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Dragon Con 2013!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lucy, I'm hooo-ooome!

Yeppers, I'm back from Dragon Con and ready to sleep for a week, but first: LET ME TELL YOU EVERYTHING.

No, no, there is too much. Let me "sum up." You know, in a few thousand words or less. (This is NOT the cosplay photos post, so check back later if you're looking for that!)

First and foremost, I have to say that DC has really stepped up to the plate this year where things like security and potential harassment are concerned. There were "cosplay is not consent" notices and an official policy in the guidebook, and also playing before the panels on the big screens, which was nice to see. There's also a round-the-clock security office on call for reporting any creepers.

The best thing about DC is that, unlike SDCC, it's a convention run by fans for fans, so the press & media (like me!) aren't given any real special privileges. We get a small support room and badges, but there's no line-cutting or reserved seating - nothing to separate us from the masses. The press basically has to experience the con the same way everyone does, waiting in the same lines and wading through all the same crowds - and that is awesome.

One more thing about the con organizers, and then I'll get to the goods: I want to mention something about when Dan Carroll, the media director/guy-in-charge over there, took the press on an informal tour Wednesday night. (When I say "informal," I mean we met at a bar and were greeted with bear hugs. :))

Dan is fantastic: an unpaid volunteer (like everyone else there) who works tirelessly throughout the year to promote the con, corral volunteers, troubleshoot with the venues, and what-have-you, all out of love for the fans. He's probably the sweetest guy you can imagine - literally a former mall Santa Claus - but he also has a fiercely protective spirit. That came out when he told us (as the media) that while we could write whatever we wanted in our coverage -  so long as it was honest, of course - that he draws the line at any negative press regarding the fans themselves.

"You start making fun of anyone at this con," Dan said, suddenly serious, "You say something like, 'Look at these loser geeks,' or anything to that effect, and I will pull your badge and ban you and your organization from this con for life."

It was all I could do not to whoop out a loud cheer and high-five him. Seriously.

In addition to DC security, all of the convention hotels had tons of staff on hand checking badges, managing traffic, and generally keeping an eye on things. The hotels have been closed to the public during the con since last year - you need a badge to get in - so that also helps cut down on creepy locals just popping in to gawk.

The DC badge situation is still a mess, sadly, as most con-goers (like my parents) had to wait well over two hours to get the badges they'd pre-registered for, with the line circling an entire city block and doubling back on itself by Friday morning. People paying at the door, though, breezed right through in less than 20 minutes, effectively punishing all the ones who'd done the "right" thing by buying their tickets online. I thought they'd fixed the system last year, but since it's still prone to crashes, I have to go back to recommending you buy your tickets on-site from now on. It costs more at the door, but I don't think the savings is worth the risk of spending multiple hours in the blistering heat while you miss out on panels and fun. Just my two cents, though!

Ok, moving on...

John asked that we attend more panels this year, and I'm glad he did. We saw Adam Savage (of Mythbusters) & Phil Plait (aka "Bad Astronomer") first on Friday, talking about science and cracking jokes, followed by a Star Trek:TNG  panel with Micheal Dorn (Worf), John de Lancie (Q), and Marina Sirtis (Troi.)

(That's Garret Wang on the right, aka Harry Kim from Voyager. He moderates all the Trek panels.)

The Trek panel was uncomfortable from the start, since Marina came out with what I can only assume was a raging case of the grumps. When one of the first fans started out by saying she wanted to be just like her, Marina replied brusquely, "Oh, so you want to be a mean bitch, too?" She later proceeded to interject several squirm-inducing jabs at the South in regards to both gun-control and religion, yelling that she had to have her say even if we didn't like it, and then bluntly asked another fan in a fur suit, "How stupid do you feel in that outfit?" I've seen her on panels before, but she was never this caustic, so I really don't know what was up. Combining this with the last Trek debacle at DC, though (the one with Denise Crosby storming off stage), I think I'm pretty much done with TNG panels for now. I'd just rather see celebs who seem a little happier to be there.

That said, John de Lancie is one of my long-time favorites, and listening to him describe his discovery of the world of bronies was well worth the Marina grump-fest. :D

Our last panel on Friday was our first of three Doctor Who panels. (What can I say? PETER DAVISON IS AWESOME.)

(My dad the photography buff has an extreme zoom lens, which is why John was able to get this shot from over 300 feet away, in the very last row of the auditorium. [I sit in the back to appease the anxiety monster.] TECHNOLOGY! Oh, and if you look closely you'll see that his lanyard reads, "Keep Calm, I'm The Doctor." :D)

Davison is my favorite Doctor, but I'd never seen him in person before. I was thrilled by how charming and engaging he was with the fans, waving and greeting each one before they asked a question, and seeming genuinely pained when time ran out before he could get to everyone in line, begging the moderators for more time. He kept us laughing with stories of arms-up-cows, abusing Adric, and frequently ragging on Colin Baker - but with love, I'm sure. ;) And then of course there's that most world-shaking revelation: Peter Davison hates celery. [mic drop]

Saturday is the busiest and craziest day at DC (imagine over 60,000 of your closest friends coming to visit)  so we took it easy on panels and spent the afternoon shopping. I spotted Professor Elemental browsing in the vendor hall, and when I fangirl squealed his name he came right over to us with a cheery, "'Ello!" and chatted for a few minutes. My only regret of DC is that I didn't get to hear most of his concert during the Masquerade, plus I missed getting a photo with him in costume, since there were TONS of you readers there and I was just having too much fun talking to all of you! (Funnily enough he came over and took a picture of my parents, though!)
 
What's that? You don't know who Professor Elemental is? WELL THEN, here, watch this:


Or this:

Yes, Virginia, there IS steampunk rap. And it is SPLENDID. Hee!


In Artists' Alley I got a bit of a shock when Bruce Whistlecraft - aka Doktor A and one of my favorite artists - surprised me with the very drawing I featured here on Epbot almost exactly a year ago! I was so dumbfounded when he presented it to me that, to my horror, I started to tear up and then began babbling. Bruce is a soft-spoken Brit, and seemed rather bemused by my reaction. John, on the other hand, figured the best thing to do while I was making a fool of myself was capture it all on film:

Thanks, babe.

