Wiseacre (ewin) wrote,

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My Big Fat Dragon*Con

It's taken me until now to get this monster posted for several reasons... the main one is that shaftnet isn't letting me upload images for some bizarre reason.  I know, I know, there's lj space and photobucket and flickr and Dasher and Dancer and all the rest of them, but I can be damned stubborn about these things, and putting my pics on THERE won't get the problem fixed.  So... this post is without any photos, and will be until I get shaftnet back.

I'm sorry for that, but one thing I can say is that I didn't take many photos at D*con anyway.

The reason I am posting this now rather than waiting any longer is the fact that The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has been released, and since this post pimps it, I need to go ahead and get it posted while pimping is still possible.  I do sort of hate the fact that the film is limited release.  *le sigh*  But still, pimpage!

Let me start by saying something I've already said on Facebook:  I'm tempted to make 2009 my last Dragon*con.  Not because it was bad, but because it was just that good.  It was epic.  LEGENDARY EPIC.  Massive in its overwhelming fantasticity.  It pwned my life, and my life is better for it.

So.  From way back on September 4th...

Let us start with the not-overwhelmingness that was


I left work and drove up to Atlanta listening to my specially created geekmix on my iPod.  The geekmix contains the soundtracks to many very geeky films (Dune features prominently because, dude, Toto!), several anime series (of COURSE I have the entirety of Cowboy Bebop but that's mostly thanks to geogre), a plethora of themes to 80's television shows and quite a few comedy tracks.  Included was the score to nuTrek.  Awesome.

I arrived in Atlanta at roughly 8pm and scouted the Sheraton hotel.  elvinborn had already given me an ETA on the line for badges, and I took one look at that thing snaking its way completely around the building and decided to just head on up to Jeff's and try to do an early Friday morning.  This, as it turned out, was a good idea, because the some people were turned away on Thursday night when they closed.  I doubt I would have made it to the door before closing time.

So I went on to Jeff's and hung out for a bit.  That concludes Thursday.

On we go to...


Friday morning, I woke up at 5am, suited up -- wearing my Great Outdoor Fight babydoll -- packed my backpack, and drove over to the hotel cluster.  I found a parking spot just a bit too far away, but it was only $5 for the day, so no biggie.  I was in line for my badge by 7:20am or so.  It was already a bit long, and I had my concerns about possibly not being able to make the Nimoy/Shatner panel at 10.

At around 7:45am, Con staff moved our line behind another line that had formed in another location.  This pissed many people off, and I've heard that it happened more than once at Con this year.  Oh, the agony of the lines.  Le sigh.  But it didn't hurt us too badly, once the doors opened at 8am, everybody flooded into the building in a surprisingly quick rush... and in the pre-registration line, I got the opportunity to see something seldom viewed by any Con-goer:  the snakeline of DOOOOM - moving!  We were in an enormous room, cordoned into infinite surface area with ropes, and everybody had to get to the registration desks so everybody was jogging through the maze of ropes to get there.  For a full five minutes, it was groggy, sleepy, slightly excited, rapidly jogging geeks going back and forth, back and forth.  I'm not even kidding.  It took FOREVER to get to the end of the rope line.  At least five dozen people were filming the movement of the room, which was kind of fascinating, this endless conga line.  People were yelling "Marco!  Polo!" and it was all very good-natured until we finally filled the room and started the waiting process.

A Con complaint:  now, I have to bring this up just because it strikes me as something that it is actually more difficult to get wrong than to get right.  I'm speaking of the font on the name tags at the end of the registration line.  Near as I can tell, they used Forte.  Yes.  Forte.  Somebody made an effort to choose this font, when whatever default chosen by the word processing program would have been more readable.  WINGDINGS WOULD PROBABLY HAVE BEEN MORE READABLE.

Another Con complaint, which I must bring up although this one is not nearly so easy to correct as the other:  the distribution of last names amid registration lines was not done with regard to the distribution of last names of the people who registered.  This resulted in a massive backup of people on the first three lanes (last names beginning with A or B) and a nice long row of near-vacant lines for the last names of everybody else.  Now, perhaps the distribution was taken into account, and we were merely AB-heavy that morning... there still didn't seem to be any way for the empty lines to relieve pressure on the swamped ones.  This was irritating.  My last name begins with a B.  I watched the happy D-Z's skip out the door by the dozens ahead of me with a certain measure of resentment.

I got my badge at 9:15am, and was in line for the Shatnoy panel no more than ten minutes later.  I was well beyond outside the building, and despaired of ever making it indoors, much less into the actual panel.  I waited in line with high hopes, though.  It was just the beginning of Con, I reasoned.  I was determined not to ruin it with angst, despite the horror stories that were creeping back through the line grapevine ("We're not in the building yet and the room is already 3/4 full!").

But lo and behold.  That was a MASSIVE room.  And I got in!  Crammed in like a sardine between two strangers, but who cares?  SHATNOY, PEOPLE.  SHATNOY.

