Fangirl Fun: A Supernaturally Good Time at NerdHQ 2016

Since 2000, the beautiful city of San Diego has hosted San Diego Comic Con each July.  Also since 2000, the beautiful city of San Diego has hosted approximately 3 billion people dressed as various superheroes.  Okay, okay, maybe not 3 billion, but for someone who hates crowds it sure feels like it!  As a native of Los Angeles (and the internet), Comic Con seemed like a nerdy oasis that was so close I could sense a feeling in the air when it kicked off each year (I’m 130 miles upwind, so the scent is quite potent).  Since I was 12 I would glue myself to a chair and watch as updates on superhero movies and sci-fi television monopolized pop culture news outlets and the Twittersphere – yes this means I was 12 when Twitter was live and for those keeping score, I’m 20 years old.  I am what some might refer to as a “closet” nerd, so as I got all these glorious updates I celebrated all by lonesome (I think I just heard a studio audience “awww”).  As I got older I slowly crept the closet door open – just a crack! However I soon discovered tumblr and it was all downhill from there.   But back to SDCC…

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Photo Courtesy of NBC San Diego

San Diego Comic Con is a serious commitment, one that I simply was (and still am) not ready for.  As amazing as the event sounds, it’s all too much for this claustrophobic-impatient-quitter.  What I mean by this is, the convention center is known for being jam packed with people, not to mention the miles long lines.  Terrifying.  Unless I was guaranteed to be in sniffing distance of Chris Evans at some point, these two things just cannot be overlooked.  As for me being a “quitter”, if you commit to attending SDCC you also have to commit to the 4-day weekend, a hotel stay, and making all your money spent worth it (i.e. doing as many activities as possible).  That’s a lot if you ask me and I’m known for pulling the ole’ panic-and-scram maneuver.  

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BUT THEN the beautiful city of San Diego (and the beautiful person that is Zachary Levi) began hosting a little event called Nerd HQ in 2011.  The key word here is “little” – music to my ears.  I finally felt like I could be a part of SDCC without all the hassle and anxiety. Nerd HQ runs at the same time as Comic Con just a stone’s throw away from the Convention Center and has a pay-per-panel system that makes the commitment a lot more feasible.   I first attended in 2014 and came down to San Diego for only one day – in the timeless words of CoverGirl, it was easy breezy.  I got tickets to a panel, known as Conversations for a Cause, for the Maze Runner which featured the stars and creators of the film, including my beloved Dylan O’Brien.  I was sat in the second row in a room of only 200 people which really made it feel like an intimate conversation.  Members of the audience asked great questions, the panelists were having a blast (Nerd HQ was surely a break for them from the madness of SDCC), and we even got an exclusive look at the film.  After this wildly fun experience I knew I  would back next year.  Ok full disclosure – even though Nerd HQ is cheaper than SDCC it’s never cheap taking any kind of trip – so fast forward 2 years to when I had the funds…

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On the morning of July 13th, I awoke in the wee hours of the morning to reserve a ticket to a Supernatural panel.  I knew my chances were slim but I had hope.  I stared with beating eyes at the clock watching the seconds intensely.  Three seconds before the moment the tickets went live I reloaded the page, AND BOOM! SOLD OUT!  My heart sank so deep it was in the cage with Adam.  BUT ALAS in 30 more minutes I had a second chance for Jared Padalecki’s solo panel.  Two seconds before the moment the tickets went live I reloaded the page, AND THE STARS ALIGNED! IT WAS PERFECT TIMING! I GOT THE TICKETS!!! Never have I been filled with such adrenaline at 5:30am.  

Fast forward 2 weeks to the day of the panel and the adrenaline was once again flowing endlessly, only it was thankfully 2pm.  Unlike the last Nerd HQ I attended at Petco Park, this year it was held at the San Diego Children’s Museum.  It was smaller, much smaller.  But that didn’t matter to me, I was gonna be seeing my number 1, my main man, my favorite guy, Jared Padalecki in all his glory.  Nothing could bring me down, not the sweltering heat, not the fact that I hadn’t eaten that day, not even that rude bitch dressed as a Police Box, nothing.  I waited in line for 30 minutes as the panel before us (the full SPN cast) was still going on.  Every 10 people in line there was a person live streaming the panel.  I think I can speak for all 200 of us waiting for Jared’s solo panel, that we were a bit bummed we weren’t gonna get any Ackles action.  We were all finally being filed into the theater and I was sat in the 3rd to last row, which admittedly was a hit to the excitement. But the moment my number, my main man, my moose stepped out from the doors, everything was MAGICAL.  

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Can you tell yet how much I love this guy? Because I really really do love him.  He’s just the best.  The. Best. My heart was bursting from my chest, my brain was not processing the fact that Jared was just feet from me, oh and my knee caps were vibrating! Such a weird symptom of excitement but my body was just so flustered all bets were off!  As per usual, Jared was a ray of sunshine with his smile infecting the whole room – every single person was smiling back at him.  He sat down and made a funny look, something was up.  We all knew something was up.  We were not prepared.  We as an entire room of 200 Supernatural loving crazy people were not prepared.

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Just like that the whole room flatlined.  Jensen appeared from…honestly he just appeared out of thin air I think…and we all died.

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Then this happened…

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Overlord Misha popped out from the door then quickly proceeded to introduce another “friend” aka the one and only King of Hell, Mark Sheppard  (*dies of fangirl heart failure*) 

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To say this room was excited is the understatement of the year.  We were all collectively in shock, it was such an incredible surprise.  Not one person wavered in joy, that’s including Jared, Jensen, Misha, and Mark who we were blessed to have caught in a great mood.  They were having as good of a time, if not greater, than the audience, which made for a truly unforgettable hour. See for yourself…

And just like that the panel was over.  The hour felt like two minutes.  Two heavenly minutes.  I walked out of that theater in an absolute trance. “What just happened” I literally said to my mom.  [Oh did I mention I was with my mother?  I did not.  Oops.  Well, just a look into her experience:  she likes Jared (who doesn’t though?) but she LOVES Jensen (she used to watch Days Of Our Lives) so needless to say we basically recreated this gif in real life when Jensen materialized.]  We exited Nerd HQ shortly after, still in disbelief of all that fun as we walked 3 miles to our car.  Yep. Three miles.  It was a nice stroll to snap us back to reality.  What a day. Thank you Zac Levi, all of those involved in making Nerd HQ possible, and of course my dearest Jared for being…well for being your perfect self.  Til next year, San Diego!       

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