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Sunday, March 6th, 2011 10:38 pm
So I'm not as late as I thought I would end up being with this thing, but it definitely took longer than I would have liked. Anyways, here is my convention report from Gallifrey One: Catch 22. I didn't take as many pictures as I usually do at conventions, but it seems I made up for it in exactly how much rambling I've done. Certain parts were written on various planes and in various stages of awakeness and drunken memories, so it may not always make sense.

I hope ya'll enjoy reading it though!

Warning for massive rambling ahead...




Wednesday - Heading to Gally

Despite leaving my house a little later than I'd have liked Wednesday morning, I made it to the train station and then to the airport with no problems. My checked bag was dropped off relatively quickly and I eventually made it through security. I think my luck with the TSA might finally be changing for the better. Up until this past November, I'd been stopped every time I flew. No matter what state, city, country, airport... it didn't make a difference. And now, for the second trip in a row, I made it through security (at least one direction, so far) with no trouble.

Which left me with a heck of a long wait in the airport. I grabbed some lunch, and found myself a spot on the floor near both my gate and an outlet, and scrounged up free wifi. Best part? It said that you got twenty minutes of complimentary internet access and then you'd have to pay. But once the twenty minutes timed out, I just went back to the home page, and clicked on the complimentary button again. And got another twenty minutes! I don't know if it would have kept working, since I decided to give [livejournal.com profile] mashfanficchick a call, and we spent about half an hour talking about White Collar, Benedict Cumberbatch and Frankenstein, and a wonderfully random collection of topics.

So I finally got on the plane, and discovered a trio of incredibly annoying children in my seat. Who refused to move. Turns out, two of them were supposed to be there, and one just liked the spot and wanted to stay with its friends. Note to the children's parents: If you want your kids to sit together, book them seats together. Otherwise you will end up with a very irritated fellow passenger. I finally managed to get the perfect seat, and these children did nothing but make the flight more of a pain than long flights usually are. I'd discovered that despite Continental's website claiming the plane didn't have power outlets, it actually did. But the child sitting next to me kept kicking out the laptop plug, because for some unknown reason, she needed her legs to be halfway in front of my seat. And the two who did end up staying in the seats next to mine somehow managed to make an absolute mess of the floor space with nothing more than what was in their carry on bags. Which left no room for my stuff. Notice to the same parents as before: Teach your kids to respect the fact that they are not the only people on the plane. The people sitting next to them are going to eventually get annoyed enough that they seriously considering throwing them out the emergency exit. Don't be surprised when it happens. Also, if you're a kid and your elbows are poking the person in the seat next to you in the midsection, either lose weight, or don't assume you can take over the entire row. Take a guess which this one was?

And just to top off an already pretty rough flight, the baby in the row behind me and across the aisle wouldn't stop crying, and the flight attendant has so far almost hit the corner of my laptop every time he's walked by, because he for some reason feels the need to move at 50mph on an airplane.

But I did do some work on my [livejournal.com profile] tv20in20 icons, and watched a few episodes of shows I've never seen before. Verdicts? Leverage, I actually really enjoyed. And I'll probably watch some more episodes once I get home. Fringe, not so sure about. I know people love it, I just couldn't get into it at all. I might try it again, but it's not at the top of my list at the moment.

Wednesday night - Finally at the Travelodge

After waiting for what felt like forever for the hotel shuttle, I finally arrived at the Travelodge, which is where I was staying for Wednesday night. It was significantly cheaper than the regular rate at the Marriott and only a few blocks down the road. Once at the hotel, I met up with Andre, whom I was rooming with that night, bummed around for a few minutes, and decided to walk down to the Marriott to see what was going on at pre-convention Lobbycon. I was absolutely amazed by the number of people who were already there! Last year when I showed up on Wednesday night, there was a relatively small crowd hanging around. This year, it was like the con decided to start a day early!

So Andre and I met up with a few of his friends and we went to Pinks Hot Dogs for dinner. Or lunch in my case, since Continental doesn’t feed its passengers anymore, even on cross country flights. And may I just say that the enormous hot dog that I had was absolute perfection! First of all, it was enormous. And then it was covered in chili and guacamole. Plus it had onions and jalapenos, and I’m sure more that I’m forgetting. Plus the onion rings I got were also pretty damn good. Or maybe I was just so hungry that anything would have been good. I’ll stick with believing that it really was just that delicious.