The vids for that panel have been posted here if you haven't seen them.  They are completely worth seeing, to understate the case.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy together (in concert!) were so epic, so hilarious, so fantastic, so fansquee-inspiring, that I can't even quote.  Okay, maybe I can quote.  "Why wasn't I in that movie??"


elvinborn and I texted back and forth from our widely disparate seats.  After this panel, we both came to an agreement upon something:

The rest of Con was free to suck.  The Shatnoy panel was made of so much incredible win that our memberships were officially already worth it.  Everything else?  Gravy.  The weekend was a success as of 11am Friday morning.


I explored a little bit just after the Shatnoy panel, my head still slightly buzzing from all of the GQ, and I had a nice tuna sandwich from the newsstand and discovered a lovely little table with outlets that was stocked with a full compliment of writers from New Jersey, characters from X-Men, and hapless souls trying to figure out the hotel's paid wireless policies (I have a look about me that inspires people to ask me for help with any and all computer problems; maybe it's just the fact that I was wearing a hat that said "THINKING CAP" on it).  I ignored the expensive internets and began to take notes.

Next was the Terry Gilliam panel.

I'll be honest:  I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy myself there or not.  I've read a lot of TG interviews over the years, and while I adore his films and consider him a peerless genius, he's also done a fair amount of complaining, and there's always the fear that you're going to end up trapped in a room with a disgruntled, bitter old artist.

I could have smacked myself for being so wrong.  Terry Gilliam is a delight of a man.  I wanted to squeezle him.  He did complain a bit, but his written interviews completely miss his spoken delivery, which is light-hearted and utterly self-deprecating and charming.  I love Terry Gilliam completely now.  He is wonderful.  I will watch anything he ever makes, and that includes the new film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which he spent the panel discussing, promoting, and giving us clips from.  He asked that we (paraphrased) help him pimp the film.

So I am pimping the HELL out of this film.  When it comes out, I am there.  Are you with me?  Because from what I saw, it's going to be awesome.  Just, blindingly, head-blastingly awesome.  Visually stunning in the way that only Terry Gilliam could imagine and have the balls to put on screen.  Heart-wrenchingly beautiful in the way that only Heath Ledger's last role combined with homage replacement performances by Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law could ever be.  Jaw-droppingly fantastic in the way that any film including both the talents of Christopher Plummer and Tom Waits could be.

Terry Gilliam is a bit of a Tom Waits fan, incidentally, which was awesome.  (Tom Waits will be playing the Devil.  Do you want to see this movie yet?  Hint:  YES YOU DO.)

The Gilliam panel was originally scheduled to last for two hours, which was an error.  The Daily Dragon corrected it, stating that it was only to last an hour long.  Terry nullified the correction by continuing to answer questions well into the second hour, claiming that we were "wonderful company" and he just didn't want it to end.  There were also some sound problems with the microphone, resulting in Terry and his co-host not being able to hear the questioners, so Terry just invited people to the lip of the stage and ran down (every single time) to put a hand to his ear and listen to them call up their question.  He did this (get up from his chair, bounce bounce bounce down to the edge of the stage, and crouch down in an adorable listening position with a hand to his ear) about twenty times.  Did I mention he was delightful?

Side note:  at one point during the panel, his co-host's phone rang.  Terry told him to answer it.  My heart stopped.  (Only my fanfic readers are going to understand the significance of this; sorry other folks, it just... I can't explain it, but I also can't not mention it.)  Fortunately, it was just an ordinary and very short phone call.  And yes, all of the stages had curtains.  *cough*  Moving right along.

After this, I took a break, changed into my Pi babydoll, and congregated with elvinborn for a bit.  Then I went and gave blood.  Dragon*con was really pushing their blood drive this year; they wanted to beat Comic-con's total for donors and units.  I thought that cute and pitiful in equal measure, but, hey, I did go and give blood, so I guess the juvenile sense of triumph thing works for me (damn fooking Comic-con with all your awesome stupid people I'm obsessed with I DON'T CARE MY CON ROCKS HARDER).

Update:  I checked the website, and apparently the blood drive resulted in 2623 units of blood, and it was the largest blood drive ever conducted at a convention.

Like, ever.  So, go us!

I can not stress just what a risk it is to donate a pint of blood at the beginning of a convention weekend.  Just about the only thing I can think of that would be worse would be donating blood at the END of a convention weekend (on Friday, the blood alcohol content is generally still manageable and the generalized crud content of your bloodstream is fairly low).

It's been years since I've given blood.  I used to be an expert at it; I could bleed fast (what a weird thing to be able to do), and never ever felt dizzy afterward.  Well, this time I did feel just a bit woozy and nauseated, but then again, I'd also chugged a diet coke earlier and was still operating on way too little sleep.  So I blearily went into the Atrium common area and snagged some Nutter Butters and a Capri Sun, hoping the sugar rush wouldn't send me into a coma, when I realized that I was going to be late for my beloved Peter S. Beagle reading!