Bruce's wife Bryony was also there, and look how stunning:
She actually makes those hair falls, too - check out her shop on etsy!

Saturday night we caught the second Davison panel and then a chunk of the Gonzaroo concert - essentially a mini Wootstock with Paul and Storm, Molly Lewis, Adam Savage, etc, etc.

Sunday was our most hectic day. We started it far too early at a 10AM Buffy panel. See, during my Sabbatical John and I watched the entire series, from start to finish, for the very first time. It was kind of our ritual, watching a few episodes every night, and I think I'll always associate the show with this time - a happy memory. (Well, except for the episode where her mom dies, which may be the single most traumatic piece of entertainment I have ever seen. Ooph.)

Anyway, with the show so fresh in our mind of course we were eager to see the stars, and John in particular was excited to see James Marsters. (I think he may have a little man crush. Heh.)

No zoom lens this time, so please enjoy this blurry extreme crop.

I'm sure you Buffy fans have heard it all by now, but the best bits for me were Marster's story of taking his daughter trick-or-treating in full Spike vamp makeup - and no one recognizing him - and Nicholas Brendon's hysterically bizarre non sequiturs. He would just drop in statements like, "When you're making love to a 2,000 pound gorilla, it's over when the gorilla says it's over." And then he'd just look at us, deadpan, while we all tried to figure out where THAT came from. It was fantastic, and I have a whole new appreciation for him now. Quirky people are fun.


Next we went to an art panel featuring both Doktor A and Brian Kesinger, another of my favorites who paints amazingness like this:

There were only a few dozen of us in the room, so this was a nice change of pace from the massive panels with thousands in the audience. I missed grabbing a photo with them because I was chatting with a few readers, though, including the now-famous Holly who cosplayed as Jenny Lawson/the Bloggess! (We had a mutual fangirl geek-out on each other. ;))

We ended with one final Doctor Who panel - but this one had both Davison AND Sylvester McCoy, the 7th Doctor. McCoy is a delight, and you'll hear stories of spontaneous hugs and spoon performances where ever he goes. I had an offer from Paul (of Paul & Storm) to introduce me to McCoy, and I'm kind of kicking myself for not taking him up on it. Maybe next year?


The highlight of the panel was when a fan asked if Davison played any sort of instrument, and if so, if he would ever play a duet with McCoy on the spoons. Almost immediately someone brought out McCoy's spoons, followed by a guitar for Davison, and the crowd. went. NUTS. Happily Mark - a CW reader - was in the audience with us and filmed what happened next on his phone:

 

They spend the first few minutes getting set up - at :55 I think Davison says, "Sorry, see, I don't know how to play the guitar." At the one minute mark McCoy asks Davison to play a G, and then pretends to "tune" his spoons. The last two minutes are the best, because Davison actually sings. (Oh, and that bit at the end where he talks about singing at Dixie Trek in the 80s? I FOUND THE VIDEO. Woot!)

We were miles from the stage - even further back than Mark - but here's a picture of the big screen during the best part:

 The 5th Doctor playing guitar while the 7th Doctor plays spoons on his shoulder, everyone.  
You're welcome.

Right after this panel - and chatting with a few more readers - we headed back to the hotel to change into our costumes. I'm pretty sure we broke last year's record for number of fans who found us, and Sunday night was a steady stream of people yelling my name and running over to chat, which of course made me feel like a rock star. :) Going by how quickly we ran out of pins over the weekend, I think we must have met at least 70 of you - maybe more. Plus there were times when I passed someone in the crush who called my name and waved but couldn't actually reach us.

Monday morning - or, ok, after noon, since we slept in - we headed straight to the Walk of Fame to see if Davison was still there for autographs, since his was the only one I wanted this year. And he was! There were only a few people ahead of us at his table, but I still hesitated, debating whether I really should get one or not. I was nervous, and the price was pretty steep at $40, but when I saw Peter was also taking pictures with the people ahead of us, I decided to go for it.

Peter seemed a bit tired, as I think we all were by that point (I call it the DC hangover - no alcohol required!), but he still reached out a hand to shake mine and smiled when I told him he was my favorite. I asked about a knit celery pin he'd been wearing the day before, since the lady who made it asked me to get a photo of him wearing it. He said he'd forgotten to put it on that morning, and started looking around in distress, as if thinking to go and get it, but I assured him it was alright. 

When I asked for a photo he stood up with a slightly perfunctory air, and I apologized for making him move - but he replied it was the only exercise he'd get that day. Still, I felt kind of bad, and expected he'd stand quickly, perform a quick bit of hover hands for the photo, and retreat back behind the table. Instead, Peter put his arm around my shoulders and squeezed me to him warmly in a kind of side-hug. I was so surprised and delighted that I instinctively squeezed him back, which made him chuckle. In fact, in John's rapid succession of photos you can see Peter start out looking tired and mildly grumpy, and then end with a big smile like this:

Yes, ok, so I'm tearing up again here. WHAT.


I'll end this monster post by saying that I was continually amazed and humbled this weekend by all of you readers coming to find me. There were so many hugs and laughs and even a few tears, as we talked about everything from your first cosplays to battling anxiety, and I think we were all proud of each other just for being there. It also crossed my mind that at some point I may have to go ahead and schedule an official CW/Epbot panel at DC, if only so we can all get in one room - and maybe so I can get from point A to point B in under an hour. Ha! (And I am SO not complaining, btw.)

So now that you've read my DC '13 novella, stay tuned for your reward: lots and LOTS of cosplay eye candy! Coming up just as soon as I can get all these pics sorted and edited!

