ChiCon 2014


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My view from our hotel room.

I complain a lot about this blog being virtually useless because nothing ever exciting happens in my life, and yet I forget to blog about the most exciting thing that happened to me in 2014?

SmileyBunny: *heaves a gigantic brick and prepares to throw it*

Save it, SB. To be fair, I liveblogged the whole thing in my Tumblr account and spammed my poor meager amount of followers with blurry pictures and wailing, but since I’m never ever [ever] going to reveal my tumblr URL where people who know me in real life might find it, I’m going to make a separate post to share here.

As you may or may not know, I’m a huge fan of Supernatural. And one of the best things about it is that the show does several conventions every year in different locations. They do one in Chicago every year, and I’ve been wanting to attend one since 2012. Well, back in October of last year, I finally saved up enough money and snagged myself some tickets.

It was the greatest thing that ever happened in my life so far.

Supernatural conventions usually run from Friday to Sunday, but because of my dad’s work obligations (he was the one I begged to drive me to Chicago), I could only attend Saturday and Sunday. So I went ahead and purchased reserved seating tickets and concentrated on getting as much of the photo op tickets that I could, figuring that it would leave me the best chances to meet my favorite actors face to face. Unfortunately, the J2 duo tickets, which is a joint photo op with the two main cast of the show (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) were sold out before I could get my hands on them. But then a month before the convention, they opened the TRIO photo ops that included J2 and Misha Collins, and think I left skid marks on my pockets in getting that particular ticket.

[Brief note: the night after I bought my tickets my Saturday-Sunday reserved seating tickets, I had the horrible nightmare that I received an e-mail from Creation (the company that hosts the convention) that the convention was essentially cancelled and instead of three days, it will be condensed into just one day, which will be on Friday, the day that I didn’t buy tickets for. I woke up before I could scream in horror.]

My mom and my little brother tagged along. My brother, bless him, had agreed to accompany me to photo ops, and promised to drag my unconscious body away from the photo op booths in case I faint and embarrass myself.

Chicago was a good two hours worth of drive away from where I live, and we left Friday afternoon, ate dinner in Schaumburg, and arrived at the hotel convention site around midnight. As soon as the hotel was in sight, I could see people cosplaying distinctively as different variations of the character Castiel. My excitement ramped up to new levels that I was practically vibrating on my seat while my dad hunted for a parking spot.

“Oh, look! You’re not the only weird one here!” said my mom pointing at the Castiel cosplayers.

“I’m with my people!” I replied.

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I uh, I was that weird Asian girl whose dad was urging her to stand on top of the chair right in front of the banner,

When I walked into the convention center for the first time, there was just this liberating feeling that overcame me. And dramatic as it may sound, I felt a sense of belonging. My brain of course knew that the show has devoted fans, but when I walked into the convention hall and saw people dressed as my favorite characters milling around, merchandise and photos on vendor stalls, and people posing for pics, my heart shouted “I’m not alone!”

Friday night was Karaoke night, where some of the show’s stars host a karaoke party and have fans come on stage and sing. I only caught the tail end of it. I wished I could have went on stage and sung, but registration was long since over by then. It was still awesome because I got to see Osric Chau, Rob Benedict, Matt Cohen and Richard Speight from, like, 20 feet away from me. For about an hour and a half, we were in the same room and practically breathing the same air. It was surreal. Especially since Osric was dressed in a pink fluffly Nurse Joy outfit.

Saturday morning came bright and early. It was a flurry of panels and photo ops. I had so much fun and spent too much money. My little brother was gracious enough to accompany me the first part of the day, and in two of the three photo ops I purchased.

They went by much faster than I expected. I wish I could have gotten at least a couple of minutes to interact with the actors, but I understand that if everybody gets minutes then we’d be in line for HOURS.

The photo op with Osric was the most memorable because I got to introduce myself and my brother and shake his hand and ask for a hug. He was friendly and approachable and also solid and muscle-y. I’m really glad he joined this cast because he’s enthusiastic, colorful, and quintessentially nerdy like the rest of us who are attending the con.

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The photo op with Richard Speight, Jr. went by fast and I didn’t really get to do much beside greet him and cling to him as the photo was being taken. I think he asked “How are you?” and I replied “I’m good, how are you?” He was the master of ceremonies in all three days of the convention, and I don’t think people realize what a damn good job he does. He kept everybody’s energy up, and I, as all others, really think he should do stand-up comedy because this man is as witty and funny as a Trickster.