I snarfed polyunsaturated food product and hoofed my way to the room, got lost, got found, and snuck in to snag a spot leaning against the wall, just before he began to read a story in his latest installment of tales from boyhood.  It was awesome, whimsical and funny as he always is.  I got to ask a writerly writer question at the end of the panel and that made me happy.

Then, half a pint of blood short, weaving with weariness, and brain-borked from awesomesauce, I walked back to my car, realizing that my backpack had mysteriously gained 72 pounds since morning and was now creating deep grooves in my shoulders.  Fascinating.  I drove back to Jeff's and we went out for a sushi blowout.  I can't even call it a dinner, it was entirely too gratuitous.  Bear in mind that I hadn't been eating dinner at all for about three months.  When we got back to his place, my stomach was in full mutiny, declaring loudly that I'd given it no reason to expect huge meals in the evening after a fully exhausting day and where the hell was it going to get all the blood to process this feast and oh hey, by the way, did I know that I had less blood than usual just then?  Stomach proceeded to steal ALL of my remaining blood, sending my brain and my limbs into whimpering shock, so I had to lay down and mutter incoherently for a while.

I was up and at 'em again a couple of hours later, though, just in time to change into my favorite Con babydoll:  the one that has a cartoon drawing of a night table on it and the words "ONE NIGHT STAND".  I don't know why, but everybody freakin' loves that shirt.  Jeff drove me back over to the Con to meet elvinborn and pals for an 11:30pm showing of Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog -- with re-enactments!  I now enumerate the awesomenesses:

First, they were showing Shatner Climbs a Mountain as we waited to see the movie.

Second, the place was packed.  So there was a BIG cheer when Felicia Day went up on stage and greeted the audience and gave a very cute speech (to match her very lovely self), and declared that she had NEVER been to a Con like this, and she was bound and determined to meet each and every single one of us before it was over.  Also she mentioned that Dr. Horrible had been nominated for an Emmy (which we all now know that it won), and proudly told us how she bought a $100 dress to wear.  Everybody loved her, as well they should.

Third, at least half of the audience knew ALL of the words to the songs.  EXCELLENT.

Fourth, the re-enactments taking place on stage were genius.  Just genius.  I was ignoring them at first... I admit it didn't really catch me until the scene where Captain Hammer is road-surfing on the van and the players re-enacted this by putting his character on a luggage trolley and rocketing him around the stage.  By the time they re-enacted the ducks flying away, I was completely sold.

I should note that the Sheraton Hotel had a Tardis just outside the ballroom.  Because this is a thing you should know.

After the awesomeness (I'm overusing that word, I should try to think of a new one that somehow encapsulates the fact that it was awesome, the fact that it didn't even have to be so awesome because Shatnoy had already existed, and the fact that I was in a state of perpetual glee -- I think I will start saying "ne plus ultraness" or something soon) that was Dr. Horrible, I headed over to the drum circle with elvinborn and her two friends, who were all garbed up for belly dancing.

I love the drum circle.  I do.  Then again, I'm not prone to headaches, so YMMV.  They still had the lights at full intensity which meant that only the best (and most shameless) dancers were out; I really kind of prefer when the lights go down and everybody feels free to get out there and shake fanny.  This year the drummers had a toy I haven't seen in the past:  a large blue plastic water bottle (you know, the Crystal Springs type of thing).  This made quite a nice resounding *THUNK* when slapped on the side, and an even more impressive *POW* when the slightly overenthusiastic young man standing in front of me kept rhythmically slamming it against the floor.  Even after developing a large crack, it made a fine instrument.



I called Jeff for a pickup, went back and slept.

Which brings us to...


Saturday was sort of my free and easy day; I knew I would be running from panel to panel on Sunday, so I gave myself permission to sort of mooch the day away Saturday except for a few key activities.  Morning babydoll:  Huge Tracts of Land, because I knew I'd be hitting the Monty Python panel that day.

One not-awesome thing:  I woke up with an impressively nasty green bruise on my blood-giving arm.  In retrospect, I can now say it took about twelve days for that thing to fade.  So I donated blood and they gave me track marks.  Bloody amateurs.

Instead of going to a panel in the morning, I went ahead and used the morning hours to browse the Walk of Fame.  I came prepared.  I left happy.

First of all, I stood in Felicia Day's line for a short while (no more than twenty minutes I'd say, and hers was one of the longer ones), very reasonable, and even had my picture taken with her.  Felicia Day, as she had seemed to be the prior night, was a complete and total sweetheart, vivacious, and very happy to be there.  Also, she looks better in person than she does on television; in fact, she's absolutely gorgeous, has perfect skin and really beautiful eyes.  It's almost offensive how cruel the camera is.  I didn't meet a single celeb who didn't look ten times better in person than they do on the screen.  I got an autographed photo of her made out to Jeff, because he likes her, and apparently I scored big brownie points for that one.  :D  (He's still thanking me for it every time we talk.)

