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» Saturday, May 26, 2012Timegate Day 2
What a wretched night. For some reason (well, besides the rotten pillows), I couldn't fall asleep. At quarter until three I was still awake. Used the bathroom, read a little, it didn't help. Getting up just made me hungry. Finally about 3:45 I ate a small snack, and, after that, I was able to sleep, but by then there were only four hours left. Very annoyed, as we had a lot planned today and I wanted to be fresh.
So James walked Willow and then we went down to breakfast. Sue came by as we were eating and sat down to have breakfast with us. The hotel usually has a good breakfast, but they don't seem to have any oatmeal this year. I had corn flakes, some bacon, potatoes, two slices of toast, and fruit, with skim milk.
At ten, we had a panel, "YA Lit: Why Has It Gotten So Big?" I hadn't read any of the authors' books, but they were all fantasy-based, which is the trend these days. We discussed censorship of children's books—one writer was astonished when a parent criticized her use of a gay character, but didn't mind her child reading about people being killed by an evil character in a ritualistic murder. We also talked about e-book piracy, appropriate reading for different ages, and the difference between "writing a young adult book" and writing about a character who just happens to be young adult.
At eleven I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I wandered about a bit and found one of the authors selling his book Doctor Who and Philosophy, but he couldn't take a credit card. So I found James sitting in the conference era and borrowed the cash from him. The author autographed the book for me, too.
I ended up going to the remainder of the Tom Baker panel, amused by the division of his seven years into three eras (solid SF/fantasy, the silly period, and then the more somber final year), and the merits of each (i.e. the silly got pretty silly, but we also got Douglas Adams).
James was on a panel at noon, "Fragmented Genres" in the Literature track, but I wanted to see "Doctor Who: Countdown to 50," about next year's fiftieth anniversary of the series. Panelists talked about what they wanted to see in a 50th anniversary special: all surviving Doctors, an adult Susan, Jamie, were some of the suggestions made. Lars Pearson said he would leave if anyone had any spoilers, but no one does. If there are anniversary plans, the BBC is keeping it close to their vest!
The next panel was one I was looking forward to: Caitlin Blackwood. Caitlin played the young Amelia Pond in Matt Smith's debut episode (and in three other episodes following) back when she was ten years old. They were looking for a red-headed child who resembled Karen Gillan, who played the older Amy, and Gillan, although she had never met Caitlin, suggested her cousin, whom, her aunt told her, resembled her a lot. Caitlin is twelve now, and this is her second convention appearance; she is going to another convention this summer and one in Orlando in November, so by the end of the year she will be quite a veteran. You kind of wonder what a 12-year-old would make of all this, but Caitlin, accompanied by her "mum" Linda, was remarkably poised and often very blunt and funny. So it was a great panel, with Caitlin sometimes giving her mother the same looks all children give to their parents who are embarrassing them or just talking too much for their comfort. The Blackwoods are from Inverness, and her father is a trombonist in an Army band (she also plays trombone and studies ballet). She goes to a Catholic school, St. Joseph's, likes Pixar films (her favorite is Despicable Me), Friends and Glee, and a Scottish show which I couldn't quite make out (the microphone had trouble picking up her quiet voice). Her favorite actor is Anne Hathaway and she loves Lady Gaga.
Of course the first question had to be about the fish fingers and custard, and it was. She got ice cream, but poor Matt Smith actually did eat the fish fingers with custard and hated it. Apparently he's forever breaking things on the set, and she said the funniest thing that happened on the set was that in a scene where he had to pick her up, his trousers split, and he got a chewing out from the wardrobe people! She said the creepiest place they filmed was the house and garden that was supposed to be Amelia Pond's home, and it was freezing cold when they filmed it (she was wearing nine blankets between takes). She says she has one classmate who talks nothing but Doctor Who and she has had teachers ask her to autograph things, especially the action figure, which she found "rather creepy" (the figure, not the autograph). Altogether delightful!