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The photo op with Misha was the highlight of my day. It went by even faster maybe 5-10 seconds at most. I was preparing to tell him that I was so grateful for this chance to finally meet one of my inspirations in life, but when I stepped beside him, my mind went blank, and I vaguely remember my voice suddenly going a few decibels higher– screechy even. It went a little like this:

Misha: Hi, how are you guys?
Me: GOOD HOW ARE YOU?

After picture:

Misha: Thank–
Me: THANK YOU

I think I was too busy making sure I was looking at his (blue blue) eyes. My bother and I managed to go back to our hotel room where my mother witnessed me losing my sh–

[SB: Wow, you sure are more vulgar now than you were before.]

[I know. Blame tumblr.]

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The vendors hall was full of Supernatural merchandise that I was denied of for the years that I’ve been in this fandom by living in a small town. It was like opening the doors to a utopia where the only sacrifice you need in order to enter is your wallet. It’s a good thing that the life-size cardboard cut-outs of Sam, Dean and Castiel were all sold out, or I would have bought a set and would have had to figure out how to fit them in the car.

The auction was really fun, even though I didn’t participate on it. Watching people go into bidding wars over merchandise (that poster and the four autograph tickets that went up to $725 was insane) was entertaining to witness.

The panels were lovely. First up was Osric Chau and Gil McKinney, and Osric Chau, in true Osric Chau fashion, went on stage wearing a Castiel dress from Hot Topic.

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Next was Tahmoh Penickett’s panel. It was so much easier taking clearer pictures of him because he’s one of the few people who relatively stay still on stage.

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And then it was Mark Sheppard with all the sarcasm and wit that Crowley embodies. He went around the hall which gave people lots of opportunity to take clear pictures.  He wasn’t very fond of the strange trench-coated people running around. He did like the gentleman in the suit, though, and also the demon with the bloody apron.

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Next up was from the favorite convention trio (apart from Jared, Jensen and Misha). Richard Speight, Jr., Rob Benedict and Matt Cohen took center stage. And left stage. And right stage. And front and back and left hand right hand corner. These guys moved around so much that almost all of the pictures that I took were blurry. There was a lot of laughter, some singing, and mostly shenanigans going on.

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AND THEN it was Misha Collins’ panel. As one of the fan favorites, you can feel the difference in the energy of the crowd the moment Misha stepped on stage. I might be speaking personally, but this guy has something in him, an easy-going, laid back charm. Poor guy got so flustered when someone asked him to answer a question without “uh, ah, uhm,” cursing when he used one without meaning to, trying so hard that his sentences become choppy, until finally slumping in defeat against the verbal tick. He also spoke words of encouragement when someone asked if he could give some advice to people who are suffering with depression, which is to lean on this fandom community that has formed a family.

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That was essentially my Saturday. By the end of it I was exhausted, and I wasn’t sure where I was going to get the energy for the next day, which was guaranteed to be ten times crazier because it was J2 day!
And it was.
I was in a daze in most of it, I could not remember much, and I am forever thanking 2014-me for having enough presence of mind to write down what I was feeling in those moments.

Jensen’s photo op was up first. At the photo op line, I was more than a little nervous to the point that it was almost ridiculous. My brother was glancing at me worriedly. I was trying to regulate my breathing, and was muttering to myself “It’s okay, he’s human he’s human I’m calm I’m good it’s fine.” As we were nearing the booth, the only thing I could say was “Oh my god, omg omg omg.”

And my first glimpse of him ground me to a halt and my mind was blank and my excitement overtook my nervousness. I was just staring at him with a big smile, especially because one of the people in front of me brought a crown for both of them and I think he convinced her that it’s better if they’re crouching together. It was funny and he took it with good humor.

And a few people after, it was our turn.

He’s just, he’s one of my favorite actors. He’s beautiful, and energetic, and so pleasant and beautiful. After the photo was snapped, I managed to tell him “Thank you! You’re the best!” He smiled and replied “Thank you!”

And then as we went out the photo booth I burst into tears.

It was embarrassing.

There was just tears as I was gathering up my things, smearing up my mascara. I was mortified. It was ridiculous. But I was just so overwhelmed with finally seeing him in person. My little brother took it like a champ.

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Jared’s photo op was up next.

I was overly emotional during Jensen’s photo op (probably because I was so upset half an hour prior). But with Jared’s, I was strangely calm and giddy. Like, if giggling wasn’t embarrassing, I would have giggled the whole way. He was smiling wide and open, bouncing and energetic like Jensen, and the moment I saw him, I couldn’t stop grinning like a loon. I was also bouncing as we waited in line.