I got a picture of myself with Felicia Day, in which she looks charming and lovely, and I look like a psychotic lunatic.  Almost kind of glad I can't share that with you.

Then I went and squeed at Christine Rose, who is a peerless goddess among women.  No, really.  My experience is not unique; everyone at Con who had a chance to meet or speak with her said the same thing; she is a lovely, gracious, wonderful person.  Also, much like Felicia Day, the screen doesn't do her gorgeousness justice in the least, and she is a TEENY TINY person.  There were only a few people in her line, and she sat and had just a whole conversation with me, and we talked about roles for older women and suffered a mutual fangirl moment over Swoosie Kurtz, and I encouraged her to bring more Heroes with her to Con next year (HINT HINT).  I said, "I just want you to know, Heroes can be a frustrating show to be a fan of, but NEVER because of the acting!"

And then when I asked for an autographed photo she said, "Oh, it's 20 dollars, I'm so sorry, is that okay?  It's not up to me!"  I laughed and assured her it was fine.  (Now everybody is wondering who decides these things.  I must say I don't know myself.  I was just all asquee with how cute she was; I mean, dude, I've been through WoF before, I know the drill, you bring a stack of twenties and hope the lines are short.)

I got Karen Allen's autograph too, and I'm turning repetitive here, but dude.  DUDE.  They frumped her half to death for the latest Indiana Jones film; in real life, she's... practically impervious to time.  I was stunned by how beautiful and young she looked.  Karen Allen in person is one of those people who simply radiates poise and gracious goodwill; I sort of expected her to start gently laying hands on each of the fans as they approached.  I mentioned Starman to her, and she lit up.  Apparently she really loved that movie.  (I got to hear more about that later.)

Alan Ruck was there, too!  He's one of those people who I love in every film, but I can never remember his name (of course I will NOW).  He was very nice, and seemed a bit on the quiet side.  I was totally pleased to get a chance to meet him.

Now button up your pants because then I met Malcolm McDowell.  Whose line was short, but it was pretty obvious that was just a coincidence, because I saw it expand during other times of day.  His photo selection was EPIC (just like his career)... I definitely felt perverse in the photo I ended up selecting, but I couldn't help myself.  I chose the scene of Linderman's death from Heroes, where he's basically making an O-face into the camera.  The sarcasm in his voice when he said, "You chose my death?" was less than delicate, but even that was funny... so now I have an autographed picture of MM's O-face.

But before he could sign it, something happened so awesome that my head still can't quite encompass it.

He was just about to sign the picture when someone approached him from behind and leaned down over his shoulder.  The approaching stranger wore a ballcap, so I didn't know who it was until he spoke and said, "Don't look up, don't say a word..."

And then I immediately knew who it was, because nobody on earth sounds quite like Patrick Stewart.  He had snuck in to say hello to his old friend (I learned more about THIS later).  Malcolm hopped out of his seat and the two of them were immediately exchanging greetings and news, talking about old friends, and practically snuggling with each other about two feet from my face.  My overreaction to this moment in time can not be overestimated.  I think I might have died a little bit.  Suffice to say, for about two minutes, my life was in a very strange and awesome place.  There were people photographing and filming this moment, but I honestly averted my eyes for the most part, first of all because... it seemed rather personal, and second of all because it was just kind of beautiful.

Seriously.  When I'm having a bad day, I can picture Patrick Stewart and Malcolm McDowell exchanging gossip about their old neighbors and friends in a mini-glow of reunion.  It warms my heart and makes me want to write incredibly sappy fic.

Then I got my autograph signed (admittedly anticlimactic by that point), walked outside the WoF, and promptly texted elvinborn with "THE MOST AWESOME THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME IN MY LIFE JUST HAPPENED."

I headed to Dealer's Alley and stopped by Peter S. Beagle's table and got three books, all signed, one of them was a collectible!  And we talked about writing.  I love him.  I really do.  I try to see him every year.

Well, really.  What do you do after that?

Because there was an Aqua Teen Hunger Force panel I was considering, and I also wanted to see the Michael Biehn panel not to mention the Babylon5 guests, but honestly?  I was too overwhelmed.  After the uberepicness that was Friday and the brainexplodingness that had just happened to me, I went to the Marriott, picked up another tuna sandwich, and promptly took my laptop to the red sofas behind the elevators and hermited for a few hours.  I wrote fic.  It helped clear my head and calm me down.  No, I'm not kidding about being overwhelmed, I was FLATTENED, couldn't even think straight, and it wasn't the chaos and crowds.  It was just... all too much awesome for one Ewin to bear.

