Polaris update – Day 1

July 15, 2011

Let’s see. Woke up very early this morning, rushed around making sure that everything was packed before work. Work was rather dull.

My brother got me to the hotel around 3:30 this afternoon despite Toronto traffic, and then I spent some time waiting in line for the hotel check-in at the Best Western desk; there were more than a dozen people waiting when I got there, and it took nearly half an hour to clear the line. Then rushing around to get my badge for the convention and a few other things, grabbing a bit of food, and wandering past some of the kiosks and through the Dealer’s room, which was a lot of fun.

In the dealer’s room, I considered buying many things, including doctor who sonic screwdrivers, t-shirts, and promotional photos of some of my fave actors, but only ended up making one purchase – a collection of Doctor Horrible comics, which I positively couldn’t pass up. Then I went to the opening ceremonies, which were rather good as an orientation session, and watched the screening of the Doctor Horrible fan-made prequel, “Horrible Turn.”

There was sing-along karaoke after the screening finished, and I stayed for two of my favorite songs from the Horrible sound-track, and then it was time to go to the Geek-off room.

I played in two Geek-offs tonight. The first was Battlestar Galactica/Caprica, which I’m not a complete ignoramus in, but I couldn’t catch a good question and ended in last place with zero points, but what the heck, I had fun anyway. Then came the Whoniverse geekoff (Doctor Who/Torchwood,) where I did better, just managing to survive the elimination round and ending up with a respectable but not incredible four points.

I’m really looking forward to defending my title in the Whedonverse geek-off tomorrow night. Last year, I was weak on Dollhouse, so I’ve been cramming for a few weeks, but I’ve still only really managed to get up to the end of season one.

Wish me lots of luck, not just in the Geek-off, but in making the most of everything that’ll be going on this weekend!

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The Lost Ad Astra Notes: part 1

May 20, 2011

So, it’s been nearly a month since I went to the Ad Astra science fiction convention in Toronto, but I didn’t post that much about it because that was in the middle of the A-Z challenge, and the good letters like A for Ad Astra and C for Convention had already passed. And I didn’t pull my notes out as soon as May started. So here are my somewhat scattered thoughts.

My overall impression of Ad Astra was that it was ‘more Polaris than Polaris.’ Polaris 24 was my first hotel-based convention, and in some ways it was crazier than the conventions with bigger celebrity guests at fancier venues, like Wizard World or Fan Expo, because there were so many really cool panels going on, always something interesting happening, the action starting relatively early and ending really late, scrambling to find some time to grab a bit of food in between panels that I really wanted to get to. Those are all the ways that Ad Astra was moreso than Polaris.

And it was at least as much crazy fun.

So, my Mom picked me up at work this time to drive me into the city, on the condition that I at least try to buy any of a long list of Mercedes Lackey books for her. The drive went reasonably well, except that we got somewhat lost actually looking for the driveway into the hotel, though we spotted the building quickly enough. Then there was a bit of a wait for my room to be ready when I was checking in.

I registered, started going over my program and the schedule to see what panels I thought I’d be able to make, and a friend from the Firefly fan group, Colleen, spotted me sitting in the lobby and asked if I could keep watch over her suitcase for a few minutes, and I agreed. Then she got dragged outside by her grandkids and I had to hang around for a while until she got back.

My first panel was with Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon, who were a lot of fun; that one was about continuity in an ongoing series. Then a panel on how to find good beta readers, which had lots of interesting tips. I was making notes like crazy on whatever came easily to hand – the iphone for one panel, a palmpilot for the next, and so on. I’ll put together as many of the notes as I can and share them with you all.

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