August to-do list results

August 31, 2011

Well, August is really almost up now, so I guess it’s time to see how I did on some of the goals that I set myself 31 days ago:

  • Revising “The Way Back Home” – partially complete. This was one of those projects that turned out to be completely different than I thought. That’s mostly because of Lani and the Storywonk class – I had an epiphany or two and made some progress in figuring out what the book is supposed to be, maybe, but didn’t make as much tangible and measurable progress as I’d hoped.
  • Cleaning the apartment – partially complete. Tidying up the kitchen went well, but the living room table just sneered at my efforts. I’ll have to prepare much more carefully to tackle it again, hopefully before it actually begins to lurk in the middle of the room. (Yes, that’s a “Long dark tea-time of the soul” reference.)
  • Rewriting “How to talk to Earthlings” – DONE!
  • Submitting a story for publication – failed.
  • Writing a list-based smartphone app – DONE!
  • Continuing fanfic works in progress – Exceeded expectations, with 2 and a half chapters complete!
  • Posting old fanfic to fanfiction.net – met quota!
  • Blogosphere participation stuff – exceeded quota!
  • Fan expo stuff – Done!

So – not too bad, all things considered. Didn’t achieve everything I wanted to, but I certainly kept busy.

Did you have a goals list for August? How did it work out?

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Fan Expo day three update

August 27, 2011

Well, it was all about Eliza Dushku and Lost Girl, it turns out. Not that either has anything to do with the other beyond sharing my time today.

I was in line by 8:45 to get in, and so I arrived at the autograph booths close enough to ten AM to get the number 67 ticket. They’re using a new system of number tickets in addition to the lines for autographs this year, it seems – once the space allocated for the line is full, anyone else has to get a ticket, and they call a certain block of numbers that can come and join the line when there’s room. So once the easel said ‘up to 75’ next to Eliza’s line, I rushed forward to take my place. If you miss the call for your block, you can use your ticket to join the line later.

Got plenty of good stuff, both for myself and for a friend who’s also a big Eliza fan. Then it was up to the Lost Girl panel, which was really cool, because there was so much positive energy in the room – you could tell that the cast loved working on the series, and had a lot of fun together, and there was a huge turnout and everybody in the audience was excited, and the cast was thrilled to see that they had so many fans. After the screening, the cast had a special limited-time signing, so I got a bunch of signed mini-cards. Then it was time to quickly grab a pizza and head up to get my picture taken with Eliza at the ‘photo op.’

After I’d left the photo op room, things kinda got less eventful. The convention center was very crowded by that point in the afternoon; I went to one panel that I thought looked cool, but I was late and it was standing room only, so I didn’t stay. Then another event got cancelled, and I ended up sitting for about an hour and a half in the waiting line for Eliza’s question and answer session, which was pretty cool – I got a good seat and recorded some of it on my camera. And then a dinner shindig with the Toronto Firefly group to round out the day.

So it was a fun time, despite a lot of waiting around. But even the waiting time I put to good use – reading on the iPhone! I finished reading “Prisoner of Azkaban”, read Terry Pratchett’s “The Light Fantastic” through from beginning to end, and started on “The Rock Rats.” The battery went down more than halfway just from all of that reading!

PS: Since I see that somebody was searching for it, the autograph fee for Eliza Dushku was a bit on the pricey side – forty dollars a signature, and fifty for the photo op ticket.


Fan Expo 2011 impressions – day one.

August 25, 2011

So I’ve been to Fan Expo for the afternoon, and the first thing that struck me was how much more orderly it was than last year – possibly just on account of it being Thursday, and nobody being around, but still, I was expecting to wait in line for a while with my wristband for a while before being let in at four o’clock. Instead, the people who’d got their armbands delivered were just about put on the greased skids until they got to the sales floor entryway, which suggests to me that the convention actually opened a little bit earlier than it was supposed to. Not that I’m complaining.

I had a lot of fun playing a D&D 4th edition low level adventure, (though the rules were kinda confusing me,) and got one email address in the speed dating – that I can’t entirely decipher. 😦 Oh well, quite possibly it was from one of the girls who I carefully left my cell phone number with, and maybe she’ll get in touch with me.

I also scouted out the sales floor and the signature line spots, and made my first purchases of the weekend – a little hardcover copy of “Doctor Who: The Glamour Chase” and a Doctor Who sound effects key fob.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the convention, and planning to be smart and careful when it comes to the potential for crowds and lines. I signed up for another gaming session, for the Serenity RPG tomorrow, and I’m interested in doing the introduction to LARPing on Sunday. That’ll leave all of Saturday free for signature lines, Q&A’s, and other panels.