Anyways, we went back to the Marriott and I hung around with new friends, old friends, and friends I’ve spoken to online, but have never had the chance to meet in person before. *Hi everyone!!* Wednesday ended up being the only night I went to bed at a relatively normal time, since I was utterly exhausted, even at the start of the evening. The incredibly awesome thing about Wednesday though, was that Craig Ferguson mentioned Gally on the show that night!



Yeah, that left us, shall we say, more than a bit excited!



Thursday – Pre-convention Excitement

Most of Thursday was planned to be nothing more than hang around in the lobby, catch up with friends who I hadn’t seen since the year before, and wait for other friends, mostly from home, to arrive. Which I did do. While catching up and getting completely distracted by other friends, some of whom I sort of knew from previous events, but had never really spent a lot of time with. Ah Gally, taking you across the country to meet and become friends with people who only live an hour and a half drive away.



Okay, I’m not going to spend forever talking about hanging out, because we all pretty much know what hanging out is. Even when it’s in a hotel lobby with hundreds of other wonderful Doctor Who fans, who you feel as if you’ve known forever. The truly fun and wonderful parts of Thursday began when the New York crowd sort of kidnapped (or possibly adopted) me to go on a booze run. So rather than walk a couple of blocks to the liquor store we’d used last year, we all crammed ourselves into the car and went to Target, where I got beer, and Ralph’s, where I got whiskey. And I had the absinthe from home, so I was finally set for the weekend to begin.

And begin it did!

A whole bunch of us grabbed dinner at the hotel bar and basically took over one of the big tables. Between waiting for our food to arrive, we took turns running downstairs to pick up our badges to avoid waiting in the line the following morning. And it meant I had somewhere to start putting my ribbons. I think by the time we finished dinner, I had more ribbons than I had when I left last year. Granted three of them were mine, but still.

One of my personal highlights happened while I was walking a friend, who was staying at the hotel down the street, to drop her stuff off. Okay, so as we were walking we passed a little kid and his parents walking towards the Marriott, and he paused to ask where I’d gotten so many ribbons from. I told him I just seemed to have them handed to me, and would he like one of the ones I’d brought? Of course, I quickly realised that giving a kid a “Keeper of the Absinthe” ribbon probably wasn’t the best idea, so I gave him and his parents the [Bad username or site: ”torchwood_ny” @ livejournal.com] and “Geek Pride” ribbons that I also had. Honestly, I don’t really like kids, but geek kids are better than most.

Anyways, lobbycon night one (or two if you count Wednesday) was brilliant and I finally collapsed into my bed at somewhere around 3am. Ah, one last thing about Thursday night. I’d finally met my roommate, who was already in bed when I went up to grab my whiskey and flask at 9pm. Which didn’t bode well, and ended with me storing my alcohol in a friend’s room, who was at least right off the lobby and wasn’t fun-phobic, or whatever her excuse was.



Friday

Friday was the official start of the convention, which really started when I brought my laptop down to the lobby to check my email for the first time in almost twenty-four hours. I ended up not going to many interview panels, but all the other panels were so much fun too! My first real “con” activity was to try to pick up autograph tickets for the first session. Yeah, no luck there. Which was okay, I figured I still had two more days to attempt. I did manage to get a ticket for the second session before the first panel that I was on started. I also signed up for Blair Shedd’s kaffeeklatsch, since I’d had fun at the one I went to last year, and I figured, why not?

And on to my first panel, Doctor Who and the Facebook of Doom. Those who know me know, and those who don’t are about to find out, that I have absolutely terrible stage fright. But the panel seemed to go pretty well. I’m not naturally loud, so making myself heard over the crowd is always a bit of a challenge. I think I made some interesting points, and actually learned some new things about myself. As I was saying them aloud. I know that many people think that digital communication is causing problems with “in person” communication, but I’ve found it to be just the opposite. Particularly since I’ve started using twitter, I’ve lost a lot of the total fear that I used to have when I tried to talk to someone I didn’t know very well. I’m not an extrovert. I’m pretty much the definition of introvert, at least until recently. I still may not handle crowds wonderfully, but I’m not afraid to join in a conversation, or add my opinions. And I have friends all over the world. Maybe not a ton nearby, but pretty much everywhere else. Friends who I talk to on a relatively regular basis. Which I wouldn’t have without the ability to communicate digitally. If nothing else, I hope I got that realisation across during the panel.

After the panel, I dashed over to the autograph room to find myself at the tail end of the session. I hadn’t thought I’d make it through before the kaffeeklatsch, but I did, and ran over just in time. The kaffeeklatsch was really enjoyable. I’m not an artist (icons notwithstanding), but I’m fascinated by the process that goes into creating the comics that I love to read. I’d known it was a ton of work, but not how many layers of detail it took. I’m not even going to try to describe all the things that I learned, but I was absolutely fascinated!



