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» Monday, September 03, 2012DragonCon, Day 4, or "We're So Glad We Had This Time Together"
And so the final day has come. By now getting up at 7:30, dressing and packing lunch has become second nature. I sling my lunchbox over my shoulder and then my camera, put my badge around my neck, and we are off. Another breakfast at Cafe Momo, although James wasn't feeling all too keen this morning. The sky was highly clouded, which was another relief; at least the sun wasn't glaring, even if the humidity was annoying.
I thought I was heading to the Grand Ballroom in the Sheraton, and James was going to the British Apocalypse panel there, so we walked over together. It was early enough that we just detoured by one floor and strolled into registration to get our memberships for next year. I don't think it took ten minutes.
Well, it turned out Sylvester McCoy's panel was over in the Hyatt. Sigh. That's been a lietmotif this weekend; always in the wrong place for the right thing. Whatever. I could have just gone to the Irwin Allen panel in the Marriott, but I just kept walking. Sylvester and Patricia Quinn were doing commentary on the first two episodes of "Dragonfire" (Mel's last episode and Ace's first), where Quinn played one of the antagonists. The fun in this was listening to Sylvester with his Scots burr and Patricia with her Irish accent teasing each other and commenting on the onscreen story. Several times you could tell they trailed off just to watch the story! Sylvester was being especially ribbed because he was slip-sliding continuously on the "snow" of the Iceworld set. I hadn't intended to come to this this morning, but it was what I needed, having a good laugh on what is always a sad day, the final day of the convention.
Then I trudged back to the Sheration, saying goodbye to the Hyatt and the Marriott for another year. I was contemplating going back into the Exhibitors' Room to take one last look at the booksellers when I was waylaid by a friendly woman named Barbara. They were filming something called "Fan Ladies" for IFC and wondered if I would consent to be interviewed. So I shrugged and did it; they posed me against the front of the other Exhibitor's Hall and just talked to me about how I got started in fandom and why I liked it and if my husband was fannish, etc. I tried to answer intelligently, even though I was dying for a drink and must have looked goofy licking my dry lips all the time, with my hair pinned back and my buttons pinned under my collar. I hope this isn't one of those fan bashing things, though. You never know.
So I ended up back in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton, watching the last of the Trek Track large panels, with the actors that were still around the hotel: Michael Dorn from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Connor Trineer from Star Trek: Enterprise, Garrett Wang from Star Trek: Voyager, and the innovative lady of the original series, the one and only Nichelle Nichols. It's obvious they are all now old friends and had an enjoyable time chatting with the fans. Of course Nichelle was asked to tell the story about how she was about to quit Star Trek, until she met her biggest fan, who turned out to be Dr. Martin Luther King. He urged her to stay in the part because even if she was just opening hailing frequencies, she was a positive example for African-Americans, especially children and young adults. Michael Dorn related how he learned to fly during the long five-months writers strike that happened during Next Gen's run. He was asked to give inspirational speeches to military personnel, and was told they couldn't pay him—but they could get him a flight in something. So he got to fly in all sorts of aircraft: fighters, training jets, even the B1 bomber. He says he is hoping for one more appearance on Castle, but thinks they've gone beyond that plotline. All of the three men said they were big Star Trek watchers as children (which may have made Nichelle feel rather old).
I zipped out after the panel to use "the facilities," only to get a call from James, who was waiting for me in the Brittrack room (found out later he'd been in the back of the room during the Trek panel). Our last three panels of the day were in this room.
The first panel was one on Charles Dickens, as it is the bicentennial of his birth. We had a small crowd (most of the Brittrack crowd was in the ballroom for the "Everything Doctor Who" panel, but this seemed like it was something different to do). The discussion was pretty lively: about how Dickens' characters still live on and seem more realistic than other characters of that era, that he lived or reported on a good deal of the squalor and the bureaucracy that he portrayed in his novels so it was from first-hand experience, his social commentary, his pointed humor, etc. We also mentioned Dickens' pastiches and books with Dickens as a character (like the one I just finished reading by Matthew Pearl). It was definitely a fun discussion.
The penultimate panel was about the original seasons of Doctor Who: the 1960s episodes with role originator William Hartnell and his successor, Patrick Troughton. There was chat about the missing episodes (which the BBC erased to save space) and about Hartnell's original callousness that became more courtly, and Troughton turning the role on its head with his "cosmic hobo" who was still capable of manipulating people. Panelists were asked to pick what stories they would like to find "still whole."
And then they cleared the room one last time...and it was time for the final panel, the usual "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish." We like to go to this panel because...well, first because it's the final day of the convention, one of the last panels, and who wants to leave? Leaving means we have to get back to mundanity: go to Kroger, wash the clothes, get up at o-dark-thirty for work facing insane drivers. Sometimes I wonder if the convention is the reality and the "real world" is the illusion.
The other reason is because by four in the afternoon of the fourth day, the track committee is overtired and overstimulated, and the "well, what did you think of this year and what shall we do next year" usually turns into mad jokes, teasing, partial hysteria, and all fun. This year they had barely dumped out the suggestion box and started to read what they said when the two Robs (Bowen and Levy) started ribbing track director Caro McCully, who is getting married next June. It turned into "roast Caro" mixed with sentimental effusions about her upcoming wedding, and Rob Levy did one of his mad "Top 10" lists, and they gave out soda and chips and when five o'clock rolled around we'd had a great time, but the inevitable progression of the clock turned it All Too Depressing.
Back to the Courtland Garage for the last time this year, and back to mundania: to Kroger where we picked something up for supper and had to go back in because one of the milk jugs leaked. (Usually we end up the weekend by going to Longhorn and having a nice steak dinner; however, James had forgotten his free dessert coupon—for his birthday, so it expires next week—and it wasn't worth going without the coupon. So we are going to postpone that until next weekend, probably after we get done at the Yellow Daisy Festival, after which we'll be hot and hungry and glad for air conditioning and steaks and a Chocolate Stampede for dessert. Besides, we were tired and the fids were probably lonesome.)
So it's back to laundry and blogging and filling the bird feeders and chicken soup before the television.
As I said last year, the end of a convention is kind of like being thrown out of Narnia.
But...if I have a few minutes tomorrow, I know something happy I can do: rip Those Damn Flowers down from my cubicle and put up some nice, happy autumn leaves and branches. Summer—faugh!