girl in your life? Don’t have much to spend, but want to show your geek that you really “get” them? There are a zillion gift guides out there, even a whole bunch specifically for geeks, but more ideas never hurt! Here are some awesome geeky gifts that won’t bankrupt you:

1. TARDIS soap by Luxury Lane soaps, $8.99

Perfect for any Doctor Who fan, with the added bonus of supporting a true small business that produces handmade goods. This soap is on gift guides all over the place, and rightfully so, because it’s awesome.

 

 

2. The Self-Rescuing Princess T-shirt from ThinkGeek, $18.99

Honestly, just about anything from ThinkGeek would be a big hit with most geeks in your life, but for the geek girl who kicks ass and takes names, and doesn’t need some bumbling man to get her out of a jam, this T-shirt says it all.

 

3. Boba Fett hat from karenjcreations on Etsy, $21.

Everyone needs a winter hat, so why not let the geek girl in your life show the world what a bad-ass bounty hunter she is? (This shop has other Star Wars hats available, like R2D2 and Stormtrooper.)

 

4. Star Trek Federation soap by GEEKSOAP, $5.50

Yes, more soap. Soap is awesome, it’s inexpensive, and when it’s geek-oriented, it’s even cooler. This Star Trek soap comes in yellow, blue, and the expendable red shirt.

 

5. Firefly, The Complete Series from Amazon, $30.99

OK, I fudged the “under $30” thing by a buck here, but it’s so worth it. Any true sci-fi geek should have this in their DVD collection.

 

 

 

6. Grammar Monster buttons from vozamer on Etsy, 10 for $8

Is there a word nerd on your shopping list? These buttons will help her illustrate the important things, like, “Respect apostrophes” and “I use capital letters.” Also available as magnets.

 

 

7. Toaster T-shirt from Glarkware, $15-$22

There are many copies. And they have a plan. Your geek girl can show how she really feels about those frakking robots with this T-shirt.

 

8. Why it’s better to pretend you don’t know anything about computers poster from The Oatmeal, $11.95

Any computer geek who constantly gets asked by friends or family members to fix their computers will surely appreciate this poster.

 

 

9. Stealth Laptop Case by perpetualkid, $24.99

 

Looks like a regular padded envelope, but is really an icognito case for your laptop. Fully padded and lined.

 

 

10. xkcd book, volume 0 from xkcd, $18

The Internet’s geekiest and funniest webcomic, in book compilation form. Added bonus that the printer’s profits will be given to the charity Room to Read, which focuses on literacy and gender equality in education around the world.

 

 

(Just a wee disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of these companies or products in any way except, in some instances, as a satisfied customer. I haven’t been bribed or paid or plied with free products in any way, shape, or form. I’m not, like, opposed to that *coughfreestuffcough*, but I would disclose it if it were the case.)

 

Hell is for retail employees: holiday edition

I’ve just realized that this month marks the beginning of my seventeenth consecutive holiday season working in retail or close-enough-to-retail-that-it’s-pretty-much-retail. So it’s time for a guide to the holiday season, told from the perspective of the poor drones on the other side of the counter.

-Yes, the stores set up their holiday merchandise earlier and earlier every year. Yes, it’s appalling. Yes, it’s annoying. But, as I’ve mentioned before, the employee you’re dealing with in the store has nothing to do with these decisions. Here’s what happens: an email or FedEx package comes from corporate, spelling out exactly what goes where and when. Schematics are given. Floor sets are scheduled. And the stores have to do it. They don’t have a choice. Even if every single employee in any given store decides that Christmas decorations shouldn’t go up until the day after Thanksgiving, they can’t do anything about it. So please, don’t bitch at the store-level employees about the decorations or the music or any of that. If you see a bunch of stodgy-looking people standing around in suits, looking intently at displays or cash register setups, holding official-looking papers and wearing shoes that are clearly not made for standing up for a nine-hour shift in, that’s most likely corporate. They love to invade stores during holiday. Bitch to them.

-If you shop between the day after Thanksgiving and December 24th, the stores will be crowded. You will have to wait in line. You may have trouble finding what you’re looking for. Just fucking accept that and plan accordingly. Everything will take twice as long as you think it should. Things will be sold out. You will  be inconvenienced in some way. Just fucking deal with it like a goddamned grownup.

