- I started off by heading to Madison Square Garden for a fan Q&A with Peter Capaldi. Some of the questions were really difficult to answer on the spot ("With everything going on in the world today, what advice would the Doctor give?"), but he did the best he could. I never got to know him as well as his predecessors because my interest in Doctor Who dipped around the time that he was cast, but I'm still going to miss him nevertheless. He was so charming and obviously thankful for all of the support from his fans. They played a video at the end of his fans all around the world thanking him for what he brought to the character and the show and you could tell how much it touched him.
- I stuck around MSG for the Pacific Rim: Uprising panel and changed into my costume and got a closer seat while I waited for it to start. I forgot pretty much everything that happened in the first movie, but this was still one of the highlights of the day. They premiered the first trailer, which was mind-blowing, but not before warning us that they would drag us out of the arena United Airlines style if they caught us trying to leak anything on our phones. Then they played a hilarious homemade video from Charlie Day where he attempted to come up with jingles for the soundtrack. John Boyega was perfect and everything I hoped he would be in person. I feel like I have to change my set on here to something John-related, which might make him the first male AVI I've ever had.
- After the Pacific Rim panel I went to the Javits Center and wandered aimlessly around the show floor for ages. There was so much stuff to see and even though I was up there for hours I still probably only saw a tenth of it. There are so many booths, exhibits, and vendors and it's impossible to fully appreciate everything unless you stay for the full four days. The coolest attractions were probably a dragon from Middle-Earth: Shadow of War that you could climb and take a picture riding it, a full Alex Ross gallery (one of my all-time favorite comic book artists), a very secretive Star Wars: The Last Jedi booth inside of a spaceship with previews of the new movie with a line that wrapped around the whole place, and Spider-Man and Justice League virtual reality games. There were so many posters, toys, collectibles, comics, books, clothes, and it was easily the most merchandise I've ever seen in one place at a time and that's saying a lot since I went to the Mall of America earlier in the year.
- I ended up not doing any celeb photo ops, even though I really wanted to do at least one. My dad was kind of a party pooper at times which limited what I could do, so next year I'm definitely saving up money to go all four days with my own friends. He treated it like going to the mall and didn't want to go to Madison Square Garden with me for either of those panels and whenever I expressed interest in something he thought was too nerdy or weird he got judgey and kind of made me feel bad for being interested in it. He probably spent 75% of his time just sitting on a bench or on the floor. There's this company called YogaQuest that gives interactive yoga sessions where they tell a story and there are ones for Star Wars, Doctor Who, etc. and I was curious to see what it was like but he had no interest. In the future if I just go with my friends I won't have to worry about my family judging me for coming out of my shell which they tend to do, and it will be a lot more fun to be with my friends who are my own age and understand the con spirit. Also, this is totally a liberal event (some might even describe it as "SJW" even though I hate that term so much) and it was kind of awkward having my Trump supporter dad there. There were lectures for things like Black Lives Matter, feminism, LGBTQ representation, and mental health in comics which actually seemed super interesting but I missed out on all of it. I felt like I could have been much more uninhibited if I had just gone with school friends or gone alone and met up with online friends. I just want to be young and free and have fun without worrying about getting judged or having my dad try to call me out for having attitude or keep texting me asking where I am.
- I spent about $150-200 on my costume and it was still one of the cheapest ones there by far. It didn't look nearly as cool as I had hoped. I was with a Black Panther and a Jean Grey who both looked excellent, though. I'm already going to start saving up for next year so I can raise my budget and get the full experience of having passes for all four days, staying in a hotel, doing photo ops, going to afterparties, meeting new friends, buying merch, and having a killer costume. I'm talking coordinating a couple/group theme and getting a professional photographer to shoot us, because I saw a lot of those today and I was just awestruck wishing that was me. Some people think this is extra and my family doesn't understand the thrill of it at all but I'm seriously considering getting into cosplay and designing and creating my own legit costumes and makeup. So many people went all out and looked like they just walked off a movie set, and that's my goal for next time. Also, the vast majority of the cosplayers had amazing bodies so don't let anyone tell you that it's just a bunch of out-of-shape nerds doing it; it was honestly the perfect fitspo so maybe I will start lifting in preparation for whatever I go as next year. The best part of the whole experience by far was people-watching and seeing all of the amazing costumes. They were so creative and it just made me happy to see so many people getting along and bonding over something that has always resonated with me, and openly celebrating something that might get them bullied elsewhere.