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.

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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.


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