-There will not be enough registers open. Let’s talk about the too-few register problem for a minute. Those people in suits and improbable shoes I mentioned before? They’re looking to maximize profit. They do that by cutting costs where they can. And where they can is always payroll. So there are four employees doing the job of ten employees. And those four employees have to fight to take their legally mandated breaks, and they get yelled at because the stores are understaffed, and they’re expected to make five zillion dollars in sales per hour with not enough cash registers and no one to spare to do floor recovery, which is retail-speak for cleaning up the unimaginable shitstorm that shoppers leave in their wake. Trust me, those four employees would love to have ten registers open. But the companies won’t pay for that, so they do the best they can.

-This one’s important, so please listen carefully. If you do all of your shopping on the morning of December 24th, you pretty much forfeit your right to bitch about anything. The stores will be cleaned out. The shelves will be bare. Nothing will be on sale anymore. The great deals are gone. What you see is what there is. Get a gift card and save everyone some aggravation. Some Christmas Eve shoppers are awesome. They’re laid back and funny and know they’re sneaking in at the last minute. If you’re going to be a Christmas Eve shopper, be one of that kind.

-Regarding holiday hours: the old saying, “Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine” applies here. Places close early on holiday eves. They close on the holiday itself. Last year, I had to call the cops because a group, no, I’ll say a pack of men attempted to break down the door of my job because we closed at 1:00 on Christmas Eve afternoon, and these men had not yet purchased gift certificates for their wives. So clearly the most logical answer was to pound on single pane glass, screaming, “We know you’re in there!” to two reasonably concerned women. I should mention that our posted hours said that we closed at noon. We stayed open until 1:00, then decided it really was time to close up, an hour after we were supposed to. If the gate is down, and the door is closed and locked, your “But I know what I need” or “It’s only one little thing” or “I’ll just be a second” makes you an awful person. Call ahead. Find out the store’s hours. Be there before that. Because, and I speak from experience here, if we let one last minute shopper in for “just one thing,” the floodgates will never close. Plan better.

-Not being a total and complete dick is the nicest thing you can do for a retail employee during the holiday season that doesn’t involve bringing them chocolate. There are days that I would kill for one person just to be nice to me. For when I say, “Good morning!” to not be answered with, “Fifty dollar gift card.” Basic social niceties. Patience. “Please” and “thank you.” Maybe even a smile. These things cost you nothing extra.

-For those of you who like to get your panties twisted because I say, “Happy holidays” and not “Merry Christmas,” seriously, you can fuck right the hell off. I say that because I don’t know what you celebrate, if you even celebrate anything. Most of the time, I say things like, “Good luck with the rest of your shopping,” or “Drive safely out there; the roads are getting bad,” or sometimes even just “Have a good afternoon.” My not saying “Merry Christmas” is not a personal affront to you. It’s not a symptom of the war on Christmas. I personally don’t celebrate Christmas, but I don’t angrily try to impose my religious beliefs on total strangers during a two-minute interaction. So take your hissed, “Merry Christmas” in response to my “Happy holidays” and shove it up your self-righteous, xenophobic ass. But if you nicely, with good intentions, say, “Merry Christmas” to me, not knowing that I don’t celebrate it, I will always respond with a sincere “Thanks! You too!” Because I’m not a total asshole, and you’re just being nice.

-This one will come up approximately a dozen times a day for the next six weeks or so. You cannot use someone else’s credit card. I don’t care if it’s your husband’s. I don’t care if it’s your mom’s. I don’t care if you have a note. None of those things are legal, and none of them are allowable under your cardholder agreement or our merchant agreement. I don’t know if your husband just left you and you stole his cards and are charging up a storm before he finds out. If it doesn’t have your name on it, you can’t use it. Your husband or mom or whoever can call their credit card company and get a card sent out with your name on it. For free. And you can then use that card. It’s really fucking simple. And while I’m at it, see on the back of your card where it says, “Not valid unless signed”? Yeah, fucking sign your card. Leaving it blank is not a deterrent to theft, and does not automatically mean stores will ask for your ID. It means your card is NOT VALID and that if someone does steal it, they can just sign your name in their handwriting and no one will ever question them. And “See ID” is not a valid signature, but whatever, I check signatures LIKE I AM REQUIRED TO, and if your card says “See ID” and I ask for your ID, fucking have it ready to show me. And don’t get shitty because I asked for it. You’re the one who made up your own little “See ID” rule, not me. Easiest way to avoid all of this? Sign your fucking credit cards.