 


1 year of Kelworth Files

June 22, 2011

Well, looks like I was so busy with rewrites and starting off the ‘Harry Potter’ review series that I missed a milestone – this blog turned one year old on June 10th. Happy Belated Anniversary to me!

So, to commemorate the occasion, I’ll link back to three of my favorite memories for each month, June 2010 to May 2011.

June

The very beginnings of my blogging journey.

  1. My very first (and most popular) Beat Sheet – Serenity!
  2. My trip home from Toronto CSTS 2010 and the G20 riots.
  3. The prologue debate.

July

  1. Who could forget JulNoWriMo?
  2. The Polaris convention!
  3. Sharing a rejection letter.

August

  1. Travelling up to Hunstville.
  2. Fan Expo!
  3. CritMo on Stringing Words.

September

  1. I got awards!
  2. Another beat sheet – The Simpsons Movie!
  3. How to take criticism.

Read the rest of this entry »


Fan Expo Diary – Part Three

September 5, 2010

Okay, Sunday at Fan Expo, this’ll be shorter than the others, but it was a good day.

Woke up, actually had a chance to unwind a little in the morning, got a bit of writing done on the Roswell/Pern crossover fanfic, my first new words since Thursday on the bus, and went over to Dunn’s deli for a pancake breakfast, yum.

Packed up my bags at the hotel, reshuffling everything because of the heavy swag I bought on Friday, and moving some dirty clothes and power cables into the garment bag with the blueprints as overflow. Headed down to the Convention center nearly an hour before the doors opened, wondering how many other people with orange bracelets had the same idea.

Enough to put me back under the railway bridge on lower simcoe again, sigh, though closer to the front street side of the bridge. It was a long wait for the line to start moving. The guy in front of me had a T-shirt with an ‘eye chart’ made up out of fandom abbreviations and leetspeak, that kind of thing. I asked him if I could take a picture of it, and he didn’t mind but thought that was funny, since the day before he’d been in a much more elaborate costume, and figured that nobody would ask to photograph him if he was just wearing a novelty t-shirt.

The line did move pretty quickly once the doors opened, and I was inside around eleven twenty or so. Thought about going up the escalators and trying my luck with the signature lines, but then thought about all the people who were in line ahead of me outside, and how many of them were probably waiting in the slower autograph lines. So I checked on my Summer Glau photo, not ready yet, and showed up at the RPG game room for my Serenity session. The woman who was running the game was happy to meet me, and generously looked over my personalized character before telling me that I should pick one of the generic ones that she’s drawn up for the campaign. It was a little while before we actually got the game going – I checked on the pictures again, and tried going up the escalators for some food that wasn’t too far away, gave up on it.

The game session was fun, though much shorter than I’d expected. We started around quarter after noon, and were wrapped up by two PM. I played the first mate of a Firefly transport, an ex-Browncoat guerilla, very devoted to the captain, who was also a Browncoat during the war, and also a computer expert. We had a pilot and a ‘heavy thug’, and NPCs for mechanic and doctor. Our crew took a bunch of passengers from Hera to Greenleaf, and one of them, an old noble gentleman who’d been an Alliance commander in the war, turned up dead. One thing that I remember was that the captain was always telling me to deal with the passengers, but my character was light on personal skills, so I was often failing my roles and letting things get worse – including freaking out a bit and exciting the civilians during a near miss encounter witha Reaver raiding party.

But between us, we managed to figure out who the killer was, though we couldn’t prove it, and the Alliance would have kept the reward anyway. But we got paid on Greenleaf, so that sounds like a good day to me, keeps us flying. And once the game session was over, I picked up the Summer Glau picture, and got to the bus platform in time for the 2:30 bus home.

A few interesting things about that bus trip. One was that a girl in a wheelchair came up just at the driver was about to pull out. It did take a little while before he could get everything set. I’d never seen the wheelchair-accessibility functions in use for a GO transit bus, and I got a good view because I was right behind the wheelchair spot. First off, the driver needed to shift some of the seats forward, close enough together that nobody could actually sit on the seats behind, but clearing enough space for the wheelchair. Then a panel of the bus wall actually slid aside and the wheelchair was lifted up to the same level as the rest of the bus seating, since there was no way to get it up the narrow stairs that everybody else uses. It was interesting to see, and I guess I’m glad that they have a workable system for the disabled. I started to wonder if the girl in the wheelchair paid the same fare as the rest of us, and whether it would be fair or not for her to, considering how many seats she was effectively taking up.

The bus also went off onto the 407 toll highway from oakville to burlington, for no reason we could see – leaving me wondering whether the driver had heard of a slowdown on the Queen Elizabeth Way somewhere ahead of us, or was just curious about how long that detour would take.