I met up with elvinborn for a little bit, and had a nice time watching costumes walk by.  I saw a woman with an amazing costume; she was dressed as Russell from Up, completely decked out in Wilderness Explorer gear.  The genius of this can not be overstated, as she was actually shaped like Russell as well, had the same haircut, and her voice sounded like his, and she was playing the part perfectly, walking around with a stiff-legged rolling march and offering to help people with things (she kept asking if we knew where any elderly folks were).

I also saw a guy carrying a "Free Hugs" sign around -- he wasn't even a scary-looking guy, he was a very nice, quite huggable-looking one.  Several folks took him up on it in passing.

And then the Geico money stopped by.  *facepalm*  BRILLIANCE.  A kid was walking around with a stack of money with eyeballs on top of his head, and a boombox playing "Somebody's Watching Me" on repeat.

... maybe you had to be there.

I should note that several of the Doctors (Tens) were quite smashing, and the Wolverines this year were definitely more impressive than usual.

At 4pm, I headed over to the Sheraton for Monty Python, or more accurately, for Terry Gilliam and Neil Innes.

They were a touch late to the panel.  In the time we spent waiting, they showed a clip of several minutes' worth of the Orson Welles show.  Yes.  The Orson Welles show.  We actually watched Orson Welles interview Burt Reynolds for about thirty seconds before they cut it off.  And, wow.  What a BAD SHOW.  It was so bad, and the audience so unprepared, that it aired to complete and utter stunned silence except for occasional tormented cries of "please turn it down!" because it was a bit loud (and also because it was so blindingly awful).

When they finally made it to the stage, Terry said, "We decided that after a few minutes of the Orson Welles show, anything else we said or did would seem fantastic," and that got a big laugh, and the audience was able to relax.

I can't adequately convey the surreal horror that was... The Orson Welles Show.

But I bet it's on Youtube somewhere.

I've already gushed aplenty about Terry, and now let me say:  I ♥ Neil Innes.  The intervening years between now and the last recorded televised appearance I've seen of him have turned him into a gnome, but I still ♥ him.  This panel was relatively low-key, but there were lots of inside Python stories.  One I remember in particular was of them all being on a road trip and getting stopped by a policeman (who apparently had his suspicions raised by the fact that at least one cast member was wearing pants stitched together from Holiday Inn towels).  The cop questioned them, asking if they had any booze, no, did they have any drugs, no.  Context, by Neil:  "Everybody always thought we were on drugs, and no, we weren't!"  Then the policeman went on to ask if they had any guns, knives, etc., and... no, they didn't.

Cop:  "Well, what are you using for self defense?"

Voice from the back of the van:  "GOOD MANNERS!"

Cop:  *pause*  "You can go."

Famous feuds definitely held prominent place at this year's Con; Friday morning we all got an earful about Shatner not understanding what on earth George Takei's deal was, and at the MP panel, I got to hear just a little bit more about the famous (but probably just to myself) rivalry between John Cleese and Terry Jones.  Tidbits like this fill me with glee.  I don't usually have the attention span to devote to a really info-obsessive type of fandom, but I can say with some confidence that I am a Pythonophile, replete with books, scripts, and way too much trivia.

I hoofed it out of there before the tail end of the panel, though, because I had to go all the way back to the Hyatt foooorrr... the ontd_startrek meetup!

I also changed into my Star Trek babydoll.  Because, dude.  Of course.

Socialness and people!  It was so good, and hey, I really felt that my Con experience was complete since I got to spend some time in a hotel room, even if not staying there.  starlady47 was an uberfantastic hostess, there were really good munchies, good conversation, fellow fandom reassurance ("Um, hey guys, I just want to warn you, I have this tendency to make whimpering noises every time Spock comes on-screen..."  "It's okay, you're among friends here.") and a strange mixed cocktail called a Green-Blooded Hobgoblin.  I'm pretty sure I ended up drinking more of it than anybody else.

We watched Star Trek on the hotel's Pay Per View, and played a drinking game the whole time and I'm trying to remember the rules... let's see.  Drink every time:

1.  Kirk dangles from a precipice of some kind
2.  There is an expressive eyebrow
3.  Kirk and Spock stand wayyyyy too close to each other
4.  There is an overt reference to TOS (mustard sweaters, for instance)
5.  Spock says "fascinating"
6.  annnnnnd.... I totally forgot the other two

No, we didn't do lens flares.  NOBODY does lens flares.  It would be insane.  There's not enough booze in the world.  Although we did occasionally narrate the lens flares.  "FLARE!"

The drinks were so tasty that I really sucked ass at the drinking game; I kept accidentally drinking when I wasn't supposed to.  As a result, I ended up providing probably more than my share of audio commentary to the movie.  Fortunately, my personal commentary track was given a thumbs-up, so go drunken me!