-For those of you who are good-natured, patient, joyful shoppers: welcome to the holiday season. I hope you find all the bargains you’re looking for and that your season is filled with family and friends and good food and cheer. For those of you who are miserable assholes who take your aggravation with life out on retail employees: online shopping is awesome. You should try it. Alone. In your house. Don’t inflict your misery on the rest of us.

Failing at feminism: girls who say “I hate other girls”

Oh, you all know at least one. Who knows, maybe you are one. A girl who hates other girls. A girl who says, “All my friends are guys.” A girl who generalizes about other girls, calling them “bitches” and “superficial” and “annoying,” and using all of those things to justify to other people why you don’t have female friends. Here’s a newsflash, cupcake: you don’t have female friends because you’re an asshole. And quite possibly a huge bitch.

There’s nothing wrong with disliking other individuals, regardless of gender. But when you start proclaiming for everyone to hear that you’re just too awesome to hang around with other people of your gender, you’re saying less about their personality flaws and more about your own. You’re so convinced of your own amazing special snowflake-ness that you’re completely discounting the fact that there may be more women out there just like you. If you don’t like girls who are into fashion and makeup and like to go to the mall, I promise you that you aren’t alone. If you’re annoyed by girls who seem to expend all of their energy on getting guys to like them, there are tons of girls who also hate that. If you like sports or cars or computer programming or video games, well, these are not the domains of men exclusively. Think about it. You’re a girl. You possess all of these qualities that you value in a human being. Why would you choose to believe that you are the only one out there who possesses those qualities as well as being female? It just doesn’t make statistical sense.

Why the need for an “I hate other girls” proclamation? Is there some underlying desperation for male approval, some need to prove that you’re so different from all the other girls out there, when all that boils down to is that you’re one of those chicks who just wants dudes to like her. And does it by insulting and generalizing about other women. And here’s the thing, once you do it, you start to make it OK for everyone to do it. So saying, “Girls are bitches” or “Girls are shallow and catty” just opens up the door for guys to say those things. And I know that girls who hate other girls are the first one to say, “Oh, I’m not like that. I’m like a guy! I like guy things, and guys are easier to be friends with.” So you probably shouldn’t be surprised that all those women that you’re being an asshole about aren’t banging down your door to be your friend. Because by saying all that shit, you’re being shallow and catty. You’re reducing women to stereotypes, while somehow frantically begging everyone not to apply that stereotype to you.

Not to mention, female friends can be awesome. You have stuff in common! You can have easy conversations, or crazy adventures, or build stuff together. You can play video games, or go to baseball games, or take apart engines. Whatever it is that you like to do. Why is it that so many girls think that they can only do those things with guys? People deserve better than to be reduced to their gendered stereotypes. I have awesome female friends. I can have heated discussions about TV shows or great novels or how to best insulate a drafty house against winter winds. We quote bad movies and veto outfits and critique each other’s writing. With some friends, I do “girly” stuff like go to the mall or shop for makeup. But that’s not the sum total of our friendships. We are complex, whole people who interact with each other in complicated and interesting ways. If I were to decide one day that I’m too good to have female friends, or that I hate other girls, I’d be denying myself some of the best and strongest relationships in my life. And, frankly, I feel a little sorry for those girls who have decided that they’re just better than the rest of their gender. Because they’re missing out. We’re awesome. You should want to be our friend.

A geek girl’s recap of NYCC ’10

I spent this past weekend in New York for New York Comic Con. For those of you who read my blog who aren’t big old nerds, NYCC is the East Coast nerd and geek mecca, held once a year, combining comics, video games, science fiction, pop culture, and pretty much any other possible nerdy pursuit you can imagine. By now (one day after the last day of the con), a zillion people have already rehashed what got talked about on the panels, who was there, who’s releasing what when, the big news, the tiny little details, and pretty much anything else. The best I can do is walk you through my experience, as the random fan on the show floor, geeking out over everything, but with no special access or insight. (Although my con badge would lead you to believe otherwise, considering it said “Special Access” in big letters. All that meant, though was that I could skip the huge entrance line and there was a neat little lounge to escape the crowds and charge my phone and drink free water, which in itself was worth the extra cost.)