Posted by Jen at 4:25 PM Labels:

126 comments:

  1. I had a similar experience with Marina Sirtis at Wizard World in Austin last year. It was a panel of all the TNG main cast and everyone was delightful, except her. She was rude to her fellow cast mates, was extremely rude to several fans, insulted the values of Texans and vehemently stated that she did not think the government should be funding space exploration (a statement which was resoundly boo-ed). Wil Wheaton saved the day by giving her a million examples of good things that have come from our space program. He spoke so eloquently compared to her cranky and rude ramblings. Her behavior was so bizarre and rude...weird. I gained a whole new respect for Wil Wheaton that day and lost all respect I had for Marina Sirtis.

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  2. Unfortunately, it sounds like Marina is only in it for the money at this point. I have heard similar stories about her on other blogs and stuff. It's sad, really--she's going to stop being asked to cons if she continues to act like that.

    As for cons themselves...I am so confused now. I am in the Phoenix metropolitan area and haven't been to the Phoenix Con yet. I'm seriously afraid now because I don't think I'm geeky enough. A lot of what you said in this post is completely greek to me. I would NEVER know how to do any of this or know who's who. So so far my plan is just to wander through the vendors and artists' booths. I can handle that.

    I wonder why the cons don't just mail out badges to those who have ordered them online? That seems most logical to me.

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    1. Look at the schedule for the Phoenix Con on their website - do you want to see/do anything there? Then you're geeky enough. :D It's not a contest and anyone who says otherwise can go swim in an active volcano.

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    2. "Not geeky enough?!" Pshaw, I say! GO. Wander the vendor room & artists alley, and I guarantee you'll have a blast. Plus keep in mind that Dragon Con is pretty much the biggest & most confusing con there is. My friend Amy is a San Diego Comic-Con veteran, and even SHE was overwhelmed (this was her 1st DC). So don't let my stories of DC scare you off; local cons are MUCH easier!

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    3. Katphoti, as far as con-going goes, just go! Don't set expectations, give yourself plenty of time, and PLEASE don't feel like you aren't geeky enough. When I started I new nothing of Dr. Who, or Firefly, or many MANY comic book characters/storylines, etc. I just wanted to see the Buffy panel and William Shatner. You will get to share your excitement over the things you love with others who love them too, and (like me) maybe get exposed to some new things to love. Seriously, just sitting back and watching the cosplay is amazing. As for the badges situation--just went to PAX Prime in Seattle--they mail out badges--and couldn't believe we could just walk right on in after waiting in the craziest 3 hr line for badges at Emerald City Comicon 6 months ago. ECCC just announced they are mailing badges this year, so hopefully more cons will jump on that ship, but I can't even imagine the work that will go into mailing out 70,000+ badges!

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    4. This year was my first Phx Comicon (I went all the way and volunteered!) and I also thought my geek rating was pretty low. I was surprised at not only how much fun I had at the panels in my narrow interest range (Firefly, Dr. Who, a couple authors) but also at the panels that I went to as part of my volunteering (geek poetry. Who knew??). I had an absolute blast and cannot wait for next year!!

      Hope to see you there next year!

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    5. Phoenix Con is great! There were people there in full-out amazing geeky cosplay and people walking around in jeans and t-shirts, just enjoying the atmosphere. Come next year!

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    6. I went to Phoenix Con this year and totally loved it. I'm used to San Diego Comic Con so something a little smaller was a lot of fun. The artist area was fantastic as there was actually time to talk to people (unlike SDCC which is much more rushed). You should totally check it out.

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    7. Kat - Just go! My very first year at DragonCon all I did was walk around the Friday wide-eyed and with no clue what to do. That was 9 DCs ago.

      And smaller local or genre/show specific cons are just as much of an experience.

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    8. Not geeky enough?! No way - you want to be there? Then you're geeky enough!

      I had been wanting to go to cons for a while, and so I just did it - I can't quote movies like Star Wars, I don't know the entire history of the Avengers and I don't have a costume. I really want to be able to do all of those things, but to get me on my way, I just went to a con. And I loved it! And no-one minded - there's no test to get in.

      I hope you go, and have an awesome time!

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  3. I actually had a really positive experience with Marina. I was in my Abby (from NCIS) costume on Sunday, and she came up to me and struck up a conversation. We chatted about her current character arc on NCIS, and she wound up asking to have her picture taken with me!

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  4. Jen! I know you get this a lot, but sometimes our lives are so parallel it knocks me over and makes me wish we were friends! My husband and I are on season 6 of our first Buffy watch ever and the episode where Joyce dies is easily one of the most traumatic things I've ever watched. You're awesome and I'm so glad you're back from sabbatical. :)

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    1. Right?? I was honestly getting close to having an anxiety attack watching it, and I was SURE I'd have nightmares afterward. It just hit too close to home. Give me monsters and demons any day!

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    2. That episode actually aired just after my friend and roommate died (I found the body.) *EVERYTHING* in that episode about finding a dead body and how it all goes silent and stuff - Real Life is *exactly* like that.

      I can't watch that episode anymore either.

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    3. I marathon watch Buffy every year--sometimes more than once--and I've started just skipping that episode because I cry from the first five seconds until halfway through the next episode. And I've seen it at least fifteen times in my life.

      It never gets better. I nearly teared up just seeing her in that panel picture! :)

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    4. @jennielf I'm so sorry, what a terrible thing to have to go through. I just thought Joss Whedon was brilliant with how quiet that whole episode was but it's even more amazing to think that's really what happens and he captured it so powerfully.

      (This is freerangekarma, just home and signed in instead of at work.)

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    5. I unexpected watched that episode about 24 hours after my father's funeral. Umm, to say it destroyed me would be an understatement. Seven years later I watched it again, sobbing through the whole thing. It's one of the most amazing pieces of film-making ever, and the most accurate depiction of death. But MY GOD, so difficult to watch.

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  5. I'd never heard of Professor Elemental before but I love those videos! Ha! I'm going to SteamCon in Seattle this October and both he and Brian Kesinger are going to be there. Looking forward to all your pictures.

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    1. Ahhh, lucky!! Tell the Professor I said hi, won't you?