After the movie, I managed to locate the "monstery noises" soundbite from the audio book, and played that a couple of times for the edification of all.  I really need to make it into a ringtone.  elvinborn made it up to the room just before we were about to all subdivide into our evening activities, but we still had a few minutes to nosh about various stuffs.  THEN THERE WAS A BRIEF SPOT OF DRAMA WHEN A PARTYGOER LEFT WITHOUT HER BADGE!  We were so relieved when she came back for it.

After that, rather pleasantly toasted, I called Jeff and he picked me up.  I had considered going to the Horror film fest or the booze-making thing, but decided instead to get some sleep and get ready for my early morning on Sunday.  I always attend Iron Artist, and I wasn't going to miss it this year.

So that brings us to...


Sunday was going to be a full day, and I knew it, so I was just as glad I hadn't stayed up too late the night before.  Morning babydoll:  "I'm blogging this".

Iron Artist:  actually, it was a little disappointing.  Dean Haglund was quite hungover and not as funny as I know he can be (though I am seriously considering buying one of his patented laptop chiller thingies).  Also, I'm really not a big fan of comedians who are rude to cellphone users; dude, you're a motherfrikkin' comedy soundtrack to one of the longer and more boring panels at Con.  You are not a symphony.  I wouldn't even have noticed the girl on the phone until you started yelling at her.  Which, not very coincidentally, meant you were yelling at me too.  As I was sitting right behind her.  Ow, dude with a microphone.  Ow.  No cookie for you.

So, yeah.  Fun!

I go to Iron Artist because I have a very big love for watching painting in progress.  I did enjoy the art, and got some decent pictures.  This year's theme was movie posters from the 1950's, and the secret ingredient was "alien".  It is absolutely killing me that I can't show you the photos.  Suffice to say, the winning painting was a poster of a Geiger-style alien abducting a buxom wench.  He was wearing a necktie.  It was awesome.

The paintings were auctioned off for very low prices, which was unfortunate; the problem is that Iron Artist was being held at its usual time, but it also conflicted with the Nimoy panel (which everybody went to expecting at least a 50% chance of it being crashed by Shatner, and sure enough, he did).  So there was practically nobody there.  I felt sad for the artists.

One bright point in the event was the off-stage co-host, a Con staffer whose name I will probably never know, but who I will always be a big fan of.  He sat to the side of the audience with a microphone and kept up a steady back-and-forth with Dean.  It took me a while to find him at all, so for the most part he was just a voice floating down from heaven and he had the kind that fit the part, very low and steady and calm.  Dean kept asking how much time was left, and after the official answer, co-host would say, "You have an hour left, Dean."

At twenty minutes till:  "You have an hour left, Dean."

"Wait a minute, didn't you say that ten minutes ago?"

"You have two hours left, Dean."

"Hold on, I'm not THAT hungover!"

"You have three hours left, Dean.  You will never leave, Dean."

"How much are you getting paid for this again?"

"I'm a volunteer, Dean.  I work for food, Dean."

The tone of his voice never changed once, and it just got funnier and funnier.  I seriously wanted to hug that guy.

So, yeah, I missed Sunday's Nimoy panel with surprise!Shatner, and I was really pretty cool with that.  As I wrote in my notebook that day, Dude.  I went to the Shatnoy panel on Friday.  NOTHING WILL EVER BE UNCOOL AGAIN.

After that, I headed over to the Fanfic Writers panel, and really... squee.  XD  All I can really say about that is, if you haven't seen a roomful of people practically bouncing in their seats with the excitement of their favorite hobby, you haven't lived.  I learned some about the history of fanfic and how the Internet really made it possible to share and garner exposure; hence its explosion in recent years.  But there were people who had been writing it for decades!  Again, squee.

In retrospect, I should have hung around after the fanfic panel and met some of the people there, but I was in a bit of a hurry because I was under the absolutely deluded impression that I could somehow still get into the Patrick Stewart panel.

And, uh, no.

elvinborn and myself both made this decision when we saw his line, and collectively reformulated our plans and headed over to the Karen Allen panel instead.  Aside from just a few painful questions (most of the questions were good), the panel was very enjoyable.  Karen just never stops smiling and radiating this wonderful energy and serenity.  I want to be her when I grow up.

She told the semi-famous story of the gunshot scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, about how it was pretty much improvised because, and here I paraphrase, "We were in Tunisia, it was 120 degrees, and we were all violently ill because, as we later found out, the bottled water we were purchasing was actually just tap water that had been poured into bottles.  So this epic, tremendous fight scene that was supposed to be a showcase of whip vs. scimitars was cut short a bit.  And now it's the most famous scene from the film."

She waxed long and lovingly over Starman, talking about what a unique film it was in terms of concept and story.  At the time it was made, the only other semi-positive film to address the concept of extra-terrestrials had been Close Encounters of the Third Kind, so Starman was still semi-revolutionary.  I believe she said it was her favorite film that she had been in.

Also, fanboys in their fifties are somewhat adorable.  Just sayin'.