Anyways, we wandered into the dealer’s room for a bit, where I picked up a copy of Time Unincorporated, Volume 1. And since I was having to be very careful with my money, that was really the only thing I ended up getting from the dealer’s room, aside from a small handful of White Collar pictures. Yeah, I go to a Doctor Who convention in Los Angeles and leave with White Collar pictures.

At last we arrived at opening ceremonies. Which aren’t nearly as exciting as they sound. It’s pretty much a case of the guests are introduced on stage, the staff makes some announcements, everyone cheers, and then pile out of the room to get dinner. And that’s almost exactly what happened. I think I ended up grabbing chicken fingers and fries to take back down to the main ballroom with me for Frazer Hines’ show, The Time Travelling Scot. I really enjoyed the show. It was kind of a retrospective on all the episodes that Jamie had appeared in, and he told all kinds of stories about the episodes and about the filming.











After the show, we ended up, guess where? Yep, back in the lobby, for another fun filled evening of drinking, partying, making new friends, and running into old ones. And Friday night is where another of the amazing parts of Gally happened. I had left Mandy in the lobby to grab a beer from my friend’s room, and said I’d be right back. Which is the first sign that I was about to get distracted by lots of other things. I meandered down to the Dance Party, and on into the Museum party, before finally realising that I had promised to be right back and it had now been almost 45 minutes. So I ran back up to the lobby, where Mandy dragged me over to introduce me to Mary Forrest and Chris Gore. For those who don’t know, Chris Gore is the writer of Film Threat and is on Attack of the Show on G4. He’s also absolutely insane and unbelievable awesome! So we basically spent the next bunch of hours hanging out with him, wandering back down to the parties, and enjoying the brilliance of lobbycon.



As I was finally on my way to go to sleep, I got kidnapped again (yeah, it was starting to become a normal occurrence by this point), and spent another couple of hours hanging out with Ken, Tristan, Josh, etc, up in another room party. I did eventually manage to get to bed, around 3am.

Random costumes!











Saturday

Saturday started way too early. I hadn’t set my alarm, figuring that the first thing I absolutely had to be at wasn’t until 3pm. My internal alarm didn’t listen though, and I was awake and ready to go at about 8:15am. Mostly ready to go. Coffee was the first and most important desperate necessity. Followed by a bottle of mountain dew, so that I could make my caffeine portable. Since I ran into David Wheeler in the lobby, I decided to head down to the Future of Comics panel with him, as he was one of the panelists. I think I was still partially asleep during it, but I do remember it being very interesting, and a lot of discussion about digital versus paper comics, availability of comics for kids, and the cost. Personally, I like being able to hold the thing that I’m reading, so I’ll stick with paper for now. But that might also be because I have a comic store only a few minutes away, so I have easy access to everything. Digital is pretty cool though, since it means that I can read issues instead of paying attention to my classes, which is always a good thing.

After the comics panel, I headed into a different comics panel. This time on IDW’s Doctor Who comics. Since I was still half asleep at this point, and the caffeine hadn’t kicked in entirely yet, all I really remember is being incredibly excited about the upcoming issues, and realising that I was going to be harassing my local shop to make sure they got them in for me.

At noon, since I’d had no luck on picking up autograph tickets again, I decided to bum around the dealer’s room a bit. I didn’t buy anything, but it’s still fun to look! At one o’clock, I stopped into the Perils and Pitfalls of Writing Doctor Who panel, but since it was completely packed, I was pretty much standing in the very back next to the door. When I left briefly to try to get autograph tickets for the last session of the day, I decided it wasn’t worth trying to squeeze back in. Which was possibly one of the best decisions I made throughout the whole weekend.

I’d figured I would head up to the lobby and see who was around, when I saw Ed at the end of the hall. So I wandered down to say hello, and suddenly there was the film crew from the Craig Ferguson show with Chris Hardwick to start filming the segment they were doing on the convention. And what do they say? “Nobody move!” Eep! I had told myself I would try to get a glimpse of them, but I wasn’t going to go out of my way to track them down. And there they were, right in front of me. So we ended up being part of the crowd scene at the very beginning, and I’m right off camera in a couple of the other scenes. When Mandy caught back up to us, we ended up watching them film a few other parts, and then I went down to the costume fix-it center (which has a name, but I don’t remember what it is) to get some extra tape for the back of my ribbons. And there the film crew was again! I swear, I wasn’t stalking them (well, not entirely).