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  6. I love that you got to meet Peter Davison! I've adored him ever since watching All Creatures Great and Small as a kid. (It's on Netflix Streaming and well worth checking out if you've never seen it.) The picture of the two of you is adorable. So glad you're back on Epbot, Jen!

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    1. All Creatures is on Netflix? I know what *I'm* doing this weekend.

      Have you seen The Last Detective? It's a British crime procedural starring Peter Davison. It's terrific and streaming on Netflix as well.

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  7. I think a Cakewrecks/Epbot panel is a GENIUS idea! You could talk about writing and crafting and cosplaying and anxiety and EVERYTHING that makes you so awesome!

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    1. John & I were trying to figure out which track we could shoehorn that into, tbh. Ha! Any ideas?

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    2. what about costuming, since you post so many awesome how-to's?

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  8. They pushed "cosplay is not consent" A LOT at Anime Boston, too, which made me happy. It seems like the con circuit is actually starting to care about the safety of their con-goers.

    Peter Davison is such a cutie :D (I LOL'ed at his dislike of celery. heh, irony.)

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  9. OH NO! I am the one who tweeted about missing you *again* this year on Twitter (@sablearts)... and I was in the Doktor A/Brian Kesinger panel (I was the one dressed as Victoria in the 3rd row) *facepalm* I will now spend the next year training myself to actually *look* at Twitter more than once a week.... *flail*

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    1. Omigosh, I remember you, too! So sorry I missed you; I'd hoped to linger & grab pics with Brian & Bruce, but with the other readers there & then the staff kicking us out of the room, it all went by too fast!

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    2. oh hey, Sarah, I was sitting right behind you and meant to ask, "where did you get that awesome wig?" It was the perfect color!

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  10. Please have an official CW/EPBOT panel next year (pretty please with copious amounts of sugar on top)! I can never seem to find you in all the D*C craziness and meeting other fans would be awesome too!

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  11. please please please host a panel next year! I live in Atlanta and search for you at D*C every year, but haven't been able to find you yet (it doesn't help that we're too exhausted to make it out for the nighttime masquerades). I know I can't be the only failed stalker....er, fan around here either! :D

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    1. Signal boosting this! I've lived in Atlanta for three years and haven't yet been to DC (I'm kind of a homebody, to be honest), but I'd definitely grab a day pass if you were hosting a panel!

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    2. Same here! I would love to attend your panel & agree that costuming or alt history tracks might work for you guys!

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  12. Wow, DC sounds so amazing, I wish I could get to any of the cons in my area, but I'd be riding solo! None of my friends are into that so much....we are much more renfaire inmates! Looking forward to all the yummy costume pics!

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    1. You should totally go by yourself anyway. None of my friends like comic cons so I'm always going by myself and I have a great time. You meet so many awesome people and don't have to fight over what panels to go to.

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  13. I think it's adorable that you kept tearing up. When you watch these shows, you spend so much time with the characters that by the end it's like you're losing a friend. Seeing the actors is a warm reminder of the stories we love. My hubby and I both tear up when we see actors from things we love doing other things later, because we are happy for their continued success, but we will call them by the character name we got to know them by, long after that show has ended. :)

    Thank you for sharing this with us! It's nice to be able to experience the con through you!

    Also, I've never heard of professor elemental, but I know that I will never drink a cup of tea again without rapping in my head. haha

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  14. Next year, I'll be sure and follow your tweets so I can find you. I was the handler for Graham McTavish and James Marsters. I also went to all the panels with Sylvester McCoy and sat next to Davidson in the signing room. I know that the anxiety can keep you from being able to meet them but I'd be happy to get some things signed for you. I will be working with James again in Oct and will be at the next Dragon Con as well. If there is ever someone you wish to have an autograph of but are too nervous to ask, let me know and depending on who I'm working with that year I can get one for you.

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    1. Oh, wow, you are so sweet! (And I'm so jealous! Ha!) Thanks! John really wanted to meet Marsters after my pic with Davison, but Marsters was on break, so we figured we'd try again at MegaCon; he's almost always there. (John also felt funny waiting in a line of all women, but I told him Marsters probably LIKES having the occasional male fan come to see him. ;))

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    2. Yeah I lucked into it through a friend. Marsters is so great to fans and really is a fantastic guy to talk with. I fan-girled for a moment the first time I met him because he voiced Harry Dresden (my all time fav book series ever of all the series in ever of all time)and he was super cool about it. If I make it to MegaCon I will either be with Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd, James or Kai Owen. I'll be easy to pick out cause I will totally fan-girl out on you if I see you :).

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    3. This may be a silly question, but since you are new Buffy fans, are you & John aware that James Marsters has a great singing voice (Once More with Feeling), but was also in a band (Ghost of the Robot) and even has a couple of solo albums? My hubby LOVES his GotR tunes. Anthony Stewart Head (Giles) is also a musician with several albums to his credit.

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  15. Oh My Word!! Your favorite doctor is my favorite doctor's father-in-law!

    When I heard that Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy were going to be there, I so very much wanted to go! My dad got me hooked on Doctor Who back when it was Tom Baker when he let me sneak up and watch it on PBS. I've happily passed that on to the (now) 17-year-old who dresses up as Tennant every chance he gets. Doctor Who is actually why he dresses nicely when all his friends wear the standard tee-shirts and jeans. This year, for the 50th Anniversary, we've been going through all the classic episodes we could find and Davison has been his favorite of the classics. (Tennant will always be his first Doctor.)

    Thanks for posting about the panels you went to, and allowing me to live vicariously! <3

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  16. Thank you for this! I'm Dan Carroll's Second (Assistant Director) and, as an avid reader of your blog, was hoping to meet you and John this year. Alas, I'm always in the Interview Room and rarely in the Media Relations room so I missed you. There's always next year!
    Thank you for spreading the Dragon Con love. The fans are absolutely why we do this!

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  17. I would *totally* go to a CW/Epbot panel! I'm glad you guys had fun at DCon this year and I can't wait to see your costume photos. It's also really nice to hear DCon and other cons are stepping up their game about keeping us all a little safer.