By far the coolest thing, I thought, was learning that Karen knits.  And I don't mean by hand, although that's how she got started, knitting during breaks in shooting on the set.  She's into machine knitting and has a website.  For realsies.  Check it out!  She has her own store in Great Barrington, MA.

Someone asked me what the deal was with the overlap between belly dancing and geek fandom, and I was forced to say that I didn't know, but that the overlap is definitely THERE.  Well, the overlap between geek fandom and fibercrafts is equally inexplicable and apparent.  WHAT ON EARTH COULD THE COSMIC SIGNIFICANCE BEEEE?


elvinborn and I were both eager to get out of that panel; frankly, I was starving to death by that point.  We ran into a friend of mine and talked for a second, but had to cut and run to make the food court before the Unwashed Masses were released from the Stewart panel.  I just barely made it.  I ate sushi.  It was overpriced and awesome.

I went through Artist's Alley this year, something I don't always do, and did something I NEVER do:  I bought some art.  Again, I can not show you pictures, but one of the artists created the most fabulous array of small driftwood sculptures, including small, seaworn-looking castles placed on slices of decorative stone.  I would have bought everything on that table if I could have, and just covered every surface in my apartment with tiny wee driftwood castles.  ♥ ♥ ♥

Then I went and hung out in some nice comfy chairs, while I waited for a room to open.  This is not significant in any way except that, while I was lounging in my chair, facing the open area ringed by the blood drive, I was treated to a performance by what I will always refer to as The World's Worst Bagpiper.  I don't doubt that there are worse bagpipers to be found, but this was the worst I've yet heard, and it's really not an area where one's horizons beg to be broadened.

Having seen Braveheart, attended a wedding that was accompanied by a very decent bagpiper, and heard that one rendition of "Amazing Grace" just like the rest of the Western world, I have a decent idea of what good bagpiping sounds like.  However, I am now convinced:  you haven't really heard bagpipes until you've heard them played BADLY (once and only once, let me stress this).  The experience is a reedy, wheezing hell of notes desperately climbing up the staff and collapsing exhausted before they hit their mark.  You last barely ten seconds before you start looking around for a rifle with which to shoot the dying cow.  BUT THERE'S NO COW.  And giving me a rifle at that moment would have been a bad idea.

The invisible cow finally wandered away, presumably to die loudly in front of other audiences, and I went to a panel that I had been anticipating all weekend long simply because of the title:  "Heroes - Death is merely an inconvenience".

This.  Panel.  Rocked.

Normally I know we all avoid wank; but within limits, this was almost nothing BUT wank.  Except, GOOD wank.  Fantastic, high-quality, thoroughly researched and righteous resentment and indignance expressed in everything from a murmur to a bitchy scree.  We all joined together as one body, one mind, a single voice, and said, "DUDE, WTF WITH HEROES?  WHY?  HOW?  CAN IT PLEASE STOP SUCKING?  IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE FOR IT TO STOP SUCKING?  WHAT WOULD THAT EVEN BE LIKE?"

Little did we know what we had in store this season, but I digress.

We raised our banners high with what the HELL happened to Molly?  Why are there half a billion Ali Larters and only half of an Adrian Pasdar?  What's the deal with the blood transfusions that magically used to work and now don't?  Will we ever know what became of Peter's scar?  Sylar can shape-change his CLOTHING?  Why, Mohinder, why?  ANDO IS SUPPOSED TO BE A SUPERCHARGER!  WHAT IN THE HELL, SEASON 3 ENDING?  OH THE HUMANITY!

Seriously.  I ate that shit up with a spoon.  And then licked the spoon.  I would have licked everybody in there, but they probably wouldn't have liked that.  A group of us actually stood around and just kept chatting for several minutes afterward; it was SO gooooooood to just get it all out.  Yes, we love this show!  Yes, we are frustrated as hell!  Yes, we want it to come back from the slump it's been in!

Christine Rose was mentioned during the panel, again, with great respect and admiration.  The poor love apparently spent most of Con going around and giving explanations and apologies, even to the point of explaining the writer's reasoning for what happened in Season 3, which is something you rarely see actors do.  Again, all I can do is bow before her.

jaune_chat has introduced me to heroes_meta this season, which is like an online version of what happened at Con.  This has made me very happy.  Although it was really even better in person.

After that epic wankfest, I headed over to a 5:30 panel on tea (anybody who's new to my lj:  I am a huge tea geek), and very nearly went inside.  And then didn't.  Instead, I hung out with elvinborn and we visited her friends in the line for Masquerade.  elvinborn joined them to camp out.  I excused myself and called Jeff for a pickup, went back and relaxed for a bit.

Something I missed on Sunday:  Dragon*Con's attempt to beat the world record for largest group of people doing the Thriller dance at once.  I thought that was pretty darn cool, even if I wasn't able to go.  And even if we don't win the record, I seriously doubt there's another group of people doing the Thriller dance while looking so completely FABULOUS.  Go check out the gallery pics!