Eventually, I realised that I had another panel coming up very quickly, so I decided to abandon the film crew and head towards the room. I certainly didn’t expect a crafting panel to be a completely full room! But I got to show off my massive insane cross stitch, and although a lot of the discussion was about things that I’m not involved in, I had a good time. And I learned about a simple i/o computer platform called an arduino, that I’m amazingly tempted to buy and play with. I don’t know what I’d do with it yet, but I’m sure I can come up with something! Plus I got to introduce myself as, “Hi, I’m Sarah, I don’t knit.” Because I seem to be one of the only crafters in Doctor Who fandom who doesn’t and has no desire to learn to knit. Someday maybe, because I really would love a scarf, but not yet.

After the crafting panel, I was going to go into Four Color Commerce, because I was apparently on a comic kick that day, but I ended up wandering through the art show and dealer’s room again, just to look. Next year, I need to remember to have money, because there are so many brilliant things there. At 5pm, the Peter Davison panel started. And as much as I wanted to go, I really didn’t want to get stuck standing at the back of the main ballroom, squinting towards the stage, and struggling to hear. So we decided to go to the Fans Behaving Badly panel instead.

So much fun! It didn’t touch on Torchwood as much as I had thought it would, which was a good thing. But I’d never realised how bad some fans were capable of getting. I’ve experienced bits and pieces of major problems over the years, but nothing compared to what other fans have been through. And after the panel, I got to at least start on my rant about the insanity that Torchwood fandom has become, and why I’ve almost completely removed myself from the community, despite still enjoying the show.

After the panel, we decided it was time to eat something of some sort, before the Saturday night adult panels, masquerade, and lobbycon started. And since I knew I was going to need to be at least slightly tipsy before having the courage to actually be on my last panel, food was a necessity. The whole group of us were sick of the food from the bar, and the restaurant is too expensive, so I asked the check in desk if there was a Chinese restaurant nearby that would deliver to the lobby. Success! Less expensive, better food, and something different! When it finally arrived, Ed and Darren decided to go eat in their room, but Mandy and I figured we’d pull up stools in the lobby to use as a table and just eat there. That way we wouldn’t miss anything exciting. Chris Gore and Mary Forrest showed back up while we eating, and then Chris Hardwick came wandering through the lobby.

Since he wasn’t swamped by fans at the time, and a small handful of people were asking if he minded taking pictures, I figured, why not? And so I have a picture of myself and Chris Hardwick! It didn’t cross my mind until later to ask for an autograph until later, but by then he had already left.



Anyways, I didn’t really want to go to the masquerade, not because I didn’t want to go, but it’s just too much crowd all in one place for me. So I hung around in the lobby with Chris and Mary, and only went down to the masquerade when Mandy let me know that Just a Minute was starting. While we were upstairs, Chris decided to create his own con badge, since he wasn’t there as an actual attendee. So he and Mary both had badges made out of napkins, and Chris put one of my “Geek Pride” ribbons on the bottom, and we went into the masquerade. I didn’t go any further in than the back of the room, but watching Ian McNeice in Just a Minute was hilarious. The joke about his “UNIT” may have been taken a bit too far and gone on a little too long, but it was still great!





Following the masquerade, I headed towards the room that my last panel of the weekend was scheduled to be in. This was the panel that I was most nervous about. It’s official title was “Doctor Who Made Me Gay and Other Excuses,” and the only reason I volunteered for it was because I had had a conversation about almost that exact topic very shortly before the panel sign ups were posted. And I was completely terrified. It didn’t help that the door was locked when I got there, the crowd kept getting bigger, and I didn’t know anyone else on the panel. But the locked door may have been a good thing. Because it meant that when we couldn’t get in, one of the other people on the panel, who I had just met, decided we should start the panel in the hallway. And for about a minute, the two of us stood against the wall, and people started sitting down on the ground in front of us. It was an incredibly effective way to break the ice. The panel itself was brilliant. At least to me. And if you were there and didn’t have as fantastic time as I did, don’t tell me. It was the first time I’ve said to anyone other than my best friend that I’m asexual. And as soon as I said it, it was like the world weighed nothing at all. It was truly extraordinary. I know we got somewhat off topic of what I thought the panel was supposed to be about, but it was all okay. It was totally and completely worth it.

The rest of Saturday night is a bit of a blur. I know I brought out the absinthe, drank a decent amount of it between Saturday and Sunday nights, had lots of whiskey and a couple of beers, continued to lose my voice, and hung out with and did shots with the same room party crowd as Friday night. And once again, when I finally collapsed into bed, it was after 3am.

