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» Friday, September 04, 2009DragonCon, Day 1
Ah, yes, it's back to what James calls "the Bataan death march of science-fiction conventions."
In the past years, since the convention proper didn't open until 1 p.m., we've been showing up around 11 a.m. In the last couple of years, D'Con seemed to get their registration problems ironed out. Last year, we walked right in and had our badges within 15 minutes. The longest time it took was finding the room because the signage was incorrect. It was a little longer the year before, but it wasn't the hour-long wait it was in the past.
Well, I wanted to get there in time for the 10 a.m. panel with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, so we got up at 6:30 and were on the road by seven, grabbed breakfast at Burger King, and were at the Sheratonnew venue for registrationat quarter to eight. Dumbfounded, we saw the line outside the building stretching all the way down the hill and around. So at eight they opened the doors and started letting people in and we thought we'd wait for the end of the line.
At eight thirty people were still walking up the hill. Yow.
By this time the milk I had when I got up was working on me, so we walked to Peachtree Center to use the john. Then we walked back to the Sheraton. This took fifteen minutes. The line was gone.
It was instead snaked inside, like the line for Space Mountain in midsummer. We were in line for 65 minutes. About a half hour into the wait, someone got so bored they inflated a beach ball and people were punching it around the room. Unfortunately this was a ballroom and had crystal chandeliers. The third time the beach ball hit the chandelier they made us stop.
It was totally stupid. The alphabetical lines should have been divided into more subgroups, so the majority of the people weren't stuck in A through D or whatever the first line was, and the remainder were sometimes half-empty while people with that last name languished in the line.
Anyway, we did get to see Shatner and Nimoy, at least 45 minutes of it, but only on closed-circuit TV. It was as hilarious as I had expected, with them bantering back and forth with the easiness of old companions. Shatner played fake petulancy when he didn't get asked a question and Nimoy parried with faked sobriety while poking fun at Priceline. They talked about the blooper reel by talking about their reaction to it, Shatner plugged Raw Nerve and ribbed Nimoy about a telepathical youngster he was exposed to while doing In Search of..., and also talked about a movie he did in Esperanto, and I laughed until I almost cried.
Bill and Leonard on the "Jumbotron":
James went off then for one of the Apocalypse track panels and I went back to the Sheraton for the Torchwood panel, which featured Gareth David Lloyd and James Marsters. [hormonal drool alert] Gareth has grown a beard like Orlando Bloom's and while I've never liked OB much, Gareth looked reallllly nice in the beard. [hormonal alert over] Very good-natured panel with Lloyd talking about keeping his demise in "Children of Earth" a secret and Marsters telling about his son's search for the perfect guitar. One really funny moment: audience member asks Lloyd what his least favorite question at conventions is. He retorted "'What's it like to kiss John Barrowman?'" LOL. That one brought down the house. Another audience member looked at him and said "Sorry you're dead." Even more LOL. There was also a Ianto Memorial Film.
Gareth David Lloyd:
At this point I was going to a scheduled panel with John Billingsly and Anthony Montgomery, but it turned out the panel was for Garrett Wang, so I tramped from the Sheraton to the Hilton, took the new trans-street bridge, and went to the Dealer's Room just as it was opening. Since no one was coming out, the guard at the exit door was letting some folks in temporarily, and some lady on the staff came over rudely bellowing at him and the people that I was in line withwe were almost at the doorthat he shouldn't be doing this and that was an out door only...sheesh, how rude can you get? Couldn't she just say quietly and politely, no, the door had to be reserved for an exit, and please go to the entrance there rather than screaming like a banshee?
Didn't see anything I wanted; even the Pocket Dragon supply seemed thin this year. Suits me. I did get a laugh at one table that had books. The young woman running it said brightly to me, "Are you a book person?" Honey, you have no idea! Also got through one of the two exhibition halls. I might want to buy the Disney book about the Gremlins, which is only $5. Lots more Steampunk items this year, I notice.
I blew off the other hall to get back to the Sheraton for the "Behind the BBC" panel, which featured Louis Robinson, whose Sherlock Holmes/Hound of the Baskervilles panel I so loved at Timegate. There was another gentleman on the panel who had also worked at the BBC, but it's late and I've sadly forgotten his name, but they both chatted about the ease of getting some programs through in the past compared to the difficulty now, the relative freedom BBC radio has compared to BBC television, the little rivalries between the different regional BBC entities (BBC Wales, BBC Birmingham, etc), the surprising reappearance of Doctor Who, etc.
From the Sheraton I trucked back to the Hyatt, via the Courtland Street Garage (which was full!) and across the "Luke Skywalk" as James and I call it to Peachtree Center, for Dean Haglund's improv panel. I expected it to be SRO as always, but this afternoon edition was only half full. Everyone's loss. He basically postulated a story that was a prequel for the last X-Files film, where, as his Lone Gunman character Ringo Langly, he had to talk Mulder and Scully out of moving in together. The only problem: I need to quit going to these things. I laughed so much I got a headache, my back hurt, and several times I couldn't catch my breath. I was wheezing at one point and when it was over had to retreat into the ladies' room to take three ibuprofin.
Dean Haglund in improv mode:
I joined James downstairs at the Hyatt after finding the artists' room (they put it next to the art show finallywow, go figure) and visiting Andy Runton's table. There was a new "Owly" collection out and I also wanted the "Starry Night" t-shirt. And then as Andy was autographing my copy of the book I saw the print. An Owly and his friends in the forest print. In the autumn forest. Talk about something that had "me" written all over it! Of course I bought it!
James and I finished our day at two writers' panels. One was about "the red-haired stepchildren" of media publishing: professional writers who also do tie-in media books. Peter David, Terri Osborne, Robert Greenberger, Timothy Zahn, and Josepha Sherman, who have all done media novels, were on the panel. It was a lively, fun discussion of whether these novels were "real books" or just pushing "real" books off the shelves, about the challenges of writing for them, publishers' whimsies, etc.
"Red-headed stepchildren" (LOL):
The second panel was about what made certain science fiction novels classic, are the "golden years" of science fiction over or are they still with us, is a classic more subjective than objective, etc. I wasn't familiar with the panel members, but it was an excellent, intelligent panel.
By now it was 8 p.m., and as much as I wanted to see that 8:30 panel on Britcoms, I was pooped. We're planning on a later start tomorrow, maybe with breakfast at the Hilton or at Peachtree Center. There are places there with fruit cups and bagels and things.
I can't wait until I go back on telework. I always get out of shape in the summer and I had just started walking before starting work in the morning before we got pulled off telework for end of fiscal year. I really, really want to start walking again. This is ridiculous; I shouldn't be so sore just from walking back and forth between hotels.