I took a nap, and woke up at 11ish... just in time to get ready to go to my one Con concert.

Oh, hell, yeah.  I was gonna go see MC Chris live.

Jeff dropped me off at around 12:30, and I Fight Dragons was still playing, so after milling around a little bit (not wearing a t-shirt, actually wore something kind of pretty), I went inside and watched them.  OMG!  I'm now a fan!  The most fantastic thing about IFD was that on the viewscreens, they were projecting images of their music videos as they played the songs.  The videos were ALL old Nintendo, Atari, and arcade games.  One of their songs was played to, I kid you not, BurgerTime.  :D  And they did the first of the Final Fantasy games.  Oh, it was awesome.

For their encore, they came out and said, "We're now going to play the most awesome song in the history of the world."  And then, of course, they rick-rolled the audience.  I approve of rick-rolling covers, dude.

When MC Chris came out at 1:30am, since I was alone, I made free to go ahead and head up to the standees at the top of the audience, even digging my way in a bit so that I could get to the people who were actually dancing instead of just standing.

What can be said about MC Chris?  He's filthy, disgusting, absolutely offensive, really very strange, fantastically gifted, and if most rappers are silver-tongued, MC Chris is pate-plated in dirty, dirty fools-gold.  He wore a ball cap low over his eyes so I still haven't actually seen his face.  He came out ALONE, just him and the sound, biotches, and he ROCKED us.  It was mega.  It was tore up.  It was good.  More than once, he started us clapping and singing along to the chorus, told us we were sucking, and made us start over from the beginning.  Even more than that, he stopped himself and said, "I'm sucking, I'm going to start over."  This merely added to the experience.

I was actually a lukewarm fan of MC Chris (Frontalot is more my speed), but now I'm a BIG fan, he is awesome, and I have two concert-purchased cd's.  We had to encore that bitch twice before he finally gave us Fett's Vette, but when he did, I screamed out every single word along with him.

The line to buy cd's and get shit signed was so long that I didn't stand in it, esp. since I'd already bought mine while IFD was playing.  I called Jeff and went home.

Which brings me to...


Dragon Monday, they call it.  It's a somewhat depressing day, not least because you end up surrounded by people carrying their luggage with them through panel lines because checkout is before noon.  Everyone's a little cranky, a little weird, a little bit ready to go home by the time Monday rolls around.  I myself was bleary, sore-throated, and mentally congratulating myself for having taken so many opportunities to sleep.

I dragged myself out of bed and put on my "%20:  The Final Frontier" shirt.  And I went to the Star Trek guest stars panel.  Alan Ruck again, yay!  Along with... um... other people, yay!  Let's face it, just because you know someone as "whatshername" doesn't mean you don't have the love.

But then our panel was crashed by none other than Malcolm McDowell, and, just, YAYYYY!!!

You don't expect it, but he really does talk in real life the way he does in films.  He ATTACKS.  Every.  Word.  Ironically, it's slightly Shatnerian.  I say "ironically" because he was delightfully abusive of Shatner during the panel, to everybody's vast enjoyment.  And after that, he spent the whole thing chatting with Alan Ruck, for which I can hardly blame him.  Now it was in this panel that I learned what a long history he and Patrick Stewart actually have, going back to the London Theatre Company together.  So now I know why they were so thrilled to see each other.

At the end of the panel, a couple of the guest stars hung around to chat with people.  Alan Ruck in particular was crouched on the lip of the stage and talking to a large gathered group; he seemed to want to shake everybody's hand.  ♥

The guest stars panel was the only one I attended that day.  Then I took another quick jog through the Dealers and bought a bar of scented soap - Arcana Soap in the Dia de Los Muertos flavor, which has chocolate in it.

After that, I went back to Jeff's, took a very long nap, packed up, and drove home.

I was worn out.

So that was my Big Fat Con Experience.

I sort of enjoyed being there alone; I got a lot done.  Because of Jeff's magnanimous offer to tote me back and forth, I only had to deal with Elevator Hell a couple of times, so that was really rather awesome.  I once said I would never do Con without a hotel, but I think I really had the best of all worlds THIS year.

Also I did not costume in the least.  When you costume, you might as well mark that day as a loss, you're not going to get anything done except showing yourself off.  Which is fun.  But it wasn't what I wanted this year.

Monday night when I got home, I unwrapped my Dia de Los Muertos soap and put it into the soap dish in my bathroom.  It promptly perfumed the air with the scent of dark chocolate.  You wouldn't think that chocolate would be a good scent for a bathroom, but it is.  It smelled like that for three days before it faded.  That's some GOOD soap.  (I checked online, Arcana Soaps are available from some retailers, but not that particular scent.  I should mention that Burlesque is available, also has chocolate in it and is probably worth sampling.)
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