Jenn: I think all my memories probably count as "nerd memories" but I distinctly remember taking computer classes in Pre-K and learning BASIC in kindergarten. By 4th grade, our class were using LegoLOGO to program our Lego cars to navigate ramps and other obstacles. This was in the mid to late 90s, so I suppose that's pretty nerdy for back then. You might also consider my nerding out about dinosaurs when I was two (and continuing to do so, thirty years later) one of my earliest nerd memory ;)
TNG: How and why did you start blogging?
Jenn: I've been keeping a log of my thoughts and interesting things I find around the web since the days of Geocities, back in the mid-90s, before "blogging" was really a thing. I'm sure if someone got really dedicated, they could find some really bad goth poetry from an angsty teenaged me, out there somewhere.
The why is a little more complex. Not many people realize, despite my being fairly open about it, but I'm Autistic. I've always found using typing as an alternative communication method to be much more fulfilling than speaking. For lack of a better way to explain it, there's a disconnect in my brain which keeps me from being as eloquent (vocally) as I tend to be whilst typing. Because of this, I get anxious when required to have conversations in person or on the phone, and that tends to make me stutter or stumble on my words. Many people take for granted the ease of being able to literally speak their mind and not have to concentrate on the variety of vocal nuances.
Being able to type what I'm thinking feels more natural than speaking. So the idea of being able to type out some of the chaos going on in my brain, to lighten the load, and actually say what I mean without worrying about intonation, inflection, or using the wrong words/phrasing... then have people read it and be able to respond, engaging in conversations without fear of mis-speaking? That's such a powerfully liberating concept. I can't even imagine how different my life would have turned out, had it not been for my first online journal entries, back in 1995.
TNG: YOUR favorite blog?
Jenn: That's difficult. As a native Angeleno, I have a deep-seated appreciation for the history of my city and all the fun nooks & crannies it has to offer. I think my most-visited blogs are Vintage LA and Hidden LA - they have a regular site, too, but update more often on Facebook). Also, I'm a really big fan of I Fucking Love Science. I wish I'd thought of putting together something like that!
TNG: What is your favorite thing/things to nerd out about?
Jenn: Zombies are the easy answer, but in addition to the undead: all things science. My three favorite subjects are astronomy, geophysics, and dinosaurs. Seriously, I spend way too much time drooling beneath Endeavour at the California Science Center, marveling over the Tesla Coil and stargazing at the Griffith Observatory, and just having my mind completely blown at the Museum of Jurassic Technology. I could live in the LA County Natural History Museum for the rest of my life and be completely happy; their gem & mineral collection is insane.
TNG: Any tips for San Diego Comic Con?
Jenn: I think there are so many great blogs out there which cover tips so much better than I could, since I have a different con experience than many people do, but my top five tips to have a great Comic-Con:
* Hygiene - Not only does it keep you feeling good for the week, it keeps others around you happy. The better the impression you make, the more likely you are to have more personal interaction with people you find interesting. Not to mention, a hot bath feels so freakin' good at the end of a long day. And bring a change of socks with you, during the day! You never know when you'll want to double-up due to impending blisters or when you may sweat through one pair and need the second. There's a lot of standing around and walking, so it's good to keep your feet happy.
* Plan Your Day Before You Get There, But Leave Some Wiggle Room - Make sure you know what's going on and when. Have a backup plan, in case you don't get into the panel/autograph session you want. Wear a watch and keep an eye on it. Also remember, sometimes a panel may seem like it'd be awesome to attend, but also consider how much you'll be missing out in those several hours spent in line. Comic-Con is so much more than just panels.
Out of my top ten SDCC memories, only one involves a panel: our first year of zombiewalk, Max Brooks was moderating a panel featuring George Romero. During Q&A, someone I didn't even know stood up and asked if either was attending the zombiewalk. It floored me to not only hear a stranger promoting the event, but starting a conversation - with two of the biggest names in the undead nerd universe - about the event. They both said they wouldn't be able to make it, but it led to Max Brooks having to explain what a zombiewalk is to George Romero, and opened the door for me to be able to introduce myself to both of them following the panel and having great conversations with both... one of the few times I've ever fangirled!
Which leads me to the most important part: if you spend all your times in panels, you won't be walking the floor. I've had encounters with more celebrities, artists, and authors on the floor than anywhere else. And it's always a far more authentic encounter than the ten seconds you get during an autograph session or being seated in a crowded room for an hour, watching them talk on stage. The intimate nature of the one-on-one conversations you can have will give you such an awesome experience to walk away with.
Another thing to keep in mind: offsite events. THERE ARE TONS (including Zombie Walk)! Don't feel like you need to stay cooped up in the Convention Center all day. Go get some fresh air and walk around the Gaslamp Quarter. You never know who or what you'll run into on the street or while exploring great offerings from NerdHQ, Geek & Sundry, Gam3rcon, Tr!ckster, Machinima, or many others entities!
*Lines - Know where they start, where they end, what they're for, and never underestimate the length of time you'll be spending in one. Practice good line etiquette; don't hold spots for more than 1-2 people, let people around you know that you're saving a spot and how many people you're expecting, bring enough snacks to share with those around you, etc. And don't forget to smile! You're there to have a good time and so is everyone else. Making new friends is one of the coolest things about SDCC and lines seem to be THE place to do that.
*Budget, Budget, Budget - Seriously, make one and stick to it. Always allow a buffer, but forget you have it. Daily budgeting works for me. I plan out what I want to spend on exclusives and commissions, then make a per diem for food, followed by a "whatever fund", then the just-in-case buffer. Look at your budget as what you can spend, not what you should spend. If you don't max out the budget every day, you'll have extra left over to either take advantage of the fantastic dealer sales on Sunday or to put toward your passes for next year, during pre-registration later this summer!
*HAVE FUN! - Don't stress out about missing a panel, an autograph session, a swag giveaway, a party, or an event. There are so many things going on next week that there will be other opportunities for you to enjoy yourself. If you miss out on the fandom party you've been looking forward to all year, I promise there will be other meetups and parties that will be just as awesome (if not more so). If you don't get that must-have exclusive, look at it as money saved to be able to do/purchase something else - especially an awesome commissioned piece in Artist's Alley. If you don't get into a panel you wanted to see, check out some smaller ones and maybe find a new comic/show/movie to get into. I use SDCC as a way to discover new things, in addition to celebrating that which I already love.
TNG: Girlie things you love?
Jenn: It's hard to get girlie when you're covered in fake blood and dirt all the time, but I have my moments. I love a good corset, collect knee socks, and go through hair colors more frequently than anyone probably should. Oh! Lush products! I'm such a serious Lushie...there's just something seriously and decadently girlie about a wonderful bubble bath. And bubble baths are a great way to ditch all the zombie grime ;)
BIG Thank you Jenn for taking time out of her CRAZY BUSY SD Zombie Walk planning to answer our questions. Find her at Comic Con next week and at her Zombie Walk! The Zombie Walk is July 20th at 6:30pm and is FREE for everyone! See more info on their website: Zombie Walk San Diego and Follow them on Twitter: @sdzombiewalk and Jenn's personal Twitter at: @readysteadystop.