    As for why badges don't get mailed out Pre-con, I can offer a few suggestions:
    1) Too much chance of something getting lost in the mail.
    2) Too much chance of someone getting a badge early and then forging it for all their buddies. True, they could put in a holographic image or something to help prevent it, but it's probably a *lot* cheaper to just hand them out at check in.

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  18. It was lovely seeing you both. I had no idea you were so effected by the pressie. pleased you liked it. thank you for coming to the panel it was a fun one. sorry we didn't get to the ball to see your costumes. we didn't manage to get food till 11 and still needed to get changed however jetlag and con hangover did for us. hope to see you again in the future.

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    1. It was wonderful seeing you, Bruce! Sorry we didn't get to say goodbye on Monday, but I hope we see you at DC again next year!

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    2. It was lovely to meet you both! I echo what Bruce said about jet lag and con hangover... it was a pretty intense experience for a newbie like me :)
      Do you mind if I nab the photos of me and Bruce? I forgot to take photos in all the whirlwind of stuff!

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  19. Whoo hoo! DragonCon was pretty darn fun this year. I saw you and John in the Marriot, but I was caught in the vortex that was the line for the escalators by that point. So glad that you got to have such a wonderful moment with your favorite Doctor! :D

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  20. So sweet! These pictures of you - so beautiful! lol (sorry stalker red alert eek! hahaha) Really fun, thanks for sharing!

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  21. I would love to go to an Epbot panel! I think it would fit well in either the costuming or alternate history tracks, since you blog about cosplay and steampunk a lot. I saw you at the Mechanical Masquerade, but I was too shy to come say hi. Epbot is one of the big reasons I got up the courage to put together a steampunk outfit, and I'm so glad I did. Dancing the Charleston with my friends with my ray gun in hand was the absolute highlight of the con for me. :)

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    1. Woot! Do we get pictures??

      And next year, PLEASE come say hi! I keep telling everyone that we shy introverts have to stick together!

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  22. This week my family will attend our first Con (Salt Lake ComiCon). We will be the most randomly dressed bunch.

    18 yo Daughter -Garth Algar
    15 yo Daughter -Medusa from Soul Eater
    12 yo Son -Link
    Mom (me) -Modified Snow White
    Dad -What he is referring to as MisterBitchin. aka, I'm not dressing up! aka Grumpy Pants.

    I have no idea what to expect from a first time yet record breaking event. I wish I could be looking for you guys. But If any other CW/Epbot fans attend, say hi and acknowledge the waist chain as I don't think anyone else will care and it cost me more than I should have spent :-)

    Glad to see such a fun report from DC and I love that you are becoming as much of a "Must See" as anyone else is.

    Now Bring on the Photos

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    1. MisterBitchin. *giggle, snort*

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  23. If by SDCC you mean San Diego Comic-Con, I'm not sure why you think DragonCon is different in how it treats the Press. There is no line-cutting or reserved seating for Press or Media at SDCC either, at least not in the room that I managed for the last two years. And it is also volunteer run, "by fans for fans".

    The only people that got special treatment were the invited guests. Perhaps your experience at SDCC has been different than mine.

    I'm glad you had such a good time at DragonCon. It sounds like it was a lot of fun. I would have loved to have met Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy. Some day. Maybe.

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    Replies
    1. SDCC has always been more Hollywood-sponsored, so it's a big-budget extravaganza & often more like a press conference for the newest movies coming out. Nothing bad about that, of course, but the the directors at DC stressed that while SDCC panders to the press, DC does not. I have no personal experience to back that up, but from the coverage you see of SDCC in all the major media outlets I can't imagine the TV crews and ET reporters are camping outside of Hall F all night with the rest of the fans! Again, nothing bad about that, exactly - just a different priority level for the convention organizers.

      Delete
  24. Yes YEs YES to a panel at D*C!!!! That would be a no-conflicts no matter what panel!

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  25. I actually went to my first "large" con this year thanks to reading your blog and watching Wil Wheaton and other celebs on panels via YouTube. I volunteered at Tampa Bay Comic Con a couple weekends ago and even though i don't think i stopped moving for more than two minutes on Saturday , sweating under zombie makeup from one of the panels and slinking through about ten thousand people while running from one end to the other for various reasons... i totally had a blast! I was always to embarrassed to go by myself, not to mention poor to grab a weekend pass, but I'm so glad i did! Maybe next year I'll be able to branch out and make it to one in Orlando or maybe even D*C!

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  26. So does DC hold the panel guests to the same standard that they have for the press people? (i.e. "You start making fun of anyone at this con... You say something like, 'Look at these loser geeks,' or anything to that effect, and I will pull your badge and ban you and your organization from this con for life.")

    I mean, I know that they can't ban Star Trek, but it sounds like this needs to be an actual rule for panel members, since CLEARLY Ms. Sirtis a.) didn't want to be there and b.) has little/no respect for the people who attend DC. I know this behavior is the exception among panel guests, but it sounds like maybe this is something the People In Charge at DC need to establish as a ground rule for guests.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree! I was thinking the same thing as I read this. She may need a break from cons for a while. I don't want it to turn into a rude thing but maybe the fans need to make their annoyance known.

      Delete
    2. That's an excellent point/question, though I imagine there would be far more fan-revolt if a guest like Marina was banned. We're a very forgiving bunch, perhaps to our detriment sometimes. I agree that someone should at the very least ask her to play nice for the panels, though.

      Delete
    3. It doesn't necessarily have to be banning someone, but panel/track feedback is used to make decisions for the following year(s)--from room size to potential guests. The Brittrack and Alt Hist. at D*C have grown by bounds because of this.

      It might be worth politely saying something about this apparently common reaction.

      Because its not that touchy subjects can't be brought up but there is a time, place and tact for discussing them. This is falling outside of that.

      Delete
  27. Oh my goodness, yes! Someone make the official cake wrecks/epbot panel happen! Heehee I can see the cosplays of cakes and copying your costumes and crafts now. Ooh! Someone could be your penny table!

