Yet Another Journal

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» Sunday, September 02, 2007
DragonCon, Day 3
Apparently it's not DragonCon if I don't wake up one day with a sinus headache. So I wasn't as quick out of bed as I'd planned. At least it was a nice morning, overcast with a nice breeze. We drove downtown with the windows open.

They actually had Matthew Lewis and James and Oliver Phelps in a decently-sized room today, so we were able to sit and enjoy the show. I must admit, Matthew Lewis not-as-Neville is quite cute! Makes me wish I was a teenager again. :-) The trio seemed to be having a good time and the panel was a lot of laughs. Someone asked if they were anything like their movie characters and Lewis said he was awkward like Neville and the twins said they really do like to play practical jokes.

Surprisingly, they say their schoolmates do not make a lot of their fame. I remember watching the child actor special and people like Melissa Gilbert, etc. talking about being tormented or at least teased at school. Their schoolmates don't seem to make much of their involvement in the movies.

Another question was if they visited any of the Harry Potter fan web sites. Matthew said he liked Mugglenet because they knew everything before he did!

What was their favorite book? Lewis said Azkaban. Oliver said his was Hallows; he usually wasn't a quick reader, but he couldn't put that one down. James liked Goblet of Fire best. Plus Matthew's favorite junk food is pizza, Oliver something called a "Percy Pig" (a local junk food), and James said a KFC chicken burger.

(BTW, I freely admit I may have the twins' answers mixed. I'm not sure who was in the plaid and who was in the solid shirt!)

Of course there were the usual complement of embarrassing questions. There was a uniform guffaw and red faces at one that asked "If you had to dress up as one of the female characters, which would you pick?" Matthew asked "Who has the most clothes on?" and the audience chorused, "McGonagall," so that was his choice. :-) James (or was it Oliver?) said "Mrs. Norris!" [the Hogwarts' caretaker's cat].

They were asked about a favorite scene and Matthew Lewis said he enjoyed the Yule Ball because he got to learn to ballroom dance. He and Bonnie Wright [Ginny Weasley] actually learned the tango, but it didn't get in the movie. Incidentally, they said during the dancing lessons, they really were the way it was portrayed in the movie: girls on one side, boys on the other!

James was then off to another panel, and I had thought I would go see the other Babylon 5 panel, but was waylaid by deciding to go to the art show. I spoke to Caran Wilbanks before going in, and she said there was little this year of what James calls "intestinal art," lots of vampire/people getting hacked up/creepy stuff like that.

Very cool. And there were some very good pieces this year; I really enjoyed the contingent of fantasy and SF art. There was the cutest piece of a fairy with a Cairn terrier!

At one side of the room they had three dimensional art and also some prints. I bought a scratchboard piece as a Christmas present, then stopped at a table where the artist had two seasonal pieces I liked: a Snow Fairy (complete in a coat and hat, holding a candle, with holly in her hair) lovingly framed in a snowflake matte, and a Hallowe'en shot of two Jack o'lanterns with an owl perched on top. I also got a postcard print for James of a dog holding a Frisbee-shaped flying sauce with frantic aliens running about inside; the title was "Biscuit Saves the World."

On the way out you have to exit through the print shop, so I bought a companion piece to the fall print of the little birds with the baby dragon; this is the baby dragon with a squirrel who is collecting acorns among the autumn leaves. I also had to buy a humorous print for James: a dragon cook with bookshelves filled with cookbooks behind him. I also bought a very lovely, small print of two cats in a library for the library downstairs.

As I exited the art show I could hear Claudia Christian's voice loud and clear out the door of the Hanover room. The lady can project. So I went in and saw the rest of the B5 panel (once again she was the only one there—and I missed the story of how she was nearly killed by a tribble). Incidentally, the one funny thing she mentioned yesterday that I forgot to mention: she is now looking for a house in California. Andrea Thompson, her co-star on B5, is now her real-estate agent.

I headed directly upstairs for the Star Trek: The Next Generation reunion panel—the line was already past the men's room, up a flight of stairs, and out the door and onto the street! Well, damned if I was going outside! So I just waited there as they finally began to move the crowd and watched person after person coming by me, down the stairs from a door outside in a ceaseless parade.

Aside here: it hasn't been all in our heads—there are definitely more people at this convention; it's not just that part of the Marriott is shut down. I heard that there were 30,000 people last year and that there were approximately 20,000 more this year. Yow. So hotel security and the fire marshals have been going berserk. Well, as they started to run...and I do mean run...people from the waiting line finally into the big ballroom, the hotel guy was bellowing "Come on, people, move it, move it, don't stop!" like a drill sergeant. For cryin' out loud, we had people coming down those stairs who were elderly, had kids with them, were kids coming down a long flight of stairs. I appreciate that they had to keep the crowd moving but this was too freaking much. What if someone had fallen?