But I got home around four-thirty on Sunday afternoon, early enough to go to the store, stock up on some provisions, and make a beef and pasta soup to take into work for lunch.

And that was Fan Expo.


Fan Expo Diary – Part Two

September 1, 2010

Saturday was a day dominated by lines and crowds even more than Friday – and I hadn’t realized that was possible on Friday.

It started off quite relaxed actually – woke up in the hotel room, typed up my diary for Friday, cleaned myself, went out to look for breakfast, settled for a few donuts and milk at the Tim’s on the corner, went back to the hotel, and actually decided I had TIME TO KILL before going back down to the Expo to get back in.

Mistake, there. Even though I’d allowed some time to get into line before the doors opened at 10 am, I hadn’t realized how long the re-entry line would be, and ended up back on Lower Simcoe street, just after the bridge underpass. Fortunately, this line moved much quicker than the Registered Tickets line had on Friday, because they could open several re-entry door and just needed to check our wrist-bands, but still, it was at least ten-thirty before I was in the building and up on the third floor, and a lot of other fan-expoers had gotten in before me.

“So, first thing,” I decided, “is to go through the Summer Glau autograph line, and maybe a few others before eleven-thirty if I can. Then outside for lunch at Swiss Chalet, back in, hit the leftover autograph lines, and down to the first floor for Tahmoh Pennikett’s Q&A at one. Then the rest of my afternoon is full of Q&As and photo ops.”

By this point the Summer Glau line was overflowing most of the way across the back of the Celebrity Autograph area. I found out once I got to the head of that overflow that it was also bent back on itself, so that there were actually three more sections of the line – up to the ‘head’ near the celebrity guests themselves, back to the back of the waiting area, and finally up to Summer’s table.

It was a quarter to one by the time I finally got to the head of the line, and paid a lot of money for five personal items signed and a photo-op that evening. Checked to see if I could get through a few ‘quick’ photo op lines while I was there, (Sendhil Ramamurthy’s had never been more than half of one of Summer’s line segments, and Tahmoh’s had often been empty so that people could just walk up to him,) but aside from James Marsters, whose line was still at least an hour long if not much more, everybody else I was interested seemed to be taking a lunch break. So I followed suit, waited in line for a pizza slice and overpriced bottle of water, and headed down to the first level.

In retrospect, I’m stunned that I made it through those crowds, carrying an open slice of hot pizza, cold bottle of water, carry-on bag, and garment bag with my now double-signed Serenity blueprints book, all the way into Tahmoh’s Q&A by five after one. There wasn’t a big crowd in that Q&A too, but the room was at least half full, and everybody waited for a while until he actually showed up – apparently he’d been waiting backstage at Stan Lee’s Q&A instead.

After finishing lunch, and listening to Tahmoh, the fans, and the MC talking mostly about Battlestar, I decided that I wanted to skip out early and take another try at the James Marsters autograph line, now that I was fed. “If I skip the Felicia Day Q&A, then I now have nearly two hours before James comes down for his own Q&A.”

I didn’t even make it up to the third level. Apparently I’d hit the moment where a huge crowd of people returning from lunch outside the convention center were all trying to get back up to vendors or celebrity signings on the third floor, and the Fan Expo staff were only letting a few people up the escalator at a time, to make sure they could all get clear of the escalator area up above and there wouldn’t be any accidents, or something like that. They did manage to get one of the down escalators turned into an ‘up’, but even that didn’t seem to relieve the bottleneck much because they couldn’t fill all three escalators to capacity.

There’s a saying, by the way, that life is what happens while you were busy making other plans, or something like that. I’m starting to wonder if part of the reason that our plans change is that we never manage to figure out what other people’s plans are or how they’ll impact our lives. Fan Expo certainly seems a good way to demonstrate that in the microcosm. (Of course, the overcrowding is originally due to the organizer’s plans to sell as many tickets as possible and make lots of money.)

So, I headed downstairs again, got in for the last ten minutes of Tahmoh’s Q&A, and rearranged my plans for the afternoon to only include Q&As and Summer’s photo op, after her Q&A at 6. I was tempted to try to drop-in on another few photo ops, but I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to make it up from the first floor, where the Q&As were, and find the ‘undisclosed’ photo op locations, and I wasn’t sure what the policy was on drop-ins. Turned out the later two considerations probably wouldn’t have been problems – I gathered when I went for the Summer photo op that all the ‘undisclosed locations’ were all along the same back corridor on level two, with schedules posted up next to the doors. But I’m still not sorry that I didn’t brave extra crowds to spend more money on photos of myself with Felicia or James.