He was probably two feet taller than me on my best heels. He took one look at my little brother and I, and said “Well, I’m tall, so!” And then crouched as they took the photo. At the end, I blurted out “You’re the best!” And he clapped his hands and sincerely thanked us. My heart skipped a beat because I did not doubt his genuineness shining in that statement.

My brother was asking me “Are you okay?” as we were picking up our things. He probably thought I was about to breakdown again.

“I’m awesome,” I grinned and we started walking away.

“Yeah, right,” he said doubtfully, and wordlessly handed me my camera, which I had completely forgotten because I was so giddy.

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AND HERE IS MY FAVORITE PHOTO OF THE WHOLE WEEKEND. The only thing I could remember is standing in line, and seeing the people who had gone before me either crying and wiping tears off their faces or grinning widely and wiping tears off their faces.

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I only caught the last 15 minutes of Colin’s panel because I was at the Trio Photo Op. What I do know is that he’s a fan of the show, and he admires Jared and Jensen, and that he’d gladly take on the role of Stanford!Sam if given a chance.

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The main panel of the day is the J2 panel.

Jared and Jensen were several minutes late into their panel, most probably because the photo ops or autograph sessions stretched. The amazing Louden Swain band who have been there since Friday, gave the audience several outstanding song numbers that had Rob Benedict jumping and running all over the ballroom. I bought their CD Sky Alive and have loved them ever since.

When the J’s came out, the cheers were deafening. Jared and Jensen each stood up on a chair, trying to out-tall each other. A few minutes after, Osric Chau crashed the panel in his awesome Castiel dress, and then before leaving, hugged Jared goodbye and then climbed on Jensen’s lap. So of course Jared joined in! Unfortunately I couldn’t get a decent picture because I was laughing too hard.

A few minutes later, someone asked Jensen what his reaction would have been if he was a fan and saw the season 9 finale, I guess in response to the cast saying that they were thoroughly entertained by the fans losing their heads on youtube. Jensen jokingly said that Crowley talked too much, which led to Mark Sheppard suddenly appearing and chasing him from the stage! I don’t know what happened there as there wasn’t really any audible screams, but a few seconds later, Jensen came out of hiding and heaped praises on Crowley, with Mark standing right behind him. Mark said his job was done here and went back to the backstage.

In the middle half of the panel, Misha came out carrying a plate of dried watermelon according to Jared. Jared and Jensen demanded where the crackers and the drinks were, and were so ‘incensed’ at being given bad service. I couldn’t take a clear picture because I was laughing and I couldn’t get my camera to focus.

I probably have more photos of them than all of Saturday photos combined. I’m not going to spam you guys with posts because I already did that in tumblr. Here are a few several a lot of photos that I took during the panel:

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Mark’s photo op was the last that I attended. The convention was winding down, some people were leaving because they had flights to catch, so it was less busier than the day before or earlier.

As we were waiting at the line, we heard people suddenly cheering behind us, so we turned around and there Jared Padalecki was riding in a scooter, ringing the bell, and high-five-ing everybody.

I whipped up my phone as he was getting closer and told my brother, “Quick! Take a picture!”

[I heard the guy behind me exclaim in frustration: “Damn! I forgot my camera!”]

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Mark was awesome, it was great to see him. When we stepped to take our photo, I managed to say “Hi Mark! How are you?”

He didn’t answer, and I waited for a beat before deciding that he probably didn’t hear me because sometimes my voice can get very soft. Then there was a flash (I don’t even know if I looked at the camera, as part of me was still trying to decide whether he heard me or not), he suddenly goes, in his lovely accent:

“Good! How are you?”

It took me a couple of seconds to catch up that he was answering my question. He waited till the camera flashed and he startled me when he suddenly answered. My brother and I are still joking about it till today.

There was still one panel left, Curtis Armstrong’, but unfortunately, we had to go. I slept all the way home, and then flopped on my bed and slept ten hours more.

And that was my Supernatural Chicago Convention 2014 experience. It was exhausting, it was everything I imagined to be and more, and I had a lot of fun. I didn’t make any friends, which I was bummed about. I think I annoyed my seatmates by screaming during the panels, too. But it didn’t take away from the good experience. It was the highlight of my year.

.

..

NOW. It’s three o’clock in the morning. In a few hours, I will be attending Supernatural Chicago Convention 2015, and this time with a Gold ticket. I don’t know why it took me so long to write about my experiences last year. This year I will try to post a little bit earlier (SB: yeah, like in September of next year).

Now to finish packing up.

Categories: Fandom, TV | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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