    So glad you had a good time. Sounds like lots of fun.

    ReplyDelete
  28. You can always try out a CakeWrecks/EPBOT panel at PHXCC next year ;) Otherwise, I may have to make my way to DragonCon next September. So many awesome guests (well, the ones that want to be there).

    The same cosplay message was reinforced at Phx this year. It both amazes me that the message *needs* to be reinforced (really, people?) and makes me wonder what happened that forced it.

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    Replies
    1. There were a few stories that got a lot of press this past year about cosplayers being harassed, and then John Scalzi came out and said he wouldn't attend ANY con without an official harassment policy, and one that was posted prominently and clearly. So it's been in the news of late, and I'm sure that's what prompted the sudden focus. I agree it's sad such a thing is needed, but still nice to see organizers doing their best to protect fans.

      Delete
    2. It's nice to see that the "Costumes are not consent" campaign went viral and is used at so many cons now! It began at a Minneapolis local con, CONvergence, a couple years ago.

      Delete
  29. If I didn't love you already the Pinky and the Brain shirt would have sealed the deal.
    "Tomorrow night we try and take over the WORLD"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, and both of them were there, too! I was crushed that I couldn't go to their panel; it was Sunday night during our official cosplay time. I hear hundreds of people were turned away because they couldn't fit in the room, but that it was an awesome panel. Here's hoping the guys are back next year.

      Delete
    2. Rob Paulsen (Pinky) will be at mega con! So I am going to stand outside of whatever panel he is on for however long I have to! And get his autograph!

      Delete
    3. It's not *just* a Pinky and the Brain shirt - It's a mashup of Pinky and the Brain & Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer!!!! It's SO AWESOME!!!!! I'm still waiting for mine to come in the mail. Jen, did you do expedited shipping to get yours before DC or something? :)

      Delete
    4. The line for the voice acting panel was one of those horribly managed lines that tend to happen at the Marriott. The AV was terribly handled as well; it was really sort of embarrassing. You didn't miss much! I ADORE Dragon*Con, and was delighted to get to meet you before the Buffy panel, but there were some definite issues with AV at the Marriott this year.

      Delete
    5. Sandy, I got my t-shirt several months ago, so it must have been featured on a different tee-a-day site! It's definitely the most popular shirt I own, though; I've never had so many compliments & comments with any of my other mashup tees!

      Delete
  30. I'm going to SteamCon in November, and both Prof. Elemental and Brian Kessinger are guests of honor there. It makes me supremely happy that you like Prof. Elemental, as I am a huge fan of both you and him;) You are the reason I decided to go to SteamCon! Thank you!

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  31. That's too bad about Marina... I saw her last year when she came to Nashville, TN for the Star Trek convention and I thought she was hilarious and not at all rude. She didn't say anything derogatory about the South (the closest she got was asking us all why we weren't at church on Sunday morning since we were in the South, but it was said in an amusing way, not accusing or demeaning) and she was nice to all the fans who asked her questions. Maybe she was going through an extreme mood swing at DC, who knows, but that's definitely not cool that she acted that way.

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  32. I met Peter Davison at GenCon in Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago. I had the same reaction you did...he genuinely seemed to enjoy himself. I told him it was an honor to meet him, and he said "Well, isn't it nice to meet you too!" He remained sitting for my picture and I just sort of geekily moved in next to him. Still, I'm glad to see he seems to always be that nice. I thought maybe it was just rose-colored glasses because I was so excited to meet him.

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  33. -Kermit flails- I can't WAIT for the costume posts!! I always show them to my baby sister. She gets a big kick out of them!

    Man, what's UP with TNG panels? If I ever attend a con, think I'll just skip the TNG panel and just do a personal meet and greet or two with my favorite actors. But then I'd have to decide WHO to meet! (How could I even decide?!)

    I think I'd die if I ever saw Adam Savage in person. Mythbusters is practically the reason I decided to get into the field of science. I'd love to just shake his hand and say "thank you"!

    ReplyDelete
  34. It was one of my Con highlights to bump into you and John leaving one of the parties. I hope my fangirl freakout wasn't too bad and thanks for being so nice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember no freakouts: only lots of fun reunions with friends-I-hadn't-met-yet. :) Thank YOU for being so nice!

      Delete
  35. I love it when you go to DC!! One of these days I will make it, and I will find you! That wasn't meant to be creepy. :) Maybe I can convince the husband to go next year.... But we may need to leave the baby geek at home with the grandparents. Momma isn't all that great with crowds to begin with; looking after a little one certainly wouldn't help! I can't wait for the pictures!

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    Replies
    1. Depending on the age of the baby-geek, taking them to cons can be a lot of fun. I've taken my daughter to several conventions now both by myself and with my husband. Just pop the kiddo into a back-pack or stroller (or baby-leash, if that's your thing) and off you go. My little one was about a year old when we went to her first con, she slept through most of that one. We did DragonCon when she was 4, the energy and movement of the Con was enough to help her quite entertained, and when she needed a nap it gave me a good chance to rest myself, which was nice.

      It's fun to see her face light up when she sees her favorite characters in real life.

      Delete
  36. ~ Karilee S. ~
    Sad to hear that Marina has been turning into a super grump at conventions. Clearly she needs to take a break from it or maybe even just retire. I have no doubt she's been doing it fairly regularly since the mid 1990's.

    I saw her at conventions in Phoenix about 3 times during the 90's and she just rocked! In fact she was at my very first con back in 1990-ish. When I was in line to get her autograph and approached her table I was shy (and just a kid around 14) and I was wearing some cheap and silly yellow star shaped sunglasses. She looked up at me and barked, "TAKE THAT DAMN THING OFF YOUR FACE!" (I took them off) "You have such pretty blue eyes sweety! Don't you ever hide such pretty eyes like that!"

    :D Lets just say she made my decade.

    Shatner at a later convention on the other hand....well.....that wasn't so good. But I've gotten the impression he can be a jerk to lots of people sometimes so I'll just let that one go.