But back to earlier in the afternoon. Getting into Felicia’s Q&A was kinduv weird – it was the same room as Tahmoh’s, only a few minutes later, but they made us clear out and go around so that the people who had been standing in line for Felica got first crack at good seats, and it was a bit hard to tell where the lines ended and the crowds of new people got in. The Expo volunteers trying to maintain the integrity of the line in such a cramped space lost their temper at a few of us ‘crowders’, and I can’t blame them, but I also think that it wasn’t entirely our fault.

Felicia’s Q&A was fun, mostly about the Guild, which I didn’t follow, but I can understand her wanting to promote it, especially after hearing about how it was her vision and a project she’s so passionate about. (Guess this is something of a weekend for finding about the unexpected passions of Fan Expo guests.) I’m definitely going to check it out. And there were a few good references to Dollhouse and Doctor Horrible. I tried to ask a question about how she originally got cast on Buffy, but the Guild fans had a LOT of questions, and I didn’t have a great seat on account of having been in Tahmoh’s Q&A and not the line, so I never got called on.

Next Q&A was James’, which was a lot of fun – the audience was mostly full of Spike-bitches 😉 – but there was a lot of talk about his newer genre work, including Smallville, Torchwood, and Caprica. He reprised the Indian soldier song, because somebody asked him if he could sing anything from the Buffy musical, (his favorite ep of Buffy,) and he said that he couldn’t remember the words at the moment, but he’d been practicing the other song and could do it a cappella. Also some more interesting tidbits about his status as a family man – how he’d been driven to leave the life of a starving stage actor and ‘whore himself out’ in Hollywood once his son was born, and how his wife had been right there when he kissed John Barrowman on the ‘Torchwood’ set and was calling out for more.

Summer Glau Q&A: Also very good, touching on a lot of the projects that I know she’s been in, also the 4400, (she had been offered a bigger role in that, but couldn’t sort out filming times with ‘Serenity’, so got recast after Serenity was finished shooting,) and this new thing she’s working on, ‘The Cape.’ She talked a lot about how new she’d been to acting when she was first cast by Joss Whedon on Angel, and even when she started on Firefly, how broken up she and Jewel were when it was cancelled. Also discussed her role ‘playing a mean version of herself’ on the Big Bang Theory, and I asked a question about what she’d like to explore if she ever got back to the role of River Tam:
‘I’d like to have a sequel movie where River Tam is more grown-up, running her own ship, breaking the law and being REALLY GOOD at it. Oh, and she should finally have a boyfriend too.’ (Paraphrasing from memory.)

The photo-ops were fun. For my individual photo, I actually suggested that she could try crouching down like that iconic shot from the film, because I was dressed in my Simon outfit, but she refused. I think she was worried that it wouldn’t work with the tripod, which makes sense. So I just draped my arm around her in a kind of brotherly way. And then all the Toronto Browncoats came in for our group shot with her, and went out to eat at East Side Mario’s and discuss the Expo so far. I stuffed myself on pepperoni and bacon pizza, and then went back to my hotel.


Fan Expo diary – part One

August 30, 2010

First off, I’ve missed a blog post from my usual schedule, on account of preparations for Fan Expo keeping me busy, but I figured I’d do a big series to start off the week with some of my experiences. This was written Saturday morning, about my first day at Fan Expo, the afternoon and evening of August 27th:

Got into town around three on Friday – immediately headed off to my hotel to check in and drop off my bags. They had automated check in, which was nice, and I hung around in the room for a few minutes to catch my breath, and kept a lookout for any place to grab some food fast when heading down to Front street.

And then I saw the lines of people waiting to get in.

Immediately hurried over to join the line, and then realized that this was the line of people who hadn’t reserved tickets online, so I hurried down to find the end of the other line. Bought a burger and a bottle of water at a hamburger car sitting out just past the start of the ‘reserved tickets’ line. It was just after four when I got my order, the line started to move – slowly, and I continued along ALL the way down Front street and down the side street to the end of the line. Ended up behind a family group – mother, three daughters from teen-age to pre-teen and a little boy. Ate my burger, drank my water, and moved with the line.

Now, I’d really been excited about the Serenity RPG-ing, and there was a session listed for Friday at 5pm, so I was constantly trying to convince myself that I’d be in the building by five. I wasn’t, quite, and there was more of a lineup inside the building. By the time I’d handed in my reservation printout and gotten my orange wristband, it was probably five twenty-five, and I lost more time trying to go down the wrong stairs before I found the right way to the RPG room.

“No, sorry, that session is full up, and even if it weren’t, they’ve started play.”