Anyway, finally the door to the outside closed and no one else came in. So I followed behind them and got a seat at the back of the room. It took another ten to fifteen minutes before they had the room filled and could start.

The panel, which consisted of Brent Spiner [Data], Gates McFadden [Dr. Crusher], and Jonathan Frakes [Commander Riker] was, after all that, very entertaining and much fun. They began by having the cast come out to the wrong names and just got sillier from there. Brent Spiner started answering questions in a Patrick Stewart voice. His hair is quite white now and he looks more like a scientist than ever. Gates McFadden still looks gorgeous. And Jonathan Frakes is...Jonathan Frakes. :-) Someone mentioned that the Mythbusters build team was here and he said "I love that show!" and they started discussing series they liked. Gates says her son's favorite is Pimp My Car and Brent likes Survivorman.

There seemed to be some funny feud going on between them and the Battlestar Galactica people that I didn't quite understand, but there were BSG digs throughout. They also told a funny story about having filmed a scene with a particular actor who was then released and went home, which was somewhere quite far from California—and they needed him for a reshoot. Instead they found a wig that resembled the actor's hair and filmed the scene shooting over "his" shoulder.

There was a question about movies which I do not remember, but Jonathan Frakes dryly commented, "Generations? Ah, the story of two captains searching for one good hairpiece." LOL.

At 2:30 I attended the Torchwood panel, back down in the very crowded Brittrack room I mentioned yesterday. This time I was early enough to get a decent seat, but they had 143 people crowded into that little room! Unlike most of the complement who has seen the series through downloads, bittorrents, and other means (like actually being in England when the series was broadcast!), I don't know anything about the show but the premise, so the talk about characters rather went over my head. It was fun nonetheless, and I'll be interested in seeing how it goes together with this season of Doctor Who that we are just seeing on BBC America.

After this panel I headed for the Hilton; instead of tramping outside I used the skywalk to the garage, where I dropped off the big carry bag I have been using to carry both my camera and my lunch bag. The strap has made a big sore spot on my shoulder; it feels like I have sunburn. Who should I bump into in the lobby of the Hilton but James, so we did a turn of the dealer's room together.

The first thing we happened to pass was Andy Runton's table. Andy does a comic book called Owly, about a cute but lonely little owl. I have seen Owly drawings at other times, but never investigated the books. I picked up the first one and was enchanted by the story told without dialog—the storyline is carried by drawings and some minimal words. I ended up buying all three of the existing books plus the sample comic and Andy autographed them all for me while we talked with him about Schuyler and Pigwidgeon.

(Here's part of an Owly book online. They are so very charming!)

I also got this year's Pocket Dragon. He's holding a pink spider and the title is "Welcome to My Website." LOL.

I returned to the Hyatt for the Blake's 7 panel, taking a quick walk through the Hall of Fame. Claudia Christian was already gone; I was hoping she had some copies of her book with her. There was a big line for autographs with Matthew Lewis and James and Oliver Phelps; some other busy spots, and some spots not so busy. I did stop by the table with Tom Braidwood and Bruce Harwood and thanked them for their panel and told the latter he looked like my ex-supervisor. He said "Is that good or bad?" :-)

The Blake's 7 panel was small but busy; everyone had a favorite episode or opinion on characters. There were lots of fans of my favorite episode, "City at the Edge of the World." I also won a B7 audio CD by knowing which Doctor Who episode Michael Keating was in ("Sunmakers"! One of my favorites!).

I had planned to join James in what I thought was his last panel of the day, but during the B7 panel John Lenahan had popped in to publicize his online book. John was the voice of the toaster in the series Red Dwarf and is also a comedian/magician. He was doing the opening of the Whose Line Is It Anyway? finals, so I went to see that instead. He was quite funny and so was the improv, although I apparently missed the joke about "shooting orphans" that somehow ended up in the show (not to mention a sketch about shaving a cat).

I waited for James after the panel, only to call him and find out he was at the Hilton for one last panel, so I trucked back over the "Luke Skywalk" to join him. This was a panel about your legal rights if confronted by the police in a traffic stop or if they come to your door. It came with a cheesy instructional film called "Busted" which, we were promised, had the same acting level as the "DragonCon TV" films that are shown in the rooms between panels! It did greatly resemble those lovely ethics films we used to get at work!

Then we came home. I'm pooped. And this is not proofread, but my fingers are refusing to work anymore...