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  37. You doing a panel is a great idea! I wanted to find you guys this year and last (actually one of the things that pushed me into going) but between crowds and other panels distracting me it hasn't happened. Let us know if we need to write DC and request one!

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  38. You sound so happy. You make me want to brave the crowds and go....

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  39. I'm with John. I definitely have a man crush on James Marsters. That crush took quite a blow the first time I heard his normal voice and realized he wasn't actually British, but I think it recovered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think part of the reason I love listening to the Harry Dresden audiobooks is that a few characters have hints of Spike ;) :: sigh ::

      Delete
  40. I'm so glad you're back, Jen! And so happy!! While I missed my place to go read awesome geeky funniness while you were on sabbatical I'm glad it's made you a happier, healthier person. Sounds like you had more fun at DC this year than you had being stressed out in past years! It makes all of us happy to see you so happy.

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  41. Oh and to think I moved from Atlanta and never attended a DC ! I may try and schedule my vacation for next year to be about the same time as DC.Never know..>.> Oh the places I'll go! (plotting)
    I am so excited to read how the con went, and to see posts again! I can't wait for the pictures to be up its gonna ROCK!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love when people watch Buffy for the first time. I have been watching that show since it first aired (religiously!) and have seen most episodes dozens of times. I wish I could re-live watching it for the first time.

    Did you watch it with the crossover Angel episodes? That's always fun too! There are subtle things that you pick up on.

    What episode was your favourite? Or multiple episodes? I am going to beg for a review of what you thought of the show. I just need to live vicariously through someone else! :)

    The Con sounds great. Sad about the TNG panel. Always hard to hear when an actor/actress you love on a show turns out to be not so great in person. Looking forward to pics!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I avoided Buffy because it was just so stinking popular in my area (I avoided Harry Potter for the same reason), but I wish I didn't. I would have loved it and I was the exact right age for it.

      I was sad to hear about Marina too. I thought she was the most beautiful woman on TV, and it sounds silly, but I used to take comfort in the fact that someone with my hair and complexion could be so pretty when I felt so gawky and awkward.

      Delete
    2. Ha! Ohh, it's hard to pick a favorite when they all blur together in such a rush, but I think I especially loved the Halloween one that ended with the tiny demon. It was genuinely scary at times, but also downright hysterical - and I loved seeing Giles wield a chainsaw. :D

      Delete
  43. Ok quick question for anyone out there who reads this.. do i go about finding a Con in my area? I found one in Little rock of all places (and there is NO way i can go 5 hours for a day pass to just waner around and see what i see ya know? Esp with my work schedule i would need to plan to have that saturday off) but is there a way to find one more locally? Google is failing me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you have a comic book shop in your town? Those guys usually know what's coming. Fan organizations are another good bet - local 501st Legion members, Browncoats, etc.

      Delete
    2. There is a card shop around here my brother goes to play MTG (i refuse to play him he plays like a jerk bum) I will have him ask around if they know of any, there is something coming up down in Con way (Comiccon-way) at their local library it seems a bit closer than little rock but it is still quite a drive. we shall see :)
      Thank you for the tip most definitely!

      Delete
  44. Wait...Buffy's mom dies?!

    I'm a BtVS noob still...

    You should definitely do a CW/EPBOT panel next year. I'm planning on saving all my money so I can go next year and one of my biggest goals is to hunt you down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I was surprised she put in that little spoiler. Sorry...

      At least now you'll be prepared. The episode is fantastically done but brutal.

      Delete
    2. OOPS. Sorry, guys; I figured I was the last person in all of geekdom to watch the show, so never considered it a spoiler! Ha!

      Delete
    3. Don't feel too bad. The same thing happened to me. I was on season 2 and my friend was like, "oh, you're watching that show? The only thing I know about it is that her mom dies."

      I could have killed him! But Buffy still turned out to be my favorite TV show of all time, so it's definitely still worth watching. :)

      Delete
  45. I already want to go to DC, but I would definitely be there if there was a CW/Epbot panel!

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  46. Oh, I so desperatly want to go! Can't wait until I can drive myself! Until then, I'll have to just watch from the sidelines. Thank you for posting all of these pictures! I love to see them! (My fing!er for se!ems to be! having a strang!e spasm, and keeps !hitting the number o!ne button and shift.!)

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  47. I don't have a twitter account, is there any other way to find you next year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't need to have a twitter account, just a way to access twitter from the convention. So a smartphone or a tablet/laptop with an internet connection. Then you'd just have to look at Jen's twitter ( twitter.com/cakewrecks )to see her tweets where she will be at. Barring that, you could have a friend who can access the internet phone or text you where she says she'll be for you. :)

      Delete
    2. Pretty much what Erin said, but I'll also try to post a few times and places where I know I'll be over the weekend - like I did this time with the Masquerade - so you can track me down!

      Delete
    3. Thanks so much for answering both of you! Unfortunately I don't have a smartphone or tablet, so I'll be watching for your posts! Thanks again you 2!

      Delete
  48. You are as cute as a button, Jen!

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  49. Two words: SO JEALOUS!!! I'm over here squeeing and giggling and sighing like a maniac reading this post, my coworkers probably think I've finally lost it. :D Looks like a fabulous time. I can only keep telling myself, "someday..." The year you schedule that CW/Epbot panel is the year I spend the money to take the journey South (hint hint) Thanks for sharing all your joys of the weekend (and some of the woes), and I am so looking forward to seeing all your pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I'd love to go to Dragon Con, but I think I have to wait until the geeklings are bigger - they tire out too quickly at this age, but I think they'd love it in 5-6 years.

    Somebody should start a Dragon Con Daycare - parents could sign up for some time chunk (maybe so the grownups could make it to a panel they want to see?) and charge a fee per hour per kid, so the kids could do something geeky and fun for them without getting dragged through all the crowds all the time. They'd be rich!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Childcare was offered until a few years ago but abandoned due to low usage.

