nerd

A Rant: CNN, The WHCD, and the So-Called “Nerd Prom”

Can someone explain to me where CNN came up with the idea that the White House Correspondent Dinner is a “nerd prom?”

Exactly who, pray tell, are the nerds in attendance?

The journalists?

The celebrities?

The politicians?

I’m a card-carrying, banner-waving nerd, and I don’t think I like that CNN is calling the WHCD a “nerd prom.”  A “nerd prom” is something more akin to the “Enchantment Under the Sails” dance at San Diego Comic Con.  Listening to comedians lampoon Washington while celebrities pick at an overpriced dinner?  Not so much.

So come on, CNN, stop trying to create catch-phrases.  Just report the news.

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Trekkie Since 1991

For some strange reason, it occurred to me tonight that I don’t blog about being a Star Trek fan despite the fact that Star Trek was my entree into geekdom.

When I was 11, way back in 1991, I was convinced that I was going to grow up, go to college, major in astrophysics, and work for NASA.  (Incidentally, I did grow up and go to college, but an aversion to math kept me away from astrophysics. I still love physics, I just can’t do the requisite math.  Ironically, I discussed my aversion to math with Bobak Ferdowski, the mohawk guy from NASA who helped land the Mars rover.  He told me that he doesn’t use much math at all. This made me feel slightly better, somehow)

I started watching the original Star Trek series because of my love affair with space. My parents had seen the show but weren’t huge fans. Little did they know, we would soon become a Star Trek family.  We attended conventions here in San Diego that, in retrospect, were more popular than San Diego Comic Con.  I met stars from all of the series, including William Shatner, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, Rene Auberjenois, Marina Sirtis, and Jonathan Frakes.  I had both a command gold uniform and the command red uniform from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I watched Deep Space Nine, but fell away from Star Trek on television after the premiere of Voyager. To this day, I have never seen Enterprise, though I was in line on opening day to see Star Trek VI as well as Generations.

Star Trek gave me something to believe in at a critical moment in my childhood.  I truly believe that I would be a different person without it. I also know what it was like to be ridiculed for being a nerd before being a nerd was cool.

I pledge to post more about the series and films that did so much for me in my childhood. 

Nerdvana in San Diego: It’s Time for Comic Con 2014

Eight years ago you could buy a 4-day pass to Comic Con and walk in the front door when the Exhibit Hall opened.  Syfy had huge installations in the middle of the floor, and their booth was surrounded by Pokemon and D&D gaming tables.  

Now, people enter a lottery to be able to buy badges, and the Exhibit Hall floor is crowded beyond belief.  Vendors are on a waiting list to get in.  Syfy has moved across the street to the Hard Rock.  In fact, many of the neighboring hotels have taken advantage of SDCC by sharing their ballrooms and convention spaces for extra panels.  Even Petco Park has cashed in as it hosts The Walking Dead Escape.

Personally, as a native San Diegan, I think that SDCC is a welcome boon to our city and I support anything that needs to happen to keep SDCC here.  SDCC was born here, after all, and the money generated from out-of-town guests is more than we’ll ever see from the Chargers.  I think SDCC should be a city-wide event, spreading beyond the confines of the Gaslamp to other areas of San Diego.  

I get as excited about the SDCC banners going up along Harbor Drive as I get when I see the first Christmas trees during the holiday season.  

SDCC is a nerd’s paradise.  I’m so glad to be a part of it!

(That said, watch for my coverage of SDCC here on my blog and on Twitter @SarabethPollock

RIP Harold Ramis. You’ll Always be My Egon Spengler

RIP Harold Ramis.  You'll Always be My Egon Spengler

We lost one of the comedy greats today. Harold Ramis, who starred in and wrote some of the most memorable comedies of my generation, died today at the age of 69. I’ll always think of him as Egon Spengler in “Ghostbusters.” I was always the girl who loved Egon. I was jealous of Janine in so many ways. I never, ever forgot that the atomic weight of cobalt was 58.9. Every time that question came up in chemistry, I’d smile and thank Harold Ramis for the epic line. I remember watching “Stripes” with my grandfather when I was little. I had no idea how inappropriate it was for a ten year old until I was older, but even as a child it made me laugh.

If you’re not familiar with Ramis’ work, here are just a few titles: “Ghostbusters” “Stripes” “National Lampoon’s Animal House” “Analyze This” “Analyze That” That’s a short list, by the way.

RIP, Harold Ramis, and thank you for all of the laughs!

Is San Diego Comic Con the New Hunger Games?

Less than ten years ago I bought four-day badges for SDCC with no trouble.  There was no line overnight, no hunkering down in front of every wi-fi enabled device waiting for the button to turn green.  I just bought badges.  In fact, I bought a 4-day badge for my adopted grandmother just so she could see what SDCC was all about.  That year, the Exhibit Hall was not crowded.  SyFy (or, as it was known back then, Sci-Fi) had a huge blobby looking thing in the middle of the floor, and there were huge areas dedicated to kids and adults playing Pokémon and D&D. 

Nowadays, you’re lucky to be able to walk on the floor of the Exhibit Hall.

Back in 2011 I spent the night from Preview Night until 8am Thursday morning to buy badges for 2012.  It was worth it.  The people who showed up at 6am found themselves at the back of a 2 mile long line.  I got there at 11pm and was about a hundred people back from the front of the line.  I was with a guy named Tony who was from Florida.  He kept drinking Vodka from a water bottle, and at 3am he was infuriated that all of the liquor stores were closed.  And then there was the Ninja from Alaska.  He kept telling us he was half Chinese, and Tony and I didn’t believe him until the sun came up and we saw that he was in fact half-Chinese.  It remains one of my favorite Comic Con memories.  But that stopped after 2011. 

Let’s face it, people, the times, they are a changing.

For 2014 badge sales, we know a few things so far.  Prices have increased, 4-day badges no longer exist, and you can buy badges for three other people.  Now there is going to  be a lottery system once you arrive in the Waiting Room.  (For those of you not in the SDCC know, the Waiting Room is like something from “The Matrix” where a bunch of us geeks and nerds wait patiently for our turn to buy badges)

So this lottery system…is anyone else getting a Hunger Games vibe?  “I’m here, I’m in! …oh damn, my number is too high.”

For all of you anticipating the SDCC Badge Purchase Day, “May the odds be ever in your favor.”

Comic Con Prep

We have finally reached the home stretch leading up to San Diego Comic Con International 2013. 

Summer has officially begun.

June is almost over.

True Blood has returned to television.

The Twilight Zone Marathon will air on SyFy for the 4th of July.

My birthday follows the 4th of July (I grew up thinking the Twilight Zone Marathon was my birthday present)

I run in the SD Blood Bank 5K on July 14.  The course is next to the Convention Center so I can see the setup for Comic Con.

And then, at long last, comes Comic Con.

The countdown has begun.