Friday: We arrived into NYC at around 11 and dropped our luggage off at the hotel. We then headed down to the Javits Center, which was about a 10 minute walk away. As we got closer, I noticed people in costumes more and more often, which, if nothing else, told me we were headed in the right direction. We entered the convention center and found the VIP line pretty quickly. There was about an hour before the doors opened, so we lined up and waited. More and more people in costume filtered by us, some in very elaborate superhero costumes, some in half-assed components of easily recognizable movie, comic, or TV characters, and some very specific and well-executed anime characters. (NYCC and the New York Anime Festival are rolled in together, which is maybe not the best idea, but I’ll touch on that later.)

They let us into the show, and we headed up the escalator to the show floor. My husband and friend made a bee-line to get tickets to signings with Todd McFarlane and Robert Kirkman, and I sort of wandered a bit. An incredibly impressive group of Predators walked by us, and one leered at me (and you know it’s obvious if I can tell you’re leering in a full giant body costume and full face mask). As much as we like to think we’ve progressed in geek culture, being accepting and respectful of women in a setting like this is still not as universal as it should be.

After wandering the show floor, talking to booth employees, taking some pictures, playing some games, and accumulating some of the massive quantities of free stuff available, we made a plan to meet at the IGN theater to camp out through the DC comics panel so we could have seats for the two Adult Swim panels: Robot Chicken and The Venture Brothers. And that was where my aggravation with the con “organization” began. I couldn’t enter the IGN theater through the main entrance without a different special pass. However, the employees (primarily volunteers) manning the doors couldn’t tell me where I could enter. So I wandered. I wandered a lot. I asked more people in official T-shirts. I didn’t get the same answer twice. Finally, a fellow con-goer discovered the door to the giant holding pen for the theater and called out to everyone in the hallway where it was. Thank you, random guy in a Green Lantern T-shirt!

The DC panel was good, with footage from “Superman/Shazam!” and “All Star Superman.” I’ll come right out with it that I’m more of a pop culture/sci-fi geek than a comics geek, but I still enjoyed the comic stuff I saw. The Robot Chicken panel is almost certainly up on YouTube already, but they had some great footage from both the upcoming season and their next Star Wars special. Macauley Culkin was on the panel for some reason (he’s done some voice work with them), along with RC co-creator Matthew Senreich and Clare Grant (Seth Green’s wife and a member of Team Unicorn),  but Seth Green was obviously the “voice” of the panel, and he was funny and really engaging, and interacted well with the audience. I was beyond excited for the Venture Brothers panel, and Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick (later joined by Michael Sinterniklaas, who does a great deal of the voice work on the show) were funny, self-deprecating, and totally awesome to watch. You’ll have to track down the details of the panel elsewhere, because I was just transfixed, glassy-eyed and grinning the whole time like the kids who got to meet their favorite comic superheroes.

We capped off Friday with the Geek Girls Network Tweet-Up, where we had some drinks, listened to some music, and I was totally socially awkward as I always am in that kind of situation. It was a great time, though, and special thanks to Kristin from GGN for putting it all together.

Saturday: I started my day on Saturday by waiting on a really really long line for a Venture Brothers signing with Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick. I got asked approximately 7 zillion times what we were standing in line for. I guess I have a friendly face? (I don’t, but I was the person who consistently got asked.) Here continued my aggravation with offical con organization. The line got pretty long and unwieldy, and a few volunteers came by and started freaking out and yelling at people to get against the wall to clear up space. Like, they were already in full panic without stopping at “calm assertiveness” first. This was sharply contrasted by the Adult Swim employee who walked calmly down the line, handing out tickets for the signing, answering questions and joking around with people, keeping order and being authoritative without being a dick.