So I reserved a spot in the Sunday Serenity session, and also a D&D session for Saturday, thanked the people outside the RPG room, and headed back up to the main floor. Met someone from the Shindigs group in passing, got all the way over to the celebrity signing lines, hesitated over who to wait for at this point, ended up going through Michael Dorn’s line and getting a signed action shot of Worf.

By this time, I’d figured out that the Saturday D&D session conflicted with Felica Day’s Q&A, and some other things that I wanted to be available for, so I went back down to RPGs to cancel on that one, back up to the floor, wandered around some of the vendor stalls. I think I visited Chris M from the Buffy and Shindigs groups, who was working at the Pixel Barrel stall, and bought a hardcover volume of the Ninth Doctor Shooting Scripts, then to a photo stall and picked up two more unsigned pictures of Summer Glau, and then finally hit the jackpot at a comics stall.

“All trades for half off the US cover price” – and they had all the Buffy comics omnibi from two through six, which I’ve been meaning to pick up since I loved reading the first one, but thought the price came a little steep on Amazon.

So I paid them off, and found a way to stick all the books into my laptop bag along with the doctor who and what I’d brought with me. Wandered over towards the signing area, Felicia Day had shown up and I actually got into her line, then realized just how heavy my bag was now, and decided to go out through the exits, drop the heavy stuff back at the hotel. It was just getting towards seven by this point, and I didn’t have any firm ‘gotta be there’s until the James concert at nine.

So I headed down and out the marked exits – there was a sign saying ‘no re-entry without hand stamps,’ but that apparently doesn’t apply to weekend ticket-holders with orange wristbands. Got a soft-serve ice cream cone from another truck on front street, got back up to my room on the tenth floor, unpacked the bag, drank one of my powder drink mixes with the hotel tap water, headed back down, grabbed a donut from the Tim Horton’s on the corner, and back to the convention center. Went back to the signing area, took a look at the Felicia Day line again but didn’t actually get in, wandered around the vendors for a while, and then headed down to level one for Stockwell Day’s Q&A.

That was a fun session – he was very matter-of-fact about what it had been like for him to be a working actor for so many decades, and even though I got spoiled for some Battlestar Galactica stuff I didn’t mind. I asked a question about funny moments from shooting Quantum Leap, and just got a reply of “I can’t think of one moment, but there was something funny happening every day on that set between Scott and I,” which was alright.

I showed up ten minutes early for the James concert, and nobody got let in until at least twenty after nine, but it was really fun once it started. He obviously loves to write songs and to perform them, which I hadn’t really realized even when I bought the ticket. He sprinkled in a few fun stories between numbers, and I took an awful lot of pictures – I hope the people ahead of me weren’t too annoyed at the flash going off.

And that was pretty much it for day one of fan expo, for me – chatted with a Shindig friend a little on the way out of the James concert, (most of them were in the VIP line waiting I think,) and came back to my hotel tired and just about ready to fall into bed.


Travelling writer… sometimes.

August 21, 2010

Well, I’ve been thinking about travel for a little while now. It’s only a week and a half since I got back from Hidden Valley – and Elizabeth Twist wanted to hear more about that, after my somewhat ranty blog ramble about the reservation issues I ran into the first day. Yes, I had an amazing time up in Muskoka. The area around Hidden Valley was beautiful and peaceful – I’ll try to post a few of the pictures that I took. I walked around a lot – the Deerhurst resort, down the road, had better selection of restaurants, so I was heading over there for lunch and dinner by the end of my trip.

Saturday evening, I went down to the docks for a sunset cruise on the lake. I was the only one who’d come for the trip, but the old guy running the boat was happy to take me out on the water, and we chatted for a while – he seemed to know all about the whole Huntsville area, especially the parts of it that could be seen from the water.

I had in mind last New Year’s that I wanted to not be so much of a homebody and to travel more, which I guess I’ve done, though like a lot of resolutions it didn’t quite work out like I’d planned. I went to Wizard world Comic-con and Polaris in Toronto, and I’m planning to hit a few more weekend conventions. (Fan Expo is in less than a week!) And in late November, I’m going to be flying back to San Francisco and attending the National Novel Writing Month ‘Night of Writing Dangerously.’ for the second time. I’m so excited and it’s still around three months away.

The NOWD, if you haven’t heard of it, is a big fundraiser and gathering for Nanowrimo-ers from all over. I made it the centerpiece of a five-night trip to San Fran last year, and I found that I didn’t have nearly enough time to do all the touristy stuff that I wanted, so this time I’ll be spending nearly two weeks in the Bay area. Whoo-hoo. Wish me luck!

And we have pictures from Muskoka…


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