      Delete
  51. Have you "liked" The Doctor Who Hub on Facebook yet? They've posted a few pics of the Davison/McCoy jam session at D*C. The guitar was Ken Spivey's - "Ken Spivey is a professional entertainer, songwriter, convention organizer, and Steam Punk Time Bard and Doctor Who aficionado.". Awesome!

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  52. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Professor Elemental! I want to have tea trousers!

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  53. Geez. WHY AM I TEARING UP?!

    I am going to have to start planning (and saving up for) a trip allll the way across the country so I can do the Dragon Con and meet up with you. I'll bring The Firstborn. He would cosplay with me. : - )

    Just Andrea

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  54. What's so great about celery? I hate it. By the way, are you still squeeing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Squeeeeeeeee - yes, I am - eeeeeeeeeeee!!

      Delete
  55. I was one of the many readers who bumped into you at DC this weekend. I had almost given up hope of seeing you since I couldn't check twitter reliably until I got away from the main host of people so that my phone would work. I was pleasantly surprised to get not only a chance to say hi and tell you how glad I was that you were back, but to actually get to talk to you for quite a while! That made my day. You and John are lovely people! I plan on going to DC again and I would totally be up for a Cake Wrecks/Epbot Panel! P.S. I still totally think you should go on JoCo Cruise Crazy ;)

    Erin

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  56. Nothing will get me to D*C faster than an Epbot/CW panel!!! <3 I've only been once and it was a few years ago. I've been wanting to go back, but the money never works out or blahblahblah. BUT! If there is an Epbot/CW panel, I will *MAKE IT SO!!!* <3

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  57. SO jealous that you got to meet (and get a side hug!!!!!!) from Peter Davidson!! I'm a huge Doctor Who fan. He was my 2nd Doctor - I started watching with my dad when it was on PBS back when I was a kid and Tom Baker was still the Doctor. At that time, Peter was my fave & I had a huge crush on him. Watched him later in "All Creatures, Great and Small" and then "Campion". (But when Tennant became the Doctor, he was shoved back to 2nd place. Can't say no to Tennant!)

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  58. :O Goodness! It's times like these that I get extra particularly jealous of the US. This whole con sounds like a dream come true. (Then again, there's a slight chance that I would go catatonic and just be a drooling mess most of the time...)

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  59. So jealous that you got to meet Mr Davison. I am going to the 50th Anniversary celebration for Doctor Who in London in November, and only 4 of the doctors have confirmed appearances there so far, and he isn't one of them. :( But, there is still time. We had a Whovian wedding in July, so we are going to take our wedding photo book for autographs. There is a rather cool photo of my hubby and I using our sonic screwdrivers in all our wedding finery :)

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  60. PICTURES OF YOU! Love! :) I have been following Epbot for awhile but have only seen pictures of John and of you in costume so it was lovely to see your face. You should do that more often - you're so cute in them! (Possibly because you were fangirling in all the ones today. hehe) Thanks for the recap!

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  61. Aw, sorry to hear Marina was such a grump at DC... I just saw her at Connecticon and it was the highlight of my con! She was snarky at times but never really in a super mean way. Other than a bit of an odd rant about menopause, she mostly had us all in stitches! I came away from it a bigger fan than ever, which is saying something, b/c Troi was one of my favs growing up watching the show.

    I felt like a total fangirl, and maybe it had something to do with her remebering my husband & my name from the first day of the con to the last, even though we were cosplaying part of the time. The last day of the con we went to the booth for a photo with her, since we were in more 'normal' clothing & hair, and Marina was very complimentary, saying I was beautiful the way I was. It was all pretty squee-worthy! ^_^

    Love reading about your experiences at DC- glad you had a fun time!

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  62. Don't know if you have heard or not but James Marsters is going to be at MegaCon next year. I plan on getting a picture with him even if it kills me =)

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  63. Of everything I wanted to do at Dragon*Con this year - my third - seeing Professor Elemental was top of the list. My husband and I went to a panel on Steampunk music to see him on Saturday afternoon where he was delightful although I would have been happier with less of the other artists talking, then stood in line next to forever for his concert that night. Totally worth it to see him perform Cup of Brown Joy live after obsessively listening to his albums for the last two years.

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  64. I wasn't sure if I'd return to DragonCon - we had an OK time, but we're used to a smaller con, and one more focused on gaming. I was sometimes overwhelmed with the crowds & noise. But after a few days away, I realized I DO want to go back! We saw several voice actor panels, which were *wonderful*. And I guess you have to go to bigger cons to see "the big names". I think it would be better if we had brought my sons' friends, so they could have explored more - it was so big, they didn't feel comfortable wandering on their own, so we were kind of tied to each others' schedules. Which wasn't a bad thing! Maybe it's like childbirth (or childhood?) - with enough time, you only remember the good parts? I'd definitely go back if you hosted a panel!

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  65. Looks like you had a great time - despite the Trek panel weirdness! I wish they had really good Cons like that in the UK. Anyway just wanted to say that yesterday I saw Peter Davison in Forbidden Planet in London buying two of his own Doctor Who T-shirts.
    He was in front of me in the queue so i dodn't really notice him and then when i got to the counter the guy at the till was laughing and said That was Peter Davison! I just sold him his own t-shirt! Much hilarity ensued :)

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  66. You're making me really want to attend someday! and I'm SO happy you finally discovered Buffy. That and Arrested Development are my all-time faves.

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    Replies
    1. Dang it, and now I have to break every rule in the book and reply to my own comment. You had me at the Princess Bride quote at the beginning :)

      Delete
  67. I noticed your Pinky and the Brain shirt in the one shot. My 6 year old son informed me there is going to be an Animaniacs movie in the works....my 6 year old is more in the cartoon know then me.

    I'm so proud

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  68. Jen, I have been taking a break from online life a week at a time. I didn't see these postings and missed seeing you at the con. I can't believe we were in many of the same panels at the same time and didn't know it. How cool is that... what a small world it can be. Glad you are back. I enjoy your posts.

    ReplyDelete

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