The signing was probably the highest point of my weekend. Through a series of planning mishaps and my desire not to be an asshole and cut the line, my husband ended up about 30 people ahead of me. He apparently told Doc and Jackson this, and told them to mess with me, and they did. As soon as I got in that room (about 45 minutes later), they started joking around with me, making small talk, being generally awesome and gracious, and we had a nice chat about Dr. Girlfriend, making sacrifices for your spouse, and they were kind enough to take a picture with me. Celebrities who treat their fans well always warm my heart and make me appreciate their work that much more.

The rest of Saturday was pretty much walking around the show floor, popping into the IGN theater for a panel or two, and just being generally overwhelmed. We sat in on panels for The Thing and Hannah, both of which look like good movies. There was an excellent “Women of Battlestar Galactica” panel, featuring Tricia Helfer, Katee Sackhoff, Nicki Clyne, and Michelle Forbes. I was anticipating an uncomfortable level of audience creepiness, but with a few exceptions, people had good, non-creepy questions, and there were some excellent questions about feminism, sci-fi, and the role of women in BSG. All the panel participants were friendly and engaging, and Michelle Forbes fielded most of the heavier questions about feminism and gender roles. (As a side note, everyone knows that Tricia Helfer is beautiful, but in person, she’s intimidatingly good-looking. Definitely not a “looks better on film” actor. And she and Katee Sackhoff were laughing and goofing around the whole time, which was fun to watch.)

Saturday was sold out, and being at capacity just meant that there were way too many people crammed into a small space, and it got to be very not fun for me. No one knew where to go, booth employees were starting to get snippy with con-goers, and people were just generally pushy. My annoyance with the official con staff was capped off when we stood in line for 45 minutes for a Comedy Central panel, and an NYCC staffer pulled us out of our place in line to straighten out and manage the queue, and managed to lose us our place in line, at which point, I fully admit that I stormed off swearing rather than argue the point and get our place back.

We wandered into the Minori Chihara concert, which proved more than ever that I’m old and out of touch and really do not get modern anime and J-pop. In general, the consensus, from both sides, seemed to be that fans would be better served if Comic Con and the Anime Festival were split up. There was a fair amount of tension between the “comic nerds” and the “anime kids,” and the crowding issues really didn’t help anything.

Sunday: Sunday was “Kids Day,” which, for anyone who knows me, just sounds like a recipe for disaster. Oddly enough, though, it was the most laid-back day, and since the kids were all pretty well corralled into the “safe” areas, it was way less congested than I expected. The only thing on my agenda for Sunday was the Walking Dead panel. The three of us staked out seats in the IGN very early (and sat through a surprisingly not-awful M. Night Shaymalan panel), and it’s a good thing we did, because there was a near-riot for people waiting to get in right before the panel. The panel was awesome, and the show looks amazing. (It premieres on Halloween on AMC- watch it!) The panel consisted of comic creator Robert Kirkman, director Frank Darabont, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, and six of the main cast members. They showed six minutes of exclusive footage, and teased up a lot of what’s to come on the series. Great panel, and it did its job, which was get me even more pumped up to watch the show.

After the Walking Dead panel, we wandered back upstairs to cram one last hour of show floor time in before closing. I finally caught up with Kristin of Geek Girls Network, and was reminded how much I love meeting people who I’m already friends with through various Internet outlets. At 5:00 sharp, Comic Con employees and volunteers and Javits Center employees began, shall we say, emphatically telling people to, essentially, GTFO. We lingered an extra minute to grab a few last-minute pictures, and were rewarded by the cast of The Walking Dead strolling right past us. At which point, I looked up, saw Norman Reedus, who I’ve loved since Boondock Saints, squealed something unintelligible, and thankfully, my husband had the presence of mind to chase him down and ask if he’d take a picture with me, which he did quite graciously even though I turned into a stammering, giggling fangirl. And then we left and had a delicious Thai dinner, where we ended up chatting about con stuff with the table of people across from us.

To recap: Really great and gracious guests and celebrities; way too crowded at times; very poor communication between staff, volunteers, and attendees; could probably stand to split up NYCC and NYAF; some really good but mostly “meh” cosplay; and my feet and legs are KILLING me. I need to physically prepare better next time, and con organizers need to iron out the fairly obvious and substantial kinks in their system.