I had a free hour, and took the opportunity to go upstairs, check on the animals, and have a half hour nap after I ate the hot dog that James brought to me. Then at three I went skittering downstairs for the first of two Sherlock Holmes panels I was waiting for. This was about the literary Holmes, and the panel members talked about what stories they had read first and what were the circumstances. Of course, it seemed we couldn't talk about the literary Holmes without the media version making an appearance, so the names "Brett, Rathbone," and "Cumberbatch" were batted about, as well as "Cushing" and "Wontner." The consensus is that children being introduced to Holmes will probably find Hound of the Baskervilles the ideal gateway.
James had taken Willow out and then remained downstairs, so I found them in the convention area. "Willow's fan club" was in full swing, and she was being petted and cooed over. We walked through the dealer's room with her, and were flat flabbergasted when she challenged Princess, the big husky who has been coming to this convention practically since its inception. Princess was in a mood today, and tried to come after her, but surprisingly Wil held her ground. James later took her to the Urban Fantasy panel while I went to watch "Frocks on the Box," about BBC costume dramas, with the conversation mainly about Downton Abbey. I really must watch that!
By now it was five o'clock and we had supper in the hotel restaurant with the Spiveys (Aubrey was finished with all her friends' graduations and was finally in attendance) and Sue. It was a good dinner, talking about all and sundry, and the food was considerably less spicy than yesterday. After dinner, Sue had some things to do, but we wandered around with the Spiveys, eventually going up to the fifth floor to the con suite for something to drink and sat down to watch two episodes of The Big Bang Theory. (Oh, Caitlin likes that show, too.)
We went downstairs about eight to get into the cabaret line. The cabaret is always a blast and only costs $5, which goes to charity and is a pittance compared with similar events at other conventions. I ran upstairs to check on Schuyler and let Willow out really quickly to get a drink. But when I put her back in her crate she started to bark, and I realized she needed to go out. So I brought her back down, and James took her out, and I thought he would take her back upstairs afterward and then catch up with me, but he never came back. Turned out he was sitting near the doors to the room, intending to bring her in with us. (She behaved beautifully, although she kept getting up every time James moved his legs.)
Much fun: we had song from two different women, one who sang a piece in German from Schubert which was his last published piece of writing. She had a fantastic operatic range. Then it was time for some humor with Lt. Moxie Magnus, who is supposed to be a beehive-hairdo'd, short skirted Enterprise crewmember from the 1960s who is actually a guy in drag who is hilarious. She did a very funny Marlene Dietrich imitation. The Ken Spivey band played, and Louis Robinson did a piece on his guitar and then was joined by Danica (whose last name I can't remember) from Ragamuffin Music Hall. She sang two of the 40s songs we had to miss due to Atomicon: "Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover" and "We'll Meet Again." The latter song always brings me to mind of a friend who died some time ago and I was sitting there crying.
The entire show, as always, was emceed by Mike Langford as "Professor Satyre," who well mixes movies and television and entire genres to come up with crazy mashups, done one after the other with gunfire speed.
After the show there was a giveaway of some prizes awarded by the number of the tickets given out at the door. Alice won a Blake's 7 tape which she nicely gave to me, and Ken got a goodie back full of stuff from Starz to publicize Torchwood, including a neat flashing bracelet and a T-shirt and some plastic cups. There was a tiny little girl sitting across the aisle from us who had a high old time through the whole thing, didn't fuss at all. Willow was fascinated by her. She was given the chance to pull several of the raffle tickets and was delighted.
Once the cabaret was over, several people came up on stage for the masquerade. The masquerade at Timegate is very informal; there are no cards or big announcements. There was a Tharil, a female Seventh Doctor and a male Ace, someone dressed as John Nathan Turner in bright purple (where's the Hawaiian shirt?), and several others. Everyone showed off his outfit to applause.
We went to take Willow upstairs and then came back downstairs for the radio theatre presentation. They had obtained one of the scripts that were written for a proposed Doctor Who movie back in the 1990s, the one which eventually became the Paul McGann television movie of 1996. This was called The Time Lord and had the Doctor exiled over a charge that he was complicit in the destruction of a planet (when it was in reality an evil being called Varnax), rescued by his niece and later aided by an Earth human, a young man. He and the Doctor's niece eventually get together, if you know what I mean. ::wink::
I had my chat program open and who should show up but Rodney, and we chatted for a little while, then he went off to bed. We didn't get to hear the end, which may have been a good thing since the plot was ridiculous and we heard later that it ran until 1 a.m.!