Daleks, daleks, everywhere!











Sunday

Like Saturday, Sunday came far too quickly. And started with a desperate search for caffeine. I think I was still half asleep when Mandy and I (or at least I) stumbled into the Liars Panel. This needs to be prefaced by saying that cell signal in the hotel is absolutely atrocious, and to get service, you pretty much have to either go outside or upstairs. But I somehow managed to find a spot in the room (not on purpose) that got signal. Here are some of the ones that I tweeted during the panel, which may be the only reason I remember them.

-The dinosaur from GDL's Sherlock Holmes is the new companion
-Musical episode entitled Dr. Whorrible
-Neil Patrick Harris is the next Master. And Doctor
-Pirate!Amy is going to be in the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie crossover
-John Barrowan will be hosting the new reality show, "Doctor Who Are You?"
-Harry Potter will be joining the Tardis crew at the end of the last movie
-CSI: WWE
-Due to the popularity of zombies, RTD has decided how to bring Ianto back
-Doctor Who/Glee crossover where the Master kills them all
-River Song is not Willow from Buffy but is actually Jack's twin sister and will regenerate into Jedward
-When a time lord and another time lord love each other very much...

After the Liar's panel, Mandy and I went on a search for the guy that she was supposed to be rooming with that night. Although he had been one of the other panelists on the Facebook panel, I hadn't been able to track him down the rest of the weekend, and Mandy didn't even know what he looked like. Made for an interesting search that eventually succeeded later in the day. I also made an attempt to pick up autograph tickets for either of Sunday's sessions, and got myself stuck in the middle of the disaster that was people waiting for hours. Most of those people were waiting for the second session, which included Peter Davison, but I was perfectly happy with just getting the first. Which I eventually did, and then all but ran away from the crowd. It felt like it was on the verge of getting incredibly ugly. I did manage to get through the autograph line pretty quickly, considering that there was basically no one in it.

From there, I dashed into the main room for Podshock's live show, which was a huge amount of fun last year, despite my contacts going haywire and making me miss half of it. This year, I had both eye drops and my glasses in my backpack, just in case. The big panel room was one of the other places that I could regularly get both phone and internet signal, so I pulled out my pda and checked into my flight without ever having to move. All I had to do was remember to print out my boarding pass when I went up to the lobby next. And then the Podshock guys blew my mind with one of their surprise guests. Waris Hussein, who was the first director of Doctor Who! Which was so absolutely brilliant! And yes, my mind was functioning in exclamation points right about then. Sometime during the early afternoon, I also made it a point to register for next year, since in two years, I've had two amazing conventions.

After the recording finished, I got in the line to get an autograph from him and Daphne Ashbrook. And my mind got blown a second time. The only place I have ever met Daphne Ashbrook before was very, very briefly at New York Comic Con, and somehow she remembered me! Or at least said I looked incredibly familiar. And since NYCC had somewhere around 100,000 people over the three days, I was pretty amazed! So after that, we bummed around the dealer's room a bit more, talked to some friends, and decided to skip closing ceremonies to grab food from the bar. We did make it back in before the closing ceremonies were over, but we also managed to miss the mad rush for food afterward, and I didn't feel that we missed anything absolutely imperative.

Eventually Mandy and I tracked down Trevor, and shifted her bags from their temporary location of my room up to his. I think I said more words to the woman I was rooming with in those three minutes than I'd said to her the entire rest of the weekend. I also filled my flask back up, grabbed a beer from Ed and Darren's room and headed back to the lobby for the rest of the night. And what a party Sunday night was! Utterly insane, and a crazy amount of fun! And considering the sheer volume of alcohol that people had brought down to get rid of, I'm not entirely surprised that I don't remember everything that happened. I don't think I was actually that drunk, but between the drinking and the total lack of sleep throughout the weekend, I was pretty sapped. And when I finally went to sleep, it was once again, after 3am.

Island of Misfit Alcohol





Monday

Monday morning, I just missed Mandy heading for the airport, but I did have breakfast with Ed, and got to say hello and goodbye to both old and new friends. I'm going to avoid talking about the flight home, since it was a bit of a disaster, between delayed planes, under-construction terminals, and the fact that home was apparently getting a decent amount of snow. But I did eventually get there, only about an hour later than I had originally planned.

And I'm already starting to count down to next year!

I may have ended up going a bit ribbon crazy (not entirely intentionally!)













And the flask that I promised I'd get engraved once I got home



Finally, my autographed cross stitch that I'm going to continue to collect autographs on as long as there's room

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